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Summit of the Americas: Canada, California focus on climate – CTV News

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LOS ANGELES –

Canada and California are kindred progressive spirits on climate change, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday as he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a new blueprint for working together to stave off the worst consequences of a warming planet.

The framework signed by Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Environmental Protection Secretary Jared Blumenfeld, their respective bosses standing behind them, includes modest expansions on a similar 2019 agreement.

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It also advances policy and regulatory steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants in both jurisdictions, as well as conservation measures and dealing with the worsening threat of wildfires.

And it will stand the test of time, Newsom said — regardless of who is in power in the California governor’s mansion, the White House or the Prime Minister’s Office.

California is a $3.3-trillion a year economy, he said — the fifth-largest in the world, and a “stable partner” whose efforts to address climate issues and pollution standards have been influencing other states and countries, including Canada, for decades.

“We punch above our weight,” Newsom said, describing the state as a “stable partner” whose regulatory reforms have stood the test of time and the political whims of the electorate.

“We carry a lot of weight as it relates to low-carbon green growth, as it relates to efforts to change the way we produce and consume energy — regardless of who’s in the White House.”

Trudeau said Canada will always find favour with a partner that’s willing to make progress on issues of shared significance.

“Canada has always been a country that engages in the world, and whether it’s engaging with like-minded countries or like-minded states like California, we’re just there to get things done,” Trudeau said.

“When we find alignment on so many things — as we always have with California, but as we specifically have under Gavin Newsom’s administration — we jump on it.”

Trudeau delivered an impassioned defence of his government’s efforts to rebrand Canada, a country economically dependent on its fossil-fuel resources, as a champion of tackling climate change.

It’s precisely because of that reputation as an oil-producing nation that Canada has extra credibility on climate issues, Trudeau said.

“Moving forward on climate change is really hard for us. We have a thriving fossil fuel industry in our country at a time where the world continues to run on fossil fuels and will for a number more years,” he said.

“The fact that we have that means it’s all the more important for us to step up and show real leadership on fighting climate change, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”

Guilbeault later described taking part in a Summit of the Americas meeting to document progress on the Global Methane Pledge, an international effort to target one of the most powerful greenhouse gases.

Canada has committed to reducing methane emissions, which can be between 20 to 80 per cent worse for the atmosphere than CO2, by 30 per cent by 2030, Guilbeault said.

“We can get a big bang for our buck in terms of emissions reduction and in terms of preventing increases in temperatures,” he said.

“If we reduce global emissions of methane by 30 per cent between now and 2030, it’s 0.5 C that we’re basically sucking out of the atmosphere. Less warming means less climate change.”

The fellowship between Newsom and Trudeau, two progressive leaders in their early 50s who cut a similar silhouette, was evident from the moment they met on the front steps of the California Science Center.

The pair chatted and laughed out loud at each other’s jokes as they sat down for a brief luncheon meeting before their joint news conference, where Newsom joked about Trudeau’s popularity with his staff, a lack of term limits in Canada and how he himself is a “future ex-governor of California.”

The bonhomie gave way to a more sombre meeting later Thursday between Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden at the Summit of the Americas.

Biden agreed during that meeting that he would finally pay an in-person visit to Canada in the coming months, his first since becoming president in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Trudeau seated next to him, Biden delivered the standard White House greeting about the U.S. having “no better friend in the world than Canada” and said he and the prime minister share a similar vision for the hemisphere.

“I think we both share the same sense that the possibilities for our hemisphere are unlimited,” Biden said, calling it the “most democratic hemisphere in the world.”

Trudeau responded by saying it’s “extraordinarily important” for close partners like Canada and the U.S. to be there for each other and for allies around the world.

“The work that we can do on supporting and projecting and sharing our values is a way of actually supporting and impacting citizens around the world,” Trudeau said.

Doing so, he said, helps make the case “that democracy is not just fairer, but it’s also better for citizens, putting food on the table, putting futures in front of them.”

The federal government’s official readout of the meeting mentioned their mutual support of Ukraine in its fight against Russia, and that Trudeau also brought up Canada’s support for NATO and the plan to modernize the continental defence system known as Norad.

Trudeau also “expressed his support” for Biden’s proposed hemispheric “Partnership for Economic Prosperity,” but the readout did not mention whether Canada has been invited to take part.

Trudeau also committed to working closely with the U.S. and other partners “to respond to the current humanitarian, protection, and irregular migration challenges in the region.”

They also discussed supply chains and co-operating on securing critical minerals.

The White House readout went further, saying the two “discussed the potential of developing critical minerals in both countries,” as well as “joint efforts” to protect supply chains from “external shocks.”

Trudeau also made the point that U.S. duties on Canadian softwood lumber “are placing further pressure on home prices and affordability.”

Trudeau also sat down Thursday with the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, before sitting down with Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company.

Argentina and Canada have a lot of “common ground” on shared values, including climate change and gender equality, Fernández said.

“Canada is a great country and has a great prime minister,” he said. “There’s a lot for us to do together.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2022. 

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UPEI students offered $1,500 to leave residence during Canada Games – CBC.ca

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Some UPEI students are earning extra money during the mid-semester break this year, simply by packing up and leaving campus. 

The 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society offered $1,500 each to students living in Andrew Hall if they give up their residence rooms to make space for arriving athletes. 

The students have to leave a few days before the break starts, on Feb. 17, and can return March 7. They also had to give up their meal plan for the duration.

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Many athletes are staying at UPEI’s new 260-bed residence, built to meet accommodation requirements for the Games’ temporary athlete village.

But Wayne Carew, chair of the Games, said there are 120 more athletes coming than originally planned. 

A portrait of a man standing outside, wearing a jacket with the Canada Winter Games logo.
Organizers want the athletes all to stay on the UPEI campus so they can have ‘the experience of a lifetime,’ says Wayne Carew, chair of the 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society. (Tony Davis/CBC)

“We ended up getting 44 rooms [in Andrew Hall] and that’s great,” said Carew.

He said the athletes staying at UPEI “are going to have a wild experience on the campus of the beautiful University of Prince Edward Island.” 

Carew said the costs of doing this are a “lot cheaper” than arranging accommodations elsewhere. But he said the main reason is to provide all athletes the same, “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.

“Where they live, the food and the camaraderie and the experience of a lifetime: that’s what they’ll remember in 20 years’ time about P.E.I.,” he said.

‘Pretty good deal’

Some students were eager to take the organizers up on their offer.

“I’m going away to Florida during the two-week break anyways. So I was like, ‘May as well let them use my room then,'” said Hannah Somers. 

Portrait of a man in a toque and a grey sweater standing in front of a residence hall.
UPEI student Benji Dueck is moving in with a friend during the Canada Games so he can get the $1,500 offer. (Tony Davis/CBC)

“It’s $1,500. Pretty nice,” said Benji Dueck, who agreed to vacate the room with his roommate.  “We’re moving out, living with a friend in the city. So, sounds like a pretty good deal to me.”

As part of the agreement, the students had to clear out their rooms. Canada Games organizers made arrangements so students could store their belongings.

But not all students thought it was a good deal.

Portrait of a woman in a black down jacket standing in front of a residence hall.
UPEI student Maria de Torres won’t be leaving residence during the Canada Games. ‘It’s just too hard to pack up. It’s just too hectic,’ she says. (Tony Davis/CBC)

“I’m not giving up my spot in Andrew Hall for $1,500,” said Maria de Torres. “It’s just too hard to pack up. It’s just too hectic. And since I’m an international student, I got a lot [of things] right now.”

Shelby Dyment is also staying in Andrew Hall. Dyment said she and her roommate are working as residence life assistants during the mid-semester break and she’s also doing directed study, so she has to stay on campus.

“There’s a lot of people doing it. It’s just for our situation it just wasn’t working for what we were doing,” she said.

In a statement, UPEI said that enough students had accepted the offer to host all the athletes. 

It said the host society made all the arrangements with the students, including paying for their incentives and arranging for storage.

Organizers expect about 3,600 athletes, coaches and officials to participate in the Games. The event will run from Feb. 18 to March 5.

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Germany won't be a 'party to the war' amid tanks exports to Ukraine: Ambassador – CTV News

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The German ambassador to Canada says Germany will not become “a party to the conflict” in Ukraine, despite it and several other countries announcing they’ll answer President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s pleas for tanks, possibly increasing the risk of Russian escalation.

