We tell you five things you need to know this morning.
1. Russia threatens a military response. Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, says Russia will not hesitate to respond to an attack on its “legitimate interests” in Ukraine. In an interview on state broadcaster Russia Today, Lavrov recalled his country’s invasion of Georgia after Georgian troops attacked South Ossetia in 2008. He said an attack on any Russian citizen is an attack on Russia. Vladimir Putin’s definition of “legitimate interests” is now crucial. Occupiers remain entrenched in Ukraine and Kyiv has redeployed troops. The Geneva accord reached before Easter is, apparently, nothing but a memory.
2. The feds will ban infamous DOT-111 rail cars. The Globe and Mail reports that the phase-out of the aging cars, which haul crude oil and are said to be more susceptible to disaster than newer models, is one plank of a broader move to strengthen rail safety based on recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board. The new rules will also force rail companies to develop emergency response plans.
3. Elizabeth May can’t stand the Prime Minister’s Office. Stephen Harper’s gang has few fans outside of government circles. They’re brash, they’re secretive, they take no prisoners, and they have a lot of energy. But the Green Party’s leader told an April 13 town hall in Nanaimo, B.C. her opinion of the PMO. Her response that she later claimed was made in jest? The PMO comprises a bunch of “ruthless, cutthroat psychopaths” who win at all costs. Ouch.
4. Jason Kenney plays offence and defence. The employment minister is caught between a crackdown on illegal temporary foreign work and a defence of the proliferation of such labourers under his government’s watch. Kenney has come down hard on restaurants that, in recent days, are alleged to have hired foreign workers in place of Canadians willing to do the same jobs. His critics insist the feds have been blind to unchecked growth of TFWs. The Globe and Mail reports that the number of TFWs in “accommodation and food services” has grown 926 per cent since the Tories took power in 2006.
5. Sherpas walk off the job below Mount Everest. Try to climb the world’s tallest mountain without a sherpa—i.e. a local guide who knows the terrain and the way to the summit—and you won’t get too far. Nepal’s tourism relies heavily on sherpas, which means a recent boycott by the integral guides—which so far includes about half of the group of about 400—could paralyze the upcoming climbing season. The sherpas refuse to climb the mountain after 16 of their colleagues were killed in an avalanche. Three bodies remain buried under snow.