In the news today, Dec. 24

Five stories in the news for Monday, Dec. 24

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THOUSANDS STILL WITHOUT POWER IN B.C.

Crews continue to repair broken transformers and retstring hydro lines after last Thursday's fearsome windstorm in southwestern B.C., but officials say some customers will remain without power for several more days. Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands were among the hardest hit areas and hundreds of downed trees have left some roads impassable, which means BC Hydro hasn't been able to complete full damage assessments. As of early Monday morning more than 25,000 hydro customers were still waiting for reconnections to the power grid.

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STANDOFFS PROMPT RCMP 'CALL FOR ACTION' IN IQALUIT

Mounties in Nunavut have issued a "call for action" asking people to secure their guns after two recent standoffs, including one where a man opened fire on officers. Iqaluit RCMP say a man barricaded himself in a home on Saturday, and during an ensuing three-hour standoff opened fire on police and vehicles passing by. The standoff ended with the arrest of a suspect, and no one was injured. But police say it's the second critical incident in Iqaluit in a week, and they're urging gun owners to take immediate action to secure firearms and ammunition.

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SINGH PLANS A JANUARY FULL OF CAMPAIGNING

It will be a busy January for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh as he looks to get a much-needed seat in the House of Commons. Singh plans to hunker down next month in the B.C. riding of Burnaby-South as he tries to check "elected" off his to-do list for a critical campaign year ahead. The byelection, expected in February, will mark Singh's biggest political test to date while he also tries to calm party fears about weak fundraising, slumping poll numbers and a growing list of veteran MPs who say they won't be running in 2019.

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PEOPLE'S PARTY RUNNING FULL SLATE: BERNIER

The People's Party of Canada says it has reached its goal of setting up 338 riding associations as it focuses on being a force in the next federal election. In an email to supporters, leader Maxime Bernier says attaining the goal amounts to a "gift of hope" for Canadians seeking to bring back freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect to the country. Bernier was a Conservative MP for more than a decade before he left to launch his own party. He says his one Christmas wish is for members of his new party to fill its coffers with financial contributions.

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INVASIVE SPECIES COST ECONOMY BILLIONS

For two decades experts have been nursing a community of endangered northern leopard frogs in B.C.'s Kootenay region. But invasive bullfrogs and fish threaten to muscle in, potentially swallowing years of work. Bullfrogs are native to parts of Central and Eastern Canada, but they have overtaken parts of southern B.C. and are known to eat native fish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, birds and turtles. Experts say the plight of the spotted frog is one of many examples of how invasive species can leave a lasting scar on the landscape, at a huge cost to Canada's economy.

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