Canada briefs – March 16

Former British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell officially ended his career in provincial politics this morning after announcing he’s quitting as an MLA.

Campbell quits as MLA

VICTORIA — Former British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell officially ended his career in provincial politics this morning after announcing he’s quitting as an MLA.

Campbell was replaced as premier Monday by new Liberal Leader Christy Clark, who also named a slimmed-down, drastically different cabinet.

Today, Campbell thanked the people of his Vancouver-Point Grey constituency, which he has represented since he won it in a byelection in 1993.

The move leaves a safe Liberal constituency vacant for Clark to run in a byelection.

Clark currently can’t sit in the legislature because she doesn’t have a seat and she has said she’d be open to running in Campbell’s riding.

Clark was elected Liberal leader at a convention last month.

Seal exports targeted

HALIFAX — The federal Fisheries Department is playing down a move by animal rights activists to derail Canada’s plan to export edible seal products to China.

A spokesman for the department said Tuesday that officials weren’t surprised that the Humane Society has filed proposals with the Chinese government to ban the import of seal skins, oil and meat.

“We’re not concerned for now,” said Alain Belle-Isle. “It’s just been put forward for consideration, but there’s no indication it’s going to go anywhere beyond that.”

Belle-Isle said Canada has an agreement in place with China and the trade in seal products could begin after this season’s hunt, which usually starts in March.

RCMP shoot man at scene of house fire

WINNIPEG — A deadly house fire and a fatal police shooting have left four people dead in somewhat mysterious circumstances on the God’s Lake Indian reserve in northern Manitoba.

A house in the community of 1,500 burned to the ground early Monday morning. A wheelchair-bound grandfather in his late 70s was found dead by a stove while his three-year-old granddaughter and one-year-old grandson were found dead in bedrooms.

Then, at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, RCMP who were guarding the fire scene said they were approached by an armed man.

Reserve residents told Global News that Paul Duck, a housing manager in his mid-40s, was carrying a hunting rifle and firing off shots into the air to scare off a group of young people fighting nearby.

“It’s very tragic,” said Duck’s friend, Marcel Okemow. “It’s obvious something’s gone wrong.”

Saskatoon city police have been called in to investigate the shooting.

Two RCMP officers were “approached, confronted by an armed male and one of the members discharged his firearm,” said Saskatoon police spokeswoman Alyson Edwards.

Duck was known as a hard worker for the community. He was also a father to four children and a grandfather to five children.

He wasn’t known as a violent man and Peter Watt, chief of God’s Lake First Nation, said Duck wasn’t known to drink.

Aboriginal leaders called the house fire a tragedy that could have been avoided if the God’s Lake First Nation had a fire truck and other gear.

Ex-nurse convicted of aiding suicides online

FARIBAULT, Minn. — A former nurse accused of seeking depressed people online and encouraging two to kill themselves has been found guilty of aiding the suicides of a British man and Canadian woman.

Forty-eight-year-old William Melchert-Dinkel faced two counts of aiding suicide in the 2005 hanging death of Mark Drybrough and the 2008 death of Nadia Kajouji, who jumped into a river.

Melchert-Dinkel declined a jury trial and left his fate to a judge. That judge issued his verdict Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Melchert-Dinkel cruised chat rooms for depressed people, posed as a female, feigned compassion, and entered fake suicide pacts or gave instructions on how they could die.

His attorney says the two already planned to die and that his actions were protected speech.

Boy badly injured in sled dog attack in Sask.

SOUTHEND, SK. — A four-year-old boy was in hospital with serious injuries on Tuesday after being attacked by a sled dog on a northern Saskatchewan reserve.

RCMP say the boy and a care-giver from the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation were helping feed 14 musher dogs in the bush near Southend last Saturday.

The boy, identified by relatives as Kalvin Jobb, had been told to stay in a truck while his care-giver, also identified by relatives as the boy’s grandfather Daniel Jobb, finished feeding the dogs.

Sgt. Paul Dawson said the boy got out of the vehicle and met one of the dogs that was off its leash.

“And that was the dog that did inflict some injuries on the youth before the care-giver was able to separate the dog from the child.”

Dawson said community members in Southend acted quickly to help the little boy, who was taken to the medical clinic before being flown by air ambulance to Saskatoon.

“His injuries are serious but not life-threatening,” said Dawson.

Kalvie’s uncle Ronnie Jobb says his nephew has lost the use of an eye and is undergoing skin grafts to his face at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

Dawson said the dog was struck by a motorist a short distance away and died. The dog’s remains are being sent away for analysis.

The remaining 13 animals were destroyed by their owner.

Southend is 220 kilometres northeast of La Ronge.