Canada in Brief, Nov. 5 – 11

November 11, 2015 Updated: November 11, 2015

Conservatives say they won’t abuse Senate majority to thwart Liberal agenda

OTTAWA—The Conservative leader in the Senate says his senators don’t plan to be an ideological roadblock to the Liberal government’s legislative agenda.

Sen. Claude Carignan says they will look for ways to improve legislation coming from the House of Commons and won’t abuse their majority status in the upper chamber to thwart Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plans.

The Liberals are without a government representative in the upper chamber and it remains unclear whether Trudeau will anoint a sitting senator to the job, appoint someone to one of the 22 vacant seats, or simply leave the situation as it is.

The Conservatives have now taken over the role of Senate opposition and will continue to be in that position even if the upper chamber is without a government leader to answer questions on government operations and usher through Liberal legislation.

Carignan says the lack of a government leader could help proposed internal reforms to make the daily question period in the Senate more relevant.

Canadian soldier attacked with axe in Afghanistan receives honorary degree

VICTORIA—A Canadian soldier who almost died after he was axed in the head in Afghanistan has received an honourary doctoral degree at the University of Victoria’s fall convocation ceremonies.

Capt. Trevor Greene continues his path to recovery following the 2006 attack while he was sipping tea with village elders near Kandahar during a peacekeeping gathering.

Greene is now able to walk with the use of a walker and is an advocate and inspiration for brain injury survivors. He and his wife, Debbie Greene, published his memoir, “March Forth,” in 2012.

Greene worked as a journalist and covered issues related to the disappearances and murders of women in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside before volunteering to serve in Afghanistan.

The uniform he was wearing the day he was attacked is displayed at the Seaforth Highlanders Regimental Museum in Vancouver.

Woman identified as Richard Oland’s mistress testifies at murder trial

SAINT JOHN, N.B.—A Saint John courtroom was packed Nov. 10 for the testimony of a woman who said she was having an extramarital affair with Richard Oland before his murder.

Diana Sedlacek testified that she was having a romantic relationship with the New Brunswick businessman for most of the eight years she had known him before his death. She said her husband only became aware of the affair when police visited him following Oland’s death.

Oland was found face down in a pool of blood in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. His son Dennis has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.

Sedlacek said she tried repeatedly to contact him by cellphone and text message the night before and also the morning of the day his body was found, but she never got a reply.

Sedlacek’s husband Jiri Sedlacek told the court he had nothing to do with Richard Oland’s death and he never suspected his wife was having an affair.

Montreal begins dumping untreated sewage into St. Lawrence River

MONTREAL—The City of Montreal began dumping eight billion litres of untreated sewage into the St. Lawrence River on Wednesday, Nov. 11, after it agreed to conform its discharge plan to several federal government conditions.

Mayor Denis Coderre told reporters on Nov. 10 that as of midnight Wednesday morning sewers in certain parts of the city—over a one-week period—would begin diverting untreated waste water away from an interceptor and directly into the river.

On Nov. 9, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said she would permit the city’s plan as long as it implemented a series of risk-mitigating measures to limit the effect of the sewage on the river.

The city has said the controlled release of waste water is necessary in order to complete repairs on an aging interceptor sewer that feeds sewage to a treatment facility as well as relocate a snow chute.

Labatt Breweries to buy Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Okanagan Cider in US$350M deal

TORONTO—Labatt Breweries of Canada says it will buy Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Okanagan Cider in an agreement with the Mark Anthony Group of Companies. The deal is valued at US$350 million.

Labatt president Jan Craps says the agreement adds a more diverse lineup of drinks to their growing stable of beverages. The agreement will also cover Palm Bay pre-mixed drinks and the Turning Point Brewery in British Columbia, which brews Stanley Park beers.

The Mark Anthony Group would retain full ownership of its U.S. operations and its Canadian wine, spirits, and beer import and distribution business. Labatt has a portfolio of more than 60 beers made in six breweries in Canada.

No jail for Lino Zambito, ex construction boss turned corruption whistleblower

SAINT-JEROME, Que.—A former construction entrepreneur and star whistleblower at Quebec’s corruption inquiry who pleaded guilty to criminal charges has been handed a community sentence.

Lino Zambito was sentenced Nov. 10 to two years less a day to be served in the community by Quebec court Judge Paul Chevalier, who accepted a joint recommendation by the Crown and defence. He will have to perform 240 hours of community work and will be on probation for three years.

Zambito is known for his testimony at the Charbonneau inquiry, where he said construction magnates paid kickbacks to municipal political parties and to members of the Mafia in exchange for public contracts.

He pleaded guilty last May to six charges, including fraud, conspiracy and corruption, related to contracts obtained by his firm, Infrabec, from the City of Boisbriand.