Harper’s high-court appointment Marc Nadon ineligible, Supreme Court rules

ABOVE: (Mar. 21, 2014) In a historic ruling on Friday, Supreme Court of Canada justices ruled, in a 6-1 decision, to reject Stephen Harper’s nominee for the top bench. Vassy Kapelos explains.

OTTAWA – Stephen Harper has come almost full circle.

The Conservative prime minister who came to office in 2006 cautioning against the power of the courts suffered a political body blow Friday from the highest court in the land – a Supreme Court stacked with Harper appointees.

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By rejecting Justice Marc Nadon, Harper’s sixth and most recent pick for the nine-member bench, the remaining Supremes laid down constitutional markers that could proscribe the government’s future plans for Senate reform, electoral changes and the appointment of judges.

Not only was Nadon, a semi-retired Federal Court of Appeal justice, found to not have the proper qualifications laid out in the Supreme Court Act for a Quebec nominee to the top bench, but the government’s efforts to rewrite the rules were thwarted.

The government does not have the authority to amend the Act, wrote six of seven judges, saying “the unanimous consent of Parliament and all provincial legislatures is required for amendments to the Constitution relating to the ‘composition of the Supreme Court.”‘

The government appeared to be caught flat-footed by the twin rebukes.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said it was “genuinely surprised” and would review its options, all the while stressing Nadon’s appointment had been vetted by two former Supreme Court justices and a committee of MPs.

“At no time did any (committee) members, including from the Opposition, object to appointing a member of the Federal Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court,” it said – a claim hotly disputed Friday by one NDP MP on the committee who accused the PMO of “talking through its hat.”

As for the government’s options, legal scholars were left scratching their heads.

Carissima Mathen, a University of Ottawa law professor and constitutional lawyer who followed the Nadon reference closely, said the government was “pretty cavalier” in how it appointed him.

“Will they accept defeat, or will they look for other ways to get around this?” she wondered. “I think it’s really important for public confidence that they actually accept when they have been defeated.”

It was the second muscular reminder from the high court in as many days that the Constitution reigns supreme.

On Thursday, a retroactive element in the Conservative tough-on-crime agenda dealing with parole eligibility was struck down, with the court reminding the government that passing unconstitutional laws brings the justice system into disrepute.

Their week’s work will have implications for a number of high-profile Conservative government agenda items, notably Senate reform.

“It’s quite easy to extrapolate today’s decision to the Senate reference,” said Sebastien Grammond, a constitutional law expert at the University of Ottawa who also argued the case on behalf of an interveners group that represented provincial court judges.

“I think it would be relevant to the issue of the abolition of the Senate. You can make the argument that it requires unanimity because it has a central importance in our political institutions.”

Federal parties weigh in on Nadon decision

Green party Leader Elizabeth May issued a release that drew the next obvious inference – a constitutional challenge to the government’s deeply controversial “Fair Elections Act” that rewrites the way Canadian elections are conducted and, some argue, tilts the field in the Conservative party’s favour.

May urged the government to “stop wasting Parliament’s time and stop clogging the courts with legislation that was, on its face, unlikely to survive a court challenge, but which the House keeps passing in blind disregard of the consequences.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said the government has some big decisions ahead, such as Senate reform and assisted suicide.

“These are big deals and the prime minister has failed in one of his fundamental responsibilities,” he said. “Now we’re going to start over again, and the prime minister will hopefully get the appointment right this time.”

Trudeau said the ruling is an affirmation that Canadian federalism works, and it comes “at a convenient time for people who believe in the strength and functioning of Canada.”

WATCH: NDP “very, very satisfied” with Supreme Court decision on Nadon

Others saw little to praise in a messy process that tarred everyone from the government to the court to Nadon himself. The 64-year-old may now be on the hook to repay the hefty Supreme Court salary he’s been collecting for five idle months.

Adam Dodek, a constitutional law professor at the University of Ottawa, said the court reference “really blows the lid off the federal government’s claim that their way of appointing Supreme Court judges is open and transparent and accountable.”

The ruling also resonated on the Quebec election trail, where questions linger about whether the Parti Quebecois would hold another referendum.

“It demonstrates that when Quebec stands up, we can succeed,” leader Pauline Marois said of the decision during a campaign stop in Quebec City.

“In this case, there was no other choice: Mr. Harper erred in seeking to appoint Judge Nadon.”

Marois also interpreted the ruling as vindication of Quebec’s decision to intervene in the case.

“There are people who said … that it was a bit exaggerated, appearing before the Supreme Court to defend such a point of view,” she said. “We defended our point of view. And we won. And I’m very happy.”

Rocco Galati, the Toronto lawyer who first challenged the Nadon appointment, welcomed the court’s decision, but said it shouldn’t have fallen to an ordinary citizen to raise the issue.

“When I started this I was very, very clear and convinced that I was right and that this was as clear as a bell to me,” Galati said in an interview from Karachi, Pakistan, where he is travelling.

Galati said he’s spent a huge amount of time, energy and his own money “to clean up the mess of the subversive government that doesn’t want to respect the Constitution.”

“Why should a private citizen have to do that, quite frankly?”

There’s also the matter of a Supreme Court that has been short a Quebec justice now for the better part of a year, and an opaque appointment process that clearly has flaws.

The government went to the extraordinary length of getting a legal opinion on Nadon’s status last summer, paying retired Supreme Court judge Ian Binnie $7,463.65 to write an opinion that was then approved by another former Supreme, Louise Charron, who was paid $4,325.00 for her efforts and Osgoode Hall professor emeritus Peter Hogg, who earned $1,045.25.

The government’s $12,833.90 investment did not pay off.

Nadon was declared ineligible because he came from the Federal Court and did not meet the criteria of either coming from the Quebec Superior Court, the Quebec Court of Appeal, or being a current member of the Quebec bar.

©2014The Canadian Press

How high was security at the Kabul Serena Hotel? – National

ABOVE: (Mar. 21, 2014) Global’s Chief Political Correspondent Tom Clark was at the Serena Hotel, in Kabul, just a week before Thursday’s deadly attack. As he explains, security there was taken very seriously.

The deadly attack at a luxury hotel in Kabul favoured by foreigners was a surprise, but not entirely unexpected.

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Afghanistan‘s capital has been the site of recent attacks in the lead-up to elections early next month and the Kabul Serena Hotel, which opened in 2005, was considered a safe place to stay.

Thursday night’s attack, which left nine people dead, including two Canadians, was a result of a lapse in security measures, not infrastructure.

READ MORE: Vancouver doctor killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan

The Kabul Serena Hotel was constructed with security in mind.

Romesh Khosla, a Montreal-based architect with Arcop Architecture Inc., designed the five-star hotel – a collaboration with the Aga Khan Development Network, an Ismaili aid and business development organization that has a close relationship with the Canadian government.

Khosal was tasked with designing the $25-million, 177-room facility at the site of a former hotel built in 1945.

The exterior of the Kabul Serena Hotel.

Via Arcop Architecture Inc.

He said the pre-existing building had been bombed, but Aga Khan wanted to ensure the historical structure remained.

“That facade became a problem from a security point of view,” Khosal said, describing how the design for the Serena would need to be adjusted to ensure the safety of future guests.

“This particular facade was on the main road facing a bank building on the other side and part of the presidential palace.”

Khosal explained there is a two-story wall around much of the complex and the lobby, which is in the old building, was set back from the road.

The hotel complex itself is surrounded by roads on three sides.

“We kept the buildings away from the main roads because there are roads on three sides of the buildings. The fourth side [was] an abandoned building but none of the rooms are opening [onto] that side. The other two sides, there were no rooms opening onto the main roads,” he said.

The courtyards surrounding the hotel – a large one in front and linear ones along the sides – also served to keep the guest areas a safe distance away from the roads.

A courtyard at the Kabul Serena Hotel.

Via Acrop Architecture Inc.

The buildings themselves were constructed with reinforced concrete, both for security reasons and to deal with Afghanistan’s hot summer weather and freezing winter cold.

“From an external attack point of view, I think we [were] reasonably successful,” Khosal said.

Thursday’s attack happened after four gunmen entered the hotel, passing through security checks with small pistols in their socks. They then sat in the restaurant, where many people were enjoying a special dinner for Norwuz – the Persian New Year – for three hours before opening fire on hotel guests.

Four men with pistols stuffed in their socks attacked the hotel in Kabul on Thursday, opening fire in a restaurant killing at least nine people, including four foreigners, officials said.

Anja Niedringhaus/AP Photo

There were security measures in place that were supposed to prevent such an attack from happening. But, Khosal said, because of the hotel’s high profile, it was always expected to be a target.

Those that stayed there, despite it being considered safer than other establishments, were well aware there would always be some risk.

