Tag Archives: wants

Biden wants Russia, China to take part in climate talks

U.S. President Joe Biden is including rivals Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China among the invitees to the first big climate talks of his administration, an event the U.S. hopes will help shape, speed up and deepen global efforts to cut climate-wrecking fossil fuel pollution, administration officials told The Associated Press.

Biden is seeking to revive a U.S.-convened forum of the world’s major economies on climate that George W. Bush and Barack Obama both used and Donald Trump let languish.

Leaders of some of the world’s top climate-change sufferers, do-gooders and backsliders round out the rest of the 40 invitations being delivered Friday — including to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. It will be held virtually April 22 and 23.

WATCH | Environment minister on Canada’s ambitions for emissions reduction targets:

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the federal government will announce more aggressive emissions reduction targets in April at the U.S. climate summit: “We need to ensure our targets are aligned with the science.” 2:26

Hosting the summit will fulfil a campaign pledge and executive order by Biden, and the administration is timing the event with its own upcoming announcement of what’s a much tougher U.S. target for revamping the U.S. economy to sharply cut emissions from coal, natural gas and oil.

The session — and whether it’s all talk, or some progress — will test Biden’s pledge to make climate change a priority among competing political, economic, policy and pandemic problems.

It also will pose a very public — and potentially embarrassing or empowering — test of whether U.S. leaders, and Biden in particular, can still drive global decision-making after the Trump administration withdrew globally and shook up longstanding alliances.

The Biden administration intentionally looked beyond its international partners for the summit, reaching out to key leaders for what it said would sometimes be tough talks on climate matters, an administration official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. plans for the event.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is among a group of 40 world leaders the U.S. is inviting to participate in a virtually-hosted forum on climate issues next month. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Leaving behind Trump’s approach

Trump mocked the science underlying urgent warnings on global warming and the resulting worsening of droughts, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters. He pulled the United States out of the 2015 UN Paris climate accords as one of his first actions as president.

That makes next month’s summit the first major international climate discussions by a U.S. leader in more than four years, although leaders in Europe and elsewhere have kept up talks.

U.S. officials and some others give the Obama administration’s major-economies climate discussions some of the credit for laying the groundwork for the Paris accord. The United States and nearly 200 other governments at those talks each set targets for cutting their fossil-fuel emissions, and pledged to monitor and report their emissions.

Another Biden administration official said the U.S. is still deciding how far the administration will go in setting a more ambitious U.S. emissions target.

The Biden administration hopes the stage provided by next month’s Earth Day climate summit — planned to be all virtual due to COVID-19 and all publicly viewable on livestream, including breakout conversations — will encourage other international leaders to use it as a platform to announce their own countries’ tougher emission targets or other commitments, ahead of November’s UN global climate talks in Glasgow.

Showing commitment

The administration hopes more broadly that the session will demonstrate a commitment to cutting emissions at home and encouraging the same abroad, the official said.

That includes encouraging governments to get moving on specific, politically-bearable ways to retool their transportation and power sectors and overall economies now in order to meet those tougher future targets, something the Biden administration is just embarking on.

Like the major-economies climate forums held by Bush and Obama, Biden’s invite list includes leaders of the world’s biggest economies and European blocs.

Putin, seen listening during a meeting in Moscow this week, has been invited to participate. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/Kremlin/The Associated Press)

That includes two countries — Russia and China — that Biden and his diplomats are clashing with over election interference, cyberattacks, human rights and other issues. It’s not clear how those two countries in particular will respond to the U.S. invitations, or whether they are willing to co-operate with the U.S. on cutting emissions while sparring on other topics.

China is the world’s top emitter of climate-damaging pollution. The U.S. is No. 2. Russia is No. 4.

Climate scientists and climate policy experts largely welcomed Biden’s international overture on climate negotiations, especially the outreach to China.

“China is by far the world’s largest emitter. Russia needs to do more to reduce its emissions. Not including these countries because they aren’t doing enough would be like launching an anti-smoking campaign but not directing it at smokers,” said Nigel Purvis, who worked on climate diplomacy in past Democratic and Republican administrations.

Worthwhile outreach

Ideally, government leaders will be looking for opportunities to talk over specific matters, such as whether broad agreement is possible on setting any price on carbon emissions, said Bob Inglis, a former Republican lawmaker who works to involve conservatives and conservative approaches in climate efforts.

“That’s why this kind of outreach makes sense,” he said. 

Brazil is on the list as a major economy, but it’s also a major climate backslider under President Jair Bolsonaro, who derailed preservation efforts for the carbon-sucking Amazon and joined Trump in trampling international climate commitments.

