Six stories in the news today:
NDP RETURN TO OTTAWA WITH LAME DUCK LEADER
New Democrat MPs return to the House of Commons today facing an uncertain road ahead after party members voted to dump Tom Mulcair as leader. The weekend convention in Edmonton revealed deep divisions within the party in the wake of the NDP’s drubbing in the fall election. Mulcair say he’ll remain at the helm until his successor is chosen, a process that could take as long as two years.
GOVERNMENTS PLEDGE HELP FOR ATTAWAPISKAT
The federal and Ontario governments are flying a crisis team to a remote First Nation that’s declared a state of emergency due to the soaring number of suicide attempts among its young people. The team being deployed in the poverty stricken James Bay community of Attawapiskat includes mental health nurses and social workers. Local MP, New Democrat Charlie Angus, calls the situation in Attawapiskat a “rolling nightmare.”
FIRST DEFENCE WITNESS AT CHILD DEATH TRIAL
The defence is to call its first witness today at the Lethbridge, Alberta trial of couple charged in the death of their young son. The parents were charged with failing to provide the necessities of life after the 19-month old boy died from bacterial meningitis. Court has heard the toddler was treated with home remedies in the weeks before his death. He was eventually hospitalized after his health took a critical turn, but died a week later.
AVERAGE FARMLAND PRICES SEE SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN 2015
Farm Credit Canada says the average price of farmland across the country increased 10.1 per cent last year as low interest rates and strong crop income helped maintain demand. The report notes the gains are part of a continuous upward trend that started back in 1993. But it also warns farmers to prepare for a potential softening of the market as lower crop prices increase volatility.
ANGLOHPONE SCHOOLS FEAR NEW QUEBEC LAW
Quebec’s struggling anglophone schools fear legislation that would eliminate school board elections will threaten minority language education rights in the province. Bill 86 would eliminate provincewide school board elections and replace each board’s council of commissioners with a council made up of parents, school staff and community members. Some groups welcome the proposed new role for parents, but opponents of Bill 86 worry they’ll lose their rights to provide minority-language education.
BUILDING A BETTER RAT TRAP
Researchers at BC’s Simon Fraser University believe they’ve solved the age old problem of how to build a better rat trap. They say they’ve developed a trap that uses synthetic sex pheromones, food scents and baby rat sounds to lure the wily rodents to their deaths. They claim their bait is 10 times more powerful than that used in traditional traps. And they’re hoping to cash in by going commercial with their ingenious device in about two years.