Man Running Across Canada And Back Has Made It Half Way

Fast Eddy
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Cross Canada charity runner Fast Eddy has made it to the East Coast — he ran from Vancouver Island to Cape Spear, Newfoundland, the most eastern point in North America, and is now on his way back to the West Coast.

The ultramarathoner started out in Victoria, British Columbia last March. He calls the journey his “There and Back Run” — and it has two charity causes, Alzheimer’s and Breast Cancer,” two medical conditions close to Fast Eddy.

Alzheimer’s is something Fast Eddy’s grandmother deals with. She helped raise the runner and gave him his nickname. Fast Eddy’s birth name is Edward Dostaler. Breast cancer was a cause undertaken by Fast Eddy’s former professor, Tom Owen, who taught at Thompson Rivers University before his death from lung cancer.

The run has already amounted to 10,000 kilometers one way. The way back will be twice as long.

“Now I’m basically running across Canada again but twice in one go,” Fast Eddy told us.

In order to fit speaking engagements into the trip, Fast Eddy is running a leg, running back, and driving back again to his furthest point.

Fast Eddy
Fast Eddy’s breakdown of the legs of his return trip

“It allows me to go to schools and do presentations and put the causes first,” Fast Eddy said. Also, he is his own driver, so it is a practical method of juggling the tasks of running and driving the gear necessary for the trip.

Not only is Fast Eddy raising money for charity, but he’s also speaking to students in Canada’s school on such topics as saying “no” to bullying, believing in yourself, and persevering. The issues are ones personal to Fast Eddy, like the causes he is fundraising for. Bullying was something the activist faced in school — moving three times with his family because of it — and persevering is something he says he deals with every day.

Fast Eddy (left) with friends in Gander, N.F. where the runner currently is
Fast Eddy (left) with friends in Gander, N.L., December 12

“Every morning you have to get up and face the mental challenge of your day,” he tells the kids he speaks to. “The brain has to say, ‘Nope, we’re going to get up and get going.’ Don’t quit, just keep on moving.”

Interesting “There and Back” Facts

– It takes 4,500 calories per day to fuel the body running as much as Fast Eddy runs
– It will take 28 pairs of shoes to make the complete “There and Back” journey (a pair of runners lasts approximately 700 kilometers)
– The cost will be around $25,000
– The total length of the trip will be 21,585 kilometers

Fast Eddy’s webpage and Facebook page

For the First Time in Over 100 Years, Bison Freely Roam Banff National Park

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Parks Canada announced this week that wild bison have been released in a remote valley in Banff National Park in a project to re-establish a thriving herd in the area.

The released group numbers 16 bison in total, mostly pregnant 2-year-olds.

Parks Canada will monitor the herd with radio collars for the first 16 months, with the eventual goal of releasing the Bison group into a 1,200 square kilometer area where they will meet other native species and join a natural ecosystem.

Harvey Locke, a conservationist, writer and trustee with the Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation in Banff, was quoted: “This is a great day for Banff National Park. It’s a great day for Canada and frankly, it’s one of the great days for wildlife conservation in the history of North America.”

Photos: Parks Canada and Johane Janelle/Parks Canada

5 Killed at Canadian Mosque

Canadian mosque
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Six were killed, others injured, when gunmen entered the Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City, Quebec 8 p.m. Sunday (01:00 GMT Monday).

Two attackers were arrested immediately. Initially reports had it that there were three attackers, but police later said there was nothing suggests more than two.

RCMP said it is was “terrorist attack” and an anti-terrorism unit was deployed to the scene.

Context: Canadian government has a mass immigration policy and also a large-scale Syrian refugee intake. Many in Quebec are unhappy about these things.

Unknown (But which are being falsely reported on various websites):
– Identities
– What the attackers said in the mosque when they attacked
– Muslim extremist attackers or not

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued the following statement: “It was with tremendous shock, sadness and anger that I heard of this evening’s tragic and fatal shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec located in the Ste-Foy neighbourhood of the city of Québec.

“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of all those who have died, and we wish a speedy recovery to those who have been injured.

“While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.

“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country. Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance.

“Tonight, we grieve with the people of Ste-Foy and all Canadians.”

The mosque’s president (Mohamed Yangui) told Al Jazeera in a phone call after the shooting, “The neighborhood is very peaceful. We have a good relationship with the government, the mayor of Quebec. We have no problem whatsoever.”


Liberals Announce Increase for Immigration

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Canada’s Liberal government has announced plans to increase immigration levels to 300,000 per year, a 40,000 increase to the target level.

The number of immigrants accepted in 2016 was unusually high due to the government’s taking in of thousands of Syrian refugees. The number including the refugees turned out to be 300,000, and Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum said Monday that this number will now be the permanent base target. The target for the past five years was 260,000, part of a continuing trend of increased immigration since the late 1980s.

