Highlights from the National News File for Friday, Feb. 24th:
CONSERVATIVE CONFERENCE HEARS FROM POPULISTS: Conservatives gathered in Ottawa for the annual Manning conference heard from the man the event is named after. Reform party founder Preston Manning told the event on Friday that politicians who ignore the undercurrent of disenchantment with the traditional political establishment do so at their peril. The conference also heard from Doug Ford, the brother of Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who swept to power in Canada’s largest city. The candidates for the Conservative party leadership also squared off in a debate.
STUDY SUGGESTS POLAR BEARS DOING BETTER THAN EXPECTED: A major study has found the polar bear population in Canada’s Arctic is higher than expected. There are an estimated 3,300 bears in the Baffin Bay and Kane Basin populations. That is significantly more than population models predicted. The study also found bears in the Baffin Bay area are in poorer shape than they used to be.
REPORT SUGGESTS INDIGENOUS PROTECTED AREAS IN ARCTIC: A report says Arctic environments should be conserved through a network of indigenous protected areas that would give Inuit more control over their land. The interim report says changing the way Arctic conservation is approached could also significantly contribute to healthy northern communities.
IS WAVE POLARIZING ISSUE AT SPORTS EVENTS?: The practice of spectators raising their arms in the air to create a rolling cheer across the stands has been a common sight at sports events for decades. But it’s greeted with mixed reaction from the fans. The Arizona Coyotes made headlines this week by pooh-poohing fans’ efforts to start the wave at Gila River Arena, while the Texas Rangers have posted humorous anti-wave signs for years.
CANADIANS URGED TO MAKE SURE VACCINATIONS ARE UP TO DATE: Clusters of mumps cases in Alberta and Ontario are prompting public health officials and infectious disease experts urge Canadians to check that their vaccinations are up to date. Experts say people need to ensure they’ve had the vaccines and some may need to get an additional shot to bolster their immunity.
FLOODED ATTAWAPISKAT SCHOOL REOPENING: A brand new elementary school shut down by flooding on the Attawapiskat First Nation is reopening next week. Band council members say a malfunctioning sprinkler system led to flooding early last month. The school opened to much fanfare in 2014, putting an end to a 14-year period in which the community’s roughly 400 elementary-age students were being taught in portable classrooms.
EFFORTS PROGRESS ON BORDER WALL: U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it plans to start awarding contracts by mid-April for President Donald Trump’s border wall. The agency says on a website for federal contractors that a request for bids will be published early next month. Companies would have to submit “concept papers” to design and build prototypes by March 10. Finalists will have to have their proposals and prices in by March 24. Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference today that construction will start “very soon” and is ahead of schedule.