Day 2 of Liberal retreat and whether to trick-or-treat: In The News for Sept. 15

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 Sept. 15 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers will hole up for a second day to plot the country's path through, and eventually beyond, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Talk of setting a bold new post-pandemic course for Canada at the cabinet retreat gave way Monday to grim warnings that the pandemic is far from over and that the country could be in for a second deadly wave this fall.

The retreat is being held in Ottawa as positive cases of COVID-19 are on the rise across the country after a bit of a lull over the summer.

Ministers are supposed to focus in part on the throne speech scheduled for Sept. 23.

When Trudeau announced last month that he was proroguing Parliament, he said it would return with a throne speech that would set out a bold new agenda to rebuild a healthier, safer, fairer, greener, more inclusive, more competitive economy.

But as he went into the opening day of the retreat Monday, a less ebullient Trudeau warned that the country first needs to get through the pandemic in order to talk about "next steps."

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Also this ...

FREDERICTON — The murder trial for a Fredericton man charged in the 2018 fatal shootings of four people in the New Brunswick capital begins today.

Matthew Raymond faces four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Fredericton Police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns as well as civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright, on Aug. 10, 2018.

Raymond was deemed unfit to stand trial, but a jury last month reversed that decision.

A jury needed just one hour to determine Raymond is fit to instruct his defence counsel and that he understands the charges he's facing.

The same jury is being used for his murder trial.

The province has said Raymond's trial will be the first full jury trial in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and it is being held in a large convention room to allow for physical distancing.

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

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump is set to preside over the signing of historic diplomatic deals between Israel and two Gulf Arab nations that could herald a dramatic shift in Middle East power dynamics.

The ceremony today at the White House is aimed at showcasing presidential statesmanship ahead of November's election.

Trump will host more than 700 guests on the South Lawn to witness the sealing of the agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and between Israel and Bahrain.

The agreements will formalize the normalization of the Jewish state's already warming relations with the two countries — and may pave the way for a broader Arab-Israeli rapprochement after decades of enmity.

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

ATHENS — A major search-and-rescue operation launched overnight after a migrant smuggling boat sank off the southern Greek island of Crete continued today, with survivors unable to say how many people had originally been on board and whether there were people still missing.

Greece's coast guard said one more person had been rescued in the early hours, bringing the total number of people saved to 57.

Three bodies — those of two children and a woman — were recovered from the sea Monday night.

Greece is one of the main entry points into the European Union for asylum-seekers and migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

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On this day in 1773 ...

The ship Hector arrived at Brown's Point, near Pictou, N.S. Hector carried 178 Scottish immigrants — the first large wave of immigration that made Scots the predominant ethnic group in Nova Scotia. A replica ship was later built to commemorate the voyage and is on display in Pictou harbour.

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COVID-19 survey says ...

OTTAWA — A new survey suggests there are Canadians who believe that warnings from public officials about the threat of COVID-19 are vastly overblown.

Almost one-quarter of respondents in an online poll made public today by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they believe public health and government officials exaggerate in their warnings, including about the need for measures like physical distancing to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Regionally, respondents in Alberta were more likely to believe the threat was embellished, followed by Atlantic Canada and Quebec, with Ontario at the bottom.

Broken down by age, younger respondents were more likely than those over 55 to believe statements were being exaggerated.

The online poll was conducted Sept. 11 to 13 and surveyed 1,539 adult Canadians. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the results may explain something else that came up in the survey — that a majority of respondents said they have relaxed how strictly they adhere to public health recommendations.

Among those recommendations are things such as wearing a mask in public, avoiding large gatherings and trying to maintain a two-metre distance between people.

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Entertainment news ...

TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival is hoping to turn up the virtual glamour with a star-studded awards fundraiser tonight.

Anthony Hopkins and Kate Winslet are among the acting honourees at the second annual TIFF Tribute Awards.

The gala, which will be held online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to celebrate standout creators in the film industry while raising money for TIFF's year-round programming.

Hopkins tells The Canadian Press that the recognition comes as a pleasant surprise, given that he lives in a state of "non-expectation" as far as accolades are concerned.

The Oscar-winning star of "The Father" says he received his trophy in recent days, but it feels strange to be accepting it from his Los Angeles home rather than in person.

Still, Hopkins says he's grateful to be able to participate in an event that is "near normal" as the COVID-19 crisis has forced the film community to find new ways to come together.

Winslet says she's so impressed with how organizers have managed to move much of the TIFF online, and hopes some of these technological innovations will become a permanent feature of the festival.

Canadians can tune into the TIFF Tribute Awards at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.

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COVID-19 and Halloween ...

TORONTO — The infection risks of COVID-19 may threaten trick-or-treating this year, but that doesn't mean Halloween has to be cancelled.

The spooky holiday is still more than a month away, but experts suggest parents enlist their kids now in preparing a back-up plan.

Child development expert Nikki Martyn urges families to embrace the chance to create new family traditions without discounting what their kids love most about Oct. 31.

Martyn says if they love dressing up, go ahead and buy a costume and let them wear it over several days; if they revel in the rare chance to be outside at night, maybe the whole family can camp in the backyard.

The program head of early childhood studies at the University of Guelph-Humber says Halloween offers kids more than just a sugar rush and there are reasons to keep many of its traditions alive, if possible.

Martyn says the fake scares encourage creativity, can help foster greater independence and also build coping skills for kids to handle fear in manageable amounts.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2020

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