Winter weather has escalated across Canada as the federal government agreed to send help to Newfoundland following record-breaking snowfall.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball requested government help Saturday, including mobilizing the Canadian Armed Forces, to provide relief to areas of the province hit by the severe winter weather.
St. John’s experienced a record-breaking one-day snowfall of 76.2 centimetres, snapping a previous record of 68.4 centimetres from 1999.
Strong winds combined with the huge dumping of snow created drifts high enough to bury cars, while white-out conditions meant roads were congested and treacherous.
Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan confirmed the government was already working to deploy resources.
Here’s a look at how the rest of the country handled a weekend of dramatic winter weather.
Elsewhere in Atlantic Canada, snowfall warnings were in place for large parts of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia before easing to flurries Sunday night.
Environment Canada has snowfall warnings in place for Montreal and surrounding areas, with 15 to 20 centimetres expected between Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
Skies are expected to clear in the morning with snow starting to fall as the clouds roll in. In addition, winds may reach between 20 km/h and 40 km/h putting the temperature near -25 C with the wind chill.
The snow should clear Sunday night with a cold and sunny Monday to start the week.
In Canada’s most populous region, the first major snowfall in southern Ontario has brought traffic to a crawl in Toronto and elsewhere with up to 20 centimetres of snow and howling winds causing white-out conditions.
Speaking at a news conference on Saturday, City of Toronto spokesperson Eric Holmes said that there are 1,500 workers prepared to respond to the city’s first snowstorm of the year.
A snowfall warning is in effect for the city and most of southern Ontario.
Large parts of Northeastern Ontario are also under snowfall warnings, with winter storm warnings in place for Sault Ste. Marie and Killarney.
A number of communities across southern Manitoba are under a winter storm warning from Environment Canada, including Steinbach, Emerson and Pilot Mount, while Winnipeg is under a snowfall warning.
A storm system is expected to bring 10 centimetres to 20 centimetres of snow to the city and other parts of southern Manitoba.
In Saskatchewan, extreme cold warnings are in place for most of the south of the province, Fond-du-Lac, Stony Rapids and Black Lake.
The Alberta Motor Association said it has received more than 55,000 calls for roadside assistance since January 12, more than six times the usual call volume.
Meanwhile, a 16-year-old in Edmonton is recovering from frostbite after walking around outside without gloves for 45 minutes in -25 C weather.
A winter storm warning is in effect for Fraser Valley in B.C. after it received another dumping of snow overnight. Skiers on the slopes in Whistler could see as much as 40 centimetres of snow.
Vancouver Island has heavy rain warnings in place with the possibility of localized flooding.Wind warnings are in effect for all of B.C.’s coast.
A bitterly cold arctic ridge of high pressure remains entrenched over the Yukon, according to Environment Canada.
Extreme cold warnings are in place for much of the territory.
Blizzard warnings are also in place for parts of Nunavut.
Winds gusting into the 60 to 80 km/h range have developed over central Kivalliq and will spread south eastwards into the Arviat region Saturday evening, Environment Canada said.
These conditions will likely persist into Sunday with improvement occurring Sunday night.
Teck withdraws application for $20B Frontier oilsands mine – CBC.ca
Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd., has withdrawn its application to build a massive oilsands project in northern Alberta, citing the ongoing debate over climate policy in Canada.
The federal government was slated to make a decision this week on whether to approve the $20.6-billion, 260,000-barrel-per-day Frontier.
Sources close to the project confirmed to CBC News the application was withdrawn.
The company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the project, which it said would have created 7,000 construction jobs, 2,500 operating jobs, and brought in more than $70 billion in government revenue.
“We are disappointed to have arrived at this point,” CEO and president Don Lindsay wrote in a letter addressed to federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, posted to the company’s website Sunday evening.
“Teck put forward a socially and environmentally responsible project that was industry leading and had the potential to create significant economic benefits for Canadians.”
Lindsay wrote that customers want policies that reconcile resource development and climate change — something he said the region has yet to achieve, but he did not clarify if the region he was referring to was Alberta or Canada.
“Unfortunately, the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved. In that context, it is now evident that there is no constructive path forward for the project,” he wrote.
Cabinet was to decide this week
But he said he wanted to make it clear the company isn’t shying away from controversy.
