Five stories in the news for Wednesday, Dec. 12
OMBUDSMAN ASKED TO PROBE HIRING OF OPP COMMISSIONER
The interim commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police is asking the province’s ombudsman to investigate the appointment of Premier Doug Ford’s family friend to the force’s top job. Brad Blair, who has been leading the force since November, filed a formal request on Tuesday “amid growing concerns of political interference” in the hiring process of Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner. In a letter to the ombudsman, he says the hiring process has deeply affected the morale of rank and file officers. Blair says he wants to repair the apprehension of bias over this process and the potential damage to the reputation of the OPP.
NO INFORMATION ON EX-CANADIAN DIPLOMAT: CHINA
China’s Foreign Ministry says it has no information about a former Canadian diplomat believed to have been detained in Beijing in retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. While declining to confirm the detention of Michael Kovrig, ministry spokesman Lu Kang says the International Crisis Group, for whom Kovrig is an analyst based in Hong Kong, was not registered in China and its activities in the country would be illegal. The International Crisis Group says Kovrig, who previously was a diplomat in China and elsewhere, was taken into custody by the Beijing Bureau of Chinese State Security on Monday night during one of his regular visits to Beijing.
B.C. JUDGE GRANTS $10M BAIL FOR HUAWEI EXEC
A top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei was released on $10 million bail and must agree to wear an electronic tracking device. Meng Wanzhou also agreed Tuesday to be monitored by two employees of a company that provides surveillance using former police and military personnel. The chief financial officer of Huawei is facing possible extradition to the United States on allegations she misled financial institutions about business the company did with Iranian telecom companies, violating international sanctions. Meng has denied the allegations through her lawyer in court, promising to fight them if she is extradited.
APPEAL OF WOMAN CONVICTED OF HIDING INFANT REMAINS
An appeal hearing is being held today for a Winnipeg woman who was convicted of hiding the remains of six babies in a rented storage locker. Andrea Giesbrecht was sentenced in July to 8 1/2 years in prison for concealing the remains. Her trial was told she had conceived the babies over many years and put the remains in plastic bags and containers inside a U-haul storage locker. Giesbrecht’s lawyer, Greg Brodsky, has said the appeal will argue she was saving the bodies of the fetuses, not disposing of them. Giesbrecht never testified and the trial never heard a motive for her actions.
RESULTS OF THUNDER BAY POLICE REVIEW RELEASED TODAY
A police watchdog is set to release the results today of its systemic review of how a northern Ontario force deals with Indigenous people. The Office of the Independent Police Review Director began its probe of the Thunder Bay Police Service in November 2016. Director Gerry McNeilly says Indigenous leaders sounded alarm bells about the way police investigated the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous people in the city. He says they reported that officers devalued Indigenous lives, reflected differential treatment and exhibited behaviour based on racist attitudes.
ALSO IN THE NEWS:
— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers a brief address in the House of Commons to mark the closing of Centre Block for a decade-long renovation.
— Transport Minister Marc Garneau holds a new conference regarding Canada’s flight crew fatigue management regulations.
— The trial of Dennis Oland continues today in Saint John, N.B. The 50-year-old is being retried for second-degree murder in the death of his father, multimillionaire Richard Oland.
The Canadian Press