Canada in Brief, July 16-22

July 22, 2015 Updated: October 1, 2015

Trudeau Says Child Care Benefit Should Not Go to Rich Families Like His

OTTAWA—Justin Trudeau says wealthy families don’t need the Conservative government’s enhanced universal child care benefit and, to underscore the point, he’s giving his own family’s windfall to charity.

The Liberal leader, who has three young children, calculates that his family will receive about $3,000 extra this year from the newly boosted UCCB. He says he’ll give that money to La Maison Bleue, a charitable group in his Montreal riding devoted to helping vulnerable women during pregnancy and the early days of motherhood.

On the same principle that government help should go to families who need it, Trudeau says he and his wife will not apply to take advantage of the Conservatives’ newly introduced income splitting scheme, which he estimates would reduce his family’s income taxes by about $2,000.

Should he become prime minister, Trudeau is vowing to scrap income splitting for couples with children, saving more than $2 billion which he’d plow into a new, tax-free, child benefit.

Nexen Energy Can’t Say Exactly When Alberta Pipeline Began Leaking

ANZAC, Alta.—Nexen Energy says a major oil pipeline leak detected last week in northern Alberta started sometime within a two-week period dating back to late June.

Ron Bailey, the company’s senior vice-president of Canadian operations, says officials still don’t know precisely when the pipeline ruptured.

But Bailey says the company believes the pipeline started leaking between June 29, when crews finished a cleaning, and July 15, when a contractor discovered it.

The spill of about five million litres of bitumen, sand, and produced water was discovered near Nexen’s Long Lake oilsands facility, about 35 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray.

The affected area is about 16,000 square metres. Bailey says it will take months before the company can determine what caused the leak.

Big Internet Providers Must Open Fibre Networks to Competitors, Says CRTC

GATINEAU, Que.—Canada’s communications regulator is forcing the country’s big Internet service providers to offer competitors access to their fibre optic networks.

The new requirement will give smaller Internet service providers, or ISPs, access to much higher-speed networks. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says the move should also foster greater competition in the broadband Internet market.

The big telecom companies, including Bell, Rogers, Telus, and Shaw, have so far made fibre optic services available to about three million homes across the country.

But they have limited access by smaller ISPs to their slower networks, through cable or copper wire systems.

The CRTC says it is also moving to a so-called disaggregated model of providing high speed access, which will require smaller ISPs to invest in equipment to access networks in different locations.

Anti-Corruption Unit Raids Five Montreal Area Locations in Water Meter Scandal

MONTREAL—Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is searching five locations around the Montreal area tied to its investigation into the city’s water meter scandal.

Sources say officers have visited the home of Claude Dauphin, borough mayor of Lachine, as well as the residence of Sammy Forcillo, the city’s ex-head of water management.

Anti-corruption unit spokeswoman Anne-Frederick Laurence is not confirming the locations searched but adds no arrests are expected. She says the 50 officers involved are looking for evidence.

The raids are the fifth occurrences in several weeks of anti-corruption officers conducting searches in connection with the water meter scandal.

Rights Groups Launch Constitutional Challenge of Federal Security Bill

OTTAWA—New powers for Canada’s spy agency are unconstitutional and represent an extraordinary reversal of the traditional role of the judiciary, two national groups say in a newly filed legal challenge of the Conservative government’s omnibus security bill.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Journalists for Free Expression are asking Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to hear their constitutional case against the federal anti-terrorism measures, commonly known as Bill C-51.

The legislation, which recently received royal assent, gives the Canadian Security Intelligence Service more power to thwart suspected terrorist plots and greatly expands the sharing of federally held information about activity that “undermines the security of Canada,” among other provisions.

In a joint statement, the two organizations challenging the law said that key elements violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “in a manner that is not justified in a free and democratic society.”

The government and its senior officials have consistently defended the legislation as constitutional.

CP Rail to Seek Leave to Appeal Rulings Tied to Lac-Megantic Settlement Fund

MONTREAL—Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. is continuing its legal fight against a recent court decision that awards more than $430 million to victims and creditors of the Lac-Megantic train derailment.

CP has filed for permission to appeal one of three decisions rendered by Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas regarding the settlement fund.

Dumas approved the $430 million package earlier this month and rejected three CP motions seeking to gain access to privileged documents, to have the fund cancelled, and to have the proceedings moved to Federal Court.

Court documents state the railway is trying to appeal the decision blocking its access to the privileged details of the settlement fund.

Jeff Orenstein, a lawyer for victims of the deadly train disaster in 2013, says the company’s lawyers have notified him to expect a second appeal on one of the other two judgments.

All sides are expected in court in Montreal on Sept. 9 to hear CP’s motions.