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In The News for May 5 : A look at April's employment numbers

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 5 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Statistics Canada building and signs are pictured in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. Statistics Canada is set to release its April labour force survey this morning, providing updated numbers on employment levels in the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 5 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Statistics Canada is set to release its April labour force survey this morning, providing updated numbers on employment levels in the country. 

RBC says it expects 12,000 jobs were added last month, the lowest number since September.  

Employers have kept their hiring appetite in recent months, even as high interest rates make borrowing more expensive for people and businesses. 

The unemployment rate continued to sit at five per cent in March, hovering near record lows.

However, job vacancies have been falling and the Bank of Canada's recent business outlook survey shows employers reporting less intense labour shortages. 

The Bank of Canada's aggressive rate hikes are expected to filter through to the labour market in the coming months, leading to a rise in unemployment. 


Also this ...

A United Nations initiative aimed at eliminating gender-based violence is asking Canada to put up cash to help stem a backsliding in women's rights, even though the Liberals are cutting back on foreign aid.

"Women's rights and violence against women and girls is not a side issue," said Nahla Valji, the UN's senior gender adviser, a position Canada pushed to have created at the agency's headquarters in New York.

Valji, who grew up in Burnaby, B.C., is on Parliament Hill this week asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help stop an erosion of women's rights globally.

She's following up on a letter from UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, who asked Trudeau to help fund what's called the Spotlight Initiative.

The project launched in 2017 with the European Union pledging 500 million euros, or roughly $740 million, for projects that work to curb gender-based violence and to give women a seat at the table in post-conflict negotiations.

Spotlight Initiative works in two dozen of the world's poorest countries, helping local groups launch projects that provide women with employment while weeding out violence.

Valji's office wouldn't share the letter, but said it "invites Canada to be a partner in scaling up the investment" by the end of 2023, and said the letter didn't specify an amount.

She's leaning on the Liberals' rhetoric about putting women at the centre of their diplomatic efforts, such as through a feminist aid policy.

"Canada has always been a leader on the international stage, going back to Lester B. Pearson through to today, in terms of multilateralism," she said. "Canada throughout history has walked the talk, in terms of the values of the (UN) charter."

The government says it's assessing the request. But at the same time, federal cutbacks have the development sector preparing to scale back programs. 

The Liberals insist a 15 per cent drop in funding for foreign aid is not actually a cut because it's higher than their pre-pandemic spending.


And this too ...

The head of the Native Women’s Association of Canada says it’s clear there's an ongoing emergency nearly four years after the final report into missing and murdered Indigenous woman and girls was released. 

“We are in a crisis,” said Carol McBride. 

Red dresses are set to be on display across the country Friday to recognize the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People. It has become known as Red Dress Day and the empty garments serve as a symbol of lives that have been lost.

Each year there are more events, rallies and art displays. Despite the increased awareness and an extensive national inquiry, McBride said the situation that Indigenous girls and women face has not substantially changed.

“I'm a mother. I'm a sister. I'm an aunt,” she said. “And I'm just imagining some of our families and our women are suffering right now.”

The inquiry’s final report was released in 2019 and included sweeping calls for change. It found Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other group in Canada. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accepted the findings of the inquiry, which said the crisis amounted to genocide.

Sixty-three per cent of Indigenous women have experienced violence and nearly half have experienced sexual assault, Statistics Canada said in a report last year. 

Winnipeg has been called ground zero.

At least 28 Indigenous women in Manitoba have died due to violence since May 2020, said Sandra DeLaronde, team lead for the Manitoba MMIWG2S+ implementation team. The majority were in Winnipeg. 


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

PHILADELPHIA _ Three fired police officers who pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges in the death of an eight-year-old girl killed when they opened fire outside a high school football game near Philadelphia are set to be sentenced Friday.

Former Sharon Hill officers Brian Devaney, Devon Smith and Sean Dolan have pleaded guilty to 10 counts each of reckless endangerment. Investigators say they could not determine which officer fired the shot that killed Fanta Bility on Aug. 27, 2021. The charge carries a maximum term of up to two years in prison in Pennsylvania.

Prosecutors contend the officers negligently fired 25 shots at a car they mistakenly thought was involved in gunfire that broke out as spectators left the football game in 2021. Devaney was not wearing a body camera, and the other two officers did not turn their cameras on, investigators found.

