Canada in Brief, Oct. 27-Nov.2

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
November 2, 2016 Updated: November 2, 2016

New immigration baseline: 300,000 next year, with more in future years

OTTAWA—Canada won’t increase the number of new immigrants being welcomed to the country next year but is laying the foundation for a bigger boost in levels in the coming years.

Immigration Minister John McCallum announced on Oct. 31 that 300,000 newcomers will arrive in Canada next year—the same number established this year on a temporary basis to accommodate 29,000 additional newcomers as a result of the Syrian refugee crisis.

McCallum said the 300,000 number is the foundational figure for future growth in immigration targets, although he shied away from pegging an exact figure for future years.

Higher immigration targets are one part of a multi-pronged Liberal strategy to prod economic growth and stave off a slowdown in coming years.

Fort McMurray fire first responders honoured in ceremony

EDMONTON—Premier Rachel Notley and her government paid tribute on Oct. 31 to those who came to Alberta’s aid and rescue during the devastating Fort McMurray wildfire in May.

During a ceremony at the legislature, Notley said the fire devastated the lives of thousands of people but failed to cripple their spirit or resolve.

Opposition Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, whose constituency is in Fort McMurray, choked up as he thanked those who stepped up to help.

Nine first-responder agencies were recognized. Wood Buffalo fire Chief Darby Allen said people are strong but are still struggling with the memories and reminders of the devastation.

The fire forced more than 80,000 people to flee and destroyed more than 2,400 homes and buildings.

Government operations to run on green power by 2025, McKenna says

CALGARY—The federal Liberals are promising to run all government operations on renewable energy. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says the switch is to occur by 2025.

Speaking to the Canadian Wind Energy Association in Calgary, McKenna said the government will buy renewable electricity for facilities such as military bases.

Few details are immediately available on how the program would work or what its cost implications might be.

The National Energy Board projects that wind power capacity will double by 2040, second only to hydro in renewable energy options.

Outpouring of support for Abbotsford high school following deadly stabbing

ABBOTSFORD, B.C.—Counsellors are available to meet with grieving high school students in Abbotsford, B.C., as they try to understand a deadly stabbing attack at their school.

One student was killed and another is listed in stable condition after police say a barefoot man walked into Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Tuesday, Nov. 1, and stabbed two girls before being held by staff.

Support and information sessions for students and staff are being offered in the gym of a nearby church.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tweeted his condolences, while B.C. Premier Christy Clark and her education minister have also sent messages of support.

The suspect, who was not a student at the school, is in custody. The school’s superintendent said Wednesday the attack was random.

Paul Bernardo’s day parole hearing scheduled; families of victims ‘gutted’

TORONTO—Notorious killer Paul Bernardo is scheduled for a day-parole hearing next March but the lawyer for the families of Bernardo’s murder victims, 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy and 15-year-old Kristen French, says he believes Bernardo will never get parole.

Tim Danson says there have been many dates set for day-parole hearings, but all of them have been adjourned. Nonetheless, he says the process has “gutted” the families of his victims, but he believes Bernardo will die in prison.

Bernardo was sentenced in 1995 to life with no chance for parole for 25 years for raping and murdering Mahaffy and French. He was also given a dangerous offender status for admitting to raping 14 other women.

With files from The Canadian Press