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Horgan says ‘rule of law applies,’ LNG pipeline will proceed despite protests

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VICTORIA — A natural gas pipeline across northern British Columbia is vital to the region’s economic future and it will be built despite the objections of some Indigenous leaders, Premier John Horgan said Monday.

He said the courts have ruled in favour of the project and the rule of law will apply to ensure work continues on the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would start near Dawson Creek and extend to an export terminal at Kitimat. 

The 670-kilometre pipeline is part of a $40 billion LNG Canada project.

Horgan told a news conference the project has received approval from 20 First Nations along the pipeline route.

“We want everyone to understand that there are agreements from the Peace Country to Kitimat with Indigenous communities that want to see economic activity and prosperity take place,” he said. “All the permits are in place for this project to proceed. This project is proceeding and the rule of law needs to prevail in B.C.”

Hereditary chiefs from the Wet’suwet’en Nation near Smithers say the project does not have their consent. Supporters of the chiefs have felled trees along a road to a Coastal GasLink work site and are building a new support camp.

They already occupy two other camps along the road. The Unist’ot’en camp and the Gidimt’en camp, where the RCMP enforced an injunction last year and arrested 14 people.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge extended an injunction against Wet’suwet’en members and anti-pipeline supporters on Dec. 31.

Coastal GasLink posted the injunction order last week giving opponents 72 hours to clear the way to its work site. The company said it was up to police to determine the “timing and manner of enforcement of this order.”

The RCMP began restricting access on Monday to the area where the court injunction applies.

The Mounties say a police checkpoint was set up at the 27 kilometre mark of a forestry road into the area because of safety concerns stemming from the trees that were felled across the road and tire piles that were recently found with gasoline and other fuels inside.

Those entering the area on the road are being stopped by police and given a copy of the court’s injunction, as well as being informed about hazards and road conditions.

The RCMP said those being allowed to enter must have permission from the RCMP’s operations commander, which generally includes hereditary and elected chiefs, elected and other government officials, accredited journalists from recognized media outlets, and those providing food, medicine or other supplies.

The RCMP said its commanding officer in British Columbia has been involved in a series of meetings and more are planned with the hereditary chiefs, elected band councils and others with an interest in the pipeline.

“It was emphasized that the primary concerns for the RCMP are public and officer safety,” it says in a statement released on Monday. “Our duty is to preserve the safety of everyone involved in this dispute, and to prevent further contraventions to the B.C. Supreme Court ordered injunction.”

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs have asked the RCMP not to use force against the pipeline opponents who are facing the injunction order.

Horgan said Indigenous Peoples in B.C. have used the courts to successfully assert their rights and title, but in “this instance the courts have confirmed that the project can proceed and will proceed.”

Horgan’s government adopted legislation late last year to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It mandates the government to bring provincial laws and policies into harmony with the declaration’s aims of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

The UN declaration says Indigenous Peoples have the right to self-determination, which means they can determine their political status and pursue economic, social and cultural development. It requires governments to obtain “free and informed consent” from Indigenous groups before approving projects affecting their lands or resources.

But Horgan says the declaration doesn’t apply to the Coastal GasLink project.

“Our document, our legislation, our declaration is forward looking,” he said. “It’s not retrospective. We believe it will open up opportunities not just for Indigenous people but for all British Columbians.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first reported Jan. 13, 2020.

 

 

 

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

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Lineups form outside grocery stores in St. John’s, N.L., on 5th day of emergency

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Emptying kitchen cupboards were re-stocked in St. John’s, N.L., on Tuesday, as residents lined up at grocery stores open for the first time since last week’s massive blizzard.

The lineup at one Sobey’s store stretched around the parking lot and out onto the street by the time doors opened at 10 a.m.

The city had advised people to buy enough food to last 48 hours, but some would-be shoppers still turned away upon seeing the epic queue.

Within 20 minutes, there was little room to move inside the store as people filled their carts with essential foods and household items, leaving some shelves nearly bare.

The openings at Sobey’s and other grocers occurred on the fifth day of a state of emergency in the provincial capital, as cleanup continued from a storm last Friday that brought 76 centimetres of snow to some areas.

Hundreds of Armed Forces personnel have been brought in to help in the effort, and more were expected to arrive on Tuesday.

One St. John’s resident, Doris Squires, said she and her husband walked down to Sobey’s early with a plan to beat the crowd, but arrived to find others had the same idea.

Squires said she was looking forward to a re-stocked kitchen Tuesday night.

“I’m going to put on a pot of fresh meat soup, if I can get some fresh meat,” she said.

Several taxi companies offered free rides to seniors and people with disabilities who needed to pick up supplies.

Inside the store, Margaret Connors was co-ordinating with neighbours to buy milk and other essentials for those who couldn’t make it out.

“We’re just combining forces to help out people on our street,” Connors said. “I think everybody was surprised at all of this, but I think people are pulling together.”

Just around the corner from Sobey’s, there was a sense of relief at The Gathering Place, a service centre providing meals, warmth and other basic needs for low-income residents.

Ashley MacDonald, director of social programs, said the state of emergency has been hard on guests who rely on the centre for food and toiletries and couldn’t afford to stock up ahead of the storm.

Many were without power or any means to keep up with updates from the city, MacDonald said, noting some people approached her in the street during the last few days asking where they could find food.

“They’re in the dark about what everybody else knows,” MacDonald said.

About 70 people showed up on Monday to eat and to warm up, MacDonald said, and more than a dozen took home canned supplies for other community members who were housebound.

MacDonald said there was a sense of relief that day as people were finally fed, saw their friends’ faces and swapped stories after an isolating and precarious stretch.

