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Narcan nasal spray saves male in New Westminster

ON Saturday, January 23, a New Westminster Police Department officer was conducting foot patrols in the 400-block of Columbia Street when he observed a male snort something off the ground. Upon approaching this male, the member witnessed him fall backwards and lose consciousness. The male turned pale and his lips became blue.

Additional patrol members arrived on scene to assist and two doses of Narcan nasal spray were administered. Soon after the doses of Narcan nasal spray, the man began to show signs of life. Patrol members stayed with the man until he was assessed by BC Ambulance.

“We’re glad our members located this individual when they did and were able to provide lifesaving intervention,” said Sgt. Sanjay Kumar. “The Naloxone spray is used often by our patrol members, and with great success – we’re thankful that all our members have access to it.”

The New Westminster Police Department adopted the use of Narcan in February of 2017 as a means to save lives in opioid overdose situations. The drug, which enters the body through a nasal spray, reverses the effects of opioids. The NWPD said it would like to encourage people using drugs to practice harm reduction strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Helpful information can be found on the BC Centre for Disease Control website www.bccdc.ca.

Surrey has recovered 29,000 jobs: Surrey Board of Trade

Anita Huberman

THE Surrey Board of Trade’s 5th Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19-related impacts indicates that 29,000 jobs have been recovered since the beginning of the pandemic. Now Surrey is in a net deficit of just over 8,000 jobs, down from a peak of over 37,000 jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic.

“While other surveys and statistics show dire business futures, Surrey shows good economic progression and a positive economic future,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade, on Monday. “However, we can’t lose sight of those businesses that are the hardest hit by the pandemic – and needing continued support by business organizations and government.”

Highlights

* The total estimated net deficit of jobs in Surrey since February 2020 is now just over 8,000 jobs, down from a peak of over 37,000 jobs lost.

* Since the end of July 2020, Surrey has recovered over 29,000 jobs (over 78% of the jobs lost between March and July 2020) with over 4,500 of these recovered jobs being attributed to the month of December. In the last half of 2020, the number of jobs has been on a steady incline.

* The Utilities industry is the only industry in Surrey that has trended in the opposite direction of overall jobs, with significant gains in the first half of 2020 (over 1,000 jobs gained) and consistent losses in the second half (over 750 jobs lost).

* The industries that have seen the strongest recovery, in terms of number of jobs recovered since July, include: Accommodation and Food Services (almost 7,000 jobs); Business, Building and other support services (over 4,100 jobs); and Transportation and Warehousing (over 3,300 jobs).

* Employment losses by occupation in December 2020 were seen in Manufacturing and Utilities occupations (approximately 690 jobs), Health occupations (approximately 400 jobs), and Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport occupations (approximately 187 jobs) in Surrey.

* Though Sales and Services occupations have seen a steady increase in jobs since July (over 1,000 jobs gained in December 2020), these occupations have seen the greatest overall loss in Surrey (over 10,000 jobs lost) since the beginning of the pandemic.

* Manufacturing and Utilities occupations show an overall net gain of jobs when compared to February 2020 (approximately 1,000 jobs), however these occupations have continually posted a job loss in every month of Q4 2020.

* Though in December, some jobs were recovered in both of the following industries, they have seen the greatest overall losses since February 2020: Wholesale and Retail (over 5,700 or 11.3% of jobs lost); followed by Construction (over 5,500 or 17.3% of jobs lost); Other Services (almost 4,100 or 26.9% of jobs lost); and Transportation and Warehousing (almost 2,200 or 7.9% of jobs lost).

Nominate B.C.’s champions of multiculturalism, anti-racism

THE Province is seeking nominations to honour individuals and organizations that are strengthening multiculturalism and taking a stand against racism and discrimination throughout B.C.

British Columbians can now submit nominations for the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards for individuals, organizations and youth whose work has enhanced inclusion and cultural diversity, and reduced racism and discrimination in their communities.

