June 22nd, 2024

In the news today: Holocaust education thumbs up, immigration targets to get tweaked

By The Canadian Press on November 2, 2023.

People hold Israeli flags during a vigil organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver in support of those killed in Israel, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, October 10, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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

Holocaust educators applaud B.C. and Ontario

To combat rising antisemitism, both British Columbia and Ontario announced this week that they would introduce mandatory Holocaust education for high school students, teaching them of the murder of six million Jews and others during the Second World War by Nazi Germany.

“For our friends and neighbours in the Jewish community, this has been an incredibly frightening time. We have seen a rise in antisemitism in B.C. following the terrorist attacks in Israel, which evokes the history of persecution of Jews,” Premier David Eby said in a statement Monday. “Combating this kind of hate begins with learning from the darkest parts of our history, so the same horrors are never repeated.”

Nina Krieger, executive director of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, said many people are surprised that Holocaust education wasn’t mandatory in B.C. before.

The centre reaches around 25,000 students a year with its programming, and Krieger said the centre is “very heartened by the province’s announcement” to make Holocaust education mandatory for the 2025 school year.

Feds to ‘recalibrate’ number of temporary visas

Immigration Minister Marc Miller says he plans to recalibrate the number of people who come to Canada temporarily to make sure the program is sustainable, but details about what measures the government is considering remain unclear.

Miller announced his intentions after he tabled the immigration targets for permanent residents Wednesday afternoon.

The Immigration Department’s most recent annual report shows a massive increase in temporary worker visas since 2018 and there have been large increases in the number of international students as well.

Miller says Canada has become “addicted” to temporary foreign workers, which has created what he called “perverse incentives” and, in some cases, led to abuse of the workers.

But he says the government must not take “draconian actions” without evidence to back it up, which could create an unintended whiplash effect on the economy.

Ontario to unveil fall economic outlook

Ontario is set to unveil its fall economic outlook today as many in the province struggle to pay bills.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy says while there is plenty of uncertainty around the world, he is confident in Ontario’s economy.

He says the province will continue with its targeted approach to spending that gives Ontario some flexibility in uncertain times.

In the days leading up to the fall economic statement, the province announced it has scrapped the provincial portion of the harmonized sales tax on new purpose-built rental housing construction, will lower the age for regular breast cancer screenings and has extended the gas tax cut for another six months.

In August, Bethlenfalvy said the province expected to run a $1.3 billion deficit in the current fiscal year, followed by subsequent years of surplus budgets.

Nygard sex assault trial continues

Former fashion mogul Peter Nygard is expected to continue testifying today under cross-examination at his sexual assault trial in Toronto.

The 82-year-old founder of a now-defunct women’s clothing company has pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement in alleged incidents ranging from the 1980s to the mid-2000s.

Multiple complainants in the trial have alleged they were taken to Nygard’s Toronto headquarters under pretences ranging from tours to job interviews, with encounters ending in a top-floor bedroom suite where they allege they were sexually assaulted.

Nygard denied those allegations as he testified in his own defence last week, and said he has never done the things the five complainants have accused him of.

Leaving Gaza

Hundreds of foreign passport-holders and dozens of other seriously wounded Palestinians desperate to escape Israel’s bombardment of Gaza crowded around the black metal gate on the Egyptian border Wednesday, hoping to pass through the enclave’s only portal to the outside world for the first time since the war began.

After three weeks of repeatedly dashed hopes and torturous negotiations between Egypt, Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, the first group of Palestinians left the besieged strip through the Rafah crossing, swarmed by TV cameras.

Ottawa says it expects the flow of foreign nationals leaving the war-torn Gaza Strip to Egypt will continue in the coming days, even as Canadians had been warned that their safety could not be guaranteed if they chose to make the trip.

Global Affairs Canada said Wednesday night that it was aware of reports that one Canadian citizen was able to leave the Palestinian territory at the Rafah border crossing with the help of a third party, but offered no further information.

Meantime, Israel’s military says its ground troops have advanced to “the gates of Gaza City” amid heavy fighting.

Israeli airstrikes pounded a densely populated area and a large refugee camp for a second day yesterday as the IDF works to root out Hamas militants blamed for the October 7th attack on Israel.

Canadian director debuts new movie on Netflix

Canadian director and producer Shawn Levy’s new project is debuting on Netflix today.

The Montreal-born Levy has adapted the best-selling novel “All the Light We Cannot See” into a limited series for the streaming giant.

He says he is a huge fan of the beloved book, which follows the lives of two young protagonists during the Second World War.

The novel and its small-screen adaptation tell the parallel stories of a blind French girl who joins the resistance to Nazi occupation, and a German teenager recruited by the Nazis to track down illegal broadcasts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2023

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