In the news today, Feb. 12

Four stories in the news for Tuesday, Feb. 12

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BISSONNETTE SENTENCE TOO HARSH: PARENTS

The parents of a man behind the deadly Quebec City mosque attack have issued an open letter questioning the severity of the minimum 40-year sentence handed down to their son last week. Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, received his sentence Friday for killing six men and injuring six others at the Islamic Cultural Centre mosque on Jan. 29, 2017. His parents, Raymond Bissonnette and Manon Marchand, say in the letter released Monday that the sentence is the harshest imposed in Quebec since the death penalty was abolished in 1976.

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TRUDEAU WELCOMES ETHICS INVESTIGATION

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed Monday an investigation by the federal ethics commissioner into an allegation that his office pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution. And while she has fuelled the controversy by refusing to comment on the allegation, Trudeau said he continues to have "full confidence" in Wilson-Raybould, whom he moved to the veterans affairs portfolio in January. He said Wilson-Raybould "confirmed for me a conversation we had this fall where I told her directly that any decisions on matters involving the director of public prosecutions were hers alone."

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FIRMS FEAR HIT FROM CARBON TAX: POLL

A large proportion of small- and medium-sized businesses soon to be subjected to Ottawa's carbon tax worry they'll be unable to pass along the bulk of the extra costs to their customers, suggests a new survey being released today. The online survey was completed by 3,527 members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in the four provinces — Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick — that will have to follow the Trudeau government's carbon-pricing system as of April 1. The lobby group has strongly opposed the federal carbon-tax plan out of concern it will pile on too many costs for smaller companies. In fact, more than two-thirds of the business owners that it polled don't support any kind of carbon pricing program at all.

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B.C. LEGISLATURE RESUMES WITH THRONE SPEECH

Members of the British Columbia legislature return to the house today for a throne speech that sets the political agenda for the coming months as allegations from a spending scandal have all three parties searching for answers. The two top officials at the legislature remain suspended amid a police investigation and a report by Speaker Darryl Plecas that details allegations of spending abuses. NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said the government will work to develop tighter checks on all officials at the legislature to ensure strict spending and reporting rules.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will host a meeting with Atlantic party members to discuss policy.

— Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will hold a media availability Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog following a tour of the B.C. city's climate action initiatives.

— The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. will release its latest Housing Market Insight on the ownership structure of residential property and vacant land in B.C., Ontario and Nova Scotia.

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