Canada in Brief, May 3-9

May 3, 2018 Updated: January 9, 2019

Canada in ‘exploratory’ talks to change Safe Third Country Agreement

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says Canada is in “exploratory” talks with the United States to re-open the Safe Third Country Agreement.

The aim would be to stem the flow of asylum seekers that have been coming into Canada from the United States.

There have been reports this week that Canada wants the agreement rewritten to apply to the entire border. But Goodale says that would not be in Canada’s interests and could increase insecurity at the border.

He adds that Canada has not entered into formal talks with the Trump administration.

MPs stricken at sudden death of Tory colleague Gord Brown

Ashen-faced MPs of all political stripes commiserated with their stricken Conservative colleagues after hearing the news May 2 that longtime Ontario Tory MP Gord Brown had died suddenly in his Parliament Hill office.

The Conservative caucus was in the middle of its weekly meeting inside the Centre Block when the gathering was suddenly cut short around 11 a.m. Not long afterward, Tory MPs were called back into the meeting and given the news.

Many looked visibly shaken and close to tears as they emerged from the room.

Brown, 57, was first elected in 2004 and won re-election three more times, including most recently in 2015.

“Heartbroken at the passing of our dear friend Gord Brown,” tweeted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. “One of the most upbeat guys I’ve known.”

Kahnawake ‘marry out, get out’ law ruled unconstitutional

A Quebec judge has ruled that a Mohawk community’s so-called “marry out, get out” law is unconstitutional.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Thomas Davis declared a membership rule designed to preserve Mohawk culture is discriminatory and violates the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The case was heard in court last year over a rule commonly referred to as “marry out, get out,” which states that anyone who marries a non-Indigenous person must leave the territory.

A group of 16 plaintiffs banded together to challenge the membership policy in Kahnawake, a Mohawk territory just south of Montreal.

US delays tariffs for another month

The United States has delayed the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs for another month, with an announcement April 30 that pushed the internationally contentious issue off to June 1.

The announcement came just before the deadline for the tariffs taking effect and marked the second such delay over an issue that has threatened to spark a global trade war.

The White House said it would pause tariffs for Canada, Mexico, and the European Union; would soon announce steel and aluminum agreements with Argentina, Australia and Brazil; and had already reached a deal with South Korea.

Seven ex-Bloc Quebecois MPs mull forming new party

The seven MPs who quit the Bloc Quebecois in late February over Martine Ouellet’s leadership say they are considering forming a new political party.

They held a news conference in Ottawa on May 1 to say they are cutting all ties to the Bloc. Their decision comes two days after Ouellet accused the seven of spreading “fake news” about her.

Bloc members will vote on Ouellet’s leadership in early June as well as on whether the party should focus on promoting Quebec independence on a daily basis.

The seven former Bloc MPs have accused Ouellet of constantly zeroing in on independence instead of defending Quebec’s interests on the federal scene.

With files from The Canadian Press