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Trudeau visits Ukraine, Governor General tours northern Quebec: In The News for May 9

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 May 9 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, Canada's ambassador to Ukraine Larisa Galadza and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raise the flag over the Canadian embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine on Sunday May 8, 2022. Canada's embassy in Kyiv in an unannounced visit to Ukraine, where he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in person for the first time since Russia began its invasion in late February. THE CANADIAN PRESS/CBC News/Pool/Murray Brewster

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 May 9 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reopened Canada's embassy in Kyiv in an unannounced visit to Ukraine, where he met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in person for the first time since Russia began its invasion in late February.

Appearing with Zelenskyy at a news conference Trudeau expressed unwavering support for the embattled country, and announced $50 million in fresh Canadian military support for Ukraine, including drone cameras, satellite imagery, small arms and ammunition, as well as funding for demining operations.

Canada began scaling down its diplomatic presence in Ukraine in late January as intelligence warned of an impending Russian invasion.

Representatives from most western countries fled Ukraine as the war erupted, but more than two dozen have already gone back, even as the conflict drags on.

Trudeau also said Canada is giving $25 million to the World Food Program for food security in Ukraine and will remove trade tariffs on all Ukrainian imports coming to Canada for the next year, and is also providing money to support and protect women's organizations, human rights defenders and civil society.

In addition, he said Ottawa is levying sanctions on 40 more Russian individuals and entities -- oligarchs and close associates of the regime and the defence sector, all complicit in Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine.

Trudeau said he witnessed the resilience of Ukrainians as people rebuild their shattered world, calling it a " true inspiration to see people step up to defend their lives, defend their community, defend a bright future for themselves, for the families in the country they love."

"It is clear that Vladimir Putin is responsible for heinous war crimes. There must be accountability. Canada will support Ukraine as you seek justice for your people who Russia is killing and brutalizing."


Also this ...

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon is beginning her tour of the Nunavik region of northern Quebec today by meeting with local officials, including the Kuujjuaq mayor and council, the Kativik regional government, the school board and the board of health and social services. 

Simon and her husband Whit Fraser will also stop at the Isuarsivik Recovery Centre's qarmak site, a traditional Inuit dwelling, where they will learn about the facility's focus on reclaiming Inuit identity and culture through connection with the land. 

The centre was founded in 1994 and offers addictions and trauma treatment programs that incorporate traditional Inuit values.

Its services are provided at no cost to people from 14 Nunavik communities who are beneficiaries of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, known as the first modern treaty in Canada, which Simon worked to negotiate and implement.

There will be throat singing and other cultural presentations throughout the day, which wraps with a town hall discussion with students at a local school and a visit to the elders' home. 

Simon's visit to northern Quebec is the first time she has been back to the region where she was born since she was appointed to the viceregal office in July 2021.


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

BOSTON _ Celebrity chef Mario Batali's pandemic-delayed trial on sexual misconduct allegations opens Monday in Boston.

Batali pleaded not guilty to a charge of indecent assault and battery in 2019, stemming from accusations that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman after taking a selfie with her at a Boston restaurant in 2017. The woman says Batali noticed her photographing him and invited her to take one together, then touched and kissed her repeatedly without her consent.

If convicted, Batali could face up to two and a half years in jail and be required to register as a sex offender. He's expected to be in court throughout the proceedings, which should last about two days once jury selection is complete, said Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden's office.

Lawyers for Batali didn't comment ahead of the start of jury selection Monday in Boston Municipal Court. The chef's lawyers have previously said the charge is without merit.

His accuser has also filed a civil lawsuit against Batali seeking unspecified damages for "severe emotional distress'' that's still pending in Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston. Her lawyer didn't respond to emails Friday.

Batali is among a number of high-profile men who have faced a public reckoning during the MeToo social movement against sexual abuse and harassment in recent years.

The 61-year-old was once a Food Network fixture on shows like "Molto Mario'' and "Iron Chef America.'' But the ponytail- and orange Croc-wearing personality's high-flying career crumbled amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Four women accused him of inappropriate touching in 2017, after which he stepped down from day-to-day operations at his restaurant empire and left the since-discontinued ABC cooking show "The Chew.''


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

MOSCOW _ Russian President Vladimir Putin has cast Moscow's military action in Ukraine as a forced response to Western policies.

Speaking at a military parade Monday marking the Second World War victory over the Nazis, Putin drew parallels between the Red Army's fighting against Nazi troops and the Russian forces' action in Ukraine. He said that the campaign in Ukraine was a timely and necessary move to ward off a potential aggression.

He added that the Russian troops were fighting for the country's security in Ukraine and observed a minute of silence to honour the troops who fell in combat

Determined to show success in a war now in its 11th week, Russian troops were pummeling a seaside steel mill where an estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters were making what appeared to be their last stand to save Mariupol from falling.

The Ukraine General Staff has warned of a high probability of missile strikes and said that in Russian-controlled areas of Zaporizhzhia, Russian troops were seizing "personal documents from the local population without good reason.'' Ukraine's military alleged Russian troops were seizing documents to force residents to join in Victory Day commemorations.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned the anniversary could bring a renewed onslaught. 


On this day in 1994 ...

South Africa's new parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country's first black president.


In entertainment ...

Jayli Wolf says she was seeking "catharsis" when she wrote songs about her father's experience in the '60s Scoop and her own discovery of her Indigenous roots.

The Toronto singer-songwriter is headed to the Juno Awards this weekend with a nomination in the contemporary Indigenous artist or group of the year category.

It comes after she released the 2021 EP "Wild Whisper," which plunges into the depths of her family's trauma, against electronic beats.

On the standout song "Child of the Government," she sings about learning her father was among thousands of Indigenous children who were removed from their families and placed in foster care.

Wolf says putting those words to paper was part of a healing process that evolved into an album after a family member urged her to release the music for the public.

Wolf's music career began nearly a decade ago when she formed the folk and electronic duo Once a Tree with her boyfriend.


Did you see this?

A leading energy price expert says gas prices could go up another five cents across Canada if Russia decides to intensify its assault on Ukraine.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, says May 9 marks Victory Day in Russia and could prove pivotal when it comes to the trajectory of the war in Ukraine.

McTeague says gas prices could go up an additional five cents per litre next week as well if the situation worsens in Ukraine and as Canadians gear up for the May long weekend, which is typically considered the unofficial start of summer.

The average price of gas in Canada is pushing towards $1.97 per litre, with British Columbians feeling the most pain at the pump, shelling out an average of $2.06 per litre.

Vancouver is seeing $2.22 per litre, Victoria residents are paying $2.17 per litre, drivers in Montreal are dealing with $2.07 per litre, and prices in St. John's stand at $2.03 per litre.

But McTeague says even if the war in Ukraine comes to an end in the near future, high gas prices are expected to stay in place for a while because sanctions will likely remain on Russia's energy sector.

The supply-demand issue that was weighing on the oil industry long before the war broke out isn't going to go away either, he adds.

McTeague also said the summer season will play a role in pushing gas prices higher as more people hit the road, explore and travel.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2022.

The Canadian Press