B.C. to raise minimum wage by 50 cents an hour and promise $15 an hour by 2021

The new B.C. NDP government will raise the minimum wage by 50 cents an hour in September, and move to a $15-an-hour rate by 2021 — a long-sought move by labour and anti-poverty groups but one met with wary concern in the business sector.

On Sept. 15, the minimum wage will increase to $11.35 an hour, a commitment from the previous Liberal government the NDP will implement. The government will also increase liquor servers’ wages by 50 cents to $10.10 an hour.

Minister of Labour Harry Bains said on Tuesday that the hike this fall is just a “stepping-stone”.

“Raising the minimum wage is only one way the new government will make life more affordable for British Columbians, but it’s an important start,” he said.

Bains said the government listened to business owners and recognized the need for a gradual strategy for increasing wages to minimize the impact on businesses.

“It’s predictable. It’s incremental. (Business owners) can look at their structure and costs ahead of time knowing full well what their costs will be,” he said.

The NDP did not provide a timeline for the gradual implementation of the $15-an-hour rate. It plans to set up a commission that will consult with stakeholders and determine how to increase the hourly minimum wage to $15.

A wage hike to $15-an-hour by 2021 is too much, too soon, for small businesses, said Richard Truscott, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s B.C. and Alberta spokesman.

“To get to $15 an hour you’re looking at much larger increases the next four years to get there. We’re talking a dollar or more depending on the implementation schedule,” he said.

Large corporations can use economies of scale or automation to mitigate higher labour costs, but many small businesses would not have the resources to absorb the hike and may have to resort to cutting jobs, foregoing hiring, scaling back on employee hours, or passing along the cost to consumers with higher prices.

“There are adjustments that have to be made. It’s not going to be an easy pill to swallow,” said Truscott, calling on the government to consider a longer phased-in period, perhaps six years, similar to Seattle.

Anita Guberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, said her group supports a minimum-wage increase tied to the consumer price index, but said small businesses will be impacted by the wage hike.

“We need to be cautious and sensitive and help small business,” said Huberman. “I understand the path (the government is) going down, taking care of citizens, but they also have the opportunity here to take care of business.”

Huberman and Truscott said the government can use other policy levers to soften the blow on small businesses, whether that’s in the form of tax cuts or backing off on other policy changes such as the carbon tax increase or changes to employment rules.

When asked whether the government is considering any mitigating measures, Bains said that will be under consideration when Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan put together the budget.

Machiko Purse, who works at a hotdog stand in downtown Vancouver, said a $15-an-hour minimum wage is much-needed.

“Vancouver is a very expensive city. Many people are living paycheque to paycheque.” She did wonder, however, whether the cost of goods would also go up, and added “maybe there won’t be much change.”

Originally from Japan, Purse, 42, said she can only afford to make ends meet because her husband also works. “But if I’m a single mom and I have a 10-year-old daughter, it is not possible to live on a minimum wage.”

Connor McRae, an ESL teacher in Vancouver, said he sees both sides of the argument, but his gut reaction is that a $15-an-hour minimum wage is a good thing. “I’d say it comes down to principles and what are your ideals,” he said. “It’s taking care of our people, same thing if you think people deserve the right to health insurance, they deserve the right of a minimum wage that’s livable.”


(Vancouver Sun)

Aggressive tick whose bite makes people allergic to red meat is arriving in Canada

By Marcy Cuttler, CBC News

Les Waters doesn’t know where a lone star tick bit him, but the dedicated hunter knows the bite caused a severe allergy that prevents him from eating his beloved red meat. (Marcy Cuttler/CBC)

Les Waters will never forget his reaction after he ate a hamburger at a restaurant in January 2015.

“It’s like your throat swells up, you can’t breathe, your blood pressure drops, and you black out,” said the 63-year-old man from Harcourt, a small community in eastern Ontario.

Waters, an avid hunter and meat lover, learned he had developed a rare allergy to everything made from beef, pork and lamb.

A bite from a tiny tick, recently spotted in Canada, is to blame.

The culprit, the lone star tick, is named for the white dot or lone star on the back of the female. Native to the southeastern United States, it has slowly migrated north, hitching a ride on birds, deer, and domestic animals.

Waters is not sure where the tick found him, but he suspects it might have been on a hunting trip in northern Quebec. The lone star tick has been found in neighbouring New Brunswick.

“The two we have which were contributed to us by people in New Brunswick, one fed from a human and one fed from a dog,” said Prof. Vett Lloyd, a biologist at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.

Dr. Lloyd says the lone star tick, unlike other ticks, is aggressive. “It is one of the few that will actually chase their prey. Once they know that you’re there, they will trundle towards you,” she said.

The lone star tick, which is moving from the southeastern United States into Canada, is named for the white dot on the back of the female. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control/Associated Press)

How these ticks cause the allergy that affects Waters, which was first identified in the 1990s, is complicated.

When the tick bites a person, it spits alpha gal into the blood.

That’s a compound present in beef, pork and lamb, and humans usually digest it harmlessly. But when it appears elsewhere in a person’s body, for example in the bloodstream, it causes a strong reaction.

The body develops antibodies to fight back, and the battle causes symptoms that range from a general rash to a severe anaphylactic reaction. There is no treatment yet.

It took almost two years for Waters to get a diagnosis from an allergist, and much of the work was through his internet sleuthing.

Part of the problem is that the effects of this allergy, unlike food allergies, don’t appear immediately. “It comes hours after I eat something. They [the doctors] had no clue, basically. Now they know about it. Not all of them, but they’re getting better at it,” he said.

‘A novel allergy’

Dr. Gordon Sussman, an allergist in Toronto, says, “It’s a novel allergy that sort of changes our concept because you can see reactions occurring several hours later. It’s going to change the way we investigate allergies.”

Lloyd says that while sightings of the lone star tick are rare in Canada, that might soon change.

“There’s going to be more of them simply with climate change, with the environment warming. Ticks that were comfortable in the south are going to be more comfortable in the north,” she said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is aware that the lone star tick is expanding its range and is identifying Canadian locations that may soon fall within it.

A boring diet

As for Waters, who loves to hunt, there’s an irony in developing this allergy. “I have all sorts of wild game in my freezer and I just have to give it away now. I’m just going to have to give this up,” he says.

He carries an EpiPen now and avoids red meat, although the temptation is always there.

Waters calls the allergy “an annoyance.”

Still  for the diehard carnivore, it’s a tough transition. “The taste of a good burger, a nice moose steak or some venison loin chops. You get very bored with the fish or the chicken over and over,” he said.

‘Jurassic World’ sequel now has a title!

New Delhi : The ‘Jurassic World’ sequel is just a year away and now, it has an official title!

Universal Pictures took to its Twitter handle to share the first poster for the sequel, revealing its official title – ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.’

The image, bearing some fiery debris, echoes back to the very first movie with the tagline, “Life Finds a Way” – a line Jeff Goldblum says in ‘Jurassic Park.’

Goldblum, who starred in the first two films in the ’90s, will reprise his role as Ian Malcolm in the new film.

Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return as raptor trainer Owen Grady and love interest and park operations manager Claire Dearing.

The sequel is scheduled to hit the theatres on June 22, 2018.

Trump asks why Obama admin didn’t stop Russia from meddling

New Delhi, June 22 (ANI): As U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday decried allegations of Russia collusion “a big hoax,” he sardonically questioned why the Obama administration did not stop Moscow from election meddling as it happened under the previous regime.

Trump fired off a series of tweets and said, “By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin. Why didn’t they stop them?”

“Why did Democratic National Committee turn down the DHS offer to protect against hacks (long prior to election). It’s all a big Dem HOAX!”

“Why did the DNC REFUSE to turn over its Server to the FBI, and still hasn’t? It’s all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!”

“I certainly hope the Democrats do not force Nancy P out. That would be very bad for the Republican Party – and please let Cryin’ Chuck stay!”

His tweets come a day after former Homeland Security Advisor Jeh Johnson testified before the House Intelligence Committee that he hadn’t seen any evidence that Trump or his campaign “colluded, conspired or coordinated” with the Russians – a charge often levied against Trump by detractors, who’ve yet to produce evidence backing the claim.

India’s population to surpass that of China’s around 2024: UN

UNITED NATIONS: India’s population could surpass that of China’s around 2024, two years later than previously estimated, and is projected to touch 1.5 billion in 2030, according to a UN forecast.

The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that currently China with 1.41 billion inhabitants and India with 1.34

billion remain the two most populous countries, comprising 19 and 18 per cent of the total global population. “In roughly seven years, or around 2024, the population of India is expected to

surpass that of China,” the report said.

The 2017 Revision of World Population Prospects is the 25th round of official UN population estimates and projections. In its 24th round of estimates released in 2015, it was projected that the population of India will surpass that of China’s by 2022.

The new estimates released here today said that in 2024, India and China are expected

to have roughly a population of 1.44 billion each. After that, India’s population is

projected to continue growing for several decades to around 1.5 billion in 2030 and

approaching 1.66 billion in 2050, while the population of China is projected to remain

stable until the 2030s, after which it may begin a slow decline.

India’s population may eventually see a decline in the half century after 2050 to 1.51

billion by 2100 but it will still be the most populous country in the world.

Police arrest second Abbotsford teen in Lower Mainland gang conflict


Abbotsford police seized a number of drugs and have arrested an 18-year-old man in relation to the ongoing gang conflict throughout the Lower Mainland.

A search warrant was executed June 7 at the home of Akshay Sachdeva, 18. During the search, police found several controlled substances, including Fentanyl.

Police said Sachdeva had been identified as being linked to the Lower Mainland gang conflict that first started as a drug turf war in the Townline Hill neighbourhood of Abbotsford. The investigation has since been expanded and now includes officers and suspects from other jurisdictions.

Sachdeva has since been charged with four counts of possession for the purposes of trafficking in controlled substances. At the time of his arrest, he had been released on conditions relating to a May 2017 assault charge.

News of the arrest was shared exactly a week after Abbotsford police arrested another teen related to the same ongoing conflict.

Inderdeep Minhas, 18, was arrested June 14 after he failed to appear in court on three gun-related charges.

Abbotsford police continue to investigate and ask anyone with information about the conflict to call 604-859-5225 or text 222973 (abbypd). Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Anyone who needs help or advice relating to gang involvement can email helpyouth@abbypd.ca or call 604-864-4777.

Mississauga man charged for stealing $12K from donation boxes at local mosques

By David Shum Global News

A 58-year-old man has been charged with multiple counts of theft after $12,000 went missing from six mosques in Mississauga, Ont., earlier this month.

Peel Regional Police said the thefts consisted of money being stolen from donation boxes at six religious faith centres between June 4 and 17.

Police said the suspect would enter the mosques during opening hours and either steal the locked donation boxes or break into them and remove the money.

In two of the cases, the accused managed to enter the mosques after hours and take the cash.

Ashraf Awad of Mississauga was arrested and charged with five counts of theft under $5,000, one count for theft over $5,000, two counts of break and enter and theft, and one count of break and enter instruments.

Anyone with information on this investigation is asked to call investigators at 12 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau at (905) 453–2121, ext. 1233 or Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Indo-Canadian, Del Manak appointed police chief of Victoria

Katie DeRosa / Times Colonist

JUNE 13, 2017

After three Victoria police chiefs hired from outside the department left amid controversy, the police board has appointed Victoria-born-and-raised Del Manak to lead the Victoria Police Department.

Manak, 52, was named Victoria’s top cop three weeks after former chief Frank Elsner stepped down amid two ongoing misconduct investigations.

Manak has served as interim chief since December 2015.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said the police board broke with tradition and decided not to hold a province-wide or nationwide competition for the chief’s job. Board members interviewed members of the senior command, front-line officers and community members to get feedback on Manak’s performance as interim chief.

“He’s got the smarts, he’s got the passion, he’s got the experience and he has come up within the ranks of this department,” Helps said at a news conference at Victoria police headquarters.

It’s the first time in 26 years the department has promoted a chief from within the ranks. The police board has typically hired chiefs from outside the department, which has rankled some deputy chiefs.

Elsner was the third police chief to leave the department amid controversy.

Bill Naughton was appointed interim chief after Paul Battershill was forced to resign in August 2008 when he was accused of having an affair with a police board lawyer. Naughton was passed over for the job in favour of retired Vancouver police chief Jamie Graham, who was twice found guilty of misconduct.

Manak, who became deputy chief in 2010, was also passed over for an outsider when Elsner, then chief of Sudbury police, was hired in January 2014 to take the reins from Graham after he retired.

Manak said in 24 years with the department, he’s hired almost a quarter of the staff. He acknowledged the department has faced uncertainty amid the allegations against Elsner and said he’s proud of how his officers have conducted themselves during a difficult time.

