Canada briefs – August 2

A family in Manitoba is struggling to come to terms with the gruesome details of the death of their daughter, saying police told them the woman’s body had been found decapitated.

Body of woman found decapitated

AMARANTH, Man. — A family in Manitoba is struggling to come to terms with the gruesome details of the death of their daughter, saying police told them the woman’s body had been found decapitated.

Cindy Rubio said she was told the body of her 32-year-old daughter, Roberta McIvor, was found on the Sandy Bay First Nation, on the western side of Lake Manitoba, on Saturday. Police told the family the woman’s remains had been found on opposite sides of a road, Rubio said.

Rubio said she last spoke to her daughter on Friday night, and that she was planning to spend the evening with family and friends. McIvor leaves behind a 14-year-old daughter.

The close-knit family said the news, and the gruesome circumstances, have been hard to accept.

“We all got along very well. We all loved her so much,” said Tracy Levasseur, McIvor’s former mother-in-law.

McIvor’s cousin, Kayla McIvor, 24, said they spoke to each other every day.

On Saturday morning, Kayla McIvor said she got a call from another one of her cousins that something was up and that a body may have been found. She immediately started phoning the rest of her family.

“They told me it might be her. They couldn’t find her anywhere and that she’s been missing and they’d been looking for her all day. And then finally they told me it was her,” McIvor said.

“I didn’t know what to feel. I was so heartbroken.”


Three killed in helicopter crash

PRINCE RUPERT, B.C. — Three people are dead after a helicopter crashed Sunday north of Prince Rupert, B.C..

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the Stewart RCMP detachment responded Sunday afternoon to a report of a helicopter crash on the Nelson Glacier in the northwest corner of the province.

“We have confirmed that the three souls on board are deceased as a result in the crash. It’s our understanding that there was a pilot on board with two clients and the purpose of the flight was for geological work that was being conducted in the area,” Moskaluk said in a telephone interview with The Canadian Press.

The chopper was operated by Vancouver Island Helicopters.

Moskaluk said RCMP officers were flown to the crash site by another aircraft from Vancouver Island Helicopters.

He said the officers confirmed the three fatalities while photographing and surveying the site.

The names of the victims have not been released.

“The investigation continues on now to determine causal factors of the crash, which will be led by Transport Canada, with the assistance of the Stewart RCMP along with the BC Coroners Service,” Moskaluk said.

He said it’s not known what the weather conditions were at the time of the crash, or whether they were a factor.

Nelson Glacier is located about 160 kilometres north of Prince Rupert, not far from B.C.’s border with Alaska.


Pellan canvases will find new public home: Ottawa

MONTREAL — The federal government says two paintings, pulled down to make space for a portrait of the Queen, will be placed up somewhere the public can enjoy them.

Heritage Minister James Moore says even more people will be able to see the masterpieces by Alfred Pellan.

The move to pull down the paintings created some surprise or anger — among art-lovers, anti-monarchists, Quebecers and even among federal employees at Foreign Affairs.

The government says it took down Pellan’s paintings of Canadian scenes, which hung in the Foreign Affairs building, to pay tribute to Canada’s head of state in advance of her 60th anniversary on the throne.

“I know that no slight was intended,” Moore told reporters Friday.

“Mr. Pellan’s painting will be displayed prominently very soon.”

Moore made the remarks in Montreal while announcing that the federal government is spending $23 million to fund 252 arts projects.

While the vast majority of these projects are already underway, several dozen of them — 44 in total — will receive new federal funding. Those new contributions are slated to total $3 million.

Pellan is considered a pivotal figure in bringing modern art to Canada and is revered enough that a federal electoral riding is named after him.

The Parti Quebecois, Quebec’s opposition party, says the recent gesture surrounding Pellan showed a lack of respect for Quebec art.

But Moore scoffed at that suggestion. He said the PQ was just trying to score political points ahead of a Quebec election.

No provincial election is actually required for another two years, and there is no indication one is imminent — but Moore seemed to indicate he believes one might happen in the fall.


No sign of shopkeeper accused of brutal sex assault

PENTICTON, B.C. — Police forces across B.C. and Alberta aren’t making much headway tracking a Penticton, B.C. man accused of forcibly confining, beating and sexually assaulting a woman for more than 12 hours.

A Canada-wide warrant has been issue for 35-year-old David Wesley Bobbitt, who is wanted on a charge of attempted murder.

The 22-year-old woman was reported missing Saturday and was found by police beaten and tied up the next day.

Cpl. Dan Moskaluk says police have spoken to the suspect’s family and acquaintances but they’ve provided very little information on his whereabouts.

The woman had gone to browse for second-hand furniture with her 22-month-old son when the attack occurred at Dave’s Second Hand store, which Bobbitt operates.

Moskaluk says Bobbitt doesn’t own a car and has been investigated for violent offences in the past.

A host of support services are being made available to the young child and his mother, who underwent surgery for cuts to her head and is expected to physically recover.


Right-to-die group launches court challenge against aiding suicide law

VANCOUVER — Much has changed in the 18 years since Canada’s high court refused Sue Rodriguez the legal right to assisted suicide.

For that reason, the Farewell Foundation For The Right to Die will be renewing the court battle around “self-chosen death” in Canada.

The foundation, on behalf of its 111 members, is in British Columbia Supreme Court Tuesday to start what’s expected to be a long legal process ending eventually in Canada’s highest court.

Foundation director Russel Ogden said people’s opinions have changed since the 1993 Rodriguez decision and many other countries around the world have legalized or regulated the right to die.

“This is such an important question, that it ought to be a question that is decided ultimately by the highest authority in Canada and that is the Supreme Court of Canada,” Ogden said.

Rodriguez had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, when Supreme Court judges ruled 5 to 4 against giving her the legal right to die.

Section 241 (b) of Canada’s Criminal Code makes it an offence to help in a suicide, punishable by a term of up to 14 years in prison.

“The information that was available to the Supreme Court justices in 1993 simply didn’t exist as it does today,” Ogden said in an interview.

He said there’s a large body of research available now where people can have their right to self determination respected, while vulnerable individuals can also be protected from being coerced into ending their lives against their true wishes.


Doctors still face issues moving between provinces

TORONTO — Health-care professionals are still having difficulty moving across borders within Canada despite provincial governments’ efforts to reduce barriers to labour mobility.

Provincial governments agreed in December 2008 to a deal that was supposed to make it easier for professionals to transfer their licences between provinces.

But some doctors say the colleges who are responsible for approving licences aren’t respecting the provinces’ agreement more than two years after the deal was reached.

“This is something that was agreed amongst the politicians but it was not agreed amongst the physicians,” said Dr. Rubens Barbosa, a Brazilian-trained anaesthesiologist working in Edmundston, N.B., who recently had an application to transfer his licence to Ontario rejected.

The responsibility for who does and doesn’t become licensed is left up to bodies that are run by physicians in each province.