Canada in Brief, Nov. 10-16

By The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press
November 16, 2016 Updated: November 16, 2016

Health minister brought to tears over father’s dementia

OTTAWA—An emotional Health Minister Jane Philpott, brought to tears by her own father’s experience with dementia, suggests the federal government plans to support a national strategy to tackle the widespread disease.

“My father is an absolutely amazing person … and it has affected us a lot because he is not the same person he used to be,” Philpott said outside the Commons on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Philpott conceded much more can be done to tackle the growing dementia problem, noting the government is receptive to a private member’s bill on the issue which is before the Commons.

Earlier Tuesday, Sen. Kelvin Ogilvie suggested Canada is a laggard in addressing dementia as he released a committee report urging a national strategy to deal with the problem.

McKenna says global movement to fight climate change ‘irresistible’

MARRAKECH, Morocco—Canada’s environment minister says the momentum behind a worldwide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is “irresistible” despite the recent election of Donald Trump.

Speaking Tuesday at the UN climate change conference in Morocco, Catherine McKenna tried to minimize the effects of the U.S. election result on the international fight against global warming.

She said the movement to reduce carbon emissions has reached a point of no return, particularly because global firms have recognized there is money to be made.

Trump is a skeptic of man-made climate change and has stated he wants to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, whose goal is to limit the average global temperature increase by a maximum of two degrees Celsius by 2050.

Alberta dairy farm settles with energy company over chemical contaminant

EDSON, Alta.—An Alberta farm family has reached a settlement with an energy company that tainted their land with chemicals.

The Alberta Energy Regulator is also ordering Bonavista Energy to begin extensive soil and groundwater remediation for the Saken family dairy farm near Edson.

Bonavista’s own experts found high levels of a chemical used to treat sour gas in the groundwater near the farm, and also in the soil. The chemical leached from a gas plant that the company had bought.

The family argued the contamination destroyed milk production on their farm and ruined land value. A statement from their lawyer says the Sakens will remain on their farm.

Canadian military hospital will treat everyone, including ISIS members

OTTAWA—Canada’s top soldier Gen. Jonathan Vance says a Canadian Forces hospital is now up and running in northern Iraq and ready to treat anyone who is brought to it—including those fighting with the ISIS terrorist group.

Vance says the medical facility, which includes three surgeons, started operations in the last few days and will not deny medical support to anyone injured on the battlefield, including enemy combatants.

While that position is consistent with the Geneva Conventions, it’s unlikely Canadian troops would receive the same treatment from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The extremist group has shown a blatant disregard for the rules of war and has routinely executed prisoners.

More Canadians using food banks, report suggests

OTTAWA—A new report by Food Banks Canada says some 863,492 people turned to a food bank last March. That’s a 1.3 percent increase over March 2015 and a 28 percent rise over 2008.

The report found that food banks in eight out of 10 provinces saw increased traffic with the biggest jumps in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and the three territories. Only Manitoba and Ontario didn’t see increased usage compared to 2015.

Food Banks Canada says the higher usage is driven by short-term economic disruption and the failure of government to adequately support people who face tough times.

The report recommends the government fast track a poverty reduction strategy and revamp the welfare system in Canada, among other things.

With files from The Canadian Press