READ MORE: Calgarian among 2 Canadians killed in Taliban attack on Kabul hotel

The Serena’s guests were subject to strict security checks. Clients included foreign diplomats, aid workers, international delegations – such as those in the country to observe the April 5 election – and journalists.

A crew from Global’s The West Block with Tom Clark stayed at the hotel earlier this month while covering the official end of Canada’s 12-year military mission in the country.

The West Block‘s executive producer Jennifer Madigan said there was always “a mixed message” about the Serena.

“The Serena is the safest hotel, but it’s a permanent target,” she said Friday.

She said to even get into the hotel, guests travelling in a vehicle are subjected to three levels of checks.

READ MORE: Afghanistan could slip back into Taliban control if global support drops: ambassador

“First of all, if you go in by vehicle you have to have your vehicle registered with the hotel – make, model and licence plate,” she explained. “They do a mirror check underneath your vehicle. You then have to get out, they open the hood and they get a bomb-sniffing dog to go through your vehicle. [Then] you go into this other area… an enclosed area with big steel doors on either side, where they check your vehicle by infrared.”

That’s not all. Guests then have to take all of their belongings out of the vehicle and put it through an X-ray machine, then pass through a metal detector and get a pat down.

Madigan said this was the process each time you went into the hotel.

But, she said colleagues have told her the pat downs weren’t always thorough or consistent.

There were additional armed security officials inside the hotel and snipers that patrolled the roof of the structure.

“Other than that, it was a regular hotel,” Madigan said. “[But] it’s not like staying at any hotel necessarily.

“We picked garden facing rooms, so that if there was a suicide blast on the outside we were that much safer. I’ve never picked a room like that.”

Madigan said it was “chilling” to hear the news of Thursday’s assault, having been there just last week, but it didn’t come as a total shock.

She said the security measures were impressive, but it only took one lapse or someone letting their guard down for something terrible to happen.

©2014Shaw Media

Toronto Morning: What you need to know today – Toronto

TORONTO – Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for much of Southern Ontario including the Greater Toronto Area as a mix of snow and rain makes its way through the area Friday.

The weather service says the City of Toronto could see as much as 2 to 4 centimetres of snow by this evening.

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Current indications suggest that precipitation for most regions extending from southern Lake Huron to the Golden Horseshoe would begin tonight with snow or freezing rain mixed with ice pellets.


Clearing this morning. Wind west 20 km/h becoming light this morning. High 6. UV index 4 or moderate.

More on current weather conditions and a 7-day forecast. 

To get real-time weather for your area, download the Global News Skytracker weather app.


Roads: Click for the latest Toronto traffic.

Mass Transit: Click for TTC and GO Transit Updates.


March Madness:

Tyler Ennis of Brampton, Ont. led the Syracuse Orange to a 77-53 victory over Western Michigan in their opening game of March Madness on Thursday.


A man is fighting to survive after a crash in Scarborough overnight.

Don’t worry Ontario voters: you’re in safe hands with the All-State Liberal government. That’s seems to be the message Premier Kathleen Wynne is sending ahead of a possible spring election: stick to the status quo.

Search planes flying deep into the southern Indian Ocean have found nothing so far that could be from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, Australia’s acting prime minister said Friday.

Four men with pistols stuffed in their socks attacked a luxury hotel in Kabul, opening fire in a restaurant and killing nine people, including four foreigners, officials said Friday.

Global News’ Carolyn MacKenzie will be honoured by District 60 Toastmasters International for her achievement in the field of Communication and Leadership.


Gary Goodyear, minister of State (FedDev Ontario) participates in an announcement on Ottawa’s commitment to invest in the Canadian Armed Forces and bolster economic growth. (10 a.m. at Kodiak Group Holdings Company, 415 Thompson Dr.)

Superheroes Superman, Spider-man and Wolverine will clean the windows of Lakeridge Health. (11 a.m. at 1 Hospital Court, Oshawa)

Social justice activist and Stephen Lewis Foundation Senior Advisor Joe Cressy will be joined by City Councillor Mike Layton and NDP Federal Council women’s representative Ausma Malik, to launch his campaign seeking the federal NDP nomination for Trinity-Spadina. (6 p.m. at Paupers Pub, 539 Bloor St. W.)

The 2014 Ontario Liberal Party annual general meeting. Through March 23. (Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.)

Do you have any suggestions for our Toronto morning roundup? Reach us via email at [email protected]杭州夜网, on 桑拿会所 or on Facebook.

Wynne to voters: you’re in safe hands with the All-State Liberal government – Toronto

TORONTO – Don’t worry Ontario voters: you’re in safe hands with the All-State Liberal government.

