Dental care details and inflation update: In The News for Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022

The benefit for qualifying children under the age of 12 is a key element of the Liberal party’s supply and confidence agreement with the NDP. 

The government will pay families up to $650 per child per year, depending on their household income. 

Some economists warned the benefit could lead to clawbacks if families don’t spend all the money on oral health services. 

Those economists say the dental-care benefit has similarities to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which saw some Canadians unexpectedly asked to pay back thousands of dollars because they were given more than they qualified for. 

Families will have to apply to the Canada Revenue Agency and attest that their child does not have private dental insurance, that they have out-of-pocket dental expenses, and that they will keep their receipts. 

The government hopes to start sending out cheques by the beginning of December. In the meantime, the health department is working on a more comprehensive dental-care program, which it hopes to implement by 2025. 

Also this …

Statistics Canada will release its latest inflation numbers today. 

RBC is forecasting the annual inflation rate in August was 7.2 per cent, down from 7.6 per cent in July. 

The country’s year-over-year inflation rate slowed in July, largely due to gas prices. 

The announcement comes after the federal government announced last week a slate of measures, including doubling the GST rebate for six months, in a bid to help low and middle-income Canadians deal with decades-high inflation. 

The Bank of Canada, meanwhile, is continuing its fight against hot inflation with higher interest rates, raising its key rate by three-quarters of a percentage point earlier this month. 

The next rate announcement is set for Oct. 26, with the central bank warning further hikes are needed to bring inflation down to its two per cent target. 

What we are watching in the U.S. …

House Democrats are voting this week on changes to a 19th century law for certifying presidential elections, their strongest legislative response yet to the Jan. 6 Capital insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

The vote to overhaul the Electoral Count Act, expected Wednesday, comes as a bipartisan group of senators is moving forward with a similar bill. Lawmakers in both parties have said they want to change the arcane law before it is challenged again.

Trump and his allies tried to exploit the law’s vague language in the weeks after the election as they strategized how they could keep Joe Biden out of office, including by lobbying Vice President Mike Pence to simply object to the certification of Biden’s victory when Congress counted the votes on Jan. 6.

Pence refused to do so, but it was clear afterward that there was no real legal framework, or recourse, to respond under the 1887 law if the vice president had tried to block the count. The House and Senate bills would better define the vice president’s ministerial role and make clear that he or she has no say in the final outcome.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

A strengthening Hurricane Fiona barreled toward the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday, prompting the government to impose a curfew. 

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said early Tuesday its data indicates Fiona has become a Category 3 hurricane, making it the first major hurricane of the Atlantic season. 

The centre said maximum sustained winds were up to 185 km/h. 

The intensifying storm kept dropping copious rain over the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where a 58-year-old man died after police said he was swept away by a river in the central mountain town of Comerio.

The National Guard has rescued more than 900 people as floodwaters continue to rush through towns in eastern and southern Puerto Rico with up to 76 centimetres of rain forecast for some areas. Multiple landslides also were reported.

The blow from Fiona was made more devastating because Puerto Rico has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the power grid in 2017. Five years later, more than 3,000 homes on the island are still covered by blue tarps.

In the Dominican Republic, authorities reported one death: a man hit by a falling tree. The storm displaced more than 12,400 people and cut off at least two communities.

The hurricane left several highways blocked, and a tourist pier in the town of Miches was badly damaged by high waves. At least four international airports were closed, officials said.

Fiona previously battered the eastern Caribbean, killing one man in the French territory of Guadeloupe when floodwaters washed his home away, officials said.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says it is monitoring Hurricane Fiona, although it’s too early to predict its potential effect in the region.

The storm is currently showing a track off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland sometime this coming weekend.

On this day in 1867, the first general election in Canada, won by the Conservatives under Sir John A. Macdonald, was completed. Confederation, achieved earlier in the year, had set out the mandate for the formation of a federal government to unite the four provinces in the Dominion at the time. Macdonald formed a coalition cabinet almost equally split between Liberal and Conservative ministers and representing different regions, religions and cultures.

In entertainment …

Pierre Kwenders won the 2022 Polaris Music Prize for his album “José Louis and the Paradox Of Love,” the genre-blending release from the Congolese-Canadian artist. 

The album was selected from a 10-nominee shortlist by the Polaris grand jury as best Canadian album of the year based on its artistic merits. 

At the ceremony in Toronto on Monday night, Kwenders explained that the past couple of months have been difficult, as he mourns the loss of several people close to him, including cousins and most recently his godfather. 

“I felt a little bit like (in) life something was going wrong,” he said. “But then I remembered the reason why I do what I do… to tell the story of the people that inspired me.”

Kwenders was born José Louis Modabi, in Kinshasa, Congo, and immigrated to Canada in 2001. 

“José Louis and the Paradox Of Love” was recorded over four years and Kwenders describes it as a reflection on romantic love, family and personal growth sung in English, French, Lingala, Tshiluba, and Kikongo.

The ceremony proved a lengthy celebration that stretched on for more than four hours as each nominee took the stage to perform, many of them playing at least two of their songs.

Other shortlisted artists included Quebec pop provocateur Hubert Lenoir, Toronto singer-songwriter Charlotte Day Wilson and Haisla Nation hip-hop act Snotty Nose Rez Kids.

Did you see this?

Russia’s foreign ministry summoned Canada’s ambassador on Monday, as the RCMP investigate an alleged attack on its embassy.

Russia’s ambassador to Canada, Oleg Stepanov, said no one was hurt and no property was damaged after an unidentified person ran from a nearby park toward the embassy shortly after midnight on Sept. 12 and threw a lit Molotov cocktail over the fence before scampering off.

Moscow’s foreign minister has also claimed police have turned a blind eye to “aggressive demonstrators” blocking access to the embassy’s consular section. 

The RCMP’s national division, which is charged with protecting foreign diplomatic properties, said Monday that it had opened an investigation, but it would not specify when that happened.

The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said it was closely following the issue.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2022.

The Canadian Press



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