POLITICS

Five stories in the news today, March 30

03/30/2015 04:00 EDT | Updated 05/29/2015 05:59 EDT
Five stories in the news today, March 30, from The Canadian Press:

HARPER GOVERNMENT TO REVEAL DAMAGE CONTROL MEASURES TO REPAIR RIFT WITH VETS

The Harper government will try to patch up its contentious relationship with Canada's veterans as a federal election draws closer this year. A number of sources tell The Canadian Press that Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole will announce what are described as targeted improvements today to benefits given to veterans. The sources say the idea is to bring lump sum awards for the most severely disabled more in line with what courts award civilians injured in workplace accidents. The issue of benefits has angered veterans and strained relations with the federal government.

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COMMONS EXPECTED TO VOTE ON WHETHER TO EXTEND CANADA'S MILITARY ROLE IN MIDDLE EAST

Members of Parliament are expected to vote tonight on the Harper government's plan to extend Canada's military mission in Iraq and also authorize air strikes in Syria. The government argues the fight against Islamic State militants must continue to prevent everything from the sexual slavery of children to mass murder. They also say that as ISIL has been degraded in Iraq, the militants have been moving heavy weapons into Syria. The opposition argues Canada's focus should be on providing humanitarian aid to the region.

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ACCIDENT INVESTIGATORS START PROBING HALIFAX PLANE CRASH IN EARNEST TODAY

Transportation Safety Board investigators spend their first full day today at the site of Sunday's plane crash at Halifax airport. The TSB says investigators will focus on gathering information and surveying the site of the crash of the Air Canada passenger jet. All 138 people on the plane survived, although 25 were taken to hospital.

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PILOT MAKES FINAL CALL ON LANDING

The Air Canada passenger jet that crash landed at Halifax's airport on Sunday did so in the middle of a snowstorm. Air Canada says conditions were safe for its plane to land, but accident investigators say they don't know yet if weather conditions were a factor. Aviation industry experts says the pilot makes the final decision on whether its safe to land. Experts say the pilot's decision is made based on information from the tower, such as runway conditions and visibility.

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HARPER GOVERNMENT NOT SHOWING ITS HAND IN GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS

The Harper government seems in no hurry to submit its plans for reducing emission targets and climate plans ahead of a UN climate conference set for Paris in December. Countries have been asked to submit their plans by tomorrow in order to help the negotiations. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq's office says Ottawa wants to see what emission plans the provinces have in mind before putting forward any proposals. Federal officials promise the plans will be submitted well in advance of the summit.