2 min

In brief

Local and national news

A GENERATION OF REMEMBERING. Vancouver's AIDS Candlelight Memorial and Vigil had its 20th annual observance May 30 in Alexandra Park, with over 400 people participating. The vigil has collected 2579 names of British Columbians who have died of AIDS-"old friends, old boyfriends, even previous organizing committee members," wrote James C Johnstone in the last issue of Xtra West. Credit: Kevin Teneycke


In a first-ever for Vancouver, city hall is putting on a veritable festival of events to help celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York. And the entire queer community and friends are invited. Starting at 10:30 am on Fri, Jun 25 in the third floor city council chambers, the event pays tribute to the history of Vancouver’s queer community and some of the individuals who took a leadership role in fighting for equality. The celebration will include entertainment, a video of local personalities (accompanied by heritage footage of gay news stories from the 1950s to the present day, compliments of the CBC), a flag-raising ceremony, refreshments, and a forum focussed on the community’s past, present and future. Other surprises and special guests are promised. Reserve a seat by contacting councillors Tim Stevenson or Ellen Woodsworth at 604.873.7848.

The Stonewall weekend continues with two other events that weekend. On Sat Jun 26 (11 am to 4 pm), the Vancouver Pride Society ( is putting on a festival in Grandview Park on Commercial Dr. On Sunday, the Generations Project is “Honouring Our Elders” with a high tea from 2 to 5 pm at the Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St (RSVP to 604.684.8449).



Danny Rao and Ryan Cran will go on trial Nov 15 for the 2001 beating death of Aaron Webster, Associate Chief Justice Patrick Dohm has ordered.

There may be a snag, however.

The accused had elected to be tried by judge and jury but Rao’s lawyer indicated to Dohm his client now wishes to be tried by judge alone. That could mean that the pair would be tried separately.

Both Cran and Rao were in court for the ruling Jun 2. Cran, clad in a shirt, tie and slacks sat quietly with his mother.

Rao entered wearing prison clothes. He was brought in from cells after a conviction for breaching bail conditions and trying to interfere with the course of justice.

Rao grinned at Cran when he was brought in by a sheriff.

Dohm was told the charges arose after Rao contacted a witness in the case and tried to interfere with that person.

Dohm ordered Rao’s bail revoked.

Webster was beaten to death Nov 17, 2001 at the entrance to the Stanley Park cruising trails.

Two juveniles have already pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges in connection with Webster’s death and were both sentenced to one year in jail and two years house arrest. In the case of the first youth, Judge Valmond Romilly declared the case a hate crime.

The trial, expected to take three weeks, will be held at BC Supreme Court at Smythe and Hornby streets.

-Jeremy Hainsworth



People living in condos or apartments in Canada have the democratic right to display political campaign signs from their dwellings despite what apartment managers or condo boards might attempt to dictate.

While the size of such signs may be restricted to reasonable limits, says Elections Canada’s Susan Friend, Canadian citizens cannot be stopped from expressing their political views in such a manner.

The right is protected under law through the Election Canada Act which supercedes anything a builder, operator or owners’ group may say.

If a person believes this right is being violated, they should fax a complaint to Elections Canada at 1.800.663.4908 or send a letter to Elections Canada at 257 Slater Street, Ottawa, ON K1A 0M6.

-Jeremy Hainsworth



Xtra West and the Gay and Lesbian Business Association are co-sponsoring a debate among Vancouver Centre candidates Hedy Fry (Lib), Kennedy Stewart (NDP), Gary Mitchell, (Con) and Rob Mattu (Green). Seen as a prime opportunity for gays and lesbians to grill candidates about their issues, the debate is scheduled for Wed, Jun 16 at 6:30 to 9 pm at The Theatre (formerly the Judge White Theatre) at UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson St. Audience questions welcomed.