Canada briefs – January 20

Calls for a public inquiry into the fatal police shooting of John Simon are based on questions about the right of every Canadian to be safe, a representative of the Wagmatcook First Nation band council said Tuesday.

Call for public inquiry into fatal shooting by RCMP

HALIFAX — Calls for a public inquiry into the fatal police shooting of John Simon are based on questions about the right of every Canadian to be safe, a representative of the Wagmatcook First Nation band council said Tuesday.

Brian Arbuthnot, the band’s director of operations, said the December 2008 shooting death of Simon inside his Nova Scotia home by the RCMP is not merely a local issue.

“This is not just a Wagmatcook First Nation Issue, this is a Nova Scotia issue,” Arbuthnot said after meeting with Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry.

“We want to look at the whole idea around officer use of force and what rights people have in Nova Scotia and in Canada around their own safety.”

The band pushed for the meeting with Landry to discuss the fallout from a Halifax police investigation that determined the officer who shot Simon didn’t violate any laws and did so in self-defence.

Simon, a 44-year-old diabetic who police say was drunk and potentially suicidal, was shot three times.

Since the shooting, the RCMP has refused to comment on the case or release the report into the matter, citing privacy legislation.

Privacy complaint filed against Nexopia

TORONTO — An Ottawa-based consumer advocacy group wants Canada’s privacy commissioner to go after a youth-oriented social networking site for alleged privacy breaches.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre has filed a complaint with Jennifer Stoddart about Nexopia’s alleged “unnecessary and non-consensual use and disclosure of personal information.”

Nexopia says it has more than 1.4 million users and has become “the place to be for teens looking to express themselves to the world.”

Lawyer John Lawford says the Edmonton-based website should be held to a higher standard than other social networking sites since many of its users are minors, some as young as 13.

Prorogued Parliament left in the dark — literally

OTTAWA — Reality met metaphor Tuesday on Parliament Hill.

A Liberal caucus meeting was left in the dark after a power surge blew a circuit breaker and killed the lights in the Centre Block.

The 90-minute blackout seemed the perfect backdrop for the Liberal contention that a power-mad Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shut down Parliament in a bid to leave pesky opposition critics in the shadows until March 3.

“Mr. Harper doesn’t do anything by halves. He not only shuts down Parliament, he shuts off the lights,” Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff chuckled.

Ignatieff had been about to open the Liberals’ two-day winter caucus retreat when the power failed. He was forced to postpone his speech until Wednesday.

RCMP informant wanted $15M to infiltrate group

BRAMPTON, Ont. — An RCMP informant central to disrupting a plot to bomb several targets in Ontario initially requested $15 million in compensation from the Mounties, court heard Tuesday.

Shaher Elsohemy was in his second week of testimony at the trial of his former friend Shareef Abdelhaleem, who has pleaded not guilty to participating in a terrorist group and intending to detonate bombs. The explosions were to occur outside the Toronto Stock Exchange, at CSIS offices in Toronto and at an Ontario military base in what’s known as the Toronto 18 terror plot.

Abdelhaleem’s lawyer William Naylor has said publicly and in court that the compensation for Elsohemy’s work to infiltrate the plot and for putting him under witness protection was $4.1 million, but documents Naylor showed in court Tuesday revealed Elsohemy was offered up to $3.99 million.

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