Canada briefs – May 18

A new report is placing Quebec in the doghouse when it comes to the province’s track record on animal protection.

Quebec best place to be an animal abuser: report

TORONTO — A new report is placing Quebec in the doghouse when it comes to the province’s track record on animal protection.

The publication by the U-S-based Animal Legal Defense Fund names Quebec as “the best province to be an animal abuser” with only Nunavut trumping its unenviable record.

The fund analysed animal protection laws in jurisdictions across the country and also places Alberta and the Northwest Territories in the bottom tier of its report.

Ontario emerges as being the safest province for animals, followed by Manitoba and New Brunswick.

The report — published for the fourth consecutive year— also says Saskatchewan showed the most significant improvement in its animal protection laws, moving from seventh place last year to fifth.

The fund says legislative weaknesses — including minimal fines and weak basic care standards — result in some provinces ranking worse than others.

Report author Stephan Otto hopes the rankings will help push for stronger and better enforced animal protection laws across the country.

Search for Penticton man called off

ELKO, Nev. — It could be weeks, or even months, before search teams are able to trudge back into the forested Nevada mountains where a 59-year-old British Columbia man has vanished, and police are admitting it will likely be a recovery mission.

The massive effort to find Albert Chretien was called off by the Elko County sheriff on Monday following an intense ten-day push along the most likely routes from his stranded van to the nearest town.

About 160 trained and volunteer searchers combed a rugged 78,000-hectare grid by foot, snowshoe, aircraft, horseback, all-terrain vehicles and with four teams of dogs.

But there were large swaths they found impenetrable.

“We’ve got pockets of snow up there, they’re eight to 12 feet deep still,” said Cpl. James Carpenter. “They’ve walked them and they’ve covered them with people and the cadaver dogs, but that snow, we need it to be gone so we can get back in there and check more.”

The Penticton man disappeared nearly two months ago while attempting to hike towards a main highway for help after his van’s tires were cemented in mud on a backcountry road.

Civilian to oversee investigations of police officers

VICTORIA — The B.C. government has introduced legislation to appoint a civilian to oversee investigations when police officers are accused of wrongdoing.

Solicitor General Shirley Bond says the bill to create an independent investigations office is the fulfillment of the key recommendation in the report involving the death of Robert Dziekanski.

She says the B.C. office will be more independent than similar offices in Albert and Ontario and the person who leads the agency will be a civilian who has never worked as a police officer.

The office will conduct criminal investigations into death or serious harm or other incidents involving municipal police or members of the RCMP.