June 15th, 2024

G20 funding announcement, Lucki to testify at EA inquiry: In The News for Nov. 15

By The Canadian Press on November 15, 2022.

Indonesia President Joko Widodo, right, greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he arrives to the G20 leaders summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 15 …

What we are watching in Canada …

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is announcing funding for developing countries to improve their infrastructure and make COVID-19 vaccines.

At the G20 summit in Indonesia, Trudeau says the private sector needs to help governments abroad build schools and hospitals.

He is pledging $750 million in financing for infrastructure projects in Asia, administered by a Crown corporation.

It’s largest chunk of funding announced so far as the Liberals gradually roll out their Indo-Pacific strategy.

Trudeau is also announcing $80 million for global health systems, with most of the funding helping countries prevent pandemics and respond to them.

The funding will also support projects that help developing countries manufacture COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

Also this …

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki is expected to testify this morning at the public inquiry into the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act last winter.

Ottawa invoked the act for the first time in mid-February after nearly three weeks of protests against COVID-19 restrictions that had gridlocked downtown Ottawa and inspired border blockades elsewhere.

The act, which came into law in 1988, allowed the government to provide police with extraordinary powers to resolve an emergency situation, and required that a public inquiry be stood up to investigate the decision.

Emails tabled as evidence at the Public Order Emergency Commission had suggested that before the emergency declaration, Lucki felt not “all available tools” had been exhausted in the police response to the protests.

Lucki is expected to begin testifying alongside deputy commissioner for federal policing Mike Duheme in the morning, and Curtis Zablocki, the RCMP’s deputy commissioner in charge of Alberta, is next on the witness list.

Hearings in the public inquiry began in mid-October and are expected to conclude at the end of next week, with a final report due to Parliament in February.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

The future of abortion rights in Kentucky reaches a defining moment Tuesday when the state’s highest court hears arguments over a sweeping abortion ban put in place by the Republican-led legislature.

The case before Kentucky’s Supreme Court is the first legal test since voters in Kentucky and three other states signaled their support for abortion rights in last week’s midterm election. Kentuckians rejected a ballot measure that would have denied abortion rights in the state’s Constitution.

“Its defeat _- at the least _- keeps alive the plaintiffs’ claim that the Kentucky Constitution protects a woman’s right to choose,” University of Louisville law professor Samuel Marcosson said ahead of the court hearing. “The outcome doesn’t establish that there is such a right; that remains a question for the court depending on their view of the scope of the Kentucky constitutional right to privacy.”

The Kentucky justices will review a challenge to the state’s trigger law that banned nearly all abortions, taking effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned in June by the U.S. Supreme Court. Approved in 2019, the law carved out narrow exceptions to save a pregnant woman’s life or to prevent disabling injury. There are no exceptions for rape or incest victims.

The hearing comes a week after abortion rights supporters won every state ballot question put before voters in the midterm elections.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

More than 100 Rohingya Muslims traveling in a boat for more than a month were found along the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province on Tuesday, the latest group of refugees believed to be making hazardous sea voyages from Myanmar.

Local fishermen saw the 110 Rohingya early in the morning at a beach in Meunasah Baro village. They included 65 men, 27 women and 18 children, according to Herman Saputra, the Muara Batu police chief.

Local authorities were collecting data from the refugees to determine their circumstances. They were reported to be weak and hungry and were moved to a community hall in the village for health checks until authorities decide where to accommodate them.

Muhammad Amin, one of the refugees, said that before they were stranded in Aceh waters, they were aiming for Malaysia as their final destination.

In March, 114 Rohingya refugees were also found on a beach in Bireuen district in Aceh province.

Hundreds of thousands Rohingya Muslims have fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar to refugee camps in Bangladesh since August 2017, when the Myanmar military launched operations in response to attacks by a rebel group. Myanmar security forces have been accused of mass rapes, killings and the burning of thousands of Rohingya homes.

On this day in 1976 …

The Canadian political landscape underwent a major upheaval. Rene Levesque led the separatist Parti Quebecois to a stunning victory in a Quebec general election. The PQ won 69 of 110 seats in the National Assembly, ousting Robert Bourassa’s Liberals after six years in power.

In entertainment …

The Recording Academy will announce nominees for its 65th Grammy Awards on Tuesday morning with some significant additions. The academy earlier this year added a special song for social change award and five new categories including songwriter of the year _ which will honor music’s best composer. The non-classical songwriter category will recognize one individual who was the “most prolific” non-performing and non-producing songwriter for a body of new work. This year’s announcement will be made on a livestream beginning at noon Eastern. The Grammy Awards will be handed out Feb. 5 in Los Angeles.

Did you see this?

Liberal cabinet ministers deemed last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” protests a threat to the security of Canada, despite warnings from the federal intelligence agency that threshold was not met, an inquiry into the Emergencies Act learned Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, arguing its temporary and extraordinary powers were needed to end blockades in Ottawa and at border crossings.

The Public Order Emergency Commission, which is holding hearings in Ottawa until Nov. 25, is tasked with determining whether the government was justified in triggering the legislation.

The legislation says a public order emergency is one that comes from a “serious threat to the security of Canada, as defined by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act.”

The definition includes espionage or sabotage of Canada’s interests, foreign-influenced activities, or the violent overthrow of the government.

A document summarizing the evidence from David Vigneault, director of CSIS, shows he believed the protest “at no time” posed a threat to Canada’s security and that there were no signs of foreign interference.

“He felt an obligation to clearly convey the service’s position that there did not exist a threat to the security of Canada as defined by the service’s legal mandate,” said the document released on Monday through the public inquiry.

The testimony Monday provided the commission with its first look behind the curtain at cabinet discussions in the lead up to the invocation of the Emergencies Act. This year was the first time the act had been used since it replaced the War Measures Act in 1988.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2022.

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