Saturday, April 19th-0.2°C

No Keystone pipeline this yr.

The Canadian government demanded an answer immediately on the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. It has now received a reply from the United States government that amounts to: Maybe next year.

The project is now paralyzed for an indefinite period, with the U.S. administration Friday announcing another delay in a process already beset by political and legal challenges.

The announcement made it clear that Canadian pipeline backers will not get the answer they wanted in time for the summer construction season, pushing completion of the project until 2015 — at best.

The State Department said it needs more time to prepare its recommendation to the president because the pipeline route is mired in uncertainty. A legal dispute is underway in Nebraska over the route and it is unlikely to be resolved before next year.

Eight federal agencies were informed Friday that they will be granted additional time to weigh into the process, while details of the route are still being clarified.

Administration officials denied claims the decision was motivated by politics. That accusation was levelled explicitly by its Republican opponents at home, and in language that was only marginally more diplomatic by the Harper government in Ottawa.

The Obama administration insisted the delay was about analyzing the right pipeline route — and not at all about flinging a political hot potato beyond November's congressional elections.

"That pipeline route is central to the environmental analysis," a State Department official told reporters Friday.

"We are prudently recognizing that the facts agencies need to assess and analyze could change... We have decided that the prudent thing is to allow more time."

The southern leg of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline is already completed, but the northern stretch that crosses the Canada-U.S. border requires a presidential permit. With that process delayed for years, rail shipments of Alberta crude have skyrocketed, threatening a broader trickle-down effect throughout the transportation system and on Canada's resource-based economy.

Speculation had been rampant about whether the Obama administration might try to punt the politically sensitive decision until after this year's midterms. That's because even if the project has solid support from the general public, it has sharply divided Barack Obama's Democratic party.

On one side, there are big-money environmentalist donors. On the other side, red-state conservative Democrats risk losing their seats and leaving the Republicans with control of both congressional chambers.

The Harper government appears unconvinced the decision was apolitical.

"We are disappointed that politics continue to delay a decision on Keystone XL," Harper spokesman Jason MacDonald said in a statement.

"This project will create tens of thousands of jobs on both sides of the border, will enhance the energy security of North America, has strong public support, and the U.S. State Department has, on multiple occasions, acknowledged it will be environmentally sound."

The Canadian Press


Flooding in New Brunswick

New Brunswickers living in flood-prone communities are being urged to stay vigilant as cleanup from this week's flooding continues.

In the northwestern village of Perth-Andover, municipal officials warned Friday that while water levels dropped temporarily overnight, they were expected to continue fluctuating.

Village spokeswoman Justine Waldeck said the breakup of ice along the St. John River and at the dam at Grand Falls also remained a cause for concern.

"In the coming days, the ice above Grand Falls will eventually give way and we will see that ice come through the dam and then come into our community," Waldeck said in an interview.

"If we get another 2 1/2 feet (of water) in town, then it will start to cross at our lower lying areas."

Mayor Terry Ritchie called Wednesday for a voluntary evacuation amid fears the St. John River could flood parts of the village, which experienced severe flooding in March 2012. Waldeck said the voluntary evacuation remained in effect Friday.

"After the 2012 flood, it's still fresh in everybody's mind, so they've (residents) responded very well and have been very co-operative," said Waldeck. "We're very pleased and very thankful."

A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety said the province's rivers were too unpredictable for residents to let their guard down.

Paul Bradley said water levels were expected to rise in the coming days in communities near Fredericton, including Jemseg and Maugerville. He said officials were also keeping a close eye on ice jams in Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska and Doaktown.

"Even in those places where they're cleaning up, you never know with the amount of water and snow that's still around, there could still be impacts," he said. "We want everyone to remain vigilant and watch water levels."

Premier David Alward spent Thursday touring areas of the province that were submerged earlier this week when heavy rain and ice jams caused rivers and streams to spill their banks.

During a stop in Sussex, Alward said the government's priority is to ensure residents are safe. Crews were expected to begin inspecting homes Friday in the town to determine whether they're safe for residents.

Homeowners and businesses affected by flooding were also being advised to register with Service New Brunswick.

A number of areas throughout Eastern Canada, including Ontario and Quebec, have been contending with floods in recent days.


The Canadian Press

We will never recover

The father of a man charged with killing five young people in Calgary this week says his family would give anything to bring them back.

