Gatineau police investigating homicide of 22-year-old man

22-year-old man killed

Gatineau police say they are investigating a homicide involving a 22-year-old man early Saturday in the western Quebec city across from Ottawa.

Police say they were called after a man with serious upper body injuries was found outside a business in the city's Aylmer district about 2 a.m.

Despite attempts to save him, the victim, who was a resident of Gatineau, was declared dead in hospital.

Police had said earlier Saturday they were investigating a stabbing, but said an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death.

Investigators are meeting with witnesses, and Quebec provincial police are providing assistance to collect forensic evidence.

It is the second homicide on territory covered by Gatineau police since the beginning of 2022.

Wind to dominate Canada's energy future, suggests 'long-awaited' modelling

Wind key to carbon-free

To decarbonize Canada's grid, the country will have to increase its wind and solar capacity 18-fold by 2050, according to new modelling.

Described as the first of its kind in Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation "Shifting Power" report calls for a profound shift in the way utilities collaborate and regulate energy generation and transmission across the country.

"We're talking about nearly a tripling in the electricity system in Canada — and all of that's coming from wind and solar," said co-author Stephen Thomas, a mechanical engineer and climate solutions policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation.

"This report shows more clearly than ever that 100 per cent zero-emissions electricity is possible, affordable and reliable."

Canada has made some progress in recent years.

Between 2005 and 2020, Canada's public utilities halved emissions from electricity generation, gains largely made by phasing out coal and oil-powered plants.

Even so, heating buildings and supplying electricity to the grid combine to create Canada's third-largest source of emissions. In 2020 — the most recent data available — only transport and the oil and gas sector represented larger sources.

As the world increasingly electrifies, so will people's thirst to power their devices, homes, workplaces and cars.

To satisfy that uptick in energy consumption and move away from fossil fuels will require the construction of more than 2,000 wind turbines and 160 10-megawatt solar farms (a combined 650 hectares of solar panels) every year across Canada, finds the report.

Four years in the making, Thomas and his colleagues spent three of those years collaborating with a group of independent researchers at the University of Victoria's Institute for Integrated Energy Systems. Led by Madeleine McPherson — who this week was picked to help lead a national Energy Modelling Hub "to help realize a decarbonized energy system for Canada" — the group took that time to ensure the models would work and to detail how energy security would be achieved across every province.

Their results line up with another recent study released by the Canadian Climate Institute earlier this month, which found Canada's electricity systems need to grow 2.2 to 3.4 times what they are today by 2050 — all in a world where wind and solar make up to 75 per cent of all energy generation.

Ultimately, the report's recommendations gird a transformation in not only how energy is generated but where it comes from. Provinces, it notes, would need to collaborate like never before to take advantage of cheap energy on windy or sunny days.

"This report sets out the kind of analysis we have been waiting for," said Roland Clift, a UBC adjunct professor at the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and past member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"It is convincing because it is authoritative and, above all, pragmatic and realistic."

Clift said the modelling parallels the kind of grid-operated successor in places like Spain and Portugal. Its conclusions for B.C., he says, are consistent with past analysis Clift has conducted at UBC's Clean Energy Research Centre (CERC).

"This report should be seen as both a challenge and an encouragement because it sets out what is possible," he added. "It would be a tragedy for us all if the biggest barrier turned out to be lack of political will."

CERC director Xiaotao Bi said the report offered a "long-awaited realistic analysis on Canada's electricity future to meet 2050 net-zero target."

Bi said B.C. should look to biofuels to help lower emissions in aviation, marine and long-distance road transport, where technologies to reduce emissions have been slow to get off the ground. He also offered a warning: as the world looks to scale up solar and wind technology, supply chains to build turbines and solar panels could be in short supply.

Claudio Cañizares, professor and executive director at the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy, was less optimistic.

Describing the modelling as "not very realistic," Cañizares said hydro and nuclear projects are already slated to expand in Quebec and Ontario, respectively.

"They're not going to walk away from that," he said.

