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Cold cuts: Meat inspectors says consumers at risk

Lack of CFIA meat inspectors is putting people at risk: Agriculture Union
Chris Purdy, The Canadian Press

EDMONTON - The union representing Canada's meat inspectors says a critical shortage of inspectors is putting the safety of consumers at risk across the country.

Bob Kingston, president of the Agriculture Union, told a news conference in Edmonton that only 12 of 18 meat hygiene inspection positions are filled at processing plants in northern Alberta. The numbers are the same in the Calgary region.

In January, he said, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency also instructed staff in the northern part of the province to cut general sanitation inspection work by 50 per cent.

Canada urges speed on Syria appeal in Kuwait

Canada urges speed on Syria aid appeal in Kuwait, but no new funds yet
Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Canada urged international donors on Tuesday to swiftly deliver on their aid promises to Syria because the devastated country will need help after its civil war is over.

That message was delivered to United Nations donors conference in Kuwait by Diane Jacovella, who heads the Foreign Affairs Department's global issues and development branch.

Steep U.S. carbon cuts put pressure on Canada

U.S. pledge for deep carbon cuts pressures Canada ahead of UN climate summit
Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - A formal American pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 per cent over the next decade is shining a discomfiting spotlight on the Canadian government.

The United States was one of a handful of countries to meet Tuesday's March 31 target for submitting emissions reduction pledges ahead of next December's United Nations climate summit in Paris, known as COP21.

Canada 6th in green energy investment

Canadian investment in renewable energy up eight per cent in 2014
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - A United Nations-sponsored report says Canada remained among the top 10 countries in the world for investment in renewable energy last year.

The annual report says global investment in renewable energies, not including hydro-electric power, climbed 17 per cent in 2014 to around $270 billion.

The increase marked a global rebound after two years in which renewable energy investment shrank from its all-time high in 2011.

China was the clear colossus at the top of the investment heap, with spending up 33 per cent over 2013 to a total of more than $83 billion.

Notorious sex offender to remain in prison

Parole board determines 'no means no' sex offender to remain in prison
The Canadian Press

EDMONTON - The Parole Board of Canada says the sex offender at the centre of the landmark "no means no" court case will remain behind bars.

The board reviewed the case of Steve Ewanchuk after it denied his statutory release one year ago.

It says the 66-year-old Edmonton man has since completed a sex offender program but remains a risk to reoffend.

Ewanchuk has a criminal record of sex assaults on young girls and teens that spans four decades.

He came to notoriety in 1999 in what was dubbed the "no means no" court battle that clarified Canada’s sex assault laws.

Probe ordered into Quebec tear-gas shooting

Quebec tear-gas injury: ethics commissioner orders an investigation
The Canadian Press

QUEBEC - Quebec's police ethics commissioner has ordered an investigation into the tear-gas shooting of a protester that left her with facial injuries.

Naomie Tremblay-Trudeau was taking part in an anti-austerity demonstration outside the legislature in Quebec City last week when she was shot at point-blank range.

The investigator has 180 days to file a report.

A spokesman for the Quebec City police has said Tremblay-Trudeau was actually struck by a cardboard cap used to retain the gas and not the canister itself.

Veterans lawsuit hinges on more improvements

Lawsuit veterans expecting more out of Ottawa in benefits overhaul
Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Veterans at the centre of a class-action lawsuit against the federal government are waiting to see whether legislation introduced this week by the Harper government to improve benefits is the beginning, or the end, of reforms to the system.

If it's the end, the lawyer for the ex-soldiers says the politically embarrassing court fight is, in all likelihood, back on.

B.C. MP quits Tory caucus over religion

B.C. MP Lunney quits Tory caucus to defend his views on evolution
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - British Columbia MP James Lunney quit the Conservative caucus Tuesday so that he can more freely defend his religious beliefs.

In a statement, Lunney said he's leaving voluntarily so as not to entangle his Tory colleagues in controversy over his beliefs regarding evolution.

He will sit as an Independent but continue to vote with the ruling Conservatives, he said.

Info watchdog calls for access overhaul

Bring all branches of government under information law, watchdog urges
Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The Access to Information Act should be extended to all branches of government — including the offices that support Parliament and the courts — as part of sweeping changes, says a federal watchdog.

In a report on what she calls a "long overdue" modernization of the law, information commissioner Suzanne Legault proposes tighter timelines in the processing of access requests and changes to ensure exceptions in the act protect only what is strictly necessary.

Who gets biggest share of 'family tax cut?'

Who gets the biggest share of the benefits from Tory 'family tax cut?'
Steve Rennie, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Just over half of the money the federal government is set to spend on child care will go to parents of teenagers or families who do not pay to put their kids in daycare, says a new report by the parliamentary budget officer.

Jean-Denis Frechette's latest report comes days after the Conservatives introduced legislation to enact its so-called "family tax cut" — a multibillion-dollar suite of measures that includes the controversial income-splitting plan.

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