National Newswatch

Wife of jailed Saudi blogger hails U.S. vice-president’s call for husband’s release

Jul 18 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — The wife of jailed Saudi dissident Raif Badawi said U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence gave her hope Thursday when he called on Saudi Arabia to free her husband. Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Sherbrooke, Que., with her three children, said Pence's comments were the first time a U.S. administration official has publicly mentioned her husband by name. She said she would like […]

Judge rejects groups’ attempt to have Quebec secularism law suspended

Jul 18 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Quebec's secularism law will continue to apply in full, Superior Court Justice Michel Yergeau ruled Thursday in rejecting a bid by religious and civil liberties groups to have the legislation suspended. Lawyers representing a national Muslim organization, a civil liberties group and a university student who wears an Islamic head scarf had asked for a […]

Liberals nominate well-known anti-pipeline activist to take Montreal NDP seat

Jul 10 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Within a few minutes of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's speech Wednesday night introducing his newest candidate for the fall election, a protester lifted up a sign and began screaming anti-pipeline slogans. The crowd of roughly 150 people went silent. The female protester demanded Trudeau respect Indigenous sovereignty and stop the expansion of the Trans […]

Quebec removes crucifix from legislature as government defends secularism law in court

Jul 9 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — As lawyers defended the Quebec government's secularism law from a constitutional challenge in a Montreal court Tuesday, the crucifix hanging over the province's legislative chamber in Quebec City was quietly removed. The Coalition Avenir Quebec offered to move the cross as a goodwill gesture to all those against its new law, which bans some public sector workers — such as teachers, […]

Judge rejects demand to halt transfer of two Montreal English schools to French system

Jul 8 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Quebec's Superior Court on Monday rejected a request by a Montreal English school board to save two east-end schools from being transferred to the overcrowded French system. The English Montreal School Board tried to get a court injunction to stop the transfers, arguing the government's decision to take away the schools violated minority language rights guaranteed in the Constitution. […]

Quebec sweetens pot in effort to get more immigrants to learn French

Jul 5 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Quebec announced tens of millions of new dollars Friday aimed at getting more newcomers to learn French. One of the Coalition Avenir Quebec's main pitches to get elected last fall was to temporarily reduce immigration and ensure the newcomers who are accepted can integrate by learning the province's only official language. Not only are French classes free […]

Trudeau announces $1.3 billion for Montreal metro extension as election looms

Jul 4 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed $1.3 billion of federal funding Thursday towards extending Montreal's metro line — a project first announced by Rene Levesque in 1979. To describe the extension of the blue line eastward by five metro stations as long-awaited is an understatement. Successive governments have been dangling the prospect of a new […]

Former skiers reach out-of-court deal with Alpine Canada in sex assault lawsuit

Jul 2 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Alpine Canada admitted Tuesday it had put its interests before those of three young female skiers who were sexually abused by their coach in the 1990s. Canada's national governing body for alpine and ski cross racing said it was "profoundly sorry" in a news release announcing it had reached an out-of-court settlement with the former athletes over sexual abuse […]

Design firm tied to federal detention centre says ‘extreme leftists’ targeting it

Jun 19 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — A Montreal-based architecture firm involved in the construction of an immigrant detention centre says it has been attacked again by "extreme leftists." The firm Lemay said in a statement one of its employees was "personally targeted" in front of his home. The company added its property has been hit several times in recent months by the leftist group, which it doesn't name. While Lemay […]

Groups launch challenge of Quebec’s secularism bill one day after it becomes law

Jun 17 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — Less than 24 hours after it became law, groups representing Canadian Muslims and civil liberties advocates sought Monday to have Quebec's secularism legislation struck down as unconstitutional. The National Council of Canadian Muslims, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and Ichrak Nourel Hak — a Universite de Montreal education student who wears a hijab — are listed as plaintiffs in the case. They are seeking […]

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit lacking skills and training to fulfil mission: report

Jun 13 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — Still reeling from accusations its investigators fabricated evidence, the province's once-praised anti-corruption police unit is again the target of criticism. The police force created to restore the public's faith in democratic institutions lacks officers with the necessary skills to conduct complex investigations into financial crimes, according to a government report published Thursday. Claude Corbo, head of the office that monitors Quebec's anti-corruption police, recommends that the […]

Legault government trying to adopt secularism bill ahead of summer break

Jun 12 2019 — Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press — MONTREAL — The Coalition Avenir Quebec government is running out of time and into a battle over what constitutes a religious symbol as it pushes to adopt the secularism bill promised in last fall's election campaign. Premier Francois Legault and his cabinet have stated they want the bill banning many public sector workers from wearing religious symbols passed before […]