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Climbing pump prices, report calls for changes at CSIS : In The News for June 17

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of June 17 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Gas prices are displayed at a filling station in Philadelphia, Thursday, June 16, 2022. As North American gasoline prices hit record highs, experts are torn over if and when pain at the pumps might trigger demand destruction. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Rourke

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of June 17 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

As North American gasoline prices hit record highs, experts are torn over if and when pain at the pumps might trigger demand destruction.

Demand destruction is an economics term for when prices climb so high they trigger a collapse in demand, which in turn makes prices fall back down.

But while this spring's high prices appear to be causing a slight pullback in consumer demand for gasoline, some analysts say it's less than they'd expect.

Patrick De Haan of says the return-to-office push in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as pent-up travel demand means people are still driving.

The national average gasoline price was $2.08 per litre on Thursday. De Haan says significant demand destruction might not take place until prices hit $2.25 or $2.50.

Those prices are unlikely, but De Haan says they could happen if there's a significant outage at a major North American refinery this summer.


Also this ...

A new watchdog report says Canada's spy service has failed to make the crucial process of applying for court warrants a specialized trade that requires training, experience and investment. 

The report by the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency calls for fundamental changes to the relationship between the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and its legal counsel at the Department of Justice.

The reviewers heard repeated concerns from interviewees that systemic problems — rooted in governance and cultural issues — risk creating an intelligence service incapable of fulfilling its mandate.

A federal judge called for the comprehensive review in 2020 after ruling CSIS failed to disclose its reliance on information that was likely collected illegally in support of warrants to probe extremism. 

Federal Court Justice Patrick Gleeson found the spy service breached its duty of candour to the court, part of a long-standing pattern.

The review agency describes an intelligence service and its counsel struggling to find ways to meet their legal obligations, including to the Federal Court.

"Addressing these challenges is in the urgent public interest," the report says. "Though CSIS and Justice have made improvements, difficulties are still evident."


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala. _ A single gunman opened fire inside a suburban Alabama church Thursday evening, killing two people and wounding a third at a small group meeting before being taken into custody, authorities said.

The attack occurred at Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in the Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills, said Police Capt. Shane Ware. He said dispatchers got a call at around 6:20 p.m. reporting an active shooter there.

Ware said a suspect was detained and there was "no threat to the community at this time.'' Police declined to identify the suspect or the victims, or provide further details on the attack, saying another briefing was planned Friday.

At an earlier news conference, Ware had said one person was killed and two others hospitalized.

The church's website listed a "Boomers Potluck'' for Thursday night. "There will be no program, simply eat and have time for fellowship,'' the flyer read.     

Thursday's shooting took place just over a month after one person was killed and five others injured when a man opened fire on Taiwanese parishioners at a church in Southern California. It also comes nearly seven years to the day after an avowed white supremacist killed nine people during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

There have been several high-profile shootings in May and June, starting with a racist attack on May 14 that killed 10 Black people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. The following week, a gunman massacred 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

On Saturday thousands of people rallied in the U.S. and at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to renew calls for stricter gun control measures. Survivors of mass shootings and other incidents of gun violence lobbied legislators and testified on Capitol Hill earlier this month.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

GENEVA _ World Trade Organization members have reached a string of deals and commitments aimed to limit overfishing, broaden production of COVID-19 vaccines in the developing world and reform a 27-year-old trade body that has been back on its heels in recent years.

WTO Director-General Nzogi Okonjo-Iweala, after a pair of sleepless nights in rugged negotiations, concluded the WTO's first ministerial conference in four and a half years by trumpeting a new sense of co-operation at a time when the world has faced crises like growing food insecurity, war in Ukraine and a once-in-a-century pandemic that has taken millions of lives.

"The package agreements you have reached will make a difference to the lives of people around the world,'' said Okonjo-Iweala, who is 15 months into the job. ``The outcomes demonstrate that the WTO is in fact capable of responding to emergencies of our time.''