That seems to be the message Premier Kathleen Wynne is sending ahead of a possible spring election: stick to the status quo.

“Safe hands and a steady balance” is the phrase she’s using – a slogan perhaps better suited for an insurance company than a government fighting for its life.

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But Wynne gets more fired up when it comes to attacking her opponents, saying Ontario can’t afford to experiment with the “reckless” and “radical” right-wing Tories or the “untested,” anti-business New Democrats when the economic recovery is still fragile.

The Liberals are painting an apocalyptic picture of the province under the Tories’ rule – an all-out war with labour unions and workers with no retirement income security or fair wages.

The NDP have no plan on any of the issues and “are just relying on some bumper-sticker slogans,” Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi, a former party president, said Friday.

“You can’t govern a province or grow an economy that way.”

The Liberals’ approach to economic and job growth is guided by “fairness, balance and stability,” he added.

Wynne’s message echoes the successful slogans of her predecessor Dalton McGuinty, whose steady-hand-at-the-tiller message saw him through three election victories.

Yet Wynne has also been trying to distance herself from McGuinty and the scandals that plagued his government since she became premier just over a year ago.

The Liberals say their policies offer security, but they want voters to pay sky-high premiums, say the opposition parties.

Their “safe hands” are the ones that are driving up energy prices and saddled ratepayers with the estimated $1-billion cost of cancelling two unpopular gas plants – one in the dying days of the 2011 election campaign, said the NDP.

There are two criminal investigations underway, one into deleted emails related to the gas plants and another into the suspicious business activities of Ornge, the province’s publicly funded air ambulance service.

“If that’s the steady hand of who you want running this province, God help us all,” said Progressive Conservative Jane McKenna.

The Liberals are making every effort this weekend to prepare for a tight race that may be just around the corner if they can’t secure support for their spring budget.

The convention, which started Friday and will wind down on Sunday, is focused on getting the party faithful ready for a campaign.

The Liberals’ campaign leaders are expected to talk to an estimated 1,000 delegates about their strategy for the next election battle. They’ll also get an update about consultations on the party’s platform.

The training workshops will focus on routine tasks such as planning for election day, fundraising effectively, communications, organizing and recruiting volunteers and rural campaign strategies.

The latter will be important, as Wynne has been making every effort to erase the perception that her party is too Toronto-centric.

The proposed selloff of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and the slow development of the potentially lucrative Ring of Fire chromite deposit has turned off voters in northern Ontario.

Closed factories, layoffs at embattled BlackBerry, government cuts to the horse-racing industry and anger over wind turbines have also fuelled discontent in the south.

Wynne’s determination to find billions of dollars to pay for a massive public transit expansion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area hasn’t helped either, raising fears in small communities that the much-needed cash for bridges and roads will be diverted to subways they don’t use.

They’re also facing troubles in urban ridings, with the New Democrats breaking Liberal strongholds in Niagara Falls and London West in byelections.

The Liberals say Wynne’s leadership style will win out in the end. But the Tories say voters won’t forgive those Liberal mistakes.

Wynne can’t wash her hands of the scandals when she was sitting at the cabinet table at the time, said Progressive Conservative Vic Fedeli.

“This is a government that’s plagued by scandal, brought on by themselves,” he said.

©2014The Canadian Press

Brampton’s Ennis leads Syracuse past Western Michigan in March Madness opener – Toronto

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The mini basketball nets that hang all over Tyler Ennis’s home in Brampton, Ont., have taken a beating over the years.

In a family of six athletic kids, everything becomes a competition.

The 19-year-old Ennis led the Syracuse Orange to a 77-53 victory over Western Michigan in their opening game of March Madness on Thursday, running the offence with a quiet confidence developed over years of playing alongside two bruising older brothers.

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“Very competitive,” dad Tony McIntyre said of his kids. “Those Fisher Price nets, and the ones you hang on the door, they’d break those off. Then you’d hammer them into the ceiling in the basement. They’d break those.

“It would get heated. You’d have to break up fights. Out on the street when they’d play two-on-two or one-on-one, someone would always end up upset and kicking the ball down the street.”

Ennis, who led Syracuse to a No. 3 seed and the school’s 37th berth in the NCAA tournament, scored 16 points and doled out six assists in Thursday’s resounding victory at First Niagara Center.

