Canada

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement in celebration of Israel Independence Day:

“Today, we join our Israeli friends and Jewish communities in Canada and around the world to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

“Canada was one of the first countries to officially recognize Israel, and we are proud to call Israel our partner and call Israelis our friends.

“Canada and Israel are closely linked in heart and in mind by common democratic values and close people-to-people connections. These provide the foundation of an expanding bilateral relationship, which includes ongoing efforts to promote peace and stability in the Middle East.

“Today, while we celebrate Israel’s independence, we also reaffirm our commitment to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. Israel and its people continue to face threats throughout the world, including here in Canada. We stand on guard against a resurgence of anti-Semitism, hate, and discrimination in all its forms.

“On this Independence Day, I am proud to renew Canada’s commitment to a safe and secure homeland for the Jewish people, and to a lasting peace between all peoples in the Middle East.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I wish everyone celebrating Israel Independence Day a Yom Ha’atzmaut Sameach.

“Shalom.”

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MERRITT— Today at NMV Lumber, Premier Christy Clark announced the measures she will take if necessary to stop the shipment of thermal coal through British Columbia.

“Ideally, the federal government will act on our request to ban thermal coal in our ports – but if they don’t, British Columbia will charge a carbon levy on it,” said Premier Clark. “By doing so, British Columbia will establish the world’s first greenhouse gas benchmark for thermal coal – and make it uncompetitive to ship through B.C. ports.”

Should the federal government not implement a thermal coal ban, a re-elected BC Liberal government will develop regulations under the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act to ensure all thermal coal shipped to B.C. terminals is subject to a carbon price – approximately $70 per tonne – that reflects the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the extraction, processing, transportation and combustion of thermal coal through a BC terminal.

“I am hopeful that our federal partners will act on my suggestion – and act quickly,” said Premier Clark. “But if they don’t, and if we are re-elected, I will instruct the civil service to immediately begin drafting the regulatory framework – and impose a levy on thermal coal that will make these shipments unprofitable.”

Thermal coal is among the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive methods to generate power and heat. Last year, 6.6 million tonnes of thermal coal was exported through BC ports, 94 per cent from the United States. The vast majority of coal mined in British Columbia is metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking.

“Banning thermal coal is the right thing to do for BC LNG and biomass producers who can help fill the need for cleaner energy in Asia,” said Premier Clark. “And now is the right time to do it, because while good trading partners cooperate, the United States has launched this unfair assault against key sectors of our economy and the workers they employ.”

John Horgan and the BC NDP’s position is whatever Leo Gerard says it is. Gerard is head of the Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steelworkers union paying the salaries of Horgan’s top three campaign staff – the same man who stood beside Donald Trump when he called Canadian workers a “disgrace,” and took the pen Trump used to sign the order as a souvenir.

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Surrey: On Sunday March 26, 2017 just after 6:00 a.m. the Surrey RCMP responded to a report of a stabbing in the 17000 block of 57th Avenue.  When police arrived, a male victim was located inside the residence suffering wounds received from an edged weapon.  The male victim was transported to hospital, but despite all medical efforts the male victim died as a result of his injuries.  A male suspect was located at the scene by police, and was taken into custody.

As this was quickly deemed a homicide, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) has taken conduct.  IHIT is working closely with the Surrey RCMP, the Integrated Forensic Identification Section, and the B.C. Coroner’s Service to gather and review evidence.

The investigation remains on-going, however, investigators have secured a homicide related charge against the male suspect, identified as 27-year-old Gurtarn “Tarn” SANDHU.  Mr. Sandhu has been charged with Manslaughter in the death of the male victim identified as 36-year-old, Jaspreet “Jesse” DHALIWAL.  Mr. Sandhu is scheduled to appear in court later this afternoon.

“This altercation occurred between parties known to each other, and was not random.”  Cpl. Meghan FOSTER of IHIT says, “This matter is now before the courts, and limited information can be provided as the court process will be honoured.”

 

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  • by Vikki Hopes – Abbotsford News

The Abbotsford News has learned that the victim of the fatal shooting Friday afternoon on Chase Street is Jaskarn Lally, an associate of two Abbotsford men previously gunned down in gang-related killings.

The shooting took place at about 4:30 p.m. at a home in the 3500 block of Chase Street.

Sgt. Judy Bird said police were called to a residence, where they located a 20-year-old man suffering from gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bird said the incident appears to be targeted.

The investigation is still in its early stages and is being transitioned to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).

Lally was previously named in civil court documents that detailed the fatal shooting of Harwin Baringh, 18, in October 2014 on Sparrow Drive.

The documents stated that Baringh was a member of the “Chahil crime group” at the time.

He was in his vehicle with a passenger, when they stopped at the side of the road. A second vehicle, occupied by his associates Lally and Navdeep Sidhu, pulled up beside them, and the two groups had a conversation.

Surveillance cameras later captured those two vehicles being blocked in the road by two other cars, and then gunshots being exchanged among occupants of the four vehicles, according to the court documents.

Three cars fled the scene, but Baringh’s Jeep remained, and he was found dead, slumped over in the driver’s seat. To date, nobody has been charged in his death.

The province’s civil forfeiture office successfully sued to seize two of the vehicles involved in the incident, saying they had been used to “engage in a violent ongoing gang conflict” between the Chahil and Dhaliwal crime groups.

Navdeep Sidhu, 24, also faced a violent death more than two years after Baringh’s killing. He was one of two men found shot to death in a vehicle in Edmonton two months ago. (The other was Harman Mangat, 22, also tied to the gang conflict in Abbotsford.)

large funeral was held for Sidhu on Jan. 19 at the Fraser River Funeral Home in Abbotsford.

Lally had several charges before the courts, including for an incident that occurred in February 2015 in Dawson Creek.

He went to trial on seven firearms charges in relation to what police said was a gang-related shooting.

According to RCMP, a man was abducted, driven to a gravel pit and shot several times in the legs. The man survived and dragged himself to a road, where a motorist picked him up and dropped him at the hospital.

All the charges against co-accused Anthony Larsen were stayed, and a verdict had not yet been issued against Lally in the matter.

Also in Dawson Creek, Lally was convicted of mischief in relation to a March 2015 incident. He was sentenced to a $500 fine, according to the provincial court database.

He was also due to appear April 14 in Abbotsford provincial court to have a one-year peace bond (restraining order) placed against him. He had been charged with assault, but that charge was stayed in exchange for a $500 fine and a peace bond.

Lally’s killing is Abbotsford’s third murder of the year.

Satkar Sidhu, 23, was fatally shot Feb. 20 on Steelhead Court, and the body of Joseph Kellington, 24, of Mission was found March 3 on a property on Ross Road.Police have not released his cause of death.

Anyone with information about Lally’s killing is asked to contact the IHIT tip line at 1-877-551-4448 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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The Abbotsford Police Department and MedicAlert Foundation Canada, have established a new partnership to ensure those with autism, Alzheimer’s, dementia, or a cognitive brain injury, who go missing, can be helped by first responders and brought safely home sooner.

MedicAlert Connect Protect gives police officers 24-hour quick access to a registered subscriber’s photo, identity, past wandering history, and other vital emergency information through their MedicAlert medical IDs. This information will help officers search more efficiently, increasing the chances that those who go missing are reunited with their loved ones sooner. Officers called to an emergency involving a MedicAlert subscriber will also have access to vital information which may be necessary to save a life.

“We are excited to partner with the MedicAlert Connect Protect initiative,” says Chief Constable Bob Rich.  “Helping people with these medical conditions when they are lost and confused is a priority for us.  Finding someone who is lost and unable to tell you who they are or where they are from may be a challenge for us, but is a crisis for that person and their family.  This resource helps us find someone who needs to be found and gets that person back to where they are safe.”

“It’s critical that we’re able to find and recognize wandering or unidentified people as quickly and efficiently as possible, both to protect our subscribers and also to save police resources,” explains Robert Ridge, President and CEO of MedicAlert. “As we continue to form more partnerships with police departments in British Columbia, the MedicAlert Connect Protect service will safeguard Abbotsford residents through the valuable MedicAlert protection. In an emergency situation, the Abbotsford Police will have quick access to vital information that will save valuable time and unnecessary worry from family members and caregivers.”

Thanks to the Abbotsford Police Department and MedicAlert Foundation Canada, the first 100 new MedicAlert subscribers at each of these two locations on each day will get their first year service plan and a MedicAlert ID ($39 value) at no cost.

March 8, 2017                                                March 9th and 10th, 2017

Matsqui Centennial Auditorium (City Hall)             Seven Oaks Malls (near the front of The Bay)

32315 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford                         32900 South Fraser Way, Abbotsford

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm                                         10:00 am – 9:00 pm

For more information on MedicAlert Connect Protect service and special offers for Abbotsford residents, visit medicalert.ca/connectprotect.

