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Canadians more trusting of U.S. as ally, but less so of Biden, Pew poll suggests



WASHINGTON — Canadians are growing more confident in the United States as a trusted and reliable international ally, but losing faith in the man who’s currently running the country, a new poll suggests.

In the Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday, only 61 per cent of Canadian respondents said they have confidence in President Joe Biden to do the right thing on the world stage — a steep decline from the 77 per cent who said the same thing in 2021.

At the same time, 84 per cent of Canadians who took part said they consider the U.S. a somewhat or very reliable partner — a 16-point increase over the previous year, with 21 per cent describing their southern neighbour as very reliable, compared with 11 per cent in 2021.

Those results are broadly in line with the centre’s findings in other countries around the world, and likely reflect ongoing momentum following Donald Trump’s departure from the White House, said Richard Wike, Pew’s director of global attitudes research.

“That reliability measure is definitely one where we’ve seen some movement in a positive direction, with more people — including in Canada — saying that the U.S. is a more reliable partner,” Wike said.

“Last year it was positive, and it’s even more so this time around.”

For Biden, however, Pew found precisely the opposite, although Wike said that probably represents a cooling of post-Trump euphoria than outright disappointment in Biden’s performance to date.

“Last year, he benefited in a lot of places, in part, from not being Trump, who was very unpopular in most of these countries,” Wike said.

“It’s important to note that there’s still positive for Biden … it’s about six in 10 across these countries who do have confidence in him.”

The Canadian portion of the survey was conducted by telephone with 1,324 respondents between Feb. 14 and April 24, and carries a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

Biden has been struggling for months to get political traction among Americans in a midterm-election year, a common plight for new presidents but one that has been dramatically amplified in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global impact of the war in Ukraine.

With inflation and gas prices testing new thresholds, Biden’s approval ratings have been plumbing new depths. Only 39 per cent of respondents to a recent USA Today/Suffolk poll gave the president a passing grade, with 47 per cent saying they strongly disapproved of his performance and seven in 10 saying the country is on the wrong track.

Outside the U.S., last year’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan hasn’t helped matters: while respondents in 17 countries narrowly supported the decision to pull U.S. troops, they widely disapproved of how it was handled.

In Canada, 50 per cent of respondents said pulling out was the right decision for the U.S., with 40 per cent disagreeing and 10 per cent saying they didn’t know. But 62 per cent said it was done badly, compared with 33 per cent who said it was handled well.

“In every country except Germany, confidence in Biden to do the right thing in world affairs (was) much lower among people who think America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was handled poorly,” Pew said in a release.

Among those Canadians who said the withdrawal was mishandled, only 54 per cent said they trust the president to do the right thing in world affairs.

While it canvassed participants for their attitudes toward NATO and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it did not include any specific questions pertaining to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24.

But Wike said the results likely reflect the sense of international solidarity that was emerging at the time toward Ukraine and its allies, including the U.S., which was key in building a global coalition of opposition to Russia’s aggression and providing Ukraine with weapons and aid.

“I think it’s logical to conclude that some of that increase, in terms of people seeing the U.S. as reliable partners, is probably tied to the perception that the U.S. is working closely with allies and partners to support Ukraine.”

The Pew survey found few surprises when it came to attitudes in Canada and around the world toward Putin and Russia.

Nearly nine in 10 Canadian respondents — 89 per cent — said they have no confidence in the Russian president to do the right thing regarding world affairs, compared to 34 per cent in 2001, a result broadly in line with the all-time lows recorded in other countries.

Similarly, member countries reflected a generally positive attitude toward NATO, including strong increases in support among respondents in Germany, the U.K., Poland and even Sweden, a non-member that has since applied for membership in the military alliance.

In Canada, 65 per cent of respondents said they have a favourable opinion of NATO, down two percentage points from the 2021 survey.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2022.


