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What happened last week in Canada?

Hundreds arrested at Montreal anti-police brutality protest

Last Friday at 4 p.m., a crowd gathered outside Montreal police headquarters on the corner of rue Saint-Urbain and rue Ontario to participate in the 17th annual march protesting police brutality.

During the two-hour event, more than 250 people were arrested, mainly for concealing their identity and failing to inform police of their itinerary—actions which are both considered illegal under municipal bylaw P-6. In addition, over 150 fines of $637 were handed out for participating in the protest.

The police overseeing the march were dressed in riot gear, and employed gas bombs to disperse the protesters. Two police officers were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Last year’s march saw 226 protesters arrested.


Ford conflict-of-interest case to go to Supreme Court

On Mar. 15, Toronto resident Paul Magder brought the Divisional Court ruling that allowed Rob Ford to maintain his position as mayor of Toronto to the Supreme Court of Canada. However, it could potentially be months before the Supreme Court decides whether or not to take the case.

Magder filed a conflict-of-interest complaint against Ford in March 2012, alleging that the Toronto mayor violated the law by participating in a vote in which he had a financial stake of the outcome. Magder brought the lawsuit to the Ontario Superior Court, where the trial began in early September. The Superior Court ruled on Nov. 26 that Ford be removed from mayoral office.

Following the trial, Ford took the case to the Divisional Court, which overturned the Ontario court’s decision. In late February, Ford also filed documents requesting that Magder cover his legal fees.

Magder claims that this case brings up new questions about “powers of municipalities to govern themselves and to hold public officials to account,” the CBC reported.


Canada slips in UN human development rankings

Based on the annual United Nations’ human development index report that was released on Mar. 14, Canada  now ranks as the 11th most developed country, which is one place down from last year. In contrast, Canada ranked as the most developed country in the world in the 1990s.

When numbers are adjusted to consider gender inequality, Canada occupies the 18th spot.

The NDP blames this decline on the Conservative government, who have been in power during Canada’s biggest falls in the rankings.

“I think it’s really sad to see that we’ve dropped so far under the Conservatives,” NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie told the CBC. “And I think it reinforces what the NDP … and organizations like the Conference Board of Canada have been saying, about the fact that there’s a growing income inequality gap in Canada …. That gap creates serious problems, and I don’t think the Conservatives have been taking it seriously.”


Former Nova Scotia cabinet minister pleads guilty to fraud

Russell MacKinnon, a former Nova Scotia cabinet minister, pleaded guilty to accusations of fraud and breach of trust last Friday.

Following this disclosure, MacKinnon was given an eight-month conditional sentence, which will be served “in the community,” according to The National Post. After this conditional sentence, he will face four months of house arrest, and then a year of probation.

Two years ago, MacKinnon was charged alongside former Liberal politician Dave Wilson, former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Richard Hurlburt, and Independent member Trevor Zinck, after the province’s auditor found evidence of foul play in constituency allowance spending following an investigation.

Wilson and Hurlburt have since been sentenced, and Zinck awaits trial in June. Wilson received nine months in prison for defrauding the public of $61,000, and Hurlburt was put under house arrest for a year as a result of similar findings.


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