Sabine Sparwasser said it’s a “real priority” for Germany to support Ukraine, but that it’s important to be in “lockstep” coordination with other allied countries.

“There is a clear line for Germany,” she told CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos, in an interview airing Sunday. “We do want not want to be a party to the conflict.”

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“We want to support, we want to do everything we can, but we, and NATO, do not want to be a party to the war,” she also said. “That’s I think, the line we’re trying to follow.”

Defence Minister Anita Anand announced this week Canada will send four Leopard 2 battle tanks — with the possibility of more in the future — to Ukraine, along with Canadian Armed Forces members to train Ukrainian soldiers on how to use them.

Canada first needed permission from Berlin to re-export any of its 82 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. After a meeting of 50 defence leaders in Germany earlier this month, it was unclear whether Germany would give the green light.

But following what German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called “intensive consultations,” Germany announced on Jan. 25 it would send tanks to Ukraine, and the following day, Canada followed suit. It is now joining several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Poland, which are sending several dozen tanks to Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this week the tanks would allow Ukraine to “significantly strengthen their combat capabilities.”

“It demonstrates also the unit and the resolve of NATO allies in partners in providing support to Ukraine,” he said.

Meanwhile Sparwasser said Germany is “walking that fine line” of avoiding steps that could prompt escalation from Russia, while supporting Ukraine, and staying out of the war themselves.

“I think it’s very important to see that Germany is very determined and has a real priority in supporting Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and sovereignty,” Sparwasser said. “But we also put a high priority on going it together with our friends and allies.”

Sparwasser said despite warnings from Russia that sending tanks to Ukraine will cause an escalation, Germany is within international law — specifically Article 51 of the United Nations Charter — to provide support to Ukraine.

“Ukraine is under attack has the right to self defence, and other nations can come in and provide Ukraine with the means to defend itself,” Sparwasser said. “So in international law terms, this is a very clear cut case.”

She added that considering “Russia doesn’t respect international law,” it’s a more impactful deterrent to Russia, ahead of an expected spring offensive, to see several countries come together in support of Ukraine.

With files from the Associated Press

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COVID: Canada retaining Evusheld – CTV News

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While Health Canada says it is “aware” of the U.S. decision to withdraw the emergency use of Evusheld, a drug by AstraZeneca used to help prevent COVID-19 infection— the agency is maintaining its approval, citing the differences in variant circulation between Canada and the U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Jan. 26 that its emergency use authorization of the drug was pulled due to its inefficacy in treating “certain” COVID-19 variants.

The FDA stated in a release on its website that as the XBB.1.5. variant, nicknamed “Kraken”, is making up the majority of cases in the country, the use of Evusheld is “not expected to provide protection” and therefore not worth exposing the public to possible side effects of the drug, like allergic reactions.

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In an email to CTVNews.ca, Health Canada said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pulled the drug as the main variant of concern in the U.S. is XBB.1.5.

“Dominant variants in the [U.S.] may be different from those circulating in Canada,” the federal agency said in an email. “The most recent epidemiological data in Canada (as of January 1, 2023) indicate that BA.5 (Omicron) subvariants continue to account for more than 89 per cent of reported cases.”

On Jan. 6 the FDA said in press release that certain variants are not neutralized by Evusheld and cautioned people who are exposed to XBB.1.5. On Jan. 26, the FDA then updated its website by saying it would be limiting the use of Evusheld.

“Evusheld is not currently authorized for use in the U.S. until further notice by the Agency,” the FDA website states.

On Jan. 17, Health Canada issued a “risk communication” on Evusheld, explaining how it may not be effective against certain Omicron subvariants when used as a preventative measure or treatment for COVID-19.

“Decisions regarding the use of EVUSHELD should take into consideration what is known about the characteristics of the circulating COVID-19 variants, including geographical prevalence and individual exposure,” Health Canada said in an email.

Health Canada says Evusheld does neutralize against Omicron subvariant BA.2, which according to the agency, is the dominant variant in many communities in Canada.

The drug was introduced for prevention measures specifically for people who have weaker immune systems and are unlikely to be protected by a COVID-19 vaccine. It can only be given to people 12 years and older.

“EVUSHELD is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended,” the agency’s website reads.

Health Canada says no drug, including Evusheld, is a substitute for vaccination.

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