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Text of statement from Gerald Butts, who resigned as PM’s principal secretary

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OTTAWA — Gerald Butts, principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his friend since university days, issued this statement Monday afternoon:

I have resigned as Principal Secretary to The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, PC, MP, Prime Minister of Canada. He has accepted my resignation.

Recently, anonymous sources have alleged that I pressured the former Attorney General, The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, to assist SNC-Lavalin with being considered for a deferred prosecution agreement. I categorically deny the accusation that I or anyone else in his office pressured Ms. Wilson-Raybould. We honoured the unique role of the Attorney General. At all times, I and those around me acted with integrity and a singular focus on the best interests of all Canadians.

The Prime Minister of Canada’s Office is much larger and more important than any of its staff. I have served it to the best of my abilities, and I have at all times given the Prime Minister free and unfettered advice. I have served the public interest, not the interests of any individual or any narrow private interest of any kind, at any time. Life is full of uncertainties, but I am absolutely certain of that.

Any accusation that I or the staff put pressure on the Attorney General is simply not true. Canadians are rightly proud of their public institutions. They should be, because they work. But the fact is that this accusation exists. It cannot and should not take one moment away from the vital work the Prime Minister and his office is doing for all Canadians. My reputation is my responsibility and that is for me to defend. It is in the best interests of the office and its important work for me to step away.

I want to say a word about my relationship with Ms. Wilson-Raybould. I encouraged her to run for the Liberal Party of Canada, and worked hard to support her as a candidate and then Cabinet Minister. From my perspective, our relationship has always been defined by mutual respect, candour and an honest desire to work together.

On a personal note, I wish to thank the Prime Minister for the opportunity to work with him, his Cabinet and the Liberal Caucus. They are great people who are dedicated to improving their country. I also want to thank my colleague, Katie Telford. The last seven years simply do not happen without her. Nobody knows that more than I do. And to my colleagues in the PMO, it has been the highest honour of my professional life to have worked together with all of you on behalf of all Canadians. I wish them all well, and they have my full support.

I also need to say this (and I know it’s a non sequitur). Our kids and grandkids will judge us on one issue above all others. That issue is climate change. I hope the response to it becomes the collective, non-partisan, urgent effort that science clearly says is required. I hope that happens soon.

Every hard problem requires a thoughtful, collaborative solution from the country it affects. Those solutions in turn depend on good, hard-working people who devote their time and energy to public service. Canada has those people in abundance. While it is fashionable sometimes in some quarters to denigrate politicians and public servants, my experience is that the women and men who serve Canadians in elected office and the professional public service are honest, decent, hard-working people who put service of country beyond self every day. Life is many days, and there are hard days in public life, but there are no bad ones. I hope I did the job in a way that would have made my parents proud and will make my children consider public service.

The Canadian Press

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National

Police name three men arrested after shooting at Raptors victory rally

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Toronto police have released the identities of three men who were arrested after Monday’s shooting at a rally celebrating the Raptors’ historic NBA win.

The men, who are all from Toronto and range in age from 18 to 25, are facing firearms-related charges.

Police have said four people suffered non-life-threatening injuries during the shooting.

Investigators allege that Shaquille Anthony Miller, 25, and Thaino Toussaint, 20, were carrying guns when they were arrested.

The men each face seven charges that include carrying a concealed weapon and — in Miller’s case — assaulting a peace officer while carrying a firearm.

Police say 18-year-old Abdikarim Kerow was arrested on a previous warrant and is facing a total of 20 charges, including two counts of possessing a loaded regulated firearm and possessing drugs for the purpose of trafficking.

Investigators are still looking for a firearm and a fourth suspect, described as a man around five-foot-nine, with a heavy build and short brown hair.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said police were looking for a third suspect.

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Environment

Trans Mountain timeline: A look at key dates in the project’s history

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OTTAWA — The federal cabinet’s long-awaited decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is due Tuesday. Here are some other key dates in the history of the original project and Kinder Morgan Canada’s controversial efforts to expand its capacity:

October 1953: The Trans Mountain pipeline begins shipping oil with an initial capacity of 150,000 barrels per day. The project initially features four pump stations along its 1,150-kilometre route and a marine dock that connects loading facilities on the east side of Edmonton with ocean tankers in Burnaby, B.C. It is expanded in 1957 and 2008 to eventually pump up to 300,000 barrels of oil per day.

