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  1. Unifor president Jerry Dias takes medical leave to deal with health issues Unifor says Jerry Dias 'did not make the decision to take this leave easily' Thu Feb 17, 2022 - Automotive News by David Kennedy Unifor National President Jerry Dias said Wednesday he is taking time off to deal with health issues. The head of the union that represents hourly workers at Detroit Three plants in Canada and thousands of workers at Canadian auto parts facilities, is currently serving a third and final term as head of Unifor. “To my Unifor family: My Twitter account will be a little quiet for a while. I am taking some time off to deal with some health issues,” Dias said in a tweet Wednesday afternoon. He added he had “every confidence” in the union’s leadership team and staff during his absence. While Dias, 63, announced the leave of absence Feb. 16, a memo to union locals and staff shows he has been on leave since Feb. 6. The memo from National Secretary-Treasurer Lana Payne adds Dias “did not make the decision to take this leave easily.” Dias has said he will retire later this year as opposed to stand for re-election. He will have spent nine years as Unifor’s head, serving since the union was formed in 2013 by the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. Dias is also currently engaged in countering U.S. protectionism, serving as chair of an Ontario Premier’s Council formed in response to American threats to Canada’s auto sector. The union said Unifor's assistant to the national president, Shane Wark, is taking the lead on auto industry matters in Dias’ absence. Unifor is the predominant union for workers in Canada’s auto industry as well as representing thousands of other workers in the transportation, health care and hospitality sectors.
  2. Towing boats head toward burning cargo ship carrying 4,000 VWs, Porsches, Bentleys, Audis, Lambos Lithium-ion batteries in the EVs on board the Felicity Ace have caught fire and the blaze requires specialist equipment to extinguish Fri Feb 18, 2022 - Reuters BERLIN/LISBON -- A ship carrying around 4,000 vehicles -- including Volkswagens, Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis -- that caught fire near the coast of the Azores will be towed to another European country or the Bahamas, the captain of the nearest port told Reuters on Friday. Lithium-ion batteries in the EVs on board the ship named Felicity Ace have caught fire and the blaze requires specialist equipment to extinguish, captain Joao Mendes Cabecas of the port of Hortas said. It was not clear whether the batteries first sparked the fire. "The ship is burning from one end to the other... everything is on fire about five meters above the water line," Cabeças said. Towing boats were on route from Gibraltar and the Netherlands, with three due to arrive by Wednesday, Cabecas said. He added the vessel could not be towed to the Azores because it was so big it would block trade at the port. U.S. economist Patrick Anderson estimated the initial loss could be $255 million. "A quick estimate, assuming that the ship was only partially full (or that a portion of the cargo is salvaged undamaged), is that there is at least $255 million or more in lost vehicles, plus many millions in salvage costs on top of that, and downstream losses in auto dealerships. It could be more," Anderson said in an emailed statement on Friday. A 16-person salvage team from Smit Salvage, owned by Dutch marine engineer Boskalis, was sent to the ship to help control the flames, Boskalis said. The Panama-flagged ship, owned by Snowscape Car Carriers SA and managed by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., was travelling from Emden, Germany -- where Volkswagen has a factory -- to Davisville, R.I., based on the Maritime Traffic website. Davisville is a port about 70 miles south of Boston. The 22 crew members on board were evacuated on Wednesday, when the fire broke out, with no one hurt, Portugal's navy said in a statement. Around 1,100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys were on board, spokespeople for the car brands said. Audi, another Volkswagen brand, confirmed some of its vehicles were also on the ship but did not state how many. An internal email from Volkswagen’s U.S. operations revealed there were 3,965 Volkswagen Group vehicles aboard the ship. More than 100 of those cars were headed for the Port of Houston in Texas, with GTI, Golf R, and ID.4 models deemed to be at risk, according to the email. The auto industry is already struggling with supply issues, including pandemic-related staffing woes and the global chip shortage A spokesperson for Lamborghini’s U.S. operation declined to comment on the number of cars the company had on board or which models were affected, but said that they are in contact with the shipping company to get more information about the incident. Felicity Ace is roughly the size of three football fields.
  3. Canadian truck drivers distance themselves from ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests Wed Feb 16, 2022 - The Washington Post By Claire Parker In just a matter of weeks, Canadian truck drivers protesting coronavirus vaccine mandates became the unexpected darlings of the global right wing. Republican politicians showered the truckers, who descended on the Canadian capital, with praise. Copycat convoys gathered from New Zealand to France. The protests against U.S. and Canadian regulations barring unvaccinated truck drivers from crossing the border began Jan. 28 — and soon attracted a range of anti-government activists, far-right figures and opponents of pandemic restrictions more broadly But even as the vocal group of truckers, known as the “Freedom Convoy,” grabbed the world’s attention, many of Canada’s truck drivers were scrambling to distance themselves from the movement, which they view as radical and fringe. In their view, the protesters’ actions — including shutting down cross-border trade and laying siege to the capital — have hurt rather than helped drivers in the industry, and failed to advance the labor issues most truckers care about. They point out that only a small percentage of Canadian truckers have joined the demonstrations, and the vast majority of drivers are already vaccinated, according to trucking associations and Canadian authorities. “There is a vocal minority, which is trying to steal the headlines, but a silent majority has actually been working day and night,” said Manan Gupta, publisher of Road Today, a Canadian magazine for South Asian truckers. About a third of Canada’s roughly 180,000 tractor-trailer drivers are immigrants, according to the most recent survey, in 2016. The protests have caused long delays at the border and forced drivers to take lengthy detours. Such disruptions are “not received well” by truckers who are not participating in the convoy, Gupta said, adding that “they are the ones keeping our supply chain intact and running.” “These illegal blockades have had a detrimental impact on our members and customers’ businesses. These have also had a very significant negative impact upon our professional driving community,” the president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, Stephen Laskowski, said in a statement Monday. The roadblocks hampered trade with the United States and forced American auto companies to scale back production, prompting the White House to call last week for the swift reopening of transportation routes. Canadian police cleared the blockade of the Ambassador Bridge, a vital border crossing linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday night. And on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the country’s Emergencies Act, which grants the government sweeping powers to respond to national emergencies. The Canadian Trucking Alliance came out in support of the move. Some of the convoy’s most visible leaders aren’t even truckers. And at the demonstrations, Confederate flags and pro-Trump signs have mingled alongside the Canadian maple leaf emblem. Money has also poured in from donors in the United States. James Bauder is one prominent figure and leader of the fringe group Canada Unity, which is well known for peddling conspiracy theories. Action4Canada, which sent vehicles and members to join the convoy, also promotes on its website the unfounded claim that Bill Gates wants to use the vaccine to implant microchips in humans. “They are using our name in the wrong place and the wrong time,” said Ajay Singh Toor, spokesman for Canada’s West Coast Trucking Association. “It’s not a trucker convoy anymore.” As a result, the convoy’s demands run the gamut from the removal of all public health measures to Trudeau’s ouster. Teamsters Canada, a union that represents 15,000 long-haul truck drivers, called the convoy a “despicable display of hate lead by the political Right and shamefully encouraged by elected conservative politicians.” The movement “does not reflect the values of Teamsters Canada, nor the vast majority of our members, and in fact has served to delegitimize the real concerns of most truck drivers today,” the union said in a statement last week. Issues such as wage theft, bad roads and a lack of restrooms are far more pressing issues for most truckers than vaccine mandates, trucking associations say. But convoy protesters haven’t raised them.
  4. Now it's getting serious, standing by for exploding heads on Fox News.... My Pillow's Mike Lindell barred from entering Canada to support convoy protestors Lindell, as well as a truck full of 10,000 pillows destined for protesters, were denied entry into Canada Wed Feb 16, 2022 - National Post by Christopher Nardi OTTAWA – My Pillow CEO and staunch Donald Trump supporter Mike Lindell, as well as a truck full of “10,000 pillows,” were denied entry into Canada Tuesday evening while trying to join Ottawa Freedom Convoy protesters, National Post has learned. A senior government source said that Lindell, as well an accompanying videographer, were intercepted at the Port Huron-Sarnia border crossing on Tuesday evening as they were enroute to Ottawa to distribute “pillows and Bibles” to convoy protestors. On the same day, a My Pillow truck carrying “over 10,000 pillows,” including 1,000 “Bible pillows” destined for the truckers’ children was also intercepted trying to cross the border through the Ambassador Bridge leading to Windsor, ON. Bible Pillows According to the senior government source, Lindell was turned back because he was not fully vaccinated and did not have a negative PCR test in hand. The source said that truck was also denied entry into Canada because the U.S. trucker did not have a valid pre-arrival PCR test. Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) caught wind of the prominent Trump supporter and U.S. election fraud conspiracy theorist through social media posts just before his arrival, the source noted. Current Canadian border rules demand that foreign visitors have at least two COVID-19 vaccine doses and show a negative molecular COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival in Canada in order to enter the country. Lindell is a staunch supporter of former Republican U.S. president Donald Trump and a prolific advocate of conspiracy theories claiming that the last U.S. election was “stolen” in favour of Democratic President Joe Biden. He has repeated false claims that voting machine company Dominion Voting Systems rigged the election for Biden and that Trump should be reinstated as president. In a video posted on his Facebook page Tuesday, Lindell described the Canadian trucker protests as “so important” and claimed that they were the reason provinces such as Ontario had begun lifting COVID-19 public health restrictions. “They can’t stop because they’ve got to completely get their freedoms back,” he said. The source says Lindell is one of “dozens” of Americans who have been turned away at the border under current COVID-19 rules while trying to join trucker convoys across the country. My Pillow did not immediately respond to requests for comment or explain the quantity of pillows, which vastly outnumbers any estimate of the number of protesters in Ottawa. In a video posted online Tuesday evening, Lindell is seen ranting against Canadian border officials after the truck was turned away. “We’ve been on we’ve been trying to get my trucks into Canada… we’ve been trying to get to Ottawa,” Lindell said in a video posted to his media website Frank. “(The trucker) has been waiting on this permit that they made up out of the blue, this new permit thing,” he said. The truck’s progress towards Canada was documented by Right Side Broadcasting Network (RBSN), an American right-wing media company. But their work was abruptly interrupted when they were also stopped and detained while trying to cross the Ambassador Bridge, RBSN said in a statement on social media. “RBSN’s film crew was temporarily detained at the Canadian border on Tuesday evening and was released shortly thereafter,” reads the statement. “RBSN had hoped to continue coverage of My Pillow’s pillow distribution to the Freedom Convoy of truckers,” reads the statement. “However, they were denied entry to Canada due to Covid-19 protocols and returned to the United States.” In an interview with CBC, Lindell denied he was blocked at the border. CBC also said they had government sources confirming he was there. A spokesperson for CBSA neither confirmed nor denied that it had stopped Lindell at the border, citing privacy legislation. “What I can tell you is that all travellers seeking entry to Canada are subject to strict screening measures by CBSA border services officers to ensure travellers are eligible to enter the country and understand their public health obligations,” senior spokesperson Patrick Mahaffy said in an email. “All foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, must meet all entry requirements as set out in the Orders in Council related to COVID-19, before being authorized to enter Canada,” he added.
  5. Online activists are doxxing Ottawa’s anti-vax protesters Experts warn this is blurring the line between activism and vigilantism February 11, 2022 - MIT Technology Review By Tanya Basuarchive Over the past few weeks, convoys of truckers and sympathizers protesting vaccination mandates and covid restrictions have cut off Ottawa’s busiest border with the US. The sounds of air and truck horns have filled the air at all hours, to the point where an injunction has been required. Some protesters are camping in parks and various corners of the city and harassing passersby. Their noisy resistance has sparked upcoming copycat events in cities in the US and around the world. Many Ottawans have had enough and are now taking things into their own hands. While some are simply compiling crowdsourced maps of the convoy’s hot spots, others have gone further, publishing the faces and names of participants to shame them publicly. In doing so, they are potentially overstepping the line of what is acceptable in online activism and veering into vigilantism, experts warn. Leo (who asked to use a pseudonym because he fears for his safety after receiving threats) is a cybersecurity professional who lives in the residential neighborhood surrounding Ottawa’s government buildings. On February 2, Leo used Ushahidi, a Kenya-based open-source software mapping tool more commonly used for election monitoring, to set up a crowdsourced site, End the Occupation. His goal was to create a real-time map that Ottawans could use to see where locals had reported being harassed or blocked. Leo saw it as a way to combat what he saw as an inadequate response from the local police, who he believes have often sided with the protesters. To publicize the map and get his neighbors to input information, he asked Ottawa city councilor Shawn Menard to share the link on his Twitter feed. Menard says he felt it was his duty to do so. “The site shows how residents organizing, supported by technological tools, can allow for powerful knowledge sharing and community crowdsourcing, which paints a larger picture that would normally be reserved for traditional forces such as police,” he says. “I shared it because of a lack of support for Ottawa residents by traditional institutions.” The project was the focus of quick retaliation. Within hours, the site was flooded with spam. “There were pretty graphic pornographic images, racism, antisemitic material, misogyny,” Leo says. The spam got so prolific that he had to temporarily shut the site down. Leo’s activity is aimed at warning local residents rather than going after the protesters themselves—and it does not identify specific people. But other activists in Ottawa are taking things further. One site, Convoy Traitors, is using WordPress to host photos of protesters, license plates, company names emblazoned on trucks, to try to figure out who they are. “Our mission is to document every business identified as being involved in the 2022 Truckers Convoy occupation of Ottawa,” the site’s mission statement says. “This includes truckers, supporting businesses, hotels, and restaurants. By naming and tagging we hope to ensure that any future internet searches reveals the true nature of these businesses.” (There was no contact information available to request comment.) Another source, @ottawaconvoyreport on Instagram, has posted photos and reels of people and trucks engaged in possibly illegal behavior. The account is reminiscent of @homegrownterrorists, which used its feed to name and shame people who participated in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. On February 10, @homegrownterrorists, which remains an anonymous account, shared @ottawaconvoyreport’s information on its Instagram stories, suggesting it approved of the approach. Experts are concerned. What these campaigners are engaging in is borderline doxxing: posting a person’s name and other personal information on the internet, which often invites threats to personal and family safety. That can be dangerous, particularly if the internet comes after someone who was misidentified and wrongly accused. It’s also a matter of ethics and intention, says Casey Feisler, an assistant professor of information science at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who studies online communities and ethics. Do we want the person who is driving that truck to get fired and not have an income? Does that solve the injustice a person on the internet may feel? This new form of online activism is making some people do things they wouldn’t normally do, she adds, and many of those involved may not realize in the moment of their anger that this behavior is not only unethical but illegal. “What is the difference between public shaming and vigilantism?” she asks. “And what’s the difference between ‘good’ vigilantism and ‘bad’ vigilantism?” As of Friday, cities as far away as Auckland, New Zealand, were planning to protest their own regional vaccination mandates. It’s not unreasonable to expect similar activist sites to pop up in the coming days. Feisler says people should increasingly ask themselves as they are confronted with the opportunity to dig for someone’s personal information: “What are the potential consequences? And is that really what you want?” prairieboys.mp4 laundry.mp4
  6. SpaceX just lost 40 satellites to a geomagnetic storm. There could be worse to come. Increasing solar activity could play havoc with mega-constellations like Starlink in the coming years. Thu Feb 10, 2022 - MIT Technology Review By Jonathan O'Callaghan On February 4, a geomagnetic storm caused by the sun knocked up to 40 new SpaceX Starlink satellites out of orbit. Now experts are worried about whether mega-constellations planned by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and others will be resilient to such events in the future. SpaceX had launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Thursday, February 3. This was SpaceX’s 38th Starlink launch; in all, the company has launched more than 1,900 of the car-size satellites, and eventually it wants to have up to 42,000 of them in low Earth orbit to deliver the internet to all corners of the globe. The day after the launch, however, disaster struck. An eruption of plasma from the sun sent charged particles streaming into Earth’s atmosphere, sending the planet’s magnetic field haywire and increasing the density of its atmosphere. That increase in density meant there were more particles to push against satellites in Earth’s orbit. This phenomenon, known as atmospheric drag, can pull them out of their orbital paths. As a result of the storm, as many as 40 of the new satellites “will reenter or already have reentered the Earth’s atmosphere,” SpaceX said in a statement, describing it as a “unique situation.” These satellites were vulnerable because they are launched into a low orbit, between 210 and 240 kilometers, where the atmosphere is denser, making the effects of the storm worse. The satellites are meant to use onboard ion thrusters to slowly raise their orbits to 550 kilometers over several weeks. Those already in these higher orbits were less affected because the atmosphere is much thinner at that altitude, so drag is reduced. SpaceX noted that the satellites were designed to completely burn up in the atmosphere, “meaning no orbital debris is created and no satellite parts hit the ground.” A handful of the satellites have already reentered, and the rest are expected to do so within a week. But the financial cost of the botched launch is estimated to be between $50 million and $100 million. And the event has raised some important questions about the planned rollout and future of mega-constellations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had warned of the possibility of a geomagnetic storm days before the launch, yet SpaceX decided to go ahead anyway. Experts are not sure why. “It is a bit weird,” says Marco Langbroek, an astronomer at Leiden University. “Maybe they did not expect the effects to be this large.”
  7. Ever wonder just how fresh those grapes are?
  8. Biden, automakers face cultural divide on U.S. push for EVs
  9. Former N.L. premier suing federal government over vaccine mandates for air travel 'I've come to the conclusion now that I must, and as a Canadian, as one of the writers, founders of the Constitution Act of 1982, not only speak about it, I must act about it' Tue Feb 01, 2022 - National Post by Tyler Dawson Brian Peckford, the last surviving premier involved in the drafting of the Canadian constitution, is suing the federal government, claiming vaccine mandates for air travel are unconstitutional. In documents lawyers say have been filed with the Federal Court, Peckford and five others claim the mandate “effectively bans Canadians who have chosen not to receive an experimental medical treatment from domestic and international travel by airplane.” The COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental. They have been fully approved by Health Canada. Since October, Transport Canada rules have required those seeking to travel by air to be fully immunized against COVID-19 if they’re older than 12 years and four months, although there are exemptions for those who live in some remote communities or require urgent travel, and for essential medical treatment and religious beliefs. “Requiring travellers and employees to be vaccinated, ensures that everyone who travels and works in the transportation industry will protect each other and keep Canadians safe,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra at the time. None of the six people involved in the lawsuit have been vaccinated, according to court filings. The applicants are represented by Keith Wilson, a St. Albert, Alta., lawyer and by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a right-wing legal advocacy group that has been fighting COVID-19 restrictions in courts across the country. Most infamously, it was embroiled in a scandal after John Carpay, the group’s president, admitted to hiring a private investigator to follow a Manitoba judge who was hearing one of the group’s court challenges. Peckford was premier of Newfoundland and Labrador between 1979 and 1989. Over the course of the pandemic, he has emerged as an anti-public-health-measures activist, claiming in letters to various health officials that such policies violate the charter, and parroting conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine talking points on his blog. “I’ve come to the conclusion now that I must, and as a Canadian, as one of the writers, founders of the Constitution Act of 1982, not only speak about it, I must act about it,” Peckford told psychologist Jordan Peterson on a recent podcast, discussing the lawsuit. Peckford lives on Vancouver Island and, according to the legal documents, requires air travel to visit family in Ontario, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia because “travelling by car across the country is impractical and dangerous depending on weather conditions” and he “does not have the financial means to travel across Canada in a private chartered aircraft.” The lawsuit says Peckford fears the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine — the vast majority of which are mild, according to Health Canada — and “objects to the use of such products in exercise of his conscience, bodily autonomy, life, liberty, and security of the person, and believes that having to disclose his vaccination status to the Respondents as a condition of boarding an airplane is a violation of his privacy.” “We Canadians have learned some hard lessons, and we’re not going to let our democracy fall down,” Peckford told a crowd in Victoria, B.C., over the weekend. The others involved in the lawsuit all raise similar objections, and also raise concerns (not borne out by the medical research) about the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on health. All the applicants claim to have been “segregated from vaccinated Canadian air travellers, which renders (them) a second-class citizen.” The lawsuit argues Transport Canada’s rule regarding vaccination is invalid because it “was made for an improper purpose, and in bad faith in furtherance of an ulterior motive to pressure Canadians into taking the COVID-19 vaccines.” In short, Wilson argued, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to Alghabra made mention of enforcing such a mandate, and “his hateful comments of calling anyone who believes that people should have a choice with respect to vaccines as being racist, misogynists” are evidence that the measure was improperly developed and implemented. “That will be the core evidence before the court,” said Wilson. The suit also argues the vaccine travel mandate violates privacy rights, equality rights, mobility rights, rights to “life, liberty and security of the person” and freedom of religion and conscience. These are all rights protected by the charter and all can be limited by government with sufficient justification. “This deprivation is more than trivial. The (decision) restricts unvaccinated Canadians from air travel, creating a serious harmful effect that negatively impacts liberty and security of the person,” the lawsuit claims. Eric Adams, a law professor at the University of Alberta, said numerous lawsuits against COVID-19 measures have failed to overturn public-health restrictions, and this case raises many of the same issues. “It’s always going to be difficult to win a case for you where you’re bringing out arguments that have already failed in similar context,” Adams said. “But at some point, perhaps the pandemic’s duration becomes a variable that becomes a factor in one of these lawsuits.” Wilson said many of the cases that had come before the court were done on tight time schedules, with less well-developed scientific evidence and a “factual change in the risk profile of the pandemic.” “We’re building a different case than any case that’s been put before the courts to date,” Wilson said. Transport Canada did not respond to a request for comment.
  10. Electric vehicles will need a lot more range before most Canadians consider one Tue Jan 25, 2022 - The Globe and Mail by Matt Bubbers Electric vehicles have come a long way, but they’re going to need to go a lot farther, literally, in order to convince Canadians to ditch their gas guzzlers. Drivers in Canada say they won’t consider buying an electric vehicle unless it has a driving range of at least 599 kilometres, according to a new survey by consulting firm Deloitte. Today, 300 to 500 kilometres is the norm for most EVs. If you think 599 kilometres of range is overkill, wait til you hear how much it’s going to take to convince Americans to bite: They want EVs that can cover 834 kilometres before recharging. As part of its 2022 Global Automotive Consumer survey, Deloitte asked 26,000 people from 25 countries – including roughly 1,000 people from Canada – for their opinions on electric vehicles. The ideal driving-range numbers are an average of responses from people who are not already considering buying an electric vehicle. As it turns out, that’s most of us. More than half of Canadians said they wanted their next vehicle to have a conventional gas or diesel engine, said Ryan Robinson, automotive research leader at Deloitte. Only 10 per cent of people said they would prefer a fully electric vehicle as their next car; in the United States, it was just 5 per cent. That leaves a large swath of the population for auto makers and governments to win over if Canada is to hit its ambitious zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) sales targets. The Deloitte survey found driving range still ranks as the No. 1 issue keeping people in Canada from considering an EV, followed closely by the higher upfront costs, Robinson said. Concerns about a lack of public charging infrastructure ranked third. In the United States, range was the No. 1 issue by a larger margin. EV evangelists and superfans will say that people don’t need 600 kilometres of driving range, and that range anxiety fades as you become accustomed to EV ownership. If you can plug in at home, or if you have great public fast-charging infrastructure, they argue, long-range EVs are unnecessary. These are all fine points that have been repeated many times – including in The Globe and Mail – but simply stating them over and over hasn’t been enough to convince more people to make the leap to an EV. Drivers want cars that meet all of their needs, whether those needs are real or imagined. Take pickup trucks, for example. Do you think all, or even most, of the 380,000 people who bought a new pickup in Canada last year frequently use their trucks to tow heavy loads or haul lumber? Surely not. Drivers choose pickups because they could do those things, should the need ever arise. Pickups cover all the bases. Why should EVs be any different? Canada is a big country, sparsely populated, and road trips are part of our culture. If you feel you might occasionally take a 600-kilometre trip – to visit family or go on vacation – then you’ll be shopping for a car that goes the distance. If an electric one doesn’t fit the bill, there are plenty of gas guzzlers to choose from. “One of the immutable truths that we’ve come to understand about consumers – not necessarily just in Canada, but in the vast majority of geographies around the world – is that people are 100 per cent unwilling to compromise, particularly when you’re asking them to pay the kind of money that is required for new vehicles,” Robinson said. Walk into a new-car showroom today, and you’ll find a handful of EVs that offer a very respectable 400 kilometres of range for about $45,000, before government incentives. The Tesla Model S and Lucid Air can cover more than 600 kilometres, but they both carry six-figure price tags. Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz unveiled an EV prototype that the company claims will cover 1,000 kilometres on a charge, but a company executive said that much range is probably unnecessary. The trouble with adding driving range is that it increases the price of a vehicle. But each model-year brings vehicles that offer more range per dollar. Battery-leasing programs like the one planned by Vietnamese upstart VinFast could also reduce the upfront costs for buyers. Making vehicles more aerodynamic is another cheap way to boost range, although that path leads away from SUVs and pickups, which cut through the wind about as well as a highway billboard. At the very least, as economies of scale ramp up, prices for longer-range EVs should come down. If there’s a silver lining here for EV fans, it’s that Canadians are, at least, more willing to adopt electric cars than Americans. “There’s a bit of a gap opening up, on a year-to-year-to-year basis, where Canadian consumers are looking a little bit more like European consumers,” Robinson added. “U.S. consumers are definitely starting to lag behind the more global trend towards vehicle electrification.” As for the question of how much driving range is enough to make EVs mainstream, the simple answer is “more.”
