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Guilbeault ‘optimistic’ G7 climate ministers will agree to gradually phase out coal

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MONTREAL — Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Thursday he’s “very optimistic” this week’s meeting of G7 climate and energy ministers will produce a consensus to gradually phase out the use of coal.

Ministers and senior officials from the G7 countries are holding a three-day meeting in Berlin during which they will seek to agree on common targets for the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, which scientists say is urgently needed to curb climate change.

Guilbeault told The Canadian Press from the German capital that he is insisting “on the importance of strong international action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and ensure that the 1.5°C warming target remains achievable.”

Guilbeault said he thinks his counterparts in the Group of Seven countries — the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Japan — agree with him that “we need to reduce, even eliminate the use of coal.”

But, he said, “it remains to be seen where we will land precisely.” The ministers need to publish a communiqué on Friday, at the conclusion of the meeting. And there have been reports that Japan and the United States are pushing back against having anything firm about reducing coal in the wording of the document.

Robert Habeck, German minister for economic affairs and climate action, said on Thursday that G7 countries “can perhaps take on a certain pioneering role to push forward ending the use of coal for electricity and in decarbonizing the transport system.”

G7 members Britain, France and Italy have set deadlines to stop burning coal for electricity in the next few years, while Germany and Canada are aiming for 2030. Japan wants more time, and the Biden administration has set a target of ending fossil fuel use for electricity generation in the United States by 2035.

Guilbeault, meanwhile, said the G7 doesn’t intend to sacrifice climate goals to fill the gap in fossil fuels entering Europe caused by sanctions levied on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. He said the the climate ministers recognize they “cannot sacrifice the fight against climate change in the name of energy security, and the members of the G7 are unanimous and unequivocal on this.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

— With files from The Associated Press.

 

Stéphane Blais, The Canadian Press

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Canada Day: Parties, protests planned in Ottawa | CTV News – CTV News Ottawa

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Thousands of people wearing red and white and waiving Canadian flags packed downtown Ottawa to celebrate Canada’s 155th birthday, while police monitored the crowds for possible protests against COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions.

It’s the first in-person Canada Day in Ottawa in three years, after COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of events in 2020 and 2021.

“We have missed two years already,” said Rebecca Lau, while standing in front of Parliament Hill. “We used to come here every year to celebrate for Canada Day, but the last two years because of the pandemic we had to stay home.”

The main events include a daytime ceremony and evening show at LeBreton Flats, activities for families and fireworks at 10 p.m.   The Canadian Forces Snowbirds were forced to cancel the annual fly-by over Ottawa on Canada Day following a recent technical issue.

Two kilometres away from LeBreton Flats, Parliament Hill and the streets around the parliamentary buildings were packed with people marking Canada Day.

“It is fabulous to see everybody here celebrating and enjoying Canada Day. It’s nice to see all the patriotism going on; the good kind, the positive kind,” said Todd Salter, visiting Ottawa from Erin, Ont. “There’s protesters here; but they seem calm right now which is a nice change. It feels a little bit normal and really nice to be back.”

Canada Day festivities come months after “Freedom Convoy” protesters occupied streets around Parliament Hill protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates. A protest march against the mandates and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is scheduled for later this afternoon.

The Freedom Fights Canada website says a “March to Freedom” will be held at 3:30 p.m., followed by speeches, live music and DJs on Parliament Hill from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Just before 1 p.m., dozens of people gathered on Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill and chanted “Free Pat King.”  Pat King was one of the organizers of the “Freedom Convoy”, and remains in jail on charges connected to his involvement in the three-week protest.

A “Family Day Picnic” hosted by the group Police on Guard for Thee at a nearby park was cancelled, with organizers citing “a recent incident in Ottawa.” However, there were no further details provided.

A small crowd gathered at Strathcona Park despite the picnic being cancelled, and People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier planned to deliver a speech to supporters in the area. Several vehicles with Canadian Flags were parked in the parking lot, while police patrolled the area.

There is a visible police presence patrolling the parliamentary precinct and the roads around downtown Ottawa, with a motor vehicle control zone set up to prevent vehicles from stopping or engaging in protests.

Any vehicles stopping or parking in the control zone will be ticketed and towed, while police say any vehicles participating in protests will be prohibited from entering the area.

As of Friday morning, Ottawa Bylaw Services officers issued 275 parking tickets and towed 72 vehicles from the vehicle control zone. Bylaw officials have also increased fines for the unusual noise, shouting, urination or defecation on roads and sidewalks, blocking a highway and idling. Fines are now $1,000.

Despite their presence, Ottawa police says it is safe for families to come downtown for Canada Day events.

“Come, don’t be worried. This is a festival. This is to celebrate Canada, that’s why we’ve gone to the extent we have to put the plans in place and the resources around it,” interim Chief Steve Bell told The Evan Solomon Show on Thursday. “It’s going to be a safe environment, that’s why we’re here to ensure that.”

Four people were arrested following an incident at the National War Memorial Thursday, shortly after Canadian Forces veteran James Topp completed his cross-country march to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

“We are reviewing video and investigating the incident at the National War Memorial this evening,” police said on Twitter Thursday evening. “The initial investigation finds that an interaction with officers became confrontational and 1 officer was choked. Other officers immediately responded, 4 people were arrested.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling on Canadians to recommit to the country’s values on Canada Day, including respect, hope and kindness.

