Canada briefs – October 10

A new poll suggests that while Canadians seem pretty enthusiastic about February’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbians remain skeptical the Games will be beneficial,.

B.C. residents skeptical of Games: poll

VANCOUVER — A new poll suggests that while Canadians seem pretty enthusiastic about February’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbians remain skeptical the Games will be beneficial,.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey suggests 72 per cent of Canadians felt hosting the Games brought more benefits than drawbacks to Canada.

But only 50 per cent of British Columbians felt that way, while 47 per cent indicated playing host to the Olympics held more drawbacks to the country.

When it came to impact on the province alone, a slight majority of British Columbians — 52 per cent — saw more drawbacks than benefits.

Pollster Doug Anderson says it’s a problem that B.C. residents aren’t as enthusiastic.

The number of B.C. residents who see mostly drawbacks has climbed from 39 per cent last January to 47 per cent in the latest poll, compared with 22 per cent of Canadians as a whole, up from 19 per cent in January.

The poll sampled just over 1,000 Canadians by phone between Oct. 1-5, and has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent 19 times out of 20.


Lawyer wants chance to explain settlement

HALIFAX — A lawyer for an embattled Roman Catholic diocese in Nova Scotia said Friday he’d like to meet with alleged victims of sexual assault by its priests to clear up any confusion surrounding a landmark class-action settlement.

Bruce MacIntosh, representing the diocese of Antigonish, said some appear to misunderstand exactly what the $15-million agreement can achieve for people who claim they were abused by priests decades ago.

“I believe clearly that there is some confusion,” MacIntosh said from his office in New Glasgow, N.S.

“I would hope that everyone takes a deep breath and takes some time to make sure everyone understands the settlement agreement and makes an informed decision.”

His comments came a day after Philip Latimer announced a separate lawsuit against the diocese of Antigonish and the archdiocese of Halifax for abuse he allegedly suffered, beginning when he was an 11-year-old altar boy.

Latimer claims in the $2-million suit that Rev. Allan MacDonald repeatedly molested him over four years while MacDonald was a priest in Havre Boucher, N.S.

Latimer, a 47-year-old welder from Cape Breton, said he was opting out of the class-action settlement because he wants to force the Roman Catholic Church to be held to account in an open courtroom.


Possible break in missing girl case

TORONTO — There may be a break in the mysterious disappearance of Toronto teenager Mariam Makhniashvili (mak-nee-ash-VIL’-ee).

The Toronto Star says items belonging to the girl have been found, while Citytv reports that property found near Northern Secondary School may belong to her.

Police, however, would not discuss what the belongings are or where they were found.

If items belonging to Makniashvili have been found it could be the first clue in her disappearance since she was last seen walking to school on Sept. 14.


Lacroix imprisoned for 13 years

MONTREAL — Ex-Norbourg boss Vincent Lacroix was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Friday for bilking clients out of more than $100 million.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Richard Wagner’s sentence came about three weeks after Lacroix surprised everyone by pleading guilty to 200 fraud-related charges.

He stood accused of pilfering $100 million from some 9,200 investors.

The Crown was seeking the maximum sentence of 14 years in prison, while Lacroix’s lawyer countered that a sentence of between 10 and 12 years would be sufficient.

The judge ruled that the 13-year term will run consecutively to a five-year sentence Lacroix ended up with for securities violations related to the same crimes.

Lacroix was convicted on those violations in 2007. The initial sentence of 12 years was eventually whittled down to five years after appeals by the accused.

Lacroix begged for forgiveness when he appeared at his sentencing hearing a few weeks ago, saying he regretted “infinitely” regretted his actions.

“I ask you once again for 9200 pardons, but I am aware of your anger and your frustration,” Lacroix told the court.

“My objective is to help you find your savings. Consumed by numbers, I forgot my human side.”

Crown prosecutor Serge Brodeur was unmoved by Lacroix’s plea and asked for the maximum 14-year sentence.


No tax hike: Harper

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper insists he won’t hike taxes or cut spending to deal with the country’s ballooning debt.

But critics say he can’t be trusted to keep his word — and the NDP says he’s already broken it.

Harper told a news conference in Welland, Ont., on Friday that he still believes he can balance the federal budget by 2016 simply by limiting spending increases as the economy grows.

“We do require spending discipline over the long term. We have to make sure that when the recession ends we end the temporary spending and other spending grows at a modest rate.”

But the opposition questions both Harper’s math and sincerity.

They note that just a year ago, as the country was spiralling into recession, Harper said he would not run a deficit at all.

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