NHL’s Sidney Crosby, astronaut David Saint-Jacques among 99 named to Order of Canada
David Saint-Jacques says he has always been “obsessed” with the notion of perspective — from the physical, like understanding where we are in space and what’s beyond the clouds, to the philosophical.
The Canadian astronaut and physicians have had more opportunities than most to explore all the meanings of that word. He orbited Earth for 240 days and saw “just how exposed we are in the cosmos.”
Then, less than a year after his stint on the International Space Station, the pandemic hit. And he spent two years working the COVID-19 units at Montreal’s McGill University Health Centre, witnessing heartbreak and solidarity.
If Saint-Jacques has had a lifelong obsession with perspective, it’s perhaps unsurprising that he points to the “many, many, many giants” on whose shoulders he’s been standing — and those who “made it possible for me to come back to Earth alive” — when he is singled out to receive one of the country’s highest honours.
Gov. Gen. Mary Simon announced Thursday that he and 98 others are being appointed to the Order of Canada.
Among the heavy hitters of academia, science, medicine, law and the arts are hockey star Sidney Crosby, currently the captain of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, famed Hollywood impressionist Rich Little and esteemed Quebec actor Michel Côté.
Two existing appointees are being promoted to become companions to the order, the honour roll’s highest status — beloved actor Eugene Levy and Nova Scotia businessman John Bragg.
“It’s very humbling, seriously, to have my name there along people who have accomplished so much on their own steam. I do feel like certainly my accomplishments as an astronaut are really the result of huge teamwork,” Saint-Jacques said.
The astronaut added that the teamwork of the international space program is what gives him hope that humanity can solve its biggest problems. It’s like “a bridge that we built that’s always open,” he said, no matter what is unfolding on the ground.
Another new officer in the order is Harry LaForme, who became Canada’s first Indigenous appellate court judge in 2004.
While serving on the Ontario Superior Court in 2002, LaForme authored an important decision that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Ontario, finding that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated their equality rights. Gay marriage became legal in Ontario a year later.
“It was quite an easy decision for me to make,” he said. “The clarity comes from living a life of being oppressed and being denied rights.”
LaForme spoke about growing up on a First Nation reserve, living through a period when, “You had to get permission to go off the reserve” and speaking to his grandfather, whose life had been overtaken by the department of Indian Affairs, about the erosion of their Indigenous language.
He said he has always remembered what the then-Liberal justice minister, Irwin Cotler, told him upon his appointment to the appeals court.
“I said, ‘Why did you pick me?’ And he said, ‘Well, somebody who knows justice will be somebody who has experienced injustice.’ And that resonated with me.”
When people say that he was ahead of his time on the same-sex marriage decision and on another that paved the way for legal use of cannabis for medical purposes, LaForme disagrees. “I think that was exactly the right time to be doing it.”
LaForme and Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré delivered a report to the federal justice minister in late 2021 that envisions an independent commission to consider wrongful conviction applications. And he is taking on cases related to the over-incarceration of Indigenous Peoples in his role as senior counsel at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP.
“Anything is better than what we do right now,” he said, urging the government to do better on the issue and follow through on his recommendations. “We’ve got to care about the people that are incarcerated.”
LaForme is not the only Order of Canada appointee who is being recognized for extraordinary achievements but who feels that their work is far from over.
Ronald Deibert, a University of Toronto professor and founder of its unique Citizen Lab, is being recognized “for his leadership and expertise in digital technology, security and human rights, and for his groundbreaking contributions to cybersecurity around the globe.”
No institution houses anything quite like the lab, which combines research from different disciplines to pull back the curtain on cybersecurity. Its reports are informing international policy and global approaches to combating mercenary spyware.
“I wanted to create a counter-intelligence capacity for global civil society, and that’s effectively what we do,” Deibert said. He added that his role is like that of a coach or a general manager on a hockey team, and he feels he is receiving the honour on behalf of the group of professionals who conduct that work.
Deibert, who recently briefed the White House and other high-level audiences about cybersecurity risks, said he’s hoping for more acknowledgment of the problem from the Canadian government. He accused Ottawa of being “asleep at the wheel.”
But he expressed gratitude for being recognized with the accolade, calling it a surreal experience.
“I grew up in a working-class east Vancouver neighbourhood. I didn’t even think I would get much beyond high school, and within my family, I think as far as you can go, I was the only person to go to university,” he said.
“To get this award is just a huge recognition for someone like me and I think others who may be in that position. It just goes to show that … if you care about what you do, you’re passionate and you work hard, it pays off.”
Simon said in a statement that the appointees’ commitment to the betterment of Canada fills her with pride and hope for the future.
