NEWS
05/11/2017 12:44 EDT | Updated 05/12/2017 12:35 EDT

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

Highlights from the news file for Thursday, May 11

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QUEBEC GOVERNMENT EXPECTS TO BOOST FLOOD COMPENSATION:  Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard says his province will likely boost compensation for victims of flooding in the province. Couillard made the comment Thursday as he appeared at a news conference in Gatineau with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. More than 4,100 residences in Quebec have been affected by the floods and more than 3,000 people have had to leave their homes. Trudeau says as climate change continues to pose a threat, Canadians must be ready to deal with severe weather disasters. 

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AIR CANADA TO LAUNCH LOYALTY REWARDS PLAN: Air Canada is moving to part ways with Aeroplan. The airline says it will launch its own reward plan in 2020, but says customers can collect Aeroplan points until then. Aeroplan was originally Air Canada's in-house loyalty program but was spun off as an independent business. The company has 5 million active members, who have a total of about 200 billion miles on their balances.

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ABSENTEE BALLOTS MAY PLAY BIGGER ROLE THAN USUAL IN B.C.: It's possible that absentee ballots may decide this week's British Columbia election. In most elections, thousands of absentee ballots are usually an afterthought for most people. But a handful of seats in Tuesday's election were decided by fewer than 300 votes so the more than 176,000 absentee ballots still to be counted could play a major role.

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BOMBARDIER HEAD STEPS BACK AFTER CONTROVERSY: The executive chairman of Bombardier is giving up his role and will instead become a non-executive chairman. Pierre Beaudoin, whose family controls Bombardier, became a focal point of public protests and shareholder frustration over big compensation increases to the company's senior executives last year. Alain Bellemare, who replaced Beaudoin as CEO in 2015, will remain in place as chief executive officer. Five of Canada's largest pension fund managers along with several large American institutional investors said prior to Bombardier's annual shareholders meeting that they didn't support Beaudoin's re-election.

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TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT SAYS IMPAIRED DRIVING BILL WON'T VIOLATE CHARTER RIGHTS: Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says demanding a breath sample from a motorist isn't any different than asking for their licence. Wilson-Raybould tabled a statement in the House of Commons on Thursday that lists the arguments why the government believes the new measures are permissible under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Bill C-46, which includes new powers for police and harsher penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was introduced in the Commons last month along with a plan to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

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UN WANTS TRUDEAU TO CHAMPION VULNERABLE REFUGEE CHILDREN: UNICEF wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to persuade his fellow G7 leaders to do more to help vulnerable and isolated refugee children who face rampant sexual and physical abuse. The deputy director of UNICEF, UN Assistant Secretary General Justin Forsyth, says all G7 countries need to do more to address the exploitation of children crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. He says 90 per cent of children making that journey are classified as "unaccompanied" and face no end of misery, including sexual slavery and detention.

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MILITARY OFFICIALS SAY PEACEKEEPING MISSION MUST START WITH EXIT STRATEGY: Military officials warned in an internal paper last year that an exit strategy must be first and foremost in planning for any peacekeeping mission. The paper notes that while countries like Canada often want to make short-term contributions to UN missions, there is often "significant pressure" to stay longer than expected. The paper also warns about the need to clearly explain why whatever mission the government chooses is in the national interest. The government document was obtained by The Canadian Press through the Access to Information law.

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TRUMP SAYS DECKS ARE CLEARED FOR NAFTA TALKS: U.S. President Donald Trump says his administration is ready to start a major renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump's trade czar achieved his long-awaited confirmation by the U.S. Senate on Thursday. Trump says Robert Lighthizer's confirmation clears the way to proceed quickly with talks. Trump told The Economist that he intends to file a 90-day notice with the American Congress and start talks with Canada and Mexico later this year.

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U.S. LAWMAKERS WILL KEEP CLOSE EYE ON FBI ELECTION PROBE:  The Republican and Democratic lawmakers leading a House investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election say they'll conduct "rigorous oversight" of the FBI's own investigation into the matter. Republican Rep. Mike Conaway and Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff are responding to President Donald Trump's decision to fire James Comey, the former FBI director who was overseeing the FBI investigation into Russia's actions and potential Trump campaign collusion. Comey's firing this week raised concerns about potential White House interference in that investigation. Conaway and Schiff are leading a separate House intelligence committee investigation and say they'll pursue it in a "thorough and nonpartisan fashion."

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GUILTY VERDICTS IN TORONTO CAFE KILLING: A Toronto jury has handed down guilty verdicts against four men charged in the killing of a man in a downtown cafe in 2012. The court was told John Raposo was killed as part of a feud among drug traffickers. Prosecutors contended the group orchestrated the hit on their rival because they believed he had snitched to the authorities about one of the accused. The first-degree murder convictions come with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.