In This News This Week – December 5, 2017

Hey mPolitics readers! We apologize for the slightly belated blog post this week, but it’s exam time for us. Here’s an update on the latest headlines from last week and the beginning of this week. Hope you enjoy!

  • Trudeau in China: PM Justin Trudeau has wrapped up two days of high-level meetings in Beijing today, with no formal announcement that the two countries have launched formal free trade talks. International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is reported to be staying behind in Beijing in an effort to reach an agreement.
    • A few sticking points between the two countries include labour and gender rights, as well as human rights and consular issues.
    • Source: CBC, Bloomberg
  • Scheer calls for Morneau’s resignation: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called for Finance Minister Bill Morneau to resign last Wednesday, after continued ethics-related controversies over how he handled his personal financial arrangements after coming to office. Here is a quick overview of the issues:
    • His shares in HR firm Morneau Shepell, which he sold off, donating the difference from the time of sale vs. when he was elected (approx. $5 million);
    • A fine of $200 from the federal ethics commissioner for failing to disclose a private corporation, in which he is a director;
    • Conflict-of-interest allegations over proposed pension reform;
    • His late 2015 sale of shares in Morneau Shepell – a transaction that took place ahead of a tax change announcement.
    • Source: The Globe and Mail
  • Supreme Court appointment: Last week, PM Trudeau appointed Alberta-based judge Sheilah Martin to the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • Trudeau’s LGBTQ apology: Last week, PM Trudeau delivered a historic apology to LGBTQ Canadians, expressing shame, sorrow and regret to the many civil servants, military members, and criminalized Canadians who ensured discrimination and injustice because of their sexual orientation.
    • The apology comes with a $145 million settlement: $110 million for compensation for LGBT civil servants whose careers were ended, and $15 million for historical reconciliation, education and memorialization efforts.
    • You can watch the emotional apology here.
    • Source: CBC
  • Senate debating cannabis bill: The Senate has started debating the bill to legalize cannabis in Canada, after MPs passed the bill last week. The legislation was largely supported along partisan lines, and the final vote count was 200 MPs in favour and 82 against.
  • Michael Flynn: Former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of lying to the FBI. Flynn admitted that he lied in interviews with FBI agents about conversations he had with then Russian ambassador concerning US sanctions on Russia and other matters.
  • Trump’s travel ban: The US Supreme Court has ruled that President Trump’s ban on travellers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen (all mainly Muslim countries) can go into full effect, pending legal challenges.
    • Lower courts across the US have said the president’s policy violated the first amendment of the US constitution covering freedom of religion.
    • Source: BBC
Trudeau in China
Source: Sean Kilpatrick, The Canadian Press
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