POLITICS

Five stories in the news today, Feb. 4

02/04/2015 05:00 EST | Updated 04/05/2015 05:59 EDT
Five stories in the news today, Feb. 4, from The Canadian Press:

NEW DEMOCRAT MPs ON THE HOOK FOR $2.75 MILLION

Dozens of New Democrat MPs, including Leader Tom Mulcair, have been ordered to pay back $2.75 million in salaries paid to aides who worked in satellite party offices. The multi-party Board of Internal Economy, which polices House of Commons spending, has sent bills to 68 current and former MPs, ordering them to pay back the money. The board ruled last August that the MPs inappropriately used their Commons budgets to pay for 28 employees in satellite party offices in Quebec City, Montreal and Toronto.

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CIVIL AVIATION GROUP PROPOSES MEASURES AFTER AIR DISASTERS IN 2014

Top officials of the International Civil Aviation Organization will have more to say today about the organization's high-level safety conference in Montreal this week. They have been examining ways to improve the global tracking of aircraft and the sharing of information on conflict zones. A Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared last March and still hasn't been found, while another Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down in July while flying over eastern Ukraine. ICAO laid out a proposal Tuesday to improve the tracking of long-haul passenger flights by fall 2015. It also presented delegates at a conference in Montreal with a plan to exchange information about flying over conflict zones.

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WHO WILL STEP UP FOR CONSERVATIVES NOW THAT BAIRD IS DEPARTING?

John Baird, who has resigned as foreign affairs minister, was a prominent voice for Canada on the world stage and a valuable lieutenant for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His departure leaves many wondering who can carry the ball amid upheaval abroad and an election on the horizon at home. The only one who seemed upbeat about the state of things was Baird himself. "I will miss this place very much and many of the people in it, on all sides, but the time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life," Baird told a hushed House of Commons. Baird said he has no plans to run for re-election and will surrender his seat — he represents the Ottawa riding of Nepean — in the coming weeks. Trade Minister Ed Fast will stand in for Baird at Foreign Affairs.

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VIA RAIL TRIAL TO ENTER THIRD DAY IN TORONTO COURT

A trial resumes today in a Toronto court for two men accused of planning a terrorist attack on a passenger train travelling between Canada and the U.S. Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier both face multiple charges in the alleged plot. Not guilty pleas have been entered for both of them. The Crown alleges they were motivated by Islamic extremism. The trial heard Tuesday that one of the accused characterized the alleged plan as one that would kill scores of people and lead to more acts of terrorism.

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IT'S BEEN A GAS ... BUT PUMP PRICES ARE EDGING UP NOW

Gasoline is still a bargain compared to a year ago but the pump price has begun to move up lately and analysts say more increases are likely. According to price-tracking website Gasbuddy.com, the national average for a litre of regular was about 93 cents, an increase of 3.6 cents over the past week. And Gasbuddy senior petroleum analyst Dan McTeague said a two- to three-cent increase is coming over the next few days across the country. "It looks like the double whammy of both the decrease in value of the Canadian dollar and the increase in global commodity prices has led to a rather unfortunate scenario for consumers who have been enjoying record low prices," he said. But to put it in perspective, a litre of regular gasoline averaged $1.24 a year ago in Canada.

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