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Commonwealth falls short of condemning Russia as Trudeau prepares for G7

Trudeau prepares for G7

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is headed to the G7 in Germany Saturday without a consensus from the Commonwealth to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but with a chorus of countries calling for help to overcome the fallout of the war.

Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly arrived in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, on Wednesday for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, which has been dominated by the concerns of nations that are suffering from food scarcity.

In the final communique from the summit, the 54 Commonwealth countries said they discussed the conflict in Ukraine, " underscored the need to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states," and " emphasized that all countries must seek peaceful resolution to all disputes in accordance with international law."

The countries stopped short of condemning Russia, as Trudeau and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson have done throughout the summit.

"I can assure you that the topic of standing up for Ukraine was much discussed," Trudeau said at a press conference following the conclusion of the summit, referencing "strong language" in the communique.

Most Commonwealth Nations condemned Russia's actions at a United Nations vote in March, but 10 abstained. Among them is India, whose Prime Minister Narendra Modi opted not to attend the Commonwealth summit and instead spoke virtually with the leaders of Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa.

Trudeau said Russian President Vladimir Putin has run a disinformation campaign and has even been "telling outright lies," including blaming the food security crisis on Western sanctions against Russia.

He said food shortage stems from Russia's illegal actions, including blockade at key ports, as well as the deliberate targeting of Ukrainian grain storage facilities through cruise missile strikes.

"I was very clear with our friends and partners around the table, and not just clear on Russia's responsibility, but on how Canada and the West are stepping up," Trudeau said.

Canada will be raising the growing threat of famine at the G7 in Schloss Elmau Germany, Joly said.

She said Canada was in "listening mode" at the Commonwealth meetings, where leaders of smaller nations were able to speak without the dominating presence of the United States, Russia and China.

"What is clear to us is that Russia is weaponizing food and putting a toll on many countries around the world, and putting 50 million lives at risk," Joly told reporters Friday in Rwanda.

Trudeau had attempted to meet with the chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, for several days during the Commonwealth summit but the sit-down was repeatedly postponed and eventually cancelled.

Shortly after Trudeau arrived in Rwanda, the government announced Canada would dedicate a new ambassador to the African Union, which has suffered from the food shortages inflicted on the continent as a result of the warin Ukraine.

Both Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Putin have met with representatives of the African Union, with Russia blaming sanctions against its government for stopping the flow of grain.

At the conclusion of the Commonwealth summit, Trudeau announced $94 million in funding for various education initiatives and $120 million to support gender equality and women's rights in Commonwealth countries.

Some of the other voices the prime minister has promised to centre at his international meetings, including the G7 summit, belong to youth leaders who spoke at a Saturday-morning event focused on issues facing young people around the world.

Some of the delegates spoke about the devastating effects of climate change, particularly around remote island nations where infrastructure cannot withstand natural disasters and rebuilding efforts take years. The onslaught takes a toll on education and health services, one delegate told the forum.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2022.



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A mummified baby woolly mammoth has been unearthed in the Yukon

Mummified mammoth

A mummified baby woolly mammoth has been found in the Klondike gold fields, the Yukon government announced Friday.

It said the animal found within Tr?ondek Hwech?in Traditional Territory earlier this week is the most complete and best preserved mammoth found in North America to date.

The territory said miners working on Eureka Creek uncovered the animal while excavating permafrost on Tuesday.

Geologists from the Yukon Geological Survey and University of Calgary who recovered the mammoth suggest it died and was frozen during the ice age, more than 30,000 years ago.

Ice age paleontologist Grant Zazula said it has been his lifelong dream to "come face to face with a real woolly mammoth" and he is excited to find out more about the animal.

"The discovery of a mummified baby animal is something totally unprecedented. Mummified remains of Ice Age animals are incredibly rare in the world," he said in an interview Friday.

Zazula, who has been studying the ice age for nearly 25 years, said the mammoth is about 140 centimetres long. Early examinations also suggest it is female and was about a month old when it died, he said.

"She has an incredible scientific discovery," he said. "She has her hair, her skin and, if you look at her feet, she has tiny little fingernails and toenails that haven't quite hardened yet."

Tr?ondek Hwech?in elders have named the mammoth calf Nun cho ga, meaning “big baby animal."

"I'm excited about what this may mean scientifically but I'm more excited about how this mammoth will help the Tr?ondek Hwech?in community," Zazula said. "I'm just really honoured and humbled to be part of this."



RCMP reform would prevent political interference, criminologists say

Political pressure on RCMP

An Ottawa criminologist says questions about whether political pressure was placed on the RCMP commissioner in the Nova Scotia shooting investigation illustrate why Brenda Lucki should not report to the public safety minister.

A parliamentary committee has called Lucki, former public safety minister Bill Blair, and several other RCMP witnesses to explain what happened during an April 28, 2020, phone call, during which Lucki allegedly said she had promised federal officials to release information about the type of weapons used in the shooting.

According to handwritten notes from Supt. Darren Campbell, who was in charge of the investigation into the shooting spree that left 22 people dead, Lucki said that was tied to upcoming Liberal gun control legislation.

Campbell chose not to release anything about the weapons, stating that may jeopardize the ongoing investigation.

To date, no one has been charged with weapons-related offences in the case, and it was revealed early on that the gunman obtained all the weapons illegally, smuggling most from the United States.

Lucki, the Prime Minister's Office and Blair have all denied there was any political interference in the RCMP's investigation.

Criminologist Darryl Davies said if the commissioner reported to Parliament, rather than the public safety minister, this wouldn't be an issue.

“It makes crystal clear that the RCMP are an autonomous, independent organization and that decision-making will be taken without undue influence from politicians,” he said.

The RCMP Act states that the commissioner is appointed by the minister and “under the direction of the minister, has the control and management of the force and all matters connected with the force.”

Another criminologist disagrees that parliamentary accountability is the answer.

Rob Gordon, who teaches at Simon Fraser University, said what the force needs is proper non-political civilian oversight, but for that to be effective, he said a review of its mandate is needed first.

“It's trying to be too many things to too many people,” he said, noting that federal police forces in the United States and United Kingdom, for example, are not also tasked with contract policing in rural and remote areas.

Reports have called for this type of structural reform over the years but no government has acted upon them, Gordon said.

“We have been, unfortunately, cursed with a Canadian icon and nobody wants to break it up,” he said.

Facing repeated opposition questions Thursday about whether he believed Campbell’s version of events in the April 28, 2020, meeting, Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said, “I have never and will not criticize a serving member of the RCMP.”

Gordon called that statement “irresponsible and disappointing flim-flam" while Davies said it shows that governments continue to defend the RCMP rather than try to fix it.

“It's an institution that has been in crisis and has been dysfunctional for many years,” he said.

Recent evidence at the public inquiry into the killings has focused on how the RCMP withheld information during and after the killings.

While Lucki and national headquarters were prepared to release a list of the victims’ names, the Nova Scotia RCMP didn’t release that information.

In its initial news conference, when reporters asked for the number of victims, Chief Supt. Chris Leather said it was “in excess of 10.” Documents released through the inquiry show that Leather knew there were at least 17 dead.

Hours later, Lucki gave two separate media interviews in which she said the death toll was 13, and then 17.

By 11 p.m. on April 19, 2020, the RCMP had concluded that up to 22 people had been killed, but it didn't reveal the final number until two days later.

Davies said that shows the need for better policies, training and operational procedures, which "either don't exist or fell apart."

“We know that some of the officers on the ground who are responding to both media requests for information, and from families and so on, some of them had absolutely zero training in this area,” he said.

The inquiry will resume hearings Tuesday.



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New federal task force to review government service delays, reduce wait times

Service delays reviewed

The federal government has created a special task force to help tackle the major delays with immigration applications and passport processing that have left Canadians frustrated.

In a statement announcing the new task force, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government knows the delays are unacceptable, and will continue to do everything it can to improve the delivery of the services in an efficient and timely manner.

Trudeau said the new task force will help guide the government to better meet the changing needs of Canadians, and continue to provide them with the high-quality services they need and deserve.

Ten cabinet members will spearhead the new committee, which will review how services are delivered, and identify gaps and areas for improvement.

The committee will be expected to make recommendations outlining short- and longer-term solutions that would reduce wait times, clear out backlogs, and improve the overall quality of services provided.

In addition, the task force will monitor external issues, such as labour shortages around the world, which contribute to travel delays at home and abroad.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 25, 2022.



Indigenous conservation Canada's way of the future, Guilbeault says

Guardians help land heal

Tanya Ball began her career as a social worker for the Kaska Dene First Nation. Now she runs a land guardian program, working to monitor and protect a vast stretch of the band's northern British Columbia wilderness.

But she's still a social worker, in a way.

"Land guardians can help the land heal," she said. "And the land can help the guardians heal."