Ennis’s 22-year-old brother Dylan – a sophomore guard at Villanova – was scheduled to play later Thursday in Buffalo when the Wildcats took on Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Tyler Ennis, one of a crop of rising Canadian stars playing in March Madness, led the Orange to a 25-0 start to this season and the No. 1 ranking in the NCAA for three consecutive weeks, before the Orange lost five of seven games down the regular-season stretch.

But with the rookie Canadian point guard running the offence, the Orange dominated from the outset in their tournament opener versus No. 14 Western Michigan. Eighty seconds after tipoff, Ennis stole the ball and fed Jerami Grant for a massive dunk for Syracuse’s first points, serving notice of the carnage to come.

“We had great energy and that’s a key for us going forward,” Ennis said. “We’ve got to play intense and play a full 40 minutes, and everybody was kind of locked in for that.”

Ennis wasn’t the only Canadian to figure prominently on a day that began with the playing of both the U.S. and Canadian anthems (a few puzzled journalists grumbled openly about the latter).

Dyshawn Pierre of Whitby, Ont., scored 12 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds to lift Dayton to a 60-59 win, setting up a third-round meeting between Ennis and Pierre, former club teammates.

“I think a lot of people recognize how much we have contributed to our teams. . . 25 guys in the tournament, that’s a big step for us going forward, to not only play on Division 1 teams, but also to contribute,” Ennis said.

If Thursday’s jam-packed border crossing was any indication, there were plenty of Canadian fans among the mostly orange-clad crowd of 19,260.

“Playing in Buffalo, this is probably the closest we could get,” Ennis said. “To have everybody here, to have Syracuse fans but also Canadians, it’s a great feeling to know everybody is behind you.”

Ennis, who’s on this week’s regional cover of Sports Illustrated, is the third oldest in a family full of basketball players. His oldest brother Brandon is graduating this year from the University of the District of Columbia.

McIntyre coached the boys on their AAU team – CIA Bounce – that included Kansas Jayhawks star Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, last year’s No. 1 NBA draft pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“They’ve put a lot of work in,” McIntyre said of his sons. “We sat down when they were young and this was what they wanted to do. So as a parent, you have to let them chase their dream.”

Ennis, touted as a first-round NBA draft pick this season, has played most of his life with older players, and from the outset he loved being the facilitator on the floor, setting up plays, helping others score.

“It’s given him that quiet confidence that he can go even at a younger age and still be an integral part and get people involved,” McIntyre said.

He can also score. At the FIBA under-19 world championships last summer, Ennis was the tournament’s top scorer.

When he was left out of last year’s McDonald’s All American Game – the U.S. marquee high school all-star event that boasts a star-studded alumni including Michael Jordan and LeBron James – he famously went out and dropped 53 points for his St. Benedict’s Prep high school in New Jersey. He did that an hour after his coach learned of the snub.

“All the ability is there,” said Rowan Barrett, assistant GM of Canada’s men’s program. “And a competitive fire. And a ton of humility as well.”

The family, said McIntyre, is as tight as it is competitive. The kids watch each other’s games when they can. They try to speak every day.

McIntyre organizes family chats via instant messenger.

“We’re really close so, so we have a chat every single day. . . seeing when they practise and who’s doing what at school, and who played well. . . just trying to share experiences so they can help each other through,” McIntyre said.

The family was thrilled to see two teams play in one city after a winter spent traversing northeastern United States.

McIntyre and his wife Suzette Ennis-McIntyre attended most of the boys’ home games. Syracuse is about a four-hour drive from Brampton, and it’s also on the way to Villanova in Philadelphia.

“So there were times when I could take a couple of days off work, get a game in Syracuse, go to Villanova and get a game or two, and on the way back get a game in Syracuse again,” McIntyre said.

“Or I would go there and my wife would drop me off and she’d keep driving down to Philadelphia and go watch Dylan and then the next week I would drop her off in Syracuse and go down and watch Dylan.

“So we tried to split it evenly as much as we could in terms of getting out to both of their games, and making sure we were supporting them.”

There are two younger sisters – Brittany, who’s 15 and 10-year-old Dominique – who both play basketball.

And four-year-old Tyylon likes to think he does.

“He turns on the TV and sees his brothers on TV and he’ll go on the iPad and download videos off YouTube and watch those,” McIntyre said, laughing. “We have a net downstairs so whatever they do on the videos he does on the nets.

“We always ask him ‘Who do you play for?’ Every single days he says Villanova or Syracuse. Or he’s Anthony Bennett or Andrew Wiggins.”

Thursday’s game might as well have been a home affair for Syracuse. The packed arena was a sea of orange. Fans wore masks of legendary coach Jim Boeheim.

