Black doctor says she was told ‘we are looking for actual physicians’ after offering to help during in-flight medical emergency

24/06/2019 Posted by admin

A black female doctor named Tamika Cross has accused Delta Air Lines of “blatant discrimination” after a flight attendant allegedly refused to believe she was a physician and blocked her from helping a sick passenger.

Cross, who is a resident physician in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center alleges the flight attendant told her:

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“Oh no sweetie put your hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses,” when she tried to help during the medical emergency.

Cross said someone was screaming for help two rows in front of her on a flight from Detroit to Houston on Oct. 9, when she noticed a man was unresponsive.

According to Facebook post describing the incident, which has now been shared almost 40,000 times, Cross once again volunteered to help when the flight crew paged,  “any physician on board please press your button.”

“I stare at (the flight attendant) as I go to press my button. She said “oh wow you’re an actual physician?” I reply yes. She said “let me see your credentials,” Cross wrote on Facebook.

At this point, Cross wrote that the airline employee was blocking the row bombarding her with questions while the passed out passenger was still in need of help.

Cross went on to write that another passenger, a “seasoned” white male, who “fit the description of a doctor,” ending up helping the man who’d been unresponsive.

“I’m sure many of my fellow young, corporate America working women of color can all understand my frustration when I say I’m sick of being disrespected,” Cross wrote.

On Thursday, Delta announced an investigation into the matter after the news spread through social media.

“Discrimination of any kind is never acceptable,” Delta spokeswoman Catherine Sirna said in a statement. “We’ve been in contact with Dr. Cross and one of our senior leaders is reaching out to assure her that we’re completing a full investigation.”

Cross alleges after the unresponsive man woke up, the flight attendant finally asked for her help. Cross said the flight attendant later apologized several times mid-flight and asked if she wanted credit for extra air miles.

“I kindly refused,” Cross said. “This is going higher than her. I don’t want sky miles in exchange for blatant discrimination. Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it’s not right.”

Now, hashtags #WhatADoctorLooksLike started trending in response to Delta Air Lines incident.

Cross, meanwhile, told NBC News Thursday that she thinks the flight attendant could benefit from sensitivity training.

“Someone’s life was on the line,” she said, noting that the outcome could have been much worse. “Luckily the man was okay.”

New poll reveals Michael Fougere is in lead for Regina Mayor

24/06/2019 Posted by admin

We’re now less than two weeks from when Regina voters head to the polls but new numbers out this morning predict Michael Fougere is set for victory in the upcoming election.

According to the Mainstreet Research-Postmedia poll, incumbent Fougere has 73 per cent of decided and leaning voters support.

The remaining candidates are relatively even with Tony Fiacco coming in second at nine per cent support.

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    A look at women in municipal politics ahead of the Regina municipal election

  • Special bus route added for some Ward 6 voters in Regina’s election

  • Advance polls are now open for Regina municipal, school board election

    Mainstreet’s vice president David Valentin said it appears few residents are actually aware an election is taking place at all with a noticeable absence of lawn signs and campaign events.

    “It looks like Michael Fougere is headed towards a landslide win,” said Valentin.

    “The only question at this point is exactly how much he will win by.”

    Forty-six per cent of the more than 600 residents polled remain undecided.

    Perhaps that number is due to the low number of pollers who are paying attention to the municipal election.

    When asked, ‘to which election process do you pay the most attention?’ 42 per cent said federal, 23 per cent said provincial and only 13 percent said municipal.  The remaining 22 per cent weighed in as ‘not sure.’

    Voters head to the polls on October 26th.

Storm moving across southern B.C. knocks out power, downs trees

24/06/2019 Posted by admin

The second storm in a trio of powerful storms to hit southern B.C. is currently moving across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

The storm was expected to be here late Thursday night, but didn’t arrive until Friday morning. The winds and rain have picked up significantly Friday afternoon.

