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Climate change voted Canadian Press’ news story of the year for 2019 – Global News

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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.

READ MORE: ‘Catastrophic’– Canada set to miss 2030 emissions target by 15%, UN report says

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.

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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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U.N. climate summit grinds to a close after talks go into overtime


U.N. climate summit grinds to a close after talks go into overtime

“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.


READ MORE:
‘Quick wins’ needed to reduce emissions, keep climate goals within reach: UN report

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.

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“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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Climate change protesters demonstrate in Amsterdam airport, dragged out by police


Climate change protesters demonstrate in Amsterdam airport, dragged out by police

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.


READ MORE:
Canadians want to stop climate change — but half don’t want to pay an extra cent: Ipsos poll

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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Greta Thunberg denounces world leaders’ ‘creative PR’ in climate flight at UN summit


Greta Thunberg denounces world leaders’ ‘creative PR’ in climate flight at UN summit

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.

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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.


READ MORE:
Is the Liberal climate plan achievable?

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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Blindfolded Extinction Rebellion demonstrators protest at UN Climate Conference


Blindfolded Extinction Rebellion demonstrators protest at UN Climate Conference

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.

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READ MORE:
Climate change activists block bridges, cause traffic chaos across Canada

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

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Canada defends pandemic policy on asylum-seekers while letting more enter through exemptions

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The Canadian government is trying to quash a legal challenge to its policy of turning back asylum-seekers entering the country between border crossings, saying the group bringing it lacks standing, even as it has granted a growing number of exemptions to the policy.

The parties were in court on Thursday arguing over who should be able to bring a case in the public interest.

Since March 2020, Canada has turned back at least 544 asylum-seekers trying to cross from the United States between ports of entry, government figures show.

The government says its policy is justified by the COVID-19 pandemic and the exemptions it has granted prove recourse is available.

Refugee lawyers said that these exemptions are inadequate, as at least one asylum-seeker was deported from the United States after receiving an exemption, and belie the policy’s justification.

Refugee travel is not discretionary,” said Maureen Silcoff, a refugee lawyer and past president of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, which earlier this year challenged https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/exclusive-canada-taken-court-over-covid-policy-that-pushes-asylum-seekers-us-2021-05-04 the policy.

The government argues that the association lacks legal standing and its challenge should be struck.

The association is neither the intended beneficiary nor the target of the rule and “has no real stake or genuine interest in the outcome of this litigation,” the government said in a court filing. It said asylum-seekers who have been turned back should bring the case.

Refugee lawyers said those asylum-seekers, some of whom end up in U.S. immigration detention, are poorly placed to challenge the policy.

Starting in July, Canada increased the number of National Interest Exemptions it issued to asylum-seekers who had been turned back, enabling them to enter Canada and file refugee claims.

Between March 2020 and July 2021, Canada had granted just eight such exemptions. By Oct. 14, that number had risen to 159 exemptions, according to documents filed in court.

Canada’s immigration ministry did not respond to questions about the criteria for these exemptions.

Canada has a Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States under which asylum-seekers who present at a land border crossing are turned back. It has been challenged twice but upheld most recently this spring https://www.reuters.com/article/us-canada-usa-refugee-agreement-idCAKBN2C22XH.

 

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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Bank of Canada ends quantitative easing, leaves interest rates untouched – Saanich News – Saanich News

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The Bank of Canada isn’t ready to increase interest rates just yet, but the central bank moved to end quantitative easing on Wednesday, (Oct. 27).

For much of the pandemic, the central bank has pumped stimulus into the economy through quantitative easing, buying up billions of dollars in federal government bonds to keep interest rates down. This new move will see the bank halt purchases of new bonds, except to replace existing holdings that mature.

RELATED: Bank of Canada cuts growth forecast for 2021, reduces bond-buying target

The Bank of Canada’s interest rate remains at 0.25 per cent. However, the bank signalled that interest rates could rise in the second half of 2022. Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem has faced pressure to raise interest rates to stave off inflation, but hiking interest rates risks limiting Canada’s economic growth.

Macklem pointed to strong job growth in recent months and high vaccination rates for driving Canada’s economic recovery but noted that the employment rate in low-wage sectors continues to lag.

Meanwhile, inflationary pressures are being driven by bottlenecks in supply chains, as well as a global increase in energy costs. Macklem said that inflation issues are more stubborn than the bank originally anticipated.

“We know higher prices are challenging for Canadians, making it harder for them to cover their bills. I want to assure you that inflation is not going to stay as high as it is today, even if it is going to take somewhat longer to come down.”

RELATED: Bank of Canada will act to cool inflation if prices run too hot, Macklem says

Moshe Lander, professor of economics at Concordia University, said the best thing the Bank of Canada can do to tamp down inflation is nothing.

“Whatever policy stance the Bank takes, they’re going to do harm in some capacity. The best thing here is to do nothing and let the inflation work its way out.”

Lander said the most recent move from the central bank is a signal that Canada’s economy is recovering from the pandemic, but Canada still has a lot of ground to make up.

“Until we close that ground, we need to make up for lost time. We’ll tolerate a certain amount of inflation and policies that we wouldn’t normally allow for until we get back to a point where we can say we’ve come through the worst of it and we’re ready to come back to business as usual.”


@SchislerCole
cole.schisler@bpdigital.ca

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Child labour policies, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions: In The News for Oct. 28 – CKPGToday.ca

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The Canadian Press used the Access to Information Act to obtain a public copy — as well as a heavily censored, classified version — and an internal briefing note summarizing the government’s intended response.