Among the main achievements at the 164-member trade body were an agreement, which fell short of full early ambitions, to prohibit support for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and ban support for fishing in overfished stocks in the world's oceans. The WTO chief said Friday the accord takes a "first but significant step'' to curb government subsidies and overcapacity _ too many operators _ in the fishing industry.

"WTO members have for the first time, concluded an agreement with environmental sustainability at its heart,'' Okonjo-Iweala said. "This is also about the livelihoods of the 260 million people who depend directly or indirectly on marine fisheries.''

More controversial was agreement on a watered-down plan to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, which ran afoul of advocacy groups that say it did not go far enough _ and could even do more harm than good.

"The TRIPS waiver compromise will contribute to ongoing efforts to concentrate and diversify vaccine manufacturing capacity so that a crisis in one region does not leave others cut off,'' said Okonjo-Iweala of the waiver of intellectual property protections.

Aid group Doctors Without Borders called it a "devastating global failure for people's health worldwide'' that the agreement stopped short of early calls to include other tools to fight the coronavirus including treatments and tests.

The meeting also agreed to lift export restrictions that have weighed on the U.N.'s World Food Program, which is trying to offset the impact of rising food prices and fallout from Russia's war in Ukraine on shipments of wheat, barley and other foodstuffs from a key producer of them.


On this day in 2011 ...

The United Nations endorsed the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people for the first time ever.


In entertainment ...

TORONTO _ Some of Jean-Marc Vallee's friends, family and colleagues are joining forces to create a documentary on the acclaimed late Canadian director.

Montreal company Item 7 says it will produce "Cut Print Thank You Bye,'' a reflection on the life and career of the auteur who rose from Quebec's film scene to the heights of Hollywood.

In his short career, Vallee dazzled film festival audiences with 2005 breakout "C.R.A.Z.Y.,'' garnered an Oscar nomination for his work on "Dallas Buyers Club'' and won an Emmy for the HBO series "Big Little Lies.''

He died suddenly over the 2021 Christmas holiday weekend at his cabin outside Quebec City and a coroner concluded the cause was coronary artery disease and an irregular heartbeat. Vallee was 58.

Producers say their documentary will draw from archives and original footage to tell the story of his life. The project will be assisted by his sons Alex and Emile and their mother Chantal Cadieux.

Marie-Julie Dallaire, who says she met Vallee around the release of "C.R.A.Z.Y.,'' will direct the project, which she describes as a way "of keeping him alive, of mourning him, using our common language: cinema.''

Other friends will be involved in the storytelling, including the documentary's producer Pierre Even, who previously produced "C.R.A.Z.Y.'' and Vallee's "Cafe de Flore,'' and cinematographer Yves Belanger, who shot some of the director's most ambitious projects, including the feature "Wild'' and HBO's "Sharp Objects.''

Representatives for Item 7 say they hope to release the film in late 2023 at the soonest.


Did you see this?

WINNIPEG _ A charge has been laid after a decade-long investigation into allegations of abuse at a residential school in Manitoba.

The province confirmed Thursday a person was charged with one count of indecent assault on a female related to the investigation into the former Fort Alexander Residential School northeast of Winnipeg.

Manitoba RCMP did not comment on the charge but said police have made an arrest in the investigation and would release more information Friday morning at a news conference in Winnipeg.

The RCMP release warns the information to be discussed could be upsetting or traumatizing.

The school was opened in 1905 in the community of Fort Alexander, which later became the Sagkeeng First Nation, and closed in 1970.

Mounties have said that officers with the major crime unit began looking into the residential school in 2010 and a criminal investigation began the following year.

Mounties said last year that RCMP were waiting on advice from the province's Crown prosecutors regarding charges.

Sagkeeng First Nation recently discovered 190 anomalies during a search near the Fort Alexander school using ground-penetrating radar. Initial data shows the irregularities fit some of the criteria for graves, but the community leadership has said more information is needed.

The Fort Alexander school had a reputation for abuse.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2022.

The Canadian Press