Ball is at the forefront of the new way Canada protects its remaining healthy rivers, lakes, forests, mountains and plains. Crown governments would once rope off an area deemed particularly scenic or good for outdoor recreation and call it a park.

No longer.

"There's no future when it comes to conservation where the federal government is involved (and) Indigenous people aren't involved from the get-go," said federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault. "This traditional model is a thing of the past."

Conservation is now something Indigenous people lead instead of something done to them. Most protected areas in Canada are now being proposed by Indigenous groups, who aim to look after those lands themselves.

There are now about 80 protected areas in Canada monitored by the people to whom the lands originally belonged. Some are designated only by the local First Nation and some are part of the national parks system.

But more — many more — are on their way.

The most recent federal budget contains funding for at least another 27 Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas. Ottawa just signed a memorandum of agreement with the Nunatsiavut government in Labrador to develop one with both parties involved from the start.

It's the only way Canada is going to fulfil its international promise to protect 30 per cent of its land mass, said Sandra Schwartz of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

"Achieving those protection targets for Canada are realistic," she said. "Many of those opportunities are on Indigenous land."

Indigenous conservation comes from the historic cultural attachment to the land and the political desire for a land base, said Val Courtois of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, who has been involved in the movement for years.

"The assertion of rights in Canada has always been about that relationship to place. This is just a new way of describing that responsibility."

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas have been created under federal, provincial and band structures and vary widely in how they function and what they do. Some don't meet international conservation area standards and won't count toward Canada's 30 per cent goal.

But they all involve some level of Indigenous co-management, they all involve land-use planning and they all involve guardians — local First Nations people charged and trained with stewarding the land.

Ball said her staff of eight takes water samples, makes maps, monitors hunting, delineates archeological sites, keeps track of visitor impacts, watches animal movements, assists conservation officers and runs research projects.

"They're very busy," she said.

One thing they don't do is put up fences. Indigenous Protected Areas aren't meant to keep anyone out, Courtois said.

"I would fall off my chair if I heard of an Indigenous group that is saying 'let's exclude everybody,'" she said. "There may be small portions that are particularly sacred, but the idea of exclusion of people is an antithesis of how we understand these places."

Decisions on local development are made locally, she said.

Tara Shea of the Mining Association of Canada said her group generally supports Indigenous protection — as long as the process is transparent and potential mineral tenures are considered in advance.

"We strongly believe mineral development and biodiversity conservation can go hand-in-hand."

There are challenges. While the federal government has set aside more than $300 million since 2018 for Indigenous conservation, Guilbeault acknowledges a source of permanent funding for such programs is still being sought.

"We don't do permanent programs. The philanthropic world has played a huge role in conservation and will continue to. We welcome their involvement."

Ottawa, the Northwest Territories, area First Nations and the U.S.-based Pew Charitable Trusts are currently negotiating a way for Pew money to finance the guardian program at the Edehzhie National Park and Indigenous Protected Area.

Another obstacle is the varying degrees of support from provincial governments, which control most of Canada's Crown land.

"The level of enthusiasm varies," said Guilbeault, who declined specifics. "Some provincial governments don't believe in the government-to-government relationship."

Courtois agrees.

"It's tough for provinces," she said. "They're used to being in the driver's seat."

Ball believes Indigenous conservation is important for the whole country as a crucial component of reconciliation. She sees what happens if people from her First Nation go out on the land they once again help manage.

"Sometimes people want to come out just for the day. I just see a difference in people by the end of the day. Their behaviour changes, their mood has lifted," Ball said.

"I think that'll really help with social issues, too."



Experts caution against becoming 'air-conditioned society' as heat waves get hotter

AC not the solution

Hundreds of people who perished during the historic heat wave in British Columbia last summer died in homes ill-suited for temperatures that spiked into the high 30s and beyond for days, a report by B.C.'s coroners' service found this month.

It was hot outside, but inside it was often much hotter, with tragic consequences.

Of 619 deaths linked to the heat, 98 per cent happened indoors, the review from the coroners' service shows.

Just one per cent of victims had air conditioners that were on at the time.

But one year on, experts caution that residents and policymakers need to think beyond air conditioning as the predominant solution to the risks as climate change fuels heat waves that scientists say are becoming hotter and more frequent.

"What I worry is that we're talking about mechanical ventilation as this umbrella measure for all buildings, and that's hugely problematic if that's what we ultimately end up doing," said Adam Rysanek, assistant professor of environmental systems in the University of British Columbia's school of architecture.

