Ford threatens walkout as provincial officials criticize agenda for first ministers conference - CBC News - Canadanewsmedia
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Ford threatens walkout as provincial officials criticize agenda for first ministers conference – CBC News

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As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers of the provinces and territories gather for talks in Montreal, bickering over the meeting's agenda has escalated to the point where not all of the participants are sure they still want to be there.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is now suggesting he may walk out of the meeting early — or not turn up at all — if his concerns aren't addressed.

"No one should assume the premier of Ontario is prepared to spend his Friday sitting through a series of lectures from federal cabinet ministers," a senior official in Doug Ford's office told CBC News Thursday. "We are considering our options. We hope it doesn't come to that."

The agenda for the meeting — originally intended to be a stock-taking on a range of economic and trade issues, including the recently signed revised North American trade agreement and stalled efforts to reduce internal trade barriers — is now the focus of a dispute that threatens to overshadow policy discussions.

On Tuesday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe wrote to Trudeau asking that the "crisis facing the energy industry" be added to the agenda. The Prime Minister's Office told CBC News on Tuesday that the energy crisis would fit in with the planned discussion.

Provincial officials told CBC News Wednesday that they want Trudeau and his ministers to listen to their priorities. The draft agenda that was circulated, said one provincial official, "had the prime minister fitting in a train of his cabinet ministers to lecture the premiers on the topics of his choosing."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains join Quebec ministers for an announcement about jobs in the artificial intelligence industry, followed by a brief news conference. 0:00

The official in Ford's office said the premier will make his decision after he meets privately with Trudeau Thursday afternoon in Montreal, just before 4 p.m. ET.

"As it stands right now, the agenda is one we are not happy with," the official said. "And certainly we are leaving our options open to how we respond if the prime minister digs his heels in."

In an interview Wednesday, Moe said he didn't intend to leave the Montreal meeting early, despite his concerns over whether the agenda addresses issues that matter to his government — oil prices, the federal carbon tax, pipeline construction and controversial federal reforms to the rules for environmental assessments on energy projects.

Separately, Quebec Premier ​François ​Legault said he wants the discussion Friday to focus on American tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum products and compensation for dairy farmers hurt by the revised NAFTA deal. In a statement, Legault said he'd also be raising Quebec's demand for more compensation to cover the cost of irregular asylum seekers.

Premiers requested meeting

When the Council of the Federation met last July, the premiers as a group — including Ford — asked Trudeau for a first ministers meeting focused on the economy by the end of the year.

Trudeau obliged quickly with a statement inviting the premiers to join him for talks focused on trade and the economy this fall, although the precise date and location for the talks now set for Friday in Montreal took several months to schedule.

The provincial committee tasked with working to reduce interprovincial trade barriers met last month but has yet to show significant progress. 

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister noted Wednesday that current interprovincial trade barriers impose great costs on Canada's economy, equivalent to a seven per cent tariff on goods that cross provincial borders.

Friday's agenda, as it stands, is supposed to begin with a meeting between all the premiers and Indigenous leaders, followed by talks between the premiers, Trudeau and three members of his cabinet: Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

A private working dinner has been organized for the prime minister and the premiers for Thursday evening.

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Court hearing on Chinatown’s request to close Edmonton safe injection sites – Global News

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The location of supervised consumption sites in Edmonton’s inner city is going before the federal courts on Monday. The Chinatown and Area Business Association wants the sites closed, and filed an injunction in Oct. 2017.

READ MORE: Court date set for Chinatown business association’s effort to close Edmonton safe injection sites

There is a total of four supervised consumption sites in the city and Edmonton’s Chinatown area sits in the middle of three of them: Boyle McCauley Health Centre, Boyle Street Community Services and the George Spady Society. The other site is a few blocks north, inside the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

WATCH BELOW: The Chinatown and Area Business Association’s battle against Edmonton’s supervised consumption sites moves to the courtroom on Monday.







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The Chinatown association is challenging the federal minister of health’s approval of the sites. A judicial review at the Federal Court of Canada will take place Monday morning in downtown Edmonton.

The association claims the community doesn’t want the sites, and there was not enough consultation prior to the sites being approved.

Access to Medically Supervised Injection Services Edmonton (AMSISE) is a coalition of community, medical, academic and public sector groups that created the model for the city’s four service sites.

The legal team representing the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition fear — if the business association is successful in court — it could create new barriers to supervised consumption services, which could infringe upon the charter rights of people who use drugs.

READ MORE: Overwhelming demand at Edmonton supervised consumption sites in first 6 months

Statistics showed there have been 932 unique visitors, with a total of 22,316 visits to the four sites as of Nov. 18. During that period, the data suggested staff were able to intervene on 252 overdoses that were reversed.

— With files from Scott Johnston, 630 CHED

— More to come…

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'Stolen' SUV returned to owner with full tank of gas – CBC News

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A woman who called 911 Sunday evening to report her SUV stolen from a parking lot in Hammonds Plains, N.S., not only got her vehicle back, it was returned with a full tank of gas.

RCMP said the woman told police that around 6:30 p.m. she had parked her white Hyundai Santa Fe on Hammonds Plains Road beside an identical vehicle and entered a business. When she came back out it was gone.

It turns out the driver of the other SUV had gotten in and managed to drive away. He even filled it up with gas before realizing his mistake. The "stolen" SUV was returned to the woman, who reimbursed the man for filling her tank. 

RCMP Cpl. Dal ​Hutchinson said police don't believe either vehicle was left running in the parking lot. Some push-button start vehicles can be started without the keyless fob actually in the vehicle.

"Both vehicles were identical in make and model, however one was a 2016, the other was a 2017," said Hutchinson. 

"I think all of us have done it at one time or another … have gotten into a vehicle and realized that this isn't my vehicle, and have climbed out before we actually drove off.

"But in this case he drove off, filled it full of gas, and then discovered the fact that it wasn't his and took it right back to the owner." 

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Blacks more likely to die during interactions with Toronto cops: Report – Toronto Sun

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The Ontario Human Rights Commission says numbers uncovered during an inquiry into Toronto Police suggests black city residents are right to be concerned about their interactions with the force’s officers.

The commission is releasing an interim report today that documents findings uncovered part-way through its investigation into racial profiling by the force.

The report says black people are grossly overrepresented in cases where Toronto Police use force that results in serious injury or death.

The commission says black people make up only 8.8 per cent of Toronto’s population, but were involved in 70 per cent of fatal police shootings between Jan. 1, 2013 and June 30, 2017.

It says during that time, black people were also disproportionately represented in everything from Toronto police use-of-force investigations, sexual assault complaints filed against city officers, and inappropriate or unjustified searches and charges.

The commission says comparisons to data from a decade earlier shows discrimination toward black residents hasn’t improved over the years and is calling on the force to acknowledge and address the problem.

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