Author: ishizuka

Serious delays of new sleek streetcar delivery hit Toronto transit renewal

The streetcar system of Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, is the largest such system in the Americas in terms of ridership, number of cars and track length, as Wikipedia describes. It is one of the few existing streetcar systems with its history dating back to the mid-19th century – 1861 – when a horse-drawn street railway began. This Toronto streetcar system is now adding a new prize – a fleet of 204 21st-century, low-floor, safer and more comfortable, accessible streetcars to be manufactured by Montreal-based Bombardier and put into service completely by the end of 2019. However, there are so far only 17 of such light rail vehicles – painted in […]

Canada moving toward marijuana legalization

Canada is moving toward legalization of recreational marijuana, which the Liberal Party has promised in last year’s election. There are many problems that must be cleared for legislation to be written for legalization, and everybody understands that recreational marijuana will not become available overnight to buy freely at stores. Still a sense of expectation is growing among Canadians and marijuana producers as if legalization of cannabis would happen any time soon. When Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party defeated the Conservative Party in the October election, stock prices of marijuana-related companies shot up, as much as by 7 % on the TSX Venture Exchange. Immediately after taking office, Prime Minister instructed his […]

Justin Trudeau visits Washington as first Canadian prime minister in 19 years; Obama extends heartily welcome as climate change, liberal allies

Justin Trudeau visited Washington on March 9-11 to a warm and cordial welcome by President Barack Obama. It was the first official visit, highlighted by lavish and gorgeous state dinner at the White House, by a Canadian prime minister in 19 years. The dinner with exuberant good will and friendship by the host and the guest promised a stronger bond between the two leaders and their two neighbor countries’ closer ties ahead. Even before Trudeau’s visit began, White House officials said “there is a special relationship developing between this president and prime minister.” “Both young leaders with similar visions, both have a progressive vision of governing, both are very much […]

Climate change could cut First Nations fisheries’ catch in half by 2050

Climate change is threatening to reduce First Nations fisheries’ catch by nearly 50% by 2050, according to a new study on the impact of climate change to the food and economic security of indigenous communities along coastal British Columbia, Canada. The study, conducted by a research team of the University of British Columbia (UBC) and released last month, predicts that the wild salmon and herring the First Nations tribes use for food, ceremonies and trade will swim north with dozens of other species as the climate changes, the waters off the coast of British Columbia warm and the fish pursue colder areas. According to the report, half of these communities’ […]

Canada is having legal “physician-assisted dying” soon

Just one year ago, on February 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada gave a landmark ruling allowing physician-assisted suicide and at the same time gave the federal government one year to produce legislation before the decision takes effect. During the past 12 months, the doctor-assisted dying had been banned. The Supreme Court overturned a ban on physician-assisted suicide last February, recognizing “the right of consenting adults enduring intolerable physical or mental suffering to end their lives with a doctor’s help.” The Canadian top court again drew national spotlight last month, with the deadline for assisted death legislation approaching. On January 15, it gave the government more time – four […]

Justin Trudeau under mounting pressure to act as loonie falls

Since the turn of the year, Canadian news media have been playing scary headlines crying about the free fall of the loonie. These headlines read like these: “As loonie sags, pressure mounts on Ottawa to act” – Toronto Star, Jan. 13, and “Stock markets tumble as loonie falls to new 13-year low.” – CBC News, Jan. 13. The loonie, as the Canadian dollar is known for the image of the aquatic bird – loon – on the $1 coin, kept falling since the first trading day of the New Year for four straight days, touching the 12-year-low range of $1.41. The following week, Canadian dollar further fell to 69.71 cents […]

Can CBC overcome a crisis in 2016?

For CBC, Canada’s 80-year-old public broadcaster, 2015 was an Annus Horribilis. Steep cuts in annual funding by the former Conservative Harper government, forcing the Canadian Broadcast Corporation to slash news broadcasts, reduce sports and documentary divisions and sack hundreds of its workforce. And a series of scandals involving anchors and hosts of popular TV programs, with public confidence in the corporation collapsing, and viewership falling which has sent commercial revenues into free fall. The Toronto Star declared, “The greatest of our national cultural institutions is dying.” (Nov. 19, 2015) “CBC in crisis” has been talked about for years, but the situations look worse than it has appeared. But, with the […]

Syrian refugees are coming to Canada by Christmas

The first batch of Syrian refugees under the new Liberal government is beginning to land on Canada this week at the earliest and by Christmas time at the latest, although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to bring all 25,000 refugees from Syria by the end of this year had to be moved back to next year. The world is watching whether this ambitious experiment in receiving thousands of Syrian refugees over a short period will succeed and whether this “Canadian model” is worth emulating. Especially diplomats of France and other European countries being flooded by Syrian and other Middle Eastern and African refugees as well as the United States are […]

Justin Trudeau debuts as Canada’s prime minister at G20, APEC

With the advent of Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, Canada has come back to the world scene. In less than two weeks after he and his Cabinet were sworn in at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 4, he made his debut as Canada’s prime minister at the G20 summit at Antalya, Turkey (Nov.15-16) and then at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila, the Philippines (Nov. 18-19) – with modest success. Several Canadian media even gave high grades to his diplomatic debut. Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson said in his article on Nov. 21: “Justin Trudeau … in one short week has transformed the way Canada is […]

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government sworn in; Hopes rising that Canadian values are back

On Wednesday in Ottawa, Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, was sworn in as Canada’s 23rd prime minister. The son of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, regarded as one of the greatest statesmen in Canadian history, the handsome, 43-year-old Trudeau is the country’s second youngest prime minister. There is a growing sense of hope that Canadian-ness is returning to Canada. Trudeau as the prime-minister-designate last week was picking young capable politicians, rather than veterans, and Liberals who represent better the diversity of Canadian population and multicultural society. (Globe and Mail, November 1) In the October 19 federal election, the Liberals defeated Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives with a landslide victory foiling […]

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