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Updated: 41 min 35 sec ago

Pell’s appeal pitted word of former choirboy against priest

1 hour 52 min ago
CANBERRA, Australia - Cardinal George Pell’s appeal against his convictions for child molestation was largely a question of who the jury should have believed, his accuser or a senior priest whose church role was likened to Pell’s bodyguard. Pell’s accuser was a 13-year-old choirboy when he alleged that he was abused by then-Melbourne Archbishop Pell at the city’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in December 1996 and February 1997. Monsignor Charles Portelli was a master of ceremonies at the 11 a.m. Sunday Masses where the choir sang. A chorister in the 1990s, David Dearing, told police that Portelli, Pell’s right-hand man, was always with the archbishop “like his bodyguard.” When the jury of eight men and four women that convicted Pell began their deliberations, they asked to see again video recordings of the testimonies of both the complainant, who cannot be identified, and Portelli. Portelli had testified that he had been with Pell chatting to churchgoers on the steps of the cathedral on the only two Sundays in December 1996 when Pell could potentially have been molesting the two choirboys. His testimony that Pell was on the steps in the moments for around 10 minutes after those Masses has been described as alibi evidence. The Maltese-born immigrant also testified that he would have seen Pell squeeze a choirboy’s genitals as he shoved the teen against a cathedral wall if the indecent assault had happened after a Mass in February 1997 as the complainant had testified. “To do so, he (Pell) would have had to push in front of me,” Portelli said in a television interview in April, in which he said Pell was innocent. Portelli also revealed that Pell phoned him the day his testimony ended in November to apologize for the grilling he received from prosecutors. Portelli said prosecutor Mark Gibson tried to undermine his credibility as the prosecution had the witness before him, 85-year-old sacristan Max Potter, who was in charge of the priests’ changing room where the complainant had alleged he and another choirboy had been molested. “They had tried to bamboozle him (Potter) with dates and secondary questions and so on and the cardinal apologized to me by saying, ‘I’m sorry they tried to do the same to you,'” Portelli told Sky television. Prosecutor Chris Boyce told the appeals court in June that Portelli’s memory appeared to be clearer when he answered defence lawyers’ questions than when he was questioned by the prosecution. Boyce accused Portelli of assisting the defence by purporting to not have memories that he had when questioned by Pell’s lawyers. Pell’s lawyer Bret Walker told the appeals court that the prosecution never suggested to the jury that Portelli was lying, partisan or lacked reliability. “Monsignor Portelli deserved better, with respect, than the way his evidence was criticized and belittled in terms of its importance for your honours’ independent assessment,” Walker told the three appeals judges, who are to issue their ruling Wednesday. Portelli had said he was always with Pell during the Masses in question and helped the archbishop robe and disrobe. Portelli was a heavy smoker in the 1990s. Gibson suggested to the jury that Portelli might have gone outside the cathedral to smoke a cigarette, leaving Pell to enter the sacristy alone and abuse the boys. But the suggestion was withdrawn because Portelli was never asked if he had left Pell alone to smoke and the trial heard no evidence to suggest that he had. Boyce said the complainant’s testimony stood up to more than eight hours of questioning. Boyce drew the judges’ attention to a video recording of a particular section of the complainant’s questioning by Pell’s lawyers. “The responses that you see there … and the manner in which they’re delivered, at the end of those, one puts down one’s pen and stares blankly at the screen and is moved,” Boyce said. “At that point, … any doubt that one might have about that account … is removed,” he added. Appeals Justice Mark Weinberg told Boyce there were plenty of cases in which appeals courts had said the complainant was credible and appeared truthful, but that the verdicts were unsafe because of other evidence and improbability. The complainant’s credibility was only “the beginning of the process,” Weinberg said. “We have to consider the evidence as a whole, every bit of it,” the judge added. Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press

Rodgers: If LaFleur wants me to play Thursday, I’ll play

3 hours 6 min ago
GREEN BAY, Wis. - Aaron Rodgers practiced on Monday after sitting out the Packers’ second preseason game in Baltimore and being sidelined during practice Sunday with back tightness. But the verdict is still out on whether the two-time MVP will make his preseason debut Thursday night against the Raiders in Canada. Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst said the plan is for Rodgers to play. Coach Matt LaFleur said he’s still undecided, and Rodgers said after practice that nothing he’ll see against Oakland in Winnipeg will be better or more valuable than what he sees every day against his teammates on the defensive side. “The practices are so much more important than the preseason,” he said. “The looks that we see on a day like today are invaluable reps. It’s an attacking defence, it’s different fronts, it’s different pressures. Oakland does some different things over the last couple preseasons that stress you at times protection-wise, so it’s not as vanilla as you might see in the preseason. “But the best reps I’m going to see all summer are in practice. If (coach) Matt (LaFleur) wants us to play, we’ll play and go out and compete. If not, I feel pretty good about where we’re at.” LaFleur, despite having yet to see Rodgers against live competition, said he has all the confidence in the world that the 15-year veteran will be ready when Green Bay opens the season Sept. 5 at Chicago. “I don’t think it’s going to make or break us one way or the other,” he said. “… I’m not overly concerned either way whether he plays or not.” Gutekunst said Monday before Rodgers took the field that he would like to see the seven-time Pro Bowler “get some of that rust off” before the Packers go into Soldier Field. “We’d love to have him out there (on Thursday),” Gutekunst said. “But again, I think he got a lot of practice reps against Houston. I know he wasn’t a fan of them, but those two days versus Houston I think were important, to get out there in that environment. So, like I said, I think the plan is to get him out there Thursday night.” LaFleur said he and his staff are still deciding how much the first team will play, but he said he has a pretty good idea of what he’s going to do. Rodgers was outspoken about his displeasure with the two joint practices with Texans before the teams faced off in their preseason opener. Rodgers, who watched the game from sideline while listening to the offensive communications on a headset, voiced similar displeasure with preseason games on Monday. “This is not going to be a growing process from a play-caller-to-quarterback standpoint,” he said. “It is what it is. The preseason, you don’t carry those wins over to the regular season. “I do find it interesting that some teams get a pass this time of year. The Rams don’t play anybody and not many people talk about that fact. Now, the counter would be, ‘Well, this is a new system.’ I get it, but we’ve spent a number of practices from May and June and training camp in July and now in August running this stuff, running unscripted periods, where he has to call the play in. “I feel very comfortable in the offence conceptually, philosophically, enunciating the plays, getting us in the right formation, getting the checks within the play easily figured out. I feel very comfortable with it.” Thursday will be the third time the Packers have played a preseason game outside the United States. Green Bay defeated the Bills 35-3 in Toronto on Aug. 16, 1997 and beat Kansas City 27-24 in overtime in Tokyo on Aug. 2, 1998. Notes: LaFleur said TE Jimmy Graham will not require surgery on his injured (unspecified) finger and will be “all right.” Graham, who did not practice Monday, left practice early Sunday after suffering the injury during a live team drill. Graham dealt with a broken thumb for much of the last two months of last season. … WR Trevor Davis and QB Tim Boyle connected on a 40-yard gain against double coverage on Monday. Davis, who is also a kick return specialist, returned to practice Sunday after dealing with a neck stinger he suffered during joint practice with the Texans. “I’m just excited to get him back and to see what he can do on Thursday,” LaFleur said of Davis. ___ Keith Jenkins can be reached at https://twitter.com/MrKeithJenkins ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Keith Jenkins, The Associated Press

