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Government leans on private citizens to fulfil tree planting promise

MacNeil called out the department saying they didn’t have “a detailed plan at this time” to meet the two billion target for trees planted.




If you want something done right, never ask the government.

According to a briefing note from the Department of Natural Resources, it hopes to rely on private landowners to help the Liberals fulfil their promise of planting two billion trees since the last election.

The department even acknowledged it had no actual structure or plan to ensure “the right tree is planted in the right place.”

The briefing note revealed cabinet had always intended for private property owners to help plant the trees, says Blacklock’s Reporter. During the Liberal’s 2019 campaign platform Forward: A Real Plan For The Middle Class, there was no mention of private landowners contributing to the “tree blitz.”

The 2019 platform said “we will plant two billion trees to clean our air and protect our communities.” The Liberals said doing this would “help create 3,500 seasonal jobs in tree planting each year.”

In a briefing note titled Two Billion Trees, staff acknowledged federal agencies had no way of meeting this target without accepting help from private property owners. The department said “there was always an intent for cost sharing with partners.”

Partners were specified in the note to “expect” the inclusion of provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, cities and communities, and private landowners. “Our government’s intention for cost sharing has always been a key feature of this intitiative,” the note said.

Initially cabinet budgeted the ten-year project at $3.16 billion, but the Parliamentary Budget Office said in a January 29 report “the actual cost was closer to $5.94 billion.”

From 2007 to 2017, Federal data shows forestry companies and provinces have planted a combined 5.6 billion trees. The department told the Commons natural resources committee last October 30 “forestry companies alone plant 600 million trees a year.”

“Canada is a world leader, as you know, in sustainable forest management,” Beth MacNeil told assistant deputy minister of natural resources. “What that actually means is if you harvest a tree, you’re legally obligated to plant one.”

MacNeil called out the department saying they didn’t have “a detailed plan at this time” to meet the two billion target for trees planted. “We harvest less than one percent of our forests in Canada. What we harvested by law has to be replaced,” MacNeil said.

According to the Yale School of Forestry, Canada currently has 318 billion trees. This gives Canada “approximately one quarter of the world’s remaining original forests,” said Yale.

Annamie Paul, new leader of the Green Party said on Friday the tree-planting promise was a failure. “We need to plant,” Paul told reporters. Paul said the Liberals have made such slow amends on their promise she is even willing to take matters into her own hands “I’m going to grab my kids and a couple of Greens and some shovels and just get planting myself.”

Paul told the media “we’ve waited long enough for those two billion trees.”

Jackie Conroy is a reporter for the Western Standard

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  1. Steven

    August 26, 2021 at 2:16 am

    Justin Trudeau is well known for his thoughtless platitudes. Trudeau never stops to think about the consequences of his bull crap that comes out of his mouth. Case in point, First Nations drinking water five year on and still waiting.

    Trudeau can’t be trusted & I think people are figuring this out with the unwanted election call.

  2. Hollie Ferguson

    August 23, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    I have a family member who works in the forestry industry and says that this commitment to planting billions of trees is senseless virtue signaling. Apparently there is a lack of space in which to plant them, given that our country is presently covered with them. One of the government agencies that oversees this task has set to dig up old logging roads to plant these pledged trees—-the problem is that this process uproots many of the existing mature trees. So it involves killing mature trees and forest area to accomplish this insanity. It is a senseless virtue signalling commitment that has no connection to the need for trees in a massive country largely undeveloped
    and presently covered in them.

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Canada-Europe take action over COVID variant Omicron

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.




With the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC) named Omicron in South Africa, the Canadian government is taking steps to limit the risk to Canadians.

Travellers arriving from countries of concern within the last 14 days will be required to quarantine pending negative COVID-19 tests. Countries of concern include South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

On Friday, Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the federal government will impose five measures in an effort to limit its spread in Canada.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam took to Twitter on Saturday to share her concerns over the VOC.

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” wrote Tam.

The WHO has labelled Omicron as a variant of concern due to its high number of mutations and reports that early evidence suggests it could be more infectious than other variants.

Meanwhile, during a news conference on Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will take “targeted and precautionary measures” after two people tested positive for the Omicron variant.

One case was identified in Brentwood, a town in southeastern England while the other case was located in the central city of Nottingham. Both individuals are linked and had travelled from southern Africa. The two individuals are self-isolating along with their households and authorities are working on contact tracing.

Johnson confirmed travellers arriving in England will be required to take a PCR test and self-isolate until a negative test result is provided. Those that test positive for the new variant will have to self-isolate, along with any of their close contacts, for 10 days regardless of vaccine status.

