“The Great Pacific Garbage Patch can now be cleaned,” announced Dutch entrepreneur Boyan Slat, the wonderkid inventor who’s spent a decade inventing systems for waterborne litter collection. Recent tests on his Ocean Cleanup rig called System 002, invented to tackle the 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic pollution, were a success, leading Slat to predict that most of the oceanic garbage patches could be removed by 2040. Intersections of ocean currents have created the massive floating islands of plastic trash — five slow-moving whirlpools that pull litter from thousands of miles away into a single radius. The largest one sits between California and Hawaii, and 27-year-old Slat has been designing and testing his systems out there, launching from San Francisco since 2013. GNN has reported on his original design for the floating device, but his engineering team improved upon it. System 002 successfully netted 9,000 kg, or around 20,000 lbs in its first trial. It’s carbon-neutral, able to capture microplastics as small as 1 mm in diameter, and was designed to pose absolutely no threat to wildlife thanks to its wide capture area, slow motion, alerts, and camera monitors that allow operators to spy any overly-curious marine life.
Month: October 2021
The dramatic post-summer dip of COVID-19 infected flights reported by Health Canada isn’t due to improved pandemic measures. On the heels of record-breaking August that saw 783 international flights land at Canadian airports carrying passengers infected with COVID-19, a disclaimer on Health Canada’s COVID-19 passenger infection information website cautions that Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec no longer submit regular infected flight updates. “As of Aug. 25, Alberta Health Services only collects travel/flight information on cases with severe outcomes (hospitalization or death) and PHAC receives limited notifications from Ontario (since Sept. 9) and Quebec (since Sept. 10),” said the note. Records show 337 flights with infected passengers landed at Pearson in August, compared to 307 in Montreal and 48 in Calgary. A spokesperson with Public Health Ontario told the Toronto Sun the evolving state of the pandemic prompted Queen’s Park to stop providing regular updates to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC.) […] “Available evidence suggests that the likelihood of passenger-to-passenger transmission aboard aircraft appears to be very low.”
Today, let’s trace Justin Trudeau’s conversion from advocating balanced budgets when he was Liberal leader, to abandoning that belief as PM. To be fair, we’ll look at two distinct periods — before and after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Just six years ago at the start of the 2015 federal election campaign that brought him to power, Trudeau said he was firmly in favour of balanced budgets. “Our platform will be fully costed, fiscally responsible and a balanced budget,” he said in April 2015. “I’ve committed to continuing to run balanced budgets … Liberals balance budgets. That’s what history has shown,” he repeated in July 2015. During the leaders’ debate on Aug. 5, 2015, Trudeau hammered then prime minister Stephen Harper, arguing he turned the Jean Chretien/Paul Martin Liberal budget surpluses into deficits. But just three weeks later, on Aug. 25, Trudeau made an astounding flip flop, saying a Liberal government would run three years of “modest deficits” followed by a balanced budget in 2019. Trudeau, looking earnestly into the camera during the Sept. 17, 2015 leaders’ debate on the economy said: “I am looking straight at Canadians and being honest the way I always have. We will balance that budget in 2019.”
Reports destined for next week’s executive committee are recommending making a pandemic-relief program for struggling Toronto restaurants a permanent fixture on city streets. Launched last year to allow closed restaurants the ability to serve limited numbers of customers in curbside and parking-lane patios, city staff are recommending CafeTO become a permanent program for eligible eateries, and that fees to establish such patios be waived next year. “CafeTO has been one of our most successful pandemic relief programs,” Mayor John Tory said during a Wednesday morning press conference. “It has positively impacted on our city, it has positively impacted on hospitality businesses that call Toronto home, and that’s because we took the decision — simple as it may seem — to turn parking spaces into much-needed patios.” A second report going before the committee lays groundwork to establish a new small business tax class in the city, starting in 2022. The report recommends applying a 15% property tax reduction for small businesses currently within the commercial tax class — funded by a 0.85% property tax increase to commercial businesses that don’t quality for the new classification, making the movie a revenue-neutral one for the city.
The cost of transitioning Canada’s economy to net-zero emissions is pegged at $2 trillion over the next 30 years, but funds are available to finance the transition, according to the country’s largest financial institution. “In total, it seems like a daunting number, but when you break it down, it’s manageable for an economy like Canada,” said John Stackhouse, senior vice-president, office of the CEO at Royal Bank of Canada, and a co-author of the report released Wednesday. “We’re looking at $60 to $80 billion per year, that’s much less than we spend on health care, for example. It’s in line with what we aspire to spend on child care.” RBC released a report called “The $2 Trillion Transition: Planning for Canada’s place in a Net Zero world,” which plots out a possible course for the country to reduce its emissions in line with a net-zero emissions target by 2050 and budgets the cost of the shift. That’s roughly equivalent to Canada’s annual GDP last year, which stood at just under $2 trillion last year, according to Statistics Canada. All told, the Toronto-based bank believes the government and the private sector needs to spend $56.4 billion annually in six different sectors to meet its net zero targets.
Ottawa plans to reveal details tomorrow about its forthcoming proof-of-vaccination system for international travel, senior government sources have confirmed to CBC News. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce further details about the passport tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET in Ottawa. The sources with knowledge about the plan spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. A media advisory from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship — which has been tasked with implementing a proof-of-vaccination system for international travel — shows officials from that department will lead a technical briefing with media tomorrow morning, along with officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Transport Canada, Indigenous Services Canada and Canada Border Services Agency. The source pointed to Ontario’s recently-unveiled enhanced vaccine certificates — which includes a QR code built to the SMART Health Card standard adopted by the federal government, and includes the Government of Canada word mark — as something that will also work for international travel.