Canada in Brief, Dec. 7-13

December 6, 2018 Updated: December 6, 2018

Alberta sets legal wheels in motion to cut oil production

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and her cabinet have put the legal wheels in motion to begin cutting oil production, while calling on the federal government to step up.

“We don’t actually need Ottawa’s sympathy. We need Ottawa’s full attention,” Notley said prior to a cabinet meeting Dec. 3.

The meeting was called to hash out legal directives to give the Alberta Energy Regulator the power to direct oil producers to cut production by 8.7 percent starting Jan. 1.

Notley said it will be a short-term solution to address the glut in reserves that’s driving down prices and is designed to be monitored and adjusted monthly as necessary. It ends on Dec. 31, 2019.

Closed meeting between MPs and Chinese officials cancelled

An all-party House of Commons committee of elected MPs planned a closed-door meeting with a delegation of Chinese politicians and diplomats but abruptly cancelled it Dec. 5.

A former Canadian ambassador to China says the meeting was a bad idea in the first place because holding it in-camera meant a lost opportunity for Canada to show Beijing how a democracy really works.

The meeting was cancelled one day after CSIS director David Vigneault told a business audience that interference by hostile states has now become a greater threat to Canadian national security than terrorism.

The Commons foreign-affairs committee had planned to meet on Dec. 6 with Lu Shaye, Beijing’s ambassador to Canada, and four visiting members of the National People’s Congress of China.

A spokesman for the committee’s Liberal chair said China cancelled the meeting, but he dismissed further questions about why it was initially closed to the public.

Canadian astronaut bound for ISS on Russian rocket

Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques blasted through the skies over Kazakhstan early Dec. 3 in what appeared to be a seamless launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station.

The 48-year-old doctor and astronaut lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with Anne McClain of NASA and Oleg Kononenko of the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.

The launch of the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft appeared to go exactly as planned at the precise liftoff time of 6:31 a.m. Eastern.

A crowd monitored the launch from the Canadian Space Agency in Longueuil, Que., as the rocket began its roughly six-hour transit to the space station.

Newly discovered cave might be largest in Canada

A newly discovered cave in a remote valley in British Columbia’s Wells Gray Provincial Park might just be the largest in the country.

The feature was spotted by a helicopter crew from the province’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in March, as they were conducting a caribou census through the northeastern part of the park.

Geologist Catherine Hickson says it’s a very significant discovery, and promises a dramatic new chapter in the story of Canadian cave exploration. She says the cave was formed underneath glaciers for potentially tens of thousands of years.

“It’s about the size of a soccer field,” she said. “Think about this giant circular or oval hole that just goes down and down and down. It is truly amazing.”

With files from The Canadian Press