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Finance Minister Bill Morneau resigns and beer from wastewater; In The News for Aug. 18


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. 18 ...

What we are watching in Canada ... 

The only finance minister to serve under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suddenly resigned Monday night, saying someone else should guide the country through a long and bumpy economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill Morneau said he had considered leaving his role as finance minister for some time, adding that he never intended to run for a third term as an MP.

The path to an economic recovery could take years to play out, and Morneau said the government needed a finance minister who wanted to stick around for the long haul.

During a hastily called news conference on Parliament Hill, Morneau said he had tendered his resignation to Trudeau in the morning, and that he was also stepping down as the Liberal MP for his riding of Toronto Centre.

"It's really important for someone to want to be in this political role for the next period of time and that period of time will be very challenging," he said Monday evening. "So that is what I'm sure the prime minister is reflecting on as he thinks about the next finance minister."

Morneau said he is putting his name forward as a candidate to be the next secretary general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).


Also this ...

With only weeks until classes resume, a new survey suggests the majority of Canadian parents plan to send their kids back to school but most would want classes cancelled if there is a new COVID-19 outbreak in their community.

The survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies is the latest to take parents' temperature as provinces prepare to reopen schools after sending children home this spring when the pandemic arrived.

The results suggest many parents are torn, with 66 per cent of respondents with children admitting they were worried about children returning to school but 63 per cent saying they planned to send their kids anyway.

Yet 69 per cent also felt all classes should be suspended and learning shifted back to home if there is a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in their community, with 19 per cent saying classes should continue and 12 per cent unsure either way.

The online survey of 1,510 Canadians over age 18, including 385 parents with school-aged children in their households, took place Aug. 14-16. An internet poll cannot be given a margin of error because it is not a random sample.

The results underscore the nervousness and sensitivities around the planned reopening of school, says Leger president Jean-Marc Leger, with many parents supporting the return of classes but ready to shut it down again at the drop of a hat.


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

Joe Biden introduced the breadth of his coalition to a divided America on Monday night, progressive Democrats joining conservative Republicans and a billionaire CEO to deliver an urgent appeal for voters to unite against President Donald Trump regardless of political ideology or party.

Former first lady Michelle Obama vouched for Biden's empathy and experience, while the extraordinary ideological range of Biden's many messengers on the opening night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention was perhaps best demonstrated by former presidential contenders from opposing parties: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who championed a multi-trillion-dollar universal health care plan, and Ohio's former Republican Gov. John Kasich, an anti-abortion conservative who spent decades fighting to cut government spending.

"My friends, I say to you, and to everyone who supported other candidates in this primary and to those who may have voted for Donald Trump in the last election: The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake," Sanders declared.

Kasich said his status as a lifelong Republican "holds second place to my responsibility to my country."

"In normal times, something like this would probably never happen, but these are not normal times," he said of his participation at the Democrats' convention. He added: "We can do better than what we've been seeing today, for sure."


What we are watching in the world ...

For two and a half minutes the popular Indian radio DJ described in graphic detail what she said was the torture and killing of a father and son in police custody.

The father was arrested for flouting coronavirus lockdown rules by keeping his mobile phone shop in southern India open past curfew, Suchitra Ramadurai alleged in a video posted to her Instagram. The man's son went to check on him at the police station and both were beaten so badly they were still bleeding when they appeared before a judge the next day.

Three days later, on June 23, they were both dead.

"Please share this story," Ramadurai told her followers. "Let's fight the system."

The video, which was viewed 20 million times before police ordered Ramadurai to take it down, sparked an extraordinary groundswell of public outrage at the deaths with local opposition politicians marching in the streets, Bollywood stars voicing their condemnations and television stations holding hourslong debates on police brutality.

Even more rare, 10 police officers were arrested in a federal investigation and charged with murder.


On this day in 1954 ...

The top architectural award at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan, was given to the Canadian pavilion, designed by Arthur Erickson of Vancouver.


ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

Village Brewery, which describes its blond ale as crisp, dry and slightly fruity, is looking to persuade beer lovers that a new batch made from reused wastewater tastes just as good.

The Calgary beer-maker has teamed up with University of Calgary researchers and U.S. water technology company Xylem Inc. to brew up a limited 1,600-can batch.

The goal was to show that dirty water — even that flushed from toilets in a major city — can be made safe to drink while helping conserve the globe's dwindling potable water supply.

"Certainly we do expect some eyebrows raised and the yuck factor is real," said Christine O'Grady, project co-ordinator at Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets, or ACWA.

"Part of this project ... is to start the conversation about how this can be done, why it should be done and that water is a resource that we need to protect."

ACWA is a research partnership between the University of Calgary and the City of Calgary that involves the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility by the Bow River in the city's southeast.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2020

The Canadian Press

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