Skip to content

In The News for Nov. 18: Emergency Act inquiry hears from Canada's top civil servant

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 Nov. 18 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Canadian High Commissioner to the UK Janice Charette speaks to media during the Liberal cabinet retreat in Winnipeg, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. A slate of officials from the Privy Council Office, including Canada's top civil servant, are expected to testify today at a public inquiry assessing the federal government's use of the Emergencies Act last winter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma

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 Nov. 18 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

A slate of officials from the Privy Council Office, including Canada's top civil servant, are expected to testify today at a public inquiry assessing the federal government's use of the Emergencies Act last winter.

The Public Order Emergency Commission is scrutinizing the events and advice that led to the mid-February decision, which came nearly three weeks into "Freedom Convoy" protests that took over downtown Ottawa and blockaded border crossings.

The day is expected to begin with testimony from the deputy secretary to cabinet, Jacqueline Bogden, and Jeffery Hutchinson, a senior adviser in her office.

Clerk of the Privy Council Janice Charette and deputy clerk Nathalie Drouin are scheduled to give their testimony after that.

Charette is mandated to act as a nonpartisan adviser to the prime minister and sits at the top of the federal public service.

Security officials and members of the federal cabinet, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are expected to testify next week.


Also this ...

Although tanks have shown their limits in the war in Ukraine, they remain the centrepiece of the battlefield, Capt. Antonio Cornacchi of the Italian armed forces told The Canadian Press Thursday.

Cornacchi is in charge of the armoured-gunnery competition involving troops from 13 NATO countries — including Canada — that is taking place over four days at the Adazi base, located about 200 kilometres from the Russian border and a 45-minute drive from Riga, the capital of NATO member Latvia.

The military exercises — dubbed Iron Spear — involve multinational NATO battle group eFP Latvia, which serves both as a dissuasion and a shield in the event of an attack.

Thirty-four crews from 13 NATO armies are testing the striking force and manoeuvrability of tanks, as a debate rages about the relevance of armoured vehicles, following the setbacks incurred by Russian tank units in the invasion of Ukraine.

Cornacchi said tanks are "highly competitive" during exercises involving firing in motion or from fixed positions.

"The light infantry are also important for our army, but tanks … remain the focus," Cornacchi, commander of an Italian battle company, said in an interview.

On Thursday, the NATO crews competed for who had the most precise tank-fired shots across a field of a few square kilometres made up of mounds and paths. The shots from tank guns larger than 100 millimetres produced deafening blasts in a viewing bunker where a jury — composed of Italians and representatives from other NATO countries — judged the exercises.

The jury is there to "test in a highly professional way the ability of each crew," Cornacchi said. So far during the competition, he added, the Estonian, Danish and Canadian soldiers "are doing very well." But he said there is more competition to go. 

"This is just the first step, and we'll see what happens."


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

WASHINGTON _ Federal prosecutors are expected to make their final pitch to jurors Friday in the high-stakes seditious conspiracy case against Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four associates charged in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Closing arguments will begin in Washington federal court after the final pieces of evidence were presented in the trial alleging Rhodes and his band of antigovernment extremists plotted for weeks to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power from Republican Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden.

Evidence presented by prosecutors shows Rhodes and his co-defendants discussing the prospect of violence and the need to keep Biden out of the White House in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, before stashing a massive cache of weapons referred to as a "quick reaction force'' at a Virginia hotel.

On Jan. 6, 2021, Oath Keepers wearing helmets and other battle gear were seen pushing through the pro-Trump mob and into the Capitol. Rhodes remained outside, like "a general surveying his troops on a battlefield,'' a prosecutor told jurors. After the attack, prosecutors say Rhodes and other Oath Keepers celebrated with dinner at an Olive Garden restaurant.

Closing arguments are expected to be Monday for the defence, which has focused on prosecutors' relative lack of evidence that the Oath Keepers had an explicit plan to attack the Capitol before Jan. 6. Rhodes, who is from Texas, testified that he and his followers were only in Washington to provide security to right-wing figures like Roger Stone. Those Oath Keepers who did enter the Capitol went rogue and were "stupid,'' he said.

Rhodes testified that the mountain of writings and text messages showing him rallying his band of extremists to prepare for violence and discussing the prospect of a "bloody'' civil war ahead of Jan. 6 was only bombastic talk.

Two other defendants testified in the case. Jessica Watkins, of Woodstock, Ohio, echoed that her actions that day were "really stupid'' but maintained she was not part of a plan but rather "swept along'' with the mob, which she likened to a crowd gathered at a store for a sale on the popular shopping day known as Black Friday.

