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In the news today: CSIS boss to talk foreign interference, BC rain to ease by Friday

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
David Vigneault, Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), arrives to appear before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) in Ottawa, on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. A commission of inquiry into foreign interference will hear from national security officials today as it looks for ways to be transparent about a highly sensitive subject.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

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

Interference inquiry to hear from CSIS director

A commission of inquiry into foreign interference will hear from national security officials today as it looks for ways to be transparent about a highly sensitive subject.

David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, is slated to appear on the commission's fourth day of public hearings.

Also scheduled to take part is Alia Tayyeb, deputy chief of signals intelligence at the Communications Security Establishment, Canada's cyberspy agency.

In addition, the commission will hear from Dan Rogers, the deputy national security and intelligence adviser.

The hearings, set for March, are intended to delve into allegations of foreign interference by China, India, Russia and others in the 2019 and 2021 federal elections, with a report on these matters due May 3.

B.C.'s South Coast sees final bouts of rain

The Village of Pemberton has downgraded an evacuation order for six rural properties, but flood warnings remain in effect for the Lillooet and Squamish rivers as a final torrent of rain mixed with snowmelt saturates B.C.'s South Coast.

The latest update from the village says it lifted the evacuation order due to conditions on the ground as well as forecasts and "favourable weather."

Still, it says river levels are expected to continue rising through Friday, and several dozen properties remain on evacuation alert, with residents told to be ready to leave on short notice.

A bulletin from B.C.'s River Forecast Centre says rainfall since last Friday has ranged from 70 to more than 500 millimetres across the South Coast, while unseasonable warmth has added between 75 and 150 millimetres of snowmelt in recent days.

It says rainfall is expected to ease Friday and cooler temperatures should arrive by the weekend after parts of the Lower Mainland soared above 18 C this week.

Law expert concerned about Alberta pronoun policy

A professor who specializes in the law and children's rights says policy changes affecting transgender Albertans are concerning.

The changes, announced by Alberta Premier Danielle Smith yesterday, include requiring parental consent for students 15 and under who want to change their names or pronouns at school.

Smith also said students 16 and 17 would not need consent, but their parents must be notified.

Rebecca Jaremko Bromwich, a law professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, says her main concern is the changes deal with a group of children who are already the subject of mental health issues, depression, violence and bullying.

She adds her secondary concern is that it's political dog-whistling.

B.C. to apologize for wrongs against Doukhobors

British Columbia's attorney general is set to formally apologize to members of the Doukhobor religious group who were forcibly taken from their parents more than 70 years ago.

Niki Sharma's office says she's in Castlegar, B.C., to apologize to members of the Sons of Freedom Doukhobors, who were sent as children to live in a former tuberculosis sanatorium for up to six years. 

A report by B.C.'s ombudsman Jay Chalke last year said about 200 children were taken, often under the cover of darkness, because their parents opposed government rules and refused to send their children to public schools.

Chalke's report said there may be up to 100 survivors and he called for them to receive financial compensation as well as an apology.

Real estate receiverships rise as projects stall

From one of Canada’s tallest condo towers to bare tracts of land, residential development projects across the country are increasingly being pushed into receivership.

Elevated interest rates, construction costs and delays, and a slower real estate market are all contributing to the rising frequency of projects coming under financial stress, say experts.

“A year ago it was maybe a call a month, a call every two months, and now it's a call a week,” said Mike Czestochowski, vice-chair with CBRE’s land services group.

Receiverships are a way for secured lenders to have the court appoint someone to take control of the property and either liquidate it or otherwise maximize the value of the assets. 

While often thought of as a last resort, CBRE has seen an increase in receiverships as bigger construction projects with multiple mortgages and parties involved start to run into trouble.  

Halifax-raised hitmaker Cirkut vying for Grammy

Few music producers hold the magic touch for shaping a pop hit quite like Henry Walter.

While he's not a household name, chances are you've cranked up the radio, danced at a nightclub, or celebrated someone's wedding to the beat of his songs. Under his Grammy-winning production alias Cirkut, the Halifax native's resume reads like a pop soundtrack to the 2010s.

“Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, “Where Have You Been” by Rihanna, and Katy Perry’s “Roar” all credit him among the writers and producers. So do several songs off the Weeknd’s album “Starboy,” including the title track, which won Walter his first Grammy five years ago.

Walter's nominated for the fourth time in his career, vying for best dance/electronic recording with his contributions to Disclosure's track "Higher Than Ever Before."

The Grammy Awards are set to air this Sunday.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2024

The Canadian Press

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