In late September, hundreds of thousands of Canadians took to the streets across the country to demand more from their governments on climate change.
It was one of the largest mass protests in Canadian history, adding maple flavours to an international climate strike movement founded around Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.
It was also a sign, many in the environment movement believed, of Canada’s climate-change coming of age.
“2019 was like the year of climate awakening for Canada,” says Catherine Abreu, the head of Climate Action Network Canada.
It was a year that saw warnings Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, the imposition of a national price on pollution, a vote in Parliament to declare a climate emergency and a federal election in which climate was one of the few real issues to make its way through the din of nasty politics.
Climate change was chosen in a survey of reporters and editors across the country as the 2019 Canadian Press News Story of the Year.
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“I don’t think it can be anything but climate change,” said Toronto Star senior editor Julie Carl. “It is gripping our attention, our reality and our imagination.”
A decade ago, climate change was more academic than reality, but in recent years few Canadians haven’t been touched directly by the kind of weather climate change may be causing: floods, fires, major storms, cold snaps, heat waves, longer winters, shorter growing seasons. In June, when Parliament voted to declare that we are facing a climate crisis, it came as parts of eastern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick were bailing out from the second once-a-century flood in three years.
In the survey, climate change had stiff competition, barely beating out the SNC-Lavalin saga, which itself had to fight its way into second ahead of the Toronto Raptors’ NBA title. In western Canada, many votes were cast for the hunt for two men who murdered a couple and another man in British Columbia before fleeing to the muskeg of northern Manitoba, where they would take their own lives.
But for many editors, the decision to rank climate change No. 1 comes both from the impact it had in 2019 and its expected dominance in our lives in the future.
“There’s no bigger story than the human-made altering of our own planet — even if you don’t believe it,” said Paul Harvey, senior editor at the Calgary Herald and Calgary Sun.
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Canada’s new environment minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, ran for office in large part because he wanted to do something to address climate change, a problem, he said in a recent interview, that “is a defining issue of our time.”
It is also a defining issue for the Liberal government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ran on a promise to ramp up Canada’s environment policies in 2015, including setting a path to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and fix Canada’s environmental review process for major projects.
But the government’s decision first to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and then spend $4.5 billion to buy the existing pipeline when political opposition threatened to derail the project, left environment advocates disappointed and room for his political critics to pounce.
“You. Bought. A. Pipeline,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh countered in a news release, when Trudeau unveiled his climate plans during the election campaign and promised to lead the way to a greener country.
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Climate change is also at the heart of the anger driving talk of western alienation _ and in the most extreme cases, separation _ as oilpatch workers, and others who depend on the oilpatch for their jobs, fear for their futures.
It leaves any government in Canada with a true conundrum: how to reduce emissions drastically without tanking an economy where oil, gas, manufacturing, and transportation are key. Unlike some small European nations, Canadians live far apart, in cities built around the automobile, and in places where heating and electricity needs in the winter months are high.
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The political fight between Ottawa and the provinces over how best to manage climate change is a big part of the story and Canadians seem to want them both to win. Two-thirds of Canadians voted for parties advocating for carbon taxes while an equal number voted for parties that promised to complete the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“The vast majority of Canadians said, ‘We want aggressive action on climate’ but the vast majority of Canadians also are pragmatic in terms of saying, ‘But we want to do this in a frame of doing this in a prosperous economy,’ ” Wilkinson said recently in an interview with The Canadian Press.
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In 2019, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Alberta took Ottawa to court over the federal carbon tax. The first two already lost in their provincial courts of appeal and are appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada. Alberta ‘s case is on this week.
Ottawa’s new environmental-assessment process for major projects makes climate change one of the considerations. It is one of the most hated bills in Alberta and Saskatchewan, where governments believe it will mean no new pipelines ever get built in Canada. For environment leaders, that is not a bad thing. For the energy sector, it’s a death knell.
Several watchers also think not having a full climate plan helped sink Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s election efforts.
Valerie Casselton, managing editor at the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province, said it “arguably” cost Scheer the election “in a year when the Liberals faced scandal after scandal but managed to rally by climbing onto their green platform planks.”
© 2019 The Canadian Press
Air Canada, other airlines suspend flights to China over coronavirus fears – Global News
Air Canada and British Airways are among a slew of airlines suspending flights to China as fears spread about the outbreak of a new virus that has killed more than 130 people.
Several other airlines including Finnair, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific and Singapore-based Jetstar Asia are reducing the number of flights to the country as demand for travel drops because of the outbreak.
British Airways said Wednesday it is immediately suspending all flights to and from mainland China after the U.K. government warned against unnecessary travel to the country amid a virus outbreak.
The airline operates daily flights from London’s Heathrow Airport to Shanghai and Beijing. It took the measure a day after Britain’s Foreign Office updated its travel advice on China, warning against “all but essential travel” to the mainland, not including Hong Kong and Macao.
Air Canada said it was cancelling select flights to China to “better match capacity with expected demand.” Currently, the carrier operates 33 flights a week to China.
“The resulting capacity reduction is relatively small,” a spokesperson told Global News. “Those customers who are affected will be notified and provided with alternate travel options. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will adjust accordingly.”
Air Seoul, a budget airline, became the first South Korean airline to suspend its fights to mainland Chinese destinations that wasn’t Wuhan, stopping its flights to the cities of Zhangjiajie and Linyi.
Lion Air said it has cancelled more than 50 flights to China well into February. The flights are from five international airports in Denpasar, Manado, Surabaya, Jakarta and Batam to 15 airports in China.
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Lion Group spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantor said the suspension would be phased in gradually and would continue until further notice.
China has cut off access to Wuhan and 16 other cities to prevent people from leaving and spreading the virus further. The outbreak has infected more than 6,000 on the mainland and abroad.
Hong Kong airlines are cutting the number of their flights to the mainland by about half through the end of March in response to government virus-control efforts.
Cathay Pacific Group said flights to 24 mainland destinations would be reduced to 240 weekly. The company owns Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong Airlines, Cathay Dragon and Hong Kong Express.
Helsinki, Finland-based Finnair, which has actively promoted its position linking Asian and Western destinations, said it was cancelling three weekly flights to Beijing Daxing International Airport through late March, as well as its twice-weekly flights to Nanjing. It will continue operating flights to four other mainland Chinese destinations, including Beijing Capital Airport.
Jetstar Asia said it will temporarily suspend flights to the Chinese cities of Hefei, Guiyang and Xuzhou starting Thursday through the end of March due to a drop in demand.
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South Korea’s second-largest carrier, Asiana Airlines, said it will temporarily suspend flights to the Chinese cities of Guilin, Changsha and Haikou starting next month.
Korean Air, South Korea’s biggest airline, said it is also considering grounding some of its flights to mainland China as passenger demand drops. Korean Air had operated four flights a week to the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, before suspending them on Jan. 23.
Taiwan’s Eva Air announced a partial cancellation of flights to and from mainland China for two weeks starting Feb. 2. In addition, the airline also has stopped providing towels, magazines, table clothes, and is limiting blanket and pillow in flight.
— With files from Global News
© 2020 The Canadian Press
Canada cuts consular staff in China amid coronavirus outbreak – CBC.ca
Canada is reducing its consular staff in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, as some citizens stuck in the affected region say they are frustrated by the lack of help from the federal government.
Global Affairs Canada announced the reduced staffing at its diplomatic missions in China on Twitter and on the Beijing embassy’s social media pages in Chinese on Wednesday. Canadians who need emergency consular assistance are being told to contact the emergency watch and response centre in Ottawa.
There have now been more than 6,000 cases of the novel coronavirus reported globally — the vast majority of them in China — and 132 related deaths.
Some Canadians trapped in Wuhan, China, due to strict travel restrictions say they’re safe but feeling abandoned by their consular officials.
