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Latest census stats, new mandate for infrastructure bank : In The News for April 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 April 27 ... What we are watching in Canada ...

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 April 27 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

With every year that Canada's baby boomers blow out another candle, the country's population skews older. 

Today, Statistics Canada will reveal just how much older we've become. 

The agency is scheduled to release the next set of findings from the 2021 census at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

The 2016 census showed Canada's seniors over age 65 outnumbered the nation's youth 14 years of age and younger for the first time.

The latest release will detail how quickly Canada's population has aged since then, and in what kind of housing people are now living. 

A new data point on the census will provide details on transgender and non-binary populations.

The figures could help shape government policy, and ensure non-binary populations are recognized.


Also this ...

The head of a federal infrastructure agency says a new set of investing orders from the Liberal government should make it simpler to deploy more funding in the coming months.

The recent federal budget added to the Canada Infrastructure Bank's plate by requiring it to now spend public dollars on private sector-led projects like small modular reactors, clean fuel production, and carbon capture and storage.

Ehren Cory, the agency's chief executive, says officials have already had conversations with private sector players in the sectors identified in the budget about derisking some of the work with public funding.

The change in the budget was the latest in a string of tweaks for the agency that the Liberals created in 2017.

The agency's spring outlook notes that investments have jumped over the last fiscal year that ended March 31, with 20 of the 28 projects on the go finalized in the previous 12 months.

Cory says while he expects the pace of projects to stay at a higher clip, uncertainty from supply chains and global inflationary pressures are affecting project work.

"We're in a world where there are real challenges in supply chains and inflationary pressures in things like the construction market," he said.

"But in the areas where we're focused, that is why the private sector and engaging the private sector is so important, not so we can try and off-load a whole bunch of risk on them because that in the long run doesn't work, you know, but so you can share in those risks and create aligned incentives."


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

WASHINGTON _ World leaders and a bevy of U.S. political and foreign policy elite are preparing to pay their respects to the late Madeleine Albright, the child refugee from war-torn Europe who rose to become America's first female secretary of state.

Led by President Joe Biden and predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, the man who picked Albright to be his top diplomat and the highest-ranking woman ever in the U.S. government at that time, some 1,400 mourners will gather Wednesday to celebrate her life and accomplishments at Washington National Cathedral.

Albright, 84, died of cancer last month, prompting an outpouring of condolences from around the world that also hailed her support for democracy and human rights. In addition to the current and former presidents, the service will be attended by at least three of her successors as secretary of state along with other current and former Cabinet members, foreign diplomats, lawmakers and an array of others who knew her.

Biden, Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are all scheduled to deliver tributes at the service, while the current secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and former secretaries Condoleezza Rice and John Kerry are slated to attend. Other top current officials expected to be present include Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, CIA Director Bill Burns and White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Foreign dignitaries slated to attend include the presidents of Georgia and Kosovo and senior officials from Colombia, Bosnia and the Czech Republic.


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

POKROVSK, Ukraine _ The U.S. defence chief urged Ukraine's allies to ``move at the speed of war'' to get more and heavier weapons to Kyiv as Russian forces rained fire on eastern and southern Ukraine, and Russia cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.

For the second day, explosions rocked the separatist region of Trans-Dniester on Tuesday in neighbouring Moldova, knocking out two powerful radio antennas. And a Russian missile hit a strategic railroad bridge linking Ukraine's Odesa port region to neighbouring Romania, a NATO member, Ukrainian authorities said.

Just across the border in Russia, an ammunition depot in the Belgorod region was burning early Wednesday after several explosions were heard, the governor, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on the messaging app Telegram. Early this month, Russia said two Ukrainian helicopter gunships hit an oil reservoir in the same region, causing a fire.

Russia's state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom said it cut supplies to NATO members Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday after they refused to pay for the shipments in rubles. Poland has been a major gateway for the delivery of weapons to Ukraine and confirmed this week that it is sending the country tanks.

Gazprom in a statement warned that if Poland and Bulgaria siphon gas intended for other European customers, the deliveries to Europe will be reduced to that amount.

European gas prices have spiked by as much as 24 per cent on the news. Benchmark Dutch futures traded at one point around 125 euros per megawatt hour.

Poland said it was well-prepared after working for years to reduce its reliance on Russian energy. Poland also has ample natural gas in storage, and it will soon benefit from two pipelines coming online, analyst Emily McClain of Rystad Energy said.

Bulgaria gets over 90 per cent of its gas from Russia, and officials said they were working to find other sources, such as from Azerbaijan. Both countries had refused Russia's demands that they pay in rubles, as have almost all of Russia's gas customers in Europe.


On this day in 1977 ...

The Parti Quebecois government proposed legislation to make French the working language in almost all phases of Quebec life.


In entertainment ...

Canadian "Jeopardy!" phenom Mattea Roach is seeking a 17th straight win on an episode airing tonight. 

Roach, who grew up in Halifax, extended her remarkable run last night on the TV quiz show. 

She has the eighth-longest streak in the quiz show's history. 

To move up the list, the 23-year-old will need 19 wins to tie with David Madden and Jason Zuffranieri.

As of Tuesday's game, Roach had collected a total haul of US$368,981.

She has also earned a spot in the show's Tournament of Champions, which is to air in the fall, and holds the longest win streak by a Canadian contestant.


Did you see this?

OTTAWA _ Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is still being dogged by questions about family vacations six years ago at the Aga Khan's private island in the Bahamas.

In question period Tuesday, interim Opposition leader Candice Bergen demanded to know if he used his authority as prime minister to grant himself permission to accept the gifts.

A provision of the Criminal Code says government officials can't accept gifts from someone who has dealings with the government unless they're given written consent by the head of their branch of government, which in this case would be the prime minister.

Internal RCMP documents show the force considered opening a fraud investigation after details of the trip came to light, but cite numerous reasons why it did not, including the fact that neither Parliament nor the ethics commissioner chose to refer the case to police.

If Trudeau did grant himself written consent, there would be no case for fraud by the government, the RCMP concluded, but the documents state that they did not know whether that happened.

The ethics commissioner determined in 2017 that Trudeau violated conflict of interest rules, and that he should have recognized going on the trip would be seen as a conflict.

The commissioner's report and the information used to compile it can't be used as evidence in court if criminal charges did arise _ another reason the RCMP chose not to pursue a case.

Trudeau is the first Canadian prime minister to breach conflict of interest rules while in office.


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

The Canadian Press

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