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In the news today: Speaker vote in the House and the Blue Jays begin post-season play

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
Interim Speaker of the House of Commons Louis Plamondon rises in the speakers chair following Question Period, Thursday, September 28, 2023 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...

MPs set to vote on new House of Commons Speaker

A rare event in Canada's history is set to unfold today as members of Parliament elect a new House of Commons Speaker. 

Anthony Rota stepped down from the role a week ago amid international controversy over his actions during a recent visit by Ukraine's president.

Rota invited a veteran who served in a Nazi unit in the Second World War to the House of Commons chamber, and asked parliamentarians and dignitaries to applaud the man as a hero.

Experts say this is one for the history books, because it's happening mid-session rather than after a federal election — something that's only happened twice before.

A handful of Conservative, Liberal and NDP MPs, along with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, have announced their interest in taking on the role.

Trial to begin in case of alleged RCMP leaker

More than four years after Cameron Jay Ortis was charged with breaching Canada's secrets law, the former RCMP intelligence director is about to get his day in court, starting with jury selection today.

Ortis was taken into custody in Ottawa in September 2019 — an arrest that deeply shocked the national police force.

As the head of the RCMP's National Intelligence Co-ordination Centre, Ortis had access to some of the country's most closely held information.

Ortis is charged with violating the Security of Information Act by allegedly revealing secrets to three individuals and trying to do so in a fourth instance, as well as breach of trust and a computer-related offence.

Jon Doody, co-counsel for Ortis, says his client plans to plead not guilty to all charges.

London attack accused's trial continues today

Crown prosecutors are expected to present more evidence today at the Ontario trial of a man accused of killing four members of a Muslim family in an alleged act of terrorism.

Nathaniel Veltman is accused of deliberately hitting five members of the Afzaal family with his truck while they were out for a walk in London, Ont., in June 2021. 

Veltman has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. 

Jurors have seen video of Veltman telling a detective he had been motivated by white nationalist beliefs that he kept private to avoid detection by authorities.

He was also seen telling the detective that his attack was politically motivated and an act of terrorism. 

Election Day in Manitoba could make history

Manitobans are to make history today as they cast final ballots in an election that has followed four weeks of promises, debates and controversial advertisements.

If Heather Stefanson leads the incumbent Progressive Conservatives to a third consecutive majority, she would become the first woman to be elected premier in a Manitoba general election. Stefanson took over the top spot midterm in a party leadership race after former premier Brian Pallister retired in 2021.

If the New Democrats win after seven years in Opposition, leader Wab Kinew would become the first First Nations premier of a province in Canada. His late father was not allowed to vote as a young man under Canadian law at the time.

Opinion polls have suggested the New Democrats have a lead, especially in Winnipeg, where 32 of the 57 legislature seats are. Tory support dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, as hospitals struggled to deal with rising case numbers and dozens of intensive-care patients were flown to other provinces.

Court win for Squamish Nation project in Vancouver

A massive Vancouver housing development spearheaded by the Squamish Nation has cleared a legal hurdle after a B.C. Supreme Court judge rejected a challenge by a residents' association over lack of consultation. 

The Kits Point Residents Association had been seeking to have the Senakw project's services agreement between the First Nation and the City of Vancouver declared unlawful.

The project at the foot of the Burrard Street Bridge leading into Vancouver's downtown core is slated to include 6,000 rental units, and is being funded by $1.4 billion in federal loans.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was on the site last year when the project broke ground, and former Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart touted the development as "the largest First Nations economic development in Canadian history."

Eating disorder ER visits up among adolescents

The biggest jump in Ontario emergency room visits and hospitalizations for eating disorders during the first 30 months of the pandemic was seen in adolescents aged 10 to 17, according to a new study. 

Using provincial health data from two periods — January 2017 to February 2020 and March 2020 to August 2022 — researchers calculated and compared the expected and observed rates of eating disorder-related hospital visits for various age groups.

They found that the rate of ER visits in the 10-to-17 age group was 7.38 per 100,000 in the latter period, up 121 per cent over the expected rate of 3.33, based on pre-pandemic trends.

Hospital admissions for eating disorders also rose among adolescents, by 54 per cent, but dropped for all adult age groups.

The study, published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, also showed that ER visits for eating disorders were 13 per cent higher than expected among young adults between the ages of 18 and 26. 

Blue Jays kick off playoff series with Twins

The Toronto Blue Jays kick off their American League wild-card playoff series with the Minnesota Twins today at Target Field in Minneapolis.

The Twins will host the best-of-three series after winning the AL Central division.

The Blue Jays advanced to the playoffs by claiming the league's third and final wild-card spot.

Toronto is making its second straight playoff appearance.

The Jays hosted Seattle last fall after taking the first wild-card spot, but lost in two games to the Mariners.

Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman gets the start for Game 1 against the Twins.

The Blue Jays haven't advanced past the wild-card round of the playoffs since 2016.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 3, 2023

The Canadian Press