By Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
STITTSVILLE, Ont. – Grieving well-wishers and neighbours placed flowers and poems Tuesday outside the…
STITTSVILLE, Ont. – Grieving well-wishers and neighbours placed flowers and poems Tuesday outside the picturesque suburban home where police believe a 40-year-old mother killed her two young children before taking her own life.
“May God guide you and give you the strength you need,” read a card affixed to a bouquet planted in the snowbank by Emily and Jeff Gold.
Earlier in the day, police released the names of the victims — two of them schoolchildren who attended class across the street — of what they called a “horrific” double-murder and suicide in this sleepy bedroom community on the outskirts of Ottawa.
Ten-year-old Jon Alexander Corchis, six-year-old Katheryn Elizabeth Corchis and Alison Constance Easton, 40, were all residents of the two-storey home where their bodies were discovered Monday.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:54 AM - 0 Comments
STITTSVILLE, Ont. – Police have identified the two children and the woman found dead…
STITTSVILLE, Ont. – Police have identified the two children and the woman found dead in a home in the suburban community of Stittsville, just outside of Ottawa.
The victims — all residents of the home, police say — are identified as Jon Alexander Corchis, 10, six-year-old Katheryn Elizabeth Corchis, and Alison Constance Easton, 40.
No details about the cause of death were released, although a police news release describes the incident as a “double-murder and suicide.”
Police say charges are not anticipated. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Monday, January 14, 2013 at 2:58 PM - 0 Comments
SYDNEY, N.S. – A Cape Breton teenager has been sentenced to life in prison…
SYDNEY, N.S. – A Cape Breton teenager has been sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of second-degree murder for stabbing his girlfriend more than 100 times.
Crown prosecutor Steve Drake says Melvin Skeete Jr., who is now 18, was sentenced as an adult today in Nova Scotia youth court in Sydney.
Drake says Skeete Jr. will be eligible for parole on Dec. 3, 2017.
He says Judge Anne Derrick lifted the publication ban on the names of the victim and perpetrator in the case.
Skeete Jr. was 16 when he killed 17-year-old Brittany Green of Glace Bay in December 2010.
He was found guilty in August during his judge-only trial of stabbing Green 104 times.
The defence did not return a message seeking comment.
By Camille Bains - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 10:48 AM - 0 Comments
VANCOUVER – The Justice Ministry in B.C. has issued an unusual public warning about…
VANCOUVER – The Justice Ministry in B.C. has issued an unusual public warning about a female, high-risk violent offender who’s been released from jail.
The ministry’s corrections branch said Monday that 23-year-old Kayla Bourque has an “escalating criminal history” and plans to live in Vancouver.
In September 2009, Bourque was convicted of killing animals, causing unnecessary pain and suffering or injury to animals. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Monday, January 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – Toronto police said Monday a tip helped them make an arrest in…
TORONTO – Toronto police said Monday a tip helped them make an arrest in connection with two sexual assaults dating back two decades.
Police said evidence has linked the suspect to the alleged crimes that took place eight months apart, one in 1993 and the other in 1994.
In one incident, police said a 19-year-old woman was pulled under a parked tractor-trailer where she was sexually assaulted and then robbed by a man armed with a knife. Continue…
By Blog of Lists - Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 9:30 AM - 0 Comments
1. The last fatal duel: On June 13, 1833, John Wilson, a weaver’s son, shot Robert Lyon, a law student, in a field outside Perth, Ont. According to contemporary accounts, Lyon had disparaged the honour of Eliza- beth Hughes, a young teacher Wilson was hoping to court. The two agreed to a duel with pistols to settle the matter. Wilson hit Lyon in the chest with his second shot. A jury acquitted Wilson of murder and he later went on to marry Hughes and have a career in federal politics.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 8:51 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Police reported 598 homicides in Canada in 2011, 44 more than the…
OTTAWA – Police reported 598 homicides in Canada in 2011, 44 more than the year before and the first increase in homicide in three years, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.
