Monthly Archives: February 2019

Saskatoon man to serve additional two years on child porn conviction

SASKATOON – A Saskatoon man will spend two more years in prison for possessing, distributing and producing child pornography after being sentenced Friday for the second time in less than three years on similar charges.

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    Justin Gryba, 27, was initially arrested in November 2011 when police found roughly 3,000 child porn images in his possession. He was convicted in January 2013, however in September 2014, he was arrested again while on parole, after police cracked encrypted hard drives they had seized during the initial arrest. He’s been in custody on remand ever since.

    READ MORE: Saskatoon man charged with sexual assault of 15-year-old girl

    On the hard drives were nearly 10,000 more child porn images, as well as videos Gryba secretly made of boys he was paired with as part of a youth program he was volunteering with in Saskatoon. The videos showed the boys undressing in a pool change room and at his home.

    “I think the court did an excellent job of balancing all of the factors that were present in this case and there were a lot,” said Crown prosecutor Michael Segu, outside of court after the sentencing.

    “The length and breadth of offending certainly would put [Gryba] in the upper echelon of the offenders I’ve seen.”

    Chief Justice Martel Popescul said words cannot express the vile nature of the additional child porn images found on the hard drives. He called the content “repugnant, disturbing and reprehensible,” however he noted that the videos Gryba produced himself were on the lower scale of child porn and amounted to voyeurism.

    Gryba also had no previous criminal record, is a young man and is “truly sorry for what he’s done,” according to Popescul. He added that he’s been assessed at a low risk to re-offend and has taken the steps to rehabilitate since his arrest.

    The Crown had called for a two-and-a-half year additional sentence, while the defence argued that Gryba be sentenced to time served and be set free. Popescul called most of the Crown’s sentencing submissions “appropriate” in length, but decreased the sentence slightly after taking at look at its entirety. The time spend in prison on remand was also considered in the sentence.

    While defence lawyer Morris Bodnar said “it’s a long sentence for a first offender,” he added that the exact length was “crucial.” Because the sentence was less than two years, it allows Gryba to serve the time at the provincial correctional centre in Saskatoon, where he can keep seeing his psychologist.

    “It’s a mental illness that has to be overcome,” said Bodnar.

    “It’s not something that people want to do and if you can overcome that mental illness, you don’t do it again.”

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Credit rating agency DBRS downgrades Alberta rating a notch on rising debts

CALGARY – Credit rating agency DBRS has downgraded Alberta’s credit rating a notch to double-A, less than 24 hours after the province released a deficit-laden budget.

DBRS says the NDP government’s reluctance to rein in spending or increase taxation would push debt levels higher than a triple-A rating could justify.

ChangSha Night Net

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    The projected debt will reach $57.6 billion in two years, according to the 2016 provincial budget tabled in the legislature on Thursday.

    READ MORE: Praise, criticism aplenty as Premier Notley begins selling Alberta Budget 2016

    Finance Minister Joe Ceci described the downgrade as a “disappointment” but said the province is still financially stable and responsibly managing its debt.

    But some credit analysts say the Notley government would be hard-pressed to get approved for a consumer loan at most financial institutions.

    “I don’t see a bank or lender that would give them financing, because they are spending more than they are making,” credit specialist Richard Moxley said. “And the amount of debt that they are proposing they are going to get into far exceeds what they will be able to pay back in the short-term.”

    In its credit update DBRS did improve the province’s outlook to stable from the negative reading in January, thanks to higher oil prices and slower than expected growth in debt.

    Watch below: Global News’ ongoing coverage of Alberta Budget 2016

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    Finance Minister Joe Ceci sells Alberta Budget 2016

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    Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson talks pros and cons of Alberta Budget 2016

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    Alberta PC leader Ric McIver on Alberta Budget 2016

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    Wildrose leader Brian Jean gives his take on Alberta Budget 2016

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    Political analyst Robert Murray on Alberta Budget 2016

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    Moody’s, in its response to the budget, maintained its triple-A rating for the province, but said rising debt levels and weakened fiscal circumstances will exert growing pressure on the rating.

    READ MORE: Who wins and who loses in Alberta Budget 2016?

    In December, Standard and Poor’s downgraded Alberta’s rating to double-A-plus from triple-A.

    With files from Global’s Gary Bobrovitz

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Random drug testing added to Travis Vader’s bail conditions

EDMONTON — More bail conditions have been added to Travis Vader‘s release following a review Friday afternoon.

Details of the bail hearing cannot be published because of a publication ban, but the review came after the 44-year-old showed up late for court for the fourth time Wednesday morning.

Vader’s tardiness prompted the Crown to ask for the bail review.

Justice Paul Belzil was called in to preside over the bail review and issued the added conditions, which include:

Random drug testing once a week unless suspicion of a breach (urine sample)Random residence search once a week unless suspicion of a breachNo unlawful drugs in his residence

ChangSha Night Net

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    READ MORE: Travis Vader’s bail conditions to be reviewed after 4th time late for McCann murder trial

    Vader was 30 minutes late for court Wednesday, the fourth time he was late in a month. Vader’s lawyer Brian Beresh told the court that Vader was using a reliable vehicle, but it was borrowed by someone else and wasn’t returned on time.

    Vader was late three other times, twice citing car troubles, another time telling court he slept in.

    READ MORE: Travis Vader late again, delays Day 19 of double murder trial

    Vader is on trial for two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of St. Albert couple Lyle and Marie McCann.

    The McCanns, who were in their late 70s, were last seen fuelling up their motorhome in their hometown near Edmonton on July 3, 2010. The motorhome was found on fire about 200 kilometres west of the city two days later. Their bodies have yet to be found.

    TIMELINE: The key events in the Travis Vader case

    Vader has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

    The trial, now wrapping up its sixth week, was originally scheduled to last six weeks, but due to delays will now run into May.

    With files from Caley Ramsay. 

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Focus on community support for aboriginal youth needed to guard against suicide

TORONTO —; A university professor who has studied suicides among aboriginal people says strong community support for youth and determined leadership can guard against outbreaks of attempted suicides, such as one seen in a remote northern Ontario First Nation this week.

Suicide is not part of traditional aboriginal culture in Ontario, with an increase in deaths being noted in the province’s northern communities only since the mid 1980s, said Western University professor Gerald McKinley.

“Most do not have the suicides,” he said.

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“The majority of the deaths are happening in a smaller number of communities.”

The issue of suicide among aboriginal youth was thrust into the spotlight after the First Nation of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency last Saturday, citing 11 suicide attempts in the month of April and 28 recorded attempts in March. A few days later, officials thwarted what they called a suicide pact by 13 young aboriginal people, including a nine-year-old.

“Things are getting to a crisis point,” said McKinley. “One of the unique and troubling aspects of First Nations suicides in Ontario is it really is the young. It’s the futures of the communities, often very bright futures, that are cut short.”

Statistics suggest 85 per cent of suicides among aboriginal people in Ontario between 1991 and 2013 took place in northern Ontario, but even then, the majority of reserves do not experience a crisis, said McKinley.

READ MORE: Health care on remote First Nations ‘far inferior’, doctor says

One fly-in First Nation in northern Ontario has challenges very similar to Attawapiskat – remote location, expensive food, tough access to water – but does not have issues with suicide, he noted.

“It has strong leadership, it has people who are doing things with the youth. It has a hockey arena they can go to do things in,” he said. “A positive social support network is a protective factor against youth getting involved in risk-taking behaviour – the substance abuse, the cutting, the violence, the suicide.”

The idea of suicide can, however, have contagious effects, particularly among young people who might potentially see it as a way of expressing their anger, frustration or loneliness, said McKinley.

READ MORE: ‘A wake up call’: How Canada is failing its poorest children

“It becomes a way of being and it becomes embodied by the youth, which is really troubling, because suicide is not part of their traditions and culture,” he said. “It’s a direct result of the social conditions that they’re growing up in.”

Immediate services to respond to the crisis are essential to prevent “clustering,” but long-term changes are needed as well, McKinley said, suggesting housing, water supply and access to healthy food are all areas where improvements are needed.

“If we work across these multiple levels, engaging and empowering the youth, letting them take the lead to tell us how they want to build a healthy community, and if at the same time they see the changes are coming … I think that would go a long way,” he said. “But if we continue to not do anything and bicker over who is going to pay for it, we will see more deaths.”

WATCH: MPs discuss mental health crisis in Attawapiskat, across Canada

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What the feds don’t want you to see in their Saudi Arabia human rights report

Months after Global News and several other media organizations requested it under access-to-information legislation, Global Affairs Canada released its 2015 human rights report on Saudi Arabia.

But the department redacted everything in the report related to potentially contentious human rights issues.

READ MORE: Reality check: Why is Canada really moving ahead with the Saudi arms deal?

Virtually all of the redactions cite a section of the Access to Information Act that exempts anything that could hurt the Canadian government’s international relations.

Redactors also censored the most interesting part of the report. “Ongoing human rights challenges to watch for in the year:” a section begins. The next line and much of the following page are blacked out.

READ MORE: Federal government denounces mass executions in Saudi Arabia

Among the censored bits:

Information about the Jan. 2, 2016 death of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, an outspoken government critic and a key leader of Shiite protests in eastern Saudi Arabia in 2011. He was executed following his conviction in Oct. 2014 of sedition and other charges and sentenced to death.

An excerpt from Canada’s report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Global Affairs

Some of the redactions read like cheesy cliffhangers: “Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy and “…?

WATCH: Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion breaks bread with Saudi ambassador

Also censored is information about potential ISIS connections in Saudi Arabia, including 桑拿会所 accounts traced to that country.

An excerpt from Canada’s report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Global Affairs

It mentions “Reports of child, early and forced marriage,” saying it happens in the kingdom, but not that often.

An excerpt from Canada’s report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Global Affairs

Being gay is still illegal, but any comment on that matter is blacked out. More work is being done to help victims of domestic abuse, but further analysis on that point is also not for our eyes.

An excerpt from Canada’s report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Global Affairs

READ NOW: Saudi Arabia thanks Canada for helping Syrian refugees. But how much is it doing?

Freedom of religion is also a no-go zone:

An excerpt from Canada’s report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Global Affairs

Some sections are entirely blacked out.

An excerpt from Canada’s report on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Global Affairs

Global Affairs Minister Stephane Dion has come under fire for signing off on export permits for Light Armoured Vehicles Canada is selling to Saudi Arabia. The government’s own analysis has suggested these might be used in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is accused of killing civilians indiscriminately.

With files from the Associated Press

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