Even more unrealistic is the idea that provinces will build deep transmission across borders, which has been discussed for decades but hasn't happened yet, said Cañizares.

"They assume Canada is one big country and we can do whatever we want between provinces, but that's not the reality," he said, pointing to political divides between Alberta and B.C. and Quebec's preference to sell hydropower to New England over Ontario.

"The federal government cannot tell the provinces how to do this."

Anil Hira, lead researcher at Simon Fraser University’s Clean Energy Research Group, was equally concerned about the “monumental efforts” required for energy storage and building transmission lines between provinces.

“The authors don’t talk about the economic trade-offs and political resistance from downsizing the fossil fuel industry,” he said.

Others, like Caroline Lee, an energy policy analyst at the Canadian Climate Institute, acknowledged the limits of the roadmap to decarbonization. But having worked with the group's underlying data in the past, Lee described the modelling as "generally robust."

The models show wind and solar take on an enormous role in supplying the electricity grid in almost every province — technologies Thomas says have been proven and are ready to scale up.

Between Alberta and B.C., for example, huge amounts of electricity would flow from wind and solar farms in the Prairies — where it's cheap and easily deployed — to feed peak demand across the border. Alberta, for its part, would benefit from the energy stored in B.C.'s hydroelectric reservoirs, which, together with inter-regional transmission, would even out supply when it's not windy or water levels are low.

Energy-efficiency programs and building retrofits would temper demand, and everything would be bolstered by up to a 219-fold increase in the number of lithium-ion batteries deployed to the grid.

Though the demand for such batteries would only require five per cent of the output from a newly announced $4 billion battery factory in Ontario, Thomas says it's far from the only technology that could fill the role of energy storage in places where hydroelectric reservoirs are scarce.

From mechanical devices that store potential energy by vaulting blocks into the air to systems of underground pipes that store energy in the form of water pressure, many solutions are still being developed and could fill in for batteries or hydro reservoirs.

Other companies, like Form Energy, are looking to harness the rust cycle to power a new form of battery.

But the David Suzuki Foundation report takes a conservative approach, and its modelling doesn't rely on any of these technologies.

In every modelled scenario, wind would dominate energy production Canada-wide, amounting for up to 60 per cent of grid electricity generation by 2050.

In B.C., that would mean building an estimated 290 new wind turbines every year between now and 2050. That's in addition to building 20 10-megawatt solar farms every 12 months under the roadmap — an infrastructure proposition that would cover roughly 800 hectares of land annually.

B.C. starts from a "great position" with a very low emissions electricity grid, says Thomas. But due to the ideal conditions in Alberta, the province would still likely become a net importer of renewable energy from its neighbour.

"We're going to need a lot," he said.

The pathway would require no new large-scale hydroelectric dams or nuclear energy, and the former would be phased out by the 2040s.

All told, the boldest pathway would mean avoiding the release of three billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions between 2025 and mid-century — equivalent to four years of Canada's total greenhouse gas output, or more than a quarter of what the country needs to eliminate from its emissions portfolio over the next three decades.

"Although the scale of this transformation is daunting, with real challenges that need to be overcome, it is possible to deploy these technologies at this pace and scale," states the report.

It will require significant investment but not an insurmountable total, found the report.

From 2025 to 2034, the upfront capital costs to build all those wind turbines, solar farms and transmission infrastructure would add up to three to four per cent more than the cost of the country's current energy mix.

"The cost projections are very comparable to business as usual," Thomas said.

But by 2035, when Canada could theoretically produce 100 per cent zero-emissions electricity, costs drop off and become cheaper even as electricity demand soars.

Another recent report this month from the Canadian Climate Institute found B.C. companies looking to transition to a low-carbon economy have had the most success of any province in raising money. And when adjusted for GDP, the global competitiveness of B.C. companies looking to advance decarbonizing technology goes through the roof.

With new companies come new jobs. According to Thomas's modelling, transitioning to a renewable grid would generate up to 75,000 full-time jobs a year split between the wind, solar, transmission and pumped hydro storage sectors.

