News / Canada

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

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to reporters during a media availability on Parliament Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 in Ottawa. Notley says she will head to British Columbia as early as next week to make the case for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to reporters during a media availability on Parliament Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 in Ottawa. Notley says she will head to British Columbia as early as next week to make the case for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Highlights from the news file for Wednesday, Nov. 30

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NOTLEY TO HEAD TO B.C. TO SELL PIPELINE MERITS: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley will head to B.C. next week to promote Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Notley says she wants to respond to opponents who link the pipeline to the issue of climate change and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. She says her government's climate change leadership plan has effectively delinked those issues. Notley's government has passed, or is in the process of passing, sweeping changes to environmental, electricity, and tax rules to reduce Alberta's greenhouse gas emissions and move toward renewable energy sources. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that federal approval of Trans Mountain would not have been possible without Alberta's plan.  

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B.C. LIBERAL MPS FACE PIPELINE QUESTIONS: Justin Trudeau's promise to let backbenchers to be the voice of their constituents in Ottawa is being tested as B.C. Liberal MPs grapple with the political fallout from the decision to approve Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline. A number of the Liberals' 17 MPs from the province frankly acknowledged Wednesday that they're disappointed with the decision, which they said is deeply unpopular with many of their constituents. And at least one backbencher, Vancouver's Hedy Fry, predicted the move will cost her votes in the next election. But at the same time, the B.C. backbenchers made a distinction between their own roles in defending the interests of their constituents and the prime minister's duty to make decisions in the national interest. 

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OPEC TO CUT OUTPUT IN BID TO PUSH UP OIL PRICE: After years of inaction, OPEC agreed Wednesday to cut its oil output for the first time since 2008. The reduction of 1.2 million barrels a day effectively scraps its strategy of squeezing U.S. competition through high supply, which had backfired by lowering prices and draining the cartel's own economies. OPEC's president says non-member nations are expected to pare an additional 600,000 barrels a day off their production. The international benchmark for crude jumped 8.3 per cent on the news but analysts say it's highly unlikely oil will return to the highs of about $100 a barrel last seen two years ago.

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'KNEES TOGETHER' JUDGE SHOULD LOSE JOB, COMMITTEE SAYS: A committee of the Canadian Judicial Council says a judge's comments during a sex assault trial in Calgary two years ago caused irreparable damage to public confidence. The committee has recommended Robin Camp be removed from the bench. During the trial, Camp asked the complainant why she couldn't just keep her knees together, and also told her "pain and sex sometimes go together." The Canadian Judicial Council must now decide whether to take the recommendation to the federal justice minister, who will make the final decision.

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TOO LITTLE KNOWN ON BITUMEN AND OCEAN, STUDY SAYS: Not enough is known about the impact oilsands bitumen could have on ocean plants and animals to assess the risks of moving it through marine environments, according to a new study. "Basic information is lacking or unavailable for several key sources of stress and disturbance, making it impossible to carry out a complete risk assessment," said the paper, which draws its conclusion from an examination of more than 9,000 papers on oil and the environment. The paper has been peer reviewed and will be published next month in the journal Frontiers in the Ecology and Environment. Although it has been shared with the federal government, it has not been publicly released. In light of Tuesday's federal government decision to approve Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline from the oilsands to the Pacific coast, two of its authors agreed to discuss its findings.

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CANADIAN ECONOMY GROWS 3.5% IN THIRD QUARTER: The Canadian economy slightly exceeded expectations in the third quarter to grow at its fastest pace in more than two years and rebound from a second-quarter contraction. The real gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 per cent with help from a strong performance in energy exports, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. Experts long predicted a bounce back from a second-quarter slump, which was largely due to oil-production shutdowns linked to May's Alberta wildfires and maintenance at oilsands facilities. In that quarter, real GDP recoiled at an annual rate of 1.3 per cent. But the latest quarterly number came in above predictions and many analysts were encouraged by the particularly sturdy growth of 0.3 per cent in September, the final month of the third quarter. 

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JIHADI SYMPATHIZER'S DEATH JUSTIFIED, POLICE SAY: A police investigation has found Mounties were justified in fatally shooting a man with terrorist sympathies during a confrontation in Strathroy, west of London, Ontario. Twenty-four-year-old Aaron Driver was killed in an encounter with RCMP in August, after making a martyrdom video that suggested he was planning to detonate a bomb in an urban centre. The OPP's Criminal Investigation Branch and the Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service conducted a probe of the incident and determined that the use of lethal force was justified. Police say an independent review of the investigation by Crown prosecutors has upheld that conclusion. 

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OTTAWA DENIES LIABILITY FOR HARM OF '60s SCOOP: At-risk aboriginal children placed in non-aboriginal homes during the so-called '60s Scoop may well have suffered harm by losing their cultural identities but the federal government cannot now be held liable, Ottawa argues in new court filings. As a result, the government plans to press an Ontario Superior Court justice on Thursday to dismiss a landmark $1.3-billion class action -- filed on behalf of thousands of those children in 2009 -- that argues Canada failed to protect their cultural heritage with devastating consequences. While things might be done differently now, the government argues, no legal reason exists to apply modern standards to an approach taken decades ago. The '60s Scoop, in which an estimated 16,000 aboriginal children ended up in non-native homes, flowed from a federal-provincial arrangement in place from December 1965 to December 1984.

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SON OF CIRQUE FOUNDER KILLED ON SET: Officials say a technician with the Cirque du Soleil "Luzia" show who died after being hit in the head by an aerial lift Tuesday is the son of one of the founders of the show. In a statement from Cirque du Soleil, officials confirmed that 42-year-old Olivier Rochette of Quebec died Tuesday night in San Francisco. According to the statement, his immediate family, including his father Gilles Ste-Croix, one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil, has been informed of the accident. Police say officers with San Francisco Police Department Traffic Collision Investigation Unit and investigators with the state's workplace safety regulator are investigating.

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SENATORS' GOALIE TAKES LEAVE AS WIFE BATTLES CANCER: Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson has taken a leave of absence from the team as his wife battles a rare form of throat cancer. The Senators announced the news on Twitter and said Anderson isn't expected to be available for Ottawa's game Thursday against visiting Philadelphia. Nicholle Anderson has been diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a cancer that starts in the upper part of the throat behind the nose and near the base of skull. Mike Condon Anderson is 12-5-1 with a 2.20 goals-against average this season.