Facebook Libra: Vodafone joins exodus from cryptocurrency project

Anthony Cuthbertson
Facebook faces significant resistance from financial regulators over its forthcoming Libra cryptocurrencyy: Reuters

Vodafone has become the latest major company to withdraw from Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project.

The telecoms firm joins eBay, Mastercard, PayPal, Stripe and Visa in quitting the association set up to develop a new global currency that would work across Facebook’s suite of apps.

“We have said from the outset that Vodafone’s desire is to make a genuine contribution to extending financial inclusion,” a Vodafone spokesperson said.

“We remain fully committed to that goal and feel we can make the most contribution by focusing our efforts on [mobile payments platform] M-Pesa.”

Facebook announced Libra last year, claiming it would serve the 1.7 billion people in the world who don’t have access to traditional financial services – the so-called ‘unbanked’. But since it was unveiled in 2019, it has faced significant criticism from financial regulators.

In December, the Swiss president said Libra would not be accepted by central banks and had therefore "failed" in its current form.

Politicians in the UK and US have also expressed concerns about the digital currency, while French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said in September that he would block the development of Libra on European soil because it poses a threat to "monetary sovereignty".

On Tuesday, the European Central Bank joined a coalition of central banks to explore the possibility of developing its own digital currency backed by central banks.

Despite the criticism and the latest setback, Libra said the digital currency’s development would continue without Vodafone.

Dante Disparte, head of policy and communications at the Libra Association, said in a statement: “Although the makeup of the Association members may change over time, the design of Libra’s governance and technology ensures the Libra payment system will remain resilient."

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Facebook to be quizzed by central banks over Libra cryptocurrency

  • Wet'suwet'en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Wet'suwet'en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

    VANCOUVER — As cabinet ministers broker urgent meetings over rail blockades in support of hereditary chiefs in northern British Columbia, a series of negotiations over the Wet'suwet'en Nation's land rights have been quietly taking place for a year. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled an international trip and instead held an emergency meeting of cabinet ministers Monday in Ottawa, but participants were tight-lipped about potential solutions to a series of national solidarity protests that have disrupted rail transport across the country.Meanwhile, the B.C. government and Office of the Wet'suwet'en have been meeting on how to explore a path forward together for a year. They issued a joint press release on Feb. 7, 2019 announcing a "reconciliation process.""This process has emerged from decades of denial of Wet'suwet'en rights and title. Both parties believe that the time has come to engage in meaningful nation-to-nation discussions with the goal of B.C. affirming Wet'suwet'en rights and title," it said.Former New Democrat MP Murray Rankin, a lawyer and mediator, was appointed as B.C.'s representative to help guide and design the process just weeks after RCMP enforced an injunction last year against opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, who formed a blockade in support of the chiefs outside Houston, B.C.Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route, but the hereditary chiefs in the Wet'suwet'en First Nation say they have title to a vast section of the land and never relinquished that by signing a treaty.While the self-governance talks are independent from any particular project, they take on new significance as a national debate over Indigenous land rights and sovereignty flares.Na'moks, one of five hereditary clan chiefs, said he believes the talks could solve the impasse over the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a key part of a $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export project.Proper affirmation of Wet'suwet'en title rights would also affirm that Coastal GasLink must leave the territory, he said, but the implications of the negotiations are much bigger than that."It will give surety to all companies, it will enhance environmental laws, and our Indigenous rights — which are enshrined in the Constitution — will be a daily thing. We won't have to go to court to remind each other," Na'moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale, said in an interview.At the same time, he said the talks are specifically non-transactional. In other words, don't expect a deal in which the chiefs consent to the pipeline in exchange for a broader recognition of rights.The Wet'suwet'en hereditary clan chiefs assert Aboriginal title, or exclusive rights to the land, over 22,000 square kilometres of northern British Columbia.Although a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada case affirmed that Aboriginal title has not and cannot be extinguished by the provincial government, but fell short of identifying the specific area and boundaries where Wet'suwet'en title applies.B.C.'s Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser agreed that while the self-governance talks are not about the pipeline, they're relevant."It's a much larger issue than a particular project, we all agreed it would be a separate process," he said."That being said, as we dig deeper into the conflict here, the rights and title issues come up over and over again, and that's still an outstanding issue that we haven't been able to address."Fraser said the talks have been "challenged" by the fact that the hereditary clan chiefs have designated representatives instead of participating directly themselves but Rankin continues to visit the territory about once a month.He also clarified that the province is not seeking to impose any form of governance on the First Nation through the self-governance talks, saying it's up to the Wet'suwet'en to determine the potential roles of hereditary and elected leaders.While the Indian Act designated elected band councils to lead First Nations, the province's adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the fall gave the government more tools for recognizing traditional forms of governance, such as hereditary systems, Fraser said.The province is keen to keep dialogue open with the Wet'suwet'en and the title talks began with a smoke feast attended by Fraser and Premier John Horgan last March, he said.But just as Na'moks held strong against the pipeline, Fraser maintain his government's support for it."While the Office of the Wet'suwet'en may have been strong in their position there, we are equally strong as government," he said."The project was OKed years ago," he said, adding the province approved its environmental assessment certification following extensive consultations and community meetings."There is no basis for shutting it down."Alan Hanna, assistant professor of law at the University of Victoria, said ironing out Aboriginal title and rights issues has occurred in various venues, including the courts, the modern treaty process and through broader negotiations.While ongoing talks between the Wet'suwet'en and B.C. government may not directly address the Coastal GasLink project, he said reaching a self-governance agreement could guide what happens in the case of a future impasse."Through negotiation, they can determine who sits at the table, how many individuals represent each of the parties and then if they come to an impasse, who or which entity can determine the outcome."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2020.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

  • Online petition calling for inquiry into Colten Boushie shooting gets thousands of signatures
    News
    CBC

    Online petition calling for inquiry into Colten Boushie shooting gets thousands of signatures

    An online petition calling for a public inquiry into the shooting death of Colten Boushie has garnered thousands of signatures — but the provincial government says the incident has already been thoroughly covered during a criminal trial.Colten Boushie, 22, was shot and killed after he and four others from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation drove onto Gerald Stanley's farm in August 2016. In the subsequent criminal trial, Stanley, 56, testified he was trying to scare the group off and accidentally shot Boushie in the head.  The jury found Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder, igniting a firestorm of debate in the weeks that followed. "The conditions for an inquest have been fulfilled by the criminal trial and there is nothing further to establish in this case that has not been covered by a public criminal trial," according to a statement provided by Saskatchewan's Ministry of Justice. "We understand some people were disappointed in the verdict," the statement went on. "However, there is no indication that the jury's decision was guided by anything other than the trial evidence and the judge's instructions."Acquittal 'enforces systemic discrimination'The petition was launched last week on change.org by Andre Bear, an Indigenous law student at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. As of Friday, it had garnered 3,979 virtual signatures. In the petition, Bear wrote that Stanley's acquittal "enforces systemic discrimination embedded in the legal system and has failed to uphold justice in Canada."Bear, who is Cree and a member of the Canoe Lake First Nation, cited "the selection of an all-white jury" as a concern. CBC News cannot verify the race of the 12 jurors selected for the trial, but at the time, the Boushie family said they were angered that Indigenous-looking jury candidates were challenged and excluded by Stanely's defence team."We have a right to be to be judged by or among our own peers," Bear said Friday. "If there is an Indigenous person that is [a] victim....there should be at least one Indigenous person on that jury no matter what. That is our charter right."The federal government has now eliminated the practice of peremptory challenges, although at least one judge has since overturned that decision.Bear's petition outlined a number of other concerns, including the "flawed" RCMP investigation (already the subject of an ongoing civilian review) and the Saskatchwan Crown's decision not to appeal the Stanley verdict. "This had been one of the most important cases in my lifetime as a young person in this province," Bear said. "I think it's irrefutable — the fact that there was not a public inquiry that's been done. And so I'm hoping that this petition can create more awareness and keep this on the agenda."Bear said he has the support of Boushie's mother and uncle. "The [case] serves as just one stark example of the failure of the criminal justice system to treat Indigenous victims, offenders, and their families fairly with dignity and respect," according to Bear's petition. "The need to address it remains increasingly important to meet the Government's commitment of reconciliation."5 Indigenous provincial judges appointedIn its statement, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice said five judges who have self-declared as Indigenous have been appointed to the Provincial Court of Saskatoon since January 2018, the month the Stanley trial began. The province also cited ongoing work with the Elders Advisory Committee, which gives advice on justice-related issues and programs. "Racism and intolerance have no place in Saskatchewan," the statement said. "We need collaborative, respectful dialogues about the issues facing our communities."The government is working on the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that fall under provincial authority and jurisdiction. "We know that reconciliation will require continuous and respectful engagement with Indigenous people to ensure every community's voice is heard within the justice system."'Much work still needed': feds Bear said his petition was also directed to the federal government. "The death of Colten Boushie was a tragedy, and our government continues to share in the grief of the Boushie family," a statement provided Friday by the Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada said. "We are committed to advancing reconciliation and addressing systemic issues involving Indigenous peoples and the criminal justice system."The statement pointed to the abolishment of peremptory challenges. "We have also worked in partnership with Indigenous communities, provinces and territories to increase the use of restorative justice programs," according to the statement."There is much work still needed and we are committed to continuing to make progress in partnership with Indigenous peoples. This includes working hand-in-hand with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples on the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."

  • India summons Turkish envoy over Erdogan's remarks on Kashmir
    News
    Reuters

    India summons Turkish envoy over Erdogan's remarks on Kashmir

    India summoned the Turkish ambassador on Monday to lodge a diplomatic protest over President Tayyip Erdogan's remarks on the disputed region of Kashmir and warned it would have a bearing on bilateral ties. During a visit to Pakistan last week, Erdogan said the situation in Indian Kashmir was worsening because of sweeping changes New Delhi introduced in the Muslim-majority territory and that Turkey stood in solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

  • News
    CBC

    Buyers market in Regina as average home price drops to $253K

    Regina's housing market has been a stand-out for all the wrong reasons as the Canadian Real Estate Association says there has been a 13 per cent drop in prices since 2015.The average price of a home in Regina was $252,900 last month. By comparison, Saskatoon was up around $290,100.Saskatoon's numbers are also down over the same amount of time but the drop in prices is not as severe as Regina's: an eight per cent drop since 2015."Ample supply across the Prairies and in Newfoundland and Labrador is resulting in ongoing competition among sellers," said Jason Stephen, president of CREA, in a news release.The rest of Canada meanwhile? The average price of a home rose by 40 per cent since 2015, helped largely by surging prices in the greater Vancouver and Toronto areas.Overall, the price of a home fell by three per cent nationally between December and January. Prices in Regina fell by 2.44 per cent between that month.

  • New Brunswick premier admits 'gaps' in scrapped plan for overnight ER closures
    News
    The Canadian Press

    New Brunswick premier admits 'gaps' in scrapped plan for overnight ER closures

    FREDERICTON — New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says criticism of his government's decision to close emergency rooms overnight in six community hospitals exposed serious gaps in the plan and led him to reverse course."I can't in good conscience move forward without addressing the concerns and fears that have been brought to light," Higgs told a news conference Monday.Higgs issued a statement Sunday night saying he was cancelling the closures, scheduled to take effect next month, in order to allow for community consultations.Since it was announced Feb. 11, the plan has drawn criticism from the affected communities, health professionals, opposition parties and members of his own minority Tory government.The reforms were intended to address a shortage in human resources and an aging population. They would have seen an increase in mental health services in the communities and the conversion of acute care beds to long-term care for patients awaiting nursing homes.Higgs said the changes raised many questions that could not be answered."I didn't expect that there would be so many gaps in the rollout plan, and gaps that people legitimately identified that could not be legitimately answered," he said. Higgs said he was even told that the provincial ambulance service had not been consulted.As a result, he met Sunday with representatives of the two regional health authorities. "Their recommendation was not to proceed at this time," Higgs said.He said he will visit the communities with the affected departments — Sussex, Sackville, Ste-Anne-de-Kent, Caraquet, Grand Falls and Perth-Andover — in April and May to get the views of leaders, health-care providers and citizens.The government is also planning a summit in June aimed at ensuring the province's health-care system is sustainable and reliable. "This must also address the challenges faced in the rural communities," Higgs said. The recommendations from the summit are to be released in the fall. The decision to halt the changes follows deputy premier Robert Gauvin's announcement Friday that he was quitting in protest over the reforms to sit as an Independent. It left the minority government in the precarious position of facing a confidence vote or possibly calling an early election.Higgs said his reversal had "turned down the temperature" on the prospect of an early election, but he would be discussing the situation with his caucus later this week.Gauvin's departure left the Tories and Liberals tied with 20 seats in the legislature. The Green party and the People's Alliance each have three, Gauvin is the lone Independent and two seats are vacant.Green Leader David Coon said Higgs had done the right thing by cancelling the changes, adding that he looked forward to making recommendations for health reform.Last week, both the Greens and Liberals said they were prepared to defeat the government on a confidence motion, but on Monday Coon toned down his position. "These changes are on the shelf right now," he said, "so until we see how that works out, it changes the water on the beans."But Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers expressed his continued opposition to the government."Premier Higgs has lost credibility and the trust of New Brunswickers over the health-care cuts fiasco. These cuts and further cuts to health care are still very much part of the Blaine Higgs agenda," Vickers wrote on Twitter. "His surprise from the controversy over the last week shows just how out of touch he is with New Brunswickers."Kris Austin, leader of the People's Alliance, which had also opposed the closures, welcomed the government's reversal. He said the necessary support systems, including advance care paramedics, were not in place to provide for care in the overnight hours.Dr. Chris Goodyear, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, said there were too many unanswered questions for the closures to go ahead."We observed since the announcement that many physicians and citizens expressed passionate and thoughtful views about the implications of these changes," he said in a statement. "Many agreed that our health system must be modernized to reflect the population needs of our province and that stakeholders must have a voice prior to decisions being made."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2020.Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

  • Ottawa eases speed restrictions imposed after Saskatchewan derailment
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Ottawa eases speed restrictions imposed after Saskatchewan derailment

    OTTAWA — Transport Minister Marc Garneau is easing speed restrictions placed on certain trains following a derailment in Saskatchewan earlier this month that spilled 1.2 million litres of crude oil and started a massive fire.Garneau says the move is the result of close collaboration between government officials and rail companies to determine the reasons for derailments such as the one near Guernsey, Sask., and address the areas of greatest concern.The Feb. 6 derailment was the second since December and forced some residents in the agricultural community to be evacuated.The new rules announced by Garneau raise the permissible speed for trains pulling even one car with chemicals that are toxic when inhaled or more than 20 cars loaded with dangerous goods such as oil, liquefied natural gas or ethanol.They take a harder line, however, on what the government considers higher-risk trains, setting lower speed limits for trains hauling nothing but dangerous goods or that include 80 or more tank cars of dangerous goods amid bigger loads.Garneau says the new speed rules will remain in effect until April 1 as the federal government works with railways to develop new safety measures, which will include dealing with track maintenance and winter operations.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Seven Golden Retrievers playing with a sprinkler is all you need to see today
    Rumble

    Seven Golden Retrievers playing with a sprinkler is all you need to see today

    It's party time for these English Cream Golden Retrievers with a sprinkler on a hot summer day. So much fun!

  • Russia's Lavrov, after Pompeo meeting, says felt more constructive U.S. approach
    News
    Reuters

    Russia's Lavrov, after Pompeo meeting, says felt more constructive U.S. approach

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday after meeting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week that he had felt a more constructive approach from Washington when it came to the U.S.-Russia strategic dialogue. The two top diplomats met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday in an encounter that neither side has so far spoken about in detail. "I felt certain small moves toward a more constructive approach by our American partners," Lavrov said on his ministry's website on Monday.

  • UK PM's adviser quits after backlash over contraception, IQ comments
    News
    Reuters

    UK PM's adviser quits after backlash over contraception, IQ comments

    An adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who had discussed the benefits of forced contraception quit on Monday, saying "media hysteria" about his old online posts meant he had become a distraction for the government. Earlier, Johnson's spokesman repeatedly refused to comment when asked about Andrew Sabisky, whose appointment drew widespread criticism after the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported statements made in his name online in 2014 and 2016. In addition to posts on contraception, Sabisky also said data showed the U.S. black population had lower IQ than white people, and, in a 2016 interview with digital publication Schools Week, discussed the benefits of genetic selection.

  • Man's attempt to ride limo on the outside falls short, police say
    News
    CBC

    Man's attempt to ride limo on the outside falls short, police say

    A man's attempt to ride on the outside of a limousine in Calgary's Beltline fell short, landing him in hospital with life-threatening injuries Sunday evening, police clarified in a statement early Monday morning.Calgary police were called to the 1200 block of 11th Avenue S.W. at about 7:30 p.m Sunday for reports of a seriously injured man.Paramedics transported the man to hospital in stable but serious condition."At this time, it is believed that the victim had been a passenger in the limousine and had exited the vehicle prior to the incident occurring. Shortly after exiting, the man was reported to be attempting to stand on the running board and hold onto the outside of the limousine while it was in motion. The limousine travelled a short distance down 11th Avenue S.W., before the man fell off near the intersection with 12 Street S.W.," police said."Speed, alcohol and drugs on the part of the limousine driver are not believed to have been a factor in this incident."Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police at 403-266-1234 citing case 20069315.

