July 24th, 2024

In the news today: Israel increases strikes on Gaza ahead of expected ground invasion

By The Canadian Press on October 24, 2023.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Ariel Schalit

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

Israel increases strikes on Gaza, as two more hostages are freed

Israel has escalated its bombardment of targets in the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected ground invasion against Hamas militants.

The stepped-up attacks, and the rapidly rising death toll in Gaza, came as Hamas released two elderly Israeli women who were among the hundreds of hostages it captured during its devastating attacks on towns in southern Israel earlier this month.

The fighting started when Hamas militants rampaged through Israeli towns on Oct. 7, killing 1,400 people and taking hundreds hostage.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry says since then, more than 5,000 Palestinians, including some 2,000 minors and around 1,100 women, have been killed.

Here’s what else we’re watching …

Grocers called back to Parliament over prices

A House of Commons committee is asking the heads of Canada’s major grocery chains to explain their plans to stabilize food prices.

The committee passed an NDP motion on Thursday to invite the grocery executives, and summon them if necessary, to testify about the measures their companies are taking to address food inflation.

This comes after Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced the companies have presented plans to the government to tackle rising prices, which he says include discounts, price freezes and price-matching campaigns.

The parliamentary committee is asking the grocers to submit their plans by Nov. 2.

Unifor to bargain Ont., N.L. Loblaw-owned stores

Unifor is set to bargain on behalf of more than 2,800 grocery store workers at Loblaw-owned stores in Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, testing whether the union can bring the gains it made for Toronto Metro workers to other grocery chains.

More than 3,700 Metro workers in Greater Toronto went on strike this summer after rejecting their first tentative deal. They accepted an agreement more than a month later that the union called historic.

Unifor has made it clear it intends to try and replicate those wins for other grocery workers it represents.

A pair of agreements representing around 2,850 workers at multiple Ontario No Frills stores and multiple Newfoundland and Labrador Dominion stores expire this month.

Macklem warns premiers against interference in BoC

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem warned premiers who asked the central bank not to raise interest rates last month that their requests could undermine the institution’s independence.

The premiers of Ontario, B-C and Newfoundland and Labrador wrote letters to Macklem ahead of the Bank of Canada’s September 6th rate decision, asking that the central bank not raise interest rates again because of concerns about the effects on residents.

Macklem responded to these letters on Sept. 13 acknowledging that higher interest rates are making life challenging for Canadians, but noted that inflation also tends to hurt the most vulnerable people in society.

However, he warned that instructions or requests from elected officials could give the impression that the Bank of Canada’s independence is at risk.

Alberta regulator mulls well reclamation change

Alberta’s Energy Regulator is considering giving oil and gas companies an advance break on the environmental liabilities of old well sites before the cleanup is certified complete.

But critics say the proposal weakens the ability of landowners to hold bad actors to account and depends on an audit system that many already question.

The proposal would let companies reduce their liability for an old well as soon as the work has been done, instead of having to wait until the site has healthy plant cover.

The regulator says the move would reward companies that remediate their old sites promptly, cutting the amount of environmental red ink on their books and making it easier for them to sell or buy old wells.

Talking about drinking key to getting help: docs

Many doctors are on board with new guidelines urging them to ask patients about alcohol use, but they also note that some people lose track of how much they drink, others lie and many don’t know what constitutes a single serving.

Family physician Ginette Poulin, who specialized in addiction medicine in Manitoba and Ontario, says it’s important for primary care providers to normalize these conversations.

She says early detection of high-risk drinking is key to preventing serious health problems.

Poulin is one of the authors of a clinical guideline document published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and she notes routine screening for alcohol would be the same as for diabetes and high blood pressure.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 24, 2023.

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