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Tory leadership poll; how families are coping with inflation: In The News for Aug. 10

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 Aug. 10 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
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Pierre Poilievre, Conservative Party leadership candidate, attends a party barbecue in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, July 9, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

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 Aug. 10 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Ontario MP Pierre Poilievre remains the heavy favourite to be the next Conservative party leader but he trails opponent Jean Charest for support among Canadians as a whole.

A new Leger poll conducted in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies suggests 44 per cent of Conservative voters believe Poilievre would make the best party leader. His chief rival, former Quebec premier Jean Charest, is backed by 17 per cent.

Twenty-two per cent of Conservatives said they didn't know which of the five candidates would make the best leader, while eight per cent said none of them would.

Among the remaining candidates, Ontario MP Leslyn Lewis was supported by six per cent, Ontario MP Scott Aitchison by two per cent, and former Ontario provincial politician Roman Baber by one per cent. 

This is the first poll on the race taken by Leger since Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown was kicked out of the contest by the leadership organizing committee last month over allegations he broke party rules and possibly violated federal elections laws.

In a June Leger poll, Poilievre also had 44 per cent support among Conservatives, Charest had the backing of 14 per cent and Brown was supported by four per cent. The August poll moved Charest's numbers up by three points, while Poilievre's remained unchanged.

The poll suggests Charest is considered the best option for the Conservative leader's job by 22 per cent of all Canadians, while Poilievre is supported by 16 per cent.

About one in seven Canadians polled said a Poilievre victory would make them more likely to vote Conservative in the next election, with only a small fraction more saying the same of a Charest victory.

However, more than one in four people polled said a Poilievre victory would make them less likely to vote Conservative, compared with one in five who said that about Charest.

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Also this ...

Canadian families are struggling with the highest inflation on record in nearly 40 years. 

While rising costs hit low-income Canadians the hardest, experts say supporting a larger household is becoming increasingly difficult as costs rise. 

Forty-three-year-old father of three Myron Genyk didn't think much about the price of food a year ago. 

But he says he now suffers from sticker shock at the grocery store.

"No. 1 is the increase in food," said Genyk, an entrepreneur from Mississauga, Ont. "My kids are growing, so they're eating more, but food prices have also shot up."

Genyk says he's spending more money on basic goods than ever before. 

He says rising costs are directly impacting how much he can save for retirement.

Experts say some families are also supporting aging parents in addition to children, putting a bigger squeeze on finances. 

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

The ambush killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico, shook the community but inspired a flood of information, including a tip that led to the arrest of a local Muslim man originally from Afghanistan who knew the victims, authorities said.

Muhammad Syed, 51, was arrested on Monday after a traffic stop more than 160 kilometres away from his home in Albuquerque. He was charged with killing two victims and was identified as the prime suspect in the other two slayings, authorities announced Tuesday.

The Muslim community is breathing "an incredible sigh of relief,'' said Ahmad Assed, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico. "Lives have been turned upside down.''

The first killing last November was followed by three more between July 26 and Aug. 5.

Police Chief Harold Medina said it was not clear yet whether the deaths should be classified as hate crimes or serial killings or both.

Syed was from Afghanistan and had lived in the United States for about five years, police said.

"The offender knew the victims to some extent, and an interpersonal conflict may have led to the shootings,'' a police statement said, although investigators were still working to identify how they had crossed paths.

Prosecutors expect to file murder charges in state court and are considering adding a federal case, authorities said.

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

BEIJING _ China on Wednesday reaffirmed its threat to use military force to bring self-governing Taiwan under its control, amid threatening Chinese military exercises that have raised tensions between the sides to their highest level in years.

The statement issued by the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office and its news department followed almost a week of missile firings and incursions into Taiwanese waters and airspace by Chinese warships and air force planes.

The actions have disrupted flights and shipping in a region crucial to global supply chains, prompting strong condemnation from the U.S., Japan and others.

An English-language version of the Chinese statement said Beijing would "work with the greatest sincerity and exert our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification.''

"But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities,'' the statement said.

"We will always be ready to respond with the use of force or other necessary means to interference by external forces or radical action by separatist elements. Our ultimate goal is to ensure the prospects of China's peaceful reunification and advance this process,'' it said.

China says the threatening moves were prompted by a visit to Taiwan last week by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but Taiwan says such visits are routine and that China used that merely as a pretext to up its threats.

In an additional response to Pelosi's visit, China said it was cutting off dialogue on issues from maritime security to climate change with the U.S., Taiwan's chief military and political backer.

Taiwan's foreign minister warned Tuesday that the Chinese military drills reflect ambitions to control large swaths of the western Pacific, while Taipei conducted its own exercises to underscore its readiness to defend itself.

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On this day in 1876 ...

Alexander Graham Bell made the first long-distance call, from his residence in Brantford to his assistant in Paris, Ont., 13 kilometres away. The call was preceded seven days earlier by the first telephone call from one building to another, between Bell and his uncle. The world's first definitive tests of the telephone were one-way transmissions. Bell, who was born in Scotland but lived a large part of his life in Canada, is considered one of the greatest inventors of the 19th and 20th centuries. Bell also worked on the photoelectric cell, the iron lung, desalination of seawater, the phonograph, and attempted to breed a super race of sheep at Baddeck, N.S.

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In entertainment ...

LOS ANGELES _ Anne Heche remained hospitalized on a ventilator to help her breathe and faced surgery Tuesday, four days after the actor was injured in a fiery car crash.

"Shortly after the accident, Anne became unconscious, slipping into a coma and is in critical condition,'' spokeswoman Heather Duffy Boylston said in an email. "She has a significant pulmonary injury requiring mechanical ventilation and burns that require surgical intervention.''

Pulmonary means having to do with the lungs. No further details were provided by Duffy Boylston, who is Heche's friend and podcast partner.

On Aug. 5, Heche's car smashed into a house in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles' westside. Flames erupted, and Heche, who was alone in the car, was pulled by firefighters from the vehicle embedded in the house. It took nearly 60 firefighters more than an hour to douse the flames, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

A native of Ohio, Heche first came to prominence on the NBC soap opera "Another World'' from 1987 to 1991, for which she won a Daytime Emmy Award.

Her film career took off in the late 1990s, with Heche playing opposite stars including Johnny Depp ("Donnie Brasco'') and Harrison Ford ("Six Days, Seven Nights'').

In a 2001 memoir, "Call Me Crazy,'' Heche talked about her lifelong struggles with mental health and a childhood of abuse.

She was married to camera operator Coleman Laffoon from 2001 to 2009. The two had a son together. She had another son during a relationship with actor James Tupper, her co-star on the TV series "Men In Trees.''

Heche has worked consistently in smaller films, on Broadway, and on TV shows in the past two decades. She recently had recurring roles on the network series "Chicago P.D.'' and "All Rise,'' and in 2020 was a contestant on "Dancing With the Stars.''

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Did you see this?

A woman accused of faking her own death and that of her son says she left Saskatoon because she feared for their safety.

Dawn Marie Walker, 48, is in custody at the Multnomah County detention centre in Oregon.

She was arrested Friday in Oregon City by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and charged with two offences for allegedly using fake identities to cross into the country with her seven-year-old son. The boy has since been returned to Canada.

"So many women and children before us have had to run for their lives to protect their children,'' Walker said in a statement provided to The Canadian Press.

In the statement, Walker said she was failed by the Saskatchewan justice system because "nothing was done'' after she reported domestic abuse to police and child protection authorities.

She said she witnessed something with her son that scared her to the core and she has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She said more information will come out in time.

"I apologize to anyone I hurt,'' Walker said. "I was left with no choice. No one heard me. I loved my son ... very much. He is my only child, and I would do absolutely anything for him.''

For two weeks prior, RCMP and Saskatoon police investigated the disappearance as a missing person's case. Walker's pickup truck was found at a park south of Saskatoon, along with some of her belongings, and some people feared Walker and her son had drowned in the South Saskatchewan River.

On Monday, Saskatoon police announced they were working to extradite Walker back to Canada where she faces charges of public mischief and child abduction in contravention of a custody order. Deputy Chief Randy Huisman said allegations of domestic violence may or may not play a role in their investigation of Walker.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2022.

The Canadian Press