Douglas de Grood, a veteran city police officer, stood with his wife in front of reporters Thursday and said the family is devastated and is trying to make sense of the tragedy.

He described his son, Matthew de Grood, as a great kid who respected others, had good grades and played sports. As a young man, he attended university and raised money for charities through his passion for running.

The 22-year-old had a bright future ahead of him, said his father, and had been accepted into law school for the fall.

"Just like you, we struggle to understand what happened," said the senior de Grood, choking back a sob.

He was shaking visibly as he delivered his statement. He leaned on a cane for support and, at one point, paused in an effort to gain control.

His son's defence lawyer, Allay Fay, explained that the officer has mobility issues but would not say whether he has a medical condition.

The father said his family has received support from many people, including strangers.

"We will never recover from this, but the collective support has helped ease some of the pain. We hope someday we will have answers as to why this happened. Regardless, it won't bring the victims back, but we would give anything to do just that."

Matthew de Grood faces five counts of first-degree murder in what police are calling the worst mass murder in Calgary's history.

Police have said de Grood finished his late shift at a grocery store before going to a house party which was being held to celebrate the last day of classes at the University of Calgary. He was an invited guest and mingled with some of the 20 people there before he allegedly grabbed a large knife and started attacking people one by one.

Police said a significant part of their investigation will focus on whether de Grood was suffering from mental illness and officers will be looking into any communications he had with people before the slayings.

The Calgary Herald reported that de Grood sent disjointed and confusing text messages to his family before showing up at the party. The newspaper quoted an unnamed officer close to de Grood's father as saying the family was worried he might commit suicide that night. His mother called police and his father went looking for him, the source said. The story also said de Grood had mental health problems in high school.

Fay said he knows nothing of any texts and had not heard that his client had been mentally unstable in the past. He said de Grood's family doesn't agree with a lot of things being reported in the news media, but did not elaborate.

De Grood remains in custody at a psychiatric centre. Fay had earlier indicated a psychiatric assessment had been ordered, but clarified Thursday that that order had yet to be given. He said he expected the Crown would request one when de Grood appears in court Tuesday.

Fay said he has met with de Grood, but the man's parents have yet to see their son.

"He appeared distraught. He appeared upset. He appeared fearful. All those things that one would expect under those circumstances," Fay said of his client.

Police spokesman Kevin Brookwell said any messages de Grood sent before the party would form "a significant part of this investigation." He told reporters that if any texts exist, they might help explain the suspect's state of mind and also provide clues to a motive.

Investigators have said it appears there was nothing — no grudge or vendetta — that might have provoked the attack. They aren't even sure de Grood knew the victims.

Brookwell said officers are still interviewing witnesses and piecing together what happened at the party. He said it's not known how one person managed to kill five people in a crowded home and escape. De Grood was taken into custody about 40 minutes after the attack, with the help of a police dog.

"There's going to be a lot of guessing and everybody's trying to get that answer as to how this possibly could have happened and did no one intervene?" said Brookwell. "It is quite possible that people didn't even know it was going on, people froze."

The victims have been identified as Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, Josh Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, and Lawrence Hong, 27.

Two Edmonton prosecutors have been assigned to the case to address any perception of bias because of de Grood's father. Brookwell dismissed any notion that an outside police force should also be brought in.

He said police made a speedy arrest and charges had been laid by the end of the day.

The City of Calgary has lowered all flags at its municipal buildings and said they will remain at half-mast until sunset on the day of the last victim's funeral.

The first service has been set for Segura on Monday.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version attributed the police comments to Acting Insp. Ryan Ayliffe

The Canadian Press


Ford's re-election campaign

Ford, who was the first to register as a candidate in January, held the event at the Toronto Congress Centre in the west-end Etobicoke area he previously represented as a city councillor.

The mayor made his way through the crowd along a red carpet to the stage, led by bag-pipers and volunteers carrying campaign signs as people snapped pictures with cellphones.

”Thank you Ford Nation. This is absolutely amazing. But this is just the beginning,” a beaming Ford said to the cheering crowd.

The mayor addressed his personal problems near the beginning of his speech, thanking people he says have been contacting him with words of encouragement and support.

City council removed most of Ford's powers after he admitted to having smoked crack cocaine.

”There’s been some rocky moments over the past year. I have experienced how none of us can go through life without making mistakes,” he said.

”And when they occur, we learn a lot about ourselves. Humility, the kindness of people and the spirit of second chances.”

