Canada in Brief

November 22, 2018 Updated: November 22, 2018

StatsCan blames guns, gangs as homicide rate rises

A new Statistics Canada report says the national homicide rate was its highest in a decade last year thanks to a spike in the number of deaths from guns and gang violence.

The report comes weeks after the federal Liberals and Conservatives rolled out competing plans for tackling the rise in gun and gang violence ahead of next year’s election.

Statistics Canada says police reported the overall homicide rate last year rose to 1.8 for every 100,000 people, the highest level since 2009.

The agency blames gangs for a steady increase in gun-related killings, which accounted for about 40 percent of all homicides last year and which reached their highest rate in 25 years.

Pot users know driving high is bad, but many do it anyway: Survey

Almost two-thirds of Canadians who have smoked pot know they shouldn’t drive after doing so but a lot of them are doing it anyway, a new survey suggests.

Results of the second annual Canadian cannabis survey released this week found six in 10 people who admitted to using pot in the previous year believed doing so affects a driver’s ability to drive.

But 43 percent of admitted pot-users had still driven within two hours of smoking or consuming edible pot products.

Canada legalized recreational marijuana use for adults on Oct. 17, about three months after the online survey was completed.

Private schools should have procedures to report crimes: Police

A high-ranking Toronto police officer investigating allegations of assault and sexual assault at St. Michael’s College School says private schools should establish rules for reporting crimes to authorities similar to the ones all public schools have in place.

Insp. Domenic Sinopoli, head of the sex crimes unit, says all public-school boards in the city have signed protocols with the Toronto police that spell out the institutions’ responsibilities and the response to incidents where police involvement is required.

He says private schools such as St. Michael’s do not have such agreements with police. The Roman Catholic school has been at the centre of a police investigation into at least six incidents involving allegations of assault and sexual assault.

Some diplomats who fell ill in Havana unable to work, having relapses

A handful of Canadian diplomats who mysteriously fell ill in Cuba in late 2016 have been unable to return to work as investigators struggle to pinpoint the cause of their symptoms.

A Global Affairs Department official says most of the seven employees suffering dizziness, headaches, and trouble concentrating are working in various new roles. But some have been too unwell to work, while others still experience effects.

Officials have all but ruled out environmental factors, and no longer suspect some kind of sonic attack is to blame.

Johnston releases spending since leaving Rideau Hall

Former governor general David Johnston has publicly released expenses since leaving Rideau Hall that total $76,650 for a six-month period.

The expenses, incurred from October to March, include nearly $14,000 for travel, accommodation, and meals, $54,463 for office support, and $8,274 for office supplies and miscellaneous costs.

Johnston’s disclosure comes amid public scrutiny of the expenses of a previous governor general, Adrienne Clarkson, who has billed taxpayers for more than $1 million in expenses since leaving the job.

Earlier this month, Johnston said public responsibilities continue after a governor general leaves the job but said he welcomed public scrutiny of his spending.

With files from The Canadian Press