Liberals, NDP sense opportunity in Alberta

OTTAWA – Invading hordes of Liberal and New Democrat MPs will be doing some reconnaissance in Alberta over the next few weeks as their parties prepare plans to storm the Conservative bastion in the next federal election.

Justin Trudeau and his three dozen Liberal MPs will be first off the mark, gathering Monday for a three-day caucus retreat in Edmonton.

They’ll be followed by NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and his 97 MPs, who are, coincidentally, holding their annual summer caucus retreat in the same city Sept. 9-11.

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It’s an unusual convergence of politicians from parties whose overtures have been steadfastly spurned by Albertans. And it’s a sign that the political tides in the stolidly Conservative province may finally be shifting, propelled by the creation of six new primarily urban ridings, redrawn boundaries for existing ridings and the retirement of a number of Tory incumbents.

“People fundamentally misunderstand Alberta politics,” says Stephen Carter, who masterminded the winning come-from-behind campaigns of Calgary’s superstar mayor, Naheed Nenshi, and former Progressive Conservative premier Alison Redford by playing up their moderate, progressive credentials.

“They assume that we are redneck, right-wing, crazy-assed voters … The reality is that 60 per cent of Albertans feel they are on the progressive side, not the Conservative side.”

Carter contends that Albertans wind up voting Conservative en masse not for ideological reasons but because the Liberal party invariably “throws us under the bus,” pandering to voters in central Canada, which accounts for 60 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons, at the expense of Alberta, which accounts for a measly 10 per cent.

On that score, Trudeau’s father, Pierre, is often fingered as the worst offender, having turned the province into a wasteland for the Grits after introducing the reviled national energy program in 1980. In reality, the province has been pretty much a Liberal desert almost from the moment it entered Confederation in 1905.

Not since 1911 have Liberals managed to capture a majority of the province’s seats. Since then, the best they could muster was seven of 17 seats — and that was way back in 1940. In the past 60 years, they’ve won no more than four Alberta seats and frequently wound up with none, as they did in 2011.

The NDP’s record is even more dismal. It has been entirely shut out in every election but three and has never won more than one seat in the province.

But with 34 seats in play for the next election in 2015 and Stephen Harper’s Conservative government nearing the 10-year mark — typically the best-before date for governments in Canada — both opposition parties sense an opportunity to finally break the Tory stranglehold on Alberta.

The Liberals believe they can win as many as six inner city ridings in Calgary and Edmonton, with an outside chance at snagging Fort McMurray, the oilsands heartland where the party came a strong second in a June 30 byelection, running under boundaries that will no longer exist in 2015.

In an interview, Trudeau said it’s “really important” to him that the Liberals win “a large handful” of seats in Alberta.

“Alberta’s important, the West is important in this country,” he told The Canadian Press.

“If you want to be a credible government running this country, you have to be able to draw on great, strong, credible voices from every corner of the country and that’s exactly what we’re focused on.”

An indication of the party’s improved fortunes can be gleaned from the high-profile candidates who have stepped forward to carry the federal Liberal banner in the province, such as popular former MLAs Kent Hehr and Darshan Kang in Calgary.

Anne McLellan, a former Liberal cabinet minister who held down the riding of Edmonton Centre from 1993 to 2006, notes that her old riding now boasts more than 800 members, almost 500 of whom turned out recently for a hotly contested nomination, won by franco-Albertan entrepreneur Randy Boissonnault.

She credits the creation of new inner-city ridings, fatigue with the “bullying” style of Harper’s government and the appeal of Trudeau’s more sunny approach to politics for the Liberals’ newfound optimism.

“When people decide it’s time for a change, there’s nothing an incumbent party can do about that,” she says. “I’m not saying the tipping point is there yet but I think it’s getting close.”

Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan, the NDP’s sole representative in the province, is equally bullish on her party’s chances.