  11. Swiss Slam Brakes On Subsidies For 'Con' Hybrid Cars Wed Jan 12, 2022 - Barrons/AFP A Swiss region has pulled subsidies for hybrid cars, citing a report which found they offered negligible emissions and fuel consumption advantages when tested on Alpine Switzerland's roads. The mountainous southern Wallis canton commissioned a study by Impact Living, a project management firm which helps clients transition to more environmentally-friendly solutions. Their report on fuel consumption by plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in Wallis found little in the way of benefits -- with one of the authors calling their claimed environmental advantages a "con". "These vehicles do not permit any environmental improvement... it's a climate target con and it's a consumer con," energy engineer Marc Muller told RTS radio on Wednesday. Studies have suggested the real-world gains in carbon dioxide emission reductions for PHEVs -- which can switch from battery power to petrol -- are not as high as in manufacturers' tests, Impact Living said. For example, in 2020, the International Council on Clean Transportation research NGO, studying 100,000 PHEVs in Germany found the real-world fuel consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were more than twice as high as official test results -- four times for company cars. However, such studies were not based specifically on the mountainous Swiss terrain, which would appear to offer more favourable conditions for battery recharging through the regenerative braking system, due to all the downhills. Home to the Matterhorn mountain and ski resorts such as Verbier, Crans-Montana and Zermatt, Wallis's Alpine topography is essentially mountains and valleys. Impact Living recorded data from 20 hybrids and 15 conventional cars driving around Wallis for three months. Their study, published Tuesday, found that "unfortunately, the quantitative results (measurements of actual fuel consumption) show that PHEVs are far removed from what they promise and only present very slight advantages -- or none -- compared to a conventional car." From 2021, as in the neighbouring European Union, the average level of emissions from new cars in Switzerland can not exceed 118 grammes of CO2 per kilometre, as measured under globally-harmonised test procedures. Many European countries offer purchase incentives on hybrid cars, or tax benefits on buying or owning them. In line with its environmental targets, Wallis had been giving a grant of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,700, 2,380 euros) on the purchase of PHEVs weighing less than 3.5 tonnes, and 5,000 francs for those weighing more. "The plug-in hybrid does not appear to be a solution given the results," Impact Living concluded. "In real life, the plug-in hybrid average is slightly above the 118g CO2 per km target value." Wallis canton has withdrawn PHEV subsidies, given the study's findings. "The results are catastrophic," Wallis council president Frederic Favre told RTS radio. "We cannot support tools that do not allow us to achieve the targets we have set for ourselves."