Ford spoke for about half an hour, saying he would run for the Oct. 27 election on his record by promising more of the same -- but did not release a specific platform.

Ford portrayed himself as a representative of average people against elitists and special interest groups.

”The people of Toronto know that I am just like them,” he proclaimed.

”The people of Toronto know that I understand them, that I stand up for them, and I won’t back down when I’m fighting for them.”

After his speech, he walked through the crowd again to the strains of ”We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister.

Earlier in the evening, hundreds lined up for a chance to shake hands with Ford, who arrived early to mingle with members of what is called Ford Nation, chatting and posing for pictures.

Among those who warmed up the crowd were his brother and campaign manager, Coun. Doug Ford, and former Canadian heavyweight boxing champion George Chuvalo.

There were lineups for Rob Ford bobble-head dolls that were being sold for $30 and $100 to raise money for the campaign.

The hall was decked with large ”Ford Nation” signs, and there was a fire truck on display with a banner that read ”Saving the taxpayers from getting burned.”

Volunteers gave out one free drink to everyone along with T-shirts and flags to the first 1,000 people.

Chants of "Ford more years!" and screams of "we love you Rob Ford" could be heard in the lobby as people lined up to enter the building.

The main area was lit up with red and blue lights as rock and roll music played and giant digital signs said "Ford for Mayor" above the podium as supporters filed into their seats.

People who said they voted for Ford in the last election and back when he was the councillor for the area said that despite his other problems, the mayor has delivered on his commitments, including ending the ”gravy train” at city hall.

Aisha Schuster said Ford has been good for Toronto.

”I think that he does what he says he's going to do and he does it to the best of his ability,” Schuster said.

”You know we all have personal stuff. There's no perfect person and I fully support him."

George Zambrano was among those who said they were not concerned about Ford’s personal life.

"He's saving us money," Zambrano said, adding when asked about the drug admissions: "Well you know what, that's his off time. He can do whatever he wants when he's not working."

The Canadian Press

Mental health leads investigation

Calgary police say a significant part of their investigation into this week's mass murder of five young people will focus on whether the suspect was suffering from mental illness.

Acting Insp. Ryan Ayliffe said Thursday that officers will be looking into any communications Matthew de Grood had with people before the killings.

The Calgary Herald has reported that de Grood sent disjointed and confusing text messages to his family before showing up at a house party that ended in bloodshed.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed officer close to de Grood's father saying the family was worried the 22-year-old might commit suicide that night. His mother called police and his father went looking for him.

De Grood's father is a senior officer with Calgary police.

Ayliffe said he couldn't divulge the content of such a message.

"The devices (de Grood) used, the people that he might have contacted and the actual content of that message certainly forms a significant part of this investigation."

He told reporters any communication de Grood had with people before the party might help explain his state of mind and also provide clues as to a motive. Investigators have said it appears the victims did nothing to provoke the attack.

De Grood, who faces five counts of first-degree murder, is undergoing psychiatric assessment while in custody. He is to appear in court on Tuesday.

Police have said de Grood finished his late shift at a grocery store before going to the party, which was being held to celebrate the last day of classes at the University of Calgary. He was an invited guest and mingled with some of the 20 people there before allegedly grabbing a knife and stabbing people one by one.

Police found three people dead inside the home. An injured woman, also in the home, and a wounded man on the front lawn were taken to hospital but died.

The victims have been identified as Zackariah Rathwell, 21, Jordan Segura, 22, Josh Hunter, 23, Kaitlin Perras, 23, and Lawrence Hong, 27.

The City of Calgary has lowered all flags at its municipal buildings and said they will remain at half-mast until sunset on the day of the last funeral for the victims.

The first service has been set for Segura on Monday.

The University of Calgary says students affected by the tragedy can defer final exams until May or June.

The Canadian Press

Arrest in Amanda Todd case

Dutch media are reporting a man has been arrested in connection with the online extortion of B.C. teen Amanda Todd, who killed herself after being bullied.

A 35-year-old man was taken into custody in January and is suspected of “extortion via a webcam film” of a 15-year-old girl from British Columbia, reported Omroep Brabant. The man reportedly made his first court appearance Wednesday.

The unnamed suspect is accused of "inciting underage girls to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam."

In a statement, the Dutch National Public Prosecutor's Office says it believes there are dozens of other female victims in countries including the Netherlands, the UK and the U.S.

