Thursday 25 June 2015

“The victim here is Canadian society”: Justice Cameron’s withering assessment of Dean Del Mastro’s crimes

Justice Lisa Cameron has sentenced Dean Del Mastro, the former Conservative MP for Peterborough, to thirty days in jail for overspending about $20,000 on his 2008 election campaign.

(Scroll down for video footage by Pamela VanMeer).
Del Mastro was optimistic at first

Del Mastro, 44, had already been found guilty on three counts of election fraud related to overspending, both on his personal and his campaign limit. The jail sentence is for the first two counts – each of 30 days, to be served concurrently, (i.e. both at the same time, as opposed to consecutively, which would have been 60 days).

After Del Mastro is released, he is to serve four months of house arrest, and will be on probation for an additional 18 months. He also has to pay back $10,000 that Cameron has determined he owed to his riding association.

Cameron delivered an even-handed yet withering assessment of Del Mastro’s crimes.

Monday 22 June 2015

Trudeau and asylum for Mexican torture victims

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau has promised to lift the Mexican visa requirement should his party form the next government. The requirement was put in place in 2009 to stem a flood in asylum claims.

The olive branch is a good idea. The visa, as presently structured, is punitive in the extreme, with many Mexicans unable to fulfil the onerous bureaucratic requirements.  This would go a long way toward improving strained relations between the two countries. A complete cancellation, however, would likely result in a flood of asylum claimants – something Trudeau did not address in his speech.

Saturday 20 June 2015

Mexican authorities recapture Anastasia Lechtchenko for double homicide

Ten days after allegedly murdering her mother and young sister, 19-year-old Anastasia Lechtchenko has been detained by authorities in Tijuana, Mexico.
The accused after her arrest

It is believed that Ms. Lechtchenko murdered and dismembered her mother Yuliya Masney Safonchik, aged 45, as well as Valeria Lechtchenko, 12.

After the bodies were discovered, Anastasia Lechtchenko allegedly confessed to her crimes, telling the police that she thought her mother and sister were “witches”.

Monday 15 June 2015

Russian teenager who confessed to murdering and dismembering her mother and sister, claiming they were “witches”, released in Tijuana, Mexico

WARNING: This post contains graphic language.

According to Mexican authorities, 19-year-old Anastasia Lechtchenko Masney has confessed to murdering and dismembering her mother, Yuliya Masney Safonchik, aged 45, as well as her little sister, Valeria Lechtchenko, 12.
The poster seeking Ms. Lechtchenko Masney
earlier this year

Why Ms. Lechtchenko (who in Mexico is also known as Lechtchenko Gubarev) has since been released, and why the court has not issued an arrest warrant for her, is uncertain.

On Wednesday, June 10, Mexican authorities found the two dismembered bodies wrapped in plastic bags in a rented apartment on Paseo Ensenada in the Playas de Tijuana neighborhood, where the family had lived for five years. Police were called after neighbors complained of a foul smell. The two had last been seen on Sunday, June 7.

Two days later, on Friday the 12th, police detained Ms. Lechtchenko. She confessed to the murders during the preliminary investigation, saying that her mother and sister were “dangerous witches”. Aside from the confession, police were led to believe that Ms. Lechtchenko was implicated, as she did not report her mother or sister missing, as well as the fact that the apartment showed no damage or sign of forced entry. Her father was interviewed, as were crime-scene experts.

Sunday 14 June 2015

Margarita Zavala: Mexico's Hillary Clinton?

Margarita Zavala, wife of former Mexican president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), has announced that she will be a candidate for the presidency of Mexico in 2018.
Margarita Zavala

Ms. Zavala made the announcement via social media, claiming that her goal was to bridge the enormous divide between Mexico’s political classes and the people.

The former first lady is vying to be the right-of-center National Action Party (PAN) candidate.  She has been a PAN deputy in the Mexican Congress (2006), as well as a two-time local deputy in Mexico City (1994-1997 / 2003-2006). She is the only wife of a Mexican president to have served in Congress.

American real estate agent beaten to death in San Miguel de Allende

A gang has beaten to death an American real estate agent in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Oliver Caraco, formerly of Miami, Florida, was killed outside of the “La Lomita” nightclub on Saturday night, allegedly by three youths.
The murder may have been unintentional

According to reports from Mexico, Mr. Caraco, 53, was a regular at La Lomita. A group of up to fifteen young people started to harass Mr. Caraco in the bar. As he left, they threatened to steal his scooter. He fended them off, and got as far as a nearby bypass (“Libramiento Dolores”), where the three caught up to him and beat him to death.

Some reports have Mr. Caraco coming upon the group first outside the bar, and then confronting them as they tried to steal his motorbike. A scuffle ensued, and he got as far as the bypass, where the three men killed him.

Friday 5 June 2015

Fracking in Mexico's shadows

Mexico’s national energy company, Pemex, has been conducting hydraulic fracking to extract hydrocarbons in Mexico since 2003. However, with the recent changes on Mexico’s energy laws the activity will now be open to “Round One” tenders for direct access to fields from foreign companies such as Halliburton, Schlumberger, and Baker Hughes.

According to information accessed by CartoCrítica, a civil society organization in Mexico, Pemex has registered at least 924 wells as having been drilled using fracking in Mexico, including in the states of Coahuila (47 wells), Nuevo Leon (182 wells), Puebla (233 wells), Tabasco (13 wells), Tamaulipas (100 wells) and Veracruz (349 wells).

However, the Pemex document contradicts another from Mexico’s Ministry of Energy (SENER), dated April 2010, which specifically references the hydraulic fracturing of 1,323 wells, and with this greater number only being in the “Chicontepec Paleocanal”, a well-known oil field that covers the states of Veracruz and northern Puebla.

Ahoy landlubbers, the NDP have set sail

For Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada, it was supposed to be easy. Set yourself up as the only alternative to the hated Stephen Harper. Line up the gunwales and fire your cannons at the skull and crossbones. Find that breezy middle, and promise things like “fairness” and “transparency”. Tack to the polls on security. The evil pirate ship will assuredly fire back, but their grapeshot will not even tatter the yardarm of your noble vessel. Gallant ensign Trudeau will pull a head and sail across the finish line, firing his guns in triumph.
The damage done?

The strategy was, it seems, set in stone. But, given changing currents and winds, that’s no certain way to win a naval battle. In fact, it might just sink you. As the NDP moved up in the polls and jockeyed with the other two parties, the Conservatives and the Liberals were still pouring their money into advertisements, attacking each other. They jumped each other’s decks, swords drawn, and the NDP, more or less ignored, sailed right past the fracas.

Justin Trudeau’s fading star

EKOS poll, June 5, 2015
The recent EKOS poll is bad news for Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada. Among the three major federal parties, EKOS has the NDP at 31.3%, followed by the Conservatives at 29.2% and the Liberals bringing up the rear with 23.9%.

Significantly, the poll shows that the Conservatives and Liberals are struggling with both “ceiling” and leadership numbers.