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Canada and the Queen, Poilievre to meet with Tory caucus : In The News for Sept. 12

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. 12 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Melanie Howarth, centre, places a rose for her friend who lives in Oakville, Ont., on top of a Canadian flag as thousands of mourners lay flowers to pay respects near the gates of Buckingham Palace in London on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

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. 12 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Canada will have a “prominent” role in the lying-in-state and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom says, as preparations in London shift into high gear with one week to go before the ceremony.

Ralph Goodale told The Canadian Press that members of the Canadian delegation have already started to arrive to manage logistics, with RCMP and armed forces personnel expected to land in the next two days. 

"Canada, being one of the most senior countries in the Commonwealth, will be prominent at the beginning of the laying in state and then later on when there will be official visits by the Governor General and by the Prime Minister," he said Sunday in a telephone interview.

The late queen's coffin left Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Sunday, where it was driven by hearse to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. It will be flown to London on Tuesday, where it will eventually lie in state for the public to say their goodbyes in the four days leading up to Monday's funeral.

Goodale was at Buckingham Palace on Sunday, where he attended a meeting of Commonwealth representatives hosted by the new King Charles III.

While there, he was able to extend condolences on behalf of Canada to the new monarch and "our best wishes to him in his new role as king," he said. 

Goodale also thanked the King and his wife Camilla, who now carries the title of Queen Consort, for their most recent visit to Canada in May.

Goodale said he will be one of three "official mourners" from Canada, along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary Simon. Goodale's office is currently working with Rideau Hall, the Prime Minister's Office and other entities in Canada to see how many more Canadians can attend. Canada will also be represented by a large contingent of armed forces personnel.


Also this ...

Pierre Poilievre will address the national Conservative caucus today for the first time since handily securing the party's leadership over the weekend.

Poilievre is set to meet with the Tories' members of Parliament and senators in Ottawa, where many had already gathered to see his big win.

The longtime MP cruised to the opposition leader's office with a blowout victory that saw him capture nearly all of the country's 338 ridings and nearly reach the 70 per cent support mark from party members.

Poilievre has already begun transitioning into his new role as leader, having just over a week to do so before the House of Commons resumes on Sept. 20.

He enjoyed the support of 62 out of the party's other 118 MPs during the leadership campaign.

He will need to decide which of them serves in a critic role and reach out to those who didn't back him, including most of the Conservative's 10 MPs from Quebec who endorsed the province's former premier Jean Charest. 

Monday's caucus meeting also marks the first time party MPs will get a chance to see how Poilievre intends to both lead and manage their internal matters. 


And also this ...

The federal Liberals say they are determined to do more to help Canadians feeling the pinch from inflation.

The caucus is meeting in St. Andrews, N.B., this week for a retreat where the cost of living is front and centre on every MP's mind.

Rachel Bendayan, the parliamentary secretary to the associate finance minister, says MPs all heard very clearly from constituents over the summer break just how difficult it has become to keep paying the bills.

Fighting inflation is also politically critical for the Liberals with new Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre maintaining his biting criticism of the government over inflation.

Bendayan says Poilievre is good at "punchy one liners" but has no concrete plans for inflation beyond promoting the unpredictable cryptocurrency Bitcoin as a way to "opt out" of inflation.

The Liberals plan to double GST rebates, offer dental care benefits to low-income families with young children and hike a rental housing allowance but had to postpone the rollout of the policies until after the Queen's funeral.


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

HARTFORD, Conn. _ A month after losing one nearly $50 million verdict, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is set to go on trial a second time for calling the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a hoax and causing several of the victims' families emotional and psychological harm.

A six-member jury with several alternates in Connecticut will begin hearing evidence Tuesday on how much Jones should pay the families, since he already has been found liable for damages to them. The trial is expected to last about four weeks.

Last month, a Texas jury ordered Jones to pay $49.3 million to the parents of 6-year-old Jesse Lewis, one of 26 students and teachers killed in the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Jones' lawyer has said an appeal is planned.

