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Nenshi bows out after 3 terms as Calgary mayor

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s genesis story is well known by now, an outsider with a geeky love of municipal politics who rose to power with the promise of politics in full sentences and who captured the attention of national and international audiences. He was the first Muslim mayor of a big Canadian city, a kid from the city’s northeast with an academic pedigree, a very active Twitter account and a penchant for the colour purple. On Tuesday, however, the geeky outsider-turned-insider announced he would not run again after three turbulent terms. That 11-year span included massive flooding, a sharp economic downturn, a pandemic, sometimes acrimonious fights over what Calgary is and could be, but also systemic changes to budgeting, growth and communities. Nenshi said it was a decision he’s been struggling with for some time, and made the call to bow out only this past Thursday. “I think it’s the right decision for me and I hope it’s the right decision for Calgary.… I have sought advice from a lot of folks, but the hardest conversations and the most difficult conversations were with myself,” he said in an interview with CBC’s Scott Dippel on Tuesday. WATCH | Why Naheed Nenshi is not running again. “If we learned anything this year, it’s that there are many voices in our community … there are many voices that haven’t always felt heard, and it felt like the right time to make some room.” So what is his legacy? Calgary in a new light Jack Lucas, a University of Calgary associate professor in the political science department, says Nenshi helped to change how others perceive the city. Former prime minister Stephen Harper, centre, with former Alberta premier Alison Redford, left, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, speak to the media with the flooded Bow river behind them on June 21, 2013.(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press) “It was national news when he was elected in 2010 and really kind of made people across Canada wake up and understand that Calgary was a big, urban, diverse, rapidly growing place with all of the characteristic features of any large urban metropolis,” he said. “And it was a more diverse and, I don’t know, urban place than people outside Calgary tended to picture. It has this sort of image that Nenshi maybe helped shake up a little bit.” Nenshi was a business prof at Mount Royal University and a former McKinsey & Company consultant with a master’s degree from Harvard, after all. But it’s not just all perception when it comes to Nenshi’s legacy. Emerging from a group called Civic Camp that was pushing for a more urban vision for the city, Nenshi was elected on a mandate to curb sprawl and breathe more life into communities. During his time in office, he managed to eliminate the so-called sprawl subsidy that forced the city to pay a hefty chunk for developers to build on the outer fringes of the city. Mayor Naheed Nenshi urged calm and patience throughout the pandemic that struck in 2020. (Mike Symington/CBC) He also helped push through the bus rapid transit network and the route ahead plan for transit that helped fund the as-yet-unbuilt Green Line LRT. He oversaw the construction and opening of the new central library, and chaperoned the expansion of the East Village and Rivers District on downtown’s eastern edge. Then there was the approval of food trucks and the addition of four big rec centres. The approval of secondary suites was moved out of the council chambers, where the hearings would sometimes logjam meetings for days. WATCH | What Naheed Nenshi hopes his legacy will be. Nenshi laughed when asked to narrow it down to just one accomplishment, but said he’s particularly proud of a less flashy achievement. “What I’ve done that doesn’t get a lot of press is the work we’ve done to make city hall work better,” he said, adding that the work isn’t done. “Cities are never done. We’re always changing, we’re always adapting, there will always be more dragons to slay.” Noel Keough, who co-founded Civic Camp, says Nenshi was able to push through some of the group’s vision, including more affordable housing, developer levies and more inclusive budgeting processes, but was also stymied by the nature of council politics. “So I would say, you know, he’s attempted to do many of those things. He’s had some success. But it’s limited by the kind of overall conservative nature of Calgary,” said Keough. ‘Social infrastructure’ Joe Ceci, the NDP’s municipal affairs critic and the former finance minister, served under two mayors when he was a Calgary councillor. He says Nenshi seemed to have some growing pains through the first years as he wrestled with just how a council works, but once he found his footing, he pushed hard for the city. “I always saw him as fair, you know, dragging, pushing, prepared when it came to meetings, he worked well with other mayors. Him and [Edmonton’s] Don Iveson were a pretty formidable duo of big city mayors to deal with,” said Ceci. Calgary Central Library’s new location opened in 2018 with the support of Mayor Naheed Nenshi. (Michael Grimm) Nenshi, along with Iveson, wrangled more power for Edmonton and Calgary by signing charters with the province under the NDP government. Ric McIver, the current minister of municipal affairs who ran against Nenshi for mayor in 2010, did not respond to a request for an interview. For Ceci, Nenshi stands out for his talent at communication, particularly during crises like the 2013 floods, when citizens were begging him to get some rest as he tirelessly kept the city updated and tried to boost spirits. Ceci also gives him credit for engaging more young people in civic politics, and for his efforts outside of brick-and-mortar priorities. “He certainly focused on a lot of social infrastructure in the city. Things like reconciliation were important for him and he showed great sensitivity towards that and anti-racism work, support for the LGBTQ+ community, support for affordable housing development in the city,” he said. Partisanship and perception Lucas says Nenshi remained focused on non-partisanship at the municipal level, but that the perception of