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READ MORE: LIVE BLOG: B.C storm wreaks havoc across South Coast

There are currently over 75,000 customers without power across the region. BC Hydro is warning additional lines may come down and more power outages are likely.

A wind warning has been issued for Greater Victoria. Winds gusting to 90 km/h are expected in that area. A gale warning is also in effect for the Strait of Georgia.

Environment Canada says top wind speeds of over 70 km/h were recorded at YVR today, and speeds of over 80 km/h were recorded in Abbotsford and Howe Sound.

A tree also fell onto a car at Burnaby Mountain golf course.

TransLink says the storm is beginning to have an impact on transit service on certain bus routes, with falling trees and branches requiring diversions.

A tree that has fallen on trolley wires at Cambie and Dunsmuir in downtown Vancouver this afternoon, impacting service on the Cambie Street Bridge. Trolley overhead crew and transit supervisors are on scene and monitoring the service. City crews have been contacted to help remove the tree.

Another tree fell on trolley wires on Kingsway in Vancouver.

A 15-year-old boy died after being struck by a falling tree in a wooded area next to Clayton Heights Secondary Friday afternoon.

Strong winds have shut down Van Dusen Gardens and the Ghost Train in Stanley Park. All outdoor playing fields in Vancouver have also been closed due to inclement weather.

The weather is also affecting some ferry routes at this time.

The weather caused some havoc on the roads during the Friday morning commute, leading to a number of accidents, including on Knight Street and the Alex Fraser Bridge. Weather may also have been a factor in a fatal crash on the Barnet Highway.

In Mission, a creek burst its bank, flooding some businesses.

WATCH: Metro Vancouver homeowners anxiously wait for the second storm to hit B.C.’s south coast

Hillary Clinton vowed to ‘ring’ China with missiles over North Korea threat: WikiLeaks

24/06/2019 Posted by admin

BEIJING —; Hillary Clinton privately said the U.S. would “ring China with missile defence” if the Chinese government failed to curb North Korea’s nuclear program, a potential hint at how the former secretary of state would act if elected president.

Clinton’s remarks were revealed by WikiLeaks in a hack of the Clinton campaign chairman’s personal account. The emails include a document excerpting Clinton’s private speech transcripts, which she has refused to release.

WATCH: Vladimir Putin says Russia not involved as Wikileaks releases another batch of emails

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A section on China features several issues in which Clinton said she confronted the Chinese while leading the U.S. State Department.

China has harshly criticized the U.S. and South Korea’s planned deployment of a missile-defense system against North Korea, which conducted its fifth nuclear test this year. But Clinton said she told Chinese officials that the U.S. might deploy additional ships to the region to contain the North Korean missile threat.

If North Korea successfully obtains a ballistic missile, it could threaten not just American allies in the Pacific, “but they could actually reach Hawaii and the west coast theoretically,” Clinton said.

“We’re going to ring China with missile defence. We’re going to put more of our fleet in the area,” Clinton said in a 2013 speech. “So China, come on. You either control them or we’re going to have to defend against them.”

READ MORE: How the loonie could react to a President Clinton or President Trump

China is North Korea’s economic lifeline and the closest thing it has to a diplomatic ally, and has been criticized by the U.S. and others for not doing enough to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Chinese officials and state media have responded by saying North Korea is not solely China’s responsibility and say Beijing’s has limited influence with secretive leader Kim Jong Un’s hardline communist regime

Clinton also privately criticized China’s position on another sensitive issue, the South China Sea. China claims almost the entirety of the strategically vital waterbody has lashed out at an international tribunal’s rejection of its claims in a July ruling.

By China’s logic, Clinton told a different audience in 2013, the U.S. after World War II could have labelled the Pacific Ocean the “American Sea.”

READ MORE: Sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump, Bill Clinton dominate 2016 election topics

“My counterpart sat up very straight and goes, ‘Well, you can’t do that,’” she said. “And I said, ‘Well, we have as much right to claim that as you do. I mean, you claim (the South China Sea) based on pottery shards from, you know, some fishing vessel that ran aground in an atoll somewhere.”

