In The News is a roundup of articles from The Canadian Press designed to start your day. Here’s what’s on our editors’ radar for the morning of March 15…
What we’re watching in Canada…
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is due to address parliament this morning, the latest in a series of virtual visits as he pleads for international aid.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has intensified in recent days with more than two million people fleeing the country so far and airstrikes hitting the capital of kyiv.
Parliament is not expected to sit until March 21, but House Speaker Anthony Rota has approved a special request to hold the speech and allow guests to attend.
During a visit to Europe last week, Trudeau announced that Canada would send an additional $50 million in specialized equipment to help Ukraine and imposed new sanctions on Russian oligarchs, government officials and supporters of the leadership of the country.
Canada also committed $145 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in 2022 and created new immigration measures to help people fleeing war.
Zelenskyy addressed the British House of Commons on March 8 and is expected to address members of the US House and Senate on Wednesday.
The Canadian event which kicks off at 11:15 a.m. EDT will also include remarks from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Rota and Senate President George Furey, Interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green MP Elizabeth May. .
Trudeau invited Zelenskyy to speak in Parliament during his trip to Europe.
New poll suggests nearly three-quarters of Canadians believe NATO allies should prepare for military intervention as Russian aggression escalates in Ukraine, though half hope for diplomatic resolution .
The online survey of 1,515 Canadians was conducted by Leger between Friday and Sunday.
The results show that about half of Canadians still believe a diplomatic end to the war is possible, but 64% say the conflict between Ukraine and Russia will be protracted and last for many years.
While 65% of Canadians said governments should impose tougher sanctions on Russia even if it means higher gas prices for Western countries, only 35% think economic sanctions will convince Vladimir Putin to to move back.
About three-quarters say they believe the situation has the potential to lead to a Third World War, and about half of those polled say they believe Putin will use nuclear weapons if the conflict does not go his way.
It is not possible to assign a margin of error to the survey, as online surveys are not considered truly random samples.
What we’re watching in the US…
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s government officially emerged from bankruptcy on Tuesday, completing the largest public debt restructuring in U.S. history after announcing nearly seven years ago that it was unable to pay its debt of more than 70 billion dollars.
The exit means the U.S. territory government will resume payments to bondholders for the first time in several years and settle some $1 billion in claims filed by local residents and businesses.
The bankruptcy led to widely criticized austerity measures on an island that paid around $1 billion in consultancy and attorney fees and other expenses in the process.
The exit was a priority for the board and Jaresko, who previously announced she would retire on April 1. A replacement has not yet been named. The council is expected to remain in place until Puerto Rico has four consecutive balanced budgets, a feat that has yet to be achieved.
The debt restructuring plan was approved by a federal judge in January. It reduces claims against the Puerto Rico government from $33 billion to just over $7.4 billion, with 7 cents of every taxpayer dollar going to debt service, down from 25 cents previously.
The plan also deposits $1.5 billion into public pension systems and creates a retirement reserve trust that will be funded with more than $10 billion in future years.
Puerto Rico has accumulated more than $70 billion in public debt and more than $50 billion in public pension obligations over decades of corruption, mismanagement, and excessive borrowing. The US Congress created the federal council in 2016, a year after the island’s government said it was unable to pay its debt.
In 2017, the government of Puerto Rico filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. Months later, Hurricane Maria hit, flattening the island’s power grid and causing billions of dollars in damage.
What we’re looking at in the rest of the world…
KYIV, Ukraine _ The Russian offensive in Ukraine moved closer to central Kyiv on Tuesday, with a series of strikes hitting a residential area as leaders of three NATO member countries planned a visit to the beleaguered capital of the ‘Ukraine.
Shortly before dawn, large explosions thundered through kyiv from what Ukrainian authorities said were artillery strikes. The bombardment sparked a huge fire and a frantic rescue effort in a 15-story building. At least one person has been killed and others remain trapped inside.
Shock waves from an explosion also damaged the entrance to a downtown subway station which was used as a bomb shelter. City officials tweeted an image of the blown facade, saying trains would no longer stop at the station.
The leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia travel to the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday as part of a European Union mission to show their support for the country as Russian forces close in on kyiv.
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators also planned to hold a second day of talks as the Russian offensive in Ukraine entered its 21st day.
When Russia launched the war nearly three weeks ago, fear of an imminent invasion gripped the Ukrainian capital, as residents slept night after night in subway stations or crowded into trains to escape. But as the Russian offensive bogged down, kyiv experienced a relative lull. Fighting has intensified on the outskirts in recent days and sporadic air raid sirens are sounding around the capital.
There was a rare ray of hope in the beleaguered port city of Mariupol after a convoy of 160 civilian cars set off along a designated humanitarian route, the city council reported. For the past 10 days or so, the deadly siege has pulverized homes and other buildings and left people desperate for food, water, heat and medicine.
The latest talks between Russia and Ukraine, held via video on Monday, were the fourth round involving high-level officials from both countries and the first in a week. The talks ended without a breakthrough after several hours, with an aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying negotiators had taken a “technical break” and planned to meet again on Tuesday.
Both sides had expressed some optimism in recent days. Mykhailo Podolyak, Zelenskyy’s aide, tweeted that negotiators would discuss “peace, ceasefire, immediate troop withdrawal and security guarantees”.
Previous talks, held face-to-face in Belarus, did not result in any lasting humanitarian itinerary or agreement to end the fighting.
On this day in 1990…
The federal government decided that Sikh members of the RCMP could wear turbans and other religious attire while on duty. Many, including western MPs, opposed it, but Solicitor General Pierre Cadieux said it was the right decision in terms of human rights, in terms of multiculturalism policy and because that’s all just smart to have visible minorities represented on the force.
Former Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson has penned a musical tribute to his late friend and bandmate Neil Peart.
The Toronto musician says “Western Sunsets” reunited after spending time with Peart at the drummer’s house in Santa Monica shortly before his death from brain cancer in January 2020.
The instrumental piece drifts on an electro-acoustic guitar, lasting a brief two and a half minutes.
Lifeson says he began writing the tranquil composition while sitting with Peart on his balcony watching a golden sunset mark the end of a day.
He hoped the track would be a way to honor his friend “without being too tearful about it”.
“Western Sunsets” closes the self-titled debut album of Envy of None, a new band with Lifeson. The album is due out April 8.
Have you seen this?
Conservative Party leadership candidate Jean Charest has tested positive for COVID-19.
Charest broke the news Monday night on Twitter, saying his symptoms are mild and his wife, Michele, has tested negative.
Charest says he will be campaigning from home for the next few days and notes he will stay home in accordance with public health guidelines until he tests negative.
He asks in his post that out of an abundance of caution, anyone who was in close contact with him and is feeling unwell should follow local public health guidelines.
Charest launched his leadership bid in Calgary last Thursday in a room with supporters, met with others on Friday and was then due to travel to Vancouver.
Mask guidelines were lifted in Alberta on March 1. Capacity limits on all major venues and entertainment venues in Alberta, as well as limits on the size of indoor and outdoor social gatherings, also ended in early March.
At least 100 supporters attended the campaign launch in Calgary. Most attendees did not wear masks.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 15, 2022.