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Feds launch tourism strategy designed to boost sector 25 per cent by 2025

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OTTAWA — A new Canadian tourism strategy is meant to help boost international visits to Canada during non-peak seasons by more than a million people and get visitors to see the country beyond Canada’s biggest cities.

The plan, unveiled in Montreal, includes $58.5 million over two years to help communities create or improve tourism facilities and experiences.

The funding is supposed to back experiences that show off Canada’s strengths — and break visitors’ fixation on just a few destinations in the nicest weather.

“Just over three out of four international visitors travel only to Canada’s largest provinces, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, and most go to their biggest cities: Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal,” the new strategy states.

“Drawing tourists to venture beyond the big cities remains a challenge for regions that want to expand their visitor economies.”

Tourism Minister Melanie Joly said Tuesday that the tourism measures are tooled to help tourism revenues grow by 25 per cent — to $128 billion —by 2025 and the government also hopes to create 54,000 new jobs directly related to tourism.

In 2018, the federal government says, Canada welcomed 21.1 million international tourists, surpassing the previous year’s record of 20.9 million.

The federal government knows that tourism helps every part of the country, Joly said, adding it has seen many examples of communities transforming and diversifying their economies by attracting visitors.

Tourism is a pillar of the Canadian economy, generating $102 billion in annual economic activity, supporting 1.8 million jobs and accounting for over two per cent of gross domestic product, the federal government said.

After the Montreal announcement, Joly headed into Ontario for stops at a brewery and a winery in the eastern part of the province, where culinary tourism is a fledgling industry.

The Canadian Press


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Liberals to reject Senate changes to solitary confinement bill

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OTTAWA — The Liberals are poised to reject the Senate’s amendments to a bill that aims to end the practice of solitary confinement.

The government’s response to the Senate’s package of amendments details why the Liberals won’t accept a key change requiring a judge to approve any decision to isolate a prisoner beyond 48 hours.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says in a letter to the Senate that such a change would increase the workload of provincial courts and require the appointment of new judges to compensate.

Sen. Kim Pate, a lifelong advocate for prisoners’ rights, disagrees.

She says the government is spending money on hiring external reviewers for solitary confinement decisions with dollars that could be used to hire more judges, who have greater expertise and independence.

Pate says the law would be unconstitutional if the Liberals pass the bill without the Senate’s amendments.

The Canadian Press


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Chief military judge’s court martial in limbo after deputy recuses himself

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OTTAWA — The court martial for Canada’s chief military judge is in limbo after the judge overseeing the trial, who happens to be deputy to the accused, agreed not to hear the case over conflict-of-interest concerns.

Lt.-Col. Louis-Vincent d’Auteuil also outlined the reasons why he felt the military’s other three sitting judges would not be able to preside over Col. Mario Dutil’s trial in an impartial manner.

That has left the fate of Dutil’s court martial, seen by some as a critical test for the military-justice system, up in the air.

Dutil was charged with eight counts in relation to allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and knowingly signed a travel claim for $927.60 that contained false information.

Four of the charges were dropped at the start of the court martial last week, where Dutil’s lawyer challenged d’Auteuil’s impartiality and asked the presiding judge to recuse himself. A publication ban on details of that portion of the hearing has since been lifted.

In agreeing to the request, d’Auteuil said it was reasonable to believe he would be biased because of his relationship to several witnesses — which he believed also applied to other military judges.

The Canadian Press

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june, 2019

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