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  • Republicans block U.S. Senate Democrats' move on making Mueller report public

    U.S. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell on Monday blocked a second attempt by Democrats to pass a measure aimed at prodding the Justice Department to release to the public Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives voted 420-0 in favor of making the report public, with no Republican opposition. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr informed Congress that Mueller had concluded that President Donald Trump's campaign did not collude with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

  • Here's How Chris Pratt Told Anna Faris He Was Proposing to Katherine Schwarzenegger

    Chris Pratt and Anna Faris are embracing each other’s attempts to find new love, like when Pratt told Faris that he was proposing to Katherine Schwarzenegger.

  • College admissions scandal: Candace Cameron Bure slammed for supporting Lori Loughlin

    Candace Cameron Bure's comment that "family sticks together no matter what" at the Kids' Choice Awards is getting a lot of hate on social media.

  • Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould's conservative pick for high court

    OTTAWA - Jody Wilson-Raybould recommended in 2017 that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nominate a conservative Manitoba judge to be chief justice of the Supreme Court, even though he wasn't a sitting member of the top court and had been a vocal critic of its activism on Charter of Rights issues, The Canadian Press has learned.Well-placed sources say the former justice minister’s choice for chief justice was a moment of "significant disagreement" with Trudeau, who has touted the Liberals as "the party of the charter" and whose late father, Pierre Trudeau, spearheaded the drive to enshrine the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Constitution in 1982.The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal discussions about a Supreme Court appointment, which are typically considered highly confidential.For her part, Wilson-Raybould said Monday "there was no conflict between the PM and myself."In an email, she characterized the matter as part of the normal process of appointing a Supreme Court justice, which involves "typically CONFIDENTIAL conversations and communications - back and forths between the PM and the AG (attorney general) on potential candidates for appointment."She said she's "not at liberty to comment" on the "veracity" of what the sources said occurred, adding, "Commentary/reporting in this regard with respect to a SCC appointment(s) could compromise the integrity of the appointments process and potentially sitting justices."The issue suggests Trudeau may have had reasons unrelated to the SNC-Lavalin affair for moving Wilson-Raybould out of the prestigious Justice portfolio earlier this year - a cabinet shuffle that touched off a full-blown political crisis for the governing Liberals.Wilson-Raybould has said she believes she was moved to Veterans Affairs as punishment for refusing to intervene to stop a criminal prosecution of the Montreal engineering giant on bribery charges related to contracts in Libya. Trudeau has denied the SNC matter had anything to do with the decision.She resigned a month later amid allegations she was improperly pressured by the Prime Minister’s Office to interfere in the SNC-Lavalin case, triggering a furor that has engulfed the Trudeau government ever since. The PMO refused to comment on the story Monday.The issue, the sources say, arose after Beverley McLachlin announced in June 2017 her decision to retire that December after 28 years on the high court, including 17 as chief justice.Her retirement meant the government would have to choose a new chief justice and find another bilingual judge from western or northern Canada to sit on the nine-member bench.Trudeau created an independent, non-partisan advisory board, headed by former Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell, to identify qualified candidates to fill the western/northern vacancy and submit a short list of three to five names for consideration.According to the sources, one of the names on the eventual list was Glenn Joyal, who had been appointed in 2011 by former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper as chief justice of Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench.Wilson-Raybould then sent Trudeau a 60-plus-page memo arguing that Joyal should not only be added to the top court but should be named chief justice as well.Only once before in Canadian history - in 1906, when Sir Wilfrid Laurier appointed his justice minister to the top judicial job - has a prime minister chosen a chief justice who was not already sitting on the Supreme Court.Wilson-Raybould’s pick puzzled Trudeau but he became disturbed after doing some research into Joyal’s views on the charter, the sources said.Joyal had criticized the judiciary for broadly interpreting charter rights and expanding them to apply to things not explicitly mentioned in the charter or, in his view, intended by provincial premiers when they agreed to enshrine a charter in the Constitution.The Supreme Court’s liberal interpretation has led to things like legalization of same-sex marriage, the right of women to choose to have an abortion and the legalization of medical assistance in dying, among other things ­- developments Trudeau has celebrated.In a January 2017 speech to the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s Law and Freedom Conference, Joyal echoed conservative arguments that the top court has usurped the supremacy of elected legislatures to determine social policy.The charter, Joyal argued, was the result of a compromise between Pierre Trudeau and premiers, most of whom had originally opposed inclusion of a charter in the Constitution. The compromise was intended to maintain a balance between the judiciary and the legislative branch of government, with provisions allowing governments to limit or override rights altogether in some circumstances.Since then, judicial interpretation of the charter has ignored the intentions of the drafters and "led without question to a level of judicial potency that was not anticipated back in 1982," Joyal said in the speech, a video of which is available on the foundation's website. That, in turn, has resulted in a "less potent and less influential legislative branch that seldom has the final word." "With the 'constitutionalizing' of more and more political and social issues into fundamental rights, the Canadian judiciary has all but removed those issues, in a fairly permanent way, from the realm of future civic engagement and future political debate," he said.Joyal was particularly critical of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of section 7 of the charter ­- the section which guarantees everyone the right to life, liberty and security of the person and under which the top court struck down Canada’s abortion law and the prohibition on medically assisted death.The court’s liberal interpretation of that section "has become, particularly in recent years, the single most fertile source for the discovery of new rights and the de facto constitutionalization of political and social issues," he said.Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s advice. He ended up appointing Sheila Martin, a judge on the appeal courts of Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, to fill the vacant western Canadian seat on the bench. Sitting Supreme Court Justice Richard Wagner was elevated to the role of chief justice.Shortly after Trudeau told Wilson-Raybould he did not support her choice, the sources said Joyal withdrew his name from consideration.In a statement Monday, Joyal makes no mention of the former minister, saying he submitted an application for consideration for the Supreme Court in 2017, only to be forced to withdraw his name for personal reasons related to his wife's health."I fear that someone is using my previous candidacy to the Supreme Court of Canada to further an agenda unrelated to the appointment process," Joyal said. "This is wrong."Wilson-Raybould’s advocacy of Joyal for the top judicial job may not come as a total surprise to some Liberals, who’ve privately noted what they consider her conservative, restrictive approach to charter rights in a number of bills, including those dealing with assisted dying, impaired driving and genetic discrimination.Jane Philpott, as health minister at the time, was jointly responsible with Wilson-Raybould for the assisted dying legislation. She quit the cabinet earlier this month in solidarity with Wilson-Raybould, saying she no longer had confidence in the government’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

  • Freeland says tariffs raise 'serious questions' about NAFTA after meetings in DC

    Freeland, who met Monday in Washington with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, says many Canadians have serious questions about ratifying the new NAFTA as long as those tariffs are still in place. Freeland says she told President Donald Trump's trade czar that Canadians want the U.S. tariffs and Canada's retaliatory measures removed before the countries move forward with the approval of the agreement, also known as the USMCA.

  • 'I'm really happy:' Edmonton judge rules Omar Khadr's sentence has expired

    EDMONTON - The last legal restrictions on Omar Khadr were lifted Monday when an Alberta judge ruled that a war crimes sentence for the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner has expired."I'm really happy with the decision today," Khadr said outside Edmonton's courthouse."It's been a while, but I'm happy it's here. Right now I'm just going to focus on recovering and not worrying about having to go back to prison or just struggling."The ruling means Khadr can apply for a passport as well as travel and visit freely."There's nothing further for him to serve," said his lawyer Nathan Whitling. "We don't anticipate any further legal proceedings in the matter."Khadr was sentenced to eight years in 2010 by a American military court for alleged acts committed in Afghanistan when he was 15 years old. That sentence - which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled would be a youth sentence - would have ended last October had Khadr remained in custody.But the clock stopped ticking when a judge freed him on bail in 2015 pending Khadr's appeal of his military conviction in the United States.Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Mary Moreau ruled that the youth crimes legislation allowed her to consider time he spent on bail as part of his sentence."The bail order must be considered in context," she said."I order that Mr. Khadr be placed under a conditional sentence for one day, which I consider to be served."Faint sobs from Khadr's supporters could be heard in court after Moreau's judgment. Khadr has appealed the U.S. sentence. His lawyers say the military commission that issued it has been widely discredited.Whitling had argued that the appeal hasn't moved forward at all and it would be unfair to hold that against his client.Lawyers for the Crown wanted Khadr to serve some time on conditional release in the community.Khadr is also the defendant in a civil lawsuit by the family of the soldier he is alleged to have killed. A U.S. court has already ruled in favour of the family, who are trying to have the $134-million judgment served against Khadr in Canada.Khadr spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was captured and accused of tossing a grenade that killed special forces soldier Christopher Speer at a militant compound in Afghanistan in 2001.Since he was released on bail, Khadr has lived in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., without incident. The court had eased some of his initial bail conditions, but several had remained. Moreau's ruling on Monday lifts them.Khadr could not have access to a Canadian passport and was banned from unsupervised communication with his sister, who lives in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. He also had to notify his bail supervisor before leaving Alberta.Khadr's case has ignited divisive debate among Canadians over terrorism, human rights and the rule of law since it was revealed in 2017 that the federal government settled a lawsuit filed by him for a reported $10.5 million.The payout followed a 2010 ruling by Canada's Supreme Court that Khadr's charter rights were violated at Guantanamo and that Canadian officials contributed to that violation.- Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960Bob Weber, The Canadian Press