The 40 invitees also include leaders of countries facing some of the gravest immediate threats, including low-lying Bangladesh and the Marshall islands, countries seen as modelling some good climate behaviour, including Bhutan and some Scandanavian countries, and African nations with variously big carbon sink forests or big oil reserves.

Poland and some other countries on the list are seen as possibly open to moving away from dirty coal power faster. 

As a candidate, Biden pledged $ 2 trillion in investment to help transform the U.S. into a zero-emission economy by 2050 while building clean-energy and technology jobs.

Biden and other administration officials have been stressing U.S. climate intentions during early one-on-one talks with foreign leaders, and Biden climate envoy John Kerry has focused on diplomacy abroad to galvanize climate efforts.

Biden discussed the summit in a conversation Friday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with both leaders agreeing on the need to keep emissions-cutting targets ambitious, the White House said.

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CBC | World News

Mather’s rant highlights a tone-deafness no organization wants to be associated with

This is a column by Morgan Campbell, who writes opinion for CBC Sports. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

In the rambling, ill-delivered speech to a local rotary club that led to him stepping down as the Seattle Mariners’ president, Kevin Mather nearly gave us too many places to start skewering his logic.

Should we focus on how casually he copped to manipulating top prospects’ service time to save a few dollars?

“He thinks after six years, he’ll be such a star player that the seventh, eighth, ninth year options will be under value,” Mather said of outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic, who likely will begin the 2021 season in the minors. “He might be right.”

What about the effortless way he smeared veteran third baseman Kyle Seager, who makes $ 18 million US a season, as “overpaid”? This willingness to alienate both youngsters and the greybeards tells you that, as Mariners president, Mather was committed to a type of equal treatment.

Or we could zero in on how comfortable he felt spouting this stuff in front of a live online audience, and then question whether he understands today’s media ecosystem.

But fundamentally, this controversy isn’t about Mather’s message.

WATCH | Bring It In: What is the future of sports in a post-COVID world?:

Morgan Campbell is joined by Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin, to discuss what changes in the sports world will continue after the Covid-19 pandemic. 4:37

Cutting costs, and suppressing young players’ service time, are mainstream ideas in today’s MLB. Mather slipped up in letting that sentiment seep out of his bubble, where baseball people, and the class of fans who cheer management, would accept it without questioning, and reach a general public skeptical of ownership’s motives.

Among his peers, and people with a similar disposition, Mather can brag about placing a glass ceiling above promising young employees. In their world, it’s a cunning business move. But to people who just want to see the best players play, or who don’t view baseball through the prism of potential cost-savings for wealthy owners, it’s somewhere between counterproductive and cruel.

But let’s start with language.

Mather, who spent seven years as the club’s president as of Monday, used the online town hall gathering to grumble about paying a translator for Hisashi Iwakuma, a former Mariners’ pitcher who rejoined the organization as a scout.

“I’m tired of paying his interpreter,” Mather told the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club. “When he was a player, we’d pay Iwakuma X, but we’d also have to pay $ 75,000 a year to have an interpreter with him. His English suddenly got better. His English got better when we told him that.”

Hisashi Iwakuma, right, and interpreter Anthony Suzuki seen during a game in 2014. During a speech to a local rotary club on Feb. 5, former Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather groaned about the organization having to pay $ 75,000 for Iwakuma to have a translator. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Later he complained about outfield prospect Julio Rodriguez’ alleged poor command of English.

Reporters who have covered him note that Rodriguez works hard at his new language, and even conducts interviews in English. Rodriguez, for his part, responded on Twitter, posting a photo of his face superimposed on the Michael Jordan’s “And I Took That Personally” meme, and proving he’s already more fluent in social media than Mather could ever become.

Still, Mather’s message here contains, in the most charitable interpretation, xenophobic undertones. It’s also unambiguously cheap.

If a Latin American player, signed at 16, arrives in the majors speaking sub-par English, that’s the club’s fault. On language, MLB clubs have three options. They can invest in English instruction, so high school-age pros from overseas transition more smoothly to the U.S. They can also ante up for translators to help players uncomfortable doing business in English navigate interviews and meetings. Or they can pay whatever the inevitable communication breakdowns cost in poor play and sour relationships.

These are all expenses that come with international business. None of it is free.

And $ 75,000 for Iwakuma’s interpreter? Pocket change for a club valued at $ 1.6 billion. The team might spend more every year keeping the dugouts stocked with chewing gum and sunflower seeds.

‘Unfiltered look into club thinking’

Mather’s rant and the fallout from it – the rapid negative reaction and his subsequent resignation – highlight a tone-deafness no organization wants associated with it. They also reflect a profound misunderstanding of the modern media environment, where all mics are hot and all online presentations are just a few clicks from going viral.

The players’ association issued a statement calling Mather’s comments “a highly disturbing yet critically important window into how Players are genuinely viewed by management… It represents an unfiltered look into club thinking.”

