Cannabis buds lay along a drying rack at the CannTrust Niagara Greenhouse Facility in Fenwick, Ont., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Police, lawyers and advocates say a year into cannabis legalization, Canada has a long way to go toward stamping out the black market and pot-impaired driving THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

Cannabis buds lay along a drying rack at the CannTrust Niagara Greenhouse Facility in Fenwick, Ont., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Police, lawyers and advocates say a year into cannabis legalization, Canada has a long way to go toward stamping out the black market and pot-impaired driving THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

In the news: Cannabis, cucumbers and feral cats

Alberta to table its first budget this week

What we are watching in Canada …

The Alberta government is to table a budget today that will cut program spending by nearly three per cent.

But Premier Jason Kenney, in a TV address last night, reiterated that health and education funding will not be reduced and maintaining front-line services is a priority.

“This will be a challenging budget. It will not be easy,” said Kenney, adding the exact reduction figure is 2.8 per cent.

“These are necessary decisions. In fact, I would argue that they are long overdue. We must embrace transformative change to get a smarter government. That’s not going to happen overnight.”

The budget is the first one by Kenney’s United Conservative government since it defeated the NDP in the spring election.

Kenney has promised the budget will be a landmark spending document that will balance the books in four years and reorient Alberta’s economy long after that.

He has pledged to get it done by getting more value for public money while reducing overall spending and ending a recent run of multibillion-dollar deficits he says threaten to cripple future generations with unsustainable debt.

ALSO READ: ‘Havoc and chaos:’ Alberta separatist group gains support as Liberals re-elected

Also this …

A judge in southwestern Nova Scotia is expected to deliver a decision today in the case against a former police chief accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl.

John Collyer was the chief of police in Bridgewater, N.S.

He was placed on administrative leave from the Bridgewater Police Service in August 2016 after the province’s Serious Incident Response Team confirmed it was investigating the alleged assault.

The 26-year veteran of the force was suspended in May 2017 after the independent police watchdog charged him with one count of sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation.

The complainant testified that Collyer asked her an inappropriate question while the two were driving in May 2016 before putting his hand between her legs and assaulting her.

Collyer has denied the accusations.

—-

ICYMI (In case you missed it) …

Scientists have written the family tree for the tree of life.

Years of analysis, released in the journal Nature, has allowed researchers to pinpoint a billion years of evolutionary relationships between plants as different as cannabis and cucumbers, orchids and oaks.

“Everything is interrelated,” says the University of Alberta’s Gane Wong, one of the paper’s dozens of co-authors.

Science has known for a long time that species with significant differences can be related through a common evolutionary ancestor. In plants, those relationships have been studied mostly through how they look or behave. Do they have trunks? Flowers? How do their seeds form?

Wong and his colleagues — nearly 200 of them — have been looking at how the links are expressed through genetics.

The team couldn’t resolve everything. They couldn’t find branches in the tree for about five per cent of species, either because there wasn’t enough data or because it dated from so long ago it couldn’t be read accurately.

But the work is already yielding concrete benefits. Proteins taken from an obscure algae species studied by the researchers were found to turn certain brain neurons on and off. Those proteins are now being used in clinical trials to treat blindness.

—-

What we are watching in the U.S. …

Alberta’s oilsands are at the centre of a court battle in New York this week that legal experts say could affect future climate lawsuits in Canada.

“The evidence that’s coming out through this case is absolutely relevant to other lawsuits,” said Martin Olszynski, a University of Calgary professor who teaches environmental law.

New York’s attorney general is accusing Exxon Mobil of misrepresenting the risks oilsands operations face as governments move to fight climate change.

In the case filed a year ago, the state claims Exxon told investors that it was evaluating projects based on a carbon price that was much higher than the one used in calculations. That led investors to believe they faced a lower risk and also inflated evaluations of Exxon’s oil reserves.

Exxon has tried twice to block the case. The company’s lawyer, calling the accusations bizarre and twisted, argued Tuesday that Exxon did nothing wrong.

—-

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

Authorities found 39 people dead in a truck in an industrial park in England and arrested the driver on suspicion of murder in one of Britain’s worst human-smuggling tragedies.

Police were reconstructing the final journey of the victims as they tried to piece together where they were from and how they came to be in England.

“To put 39 people into a locked metal container shows a contempt for human life that is evil,” said Jackie Doyle-Price, a member of Parliament who represents the area where the truck was found. “The best thing we can do in memory of those victims is to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

The truck and the trailer with the people inside apparently took separate circuitous journeys before ending up on the grounds of the Waterglade Industrial Park in Grays, 25 miles (40 kilometres) east of London on the River Thames.

British police said they believe the container went from the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium to Purfleet, England, where it arrived early Wednesday. Police believe the tractor travelled from Northern Ireland to Dublin, where it took a ferry to Holyhead in Wales before picking up the trailer at the dockside in England.

The truck’s driver — a 25-year-old man from Northern Ireland — was arrested on suspicion of murder. He has not been charged and his name has not been released.

READ MORE: UK police expand probe, say 39 dead in truck all from China

—-

On this day in 1990 …

The RCMP announced it would allow Indigenous officers to wear their hair in braids while in uniform.

—-

Weird and wild …

Animal lovers in Newfoundland and Labrador are seeking help for dozens of feral cats facing an uncertain future as the humans in the small town where they prowl prepare to relocate.

Residents of Little Bay Islands have voted to resettle the community, and they have until the end of the year to move before services are withdrawn.

Little Bay Islands, off Newfoundland’s northern coast, is one of many rural communities in the province faced with a dwindling population. The 2016 census recorded just 71 people living in the town.

As residents grapple with the prospect of leaving their homes behind, the question of what will happen to the feral felines remains.

Resident Carol Hull estimates there are between 35 and 40 “semi-feral” cats living in the community.

Animal welfare groups in other parts of Newfoundland have become involved in the campaign to domesticate and find homes for some of the animals.

Hull is hoping for a bump in funding for animal welfare groups willing to take them in.

—-

Your health …

A new report from Young Adult Cancer Canada sheds light on such unique issues faced by the 22 young adult Canadians, ages 15-39, who are diagnosed with cancer each day.

The study surveyed 622 diagnosed young adults across Canada to explore the physical, social, financial, and emotional challenges they face as compared to their peers without cancer.

It found cancer in young adulthood can “disrupt an important period of development and identity formation, which tends to have a cascading impact on all areas of life.”

Yet there are few support programs geared to helping these patients through diagnosis and recovery, the report says.

It also found one of the main issues facing young adults with cancer is financial strain. Treatment and recovery affect their ability to work, and not all treatment costs are covered by public health care in Canada.

ALSO READ: Blood cancer survival rate rising fastest, Canadian stats find

—-

The games we play …

When softball player and Olympic 2022 hopeful Natalie Wideman was handed a $6,000 cheque and told the money came from women she did not know, she was speechless.

“I instantly broke down crying,” says the 27-year-old catcher from Mississauga, Ont. “In our generation, there’s so much stuff being put on women, comparing each other to each other and judging each other’s choices.

“Women helping women is just really, really, special to me.”

The money came from Canadian Athletes Now, or Canfund, via a campaign of professional women supporting female athletes.

The 150 Women campaign — named for the minimum donation of $150 — has cut $6,000 cheques to 109 female athletes in two years. Eight of them have won Olympic gold.

Donors range in age from 18 to 82 with $50,000 the highest single donation so far.

—-

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

(Black Press File Photo)
Sylvan Lake RCMP charge youth with weapons offences

The public helped to identify the individual involved in an incident at the pier earlier this month

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

Most Read