Four stories in the news for Thursday, March 21
BRONCOS FAMILIES AWAIT SENTENCING FOR TRUCK DRIVER
Family members forever changed by the Humboldt Broncos hockey bus crash are speaking out before Friday’s sentencing of the truck driver who caused the collision. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary has pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving. The Crown is asking for 10 years and the defence anywhere from one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years. Sixteen people died in the crash, including the son of former NHL player Chris Joseph. He says there aren’t any number of years that would make him happy, but he wants the sentence to be tough enough so a similar crash doesn’t happen again. Michelle Straschnitzki, whose son Ryan was paralyzed, says it’s got to be more than a slap on the wrist.
MPS CONTINUE ALL-NIGHT VOTING MARATHON
Members of Parliament are continuing their marathon voting session as opposition parties protest the Trudeau government’s efforts to shut down any further investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair. The Liberal majority shot down a Conservative motion calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to let former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould testify more fully about her allegation that she was improperly pressured to drop a criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin. That set the stage for a Conservative-sponsored filibuster Wednesday night, requiring 257 separate votes on items in the government’s spending estimates. Since any vote involving government spending is automatically considered a confidence vote, Liberals were required to be out in force to avoid potential defeat of the government.
TRANS WOMAN HOPES FUNDING CUT WILL SEND MESSAGE
A transgender woman whose discrimination case against a Vancouver rape crisis centre was dismissed by the courts says she hopes a funding cut by the city will help change the shelter’s policies. Kimberly Nixon filed a human rights complaint against Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter in 1995 after she was refused training to work as a volunteer peer counsellor because she did not share the same life experience as someone born female. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal awarded $75,000 against Rape Relief, but that was overturned by the courts. The City of Vancouver gives Rape Relief almost $34,000 in a grant every year, but it has decided to stop that funding as of next year, saying the centre is not meeting transgender inclusion criteria.
QUEBEC BUDGET TO BE TABLED TODAY
After five months in power, Francois Legault’s Coalition Avenir Quebec government will lay out its true priorities today as it tables its first budget. Legault has raised expectations with expensive promises since his party won the Oct. 1 provincial election, and he insists all the commitments will be respected. He has promised to put money back in taxpayers’ wallets, reducing the fiscal burden by $1.7 billion over five years while maintaining services to the public. Finance Minister Eric Girard has a comfortable cushion to work with, having inherited a surplus from the outgoing Liberal government that is pegged at $1.7 billion.
ALSO IN THE NEWS:
— Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland testifies before the Senate foreign affairs committee on the new North America free trade agreement and Brexit.
— Canada’s unions release a report on the impacts of Islamophobia in the workplace.
— Statistics Canada releases January figures for wholesale trade, employment insurance, investment in building construction, and travel between Canada and other countries.
The Canadian Press