WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Canada Bread, Weston Bakeries and major grocers behind alleged bread price-fixing: Competition Bureau
Canada's two top bread makers, Canada Bread and Weston Bakeries, agreed to increase their wholesale bread prices in lockstep through direct communications between senior officials in each of their companies during a 14-year period, according to allegations in court documents released Wednesday in connection with the Competition Bureau's inquiry into the fixing of bread prices. Then each of the bread producers met individually with their retail customers to get them to accept the fixed price "thereby fixing the retail price," according to a filing. The document says, "The process was referred to in the industry as 'socialization' of a price increase." (for subscribers)
Denise Balkissoon writes that along with price-fixing, Loblaw serves up baloney: "The gift card tactic seemed to work for a minute, with many people getting excited about what was essentially a bribe. But my household goes through two loaves a week. If I was being overcharged 25 cents each time – an invented number, since I haven't been given a real one – Loblaw is coming up at least $300 short."
Religious doctors must perform referrals for medically assisted death: Ontario court
Ontario's Divisional Court ruled 3-0 on Wednesday that requiring Christian doctors to refer patients to physicians willing to provide an assisted death is a reasonable limit on freedom of conscience. Groups representing 4,700 Christian doctors had challenged Ontario regulations obliging the referrals, saying that making such a referral was morally equivalent to participating in an assisted death. The case comes as the faith-based medical community struggles to find a middle ground in the era of assisted dying, which has made it more difficult for some patients to obtain an assisted death in a timely way.
Sandra Martin writes on why Canada's physician-assisted dying debate has only just begun: "Reconciling the rights of doctors to practise medicine with the rights of patients to receive treatment, wherever they live, is the next imperative in the ongoing struggle to make our final human right – choice in the manner and timing of our deaths – equitable for all Canadians.
Scheer orders independent probe of Conservatives' handling of Dykstra allegations
The investigation will surround the party's handling of sexual assault allegations against then-MP Rick Dykstra during the 2015 federal election. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said he would make the findings public and said the party will strengthen the code of conduct for all party staff, as well as candidates and will include mandatory training.
This comes after Guy Giorno, the former top Conservative official, told The Globe and Mail that to the best of his knowledge there was never a discussion about allowing then-Tory MP Rick Dykstra to run as a Conservative candidate, because the party's war room had no information about any specific allegations and believed the matter had been closed by police. Maclean's recently published a report that a woman who worked for a Tory MP said that after a night of drinking, Mr. Dykstra forced her to perform oral sex on him. The staffer then met with the chief of staff to the party whip to speak about the alleged assault. Mr. Dykstra's lawyers later told The Globe he "categorically denies" the Maclean's story.
Economy 'firing on all cylinders' as Canada sees best growth in six months
Statistics Canada reported that real gross domestic product rose 0.4 per cent month over month in November, which is the biggest one-month increase since May. A surge in manufacturing led a broad-based rebound from October's disappointing economic stall as 17 of 20 industries posted gains. Still, some economists are concerned the economy could stall in the first half of 2018. Higher interest rates and tighter mortgage regulations could slow the housing and consumer sectors, which have been major drivers of Canada's economic recovery.
Senator Colin Kenny resigning months ahead of scheduled retirement
Sources say Sen. Colin Kenny officially notified the Governor General Wednesday morning that he will leave the Senate. He didn't immediately respond to request for comment. Sen. Kenny was named to the Senate in 1984 by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau and focused on military, defence and security issues. In 2014, a Senate-appointed investigator cleared Kenny amid allegations of sexually and verbally harassing his office staff, and in 2016, Kenny repaid more than $30,000 in expenses that were deemed unjustified.
Help The Globe monitor political ads on Facebook
During an election campaign, which is happening this year in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, you can expect to see a lot of political ads. But Facebook ads, unlike traditional media, can be targeted to specific users and only be seen by certain subsets of users, making the ads almost impossible to track. The Globe and Mail wants to report on how these ads are used, but we need to see the same ads Facebook users are seeing. Here is how you can help.