With Albertans seemingly prepared to jettison the Progressive Conservative dynasty that has ruled the province for more than four decades, Duncan predicts the NDP will emerge as the alternative to the ascendant Wild Rose provincially and that will have a spillover effect on federal New Democrats in the province.

“In the last federal election, we came second in almost every riding … including rural,” she says.

The opportunities are “very good,” Duncan says, particularly in Edmonton where a recent poll put the provincial NDP at the head of the pack. Still, she acknowledges it’s “never easy” in Alberta.

Carter, who helped out on Martha Hall Findlay’s rival bid for the Liberal leadership against Trudeau, scoffs at Duncan’s optimism. He believes the NDP can likely hang on to Duncan’s seat but won’t make any gains due to the hard line Mulcair has adopted against the pipelines desperately needed to get Alberta’s oil sands bitumen to off-shore markets.

And pipelines could yet kill the Liberals’ chances as well, Carter warns.

Trudeau has taken a softer line than Mulcair on pipelines, enthusiastically endorsing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the U.S. Gulf coast. Like Mulcair, he is adamantly opposed to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat, British Columbia, but he’s willing to consider the Kinder Morgan trans-mountain pipeline to Burnaby, B.C., provided it passes environmental muster and gets buy-in from First Nations and other effected communities.

Trudeau’s mushy, mixed message on pipelines amounts, in Carter’s view, to little more than “lip service” to the importance of getting Alberta’s oil and gas to market.

If Liberals want to win the half-dozen seats Carter believes are ripe for the picking, he says they’ll “have to try and find a way to run a national campaign without disadvantaging Alberta.” Given their past history, he’s skeptical.

However, Duncan, an environmental lawyer before jumping into politics who has championed the need for a strong federal role in environmental reviews of energy projects, disputes the notion that a party’s fate in Alberta depends on its position on pipelines. That is not all Albertans care about, she insists. They also care about developing the oilsands in an environmentally sustainable way and about the impact of pipelines on their communities.

“If that were not the case, I would not have been elected (in 2008) and re-elected with a substantially larger margin (in 2011).”

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Stony Plain motorcyclist may lose eye after being hit with glass object – Edmonton

Watch above: What was supposed to be a memorable trip has turned into something a Stony Plain couple would rather forget. The pair was headed to B.C. on their motorcycles, but things quickly took a devastating turn. Shallima Maharaj reports. WARNING: some of the images in this story are graphic.

EDMONTON – A Stony Plain man, who may lose one of his eyes, is stressing the importance of safety gear after being hit in the face with an object while riding his motorcycle early last week.

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Wesley Henkel and his wife, Marci Henkel, left Alberta on Monday for a two-day bike trip to B.C. They had just crossed over the border when Wesley was hit in the face with what he believes was a glass bottle.

“I may never prove it,” he said Sunday, “but I do truly believe that I was hit with something thrown out of a vehicle.”

Marci, who was riding directly behind her husband at the time, says she heard a smash and what appeared to be glass come flying at Wesley’s head.

“After I heard the (smash) of the bottle I’m pretty sure I heard, “Raaaw’ or ‘Yaaa,’ like a scream of, ‘Yeah we did it’,” Marci explained.

The pair pulled over their bikes and after getting their bearings realized how badly Wesley’s eye was damaged.

“My eye ball was sliced this way (horizontally), right in half, right in the back and crushed,” said Wesley.

“I can’t get it out of my mind. It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen,” added Marci, holding back tears.

The couple doesn’t know exactly what struck Wesley, but he says glass shards had to be pulled out of his arm and chest.

Wesley was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery to stitch the eye back together, but he says his vision in his left eye is completely gone. He is scheduled for another surgery on Monday, in hopes of regaining at least some of his vision.

“I’m hoping for the best,” Wesley said. “I’ve already been told the vision probably will not ever return.”

Now, as he prepares for what may be life-changing surgery, Wesley wants to stress the importance of wearing full safety gear when riding.

“That day I packed the bike with all my saddle bags with my safety glasses and everything, and then I went and put on ordinary sunglasses,” he recalled.

“I don’t know what would have happened, but I know I would probably have been in a lot better shape if I would have been wearing something shatterproof.”

With files from Shallima Maharaj, Global News.

Marc Emery arrives in Vancouver, rallies at Victory Square

Canada’s “Prince of Pot” returned to Vancouver Sunday to hundreds of supporters.

Marc Emery was released from U.S. jail earlier this week, after serving a five-year sentence for selling marijuana seeds.

Supporters held a rally at Victory Square on the Downtown Eastside Sunday afternoon.

Emery says he was surprised at the changes in Vancouver since he left, especially with the liberalization of rules around marijuana dispensaries in the city.

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“With my new apartment, there’s a dispensary right next door, it’s something that has changed since I’ve been gone,” he says. “Our city council needs to be given some credit.”

Emery is confident Liberal leader Justin Trudeau will be the next Prime Minister, paving the way for the legalization of pot.

“When marijuana becomes legal — when Trudeau becomes PM next year — that’s only 14 months away,” he says. “The provinces will be empowered under the constitution to decided how marijuana will be distributed, so provinces need to start talking about this now.”

As for his time in jail, Emery says it was a positive experience and he even picked up some new musical skills.

“I had a positive experience in jail, all of the inmates I came across were all universally kind to me and helpful,” he says. “I learned the bass guitar, and was in some fabulous rock-and-roll bands.”

He says even Canadians who do not agree with his pro-pot views have something to gain from the legalization of marijuana.

“Everyone in Canada has a vested interest in legalizing marijuana; it costs billions and gives young people criminal records that can endanger travel,” says Emery.

The 56-year-old Vancouver resident was extradited to Seattle in May 2010, when he pleaded guilty to selling marijuana seeds from Canada to American customers before serving his time in several U.S. corrections’ facilities.

When he was first arrested almost a decade ago, the Drug Enforcement Agency heralded his seizure as a “significant blow” to the legalization movement.

Credit: John Dowell

Supporters gathered at Victory Square Sunday afternoon, awaiting Marc Emery. Credit: Jill Bennett

Credit: John Dowell

Credit: John Dowell

Credit: Jill Bennett

Marc Emery arrives at Victory Square in Vancouver.

Jill Bennett, Global News

Marc Emery arrives at Victory Square in Vancouver.

Jill Bennett, Global News

Emery crossed the border to Windsor, Ont. on Tuesday evening and vowed to continue his activism even if it means more arrests.

He is allegedly eyeing the next federal election as a potential spring-board to finally make marijuana legal in Canada.

A recent survey showed 59 per cent of Canadians think the use of marijuana should be legalized in this country. The support is strongest in B.C. at 70 per cent and nationally men are slightly more supportive of legalization than women.

VIDEO: Prince of Pot returns to Vancouver

READ MORE: ‘Prince of Pot’ returns to Canada after U.S. sentence

With files from David Shum

Ice bucket challenge providing “great public awareness” of ALS – Regina

REGINA – From politicians to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the ice bucket challenge is going viral in North America and beyond.

“It’s been great public awareness,” said Lisa Pluhowy, president of the ALS Society of Saskatchewan.

The concept is to dump ice cold water on your head and then challenge others to do the same. Those challenged can then either do the chilly task and/or donate $100 to an ALS organization.

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The challenge started in the United States and has spread rapidly over the past weeks with a steady stream of videos of the activity popping up on social networking websites. ALS Canada is raising money from the challenge.

Pluhowy said that it’s important for all Canadians to know about the disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which gradually paralyzes the body.

“Eventually, they lose their ability to hug, speak, and even breathe,” she said of people who have the disease.

There is no cure or effective treatment, and the ALS brings with it tens of thousands of dollars of direct and indirect costs.

“On a younger family, it’s financially devastating. Not only can you not work, but you have to find the money to get the equipment to even remain at home” she said.

