Canadian troops head to Poland, carbon revenue report: In The News for April 14

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In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of April 14 …

What we are watching in Canada …

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are expected to leave for Poland today to help Ukrainian refugees.

Defence Minister Anita Anand is scheduled to announce the deployment of troops from Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario this morning.

A government source speaking on condition of anonymity tells The Canadian Press the deployed troops will assist with the care and co-ordination of Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

They will also help Ukrainians leave Poland for other destinations.

Canada has prioritized immigration applications from Ukraine and created a special program that lets Ukrainian citizens and their families come to Canada and work or study for three years.

The United Nations says 2.6 million Ukrainians have fled from their homes into Poland since Russian troops attacked in late February, while more than 2 million others have fled to other countries.

Also this …

Big industrial plants in provinces covered by the national carbon pricing system paid more than 161-million dollars for their greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

The annual report on Canada’s carbon pricing law says that revenue came from 189 industrial facilities such as power plants and automakers, which together emitted 8.3-million tonnes of greenhouse emissions above their allowed limit.

That is just under the 20-dollar per tonne rate set by the government for the carbon price in 2019.

But big industry only pays the carbon price on some of their emissions to prevent major economic impacts.

If their carbon price bill is divided across all of their emissions, their cost per tonne is less than two-dollars and 50-cents, well below the 20-dollar per tonne consumers and smaller businesses with fewer emissions paid.

Greenpeace Canada says it feels like big industrial players are not paying their fair share.

It is urging the federal government to cut back on how much big industry gets to emit for free.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

Firefighters scouted the drought-stricken mountainsides around a New Mexico village as they looked for opportunities to slow a wind-driven wildfire that a day earlier had burned at least 150 homes and other structures while displacing thousands of residents and forcing the evacuation of two schools.

Homes were among the structures that had burned, but officials on Wednesday did not have a count of how many were destroyed in the blaze that torched at least 16.6 square kilometres of forest, brush and grass on the east side of the community of Ruidoso, said Laura Rabon, spokesperson for the Lincoln National Forest.

Rabon announced emergency evacuations of a more densely populated area during a briefing Wednesday afternoon as the fire jumped a road where crews were trying to hold the line. She told people to get in their cars and go.

New Mexico State Police released a statement late Wednesday saying two people have been found dead in a residence. Their identities will not be released until the Office of the Medical Examiner can positively identify them.

Strong winds prevented forced a suspension of the aerial attack on the flames and kept authorities from getting a better estimate of how large the fire has grown. But some planes returned to the air as winds subsided late in the day, and seven airtankers and two helicopters have now been assigned to the fire, Forest Service officials said Wednesday evening.

While the cause of the blaze was under investigation, fire officials and forecasters warned Wednesday that persistent dry and windy conditions had prompted red flag warnings for a wide swath that included almost all of New Mexico, half of Texas and parts of Colorado and the Midwest.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

MOMBASA, Kenya _ Agricultural workers in the east and Horn of Africa are preparing for their most severe drought in forty years, as authorities warn that higher temperatures and less than normal rainfall was recorded by weather agencies in March and April this year.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development said rains will likely fail for a fourth consecutive year, triggering fears of increased cases of malnutrition, threats to livelihoods and severe risks for 29 million people in the region. Meteorologists are linking the unfolding drought to human-caused climate change which is leading to increased warming in the Indian Ocean, causing more frequent cyclones.

Like most of Africa, the east and the Horn’s economic mainstay is agriculture, which is rain-fed, making it vulnerable to extreme weather events. Mama Charity Kimaru, who practices mixed farming by rearing livestock and planting cereals and vegetables in her 30-acre farm in Nyandarua, some 126 kilometres north of Nairobi, is among the farmers who are preparing for the worst outcomes. Kimaru says that increased temperatures recorded over the past few months have denied her livestock pasture and the crops she had planted in anticipation of the long rains season have failed.

The weather agency previously said in February that the region should prepare for a “wetter than average” long rains season, which normally pours from March to May, but the agency revised its previous forecasts this week.

