In The News for Mar. 7: Why are Canada’s grocers making so much money? | National

In The News for Mar. 7: Why are Canada's grocers making so much money? | National

In The News is a compilation of stories from The Canadian Press to help you start your day. Here’s what our editors have on their radars as of Tuesday morning, March 7th, 2023…

What we are observing in Canada…

As members of parliament prepare to question the CEOs of Canada’s largest grocery chains, experts say elected officials should push for more transparency about why grocers are making so much money.

The CEOs and Presidents of Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Metro Inc. and Empire Co. Ltd. — which operate chains like Sobeys, Safeway and FreshCo — are due to testify before the House of Commons Agriculture Committee on Wednesday as part of their study on food inflation.

Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, said the forthcoming meeting was “very much about political theatre”.

With grocers posting record profits amid high inflation, Charlebois said MPs have an opportunity to push for more financial information that could shed light on what’s driving profits.

A report co-authored by Charlebois in the autumn found that the three grocers all posted better profits in the first half of 2022 than their average performance over the past five years.

That too …

Afghanistan’s pre-Taliban envoy has kept his country’s embassy in Ottawa running in hopes that democracy will eventually return to his homeland, while urging Canadians to fight “gender apartheid.”

“There is a need for greater lobbying in support of women and girls in Afghanistan,” said Hassan Soroosh, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The Taliban have attempted to rename the country, calling it the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan since its capture of Kabul in August 2021, but it remains a globally unrecognized government.

This means that Soroosh has to provide consular services everywhere and stand up for Afghans. Recently, this has included urging the Trudeau administration to lift legal bans on the deployment of Canadian humanitarian aid in the country.

“Canada has always been one of the first countries to respond to humanitarian emergencies in Afghanistan.”

Humanitarian groups say Global Affairs Canada has told them that buying goods or hiring local people in Afghanistan would entail paying taxes to the Taliban, which could be considered contributing to a terrorist group under the Criminal Code.

This advice came despite a cascade of humanitarian crises, from a collapsing health care system to rising rates of child malnutrition.

The government has announced that it will amend the penal code this spring.

What we’re seeing in the US…

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ State of the State address will likely be about advocating for state leadership rather than assessing Florida’s future.

Tuesday’s address comes as DeSantis builds momentum for a presidential nomination and marks the start of Florida’s annual 60-day legislative session.

He’s traveled the country speaking about how America should be more like Florida. In this session, that means letting teachers know what pronouns they can use for students, making guns more available to Floridans, and keeping illegal immigrants out of the state.

So far, that approach has worked for DeSantis, who won re-election last year by nearly 20 points.

What we are observing in the rest of the world…

The North Korean leader’s influential sister warned on Tuesday that her country stands ready to take “swift, overwhelming action” against the United States and South Korea, a day after the US flew a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber in a show of force against them were the north.

Monday’s US-South Korean training with the B-52 bomber over the Korean peninsula was the latest in a series of exercises between the allies in recent months. Their militaries are also preparing to resume their largest field exercises later this month.

Kim Yo Jong did not elaborate on planned actions in her statement, but North Korea has often tested missiles in response to US-South Korean military exercises because it views them as an invasion sample.

After Monday’s training session, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the deployment of the B-52 demonstrated the Allies’ critical capabilities in repelling North Korean aggression. The US stationed a long-range US B-1B bomber or multiple B-1Bs on the peninsula on a number of occasions earlier this year.

Last month, the US and South Korea also hosted a simulation in Washington aimed at tightening their response to North Korean nuclear threats.

On this day in 1936…

Nazi Germany violated the “Versailles Treaty” by occupying the Rhineland. According to the treaty, the region was to remain under the control of the Allied nations for five to 15 years after the end of World War I, with Germany prohibited from militarizing the area. But after the last Allied troops, the French, left in 1930, Adolf Hitler quickly relocated to build up troops there.

While entertaining…

Jay Ellis says if you’ve seen the Mel Brooks film History of the World Part 1, you know exactly what you’re getting into.

“Story of the World Part 2” is streaming now and celebrities included include Jack Black, Wanda Sykes, Dove Cameron, Seth Rogen, Danny DeVito and Johnny Knoxville.

Josh Gad says it was “so exciting” to be “making those stupid jokes” in the world Brooks created.

The new series also stars 96-year-old Brooks as the narrator. It is available in Canada on Disney+.

Did you see that?

Canadian taxpayers will be footing the bill for engine repairs on at least two of the Royal Canadian Navy’s brand new Arctic Patrol vessels as the one-year warranty on those vessels has expired.

Assistant Secretary of Defense Bill Matthews broke the news during an appearance before the House of Commons Public Finance Committee on Monday, just before the department reported repairs were taking longer than expected.

The revelation represents another blow to Canada’s ailing military procurement system, which has struggled to get operational new equipment to the Canadian Armed Forces without delays or cost overruns.

The Canadian press reported last week that Ottawa is also on the hook for repairs to Royal Canadian Air Force Cyclone helicopters, one of which crashed off the coast of Greece in 2020, killing six service members.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on March 7, 2023