Ride-hailing policies set in B.C., board chair says taxi industry dissatisfied

3 hours 28 min ago
VICTORIA - New policies for ride-hailing services in British Columbia will allow companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate a limitless number of vehicles beyond geographical boundaries that are in place for the taxi industry. Chair Catherine Read of the Passenger Transportation Board said Monday the boundaries where passengers can be picked up must be big enough for the ride-hailing model to be successful in a province that will require drivers to have commercial licences similar to those used by taxi drivers. She said the companies, which can submit applications Sept. 3 to operate in the province, must charge a minimum “floor rate” of between $3.25 and $3.95 depending on a particular area, similar to rates paid by passengers using taxis and in keeping with a similar policies in Edmonton and Calgary. But Read said the board will allow the companies, which it refers to as transportation network services, to increase the rate and charge higher overall fares in order to expand their supply of drivers and to meet passenger demand at peak times. “We know from other jurisdictions that it takes years for transportation network services to ramp up,” she said. Ride-hailing services will also be permitted to apply for as many operating areas as they wish by paying only one application and licensing fee, Read said. Both Uber and Lyft have expressed interest in providing services in the province but each has said requiring drivers to have a Class 4 licence may limit the number of available drivers. Peter Lukomskyj, general manger of Lyft in B.C., said the company appreciates the board’s decision not to include municipal boundaries and caps on the services. “Our vision is to one day offer our proven transportation network throughout the province but the Class 4 commercial licensing requirement will make it more difficult for us to deliver the reliable ridesharing service B.C. residents have been requesting for years,” he said in a statement. A spokesman for Uber said the company was still reviewing the new policies and would not immediately provide comment. Read said taxis, which often accommodate passengers who use wheelchairs, will remain an important part of the transportation network in B.C., but the industry is dissatisfied that boundaries have not been changed for its drivers, adding that’s not possible without data on issues such as traffic flows to adjust historic operating areas. “They’re not happy with it because they’re restricted to their existing boundaries,” Read said. “We know that in Metro Vancouver there are strongly held opposing views as to where the boundaries should be. The board has a duty to procedural fairness and we would have to do hearings or extensive consultation on that.” Taxi companies may also apply for a ride-hailing licence and operate beyond their current boundaries, Read said. The policies were developed in consultation with ride-hailing services, the taxi industry, the Vancouver Airport Authority, the Vancouver Port Authority, a review of 28 jurisdictions in the province as well as studies on ride-hailing services offered in Toronto and New York City. Ride-hailing companies are expected to start operating in parts of British Columbia by the end of the year, Read said. - By Camille Bains in Vancouver The Canadian Press

Dolphins’ Stills objects to comments by Jay-Z about NFL deal

3 hours 42 min ago
DAVIE, Fla. - Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills objected Monday to recent comments from rapper Jay-Z about social activism by current and former NFL players, including Colin Kaepernick. Jay-Z and the league last week announced a partnership he characterized as a progressive step to carry on the campaign that Kaepernick began by kneeling during the national anthem to bring attention to police brutality and racial division. Stills said he isn’t so sure the Jay-Z partnership represents progress. “I felt like he really discredited Colin and myself and the work that’s being done,” Stills said. “I’m going to try and give this man the benefit of the doubt for now, but it doesn’t sit right with me. It’s not something that I agree with. It’s not something that I respect.” While Kaepernick is out of the NFL, Stills continues to kneel during the anthem to protest social injustice. Last week Jay-Z said kneeling has served its purpose. “I think everyone knows what the issue is - we’re done with that,” Jay-Z said. “We all know the issue now. OK, next.” Stills said Jay-Z could have reached out to him or to Kaepernick before announcing the partnership. “He’s talking about, ‘We’re moving past kneeling,’ like he ever protested,” Stills said. “He’s not an NFL player. He’s never been on a knee. … To say that we’re moving past something, it didn’t seem very informed.” ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL ___ Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine. Steven Wine, The Associated Press

Fifteen Canadians to compete at Canadian National Women’s Open

3 hours 46 min ago
AURORA, Ont. - Kelly Tan’s 7-under-par 65 led the way at the 2019 CP Women’s Open Monday Qualifier at Scarboro Golf and Country Club. Tan, of Malaysia, was the medalist Monday by five shots. Tan, a full-time member of the Symetra Tour who has played four times on the LPGA Tour in 2019, will be appearing at the CP Women’s Open for a fifth time. Suzuka Yamaguchi of Japan finished in second with a 2-under-par 70. Robyn Choi of Australia and Muni He of China finished at 1-under 71 to round out the four golfers earning spots in the 2019 CP Women’s Open via final qualifying. Maddie McCrary of the United States and Julieta Granada of Paraguay, a past winner on the LPGA Tour, were awarded sponsor invitations following qualifying. Casey Ward (72) of Picton, Ont., finished as the low Canadian and was also awarded a sponsor exemption. Ward’s addition to the field makes 15 Canadians competing at the 2019 CP Women’s Open, including defending champion Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., and Lorie Kane of Charlottetown, who is making her record-setting 29th appearance at the tournament. The Canadian Press

City of Saskatoon may get back stolen $1M after scam traced to bank accounts

4 hours 14 min ago
SASKATOON - The City of Saskatoon may be getting back most of the $1 million it mistakenly sent an online fraudster. City manager Jeff Jorgenson told a news conference Monday that nearly all the money has been traced to between 10 and 15 bank accounts, which have been frozen by court order. The city revealed last week that someone had electronically impersonated the chief financial officer of Allan Construction, which has a contract with the city. The culprit asked to have a payment sent to a new bank account and the city complied before realizing it was a scam. “Although we are still in the early days, and the money has not yet been returned to the city, we will continue to work with the banks and with the Saskatoon Police Service in order to get as much of the money returned to the city as possible,” Jorgenson said. “This is very encouraging news.” Jorgenson didn’t provide a number of exactly how much money has been locked down, as he said the number has been changing as Canada’s banks continue to trace the funds. So far, the city has received $40,000, which Jorgenson called a first step. “What I expect will happen is that that’s the first account. So that one is settled. And then the next account might be for more, and then the next one for less, and you methodically roll through each of these account holders,” he explained. Jorgenson also told reporters that most of the accounts are Canadian, although he can’t confirm if there were any international accounts involved. Since the majority of the banks involved have their headquarters in Toronto, he said lawyers in Ontario have been hired. He admitted some of the $1 million could already have been spent. “There will be, I think, there could be some. Because not all of the money has been frozen, right? Some of it is not in those accounts any longer. But like I said, the vast majority is still in bank accounts. So each account is going to be different.” - With files from CJWW The Canadian Press

NYPD fires officer 5 years after Garner’s chokehold death

4 hours 19 min ago
NEW YORK - After five years of investigations and protests, the New York City Police Department on Monday fired an officer involved in the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner, the black man whose dying gasps of “I can’t breathe” gave voice to a national debate over race and police use of force. Police Commissioner James O’Neill said he fired Daniel Pantaleo, who is white, based on a recent recommendation of a department disciplinary judge. O’Neill said he thought Pantaleo’s use of the banned chokehold as he wrestled with Garner was a mistake that could have been made by any officer in the heat of an arrest. But it was clear Pantaleo had broken department rules and “can no longer effectively serve as a New York City police officer.” “None of us can take back our decisions,” O’Neill said, “especially when they lead to the death of another human being.” The decision was welcomed by activists and Garner’s family, but condemned by the head of the city’s largest police union, who declared that it would undermine morale and cause officers to hesitate to use force for fear they could be fired. “The job is dead!” Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said at a news conference, standing in front of a police department flag hung upside down. His voice cracking with anger, Lynch called Pantaleo an “exemplary” officer and called for union members to participate in a no-confidence vote on the mayor and commissioner. “It’s absolutely essential that the world know that the New York City Police Department is rudderless and frozen,” he said. “The leadership has abandoned ship and left our police officers on the street alone, without backing.” Pantaleo’s lawyer, Stuart London, said he would use legal appeals to try to get the officer reinstated. He has insisted the officer used a reasonable amount of force and did not mean to hurt Garner. Mayor Bill De Blasio, speaking at City Hall, said he hoped the decision would let the city, the department and Garner’s family move forward. “Today, we are finally seeing justice done,” the Democrat said. “Today will not bring Eric Garner back, but I hope it brings some small measure of closure to the Garner family.” Garner’s death came at a time of a growing public outcry over police killings of unarmed black men, which sparked the national Black Lives Matter movement. Video of the confrontation between Garner and the officers trying to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes drew outrage and was viewed millions of times online. The footage showed Garner, 43, and Pantaleo lurching against a glass storefront window and then falling to the pavement. Quickly, Garner, who weighed about 400 pounds (180 kilograms), appeared distressed gasping, “I can’t breathe,” at least 11 times before he fell unconscious. Weeks later, protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, over the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Throughout the fall of 2014, demonstrators chanted “I can’t breathe” as they marched against police brutality in multiple U.S. cities. When a state grand jury on Staten Island declined to indict Pantaelo in December of that year, protesters poured into the streets by the thousands, venting frustration that criminal charges against officers using deadly force remained rare, even with video evidence. Then, a few days before Christmas, a man upset about the Garner and Brown cases fatally shot two New York City police officers as they sat in their cruiser in Brooklyn. Those killings, in turn, gave fire to the Blue Lives Matter counter-movement, with police union officials arguing that the heated rhetoric against officers was making them unsafe. Some officers began turning their backs on de Blasio at funerals. Federal authorities kept a civil rights investigation open for five years before announcing last month they would not bring charges. City officials had long insisted that they could not take action until criminal investigations were complete. In announcing his decision, O’Neill said Pantaleo’s initial use of a chokehold as the two men grappled was forgivable, given the struggle. But he said the officer should have relaxed his grip once Garner was on the ground. “Had I been in Officer Pantaleo’s situation, I may have made similar mistakes,” O’Neill said. “And had I made those mistakes, I would have wished I had used the arrival of backup officers to give the situation more time to make the arrest.” The Rev. Al Sharpton said Garner’s family was “relieved but not celebratory.” “Pantaleo will go home a terminated man, but this family had to go to a funeral,” Sharpton said at a news conference. Garner’s daughter, Emerald Snipes Garner, thanked O’Neill “for doing the right thing.” She said she is urging lawmakers to make it a crime for any police officer to use a chokehold. “I should not be here standing with my brother, fatherless,” she said. De Blasio had never said whether he believed Pantaleo should lose his job but promised “justice” to the slain man’s family, leading union officials to say the disciplinary process appeared rigged. Asked whether the mayor forced his hand, O’Neill said the dismissal was his choice. He called Garner’s death an “irreversible tragedy” that “must have a consequence.” Questions about the handling of the case have dogged de Blasio during his longshot run for president, with some protesters at the recent debate in Detroit chanting, “Fire Pantaleo.” Asked whether he was worried the police union might start encouraging officers to drag their feet when making arrests, De Blasio said he was certain officers would “do their job.” Lynch, however, called on officers to “proceed with the utmost caution in this new reality.” Officers “will uphold our oath,” he said, “but we cannot and will not do so by needlessly jeopardizing our careers or personal safety.” ___ Associated Press Writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report. Jim Mustian, Michael R. Sisak And Tom Hays, The Associated Press

Politicians say elections law restricting partisan ads is ‘absurd,’ ‘lunacy’

4 hours 27 min ago
OTTAWA - The man whose position on climate change is at the centre of a controversy over partisan campaign rhetoric weighed in Monday, saying Elections Canada is stifling free speech if environmental groups can’t produce ads that describe global warming as a real crisis borne of human behaviour. Maxime Bernier, leader of the nascent People’s Party of Canada and an outspoken climate-change denier, was responding on Twitter to the agency’s warning that ads that discuss the legitimacy of the phenomenon - including paid social media placements - could be considered partisan simply because of the position of the People’s Party. In a word, Bernier summed up Elections Canada’s position as “absurd.” “The law should only regulate real partisan advertising, which is when there is mention of a candidate or party by name,” he said. The Canada Elections Act does indeed restrict any third-party advertising. During the pre-writ period before the campaign officially begins, the law only affects advertising that specifically mentions a candidate or party, which the Act calls “partisan” advertising. As soon as the writ drops, the restrictions also apply to advertising that takes a position on an issue a party or a candidate has given, as well as those that mention a party or candidate by name. This is referred to in the Act as “election advertising.” Once the costs of such ads hit $500, the third party must register with Elections Canada, produce records and financial reports and limit the amount of advertising it undertakes. “There are hundreds of potentially contentious issues that could be considered partisan if this rule were to be applied consistently,” Bernier said. Natasha Gauthier, a spokeswoman for Elections Canada, said the climate-change warning was just an example of an ad that could fall into the “election advertising” category, and that any decision about specific ads or activities would be decided on a case-by-case basis and only if there is a complaint. That decision also will be made by the commissioner of Canada elections. Elections Canada does not know in advance what issues might come up during the campaign, Gauthier added, but said if a party or candidate takes a position on something, any organization that advertises or does work on that issue will need to make sure they comply with the law. For example, an association promoting the benefits of forestry jobs could find its ads offside if a party suddenly makes forestry jobs a campaign issue, she warned. Third parties should “be careful, because it depends on the situation,” Gauthier said, adding that the rules around advertising are not new. Even so, the agency’s decision to cite climate change as a specific example has left environment groups feeling muzzled, and others wondering how far partisan labels will go. “This is lunacy,” said Green party Leader Elizabeth May. “Elections Canada is not a lunatic organization so I trust they will clarify and eliminate this ruling.” If Bernier were to suddenly say he believes smoking is good for people, May wondered aloud, would any organization that promotes the health dangers of smoking suddenly be deemed partisan? Others on Twitter questioned whether the earth being round could suddenly become a partisan statement if a candidate were to publicly insist the earth is flat. “It’s not partisan to discuss the single greatest threat faced by humanity,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said of climate change. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will look very closely at what Elections Canada has said, but added that he trusts them to make independent decisions about the Canada Elections Act. “We will always respect Elections Canada’s role and responsibility to independently apply electoral law,” Trudeau said. “But I think the whole question highlights the fact that it is so frustrating that there are still conservative politicians in this country who don’t think climate change is real and certainly don’t think we should be doing anything to fight it.” Several organizations say they now are planning to withdraw any advertising during the writ period that may discuss the scope of climate change, even though it doesn’t mention any party or politician by name. “We’re screening everything we post or boost online,” said Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada. “Greenpeace Canada will continue to talk about climate change but we won’t be paying to boost that online or take out ads in newspapers.” Stewart said Greenpeace registered last time, but described the process as onerous and time consuming - not worth it in 2019 for the roughly $2,500 worth of ads they did in 2015. Greenpeace is not a charity, but there is added pressure on environmental groups that are who fear a Canada Revenue Agency audit should Elections Canada suddenly deem their activities to be partisan, Stewart said. The CRA has rules on partisan behaviour, and even if charities believe they are in compliance, the cost and time associated with an audit could cause them to rethink their campaign activities, he said. New rules in legislation passed by Parliament last year also created new limitations on third-party activities that are not related to advertising. Restrictions on partisan activities could prevent organizations from assessing party policies or platforms, for example, something that was often done in the past. While the rules don’t bar such activities entirely, they do require an organization to decide when the cost exceeds $500, and trying to determine the staff costs and overhead associated with responding to a platform is difficult enough that many organizations simply might avoid it entirely. Trevor Melanson, a communications manager at Clean Energy Canada, said under the new rules, his organization resisted issuing a statement when Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he was going to get rid of the clean fuel standard being introduced by the Liberal government. Melanson said the standard is an issue his organization has spent years studying, and felt restrained from speaking out about it. “It has a very real chilling effect on us,” he said. Stewart said he has some sympathy for Elections Canada “trying to deal with growing concerns with third parties trying to manipulate elections.” But turning facts into partisan fodder isn’t something the agency should tolerate, he added: “The aggravating thing here for me is science is not partisan.” Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Canada eliminated from Little League World Series following loss to Caribbean

4 hours 39 min ago
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Canada was eliminated from the Little League World Series following an 8-1 loss to the Caribbean team on Monday. Curley Martha and Nathan Castillo each had two hits and drove in a run for the Caribbean representatives from Curacao. Brady Dorwart scored on a passed ball in the top of the sixth and final inning for Canada, which managed just three hits. Castillo opened the scoring with a two-run single in the bottom of the first inning, then back-to-back RBI singles from Jurdrick Profar and Mantha in the bottom of the second staked the Caribbean to a 4-0 lead. Following two scoreless innings, the Caribbean doubled its lead in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single from Deshandro Tromp, a two-run error that scored Castillo and Tromp and an RBI triple from Pe.son Revierre. Keven Rosina went the distance for the Caribbean, striking out seven and not surrendering an earned run. Timmy Piasentin struck out eight but allowed seven earned runs for Canada over 4 2/3 innings. Dorwart gave up Revierre’s triple before inducing a pop out in foul territory in relief. The Canadian entry from Coquitlam, B.C., opened the double-elimination tournament with a 5-0 loss to Mexico on Friday before rebounding with a 10-0 win over Italy on Saturday. The Canadian Press

Florida battery charge dropped against singer Chris Brown

4 hours 43 min ago
TAMPA, Fla. - A felony battery charge has been dropped against singer Chris Brown, who had been accused of attacking a nightclub photographer in Florida two years ago. Hillsborough County prosecutors filed a notice Friday to drop the charge. The State Attorney’s Office released a statement saying there was insufficient evidence. Tampa police say Brown was at the former AJA Channelside club following a concert in April 2017 when he punched a photographer working for the club. Brown was gone when police arrived. Brown was arrested more than a year later in Palm Beach County. He was met by officers with a warrant while walking off stage after a July 2018 show. Brown’s attorney, Kevin Napper, told the Tampa Bay Times Brown had been wrongfully accused and that prosecutors made the right decision. The Associated Press

Ride-hailing policies set in B.C., board chair says taxi industry dissatisfied

4 hours 45 min ago
VICTORIA - New policies for ride-hailing services in British Columbia will allow companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate a limitless number of vehicles beyond geographical boundaries that are in place for the taxi industry. Chair Catherine Read of the Passenger Transportation Board says the boundaries must be big enough for the ride-hailing model to be successful in a province that will require drivers to have commercial licences similar to those used by taxi drivers. She says the companies that can submit applications as of Sept. 3 must charge a minimum “floor rate” of between $3.25 and $3.95, similar to rates paid by passengers using taxis. However, Read says the board will allow the companies to increase the rate in order to expand their supply of drivers to meet passenger demand at peak times. She says ride-hailing services will also be permitted to apply for as many operating areas as they wish by paying only one licence fee. Read says taxi drivers will remain an important part of the transportation network in B.C. but the industry is dissatisfied that boundaries have not been changed for its drivers, something she says is not possible without data to adjust operating areas.   The Canadian Press

