Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Trudeau in Latvia, new Trans Mountain expansion conditions : In The News for March 8

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of March 8 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves as he steps off a government plane after arriving in Riga, Latvia, Monday, March 7, 2022. Trudeau is in Latvia today for talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg as Russia's invasion in Ukraine nears the two-week mark. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of March 8 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Latvia today for talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg as Russia's invasion in Ukraine nears the two-week mark.

Trudeau says the ongoing show of unity among NATO allies and other democracies to back Ukraine is a critical part of bringing the crisis to a close.

His arrival in Riga early in the morning Tuesday came after a daylong visit to the United Kingdom for meetings with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

The Latvian Freedom Monument and the country's Foreign Ministry building were both lit up in Ukrainian blue and yellow light as Trudeau arrived.

Trudeau and Stoltenberg are also to visit Ādaži Military Base, where NATO troops are stationed in a mission led by several hundred Canadians.

The NATO mission in Latvia is one of four such efforts in the Baltics and Poland, designed to demonstrate the strength of the NATO alliance in the region.


Also this ...

British Columbia has changed the conditions of its environmental assessment certificate for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, while telling the federal government it still has concerns about response plans for potential marine oil spills.

One of the new conditions requires Trans Mountain to provide a report on health risks in the event of a ship-based oil spill.

It must identify the measures to reduce human exposure or negative health effects and say who would be in charge of carrying out that response.

Trans Mountain is also required to provide a report with information on B-C's shoreline in areas that could be affected by a spill.

In a letter outlining the changes, Environment Minister George Heyman and Energy Minister Bruce Ralston urged federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to adopt a series of recommendations to address concerns that fall under his jurisdiction.

One of B-C's recommendations encourages Transport Canada to expand the scope of its oversight of work by the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, which includes shoreline cleanup, planning for sunken and submerged oil, co-ordinating volunteers, and managing wildlife and waste in the event of a spill.

A Trans Mountain spokesperson says it is reviewing the changes to the certificate to determine its next steps.


And this ...

Ten years into her banking career, Karlyn Percil-Mercieca realized she had taken on extra responsibilities over the years and decided to push for more, when a promotion came up.

"All of a sudden, I wasn't qualified anymore. It was like you're qualified until you're not," said Percil-Mercieca, a Toronto woman originally from St. Lucia.

Percil-Mercieca's experience is reflected in a new study showing women are still under-represented throughout the talent pipeline and there remains a “broken rung” that makes being promoted difficult.

The study released by data consulting firm McKinsey and Co. on Tuesday shows that although women are one per cent away from achieving gender parity in entry-level positions, progress remains stagnant at more senior levels.

Women held 49 per cent of entry-level positions last year, up from 45 per cent in 2017. At the manager and senior manager levels, that falls to 37 and 35 per cent, respectively.

Companies appear to be hiring a similar number of men and women for junior positions, but women's representation drops by 12 percentage points when management positions are involved — the largest decline from one level to the next throughout the pipeline. Between the manager level and the C-suite, the representation of women falls by another seven percentage points, with women holding 30 per cent of C-suite roles.

"The road is long, and we're very far away from a level playing field. Very, very far," said report author Sandrine Devillard.

She compares the lack of progression women face to a funnel where women and men are equally hired, but where women face added difficulties as they try to advance to senior levels. 


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

NEW YORK _ A U.S. judge is set to question one of the jurors who convicted the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell of helping the millionaire Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.

Maxwell's lawyers say the verdict should be thrown out over the juror's apparent failure to disclose before the trial began that he'd been a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

U.S. Judge Alison J. Nathan intends to ask the juror why he failed to note his personal history on a questionnaire during the jury selection process. Maxwell's lawyers potentially could have objected to the man's presence on the jury on the grounds that he might not be fair to a person accused of a similar crime.

Maxwell, who says she is innocent, is scheduled to be sentenced in June.

The juror, identified in court papers only as Juror No. 50, did several media interviews after the trial in which he revealed he'd been abused. He described persuading some fellow jurors during deliberations that a victim's imperfect memory of abuse doesn't mean it didn't happen.

All potential jurors in the case had been asked to fill out a screening form in early November that asked, "Have you or a friend or family member ever been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual assault? (This includes actual or attempted sexual assault or other unwanted sexual advance, including by a stranger, acquaintance, supervisor, teacher, or family member.)''

The juror checked "No,'' later saying in the interviews he flew through the questionnaire and didn't remember being asked that question, which was No. 48 on the form.

Maxwell, 60, was convicted of sex trafficking and other charges after a month-long trial that featured testimony from four women who said she played a role in setting them up for abuse by Epstein. Epstein killed himself in August 2019 as he awaited trial at a federal jail in New York on related sex trafficking charges.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

LVIV, Ukraine _ Safe corridors intended to let Ukrainian civilians escape the Russian onslaught could open Tuesday, Kremlin officials said, though Ukrainian leaders greeted the plan with skepticism since prior efforts to establish evacuation routes crumbled amid renewed attacks.

With the invasion well into its second week, Russian troops were making significant advances in southern Ukraine but stalled in some other regions. Soldiers and volunteers fortified the capital, Kyiv, with hundreds of checkpoints and barricades designed to thwart a takeover. A steady rain of shells and rockets fell on other population centres, including the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where the mayor reported heavy artillery fire.

"We can't even gather up the bodies because the shelling from heavy weapons doesn't stop day or night,'' Mayor Anatol Fedoruk said. "Dogs are pulling apart the bodies on the city streets. It's a nightmare.''

In one of the most desperate cities, the encircled southern port of Mariupol, an estimated 200,000 people _ nearly half the population of 430,000 _ were hoping to flee, and Red Cross officials waited to hear when a corridor would be established.

Russia's chief negotiator said he expected the corridors to be in use on Tuesday. The Russian U.N. ambassador forecast a potential ceasefire for the morning and appeared to suggest that humanitarian paths leading away from Kyiv and other cities could give people choice in where they want to go _ a change from previous proposals that offered only destinations in Russia or Belarus.

But doubts abounded, fuelled by the failure of previous attempts to lead civilians to safety amid the biggest ground war in Europe since the Second World War. The office of embattled Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would not comment on the latest Russian proposal, saying only that Moscow's plans can be believed only if a safe evacuation begins.

Demands for effective passageways have surged amid intensifying shelling by Russian forces. The steady bombardments, including in some of Ukraine's most populated regions, have yielded a humanitarian crisis of diminishing food, water and medical supplies.

Efforts to set up safe passage for civilians over the weekend fell apart amid continued Russian shelling. Before Monday's talks began, Russia announced a new plan, saying civilians would be allowed to leave Kyiv, Mariupol, Kharkiv and Sumy. But many of the evacuation routes headed toward Russia or its ally Belarus, which has served as a launch pad for the invasion. 


And this ... 

TEHRAN, Iran _ Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched a second satellite into space, the country's state-run news agency reported Monday, just as world powers awaited Tehran's decision in negotiations over the country's tattered nuclear deal.

State television identified the launch as coming in Shahroud Desert, without specifying when the launch took place. However, it came as Iran's top diplomat at the monthslong talks suddenly flew home late Monday for consultations, a sign of the growing pressure on Tehran as the negotiations appear to be nearing their end.

The Guard said the Noor-2 satellite reached a low orbit on the Ghased satellite carrier, IRNA reported. It described the Ghased as a three-phase, mixed fuel satellite carrier. The launch comes days after satellite pictures suggested Iran's civilian program suffered another failed launch.

Meanwhile, IRNA described negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani's trip home as being ``within the framework of the usual consultations during the talks.'' However, the top negotiator for the European Union seemed to suggest whether the talks succeeded or failed now rested with the Islamic Republic.

"There are no longer `expert level talks.' Nor `formal meetings,''' Enrique Mora wrote on Twitter, responding to comments by an Iranian analyst. "It is time, in the next few days, for political decisions to end the (hashtag)ViennaTalks. The rest is noise.''

Mora's comments mirror those of British and French negotiators at the Vienna talks, which has been working to find a way to get America back into the accord it unilaterally abandoned in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump. It also hopes to get Iran to again agree to measures that drastically scaled back its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

They also appear to push back against a constant Iranian refrain in the last weeks of talks that tried to blame any delay on America, which hasn't been in the room for talks since Trump's withdrawal. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said he believed "we're close'' on reaching a deal, though there were "a couple of very challenging remaining issues.''


Did you see this?

OTTAWA _ The RCMP told MPs Monday that it only gave the names of people directly involved in Ottawa protests to banks to freeze their accounts, and not supporters who donated to the so-called Freedom Convoy.

The lists of protesters given to banks included personal details from the police database, such as whether protesters had been suspected of other crimes, had witnessed crimes or had other "dealings"' with the police, as well as personal information such as age and height.

RCMP Supt. Denis Beaudoin told the House of Commons finance committee that banks, building societies and other institutions were sent "different types of information" from the police database on protesters, depending on what was in their files.

He agreed that around 50 to 100 employees of banks and other financial institutions could have seen the information, in reply to questions from Conservative MP Philip Lawrence, who asked about the sharing of private details from police files and how many people employed by banks and building societies would have seen it.

Angelina Mason of the Canadian Bankers Association said the RCMP, when it identified people involved in the protests, gave the banks "a high-level description of what they thought the activities were'' in Ottawa.

The RCMP told the committee that around 257 accounts of people and businesses involved in the protests had been frozen by financial institutions.

Assistant RCMP Commissioner Michel Arcand said the accounts were frozen to encourage protesters in Ottawa to leave and to discourage others from joining the protests.

Hundreds of demonstrators blockaded roads in Ottawa for more than three weeks last month, and similar demonstrations blocked four major border crossings in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2022

The Canadian Press