Todd took her own life in October 2012.

A video she posted to YouTube just weeks before her death -- in which she explains the two years of torment she endured as the target of online sexual exploitation, stalking, bullying and harassment -- has since garnered more than nine million views


CF-18s headed to Poland

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will contribute six CF-18 jet fighters to a NATO air-policing mission as a response to the crisis in the Ukraine.

The jets and ground support staff will be based in Poland.

In addition, the military is sending up to 20 staff officers to bolster the Canadian presence at NATO headquarters in Brussels as the alliance organizes a further response.

On Wednesday, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the alliance's secretary general, said NATO will deploy additional air, sea and land forces to former East Bloc countries in response to the growing unrest and violence in the Ukraine.

The fighter jets will join warplanes from the United States, Britain, Denmark, Poland, Portugal and Germany, which will be deploying in waves between now and the fall.

Canada is also slated to take part in July in a long-planned, U.S.-led military exercise in Ukraine, known as Rapid Trident 2014, but the government has been not forthcoming about the size and scope of the country's involvement.

The Canadian Press

Friends mourn victims

CALGARY - As a funeral director, Ernie Hagel knows how to deal with death.

But the loss of a promising employee — one of five young people stabbed to death in Calgary's worst mass murder — has hit him hard.

Jordan Segura, 23, worked part time for McGinnis and Holloway Funeral Homes while majoring in religious studies at the University of Calgary.

He was at a house party celebrating the last day of classes when he was killed early Tuesday. The son of a senior Calgary police officer has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

"Our staff are devastated," Hagel said Wednesday, adding he was the one who broke the news at his office.

There were lots of tears for the young man.

"He had the qualities to be a great funeral director," said Hagel. "He wanted to serve people. He wanted to be there when they needed him."

Segura was killed along with Zackariah Rathwell, Josh Hunter, Lawrence Hong and Kaiti Perras — all in their 20s and all "good kids" police have said did nothing to provoke the bloody attack.

The suspect, Matthew de Grood, has been transferred to the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre for a court-ordered assessment.

Lawyer Allan Fay said his 22-year-old client was lucid and doing about as well as could be expected.

Justice officials say two Crown prosecutors from Edmonton have been assigned the file to address any perceived conflict over de Grood's father being an officer.

De Grood had completed a psychology degree from the University of Calgary last year and his Facebook page says he had been accepted into law school for the fall.

Police have said he was invited to the party and he showed up after finishing a shift at a grocery store.

It's alleged he found a large knife in the home and started stabbing people one by one.

Police were still trying to determine a motive for the bizarre attack, saying it appeared the suspect hadn't been drinking or doing drugs.

Chief Rick Hanson said everyone seems to be puzzled.

"I know every parent out there is looking for that piece. How can I go to bed tonight knowing that's not going to happen to my kid?" Hanson told Calgary radio station CHQR.

"When it's this random and this unpredictable, that's the part that unsettles everybody. And that's why we know that people are really anxious to have the answers. And we're just as anxious to get those answers."

The northwest home where the attack took place remained surrounded with police tape Wednesday as a pile of flowers and notes continued to grow.

Among them were a pair of pink ballet shoes in honour of 23-year old Perras. Perras took dance for several years at Counterpoint Dance Academy. She also studied English at Mount Royal University.

"We watched Kaiti grow into an exceptional human being. Her smile and energy lit up the stage ... Our hearts break for her family. She was a joy to teach and a beautiful person. She will be deeply missed," dance teacher Shannon Hearn said in an email.

Many self-portraits of the doe-eyed woman with long blond hair were on Facebook, as well as photos of a trip to Italy after high school and of an arm freshly tattooed with the words: "Follow your Own Spirit."

Rathwell, 23, was a first-year student at the Alberta College of Art and Design. He was in a band called Zackariah and the Prophets with Hunter, 22, a commerce student at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business.

The band had just celebrated the release of their first album at a weekend show in Calgary. Fellow musician Kyle Tenove remembered the pair fondly.

"We used to skip school together," he told CHQR through sobs. "We would sneak out so we could practice, then we'd get busted and we'd get suspended. It was the best."

A vigil was held Wednesday at the Alberta College of Art and Design in memory of Rathwell. Art history teacher Jennifer Salahub spoke to staff and students. She said about three weeks ago they had a speaker from Norway who was talking about memorials because of the mass murder of students on an island off Oslo.

