June 23rd, 2024

In the news today: Central bank to hold interest rate steady? PM testifies at inquiry

By The Canadian Press on April 10, 2024.

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

BoC expected to hold policy rate at 5% today

The Bank of Canada is set to announce its interest rate decision this morning.

It’s widely expected to maintain its key interest rate at five per cent, but economists will be watching for any hints about the timing of upcoming rate cuts.

Forecasters expect the central bank to begin lowering its key rate in June as the economy continues to slow and inflation trends lower.

High interest rates have slowed demand in the economy as consumers pull back on spending and businesses hold off on investment plans, helping lower inflation.

Canada’s inflation rate was 2.8 per cent in February.

PM to testify at foreign interference inquiry

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to testify today at an inquiry into foreign meddling in Canada’s last two elections.

The inquiry has already heard that China and other state actors attempted to interfere, but there has been little evidence so far to indicate whether they were successful.

Trudeau has maintained over the last year that foreign interference had no meaningful impact on Canada’s free and fair elections, which echoes what senior government officials have told Parliament.

Several members of Trudeau’s cabinet are also slated to testify, including government House leader Karina Gould, who is currently on maternity leave.

As the former minister of democratic institutions, she was tasked with curbing foreign meddling in Canada’s elections.

Ontario family refuses to pay hospital for LTC law

A few weeks ago, Michele Campeau faced what seemed like an impossible decision: move her mom from a hospital bed to a long-term care home the family hated or pay $400 a day to remain at the health-care facility.

Campeau chose neither ““ the family has been racking up a monster bill since March 11 that remains unpaid while her mother has stayed on at a Windsor, Ont., hospital.

Campeau’s mother is among those caught up in a law that allows hospitals to place discharged patients into long-term care homes not of their choosing in order to free up beds. Should patients refuse the move, they face a $400 per day charge to remain at the hospital.

“I’m not too worried about it because I’m not paying it,” Campeau told The Canadian Press.

The law, known as Bill 7, was passed by the Doug Ford government in the fall of 2022 in an effort to open up much-needed hospital space. It is aimed at so-called alternate level of care patients who are discharged from hospital but need a long-term care bed and don’t have one yet.

Six children of Canadian mother to be repatriated from Syria

Six children, but not their Canadian mother, will be repatriated to Canada from a detention camp in Syria.

Lawyer Lawrence Greenspon, who represents the mother, says Global Affairs Canada is planning the return of the children, who are between the ages of five and 12.

He says the government is working with the Polarization Clinic in Montreal, which supports families affected by radicalization. The clinic will receive the children, who don’t have family in Montreal and will likely end up placed in foster care if the mother is not back in the country.

Greenspon says the mother is now out of the camp and wants to return to Canada to be with her children. “Presumably her intention is to find her way back,” he said.

The federal government has refused to repatriate the woman, whose identity is not public, because officials believe she poses a security risk, according to Greenspon.

Rescue plans continue for stranded B.C. orca calf

The British Columbia First Nation at the centre of a complex attempt to rescue a young killer whale stranded in a tidal lagoon near the Vancouver Island village of Zeballos says it is facing hard decisions.

The Ehattesaht First Nation says in a statement that it is relying on its traditional knowledge about whales and its territorial waters, along with modern tools, to rescue an orca calf stranded in a remote tidal lagoon.

Ehattesaht First Nation Chief Simon John previously said an attempt to rescue the female orca calf, estimated to be about two years old and already more than two weeks in the lagoon off northwest Vancouver Island, could occur this week.

First Nation members, federal Fisheries Department marine mammal experts, whale scientists and boat and machine operators spent much of Tuesday in meetings preparing for a rescue attempt.

Experts say B.C. lacks ‘vital signs’ on water

Growing up on a ranch in the Columbia River Valley, water has always been part of Kat Hartwig’s life, and over the years, she’s noticed changes.

Marshy areas her family used for irrigation or watering cattle are dry, wetlands are becoming “crunchy” rather than spongy underfoot, and snowmelt is disappearing more quickly each spring, ushering in the dry summer months, Hartwig says.

Climate science supports her observations, showing that global heating is causing warmer temperatures and increasingly severe droughts in British Columbia.

Hartwig, who advocates for better water policy, and others say drought is exposing cracks in how the province manages water.

Officials don’t always know who is using groundwater it, how much they’re using, or where they’re drawing it from, experts say. There are gaps in mapping and other data that officials need to effectively manage water during times of scarcity.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 10, 2024

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