April 21st, 2024

In the news today: Pipeline expansion nears completion and Ontario budget day dawns

By The Canadian Press on March 26, 2024.

After more than four years of construction and at least $34 billion in costs, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is nearly complete. Workers lay pipe during construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on farmland, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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

Completion nears for Trans Mountain project

Following years of construction challenges and other issues, completion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is in sight.

The massive endeavour that has cost at least 34-billion-dollars will ultimately see an increase in the amount of Canadian oil shipped to the West Coast.

Amongst the obstacles that still need to be circumvented is an “obstruction” encountered while drilling in B.C.’s Fraser Valley between Hope and Chilliwack.

Officials with the Crown corporation add once that challenging segment has been successfully routed, the “final weld,” or what is formally known as mechanical completion, will go ahead.

After construction is finished, several regulatory steps must still be completed, such as getting permission from the Canada Energy Regulator to turn on the taps.

Once the expanded pipeline is operational, the required cleanup and reclamation work will continue in the project’s construction zone.

Trans Mountain Corporation continues to target an in-service date sometime in the second quarter of 2024.

Ontario budget to be ‘prudent’ says minister

It’s budget day in Ontario, and the finance minister is set to present his plan to bolster the economy ahead of an expected slowdown, while also trying to ease the rising cost of living.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy says his budget takes a “prudent and responsible” approach to the province’s finances and will support workers.

He has also said there will be no tax increases.

Bethlenfalvy and Premier Doug Ford have announced that a 5.7-cent per litre cut to the gas tax that had been set to expire in June will now continue to the end of the year, but they have not indicated if that will be the only pocketbook measure.

Ford has said the fiscal plan will be “balanced, per se,” though he was not necessarily referring to whether the province would still run a deficit.

Saskatchewan RCMP probing four suspicious deaths

Details remain scarce this morning as the Saskatchewan RCMP say their Major Crimes Unit is investigating the deaths of four people in the southeastern community of Neudorf.

Investigators say they got the call for a wellness check Sunday night at a home, some 136 kilometres east of Regina, officers made the grim discovery.

They say the four deceased were all adults and the deaths are considered suspicious.

Following an initial investigation, police suggested that there was no imminent risk to public safety.

However, they add that if there is any change in safety risk, the public will be notified immediately.

The provincial coroner’s office is also helping with the probe.

Two found dead after tent fire in Saint John

A tent fire in New Brunswick has claimed the lives of two people.

The Saint John Police Force says in a news release that emergency crews responded to a fire on Paradise Row on Monday afternoon, and that two people were found dead after it was put out.

It says officers are working to figure out who they were in order to notify their families, and that police and the Saint John Fire Department continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

Det. Sgt. Matthew Weir said in an email late Monday that he believed the fatal fire earlier in the day was in the same area as one in January, which claimed the life of a 44-year-old man.

Musical N.L. cabbie taking spoons to ‘a new level’

A 60-year-old Newfoundland taxi driver says he’s taking spoon-playing to new levels by playing along to rap and hip-hop.

Harold Butler was made famous on social media by videos of him at the wheel of his cab wailing on the spoons to Darude’s dance song, “Sandstorm,” or “Fire Burning” by Sean Kingston.

He says he can pick up any beat in about 10 seconds, and that there’s nothing he can’t play.
He’s one of two Newfoundlanders competing in the current season of Canada’s Got Talent, which premiered last week.

His episode airs on April 9th.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2024

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