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Liberal leadership hopefuls face stricter budget

OTTAWA—ON THURSDAY SEPT. 6, the Liberal Party announced new spending guidelines for its upcoming leadership race. Candidates may spend up to $950,000 over the course of the contest, roughly a quarter of the 2006 contest’s $3.4 million limit. Mike Crawley, the party’s president, says that by lowering the amount candidates are allowed to spend, the party hopes to attract new ideas, which may not have been otherwise heard. Montreal MP Justin Trudeau is expected to run, but has yet to formally declare his candidacy. At the Liberal caucus retreat Thursday, Trudeau said he believes he has something to offer the party. The contest will begin on Nov. 14 and voting will take place until April 14, when the party will announce its new leader.

—Elizabeth Thomas

Companies struggle to deal with beer shortage before Oktoberfest

BAVARIA—BREWERS ARE DESPERATELY trying to encourage citizens to bring in empty bottles to be refilled in an effort to make up for yet another summer of increased sales due to warm weather and several recent festivals.

While the problem of low beer stocks is annual, companies are saying that this year is the worst yet. Bavaria’s Oktoberfest is a world-renowned festival, and it seems likely that despite the brewers’ best efforts, the shortage of this key beverage will pose problems.

As a result, some brewers have admitted they will be forced to limit their production of certain types of beer, such as darker ales, much to the chagrin of those with a preference for dark beer.

People who prefer wheat and light ales will be pleased to learn those types of beer are being prioritized in the production process, although this year they may still come up woefully short.

—Krystine Therriault

Ontario Liberals fall one seat shy of majority after byelections

TORONTO—ONTARIO’S LIBERAL PARTY fell one seat short of a majority government after two byelections were split between the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the reigning Liberals. The byelections, held in the ridings of Vaughan and Kitchener-Waterloo, were needed after the resignation of MPPs Greg Sorbara, a Liberal; and Elizabeth Witwer, a Progressive Conservative (PC).

In Vaughan, Liberal candidate Steven Del Duca won the vote, beating out PC Tony Genco, which prevented the Liberals from losing the seat. Meanwhile, in Kitchener-Waterloo, NDP candidate Catherine Fife won in a tight race against PC Tracey Weiler, who placed second, and Liberal candidate Eric Davis.

The byelections resulted in the Liberals remaining at 54 seats, one shy of a majority; the PCs falling to 36; and the NDP climbing to 18.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty conceded that while it was not the result the Liberals were hoping for, the government will continue to work with its fellow parties in the Legislature. Meanwhile, opposition leader Tim Hudak claimed the loss of the Kitchener-Waterloo riding to the rival NDPs was the fault of the unions who support the NDP.

—Andrew Ikeman

Quebec election night gunman formally charged

MONTREAL—THE SUSPECTED GUNMAN in the Quebec election-night shooting was formally charged last Thursday on 16 different offences. The suspect, Richard Henry Bain, has been accused of murdering a stage technician, Denis Blanchette, in the first degree.

The shooting occurred during a speech by Pauline Marois, the leader of the Parti Québécois, following the election-night victory of the Parti Québécois. The back door of the venue, the closest escape for anyone near the shooter, was subsequently set on fire using an accelerant and a flare. Shortly after the shot was fired, on-scene police officers apprehended Bain, who was wearing a bathrobe and a gas mask.

Since searching Bain’s vehicle and house, police have recovered 22 weapons from his possession, including the two they found on his person during the night of the shooting. Of the guns owned by Bain, 21 of them were lawfully registered, including the one used in the shooting.

Last Wednesday Sept. 5, Bain was taken to a hospital in Montreal to undergo what was described as a medical evaluation. The hospital has not yet stated whether it was for physical or psychiatric purposes. Although it is expected the defence will seek a psychiatric evaluation, the lawyer representing Bain, Elfride-Andrée Duclervil, stated it is still too early in the case to make a decision regarding such an evaluation.

—Wyatt Brakeboer