March 3rd, 2024

In the news today: Canada to send helicopters to Latvia as part of NATO mission

By The Canadian Press on December 15, 2023.

Canadian forces from Canadian Forces Base Borden, Squadron 400 secure two CH-146 Griffon helicopters from Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, on a C-17 Globemaster at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Trenton, Ont., on Sunday Nov. 17, 2013.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

Canada sending helicopters to Latvia

Four Canadian Griffon helicopters will be sent to Latvia next year as part of a NATO deterrence mission.

Defence Minister Bill Blair made the announcement this morning with defence chief Gen. Wayne Eyre.

The pair are visiting Canadian troops at Camp Adazi, just outside Riga, where Canada leads a NATO battle group.

The number of Canadian troops in the Baltic country is set to double to around 2,200 by 2026 as NATO scales up its battle groups in the region to brigades.

Feds open to delay on expanding assisted dying

Federal Justice Minister Arif Virani says the Liberal government is weighing its options on what to do about an upcoming deadline to expand medical assistance in dying to those whose sole underlying condition is a mental disorder.

He made the remarks in a wide-ranging interview with The Canadian Press, where he says Ottawa is waiting on a report from a special committee that’s examining expanding criteria to include mental illness.

That report is due at the end of January and is the result of M-Ps and senators studying the issue after a private member’s bill from Conservative M-P Ed Fast, which sought to stop its expansion altogether, was voted down in the House of Commons.

Here’s what else we’re watching …

National emergency agency coming: Sajjan

Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan says the federal government is working toward a national emergency response agency as climate change keeps upping the ante on disaster management needs.

Sajjan says in an interview with The Canadian Press that he has been studying models in other countries including the United States, Germany and Australia.

He is leaning toward a system that builds on existing resources at the local level to eventually include a series of local emergency response reserve forces that can be co-ordinated centrally.

Freeland holds annual finance ministers’ meeting

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is hosting her annual meeting of federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers in Toronto today.

The meeting will focus on economic growth, housing and affordability, according to a news release.

But the ministers are also expected to talk pensions after holding a special meeting last month to discuss Alberta’s intentions to create its own pension plan.

Alberta has since paused its public consultations on a pension plan, however, a senior federal source says there will be discussion of pensions in today’s meeting.

Gay man from Uganda faces deportation, fears worst

A man in Edmonton is making a last-ditch legal bid to avoid a Monday deportation flight back to Uganda, where he fears he may be imprisoned, harmed or even killed for being gay.

The 25-year-old health-care worker, who has asked not to be identified for his safety, says his lawyer has asked the Federal Court for one more review of his case.

He says if it doesn’t succeed, he will reluctantly get on the plane.

Earlier this year, Uganda passed one of the harshest anti-homosexuality laws in the world.

Researchers urge long COVID patients to have hope

Canadian researchers are encouraging people suffering from long COVID to stay hopeful.

Many people have suffered debilitating long COVID symptoms – including brain fog, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath and cardiac problems – for almost four years.

Dr. Angela Cheung, head of the Long COVID Web network of scientists, doctors and patients across the country, says they are learning how to manage symptoms.

But Cheung says they are also trying to find ways of eliminating long COVID through treatment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2023.

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