Good morning Canada and Happy Sunday! It was a hectic week on the world stage, here’s what happened in Canada and around the world:
In Canadian News:
- By-election Results: Last Monday by-elections were held for the seats of some MPs no longer in Parliament – Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney who vacated their seats, John McCallum and Stephane Dion who were tasked with new diplomatic initiatives, and Mauril Belanger who tragically passed away from ALS/Lou Gherig’s disease. The results of the by-elections were that each departing MP was replaced by a winning candidate from the same party, thereby not changing much in the House of Commons except for the addition of some new faces. (CBC)
- Oh Canada: You may remember MP Mauril Belanger for his bill to change Oh Canada to gender neutral lyrics. This week the bill is being held up in the Senate with Senators claiming the change in lyrics is too “clunky, leaden and pedestrian.” The issue has been adjourned and will be picked up for debate again in the future. (Daily Hive, Toronto Star)
- Inter-provincial Trade Deal: On Friday the government unveiled The Canada Free Trade Agreement, which seeks to remove domestic inter-provincial barriers to trade. The idea is to strengthen trade within Canada, allowing Canadian companies to become more competitive internationally, and improve the Canadian economy, possibly to the tune of $25 billion. Some industries, such as alcohol, are not covered by the deal. (iPolitics)
- Remembering Vimy Ridge: Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first world war battle at Vimy Ridge, a strategically important battle with 10,000 Canadian casualties. This battle is considered historically important as it marked the first point in the war that all Canadian divisions were deployed together, and were successful in taking and holding the ridge where their British and French counterparts were not. 25,000 Canadians including the Prime Minister and his family are attending the ceremonies in France today. You can watch a live stream of the ceremonies at this CNN link. (National Post, Times Colonist)
In International News:
- Chemical Attack in Syria: Earlier this week the Syrian regime launched a chemical weapons attack on an opposition controlled town, killing over 70 people. This is not the first time in the 6-year war that the regime has targeted its opponents with deadly chemical weapons that are condemned by the international community. Syria and Syrian-ally-Russia claimed other explanations for the attack, alleging that the Syrian regime was not responsible. However, it is all-but-certain that the regime was responsible, being the only actor in the fight with access to chemical weapons and planes. (New York Times)
- The US Response: In response to the actions of the Syrian government, on early Friday morning, the US sent 59 cruise missiles into the Syrian regime-controlled air base where the aircraft and weapons had originated. It was a marked departure from Trump’s statements of not getting involved in Syria, other than to fight the Islamic State. (CTV)
- The Canadian Response: In response to the US missile strikes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated his support for these “limited, focused” actions in Syria. The government did acknowledge that they were one of the US allies given an early indication about the strikes to come. This Globe and Mail article is a good read on the challenges the PM will face as the situation in Syria continues to escalate.
- Terrorist Attack in Sweden: On Friday in an act of terror, a man hijacked and drove a truck through a busy Stockholm street killing 4 people and injuring at least 9 others. (The Guardian)
For more details on the history of the conflict in Syria, see our piece titled Putting Together the Pieces of the Syrian Puzzle.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Francois Hollande in the Canadian World War 1 military cemetery.
Photo Source: PHILIPPE HUGUEN / AFP/GETTY IMAGES