Mr. Kenney goes to Ottawa and income inequality; In The News for Dec. 9

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 Dec. 9.

What we are watching in Canada ...

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OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and eight of his cabinet ministers will be in Ottawa today to meet with their federal counterparts.

Kenney will speak at the Canadian Club this afternoon and later host a reception.

He is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday to discuss issues ranging from pipelines to equalization.

Kenney has said he'll bring up with Trudeau a resolution passed unanimously at the recent meeting of provincial leaders to consider changes to the fiscal stabilization fund.

The fund helps provinces facing year-over-year declines in non-resource revenues, but Alberta says it is being shortchanged due to caps tied to the size of its population.

Kenney says Alberta should receive about $2.4 billion going back to 2014, and that the federal government is open to discussing the proposal.

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Also this ...

OTTAWA — A new report on income inequality in Canada suggests visible minorities don't have as much access to investments and other sources of wealth.

The analysis by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says about 25 per cent of racialized people earned income from investments in 2015, while nearly 31 per cent of non-racialized Canadians received money through investments that year.

There was also a gap in the amount earned this way, with racialized Canadians receiving, on average, nearly $3,700 less — and there was a disparity between visible minorities and white people when it came to reporting capital gains.

Sheila Block, the economist who co-authored the report, says looking at disparities in wealth, in addition to hours worked and wages earned, sheds more light on the issue of income inequality in Canada, as it can reveal the cumulative impact of racism throughout generations.

She says there is little Canadian data available when it comes to looking at wealth in this way and that better data could lead to more equitable and effective anti-racism policies.

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ICYMI (in case you missed it) ...

VANCOUVER — A researcher at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus says traumatic brain injury in survivors of domestic violence is an unrecognized public health crisis in Canada.

Paul van Donkelaar, a professor in the school of health and exercise sciences, says the silence and stigma around domestic violence means survivors with brain injuries are falling through the cracks without assessment or support.

He says research into the prevalence and effects of brain injury among victims of domestic violence is in its infancy compared with the same research involving athletes.

Initial results from van Donkelaar's ongoing research show that every participant in a group of 18 women reported symptoms consistent with brain injuries similar to what he has seen in athletes.

They were assessed using lab-based tests and a questionnaire that included questions like, 'Did you see stars?' and 'Did you lose consciousness?'

Van Donkelaar co-founded the organization Supporting Survivors of Abuse and Brain Injury through Research with his partner Karen Mason, who previously worked as the executive director of the Kelowna Women's Shelter.

Their goal is to develop resources to help shelter workers and health-care professionals assess clients and patients with brain injuries and refer them to appropriate support services.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — Pushing ahead with articles of impeachment, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee convenes today to formally receive the investigative findings against President Donald Trump as the White House mounts an aggressive attack on the proceedings.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says he expects the committee to vote soon on charges against Trump that will likely focus on abuse of power on Ukraine and obstruction in the congressional inquiry.

Trump claims the hearing is a hoax.

If the Judiciary Committee approves articles by Friday that would set up a final impeachment vote in the days before Christmas.

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What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A New Zealand volcanic island erupted Monday in a tower of ash and steam while dozens of tourists were exploring the moon-like surface, killing five people and leaving many more missing.

The site was still too dangerous hours later for police and rescuers to search for the missing.

Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said the number of those who remained missing was in the double digits but he couldn't confirm an exact number.

He said there were fewer than 50 people on the island when it erupted and 23 had been taken off, including the five dead.

Tims said experts had told them the island remained unstable but search and rescue teams wanted to get back as quickly as they could. He said there had been no contact with any of those who were missing.

He said both New Zealanders and overseas tourists were among those who were dead, missing or injured, adding that most of the 18 who survived were injured and some had suffered severe burns.

Some of those involved were guests from the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship Ovation of the Seas.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Dec. 9, 2019.

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