The Thursday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories

By The Canadian Press
February 9, 2017 - 2:00pm

Highlights from the news file for Thursday, Feb. 9

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TRUDEAU TO MEET TRUMP ON MONDAY:  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday in Washington. The Prime Minister's Office says the meeting will focus on how to strengthen the relationship between the two nations. Three of Trudeau's cabinet ministers have been in Washington this week amid concerns that Trump wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and has threatened tariffs.

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TRUDEAU VISITS ARCTIC:  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has started a two day trip through Canada's Arctic, meeting with Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna Thursday. He also met with Canada's national Inuit organization. Trudeau will be in Yellowknife on Friday where he'll hold a town hall with members of the public.

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SARAH PALIN U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CANADA?: There has been speculation that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin might be in line to become American ambassador to Canada. The conjecture has attracted the attention of a couple of New Democrat MPs, who are worried that if it becomes reality, it would be tantamount to having to deal with two Donald Trumps. White House press secretary Sean Spicer fuelled the rumour mill Wednesday when he didn't outright deny the possibility, sending tongues wagging on social media.

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ARE TRUMP'S IMMIGRATION POLICIES CREATING INTOLERANCE IN CANADA?: Canada has long prided itself on being a multicultural nation, but has U.S. President Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban and his promise to build a wall on the Mexican border led to a rise in racial intolerance in this country?  Sociologist Barbara Perry, a global hate crime expert at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, says the borders are porous, so anything that happens in the U.S. affects Canada. She says Trump's immigration rhetoric seems to be resonating with some Canadians, pointing to a flurry of anti-Muslim postings on social media that followed last month's Quebec City mosque shooting.

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AIR CANADA HOPES TRUDEAU GOVERNMENT FOLLOWS IN TRUMP'S FOOTSTEPS: The head of Air Canada hopes that U.S. President Donald Trump's promise to U.S. airline executives to cut their taxes will spur action on this side of the border. Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu says moves by other countries to become more competitive might prompt Canada to cut fees, charges and taxes that represent about 43 per cent of the average ticket price. Trump promised airline executives at the White House that he would lower their corporate tax burden and roll back regulations.

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MCNEIL ADMONISHES O'LEARY: Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says Conservative leadership hopeful Kevin O'Leary should be focused on debating issues with his fellow Tories, rather than attacking him. McNeil was responding to an open letter that was posted Wednesday on O'Leary's Facebook page. The letter slammed the Liberal premier for the state of the province's economy. McNeil says there are a number of areas of Nova Scotia's economy that are on the rise and he notes an increase in the province's population to an all-time high last year.

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SPRINKLER PROBLEM SHUTS DOWN SCHOOL IN ATTAWAPISKAT: A malfunctioning sprinkler system has forced the closure of a new school in the remote northern Ontario indigenous community of Attawapiskat.  Band council members say the break inside the $30 million elementary school left much of one floor under water. Chief Executive Wayne Turner says there have been no classes since the sprinkler malfunctioned on Jan. 7. He says repairs are underway but the latest setback, one of many for a community that's been grappling with a youth suicide crisis and a chronic housing shortage, is very disheartening.

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MARITIMES GETS HIT BY STORM:  A fast-moving winter storm was expected to pass through the Maritimes late Thursday, with the forecast calling for up to 40 centimetres of snow in some areas and winds gusting at 100 kilometres per hour in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. Some schools and universities Thursday afternoon and police were warning people to stay off the roads.

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LAW ENFORCEMENT READY FOR PIPELINE PROTESTERS: Law enforcement is on heightened alert for protest activity in the area where the developer of the Dakota Access oil pipeline is drilling under a Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. Energy Transfer Partners got the needed permission from the Army on Wednesday night to lay pipe under Lake Oahe. Work started right away on the last chunk of construction for the $3.8 billion pipeline to carry North Dakota oil to Illinois. Opponents have camped in the area for months, often clashing with police. There have been nearly 700 arrests since August.

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POLICE IN ONTARIO SEARCH FOR BLUEBERRY BANDIT:  Hamilton Police say a light hearted approach in seeking information on the theft of a tractor-trailer containing an estimated $100,000 worth of blueberries has worked.  Police say asking for public help in finding a "blueberry bandit" helped spread the word.  Police say they've had a lot of back and forth with the public over the theft, and as a result the details of the incident are getting out to a wide audience. The truck has since been recovered but the trailer and the blueberries are still missing.

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The Canadian Press

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