Salahub said she put a bonus question on her final exam asking what students took away from that. After she heard that Rathwell was killed, she decided to mark his exam.

"And I got to the last question, which was the bonus question, and this is what he wrote: "I took away that even though tragic events cause much pain and distress, a truly well-thought-out memorial can help ease the suffering and build community while not just glazing over and forgetting the past," Salahub said.

Hong, 27, was to graduate this year from the University of Calgary with a degree in urban studies. His friends described him as a friendly, funny and fashionable guy who was a regular volunteer with the city's folk music festival.

He was also proud to be gay, even though it led to some bullying at his Catholic high school, said pal Sonia Razniewski.

Friend Christy Harris said Hong and his Chinese family moved to Calgary from the Philippines when he was in Grade 8.

"You don't ever think this would happen to someone you know and for it to happen in such an awful, awful way," she said. "I couldn't imagine anyone wanting to hurt him. Everybody loved him."

Harris believes Hong was either in the wrong place at the wrong time or trying to help another victim when he was stabbed. That's just the kind of person he was, she said.

She said she feels for relatives of all five victims, but also for those of the man accused of killing them.

"I feel for his family too, in a way. They're suffering in a different way and at the end of the day, this has really just ruined six lives and six families and countless friends."

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

— With files from Chris Purdy in Edmonton.

The Canadian Press

Floods cause evacuations

Rain, melting snow and ice jams forced waters in parts of Eastern Canada to rise Wednesday, submerging roads, filling basements and prompting hundreds to be evacuated from their homes as officials told people to prepare in case they had to seek higher ground.

From Atlantic Canada to Ontario, rivers overflowed and in some cases, water levels rose to heights some said they hadn't seen in years. Many roads were flooded and in New Brunswick, the RCMP urged people not to attempt driving through those areas.

"It's devastating," said Marc Thorne, mayor of the southern New Brunswick town of Sussex, where dozens of homes were flooded, including his own where has lived for 22 years.

"The Trout Creek has breached its banks at a height we haven't seen in many decades and a lot of subdivisions in town are impacted."

Premier David Alward was scheduled to go to Sussex on Thursday to meet with his public safety minister at Kingswood University, where some of those evacuated from their homes have taken shelter.

The neighbouring village of Sussex Corner declared a state of emergency as the floods made some roads impassable, but that was later rescinded as water levels receded.

Still, officials stressed that the flood situation was constantly changing and they told residents to remain alert.

"We can't predict what's going to happen," said Danny Soucy, New Brunswick's local government minister.

"That's why we keep telling people to make sure that they don't go near bodies of water, and if they live near bodies of water to watch what's happening and if anything changes they can get out fast and be secure."

In Quebec, outgoing premier Pauline Marois met with her successor, Philippe Couillard, on Wednesday for the first time since the provincial election and said the first topic she brought up with him was the flooding that has hit various parts of the province.

"I want to reassure all Quebecers that the outgoing government will work with the new government to make sure the transition does not complicate matters," she said after presiding over her last cabinet meeting.

"I would also like to tell Quebecers who are experiencing this unfortunate situation that I am thinking of them with all my heart, as is my government."

More than 600 people were forced from their homes in Sherbrooke, Que., as the Saint-Francois River swelled. Officials there said the river reached as high as 7.6 metres — just short of the 7.9-metre record set in 1982 — but more than four times its normal level of 1.8 metres as Sherbrooke Mayor Bernard Sevigny urged residents to be careful and patient.

Evacuations were ordered in multiple locations in the province. In St-Raymond, just west of Quebec City, about 300 people were forced from their homes, including four residences for seniors because of flooding of the Sainte-Anne River.

Officials in Manitoba warned Wednesday that the prolonged cold spring will make flooding more likely for a few homes in Winnipeg. Emergency Measures Minister Steve Ashton said the amount of ice in the water is pushing levels of the Red River up in south Winnipeg.

"The ice on the Red River is, in many cases, three feet-plus thick still," Ashton said.

The Canadian Press

Heartbleed - teen charged

Police have charged a 19-year-old man from London, Ont., in connection with the loss of taxpayer data from the Canada Revenue Agency website.

Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes was arrested at his residence Tuesday and is charged with unauthorized use of a computer and mischief in relation to data, the RCMP said Wednesday.

A search of the residence resulted in the seizure of computer equipment.