That doesn't include jobs in the electric vehicle industry, retrofitting homes and a growing demand for the manufacturing of wind turbines, solar panels and batteries necessary to carry out the energy transformation.

"We see a huge labour requirement coming up as part of this work," said Thomas.

The tricky process of choosing where to build

Building wind, solar and transmission lines at the scale proposed is expected to affect large areas of land. That will inevitably impact communities, and the landscapes people and wildlife rely on.

In agriculture areas, the report says wind farms could be installed with relatively little negative impact, but build a solar farm on that land, and you could block access to prime soils to produce food.

At the same time, critical habitat for migratory birds is not a good place to build wind turbines or transmission lines.

Instead, existing highway corridors or railway right-of-ways offer an opportunity to build transmission lines without further cutting through existing habitat.

The report says there are many ways to help choose the right location to maximize energy production while limiting environmental impacts. One solution for communities making that hard choice: a World Wildlife Fund Canada tool to "help renewable energy planners and developers locate projects to avoid key habitats."

In all cases, says Thomas, communities need to be intimately involved in planning the installation of wind turbines and solar farms so they can help guide their success while reaping at least some of the benefits.

Some communities could choose to raise money through energy cooperatives as they sell energy back to the grid.

Indigenous communities across Canada are already involved in nearly 200 clean energy projects over one megawatt, making them the largest owner of clean energy assets in Canada after Crown and private utilities, according to Clean Energy Canada.

But instead of seeking "minor benefits and agreements," many of these communities are now seeking ownership, says a parallel study that consulted with 17 Indigenous clean energy economic development corporations.

Those researchers pointed to two 15 megawatt wind-power projects developed in partnership with the West Moberly First Nation and Saulteau First Nation in northeastern B.C.

"Each of these projects will generate clean, renewable energy that is sold to BC Hydro and Power Authority under separate 40-year energy-purchase agreements," says the Indigenous-led report.

?By focusing on clean energy, the two nations have a path to sustainable economic development that aligns with their effort to save the endangered Klinse-Za caribou herd from extinction — efforts that include airlifting female cows by helicopter to a mountaintop pen enclosure and providing them with handpicked lichen.

There are big barriers, such as building a wind farm during a global pandemic or, in the case of many remote, fly-in communities, sourcing and transporting large materials by barge or winter ice roads.

Those theoretical barriers became real when three Métis and First Nations in Alberta came together to build a $7.8 million solar project near Wood Buffalo National Park — the country's largest remote community solar farm.

"The winter roads and ice bridges have also become unreliable due to changing climate conditions," stated the report.

Since it was completed in late 2020, the project has reduced the community's reliance on outside diesel. Every year, 25 fewer large tank truck trips are heading to and from Fort Chipewyan, Alta.

At the same time, the Three Nations Energy project has allowed a number of community members to improve their technical skills and get involved in the clean energy industry. It's just one example of how clean energy projects help Indigenous communities strike their course toward self-governance and economic self-sufficiency.

Building such projects will require "incorporating and centring Indigenous world views, values, governance and decision-making authority," found the report.

As the researchers concluded: "An Indigenous-led clean energy transition will require the status quo to look and operate entirely differently…"

A conservative net-zero future

While off-grid and territorial grids will play an important role in Canada's decarbonization, none of the modelling in the report considered regions north of 60 degrees latitude.

That's because those grids aren't connected to the 10 provincial grids.

The roadmap also did not consider the potential of offshore wind farms, rooftop solar on residential or commercial buildings or green hydrogen. In each case, the researchers say they didn't have the modelling resources they needed.

Also left out of the models:

all energy storage technologies outside of pumped hydro retrofits and battery storage;

emerging technologies, like the direct air capture demonstration plant sucking carbon out of the air in Squamish, B.C.;

and how changes in consumer behaviour could drive a reduction in electricity demand.

Will Canada's Clean Electricity Standard be enough?

The release of the roadmap to decarbonize Canada's grid comes as the federal government develops a Clean Electricity Standard to meet its target of net-zero by 2035.

