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Canadian astronaut Saint-Jacques says Artemis 1 delay disappointing, but right call



MONTREAL — NASA’s decision to scrub the launch of its new moon rocket is disappointing but necessary due to another leak found ahead of the planned test flight, Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques said Saturday.

The Artemis 1 mission, which aims to send an uncrewed NASA Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket to the moon, was delayed after the rocket sprang a fuel leak, forcing controllers to call off the second attempt this week.

Monday’s first effort to send a crew capsule with test dummies aboard into lunar orbit was also aborted due to escaping hydrogen elsewhere on the 98-metre NASA-built rocket.

The test flight is slated to be the first return to the moon after almost 50 years.

Saint-Jacques, who was set to watch the launch from the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in suburban Montreal, said the excited space buff in him was disappointed but the sober engineer knows it was the right call.

“It’s the right thing to do, there’s no need to rush to launch,” Saint-Jacques said.

It wasn’t immediately clear when NASA may try again. Saint-Jacques said a window remains open until about Tuesday, but after that the moon won’t be in the right spot in the sky for a few weeks.

NASA administrator Bill Nelson said Saturday the launch will be off until October if the rocket has to return to the hangar for repairs.

The $4.1 billion test flight is the first step in NASA’s Artemis program of renewed lunar exploration, named after the twin sister of Apollo in Greek mythology.

Saint-Jacques said the test flight is an important one, noting a Canadian astronaut is expected to be part of Artemis 2, the first crewed flight since Apollo 17 in 1972, which is slated to fly around the moon and return in 2024.

The flight would make Canada the second country ever to send someone around the moon.

“That’ll be huge for our nation,” Saint-Jacques said. “Everyone remembers where they were when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, well I think everyone will remember where they were when a Canadian launches for the moon.”

Canada is also contributing Canadaarm 3 to the Lunar Gateway, a planned orbiting lunar space station set to be a key part of the Artemis program. Canadian researchers and firms are involved in the program as well.

Saint-Jacques said the Artemis program will reintroduce humans to the lunar environment, but also provides a training ground for missions to Mars. The first step, however, is to get the Artemis 1 mission off the launch pad so scientists can learn everything they need to from the test run.

Federal Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne released a statement on Saturday expressing his disappointment.

“Like many Canadians, I’m anxiously waiting for a successful launch of Artemis I. But as you know, this is a very complex mission and it’s important to see this done safely and to do this right,” Champagne said.

“We’ve waited almost 50 years for humans to go back to the moon, so whether it’s waiting a few days or a few weeks, Canada will be front and centre in humanity’s next steps in space exploration.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2022.

– with files from The Associated Press


Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press


Iran protests: Canada sanctioning 'morality police' – CTV News



Canada will be imposing new sanctions on Iran as a result of a continuing violent crackdown on protesters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

The sanctions will be levelled on “dozens of individuals and entities, including Iran’s so-called morality police,” the prime minister said.

“We’ve seen Iran disregarding human rights time and time again, and now we see with the death of Mahsa Amini and the crackdown on protests,” Trudeau said, referencing the death of a 22-year-old who was detained for allegedly violating the country’s forced veiling laws. Her death has sparked outrage and has prompted a wave of international demonstrations, seeing some women cut their hair or burn their hijabs in revolt.

“To the women in Iran who are protesting and to those who are supporting you, we stand with you. We join our voices, the voices of all Canadians, to the millions of people around the world demanding that the Iranian government listen to their people, end their repression of freedoms and rights, and let women and all Iranians live their lives and express themselves peacefully,” Trudeau said.

While no official notice of the new sanctions has been published by Global Affairs Canada, the prime minister noted they come in addition to outstanding measures Canada has taken against Iran.

In an email to CTV News, Adrien Blanchard, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said that Trudeau “announced Canada’s intention” to issue these sanctions, pledging more details “in due course.” 

Joly, as well as MPs from all parties, have spoken out about the escalating tensions and use of force against civilians in Iran, with the House of Commons unanimously passing a motion last week offering “solidarity to the women of Iran who are fighting for their rights and freedoms.”

With files from CTV News’ Michael Lee 

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Maine power workers cross border without incident to help in Nova Scotia



OTTAWA — Nova Scotia Power says there were no issues delaying American power crews from crossing the border to help repair the electrical grid from the devastation of hurricane Fiona.

On Sunday, the utility company and Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston had both said an issue related to the controversial ArriveCan app was delaying power crews from crossing into Canada.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said this morning that the order making the app mandatory and requiring that foreign citizens be vaccinated to come to Canada will expire on Friday.

Power crews helping to restore electricity are considered essential workers and are exempt from the border measures.

In a new statement Monday afternoon, Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Jacqueline Foster says there was some confusion about the app but it is now confirmed there were no problems.

Versant Power says 15 line workers and two mechanics left Bangor, Maine, for Canada early Monday morning without issue, and Central Maine Power reports more than a dozen two-person crews and 10 support workers crossed the border without incident at around 7 a.m. Monday.

“We now know there were not any issues with ArriveCan,” said Foster. “Our contractor crews have made their way over the border and we are grateful to have them as part of our restoration efforts here in Nova Scotia.”

The Canada Border Services Agency reported that it cleared 19 power trucks at the Third Bridge border crossing in St. Stephen, N.B., just after 7 a.m. Monday. The CBSA said the average processing time was between 30 and 60 seconds per vehicle.

The ArriveCan app has been fodder for heated political debates for months and Conservatives have repeatedly demanded that the government shut it down.

During question period on Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre cited the allegations that ArriveCan delayed power crews to demand that the app be scrapped ahead of schedule.

He asked, “Will the prime minister suspend the ArriveCan app today, not Saturday, so that no more holdups happen at the border for those who are trying to help those in desperate need?”

Trudeau said he can “confirm that there were no delays at any border because of ArriveCan or otherwise.”

The utility company had said Sunday that crews were physically stuck at the border, but confirmed a few hours after question period on Monday that this had never been the case.

Foster suggested the error was a result of “confusion” after a concern arose Friday — before the storm actually hit — that crews from Maine might not be able to cross the border because of ArriveCan.

No New Brunswick border crossings reported issues over the weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.


Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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Former top civil servant, medical association president appointed as senators



OTTAWA — Ian Shugart, a longtime bureaucrat and the country’s top civil servant during the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been tapped for a seat in the Senate.

Dr. Gigi Osler, a Winnipeg surgeon, University of Manitoba professor and president of the Federation of Medical Women in Canada, is also set to become a senator.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the picks today after the two were recommended to him by the independent advisory board for appointments to the upper chamber.

Shugart, who will represent Ontario, stepped down as the clerk of the Privy Council in early 2021 to undergo cancer treatments and formally retired in May after a long public service career.

Trudeau also appointed him to the King’s Privy Council today, adding his name to a list that includes past and present cabinet ministers and people “honoured for their contributions to Canada,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Osler, who will represent Manitoba, became the first female surgeon and the first racialized woman to hold the presidency at the Canadian Medical Association in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.


The Canadian Press

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