Over the weekend, Iran changed its mind and took responsibility for the downing of a Ukrainian plane – bound for Canada – and for the deaths of the 176 people on board.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in Edmonton yesterday to attend a vigil to commemorate the 57 Canadians who died, said the government would press for a full investigation into what happened and that “we will not rest until there is justice and accountability.”
Canadian investigators are expected to be in place in Tehran tonight, though their exact role in the investigation remains to be worked out.
One thing that is extending grief for families is that it is not clear how the remains of victims will be handled. Many of those on board the plane were dual Iranian-Canadian citizens. However, officially Iran does not recognize a citizen’s second country. A senior Ukrainian official told The Globe that at least 17 families were negotiating with the Iranian government over the burial of bodies.
The official – Oleksii Danilov, head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council – also told The Globe that it was a Russian-made Tor missile that struck the plane.
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In a rare move for a Canadian business leader, Maple Leaf Foods CEO Michael McCain has sounded off on U.S. President Donald Trump (“A narcissist in Washington”) for its military strike on Iran, which led – not directly – to Iran killing a plane full of its citizens that was en route to Canada. “The collateral damage of this irresponsible, dangerous, ill-conceived behaviour? 63 Canadians needlessly lost their lives in the crossfire, including the family of one of my MLF colleagues (his wife + 11 year old son)! We are mourning and I am livid,” Michael McCain wrote in a tweet from the Maple Leafs Food corporate Twitter account.
The starting pistol has been fired in the Conservative leadership race. Candidates have until Feb. 27 to raise $300,000 and sign up 3,000 members, meaning that we will soon actually know who is in and who is out.
The federal government has launched consultations into changing its assisted dying law. A Quebec court ruled in the fall that the Liberal government’s law was too restrictive, in only allowing medically assisted deaths when the end of life is “reasonably foreseeable.” Justice Minister David Lametti said the government would table amendments in the coming weeks, followed by a full parliamentary review later this year.
Facebook has been testing a real-time system for monitoring ad buys in the Taiwan election.
And the royal family held private talks today to discuss the future of Meghan and Prince Harry. The Queen says she is supportive of the couple’s goal of becoming more independent, and that Meghan and Harry do not want to rely too much in the future on public funds. Meghan and Harry will live in Canada part-time for the foreseeable future.
Jeffrey Jones (The Globe and Mail) on the Prosper oil sands project near Fort McMurray: “It’s one of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s pro-oil-patch applause lines: Ottawa must approve any and all energy projects, and quickly. But according to one small oil company, the Premier’s United Conservative Party government is not living up to that standard when it comes to its own approvals.”
Barrie McKenna (The Globe and Mail) on a truce in the U.S.-China trade war: “Here’s the problem: Whatever China commits to buying from the U.S. will inevitably come at the expense of other exporting countries. In farm products, Canada is among the countries most at risk of losing market share, along with Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Argentina.”
Nina Khrushcheva (The Globe and Mail) on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s longevity: “But 61 per cent of Russians still rate Mr. Putin’s performance positively. Most democratic leaders can only dream of such favour with the public. Fewer than 43 per cent of Americans approve of U.S. President Donald Trump, for example. In fact, the same incoherent and combative U.S. policies toward Europe, China, Turkey and others that have contributed to Mr. Trump’s unpopularity have fuelled Mr. Putin’s popularity by handing him a series of tactical victories.”
Doug Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix) on George Elliot Clarke, missing and murdered Indigenous women and freedom of speech: “The thought that a poet from Toronto would come out here and read poetry written by [Steven] Kummerfield was not a case of freedom of speech as much as it was an act of cruelty and lack of respect for a victim who was vilified in both life and death.”
Denise Balkissoon (Maclean’s) on who is responsible for climate change: “Yes, each of us should disentangle ourselves from the sticky web of fossil fuels. The future of the world depends on decarbonization, and Canada has one of the highest levels of annual per capita emissions of any country in the world. Even so, a push towards blanket culpability and individual solutions allows those who are truly responsible to avoid recrimination, while continuing to make a profit as the planet burns.”