The agency said the homicide rate was 1.73 per 100,000 population in 2011, seven per cent higher than in 2010, although the rate of firearms homicides fell to the lowest level in almost 50 years.
The rate of homicides involving handguns has also generally been declining since reaching a peak in 1991, although they account for about two-thirds of all firearm homicides.
Despite annual fluctuations, the overall homicide rate has remained relatively stable over the past decade, after a steady decline from the mid-1970s.
Most of the 2011 increase was accounted for by Alberta, which had 32 additional homicides, and Quebec, which had 21 more.
The homicide rate in Ontario, in contrast, hit its lowest point since 1966, with 28 fewer killings than in 2010.
Among the provinces, Manitoba reported the highest homicide rate for the fifth year in a row, followed by Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Stabbings accounted for virtually the entire increase in homicides in 2011, with 39 more stabbings.
Overall, stabbings accounted for 35 per cent of homicides, firearms for 27 per cent, beatings for 22 per cent and strangulation for seven per cent.
Police considered 95 homicides to be gang-related in 2011, similar to 2010, but well below the peak of 138 reached in 2008. Gang homicides increased steadily from the early 1990s until 2008, before declining in both 2009 and 2010.
The report said the majority of homicide victims and those accused of homicide are male. In 2011, males accounted for 7 in 10 homicide victims and 9 in 10 of those accused of homicide.
Victims typically know their killer. Among solved homicides in 2011, almost half were committed by an acquaintance or friend, one-third by a family member and only 15 per cent by a stranger.
Police reported 89 homicides involving intimate partners in 2011, including 76 female victims and 13 male victims. This resulted in a rate of 0.26 intimate partner homicides per 100,000 population, similar to the rate in recent years.
The rate of intimate partner homicides committed against females increased by 19 per cent in 2011, the third increase in four years. The rate for male victims declined by almost half, hitting the lowest point since data collection began in 1961.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Indeed, this is one of the key difficulties of legislating in this area. Pre-emptive arrests, especially on the basis of dress, are constitutionally problematic, and law enforcement already has the legislative tools to deal with masked rioters once a riot is underway. As a result, the best way forward for parliamentarians is simply to support police efforts to develop better training methods and better crowd control techniques, to improve communication with revellers and demonstrators, to share best practices, and to increase the number of qualified officers to deal with large public gatherings.
Such an approach is less likely to achieve headlines, but far more likely to achieve results. Once the real bill is unmasked there remains no evidence that, had this legislation been on the books last year, the Vancouver riots would not have occurred, that they would have been policed differently, or that anyone would be more severely punished for participating.
Dylan Reid reviews the ancient history of legislators attempting to limit the ability of people to wear masks.
Modern authorities should take a page from this sixteenth-century experience and learn to distinguish between harmless and dangerous uses of masks. The New York anti-mask law did introduce an exception for parties in the 1970s. And the French law against covering the face also had to include a series of exceptions, including wearing them for Carnival. But these laws still don’t distinguish between wearing a mask for peaceful protest and wearing one for rioting. The resurgence of this long-forgotten issue reminds us that covering the face in public carries power—to set oneself apart from society or to identify oneself as part of a group, to break free of social rules or protest against authority. After all, even children carry an implicit threat when they walk the streets in disguise at the end of October, tricks if there are no treats—but we have yet to abolish Hallowe’en.
By The Canadian Press - Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 11:56 AM - 0 Comments
LONDON, England – Media reports say a Canadian woman accused of killing her two…
LONDON, England – Media reports say a Canadian woman accused of killing her two babies in Britain has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
The British Broadcasting Corporation says Felicia Boots entered the plea on grounds of diminished responsibility and has been ordered detained at a psychiatric hospital.
The 35-year-old jewelry designer was originally charged with murder in the deaths of her 10-week-old son Mason and his 14-month-old sister Lily at their home in southwest London in May.
