80K people gather Vancouver streets for Climate Strike - Canadanewsmedia
Connect with us

News

80K people gather Vancouver streets for Climate Strike

Published

on

Thousands of people gathered outside Vancouver City Hall on Friday to participate in one of dozens of climate strikes across the country.

Supporters began trickling in as early as 9:45 a.m. After a brief rally at city hall, marchers took to the streets at 1:30 p.m.

 

GALLERY: Vancouverites pack the streets for climate strike

Organizers had hoped to see 15,000 people turn up, but by 3 p.m. Vancouver police estimated that around 80,000 people had swarmed the streets. Police said there were no major public safety issues, despite the crowd.

Fire officials in Victoria estimated 20,000 people turned out in the capital city.

Many in the crowd carried signs with messages such as “This is not what we meant by Hot Girl Summer,” “Act now or swim later,” and “I’m sure the dinosaurs thought they had time too.”

Story continues below

Samantha Lin, a student at Prince of Wales Secondary and an organizer of Sustainabiliteens, said she has been thrilled to see the growth of the movement since students held their first strike in Vancouver last December.

“We’re about a month away from the election, we want to bring climate to the forefront of everybody’s minds when it comes to that,” Lin said.

READ MORE: Here’s how climate change will impact the region where you live

“This is one way we are doing that. I’m 17 years old, I can’t vote yet, a lot of people here are still in school, they can’t vote yet either. This is our way of making our voices heard.”

More than half a dozen cities in British Columbia, including Victoria and Kelowna, are playing host to climate change demonstrations on Friday.

Massive crowds gathered outside the B.C. legislature, including federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who was also in B.C., said he would not march, but that other Conservative politicians would participate in marches across the country.

Green Leader Elizabeth May and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau both marched in Montreal.

B.C. Premier John Horgan opted out of the march, citing meetings, but said he was delighted to see young people making their voices heard.

B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman issued a statement that touted the government’s CleanBC program but acknowledged that more work needs to be done.

“Our plan ensures that we’re open and transparent about our goals and how we’re doing in our efforts to meet them,” he said. “We expect to be held accountable, and we’re putting new mechanisms in place so British Columbians can do just that.”

Protesters point to dire warnings by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which predicts that emissions must be cut by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, and reach net zero by 2050 to avoid severe climate change impacts.

The IPCC released a report earlier this month warning sea levels could rise by more than a metre by the end of the century if emissions aren’t reduced, while a 2019 report by Canadian government scientists predicted increased wildfire activity, sea ice loss, and drought.

Friday’s global strike is one of two scheduled to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit and is timed for teen climate activist Greta Thunberg’s arrival in Montreal.

“I expect that you as well as other countries take your responsibility and do your part from a global perspective,” the 16-year-old Swede told protesters in Montreal on Friday.

“We are having so much impact that people want to silence us, we’ve become too loud for people to handle.”

Vancouver residents were being warned of possible snarled traffic in the downtown core.

The planned route intersects Beatty, Cambie, Hamilton, Homer, Richards, Seymour, Smithe, Robson and West Georgia streets.

Vancouver police will also be monitoring the event and police will be working to reduce the impact on traffic and the public.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

News

Person found dead after 5-alarm fire at Toronto apartment building

Published

on

By

One person has been found dead after a five-alarm fire ripped through a Toronto apartment building on Friday and police say they are treating the death as suspicious.

Fire crews said the deceased person was located on an eighth-floor balcony shortly after 1 a.m.

“When we were able to achieve an upper hand on the fire, that allowed us to be a little bit more systemic in the work that we were doing,” Deputy Fire Chief Tony Bavota told reporters at the scene Saturday morning.

“Some secondary searches were conducted and some investigations, at which point a body was located on one of the balconies.”

In a tweet sent at 10:40 a.m., police said they are now treating the death as “suspicious.”

There is no word on the victim’s age or gender.

Another person was transported from the scene with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Five others were assessed by paramedics at the scene.

Emergency crews were called to the 15-storey apartment building on Gosford Boulevard, west of Jane Street and south of Steeles Avenue West, just before 5:30 p.m. on Friday after a fire spread to several units across multiple floors.

It took firefighters more than six hours to declare the blaze was extinguished.

“It was an extremely difficult fire for our staff to fight and that was coupled with the fact that the elevators weren’t working,” Bavota said, adding that several units have “a lot” of damage.

Toronto fire Chief Matthew Pegg said in a tweet Saturday that the “comprehensive investigation” into exactly where the fire started, what caused it and the circumstances contributing to its spread and growth is continuing.

Inspectors have since ordered the power shut off at the apartment building, causing hundreds of tenants to be displaced.

“The Electrical Safety Authority has determined that the power to the entire building must immediately be disconnected for safety reasons. The building must be evacuated,” Pegg wrote in a post on Twitter early Saturday.

Toronto police said in an update on Twitter that residents were asked to “seek temporary shelter with friends/family” as arrangements were being made to help those without accommodations.

Pegg said approximately 700 people live inside the apartment building. Many were initially told to shelter in place as others were evacuated. Several TTC buses were brought in to provide temporary shelter.

Mayor John Tory and Pegg announced displaced residents would be able to go the Driftwood Community Centre Friday night. It was opened with the assistance of the Canadian Red Cross.

Investigators from the Office of the Fire Marshal, Toronto Fire Services and Toronto Police Service were brought in to probe the fire’s origin and circumstances. As of Saturday morning, the cause of the fire wasn’t clear. Electrical and technical inspectors also attended the scene, but it’s unclear when utilities might be restored.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading

News

Jason Kenney caucus to get free vote on conscience rights bill

Published

on

By

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says members of his caucus would be free to vote as they wish on a private member’s bill that calls for giving further protection to health workers who invoke conscience rights.

Kenney says his United Conservative caucus allows free votes on issues of conscience.

“We’ll leave it to MLAs to make a decision,” Kenney said Friday.

Kenney said he has not read and therefore can’t say if he would vote yes to Bill 207, which was put forward by United Conservative backbencher Dan Williams.

But Kenney said, “As a matter of principle I, and I hope everybody, respects the constitutionally protected freedom of conscience.”

If Bill 207 is approved, it would mean a health-care provider could not be sued or sanctioned for refusing to provide a service — such as abortion, assisted dying, or contraception — that goes against their moral beliefs.

Right now, Alberta doctors who don’t want to perform those services must refer the patient to someone or to a service that can — but the bill raises questions on whether health providers could be sanctioned for failing to do even that.

NDP critic Sarah Hoffman said the bill is a back-door way to restrict access to abortion and contraception. She said she is hearing those concerns from officials in rural areas where access to physicians and services can be limited.

“There’s already enough challenges for women to access birth control and abortion services and they (the officials) think this has the risk to make it more difficult and to really hurt rural health care,” said Hoffman.

Williams said there is misinformation being circulated about the legislation. He said it seeks only to clarify that health-care providers rights are in line with the Charter.

“I want to be absolutely clear: This bill in no way categorically limits access to any services. That is not my intent. That is not what the bill does.”

The Alberta Medical Association has written to Health Minister Tyler Shandro to say the current rules are working and that Williams’ bill is unnecessary and is already causing anxiety for doctors and patients.

“The bill may have unintended consequences in limiting patient access to services,” AMA president Christine Molnar told Shandro in a public letter sent Wednesday.

“For physicians, the current state protects conscience rights while also ensuring that patients are given information or referral to allow them to pursue access to the desired service.

“This arrangement has served Albertans well and should be maintained.”

Williams has said his bill is in response to an Ontario Appeal Court ruling this spring.

Ontario’s high court affirmed a lower court ruling that found physicians who object on moral grounds to contentious issues like abortion must offer patients an “effective referral” to another health provider.

Kenney, a Catholic, has said his government would not legislate on judicially settled hot button issues like abortion.

Kenney said Friday he is keeping to that commitment because Williams, while a member of Kenney’s United Conservative caucus, is not in cabinet and is therefore not formally part of the UCP government.

“Private members have every right to bring forward bills, perhaps in some cases that they committed to their constituents on, and they will be voted on freely,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2019.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading

News

2 B.C. First Nations drop out of Trans Mountain court challenge

Published

on

By

Two B.C. First Nations that had been part of a court challenge against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion have now left the group and sided with the Crown corporation.

The Upper Nicola Band, based in Merritt, and the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation, based in Kamloops, have dropped their litigation with the Federal Court of Appeal and signed deals with Trans Mountain.

Four other B.C. First Nations are continuing with their case against the expansion project, which they argue was approved despite “multiple significant legal deficiencies.”

Court rules 6 Trans Mountain pipeline legal challenges allowed to proceed

In a joint news release with Trans Mountain Friday, the Upper Nicola Band said its deal represents a “significant step forward in establishing a relationship” that will address the First Nation’s environmental, archaeological and cultural heritage concerns.

The agreement actively involves the Upper Nicola in emergency response and monitoring of the project, while committing both parties to working to avoid and mitigate impacts on the band’s interests and stewardship areas.

Story continues below advertisement[n

Band members are also encouraged to take advantage of employment and contracting opportunities with the project.

In the release, Upper Nicola Chief Harvey McLeod says the band’s negotiating team came up with the “best deal” possible “under the circumstances presented.”

“The bottom line is that the consultation process needs to change,” McLeod said, adding the First Nation still has “a number of significant issues that must be addressed directly with Canada.”

A news release from Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc says its leadership came together and determined an agreement could be a tool used as part of a larger strategy to protect its cultural, spiritual and historical connections to the land.

A Trans Mountain spokesperson confirmed the two bands dropped out of the court challenge last week after continued discussions with the corporation.

The Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations in Metro Vancouver, the Coldwater Indian Band in Merritt and a coalition of small First Nations in the Fraser Valley are still involved in the court challenge against Trans Mountain.

The First Nations launched the challenge in July with the belief that a victory on any of the legal grounds would be enough to quash the current approval and send the pipeline back to the drawing board.

The court has ruled that upcoming arguments can only focus on whether the latest round of Indigenous consultation was adequate.

Last week, the Tsleil-Waututh and three environmental groups sought leave to appeal that ruling in the Supreme Court of Canada, claiming the Federal Court was wrong to refuse to hear arguments about the risk of an oil spill or threats to endangered southern killer whales.

The federal government re-approved the pipeline in June after launching consultation with Indigenous communities. The National Energy Board also conducted new hearings and ultimately gave the project the thumbs up for the second time.

The legal filings from the First Nations argue there were constitutional violations, primarily around the failure to satisfy the duty to consult, accommodate and seek consent from First Nations. The lawsuits also allege regulatory legal errors were made by the National Energy Board.

First Nations communities are divided on the project. There are two groups led by Indigenous communities that want to purchase and operate the existing pipeline from the federal government, with the intention to expand it.

There are other First Nations arguing that the pipeline would destroy significant spiritual and historic sites as well as important aquifers, impeding their ability to practice their culture and exercise Indigenous rights.

— With files from Richard Zussman and the Canadian Press

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading

Stay up to date

Subscribe for email updates

Trending