Canada briefs – July 6

A young German shepherd-Rottweiler given the moniker “death row dog” after a group of Yukon citizens rallied to save him from execution last summer is still living in limbo.

Death row dog still in legal limbo

WHITEHORSE — A young German shepherd-Rottweiler given the moniker “death row dog” after a group of Yukon citizens rallied to save him from execution last summer is still living in limbo.

While immediately spared being euthanized for biting several people, legal delays have kept him penned in an animal shelter instead of heading to a new home.

Something has to be done to relocate Trevor the dog, Yukon Supreme Court Judge Ron Veale urged on Monday.

Humane Society Yukon, which has taken ownership of the dog, approached the city in May with a foster plan proposal that would move Trevor to Burwash Landing, about 280 kilometres northwest of Whitehorse.

At that time, Veale gave the parties six weeks to determine whether the Burwash resident who wants the dog would be an appropriate foster owner.

The period has now ended, but in court Monday the city requested an adjournment until Oct. 5, arguing it needs more time to consult with groups from the Burwash area.

“Well, you know my thinking on this. You’re pushing your luck,” Veale said on granting the adjournment.

He said the proceedings have taken “a huge amount of time,” and “something has to be done.”

City lawyer Lori Lavoie said Veale has specified he’ll make a final decision about Trevor’s fate in the fall.

Tracking down a home for the dog has proved no easy task, society president Gerry Steers has said. Finding someone who can abide by all the criteria laid out in the courts is difficult.

Late last year, an expert on animal behaviour assessed the likelihood Trevor could be rehabilitated. Shelley Breadnew determined that while he is a dangerous dog, and will be for the rest of his life, his behaviour is manageable.

She said one method would be to draw up a detailed, month-by-month training plan and ensure Trevor is kept in a specific yard enclosure. He would also be required to live within city limits.

John Taylor, who worked as the city’s manager of bylaw services last summer, had previously said the city does not want to export its problem to another community. That’s now being reconsidered.


Manitoba slammed by severe weather

Severe weather is hammering Manitoba, with heavy downpours hitting Winnipeg and high winds knocking down power lines.

The thunderstorms are the result of a cold front that moved through the area on Monday afternoon.

Environment Canada said some of the storms could become severe, with the main threats being large hail and strong winds with gusts in excess of 90 km/h.

Strong rains and winds on the weekend washed out roads and knocked down power lines at the Peguis First Nation, forcing the evacuation of 200 residents to hotels in Winnipeg.

The storm also uprooted many trees that fell on power lines and caused lengthy power outages.

Ellis Cochrane, the first nation’s emergency co-ordinator, said if more rain falls Monday night a large complex on the reserve that houses a grocery store, band offices and a seniors home could be damaged by sewer backup.

Cochrane said about 200 homes in the community of 7,200 a two-hour drive north of Winnipeg have received up to 2.4 metres of water in their basements.

Residents were evacuated to Winnipeg because they became isolated due to the washed out roads or their homes were made unlivable by sewer backup.

“We have to get the people out because we cannot access them,” Cochrane said. “We simply can’t supply enough clean water.”

The Peguis reserve has been inundated with rain since the beginning of June. Earlier in the month, it declared a state of emergency after 70 homes were flooded.


Workers presented with offer

REGINA — The Saskatchewan government has presented a contract offer to striking casino workers in Regina.

The offer to the Public Service Alliance of Canada includes 5.5 per cent in total over three years.

Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation also says the offer includes “a realignment of existing provisions within the collective agreement to address some of the union’s priorities.”

The government said the offer includes a night shift premium and improvements to health-care benefits.

The union represents 465 employees at Casino Regina who have been on strike since June 3.


Group challenges tax in B.C. court

VANCOUVER — Opponents of the harmonized sales tax in B.C. have filed a court challenge claiming the tax is constitutionally invalid.

Fight HST leader Bill Vander Zalm said the challenge is based on the fact that members of the B.C. legislature voted only to repeal the provincial sales tax, not to implement the HST.

“It’s a simple argument that relies on the basic principle that there can be no taxation without representation or without the consent of the people,” he said Monday.

“That representation and consent can only come from having the HST debated and voted on in the provincial legislature, and that has not happened in B.C.,” he said.

“If we win here it is all over for (Premier Gordon) Campbell’s HST. One way or the other the government will have to face the music for having imposed the HST in B.C.”

Fight HST lawyer Joseph Arvay said he hopes the court will begin hearing arguments as soon as possible this summer.

The group’s organizer, Chris Delaney, said the group decided to take legal action after a coalition of business groups announced its own challenge of the draft legislation behind a petition aimed at scrapping the tax.

The business group said last week that if the legislation is invalid it won’t matter how many names are on the petition because it wouldn’t meet the legal requirements to be considered by the legislature.

Fight HST says it collected more than 700,000 names on the petition, which it delivered to B.C. election officials in Victoria last week.

The harmonized sales tax took effect in B.C. and Ontario on Canada Day.


Good Samaritan faces charges

SAGUENAY, Que. — Last week, he was hailed as the Good Samaritan who saved a woman’s life in a memorable moment of quick thinking.

Since then he’s been arrested three times and is now behind bars.

Quebec man Roger Saulnier had a series of run-ins with the law over the weekend and was locked up after his latest one.

The jeweller had been praised for his response last week when he saw a young woman lose both legs in a train accident: he tied the protruding arteries of her legs to stop all the bleeding. Medical workers marvelled at how well he’d performed the complicated task.

But the Saguenay man now faces several charges including break-and-enter, drunk driving, uttering threats and assaulting an ex-girlfriend.

Saulnier has been in jail since Sunday and appeared in court Monday.


No new name for Stanley Park

VANCOUVER — The federal government says Vancouver’s world-famous Stanley Park won’t be getting a new name.

A First Nations leader suggested adding a name to the park to honour an aboriginal village that used to occupy part of the 400 hectare park.

Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish First Nation said the name Xwayxway wouldn’t replace Stanley Park that the park would simply get a second name.

Treasury Board President Stockwell Day, who is the federal minister responsible for B.C., says Stanley Park has a history that’s evolved over thousands of years and has been home to many people, including the Squamish First Nation.

However, he says the park has had an established name for over 100 years that’s cherished by both local citizens and recognized around the world, and the name will not be changed.

B.C. tourism minister Kevin Krueger also said last week the park’s name would not change but a second name could be added, while a city councillor voiced support for the idea.

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