“The March, April, May rains are crucial for the region and, sadly, we are looking at not just three, but potentially four consecutive failed seasons,” Workneh Gebeyehu, the executive secretary of the intergovernmental agency, said. “This, coupled with other stress factors such as conflicts in both our region and Europe, the impact of COVID-19, and macroeconomic challenges, has led to acute levels of food insecurity across the greater Horn of Africa.”

Below average rainfall for 2022 are likely to prolong the already extremely dry conditions which have not been experienced to this degree since 1981. Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia _ which will be severely impacted by the reduced rains _ are already in the midst of a dire famine.

Lack of rainfall during the short rains season late last year and the ongoing drought during the current long rains season has already led to crop failures and livestock deaths, causing high food prices and intercommunal conflicts over scarce pasture and dwindling water resources.

The U.N. humanitarian office warned last week that the current drought “risks becoming one of the worst climate induced emergencies in recent history in the Horn of Africa.” It also said that the $1.5 billion drought response appeal required to assist some 5.5 million people in Somali remains seriously underfunded.

On this day in 1992 …

The Supreme Court of Canada quashed David Milgaard’s 1970 conviction for murdering Saskatoon nursing aide Gail Miller. Milgaard left a Manitoba prison two days later, after the Saskatchewan government decided not to re-try him. The province later compensated Milgaard for his two decades behind bars. Larry Fisher was convicted of the murder in 1999 and sentenced to life. (Fisher died in prison on June 9, 2015 at age 65.)

In entertainment …

MONTREAL _ The family of acclaimed Canadian director and producer Jean-Marc Vallee said Wednesday that his sudden death on Christmas Day was from natural causes.

In a statement, they said a Quebec coroner concluded Vallee died of a “fatal cardiac arrhythmia secondary to severe coronary atherosclerosis.” It was released not long before a coroner issued his report into Vallee’s death at his cabin just outside Quebec City over the 2021 Christmas holiday weekend. He was 58.

The Montreal-born Vallee directed a string of high-profile films and series after his breakout “C.R.A.Z.Y.”, winning an Emmy for directing the hit HBO series “Big Little Lies,” and his 2013 drama ‘Dallas Buyers Club” earned multiple Oscar nominations.

The coroner concluded that Vallee died not long after arriving at his cabin. Aside from lower back pain, he had no chronic health condition that would be a risk for cardiovascular disease.

According to his report, coroner Donald Nicole wrote that Vallee had invited a friend to dine with him at his secondary residence in Berthier-sur-Mer, southeast of Quebec City, on Boxing Day.

The friend tried to contact him around noon on Dec. 26 without success. Worried, he went to the cabin and found Vallee around 2:30 p.m., sprawled on his dining room floor, his cellphone near his hand.

Vallee had told the friend during a conversation on Christmas Eve that he would be arriving at the cabin on Dec. 25. The coroner noted Vallee had missed calls and messages starting around 9:42 p.m. on Dec. 25, and his travel bag, groceries and other personal effects were found in his car.

In the statement released late Wednesday, Vallee’s sons, Alex and Emile Vallee, say people are still getting in touch about their filmmaker father’s influence. The statement says the sons and their mother will soon announce details of a commemorative event to honour Vallee’s life and craft.

Did you see this?

VANCOUVER _ Settlement agencies across the country have joined forces to support Ukrainians arriving through a federal emergency program at three airports, Canada’s immigration minister said Tuesday.

Sean Fraser said 41,000 people have been approved through an emergency travel initiative launched last month to help people resettle after many fled to Europe to escape Russia’s war on Ukraine.

They have been arriving at the Toronto and Edmonton international airports since April 1, and in Vancouver since April 8.

Fraser said most of the applicants are now in Warsaw or Berlin and many may settle in Canada temporarily while they have access to services like language training, child care and help finding a job.

Many of the new arrivals could end up in Western Canada because of their connections to that part of the country, he said.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, at the end of the day, if we see a significant number of people end up going to smaller communities in the Prairie provinces.”

Chris Friesen of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance said a central online portal involving 500 national agencies will be available later this month so Canadians can offer support like housing, employment and donations. Newly arrived Ukrainians can also access the site to ask for help.

The federal government has already announced that new arrivals will be given six weeks of income support and two weeks of hotel accommodation for those without a place to go.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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