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In the news today: Canadians back aid to Ukraine, Sentencing for London truck killer

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
Ukrainian soldiers fire towards Russian positions on the frontline in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Saturday, June 24, 2023. Significantly more Canadians want the federal government to send more ammunition and other military supplies to aid in its war against the Russian invasion compared to last fall, the results of a new poll by Leger suggested Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Efrem Lukatsky

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...

Support for military aid to Ukraine rising: poll

More Canadians want the federal government to send more ammunition and other military supplies to Ukraine to aid in its war against the Russian invasion compared to last fall, the results of a new poll by Leger suggested Thursday. 

The embattled country is marking two years since Russia launched a full-scale invasion and plunged the country into a brutal war. 

The Canadian government has pledged to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes to end the war, but the conflict has increasingly become a subject of domestic politics.

A quarter of people surveyed by Leger last weekend said Canada should increase the support it sends to Ukraine in the form of military supplies, compared with 20 per cent in October 2023. 

Still, opinions on how much Canada should be sending appear to be split.

While 25 per cent of respondents thought it should send more, 23 per cent felt Canada should send fewer munitions to Ukraine and 34 per cent said Canada should maintain its current efforts.

Sentencing today for London, Ont., attacker

A man who killed four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., is set to be sentenced today.

Nathaniel Veltman, 23, was found guilty in November of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for hitting the Afzaal family with his truck while they were out for a walk on June 6, 2021.

First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years, but the sentence for attempted murder can vary, with a maximum of life behind bars.  

Justice Renee Pomerance is also expected to rule on whether Veltman's attack amounted to terrorism.

The case was the first time Canada's terrorism laws were put before a jury in a first-degree murder trial.

Veltman was convicted of killing 46-year-old Salman Afzaal; his 44-year-old wife, Madiha Salman; their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna; and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal. The couple's nine-year-old son was seriously hurt but survived.

At a sentencing hearing last month, Veltman apologized for the pain he had caused. 

The apology was promptly rejected by the victims' family outside of court.

Singh's crusade against Canada's grocery giants

Pushing a grocery cart up and down the aisles of Loblaws, Jagmeet Singh has to admit it's all a little bit awkward. 

After all, the NDP leader has lambasted the grocery giant and its former president Galen Weston Jr. — famous among Canadians for his 30-second COVID-era TV and radio ads — for "ripping people off."

But Singh has made it a central tenet of his party's policy to take on big companies he believes are making record profits while ordinary people struggle to afford the basics.

His private member's bill, which aims to bring down the cost of basic essentials, passed second reading in the House of Commons with the support of Conservative and Bloc Québécois MPs.

Liberals have voted against the bill, with some accusing the NDP leader of trying to stifle free enterprise.

The bill proposes stiffer penalties for price and wage-fixing – measures that would have had consequences for the bread price-fixing scandal of 2017. It would also set rules to prevent mergers that Singh believes lead to abuse. 

B.C. NDP tables final budget before fall election

British Columbia's finance minister says increasing the deficit in today's provincial budget is the right path to take in order to allow the government to provide needed services to people.  

Katrine Conroy says the government's priorities will focus on helping people through times of high costs and forecasts of lean economic growth.

She says the budget she presents today will include a multi-year economic plan that forecasts declining deficits.

Conroy offered broad hints about the budget's details during a news conference Wednesday at a Victoria neighbourhood community centre, saying it will focus on health care, public transit, small business and housing for middle-income earners.

She says forecasts of economic slowdowns in B.C. and globally are convincing factors behind the government's plans to continue funding programs and services rather than making cuts. 

FNLC shocked as BC drops Land Act amendments

British Columbia's First Nations Leadership Council is expressing extreme disappointment over the provincial government's decision to drop planned amendments to the Land Act that would have cleared the way for a shared decision-making process with First Nations when it comes to the use of public land.

The N-D-P government announced it had decided not to proceed with proposed amendments after holding a series of meetings with stakeholders, citing a need to further engage with people and demonstrate the real benefits of shared decision-making in action.

Earlier this month, B.C. United Leader Kevin Falcon said his party could not "support giving veto power to five per cent of the population with impacts to over 95 per cent of public land," referring to First Nations people.

In a Wednesday evening statement, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, said "We are absolutely disgusted that the opposition leaders of B.C. United and the B.C. Conservatives leveraged the proposed Land Act amendments as a shameless opportunity for partisan political gain."

Also in the statement, Cheryl Casimer of the First Nations Summit Political Executive described it as "shocking and regressive," that a small cohort of so-called leaders utilized these amendments to tap into racist fears and beliefs for their own benefits.

One person dead after Vancouver crane accident

B.C.'s premier and minister of labour are sharing their heartfelt condolences after a worker was killed in Vancouver's Oakridge neighbourhood when a load from a crane fell on a building under construction.

The joint statement from David Eby and Harry Bains said "Every worker deserves to return home safely at the end of the day and this incident is a stark reminder of the importance of workplace safety."

It also thanked the first responders, B.C. Coroners Service and WorkSafeBC for their collective efforts. 

Matthew Trudeau with Vancouver Fire Rescue Services confirmed the fatality hours after the load fell Wednesday afternoon, hitting several floors of the unfinished multi-storey building.

He could not confirm what the load contained, but says it struck the floors about 25 storeys up. 


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2024

The Canadian Press