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Gun Fight in North Bay or Same Old

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The Citizens of Northern Ontario have suffered much from the effects of this pandemic, like us all, however, they have social and economic problems uniquely theirs. While having a smallish population compared to the greater province, they have suffered a lack of various services that are amplified by the many northern community’s isolations and distance from what is perceived as the center of Ontario’s Universe, namely Toronto.

Employment in Northern Ontario is not the problem. Filling the many vacated positions are. Furthermore with the increased demand for employees comes the growth of the community, a population growth that has not been taken into account by any of Ontario’s Political Parties.

1. Affordable Housing is non-existent. While the Liberal and Conservatives are leaving this void to be filled by free enterprise, Andrea Horwath’s N.D.P. and Mike Schreiner’s Green Party are calling upon the government for tax breaks and financial input to instigate housing starts. While this problem of housing development has been with us for many years, the NDP believes their financial input will kick start a building frenzy. The average wage in Northern Ontario is $15-25 dollars an hour. New homes will certainly lay beyond many citizens’ financial reach, just as it does near Southern Ontario. Without the direct involvement of Ontario’s Government in the building of affordable homes, this historic housing deficiency will remain.

Medical Services are limited in the north. Not enough medical staff overall. The NDP promise to hire over 300 new doctors and much more staff for the north hospitals and clinics, along with all the support they need. That means better wages and housing for these doctors, nurses and medical professionals. However, Andrea Horwath does not explain how her plan will keep these medical professionals in the north. Doctors, nurses and other professionals often move to brighter financial pastures in the south. Not one politician explains how they can keep these needed professionals in our Northland.

Andrea has also promised to invest billions into the north’s ageing infrastructure. Time will tell whether this could happen. There is an unmentioned competition in Ontario between the South(GTA) and our Northland. Politicians will support the area with the most and greater population and riding too. Ontario Politics rotate around Toronto, not Thunder Bay, North Bay or Timmins. Does Andrea Horwath, Doug Ford, Stevie D or Mike Schreiner not realize this reality? The leader’s debate in North By happens tonight. Will these leaders show a true understanding and respect for our neighbour’s in the North, or will they simply rehash the promises made earlier in the day?

Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca

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‘Looked awesome’: Accused in murder-conspiracy trial says unaware gun prohibited

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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – One of two men charged with conspiring to murder RCMP officers at the Coutts, Alta., border blockade two years ago testified Tuesday he wasn’t aware that the custom-made rifle he had purchased was a prohibited weapon.

Chris Carbert said he paid $5,000 for the DPS Panther A15 rifle found under his mattress in an early morning police raid of a trailer in the village the night he was arrested.

Carbert and Anthony Olienick are being tried together before a jury in Court of King’s Bench in Lethbridge.

The two were charged after police made arrests and seized weapons at the blockade in early 2022.

Carbert said he purchased the assault rifle two weeks before the blockade began but hadn’t even sighted the scope for it.

“It says DPS Panther A15. Did you know what kind of gun it was? What I mean by that is…what type of firearm it was?” Crown prosecutor Steven Johnston asked Carbert. “What made it special to you?”

“That it was custom built and just it looked awesome,” Carbert replied.

“Do you know what an AR-15 is?” said Johnston. “I’m going to suggest to you that the reason you paid $5,000 plus another $1,500 for a scope for it is because you knew it was an AR-15. That’s a special gun in Canada.”

“OK, but I didn’t know,” Carbert said.

Carbert has testified he brought guns and body armour to the blockade but said there was no plan for violence unless he had to perhaps flee to the mountains and fend off someone trying to give him a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

He also told the jury that he had little to do with Olienick and others staying in the trailer, that he was “grumpy and sick” as he tried to recover from COVID-19.

Johnston, in a tense exchange with the accused, suggested when Carbert was arrested in the police raid, he did more than just call a lawyer before surrendering. He said Carbert attempted to hide his weapons and had to make a decision.

“You were trying to decide, ‘How do I come out? Do I come with my hands on my head’ or on the trigger of your gun? That’s what you were trying to decide.” said Johnston.

“Definitely not,” Carbert said.

“You were thinking, ‘Is this the war? Is this them coming for me and is this my war?'” Johnston continued.