The BBC says the murder charges were dropped in light of the plea.
In a statement read in court by her lawyer, Boots said she will be “eternally sorry” for her actions and part of her “will always be missing.”
Court had heard Boots suffered from post-partum depression after the births of her children, but appeared to be getting better.
The children were found unconscious by their father, investment banker Jeffrey Boots, when he returned home from work.
The family had moved in to their luxury home in London just a few weeks earlier.
By The Canadian Press - Monday, October 22, 2012 at 11:52 AM - 0 Comments
TORONTO – A 15-year-old boy has been arrested and charged in connection with a…
TORONTO – A 15-year-old boy has been arrested and charged in connection with a string of sex assaults in a west-end Toronto neighbourhood, police said Monday.
Staff Insp. Mary Lee Metcalfe said the youth, who cannot be identified, was arrested late Saturday night and has been charged with 14 counts of sexual assault and two counts of criminal harassment.
Since August 16, police have received sixteen reports from women who say they were sexually assaulted in the downtown neighbourhood. The most recent incident occurred on Oct. 20, just prior to the arrest, Metcalfe said.
In many of the cases, police said the women were approached from behind and were sexually assaulted by a male who then fled.
Toronto police Chief Bill Blair said he hopes the arrest brings a sense of security back to the community.
“These crimes that took place throughout the month of August and then later in the fall caused a tremendous amount of fear within our community,” he said at a news conference.
“Fear, particularly among women, and their sense of safety in their own neighbourhood was taken from them as a result of these crimes.”
Blair said the arrest could not have been made without the dedication of young female police officers who went undercover.
“We had women in our organization who put themselves in harm’s way, who went out in that community and put themselves at risk, knowing that if they were successful in their mission, they could also be the victim of an assault,” said Blair.
Police said a search warrant was executed late Sunday but would not disclose the location.
Investigators are limited in what they can say about the accused due to restrictions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The youth was scheduled to appear in a Toronto court Monday.
By John Geddes - Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 5:11 PM - 0 Comments
Robert Gillen, who retired last spring after a 33-year career as a Crown prosecutor in British Columbia, isn’t what you’d call soft on crime. Among the many bad guys he put behind bars is, for example, John Horace Oughton, the so-called “paper bag rapist,” convicted in 1987 for a string of sexual assaults in B.C., and still serving an indefinite prison term as a dangerous offender.
But Gillen, 64, who was recently presented the Commitment to Justice Award by a committee of top Crown prosecutors from across Canada, brings nuance, not bluster, to the debate about law and order. He is frustrated by Charter of Right and Freedoms challenges that delay trials, but also sharply critical of the Conservative government’s imposition of more mandatory minimum penalties.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 1:26 PM - 0 Comments
However, the government’s disregard for the principles of religious freedom and equality before the law — values enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — is as inexplicable as it is unacceptable. Simply put, this move will have an adverse effect on the rehabilitation and reintegration of Canadian inmates and will infringe Charter rights, while at the same time contradicting the government’s own agenda of religious freedom.
With respect to the rehabilitation of offenders, it is clear that access to services and guidance of a religious character is essential. Regrettably, the government has demonstrated, yet again, that it is primarily concerned with the punitive aspects of the criminal-justice system, ignoring that those who are incarcerated will eventually be released and need assistance in their integration back into society.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 5, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Prison inmates will now only be served by Christian chaplains.
Inmates of other faiths, such as Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jews, will be expected to turn to Christian prison chaplains for religious counsel and guidance, according to the office of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who is also responsible for Canada’s penitentiaries. Toews made headlines in September when he ordered the cancellation of a tender issued for a Wiccan priest for federal prisons in B.C.
Toews said he wasn’t convinced part-time chaplains from other religions were an appropriate use of taxpayer money and that he would review the policy. In an email to CBC News, Toews’ office says that as a result of the review, the part-time non-Christian chaplains will be let go and the remaining full-time Christian chaplains in prisons will now provide interfaith services and counselling to all inmates. ”The minister strongly supports the freedom of religion for all Canadians, including prisoners,” the email states. “However, the government … is not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status through government funding. The minister has concluded … [Christian] chaplains employed by Corrections Canada must provide services to inmates of all faiths.”
