U.S. Coast Guard Ends Extensive Search For Fraser Horne

Michele Horne and her husband Fraser pose with their dog Toula, in this undated photo.

CALGARY — The wife of a missing Calgary man whose boat was recovered off the coast of Florida says he may have been swept away while trying to rescue the family dog.

Michele Horne told CTV Calgary it’s believed her husband, Fraser, dove in when the golden retriever named Toula fell into the water.

Fraser Horne, an avid boater, set sail on a trip on Friday and was reported missing after failing to return on Sunday.

His boat — running in neutral and with his wallet, keys and shoes onboard — was found near the Gulf Coast fishing village of Cortez a few hours later.

The dog was discovered by a Good Samaritan on a nearby island later that evening.

The U.S. coast guard launched an extensive search for the 64-year-old snowbird, but it failed to turn up anything and the coast guard has called off its efforts.

“We searched over 2,000 square miles for more than 46 hours to look for Mr. Horne and unfortunately we were unable to locate him,” said petty officer Ashley Johnson.

The Hornes bought a place in Florida in 2015 to spend the winters.

“What is clear from the search patterns … is that Toula, the retriever, fell into the water and that Fraser went to get her, to rescue her,” Michele Horne told CTV from Florida.

“In rescuing her, there was a strong current that was shifting against him and the boat. From what the data shows, he probably was not able to go back to the boat.”

What is clear from the search patterns … is that Toula, the retriever, fell into the water and that Fraser went to get her, to rescue herMichele Horne

Michele Horne said Toula is a strong swimmer and was in the water for about two hours.

“The waters are fairly warm here, around 70 to 75 degrees, (but) …read more

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada

Vaughn Palmer: Mungall’s all in on fracking review, but not moratorium

VICTORIA — During a break from answering questions in the legislature about Site C this week, Energy Minister Michelle Mungall faced down a call for a full blown public inquiry and possible moratorium on fracking in the natural gas sector.

The call for the inquiry came from a coalition of environmental, community and First Nations organizations, concerned about the impact of fracking on water quality, public health and safety. In the past, there have been calls for a moratorium on the practice as well.

Mungall reiterated the NDP’s intention, set out in the party election platform, to conduct a more modest scientific review of the process of hydraulic fracturing, whereby the natural gas resource is extracted from shale rock via injections of water.

But she ruled out a moratorium on the practice in no uncertain terms, saying it would mean a complete shutdown of the natural gas sector and could lead to the defeat of the NDP in the next election.

The full exchange unfolded during debate Monday afternoon on the budget for Mungall’s ministry. It started with B.C. Liberal MLA Mike Bernier asking about allegations of well water contamination through fracking.

“Over (all) the years, then, that we’ve been doing hydraulic fracturing in B.C., with the thousands and thousands of wells that have been drilled, can the minister tell me how many times there’s been a water aquifer contaminated by hydraulic fracturing?”

“A very short answer to the member’s question is zero, and we want to keep it that way,” replied Mungall.

“Do we want to keep it at zero? Absolutely,” returned Bernier. “But the whole point is making sure that we get that message out there. People out there are saying that hydraulic fracturing is bad, that it’s contaminating water, when actually, because of our strict regulations that we’ve had, it has never happened. …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

REAL SCOOP: Witness A says he isn’t lying about confession

Witness A finished his cross-examination at the Cory Vallee murder trial Wednesday. The Crown will ask him a few more questions on Friday (I will be off) before he is done on the stand. There are a few left over pieces of evidence for next week, but this trial is finally winding down after a year. Not sure if the closing arguments will happen right away or if there will be a break. I hope they happen before Christmas.

Here’s my latest story:

Witness denies he lied about Vallee confession at murder trial

Kevin LeClair’s bullet-ridden truck after he was fatally shot at the Thunderbird Village Mall on Feb. 6, 2009.

A defence lawyer for alleged gang hitman Cory Vallee said in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday that a key Crown witness made up a confession from his client in order to get a deal from police.

Tony Paisana finished his cross-examination of a former United Nations gangster-turned-witness by grilling the man over things he said to police when he first began cooperating with them in 2013.

Paisana suggested to the witness, who can only be called A due to a publication ban, that Vallee never told him about the murder of Kevin LeClair, as A had testified in court.

“I suggest to you that Cory never confessed to you about his involvement in the LeClair murder. Agreed?” Paisana asked.

A replied no.

“You made up this confession to get a deal from the police, right?” Paisana said.

Again A replied no.

Cory Vallee

“It was another poker chip to play with, right?” the lawyer said.

A disagreed a third time.

But Paisana pointed to some details of what A claimed to police that Vallee told him about the LeClair hit that did not line up with other evidence called earlier in the trial.

He suggested A realized that when …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

New federal housing plan requires big provincial buy-in

The federal government laid out a new national housing plan on Wednesday, but there was little indication of what it means for B.C. and there were fears it will take years for federal dollars to flow into new homes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced a 10-year plan including a promise of legislation to make housing a fundamental right, creation of a new, portable housing benefit for low-income households, and giving top priority to the most vulnerable people, such as women fleeing domestic violence.

Trudeau spoke in Toronto and Duclos in Vancouver, thus covering the country’s two least-affordable housing markets.

But the plan rests heavily on provinces kicking in matching funds, without which federal dollars won’t flow. Even then, little will happen until April 2018 and not until 2021 in the case of the new housing benefit.

The plan pulls together almost $10 billion in planned spending, $11.2 billion in housing money outlined in this year’s federal budget, and $4.8 billion the Liberals promised to keep spending on funding to affordable housing providers. The rest is from provinces and the private sector to a total of about $40 billion.

In Vancouver, Duclos was joined by provincial Housing Minister Selina Robinson, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, CEO Evan Siddall of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and other community housing leaders.

Duclos would not say how much money B.C. might expect from the plan nor how it would address prices and rents in Vancouver that are too high for many middle-class families. But he suggested that solving housing problems for those most in need would indirectly help the middle class.

“The objective is to make every Canadian access affordable and adequate housing, in particular vulnerable Canadians. … Middle class families who want to rent or own a home will find it easier if …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun