Ride-hailing not coming to British Columbia until fall of 2019

Written by admin on 13/07/2019 Categories: 上海夜网

British Columbia will not have ride-hailing until at least the fall of 2019. The B.C. provincial government had previously committed to having the services in place by Christmas 2017.

“People need to be able to get around safely and reliably,” said Transportation Minister Claire Trevena. “That’s why we’re putting more taxis on the streets, and laying the groundwork for new services to enter the market.”

WATCH: NDP’s move on taxis helps them in ridings where the industry’s power reigns 

“I know that people are looking for expanded transportation options to be available very soon and I want to re insure them that a lot of work is being done to have this accomplished but we need to get this right.”

LISTEN: Taxi industry’s plan to take over ride-hailing in Vancouver, keep Uber out

The provincial government released a report on Thursday by Dan Hara that looked into modernizing British Columbia’s taxi industry.

Taxi companies pitch plan to keep ride-hailing companies out of Metro Vancouver

The report recommends getting rid of municipal boundaries for taxis, increasing the number of taxis on the road by 15 per cent and allowing discounted pricing for taxi trips ordered by smartphone app.

But Hara did recommend the province could consider regional boundaries that would continue to restrict where drivers could pick up passengers.

WATCH: NDP government delays ride sharing again

“At the heart of consumer and business concerns over B.C. taxi service is supply,” reads the Hara report. “Non-industry stakeholders stated clearly that they want more and better vehicle-for-hire service.”

“Smaller communities and First Nations want their communities better served, especially where present service is spotty or non-existent. Large urban communities experience shortages during peak hours, especially on weekend nights or during special events.”

WATCH HERE: New report highlights the economic benefits of ridesharing

The province has promised to quickly start working with the Passenger Transportation Safety Board to get more cabs on the road. The goal is to hit the recommended target of a 15 per cent increases, which would mean 300 new cabs in Metro Vancouver and 200 in the rest of the province.

LISTEN: How Uber feels about the Hara report


The government will then introduce amended legislation in the fall that would ‘lay the ground work for new companies to enter the market’. Trevena said once that legislation was passed, ride hailing companies could start applying to work in British Columbia. The province’s public insurer, ICBC, also must wait until legislation is done to create a new package for ride-hailing drivers.

Enderby believes ride-hailing would help rural B.C.

“One of the last pieces will be working with ICBC to provide insurance models for the industry,” said Trevena. “We need the insurance in place. Once ICBC has done that the doors will be open to ride hailing companies to come to B.C. if they so choose.”

The province is also adopting the recommendation to give the taxi industry the ability to provide discount fare when trips are booked through smartphone apps. The idea of charging ride-hailing drivers a fee to enter the B.C. market is also being considered, an additional cost that other jurisdictions that have ride-hailing does not have.

LISTEN: Keith Baldrey chimes in on the ride-hailing report

“You can be fair without giving them the exact same rules,” said Uber Western Canada General Manager Michael van Hemmen. “Other jurisdictions in Canada have done that. When you look at Brampton, Ontario. They were the most recent jurisdiction to release data from ride sharing and what happened with the taxi industry. What it found was taxi ridership was flat. Ride sharing is bigger than the taxi industry and public transit went up 17 per cent. It is absolutely possible to find a way to make all modes grow.”

The illegal Richmond ride-hailing app that allegedly won’t take non-Chinese fares

The B.C. Green Party has been advocating for ride sharing and is frustrated that the government is not implementing new services at the same time as updating the taxi industry. Critic Adam Olsen said that both the NDP, and before that the B.C. Liberals, have been playing politics with the industry.

“The foot dragging on this has been about winning or losing swing ridings during elections,” said Olsen. “We have been putting this issue forward. We believe British Columbians should be able to access the rides that they need. I want to be very clear what is going on here is partisan games and that is what needs to end.”

The Vancouver Taxi Association is pitching a plan to help keep ride-hailing companies like Uber out of Metro Vancouver.

The association has a tentative agreement in place to develop a ride-for-hire app called Kater. The deal would leave 20 per cent of the profits with taxi companies and calls for provincial licensing of 200 “Kater Cabs,” which would operate like typical ride-hailing cars that companies like Uber and Lyft have operating in other cities.

