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Bringing war criminals to justice and auto labour talks: In The News for Sept. 8


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 Sept. 8 ...

What we are watching in Canada ... 

OTTAWA — A prominent human-rights organization says Canada is failing to bring suspected war criminals to justice.

In a newly released report, Amnesty International Canada depicts the federal Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program as underfunded and underused.

Twenty years ago, Canada enshrined in federal law universal jurisdiction for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, meaning these offences are considered criminal acts in Canada even when they are committed abroad.

But only two people, both linked to the Rwanda genocide of 1994, have been prosecuted under the legislation.

Amnesty points to the case of Bill Horace, a former Liberian warlord, as evidence of Canada's poor record in the years since.


Also this ...

EDMONTON — The Alberta Review Board is to get an update today on the progress of a mentally ill man who stabbed five young people to death at a Calgary house party six years ago.

Matthew de Grood was found not criminally responsible for the killings because he was suffering from schizophrenia at the time.

A trial heard that the then-22-year-old university student arrived at the party believing that the devil was talking to him and that a war was about to begin, signalling the end of the world.

He killed Zackariah Rathwell, Jordan Segura, Kaitlin Perras, Josh Hunter and Lawrence Hong.

The board ruled last year that de Grood could be eased back into the community because he had been taking his medication and his schizophrenia was in remission.

Family members of the victims have opposed all moves to reintegrate him into public life.

They've said it's not right to give him more freedoms while they are still suffering.


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

SALEM, Ore. — Hundreds of people gathered Monday afternoon in a small town south of Portland for a pro-President Donald Trump vehicle rally — just over a week after member of a far-right group was fatally shot after a Trump caravan went through Oregon's largest city.

Later, pro-Trump supporters and counter-protesters clashed at Oregon's Capitol.

Vehicles waving flags for Trump, the QAnon conspiracy theory and in support of police gathered about noon at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City.

The rally’s organizers said they would drive to toward the state capital, Salem, and most left the caravan before that. A smaller group of members of the right-wing group the Proud Boys went on to Salem, where a crowd of several dozen pro-Trump supporters had gathered.

At one point Monday afternoon, the right-wing crowd rushed a smaller group of Black Lives Matters counter-demonstrators, firing paint-gun pellets at them. There were skirmishes, and the Black Lives Matter group dispersed shortly after local police arrived on the scene.

Organizers of the earlier vehicle rally said they did not plan to enter Multnomah County, where Portland is located. Oregon City is about 32 kilometres south of Portland.

Last month, Aaron (Jay) Danielson, a supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, was killed in Portland after a pro-Trump caravan went downtown. Trump supporters fired paint ball canisters at counter-demonstrators, who tried to block their way.

Danielson’s suspected killer, Michael Forest Reinoehl, was fatally shot by police Thursday. Reinoehl was a supporter of antifa — shorthand for anti-fascists and an umbrella description for far-left-leaning militant groups.

Demonstrations in Portland started in late May after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and have continued for more than 100 days.


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

NEW DELHI — India reported today 1,133 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, its highest single-day total.

The Health Ministry also reported 75,809 new cases, raising India's tally to nearly 4.3 million — second only to the United States and maintaining an upward surge amid an ease in nationwide restrictions to help mitigate the economic pain. The country's death toll now stands at 72,775.

India has been reporting the highest single-day caseload in the world for more than a month.

The rise in cases is partly due to increased testing. The number of daily tests conducted across the country has risen to more than a million. Nearly 3.3 million people in India have recovered from COVID-19 so far.

The pandemic has been economically devastating for India. Its economy contracted nearly 24 per cent in the second quarter, the worst among the world’s top economies.


On this day in  1999 ...

Journalist and author Adrienne Clarkson was appointed Canada's 26th Governor General, the first member of a visible minority to hold the post.


In business news ...

TORONTO — Unifor will reveal today which of the Detroit Three automakers will guide labour union negotiations ahead of a strike deadline later this month.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias will make the announcement at 11 a.m. eastern time in Toronto, as the country's largest private-sector union pushes for commitments that new products will be made at Canadian plants, especially electric vehicles.

The union will target one of Fiat Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. or General Motors Co., and focus on negotiating with that company until its strike deadline on Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m.

The goal is for the union to use the target company's deal as a pattern for agreements with the other two manufacturers on issues such as wages, pensions and benefits.

The talks, which take place every four years, come as Ford employees face expiring product lines in Oakville, Ont., while Fiat Chrysler workers have seen shift cuts in Windsor, Ont. and Brampton, Ont.

Unifor says it will target the company that offers the best prospects of job security to workers, and that if no deal is reached, workers have voted to support a potential strike.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 8, 2020

The Canadian Press

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