July 16th, 2024

In the news today: PM joins Biden for NATO dinner and AFN deal for child-welfare


By The Canadian Press on July 10, 2024.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is heading to a dinner at the White House this evening, as the U.S. president hosts NATO leaders. Trudeau walks past North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and United States President Joe Biden as he makes his way to his spot for a leaders family photo at a ceremony celebrating NATO's 75th anniversary, in Washington, Tuesday, July 9, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed…

Biden hosting NATO leaders for dinner at summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is heading to a dinner at the White House this evening, as the U.S. president hosts NATO leaders.

Joe Biden’s health has been under international scrutiny since a disastrous debate performance last month against Donald Trump.

Biden’s team has said the president is sharpest earlier in the day and tries to avoid events after 8 p.m., but that is when dinner is set to begin.

Trudeau dodged a question from reporters Tuesday about whether he has concerns with the president’s health.

The prime minister is in Washington for the three-day NATO summit where Ukraine’s ongoing battle with Russia is taking top billing.

AFN head pegs child-welfare deal at $47.8B: source

The head of the Assembly of First Nations has informed chiefs that a draft deal with Ottawa on child-welfare reforms is worth $47.8 billion, a source who was in the room says, more than double what was initially promised.

National Chief Cindy Woodhouse Nepinak revealed that number to chiefs and their proxies on Tuesday afternoon, says the source, who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to share the details publicly.

She also referred to the political risks of not accepting the deal that is on the table, the source said, and affirmed that she wanted chiefs to be able to discuss the offer before voting on the matter at a special assembly this fall.

The closed-door session, which members of the media were not allowed to attend, was part of the AFN’s annual general assembly being held in Montreal this week.

Airline regulator wants rulings to stay mum

A consumer rights organization says the Canadian Transportation Agency is pressuring passengers to stay silent about its rulings on their complaints – a move the country’s airline regulator says falls squarely within its mandate under the law.

The agency has asked at least one complainant who posted a decision on the Air Passenger Rights’ Facebook page to delete their post, said Gabor Lukacs, president of the advocacy group.

“The decision was posted in the group by one of the passengers involved in the decision, who has since removed the post at our request,” reads an email to Lukacs from an agency director and posted online.

The message asks Lukacs for his group’s “collaboration in preventing future public sharing of confidential information.”

Lukacs called the move “unconstitutional,” saying it limits free expression.

Rainfall warnings in Ontario, Quebec

Environment Canada is warning of “torrential” rain brought by the remnants of Hurricane Beryl to southern Ontario and Quebec, with downpours that could last until Thursday.

The weather office has issued rainfall warnings for the regions, saying amounts will be variable, but some areas may see up to 80 millimetres.

It says conditions should improve by Thursday, but there could be flash floods on roads and localized flooding.

The weather pattern comes as a blistering heat wave caused by a ridge of high pressure from northern California continues to slowly roll across Western Canada.

Doctors say ‘bed-blocking’ driving ER deaths

Emergency room doctors in Atlantic Canada say “bed-blocking” and patients presenting with advanced disease that wasn’t detected or cared for earlier are driving high numbers of deaths.

Nova Scotia’s health authority says emergency department deaths hit a six-year high in 2023, with 666 deaths compared with 558 the year before.

Newfoundland and Labrador recorded a slight drop in emergency department deaths, from a five-year high of 326 in 2022 to 297 in 2023, but last year’s figure is still higher than the years before and during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Retired doctor Robert Martel, who worked in Nova Scotia ERs for decades, says many beds in emergency departments are blocked because they are occupied by patients who can’t get a spot in long-term care or who need community services.

Israeli arms firm taking Canada to court

An Israeli defence contractor is taking the Canadian government to court after the company says it was taken out of the running for a multimillion-dollar military equipment contract without explanation.

Elbit Security Systems Ltd. says in an application filed in Federal Court last month that Public Services and Procurement Canada has refused to explain its “purported disqualification” from a contract for hand-held laser rangefinders for the Canadian Armed Forces.

Elbit says the government’s refusal to give its reasons until after the contract is awarded prevents the firm from having “a full and fair opportunity to compete.”

The company says it can’t “meaningfully participate” in the procurement process because the federal government is “improperly withholding” information about why it disqualified Elbit’s bid.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2024

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