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Canada's main stock index inched down on Wednesday to close at its lowest level in eight weeks. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index slipped 0.02 per cent to close at 15,951.67. Meanwhile, U.S. stocks finished little changed on Wednesday as indexes gave up early gains after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it sees inflation rising this year, signalling it remains on track to boost interest rates again in March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.28 per cent to end at 26,149.46, the S&P 500 gained 0.05 per cent to finish at 2,823.83 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.12 per cent to close at 7,411.48. (For subscribers)
Those who live in the western parts of Canada and were up early, were treated to a lunar showstopper – the first super blue blood moon in 35 years. It's called that because the second full moon in a calendar month is a blue moon and this one also happens to be especially close and bright – a supermoon. The blood part comes from a total eclipse that gives the moon a red tint. NASA says the next one won't happen again until 2037.
Trudeau's LGBTQ2 adviser deserves a seat in cabinet
"That the Prime Minister has identified a point person on LGBTQ2 issues is no surprise, given the Liberals' pledge to implement diversity and inclusion across government and to repair relationships that, historically, have been fraught with discrimination. It is time, though, for Mr. Boissonnault to take a seat at the cabinet table. It is odd that he is not a minister already." — Lori Turnbull
Trump's State of the Union: A nice speech if you like nativism
"Their hope, as well as Mr. Mulroney's, was that the State of the Union address would signal a new direction, that it would show an open hand to the world as opposed to bare knuckles. But while conciliatory in tone, the address was confrontational in content. The prose was well-crafted. Mr. Trump stayed on script. He spoke of a 'new American moment,' of 'a new tide of optimism' sweeping the land and – this one strange, coming from such a vulgar chief executive – 'the beauty of America's soul.'" — Lawrence Martin
Can Amazon's Alexa hack it as a wine sommelier? We put her to the test
"Once you wade into the world of third-party skills launched by what the company tells me are literally hundreds of thousands of programmers developing for the platform, it's a crapshoot. More specifically, in the beverage world at least, many developers seem hung up on doling out random and mostly pointless trivia tidbits, showing little clue as to what most consumers might be interested in. Hint: How about wine-pairing suggestions for basic, popular food items?" — Beppi Crosariol
A reader asks what are three basic dishes everyone should be able to make. Lucy Waverman says they are an omelette, roast chicken and a basic stir-fry. Once you master them, all sorts of possibilities open up that will allow you to go further with your cooking. She says an omelette because it is incredibly versatile, a roast chicken because it can feed your family and friends and makes for great leftovers, and a stir-fry because it is perfect for using up bits and pieces in your fridge. Here is how Ms. Waverman suggests making them.
LONG READS FOR A LONG COMMUTE
The rant: It's time to embrace the 10,000-mile diet
Globally, the percentage of humanity suffering from hunger has fallen by half since 1990. Here at home, food expenses amount to just 10 per cent of the average household's budget – down from 18 per cent a half-century ago. This is bad news for the sustainable food movement. Local food is a popular trend, but some argue its proposition promises great damage to the modern business of food and the people who rely on it. A mandate that forces domestic production to replace low-cost food imports will inevitably raise prices and lead to more poverty, more hunger and greater damage to the environment.
Restoration, modernization of Parliament Hill buildings will give them an extraordinary second life
When Stephen Fai first laid eyes on the Parliament buildings, he turned to his girlfriend (now wife) and asked her how to say "This is a beautiful building" in French. Now, more than 30 years later, Dr. Fai is director of Carleton University's Immersive Media Studio and part of the team working on the mother of all renovation projects. This fall, the House of Commons and Senate will move to temporary digs as the Centre Block will shut down for a decade-long makeover. Before the contractors get to work, Dr. Fai and his team are busy with a suite of high-tech tools capturing every detail of the building so it can be recreated as a digital model that will serve as a reference for the project. As Ivan Semeniuk reports, Dr. Fai pioneered the method nine years ago during a refurbishment for the West Block as a way to aid in the restoration and modernization of heritage buildings.