Four stories in the news for Friday, June 21
SENATE PASSES TWO CONTROVERSIAL ENVIRONMENTAL BILLS
A pair of controversial environmental bills scaled their final hurdle in the Senate on Thursday, over the objections of critics who warn the two pieces of legislation will kneecap Canada’s oil industry and fuel separatist sentiment in Alberta. Senators passed Bill C-69, which overhauls the federal environmental assessment process for major construction projects, by a vote of 57-37. They also approved — just barely — Bill C-48, legislation barring oil tankers from loading at ports on the northern coast of British Columbia. That bill passed on a vote of 49-46, only narrowly escaping defeat. The two bills have together become a flashpoint between the Liberals and Conservatives over how Canada can protect the environment without driving investment away from the fossil-fuel sector.
‘SHARK FINNING’ BECOMES ILLEGAL IN CANADA
Carving fins off live sharks and tossing them in the ocean to drown will be illegal in Canada as early as today. Importing shark fins that are no longer attached to sharks will also be against the law, as part of efforts to prevent Canada from being complicit in the practice of “shark finning” elsewhere. “It is a practice that is not sustainable and is inhumane,” Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Thursday. Shark finning has been barred as a condition of getting a fishing licence in Canada since 1994, but legislation that passed through Parliament this week will turn those licensing conditions into law. Canada is the first country in the world to ban the import and export of unattached shark fins.
TEENS HAVE PRIVACY RIGHTS, DOCTOR TELLS INQUEST
Two family doctors and an orthopedic surgeon told a British Columbia coroner’s inquest Thursday about the dilemmas they faced treating a 16-year-old patient who denied he was abusing drugs but showed signs of a growing opioid addiction. Elliot Eurchuk, 16, was found unresponsive in his bedroom on April 20, 2018, and the coroner’s jury has heard he died of a drug overdose. The teen’s parents, Rachel Staples and Brock Eurchuk, both testified this week that privacy laws restricted them from getting medical information about their son to help address his addictions. But the family doctor who delivered Eurchuk as a baby in July 2001 and treated him up until 18 months before his death testified that teens have a right to privacy about their medical issues.
INTERIM STOP ON DEVELOPMENT TO HELP B.C. CARIBOU
The B.C. government announced an interim moratorium on resource development in parts of the south Peace region on Thursday, giving itself more time to sign a long-term strategy to protect dwindling caribou populations. The government said it will close consultation gaps to find harmony within local communities that have been divided over the issue, while one of the area’s First Nations called the move a stall tactic. The issue of caribou protection had “inflamed passions,” in what Premier John Horgan said in April was a lack of understanding about saving the animals. Blair Lekstrom, a former Liberal MLA who was appointed the province’s community liaison in April, said he’s confident a balance can be reached. The moratorium is one of 14 recommendations in a report by Lekstrom on caribou recovery released Thursday.
ALSO IN THE NEWS:
— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will attend an Eid Dinner hosted by The Canadian-Muslim Vote and will deliver remarks.
— The BC Coroners Service will continues its inquest into the death of Elliot Eurchuk, 16, who was found unresponsive in April 2018. His parents have said he became addicted to painkillers after being prescribed opioids for an injury.
— Statistics Canada will report its retail trade figures for April.
— NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini take part in a panel discussion at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.
The Canadian Press