Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 24, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
A8 BRANDON SUN, Monday, June 24, 2002 Canada/WorldLiberal MPs face off in televised interviews
OTTAWA — Liberal MPs stepped up debate on both sides of the Jean Chretien-Paul Martin leadership struggle yesterday, taking pot shots at each other on CTV’s Question Period.
The verbal volleying is increasingly focused on party politics — whether MPs should keep quiet and support their leader or be able to make their dissatisfaction with Chretien public.
Chretien loyalist and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre said he found it “pretty sad” that Martin supporters like
Quebec MP Helene Scherrer openly criticize the prime minister rather than “protecting” the office.
Scherrer told Montreal’s La Presse last week that Chretien should step down.
“The main thing is pretty easy to understand: we can like anybody we want, but it’s a matter of loyalty and we have to stick to that,” said Coderre. “So we have to stick to the boss, to the leader.”
“That’s total rubbish,” Ontario MP
Andrew Telegdi fired back in a separate interview. “What we are doing is we’re following the democracy of the party.”
Telegdi, who criticized the leader in a newspaper article last week, said Chretien supporters like Coderre take too much credit in claiming the prime minister was responsible for three consecutive Liberal majorities in the House of Commons.
“First, let’s be clear: the Liberal party and the Liberal team swept the country three times and if it wasn’t for people
like me, the prime minister wouldn’t be prime minister,” he said.
“So for him to say that he did it, sorry, it was the team that did it and the Liberal party that did it.”
Meanwhile, Coderre challenged Martin to state publicly whether he wants Chretien to resign.
“I’d like to know from Paul pretty clearly, like (Intergovernmental Affairs Minister) Stephane Dion said yesterday. Well, Paul, tell us: do you want the prime minister to step down?”
Telegdi insists Chretien is dividing the party, first by leaving his supposed plans to resign this fall in doubt and then by dismissing Martin as finance minister. He says the party has been “shaken to its core.”
“I think for the prime minister to be using surrogates and go out and attack people is taking the low road,” said Telegdi. “And I expect he will be doing it more and more leading up to the (February leadership) review.”
— Canadian Press
Four dead as tour boat sinks near Hill
By Stephen Thorne
GATINEAU, Que. — A tour boat that capsized on the Ottawa River, slipping under water within seconds and taking four passengers with it, was under investigation for nearly sinking last summer, a lead investigator said yesterday.
Four bodies, among them that of a mother and her two children, were pulled from the water about 2 1/2 hours after the yellow amphibious craft sank near Parliament Hill yesterday afternoon.
“It just sank for no known reason,” said Lt. Yves Martel of the Gatineau police.
“When it sank all the people on board went under water.”
There were IO passengers and two crew members on board the Lady Duck, which also travels on land.
The captain issued a mayday call to a marina just metres from the scene and ordered passengers to don life-jackets.
“Most did,” said Normand Breton, chief investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. “Some didn’t. The boat sank within minutes. I would even say within seconds. It’s sad but true.”
The Lady Duck, owned by Lady Dive Tours Amphibus, is already the subject of a safety board investigation for a previous incident, said Breton
The boat was ordered out of service for a couple of weeks after it grounded on the Ottawa side of the river and tipped over on July
Ottawa police divers discuss the tragedy after pulling four bodies from the Ottawa River after a tour boat capsized in Hull, Que., yesterday.
I, 2001. There were no injuries in that case.
The safety board’s investigation was to conclude this summer.
It wasn’t known if yesterday’s sinking was related to the previous incident, said Breton.
The safety board has ordered all vessels run by the company out of service, he added.
Lady Dive Tours Amphibus refused comment yesterday.
Martel said three of the four victims in yesterday’s accident were part of a Montreal family — a 43-year-old mother and her two daughters, aged 13 and 5. The woman’s husband survived.
“He was not distraught,” Pierre Alexandre, a marina worker, said of the father. “He was stunned.”
The body of a 66-year-old woman from Saint Agathe, Que., was also pulled from the
river, which was about 12 metres deep at the accident site.
Breton said the victims had tried to take safety precautions.
“The victims were wearing life-jackets,” he said. “They were trapped inside.”
The boat was near the end of its tour and returning to port when it began taking in water over the hood of the vehicle into the cabin, said Breton. Private boats from the marina went to rescue passengers, some of whom were able to swim to shore.
Boat safety regulations are not as strict for vessels that carry twelve or fewer passengers, such as the Lady Duck.
Such smaller craft require a vehicle licence and a small-craft licence from Transport Canada, the agency that governs marine, rail and air transportation.
Vets plan UN appeal over compensation
By Maria Babbage
OTTAWA — An association representing Canada’s war veterans plans to lodge a complaint with the UN over a compensation package for aboriginal veterans announced last week by the federal government.
The • National Council of Veterans Associations threatened yesterday to file a claim denouncing the offer with the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
It says the government failed to provide adequate rehabilitation benefits for Metis and non-status Indians who are excluded from the deal.
“This offer is not acceptable,” council chairman Cliff Chadderton said yesterday.
The package announced Friday offers status aboriginal veterans and their spouses $20,000 each for benefits demed to natives who fought in the Second World War and Korea.
About 1,000 former servicemen and 800 surviving spouses are eligible, as well as the estates of veterans or spouses who died after Feb. I, 2000, when Ottawa struck a panel to examine the issue.
Veterans Affairs Minister Rey Pagtakhan announced the $39-mil-lion package in the Commons “on compassionate grounds” Friday, amid National Aboriginal Day celebrations. It followed years of political haggling and threatened lawsuits.
“I would hope that the First Nations eligible will accept this offer,” Pagtakhan said.
Chadderton, who served with many natives during the Second World War, said the package falls far short of the amount sought by veterans and aboriginal groups. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations had asked for $420,000 for each surviving veteran or spouse.
The government offer also excludes some 2,000 Metis and 2,000 non-status Indians who lived off reserves.
Chadderton said his organization wanted the government to create a grant for all aboriginal veterans, including Metis, Inuit and nonstatus Indians.
Aboriginal veterans associations decided Saturday to reject the offer during a meeting in Ottawa, he said.
“We met all day on this,” he
said. “I had our lawyers there and we decided that if the government was not prepared to extend the assistance to die Metis and the nonstatus Indians — the ones not on the reservations — that we would proceed with a claim to the United Nations.”
Since Parliament is no longer sitting, he hopes the claim will speed up a scheduled July meeting with Pagtakhan. The claim will be made through the War Amps of Canada, which has non-governmental status. It can be filed widiin 10 days, he added.
Matthew Coon Come, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, welcomed the package Friday but said it was still up to the veterans to decide if it was acceptable.
In BriefPolice officer shot through cruiser door
HALIFAX — A Halifax police officer was in hospital in good condition after she was shot through the door of her patrol car early yesterday on a downtown street.
Const. Susan Foster, 35, was hit in the right leg and left hand during the incident on Brunswick Street, said Halifax Regional Police spokeswoman Judy Pal.
The five-year veteran of the force was taken to receive medical treatment by her partner, Const. Dwayne Hodgson, who was also slightly injured.
The shooting happened after officers arrested a woman following a noisy disturbance on the street. A small group of people confronted the police dunng the arrest, said Pal.
As they left the scene, the officer was shot through the passenger side door of the police cruiser.
An 18-year-old man was arrested three hours after the incident and remained in police custody late yesterday.
Streets that were blocked off in the area for about IO hours following the incident were reopened.
— Canadian Press
THE DRIVE AWAY WITHOUT PAYING EVENT**
Airport security tax may drop: Manley
EDMONTON — Ottawa wants to cut the cost of the airport security tax, but will wait until fall before making any move on the $24 tax added to every airline ticket in Canada, Finance Minister John Manley said.
“I want to see it lowered,” Manley told the Edmonton Journal while in Edmonton for the Canadian Track and Field Championships.
The tax was added to bolster airport security in reaction to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
“I just want to know that we’ve got the data that enables me to get the numbers right,” said Manley, who is also deputy prime minister. “The principle is that people using air services should pay for the security is one that we believe in.”
But he said he doesn’t want people to pay more for security than the actual cost.
Westlet recently drew attention to the tax by offering a $3 flight to Calgary, which would actually cost flyers $89.27 once the security tax, airport improvement fees and other mandatory fees and taxes were added to the tab.
Majority favour North American cars: poll
MONTREAL — Most Canadians prefer cars built in North America, while Quebecers tend to be more evenly split between them and Asian automobiles, suggests an opinion poll.
The Leger Marketing survey found that 54 per cent of respondents favour North American cars, compared with a 25 per cent rating for Asian vehicles.
Eight per cent gave the nod to European cars, while the rest had no preference or didn’t know.
Across the country, preference for North American cars stood at 68 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Other regional breakdowns were: the Atlantic provinces, 61; Ontario, 59; Alberta, 56; British Columbia, 46; and Quebec, 43.Inversely, 41 per cent of Quebecers favoured Asian cars. The province was followed by British Columbia, 33;
Ontario, 21; Alberta, 18; Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 13; and Atlantic Canada, seven.
The poll of 1,254 car-owning Canadians was conducted May 22-26 and, at the national level, is considered accurate within 2.8 pet centage points, 19 times out of 20.
Vandalism leaves 280,000 without eable
MONTREAL — Upwards of 280,000 cable subscribers in the Montreal area saw nothing but snow on television this weekend as more acts of vandalism plagued cable giant Videotron, which is embroiled in a labour dispute with many of its workers.
About IO major cables were severed Saturday night and yesterday morning. One strategically cut cable denied service to 35,000 clients. Company officials say they have little doubt the vandalism is linked to the dispute.
“We caught three union members committing acts of vandalism two weeks ago in Quebec City, they were caught in the act by the police,” Videotron spokesman Jean-Paul Galarneau said. “I think it is an easy link to make.”
The union, affiliated with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, was not available for comment.
The labour conflict between Videotron and 2,200 of its technicians and call centre workers dates to May 8. The weekend attacks on the equipment were the third wave of vandalism to strike Quebec’s largest cable-TV service provider since that time. — Canadian Press
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