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Montreal aid groups seek more money to help care for rise in asylum seekers

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A coalition of Montreal community groups says its members are overwhelmed by the growing number of asylum seekers arriving in the city and need more resources to help them.

Refugee aid groups say that the easing of border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a massive influx of would-be refugees to Canada, many of whom are arriving in Quebec.

The federal government says that between January and November 2022, 45,250 asylum seekers arrived in Quebec, compared to 7,290 would-be refugees who entered the country through the province for all of 2021.

The coalition is calling for the Quebec government to reverse a 1996 decision that limits asylum seekers’ access to many services, including public health insurance.

It is also asking governments for money to care for would-be refugees and to retain staff.

However, the coalition provided no specific figures around that request.

Sylvie Guyon, who works with two refugee aid groups in southwest Montreal, told reporters that asylum seekers are often seen as a burden on society — but she said many of them worked in long-term care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We realized that these asylum seekers were over-represented among essential service workers. We suddenly started calling them our ‘guardian angels’ …. By putting them on a difficult, stressful journey, which sometimes takes several years, the government has made a very bad calculation in our opinion.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2023.

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More evacuation orders in B.C. as heat wave aids lightning-triggered wildfires

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Several lightning-triggered wildfires have forced authorities in British Columbia to issue evacuation orders as the province’s southern and eastern regions swelter in a heat wave.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Island Pond fire about 17 kilometres south of Canal Flats, B.C., in the East Kootenay, was discovered Saturday and grew to 1.2 square kilometres overnight.

The Regional District of East Kootenay has declared a state of local emergency and issued an evacuation order for two addresses as a result, and has also warned another 65 properties to be prepared to leave on short notice.

Meanwhile, the Cariboo Regional District ordered residents on 29 parcels of land in the Kuyakuz Lake area covering 923 square kilometres to evacuate immediately, with five out-of-control wildfires burning nearby — four of which were confirmed to be lightning-caused.

The new evacuation orders come as the Shetland Creek fire about eight kilometres north of Spences Bridge, B.C., is holding at about 150 square kilometres in size.

The BC Wildfire Service dashboard says about 87 per cent of the more than 300 blazes burning in the province have been caused by lightning.

All evacuation orders and alerts linked to the Shetland Creek blaze in B.C.’s Thompson-Nicola region remain in place for communities such as Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Spences Bridge and the Ashcroft First Nation.

In the Central Kootenay, the community of Silverton, B.C., is on alert while 107 properties south of the village are under an evacuation order due to the nearby Aylwin Creek wildfire.

Aylwin Creek and nearby Komonko Creek remain at a combined size of 6.5 square kilometres, and Highway 6 south of Silverton remains closed due to wildfires burning nearby.

Environment Canada says the latest heat wave broke or matched the daily high-temperature records in 14 B.C. communities on Saturday, with Lytton reaching a high of 41.2 degrees — breaking a record of 40.6 degrees set in 1946.

Temperature records also fell in the B.C. communities of Cranbrook, Merritt, Princeton, Trail and Vernon, with all five communities reaching at least 36 degrees.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Why Ontario Premier Doug Ford is at war with the LCBO – BBC.com

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Why Ontario Premier Doug Ford is at war with the LCBO  BBC.com

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U.S. President Joe Biden steps aside as Democratic candidate, ending re-election bid

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WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden is removing his name as the Democratic candidate in the November election following weeks of mounting pressure over the 81-year-old’s mental acuity and ability to win the faceoff with Republican rival Donald Trump.

Biden says it has been his greatest honour to serve but he believes it is in the best interest of his party to stand down and focus solely on fulfilling his duties as president for the rest of his term.

Growing numbers of Democrats were urging Biden to drop out following a disastrous debate performance against Trump and multiple missteps on the world stage during the recent NATO leaders’ summit in Washington.

Biden told supporters Friday he was ready to get back on the road this week after recovering from COVID-19, which he contracted during a critical time for his campaign.

Biden criticized Trump’s acceptance speech at last week’s Republican National Convention, saying it presented a dark vision for the future, and indicated he would forge ahead with his own campaign.

But he issued a social media post on Sunday afternoon saying he would not be running, adding he will speak to the nation and provide more detail later this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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