Consular offices were closed Saturday through Tuesday due to the Chinese New Year.
Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is looking at ways to help Canadians stuck in China.
“We are working very closely with our consular officials in China. We’re listening and concerned about the Canadians who are right now in the affected zone,” he said.
“We will look at what we can do. There are many countries looking at different ways to help out. It is a complex situation, but we’re doing everything we can to support Canadians.”
All visa application centres in mainland China are temporarily closed, and consular office will be providing only basic services such as passport renewals and emergency services such as medical assistance, emergency benefits and missing persons.
As of January 29, 🇨🇦 diplomatic missions in 🇨🇳 are working with reduced staff due to the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/coronavirus?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#coronavirus</a>. Canadians in need of emergency consular assistance should call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at +1 613 996 8885 or email email@example.com. <a href=”https://t.co/RkPFbvZbNF”>pic.twitter.com/RkPFbvZbNF</a>
According to the embassy’s post, the immigration service will continue to provide services and prioritize the processing of travel documents for customers and permanent residents “who need to travel urgently to Canada for humanitarian and compassionate reasons.”
Global Affairs Canada’s emergency response centre can be reached by phone at 613-996-8885 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The government has launched a website dedicated to the coronavirus and set up an information hotline.
This afternoon, the House of Commons health committee will begin hearings on the government’s response to the outbreak. Scheduled to appear today are Stephen Lucas, the deputy health minister, Public Health Agency of Canada president Tina Namiesniowski and Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam.
Several countries have started repatriating their citizens from the affected region in China.
A Japanese flight carrying 206 evacuees home included four people with coughs and fevers. The three men and one woman were taken to a Tokyo hospital on separate ambulances for treatment and further medical checks.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu has stressed that the risk to Canadians remains low, but said any consular assistance to Canadians in China will be provided in a way that protects the health and safety of Canadians abroad and at home.
Today, she said she is working with Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne to develop a plan to assist Canadians.
“I’ve actually also had my counterparts work with the U.S. officials that are working on their repatriation, and we’ll have more to say about that this afternoon,” she said.
On Tuesday, Champagne said the government will provide consular services to all Canadians trapped in the coronavirus-affected region of China due to commercial travel restrictions.
He said the government would provide a “tailored response” based on the needs of the Canadians in the area — but did not say if an aircraft would be dispatched to repatriate people from the Wuhan area.
“We’re looking at all options to assist them,” he said.
Champagne said that 250 Canadians in the affected area have now registered with Global Affairs, and 126 have requested consular assistance to get home.
“We are in contact with them. We’re trying to contact everyone, assess their specific need for assisted repatriation,” he said.
“We’re at the same time consulting with our allies and looking at the different options that people are considering, also in contact with the Chinese authorities.”
Beyond Meat products pulled from Tim Hortons’ Canadian restaurants – Financial Post
Tim Hortons restaurants have stopped selling Beyond Meat products at its coffee and doughnut shops across two of Canada’s biggest provinces.
The chain had been serving both the Beyond Burger and a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich made with the company’s imitation sausage products. While the items had originally been available across Canada at nearly 4,000 locations, they were scaled back in September to the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.
“We introduced Beyond Meat as a limited time offer. We are always listening to our guests and testing new products that align to our core menu offerings. We may offer Beyond Meat again in the future,” Tim Hortons said in an e-mailed statement.
The rollback marks a rare setback for the plant-based meat maker, which currently has partnerships with Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.S., and recently announced an expansion of its partnership with Subway in Canada to begin serving meatball subs nationwide.
A Beyond Meat spokesperson confirmed this was a limited time offer and the companies may work together in the future. Restaurant Brands International Inc., the parent company of Tim Hortons, didn’t respond.
Beyond Meat tumbled almost 4 per cent in New York trading Tuesday after the stock was downgraded to neutral by JPMorgan. The shares extended declines after the close of regular trading on the Tim Hortons report. The stock has soared more than fourfold since it went public last year.
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