Canada in Brief, Mar. 24-30

March 30, 2016 Updated: March 30, 2016

Ghomeshi’s lawyer rejects suggestions she betrayed women

TORONTO—Jian Ghomeshi’s lawyer says she was just doing her job in representing the former CBC radio star in a high-profile sexual assault case, and that she was thrilled with the result.

Speaking on CBC’s “The National” on March 29, Marie Henein said it was the right result, and rejected accusations that she betrayed women by defending Ghomeshi.

“I think justice was served,” Henein said.

 “I think it is pretty significant that in one of the highest-profile cases, in one of the cases where everybody had an opinion … that you knew that you could walk into court and that there would be an impartial person who would decide on the evidence that is heard.”

A&W burger chain switches to French’s ketchup, mustard

TORONTO—A&W says it has decided to serve French’s Tomato Ketchup and Classic Yellow Mustard in all of its 850 locations across Canada.

A&W’s endorsement is the latest publicity win for French’s ketchup, which became an Internet and media darling after a man’s Facebook post lauded the U.S.-based company for using 100 percent Canadian-grown tomatoes.

The burger chain says it’s always looking for Canadian suppliers and already uses tomatoes from Leamington, Ont., and its A&W Ketchup is produced and packaged in Ontario.

French’s Food Co. says A&W is the first national restaurant to serve its ketchup and mustard.

Arctic sea ice at record winter low, says monitoring agency

The U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Centre says it’s the second year in a row that the amount of sea ice at the end of winter was less than any year since satellite monitoring began.

Temperatures over the Arctic Ocean for the months of December, January, and February were 2 C to 6 C above average in nearly every region. Even the North Pole saw above-zero conditions several times this winter.

It’s not clear what impact the low winter coverage will have on ice levels this summer. Low winter maximums are not always followed by equally low summer minimums and much depends on what happens in June.

Once-notorious ship facing scrap heap after years of legal wrangling

SHELBURNE, N.S.— In the seven years since the MV Farley Mowat was seized at gunpoint by the RCMP, the former flagship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has become an eyesore on Canada’s east coast.

The flat-black ship, a rusting hulk of its former self, is now in Shelburne, N.S., where town officials have been fighting to have the 54-metre vessel removed. The ship was once part of a small but notorious fleet commanded by environmental crusader Paul Watson.

The Federal Court of Canada decided last week that unless the ship is removed by the owner, scrap dealer Tracy Dodds, he faces arrest, a $5,000 fine, and a maximum 20-day jail sentence.

Trudeau calls former MP Jean Lapierre’s death a great loss

EDMONTON—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the death of former cabinet minister Jean Lapierre is a great loss for the political world, for Quebec, and for all of Canada.

Lapierre, his wife, two brothers, and a sister were killed when a plane carrying them to Iles-de-la-Madeleine for his father’s funeral crashed. Speaking while at an event in Edmonton, Trudeau said Lapierre was a skilled and dedicated politician who was known, respected, and loved by everyone.

He recalled both the “frank, personal conversations” and “the tough interviews” he had with Lapierre. He said Lapierre’s insights and perspective will be missed.

New Brunswick won’t lift fracking moratorium until conditions met

FREDERICTON—New Brunswick’s Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault says the province won’t lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until all the government’s conditions are met.

A collection of business groups is calling on the government to lift the moratorium, which was imposed in December 2014. They say the only way to attract investment and create jobs in the natural gas industry in New Brunswick is to lift the moratorium.

The government imposed five conditions when it imposed the moratorium, including a plan for regulations, waste-water disposal, a process to consult First Nations, a royalty structure, and a so-called social licence.

Fire in First Nation community in northern Ontario kills 9

PIKANGIKUM, Ont.—Nine members of one family, including three children under five, have died in a house fire in a remote northern Ontario First Nations community.

A resident of the Pikangikum First Nation who did not want to be identified said three generations of a family died in the blaze that destroyed their home on the night of March 29.

Ontario Provincial Police Const. Diana Cole said the fire broke out in the remote community near the Manitoba-Ontario boundary that has been plagued by suicides. The cause of the fire is under investigation and police remain on the scene, Cole said.

BC considers paying donors for blood products

KAMLOOPS, B.C.—Health Minister Terry Lake is open to allowing a pay-for-plasma clinic in British Columbia, saying the province already gets about 85 percent of its supply from the United States where donors are paid for blood products.

He says Winnipeg has a clinic and the practice could happen in B.C., with donors and recipients being assured of the highest-quality practices.

The B.C. Health Coalition has called on the province to follow the lead of Ontario and Quebec, which have banned pay-for-plasma clinics.

The federal NDP wants Ottawa to ban plasma clinics, citing safety concerns, after Saskatchewan recently announced plans to open a facility.

With files from The Canadian Press