In the news today, April 12

Five stories in the news for Friday, April 12

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CARBON TAX DEBATE FOGGED BY MYTHS: ECONOMIST

A carbon tax doesn't work says the head of Canada's Ecofiscal Commission, which is a non-partisan group of academics and business leaders focused on economic and environmental solutions. Chris Ragan says between politicians who fog the truth and the ones just in a fog — a carbon tax debate is clouding Alberta's provincial election and drifting into an upcoming federal campaign. He says there's a bunch of stuff out there that is either misunderstanding or poorly explained. And there a bunch of myths out there, he adds. The commission has just published a report on carbon tax misconceptions.

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911 DISPATCH SYSTEM CHANGE FRUSTRATES FIRE CHIEF

A 911 dispatch system in British Columbia is getting a starkly different review from firefighters and paramedics responding to medical emergencies. Fire Chief Nick Delmonico of the Port Coquitlam Fire Department says the so-called clinical response model adopted in B.C. last May has put patient safety at risk because firefighters are no longer routinely being dispatched to medical calls along with paramedics. He says firefighters provide comfort and care to patients before an ambulance arrives but now they're sometimes not being called even when they're supposed to be, such as when paramedics don't show up for 10 minutes.

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CANADIANS DIVIDED ON HANDGUN BAN: REPORT

It appears there is no clear answer on whether Canadians are in favour of banning handguns and assault-style firearms. Following a shooting spree in Toronto last summer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair to study the possibility of such a ban. A report released Thursday found opinions expressed during in-person discussions and through written submissions both opposed and supported a ban. But when participants responded to a questionnaire, the majority were against the idea.

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PUSH RCMP ON STERILIZATION PROBES: NDP MP

NDP MP Don Davies says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale should use all "legitimate tools" at his disposal to ensure the RCMP investigates women's allegations of forced or coerced sterilizations. In a March letter to Davies, after he called for a criminal probe of coerced sterilizations, especially of Indigenous women, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki said the force will work with commanding officers in each province and territory to see if any complaints have been reported and will reach out to other Canadian police agencies as well. But, Lucki wrote, a preliminary review of the RCMP's national database found no records of specific complaints to pursue. So Davies has written to the minister who oversees the police force.

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CRITICS SAY PESTICIDE PLAN IS 'NONSENSICAL'

Environment groups are calling out Canada's approach to assessing pesticides after seven years of reviews led Health Canada to simultaneously decide to allow certain popular products to keep being used with restrictions, and to propose banning the same products from outdoor uses altogether. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency on Thursday released its final decision on what limits should be placed on a category of nicotine-based pesticides known as neonicotinoids to keep them from killing bees. Starting in two years, the pesticides won't be allowed to be sprayed at all on certain crops like apples and tree nuts and there will be limited times when they can be sprayed on many others, like tomatoes, eggplants and berries.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks to supporters at the 2019 convention of the Liberal Party of Canada in Ontario. Note: Media must arrive no later than 7 p.m. local time.

— Liberals from across Ontario gather for the 2019 convention of the Liberal Party of Canada in Ontario. Justin Trudeau will make remarks at the convention on Friday, April 12.

— The Central Okanagan Regional District hosts a Facebook live demo on what to include in an emergency kit in case of flooding, wildfires and other emergencies.

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