The call for nominations closes at 5 p.m. (Pacific Time), February 22. There are three categories, with five awards in total:

* Intercultural Trust Awards (two awards):
Provided to an outstanding organization or individual for their work in building intercultural trust and understanding and/or reducing racism and hate between communities

* Breaking Barriers Award (two awards):
Provided to an outstanding organization or individual for their work in tackling systemic or institutional racism and reducing barriers for marginalized communities

* Emerging Leader Award (one award):
Provided to an outstanding youth/young adult, aged 15 to 30, for their work in building intercultural trust, tackling racism or reducing barriers for marginalized communities

All nominees will receive a certificate of recognition. Award winners will receive plaques. The youth award recipient will receive $5,000 to donate to a not-for-profit organization of their choice to further promote multiculturalism and anti-racism.

Nominations will be reviewed by an independent panel of judges made up of members of the provincial Multicultural Advisory Council and a former award recipient.

British Columbia’s Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards ceremony will take place virtually in late March to coincide with the annual International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Quick Facts

* The B.C. Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards were established in 2008.

* Almost 40 individuals and organizations have received awards.

* Recipients include:
– Henry Yu, University of British Columbia history professor, whose work has drawn attention to the cultural and historical ties between First Nations and Asia Pacific migrants in B.C.;

– Boma Brown, founder of the Support Network for Indigenous Women and Women of Colour;

– Farid Rohani, a founder of the Laurier Institution; and

– Spice Radio for organizing the annual Raise Your Hands Against Racism campaign.

Learn More

For more information and to submit a nomination, visit: 

www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/multiculturalism-anti-racism/multiculturalism/bc-multicultural-awards

Federal NDP: Scathing internal audit reveals significant shortcomings in federal pandemic response

Don Davies Photo: Twitter

NDP Health Critic Don Davies on Monday called on the Liberal government to take immediate action to address the serious shortcomings identified in a scathing internal audit of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) COVID-19 response. The documents were disclosed through an opposition motion for production passed in October.

“This deeply disturbing report exposes extensive disarray and sometimes chaos at the Public Health Agency of Canada throughout the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Worse, it appears that many problems still exist,” said Davies. “The federal government must take immediate action to close the critical skills and capacity gaps identified by the auditors.”

The audit revealed a serious and troubling lack of capacity at PHAC. The report noted limited public health expertise – including epidemiologists, psychologists, behavioural scientists and physicians – at senior levels. The audit also found a lack of emergency response management expertise and capacity within the Agency.

“PHAC was established after SARS to provide a clear focal point for federal leadership and accountability in managing public health emergencies,” said Davies. “And yet, we learned this week that the Agency has been hollowed out to the point that it lacks the expertise and capacity to fulfill this mandate.”

In addition, auditors found that PHAC is missing sufficient skills and capacity for risk communications – specifically for communicating uncertainty – to support the Agency’s messaging around COVID-19. During H1N1, PHAC determined that a risk communications strategy could support communicating uncertainty. Key informants noted, however, that there has been little risk communications support throughout the Agency’s response to COVID-19.

“Clear and transparent communication is essential for maintaining the public’s confidence and cooperation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” noted Davies. “The Liberal government’s failure to apply this lesson from H1N1 is absolutely unacceptable.”

The audit also found that the senior medical expertise needed to support Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, in navigating the rapidly changing science of the new virus was slow to be put in place, and most likely remains insufficient to provide the support required. Additionally, Tam’s office noted that she often received information in the wrong format, with inaccuracies, or in an inappropriate ‘voice’ needed to convey information to a particular audience.

“Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer must get accurate information to do her job, and this hasn’t been the case,” said Davies. “It’s time for the Trudeau Liberals to finally step up and provide Dr. Tam with the support she needs.”

Premier’s statement on one year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

John Horgan Photo: BC Government

PREMIER John Horgan on Monday noted: “One year ago today, the first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Canada was announced. The first lab-confirmed case in British Columbia was announced later that week. Within six weeks, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.”

Horgan said: “Over the past year, British Columbians – like people around the world – have faced challenges, hardships and loss. COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down.

