June 16th, 2024

In The News for Feb. 24: After a year of war, Canadians still stand with Ukraine

By The Canadian Press on February 24, 2023.

A view of destroyed buildings in Borodyanka, north of Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

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 Friday, Feb. 24, 2023…

What we are watching in Canada …

From coast to coast, thousands of Canadians are expected to take part today in a series of rallies in support of Ukraine on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

Spearheaded by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, some 40 “Stand With Ukraine” events are planned for major cities across the country, from St.John’s, Newfoundland to Whitehorse, Yukon. The events are scheduled for various times throughout the day, however, the bulk of them will be candlelight vigils in the early evening.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make an appearance in Toronto and speak to the media about the grim anniversary. He will be flanked this afternoon by Defence Minister Anita Anand. Trudeau will also take part in a vigil later in the day for the victims of the war.

On Thursday, the prime minister said Canada’s support for Ukraine will not wither. He noted that the people of Ukraine are not just fighting for themselves, but for the ideals and rules that underpin all democracies.

The year-long conflict has taken a deadly toll on the Ukrainian population, with tens of thousands of civilians killed and millions more displaced.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this morning issued a defiant video address, recalling the terror unleashed a year ago by the Russian assault and vowing to push for victory in 2023.

Also this …

After a steep and rapid climb in prices, Canada’s inflation rate is expected to fall significantly this year, giving comfort to economists worried about untamed price growth but little relief to Canadians who have fallen behind.

Inflation, which first began creeping higher in 2021, took off dramatically last year and peaked at 8.1 per cent in the summer.

That’s well above the two per cent inflation target the Bank of Canada is supposed to maintain.

The run-up in prices was sparked by what Desjardins’ chief economist Jimmy Jean called a “perfect storm” – the reopening of economies after COVID-19 restrictions, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the disruptions in supply chains.

As that storm continues to dissipate, price pressures have relented, giving glimmers of hope that normalcy in price growth may be restored.

Those glimmers are now more apparent in the data. Statistics Canada reported earlier this week that the headline inflation rate fell last month to 5.9 per cent from 6.3 per cent in December, a decline that can be explained by a “base-year effect.”

What we are watching in the U.S. …

Japanese American activists in their 70s and 80s are fighting for Black reparations as more U.S. cities take up atonement for slavery and discrimination.

They say they know it can be achieved because in 1988, they won redress for the incarceration of their parents and grandparents during the Second World War.

The advocates have been shaped by the civil rights and ethnic pride movements of the 1960s and say that Black lawmakers have been key to winning redress from the U.S. government.

U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order on Feb. 19, 1942, leading to the incarceration of an estimated 125,000 people, roughly two-thirds of them U.S. citizens.

After stalling for decades at the federal level, reparations for slavery have received new interest amid a national reckoning over the 2020 police killing of George Floyd. Amid nationwide protests that year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation that established a first-in-the-nation task force to address the topic of slave reparations.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

Ukrainians woke up to their second year of war this morning, as the military continued to beat back invading Russian forces in the southeastern region of the country.

Missile strikes rained down on the country at dawn one year ago as Russian tanks invaded from the northern border with Belarus toward the capital city of Kyiv and from the south.

The war destabilized global supply chains and the international order established in many countries since the Second World War, triggering an energy crisis in Europe and famine in Africa.

People in Ukraine have lived under constant threat of enemy missiles, and the United Nations estimates at least 7,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed.

People in Ukraine have approached this day with a feeling of trepidation and in Kyiv, officials say they are trying to avoid having large gatherings, which could be targeted by an air raid.

On this day in 1976 …

The Trudeau government unveiled its “peace and security” legislation. It included the abolition of hanging, increased minimum sentences for murder, stricter gun control and wider police wiretapping powers.

In entertainment …

MacDowell, one of the oldest artist residency programs in the U.S., has tapped Chiwoniso Kaitano as its new executive director, the organization announced Friday.

Kaitano joins MacDowell with a mandate to “intensify outreach to traditionally underrepresented artistic voices,” among other charges, a release said.

“Our search was rigorous, all our finalists compelling. But Chi’s expertise, energetic and collaborative methods of engagement, and inspiring leadership qualities proved irresistible,'” author Nell Painter, the chair of MacDowell’s board, said in the statement.

Kaitano is the former executive director of Girl Be Heard, a nongovernmental organization that uses theatre and the performing arts to advocate for social change. Originally from Zimbabwe, she also serves on the boards of several arts organizations.

Did you see this?

The federal government has now spent more than one billion dollars on disaster assistance to help British Columbia rebuild after devastating flooding in the fall of 2021.

But Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair says that’s likely still just a fraction of the final bill.

Blair is in Abbotsford, B.C., today to announce a second interim payment of nearly five-hundred and sixty million dollars, after a first instalment of nearly four-hundred and seventy million dollars last summer.

The money will help communities rebuild after a series of atmospheric rivers washed over southern B-C, triggering flooding that inundated farmland, forced thousands from their homes and killed thousands of animals.

The federal government believes the total recovery cost for those floods and wildfires during the summer of 20-21 will ultimately top five billion dollars.

The province has up to five years to submit repair and recovery bills for federal disaster aid and Blair says there is still a lot of work to do before the final costs are known.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2023

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