National Newswatch

Controversial Gatineau city councillor questions whether the Earth is round

Feb 5 2019 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — A Quebec municipal councillor who was already under fire for denying the existence of Islamophobia is drawing new scrutiny for recent comments questioning whether the Earth is round. Nathalie Lemieux of Gatineau, Que., created controversy last week after she told a reporter the word "Islamophobia'' doesn't exist for her. She was stripped of her title as deputy mayor but remains […]

Premier says no changes to Quebec gun registry despite call for better screening

Jan 21 2019 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — The head of the Quebec City mosque where six men were killed in a shooting almost two years ago wants the province to tighten up controls over who has access to firearms. In a letter to Premier Francois Legault made public Monday, Boufeldja Benabdallah identified a weakness when it comes to verifying people who have mental health problems. He said that the […]

Military expert suggests Canada may want to consider its own space force

Jan 5 2019 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — President Donald Trump's push to create a U.S. space force is being welcomed by military experts in Canada, and the executive director of one defence think tank says Canada should consider following suit. "At some point we might like to think about a space force," Matthew Overton, executive director of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, said in an […]

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

Dec 15 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec's anti-corruption unit is having difficulty recruiting members and filling a number of positions. Frederick Gaudreau, the interim head of the agency known by its French acronym, UPAC, admits unflattering coverage in the media hasn't helped. "Yes, it's a reason, I don't want to deny it," Gaudreau said at a recent news […]

Canadian astronaut says launch most dangerous part of upcoming space mission

Nov 29 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — As David Saint-Jacques makes final preparations for the first manned Russian rocket launch since last month's near-catastrophic Soyuz failure, the Canadian astronaut is bracing for some heart-pounding moments. They will come as he and two fellow astronauts blast off Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on their way to the International Space Station. "Among all the tasks, the most complicated — […]

Quebec town insists politics not involved in demolition of controversial house

Nov 24 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — There has been a strong public outcry over the demolition of a house in the town of Chambly, Quebec, with links to a civilian uprising against British rule in the 1800s. The house, built around 1820, was home to Rene Boileau, a local notary who took part in the Rebellions of 1837-1838. His father, also named Rene, was a member of the parliament of Lower Canada for the Canadian party, which later became the […]

Safety board tells Champlain Bridge builders to provide clean toilets for workers

Nov 23 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — The workers building the new $4.2-billion Champlain Bridge toil in difficult conditions, high above the St. Lawrence River. But one of their biggest challenges has been to find a clean — and heated — portable toilet on the work site. Quebec's workplace safety board this week issued a violation notice giving the consortium building the bridge until Friday to make sure there […]

Quebec public servants to shed religious symbols but crucifix stays in legislature

Oct 9 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — The incoming Coalition Avenir Quebec government is facing criticism for saying it has no intention of removing the crucifix from the legislature, even as it plans to crack down on some civil servants who wear religious symbols. Simon Jolin-Barrette, a spokesman for the Coalition transition team, said Tuesday there is no contradiction between the new government's plan to impose […]

Legault to lead team of fresh faces and veteran politicians into legislature

Oct 2 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — Quebec Premier-designate Francois Legault will be welcoming a host of new faces along with some more familiar ones as his party forms Quebec's next government. Aside from Legault and a handful of veterans who have been at his side since the Coalition Avenir Quebec's first election in 2012, his team features many political newcomers. They include a former police officer, an economist who advocates for small government, […]

Bloc Pot Leader Hugo St-Onge outlines party’s proposals for Oct. 1 election

Sep 15 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — The head of the Bloc Pot, which is fielding several dozen candidates in the Quebec election, is slamming Ottawa's plan to legalize the use of cannabis in a month's time. Hugo St-Onge, 44, says the federal legislation will mean more infractions and more penalties — the exact opposite of the liberalization his party is proposing as it campaigns for the Oct. 1 election. Under the legislation, cannabis is strictly regulated […]

Trudeau says he’s encouraged by what he calls NAFTA progress

Aug 28 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — LONGUEUIL, Que. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has been encouraged by what he calls the progress made by Canada's NAFTA partners, especially on automobiles. "This was an important step to moving forward on renegotiating and improving NAFTA," Trudeau said on Tuesday, a day after the United States and Mexico announced a deal that would replace the […]

Coalition Avenir Quebec boasts more women than men in election campaign

Aug 25 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — The Coalition Avenir Quebec has boasted that it will have more women than men running in the provincial election campaign — a big change for the party, which opinion polls suggest is leading the governing Liberals. The CAQ says it will have 65 women and 60 men seeking office on Oct. 1, which it claims is the highest percentage of […]

Daisy Peterson Sweeney’s family upset about Montreal street about-face

Jul 30 2018 — Peter Rakobowchuk — MONTREAL — Just weeks before the first anniversary of her death, Daisy Peterson Sweeney's family is upset the City of Montreal has changed its mind about naming a street after the piano teacher who taught many jazz greats, including her brother Oscar and Oliver Jones.  Celine Peterson, Oscar Peterson's daughter, says then-mayor Denis Coderre said at her aunt's funeral a year ago the […]