“The nature of our business dictates that a vocal minority will almost inevitably oppose specific developments. We are prepared to face that sort of opposition,” he wrote.
“Frontier, however, has surfaced a broader debate over climate change and Canada’s role in addressing it. It is our hope that withdrawing from the process will allow Canadians to shift to a larger and more positive discussion about the path forward.”
Following Teck’s announcement, Wilkinson and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan confirmed in a statement that cabinet will no longer be making a decision on the project.
“As Teck has rightly pointed out, and as many in the industry know, global investors and consumers are increasingly looking for the cleanest products available and sustainable resource development,” the statement read.
Fourteen First Nations and Metis communities signed participation agreements with the company on the mine, and the project was awaiting approval from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which had been expected by the end of the month.
Cabinet was expected to discuss the project at its meeting on Tuesday. It had until the end of the week to make a decision, though it could have decided to push that deadline back.
Wilkinson has been signalling for weeks that cabinet’s discussion would include the fact that Alberta has not set specific greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, and in recent days specifically asked the Alberta government to enforce its cap on emissions from the oilsands.
Ottawa ‘let us down,’ says Kenney
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney described Teck’s announcement as a grave disappointment for Albertans, but said it didn’t come as a surprise.
“It is what happens when governments lack the courage to defend the interests of Canadians in the face of a militant minority,” Kenney said in an emailed statement, pointing to what he described as weeks of federal indecision on blockades in solidarity with those opposed a natural gas pipeline proposed by Coastal GasLink in northern B.C.
The premier wrote that the province agreed to federal requests and conditions for approving the project.
“The factors that led to the today’s decision further weaken national unity.… We did our part, but the federal government’s inability to convey a clear or unified position let us, and Teck, down,” Kenney said.
Pressure still on Liberals, says political scientist
In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said Trudeau spoke with Kenney Sunday evening to discuss Teck’s decision, and the ongoing railway blockades.
“The Prime Minister reaffirmed the Government of Canada’s commitment to working with Alberta and the resource sector to keep creating good jobs and to ensure clean, sustainable growth for Canadians,” the statement said.
Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University in Calgary, said Teck’s decision to pull the application won’t relieve pressure on the Liberal government from critics.
He said even though Teck’s letter did not lay blame on the prime minister, he anticipates it will be interpreted that way by his political opponents as part of the “anti-Trudeau … anti-Liberal discussion.”
“This will just be rolled in as part of that narrative,” Bratt said.
Sunday’s announcement came just hours after the Alberta government announced it had struck deals with two First Nations over the proposed project, which would have been located 110 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.
The province said the agreements with the Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations addressed bison and caribou habitats and protected Wood Buffalo National Park.
Ron Quintal, president of the Fort McKay Métis, one of 14 First Nations and Métis communities in favour of the project, said the withdrawal is a “black eye” for Canada.
But Bill Loutitt, CEO of McMurray Métis, said while his community supported the application, the decision to withdraw was the correct one.
“We know Teck as a progressive company and supporter of the Indigenous communities in Wood Buffalo, but tonight’s statement clearly shows that Teck acted in the best interests of Canadians, as they always have,” he said.
Project’s economic viability questioned
In July 2019, a joint federal-provincial review panel recommended the mine be approved, saying the economic benefits outweighed what it described as significant adverse environmental impacts.
However, a January report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis made the case that Teck’s application showed a “reckless disregard for the facts regarding oil prices in Canada.”
The joint-review panel relied on a long-term oil price projection of more than $95 US per barrel provided by Teck, the IEEFA wrote, about $40 US higher than current prices and around $20 US higher than other forecasts.
On Friday, Teck released disappointing fourth quarter results, saying global economic uncertainty negatively impacted commodity prices.
The project was also expected to produce about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year over its 40 year lifespan, and disturb 292 square kilometres of pristine wetlands and boreal forest — although that whole area wouldn’t be mined at once.
Greenpeace applauds decision
“The promise of Canada’s potential will not be realized until governments can reach agreement around how climate policy considerations will be addressed in the context of future responsible energy sector development,” Lindsay wrote. “Without clarity on this critical question, the situation that has faced Frontier will be faced by future projects and it will be very difficult to attract future investment, either domestic or foreign.”
