The Monday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Monday, June 26———ONTARIO TO CALL INQUIRY INTO NURSING HOME MURDERS: The case of a nurse who murdered eight seniors in long-term care homes in Ontario will be examined in a public inquiry. The Ontario government announced Monday it is moving to appoint a commissioner to lead a public inquiry into the circumstances of the deaths. Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who pleaded guilty last month to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault, was sentenced Monday to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years. Health Minister Eric Hoskins and Attorney General Yasir Naqvi offered condolences on behalf of the provincial government to Wettlaufer’s victims. The ministers say they want to assure the public that, despite Wettlaufer’s crimes, the 78,000 residents of Ontario’s publicly funded long-term care homes are safe. The government is finalizing the details of the inquiry and will make them available to the public once they have been approved by cabinet.———SECURITY RESEARCHERS EYEING PARLIAMENT HILL: Security officials say they’re ready for the huge crowds set to descend on Parliament Hill for Canada’s 150th birthday celebration Saturday. But that doesn’t mean federal researchers are done thinking about how to better protect the country’s seat of democracy in the months and years ahead. Advisers are gathering data on everything from crowd flows to video-camera placement to ensure both security and openness in the parliamentary precinct. Rami Youssef of the federal Centre for Security Science says Parliament Hill security is a “tough nut to crack” because of the fine balance between guarding the most important democratic institutions while keeping the grounds open to people. After a gunman stormed the Hill in October 2014, the centre completed two studies — one on the physical security of Parliament’s Centre Block and another on procedures for handling visitors and employees in the parliamentary precinct.———RESUMING EX-SENATOR’S PROBE A MISTAKE, LAWYER SAYS: The lawyer for Don Meredith says the Senate ethics watchdog should have abandoned her investigation into allegations of workplace harassment and bullying once the former senator resigned his seat. The fact that Meredith is no longer a senator would normally halt such an inquiry, but the Senate ethics officer picked things up again last week after the ethics committee recommended she press ahead with the two-year-old probe. The committee said the Senate can no longer impose any sanctions on Meredith, but noted the investigation might help clarify the rules and identify the best way to deal with such issues in the future. Lawyer Bill Trudell says if the Senate wants to make some institutional changes, it should go ahead and make them without pinning them on someone who is no longer there. Meredith resigned his seat last month, the day before the Senate could have voted to expel him over his sexual relationship with a teenage girl.———TIM HORTONS FRANCHISEE GROUP EXPANDS SOUTH OF BORDER: A group representing Tim Hortons franchisees who are unhappy with the management of the coffee-and-doughnut chain says it now has a U.S. chapter, a development that could put further pressure on the parent company. The Great White North Franchisee Association said in a statement that the U.S. chapter was created to give a united voice to franchisees concerned about the management of Restaurant Brands International. It said the membership of the new chapter includes nearly half of all U.S.-based franchisees. The Canadian chapter formed in March, with members complaining the parent company was using its power to extract more profit from franchisees. Last week, one member sought a class-action lawsuit against RBI, alleging it improperly used money from a national advertising fund. The claims have not been proven in court and RBI has denied the allegations. A GWNFA spokesman said in an email that the U.S. chapter has no firm plans at the moment to launch a similar suit, but will explore various measures to address the concerns they have.———CANADA AND CHINA SIGN NO-HACKING AGREEMENT: Canada and China have agreed not to engage in state-sponsored hacking of each other’s trade secrets and business information. The two countries reached the agreement during a meeting last week that was part of their new high-level national security dialogue. “The two sides agreed that neither country’s government would conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors,” says a communique from the Prime Minister’s Office. The two sides also had “candid” discussions about a possible extradition treaty, said the statement — something China wants, but that Canada has said is a long way off. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang have deepened the political engagement between the two countries with regular “dialogues” such as the security one that took place last week in Ottawa.———ONTARIO PLANS TO BAN SCALPER BOTS: Ontario is promising to clamp down on online ticket scalping, a source of frustration and anger for fans who have often been unable to secure tickets to their favourite sport or music events. The Liberal government said Monday it will introduce new legislation this fall that will make automated ticket-buying “bots” illegal. It would also cap markups on resold tickets at 50 per cent of their face value. Under the proposed law, ticket resellers would have to disclose more information, including the face value of tickets and any surcharges. The so-called “scalper bots” — software programs designed to purchase online a large number of tickets for a concert, show, or other event, enabling the person running the software to sell those tickets at a profit — made headlines last year when many Tragically Hip fans were unable to buy tickets to the band’s farewell tour. “By the time any real fan is able to log on and search for tickets the best seats are gone,” said Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s attorney general, as he made the announcement.———CANADA QUIET AT KURDS PUSH FOR INDEPENDENCE: While the federal government considers whether to renew Canada’s mission against Islamic State militants, a different sort of battle is brewing inside Iraq. Iraq’s Kurdish people are gearing up for a long-awaited referendum in September on whether to seek independence from the rest of the country. The move comes despite fierce objections from Iraq’s central government in Baghdad, and opposition from the U.S., European countries and most of Iraq’s neighbours. Global Affairs Canada says Canada supports unity in Iraq, but otherwise the government hasn’t publicly weighed in on the Kurdish referendum. That’s despite Canadian officials warning the Liberals in November 2015 that Canadian military support to the Kurds could one day be used to help them break from the rest of Iraq. The Liberals are expected to announce in the coming days whether those troops will remain in Iraq past the end of the month.———B.C. NDP EXPECTED TO MOVE TO DEFEAT LIBERALS: British Columbia’s Liberals are bracing for defeat on Thursday after 16 years in office, but they first want to reform the province’s campaign finance laws as a final political act. Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong says his government will introduce a proposed law Monday that bans corporate and union donations to political parties and sets limits on individual donations. De Jong says the proposed law — which the Liberals opposed in last month’s election campaign but supported in last week’s throne speech — can be passed in the legislature in the coming days. He says the finance reform law is not a delay tactic because the Liberals still expect a confidence vote to occur Thursday that leads to the defeat of the government. The New Democrats and Greens have an agreement to combine their seats total to out vote the Liberals on matters of confidence, which includes the throne speech.———POLICE TREATING BURNING OF PRIDE FLAG AS ARSON: Police in a small southern Alberta town are treating the burning of a rainbow Pride flag as an arson case. Taber Police Chief Graham Abela says someone used fuel to light a flag pole on fire Saturday and the flames spread to the flag. Organizers of Taber’s first Pride event plan to raise a third rainbow flag. The first flag raised earlier this month was stolen. In a statement, the town says it is disappointed with the vandalism and is working with the police investigation. The town says any further vandalism attempts will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Earlier this month, vandals in nearby Lethbridge defaced a rainbow crosswalk twice in four days that was put in place to make the city’s Pride festival.———CANADIAN WOMAN LEADS U.K. CHANGING OF THE GUARD CEREMONY: A Canadian captain made history Monday by becoming the first female infantry officer to lead the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. Megan Couto led her unit — the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry or “The Patricia’s” — in the ceremony, an event witnessed by thousands of tourists annually. “I’m just focusing on doing my job as best I can and staying humble,” said Couto, 24. “Any of my peers would be absolutely delighted to be captain of the Queen’s Guard and I’m equally honoured.” The unit was invited to Britain to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. The role of Mounting The Queen’s Guard usually falls to the British Army’s Household Division, which is part of the male-dominated infantry division. The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry is based in Manitoba,. The unit is named after Princess Patricia of Connaught, a granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria.———last_img

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