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Netflix time-travel series uses images from Lac-Mégantic rail disaster

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“Nuclear explosion in London,” reads the banner on a televised newscast in the Netflix original series Travelers, as smoke fills the sky above fiery wreckage.

But the scene is not fictional — it’s real-life footage of the 2013 rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Que., that killed 47 people and destroyed the centre of the town.

Guillaume Bouchard pulled out his phone while he was watching the show to double-check that what he was seeing were indeed the images from one of the deadliest rail accidents in Canadian history.

“I said to myself, ‘It can’t be. They couldn’t have done that,'” he told Radio-Canada.

Bouchard took to Facebook to see if anyone else noticed the resemblance.

“It must be someone’s job to verify where the images come from,” he said.

The images from Lac-Mégantic only appear for a few seconds, but Bouchard hopes their use will prompt Netflix and the show’s producers to be more careful.

Production company apologizes

Travelers is a time-travel sci-fi drama made by Canadian and American creators. It is available for streaming on Netflix and broadcast in Canada on Showcase.

Toronto production company Peacock Alley Entertainment said the images were purchased from an archival footage service, and it should not have used them.

“We were not aware where these images were from,” said Peacock Alley president Carrie Mudd in an email to Radio-Canada. “We sincerely apologize.”

The company said it would edit a new version of the episode.

Netflix declined an interview request from Radio-Canada but said it would update the episode to remove any footage from the disaster.

Lac-Mégantic Mayor Julie Morin says she is satisfied with the decision.

“The good news is that the producer reacted quickly,” she said, adding that the use of the footage showed a lack of respect for grieving families.

Robert Bellefleur, a member of a citizens’ coalition advocating for rail safety in Lac-Mégantic, set up in the wake of the disaster, said seeing the footage brings back painful memories for residents of the town.

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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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