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Cancelled Canada Day parades, Canada's role in NATO : In The News for June 29

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of June 29 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Fireworks explode over the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill at the end of Canada Day celebrations, in Ottawa on Sunday, July 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of June 29 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Canada Day celebrations are making a return after two years of scaled-down festivities because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but some Canadians hoping to catch a traditional parade may be out of luck. 

Several cities say the rising cost of security and insurance, in addition to troubles securing funding, is forcing them to rethink their celebrations.

In Montreal, there will be no Canada Day parade for the third year running, and this time COVID-19 is only partly to blame. 

Organizer Nicholas Cowen says that while the novel coronavirus is a major concern, the federal Heritage Department offered less funding in a year when inflation is at its highest level in decades. Instead, Canada Day celebrations in Montreal will take place at the Old Port, where events will include face painting, games, cake and a concert.

Heritage Canada did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. 

Montreal is not the only city where Canada Day organizers are blaming the rising cost of insurance and security for cancelled parades.

In Strathcona County, Alta., the Sherwood Park and District Chamber of Commerce announced in May that the Canada Day parade would not take place. 

Last year, six people were killed and dozens injured after a man is alleged to have deliberately driven his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wis. And in Toronto in 2019, four people were injured after shots rang out at a parade celebrating the Raptors' NBA championship win.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, which cancelled that city's Canada Day parade in 2018 over rising prices, announced this year it would neither host a parade nor present a fireworks display, citing "rising costs for safety and security, and across the events industry," adding that it would instead focus on other events.

Banff, Alta., made the decision to replace its parade with a day of activities and performances. 


Also this ...

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is set to embark on the greatest overhaul of its deterrence capabilities since the Cold War at a summit in Spain, but Canada's role remains uncertain.

NATO leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have gathered in Madrid for the landmark summit to discuss how they will respond to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. 

Canada’s foremost contribution to the front against Russia is in Latvia, a Baltic nation along Russia’s western border, where Canada has led a two-thousand-strong battlegroup since 2017.

Earlier this week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the number of troops in NATO-led battlegroups in Baltic states would double to between three-thousand and five-thousand. 

The alliance is also dramatically increasing the number of forces that would be ready to respond quickly in the event of a full-scale war from 40-thousand to 300-thousand.

The question is whether Canada will contribute those troops and the funds needed to keep them poised for potential action. 

Canada is already under-delivering on a promise to NATO to dedicate two per cent of its gross domestic product to military defence.


And this too ...

An RCMP officer who was among 22 people killed in the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting is being remembered today during a regimental memorial service in Halifax.

Const. Heidi Stevenson's memorial service was delayed by the Mounties due to COVID-19 restrictions, though a family funeral took place on April 24, 2020, five days after the 13-hour rampage.

The service will take place at Cole Harbour Place, and the ceremony isn't open to the public, but the RCMP says citizens are encouraged to gather along a procession route. The memorial service will be broadcast live, and Commissioner Brenda Lucki is expected to attend.

A public inquiry into the mass shooting has indicated that the veteran officer was driving rapidly to support an injured colleague on April 19, 2020, when the fatal encounter occurred on a highway interchange about 60 kilometres north of Halifax.

The 48-year-old officer was murdered during an exchange of gunfire with the killer, who had jumped a lane of traffic in his replica police vehicle in order to drive the wrong way down a ramp and slam into Stevenson's cruiser.

Public inquiry documents say bullet fragments from Stevenson's pistol "likely" struck the killer's head, and — about 35 minutes later — blood on his forehead tipped off an officer who shot and killed the gunman at a gas station. 

The inquiry has also noted that Stevenson had at 8:44 a.m. that morning called for the public to be notified about the killer driving a replica RCMP vehicle. Her request never received a response.

According to the police force, Stevenson grew up in Antigonish, N.S., and attended university in Nova Scotia. The mother of two children was with the Mounties for 23 years, developing expertise in drug recognition, general duty policing and communications. She was also part of the RCMP musical ride.

The Mounties have described her as a highly competent officer and a person who offered a gentle smile when others "needed it most."


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

BRIDGEPORT, Calif. _ A wildfire that erupted in Northern California forced evacuations as it threatened about 500 homes and other buildings Tuesday, authorities said.

The Rices Fire erupted at around 2 p.m. near the Yuba River in Nevada County and had spread to more than 202 hectares by nightfall, said Unit Chief Brian Estes of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. He said the flames also threatened power lines, water delivery systems and a state park.

The rural area is in the Sierra Nevada, northeast of Sacramento and about halfway between the state Capitol and the Nevada border.

