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‘I wish we had known’: Peter MacKay defends record over transfer of child killers to healing lodges

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Two former top Tory cabinet ministers said Wednesday they simply didn’t know so many child killers had been transferred to Indigenous healing lodges to serve out their sentences — even though some of those transfers happened on their watch while in government.

The federal Conservative Party launched blistering verbal attacks on the Liberal government in recent weeks after federal bureaucrats authorized the transfer of Terri-Lynne McClintic — serving a life sentence for the brutal rape and murder of eight-year-old Tori Stafford of Woodstock, Ont. — to an Indigenous healing lodge in Saskatchewan.

« It’s totally inappropriate and clearly the criteria at Correctional Services Canada was inappropriate then and inappropriate now, and further changes have to be made going forward to ensure the protection of the public, » former justice minister Peter MacKay said in an interview with CBC’s Power & Politics Wednesday. « I would suggest there is a blazing red line when it comes to the transfer of a child killer.

« I only wish that we had known this 10 years ago and taken proper steps to make those changes maybe this entire situation and the trauma for the Stafford family and others could have been avoided. »

Stafford’s father, Rodney Stafford, has strenuously opposed McClintic’s transfer to the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Aboriginal Women on Nekaneet First Nation in southern Saskatchewan.

The Conservative party has said someone like McClintic — a convicted rapist and murderer who has served only eight years of a life sentence — should not be held in a facility like the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge, which does not have the traditional characteristics of a federal penitentiary, which lacks a secure perimeter to keep prisoners from escaping.

But despite the Conservatives’ strenuous opposition to McClintic’s transfer, she’s not the first child-killer to be transferred to one of Canada’s healing lodges — Indigenous-led, Correctional Service Canada-run facilities that focus on traditional spiritual practices as a means of redemption for convicted criminals.

Power & Politics reported Tuesday that as of September 23, 2018, there were 11 people convicted of first or second degree murder of a minor serving time in healing lodges. And between the fiscal years of 2011-2012 and 2018-19, 22 convicted child-killers have been held for some period of time in healing lodges.

Former justice minister Peter MacKay says he was surprised to learn that child killers had been transferred to healing lodges while the Conservatives were in power. 7:34

Between the fiscal years 2011-12 and 2014-15 — when Conservatives Vic Toews and Steven Blaney were ministers of public safety — 10 new offenders were sent to healing lodges.

« It is beyond comprehension this happened in the first instance. Correctional Services Canada has to do a deep dive as to how this occurred, » MacKay said.

Conservative Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt also served in cabinet under former prime minister Stephen Harper and has been leading the charge in the Commons against the Liberals on the McClintic file. She said she was surprised to learn so many child killers have been serving time at healing lodges.

‘We did not see the public outcry’

She said the Conservative government she served was simply unaware child killers were serving part of their sentences in these facilities. If it had known, she said, it would have acted quickly.

The Liberal government did order a review of the transfer policy when the Stafford story came to light.

« I can say confidently that we did not see the public outcry for any of those transfers, even during my government, that we did with Mr. Stafford. At all, » Raitt said today. « And what we reacted to was a parent’s cry for justice, and that’s why we brought up in the House of Commons and you know, along the way, if we needed to change the policy, then it’s the right thing to do. »

In the face of persistent criticism from the Tories, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale had said he has no legal power to intervene in individual cases, and that decisions about correctional and security classifications are made by public servants based on what is considered best for the offender’s rehabilitation and for public safety.

Last week, however, Goodale announced stricter transfer policies for Indigenous healing lodges for women.

Under the new policy, transfers will have to be authorized by Correctional Service Canada’s deputy commissioner for women, who will be required to ensure that Indigenous communities are engaged in transfer recommendations.

McClintic was transferred back to a traditional prison in Edmonton last week.

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Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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