The Friday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories

By The Canadian Press
February 2, 2018 - 3:15pm

Highlights from the news file for Friday, Feb. 2

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TRUDEAU DEFENDS PIPELINE AT NANAIMO TOWN HALL: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau got a rough ride at his latest town hall meeting in Nanaimo, B.C., on Friday. The prime minister spoke over jeers as he defended his government's decision to support the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline through the province. Trudeau spoke to an energetic overflow crowd at a university gymnasium, as dozens of protesters carried anti-pipeline placards outside.

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EXPERTS QUESTION ALBERTA'S THREATS AGAINST B.C.: Energy experts say Alberta Premier Rachel Notley's promise to suspend electricity talks with British Columbia over a pipeline dispute may not carry much weight. Notley made the commitment Thursday in protest of B.C.'s announcement that it would temporarily restrict increases in bitumen shipments, creating more uncertainty for Kinder Morgan's delayed Trans Mountain expansion project. Energy consultant David Gray says the amount of power in question is relatively minor.

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PUSHING NAFTA TALKS TO 2019 WOULD TRIM GDP: A forecast released Friday predicts that extending NAFTA negotiations into 2019 would prolong uncertainty for the Canadian economy and trim anticipated growth over the next year. Scotiabank estimates that lingering doubts over the fate of the trade deal would shave 0.2 percentage points off of Canada's potential GDP. The bank projects the country would still see modest economic growth of 2.3 per cent on the year.

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CROWN CONCLUDES CASE AT SASK. FARM TRIAL: The Crown rested its case Friday at the trial of a Saskatchewan farmer accused of murdering a young Indigenous man. Gerald Stanley has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie near Biggar, Sask., on Aug. 9, 2016.

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SIXTIES SCOOP SURVIVORS KNOCK COMPENSATION PLAN: A group representing survivors of the so-called 60s Scoop says the federal government's proposed $800-million settlement doesn't go far enough. The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network says the government failed to adequately consult those who experienced the forced adoptions. The network plans to hold rallies across the country to demand fair and inclusive compensation.

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WHAT THE TRUMP-RUSSIA 'MEMO' SAYS: U.S. President Donald Trump's allies predicted that a secret memo released Friday would set off a bombshell, exploding the entire foundation of the Russia investigation. That's not quite how it played out, at least in the initial hours after the memo's release. The just-declassified document alleges that a key source in the Russia affair hated Trump, and that federal officials central to the probe played fast and loose with surveillance protocols. Trump said Friday that "A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves."

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THREE DEAD AFTER QUE. HELICOPTER CRASH: Quebec provincial police say all three people on board were killed when a four-seater helicopter crashed near Drummondville. It happened around 9 p.m. just north of the city about 110 kilometres northeast of Montreal. The victims, two women and a man, have not yet been identified. Police say the helicopter caught fire after a violent impact along the banks of the Saint-Francois River, in the city's Saint-Joachim-de-Courval district.

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SERIOUS INJURIES AFTER CRASH BETWEEN BUS, VAN: Eight people were seriously or critically injured in a crash between a bus carrying school children and a passenger van in southern Ontario. Paramedics say all of the injured were in the van, and they were being assessed at a local hospital. Ontario Provincial Police say the vehicles collided head-on Friday afternoon on a highway north of Stayner, Ont., and there are reports it was snowing in the area at the time.

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HALIFAX COUNCILLOR DEFENDS RE-TWEET: A Halifax city councillor under fire for re-tweeting a self-described "ethno-nationalist" group has dismissed criticisms, saying the attacks against him are "political." Matt Whitman tweeted Friday that he won't tolerate racism, and he accused the media of being "reckless again" in its coverage. On Thursday, Whitman re-tweeted a letter to Mayor Mike Savage from ID Canada, a group created as "a response to Canada's decaying identity, increased third-world immigration and the prevalence of anti-European sentiments."

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STUDY FINDS SPECIES AT RISK ACT IS FAILING: Researchers say inadequate funding and poor collaboration between governments and private landowners are behind the failure of Canada's laws to protect endangered and threatened species. A think tank at the University of Ottawa released a report Friday looking into the failures of and possible improvements to the federal Species At Risk Act, passed 16 years ago. The study found that of the 521 species listed in the legislation, 85 per cent have seen no improvement or have even deteriorated.

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The Canadian Press

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