The News Rundown
- It's been a quiet week in BC, so we're going to go super local and talk a bit about the Saanich tent city, and how something as small as a cigarette can have a huge impact on the province as a whole.
- Saanich and the province were granted an interim injunction Friday to shut down a homeless camp in Regina Park, with Saanich calling for the site to be vacated by 7 p.m. Tuesday. Fire danger was a prime reason for the decision, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ward Branch said in delivering his judgment.
- Branch said the establishment of the camp in late April was part of a “broader attempt” to raise awareness of homelessness, and that governments are making some progress in providing needed housing. And while the camp has been a central point for service agencies to help people, there have also been mounting problems, Branch said. “There is some evidence of rats, garbage, urine, feces and needles,”
- The interim injunction will last up to 10 months, at which point a trial would proceed on whether to grant a permanent injunction. Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell welcomed the ruling and expressed hope that campers will vacate the park voluntarily. In a statement he read that “Saanich’s goal since the beginning of the encampment has been to achieve voluntary compliance with its bylaws,” he said, reading from a statement.
- “In the face of open defiance by the encampment and its leadership, as well as significant and increasing health and safety risks, it’s become necessary to seek the assistance of the court.”
- Atwell said the interim injunction will allow Saanich to clear and remediate Regina Park, a task that is expected to take two to three weeks. “Saanich will treat the vulnerable persons vacating the park with dignity and care throughout the decampment process,” he said.
- It's interesting that Justice Branch came to his decision to grant the injunction based on fire safety, given that last Sunday, a fire broke out in the camp that sent smoke billowing out over the Trans Canada Highway that the camp is adjacent to. Residents say they used donated fire extinguishers and jugs of water to put out the blaze and prevent it from spreading to nearby tents.
- The Saanich Fire Department said it received a report of a structure fire and possible explosion at 12:05 p.m. and responded with two engines, a ladder truck, a tanker and a rescue truck. Assistant deputy fire chief Brock Henson said that response to the fire was timely. “They found a smouldering tent fire and they made sure the fire was good and extinguished and thankfully there were no injuries that took place.”
- He added that it’s fortunate the fire broke out during the day when there were people around to take notice and respond. “People contacted us very, very quickly and both occupants and ourselves were able to respond very, very quickly. Our greatest concern from a life safety perspective is a fire like that taking place at night.”
- He said the cause of the fire remains under investigation. “The individual who was occupying the tent wasn’t in the tent at the time, but he advised our incident commander that he may have left a lit cigarette inside the tent."
- It's not the only time that a cigarette has been the cause of headlines in the Victoria area. On Wednesday evening, a motorist threw a cigarette out of his vehicle at just the wrong time - doing the deed right in front of Victoria Police Chief Del Manak. Manak asked on Twitter "Can you believe people are still throwing lit cigarettes out their car window? Sorry, but I can't ignore it when it happens in front of me. DRIVER, "I would never do it near grass." Excuse didn't work. #BeSmart"
- Also, on Wednesday morning on the Trans Canada Highway, a motorist was fortunate to be unharmed following an early morning vehicle fire on the Malahat. The driver of the burnt-out pick-up reportedly discarded a cigarette butt out the window, but it flew back into the cab and sparked a fire, according to a witness. A driver behind the pick-up tried to warn the man that smoke was billowing from his vehicle but he remained unaware of the situation until it was too late.
- And now in the wake of widespread plastic straw bans due to ocean pollution, studies have been released showing that cigarette butts are actually more harmful for ocean safety. According to the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, 5.5 trillion cigarettes are consumed every year, with 90% of them containing a plastic-based cigarette filter. Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate, an artificial fiber that takes decades to break down. NBC News reports that two-thirds of those filters are dumped, many of which make their way to oceans and beaches.
- And as wildfire season comes to a close in BC, it's important to note that humans have caused more than 400 of the wildfires that have been burning the province and sending much of Western Canada into a hazy apocalyptic landscape this past summer. Many of these fires were caused by cigarettes. Therefore, in conclusion, it's interesting how while the media reports all these issues separately, not much attention is given to the fact that lots of smokers are careless with their cigarettes, and clearly something should be done about them.
- The Canadian economy lost 51,600 jobs in the past month, a growth of 5,000 was forecast.
- This was lead by a drop in Ontario of 80,100 jobs, all part time.
- Nationally the country lost 92,000 part time jobs but it was offset by a gain of 40,400 in full time workers.
- Alberta’s unemployment rate remained constant at 6.7%, BC’s unemployment rate ticked up to 5.3% from 5%, which is well within the margin of error of the report.
- The rate in Calgary though increased from 7.9% to 8.2%. Calgary remains with the highest unemployment rate in the country behind St. John’s, Newfoundland.
- So while the report may look good for the rest of Alberta, this uptick is very concerning for Calgary. It means that the economic recovery that we are told is happening really isn’t happening, at least in Calgary.
- This is largely due to oil companies being reluctant to hire due to questions that remain within the economy.
- The situation isn’t on track to get better soon.
- The federal government’s new Bill to overhaul the National Energy Board (what does the NEB do?), otherwise known as Bill C–69, is slated to hit the Senate this month.
- Saskatchewan’s environment minister has called the bill “an existential threat to our competitiveness”
- Even Alberta NDP Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd said, “[our government] has serious concerns including ‘what does this mean for project timelines’.
- Ministers across the country have been lobbying their provincial counterparts all summer long and even bringing forward the alert that in talking with industry, “many have suggested they will not be making new investments in our country.”
- The power of investment
- This leads to better job growth in cities like Calgary
- Following last weeks court decision regarding Trans Mountain, Bill Morneau, the country’s finance minister said, “Our government inherited a flawed environmental review process and we’ve made efforts to improve it.”
- They aren’t improvements if industry is concerned
- Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (what is CAAP?) president and CEO Tim McMilan said, “We have a regulatory system in Canada that is so complex that not even the government or the regulator understands it… We need a simpler, more straightforward easier-to-understand regulatory system.”
- Bill C–69 doesn’t even spell out what kinds of projects will fall under its jurisdiction. The Bill is being passed while this list of projects is still under development.
- In a similarity related field, Suncor announced that they won’t approve more expansions until the country makes progress on approving pipelines.
- Suncor wants to see “physical progress on the ground” before more they can commit to more expansions.
- And no, this isn’t just pipeline expansions. Suncor is also holding back on expanding mining and drilling operations too.
- In one more act of disruption, the federal government has blocked an opposition motion to call key ministers to lay out the next steps of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
- The opposition wanted to hold a six session study of the government’s plan in the wake of the decision last week.
- The discussion would have took place in committee and would have been televised for the media and Canadians to watch.
- It’s been over a week, we don’t know what the government’s next steps are to get the pipeline built and restart the process. The government says they’re analyzing the options and then will inform Canadians of what has been decided on to get the project back on track.
- The lack of clarity with Trans Mountain, the uncertainty regarding Bill C–69 which would overhaul the NEB, and the general feeling of disruption are causing companies like Suncor, Kinder Morgan, and others to slow investment into Canada. This is in turn causing the employment troubles we are seeing in Calgary.
- Toronto, Montreal call for handgun sale ban in cities, ammunition from prov government, and nationwide from feds
- Minister of organized crime reduction Bill Blair's says the Liberals were open to exploring all options, but stopped short of revealing what that list of possibilities included. Mandate letter - "You should lead an examination of a full ban on handguns and assault weapons in Canada, while not impeding the lawful use of firearms by Canadians,"
- President of the Toronto Police Association Mike McCormack - "There's no way in my world or any world I know that this would have an impact on somebody who's going to go out and buy an illegal gun and use it to kill another person or shoot another person,"
- Instead, McCormack would rather see more resources poured into policing and social services.
- He said his years of experience in policing have taught him something about gun crime — individuals who steal, sell or use guns illegally are already facing mountains of jail time, so they're unfazed by one more law that condemns their actions.
- Shootings have been on the rise for the past few years in Canada, and in 2016 more people were killed by guns than by knives. The majority of Canadians don't meet requirements to legally own a handgun. Currently, licences for those types of firearms are restricted to collectors, target shooters and those whose employment might require them to own a handgun.
- There were 130 homicides committed with a handgun in 2016
- Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders told city council earlier this summer that 50 per cent of firearms that are used for crimes are from domestic sources.
- "Usually straw purchasing. So lawful owners who purchase large amounts of firearms and then distribute them to the criminal entities that are out there," he said.
- However, neither the RCMP nor Statistics Canada collect national statistics on whether guns are smuggled into the country or sourced domestically.
- "We don't know the origin of firearms involved in gun crime in Canada," said Lynn Barr-Telford, director-general in charge of justice surveys at Statistics Canada.
The Firing Line
- The world is moving towards more diversity.
- On Friday Justin Trudeau speaking in Ottawa said, “The world is moving towards more diversity, not less diversity. It’s a form of entropy where people will come with different perspectives, the advancement of communication, raising standards of living around the world…[it] means that our communities, our boardrooms, are going to be more and more diverse.”
- Justin Trudeau was speaking at the 2018 Deloitte Canada Partner Meeting. Global was there to televise the event.
- He was speaking about diversity and whether it’s a threat to identity, national or corporate.
- There’s one catch, entropy doesn’t exactly mean what he said in this speech.
- Entropy is best defined as a gradual decline into chaos or disorder.
- Entropy also has uses in the fields of physics regarding a system’s ability to convert thermal energy into mechanical work.
- Entropy is also used in cryptography and ensuring websites are secure (https, green lock) or passwords are strong.
- All of these deal with disorder, randomness, and chaos in a machine or box.
- Will diversity bring in a different perspective than founders generations ago or will it bring in a fresh perspective.
- Capacities to view that diversity is reflective of the world and the Prime Minister feels that to be successful in the modern world, companies that want to be successful, need to be resilient and diverse.
- He then went on to mention nature and ecosystems with more diversity thriving.
- The missing link - he feels it’s needed in business environments as well.
- “We end up stronger, we end up better, we end up more nimble, we end up more resilient - [and] I think that is the goal.”
- The view of what this means for 2019.
Word of the Week
Entropy - lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.
How to Find Us
Episode Title: The Entropy of Diversity
Teaser: In BC we learn that improper disposal of cigarettes can cause major issues. Canada lost over 50,000 jobs in August, and the possible implementation of a handgun gun might not solve crime. Also, we correct Trudeau on his definition of the word entropy.
Recorded Date: September 8, 2018
Release Date: September 9, 2018
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes