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This article was published 1/7/2018 (1210 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
James Aisaican-Chase, a terminally ill man who fought the City of Winnipeg for nearly three years over what he felt was an unjust red-light traffic ticket, has died.
The 72-year-old died on June 22.
In October 2015, Aisaican-Chase was on his way to an appointment when he approached the intersection of Bishop Grandin Boulevard and River Road, where the speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour. When the light turned amber, he feared he had too little time to stop safely and kept driving. Soon, a ticket was in his mailbox and Aisaican-Chase made it his mission to advocate for longer amber-light times through a lengthy court battle.
"If it takes 30 years to get justice out of this, I don't care," he said in May. "I'm going to fight it."
He was always fighting for what was right, his wife Anngylla said Sunday. Not even a deadly disease could stop him.
In December 2016, Aisaican-Chase was given six months to live. When the Crown first learned about his illness, it tried to drop the ticket. But Aisaican-Chase insisted on contesting the matter in court, and he testified prior to his April 2017 trial. To him, Anngylla said, the ticket and the fine represented a battle more important than his health.
"He didn't care if he went in the courtroom, said what he said and dropped dead," she said Sunday. "He had his mission."
In May, Aisaican-Chase was found guilty of driving through a red light and was fined $203, but even as his health worsened, he had plans to appeal to a higher court.
Aisaican-Chase dedicated much of his time to the Holy Cross Parish on Dubuc Street. He and his wife made several pilgrimmages to Medjugorje, a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina where some believe the Virgin Mary appeared nearly 40 years ago. His wife recalled him handing out rosaries to people in need, and offering help to strangers and friends alike.
He was a passionate animal advocate, and in 2011, he and his wife fought for the right to care for three bulldogs when a community committee voted against them getting a special permit required to keep more than three dogs on their property.
"He was always a fighter," his wife says. "Every day was a bonus day for him."
Born in Saint John, N.B., in 1945, Aisaican-Chase spent 21 years in the Canadian Air Force before becoming an aircraft maintenance engineer. He practised "symbology," a form of handwriting analysis, and built aircraft devices in his spare time.
Ben Waldman covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.