Tuesday October 31

News In Brief

weedLIBERALS ANNOUNCE MARIJUANA INFORMATION CAMPAIGN: The federal government is spending $36.4 million over the next five years on a campaign to educate Canadians about the health and safety perils of marijuana. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Toronto MP Bill Blair, the government’s point man on legalizing pot, made the announcement Tuesday after question period. Last week’s economic update earmarked $526 million over five years for Health Canada, the RCMP, the Canada Border Services Agency and Public Safety Canada to handle issues related to the government’s plans for legalization.

MAN SENTENCED IN TERROR CASE: An Ontario man who pleaded guilty to a terrorism-related charge this spring will spend another two years behind bars. Kevin Omar Mohamed’s lawyer says his client was sentenced in a Toronto court Tuesday to 4 1/2 years in prison, with 2 1/2 years credit for time already served. Mohamed has been in custody since his arrest in March 2016 on weapons-related charges, which were later changed to a terror charge. He pleaded guilty in early June.

CANADA TO MATCH DONATIONS FOR ROHINGYA: The federal government says it will match private donations made between Aug. 25 and Nov. 28 to Canadian charities helping in the Rohingya refugee crisis. It says it will make its matching donations to the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund. International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says an additional 600,000 Rohingya, nearly 70 per cent of them women and children, have fled to Bangladesh since August. She says Bangladesh is now home to the world’s largest refugee camp, with more than 900,000 Rohingya and other minorities driven out of Myanmar by ethnic cleansing.

FEDS DEFEND INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING DELAY: Opposition parties say a plan to delay more than $2 billion worth of federal infrastructure spending points to problems with one of the government’s cornerstone programs, despite what the Liberals say. The cash comes from planned spending in multiple years and multiple funds set up by the Liberals and the previous Conservative government, as well as large-scale projects, such as the Champlain Bridge replacement in Montreal. More details are expected some time next week when departmental reports are tabled in Parliament. Conservative infrastructure critic Michael Chong said he is hearing concerns from cities that they don’t have enough time to spend their transit and water money.

QUEBEC MNA SAYS HE’S VICTIM OF ‘INTIMIDATION’: The Quebec member of the legislature who was arrested by the province’s anti-corruption unit accused the organization Tuesday of trying to use “unprecedented intimidation” against him. Guy Ouellette says he was the victim of a setup by UPAC, as the unit is commonly known. Ouellette, 65, was arrested last Wednesday in connection with a UPAC investigation into an important information leak to the media last April. He was later released and has not been charged.

FEDS TURN TO INDUSTRY FOR ICEBREAKING: The federal government has turned to the private sector for help in keeping the country’s waters free of ice during the winter months amid concerns about the state of Canada’s icebreaking fleet. Companies were invited Tuesday to submit proposals for the provision of icebreaking services to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, which coast guard officials would call upon as needed. The Canadian Coast Guard’s icebreakers are nearing the end of their original 40-year life expectancies, with the average vessel already 35 years old.

MORNEAU TRIES TO TURN TABLES ON TORIES: The Trudeau government is trying to turn the tables on Conservatives who continue to attack Finance Minister Bill Morneau for his failure to put his personal assets in a blind trust. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Morneau followed the advice of the federal ethics watchdog and points out that a number of ministers in the previous Conservative government made similar arrangements to handle their assets. Morneau has promised to sell his shares in his family company, Morneau Shepell, and place all his other assets in a blind trust. But the Conservatives are hammering away at numbered companies Morneau has disclosed to the ethics commissioner, demanding to know precisely what assets those companies hold.

STATCAN SAYS GDP SHRANK IN AUGUST: The Canadian economy hit reverse in August, its first monthly pullback since October last year. “The amazing run of amazing Canadian economic data is officially over, with growth coming back to reality in a hurry,” Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter wrote in a note to clients. Statistics Canada said Tuesday real gross domestic product fell 0.1 per cent for the month, following essentially no change in July. Porter said the two-month lull in activity reinforces the point that “the frothy growth of the past year is over and done.”