him as a politician and partisan changed over the course of his time in office. “I really wish we had great survey data from 2010 because my guess is that if you had asked people in 2010 where Nenshi stands ideologically, their responses would have been very mixed,” he said. Nenshi was re-elected for his third-term as Calgary’s mayor in 2017. (CBC) “Then in 2017, where we do have good high quality survey data on this, and again in 2018, you see that Calgarians think of Mayor Nenshi these days as being firmly left of centre, and I think that’s been a trajectory that Mayor Nenshi has consistently tried to resist.” Lucas thinks a lot of that perception is due to opponents trying to define Nenshi for their own reasons. “It becomes difficult to resist that claim, especially if you’re not comfortable resisting it by saying, ‘No, I’m not a left winger, I’m a right winger,'” he said. On that front, Nenshi’s legacy is a mixed bag. There are the transit projects and the social infrastructure that Ceci notes, but there are also the budget cuts and zero-based budget reviews and red-tape reductions that many would associate with a more conservative politician. Under Nenshi’s leadership, the city has transformed the way it doles out cash, and the overall budget has been slashed by hundreds of millions. Of course, it hasn’t always been a smooth, or popular, ride. Challenges As much as Nenshi is known as a great communicator, he’s also been known to put his foot firmly in his mouth. He was caught on camera calling the CEO of Uber a “dick,” and has been widely criticized for acting like the smartest guy in the room. He was taken to court, accused of defamation by Calgary developer Cal Wenzel, and is currently facing another defamation suit by another Calgary businessman. The Wenzel case was settled out of court. Representatives from the three groups behind the Flames arena deal pose for a photo after it was approved by council. From left: Barry Munro, who handled negotiations for the city; Coun. Ward Sutherland; John Bean of CSEC; Mayor Naheed Nenshi; Ken King of CSEC; Stampede CEO Warren Connell; Coun. Jeff Davison; and Coun. Shane Keating.(Audrey Neveu/Radio-Canada) Nenshi has never shied away from a war of words. He fought with the Calgary Flames ownership in the lead up to an arena deal, he fought developers, he even fought some councillors. He’s been criticized for overseeing an increasingly fractious council that’s grappling with big issues. Nenshi’s time in office coincided with a hollowing out of the downtown core, brought on by a long-term decline in the price of oil that started in 2014. The city has struggled with a tax shortfall caused by the empty downtown towers, and recently voted to once again subsidize business taxes in order to reduce the impact of skyrocketing rates outside of the core. The Flames got their arena with $225 million in funding from the municipality just as the city was announcing cuts to transit service, and Nenshi watched as his dream of hosting the Olympics was voted down by Calgarians in a plebiscite in 2019. He will likely leave office before construction of the massive Green Line LRT line begins, due to delays brought on by a provincial government often at the receiving end of Nenshi’s verbal barbs. Nenshi said this job has been the greatest honour of his life and he hopes to stay involved in the city’s story. Stepping down isn’t a decision based on term limits. “I don’t believe that folks, you know, who say politics shouldn’t be a career, [they] don’t want professional politicians. Look, I want a professional electrician doing my wiring … I want a professional plumber. Why wouldn’t I want a politician who knows what they’re doing?” he said. “Right now, there’s a huge part of me saying, ‘What are you doing, you’re in your dream job, you’ve been able to have impact, you’ve been able to make change.'” But, he said, the decision is about more than just him. “It’s not just about me … there’s 1.3 million people here whose visions we have to listen to.” Legacy So was he successful? Lucas says he will leave it to others to judge Nenshi’s policy successes while reiterating the mayor’s accomplishments at changing perceptions of Calgary both within and outside of the city. Keough feels the same, suggesting some of the young and progressive candidates running for council seats in October’s election are there because Nenshi showed it’s possible to run, and win, even if you don’t fit the Alberta conservative stereotype. He wishes, however, that the mayor had done more to push the city away from its reliance on oil and gas and fought harder against ongoing suburban development on the city’s edges. For Ceci, he’s unequivocal. “No hesitation to say yes. I think early on he had some challenges in terms of understanding what the consensus building role of a mayor is about, and I think he definitely learned how to do that more often and better, as he got further into the work,” he said. “The things that council was able to achieve, when they were working together, is pretty remarkable.” Mayoral candidates and sitting councillors Jyoti Gondek and Jeromy Farkas thanked Nenshi for his years of public service following his announcement. “Mayor Nenshi has been a strong advocate for our city. He will be missed on council,” Gondek said. Nenshi said he’s been thinking back to words he said when first elected a decade ago. “‘Calgary is different than it was yesterday, today … and not because of me, because of you. Because of all of you Calgarians who have embodied a new vision for the city.’ And that’s what I remember today, as emotional as I’m getting … the city is going to get even better.” As for his own future — Nenshi turns 50 shortly after the next election — he isn’t sure what’s next. “I really have no idea. I’m going to do something that’s uncharacteristic for a big planner like me and open myself up to the universe.” WATCH | What Naheed Nenshi plans to do next. He also isn’t saying whether he plans to endorse any mayoral candidates, but he does have some advice for the next person to take up the role. “My advice is never forget that people have given you their dreams. It’s an incredible responsibility but its a responsibility you have to embody every minute of every day.”

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Canada’s Telesat takes on Musk and Bezos in space race to provide fast broadband

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By Steve Scherer

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s Telesat is racing to launch a low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to provide high-speed global broadband from space, pitting the satellite communications firm founded in 1969 against two trailblazing billionaires, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Musk, the Tesla Inc CEO who was only a year old when Telesat launched its first satellite, is putting the so-called Starlink LEO into orbit with his company SpaceX, and Amazon.com Inc, which Bezos founded, is planning a LEO called Project Kuiper. Bezos also owns Blue Origin, which builds rockets.

Despite the competition, Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s chief executive officer, voices confidence when he calls Telesat’s LEO constellation “the Holy Grail” for his shareholders – “a sustainable competitive advantage in global broadband delivery.”

Telesat’s LEO has a much lighter price tag than SpaceX and Amazon’s, and the company has been in satellite services decades longer. In addition, instead of focusing on the consumer market like SpaceX and Amazon, Telesat seeks deep-pocketed business clients.

Goldberg said he was literally losing sleep six years ago when he realized the company’s business model was in peril as Netflix and video streaming took off and fiber optics guaranteed lightning-fast internet connectivity.

Telesat’s 15 geostationary (GEO) satellites provide services mainly to TV broadcasters, internet service providers and government networks, all of whom were growing increasingly worried about the latency, or time delay, of bouncing signals off orbiters more than 35,000 km (22,200 miles) above earth.

Then in 2015 on a flight home from a Paris industry conference where latency was a constant theme, Goldberg wrote down his initial ideas for a LEO constellation on an Air Canada napkin.

Those ideas eventually led to Telesat’s LEO constellation, dubbed Lightspeed, which will orbit about 35 times closer to earth than GEO satellites, and will provide internet connectivity at a speed akin to fiber optics.

