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Alberta child care and Queen Elizabeth's sprained back: In The News for Nov. 15

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 Nov. 15 ... What we are watching in Canada ...

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 Nov. 15 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney are set to announce a deal they've reached on child care during an event in Edmonton today.

The federal Liberal government has already inked deals with seven provinces and one territory on its $30-billion, five-year child care plan, which promises to cut child-care prices to an average of $10 per day across the country, but Alberta and Ontario so far have remained holdouts.

The Alberta government says Monday's announcement will include Trudeau, Kenney, and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland as well as Families, Children and Social Development Minister Karina Gould, other provincial politicians and representatives from the child-care sector.

A spokesperson in the Prime Minister's Office confirmed Trudeau and his ministers will be in Edmonton in person for the event.

The federal plan has been widely celebrated by children and family advocates.

But Kenney said in April when the plan was announced that he didn't feel it accounted for stay-at-home parents, saying at the time that it would only support what he called "urban 9-to-5 government- and union-run institutional daycare options."


Also this ...

MONTREAL — Physicians at a west-Montreal hospital that was forced to close its emergency room overnight are now willing to put up their own money to ensure the hospital returns to full-service as quickly as possible. 

The Lachine Hospital has opted to close its emergency room overnight, saying the decision was necessary due to what it describes as a critical shortage of key medical staff especially among respiratory therapists. 

As a result, the hospital started to redirect all ambulances to different hospitals across the Montreal area, from 7:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m., on November 7th. 

The health-care staff at Lachine hospital say the current shortage is caused by pay inequity among Montreal health care facilities. 

Doctors say they will offer incentives of 15-thousand-dollars per year for two years, out of their own pockets, for the first three respiratory therapists who step up to work at the hospital.

Quebec's health care sector has been suffering from a labour shortage as workers continue to denounce toxic environments and forced overtime across the province. 


And this ... 

OTTAWA — After getting off to an arguably slow start since winning re-election on Sept. 20, Justin Trudeau's Liberal government appears poised to go into hyperdrive with next week's resumption of Parliament.

The Liberals promised more than a dozen initiatives in their election platform — including the introduction or reintroduction of at least eight bills — within the first 100 days of a new mandate.

That 100-day clock started ticking on Oct. 26 as soon as the prime minister's new cabinet was sworn in.

The government will have lost almost 30 days by the time the new session of Parliament opens next Monday.

And it will have only 24 sitting days in which to get things done in the House of Commons before the clock runs out on Feb. 3 — with the first two days essentially lost since they must be devoted to electing a Speaker and delivering a throne speech.

The Commons is scheduled to sit for only four weeks before breaking for the holiday season on Dec. 17, and MPs won't return until Jan. 31.

If the Liberals intend to keep their promises for the first 100 days — and they insist they do — that spells a crammed legislative agenda for the few weeks the House will be sitting before the new year.


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

KENOSHA, Wis. — Attorneys are set to make closing arguments today at Kyle Rittenhouse's trial in the shootings of three men during street unrest in Wisconsin, the last word before a jury begins deliberating in a case that underscored Americans' bitter divisions on issues of guns, protests and policing.

Rittenhouse, 18, of Antioch, Illinois, faces charges ranging from intentional homicide — punishable by life in prison — to an underage weapons charge that could mean a few months in jail if convicted.

Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, traveled from his home across the state border to Kenosha on Aug. 25, 2020, as the city was in the throes of damaging protests that followed a white police officer's shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man.

Bystander video captured the critical minutes when Rittenhouse, with an assault rifle, shot and killed two men and wounded a third.

Rittenhouse is white, as are the men he shot, and has argued self-defence in the shootings. The case has raised questions about racial justice, policing, firearms and white privilege that have polarized people far outside Kenosha.

With a verdict near, Gov. Tony Evers said 500 National Guard members would be prepared for duty in Kenosha if local law enforcement requested them.


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

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II missed out on the Remembrance Sunday service in London to pay tribute to Britain's war dead because she sprained her back, Buckingham Palace said Sunday.

The service is one of the most important events on the 95-year-old monarch's calendar, and was meant to be her first public appearance after taking a few weeks off to rest under doctor’s orders.

British media reported that the back sprain was not believed to be related to the recent medical advice to rest that prompted other cancellations.

“The Queen, having sprained her back, has decided this morning with great regret that she will not be able to attend today’s Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph,” officials said just hours ahead of the ceremony. “Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service.”

The queen spent a night in a London hospital last month after being admitted for medical tests. It was her first such stay in eight years. On Oct. 29, the palace said she had been told by doctors to rest for two weeks and only take on light duties.

She canceled plans to attend the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, but sent a video message. She has also missed several other events, including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday. And officials said she will miss the opening of the Church of England’s governing General Synod on Tuesday.

However, the queen has continued to work from home, doing desk-based duties, during her period of rest. 

Britain’s longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee — 70 years on the throne — next year.


Also this ...

BRUSSELS — The European Union is set to expand sanctions against Belarus to include airlines, travel agents and individuals accused of helping to lure migrants to Europe as part of a “hybrid attack” against the bloc by President Alexander Lukashenko. 

The 27-country EU has already slapped a series of sanctions on Lukashenko and senior Belarus officials over what it says were fraudulent elections last year a security crackdown that followed. 

Today, EU foreign ministers are expected to adjust the kinds of sanctions that can be imposed to include companies and people accused of involvement in the migrant standoff at Belarus’s borders with Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. 


In entertainment ...

HOUSTON — A 9-year-old Dallas boy has died from injuries during a crowd surge at Astroworld, bringing the death toll from the Houston music festival to 10. 

Ezra Blount had been in a medically induced coma since Nov. 5. 

Ben Crump, an attorney representing the Blount family, said in a news release Sunday night that he was “committed to seeking answers and justice” on behalf of the family. Others who died ranged in age from 14 to 27. 

Most were from Texas, though some came from as far away as Illinois and Washington state. 

The surge happened during a performance by rapper Travis Scott, who founded the festival.



The unusual odyssey of a rare eagle from Russia onto Texas, Quebec and finally Nova Scotia has birdwatchers both puzzled and spellbound.

This Steller’s sea eagle has trekked almost halfway around the world from its home about 8,000 kilometres away on the eastern coast of Russia. 

Phil Taylor, a biologist at Acadia University, spotted the eagle on his way home after lunch with a colleague on Nov. 3, on the banks of the Avon River near Falmouth, N.S.  

"And there was this bird. Just sitting there on the mud," he said in an interview. "It's quite a remarkable bird, very easy to identify."

This bird is bigger than a bald eagle, with white shoulders and tail and a large orange bill. It has wingspan of up to 2 1/2 metres and can weigh up to 10 kilograms. 

The Steller's sea eagle is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and about 6,000 remain in the wild, usually in Japan, China, Korea and on the eastern coast of Russia. 

"It's very distinctive, and I immediately recognized it because the same individual bird was seen earlier in New Brunswick, this year in July," Taylor said.

Nick Lund, a network manager for Maine Audubon, who has been tracking the eagle's travels, said the bird was first spotted in Denali National Park in Alaska last August, which is "unusual but not crazy" because it's on the other side of the Arctic Ocean. 

It disappeared for a few months before showing up in Texas this spring and then turned north to Quebec, Lund said.  

The eagle's next stop was New Brunswick and now it's been spotted in Nova Scotia.

While it is not unusual to find a smaller feathered creature such as a hummingbird or warbler on a wayward course, Lund said there's no precedent for finding a Steller's sea eagle in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and certainly not Texas.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2021

The Canadian Press