May's turn to meet Trudeau and 'anti-Alberta' activities; In-The-News Nov. 15

By The Canadian Press
November 15, 2019 - 3:58am

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 Nov. 15.

What we are watching in Canada ...

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is finishing a week of meetings with opposition leaders today by sitting down with the Green party's Elizabeth May this morning.

May has stepped down as party leader, but is still the head of the Greens' three-member caucus in the House of Commons.

Trudeau has been seeking common ground with the Conservative, Bloc Quebecois and NDP leaders in separate sessions as he prepares to return to Parliament in December without a majority in the Commons.

He'll need the backing of at least one of those parties to get any law passed, and his first test will be to get support for his speech from the throne, laying out his general plans for governing.

The Greens elected more MPs in the October vote than they've ever had, but remain the only party in the Commons that doesn't have the numbers to give Trudeau's Liberals a win by voting with the government.

That makes the meeting more a courtesy than a negotiation between rivals seeking to find compromises to advance their agendas.


Also this ...

EDMONTON — An Edmonton charity that has supported philanthropy in the community since 1953 says Alberta's inquiry into so-called "anti-Albertan" activities is polarizing, undemocratic and unfounded.

The Muttart Foundation, which supports early childhood education and other charities, has written a letter to Steve Allan, commissioner of the Public Inquiry Into Funding of Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns.

It says the commission is creating a "climate of fear" by suggesting there is a price to be paid for disagreeing with the government.

The 174-page letter says its not unAlbertan to criticize the oil and gas industry — it's democratic.

It uses government statistics to show foreign sources make up a tiny fraction of the revenue to Canadian charities.

Foundation director Bob Wyatt says he just wants any recommendations from the inquiry to be founded on fact.


ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

HALIFAX — There is something funky at the bottom of the Bay of Fundy. 

A new survey estimates more than 1.8 million pieces of garbage are strewn over the bottom of the bay, prompting concerns about potential harm to marine life.

The study published Thursday in Marine Pollution Bulletin found an average of 137 pieces of plastic litter, dumped or lost fishing gear and other garbage per square kilometre of ocean.

The researchers used underwater photography at 281 locations over the past three years to extrapolate the amount of garbage present in a bay. 

Plastics, especially plastic bags, comprised slightly over half of the total, while fishing gear ranging from traps to gloves was close to 30 per cent. Other garbage — including tires or metal — was just over one fifth of the total waste documented.

Biologist Tony Walker, assistant professor in the school for resource and environmental studies at Dalhousie University, said the litter eliminates potential habitat by covering the bottom.


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

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — People who knew the 16-year-old boy suspected of killing two students in a burst of gunfire at a high school outside Los Angeles described him as a quiet, smart kid who they would never expect to turn violent.

One fellow junior at Saugus High School said the suspect is a Boy Scout who she relied on to study for advanced placement European history. A student in his physics class said he seemed like "one of those normal kids." A next-door neighbour who grew up with him said he kept to himself but was never threatening.

The attacker shot five students, seemingly at random, and then shot himself in the head around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, his 16th birthday, authorities said. Two students died, and the gunman was gravely wounded.

Police have not publicly identified the shooter because he is a minor. The Associated Press determined his identity based on property records for his home, which police said was searched after the shooting, and interviews with three of his friends.

The boy lived with his mother in a modest home on a leafy street in Santa Clarita, a Los Angeles suburb of about 210,000 people known for good schools, safe streets and relatively affordable housing.

Police said they had yet to determine a motive and any relationship between the gunman and the victims. Authorities said they have no indication the boy was acting on behalf of any group or ideology.


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

MEXICO CITY — Bolivia's Evo Morales called for the United Nations, and possibly Pope Francis, to mediate in the Andean nation's political crisis following his ouster as president in what he called a coup d'etat that forced him into exile in Mexico.

In an interview Thursday in Mexico City, Morales said he is in fact still the president of Bolivia since the country's Legislative Assembly has not yet accepted his resignation, which he presented Sunday at the urging of military leaders following weeks of protests against a re-election that his opponents called fraudulent.

Morales said he would return to Bolivia from Mexico, which has granted him political asylum, if that would contribute to his country's pacification.

Political analyst Kathryn Ledebur of the non-profit Andean Information Network in Bolivia, who has lived in the country for nearly 30 years, said Morales could have a case.

"A resignation letter has to be presented and considered, and accepted in the plenary before it goes into effect," she said. "Do I think that Evo wants to return and be president — I don't see that. But does he want to mess with them? Yes. He wants to keep them guessing."

Two days after arriving in Mexico, Morales said he had received information that some Bolivian army troops are planning to "rebel" against the officers who urged him to resign. But he gave no further specifics on how many were in on the plan, or how they would rebel.

Morales said he was "surprised by the betrayal of the commander in chief of the armed forces," Williams Kaliman.


Weird and wild ...

SEATTLE — Can old dogs teach us new tricks? Scientists are looking for 10,000 pets for the largest study of aging in canines. They hope to shed light on human longevity, too.

The project will collect a pile of pooch data: vet records, DNA samples, gut microbes and information on food and walks. Five hundred dogs will test a pill that could slow the aging process.

"What we learn will potentially be good for dogs and has great potential to translate to human health," said project co-director Daniel Promislow of the University of Washington School of Medicine.

If scientists find a genetic marker for a type of cancer in dogs, for instance, that could be explored in humans.

Owners will complete periodic online surveys and take their dogs to the vet once a year, with the possibility of extra visits for certain tests. Their welfare will be monitored by a bioethicist and a panel of animal welfare advisers.

The five-year study was formally started Thursday at a science meeting in Austin, Texas. The National Institute on Aging is paying for the $23-million project because dogs and humans share the same environment, get the same diseases and dogs' shorter lifespans allow quicker research results, said deputy director, Dr. Marie Bernard. The data collected will be available to all scientists.


On this day in 1877 …

The Northwest Council passed laws to conserve the bison. However, by 1880, the bison had practically disappeared from the plains of Canada, destroying the traditional way of life of First Nations and Metis living on the Prairies.


Celebrity news ...

TORONTO — One of Louis C.K.'s accusers is disputing a Canadian comedy club CEO's reasons for booking the standup superstar earlier this year.

Julia Wolov says she is "infuriated" by an article written by Yuk Yuk's founder Mark Breslin for the Canadian Jewish News that downplays sexual misconduct she and several other women faced from the disgraced comic.

Wolov, a L.A.-based comedy writer, penned a counterpoint that lists several inaccuracies in Breslin's article, which claimed she and others consented to sexual behaviour that occurred more than 10 years ago.

C.K. admitted to exposing himself to several women while in a position of power following a bombshell 2017 New York Times report involving five accusers.

Wolov says she hasn't spoken about her experiences since that New York Times story, but was moved to go public this week because Breslin touted C.K.'s Jewish heritage as another reason to support him. Wolov says she and three of his other accusers from the article are also Jewish.

She says she did not consent to C.K. undressing and masturbating in front of her, and to suggest otherwise is wrong. 

Breslin booked C.K. for a string of sold-out shows in Toronto in October. He declined further comment but says in his article that "rattling the cage of polite society is part of the job of comics, onstage and off."


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2019.

The Canadian Press

Trudeau finishes meetings with opposition leaders with Elizabeth May

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