The agency was forced to shut down its publicly accessible website Friday as the world learned about the Heartbleed computer bug, a previously undiscovered global Internet security vulnerability.

Other government computer sites were also temporarily taken down over the weekend.

On Monday, the agency said 900 social insurance numbers had been compromised.

The loss was detected Friday, but the agency delayed telling Canadians about it at the request of the RCMP.

The police said the delay allowed them to pursue their investigation through the weekend and helped track down a suspect.

"The RCMP treated this breach of security as a high priority case and mobilized the necessary resources to resolve the matter as quickly as possible," said Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud.

"Investigators from National Division, along with our counterparts in O Division, have been working tirelessly over the last four days analyzing data, following leads, conducting interviews, obtaining and executing legal authorizations and liaising with our partners."

The Heartbleed bug is caused by a flaw in OpenSSL software, commonly used on the Internet to provide security and privacy. The bug has affected many global IT systems in both private- and public-sector organizations and has the potential to expose private data.

The revenue agency has said it will notify everyone involved in the security breach by registered letter and will offer access to credit-protection services.

The Canadian Press

Manitoba's 1st televised trial

A Manitoba woman has been found not guilty of killing her husband in the province's first-ever televised criminal proceeding.

While historic, the live-streamed verdict in the Cassandra Knott case was low-key.

A lone television camera was allowed to record only the judge as he read his verdict and a summary of his 52-page decision.

Knott, Crown and defence lawyers were never shown.

Justice Shane Perlmutter of Court of Queen's Bench ruled Knott had long suffered abuse at the hands of her husband, and feared for her safety when she stabbed him in the chest in her home on Feb. 18, 2011.

Knott was acquitted of second-degree murder.

Perlmutter read from his judgment for more than 45 minutes, looking up frequently to the camera that was placed off in a corner of the large room.

The judge then ordered the camera turned off.

Knott wept openly and hugged her lawyer.

The Canadian Press

Fond farewell to Jim Flaherty

A gallery of political luminaries from all sides of the partisan divide gathered at a cavernous Toronto cathedral Wednesday to set aside their differences and pay final respects to former finance minister Jim Flaherty.

Mourners donned green scarves, a tribute to Flaherty's Irish heritage, as they entered the downtown St. James Cathedral to remember Flaherty, 64, who died of a heart attack last week in his Ottawa condominium.

"What a sad time this is in the life of our country," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who began the proceedings with an upbeat personal tribute to his longtime political confidante.

Directly addressing Flaherty's wife Christine Elliott and the couple's triplet sons, Harper said, "We have lost a partner in politics, but you have lost a partner in life."

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and former prime ministers Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell and John Turner were among those on hand, as were various federal cabinet ministers, including John Baird, Peter MacKay and Chris Alexander.

Harper and his wife Laureen arrived in advance of the cortege, followed by Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife Sharon. Harper exchanged pleasantries with Mulroney and shook hands with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne as they sat down.

At one point, Mulroney and Turner, famous political rivals, were seen to exchange smiles and nods.

A host of familiar faces from the Ontario legislature — former premier Ernie Eves and Conservative Leader Tim Hudak among them — were also present.

Before the proceedings got underway, a choir assembled behind the altar and an organist filled the chamber with hymnal music as mourners awaited the arrival of the cortege carrying Flaherty's casket.

The entire federal Conservative caucus was invited, as well as all current provincial premiers and finance ministers, as well as living former prime ministers and governors general.

Large white tents were erected on the lawn of the cathedral. Across the street from the church, a phalanx of TV cameras documented the arrival of family, friends and dignitaries.

Onlookers began gathering several hours before the ceremony was scheduled to begin. One man had his patriotism on full display, wearing a white jacket adorned with a red maple leaf and clutching a Canadian flag.

The busy downtown Toronto streets surrounding the church were closed to all vehicular traffic, except for streetcars.

The ceremonial journey of the casket began in Whitby, Ont., and proceeded along Highway 401, down the Don Valley Parkway and through downtown Toronto before its scheduled arrival at the church just before 3 p.m. ET.

The Canadian Press

Stabbing - four injured

An average day in a downtown Regina shopping centre turned terrifying Tuesday when a young man in a red bandana started randomly stabbing people near him.

Witnesses said the attack at the Cornwall Centre was sudden and surprising.

"I heard people screaming, like, in chaos, and then there was a bunch of people running around all over," witness Summer Pascal told radio station CJME.

