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…more fur for the Queen and Alec Baldwin files suit; In-The-News for…

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 Nov. 7.

What we are watching in Canada …

Andrew Scheer emerged from a marathon caucus meeting Wednesday, declaring that Conservative MPs are united behind his leadership after they declined to give themselves the power to boot the leader out.

Scheer’s leadership will still, however, face a test of confidence among party members at their biannual convention in April in Toronto. He said he believed that’s where the power to potentially oust him should lie.

“The review as to the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada is and always will be in the hands of our members,” he said to loud applause from the MPs gathered behind him.

“We are a grassroots party.”

Though feisty after holing up with his MPs and senators for seven hours, Scheer repeated many of the same messages that he’d delivered throughout the recent election campaign and in the days afterward.

He said Conservatives will be “laser focused” on four priorities: keeping the country united, restoring ethics and accountability to government, helping Canadians get ahead and getting the energy sector back to work.

And he called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom he accused of dividing the country, to recall Parliament as soon as possible.

“By the time Justin Trudeau even names his cabinet (on Nov. 20), we’ll have been one month removed from election day. That is far too long to wait given the urgent problems we face today.”

Also this …

A report is urging British Columbia to get better financial guarantees that mining companies will pay for the mess they make.

The First Nations who commissioned the study say that if the government doesn’t do it, they will.

The province is reviewing the rules by which it ensures that taxpayers aren’t stuck with the costs of cleaning up or caring for abandoned mines. The report points to several recent examples of the government being left to pay the costs, including at least $500,000 at one old gold mine.

Current legislation requires companies to put up more assets towards the end of a mine’s life. But the assets often depend, directly or indirectly, on the company’s value or on commodity prices.

B.C.’s auditor general recently concluded that the costs of mine cleanups exceed the surety held by the government by $1.4 billion.

That leaves the public at risk even with good-faith operators, said Jason Dion, a consultant who wrote the report.

ICYMI (In case you missed it) …

TORONTO — A fatal boat crash on an Ontario lake has prompted a wrongful death lawsuit against celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary and his wife Linda O’Leary, who was driving their vessel.

relatives of a Susanne Brito — one of two people who died in the collision — are seeking $2 million in damages from the O’Learys as well as from the driver and owner of the second boat.

The crash occurred on Lake Joseph in Seguin, Ont., late one night in August when the O’Learys’ boat collided with one driven by Richard Ruh, 57, of Orchard Park, N.Y.

A Florida accountant, Gary Poltash, 64, who was on Ruh’s boat, died at the scene. Brito, 48, a woman from Uxbridge, Ont., who was also on that boat, was critically injured and died in hospital.

Among other things, the suit argues Kevin O’Leary knew or should have known that his 56-year-old wife was “incapable of operating the power boat with due care and attention” but let her drive anyway even though she had a propensity for speeding and had no licence.

The claim also asserts Linda O’Leary failed to keep a proper lookout, was driving too fast, and failed to heed the horn of the Ruh boat.

None of the allegations has been proven in court and Linda O’Leary could not be reached for comment.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

Democrats announced they will launch public impeachment hearings next week, intending to bring to life weeks of closed-door testimony and lay out a convincing narrative of presidential misconduct by Donald Trump.

First to testify will be William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, who has relayed in private his understanding that there was a blatant quid pro quo with Trump holding up military aid to a U.S. ally facing threats from its giant neighbour Russia.

That aid, at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, is alleged to have been held hostage until Ukraine agreed to investigate political foe Joe Biden and the idea, out of the mainstream of U.S. intelligence findings, that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

The testimony of Taylor, a career envoy and war veteran with 50 years of service to the U.S., is what Democrats said Wednesday they want Americans to hear first.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

An attack on employees of Quebec gold producer Semafo Inc. in Burkina Faso has left 37 people dead and 60 injured.

The attack occurred Wednesday about 40 kilometres from the Boungou mine — one of the two sites operated by the company in the West African country — when a convoy of five buses accompanied by a military escort was ambushed.

The military vehicle ahead was reported to have struck an explosive device. The rest of the convoy was then shot by “unidentified armed individuals,” said a statement signed by the governor of the eastern region, Col. Saidou Sanou.

Semafo said in a statement that the Boungou mine site “remains safe and our operations have not been affected.”

For several years Burkina Faso has been the scene of violent attacks attributed to jihadist fighters.

Based in Montreal, Semafo, which has 1,200 employees, including 85 expatriates at its Mana and Boungou sites. It had previously faced security challenges on roads leading to its facilities.

Global Affairs Canada that there have been no reports so far of Canadians citizens affect.

Weird and wild …

NEW YORK — James Dean hasn’t been alive in 64 years, but the “Rebel Without a Cause” actor has been cast in a new film about the Vietnam War.

The filmmakers behind the independent film “Finding Jack” said Wednesday that a computer-generated Dean will play a co-starring role in the upcoming production.

The digital Dean is to be assembled through old footage and photos and voiced by another actor.

Digitally manipulated posthumous performances have made some inroads into films, but those have been largely roles the actors already played, including Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing in “Star Wars” movies.

However, the prospect of one of the movies’ most beloved former stars being digitally resurrected was met with widespread criticism after the news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

On this day in 1873 …

The Liberals formed their first federal government under Alexander Mackenzie. John A. Macdonald’s Conservatives had resigned two days before due to a bribery scandal.

Your health …

A report says 553 objects were unintentionally left in Canadian medical and surgical patients between 2016 and 2018 — a 14-per-cent increase compared to data five years earlier.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says hundreds of items such as sponges and medical instruments were left behind in patients in those two years.

Sandi Kossey of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute says the focus now needs to switch to why such avoidable injuries happen and how to prevent them.

The report also found among 23 countries measured, Canada had the highest rate of severe tears during vaginal childbirth, and the highest rate among 12 countries of avoidable complications after surgery.

Tech talk …

VANCOUVER — Anyone who’s been frustrated with digital voice assistants Google, Alexa or Siri may find themselves pointlessly arguing with technology, but imagine the ubiquitous devices messing up every third word you say.

That’s what Google estimates people with Down syndrome experience because of speech difficulties associated with physiological differences in their mouths.

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society has launched a campaign to help Google improve its voice-recognition technology by encouraging people with the condition to record phrases online.

Matthew MacNeil, 29, volunteered to donate his voice by logging on to a website and recording phrases such as “the boy ran down the path,” “flowers grow in a garden” and “strawberry jam is sweet.”

He says the goal is to use the technology to become more independent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2019.

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