Monthly Archives: April 2019
OTTAWA – A bid to stop the federal government from revoking Canadians’ citizenship without a hearing has failed.
Federal Court Justice Russell Zinn has dismissed a case brought by the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.
READ MORE: Senate looking to change controversial citizenship law
The two advocacy groups had sought a stay of a section of the Citizenship Act which allows the government to revoke the citizenship of anyone deemed to have misrepresented themselves – a provision which they argued could potentially ensnare Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef.
Monsef last month discovered that she was born in Iran, not Afghanistan as she’d always believed.
The law is being challenged as unconstitutional but until that case is settled, the Federal Court has since January been systematically granting stays to individuals who apply for them.
The advocacy groups had argued that not everyone is aware or can afford a lawyer to seek a court-ordered stay of proceedings; they asked Zinn to impose a blanket stay for everyone who receives a notice of citizenship revocation.
READ MORE: Maryam Monsef could be stripped of citizenship due to Iran revelation
But Zinn ruled Monday that a blanket stay can only be ordered if the harm caused by the law is unavoidable.
In this case, he said it is avoidable because any individual can apply to the court for a stay.
“The failure of a person, for whatever reason, to take advantage of the de facto stay available, does not change the fact that it is available to them and that it will avoid the harm,” he wrote.
The advocacy groups said they are disappointed with the ruling.
WATCH: Afghan cabinet minister Maryam Monsef’s refugee story changes
“We brought this application to prevent people from falling through the cracks and finding themselves stripped of their citizenship without due process. We’re disappointed the court did not see the urgency of the situation,” Lorne Waldman, who represents the refugee lawyers, said in a statement.
“However, we will continue to fight for fairness in revocation proceedings and we’ll be back in court again next week to argue that the process is unconstitutional.”
The Liberals had denounced the law when they were in opposition and, since forming government, have promised to change it to provide for a proper hearing and appeal process for those believed to have misrepresented themselves to gain citizenship.
However, the government has so far refused to stop enforcing the law in the meantime.
The father of a man shot and killed by Winnipeg police told an inquest examining the death that he still carries memories of police lights and the body of his son outside their home.
“I kept saying, ‘Is he all right? Is he breathing?’” Brian McDougall testified Monday from a wheelchair.
McDougall told the court he remembers someone waking him up in the early morning hours of August 2nd, 2008, saying they heard a shot.
But he didn’t remember much else until he was outside looking at the body of his son, Craig McDougall.
“From then on, I didn’t really know what I was doing,” he said.
READ MORE: Inquest into Winnipeg Police shooting begins
McDougall said he ran toward his son but was tackled by a police officer, who put his knee on the back of his neck. He ended up in a cruiser and was taken to police headquarters. It was only much later that he learned his son was dead.
But much of what happened before and after the incident was beyond recall eight years later. There were long pauses after questions from family lawyer Corey Shefman, which often had to be repeated to elicit any response at all.
“It’s very confusing when you try and remember everything all at once.”
Later, when Crown attorney David Gray suggested it was his voice on the first 911 call that brought police to the house where the shooting occurred, McDougall denied it.
“I don’t think so,” he said after listening to the call where a voice like his said Craig McDougall and another man were trying to break into the house after being kicked out.
McDougall’s testimony was interrupted when he became ill in the early afternoon and was taken away by family members. It was unclear when he might return.
Craig McDougall, who was 26, was shot outside his home after police responded to a report of an altercation. Police said McDougall had a knife in his hand and refused repeated orders to drop it.
McDougall’s relatives have said he was only carrying a cellphone and was talking with his girlfriend, who heard four shots fired; three of them striking McDougall, who was also shot with a stun gun. Police later said they recovered a knife at the scene, but did not provide any further details as an investigation was launched.
Brian McDougall had arrived back in Winnipeg the evening of Aug. 1, 2008, from a visit to the Wasagamack First Nation, about 600 kilometres north.
He said he went to his house briefly, then went to a restaurant where he said he had a few beers and stayed until closing time.
McDougall went home and eventually went to bed, after asking others in the house to be quiet. He said he didn’t remember asking anyone to leave and was awoken by others who heard the shots.
This inquest, unlike some others in Manitoba, has been given a broader mandate to look at whether systemic racism played a role in the indigenous man’s death.
At the time, the shooting was criticized by Manitoba indigenous leaders.
One said police appeared to be on ‘killing sprees’ in the wake of two other deaths of young indigenous men: Matthew Dumas in 2005 and Michael Langan in 2008. Dumas was shot by police after he refused to drop a screwdriver. Langan died after being shocked with a police stun gun after he refused orders to drop a knife.
Inquests into both cases found police acted appropriately.
The inquest into McDougall’s death was called in 2013 and was delayed this summer just as it was about to get underway. At the time, it was said the delay was the result of a witness who had changed their statement from the time of the shooting.
The inquest is scheduled to continue all month and closing arguments are to take place in mid-December.
The Canadian rodeo scene and the glitz of Hollywood seem to be two contrasting worlds, but those are worlds that Katie Garthwaite has managed to merge.
The Merritt, B.C. resident has been participating in rodeo activities ever since she was a young child, helping her parents out with the animals on their ranch. But now Garthwaite also works as a stunt woman on the set of major films like The Revenant.
It’s official: Canadian Finals Rodeo will stay in Edmonton through 2018
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Woman discovers she’s in ‘The Revenant,’ and she had no idea
Her husband, Mike Garthwaite, worked on movie sets before she did and discovered her ability to do complex stunts through him.
“He was working on the movie called Warcraft and texted me and asked me if I could fall off my horse.
