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What happened last week in Canada?

Justin Trudeau to run for leadership of Liberal Party

Last Wednesday, reports surfaced that Justin Trudeau is to announce his bid for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada at a press conference today. The son of former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Justin Trudeau has held a seat as the Member of Parliament for the Montreal riding of Papineau since 2008.

The previous leader of the Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff, resigned from the position following the May 2011 federal election, when the Liberals won the fewest seats in the history of the party. Since then, Interim Leader Bob Rae has assumed the position.

Earlier this year, Trudeau said he was not interested in the leadership position, citing his young family as the reason for his hesitation. However, Trudeau told the press in July that he would reconsider his candidacy and make an announcement at the end of the summer.

A poll conducted by the National Post revealed that a federal election held today with Trudeau in the leadership position would result in a Liberal Party win with 39 per cent of the popular vote. The results indicate that the current official opposition, the New Democratic Party (NDP), would fall back into third place.

With the leadership race set to begin on Nov. 13, the next leader of the Liberal Party will officially be announced on April 13, 2013.

Margaret Wente faces allegations of plagiarism

The CBC announced last Tuesday that they would be suspending Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente from the media panel of the popular radio show Q, due to allegations of plagiarism in her columns.

On Sept. 18, Carol Wainio, a blogger on the website “Media Culpa,” published an analysis of a 2009 Wente column, in which she highlighted the piece’s alleged transgressions. The allegations spread quickly through Twitter and other social media.

Globe and Mail Editor-in-Chief John Stackhouse announced last Monday that “appropriate action” has been taken against Wente, although the details of the disciplinary action remain private.

Last Tuesday, Wente defended herself in the Globe and Mail, acknowledging that she had plagiarized a sentence from another journalist’s column, but arguing that it had been unintentional. She further stated that she is not a serial plagiarist and is often a “target for people who don’t like what [she] write[s].”

Wente is the winner of several media awards, including the National Newspaper Award for column writing, and has worked as a columnist for the Globe and Mail since 1992.

Quebec introduces electronics reclycing fee

Starting Oct. 1, retailers in Quebec will add new fees to the sale of electronics as part of a provincial plan to pay for the recycling costs of the appliances. This Environmental Handling Fee (EHF) could cost more than $40 for one product, but will vary depending on how much the product costs and how difficult it is to recycle.

The money raised through this fee will go to the Association pour le Recyclage des Produits Electronique du Quebec (ARPE), where it will be used to fund a new Quebec-wide recycling program. With the implementation of this fee, Quebec joined seven other Canadian provinces that have already adopted an EHF, including Ontario and British Columbia.

While the fee currently applies  only to televisions, cell phones, printers, and laptops, it will be extended to other electronic products in July 2013. Some storeowners are handing out fliers to explain the EHF to consumers.

The Enbridge pipeline: B.C. concerned for environment

In a pre-election address this past Friday, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark announced that she plans to inform the Alberta government that B.C. is firmly opposed to putting its environment at risk for the sake of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

If constructed, the Enbridge pipeline would transfer raw bitumen from the Alberta tar-sands across British Columbia to Kitimat, B.C. From there, the bitumen would then be loaded onto oil tankers and transported to China, where it would be refined.

Tensions between B.C. and Alberta have risen recently regarding this controversial pipeline project, which has heavy support from both Stephen Harper and Alberta Premier Alison Redford. Many British Columbians, however, have expressed deep concerns about the environmental risks.

Although Clark’s stance against the Enbridge pipeline has hardened over the past few months, her government has never announced official opposition to the pipeline—a fact that has sparked much criticism towards the current B.C. Liberal government.

This past summer, Clark outlined five conditions that the Alberta government must meet in order for B.C. to approve the pipeline project, which include environmental protection measures and a share of the economic benefits.

Over 6,000 want Rona Ambrose to resign

Last week, an online petition calling for the resignation of Minister of State for the Status of Women Rona Ambrose went into circulation. The petition is a response to Ambrose’s support of M-312, a controversial, private-member abortion motion that was defeated in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Had M-312 passed, it would have reopened discussion about when a fetus becomes a legal person. Though Ambrose’s vote does not make it clear whether she is pro-life or not, it has sparked debate over whether one can be supportive of women’s rights and also oppose abortion.

Organizations such as the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) have publicly demanded that Ambrose resign.

“It’s her job to represent the interests of women, to defend women’s rights, [and] promote women’s equality,” Joyce Arthur, ARCC executive director, said. “We feel she [has] betrayed the women of this country.”

Supporters of M-312 also deliberately went against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wishes to leave the abortion issue closed, resulting in rumours of a Conservative Party rift.

By Friday afternoon, the petition had amassed over 6,000 signatures. To date, Ambrose has rejected all calls to step down.

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