McCallum also said that the Liberal government may eventually increase immigration levels to 450,000.

Fed and Province to Give Additional $51.5 M to UBC

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UBC is to receive another $51.5 million dollars from the federal and provincial governments, bringing the total investment in the university to almost $100 million.

The announcement of the joint-funding plan was announced by Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains and British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson today at the school.

It is part of the government’s “Innovation Agenda.” They intend for this money to create jobs, drive growth across industries and improve lives of Canadians. Specifically, the UBC funding is intended to help create a future well-paying middle class.

It will be used, along with UBC’s own money, to replace the Undergraduate Life Sciences Teaching Labs at the Biological Sciences Complex, build the new Chan Gunn Pavilion, and expand a part of the Vancouver General Hospital.

Of the $51.5, $39.7 is federal money and $11.8 provincial.

Trucks Coming to B.C. Will Be Able to Get Permits Online

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24/7 online permit for trucks entering British Columbia

“We know that the current system of obtaining a truck permit takes time. With the introduction of a new automated online permitting system, commercial operators will now have the ability to obtain permits 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no wait times,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone announced today.

“This system will help the commercial vehicle industry get goods to market faster, by automatically approving permits and showing drivers detailed information on the approved route to follow.”

The new system is called onRouteBC, and it’s the first of it’s kind in Canada. It will replace B.C.’s current Transport Permit System (TPS).

onRouteBC will debut this month with pilot partners only. All commercial vehicles will have access to onRouteBC on October 3. The old TPS system will be available for a while, too — it’s won’t just disappear — until the rollout of the new onRouteBC system is complete.

“The trucking industry will benefit greatly from onRouteBC’s streamlined permit process and enhanced functionality,” said Louise Yako of the BC Trucking Association. “Importantly, onRouteBC will also free resources currently dedicated to routine permit applications, allowing ministry staff to focus its expertise on applications that require more in-depth review and planning because of the size of the load or challenges on the route. These improvements should result in a more efficient and timely permitting process. I’m sure trucking companies look forward to using onRouteBC.”

How Much B.C. Land Is Protected? Now We Know

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Environmental Reporting BC recently published a report on protected lands and water in the province which shows in detail areas are protected environments.

In B.C., 15.4% of land is protected. 3.2% of marine areas are also protected.

Of particular note when it comes to marine areas is Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), as well ass a large area of the Pacific to the west of Haida Gwaii.

This data shows that the amount of land has doubled in 20 years.

The protected areas are spread across the provinces various ecoregions and biogeoclimactic zones.


Premier Clark Welcomes Phase 1 Agreement for Vancouver Transit Expansion

Premier Clark
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“As more people move here to pursue their dreams, we need to continue expanding and improving transit services, because it plays a pivotal role in creating liveable, affordable, and connected communities,” stated B.C. Premier Christy Clark as the Mayor’s Council voted in favor of Phase 1 of expanding Metro Vancouver transit.

“The provincial government’s contribution of more than $246 million is ready immediately.”

“Expanding transit in Metro Vancouver has never been more important. These investments will help meet rising demand, ease congestion, lower our carbon footprint and further enhance quality of life in what is already one of the world’s most livable cities.

“It means more SkyTrain cars, improvements to bus and SkyTrain exchanges, moving forward on rapid transit in Vancouver and Surrey, and a new SeaBus in North Vancouver.

“British Columbia is in a position to make this kind of investment without going into deficit because we have controlled government spending, and our strong, diverse economy, which leads Canada in growth and job creation. Because we have our house in order, we can focus on investing in the services people depend on, such as transit.”

StatsCan Chief Quits, Charges Government with Compromising the Agency

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“All of you are aware of my view that this loss of independence and control is not only an apprehension, but an effective reality today,” wrote the Chief Statistician of Canada Wayne Smith in a resignation letter obtained by The Canadian Press.

Smith is the second chief of the organization to quit on principle in the last 6 years. Munir Sheikh, Smith’s predecessor, resigned in protest of the Conservative government’s changing of the census into a voluntary survey in 2010.

“… Statistics Canada is increasingly hobbled in the delivery of its programs through disruptive, ineffective, slow and unaffordable supply of physical informatics services by Shared Services Canada,” Smith stated.

“I have made the best effort I can to have this situation remediated, but to no effect. I cannot lend my support to government initiatives that will purport to protect the independence of Statistics Canada when, in fact, that independence has never been more compromised.”

The government’s Shared Services Canada has a veto over Stats Can, according to Smith, and this undermines the independence of the statistics organization.