“While the end of the pandemic is in sight, thanks to the availability of vaccines, the threat is not over. We must remain vigilant.”

He added: “Today is an appropriate time to commemorate the more than 1,000 British Columbians we have lost so far to COVID-19. It is also the time to acknowledge the countless efforts and sacrifices people have made to help protect and take care of others over the last year.

“Today, we recommit ourselves to protecting people’s health and livelihoods from the threat of COVID-19, knowing that better days are ahead.”

Don Davies officially nominated as NDP candidate for Vancouver Kingsway

Don Davies Photo: Twitter

DON Davies was officially confirmed on Sunday as the NDP candidate for Vancouver Kingsway at a virtual nomination meeting. Davies was first elected as the MP for the riding in 2008, and has been elected four times.

“It’s a true privilege to represent the people of Vancouver Kingsway and to make their voices heard in Ottawa. I am humbled by the trust and confidence they have placed in me to be their representative,” said Davies.

Davies has served in a number of capacities, including NDP critic for Public Safety, Citizenship and Immigration, International Trade and, since 2015, Health. He is also the NDP representative on the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, the oversight body of Canada’s intelligence community.

“I believe that social, economic and environmental justice are inter-connected. We have a stronger country when everyone is cared for, equality is respected and opportunities are fair for all,” said Davies. “We still have a lot of work to do to make our country better and New Democrats will continue to fight for the things that matter to people.”

Davies has introduced more legislation than any other MP in the country, and spearheaded efforts to expand Canada’s public health care system.

“Canadians are proud of our public health care, but we know that there is much more to be done,” said Davies. “It’s time we made sure every Canadian can get the medicine, dental care and mental health services they need through their health card, not their credit card.”

The NDP said that Davies was nominated after speculation that the federal government will call an election in the spring despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases across the country.

“People’s health and economic needs should be the government’s first priority — not their own political interests. But whenever the government chooses to call an election, we’ll be ready to stand up for Canadians,” said Davies. “I’m proud to be a part of the dedicated team of New Democrats who are working together to create a Canada where no one is left behind.”

Here comes the snow!

Gastown in Vancouver downtown last January. Photo: Rattan

ENVIRONMENT Canada says there will be snowfall with total accumulation of 5 to 15 cm across the B.C. south coast from tonight to Sunday afternoon.

A cool airmass associated with a low pressure system will bring snow or rain beginning Saturday evening on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast and late Saturday evening or midnight for the Lower Mainland and Malahat Highway.

The mixed precipitation will change to snow by early Sunday morning as precipitation rates increase.

The complex terrain around the south coast will result in varied snowfall totals across the region. Communities immediately near the water such as Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver will see up to 5 cm of snow. Higher elevations and inland sections of Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley – West, Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast will see higher accumulations.

At this time, elevations near 300 metres of Metro Vancouver could see up to 10 cm of snow. Inland and higher elevations of East Vancouver Island – Campbell River to Courtenay could see 10 to 15 cm.

The Malahat Highway will see 10 cm of snow between tonight and Sunday afternoon.

Snow will change to rain or become mixed with rain late Sunday afternoon.

Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations.

Surrey City Centre resident taken into custody after a weapons report

ON Saturday at approximately 3:30 a.m., Surrey RCMP received a weapons report at a residence in the 10600-block of King George Boulevard. Police were able to evacuate several people from the residence. Eventually only one male remained unaccounted for.

Despite repeated calls, the male refused to come out of the residence. The Lower Mainland District Emergency Response Team and Police Dog Service were deployed to the scene and after further unsuccessful negotiations, ERT and PDS members entered the residence.

After a while, a male was located inside one of the bedrooms, hiding from police. The male was arrested at 8:40 a.m. with the assistance of the Police Dog Service. The suspect adult male was taken to a local area hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries sustained during the arrest, injuries consistent with Police Service Dog contact. He was eventually released from hospital but remains in custody, awaiting weapons charges.

