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Good evening to you.
We begin with news from the military, and word this afternoon from the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service that former chief of defence staff Jonathan Vance has been charged with one count of obstruction of justice.
The charge relates to the ongoing military probe into allegations of sexual misconduct involving a relationship with a former female subordinate, Maj. Kellie Brennan, and for sending what is said to be a racy email to another. The CFNIS did not provide details, but in a release said it took place after the service started investigating Vance on Feb. 4, 2021. “It was during the course of this investigation that the obstruction of justice is alleged to have occurred,” the service said. However, as Global News reports, according to documents filed in court this afternoon, military police allege that in February, Vance “did willfully attempt to obstruct the course of justice in a judicial proceeding by repeatedly contacting Mrs K.B. by phone and attempting to persuade her to make false statements about their past relationship to the Canadians Forces National Investigation Service, contrary to section 139(1) of the Criminal Code.”
Still with probes: Canada’s ethics watchdog has begun reviewing a request for another ethics investigation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to ensure the Liberal leader isn’t using taxpayer dollars to fund his election campaign, says Conservative ethics critic Michael Barrett. On Monday, Barrett asked Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion to launch an inquiry into Trudeau’s possible involvement in awarding contracts to Data Sciences Inc., a company founded by the prime minister’s longtime friend, Tom Pitfield. There’s a need to ensure “nothing untoward is happening on the eve of an election,” Barrett told iPolitics today. Rachel Emmanuel reports.
Turning to pandemic news, Health Canada is considering approving Covaxin, a COVID vaccine developed in India, after quietly accepting an application from its American distributor. The application was filed at the end of June by Ocugen, a Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical company, through its Canadian affiliate, Vaccigen Ltd. Ocugen only announced it was seeking approval in Canada on Thursday. Charlie Pinkerton has that story.
Money, money, money: A new, one-time tax on Canada’s wealthiest families could add billions of dollars to the federal government’s coffers, according to a report by the federal fiscal watchdog. A three per cent tax on Canadians with a net wealth of more than $10 million, and a five per cent tax on net wealth of more than $20 million, could bring in as much as $82.5 billion over five years, according to a report released Thursday by the parliamentary budget officer (PBO). But the likelihood of collecting that much from the extremely wealthy is unlikely, the PBO says. Jeff Labine has that story.
Canadian and American politicians and food producers are reviewing and proposing new labelling measures for meat produce while trying not to trigger an international trade review. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $500-million investment earlier this month to develop and expand meat processing in the U.S. The U.S. administration was also conducting “a comprehensive review of labelling (for meat processing),” Vilsack said. Meanwhile in Alberta last Saturday, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen unveiled a new initiative to label food produced in the province as “Made in Alberta, by Albertans.” Janet Silver reports.
Parents in the Greater Toronto Area stand to save the most under the Liberals’ new child-care plan, according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a progressive think tank. Parents of infants in the city of Toronto would save nearly $12,000 a year by 2022, and nearly $20,000 a year by 2026. The median cost of an infant in full-day child care was over $22,000 a year in Toronto in 2020, according to a previous analysis by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. In the 2021 budget, the federal government promised nearly $30 billion over five years to cut child-care fees in half by 2022, and to offer $10-a-day child care by 2026. Aidan Chamandy has more on how that will shake down elsewhere.
With unrest growing in Cuba, Cuban-Canadians have accused the Trudeau government of turning its back on the people of Cuba. As CBC News notes, “The gap between the Biden administration and the Trudeau government this week on Cuba was wider than the straits that separate Havana from Key West.” President Joe Biden had said that the United States “stands firmly with the people of Cuba as they assert their universal rights. And we call on the government of Cuba to refrain from violence in their attempt to silence the voices of the people of Cuba.” Trudeau on the other hand, took a softer line.
Today, however, he took a stronger tone against the Cuban government, denouncing the arrests of hundreds of demonstrators who want to see change come after 62 years of communism. Bloomberg has that story.
“We’re deeply concerned by the violent crackdown on protests by the Cuban regime,” Trudeau said after making an aerospace announcement in Montreal on Thursday. “We condemn the arrests and repression by the authorities of peaceful demonstrators. Cubans have the right to express themselves and to have their voices heard.”
Turning to Alberta, the province will be holding a referendum on whether Canada’s equalization payment program is fair and if the province should continue to observe daylight savings. Equalization is one of Canada’s major transfer programs and is intended to help less prosperous provinces. The program was written into the Canadian Constitution in 1982 and is based on a province’s ability to raise revenue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Thursday that the question of equalization and daylight savings time will be on the ballot when Albertans head to the polls for their municipal elections on Oct. 18. Jeff Labine has that story.
Hill Movers: Ministers Leblanc, Hajdu and Duclos add staff
In Other Headlines:
Plan to bring Afghan interpreters to Canada being finalized ‘as quickly as possible’: minister (CBC)
More unmarked graves likely to be discovered at former Kamloops, B.C., residential school: report (Global)
New Manitoba Indigenous minister says residential school system ‘believed they were doing the right thing’ (CBC)
Ontario not considering making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health-care workers: Ford (Global)
Transport Canada to lift ban on cruise ships in November, months earlier than planned (CP)
Feds to provide update on border restrictions in ‘coming days’: LeBlanc (CTV)
Singh waves off one-time wealth tax, demands ongoing tax on ‘ultra-rich’ Canadians (CP)
Trudeau announces $440M for aerospace industry to create jobs in Quebec, fund green tech (CBC)
Judge gives Canada’s spy agency go-ahead to use new overseas investigative powers (CP)
Travelling backbencher booted from UCP caucus six months ago allowed back in (Herald)
In what is likely her final appearance at the White House before she steps down from her long-held position this fall, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Washington today to meet with President Joe Biden. As CNN reports, the goal of their meeting at the White House is to chart a course for the future of U.S.-German relations.
The head of the World Health Organization today urged China to be more co-operative with its second phase of the investigation into the origins of COVID-19. In calling for more access and transparency, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said investigations into the origins of the pandemic in China were being hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of spread there. The first investigation, which ended in February, found it was unlikely the virus came from a laboratory in Wuhan and that it probably originated in bats. As the BBC reports, Dr. Tedros said the WHO needed access to raw patient data from just before and the start of the pandemic this time around — something China failed to share with them the first time around.
Still with COVID, a week before the Olympics are set to get underway in Tokyo, cases there have surged to a six-month high. The Associated Press has that story.
In Other International Headlines:
Over 60 dead, dozens missing as severe floods strike Europe (AP)
Gunman found criminally responsible for killing 5 at Maryland paper (AP)
Surgeon general says he’s lost 10 family members to coronavirus (The Hill)
Dutch crime reporter dies after shooting (BBC)
Finally, how’s this for a shocking selfie? Three siblings in England who were about to snap a photo of themselves unintentionally captured the moment they were all struck by lightning.
And in less jolting, far more relaxing news, thanks to a series of underwater cameras, you can watch as nearly 60,000 belugas migrate from the Arctic to northern Manitoba, and listen to these canaries of the sea sing as they make their way.
This we are here for.
Have a good night.