It's a goal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault recommitted to May 27 in a communiqué following high-level talks with his G7 counterparts in Berlin, Germany.

Thomas said the David Suzuki Foundation researchers shared their findings with people involved in those deliberations. But he worries recent federal moves to foster carbon capture and removal technology — which promises to scrub carbon from smokestacks — will give a green light for fossil fuel generating facilities to keep emitting carbon.

Federal net-zero goals could either mean transforming an electricity grid that effectively produces no greenhouse gas emissions, or deploying new technologies “that remove carbon from the atmosphere,” according to a federal government discussion paper released in March.

"We're concerned that this federal Clean Electricity Standard will make too many allowances for the continued or even expanded use of fossil fuels on the grid," he said.

While Thomas acknowledges the scope and scale of transforming Canada's grid is very ambitious, he also says it's very achievable.

"To meet these targets, we need to do this in the next 12 to 13 years," he said. "There's really no time to wait. Wind and solar tech are mature and stable and ready to be deployed right now."

"We need to get to work really soon."

Body of minke whale spotted near Montreal recovered from river, necropsy performed

Dead whale found in river

A dead whale found in the St. Lawrence River northeast of Montreal is likely the second of two minke whales spotted in the area earlier this month.

A Quebec marine mammal research group says the whale was recovered Friday from the waters near Contrecoeur, Que., about 50 kilometres downstream from Montreal.

A post to the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network's website says the male whale, about 3.8 metres long and believed to be one to two years old, was transported to St-Hyacinthe for a necropsy.

The group says the state of the animal suggests it had died between a few days and a week earlier and its skin was covered with a fungi similar to that found on a humpback whale who died after a stay in Montreal in 2020, indicative of a prolonged stay in freshwater.

Minke whales are common in Quebec but don't generally venture west of the saltwater St. Lawrence estuary around Tadoussac, Que.

A final necropsy report is not expected for a few months, but the group says there was no obvious cause of death or signs of trauma observed, although an absence of food in the stomach suggests it had not fed recently.

It says there is no sign of the other minke whale, who was first spotted around May 8 in the Montreal area before both vanished around mid-May.

60K without power one week after deadly storm swept through Ontario, Quebec

60,000 still without power

One week after a severe wind and thunderstorm swept through Ontario and Quebec, just over 60,000 homes in the two provinces remain without power today.

At least 11 people were killed during last Saturday's storm or its aftermath as it toppled trees, knocked out power lines and caused heavy property damage.

In Ontario, Hydro One reports more than 23,000 are without power today, mainly in the eastern part of the province.

Hydro Ottawa says 19,000 clients are still without power.

Hydro-Québec, meanwhile, says there are just over 18,000 without electricity in the province, mainly in the Outaouais region in western Quebec, the Laurentians and Lanaudière.

Environment Canada has said last weekend's severe weather involved a derecho -- a rare widespread windstorm associated with a line of thunderstorms -- that developed near Sarnia, Ont., and moved northeastward across the province, ending in Quebec City.

Winnipeg students find body during spring community cleanup

Student cleanup finds body

A Winnipeg school has brought in a crisis response team after a group of students found a dead body while doing a community clean up Friday.

The Pembina Trails School Division has confirmed a group of Grade 7 and 8 students made the discovery while cleaning up a field on the southwest side of the city.

The division says teachers immediately returned the children to school and called police.

The school division said the body was not found on school property.

Winnipeg police confirmed officers were on scene Friday, but wouldn’t state the nature of their investigation.

“The police confirmed that what the children saw was a dead body. The police are completing their investigation,” reads a letter sent to parents provided to Global News by the school division.

“Our school social worker and school psychologist were at school today and met with the children and staff most significantly impacted.

“They provided a space for the students to talk about what they saw and what they were feeling.”

The division told parents its crisis response team will return to the school on Monday. (Global Winnipeg)

Quebec mosque disappointed with ruling allowing killer to seek parole after 25 years

Disappointed with ruling

Families of the victims of the Quebec City mosque shooter say they fear Friday's Supreme Court ruling means the 17 children who lost a father could one day meet the killer in the streets of Quebec's capital.

