Day: April 15, 2019



Johnny Depp’s lawyer is maintaining the actor’s innocence following the emergence of video footage showing his ex-wife Amber Heard making allegations of domestic violence against him.

Earlier this year, the Pirates of Caribbean actor filed a US$50-million defamation lawsuit against ex-wife, who was married to Depp for 15 months before she filed for divorce in May 2016, after she described herself as a domestic violence victim for a piece for The Washington Post.

The 32-year-old actress recently responded in court papers in which she detailed the alleged abuse, and over the weekend video footage of a deposition conducted in August 2016 was released, showing Heard tearfully recalling how Depp allegedly threw a phone at her face and yanked her back and forth with a fist full of her hair.

Speaking to The Blast, Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman has described the video as a “hoax” and added, “Having been caught by 19 sworn eyewitness statements, 87 surveillance videotapes, audio tape and photographs faking her claims, Ms. Heard has decided to concoct new fake claims of abuse.”

In the video deposition, she also presented photos which appeared to show that their apartment had been destroyed in the alleged fight, but Waldman stated that the images had “no metadata” confirming when they were taken, and believes they may have been doctored.

“Ms. Heard dutifully but fraudulently produced pictures, with no metadata, to the Court purporting to show a ‘destroyed’ penthouse so she could obtain her temporary restraining order,” he added.

Waldman also claimed that the Aquaman actress was visited by two police officers shortly after the video was taken and they allegedly found nothing like she described in her deposition.

“Yet 25 minutes after the horrific scene described by Ms. Heard and her two friends, two police officers, male and female, trained in domestic abuse and responding to a domestic abuse call observed and interviewed Ms. Heard twice and performed two security sweeps of the entire premises,” Waldman continued, sharing testimony from LAPD Officer Tyler Hadden, who said he didn’t see any broken glass or marks on Heard’s face.

Heard is seeking to dismiss the defamation lawsuit. The former couple finalized their divorce in January 2017.

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By The Wall of Law April 15, 2019 Off

Ford and Trudeau take carbon tax fight to court

Welcome to a sneak peek of the Maclean’s Politics Insider newsletter. Sign-up at the bottom of the page to get it delivered straight to your inbox.

Since Doug Ford swept to power in Ontario last year, he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have often been at each other’s throats—particularly over Ottawa’s national price on carbon, which Ford claims will lead to a “carbon tax recession” and Trudeau heralds as an important step in confronting one of “the greatest challenges of our time.”

Heating up: This week the two will outsource their dispute to their lawyers. The Ontario government is asking the provincial court of appeal to decide whether the federal climate change law is unconstitutional. The four-day hearing before a five-judge panel, which kicks off this morning, will also hear from a number of interveners, including Saskatchewan (which still awaits an appeal court ruling on its own provincial carbon tax challenge) and British Columbia, the Alberta Conservatives as well as Indigenous, business and environmental groups. (The Canadian Press)

Canadians will be able to watch the court case unfold themselves. In a rare move the Ontario appeals court is allowing the hearings to be livestreamed, the first time it has done so since 2008. Beginning at 10 the livestream here.

Do-over: Trudeau was welcomed at a Sikh temple and parade in Vancouver Saturday, hours after his government agreed to take out references to Sikh extremism from a report on terror threats. The Public Safety report, originally released in December, had angered many in the community because, for the first time, it listed Sikh extremism as one of the top-five extremist threats to Canada, alongside Sunni extremism, right-wing extremism, Shia extremism and Canadian extremist travellers. (Canadian Press)

The move drew an angry rebuke from the leader of India’s Sikh-majority Punjab state, Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, who slammed Trudeau for what he called a “knee-jerk decision that was clearly aimed at protecting its political interests in an election year.” (Global News)

Weekend politics show roundup

If only: With her fate as Alberta premier up in the air, the NDP’s Rachel Notley reflected on how things might be different today had the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion gone ahead. “Things would have been a little bit better,” she said on CBC’s The House. “There’s no question that last summer people were really looking up, there was a much higher sense of optimism, the economy had been moving forward in a better way, we led the country in growth the year before and we led the country in growth last year. It was when the pipeline was delayed and then at the same time we reached capacity in terms of takeaway capacity and the differential blew up, people suddenly got worried again, and things did slow down as a result. But at the end of the day what you have to do is remain focussed on the plan to get out of that problem, and that’s what we have.” (CBC News)

Fair mongering: Border Security Minister Bill Blair repeated his party’s claim that the Conservatives are “fear mongering” when it comes to refugees, even as the Liberal government faces criticism from refugee advocates for proposing a clampdown on asylum seekers. Even though the new Liberal proposals reflect some of the changes Conservatives have been calling for in recent years, Blair drew a distinction on motive:There is no safety issue but there is a fairness issue,” Blair said on CTV’s Question Period. “We have a responsibility to Canadians to ensure that the system is managed in an efficient and fair way, so we’ve been taking steps to encourage people to cross at a regular point of entry and not to do it irregularly.

Pick and choose: Jane Philpott may run again for another party, but as of right now, she’s not sure which, if any, she’d choose—it just wouldn’t be the Conservatives. Appearing on Question Period, she said she’s had conversations with the federal NDP and Greens, but that there are “too many policy differences” for her to join Team Scheer. While she said she’s still occasionally tempted to quit politics, she wants to find a way to run again because “I stood up and said what I believed, tried to advance the truth, tried to stand up on principle… and was essentially pushed away as a result of that. If people that are trying to do the right thing and standing up for truth and justice get pushed away and leave politics forever, I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing, so I’d like to think that I could stay at it. (CTV News)

Jason Markusoff’s Alberta election dispatch

In the dying days of this campaign, it’s time for closing remarks. The party leaders will make their final pitches, sure, but I mean my own concluding observations:

What we learned about Notley and the NDP

  1. She’s not such an amazing campaigner, after all: The 2015 election introduced Alberta and Canada to a sunny dispositioned, not-too-socialist-seeming New Democrat leader, who looked especially intriguing in the debate as the short, smiling lady in crème blazer against a row of dour men in navy suits. This time, Notley struggled with high expectations, turning in a carefully scripted and less-than-dazzling debate performance, and overdoing it on the attack-side rhetoric. While she professed to offer cleaner government than Jason Kenney, she didn’t excel at playing defence when faced with questions about her two unnamed MLAs accused of sexual misconduct while in office.
  2. Fear is what fuels their supporters: Notley began the NDP campaign stating she didn’t think Kenney was a racist, but his party had a racism problem. The UCP campaign did turn out to have an abnormally high quotient of homophobia and xenophobia in its ranks, and this became a core message from an incumbent party struggling on their economic message. Notley proved she could be harsh and bare-knuckled at times: “You may not agree with everything I’ve done, but we share core values—and we won’t attack minorities,” she said at a campaign stop in a day care. If this strategy yields dividends for Notley, expect to see Justin Trudeau swipe it in this fall’s federal campaign.
  3. We learned about Notley’s family: In 2015 and throughout her term as premier, Notley shielded her children from public view. This time, her 20-year-old son Ethan introduced her at a rally, and teenage daughter Sophie was in a Facebook video, joking about how much her mom cusses in front of friends. It was designed to give Albertans further reason to like this generally likeable politician, though it may also been designed as contrast to Kenney, who would be Alberta’s first child-free premier (though Danielle Smith came close to winning the position in 2012).
  4. Back to corporate-bashing: Gone this campaign were the images of Notley at a boardroom table with captains of industry. She instead reverted to a classic NDP posture, talking about CEOs as the billionaire “corporate buddies” of conservatives who line their pockets at the working class’s expense. The UCP were joined by Liberals and the Alberta Party in promising to cut the provincial corporate tax, as a way to attract investment. Notley played the economic populist in response, saying that Donald Trump’s corporate rate cuts didn’t stoke investment. While that’s true, this occurred because the U.S. economy was hot, something nobody says about Alberta’s.
  5. NDP’s economic solution: more government: The centrepiece of Notley’s jobs plan is to double the number of incentive dollars for petrochemical and oil upgrading—economic diversification, like former premier Peter Lougheed did in the 1970s, the NDP argues. (This “diversification” remains focused on oil and gas, and Lougheed’s bets included a money-losing investment in an airline). A key basis of her pledge to balance the budget by 2023 is the assumption the Alberta government will make tanker-loads of money by leasing oil-hauling rail cars another risky venture.
  6. Her party needs her: Their own brand, not so much. It’s sometimes hard to remember Notley’s name isn’t part of the acronym NDP. Her party would be directionless without her, especially in the (probably unlikely) event Notley steps down as leader should the NDP lose. One Calgary candidate introduces herself while door-knocking as a local professional running to be the MLA; no mention of the NDP, lest that close off the conversation. When a couple of male residents asked the candidate what party she was with, her answer ended the conversation. “We’ll cut this short then, thanks,” said one seemingly decided voter.

What we learned about Kenney and the UCP:

  1. He’s not such an amazing campaigner, after all: Jason Kenney came into Alberta politics renowned for his organizational prowess for the federal Conservatives—a co-architect of the Harper majority. In his first test as a political frontman, his flaws could be glaring. While charismatic and times, his stump speeches showed his wonkish tendencies: overlong, stuffed with 12-point platforms and constantly interrupted with “and oh, by the way” asides that Kenney just had to squeeze in. His vetting of candidates with intolerant views and past remarks was subpar, or perhaps his team was kept busy with a wide field of rejects and he had to overlook a few problematic figures.
  2. Revenge fuels their electorate: Kenney likes to remind his partisans that Vancouver’s mayor has discussed a carbon-free city by 2040. It tees up his applause-grabbing line about “turning off the taps.” “Well, if the B.C. New Democrats continue to block our energy, we’ll happily give them a carbon-free Vancouver by 2020.” Alberta has curtailed shipments as leverage before, during the 1980s National Energy Program. Kenney’s self-proclaimed “fight back” strategy has targets and demands all over the place: environmentalists, international banks, Quebec, energy companies (they need to fight back, too) and of course Justin Trudeau’s Ottawa. One sign this works politically? Notley has often aped his approach, like her B.C. wine ban last year, his idea months earlier.
  3. He was accessible to media—up to a point: Kenney rose through the political ranks at Stephen Harper’s side, but was always far more comfortable parrying with journalists. He engaged in long scrums throughout the campaign, eschewing the former Prime Minister’s policy of taking only five questions per day the media. He let reporters spend one-on-one time in his campaign vehicle (a pickup truck). Then, in the final days of the race, he stopped welcoming reporters’ questions; they were physically prevented from getting close enough to ask him about his candidate whose business was raided by RCMP.
  4. Investigations will dog a Kenney government from Day One: Last week’s late-night police search warrant on a business owned by Calgary–East candidate Peter Singh is one in a series of legal troubles the UCP would bring with them into government, if polls prove correct and they win. The RCMP is also questioning people about alleged voter fraud in Kenney’s party leadership victory, while the Alberta Election Commissioner continues to investigate the shenanigans of Jeff Callaway, Kenney’s stalking-horse candidate in that contest. This many controversies can sometimes be enough to drum a politician out of office. But to enter office with this many problems? In a way, Kenney must be grateful economic anxiety is running so high in Alberta.
  5. The UCP will legislate on social issues: Two years ago, when Kenney first mused about parental notification of students in gay-straight alliances, he faced overwhelming backlash. So it was surprising he promised mid-campaign to undo some legislated protections for GSAs that the NDP enacted. This triggered some of the fiercest reaction his campaign has provoked, from rallies to Charles Adler’s radio program. Given the aggressiveness of the NDP’s attack strategy and Kenney’s willingness to nibble at the edges of LGBTQ rights, it surprises me that Notley’s team didn’t warn darkly about what a UCP government might do on abortion rights.
  6. Kenney might be a bigger drag on the party than expected: Many UCP candidates were not only wary of bringing up Kenney at the doorsteps, for fear of backlash, but also shied away from their provincial party’s name. Saying “hi, I’m your Conservative candidate” was a handy way to focus on the popularity of generic conservatism, and downplay the party Kenney created. If there was a campaign brochure with Kenney’s face, odds are it was from the New Democrats. UCP pamphlets were less likely to feature photos of the candidate with his or her leader.

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By The Wall of Law April 15, 2019 Off

Elder Gordon Parmenter Killed In Salmon Arm, B.C. Church Shooting

VANCOUVER — A 25-year-old man is in custody following a shooting at a church in Salmon Arm, B.C. that left one dead and sent another to hospital on Sunday morning.

Salmon Arm RCMP say the attack happened during an event at the Church of Christ in the city about 100 kilometres north of Kelowna, and investigators do not believe it was religiously motivated.

They said a man entered the church at about 10:30 a.m. and allegedly shot two parishioners. One died at the scene, while the other was taken to hospital in stable condition.

Several parishioners wrestled the alleged shooter to the ground, said police, adding that officers seized a rifle.

RCMP officers talk behind a barricade in front of the Church of Christ in Salmon Arm, B.C. on April 14, 2019.

David Parmenter told the Salmon Arm Observer that his dad, Gordon Parmenter, was killed as the intended target.

Relatives told media that the suspect is known to the family.

“Why he was focused on dad, I have no clue,” David told the Observer. “We’re just very sad, not so much angry because I know that the young guy, he’s got some real struggles.”

Gordon Parmenter is seen in an undated photo from the website of the Salmon Arm Church of Christ.

Gordon Parmenter and his wife lost their home in a suspicious fire last month.

According to the church’s website, Parmenter was from California and lived in Arizona before settling in Canada. With his wife, he had four children, “numerous grandchildren and a host of foster kids.”

Church member Marie Taylor told CBC News that volunteer elders help people from the both the church and lay community.

Police say charges against the suspect are pending, and there’s no reason to believe there’s a risk to public safety.

With files from HuffPost Canada

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By The Wall of Law April 15, 2019 Off

Tiger’s Journey: 11 years that felt like several lifetimes

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The sex scandal. The mugshot. The debilitating injuries.

Tiger Woods certainly didn’t plan it this way.

That only made his 15th major title all the more rewarding.

Or, as Tiger put it not long after tapping in a gimme putt Sunday for a one-stroke victory at the Masters:


For so much of his life, the outline that Woods and his hard-driving father, Earl, had so carefully laid out went just as they intended.

But when Woods captured his fifth victory at Augusta National — and his first major championship in 11 years that must’ve felt like several lifetimes — he let out a scream that reflected the depths of his personal and professional hell.

Some of it of his own making, to be sure.

Some of it beyond his control, in all fairness.

All of it leading to a day that just didn’t seem possible, not since the master plan fell apart in so many ways.

Tiger Woods.

Major champion.

“Ahh, it fits,” Woods said, beaming as he tugged on that famous green jacket for the first time since 2005, a photo of Bobby Jones staring down above his left shoulder in the Butler Cabin.

For so many years, everything fit so neatly.

From his astonishing swings on “The Mike Douglas Show” at the age of 2 to becoming the first player to win three straight U.S. Amateur titles to capturing the Masters not long after his 21st birthday by a whopping 12 strokes, the Tiger Way was pure perfection, generating millions for him and his sponsors.

He married a Swedish model, had two beautiful children and kept adding one major title after another, capturing his 14th by his early 30s, on a seemingly unstoppable quest to surpass Jack Nicklaus as the greatest champion of them all.

Then, just like that, it all fell apart.

His marriage. His reputation. His body.

He had major reconstructive surgery on his left knee shortly after hobbling to what had been his most recent major championship, a playoff victory in the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

Turns out, that was only a minor prelude to all that agony that was to come, so much of it self-inflicted.

