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In today's Morning Brief, many victims say the legal system is complicating efforts to reduce the intimate partner violence that makes up nearly one-third of all police-reported violent crime in Canada. We also look at a big tumble in the price of oil.

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'Barriers' in Canada's legal system complicating fight to end domestic violence

Intimate partner violence makes up nearly one-third of all police-reported violent crime in this country, according to Statistics Canada, and many victims say that the legal system is complicating efforts to change this.

"Susan" knows this all too well. She lives in so much fear of her ex-husband that CBC News is not revealing her identity or location.

While they were married, Susan's husband assaulted her, strangled her and threatened to kill her. Although he was eventually found guilty of one charge of assault, he managed to drag out their divorce and, in the end, Susan walked away so financially devastated that she had to file for bankruptcy.

She said her journey through the Canadian legal system was so traumatic she regrets even reporting the abuse. "If I could go back, I don't think I would have done this," Susan said. "I would have tried to blame myself and not say the truth about what happened. I don't think I would go through it again."

Legal experts say stories like this show how Canada's laws governing intimate partner violence are making life more difficult for victims. Part of the reason for that is there are sometimes conflicting definitions of domestic violence, and jurisdiction for addressing the problem can be unclear and can differ from province to province.

"It's those kinds of conflicts that I think show that governments in Canada don't have an overarching strategy to deal with family violence," said Jennifer Koshan, a University of Calgary law professor. "It means that we may be creating barriers to victims." Read more on this story here.

Brad Gushue captures 3rd Brier title in 4 years

(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Team Newfoundland and Labrador left to right — skip Brad Gushue, third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant, lead Geoff Walker, alternate Jeff Thomas and coach Jules Owchar — hoist the Brier Tankard trophy after defeating Team Alberta in the Brier curling final in Kingston, Ont., on Sunday evening. Read more about the Gushue team's win here.

In brief

A cruise ship that has been off the California coast for days amid coronavirus concerns is due to dock today in Oakland. That will clear the way for the 237 Canadians on board to be flown to CFB Trenton for assessment and 14 days of quarantine. The ship, the Grand Princess, has had 19 crew members and two passengers test positive for the virus. Global Affairs Canada said yesterday that it had secured a plane to repatriate the Canadians on the ship. Read more about the ship here.

Not getting too close: Test kits for COVID-19 dropped to cruise ship by California Air National Guard

World

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As many as 100 guests and crew members aboard Grand Princess will be tested because of cases linked to another voyage. 0:47

Oil prices fell sharply in early trading today as investors fret that the market is over-supplied as the global economy slides due to the spread of the new coronavirus. Prices were down more than 30 per cent as Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil-producing countries argue about how much to cut production in order to prop up prices. Read more on the drop in oil prices here.

Reports of a new decline in advertising spending due to the coronavirus outbreak are just the latest insult to the downtrodden newspaper business. This comes as traditional newspapers struggle to find ways to survive in print or behind a paywall. As CBC business columnist Don Pittis writes, evidence from Britain and Canada may point to the next stage in the evolution of broadsheet papers to complete their transformation — the elimination of paper altogether, but with no paywall. Read more on this story here.

As the criminal trial of four men charged with the destruction of Flight MH17 began today in the Netherlands, families of the victims are demanding the Kremlin's highest representatives be held responsible. The four accused — Russians Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko — were all former leaders of Russia-backed militia units fighting in eastern Ukraine in July 2014. The Russian government is refusing to turn them over to be tried for shooting down the jet and killing everyone on board. Read more on the trial here.

Prince Harry and Meghan's decision to step back from official duties as senior members of the Royal Family creates uncertainty in the relationship of the monarchy with the Commonwealth, an organization facing questions of its own relevance. Attendance today at the annual Commonwealth Service to mark Commonwealth Day in London is likely to be the last official duty for the couple. Read more here about the questions hanging over royal relations with the group of countries.

Now for some good news to start your Monday: If dogs could talk, Heidi and King would have quite a tale to tell. The Ice Dogs, as they are known in northern New Brunswick, could tell a story of their five-day adventure sailing on an ice floe in Chaleur Bay. Heidi, a seven-month-old German shepherd, and King, an 18-month-old small mixed breed, got caught on the ice Tuesday in Belledune. They came ashore in Janeville on Saturday after an estimated 80-kilometre trip. They are now home safe with their owner, Kevin Doyle, who still can't believe they are alive. "They're just laying on the same blanket hanging out just like everything's normal to them," Doyle said yesterday. Read more about the dogs and their adventure here.

Front Burner: A radical program to address the domestic violence crisis

In Canada, domestic violence has reached crisis levels. But in Saint Paul, Minn., a radical domestic abuse intervention project is showing the way forward, and how to save countless lives. CBC investigative reporter Katie Nicholson joins Front Burner host Jayme Poisson to explain the "Blueprint for Safety" program and how it's protecting victims of domestic violence.

Today in history: March 6

1541: Jean-Francois de la Rocque Roberval obtains authorization from France to take criminals to Canada to found a colony.

1870: The British Columbia legislature passes a resolution to send a delegation to Ottawa to negotiate joining Confederation.

1907: A Hamilton, Ont., news dealer is fined $30 for selling American newspapers on a Sunday.

1959: Mattel's Barbie doll, created by Ruth Handler, makes its public debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

1995: A dispute between Canada and the European Union over turbot quotas escalates when Canadian patrol vessels seized a Spanish trawler. The Estai was accused of fishing illegally in waters just outside Canada's 200-nautical-mile limit and was brought back to port in St. John's. The dispute was resolved in April when Canada gave up some of its 16,300-tonne quota in return for a commitment for tougher enforcement measures from the European Union.

1996: George Burns, the wry, cigar-chomping comic whose 90-year career spanned eras from vaudeville to television, dies at the age of 100.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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