The Orange forced 11 turnovers in the opening half and scored 13 points off them in running out to a double-digit lead before the midpoint of the period against Western Michigan, which was making its first NCAA tournament appearance in a decade. Syracuse used an 18-4 spurt over 10 minutes to take control and led 40-21 at halftime.

“We ran into a buzz saw today,” WMU coach Steve Hawkins said.

Ennis is looking forward to facing Pierre, his former CIA Bounce teammate on Saturday.

“I think it’ going to be a really good game,” Ennis said. “They play hard, they’re deep and I think Dyshawn is one of the best players they have, so going forward we have to key in on him and keep him off the boards as much as possible.”

Ennis is a finalist for the Bob Cousy award as the best point guard in the country, and is one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award for the NCAA’s top player, a list that includes Wiggins and Michigan sharpshooter Nik Stauskas of Mississauga, Ont.

While plenty has been made of a potential Ennis-Wiggins battle in the Sweet 16 in Memphis, Ennis downplayed the possibility Thursday.

“I try not to think too far, anything could happen, there could be upsets. . .,” he said. “It would be a great opportunity, and it’d be fun, but you can’t think that far ahead.”

Ennis averaged 12.7 points, 5.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game in the regular season, becoming the only freshman to ever lead the ACC in assists and steals. He was ninth in the NCAA in assist/turnover ratio.


Flight MH370: 14 days of searching, no plane debris found – National

WATCH: (Mar. 21, 2014) Australian search planes head back to the southern Indian Ocean, for another attempt at spotting possible debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Hours of searching on Friday, turned up nothing in the increasingly frustrating search for answers. Brian Mooar reports.


Malaysia asking US to provide undersea search equipment; Pentagon has spent $2.5M on search so far, $1.5M still budgeted for aidPlanes flying deep into the southern Indian Ocean find ”nothing of significance” FridaySearchers are looking for two large floating objects detected by a satellite off the southwest coast of Australia, about halfway to the desolate islands of the Antarctic.U.S. company provides Australia satellite imagery of possible debris

An Australian search plane returned to Perth on Friday after its hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 turned up no new information.

Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams told media at an air force base in Perth that conditions near the site of the spotted objects was excellent but that they had to return because “conditions back here precluded us from staying on.”

READ MORE: Australia spots possible plane debris

The P-3 Orion is one of five planes searching on Friday for objects spotted in satellite images released on Thursday thought to possibly be linked to the missing airliner.

Meanwhile in Malaysia, the acting transport minister said they were still waiting for Australia to confirm whether the objects had any connection to the flight.

WATCH: Search for missing Malaysian plane turns up no leads in southern Indian ocean

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  • Flight MH370: U.S. company provides Australia satellite imagery of possible debris

  • Flight MH370: FBI analyzing flight simulator data in Malaysia

  • Flight MH370: What if missing plane is never found?

At a daily news briefing, Malaysia’s Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said they were continuing search operations in both northern and southern “corridors.”

‘It may have slipped to the bottom’

Warren Truss, who is acting prime minister while Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, said the search was difficult due to testing weather conditions and because the satellite imagery was five days old.

“So something that was floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating – it may have slipped to the bottom. It’s also certain that any debris or other material would have moved a significant distance over that time, potentially hundreds of kilometres.”

MORE: Flight MH370: frequently asked questions, few answers

Truss told reporters that two Chinese aircraft are expected to arrive in Perth on Saturday to join the search, and two Japanese aircraft will be arriving Sunday. A small flotilla of ships coming to Australia from China was still several days away.

“We are doing all that we can, devoting all the resources we can and we will not give up until all of the options have been exhausted,” Truss said. “We can’t be certain that the sightings are in fact debris from the aircraft (but) it is about the only lead that is around at the present time.”

U.S. company provides Australia satellite imagery 

A U.S. satellite imagery company said it provided the Australian government with images located by satellite and identified by analysts as possible debris.

READ MORE: U.S. company provides Australia satellite imagery of possible debris

“We have been informed by an Australian government official that it was our imagery Prime Minister Abbott referred to in his recent comments,” said DigitalGlobe in a statement to Global News. “No conclusions have been reached about the origins of the debris or objects shown in the imagery, and we are not aware that any subsequent search missions have been able to locate it.”

Discussion with relatives of passengers ‘difficult’

Malaysia’s acting transport minister acknowledged on Friday that discussions with relatives of those missing onboard Flight MH370 had been “very difficult.”

