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In The News for today: Alberta pension plan a no-brainer and APEC summit continues

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
Alberta's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. The panel hearing feedback on whether Alberta should quit the Canada Pension Plan heard multiple callers tell them Thursday it’s time to embrace a “no-brainer” provincial program. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

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

Alberta pension panel hears calls to exit CPP

The panel hearing feedback on whether Alberta should quit the Canada Pension Plan is hearing from multiple callers that it’s time to embrace a “no-brainer” provincial program.

A number of callers to the panel’s latest telephone town hall say the province is contributing far more than it gets back in Confederation and that it’s time to look after Alberta first.

One caller says if Albertans can get a better deal going it alone, then it’s a no-brainer.

A number of other callers say they are against leaving, asking why Alberta wants to abandon a national plan that is working.

Premier Danielle Smith’s government is gathering public opinion on whether there is an appetite to hold a referendum on leaving the C-P-P.

China syndrome: Trudeau keeps Xi at a distance

Blame the alphabet for the fact Justin Trudeau and Xi Jinping had a close encounter at this week's APEC summit. 

China and Canada routinely rub elbows when leaders gather for photos at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering. 

But outside the family photo, officials took pains to point out that the two leaders shared little Thursday beyond a perfunctory hello. 

Look for the prime minister to be asked during today's closing news conference whether he plans to change that anytime soon. 

U.S. President Joe Biden spent four hours with his Chinese counterpart Wednesday in an effort to ease lingering tensions. 

Whether Trudeau has any plans to follow Biden's lead remains to be seen, as Canada-China relations haven't exactly been warm lately. 

Beijing detained Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig for nearly three years, a move widely seen as retribution for Canada's detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou over the same period. 

China meanwhile imposed multi-year bans on Canadian imports of meat and canola, claiming concerns about unspecified pests. 

And a year after the Canadian government named China as a disruptive global force and declared Beijing as responsible for attempts at foreign interference, the Chinese government left Canada out as it loosened restrictions on group travel.

Halifax International Security Forum opens today

About 300 delegates are gathering today in Halifax for the city's annual forum on global security.

Most of the sessions are about the war in Ukraine, but Hamas's Oct. 7 attack on Israel and the resulting Israeli military invasion of the Gaza Strip will be covered.

Attending the three-day Halifax International Security Forum is Ehud Barak, Israeli prime minister from 1999 to 2001, who will participate in a discussion on Saturday.

The first plenary on Friday is titled, "Making the World Safe Again: Victory in Ukraine" and will include Canadian Defence Minister and conference host Bill Blair.

Also scheduled to attend are United States Senators James Risch and Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. special representative for Ukraine’s economic recovery Penny Pritzker, and Roger Carstens, special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.

Canada envoy: Nothing moving fast enough in Haiti

Canada's ambassador to Haiti says he hopes the world will move faster to help the country emerge from a prolonged period of lawlessness.

Ottawa appointed André François Giroux as Canada's envoy to Haiti in September, shortly before the United Nations approved a military intervention to try clearing the country from violent gangs.

Canada has an outsized amount of influence in Haiti, a francophone country that is a major recipient of Canadian aid, tourists and remittances.

Giroux says Canada is focused on training the local police so that they can help clear out the gangs alongside foreign soldiers, but also so that they can maintain public order when the intervention ends.

He says Canada is also helping co-ordinate donations of training and equipment for Haitian police, to make sure that officers can work together and have their gear easily maintained.

Terror laws in spotlight at London attack trial

A landmark trial that put Canada's terrorism laws in the spotlight has culminated in a guilty verdict, but what role terror allegations played in the jury's decision to convict Nathaniel Veltman in a deadly attack on a Muslim family will remain a mystery.

Jurors on Thursday found the 22-year-old Veltman guilty 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 in London, Ont., on June 6, 2021.

The judge overseeing the trial, Justice Renee Pomerance, had instructed the jury they could deliver a first-degree murder verdict if they unanimously agreed that the Crown established Veltman had intended to kill the victims, and planned and deliberated his attack.

She also told the jurors they could reach a first-degree murder conviction if they found that the killings were terrorist activity.

Bakeries face shortage as sugar workers on strike

A bitter strike at the Rogers Sugar refinery in Vancouver is taking some of the sweetness out of the holiday season for bakers and candy-makers.

Across Western Canada, small businesses that depend on sugar are struggling with shortages and higher costs as labour action at one of the country's few sugar processing facilities stretches into a seventh week.

At Le Gateau Bakeshop in Vancouver, owner Tanya Muller is growing increasingly concerned. 

During the busy Christmas season, she typically goes through 150 to 200 kilograms of sugar per week making the 20 different varieties of holiday cookies her bakery specializes in.

But right now, the maximum amount of the sweet stuff her wholesale supplier can give her is two bags, or 40 kilograms, per week. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Friday, Nov. 17, 2023

The Canadian Press

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