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Canada's past climate promises have been a flop. Could that change today?
We flopped with the climate targets set in Kyoto. We crashed and burned after Copenhagen. And we seemed destined to suffer the same plight after Paris.
Now Canada is trying again.
This time it's happening at a two-day virtual meeting of world leaders hosted by the new U.S. administration, where on Thursday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will set a new Canadian emissions target.
We already have the basic gist of what Trudeau will announce: it was hinted at in this week's federal budget, though the government says Trudeau will go a step beyond that.
With carbon tax-and-rebate policies already in place, and new funding for home retrofits and green technology, the government said Canada can not only meet the Paris target — but go even further and slash emissions at least 36 per cent by 2030.
Is this real? Is it possible that after making empty promises in far-flung destinations around the world, the place where Canada will actually announce a climate target it has a hope of meeting is an online meeting?
A climate economist at the University of Alberta, Andrew Leach, called that 36 per cent estimate from the budget realistic, albeit not guaranteed.
"It's in the ballpark," Leach said.
Trudeau is expected to push that further, according to Radio-Canada, and announce a targeted cut exceeding 40 per cent; Leach called that more difficult, and said it will depend on oil prices. Read more on this story here.
War of words
(Anna Ogorodnik/The Associated Press)
A woman argues with a police officer during a protest in support of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Wednesday in Ulan-Ude, the regional capital of Buryatia, near the Russia-Mongolia border. Navalny's team called for nationwide protests yesterday following reports that the politician's health was deteriorating in prison, where he has been on hunger strike since March 31. Russian authorities said the demonstrations were not authorized and warned against participating in them.
If Ontario Premier Doug Ford is defeated in next year's provincial election, he might look back at this past week as the beginning of the end for his government — the moment when his pandemic-fuelled popularity came to a sudden halt. In March 2020, before the coronavirus shut Ontario down, polling by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) gave Ford an approval rating of just 31 per cent. By June, Ford's approval had surged to over 60 per cent. He retained those numbers into the summer. But Ford's grades on the pandemic were sliding already before the latest developments. In early April, ARI found that just 32 per cent of Ontarians thought he was doing a good job handling the pandemic, down 23 percentage points since November. This past week may accelerate that negative trendline; the Innovative Research Group found that satisfaction with the government's handling of the pandemic slipped five points before and after the announcement of the new restrictions. Read more analysis on this from CBC's Éric Grenier.
English school boards in Quebec started hearing from prospective teachers hoping for a job shortly after this week's court decision on the province's religious symbols law. But those hopes were undone after it became clear the ban will remain in effect pending an appeal by the provincial government. Amar Al-Shakfa, a 25-year-old Montrealer who wears a hijab, believed the court's decision meant she could get a job in an English public school when she graduates later this year. "I was very excited. I was jumping all around. It was unexpected for me," Al-Shakfa said. Her hopes, however, were dashed hours later, when it became clear that the ban will remain in effect pending the appeal. "It's just so frustrating. It's so crazy that they are doing all this for a piece of fabric," she said. Al-Shakfa still hopes to get a job in Quebec, but for now she has set her sights on trying to find a position teaching science in a private school, where the religious symbols ban doesn't apply. Read more about the religious symbols law.
WATCH | How Bill 21 altered career hopes:
It's been two weeks since 16 United Conservative Party backbenchers, who represent dozens of small towns, mountain resorts and farming communities across Alberta, signed a letter against their own government's decision to retighten public health orders. The restrictions include an end to indoor service at restaurants, bars and cafés and limited customer capacity in stores. The backbenchers said their constituents have told them the restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus have gone on for too long and have caused too much hardship. Since the letter came out, the province has had at least 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day — levels not seen in months. Meanwhile, the mayors of Banff and Canmore fired off their own letters claiming they were not consulted before their region's MLA signed the letter. Both communities have seen an uptick in active cases and want tighter controls. Read more on this story here.