TV writers union says agents are violating antitrust law

4 hours 52 min ago
LOS ANGELES - The Writers Guild of America filed claims Monday in federal court alleging the entertainment industry’s biggest talent agencies are violating antitrust and anti-racketeering laws, the latest move in a long and heated battle between those who write television scripts and the agents who represent them. The filings are a response to lawsuits filed by three agencies in recent months alleging the Writers Guild has itself violated antitrust law with organized actions in the dispute, including the mass firing of agents by thousands of writers in April. At issue are so-called packaging fees, where talent agencies combine elements of a television series, including writers, scripts or actors, and sell them directly to studios as a unit. Writers have long held that the practice, common for decades in Hollywood, takes money that should rightfully be theirs and puts it in agents’ pockets. They are now saying that it violates federal law, in part by agents taking money directly from studios before the writers see it. “The way this should be working is there should be payment to the employees, and the employee pays commission to their representative,” Tony Segall, general counsel for the Writers Guild of America West, told The Associated Press on Monday. “That’s not the way it works, which we think is a big problem.” The suit alleges the major agencies have conspired to fix the price of packaging fees, and have been strong-arming smaller agencies that seek to use different models. “We are simply asking the court to stop these agencies from illegally enriching themselves at the expense of writers,” WGAW President David A. Goodman said in a statement. The fight brought has brought negotiations over an operating agreement to a halt between agents and writers. It first went to court in April, when the writers’ union filed a lawsuit in California state court alleging violations of labour law. That lawsuit was withdrawn with Monday’s filing, and the fight will now take place in federal court. Named in Monday’s filing are three of the four agencies that dominate Hollywood talent - Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and United Talent Agency. The fourth, ICM Partners, was not included because it did not file a federal suit against the writers, but it was named in the state suit and could be included later in the federal litigation. Emails to attorneys for the agencies seeking comment on the new filing were not immediately returned. William Morris Endeavor’s June lawsuit against the guild alleges that union leadership “has orchestrated a series of anticompetitive agreements to prevent” the agencies from representing writers without agreeing to illegal conditions set forth in a code of conduct it has asked agencies to sign. The suit said the union has organized an “unlawful group boycott” that it has coerced both members and non-members to join. The dispute has made major waves within the industry as it threatens to change the way Hollywood does business, but it has not yet disrupted productions the way writers’ strikes have, and it’s not clear whether it will ever have such an effect. Writers have said that the deals can allow agents to earn more for their creations than the creators, especially as shows move forward into syndication and streaming platforms. The two sides had a similar fight in the 1970s, but packaging agreements have become far more extensive since then. “It is basically the way that the television industry works now, Segall said. Writers have chosen this moment to call the situation intolerable, Segall said, because the talent agencies have been moving into production and moving toward possible public stock offerings, both of which could offer a whole new host of conflicts. ___ Associated Press writer Michael R. Blood contributed to this story. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton. Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press

Judge acquits Manitoba Mountie of manslaughter; says officer feared for his life

5 hours 1 min ago
THOMPSON, Man. - A judge says he believes that a northern Manitoba RCMP officer genuinely feared for his life when he repeatedly shot at a drunk driver coming at him during an attempted arrest. Justice Chris Martin on Monday acquitted Const. Abram Letkeman of manslaughter despite a series of poor policing decisions in the lead-up to the 2015 death of Steven Campbell, 39, outside Thompson. “No doubt Const. Letkeman bears fault, but except for Mr. Campbell’s driving forward and then leftward, I am satisfied he would not have shot,” Martin said. The judge also acquitted Letkeman, 37, of other shooting-related charges, but did convict him of criminal negligence causing bodily harm in relation to his driving. Campbell’s mother, Shirley Huber, said she is disappointed there are no repercussions for the shooting. Letkeman should not be able to hold another job in law enforcement, she said. “In the end he needs to always remember he took a life,” Huber said in a message online. “I need him to live with that.” The trial heard the officer saw the Jeep early on a November morning as bars were closing in the community of about 15,000 people. A toxicology report showed Campbell had alcohol in his system and was almost 2 1/2 times over the legal limit to drive. It also showed a small amount of cocaine. Letkeman testified he suspected the driver was impaired and attempted a traffic stop, but after a few moments the Jeep drove away. Letkeman started to pursue it, but he did not communicate that to his supervisors. The vehicles were travelling at low speeds and it was snowing slightly when Letkeman testified that he made the decision to use his cruiser to hit the back of the Jeep. He told court he intended to force the Jeep to rotate and stop. A use of force expert testified the move was against protocol and training, and was extremely risky. “It was indiscriminate, taken at serious risk of injury to himself and to passengers in the Jeep,” Martin said in his decision. The Jeep was damaged but it continued moving and ended up on a trail for all-terrain vehicles. Letkeman followed in his cruiser and the Jeep lost control and stopped in some brush. The trial heard Letkeman’s vehicle then T-boned it. The officer testified he didn’t wait for backup and walked in front of the Jeep to do a high-risk takedown. He said the Jeep started moving toward him, so he was forced to fire. He also said his foot was run over so he shot as fast as he could to save his own life. Officers found 12 bullet casings at the scene and Campbell was hit at least nine times. His hands were on the wheel and the Jeep was in drive. There were four passengers in Campbell’s vehicle. His girlfriend, Lori Flett, was shot and, among other injuries, her pelvis was fractured in the collision. In his decision, the judge said the officer’s driving decisions were dangerous and unwarranted. Letkeman should have surmised there was a great risk to everyone in the Jeep when he used his police cruiser to ram it, Martin said. “Virtually nothing was reasonable from the start and each mistake built on the last.” During closing arguments in June, the Crown argued that Letkeman stood in front of the vehicle because he was motivated by the desire to make an arrest - no matter the cost. Defence lawyers argued the officer shot his gun because he had to. They warned that convicting Letkeman would have “a chilling effect” on all police. The judge said the shooting was tragic but proportionate because the Jeep was moving at the officer. He added that a conviction for the shooting “would be imposing a standard of near perfection in a fast and highly chaotic situation.” Letkeman was suspended with pay after he was charged in 2017. Manitoba RCMP said his duty status will be reviewed because of the conviction. Huber said her son shouldn’t have been behind the wheel if he was intoxicated, but the decision wasn’t worth his life. She also said Campbell’s death shows how important it is for police to have dashboard and body cameras, especially in northern communities. “There has to be a way to document what really happens on those stops and maybe it won’t happen again,” Huber said. “Maybe my son would still be alive.” Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

