A 39-year-old man died Wednesday morning after a two-vehicle collision on Highway 36 north of Highway 61 near Taber.
Taber RCMP say a preliminary investigation has revealed that a southbound truck collided head-on with a northbound van at about 9:25 a.m. Wednesday. Road conditions at the time of the collision were snow-covered and icy with blowing snow in the area, RCMP say.
RCMP say the 39-year-old male driver of the van was declared deceased at the scene.
A 27-year-old female passenger and one child, with serious but non-life threatening injuries, were transported by ambulance to hospital.
An additional child with serious life-threatening injuries was transported via STARS to Calgary. A 60-year-old female driver of the truck was transported via HALO to hospital with serious injuries.
Two years for role in robberies
A Magrath man who drove the robbery getaway car has been sent to prison for two years.
Joshua Lloyd Alston, 38, was handed the penitentiary term Wednesday after entering guilty pleas on charges dating back the summer of 2017. He and Derek Ross Blackmer, also from Magrath, were changed after three local 7-Eleven stores were robbed.
While Blackmer entered the stores — sometimes brandishing a weapon — Alston waited outside, ready to speed away. A year ago, Blackmer entered guilty pleas to 10 counts of bobbery and was ordered to serve seven years in a federal penitentiary.
After hiring and dropping a number of lawyers, Alston returned to court Wednesday to plead guilty to two charges laid after the robberies. Provincial court judge Jerry LeGrandeur accepted Crown and defence submissions, each suggesting the two-year term.
Court was told substance-abuse issues are part of Alston’s problem. When prescription drugs could not reduce his migraine headaches, he used street drugs.
While he was not directly involved in the robberies, the lawyers agreed, he was aware of what his accomplice was doing.
But though Blackmer’s role involved violence, the judge noted, Alston’s did not.
LeGrandeur ordered a two-year term on each charge, with sentences to be served concurrently.
MP supports convoy
Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder expressed her support for the United We Roll convoy, which landed in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
Harder also spoke at the rally in support of the convoy participants on Parliament Hill.
“The ‘United We Roll’ convoy demonstrates the importance of Canada’s energy sector and the crisis it is facing,” said Harder in statement released to the media summarizing her comments at the rally.
“In Alberta alone, more than 110,000 jobs have been lost. That’s a lot of families who are struggling to pay their mortgage, put food on their tables, or fill their vehicles with gas.”
Harder had particular criticism for the resource development policies of the Trudeau government.
“It didn’t need to be this way,” she said. “Trudeau and the Liberal government have failed to take leadership and advocate in the best interest of Canada’s resource development. Canadian energy workers deserve a government that will support the energy sector in Canada and around the world.”
College board chair named as judge
While Lethbridge College awaits the appointment of a new board chair, officials are congratulating their outgoing chairperson.
Kristin Ailsby was named a provincial court judge early last week, to be stationed in Lethbridge. That precludes her from continuing in her college role.
“This is an incredible honour for Kristin and we celebrate with her!” says college president Paula Burns.
Ailsby was appointed as board chair in February 2017, for a three-year term.
“Since then, she has been a champion for all of the work we do in programming, applied research and serving students,” Burns says.
“She believes in partnerships in the community and always looks for ways to connect us! She encouraged us to take risks, to do new things and to support many new ideas.”
The advanced education minister will announce a new board chair “in a timely manner,” Burns expects.
“In the interim our two vice-chairs, Tracy Zappone and Kristine Cassie, will provide leadership to the board.”
Bail hearing delayed
A man accused of killing a Piikani Nation councillor while driving impaired has had his bail hearing pushed back until March 7.
According to the RCMP, Douglas Wilbur Bagnall was charged with impaired driving causing death after his vehicle collided with a westbound vehicle driven by 42-year-old Coun. Barnaby Provost on June 25 last year near Coalhurst while travelling on the wrong side of Highway 3. Provost’s 12-year-old daughter was also in the vehicle and sustained minor injuries.
Bagnall, 62, was arrested by police at a city hotel back in mid-January after failing to appear in court three consecutive times to face the charges against him.
Despite his previous failures to appear, Bagnall was supposed to receive a new bail hearing on Thursday, but that hearing was pushed back until March after his lawyer advised the Crown through an agent that he could not attend court due to travel difficulties in coming down to Lethbridge.
Blood Tribe to vote on $150M claim
Blood Tribe members will soon decide if they’ll accept a $150-million agreement with Ottawa. Their claim is based on an event about 100 years ago, when the Blood council says federal officials devastated the band’s successful cattle business.
If approved during a March 11 vote, the settlement will reportedly see $2,000 paid to every band member with the balance held in trust for capital projects like new housing.
“The settlement of this claim is a reflection of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation, and to Canada’s goal of addressing historical First Nations grievances that are the subject of specific claims,” according to a statement released with details of the offer.
The band claims its leaders had agreed in the 1880s to share their land in return for resources, expertise and training. The goal was to “begin a transition to a new economy and a new way of life” as a response to the near-extinction of the buffalo, the backbone of Blackfoot life.
When the federal government rejected a request for livestock to start a cattle herd, the claim says, Blood Tribe members traded horses for cattle and began ranching without government support.
By 1906, their herd was reported to number about 7,500 head.
But later, the claim says, federal officials mismanaged the herd by starving the animals and selling them at a loss. In explanation, author and historian Hugh Dempsey said “the government figured it knew better.”
As well as failing to feed the cattle, the lawsuit claims, government agents sold cattle belonging to Blood Tribe members without their consent, and failed to account for the proceeds.