We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Railway workers face charges in Lac-Mégantic. Ten months after the rail disaster that devastated the town and killed 47 residents, Quebec prosecutors filed 47 counts of criminal negligence against the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, as well as three employees: Thomas Harding, an engineer who allegedly failed to sufficiently set the train’s brakes before leaving it unattended; Jean Demaitre, MM&A’s manager of train operations; and Richard Labrie, the company’s traffic controller. The employees were arrested yesterday and will appear in court today.
2. Ehud Olmert could go to prison for six years. The 68-year-old former Israeli prime minister was earlier convicted of accepting a bribe related to a development project in Jerusalem when he was the city’s mayor. Olmert’s prison term commences on Sept. 1, which means he has time to appeal the sentence before he serves time behind bars. David Rozen, the presiding judge, condemned bribery, which he said “contaminate the public sector.” Rozen also attacked Olmert’s judgment. “The taker of bribes is like a traitor who betrays the public trust that was given to him,” he said.
3. The NDP defends its Montreal office. Liberals and Conservatives think they’ve backed the NDP into a corner. The Official Opposition claims to have received approval for a satellite office in Montreal, and insists it broke no rules in the process. Last night, Huffington Post Canada‘s Althia Raj reported that House of Commons administration believed the employees worked in Ottawa—and had no clue they were in Montreal. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will take his party’s defence to a House committee on Thursday where his opponents will relish the opportunity to embarrass him.
4. Canada can’t close a trade deal with Europe. The much-hyped Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement remains unresolved, even after an agreement-in-principle signed seven months ago cleared most of the hurdles. The National Post‘s John Ivison says the federal Tories don’t deserve the victory they’ve already declared on the trade file, as yet other “concluded” deals also remain unfinished. The NDP tried to ask the government for more details on CETA’s eventual final text during May 8’s Question Period. The government stonewalled, only pledging the final agreement “will come before the House.”
5. Mexicans can more freely travel to Canada. But they still need visas to do so, a requirement that, a few months ago, prompted Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel a planned trip to Ottawa in June. The massaged rules allow certain Mexicans to apply for expedited visas, a move lauded by the country’s embassy as a “very positive step.” Still, Mexico will no doubt continue its years-long lobbying effort to remove visas entirely.