Bombers quarterback Nichols on 6-game injured list with upper body injury

5 hours 14 min ago
WINNIPEG - Matt Nichols was at Blue Bombers practice on Monday, but the starting quarterback was wearing a tank top and only watched his teammates go through their paces. Head coach Mike O’Shea said after practice that Nichols was going on the six-game injured list with an unspecified upper-body injury that does not require surgery. He’ll be re-evaluated in 4-to-6 weeks. “We’ll see where we go from there,” O’Shea said. Nichols was sacked by B.C. Lions defensive lineman Shawn Lemon with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter of Winnipeg’s 32-16 victory over the Lions last Thursday. He fumbled the ball and walked to the locker room appearing to favour his right throwing arm. Chris Streveler replaced Nichols in the game and will start when the CFL West Division-leading Bombers (7-2) travel to play the Edmonton Eskimos (6-3) on Friday. Streveler said he’s hoping the experience he’s gained will keep the Bombers rolling along. “I think there’s definitely a lot more comfort there,” the sophomore pivot said. “Not only just starting some games last year, but I’ve played in every game since I’ve been here... “Compared to my first couple games last season, I would think that I’ve had a lot more experience and feel better about that.” Last season, Nichols injured his right knee in training camp during a non-contact play and missed the first three regular-season games. The rookie Streveler took the reins and the Bombers went 1-2. He also started the last regular-season game, which was a loss. “When I see him go down, I feel for him,” Streveler said of Nichols. “I know how hard he works because we’re together every single day. “I know what he puts into this so it’s tough to see a guy like that go down, but once again, your job as a backup is to step in and try to move the ball.” Streveler has completed nine of 16 pass attempts this season for 82 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. He’s also run nine times for 39 yards and five TDs. Rookie Sean McGuire out of Western Illinois, who was signed in May, will be Streveler’s backup against the Eskimos. O’Shea said the team is searching for a third pivot. He confirmed retired veteran quarterback Kevin Glenn was called and so were “a bunch of people.” Reports said former Bombers pivot Drew Willy was also approached. “I don’t know about this week,” O’Shea said on when another quarterback will be added. “You do need three so we’ll be looking at that.” His said his expectation of Streveler is to go out this week and win a football game. “He’s quite capable,” O’Shea said. “We give him a lot of snaps in games because he’s a good quarterback. He’s proven that.” Nichols, who wasn’t available to the media, had no sling on at practice. He was bending his arms at the elbows and putting his hands on his hips as he followed the offence and offered input. Bombers running back Andrew Harris said the offence will be a bit different with Streveler’s scrambling abilities and he has “full confidence” in him. He’s been talking to Nichols and said his spirits seemed good despite the situation. “He’s accepting it and he seemed like he was in an OK mood,” Harris said. “You know, sometimes when guys get hurt they sulk and they’re pouting. He’s out there helping the guys out and being out here and being vocal, so I mean that’s big, that’s important.” Nichols is the seventh opening-day starting quarterback in the CFL who’ll miss at least one game because of injury this year. Only Trevor Harris of the Edmonton Eskimos and Mike Reilly of the B.C. Lions have made every start. Bombers eight-year linebacker Adam Bighill said he’s never seen so many starting quarterbacks be sidelined in a season, especially so early in the year. “Usually it’s going to take two quarterbacks to get it done,” Bighill said. “Everybody is going to have to contribute at some point in this season and this is really no different.” Judy Owen, The Canadian Press

With campaign looming, Trudeau makes $1.2B transit announcement in Quebec City

5 hours 30 min ago
QUEBEC - For the second month in a row, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a billion-dollar funding announcement for public transit in Quebec, a province whose support he badly needs to maintain power come election time in October. Following a $1.3 billion-promise in July to extend a Montreal subway line, Trudeau on Monday stood in front of an artist’s rendering of a new Quebec City transit system and committed to funding it with $1.2 billion in federal cash. Trudeau made sure to tell the audience of politicians and journalists his government was “guaranteeing” the money to fund Quebec City’s long-awaited project. That’s funding, Trudeau said, that his Conservative rival Andrew Scheer isn’t ready to commit to. “Mr. Scheer … said he opposes this tramway project. I’m not quite sure what that means,” Trudeau said. Opposition leader Scheer has said that if elected, his government’s priority would be to fund a so-called “third link” that would offer motorists another way to cross the St. Lawrence River, other than two existing bridges. Scheer has said his government would study a proposed tramway project. “I think there are questions for Mr. Scheer about his continued commitment to Quebec City and to the excellent project that has been put forward by our partners here,” Trudeau said, referring to the tramway. But while Trudeau may have control over the government purse, Scheer has more members holding Quebec City ridings. The Tory base in the province lies in the Quebec City region, where the Liberals hold only two ridings. Trudeau’s two Quebec City-area members, Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Joel Lightbound, parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, were both in the room for Monday’s announcement. Lightbound has a particularly hard fight ahead of him. Scheer’s Tories have nominated Marie-Josee Guerette, executive vice-president of La Capitale Financial Group, as their star candidate to contest his riding of Louis-Hebert. She has deep roots in the city and is involved in numerous foundations and organizations, including Theatre Le Diamant, run by renowned Quebec stage director Robert Lepage. Trudeau told reporters he expects to “make gains” in the Quebec City area. “And it’s because of everything we’ve done in the past four years, as well as everything we are going to do together, in the years to come.” Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume chose not to wade into the Liberal-Conservative rivalry in his backyard. “That’s the beauty of democracy,” he said. “If democracy allows us to live critical moments, that let us settle our files, then long live democracy!” The federal government’s investment will help build an expanded public transit network for Quebec City, including a 23-kilometre tramway line. Trudeau said the new network, expected to be built by 2026, will make it easier for residents to get around and will make Quebec City greener. In addition to the federal contribution, the Quebec government will invest $1.8 billion and the municipal government will contribute $300 million to the project. Labeaume said the project, which also includes two trambus lines covering 15 kilometres, will mean Quebec City joins the club of Canadian cities with more than 500,000 residents that have modern public transit infrastructure. In 2017, Trudeau announced another $1.3 billion to fund a new electric rail system for Montreal, known as the REM. Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press

SNC-Lavalin controversy tails PM to Quebec, where affair has different impact

5 hours 40 min ago
OTTAWA - Questions about the SNC-Lavalin affair Monday trailed Justin Trudeau to Quebec - the seat-rich province at the centre of the controversy, and a place where the prime minister could conceivably limit the damage. A stinging report last week by federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion concluded that Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to stop a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, a Quebec engineering and construction giant, on corruption charges. Polls have suggested that Trudeau’s popularity took a big hit after the SNC-Lavalin affair erupted last winter. But in Quebec - critical to Liberal re-election hopes in October- the matter appears to have been met with less outrage than other parts of Canada. If true, it could be a key factor for the Liberals, which hold 40 of the province’s 78 seats and hope to capture more in October. Trudeau faced more SNC-Lavalin questions Monday in Quebec City, where he announced a federal investment of up to $1.2 billion towards the local public transit network. He repeated his line that it’s his responsibility to protect jobs, families and retirees. Last week, Trudeau said he disagreed with some of Dion’s findings - and he refused to apologize for his actions, insisting he was “standing up for Canadian jobs.” His decision to remain unapologetic and stick to his jobs message appears to be directed at Quebecers, said McGill University political science professor Daniel Beland. “I certainly think that people in Quebec, on average, might be more sympathetic to this argument and sympathetic to the idea that he tried. Maybe he didn’t do it the proper way, but they will be more sympathetic to that than people in Alberta or even in New Brunswick,” said Beland, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada. “There are a lot of people who criticize Trudeau for what happened, the way it was done. But the argument about jobs has more resonance.” In one example, Montreal’s French-language La Presse newspaper ran a column the day after the report’s release titled: “Trudeau and SNC-Lavalin: good cause, bad means.” Beland says the SNC-Lavalin controversy has indeed hurt the Liberals in Quebec, but the provincial fallout could be limited due to an important factor: economic nationalism. He said economic nationalism crystallized in Quebec decades ago during the Quiet Revolution, when there was a sense among francophones that the province should play a greater role in the economy to help build stronger businesses. Among some voters, Beland added, there’s still a feeling that big Quebec companies like SNC-Lavalin are part of the province’s identity, can help it advance as a society and must be protected. “He wants to appeal to these sentiments of economic nationalism,” Beland said of Trudeau. “I think that’s part of the subtext to this.” The economics of the affair have made their mark. Quebec’s massive Caisse de depot pension fund, the company’s largest investor with nearly a 20 per cent stake, has seen the value of its shares drop by more than $800 million since the start of the year. Francois Legault, Quebec’s nationalist premier, has come to the defence of SNC-Lavalin. “SNC-Lavalin is perceived as being an asset rather than a liability by not only elected officials, economic actors but also public opinion, by and large, in Quebec contrary to the rest of Canada,” said Francois Petry, a political science professor at Universite Laval. He said while media coverage of Dion’s report has been heavy across Canada, Quebec’s French-language outlets have given the story less attention. Petry said polls have shown Quebec was the only province where the majority of respondents were in favour of seeing SNC-Lavalin avoid prosecution by being invited to negotiate a plea-bargain-type deal, which Trudeau was pushing for. In all the other provinces, he said more respondents said the company should face a criminal trial rather than a remediation agreement. With the election campaign set to begin in the coming weeks, the Dion report has provided a new opening for rivals. Earlier Monday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the conclusions about Trudeau’s handling of the affair appear to align with a criminal offence. Scheer also urged the head of the RCMP to use all the resources at her disposal to investigate the matter. It’s the second time he’s made such a request, the first being at the height of the controversy back in February. Gerard Deltell, a Quebec Conservative MP, said Trudeau’s actions - and his refusal to apologize - make it “crystal clear” he cares more about his own job and the jobs of his friends than any others. “I’m a politician, I am partisan - 100 per cent, for sure. It’s part of my job,” Deltell said. “But I would never do that (to) judiciary affairs. And the prime minister crossed the line without any regrets.” Alexandre Boulerice, a Montreal NDP MP whose riding neighbours Trudeau’s, acknowledged that SNC-Lavalin still represents a proud, modern Quebec to a lot of people in the province, particularly among French-speaking baby boomers. But Boulerice said the “vast majority” of Quebecers will see the story as Trudeau being found guilty of conflict of interest for personal or partisan interests, and he wants the prime minister to apologize. It has left the impression “that the Liberals are there for their rich friends and millionaires,” Boulerice said. Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

U.S. secretary of state to meet with Trudeau, Freeland ahead of G7 summit

5 hours 48 min ago
OTTAWA - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Canada later this week to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Their meeting comes in advance of the G7 summit of the world’s seven big economies, which gets underway later this week in Biarritz, France. Freeland’s office says she will host the meetings Thursday in Ottawa, where discussions will focus on Canada-U.S. co-operation on various domestic and international issues, including key security and foreign policy matters. The meeting is being billed as an opportunity to build on the outcomes of Trudeau’s June visit to Washington, D.C., where he met with U.S. President Donald Trump and discussed relations with China, as well as the continued detention of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.  A statement from Pompeo’s office said he expected the discussions in Ottawa to focus on the “broad and multi-faceted U.S.-Canada strategic partnership and identify opportunities to advance our shared goals, including returning democracy to Venezuela and the release of the two Canadian citizens arbitrarily detained by China.” Trudeau spoke with Trump by telephone on Friday, where the Canadian detentions in China came up again, as did the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong and the shared support of the two leaders for the ratification of the new North American trade deal. Trump and Trudeau also discussed challenges in the global economy, with an expectation they would further those discussions together in person at the G7 summit later this week.     The Canadian Press

Conservative Leader Scheer won’t ‘lift finger’ to bring ‘Jihadi Jack’ to Canada

6 hours 16 min ago
OTTAWA - Neither the governing Liberals nor the Opposition Conservatives expressed enthusiasm Monday for trying to secure the release of the overseas prisoner dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media. Questions once again emerged about the fate of Jack Letts, the British-Canadian man held in a Kurdish jail in Syria, following word that London recently revoked his citizenship. Letts’ father John has said his son, who still holds Canadian citizenship, went to Syria to help create a peaceful Muslim state and was never involved in violence perpetrated by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. According to John Letts, the Kurds expressed willingness last year to hand his son over to Canadian authorities. He has also said Global Affairs Canada told the family for months that it was working to get their son released but that the department then decided it was too dangerous. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Letts should remain locked up. “Jihadi Jack is in prison now and that is where he should stay,” Scheer said Monday in a statement. “A Conservative government under my leadership will not lift a finger to bring him back to Canada.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to explain to Canadians “why he and his government worked so hard to bring him here,” Scheer added. Asked Monday if he would welcome Letts to Canada, Trudeau would only say it is a crime to travel internationally with the aim of supporting terrorism. “And that is a crime that we will continue to make all attempts to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. That is the message we have for Canadians and for anyone involved.” The Canadian government expressed disappointment Sunday that the United Kingdom had moved to “off-load their responsibilities” by stripping Letts’ British citizenship. “Terrorism knows no borders, so countries need to work together to keep each other safe,” the federal statement said. “Investigating, arresting, charging and prosecuting any Canadian involved in terrorism or violent extremism is our primary objective. They must be held accountable for their actions.” The government added that while it is aware of Canadian citizens detained in Syria, there is no legal obligation to facilitate their return. “We will not expose our consular officials to undue risk in this dangerous part of the world.” In June, Trudeau expressed confidence in the RCMP to investigate Canadians who travelled to fight alongside extremists in Iraq and Syria. He said the Mounties and intelligence agencies in Canada and abroad face the difficult challenge of presenting the information they gather in court as evidence of crimes. The government is ensuring Canadian agencies have the necessary resources and opportunities to collaborate with foreign allies on such cases, he added. The latest annual federal report on extremism says some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad and, in addition, approximately 60 have returned. The activities of these Canadians in various countries could involve front-line fighting, training, logistical support, fundraising or studying at extremist-influenced schools. A small number of the 60 returnees have come back from Turkey, Iraq or Syria but many who remain abroad now lack valid travel documents, find themselves on a no-fly list or fear being arrested on Canadian soil. - Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Politicians say elections law restricting partisan ads is ‘absurd,’ ‘lunacy’

6 hours 16 min ago
OTTAWA - The man whose position on climate change is at the centre of a controversy over partisan campaign rhetoric weighed in Monday, saying Elections Canada is stifling free speech if environmental groups can’t produce ads that describe global warming as a real crisis borne of human behaviour. Maxime Bernier, leader of the nascent People’s Party of Canada and an outspoken climate-change denier, was responding on Twitter to the agency’s warning that ads that discuss the legitimacy of the phenomenon - including paid social media placements - could be considered partisan simply because of the position of the People’s Party. In a word, Bernier summed up Elections Canada’s position as “absurd.” “The law should only regulate real partisan advertising, which is when there is mention of a candidate or party by name,” he said. The Canada Elections Act does indeed restrict any third-party advertising that either mentions a party or candidate by name, or promotes or disputes an issue or position taken by a party or candidate. Once the costs of such ads hit $500, the third party must register with Elections Canada, produce records and financial reports and limit the amount of advertising it undertakes. “There are hundreds of potentially contentious issues that could be considered partisan if this rule were to be applied consistently,” Bernier said. Natasha Gauthier, a spokeswoman for Elections Canada, said the climate-change warning was just an example of an ad that could be deemed partisan, and that any decision about specific activities would be decided on a case-by-case basis and only if there is a complaint. That decision also will be made by the commissioner of Canada elections. Elections Canada does not know in advance what issues might come up during the campaign, Gauthier added, but said if a party or candidate takes a position on something, any organization that advertises or does work on that issue will need to make sure they comply with the law. For example, an association promoting the benefits of forestry jobs could find its ads offside if a party suddenly makes forestry jobs a campaign issue, she warned. Third parties should “be careful, because it depends on the situation,” Gauthier said, adding that the rules around advertising are not new. Even so, the agency’s decision to cite climate change as a specific example has left environment groups feeling muzzled, and others wondering how far partisan labels will go. “This is lunacy,” said Green party Leader Elizabeth May. “Elections Canada is not a lunatic organization so I trust they will clarify and eliminate this ruling.” If Bernier were to suddenly say he believes smoking is good for people, May wondered aloud, would any organization that promotes the health dangers of smoking suddenly be deemed partisan? Others on Twitter questioned whether the earth being round could suddenly become a partisan statement if a candidate were to publicly insist the earth is flat. “It’s not partisan to discuss the single greatest threat faced by humanity,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said of climate change. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will look very closely at what Elections Canada has said, but added that he trusts them to make independent decisions about the Canada Elections Act. “We will always respect Elections Canada’s role and responsibility to independently apply electoral law,” Trudeau said. “But I think the whole question highlights the fact that it is so frustrating that there are still conservative politicians in this country who don’t think climate change is real and certainly don’t think we should be doing anything to fight it.” Several organizations say they now are planning to withdraw any advertising during the writ period that may discuss the scope of climate change, even though it doesn’t mention any party or politician by name. “We’re screening everything we post or boost online,” said Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada. “Greenpeace Canada will continue to talk about climate change but we won’t be paying to boost that online or take out ads in newspapers.” Stewart said Greenpeace registered last time, but described the process as onerous and time consuming - not worth it in 2019 for the roughly $2,500 worth of ads they did in 2015. Greenpeace is not a charity, but there is added pressure on environmental groups that are who fear a Canada Revenue Agency audit should Elections Canada suddenly deem their activities to be partisan, Stewart said. The CRA has rules on partisan behaviour, and even if charities believe they are in compliance, the cost and time associated with an audit could cause them to rethink their campaign activities, he said. New rules in legislation passed by Parliament last year also created new limitations on third-party activities that are not related to advertising. Restrictions on partisan activities could prevent organizations from assessing party policies or platforms, for example, something that was often done in the past. While the rules don’t bar such activities entirely, they do require an organization to decide when the cost exceeds $500, and trying to determine the staff costs and overhead associated with responding to a platform is difficult enough that many organizations simply might avoid it entirely. Trevor Melanson, a communications manager at Clean Energy Canada, said under the new rules, his organization resisted issuing a statement when Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he was going to get rid of the clean fuel standard being introduced by the Liberal government. Melanson said the standard is an issue his organization has spent years studying, and felt restrained from speaking out about it. “It has a very real chilling effect on us,” he said. Stewart said he has some sympathy for Elections Canada “trying to deal with growing concerns with third parties trying to manipulate elections.” But turning facts into partisan fodder isn’t something the agency should tolerate, he added: “The aggravating thing here for me is science is not partisan.” Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Judge acquits Manitoba Mountie of manslaughter but not driving charge

6 hours 23 min ago
THOMPSON, Man. - A judge says he believes that a northern Manitoba RCMP officer genuinely feared for his life when he repeatedly shot at a drunk driver during an attempted arrest that was full of mistakes. Chief Justice Chris Martin on Monday acquitted Const. Abram Letkeman, 37, of manslaughter despite a series of poor policing decisions in the lead-up to the 2015 shooting of Steven Campbell, 39, outside Thompson. “No doubt (Const.) Letkeman bears fault, but except for Mr. Campbell’s driving forward and then leftward, I am satisfied he would not have shot,” Martin said. Martin also acquitted Letkeman of other shooting-related charges, but did convict him of criminal negligence causing bodily harm in relation to his driving. The trial heard the officer saw the Jeep early on a November morning as the bars in the small community of about 15,000 people were closing. A toxicology report showed Campbell had alcohol in his system and was almost 2 1/2 times over the legal limit to drive. It also showed a small amount of cocaine. Letkeman testified he suspected the driver was impaired and attempted a traffic stop, but after a few moments the Jeep drove away. The officer started to pursue it, but he did not communicate that to his supervisors. Letkeman testified that he hoped to end the chase by using his police car to bump the back of the Jeep, forcing it to rotate and stop. A use of force expert testified the move was against protocol and training, and was extremely risky. The Jeep ended up on a trail for all-terrain vehicles, where it lost control and stopped. The trial heard Letkeman’s vehicle then T-boned it. The officer testified he didn’t wait for backup and walked in front of the Jeep to do a high-risk takedown. He said the Jeep started moving toward him, so he was forced to fire. Officers found 12 bullet casings at the scene and Campbell was hit at least nine times. There were four passengers in Campbell’s vehicle. His girlfriend, Lori Flett, was shot and, among other injuries, her pelvis was fractured in the collision. In his decision, the judge said the officer’s driving decisions were dangerous and unwarranted. Letkeman should have surmised there was a great risk to everyone in the vehicle when he used his police cruiser to ram it, Martin said. “Virtually nothing was reasonable from the start and each mistake built on the last.” During closing arguments in June, Crown prosecutor Christian Vanderhooft argued that Letkeman stood in front of the vehicle and fired so that the Jeep couldn’t drive away, not because he was in danger. Defence lawyers Josh Weinstein and Lisa LaBossiere argued the officer shot his gun because he had to. They warned that convicting Letkeman would have “a chilling effect” on all police. The judge said the shooting was tragic but proportionate because the Jeep was moving at the officer. He added that a conviction for the shooting “would be imposing a standard of near perfection in a fast and highly chaotic situation.” Letkeman was suspended with pay after he was charged in March 2017. Manitoba RCMP said his duty status will be reviewed because of the conviction. Campbell’s mother, Shirley Huber, said she was disappointed there are no repercussions for the shooting but is encouraged by the driving conviction. Huber said her son shouldn’t have been behind the wheel if he was intoxicated, but the decision wasn’t worth his life. She also said Campbell’s death shows how important it is for police to have dashboard and body cameras, especially in northern communities. “There has to be a way to document what really happens on those stops and maybe it won’t happen again,” Huber said in a message online. “Maybe my son would still be alive.” Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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