  • Study finds 'stunning' lack of research into women's heart health
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Study finds 'stunning' lack of research into women's heart health

    OTTAWA — A new review of the existing research into women's cardiovascular disease has uncovered what the authors call a "stunning" lack of information about how women are affected.The review was released by Heart & Stroke and the Canadian Women's Heart Health Alliance, who call it a first-of-its-kind scientific look at gender gaps in cardiovascular research.The more than 30 authors of the paper found cardiovascular disease in women is under-researched, leaving women under-diagnosed, under-treated and less aware of the risks they face.The review concludes that cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death among women in Canada, in part because women are not well represented in the research. The authors say potential sex-specific risk factors, such as early-onset menstruation, are increasingly noted during diagnosis but are so far unexplained.They hope the review will mean changes to the way women's cardiovascular health is studied and consequently treated in Canada.This report by the Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2020. The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Province to fund new emergency room in Yarmouth

    The province says it's funding the construction of a new, larger emergency room at Yarmouth Regional Hospital.Zach Churchill, the Liberal MLA for Yarmouth, said in a Facebook post that he made the announcement on Friday along with Premier Stephen McNeil.Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood said she was thrilled to hear about the expansion and that the cramped space is in need of an update."As much as we talk about needing doctors — and that isn't going to go away — but those nurses, doctors and other professionals that work there now, they need that space to do the very best job," Mood said. "And I would suggest as well that a new, larger emergency room department may just draw some doctors to the area."It would be one of the last regional hospitals in Nova Scotia to get a new emergency department.Peggy Green, director of health services in the health authority's western zone, said it's been about 20 years since there have been any upgrades in Yarmouth's emergency room."Staff and physicians have indicated for quite a few years the need to expand and upgrade our emergency department," Green said."Space is at a premium — our waiting area, our working space and our storage space for supplies are all being pushed to the limits."Green said the plan is in very early stages and there's been no talk yet about design.It is unclear how much money the province will put into the upgrades and when the work is expected to start.MORE TOP STORIES

  • Sleepy Yukon Quest musher falls off sled, dogs continue on, passerby finishes part of race
    News
    CBC

    Sleepy Yukon Quest musher falls off sled, dogs continue on, passerby finishes part of race

    A Yukon Quest musher who fell off his moving dogsled after falling asleep had to hitchhike his way to the next checkpoint, while a man in the area jumped aboard the runaway sled and guided the dogs to the end of that stretch."Most of that would be profanity," musher Richie Beattie said of his internal dialogue as he saw his sled-dog team running without him toward Dawson City, Yukon."In six days, I had acquired about eight hours of sleep, so I was incredibly sleep-deprived," he said in an interview with CBC Saturday."Apparently, I lost a little bit more than touch with reality. I lost touch with my handlebar."The Two Rivers, Alaska, resident was one of 15 mushers who competed in this year's Yukon Quest sled-dog race.The race started on Feb. 1. The trail stretched between Fairbanks, Alaska, and Whitehorse, about a 1,600-kilometre journey.Beattie said he was about three kilometres from the midway checkpoint when the incident happened, on Feb. 7.He said he ran after his team, which was on the frozen Yukon River at that point, for a short while before becoming too tired to continue.Beattie said he figured that someone would soon catch the 10 dogs as they continued on the trail and approached Dawson City.Rob Cooke, a Whitehorse resident and fellow musher who was just behind Beattie on the trail at the time, was the one to rescue the exhausted musher."I had an interesting encounter with Richie," said Cooke.Beattie rode with Cooke to the checkpoint, where Beattie said he saw his wife crying."She thought I, like, fell into open water," said the impromptu hitchhiker. "I think she was very relieved when she saw me."The checkpoint is one of the more well-attended spots on the race. The mushers had to stay in the town for 36 hours before leaving.Beattie's team ended up arriving in the town with a musher, but it wasn't him."Some Good Samaritan jumped on the sled as it passed him, and drove the dogs into the checkpoint," he said."Apparently he just, like … pulled in, jumped off the sled, and disappeared."  Beattie, who arrived in town at 1:18 p.m that day, said he doesn't know who that man is, and he's thankful for the temporary replacement.He didn't get any penalties because of the incident: "It didn't give me any competitive advantage."Beattie has participated in this competition three times. Before this year, he said he last raced it in 2007."I've been dog mushing for 20 years, and it's been — knock on wood — it's been a good decade and a half or so since I've lost a team," he said.Beattie, who finished the race in eighth place overall, said he was no ill will toward his rogue team members."Our dogs are trained to go. They're not trained to stop," he said.There were no physical injuries associated with the runaway dogsled, Beattie said."Maybe my ego was a little bruised," he said with a laugh."I'm sure people will be ribbing me about it for quite some time, just like I would do [to] someone else who was in this situation."

  • News
    Reuters

    At least 23 killed in Niger aid stampede: officials

    At least 23 people died in a stampede as Nigerian refugees rushed to get food and clothes in a community center just over the border in Niger on Monday, officials said. The refugees were queuing to get supplies in the town of Diffa, Nigerian regional officials told Reuters. The area is home to almost 250,000 displaced people, according to the United Nations.