From a public relations standpoint, Mather messed up the messaging. But from a baseball industry perspective, the message itself was tame. Yes, when discussing Iwakuma and Rodriguez, he could have made the racial coding tougher to decipher. But the cheapness driving a team president to gripe about a translator’s five-figure salary is mainstream in MLB, where extreme cost-cutting, like advanced stats, is part of the modern industry.

Mariners outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic, seen during an intrasquad game in 2020, was one of the players former club CEO Kevin Mather spoke about when referencing the topic of service time manipulation. (Elaine Thompson/The Associated Press)

Mather isn’t, after all, the first high-level executive to approve of baseball-side decision-makers engaging in “service-time manipulation,” intentionally keeping MLB-ready players in the minors longer than necessary. By delaying a future star’s salary arbitration by a year, teams hope to scavenge a season of prime production at a rock-bottom, rookie contract price.

The Blue Jays took heat after starting the 2019 season with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in Buffalo, where the blue-chip prospect put on nightly hitting clinics, batting .343 with a 1.013 OPS in 39 career games for the Bisons.

Last year Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant filed a grievance, hoping to regain the season of service time he contended the team cost him by delaying his promotion to the majors. That he lost the case didn’t matter. Service time suppression is an open secret in Major League Baseball, and one more issue over which ownership and the players’ union will grapple as they try to hammer out a new collective agreement.

“It’s pretty annoying and frustrating,” said Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo to reporters asking him about Mather and service time manipulation. “I’m glad it’s out there in the public now and people can see how it is.”

In a subsequent video news conference, Mariners chairman John Stanton told reporters that Mather, as president, didn’t make personnel decisions, like which players got promoted, and when. The statement is correct, but not as reassuring as Stanton thinks it is to spectators who just want to know the Mariners intend to put the best possible team on the field this year.

Left unsaid is that the decision to save a few dollars by letting top prospects languish in the minors came not from the president, but from baseball operations people, who all remain with the club after Mather’s departure. So, whoever replaces Mather might find $ 75,000 to pay a translator, or congratulate Rodriguez for learning English.

But the new president doesn’t have to oppose service time manipulation, which, by now, is a standard tactic. They just have to be sharp enough not to admit to it in public.

WATCH | Bring It In: Final installment of Black History Month Book Club:

Morgan Campbell is joined by Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin in the season 1 finale, for the final volume of Bring It In’s Black History Month book club. 8:52

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CBC | Sports News

Biden team sees Huawei as a threat and wants to talk to allies

This story is part of Watching Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News correspondents reporting on U.S. politics and developments that affect Canadians.

What’s new

The U.S. has a different administration, with the same view on Huawei: The Biden administration considers the Chinese telecom giant to be a national-security threat that will require international cooperation with allies.

That view was made clear in the release of written statements from President Joe Biden’s pick for commerce secretary, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo.

As part of her Senate confirmation process, Raimondo was pressed to deliver answers in writing to Republicans demanding clarity on her policies regarding Huawei.

She replied that she sees no reason to remove it and other Chinese tech companies from a U.S. restrictions list; said she did not want untrusted Chinese companies in American networks; and planned to work with allied countries on the issue.

“With respect to Huawei, let me be clear: telecommunications equipment made by untrusted vendors is a threat to the security of the U.S. and our allies,” she said in response to a written question from Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. 

“We will ensure that American telecommunications networks do not use equipment from untrusted vendors and will work with allies to secure their telecommunications networks and make investments to expand the production of telecommunications equipment by trusted U.S. and allied companies. 

“In addition, Huawei’s ties to China’s military, human right abuses, and theft of intellectual property have rightly been a source of bipartisan concern, regulatory action, and legislation in the United States and among U.S. partners and allies.”

How it affects Canada

This exchange makes clear Canada still faces pressure to take a stand on Huawei following the change in U.S. administration.

Canada is the only allied Five Eyes country without a formal policy to ban or restrict Huawei from the next-generation 5G network.  

Gov. Gina Raimondo, Biden’s pick for commerce secretary, is seen here meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his 2017 visit to her state of Rhode Island. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

The Trudeau Liberals have held off on any public announcement of a 5G policy, even after the House of Commons passed a motion last year demanding clarity within 30 days.

The issue carries a variety of implications — national security; commercial; and diplomatic, given current tensions between Canada and China, where two Canadians are currently imprisoned on espionage charges.

Amid the public silence from Ottawa, some major Canadian telecoms companies have already said they will simply exclude Huawei from their 5G network. They have also warned, however, that a formal ban could require a costly removal of older equipment and have suggested they would demand compensation from the Canadian government.

What’s next

Raimondo offered less clarity on another issue of major international attention: steel and aluminum tariffs.