He also said masks will be required in shops and other public spaces and indicated they will “boost the booster campaign.”

“Right now this is the responsible course of action to slow down the seeding and the spread of this new variant and to maximize our defences,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the new rules will be reviewed in three weeks when scientists know more about the variant.

On Friday, the British government added Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to the country’s travel red list. By Saturday, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia were also added to the list.

Other countries are adding restrictions on travellers coming from various southern African countries including the US, Japan, Brazil, and Australia while cases have also been reported in Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong.

Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic have also reported suspected cases related to travellers arriving from South Africa.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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Road closures as British Columbians brace for more rain

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday.




As BC braces for additional rain, the government has ‘proactively’ closed a number of highways for travel.

“We are actively responding, monitoring and assessing the many highway closures due to flooding and will continue to do so as we work with local and emergency service partners,” said the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Safety is our top priority while we deal with a rapidly changing and difficult situation.”

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday. The ministry said the time and duration of the closures will be weather-dependent.

“The highway infrastructure in these areas is extremely vulnerable following recent storms, and more heavy rain in the forecast poses an additional risk,” said the ministry in a press release.

“The closures of these three highways will be re-evaluated on Sunday morning, with the highways reopened when it is safe to do so.”

The release said Highway 1 will be closed between Popkum and Hope on Saturday afternoon as BC Hydro plans a reservoir release, “crucial to protect the Jones Lake Reservoir, which is also being affected by the heavy rains.”

The release explains the reservoir release will discharge water towards areas of Highway 1 that were affected during the November 14 storm.  

“This additional flow – combined with the increased precipitation and already high stream flows – poses a risk of impact to Highway 1 in the Laidlaw area.”

The ministry is bracing for further damage to Highway 1 in this area and said the reopening time cannot be determined at this stage but will be assessed by crews “when it is safe to do so.”

Highway 7 between Mission and Hope remains open with travel restrictions in place. Essential purposes for travel are defined in the travel restrictions order through the Emergency Program Act

Weather statements are in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Squamish to Whistler and the Sunshine Coast into next week. Storms are expected to bring more rain which has resulted in high streamflow advisories for all regions of the coast by the River Forecast Centre.

Ongoing road and travel updates are available on the ministry’s website.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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Bill to aid jurors traumatized by testimony up for vote … again

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling.”




For the third time in three years, legislators will attempt to pass an aid bill for jurors traumatized by graphic testimony in criminal courts.

“When we ask citizens to be a juror we don’t ask them to be a victim,” said Quebec Senator and bill sponsor Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

“There is no excuse not to adopt that bill.” 

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling,” said Blacklock’s Reporter.

Two identical bills, S-207 and C-417, lapsed in the last two Parliaments.

“That kind of bill should be a government bill, not a private bill,” said Boisvenu.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of private interest. It’s a matter of national interest.”

In 2017, the Commons justice committee recommended the Criminal Code amendment after hearing testimony from former jurors who said they quit jobs, suffered marriage breakdown and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being compelled to watch crime scene videos and hear testimony from coroners.

“Everyone’s mental health matters,” Ontario Senator Lucie Moncion said Thursday.

“Yet from a legal point of view, jurors are part of a special category of people who are denied complete health care. The secrecy rule prohibits a juror from disclosing information related to deliberations to anyone including a health care professional. This needs to change.”

Moncion was a juror in a 1989 murder trial and said the experience left her with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“They show you the whole autopsy,” said Moncion.

“It was very difficult. This is still very difficult for me.”

Alberta Conservative MP Michael Cooper, a member of the 2017 Commons justice committee that recommended reforms, said delays were inexcusable.

“It should have been a no-brainer for the government to have brought this bill forward,” said Cooper indicating the bill has been “studied thoroughly.”

“There have literally been no arguments tendered against this piece of legislation.”

Cooper, in 2019, sponsored a similar bill – C-417 – that lapsed. MPs at the time noted U.S. jurors were free to discuss their experience with friends, family, psychiatrists or media.

“In the United States once a trial is over jurors are generally free to discuss the events of the trial and jury deliberations unless a specific court order bars them from doing so,” said Ontario Liberal MP Arif Virani, then-parliamentary secretary for justice.

“What that means is that jurors in the United States can talk with nearly anyone about juror deliberations including a talk show host on national television or across the Internet. This approach, which offers limited protection for juror privacy, is significantly different from the Canadian model.”

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