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A timeline of the avalanche hazard in B.C., where five people are dead

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avalanche hazard

Five people have been killed in British Columbia avalanches this month. Forecasters have compared this season’s snowpack with the conditions of 2003, one of the worst years on record for fatalities.

Here is a timeline of avalanche events this season:

Jan. 5: Avalanche Canada warns of a touchy snowpack, with various weak layers created by long periods of drought and cold weather. “Riders have triggered large, scary avalanches with high consequences,” the advisory says.

Jan. 9: Two off-duty police officers are caught up in an avalanche near Kaslo, B.C., while backcountry skiing. Nelson Police Service Const. Wade Tittemore, 43, dies and Const. Mathieu Nolet, 28, sustains severe internal injuries.

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Jan. 21: Nolet dies of his injuries in the hospital.

Jan. 21: Two snowmobilers riding at the base of a slope near Valemount, B.C., accidentally trigger an avalanche from above, sending a slab of snow onto one rider while the other escapes. The buried rider is found unresponsive and dies.

Jan. 23: Heli-skiers and their guide are caught in an avalanche near Revelstoke, B.C. The two guests are dug out of the snow unresponsive and are both declared dead in the hospital. The guide is taken to hospital in stable condition.

Jan. 23: A slide comes down on a one person near Cherryville, B.C. Emergency health services says the person is taken to hospital with undetermined injuries.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2023.

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Canada’s Black population faces varying job prospects despite equal education. Here’s why – Global News

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Canada’s Black population faces varying job prospects despite equal education. Here’s why  Global News

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Inflation in Canada: Finance ministers meet

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TORONTO – The two big spending pressures on the federal government right now are health care and the global transition to a clean economy, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday.
After hosting an in-person meeting with the provincial and territorial finance ministers, Freeland said U.S. President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which includes electric-vehicle incentives that favour manufacturers in Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S., has changed the playing field when it comes to the global competition for capital.

“I cannot emphasize too strongly how much I believe that we need to seize the moment and build the clean economy of the 21st century,” Freeland said during a news conference held at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

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“This is a huge economic opportunity.”

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Canada needs to invest in the transition in order to potentially have an outsized share in the economy of the future, she said, or it risks being left behind.

This year in particular will be an important year for attracting capital to Canada, she said, calling for the provinces and territories to chip in.

“This is a truly historic, once-in-a-generation economic moment and it will take a team Canada effort to seize it.”

At the same time, Freeland spoke of the need for fiscal restraint amid economic uncertainty.

“We know that one of the most important things the federal government can do to help Canadians today is to be mindful of our responsibility not to pour fuel on the fire of inflation,” she said.

Freeland said these two major spending pressures, which were among the topics prioritized at Friday’s meeting, come at a time of a global economic slowdown which poses restraint on government spending.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to meet with the premiers Feb. 7 to discuss a long-awaited deal on health-care spending. The provinces have been asking for increases to the health transfer to the tune of billions of dollars.

Freeland said it’s clear that the federal government needs to invest in health care and reiterated the government’s commitment to doing so but would not say whether she thinks the amount the provinces are asking for in increased health transfers is feasible.

“It’s time to see the numbers,” Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard said Friday afternoon, in anticipation of the Feb. 7 meeting.

The meeting of the finance ministers comes at a tense time for many Canadian consumers, with inflation still running hot and interest rates much higher than they were a year ago.

The ministers also spoke with Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem Friday and discussed the economic outlook for Canada and the world, said Freeland.

“We’re very aware of the uncertainty in the global economy right now,” said Freeland. “Inflation is high and interest rates are high.”

“Things are tough for a lot of Canadians and a lot of Canadian families today and at the federal level, this is a time of real fiscal constraint.”

The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate again last week, bringing it to 4.5 per cent, but signalled it’s taking a pause to let the impact of its aggressive hiking cycle sink in.

The economy is showing signs of slowing, but inflation was still high at 6.3 per cent in December, with food prices in particular remaining elevated year over year.

Interest rates have put a damper on the housing market, sending prices and sales downward for months on end even as the cost of renting went up in 2022.

Meanwhile, the labour market has remained strong, with the unemployment rate nearing record lows in December at five per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2023.

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Federal government is in a tight fiscal environment, Freeland says ahead of health talks

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A combination of a slowing global economy, rising inflation and rising interest rates is restricting the federal government’s ability to take on new spending, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday following a meeting with her provincial counterparts.

Freeland said she was up-front with provincial and territorial finance ministers about the federal government’s fiscal situation at the meeting, which took place in Toronto.

“It means that we do need to behave with real fiscal responsibility,” Freeland told a news conference following the meeting.

“It was important for me to be candid with provincial and territorial finance ministers about that reality.”

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On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with premiers in Ottawa to discuss their demand for a boost to the Canada Health Transfer (CHT). The premiers say Ottawa only covers 22 per cent of the cost of providing health care; they want to see that increase to 35 per cent, or roughly $28 billion.

Freeland said she did not make an offer on the CHT to the other finance ministers.

“I did not present anything specific. We’re all going to leave that to the prime minister and first ministers,” she said.

“I did think it was useful for me to be open and transparent about the fiscal constraints that the federal government does face.”

Freeland added that an increase to federal spending could contribute to rising inflation, which she said could prompt the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates.

The bank has raised its benchmark interest rate eight times in less than a year — most recently in January, bringing the rate to 4.5 per cent. Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said following the latest hike that the bank may continue to increase the rate to get inflation down to the federal government’s two per cent target.

The bank also has warned that the Canadian economy could face a mild recession this year.

Freeland said the ministers also discussed how they can respond to the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act and draw investment to Canada.

Provincial finance ministers eager to see feds’ offer

Under pressure from premiers, Trudeau agreed to the first ministers’ meeting last month.

“We have said consistently, not just in Ontario but right across the country, all premiers … come to the table. You can’t have a discussion if you’re not at the table,” Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario’s finance minister, told a news conference Friday. “So that table is starting on Tuesday.”

Bethlenfalvy said the federal government and the provinces are “really close” to a deal on health-care funding.

Provinces need feds’ help to cut through ‘red tape’ to attract investors: Ontario’s finance minister

“What capital around the world is looking for is where they can get things done,” Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy told Power & Politics after meeting with federal and provincial counterparts on Friday.

Eric Girard, Quebec’s finance minister, told the same news conference that he’s ready to see an offer from Trudeau.

“We need to see the numbers,” he said.

“It’s time to see the numbers, and to start talking about the numbers, and the parameters associated with the numbers … The ask has been there for three years. Now it’s time to see the offer.”

Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews, speaking after Bethlenfalvy and Girard, said he’s optimistic the premiers and the federal government can come to an agreement.

“We remain hopeful in Alberta that the prime minister’s going to come forward with a good proposal, with a good offer,” he said.

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