Canada's high court ruled that the killer who went on a deadly shooting spree at a Quebec City mosque in 2017 can apply for parole after 25 years behind bars. The court declared unconstitutional a 2011 Criminal Code provision that allowed a judge, in the event of multiple murders, to impose a life sentence and parole ineligibility periods of 25 years to be served consecutively for each murder.

Mohamed Labidi, president of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec, where the killer shot dead six men on Jan. 29, 2017, said families of the victims expressed real concern the killer would be a free man within a relatively short period of time.

"Maybe parole (officials) will delay this release a bit (and) will take that into account, but that's our real fear," Labidi told a news conference.

The Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec said in a statement Friday the high court decision did not give due consideration to "the atrocity and scourge of multiple murders" or to the hateful, Islamophobic, racist nature of the crime.

Members of the mosque said they were disappointed with the decision from the court, but they added it allows them to close the legal chapter and focus on the future.

“Philosophically, yes, we would like to turn the page and I, personally as an individual, want to turn the page," mosque co-founder Boufeldja Benabdallah told reporters. "I have been hurt enough and I have cried enough."

Benabdallah said the Supreme Court decision "breaks the balance" between a criminal's chance at reintegrating society and his or her victims' sense of justice.

"We take into account the rehabilitation of an individual … and to not give a punishment that is inadmissible, unusual or cruel," Benabdallah said. "But at the same time, the families who have been affected must also feel that they have won their case, that the killer is being punished for his crimes."

Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Five others were seriously injured in the January 2017 attack, including one man who was left paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. The six men who were shot dead left behind 17 children.

A trial judge found the 2011 parole ineligibility provision unconstitutional but did not declare it invalid, ultimately ruling Bissonnette must wait 40 years before applying for parole.

Quebec's Court of Appeal said the trial judge erred in making the ineligibility period 40 years and that the court must revert to the law as it stood before 2011, resulting in a total waiting period for Bissonnette of 25 years. The Crown appealed that decision.

The Supreme Court said the 2011 law violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that in order to ensure respect for the inherent dignity of every individual, the Charter requires Parliament to leave a door open for rehabilitation, even in cases where this objective is of secondary importance.

One of Bissonnette's lawyers, Charles-Olivier Gosselin, said his client was relieved by the ruling.

"It's a second chance, a second life that Mr. Bissonnette can hope for to demonstrate to society that he can be an asset, that he can work on himself, move on and look forward," Gosselin said at the courthouse in Quebec City.

Daniel Bélanger, the chief prosecutor for Quebec City, said he would not comment on the decision out of deference to the high court, but he spoke of the victims and their families.

"This day marks for them the end of a long judicial process, but we are aware that it is not the end of their grieving and healing process," Bélanger said, reading from a prepared statement.

He said the Crown and police in Quebec City were diligent in their work all the way to the Supreme Court, demonstrating the capacity for the judicial system to conclude complex cases in the public’s interest.

Bélanger reminded reporters in Quebec City that Bissonnette received a life sentence and it will be up to the parole board to decide whether he is released, which now won't come before 2042. The killer, he said, would be subject to strict conditions and surveillance by a parole officer for the rest of his life in the event he is freed from prison.

"Although this case has become a constitutional debate regarding the provisions of the Criminal Code, we need to remember, in closure, the six people murdered and the other victims of this attack on Jan. 29, 2017," Bélanger said.

"Our thoughts are now with the victims and their families and the community affected by this crime that has marked the collective consciousness. We praise their courage, their resilience and their dignity in this moment."

More than 18 hours to find five N.S. mass shooting victims was 'deficient': lawyer

18 hours to find victims

A lawyer for families of victims killed in the Nova Scotia mass shooting says an 18-hour delay in finding five bodies of those murdered is a sign of "deficient" policing.

A study released Thursday by the public inquiry into the shooting quotes RCMP supervisor Sgt. Andy O’Brien stating "it did not occur" to him to drive to scenes other than locations where bodies were known to be and where fires had occurred in Portapique, N.S.

