Canada briefs – June 5

The privacy watchdog is looking at whether a Veterans Affairs investigation of a breach of privacy actually involved another breach of privacy. The department hired an outside contractor, Amprax Inc., to look at how personal information about veterans advocate Sean Bruyea ended up in a ministerial briefing note in 2006.

Privacy watchdog investigating Veterans Affairs again

OTTAWA — The privacy watchdog is looking at whether a Veterans Affairs investigation of a breach of privacy actually involved another breach of privacy.

The department hired an outside contractor, Amprax Inc., to look at how personal information about veterans advocate Sean Bruyea ended up in a ministerial briefing note in 2006.

Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddard ruled in 2010 that the leak violated the law, but Amprax issued a report which cleared bureaucrats in the case.

In the course of that investigation, however, Bruyea says Amprax was given access to as many as 4,000 documents on him during its investigation.

Bruyea also claims that as many as 24 people — deemed by the commissioner the first time around to have had no business looking at the information — were also shown records they had no reason to see.

B.C. man who held girl in dungeon dies in psychiatric centre

SASKATOON — A British Columbia man who kidnapped and raped a 12-year-old girl in an underground bunker more than three decades ago is dead.

The Correctional Service of Canada said Monday that Donald Alexander Hay died Sunday at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon. The service said Hay, who was 79, died of natural causes following a lengthy illness at the institution’s hospital.

Hay kidnapped Abby Drover in 1976 and held her prisoner for 181 days in an underground dungeon he had built under his home in the Vancouver suburb of Port Moody.

Despite a massive search, in which Hay participated, no trace of her was found.

She was discovered six months later after Hay’s wife called police, fearing he had killed himself in his locked garage.

Police found Hay, his pants around his ankles, emerging from a garage cupboard that concealed the entrance to the underground room. Drover, wearing the same clothes she had disappeared in, followed him out.

The girl was often handcuffed and at times denied food and water during the her ordeal.

Hay pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison in 1977.

Drover, now a mother of five children, has spoken publicly about her ordeal as a way of supporting other child-abduction victims.

Bear destroyed after attacking man in hot tub

WHISTLER, B.C. — A black bear has been destroyed in Whistler, B.C., after attacking a man in a hot tub.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve LeClair says the 55-year-old victim is recovering from cuts to the back of his head, but will be okay.

LeClair says the man was sitting in a backyard hot tub on Sunday afternoon with his back to the forest when he was hit hard from behind and turned to find himself facing the bear.

The man yelled and ran into his house while the bear walked back into the woods where it was found about 100 metres from the home and destroyed.

A necropsy will be performed on the mature male bruin in hopes of determining what prompted the attack.

Saskatchewan’s finance minister says oil price won’t force budget change

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s finance minister says the province remains close to budget, even as oil falls away from the price projected in the financial plan back in March.

The rule in Saskatchewan is that for every dollar difference between the budgeted price of oil and the current cost of oil, the province stands to lose or gain $19 million.

For 2012 the province put that price at $100 per barrel, based on the West Texas Intermediate benchmark in oil pricing.

But on Monday in early trading oil was just above $83 per barrel, showing a decline of roughly 18 per cent since May.

The downturn is due to reports showing a decreased demand and suggestions of a global showdown.

However, Finance Minster Ken Krawetz is standing by his budget with no plan for making adjustments.

“I’m thinking this is only one month of twelve” he said Monday.

“When you look at the whole picture, April we were in a better position for oil than our budget and May we’re not”.

The Canadian dollar is also picking up the slack. Budgeted at parity with the American greenback, the loonie has been trading under that expectation.

For every penny difference Krawetz says the budget fluctuates $34 million and right now that’s in Saskatchewan’s favour.

“We’re still very close to budget in fact,” says Krawetz.

Hereditary chief who led First Nation into historic treaty passes away

PORT ALBERNI, B.C. — A hereditary chief who led his Vancouver Island First Nation into an historic treaty with the B.C. and federal governments has died.

Bert Mack of the Toquaht First Nation died early Sunday in Port Alberni, B.C., at the age of 89.

Mack’s band was one of five First Nations located on the west coast of Vancouver Island to sign the Maa-nulth treaty, which became law April 1, 2011.

Local businessman Wayne Coulson says Mack, known as King Bert, passed away quietly and peacefully.

Coulson says Mack used to bounce him on his knee as a child, was quiet, well respected and adored by his family.

Mack was married for more than six decades, had three daughters, many grandchildren and worked in the forest industry for about 40 years.

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