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Canada

A premier meeting and a medical marvel; In-The-News for Dec. 2

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. 2.

What we are watching in Canada …

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Canada’s premiers are meeting today just outside Toronto for the first time as a group since the federal election.

The campaign laid bare some regional divisions, and the premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta — where the Liberals won no seats — have been especially vocal about their asks from Ottawa.

Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe and Alberta’s Jason Kenney want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to change the equalization formula, but there is unlikely to be consensus on that around the premiers’ table.

Moe, who is chair of the Council of the Federation, says all of the premiers will come to the meeting with various priorities and differing opinions, but the goal is to find a few issues on which they have common ground.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says health care is a concern for everyone, and that all premiers want a 5.2 per cent annual increase to the Canada Health Transfer.

Climate policy will be another tough area to get all parties on side. Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba have all launched legal challenges against the federal carbon price, while others have accepted it or launched their own programs.

Also this …

A hockey player paralyzed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash says he’s thrilled with the progress he’s made since receiving spinal surgery in Thailand a month ago.

Doctors implanted an epidural stimulator in Ryan Straschnitzki’s spine and one week later injected stem cells above and below the injury to try to reverse some of the damage.

The 20-year-old has just a week to go before returning home to Airdrie, Alberta.

Straschnitzki, paralyzed from the chest down, says he’s been able to straighten his legs and walk with the use of a wheeled machine.

He says the experience has left him at a loss for words, shocked and excited — all at the same time.

Straschnitzki, who’s hoping to make the Canadian sledge hockey team, took his sled with him to Thailand and has been sitting in it as part of his rehab.

He has finally been cleared by doctors and is to get some ice time in Bangkok later this week.

ICYMI (in case you missed it) …

WHITEHORSE, Yukon — Canada is getting its first Arctic university.

This past week, the Yukon legislature passed a bill to make Yukon College a university. It will be an institution with an Indigenous flavour that will make it as unique as the region it is to serve.

“Everybody knows we’re moving toward something big and something special,” said Tom Ullyett, chairman of the board of governors.

The idea of a northern university has been kicked around since at least 2007 when a survey in all three territories found residents wanted more influence over Arctic research. Northern First Nations have been asking for one for 50 years.

Nunavut and the Northwest Territories have colleges that teach courses toward degrees from southern institutions and have announced plans to broaden their post-secondary offerings.

Yukon College has done the same in science, education and social work and also offers courses towards bachelor’s degrees in Indigenous governance and business administration.

Once the college is transformed, it will become the first institution in the territories to grant a degree under its own name. Diplomas the first graduates of the governance program get next spring will read “Yukon University.”

The institution, which will also offer trades programs, will allow northerners to further their education closer to home.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

NEW YORK — A wave of new laws in 15 states that allow people to make claims of sexual abuse going back decades could bring a deluge of lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church that could surpass anything seen so far in its clergy abuse crisis.

Associated Press interviews with attorneys and clergy abuse watchdog groups found it could result in at least 5,000 new cases against the church and more than $4 billion in payouts.

It’s a financial reckoning playing out in such Catholic strongholds as New York, California and New Jersey, among eight states that go the furthest with “lookback windows” allowing sex abuse claims no matter how old.

Catholic leaders worry about the difficulty of defending such old cases, and more dioceses are considering bankruptcy and victim compensation funds.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

MADRID — Delegates from almost 200 countries have begun a two-week international climate conference in Madrid that seeks to step up efforts to stop global warming.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that the efforts so far are insufficient to overcome the “point of no return” in climate change.

“What is lacking is political will,” Guterres told reporters on the eve of the COP25 meeting, which opened today.

The summit, which moved to the Spanish capital after Chile had to pull out amid anti-government protests, aims to put the finishing touches to the rules governing the 2015 Paris accord.

That involves creating a functioning international emissions-trading system and compensating poor countries for losses they suffer from rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change.

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