She was asked several times for an opinion on the Trump administration’s aggressive use of tariffs on the grounds of national security; she said the new administration was reviewing past tariff policies. 

Raimondo was non-committal on whether steel and aluminum tariffs would change. Canada had its own tariffs removed, but in the final weeks of the Trump administration was told they could be re-imposed in the event of a surge in Canadian metals exports to the U.S.

Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor (right) were arrested by China in the wake of charges against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, and remain detained. (The Canadian Press/The Associated Press)

She was clearer when asked about the ongoing softwood-lumber dispute with Canada, which faces duties on log exports to the U.S.

Raimondo said she would vigorously enforce U.S. trade laws, including the duties on Canada, which has been accused for decades by the U.S. — and has denied — that it unfairly subsidizes producers of lumber and exports it at below-market prices.

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CBC | World News

Quebec wants travellers returning from holidays abroad to test negative for COVID-19 before boarding planes

Travellers planning to return home to Quebec after holidaying abroad should face strict measures, including being tested for COVID-19 before hopping on a flight home and once again upon their arrival, the provincial health minister announced today.

This comes after Quebec recorded 2,381 new cases on Tuesday, along with 64 new deaths.

Saying the situation in Quebec hospitals is “critical,” particularly in the Montreal area, Christian Dubé announced he is asking the federal government for a series of measures to prevent travellers from spreading COVID-19 after returning to Quebec. They inlcude:

  • People returning to Quebec should be tested for COVID-19 before boarding their flight and not be allowed on a plane if they test positive for the virus.

  • Travellers should be subjected to rapid testing upon their arrival at international airports, such as Jean Lesage in Quebec City and Pierre Elliott Trudeau in Montreal. 

  • Dubé has also asked the federal government to tighten the enforcement of quarantine measures for travellers who have returned.

Dubé said Quebec and Ottawa “agree on these measures,” but that they are in negotiation about a timeline for implementing them. 

“If it was up to me, we would do it as of tomorrow morning,” the health minister said. “But we are in discussion with the federal government and we will continue those discussions over the next few hours.”

WATCH | Why Quebec’s health minister wants Ottawa to apply stricter rules for travellers:

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé is asking the federal government to ramp up measures for travelers returning to Canada. 1:21

Dubé said the new rules are necessary to avoid the surge in cases that occurred last spring in Quebec, where spring-break travellers brought the coronavirus home from abroad and Quebec experienced the worst caseloads in the country.

“The images we’ve seen of travellers down south are shocking for everybody, especially for those following the rules and the health-care workers,” Dubé said. “We have to remember what’s happening here.”

Dubé was referring to photos on social media of maskless Quebecers dining out, dancing and drinking in close proximity to other people at resorts.

Last Thursday, the Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS) published projections about hospital needs, indicating that Quebec hospitals could run out of beds by mid-January.

 “We will go beyond our capacity and half of the designated beds are already taken up,” Dubé said. “We have to remember why we are making these sacrifices.” 

The risks of travel

Dubé warned the costs of contracting COVID-19 while abroad — or of breaking rules here — could be very steep.

He said Quebecers who test positive for COVID-19 at a foreign airport will have to find hotels to stay in and pay the cost themselves before they can return home.

He also said Quebec has no intention of going beyond standard reimbursement for health care abroad, and that travellers will have to hope their private travel insurance covers any hospitalization or medical care because RAMQ coverage is “minimal.”

The health minister also reminded Quebecers that the fines for disobeying quarantine rules once back in Canada range from $ 800 to $ 750,000.

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CBC | Health News

B.C. couple wants to put Portugal on curling map

Standing on the pebbled ice inside a Nanaimo curling club, April Gale-Seixeiro was marvelling at her husband’s newly minted Portuguese curling jacket.

“There’s Steve in this beautiful Portugal jacket and I’m thinking this is not where I expected my life to lead me but holy crap this is incredible,” April told CBC Sports.

Steve Seixiero, of Portuguese descent and a hockey-loving Canadian, was also in awe of his curling jacket and how he got to this point. 

“I was thinking the jackets look pretty sweet,” he said. “They looked better than I anticipated because I helped design them.”

A Portuguese curling couple inside a rink in Nanaimo, B.C., is not something you hear every day. But if these two have it their way, they’re going to put the soccer-crazed nation on the curling map. 

“They’ve been trying to build their winter programs over the last few years,” Steve said. “There’s no curling rink in —Portugal  or curlers.”

April and Steve, who are both nearly 50, want to change that. 

It’s their hope to qualify Portugal for the mixed doubles world championship next spring. But how they both got to this point is rather remarkable. 

“I fell in love with curling in Grade 8 on a school team in Thunder Bay,” April said.