‘Pay now or get out’: Vancouver man says cab dumped him, sped off with door open

Hara’s report cautioned against providing a monopoly to the taxi industry in providing ride-hailing services.

Ridesharing Now for BC, a group advocating for new services in B.C., initially called Thursday’s announcement a ‘positive’ step. But the group later went on social media to express frustration with the province.

“We are extremely disappointed in today’s announcement that ridesharing is going to take at least 18 months,” posted the group online. “BC deserve the same services that are available across Canada reducing impaired driving and increasing access to affordable, reliable service and they deserve it this year.”

Uber app in B.C. drew half a million visitors over the last two years

Numbers provided by Uber show that more than 500,000 have opened the companies app in the last two years. The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade produced a report in February 2016, entitled Innovative Transportation Options for Metro Vancouver, which outlined specific steps that the provincial government could take to immediately begin modernizing our traditional taxi industry while paving the way for ride-hailing.

“For years, our province has been spinning its wheels on ridesharing and the modernization of the taxi industry,” said GVBOT President Iain Black. “Today’s announcement perpetuates the taxi monopoly while only partially addressing the underlying problems that the industry requires to be fixed, with no firm timelines in place.”

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Income assistance changes welcome but far from complete say advocates

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A slew of programs are being rolled out by the provincial government to help Nova Scotians on income assistance, but many say the added funds dedicated to the most vulnerable are far from enough to adequately address the challenge.

READ MORE: Affordable housing options ‘not meeting demand,’ says Halifax deputy mayor

Advising of recently-implemented and some soon-to-come programs, Community Services Minister Kelly Regan made the announcement in Halifax Thursday.

Among them is the Personal Items Allowance which gives those living in homeless shelters and transition houses $101 per month.

An amount provided to ensure essential items can be purchased, not funding meant to alleviate the difficulties of those currently in the system.

“The fact of the matter is we’re making improvements, we’ll continue to make improvements,” said Regan. “We’re not done yet but these are a good step along the way.”


Moving toward better support for the most vulnerable population is being received warmly, although advocates stop short of indicating it’s going to completely fix the challenges many are facing.

“Is it adequate? Absolutely not,” said Miia Suokonautio, executive director for the YWCA.

“It’s to take that hard edge off your situation of poverty,” she said. “No Nova Scotian can be fooled to think that $100 a month is what’s going to make the difference between being poor and not being poor, But it is exactly that, a comfort allowance.”

Additionally, deducting child support payment amounts from income assistance cheques will no longer take place. It’s a move the YWCA says will go a long way in helping single-parent families upgrade their living situation.

“The average benefit to a family is $275 to those who receive child support benefits,” explained Suokonautio. “92.4 per cent of income assistance families that are single parents are mother led. It will make an enormous impact on those families.”

READ MORE: ‘No place to go’: An inside look at the affordable housing crunch in Halifax

Despite the numerous changes geared toward helping income assistance recipients, Fergus Dearden says the province is missing a key element to solving the problem.

“I’m a little disappointed to be honest,” said Dearden.

He said that providing a small amount of money to a population of people doesn’t help address the underlying issues of why someone is in the situation they’re in, nor does it make significant progress toward getting them back on their feet.

“We have the belief that everyone should understand financial value and that’s part of the problem,” he explained. “This kind of thing isn’t taught in schools or families and you’re just expected to know how it works and this kind of ideology needs to stop.”

“DCS (Department of Community Services) isn’t making it any easier for somebody like me,” he said. “Just because you throw more money at me and I can get my basic needs met doesn’t mean it’s actually what I need.”

As an entrepreneur, Dearden was hoping to discuss with Minister Regan how the government could help people like him prosper in the business world.

His attempt to begin those talks wasn’t fruitful at the funding announcement, nor was it in the recent past either, he says.

“I wanted to ask Mrs. Regan to basically look at those policies and help make changes,” Dearden explained. “I tried to get her attention, I even wrote her last year.”

“It’s kind of disappointing to see that she wouldn’t talk to me.”

Follow @Jeremy_Keefe

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Saskatchewan posts smaller deficit than forecast, still $303M in the red

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Stronger that expected resource revenue helped the Saskatchewan government finish the last fiscal year with a deficit almost $400 million smaller than initially forecast.

The province finished 2017-18 with revenue of $14.02 billion and total expense of $14.32 billion — leaving a deficit of $303 million.



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    But that’s $393 million better than what was projected in last year’s budget.

    Revenue for the year was down $146 million, or one per cent, from the budget, while expenses were $489 million, or 3.3 per cent, lower than projected.

    Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said a stronger performance in the oil and potash sectors helped.

    Other factors included an increase in provincial sales tax to six per cent from five per cent, and lower-than-anticipated agriculture insurance claims.

    Harpauer said her government is on track to return the province to a balanced budget by 2019-20.

    “Each fiscal year is unique and while we are on the right path, unanticipated challenges or at times good fortune —; like the better-than-anticipated crop year —; can occur,” she said in a statement Thursday.

    “To ensure we remain on track, our government will continue to manage spending carefully, invest in priorities for Saskatchewan people, shift from our reliance on volatile resource revenue and help to keep our economy strong.”

    SaskTel sees slight revenue dip due to increased competition and changing habits

    The new budget released in April projects a deficit of $365 million this year and a thin surplus of $6 million in 2019-20.

    -With files from Thomas Piller

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Alberta farming, tourism offer bright lights as dark economic clouds loom: economist

Written by admin on 14/09/2019 Categories: 上海夜网

A leading Alberta economist points to the province’s agriculture and tourism sectors as bright spots for the bottom line this summer, but warns there could be trouble ahead.

“2018 is shaping up to be a very interesting year, and some dark clouds could be on the horizon,” says ATB chief economist Todd Hirsch.



  • Alberta economy has recovered two thirds of recession losses: government

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    Alberta sits in the midst of global uncertainty with no NAFTA deal yet, a raft of new international tariffs and increasing talk of trade wars.

    “A lot hangs in the balance for Canada and for Alberta,” Hirsch says. “We are very trade-dependent regions and economies.

    “And we just don’t know where this is all going to go.”

    READ MORE: Animated maps show Canada has so much more to lose in a trade war than the U.S.

    Hirsch says rebounds in the energy sector are heavily tied to the pipeline file.

    “What’s holding back the energy sector in 2018, and going into 2019, is the sector’s going to want to see even more certainty around pipeline capacity.”

    READ MORE: Kinder Morgan Canada reports net income of $13.7M in Q2, down from $25.1M in last year’s Q2

    Hirsch cites positive movement on the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

    But if additional certainty is not introduced?

    “We’re not going to see a lot of enthusiasm for new investments in the energy sector. For that to happen, we have to see some more progress on pipelines. It’s moving the right direction for sure, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

    And now for some good news

    So far this year, Alberta farmers are falling on the good news side of the coin.

    “Agriculture and agri-foods is actually one of the stronger sectors of Alberta’s economy in 2018,” Hirsch notes.

    “If you’re a farmer and you’ve got to finance some new equipment rentals or equipment purchases, the increase in interest rates is going to add a crimp on that, but agriculture and agri-foods is one of the bright lights at the moment.”

    Tourism is also providing an economic boost.

    READ MORE:  International tourism in Alberta expected to do well in 2018: report

    “With that softer Canadian dollar, more Albertans [are] staying closer to home this year,” Hirsch says.

    “That’s combined with more Canadian, American and international visitors flooding in,” he said. “I think 2018 is shaping up to be probably a third record-setting year for tourism. So that’s good news.”

    Looking into the future

    The Bank of Canada recently edged up interest rates and while Hirsch says it’s impossible to say for certain if the rate could go up even further, his guess is yes, it will.

    However, if the NAFTA situation worsens, Hirsch says the Bank of Canada may shift that rate back down again.

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Nova Scotia woman to celebrate 110th birthday this weekend

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Florence Webber is getting ready for a celebration. On Sunday, July 22, she will turn 110 years old.

“You know, I don’t know one person at the present time that’s that age, but it’s a wonderful age,” said Webber.

READ: Hockey tournament gives seniors 70 and older a chance to lace up the skates


Webber was born in 1908 and has lived in Nova Scotia all her life. She and her husband Eugene married in the 1930s and had three children. He passed away in 1999.

“I had three, three children, two girls and one boy and I still got them, thank goodness,” she said.

Although she knows the names of her many grandchildren and great grandchildren, she can’t count exactly how many there are now.

Webber likes to spend her days reading the newspaper and sewing.

