Canada

Starkly differing Liberal and Progressive Conservative visions of how to reignite New Brunswick's jobs renaissance of the 1990s — still referred to as "the McKenna Miracle" — are being presented to voters worried about the economy in Monday's provincial election.

As the 32-day campaign enters its final hours, jobs and the economy have emerged as the major issue.

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Jokes about a soon-to-be released Hollywood movie, not images on closed-circuit video of two women having sex in a jail cell, are what caused a Mountie to laugh while surrounded by his colleagues, B.C. Supreme Court was told.

RCMP Const. Stephen Zaharia testified Friday in the Kamloops, B.C., trial of Cpl. Rick Brown who is charged with one count of breach of trust by a public officer.

Brown was the watch commander in the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2010, when two intoxicated women engaged in explicit sex acts in a detachment jail cell.

EDMONTON - Alberta's new health minister says there won't be massive reforms to the province's health care system but there will be changes in how things are done.

Stephen Mandel says the department is spending "enough money" that he wants to know first and foremost why so many people have to wait so long for surgery.

He says he wants to assess what the challenges are and how to fix them, adding he has some ideas but doesn't know how good they are.

CALGARY - Costs for the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline will likely balloon from US$5.4 billion to as much as US$10 billion, TransCanada Corp. confirmed Friday, as the project marked its sixth year in regulatory limbo.

CEO Russ Girling told the Wall Street Journal that the price tag could rise to a "number that gets you into the high single digits to a 10 number."

Company spokesman Shawn Howard confirmed the remarks.

OTTAWA - Former award-winning journalist, political adviser and embattled federal privacy commissioner George Radwanski has died at age 67.

Radwanski suffered a heart attack Thursday in Toronto, his son Adam said in an interview.

"He was warm, funny and he definitely had a strong passion for life, and he was a fairly large personality both at home and outside of it," Radwanski's only child said Friday.

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. - Premier Brad Wall says it has been great having Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, in Saskatchewan for a three-day visit.

On Friday, the prince wrapped up his brief trip to the province in Swift Current, where he lunched with Wall, posed for pictures during a walkabout, planted a couple of trees, toured an RCMP detachment and attended the opening of a new school.

Wall tells radio station CKSW says it was nice that Edward's visit coincided with Swift Current's centennial year.

Canadian and American fighter jets were scrambled to intercept Russian war planes over the Arctic in two separate incidents this week.

Norad, the North American Aerospace Defence Command, says the Russian planes did not violate Canadian or U.S. airspace in either case.

Norad spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Jazdyk says the first incident occurred Wednesday night west of Alaska when American fighter jets intercepted six Russian aircraft, including fighter jets and bombers.

TORONTO - Rob Ford's brother plans to launch his election campaign this weekend for Toronto's top job, which he put off Friday so he could spend some time with his ailing sibling as he undergoes treatment for a rare cancer.

Coun. Doug Ford threw his name in the ring a week ago when his brother dropped his re-election bid, but postponed the official launch while doctors conducted tests on a tumour that was discovered in the mayor's abdomen.

MONTREAL - The Crown is asking for a prison term for a woman who caused a fatal traffic accident after she stopped her car on a busy highway to help ducks.

The prosecution told a sentencing hearing for Emma Czornobaj the young woman should go to jail for nine months and do 240 hours of community service.

The defence says 240 hours of community service is sufficient.

Czornobaj was convicted by a jury of two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of dangerous driving causing death.

OTTAWA - American praise for Canada as one of its strongest allies in the fight against militants in Iraq and Syria wasn't enough to conceal sharp differences Friday over the role of Iran in potentially helping the cause.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a special ministerial meeting of the United Nations Security Council that "our near neighbour to the north" was making one of the strongest contributions in the battle, prior to an address by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

TORONTO - The Mounties have arrested a Toronto man who they allege recruited drug traffickers into an international narcotics ring.

The arrest Wednesday of 35-year-old Sami Mediouni followed a nine-month investigation into what police allege was a criminal group that utilized Canadian travellers to export cocaine into the United Kingdom.

The RCMP says its investigation began last November with the arrest of an alleged drug trafficker, 24-year-old Jacqueline Simone of Ajax.

MONTREAL - Luka Rocco Magnotta's first-degree murder trial in the slaying and dismemberment of Jun Lin will begin Sept. 29.

The date was finalized Friday just after selection of the final jurors.

Magnotta, 32, has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including first-degree murder, in connection with the May 2012 of Chinese engineering student Lin, 33.

OTTAWA - An aboriginal MP delivered a powerful plea Friday for a national inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women, recalling his own brother's death as a five-year-old in a residential school 60 years ago.

Romeo Saganash, an NDP member from northern Quebec's Nunavik region, implored the Conservative government to call an inquiry after the New Democrats successfully moved a motion allowing them to raise the issue in the House of Commons.

OTTAWA - Canada's top court has restored a Quebec trial judge's decision that penalizes five banks for failing to meet provincial disclosure requirements when they charged currency-conversion fees to their credit card customers.

The banks had argued that Quebec's Consumer Protection Act didn't apply to them because of the constitutional division between provincial and federal powers — a position rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada and the lower courts.

MONTREAL - Prominent Quebec sovereigntists say they hope pro-independence Scots fight to ensure London delivers on its referendum-campaign promises of new powers for Scotland.

Otherwise, they fear the Scottish Yes camp could end up like the Quebecois.

Daniel Turp, who played a key role for the Yes side during Canada's own hard-fought unity battles, said the Scots are in a position Quebec sovereigntists found themselves in during the 1980 and 1995 referendum campaigns.

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A judge in Newfoundland and Labrador has dismissed a class-action lawsuit that claimed the provincial government was negligent by failing to do enough to protect drivers from moose-vehicle collisions.

Provincial Supreme Court Judge Robert Stack delivered his decision Friday, saying the province was not liable for the collisions and implemented an appropriate accident-prevention policy.

Stack's ruling also says that one of the plaintiffs' key witnesses, wildlife expert Dr. Tony Clevenger, was biased, unreliable and provided misleading information.

OTTAWA - The navy's decision to retire four venerable warships will mean finding short-term stop-gaps until new vessels are built.

Two of the fleet's three destroyers, HMCS Iroquois and Algonquin, and both supply vessels, HMCS Preserver and HMCS Protecteur, have made their last voyages and will be decommissioned, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman said Friday.

Norman, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, said the retirements have been in the cards for some time, but other developments speeded up the plans.

CALGARY - A Calgary soldier convicted for his part in a deadly training accident in Afghanistan has won his appeal and hopes that a "long and difficult process" is finally over.

The Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada has entered a finding of not guilty on Lt. Darryl Watts's conviction for negligent performance of duty. It has also ordered a new trial on a conviction of unlawfully causing bodily harm and a second count of negligent performance of duty.

The Canadian Forces is reviewing the Appeal Court ruling and will determine whether to go ahead with another prosecution.

OTTAWA - A quick look at the history of the four warships that are being decommissioned by the Royal Canadian Navy:

HMCS Iroquois and HMCS Algonquin

Class: Air defence destroyers that serve as command and control platform.

History: Built in the early 1970s in Sorel, Que., but refitted with improved propulsion, anti-air weapons and communications systems in early 1990s.

OTTAWA - Canada's annual inflation rate held steady at 2.1 per cent in August, according to new Statistics Canada figures released Friday.

But many observers were caught off guard by an unexpected jump in another key indicator that helps the Bank of Canada decide if it should raise or lower interest rates.

Core inflation, the number the central bank closely monitors and which excludes some items from the volatile energy and food categories, was 2.1 per cent, after an increase of 1.7 per cent in July.

OTTAWA - NDP MP Romeo Saganash's remarks to the House of Commons on Friday about the need for an inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women:

"Indigenous women experience more violence because they are indigenous and because they are women. Amnesty International found that indigenous women are most likely to die before non-indigenous women in this country, and are more likely to die violently.

WINNIPEG - The head of Canada's newest national museum promised Friday that the towering building will spark debate, and aboriginal protesters proved him correct.

Armed with a bullhorn, the few dozen protesters who were kept outside the fenced-in area tried unsuccessfully to drown out museum CEO Stuart Murray and other dignitaries at the opening of the $351-million Canadian Museum For Human Rights. They called for government action on missing and murdered aboriginal women, living conditions on reserves and other issues.

SAANICH, Canada - A British Columbia police dog has claimed the title of top dog for the third year in a row at the Canadian Police Canine Championships.

Zeke (ZEEK) and his handler, Const. Jon Zielinski of the Saanich Police Department, competed against 30 teams at the contest in Kelowna, B.C.

Sgt. Steve Eassie (ESSY) says the amount of effort that Zielinski has put into the partnership since he was paired up with Zeke four years ago is amazing.

FREDERICTON - Federal New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair added his presence to the New Brunswick election campaign Friday, backing his provincial NDP counterpart's position on shale gas development.

Mulcair began campaigning with NDP Leader Dominic Cardy in Fredericton as the race to Monday's election entered its final days.

Cardy has promised to wait two years before considering development of a shale gas sector, at which point companies wanting to exploit the resource would have to undergo tests to assure health and environmental concerns are satisfied.

CHATHAM, Ont. - Police say two girls who are members of the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect Lev Tahor have left foster care in Ontario, but are safe.

Const. Renee Cowell with Chatham-Kent police didn't provide any details, saying further information would have to come from Chatham-Kent Children's Services.

The organization says it cannot, under law, provide any specifics concerning children who may or may not be in their care.

Lev Tahor was the subject of a youth protection investigation in Quebec over allegations of neglect and child abuse before they fled to Chatham, Ont.