According to ALS Canada, two out of 100,000 people 18 years and older are diagnosed with ALS each year. About 3,000 Canadians live with ALS, and 90 per cent die within five years of being diagnosed.

“Our survival rate: there are no survivors. So, unfortunately, when a family is exhausted because they go through that disease progression, their legacy kind of dies with it too,” said Pluhowy.

But the ice bucket challenge’s legacy is continuing.

“I’m going to go to a store and just buy some ice and do it in the parking lot, I think,” said 17-year-old Mark Wiseman, who travelled from Nova Scotia to Regina for an unrelated Sunday sports competition.

At the time of publication, nearly $55,000 had been raised for ALS Canada.

Zombie camp teaches Manitobans how to survive possible apocalypse – Winnipeg

STEINBACH, Man. – Zombie Survival Camp took over some rural Manitoba backwoods this weekend.

“A bunch of survivors have come to this land and we’re here to train and prepare ourselves for the possible zombie apocalypse,” said Deidter Stadnyk of Zombie Survival Camp.

Twenty “survivors”  camped out starting Friday night on property owned by CD Trees. They were trained in archery, weaponry and wilderness survival before a simulated zombie outbreak Sunday.

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“It’s just like out of a horror movie. In fact when we were eating breakfast this morning, they had the zombies rush in on everyone and we scattered from the dining hall — it was amazing,” said participant Gerry McMahom.

“No one can prepare themselves for what’s going to happen here,” said Stadnyk.

Five organizers lead the survival workshops.

“The reason why archery is amazing in a zombie apocalypse is because it’s quiet, unlike a firearm, where it’s a loud bang,” said archery instructor Connor Somerville.

“It builds confidence and it gives you that sense of freedom when you know how to use anything,” said weaponry instructor Dominic Etynkowski.

The weekend is also about learning real-life skills.

“The great thing about preparing for the zombie apocalypse is that it’s that blanked apocalypse, so once you’ve trained for zombie apocalypse, a flood, power outage — no problem,” said Stadnyk.

Learning these skills comes at a price: registration for the weekend cost $250 per person, but it was well worth it, participants said.

“I’m surprised. I thought we’d have fun, but this is better than we could have hoped. It’s fantastic,” said McMahom.

This is the first time the Toronto-based camp has come to Manitoba. Organizers hope to be back next year.

Liberia: Fears of new infections rise as Ebola clinic looted – National

WATCH ABOVE: In Liberia, a country fighting an Ebola outbreak, residents were angry because the body of a man who died of unknown circumstances has been laying on the streets of Monrovia for two days. People accused medical authorities of reacting too slowly to the situation, despite fears that the body might be infected with the deadly virus.

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MONROVIA, Liberia – Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum after residents raided a quarantine centre for suspected patients and took items including blood-stained sheets and mattresses.

The violence in the West Point slum occurred late Saturday and was led by residents angry that patients were brought from other parts of the capital to the holding centre, Tolbert Nyenswah, assistant health minister, said Sunday. It was not immediately clear how many patients had been at the centre.

West Point residents went on a “looting spree,” stealing items from the clinic that were likely infected, said a senior police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the press. The residents took mattresses, sheets and blankets that had bloodstains, which could spread the infection.

The incident raises fears of new infections in Liberia, which was already struggling to contain the outbreak.

READ MORE: Ebola victim numbers swell as more flights halted to West Africa

Liberian police restored order to the West Point neighbourhood, which is home to an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 poor Liberians. Health officials say they fear the looting incident will spread Ebola infections in the capital, Monrovia.

Ebola has killed 1,145 people in West Africa, including 413 in Liberia, according to the World Health Organization.

In East Africa, the Kenyan government took steps to prevent the disease from spreading. Kenya will bar passengers travelling from three West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak, closing a debate in East Africa’s economic powerhouse about whether the national airline was exposing the country to the deadly disease.

The suspension is effective midnight Tuesday for all ports of entry for people travelling from or through Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, said Kenya’s Health Ministry. Nigeria was not included in the ban, which also allows entry to health professionals and Kenyans returning from those countries.