Four people were hurt; three were taken to hospital and one was treated and released at the scene. Their conditions weren't immediately known.

Passersby snapped pictures of the carnage, including one posted to the Internet showing a young man lying in a pool of blood as he was being attended to by emergency workers.

"He was lying down and he got up," said Pascal. "His neck was just gushing blood all over. There was blood everywhere, a big pile of it."

Two police officers who happened to be at the mall as part of their regular downtown patrol were quickly on scene.

"We saw this kid come in, and then we heard all these sirens so we came back, and the cops tackled him," said witness Tyler Jordan.

"The two police officers challenged the male to drop the knife," police said in a news release.

"Fortunately, the police officers were able to de-escalate the situation by giving direction; the suspect responded by throwing the knife at the officers, but once he was disarmed, he was taken into custody without further incident."

Police had no idea about the motive behind the attack.

Police cars were parked at the mall into the night. The glass doors were locked, but inside, police tape could be seen stretched down the corridors and in front of the stores.


The Canadian Press

Mass murder in Calgary

The suspect in the stabbing deaths of five people at a Calgary house party is the son of a senior police officer, the police chief confirmed, calling the killings the "worst mass murder in Calgary’s history."

Police have charged Matthew de Grood, 22, with five counts of first-degree murder.

De Grood is a University of Calgary student and the son of a police officer who has served with the Calgary Police Service for 33 years. According to his Facebook page, he was recently accepted into the University of Calgary’s law school.

Police Chief Rick Hanson told reporters the suspect arrived at the party on Butler Crescent N.W. as an invited guest “and targeted the victims one by one” with a knife.

The names of the victims have not been released by police, but they have been identified as Lawrence Hong, Josh Hunter, Zackariah Rathwell, Kaiti Perras and Jordan Segura.

Investigators are now trying to piece together what may have led to the fatal attack, Hanson said.

"That's one of the things that our investigators are looking at, trying to determine was there anything that precipitated the event. Was there something that anyone had done that could have been taken as an insult or an affront to this individual?" he said. "And to the best of our knowledge right now, there's nothing to indicate anything like that happened earlier in the day that led to this event."

He added that at this point, there's no indication alcohol was a factor.

The police chief became emotional while discussing the suspect's parents, noting that they are "heartbroken," and had asked him to pass on their sorrow and condolences to the victims' families.

"They are devastated and they feel so much pain for the families that were impacted by their son," he said, adding that they have been fully co-operating with the investigation.

During the news conference Hanson remained sombre, noting the event was the "worst mass murder" in the city's history and would take a toll on the officers who attended the scene.

"The scene was horrific. It's extremely difficult, regardless of who the perpetrator is, to go into a scene like that with young people who've been killed, who've been murdered," he said.

University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon also spoke at the news conference Tuesday, offering condolences to the victims' families on behalf of the school.

"The university community has lost a part of its family, and this is a very difficult time for all of us," she said.

Cannon said the university was working to ensure that counselling and support services were in place to help students, staff and community members who were struggling with the deaths.

Calling the deaths a "senseless tragedy," she said the university was working with police.

Calgary police were called to a home in the residential neighbourhood of Brentwood around 1:30 a.m. local time Tuesday, where students had held an all-day party the day before.

Five people were found with stab wounds. Paramedics declared three men dead at the scene. Two more victims -- a man and a woman -- were taken to hospital, but later succumbed to their injuries.

About 30 minutes later, police using canine units tracked a suspect in his 20s who had fled the home. The suspect was arrested and taken to hospital for treatment of injuries sustained during the police dog pursuit.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted his sympathies to the victims’ families, writing that he and his wife, Laureen Harper, "send our condolences to the families & friends of the victims of the senseless violence in Calgary last night."

Neighbours told reporters they heard no commotion during the night. They also said the students who rented the house had been drinking at the home throughout the day without incident to mark the University of Calgary student union’s annual “Bermuda Shorts Day,” which celebrates the last day of classes.

Doug Jones, who lives across the street from where the killings took place, says the students appeared to be having a barbecue in the home’s backyard in the evening.

“It was like a normal gathering; it wasn’t loud, it wasn’t unruly. Around dusk, they moved inside, and then we didn’t really hear anything,” he told CTV News Channel.

“We woke up this morning to yellow tape in the back alley here. I was in shock when the reporters told us what happened.”

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