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In the news today: Canadian housing, health-care woes fuelled by higher immigration?

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today...
A new Canadian citizen holds a 'Welcome Home' booklet containing a citizenship certificate during a Canadian citizenship ceremony at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Musical Ride stables in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

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

Canadians link immigrants and housing crisis: poll

A large majority of Canadians agree that higher immigration is fuelling the housing crisis and putting pressure on the health-care system, a new Leger poll suggests.

New federal voting intention numbers from the polling firm also show that the Conservatives are maintaining their sizable lead over the governing Liberals. 

The polling, conducted from Friday to Sunday, found that about three-quarters of respondents agreed the increase in immigrants is adding strain to both the housing market and health-care system. 

Nearly two-thirds of respondents, or 63 per cent, said the volume of newcomers is also adding pressure to the country's education systems. 

But the poll shows that Canadians see some benefits to higher immigration, too.

Convoy trial hears conspiracy arguments

The lawyers in the criminal trial of two "Freedom Convoy" organizers are expected to continue their debate today over whether Tamara Lich and Chris Barber were co-conspirators in the protest. 

Both are charged with mischief and intimidation, among other charges, for their role in the early 2022 protests against COVID-19 public-health restrictions.

The Crown intends to prove that the two conspired together so closely that evidence against one should also apply to the other.

The defence has already spent two days arguing to the contrary.

Defence lawyers say the actions of the protest organizers weren't inherently illegal, and there is no evidence linking them to anyone else's illegal actions.

Mediators try to extend Gaza truce, which could expire within a day

With hours left to go before a truce in Gaza expires, international mediators worked to extend it in order to facilitate the release of militant-held hostages and Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. The cease-fire has paused the deadliest fighting between Israel and Palestinians in decades.

Israel has agreed to extend the truce, which was originally set to expire on Monday, by one day for every 10 hostages freed, and Hamas is expected to release another group of hostages later today.

Meanwhile, four-year-old Abigail Edan was discharged from the hospital late on Tuesday night, following her release after more than 50 days as a hostage in Gaza.

Abigail, an Israeli-American dual citizen, was the first U.S. hostage to
be released under the cease-fire. 

She marked her fourth birthday in captivity.

Both of her parents were killed in the Hamas attack that started the war on Oct. 7.

Man arrested in alleged historic sex assault

A Saskatchewan man has been arrested and charged in a case of historic sexual assault that police say involved three boys under the age of 12.

The Mounties say after receiving a report earlier this month they launched an investigation into the allegations, which stem from interactions during the mid-2010s.

They say a 46-year-old man from the southern Saskatchewan town of Assiniboia was arrested Monday and faces 13 charges, including three counts of sex assault, three counts of sexual interference and one count of possession of child pornography.

RCMP say he was arrested without incident at a residence where a home-based daycare was found to be operating.

The suspect has been remanded into custody and is set to appear in Moose Jaw provincial court on Wednesday morning.

Ontario to release science centre 'business case'

The Ontario government is set to release its long-promised "business case" today for moving the Ontario Science Centre from its current east Toronto location to Ontario Place, on the city's waterfront.

When Premier Doug Ford announced updates in April to his government's plans to redevelop Ontario Place, it included moving the science centre and Infrastructure Minister Kinga Surma cited a "business case analysis" as justification.

She said the science centre's current building is "in disrepair" and the analysis showed it would be less expensive to move the science centre downtown rather than rebuild it at the current location.

The new science centre at Ontario Place – with a planned opening in 2028 – is set to be half the size of the current one, though the government says there will be more exhibition space despite a smaller overall footprint.

Toyota makes move to help develop electric vehicles

Toyota is selling a part of its stake in components maker Denso to raise cash for its drive toward electric vehicles and other innovations, Japan's top automaker said Wednesday.

The move is estimated to raise about 290 billion yen ($2 billion), given recent share prices. The number of shares Toyota Motor Corp. plans to sell would total more than 124 million shares, lowering its stake in Denso Corp. from 24.2 per cent to 20 per cent, while remaining the top stakeholder.

Toyota said the money will also go into developing smart-driving technology and a wide range of other initiatives ongoing in the industry.

No specific date for the sale has been given, but officials say it’s expected to happen soon.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2023

The Canadian Press