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To discover, understand and put Canadian realities into perspective.

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To discover, understand and put Canadian realities into perspective.

    RCI English section: goodbye

    RCI English section: goodbye

    Canada's international broadcast service from the English language team of Radio Canada International has come to an end.



    RCI, (originally the International Service, CBC-IS) was initially created towards the end of the Second World War. The purpose was to broadcast news and information from home via shortwave to Canadian military personnel fighting in Europe.  It also began providing  reliable news and information to recently liberated countries and to Germans still in the war.



    That reliable news and information was considered of great value during the subsequent Cold War years, as  several more languages were added to the service such as Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, Hungarian and Polish. Other language sections included those such as Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese. With 14 language sections in 1990 and some 200 staff, the full  English and French newsroom provided news of interest and importance for each language section specifically targeted to each of the various broadcast regions around the world.



    Following a major budget cut by Radio Canada of some 80 per cent in 2012, the shortwave and satellite service was terminated along with the majority of staff including the newsroom and some language sections. In recent years, only Chinese (Mandarin), Arabic, and Spanish remained along with English and  French.  RCI was transformed into a much smaller internet-based operation consisting of three people per language section.



    Until the pandemic obliged people to work from home, RCI language sections had weekly video programmes in addition to the daily online reports. Shown here in Nov. 2018 are Marc, Lynn, and Levon, with web editor and show contributor Marie-Claude Simard.



    In December 2020, the domestic public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada announced that the English and French sections of RCI would close for good in May. In their place curated stories from the domestic English and French public broadcaster will be provided.



    The Link weekly video, with Terry (sitting in for Levon), Lynn, and Marc, Oct 2019



    A manager will now oversee the staff of eight who will adapt curated stories from the CBC and Radio-Canada into Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish, along with Punjabi and Tagalog. They will also create a weekly podcast, with field reports in Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish and Punjabi.



    An effort was and is being made by the RCI Action Committee to preserve and even expand the service which has garnered great support from a former prime minister, former diplomats and many academics, but the end date has come.  This is the last entry by the RCI English section.



    From the English Section consisting of Lynn, Marc, and Levon,  faithful and long-time popular replacement Terry Haig, and recently also Vincenzo Morello, as well as the many other dedicated producer presenters and news staff over that long history, we thank you for having shared our stories over these many years.



    - 30 -



    additional information



    RCI: Dec 3/20:Canadas public broadcaster announces new cuts to Radio Canada International



    RCI History- 50th anniversary booklet

    Report shows residential school victims received about $3B in compensation

    Report shows residential school victims received about $3B in compensation

    The cost of compensating victims of Canada's now-infamous residential school system was over $3 billion, according to a final report released Thursday by Parliament's Independent Assessment Process Oversight Committee.



    The committee, which has been overseeing the compensation process since 2007, says just under 28,000 people received payments.



    The report provides a comprehensive overview of the efforts to redress the damage inflicted on generations of Indigenous children forced to attend the residential schools established by the federal government and run by Christian Churches.



    Their aim was to assimilate the children into the dominant Canadian culture.



    The first known residential schools were established in the 1820s. 



    A 1945 investigation in parental complaints at the Gordon's Reserve school in Saskatchewan reported that one dinner that children were fed consisted of a single slice of bologna, potatoes, bread and milk. An estimate 150,000 aboriginal, Inuit and Métis children were removed from their communities and forced to attend residential schools. (General Synod Archives/Anglican Church of Canada)



    The last one closed in 1997.



    In all, roughly 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended the schools.



    The number of school-related deaths remains unknown due to an incomplete historical record, though estimates range from 3,200 to upwards of 6,000.



    Most of the children died from malnourishment or disease. Some children who attended the schools in the 1940s and 1950s were even subjected to science experiments in which they were deprived essential nutrients and dental care.



    After six years of investigating how the schools were run and why they came to be, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, issued a final report in 2015 that branded the program "cultural genocide," and issued "calls to action" in pursuit of proper reconciliation and compensation.



