Brenda Martin celebrates Mother's Day with freedom
OTTAWA - Brenda Martin spent her first weekend as a free woman rummaging through her mom's freezer for just the right ingredients to whip up a special Mother's Day feast.
After so many years apart, dinner has to be just right.
"This is my mother's biggest Mother's Day that she's ever had. It's the biggest Mother's Day I've ever had for my mother,'' she said.
"(It's) my most important Mother's Day gift to my mother ever in my life.''
It was a whirlwind weekend for Martin. She was released late Friday from a Kitchener, Ont., prison after being granted full parole that afternoon.
She's now staying with her mother, Marjorie Bletcher, in Trenton, Ont.
And what's on the Mother's Day menu?
Martin, 51, told The Canadian Press she's going to serve up roast pork with scalloped potatoes, baked squash, green vegetables and Roquefort cheese.
"Everybody wants to come to dinner,'' she joked. "People are sitting here going, 'What time is dinner?'''
For Bletcher, the perfect Mother's Day gift is time alone with her daughter.
"I haven't seen Brenda for so long. And I just wanted to have a little bit of quiet time with her,'' she said.
It's been years since mother and daughter shared a meal.
Martin returned to Canada earlier this month after spending more than two years behind bars in Mexico.
Mexican authorities arrested her in February 2006 in connection with an Internet fraud scheme run by her ex-boss, Alyn Waage.
Waage was the brains behind the Tri-West Investment Club scam that bilked 15,000 investors out of nearly US$60 million.
He's now serving a 10-year sentence at a low-security federal prison in Butner, N.C.
Martin worked as Waage's personal chef at his posh villa in Puerto Vallarta for 10 months until he fired her in early 2001.
Waage told The Canadian Press he paid Martin a year's severance of $25,000 because he felt bad about firing her.
Martin subsequently invested $10,000 of the severance pay into Tri-West, but Waage later returned the money to her.
Mexican authorities didn't buy her explanation that she thought it was a good investment and didn't know her former boss was a fraudster.
They jailed her at the Puente Grande prison near Guadalajara, where she shared a cell with nearly a dozen other women.
But her plight picked up steam in the media, and teary-eyed photos of her became a staple in Canadian news coverage.
The Conservative government eventually dispatched two MPs to Mexico to blunt what threatened to become a diplomatic blight.
A Mexican judge sentenced Martin last month to five years in prison and fined her $3,500. In the days before and after her sentencing, Canadian officials worked behind-the-scenes to secure her transfer home.
She made an unexpected return to Canada on a government-chartered Challenger jet in early May and spent just over a week at the Grand Valley Institution for Women near Kitchener.
Martin told CTV's Paula Todd she plans to look into getting the criminal conviction stricken from her record.
In the coming days, she says she'll tell her story -- but for now, she just wants some time with her mom.
"We just need some space.''