Atheist minister keeps her job
TORONTO — A United Church minister who had faced an unprecedented ecclesiastical court hearing over her professed atheism is no longer in danger of a defrocking after the two sides reached an agreement in the long-running case.
In an unexpected development this week, Rev. Gretta Vosper and the church settled ahead of what some had dubbed a “heresy trial,” leaving her free to minister to her east-end Toronto congregation.
“It’s going to be wonderful,” Vosper said in an interview Friday. “We’ll be out from underneath that heavy cloud. Now we’ll be able to really fly.”
The settlement, the terms of which are confidential, came during what was supposed to be a week of routine preliminary motions ahead of the full hearing later in the month.
Trudeau embarks on trade trip
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is setting off on a 10-day voyage across Europe and Asia to pursue his oft-stated goal of finding markets for Canadian goods and services beyond the United States.
Trudeau travels first to France, then on to summits with other world leaders in Singapore and Papua New Guinea, looking to push trade across the Pacific.
Observers say Trudeau’s biggest test will be in the last two stops.
Canada has shown repeated interest in trading with Asian nations on the Pacific Rim over the years, but has failed to make sustained progress in a region where trade deals often depend on personal relationships.
International Trade Minister Jim Carr will join Trudeau there, where he will have face time with leaders from a 10-nation bloc known as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and then with a larger group of world leaders at the annual APEC leaders’ summit.
Stocks regulator OK with high court
OTTAWA — The Constitution allows Ottawa and the provinces to set up a national securities regulator, the Supreme Court says in a ruling that could help advance a plan for countrywide oversight of capital markets.
In its unanimous ruling Friday, the high court also found that federal draft legislation for national regulation of the trade in stocks, bonds and other investments falls within Parliament’s powers, as it does not tread on provincial turf.
The decision provides long-sought legal clarity for an idea under discussion since at least the 1930s.
However, the court stressed it is up to the provinces and territories to decide whether participation in a national regulatory system is in their best interests.
Supporters of a pan-Canadian regulator say it would eliminate duplication, reduce red tape and ensure more consistent enforcement and investor protection.
Higgs sworn in as N.B. premier
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s new Tory government has taken power, with a 17-member cabinet that includes four women and the party’s lone francophone MLA as deputy premier.
“Today it has been entrusted upon us for the next chapter in New Brunswick’s story,” Premier Blaine Higgs said after being sworn in as the province’s 34th premier.
The ceremony, in the provincial legislature Friday, came just a week after the Liberal government of Brian Gallant was defeated on a confidence vote.