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Former CFL player convicted of voyeurism apologizes at Calgary sentencing hearing

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CALGARY — A former running back with the Calgary Stampeders who filmed a sexual encounter with a woman without her permission offered a tearful apology at his sentencing hearing Thursday.

But Jerome Messam, 37, also expressed some anger in his 10-minute address about how he has been portrayed and what the court case has done to his life.

“I just want to be able to move on. I see my friends on the TSN channel talking about football … and I say, ‘Man, that could have been me,’” he told the court.

“I see that all this happened in a time when there was so much nuance and all these MeToo (movements) and all the things. They just threw me to the wolves. No due justice, no due process.”

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Messam pleaded guilty earlier this year to a charge of voyeurism.

Court heard Messam and the woman followed each other on social media while he was a running back for the Canadian Football League team.

On Nov. 11, 2016, they had dinner together and then had consensual sex at Messam’s apartment.

Three months later, Messam sent the woman four 10-second video clips of their sexual encounter on the social media platform Snapchat, which deletes videos after they are played.

The woman made a formal complaint to the police and the CFL in April 2018. Messam had his contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders terminated after he was charged in July 2019.

In a tearful victim impact statement last month, the woman said she had considered ending her own life, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, and has moved away from Calgary.

Messam said he’s sorry for any harm his actions caused.

“I never intended for any of this to happen … nor did I know the level of pain that the situation caused her,” he told court.

“I take pride in what I’ve done on the football field. It sucks that my career was cut short. I made a bad choice. Do I feel the punishment fits the crime? No. I lost everything in a span of 48 hours.”

Prosecutor Janice Walsh said jail time isn’t appropriate. She recommended a suspended sentence of 18 to 24 months, which would give him a criminal record, followed by probation.

“I’m not asking the court to consider that Mr. Messam’s fact pattern is near the far end of the spectrum, but nor is it a mere observation and nor is it at the conditional discharge end of the spectrum,” Walsh said.

“This falls somewhere in that middle range of sentences, which requires a criminal conviction but does not require the punishment of jail, either in the community or actual jail.”

Walsh rejected suggestions that media attention Messam received after he was charged and the loss of his CFL career should be factors in the sentencing.

“The CFL has its own conduct policy. The CFL has exercised their discretion,” Walsh said.

“With regard to the media attention, it is inevitable and inextricably linked with the profile of Mr. Messam and his previous position as a member of a professional football team.”

David Nguyen, Messam’s defence lawyer, asked for a conditional discharge, which would spare him a criminal record.

“This case involves only two parties, that is the complainant and Mr. Messam,” Nguyen said. “In respect to the subject matter, there was no distribution, there was deletion of the files and there was no attempt to capitalize or extort or use for financial gain.”

Nguyen said Messam has no previous criminal record and the attention has been a deterrence. He said his client works with young children, their parents and other adults providing physical training.

“Right now, he’s operating without a criminal record and working without a criminal record,” he said.

“This court should consider what the effect of a criminal record would have on his future employment, and providing for himself and for his family.”

Messam also asked the judge to consider a conditional discharge.

“I just want to say that I pray, my lady, that you’ll look at the big picture and know that my rehabilitation would be greatly affected by this record.”

A judge is to give a decision on Dec. 5.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2022.

 

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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Inflation in Canada: Finance ministers meet

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TORONTO – The two big spending pressures on the federal government right now are health care and the global transition to a clean economy, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday.
After hosting an in-person meeting with the provincial and territorial finance ministers, Freeland said U.S. President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which includes electric-vehicle incentives that favour manufacturers in Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S., has changed the playing field when it comes to the global competition for capital.

“I cannot emphasize too strongly how much I believe that we need to seize the moment and build the clean economy of the 21st century,” Freeland said during a news conference held at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

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“This is a huge economic opportunity.”

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Canada needs to invest in the transition in order to potentially have an outsized share in the economy of the future, she said, or it risks being left behind.

This year in particular will be an important year for attracting capital to Canada, she said, calling for the provinces and territories to chip in.

“This is a truly historic, once-in-a-generation economic moment and it will take a team Canada effort to seize it.”

At the same time, Freeland spoke of the need for fiscal restraint amid economic uncertainty.

“We know that one of the most important things the federal government can do to help Canadians today is to be mindful of our responsibility not to pour fuel on the fire of inflation,” she said.

Freeland said these two major spending pressures, which were among the topics prioritized at Friday’s meeting, come at a time of a global economic slowdown which poses restraint on government spending.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to meet with the premiers Feb. 7 to discuss a long-awaited deal on health-care spending. The provinces have been asking for increases to the health transfer to the tune of billions of dollars.

Freeland said it’s clear that the federal government needs to invest in health care and reiterated the government’s commitment to doing so but would not say whether she thinks the amount the provinces are asking for in increased health transfers is feasible.

“It’s time to see the numbers,” Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard said Friday afternoon, in anticipation of the Feb. 7 meeting.

The meeting of the finance ministers comes at a tense time for many Canadian consumers, with inflation still running hot and interest rates much higher than they were a year ago.

The ministers also spoke with Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem Friday and discussed the economic outlook for Canada and the world, said Freeland.

“We’re very aware of the uncertainty in the global economy right now,” said Freeland. “Inflation is high and interest rates are high.”

“Things are tough for a lot of Canadians and a lot of Canadian families today and at the federal level, this is a time of real fiscal constraint.”

The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate again last week, bringing it to 4.5 per cent, but signalled it’s taking a pause to let the impact of its aggressive hiking cycle sink in.

The economy is showing signs of slowing, but inflation was still high at 6.3 per cent in December, with food prices in particular remaining elevated year over year.

Interest rates have put a damper on the housing market, sending prices and sales downward for months on end even as the cost of renting went up in 2022.

Meanwhile, the labour market has remained strong, with the unemployment rate nearing record lows in December at five per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2023.

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Federal government is in a tight fiscal environment, Freeland says ahead of health talks – CBC.ca

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Federal government is in a tight fiscal environment, Freeland says ahead of health talks  CBC.ca

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Suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over Canadian airspace: sources – CTV News

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  1. Suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over Canadian airspace: sources  CTV News
  2. Canadian pilots were warned of ‘untethered balloon’ amid China surveillance concerns  Global News
  3. U.S. military shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon off Carolina coast  CBC.ca

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