In another remark revealed in the Wikileaks hack, Clinton called Xi “a more sophisticated, more effective public leader” than his predecessor, Hu Jintao. She noted Xi’s plans for economic and social reforms, but blamed what she called “a resurgence of nationalism” on the Chinese government.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond Friday to faxed questions about Clinton’s remarks.

As secretary of state, Clinton visited China seven times and engineered Washington’s “pivot” to Asia, which has long been viewed with suspicion by Beijing. The policy shift has seen a tighter focus on the region along with an increased military presence and fortified alliances with allies such as Australia and the Philippines, although the latter has been cast in doubt with the election of China-friendly President Rodrigo Duterte.

She also drew condemnation from Chinese state media last year after describing Xi as “shameless” as he prepared to speak on women’s rights at the United Nations, shortly after China detained five young feminists who’d campaigned against domestic violence.

Obama administration removes limits on Cuban rum and cigars

24/06/2019 Posted by admin

The Obama administration announced Friday that it is eliminating a $100 limit on the value of Cuban rum and cigars that American travellers can bring back from the island.

The administration is also lifting limits on cargo ship travel between the U.S. and Cuba and easing U.S. and Cuban researchers’ ability to conduct joint medical research. The measures are contained in a package of relatively small-scale regulatory changes meant to ease U.S. trade with Cuba.

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The Obama administration has now made six sets of changes loosening the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba in the hopes that the normalization of relations with the island will not be reversed by a future administration. This round is expected to be the last before President Barack Obama leaves office.

READ MORE: Canada hosted secret meetings between Cuba, U.S. in Ottawa and Toronto

Cuban rum and cigars will now be subject to the same duties as alcohol and tobacco from other countries, meaning most travellers will be able to bring back as many as 100 cigars and several bottles of rum. Because high-end Cuban cigars can sell for more than $100 apiece outside Cuba, every U.S. traveller can now legally bring back many thousands of dollars of Cuban products, potentially generating hundreds of millions of dollars in new annual revenue for the Cuban state.

The change does not mean that Cuban rum and cigars will be available for sale in the U.S. — the change is aimed at tobacco and alcohol brought home for personal use.

WATCH BELOW: A Cuban cigar roller beat his own record on Friday for the world’s longest hand rolled cigar, creating a 90-metre specimen in honour of former leader Fidel Castro’s 90th birthday, which falls this Saturday.

The previous limit restricted travellers to a combined value of $100 in rum and cigars, although enforcement of the limit notably declined after President Barack Obama declared detente with Cuba on Dec. 17, 2014.

The administration has described its policy goal as aimed at helping the Cuban people improve their lives by winning greater economic and political freedom from the single-party state.

“Challenges remain – and very real differences between our governments persist on issues of democracy and human rights – but I believe that engagement is the best way to address those differences and make progress on behalf of our interests and values,” Obama said in a statement announcing the changes.

READ MORE: What are the key events in Cuba-U.S. relations?

Rum and cigar production is entirely government-run under Cuba’s centrally planned communist economy. While the first regulatory changes focused narrowly on helping Cuba’s growing private sector, Friday’s new rules are almost entirely aimed at similarly state-run industries including shipping and medical products.

The package of regulatory changes announced Friday also allows cargo ships to visit U.S. ports directly after docking in Cuba. They had been barred from U.S. ports for 180 days after visiting Cuba. Cuba blamed that measure for harming its ability to import and export and dampening hopes that a new military-run port in the city of Mariel could serve as a major link in the regional cargo shipping system.

A senior Obama administration official said the new regulations’ focus on Cuban state enterprise should not be interpreted as a shift away from helping ordinary Cubans.

“We have designed the policy very much to have the maximum benefit to the Cuban people, broadly, but in so doing we are not restricting engagement with the Cuban state. That has been clear since Dec. 17, 2014,” the official said in a conference call with reporters held on condition of anonymity. “The Cuban people continue to be at the centre of everything we’re doing.”

More than 160,000 American travellers visited Cuba last year and that figure is expected to double this year. Hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans visit family on the island each year and will also be able to take advantage of the new measure, which comes a month and a half before the restart of commercial flights to Havana after more than 50 years.

FindTheData | Graphiq

Macleod Trail divergent diamond interchange project hits major milestone

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

City officials are celebrating the completion of a major milestone in an innovative new interchange that will be unlike anything Calgarians have ever seen.

Calgary’s first-ever divergent diamond interchange will be located at Macleod Trail and 162 Avenue South.

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  • Calgary to construct innovative interchange on Macleod Trail

    A diverging diamond interchange (DDI) is designed in such a way that the two directions of traffic on 162 Avenue will briefly cross to the opposite side of each other on bridges over Macleod Trail. This allows for more effective traffic flow at the signalized intersections within the interchange, and for left-turning vehicles to proceed without crossing opposing traffic.

    READ MORE: Calgary to construct innovative interchange on Macleod Trail

    On Friday, the City of Calgary will mark the opening of the south side overpass bridge detour, which – because of the removal of traffic lights on Macleod Trail – will result in the free flow of traffic at that location.

    The completed south side overpass will handle both east and west traffic over the next 12 months while crews construct the north-side overpass. It officially opens on the weekend.

    WATCH: This YouTube video shows the design for an innovative new diamond interchange for Macleod Trail and 162 Ave, South.

    The interchange design, first seen in North America in the state of Missouri, was once hailed by Popular Science magazine as one of the “100 best innovations of 2009.” Since then, it has been used in a number of locations in the United States, and in various countries around the world.

    When completed, Calgary’s DDI will be the first built in any urban centre in Canada.

    The estimated cost for the project is $65 million.

Body No. 421: How forensic pathologists identify victims of Europe’s refugee crisis

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

MELILLI, Sicily  —; Body No. 421, bagged in midnight blue, is heaved from a refrigerated truck onto a metal stretcher and wheeled into the tent that serves as a morgue. It joins other putrefying corpses that fill the air with a pungent scent that clings to the clothing and hair of the living.

The body is that of a young man, one of hundreds who drowned 77 nautical miles off the coast of Libya in the deadliest known migrant disaster. Eighteen months later, volunteers are trying to find out who he was.

READ MORE: Nearly 11,000 migrants rescued off Libyan coast in 48 hours: Italian coast guard

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WATCH ABOVE: United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants

A volunteer reaches into the body bag and pulls out the dark, slime-covered remains. Another uses a sharp, black-handled knife to cut out samples for further study. Others examine the muscles and bone structure, photograph the skull and teeth and take notes on a clipboard.

The team’s leader, University of Milan forensic pathologist Cristina Cattaneo, emerges with a slimy pair of children’s jeans reading “Manchester United.” She hoses them down carefully. The jeans, and the personal effects found in the pockets, are among the most useful of clues.

It is the first time that forensic scientists have tried to build a full accounting of victims in a migrant disaster.

Firefighters filled 458 body bags

It was early evening on April 18, 2015, when the distress call came. A fishing boat packed with hundreds of people was in trouble, the caller said. The Italian Coast Guard radioed a nearby freighter and told it to provide assistance.

When they saw the approaching ship, the frantic migrants rushed to one side of the deck, causing the boat to list and then capsize. The boat sank to the bottom.

Twenty-eight people made it to safety. Hundreds more were locked below deck.

READ MORE: Hundreds of migrants in Serbia set off on foot for Hungary in protest against border closure

A year later, the Italian Navy returned to the site and used a complicated pulley system to bring the wreck to the surface. As the boat emerged from the water, the horror of what had lain below became clear.

“Water started coming out of various openings that the boat had on the side, we also saw human remains coming out of these openings,” said Rear Adm. Paolo Pezzutti, who was in charge of the operation. “It was a spectral vision we saw coming out of the water.”


Back at port in Sicily, firefighters in protective suits, rubber gloves, goggles and helmets cut into the rusted hull with hatchets and saws.

They found bodies packed in almost unimaginably close quarters. There were five bodies for every square meter. Two hundred were locked in the engine room alone.

Meticulously, the firefighters filled 458 body bags. Many contained the remains of more than one person.

The team expects to complete the autopsies this month. Cattaneo predicts the volunteers will analyze some 700 bodies, maybe as many as 800 or 900. So far, all of the victims have been men and boys, mostly between the ages of 12 and 27.

READ MORE: UN touts ‘breakthrough’ in refugee crisis as division grows in US, Europe

When they are finished with their examination, the volunteers zip the bag back up and load body No. 421 into a metal container that will go inside a wooden coffin.

Using a black marker, Cattaneo carefully writes PM3900421 on the container – PM for “post mortem” and 39 for Italy’s telephone country code.

That’s the code that will mark the grave until the body is connected to a name.

WATCH: Egyptian officials say nearly 150 bodies of migrants pulled from Mediterranean

European rules require that asylum-seekers register in the first country they enter. Because few of them want to end up in Italy, many leave their IDs back home.

That means Cattaneo’s team must rely on DNA samples from the bones, teeth, and the objects found on the bodies.

At Cattaneo’s Labanof laboratory in Milan, plastic baggies and small cardboard boxes containing items found in the migrants’ clothing sit in neat lines along the table. Cattaneo goes over them one by one.

Some contain ID cards that were sewn into clothing. Several bags contain little wooden sticks used for cleaning teeth. One has a photo of a saint.

Another contains what looks like a small brown candy in a pink wrapper. On closer inspection it’s a spoonful of dirt, bagged by the traveler as a memory of home.

3,611 migrant deaths

The tragedy has done little to slow the business of trafficking in human lives. Smugglers in Libya continue to reap a fortune by taking migrants’ cash and piling them on top of one another in rickety vessels unfit to cross the Mediterranean.

So far in 2016, more than 316,899 people have reached Europe by sea, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Another 3,611 set out but never made it.

In December, the second stage of the process will begin: contacting relatives of those who had IDs on them, and searching for others who are looking for missing kin.

READ MORE: Kidnapped Nigerian boy tells harrowing story of being smuggled to Europe on migrant boat

That won’t be easy. The dead came from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Sudan, Senegal, Mali, the Ivory Coast and Bangladesh, among other places. Some of those countries have repressive governments; others have poor populations with little access to internet or phones.

Cattaneo is working with Italy’s office for Missing Persons, run by High Commissioner Vittorio Piscitelli. The office has built a database of information gained from the autopsies.

When families searching for their loved ones reach out, the information they give will be compared with the data on file. Gathering that information will be perhaps the biggest challenge. The Red Cross has signed up to help.

“If we don’t have people to show the data to, or any data to compare it with, we risk doing all this work in vain,” Piscitelli said.

Despite the challenges, Cattaneo is determined to carry on. In a plane or train crash involving European and American victims, she notes, forensic experts rush to the scene and identify all the bodies. That isn’t the case in migrant tragedies.

“These bodies become nobody’s business,” Cattaneo says. “This is the largest mass disaster in Europe after the Second World War and it is the largest humanitarian crisis in terms of dead, unidentified bodies . but nothing has been happening for these people.”

Body No. 421’s final destination is a cemetery in Catania, on the island of Sicily. In an unkempt field lined with mounds of dirt, small black plaques list the codes associated with the bodies buried below.

Some day, the volunteers hope, the young man’s relatives may be able to put a name to the number and come to find him.

His dream of a new life in Europe was dashed, but at least he would have the chance to go home.

Corey Feldman seeks redemption, but falters, in repeat ‘Today’ performance

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

Corey Feldman returned to the Today show on Thursday morning to talk about his much-publicized first performance, and seek redemption by performing for the second time.

The Goonies actor, 45, took the stage on the NBC morning show to perform the song Take a Stand from his new album, Angelic 2 the Core.

“This song, by the way, is for America,” Feldman told host Tamron Hall before performing. “We’re at a time right now when the world needs to focus, really, on peace and love and tolerance, especially with all the bullying. So, this is about the government. This is about the race. This is about the United States.”

WATCH BELOW: Corey Feldman Talks New Album

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READ MORE: Corey Feldman unfazed by ‘Today’ show response, will continue with music

Feldman’s second performance was similar to his first in almost every respect. He started out with several more layers of clothing than he ended up with, and he performed his signature dance moves.

His latest display caused a stir when he dropped an American flag on the ground while performing. “We love you America!” Feldman proclaimed at the end of his four-minute set. Hall picked the flag up off the ground and handed it back to him.

Some audiences were captivated by the performance.

Others viewers quickly took to social media to express their outrage over the Stand by Me actor’s flag gaffe.

READ MORE: Corey Feldman leaves angry, disturbing voicemail for ‘angel’ who quit show

Late Thursday evening, Feldman issued a statement to People with an explanation and an apology for dropping the flag.

“We were excited and grateful to be asked to return to the Today show, but there wasn’t much time to prepare. We scrambled to find an American flag to use as a patriotic symbol at the last minute and with no rehearsal,” he stared.

“Once I was on stage, my brain reverted to my choreography, which was to throw my hands up in the air with a peace sign. As a dancer, my instinct is to drop anything in my hands.”

“In that live moment, it came off as wrong and for that I’m deeply sorry. It was the exact opposite of my intention,” Feldman concluded.

READ MORE: Corey Feldman says he was ‘basically a slave child’ in Hollywood

Thursday’s performance was intended to make a statement: he is planning on pushing forward with his music career.

His return to the show was on National Stop Bullying Day (Oct. 13),  and Feldman addressed the backlash to his Go 4 It performance on Today last month and said the kind words he received from Pink, Kesha, Michael Jackson’s daughter Paris Jackson and his friends helped him deal with the “bullies.”

“I’m not letting the bullies get to us,” he said, explaining why he returned to the show. “A lot of people get hate in the beginning because we’re doing something new — it hasn’t been done before. But, it’s all about innovation and being an artist, and we can’t be afraid to share out art.”

Watch Feldman’s performance in the video, above.

Follow @KatieScottNews
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Renewable energy now accounts for 11% of Canadian energy

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

CALGARY – The National Energy Board says a renewable power project building spree between 2005 and 2015 took its share of overall generation in Canada from two per cent to 11 per cent.

NEB chief economist Shelley Milutinovic says the buildup means Canada is the fourth-largest generator in the world of environmentally friendly power from sources including wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric plants.

READ MORE: Ontario government cancels plan for more renewable energy sources

Renewable generation capacity grew by 26 per cent from about 75,000 megawatts in 2005 to nearly 95,000 megawatts in 2015, according to the federal regulator’s report, Canada’s Renewable Power Landscape.

The report says hydroelectric power capacity grew by about nine per cent to over 79,000 megawatts during the decade.

WATCH: Is Vancouver’s renewable energy strategy a good one?

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Non-hydro renewables such as wind, solar and biomass grew more than six-fold, from 2,360 megawatts in 2005 to 15,600 in 2015.

Meanwhile, coal-fired power capacity declined by 6,230 megawatts and natural gas capacity increased by 8,400 megawatts.

“I think that’s one thing people don’t really understand (is) just how significant on a world scale Canada is on the renewable front,” said Milutinovic.