About MedicAlert Foundation Canada

MedicAlert Foundation Canada (MAFCA) is the largest membership-based registered charity in Canada and it is the leading provider of emergency medical information services. MedicAlert’s mission is to ensure that all Canadians have access to high-quality health information at time of need. For over 55 years, MedicAlert has protected more than one million Canadians since 1961.

MedicAlert® is backed by robust electronic health records maintained by medically trained professionals, a state-of-the-art secure database, and a 24/7 Emergency Hotline that answers calls from emergency responder personnel in 140 languages within an average of 5 seconds, all linked to customized identification products for Canadians with medical conditions and special needs. Universally recognized and respected, MedicAlert speaks for you, when you can’t™.

Learn more about MedicAlert, how it works, and how you or a loved one can sign up to a service plan, visit medicalert.ca or by calling 1.855.581.3796.

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Vancouver, BC – Tax season is here and BBB offers plenty of tips to help you find a trust tax preparer and to potentially avoid a couple of scams making the rounds in Canada.

“The CRA tax scam was still on our National Top 10 Scams list this year,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “The upside is we did see a drop in that scam, however it came back when the scammers contacted their victims offering to return their money for a fee.”

The CRA scam involved threatening phone calls at all hours demanding a tax repayment or you would be arrested or deported.

“The other good thing, is that according to BBB’s new Risk Index, fewer people are actually falling for tax scams this year even if they are approached,” adds Kelly. “Other scams we have seen are fake emails that look like they come from the CRA or other online tax return applications that actually redirect any government payments or steal information. These we need to be aware of.”

BBB offers these tip to find a trusted tax professional and to avoid getting scammed:

* Check on qualifications. Ask about their training, experience and knowledge of current tax law, and whether they are members of a professional organization with continuing education requirements and a code of ethics.

* Learn about their service terms in advance. Find out whether they guarantee the accuracy of their work and amend the return if there’s a mistake. And find out if they can be reached year round if there is a mistake or are required to undergo an audit, you want to make sure you can reach them after the tax season is complete.

* Ask for references. Get referrals from satisfied clients.

* Check with BBB. Visit www.bbb.org/mbc/ to determine if the tax preparer has a reputation for reliability and trustworthiness.

* Request a quote. Ask for an estimate of the preparation fee before authorizing the work.

* Signature. Make certain the preparer has signed it and get a copy and payment receipt for your records. Also review the return before signing it and ask for clarification of any entries you don’t understand.

Each year new scams surface online, promising tax refunds and other incentives to get you to part with your personal information.

Be on the watch for the following tax scams:

* Phishing Scams. Never open or download attachments included with messages claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. Typically, these messages advise the recipient that they have qualified for a tax refund and need to click on a link to enter their information. The link takes the person to a bogus website and requires the visitor to enter personal identification. CRA will not contact you via email. Sometimes this is used to re-direct a direct deposit return.

* Identity Theft. If you’re doing your taxes on your own online, don’t use a public wireless connection. Even using the latest wireless security encryption standards such as WPA2 can be risky, so use a wired connection when dealing with sensitive financial and personal information.

* Malware. Refrain from opening any unsolicited tax-related email message, as some messages can exploit weaknesses in your browser and initiate a drive-by download of spyware or malware without your knowledge.

* The Canada Revenue Agency DOES NOT solicit personal information online or over the phone.

British Columbia plans to introduce a series of improvements to help the taxi industry modernize and remain competitive in anticipation of ride-sharing services coming to British Columbia by the holiday season at the end of 2017, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone and Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for TransLink Peter Fassbender announced today.

“Over the past year, we’ve had some very important conversations with taxi companies and drivers who told us that we need to ensure fairness so they are able to compete effectively with ride sharing providers. This is why we’ve worked so hard to develop these measures, which reflects what I heard through extensive consultations and will allow ride sharing companies to operate, but also allows the taxi industry to be competitive,” said Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for TransLink Peter Fassbender while talking to the ethnic media at Grandtej Banquet hall in Surrey today.

In recognition of the important and long-standing role of the taxi industry in providing passenger transportation services in the province, the government intends to introduce a number of improvements that will ensure a level playing field in B.C. These include:

  • New app-based technology: The Province will invest up to $1 million to help the taxi industry develop an app with the capability of shared dispatch to allow the taxi sector provincewide to better compete with new entrants to the market, and allow the public to hail and pay for a taxi with a smartphone in the same way that they would for a ride-sharing service.
  • Crash prevention technology: ICBC will invest up to $3.5 million in the taxi sector to install crash avoidance technology in all B.C. taxis. This technology will improve passenger safety and help avoid crashes. An ICBC pilot showed that this technology led to a 61% reduction in at-fault, rear-end crashes and a 24% reduction in all crashes.
  • Insurance products: ICBC has been collaborating with the taxi industry to streamline the claims process, and is committed to working with the industry to improve their insurance to make it more flexible and cost effective, which could save taxi drivers significantly. Depending on the number of kilometres they drive, these savings could be in the range of 25%.
  • Reduced red tape: The Province will work with municipal governments and the taxi industry to remove red tape and overlap within the system, which will save drivers money.
  • Exclusive rights to street hailing for taxis: Taxis will retain exclusive rights to be hired by phone, at a taxi stand or flagged down at the curb.
  • Pick-up/drop-off anytime, anywhere: Ride-sharing companies typically operate across municipal boundaries. To ensure a level playing field for the taxi industry, the Province will work with municipalities and other stakeholders to allow all drivers, including taxis, the same access to provide services wherever and whenever a passenger needs a ride.
  • Open up taxi supply: The Province will work with municipalities to address the current shortage of taxis and vehicles for hire, which will provide more choice, accessibility and opportunity for both consumers and drivers.
  • In addition to these improvements, the Province will require the same safety standards for both taxis and ride-sharing providers in order to protect the public and drivers. As part of this, Class 4 licenses will be phased out for taxi drivers, and taxi and ride-sharing companies will be responsible for maintaining records that prove:
    • All drivers have an unrestricted driver’s licence (no graduated licences) and are at least 19 years of age.
    • All drivers have passed a criminal record check for past convictions of violent or sexual offenses as well as other offenses.
    • All drivers have passed a safe driving record check.
    • Vehicles have passed regular mechanical inspections.
    • Finally, the Province will make sure that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect consumers through fair and transparent pricing.

      These proposed improvements are the result of extensive feedback and consultation with stakeholders throughout the province, including the taxi and limousine industry, local governments, business associations, accessibility groups, and transportation network companies. Participants told the province they wanted:

      • A fair system that welcomes new companies while ensuring that existing local operators remain competitive and continue to earn a living wage;
      • A regulated system that protects passengers, drivers and their vehicles; and
      • A modernized system that reduces red tape, unnecessary duplication and provides both consumers and drivers with more choice, opportunity and flexibility.

      Beginning this summer, government will seek additional input from taxi drivers, the ride-sharing and taxi industries, police, airports, municipalities, ICBC and RoadSafetyBC as the Province finalizes its plan in time for the 2017 holiday season.

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Arrested:Gurjeet Mann, Jatinder Sandhar and Donovan Shah

Peel – Investigators from the Peel Street Crime Gang Unit arrested three men for drug and firearm related offences. The investigation commenced in December of 2016 and concluded on February 23, 2017.
The Peel Street Crime Gang Unit commenced an investigation into individuals responsible for trafficking in Heroin in the Brampton area.
During the investigation, a search warrant was executed at a Toronto residence. As a result,a Dominion Arms .45 calibre semi-automatic pistol, with a loaded magazine, and ammunition were located and seized.
Gurjeet Mann,a 35 year old male from Mississauga, was arrested and charged with Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in Heroin. Mann was released on a promise to appear with a court date for March 23, of 2017.
Jatinder Sandhar, a 39 year old male from Brampton, was arrested and charged with Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in Heroin. Sandhar was released on a promise to appear with a court date for March of 23, 2017.
The street value of their combined drug possession was over $3000.
Donovan Shah, a 25 year old male from Toronto, was arrested and charged with numerous drug and firearm related offences. Shah was held for a bail hearing an appeared before the Ontario Court of Justin in Brampton on February 25, 2017.
The street value of the drugs seized amounts to over $22 000. Also seized was just over $5000 in Canadian currency.

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CALGARY — India has rejected a long-standing exemption on pest treatment for peas and lentils in a blow to Canada’s top export market for the crops.

Federal Agriculture Minister spokesman Guy Gallant confirmed the Indian government has not granted another six-month exemption that would have crops fumigated on arrival, rather than before export, as has been allowed for more than a decade.

The decision puts Canada’s pulse exports to the country, worth $1.1-billion in 2016 and $1.5-billion in 2015, in jeopardy because the required treatment of methyl bromide doesn’t work in the cold and also is being phased out because it’s damaging to the ozone layer.

“India’s our largest market for pulse crops for peas and lentils, so the importance of India can’t be overstated,” said Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.

“From a farmers’ perspective, ensuring we have ongoing, continual market access is a very important priority for us,” he said.

Some shippers have already stopped accepting pulses for export to India over fears they will be rejected on arrival, since the current exemption expires at the end of March.

Gord Kurbis, director of market access and trade at Pulse Canada, said officials at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and their Indian counterparts are working on a potential solution that could see Canada’s system of management practices and controls stand in for treatment before export.

But with the March deadline looming, he’s worried there’s not enough time for the scientists and regulators to approve the solution.

“The timing is definitely an issue,” said Kurbis.

He said he’s hoping officials will step in and keep the trade open until a longer-term agreement is reached.

“There needs to be awareness of this issue and intervention at the highest levels,” said Kurbis.

Gallant said the federal government is still working that long-term solution, and that the issue will come up when Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay visits India next week.

The trade issue comes after exports of peas and lentils to India grew by 20 per cent a year between 2010 and 2015 to account for about a third of all pulse exports for Canada’s 12,000 pulse farmers.

Pulse Canada says the fumigation treatment is not needed because the insects India is concerned about aren’t in Canada, and the cold winters help reduce the threat of other pests.

The issue carries some parallels to Canada’s dispute last year over canola exports to China, which had set restrictions on the amount of detritus allowed in shipments because of pest concerns.

The Canadian Press

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OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate steady on Wednesday and warned that it is keeping a watchful eye on “significant uncertainties” weighing on the outlook for the economy.
The scheduled rate announcement arrived as the central bank tries to assess the direction of U.S. economic policy under President Donald Trump — and the potential fallout from any policy changes he makes.
The bank has said some U.S. proposals, which include a border tax and protectionist policies, would have “material consequences” for Canadian investment and exports.
In an unusually short statement, the Bank of Canada used strong language when referring to uncertainties, as it did in the news release that accompanied its last rate announcement on Jan. 18.
At that time, two days before Trump’s inauguration, the bank indicated that “uncertainty about the global outlook is undiminished, particularly with respect to policies in the United States.”
On Wednesday, the statement said it was “attentive to the impact of significant uncertainties weighing on the outlook.”
As widely expected, the trend-setting target for the bank’s overnight interest rate stayed at the same level it’s been since July 2015: 0.5 per cent.
In explaining the decision by Governor Stephen Poloz’s council, the bank said improvements seen in recent economic data releases have been consistent with its projections.
The central bank also expects growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 — as measured by real gross domestic product — might come in slightly stronger than predicted because of recent consumption and housing data releases. Statistics Canada is scheduled to release those GDP figures Thursday.
On the downside, however, the bank said Canadian exports continue to face competitiveness challenges while the job market has seen weaker growth in wages and hours worked.
The bank made a point of emphasizing how Canada’s labour market conditions have contrasted with a much-stronger U.S. performance.
This was a way for Poloz to signal that Canada is not at the same point of the economic cycle as the U.S., said TD senior economist Brian DePratto.
DePratto expects the Bank of Canada to keep rates unchanged through 2017 even as the U.S. central bank lifts rates a couple of time over the next year.
If anything, he said Canadian rates will probably move down before they go up, especially if policy changes made by Trump slow Canada-U.S. trade.
“Anything that dampens that relationship is going to be growth negative here and could potentially mean a Bank of Canada reaction,” said DePratto, adding that interest rate policy divergence would likely weaken the Canadian dollar.
While a weaker currency could help help lift growth by encouraging exports, consumers would likely have to pay more for imported goods, like fresh fruit from places like California.
On inflation, the bank said Wednesday that it’s looking past January’s surprisingly robust headline figure of 2.1 per cent. It said the number was a result of a temporary jump caused by higher energy prices that were largely tied to the implementation of carbon-pricing policies in Ontario and Alberta.
The Bank of Canada made its rate decision amid ongoing uncertainty surrounding the policy agenda of the country’s largest trading partner.
Analysts were hoping to learn more about the bank’s thinking when it comes to potential U.S. policy changes, but the brief statement offered few details.
The Bank of Canada has yet to factor in the full range of economic policies expected under Trump in its projections.
Trump has pushed for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, though he has said the changes to the deal would only involve “tweaking.”
The U.S. proposals have created significant concerns within Corporate Canada and for the federal government.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau met his new U.S. counterpart, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for the first time. Morneau and the federal government have been trying to figure out Trump’s plans and how they may affect Canada.

THE CANADIAN PRESS