Manak promised to bring a “sense of stability” and a “sense of strong leadership” to the job.

He said hiring from within sends a message to officers moving up the ranks that they have a chance of landing the top job one day.

Manak said trust between police officers and the public has eroded in other countries, alluding to police shootings and the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. “We want to avoid this divide and embrace the diversity of our communities.”

He became emotional when thanking his wife, Nicky, 17-year-old son, Rajan, 15-year-old daughter, Kamryn, and 80-year-old mother, Avtar, for their support.

Manak attended George Jay and Central Middle schools before graduating from Mount Douglas Senior Secondary.

His first job was as a paper boy at age 13, delivering the Daily Colonist and working up to sub-manager. He worked at Canadian Tire and volunteered at the Fairfield community police station and the youth detention centre while trying to break into policing.

He was hired by Vancouver police in 1990, spending four years there before joining Victoria police.

Manak worked five years in the Victoria police traffic section and was a collision analyst. He was officer in charge of human resources and ran the department’s patrol division.

“So, to have come up through the ranks and be in a leadership position, I really have an opportunity to connect with our young students and be a role model and inspire them,” said Manak, who received the Order of Merit of the Police Forces in 2010.

Manak has been a visible presence in Victoria and Esquimalt council chambers and at community meetings since taking over as interim chief. He successfully argued for more funding for two new mental-health officers and raised concerns about the demands on frontline officers as they police the region’s urban core.



Gunman dressed as UPS employee fatally shoots 3 at San Francisco warehouse

By Staff Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO – A man dressed in a UPS uniform and armed with an “assault pistol” opened fire at a United Parcel Service Inc package sorting hub in San Francisco, killing three people before turning the gun on himself, police said.

Police did not identify the suspect or say if he was a UPS employee. They told a news conference the incident was not terrorism-related and they recovered two firearms from the scene.

United Parcel Service vans are seen parked outside a UPS facility after a shooting incident was reported in San Francisco.

Two other people were shot and have been taken to an area hospital, police said.

The shooter and the victims were all drivers, said Steve Gaut, head of investor relations at UPS. The incident took place while the workers were gathered for their daily morning meeting before going out on their routes, he added.

Gaut said the facility’s employees have been released from work and he believes most have left the building. The company is providing trauma and grief counseling to employees.

“The company is saddened and deeply concerned about affected employees, family members and the community we share. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those touched by this incident,” UPS said in a statement.

Victims were taken to the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, spokesman Brent Andrew said. He said he could not say how many patients were taken to the hospital or give their conditions.

In 2014, a man shot and killed two of his supervisors before turning the gun on himself at a UPS distribution center in Birmingham, Alabama. The gunman had recently been fired from the facility.

Surrey: NDP takes six of nine ridings


(Vancouver Sun)

B.C. NDP MLAs for Surrey talk victory


In the last election, the NDP’s Jagrup Brar lost the riding he had held for nine years by just 200 votes. On Tuesday night, he was redeemed.

Surrey-Fleetwood, which was won by Liberal Peter Fassbender four years ago, once again swung to the left.
Jagrup Brar has been elected in the riding of Surrey-Fleetwood for the BC NDP.

This was a riding to watch because BC Liberal incumbent Peter Fassbender was hoping to hold on to his seat during this election.

Surrey-Fleetwood was considered one of the closest races in one of the most important election battlegrounds in the Lower Mainland, backed up by the fact that both party leaders made a point of visiting during the campaign.

Fassbender may have been one of Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s top cabinet ministers, most recently holding the portfolios of community development and TransLink, but he won by a narrow margin in the 2013 election and the riding boundaries changed in 2015, bringing in as many as 700 NDP voters.

After the riding was called for Brar, who won with 52 per cent of the vote, he addressed the NDP crowd gathered at Surrey’s Riverside Banquet Hall, and talked about building a new hospital and schools in Surrey to loud applause.

“This election was very important to the people of Surrey,” Brar told the crowd. “We did not get from the B.C. Liberals what we deserved. But I promise to you today, that if the people of B.C. elect an NDP government, in Surrey things are going to change, and we are going to work for you.”

Before polls closed Tuesday, Fassbender told Postmedia the new riding boundaries had made the race “more interesting for sure, but I just keep my eye on the ball.”