She said planning ahead for warming centres and access to food should be a priority during such weather events in order to better support vulnerable members of the community.

Scott Seabrook, who lives in a bedsit nearby, was at The Gathering Place for a meal Tuesday afternoon. He said he’d been relying on the centre since moving to the city nearly a month ago for a job opportunity that fell through.

Seabrook said staff sent him home with some extra canned food Thursday night, warning they might be shutting down for a couple of days.

“I’ve been living on canned goods since then, and I shared it with some of the people in my room,” he said.

Seabrook said the weather-related closures have also made his job search more challenging, with nowhere open to accept resumes.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said about 450 troops — including some 175 reservists — would be in Newfoundland on Tuesday to help the province dig out from the storm.

Premier Dwight Ball said Tuesday afternoon that the Armed Forces had completed more than 160 assigned tasks so far, and the call volume of requests for assistance had been “extremely high.”

Travel remained difficult across eastern Newfoundland on Tuesday. Most businesses other than groceries stores in St. John’s were directed to remain closed, with exceptions for gas stations and some pharmacies.

The city said it would allow the St. John’s International Airport to resume flights Wednesday at 5 a.m., and taxis would have permission to resume commercial operations at midnight.

Search efforts also continue for Joshua Wall, 26, who was last seen leaving his home in Roaches Line during Friday’s blizzard to walk through a wooded area to a friend’s home in nearby Marysvale.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020.

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press




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Ottawa launching ‘Buy Canadian’ campaign focusing on food and agriculture

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A “Buy Canadian” advertising campaign focusing on local food and the national agricultural system will be rolling out in the coming months, the federal government said Tuesday.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada officially began seeking bids for a firm to design and implement the multimillion-dollar campaign earlier this week, according to a document posted on the department’s website.

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, meanwhile, issued a statement confirming the general aim of the campaign that’s expected to roll out this summer.

“We are investing $25 million to the “Buy Canadian” campaign to build consumer confidence and pride in Canada’s food producers and highlight the advantages of their products,” Bibeau said. “Consumers in Canada can be extremely proud of Canadian producers, who continue to innovate to meet the growing demand for food, while finding solutions to challenges such as environmental sustainability.”

The request for proposal, which gives interested companies until Feb. 18 to submit a pitch, indicates the government is committing to a five-year “social marketing” campaign to give Canadians a better understanding of the country’s agriculture system and educate them on what constitutes Canadian food. The successful bidder will be hired for a year ending next March, with the possibility of extending the contract for up to three more years.

The document lays out short and long-term goals for the project, stating the first priority is to raise awareness of the standards and practices at play in the Canadian agricultural sector. The intermediate goal involves making it easier for Canadians to identify domestic products, leading to the ultimate goal of urging residents to seek and identify more food, seafood and agri-food products when shopping.

The government proposes spending between $1.5 million and $4 million a year on media advertising for the campaign, which will use digital platforms as the primary means of communication.

“The campaign should tell the story of Canada’s agri-food sector and reach audiences on an emotional level in order to instill pride and confidence in the country’s food systems,” the document reads, stressing that particular effort should be made to connect with historically “under-represented groups” such as women, seniors, Indigenous Canadians and official language minority groups.

The request for proposal indicates the successful bidder will need to be mindful of provincial efforts to promote their own fresh, local offerings, but does not provide any specific guidance.

That potential conflict is one of many reasons why at least one industry observer views the government campaign with skepticism.

Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, said discussions around food have always been complex due to a fundamental tension between the two government ministries with a stake in the issue.

While Health Canada focuses on nutrition through efforts such as the recently retooled Canada’s Food Guide, Charlebois said Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has traditionally concentrated more on economic development and sector growth.

As a result, he said, conversations around Canadian food tend to focus either on health benefits or financial cost, but rarely incorporate both.

The request for proposal appears to acknowledge as much, noting that “cost and nutritional value still rank higher in consumers’ decision-making” before outlining its vision for the “Buy Canadian” campaign.

Charlebois also said that several provincial governments have run successful promotional efforts for decades, citing Foodland Ontario and Prince Edward Island’s Canada’s Food Island as notable examples.

“There’s a legacy there that needs to be recognized,” he said. “Provinces have actually been doing this for a very long time, so for the feds to come into the game of promoting local foods all of a sudden could actually create some confusion.”

But Charlebois foresees other complications as well, including a failure to clearly define what Canadian food truly means.

He said the request for proposal makes no mention of whether Canadian food processors will be included in the effort, noting such facilities also make significant contributions to the domestic economy.

Bibeau’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether provincial co-operation or processor inclusion will form part of the campaign.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020.

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

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january, 2020

mon06jan(jan 6)8:00 amfri31(jan 31)12:00 amJanuary is Alzheimer's Awareness Month8:00 am - 12:00 am (31) Event Organized By: K. Jobs

sun12jan(jan 12)2:00 pmsun22mar(mar 22)5:00 pmAnne Frank: A History for Today opening at Red Deer MAG2:00 pm - (march 22) 5:00 pm mst Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery Address: 4525 - 47A Avenue, Red Deer

thu23jan(jan 23)6:00 pmsat25(jan 25)11:00 pmRed Deer Justice Film Festival6:00 pm - 11:00 pm (25) welikoklad event centre, 4922 49 St, Red Deer, AB T4N 1V3

fri24jan1:30 pm3:00 pmMonthly Mindfulness Drop-InMonthly Mindfulness Drop-In1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

mon27jan11:15 am1:15 pmLuncheon With Arlene Dickinson11:15 am - 1:15 pm Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre, 3310 50 Avenue

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