The Connecticut case has the potential for a larger award because it involves three lawsuits _ which have been consolidated _ that were filed by 15 plaintiffs, including the relatives of nine of the victims and a former FBI agent who responded to the school shooting.

The families and former FBI agent William Aldenberg say they have been confronted and harassed in person by Jones' followers because of the hoax conspiracy. They also say they have endured death threats and been subjected to abusive comments on social media.

Jones, who runs his web show and Infowars brand in Austin, Texas, also faces a third trial over the hoax conspiracy in another pending lawsuit by Sandy Hook parents in Texas.


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

BEIJING _ The death toll from a major earthquake in western China rose to 93 as the search for survivors continued, authorities said.

A magnitude 6.8 quake hit Sichuan province last week, with much of the damage concentrated in Ganze Tibetan Autonomous Region in the province.

Another 25 people remain missing as of Sunday evening, rescuers said, according to state broadcaster CCTV. The search for survivors and recovery of bodies were complicated by heavy rains and the risks of landslides, which forced some residents to move to temporary shelters.

The earthquake also affected Chengdu, the provincial capital, where residents were under strict zero-COVID controls, meaning they were not allowed to leave their buildings. Footage online showed residents banging at metal gates at the front of apartment complexes as they sought to leave their buildings.

Tens of millions remain under China's extensive zero-COVID controls. Chengdu's local government announced that a few districts where there had been no new COVID-19 cases will be allowed to reopen Monday. However, much of its 21 million residents remain under lockdown. The city reported just 143 cases of coronavirus infection Monday, more than half of which were people who did not have symptoms.

China has stuck to its massive system of lockdowns and mass testing even as the rest of the world has loosened restrictions. The country's approach has minimized deaths, but has kept millions of people locked in their homes for weeks or even months at a time.


On this day in 1910 ...

The Los Angeles Police Department appointed the world's first policewoman, former social worker Alice Wells.


In entertainment ...

Tenille Townes cemented her status as one of Canada's top country music stars Sunday, taking home five trophies at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards in Calgary. 

Townes, who also shared co-hosting duties with Atlanta artist Blanco Brown, went into the weekend with a leading seven nominations. She won songwriter of the year, female artist, single of the year for "Girl Who Didn't Care," entertainer of the year and album of the year for "Masquerades."

"This is so cool. Man this feels so good to be back here in Alberta," the Grande Prairie native who now lives in Nashville said, paying tribute to female artists that came before her. 

"It's 40 years of the CCMAs and I would not be standing here if it weren't for the heroes who held on to this, that came before and paved a path … Patricia Conroy, Terri Clark, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and here's to the ones coming next, too," she said.

Townes has won 14 CCMA Awards in her career. She was also among the performers at the show, closing the broadcast with her song "The Last Time."

Brett Kissel performed his song "Ain't the Same" with '90s boy band 98 Degrees, while Lindsay Ell was joined by Canadian drag performer Kaos.

Dallas Smith, who was last year's big winner, won male artist for the second year in a row, as well as the coveted fans' choice award.

The first award of the evening went to the Reklaws for group or duo of the year. 

Meanwhile, Bailieboro, Ont. native Jade Eagleson, who was the leading male nominee going into awards show weekend, took home the top-selling Canadian album of the year award for "Honkytonk Revival."


Did you see this?

Groups representing thousands of public sector employees will be going up against the Ontario government in court this week as the two sides argue over a law that has capped wages for workers. 

The groups are challenging the constitutionality of Bill 124, a law passed in 2019 that limits wage increases at one per cent per year for public sector workers.

The provisions of the bill were to be in effect for three years as new contracts were negotiated, and the Tories had said it was a time-limited approach to help eliminate the deficit.

Nurses, teachers and Ontario Public Service workers are among those hoping to see the law deemed unconstitutional.

Critics have long called for repeal of the bill, saying it has contributed to a severe nursing shortage.

The province has refused those calls. 

The groups argue the bill violates a section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects meaningful collective bargaining.

The province says the bill does not violate the Charter.

The case is set to be heard in Toronto starting today, with arguments expected over 10 days. 


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 12, 2022.

The Canadian Press