City News

News Breakdown: October 28-November 3

Spain imposed direct rule on Catalonia as its regional parliament declared independence, while also sacking and bringing charges against 15 senior Catalan politicians, five of whom have fled to Belgium.
– Eight Catalan Cabinet Ministers and the Vice-President were jailed, another Minister was charged but not jailed and four Ministers, as well as the Catalan President, are in exile in Belgium. The Spanish national government has dissolved Catalonia’s parliament and new elections are scheduled for December
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Trump campaign official Rick Gates turned themselves in after charges were laid against them by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Oct. 30.
– Former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying to the FBI about links between the Trump campaign and Russia and has been cooperating with the FBI for weeks. Manafort and Gates have been charged with 12 charges including conspiracy against the United States with regards to their dealings with the ousted Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych.
National Iraqi forces threaten military operations against the regional Kurdish government over a delay in handing over borders with Turkey, Iran and Syria.
– Amidst Iraq’s capture of Kirkuk, which the Kurds captured during the fight against the IS, and the Kurds’ failed independence referendum Masoud Barzani stepped down as the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Eight were killed and 15 were injured in an IS-inspired truck ramming terrorist attack in Manhattan near the World Trade Centre on Oct. 31.
– Five of the dead were Argentinians, one was a Belgian and the two others were Americans. The Uzbek immigrant who carried out the attack entered the US under the Diversity Immigrant Visa. This ‘lottery’ visa system has come under attack by President Trump who has also called for the death penalty.
The Liberian Supreme Court has ordered the run-off presidential election set for Nov. 7 to be halted amidst allegations of fraud in the first round.
– The third-place Liberty Party and the second place Unity Party allege “massive systemic irregularities and fraud,” pointing to polling stations opening late and preventing people from voting.

Jumbo Glacier in British Colombia, where developers plan to build a new ski resort on land the Ktunaxa people regard as sacred. (The Guardian)
Jumbo Glacier in British Colombia, where developers plan to build a new ski resort on land the Ktunaxa people regard as sacred. (The Guardian)

The Supreme Court has ruled that the development of a huge ski resort in Southeast British Colombia will go ahead despite the fact that the land to be developed is considered sacred by the Ktunaxa First Nation.
– In the decision, released on Nov. 2, the Supreme Court ruled that the project would proceed on the grounds of public interest and found that the community’s freedom of religion had not been breached and that, “the Charter protects the freedom to worship, but does not protect the spiritual focal point of worship.”
The Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson says that Finance Minister Bill Morneau is the only Cabinet Minister who currently holds assets outside of a blind trust.
– The NDP pensions critic Scott Duvall moved on Nov. 1 to withdraw the Liberal pensions bill in light of Minister Morneau’s conflict of interest- a company he holds $21 million worth of shares in has lobbied for a change that is in the pensions bill.
In the first use of the newly-passed Magnitsky Bill, Canada took aim at corruption and human rights abuses by sanctioning 52 individuals from Russia, Venezuela, and South Sudan.
– Those included in the sanctions include Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, 18 other senior Venezuelan officials, 30 Russians involved in tax fraud totalling US $230 million, and three South Sudanese government officials.
Governor General Julie Payette spoke at the Canadian Science Policy Convention on Nov. 1 where she spoke on misinformation around climate change, health, medicine, and even horoscopes.
– Payette’s remarks were applauded by Prime Minister Trudeau and scorned by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, specifically her suggestion that “divine intervention” did not play a role in creating life on Earth.
The federal government is looking to bring in 310,000 immigrants to Canada in 2018 with increases every year to 340,000 by 2020. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said that a baseline of 300,000 arrivals per year would become the ‘new normal’ for the country.
– In the most recent census the number of Jewish Canadians declined from 330,000 in 2011 to 144,000 in 2016. This huge drop leads to questions about the accuracy of the census and the Jewish community says it plans to lobby Statistics Canada to rectify the mistake in the 2021 census.

Jaime Baillie stood with PC MLAs as he said he was stepping down as party leader. (CBC)
Jaime Baillie stood with PC MLAs as he said he was stepping down as party leader. (CBC)

The leader of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party, Jamie Baillie, stepped down on Nov. 1 after two unsuccessful attempts at forming government.
– Baillie will stay on as leader until the party votes on a replacement. Frontrunners in the race to replace Baillie as NS PC leader are Cecil Clarke and Tim Houston.
Thirteen Mi’kmaq First Nations communities in Nova Scotia have jointly applied for a licence to participate in Arctic surf clam fishery on Nov. 2.
– The Mi’kmaq communities applied for the licence after the Federal Fisheries Minister announced in September that 25 per cent of the quota held by Clearwater Seafoods was going to a new entrant.
The Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union filed a Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge on Oct. 31 with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, asserting that Bill 75 is unconstitutional.
– The court filings show that the NTSU claims that Bill 75, which legislates contracts of 9,300 public school teachers, violates the charter rights to freedom of association and the right to freedom of expression.
Largely in response to the furor surrounding Dalhousie Student Union External Vice-President Masuma Khan, the DSU has released a statement saying that Indigenous, Muslim and other racialized women are under attack and that Dalhousie University has failed to adequately support marginalized students.
– The DSU’s statement lists ten demands, including calling on Dalhousie University to issue an apology to two students they say were subjected to, “bureaucratic processes that uphold racist and colonial institutional policies.”
The Nova Scotia provincial government isn’t making progress on Halifax Regional Municipality’s list of legislation changes, while Municipal Affairs Minister Derek Mombourquette puts the delay on due diligence.
– Mayor Mike Savage says that the provincial legislature needs to tackle these requested legislative changes in the spring sitting, specifically affordable housing and increased council powers.

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