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In the news today: Spy service chief back at inquiry, Walmart Canada getting robots

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
A robot unloads a pallet of cat food at a Walmart distribution centre in Calgary, Thursday, March 28, 2024. Walmart Canada is planning to bring robots to two Ontario distribution centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

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

Spy service chief returns to interference inquiry

The head of Canada's spy agency is slated to face fresh questions today on exactly what the federal government was told about foreign meddling. Canadian Security Intelligence Service director David Vigneault is expected to clarify whether stark CSIS conclusions contained in briefing materials were actually conveyed to government officials. A CSIS memo tabled at the inquiry after Vigneault's initial appearance baldly asserts that China "clandestinely and deceptively" interfered in both the 2019 and 2021 general elections.

Walmart Canada says robots are coming to two Ontario warehouses, but jobs not at risk

Walmart Canada is planning to bring robots to two Ontario distribution centres. Over the next five years, the retail giant says facilities it runs in Mississauga and Cornwall, Ont., will get outfitted with the technology already in use at its Calgary distribution centre. The Calgary centre has robots that transport pallets of merchandise and another device that mimics a giant arm that can unpack those pallets and put products on conveyor belts. A third group of robots acts as labellers, scanning and applying shipping tags to products.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith to speak in Ottawa

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is in Ottawa today after tabling a bill that would allow her province to block future direct funding from the federal government to cities. It's just the latest example of a deepening fissure between Smith's United Conservative Party government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals. Smith proposed the legislation after Ottawa announced funding deals with several Alberta municipalities in hopes of speeding up housing construction, as it has done with cities across Canada.

Increasing renewables raise environmental concerns

Experts say Alberta will face increasing conflict between environmental values as the province builds out its renewable energy grid. One solar project is already opposed due to potential impacts on antelope habitat, and residents near a bio-gas project fear it will increase pre-existing strong air quality problems. Sara Hastings-Simon of the University of Calgary says the province will have to be careful about where it sites such developments. She says bodies such as the Alberta Utilities Commission have the tools to weigh such competing interests.

French PM, Quebec premier to hold news conference

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal will be in Quebec City and Montreal as he wraps up a three-day visit to Canada today. Attal and Quebec Premier François Legault will hold a working session followed by a joint news conference in Quebec City this morning. Attal will then travel to Montreal, where he will participate in an economic roundtable with Legault at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the province's pension fund manager.

Team prepares the site for the rescue of orphan B.C. orca

A team of about two dozen people is preparing the planned landing area for the complex rescue of an orphaned killer whale calf trapped in a remote tidal lagoon off northwest Vancouver Island. Veterinarians, whale response experts, First Nations members and logistics experts are expected to conduct a series of dry runs ahead of the planned rescue, which could occur within days. A two-year-old female calf has been alone in the lagoon for more than two weeks after its pregnant mother became beached at low tide and died.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2024.

The Canadian Press