“The one question that they really want to know is the answer to which we do not have, which is ‘where are their loved ones, and where is the airplane?’” said  Hussein at a daily media briefing.

READ MORE: Anger, heartbreak as families of missing jet passengers demand answers

Earlier this week, frustrated Chinese families of passengers said they would set up a “self-help” committee and urged the Malaysian government to send representatives to Beijing to brief them.

“We want Malaysia to send government representatives to attend the meeting with families,” said Mr Wen, the father of one of the missing passengers.

“Only the government can answer our questions about where the plane is and where our families are,” he added.

Follow @ireneogrodnik

WATCH: Aliens? Zombies? A black hole? The island from “Lost”? With no solid leads yet in the case of the missing Malaysian airliner, wild theories are starting to run rampant. 

©2014Shaw Media

Teenage gunmen waited three hours before attack on Kabul hotel: sources

WATCH ABOVE: (Mar. 21, 2014) Two Canadians are among nine people who died in a Taliban attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul. As Jacques Bourbeau reports, it looks like an ominous sign of things to come in Afghanistan.

OTTAWA – Disturbing details are emerging about a horrific attack at a high-end hotel in Afghanistan’s capital that killed nine people, including two Canadian women.

Global News has learned teenage gunmen gained access to the tightly-secured Serena Hotel in Kabul by telling security they wanted to enjoy Nowruz, the Persian New Year celebrated in Afghanistan.

Sources say the gunmen waited three hours until the restaurant was full before attacking foreigners at around 9:45 p.m. local time.

One of the victims was Roshan Thomas from Vancouver, B.C. Her identity was first announced on 桑拿会所 by British Columbia Liberal Senator Mobina Jaffer.

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HangZhou Night Net


  • Vancouver mother, doctor, killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan

  • Calgarian among 2 Canadians killed in Taliban attack on Kabul hotel

  • How high was security at the Kabul Serena Hotel?

  • Three gunmen killed after attack on Kabul luxury hotel

  • Taliban kill 11 policemen in eastern Afghanistan

  • Photos, video of Canadian troops welcomed home from Afghanistan

  • Canadian military involvement in Afghanistan formally ends

READ MORE: Vancouver resident killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan

Thomas’ colleagues, who were also at the hotel, were offered refuge and assistance at the Canadian embassy, located 3.2 kilometres from the hotel.

The second Canadian victim is Zeenab Kassam, a nurse from Calgary. Her family said she was volunteering as an English teacher in Afghanistan and had been in the country for a year and a half.

Kassam’s brother told Global News in Calgary that Kassam and Thomas were out for dinner at the hotel celebrating the vernal equinox. He said he hoped someone held her hand as she died, and that she didn’t suffer.

WATCH: Video of Roshan Thomas provided by her family.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called the attack “brazen and cowardly.”

Baird described the two Canadian victims as “development workers,” but said they didn’t work directly for the federal government.

“A tragedy for the families,” Baird told reporters Friday as he boarded a plane in Ottawa to accompany Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a trip to Ukraine and a nuclear security conference in the Netherlands.

“Many of these people dedicated their lives to helping everyday Afghans build a better country for themselves, including education, and enhancing the role of women and girls in Afghan society. For this selfless work to be met with violence, especially on the occasion of Nowruz, just further proves the depravity of the Taliban and those who support them,” said Baird.

WATCH: Baird calls attack on Kabul hotel “brazen and cowardly”

A statement from Foreign Affairs issued Friday said only that Canadian diplomats in Kabul are working with authorities to gather additional information. A spokesman for Baird tweeted that all Canadian staff at the embassy in Kabul are safe and accounted for.

Officials say a total of four foreigners were among the nine people who died in the attack, including two children who were shot in the head.

READ MORE: Three gunmen killed after attack on Kabul luxury hotel

The Afghan capital has been hit by several attacks, but authorities appeared stunned the militants had managed to get through the tight security at the Serena hotel – considered one of the safest places to stay in Kabul.

The shooting rampage was the latest in a series of high-profile attacks as the Taliban and allied militants step up a campaign of violence in the weeks leading to April 5 national elections.

It’s the second time this year that Canadians have died in Kabul.

In January two Canadian accountants died in a Taliban suicide attack in Afghanistan.

Martin Glazer, of Gatineau, Que., and Peter McSheffrey, of Ottawa were among 21 people killed when a suicide bomber and two gunmen attacked a popular restaurant in the Afghan capital.

