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Mulroney: Trump is 'completely right' to call out Canada over defence spending – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says that Canada’s failure to spend the agreed upon goal of two per cent of its gross domestic product on defence is “a disgrace.”

He added that this has contributed to Canada’s international reputation for not paying its bills, adding that “with regard to foreign aid, it’s even worse.”

“This is a disgrace. How are you going to assert your leadership skills when you enter a room and somebody says, ‘Hey, you haven’t paid your bills,” Mulroney said on Thursday’s episode of CTV Power Play.

Mulroney’s comments come after persistent complaints from U.S. President Donald Trump about multiple NATO-member countries’ failure to reach the two per cent target, which was agreed upon in 2014.

“On the NATO thing, he’s completely right – and I’ve said that ever since he got into office three years ago,” said Mulroney.

Trump confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the issue at a joint press conference on Dec. 3, when the two were attending a NATO meeting in London. Trump called Canada, which currently spends 1.31 per cent on its GDP on defence, “slightly delinquent.”

The U.S. president went on to joke about “putting Canada on a payment plan.”

CANADA A ‘LAGGARD’ ON ENVIRONMENT

Mulroney also slammed Canada for being a “laggard” in the fight against climate change.

“Well, you talk about being a laggard, the analysis of the G20 just came out on November 11, and it showed that Canada was the second worst performer of the G20, just a little bit ahead of Australia, who was the worst,” said Mulroney.

Mulroney was referring to Climate Transparency’s annual report, which showed Canada’s per capita emissions are the second highest in the G20.

“We’re not meeting our commitments to Paris, we’re not meeting our undertakings at all,” Mulroney said.

Mulroney said that Canada needs one thing to really get the ball rolling on climate action: leadership.

“Somebody has to say ‘I am the prime minister, or I am the minister, and this is what I’m going to do.’ And if there’s objection to it, you say ‘alright, I’ll take it to the people at the appropriate time.’ But we need leadership on all of these issues,” Mulroney said.

However, despite his criticism of the current government’s approach, the former Progressive Conservative prime minister didn’t let anyone else off the hook. Mulroney went on to slam the Conservatives for their proposed approach to climate issues.

“Anyone who does not have an adequate, thoughtful, dynamic program to deal with climate change will not win an election in Canada,” Mulroney said.

“You saw what happened in the election, and if they want to have a repeat of that, go be my guest. Because you’re just not going to win an election unless you’ve got a thoughtful, grand vision for the future of Canada as it applies to the environment.”

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U.S. FAA seeks new minimum rest periods for flight attendants between shifts

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing to require flight attendants receive at least 10 hours of rest time between shifts after Congress had directed the action in 2018, according to a document released on Thursday.

Airlines for America, a trade group representing major carriers including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and others, had previously estimated the rule would cost its members $786 million over 10 years for the 66% of U.S. flight attendants its members employ, resulting from things like unpaid idle time away from home and schedule disruptions.

Aviation unions told the FAA the majority of U.S. flight attendants typically do receive 10 hours of rest from airlines but urged the rule’s quick adoption for safety and security reasons.

Under existing rules, flight attendants get at least 9 hours of rest time but it can be as little as 8 hours in certain circumstances.

“Flight attendants serve hundreds of millions of passengers on close to 10 million flights annually in the United States,” the FAA said, adding that they “perform safety and security functions while on duty in addition to serving customers.”

It cited reports about the “potential for fatigue to be associated with poor performance of safety and security related tasks,” including in 2017, when a flight attendant reported almost causing the gate agent to deploy an emergency exit slide, which was attributed to fatigue and other issues.

The FAA estimated the regulation could prompt the industry to hire another 1,042 flight attendants and cost $118 million annually. If hiring assumptions were cut in half, it said, that would cut estimated costs by over 30%.

After the FAA published an advance notice of the planned rules in 2019, Delta announce it would mandate the 10-hour rest requirement by February 2020.

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson is testifying at a U.S. House Transportation subcommittee hearing on Thursday.

House Transportation Committee chairman Peter DeFazio said on Wednesday that it was “unacceptable” to delay the FAA adopting the flight attendant rest rule and mandating secondary flight deck barriers to better protect the cockpits on all newly manufactured airliners.

Attorneys at the FAA “need a little poke” to move faster on rules when ordered by Congress, DeFazio said on Thursday at the hearing. “Do not screw around with it for three years… you just do it.”

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants representing 50,000 workers at 17 airlines, said the rule was critical.

“Flight attendant fatigue is real. COVID has only exacerbated the safety gap with long duty days, short night, and combative conditions on planes,” she said. “Congress mandated 10 hours irreducible rest in October 2018, but the prior administration put the rule on a process to kill it.”

During the pandemic, flight attendants have dealt with records numbers of disruptive, occasionally violent passenger incidents, with the FAA citing 4,837 unruly passenger reports, including 3,511 for refusing to wear a mask since Jan. 1.

The FAA proposes to make the new flight attendant rest rules final 30 days after it publishes its final rules.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jason Neely and Bill Berkrot)

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Health

Canada government, provinces agree COVID-19 vaccine travel passport – officials

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Canada’s federal government and the 10 provinces have agreed on a standard COVID-19 electronic vaccination passport allowing domestic and foreign travel, government officials told reporters on Thursday.

The deal prevents possible confusion that could be caused if each of the provinces – which have primary responsibility for health care – issued their own unique certificates. The officials spoke on the condition they not be identified.

The document will have a federal Canadian identifying mark and meets major international smart health card standards.

“Many (countries) have said they want to see a digital … verifiable proof of vaccination, which is what we’re delivering,” said one official.

In addition, federal officials are talking to nations that are popular with Canadian travelers to brief them about the document.

The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this month that from Oct 30, people wishing to travel domestically by plane, train or ship would have to show proof of full vaccination.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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U.S. safety board says driver, passenger seats occupied during fatal Tesla crash

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National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) said on Thursday that both the driver and passenger seats were occupied during an April 17 fatal crash of a Tesla Model S in Spring, Texas.

Local police previously said witness statements indicated there was nobody in the driver’s seat of the Model S when it crashed into a tree. The NTSB said a review of vehicle data show “both the driver and the passenger seats were occupied, and that the seat belts were buckled when the (event data recorder) recorded the crash.”

 

(Reporting by David Shepardson)

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