  • Trucking group warns higher Marine Atlantic rates could mean higher prices for consumers
    News
    CBC

    Trucking group warns higher Marine Atlantic rates could mean higher prices for consumers

    An increase in Marine Atlantic's commercial rates will likely hit consumers in the wallet, says the executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association."It'll end up costing citizens in Newfoundland more for their goods," Jean-Marc Picard told CBC Newfoundland Morning on Monday. "Because we're likely just gonna pass it down to our customers. That's really how it unfolds."All commercial rates are increasing two per cent April 1. On the Port aux Basques-North Sydney passage, for vehicles up to 30 feet long, it's an increase of just under $5 — from $249.16 to $254.11. For vehicles between 70 and 80 feet, it's about $13 — from $658.91 to $672.07.Marine Atlantic spokesperson Darrell Mercer said the move was made to meet the Crown corporation's budgetary commitment of 65 per cent cost recovery to the federal government."When you look at who uses our service most especially during the winter months, the commercial utilization, January, February for example, 91 per cent [are] commercial," Mercer said. "And for seven months of the year, that's about 80 per cent.""If you're looking at trying to generate that money to meet our budgetary commitments, we wondered if it was better to generate the money from those who are actually using the service for most of the year."Picard said the cost increase might not be felt by consumers immediately, but could impact the price of goods in the future."[It] might take a year, it might not be that evident," Picard said. "Because some of them might just say, 'Well, we'll absorb it because we don't want to increase the cost of our milk in Newfoundland. So it all depends on the customer that sells the product."Picard said the new costs add to the already high operating cost of shipping to Newfoundland."It's expensive enough to move goods to Newfoundland today," Picard said. "Operating costs are different when you go to Newfoundland taking the ferry. The drivers sometimes have to wait longer so you have to pay them. Things like that, right?  So I mean there's lots of challenges."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Bombardier sells train-making division to French multinational Alstom
    News
    CBC

    Bombardier sells train-making division to French multinational Alstom

    Bombardier Inc. has sold its rail-building unit to French train giant Alstom SA, marking its exit from the rail business. On Monday, Alstom announced it had secured a deal with Bombardier and major shareholder Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec to acquire Bombardier Transportation for a price of 5.8 to 6.2 billion euros ($8.4-$9 billion Cdn) in stock and cash."I'm very proud to announce the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation, which is a unique opportunity to strengthen our global position on the booming mobility market," Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chairman and CEO of Alstom, said in a news release.Alstom gains a bigger footprint in the North American market, as well as eastern Europe and Mexico, and hopes to fend off rivals such as China's state-owned CRRC, the world's largest train maker. Poupart-Lafarge pledged a "turnaround" at Bombardier Transportation that would deliver value to customers and further develop its operations in Quebec. Caisse remains a major shareholder, having negotiated a cash and share swap that will see it take a stake of about 18 per cent in Alstom.He mentioned the $46 billion in orders still on Bombardier Transportation's books, and said Alstom plans to work on fulfilling those orders.The deal requires approval by the EU, which last year blocked a proposed merger between Alstom and the train division of German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG, arguing the proposed tie-up would result in higher price tags on signalling systems and bullet trains.Headquarters of Americas in MontrealAfter the deal goes through, Alstom proposes to establish a headquarters of the Americas in Montreal to lead all Alstom operations and expansion in the region.It also pledges a centre of excellence for design and engineering, as well as high-tech R&D activities, which will be focused on developing sustainable mobility solutions.With demand for high-efficiency, low-carbon transit from cities set to grow, Alstom is predicting the market for rail and rail systems will expand three to five per cent annually until 2025.Montreal-based Bombardier has sold several divisions since CEO Alain Bellemare took the helm in 2015, including its turboprop and aerostructure segments, as well as its commercial airline unit, once touted as the company's crown jewel.Bombardier announced last month it was working to reduce debt and pursuing strategic options, which analysts and other observers suggested could include the sale of the company's rail or business jet units.Bombardier announced the sale of its remaining stake in the A220 commercial jetliner program as it reported quarterly results last Thursday, marking the end of its failed bid to take on the commercial aircraft duopoly of Airbus SE and Boeing Co.That agreement with Airbus and the Quebec government hands Airbus a 75 per cent share in the A220 partnership, up from just over 50 per cent, while Quebec's stake rises at no extra cost to 25 per cent, from 16 per cent.In exchange, Airbus pays Bombardier $591 million US for the rest of its slice of a plane franchise that cost it more than $6 billion to develop.The niche plane program — formerly called the C Series — faced constant delays and cost overruns and lacked the marketing might of its two massive competitors, despite a $1-billion investment from Quebec in 2016 and a $372.5-million loan from Ottawa the following year.The company sold its water-bomber unit, Q400 turboprop business, CRJ regional jet program and flight-training enterprise over the past four years, among other appendages.The company has ramped up production of high-margin business jets, which it expects will drive double-digit revenue growth with 160 unit sales in 2020 amid a $16.3-billion backlog. That is its only remaining earning unit.Bombardier has debt estimated at $9.3 billion US.

  • 'It just felt very heart-warming': stranger from Alberta buys ticket to Jann Arden show for Winnipeg woman
    News
    CBC

    'It just felt very heart-warming': stranger from Alberta buys ticket to Jann Arden show for Winnipeg woman

    The kindness of a stranger is allowing a Winnipeg woman to see Jann Arden live when the eight-time Juno Award winner comes to town in June.Rita Gordon, an Arden superfan, joined Twitter earlier this month, and her first tweet was about the ticket prices to Arden's show; the cheapest ticket she could find cost $131, Gordon told CBC News."I was just kind of outraged by that," she said, adding that she proceeded to tweet at Arden."It wasn't to be mean or anything, I just thought, 'Wow!'"The tweet quickly received many responses about ticket pricing, and eventually caught the attention of Pauline Ehle in Lloydminster, Alta. — a complete stranger.Something inside Ehle — who has seen Jann Arden six times and will see her another three times on the upcoming tour — told her to purchase the ticket, she told CBC by phone from her Alberta home.Last Thursday, Ehle contacted Gordon asking how much the ticket cost and that she would transfer her the money.Gordon did not reply."I thought she was trolling me at first," Gordon said. "Why would someone buy a concert ticket for someone? That's just a pleasure gift. That's not a need, that's a want."But Ehle followed up, asking for her email address, with a screen shot of the ticket purchase for a seat in the fourth row attached to the message."It is unusual that someone would buy a concert ticket for someone they don't know, let alone someone in a different province... It just felt very heart-warming to me. It made want to pay it forward some way to someone else," Gordon said.The exchange touched Arden herself, who retweeted the Twitter thread, and contacted both Gordon and Ehle directly.The musician even offered to meet Ehle at an upcoming show."I've just peed myself," Ehle tweeted in reply."It means everything to me," she later told CBC News. "This whole thing has just been bizarre. It wasn't done with the intention of receiving anything."Arden is scheduled to perform in Saskatoon after playing Winnipeg. That's where Ehle will meet her.

  • News
    CBC

    Aircraft that crashed near Camrose stalled and hit power lines, TSB says

    A small private aircraft that crashed near Camrose last fall, killing the pilot, was about 27 metres in the air when it stalled, began to spin and struck some power lines, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada says.The Piper aircraft then plummeted to the ground and burst into flames, the TSB said in a report released Monday on its website.The 50-year-old pilot, who was alone on board, died in the crash. The plane was consumed by the fire.Portions of the flight control system, engine, propeller and flight instruments that were examined, showed no failures that would have prevented normal operation, the TSB report said.The Piper PA18-150 aircraft landed at a farm on the afternoon of Sept. 27, 2019, and picked up a passenger for a short flight. After landing in a field near the farm yard to drop off the passenger, the aircraft took off again heading east and climbed out steeply, the TSB said.The crash happened at about 4:45 p.m. The aircraft was found in a ditch on the north side of Township Road 460, about 450 metres east of Range Road 153.A review of available records showed the aircraft was certified and maintained according to regulations, the TSB said. No outstanding defects were noted in the maintenance or aircraft logs.

  • Health minister, Vancouver mayor counter 'rampant' spread of coronavirus misinformation as businesses suffer
    News
    CBC

    Health minister, Vancouver mayor counter 'rampant' spread of coronavirus misinformation as businesses suffer

    Misinformation around the novel coronavirus is stigmatizing Chinese-Canadians and having negative consequences on their Vancouver businesses, Canada's health minister says.Patty Hajdu made the statements in the city's Chinatown after participating in a round-table discussion with members of the Chinese-Canadian community, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Mayor Kennedy Stewart."The nature of our conversation was about the impact COVID-19, the coronavirus outbreak, is having on their business, their organizations, and the fear and misinformation that is rampant online," said Hajdu.According to Stewart, some restaurants have reported a 70 per cent drop in business since the news of the outbreak became public."We're here to support business in the local community who are suffering mostly because of misinformation," said Stewart. "We're encouraging people to continue on with their regular business, to enjoy all the great food and services that are offered here in Chinatown and other Chinese communities because at this stage we consider everything to be safe," he said.So far, the virus has killed more than 1,770 people and infected more than 71,000, mostly in mainland China. Eight Canadians have been diagnosed with coronavirus. None have died.Hajdu said one of the challenges of countering misinformation around coronavirus is how prevalent it is and how quickly it spreads on social media. "We just need to continue to remind Canadians to go to the sources where there is credible information," she said.'It's a nightmare'At Vancouver's Happy Times Travel agency in Chinatown, new business has dried up to almost nothing since the arrival of coronavirus. "It's a nightmare," said owner Glynnis Chan, who's booked just a single new customer in the last three weeks.Health Minister Patty Hajdu gives an update on repatriating Canadians on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is currently under quarantine:"We are busy cancelling reservations and rescheduling everything for our existing customers. Chinese New Year come along, it should be a busy time for us ... but this year it was terrible."Chan has been forced to cut her full time staff to half time to deal with the drop off. And she's not feeling optimistic things will turn around anytime soon, especially with the next busy season — booking customers on Alaska cruises — right around the corner. "I don't think people like to book the cruises now because of the bad experience they see on the news with the Diamond Princess and other cruise ships going around the sea and not able to stop anywhere. So there's a big impact and a big shadow," she said.The Diamond Princess is a cruise ship currently under quarantine in Japanese water with 3,700 hundred passengers aboard, including 255 Canadians.The federal government is planning to evacuate Canadians from the ship and fly them back to Canada. Hajdu told the media conference in Vancouver that she expected the plane to arrive home sometime later this week."I know there's about 100 Canadians or so out of the 250-plus that have not respond yet in terms of what their intentions are," she said.

  • Mill closure in rural Nova Scotia sparks fears of fallout for forestry industry
    Canadian Press Videos

    Mill closure in rural Nova Scotia sparks fears of fallout for forestry industry

    In Nova Scotia's rural counties there's growing fears over whether people working the woods can survive the closure of the Northern Pulp mill near Pictou, N.S. The mill was mothballed last month after the Liberal government declined to extend a deadline for the company to keep putting treated effluent into a lagoon near a Mi'kmaq community.

  • American cruise passengers quarantined at US military bases
    News
    The Canadian Press

    American cruise passengers quarantined at US military bases

    TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — More than 300 American cruise ship passengers, including 14 who tested positive for coronavirus, were being quarantined at military bases in California and Texas on Monday after arriving from Japan on charter flights overnight.One plane carrying cruise passengers touched down at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California just before midnight Sunday, while another arrived at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas early Monday. The passengers will remain at the bases for two weeks.Japan's Defence Minister Taro Kono tweeted earlier that Japanese troops helped transport 340 U.S. passengers on 14 buses from Yokohama port to Tokyo's Haneda airport. About 380 Americans were on the cruise ship.The U.S. said it arranged for the evacuation because people on the Diamond Princess were at a high risk of exposure to the new virus that's been spreading in Asia. For the departing Americans, the evacuation cuts short a 14-day quarantine that began aboard the cruise ship Feb. 5.The State Department announced later that 14 of the evacuees received confirmation they had the virus but were allowed to board the flight because they had no symptoms. They were being kept isolated from other passengers on the flight, the U.S. State and Health and Human Services said in a joint statement.Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday that an infected person who shows minimal symptoms could still pass the virus to someone else.It's unclear which base the 14 who tested positive for the virus went to.Officials said the evacuees who arrived at Travis Air Force Base will be housed at a different location from the more than 200 other Americans who were already being quarantined on the base, in a hotel. Those people have been at the base since early February, when they arrived on flights from China.No Travis airmen will have contact with the passengers, officials said.Now that they're in the U.S., the cruise ship passengers must go through another 14 days of quarantine at the military facilities — meaning they will have been under quarantine for a total of nearly four weeks.Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Italy were planning similar flights of passengers. Other governments, including Canada and Hong Kong, also will require the passengers to undergo a second 14-day quarantine.Japan on Monday announced another 99 infections on the Diamond Princess, raising the ship's total number of cases to 454. Overall, Japan has 419 confirmed cases of the virus, including one death. The United States has confirmed 15 cases within the country. Separately, one U.S. citizen died in China.Americans Cheryl and Paul Molesky, a couple from Syracuse, New York, opted to trade one coronavirus quarantine for another, leaving the cruise ship to fly back to the U.S. Cheryl Molesky said the rising number of patients on the ship factored into the decision."We are glad to be going home,” Cheryl Molesky earlier told NHK TV in Japan. “It’s just a little bit disappointing that we’ll have to go through quarantine again, and we will probably not be as comfortable as the Diamond Princess, possibly.”She sent The Associated Press a video of her and her husband boarding the plane with other Americans.“Well, we're exhausted, but we're on the plane and that's a good feeling. Pretty miserable wearing these masks though, and everybody had to go to the bathroom on the bus,” she said.Some American passengers said they would pass up the opportunity to fly to the United States because of the additional quarantine. There also was worry about being on a long flight with other passengers who may be infected or in an incubation period.One of the Americans, Matthew Smith, said in a tweet Sunday that he saw a passenger with no face mask talking at close quarters with another passenger. He said he and his wife scurried away.“If there are secondary infections on board, this is why,” he said. "And you wanted me to get on a bus with her?”He said the American health officials who visited their room was apparently surprised that the couple had decided to stay, and wished them luck.“Thanks, but we’re fine,” Smith said he told them.___This story has been corrected to show the first flight landed in California at 11:30 p.m. Sunday, not 2:30 a.m. Monday.___Associated Press journalists Mari Yamaguchi, Yuri Kageyama and Emily Wang in Tokyo contributed to this report.___Read more about the coronavirus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreakThe Associated Press

  • Protest that blocked Canada-U.S. bridge ends
    News
    CBC

    Protest that blocked Canada-U.S. bridge ends

    The anti-pipeline protest that closed the Thousands Island Bridge near the Ontario-New York border on Highway 37 early Monday afternoon ended about two and a half hours later.Around 40 people began demonstrating around noon Monday, according to the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Cynthia Savard said the protesters were "aligned" with the Mohawk First Nation protesters near Belleville, Ont., whose blockade near and along tracks has brought passenger and freight rail service in the region to a standstill since Feb. 6.The blockade began after Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs in B.C. faced a raid from the RCMP enforcing a court injunction. The hereditary chiefs oppose the development of a liquefied natural gas pipeline crossing their traditional territory, though elected members of 20 band councils along the route support it. That protest and others across Canada prompted CN Rail and Via Rail to shut down huge sections of their railway networks. The Mohawks of Tyendinaga said while the people blocking the Thousand Islands Bridge were not the same people from their protest, the two are connected. Savard said the bridge protesters were located near the toll booth on the Canadian side of the border, and were on foot, holding signs. Photos from the scene showed a line of cars backed up onto Highway 401. According to the OPP, the off-ramp from Highway 401 was eventually closed. The roads reopened at about 3 p.m.That bridge is part of a multi-crossing stretch over the St. Lawrence River about 140 kilometres south of Ottawa that includes an international border crossing.

