News / Canada

The Monday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands with Members of Parliament during Question Period for a moment of silence for Jim Prentice, a former MP and premier of Alberta who died in a plane crash, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands with Members of Parliament during Question Period for a moment of silence for Jim Prentice, a former MP and premier of Alberta who died in a plane crash, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Highlights from the news file for Monday, Oct. 17

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TEARS, TRIBUTES FOR JIM PRENTICE IN PARLIAMENT: Former federal cabinet minister and Alberta premier Jim Prentice is being remembered in Ottawa, days after he and three others died in a plane crash. Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose choked back tears as she paid tribute to Prentice in the House of Commons. She told the House that Prentice was a "true gentleman politician" who loved public service. After a moment of silence for Prentice, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said everyone on both sides of the House feels the loss.

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BID TO BAN FULL NAME AND LOGO OF CLEVELAND INDIANS FAILS: An Ontario judge has ruled that the Cleveland Indians will be allowed to use their full team name and logo in their playoff games with the Toronto Blue Jays. The decision comes after lawyers for an indigenous activist sought to have a court ban use of the team's full name and its logo of a grinning cartoon man with red skin and a feather in his headband. The injunction had been sought by Douglas Cardinal, who has filed complaints to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Commission on the matter. Cardinal's lawyers had argued that the combination of the Cleveland team name and logo was racial discrimination and amounted to a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code and Canada's Human Rights Act.

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PHILPOTT TALKS TOUGH ON HEALTH TRANSFER: Health Minister Jane Philpott has warned her provincial and territorial counterparts agitating for more federal money that all such funding must be earmarked for health care. "I have a responsibility as the health minister for Canada to invest in health, to help improve health systems ... but when we are going to my finance minister to ask for more money, I need to be able to tell that finance minister it is going to be used for health," Philpott said during a news conference in Toronto, where the provinces and territories are also gathered in advance of meetings with her on Tuesday. Philpott's remarks set the stage for a confrontation Tuesday with provincial and territorial health ministers, who are united against her government's efforts to slash in half the amount by which federal health payments are set to increase next year.

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NEWFOUNDLAND'S MALCOLM ROWE TAPPED FOR SUPREME COURT: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has nominated a judge from Newfoundland and Labrador for a seat on the Supreme Court of Canada bench. Trudeau had come under fire for indicating the selection process would not necessarily follow traditional regional representation. Justice Malcolm Rowe was first named a trial judge in 1999 and has been a judge of the provincial court of appeal since 2001. If approved, Rowe would replace Justice Thomas Cromwell of Nova Scotia. 

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CMHC RAISES RED FLAG ON NATIONAL HOUSING MARKET: The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will raise its overall risk rating for the national market to "strong" from "moderate" when it issues its housing market assessment on Oct. 26. CEO Evan Siddal says the agency plans to issue a "red" warning for the first time because of spillover effects from Vancouver and Toronto into nearby markets. In an opinion piece Monday in the Globe and Mail, Siddal says affordability pressures hurt lower-income households the most and cause real socioeconomic consequences. He also says he supports new mortgage rules that took effect today requiring a stress test for all insured mortgage applications.

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CHINESE REAL ESTATE MOGUL CALLS VANCOUVER TAX TROUBLING: A Chinese real estate billionaire says investors from his country have told him Vancouver's new 15 per cent tax on foreign homebuyers is discouraging them from buying property in the city. Frank Wu says he understands the B.C. government is trying to rein in Vancouver's real estate market but hopes the tax will be changed, although he did not say how. The chairman of Central China Real Estate is part of a Chinese delegation touring Canada this week and says those investors will look to other parts of the country, including Toronto and Montreal, along with other English-speaking countries such as the United States, Australia and Britain.

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WEEKEND PUSH TO SEAL EU-CANADA DEAL FAILS: A weekend push has failed to persuade a small but essential region of Belgium to support the sweeping Canada-Europe trade agreement. Europe's ability to unanimously approve the pact suffered a blow when Wallonia's legislature voted last Friday to reject the deal over concerns about its impact on farmers and industry in the region. Under Belgium's constitution, the region has a veto on the deal but Canadian officials remain hopeful a solution can be found to salvage the agreement. EU trade ministers are scheduled to hold a vote Tuesday on the pact, which has the powerful backing of Europe's 28 member states and Canada. 

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FAMILIES OF MISSING, MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN WANT ANSWERS ON LIAISON UNITS: The families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls are anxiously awaiting more details about the programs and services they were promised to help them navigate the justice system. The federal Justice Department announced in August it would devote $11.7 million over three years so that provinces and territories can establish family information liaison units, designed to complement the work of the inquiry by supporting families seeking information from government institutions. More than two months later, advocates and the families of victims are still waiting for answers about how they can access the units and how they will work.

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FEDERAL PANEL TO STUDY UNEMPLOYMENT: A federal panel on youth unemployment officially opened today and its chairwoman says there are no clear answers to helping more young people find jobs. Vass Bednar says forming a clearer picture about where and how young people are failing in the labour market will be key to understanding if Canadians will be able to afford a house in the future, or even afford the rent in six months time. The panel is going to try to figure out what Ottawa and the provincial and territorial governments can do to help millions of youth already in, or set to enter the job market.

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SEX OFFENDER RUNNING FOR SASKATOON SCHOOL BOARD: Catholic officials in Saskatoon say they're concerned that a candidate running for school trustee has past convictions for sex offences. Rev. Kevin McGee, acting administrator of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, says Denis Robert Hall's convictions raise questions about his suitability as a candidate. Hall was convicted in 1981 of two charges of having sexual intercourse with girls aged 14 to 16 and two charges of indecent assault against girls. The victims were members of a basketball team he coached in the Regina Church Basketball Association. Hall received a pardon in 1994. But McGee said "there's no timeline in terms of people's memories" for those with a public profile.

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B.C. FIRES VANCOUVER SCHOOL BOARD: All nine members of the Vancouver School Board have been fired following months of controversy over allegations of bullying in the workplace, the prospect of school closures and concern over the board's finances. British Columbia Education Minister Mike Bernier linked the board's dismissal to failure on the part of trustees to balance the books, accusing board members of focusing on political tactics instead of responsible stewardship. Trustees from the political slate Vision Vancouver said last week they would be willing to pass a balanced budget after being previously opposed, but Bernier said the move came too late.