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Canada’s 1st female defence chief, a U.K. vote and top stories this week – National

The Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, swept the polls in the United Kingdom this week while Canada is set to get its first female chief of defence staff.

And who is Count Binface, the “intergalactic space warrior” who ran against ex-British prime minister Rishi Sunak?

Here were some of the top stories this week.

What will the Canada-U.K. relationship look like under a Labour government?

The election of a new Labour government in Thursday’s British elections may come with the promise of change in the United Kingdom, but the immediate impact on relations with Canada is less clear.

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The Canada-U.K. relationship, while typically strong, has faced some bumps in the road this year. The newly-defeated Conservative government unilaterally paused trade negotiations with Ottawa in January, and more recently put new pressure on NATO allies — including Canada — to further increase their defence spending.

In the short term, those tensions may continue, analysts say, although common priorities between Labour and the Liberals could lead to a softening down the road.


Meet the ‘intergalactic space warrior’ who challenged U.K.’s Rishi Sunak

One candidate served as the United Kingdom’s most recent prime minister and currently leads the Conservative Party.

Another claimed to be from space, has promised to “build at least one affordable house, which is more than all the other parties can muster between them” and wants to force all former prime ministers to enlist in the army.

They were both running to win the same riding in England’s north — though one of them did it more satirically than the other.

Click to play video: 'Calls grow for Biden to drop out, as Trump uses immunity ruling as leverage'

Calls grow for Biden to drop out, as Trump uses immunity ruling as leverage


Trudeau says ‘lots of conversations’ ongoing after shock byelection loss

Last week’s stunning byelection loss in a Toronto riding has spurred “lots of conversations” within the Liberal party, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, as questions also swirl around his political future.

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Since the surprise Conservative win in the riding of Toronto-St. Paul’s — a Liberal stronghold for more than three decades until then — Trudeau said the party has been “engaged in lots of important conversations.”

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“Let’s be very clear, last week’s byelection loss, not to sugarcoat it, was challenging, was something that we need to take seriously,” he told reporters in Montreal.


Should Biden step aside? Calls grow after debate spurs fitness concerns

Calls are growing louder for U.S. President Joe Biden to drop his re-election bid after last week’s shaky debate performance raised concerns among Democrats about his fitness and ability to beat former president Donald Trump.

But political analysts say as long as Biden refuses those calls, replacing him with a different candidate ahead of the November election will be difficult and unlikely.

On Tuesday, Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the first sitting Democratic lawmaker to publicly urge Biden to step aside as the party’s presidential nominee, saying “too much is at stake” for Biden to stay in the race and lose to Trump.

Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan will be Canada’s 1st female defence chief

Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan will become Canada’s new chief of defence staff, making her the first woman to be picked for the job.

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Carignan, who is currently serving as the chief of professional conduct and culture, will replace Gen. Wayne Eyre, who is due to retire this summer.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who announced Carignan’s appointment on Wednesday, said she was the “right person” to lead the Canadian military at a “pivotal time” with “complicated geopolitics and increased threats,” particularly to the Arctic.

Carignan is set to officially take over command of the Canadian Armed Forces in a ceremony on July 18.


David Vigneault, director of Canada’s spy agency, to retire

After seven years in the role, David Vigneault is retiring as director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced the news on X on Thursday, wishing Vigneault the best in his next chapter.

“David Vigneault has spent his entire career in the service of Canadians — keeping them, and our national interests, safe from those seeking to harm them,” LeBlanc wrote.

Jobless rate rises to 6.4% in June. Here’s how the Bank of Canada might react

Canada’s labour market continued to slow down in June, with young workers especially struggling in the typically busy summer job season.

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The unemployment rate rose to 6.4 per cent last month as the country shed 1,400 jobs. The unemployment rate for youth aged 15-24 is more than double that at 13.5 per cent, however, marking the highest point since September 2014, excluding the COVID-19 pandemic.


Greece is bringing in a 6-day work week. Could Canada follow?

Workers in Greece are going to have to work a little bit longer starting this week, with the country introducing a six-day work week for some.

As part of new labour laws passed last year, some Greek workers began a 48-hour work week starting Monday, a move that union representatives from across industries have termed “barbaric.”

However, the move is not finding many takers here in Canada.


Canada’s digital services tax is here. How could it affect you?

The Digital Services Tax is now in effect.

Foreign tech giants must now pay a three-per cent levy on revenue from Canadian users, retroactive to 2022, after the federal government enacted the measure with an order-in-council on June 28.

Many of those large companies are based in the United States and the American government and business communities on both sides of the border have called for Ottawa to stop the measure.

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EVs could get more expensive in Canada. Are e-bikes the right fit for you?

As the federal government consults with stakeholders on whether to impose greater tariffs on electric vehicles from China, some experts are warning that it might lead to EV prices rising.

With surveys suggesting Canadians are already feeling the strain from vehicle ownership costs like payments, gas and insurance, many may be looking for an alternative. For some, that could look like downsizing to a smaller vehicle or even an electric-assisted bicycle.

Click to play video: 'WestJet flight disruptions continue following strike'

WestJet flight disruptions continue following strike

Hurricane Beryl forces Canadian airlines to cancel flights

Several Canadian flights were cancelled as travel warnings were in place due to hurricane Beryl, which made landfall on Mexico’s coast Friday after leaving a trail of destruction in the Caribbean islands.

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Air Canada scrapped 10 flights to and from Mexico’s Tulum and Cancun that were scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, four WestJet flights between Toronto and Montego Bay and Vancouver and Cancun were cancelled for Thursday.


Is hurricane Beryl a sign of the ‘threat’ to come for Atlantic Canada?

Hurricane Beryl is making its trek towards Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and as meteorologists point to record warm waters as its driving force, some say those temperatures could lead to stronger and longer storms — including for Canada.

The storm has already broken several records, including the earliest Category 5 storm to ever form in the Atlantic and, according to Philip Klotzbach, a Colorado State University hurricane researcher, the farthest east a hurricane has formed in the region.

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