Jason Kenney’s UCP cruised to a majority in Alberta’s election. Here’s what you need to know
63 seats for the UCP. 24 for the NDP. And a clear victory for Kenney’s party in the popular vote, with 55 per cent support to the NDP’s 32 per cent. That’s the tally with most polls reporting after Albertans, frustrated with the economy and the federal government, handed control of the province to the United Conservatives.
Rachel Notley’s NDP government has come to an end after one term – a first in Alberta – with its seat count cut by more than half.
In the short term, Kenney plans to cancel the provincial carbon tax and launch a legal challenge to the federal program. That will put him in the company of Ontario and Saskatchewan, which have taken Ottawa to the courts on the carbon measure.
The federal impact: Between Kenney in Alberta and Doug Ford in Ontario, there are now two premiers clamouring to defeat Justin Trudeau openly, directly and noisily, Campbell Clark writes: “The problem for the Prime Minister ... is that Kenney plans to join Ford in loud, open attacks not just on federal policy, but on the Trudeau brand.” (for subscribers)
The B.C. angle: Premier John Horgan is now bracing for worsening relations as Kenney vows to turn off the oil taps to B.C., which could send gas prices soaring. But there is a sliver of a silver lining, Justine Hunter writes: “Kenney’s election means Horgan is the only provincial leader west of Quebec to support a carbon tax. That makes Horgan the most important ally Trudeau has on environmental action.” (for subscribers)
What Kenney said: “We Albertans are proud Canadians, and tonight we have elected a government that will stand up and secure a fair deal for Alberta in this great country,” he said. “There is a deep frustration in this province, a sense that we have contributed massively to the rest of Canada, but that everywhere we turn we are being blocked in and pinned down.”
What Notley said: “Tonight’s result is not the one that we hoped for or worked so hard for. But, you know … I am filled with an enormous sense of gratitude and pride,” she said. “Four years ago, Albertans hired us to do a very big job at a very difficult time, and we did that job with purpose. And we did it with integrity. And today Alberta is a better place because of it.”
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Ottawa has removed a major barrier to getting the abortion pill
Women no longer need an ultrasound before receiving a prescription for Mifegymiso. Health Canada’s change is expected to be especially beneficial for those in small, rural or remote communities where ultrasounds can be difficult to access and wait times long.
In Canada, the pill can only be prescribed during the first nine weeks of pregnancy. But ultrasounds aren’t the only way to measure this time frame; other means of dating a pregnancy include conducting a physical exam and asking if a woman knows the date of her last menstrual period.
Until now, many women outside of urban centres have had to plan a trip to make an appointment for an ultrasound, waiting a week or more for an appointment, which could put them over nine-week limit.
Last fall, our Atlantic bureau chief Jessica Leeder wrote about her trip from Nova Scotia to Toronto to get an ultrasound and an abortion, an experience that left her brimming with feelings of powerlessness, shame and disbelief.
More than $1-billion in donations have poured in to rebuild Notre-Dame
French President Emmanuel Macron is promising to restore the fire-damaged cathedral in five years, though most experts say it will likely take a decade. And despite its largely secular society, the country has come together to embrace the Roman Catholic landmark, which has become a symbol of 850 years of French history.
“It’s devastating. This is our soul,” Marie Hélène Dubreu told Globe correspondent Paul Waldie as she came to view the cathedral on the banks of the Seine River. A few metres away, two dozen university students sofly sang Ave Maria.
Big contributions to the rebuild have come from French billionaires and corporations, including L’Oréal cosmetics, plus wealthy Americans such as Apple’s Tim Cook. Several online fundraising campaigns have also been launched.
All campaigning for next month’s European parliamentary elections has been suspended in France as the country mourns the damage.
Prosecutors have opened a preliminary criminal probe into the cause of the fire, but so far everything still points to it being accidental.
Our editorial board looks at how public perception of the cathedral’s importance quickly changed in France: “There was no outcry about its decaying state. Everyone just assumed it would always be there. The fire changed that. It made people realize how important Notre-Dame Cathedral is and how terrible it would be to lose what, as many have said this week, is civilization itself.”
Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s lawyers are challenging Ottawa on solicitor-client privilege
The legal team for the suspended second-in-command of Canada’s military is questioning the federal government’s explanation for withholding documents and e-mails between senior staff in the Prime Minister’s Office. Norman’s team argued “the claims of solicitor-client privilege are over broad” considering PMO staff are not lawyers.
One of the documents Norman’s lawyers are trying to obtain is a chart allegedly showing how government officials concluded that Norman passed cabinet secrets to Davie Shipyard. The Vice-Admiral has been charged for allegedly leaking documents to influence a $700-million federal contract.
In other political news, the Federal Court has ordered another review of the Aga Khan’s vacation gift to Justin Trudeau. In 2017, the then-lobbying commissioner said there was no basis to a complaint that the billionaire philanthropist had violated the lobbyist code by allowing the Prime Minister and his family to stay on his private island in the Caribbean.
But a judge now wants a second review, saying that even though there’s no evidence the Aga Khan was “remunerated” as director of a foundation, the commissioner must examine whether there was “anything of value” – not strictly monetary payment.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is telling teachers not to strike as the province and educators prepare for negotiations that could begin later this month. Contracts are due to expire at the end of August and tensions between the two sides have been on the rise as Ford vows to increase class sizes. The Peel District School Board has issued layoff notices to almost 200 high school teachers in part because of those class changes.
Vancouver’s annual 4/20 protest is going ahead this weekend despite cannabis legalization and long-standing efforts to put an end to the unsanctioned gathering. The city refuses to give organizers permits, in part because smoking in parks is illegal. But the event has gone on anyway, with organizers this year saying the event is also about addressing stigma and criminalization.
As the Toronto Maple Leafs are aiming to widen their series lead over the Boston Bruins tonight (7 p.m. ET), all the chatter is about Mitch Marner. “Yeah, there’s dentists for a reason,” the Leafs forward said after throwing himself face-first in front of two slap shots in the final seconds of Game 3 to preserve the win. Marner is a new-age hero with an old-school approach, David Shoalts writes. (for subscribers)
Things aren’t looking so bright for the Calgary Flames, who trail 2-1 against the Colorado Avalanche. A big problem is the lack of production from Calgary’s top scorer. Johnny Gaudreau has one assist through three games and that does not come close to showing how ineffective he has been, writes Marty Klinkenberg. (for subscribers)
The Winnipeg Jets had one skate in the grave when they arrived in St. Louis to resume their heated playoff battle against the Blues, trailing the best-of-seven game series 2-0. The Jets will now depart in a decidedly healthier state, their 2-1 skin-of-the-teeth overtime victory Tuesday night at Enterprise Centre their second in a row on enemy turf to level their Western Conference opening-round playoff series at 2-2, Robert MacLeod writes. (for subscribers)
Led by a monster performance from Kawhi Leonard, the Toronto Raptors not only bounced back in their series with the Orlando Magic, but they looked like a playoff contender to fear. In one of his finest nights since joining the Raptors, Leonard scored 37 points on 15-of-22 shooting as the Raptors crushed the Magic 111-82 on Tuesday night to tie their best-of-seven playoff series 1-1, writes Rachel Brady. (for subscribers)
Asian markets comforted by China data, Europe uninspired
World stocks inched higher after a raft of Chinese data beat expectations on Wednesday and though benchmark bond yields and the Aussie dollar did the same, Europe struggled to join in. Tokyo’s Nikkei and the Shanghai Composite each gained 0.3 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped slightly. In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was down 0.1 per cent by about 4:25 a.m. ET, with Germany’s DAX and the Paris CAC 40 each up 0.1 per cent. New York futures were up. The Canadian dollar was at about 75 U.S. cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
A storm of misinformation is coming. Our federal election could be at risk
Eric Jardine: “Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland made headlines recently when she proclaimed that foreign interference in Canada’s coming federal election was ‘very likely,' and that there had 'probably already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy.’ Freeland is not wrong, nor is she being alarmist.” Eric Jardine is an assistant professor at Virginia Tech.
With boomers retiring and investment uncertain, where will Canada’s workers come from?
Pedro Antunes: Given its demographic pressures, it is incumbent on Canada to identify how it can tackle the common barriers that impede the labour force participation of under-represented groups such as women, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities. Lifting labour force engagement among these under-represented groups is not impossible, although tackling this issue would require leadership and funding." Pedro Antunes is chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada.
Tiger Woods shows us what American exceptionalism is all about
Lawrence Martin: “It has long been said that sports has taken the place of religion. What better illustration than the simultaneous exaltation of a golfer in Augusta, Ga., and the conflagration at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The concept of American exceptionalism has experienced a drubbing in recent times. It takes a golfer, it seems, to fix it. Tiger Woods, if only for a brief shining moment, makes America great again.” (for subscribers)
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Children’s television in Canada is very white and very male, a new study has found
Just one-third of characters in kids’ shows are female, the exact same ratio as a similar study from a decade earlier. Almost none are shown with physical disabilities, nearly all appear to be at least middle class, and only a quarter racially diverse, the 2017 review found. The gap also exists off-screen, where most directors, creators and writers are male.
MOMENT IN TIME
World’s first multiplex theatre opens – in Canada
April 17, 1979: When Cineplex opened in 1979, the 18-screen theatre in Toronto’s Eaton Centre was a first of its kind and a forerunner to the mega-theatres that now dot our cities. “No other theatre in the world is like this one,” said co-founder Nat Taylor at the time. The state-of-the-art facility boasted theatres ranging in size from 57 to 167 seats. Initially, the theatres played foreign-language and art-house films, but later expanded to mainstream fare to attract a wider, younger audience. Staggered showtimes and advance ticket sales were also new features. Despite a slew of problems out of the gate – skewed film projections cutting off the heads of lead actors, films presented out of focus and a floor plan that confused first-time attendees – the concept was a success. In two years, the company expanded to Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa, and the Toronto location added an additional three screens and changed its name to Cineplex 21. By the early 2000s, competition and a recession proved fatal: In 2001, Loews Cineplex declared bankruptcy and in March, the credits rolled for the last time. The final films at the Eaton Centre location included Best in Show and Dude, Where’s My Car? – Jessie Willms