More than one million people have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion, in what the UN is calling the swiftest refugee exodus this century. Russia’s Foreign Minister says Moscow is ready for talks — but won’t stop targeting Ukrainian military targets. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy yesterday, reiterating Canada’s “unwavering” support and vowing to work with allies to hold Russia accountable for the invasion.
Canada has outlined new measures to target Russia’s economy, and is promising to provide a “safe haven” for Ukrainians fleeing the violence. The Feds announced this morning that Russia’s “Most Favoured Nation” status has been revoked…..that means the country will no longer benefit from low tariffs with Canada “Russia and Belarus will be subject to a tariff of 35 per cent on their exports to Canada,” It’s the same position placed on North Korea, and Canada is urging all other countries to follow suit with more severe sanctions. Many were hoping that Canada would announce it was also temporarily removing the visa requirement for refugees, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada outlined two new programs would be created, but many requirements would remain in place which have been barriers for people to flee Ukraine to Canada.
The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Mary in Whalley is holding a candelight vigil on Saturday evening to pray for the Ukrainian people as Russia continues to wage war on them. The Reverend will perform a prayer service for those suffering in Ukraine, on the steps at 6:30 pm. The church is located at 107th and 135A St., about a block from Gateway SkyTrain Station.
As many gas stations across Metro Vancouver saw record-breaking prices yesterday, prices rose even higher today…1.94, and the price at the pump could reach $2 per litre by the weekend. The spike in prices is thanks in part to rising oil prices. But in BC, taxes play a major role in the price of gas. According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, BC residents pay over 50 cents in taxes per litre.
B.C. tourism businesses are making an urgent plea to the feds to remove all arrival requirements for fully vaccinated visitors coming to Canada by April 1 — before another summer of business from international travellers is lost. The CEO of Indigenous Tourism Canada, says if B.C.’s tourism sector is going to make a comeback, it’s going to take a change at the border. He goes on to say changes last week moving to an antigen test instead of a PCR test did not go far enough. The industry also wants the feds to remove the warning against cruise ship travel for Canadians – saying this is making customers nervous as the ships are set to dock in Vancouver this season.
Extreme weather response shelters in Delta will remain open through to the end of the month. Yesterday, it was announced that thanks to the collaborative efforts of community partners, the shelters in North Delta and Ladner will be open nightly for the remainder of the season regardless of weather conditions. The North Delta ERW shelter, located at New Hope Church is open nightly from 9:30 p.m. to 7 a.m., providing refuge for up to 15 people. The South Delta shelter at Ladner United Church is open from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., has room for up to five guests and can accommodate couples.
The City of White Rock is set to step up its parks-and-recreation game this week, with the grand reopening of a popular scenic trail system that has been closed to the public for more than two years. Blocked off for safety reasons after a January 2020 landslide, the trails in Ruth Johnson Park and Centennial Trails will officially reopen tomorrow
Ottawa says Ukrainians can find a safe haven in Canada using expedited temporary visas for emergency travel. Meanwhile, Canada is ratcheting up economic pressure on Russia by booting it and its ally, Belarus, off its most favoured nation list of trade partners. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also announced new sanctions against 10 Russia energy executives. Olivia Milton — a 33-year-old information technology worker from Kyiv who describes herself as an information warrior — is thanking Canada and says the moves are needed to help her country fight off the Russian invasion.
British Columbia health officials announced today that there have been 391 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 394,604. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that 511 (-6) COVID-positive people are currently hospitalized, and 79 (+6) are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
New cases are broken down by health region as follows:
- Fraser Health: 88 new cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 43 new cases
- Interior Health: 100 new cases
- Northern Health: 75 new cases
- Island Health: 85 new cases
- Outside of Canada: Zero new cases
There have been 13 new COVID-19-related deaths in British Columbia, for a total of 2,896 deaths in the province.
An environmental group has released an open letter to B-C Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside urging her to end fossil fuel promotion in schools. The B-C chapter of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment says fossil fuel companies should not be allowed to provide educational materials to public schools. Association member Dr. Lori Adamson of Salmon Arm says she was shocked when her son brought home educational materials from FortisBC, the province’s largest natural gas distributor. The Education Ministry says it doesn’t review or endorse educational resources provided by industry but is “reviewing this issue to ensure classrooms are free of corporate priorities.”
Vancouver councillors have voted narrowly to keep a 25-cent single-use cup fee for all takeout drinks sold in the city _ but council tweaked the rules to ensure the fee doesn’t hurt low-income residents or keep companies from implementing reusable options. The charge was imposed January 1st _ in part to reduce some of the estimated 80-million coffee and beverage cups thrown away in Vancouver every year _ but unintentionally added costs to meal voucher recipients or those using gift cards or reward programs. As of March 29th, the fee will be waived in those situations and for cups of water while all businesses will be required to accept reusable cups by July. Councillors have also voted to support creation of a low barrier cup-share program to help low-income residents cope with the added environmental fees.
COVID-19 cases in Delta fell again last week. The latest weekly map released by the BC Centre for Disease Control showing the geographic distribution of COVID-19 cases by local health area (LHA) of residence shows Delta had 50 cases the week of Feb. 20 to 26, 36 fewer than the week before. Cases in the city hit an all-time high of 769 the week ending Jan. 1 as the Omicron variant surged across the region.
Many commuters in Metro Vancouver had their trips delayed Thursday morning due to a SkyTrain track issue in New Westminster, and TransLink says the problem will probably persist all day. There is no service between Braid and Columbia stations on the Expo Line, a TransLink spokesperson told Daily Hive. Trains coming from Production Way are turning around at Sapperton Station. The delays are because of track issues at Columbia station, the transit operator said. “Due to the nature of the issue, maintenance crews can’t repair the track until after service ends. Expo Line service will be impacted for the remainder of the service day,” the spokesperson said.