"We're going to get totally accustomed to this air-conditioned society," with windows closed all year round, said Rysanek, director of the building decisions research group at the university.

Alternative answers can be found in how buildings and cities are designed, landscaped and even coloured, since lighter surfaces reflect more of the sun's energy, he said.

Two thirds of those who died during the extreme heat last summer were 70 or older, more than half lived alone and many were living with chronic diseases.

Ryansek said it's important to ensure such vulnerable people have access to air conditioningwhen temperatures become dangerously hot.

But many sources of overheating in buildings stem from design and performance, and focusing on air conditioning ignores proven solutions, he said.

City planners and the construction industry should adopt lighter coloured materials for buildings and even paved roadways, he said, in addition to adding shading to building exteriors.

"In the peak of the heat, a huge chunk of the cooling demand is coming from solar energy being received on the exterior of the building. Let's reflect that away."

Alex Boston, who served on the coroner's review panel, said "underlying vulnerabilities" to dangerous heat are growing in B.C., and across the country, as a result of demographic change and how homes and communities have been built.

The numbers of people over 65 and people who live alone are on the rise, and both of those characteristics compound risk during extreme heat, said Boston, executive director of the renewable cities program at Simon Fraser University.

"On top of that, it's solo seniors who have chronic illnesses, and then on top of that it's seniors who have some form of material or social deprivation," he said.

"That could be income, it could be the nature of their housing and the neighbourhood they live in that (could) have inadequate tree canopy. All of those factors come together and we have to work on many of them simultaneously."

Failing to ensure that buildings are surrounded by trees to provide shade and evaporative cooling would be "shooting ourselves in the foot in terms of the energy load and the cooling demand of a building in the future," said Ryansek, calling for "very robust" requirements for vegetation and landscaping to mitigate extreme heat.

Metro Vancouver is aiming to increase its urban tree canopy to 40 per cent by 2050, up from an average of 32 per cent across the region, although a 2019 report noted the existing canopy was declining due to urban development. The goal for the City of Vancouver, specifically, is to increase the canopy from 18 to 22 per cent.

Boston said there are significant co-benefits to many of the measures to improve heat resiliency, such as the restoration of urban tree canopies.

Trees and vegetation help reduce flood risk, he said, and neighbourhood parks serve as social hubs that can ease social isolation and foster a sense of community.

"We have complex problems, and if we only look at one isolated component, we don't maximize benefit from solving these problems in an integrated manner," Boston said.

For instance, Boston's organization is working on a project on Vancouver's north shore to consider how social service providers could help older single people manage secondary suites in their homes, an approach he said could ease housing unaffordability while mitigating risks stemming from living alone during extreme heat.

"We have to multi-solve," Boston said.

Meanwhile, a 2020 survey and report from B.C.'s hydro and power authority found residential air-conditioning use had more than tripled since 2001.

Many residents were adding an average of $200 to their summer bill by using air conditioning units inefficiently, with nearly a third of survey respondents setting the temperature below 19 C. Popular portable units use 10 times more energy than a central air-conditioning system or heat pump, the report said.

Globally, the International Energy Agency projected in 2018 that energy demand from air conditioning would triple by 2050.

Continuing on that path would make it difficult for governments to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets to mitigate climate change, Rysanek said.

"If we exacerbate this problem … the building development costs are a drop in the bucket with regards to the climate impacts we're going to be facing," he said.

The B.C. government should incentivize non-mechanical cooling options to spur their adoption in homes and commercial buildings, he said, pointing to measures such as natural ventilation, ceiling fans and radiant cooling built into floors or ceilings, all of which would cool residents before turning on an air conditioner.

"We should be encouraging our policymakers to realize there's a big world out there of alternatives. We might not have the suppliers here yet in B.C., but it's a great opportunity for business," Rysanek said.

Companies all over the world have been deploying these cooling alternatives in Europe, in Asia and elsewhere, and "we should try to invite them here so that we learn about these things, as a public, as consumers," he said.

The coroner's report calls on B.C. to ensure the 2024 building code incorporates passive and active cooling requirements in new homes, along with cooling standards for renovating existing homes, and to make sure "climate change lenses" are adopted in regional growth strategies and official community plans.

It also recommends that the province consider how to issue cooling devices as medical equipment for those at greatest risk of dying during extreme heat.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has said the government would consider the report and "take necessary steps to prevent heat-related deaths in the future."

