Canada briefs – April 11

Anti-war demonstrators gathered in Montreal and Toronto this afternoon to call for an end to armed conflict across the globe.

Anti-war protesters march in Montreal

MONTREAL — Anti-war demonstrators gathered in Montreal and Toronto this afternoon to call for an end to armed conflict across the globe.

About 200 protesters marched through the streets of downtown Montreal.

Many carried signs protesting against Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan and Libya.

Others wanted a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ivory Coast.

The Raging Grannies protest group performed songs calling for a more peaceful world for their grandchildren.

Several dozen protesters turned out at a demonstration in Toronto.

Thatcher says keep cameras out of courts

SASKATOON — Former Saskatchewan cabinet minister and convicted murderer Colin Thatcher says there is no need for TV cameras in Canadian courtrooms.

Thatcher made a rare public appearance Saturday, appearing at a conference of radio and television news directors in Saskatoon.

His 1984 trial for the murder of his ex-wife JoAnn Wilson was the focus of intense media coverage.

But Thatcher told the Radio and Television News Directors Association that it would be a mistake to follow the U.S. example and allow televised court proceedings.

Last month, Ontario’s attorney general said he’s open to allowing cameras in courtrooms and says the time is right to consult the legal community on the subject.

Thatcher says he thinks cameras would taint the outcome of trials, and would lead to performances on both sides.

“I think it’s something we don’t need,” he said.

Thatcher, however, believes media should be able to talk to jurors after trials like they can in the United States.

Thatcher was granted full parole five years ago and has always maintained his innocence.

He told the conference that in hindsight it may have been a mistake not to talk to the media during his murder trial.

The Crown addressed reporters each day of the trial, and Thatcher says it was a tactical decision by the defence not to follow suit. However he agreed with his attorney’s decision at the time.

Weather could worsen Manitoba flooding

WINNIPEG — Dozens of homes were evacuated north of Winnipeg after an ice jam on the Red River shifted overnight, causing fears of further flooding.

Chuck Sanderson of Manitoba Emergency Measures says the voluntary evacuations in the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews along Netley Creek are precautionary.

He says the homes sit on raised earth and are surrounded by a ring dike so it’s mainly to prevent people from being cut off by flood waters.

The Red River Floodway, which diverts water around Winnipeg, was opened this morning to relieve the buildup of water upstream.

Flood forecasters are keeping their eyes on the skies, noting that significant rainfall is expected this weekend in the Red River and Souris River watersheds.

Warm weather is also expected to continue, hastening the spring snow melt.

Steve Topping of Manitoba Water Stewardship said there are two weather systems that present problems. The first is in Manitoba itself, where between 10 to 20 millimetres is expected. The second is a low-pressure system over North Dakota, which could dump rain on Devils Lake, a southern source for the north-flowing Red River.

The Manitoba rain could have a significant effect on the Souris River in southwestern Manitoba.

Flood watches are also underway in Saskatchewan and Alberta. However, an evacuation order on Friday for parts of Moose Jaw, Sask. was lifted on Saturday.

More walnuts recalled

OTTAWA — There has been a widening of a walnut recall as the investigation into a deadly E.coli outbreak continues.

The latest recall, announced late Friday, affects shelled walnuts as well as halves and pieces imported from the United States and sold at Kim’s Mart, Triple A Market and New Triple A in the Vancouver area.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the move is related to an earlier recall of walnuts distributed by Montreal-based Amira Enterprises Inc.

Quebec health authorities said Thursday that one person had died in the province after being stricken with an E. coli infection, apparently linked to walnuts.

Besides the fatality, 13 other people have fallen sick from the same infection, including nine in Quebec.

There are also two each in Ontario and New Brunswick.