Month: January 2019

24 Jan -

High cost of living plays into drop in charitable donations by British Columbians: Report

For more than a year, the cost of living in British Columbia has been dominating the headlines.

From housing to personal income, the impact of affordability is causing a ripple effect that is now hitting charitable donations.

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According to a new Vancity report, charitable donations by British Columbians have dropped 25 per cent over the last five years and the majority of the people attribute the decrease to plain old economics. They just can’t afford it whether it’s due to the situation of fixed or low incomes, the increased cost of living or the current state of the economy.

Included in the survey, which looked at emerging trends in charitable giving, 81 per cent of British Columbians reported the affordability of housing in their area has gotten worse in the past three years and 69 per cent said their family’s income is falling behind the cost of living.

Personal finances are worse than four years ago, according to 43 per cent of the respondents and 38 per cent attribute their decline in wanting to donate to housing costs.

“Basically it comes down to the affordability crunch, they’re really feeling the pinch,” said Linda Morris, senior VP at Vancity.

“Home, paying for the mortgage, salaries haven’t kept up with the cost of living and they’re finding it tough… the paycheque only stretches as far as it can.”

While the report suggests a marked decline in charitable giving, 58 per cent said they intend to keep their commitment to charities they care about. And in terms of giving in the New Year, only a small percentage plan to give more while roughly one-third plan to give the same or give less.

Government support, which offers 21 per cent of the revenue in the core charitable sector and 51  per cent in areas like universities and hospitals, has been decreasing since the 1990s.

The decline in government investment ends up placing a greater importance on individual contributions.

But Morris said people are giving in other ways even though their dollar isn’t going as far.

“They give their time, they donate materials, they look at other ways to help,” she said. “There are other ways of looking at it… perhaps among your family you say this year we’re going to donate.”

24 Jan -

Canada-US trade running smooth so no need for Donald Trump to fix it: Chrystia Freeland

Donald Trump has pledged to fix a lot of broken things when he becomes U.S. president.

But Canada’s trade minister says the world-leading trade relationship between Canada and the United States need not be on the president-elect’s to-do list.

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“I think the reality is the trading relationship with Canada is the farthest possible thing from being broken. It is very balanced and mutually beneficial,” Chrystia Freeland told in an interview Wednesday.

READ MORE: Chrystia Freeland says TPP deal dead unless US remains on board

That’s the message she said she has been actively spreading to Republicans and others in Washington during the current presidential transition period.

WATCH: How will Trump’s stance on climate change affect Canada?

Freeland visited Washington last week and met with some senior Trump advisers and Republican senators.

She had get-acquainted meetings with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, now a Trump adviser, and Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of the Blackstone Group investment firm, who was appointed earlier this month to lead the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum.

Trump has said the collection of 16 CEOs and business leaders will provide him private-sector expertise on what it takes to create jobs and drive growth.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau discusses Donald Trump, pipelines, climate change at Calgary event

Freeland also met with the Republican chairs of two powerful committees – Sen. Pat Roberts of the agriculture committee and Sen. Orrin Hatch of the finance committee.

Freeland reminded them the $2.4 billion a day that crosses the 49th parallel is good for both countries. She hauled out some other well-worn statistics: nine million Americans depend directly on exports to Canada while 35 states have Canada as their top customer.

“Those are some big numbers,” she said. “And that’s a trading relationship and those are jobs that are precisely answering the question – which I think is the core issue for the new U.S. administration and frankly is a core issue for us too – which is middle-class jobs.”

WATCH: Justin Trudeau: What is Canada’s place at the table with Putin and Trump?

She has also been urging Canadian business leaders with U.S. connections to issue some vocal reminders of their own.

Freeland said the transition period is “a very useful time” for business leaders to be emphasizing the deeply integrated Canada-U.S. economic relationship.

But she said Ottawa is taking a wait-and-see approach with another Trump pledge that could have a major economic impact on Canada – his promise to pull the U.S. out of the lucrative 12-country Pacific Rim trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

READ MORE: Donald Trump bump? Americans seeking refugee status in Canada jump in November

Japan, the second-largest TPP country, has called on Canada to join it in pushing Trump not to scrap the deal, which would cover 40 per cent of the global economy.

Freeland refused to say whether Canada has taken Japan up on the offer to pressure Trump’s team.

During the fractious U.S. presidential election campaign, Trump also said he would withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement or renegotiate it. But Trump did not repeat the NAFTA commitment after the election as he did with the TPP.

Canada has since said it would renegotiate NAFTA to make it stronger. Freeland said the pact is a “living agreement” that has undergone 12 significant amendments in its 22 years.

