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

Last Updated Sep 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm EDT

RCMP officers display their emotion at the regimental funeral for Const. Francis Deschenes at St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Moncton, N.B. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. Deschenes was killed after he stopped to help a motorist change a tire and a cargo van slammed into his cruiser. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Highlights from the news file for Wednesday, Sept. 20

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LIBERALS SEIZE ON TORY’S ‘BARBIE’ TWEET: The Liberals have their sights set on Conservative Gerry Ritz after the Saskatchewan MP described Environment Minister Catherine McKenna as a “climate Barbie” on Twitter. In response to an article Tuesday about countries falling short of their climate change commitments, Ritz tweeted, “Has anyone told our climate Barbie” — a reference to McKenna. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr used the daily question period to demand Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer condemn Ritz’s comments and force him to apologize in the House of Commons. Scheer, for his part, ignored Carr and a barrage of Liberal catcalls to instead press the government on its controversial small business tax proposals.

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STOP ATTACKING WEALTHY, LIBERAL MP WARNS: Not everyone is on board with the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been going after the rich as he defends his Liberal government’s controversial tax proposals — and that includes some members of his own caucus. The prime minister has been sounding defiant as he makes the case for eliminating tax provisions used by a growing number of small businesses, saying the system should not allow wealthy Canadians to pay lower taxes than the middle class. Montreal MP Nicola Di Iorio said his fellow Liberals would do well to remember that they campaigned for everyone, not just the vote-rich middle class.

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FUNERAL FOR FALLEN MOUNTIE DRAWS LARGE CROWD: Hundreds of RCMP officers in red serge with hats in hand filed into a New Brunswick church to pay tribute to a fallen Mountie killed last week when he stopped to help stranded motorists change a flat tire. The regimental funeral for Const. Frank Deschenes of the Nova Scotia RCMP filled St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Moncton, which seats 800. A large crowd also gathered along the tree-lined street outside to pay their respects to the young officer.

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SOHI TO DISCUSS INFRASTRUCTURE WITH PROVINCES: The federal infrastructure minister wants to talk about how to better manage the flow of construction cash from Ottawa to cities when he sits down this week with his provincial and territorial counterparts. Infrastructure money historically falls short of budget projections because the federal government doesn’t dole out cash until after construction begins or ends on a project. Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi says how funds are delivered will be a key issue during face-to-face meetings Thursday in the national capital.

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ALBERTA CANDIDATE WANTS ‘NO BODY, NO PAROLE’ LAW: A would-be politician in Alberta wants Canada to adopt a “no body, no parole” law. Dane Lloyd is vying for the federal Conservative nomination in Sturgeon River-Parkland, the seat left vacant when the party’s interim leader Rona Ambrose left politics this summer. Lloyd says the law would be similar to one in Australia that forces killers to reveal the location of their victims’ bodies if they want a chance at parole.

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CROWN WANTS UP TO 15 YEARS FOR MAN WHO STRANGLED WIFE: A man who strangled his wife and buried her body in cement in the basement of their home told his sentencing hearing that he let “fear overwhelm his sense of right.” Allan Shyback, 40, was found guilty of manslaughter last spring in the 2012 death of his wife Lisa Mitchell in the couple’s Calgary home. Crown prosecutor Jayme Williams recommended Shyback serve 10 years for manslaughter and an additional three to five years for concealing her body in the home they shared with their children.

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DROP DEMAND FOR VICE MATERIALS, RCMP URGED: A Canadian news outlet at the centre of a closely watched media-freedom case is calling on the RCMP to drop its demand for a journalist’s background materials used for stories on a suspected terrorist, in light of reports that the man is in fact long dead. In a letter to federal prosecutors this week, lawyers for Vice Media say they would abandon their attempt to fight the demand at the Supreme Court of Canada if the RCMP were to drop its production order, which two courts have upheld. The materials in question relate to stories about a Calgary man whom Canadian authorities have charged in absentia with various terrorism-related offences.

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WILDFIRE ALERTS LIFTED IN B.C.: For the first time in nearly three months, all wildfire evacuation orders and alerts have been lifted in British Columbia as the province begins to recover from its worst wildfire season on record. The Cariboo Regional District and Thompson-Nicola Regional District say final alerts affecting southern Interior properties have been rescinded. The alerts were lifted as the BC Wildfire Service reported a 1,900-square kilometre blaze that broke out near Ashcroft on July 6 and burned almost 100 kilometres northward is 85 per cent contained.

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QUEBEC AMBER ALERT SUSPECT REMAINS IN HOSPITAL: A Superior Court justice has ordered a medical evaluation of a suspect arrested last week after an Amber Alert was issued in Quebec for his six-year-old son. The 41-year-old man was later charged in the slaying of the child’s mother. He has been in an Ottawa hospital since Saturday after what police alleged was a suicide attempt. Justice Martin Castonguay put off the man’s scheduled court appearance until next Wednesday and said he expected a detailed medical report ready by that time.

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WIARTON WILLIE DIES AT 13: Wiarton Willie, who drew crowds to Wiarton, Ont., each February for Groundhog Day festivities, died on Friday. According to a news release from the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, the albino groundhog was 13. If Willie saw his shadow, legend held that winter conditions would prevail for another six weeks, whereas failure to do so would mean a quick end to the cold season. A memorial service and procession will be held for the meteorological marmot on Sept. 30.

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