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Mourning a Mountie and Trudeau in Brussels: In The News for June 14

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 June 14 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

WOLSELEY, Sask. — A province mourned the loss of a slain RCMP officer on Sunday, remembering the Mountie as a compassionate fixture of his rural Saskatchewan community.

Const. Shelby Patton, 26, died Saturday morning after he stopped a suspected stolen truck in the small town of Wolseley, Sask., east of Regina. He was hit by the truck while outside of his police vehicle, RCMP said. 

The truck took off and Patton died at the scene. But two hours later a man and a woman were arrested in a field outside the small town of Francis, Sask.

RCMP say 41-year-old Alphonse Stanley Traverse and 42-year-old Marlene Velma Louise Pagee, both from Winnipeg, have been charged with manslaughter as well as a number of other offences.

The two remain in custody and are scheduled to appear at the Regina Provincial Court today at 9:30 a.m. local time.

Meanwhile, flags at RCMP stations across Saskatchewan have been lowered to half-mast, while a growing memorial of flowers, notes and stuffed animals has taken shape outside the Indian Head detachment where Patton was posted. 

Those who knew him said he was tailor-made for the Mounties. 

At the makeshift memorial, a poster in what appears to be a child's handwriting bears a message of comfort for the officer’s family

"He is a hero and always will be," it says. "Thank you for your service. P.S. We love you."


Also this ...

OTTAWA — Ottawa’s legal challenge of two rulings involving First Nations children taken from their families by an underfunded child-welfare system will be heard in Federal Court today. 

The federal government has filed for a judicial review of two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings — one that awarded First Nations children inappropriately taken away from their parents after 2006 $40,000 each and to their parents and grandparents, and the second that expanded Jordan's Principle to children who live off-reserve or who are not registered under the Indian Act.

Jordan's Principle is a rule stating that when different levels of government disagree about who's responsible for providing services to First Nations children, they must help a child in need first and argue over the bills later

Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, which filed the original complaint over 14 years ago, says the case is fundamentally about addressing harms suffered by Indigenous children who have faced systemic discrimination by Canada.

Federal officials say they are not arguing against compensating Indigenous children harmed by what they call a “broken child care system," but they argue the Candian Human Rights Tribunal overstepped its authority and erred in law in awarding individual damages to First Nations kids.

Ottawa instead wants to compensate these children and their families through a settlement in two separate but related class-action lawsuits, which Indigenous Services Minister Marc Millers says could lead to higher compensation paid to those who suffered the greatest harms.


And this ...

LONDON, Ont. — A court hearing is scheduled today for the man accused of deliberately striking and killing four members of a Muslim family with his truck in London, Ont.

Nathaniel Veltman made a brief appearance in court by video link last Thursday, but his case was adjourned to today.

He faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in the June 6 incident that has set off a wave of grief across Canada and beyond.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal were killed while out for an evening walk.

The couple's nine-year-old son, Fayez, was seriously wounded but is expected to recover. 

Police allege the incident was a planned and premeditated attack targeting Muslims. 

A funeral held for the family over the weekend drew hordes of mourners to the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — Apple informed former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn and his wife that the Justice Department had subpoenaed information about accounts that belonged to them in 2018. 

That's according to a person familiar with the matter. 

The disclosure comes days after two House lawmakers disclosed they, too, had their information secretly subpoenaed. 

It’s not clear yet why the Trump administration sought the McGahns’ records. But the others were part of a leak probe related to the Russia investigation. 

The Senate’s top Democrat also called on the Justice Department’s chief national security official to testify under oath voluntarily or face a subpoena. 

The official, John Demers, is a Trump appointee who has remained in the Biden administration.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

BRUSSELS — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Brussels today for a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and then a Canada-EU summit.

Trudeau will begin his day by meeting the president of Latvia, where the Canadian military is leading a NATO alliance battlegroup whose mission is to deter Russian aggression in the region.

The prime minister is also meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg before the summit officially gets underway, where eyes will be on U.S. President Joe Biden and how he plans to renew a relationship between his country and the military alliance.

His predecessor, Donald Trump, had called NATO "obsolete."

Experts say there will be a focus on tackling cybersecurity and information warfare, as well as how to handle challenges presented by Russia and more recently China.

Trudeau will later take part in a summit with European leaders Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, where they are expected to talk about the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the trade agreement between Canada and the European Union.


