Canada’s finance minister has been insisting her government’s new budget will show fiscal restraint while also helping low-income Canadians deal with the higher cost of living. At 4 o’clock Eastern Time this afternoon, Chrystia Freeland will stand in the House of Commons and deliver a document that sources say will address both affordability and Canada’s place in the shift to green technology. The Liberals are expected to commit more money to dental care, as well as a temporary boost to the G-S-T rebate to help pay for rising grocery prices. Companies in industries like critical minerals, batteries and renewable energy will see a host of measures to incentivize investment in their projects. Saskatchewan’s government yesterday announced a plan to bolster critical mineral production by boosting spending and the exploration tax credit.
A drag storytime event for children that was postponed earlier this month in Nelson is at the centre of multiple investigations into suspected hate crimes. The March 11 event was put on hold after organizers at the Nelson Public Library said protests had escalated into threats and intimidation tactics. Police in Nelson say there are now several ongoing investigations, with incidents on or around that day being treated as suspected hate crimes. The statement from police says investigators plan to work with Crown prosecutors to determine any changes that may be appropriate.
British Columbia’s health minister is expected to announce the government’s plan to ensure patients have access to the diabetes and weight loss drug Ozempic. Adrian Dix said in January that the province would be investigating why almost 10 per cent of prescriptions for the drug in B-C were filled for American citizens. He said the dramatic increase in demand for the diabetes drug was partly because of social media “influencers” who spoke about its weight loss benefits. A number of celebrities in the United States have promoted the drug despite the fact it is not approved for weight loss.
Walmart Canada president and C-E-O Gonzalo Gebara says the company’s gross profit rate for its food business declined last year. But he wouldn’t give a Commons committee investigating food inflation specific numbers. Federal politicians have been calling for more transparency from the grocery industry as food price inflation continues to significantly outpace overall inflation.
The B-C government has introduced legislation to help couples going through relationship breakups settle custody issues involving family pets. Attorney General Niki Sharma says amendments to B-C’s Family Law Act will ensure the custody settlement becomes an issue beyond a division of property assets, but one that considers the best option for the family and the animal. Sharma says if passed, B-C will be the first jurisdiction in Canada placing in law the importance of pets in some families and offers a settlement road map for divorcing couples and judges.
A 32-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder after a fatal stabbing outside a downtown Vancouver Starbucks. Police say it happened yesterday after a brief altercation between two men who do not appear to have known each other. They say a constable patrolling in the area was flagged down moments after the stabbing and arrested the suspect at the scene. The victim, 37-year-old Paul Stanley Schmidt, died after being rushed to hospital. Police are looking to speak to anyone who witnessed the stabbing.
A new survey underscores safety concerns among women living in the tent encampment on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Atira Women’s Resource Society conducted the survey between November 2022 and January this year, focusing on women who were living in tents and sleeping on the street around the intersection of Main and Hastings. All 50 women surveyed reported they had been victims of violence, including sexual assault. Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim referenced the survey during a weekend announcement, where he joined Housing Minister Ravi Khalon in outlining plans to open additional housing units for people living in the encampment.
Sun Peaks council has a new agreement to improve health-care services in the small resort community northeast of Kamloops. Mayor Al Raine says the community has reached an agreement with the organization Supporting Team Excellence with Patients Society — or STEPS — which should help relieve some of the pressure on the health system. He says it’s been difficult to secure funding and recruit staff for the Sun Peaks health centre in its current form, and the deal will see STEPS take over its operations. Raine says the doctor pool with the non-profit society is larger, with more flexibility to help residents access care.
Grades 4 and 5 students in many parts of B-C are set to improve their biking skills as the Everyone Rides program gets rolling for its fourth year. Students in the Capital Region, Metro Vancouver, Kelowna, the West Kootenays and the Prince George area will learn foundational biking skills and helmet safety. More than 65-hundred students from 65 schools are expected to participate. The B-C government has spent 1.4 million dollars on the program since 2020.