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In the news today: Parliament resumes, with focus on housing and food prices

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
Members of the federal cabinet applaud as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for a media availability after a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 26, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

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

Housing, food prices on agenda as MPs return

MPs are returning to the House of Commons today determined to find relief for Canadians feeling the pinch of inflation.

While some of the most heated debates this fall will surround bail reform, gun restrictions and climate change, it is housing costs and grocery bills that will likely dominate the agenda.

Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne will get things moving this morning when he meets with the heads of Canada's biggest grocery chains, seeking a plan to curb the growing cost of food.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the heads of Loblaws, Sobeys, Metro, Costco and Walmart Canada have until Thanksgiving to show a plan to lower prices or the government may step in to force the issue.


Here's what else we're watching ...

Arguments slow 'Freedom Convoy' organizers' trial

Lawyers on both sides of the trial of key "Freedom Convoy" organizers are working to keep the proceedings from coming to a standstill.

Tamara Lich and Chris Barber are facing charges related to their role in the demonstration that had big-rig trucks blocking downtown Ottawa streets to protest COVID-19 public health measures.

The Crown had thought it would take about 10 days to present its case in a trial originally scheduled for 16 days.

But as the trial begins its third week in an Ottawa courtroom, just two of the Crown's 21 planned witnesses have appeared so far.


London attack accused's trial continues today

Jurors at the trial of a man accused of murdering four members of a Muslim family in Ontario are set to hear more evidence today.

Nathaniel Veltman is accused of deliberately hitting five members of the Afzaal family with his truck while they were out for a walk in London, Ont.

Prosecutors have alleged his actions in June 2021 amount to an act of terrorism and have argued he was motivated by white nationalist beliefs.

Veltman, 22, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Jurors watch a video of Veltman on Friday telling a detective he hesitated before carrying out his attack but decided to get it "over with," hoping to inspire other young white men to target Muslims.


Court to rule in sex workers' Charter challenge

The Ontario Superior Court is expected to release its decision this morning on a constitutional challenge launched by an alliance of groups advocating for the rights of sex workers.

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform argued in court last fall that Canada's prostitution laws violate the industry workers' Charter rights.

They say the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act brought in by the former Conservative government is fostering stigma, inviting targeted violence and preventing sex workers from obtaining meaningful consent before engaging with clients.

That law was passed in 2014, about a year after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down previous anti-prostitution laws after lawyers argued existing provisions were disproportionate, overbroad and put sex workers at risk of harm.


World Petroleum Congress kicks off in Calgary

Hundreds of oil and gas executives from around the globe are in Calgary this week for the World Petroleum Congress.

The massive event takes place once every three years and attracts delegates from nearly 65 oil-producing countries.

Among those in attendance this year for the event are the CEO of Exxon Mobil and the CEO of Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company,

The theme of this year's congress is the energy transition.


Hay River evacuees return home after a month

Jennifer Coleman has lived in and around Hay River in the Northwest Territories her whole life, but the highway into the community felt like a strange place as she and other wildfire evacuees were allowed to return there Saturday for the first time in over a month.

Coleman says it was quite hard driving such a familiar route without recognizing anything due to the fire-changed landscape.

She and her husband had been staying in Peace River, Alberta since Hay River, as well as the nearby hamlet of Enterprise and K'atl'odeeche First Nation, were evacuated on Aug. 13.

The Town of Hay River posted pics to social media on Sunday of flights arriving at its airport with returning evacuees, and Mayor Kandis Jameson said in a message that it will take a while for things to return to normal.

K'atl'odeeche First Nation residents were allowed back Sunday, but Enterprise residents remain evacuated due to the fire risk.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2023.

The Canadian Press