Lethbridge Herald, June 25, 2004

Lethbridge Herald

June 25, 2004

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Issue date: Friday, June 25, 2004

Pages available: 156

Previous edition: Thursday, June 24, 2004

Next edition: Saturday, June 26, 2004

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Publication name: Lethbridge Herald

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 25, 2004, Lethbridge, Alberta What's On TV viewing guide Charges dropped against U.S. pilot Your Hie. Your community. Your newspaper LETHBR Home delivery 50 cenls daily HERALD Ftiday, June We would have preferred that the Crown not take this action. Bill Daly NHL spokesman Hockey will go on trial Bertuzzi hires high-profile Vancouver iawyer to defend him on assault charge By JIM MORRIS Tin: Canadian Press VANCOUVER again, the NH1. is going on trial. Vancouver Canucks starToctd Berluzzi was chargedThursday with assault causing bodily harm for a March 8 on- ice attack that left Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore wit ha broken neck and his NHL career in dotubt- Todd Bertuzzi Bertuzzi has been ordered to appear in provincial court July 9. If found guilty the 29-year-old Bertuzzi could face a penalty ranging from jail time to an absolute discharge with no criminal record. Bertuzzi's sucker-punch during the third period of a Colorado blowout win lias been shown repeatedly on television across North America and elsewhere. The incident was a major embarrassment for the league and renewed debate about violence and the culture of hockey. The incident left the 25-year-old Moore in hospital with three fractured vertebrae, facial cuts, significant post-concussion symptoms and "significant amnesia." Nerves in the neck area were also stretched by the blow. Doctors say it's not knouTi when, or if, the native ofWindsor, Out., will play hockey again. Thursday's announcement comes on the eve of the NHL's entry draft this weekend in Raleigh, N.C., a showcase event for the league. Now the spotlight of future stars will be shared with talk of lawyers and on- ice violence. Geoffrey Gaul, directorof legal services for the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General, defended the length of time it took to decide whether charges should be laid. "It didn't take too long to make the said Gaul. "It took as long as the Crown required to do a complete assessment of the available evidence. The Crown will not make a decision on charges unless we're satisfied that we have sufficient evidence to allow us to make a charging decision." Bertuzzi could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail if the trial is held in B.C. Supreme Court. Legal experts say that penalty would be reserved only for the worst cases with repeat offenders and is highly unlikely in this incident. If the case is heard in B.C. provincial court, the maximum penalty is IB months. The venue is up to the Crown, which has yet to decide, according to Gaul. HERALO PHOTO BY IAN MARTENS Incumbent Rick Casson answers a question Hanked by candidates, from right to left, Erin Matthews, not seen, Ken Nicol, Duslin Sobie, MelaneeThomas and Ken VanrJen Broek Thursday during a federal election lomm at Ihe Bill Kergan Centre. Candidates Debate: Lethbridge hopefuls square off in forum last night Down to the wire Crowd of 140 lisfen to six candidates at Bill Kergan Centre By GERALD GAUTHIER Loiribiidge Herald Taxation and government accountability were the dominant issues at a fed- eral election fomm Thurs- day evening. All six Lethbridge candidates were peppered with questions from a seven-member panel of media and post-secondary representative as well as many from the audience of roughly 140 on hand at the Bill Kergan Centre. Incumbent Conservative candidate Rick Casson and Liberal rival Ken Nicol stuck mainly to their respective parties' platforms in debating the pros and cons of lax cuts. Casson said a middle- income tax cut would boost the economy by leaving more money in families' pockets while Nicol argued a similar policy had failed in the U.S. and would result only in Canada's debt being passed on to the next generation. Casson countered with economic projections indicating if existing tax rates aren't reduced, the federal surplus would leap from its current billion level to billion in five years. Also fielding questions were NDP candidate Melanee Thomas, Green Party nominee Erin Matthews, Christian Heritage Party candidate Ken Vanden Broek and Marijuana Party hopeful Dustin Sobie. The forum was sponsored by the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Lethbridge Herald and other local media. Thomas said she favours making provincial governments more accountable for how they spend federal transfer payments, especially in Alberta where money "is likely to go to horse-racing initiatives" before health care and education. Matthews advocated reducing individual income taxes and placing consumption taxes on industry to encourage businesses to develop more sound environmental practices. When asked why he chose to run for the scandal-plagued Liberal party, Nicol said democracy works when voters elect people of integrity from their communities, that people should vote for him before his parly. 1 le also said none of the major political parties in Canada have been immune to scandal, federally or provincially. "It's not the party, it's the individuals inside Ihe he said. "Laws don't prevent lawbreakers, it's people who prevent lawbreakers." Nicol also pledged, if elected, to go against the Liberal party line and lobby against the i'ederal gun registry because that's what the majority of local constituents want. "The gun registry doesn't work. We have to focus on other he said. Casson said the first priorities for a Conservative government would be assuring greater government accountability by expanding the mandate of the auditor general as well as having an ethics commissioner appoitited by the House of Commons. With the country facing the prospect of minority government led by either the Liberals or the Conservatives, Thomas said strategic votingdoesn't work. Story CONTINUED on I'ageAZ POLICING Sting nabs city hookers, 19 Johns 79-year-old among those facing charges By GERALD GAUTHIER Lelhbndye Heitikl An undercover sling operation in downtown Lethbridge has resulted in prostitution solicitation charges against 23 people. Lethbridge regional police undertook the four-day operation June 7-10 and netted four female hookers as well as 19 male customers commonly referred to as the latter ranging in age from 25 to 79. The project involved having a female officer posing as a prostitute and was launched after downtown businesspeoplc reported sex trade activity going on along Street South, between 1 Avenue South and 4 Avenue South. It typically occurred during the afternoon and early evening. "We identified there was a problem there so we mustered a few resources and put an operation said Staff Sgt. Jim Carriere, head of organized crime investigations. "These aren't (he only ones noted in the area, hut they're the only ones we're processing charges against." A total of 25 charges have been laid under the Criminal Code provision which makes it illegal for hookers or would-be customers to communicate in a public place for the purpose of prostitution. The names of those charged were not released. The accused women range in age from 27 to A summary conviction, the charge carries a maximum penalty of or up to six months in jail. Such operations typically have little tasting cffeci in deterring prostitutes, Carriere said, "but it'll slow down those Johns very much." Those involved in the street sex Irade are "negative users" of the downtown, he said, and are often linked with violence and other crime. A similar sting operation in 1998 resulted in charges against 23 men and four suspected female prostitutes. Local gasoline prices plummet Story CONTINUED on Page A2 However, Lethbridge still lags behind other cities in Alberta By DAVE MABELL Lelhbridge Herald It's like an election promise come true! Gasoline prices dropped nearly a dime Thursday in Lethbridge, following a drop in wholesale prices across the Prairies. But they're still appreciably higher than in Calgary, where many stations are selling for 70.4 cents a litre this week. And a local consumer group says Lethbridge retailers still enjoy higher profit margins than in other Alberta communities. "Independent data supports the commonly held view that Lethbridge gasoline prices are consistently higher than prices in other says Chris Spearman, spokesman for Action Against High Gas Prices. "Price gouging at the pumps is happening again and it's a common occurrence in Lethbridge." Prices in Claresholm and Nanton have also dropped close to Calgary levels, he reports. After weeks in the high 80s, retail rates have been falling across Western Canada over the last few Alberta wholesale prices began slumping at the end of May. But retail price cuts didn't start until Thursday in Lelhbridge and they were spotty. While Ihe downtown Shell and Esso stations were selling at 76.4 cents (including their usual 3.5-cenl discount) several stations on 5 Avenue N. still posted 88.5 cents. Others near downtown were charging 79.9 cents, although the Save-on-Foods gas bar offered a further reduction of up to 7.5 cents with a grocery purchase. Canadian Tire, also at 79.9, regularly offers posted discounts plus Canadian Tire money on cash or debit card purchases. The price cuts, arriving just as summer holidays start for many Canadian families, weren't confined to Alberta. Travellers arriving at K'amloops found a B.-1-cenl reduction in recent days, to cents a litre, and Saskatchewan prices have dropped as much as four cents a litre. HERALD PHOTO BY IAN MARTENS Albert Smart gases up his vehicle Thursday after prices al some pumps dropped by close to nine cents. INDEX Agreullure Business Stods City Comes Classified Dave Bany Deaths Living Opinion Sports Scoreboard The Stage Theatres Weather B5 B6 87 A34 CIO BIO-16 A7 B10 C1-3 A6 BM B4 C8-9 C9 Let your Fingers do the Winning Von could win your vehicle apply to qualified retail customers only, limited time offer cannot be combined. See dealer for details. Guaranteed PURCHASE FINANCING UP TO 60 MONTHS ON VIRTUALLY ALL 2004s Every call wins at PONTIAC BUICK CMC Crowsnest Trail East Lethbridge 329-4444 www.davispontiac.net ;