Gale-Seixeiro grew up in northern Ontario with curling in her blood. (Submitted by Steve Seixiero)

Roaring game

Growing up in northern Ontario the roaring game was in her blood. Steve’s experience couldn’t have been more different.

“I had actually never heard of curling before. I was always a hockey fan. I had never watched curling on TV. I never saw it until April started it,” he said.

His parents immigrated to Canada in the late-1960s — a Portuguese family that loved soccer and was completely unaware of curling’s existence.

Steve and April met during frosh week while studying at the University of Waterloo. They married shortly after graduating. Life took them both to Seattle in 1995 — Steve got a job at Microsoft. 

When they first arrived April searched desperately for a curling club in the American city. 

“There was another Canadian who always wanted to curl. We looked in the Yellow Pages for a curling rink. We thought there would be three or four clubs,” April said. “They didn’t have curling clubs in the Yellow Pages.”

They eventually found a club. April joined a league and immediately immersed herself in the Seattle curling scene and Steve also became interested. 

“The first time I tried curling I was adamant it wasn’t for me. I was a hockey player,” he said. “I thought it was just a social game. There was a lot of drinking afterwards.”

Steve and April have no qualms about competing against each other. (Submitted by Steve Seixiero)

Competitive couple

Competitive to a fault, Steve kept trying and eventually got quite good at the game. April and Steve played on the same team, mixed doubles and mixed teams, before realizing they enjoyed playing against each other a lot more.

They’d eventually move back to Canada, settling in Nanaimo in 2017. That’s when they noticed a post on Facebook from a Portugal Curling group account. 

“They put out a message saying they were going to start their own curling program and get people from Portugal to curl,” Steve said. “They kept talking about it as if they were going to do their own homegrown thing.”

There isn’t a single curling rink in all of Portugal but there are plans to one day build one in Lisbon.

The organizers never did end up attracting any homegrown Portuguese curlers. So they then put out a call to any curlers around the world who have Portuguese citizenship. Steve and April jumped at the opportunity. 

“We reached out to them and I didn’t hear back from them for maybe a couple weeks,” Steve said. “Then they wanted to talk to me. We did a skype call with the president of their winter federation.”

It turned out to be a job interview Steve and April weren’t fully prepared for in Portuguese, and by the end of the call they were almost a lock for being Portugal’s mixed doubles team. 

And the curing couple wasn’t about to say no. 

“To get to help a new country and one that’s so near and dear to both of us help them build their program, how wonderful is that?” April said. 

Steve, who is now a curling photographer, shares his wife’s sentiments.

“The sport is more than a nation. It’s a community. Having more people join that community is a good thing. It helps with diversity. It helps with interest and keeps that sport alive.”

Seixiero took photographs at the 2018 men’s world curling championship in Las Vegas. (Submitted by Richard Gray )

Familiar names

It wasn’t long after the original skype call with the president of the federation that April and Steve found themselves on an official selection call with Portugal’s curling federation — and another group of curlers. 

Not long into the call Steve noticed the names of one of the curlers on the call. 

“I saw this name and recognized it as one of the families we would hang out with as kids,” Steve said. “Joe Ribau — I sent a message to him asking if there was any relation to the Ribau family in Oakville.”

As it turns out, Steve and Joe grew up two houses apart from each other on a street in Oakville. Joe’s mother babysat Steve. And now they were on a call some four decades later preparing to represent Portugal in curling. 

Joe’s three children will form the other part of this mixed Portuguese curling team.

“In Portuguese culture family is very important,” April said. “So this seems all very fitting.”

To that end, April is in the final stages of securing her Portuguese citizenship so that she can compete with her husband at next year’s mixed doubles qualifier. 

“We’re going to train our hearts out – off the ice too,” she said. “I’m not Portuguese in my blood but I’m Portuguese in my heart.”

They’re being realistic about their goals — they’d need a top-four finish at the international event next December to advance to the world championship.

“Competing for Portugal was the first goal,” Steve said. “I think a long-term goal is to have homegrown curlers compete for the country.”

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CBC | Sports News

Vancouver Mayor wants Indigenous leaders to head possible 2030 Olympic bid

It was during one of the early planning sessions for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics that Chief Gibby Jacob heard a provincial government official talking about the Callahan Valley, which would eventually host cross-country skiing and ski jumping during the Games.

Jacob, who participated in the bidding process for the Olympics and was a member of the Games organizing committee board, finally put up his hand.

“I asked who the hell is this Callahan and how the hell did he get his name on our lands,” the Squamish Nation hereditary chief said with a chuckle. “They all looked at each other. I said find out and let us know.”

It turns out the Callahan Valley, located near Whistler, B.C., was named after one of the early surveyors in the region.

