Canadians Michael Kovrig (top right) and Michael Spavor (below) are safe at last in Canada, after 1,019 days locked up in a Chinese jail with lights always on 24 hours. From China, they landed in Calgary at 5:40 a.m. on Saturday morning, September 25th. They were flown in by a Royal Canadian Air Force jet from Anchorage, Alaska and were met by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who embraced both Michaels, along with Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau. China freed the two men in a deal which allowed Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou (on the left) to return from Vancouver to her home and family in China. The United States was very much involved in negotiating much of this.
NO KIDDING! Among 538 little-known men and women Jay Philbrick officially helped select the next occupant of The White House on Monday, December 14th. He was among three other members of the Electoral College from the State of Maine.“It’s exceptional for an 18-year-old to play this role,” said Maine Senator Angus King. “What we need in our country right now is more youth engagement.” And that seems to be what he got.The young elector would like to make changes to the Electoral College. – “I don’t think in its current state it’s exactly serving its purpose. I don’t think it’s fair and representative.” he said. (Canada’s National newspaper, The Globe and Mail, published a half-page story on Jay Philbrick, his family and reasons why he’d been chosen. Title of the article: “Last month’s vote wasn’t really the presidential election)
<Front page of The Sunday News Journal, published in WILMINGTON, Delaware. America’s first state has its first commander-in-chief, and the United States has a new beginning under President-Elect JOE BIDEN and Vice-President KAMALA HARRIS. Ms. Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, has risen higher in the country’s leadership than any woman ever before her.><Front page of The Sunday Star, TORONTO, Ontario>
China is Canada’s second largest trading partner, after the United States. But there is rising skepticism with Beijing, whose trustworthiness has been called into question. Why? Because of its repeated use of retaliatory trade measures in political disputes. Canada’s free-trade agreement with China has been shelved, and “it’s no longer worth pursuing”, said Foreign Affairs Minister Francois Philippe Champagne.Canada’s less-friendly posture toward Beijing is now in line with the United States, Australia and parts of the European Union. – Globe and Mail, September 18, 2020; <PHOTO – Prime Minister JUSTIN TRUDEAU – C’EST LA VIE>
Toronto Centre City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has laid out some of the challenges faced by Canada’s largest city (population over 3-million); GTA over 6-million.
– We’re facing a financial crisis that could reverse all the progress we’ve made.
– Without support from the provincial and federal governments the budget won’t balance.
– 40,000 child care subsidies could disappear.
– Over 1,000 beds from long-term care homes might be cut.
– Toronto Transit services will be reduced by 50%.
– Our social safety net, affecting many working families, has cracks in it.
Ms. Wong-Tam goes on to say:
– The City of Toronto is facing a $1.9-billion deficit by the end of 2020.
– Toronto has found 513.7-million in savings, leaving a year-end shortfall of $1.35-billion.
– Without support from senior governments, property taxes could increase by 60%.
– Services could be cut devastatingly.
– The encampments we see across the city will continue to grow.
– Opioid overdoses could result in more deaths.
– Crime will no doubt increase and safety will decrease.
And there’s more:
– In July the provincial and federal governments announced a tentative $19-billion funding agreement to restart the national economy.
– Money will be distributed nation-wide to support testing and contact tracing, PPE purchasing, sick leave, child care, and funding for public transit. We haven’t seen those dollars yet.– Meanwhile Toronto is left spending hundreds of millions of dollars on temporary measures to help families get through the pandemic.
– There are evictions, business closures of shops, bars and restaurants, and the Canadian winter is getting much closer.
The city of HAMILTON, 45 miles southwest of TORONTO is taking on the litterers and graffiti spritzers, in a plan to clean things up. Councllor BRAD CLARK says “it just seems odd that we’ve got thousands of people driving around who are city employees and they’re not noticing these things.” He wants to enlist all 8,000 city employees to start reporting on litter and graffiti.“We’ve got thousands who are in vehicles driving every single day. If they see graffiti, if they see garbage bags piled up at the side of the road or in a ditch … why wouldn’t we direct staff to report them so the proper people can remove them?” Clark calls it having “eyes on HAMILTON.”Councillor Clark isn’t suggesting city workers should pick up illegally dumped garbage or erase graffiti themselves, unless that’s in their department. He just wants them to alert the fellow employees who are responsible for this job.Former TORONTO mayor ROB FORD attempted a graffiti cleanup and failed. TORONTO has roughly35,000 civic employees (union, non-union, part time, full time). That’s a force to be reckoned with. Maybe they could succeed, once the snow melts, and get rid of these eyesores. If it works for HAMILTON, maybe it’ll work for us. <PHOTOS – Toronto’s battle with graffiti>
In a Globe and Mail opinion piece, PENNY BRYDEN, a Professor of History at the University of Victoria, & president of the Canadian Historical Association, writes that three criteria are needed for a true scandal. “There must be a transgression, then a cover-up and finally sustained public outrage.”Former Conservative cabinet minister BEV ODA (pictured above) hit the scandal jackpot with her $16 orange juice, limousine service, a suite at London’s luxurious Savoy Hotel – after rejecting her government-booked Grange St. Paul’s 5-star domicile. The Canadian public had a fit.With a federal election upcoming on October 21st, isn’t it about time we considered other matters?