The public inquiry has said 13 of 22 victims were killed by the gunman in Portapique between about 10 p.m. and about 10:45 p.m. on April 18, 2020, when the killer escaped through a back road in his replica police car.

However, the study says it wasn’t until 4:46 p.m. on April 19, 2020, that the bodies of Peter and Joy Bond and — a few minutes later — those of Aaron Tuck, Jolene Oliver and Emily Tuck were found on a small road called Cobequid Court at the southern end of the community.

Josh Bryson, a lawyer for the Bond and Tuck families, says the RCMP fell short by failing to order a house-to-house canvassing of the homes in the small community sooner than they did, adding that police left desperate family members wondering about their loved ones’ fates.

"It's deficient, it's not appropriate," Bryson said Friday in an interview. "It's not acceptable to us. You had members on hand .... There were no searches (in the morning).

"They didn't seem to consider that there might have been residents in homes who needed medical attention."

On the morning of April 19, 2020, emergency response team members were gradually evacuating the community. However, after a call came in at 9:30 a.m. of another shooting near Wentworth, N.S., those officers rapidly left Portapique in pursuit of the gunman. The inquiry heard Thursday that district commander Staff Sgt. Al Carroll and Sgt. O'Brien took charge of the Portapique area at this time, with constables under their command. Carroll left mid-morning, leaving O'Brien in charge.

Bryson said Bond family members had reached out to police via 911 seeking information the morning of April 19, but the requests didn't appear to make their way to Carroll.

Carroll testified on Thursday he didn't recall receiving "any messaging" from police dispatchers about these calls. He also said that he didn't expect that the houses would be searched, as it was up to the major crime investigators to take the next steps.

Const. Nick Dorrington told inquiry investigators he was ordered to look for “fatalities on front lawns” on April 19. The study says GPS records indicate his car stopped in front of the Bond house at 10:26 a.m. Dorrington's car was at the residence for about 30 seconds, but he didn't enter the home.

Bryson said he's left to wonder why the officer didn't approach the house. "Mr. Bond was in the front door deceased; the screen door was off its hinges, television was on; the lights were on. For someone to sit in the driveway … it's extremely upsetting and concerning," he said.

"There's no evidence to suggest they (the victims) were still alive … but it's very distressing to know your loved ones remained in the area with first responders in the vicinity, but they aren't being discovered," the lawyer added.

The theme of failures of communication has been prominent over the past week at the public inquiry hearings.

Carroll testified on Thursday that he didn't learn until 3:30 a.m. on April 19 that there were two key eyewitnesses who saw the killer and his replica patrol car at about 10:15 p.m. the previous night.

Bryson said the RCMP's communications shortcomings have emerged as a key revelation of the inquiry to date.

"A lot of this we can remedy, from my point of view, with better systems to convey information, which would be minimal in cost," he said.

Canada raids emergency stockpile to send medical equipment to Ukraine

Emergency stockpile raided

Canada has tapped into its own strategic stockpile of emergency medical supplies — stored for a national emergency — to help Ukraine.

It has donated over 375,000 items of medical equipment and medicines from Canada's strategic stockpile since the invasion by Russia began.

This includes first aid and trauma kits, medicines and surgical instruments, as well as gloves, masks and gowns.

Canada's health minister also helped push through an international resolution on rebuilding Ukraine's besieged health-care system in Geneva this week.

Jean-Yves Duclos held bilateral talks to help get the votes required for the resolution, which Canada co-sponsored with Ukraine at the World Health Assembly meeting.

The Ukrainian motion, voted for by 88 countries to 12, with 43 abstentions, follows attacks on Ukraine's health-care facilities and equipment, including ambulances, by Russian forces.

Feds announce funds for women's shelters, advocate says more needed

Feds fund women's shelters

The federal government has announced funding to construct and repair hundreds of spaces for women and children fleeing violence.

Housing Minister Ahmed Hussen says the government will give over $121 million to build and repair a total of 430 spaces in shelters and transitional housing.

