Erin O'Toole; Liberals survey boost, icefield lawsuit: In The News for Aug. 25

Newly elected Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole delivers his winning speech following the Conservative party of Canada 2020 Leadership Election in Ottawa on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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 Aug. 25 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Newly elected Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole will speak to reporters today for the first time since his victory in the leadership race.

His plan for a news conference after the results were announced was scuttled after delays in vote counting pushed the reveal into the wee hours of Monday morning.

O'Toole spent his first day on the job meeting with senior members of the party, including former leader Andrew Scheer, as he strives to refresh the Opposition Leader's Office and the party's front benches.

A key strategy for the O'Toole campaign had been to focus on the fact that he had a seat in the House of Commons and was ready to start the work to defeat the Liberal government right away.

He and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did speak Monday, a call both sides said was cordial and touched on the rigours of a campaign as well as also the prorogation of Parliament.

It's set to return on Sept. 23 with a throne speech laying out the minority Liberal government's post-pandemic plan and will be followed by a confidence vote.

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Also this ...

A new survey suggests Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals are well placed if they end up losing a confidence vote this fall, seen as the party best able to care for Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic and to get the economy back on its feet.

Respondents to the online survey, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, were split about the prospect of a federal election this fall, with 42 per cent opposed to the idea and 38 per cent in favour.

But if there were an election today, 38 per cent of decided voters said they'd support the Liberals, compared to 30 per cent for the Conservatives, 18 per cent for the NDP and six per cent for the Greens; the Bloc Quebecois were at 33 per cent in Quebec, virtually tied with the Liberals at 32 per cent.

When asked specifically which party would earn their vote should Erin O'Toole be at the helm of the Conservatives, Liberal support actually bumped up one point while Conservative support dropped to 27 per cent.

Respondents rated Trudeau as the most decisive, intelligent, caring and charismatic leader on offer and the best leader to get the economy back on track, manage the pandemic-induced, super-sized deficit, care for Canadians and keep them safe from a second wave of the pandemic.

The online survey of 1,516 adult Canadians was conducted Aug. 21-23; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

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And ...

A class-action lawsuit alleging the defendants acted recklessly and unreasonably has been filed against the operators of a tour bus involved in a fatal rollover at Jasper National Park's Columbia Icefield.

Three people were killed and 14 others suffered life-threatening injuries on July 18 when the red-and-white, all-terrain Ice Explorer lost control while carrying passengers on the road to the Athabasca Glacier.

The bus rolled about 50 metres down a moraine embankment before coming to rest on its roof. The bus was carrying 27 people.

Named in the statement of claim filed in Calgary are Brewster Travel Canada Inc., Viad Corp, Glacier Park Inc., Brewster Inc., Brewster Tours, Banff-Jasper Collection Holding Corp. and the unidentified driver of the coach.

"The defendants knew or ought to have known that there was a significant risk to the plaintiff and class members and that the accident was a reasonably foreseeable result of failing to take adequate measures to prevent such incidents," reads the claim.

"The accident was caused solely by the negligence, gross negligence, or intent of the defendants."

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

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

Republicans predicted a national "horror movie" should U.S. President Donald Trump lose in November, offering dark warnings for the president's die-hard base on the opening night of his scaled down national convention on Monday even as others tried to broaden Trump's political appeal.

A school teacher warned that conservative Christian values were under attack from labour unions. A small business owner charged that businesses across America were facing unwarranted pandemic shutdowns and riotous mobs. And Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida likened the prospect of Democrat Joe Biden's election to a horror movie.

"They'll disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door," Gaetz declared.

Trump, who was not scheduled to deliver his keynote convention address until later in the week, made multiple public appearances throughout the first day of the four-day convention. And while the evening programming was carefully scripted, Trump was not.

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On this day in 1981 ...

The McDonald Commission on RCMP wrongdoing issued its final report. Its recommendations included setting up a new spy agency separate from the Mounties. The Trudeau government responded by establishing CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

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In entertainment news ...

Director Tracey Deer will receive an emerging talent award at next month's Toronto International Film Festival.

The creator of the APTN TV series "Mohawk Girls" will be among the honourees at the TIFF Tribute Awards, which will be virtual this year due to COVID-19.

The emerging talent award celebrates a woman — selected by TIFF and MGM — who is making groundbreaking strides in the industry. It was previously called the Mary Pickford Award.

Deer will premiere her film "Beans" at the festival, which will run Sept. 10 to 19 with a mix of in-person and online experiences.

Her debut feature is about a young Mohawk girl during the Oka Crisis in 1990.

The TIFF Tribute Awards will air Sept. 15 on CTV and be streamed globally by Variety magazine.

Previously announced honourees include actors Kate Winslet and Anthony Hopkins, director Chloe Zhao, and filmmaker Mira Nair.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2020


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