“Definitely not.”

“Even all that talk that you’ve given us if they came for you out in the mountains.” Johnston said.

“But we’re nowhere near that point, Mr. Johnston,” Carbert said. “They’re not coming to stick a needle in my arm.”

The protest against COVID-19 rules and vaccine mandates tied up traffic for two weeks at the Alberta-U.S. border crossing at Coutts.

It ended quickly and peacefully when police seized weapons and made arrests.

Johnston also asked Carbert about a conversation Carbert had with a friend in late 2021 in which he said, “If they think they are coming for my kids they better be prepared because they will likely be leaving in a body bag.”

“Did you say that to him?” Johnston queried.

“Yeah, I said that. I mean I’ve said some colourful things. There’s no doubt about it,” he replied. “I’ve also said if they came to put the vaccine in me and my kid that they weren’t doing it.”

Court has heard Olienick considered the blockade the fight of a lifetime against a government bent on ending individual freedoms.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2024.

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Calgary loosening outdoor water restrictions as extreme heat continues

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EDMONTON – Calgary residents can now turn on their sprinklers for longer as the city swelters under an extreme heat warning.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek says outdoor watering restrictions may be fully lifted within days, but for now residents can turn on their hoses for up to two hours twice a week to water grass and outdoor plants.

Michael Thompson, Calgary’s infrastructure services general manager, says operational pump issues have been fixed, but other mechanical problems need to be resolved before the city can give the full green light.

He says the city’s water system is approaching 75 per cent capacity, but how it can meet that demand depends on usage.

Outdoor watering restrictions have been in place since a catastrophic water main break on June 5, with a ban on all outdoor water use loosened last week.

Voluntary restrictions on indoor water use were lifted three weeks ago.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Tesla’s 2Q profit falls 45% to $1.48 billion as sales drop despite price cuts and low-interest loans

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DETROIT (AP) — Tesla’s second-quarter net income fell 45% compared with a year ago as the company’s global electric vehicle sales tumbled despite price cuts and low-interest financing.

The Austin, Texas, company said Tuesday that it made $1.48 billion from April through June, less than the $2.7 billion it made in the same period of 2023. It was Tesla’s second-straight quarterly net income decline.

Second quarter revenue rose 2% to $25.5 billion, beating Wall Street estimates of $24.54 billion, according to FactSet. Excluding one time items, Tesla made 52 cents per share, below analyst expectations of 61 cents.

Earlier this month Tesla said it sold 443,956 vehicles from April through June, down 4.8% from 466,140 sold the same period a year ago. Although the sales were were better than the 436,000 that analysts had expected, they still were a sign of weakening demand for the company’s aging product lineup.

For the first half of the year, Tesla has sold about 831,000 vehicles worldwide, far short of the more than 1.8 million for the full year that CEO Elon Musk has predicted.

The company’s widely watched gross profit margin, the percentage of revenue it gets to keep after expenses, fell once again to 18%. A year ago it was 18.2%, and it peaked at 29.1% in the first quarter of 2022.

Tesla said it posted record quarterly revenue “despite a difficult operating environment.” The company’s energy-storage business took in just over $3 billion in revenue, double the amount in the same period last year.

Shares of Tesla fell 4% in trading after Tuesday’s closing bell. The shares had been down more than 40% earlier in the year, but have since recovered most of the losses.

Revenue from regulatory credits purchased by other automakers who can’t meet government emissions targets hit $890 million for the quarter, double Tesla’s amount of most previous quarters.

The company reported $622 million in “restructuring and other” expenses for the quarter, when it laid off over 10% of its workforce.

Tesla said in a note to investors that it’s between two major growth waves, with the next one coming through advances in autonomous vehicles and new models. But the company reiterated caution that its sales growth “may be notably lower than the growth rate achieved in 2023.”

The company said plans for new vehicles, including more affordable models, are on track for production to start in the first half of next year. Tesla has hinted at a smaller model costing around $25,000. The models are to be built using some aspects of current vehicles and others from the next-generation underpinnings.

The company said average selling prices for its Models S, X, 3 and Y all dropped due to the price cuts and financing offers. It also said that the Cybertruck became the best selling electric pickup in the U.S. during the quarter.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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