Good morning. This is the Wednesday, March 15 edition of First Up, the Star’s daily morning digest. Sign up to get it earlier each day, in your inbox.
Here’s the latest on an intercontinental custody battle, the vehicle rampage in Quebec and Canada’s fight to land an EV battery plant.
“I can’t be silent.” The inside story of one woman’s losing battle to keep her kids in Canada
Olubukola Ajayi’s children were one, three and five when she lost the custody battle. The mother, who goes by Bukola, had taken her Canadian-born children and fled Nigeria for Ottawa, saying she feared for her safety and that of her children. She alleged physical, sexual and verbal abuse from her ex-husband, and believed she wouldn’t get a fair hearing in Nigeria. An Ontario court, however, disagreed and ordered that the kids be returned to their father in Nigeria, Annette Ejiofor and Alyshah Hasham write. Now, Bukola says she has no option but to share her story in an attempt to expose what she sees as a failure of Canada’s courts to understand the cultural context of cases like hers. Here’s why an expert says cases like this “are harder than murder cases.”
- Go deeper: At the core of the matter is the question of how Canadian courts should handle contentious divorce and custody cases — including those involving serious allegations of abuse — when they are also playing out in other countries that have entirely different justice systems, with cultural, social and legal standards.
- More: Ex-husband Eyitope Ajayi denies he was abusive. He told the Star from Nigeria that he is a good parent and alleges he is the victim of false allegations; as the legal case continues, he has positioned himself as a champion of men’s rights.
After the Amqui vehicle rampage, Quebec is mulling barring mental health patients from driving
Two people died and nine others were injured in an incident in Amqui, Que., Monday — the province’s second deadly vehicle rampage in two months. Quebec’s public safety minister has since said it may be time to reconsider whether people with certain mental health conditions should be able to obtain a license, Allan Woods writes, later adding that he was “thinking out loud.” Here’s what we know about the processes already in place in Ontario — and considerations in Quebec.
- Go deeper: The chief executive of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada warned against drawing the conclusion that anyone with a mental health diagnosis poses a risk to public safety. “Ninety-seven per cent of people with schizophrenia and those with psychosis are non-violent, never come in contact with the criminal justice system.”
- More: The alleged driver reportedly turned himself in to police. He faces criminal charges in connection with the deaths of Gerald Charest, 65, and Jean Lafreniere, 73. A child and baby are among those injured.
- ICYMI: Last month, a city bus driver in Laval drove into a daycare. The alleged driver of that incident must undergo a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he can be held criminally responsible for the deaths.
How Canada fought off the U.S. to land a coveted electric vehicle battery plant
Volkswagen announced Monday that it would be building an electric vehicle battery plant in Ontario — the culmination of more than a year of intense Canadian lobbying efforts. How much taxpayer money did it take? As federal and provincial officials faced demands for transparency on Tuesday, they said it was too soon to reveal figures that could put their competitive edge against the U.S. at risk. Tonda MacCharles reports on the high-stakes campaign as described by industry players with knowledge of the talks.
- More: Several U.S. states were fighting for the plant, said the head of the Canadian Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association. He said several governors were likely part of the pitches, but believes the federal and provincial government working together — and Justin Trudeau getting personally involved — helped Canada land the deal.
- The final stretch: A Canadian government official said “once the U.S. Commerce Department got wind of the fact that they were seriously leaning toward Canada, there was enormous pressure on Volkswagen in the last mile … to try and get them to come to the U.S., like throwing all kinds of money at them.”
The accuracy of leaked CSIS documents is not clear, so let’s not over react.
MALAWI: A man carries his belongings at a displacement centre in Blantyre on Tuesday. Cyclone Freddy, which is battering southern Africa, has killed at least 219 people in Malawi and Mozambique since it struck the continent for a second time on Saturday night.
Thank you for reading First Up. You can reach me and the First Up team at [email protected]
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