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Tory Leadership Debate and US Supreme Court to Meet: In The News for May 12, 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 12, 2022. ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Pierre Poilievre holds his "intervention paddle" at the Conservative Party of Canada English leadership debate in Edmonton, Alta., Wednesday, May 11, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

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 12, 2022. ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

EDMONTON_Candidates vying for the Conservative leadership framed the country, and the party, as deeply divided at the first official debate on Wednesday and took turns pointing fingers at one rival they accuse of driving disunity in the race.

The loudest applause in the Edmonton Convention Centre, packed with more than a thousand people, repeatedly went to longtime MP Pierre Poilievre, who said his vision for the country is about giving people "freedom to take back control of their lives."

During the debate, he took specific aim at Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem, saying he would fire him because Canada's inflation rate is the highest it's been in decades. 

Poilievre said "The Bank of Canada governor has allowed himself to become the ATM machine of this government. And so I would replace him with a new governor who would reinstate our low-inflation mandate, protect the purchasing power of our dollar and honour the working people who earn those dollars.

Jean Charest, Quebec's former premier, responded by saying the MP's remarks were irresponsible and sowed distrust in the system.

He bluntly added, "Conservatives do not do that."


Also this ...

UNDATED_ A United Nations human rights committee focused on combating racism has reiterated its call for Canada to stop construction on two pipelines until it obtains consent from affected Indigenous communities in British Columbia.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination says it has received information about the policing of Wet'suwet'en and Secwepemc people opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline being built in northern B.C. and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from Alberta to B.C.'s coast.

A letter from committee chair Verene Shepherd, penned on April 29th, says the information alleges that surveillance and use of force have escalated against those opposed to the pipelines in order to intimidate and push them off their traditional lands.

The missive was addressed to Leslie Norton, Canada's representative to the UN in Geneva, points to a 2019 decision by the committee calling on Canada to "immediately cease forced evictions" of Wet'suwet'en and Secwepemc protesters by police and halt construction on the two pipelines.

The B.C. and federal governments had yet to respond to requests for comment on the concerns outlined by the UN committee.

The RCMP say they've increased their patrols around industry and "other camps" near construction sites for the Coastal GasLink pipeline after what the Mounties called a "violent confrontation" aimed at workers in February.

A statement Wednesday from Cpl. Madonna Saunderson with the RCMP's north district says the Mounties have been concerned for people's safety in the area and officers are "patrolling on public lands to ensure that no one is setting up structures to impede access."


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

WASHINGTON_The U.S. Supreme Court's nine justices will gather in private for their first scheduled meeting since the leak of a draft opinion that would overrule Roe versus Wade and sharply curtail abortion rights in roughly half the states.

The meeting Thursday in the justices' private, wood-panelled conference room could be a tense affair in a setting noted for its decorum. No one aside from the justices attends and the most junior among them, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, is responsible for taking notes.

Thursday's conference comes at an especially fraught moment, with the future of abortion rights at stake and an investigation underway to try to find the source of the leak. Chief Justice John Roberts last week confirmed the authenticity of the opinion, revealed by Politico, in ordering the court's marshal to undertake an investigation. Roberts stressed that the draft, written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated in February, may not be the court's final word. The Court's decisions are not final until they are formally issued and the outcomes in some cases changed between the justices' initial votes shortly after arguments and the official announcement of the decisions.

That's true of a major abortion ruling from 1992 that now is threatened, Planned Parenthood versus Casey. Justice Anthony Kennedy initially indicated he would be part of a majority to reverse Roe but later was among five justices who affirmed the basic right of a woman to choose abortion that the court first laid out in roe in 1973.


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

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine_Ukraine has offered to release Russian prisoners of war in exchange for the safe evacuation of the badly injured fighters trapped inside a steel mill in the ruined city of Mariupol, as Kyiv began preparing for its first war crimes trial of a captured Russian soldier.

While fighting raged in Ukraine's east and south, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Wednesday that negotiations were underway to release the injured fighters who are holed up in the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol. She said there were different options, but "none of them is ideal."

Ukraine's top prosecutor said her office charged Russian Sgt. Vadin Shyshimarin, 21, in the killing of an unarmed 62-year-old civilian who was gunned down while riding a bicycle in February, four days into the war. Shyshimarin, who served with a tank unit, is accused of firing through a car window on the man in the northeastern village of Chupakhivka.

Meantime, a Kremlin-installed politician in the southern Kherson region said officials there want Russian President Vladimir Putin to annex it. That was something at least one resident contested: "All people in Kherson are waiting for our troops to come as soon as possible." The teacher, who gave only her first name, Olga, out of fear of retaliation, added "Nobody wants to live in Russia or join Russia."

Ukraine also shut down a pipeline that carries Russian gas to Western Europe.


On this day in 1949 ...

The Soviet Union lifted the Berlin Blockade, which the Western powers had succeeded in circumventing with their Berlin Airlift.


In entertainment ...

TORONTO_An Ottawa woman sobbed on the stand this afternoon as a court heard an emotional phone call between her and Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard that took place days after she alleges he violently raped her.

The woman, now in her late 20s, has testified she came across the singer on the dating app Tinder in November 2016 and, weeks later, agreed to meet him in Toronto to have sex. But she said she did not consent to what transpired in his hotel room. She told the court Hoggard raped her anally, vaginally and orally and at one point choked her so hard she thought she might die. She was left bleeding and with bruises, she said.

A recording of the roughly 15-minute call was played as the woman, who is one of two complainants in Hoggard's sex assault trial, was questioned by the defence. She previously testified they spoke after she texted Hoggard that he had raped her, and that the call lasted about 30 seconds.

During cross-examination Wednesday, defence lawyer Megan Savard suggested the complainant was upset with Hoggard during the call because he seemed to no longer be interested in her. The complainant was adamant that wasn't the case and that she wanted him to apologize. At another point in her cross-examination, Savard suggested the woman wanted retribution.

Hoggard, the frontman for the band Hedley, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference, a charge that relates to the sexual touching of someone under 16.


Did you see this?

The fossil of a prehistoric lizard, described as a Komodo dragon on steroids, has been found at a mining site in southern Alberta, near the community of Lethbridge.

The mosasaurus lived in the inland sea that covered Alberta about 75-million years ago and would often grow to be seven to eight metres long.

Donald Henderson, from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, says mining operations have been providing a regular supply of various fossils for years.

He says the museum has about 30 partially complete mososaurus skeletons.

Henderson says the mososaurus isn't a dinosaur, but a predatory marine lizard.

He says it was about three to four times bigger than a Komodo dragon, which is the world's largest lizard.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2022

The Canadian Press