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In The News for Nov. 30: Latest census release to show how Canadians commute

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 Nov. 30 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
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A cyclist looks at a jobs advertisement sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. A new census release from Statistics Canada Wednesday is expected to shed light on how people got to work last year, and what kind of jobs they were doing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

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 Nov. 30 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

A new census release from Statistics Canada Wednesday is expected to shed light on how people got to work last year, and what kind of jobs they were doing. 

A notable development in the Canadian economy last year was the tightening of the labour market, and there are still nearly one million job vacancies across the country.

The census release will provide a snapshot of commuting habits in the spring of 2021, when many were working from home because of COVID-19 restrictions and workplace health and safety measures. 

According to a StatCan report published in the summer, about 22 per cent of employees worked from home in December 2021. 

The new data Wednesday also details Canadians' education levels, as well as the right to instruction in a minority language. 

It's the first time the statistics agency has collected data on how many children are eligible for an English education in Quebec, and a French education in the rest of the country. 

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Also this ...

With a week to go before homeless residents have to leave a Toronto hotel-turned-shelter, some say they don't know where they'll end up once they have to move out while advocates say the timing means many could be left to fend for themselves in the cold. 

The shelter site at what was formerly the Novotel Hotel Centre in downtown Toronto was leased by the city after the pandemic hit.

The city began using hotels for those experiencing homelessness after hundreds fled shelters in March 2020 for fear of contracting COVID-19 -- the hotels offered an alternative to encampments that cropped up in Toronto parks and allowed space for physical distancing.

Now, however, the property owner of the Novotel site intends to convert the venue back to a hotel in the new year, the city said. Residents were given notice that they had to relocate by Dec. 6, with the city saying it was working with them to find other shelters or permanent housing. 

But individuals who live at the site, as well as those who work with them, say not all residents have been able to find alternative housing ahead of the deadline. 

"I’m really, really scared. Right now there’s no plan in place," said Betty Ames, who has been staying at the Novotel shelter for six months. 

"I don’t want to be outside, it was not in my plan."

The Novotel shelter hotel housed approximately 260 people in individual rooms at the height of its operations, according to the city. As of Nov. 22, there were 78 people still living at the site. 

The city said it had been working to relocate the site's residents since Oct. 11. Nine have moved to permanent housing since the site stopped taking new admissions in October and another 33 have housing plans in place, the city said. If housing isn't available or doesn't meet a resident's medical needs, they will be placed in alternative shelters, the city said.

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

Before November, election officials prepared for the possibility that Republicans who embraced former U.S. president Donald Trump's lies about voter fraud would challenge the verdict of voters by refusing to certify the results.

Three weeks after the end of voting, such challenges are playing out in just two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania, where Democrats won the marquee races for governor and U.S. Senate.

Legal experts predict the bids are doomed because local governmental bodies typically don't have the option to vote against certifying the results of their elections. It also reflects the limited ability of election conspiracy theorists to disrupt the midterms. One rural Arizona county has drawn court challenges after its refusal to certify, but another flirting with blocking certification backed off amid legal threats.

In Pennsylvania, a handful of the state's 67 counties have delayed certification because of recounts demanded by local conspiracy theorists in scattered precincts. But in most states, certification has gone smoothly.

"Before Election Day, I thought Republicans would exploit the certification process to undermine election results,'' said Marc Elias, a Democratic attorney who has sued to compel the lone Arizona county to certify.

That there's only one county delaying so far in that important battleground state, where Republican candidates who denied Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential race ran unsuccessfully for governor and secretary of state, is "good news, and a bit of a surprise,'' Elias said.

The outcome is a reflection of the diminished opportunities election conspiracy theorists have to control elections after a number of their candidates were routed in statewide elections for positions overseeing voting. They're largely left with a growing footprint in conservative, rural counties. Still, that's enough to cause headaches for having the election results certified on a statewide basis, raising concerns about how rural counties might respond after the next presidential election.

"It is one of the few places where election deniers have a lever of power,'' Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said of the local political bodies charged with certifying election results in most states. "It's a good test run for 2024, showing state courts they're going to have to step in.''