“That was the start of our big push to get our names back on places,” said Jacob.

Indigenous groups had a voice in organizing and hosting the 2010 Games. But Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has suggested any movement to bring another Games to the city should be headed by Indigenous leaders.

In early November, Vancouver city council voted to postpone a decision on whether it wants to explore making a bid. City staff are expected to present a report to council in early 2021.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart is seen above speaking during a press conference on July 4, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Stewart has said one of his conditions for supporting a bid is that the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh — the three Indigenous First Nations whose traditional territory includes Vancouver — head the Olympic bid committee.

“I have talked to the Nations about this and there’s interest there,” the Vancouver Sun reported Stewart saying in a state-of-the-city address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

Emails to Stewart’s office asking to explain the mayor’s proposal were not immediately answered.

Khelsilem, a councillor with the Squamish Nation Council, isn’t aware of any formal talks about leading a bid.

“We haven’t had any formal discussion about it,” he said. “We haven’t made any formal decision about whether we want or don’t want. And we haven’t had any formal discussions with our neighbouring nations.”

Representatives of the Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh did not respond to interview requests.

Khelsilem said before any decision is made, the pros and cons of hosting an Olympics must be weighed.

“The reality is that something like hosting an Olympics requires a significant amount of investment and support from both the federal and provincial governments,” he said. “While there are a number of reported advantages, there’s also a number of drawbacks.

“I think a lot of that workflow needs to be figured out, especially in the context of the challenges that we’re going to face over the next decade and the challenges that we’re facing on a number of fronts.”

Furthermore, Jacob said: “there’s a lot to be gained by being involved [in a bid] for our people.”

“I don’t think that our nations, given what we have as far as leadership resources and how fast they seem to change, would be able to take things right from scratch to completion,” he said.

Creating a common agenda

With 15 of the venues used for the 2010 Olympics built on First Nation traditional territories, Indigenous support was crucial for the Games success. The Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Lil’Wat nations formed The Four Host First Nations, a non-profit organization with the goals of uniting Canada’s Indigenous people and encouraging inclusion across the country.

“I think it created a common agenda,” said Jacob. “By doing that and achieving what we set out, it was totally outstanding.

“I think it showed leadership that the four separate First nations could work together for a common purpose and get benefits from it.”

WATCH | President of 2010 Games says Vancouver should bid for 2030:

John Furlong claims that Vancouver has a solid head start on a potential bid for the 2030 Winter Olympic Games. 0:40

Involvement in the Games raised awareness of Indigenous issues across Canada, he said.

“When we first started out, we were pretty invisible in our own territories,” said Jacob.

Indigenous groups did “fairly well in compensation for the use of our lands,” he said. The Olympics also led to traditional Indigenous names being returned to locations and landmarks plus recognition of First Nation arts and culture.

John Furlong, who was head of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), is part of the group looking at the 2030 Games. He said any bid would be impossible without Indigenous participation.

“I see no scenario at all in which First Nations are not involved,” he said. “They were a difference maker in 2010.

“First Nations are in multiple new business since 2010. My instincts tell me they will be keenly interested in being involved again.”

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CBC | Sports News

AMD Wants to Prevent Bots and Scalpers From Wrecking Ryzen 5000, Radeon Launches

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Bots and scalpers have been a problem at all of the major tech launches this year, to the general dismay of people who want to buy products at the price they’re actually supposed to sell for. AMD hasn’t said much publicly about what it plans to do about the bot problem, but a leaked document sheds light on what the company is doing behind the scenes.

AMD has apparently sent a letter to multiple retail partners with a list of suggested best practices, including bot detection, CAPTCHA implementations, and purchase limits (AMD suggests customers be limited to one GPU per user, and that the store monitor all orders for duplicate names, addresses, or email addresses). It also recommends that stores switch to manual order processing and verification on the day of launch to prevent automated systems from letting bots through previously undetected gaps.

In addition to these steps, AMD recommends not allocating a GPU in inventory until an order has actually been submitted, or setting a time limit on how long a customer can hold an item in their cart before it is made available to the general pool. Stores should also limit the number of cards they sell to commercial resellers over this time period, to keep more stock available in-channel. The letter ends with a request that stores reach out to their AMD representatives in order to review which solutions will work for their business.

These are exactly the kinds of security practices stores should practice to fend off bots and scalpers. Now that bots are proliferating across e-commerce, we need companies to adopt validation procedures that maximize the chance that limited launch hardware winds up in the hands of those who intend to buy it, rather than those attempting to make a quick buck. What was previously a tolerable irritant has become a problem that threatens to swamp the entire market. This isn’t good for anyone.