Also this ...

JERUSALEM — Israel’s parliament has narrowly approved a new coalition government, ending the historic 12-year rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and sending the polarizing leader into the opposition. 

Naftali Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu turned rival, becomes prime minister and was sworn into office after a 60-59 vote.

Promising to try to heal a divided nation, Bennett will preside over a fragile coalition comprised of eight parties with deep ideological differences. 

But the 71-year-old Netanyahu made clear he has no intention of exiting the political stage, calling the new coalition a “dangerous government.” 

The vote ended a two-year cycle of political paralysis in which Israel held four deadlocked elections.


In entertainment ...

HALIFAX — Classified, Les Hay Babies, Maxim Cormier, Rich Aucoin and Rose Cousins have emerged as the big winners of the 2021 East Coast Music Awards, snagging two of Atlantic Canada's biggest music prizes each.

The awards were announced Sunday evening as part of a show hosted by Heather Rankin and livestreamed on the ECMA's social media platforms.

Top accolades went to Halifax's Neon Dreams for album of the year, Prince Edward Island's Catherine MacLellan for songwriter of the year and Cape Breton's Beolach for fans' choice entertainer of the year. 

New to the awards this year was the category of African Canadian artist of the year, which went to Halifax's Zamani.

The late Rita MacNeil was also inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Altogether, artists from Cape Breton earned six ECMA awards, mainland Nova Scotia claimed 16 awards, New Brunswickers took home nine, P.E.I. artists snagged four and artists from Newfoundland and Labrador claimed six.


Also this ...

LOS ANGELES — Ned Beatty, the Oscar-nominated character actor who in half a century of American movies, including “Deliverance,” “Network” and “Superman,” was a booming, indelible presence in even the smallest parts, has died. He was 83. 

Beatty’s manager, Deborah Miller, said he died Sunday of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by friends and loved ones. 

After years in regional theater, Beatty was cast in “Deliverance” as Bobby Trippe, the happy-go-lucky member of a male river-boating party terrorized by backwoods thugs. 

The scene in which Trippe is brutalized became the most memorable in the movie and established Beatty as an actor whose name moviegoers may not have known but whose face they always recognized.


In Sports ... 

LAS VEGAS — A difficult challenge awaits the Montreal Canadiens tonight as they enter their Stanley Cup semifinal as underdogs against the host Vegas Golden Knights.

The top-ranked Golden Knights won an NHL-best 40 games in the shortened 56-game regular season and tied Colorado for the highest point total in the league – 23 points more than Montreal in the standings.

But the Canadiens have been in this position twice already this post-season. 

They were not expected to beat the division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round, nor were they favoured to overcome the third-place Winnipeg Jets in the second round. The team silenced critics in both cases and are riding a seven-game win streak that includes a sweep of the Jets.

The Montreal-Vegas series is the first cross-border matchup in the NHL this season, made possible by a federal exemption allowing teams to bypass 14-day quarantine requirements. 

The Canadiens will also need to overcome the roar of roughly 18,000 fans inside Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena – a stark contrast from the empty Canadian arenas during the regular season and even the 2,500 fans permitted inside Montreal’s Bell Centre during the playoffs.



It's been a long lockdown on love for Emma Sykora. But as temperatures climb and more Canadians roll up their sleeves for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Sykora is starting to think she has a shot at something special this summer.

The 33-year-old in Toronto became single near the start of the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, Sykora's interest in romance has waxed and waned with each wave of the pandemic, but no relationship prospect proved to be worth the risk of infection.

But lately, she says, the escalation of Canada's vaccine rollout seems to have injected a long-awaited dose of passion into the dating scene.

Sykora said her dating apps have been flooded with matches and messages — many touting vaccination as part of their pickup strategies — as single-dosed singles emerge from extended contagion-forced chastity.

"It's like a Rumspringa for partially vaccinated millennials," she says, referring to the Amish coming-of-age period in which teenagers venture into the world of vice.

"I am hoping that I'll be able to embark on something new and exciting and be able to push it forward in a way I wasn't able to during the first year and a half of this."

But experts warn that the one-dose summer of love may not be as hot and heavy as some would hope between COVID-19 safety concerns, the evolving etiquette of vaccine disclosure and anxiety about putting yourself out there after prolonged isolation.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2021

The Canadian Press

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