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House Speaker Anthony Rota faced calls from opposition parties to resign yesterday after his decision to honour a Ukrainian man who served in a Nazi unit in the Second World War during a visit from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Rota apologized to the House of Commons for his error in judgment, but the NDP and Bloc Québécois say trust has been broken with the House and they no longer have confidence in the Speaker. The Conservatives instead blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying the government was ultimately responsible for vetting visitors to the Commons.

Rota invited 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka from his riding of North Bay, Ont., to Parliament on Friday for Zelensky’s visit. Hunka was called a hero by Rota for fighting for Ukraine independence against the Russians during the Second World War.

But Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre for Holocaust Studies said in a statement on the weekend that Hunka served in the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, a Nazi military unit with documented evidence of “crimes against humanity.”

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Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Sept. 25, 2023.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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Ontario PCs vow to enshrine Greenbelt boundaries in law, but block NDP bill

In an effort to recover from a political scandal over the Greenbelt, Doug Ford’s government announced yesterday that it plans to introduce a bill later this week that would restore the boundaries of Ontario’s protected area and go even further to formally enshrine them in law.

Progressive Conservative MPPs yesterday blocked an NDP bill that would have also returned the 3,000 hectares the government removed last fall and, NDP Leader Marit Stiles said, formally set the 800,000-hectare Greenbelt’s boundaries in law.

After months of outcry, Ford last week backed down on his promise-breaking move to allow developers to build housing on parts of the Greenbelt. He apologized to the public and vowed not to touch the area again.

Alberta rejects requests for data on freedom of information system a second time

The government of Alberta has, for the second time, refused a series of access requests from The Globe and Mail that were filed as part of the Secret Canada project.

The Globe sent identical requests to every ministry and department in Canada at the territorial, provincial and federal levels – more than 250 in total. Only Alberta ministries refused to provide the information.

The decision to withhold basic data about records it has previously released under its freedom of information law could have far-reaching consequences for transparency and accountability within the province.

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Also on our radar

For Ukraine’s drone warriors, the fight hits close to home: The war between Ukraine and Russia has seen an unprecedented reliance on drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor the front line and drop bombs and missiles on enemy targets. Russia has launched dozens of Iranian-made Shahed explosive drones at Ukrainian cities on a near-nightly basis. Kyiv is increasingly responding in kind, giving ordinary Russians a taste of the fear that has become a constant in Ukraine.

Legal cannabis labels inflate THC potency: Many labels on legal cannabis often overstate the amount of THC and CBD contained in the product, producers and testing laboratories say. Studies by two labs and a cannabis producer show that label claims for dozens of products do not match the reality of the potency stated.

Foreign students tricked into thinking they can get permanent residency: Senators and immigration experts are warning that international students, some of them confused by false promises from immigration consultants, are being misled into thinking that studying at Canadian postsecondary schools is a guaranteed route to remaining permanently in the country.

B.C. long-term care investments not delivering better care: A new report from a seniors advocate group has found that for-profit operators of long-term care facilities in British Columbia failed to provide half-a-million hours of direct care last year that they were paid by taxpayers to deliver to residents.

Morning markets

Stocks sag: U.S. Treasury yields hit a peak not seen since the early tremors of the 2007-2008 global financial crisis on Tuesday, as mounting fears of rates staying elevated for longer sent jitters through risk assets globally and pushed the U.S. dollar to a 10-month high. Just after 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE edged up 0.16 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 fell 0.45 per cent and 0.55 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.11 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 1.48 per cent. New York futures were down. The Canadian dollar was lower at 74.16 US cents.

What everyone’s talking about

Editorial: “There is one key fact that does not appear in the charts and graphs of Alberta’s pension report. Canadians from all provinces played a part in building up the surplus that Ms. Smith’s government so greedily eyes.”

Today’s editorial cartoon

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Illustration by David Parkins

Living better

These seven healthy lifestyle factors help ward off depression, suggests new study

Eating a healthy diet, being physically active, getting proper sleep and not smoking, for example, have all been tied to a lower risk of depression. Now, new study findings add to growing evidence that healthy lifestyle habits help guard against depression. And the more of them you engage in, the greater the protection.

Moment in time: Sept. 26, 1990

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A Mohawk Warrior clutches a woman as he is taken into custody by Canadian soldiers, Sept. 26, 1990.BILL GRIMSHAW/The Canadian Press

Oka Crisis, Kanehsatà:ke Resistance ends

The Oka Crisis, also known as the Kanehsatà:ke Resistance, came to an end after a 78-day standoff between Kanien:keha’ka Mohawk protesters and the Quebec provincial police service. Members of Kanehsatà:ke and Kahnawá:ke, including activists from the Mohawk Warrior Society, had been in a violent standoff against the Sûreté du Québec, RCMP and 4,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces. At issue was a barricade to stop the construction of condominiums and a golf course expansion into the ancestral burial grounds of the Kanehsatà:ke without their consultation. On this day, around 50 people – including women and children – left the site, which the army was not expecting. In the confusion, 14-year-old Waneek Horn-Miller was stabbed in the chest with a bayonet while carrying her four-year-old sister, Kaniehtiio, to safety. Several Kanien:keha’ka were detained by the military and a number were charged by the police and convicted. Thomas Siddon, the Indian Affairs minister at the time, called the military’s intervention a “wonderful” result, adding it was fortunate that “the good sense and wisdom of all concerned prevailed.” While the issues of the conflict remain unresolved, it helped lead to the formation of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Joy SpearChief-Morris

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