National Newswatch

Lack of diplomacy no barrier for Canada’s new top diplomat, Chrystia Freeland

Jan 11 2017 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — At a glance, Chrystia Freeland's background in deconstructing the world's super-wealthy and pugnaciously critiquing Russia's president wouldn't appear to be an ideal resume for the job as Canada's top diplomat dealing with Donald Trump's White House. But as the former journalist was elevated to the post Tuesday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a critical moment in global relations, […]

Conservation groups launch suit challenging Trudeau cabinet’s pipeline approval

Dec 20 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — Conservation groups have filed a new court challenge to the federal government's approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The request for judicial review filed with the Federal Court of Appeal late Monday in Calgary is at least the eighth legal test of the controversial project, which will almost triple the capacity of an existing, 1,150-kilometre pipeline from […]

Health Canada focus groups find youngest Canadians most skeptical of legal pot

Dec 20 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — With apologies to The Who, the kids may not be alright with this. A series of 24 focus groups on perceptions of marijuana legalization commissioned by the federal Liberal government found that the youngest teenaged participants were the most cautious about the policy shift. The government has been laying the groundwork for months on a major public education […]

Trudeau says judge pan-Canadian climate plan on emissions trend line in 2019

Dec 19 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his pan-Canadian climate plan can be considered a bust if it fails to put Canada on track to meeting its international, 2030 emission-cutting targets. In a year-end, roundtable interview with The Canadian Press, Trudeau said Canadian voters in 2019 can assess his signature policy's success or failure by looking at the country's greenhouse […]

Ship noise on government’s radar amid dispute over pipeline’s impact on whales

Dec 19 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — The federal government is seeking a way to regulate underwater shipping noise as part of its plan to protect an endangered group of killer whales from increased oil tanker traffic off Vancouver. The news comes as environmental groups are poised to file a new lawsuit challenging the Liberal cabinet's approval of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline […]

Decades of lobbying finally move feds to comprehensive ban on asbestos by 2018

Dec 15 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — Michelle Cote says her father didn't want to see anyone else have their life choked from them the way he did before succumbing to asbestos-related disease last July. Cote added a human face and emotional wallop Thursday to a long overdue federal government announcement that Canada will ban asbestos-containing products by 2018. It marks the beginning […]

Federal cannabis task force green lights legal sales to teenagers

Dec 14 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — Eighteen-year-olds should be allowed to buy recreational cannabis when the Liberal government launches a globe-leading social experiment in legalizing marijuana next year, a federally appointed task force said Tuesday. The age limit — and the hazy science of pot-impaired driving — were among the most contentious aspects during five months of hearings and research, task force vice-chair Dr. Mark Ware told a […]

Federal government appoints three new bilingual NEB members,

Dec 13 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — Federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has moved to revive the stalled review of TransCanada's Energy East pipeline by appointing three new, bilingual, temporary members to the National Energy Board. The move came Monday while the dust was still settling on the Liberal government's pan-Canadian climate policy framework, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrestled […]

PM hails national climate change deal, but without Saskatchewan, Manitoba

Dec 9 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared victory Friday in his campaign to craft a national "framework" agreement on climate change — even though Saskatchewan and Manitoba refused to sign on to the deal and British Columbia claimed a major carve-out. Even as Trudeau was asserting the provinces and territories "are all in this together," it was painfully […]

Federal-provincial climate plan summit won’t result in full ledger of GHG cuts

Dec 7 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — The long-awaited pan-Canadian climate plan to be finalized this week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers won't include a detailed account of how Canada will meet its international 2030 emissions target. Federal sources tell The Canadian Press that while there will be a list of climate policies taken by various governments, don't expect to […]

Carr dials back military response, says Liberals ’embrace’ pipeline dissent

Dec 6 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — The Liberal government is going out of its way to downplay the prospect of violent confrontations at oil pipeline protests. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, who set off days of consternation by suggesting "defence forces" might respond to non-peaceful protests, didn't have to be asked Tuesday before once again announcing that the government "embraces" dissent. "The point I wanted […]

Don’t off-load Syrian refugees on provinces, Senate committee tells feds

Dec 6 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — With federal benefits about to run out for thousands of Syrian immigrants, the Senate human rights committee is raising concerns about those people shifting on to provincial welfare rolls. The flood of 30,000 newcomers, both government and privately sponsored, are quickly closing in on their one-year anniversaries, when supplementary benefits will expire and many could […]

Oil industry says carbon pricing coming, pump revenues back into cleaner tech

Dec 6 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — Canada's petroleum industry lobby group told the federal government this summer that carbon tax revenues from oil and gas should be pumped back into the industry in order to "not only preserve, but enhance" the sector. The pitch by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers came in August as federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and her provincial counterparts were quietly discussing the […]

Canada’s stagnant, slipping national wealth overly reliant on oil and gas: study

Dec 2 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — A comprehensive measure of Canada's national wealth shows it has been stagnant for decades and is too heavily dependent on housing and oil and gas, says a groundbreaking national report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. This week's federal government approval of two expanded oil export pipelines simply drives home the "imperative" that Canada use its fossil fuel wealth to […]

Trudeau’s pipeline approvals complicate math of cutting Canada’s GHG emissions

Nov 30 2016 — Bruce Cheadle — OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the approval this week of two major oil pipeline expansions, insisting all the while that the new fossil fuel infrastructure fits within his Liberal government's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental advocates immediately called the approvals a betrayal, but a series of government climate policy moves this year suggest […]