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Wednesday's Canadian Briefs

Wednesday's Canadian Briefs

Government remains rosy about economic rebound, cites IMF report
OTTAWA (AP)_ The federal government presented a rosy picture of Canada's faltering economy Wednesday despite two separate reports that suggest the downturn is more severe than thought and will likely get worse before it gets better.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty trumpeted an ambiguous International Monetary Fund report that says Canada "is better placed than many countries to weather the financial turbulence and worldwide recession."
In the House of Commons, Harper chided the opposition for being purveyors of doom and gloom.
"I would encourage the party opposite rather than always trying to find the negative in everything, simply get on passing (the budget) and doing something positive for Canadians," he said.
Earlier, Flaherty said the IMF report supported the government's $40-billion stimulus spending proposals over two years.
The international agency cited the country's strong fiscal position, government responses and a sound banking sector for keeping the depth of the downturn more muted than many other countries.
But it also made clear that Canada's economy is in for a shock in the next few months, and added that it's projections are more likely to err on the down side than up side.
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Ontario passes bill making it easier to apologize without fear of lawsuit
TORONTO (AP) _ Ontario became the latest province Wednesday to adopt an apology law that will allow people to say they're sorry without fear of having it turned against them in court.
Under the new rules, apologies can't be used as an admission of fault or liability and won't affect someone's insurance coverage _ a move critics warn may do victims more harm than good.
Fewer people apologize because they're afraid it could come back to haunt them if they are sued, Attorney General Chris Bentley said after the bill passed third and final reading in the legislature.
"This removes a legislative barrier to do what we all think is the right thing to do," he said.
"If you do harm, your natural instinct is to say, `I'm sorry.'"
British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have similar apology laws, and 35 U.S. states have some form of apology legislation.
Ontario victims will still be able to sue and seek compensation, but apologizing can help resolve disputes sooner and speed up the healing process, Bentley said.
The law needed to be changed because it was getting in the way of early apologies that could have averted lawsuits, he said.
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Khawaja faces first-ever sentence under terror law
OTTAWA (AP) _ The final act of a legal drama five years in the making is about to play out for Momin Khawaja.
The 29-year-old Ottawa software developer, convicted last fall on five counts of financing and facilitating terrorism as well as two lesser Criminal Code offenses, is to be sentenced Thursday by Justice Douglas Rutherford in Ontario Superior Court.
It will be a judicial landmark _ the first sentence handed down under the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act that was pushed through Parliament following the 9-11 attacks in the United States.
And Rutherford's task will be complicated by the widely divergent advice he's received about the punishment that should be imposed.
Defense lawyer Lawrence Greenspon, at a pre-sentencing hearing last month, calculated the appropriate prison time for his client at seven and a half years on all charges.
But Khawaja has already been in custody since his arrest in March 2004, and judges commonly give double credit for time spent in jail before the official term is imposed.
Given that fact, Greenspon maintained that Khawaja should get no more than a symbolic one more day behind bars and then be turned loose.
Crown attorney David McKercher, by contrast, argued for the maximum life term on two of the charges against Khawaja, and between 44 and 58 years on the others. The cumulative effect would be at least 10 more years in prison before parole eligibility.
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Updated : 2021-05-13 23:39 GMT+08:00