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Iran admits to shooting down Flight 752

“I think there’s a recognition that there may be individual culpability in this situation but also systemic culpability,” said the PM.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Iran’s admission they blew up a Ukrainian jet with 63 Canadians on board is a good start but he still wants more answers.

Ukranian Airlines Flight 752, a Boeing 737-800 carrying 176 passengers, went down minutes after taking off from Tehran on the morning of January 8 local time.

Thursday morning, officials from the U.S. and Canada released statements that, per intelligence, they were confident an Iranian surface to air missile had downed the plane. By Thursday evening, Iran officials had asked Canada to share that intelligence.

Friday evening, officials from Iran responded.

“Armed Forces’ internal investigation has concluded that regrettably missiles fired due to human error caused the horrific crash of the Ukrainian plane and death of 176 innocent people,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote on Twitter.

The president added investigations would continue to “identify and prosecute” those responsible. Passengers aboard flight 752 were overwhelmingly of Iranian nationality.

There were 63 Canadians on board and 138 passengers in total were to be on a connecting flight to Canada.

The admission was unexpected after Iranian officials spent three days since the crash denying the IRGC could be responsible.

In response to North American officials on Thursday, the head of Iran Civil Avian Organization, Ali Abedzadeh, claimed it was “impossible” and “illogical” that the Ukrainian Airlines flight could have been downed by a missile.

Concerns were further compounded by the Iranian government’s assertion they would not release the black box. Shortly after initial statements, Iran said it would participate in a cooperative investigation with investigators from both Canada and Sweden, as well as Boeing, and stated they would allow Ukraine access to the black box, in Iran.

Trudeau held a press conference Saturday afternoon after speaking with Rouhani.

“We need full clarity on how such a horrific catastrophe could have occured,” Trudeau said.

“I asked that we be fully included in the investigation into the crash. I asked to ensure consular access for Canadian officials to support grieving family members and to work together to continue to de-escalate tensions in the region.”

“President Rouhani’s response was a commitment to collaborate (with Canada) on giving victims closure and de-escalating tensions in the region.”

Trudeau would not directly answer questions regarding whether Iran’s actions were criminal and what response Canada would give in that case.

“We’re seeing Iran allowing Canada to participate in the investigation and we’re looking forward to getting what is needed for the victims of this tragedy,” Trudeau said.

“I think there’s a recognition that there may be individual culpability in this situation but also systemic culpability.”

Protests began in Iran Saturday during a public vigil for the passengers of flight 752, with Iranians demanding Khamenei resign among chants of “Death to the Supreme Leader”.

story ideas? dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com @Mitchell_AB on Twitter

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Home prices soaring from coast to coast

Figures showed “the average family must spend two-thirds of their gross income on monthly payments for the average home in Toronto or Vancouver,” he said

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Shhhh! Don’t tell the Liberals, they may want to tax it.

Six cities across the country saw house price gains averaging at or near six figures last year, Canadian Real Estate Association data showed on Monday.

Blacklock’s Reporter said members of the Commons finance committee reviewed the figures with Canada’s chief statistician.

“Housing inflation is homegrown,” said Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, Ont.).

Figures showed “the average family must spend two-thirds of their gross income on monthly payments for the average home in Toronto or Vancouver,” he said.

Association data indicated a total 666,995 homes nationwide were sold last year.

“This was a new record by a large margin, surpassing the previous annual record set in 2020 by a little more than 20% and standing 30% above the average of the last 10 years,” said a realtors’ report.

The year-over-year Canadian average home price increased 18% to $713,542 last month.

“There are currently fewer properties listed for sale in Canada than at any point on record,” Shaun Cathcart, senior economist for the Real Estate Association, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately the housing affordability problem facing the country is likely to get worse before it gets better,” said Cathcart.

Figures showed average price gains averaged at or near $100,000 or more in Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal and Halifax. Prices were:

  • up 31% or $286,600 to $1,208,000 in Greater Toronto;
  • up 26% or $51,700 to $252,200 in Fredericton;
  • up 24% or $172,400 to $902,700 in Victoria;
  • up 22 % or $89,162 to $490,127 in Halifax;
  • up 21% or $90,900 to $517,800 in Montréal;
  • up 17% or $181,600 to $1,230,200 in Greater Vancouver;
  • up 16% or $91,800 to $661,500 in Ottawa;
  • up 15% or $44,230 to $347,920 in Charlottetown
  • up 12% or $33,600 to $319,600 in Winnipeg;
  • up 12% or $31,700 to $301,800 in Québec City;
  • up 10 percent or $39,800 to $451,200 in Calgary;
  • up 9% or $24,900 to $292,000 in St. John’s;
  • up 6% or $19,800 to $329,000 in Saskatoon;
  • up 6% or $14,500 to $260,500 in Regina;
  • up 4% percent or $13,200 to $336,600 in Edmonton.

