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5 at 5: Ontario budget could topple government

Also: B.C. sawmill shooting, Nigerian kidnapping victims, Oprah wants the Clippers, and rotting whales

(Photo by Cole Garside)

(Photo by Cole Garside)

Ontario Liberals prepare to deliver budget that could trigger election. Kathleen Wynne will deliver her first budget as Ontario Premier tomorrow and it could very well topple the Liberal minority government. Whether Wynne’s government stands or falls will be up to NDP leader Andrea Horwath, who says her party needs to see and consider the budget before it decides how to vote. In 2013, the NDP supported Dalton McGunity’s budget, but that was before the former premier was forced to resign over a pair of cancelled gas plants that cost taxpayers $1.1 billion. Many parts of the budget have already been announced, or leaked to the press. Some measures seem targeted to court the NDP vote, such as taxes on those in the highest income brackets and corporations, a new gas aviation gas tax, and pay increases for personal-support and child-care workers. If the government falls, Ontario will go to the polls sometime in June.

Two dead, two injured in shooting at B.C. sawmill. A former employee is the suspect in a shooting at a sawmill in Nanimo, on Vancouver Island. RCMP said they have a 47-year-old man in custody. Reports say that two of the victims have died and two others were taken to hospital after the shooting, which happened around 7 a.m. Pacific Time. The union at the Western Forest Products mill has been embroiled in an ongoing dispute over severance pay, but it’s still unclear whether this shooting is linked to the dispute.

Kidnapped Nigerian school girls now wives to militants. More than 200 teenaged girls who were kidnapped from a school in northeast Nigeria while writing final exams have been forced into marriage and are now being shared as wives among their Boko Haram militant captors, say new reports out today. The teens, all between the ages of 16 and 18, were abducted by the Islamic militant group on April 14 and have been missing ever since. Relatives have had little information about the young women, and are increasingly frustrated with the military and government. Nigerian officials say rescue efforts have been hampered by the dense forest where the militants are hiding. It is thought that the girls have been divided up into three groups, with the wedding ceremonies taking place over the weekend.

Will Oprah buy the Clippers? A day after Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was severely repremanded for making racist comments, Oprah Winfrey confirmed that she would consider buying the team. She’s in talks to do so, along with media excutive David Geffen and Oracle Corp’s Larry Ellison, her people said. Not so fast, though. The NBA commissioner slapped Sterling with a $2.5-million fine and a lifetime ban from owning another team on Tuesday, but Sterling is technically still the Clippers owner. Other NBA owners are expected to vote to force him to sell, but there is no schedule for that vote.

More on that potentially exploding whale. It seems that a little media attention is helping the Newfoundland town of Trout River deal with a big problem: a dead, rotting blue whale that washed up in its inner harbour. Originally, federal agencies (fisheries and environment) told the town it was responsible for cleaning up the carcass, or that it should let it decompose naturally. This option wasn’t good enough for town clerk Emily Butler, who was afraid the 25-metre carcass might explode rotting whale goop all over the town’s boardwalk. The neighbouring town of Rocky Harbour is also dealing with its own rotting whale problem. On Wednesday, Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said she was in talks with a museum, which may want the whale skeleton for a display. However, before that happens, the museum would have to remove 60 or 70 tonnes of whale flesh from the bones. (As for the explosion bit, it probably won’t happen unless someone pokes it with a sharp object, a DFO scientist told CBC.)