Displaying items by tag: Canada
New assisted suicide legislation in Scotland would open a 'Pandora's Box', according to disability policy advisor Dr Miro Griffiths. He says that the proposals being brought forward by Liam McArthur MSP 'represent a dangerous idea that would see the vulnerable and marginalised in society placed at risk of irreversible harm'. Dr Griffiths spoke about his own experience of living with disabilities: ‘My strength, respiratory functioning, and swallowing will continue to deteriorate. I require a power wheelchair, 24-hour personal assistance, and various medical interventions every day. I hope readers will realise that I, and many others in my community, approach this issue in a way that others in society will not.’ Canada legalised assisted suicide and euthanasia in 2016; within five years, the law was expanded and key safeguards were removed. There has been a tenfold rise in assisted suicides since the law was changed. Dr Griffiths concluded by saying that a change in the law was simply too dangerous, especially in the context of stretched public services.
Wab Kinew has been elected as the premier of the Canadian province of Manitoba, becoming the first First Nations leader to hold the post. This comes after his left-of-centre New Democratic Party (NDP) won 34 seats out of 57 in elections held this week. Kinew is the son of a chief from First Nations land in the neighbouring province of Ontario. His father was a professor at the University of Winnipeg. Becoming leader of Manitoba is especially significant because indigenous Canadians were not allowed to vote until 1960, and some rights were not fully recognised until 1982. In his victory speech, Kinew said: ‘That is a testament to our province and country moving forward. Long way to go, but you cannot tell me that we haven’t made progress.’ He has promised to fix healthcare, make people’s lives more affordable, and invest in more social housing.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau has apologised for giving a standing ovation to a war veteran who served in the Nazi Waffen-SS during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Canada. Yaroslav Hunka, a 98-year-old Ukrainian veteran, was applauded by the House of Commons, who were unaware of his Nazi past. House speaker Anthony Rota later apologised for introducing him for applause, calling it a mistake. Trudeau condemned Rota's actions and described the incident as deeply embarrassing for the parliament of Canada and all Canadians. Jewish and Holocaust education organisations raised concerns about the celebration of a Nazi veteran. Rota, who accepted full responsibility for his actions, extended his apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. The incident occurred after Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivered a speech seeking support from Western allies. Hunka's Nazi unit has been accused of committing crimes against Polish and Jewish civilians during the Holocaust.
Canada's high commission in India has said that it has decided to ‘adjust’ staff presence in the country temporarily after some diplomats received threats on social media platforms, adding to spiralling tensions between the two countries. The statement from the high commission came soon after an Indian company published a notice that it was suspending visa services for Canadian citizens. Tensions between the two countries escalated earlier this week when Canada said that it was ‘actively pursuing credible allegations’ linking Indian government agents to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia in June. Prime minister Narendra Modi's government has categorically rejected the claims. With both nations expelling a diplomat each, and India urging its nationals in Canada to ‘exercise caution’, relations between the two countries have touched the lowest point.
The first translation of the Bible into the Mohawk language has been published in Canada. Portions of the Bible in Mohawk were published in 1715 in a book of Morning and Evening Prayer, but this is the first time the entire Bible has been in print in the language indigenous to North America. Harvey Satewas Gabriel has studied his native language all his life and dedicated 40 years to his goal. In a recent interview, 84-year-old Harvey said, ‘You never get tired of working with the Word of God’. Translation of and engagement with the Scriptures is strategic and valuable for revitalising language and culture. The Canadian Bible Society hopes that having the whole Bible in print will make a positive contribution to the life of the Mohawk church.
An intense heatwave continues to swelter large swathes of the USA, with temperature records forecast to be broken from coast to coast. Millions of Americans have been urged to avoid going outside. It has been an extreme-weather summer across the continent: brutal heat, a barrage of tornadoes, flooding in the USA and unprecedented wildfires in Canada. Now the Biden administration has introduced an ‘all-of-society response’ to help manage a challenge that is only getting worse. Canada’s government has a strategy geared towards helping the most vulnerable, including older people, indigenous communities, inner-city residents and people who work outside. The US plans new research centres to help underserved communities prepare for future heatwaves, as well as work on a national strategy focused on equity and environmental justice. The administration also plans to gather mayors and indigenous leaders from across the country to meet emergency response officials to discuss what additional tools they may need. Please continue praying for over 140 million people still sizzling under heat alerts which will extend into August.
On 22 June, Rear Admiral Mauger of the US coastguard service confirmed that five parts of the Titan submersible vessel had been found. The debris indicated that the Titan had suffered a ‘catastrophic implosion’. It had gone missing on 18 June after setting off to explore the wreck of the Titanic. Despite great rescue efforts, hope had been fading of finding it and its five occupants, who had each paid $250,000 for the trip. Earlier, the vessel operator OceanGate said: ‘Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time.’ However, some commentators queried the wisdom of using an unlicensed vessel for such a dangerous trip.
New York air pollution is ‘hazardous’, in the Very Unhealthy category, with no end in sight for the thick smoke pouring south from more than 400 Canadian wildfires. At least 13 US states have air quality alerts issued, impacting approximately 115 million people. Experts said the pollution could persist into the weekend. There have been mass evacuations in Quebec province. Canadian officials warned that this could be the country’s worst wildfire season on record, with over 6.7 million acres already scorched. By 8 June hundreds of uncontrolled forest fires were threatening Canada’s critical infrastructure and forcing evacuations. Wildfires are common in Canada’s western provinces, but this year they rapidly spread east. About 9.4m acres have already burned. Canada’s wildfires are part of our new climate reality.
After days of wildfires, Halifax City declared a state of emergency and mandatory evacuations were ordered for 16,500 citizens. Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted ‘Nova Scotia’s wildfires are serious. We are ready to provide federal support and assistance.’ Halifax suburb citizens cannot return home until municipal authorities advise. Police are monitoring communities for thefts and suspicious activities. By May 30th, fires covered 43,095 acres, destroyed 200+ homes, and grew to the largest wildfires in Nova Scotia’s history. People who need to leave must bring pets, important documents, medication and food supplies. On June 1st, evacuations continued. People were told to have a bag packed and be ready to go at short notice. Forest technicians ask for patience from tens of thousands of residents awaiting news of their homes. 18,000+ people remain under the Halifax evacuation order. ‘We’ve got more fires than resources to support them. We are prioritising safety and human life ahead of infrastructure’. said the manager of forest protection.
As of 17 May, 88 wildfires were still burning across Alberta, and dozens more across British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Weeks of uncontrolled blazes have made air quality dangerously poor, changing the bluebird sky to an eerie orange glow. Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a special air quality statement as ‘very high risk’. Air quality is so poor that even those without pre-existing health conditions could have difficulty breathing, especially if doing strenuous activity outside. An Environment Canada meteorologist said, ‘It is potentially a really dangerous situation that everyone must take seriously’. Pray for children, older adults, and those with lung or heart conditions to be sensible and cautious and stay inside if breathing becomes difficult. Pray for healthy people to be aware of tell-tale symptoms such as sore throat, coughing, or being very tired or lethargic. Not feeling very good can even be attributed to air quality.