Liberal election victory and next steps in Ottawa: In The News for Sept. 21

·7 min read

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Sept. 21 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be returning to Ottawa without the majority government mandate Liberals had hoped for when he called the early election last month.

Early Tuesday, the Liberals were hovering between 155 and 157 seats. The former is the number they had when Trudeau called the election in August, and the latter is what they won in 2019.

The Conservatives were teetering on 121 or 122 seats, after winning 121 less than two years ago.

They will remain the official Opposition, with leader Erin O'Toole promising the "changed" party he leads will speak for all Canadians from all walks of life.

The Bloc Québécois and NDP will bring up the rear, each individually potentially holding the balance of power in the minority House of Commons, both also within a few seats of their 2019 tallies.

With more people voting by mail than ever before, the final result in some ridings might not be known for days.

Elections Canada will start counting more than 780,000 mailed-in ballots Tuesday, and it expects most to be finished by Wednesday, but officials did warn some ridings could take up to four days for final counts.

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Also this ...

The final seat count is still up in the air but the Liberals will cling to their hold on power with another minority government.

So what happens next?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will keep his job, but how many MPs he will end up with in his caucus is still being finalized.

There are a few dozen races where the outcome could change when more than 780,000 mail-in ballots start being counted later today.

Trudeau will also need to shuffle his cabinet to replace several ministers who lost or didn't run again, and then set a date for the throne speech.

He waited a month to name his new cabinet and more than six weeks to have a throne speech in 2019, but the ongoing pandemic may push him to do those things faster this year.

And with the pandemic still raging in parts of Canada, MPs and parties will have to decide whether to resurrect the virtual House of Commons sittings and votes they agreed to in 2020, but which dissolved with Parliament when the election was called.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

NEW YORK _ President Joe Biden planned to use his first address before the U.N. General Assembly to reassure other nations of American leadership on the global stage and call on allies to move quickly and co-operatively to address the festering issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights abuses.

Biden, who arrived in New York on Monday evening to meet with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ahead of Tuesday's address, offered a full-throated endorsement of the body's relevance and ambition at a difficult moment in history.

The president, in brief remarks at the start of his meeting with Guterres, returned to his mantra that "America is back"_ a phrase that's become presidential shorthand meant to encapsulate his promise to take a dramatically different tack with allies than predecessor Donald Trump.

"The vision of the United Nations has never been short on ambition, any more than our Constitution," Biden said.

But the president was facing a healthy measure of skepticism from allies during his week of high-level diplomacy. The opening months of his presidency have included a series of difficult moments with friendly nations that were expecting greater co-operation from Biden following four years of Trump's "America first" approach to foreign policy.

Eight months into his presidency, Biden has been out of sync with allies on the chaotic ending to the U.S. war in Afghanistan. He has faced differences over how to go about sharing coronavirus vaccines with the developing world and over pandemic travel restrictions. And there are questions about the best way to respond to military and economic moves by China.

Biden also finds himself in the midst of a fresh diplomatic spat with France, the United States' oldest ally, after announcing plans _ along with Britain _ to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The move is expected to give Australia improved capabilities to patrol the Pacific amid growing concern about the Chinese military's increasingly aggressive tactics, but it upended a French defense contract worth at least $66 billion to sell diesel-powered submarines to Australia.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday there was a "crisis of trust" with the U.S. as a result of the episode.

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What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

KABUL, Afghanistan _ The Taliban announced a list of deputy ministers on Tuesday, failing to name any women, despite an international outcry when they presented their all-male Cabinet ministers earlier this month.

The list was presented by government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid at a new conference in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The list of deputy ministers signals that the Taliban have not been swayed by the international criticism and that they're doubling down on their current hard-line path despite initial promises of inclusivity and upholding women's rights.

The international community has warned that it will judge the Taliban by their actions, and that recognition of a Taliban-led government would be linked to the treatment of women and minorities. In their previous rule of Afghanistan in the late 1990s, the Taliban had barred girls and women from schools, work and public life.

The Taliban have framed their current Cabinet as an interim government, suggesting that change was still possible, but they have not said if there would ever be elections.

In response to questions, Mujahid defended the expanded Cabinet lineup, saying it included members of ethnic minorities, such as Hazaras, and that women might be added later.

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On this day in 1995 ...

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the federal law that banned tobacco advertising, arguing the law went too far and violated the industry's constitutional right to free speech. Two years later, in 1997, the federal government passed a new law which stopped most tobacco advertising and denied companies the right to sponsor sporting and cultural events. In August 2005, the Quebec Court of Appeal struck down the part of the law which prohibits tobacco companies from using their corporate names to sponsor events.

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In entertainment ...

TORONTO _ Canadian broadcasting mogul Allan Slaight, whose support of the country's arts scene made him a ubiquitous name at venues and events including the Juno Awards, has died.

Family friend David Ben said Monday that the rock 'n' roll radio pioneer and prominent philanthropist died at his Toronto home on Sunday at the age of 90.

The Galt, Ont.-born media magnate funded many parts of the Canadian cultural industry, particularly music, and helped build up Toronto's venerable music radio stations CHUM and Q-107.

He took the helm of Global Television in the 1970s, and in the 1980s took over Standard Broadcasting Corporation Ltd., where he remained for decades. He also had his own radio broadcasting company Slaight Communications.

Slaight was also influential in sports: in the early 1990s, he was part owner of the Toronto Raptors.

The Slaight Family Foundation and Slaight Music, now run by son Gary Slaight, have supported charities related to health care, at-risk youth, the arts, international development and social services.

Organizations including the Junos, Canada's Walk of Fame, Canadian Music Week and Hot Docs have benefited from Slaight support and named awards and funds after him.

His name is also emblazoned on a Massey Hall auditorium in Toronto and the Radio Institute at Ryerson University's RTA School of Media.

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ICYMI ...

TOKYO - Guinness World Records has certified two Japanese sisters as the world's oldest living identical twins at 107.

Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama were born the third and fourth of 11 siblings.

They were separated after elementary school when one started working as a maid. They seldom saw each other until they turned 70, when they started visiting temples together.

Guinness made the announcement Monday on Respect for the Aged Day, a national holiday in Japan.

It is the world's fastest-aging nation and has more than 86,000 centenarians.

At 107 years and more than 300 days, Sumiyama and Kodama broke a record set by famous Japanese twin sisters Kin Narita and Gin Kanie.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2021

The Canadian Press

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