Canada briefs – April 13

Seven people were injured on a busy Montreal highway on Monday after a wild car chase involving three police forces, tire spikes and gunfire.

Shots fired in wild car chase in Montreal

MONTREAL — Seven people were injured on a busy Montreal highway on Monday after a wild car chase involving three police forces, tire spikes and gunfire.

The pursuit began north of the city when police tried to stop a car with three occupants.

One of the three was arrested but the two others sped off in the vehicle toward the city just before 6:30 a.m.

Police said they used tire spikes to try to stop the car but the suspects allegedly put the car in reverse and tried to run down officers who had surrounded the vehicle.

“While the police were moving in on the suspects they started to back up their vehicle and hit a police officer and tried to hit all the officers with the car,” said Sgt. Benoit Richard, a provincial police spokesman.

“That’s when shots were fired.”

Gunfire wasn’t enough to stop the suspects’ car either. The chase finally came to a stop when they struck another vehicle.

One of the two suspects was transported to hospital with a head injury. Two people in the vehicle they rammed into and four police officers were hospitalized.

Richard said none of the injuries was considered life-threatening.


Auditor general’s office looking at itself in leaked report case

OTTAWA — The federal government’s spending watchdog is investigating itself over a leaked draft report that has galvanized the election campaign.

A spokesman for Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s office says security officials are discussing the leak.

They are also asking federal departments which had access to different drafts of the report to account for all copies and return them.

The hunt was sparked after The Canadian Press was shown a copy of a Jan. 11 draft report on a $50-million G8 legacy fund, which lavished money on dubious projects in Industry Minister Tony Clement’s riding.

That draft concluded that the government had “misinformed Parliament” about how the money was going to be spent and suggested the process for approving the fund may have been illegal.

It also said 32 infrastructure projects in Clement’s Parry Sound-Muskoka riding received funding, without apparent regard for the needs of the G8 summit or the conditions set down by the government.

The Conservatives then leaked a second draft Monday, from February, to a host of media outlets. The tone of that version was less incendiary but was not much different in terms of substance.

The opposition parties erupted, with Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff calling the revelations shocking.

Fraser, who can’t release her report unless Parliament is sitting, is urging people to wait for the final version before reaching conclusions.


Police make last-ditch search for boy

LAVAL, Que. — A last-ditch attempt to find a missing autistic toddler near Montreal will centre around two islands across the river near where he vanished.

Three-year-old Adam Benhamama was last seen near a shoreline home in Laval while playing with his seven-year-old sister on April 3.

His father had momentarily gone inside a friend’s house when his daughter alerted him the boy had vanished.

Authorities say the child has a hearing impairment and can make sounds but is non-verbal.

A Laval police spokeswoman says police and firefighters will take one final look at two uninhabited islands.

Laval police spokeswoman Nathalie Lorrain says this will be the final attempt to find the missing boy.


Press council reprimands Maclean’s for article on Quebec corruption

QUEBEC — Maclean’s magazine has been reprimanded by the Quebec Press Council for a controversial cover last year that called Quebec the most corrupt province in Canada.

Besides the headline, the publication triggered widespread outrage in the province by running a front-page photo of the beloved Bonhomme Carnaval snowman clutching a briefcase stuffed with cash.

In a March 18 decision that was made public Tuesday, the seven-member watchdog unanimously blamed the publication for the headline and “a lack of journalistic rigour.”

The council concluded that Maclean’s did not prove Quebec was the most corrupt province and that the article was based on perceptions.

The magazine didn’t collaborate with the press council and offered no defence against the complaints filed by Gilles Rheaume, a well-known militant Quebec sovereigntist.