“I do not wish to preside over the decline of … a world-leading statistical office,” stated Smith.

“So I am resigning, in order to call public attention to this situation.”

100% of $1m Victoria Apartments Sold Off-Market in Q2

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In the second quarter of 2016, all of the apartment buildings with a value of $1 million CAD or more sold “off market,” according to Colliers International, as reported by SCMP.

“Off market” sales are when buyers approach property owners with cash offers, even though the owners aren’t selling at the moment.

Prices have shot up in Victoria. Apartments have gone from $152,000 to $186,000 (for the average apartment building) in the last year, and reports are that the most recent sales are much higher still.

It is thought that prices in areas around Vancouver are being driven up due to overflow of the same reasons Vancouver homes have been driven into “crisis” levels: mass immigration, particularly from China, as well as safe, relatively easy investment and money laundering opportunities.

Vancouver’s Vacant House Tax Approved, But It May Not Matter

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B.C.’s government has said it will go ahead with allowing property taxes on homes left vacant.

The new tax is one that has been pushed for by Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.

The purpose of the tax, according to the government, is to address the housing crisis increasingly affecting Vancouver and cities nearby for approximately 100 kilometers — house prices and availability have been dramatically effected as far east as Chilliwack.

The tax could come into effect some time in 2017 at the earliest.

However, critics are already saying the tax does nothing to deal with the problem. They say that a small property tax will most likely not dissuade buyers in a market where prices are dramatically higher each year, and where many houses are purchased as investments from overseas — most notably, China, where an abundance of wealthy people are seeking investments outside of their nation, and many buyers do not even see the homes they buy.

Currently, property tax is relatively inexpensive in Vancouver compared to other popular North American and world cities. For example, a 2-bedroom unit in Yaletown or Coal Harbor which costs around $1 million has a property tax of around $2500 per year. In many American cities, the property tax would be 3 or 4 to 10 times that amount depending on the city. One reason for Vancouver’s low property tax rate is that the provincial government imposes a high income tax rate, which isn’t the case in the states.

Maintenance fees are also lower in Vancouver. This is particularly beneficial to buyers who resell their house, because they don’t need to invest as much in upkeep.

In Vancouver, an estimated 1 percent of family homes are unoccupied. 7.2 percent of condos and rental apartments are unoccupied. The highest rate is 12.5 percent, for condos alone.

These figures are roughly the same as other Canadian cities.

The lowest metropolitan apartment vacancy rate in Canada is Quebec with 5 percent and the highest is Windsor with 16.5 percent, although London and Victoria also have high vacancy rates.

$15 Minimum Wage Would Lift All Nova Scotians Out of Low Tax Bracket

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Similar to the recent NCP campaign in Alberta that rose the minimum wage to $15, Nova Scotia NDP leader Gary Burrill has launched a “Fight for 15” campaign, but, critics have pointed out, while the bigger number has proved popular with minimum wage workers, it would mean important tax increases for those same workers while making it more difficult for small businesses and students.

Jordi Morgan, vice-president for Atlantic Canada at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), has pointed out that the increase from Nova Scotia’s $10.70 minimum wage to $15.00 would be enough to push many part-time workers, who are below the province’s basic personal exemption level (BPE), to a level where they would be taxed on income. A $15 minimum wage would also push all full time workers out of the lowest tax bracket.

At $8,481, Nova Scotia’s BPE is the second-lowest in Canada. The alternative to a wage increase, according to Morgan, is raising the BPE.

“Our premise to this point is an increase to the BPE is a better policy lever because it would have a desirable impact by reducing the tax burden for all citizens, not create downward pressure on employment for youth, and it would not have a negative impact on the growth of small- and medium-sized business,” Morgan told The Speaker.

Morgan also noted that a wage increase to $15 in Nova Scotia would not be the same as the one that happened in Alberta. “[I]t would stand to reason that the tax payable would be much higher here than Alberta because our BPE is nearly $10,000 lower and at 15.00/hr, it would push the provincial personal marginal tax rate from just under 8.79% to almost 14.95%. Alberta has a 10% tax rate up to $125,000.”

Jordi Morgan, Vice-President, Atlantic Canada
Jordi Morgan, Vice-President, Atlantic Canada

Currently, the just over $22,000 earned by minimum wage workers in Nova Scotia puts them in the lowest tax bracket, which means they are taxed under 9% provincially, and are taxed 11.43% total. Even if these workers get a raise, there is still room to remain in this low tax bracket.

The limit of this tax bracket is $29,590, so even at $14.00 workers still pay the lowest amount of taxes, grossing $29,120.

At $15.00, workers earn $31,200. They are in the next tax bracket, and are taxed just under 15% provincially, and are taxed 18.84% total.