She made no attempt to minimize the ongoing effort to reach a new agreement on softwood lumber. Teams of negotiators are meeting this week, but Freeland said she needs a crystal ball to predict whether the two sides can strike a deal by Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

The ongoing softwood saga predates Trump’s arrival in politics.

“This is something that we have been quarreling over for decades, even by some people’s count for centuries,” said Freeland.

24 Jan -

Over 100 people unable to return home to Long Plain First Nation for Christmas

LONG PLAIN FIRST NATION, MAN. —; There are still over 100 people who are unable to return home to Long Plain First Nation following the series of tornadoes that ripped through the community in late July.

At its peak, 800 people were left displaced following the tornadoes that tore through Long Plain in July. According to Chief Dennis Meeches, around 700 have been able to return home so far.

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READ MORE: Tornado touches down in Long Plain First Nation, causes major damage

But, more than 100 people will remain in hotels, with friends or in unfamiliar territory during the holiday season as work continues on their damaged or destroyed homes.

Meeches said there were well over 170 homes that were damaged, and construction is ongoing until the return date of March 31, 2017 is reached.

“We’re shooting for March 31 to have everyone home,” said Meeches.

WATCH: Global News video coverage of tornado aftermath at Long Plain First Nation

RAW: Aftermath of tornado that tore through Long Plain First Nation

01:00

RAW: Aftermath of tornado that tore through Long Plain First Nation

01:10

RAW: Global’s Skyview-1 over damage caused by tornado near Long Plain First Nation

01:22

Clean up after tornado in Long Plain First Nation could take months

01:57

Tornado touches down in Long Plain First Nation, causes major damage



Eunice Assinboine’s family is among those that will not be able to return for the holidays, but she said she’s remaining optimistic about her next chapter.

“I’m very excited, I’m so happy. After three months I’ll be home,” Assiniboine said.

But, paired with the optimism there has been struggle for her family as they remain displaced five months after the tornadoes.

“We had to stay in a hotel for over three months, maybe four months. Then we finally rented a little small house in Portage,” said Assiniboine.

Meeches said it has been a collective effort to get everyone back on their feet. The Red Cross, insurance coverage and band assistance have all played a role in getting roofs back on homes, and rebuilding all that was taken away by the July 20 tornadoes.

RELATED: Clean up after tornado in Long Plain First Nation could take months

24 Jan -

Edmonton police chief says 100 new officers needed to police online crime

In a wide-ranging year-end interview, chief Rod Knecht proudly spoke about the work Edmonton police have done in 2016.

However, in computer crimes, Knecht acknowledged there’s work to do.

“We as a police service, we’re a little bit behind in that area,” Knecht said.

“We could invest another hundred people in just online crime. I think we’re playing catch up in an extreme way right now.”

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Related

  • Police, judges, legislators in Halifax to discuss balancing cybercrime with privacy

  • IBM teams up with 3 Canadian universities to fight cyber crime

  • Local tech expert takes issue with police cyber crime knowledge

    Knecht pointed out every crime perpetrated in the real world can and does happen in the virtual one, too.

    For example, in September, fraudsters used the internet to sell fake tickets to the inaugural Rogers Place concert.

    READ MORE: Edmonton police warn of fraudulent Keith Urban tickets

    This summer, hackers took control of nearly 10,000 University of Calgary email addresses. They asked for, and received, $20,000 in order to return control to the owners.

    Police in every city are used to rental scams and puppy scams. In each case, thieves use the internet to lure victims and convince them to send money for a product or service they never intend to provide.

    In Edmonton, officers police this world as best they can but the criminals often evolve faster than police do.

    READ MORE: Kijiji scam uses golden retriever puppies to lure prey

    Knecht said it’s time for that to change.

    “I think we’re at a tipping point in policing,” Knecht said. “The future of policing is certainly going to be in the cyber world. You’re going to see us evolve more and more with technology.”

    How they evolve may look different than the current model. Knecht said he wants 100 more people, not police.

    “A lot of those we don’t necessarily have to hire a police officer to do those investigations. We’d probably be better off hiring a 15 or 16-year-old. They’re good at that stuff.”

    Computer hacker and cyber security expert Brad Haines said hiring 100 more people to help police the internet would be a good start. Even more is needed.

    “Law enforcement in general is woefully and most hilariously unprepared for the next wave of computer crimes.”

    Haines said all police need to better understand the cyber world.

    Evidence isn’t just weapons and photos. He said police need to better understand the ones and the zeros and how to investigate those.

    Haines recommends more staff and more training for officers in all departments because computers are everywhere.