Telesat’s first launch is planned in early 2023, while there are already some 1,200 of Musk’s Starlink satellites in orbit.

“Starlink is going to be in service much sooner … and that gives SpaceX the opportunity to win customers,” said Caleb Henry, a senior analyst at Quilty Analytics.

Starlink’s “first mover” advantage is at most 24 months and “no one’s going to lock this whole market up in that amount of time,” Goldberg said.

Telesat in 2019 signed a launch deal with Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin. Discussions are ongoing with three others, said David Wendling, Telesat’s chief technical officer.

They are Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, Europe’s ArianeGroup , and Musk’s SpaceX, which launches the Starlink satellites. Wendling said a decision would be taken in a matter of months.

Telesat aims to launch its first batch of 298 satellites being built by Thales Alenia Space in early 2023, with partial service in higher latitudes later that same year, and full global service in 2024.

‘SWEET SPOT’

The Lightspeed constellation is estimated to cost half as much as the $10 billion SpaceX and Amazon projects.

“We think we’re in the sweet spot,” Goldberg said. “When we look at some of these other constellations, we don’t get it.”

Analyst Henry said Telesat’s focus on business clients is the right one.

“You have two heavyweight players, SpaceX and Amazon, that are already pledging to spend $10 billion on satellite constellations optimized for the consumer market,” he said. “If Telesat can spend half that amount creating a high-performance system for businesses, then yeah, they stand to be very competitive.”

Telesat’s industry experience may also provide an edge.

“We’ve worked with many of these customers for decades … That’s going to give us a real advantage,” Goldberg said.

Telesat “is a satellite operator, has been a satellite operator, and has both the advantage of expertise and experience in that business,” said Carissa Christensen, chief executive officer of the research firm BryceTech, adding, however, that she sees only two to three LEO constellations surviving.

Telesat is nailing down financing – one-third equity and two-thirds debt – and will become publicly traded on the Nasdaq sometime this summer, and it could also list on the Toronto exchange after that. Currently, Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Loral Space & Communications Inc are the company’s main shareholders.

France and Canada’s export credit agencies, BPI and EDC respectively, are expected to be the main lenders, Goldberg said. Quebec’s provincial government is lending C$400 million ($317 million), and Canada’s federal government has promised C$600 million to be a preferred customer. The company also posted C$246 million in net income in 2020.

Executing the LEO plan is what keeps Goldberg up at night now, he said.

“When we decided to go down this path, the two richest people in the universe weren’t focused on their own LEO constellations.”

($1 = 1.2622 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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$600K donation to boost online mental health programming in Nova Scotia

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Nova Scotia Health’s mental health and addictions program hopes to offer more online support to people across the province after receiving a significant donation this week.

The QEII Foundation announced that RBC is contributing $600,000 toward the province’s e-mental health programming.

“It’s particularly important for the current time under all the strains of COVID,” said Dr. Andrew Harris, a psychiatrist and the senior medical director for the program.

The plan for online programming has been in the works for years, he said, but the pandemic expedited the push. Last June, the department launched a number of applications that can be used to help those with anxiety, depression and addictions.

Since then, as many as 3,000 Nova Scotians have used the site to access mental health services.

“There’s a persistent difficulty in accessing services,” Harris said of traditional models in Nova Scotia. He said those who don’t need intensive therapy may find the support they need through the online programs.

He uses the example of someone who can’t take time off work to speak to a clinician.

“It’s better for them to be able to access a service after hours or on the weekend. So our e-mental health services are tailored a little bit to meet that need.”

Calls to crisis line increase

Harris said the province’s mental health crisis line continues to see a 30 per cent increase in calls for help, so he’s trying to raise awareness that services can be accessed immediately online.

“I think everyone is aware that for a lot of people it’s much easier to talk about a physical illness than a mental illness. So there’s an allowance there for privacy, for some anonymity but still making available things that can help the person who is struggling in the community.”

The online portal has a list of programs that people can use, covering things like reducing stress, solving problems and becoming mindful. It mirrors a site in Newfoundland and Labrador that Harris said is used to help people in remote areas.

Harris said the donation from RBC will be used to continue to evaluate more services, and pay for the licensing of the products that are mostly developed by other organizations.

He encourages anyone who is struggling to test out the site, and use it as an entry point into the mental health system.

“It’s important for people to acknowledge when they’re struggling. It happens to all of us through our lives in different times.”

Anyone in Nova Scotia looking to access the tools can visit: https://mha.nshealth.ca.

Source:- CBC.ca

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Samsung’s cheapest 5G Galaxy phones yet are launching this month

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Samsung

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

  • Samsung is launching five new phones in its Galaxy A series this month.
  • Three of them will support 5G connectivity, and the most expensive phone is just $500.
  • The cheapest phone of the five still has three cameras but lacks 5G and other features.
  • See more buying advice on the Insider Reviews homepage.

Samsung may be best known for its high-end Galaxy S phones that rival the iPhone. But the tech giant is proving that it can appeal to cost-conscious customers with the launch of five new smartphones in the United States, the priciest of which only costs $500.

Samsung’s new lineup of budget phones, which debuted in other markets before coming to the US, are all launching this month. Some of them will be released as soon as this week, while the least expensive model will debut on April 29. The launch comes as competitors like Apple and Google have also been focusing on cheaper smartphones to boost sales.

Three of these new Samsung devices also support 5G, another sign that shoppers no longer have to pay a premium to get access to next-generation wireless networks. All five of the new phones also have the traditional headphone jack for wired listening and run on an octa-core processor.

Here’s a look at the new Samsung Galaxy A series phones that will be launching soon.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Galaxy A52 5G_Awesome Black_Front_Back



Samsung

  • Release date: April 9
  • Price: $499.99

The Galaxy A52 5G is the most expensive smartphone of the bunch. It comes with a 6.5-inch FHD+ screen and a quad-camera system that includes some of the same features as Samsung’s more expensive Galaxy S phones. These include Single Take, which creates several different photos or video clips with different effects with a single press of the shutter button.

Its screen can also boost its refresh rate up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling and performance, a feature that has become common on pricier flagship phones but is rare on cheaper models. It’s also the only phone in this A-series lineup to include Samsung’s notch-free screen design.

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G

Galaxy A42 5G_Prism Dot Black_Front_Back



Samsung

  • Release date: April 8
  • Price: $399.99

The less expensive Galaxy A42 5G has a slightly larger screen than the A52 5G, but scales back on certain features when it comes to the camera and screen refresh rate.

Still, it has a triple-lens camera with high-resolution sensors, and like its pricier sibling it also supports Single Take.

Samsung Galaxy A32 5G

GalaxyA32 5G_Awesome Black_Front



Samsung

Release date: April 9

Price: $279.99

The Galaxy A32 5G is Samsung’s cheapest 5G smartphone to date. It has a large 6.5-inch screen, but it’s made from an LCD panel instead of Super AMOLED. That means it will likely lack some of the contrast and boldness of Samsung’s other devices. But Samsung hasn’t skimped on the camera considering this model has a quad-lens main camera, which is rare if not unheard of at that price.

Samsung Galaxy A12

Galaxy A12_Black_Back



Samsung

Release date: April 9

Price: $179.99

Samsung’s Galaxy A12 doesn’t come with 5G support, but it still gives you a lot for the price. For less than $200, you’re getting a quad-lens camera and a large 6.5-inch LCD screen. But remember this phone only has 32GB of storage, so it’s best suited for those who don’t store a lot of photos and videos on their device.

Samsung Galaxy A02s

Galaxy A02s_Black_Front



Samsung

  • Release date: April 29
  • Price: $109.99

The Galaxy A02s is Samsung’s cheapest phone, offering a 6.5-inch LCD screen and three main cameras. It doesn’t have 5G support or as much computing power or camera prowess as Samsung’s other A-series phones, but that’s to be expected for a device at this price. This phone is truly for those who just need the basics and little else.

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