BLOG: Morning News Rewind – March 21 – Saskatoon

On Friday’s Morning News, Melissa headed down to see what was taking place at HomeStyles show and Jessica had a visit from a bronze medallist.

Jessica talks bronze with a member of the Huskies women’s hockey

Way to go ladies, you made Saskatoon proud!

Talking to Marley, you could still feel her excitement from her big win on Sunday. This is the first time the Huskie’s women’s team has ever placed at the CIS national championship, and I can imagine that bronze was well deserved!

Keep it up ladies!!

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Melissa looks at what’s taking place at HomeStyles

The HomeStyles show isn’t what I expected it to be. I thought it would be mostly home décor and appliances but there was anything from wine to olive oil!

It was great to learn that spring is bringing about more textures and pastels. But the neatest thing I saw today was the full size home that was up for display inside Prairieland Park. Pam mentioned that they had to move it in piece by piece from the bottom up.

If you had a chance to watch this morning, the furniture was just out of this world! If that’s anything similar to the direction that the 2014 home trends are moving towards I’m considering jumping on board!

The HomeStyles show takes place runs until March 23 at Prairieland Park.

Jessica and Kevin preview Monday’s Morning News

Court grants injunction for patients growing medical marijuana

VANCOUVER – Patients who are currently licensed to grow their own pot will be permitted to continue producing the drug despite regulations banning homegrown medical marijuana starting April 1, a Federal Court judge ruled Friday.

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Judge Michael Manson granted an application from a group of medical marijuana patients, who asked for a temporary injunction to preserve the status quo until a constitutional challenge of the new system can be heard.

The decision represents a significant blow, at least in the short term, to the Conservative government’s attempt to overhaul this country’s medical marijuana system, which it says is rife with problems ranging from unsafe grow-ops to infiltration by criminals.

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Judge concludes some patients may be unable to afford marijuana under new rules

The new regulations restrict medical marijuana production to commercial growers, though the injunction does not affect the new licensing system.

Health Canada had warned any patient licensed to grow pot under the current rules must confirm they have destroyed their plants or they would be reported to the police.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued the updated regulations violate their right to access important medicine, because marijuana is expected to initially be more expensive under the new system. They also say they won’t have as much control over which strains of the drug they use.

The judge concluded some patients will not be able to afford marijuana if prices increase as they are predicted to do under the new system.

“This group will be irreparably harmed by the effects of the (new regulations),” Manson said in a written decision.

“I find that the nature of the irreparable harm that the applicants will suffer under the (updated regulations)constitutes a ‘clear case,’ which outweighs the public interest in wholly maintaining the enacted regulations.”

Under the terms of the injunction, patients who were licensed to possess or grow marijuana, whether for their own personal use or as a designated person for another patient, as of Sept. 30 of last year can continue to do so.

Those patients will be permitted to possess up to 150 grams of marijuana, the decision says.

Canada’s medical marijuana history

Canada first regulated medical marijuana in 2001, but only after the government was forced to do so by the courts. A year earlier, an Ontario court concluded the law at the time violated the rights of sick people who used pot to alleviate their symptoms.

The number of people authorized to possess — and often grow — marijuana has increased to 37,000 this year from fewer than 100 in 2001. The federal government says the current licences translate to about 3.5 million plants.

The Stephen Harper government announced a significant overhaul of the system last year and has since been accepting applications from commercial growers.

In this week’s court hearing, a government lawyer said there is no constitutional right to cheap medicine, and he argued there was no scientific evidence to show specific strains of marijuana are better suited to particular illnesses or patients.

The patients’ lawyer suggested the government had offered little concrete evidence that the medical marijuana system actually poses as many risks as it claims.

While the injunction application didn’t specifically target the new commercial licensing regime, the government argued that allowing some patients to continue growing their own pot would prevent the fledgling medical marijuana industry from fully developing.

The Federal Court ruling notes the potential for the injunction to affect the commercial market, but Manson writes the impact will be short-lived and won’t have a major impact on the government’s ability to implement its regulations.