The CBC says the prison chaplain program costs $6.4 million and it’s not clear how much of that will be saved as a result of this change.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
An Ontario judge has declared a Harper government measure on dangerous offenders to be unconstitutional.
Traditionally the Crown had to prove several requirements before someone is designated a dangerous offender, including a pattern of dangerous behaviour or likelihood of causing pain through a failure to control sexual impulses. Dangerous offenders — sex killer Paul Bernardo is designated as one — can be given indeterminate sentences and be locked up for life.
What changed in 2008 was that the new provision provided a shortcut of sorts for the Crown in a small subset of cases. If an offender was convicted three times of a specified violent or sexual crime with sentences of at least two years the burden of proof shifted from the Crown to them. All the Crown had to prove was that the offender was convicted of those offences and was sentenced to at least two years. The offender then had to try to prove that they did not have a pattern of dangerous behaviour … ”I do not accept the Crown counsel’s submission that there is a pressing need to streamline the process for labelling a small class of individuals as dangerous offenders,” Bryant wrote. ”A breach of an individual’s (charter) rights cannot be justified or condoned in a free and democratic society because the class of affected individuals is small,” Bryant concluded.
As Colby Cosh detailed earlier this year, two mandatory minimum sentences imposed by the Harper government have also been challenged. The Prime Minister later called on the courts to “take these penalties seriously.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 10:47 AM - 0 Comments
Prison guards are planning to protest outside the Prime Minister’s constituency office.
“Our members are telling us that today’s prisons are a much more violent place than they were six years ago when the Conservatives took power,” he said. “The current ‘tough on crime’ approach is not working when it comes to handling Canada’s prison population.”
By Blog of Lists - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 4:54 PM - 0 Comments
The Canadian West of the 19th and early 20th centuries was as teeming with villains as its American counterpart. Indeed, many outlaws north of the 49th parallel were fugitive Yanks.
1. Boone Helm: A Kentucky-born marauder lured out west by the California Gold Rush, then forced into British Columbia in the early 1860s after a string of murders from Oregon to Utah, Helm was said to enjoy eating those he killed. He was arrested in Victoria in October 1862 for being of bad character and spent a month on a chain gang repairing streets. The next year he was arrested at Fort Yale on the Fraser River and sent back to Montana where he was hanged in 1864, after complaining that the executioner was taking too long in carrying out his sentence.
2. Brothers Allan, Charles and Archie McLean: The McLean Gang terrorized Kamloops, B.C., in the late 1870s, stealing everything from horses and liquor to ammunition. When the law came after them, the McLeans shot their way through, eventually killing two men, including a police constable. Eventually caught and convicted—the jury took 20 minutes to reach a verdict—they were hanged together in New Westminster in 1881.
3. James Gaddy and Moise Racette: After meeting in a Saskatchewan saloon in the 1880s, they decided to partner together in the horse-thieving business. To seal the deal they got their photograph taken; it would later become their wanted poster. When the Mounties went after the duo, a shootout ensued and a North West Mounted Police constable was killed. Gaddy and Racette were later convicted of murder and sent to the gallows in Regina in 1888.
4. Ernest Cashel: He was from the American Midwest but turned up in Alberta in 1902, a young man noted for his charm. Arrested in Calgary for forgery, he managed to escape, making his way to Lacombe and stealing a horse. Later, a rancher he worked for disappeared, and Cashel, caught after a two-month manhunt, was found wearing the rancher’s clothes. After the man’s body was discovered with a bullet hole in his chest, Cashel was convicted of murder. He escaped after his brother slipped him guns but was soon caught again and hanged in 1904.