The Canadian Press


More Charges Dropped Just Days Before Trial Against Activists Who Exposed Animal Cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm



ABBOTSFORD, BC – Several criminal charges were dropped by the Crown yesterday against three animal rights activists just days before their four-week trial is set to begin on Monday, June 27. Amy Soranno, Roy Sasano, and Nick Schafer are accused of exposing animal cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford, BC in 2019, and still face a combined total of 14 indictable charges of Break and enter and Criminal Mischief. A press conference will be held in front of the BC Supreme Court in Abbotsford on the first day of trial.The Crown gave no explanation when it dropped some of the remaining charges yesterday against the three activists. The Crown similarly dropped all charges last month, without explanation, against a fourth activist, Geoff Regier, after his lawyers argued in a pretrial hearing that police and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) had engaged in misconduct.Soranno, Sasano, and Schafer, who together with Regier are calling themselves the Excelsior 4. The three activists could each be sentenced to years in prison if convicted.

What: Press conference & start of four-week trial for the Excelsior 4When: Monday, June 27, press conference at 9am, trial at 10amWhere: BC Supreme Court, 32375 Veterans Way, Abbotsford, BC

“The Excelsior 4 case started three years ago with a total of 21 charges hanging over us,” said Amy Soranno, one of the Excelsior 4 defendants going to trial on Monday. “But before the jury has even been selected, the Crown has dropped all charges against one of us and reduced the number of charges against the rest of us.”Until last month, Regier had faced similar charges for his role in blowing the whistle on Excelsior. In July 2019, Regier made contact with the BCSPCA—the only animal abuse enforcement agency in BC—and provided the private charity with video evidence of criminal animal cruelty at the hog farm. However, instead of recommending charges against Excelsior, the BCSPCA violated its own confidentiality policy in order to turn Regier over to police. The trial comes more than three years after the exposure of animal cruelty at Excelsior, yet the hog farm has never had to answer for the video footage clearly depicting animal abuse. A short video was recently published about the Excelsior 4 case, with an incisive look at how industry has avoided accountability, how the police mishandled evidence, and how the Crown is criminalizing activists. View the 7-minute video here: “The fact that we still face prison time while Excelsior Hog Farm is free to continue its abusive practices is a mockery of justice,” said Soranno. “This case further illustrates the clear bias against animals and activists by the animal agriculture industry, BCSPCA, and police. Our trial will shine a light on the criminal animal abuse taking place at Excelsior, and the failure to hold them and other animal farms accountable.” The trial also comes more than a year after a Freedom of Information disclosure revealed that the BCSPCA has no capacity to enforce anti-cruelty laws at animal farms in BC. Activists point to the abuse carried out at Excelsior as just one example of the BCSPCA’s failure to take enforcement action despite ample evidence of criminal animal cruelty. “BC needs an enforcement agency that is accountable to the public, not a private charity that is unfit for the role and only answerable to its board of directors,” said Soranno. In addition to demanding that the hog farm be held accountable, the Excelsior 4 and animal rights activists across the province are calling on BC Agriculture Minster Lana Popham to replace the private charity BCSPCA with a more accountable government agency to enforce against animal cruelty in BC. In the interest of transparency and accountability, activists are also demanding the installation of Closed-Circuit TV cameras at all animal agriculture facilities in BC. “With no national regulations governing animal welfare on farms and virtually no government oversight on farms, one of the only ways abuse and mistreatment of farmed animals comes to light is through whistleblower and hidden camera exposés,” said Animal Justice in a recent statement. “Preventing journalists and animal advocates from exposing animal abuse restricts freedom of expression, one of the most important human rights in Canada.” For more information about the Excelsior 4, the story behind their charges, and how to take action against animal cruelty:
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Is The Canadian Online Gambling Industry Regulated?



Like in many western countries, gambling is a popular pastime for many Canadians. Throughout Canada’s evolution, it has strived to give its citizens the freedom of gambling across the provinces. Thanks to this, casinos in the country have grown and thrived over the years, from land-based casinos to the more modern online gambling sites.

Interestingly, government-sponsored sites have also joined the online trend. While other nations globally move from one extreme to the other in terms of their stand on gambling, Canadian lawmakers have generally used an even-handed approach despite the attraction of quick and easy money.

Generally, the country’s laws are flexible while simultaneously protecting the public’s welfare.


History of Canada’s Gambling Laws

The ‘90s marked a new age for the gambling industry in Canada because of the computer and internet boom. The first online casinos also launched during this era, and you no longer had to risk gambling in unlicensed casinos in Sweden if you could not access legal casinos. Avid gamblers could simply go online, although they were much fewer in number.

The first reason for this was only a few people owned computers. There was also a concern about the absence of online casino regulations. As the industry expanded, governments began establishing rules to control the sector. Today, traditional and online gambling is prevalent in the country since accessing casinos is much simpler now than before.


Is the gambling sector legal in Canada?

Online gambling had been illegal for years in Canada until quite recently. Now, it is legal in Canada in different forms. All the ten provinces and the three territories have the premise to set their own rules. The minimum legal gambling age in Canada is 19, apart from Alberta and Quebec, where players are only allowed to gamble upon turning 18.

All casinos, lotteries, racetracks as well as other gaming establishments must abide by the rules stipulated by their territory or province of operation. As previously mentioned, some forms of gambling are legal in parts of Canada and illegal in others. The country has two gambling laws; the First Nations Law and the Provincial Law.

The latter accords each territory or province control over gambling activities within its jurisdiction. Subsequently, some provincial laws are stricter than the federal regulations.


Take away

Today, many Canadians enjoy gambling online, from sports betting and live tables to traditional games like slots. Now that it is legal, you can safely access any reputable and legal casino online and physically.


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Downtown Ottawa: Ottawa Bylaw issues 513 tickets, tows 121 vehicles over Canada Day weekend | CTV News – CTV News Ottawa



Ottawa Bylaw officers issued 30 parking tickets and had eight vehicles towed out of the downtown core on Sunday, the final day the motor vehicle control zone remains in effect.

The control zone, aimed at preventing another convoy-style occupation near Parliament Hill, came into effect at 8 a.m. Wednesday in preparation for Canada Day celebrations and possible protests. While roads remain open for traffic, vehicles participating in protests are prohibited and there is no parking or stopping in the area.

In an update on Sunday afternoon, Ottawa Bylaw said since 8 a.m. Wednesday, officers have handed out 513 parking tickets – 186 tickets on Saturday and Sunday – and towed 121 vehicles.

Six tickets have been issued for encumbering the highway, one ticket for “pile material on highway” and three tickets for unlicensed mobile refreshment vehicles.

Bylaw Services says three tickets were issued for the unauthorized use of fireworks, while one ticket was issued for public urination.

“We thank all residents and visitors who celebrated Canada Day while respecting Ottawa residents and laws,” Bylaw Services said on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

Ottawa police have not commented on the police operation in downtown Ottawa over the Canada Day long weekend. Officers from the RCMP, OPP and municipal police forces across the country joined Ottawa police for the Canada Day policing plan.

Mayor Jim Watson told CTV News Ottawa he thought the Canada Day celebrations and the police presence went “really, really well.”

“We were better prepared, we had more police officers at the right time we needed them from different police services and at the end of the day I think what we did was make sure there was a police presence but we also were very firm with applying the rules,” Watson said.

The motor vehicle control zone stretches from Colonel By/Sussex Drive in the east to Booth Street in the west, and Wellington Street in the north to Laurier Avenue in the south. The control zone also includes the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway east of Parkdale Avenue.

It will remain in effect until 6 a.m. on Monday.


The city of Ottawa says a motor vehicle control zone will be in effect from Wednesday at 8 a.m. until July 4 at 6 a.m. (City of Ottawa/Twitter)

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