“Celebrated trailblazers in their respective fields, they are inspiring, educating and mentoring future generations, creating a foundation of excellence in our country that is respected throughout the world,” her statement said.
The Governor General will offer the awardees their Order of Canada insignia at an investiture ceremony, with the details yet to be announced.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2022.
Appointments to the Order of Canada
Gov. Gen. Mary Simon has appointed the following people, who were recommended for appointment by the Advisory Council of the Order of Canada:
– John Louis Bragg (This is a promotion within the order)
– Eugene Levy (This is a promotion within the order)
– Gordon John Glenn Asmundson
– Lise Françoise Aubut
– James Ashley Corcoran
– Michel Côté
– Sidney Patrick Crosby
– Eleanor Joanne Daley
– Ronald James Deibert
– Allen Charles Edward Eaves
– Robert Alan Ezrin
– Victor Jay Garber
– André Gaudreault
– Paula Beth Gordon
– Laurence A. Gray
– Eva Grunfeld
– Budd Lionel Hall
– Michael Douglas Hill
– Walter William Jule Jr.
– The Honourable Harry S. LaForme
– Bernard Joseph Lapointe
– Pierre Lassonde
– Andreas Laupacis
– Yves Lenoir
– David Frederick Ley
– Richard Caruthers Little
– Gerald James Lozinski and Joan Mary Lozinski
– Ivar Mendez
– The Honourable Gerald M. Morin
– Eli Rubenstein
– David Saint-Jacques
– Brian Edward Stewart
– Barbara Lewis Zimmerman
– Jean Aitcheson
– Shelley Diane Ambrose
– Ted Barris
– Marie-Dominique Beaulieu
– Stephen Alfred Bell
– John J. M. Bergeron
– Kevin Luke Blackmore
– Sheila Ruth Black
– Bernard Joseph Bocquel
– Louis André Borfiga
– Yvonne Bonnie Bressette
– André H. Caron
– Timothy Allen Caulfield
– The Honourable Maria Emma Chaput
– Wayne Chaulk
– Angela Ella Cooper Brathwaite
– Alan Côté
– Armand Calixte Doucet
– Douglas Allen Dunsmore
– Konrad Eisenbichler
– Carolyn R. Freeman
– Patricia Garel
– Félix Gauthier
– Samuel Gewurz
– Hamlin Washington Grange
– Allan Edward Gross
– Feridun Hamdullahpur
– Lori Haskell
– Raymond John Johnson
– Colleen Patricia Jones
– Martin F. Katz
– Simon Sean Keith
– Warren Charles Seymour Kimel
– Donald Arnold Kossick
– Stéphane Laporte
– Karina Chenelle LeBlanc
– Philippe Lette
– Frederick John Longstaffe
– John Robert Lounds
– Brian Gerald MacKay-Lyons
– Conor Gerard Maguire
– Michael Massey
– Jacqueline Mary Elizabeth Maxwell
– Marc Daniel Mayer
– Heather Mary McGregor
– Roderick McKendrick
– Bill Howard Namagoose
– Patricia Margaret Ningewance
– Michèle Ouimet
– Pitman Benjamin Potter
– Benoît Robert
– Frantz Saintellemy
– Raymond Saint-Pierre
– Victor Sarin
– Michael Schmidt
– Gary S. Segal
– Lorraine P. Segato
– William George Sembo
– Mark Geoffrey Sirett
– Donat Taddeo
– Laurier Thibault
– Mac Van Wielingen
– Stanley Vollant
– The Honourable Konrad Winrich Graf Finck von Finckenstein
– Richard Weisel
Debt in Canada: What’s normal for your age?
If you’re like most people, you have at least some debt. Your mortgage, car payment, credit card balance, and student loans are all liabilities that contribute to your total debt.
Have you ever stopped to wonder how much debt is normal for your age, though?
Below, I’ll outline the average and median debt by age in Canada, so you can see how your finances compare. Then I’ll explain some of the key reasons why Canadians’ debt is increasing.
Average debt by age group in Canada
First of all, it’s important to understand that debt is normal. Very few Canadians are 100% debt-free. Even those with near-perfect credit scores likely have an auto or student loan they’re paying down.
These are the debt metrics measured by Statistics Canada during census surveys.
Here’s the average debt by age group in Canada as of 2019, according to the latest data sets from Statistics Canada:
Note – this data applies to individuals who are not in an economic family. The numbers differ for economic families, which include married/common-law partners and families with dependent children.
The total debt measured includes:
- Mortgage debt
- Lines of credit
- Credit card debt
- Student loans
- Vehicle loans
- Other debt (doesn’t fit in the categories above)
Median debt by age group in Canada
Looking at average debt provides a decent overview of the data. However, the averages are very skewed by the debt incurred by Canada’s ultra-wealthy taxpayers.
When calculating the average, all values are added together and divided by the total number of values. This means that a few extreme values can greatly influence the result.
In contrast, the median is the middle value in a dataset when values are arranged in order. As such, it is less affected by outliers and provides a more accurate representation of typical values.
For example, a multi-millionaire with a $2-million mortgage will skew the average higher than the average Canadian.
For a more accurate look at Canadian debt, I find that the median data as of 2019 provides more accurate insight:
Why is consumer debt increasing in Canada?
Over the past year, consumer debt has notably increased. This is especially true for credit card debt. The average monthly spending per credit card increased by 17.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the previous year, according to a recent report by Equifax Canada.
In the report Rebecca Oakes, vice-president of Advanced Analytics at Equifax Canada, stated that “Gen Z and Millennials are driving up higher consumer spending the most.”
Even though inflation is slowly easing, it’s still relatively high. The high inflation has driven up the cost of everyday goods, including groceries and fuel. This, in turn, means that Canadians are spending more per month than they were before 2022, when inflation started to rise.
Unfortunately, workers’ pay hasn’t grown with inflation. This means that the average Canadian simply has less money to spend, increasing their reliance on credit cards to purchase daily necessities.
- Pent-up demand and travel
Oakes goes on to state that “Pent-up demand and increased travel with the easing of COVID restrictions, combined with soaring inflation, have led to some of the highest increases in credit card spending we’ve ever seen.”
It makes sense that Canadians would be eager to travel after several years of travel restrictions, even if it means incurring more credit card debt.
- Increased interest rates
To keep inflation under control, the fed steadily increased interest rates throughout 2022 and is discussing more rate hikes this year. As the federal interest rate has increased, variable interest rates, such as those offered by credit card companies, have also increased.
Those who carry a credit balance over to the next month must now pay even more interest on their credit card debt, increasing their overall debt.
Creating a plan to manage your debt
Accruing debt in the short-term may be inevitable due to high-interest rates and inflation. However, it’s important to create a plan to get your debt under control.
A reliable budget plan paired with consistent action is the best way to get out of debt.
Revisit your monthly budget to find areas where you can save, try to pay down high-interest credit card debt as quickly as possible, and consider taking up a side hustle to earn extra money that you can put towards your debt.
Six bodies, including one child, recovered from St. Lawrence River – CBC.ca
The bodies of six people, including one child with a Canadian passport, were recovered from the St. Lawrence River late Thursday afternoon, according to Akwesasne Mohawk Police Chief Shawn Dulude.
A child with a Canadian passport was among the bodies recovered Thursday
The bodies of six people, including one child with a Canadian passport, were recovered from the St. Lawrence River late Thursday afternoon, according to Akwesasne Mohawk Police Chief Shawn Dulude.
Dulude said he could not provide any information on the nationalities of the other five deceased.
The Mohawk community of Akwesasne straddles the Canada-U.S. border and occupies territory in Ontario, Quebec and New York state.
The Akwesasne Mohawk Police, with the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard, is leading the ongoing investigation, Dulude said.
The bodies were spotted in Canadian waters by a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter, he said.
The discovery of the bodies coincided with the search for a missing Akwesasne community member that also began Thursday, Dulude said.
They were turned away at the Canadian border. Now what? – CBC.ca
Toddlers ran through aisles filled with snacks and candies. Adults slumped in chairs. Multiple cellphones were plugged into a single wall socket. Backpacks and suitcases were scattered among the two rows of tables in a corner of this small-town bus stop and gas station.
After they were turned away at the Canadian border and spent three days in detention, the roughly 15 asylum seekers at the Mountain Mart No. 109 in the town of Plattsburgh, N.Y., south of Montreal, on Tuesday afternoon were trying to figure out what to do.
They had tried to get into the country at the popular unofficial crossing on Roxham Road in the hours after a new border deal between Canada and the U.S. came into effect late last week.
Alan Rivas, a Peruvian man who was hoping to reunite with his girlfriend who’s been living in Montreal for two years, said he’d spent $4,000 on making it this far.
“I’m trying to think about what to do now.”
A sense of solidarity emerged as people recognized each other from various parts of their time stuck on the border, along with a sense of resignation and deep disappointment.
“Disappointing and heartbreaking,” said a man from Central Africa, whom CBC agreed not to identify because he fears it could affect his asylum claim process in the United States.
He had shared a cab ride with a man from Chad, who fled to the U.S. after the government of his country led a violent crackdown on opponents last fall.
“It’s unfair. We are not home and we suffer. We’re looking for a better life,” the man from Central Africa said.
The man from Chad looked up and said: “No, looking for protection is not having a better life. I had a life.”
The Chadian was not let into Canada despite his wife and child being Canadian citizens, he said. Having a family member with legal status in Canada is one of the few exemptions to the strict new rules that make it nearly impossible to claim asylum at the Canada-U.S. border. His wife and child fled to a nearby country after the crackdown in Chad, but he explained that his wife’s family is still in Canada.
Other exemptions include being an unaccompanied minor and having a work permit or other official document allowing a person to be in Canada.
“They made me sign a paper without giving me time to read it. They didn’t explain anything,” said the man, whom CBC also agreed not to name because he fears for his family’s safety in an African country near Chad.
The Canada-U.S. deal was implemented swiftly before the weekend, leaving local governments and organizations little time to respond and turned-away asylum seekers struggling to find food, shelter and rides.
The man from Central Africa was trying to round up enough money to pay for a $200 bus ticket to Houston, where he would stay with a friend. The man from Chad gave him the $40 he was missing.
The Central African said he had spent his savings on coming to Canada. His hope was to live here until obtaining residency, and then arranging for his family to come to meet him.
“I know a guy in Houston who hasn’t seen his family in 10 years. He still doesn’t have status,” he said.
A young Haitian mother cradled her baby as her toddler made friends with another child. Her family had paid an acquaintance in New Jersey $300 per adult to get to Roxham Road before midnight Friday, but the driver got lost and they arrived at 12:03 a.m.
Steven, a 24-year-old Venezuelan who attempted to cross into Canada at Roxham early Saturday morning, mingled with the people he’d met in detention. Then he tried to call his mom.
“She doesn’t know,” said Steven, who didn’t want his last name used in this story because of fears it could affect his U.S. asylum claim. “I know I seem happy but I am sad.”
Carmen Salazar, 45, also from Venezuela, watched him from another table.
“It’s hard, really hard,” she said.
The group of asylum seekers at the Mountain Mart had found comfort in finding each other. They all boarded a bus leaving Plattsburgh at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday. Its main destination was New York City.
Others haven’t been so lucky finding a way out of Plattsburgh.
The night before, a woman who was seen at Roxham Road early Saturday, sat alone at the bus stop crying.
3 nights in a motel and no plan
Across the street, in a small motel, a 34-year-old Haitian man and his pregnant girlfriend had one night left out of three that had been paid for by local emergency housing services. But they had no plan and only $41 to their name.
“We’re here. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’re going to look for ways to be able to live. What I’m looking for — nothing more — is a place to rest and a place to work. Nothing else,” said the man, sitting in the lobby of the motel. CBC is not naming him because of fears it could affect his American asylum claim.
The couple had intended to stay in the U.S. after crossing the Mexican border, but the woman became pregnant and developed constant pains. In the U.S., they had to stay with separate family members far from each other and the man worried about his wife and being able to afford medical bills, so they decided to try to get to Canada, having heard it was easier to find work and that health-care was more affordable, he said.
In an interview with Radio-Canada Monday, a man from another Central African country struggled to hold back tears.
He said the confusion after being taken in at Roxham Road by RCMP officers was hurtful because it wasn’t clear if he’d be accepted into Canada or not. When they called his name, he was filled with hope, only to be told he was being sent to U.S. Border Patrol.
“I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know where to go. I don’t have anyone who will take me in,” he said.
The response from U.S. Border Patrol appears to be uneven. Some asylum seekers CBC spoke with had taxis called for them, having to pay another $70 to get to the Mountain Mart. One woman was found on the side of the service road by the border and given a ride by a social science researcher and documentary photographer met by CBC.
The man interviewed by Radio-Canada was part of a group who were given a ride to the gas station by a Greyhound bus heading back to New York from Montreal.
CBC reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Monday, asking what happens to asylum seekers rejected by Canada, but did not receive a response.
Although in favour of some kind of change to reduce traffic at Roxham Road, one local official wants help from the federal governments to deal with the fallout.
Michael Cashman, supervisor for the Town of Plattsburgh, says Canada and the U.S. to come up with a response to help asylum seekers get to where they want to go in the U.S.
He isn’t against the move to restrict access to Canada at Roxham Road.
“There had to be a change,” he said, noting residents had been asking for one, but compared the way it was done to turning off a light switch before entering a room: “You’re going to bump into some furniture.”
The area is rural and has its share of struggles with transportation and housing, Cashman said.
“There isn’t a robust infrastructure to be able to take on this humanitarian crisis as it develops.”
On Monday and Tuesday, buses coming from New York carried only a few asylum seekers hoping to cross the border. Most knew about the new rules, believing their cases would fit some of the exemptions. Others still did not know.
By Tuesday, cab drivers were no longer ferrying people to Roxham Road, taking them to the official border crossing at Champlain, N.Y., and Lacolle, Que., instead.
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