Bility had attended the game at Academy Park High School with her mother and an older sister who was also shot but survived. In all, four people were hit by police bullets that sped past the car.

The handling of the case prompted outrage and protests from the Black community and others as District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer initially charged two Black teens who engaged in gunfire a block away _ which prompted the police response _ with the child's death. Those charges were later dropped, and, after a grand jury investigation, the officers were instead charged with voluntary and involuntary manslaughter along with the endangerment counts.

The November plea agreements that dismissed those more serious charges came after consultations with the Bility family.

The family, who belong to a community of immigrants from West Africa, said it was important that the officers take responsibility for the girl's death and the trauma they experienced. They have a federal lawsuit pending against the defendants and the Sharon Hill police department.

Lawyers for the ex-officers, who have been free on bail, initially called her death a tragedy caused by the teens who engaged in gunfire. The lawyers did not immediately return calls seeking comment Thursday.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

BELGRADE, Serbia _ Serbian police said they have arrested a suspect in a drive-by shooting attack that killed at least eight and wounded 14, the nation's second such mass shooting in two days.

In a statement, police said that the man, identified by initials U.B., was arrested early Friday near the central Serbian town of Kragujevac, about 100 kilometres south of Belgrade.

The arrest followed an all-night search by hundreds of police, who sealed off an area south of Belgrade where the shooting took place late Thursday.

The attacker shot randomly at people in three villages near Mladenovac, some 50 kilometres south of the capital, RTS said.

Serbian Interior Minister Bratislav Gasic called Thursday's drive-by shootings ``a terrorist act,'' state media reported.

The shooting came a day after a 13-year-old boy used his father's guns to kill eight fellow students and a guard at a school in Belgrade.

The bloodshed sent shockwaves through a Balkan nation scarred by wars, but unused to mass murders.

Though Serbia is awash with weapons left over from the wars of the 1990s, Wednesday's school shooting was the first in the country's modern history. The last mass shooting before this week was in 2013, when a war veteran killed 13 people in a central Serbian village.


On this day in 1950 ...

Waves caused by 80-km/h winds broke through dikes surrounding Winnipeg. The water inundated the Manitoba capital, forcing one-third of the population to leave their homes. The flooding left one person dead and caused $100 million in damage.


In entertainment ...

The family members of some of the men who died in a shipwreck in 1975 are mourning the death of Gordon Lightfoot. 

The legendary folk musician, who died Monday, immortalized the 29 crewmen in his famous song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

The song was released in 1976, one year after the ship sank in Lake Superior during a storm.

Deborah Champeau says when she heard the news of Lightfoot's death, it felt like finding out the ship sank again. 

Champeau's father was a third assistant engineer on the vessel.

Lightfoot formed a relationship with many of the families over the years after he reached out to explain why he wrote the song. 

Lightfoot also joined families in 2015 at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the shipwreck.


Did you see this?

It may have been the greatest battle between robots and humans to ever take place inside a Saskatchewan brewery. 

The grain mash was masterful and the fermentation feisty as a brewer went head to head in a taste-off with ChatGPT to find out who, or what, can make the best beer. 

The idea for the faceoff against the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot came out of a meeting between staff at 9 Mile Legacy Brewing, a Saskatoon nanobrewery known for making craft beer and pushing boundaries. 

Garrett Pederson, 9 Mile’s co-founder and head brewer, said they were playing around with the explosively popular chatbot earlier this year and thought it would be fun to test the technology’s usefulness when it comes to one of the oldest drinks humans have produced.

ChatGPT, developed by U.S.-based company OpenAI, was challenged to create an "award-winning" gose recipe using local ingredients. A gose is typically a sour and salty beer with origins in Germany.

Unsurprisingly, it made a Saskatoon berry gose.

Pederson came up with his own recipe for a rhubarb ginger sour. He used the tried and true methods of researching old brew records and recipes, talking with other brewers and looking online. 

The two beers were put in front of customers for a blind taste test, and while Team Human put in a good fight, it was ultimately Team Robot that took the win with 60 per cent of the votes

Pederson says it was a fun experiment, but he doesn’t expect to see the artificial intelligence taking over any time soon. 

There had to be a lot of help from human brewers to make it drinkable. 


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2023.

The Canadian Press