Energy consultant Greg Stringham, who has worked for the industry, government and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said tight economics and increasing risks put Teck at the centre of debate around energy projects.
“And they’re going, well … do they want to be the straw that breaks the policy camel’s back?” he said in an interview.
Keith Stewart, senior energy analyst with Greenpeace Canada, said he was surprised by Teck’s decision to withdraw the project, but believes it is the right one.
“This project never made economic sense; it didn’t make climate sense; it wasn’t really going to happen,” Stewart told CBC News.
“This was a project that might have made sense 10 years ago. It certainly doesn’t today,” he said.
Read Teck’s letter to the environment minister below:
Canada Strong initiative raises more than $3M for Iran plane crash victims – Global News
Families of the Canadian victims who died in the Ukraine International Airlines crash in Iran last month are set to get some additional financial help.
The Canada Strong fundraising initiative, launched by Mohamad Fakih, the CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, announced it had raised $3,293,624.75 for the families through donations and a pledge by the federal government to match contributions up to $1.5 million.
The amount is in addition to the $25,000 for each Canadian victim previously offered by the federal government.
“It’s such a warm feeling when the community comes together,” Fakih told reporters gathered at the Persian Palace restaurant in Richmond Hill.
“It’s so moving when we show that whether we are citizens by birth or by choice, whether we’ve been citizens for decades or for days, a Canadian is a Canadian.”
Fifty-seven Canadians were among the 176 people killed when the airliner was shot down on Jan. 8. In all, 138 of the passengers were en route to Canada via Kyiv.
The money is intended to help families with short-term expenses related to the crash.
Masoud Niknam, whose brother, Thornhill dentist Farhad Niknam, died in the crash, said the gesture provides both financial and emotional support.
“Canada is a unique place. Things like this, supports like this — even two months after an incident like that happened — it only happens in Canada,” he said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he hopes the money will help with the healing process.
“I understand — I think we all do — that when these kinds of tragedies happen there are going to be scars no matter what,” Tory said.
“There’s healing but there are going to be scars — but you hope you can begin the healing process by joining other Canadians who wanted to help.”
Donations went through the Toronto Foundation.
The money is expected to be distributed over the next four to five weeks.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Passenger on Air Canada flight to Vancouver is not a new case of COVID-19: B.C. officials – Global News
B.C. health authorities say the passenger on an Air Canada flight from Montreal to Vancouver who later tested positive for COVID-19 is the same case reported in the province Thursday.
The airline says it was advised by health authorities on Saturday about the passenger, who flew into Vancouver on Feb. 14.
“Air Canada is working with public health authorities and has taken all recommended measures,” a spokesperson said in an email Sunday.
B.C.’s Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) later said that female passenger travelled to Montreal from Iran, then flew Air Canada to Vancouver. The COVID-19 case was confirmed to have been contracted in Iran in late January.
The woman, who is in her 30s and is in the Fraser Health region, is recovering at home from a “mild” case of the new coronavirus.
New case of COVID-19 reported in B.C. after woman returns from Iran
PHSA says passengers who were seated near the woman, as well as the flight crew, have been notified by the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Officials don’t believe any of those people are likely to contract the virus, however, saying they were notified as a precautionary measure.
Neither Air Canada nor the PHSA have provided a flight number for the Air Canada flight.
The Montreal Airport Authority said it had not heard of the case until hearing about it in media reports. It’s not yet known how long the woman was in Montreal before boarding the Air Canada flight.
Vancouver International Airport could not speak to whether any airport staff have had to be notified about the case, which is still considered presumptive by the province.
Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday said officials expect the case to be confirmed, however.
Fraser Health on Friday sent a letter to all school districts within its region — which includes Burnaby, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, and the Tri-Cities — warning that contacts of the woman “may have attended schools in the region and are currently isolated.”
“These contacts were not showing any signs or sumptoms of illness while attending school, and remain well,” the health authority’s medical health officer Ingrid Tyler wrote in the letter.
“There is no public health risk at schools in the region. There is also no evidence that novel coronavirus is circulating in the community.”
COVID-19: Iran says virus has spread to several cities, reports at 2 new deaths
The case was the first one in Canada to not be connected to travel in China or the country’s Hubei province, where the COVID-19 outbreak first began.
Five other cases have been confirmed in B.C., although one of those has since recovered.
—With files from Brittany Henriques
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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