It's difficult to predict how often B.C. might see a repeat of last summer's highest temperatures, but climate change is undoubtedly causing heat extremes to increase in frequency and magnitude, said Rachel White, an assistant professor in the department of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences at the University of B.C.

"When we have a normal heat wave in the future, it will be hotter than we've been used to," she said.

A heat dome refers to a region of high pressure that settles in place as temperatures below get hotter, White explained.

These regions sometimes become "quasi-stationary," depending on factors such as the strength of winds circulating high in the atmosphere, she said.

As the heat dome blanketed B.C. last year, its effects were amplified by soil that was already stricken by drought, lacking moisture that would evaporate and help cool the land during the long summer days with clear skies, she said.

Earth's "atmosphere is not in equilibrium," White warned, "and the longer we continue to put out these greenhouse gases, the more and more warming we're going to see."

"We need to act now if we don't want it to be dreadful in 40, 50 years' time."



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls U.S. decision to overturn Roe v. Wade 'horrific'

Trudeau reacts: 'horrific'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today to overturn its 50-year-old Roe v. Wade ruling is "horrific."

Trudeau tweeted that his heart goes out to American women who will now lose their legal right to an abortion.

He says no government, politician or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body.

The Conservative party's interim leader, Candice Bergen, says its position on abortion hasn't changed and it will not introduce legislation or reopen the abortion debate.

A candidate in its leadership race, Leslyn Lewis, says Canada is not the U.S. but she opposes coercive and sex-selective abortions and would allow free votes on matters of conscience in the House of Commons.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is reacting with outrage, saying in a statement that anti-abortion policies are "dangerous" and must not be allowed to take root in Canada.



Lifeguard shortages impacting pools, water programs across Canada

Lifeguard shortages

Municipalities across Canada are grappling with lifeguard shortages as city pools and beaches open for the summer.

Municipal officials and a water safety organization say that's because COVID-19 measures put lifeguard certification and recertification programs on hold, and many lifeguards moved on to new opportunities during the pandemic.

Toronto's director of community recreation says the city needs about 1,100 lifeguards to supervise indoor and outdoor pool facilities but currently only has 750 confirmed.

On Tuesday, the city cancelled 169 swim courses because it said it couldn't find swimming instructors, affecting roughly 1,140 participants.

While daily supervision is being provided at most Toronto beaches based on staff availability, the city says Ward's Island and Hanlan's Point beaches will only be supervised on weekends, while Gibraltar Point will not be supervised until later in the season.

The manager of aquatics for Kitchener says the southern Ontario city usually requires between 180 to 200 lifeguards and aquatic staff but currently has between 150 to 160 positions filled.

The municipality of West Vancouver, meanwhile, introduced a free lifeguard training program to fill vacant positions and remove cost barriers associated with certification, which can cost close to $1,000 and take up to two years.



Protesters descend on U.S. Supreme Court to decry decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

Protesters descend on D.C.

Protesters are massing outside the barricaded U.S. Supreme Court to decry the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that cleared the way for legal abortions in the United States.

The high court released its final decision this morning, and it differs little from the leaked draft decision that emerged back in May.

Dozens of states are poised to enact bans on abortion as a result of the decision; many already have such laws on their books despite polls that suggest a majority of Americans support abortion rights.

Five of the court's nine justices concurred with today's ruling, including the three who were nominated by former president Donald Trump: Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

Liberal justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan expressed "sorrow" for the rights of women in their dissenting opinion.

President Joe Biden and others in his administration have warned that overturning Roe would open the door to decisions that would erode other high court precedents, including on same-sex marriage and contraception.



Public inquiry in Nova Scotia seeking explanation from Ottawa about withheld notes

Mass shooting info withheld

The inquiry investigating the Nova Scotia mass shooting wants to know why the federal Justice Department withheld for several months four pages of notes from a senior Mountie.

In the handwritten pages, Supt. Darren Campbell alleges that the head of the RCMP, Commissioner Brenda Lucki, had promised to release details about the guns used during the rampage that left 22 dead in April 2020.

The commission of inquiry says the department sent 132 pages in February 2022, but they did not include Campbell's notes about a meeting with Lucki on April 28, 2020 — nine days after the massacre.

Campbell's notes say Lucki had had promised the Prime Minister's Office that the Mounties would release the descriptions, adding that the information would be "tied to pending gun control legislation."

The missing notes were submitted to the inquiry on May 31.

The inquiry's director of investigations, Barbara McLean, says the inquiry is "demanding an explanation for any further material that has been held back."

She says the commission is seeking assurance that nothing else has been held back.



Online streaming bill could make YouTube manipulate its algorithms: CRTC chair

Streaming bill controversy

The chairman of Canada's broadcast regulator says it might ask platforms such as YouTube to "manipulate" their algorithms to make Canadian music easier to find, under powers in the proposed online streaming bill.

Ian Scott told a Senate committee examining the bill that although the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission would not want to manipulate algorithms itself, it might tell platforms, "I want you to manipulate it (the algorithm) to produce particular outcomes."

His remarks have been seized on by critics of the online streaming bill, who say it confirms what they've been warning against.

Matthew Hatfield of OpenMedia said Scott's remarks confirmed "what we have been saying all along." OpenMedia is an organization dedicated to keeping the internet open. While it's mainly funded by individuals, it gets some funding from Google, whose parent company also owns YouTube.

YouTube has warned that Canadian digital creators, including influencers and streamers, could lose foreign revenue if the government forces digital platforms to promote Canadian content.

This is because algorithms cross borders, and if a Canadian song presented to YouTube's audience in Canada is not liked or chosen, it may suggest that it is not popular. That in turn could lead to it being downgraded worldwide.

The bill would update Canada's broadcast laws to apply to platforms including Netflix, YouTube and Spotify, forcing them to take steps to make Canadian content — including music, films and TV shows — more "discoverable."

Michael Geist, the University of Ottawa's Canada Research Chair in internet law, said it has long been obvious that those rules would require algorithmic manipulation.

"Indeed, that is precisely why so many Canadian digital creators expressed concern about the bill and it the harm it could cause," he said.

"The CRTC chair has acknowledged that the law will allow the government to do indirectly what it says it can’t do directly, by pressuring platforms to manipulate their algorithms to prioritize certain content over others."

Geist said this could lead to Canadian creators having their content downgraded globally, leading to decreased revenues and exposure.

But Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has publicly said the bill will not lead to platforms being asked to manipulate their algorithms.

On Thursday, his spokeswoman stressed the government's position has not changed, pointing out that part of Bill C-11 specifically rules out manipulating algorithms. A clause in the bill would prevent the CRTC making an order requiring the "use of a specific computer algorithm or source code.”

"The government will ask the CRTC to work with the platforms to showcase content so that more Canadians can find, choose, and enjoy content from Canadian artists and creators," said Laura Scaffidi.

"It will be up to the platforms to decide how to best meet these objectives."

Scott made his remarks Wednesday evening when appearing before the Senate committee on transport and communications, which is carrying out a pre-study of the bill.

The online streaming bill this week passed through the House of Commons but will now be scrutinized closely in the Senate.

In his opening remarks to the committee, Scott said the CRTC is "largely supportive" of the bill, but wants to see a few amendments made, including one that would allow it to continue to resolve disputes.

YouTube, Spotify and the CRTC declined to comment.



Extreme intoxication bill will become law after Senate, House expedite its passage

Intoxication bill to be law

The Senate voted Thursday to rubber-stamp the government's extreme intoxication bill after the House of Commons rushed its passage yesterday.

Senators had adopted a motion Thursday afternoon to see Bill C-28 through all stages by the end of day.

As with the House's similarly expedited process, the Senate motion provides for its legal and constitutional affairs committee to study and report on the issue by a deadline in March 2023.

The bill's passage and its pending royal assent means that the Criminal Code will be amended to create criminal liability in cases of violent crime where the defendant can prove they were "in a state of negligent self-induced extreme intoxication."

It is a response to a Supreme Court ruling in May that struck down similar language as unconstitutional.

Justice Minister David Lametti and Marci Ien, minister of women and gender equality, issued a statement after the bill's passage, saying they were very pleased.

"The Criminal Code will now ensure that individuals who consume drugs and/or alcohol in a criminally negligent manner are held criminally responsible if they harm others while extremely intoxicated," the statement read. "The coming into force of this legislation is an important step toward ensuring that our criminal justice system supports victims and survivors of crime -- women, children, and Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons. It sends a strong message that will hold offenders to account and keep communities safe."

The two said the Criminal Code "now clearly states that any person who voluntarily consumes intoxicants in a criminally negligent manner, becomes extremely intoxicated and harms others will be held criminally responsible for such acts."

Lametti had called for its speedy passage so the gap in the law could be addressed before Parliament rose for a summer break.



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