Canada in Brief, Jan. 25-31

January 25, 2018 Updated: January 3, 2019

Ottawa announces new measures to protect right whales

Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc has announced four immediate measures for the crab fishery in an effort to protect North Atlantic right whales from entanglement with fishing gear.

LeBlanc says the rules will greatly reduce the amount of rope that can be left floating on the surface when crab pots are set to just 3.7 metres.

A number of the 17 confirmed right whale deaths in Canada and the United States last year were the result of entanglement in fishing gear, and LeBlanc says he saw too much abandoned or lost gear floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence after last year’s season.

LeBlanc says he’ll soon be announcing further measures.

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Police appear to be cracking down on pop-up stalls selling marijuana as frustrations mount over the open air market operating in a prominent square in downtown Vancouver.

A spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department declined comment on what he called an ongoing investigation, but vendors say officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Jan. 21 and arrested several sellers.

Pop-up pot shops have been setting up with increasing frequency in the pedestrian-only plaza in recent weeks, selling everything from dried marijuana to cannabis-infused edibles.

Coun. Melissa De Genova says she has heard from more and more residents who are upset about what is happening in the public square and who want the city to step in.

Christopher Plummer among Canadian Oscar nominees

Christopher Plummer’s supporting role in “All The Money In The World,” the animated film “The Breadwinner,” and a producer behind the Toronto and Hamilton shot “The Shape of Water” are among this year’s Canadian Oscar nominees.

Miles Dale shares in the best picture nomination for Guillermo del Toro’s merman romance “The Shape of Water,” which has a leading 13 nominations.

Other Canadians nominated for the film include production designer Paul Austerberry, costume designer Luis M. Sequeira, and film editor Sidney Wolinsky.

“The Breadwinner,” based on the novel by Canadian author Deborah Ellis, is nominated for best animated film. The movie was written by Canadian filmmaker Anita Doron.

With files from The Canadian Press