Five stories in the news for Friday, May 24
COURT TO RULE IF B.C. CAN LIMIT OIL FLOW IN KEY CASE FOR TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE
A British Columbia court is set to rule today whether the province can restrict shipments of diluted bitumen through its borders, in what will be a crucial decision for the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The province filed a reference question to the B.C. Court of Appeal that asked whether it had the constitutional authority to create a permitting regime for companies that want to increase their flow of oilsands crude. B.C. argued the law is aimed at protecting its lands, rivers and lakes from hazardous substances, but Alberta and the federal government have said the goal is to delay or block the pipeline expansion.
CANADA SEEING SPIKE IN TEMPORARY VISAS AS MIGRANT WORKER ADVOCATES RAISE ALARM
Applications for temporary resident visas issued to visitors, students and temporary workers in Canada have more than quadrupled since 2015, stretching the Immigration Department's ability to process them, according to a federal report. The Immigration Department's annual plan shows that in the fiscal year that ended March 2018, officials issued more than 5.7 million temporary visas and electronic travel authorizations, an increase from the 1.3 million issued two years earlier. Federal officials say the surge is due in part to an increase in international tourism in Canada — something the federal government has been trying hard to achieve. The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change says the numbers highlight Canada's increasing reliance on migrant workers who don't have the same rights and protections as other immigrants.
CANADA-CHINA RELATIONS HIT 'ROCK BOTTOM' AND AT 'FREEZING POINT': CHINESE ENVOY
China's ambassador to Canada says the bilateral relationship is now at "rock bottom" compared to any time since diplomatic ties were first established decades ago. In prepared text for a speech Thursday, Lu Shaye said he's saddened Canada-China relations are at what he called a "freezing point." Lu's remarks come at a time of heightened tensions following the December arrest of Chinese telecom executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on an extradition request by the United States. The Huawei executive's arrest has enraged China, which has since detained two Canadians on allegations of endangering Chinese national security, sentenced two Canadians to death for drug-related convictions and blocked key agricultural shipments..
THREE PEOPLE CHARGED IN ALLEGED ABUSE OF 17 CHILDREN ON MANITOBA FIRST NATION
Two men and a foster mother have been charged following an investigation that police say found at least 17 children who were sexually and physically abused in a Manitoba Indigenous community. RCMP said they received three complaints between December 2017 and June 2018 that children from the Garden Hill First Nation had been sexually assaulted. Mounties worked with Child and Family Services and interviewed or assessed more than 150 children. After an 11-month investigation, officers determined 14 other children between three and 15 may have been sexually and physically abused between 2011 and 2017.
MAYOR OF NORTHWESTERN ALBERTA TOWN URGES FAST FINANCIAL AID TO WILDFIRE EVACUEES
The mayor of a northwestern Alberta town is urging the province to get financial aid flowing quickly to evacuees, as firefighters prepare for shifting winds that could push a powerful wildfire toward the community. Crystal McAteer of High Level said she called Premier Jason Kenney's office on Thursday asking his government to sign off on pre-loaded debit cards for about 5,000 people who fled the town and nearby communities on Monday. She said she thinks the cards — for gas, food and other expenses — should have been available at reception centres by now. Alberta Wildfire incident commander Scott Elliot said the Chuckegg Creek fire had grown to 976 square kilometres from 920 square kilometres on Wednesday.
ALSO IN THE NEWS:
— The legal officer of the Supreme Court of Canada will give a briefing to members of the media today on the case of an Ontario trucker acquitted in the death of an Alberta woman referred to at trial as a "native'' and a "prostitute."
— The Green party will choose a candidate for the riding of Charlottetown-Hillsborough Park after the initial candidate, Josh Underhay, and his son died in a boating accident.
— The Disability Advisory Committee will hold a press conference to discuss its first annual report entitled, "Enabling access to disability tax measures."