Five stories in the news for Wednesday, Feb. 6
MILITARY AIMS FOR ARMED DRONES IN SIX YEARS
The Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping to pull the trigger on the purchase of new drones within six years after spending nearly two decades weighing different options. The Canadian Forces has been working since the early 2000s to find unmanned aerial vehicles that can conduct surveillance over Canada’s vast territory and support overseas missions. Yet aside from purchasing a small number of temporary, unarmed drones for the war in Afghanistan, the military has never been able to make much progress on a permanent fleet. Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger says he believes that is about to change after the Trudeau government became the first to officially authorize the acquisition of a fleet of armed UAVs through its defence policy.
NO PROGRESS IN MEETING WITH TRUDEAU: N.B. PREMIER
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says his latest meeting with the prime minister produced little or no progress on major issues facing his province. Higgs met with Justin Trudeau on Tuesday in Ottawa, but the premier said there was no movement on the contentious issue of the federal government’s carbon tax. New Brunswick is an intervener in legal challenges launched by Saskatchewan and Ontario and has launched its own legal challenge of the carbon tax. Higgs SAID the tax Ottawa will impose in provinces without their own carbon taxes — puts his province at a disadvantage, and if it remains in place, New Brunswickers will be paying the highest tax on gasoline by 2022.
ACQUITTAL DOESN’T MEAN SYSTEM IS BROKEN: JUDGE
A Newfoundland judge is making a spirited defence of how courts handle sexual assault cases, after acquitting a man despite finding the complainant credible. In a new ruling, Judge Wayne Gorman described the tricky balance of determining guilt in cases where evidence pits the word of the complainant against that of the accused. A young woman had alleged that her former employer repeatedly sexually assaulted her by touching her buttocks, and said the unwanted touching happened “too many times to count” in 2016 and 2017. The employer denied ever sexually touching the woman.
GIRL IN QUEBEC ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STABBED
Provincial police say a girl in a Quebec elementary school was stabbed Tuesday afternoon during a dispute with a schoolmate. Police spokesman Hugues Beaulieu said there was an altercation between two students at the Saint-Pierre elementary school in Alma in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. He said a boy pulled out a knife and stabbed the girl, reported to be in fourth grade. She was taken to hospital but suffered only superficial wounds. The boy was taken into custody by police officers and social services, but Beaulieu says it’s too early to say what will happen to him. He did not divulge the ages of the children involved.
WILDFIRE SMOKE LIKE A ‘CHEMICAL SOUP’: RESEARCHER
A researcher who studies wildfires says inhaling the smoke from a forest fire is equal to smoking a couple of packs of cigarettes a day depending on how thick it is. Professor Mike Flannigan, in the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta, says the smoke from the forest fires is like a chemical soup that can be trapped in the lungs and cause all kinds of problems. Sarah Henderson, an environmental health scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, says B.C. wildfires have had a huge impact on air quality. Both Flannigan and Henderson are making presentations at the B-C Lung Association’s annual workshop on air quality and health in Vancouver today.
ALSO IN THE NEWS:
— Former NHLer Eric Lindros will testify to the Commons’ health committee on sports-related concussions.
— NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh participates in the first debate for the Burnaby South byelection hosted by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
— A court date is set in Winnipeg today for a family, who cannot be identified, whose infant was recently seized in hospital by social workers.
— Michael McEvoy, information and privacy commissioner, will release the results of an investigation into the use of personal information by political parties in B.C.
The Canadian Press