Here are five of the top news stories making headlines this afternoon.
Canada mourns Moncton’s fallen: Thousands gathered at Moncton’s hockey arena earlier today for the regimental funeral service for constables Douglas James Larche, Fabrice Georges Gevaudan and Dave Joseph Ross. “I stand here before you with an unbearable sadness, disbelief, rage, because a great man was taken away from us far too soon,” Larche’s brother Daniel told mourners. “Never in my worst nightmare did I envision a stitch in time that I would be giving his eulogy.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper was among the dignitaries in attendance. “We do not need a verdict to know that what happened here is an outrage,” he said.
Friendly fire kills six in Afghanistan: A U.S. airstrike intended to save ambushed troops instead killed five U.S. soldiers, the Pentagon has reported. One Afghan army officer also died in the incident. The Associated Press reports that the deaths occurred when Afghan and NATO forces were working together in southern Zabul province ahead of Saturday’s presidential elections.
Tories pounce on Daniel Therrien. No one in Ottawa should have been surprised when Daniel Therrien, the new privacy commissioner, told a parliamentary committee about his problems with a government bill meant to crack down on cyberbullying. Last week, Therrien let it slip that he’d split controversial surveillance provisions from Bill C-13 and debate them on their own merits. Today, Tory MPs let him have it. Reporters were shocked by the aggressive questioning from the government side. Bob Dechert and Kyle Seeback both questioned Therrien’s expertise, a mild surprise given the government appointed Therrien only last week. New Democrats looked to have a wedge ready for Question Period, but not a single opposition MP mentioned a word of Therrien’s testimony or the Tory behaviour at committee.
The ethics commissioner gets two more years. Mary Dawson is a rare government watchdog who’s earned the respect of the Harper administration. Last week, the Prime Minister reappointed Dawson to a two-year term that parliamentarians rubber-stamped at a parliamentary committee earlier today. Harper lauded Dawson’s “extraordinary professionalism, integrity and leadership” in her six years as commissioner. Few are granted that honour by a notoriously combative Prime Minister’s Office. Last year, Harper reappointed official languages commissioner Graham Fraser to a three-year term and celebrated the former journalist’s “dedication, diligence and distinction.” Watchdogs are always a single critical report from the government’s doghouse, a fate Dawson and Graham have so far avoided.
Prince Philip turns 93: The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated his birthday with a party for 8,000 at Buckingham Palace. There was a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London. As our resident royal watcher notes, it’s the first birthday in three years that Philip has been outside a hospital. Writes Patricia Treble: “There has been a warm, even affectionate outpouring of appreciation for a man who can be a curmudgeon on even his best day.”