Five stories in the news for Thursday, August 8
BODIES BELIEVED TO BE B.C. SUSPECTS FOUND
A massive manhunt is over after two bodies believed to be British Columbia murder suspects were found in dense brush in northern Manitoba. RCMP assistant commissioner Jane MacLatchy said the bodies were discovered Wednesday morning near the shoreline of the Nelson River, within a kilometre from where several items linked to the two young men were found last week. Autopsies will be done in Winnipeg on Thursday to confirm the identities, but MacLatchy said that the discovery should bring relief to families of three people slain in northern B.C. and people in Manitoba communities where officers have been searching for nearly two weeks.
DOCUMENTS SHOW FEDERAL WORK TO FIGHT POPULISM
Newly released documents show senior government officials were advised to "bring the focus back to the majority" — instead of on diversity values — in public communications to counter the threat of populism in Canada. The task force deputy ministers heard this idea among many during meetings last year looking at what the government could do to guard against a possible rise in extremism and populism domestically. The group was told to encourage more public conversations and debate focused on "us" rather than "us-versus-them" narratives to foster "social cohesion." A briefing note prepared for the senior civil servants warned that if only "marginalized populations are considered," the result would be that "others feel as if they do no matter."
PM URGED TO UPDATE PUBLIC ON SAUDI ARMS DEAL
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing pressure from civil society groups to update Canadians before the October election on his government's review of a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The Liberals launched a review of the $15-billion contract to ship light armoured vehicles to the Middle East kingdom last fall after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The announcement was also made at a time of deep concern over the risk Saudi Arabia could use the weapons in the ongoing war in Yemen, which has been devastating for civilians. A letter sent this week to Trudeau from a dozen organizations says the public has a right to know the status of the review now that more than nine months have passed since the government first announced the probe.
MANITOBA SCHOOLS TO GET CARBON TAX FUNDS
Ottawa is going around the Manitoba government in order to give $5.4 million in carbon tax revenues to the province's schools in the latest carbon-tax battle between the federal Liberals and a provincial Conservative government. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister last month refused to play ball and help the federal government distribute carbon tax revenues so schools in his province could make energy efficient upgrades. Manitoba's share is from $60 million available this year for schools in the four provinces affected by the federal carbon price — Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. Although all four governments are opposing the tax in court, only Manitoba wouldn't agree to work with the federal Liberals to distribute the funds to local school boards.
DOUBT CAST ON CAUSE OF OTTAWA FISH DEATHS
An environmentalist who monitors the Ottawa River says he's skeptical of the Quebec government's contention that a local hydro dam is to blame for the deaths of thousands of fish near the national capital because the province won't say how it reached that conclusion. Patrick Nadeau, executive director of the Ottawa Riverkeeper, said "time is of the essence" to figure out exactly why there have been four waves of fish kills on the Lievre and Ottawa rivers since July 8, before it happens again, or contributes to more fish kills downstream. The first dead fish were found by local residents and fishing guides in the Ottawa River near the small hamlet of Cumberland. Further investigation determined the fish were coming from the Lievre River, which flows into the Ottawa River east of the city. The first incident was recorded July 8, with three more on July 19, July 29 and July 31.
ALSO IN THE NEWS:
— Court hearing via video for Menhaz Zaman, charged with four counts of first-degree murder in alleged Markham, Ont., quadruple homicide.
— Court appearance for Jason St. Pierre, who allegedly took money from a community charity while an RCMP officer in Assiniboia, Sask. RCMP say Cpl. Jason St. Pierre was working out its detachment in Assiniboia, southwest of Regina, when he led an initiative to raise funds for a charity in 2015. Two years later, it was discovered that the charity's bank account was empty. An investigation revealed that over $16,000 had been withdrawn and the account had been closed. St. Pierre, who resigned last year from the police force, was charged earlier this week with criminal breach of trust. The 42-year-old is to appear in Assiniboia provincial court on Aug. 8.
— Soaring Eagle Whitstone, 33, of Onion Lake Creek Nation has been charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, improperly interfering with a human body and theft of a motor vehicle in the death of Tiki Brook-Lyn Laverdiere. Three others are charged with first-degree murder and two with accessory to murder etc.
— News conference and release of an orphaned purple martin, one of the largest birds in the swallow family in North America and considered a priority species due to conservation concerns in B.C.
— Constable Jose Domingo makes his first appearance on a charge of Driving Without Reasonable Consideration contrary to s. 144(1)(b) of the Motor Vehicle Act.