Alberta briefs – January 12

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has hired a former spokesman for Waste Management of Canada as his new director of communications.

Stelmach hires communications director, Cam Hantiuk

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach has hired a former spokesman for Waste Management of Canada as his new director of communications.

Stelmach says Cam Hantiuk has “an excellent background in strategic communications planning.”

Hantiuk’s career in both the public and private sectors date back to the early 90s, when he worked with Alberta Environment.

Hantiuk also worked in the pharmaceutical industry and since 2004, was working with Waste Management of Canada Corp. in its the Western Canadian office.

Hantiuk replaces Paul Stanway, Stelmach’s former communications director, who announced his departure from the $150,000-a-year gig in early December.

Stanway has been with the premier’s office since February 2007.

Sentencing hearing set for taekwondo teacher guilty of assaulting students

EDMONTON — A sentencing hearing date has been set for an Edmonton taekwondo instructor convicted of molesting six of his students.

The full-day hearing is set for March 6, a Saturday, because the judge involved is presiding over a four-week trial.

Last month, a jury found Tom Innerebner guilty of 13 of the 17 sex charges and not guilty of four.

Innerebner, 52, is currently out on bail.

The Crown says it wants Innerebner to go to prison for more than four years.

Six of the seven girls testified Innerebner put his hands under their clothing and briefly fondled their private parts during group classes.

One girl said he had twice penetrated her vagina with his finger when she was 12 and at his house doing chores for him.

Innerebner emphatically denied the charges.

Fiddle music part of evidence in Métis hunting trial; culture at stake

MEDICINE HAT — There was toe-tapping and knee-slapping in an Alberta courtroom as the trial of two Métis men accused of breaching provincial hunting regulations resumed Monday.

Garry Hirsekorn and Ron Jones are accused of hunting without a permit after the two took part in separate hunts in 2008 as part of a civil disobedience campaign to push for recognition of Métis rights in Alberta.

The men’s lawyer began with testimony and music from Alberta Métis musician Daniel Gervais.

However, Alberta Justice lawyer Thomas Rothwell objected.

“I don’t understand what the relevance is,” he said.

Judge Ted Fisher asked if the Crown was prepared to agree there is a Metis culture. Rothwell said he wasn’t prepared to do so at that time.

“. . . We are dealing with something a little more than just hunting,” Fisher told court.

In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that Métis across Canada have the constitutional right to fish, hunt and gather food without a licence.

The ruling also set a legal framework to establish to identify who is Metis and “they have to prove there is a Metis culture in Alberta historically and to the present day,” said Fisher.

Gervais testified to the uniqueness of the aboriginal group’s style of music, then picked up his fiddle to demonstrate, to the delight of those in the court.

Joined by Joseph Blynd and Evelyn Willier, the trio played while many in the gallery tapped their toes, slapped knees and nodded their heads to the music.

Blynd and Gervais explained the meaning of songs such as “Red River Jig” and “Whiskey Before Breakfast” — a mocking tune dedicated to John A. MacDonald — as being an integral part of Metis culture in Alberta.

“It’s what keeps the tradition alive,” said Blynd.

In 2007, the Alberta government backed out of the Interim Metis Harvesting Agreement, which allowed Metis to subsistence hunt throughout the province.

The replacement provisions restricted that right to the northern half of Alberta and the Metis settlements located within that area. None are south of Edmonton.

Testimony from the defence is expected to end on Friday with the Crown’s case beginning next week.

A decision is scheduled for this spring.

A third accused Metis man, Bruce Bates, pled guilty and received a $700 fine.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health nurses administer Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
Canada set to receive 1M Pfizer-BioNTech doses, Moderna playing catch-up

OTTAWA — The federal government is expecting Moderna to make good on… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

50.5% of all active cases are variants of concern

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie pose for a photo at the Mirror restaurant. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Alberta Health Services delivers ‘closure order’ to Mirror restaurant

Alberta Health Services says it has delivered a closure order to a… Continue reading

Flags bearers hold the Canadian flag high during the Flags of Remembrance ceremony in Sylvan Lake in this October file photo. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
New project to pay tribute to Canadians killed in Afghanistan

Flags of Remembrance scheduled for Sept. 11

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

Security and police block the entrance to GraceLife Church as a fence goes up around it near Edmonton on Wednesday April 7, 2021. The Alberta government has closed down and fenced off a church that has been charged with refusing to follow COVID-19 health rules. Alberta Health Services, in a statement, says GraceLife church will remain closed until it shows it will comply with public-health measures meant to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

SPRUCE GROVE, Alta. — Hundreds of people are gathered outside an Alberta… Continue reading

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces is developing contingency plans to keep COVID-19 from affecting its ability to defend the country and continue its missions overseas amid concerns potential adversaries could try to take advantage of the crisis. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian special forces supported major Iraqi military assault on ISIL last month

OTTAWA — Some Canadian soldiers supported a major military offensive last month… Continue reading

A woman pays her repects at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The joint public inquiry in response to the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced a mandate that includes a probe of the RCMP response as well as the role of gender-based violence in the tragedy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Creating permanent memorial to Nova Scotia mass shooting victims a delicate task

PORTAPIQUE, N.S. — Creating a memorial for those killed in Nova Scotia’s… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Erin O’Toole says ‘I didn’t hide who I was’ running for Conservative leader

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole assured Conservative supporters that he never hid who… Continue reading

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, second from left, celebrates his goal with teammates, from left to right, Matthew Tkachuk, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson, of Sweden, during second period NHL hockey action against the Edmonton Oilers, in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Jacob Markstrom earns shutout as Flames blank Oilers 5-0 in Battle of Alberta

CALGARY — It took Sean Monahan breaking out of his goal-scoring slump… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia's opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan's government, but they say Monday's throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province's economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s opposition parties acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented… Continue reading

A grizzly bear walks on a treadmill as Dr. Charles Robbins, right, offers treats as rewards at Washington State University's Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center in this undated handout photo. Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails like those commonly used by people, which can affect land management practices in wild areas, says an expert who has written a paper on their travel patterns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Anthony Carnahan *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Grizzly bears prefer walking on gentle slopes at a leisurely pace like humans: study

VANCOUVER — Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails… Continue reading

FILE - In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. Moderna said Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, its COVID-19 shot provides strong protection against the coronavirus that's surging in the U.S. and around the world. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)
The COVID-19 wasteland: searching for clues to the pandemic in the sewers

OTTAWA — When Ottawa Public Health officials are trying to decide whether… Continue reading

Most Read