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How Canada (repeatedly) freed the violent offender who randomly killed a mother and child

The Vancouver Sun sent this email to their subscribers on May 29, 2023.

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Liberals find a new stigma to fight View this email in your browser FIRSTAREADING Curated by the National Post's own Tristin Hopper, First Reading is a Canadian politics newsletter published Monday to Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time (and noon on Saturdays). Sign up your friends here.  By this time tomorrow, the Alberta election will have been won by a 50-something woman who owns at least one blue blazer. The election is proving to be a remarkably close one for Alberta; while the United Conservative Party did have the upper hand as voters went to the polls on Monday, it didn’t have an overwhelmingly commanding upper hand, as is the usual way of things in Alberta. As noted by the National Post’s Tyler Dawson, the parties aren’t quite as different as they’ve tried to frame themselves. Both the UCP and the Alberta NDP enjoy oil and spending vast sums of money, so the election has largely become a referendum on the leadership styles of Danielle Smith and Rachel Notley. (David Bloom/Postmedia) TOP STORY  Although it didn’t get nearly as much attention as other stranger attacks, earlier this month Edmonton was host to what is easily Canada’s worst random stabbing yet. Not long after class let out at Crawford Plains School on May 5, a mother and child were set upon and attacked by an erratic man roaming the grounds with a knife. Eleven-year-old Sara Miller likely saw her mother die: Although 35-year-old Carolann Robillard died at the scene, her daughter was still showing vital signs when first responders arrived at the scene – but would die several hours later in hospital. Both mother and child would later be buried in the same casket. Witness reports suggest that the attacker — who lived just 400 metres away — intended to go on a stabbing spree within the school itself. When he was unable to gain access to the building by what police called the “heroic” actions of a teacher, he seemed to instead turn his aggression on the nearest people he could find. The alleged attacker is dead: He died in hospital after being shot in an altercation with police soon after the stabbing. But even amid a nationwide crisis of violent offenders being set free despite their high likelihood to hurt innocent people, this case represents a particularly egregious failure of the system to protect the public from an obvious threat to their safety. Muorater Mashar, 33, had been racking up a record of repeat violent crimes for at least the last 14 years. He also had a troubled record as a teenager; court documents show he was suspended at least twice from high school for violence – although any crimes committed during that time would not be public record under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. At the time of the May 5 attack on Miller and Robillard, Mashar conceivably still could have been in jail on one of several earlier convictions. As per the Criminal Code, it takes just one conviction of aggravated assault to be imprisoned for up to 14 years – but despite Mashar getting a litany of such convictions, he often escaped with sentences of only a few months. Global News’ Edmonton bureau performed one of the most thorough checks of Mashar’s criminal history, and even managed to interview some of his victims. They found that his longest prison sentence was for just four years, which he got for almost killing someone at a Winnipeg bus stop in 2014. Reportedly, Mashar had gotten into an argument with a fellow bus rider and responded by puncturing the man’s aorta and spinal cord with a series of stab wounds. But Mashar got parole despite multiple violent incidents in prison and violations of his release conditions. "You are noted to be unpredictable and are somewhat paranoid and are manipulative with staff," reads a Parole Board of Canada decision from 2018 authorizing his release, and obtained by CBC Edmonton. And yet, just two years later when Mashar attacked an Edmonton transit bus with a can of bear spray, he only got 80 days in jail. In the months before allegedly attacking Miller and Robillard, Mashar had even begun demonstrating a penchant to assault children for no reason. In April, 2022 he tackled a random 12-year-old boy on the Edmonton LRT, repeatedly punching the child in the back until he was restrained by bystanders. The boy’s mother, Aimee Guilbault, spoke to Global News and explained her son’s shock at finding out that his attacker had been out of prison only a couple months after his February 2023 conviction. “He didn’t believe it at first, when I told him. He was like: ‘That guy shouldn’t be out yet.’ I said ‘I know,’” she said. Even setting aside the possibility that Mashar still could have been in jail on May 5, there’s no reason he also couldn’t have been in pre-trial detention awaiting yet another charge stemming from a seemingly random assault. In the first days after the attack, Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee noted that his officers had only recently finished bringing Mashar in on an assault charge relating to an alleged attack with a scooter. “He was brought before a judge and released with conditions and the charges were later stayed,” McFee told reporters. And according to Mashar’s records, it was not the first time he’d gotten violent assault charges ignored or thrown out altogether. During a brief stay in the Edmonton Remand Centre after the assault on the 12-year-old, Mashar reportedly received no consequences for attacking another inmate with feces. As McFee said after the May 5 attack, “there were multiple intervention points, multiple opportunities to hold the suspect accountable and provide him the professional support required to manage his behaviour. But the system once again failed.” Particularly in the last two years, Canada has witnessed an escalating crisis of “stranger attacks”; random and sometimes fatal assaults committed without provocation, and sometimes in broad daylight. In almost all cases, the alleged perpetrator is on parole, on bail, or both. In March, 16-year-old Gabriel Magalhaes was stabbed to death without provocation at a Toronto subway station. His alleged attacker Jordan O’Brien-Tobin, had accumulated dozens of progressively more violent charges since turning 19 just three years prior, and is alleged to have killed Magalhaes only weeks after receiving parole for an alleged sexual assault. A new stigma just dropped! According to several Liberal cabinet ministers, Canada apparently has a really bad problem with stigmatizing menstruation, and we should all wear red bracelets to show our solidarity. “Together, we'll break the stigma and create a society where menstruation is no longer taboo,” reads the caption for this image of Liberal MPs Harjit Sajjan and Arielle Kayabaga. (Twitter/Harjit Sajjan) IN OTHER NEWS  NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has been sounding essentially the same notes as the Conservative Party when it comes to the foreign interference scandal. Namely, that the Liberal government seems to have chronically ignored foreign interference, and that David Johnston is way too close to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to act as an impartial “special rapporteur” on the issue. Of course, the NDP differs somewhat in that they are continuing to prop up the minority Liberal government and have openly refused to exercise any kind of leverage over the scandal. But on Monday, Singh did call on the Liberals to fire Johnston, but only if they feel like it because he won’t stop propping them up if they don’t. Earlier this month, National Post contributor Adam Zivo published an in-depth investigation as to how “safer supply” in B.C. has likely made the province’s overdose crisis even worse. Addicts provided with “safer supply” are simply selling it and then using the money to buy illicit fentanyl. That safer supply – which is composed of some pretty powerful drugs like hydromorphone – is then flooding the black market and utterly crashing the prices for opioids. Over the weekend, the Vancouver Sun spoke to a man whose 14-year-old daughter died after taking hydromorphone – which he suspects got to her by way of the “safer supply” system. 1A LA 1 A A4 A3 2e10 L -t A RN 2 3 A 101 L GG:60:8L Z0T-8C-S0 3INYLNVA This newsletter often concerns itself with the ways in which Canada is proverbially on fire. We’re afraid it’s also literally on fire as well. Alberta is already well on its way to experiencing the most damaging fire season in its history, and a series of out-of-control wildfires in Nova Scotia over the weekend forced the evacuation of more than 16,000 people, some of them having to flee on roads flanked by flames on either side. ([email protected]/via REUTERS) Despite our best efforts, First Reading is not yet an omniscient record of all things related to Canadian politics. For that, you’ll have to check out the National Post’s ongoing political coverage. Was this newsletter forwarded to you? Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox. We'd love your feedback. Write to us at [email protected] or hit reply to send us a note. © 2023 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication strictly prohibited. 365 Bloor St East, Toronto, ON, M4W 3L4 You received this email because you are subscribed to First Reading Newsletter by National Post, registered as [email protected] • • • Contact us • Digital Ad Registry © 2023 Postmedia Network Inc. All rights reserved.
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