HALIFAX – The widow of a Mountie who was struck by a van while helping motorists change a flat tire wants to see a broadening of Nova Scotia’s so-called move-over law.“I actually think that the law should be extended to anybody who is pulled over to the side of the road, whether there is emergency lights flashing or four ways,” Savannah Deschenes said Tuesday at the Nova Scotia legislature.Her husband, Nova Scotia RCMP Const. Frank Deschenes, was assisting two people in an SUV when a cargo van plowed into his cruiser and the SUV on Sept. 12 in Memramcook, N.B.Savannah Deschenes said Tuesday that widening protections would create public awareness of a 2010 law that currently requires drivers to slow down and move into another lane when they approach emergency vehicles stopped at the side of the road.“It’s important to me because my husband was killed in an accident on duty,” Deschenes told reporters.“He had his emergency lights activated and he was still struck. It’s time that everyone become aware of it (the law) and care.”The Progressive Conservatives introduced amendments that would place signage highlighting the law on all 100-series highways and would rename the law as Frankie’s Law in honour of the late officer from Amherst, N.S.The NDP had previously introduced a bill that would reduce a vehicle’s speed to no more than 60 kilometres per hour when passing a tow truck stopped at the scene of a fire or an accident and exhibiting a flashing light.Premier Stephen McNeil said the government would look at all of the proposed changes.“We will take all of the suggestions that are brought forward and combine them perhaps into a single bill,” he said.In December, the 31-year-old Pennsylvania man who was driving the van that struck Frank Deschenes was fined $3,000 and banned from driving for two years by a Moncton, N.B., court.Vasiliy Meshko was also placed on probation for two years after pleading guilty to driving without due care.Savannah Deschenes displayed for reporters her husband’s dogtag and a silver bullet casing containing some of his ashes that she wears around her neck.She said her husband, whom she married only months before his death, is “with me at all times.”“We didn’t have the typical date nights like dinner and a movie — we would go shooting his rifles and his personal pistol. This (bullet) was just fitting because we were always at the range.”The 35-year-old officer was known as a dedicated Mountie who worked hard to teach drivers about the need to slow down when driving past emergency vehicles.Originally from northwest New Brunswick, Deschenes was a former member of the force’s famed Musical Ride.
In a letter sent this week on behalf of PETA, actor Alec Baldwin is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ban bear pits.Addressing Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Baldwin notes that while bears in the wild spend their time exploring diverse terrain, foraging for food, and digging in soft earth, captive bears are confined to cramped and barren concrete pits, which can lead to psychological distress, arthritis, pressure sores, and other painful, debilitating conditions.The actor writes, “Animal advocates like me depend on the USDA to protect animals who are used for entertainment from lives of deprivation, pain, and abuse …. I’m writing to you today to ask that the USDA recognize the cruelty and danger inherent in bear pits and ban this archaic form of confinement without delay.”Baldwin is also urging families to stay away from roadside zoos this summer in a new video for PETA: “People talk about the right to bear arms. After seeing this video, you might want to push for the right to arm bears.” The video, available here, goes on to show some of the several hundred bears who are displayed across the U.S. in tiny cages and barren pits, where they have little to do but pace in circles, beg for food from tourists, and break their teeth by gnawing on cage bars.“As long as well-meaning people continue to go to roadside zoos and shows, the bears will continue to suffer,” concludes Baldwin in the video. “The most important action that you can take for captive bears is simply to stop supporting their abuse: Please, steer clear of roadside zoos, bear pits, and fairs where they are forced to perform.”To date, PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” — has rescued more than 50 captive bears, including Fifi, a Syrian brown bear who spent more than 30 years in a barren cage at a ramshackle roadside zoo, and transferred them to reputable sanctuaries.Source:PETA