5. Bill Miner: Originally from Kentucky and known as the Gentleman Bandit, Miner was reportedly the ﬁrst holdup artist to use the phrase “hands up.” He committed one of Canada’s ﬁrst train robberies in 1904 near Mission, B.C., at the age of 60, then struck a second train outside Kamloops in 1905. When the law closed in on him, Miner tried to shoot his way free but was caught and jailed. He later escaped the penitentiary in New Westminster, ﬂeeing back to the U.S., where stories of his end are varied.
6. Harry Wagner: Named the Flying Dutchman after the famed ghost ship, he was a member of the ruthless Cassidy Gang in Wyoming before travelling northwest in a small ship, darting through the inlets of British Columbia. In March 1913, while robbing a store at Union Bay, Wagner was happened upon by police. One ofﬁcer died in the gunﬁght that ensued, and Wagner escaped, only to be captured later and brought to trial in Nanaimo, B.C. He was hanged on Aug. 28, 1913.
7. Albert Johnson: Better known as the Mad Trapper of Rat River, he triggered a massive manhunt and captured the public’s imagination during the Great Depression after shooting a Mountie in the Yukon. He remained on the run for 48 days, travelling almost 300 km across the frigid Far North, before dying in a shootout in February 1932. His true identity has never been established.
Have you ever wondered which cities have the most bars, smokers, absentee workers and people searching for love? What about how Canada compares to the world in terms of the size of its military, the size of our houses and the number of cars we own? The answers to all those questions, and many more, can be found in the first ever Maclean’s Book of Lists.
Buy your copy of the Maclean’s Book of Lists at the newsstand or order online now.
By David Newland - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM - 0 Comments
Keeping kids away from pot is a small problem. Keeping gangs away from pot is a big one.
Sometimes, it’s hard to see the plantation, for the pot. A recent report concluding that adolescent pot smoking affects intelligence got all the headlines. But a bigger issue was hiding behind smaller type: BC RCMP busted Hells Angels for growing pot to fund the importation of cocaine.
I’m dismayed to learn that the pot I smoked as a teenager has probably made me dumber. But I can’t say I’m surprised. I knew at the time that marijuana messed with my brain. That was why I smoked it.
That’s why I’m afraid we may never convince kids to stay away from the stuff. Yes, some will exercise good judgment if they’re educated properly, and avoid high-risk activities, like smoking tobacco or marijuana, drinking alcohol, speeding, engaging in unprotected sex, or doing hard drugs. Or any combination of the above.
The more we can educate the better. But some kids will gravitate toward the very same activities in spite, or indeed because of the risks.
Marijuana’s status as an illegal substance has not prevented teenagers, who are most at risk for mental damage, from using it. It certainly never stopped me. As long as the stuff can be grown quite easily at home, or in the vast expanses of the Canadian countryside, it’s not likely to stop anyone.
Most Canadians are in favour of legalization, or at least decriminalization of marijuana. Some argue that would help keep pot out of the hands of younger people, by making it available only through legal sellers, who would have to adhere to strict regulations including age limits for sale or use.
But that never stopped my friends and me when it came to tobacco or alcohol, which we only had to pilfer from our parents, or pay older kids to obtain for us. So how it would work for pot is a mystery to me.
Maybe legally available bud could be kept at lower levels of THC, making it effectively ‘bud light’ and therefore, perhaps, arguably less dangerous. But beer and cigarettes are available in relatively harmless single doses too. It doesn’t prevent anyone overusing them.
The real advantage of legalization, I’ve come to believe, isn’t that it would keep small amounts of marijuana out of the hands of kids. As the parent of a teenager, it pains me to admit we may never fully succeed in doing that.
What we just might do, though, is keep large amounts of marijuana out of the hands of criminals.
The fact is, the Hells Angels have been making inroads in B.C. for years. The biker gang and other criminal organizations grow and traffic pot as a big business, one which, because it’s illegal, must be protected with the threat of violence. Moreover, it’s an easy cash crop to exchange for cocaine, guns, and other stuff that’s a whole lot nastier than marijuana.