    Joyce Hunter, whose brother Charlie Hunter died at St. Anne's Residential School in 1974, passes Clement Chartier, president of the Métis National Council, as she carries a ceremonial cloth with the names of 2,800 children who died in residential schools and were identified in the National Student Memorial Register, is carried to the stage during the Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremony in Gatineau, Quebec on Sept. 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)



    "Children as young as three were forcibly removed from their families and communities and taken to the schools," the report released Thursday states.



    "For most, the residential school system was profoundly negative and had a lasting impact on the children, on their families, and on their culture."



    The court-approved compensation scheme arose out of a comprehensive class-action settlement in 2007 involving survivors, the federal government and churches that ran the schools.



    Claimants were entitled to up to $275,000 each based on the nature and level of abuse suffered.



    In all, the report says, 38,276 claims were received and adjudicators awarded $2.14 billion in compensation to 23,431 claimants.



    Another, 4,415 claimants received compensation directly from the federal government.



    Thursday's report shows the government paid out $3.23 billion in compensation and other costs, and the process itself cost another $411 million.



    You can read the full report HERE.



    With files from The Canadian Press (Colin Perkel), CBC News (John Paul Tasker, Susana Mas), RCI (Levon Sevunts)

    New report provides numbers on how much food is wasted in Canada

    New report provides numbers on how much food is wasted in Canada

    A new United Nations report puts some numbers on the amount of food that goes to waste in Canada.



    The report, from the United Nations Environment Programme relies mainly on a 2019 study by Environment and Climate Change Canada.



    It suggests that the average Canadian wastes 79 kilograms of household food every year.



    That adds up to 2.94 million metric tonnes of household food waste annually.



    By comparison, the average American wastes 59 kilograms of household food per year and the average person in the United Kingdom wastes about 77 kilograms of household food per year.



    The report, released Thursday, estimates that 17 per cent of the food produced globally each year is wasted. 



    Food waste has become a growing concern because of the environmental toll of production, including the land required to raise crops and animals and the greenhouse gas emissions produced along the way. (iStock)



    That amounts to more 930 million tonnes (1.03 billion tons) of food.



    "The fact that substantial amounts of food are produced but not eaten by humans has substantial negative impacts: environmentally, socially and economically. Estimates suggest that 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food that is not consumed," the report says.



    The report says about 61 per cent of the food waste happens in households, while the food service industry (26%) and retailers (13%) account for the remainder.



    Canada did not have data for the food service or retailer food waste portions of the study.



    The UN is pushing to reduce food waste globally, and researchers are also working on an assessment of waste that includes the food lost before reaching consumers.



    A report released in Jan. 2019 found that  58 per cent of all food produced in Canada — 35.5 million tonnes — is lost or wasted and about a third of that wasted food could be "rescued" and sent to communities in need across the country.



    Read the full UNEP report here.



    With files from The Associated Press, CBC News,

    Justin Clark, a man of extraordinary perseverance and courage, dies at 58

    Justin Clark, a man of extraordinary perseverance and courage, dies at 58

    Justin Clark, a man who never learned to take no for an answer, died Thursday at the age of 58.



    Born in 1962 with cerebral palsy,  unable to walk or talk, he leaves a legacy few Canadians will ever match.



    Clark became a pioneer in the fight for the rights of disabled people--determined that they should be treated as full-fledged human beings.



    Justin Clark, who died Thursday at the age of 58, is pictured with his friend and former teacher Robbie Giles as they attend Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa. Their friendship was fast and lasted (see below) a lifetime. (Submitted by Robbie Giles)



    After spending his youth at the now-closed Rideau Regional Centre in Smiths Falls, Ontario, he decided that he wanted to control his life.



    He sued his parents for the right to leave the institution they had placed him in as a child.



    "The 6 day trial began in November 1982 in Perth, Ontario," writes Anoop Kalsi in her review of the proceeding, published in Dec. 2018.



