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Bloc Québécois leader says next federal election campaign could begin in mid-August

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Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said Friday he sees an opening to begin the next federal election campaign on Aug. 16 if the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

That timeline would ensure the federal vote doesn’t interfere with municipal elections that are to be held across Quebec in November, Blanchet told a virtual meeting with an association representing Quebec cities and towns.

“It would seem to me to be highly disrespectful for a federal election to interfere with municipal elections,” Blanchet, whose party holds 32 seats in the minority Parliament, told the gathering in French.

“It opens a window that opens quite squarely on Aug. 16. I’m not saying that’s when it’s going to happen, but we can’t rule it out.”

The Bloc leader’s suggestion comes a day after his party tabled a motion in the House of Commons demanding Prime Minister Trudeau not call an election during the pandemic. Blanchet has repeatedly warned Trudeau against holding a vote during the health crisis.

The purpose of the Bloc’s motion, Blanchet said Friday, was to force a debate and a vote on the election date, as the Trudeau government sought to limit debate on Bill C-19, which aims to ensure a vote can be safely conducted during the pandemic.

Bill C-19 passed by a vote of 330-1 at second reading Tuesday, with the support of the Bloc members, who said they wanted the legislation to move to committee for study.

Blanchet said the government shouldn’t be attempting to force through a bill that would permit an election to be held during the pandemic, adding that the bill isn’t necessary if the pandemic is under control.

“If there is a pandemic, we don’t have an election and if the pandemic is controlled, we don’t need a law to hold an election during the pandemic,” he said. “Let’s be logical.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2021.

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Canadian Press NewsAlert: Senior officer who golfed with Vance steps aside from role

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OTTAWA — A senior military officer who recently golfed with former defence chief Jonathan Vance is stepping aside from his role, but not from the Armed Forces overall.

Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau says in a statement that he is leaving his position as vice-chief of the defence staff immediately.

He says he will join the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group, which helps members shift into civilian life.

Rouleau and Royal Canadian Navy commander Vice-Admiral Craig Baines had faced criticism for teeing off with Vance, who is under military police investigation for allegations of sexual misconduct.

More Coming.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 14, 2021.

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CP NewsAlert: CFL votes to start 2021 season in August after meeting

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The CFL is going ahead with its 2021 season.

The league’s board of governors have voted unanimously in favour of an amended collective bargaining agreement and starting the ’21 campaign Aug. 5.

The CFL did not play in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league unveiled plans in November for a full 18-game season that was to have started in June but later pushed back the start to August and reduced the number of games to 14.

The Grey Cup game was also pushed back from Nov. 21 to Dec. 12 in Hamilton.

More coming.

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