Of course, if marijuana was legal in Canada, there’d be a booming business in smuggling legal Canadian pot into the States, just as there was a booming business in smuggling legal Canadian whiskey into the States during prohibition. But the recent busts reveal the extent to which the Hells Angels are already doing business across borders, from B.C. to Panama.
And at least if pot was legal in Canada, the ordinary recreational consumer of marijuana wouldn’t be funding the activities of major crime networks every time they bought some weed. Instead, they’d be contributing tax dollars, some of which, surely, could be earmarked for better education and treatment for victims of drug abuse, including youth.
Think of the children, yes, of course. We do. That’s why these studies get so much attention when they come to light. But that’s the small-scale pot problem.
When it comes to marijuana legalization, won’t somebody please think of the Hells Angels?
Now there’s a pot problem, on a massive scale.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 27, 2012 at 4:16 PM - 0 Comments
Correctional investigator Howard Sapers reviews the state of Canada’s prisons.
As of July 31, there were 15,097 inmates in federal prisons, a “historic high,” according to Sapers. In the past two years, 1,000 new inmates entered the system, even though there were no new beds. Sapers described that number as equal to the population of two medium-security prisons, yet the system has had to absorb them.
Sapers added that overcrowding is most acute on the Prairies. “Of the growth, 52 per cent has come from the Prairies. It’s the fastest-growing region in the country and aboriginal offenders account for most of the increase and account for 43 per cent of the offenders in that region,” he said … Sapers told CBC News that overcrowding has led to growing tensions and violence. “We’re seeing an increase in the use of force, an increase in assaults, an increase in sick leave and stress leave among staff, we’re seeing an increase in lockdowns and exceptional searches.” Over the past five years, assaults in the Prairie region are up 90 per cent, from 306 in 2007 to 583 in 2012. The number of incidents involving use of force by staff rose 95 per cent in the same period.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, August 24, 2012 at 12:05 PM - 0 Comments
Edward Greenspan and Anthony Doob get tough on the Harper government’s “tough on crime” approach to justice policy.
Imprisoning a few thousand more people may prevent the few street crimes they might have committed had they not been incarcerated, but what about the impact of imprisonment on the chances of their reoffending after release? The data comparing recidivism rates for former inmates with those for offenders given non-prison punishments demonstrates conclusively that incarceration does not decrease reoffending. In fact, for some offenders — notably those sent to prison for the first time — it may increase it. Averting a few crimes while convicts serve their sentences in prison doesn’t help if more crimes are committed when they are released.
But this is not about policy; it’s about politics. Advocating for “tough on offenders” bills makes for good bumper stickers and sound bites, even if it violates one of the government’s economic principles: that public money should not be spent on programs that do not advance its stated goals. Keeping a single inmate in federal penitentiary costs about $117,000 per year; a provincial inmate about $58,000. Money spent on incarceration is money not spent on services (the police, education, public health, and so on) that the evidence suggests would be more effective at reducing crime.
By Blog of Lists - Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 11:37 AM - 0 Comments
Montreal has witnessed numerous Mob hits as the city’s crime families have battled for control over the decades.
Here are five that stand out:
1. Paolo Violi, 38: Since the 1950s, Montreal’s Cotroni family was the foremost Maﬁa clan in Canada, controlling swaths of territory across Ontario and Quebec. Until the ’70s, that is, when the Sicilian faction of the clan, headed by Nicolo Rizzuto, usurped them in a violent war for Canadian Maﬁa dominance. The conﬂict culminated in the 1978 murder of Paolo Violi, who led the Cotroni faction. He was shot dead during a card game in a Montreal café that January.
