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Erin O'Toole and hydropower project rejected: In The News for Nov. 3

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. 3 ... 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. 3 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Erin O'Toole insists the Conservative caucus is united behind his leadership.

But can he be as confident about the party's grassroots?

The reaction from a handful of third-party organizations, which represent swaths of the Conservative faithful, suggests the answer is likely a no.

"If they keep throwing their base under the bus, there's not going to be anyone on the bus," said Sheldon Clare, president and CEO of the National Firearms Association, adding that he remains a Conservative member for "right now."

What path the Conservatives decide to tread next as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau enters his third mandate is at the heart of a new campaign launched by the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), a group once led by a young Stephen Harper, before his time as Conservative leader and later prime minister.

The campaign emphasizes the need to get back to promoting "conservative values," such as freedom and less government.


Also this ...

Anumeha Thakur has spent a large chunk of time during the COVID-19 pandemic trying to complete what used to be a relatively simple task – booking a driving test.

The Brampton, Ont., resident had a test scheduled to obtain her G licence in the spring of 2020, but that was cancelled when the pandemic hit. A test she later booked for January this year was scrapped because of a provincewide lockdown. And she failed a test she managed to secure in September, leaving her hunting once more for an available exam.

Now, Thakur says she can't find a single road test appointment on the province's online portal all the way through to the end of next year.

"It's a real struggle," Thakur said during a phone interview. "I find it very hard, because I want to be able to pass it. And you know, I'm trying, trying and I just can't book it."

The Ministry of Transportation said that roughly 421,827 road tests have been cancelled due to the pandemic since March 2020.

In acknowledging the backlog, the province has given novice drivers with licences expiring between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2022, until the end of next year to pass tests needed to maintain or upgrade their licences.


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

PORTLAND, Maine — Mainers voiced their disapproval Tuesday for a 233-kilometre conduit for Canadian hydropower that was billed as either a bold step in battling climate change or unnecessary destruction of woodlands.

Utilities have poured more than $90 million into the battle over the $1 billion project ahead of the referendum on Tuesday, making it the most expensive referendum in Maine history.

However, the statewide vote won’t be the final word. Litigation over the project will continue long after the votes are counted.

Clean Energy Matters, which supports the project, vowed to continue the effort to move forward with the project.


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

GLASGOW, Scotland — China's climate envoy is defending his country's pace of emissions cuts at the climate summit.

Veteran climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua spoke to reporters Tuesday, saying China is at a "special development stage" that justifies its heavy carbon emissions.

Xie also faulted the U.S. for slowing climate progress, describing former president Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord as a "wasted five years." President Joe Biden rejoined the accord this year.

China's dependence on coal power helps make it the biggest current climate polluter, although the nation in recent years has made commitments to start curbing emissions.

As a major climate polluter and as the world's second-biggest economy, China has been much talked about, but little seen, at the summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is not known to have left the country during the pandemic — has not joined the more than 100 other world leaders at the event.

Xie underscored China's long-standing position that the United States and other developed nations should be the ones acting faster to cut climate-damaging emissions, not China.

China is already "making our biggest possible effort to address climate change," Xie said, saying China was unable to start reining in its reliance on coal-fired power plants any quicker than it already was.

"So regarding the fact that China is the current largest emitter, it’s because China is at a special development stage," Xie said. The nation will be able to speed up its emission cuts later, he said.

"We do not only make promises, we honor our promises with real action."


On this day in 1999 ...

Madam Justice Beverly McLachlin was appointed as the first female Chief Justice of Canada, replacing Antonio Lamer, who retired.


In entertainment ...

Canadian "Shang-Chi" star Simu Liu is set to host "Saturday Night Live" on Nov. 20 with U.S. rapper Saweetie as the musical guest on the NBC sketch comedy series.

Liu, who was born in China and largely grew up in the Greater Toronto Area, stars in the blockbuster "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" as the titular hero.

The Disney and Marvel superhero adventure has been a major draw at theatres since its release in September.

Liu is also known for his starring role in the now-ended CBC sitcom "Kim's Convenience," which was recently referenced on "SNL."

In March, "SNL" cast member Bowen Yang told the audience "Save 'Kim's Convenience" at the end of a segment on anti-Asian violence.

He was referring to fan outcry after word the Toronto-shot show, about a Korean-Canadian family and their convenience store, was ending after its fifth season. Producers said it was because co-creators Ins Choi and Kevin White were moving on to pursue other projects.



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has given his strongest indication yet that the national flag could be raised and then lowered again at federal buildings on Remembrance Day.

Speaking at a news conference during climate talks Tuesday in Glasgow, the prime minister said the government is working closely with Indigenous groups to find ways to lower the flag to half-mast on Nov. 11.

Traditionally the flag is lowered on Remembrance Day to pay tribute to veterans and Canada's war dead.

The flag has been flying at half-mast at federal buildings since late May, after the location of what are believed to be hundreds of unmarked graves at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. Trudeau has suggested it would be up to Indigenous people to determine when to hoist it again.

He said Tuesday that talks with Indigenous leaders and communities about the issue are ongoing and that he is optimistic about reaching the "right solution."

RoseAnne Archibald, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, will meet this week with the executive of the organization to discuss its position, her spokesman said.

Lynne Groulx, the CEO of the Native Women's Association of Canada, said: "We must respect the veterans, many of whom were Indigenous. We must find a way to honour them appropriately on Remembrance Day with traditional flag-related ceremonies. But a solution must be found in which the children who perished at residential schools are also honoured and respected."

The Royal Canadian Legion has said it plans to hoist the flag then lower it at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Nov. 11. The Legion is in charge of what happens at the memorial on Remembrance Day.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2021

The Canadian Press