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Soaring grocery prices in Canada spark increase in thefts from stores: researcher

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A researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax is speaking out about the costs of groceries in Canada and an increase in thefts from grocery stores.

Sylvain Charlebois wrote an op-ed piece last week that stated grocery store owners are feeling more concerned about theft than before.

“You can expect more cameras, more surveillance, and more security in general as your favourite grocer won’t have a choice,” Charlebois wrote in the piece.

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When he shared the post on social media, he said he received many responses from people who were not concerned about the rise in theft and some who were actually advocating for it.

“So first of all, there’s a lot of anger towards grocery stores right now, grocers and frankly, there is a track record,” Charlebois said on Global News Morning.

“If you go back a few years ago with the bread price-fixing scheme, nobody went to jail, nobody was fined. The hero pay scandal, which happened during COVID and now with food inflation being over 10 per cent, people are upset, they’re concerned and they’re looking for a scapegoat. And that scapegoat is the grocery store, is the grocer.”

Charlebois said industry data shows grocery stores lose between $2,000 and $5,000 a week on average but it is hard to have accurate data as so many occurrences of theft are dealt with at the store or with security guards and do not involve the police.

“So a lot of people out there think that grocers are actually overcharging for food when in actuality it’s a global phenomena. In fact, Canada actually has one of the lowest food inflation rate in the world right after Japan. So but still, people are very, very angry. They’re angry at Loblaws, Galen Weston, grocers in general.”

More than a third (36 per cent) of Canadians say their financial situations are very bad or somewhat bad heading into 2023, according to Ipsos Public Affairs polling conducted exclusively for Global News between Dec. 14 and 16.

Last October, Canada’s competition watchdog launched a study of the grocery industry to examine whether the highly concentrated sector is contributing to rising food costs.

“With inflation on the rise, Canadian consumers have seen their purchasing power decline,” the Competition Bureau said in a news release at the time.

“This is especially true when buying groceries. In fact, grocery prices in Canada are increasing at the fastest rate seen in 40 years.”

Charlebois said he feels for people who are desperate to find food but some of the thefts are employees stealing food to sell at a secondary market food service, such as restaurants.

“And because high prices are a problem for everyone, including the food service industry,” he said, “theft is unfortunately and likely on the rise.”

He said Canadians feel unprotected and need a stronger governing body. He would also like to see a code of conduct put in place similar to one in the United Kingdom.

It is intended to protect food and drink suppliers to major supermarkets from being treated unfairly.

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St-Onge urges provinces to accelerate efforts to make sports safer for athletes

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Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge says ending abuse in sports will require complaints processes that include provincial-level athletes, not just national ones.

St-Onge and provincial sports ministers will meet during the Canada Games in mid-February where their agenda will include the ongoing effort to address widespread allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in sports.

She says she asked the provincial ministers at an August meeting to look at joining the new federal sport integrity process or creating their own.

The national sports integrity commissioner can only investigate allegations of abuse from athletes at the national level.

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But St-Onge says the vast majority of athletes aren’t in that category and only Quebec has its own sports integrity office capable of receiving and investigating complaints.

The national sport integrity office officially began its work last June and has since received 48 complaints from athletes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2023.

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Justice is a Privilege Reserved for the Few

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History is full of examples showing us that Justice is a privilege reserved for the few, the wealthy, politically and financially connected, in fact, those of the right colour or race depending on where and when this justice was to be dealt with. Justice must be earnt, and it expends a colossal cost. What do I mean?

When a justice system demands proof of your innocence, while viewing the accused as guilty until that proof surfaces, the system of justice seems to be blind to all but those with the ability to hire known lawyers and a defense team to point out any misunderstandings that arise. A Black Man with many priors stands before a judge, accused of violent crimes. Will such a man have the ability to raise money to get out of jail and hire a powerful legal team? If he is a financially well-off man perhaps, but if he is an “Average Joe”, the justice system swallows him up, incarcerating him while he waits for his trial, and possible conviction. While the justice system is supposed to be blind to financial, sexist, and racial coding, the statistics show White men often walk, and Black-Hispanic and men of color often do not. Don’t think so?

America’s Justice system has a huge penal population, well into the millions of citizens in public and private prisons across the land. According to Scientific America, 71% of those imprisoned are not white. So do you think these men and women got there because of their choices or did the system help to decide that while whites can be either excused, rehabilitated or found not endangering the greater society, “the others” are threats to the nation’s security and population?

White privilege is still prevalent within our system, with financial privilege a close second.

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The World was white, but now its really black(non-white)
Justice for all is never achieved, just verbatim.
What can justice do for the lowly man
while jails fill and are built anew continually?

When you are seen as an outsider always,
and the precious few escape societies’ hungry grasp.
Justice for all is the cry we all hear these days,
While the policeman stamps your future out at last.

Martin L says the Black Persons going to win this war,
and a war of attrition it truly has been.
Justice is a privileged and socially mobile thing,
leaving the many to pray to the spirit of Tyre Nichols,
asking what the hell can we do???

I walked through an airport recently with no problem and no questioning. Customs and border officers were busy getting into the face of many non-white travelers. To this very day, a non-white person flying anywhere with a long beard, and dressed like a Muslim could get you unwelcomed trouble. Being different will always create difficulties. Being out of your place in another financial-ethnic society will be a challenge. Race, financial and political privilege will forever be with us. The powerful will always be able to dance around the justice system’s rules and regulations. Why? Well, the justice system is an exclusive club, filled with lawyers and police. The administrators and enforcers of the system. Some other form of the judicial system is needed, with a firm root in community equality. Can our Justice System be truly blind to all influencers, but the laws of the land? Can victims of crime receive true justice, retribution in kind for the offenses carried out by criminals against them?

” In the final analysis, true justice is not a matter of courts and law books, but of a commitment in each of us to liberty and mutual respect”(Jimmy Carter). Mutual respect of all actors in the play known as the Justice System, influenced, manipulated, and written by lawyers and academics. God help us.

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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By the numbers for British Columbia’s overdose crisis

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British Columbia’s chief coroner released overdose figures for 2022, showing 2,272 residents died from toxic drugs last year. Lisa Lapointe says drug toxicity remains the leading cause of unnatural death in B.C., and is second only to cancers in terms of years of life lost.

Here are some of the numbers connected to the overdose crisis:

189: Average number of deaths per month last year.

6.2: Average deaths per day.

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At least 11,171: Deaths attributed to drug toxicity since the public health emergency was declared in April 2016.

70: Percentage of the dead between 30 and 59 years old.

79: Percentage of those who died who were male.

65: Children and youth who have died in the last two years.

82: Percentage of the deaths where the toxic opioid fentanyl was involved.

73,000: People in B.C. who have been diagnosed with opioid use disorder.

8.8: The rate that First Nations women are dying, is a multiple of the general population’s rate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2023.

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