“It is fourth in the world on renewables after China, the U.S. and Brazil and it’s second in the world in terms of hydro production; only China is bigger.”

She says she expects the trend to renewable power to continue thanks to support from governments and consumers.

“Almost every province and territory has some sort of policy to encourage or promote renewables or support them,” she said.

“Things like Alberta moving off coal by 2030, 50 per cent renewables for power generation in Saskatchewan by 2030, all of those things offer strong support for renewables.”

READ MORE: Alberta communities begin preparing for life after coal

The report notes that 11 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions came from the electricity sector in 2014, the latest year for which statistics were available. That’s down from about 16 per cent in 2005.

From 2000 to 2014, emissions from the power sector fell 40 per cent, the report says, due mainly to the phase out of coal in Ontario and initiatives to reduce emissions in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Ontario and Nova Scotia have seen the largest gains in renewable power generation over the decade, with its proportion in Ontario increasing from 23 per cent to 34 per cent and in Nova Scotia from 12 per cent to 24 per cent, the report says.

Hydro is the dominant source of electricity in Canada accounting for 55 per cent of total installed capacity. Four provinces and one territory — British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon — derive more than 85 per cent of their power from hydro.

Two provinces and a territory relied primarily on coal or natural gas for electricity in 2015: Alberta (90 per cent), Saskatchewan (83 per cent), and Nunavut (100 per cent).

Is CETA dead? Canada-EU trade deal in peril after Belgian decision

24/05/2019 Posted by admin

BRUSSELS – One of Belgium’s regional governments has voted to reject the wide-ranging CETA trade deal between the European Union and Canada, threatening a complex agreement that is supposed to be signed in two weeks.

The deal requires unanimous approval from the European Union’s member countries, including Belgium.

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READ MORE: Canada to send special envoy to meet with Belgium over CETA rejection

Under Belgium’s constitutional rules, however, one of its three regions can effectively veto such a deal for the whole country.

Wallonia’s regional legislature rejected the deal by a 46-14 margin on Friday, with one abstention.

The francophone region of 3.5 million people fears the deal with Canada will leave the farming and industrial sectors too exposed to cheaper imports from Canada.

READ MORE: CETA: Protests against Canada-EU trade deal held across Germany 

Environmental activists and trade unions have all warned such international deals could worsen local standards for food, work and industry.

Paul Magnette, the leader of the region of Wallonia, said Friday he would “not give the full powers to the federal government” to back the deal at an EU meeting Tuesday, where the 28 member states have to decide on full approval of the agreement.

Magnette said that “the guarantees are insufficient” and said labour, environmental and legal standards needed to be improved before such a deal could be approved.

“We have to say ‘no’ so we can negotiate,” Magnette said.

The agreement has already been backed by an overwhelming majority of the 28 member nations of the EU, a bloc of half a billion people.

It is scheduled to be officially signed at an EU-Canada summit in Brussels with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Oct. 27, seven years after talks started under the previous Conservative government led by Stephen Harper.

READ MORE: CETA: Canada-EU trade deal has Germany’s approval, minister says

The Belgian national government and the dominant Dutch-speaking region on Flanders back the deal.

“We are certainly brave,” said Marie-Dominique Simonet of the Walloon Christian Democrat CdH party.

The Liberal MR party, which is also represented in the national government, was scathing. “You are taking Belgium and Europe hostage,” said Virginie Defrang-Firket in the legislature. “Nobody will trust us anymore,” she said.

The EU says the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement deal with Canada will improve trade, create jobs, and remove just about all tariffs and custom duties while at the same time guaranteeing European standards on anything from food and health quality to labour rights.

For many, the CETA is only a prelude to an even bigger free trade deal, called TTIP, that is being negotiated with the United States, and which has given rise already to massive protests in several member states, including Belgium — and Wallonia.

Talks are planned ahead of Tuesday to see to whether Wallonia might withdraw its rejection.