While everyone was celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday in 2009, Woods crashed his SUV into a tree and a fire hydrant outside his Florida home. That led to reports of a myriad of extramarital affairs, wrecking the facade he and his father had constructed of the dedicated athlete and perfect family man. Overnight, one of the world’s most famous people became a punchline.

Woods checked into a Mississippi clinic for more than a month, apparently to deal with some sort of sex addiction. Most of his major sponsors fled for cover. Elin Nordegren divorced her cheating husband.

In Woods’ return to golf at the Masters, he received a tongue-lashing from Augusta National chairman Billy Payne for his lack of moral scruples and for the poor example he set for America’s youth.

A far cry, to be sure, from the greeting he got Sunday in the interview room from green-jacketed moderator Craig Heatley, “Welcome back, Tiger. Or more appropriately, welcome home.”

If Woods thought things couldn’t get any worse back in 2010, he was mistaken.

His body continued to betray him, leading to one surgery after another in an attempt to alleviate the unyielding pain. His back was such a mess that it became a struggle just to walk, or sleep, or play with his kids. Woods faced the very real possibility of never playing golf again, not even for fun.

“So where is the light at the end of the tunnel?” he asked ruefully in 2015, a few weeks before Christmas. “I don’t know.”

At that point, Woods conceded, any further achievements on the golf course would be mere “gravy.”

The fourth surgery on his back was something of a last resort. Sure, he wanted to play golf again at the highest level, but he probably would have settled for a lifting of the pain and the ability to lead somewhat of a normal life. About six weeks later, he sank into another abyss when police found him asleep — or passed out — behind the wheel of his running car in the middle of the night. He was arrested and briefly jailed. His mugshot showed the face of a man whose life had seemingly spiraled out of control.

Woods blamed it on a bad combination of pain medication, pleaded guilty to reckless driving and entered a diversion program.

While he worked — again — to restore some order to his personal life, Woods began to realize that the fusion on his back had resulted in something of a medical miracle. His swing got stronger and stronger, more and more like the Tiger of old. He kept dreading a return of the excruciating, piercing pain, but it stayed away.

Physically and mentally fit, he contended at the last two majors of 2018, claimed a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team and won the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake — his first victory of any kind in more than five years, setting off a wild, course-storming celebration from the gallery.

“That confirmed I could still win out here against the best players,” Woods said. “That gave me a lot of confidence going into this year. I wanted to keep building on it. I wanted to get my mind and body peaking for Augusta.”

Once again, a plan came together.

Only this time, it came with a lot more baggage.


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Paul Newberry, The Associated Press

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By The Wall of Law April 15, 2019 Off



Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are officially single, more than two years after she filed for divorce.

On Friday, a judge ruled that the former couple’s marriage is officially over after the couple requested a bifurcated judgment, which would allow their single status to be restored while they finalize their divorce, according to Entertainment Tonight.

Pitt and Jolie requested the judgment in a court filing last month.

The Oscar-winning actress filed for divorce in September 2016, after two years of marriage and more than 10 years with the Moneyball star.

A tense custody battle over their six kids, 17-year-old Maddox, 15-year-old Pax, 14-year-old Zahara, 12-year-old Shiloh and 10-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne, ensued, during which Pitt star was investigated and cleared of child abuse.

But in November, the pair had worked out a temporary custody agreement, and disputes between the former couple over the care of the children were resolved.

“A custody arrangement was agreed to weeks ago, and has been signed by both parties and the judge,” Jolie’s attorney, Samantha Bley DeJean, said in a statement at the time.

A source close to the couple told Entertainment Tonight that Jolie was “pleased to be entering the next stage and relieved at the progress for the health of their family.”

The final divorce settlement will likely take several months, as they continue to settle up the separation of property and hammer out a permanent custody order before a judge can declare them legally divorced.

Pitt and Jolie began dating in 2005, and wed in 2014, but unexpectedly split in 2016 as the Maleficent star filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences.

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By The Wall of Law April 15, 2019 Off