Alberta briefs – December 10

A conservation group says Alberta is once again considering allowing people to pay a fee to hunt domestically-raised elk and deer on farms.

Alberta considering hunt farms: conservation group

EDMONTON — A conservation group says Alberta is once again considering allowing people to pay a fee to hunt domestically-raised elk and deer on farms.

The Alberta Fish and Game Association says it has heard that talks are underway at the legislature to allow hunt farms as a way of helping the struggling game farm industry.

Martin Sharren, the association’s executive director, says such a move would be unethical and could lead to more animals contracting infectious diseases.

Dave Ealey, a spokesman for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development, says he is not aware of any proposals for hunt farms.

And he says if there were proposals, the government would consult with the public before considering them.

In 2001 Alberta rejected a proposal to establish hunt farms after a public backlash against the idea.


Employment agency charged for foreign fee collection

CALGARY — An employment agency has been charged with collecting thousands of dollars in fees to place foreign workers in fast-food jobs in Calgary.

J.F. Garcia Manpower Services, owned by Jose Garcia, is alleged to have charged two workers from the Philippines $6,000 each to find them jobs at fast-food outlets in 2007.

The restaurant owners contacted provincial authorities when they became aware of the fees.

Garcia faces two counts of charging workers illegal fees and two counts of operating an employment agency without a provincial licence.

Service Alberta Minister Heather Klimchuk says the province’s rules against recruitment fees prevent employment agencies from taking advantage of workers.

Garcia is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Jan. 28 in Calgary.


Hockey coach charged with sexual assault

CALGARY — A Calgary hockey coach has been charged with sexually abusing one of his 15-year-old female players.

Michael Shawn Bourgeois, 35, is charged with five offences, including sexual assault, inciting sexual contact with a youth by a person of authority and invitation to sexual touching with a child under 16.

Det. Jeff Klinger says the incidents are alleged to have occurred from Nov. 9-11.

He says the parents of the girl were the ones to file the complaint.

Klinger also says there’s no such thing as consensual sex with a person under 16 and that it is up to the adult to remove themselves from the situation.

Minor hockey officials in Calgary say the allegations have them considering mandatory background checks for staff — something that’s currently voluntary among the city’s hockey associations.


Grinch steals Christmas decorations from yard

CALGARY — For nine years the Grinch has skipped Anne Strong’s home in Calgary, but this year someone snatched her outdoor Christmas display, leaving the family heartbroken.

Every year Strong and her family put out an elaborate display with snowman, Christmas trees and lights in front of their home.

“They’re Grinches, they really are,” said Strong of the decoration thieves. “We’re really sad, we’ve been doing this for so long.”

She figures if the items were stolen by her neighbours, they wouldn’t be able to display them because she’d be able to identify them.

“We’ve had them for so many years, they’ve been mended and I would know my mending by looking at them.”

Strong said she’s baffled why someone would steal something from her front yard, especially Christmas decorations.

“People who used to live in our neighbourhood come back and they knock on the door and say, ‘You know we have to come back every year to see what you’re doing.’ ”

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