Asked about speculation the changed boundaries could benefit the NDP, Fassbender said: “There’s all kinds of speculation, I’m sure that the opposition wants to believe that… But I don’t worry about those things. Worry makes you old.”

The win appeared to be on trend for the NDP in Surrey, which at deadline looked to carry six of the city’s nine ridings in B.C.’s second most populous city.

Another riding to watch was Surrey-Guildford (formerly Surrey-Tynehead), where incumbent Amrik Virk, a former RCMP inspector, was challenged and defeated by another retired Mountie, the NDP’s Garry Begg.

In 2013 Virk won the riding previously held by longtime Liberal MLA Dave Hayer by just over 1,600 votes. However, with the name change came boundary adjustments and the opportunity for the NDP to pose a real threat.

Begg rose to the occasion and won with 49 per cent of the vote. Tuesday night before the final election results had been called, he told NDP supporters: “We’ve come pretty close to making this a fantastic night.”

“We promised during this campaign that we would put people at the centre of government, and I expect that you will hold us to that promise,” Begg said. “This campaign was run on volunteers, and courage. We were told that it was a big and daunting fight, and it was. But we prevailed, we did the right thing, and we won.”

When asked what may have factored into his defeat, Virk said it was hard to speculate, but suspected it was a variety of issues, from tolls to taxis to the redrawing of riding boundaries.

“Overall, the public has spoken and determined what their priorities are,” Virk said. “I hope they stay engaged going forward.”

  • The boundaries and candidates have changed over the years, but the political preference in Surrey-Cloverdale has not. Tuesday, the longtime Liberal riding (since before the 1991 election) went to Marvin Hunt, a former city councillor first elected for the Liberals in 2013 in Surrey-Panorama.
  • Surrey-Green Timbers has long been an NDP riding. Sue Hammell held the riding from the time it was created in 1991 until 2001, when she was defeated by Brenda Locke. Hammell took it again in 2005 and has held it ever since, but announced her retirement earlier this year. Locke ran again for the Liberals, but was unable to unseat the NDP, with newcomer Rachna Singh winning with 56 per cent of the vote.
  • Surrey-Newton is the city’s smallest riding and has a colourful history, going from SoCred to NDP in 1991, to Liberal in 2001 and back to NDP in 2005. That’s when Harry Bains won the riding for the NDP with 58 per cent of the vote. Bains won again in 2009 and 2013, and continued the streak on Tuesday with another win over new Liberal challenger Gurminder Parihar.
  • Surrey-Panorama was one of the tightest Surrey races of the evening as results poured in. The riding has seen a rotating cast of MLAs since it was created in 2009 — all of them Liberal. But Tuesday evening the tide turned for the NDP, with Jinny Sims, a veteran politician with the federal NDP, winning 50 per cent of the vote to finish eight points ahead of Liberal newcomer Puneet Sandhar. Sims, the NDP MP for Newton-North Delta from 2011 to 2015, told a boisterous crowd of NDP supporters following the win: “This election is about you, each and every one of you… We’re taking B.C. back.”
  • In the new riding of Surrey South, Stephanie Cadieux won for the Liberals. Cadieux, who was first elected in 2009 and served as Minister of Children and Family Development since 2012, won with 49 per cent of the vote, defeating NDP newcomer Jonathan Silveira. Although the riding is new, the area covered by Surrey South has traditionally voted Liberal. It will be the third riding Cadieux has served — she was first elected in Surrey-Panorama, and then won Surrey-Cloverdale in 2013 with 59 per cent of the vote.

Minutes after the riding was called for Cadieux Tuesday evening, she told Postmedia that even though the riding was new, it was carved out of parts of Panorama and Cloverdale, two ridings she had previously represented.

“For me, it’s home,” Cadieux said. “I wasn’t nervous to run there.”

  • Unsurprisingly, Surrey-Whalley stuck with the NDP, re-electing Bruce Ralston with 58 per cent per cent of the vote, more than 17 percentage points ahead of Liberal challenger Sargy Chima. The riding was NDP from 1991 until 2001, when it went to the Liberals. Ralston first won the riding in 2005 and has held it ever since.
  • Former Coast Capital Savings CEO Tracy Redies maintained the decades-long Liberal grip on Surrey-White Rock, where she defeated the NDP’s Niovi Patsicakis, winning 49 per cent of the vote. Redies became the Liberal candidate after four-term MLA Gordon Hogg announced in October that he would not be running again.