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“This step is in line with the recognition of the extraordinary measures urgently required to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa,” the Health Ministry said. It cited the World Health Organization’s recent statement that the magnitude of the Ebola outbreak has been underestimated.

Following the government’s announcement Saturday, Kenya Airways said it would suspend flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Kenya Airways, a major transport provider in Africa, had wrestled with the decision whether to continue flying to West Africa during the Ebola outbreak. Its suspension of flights is an abrupt reversal of its announcement Friday that it would continue flying.

Social commentators, medical experts and Kenyan politicians said they feared the airline was putting profits ahead of prudence, and that KQ, as the airline is known, would spread Ebola. The airline flies more than 70 flights a week to West Africa, but chief executive Titus Naikuni told a news conference Thursday that airline’s flight decisions had nothing to do with money.

The airline said flights actually help to contain the Ebola outbreak by transporting medical staff, supplies and equipment to West Africa.

READ MORE: US doctor being treated for Ebola recovering, holding onto hope

But doctors representing the Kenya Medical Association had asked Kenya Airways to suspend flights to the four countries affected by Ebola “until things stabilize.” Members of parliament also called on the carrier to halt its West African operations.

Several airlines have already suspended flights to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, including British Airways, Emirates Airlines, Arik Air and ASKY Airlines. Nigeria became the fourth Ebola-affected country late last month after a Liberian-American man sick with the disease flew to Lagos on an ASKY flight and infected several people before he died.

Officials in Cameroon, which borders Nigeria, announced Friday it would suspend all flights from all four Ebola-affected countries. Korean Air announced on Thursday it would temporarily halt its service to Kenya despite the fact there are no cases of Ebola in the country.

Ebola-affected countries are suffering economically as international airlines restrict flights, companies scale down regional operations and much commercial trade is put on hold, said the World Bank. The bank, with the International Monetary Fund, reduced this year’s economic growth estimate for Guinea to 3.5 per cent, down from their original projection of 4.5 per cent growth.

©2014The Associated Press

Ami’s Holiday wins Breeders’ Stakes

TORONTO – Ami’s Holiday couldn’t find a clear path to the winner’s circle in the Queen’s Plate or the Prince of Wales Stakes, so he got another chance in the Breeders’ Stakes.

Under a clean ride from jockey Luis Contreras on Sunday afternoon, Ami’s Holiday cruised by horses on the outside to win the $500,000 final jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.

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Second to Lexie Lou in the Queen’s Plate on polytrack and third to Coltimus Prime in the Prince of Wales on dirt, Ami’s Holiday validated trainer Josie Carroll’s confidence by winning on the turf course at Woodbine Racetrack.

“I think it says a lot about this horse,” Carroll said. “Not many horses can do all three and do them well, so I just think we have an exceptional horse.”

Ami’s Holiday, who beat long shot Interpol by three-quarters of a length, was the only horse to run all three legs of the Canadian Triple Crown. The morning-line favourite who went off as the second choice at odds of 2-to-1 showed no fatigue from his third race in seven weeks and looked to be on top of his game at 1 1/2-mile.

After the Prince of Wales last month, Carroll had some reservations about bringing Ami’s Holiday back for the 124th running of the Breeders’ Stakes. He had never run on turf before, but she told owner Ivan Dalos it was worth seeing what Ami’s Holiday had to offer.

“When I put him on the course he just lit it up. I said, ‘Boy, we’ve got to take a serious look,”‘ Carroll said. “The last three days he’s been wanting to eat meat. He’s been really serious. Here we are and he got it done.”

Ami’s Holiday got it done in 2:30.12, paying 6.70 to win, 3.80 to place and 2.80 to show. He impressed Carroll by saving some acceleration for the finish and galloping out strong.

With Big Red Bugsy setting the pace as the early leader, Contreras kept Ami’s Holiday in stalking position “sitting behind the speed” but not too far back in the pack.

