Two public inquests are to be held into the stabbing rampage in Saskatchewan this month that left 10 people dead, plus the suspect and his brother, the province’s chief coroner says.
“The events that occurred require a methodical and complete investigation. With the suspect deceased, there will not be a public criminal trial,” Clive Weighill told a news conference on Wednesday in Regina.
One inquest will be held into the 11 deaths on the James Smith Cree Nation, northeast of Saskatoon, and in the nearby village of Weldon on Sept. 4, and the other is to focus on the death of suspect Myles Sanderson in police custody days later. Eighteen people were injured.
RCMP named Mr. Sanderson’s brother, Damien Sanderson, as a suspect in the stabbings and his body was one of the 10 found on the First Nation. Police said he died of wounds that were not self-inflicted, and his brother was also considered a suspect in that death.
The tragedy drew national attention and calls for Indigenous-led policing. Patty Hajdu, the federal Minister for Indigenous Services, visited the James Smith Cree Nation to express support.
“Without a public hearing of the facts, it will leave many questions unanswered from the families involved and the public pertaining to the circumstances leading to the deaths,” said Chief Coroner Weighill.
He said the jury in the proceedings will be entirely comprised of Indigenous persons. He added that the process will be “totally public” and held as close as possible to the James Smith Cree Nation.
“I would like to remind the families and the public that an inquest is not designed to find fault. It is a hearing to establish the events leading to the death, find a medical cause of death, the manner of death and provide recommendations from the jury to prevent similar occurrences,” he said.
He said the proceedings could begin in late spring or the summer of 2023, and his service will move as quickly as possible to facilitate the process. “It takes time to put the picture together. The last thing we want is to put out some preliminary information and then witnesses at the inquest give different information,” he said. “It’s prudent to make sure we have all the information, everything is gathered in a proper form and then presented at an inquest.”
Also, federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino is pledging to “work around the clock” to table legislation this fall declaring Indigenous policing an essential service. Story here.
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HOME OWNERSHIP AT A LOW – Canada’s homeownership rate dropped to 66.5 per cent last year, new census data show, the lowest level since the turn of the century as more Canadians became renters. Story here.
SENATOR SENT INAUTHENTIC DOCUMENTS TO AFGHANISTAN FAMILY – A Canadian senator sent documents to an Afghan family attempting to flee Afghanistan that were not authentic despite having the appearance of official Canadian government documents. Story here.
BANK OF CANADA STILL COMMITTED TO CONTROLLING INFLATION – The Bank of Canada is pushing back against the idea it will need to cause a recession to get prices under control, while assuring financial markets it will take “whatever actions are necessary” to bring inflation back to target. Story here. Meanwhile, Canada’s annual inflation rate fell for a second consecutive month in August, a sign the Bank of Canada’s campaign to restrain price growth through much higher borrowing rates is having its intended effect. Story here.
FORTIN DENIES ALLEGATIONS - Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin says he is not guilty of sexual assault and never had any physical contact with a woman who made detailed allegations against him in court this week. Story here.
KENNEY-LINKED FUNDRAISING ARM TARGETING SMITH – A political fundraising machine founded to support Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s push for office has spent thousands of dollars campaigning against Danielle Smith, the perceived front-runner in the race to succeed him as United Conservative Party leader. Story here.
TOP CIVIL SERVANT WEIGHS IN ON REMOTE WORK – Canada’s top bureaucrat recently asked employees in the powerful Privy Council Office to come to the office two days a week, allowing full-time remote work only under “exceptional circumstances.” In an interview with Policy Options, Privy Council Clerk Janice Charette extended her vision for the PCO to the rest of the public service, saying she believes the hybrid formula is the way of the future for government office work. Story here from Policy Options.
FAMILIES WON’T BE PENALIZED IF THEY DON’T USE FULL DENTAL BENEFIT – The federal government says it won’t come calling if parents don’t spend every cent of their dental-care dollars on their children’s teeth, but Canada Revenue Agency will check in to make sure the program isn’t abused. Story here.
THIS AND THAT
TODAY IN THE COMMONS – Projected order of business at the House of Commons, Sept. 21, accessible here.
PM HEADED TO JAPAN – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be travelling to Japan from Saturday to Sept. 28 to attend the funeral of former Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo, who was assassinated on July. 8. He will also meet with current Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, and with Canadians supporting security and peace in the region.
WILKINSON IN PITTSBURGH – Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is in Pittsburgh attending the Global Clean Energy Action Forum through to Friday.
