Bob Zimmer Member of Parliment / Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies

Bob's Weekly Report

Bob Zimmer

I first heard the name Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh in 2011 shortly after I was first elected as your Member of Parliament. I was contacted by a constituent from Dawson Creek who shared his story of how he was sexually abused by Mr. MacIntosh in Nova Scotia when he was a young boy in the 1970s and about his fight for justice.

In 2010, Mr. MacIntosh was convicted on 17 charges related to sexual assault. However, in 2011 the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal overturned these convictions ruling that his case had taken too long to get to trial. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld this ruling in 2013.

Throughout the years this constituent has expressed his extreme disappointment and anger with how this case was handled. I could not have agreed with him more and have tried my best to help him find answers.

There have been many questions regarding why it took so long to bring Mr. MacIntosh’s case to trial, including why it took so long to extradite Mr. MacIntosh from India, where he was living when a warrant for his arrest was issued in 1996, to face these charges or how he was able to travel to India to begin with.

In 2013, then Justice Minister Peter MacKay apologized to victims for the mistakes the federal government made in this case after releasing the findings of an internal review which cited human error and institutional failures as the reasons behind the federal government’s role in the delay. Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service also did an internal review into their handling of this case.

In 2014, Mr. MacIntosh was arrested in Nepal and in 2015 was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing an underage boy.

In recent weeks news emerged that Mr. MacIntosh was released from prison after only serving part of his sentence and would be coming back to Canada. This news has angered many, especially victims in Canada who do not believe they were treated fairly by our justice system. I am personally disgusted that someone who apparently shows no remorse continues to be allowed out of prison and be threat to our children. How is possible that someone like this is still allowed to be a threat to others?

I will be watching what happens next with Mr. MacIntosh closely now that he has returned to Canada. The fact that Mr. MacIntosh was able to avoid facing trial in Canada for so many years is unacceptable and it is clear that changes need to continue to be made to ensure victims of sex crimes get the support and justice they deserve.

A travesty of justice like this cannot happen again.

Federal Government News

(Oct. 15) - Our hearts, like many of yours, are with the residents of the Old Fort who have been impacted by the recent landslide. While the landslide seems to have slowed down, it has taken out the power lines and only road leading in and out of the area. Most have been without power for more than a week with freezing temperatures meaning all appliances including furnaces haven’t been working while fridges and freezers are unthawing making life very difficult.

It’s one thing to see the landslide in pictures or to fly over it in the air by helicopter; it’s another to see it up close and to see the stress on the faces of people who are worried about their homes and livelihoods.

After meeting with some of you residents, we knew we had to do something. The response we received was overwhelming.

With only a few hours given to us to be in the area by the RCMP, we were able to help get an 81 year old man and his pet terrier out of the area, as well as many other pets, valuables, firearms, carpenters tools, numerous suitcases, plants and even one kitchen sink.

This could not have been done without the help of nine river boats and 10 helicopter trips, not to mention the countless vehicles and willing hands to help load and unload.

I especially want to thank the crews at Bailey Helicopters Ltd and D. Bauer Mechanical for sending six guys down with equipment and anti-freeze donated from Northern Metalic Sales to winterize 30 homes. I also want to thank all the volunteers who showed up and made the effort possible. The tears and heartfelt thanks of residents once we had them and some of their prized possessions out of harms way said it all.

It is times like these that really show what the North Peace is all about. Everyone cares about their neighbours and friends and we are always there for one another. I can’t say enough about how proud I am of our community.

There has also been some much needed good news. Peace River Regional District has been given the okay to grant residents temporary re-entry to their homes to gather some belongings and get their homes ready for winter. It is important to note, however, that evacuation orders and alerts remain in place.

I have been meeting regularly with the Peace River Regional District and I want to assure residents that there is a plan to get you back into your homes and for life to return to normal as quickly as possible. This includes plans to restore power and road access. All of it hinges on the evacuation order being lifted or changed to an evacuation alert.

I have been blown away by the number of people who have come forward willing to volunteer their time and expertise to help Old Fort residents as soon as they are given the word that it is safe to do so.

Jeff Garrison has been asked by the Emergency Operations Centre to help organize volunteers who want to help Old Fort residents and I will continue to offer my support with these efforts. I am also working at the federal level to see what can be done in terms of long-term housing for displaced residents.

If you would like to help or know of any housing or storage facilities available please call my office at 1-250-787-1194 or email Bob.Zimmer.C1A@parl.gc.ca.

Be safe out there folks.