A trial has not been scheduled, though Manson’s judgment says a trial is expected within nine to twelve months.

Striking container truckers rally in Vancouver – BC

VANCOUVER – Hundreds of striking container truck drivers at Canada’s largest port rallied in downtown Vancouver Friday in unanimity that they would not be intimidated, even as the B.C. government prepares back-to-work legislation.

The provincial government is set to bring in legislation that includes a 90-day cooling off period as early as Monday. Port Metro Vancouver has also announced both unionized and non-unionized truckers whose licences and permits are about to expire won’t have them extended if they don’t return to their jobs.

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Only unions can be legislated back to work, but Unifor members say they will not cave under pressure.

“These workers will not be cowed, we will not be bullied, we will not be swayed,” Unifor spokesman Gavin McGarrigle told the crowd Friday.

“We need to get around the negotiating table, sit down and get this thing done in a way that there’s a standard rate for everyone across the board.”

McGarrigle said it is too early to predict what unionized truckers will do once the back-to-work law is in place, but he expects the cooling off period will further anger workers.

More than 1,000 non-union truckers have been on strike since late last month, and several hundred Unifor members joined the job action March 10, demanding shorter wait times at the port and standardized rates of pay across the sector to prevent undercutting.

Port Metro Vancouver’s vice-president of operations, Peter Xotta, has said the labour dispute has had a significant impact on operations and the port’s reputation.

Xotta said earlier this week that truckers who are not prepared to return to work immediately won’t have their licences renewed.

Harman Shergill, who speaks for the United Truckers’ Association of B.C., which represents non-unionized workers, said the licence terminations mean little to operators who no longer have funds to put into their vehicles.

“On one side they are telling us our concerns are legitimate, but if it’s legitimate, why are they overlooking them?” he said. “Let’s sit on the table and negotiate.”

A government-backed 14-point proposal was introduced last week to persuade the truckers to return to work. The plan includes a 10 per cent rate increase within 30 days and compensation for wait times, but the truckers rejected it, saying it wasn’t enough.

A spokesman for Port Metro Vancouver accused the truckers on Friday of holding the port hostage.

“People are losing their jobs and businesses may go under because truckers insist on negotiations where negotiation is simply not possible,” said a statement released by port spokesman John Parker-Jervis.

The truckers are not employed directly by Port Metro Vancouver. They are usually independent contractors or sub-contractors working directly for shipping companies.

Unifor’s national president Jerry Dias, members of several other labour unions and New Democrat politicians, including B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix, attended the rally in support.

Dix said he doesn’t expect the back-to-work legislation to pass by Monday.

“What’s got to happen here is people have got to come to the bargaining table and bargain in good faith, and the provincial government’s actions make that harder, not easier,” he said.

The strike has affected the port’s four container terminals in Metro Vancouver. At its peak, the job action was estimated to be costing the Canadian economy about $885 million. However, the port said container truck traffic is now up to 40 per cent of normal.

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Prince Albert Raiders give cheque to Tim Bozon

SASKATOON – The Prince Albert Raiders had a special delivery for Kootenay Ice player Tim Bozon, who is now in stable condition in a Saskatoon hospital recovering from meningitis.

Bruce Vance, the Raiders business manager, visited Bozon and his family at Royal University Hospital on Friday morning.

Vance had a get well poster that was signed by Raider fans at their final regular season home game on March 14.

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  • Tim Bozon awake, out of intensive care at Saskatoon hospital

Along with the poster, he had a cheque for $1,715 for the Tim Bozon Trust Fund to help pay for medical expenses. The money was raised at the team’s watch party on Tuesday.

The Montreal Canadiens prospect was taken to hospital on March 1 after the Ice’s game against the Saskatoon Blades, where he was diagnosed with Neisseria meningitis.

His parents flew in from Switzerland the next day to be by his side.

Bozon was placed in a medically induced coma at the time. He was slowly awaked last week and earlier this week was moved from the intensive care unit to a regular ward.