  • Perth-Andover aims for net-zero carbon emissions by 2035
    News
    CBC

    Perth-Andover aims for net-zero carbon emissions by 2035

    The Village of Perth-Andover is working to become the first net-zero municipality in the province by completely eliminating its corporate carbon emissions by 2035."We want to foster an environment where people are aware that climate change is important," said Dan Dionne, the village's chief administrative officer.The tiny community of about 1,600 people just below the the fork of the Aroostook, St. John and Tobique rivers has borne the brunt of some pretty extreme flooding in ice jam situations during spring melts.People in the community are acutely aware of the potential risks from wide temperature swings and heavy rain events associated with climate change."We realize, too, it's not just our community, but it's communities globally that are impacted by it."Perth-Andover has joined a group called Partners for Climate Protection, which includes more than 300 municipalities in Canada.It adopted an action plan in 2018 that sets a community target of a 17 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a 2015 baseline by 2025 and a 34 per cent reduction by 2035.For the municipal corporation, they're aiming even higher — a 50 per cent reduction by 2025 and total elimination a decade later."It's certainly a worthwhile cause and we want to have an environment where our children grow up in our community and they have learned the importance of climate protection. … I think in a lot of cases our teenagers are teaching us sometimes too."The Village of Perth-Andover, the corporation, was responsible for about 87 tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year in 2015, according to its action plan.The largest components of that were from the village's vehicle fleet and its buildings.It's moving to more efficient heating and lighting systems and getting rid of some of its vehicles or replacing them with smaller more efficient ones, whenever possible. The items in the action plan would cut emissions by 44.5 tonnes by 2025.Further measures would have to take place in the next 10 years to get to net zero.It may seem like a lofty goal, but Dionne said many people in the village feel it's possible."We've always been pretty keen on this type of thing," he said.One thing the village has going for itself is its own electric utility, which is powered by a hydro dam.Incorporated in 1905 and "still going strong," it's a point of pride for the village, said Dionne. "We certainly are very fortunate that way."Hydro dams may come with their own environmental issues, but they are technically considered green energy."That's certainly a unique advantage that Perth-Andover has over other areas," said Dionne.Having their own utility gives residents of Perth-Andover a double incentive to be energy-efficient.First, they save on their power bills when they use less power. Second, savings at the municipal level are put into community services. For example, several years ago when municipal buildings were retrofitted to be more energy-efficient, the money that was saved on heating them was re-directed into recreation."We're a skate-and-swim-for-free community as a result of doing energy efficiency," Dionne said. "It was sort of a win-win situation."Other proactive measures over the years have included giving hot-water-heater blankets and energy-efficient light bulbs to every residential property. "It's just sort of a continuous improvement thing that we're always trying to do and hopefully always will." There are 15 projects on the go right now. Village staff try to find the time to work away at them amid their other duties.Dionne said there are great expectations of a new heat-pump rental program."We're sort of hoping that will provide some benefits especially for homes that potentially heat now with oil. That would be a big plus to get more people onto our green energy."The village has also applied for federal funding for six electric vehicle charging stations and hopes to start an EV sharing program.The electric vehicle would be available to community groups, for example, if they were travelling out of town for a meeting. Other initiatives are aimed at getting homeowners to make changes ranging from renovations to using clotheslines.Dionne expects good buy-in."People certainly are very proactive in these programs that we offer."And he doesn't think efforts will fall off after this spring's municipal elections."It's pretty baked in. … If anything, I could see people getting elected that might be more keen on our targets and more aggressive on wanting to achieve them quicker," he said."We certainly don't see anyone coming in and being against the efforts to promote climate protection."

  • Skip the Dishes driver says his leg was amputated because of road rage incident
    News
    CBC

    Skip the Dishes driver says his leg was amputated because of road rage incident

    A Skip the Dishes driver from Red Deer says he had his leg amputated because a man with road rage deliberately ran over him in a parking lot.RCMP have since charged a 32-year-old man with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm, failure to stop after an accident causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.Matthew Ekstrom says he was driving west on 67th Street on Jan. 26 to pick up a food order from a Red Deer Fatburger restaurant.Ekstrom, 26, said he needed to change into the right lane, so he cut in front of an SUV. The SUV changed lanes, sped up and cut in front of him."He sped up at the same time to not let me in on purpose," Ekstrom said, adding he nearly hit the SUV. He said both vehicles came to a stop in the middle of 67th Street, near Golden West Avenue. It was around 4 p.m.   "He got out of his vehicle," Ekstrom said. "He comes to my vehicle. He tried to open my door. Once he realized he couldn't get to me because my door was locked, he started punching my window." Ekstrom said he was on the phone with Bluetooth at the time, talking to a friend who also heard the banging on the window. He said the other driver got back into his car and stayed there. Ekstrom waited a couple of minutes, but the man didn't leave."I figured I'd just get moving," he said. "I had a delivery to make."When he began driving, the other driver followed him into a parking lot. "I was trying to get away from him. I did a doughnut around some vehicles that were parked … and he was right behind the entire time. He wouldn't leave me alone."Ekstrom said his friend finally arrived to help, so he pulled up next to him. They got out of their vehicles. He said he wanted to scare the other driver away, so he threw a coffee cup at his car, which prompted the man to drive around them in "circles." He said his friend climbed back inside his truck to call the police. That's when the SUV drove toward Ekstrom. "He came right for me. When I turned my head, that's when he must've cut it toward me. At that point, it was just too late. He hit me and I had no time to move out of the way."  Broken elbow, mangled ankle Ekstrom said he fell and landed on the right side of his body, breaking his elbow. "When I was laying on the ground, I felt his bumper on top, on the left side of my body," said Ekstrom. "I think he ran over my foot and it mangled my ankle, the bottom part of my leg."It just happened so damn fast … once I was laying on the ground, screaming in pain, I knew what happened."Ekstrom said the SUV driver fled the scene. By then, his friend was already on the phone with the police. Choosing between pain and prosthetic Ekstrom said doctors told him if his leg wasn't amputated he would face a lifetime of pain."I'm too young ... I would barely be able to walk, I wouldn't be able to run, I wouldn't be able to play sports — nothing like that. So I figured if I could get an amputation I'd have a prosthetic and I can live my life again."He has been at the Red Deer Regional Hospital and has follow-up appointments at the Skyway Medical Centre.Ekstrom said it will take about six weeks for his fractured elbow to heal. His amputation wound could take anywhere from four to eight weeks. He said he understands there are things he could've done differently — such as calling police earlier and slowing down to get behind the SUV instead. "But here we are now," he said. "I can't change what happened, right?"The man who was charged is set to appear in Red Deer Provincial Court on March 10.

  • Thai army to transfer control of land after mass shooting
    News
    Reuters

    Thai army to transfer control of land after mass shooting

    Thailand's army agreed on Monday to transfer management control of 160,000 hectares of commercial land to the finance ministry in a drive to reform its business practices after a soldier went on a shooting spree over a property deal gone sour. Sergeant Major Jakrapanth Thomma killed 29 people and wounded 57 during a 19-hour rampage last week after he shot his commanding officer and relative in a business dispute.