The movement that embraces Trump's lies about voting hoped it would have many more levers after November. Candidates who backed Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election ran for top posts with power over state voting _ including secretary of state, which in most states is the top election position _ in five of the six swing states that were key to Trump's 2020 loss. They lost every race in each of those states.

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

BEIJING _ China's ruling Communist Party has vowed to "resolutely crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces,'' following the largest street demonstrations in decades staged by citizens fed up with strict anti-virus restrictions.

The statement from the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission released late Tuesday comes amid a massive show of force by security services to deter a recurrence of the protests that broke out over the weekend in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and several other cities.

While it did not directly address the protests, the statement serves as a reminder of the party's determination to enforce its rule.

Hundreds of SUVs, vans and armoured vehicles with flashing lights were parked along city streets Wednesday while police and paramilitary forces conducted random ID checks and searched people's mobile phones for photos, banned apps or other potential evidence that they had taken part in the demonstrations.

The number of people who have been detained at the demonstrations and in follow-up police actions is not known.

The commission's statement, issued after an expanded session Monday presided over by its head Chen Wenqing, a member of the party's 24-member Politburo, said the meeting aimed to review the outcomes of October's 20th party congress.

At that event, Xi granted himself a third five-year term as secretary-general, potentially making him China's leader for life, while stacking key bodies with loyalists and eliminating opposing voices.

"The meeting emphasized that political and legal organs must take effective measures to resolutely safeguard national security and social stability,'' the statement said.

"We must resolutely crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces in accordance with the law, resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order and effectively maintain overall social stability,'' it said.

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On this day in 1988 ...

The Ontario government introduced legislation to restrict smoking in the workplace, the first legislation to control smoking in private offices of any Canadian province.

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In entertainment ...

The Writer's Trust of Canada has named freelance journalist John Lorinc the winner of this year's Balsillie Prize for Public Policy for his book on the future of city-building.

The annual award, backed by former BlackBerry chief executive Jim Balsillie, recognizes the best non-fiction book shaping Canadian discourse about policy issues.

Lorinc received the $60,000 honour at a private dinner in Toronto on Tuesday for "Dream States: Smart Cities, Technology, and the Pursuit of Urban Utopias," published by Coach House Books.

The book unpacks the promise of tech-fuelled smart cities, examining cases from around the world.

In their citation, the jury said the Toronto writer "offers a framework for thinking about the future of urban living" in a pandemic-altered world that's in the midst of a climate crisis.

The runners-up, who each receive $5,000, include: "The Last Doctor: Lessons in Living from the Front Lines of Medical Assistance in Dying,'' co-authored by Dr. Jean Marmoreo and Johanna Schneller, published by Viking Canada; Kent Roach's "Canadian Policing: Why and How It Must Change,'' published by Delve Books; "Reconciling Truths: Reimagining Public Inquiries in Canada," by Kim Stanton, published by UBC Press; and Vaclav Smil's "How the World Really Works: The Science Behind How We Got Here and Where We're Going,'' published by Viking.

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Did you see this?

EDMONTON _ Former Alberta premier Jason Kenney resigned as a member of the legislature on Tuesday, the same day his successor introduced her flagship sovereignty bill in the legislature, of which he had been a staunch critic.

In a signed letter posted on Kenney's verified Twitter account, he says the resignation is effective immediately and that it has been a privilege to have represented the constituency of Calgary Lougheed since 2017.

"In the future, I hope to continue contributing to our democratic life by sharing some of what I have learned on a range of issues, including immigration, national security, Indigenous economic development, the state of the federation, economic growth, energy and much more,'' Kenney wrote.

"But for now, I close with this reflection. Whatever our flaws or imperfections Canada _ and I believe Alberta _ are in many ways the envy of the world. This is not an accident of history.''

Kenney, also a former federal cabinet minister who spent 25 years in elected life, praised how matters are dealt with under Canada's constitutional monarchy.

"But I am concerned that our democratic life is veering away from ordinary prudential debate towards a polarization that undermines our bedrock institutions and principles,'' he wrote, decrying the far-left's efforts to "delegitimize our history'' and the far-right's "vengeful anger and toxic cynicism.''

Kenney announced in May that he was quitting as leader of the governing United Conservative Party following a leadership review, and he was replaced by Premier Danielle Smith.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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