The residence is currently being held for security reasons while the Surrey RCMP General Investigations Unit applies for a warrant to search the home for evidence to further this investigation. By 9:15 a.m., the roads around the residence were opened to traffic.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers.

Trudeau and Biden to meet next month

Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau in 2016. Photo: PMO

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday agreed to meet next month in order “to advance the important work of renewing the deep and enduring friendship between Canada and the United States.”

The two leaders recognized that both countries’ fundamental priority is to end the global COVID-19 pandemic. They discussed collaboration on vaccines and acknowledged that the two countries’ efforts are strengthened by existing exchanges of medical personnel and the flow of critical medical supplies. They discussed working closely together to defeat COVID-19 by responding to new variants and following expert advice, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Trudeau and Biden discussed their shared vision for sustainable economic recovery, creating jobs, and growing the middle class. To that end, they discussed strengthening Canada-U.S. supply chain security and resilience.

Reflecting on the extraordinary and deeply interconnected economic relationship between the two countries, and with a view to promoting and protecting it, the Prime Minister and President agreed to consult closely to avoid measures that may constrain bilateral trade, supply chains, and economic growth.

Trudeau raised Canada’s disappointment with the United States’ decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. He underscored the important economic and energy security benefits of the Canada-U.S. bilateral energy relationship as well as his support for energy workers.

The Prime Minister and President reiterated the urgent need for ambitious action on climate change, reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement, and agreed to work together on net-zero emissions, zero-emissions vehicles, cross-border clean electricity transmission, and the Arctic.

The two leaders discussed their shared commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, including by working in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

Trudeau and Biden agreed to expand cooperation on continental defence and in the Arctic, including the need to modernize NORAD, and discussed their Foreign Affairs and National Defence ministers and secretaries of State and Defense meeting at the earliest opportunity.

The two leaders reaffirmed their shared values and interests on the global stage. They discussed the arbitrary detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and agreed to work together.

They reiterated their firm commitment to multilateral institutions and alliances. Trudeau raised the importance of the softwood lumber industry, and urged the removal of duties.

“Prime Minister Trudeau, President Biden and their respective teams look forward to further discussing their expanding cooperation at their upcoming meeting,” the PMO statement said.

Canadian Federation of Fiji Organizations fundraising for victims of Cyclone Yasa

THE Canadian Federation of Fiji Organizations (CFOFO) has been fundraising for the unfortunate victims of Cyclone Yasa, a top category five storm, that devastated the Fiji Islands last month. 
Shannon Permal, Chair of CFOFO, told The VOICE: “This cyclone has established itself as one of the strongest natural disasters to have affected the Fiji Islands within the last few years. Currently, our organization has been collecting donations via e-transfer and mail-in cheques to be able to send to TISI Sangam Society of Fiji – a reputable non-profit organization operating across Fiji.”

Permal added: “So far, our organization has raised and sent FJ$15,668.24 (Canadian $10,000) to TISI Sangam Society of Fiji, which will further aid in providing these services and resources in the affected areas. We are very grateful to those who have contributed thus far, but recovery is a long process hence why we are still collecting more donations to send again in mid-February.” 

The devastation caused by Cyclone Yasa. Photos submitted

“In situations like natural disasters, it is usually best to provide monetary aid anyway; Fijians citizens experiencing this disaster are better able to decide what is of greatest need. … Fiji Sangam has currently been providing disaster relief to the greatly affected areas in the form of food ration distribution, getting children back into schools with the supplies they need such as stationary, uniforms and bags, and run lunch programs within the schools themselves,” Permal said. 

“We are kindly asking you and all other members of the community to come together and contribute what they can to this cause. To contribute a donation, of any amount, you may: send an e-transfer to info.cfofo@gmail.com or mail a cheque to 5366 McKinnon Street, Vancouver BC, V5R4C6. All donations will receive an official receipt from CFOFO. For more information, you can contact us via email or call: 778-709-2853,” states their donation appeal letter.

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