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Tony Bussey’s wildfire weight loss detailed in new book

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Tony Bussey is staying slim, promoting his new independently published book Through Thick and Thin: How the Wildfire was a Wake-Up Call to Transform my Life!

Bussey lost 335 pounds after needing a second plane seat to escape the Fort McMurray wildfire in May 2016.

He shared his story with media — even earning CBC NL’s most-read title for 2018 — but felt he still had more to tell.

“I’ve given a few interviews and I’ve loved every one of them,” he said. “But I wanted people to really understand what it was like to be that size.”

Bussey used to wear size 66 pants. (Submitted)

“The reason I want people to understand that is because there’s somebody out there right now that is dealing with that … and there’s no worse feeling then feeling like you’re completely alone and that there’s nobody that can relate to you.”

Amazon bestseller

Bussey chronicled his weight loss journey with co-author Mark Griffin and released the book Jan. 6. The book is one of the top sellers in the Natural Disasters category on Amazon.

The title “just popped into his head,” one night, he said.

“It just seemed to match everything I was going through, for all of those years and stuff, and I said, ‘That’s it. That’s the one right there.'”

Bussey’s book — the Kindle version and the paperback — has been doing well in Amazon’s natural disasters category. (Amazon.ca)

Over 280 pages, Bussey details everything that went into losing half his body weight — from struggling to put on socks when he weighted 567 pounds to what things are like now.

“It’s freedom,” he said. “I am not trapped in that body anymore.”

Bussey lost the weight through diet and exercise.

Bussey lost 326 pounds in two years, after his experience fleeing the Fort McMurray wildfire inspired him to change. (Submitted)

He walks an hour and a half a day and hasn’t had any junk food since the evacuation, more than two and a half years ago. 

Since the release of his book, he’s been in Toronto on a media tour, hitting national talk shows and trying to spread word that it’s never too late to start improving one’s health.

“If it’s just one person in the next 40 years can see this story and change their life, I’ll consider my life a success,” he said. “That’s what it’s about to me.”

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Federal Budget 2021: Ottawa adds $1B to broadband fund for rural, remote communities

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The federal government will add $1 billion to a fund for improving high-speed communications in rural and remote areas of Canada, bringing the total to $2.75 billion by 2026, the Liberals said Monday in their first full budget since the pandemic began last year.

The money is going to the Universal Broadband Fund, which is designed to support the installation of “backbone” infrastructure that connects underserved communities to high-speed internet.

It’s one of many government and private-sector initiatives that have gained urgency since the pandemic began, as Canadians became more dependent on internet service for applications ranging from e-learning to daily business operations.

Ottawa says the additional money will keep it on track to have high-speed broadband in 98 per cent of the country by 2026, and 100 per cent by 2030.

Money spent on high-speed communications will be good for a recovering economy, said Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, a non-partisan think-tank.

The latest data from Statistics Canada says there were about five million people working from home during the pandemic, up from about two million prior to that, Antunes said in an interview.

“That’s a quarter or so of the workforce,” he added. “And I think a fair number of those people are going to continue to work from home, at least in some part-time way.”

Improved connections to high-speed broadband and mobile communications will add to the productive capacity of the economy overall, especially as it reaches beyond Canada’s cities, Antunes said.

He said there’s been a “real issue” with economic growth outside major urban centres and the improved connectivity “is something that can help stimulate that.”

The Universal Broadband Fund was initially mentioned in the 2019 budget, though specifics were not available until last November’s fiscal update.

The $1-billion top-up to the broadband fund announced today is in addition to $1.75 billion promised to the fund by the federal government’s November fiscal update.

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COVID-19: What you need to know for April 19

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Provincewide

  • Per today’s government report, there are 4,447 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 421,442 since the pandemic began; 2,202 people are in hospital, 755 of them in intensive care, and 516 on ventilators. To date, 7,735 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 40 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 36 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 127 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,755 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government’s report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 7 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 66,897 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 3,904,778 since December 2020. 3,212,768 people have received only one dose, and 346,005 people have received both doses.

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Federal budget 2021 highlights: Child care, recovery benefits, OAS increases – everything you need to know

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The federal government’s first budget in more than two years certainly looks the part: At 739 pages, it is a hefty document chock full of billions in new spending.

Those funds will be spread among a number of key groups – students, seniors, parents and small-business owners, to name a few – as Ottawa looks to bolster Canada’s recovery from COVID-19 but also plan for life beyond the pandemic.

To that end, the deficit is projected to hit $354.2-billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which just ended – better than expected about five months ago, given the economy’s resilience over the winter months. It is estimated to fall to $154.7-billion this fiscal year, before dropping further in the years to come as pandemic spending recedes from view.

Here are some of the highlights from Monday’s budget.

The budget outlines tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies for a national child-care program, a promise the Liberal Party has made in some form since the early 1990s. Child-care supports became a point of national debate during pandemic lockdowns as parents with young children struggled to juggle work and family responsibilities.

In total, the government proposes spending as much as $30-billion over the next five years, and $8.3-billion each year after that, to bring child-care fees down to a $10-a-day average by 2026. The proposal, which requires negotiation with the provinces and territories, would split subsidies evenly with those governments and targets a 50-per-cent reduction in average child-care fees by the end of 2022.

The federal program is largely modelled on Quebec’s subsidized child-care system, implemented in the 1990s in an effort to increase women’s access to the labour market. Since then, labour participation rates for women aged 25 to 54 in the province have grown to exceed the national average by four percentage points.

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