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Ottawa's finances and a ban on puppies from Ukraine; In The News for July 8

Last Updated Jul 8, 2020 at 4:54 am EDT

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 July 8 …

What we are watching in Canada … 

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are to lay out today how they see the COVID-19 pandemic affecting government finances for the fiscal year including an estimated deficit and a projected path for the economy.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is to release what the government has styled a fiscal and economic snapshot.

The Liberals have regularly updated MPs about total spending on emergency aid, which by last count amounted to over $174 billion, but have yet to put a figure on the deficit for the fiscal year.

The parliamentary budget office has suggested the deficit could be as deep as $252 billion.

Other private sector estimates suggest $300 billion wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

Opposition parties have said they expect Morneau to provide a road map for reshaping emergency aid measures that are set to expire in the fall and keeping spending and deficits under control.

Also this …

MONTREAL — Montreal police are to announce a new policy on street checks today, months after a damning independent report found evidence of systemic bias linked to race in who they decide to stop.

Last October, Police chief Sylvain Caron said he was humbled and alarmed by the numbers but stressed that it was a reflection of a lack of policy.

The authors crunched three years worth of police data to come up with their conclusions, which they stopped short of conclusively describing as racial profiling.

Street checks involve officers stopping a person and recording their information regardless of whether an offence has been committed.

The report last fall suggested that people from certain racialized groups were much more likely than others to be stopped by police.

It found that Indigenous women were 11 times more likely to be questioned than their white counterparts; that Black and Indigenous Montrealers were between four and five times more likely to be subjected to stops while those of Arab descent were twice as likely to be stopped.

In case you missed it …

TORONTO — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it will not allow commercial puppies under the age of eight months to be imported from Ukraine after dozens of dead or sick dogs were found on a flight at Toronto’s airport.

The agency says following an investigation into the June 13 flight it has cancelled import permits for such dogs from Ukraine.

It says its decision is based on possible failures to comply with import requirements, including animal welfare concerns.

The agency says the ban will remain in effect until it is satisfied that import conditions and international transport standards are in place and that animals will travel safely in the future.

Approximately 500 puppies landed at Pearson International Airport last month.

Thirty-eight were found dead on arrival, and many others were dehydrated, weak or vomiting.

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency takes its mandate for protecting animal welfare very seriously,” the agency said in a release. 

In June, Ukraine International Airlines apologized for the “tragic loss of animal life” on one of its flights.

In a post on Facebook, the airline said it was working with local authorities to determine what happened and to make any changes necessary to prevent such a situation from happening again.

Last month, Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of the Canadian branch of Humane Society International, said what happened to the dogs raises a lot of questions that the Canadian public wants answers to.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

NEW YORK — A judge has set a July 14 date for an arraignment and bail hearing for Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend on charges she recruited girls for him to sexually abuse.

Judge Alison J. Nathan on Tuesday said Ghislaine Maxwell will appear by video for an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court next week.

The 58-year-old British socialite was arrested last week at a $1-million estate she bought months ago in New Hampshire.

Her lawyer did not return a message seeking comment.

Prosecutors say they plan to ask that Maxwell be kept incarcerated pending trial on the grounds that she has the money, the overseas connections and the incentive to flee.

Maxwell has repeatedly denied engaging in abuse.

What we are watching elsewhere in the world …

BEIJING — A senior Chinese arms control official has called U.S. pressure to join nuclear arms talks with Russia a ploy to avoid signing a new deal.

Fu Cong, head of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, also said China would gladly participate if the U.S. would agree to reduce its arsenal to achieve parity among all three.

Fu spoke to journalists in Beijing after the U.S. pointedly noted the Chinese absence at talks with Russia two weeks ago on replacing a 2010 arms control treaty.

The Trump administration says any new agreement must subject China to restrictions.

Today in 1896 … 

Liberal Leader Sir Wilfrid Laurier became the first French-Canadian prime minister. During his 15 years in office, Laurier led the country through a period of prosperity aided by an aggressive immigration policy. He was knighted at the Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria in June 1896.

Sports news …

At least one of the Edmonton Eskimos sponsors plans to cut ties with the Canadian Football League team unless it changes its name, while other corporate partners say they are watching closely for results of the team’s “ongoing engagement” with Inuit communities.

National car-and-home insurance provider Belairdirect, one of the team’s 13 premier partners, says it is rethinking their relationship.

“In order for us to move forward and continue on with our partnership, we will need to see concrete action in the near future including a commitment to a name change,” company spokeswoman Jennifer Beck said in an email.

“We acknowledge that change is a journey and have shared our position with the team.”

Edmonton’s team has seen repeated calls for a name change in the past and faces renewed criticism as sports teams in Canada, the United States and elsewhere are urged to remove outdated and sometimes racist names and images.

Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians, who retired their racist caricature “Chief Wahoo” logo in 2018 but kept their name, and the National Football League’s Washington Redskins, whose name contains a racial slur, both said on Friday they would undertake a review.

The National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday said they will continue to use their team name because it honours an Indigenous leader who has been an inspiration to generations.

The Eskimos released a statement late last week saying they would “ramp up” ongoing consultations with Inuit communities, recognizing the “increased attention” the name has received recently. The organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment about its sponsors.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2020.

The Canadian Press