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In The News for Jan. 5: Canadian parents are saving how much in … – Lethbridge News Now

Under the agreements between the federal, provincial and territorial governments, fees will come down to $10 a day, on average, by 2026.

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As parents breathe a sigh of relief, however, some in the child-care industry are ringing alarm bells over concern there won’t be enough spaces to meet demand.

A shortage of early childhood educators has been an ongoing issue, leading to long wait-lists even before the national program was rolled out. Now, as fees fall, rising demand might make it even more challenging to secure adequate staffing.

The program stipulates that provinces must create new spaces with the money they’re receiving from the federal government. In total, the deals are supposed to add about a quarter of a million new spots across the country.

But it might not be enough.

Also this …

Canada’s Justice Department says it is not aware of any charges or prosecutions under the new criminal code offences prohibiting conversion therapy, which came into force on Jan. 7 last year.

Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation to heterosexual or to change their gender identity to match the sex they were assigned at birth.

Michael Kwag, a director at the Community-Based Research Centre in Toronto, said there was “jubilation” when the law was passed, but more work needs to be done so that it can be actioned on by prosecutors and police.

He said that historically, LGBTQ communities have had a “fraught relationship” with police services, but the criminal justice system continues to require victims to come forward and make a complaint.

Kwag said the federal government should invest in education and awareness campaigns so people can better identify conversion practices.

And this …

Kelly Klassen was driving to central Alberta with her family to visit her brother for the holidays when the emails started filling her inbox.

The travel agent from Rosthern, Sask., says she had dozens of bookings affected by Sunwing’s decision last week to cancel service to Regina and Saskatoon for a month.

The airline announced on Dec. 29 that it was immediately cancelling its operations through Feb. 3 at Saskatchewan’s two largest airports due to extenuating circumstances.

Klassen, a travel agent for 12 years, said she was able to rebook a 100-person corporate group and another larger group. But she had 49 individual bookings for the month.

She’s one of many travel agents in Saskatchewan who could lose thousands of dollars after they were told the airline won’t protect their commissions on cancelled flights.

Travel agents said there are typically daily flights to southern destinations in Mexico and Cuba from Regina and Saskatoon in the winter — and many were almost sold out.

Sunwing said in a statement Wednesday that all customers with cancelled southbound departures will receive a full refund and that it would follow normal procedures with respect to travel agent commissions.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

With House Republicans riven by infighting, unable to coalesce around a pick for speaker, former U-S President Donald Trump had an emphatic message for the new GOP majority.

“Do not turn a great triumph into a giant & embarrassing defeat,” Trump warned in all-caps on his social media platform Wednesday morning, urging the 20 or so insurgents to “close the deal” and back Kevin McCarthy.

It didn’t help. Only one voter budged: a previous McCarthy backer who opted to vote “present” instead. In a moment of rare public defiance of Trump’s wishes, Boebert

said Trump needed to instead “tell Kevin McCarthy that, ‘Sir, you do not have the votes and it’s time to withdraw.’”

The stalemate is more than an embarrassment for McCarthy, who is now the first person in a century to muddle through multiple ballots, six so far, and appears no closer to clinching the job than when voting began. The revolt is raising alarms within the party as members warn they are sabotaging their new, narrow majority and alienating voters as they struggle to perform their most basic function: electing their own leader.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

Pallbearers have carried Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s cypress coffin out of St. Peter’s Basilica and rested it before the altar in the piazza outside as red-robed cardinals looked on.

Bells tolled and the crowd applauded as Benedict’s coffin was carried out ahead of the rare requiem Mass for a dead pontiff presided over by a living one. Heads of state and royalty, clergy from around the world and thousands of faithful flocked to the Vatican, despite Benedict’s requests for simplicity and official efforts to keep the first funeral for a pope emeritus in modern times low-key.

The former Joseph Ratzinger, who died Dec. 31 at age 95, is considered one of the 20th century’s greatest theologians and spent his lifetime upholding church doctrine. But he will go down in history for a singular, revolutionary act that changed the future of the papacy: He retired, the first pope in six centuries to do so. Pope Francis has praised Benedict’s courage to step aside, saying it “opened the door” to other popes doing the same. Francis, for his part, recently said he has already left written instructions outlining the conditions in which he too would resign.

Francis was due to preside over the funeral, which authorities estimated some 100,000 would attend, higher than an original estimate of 60,000, Italian media reported, citing police security plans.—

On this day in 1995 …

Parks Canada released a study that said human activity in Banff National Park was having adverse effects on the park’s ecosystem. The report on Canada’s first and most popular park, west of Calgary in the Rocky Mountains, came on its 100th birthday as a national park.

In entertainment …

A family member says rapper Theophilus London has been found safe after disappearing for months.

His cousin posted on Instagram Wednesday night that the 35-year-old London is “safe and well.” The statement didn’t say where he’d been or where he was found.

The family filed a missing persons report with Los Angeles police last week and asked for the public’s help in finding him.

The LAPD said London was last seen in October in the city’s Skid Row area.

London was nominated for a Grammy in 2016 and frequently collaborated with Kanye West.

Did you see this?

A lawsuit filed on behalf of a toddler whose arm was mauled after she reached into a bear enclosure at the Greater Vancouver Zoo alleges negligence led to the attack.

The notice of civil claim filed in British Columbia Supreme Court by the girl’s guardian, Richard Hanson, says the August 2019 incident left her with a fractured wrist, and one of her fingers was partially amputated.

The lawsuit filed last month alleges the zoo and K-Bros Developments Corporation, which owns the property in Langley, B.C., owed a duty of care to the child, who was two years old at the time, given their control of the premises and the bears.

It says the girl had reached through an “unguarded chain link fence” at the zoo’s black bear exhibit and a “group” of the animals “attacked and mauled” her arm.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2023

The Canadian Press