Canada PM Trudeau wins backing of opposition party to avoid snap election

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Reuters)
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Updated 21 October 2020

Canada PM Trudeau wins backing of opposition party to avoid snap election

OTTAWA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau survived a confidence vote on Wednesday after a key opposition party backed his ruling Liberals, blocking the chance of a snap election as a coronavirus outbreak worsens.
Legislators voted 180-146 against a motion from the Conservatives, Trudeau’s main rivals, to set up a committee to probe whether Ottawa improperly handed contracts to friends as it battled the pandemic earlier this year.
Trudeau won only a minority of seats in the House of Commons in an election a year ago and needed the support of other Parliamentarians to survive. The left-leaning New Democrats backed the Liberals, saying the House of Commons should keep working to help Canadians harmed by the pandemic.
The result means Canadians will be spared a snap election as winter approaches and the country faces a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
The creation of committees is usually a low-key affair, but Trudeau pushed to make the Conservative proposal a matter of confidence, placing his political survival on the line.
“Canadians don’t want an election. But Canadians need to know that their parliament continues to work constructively,” he said in the House of Commons shortly before the vote.


New Zealand regulator charges 13 parties over White Island eruption tragedy

Updated 8 min 26 sec ago

New Zealand regulator charges 13 parties over White Island eruption tragedy

  • 22 people were killed in last year's surprise eruption on the White Island

WELLINGTON: New Zealand’s workplace regulator will file charges against 13 parties following an investigation into a volcanic eruption on White Island in 2019 which killed 22 people, state broadcaster 1NEWS said on Monday.
A surprise eruption on the White Island, also known by its Maori name of Whakaari, on Dec 9 last year, killed 22 people and injured dozens.
Majority of them were tourists who were part of a cruise ship that was traveling around New Zealand and were from countries like Australia, the United States and Malaysia. There were 47 people on the island when the volcano erupted.
Worksafe, New Zealand’s primary regulator for workplace related incidents, will charge 10 parties under the Health and Safety at Work Act which has a maximum fine of NZ$1.5 million ($1.06 million), the report said.
Three individuals would be charged as directors or individuals who were required to exercise due diligence to ensure the company meets its health and safety obligations. These charges each carry a maximum fine of $300,000, it added.
WorkSafe is not naming those charged as they may seek suppression orders in their first appearance in court on Dec 15, 1NEWS reported.
The coroner is conducting a separate inquiry into the incident. A coronial investigation is automatically triggered in the event of a sudden, violent or unnatural death.
At the time of the eruption questions were raised why people were allowed on the island, a popular destination for day-trippers, given there was reportedly a heightened risk of an eruption.