    "Justin testified by pointing to a board filled with symbols, a bliss board, which read his answers aloud. This was the first time a bliss board was used in a Canadian court," writes Kalsi, a paralegal at Baker Law in Toronto, whose senior partner David Baker had represented Clark.



    "When Justin finished his testimony, his parents stood up from their seats and applauded," writes Kalsi, adding: "You can read Justin’s testimony in the unpublished manuscript written by Audrey Cole and Melanie Panitch in PDF here and in text here."



    Clark is pictured with John Matheson, the judge who presided over his case. "He was not a 'mentally retarded man,' who could not learn, the court found. He was a 'gentle, trusting, believing spirit' and 'very much a thinking human being,' the judge ruled, giving him control of his own affairs." From Kelly Egan's obituary and tribute to Clark published Friday in the Ottawa Citizen. (See link below.)  (Submitted by Carole MacLauchlan)



    The ramifiations of the stand Clark took and the decision Judge John Matheson made nearly 40 years have had a profound effect on--and for--Canadians.



    Following the ruling, guardianship laws were re-examined, and in some provinces, rewritten. 



    Disabled people are no longer "put away."



    And more and more, a disabled person--not his guardian--gets to make the important decisions that affect his or her life--though that fight continues.



    And anyone who ever met him or had their life changed because of him is not about to forget Justin Clark and his victory in that courtroom back in 1982.



    Here's something from the website of British Columbia's Community Ventures Society.



    "The example Clark set is one that we should all be thankful for," says the post.



    "He took a bold step to change the course of his life and the lives of many others. He has clearly experienced the benefits of this and we're sure many others have as well."



    For most of his adult life, Clark lived at Foyers Partage in suburban Ottawa but took the time to play bocce at a rehab centre once or twice a week. (David Gutnick/CBC)



    In November 2018, Clark was the subject of a radio feature by Montreal-based CBC journalist David Gutnick. 



    "Today, at 56, Clark is thriving. He has travelled widely — to Germany, Switzerland, France and to visit a brother in the United States. He sees his siblings and friends regularly, and corresponds with them by email," Gutnick reported.



    "He loves his job at ComputerWise, where he designs greeting cards and calendars. Once or twice a week, he plays bocce at the gymnasium of an Ottawa rehab centre."



    Clark leaves an extraordinary legacy.



    Robbie Giles, Justin Clark's former teacher,

    CETA trade deal: Three years later, Canadian agriculture still dissatisfied

    CETA trade deal: Three years later, Canadian agriculture still dissatisfied

    In 2017 the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement was negotiated and signed into force with great satisfaction by Canada's Trudeau government to improve trade between Canada nad the European Union, notably in the agricultural sector.



    It was supposed to be advantageous for both Canada and the European Union.  A year later there were already rumblings in Canadian agriculture and by 2019 the Canadian Agri-food Trade Alliance (CAFTA) was saying the deal had not only not increased Canadian exports but in fact had hurt the sector.



    The group said since CETA. the agriculture sector had lost about 10 per cent of its exports to Europe while imports from Europe had increased by the same amount meaning about a $3.5 billion trade imbalance.



    RCI- Oct 21/19: CETA trade deal - advantage Europe



    Now one year later CAFTA wrote a letter to the EU Directorate of Trade staing its concerns about the deal writing "to express our serious concern over the lack of commitment the European Union (EU) is demonstrating to adhere to the spirit of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)".



    The letter goes on to criticise the EU saying  the deal has harmed Canada, " because of a wide range of technical barriers and trade distorting measures that were to be lowered or eliminated altogether through CETA continue to block access to the EU market for Canadian products. The reluctance from the EU Commission and EU member states to abide by the spirit of the CETA and remove these barriers has been disappointing and surprising given the EU’s own focus on ensuring its trade agreements are put into practice and enforced properly".



    In addtion this week no less than five former Premiers have written a joint letter to Prime Minister Trudeau. The five former Premiers include those of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec,



    The say the deal was to "increase Canada’s exports by nearly $1.5 billion annually. The pact also included commitments to resolve issues related to technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary provisions and other non-tariff barriers"



    It goes on to say, "CETA has now been in force for three years and it has failed to deliver on its promises for Canada’s agri-food exporters. This outcomes results from the EU Commission and EU member states continuing to impose a wide range of trade barriers for pork, beef, canola, sugar and grains, or failing to reduce those that were to be lowered or eliminated altogether through CETA



    The letter goes on to urge the Prime Minister to raise concerns about what are seen as ongoing barriers and restrictions hurting Canadian agricultural exports concluding with ". In the weeks ahead, we urge you to take up these issues with your counterparts as one of your top foreign policy priorities.



    additional information - sources



    CAFTA: Sep 20/20: Open letter to EU Directorate of Trade

    Sep 21/20: Open letter from former Premiers to the Prime Minister

    Alberta Farmer: D Fraser: Sep 25/20:  Canada not benefitting from CETA Barbeau says

    Canada pushes former finance minister for top OECD position

    Canada pushes former finance minister for top OECD position

    Canada's Bill Morneau, had been a confidant and advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau  since the Liberals came to power in 2015. He had also held the very important portfolio of finance minister since that time.



    His involvement with the WE Charity and especially 'forgetting' about accepting an expensive free trip for his family from the charity amid the federal scandal surrounding the multi-million dollar sole-source contract of which he was a part, is said to have caused him to suddenly resign last month.



    Rumours of a rift over Trudeau's massive COVID emergency spending, remain rumours, and likely without much foundation given that  on Friday, the government announced in a statement they were backing Morneau as the Canadian choice to head the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).



    The influential international organisation will name a new Secretary-General on March 1, 2021 for a five year term heading the 37 member group of mostly highly-developed countries.



    OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria of Mexico, seen here in an Oct. 2017 photo, will not seek a fourth term after 15 years, opening the international competition for the top job (Matt Dunham/AP/Canadian Press)



    On its website the OECD describes itself as working with governments, policy makers, and citizens, "on establishing evidence-based international standards and finding solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges. From improving economic performance and creating jobs to fostering strong education and fighting international tax evasion, we provide a unique forum and knowledge hub for data and analysis, exchange of experiences, best-practice sharing, and advice on public policies and international standard-setting.



    Morneau was in Paris this weekend for meetings with OECD ambassadors



    The competition for the top job at the OECD is tough, with the current head, Angel Gurria of Mexico not seeking a fourth term,  possible candidates include a strong contender from the U.S.  White House advisor Chris Liddell, is an Oxford graduate who has also been a top executive at Microsoft and General Motors. Candidates from Estonia and the Czech Republic would likely have a strong positio as would Sweden’s Cecilia Malmström, a longtime EU commissioner.   An additional point in her favour is that a woman has never headed the OECD. The European members may also want one of their own after over two decades of non-European heads. The last European to head the organisation was  Jean-Claude Paye of France from 1984 to 1996



    In spite of an impressive C.V. the fact that Morneau resigned under a cloud may also play against him.



    At least one critic has said that after Trudeau mocked the previous government's failed bid for a U.N. Security Council seat and then failed himself, the Trudeau government's 'vigourous support' for Morneau may be setting Canada up for another international embarrassment.



    Adding to the factors against Morneau is that a Canadian had recently held the job. Donald Johnston was OECD head for ten years from 1996 to 2006.



    Member countries can put forward their nominees until the end of October.



    additional information - sources



    iPolitics: A. Freeman: Aug 21/20: OpEd: Sorry Mr Morneau but the OECD is exploring other candidates at this time

    Politico: A.Blatchford: Sep 25/20: Bill Morneau emerges from Liberal scandal to make pitch for OECD top job

    Gov't of Canada: Sep 25/20: Statement of support for Morneau's  OECD bid

    Bloomberg: T.Argitis: Sep 25.20: Canada nominates former finance minister Morneau for OECD post

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