National Newswatch

Now a Trump loyalist, new White House communications chief once called him a ‘hack politician’

Jul 21 2017 — Lucas Powers — He once called U.S. President Donald Trump “un-American” and “a hack politician.” On Friday, however, after news broke that Trump had elevated him to White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci took a decidedly different tack on his new boss. Known as “the Mooch” among personal friends, Scaramucci told a packed White House press briefing room […]

Pot breathalyzer quest ramps up as legalization looms

May 22 2016 — Lucas Powers — You’re standing on the side of the road, with traffic whizzing past. The police officer who pulled you over suspects you may have smoked the reefer before departing for McDonald’s. But she’s in a bit of a quagmire, because, really, there’s no reliable way to know for sure. Are you high? If you are high, […]

Pot legalization coming, so stop possession arrests, say some

Apr 23 2016 — Lucas Powers — The federal government’s promise to begin the process of legalizing cannabis in 2017 is amplifying calls from lawyers and advocates for an end to arrests and prosecutions for some weed-related crimes that have “clogged up the system” and left tens of thousands of Canadians with a criminal record. Health Minister Jane Philpott said earlier this […]

Panama Papers only a glimpse into ‘astonishing’ wealth stashed offshore

Apr 6 2016 — Lucas Powers — The provocative revelations coming out of the so-called Panama Papers are just a glimpse into the murky global network that’s keeping “absolutely astonishing” amounts of money out of public coffers. The 11.5 million files taken from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca show how the financial elite exploit a secretive system to manoeuvre wealth anonymously and […]

Canadian arms trade much larger than data suggests, expert says

Feb 23 2016 — Lucas Powers — Canada has a long history of exporting military equipment around the world, but keeping tabs on the size and scope of the arms industry proves surprisingly difficult. “Nobody really knows what the true value of Canadian arms exports really is,” says Kenneth Epps, a policy adviser at the Ploughshares Project, a Waterloo, Ont.-based NGO that […]

Why Canada has fallen so far behind on public transit

Jul 6 2015 — Lucas Powers — Inadequate public transit has become as Canadian as maple syrup, and cities are struggling to find affordable solutions. Metro Vancouver took a novel crack at the problem last week with a plebiscite on a five cent sales tax hike that would have covered the region’s $7.5-billion share in a massive 10-year transit strategy. Voters resoundingly […]

Anti-ISIS mission in Syria built on shaky legal ground, critics say

Mar 26 2015 — Lucas Powers — Earlier this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood in the House and said that Canada “will not seek the express consent of the Syrian government” to launch strikes against ISIS targets in northeastern Syria.​ Simply put, Canadian fighter jets will be dropping bombs on a sovereign nation without an explicit invitation or UN mandate to […]

New anti-terror bill could put chill on freedom of speech

Jan 29 2015 — Lucas Powers — Prime Minister Stephen Harper said last weekend that new anti-terror legislation to be introduced on Friday will, among other things, “criminalize the promotion of terrorism.” Such a move, however, could have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Canada and would not necessarily contribute to effectively fighting domestic extremism, according to legal experts. The […]

Prophet Muhammad images draw varied reactions within Muslim community

Jan 14 2015 — Lucas Powers — Three million copies of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s first edition since last week’s deadly attacks went into circulation in 16 languages around the world today. On the cover is a cartoon image of the Prophet Muhammad shedding a single tear and holding a sign with the phrase “Je suis Charlie,” or “I am Charlie.” […]

3 issues that pit Canadian parents against the state

Nov 16 2014 — Lucas Powers — How much say should the state have in how parents raise their children? The debate has always existed in one form or another, and some of the most contentious issues have made their way to Canadian courts, resulting in numerous high profile rulings.

Virgin Galactic space tourists could be grounded by FAA

Jan 20 2014 — Lucas Powers — Nearly 700 people have already paid $250,000 for a ticket to ride Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceship, and the company is hoping this is the year that those space flights finally take off. One potential glitch: the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has not granted Virgin Galactic a commercial operator’s licence.

Lac-Mégantic victims pose challenge for forensic experts

Jul 10 2013 — Lucas Powers — Alongside police and emergency response crews clearing the explosion site in the downtown core of Lac-Mégantic, Que., a team of forensic investigators has begun the grisly task of recovering and identifying the remains of up to 40 people still reported missing from Saturday’s horrific train crash.