NEWS
05/17/2016 13:38 EDT | Updated 05/18/2017 01:12 EDT

The Tuesday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories

Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, May 17:

FORT MCMURRAY RE-ENTRY PLAN UNDER REVIEW: Wildfires menacing Fort McMurray have carved a new path of destruction, destroying an oilsands work camp to the north and forcing reconstruction staff out of the evacuated city. On top of that, the process of restoring natural gas was dealt a setback when a home in an area that was getting service back blew up Monday night, destroying the house and damaging six others beside it. Premier Rachel Notley said the developments underscore the volatility of the situation and have forced a re-evaluation of plans to get residents back to their homes.

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FIRE FORCES OILSANDS PLANS TO CHANGE: Plans to quickly restart oilsands production in northern Alberta were turned upside down after the Fort McMurray wildfire erupted with renewed vengeance, forcing thousands of workers to scramble to safety. Oilsands miners had been gradually returning staff to the area to begin the process of resuming production at facilities undamaged by fire but shut down because of the threat. However, the fires moved north late Monday forcing about 8,000 oilsands workers lodged in a number of camps to flee further north.

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LIBERALS UNVEIL TRANSGENDER RIGHTS LAW: Transgender Canadians and human-rights champions cheered as the Liberal government introduced legislation that would make it against the law to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression. The legislation would, if passed, make it illegal under the Canadian Human Rights Act to prevent someone from getting a job or to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of the gender they identify with or outwardly express. It would also update the Criminal Code to extend hate speech laws to include gender identity and expression.

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ASSISTED DYING LEGISLATION: A Senate committee is signalling that the government should allow advance requests for medical assistance in dying if it wants its controversial legislation on the matter to be approved by the upper chamber. But while the majority of committee members wants the bill to be more permissive for those diagnosed with dementia and other capacity-eroding conditions, it is simultaneously urging the government to be more restrictive generally about who is eligible for assisted death. The majority recommends that assisted dying be provided only to those with terminal illnesses, although that would appear to fly in the face of last year's landmark Supreme Court ruling.

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POLICE CHIEF SAYS TORONTO STILL SAFE: Toronto's police chief says the city remains "the safest in North America" despite a spike in homicides this year, including a recent shooting that killed a pregnant woman sitting in a car. Mark Saunders says there are no simple solutions to complex issues such as gun violence, but stresses the force is doing what it can to reach out to the communities hardest hit by crime. The chief says co-operation from those communities is key to solving crimes, including Sunday's shooting, which claimed the life of Candice Rochelle Bobb, of Mississauga, Ont. Her baby was delivered prematurely by emergency C-section and was said Monday to be in stable condition.

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FAMILIES OF SLAIN YOUNG PEOPLE SPEAK IN COURT: The families of five young people killed in a stabbing at a house party in Calgary two years ago have had their say in court. In an unusual move at the trial of Matthew de Grood, an agreement was reached to allow members of each family give a tribute to their loved ones. Patty Segura says her son Jordan would help perfect strangers and gave away "hugs for free", while Lawrence Hong was remembered by his brother Miles as a friend to many. Kaitlin Perras, Josh Hunter and Zackariah Rathwell were also killed in the attack. De Grood's lawyer has indicated he plans to argue his client was not criminally responsible for the killings.

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RAP LYRICS DISCUSSED AT TRIAL: Violent rap lyrics about guns, killings and running from police had nothing to do with the death of Tim Bosma, the Hamilton man's accused killer told court as he defended his profanity-laced creations. Court has seen rap lyrics and one rap video that police found on Mark Smich's iPad, which Smich — under a second day of cross-examination by the lawyer for his co-accused — repeatedly said were art, and didn't reflect reality.

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HUDSON'S BAY TO OPEN SHOPS IN NETHRELANDS: One of Canada's most iconic brands is heading to the land of windmills and tulips. Hudson's Bay Company announced Tuesday that it plans to open up to 20 stores in the Netherlands over the next two years as part of an aggressive push to grow its presence in Europe. The move will mark the first time North America's oldest retailer, which was founded primarily as a fur trading company in 1670, has introduced its namesake brand outside of Canada.

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FORMER B.C. OFFICIAL CHARGED: A former communications director in the British Columbia government has been charged with breach of trust in connection with a strategy by the Liberals to win ethnic votes in the 2013 election. Special prosecutor David Butcher approved the charge against Brian Bonney in connection with the duties of his office.

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MUNICIPALITY LIABLE FOR TRAIL BIKE INJURIES: A man rendered quadriplegic after a mountain biking accident won his battle Tuesday to hold the Ontario municipality that operated the adventure park fully liable for his injuries. In its decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by the municipal County of Bruce that it was not at fault, and that the victim, Stephen Campbell, was at least partly responsible for his catastrophic injuries. The incident occurred in August 2008 when Campbell, then 43, his wife and two children visited the Bruce Peninsula Mountain Bike Adventure Park, which featured bike trails and an area with 10 wooden obstacles for riders to learn trail riding. Signs warned riders to ride within their abilities