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Conservative leadership debate and India-China clash; In The News for June 17

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jun 17th, 2020

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 17 …

N.B. Premier meets with First Nations leaders …

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs will likely face some tough questions today when he meets with First Nations leaders.

The meeting follows the deaths of two Indigenous people were shot by police.

First Nations leaders have come forward to say there should be some kind of Indigenous-led investigation into the deaths.

Imelda Perley, a well-known elder, says some kind of Indigenous presence would ensure cultural sensitivity.

Earlier this week, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Perry Bellegarde, said Indigenous people in New Brunswick are feeling mistrust about the existing investigation.

The ongoing probe is being led by Quebec’s independent police watchdog agency, known as the BEI, because New Brunswick has no oversight body of its own.

Inflation figures on tap …

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada is set to release its latest inflation reading today.

The consumer price index for May reflects a month that saw the gradual reopening of businesses that were shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economists on average expect the consumer price index to remain unchanged compared with a year ago — meaning an inflation rate of zero.

That would compare with a year-over-year decline of 0.2 per cent in April, when energy prices plunged.

The consumer price index measures price changes for a fixed basket of goods and services.

COVID-19 in Ontario …

TORONTO — Insurance companies have provided $685 million in relief to Ontario drivers using their cars less during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the province’s finance minister says more should be done.

The regulatory body says about 70 per cent of policy holders are receiving some form of relief, with an average savings of $150.

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority says the $685 million in relief amounts to about five per cent of the total annual premiums Ontario drivers pay.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips says 10 out of the 14 major insurance companies have provided rebates to customers.

Phillips announced a regulatory change in April to enable the companies to provide auto insurance premium rebates to consumers for up to 12 months after the emergency has ended.

Phillips says he will look at the companies not supporting their customers and will publicly name them if necessary.

“I believe there’s still more that can be done,” he said in an interview. “I don’t believe all of the companies are participating at the level that they should.”

Cue the debate …

OTTAWA — Four federal Conservative party leadership candidates face off against each other for the first time tonight in a race that’s been repeatedly upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tonight’s debate, being held in French, will be followed by another one tomorrow in English, both taking place in downtown Toronto and livestreamed online.

None of the four candidates — Leslyn Lewis, Peter MacKay, Erin O’Toole and Derek Sloan — are fluently bilingual.

So tonight’s debate will be a key indicator if any of them can adequately manage to debate the issues in one of the country’s official languages.

MacKay’s French is expected to be under the microscope, with his campaign having made several mistakes earlier on in the race that made him the subject of much mockery in Quebec.

But eyes are also on Lewis, the lone non-politician of the bunch who has been steadily gaining support in recent days, and the debate marks a debut of sorts for her in the broader public eye.

India-China clash …

A clash high in the Himalayas between the world’s two most populated countries claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers in a border region that the two nuclear armed neighbours have disputed for decades, Indian officials said Tuesday.

The clash in the Ladakh region Monday — during which Indian officials said neither side fired any shots — was the first deadly confrontation between India and China since 1975. Experts said it would be difficult for the two nations to ease heightened tensions.

The Indian and Chinese troops fought each other with fists and rocks, Indian officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the information.

The Indian Army initially said in a statement that three Indian soldiers had died, but later updated the number to 20 and said 17 “were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain.” The statement did not disclose the nature of the soldiers’ injuries.

China accused Indian forces of carrying out “provocative attacks” on its troops without offering more details and did not disclose if any of its soldiers died.

After the clash, the two sides “disengaged” from the area where the fighting happened, the Indian Army statement said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2020

The Canadian Press

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