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In the news today, Aug. 20

John Letts, father of Jack Letts, British Muslim convert and an alleged member of ISIS, announces plans to secure repatriation of Canadians who travelled to Syria during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Oct. 29, 2018. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale's office says the United Kingdom has "off-loaded their responsibilities" in revoking the citizenship of a British-Canadian man imprisoned in Syria. A statement released today from Goodale's office says "Canada is disappointed" that the U.K. government stripped Jack Letts of his British citizenship. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Four stories in the news for Tuesday, Aug. 20



Neither the governing Liberals nor the Opposition Conservatives expressed enthusiasm for trying to secure the release of the overseas prisoner dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media. Questions once again have emerged about the fate of Jack Letts, who has Canadian citizenship, but has never lived in the country. Letts’ father, John, said the Kurds expressed willingness last year to hand his son over to Canadian authorities. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Letts should remain locked up. “A Conservative government under my leadership will not lift a finger to bring him back to Canada,” Scheer said Monday in a statement. Asked if he would welcome Letts to Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would only say it is a crime to travel internationally with the aim of supporting terrorism.



Refugee advocates are launching a last-minute appeal for an Edmonton man facing deportation to Somalia this week, saying the case of the former child refugee is similar to that of a Nova Scotia man who was allowed to stay in Canada. Supporters in Nova Scotia, who are expected to hold a news conference today, say Abdilahi Elmi, 34 fled Somalia as a child and was later taken into foster care in Ontario. However, they say the Ontario government failed to fill out paperwork that would have granted him permanent residency. Activists in Nova Scotia say the federal government should review the case because Elmi’s circumstances are similar to those of Abdoul Abdi, who was allowed to stay in Canada last month after a Federal Court judge set aside a decision to refer Abdi’s case to a deportation hearing.



U-S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Canada on Thursday to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland on a variety of issues. Their meeting comes in advance of the G7 summit of the world’s seven big economies, which gets underway later this week in Biarritz, France. Freeland’s office says she will host the meetings in Ottawa, where discussions will focus on Canada-U.S. co-operation on various domestic and international issues, including key security and foreign policy matters. The meeting is being billed as an opportunity to build on the outcomes of Trudeau’s June visit to Washington, D.C., where he met with President Donald Trump and discussed relations with China.



New policies for ride-hailing services in B.C. will allow companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate a limitless number of vehicles beyond geographical boundaries that are in place for the taxi industry. Chair Catherine Read of the Passenger Transportation Board says the boundaries must be big enough for the ride-hailing model to be successful in a province that will require drivers to have commercial licences similar to those used by taxi drivers. She says the companies that can submit applications as of Sept. 3 must charge a minimum “floor rate” of between $3.25 and $3.95, similar to rates paid by passengers using taxis. However, Read says the board will allow the companies to increase the rate to expand their supply of drivers to meet passenger demand at peak times.



— Statistics Canada will release today its monthly survey of manufacturing for June.

— The federal government will announce funding for an economic development initiative aimed at reducing traffic congestion on Vancouver’s North Shore.

— An inquest will be held in death of 22-year-old Austin Eaglechief, who was in a vehicle being pursued by the Saskatoon Police Service on June 19, 2017.

The Canadian Press