Throne speech today, some BC evacuees to return home: In The News for Nov. 23 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Throne speech today, some BC evacuees to return home: In The News for Nov. 23

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seated beside Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon as they pose for a group photo with members of the federal cabinet after a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

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 Nov. 23 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will outline the agenda for his third Liberal mandate in a speech from the throne today.

The throne speech is expected to be short and contain no surprises, recapping themes laid out in the Liberal platform during the recent federal election campaign, which produced a second, consecutive Liberal minority.

The most novel aspect of the speech may well turn out to be the person who delivers it: Mary Simon, the first Indigenous person to hold the office of Canada's governor general.

Simon, an Inuk from Kuujjuaq in northeastern Quebec, will read the speech in the Senate chamber to an audience of dignitaries, senators and a handful of MPs — a significantly smaller crowd than usual due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The speech is expected to sketch the broad strokes of a plan that Liberals contend Canadians gave Parliament a mandate to pursue: finishing the fight against COVID-19 and rebuilding a more resilient, fairer and greener economy.

It will also reiterate what the government considers to be the key pillars of economic growth, including affordable housing, more aggressive action on climate change and completing negotiations with holdout provinces on a national $10-a-day child care system.

It is further expected to reiterate the government's commitments to make the country safer and more inclusive and to continue pursuing Indigenous reconciliation.

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Also this ...

Some evacuees set to return home today and a key railway corridor expected to reopen following record rainfall in B.C. that caused flooding and triggered mudslides.

A week after the entire city of Merritt, B.C. was forced to evacuate when the Coldwater River flooded into the community of about 7,000, officials announced the first phase of its three-step return home plan will take affect as of noon, with certain properties remaining on evacuation alert and under a boil-water advisory.

Canadian Pacific said it plans to reopen its railway between Kamloops and Vancouver by midday, but the railway's CEO cautioned the next 10 days will be critical as they move toward returning to full service.

CP said it will work closely with customers and terminals to clear the backlogs and get freight moving efficiently again.

Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu announced on Monday that Ottawa will provide $4.4 million in funding to the First Nations Emergency Services Society in B.C. to support those affected by flooding.

Terry Teegee, regional chief of the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, said more than 100 Indigenous and First Nations communities were affected by the flooding and landslides in southwestern B.C., and several are waiting for resources to be helicoptered to them after being cut off by flooded roads.

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And this ...

A new poll shows almost half of Canadians plan to abandon social distancing during holiday gatherings and hug, kiss and shake hands with friends and family.

The poll by Leger in collaboration with The Canadian Press found that 45 per cent of Canadians say they will greet others with a handshake, hug or kiss at Christmas parties and other holiday gatherings.

In Ontario, the number rose to 50 per cent, compared to only 37 per cent in B-C.

Among 18- to 34-year-olds, the proportion preparing to abandon social-distancing rules rose to 52 per cent.

Leger's executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the finding suggested that Canadians may be becoming "more daring" or "too comfortable" about the potential spread of COVID-19 because they are vaccinated.

Forty-seven per cent of Canadians say they would ask people if they are vaccinated before inviting them to a holiday party, while only 18 per cent plan to get on a plane to see friends and family during the vacation.

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

WAUKESHA, Wis. _ The suspect in a Christmas parade crash in suburban Milwaukee that killed five people was free on $1,000 bail posted just two days before the deadly event, a fact that is leading to a review of what happened and renewed calls for giving judges more power to set higher bails.

One pending case against Darrell Brooks Jr. included an allegation that he deliberately hit a woman with his car in early November after a fight. Prosecutors in Milwaukee County on Monday called their bail recommendation ``inappropriately low'' given the facts of that case and the Sunday crash, and said they would review it.

Julius Kim, a defense attorney and former assistant prosecutor, said the bail could easily have been set more than twice as high.

"He was accused of running over the mother of his kid, and to put it at $1,000 strikes me as low,'' Kim said. ``It could have been an inexperienced attorney who happened to be reviewing cases that day.''

Police said Brooks, 39, was behind the wheel of the SUV that sped through the parade route in Waukesha on Sunday, killing five and injuring 48 others. Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Brooks was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier.

Brooks has been charged with crimes 16 times since 1999 and had two outstanding cases against him at the time of the parade disaster. That included resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery for the Nov. 2 incident.

Thompson said police were going to recommend he face five charges of first degree intentional homicide, which is punishable by life in prison.

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

SOFIA, Bulgaria _ A bus crash in western Bulgaria early Tuesday morning has killed at least 45 people.

The bus, which was registered in Northern Macedonia, crashed around 2 a.m. and there were children among the victims, authorities said. Seven people were taken to hospital for treatment.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. Officials said an investigation will be launched.

Photos taken shortly after the crash showed the bus engulfed in flames with plumes of thick, black smoke rising from the scene.

Bulgarian news agency Novinite says representatives from Macedonia's embassy visited a hospital where some of the victims were taken.

Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev visited the site of the crash and told reporters it was ``a huge tragedy.''

"I take this opportunity to send my condolences to the relatives of the victims,'' Yanev said. ``Let's hope we learn lessons from this tragic incident and we can prevent such incidents in the future.''

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On this day in 1998 ...

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned Robert Latimer's sentence (two years less a day) in the killing of his disabled daughter and sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. In 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the decision. He starting serving day parole in March 2008 and was granted full parole on Dec. 6, 2010.

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In entertainment ...

TORONTO _ Rita Letendre, renowned as a pioneer of Canadian abstract art, has died.

Gallery Gevik in Toronto says Letendre died Saturday at age 93 after a long illness.

The painter, muralist and printmaker rose to prominence in the 1950s for her association with Quebec's influential abstract artist groups, Les Automatistes and Les Plasticiens.

She continued to experiment with form and technique throughout her career, setting herself apart with her bold palette and geometric style, as exemplified by her recurring motif of arrows.

Letendre also had a hand in shaping Toronto's public art, receiving commissions for large-scale projects including a mural at Ryerson University and the stained-glass skylights of Glencairn subway station.

Her works have been exhibited around the globe, and she racked up honours including a 2010 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and the Paul-Emile-Borduas Award in 2016.

Letendre was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 2005 as ``one of the leading figures of contemporary painting in Canada.''

Her works are in the collections of numerous institutions, including the Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada.

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ICYMI ...

OTTAWA - The Public Health Agency of Canada says it hopes to keep the number of wasted doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada under five per cent.

That would amount to 3.7 million of the 73.7 million vaccines that have been distributed to provinces and territories, used by the federal government or held in the central vaccine inventory as of Nov. 18.

The federal, provincial and territorial governments aim to keep vaccine wastage as low as possible.

The Public Health Agency of Canada would not release the total number of wasted doses to date, but a Canadian Press survey of provincial governments shows an average of about 2.6 per cent of distributed doses in responding jurisdictions have been discarded.

The government warns that as demand for COVID-19 vaccines slows down, there could be more wastage because new vials may have to be opened without every dose making it into someone's arm.

The government says it works with provinces and territories to make sure procurement of new vaccines align with their needs and helps facilitate the transfer of doses between provinces to minimize waste.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2021

News from © The Canadian Press, 2021
The Canadian Press

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