Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 15/13
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
The toughest prison sentence since Canada’s last execution was given to an Alberta armored car guard who shot four of his fellow workers, three fatally.
Travis Baumgartner, 22, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.
Associate Chief Justice John Rooke called it an “unspeakable, outrageous, cowardly and cold-blooded crime . . . all with the simple motive of robbery.”
A new federal law allows consecutive parole ineligibility periods in multiple murders instead of the previous maximum of 25 years.
The death penalty was repealed in 1962 and the judge in this case could have imposed a parole wait of up to 75 years.
Rooke said Baumgartner showed “absolutely no compassion for life,” and shot the workers in the back of the head and ambushed a fourth guard waiting outside in a truck.
They were filling a cash machine at the University of Alberta campus in Edmonton.
Baumgartner pleaded guilty to murdering Brian Ilesic, 35, Eddie Rejano, 39, and Michelle Shegelski, 26, and the attempted murder of Matthew Schuman, 26.
He was arrested in British Columbia at the Canada-U.S. border carrying $400,000 in cash the next day.
(For more Canadian news of the week, click "Read More" below)
Canada’s Parliament is officially prorogued, or adjourned, to await a new policy direction in October.
Governor-General David Johnston took the formal step, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to set aside the business of the government until a new session starts on Oct. 16.
At that time, Johnston will deliver the “throne speech” outlining the Harper Conservative government’s plans for the future.
Harper said he plans to reveal the government's agenda – with the core issues of the economy and jobs – leading to an expected federal election in October 2015.
News in brief:
- Quebec is considering a law that would prohibit public sector workers from wearing religious clothing such as hijabs, kippas and turbans in the workplace. The Parti-Quebecois government said it wants to introduce a “charter of secularism” that would outline “Quebec values.” Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, is urging cultural communities “not to panic.”
- Constable Babak Andalib-Goortani of the Toronto Police Service has been convicted of assaulting a protester during the G20 summit three years ago. Ontario Superior Court Judge Louise Botham ruled he used excessive force while arresting Adam Nobody outside the Ontario Legislature. The officer will be sentenced in November.
- The so-called “Ikea monkey” is a wild animal that belongs in a wildlife sanctuary and will not be returned its owner, Ontario Superior Court Judge Mary Vallee ruled. Darwin was found in the parking lot of a Toronto Ikea store last December wearing a diaper and little coat. He had escaped from the car of Yasmin Nakhuda's who has been trying to have him returned.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar advanced on Friday to 96.71 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar was valued at $1.0339 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate stays at 3 percent.
Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,743 points and the TSX Venture index 939 points.
Lotto 6-49: (Sept. 11) 13, 21, 22, 26, 35 and 40; bonus 15. (Sept. 7) 2, 4, 15, 29, 32 and 40; bonus 26. Lotto Max: (Sept. 6) 1, 7, 23, 36, 37, 39 and 41; bonus 33.
- Tropical depression Gabrielle was expected to dump up to three inches of rain over Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland by the end of this weekend. The Canadian Hurricane Center predicted gusty winds across the eastern mainland of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Peak gusts were forecast at around 55 mph along western Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.
- Prosecutors have dropped criminal charges of assault against Shannon Everett, 27, for tossing a cup of juice at Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at a street festival. Ford, who had been posing for photos, said he did not want to proceed with charges. Everett, a multimedia developer and yoga teacher, denied throwing a drink at him.
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org