Nvidia has taken steps to improve its own store as a result of the RTX 3080 launch disaster and we can see that AMD is working with store owners to lock things down before its own launch day. Any vendor planning to sell the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 had best be paying attention to this problem unless they want to see their entire stock of hardware vanish in seconds, only to reappear on eBay next week for 3x the original price.

Will they be enough? That’s anyone’s guess. A lot of these bots aren’t free, and they aren’t a one-and-done purchase, either. There’s a monthly fee if you want access to a bot, and it isn’t cheap ($ 75 per month was quoted in connection with the RTX 3080 issues). These developers don’t want to see their cash cow evaporate, and the people who have earned themselves a pretty penny this way don’t want to be prevented from ripping more people off. Bots are likely here to stay. The good news is, a lot of the best solutions are pretty low-tech. Manual order verification and order limits aren’t a guaranteed solution to this problem, but they’re options that ought to be available to any company on relatively short notice.

It’s in the best interest of companies to deal with this problem. If the issue gets bad enough, companies with a retail channel presence such as AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Sony, and Microsoft will feel they have no choice but to preferentially deal with those stores willing to invest in anti-bot security. Would-be buyers are well aware, at this point, of how the gouging game is played — and that there are ways for stores to protect their inventories from predation. The stores that put product in the hands of those who want to use it will be the stores that win business, long term.

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Trudeau says the federal government wants fixes, not control, of long-term care system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has no intention of trying to assert federal jurisdiction over long-term care facilities but still believes there is a role for Ottawa to play in fixing the country’s troubled nursing homes. 

Trudeau is pushing the provinces to agree to harmonize minimum standards for long-term care so that vulnerable seniors are protected and cared-for well no matter where they live. 

“This is a moment for us to step up and reassure Canadians that their loved ones, that they themselves as they advance in age, won’t be left aside, won’t be made vulnerable,” Trudeau said Friday. 

Trudeau met with the premiers by phone about the issue Thursday. 

The Canada Health Act does not govern long-term-care homes, and their existence and operation are entirely up to each province, a fact Trudeau said he fully recognizes. 

“Obviously, I respect provincial jurisdiction in running those institutions,” he said. “But we’ve seen that those institutions haven’t done a good enough job in this pandemic particularly, but in a long-standing challenge.” 

He said his proposal for “national norms” wouldn’t mean a top-down approach from Ottawa, dictating what provinces must do on long-term care. 

Rather, he said provinces that have done better can share what worked with their counterparts, and all can commit to reaching minimum basic care standards on their own. 

“We’ve seen varied outcomes in various provinces around our seniors and I think every Canadian can understand how important it is to make sure that all of our vulnerable senior citizens are properly protected, regardless of which province or territory they happen to live in,” he said. 

Provincial governments are wary of federal intrusions, with Quebec Premier Francois Legault warning the prime minister before Thursday’s meeting that he was “playing with fire” and suggesting Ottawa intervening in long-term care would be akin to Quebec trying to make up rules about the Canadian border. 

The second wave

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed serious problems in care homes across the country, with overcrowded conditions, underpaid staff with high turnover, staff levels too low to provide adequate care and very limited infection control. 

In the spring, the federal government sent in the military to help replace staff at dozens of homes in Quebec and Ontario that could not cope with the pandemic. 

Subsequent reports to the government from the military exposed horrific conditions in some of those homes, including COVID-19 patients not isolated from non-infected residents, cockroach infestations, rotting food and patients left in soiled clothing. 

In the first wave of the pandemic, long-term-care residents accounted for about 20 per cent of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 — and 80 per cent of the deaths. Some homes saw more than one-third of their residents die. 

In Ontario, nearly 2,000 long-term-care residents have died of COVID-19, and eight long-term care workers. 

The infection rate slowed over the summer, but as the second wave began to explode this fall, long-term-care homes are starting to get hit again. 

One care home in Ottawa saw 100 residents infected and 15 die of COVID-19 in September. The provinces have asked for a massive increase in federal health transfers, including to help improve long-term care, but with few if any federal strings attached.

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Why Kamala Harris wants a plexiglass barrier at tonight’s U.S. vice-presidential debate

Now that the global pandemic has been thrust back onto centre stage of the American presidential election, Democrats intend to keep the focus there.


The party has requested that a plexiglass barrier be erected on stage between Democrat Kamala Harris and Republian Mike Pence when the vice-presidential candidates debate Wednesday night.

Republican staff eye-rolled at the idea: “If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it,” Pence spokesperson Katie Miller was quoted telling Politico.

There are two good reasons why Democrats want that glass there. And why Republicans aren’t as keen.

For starters, there’s epidemiological safety.

The novel coronavirus has ripped through the administration’s ranks, adding more White House staffers to the list on a daily basis and fraying nerves across Washington.

The virus has struck both the above-quoted staffer Katie Miller, and, in the last few days, her husband, White House aide and immigration hardliner Stephen Miller.  

Just last week Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was standing on a debate stage with President Donald Trump, shortly before Trump announced he’d contracted the illness.

White House senior advisor Stephen Miller, seen here in July, on Tuesday became the latest staffer to publicly reveal he had COVID-19. ( Tom Brenner/Reuters)

Biden called his opponent’s behaviour irresponsible. After the debate, he told an NBC town hall how he noticed the president’s entourage gathered indoors without masks.

“It was a little disconcerting to look out and see that, his whole section, no one had masks on,” Biden said.

“Look, anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying, ‘Masks don’t matter. Social distancing doesn’t matter,’ I think is responsible for what happens to them.”

Advantage Democrats

Trump has never actually said those things. He has, however, avoided wearing masks in public — and occasionally teased people who do, including Biden.

He has also hosted political events believed to have contributed to the spread, where people avoided wearing masks and socialized in close quarters.

Now he’s complaining Democrats spend too much time talking about the virus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and sent him to hospital.

And that points to the second reason Democrats want to elevate this issue in the final weeks of a campaign: political advantage.

Polling data consistently shows Trump getting lower marks for his handling of the virus. 

Trump left hospital and filmed a video at the White House in which he told Americans “don’t be afraid” of the virus, and urged them to “get out there.” (Erin Scott/Reuters)

“It weighs on the Trump-Pence ticket constantly,” said David Byler, a data analyst and columnist at the Washington Post.

Trump has tried to move the election focus elsewhere — street violence, radical leftists, China, the Supreme Court, anywhere but that virus.

His effort was complicated by the fact that he, personally, was flown to and from hospital by helicopter and briefly given supplemental oxygen.

Biden keeps pushing the issue to the fore, for instance encouraging national rules for mask-wearing.

And time is running low for Trump to flip the campaign script.

WATCH | How will Trump cope with COVID-19 now that he’s back in the White House:

Former assistant U.S. surgeon general Dr. Ali S. Khan and infectious disease specialist Dr. Susy Hota discuss President Donald Trump’s release from hospital following treatment for COVID-19, including what treatments or symptoms could be next and if there should be concern for those around Trump. 6:06

Bruising batch of polls for Trump 

The president has gotten brutal polling numbers lately, including some showing double-digit deficits nationally and in the critical state of Pennsylvania.   

It’s a bit early to gauge the effect of his illness on public opinion, but Biden’s margins inched up nationally by several points after last week’s first presidential debate, and he gained a bit of ground in Florida, too.

Byler said Biden appears to have received a post-debate bump of a couple of percentage points — what’s less clear is whether the bump will last.

He said one possibility is the gap will revert to the norm, meaning a decent national lead for Biden with tighter margins in key states, making the race too close to safely predict.

Another possibility? “This is blastoff time, and it becomes a true [Biden] landslide.” 

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence and U.S. Sen. and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris will debate each other Wednesday night, starting at 9 p.m. ET. CBCNews.ca will stream the debate live. (Martin H. Simon, David Becker/Getty Images )

He’s skeptical tonight’s debate will affect the race. Vice-presidential debates tend to have smaller audiences than presidential debates, and research from past elections shows little evidence of an impact.

VP debates have little impact

The Gallup polling company said in 2012 that none of the eight previous vice-presidential debates occurring since 1976 meaningfully altered voter preferences.

Might it be different this time? 

Given the age of the two presidential candidates – Trump is 74 and Biden is 77 – there are higher-than-usual odds of Pence or Harris being elevated to the top job.

Vice-presidential debates have tended to get lower ratings (except 2008), and haven’t had much electoral impact. (Pew Research)

“I’m doubtful,” said Daron Shaw, a Republican pollster, university professor and co-director of the Fox News poll. 

“I don’t know that the … ballot margin has ever moved more than one point in response to a VP debate. …  This race has been defined throughout by attitudes towards President Trump, and I expect that to continue.”

That doesn’t mean a vice-presidential debate can’t be informative. They sometimes tell an interesting tale about the state of American politics.

Pence’s staunch defence of Trump in 2016 foreshadowed how establishment Republicans would eventually rally around the then-party outsider.

Tonight, on a stage in Utah, he’ll be nearly four metres away from Harris. And she’s demanded that they be separated by a glass shield.

WATCH | See how Pence fared in his last vice-presidential debate in 2016— against Democratic opponent Tim Kaine:

VP candidates on Donald Trump releasing his tax returns 1:07

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CBC | World News

Kate Middleton Reveals the Major Social Distancing Rule Prince Louis Always Wants to Break

Kate Middleton Reveals the Major Social Distancing Rule Prince Louis Always Wants to Break | Entertainment Tonight

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