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Ottawa has met already with three-quarters of Indigenous communities during Trans Mountain consultation reboot

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The federal Liberal government says its consultation teams have met already with more than three-quarters of all Indigenous communities affected by the planned Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, according to the latest statistics supplied to CBC News.

The Crown consultation teams carrying out this work — there are more than 60 people working on the consultations — have reached out in some way to all 117 communities.

The teams, working under the direction of former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, have met face-to-face with 85 of the 117 communities as part of their effort to reboot the so-called Phase 3 consultation process with Indigenous peoples so the government can meet its constitutional duty to consult with them before making a final decision on whether to proceed with construction.

“It is a core responsibility of the federal government to help get our natural resources to market, but that is only possible if we achieve the required public trust by addressing environmental, Indigenous Peoples’ and local concerns,” a spokesperson for Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in a statement.

“Minister Sohi also continues to meet and build relationships with Indigenous communities along the route.”

Planned work on the new pipeline line was stalled last summer after the Federal Court of Appeal nullified licensing for the $7.4-billion expansion, quashed cabinet’s initial approval and halted further work — ordering Ottawa back to the consultation table with Indigenous peoples.

The court also demanded that Ottawa task the National Energy Board (NEB) with considering the impact that the expansion, and increased tanker traffic near the terminal in Burnaby, B.C., would have on local marine life — notably the Southern resident killer whale population. That environmental assessment is set to be released publicly by week’s end.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the Trans Mountain expansion is in the “best interest of all Canadians” and the government is committed to building the pipeline the “right way” to satisfy the court’s demands.

The author of the Federal Court of Appeal decision, Justice Eleanor Dawson, did not mince words in her ruling last August, describing the Trudeau government’s Phase 3 efforts as a “failure” — and using that word well over 100 times in a 272-page decision.

Dawson called previous federal consultants glorified “note-takers” who recorded concerns without acting. Iacobucci and his team will be empowered to turn feedback into action where possible.

The previous Crown consultation team believed, erroneously, that it could not add more conditions to the project than those the National Energy Board (NEB) already imposed as part of its Phase 2 consultation phase, the court found.

The court said that, for the consultation to be considered successful, the consultation teams must engage in meaningful, “two-way” dialogue between the Crown and affected Indigenous communities.

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Ottawa unveils funding for poultry and egg farmers hurt by free-trade deals

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Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share due to two recent free-trade agreements will soon have access to $691 million in federal cash, Canada’s agriculture minister announced Saturday.

Marie-Claude Bibeau shared details of the long-awaited funds in a virtual news conference.

“Today we position our young farmers for growth and success tomorrow,” she said.

The money follows a previously announced $1.75 billion for the dairy sector linked to free-trade deals with Europe and countries on the Pacific Rim, one that came into effect in 2017 and the other in 2018.

The dairy sector funds were to flow over eight years, and the first $345 million payment was sent out last year.

But on Saturday, Bibeau announced a schedule for the remaining payments that will see the money flow over three years — beginning with $468 million in 2020-21, $469 million in 2021-22 and $468 million in 2022-23.

Bibeau said the most recently announced funds for dairy farmers amount to an average farm of 80 cows receiving a direct payment of $38,000 in the first year.

Payments based on formulas

David Wiens, vice-president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said the money will help farms make investments for the future.

“I think particularly for the younger farmers who have really struggled since these agreements have been ratified, they can actually now see opportunities, how they can continue to make those investments on the farm so that they can continue on,” he said.

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Employee of Ottawa Metro store tests positive for COVID-19

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Metro says an employee of its grocery store on Beechwood Avenue in Ottawa has tested positive for COVID-19.

The company says the employee’s positive test result was reported on Nov. 25. The employee had last been at work at the Metro at 50 Beechwood Ave. on Nov. 19.

Earlier this month, Metro reported several cases of COVID-19 at its warehouse on Old Innes Road.

Positive test results were reported on Nov. 2, Nov. 6, Nov. 11, and Nov. 19. The first two employees worked at the produce warehouse at 1184 Old Innes Rd. The other two worked at the distribution centre at the same address.

Metro lists cases of COVID-19 in employees of its stores and warehouses on its website

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Tinseltown: Where 50-year-old ‘tough guys’ become youngsters again

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Audy Czigler wears glitter like a Pennsylvania miner wears coal dust. It’s on his face and hands, in his hair and on his clothing. It’s an occupational hazard that he says he just can’t get rid of.

And when he’s sifting through job applications from people wanting to work at his Tinseltown Christmas Emporium on Somerset Street W. in Hintonburg, the glitter is a consideration. For he’s not looking for people who can simply endure it; no, he’s screening for people who revel and carouse in glitter, for those for whom the 10,000th playing of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus is as refreshing as the first, for those who believe that the 12 days of Christmas last 365 days a year. The believers.

Sure, he has heard the voices of skeptical passersby on the sidewalk outside his shop, especially in the summer months when visions of sugarplums have receded from many people’s minds.

“I hear them out there a few times a day,” he says, “wondering how a Christmas store can possibly survive year-round.

“I want to go out and tell them,” he adds, but his voice trails off as a customer approaches and asks about an ornament she saw there recently, of a red cardinal in a white heart. Where is it?

There’s scant room for sidewalk skeptics now, crowded out by the dozens of shoppers who, since October, have regularly lined up outside the store, patiently biding their time (and flocks) as pandemic-induced regulations limit the shop to 18 customers at a time.

Once inside, visitors will be forgiven for not first noticing the glitter, or even the rendition of Baby, It’s Cold Outside playing on the speakers. For there’s no specific “first thing” you notice. The first thing you notice is EVERYTHING — a floor-to-ceiling cornucopia of festivity, reminiscent perhaps of how the blind man in the Gospel of John may have felt when Jesus rubbed spit and mud in his eyes and gave him sight for the first time.

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/tinseltown-where-50-year-old-tough-guys-become-youngsters-again

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