BC’s N-D-P government is set to outline its political agenda for the coming months with a throne speech today at the legislature. The speech kicks off the next session of the house and Premier John Horgan, who recently underwent treatment for throat cancer, will be among the returning politicians. Kevin Falcon was elected leader of the B-C Liberals last weekend, but Shirley Bond will continue to perform leadership duties in the house as he tries to win a seat in a byelection. The throne speech comes two weeks ahead of the government’s budget, which is expected to include a financial accounting of last fall’s devastating floods and mudslides in southern B-C.
The B-C Agriculture Council says 228-million dollars in federal and provincial funding will bring a sense of relief to many farmers and ranchers affected by fall flooding. It says government programs have reduced eligibility barriers, provided higher compensation rates and alleviated much of the administrative burden previously seen. The recovery package announced yesterday, is the largest fund of its kind for the sector in B-C history. The fund will help with expenses that aren’t already covered by existing government programs or private insurance.
The B-C government says it’s in “active discussions” over a possible FIFA World Cup in Vancouver. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports says in a statement the discussions to put Vancouver into consideration as a possible host city are for the 2026 event. It’s not the first time the suggestion has been made, with Premier John Horgan saying in July that it was an idea the province was entertaining. It has already been decided that the tournament will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico — and Horgan said Montreal’s decision to step down from consideration created an opportunity.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in B.C. has risen slightly since Friday, as the province recorded 32 new deaths. There are 987 COVID patients in the hospital, which is up from 946 compared to three days ago. There are 141 people in intensive care Dr. Bonnie Henry has said the vast majority of COVID-19 cases are the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the ongoing anti-vaccine mandate protest in Ottawa has to stop. He says the demonstrators are — quote — “trying to blockade our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens’ daily lives.” The protest in Ottawa is now in its second week. Trudeau appeared in the House of Commons last evening to take part in an emergency debate. Public Safety Minister says the government has approved a request by the R-C-M-P for additional resources to police the protests.
British Columbia health officials announced today that there have been 1,117 new COVID-19 cases reported over the past 24 hours. There have been no new COVID-19-related deaths in British Columbia, leaving a total of 2,707 deaths in the province. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 24,372 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 986 (-1) COVID-positive people are currently hospitalized, and 146 (+5) are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
A semi-truck driver has been fired after an incident involving a cyclist during Saturday’s protests in Vancouver against COVID-19 restrictions. Video posted online shows the truck continuing to advance towards a group of cyclists blocking the road — with one of them appearing to get out of the way just in time as the truck does not stop. The owner of Van Dokk Transport of Chilliwack tells CityNews that the company does not stand behind the actions of the driver, who has lost his job. The company faced a backlash after the video was posted and it has since taken down its website and social media sites.
Vancouver police say they have arrested a 30-year-old man accused of attacking three strangers in the downtown core. Sergeant Steve Addison says patrol officers flooded the area after police received reports last night about a man with a knife. They say the suspect allegedly tried to stab a 21-year-old man who refused to let him borrow a vape pen and then stabbed at 65-year-old man at a restaurant before attacking a 25-year-old woman. Police say the suspect was arrested an apartment building early this morning and remains in custody.
Plans are underway to disassemble and remove a barge that was grounded on a Vancouver shoreline after a severe storm in November. Vancouver Pile Driving Limited, also known as VanPile, says it has been contracted to complete the removal at English Bay. It says preparations for the project have included a marine habitat assessment, permitting from Fisheries and Oceans Canada as well as a structural assessment of the barge. The company says the project will begin with fencing and site signage, followed by a full removal process that will take 12 to 15 weeks.
The B-C government says it’s in “active discussions” over a possible FIFA (FEE’-fuh) World Cup in Vancouver. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports says in a statement the discussions to put Vancouver into consideration as a possible host city are for the 2026 event. It’s not the first time the suggestion has been made, with Premier John Horgan saying in July that it was an idea the province was entertaining. It has already been decided that the tournament will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico — and Horgan said Montreal’s decision to step down from consideration created an opportunity.
In Surrey, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers rolled out its ‘Top five least-wanted Valentines” for 2022. The crime-fighting organization’s annual list includes B.C.’s five “most wanted” criminals and suspects who remain on the lam leading up to Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. “They could be far away, or right in your neighbourhood,” says Crime Stoppers, tips to which could net a reward of up to $5,000, with the arrest and charge of any wanted criminal. For fugitive Conor D’Monte, who is wanted for murder, Crime Stoppers has partnered with the national BOLO (Be On the Look Out) Program to post a larger reward of $100,000. The nonprofit’s “Valentines” list was revealed Monday (Feb. 7) outside the Surrey RCMP detachment on 57 Avenue, with a giant card that screams, “Roses are red, violets are blue, you should be in jail, that’s so very true.”
Starbucks has fired seven employees who were leading an effort to unionize a store in Memphis, Tennessee. The Seattle coffee giant says the employees violated company policy by reopening a store after closing time and inviting non-employees to come inside. The employees used the store to do an interview with a local television station about their unionizing effort. But the employees say Starbucks was retaliating against them for their unionization efforts.