    READ MORE: Edmonton police to close more community stations, expand online reporting 

    Haines also notes there are many more jurisdictional problems created in computer investigations. Often the criminal is in a different part of the world from the victim. It’s hard to find them and if they do, it’s hard to do much about it.

    It’s possible, but it takes more work and, therefore, more resources.

    “This is the new reality,” Haines said. “We can’t put that genie back in the bottle. We can only adapt to that brave new world that we have.”

    These policing problems are not limited to Edmonton.

    The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has highlighted computer crimes as an issue for all services.

    In August, the association put forward a controversial proposal that, if adopted, would give the courts the power to compel suspects to provide passwords to electronic devices.

24 Jan -

CFIA says no quick end to bovine tuberculosis disaster in Alberta, Saskatchewan

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it has not found any new cases of bovine tuberculosis in the last week, though it could take several more months to sound the all clear.

READ MORE: Bovine TB outbreak declared a disaster by Alberta government

Cattle ranchers in parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan have been rocked after a cow from Alberta that was slaughtered in the U.S. in October was found to have the disease.

About 26,000 cows have been quarantined on dozens of ranches, and around 10,000 are set to be slaughtered to ensure the disease doesn’t spread.

Watch below: It’s a disease that is rare and not often found in Canadian cattle, but is now having paralyzing effects across the prairies after bovine tuberculosis was reported in a single cow from Alberta in late September. Meaghan Craig reports.

ChangSha Night Net

Related

  • Bovine TB outbreak declared a disaster by Alberta government

  • Bovine tuberculosis quarantine grows, but no new cases: CFIA

    READ MORE: 6 things to know about the bovine tuberculosis outbreak in Alberta, Saskatchewan

    Any animal that shows a sign of the disease is destroyed, and the meat cannot be eaten.

    CFIA chief veterinary officer Harpreet Kochhar told reporters on Wednesday that testing continues on thousands of animals, but the number of confirmed cases is unchanged from the six reported last week.

    However, Kochhar said the slow nature of bovine tuberculosis and the way it is tested means it can take between eight and 12 weeks before a cow can be confirmed free of the disease.

    READ MORE: Feds to give up to $16.7M for ranchers caught in bovine tuberculosis quarantine

    “The investigation is progressing,” he said, “but the nature of the disease itself means that the investigation will also be lengthy and complex.”

    With testing expected to drag on past the end of January, that could mean some ranches will remain in quarantine until April or later–assuming more aren’t put under quarantine as the investigation broadens.

    About 45 ranches in southeastern Alberta and five in southwestern Saskatchewan are currently under some form of quarantine, Kochhar said, adding that all six confirmed cases came from the same herd.

    Watch below from Nov. 1: A quarantine on some south eastern cattle operations remains in effect after a cow from the area tested positive for bovine tuberculosis. The entire herd will be destroyed, along with other herds in the area. Quinn Campbell spoke to the owner of the affected cow, and he said the ordeal has been devastating.

    Humans can catch tuberculosis from cattle, though the chances are considered extremely low and there is no indication that the outbreak poses any risk to the public.

    The bigger concern at this point is the economic damage of trying to contain the disease.

    The Alberta government officially declared the outbreak a disaster last week, and an official from Agriculture Canada said compensation is now available for those ranchers who have been affected.

    Rosser Lloyd, director general of business risk management at Agriculture Canada, said some applications for compensation have already been received by the Alberta government and the first payments should start rolling out later this week.

    “We are urging the remaining affected ranchers to complete the application as soon as possible in order to access the funding available to assist with the cash-flow pressures,” Lloyd said.

    Officials have said the government will compensate up to $10,000 for a registered animal and $4,500 for a commercial animal, though CFIA staff will work with owners to determine fair market value.

    Alberta Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier toured several cattle ranches in the affected area Wednesday.

    Afterward, he released a statement praising the “resilience” of those farmers dealing with the outbreak and promised the federal and provincial governments would work around the clock to resolve the situation.

    “We will continue to stand together and with our producers as they work through the immediate situation and in the future as they begin the long process of rebuilding their herds,” Carlier said.

    The bacteria associated with the outbreak has been linked to a strain of bovine tuberculosis that hadn’t been detected in Canada before, and Kochhar said the CFIA was very interested in finding out where it came from.

    However, he was quick to lower expectations, saying the complexity of the case and slow way in which the disease acts would prove challenging.

    “In the end we may not be able to pinpoint a smoking gun, as they would say,” he said.

    “However, we continue to follow the different lines of inquiry and find out if there was anything that was related to introduction of tuberculosis in this cattle through any particular sources.”

    With files from John Cotter in Edmonton

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