“I like sewing very much,” she said. “I made my children’s clothes while they were growing up, right up until they were in their teens.”

WATCH: Is Alice Moore the world’s biggest Toronto Blue Jays fan?

She had a few falls recently, but Webber says she is in good health. She currently lives in the same senior’s centre as her 76-year-old son, Roland.

“It works out pretty good because I look after getting her groceries and that sort of thing,” said Roland Webber.

This weekend, Florence, her family, friends and community members will come together to celebrate her milestone birthday.

“Last year we had a bigger one but it tired her out a bit too much,” said Roland.

“At 110, we don’t want to go too far.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick therapy rabbit ‘Honey Bunny’ spreads joy and unlocks memories

So what’s Florence’s secret to such a long life? She says good friends are important, but so is one other thing: having salt on every meal.

“If it got me along this far, why shouldn’t have salt or vinegar,” she said smiling.

“She’s a country girl,” added Roland. “Her father was a fisherman years ago and they say don’t eat any salt, but I think the salt is what’s keeping her alive. Because in those days, you ate salt fish or you didn’t eat at all.”

Florence Webber’s birthday celebration will take place on Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Spruce Grove Senior’s Complex on James Roy Drive in Porters Lake, N.S.

All are welcome to attend the festivities and wish Florence a happy 110th birthday.

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Environmentalists want to save Saint-Pierre River that runs through Meadowbrook Golf Club

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Several nature lovers and green space advocates say they’re concerned about the fate of the Saint-Pierre River, a small body of water that extends all the way to the St. Lawrence River.

Environmentalists want to clean up and protect the 200 metres of the river meander through the Meadowbrook golf course.

A Quebec Superior Court judge ruled that the exposed portion of the river could be covered or decontaminated, but Les amis du Parc Meadowbrook want to protect it and leave it open for the general public to enjoy.


“People enjoy being by a river, a babbling brook with marsh plants around the river —; people enjoy that. So, just to look at it, just to be by the river is of great value,” said Al Hayek, from Les amis du Parc Meadowbrook.

“That’s why we should not cover it. We should clean it up.”

The issue is still being debated before the courts.

The Saint-Pierre River is polluted. It’s believed raw sewage flows directly into it due to sewage and water pipes that were cross connected years ago from home owners in Côte St-Luc and Montreal West.

The environmentalists argue if cross-connecting pipes are fixed, the river would be decontaminated.

The Saint Pierre River.

Tim Sargeant/Global News

The mayor of Côte St-Luc argues his city is looking into repairing the problem.

”We do plan to be more active in trying to find the cross connections are if they do exist in the city,” Côte St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein told Global News.

The developer who owns the golf course refused to comment, telling Global News the issue is still before the courts.

However, people who play there argue the most realistic option would be to improve the course itself, which they claim would protect the river.

“The golf course should be developed as a golf course,” said Sidney Margles, a Meadowbrook Golf Club player.

“Therefore, it would have its own water supply and maybe then the water of a contaminated river could be diverted or cleaned up at that point.”

Meadowbrook Groupe Pacific wants a ruling that forces the city to stop the rivet flow at the surface of the golf course.

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Slime is growing in popularity, but consumer group warns of health hazards

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Slime has been growing in popularity online, with videos of the sticky toy going viral on social media.

The toy may seem like harmless fun, but U.K.-based consumer group Which? is warning that it often contains a potentially toxic ingredient.

The chemical in question is boron (also known as borax or boric acid), which is a key ingredient, giving slime its sticky texture.


READ MORE: Toronto teen’s Instagram account goes viral because of slime videos

The consumer group revealed that it tested 11 popular slime brands being sold on Amazon, and found that eight contained “excessive levels” of the chemical.

It then contacted Amazon, which said it had removed the products that did not meet European Union safety regulations.

Which? issued the warning to parents, saying they should still remain vigilant when buying slime for children, as there are countless brands selling the product.

WATCH: Calgary’s Slime Gurlz show off their gooey creations

Not all the companies label the product’s ingredients, either.

Making slime at home can help, but the group said caution should be exercised in this matter as well.

“Some ingredients listed for slime, such as some contact lens solutions, contain borax. Often slime recipes don’t list the quantities you need to be adding,” the group’s post read.

Similar warnings have been issued about slime in the past, including by Health Canada.

In 2016, the health agency said Canadians should avoid using boron when making slime at home.

WATCH: Toronto girl, 15, builds slime empire on social media

The release explained that boron can cause developmental and reproductive health effects, and exposure should especially be limited for children and pregnant women.

There have been reported cases of slime recipes going wrong.

For example, the case of an 11-year-old from Rockland, Mass. who sustained third-degree burns after making slime from a viral do-it-yourself recipe found online.

Doctors said the burns were caused by boric acid.

READ MORE: Viral homemade slime recipe gives 11-year-old girl 3rd-degree burns

But it’s not just slime that contains the chemical, it’s also found in the environment.

People can be exposed to it naturally through food (like fruits and vegetables) and drinking water. It can also be found in cleaning products, cosmetics, swimming pool and spa chemicals, drugs and natural health products.

The U.S. National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also say contact with boric acid can be corrosive to the eye and cause irritation to the skin.

Being in contact with extreme amounts (often by ingestion) can result in a red and blistering rash and skin loss.

— With files from Global News reporter Dani-Elle Dubé

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Canadian man born without arms and legs inspiring kindness in cross-country trek

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Chris Koch was born without arms and legs. He never let that stand in the way of anything he wanted to do.

“There have been times when I did not even realize I was missing arms and legs,” he said.

“I just went about my day to day. I played street hockey with everyone else, I played baseball, I went to a regular school.”

Koch, 39, started a motivational speaking career several years ago. He now channels most of his energy on his website.



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    His latest endeavour is inspiring kindness in Canadians, by hitchhiking across the country.

    Two weeks ago, he left Calgary on his skateboard and with nothing more than a small backpack.

    For someone who doesn’t accept rides past 6 p.m., he has hitched at least 12 rides and in almost two weeks he made it to Montreal.

    “Do as many kind things as you can for other people and it will come back to you,” he said from a coffee shop south of Montreal.

    “And just get out there and live life to the fullest.”

    He is documenting his journey on Facebook and his story has been shared many times over. The last few days, people have offered rides to him through his Facebook page.

    On Thursday morning, he met Lorraine Bonneau outside a Tim Horton’s near Montreal and she offered him a lift to Quebec City. Bonneau said she has a daughter whose leg was amputated and she was inspired to help him.

    READ MORE: Alberta man without arms, legs gets green light to participate in Calgary Marathon

    “His Facebook page is ‘If I can’ —; If he can, we can so yes it’s great,” she said.

    Koch said he isn’t raising money on this journey, he simply wants to raise awareness about kindness. He says occasionally people have given him money to buy a sandwich or water. He plans on donating the amount he’s given to the War Amps when he returns to Alberta.

    “If a guy with no arms and legs can snowboard, surf, travel around the world, hitchhike across Canada…if I can do those things —; anyone is capable of anything.”

    Koch hopes to reach Newfoundland by the end of July since he has a wedding in Calgary he has to go to.

    While he says he realizes he’s inspiring Canadians, he has also been by the kindness he’s been shown during the trip. He says it helps him to never give up.

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Portage and Main question coming to civic election ballot

Written by admin on 14/08/2019 Categories: 上海夜网

Winnipeg’s city council has passed a motion to include a question about opening Portage and Main on the October civic election ballot.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi was the lone vote against, meaning the motion passed 14-1.

North Kildonan City Coun. Jeff Browaty introduced a motion at city hall a few weeks ago calling for an additional question on the Oct. 24 civic election ballot:

“Do you support the opening of Portage & Main to pedestrian crossings? YES/NO”.


Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman says he’ll support plebiscite vote on Portage and Main, will honour results

The question was debated at Thursday’s meeting.

Coun. Browaty, who does not support opening the intersection to pedestrians, argued the public has not had a chance to have their say.

“I believe having a plebiscite will allow Winnipeggers to hear the facts on both sides and give proper consideration on both sides,” he told council. 

Browaty dismissed notions that having a plebiscite meant councillors were abdicating their responsibility.

Coun. Janice Lukes echoed Browaty’s message, calling Mayor Brian Bowman and the office of public engagement to the carpet.

“What’s happened on this file over the past four years is absolutely a textbook example of an epic public communications and leadership failure.”

There has been no meaningful consultation on the project, she argued, leading to Winnipeggers’ ignorance around the issue.

“Other conversations rise up. Conversations that say ‘Why change? Why? Why would we change? We don’t understand so let’s not change. And flames are fueled to stay the same.”

WATCH: Mayor Brian Bowman on Portage and Main vote.

Mayor Brian Bowman, who said Wednesday he would support the question on the ballot, said the debate around the intersection was interfering with more pressing issues.

“I agree that Winnipeggers should be given an opportunity to have a direct say on this matter.”

While the question isn’t legally binding, Bowman said for him, the result of the vote will be.”

Coun. Brian Mayes said he wasn’t sure he would vote for a plebiscite but said after “hearing the vitriol” directed by both sides of the debate, he changed his mind.

“If the challenge is education, we’re going to give people several months and in a very public way to educate the other side.”

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First responders remind Calgarians to not leave kids or pets in hot cars

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The Calgary Police Service (CPS), EMS and Calgary Fire Department (CFD) have joined the Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) for the third Child Safety Awareness Campaign.

First responders are warning the public to be aware of the health risks that occur when a child or pet is left in a hot vehicle.

According to a CPS news release, the first 30 minutes inside a closed car are when the temperature will increase the most. Children also experience heat differently than adults and will feel heat distress within a few minutes.



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    “In just minutes, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise significantly higher than the outside air temperature, even with the windows slightly ajar or cracked and the air conditioning on,” said Adam Loria, public education officer for EMS.

    7 provinces issue hot weather warnings

    In addition to leaving children unattended in hot vehicles, the Calgary Humane Society reminds pet owners that animals, too, are vulnerable when left in the heat.

    Brad Nichols, manager of animal cruelty investigations with the Calgary Humane Society, wants pet owners to know that it is better to leave your pets at home while you run errands in the heat than to leave them in the car.

    He said many people think they are helping their animal by getting them out of the house and spending time with them, but Nichols warns that the risks of doing so are too high.

    “Just don’t do it,” Nichols said at a press conference on Thursday.

    Not only is leaving a child or animal alone in a car medically dangerous, but it can also result in legal charges, according to EMS.

    According to a news release, parents or caregivers who leave children in hot vehicles could face up to two years in prison among other charges, and pet owners could face up to 18 months imprisonment for the same offence.

    Don’t leave kids or pets in hot cars: Edmonton police warning

    If you see either a child or a pet in a closed vehicle, EMS and the Calgary Humane Society say to call 911.

    “It is an emergency, a child or animal left in a vehicle,” said CPS detective Shawna Baldwin. “They don’t cope with the heat well. It’s safest to call 911 and have one of our agencies attend and deal with it.”

    Baldwin offered a few tips to remember to keep your family safe, such as leaving something important in the back of your vehicle to remind yourself to check before you exit the car.

    “If you’re leaving the vehicle, your child and your animal are leaving the vehicle with you,” Baldwin said.

    A list of tips from Calgary first responders to stay safe in the heat can be found on the City of Calgary website.

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1 year after announcement, NDP reveals location, size of new Misericordia ER

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A year ago, the Alberta NDP announced $65 million over four years to upgrade Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital. On Thursday, officials revealed where the new, larger emergency department will be built.

READ MORE: $65M for Misericordia Hospital will include new emergency department

The addition, which will be on the west side of the hospital will triple the size of the current ER, expanding from 1,700-square metres to 5,000-square metres.

The province said the update will also add 34 treatment spaces, two more ambulance bays and two X-ray suites.


The existing emergency unit at the hospital was designed with a capacity of 25,000 but has served more than 50,000 patients over the past year, the NDP said.

The new department will be able to accommodate 60,000 visits a year.

The design and floor plan for the project is scheduled to be complete “in the coming months,” the province said in a news release.

Site preparation and demolition is slated to start before the end of 2018.

READ MORE: PC government under fire again for state of Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital

In its April 2017 announcement, the province said the modernization would include a new ER.

The current ER was built in 1969 and it was renovated in 1989.

READ MORE: Misericordia Hospital opens new NICU: ‘This will dramatically improve care’ 

“The new emergency department will provide our care teams the opportunity to be and do their best in an expanded care environment based on best practice and modern standards and design,” Robert Black, the medical director for Covenant Health, said.

“We are excited to create a place of hope and healing for the people who depend on their Misericordia Hospital at some of the most vulnerable and challenging times in their lives.”

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital once again struck with flooding

The flood at the Misericordia in May 2013 forced more than 50 patients and more than 160 staff members to be transferred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Then in 2014, the hospital flooded twice in three weeks because of heavy rainfall.

Since then, there have been calls to replace the hospital, which was built in the 1960s. In 2014, the then-opposition Alberta NDP was among those calling for a replacement hospital.

Flooding delays surgeries, procedures at Misericordia Hospital


Flooding delays surgeries, procedures at Misericordia Hospital


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Misericordia in need of an overhaul: Alberta Liberals


Misericordia Hospital flood update


Calls to replace Misericordia Hospital


Flooding at Misericordia hospital


Clogged drainage line at Misericordia


Fundraiser for Misericordia Hospital’s NICU


Alberta ministers say new infrastructure funds go to ‘needs assessments’ for Royal Alex, Misericordia


Misericordia Hospital gets ready to open new NICU

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Montenegro responds with friendship after Trump suggests it is ‘very aggressive’

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World War III? Not us, say puzzled and concerned Montenegrins.

Public officials in the tiny Balkan nation in southeastern Europe didn’t know what to say initially when U.S. President Donald Trump suggested Montenegro could set off a global Armageddon with a military of fewer than 2,000 members.


That the leader of the world’s dominant superpower would characterize the country’s population of about 620,000 as “very strong” and “very aggressive people” first rendered their government speechless. It found its voice Thursday, and what came out was less a battle cry than a chorus of “Kumbaya.”

Man lobs grenade at U.S. embassy in Montenegro before blowing himself up

“We build friendships, and we have not lost a single one,” read a statement issued in the capital Podgorica in response to the media’s clamoring for comment.

“It does not matter how big or small you are, but to what extent you cherish the values of freedom, solidarity and democracy.”

Living in a region that has seen more than its share of volatile conflicts, Montenegrins say they are much more interested in tourism than war. Montenegro, a former Yugoslav republic like Slovenia, the home country of U.S. first lady Melania Trump, is known for its long Adriatic Sea beaches.

“I laughed when I heard that and figured it could be a good advertisement,” retiree Slavka Kovacevic, 58, said of Trump’s depiction while taking a break from her morning shopping.

Trump ventured his thoughts on Montenegro during an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson conducted Monday after the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. They were discussing NATO’s mutual defense pact.

If the military alliance’s newest and smallest member were provoked, having NATO behind it could embolden “a tiny country with very strong people” to engage, the president said of Montenegro.

“They are very strong people. They are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you are in World War III,” he added.

The comment was not the first time that Trump had taken notice of Montenegro in a way that attracted oversized attention. At a NATO summit last year, his first as president, Trump shoved Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic out of the way while trying to get in front for a leaders’ group photo.

WATCH: Did President Trump shove his way to the front of NATO’s group photo?

Back then, Markovic refused to make a fuss over the American president’s manners. Markovic also took the high road regarding Trump’s comments this week, noting in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday that they were made within the context of questioning NATO financing and not intended to insult a particular ally.

“Therefore, the friendship and the alliance of Montenegro and the United States of America is strong and permanent,” Markovic’s government said in its statement Thursday.

Trump’s views have some basis in history. Montenegro, which means “Black Mountain,” does boast of a heroic warring tradition forged over centuries of conquest and contemporary conflicts in the troubled Balkans.

Montenegro was a rare country in the region to retain a level of autonomy during the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Its past ties to Russia, with whom Montenegro shared a predominantly Slavic and Orthodox Christian culture, were so strong that its leaders were said to have declared a war on Japan in 1904 just to support Russia.

Montenegro became part of Yugoslavia after World War I. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, Montenegro was bombed by NATO forces in 1999 before it split from Serbia in 2006.

“I just want to remind all the American public opinion and President Trump that Montenegro was an ally with American soldiers in two wars, in the first world war and the second world war,” former parliament speaker Ranko Krivokapic told The Associated Press.

“Montenegrins are not aggressive … but the nation of brave warriors,” he said.

A man hits a heavy bag during training at a gym in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica, Thursday, July 19, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump suggested Montenegro may start World War III, but the government on Thursday issued a statement saying it was proud of the country‚Äôs ‚Äúhistory and tradition and peaceful politics”. (AP Photo/Risto Bozovic)

AP Photo/Risto Bozovic

As it happens, Maine Gov. Paul LePage was visiting Montenegro in hopes of strengthening ties with business and political leaders when the president’s interview aired. Maine and Montenegro have had a partnership since 2006 that LePage says originally focused on disaster relief, emergency management and border security.

The Balkans have a difficult history, but “everybody likes Montenegro,” the governor said in a video the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro posted Tuesday. The embassy followed up with a statement Thursday in which it said “the United States is proud to call Montenegro an ally.”

Although its land mass and military are small, Montenegro was seen as an important addition to NATO when it defied Russia and joined last year. Along with having been a Russian ally in the Balkans, the country sits on a southern stretch of the Adriatic Sea that Moscow has been keen to control.

Donald Trump asks to invite Putin to White House after days of turmoil

Montenegrin authorities accused Russia of being behind a foiled coup in 2016 that was intended to kill the country’s pro-NATO prime minister. Russia has denied the allegation. Given the recent tensions, some Montenegrin observers worried Trump’s comments might need to be taken seriously.

Former parliament speak Krivokapic described Trump’s remark as “very strange.”

“I hope (it was) just a mistake, nothing else,” Krivokapic said. “And I hope that Montenegro was not part of (the) Helsinki talks.”

The reaction of Miljan Kovacevic, 34, a lawyer in Montenegro, was more akin to his prime minister’s post-shove aplomb.

“He is the president of America, but he has not done too well with his statements lately,” Kovacevic shrugged.


Jovana Gec contributed from Belgrade.

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Severe summer weather causes more damage in Alberta than all other provinces: AMA

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Summer storms cause more damage in Alberta than all other Canadian provinces combined, according to new numbers released by the Alberta Motor Association.

More than $5 billion in insured damage related to severe summer weather has occurred in Alberta between 2010 and 2017. The wind, hail and rain-related flooding accounts for more than 61 per cent of all storm-related insured damage done in Canada during the same time period, the AMA said Thursday.



  • Severe weather knocks down trees, causes power outages in central Alberta

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    “Alberta suffers more damage from storms than all the other provinces combined,” the AMA said.

    Semis flipped and barns levelled in Alberta after severe weather Saturday: Tilley fire chief

    Two out of three major hail storms in Canada occur in Alberta, according to the AMA. The two most damaging storms in Canadian history have happened in Calgary. On July 12, 2010, a storm caused more than $400 million in damage. Back in 1991, another Calgary storm resulted in about $340 million in insurance claims.

    “Albertans are being affected more and more by storms, but we’re not sure that they’re always aware of how much risk there is for their properties or vehicles to be damaged,” said Ted Koleff, vice president of claims for the AMA.

    “We want people to understand how much damage severe weather causes in Alberta so they can take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen to them.”

    READ MORE: Initial damages in Red Deer storm pegged at $150,000 

    The AMA said the average hail claim on a vehicle in Alberta costs about $5,000 to fix.

    Ways to prevent summer storm damage include parking your vehicle in a garage or under a covered structure and tying down lawn furniture. The most important thing, according to the the AMA, is to know when severe weather is on the way.

    “We’re encouraging our friends across the province to take steps to get weather alerts on your phones, through your apps or in your email, so you can be prepared when a storm is on the way,” Koleff said.

    READ MORE: Thunderstorms drop massive hail on parts of central Alberta

    The AMA said the amount of insured damage done between 2010 and 2017 is more than four times the amount of damage done from 2002 to 2009, and that takes into account inflation.

    Watch below: Global News coverage of wild weather throughout Alberta in 2017 and 2018

    Alberta storm chaser talks about passion of the chase


    Alberta storm chaser talks about passion of the chase


    ‘We’re learning more, and understanding more:’ Alberta storm detection seeing results


    Viewer video from southern Alberta storm


    Summer thunderstorm rolls through central Alberta


    Sylvan Lake, Alberta residents capture extent of storm damage and powerful winds


    Thunderstorm sweeps across southern Alberta on Thursday


    Cleanup continues after powerful storm sweeps through southern Alberta

    Want your weather on the go? Download the Global News Skytracker weather app for iOS and Android.

    Follow @CaleyRamsay

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