The two were in Afghanistan doing an audit for the Canadian International Development Agency.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the Calgary victim’s first name to Zeenab Kassam. Global News regrets the error.

©2014Shaw Media

Supreme Court will hear appeal for Derksen’s alleged killer – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – Three decades after the murder of Candace Derksen, the identity of her killer is once again in dispute.

“My hope, our hope, it would be a done deal,” said Fred Derksen, Candace’s father. “That would be great, but we’re not hanging on that.”

Canada’s highest court will now hear the case and decide whether Mark Edward Grant deserves a new trial.

Grant was convicted of second-degree murder in 2011, but last October, that conviction was overturned by the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

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“My hope is that they will uphold the decision. I think [the murder conviction] was the right decision,” Candace’s mother, Wilma Derksen, told Global News Thursday.

When the 13-year old went missing in 1984 it sparked a massive manhunt. Derksen was eventually found frozen to death, her body tied up, in an East Kildonan shed.

The case went cold for 20 years but in 2007, DNA evidence led police to Grant.

After a lengthy trial, Grant’s lawyer appealed the conviction, arguing the judge made several errors during the trial. The DNA evidence was also questioned.

Grant’s lawyer wasn’t expecting the Supreme Court of Canada to step in.

“I was surprised,” said Saul Simmonds, Grant’s legal counsel. “I would have thought the decision by the Court of Appeal was so strong we wouldn’t be there, but you never know what drives [the Supreme Court of Canada’s] attention.”

Grant is still in custody but can apply for bail as his conviction has been overturned. Simmonds wouldn’t say whether he plans to do that at this point.

It could take more than a year before the Supreme Court of Canada hears Grant’s case.

©2014Shaw Media

Friday, March 21, 2014 on The Morning Show

KEVIN DINEEN – Gold medal coach from the Canadian women’s Olympic hockey team, Kevin Dineen, joins The Morning Show to talk about making the switch from coaching NHL players to amateur sports. Dineen’s next step will be coaching the men’s under-18 hockey team.

BIG BROTHER CANADA – Another one bites the dust. The Morning Show speaks to the latest Big Brother Canada evictee in the reality television series.

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SARAH THOMSON – The latest candidate to enter the race for Toronto mayor chose an attention-grabbing mode of transport to get to city hall on Thursday. Sarah Thomson showed up in a horse-drawn carriage before heading inside to file her registration papers. She’ll be on the show to talk about her ideas for Toronto. TORONTO SHOW ONLY

BEN RATNER AND JENNIFER SPENCE – Down River is a feature film written & directed by Ben Ratner, starring Helen Shaver, Gabrielle Miller, Jennifer Spence & Colleen Rennison. Down River is the emotionally stirring story of three young women teetering on the edge between creative breakthroughs and personal breakdowns. TORONTO SHOW ONLY

TARGET COLLECTION – Designer Sarah Stevenson shows off her new label to debut for Target this weekend. The 33-year-old is the winner of Toronto Fashion Incubator New Labels Competition and has created an exclusive collection for Target. TORONTO SHOW ONLY

CHEF ROMAIN AVRIL – With it being spring, why not create something delectably refreshing? Romain Avril, Executive Chef at La Societe, joins us in-studio to demonstrate how you can construct cold dishes.  TORONTO SHOW ONLY

VIRAL VIDEO – Dogs can fly, really. Oh, maybe just this one.

©2014Shaw Media

Workers at CN Rail reject a second contract proposal – National

MONTREAL – Three-thousand workers at CN Rail have rejected a second tentative contract, prompting the company to suggest the talks go to binding arbitration.

CN issued a statement Thursday night saying it was notified by Teamsters Canada, which represents conductors, yard workers and other train workers, that its members rejected the deal.

The latest tentative deal was reached in early February in the face of a threatened strike by the employees.

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It came as Labour Minister Kellie Leitch indicated that the federal government was preparing back-to-work legislation.

Leitch had expressed concern the strike would cause disruption to Canada’s economy.

The workers had rejected another tentative contract last fall.

Claude Mongeau, CN’s president and chief executive officer, expressed disappointment at the workers’ decision.

“CN today tabled an offer to the (union) to settle all unresolved contract issues through final binding arbitration to allow the parties to move forward without the prospect of labour disruption,” Mongeau said in a statement.

“A labour dispute now would ill serve CN’s customers, the Canadian economy or the company’s employees.”

The union did not immediately comment on Thursday’s developments.

CN says it transports about $250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business, including natural resources and consumer goods.

©2014The Canadian Press