A construction worker who verbally menaced Premier Ed Stelmach, along with threatening to head to his farm to kill his cattle, apologized in a long statement posted on Facebook after being sentenced to a four-month jail term, to be served on weekends.
“I understand from watching the news that he and his family were ‘shaken’ by the statement … and for that I am truly sorry,” said Ronald Labelle in the written 1,433-word statement that includes lengthy explanations about all three threats charges that he was sentenced for yesterday.
Labelle, 57, was stern-faced as he stood during Provincial Court Judge Fern LeReverend’s ruling, which includes two years of probation and a 10-year ban from possessing firearms.
Since Labelle already served 16 days in jail before trial, he will only serve 90 days for the threats, along with convictions for 28-weapons charges after Edmonton police discovered nine rifles and five shotguns stored in a cardboard box at his home.
“Politicians must serve the public without fear of harm,” said LeReverend. “You have threatened the premier.”
Labelle said in his statement on the social networking site that he was upset over an ongoing dispute with a trade union and heavy drinking only made things worse when he phoned the premier’s office Sept. 7, 2007.
A secretary who worked in the premier’s office earlier testified that she was so upset about the threatening call that she quit her job a week later.
In his public statement, Labelle also criticized the government for not “arresting” Finance Minister Iris Evans after comments he believed she made against construction workers for their refusal to work in “unfair conditions.”
Labelle’s son Brian told reporters outside the courthouse the case was given special treatment since it involved the premier’s office and that a special crown prosecutor was flown in from Calgary.
“Anyone who has threatened anyone in this province is probably laughing right now that they didn’t receive a sentence remotely close to what he got,” said Labelle’s son.
Crown Prosecutor Shane Parker says the sentence sends the right message.
Tom Olsen, a spokesman with the premier’s office, says there was no political involvement in the case, and Stelmach would not comment on yesterday’s decision.