LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is laying an election “elephant trap” for the opposition Labour Party that it should avoid, former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair warned on Monday. “Boris Johnson knows that if no-deal Brexit stands on its own as a proposition it might well fail but if he mixes it up with the Corbyn question in a general election he could succeed despite a majority being against a no-deal Brexit because some may fear a Corbyn premiership more,” Blair said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn “should see an election before Brexit is decided for the elephant trap it is,” he said. Johnson has pledged to deliver Brexit on October 31 whether he agrees a new deal with the European Union or not. Opposition lawmakers – and a contingent from Johnson’s Conservatives from Tuesday – will try to legislate this week to stop the possibility of no-deal. Johnson has threatened to expel rebel Conservative lawmakers if they thwart his Brexit plans by voting with the opposition, a move that would eradicate his already slim majority and make his ability to govern very difficult. He could then seek an election to break the deadlock. House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has said rebel legislation would be considered a matter of confidence in the government.
EDMONTON – A hearing to determine whether bail conditions for former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr should be eased allowing him unsupervised visits with his controversial sister did not go ahead as planned Thursday.It was put over to Sept. 15 after lawyers for the Justice Department said they needed time to consult with the federal government.“The Crown requested an adjournment to receive instructions,” Khadr’s lawyer Nate Whitling said Thursday. “We agreed and the matter’s been rescheduled.”Khadr is seeking unrestricted internet access and more freedom to move around Canada while on bail pending the appeal of his conviction by a U.S. military commission for five purported war crimes.Khadr, now 30, has been free on bail for more than two years and notes no issues have arisen since his release.Right now, he can only have contact with his sister Zaynab Khadr if one of his lawyers or bail supervisor is present.Several years ago, Zaynab and her mother infuriated many Canadians by expressing support for the al-Qaida terrorist group.In 2005, Zaynab was investigated by RCMP for allegedly aiding al-Qaida, but no charges were filed. She is now reportedly living in Sudan with her fourth husband, but is planning a visit to Canada. Khadr is arguing he wants to reconnect with his family and is old enough that he can’t be negatively swayed.Thursday’s hearing is the next phase in a 15-year legal journey for Khadr that has ignited sharp and divisive debate among Canadians over terrorism, human rights and the rule of law.The Toronto-born Khadr spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15 and accused of tossing a grenade that killed special forces soldier Christopher Speer at a militant compound in Afghanistan in 2002.In 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to multiple charges before a U.S. military commission, including to killing Speer, but has since said he can’t remember if he tossed the fatal grenade. He has said he entered the plea to try to get out of Guantanamo, where he says he was mistreated, and into the Canadian justice system.He returned to Canada in 2012 to serve out the rest of the eight-year sentence he was given.Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Khadr’s charter rights were violated at Guantanamo and Canadian officials contributed to that violation.Khadr filed a $20-million lawsuit against the government and last month it was revealed he had settled the case for a reported $10.5 million. That set off a fierce debate.Khadr has said he wants to get on with his life. He recently married and plans to move to the city of Red Deer, halfway between Edmonton and Calgary, to begin studies to become a nurse.— With files from Colin Perkel in TorontoNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Khadr is 31.
BATTLEFORD, Sask. – A Saskatchewan farmer on trial for the shooting of an Indigenous man says he was filled with terror in the moments before his gun “just went off.”Gerald Stanley told the jury in his second-degree murder trial Monday that he and his son heard an SUV with a flat tire drive into his farmyard near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016. He said they heard one of their all-terrain vehicles start and thought it was being stolen.Stanley testified they ran toward the SUV. He kicked the tail light and his son Sheldon hit the windshield with a hammer.Stanley said he grabbed a handgun, normally used to scare off wildlife, when the SUV didn’t leave the yard, and fired two or three shots into the air.“I thought I’m going to make some noise and hopefully they’re going to run out of the yard,” he told court. “I just raised the gun in the air and fired straight up.”Stanley said he popped out the cartridge “to make sure it was disarmed.”“As far as I was concerned, it was empty and I had fired my last shot.”He testified he went up to the SUV because he worried it had run over his wife and he tried to reach for the keys in the ignition.“I was reaching in and across the steering wheel to turn the key off and — boom — this thing just went off,” Stanley testified.“Was your finger on the trigger?” his lawyer, Scott Spencer, asked.“No,” Stanley answered.“Did you intend to hurt anyone?” Spencer asked.“No. I just wanted them to leave,” Stanley said. “I couldn’t believe what just happened and everything seemed to just go silent. I just backed away.”Colten Boushie, who was 22, was sitting in the driver’s seat of the grey Ford Escape when he was shot in the back of the head.Court has heard an SUV carrying Boushie, and five other people from the Red Pheasant First Nation, had a flat tire and drove onto the Stanley farm. The driver testified the group had been drinking during the day and tried to break into a truck on a neighbouring farm, but went to the Stanley property in search of help with the tire.Spencer told the jury in his opening statement earlier Monday that Boushie was the victim of “a freak accident that occurred in the course of an unimaginably scary situation.” He told jurors Boushie’s death wasn’t justified, but they must put themselves in Stanley’s shoes.“Is it unreasonable to fire warning shots when the intruders have tried to steal, taken a run at you with their vehicle, crashed into your vehicle — from Gerry’s perspective intentionally — almost run over your wife?” Spencer asked.“Is it reasonable to fire warning shots to get them to just leave? That’s what it comes down to in many ways.”Stanley was faced with intruders and didn’t have the luxury to wait for police, Spencer said.“This was not a justified death. This death is not justified legally or morally. It is never, never right to take somebody’s life with a gun. But that’s not what this case is about,” he argued.“This is really not a murder case at all. This is a case about what can go terribly wrong when you create a situation which is really of the nature of a home invasion. For farm people, your yard is your castle and that’s part of the story here.”Under cross-examination Crown prosecutor Bill Burge asked what was going on inside the car just before the shooting.“Was he looking at you? Were you trying to scare him?” he asked.“No. I was trying to scare them all out of the yard,” Stanley replied.“Did you intentionally shoot this person?” asked Burge.“No I didn’t. I didn’t pull the trigger,” said Stanley.Stanley was the last witness for the defence. Chief Justice Martel Popescul excused the jury until Thursday at which time they’ll hear closing arguments and receive his instructions.“At that point I turn it over to you, and at that point you would be sequestered until your deliberations are concluded,” Popescul said.Several people holding “Justice for Colten” signs waited outside of court.Boushie’s cousin was distraught.“That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever seen and to have to sit there and endure,” said Jade Tootoosis.“All we want is justice for Colten.”Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version referred to the victim as an Indigenous teen.