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Tory leadership debate, youth eating disorders rising : In The News for May 5

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 5 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Conservative member of Parliament Leslyn Lewis rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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 5 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Five out of the six candidates vying for Tory leadership will appear on stage tonight for a debate before a room of conservative faithful. 

It's not an official leadership debate, but is being hosted by the Canada Strong and Free Network as part of an annual conference taking place in Ottawa. 

The organization promotes conservative ideas and was founded by Preston Manning, former leader of the Reform Party of Canada — a precursor to the Canadian Alliance, which merged with the Progressive Conservative Party to form the current Conservative Party. 

Pieces of that history may be on display during tonight's debate, as the race has already seen accusations fly over whether some candidates are truly "Conservative." 

Appearing on stage will be Pierre Poilievre, Leslyn Lewis, Roman Baber, Scott Aitchison and Jean Charest. 

Patrick Brown is not attending, as his campaign says he is busy selling memberships before the June 3 deadline when supporters must be a member in order to vote in the contest. 

Next week all six candidates must participate in the first of two official debates organized by the party. 


Also this ...

New data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows a spike in the rate of youth hospitalized for eating disorders during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The numbers show the rate of eating disorder hospitalizations in Canada was 15 per 100,000 in the two years leading up to the onset of the pandemic, and jumped to 20 per 100,000 in 2020-21. 

CIHI says girls aged 10 to 17 with eating disorders were hospitalized nearly 60 per cent more following the onset of the pandemic. 

The rate went from 52 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in 2019-20 to 82 hospitalizations per 100,000 in 2020-21. 

The data was drawn from the Discharge Abstract Database and Ontario Mental Health Reporting System.

Dr. Leanna Isserlin, psychiatric director of the child and adolescent eating disorders program at CHEO, says the number of hospitalizations is just the "tip of the iceberg" because there are so many more patients who don't have access to care.

She says she's seen the spike bear out in her practice over the past two years.

"We had to redistribute our staff, we had to pull staff from other parts of the mental health-care programs, who typically would treat things like depression and anxiety or other psychiatric disorders who came to help on in our unit," she said.


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

LAS VEGAS, N.M. _ Firefighters slowed the advance of the largest wildfire in the U.S. as heavy winds relented Wednesday, while U.S. President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration that brings new financial resources to remote stretches of New Mexico devastated by fire since early April.

U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez announced the presidential disaster declaration during an evening briefing by the U.S. Forest Service about efforts to contain the sprawling wildfire in northeastern New Mexico, which has fanned out across 647 square kilometres of high alpine forest and grasslands at the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains.

"It will help us do that rebuilding and it will help us with the expenses and the hardship that people are facing right now,'' the congresswoman said. "We're glad it happened this quickly.''

Fire bosses said they are seizing upon an interlude of relatively calm and cool weather to keep the fire from pushing any closer to the small New Mexico city of Las Vegas and other villages scattered along the fire's shifting fronts. Airplanes and helicopters dropped slurries of red fire retardant from the sky, as groundcrews cleared timber and brush to starve the fire along crucial fronts.

For days, bulldozers have been scraping fire lines on the outskirts of Las Vegas, population 13,000, while crews have been conducting burns to clear adjacent vegetation. Aircraft dropped more fire retardant as a second line of defence along a ridge just west of town in preparation for intense winds expected over the weekend.

An estimated 15,500 homes in outlying areas and in the valleys of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that border Las Vegas have been affected by mandatory evacuations. The tally of homes destroyed by the fire stands around 170.

The president's disaster declaration releases emergency funds to recovery efforts in three counties in northeastern New Mexico where fires still rage, as well as portions of southern New Mexico where wind-driven blazes killed two people and destroyed over 200 homes in mid-April.

The aid includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other relief programs for individuals and businesses, a statement from the White House said.


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

LVIV, Ukraine _ Ukrainian forces said Thursday they repelled Russian attacks in the east and recaptured some territory, even as Moscow moved to obstruct the flow of Western weapons to Ukraine by bombarding rail stations and other supply-line targets across the country.

Heavy fighting also raged at the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol that represented the last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in the ruined southern port city, the Ukrainian military reported. A Russian official earlier denied that troops were storming the plant, but the commander of the main Ukrainian unit inside said Russian soldiers had pushed into the mill's territory.

"With the support of aircraft, the enemy resumed the offensive in order to take control of the plant,'' the General Staff in Kyiv said, adding that the Russians were "trying to destroy Ukrainian units.''

To the west of Mariupol, Ukrainian forces made some gains on the border of the southern regions of Kherson and Mykolaiv, where Russian troops were reportedly trying to launch a counteroffensive, and repelled 11 Russian attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the military said.

Five people were killed and at least 25 more wounded in shelling of several eastern cities over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian officials said.

The Russian military said it used sea- and air-launched missiles to destroy electric power facilities at five railway stations across Ukraine on Wednesday. Artillery and aircraft also struck troop strongholds and fuel and ammunition depots. Videos on social media suggested a bridge there was attacked.

Responding to the strikes in his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: "All of these crimes will be answered, legally and quite practically _ on the battlefield.''

The flurry of attacks comes as Russia prepares to celebrate Victory Day on May 9, marking the Soviet Union's defeat of Nazi Germany. The world is watching for whether Russian President Vladimir Putin will use the occasion to declare a victory in Ukraine or expand what he calls the "special military operation.'' A declaration of all-out war would allow Putin to introduce martial law and mobilize reservists to make up for significant troop losses.


On this day in 1788 ...

Vancouver Island was claimed for Spain by Capt. Esteban Martinez.


In entertainment ...

Jurors are expected to begin hearing evidence today in the sex assault trial of Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard.

The first witness is scheduled to take the stand after prosecutors present an overview of their case this morning.

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

He was arrested and charged in 2018 and a preliminary hearing was held the following year.

Hoggard was originally set to face trial in January 2021 but the case was postponed on multiple occasions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw new jury trials put on hold for months.

The case involves two complainants, neither of whom can be identified under a publication ban. The identities of several witnesses are also protected under the ban.


Did you see this?

OTTAWA _ Much has been made of the political legacy Justin Trudeau has to live up to as he follows in the footsteps of his father, a former prime minister.

On Wednesday, he invoked one of Pierre Elliott Trudeau's most memorable quips when asked whether he had uttered unparliamentary language.

"What is the nature of your thoughts, gentlemen, when you move your lips in a particular way?'' the current prime minister told reporters on his way out of the House of Commons.

It hearkens back to 1971, when Pierre Trudeau was accused of "mouthing a four-letter obscenity'' at the opposition benches.

The elder Trudeau had denied saying anything. When pressed by reporters, he replied: "What is the nature of your thoughts, gentlemen, when you say fuddle-duddle or something like that?''

On Wednesday, his son had the reference ready.

Conservatives had accused him of "dropping an F-bomb,'' with MP John Barlow telling the House "it was not fuddle-duddle.''

The remark was not picked up by the microphone on the livestream of the proceedings. Deputy Speaker Chris d'Entremont said he did not hear what was said.

Even the Tories have not yet been clear about what they heard, although Opposition House leader John Brassard maintains about a dozen of his colleagues heard it. They've formally asked the Speaker to review Hansard and determine whether unparliamentary language was used.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2022.

The Canadian Press