2. Nicolo Rizzuto Jr., 40: Nick Jr., the eldest child of Vito “Teﬂon Don” Rizzuto and grandson of the Rizzuto clan patriarch, was gunned down in a residential street in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood in December 2009. The brazen hit in broad daylight was perceived as an unprecedented challenge to Rizzuto rule in Montreal. Recent police investigations in Canada and the U.S. had weakened the family by landing several key members—including Nicolo Sr. and his son Vito—behind bars.
3. Agostino Cuntrera, 66: In June 2010, Agostino Cuntrera, a powerful Rizzuto associate implicated in the 1978 murder of Paolo Violi, was shot to death with his bodyguard outside his wholesale food warehouse in the St-Léonard area of Montreal. Just one month earlier, Vito Rizzuto’s brother-in-law went missing. Cuntrera’s assassination was taken as evidence of a concerted effort to supplant the Rizzuto clan in Montreal’s criminal underworld.
4. Nicolo Rizzuto, 86: Sitting at the kitchen table of his Montreal mansion, Nicolo Rizzuto was shot and killed with his wife and daughter nearby by a sniper who sent a bullet through a double-paned door in November 2010. He was the key ﬁgure in his family’s rise to Maﬁa power.
5. Salvatore Montagna, 40: The Montreal native became a powerful ﬁgure in the New York Maﬁa after a string of arrests in the mid-2000s. After the U.S. government forced him back to Canada in 2009, he is thought to have played a role in the killings of Rizzuto clan members. In November 2011, Montagna’s body was pulled from a frigid river north of Montreal. A man alleged to be a close associate of Vito Rizzuto was charged with murder.
Have you ever wondered which cities have the most bars, smokers, absentee workers and people searching for love? What about how Canada compares to the world in terms of the size of its military, the size of our houses and the number of cars we own? The nswers to all those questions, and many more, can be found in the first ever Maclean’s Book of Lists.
Buy your copy of the Maclean’s Book of Lists at the newsstand or order online now.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 30, 2012 at 2:16 PM - 0 Comments
Last week Statistics Canada reported 2011 overall crime rates were down 6% over the previous year. This report is being welcomed as very good news. Any time crime rates are decreasing we should celebrate. However these statistics are only part of the story. Statistics also show that crime has increased 200% since 1962. This is a very alarming reality. We’ve gone from not locking our doors to needing state of the art security systems to protect ourselves and our possessions. Serious crimes like homicide and sexual offences against children are actually going up. For example child pornography went up an astounding 40%. That is why our Government recently passed the Safe Streets and Communities Act which increases penalties for sexual offences against children.
Some feel our Government is being too tough on crime. When we see statistics like those above, I don’t believe we are. By putting the bad guys in jail and keeping them there longer, we are preventing them from committing more crimes. We are stopping the revolving door of the criminal justice system. It appears our legislation is working. Undoubtedly there is much more to do, but a reduction of 6% in the overall crime rate is a step in the right direction. Our Government will continue to work to keep Canadian streets, communities and families safe.
Statistics Canada said that “fluctuations in the rate of child pornography are likely reflective of police-based programs and initiatives targeting this particular offence.”
By John Geddes - Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 6:50 AM - 0 Comments
For the next five years, the focus will be more on busting drug users than helping them
When Stephen Harper launched his high-profile National Anti-Drug Strategy in the fall of 2007, he took aim at critics who were already saying his new Conservative government was putting too much emphasis on more drug arrests and longer prison sentences, and not enough on helping addicts. “This approach will be tough on crime and compassionate for victims,” the Prime Minister said in a speech in Winnipeg announcing the policy. “If you’re addicted to drugs, we’ll help you, but if you deal drugs, we’ll punish you.”
The blueprint Harper unveiled that day would bring more than $500 million in spending by a dozen federal departments and agencies under one umbrella. Spending was mapped out for five years, the period that ended this past spring. Now, a plan for the next five years of anti-drug programs, again worth more than half a billion dollars, has been drafted. Despite Harper’s early emphasis on balance, though, the planning and priorities report tabled with the federal Treasury Board for the next five years reveals deep cuts in Health Canada’s budget for drug treatment—but hefty increases in budgets for drug enforcement by police and prosecutors.
