The Wednesday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Wednesday, June 21———TRUDEAU RENAMES LANGEVIN BLOCK BUILDING: The federal government is renaming the Langevin Block building, which sits across from Parliament Hill, out of respect for Indigenous Peoples. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says keeping the name of Sir Hector-Louis Langevin — someone associated with the residential school system — on the building that houses Prime Minister’s Office clashes with the government’s vision. Instead, the building will be called the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council. Trudeau also announced Wednesday that a new space for Indigenous Peoples will be established nearby at 100 Wellington St., the site of the former U.S. Embassy. Trudeau says the prominent location, directly facing Parliament Hill, symbolizes a turning point in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples through a concrete marker in the heart of the nation’s capital. The federal government also intends to rename National Aboriginal Day — being celebrated today — as National Indigenous Peoples Day.———BILL BANS TORTURE AS CSIS DISRUPTION TACTIC: The Liberal government’s new security bill adds torture, detention and serious destruction of property that would endanger a life to the list of things Canada’s spy agency cannot do when disrupting terror plots. The legislation introduced this week retains controversial derailment powers for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, but the Liberal government says various amendments will provide safeguards and ensure public confidence. The Conservatives gave CSIS explicit authority to derail security threats, not just collect information about them, in legislation passed two years ago. The legislation barred the spy service from threat-disruption measures that involved obstructing justice, killing someone, sexually abusing them or otherwise causing bodily harm. However, many expressed concern the provisions permitted disruption activities that could violate the Constitution. The Liberal legislation requires CSIS to seek a warrant for any threat reduction measure that would “limit” a right or freedom protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.———RBC TO CUT 450 JOBS, MAINLY IN TORONTO: Royal Bank of Canada said Wednesday it is cutting 450 jobs, primarily from its head office locations in the Greater Toronto Area, as it tries to revamp its business in light of shifting client preferences. “As always, we consolidate where necessary so that we can reinvest in key areas including digital, data, new technology as well as investment in high-growth business areas,” spokeswoman Catherine Hudon said in an email. The bank, which has more than 80,000 full- and part-time employees, said it is also making hundreds of other changes including promotions, transfers and the creation of new roles and teams. RBC said it will provide support to those affected by the changes, including career transition services and continued salary and benefits for a period of time. Canadian banks have been shaving costs in recent years as they strive to grow their earnings amid slowing loan growth at home.———PM URGED TO PUSH FRANCE TO FREE PROFESSOR: The lawyer for an Ottawa professor jailed in France despite numerous court rulings citing insufficient evidence against him says his client is being held for political purposes. Donald Bayne says France is keeping Hassan Diab behind bars so it won’t be seen as soft on terrorism after a spate of recent attacks. Bayne says the Trudeau government is acting like a “passive little brother” to France because it is not seriously examining evidence he says clears Diab of any involvement in a fatal 1980 synagogue attack in Paris. The professor denies any involvement in the attack. Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of University Teachers and Diab’s family question his continued imprisonment, given that French investigating judges have ruled six times he should be released on bail. All of the release orders have been overturned on appeal.———FAMILY OF PASTOR HELD IN NORTH KOREA RENEWS CALLS FOR HELP: The death of an American student who was returned home after being detained for 17 months in North Korea has brought renewed calls for political intervention in the case of a Canadian pastor serving a life sentence in that country. Hyeon Soo Lim’s family has issued a statement expressing condolences to the grieving relatives of Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old student who died in a Cincinnati hospital Monday, roughly a week after being flown back to the U.S. for medical issues. Lim’s relatives say no families should go through such an ordeal, and urge the Canadian government to escalate diplomatic efforts to secure the pastor’s release. Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church west of Toronto, was sentenced in late 2015 to life in prison with hard labour by North Korea’s Supreme Court for what it called crimes against the state. Lim’s relatives and colleagues have said he travelled to North Korea on Jan. 31, 2014, as part of a regular humanitarian mission to the country where he supports a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage.———COSBY JUDGE SAYS JURORS’ IDENTITIES CAN BE RELEASED: The Pennsylvania judge who presided over Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial is releasing the identities of the jurors who deadlocked in the case. Judge Steven O’Neill ruled Wednesday that the jurors’ names should be made public. He says jurors may not discuss what other jurors said during deliberations. A mistrial was declared Saturday in Cosby’s sex assault trial after the jury deadlocked. O’Neill plans to hold a retrial within four months. Lawyers for news outlets had argued that jurors’ names should be public to ensure transparency in the judicial process. Prosecutors and defence lawyers had argued they should remain secret, saying releasing them would make it more difficult to select a jury in Cosby’s second trial. Cosby denies drugging and molesting Canadian accuser Andrea Constand at his home in 2004.———COMMONS PASSES REMEMBRANCE DAY BILL: The House of Commons has passed legislation giving Remembrance Day the same legal status as Canada Day and Victoria Day. It is mainly a symbolic move, as the Commons can’t make Nov. 11 a statutory holiday across the country, because that is a matter for the provinces. Currently, Remembrance Day is a holiday in all provinces and territories except for Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. Federal employees also get the day off. The legislation, introduced by Nova Scotia Liberal MP Colin Fraser, followed a number of failed efforts to single out Remembrance Day. One problem is that the Royal Canadian Legion has worried that making Nov. 11 a legal holiday would change people’s attitudes and they might not bother making the effort to attend local ceremonies. In debate this week, Fraser said his bill would affirm Parliament’s commitment to Nov. 11 as a solemn day of remembrance. The bill passed by a 205-36 margin, with most of the opposition coming from the Conservative benches.———SENATE DEFIES PM, AMENDS BUDGET BILL: The Trudeau government is challenging the assertion of senators that they have the right to amend or defeat any government bill — including the budget. It has summarily and swiftly rejected Senate amendments to its budget implementation bill, sending a message back to the upper house that the changes “infringe upon the rights and privileges” of the elected House of Commons, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has contended has sole authority and legitimacy to decide budgetary matters. The message was sent, with unanimous approval of the Commons, less than three hours after the Senate gave final approval Wednesday to an amended version of the budget implementation bill, deleting provisions that would impose a so-called escalator tax on booze. Senators must now decide whether to insist upon their amendments or defer to the will of the elected chamber. In a sign of apparent confidence that senators will back down, government House leader Bardish Chagger served notice that the Commons would break for the summer at the end of Wednesday’s sitting.———B.C. THRONE SPEECH FIRST STEP IN LIBERAL DEFEAT: The clock that counts down to the expected defeat of Premier Christy Clark’s minority government in British Columbia starts ticking Thursday with the introduction of a throne speech. After that, the province watches for a confidence vote that is expected to lead to the installation of an NDP government propped up by the Green party. But the prospect of defeat hasn’t deterred the Liberals from releasing details of the throne speech in advance, including major policy shifts on issues the party stood against in last month’s election campaign, ranging from increasing monthly welfare rates by $100 to a ban on corporate and union donations to political parties. Clark said the Liberals heard from voters that social issues and political fundraising reforms are major concerns and the government is now prepared to act on them. NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said the election showed voters want the Liberals out after 16 years in office. Farnworth said the NDP will table a motion Monday to amend the throne speech, which sets the stage for a confidence vote on June 29.———SCHOOL BOARD SUFFERS THIRD STUDENT DEATH: The deaths of three students, including a 13-year-old girl who killed herself on Father’s Day, have a Cape Breton school board looking for ways to increase supports as students wrap studies for the summer. The parents of Madison Wilson, of North Sydney, N.S., spoke out Tuesday after their daughter’s death on Sunday. Amylynn Wilson and Chris Royal told reporters that bullying led to her death and more needs to be done to ensure it doesn’t happen to other young people. Darren Googoo, chairman of the Cape Breton Victoria School board, said Wednesday that three students have lost their lives this year and the board is drafting a letter to the provincial Education Department with the idea of starting a dialogue on the issue. “Our students are dealing with the trauma associated with the loss of a schoolmate and going into the summer months we want to make sure that we have a more co-ordinated approach with our provincial partners in health, in terms of providing services,” Googoo said in an interview.last_img