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Seven stories in Canada we’re watching

March 26: Provincial budgets for Quebec and Alberta, a maple-syrup deep freeze, and adapting to life in prison


 
Jason Franson/CP

Jason Franson/CP

SOURCES SAY ISIL ENDEAVOUR NOT A ONE-YEAR MISSION

The training of Kurdish peshmerga fighters has been a slow undertaking that could mean Canada’s mission in Iraq and Syria will take more than a year, The Canadian Press has learned from multiple sources. That message delivered behind closed doors Wednesday by officials from the Canadian Forces and Foreign Affairs to the main critics of the New Democrats and the Liberals.

RIGHTS GROUP PRESSES WATCHDOG ON CSIS RECORDS

A civil liberties group says newly disclosed Canadian Security Intelligence Service records on protest surveillance bolster its formal complaint that spies went too far in eyeing environmental activists. The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association has asked the Security Intelligence Review Committee to consider the documents as it investigates the spying allegations.

SILICONE BUTT INJECTION WOMAN TO BE SENTENCED

A woman who injected industrial silicone into the buttocks of customers as an illegal cosmetic procedure is expected to be sentenced in Toronto today. Crown prosecutors have argued that Marilyn Reid preyed on the vulnerable for profit, and have asked the court for a 10- to 12-year sentence for the 50-year-old woman.

ALBERTA BUDGET BEING PRESENTED TODAY INCLUDES HEALTH LEVY

Premier Jim Prentice will unveil Alberta’s budget today, which will include a new health-care levy and a 10-year plan to get the province off the roller-coaster of oil prices. He says the budget will allow for energy royalties to be put into savings and used against the debt by 2019. Prentice has said the recent collapse in oil prices will cost the treasury $7 billion this year alone.

QUEBEC SET TO TABLE 2015-16 BUDGET TODAY

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao is promising the province’s 2015-16 budget to be tabled today will contain no increases in taxes or fees. Leitao is expected to introduce a balanced budget after several years of provincial deficits.

MAPLE SYRUP PRODUCERS ANXIOUS FOR WARM DAYS

Just like any other crop, maple syrup is at the mercy of Mother Nature, and the frigid winter hasn’t been kind to sugar bush owners. Many producers, like Ray Bonenberg of Mapleside Sugar Bush south of Pembroke, Ont., are keeping a close eye on the thermometer and anxiously waiting for a run of warmer days to get the sap flowing.

THE REAL ‘GET HARD:’ OTTAWA CONSULTANT ON PRISON PREP

Lee Steven Chapelle had heard of “Get Hard,” a new flick about a white-collar criminal prepping for a prison sentence, but was surprised to learn it was a comedy. In the movie, opening Friday, Will Ferrell plays a millionaire who seeks expert advice on how to survive behind bars. Chapelle is a real-life prison consultant based in Ottawa, who works with the soon-to-be incarcerated and their families to get them used to jail. Chapelle spoke with The Canadian Press about some common misconceptions about life in prison and how to adapt.

ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY …

– Statistics Canada will release the employment insurance figures for January.

– Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will speak before the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce in London.

– Trial dates are expected to be set for Christopher Phillips, who is accused of threatening police with a dangerous chemical.


 

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