The money comes from an initiative under the national housing co-investment fund, previously announced in the 2021 budget.

Lise Martin, executive director of Women’s Shelters Canada, says while the funding is a good start, it is "unfortunately a drop in the bucket" to meet the high need for women seeking safe shelter.

Martin says she was disappointed the government did not renew the funding in the 2022 budget.

She says she would like to see this initiative renewed until the end of the national housing strategy, which is set to end in 2027-28.

Canada could help wean Europe from Russian oil and gas by shipping clean hydrogen

Canada pushes hydrogen

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says he spoke this week with delegates from several European countries, including Germany, about the potential for shipping them clean Canadian hydrogen to help wean them off Russian oil and gas.

The talks took place at a meeting of G7 energy and environment ministers in Berlin, which led to new targets for moving away from coal and oil and gas.

Canada says it also helped persuade G7 countries — which include the United States — to phase out international financing of fossil fuel projects by the end of the year.

The commitment was part of a package of measures to combat climate change, including global action to phase out coal-fired power.

Wilkinson and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault played a pivotal role in launching the G7 hydrogen action pact, a group focused on the role hydrogen can play as a clean energy source for the future.

Canada is developing clean hydrogen production, including in Nova Scotia, which could be shipped to European countries to make them less reliant on Russia for energy following the invasion of Ukraine.

Defence argues Hoggard treated women disrespectfully but is not serial rapist

'Disrespectful, not rapist'

Defence lawyers are telling a Toronto jury that Jacob Hoggard may have been cavalier and disrespectful towards women, but he is not a "sadistic serial rapist."

In her closing arguments this morning, defence lawyer Megan Savard painted her client as an insecure, attention-starved rock star who routinely succumbed to the temptation and easy validation of one-night stands while touring with the band Hedley, even when in a relationship.

Savard argued the two women accusing Hoggard of sexual assault may have felt "short-changed and deceived" by him, but that is not a crime.

Hoggard, 37, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference, a charge that refers to the sexual touching of someone under 16.

The Crown alleges Hoggard violently and repeatedly raped a 16-year-old fan and a young woman in separate incidents in the fall of 2016. Both testified they cried and said no throughout the encounters.

It's also alleged Hoggard groped the younger complainant backstage after a Hedley concert in Toronto in April 2016, when she was still 15.

The defence says the groping never happened, and argues the sexual encounters were consensual.

Hoggard testified earlier this week that he had consensual, "passionate" sex with each of the complainants in Toronto-area hotels.

He acknowledged some of the acts the women described – including spitting, slapping and calling them derogatory names – may have happened because they were part of his sexual repertoire.

The Crown is expected to make its final submissions to the jury this afternoon, and deliberations could begin as early as Tuesday.

Police watchdog: Toronto man killed by police near school had a pellet gun

Had BB gun, killed by cops

A man shot and killed by Toronto police had been carrying a pellet gun, Ontario's police watchdog said Friday as it investigated what took place.

Officers had been called to an area in the city's east end around 1 p.m. Thursday on reports of a person with a gun, police had said.

Toronto Police Chief James Ramer shared few details hours later, citing the investigation by the province's police watchdog, but said officers were confronted by an individual, and that person was now dead.

The Special Investigations Unit said Friday that a 27-year-old man was shot at by two officers and it was later discovered he was carrying a B.B. gun.

An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday.

The SIU said it has assigned four investigators and three forensic investigators to the case.

The watchdog's initial statement said that Toronto officers responded to the area of East Avenue and Maberley Crescent at 1:35 p.m.

A spokeswoman for Toronto police did not say why the force had not mentioned the pellet gun in its earlier statements.

She also had no comment on the discrepancy in timelines between the force and the SIU, instead directing all questions to the watchdog.

The SIU said it was seeking clarity on the timeline and noted that a pellet gun is considered a firearm.

The fatal shooting happened near William G. Davis Public School.

The Toronto District School Board said four schools near Maberley and Oxhorn Road were temporarily on lockdown due to a police investigation in the area.

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