In The News for Feb. 8: Will the premiers say yes to the feds’ health care offer?


Published February 8, 2023 at 10:23 am

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023 …

What we are watching in Canada …

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos will ask the provinces today whether or not they intend to accept the new health-care funding deal tabled by the prime minister.

Duclos and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett are to write to the provincial health ministers seeking some clarity on their positions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers met in Ottawa Tuesday where he presented an offer that would see transfers to the provinces rise by $196 billion over the next 10 years.

The proposal falls well short of the demand from the provinces for the federal government to shoulder a much greater share of health care spending.

Still, most premiers indicated they were disappointed but are likely to accept the offer because they can’t say no to new money.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson says the premiers will meet again on their own to discuss the deal within the next few days.

Also this …

Yet another global conference in Montreal risks being derailed by Canada’s delays in processing visas as well as rejections that critics argue punish those from poorer countries.

“It’s incredibly frustrating and difficult for us to manage,” said Mark Boyer, head of the International Studies Association, which is based at the University of Connecticut.

“There’s a myth that it’s harder to bring people here, to the United States, but it’s actually a problem in Canada.”

The group holds conferences across North America on social science, inviting historians and political scientists to present their research and hold panel discussions.

Yet entire panels planned for next month in Montreal are on hiatus because, in multiple cases, six participants on a panel all lack a visa to enter Canada.

The issue has become so prevalent that a group of Ottawa researchers won a federal grant to study who is affected by Canada’s visa refusals, including people attending one-time events and those seeking years-long study permits.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

U.S. President Joe Biden exhorted Congress Tuesday night to work with him to “finish the job” of rebuilding the economy and uniting the nation as he delivered a State of the Union address aimed at reassuring a country beset by pessimism and fraught political divisions.

In his 73-minute speech, Biden sought to portray a nation dramatically improved from the one he took charge of two years ago: from a reeling economy to one prosperous with new jobs; from a crippled, pandemic-weary nation to one that has now reopened, and a democracy that has survived its biggest test since the Civil War.

He also doubled down on his “Buy American” agenda, much to the chagrin of many Canadians watching.

Still, Biden’s protectionist rhetoric is likely aimed mostly at winning over a domestic political audience, and most observers agree that it’s not Canada but Beijing that the U.S. has in its sights.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Britain on Wednesday, his first trip to the U.K. since the war began nearly a year ago.

The British government says Zelenskyy will meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and address Parliament. The U.K. is one of the biggest military backers of Ukraine and has sent the country more than two-billion-pounds ($2.5 billion US) in weapons and equipment.

The visit comes as Sunak announced Britain will train Ukrainian pilots on “NATO-standard fighter jets.” Ukraine has urged its allies to send jets, though the U.K. says it’s not practical to give U.K. planes.

It will be Zelenskyy’s second known trip visit abroad since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. He visited the U.S. in December.

And this …

Thinly stretched rescue teams worked through the night in Turkey and Syria, pulling more bodies from the rubble of thousands of buildings toppled by a catastrophic earthquake.

Turkey’s disaster management agency said the country’s death toll had risen to 7,108, bringing the overall total to 9,638, including fatalities reported in neighbouring Syria.

With the overall death toll approaching 10,000, it has become the deadliest temblor in more than a decade.

On this day in 1587 …

Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded. After attempting to restore Catholicism to Scotland and two disastrous marriages, she was forced to abdicate and fled to England in 1567. She was immediately arrested and held in custody until she was condemned for plotting against Queen Elizabeth I.

In sports …

LeBron James got the first official statistic of his NBA career on a rebound. His next entry on the stat sheet was an assist.

Even then, points weren’t the priority. They never were.

Somehow, he became the most prolific scorer in NBA history anyway. It finally happened Tuesday night, the kid from Akron, Ohio, connecting on a stepback jumper to push his career total to 38,388 points and break the record that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar held for nearly 39 years.

James outstretched his arms after his 36th point of the night for the Los Angeles Lakers, threw both hands in the air, then smiled. Abdul-Jabbar rose from his seat and clapped. The game was stopped as members of James’ family, including his mother, his wife and their three children, took the floor for a ceremony recognizing the moment.

Abdul-Jabbar — a longtime Laker and one of many celebrities and sports stars who made sure they were there to see history — became the league’s all-time leading scorer on April 5, 1984, and wound up retiring in 1989 with 38,387 points. It was a record that some thought would last forever, with very few even coming close.

Did you see this?

Pink sea urchins off the coast of Vancouver Island are expanding into shallower waters, in what researchers say is an indication of how rapidly climate change is affecting ocean life.

Researchers at Memorial University, Ocean Networks Canada and the University of Victoria found the urchins were moving into shallower water at an average rate of 3.5 metres per year as climate change and warming water reduce oxygen levels and food sources at lower depths.

The study’s co-author Rylan Command says the movement of the pink urchins could, over time, lead to them replacing other species, like red sea urchin harvested in fisheries.

Researchers looked at 14 years of data including before, during and after the marine heat wave that persisted in the Pacific Ocean between 2013 to 2016 and became known as “The Blob.”

Study co-author Fabio De Leo, who’s with Oceans Network Canada, says warming from The Blob destroyed much of the kelp the urchins eat causing their populations to drop off dramatically.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2023

The Canadian Press

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising