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Suspended senator faces fraud charges

Douglas Garland is led into a Calgary police station last week during the investigation of the disappear­ance of a boy and his grandparents. 

Associated Press

Douglas Garland is led into a Calgary police station last week during the investigation of the disappear­ance of a boy and his grandparents. 

Suspended Sen. Mike Duffy is facing 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery in connection with the so-called "expenses scandal."

The former television news broadcaster was appointed to Canada's upper chamber by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009.

His arrest involves claims for housing expenses, travel costs not associated with Senate business and fraudulent contracts, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud said.

The investigation concerns more than $200,000 in expenses claimed by Duffy, he added.

Duffy, 68, was suspended from the Senate last November, along with Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin, over expense claims. Former Sen. Mac Harb resigned last August after paying back $231,000 for ineligible housing and travel expenses.

Police earlier proceeded with fraud and breach-of-trust charges against Brazeau and Harb while they continue to investigate Wallin's expenses.

Murder charges filed in trio's disappearance

A Calgary area man faces three counts of murder in the disappearance of a 5-year-old boy and his grandparents.

Douglas Garland, 54, who lives on his parents' rural property near Airdrie, has been linked to Nathan O'Brien and Alvin and Kathy Liknes, who have been missing since June 29.

Police proceeded with the murder charges even as the search continues for the three. They indicated that a "violent incident" had occurred in the Liknes home, without elaborating.

Garland had business dealings with the couple, and his sister has had a relationship with a Liknes family member, officials said.

News in brief

• A former Canadian student was among the 298 people killed after a surface-to-air missile brought down the Malaysian Airlines flight Thursday over Ukraine. Andrei Anghel, 24, of Ajax, Ontario, who graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2012, was in medical school in Romania and traveling to Bali for a vacation. Prime Minister Harper expressed his condolences and offered Canada's help in determining the cause of the crash.

• Statistics Canada says the annual rate of inflation has risen to a two-year high at 2.4 percent. The agency said Canadians continue to pay more for food, gasoline and most other consumer items, pushing the rate up one-tenth of a percent last month. The biggest hike was in Ontario, where the rate rose to 3 percent, with natural gas prices up 38.4 percent and gasoline costing 9.4 percent more than a year ago.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar is lower at 93.17 cents U.S., while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0732 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 1 percent, while the prime-lending rate is unchanged at 3 percent.

Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 15,280 points and the TSX Venture index down at 1,011 points.

The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is down at $1.3222 (Canadian).

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Regional briefs

• "I made a big, big mistake," Joe Fontana, 64, former federal Cabinet minister and mayor of London, Ontario, said before being sentenced for fraud-related crimes. Judge Bruce Thomas said "personal gain appears to be the only motive" for the fraud. Fontana altered an expense claim for $1,700 for his son's wedding reception in 2005, claiming it was for a political event.

• Massive forest fires in Alberta and British Columbia have resulted in Environment Canada's issuing air quality advisories. The poor air extends from Jasper National Park to Cold Lake in Alberta. Smoky sky advisories in British Columbia involve Quesnel, Williams Lake, Kootenay Lake and East Columbia, along with Thompson, Fraser Canyon, Okanagan, Similkameen, Nicola and Shuswap regions.

• Now that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is out of rehab, he calls himself "sober as a judge" and "healthy as a horse." Ford spent two months in treatment for substance abuse and drinking and is seeking re-election in October. He says he isn't rattled by the protesters and hecklers at political events who call for him to resign.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com.

Suspended senator faces fraud charges 07/19/14 [Last modified: Saturday, July 19, 2014 7:51pm]
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