Defendant Thomas Caldwell, a Navy veteran from Virginia, downplayed a chilling piece of evidence: messages he sent trying to get a boat to ferry weapons from Virginia across the Potomac into Washington. He testified that he was never serious about his queries, though he struggled to explain other messages referencing violence on Jan. 6.

The group is the first among hundreds of people arrested in the Capitol riot to stand trial on seditious conspiracy, a rare Civil War-era charge that calls for up to 20 years behind bars. The stakes are high for the Justice Department, which last secured such a conviction at trial nearly 30 years ago, and intends to try two more groups on the charge later this year.


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

BANGKOK _ Threats to peace and stability were dominating the agenda at a summit of Pacific Rim economies Friday in Bangkok, as leaders warned that war and tensions among the big powers threaten to unravel the global order.

Underscoring the risks, North Korea fired an intercontinental ballistic missile that landed near Japanese territorial waters, and Japan said the weapon may have the range to strike anywhere in the United States. North Korea is under U.N. sanctions for past weapons displays but has not faced fresh sanctions this year because U.S. attempts were opposed by China and Russia in the Security Council.

U.S. officials said Vice President Kamala Harris would meet with the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to discuss the missile launch, the latest of many such provocations by North Korea that raise the risks of conflict.

"Geopolitical tensions are detracting from peace and stability and undermining the rules based international order, which we all agree are essential,'' Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told fellow leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum who began a two-day summit Friday.

APEC's long-term mission is promoting regional economic integration, but more immediate exigencies often dominate the agenda. That's true in Bangkok, as leaders appeal for an end to Russia's war on Ukraine and consider strategies for nursing along economic recoveries from the coronavirus pandemic while contending with food and energy crises, the need to cut the carbon emissions that cause climate change and other urgent tasks.

The APEC gathering is the third back-to-back meeting of world leaders this week after the summits of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations last week in Cambodia and the Group of 20 leading economies, which wrapped up Wednesday in Indonesia.


On this day in 1992 ...

Superman, alias Clark Kent, died after 54 years as one of North America's greatest superheroes. Superman was killed by Doomsday, a supervillain he had fought in D.C. Comics. You can't keep a good Man of Steel down, however -- and Superman was resurrected within a year.


In entertainment ...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. _ Ticketmaster says it is cancelling Friday's planned general public sale for Taylor Swift's upcoming stadium tour because it doesn't have enough tickets.

The decision came two days after a presale event caused the site to crash and left many fans without tickets. The ticketing company said in a statement Thursday two million tickets to The Eras tour next year were sold during presales on Tuesday, the most tickets ever sold on the platform in a single day.

Ticketmaster cited "extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand'' as a reason for calling off Friday's sale.

Questions remain about how remaining tickets _ and how many _ would be sold. But Ticketmaster said about 1.5 million fans who had gone through an early verification process _ called Verified Fan _ were invited to purchase tickets and the remaining two million were placed on a waiting list.

It's been a record year for Swift after releasing her latest album "Midnights,'' which also broke a Billboard record.

The 52-date Eras Tour kicks off March 17 in Glendale, Arizona, and wraps up with five shows in Los Angeles ending Aug. 9. International dates will be announced as well. It's Swift's first tour since 2018.

But fans and families around the country battled it out with long queues and error messages to try to race to the checkout cart.

Ticketmaster said that the site was overwhelmed both by real people and bot attacks resulting in unprecedented traffic on their site. The statement said about 15 per cent of interactions with the site had problems, including errors that caused people to lose tickets after they had waited in an online queue.


Did you see this?

A Saskatchewan Indigenous artist will sing the national anthem at this year's 109th Grey Cup game in Regina. 

Teagan Littlechief will perform O Canada in three languages: Cree, English and French.

Littlechief, who is fluent in only English, says she has been taking lessons from a Cree teacher and French friend.

She is from White Bear First Nation on Treaty 4 territory in southeastern Saskatchewan. 

Littlechief says she's happy to represent First Nation peoples at the CFL game this Sunday. 

She says she'll be thinking about Indigenous youth during her performance.

Littlechief, who has overcome addiction, says she wants youth to see that dreams are possible when you work hard.

She says like in her life, change happens, leading to beautiful opportunities. 

Littlechief is also known to sing the national anthem at Saskatchewan Roughrider games.

She was named Indigenous Artist of the Year at the Saskatchewan Country Music Awards. 


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 18, 2022

The Canadian Press

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks