Archive for March 2019

‘All I heard was gunshots firing’: 1 dead, 1 injured in shooting off Edmonton’s Whyte Ave

EDMONTON – Police confirmed that one man was killed and another man injured outside Tribute Lounge just off Whyte Avenue Sunday morning.

Police taped off a scene in front of the bar on 81 Avenue and 105 Street after being called to reports of “many gunshots” at around 2:40 a.m. Blood, bullet casings and pieces of clothing were visible outside the bar.

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Police said the two men appeared to have gunshot wounds. The man who died is believed to be in his thirties. The second man was taken to hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries. By Sunday afternoon he was in stable condition, police said.

EPS said they do not believe there are any other victims.

Staff Sgt. Duane Hunter with the Homicide Section said Sunday afternoon police had one suspect – a man in his thirties – in custody who they were going to question.

“They were at the bar prior to the incident,” Hunter said. “There was some type of argument inside the bar which moved outside.”

Police said the parties involved are known to them.

An autopsy on the victim is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

Shots fired outside an Edmonton bar on 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Global News

Police investigating after it was reported shots were fired outside a bar near 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Dave Carels, Global News

Shots fired outside an Edmonton bar on 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Global News

Police investigating after it was reported shots were fired outside a bar near 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Dave Carels, Global News

Police investigating after it was reported shots were fired outside a bar near 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Dave Carels, Global News

Police investigating after it was reported shots were fired outside a bar near 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Dave Carels, Global News

Shots fired outside an Edmonton bar on 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Global News

Shots fired outside an Edmonton bar on 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Global News

Shots fired outside an Edmonton bar on 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Global News

Shots fired outside an Edmonton bar on 81 Avenue and 105 Street, March 27, 2016.

Dave Carels, Global News

The noise from the incident caught the attention of neighbours.

“All I heard was gunshots firing. I wanted to look outside but I [was] scared,” said Garry Martinez, who lives at 81 Avenue and 105 Street.

“I heard about two or three [gunshots].”

Leon Azul saw the crime scene after coming out of the church across the street from the bar.

“I’ve been to Tribute Lounge about a year ago. A lot of people go there. It’s really fun,” he said.

But Azul said news of a shooting did not come as a surprise.

“Some people just get mad and they get really aggressive and someone now has a gun.”

The news is troublesome for Cody Cunningham, who frequents Whyte Avenue. He walked by the crime scene Sunday afternoon.

“It’s scary. It’s always scary when you hear something like that because it could be anybody,” he said.

WATCH: Staff Sgt. Duane Hunter on the three suspicious deaths in Edmonton over the Easter Weekend

There were a total of three suspicious deaths in the span of two days over the Easter Weekend in Edmonton.

A man was found suffering from undisclosed trauma near Belvedere LRT Station early Sunday morning. He later died in hospital.

Police were looking for two female suspects in that investigation.

READ MORE: Police search for 2 female suspects after man found near Belvedere LRT Station dies 

The body of another man was found in a hotel suite near 118 Avenue and 34 Street Saturday morning.

Police were speaking to the other person inside the suite at the time, who called 911.

READ MORE: Suspicious death at Edmonton hotel under investigation 

Hunter said the three suspicious deaths were not related. Until autopsy results are completed, police are treating them as homicides.

“It is a lot of work,” Hunter said. “We pull resources from other units… All three investigations are proceeding well with a lot of help from the public.”

He said it is concerning, but couldn’t pinpoint an exact cause for the high number of suspicious deaths.

“We live in a big city and when you live in a big city, things come along with that,” Hunter said. “Like I said, it is concerning.

“We will work to do everything we can to conclude these investigations as quickly as possible.”

Hunter said, out of a total of about 21 homicide investigators, nearly all were called out to work this weekend.

Ottawa’s guidance to CSIS being kept under wraps

OTTAWA – The federal government has issued guidance to Canada’s spy agency on using contentious new anti-terrorism laws — but most of the instructions won’t be made public.

Many passages of the ministerial direction to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, issued last July, were withheld from release due to provisions of the Access to Information Act concerning security, internal deliberations and cabinet confidences.

The office of Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said ministerial offices are not involved in the processing of access requests, nor should they be.

WATCH: More Canadians joining ISIS: Goodale

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But the federal decision to keep much of the ministerial direction under wraps did nothing to reassure those with concerns about C-51, the omnibus security bill that received royal assent early last summer.

The legislation gave CSIS the power to actively disrupt suspected terrorist plots, even allowing the spy service to take actions that breach the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as long as a judge approves.

“One of our greatest concerns with C-51 is that CSIS has been given extraordinary new powers, including the power to break the law and violate the Constitution,” said Josh Paterson, executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

“While some details need to remain secret, it’s troubling that so much of the minister’s high-level, general direction to CSIS on how the agency should interpret its new powers is blacked out. The government should be more transparent about the direction it is giving our spy agencies as to how they should be accountable.”

While the public safety minister does not dictate day-to-day decisions by CSIS, he periodically issues written directions to the spy agency that broadly guide its actions.

The July direction combined and replaced two previous instructions, one on spy agency operations and another on accountability to the minister. In drafting it, Public Safety officials consulted CSIS, Justice Canada, the RCMP, Foreign Affairs and the office of then-public safety minister Steven Blaney.

READ MORE: Federal agencies already using new Bill C-51 information-sharing powers

The direction set out “overarching parameters for CSIS’s use of its new powers” under C-51 and Bill C-44, which addressed matters including source protection and use of judicial warrants, says a July 29 memo to Blaney.

Elements of the direction that were released to mention fundamental principles CSIS must follow, including respect for the rule of law and the use of operational methods “reasonable and proportional” to the threat.

The direction also stresses the fair treatment of human sources who help CSIS and says the spy service’s activities abroad must respect Canada’s foreign policy interests as well as the security of overseas missions and personnel.

However, the details on how all this must be done have been stripped out of the direction and several annexes.

“The really interesting stuff, I’m sure, is in the redacted portions,” said University of Ottawa law professor Craig Forcese, co-author of “False Security,” a book critiquing C-51.

Forcese said the direction should include things like guidance to CSIS about being careful not to step on the RCMP’s toes and potentially derail a criminal prosecution.

“I think we need to know some of these details,” said Forcese, who questioned classification of parts of the direction as cabinet secrets.

WATCH: Ralph Goodale: No threat believed to be imminent for Canada at this time

Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Goodale, said responsibilities for Access to Information requests are delegated within each department and are processed outside of ministers’ offices.

“Avoiding political interference or the appearance of it is crucial for the integrity of the regime. We don’t have a comment on particular decisions,” he said.

“Having said that the goal of our government is to make government information open by default. In the meantime, we have to operate under the existing act.”

Riot at Brussels attacks shrine; 13 anti-terror raids made

BRUSSELS – Belgian riot police clashed Sunday with hundreds of right-wing hooligans at a temporary shrine honouring victims of the Brussels suicide bombings, as investigators launched fresh anti-terror raids, taking four more people into custody.

Police used water cannon when scuffles broke out in front of the Bourse, which has become a symbolic rallying point for people to pay their respects to those who died in Tuesday’s attacks. Black clad men carrying an anti-Islamic State group banner with an expletive on it trampled parts of the shrine, shouting Nazi slogans. Ten were arrested and two police officers injured.

WATCH: Police used water cannon to force a few hundred protesters out of the Place de la Bourse in Brussels on Sunday. 

“We had 340 hooligans from different football clubs who came to Brussels and we knew for sure that they would create some trouble,” Police Commissioner Christian De Coninck said. “It was a very difficult police operation because lots of families with kids were here.”

Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur expressed his disgust, with Belgium still in mourning over the suicide bombings at Brussels airport and subway, which killed at least 31 people and injured some 270

WATCH: Anonymous threatens total war against ISIS following Brussels attack 

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“The police were not deployed to protect people from these hooligans but a whole other threat,” said Mayeur told RTL television.

People trying to pay their respects were also dismayed.

“It was important for us to be here symbolically,” said Samia Orosemane, a 35-year-old comedian. But, she added, “there were lots of men who were here and doing the Nazi salute, shouting ‘death to Arabs’ and so we weren’t able to get through.”

“We are all here today for peace, and for the brotherhood among peoples. Not for right-wing ideas. It’s neither the time nor the place,” said Theophile Mouange, 52.

Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, said Sunday morning’s raids were linked a “federal case regarding terrorism” but did not specify whether it had any links to the March 22 attacks.

Thirteen raids were launched in the capital and the northern cities of Mechelen and Duffel. An investigating judge was to decide later whether to keep the four in custody. Five were released after questioning.

READ MORE: Brussels attack victims from Belgium and abroad
Suspected plotters also were arrested Sunday in Italy and the Netherlands, though few details of their activity were released immediately.

Tuesday’s bomb attacks are also tearing at the fabric of the government, justice system and police, and Belgium’s interior minister sought Sunday to contain the growing criticism of the government’s handling of the tragedy.

Interior Minister Jan Jambon conceded Sunday that decades of neglect had hampered the government’s response to violent extremism. He said the government has invested 600 million euros ($670 million) into police and security services over the past two years but that Belgium’s justice system and security services are still lagging behind.

Jambon, whose offer to resign Thursday was declined by the prime minister, also acknowledged some shortcomings prior to the attacks.

“There have been errors,” he said on VRT television.

Jambon said it takes time to hire anti-terror specialists and specialized equipment and insisted that the government’s new investments need time before they become visible to the public.

As international pressure on Belgium has mounted for serving as an unwitting rear-base for extremist fighters who launched the Nov. 13 massacres that left 130 dead in Paris, the government has felt forced to defend its choices and the actions of investigators. Lawmakers, meanwhile, are demanding an inquiry.

Belgian police and the army have been deployed, sometimes around the clock, at major buildings and sites in the capital in increasing numbers since November, when Brussels went into lockdown over fears that top Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam had returned and was hiding there.

