In the news today: Toronto's decriminalization bid concerned feds

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

Addictions minister had 'deep concerns' with Toronto's decriminalization pitch

Federal Addictions Minister Ya'ara Saks says she had "deep concerns" about the lack of limits Toronto put on its now-rejected pitch to decriminalize the possession of illegal drugs — and the city health agency's refusal to make any changes. Earlier this month, Saks told reporters that Toronto Public Health's long-standing application was "dormant," then announced its denial days later, on a Friday evening before a long weekend. The minister now says the proposal did not include age restrictions or limits on the amount of drugs a person could have in their possession.

Unknown Newfoundland soldier's remains coming home

The remains of an unknown Newfoundland soldier who died in France during the First World War are expected to arrive Saturday in St. John’s. Preparations are being made for a solemn reburial ceremony on July 1. In Newfoundland and Labrador, July 1st is Memorial Day, a time to remember the hundreds of young men from the Newfoundland Regiment who died on that day in 1916, during a disastrous battle at Beaumont-Hamel. On Saturday, the government of France is expected to formally transfer the remains to the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador during a repatriation ceremony at Beaumont-Hamel.

Trucker in Broncos crash faces deportation hearing

A deportation hearing for the truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash six years ago is set for today. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to causing the 2018 crash in Saskatchewan that killed 16 people and injured 13 others. The rookie Calgary trucker, a newly married permanent resident from India, barrelled through a stop sign at a rural intersection near Tisdale, Saskatchewan, and drove into the path of the bus carrying the junior hockey team to a playoff game.

Search for truth goes on: Pickton victim advocates

Advocates for the alleged victims of B.C. serial killer Robert Pickton say they remain focused on getting justice for the women, as Pickton lies in a Quebec hospital in a coma after being attacked in prison. Angela Marie MacDougall, the executive director of Battered Women's Support Services, reflected on the assault that Quebec police say left Pickton with life-threatening injuries. MacDougall says "there's something to be said about jailhouse justice." Pickton was convicted in 2007 on six counts of second-degree murder of six women but is suspected of killing dozens more who went missing from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Competition Bureau probes Sobeys, Loblaws owners

Canada's Competition Bureau has launched investigations into the parent companies of grocery chains Loblaws and Sobeys for alleged anticompetitive conduct. The Federal Court documents show the Commissioner of Competition launched the probes on March 1st, saying there's reason to believe the firms' use of so-called property controls limits retail grocery competition. The commissioner claims the controls that the grocery giants have baked into lease agreements are designed to restrict other potential tenants and their activities and are hampering competition in the grocery market.

Outdated rules and mounting losses: Can anything be done to fix Canada Post?

Experts say Canada Post needs drastic measures to staunch the fiscal bleeding and revamp its operations after a tough decade. The Crown corporation lost $748 million before taxes in 2023, its second-worst year on record as Canadians sent fewer letters while competitors gobbled up even more of the parcel market. Canada Post says households received seven letters a week on average in 2006, but only two per week last year, though its charter still requires daily rounds to every address. Some observers see higher stamp prices, a more efficient delivery network and expansion into new fields — from banking to various government services — among the routes to profitability.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2024.

The Canadian Press