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Lewis in leadership contest and Singh targeted on tour: In The News for May 13, 2022

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 May 13, 2022 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre shakes hands with Leslyn Lewis following a debate at the Canada Strong and Free Network conference, Thursday, May 5, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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 May 13, 2022 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

It was a common refrain heard from Conservative party members gathered in Edmonton to watch the leadership debate: I like Leslyn Lewis, but I'm picking Pierre Poilievre.

Deborah Price, a fan of what Lewis stands for and how she comes off as down to earth, says "I wouldn't be heartbroken if she won". Still, she adds "But you know, I'm all Pierre."

Lewis surprised many with her strong showing in the party's 2020 leadership race after entering as an unknown. But how she does this time around is one of the big questions hanging over the race, described by some as a fight for the party's soul. 

There are two big differences in this contest. One is that people know who she is. The former lawyer and Jamaican immigrant ran and was successfully elected as an MP for a rural Ontario riding in last year's federal election. 

The second, and perhaps more challenging, is that she is running against Poilievre, an Ottawa MP since 2004, who boasts a massive social media following and is running on a campaign of freedom. He's popular among the grassroots in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the latter of which Lewis won in 2020.

A major difference for Lewis supporters, when comparing her to Poilievre and other candidates, is her social conservative outlook and the fact that she's upfront about it. 

Lewis opposes abortion and in the last race told supporters about a decision she made not to terminate her pregnancy while in law school. She is also reviving what she calls her "no hidden agenda" platform, which includes promises to ban so-called sex-selective abortions and protect women from being coerced into the procedure, policies she believes even those who support abortion rights are more likely to accept.


Also this ...

Police in Peterborough, Ontario, are investigating after a video circulated on social media showed people hurling verbal abuse at federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh during a protest this week.

Singh had dropped by the campaign office for Jen Deck, the Ontario NDP candidate for Peterborough-Kawartha in the provincial election, on Tuesday afternoon.

A video shows Singh encountering protesters as he left the campaign office, who can be heard shouting expletives at him and calling him a "traitor" as he gets inside a vehicle.

The acting chief of the Peterborough Police Service, Tim Farquharson, said Thursday in a YouTube video post, "Anyone seeing the video should find it disheartening, morally

 unacceptable and lacking the respect each resident and visitor deserves."

Police also encouraged anyone with more video or information to come forward.

For his part, Singh told reporters that he found the experience "intense, threatening (and) insulting" but that he is more worried about what it means for politics in general.

Speaking outside the House of Commons, Singh noted that he had experienced a lot of similar hatred and had even been physically attacked.


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

House investigators say they have issued subpoenas to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other GOP lawmakers as part of their probe into the violent January 6 insurrection. 

It's an extraordinary step that has little precedent and is certain to further inflame partisan tensions over the 2021 attack. 

The panel's subpoenas for McCarthy of California and Republican Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama come as the investigation is winding down and as the panel prepares for a series of public hearings this summer.

The panel, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, had  previously asked for voluntary cooperation from the five lawmakers,  along with a handful of other GOP members, but all of them refused  to speak with the panel, which debated for months whether to issue  the subpoenas.

The move is not without risk, as Republicans are favoured to capture back the House majority in this fall's midterm elections and have promised retribution for Democrats if they take control.

Also this...

A series of unforced political and personal errors by GOP congressman Madison Cawthorn has brought the forces of big-name Republicans and traditional enemies to bear on his reelection bid in North Carolina. 

Some of the transgressions have been headline-grabbing, like one that rankled Republican colleagues who believe he insinuated they were holding orgies and snorting cocaine. Others have been salacious, like recently released videos showing him in sexually suggestive poses. 

In late March, fellow Republican Senator, Thom Tillis, endorsed Cawthorn's challenger in the upcoming primary, saying, "Cawthorn has fallen well short of the most basic standards western North Carolina expects from their representatives.''

Still, at home in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, Cawthorn's most consequential move may have been when he decided to run for a different U.S. House seat before changing his mind. Some constituents believe he's more interested in inflaming the culture wars than helping the district. 

Cawthorn is fighting back, accusing the Washington establishment and Tillis of trying to shut him down.


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

The Kremlin is warning about taking retaliatory "military-technical" steps after Finland's leaders came out in favour of applying to join NATO, and Sweden could do the same within

 days, in a historic realignment triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Two and a half months after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent a shiver of fear through Moscow's neighbours, Finland's president and prime minister announced Thursday that the Nordic country should apply right away for membership in NATO, the military defence pact founded in part to counter the Soviet Union. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto defiantly pronounced "You (Russia) caused this. Look in the mirror."

While the country's Parliament still has to weigh in, the announcement means Finland is all but certain to apply and gain admission, though the process could take months to complete. Sweden, likewise, is considering putting itself under NATO's protection.

That would represent a major change in Europe's security landscape: Sweden has avoided military alliances for more than 200 years, while Finland adopted neutrality after its defeat by the Soviets in the Second World War.

Such an expansion of the alliance would leave Russia surrounded by NATO countries in the Baltic Sea and the Arctic and would amount to a stinging setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had hoped to divide and roll back NATO in Europe but is, instead, seeing the opposite happen.

Meanwhile, the first war-crimes trial of a Russian soldier since the start of the conflict is set to open Friday in Kyiv. A 21-year-old captured member of a tank unit is accused of gunning down a civilian during the opening week of the war.


On this day in 1898 ...

The Yukon Territory was organized with Dawson City as its capital.


In entertainment ...

Ashley Judd is encouraging people to seek help for their mental health issues. The plea follows her mother Naomi's recent suicide.

Speaking on "Good Morning America," Judd said she was home with her mother when the elder Judd shot herself; a day before being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ashley Judd says she decided to speak out to prevent rumours from spreading; in announcing her death, the family said they lost her to "the disease of mental illness." Ashley Judd said the timing of her mom's death shows how depression can affect someone. She says there was a gulf between what her mom's peers in country music told her about her work and the "lie that the disease told her" about herself. 

And in the end, Ashely Judd says, her mom felt that lie "was so convincing."


Did you see this?

Severe flooding that has displaced thousands of people in southern Manitoba has reached levels that are quite literally out of this world.

Satellite images of flooding in the Red River Valley were NASA Earth Observatory's images of the day on Thursday. The two "false-colour" images, taken on Tuesday and Wednesday, show the flooded valley on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. 

The images were taken with sensors that are used to track Earth and climate measurements on two NASA satellites called Terra and Aqua. They orbit throughout the day, passing over the equator from north to south and south to north.

The image from Tuesday shows the dark masses of flooded areas around the Red River from Winnipeg south to Grand Forks, N.D.

Heavy snowfall and spring rainstorms have left many parts of Manitoba flooded, including the Red River Valley. Flood warnings are in place for most parts of the Red River north of Emerson, near the border, the province said in its latest flood bulletin.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2022

The Canadian Press