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Trudeau says 'frustrations' in Alberta, Saskatchewan don't amount to a national unity crisis – CBC.ca

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he does not share the view that Canada is facing a national unity crisis despite the “very real anger” felt by many in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In a year-end interview with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics today, host Vassy Kapelos asked the prime minister if he thinks national unity is at risk.

“I do not share the assessment to the extent that others have. I think there is a level of rhetoric that is maybe not as reassuring as it could be,” Trudeau said. “I think there are very real frustrations. I think there is very real anger that needs to be dealt with in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“But I see that as problems to be solved when we all work together, and I don’t think Albertans suddenly don’t care about Canada … I think they just want and know that they have a strong future and that’s what we need for them too.”

Asked if he thinks his government’s actions have contributed to the economic hardships facing the energy sector, Trudeau said a number of factors are behind the region’s economic plight.

“There’s a transforming global economy. There’s the difficulty we’ve always had in getting our resources out to new markets, other than the United States,” he said.

“I mean, Stephen Harper tried to do that for 10 years, was unable to do that. We’re finally moving forward on getting a pipeline to market.”

Asked about the ongoing court challenges to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Trudeau said progress is being made.

“There’s always going to be people in the courts, but that pipeline is getting built,” he told Kapelos.

Continuing to rely on oil

“The shovels are in the ground and we have put our entire governments’ energies behind moving forward because it’s an important project not just for Alberta and Saskatchewan but for the whole country.”

Asked if he thought that Canada’s oilsands production eventually will be phased out, Trudeau said that Canadians are “always going to need hydrocarbons” but “we’ll just need less of them.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about national unity, Canada-U.S. relations, the fraught relationship with China and the two Canadians detained there in a year-end interview with Power & Politics host Vassy Kapelos. (Brennan MacDonald/CBC)

“We’re going to continue that need to rely on oil for many years to come. We’re building a pipeline there,” he said.

“But we also have to be clear-eyed about the fact that, over the coming decades, there’s going to be a different energy mix that is going to create new opportunities for new jobs that we need to start preparing for now.”

The full interview will be broadcast on CBC News Network at 5 p.m. ET today.

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday made history by nominating the first judge of color to sit on the country’s Supreme Court, which has only ever had white justices in its 146-year existence.

Mahmud Jamal, who has been a judge on Ontario‘s court of appeal since 2019, trained as a lawyer and appeared before the Supreme Court in 35 appeals addressing a range of civil, constitutional, criminal and regulatory issues.

“He’ll be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court – and that’s why, today, I’m announcing his historic nomination to our country’s highest court,” Trudeau said on Twitter.

Trudeau has frequently said there is a need to address systemic racism in Canada.

Jamal, born in Nairobi in 1967, emigrated with his family to Britain in 1969 where he said he was “taunted and harassed because of my name, religion, or the color of my skin.”

In 1981 the family moved to Canada, where his “experiences exposed me to some of the challenges and aspirations of immigrants, religious minorities, and racialized persons,” he said in a document submitted to support his candidacy.

Canada is a multicultural country, with more than 22% of the population comprised of minorities and another 5% aboriginal, according to the latest census.

“We know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every single day,” Trudeau said last year.

Jamal will replace Justice Rosalie Abella, who is due to retire from the nine-person court on July 1.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Donors pledge $1.5 billion for Venezuelan migrants, humanitarian crisis

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More than 30 countries and two development banks on Thursday pledged more than $1.5 billion in grants and loans to aid Venezuelan migrants fleeing a humanitarian crisis, as well as their host countries and vulnerable people still in the country.

The $954 million in grants announced at a donors’ conference hosted by Canada – which included pledges of $407 million from the United States and C$115 million Canadian dollars ($93.12 million) from Canada – exceeded the $653 million announced at a similar event last year.

But that fell short of the needs of countries hosting the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have left their country since 2015, as the once-prosperous nation’s economy collapsed into a years-long hyperinflationary recession under socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Most have resettled in developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean who have themselves seen their budgets stretched thin due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Does this cover all needs? Of course not,” Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters. “We will have to continue to encourage donors to support the response.”

At the conference, Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso announced that the country – which hosts some 430,000 Venezuelans – would begin a new process to regularize migrants’ status. That came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the 1.8 million Venezuelans it hosts.

Karina Gould, Canada‘s minister for international development, said the amount pledged showed donors were eager to support such efforts.

“There is that recognition on behalf of the global community that there needs to be support to ensure that that generosity can continue, and can actually deepen, in host countries,” Gould said.

In addition, the World Bank and Inter-American Developmemt Bank pledged $600 million in loans to address the crisis, Gould said.

($1 = 1.2349 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Luc Cohen, Michelle Nichols and David Ljunggren; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Aurora Ellis)

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Ecuador to start new ‘normalization process’ for Venezuelan migrants

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Ecuador will implement a new “normalization process” for the 430,000 Venezuelan migrants living in the South American country, President Guillermo Lasso said on Thursday, without providing further details of the plan.

Lasso’s announcement, at a conference hosted by Canada intended to raise money to support the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have fled an economic crisis in the South American country, came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the nearly 2 million Venezuelans it hosts.

“I am pleased to announce the beginning of a new regularization process, which in order to be an effective, lasting and permanent policy should be complemented by strategies for economic integration and labor market access,” Lasso said.

Ecuador in late 2019 launched a regularization process for Venezuelans who arrived before July of that year. That included two-year humanitarian visas meant to facilitate access to social services.

Lasso said Ecuador needed outside funding to continue caring for Venezuelan migrants, estimating that more than 100,000 additional migrants were expected to arrive before the end of the year.

“I call on our partners in the international community to be co-responsible and have solidarity with Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and with the countries that receive them,” he said.

 

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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