Man injured in Ahuntsic shooting has links to Mafia

MONTREAL – Police sources have confirmed that the victim of a shooting on St. Laurent Blvd. Monday morning is a man with known ties to the Mafia in Montreal.

Giuseppe Fetta, 33, was taken to a hospital after having been shot at around 10:10 a.m. on St. Laurent Blvd. between Sauriol and Fleury Sts. The victim, who was shot at least once, was beside a car when the shooter came up on foot. After firing off the shots, the man ran off.

It is not known at this time what the severity of his injuries are, Montreal police Constable Anie Lemieux said.

Two police sources confirmed the injured man is Fetta, a man who in the past has been tied to Francesco Del Balso, a young leader in the Mafia currently serving a lengthy prison term after pleading guilty to taking part in several conspiracies investigated during Project Colisée.

Fetta was included among the many people arrested in Project Colisée in 2006 but only for a minor offence, relative to the other charges produced by the lengthy investigation.

In 2008, he pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm and committing an offence for a criminal organization. He received a suspended sentence. The charges involved a part of the Colisée investigation that targeted Del Balso.

Police obtained video footage of Fetta and two other men as they handled firearms, on Sept. 4, 2006, inside a garage used to store cars. The garage was located on St. Laurent Blvd., near Sauriol St., close to where Fetta was shot on Monday.

When police raided the garage, on September 12, 2006, they found two semi-automatic rifles, a semi-automatic pistol, two bulletproof vests and ammunition.

The crime scene has been taped off while police gather information and interview witnesses, Lemieux said, so this is an area to avoid if you are driving.

 

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TransCanada signs deal to build, operate 900-megawatt Ontario power plant

TORONTO – The Ontario Power Authority announced Monday it had signed a contract with TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) to own and operate a gas-fired generating station near Kingston that was originally planned for the Greater Toronto Area.

The 900-megawatt facility will be located near Ontario Power Generation’s Lennox Generating Station property in Napanee instead of Oakville, a move the Liberal government said would cost taxpayers $40 million.

However, the Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats accuse the government of hiding the true cost of cancelling the Oakville power plant and another one in nearby Mississauga.

“It’s an ongoing story of Liberal waste and Liberal self-interest and a reminder to people that there’s a good reason to have the legislature open: we need to be able to dig into this,” said NDP energy critic Peter Tabuns.

“And we certainly shouldn’t be accepting of a the Liberals’ $40-million figure.”

The opposition parties estimate the combined figure for the two cancelled power plants in Liberal ridings is around $1 billion, not the $230 million the Liberals admit.

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The Tories and NDP say they would have found out the real cost if Premier Dalton McGuinty had not prorogued the legislature just hours before public hearings into the failed projects were to begin.

“Independent estimates suggest the cost to cancel and relocate this gas plant ranges anywhere from $800 million to $1.3 billion, the bulk of which will be passed on to Ontario ratepayers,” said PC energy critic Vic Fedeli.

“When I was sitting at committee, I witnessed the Liberals fight tooth and nail to keep the auditor general from looking into the Oakville cancellation. Now we know why.”

The Tories also wanted to know why Ontario was building a new power plant just two kilometres from the “under-utilized” Lennox generating station owned by OPG.

“That 2,000-megawatt facility runs at just five per cent of its capacity,” said Fedeli.

“How does this help address the power needs in the southwest GTA where the power was deemed to be needed in the first place?”

The cancellation of the two gas plants – which the opposition parties called a “Liberal seat saver program” – led to a rare contempt of Parliament motion against Energy Minister Chris Bentley over the government’s initial refusal to release documents on the projects, which it was eventually forced to do by the Speaker.

However, despite more than 56,000 documents being released, the Tories and NDP still insist they hadn’t been given all the information they were entitled to have.

A legislative committee dominated by the opposition parties was about to start public hearings into the costs of the gas plants, and the contempt motion, when McGuinty surprised everyone Oct. 15 by proroguing the legislature and announcing his resignation.

“Dalton McGuinty knew he was in deep trouble, that the more that came out about what was really going on here the worse things would look for him because in fact they behaved improperly,” said Tabuns.

The Mississauga gas plant, construction of which was well underway when the Liberals cancelled it two weeks before the Oct. 6, 2011 election, will be relocated to the Sarnia area.

Construction had not started on the Oakville gas plant when the Liberals decided to cancel it after well-funded local opponents brought in famed environmental activist Erin Brokovich to speak against the project.

TransCanada said Monday that the new Napanee plant will create about 600 construction jobs as well as long-term employment for about 25 people with $4 million in annual salaries and benefits. The plant will operate under a 20-year power purchase arrangement with the OPA.

“There needs to be alignment of all stakeholders before you kind of move forward, and I think we found that in Napanee,” TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said Monday.

“We have a location that is far more acceptable to all stakeholders than Oakville,” Girling said.

TransCanada currently operates the 683-MW Halton Hills Generating Station, has a 50 per cent ownership in the 550-MW Portlands Energy Centre in Toronto and has agreed to purchase nine Ontario solar plants that would produce 86 MW of clean energy. It also owns a large portion of the Bruce Power nuclear facility – 49 per cent of Bruce A and 32 per cent of Bruce B.

Governor Carney’s vacation stay with Liberal critic not a conflict, BoC says

OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada tried to quell questions about its governor’s impartiality and judgment Monday, saying Mark Carney was not afoul of conflict rules by vacationing in the summer at the cottage of the Liberal finance critic.

The central bank confirmed a weekend report that Carney stayed at Scott Brison’s Nova Scotia cottage while key members of the Liberal party were courting him for the leadership.

Spokesman Jeremy Harrison said there was nothing improper in the visit, and that bank duties were not discussed.

“The Bank of Canada’s general counsel, who is responsible for enforcing the bank’s conflict of interest policy, has assessed that this visit does not breach the bank’s conflict of interest guidelines in any way,” Harrison said.

“Neither the Bank of Canada, nor governor Carney, have an actual or potential commercial or business relationship with Mr. Brison.”

Harrison added that Carney and Brison had been friends for about a decade and that the visit to the MP’s cottage at Cheverie, N.S., cannot “be defined as partisan or political activity.”

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Brison confirmed the friendship, which began in 2004 when Carney was an associate deputy minister at Finance and the Nova Scotia MP was the Liberal public works minister, but refused to elaborate about the visit.

“We entertain friends often at our Cheverie home. It is not our intention to publicly discuss personal time with friends in our private space,” he said.

Carney is used to being courted, most successfully by the finance minister of Great Britain, who has convinced him to become the next governor of the Bank of England in July.

But the report that Carney had been sought out for the Liberal leadership – particularly the suggestion he did not immediately shut down the entreaties – has placed him and the bank in a murky area of ethics, causing some to review his past speeches and policy decisions for signs of taint.

Desjardins Capital Markets economist Jimmy Jean noted the “chatter,” but called “reckless” one assertion that the central bank might have “intentionally kept monetary policy too restrictive (recently) such as to tarnish the Conservative party’s economic track record.”

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who appointed Carney to the job in 2008, shut down any questions on the issue when asked both Sunday night and Monday.

“I have no comment on any of that, and I usually have comments on everything,” he said.

Several Bay Street economists, who asked not to be quoted, said they saw no evidence that Carney had conducted monetary policy in any way other than impartially.

Carney has acknowledged in the past to being approached by Liberals for the job, but maintained he was not interested, at one time jokingly responding: “Why not become a circus clown?”

In the Globe and Mail article, Carney said he had been approached by “different people, different parties.”

The article quotes Carney as saying that he never sought the job and did nothing to encourage suitors.

“Nobody did anything on my behalf. I never asked anybody to do anything. I never made an outgoing phone call. I never encouraged anybody to do anything.”

Liberal MP John McCallum, also a former finance critic and private sector economist, said he had a short conversation with Carney in August because he had heard the speculation, which he said he found “unusual.”

He Carney neither confirmed or denied interest.

“I wasn’t lobbying, I just casually mentioned it.”

The Bank of Canada’s conflict-of-interest policy cautions against the “appearance of impropriety,” and says employees offered hospitality or other benefits should ask themselves: “Does it feel right?”

Other questions to be considered: “Is there a chance that this could reflect negatively on me or on the Bank? What would a reasonable person think about my actions? Would I be embarrassed if others knew I took this action?”

The policy does not ban outside political activity. “Employees are not excluded from participating in political activities as long as their actions are not likely to be interpreted by the public as being representative of Bank policy.”

Carney, who briefed finance ministers on the state of the economy at a federal-provincial meeting at Meech Lake, Que., on Monday, left the meeting without taking questions from reporters.

Ivernia enters management services agreement with Enirgi Group; CEO steps down

TORONTO – Base metals miner Ivernia Inc. (TSX:IVW) has signed a management services agreement with its majority shareholder as part of a restructuring move that will also see current president and CEO Alan De’ath take early retirement.

Under the agreement with Enirgi Group Corp., which holds 58.9 per cent of the Toronto-based Ivernia’s stock, Enirgi president and CEO Wayne Richardson will take over as head of Ivernia effective Dec. 28.

Richardson joined the Ivernia board in March after having been on the board of Ivernia’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Rosslyn Hill Mining Pty Ltd., since October 2010. He has been chairman of Rosslyn Hill since January.

The companies said Richardson’s will be focused on streamlining management and returning Ivernia’s Paroo Station Mine in Western Australia to sustainable operations.

The company has said it will need some $20 million in funding to restart operations, with the restart currently scheduled for the second quarter of 2013.

“The team has advanced discussions with potential lenders to provide a debt funding solution that supports the objective of minimizing equity dilution,” Enirgi said in a release.

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Richardson said the streamlining of the company’s management teams and operations “is expected to deliver cost savings while providing improved access to skills and systems.”

“I have been working closely with the CFO to advance the debt funding solutions and I remain committed to the objective I set out at the last annual general meeting – namely re-establishing value for all of Ivernia’s shareholders,” he said.

Under the management services agreement, Enirgi Group will be responsible for providing general management and executive services for Ivernia, including strategic and business planning functions, accounting, treasury and other day-to-day matters on a cost-only basis.

Ivernia retains full ownership of the mine and the arrangement will have no impact on Ivernia’s status as a reporting issuer or its TSX listing, Ivernia said.

How to prepare for doomsday, whether or not it occurs on the 21st

MONTREAL – Don’t talk to Bruce Beach about doomsday. He’s been preparing for impending disaster for a half-century and has seen apocalyptic agitation come and go, like so many fads.

So forgive him for not panicking over the end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21, this coming Friday.

The 78-year-old former high school teacher, who has a huge nuclear bunker in Ontario, built his first shelter for the Cuban missile crisis in the 1960s.

He was prepared to go underground for the Y2K crisis, amid widespread concern that computer glitches might bring down airplanes in 2000. He received lots of calls from people seeking shelter during the 1982 Falklands War. But his busiest day was Sept. 11, 2001, when his website was bombarded with 85,000 hits within three hours.

People regularly drop in to seek refuge in the shelter he built in the 1980s, named the “Ark Two,” which comprises 42 buried school buses.

His most recent visit was three weeks ago.

The labyrinth, with its kitchens, showers and separate bunk rooms for children and adults, is about 90 kilometres northwest of Toronto, in Horning’s Mills, Ont.

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“People have been in a panic because someone has prophesized the end of the world this particular week or whatever,” Beach said in a phone interview from his home.

“They call us up just to make sure we have space in the shelter and I tell them, ‘For sure, come on down.’”

Beach’s main concern has always been the threat of nuclear attacks, which he fears are even closer than ever because of Middle East conflicts and Iran’s suspected weapons program.

As far as he’s concerned, the most troubling news as of late has come from the North Koreans – not the Mayans.

“Everybody was all excited about the North Korean (rocket) launch because you see if they put a satellite in space, they can also put up a nuclear weapon,” Beach said.

But for all that planning, there’s been a recent snag.

If the apocalypse happened to occur now, Beach would have a nuisance to contend with: busted generators. His two big power sources have broken down.

“We actually have about a dozen generators, but our two main ones are both down at this moment,” Beach said in a recent interview.

Beach doesn’t sound too worried but, on the off chance he required any consolation, he might have plenty of time to fix that generator.

Western University archeologist Linda Howie wants to make it clear that the Mayan calendar doesn’t mark the end of the world, but only the end of a cycle.

She explained in an interview that the Mayans used several calendars, including a “long-count” calendar.

“The long-count calendar – the universal cycle – takes a total of 7,785 solar years for it to complete itself, so what Dec. 21 marks is the end of that long period of time,” Howie said.

She said the Mayans never believed that this week would mark the end of the world as we know it.

“It’s not the end to civilized society because they refer to dates that are actually even farther beyond Dec. 21, 2012, in some of their inscriptions,” Howie said.

“They clearly had a concept of time extending beyond the end of the current universal cycle.”

Howie blamed all the doomsday speculation on some missing hieroglyphics on a monument found in Mexico in the 1960s.

“It all comes down to a symbol which translates into: ‘It will happen’,” she said.

“All it says is that ‘it’ will be on Dec. 21, 2012, and then half the script is missing and the hieroglyphics about what will happen are destroyed. We don’t know what the subject is.”

Howie suggested the reason people are feeling a bit more nervous about the date is because it coincides with the winter solstice.

“We know that yearly events like that have had significance to us in the past (and) these points of the year were marked by celebrations and rituals,” she added.

So if the general consensus is correct and there is no looming catastrophe this week, what happens next?

One man living in the countryside near Montreal says it’s always a good time to get prepared for disaster. Dean, one of the spokespeople for the Canadian Preppers Network, doesn’t want his family name used for security reasons.

The network brings together people who focus on emergency preparedness, self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

“I think most Canadians are very unprepared for any type of emergency,” Dean said in a phone interview from somewhere in the Laurentian mountains, north of Montreal.

The 42-year-old married father of six said the network has close to 700 participants in Canada, who describe themselves as “preppers.”

Dean admitted it’s hard to say exactly how many preppers there are because not everybody is ready to reveal their location.

He said that, contrary to some unfortunate stereotypes, preppers are not “tin-foil, hat-wearing nut-jobs up in the woods” who happen to be armed to the teeth.

“We’re normal people,” he said.

“The only difference is we take a few extra steps to be ready to take care of ourselves and our families should the unthinkable happen.”

That means stocking up with spare food, water and a few supplies should an emergency occur.

The “unthinkable” could be anything from a natural disaster – like Hurricane Katrina – to a major power blackout that lasts for days.

Dean said he and his fellow preppers aren’t expecting the end of the world this week. But they do have some cause for concern.

“People who believe in (doomsday) may have some adverse reactions,” he said.

“Whenever someone yells, ‘doomsday,’ there are people who go off the deep end, but preppers as a whole -especially in our network – are not expecting the end of the world.”

Dean said one of the reasons he moved his family to the mountains north of Montreal was because there’s a lack of preparedness by people in the city.

“I think the city would become quite a dangerous place to be in the face of an emergency,” he added.

“People who are unprepared will tend to become even nastier than they normally may be if they can’t get resources such as food and water.”

Dean explained that preppers like to keep a low profile. They suspect that, when the big day comes, they would be targeted by people who don’t have any emergency supplies on hand.