In the news today, Dec. 20

By The Canadian Press
December 20, 2018 - 2:30am

Four stories in the news for Thursday, Dec. 20

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WOMEN'S HOCKEY TEAM ADDS VOICE TO SEATBELT PUSH

Players with the University of Alberta Pandas women's hockey team are adding their voices to calls for mandatory seatbelts on team buses. The women's team was returning to Edmonton from a game in Calgary on November 24th when its chartered bus clipped a semi that was pulled over on the highway. Several of the players say their first thoughts were about the Humboldt Broncos crash. Sixteen people were killed and 13 players were injured in April after a bus carrying the Saskatchewan junior hockey team and a semi collided.

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MAN GUILTY OF KILLING CALGARY WOMAN AND HER DAUGHTER

Tearful loved ones stood and applauded after a jury found a man guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of a Calgary woman and her five-year-old daughter. Edward Downey, 48, had testified he didn't kill Sara Baillie and Taliyah Marsman in July 2016. "Now, I can go home and bury Sara and Taliyah's ashes and forever let them rest in peace," Baillie's mother, Janet Fredette, said after Wednesday's verdict. The conviction comes with an automatic life sentence, but it has yet to be determined whether Downey will have to wait 25 or 50 years to be eligible for parole.

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BILL TO PREVENT STRIKE AT OPG EXPECTED TO PASS

The Ontario government is expected to pass legislation today that would prevent a strike or lockout at a utility that provides roughly half of the province's power. The government called legislators back from the holiday break on Monday in an effort to end the dispute between the Power Workers' Union and Ontario Power Generation, saying the move was necessary to stave off outages. The Progressive Conservatives say their bill, if passed, will send the matter to arbitration so it can be resolved without jeopardizing the province's electricity supply.

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SMOKE TOP WEATHER STORY IN CANADA THIS YEAR

Choking from smoke, sweltering in the heat or cursing early or late snow, Canadians could be forgiven for asking just what the heck happened to the weather in 2018. "It was almost a smorgasbord of everything that could go wrong," said David Phillips, senior climate scientist for Environment Canada. Smoke, said Phillips, was Canada's top weather story this year. Driven by hot, dry conditions, the number of fires was higher than last year and the area burned was double the 25-year averages. Smoke from wildfires in British Columbia and down the Pacific Coast to California darkened skies and soured air for more than 10 million Canadians.

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ALSO IN THE NEWS:

— A court appearance is scheduled today for three people who pleaded guilty to a naked kidnapping near Leduc, Alta., in November 2017.

— Unifor national president Jerry Dias holds news conference following a meeting with General Motors on the future of the Oshawa, Ont. assembly plant.

— BlackBerry will hold a conference call today to discuss financial results from its fiscal 2019 third quarter.

The Canadian Press

Environment Canada meteorologist says 2018 was 'smorgasbord' of bad events