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Five stories in Canada we’re watching

In the news this week: A test of Michael Chong’s Private Member’s Bill


 
A joint session of Parliament in the House of Commons in Ottawa November 3, 2014. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

A joint session of Parliament in the House of Commons in Ottawa November 3, 2014. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Five stories in the news today, Nov.2:

MICHAEL CHONG’S BILL TO BE PUT TO THE TEST

The caucuses of the political parties will have the chance this week to adopt new powers granted under a Private Member’s Bill passed this earlier this year. Conservative Michael Chong’s bill was designed to rebalance power between MP’s and party leaders. Under the bill caucus members must vote on whether to give themselves the power to elect interim leaders or trigger a leadership review or suspend colleagues.

REPORT MAKES CASE FOR TOLLS

A private think-tank says traffic gridlock in Canada’s major cities is having a huge economic cost. A report by the Ecofiscal Commission points to examples of a plumber who can only do five jobs in a day instead of seven because of time getting from A to B or companies holding larger inventories because of higher shipping costs, meaning higher prices. The report suggests making drivers pay tolls to use roads could reduce that costly congestion by persuading more people to opt for the public transit alternative.

PRIVACY WATCHDOG SAYS DRONES NEED LEASH

The federal privacy czar says the federal government should think about restrictions on using small camera-equipped drones near “sensitive and protected” areas like residential neighbourhoods, schoolyards and prisons. Daniel Therrien says there should also be some means of easily identifying operators of flying devices. The government plans to introduce regulatory requirements for small drones. It notes a growing number of people are flying aircraft that have no pilot and can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet.

COULD STUDENTS PAY LOANS WITH AEROPLAN POINTS?

Ottawa is looking at working out an arrangement where graduates with student loans could help pay them off with travel reward points. The outgoing Harper government gave the green light in February for officials to work out a deal with a company that lets registered students put reward points like those collected through Aeroplan towards tuition and loan payments. Students in Alberta and Ontario can already use reward points but as most student loans come from the Canada Student Loans program a deal at the federal level would reach hundreds of thousands of more students.

B.C. MAN WANTS TO SHOWCASE THE CRAB FLOAT THAT SAVED HIS LIFE

Kevin Strain feared it was the end of the line when the 20 metre boat he was on hit a rock and chucked him overboard into dangerous rapids off Vancouver Island. But somehow in the midst of the torrent he spotted a luminous crab float shining in the moonlight, and was able to grab it. It kept his head above water for the next two hours as he battled the current to get back to shore. Now Kevin says he’s trying to figure out the best place to display the little float that saved his life.


 
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Five stories in Canada we’re watching

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