High-stakes drama over possible election fizzles in Ottawa: In The News for Oct. 23

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 Oct. 23...

What we are watching in Canada...

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A possible federal election has been averted again at least for now after the Liberals decided they will not turn a Conservative motion into a test of confidence in their minority government.

But they are warning the Tories they can't produce all the documents demanded by a deadline in the motion, which calls for a sweeping probe by the House of Commons health committee into a host of issues relating to the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kevin Lamoureux, parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, told the Commons the government will do everything it can to respond if the motion passes, but the 15-day timeline in it "will be physically impossible for the government to meet."

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Quebecois and NDP.

A spokesman for government House leader Pablo Rodriguez said later Thursday that the government will not consider the vote to be a confidence matter.

The government survived a confidence vote Wednesday on a Conservative motion that would have created a special committee to investigate the WE Charity affair and other alleged examples of corruption. NDP, Green and Independent MPs grudgingly joining with the Liberals to defeat the motion.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole insisted Thursday that the point of the health committee motion is to get the answers that will improve upon Canada's response to the pandemic, not force an election.

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Also this...

The RCMP response as well as the role of gender-based violence will be part of the mandate of a public inquiry in response to the mass shooting earlier this year in Nova Scotia.

Thursday's announcement says the terms of reference are complete, a third commissioner has been chosen and the commission is set to begin its work.

Kim Stanton will join chief commissioner Michael MacDonald, a retired chief justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, and Leanne Fitch, a former chief of police in Fredericton.

Stanton is a lawyer and the former legal director of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund.

They are to submit two reports on their findings, lessons learned and recommendations, with an interim report by May 1, 2022, and a final report by Nov. 1, 2022.

The federal and Nova Scotia governments announced in July their intent to establish the inquiry to determine what happened and make recommendations to help prevent similar events in the future.

A lone gunman killed 22 people in April during a 13-hour rampage that spanned several communities in northern and central Nova Scotia before he was shot dead by police.

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

Donald Trump showed a measure of restraint during the first part of Thursday's presidential debate, shrugging off Joe Biden's attacks over his handling of the pandemic and accusing the Democratic nominee of planning to shut down the country.

The first 20 minutes of the debate in Nashville, Tenn., was dominated by COVID-19 and featured measured exchanges and cool tempers, a far cry from the hectoring and haranguing that was a dominant feature of last month's initial clash.

The relative calm didn't last the whole 90 minutes, however.

There were flashes of anger and frustration on both sides throughout the night, although this time the discussion didn't immediately collapse into insults and name-calling thanks to brief two-minute periods with muted microphones.

The debate, hosted by Belmont University, was moderated by NBC News correspondent Kristen Welker. Topics included American families, race relations, climate change, national security and leadership.

During last month's clash in Ohio, Trump interrupted, antagonized and irritated his Democratic rival from the outset, vexing moderator Chris Wallace and eliciting an exasperated plea for order from Biden himself: "Will you shut up, man?"

The version of Trump on display that night showed up a few times Thursday. This time, Biden mostly laughed him off.

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

A law allowing the abortion of fetuses with congenital defects has been declared as unconstitutional by Poland's top court, shutting a major loophole in the predominantly Catholic country's abortion law.

Hours after the decision, hundreds of mostly young protesters defied a pandemic-related ban on gatherings and staged a protest before the court with signs saying "You Have Blood on Your Gowns" and "Shame."

They then walked to the offices of the main ruling conservative party, Law and Justice and to the house of the party leader and deputy prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is the driving force behind the government's policies.

Poland's abortion law is among the strictest in Europe.

Two judges in the 13-member constitutional Court did not back the majority ruling.

The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner wrote on Twitter that it was a "sad day for women’s rights."

The ruling party in Poland will soon propose new legislation to better support women and their children that will be born as a result of the court's ruling, the party's spokeswoman said.

The court's decision came in response to a motion from right-wing lawmakers who argued that terminating a pregnancy due to fetal defects — the most common reason cited for legal abortions in Poland — violates a constitutional provision that calls for protecting the life of every individual.

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On this day in 1993...

The Toronto Blue Jays became the first team to win the World Series on Canadian soil when Joe Carter hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 9th inning to give Toronto an 8-6 win over Philadelphia. The defending champions won the series 4-2.

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In entertainment...

Sandra Oh's role in the new animated feature ``Over the Moon'' may not be her largest, but it has deep meaning.

The story is set in China and Oh, who is Korean-Canadian, voices the stepmother of a girl named Fei Fei, grieving after the loss of her mother. So she builds a rocket to fly to the moon to search for the truth about a goddess who lives there.

The Golden Globe-winning actor says she was drawn to the role because Fei Fei is a smart, intrepid female in a complex family situation, in a story that celebrates Asian culture.

``Over the Moon'' was written by her friend, Audrey Wells, who also wrote ``The Hate U Give'' and ``Under the Tuscan Sun.'' Wells had directed Oh in her directorial debut, 1999's ``Guinevere'' and Oh wanted to be a part of her last project. Wells died of cancer before the movie was finished.

Voiced by an all-Asian cast, including Phillipa Soo, Ken Jeong, and newcomer Cathy Ang, the musical will stream on Netflix on Friday.

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ICYMI...

Charley Pride has been a trailblazer in the world of country music and now he is getting a lifetime achievement award at the CMA Awards in November.

The rich baritone singer became the genre's first Black superstar, charting 29 No. 1 hits between the 1960s and 1980s, with songs like ``Kiss An Angel Good Mornin''' and ``Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone.''

Pride, 82, will accept the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award on Nov. 11.

Pride was named CMA Entertainer of the year in 1971 and won male artist of the year in 1971 and 1972. He has three Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

Often cited as paving the way for many others to follow, Pride was also the first Black country artist to co-host the CMA Awards in 1975, alongside Glen Campbell.

Other recipients of the award include Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23., 2020.

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