A close friend of the Spruce Grove man who is believed to have been beheaded by kidnappers in the Philippines says Ottawa could have done more to help Robert Hall.
Prime Minister Trudeau broke the bad news to Canadians Monday morning, ahead of offical confirmation.
Hall, who was born in Calgary, ran a welding business for years in Spruce Grove before retiring.
His friend Alex Davis says the two did business together, but also belonged to the same philanthropic group, the Shriners. He says his friend Bob was a pilot, who was part owner of an experimental airplane. He also had a yacht. “One of his passions was sailing, but he was also involved the philanthropic organization. One of the things we loved to do was to go and raise money for the Shriner children’s hospitals. We have seniors homes that we support, a myriad of different hospitals without borders.”
Davis says many people went different routes to send the federal government the same message. “We understand that you can’t pay terrorists, because that never works. And it’s the wrong message to send. But there was something that Ottawa could do. That island in the Philippines is very small, and I know that we’ve got special forces that we could have put in there en masse.”
He also says financial sanctions could have been brought to press on the local government there to do more.
John Ridsdel who travelled to the Philippines with Bob Hall on his yacht, and was also kidnapped, was murdered in April by their captors. Two people remain captive from the same kidnapping at a marina in September of 2015. A man from Norway, and a Filipino woman. (eb)