“Could you just speak to what the primary causes are right now, this year, to the increase in the price of housing?” Liberal MP Yvan Baker (Etobicoke Centre, Ont.) asked.

“First and foremost is demand,” replied Anil Arora, chief statistician with Statistics Canada.

“We are seeing because of COVID a desire of people to have more open space,” said Arora, adding: “The second is what we see are the interest rates. The mortgage rates are at historic lows.”

Earlier this month, a report done for the CMHC is now recommending the federal government tax home equity.

The report says bringing in a home equity tax would raise $5.83 billion for federal coffers.

It’s something the governing Liberals, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, vowed they would never do.

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BoC spokesman: ‘I deny I said what I said’

Management disclosed the blacklist last Friday moments before the start of a routine videoconference for news media.

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They may have said it on a Zoom call, but Bank of Canada managers are now denying they have a media enemies list, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Bank Governor Tiff Macklem’s director of communications Paul Badertscher in an e-mail denied blacklisting Blacklock’s despite telling a deputy governor in an audio tape: “I do not want to be in a situation where we are allowing Blacklock’s to be asking us. So, yes, that’s where we’re at.”

“The Bank of Canada welcomes all accredited media outlets to its briefing sessions and ensures equal opportunity to ask questions as time permits,” Badertscher wrote in his Monday e-mail.

A deputy bank governor who attended the Zoom call did not comment.

“We have nothing further to add,” said Jeremy Harrison, managing director of communications for Canada’s central bank.

Management disclosed the blacklist last Friday moments before the start of a routine videoconference for news media. Blacklock’s dialed into the Zoom call and began recording the session for note-taking purposes.

Badertscher was overheard explaining to a deputy bank governor that media were given different treatment depending on who they were.

“I know who’s who,” said Badertscher.

“There’s a couple here who I absolutely — I’ll check the list to make sure he’s not listening — absolutely not keen to give questions to. I do not want to be in a situation where we are allowing Blacklock’s to be asking us. So, yes, that’s where we’re at”:

  • Unidentified man: “Paul, I think we have a journalist on the line with us right now.”
  • Badertscher: “We do. I have got to get you to drop. I’ll call you at 10:30, okay?”
  • Unidentified man: “Sure, thanks.”
  • Badertscher: “Thanks man. And I’d ask people, don’t let any, don’t admit people please. Let me do all the admitting, okay? Because I know who’s who.”

Badertscher would not name other outlets blacklisted from questioning Bank of Canada officials.

The blacklist follows repeated statements from cabinet commemorating World Press Freedom Day.

“We recognize how important it is to support our strong, independent media and to encourage journalists to continue to hold those in power, here and all around the world, to account,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Commons in 2018.

“Independent, fact-based reporting is vital,” Trudeau said in 2019.

“Media play an essential role in defending and advancing the truth,” Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in her 2018 World Press Freedom Day observance.

“We remind ourselves that without a free and independent press we all lose.”

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Madu out as justice minister

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation.”

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney removed Justice Minister Kaycee Madu from his job after the minister called Edmonton’s police chief about a distracted parking ticket he received.

Madu was fined $300 on March 10, 2021 after an Edmonton police officer caught him talking on his cellphone while driving through a playground zone.

Madu soon phoned Dale McFee, the city’s chief of police, and discussed the ticket with him. 

“Minister Madu did contact me via the telephone concerned about a ticket. But just to be very, very clear, he never asked to get out of the ticket,” McFee told CBC News in December, adding he didn’t know exactly what was on the ticket.

“Everybody has to wear their decisions.”

McFee did say during their discussion, Madu brought up the issue of racial profiling by police to stop drivers. Madu is black.

“The officer indicated that he had observed me driving while distracted, alleging that I was on my phone. I disagreed, stating that I was not on my phone, as it was in an inside pocket” said Madu.

“Later, I spoke to Chief Dale McFee. Due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the controversy surrounding the Lethbridge Police Service. I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that was in the media at the time.

“Chief McFee assured me that that was most definitely not the case, and I accepted him at his word.”

But that wasn’t good enough for Kenney who, after CBC broke the story, removed Madu from his post because it is “essential the independent administration of justice is maintained.

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation,” Kenney tweeted.

“Minister Madu told me that he did not ask to have the ticket rescinded, nor was it his intention to interfere in the case, and that he promptly paid the ticket. I understand that Chief McFee has confirmed that at no time did the Minister seek to have the ticket rescinded.

“Nevertheless, it’s essential the independent administration of justice is maintained. That’s why I will appoint a respected independent investigator to review the relevant facts and to determine whether there was interference in the administration of justice in this case.”

Energy Minister Sonya Savage will take on the duties of Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

The scandal will be a blow for Kenney as Madu was one of his biggest supporters in an often fractured caucus.

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