Two new judges, including the first Mi’kmaw woman to join the judiciary, have been appointed to the provincial and family court. Catherine Benton, a lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid, has become the second Mi’kmaw to serve as a judge in Nova Scotia. Ronda van der Hoek, a prosecutor and team leader with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, was also appointed to the bench today, Jan. 23, by Governor in Council on the recommendation of acting Attorney General and Minister of Justice Michel Samson. “Ms. van der Hoek and Ms. Benton are both experienced lawyers with deep roots in their communities,” said Mr. Samson. “Their professional integrity and outstanding contributions to the practice of law and the province make them fine additions to the provincial and family court.” Ms. Benton, from Auburndale, Lunenburg County, has been a lawyer for 22 years. She has worked as a researcher with the Union of Nova Scotia Indians and the Mi’kmaq Grand Council before getting her law degree from Dalhousie in 1993. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Tawaak Housing Association. Ms. Benton is a former board member with the Micmac Native Friendship Centre and the Mi’kmaq Justice Institute, a forerunner of the Mi’kmaw Legal Support Network. Ms. van der Hoek, from Windsor, Hants County, has been practicing law for 19 years. Before joining the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, she was a counsel with Nova Scotia Legal Aid in Windsor and Halifax. Ms. van der Hoek, a graduate of Dalhousie Law School, is also the federal co-chair of the Justice Committee of the Mi’kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum. “These appointments will further strengthen our justice system,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “It is important that Nova Scotians see themselves reflected in our institutions, and that our judges reflect the diversity of our province. Our justice system is made stronger by the different life experiences of the people who work in it.” The provincial court presides over most indictable offence charges under the Criminal Code and has exclusive jurisdiction over all summary offence charges under provincial and federal statutes and regulations except a charge of murder by an adult. The family court provides a forum to hear family issues, including maintenance, custody and access and child protection matters. For more information on Nova Scotia courts, visit www.courts.ns.ca.
Researchers with a cyber security firm say they have uncovered that a hacker used access to a Canadian Internet provider to hijack large foreign networks, stealing more than US$83,000 in virtual currency.The U.S.-based Dell SecureWorks says the hacker operated between February and May this year.It’s alleged the hacker targeted hosting firms with servers that generate Bitcoin — including Amazon in the U.S. and OVH in France — and redirected some activity.SecureWorks says the hacker likely worked alone and was in Canada, and could be a former or then-current employee of the ISP.The firm did not name the ISP, but says the “malicious activity” stopped after it handed the ISP its findings.SecureWorks says it did not go to the Canadian authorities, and it is not known if the ISP has identified the hacker.
LONGUEUIL, Que. — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said his party is happy to welcome Quebec sovereigntists into its ranks, as the seemingly dormant independence question resurfaced on the campaign trail Monday.Singh was questioned on the issue as he announced environmentalist Eric Ferland will be his party’s candidate for the Quebec riding of Longueuil-Saint-Hubert, south of Montreal.The announcement added a strange twist to the feud between federal New Democrats and Greens, who have been locked in a fierce battle for third place in public-opinion polls as each seeks to attract progressive voters unhappy with the governing Liberals and worried about climate change.Not only is Ferland a former leader of Quebec’s Green party, but the incumbent in the riding is former NDP MP Pierre Nantel, who defected to the Greens shortly before the election call.In addition to switching parties, the two have something else in common: they’re both sovereigntists who have advocated for Quebec independence, either currently or in the past.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below. Federal election 2019 roundup: Scheer proposes children’s tax credit, while Trudeau promises daycare funding Rex Murphy: Chillin’ with Jason Kenney’s miraculous letter Kelly McParland: Singh’s impossible promises can still hurt Trudeau While support for Quebec separation is polling low on voters’ lists of priorities, a number of candidates have had to answer questions about their pasts as sovereigntists after deciding to run for federalist parties.When asked about his past association with Quebec’s sovereignty movement on Monday, Ferland said he’s a federalist for the moment but could not rule out promoting Quebec independence in the future.But he said for now, he’d rather focus on issues of climate change and social justice.“The subject is sovereignty is not even on the table right now, it’s far away, I see it’s not moving forward so I prefer to work on things that move us forward,” he said.Singh, for his part, reiterated that he is a federalist but is happy to work with candidates from other political backgrounds as long as they share the party’s progressive values.“I believe in building a Canada that’s united, that’s my value,” he said.“I think it’s important to recognize there is strong nationalism in Quebec that has a place in the New Democratic Party,” he said, adding that federalists “couldn’t ignore the desires of the people of a place.”Alexandre Boulerice, the NDP’s deputy leader, also said he’s one of the almost 50 per cent of Quebec voters who voted “Yes” in the 1995 referendum on separating from Canada. He said there’s room for nationalists in the party.In Longueuil-Saint-Hubert alone, at least three federalist party candidates have separatist pasts, including incumbent Nantel, who won his riding south of Montreal in for the NDP in 2011 and 2015.The NDP dropped Nantel in August after it became known he was courting at least one other party, and he joined the Greens soon after.I believe in building a Canada that’s united, that’s my valueNantel’s defection to the Green party led to uncomfortable moments for leader Elizabeth May, who was forced to answer questions about her new candidate’s sovereigntist leanings last week after he told a radio host he wants Quebec to separate from Canada as soon as possible.May initially said Nantel wasn’t a separatist, describing him as “a strong Quebecer within the context of Canada,” and said her party wouldn’t endorse a candidate advocating for the breakup of the country. She later backtracked after he repeated the comments. Nantel remains a Green candidate and May has said she is comfortable with Nantel’s position and how he fits in the party.The Liberals are running former Parti Quebecois minister Rejean Hebert. The former provincial health minister has renounced sovereigntism, saying Quebecers don’t want another referendum.On Monday, Singh described Ferland’s decision to turn New Democrat as evidence that his party’s environmental plan “is the most complete,” even as he sought to underscore what he described as the main differences between the NDP and the Greens.“We believe in the importance of tackling the climate crisis. We know how important that is and we are going to do similar things,” he said.“But where we differ is we’re not going to leave workers behind. Where we differ is we have a solid position on a woman’s right to choose. With New Democrats, there’s no question what you’re getting. You know you’re going to get candidates that all unequivocally support a woman’s right to choose and will defend that and will also expand access to abortion services.”Ferland described his decision to run for the NDP as “obvious” given the party’s plan for tackling climate change, which includes ending fossil-fuel subsidies, providing more incentives for the development of clean energy and expanding the price on carbon to include Canada’s largest emitters.