Wednesday, May 29, 2024

In the news today: Vigil for slain Ontario family held, and February jobs numbers due

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

Ottawa residents remember family slain in mass stabbing, hold vigil

Residents in Ottawa are still reeling after a mass stabbing that killed a mother, her four young children and a family friend.

On Thursday evening, neighbours and community members gathered in a small park in a suburban street for a vigil for the victims.

They brought flowers and teddy bears and lit candles, as they asked what could have led someone to kill four children, among them a baby.

Febrio De-Zoysa, a 19-year-old international student, faces six charges of first-degree murder. He is the only suspect in the case, police said Thursday.

Darshani Ekanyake, 35, was killed Wednesday night along with her seven-year-old son, Inuka Wickramasinghe, and three daughters: Ashwini, 4; Rinyana, 2; and Kelly, two and a half months, who was born in Canada.

Christine Bellini said she’s lived in the area for 35 years. “I never thought this little community would experience such a tragedy,” she said.

Bellini predicted the community would rally around the father.

Statistics Canada to release jobs report today

Statistics Canada is set to release its latest reading on the jobs market for the month of February today.

In January, Canadian employers added more jobs than many Bay Street economists expected at roughly 37,000 positions.

The unemployment rate ticked lower to 5.7 per cent in January.

In a recent note, RBC Economics said it’s expecting jobs growth in February to have slowed with 10,000 jobs added and the unemployment rate to rise to 5.9 per cent.

Women experience ‘maternal wall’ after having kids

For many women, a maternal wall crops up when employers and peers start to doubt their ability to do their jobs because they’re also raising kids. 

A 2023 report from the international non-profit Mothers in Science found one-third of women working in the sciences while raising children had their competence questioned by employers and colleagues after becoming a parent.

However, the phenomenon is not contained to a particular field.

“It’s shocking how prevalent it is,” said Allison Venditti, founder of advocacy group Moms at Work.

You might assume there would be less of it in areas like health care, which have historically employed a higher number of women, but there are examples of it everywhere, she said. 

For March Break travel, cruises return to favour

Cruises are surging back to popularity among Canadians this spring break, as more travellers look to try a mode of tourism they may have avoided since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Experts say Caribbean cruises are drawing greater numbers of northerners to Miami, Tampa Bay and other ports of call thanks to their sun-soaked itineraries and affordable fares in the face of soaring hotel prices.

“The big change for this March compared to March 2023 is really the recovery of the cruise industry,” said Richard Vanderlubbe, who heads Hamilton-based travel agency Tripcentral.ca.

His company has seen more than double the tally of cruise bookings for this month versus a year earlier.

Just for Laughs problems reflect festival woes

The cancellation of the Just for Laughs comedy festivals in Montreal and Toronto this year underscores the vulnerability of an industry struggling to manage ballooning costs while vying for increasingly in-demand but inadequate government grants.

As a result, some events are considering cuts. In Montreal, the situation is worrying organizers about whether the city can sustain its festive summer atmosphere and abundant offering of free entertainment.

The proliferation of festivals across Canada over the years has led to greater demand for funding. 

And it’s the free events that are particularly at risk because they rely on sponsorship revenue that has not kept pace with production and labour costs that have skyrocketed by as much as 40 per cent since the COVID-19 pandemic, says Martin Roy, president of the Regroupement des événements majeurs internationaux, an association of major event organizers in Quebec.

Filmmaker traces Oscar nom to Maritime traditions

Halifax-born filmmaker Ben Proudfoot says he wouldn’t be heading to the Oscars with his third nomination in four years if it weren’t for the conversations he had in the place he grew up.

On a video call from Los Angeles, the 33-year-old says “If you’ve ever spent any time in Nova Scotia, in the Maritimes, you know we love a good yarn.”

Proudfoot’s skill at pulling yarns earned him his first Oscar nod in 2020 for the short doc “A Concerto Is a Conversation” — which tracks co-director Kris Bowers’ lineage through his 91-year-old jazz pianist grandpa — and made him an Academy Award winner in 2022 for the short doc “The Queen of Basketball,” about the late basketball trailblazer Lusia (Lucy) Harris.

Now his latest film, “The Last Repair Shop,” also co-directed by L.A.’s Bowers, is set to compete in the best documentary short category at the L.A. awards bash on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 8, 2024

The Canadian Press

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