The WHL has set up a trust fund to assist Bozon and his family with his medical and rehabilitation costs.

Donations can be made to the Tim Bozon Trust at any BMO branch in Western Canada. People in other parts of Canada can send a donation to the Tim Bozon Trust c/o Western Hockey League, 2424 University Drive NW, Calgary AB, T2N 3Y9.

Meningitis, an inflammation of membranes around the brain and spinal cord, can be fatal if not treated quickly.

John Leonard MacKean found guilty on all charges in teen confinement case

Scroll to the bottom for a recap of the trial

BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – A Halifax man was convicted Friday of sexually assaulting a blindfolded 16-year-old boy who said he was kept captive in a remote cabin for more than a week.

A jury also found John Leonard MacKean, 64, guilty of communicating for the purpose of obtaining sexual services from a person under 18. He will be sentenced June 24.

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“I’m glad it’s going to be over,” said the mother of the victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban. “My son doesn’t have to talk about it any more until he’s ready to.”

The verdict came after more than four hours of deliberations. The trial, which began Monday, heard MacKean and the victim each give their accounts of what happened on Sept. 20, 2012.

The teen testified that he was blindfolded with a sleeping mask and his hands and feet were chained to a bed when a man sexually assaulted him at a cabin in rural Nova Scotia where he was held against his will for eight days.

The youth, now 17, later told the province’s Supreme Court in Bridgewater that a man performed oral sex on him as he cried, unable to move.

The teen said he was certain the man was not one of two other men accused in the case, one of whom was later convicted of kidnapping him, because he was able to determine from a limited view beneath his blindfold that the perpetrator was a balding, heavy-set man who wore glasses.

“He’s just a very brave boy,” the teen’s mother said Friday.

Crown prosecutor Lloyd Tancock said he believes a video of an interview MacKean gave to police after his arrest, during which MacKean said he was inside the cabin and involved in a sexual encounter with the boy, was a major factor in the jury’s decision.

Tancock said the case has been an ordeal for the victim and his family.

“It’s been a terrible case for the family and it doesn’t end here for them I’m sure,” he said.

He said he is not yet sure what sentence he will seek.

Defence lawyer Mike Taylor agreed that MacKean’s interview with police harmed his client’s case.

“It certainly posed problems for the defence,” Taylor said. “There were acknowledgments by Mr. MacKean that he had done certain things.”

MacKean testified Thursday, saying the youth did not seem upset and was not in chains at the time of the incident.

MacKean denied he performed oral sex on the youth, said he was led to believe the teen was a young adult and that if he felt the youth was distressed, he would have made sure he was freed.

He said he was invited to the cabin by Wayne Alan Cunningham, with whom he had a sexual relationship after the two met at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

MacKean said Cunningham suggested in the summer of 2012 having a third person involved during their sexual massages that cost MacKean $45 each. Cunningham told him that person was in his 20s, MacKean told the jury.

MacKean said he believed that based on a photo of the youth he was shown and that in fact, the boy looked to be around the same age as Cunningham, who was 31.

When he arrived at the cabin, MacKean saw the youth blindfolded on a bed, court heard. Cunningham said the youth preferred to have a blindfold on because he was shy, MacKean told the jury.

MacKean said the youth didn’t talk while the three engaged in a sexual encounter.

David James LeBlanc, another man accused in the case, was sentenced last June to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to kidnapping, forcible confinement, sexual assault, uttering threats and breach of conditions.

An agreed statement of facts in LeBlanc’s case said he offered the teen a painting job and drove him in a van from Halifax to a cabin in Lunenburg County about 130 kilometres away in September 2012 on the pretext of picking up painting supplies.

The youth later escaped and a woman reported seeing a barefoot teenager at her doorstep, chained at his wrists and ankles.

LeBlanc was arrested in northern Ontario in September 2012. Police were also searching at the time for Cunningham, whose body was later found near the area where LeBlanc was arrested. Foul play was not suspected in his death.

*with files from Global News reporter Natasha Pace and The Canadian Press

©2014The Canadian Press