Apologizing for military misconduct and Grey Cup deja vu: In The News for Dec. 13

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Published December 13, 2021 at 4:30 am

Winnipeg winning the Grey Cup

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 Dec. 13 …

What we are watching in Canada …

OTTAWA — The federal government, Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces will deliver a formal apology today to victims of military sexual misconduct.

The apology was first promised in 2019 as part of a $600-million settlement deal with current and former service members in several class-action lawsuits.

The apology will come in three parts with Defence Minister Anita Anand speaking on behalf of the government.

Chief of the defence staff Gen. Wayne Eyre will apologize for the military while National Defence deputy minister Jody Thomas will do the same for the department.

Officials had previously said they were hoping for an in-person event, but the Defence Department says today’s apology will be delivered virtually and streamed online because of COVID-19.

The apology comes as the Liberal government and military leadership struggle with a rash of allegations of sexual misconduct involving senior officers.

The government had faced calls from the Royal Canadian Legion and others to deliver the apology before the 18-month window for victims to submit their claims as part of the settlement closed last month.

Nearly 19,000 claims were submitted before the claims period ended on Nov. 24, though Jonathan Ptak, a lawyer representing the victims in some of the six overlapping lawsuits, says victims can still submit applications.

More than 5,300 claims have already been approved for payment while nearly 4,900 have also asked to participate in “restorative engagement.”

Also this …

FREDERICTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to make an announcement on child care this morning with New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.

The federal Liberals announced this spring that they would spend $30 billion over five years to cut child-care fees to an average of $10 per day across the country, as a cornerstone in an initiative to help families and get the economy moving.

The plan requires that the provinces and territories sign on, and New Brunswick, Ontario, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are the only holdouts.

Jason Kenney was the most recent premier to ink a deal with Trudeau.

That bilateral agreement will see Ottawa provide $3.8 billion in funding for Alberta over the next five years.

Child-care fees are to be halved starting next year and reduced to an average of $10 a day by 2026 in the Prairie province.

And this …

OTTAWA — The federal government is scheduled today to unveil the Bank of Canada’s marching orders that will guide its inflation-targeting regime for the next five years.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem are scheduled to hold a joint press conference later this morning in Ottawa.

Since 1991, the central bank has been mandated by successive governments to keep inflation between one and three per cent.

In practice, that usually means the bank has tried to keep the pace of price increases at two per cent by raising rates to cool demand when inflation runs too hot and reducing rates when inflation lags.

But the pandemic has thrown a wrench into the inflation-targeting framework, causing the consumer price index to run near zero early on in the pandemic and more recently running at an 18-year high.

Economists expect the government to ask the central bank to continue targeting inflation at two-per-cent, but include some wording to let the Bank of Canada take into account changes in the labour market before making any rate decisions.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

MAYFIELD, Ky. — Dozens of people in five U.S. states have been killed by tornadoes that leveled entire communities on Friday night, however the toll at a Kentucky candle factory is not as devastating as initially feared.

Officials initially said only 40 of 110 workers at Mayfield Consumer Products had been rescued.

But spokesman Bob Ferguson now says eight people are confirmed dead, eight are missing and more than 90 people have been located.

Still, the governor expects the statewide toll to reach at least 50.

Debris from destroyed buildings and shredded trees covered the ground in Mayfield, a city of about 10,000 in western Kentucky. Twisted sheet metal, downed power lines and wrecked vehicles lined the streets. Windows were blown out and roofs torn off the buildings that were still standing.

With afternoon temperatures just above freezing, tens of thousands of people remained without power. About 300 National Guard members went house to house, checking on people and helping to remove debris, while cadaver dogs searched for victims.

Four twisters hit the state in all, including one with an extraordinarily long path of about 322 kilometers, authorities said.

The massive storm system produced more than two dozen twisters that also killed at least 14 people in four other states: Illinois, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

LIVERPOOL, England — The Group of Seven economic powers told Russia on Sunday to “de-escalate” its military buildup near the Ukrainian border, warning that an invasion would have “massive consequences” and inflict severe economic pain on Moscow.

Foreign ministers from Canada, the United States, Britain and the rest of the G-7, joined by the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, issued a joint statement declaring themselves “united in our condemnation of Russia’s military buildup and aggressive rhetoric towards Ukraine.”

The G-7 called on Russia to “de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities,” and praised Ukraine’s “restraint.”

“Any use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law. Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response,” the statement said.

Russia’s movement of weapons and troops to the border region dominated weekend talks among foreign ministers from the G-7 wealthy democracies in the English city of Liverpool.

The G-7 nations fear the buildup could be precursor to an invasion, and have vowed to inflict heavy sanctions on Russia’s economy if that happens.

Moscow denies having any plans to attack Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of its own allegedly aggressive designs.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the conference host, said the G-7 was sending a “powerful signal to our adversaries and our allies.”

The statement promised a “common and comprehensive response” but contained no details.

In Sports …

HAMILTON — They’ve helped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers capture consecutive Grey Cup titles and now Andrew Harris and Nic Demski also have top Canadian player honours.

Demski was named the top Canadian in Winnipeg’s thrilling 33-25 overtime win over Hamilton in the Grey Cup game Sunday at Tim Hortons Field. Harris captured both outstanding player and Canadian honours in 2019 when he led the Bombers past the Tiger-Cats 33-12 in the CFL title game.

Both Harris and Demski are Winnipeg natives.

“It’s great,” said Demski. “To have one of the best Canadians of the past decade on my team (Harris) and winning it and seeing him winning it in 2019, it really is an honour to be named top Canadian.

Quarterback Zach Collaros was named the game’s outstanding player after completing 21-of-32 passes for 240 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He connected with Darvin Adams for the winning TD in overtime.

Earlier this week, Collaros captured the CFL’s outstanding player award.

The Grey Cup win capped a dominant season for Winnipeg, which posted a CFL-best 11-3 record and boasted both the top-scoring offence and stingiest defence. But the Bombers battled very windy conditions and a stubborn Ticats squad before an enthusiastic record Tim Hortons Field gathering of 26,324.

Winnipeg upset Hamilton 33-12 in the 2019 CFL championship game.

There was no Grey Cup game in 2020 as the CFL didn’t stage a season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Entertainment … 

NEW YORK — The Hollywood Foreign Press Association will announce nominations to the 79th Golden Globes this morning. But will Hollywood care?

The press association, often ridiculed, even by its own hosts, this year went from punchline to pariah.

After a Los Angeles Times’ expose detailed some of the HFPA’s unethical behavior and revealed that its 87 voting members didn’t include one Black journalist, much of the film industry threatened to boycott the Globes.

Tom Cruise even returned his three Globes to the group’s headquarters.

But after nine months of reform, the HFPA is doing what it always has this time of year: Gathering reporters in the early morning to announce its film and television nominations.

ICYMI …

NEW YORK — Anne Rice, the novelist who helped a new generation bring vampires out of the shadows and into our T-Vs and movie screens, has died.

Her son, Christopher announced online that his mom died late Saturday from complications from a stroke. She was 80.

Rice churned out a series of best-selling gothic books, including “Interview With a Vampire,” that helped re-fashion vampires as tragic antiheroes.

Her 1976 “Interview” novel was adapted into a 1994 movie starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt.

It will be revived in an upcoming T-V series on A-M-C due out next year.

Also this … 

LOS ANGELES — It’s true The Monkees were a made-for-TV band. But the latest member of the foursome to die had a career that featured much more than the zany antics the group pulled off on the small screen.

Michael Nesmith was a singer-songwriter when the show came calling for him, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Davy Jones, and made them overnight rock stars.

Once the band ran its T-V course, Nesmith went on to have a long and creative career as a musician, writer, producer and director of movies, an author, and creator of a music video format that led to the creation of M-T-V.

Nesmith died over the weekend. He was 78 years old.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec.13, 2021

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