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Is Canada in a recession? StatCan’s early estimates are saying not yet

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Early indicators from Statistics Canada on show the country’s economy is slowing but might not be in recession territory yet.

The agency released new gross domestic product (GDP) data on Tuesday, showing the economy grew at a rate of 0.1 per cent in November.

Early indications show that the country’s GDP was essentially unchanged for December.

Overall, StatCan said advance information suggests a 1.6 per cent annualized increase in GDP for the fourth quarter of the year and annual growth of 3.8 per cent in 2022.

Economic growth is expected to slow in response to higher interest rates, with many economists anticipating a mild recession this year. A recession is traditionally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

“Overall, today’s data show that the Canadian economy continues to cool, but not as yet shift into reverse, in the face of rising interest rates,” said CIBC Senior Economist Andrew Grantham in a note to clients Tuesday.

The Bank of Canada has raised its key interest rate eight consecutive times since March, bringing it to 4.5 per cent, the highest it’s been since 2007.

After hiking interest rates last week, the central bank signalled it would take a pause to assess how higher interest rates are affecting inflation and the economy.

In November, growth in real domestic product was driven by the public sector, transportation and warehousing and finance and insurance.

Meanwhile, construction, retail and accommodation and food services contracted.

— with files from the Canadian Press

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RCMP to heighten presence in N.S. town after patrol car set alight late at night

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METEGHAN, N.S. – The Mounties say they are bringing in more officers to a southwestern Nova Scotia community where a patrol car was set on fire in a service station lot earlier this week.

Investigators say police responded to the blaze in Meteghan, N.S., after receiving a call around 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday.

Officers say that when they arrived, they found that the police car had been destroyed and two other non-police vehicles that were parked nearby were damaged by the fire.

Sgt. Jeff LeBlanc, the detachment commander, said in an interview that RCMP think the fire was set intentionally and that it is linked to other recent violent incidents in the area. He said that over the past six months the RCMP have investigated shots fired at residences, along with incidents of threatening behaviour and intimidation.

“Due to the influx of investigations, I’ve made the request for additional investigators and patrol members which has been answered and is on the ground as we speak,” he said, adding this has more than doubled the current staff level of about seven officers.

LeBlanc said the Mounties are planning to maintain the “amplified police presence” in the community over the next weeks and months, with the added staff including both patrol officers and specialized investigators with expertise in organized crime.

The detachment commander said there isn’t a link between the recent incidents and the dispute two years ago between Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishers over access to the lobster fishery in the area.

“This is a group of organized criminals within our community … and that’s what we’re investigating at this time,” the sergeant said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan leaving cabinet, Trudeau confirms

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OTTAWA – Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan is stepping down from cabinet and will not be seeking re-election in the next federal contest, the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed Thursday.

A statement from that office said a replacement for O’Regan would be sworn in at Rideau Hall on Friday.

“The prime minister extends his sincere thanks to Minister O’Regan for his exceptional leadership and dedication to making life better for Canadians, including for unions, workers and organized labour,” the statement read.

O’Regan will remain the MP representing the Newfoundland riding of St. John’s South-Mount Pearl until the next election, which is set to take place by fall 2025.

A source with knowledge of the matter said a broader cabinet shuffle is not expected to take place.

In a statement on Thursday, O’Regan said his family comes first and he needs to be a better husband, son, uncle and friend.

“My friend Seamus has been a pragmatic voice and a relentless advocate around the cabinet table. But to do that work well, you have to sacrifice a lot, and ask so much of your family. I respect his decision whole-heartedly,” Trudeau said in a social-media post.

O’Regan had alluded to the need to spend more time with family in a speech last month in Toronto.

His father died during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he is a caregiver for his mother, who lives in St. John’s.

O’Regan told the Canadian Club Toronto crowd that he always has his phone volume turned up in case it rings and it’s his mom on the line.

“If, God forbid, something happens to mom right now in St. John’s, I’m the first one to get the call. I’m number one on her lifeline” he said in his address.

O’Regan, 53, was elected as a member of Parliament in 2015 and has served as a minister since 2017, overseeing several portfolios.

He took on his current portfolio in 2021 and was the federal point person on labour issues as several major strikes unfolded.

That included a national walk-out involving thousands of federal public servants last year, as well as a strike at Canada’s busiest port in Vancouver, where the movement of billions of dollars in trade stalled during an extended impasse.

As a cabinet minister, O’Regan introduced multiple government bills. Most recently, he shepherded legislation to ban replacement workers during strikes and lockouts, a New Democrat priority and the fulfilment of a decades-long push from unions.

While serving in the Indigenous services portfolio, he oversaw a bill that sought to give Indigenous groups and communities jurisdiction over child and family services.

“So much of my work in politics has been about dignity,” O’Regan said in a speech to the Canadian Club Toronto last month.

“Dignity for veterans, dignity for Indigenous peoples, dignity for workers.”

When O’Regan was veterans affairs minister, Trudeau apologized on behalf of Canada for decades of discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community — an occasion for the minister to open up about his own identity as a gay man.

O’Regan shared that it wasn’t until after he became an MP and went through rehabilitation for alcohol addiction in late 2015 that he realized his sexuality was connected to his substance abuse.

“There’s the battle that is fought on, ‘This is my identity, this is who I am,”‘ O’Regan told The Canadian Press in 2017.

“There is also the battle of, ‘Who the hell is the government to tell me who to love? Who the hell is the government to tell me who I can’t love?'”

O’Regan was previously known to many Canadians as a journalist and for his 10 years as co-host of CTV’s Canada AM.

Before entering politics, he was already a longtime friend of Trudeau’s, having been a member of the prime minister’s wedding party when he got married in 2005.

O’Regan and his husband Stelios Doussis also travelled with Trudeau on a family vacation to the Bahamas in 2016.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 18, 2024.



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Ground assault begins on Labrador City wildfire that forced thousands to evacuate

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LABRADOR CITY, N.L. – Firefighters began attacking a fire near Labrador City from the ground today, marking a new stage in the effort to get the roaring wildfire under control.

Newfoundland and Labrador forest fire duty officer Jeff Motty says there were about 20 firefighters from New Brunswick on the ground this morning and they’ll soon be joined by more colleagues from Newfoundland and Labrador.

He says ground crews must be helicoptered into the area and firefighters spent considerable time on Wednesday clearing out landing spots around the blaze.

Though steady water bombing will continue from above, Motty says it’s the “boots on the ground” that will ultimately put the fires out.

Motty says the size of the fire is holding steady at about 131 square kilometres, adding that it remains roughly six kilometres from the community of Labrador City.

Labrador City is home to more than 7,000 people and they were ordered to evacuate last week after a sudden shift in conditions sent the once-smouldering fire roaring back and moving quickly toward the town.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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