The spending squeeze that’s likely to be most demoralizing for groups running street-level rehabilitation programs for addicts is the reduction of Health Canada’s Drug Treatment Funding Program to $80 million for the next five years, down from $122 million in the previous five years. In sharp contrast, the RCMP will see its five-year funding for investigating marijuana growers and clandestine drug labs rise to $113 million, up from $85 million in the previous five years. As well, support for the federal Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will rise to $61 million for the coming five-year stretch, up from $43 million for the strategy’s first half-decade.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 6:15 PM - 0 Comments
After meeting with Rob Ford, Stephen Harper challenges the courts.
Reporter: Just changing the topic slightly, a lot of discussion in recent days about the most recent Toronto gun shootings, coming … Sorry. Most of the guns involved in the recent Toronto shootings come from the US. Border … the union representing border officials are saying that government cuts will make it harder to stop illegal guns from entering the country. How would you respond to that?
Stephen Harper: In fact, quite the opposite is the case. This government, through particularly our Beyond the Border action plan with the United States is literally investing hundreds of millions of additional dollars in security along our border. It is one of three principal things that we are doing as a government to try and deal with crime, and in particular, gun crime. One is of course much tougher penalties for gun offences. As you know, we’ve passed a number of things through the federal Parliament. Some of those things are before the courts. Some courts have been attempting to strike down some of the tough sentences we’ve imposed. I think these events in Toronto underscore why these penalties are essential, why it is essential to have tough and certain penalties for gun crime. I’m pleased that all three levels of government have supported those kinds of initiatives, and I certainly call on the courts to take these penalties seriously. This is not a theoretical problem. That’s one of the things we’re doing. Also, of course, on the enforcement side, we’ve got a bill before Parliament right now, C-43, to make it easier to deport those who, non-citizens who involve themselves in criminal activity in this country. I also mentioned, of course, that we do have increasingly integrated law enforcement programs with the United States to try and deal with the gun problem. As you know, most of the illegal guns that are used here do come from south of the border, and that is a number one priority of our cross-border initiative with American authorities. The third thing we’re doing, of course, is we also do invest in young people and in communities, and in programs that will try and encourage alternatives to gun and to gang activity.
Below is Mr. Harper’s response when asked specifically about his meeting with the Toronto mayor. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 12:52 PM - 0 Comments
Vic Toews takes credit for the latest decline in the crime rate.
Crime rate down 6% – shows
#CPC tough on crime is working. Rate is still 208% above 1962 levels, more work for our gov’t to do
Questions for further discussion: If the overall crime rate’s decline demonstrates the success of the Harper government’s approach, does the rise in the homicide rate demonstrate a failing on the part of the government? And does the general decline in the crime rate since 1991 validate the policies of previous governments?
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM - 0 Comments
The murder rate increased slightly, but the overall crime rate and the violent crime rate declined in 2011.
Police reported over 424,400 incidents of violent crime in 2011, about 14,800 fewer than in 2010. As in previous years, violent crimes accounted for about 1 in 5 offences reported by police. Both the rate and severity of violent crime fell 4% in 2011. It was the fifth consecutive annual decline in the severity of violent crime.
Despite the overall drop in violent crime, Canada’s homicide rate rose 7% in 2011 to 1.7 homicides per 100,000 population. Police reported 598 homicides in 2011, 44 more than in 2010. Despite annual fluctuations, the homicide rate has generally been declining since peaking in the mid-1970s. The national increase in homicides in 2011 was driven by increases in Alberta and Quebec. Manitoba had the highest homicide rate among the provinces for the fifth consecutive year.
The rate of robbery declined 3% in 2011, continuing a downward trend. Police reported over 29,700 robberies, 700 fewer than in 2010. Rates declined for attempted murder (-3%) and for most types of assault, including sexual assault (-3%).