Canada in Brief, July 23-29

July 29, 2015 Updated: October 1, 2015

Olivia Chow Returns to NDP to Run in Federal Election

Former MP Olivia Chow is making a comeback to the NDP ahead of the upcoming federal election. Chow announced July 29 she was running in the new Toronto riding of Spadina-Fort York.

“I believe everyone here deserves the positive change an NDP government can bring,” she said. “I’m ready to bring my leadership and my experience as part of that change.”

Chow vowed, if elected, to work for a national transit strategy and a national childcare program, among other NDP priorities.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, who stood beside Chow as she announced her plans, called her a “tireless champion” of Toronto and the issues that are important to its residents.

In the upcoming campaign, Chow will face off against Liberal MP and former Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan.

Anti Corruption Officials Target Home of Ex-Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay

Investigators from Quebec’s anti-corruption unit are searching the home of former Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay as part of their probe into a water meter contract.

Montreal awarded the $355 million contract to a consortium in 2007 but cancelled the deal a few years later after reports surfaced of alleged embezzlement and other irregularities.

Anti-corruption officials from the unit have been conducting raids related to the water meter contract over the last few weeks.

Sources last week said officers 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.

Dauphin was head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities between June 2013 and last month. Tremblay was mayor between 2002 and 2012.

Hydro Company Plans Review After Alberta Ruling it Shut Down Plants to Raise Prices

CALGARY—TransAlta Corp. says it will undertake an independent review of its practices following the Alberta Utility Commission’s conclusion that the company triggered outages at power plants to raise electricity rates. Chief executive Dawn Farrell says results of the review will be made public.

The commission held hearings after Alberta’s market surveillance administrator alleged the company manipulated the electricity market by shutting down coal-fired power plants in 2010 and 2011 to drive up power costs during periods when demand was high.

The commission also found TransAlta breached a regulation by allowing its energy trader to use privileged information related to plant shutdowns so that the company could benefit in the market.

But the commission found that the market surveillance administrator did not prove allegations that TransAlta’s compliance policies, practices, and oversight were inadequate and deficient.

Greens Say National Pharmacare Plan Would Expand Coverage, Save Money

OTTAWA—The federal Green party is making a national pharmacare plan a key plank of its election platform. The party says it would make affordable medicine a reality for all Canadians while saving billions of dollars.

The plan would expand and co-ordinates the patchwork of public and private plans that already provide drug insurance to 22 million Canadians.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May says the plan would ensure two million Canadians have access to prescriptive medications that they otherwise could not afford.

She says the Greens will work with all federal parties, provinces, and others with a stake in health care to implement the plan—the second phase of Canada’s universal health system.

Moreover, the party says its approach would apply greater rigour to drug registration by refusing to register medications that hurt more people than they harm.

Cosmetic Contact Lenses to be Licensed Like Corrective Lenses, Health Canada Says

TORONTO—Health Canada says it will regulate cosmetic or decorative contact lenses in the way it oversees the sale of corrective lenses. In a statement, Health Minister Rona Ambrose says the risks cosmetic lenses pose to the eyes of people who wear them are the same as those associated with corrective lens wear.

Cosmetic lenses change the appearance of the eye but do not correct the vision of people who wear them; they are worn strictly for the appearance they create.

Currently these lenses are licensed as consumer products and are generally sold by retailers who sell costumes and cosmetics. But under the regulatory changes Ambrose is announcing, the lenses will be treated as medical devices—a move which brings them under greater control.

The Health Canada statement says the risk of severe corneal infection related to lens wear is 12.5 times higher for cosmetic lenses than it is for corrective contacts.

The new regulations will come into effect next July.

New Baby One Among Several Heirs of Murdered Millionaire, Says Lawyer

VANCOUVER—The family of a murdered West Vancouver millionaire says a baby born to his former lover isn’t his only possible heir.

Chris Johnson, a lawyer representing the brother and mother of Gang Yuan, says the businessman actually fathered several children, meaning his estimated $50 million estate will be divvied up between his children.

Johnson says those children—some living in Vancouver and others living in China—have already been DNA-tested and paternity tests proved Gang was their dad.

The B.C. Supreme Court recently ordered testing be conducted on the child of a Chinese woman living in the United States who claims in court documents that her daughter was the man’s only offspring.

Johnson says he doesn’t understand Xuan Yang’s sole claim, saying he believes the mother knows full well her deceased lover bore other children from speaking to his family.

Gang’s body was found chopped into more than 100 pieces in early May and a male relative is charged with second-degree murder.