06/03/2019 09:47 EDT | Updated 06/03/2019 12:59 EDT

Gun Sales Soar In Canada And 4 Other Things To Know In Business Today

Siri and Alexa reinforce sexism; Quebecers lead the race for electric cars.

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A semi-automatic rifle of the sort used in the Christchurch mosque shooting and numerous other mass shootings in recent years is shown in this stock photo.

Gun owners are panic-buying

Gun stores and lobbyists are reporting a surge in sales of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in Canada after an independent MP asserted the Liberals are planning to ban the weapon, the Montreal Gazette reports. Tony Clement, a former member of the Conservative caucus, said last month Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would announce the ban on the type of gun used in the Christchurch mosque shootings at an event with New Zealand’s prime minister in early June.

That apparently led to some panic among Canadian gun enthusiasts. In a May 23 press release, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association declared, without evidence: “You have until June 2nd to buy your very own AR-15 before the Liberal government makes it impossible for ordinary Canadians to own a beautiful .22 calibre, 5-shot, semi-automatic target rifle of their very own.” 

Can Montreal avoid Toronto and Vancouver’s housing fate?

Montreal has the hottest housing market in Canada right now (or the second hottest after Ottawa, depending on whom you ask), but it has a plan to avoid the astronomical house prices plaguing Toronto and Vancouver: It will require developers to build a certain amount of social housing for each residential project they build. The social housing doesn’t need to be in the same project, but it must be on land the developer cedes to the city. Mayor Valerie Plante says it’s a way of providing housing at the lower end of the income ladder; developers fear it will make their projects unaffordable. (From the Canadian Press)

Watch: Is Canada’e economy addicted to money laundering? Story continues below.

One more wireless company is good, but no more

Shaw Communications’ Freedom Mobile wants to be Canada’s fourth major wireless player, but its execs are working hard to make sure there isn’t any more competition lined up behind them. They are among the telecom providers urging the CRTC not to allow more competition in the market by giving access rights to MVNOs — small wireless companies that buy space on larger companies’ networks. While some research suggests MVNOs have brought down prices in wireless markets, Freedom argues it would stop the growth of companies like itself, and prevent them from investing in new technologies, the Globe and Mail reports.

Alexa and Siri reinforce sexism: report

Digital voice assistants are meant to be submissive, pliant, non-argumentative. And for the most part, their default setting is female voices. That reinforces negative gender stereotypes, says a report from the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Give Siri a sexually explicit command and she demures, “I’d blush if I could,” the report notes. “It sends a signal that women are ... docile and eager-to-please helpers, available at the touch of a button or with a blunt voice command like ‘hey’ or ‘OK’,” The Verge quotes the report as saying.

Quebecers winning race for electric car rebates

In the first month the federal government’s rebate for electric cars was in place, 57 per cent of rebate requests came from Quebec, La Presse reports. That may not be a surprise, as the province already offers a rebate of up to $8,000 for EVs, making for a total $13,000 rebate. British Columbians can get up to $11,000 in combined provincial and federal rebates. Ontario cancelled its provincial rebate last year, meaning Ontarians qualify only for the $5,000 federal rebate. Between them, Quebec and B.C. accounted for 94 per cent of claims for EV rebates between May 1 and May 28, according to Transport Canada data.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article referred to Tony Clement as a Conservative member of Parliament. Clement resigned as a Conservative last year and sits as an independent.