News / Canada

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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a town hall meeting in Kingston, Ont., Thursday, January 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a town hall meeting in Kingston, Ont., Thursday, January 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Highlights from the news file for Thursday, Jan. 12

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TRUDEAU FENDS OFF AGA KHAN VISIT QUESTIONS:  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told reporters at a town hall meeting in Kingston, Ont. that he does not think there is any issue with his family going to an island off the Bahamas in a private helicopter owned by the Aga Khan. The Trudeaus vacationed on the island owned by the Aga Khan at Christmas. The Aga Khan's foundation has dealings with the federal government.  

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FEDS LOOK AT NEW HOUSING BENEFIT: The federal government is looking at creating a new benefit to help low-income Canadians who struggle to pay the rent each month, but is being warned the measure won't solve the country's housing crunch. Multiple sources tell The Canadian Press that the government has quietly been exploring how to establish a new housing supplement program that would link benefits to individuals, rather than housing units. Generally, housing benefits are provided to renters who need help paying the bills, but are usually tied to an apartment through rent-geared-to-income plans or rent supplements.

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FINANCE MINISTER MORNEAU TO LISTEN TO BUDGET IDEAS:  Finance Minister Bill Morneau will listen to a range of ideas Friday on how best to prepare for his upcoming budget. He'll meet with private-sector economists, something federal finance ministers routinely do as they prepare their budgets.  CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld says he expects the consensus projection to show a slight improvement in the Canadian economic outlook since the fall — but he adds it won't account for any potential fallout from incoming U.S. President Trump's promised policies.

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FEDS WON'T TALK ABOUT SOLDIERS TREATED IN IRAQI HOSPITAL:  The federal government won't talk about details involving several Canadian soldiers treated at a military hospital in northern Iraq in recent weeks. The soldiers were among 120 patients who were seen at the medical facility since it began operating near the Kurdish city of Erbil at the end of November, according to figures provided to The Canadian Press. The government won't say if any of the Canadians treated were wounded on a battlefield.

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BILLS CONTINUE TO COME IN ON ROYAL VISIT TO BRITISH COLUMBIA: B.C. spent $613,363 on the royal tour last fall of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their two young children. The federal and Yukon governments haven't announced their final bills. But the RCMP said it spent $2 million and the federal government's budget estimate is $855,600, bringing the likely overall cost of the visit to more than $3.4 million. The province announced its portion of the expenses on Thursday. Costs included $41,798 for accommodation of the royals, their household and staff, plus $27,589 for transportation.

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TRUDEAU ADMITS PHOENIX FLOP FAILED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES:  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government failed its employees when it didn't properly heed warning signs about its problem-plagued Phoenix pay system before rolling it out almost a year ago. Trudeau made the comment when taking a question from a frustrated civil servant as he fielded questions from the public during the first major event of a cross-Canada whistle-stop tour in Kingston, Ont. He says his government didn't pay enough attention to the challenges and the warning signs on the transition it was overseeing.

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TRUMP'S PICK TO RUN CIA AGREES WITH FINDINGS ON RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE: The man who's in line to become CIA director says he accepts the intelligence findings that Russia interfered in the U.S. election with the goal of helping Donald Trump win. The president-elect has been skeptical of some of the conclusions -- but the CIA nominee, Congressman Mike Pompeo says the report appears to be "sound." As for what one senator described as "very serious allegations" about Trump's ties with Russia, Pompeo said Thursday they are "unsubstantiated media reports." But he said the leaks themselves are "intensely serious."

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AMAZON APOLOGIZES OVER DOORMATS DEPICTING INDIA'S FLAG: Retailer Amazon apologized to the Indian government this week for selling doormats depicting the Indian flag. The retailer sent the apology to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday, according to a tweet by a ministry spokesperson. The statement said Amazon is committed to respecting the laws and customs in India. In India, insulting the national flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment.

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SOME AUTHORITIES WANT BACKPAGE TO TURN THE PAGE ON ADULT ADS:  Some law enforcement officials say advertising website Backpage.com should shut down its "adult" sections in Canada. It follows allegations in the U.S. that the company systematically edited adult ads to remove words that indicate sex trafficking. Other officials argue the site is a useful tool that helps Canadian authorities track potential victims, search for missing women and monitor prostitution services. Backpage shuttered all adult sections in the U.S. on Monday.

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