The report says Canada is taking a leading position by exposing its procurement to this scrutiny — an important and required first step.

Since receiving the findings, the government has updated its Code of Conduct for Procurement to incorporate human and labour rights expectations for vendors and their subcontractors.

Also this …

A new analysis suggests the Liberal climate plan could meet Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions targets for the first time before the end of this decade.

The study by Clean Prosperity could give some heft to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau credentials ahead of planned climate discussions at the upcoming G20 summit and United Nations COP 26 meeting.

Trudeau is boarding a plane this morning bound for Europe to attend those summits, though his first stop on the six-day trip is an official visit to the Netherlands.

The Clean Prosperity analysis says all of Trudeau’s recent climate policies could get Canada emissions to 41 per cent below what they were in 2005, by 2030 — just within reach of the new 40 to 45 per cent target he set last spring.

Canada’s climate credibility has been in doubt after emissions rose following Trudeau signing onto the Paris agreement in 2015.

Climate will also form part of the talks at the G20 in Rome, but the COVID-19 pandemic will be the main focus there.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

SANTA FE, N.M. — Investigators say there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on a movie set where Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed a cinematographer and wounded another person. 

They also said it’s too soon to determine whether charges will be filed. 

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza noted 500 rounds of ammunition were found while searching the set of the Western “Rust.” They included a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and suspected live rounds. 

“Obviously I think the industry has had a record recently of being safe. I think there was some complacency on this set, and I think there are some safety issues that need to be addressed by the industry and possibly by the state of New Mexico,” Mendoza told a news conference nearly a week after the shooting.

Authorities also confirmed there was no footage of the shooting, which happened during a rehearsal. Investigators believe Baldwin’s gun fired a single live round that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.

Detectives have recovered a lead projectile they believe the actor fired last week. Testing is being done to confirm whether the projectile taken from Souza’s shoulder was fired from the same long Colt revolver used by Baldwin. The FBI will help with ballistics analysis.

Two other guns were seized, including a single-action revolver that may have been modified and a plastic gun that was described as a revolver, officials said.

Rust Movie Productions, the production company, says it is co-operating with authorities and conducting its own internal review of procedures with the production shut down.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

WELLINGTON, New Zealand _ New Zealand officials said Thursday they will gradually loosen their border quarantine requirements, which have been among the toughest in the world throughout the pandemic.

But while the changes will make it easier for New Zealanders stranded abroad to return home, officials gave no date for when tourists might be welcomed back. That change is likely still months away.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that from next month, most people arriving in New Zealand would need to spend seven days in a quarantine hotel run by the military, half the previous requirement, while some new arrivals from low-risk Pacific island countries could skip quarantine altogether and isolate at home.

He said the new rules were an interim step ahead of broader reopening measures that would be gradually introduced once more than 90 per cent of New Zealanders aged 12 and over were fully vaccinated. So far, 72 per cent of eligible people have had both shots.

The change follows a growing outcry from New Zealanders who have been trying to return home but have been unable to secure spots in the quarantine system. Some have resorted to legal action.

“I acknowledge that there’s a lot of pressure there. My message to the people who are keen to get back into New Zealand is: There isn’t very long to wait now,” Hipkins said. “And encouraging their fellow New Zealanders to get fully vaccinated will help us get to that point faster.”

Hipkins said he expected most new arrivals would be able to isolate at home by sometime in the first quarter of next year. He said the first priority was New Zealanders and those with valid visas.

“Tourists are more of a challenge, in that they don’t necessarily have somewhere to isolate on arrival,” Hipkins said. “But we’ll work our way through all of that.” 

On this day in 1991 …

Prime Minister Brian Mulroney withdrew his name from candidacy for the post of UN secretary general.

In entertainment …

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court has refused to consider Brad Pitt’s appeal of a court ruling that disqualified the judge in his custody battle with Angelina Jolie. 

The court on Wednesday denied a review of a June appeals court decision that said the private judge hearing the case should be disqualified for failing to sufficiently disclose his business relationships with Pitt’s attorneys. 

The judge already ruled Pitt and Jolie divorced, but he separated the issue of custody of their five minor children. Jolie and Pitt were married in 2014. Jolie filed to dissolve the marriage two years later.

The state Supreme Court’s decision means the fight over the couple’s five minor children — which was nearing an end — could just be getting started.

Emails seeking comment from attorneys for Pitt and Jolie weren’t immediately returned.

Jolie, 46, and Pitt, 57, were among Hollywood’s most prominent couples for 12 years. A former Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, John Ouderkirk, officiated at their 2014 wedding, then was hired to oversee their divorce when Jolie filed to dissolve the marriage in 2016.

He ruled the couple divorced in 2019, but he separated the child custody issues.

ICYMI …

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.— Four years after the “Greatest Show On Earth” shut down, officials are planning to bring back the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but animals will no longer be featured in their shows. 

A spokesperson for Florida-based Feld Entertainment says an announcement is expected sometime next year. 

The three-ring circus shut down in May 2017 after a 146-year run. 

Costly court battles with animal rights activists led circus officials to end elephant acts in 2016. Without the elephants, ticket sales declined. 

Officials also blamed increased railroad costs, and the rise of online games and videos, which made the “Greatest Show On Earth” not seem that great anymore. 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which was behind many of the protests, said it is thrilled with the concept of a circus without animal acts.

“The exciting announcement sends a powerful message to the entire industry, something that PETA’s been saying for decades: Cruelty doesn’t belong in the circus or in any other form of entertainment,” the organization told the Herald-Tribune.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2021

The Canadian Press

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