A Bloc Québécois member of Parliament has publicly apologized for taking a screenshot of his colleague while he was naked during online House of Commons proceedings. Sébastien Lemire, who represents the Quebec riding of Abitibi—Témiscamingue, apologized on Wednesday to Will Amos, whose riding of Pontiac borders Lemire's riding. The incident occurred on April 14, when Amos said that he had mistakenly left his camera on in his office while changing into his work clothes after a run. Amos subsequently apologized. He appeared on a video feed that's accessible only to MPs and House of Commons staff. Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez called for the Speaker of the House of Commons to launch an investigation in response to the incident. Lemire said he doesn't know how the image was leaked to the media. Read more about the apology here.
Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem has hinted that interest rates in Canada will be on the rise next year. The bank said it remains committed to low rates until its two-per-cent inflation target is reached, but added that based on its latest projection, that's expected to happen some time in the second half of 2022. "There are brighter days ahead," Macklem told reporters yesterday, projecting 6.75 per cent growth globally this year and 6.5 per cent in Canada. "Canadians and Canadian businesses have been impressively resilient to the pandemic." An economic growth rate of nearly seven per cent is seen as unusually high for an advanced economy and will reflect roaring consumer demand as restrictions lift this autumn, plus a new wave of fiscal stimulus from Ottawa, the provinces and from south of the border. Read more analysis from CBC business columnist Don Pittis.
WATCH | Bank of Canada optimistic about post-pandemic recovery:
Rocket launches are a breathtaking culmination of human ingenuity as they propel us into the future, but there is a growing concern that not enough research has been done on their effect on the environment. While some may be worried about potential greenhouse gas emissions, that's not the main issue. Instead, it's ozone depletion and the potential effects in our upper atmosphere, specifically the stratosphere, along with concerns about toxic fuels. The problem has flown under the radar, according to Martin Ross, an atmospheric scientist at The Aerospace Corporation. "One of the arguments that people have used in the past was to say that we don't really need to pay attention to rockets or to the space industry, or the space industry is small, and it's always going to be small," Ross said. "But I think the developments that we're seeing the past few years show that … space is entering this very rapid growth phase like aviation saw in the '20s and '30s." Read more on how the quest for space may be impacting the environment.
Now for some good news to start your Thursday: Aashim Aggarwal and Amaara Dhanji are living under a stay-at-home order, but they've found a way to travel around the world at dinner time. That's when the foodie couple orders takeout, seeking out cuisine from a different country in the Greater Toronto Area every week. Food and travel were a big part of their childhoods, and this shared connection was initially what brought them together. Now, they've started a blog and filmed TikTok videos from every country they've "visited," gaining up to 500,000 views on some of them. The couple has visited restaurants from 14 countries so far, including Malta, Sudan, Belgium and Finland. But with so many countries in the world, would Aggarwal and Dhanji be able to find them all in Toronto? "He made a giant excel spreadsheet that has every country in the world; we managed to get up to 130," said Dhanji. Read more about the couple's culinary adventures.
Front Burner: Is universal child care for real this time?
Canadians have been calling for a national, affordable child care program for half a century. And for nearly that long — since back when Pierre Elliot Trudeau was prime minister — governments have been looking into the idea and making promises.
Now, the Liberals have pledged billions of dollars for child care. Is this finally the moment that the idea becomes reality?
Martha Friendly, executive director of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, joins us for a look at the long, winding road toward universal child care in Canada.
Today in history: April 22
1915: In their first action against the Germans during the First World War, the First Canadian Division faces one of the first recorded chlorine gas attacks in Ypres, Belgium.
1964: The Liberals under Ross Thatcher win a Saskatchewan general election, ending 20 years of CCF-NDP rule.
1998: Gwen Boniface becomes the first woman to head the Ontario Provincial Police, Canada's second-largest police force.
2001: Chris Hadfield becomes the first Canadian to walk in space. Hadfield and an American colleague on the space shuttle Endeavour crew unfolded and installed an updated model of the Canadian-built robotic arm that would help build and maintain the International Space Station.
With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters