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October job numbers and old growth logging concerns: In The News for Nov. 5

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 Nov. 5 ... What we are watching in Canada ...

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 Nov. 5 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada is scheduled to say this morning how the labour market fared in October, one month after the country passed a jobs milestone.

September's labour force survey revealed that the country had recovered all of the three million jobs lost at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

The gain of 157,000 jobs in September pushed the unemployment rate to 6.9 per cent, down from 7.1 per cent in August.

Economists expect to see another uptick in job numbers for October, although at a slower rate than September.

Royal Bank economists Nathan Janzen and Claire Fan expect a gain of around 50,000 jobs in the month, which would push the unemployment rate down a tad further.

The pair point to an uptick in consumer spending last month in high-contact service industries as reason to believe today's jobs report should show larger gains in those sectors. 


Also this ...

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia Supreme Court judge is expected to announce a decision today in the battle over control of the board of Rogers Communications Inc.

Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick must rule on whether a newly constituted board under the leadership of Edward Rogers is legitimate after he removed and replaced five directors, while three of his family members maintain the decision should have involved a vote by shareholders.

Ken McEwan, a lawyer for Edward Rogers, argued in court this week his client used his authority as chair of the trust that has 97.5 per cent of the voting rights.

He told a hearing on Monday that Edward Rogers also had that power under a unique corporate law in B.C., where the Toronto-based company is incorporated.

But a lawyer representing Rogers' mother and two sisters argued the independent decision went against the company's governance practices and the wishes of deceased patriarch Ted Rogers.

The spat between two factions of the Rogers family empire has spilled from the boardroom to social media and into a courtroom amid the company's plans to buy rival Shaw Communications Inc. for $26 billion pending regulatory approval.


And this ...

VANCOUVER — Indigenous leaders in British Columbia have expressed concerns over the tight timeline and lack of support in the government's plan for old-growth logging deferrals, while they underscore the urgency of preserving at-risk ecosystems.

A panel of scientific experts mapped 26,000 square kilometres of old-growth forests considered at risk of irreversible biodiversity loss, and on Tuesday B.C. asked First Nations to decide within 30 days whether they support deferrals.

The province has said nations may indicate they need more time and discussions in order to incorporate local knowledge into the deferral plans, such as identifying and including old-growth forests that are at risk but missing from B.C.'s maps.

A 30-day time frame for such complex analysis is "totally unreasonable," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said in an interview.

In the meantime, the government is still allowing logging in the old-growth ecosystems identified as being at risk of permanent loss, Phillip said.

The First Nations Leadership Council, which includes the executives of the chiefs union, the B.C. Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Summit, issued a statement Thursday, saying it was "extremely concerned that old growth remains unprotected today, and that the province has passed responsibility to First Nations without providing financial support for nations to replace any revenues that might be lost if they choose to defer logging old growth in their territory."


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

Tens of millions of Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly. 

The new requirements are the Biden administration’s boldest move yet to persuade reluctant Americans to finally get a vaccine that has been widely available for months — or potentially face financial consequences. 

If successful, administration officials believe it will go a long way toward ending a pandemic that has killed more than 750,000 Americans. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says companies that fail to comply could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation. The requirements will apply to about 84 million workers at medium and large businesses.

The regulations will force the companies to require that unvaccinated workers test negative for COVID-19 at least once a week and wear a mask while in the workplace.

OSHA left open the possibility of expanding the requirement to smaller businesses. It asked for public comment on whether employers with fewer than 100 employees could handle vaccination or testing programs.

Tougher rules will apply to another 17 million people working in nursing homes, hospitals and other facilities that receive money from Medicare and Medicaid. Those workers will not have an option for testing — they will need to be vaccinated.

President Biden framed the issue as a simple choice between getting more people vaccinated or prolonging the pandemic.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

GLASGOW, Scotland — Scientists say recent pledges by nations at the Glasgow climate talks will pay off but only slightly from gloomy scenarios of future global warming .

Two reports — one by the International Energy Agency and the other by Australian scientists — focused on optimistic scenarios. If all goes right, they said, recent actions will trim two-or three-tenths of a degree Celsius from projections made in mid-October.

Instead of 2.1 degrees Celsius of warming since pre-industrial times, the analyses project warming at 1.8 or 1.9 degrees.

Still, both projections leave the world far from the 1.5 degrees of warming since pre-industrial time that is the goal of the 2015 Paris climate deal. The planet has already warmed 1.1 degrees.

The analyses factored in pledges from India and China and a new international pledge to reduce methane. 

The UN planned an announcement for Friday afternoon at climate negotiations about how much “actions announced so far at Glasgow helped to bend the curve.”

“We are now in a slightly more positive outlook for the future,” said University of Melbourne climate scientist Malte Meinshausen, whose flash analysis, not peer-reviewed, sees warming at 1.9 degrees, mostly because of late long-term pledges by India and China.

The energy agency analysis factored in India’s announcement of short-term carbon dioxide emission curbs and a net-zero pledge by 2070 on Monday, as well as pledges by more than 100 countries Tuesday to reduce the powerful greenhouse gas methane. The intergovernmental agency said it was the first time projections fell below two degrees Celsius — a long-standing threshold for tipping points that some scientists say could bring even more dangerous and potentially uncontrolled warming.


On this day in 1981 ...

Prime minister Pierre Trudeau and nine premiers, all except Quebec's, announced a deal had been reached on patriating the Constitution from Britain. The agreement also included an amending formula and a two-tiered Charter of Rights. The Queen officially proclaimed the Constitution on April 17, 1982.


In entertainment ...

TORONTO — The 50th anniversary revival of the rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar" will open by the end of the month at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

Mirvish Productions says the show is set to run in Toronto Nov. 30 to Jan. 2.

Pre-sales for American Express customers started Thursday, and the box office will open to the general public Monday.

The North American tour of the blockbuster musical was originally slated to hit Toronto in fall 2020, but was rescheduled after the COVID-19 crisis shuttered theatres.

Mirvish also says the return of the homegrown musical hit "Come From Away" has been delayed a week, with a representative noting they underestimated how long it would take to revamp the show.

It will now resume Dec. 15 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre instead of Dec. 7, with tickets on sale Nov. 10. "Come From Away" ran for almost three years before it was abruptly halted by the pandemic March 13, 2020.



PARIS — A French astronaut has used a video call from space to sound the alarm about worsening repercussions from climate change that he can see from the International Space Station. 

Thomas Pesquet told French President Emmanuel Macron during the video link-up Thursday that he has been shocked by the extreme weather and climate phenomena he has seen during his ongoing mission in space. 

He said he's seen “entire regions burning” in Canada, in California and elsewhere, and flames from high up in orbit. 

Pesquet is on his second mission to the space station. He also spent 197 days in orbit in 2016-2017. 

He said destructive effects of human activity have become increasingly visible.  

“We see the pollution of rivers, atmospheric pollution, things like that. What really shocked me on this mission were extreme weather or climate phenomena,” Pesquet said during the call.

From space, “the fragility of Earth is a shock,” Pesquet continued. “It’s a sensory experience to see just how isolated we are as an oasis, with limited resources.”


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2021

The Canadian Press