In his official Canada Day message, the prime minister said July 1 is an opportunity to commit to the values that the Maple Leaf represents.

“It’s also a promise — a promise of opportunity, a promise of safety for those fleeing violence and war, and a promise of a better life,” he said.

With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News Ottawa’s Natalie van Rooy

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In Canada Day message, Trudeau says Canadian flag represents promise of a better life – CBC News

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for unity amid a potentially divisive national holiday on Friday, using his official Canada Day address to call for deepened commitment to Canadian values like hope and kindness.

The prime minister said the date marking Canada’s 155th anniversary of confederacy offers an opportunity to embrace the values the Maple Leaf represents, adding the flag is more than a symbol.

“It’s also a promise — a promise of opportunity, a promise of safety for those fleeing violence and war and a promise of a better life,” he said.

An unprecedented level of security met locals and visitors alike in the national capital Friday for the first in-person Canada Day events in Ottawa since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Police had a highly visible presence throughout the downtown core, with groups of officers walking the streets and cars framing the entrance to the LeBreton Flats Park where the main celebrations are set to take place. Visitors had to walk through airport-style metal detectors and have their bags searched before entering.

Among the earliest arrivals were Donna Marzolf and her 12-year-old daughter Alexis Livingstone, who travelled from Calgary to take part in the celebration and secure front-row seats to the main stage.

Alexis, sporting a Maple Leaf T-shirt and carrying a small Canadian flag, said she was particularly excited to see her twin sister Sophia perform O Canada at the festivities as part of the Calgary Children’s Choir.

Their mother said the day was a celebration of “peace and safety and freedom — though that kind of has a bad connotation right now.”

Karen MacDonald flew from Ladner, B.C., for her first visit to Ottawa.

“It’s totally thrilling to me to be here in person,” she said. “So many different people in the city are all wearing red and white, with flags. It makes my tummy hurt with pride.”

Along with people celebrating the holiday, a convoy of protesters opposed to COVID-19 restrictions — who often drape themselves in Canadian flags — are planning events in Ottawa on Friday. But the National War Memorial, which was the site of a large gathering Thursday evening, was quiet early on Canada Day as a handful of visitors took photos.

Downtown streets closed to vehicles

Small lineups of people were screened by metal detectors at the entrances to Parliament Hill as a calm but celebratory crowd wandered through downtown streets that were closed to vehicles

Trudeau’s official holiday message, released Friday morning, described Canada as strong because of the diversity among its roughly 38 million residents.

“No matter what our faith is, where we were born, what colour our skin is, what language we speak or whom we love, we are all equal members of this great country,” he said. “And today we celebrate the place we all call home.”

The prime minister also spoke about Canada’s “historic wrongs,” saying while we can’t change history, we can work to build a better future.

WATCH | Governor General delivers first Canada Day message:

Governor General delivers first Canada Day message

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Duration 0:44

Canada’s Gov. Gen. Mary Simon calls on Canadians to continue to work together to build an inclusive society in her first Canada Day address. Simon is the first Indigenous person to hold the position.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon released a Canada Day address of her own calling on Canadians to work together to build an inclusive society.

She urged people to be kind to each other, learn from one another and listen to Indigenous Peoples, on whose land we live.

The Governor General is due to give a speech at formal celebrations in Ottawa on Friday, which will also be attended by the prime minister.

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Celebrations and protests planned for first in-person Canada Day in Ottawa in years

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OTTAWA — Both celebrations and protests are set to take place throughout downtown Ottawa for Canada Day.

Heritage Canada says for the first time in 50 years, Ottawa’s main celebrations are being moved off Parliament Hill, where Centre Block is under construction.

The main events in LeBreton Flats Park and at Place des Festivals Zibi in Gatineau include a daytime ceremony and evening performances, acrobatic shows and activities for families.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds, however, will not fly over the capital as planned — a recent technical issue has been fixed but the team needs time for practice flights and maintenance before returning to the air next weekend.

Meanwhile, a new round of protests against COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are scheduled throughout Ottawa’s downtown core.

Organizers say they plan to march from the Supreme Court of Canada to city hall in the afternoon, and hold a dance party on Parliament Hill in the evening.

There have been several large demonstrations since supporters of the “Freedom Convoy” occupied the downtown core for three weeks in January and February.

While police have plans in place, preventing demonstrations from getting out of hand during Canada Day is likely to be complicated by the presence of thousands of people celebrating the national holiday.

Mayor Jim Watson said Monday that people should feel comfortable heading to the Canada Day celebrations, but to be prepared for delays, street closures and other travel disruptions.

The city has put in place a vehicle control zone around Parliament Hill, from 8 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Monday, to prevent vehicle-based protests.

The bylaw department has increased fines for unusual noise, shouting, urination or defecation on roads and sidewalks, blocking a highway and idling. Fines are now $1,000 for all five offences, and the city says its zero-tolerance approach will also apply to fires, fireworks and littering.

Ottawa police said there will be significant road closures along with a major increased police presence, including support from Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 1, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

 

The Canadian Press

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