Feb. 21, 2012: Kinder Morgan Canada says it wants to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline after receiving support from oil shippers and will begin public consultations.

Dec. 16, 2013: An application is made to the National Energy Board (NEB) to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline. Construction is proposed to begin in 2017, with the aim of having oil flow through the expansion by December 2019.

November 2014: More than 100 people are arrested after they camp out in a conservation area on Burnaby Mountain, east of Vancouver, to block crews from conducting drilling and survey work related to the pipeline expansion. Most of the charges are later dropped.

August 2015: The NEB postpones public hearings after striking from the record economic evidence prepared by a Kinder Morgan consultant who was to begin working for the regulator.

Jan. 27, 2016: The federal Liberal government says assessments of pipeline projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion will now take into account the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the extraction and processing of the oil they carry. Proponents will also be required to improve consultations with First Nations.

May 17, 2016: Ottawa appoints a three-member panel to conduct an environmental review of the Trans Mountain expansion project.

May 29, 2016: The NEB recommends approval of the pipeline, subject to 157 conditions, concluding that it is in the public interest.

Nov. 29, 2016: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approves the Trans Mountain expansion, part of a sweeping announcement that also saw approval of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement, but the end of its Northern Gateway project.

Jan. 11, 2017: B.C. Premier Christy Clark announces her support for the project, saying Kinder Morgan has met five government conditions including a revenue-sharing agreement worth up to $1 billion.

May 25, 2017: Kinder Morgan makes its final investment decision to proceed with the development, now estimated to cost $7.4 billion, subject to the successful public offering of Kinder Morgan Canada.

May 29, 2017: The B.C. NDP and Greens agree to form a coalition to topple the Liberal party, which could only manage a minority in the previous month’s provincial election. The parties agree to “immediately employ every tool available” to stop the project. The coalition defeats the B.C. Liberals in a confidence motion a month later, paving the way for John Horgan to become premier.

Aug. 10, 2017: The B.C. NDP government hires former judge Thomas Berger to provide legal advice as it seeks intervener status in the legal challenges against the project filed by municipalities and First Nations.

Dec. 7, 2017: NEB allows Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass Burnaby bylaws.

Jan. 17, 2018: Kinder Morgan Canada warns the Trans Mountain expansion project could be a year behind schedule.

Jan. 30, 2018: B.C. government moves to restrict any increase in diluted bitumen shipments until it conducts more spill response studies, a move that increases the uncertainty for Trans Mountain.

March 23, 2018: Green party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP MP Kennedy Stewart are arrested at a protest against the pipeline expansion; Federal Court of Appeal dismisses a B.C. government bid challenging a NEB ruling that allows Kinder Morgan Canada to bypass local bylaws.

April 8, 2018: Kinder Morgan Canada suspends non-essential spending on the Trans Mountain expansion project and sets a May 31 deadline to reach agreements with stakeholders.

May 29, 2018: Federal government announces deal to buy the pipeline and expansion project from Kinder Morgan Canada for $4.5 billion.

Aug. 30, 2018: The Federal Court of Appeal overturns the Trudeau government’s approval of the pipeline expansion. In a unanimous decision by a panel of three judges, the court says the NEB’s review of the project was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion.

Sept. 15, 2018: Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi orders the NEB to undertake a new environmental assessment of the impact additional oil tankers off the coast of British Columbia will have, with a specific focus on the risks to southern resident killer whales. The NEB has until late February to report back.

Sept. 26, 2018: The NEB assigns a new panel to run the hearings and sets deadlines for comments.

Oct. 3, 2018: Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi hires former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci to oversee a new round of Indigenous consultations. No deadline is set for the completion of the process.

Feb. 22, 2019: The NEB recommends to cabinet that it approve the project again, subject to 16 new conditions, and says although an oil spill could be significant, the project provides considerable benefits and there are measures that can be taken to minimize the effects. The federal cabinet has 90 days — until May 22 — to respond with a decision.

Apr. 18, 2019: Sohi announces cabinet has decided to push the pipeline decision back until June 18 citing a need to take more time to complete Indigenous consultations.

June 18, 2019: Federal Liberal government approves the expansion a second time, requiring that all federal revenue it generates be reinvested in clean energy and green technology, including an estimated $500 million a year in new annual corporate tax revenues and the proceeds from the sale of the entire expanded pipeline back to the private sector.

 

The Canadian Press

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