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The Tuesday news briefing: An at-a-glance survey of some top stories

Last Updated Sep 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm PST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, Sept. 19

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EQUIFAX HACK MAY HAVE AFFECTED 100,000 CANADIANS: Equifax Inc. says approximately 100,000 Canadian consumers may have had their personal information compromised in the massive cyberattack on the credit data company made public earlier this month. The company says the investigation is ongoing and the information that may have been breached includes names, addresses, social insurance numbers and in some cases credit card numbers. The company said Tuesday that hackers accessed Equifax Inc.’s systems through a consumer website application intended for use by U.S. consumers.

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PM STICKING TO TAX PLANS: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sounded a defiant note Tuesday as he promised to press ahead with the Liberal government’s controversial tax changes even as clear new evidence emerged to show a Canadian economy on the rebound. The Finance Department says the federal government ran a smaller deficit than the $23 billion that was forecast in the spring budget. It ended the 2016-17 fiscal year with an actual deficit of $17.8 billion. Trudeau said he stood firmly by contentious new tax rules for small businesses — changes he insisted are more about making the system fair than they are about generating revenue.

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BORDER CROSSERS NEARLY DOUBLED IN AUGUST: Figures released Tuesday show the number of asylum seekers arriving at the Canada-U.S. border almost doubled last month. The latest data shows 5,712 people were stopped by the RCMP in August, up from 3,134 in July. More than 5,550 of those encounters were in Quebec, but British Columbia also registered a small surge of its own, with numbers there doubling from 51 people stopped in July to 102 in August.

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TRUMP BLASTS NORTH KOREA IN UN SPEECH: Donald Trump’s first speech at the United Nations trashed the leader of North Korea — “Rocket Man,” he dubbed him — and threatened to “totally destroy” his country, all the while blasting the leaders of Iran, Cuba, Syria and Venezuela. Tuesday’s speech was notable for its high-level trash-talking if not for its choice of targets, which were standard for a U.S. president. It’s unlikely many other presidents would have used the world’s premier international stage to bestow a nickname like the one Trump levelled at Kim Jong Un.

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TRUDEAU URGES COMPANIES TO PRESSURE BOEING: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is encouraging Canadian companies that work with Boeing to speak out against the U.S. aerospace giant’s trade dispute with Montreal-based rival Bombardier. Trudeau made the comments after several Canadian companies wrote to the Liberal government urging it to move ahead with its interim plan to buy 18 of Boeing’s Super Hornets, a plan the dispute has put on hold. The Liberal government has threatened for months to scrap its Super Hornet purchase at an estimated cost of $6 billion, unless Boeing backs off Bombardier.

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LIBERAL SECURITY BILL FACING STIFF CRITICISM: Dozens of leading civil society voices are calling for changes to the Liberal government’s national security bill to protect privacy and freedoms — the latest sign the high-profile legislation could be in for a rocky ride. The parties, including Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, outlined their concerns in a letter, made public Tuesday, to the ministers of public safety, justice and immigration. The letter is also signed by several academics from the fields of history, law, privacy and technology.

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BENNETT URGES SCHEER TO BOOT BEYAK: Liberal cabinet minister Carolyn Bennett is urging the leader of the official Opposition to kick Sen. Lynn Beyak out of the Conservative caucus. Bennett, the minister for Crown-Indigenous relations, made the comments Wednesday during question period. Beyak, who rose to notoriety in the spring by saying there were positives that came out of Canada’s residential school system, is back in hot water for urging First Nations people to exchange their status cards “for a Canadian citizenship.” Bennett describes Beyak’s latest comments as offensive, hurtful and ill-informed.

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MANITOBA WILDFIRE EVACUEES HEADING HOME: The last of several thousand people forced out by a wildfire in northern Manitoba last month are returning home. The Canadian Red Cross says there were more than 6,300 registered evacuees from three Indigenous communities threatened by the fire. The agency, which managed the evacuation effort, says more than 100 members of the Garden Hill and Wasagamack First Nations are flying home Tuesday. Evacuations of the three communities started on Aug. 29.

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AIR CANADA SEEKS NEW LOYALTY PROGRAM PARTNER: Air Canada is seeking a credit card partner for its new loyalty program which it says will help improve the bond with passengers and drive increased profits. The Montreal-based airline says it is inviting key financial institutions to participate in a request for proposals to join the launch of the program on July 1, 2020. Air Canada served notice in May that it does not plan to renew its 30-plus year partnership with Aeroplan parent Aimia when the current contract ends.

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8 ARRESTED IN MONTREAL CORRUPTION PROBE: Eight people, including a former Montreal city councillor, were arrested Tuesday and charged with running a kickback scheme whereby engineering companies would allegedly be awarded city contracts in exchange for political donations and other favours. The investigation was conducted by Quebec’s anti-corruption unit, known as UPAC. UPAC alleged a network of engineering firms, elected officials and municipal workers had developed “a system of sharing contracts.”

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