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Emergencies Act inquiry continues, Interpreter hospitalized : In The News for Oct. 27

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 Oct. 27 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Incoming Ontario Provincial Police commissioner Thomas Carrique speaks to media during a press conference at the York Region Police Headquarters in Aurora, Ont., Monday, March 11, 2019. The commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police is to testify today at the public inquiry into the Liberal government's decision to invoke the Emergencies Act to clear out "Freedom Convoy" protests in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

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 Oct. 27 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

The commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police is to testify today at the public inquiry into the Liberal government's decision to invoke the Emergencies Act to clear out "Freedom Convoy" protests in Ottawa.

The testimony by Thomas Carrique is expected to canvas how the provincial police force prepared for the protests against COVID-19 mandates and whether they posed a threat to national security.

Carrique told the House of Commons public safety committee in March the OPP's intelligence unit had identified the Ottawa protest as a “threat to national security" about a week after heavy trucks arrived in the capital city.

But the head of the intelligence unit, Supt. Pat Morris, told the public inquiry last week there was never any "credible" information showing a direct threat to national security and they "weren't seeing a lot" of extremism.

On Monday, members of Parliament on the public safety committee voted unanimously to seek a response from the Ontario Provincial Police about those conflicting statements.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history 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 has scheduled public hearings at the Library and Archives Canada building in downtown Ottawa through to Nov. 25, is examining the circumstances of the choice to use it.

The Emergencies Act is meant to be used when an urgent, critical and temporary situation threatens the lives, health or safety of Canadians, the provinces are thought to lack the capacity of authority to handle the situation and the crisis cannot be defused effectively with existing laws.


Also this ...

Public Services and Procurement Canada says it's investigating what led to a Parliament Hill language interpreter needing an ambulance ride last week.

The department says it's the third interpreter to be hospitalized while on shift in the past five years.

During a Senate committee last week, two witnesses did not wear the recommended headset, and loud feedback briefly interrupted the proceedings.

An interpreter when into acoustic shock, which involves concussion-like symptoms caused by the startling of inner-ear muscles.

She left the room and collapsed, and was put into an ambulance as another interpreter took her place, which a union says is inappropriate.

The department says it's now looking into what caused the issue, with parliamentary staff saying the system seemed to be in good shape.


And this too ...

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Ottawa today, where he will meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The trio will sit down for formal talks on support for Ukraine, human rights in Iran and North American refugee policy.

They'll also be speaking about the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, which has called for foreign military intervention. 

Joly says Washington and Ottawa want to deepen ties ahead of major summits next month by the G20 and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forums.

Blinken's two-day visit ends in Montreal, where he will visit a lithium recycling plant and talks will focus on trade and electric vehicles.

His first official visit to Canada comes less than a month after Joly's trip to Washington.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

LOS ANGELES _ An attorney for Harvey Weinstein peppered a woman with questions Wednesday on the lack of forensic evidence that the movie magnate raped her in 2013, or that he was even at the hotel where she says the assault occurred.

"You don't have any physical evidence to present to this jury that any of this happened, do you?'' lawyer Alan Jackson asked pointedly during cross-examination.

When the judge at the 70-year-old Weinstein's Los Angeles trial sustained an objection to the question because it called for speculation, Jackson got more specific:

"Any photos?''

"No,'' the woman said quietly.

"Any video?''

"No,'' she replied, then added, ``Do you think somebody after rape makes a video?''

She began crying softly as she answered "no'' to a series of similar questions about whether she had any documentation of bruises, scrapes, cuts, or handprints on her face from Weinstein holding her down, or had been given a sexual assault examination.

"Do you have any physical evidence that you were even with Mr. Weinstein?'' Jackson asked.

Her crying grew louder as she answered, "I had his jacket, but I gave it away.''

The woman, a model and actor who was working in Rome, is the first of Weinstein's accusers to testify at the trial and spent portions of three days on the witness stand.

Prosecutors have presented photographs and other evidence that both Weinstein and the woman were at the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival, which she had come to California to attend in February 2013. But they have not yet produced anything that puts Weinstein at her hotel on the night she says he forced her to perform oral sex on her bed then raped her in her bathroom.

The woman did not go to police until October of 2017, when women's stories about Weinstein made him the central figure in theMeToo movement.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

BENGALURU, India _ Spiralling energy costs caused by various economic factors and the Ukraine war could be a turning point toward cleaner energy, the International Energy Agency said in a report Thursday. It found the global demand for fossil fuels, including coal, oil, and natural gas, is set to peak or plateau in the next few decades.

The report looked at scenarios based on current policies and said that coal use will fall back within the next few years, natural gas demand will reach a plateau by the end of the decade and rising sales of electric vehicles mean that the need for oil will level off in the mid-2030s before ebbing slightly by mid-century. Total emissions are currently going up each year, but slowly.

"Energy markets and policies have changed as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, not just for the time being, but for decades to come,'' said the IEA's executive director Fatih Birol. A surge in demand following COVID-19 pandemic restrictions lifting and bottlenecks in supply chains have also contributed to soaring energy prices.

"The energy world is shifting dramatically before our eyes. Government responses around the world promise to make this a historic and definitive turning point toward a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system,'' Birol said.

The role of natural gas as a "transition fuel'' that will bridge the gap between a fossil-fuel based energy system to a renewable one has also taken a dent, the report said. Although it's a fossil fuel, natural gas is considered cleaner than coal and oil, as burning it produces less carbon dioxide.

But despite the largely positive outlook, the report adds that the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix puts the world on track to a warming of 2.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, a whole degree more than the target set in the Paris climate deal.

That's in line with a U.N. report released Wednesday that said current climate pledges are "nowhere near'' where they need to be to meet the ambitious target. Top climate scientists say that to keep warming in line with the 1.5 C goal, emissions need to be slashed by 45 per cent by 2030.

The report estimated that clean energy investment will be above $2 trillion by 2030 but added it would need to double to keep the transition in line with climate goals.


On this day in 1995 ...

In the biggest political rally in Canadian history, thousands of people from across Canada arrived in Montreal to urge Quebecers to vote "No'' in the sovereignty referendum. Days later, Quebec voters narrowly rejected sovereignty.


In entertainment ...

Canadian rock band Metric, the Sadies and Broken Social Scene will ring in the holidays at this year's Andy Kim Christmas charity concert.

The musical acts are among the first wave of performers slated to play Kim's annual fundraiser for CAMH Gifts of Light, supporting patients at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The show takes place at Toronto's Massey Hall on Dec. 7 with tickets going on sale Friday through Ticketmaster.

Others set to appear include pop artist Scott Helman, singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, Juno-winning jazz artist Molly Johnson and "Sometimes When We Touch" performer Dan Hill.

Kim says he's also invited newcomers High Flyer, co-fronted by Lyle Herbert-Robertson, the 23-year-old son of Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson.

The "Rock Me Gently" singer says he's also planning to announce a second wave of artists joining the bill in the coming weeks.

The Sadies appearance comes as the band wraps up its first countrywide tour since the death of frontman Dallas Good in February. His brother and longtime bandmate Travis stepped in as lead vocalist.


Did you see this?

A new report from Food Banks Canada says the number of people using food banks across the country surged to an all-time high earlier this year.

It says there were nearly 1.5 million visits to food banks in March -- a figure that was 15 per cent higher than the number of visits in the same month last year and 35 per cent higher than visits in March 2019, before the pandemic hit.

The report says high inflation and low social assistance rates have contributed to the rise in the food bank usage.

Kirstin Beardsley, the CEO of Food Banks Canada, calls the numbers "devastating." 

"What we are seeing is the combination of long-term effects to a broken social safety net combined with the effects of inflation and high costs driving more people to use food banks than ever before in Canadian history," she said in a phone interview. 

"Behind each one of these numbers is a person who is struggling too much to get by."

The report suggests long-term and short-term solutions, including creating a universal minimum income floor for lower-income Canadians and providing more affordable and rent-assisted housing. 


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press