The Monday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Monday, June 12———CANADA AND U.S. ‘QUITE FAR APART’ ON SOFTWOOD, FEDS SAY: Canada and the United States remain “quite far apart” on negotiating a softwood lumber settlement, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday, suggesting that any hopes for a swift resolution may be dashed. Freeland offered the blunt assessment before meeting members of Quebec’s forestry sector, who for nearly two months have been charged duties for shipping softwood south of the border. “Our positions are still quite far apart,” she said after addressing the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal. “But I think that talking is always a good thing and that is something that we are doing very actively and energetically.” Her comments come after Raymond Chretien, Quebec’s softwood lumber envoy, said earlier this month that he was optimistic the trade dispute could be resolved before NAFTA renegotiations get underway in mid-August. He also warned, however, that the softwood standoff could last for years if an agreement isn’t reached prior to those NAFTA talks.———OTTAWA SIGNS CHILD CARE DEAL WITH PROVINCES: The new national child care deal the Liberal government has signed with the provinces might not be a universal program, but Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said it could make way for one later down the road. “It’s an aspiration and long-term vision that is coherent with universality,” Duclos said Monday after he signed a multilateral agreement with the provinces and territories, excluding Quebec, which decided not to join, and British Columbia, still working through the impact of its recent election. The Liberal government negotiated the agreement — called the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework — to set out the parameters for billions in new child care spending unveiled in the 2017 budget: quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity. The multilateral framework is meant to pave the way for separate bilateral agreements to be hammered out with the provinces and territories over the next few months, which will allow a total of $1.2 billion to flow into their coffers over the next three years.———CENTRAL BANK POINTS TO STRONGER ECONOMY: The Bank of Canada is encouraged by a broadening of economic strength, which includes gains across 70 per cent of industries, a top official said Monday, in what was widely seen as a “hawkish” speech from the country’s central bank. Senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said the gains are something Canada hasn’t seen since before the oil-price collapse nearly three years ago. Analysts said these and other comments suggest the central bank is beginning to assess when, not if, the bank might introduce its first rate increase in nearly seven years. But despite the bank’s brightening outlook, Wilkins underscored several lingering uncertainties that suggest it won’t be ready to raise its benchmark as early as its next scheduled announcement July 12. She pointed to unknowns surrounding U.S. economic policy and Canada’s recent below-target inflation readings, as well as employment weaknesses in wage growth and the number of hours worked.———TOP SUPREME COURT JUSTICE TO RETIRE IN DECEMBER: Beverley McLachlin is stepping down as Supreme Court chief justice in mid-December. McLachlin is the first woman to hold the top job on the high court, and she is also Canada’s longest-serving chief justice. She was sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court in 1989, and was appointed chief justice 11 years later. Federally appointed judges can sit until age 75, and McLachlin’s mandatory retirement date is Sept. 7, 2018. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated McLachlin on her coming retirement, saying her judicial accomplishments are unparalleled in Canadian history. Trudeau says she has been a judicial leader and trailblazer for almost four decades, and that Canadians owe her an immense debt.———LIBERALS: CANADA WON’T RENEGOTIATE PARIS, NOR KEEP IT FROM G20: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he did not ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel to consider keeping all mentions of the Paris climate change accord out of the upcoming G20 leaders meeting statement to placate U.S. President Donald Trump. German publication Der Spiegel had reported on a call between the two leaders last week, saying Trudeau wondered about the potential downside of striking mentions of the accord from the communique in order to not further provoke Trump. The Prime Minister’s Office has made a request for a correction to the article, but they have not sought to clarify Trudeau’s remarks. On Monday, the United States refused to sign onto a G7 pledge calling the Paris climate accord the “irreversible” global tool to address climate change. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Monday that Canada will not support renegotiating the deal. She said she made that clear to Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, during a 20-minute private conversation on the sidelines of a meeting of G7 environment ministers in Italy.———NO JUDGMENT FOR DRUG USERS, PHILPOTT SAYS: Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott says more people are expected to die of illicit opioid overdoses in Canada this year compared with nearly 2,500 fatalities recorded in 2016. “It is going to get worse before it gets better,” Philpott told the National Health Leadership Conference on Monday, calling British Columbia “ground zero” because the crisis claimed 935 lives in the province last year. The complex problem of substance use is rooted in social issues such as poverty, homelessness and unresolved trauma, so combating the epidemic will require a patient-centred approach, Philpott said. The Public Health Agency of Canada released figures last week saying at least 2,458 people died of opioid-related overdoses in 2016, though Philpott said the information is incomplete. She told health-care managers that patients need to be treated without judgment and discrimination and their health records must follow them wherever they get care, regardless of whether they have a fixed address.———CANADA PONDERING AFGHANISTAN REQUEST, SAJJAN SAYS: The federal government is considering a NATO request to send police trainers to Afghanistan, but Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Canada’s military focus remains in Iraq. Sajjan said even though Canada continues to provide funding for development and security personnel in Afghanistan, the military mission there ended three years ago. The conflict claimed the lives of 158 Canadian soldiers, one diplomat and one journalist between 2001 and 2014. Thousands of those who served there continue to suffer from physical or mental injuries, an issue that continues to make headlines across the country. However, the United States and NATO are reaching out for more help in Afghanistan now that the Taliban appear to be making a comeback in the region. As well, the arrival of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has complicated matters. During the past year, the group has launched deadly attacks across the country.———BILL COSBY TRIAL DRAWS TO A CLOSE WITHOUT HIM TESTIFYING: Bill Cosby’s trial raced toward a close Monday, with his lawyer telling the jury that the comedian and the woman who accuses him of drugging and molesting her more than a decade ago were lovers who had enjoyed secret “romantic interludes.” Prosecutors countered by saying “fancy lawyering” can’t save Cosby from his own words — namely, his admission about groping Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia estate after giving her pills he knew could put her to sleep. “Drugging somebody and putting them in a position where you can do what you want with them is not romantic. It’s criminal,” District Attorney Kevin Steele said in his closing argument. The jury of seven men and five women was expected to get the case later in the day. A conviction could send the 79-year-old Cosby, once one of the most beloved entertainers in all of show business, to prison for the rest of his life. The two sides launched into their closing arguments after the defence put on a case that consisted of just one witness — a detective — and six minutes of testimony. Cosby himself chose not to take the stand, ending days of suspense over whether the jury would hear directly from him.———COURT HEARS CLOSING ARGUMENTS AT MED STUDENT’S MURDER TRIAL: A Halifax university student is not a “criminal mastermind” and the Crown has twisted evidence in the case to fit its theory that William Sandeson murdered Taylor Samson during a drug deal, defence lawyer Eugene Tan told the first-degree murder trial Monday. In his closing arguments, defence lawyer Eugene Tan said the Crown has attempted to make Sandeson look like a cold, calculated murderer, when evidence presented at the trial showed the opposite. Sandeson — who was slated to start medical school within a week of his arrest — is charged in the death of the 22-year-old Dalhousie University student, whose body has never been found. Tan said the police and the Crown have tried to make evidence fit their theory that Sandeson killed Samson on Aug. 15, 2015, when Samson went to Sandeson’s south-end apartment to sell him 20 pounds of marijuana for $40,000.———‘COME FROM AWAY’ CREATORS REFLECT ON GANDER AT TONYS: As the married co-creators of “Come From Away” celebrated a Tony Award win, their hearts were with the people of Gander, N.L., whose uplifting stories inspired the hit homegrown musical honoured among Broadway’s best. “Come From Away” headed into Sunday night’s ceremony in New York with seven nominations, including a nod for best musical. Christopher Ashley won for best director of a musical, but the show was shut out in all other categories. Canadian co-creators Irene Sankoff and David Hein attended several Tony after-parties, but as they partied into the wee hours, they couldn’t stop thinking about the residents of Gander. “Come From Away” is set in the remote East Coast town in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. “The entire night last night we were thinking about the parties that they were having out in Gander and we knew Chris was thinking exactly the same thing,” Hein said in a phone interview Monday. “They’ve been in our heads the entire time because (the show) was based on our interviews with them. So they’ve not only followed us on Facebook, and cheered us on online and in person when they come to the show, but they’ve been in our hearts the entire time… It’s their story. It’s this story about how they welcomed the world and gave the world so much.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *