The WE papers and a medical profession gender pay gap: In The News for Aug. 31

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Aug. 31.

What we are watching in Canada …

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OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives are calling on WE Charity to release documents the youth organization promised to hand over to a House of Commons committee before Prime Minister prorogued Parliament.

But WE is pushing back against the Tories’ request, with the organization’s legal counsel saying it amounts to “politics, not proper process.”

The Tories’ request is in a letter sent Sunday from Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre and ethics critic Michael Barrett to Craig and Marc Kielburger, the brothers who co-founded WE more than 20 years ago.

It’s the official Opposition’s latest effort to continue digging into the decision to have WE run a multimillion-dollar student-volunteer program, after Trudeau temporarily shuttered several Commons committee investigations by proroguing Parliament on Aug. 18.

In their letter, Poilievre and Barrett note the Kielburgers and other WE officials committed to provide members of Parliament with answers to several questions they were unable to answer while appearing before the finance committee.

The finance committee also asked the charity to provide more information about two trips that WE hosted for then-finance minister Bill Morneau and his family to Kenya and Ecuador.

Also this …

Female doctors in Canada consistently earn less than their male colleagues because of systemic biases that pervade the medical profession, a new analysis suggests.

An article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that female doctors are underrepresented in top-earning medical specialities and paid less for equivalent work because of structural inequities that follow them throughout their career.

“Our analysis piece confirms that the gender pay gap exists in Canadian medicine,” said Tara Kiran, a family physician and clinician investigator at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Kiran and co-author Dr. Michelle Cohen of Queen’s University examined the relationship between the proportion of women in a specialty and average earnings across Canada.

They found that women account for less than 35 per cent of doctors in the 10 specialities with the highest incomes, including radiology, ophthalmology and cardiology.

By contrast, female doctors made up roughly half or more of the workforce in lower-paying specialities, such as family medicine, psychiatry and pediatrics.

ICYMI (in case you missed it) …

VANCOUVER — Marine mammal specialists and whale rescue groups say they’re not sure how much fishing gear three entangled humpback whales spotted off the coast of British Columbia are still carrying, leaving experts worried.

Paul Cottrell, the Pacific marine mammals co-ordinator for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, says while rescuers managed to get some gear off one of the animals, they are not sure how the other two are faring.

He says the first whale, known as Checkmate, was spotted last week and has a trap and line running through its mouth. However, because someone had cut off a buoy attached to the gear, Cottrell says rescuers haven’t been able to attach a line to the animal and help it.

He says another yet-to-be-named whale has a fishing net over its head and was last seen more than three weeks ago.

Cottrell says rescuers managed to remove more than 60 metres of fishing line off a third whale named X-ray, but the animal was also last seen more than three weeks ago so they don’t know how it is faring.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon State Police will return to Portland to help local authorities after the fatal shooting of a man following clashes between President supporters and counter-protesters that led to an argument between the president and the city’s mayor over who was to blame for the violence.

Protesters were back on the streets for a demonstration Sunday night outside a public safety building. Police declared an unlawful assembly and detained several people after saying protesters were seen throwing projectiles.

After Trump called Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, a “fool” and faulted him for allowing mayhem to proliferate in the liberal city, the visibly angry mayor lashed out at the president during a Sunday news conference, addressing him in the first person through the TV cameras.

“That’s classic Trump. Mr. President, how can you think that a comment like that, if you’re watching this, is in any way helpful?” Wheeler said. He also accused Trump of instigating the violence with his divisive policies.

WASHINGTON — Racing the political clock, Democrats are searching for way to force the Trump administration to continue briefing Congress in person about foreign attempts to interfere in the November election.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe says most briefings on what the administration knows about efforts to influence the election will now be given to Congress in writing.

He says that in the past, delivering “all-member” briefings in-person has resulted in “leaks” for political purposes within moments.

A top Democrat calls that “a lie.” But there’s little time for Democrats to challenge the decision in the shadow of the Nov. 3 election and few options to compel the administration to change course.

Also this…

NEW YORK — “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, whose death from colon cancer shocked fans, was honoured at the MTV Video Music Awards as a hero in real life, not just on the big screen.

Host Keke Palmer said the Sunday night awards show was dedicated to Boseman, who died at the age of 43 on Friday.

Palmer said Boseman was “a true hero, not just on screen but in everything he did.” On screen, Boseman played Black icons like Jackie Robinson, James Brown and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

“His impact lives forever,” Palmer noted.

Later on Boseman was included during an in memoriam segment alongside other artists like Juice WRLD and Little Richard who died in the past year.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

SRINAGAR, India — India said Monday its soldiers thwarted “provocative” military movements by China’s military near a disputed border in the Ladakh region months into the rival nations’ deadliest standoff in decades.

Local military commanders from the two countries were meeting along the disputed frontier on Monday to “resolve the issues,” India’s defence ministry said. It said India was committed to dialogue “but is also equally determined to protect its territorial integrity.”

The statement said China’s People’s Liberation Army on Saturday night “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo” and “violated the previous consensus arrived at during military and diplomatic engagements” to settle the standoff in the cold-desert region.

It added that Indian troops “undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on ground.”

China has not yet commented on India’s allegations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 31, 2020.

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