By Rosalind Russell-
Ontario government returns to work today
The Ontario legislature returns to work today, for the first time since the Conservatives’ victory in the June 2nd election.
MPPs will gather as high inflation and hospital staffing shortages face the province.
Today will see the election of a new speaker, followed by the speech from the throne tomorrow, outlining the government’s priorities for the new session.
That will be followed by the presentation of the budget, which formed the Conservatives’ election platform during the campaign.
Premier Doug Ford has said the only change he will make will be to increase Ontario Disability Support Program payments by five percent.
Critics say the move is totally inadequate, with rates frozen since 2018.
The opposition will also be pressing for the repeal of Bill 124, which has limited public-sector wage increases to one percent annually over the past three years.
Deal protects Canadian automakers
After a marathon session, the U-S Senate finally passed the 430-billion-dollar Inflation Reduction Act yesterday.
It now goes to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass easily.
The legislation includes financial incentives to boost the sale of electric vehicles made in North America.
An earlier version of the bill would have restricted the most generous payouts to cars and trucks built in the U-S, a move which analysts say would have devastated Canada’s auto industry.
Tense truce along the Gaza Strip
Israel and Islamic Jihad have agreed to a fragile truce after three days of battles in the Gaza Strip that left 44 Palestinians dead and more than 350 others wounded.
The action began on Friday when Israel launched air strikes aimed at Islamic Jihad leaders.
The group responded with rocket attacks on southern Israel.
Both sides warn that they will respond with force to any violation of the ceasefire.
Russia plans referendums in Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is warning that, if Russia holds referendums in occupied regions, there will be no chance of peace talks.
Russian officials have said votes may soon be held in the areas occupied since the February 24th invasion to see if the population wants to join their country.
But Zelensky says Ukraine remains committed to the principle that it will not yield any of its territories to the invaders.
Photo: Ontario’s MPPs return to Queen’s Park today. (Supplied by the Premier’s YouTube channel)