As it turned out, Abdeslam did return, but police did not find and arrest him until March 18, four days before suspects from his network exploded suicide bombs in Brussels.

Shell’s Arctic offshore energy exploration permits may have expired

Environmentalists say talks on creating a third national marine conservation area are being held up over Arctic offshore energy exploration permits that may not legally exist.

“Looking at the permits, it looks like the rights expired in 1979,” said Alex Speers-Roesch of Greenpeace.

The federal government has been trying for years to protect the waters of Lancaster Sound, the eastern gate of the Northwest Passage and home to a wealth of Arctic seabirds and mammals. The effort is strongly supported by local Inuit hunters and land claim groups.

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READ MORE: US bars oil drilling off Atlantic coast

But drawing the exact boundaries of the area, off the north coast of Nunavut’s Baffin Island, has been at least partly held up over 30 exploration permits issued in the early 1970s to Shell.

Ottawa, under the previous Conservative administration, argued to keep the permits outside the area; Inuit and environmental groups wanted the protected area to include them and block industry activity. Shell wants compensation for any rights it loses.

But researchers have now found those permits may not be valid.

“Exploration rights are supposed to not last longer than nine years,” said Speers-Roesch. “When we were looking at the existing exploration rights in the Arctic, the Shell permits stood out because they’ve been around for decades.”

An Access to Information search found no evidence the permits had been renewed. Nor could Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, the responsible department.

The department acknowledged there was no record of renewal, but pointed out there’s no legal requirement that “permits be stamped for renewal purposes.” However, the department must let companies know when permits are about to expire — and there’s no record of that happening, either.

“The validity of the Shell permits is indeed a legal question and not simply a ‘clerical issue,’ ” wrote spokesman Michel Chenier.

But Chenier argued the permits are valid because both the company and the government have acted as if they were.

READ MORE: Pipe breaks off, falls to ocean floor as rig moved during storm off Nova Scotia

“Both industry and government have continuously treated the 30 Shell permits as being valid and subsisting from the original date of issue to the present and will continue to do so in the future.”

But Nigel Bankes, a professor of resource law at the University of Calgary who’s familiar with the issue, said “I don’t think that’s good enough.”

He points out Canada’s regulatory regime has changed twice since the permits were granted and there’s no evidence they were kept up to date.

“It doesn’t look to me like these permits were properly maintained.”

Exploration permits are designed to encourage companies to get on the property and work, he said.

“No one would contemplate an exploration permit should be held forever.”

Shell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to notes from a consultation meeting on Lancaster Sound held in May 2014, Shell downplayed the value of the permits and called a federal study into their possible oil and gas reserves “highly optimistic.” The notes say the area won’t be a priority for Shell for at least 15 years.

But at the same meeting Shell insisted on conducting seismic tests on its permit areas before it will consider swapping them.

Inuit are unlikely to agree.

In 2010, land claims groups went to court to force a German research vessel with plans to conduct tests in Lancaster Sound to turn around mid-voyage. Another court battle is ongoing over seismic testing off Baffin’s east coast.

Chris Debicki, of Oceans North Canada, called the uncertainty a chance to move ahead on the creation of the protected area. He said all other companies that have held exploration permits from the 1970s-80s have either relinquished them or allowed them to lapse.

“It would be an opportunity to expand the Marine Conservation Area,” he said. “It’s not an appropriate place to consider drilling.”

Ottawa has currently protected less than one per cent of Canada’s marine areas. The goal by 2020 is 10 per cent.

Autopsy of Chase Martens to be performed Sunday

AUSTIN, Man. – An autopsy is set to be performed today on a two-year-old Manitoba boy whose body was found in a rural creek this weekend.

Hundreds of searchers spent days looking for Chase Martens in an area around the community of Austen.

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“I would estimate about 30,000 volunteer hours were donated this week. Majority of them people who were total strangers to the Martens family,” RCMP Sgt. Bert Paquet said at a news conference.

Police say there are no obvious signs of foul play and it appears he just walked away from his home.

RELATED: Timeline of missing Manitoba boy Chase Martens

They say investigators will continue working to try to determine the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death.

Chase disappeared on Tuesday sparking a frantic search.

Police say the creek where he was found is only about a half kilometre from his home.

PHOTO GALLERY: Hundreds came out to help search for two-year-old Chase Martens

Searchers walk in a line near where two-year-old Chase Martens went missing.

Global News

Members of the canine unit out searching for missing two -year-old Chase Martens.

Global News

The line of searchers scouring the area near Austin, Manitoba where two-year-old Chase Martens went missing.

Global News

Vehicles lined up as searcher try to find for two-year-old Chase Martens.

Jeremy Desrochers / Global News

RCMP canine unit is searching Hwy. 1 near Hwy. 34 for two-year-old Chase Martens

Lorraine Nickel / Global News

RCMP update media about the search for missing two-year-old Chase Martens in Austin, Manitoba.

Jeremy Desrochers / Global News

The command centre set up at the home where two-year-old Chase Martens went missing.

Global News

Searchers use quads to help look for missing Chase Martens Friday afternoon near Austin, Man.

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*With a file from Global News.