DIPLOTMATIC DEVELOPMENTS – Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has announced new ambassadors to Tunisia (Lorraine Diguer), Mozambique (Sara Nicholls) and Portugal (Élise Racicot). Meanwhile, new diplomats from Paraguay, Ethiopia, Georgia, Estonia, Egypt, France, and Cyprus will, on Thursday, be presenting their credentials to Governor-General Mary Simon at Rideau Hall.
In the final days of a chaotic government effort to rescue people from the Taliban last summer, Senator Marilou McPhedran and one of her staff members sent travel documents to a family attempting to flee Afghanistan. The documents, called facilitation letters, were supposed to help the Afghans bypass checkpoints that had been set up around Kabul’s airport, so they could catch one of the last evacuation flights out of the country. A year later, the people who received those documents are still stuck in Afghanistan. And the Canadian government has at last explained why: The facilitation letters they received from the senator and her office were not authentic, and the people named on them had not been approved to come to Canada. On Wednesday’s edition of The Globe and Mail podcast, Parliamentary Reporter Marieke Walsh explains what happened, how government officials are responding, and what this means for the people still stuck in Afghanistan. The Decibel is here.
PRIME MINISTER'S DAY
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in New York for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, attended a meeting of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy entitled “Financing Ocean Solutions for People and Planet: Delivering on SDG 14,” then attended a meeting of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group and Caribbean partners on the situation in Haiti. The Prime Minister also held a meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, and was scheduled to meet Maia Sandu, the President of Moldova, as well as Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, attend a pledging event for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, hold a media availability and attend a reception for delegation heads given by U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet holds a news conference on Parliament Hill.
NDP Leader Jagmeet SIngh attended the NDP caucus meeting, held a media availability and attended Question Period. He was scheduled to also speak with former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
No schedules provided for other party leaders.
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board on how Vladimir Putin is running out of options in Ukraine: ”He believed that China and India, the two largest economies that haven’t imposed sanctions on Russia, and whose leaders share various degrees of antipathy to a U.S.-led world, would unconditionally back his adventure. But just last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it clear that they’re unhappy, and they’d like the war to end. His underestimation of his opponents, his overestimation of Russia’s military might, and the increasingly lukewarm support from two key allies have diminished Mr. Putin’s plans. At home, he now finds himself facing disgruntled hardliners urging him to pursue a wider war by mobilizing the Russian population, and liberal critics who have seized on his sudden vulnerability to openly call for his resignation. Abroad, he is more isolated than ever, and escalating the war won’t win him any new friends. Not in Europe. Not in New Delhi. Not in Beijing.”
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how a lacklustre campaign is shining a spotlight on François Legault’s shortcomings: ”Something has happened to François Legault on the way to his easy re-election. The 65-year-old Coalition Avenir Québec Leader’s once most oft-cited political strengths – his fatherly demeanour, his simple way of speaking, his nostalgic vision of Quebec society – have increasingly come to be seen as liabilities that make him look out of touch with the modern realities of his pluralistic province. “Between simplicity and simplism, there is nevertheless a line that [Mr. Legault] too often has a tendency to cross,” Le Devoir columnist Michel David wrote this month. “He is not lacking in common sense, far from it, but his binary vision of things sometimes prevents him from grasping the reality in all its complexity, to the point of negating it.”
Éric Blais (The Record) on Conservative Party of Québec Leader Éric Duhaime & Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the federal Conservatives: Quebec’s new conservative dynamic duo: “Save for a dramatic faux pas by gaffe-prone Premier François Legault, Duhaime is expected to get between zero and five seats. Still, the political landscape in Quebec will look quite different this time around. Duhaime’s presence in the National Assembly would create a new dynamic and give his party both the respectability it craves and the visibility it needs to keep growing. Poilievre would have an influential ally in Quebec and a brand extension to amplify his message; someone who can localize what it is to be a conservative and normalize Poilievre. While Quebeckers have the highest negative views of Poilievre, three years is an eternity in politics.”
John Michael McGrath (TVO) on how the Ontario Liberals don’t have an heir apparent – but these three names keep coming up: “Building a party that can win an election in 2026 means not just taking the defeats of 2018 and 2022 seriously but also trying to come up with an answer for why voters have embraced alternatives to the Liberals in every province but one (Newfoundland and Labrador) – and why the federal Liberals continue to struggle even against lacklustre opposition.”