Authorities said earlier the fire began with a burning building and the flames spread to nearby dry vegetation.

About 350 buildings homes and other buildings were under evacuation orders, county Sheriff Shannan Moon said.

Firefighters fought the blaze on the ground and in the air, with aircraft making dozens of drops of water and fire retardant.

The fire was one of several in Northern California that flared Tuesday as the state sweltered under summer heat, with temperatures in the Rices Fire area hitting as high as 36.6 C with low humidity.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

MADRID _ NATO leaders were sitting down Wednesday to try to turn an urgent sense of purpose triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine into action _ and to patch up any cracks in their unity over money and mission.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was meeting in Madrid "in the midst of the most serious security crisis we have faced since the Second World War.''

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has shattered Europe's peace and driven NATO to pour troops and weapons into eastern Europe on a scale not seen since the Cold War.

Members of the alliance have also sent billions in military and civilian aid to Ukraine. The 30 NATO leaders will hear directly from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is likely to ask them to do even more when he addresses the gathering by video link.

Money could be a sensitive issue _ just nine of NATO's 30 members currently meet the organization's target of spending two per cent of gross domestic product on defence.

The war has already triggered a big increase in NATO's forces in the east, and allies are expected to agree at the summit to increase the strength of the alliance's rapid reaction force nearly eightfold, from 40,000 to 300,000 troops by next year. The troops will be based in their home nations, but dedicated to specific countries on NATO's eastern flank, where the alliance plans to build up stocks of equipment and ammunition.

Stoltenberg said NATO was undertaking "the biggest overhaul of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.''

The leaders are also set to publish NATO's new Strategic Concept, its once-a-decade set of priorities and goals.


On this day in 1974 ...

Soviet ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto during a Canadian tour.


In entertainment ...

Recent Oscar winners Ariana DeBose, Troy Kotsur and Billie Eilish are among the 397 individuals who have been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The organization that puts on the Oscars said Tuesday that 44 per cent of the 2022 class identifies as women, 50 per cent come from outside of the U.S. and 37 per cent are from under-represented ethnic and racial communities. If the invitees accept, which most do, they will have voting privileges at the 95th Academy Awards.

Actors invited this year include Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessie Buckley, Gaby Hoffman, "Belfast'' co-stars Jamie Dornan and Caitriona Balfe, as well as Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee, both of "The Power of the Dog.'' There is also a significant international presence as well, with invites going to Iran's Amir Jadidi ("A Hero''), Norway's Renate Reinsve ("The Worst Person in the World''), France's Vincent London ("Titane''), Nigeria's Funke Akindele ("Jenifa'') and Japan's Hidetoshi Nishijima ("Drive My Car'').

Directors on the list include Andrew Ahn ("Fire Island''), Reinaldo Marcus Green ("King Richard''), Mary Lambert ("Pet Sematary II''), Amy Seimetz ("She Dies Tomorrow'') and Isabel Sandoval ("Lingua Franca'').

Several people, including "Flee'' director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, "Drive My Car'' writer-director Ryusuke Hamaguchi and "CODA'' writer-director Sian Heder, were invited in multiple branches, but they must choose one when accepting. branches, but they must choose one when accepting.

In the music branch, Eilish's brother Finneas O'Connell was also invited, alongside Dan Romer ("Luca'') and Nathan Johnson ("Knives Out''). And writing branch invitees include Jeremy O. Harris ("Zola''), Adele Lim ("Crazy Rich Asians''), Alex Ross Perry ("Listen Up Philip''), Jon Spaihts (``Dune'') and Craig Mazin ("The Hangover Part II'').

Every year the academy invites a new batch of entertainment professionals to join the organization. Though an Oscar nomination is not a requirement, it is often a starting point. The 2022 class of invitees, for instance, includes 71 Oscar nominees and 15 winners.


Did you see this?

SAANICH, B.C. _ The chief of police in Saanich, British Columbia, says it is truly amazing that no members of the public were hurt during a gunfight at a bank in which two robbery suspects died.

Chief Const. Dean Duthie says two suspects who were believed to be wearing body armour died Tuesday in the gun battle with police outside a Bank of Montreal. 

Six members of the Greater Victoria emergency response team were hurt, three of them seriously enough to require surgery. 

Duthie says the emergency response team happened to be deployed nearby and was on the scene within minutes.

He called the scene "chaotic, tragic, dynamic and violent" and says he is grateful that neither employees of the bank nor any member of the public were hurt.

Police lifted a shelter-in-place advisory later Tuesday after officers determined there were no other suspects.

They also evacuated an area around the bank over concern about a possible explosive device in the vehicle that was believed to have been used by the suspects. 


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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