“At the time he was making quite a bit of money so I thought, ‘for sure I can fall off my horse and get paid too.’ So I went down to the coast and I worked for four days and it ended up being not a free-fall off the horse, but it was when they hooked me up with a cable and yanked me off my horse,” she said.
READ MORE: Alberta animal trainer on challenges of ‘The Revenant’ movie
Her ability to manoeuvre the complex move paved the way to her undertaking other, tougher stunts.
“I actually have been yanked off my horse. I’ve been ratcheted off, that hurt actually. I did that on Warcraft,” she said.
“I’ve done a couple of tackles and dives off the horses. The other day I got stabbed in the belly and fell off my horse… A lot of the times I do a lot of fast running on the horse.”
But despite her talent as a stunt woman, barrel racing has been her main focus. She’s participated in the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) for the last three years. She was the 2013 finalist for the CFR in barrel racing and is also a two-time Columbia River Circuit Champion, among others.
“This is my third year here, this year, and I feel more at ease because I know what’s happening, and that kind of stuff. I’m excited for sure.”
Her 10-year-old daughter, Gracie, is just as passionate about riding and she is, and is learning how to ride just like Garthwaite did – from her own mother, something that she is grateful for.
“Me and Mike, we always talk about our lives and the things that we get to do. I’m so fortunate and I’m so blessed in everything and to be able to ride my horses and enjoy what I do… We live in an extraordinary kind of life.”
The CFR begins on Wednesday, Nov. 9 and runs until Sunday Nov. 13 at Northlands in Edmonton.
After another horrific crash, the mayor of Leduc County is calling on the province to prioritize upgrades at a notorious intersection.
“Based on what’s happened… last night, this has to get pushed ahead of the queue,” John Whaley said. “There’s no two ways about it.”
Whaley said the intersection of Highway 39 and Highway 60 has been a problem for years. He said he’s been urging the province to make changes in the 10 years he’s been mayor.
“Two people got killed there last night and it’s just the latest severe accident that’s happened in that intersection. This is our scariest intersection in Leduc County at this moment in time and it is time something got done to it.”
READ MORE: 2 people killed in highway crash south of Edmonton
“We have a lot of stats,” Whaley said. “We have pages and pages of stats on this intersection and so does the RCMP… It’s nothing new, everyone knows about it. It just has to get booted to the front of the queue.
“A lot more people are going to die there. I don’t want that on my conscience or anybody else’s. We’ve got to do this now.”
The intersection is currently controlled by stop signs for traffic on Highway 60. Whaley said there are plans to replace the intersection with a roundabout, but no date for construction has been set.
Alberta Transportation said it hopes to have the roundabout built at the location by the end of 2017.
“Roundabouts are the safest way to convey a large amount of traffic with the least amount of traffic delays for users,” Jamie Friesen, a spokesman for the ministry, said.
“A roundabout reduces right angle, so-called T-bone collisions, it also reduces high-speed collisions and head-on collisions.”
Friesen said the province is already in the process of relocating utilities and plans to issue a tender next spring.
“I’ve received a lot of texts, a lot of emails from residents and people that live in this county and… who travel that road on a constant basis,” Whaley said. “They’re all saying the same thing: do something about this.”
Three days after asking anyone who witnessed or took video of an officer-involved shooting in the community of Dover to come forward, the Alberta Serious Response Team (ASIRT) says it’s expanding its investigation.
ASIRT said Monday it has started a separate probe into the actions of two other Calgary police officers involved in the incident, in addition to the officer who shot the suspect.
ASIRT investigates officer-involved shooting in southeast Calgary
READ MORE: Alberta police watchdog seeks witnesses to latest officer-involved shooting in Calgary
ASIRT said they became aware of an “additional use of force incident involving CPS officers” while investigating the officer-involved shooting on Nov. 3.
“ASIRT is investigating the circumstances surrounding the force used on the 20-year-old man who was driving the stolen Honda Civic after he was removed from the vehicle while being taken into custody,” reads the latest statement from ASIRT.
“It is not believed that the use of force caused any additional injury to the man who remains in hospital as a result of gunshot wounds received from the officer-involved shooting.”
Watch below from Nov. 4: As Gary Bobrovitz reports, the police watchdog ASIRT is asking for witnesses.
Police arrived in the area of 30 Avenue and 36 Street N.E. at around 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 for reports of a stolen vehicle driven by a man.
While officers on scene waited for a HAWCS chopper to arrive, police said the stolen Honda Civic drove into an alley in the 3800 block of 30 Avenue S.E.
Watch below from Nov. 3: Calgary Police Chief Constable Roger Chain briefs media on an office- involved shooting in Dover
The police watchdog said when officers pulled up beside the Civic in a police car, it “reversed and struck the left front side of the police cruiser.” One officer went to the Civic’s driver’s side window to talk to the man and reached into the car to try to put it in park, ASIRT said Friday.
The statement said an unspecified “altercation” then occurred, during which the man put the Civic in motion while the police officer’s upper body was still inside the car. The officer was ultimately “dislodged,” ASIRT said.
READ MORE: Calgary police officer fires at truck stopped west of city
ASIRT said Friday while the altercation unfolded, a second officer went to the passenger side of the Civic as it moved and fired his gun. The bullet hit the driver, who lost control of the car and crashed into a garbage bin. The suspect was taken into custody when more officers arrived on scene.
The suspect suffered “serious” injuries, according to the investigative body. One officer was treated for minor injuries but has since been released from hospital.
Investigators previously asked anyone who witnessed the incident and/or took video to contact ASIRT at 403-592-4306.
ASIRT investigates Calgary police shooting in Dover