In the news today, March 28 - InfoNews

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In the news today, March 28

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks to the media on Friday, February 15, 2019 in Montreal. The Coalition Avenir Quebec government is expected to table its secularism bill today, fulfilling an election promise to ban many public sector employees from wearing religious symbols at work. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
March 28, 2019 - 5:10 AM

Five stories in the news for Thursday, March 28

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QUEBEC TO TABLE LONG-AWAITED SECULARISM BILL

The Coalition Avenir Quebec government will table its secularism bill today, fulfilling an election promise to prohibit many public sector employees, including teachers, from wearing religious symbols at work. But even before the text is made public, the English Montreal School Board has declared its intention to disobey a law that it says will violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Quebec Premier Francois Legault has said the legislation will target teachers, judges, police officers, prison guards and other public servants in what the government considers to be positions of authority. Legault has signalled today's bill will pre-emptively invoke the charter's notwithstanding clause to block court challenges that invoke rights violations.

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WILSON-RAYBOULD SAT ON WRONGFULLY CONVICTED MAN'S CASE

Glen Assoun's lawyer says the wrongfully convicted Halifax man suffered "every single day" as he waited to be exonerated for a murder he didn't commit — a wait that was prolonged for months as his case sat on former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould's desk. David Lametti issued an order for a new trial on Feb. 28 — seven weeks after taking over as justice minister. The following day — after a five-minute new trial in which the prosecution presented no evidence — Assoun was freed. He spent almost 17 years in prison and another four and a half years under strict parole conditions after being convicted of the 1998 murder of his ex-girlfriend. The Halifax Examiner first reported earlier this month that Wilson-Raybould sat for 18 months on the findings of the Justice Department's criminal conviction review group, which recommended that a new trial be ordered. Sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case, have confirmed that report to The Canadian Press.

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OVERDOSE PREVENTION SITES POSSIBLE AT PRISONS

Canada's prisoner service is considering to open overdose prevention sites as it expands a needle-exchange program that is now offered at a fifth institution for offenders who inject smuggled drugs. The Correctional Service of Canada says it's in the early stages of exploring the sites as another harm-reduction option. It has rolled out needle-exchange programs aimed at preventing the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C from equipment shared by intravenous drug users. Proponents say Drumheller Institution in Alberta is being looked at as a potential for such a site that would allow offenders to use illicit drugs under medical supervision, but the service did not respond to inquiries to confirm that.

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WOMAN STABBED BOYFRIEND OVER EJECTION FROM CONCERT

A Newfoundland woman will be sentenced in June for stabbing her boyfriend after he caused them to be kicked out of a Bryan Adams concert. The 34-year-old woman testified she was angry when security removed them from the St. John's concert in July after her boyfriend was aggressive with another concertgoer. The woman said she confronted him when they got home, asking why he ruined the expensive concert, and he was stabbed when their argument became physical. The boyfriend testified the stab wound to his face could have come from either of them during the altercation. But a provincial court judge rejected both of their testimonies last week, saying they were sugar-coating the story to regain custody of their kids.

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JACKSON WORKS TO BE AUCTIONED AS AGO CULLS COLLECTION

Art collectors will have a chance to bid on works by the Group of Seven's A.Y. Jackson as the Art Gallery of Ontario culls its collection to make room for underrepresented artists. The Heffel Fine Art Auction House estimates the selection of paintings and oil sketches will fetch a total of more than $660,000, with 17 canvases set to go up for sale this spring. The profits from the deaccessioned works will go towards purchasing new acquisitions with the aim of diversifying its Indigenous and Canadian collection, an AGO spokeswoman said. The Jackson paintings will be offered in a series of auctions kicking off with Heffel's online and live sales in May. Among the highlights are "Laurentian Hills," a winter scene valued between $250,000 and $350,000.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— Vice-admiral Mark Norman's case is back in court today.

— Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale makes a funding announcement to the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service in Regina.

— Aimia Inc. will report its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings ahead of a conference call at 8:30 a.m.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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