“I wanted to keep him with the other horses, keep him busy,” Contreras said. “I know my horse is very brave, he’s been in trouble before. He was going great.”

Carroll told Contreras that “trouble always seems to find this horse and instructed him to use the big, wide turf course at Woodbine. The 28-year-old who won the 2011 Breeders’ Stakes aboard Pender Harbour did just that.

“It was really well done on Luis’s part,” Carroll said. “I think because we run so few mile and a half races in North America, the jockeys don’t ride as many and sometimes they think they have to take back, have to take back and when everybody’s taking back you’ve got no pace in front and you can’t close.

“And I think he just really read this race well at every stage.”

Rolling along the outside down the stretch, Ami’s Holiday passed final-turn leader Squeeze the King and Interpol to hit the wire first. It was the horse’s “tremendous kick at the end” that Contreras said made it happen.

Eurico Rosa da Silva, who rode Up With the Birds to last year’s Breeders’ Stakes title, thought he had a winning trip with Squeeze the King, who finished third.

“When we got to the stretch, the pace was very slow, so I thought I’m going to kick it in here because I had so much horse and I thought I was going to get the money,” da Silva said. “But he ran a great race.”

Bangkok was fourth. Unikat, the post-time favourite at 2-to-1, finished last in the 12-horse field.

Interpol’s jockey, Jesse Campbell, was thrilled the 18-to-1 shot made such a huge run to get up for second.

“He was getting tired in the end, but he kept hanging in there,” Campbell said. “He ran so hard. You have to be proud of him. The best horse won the race. I’m tickled to run second.”

Carroll was glad to run second to Lexie Lou in the Queen’s Plate on July 6, even if a better trip might’ve landed Ami’s Holiday in first with a legitimate shot at the first Canadian Triple Crown since Wando in 2003.

“It’s really tough to second guess a trip in the Queen’s Plate,” Carroll said. “You can’t take anything away from the filly that won that race. At the end of the day, she ran her race, she won it, she gets all the credit and we did it today.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Gay pride parade revellers paint the city in rainbow colours – Montreal

Watch above: A sea of rainbow colours danced through the streets of the downtown core as the 30th annual gay pride parade took over the city. Billy Shields has the full story.

MONTREAL – It was a bright and beautiful Sunday in Montreal – and not just weather wise.

A sea of rainbow colours danced through the streets of downtown as the 30th annual gay pride parade took over our city.

The event started at 1 p.m at the corner of René-Lévesque Boulevard and Guy culminating on Sanguinet Street and the Village.

The parade featured floats from hundreds of local sports teams, cultural and community groups as well as other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations.

WATCH: Raw video from the 30th annual gay pride parade

Organizers estimated that up to 300,000 people participated this year, making it the most successful one yet. 

Premier Philippe Couillard, Mayor Denis Coderre,  Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair were just some of the politicians present at the festivities.

“Of course we’ll have to be vigilant, of course we still have a lot of fights, but I still think we are an inspiration fro the rest of the world,” said Mayor Denis Coderre.

“We’ve come a long way in Canada we still have work to do, said Federal Liberal Leader, Justin Trudeau.

Read more: Montreal Pride kicks off, inspired by the colour orange

For years, the parade has ended up as a forum for politicians to get their message out but for almost everybody else it serves up an opportunity to let people be themselves.

The event caps off Pride Week, which featured more than 80 events, including free shows at Place Émilie-Gamelin, Pride Day at La Ronde, movies under the stars, the infamous pink dot gathering, and a three-act American opera presented by the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal’s Maestro Kent Nagano.

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Camilo Villegas wins Wyndham Championship – National

WATCH: Final round highlights of the Wyndham Championship

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Camilo Villegas won the Wyndham Championship by a stroke Sunday for his first PGA Tour victory since 2010.

Villegas shot a 7-under 63 and finished at 17-under 263. He earned $954,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points in the final regular-season event.

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The Colombian had four birdies and an eagle on the front nine, added a birdie on the par-5 15th and took the lead into the clubhouse.

He then watched the rest of the field stumble late, giving him his fourth PGA Tour title and first since the 2010 Honda Classic.

READ MORE: Camilo Villegas hope to hold lead at Wyndham Championship

Bill Haas and Freddie Jacobson tied for second. Haas had a 64, and Jacobson shot 66.

Jacobson needed a par on the final hole to force a playoff, but he rolled his 11-foot putt inches past the hole.

Heath Slocum was two strokes back after his 67. Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson and third-round leader Nick Watney were at 14 under.

Villegas had to wait about 40 minutes after his round ended before his victory was secure. He closed his round with three straight pars, tapping in from about 2 feet on 18 and hoping it was good enough.

It was – because the crowd near the top of the leaderboard thinned itself out.

Watney was at 17 under and appeared headed for his sixth PGA Tour victory before he ran into trouble on 14 and picked up his third bogey of the tournament and second of the day.

He followed with four straight pars, leaving him needing a birdie on the final hole to tie Villegas.

He had one on Saturday – but couldn’t do it again.

He wound up with a double bogey after his tee shot bounced past a cart path and out of bounds.

That came after Jacobson also couldn’t catch Villegas.

READ MORE: Plenty at stake at season-ending Wyndham Championship

The Swede’s second shot on 18 fell short of the green and his 70-foot birdie putt from the front edge rolled well past the hole before he was wide with his par putt.

Congestion atop the leaderboard was expected after 12 players entered their last trip around Sedgefield within three strokes of third-round leader Watney, who was at 14 under through three rounds.

And Villegas wasn’t one of them.

He began five strokes back but made a quick trip up the leaderboard, with three birdies and an eagle among his first five holes to move to 15 under and put himself within striking distance.

The other main subplot here this week was the last-gasp push for spots in the PGA Tour’s playoffs, which begin next week at The Barclays in New Jersey.

Slocum, who arrived at No. 158 on the points list, was briefly at 17 under but slipped off the pace by closing with two bogeys that also helped keep him out of The Barclays field. He finished at No. 129.

Paul Casey, 125th at the start of the week, tied for 18th to put himself safely in the field. Martin Laird, who was at No. 136, was near the lead all weekend but his tie for 14th could only propel him to No. 127.

©2014The Canadian Press

Spruce Grove residents asked to be on the lookout for missing python – Edmonton

Watch above: Spruce Grove RCMP are warning residents about a loose Blood Python.

EDMONTON – A Spruce Grove woman has taken out an ad on Kijiji in hopes of finding her boyfriend’s Blood Python, Bandit.

RCMP and Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers have been called in to investigate, after the three-foot long snake escaped from the man’s home in the Aspenglen area on Thursday.

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According to the Kijiji ad, the man believes he left Bandit on the deck and forgot to bring him inside before going to sleep.

Officers say they have consulted with a reptile expert who says the python poses virtually no threat to public safety.

“They’re not considered offensive in nature and more than likely it’s probably quite scared and hiding away from people,” said Cst. Kathleen Fossen with Spruce Grove/Stony Plain RCMP.

Due to the cooler Alberta climate, Fossen says the python is likely hiding in a warm place, such as a hollowed out tree.

“Unfortunately, it is very likely that this snake will not last long outdoors,” she said. “The climate is not hospitable for this type of snake, so it probably will succumb to the elements in a fairly short period of time.”

Bandit is orange in colour with brown and black markings. Anyone who sees the snake is being asked not to approach it, but call RCMP at 780-962-2222.

Spruce Grove RCMP are investigating after Bandit the Blood Python was reported missing earlier this week.

Credit: Kijiji

Spruce Grove RCMP are investigating after Bandit the Blood Python was reported missing earlier this week.

Credit: Kijiji

Spruce Grove RCMP are investigating after Bandit the Blood Python was reported missing earlier this week.

Credit: Kijiji