  12. U.S. Is Open as Canada Shuts Down. The Difference? Their Health Care Systems U.S. free-market system has more surge capacity than Canada’s Omicron exposes a trade-off of government-run health care Thu Jan 6, 2022 - Bloomberg News By Brian Platt and Kevin Orland As omicron sweeps through North America, the U.S. and Canadian responses couldn’t be more different. U.S. states are largely open for business, while Canada’s biggest provinces are shutting down. The difference largely comes down to arithmetic: The U.S. health care system, which prioritizes free markets, provides more hospital beds per capita than the government-dominated Canadian system does. “I’m not advocating for that American market-driven system,” said Bob Bell, a physician who ran Ontario’s health bureaucracy from 2014 to 2018 and oversaw Toronto’s University Health Network before that. “But I am saying that in Canada, we have restricted hospital capacity excessively.” The consequences of that are being felt throughout the economy. In Ontario, restaurants, concert halls and gyms are closed while Quebec has a 10 p.m. curfew and banned in-person church services. British Columbia has suspended indoor weddings and funeral receptions. The limits on hospital capacity include intensive care units. The U.S. has one staffed ICU bed per 4,100 people, based on data from thousands of hospitals reporting to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. Ontario has one ICU bed for about every 6,000 residents, based on provincial government figures and the latest population estimates. Of course, hospital capacity is only one way to measure the success of a health system. Overall, Canadians have better access to health care, live longer than Americans and rarely go bankrupt because of medical bills. Canada’s mortality rate from Covid-19 is a third of the U.S. rate, a reflection of Canada’s more widespread use of health restrictions and its collectivist approach to health care. Still, the pandemic has exposed one trade-off that Canada makes with its universal system: Its hospitals are less capable of handling a surge of patients. The situation is especially stark in Ontario. Nationally, Canada has less hospital capacity than the U.S. has, as a proportion of the population. But even among Canadian provinces, Ontario fares the worst. It had one intensive-care or acute-care bed for every 800 residents as of April 2019, the latest period for which data is available, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. During the same period, the average ratio in the rest of Canada was about one bed for every 570 residents. (The state of New York has about one inpatient hospital bed per 420 residents.) That leaves the province’s health care system in a precarious position whenever a new wave of Covid-19 arrives. “The math isn’t on our side,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Monday as he announced new school and business closures this week to alleviate pressure on the province’s hospitals. The province has nearly 2,300 people hospitalized with Covid-19. No Surge Capacity On Wednesday, after Brampton Civic Hospital in the Toronto suburbs declared an emergency because of a shortage of beds and workers, Brampton’s mayor, Patrick Brown, tweeted: “We need a national conversation on inadequate health care capacity and staffing.” The biggest bottleneck in the system is the staffing required by acute care, particularly in the emergency departments and intensive care units, Bell said. The personnel crunch becomes extreme during Covid waves when large numbers of staff are forced to isolate at home because of infection or exposure. “We haven’t done an adequate job of developing capacity that will serve the needs of Ontarians,” Bell said. “There’s just no surge capacity available.” Stephen Archer, head of the medicine department at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, about three hours east of Toronto, spent two decades working in hospitals in Minneapolis and Chicago. He said he believes strongly that the Canadian system is better and provides more equitable care. Still, he called it “embarrassing” to see Toronto’s hospitals having to transfer virus patients to smaller hospitals around the province, as happened last year. The Kingston Health Sciences Center, where he works, took in more than 100 Covid patients from Toronto earlier in the pandemic, which was no surprise, Archer said, because Ontario’s hospitals get overwhelmed even by a busy flu season. “I think a very fair criticism of the Canadian system and the Ontario system is we try to run our hospitals too close to capacity,” he said. “We couldn’t handle mild seasonal diseases like influenza, and therefore we were poorly positioned to handle Covid-19.” Beyond hospital capacity, Archer and Bell cited other reasons for the disparity in the way that the U.S. and Canada respond to new outbreaks. Canadians put more trust in their government to act for the larger collective good, and they won’t tolerate the level of death and severe disease that America has endured from Covid, they said. David Naylor, a physician and former University of Toronto president who led a federal review into Canada’s response to the 2003 SARS epidemic, said hospital capacity probably plays a bigger role in Canadian decision-making than in the U.S. because Canada’s universal system means “the welfare of the entire population is affected if health care capacity is destabilized.” But he also argued that focusing only on hospital capacity could be misleading. “Both Canada and the U.S. have lower capacity than many European countries,” he wrote by email. The major difference between the two countries’ responses to Covid outbreaks is cultural, Naylor argues. In Canada, more than the U.S., policy is guided by a “collectivist ethos” that tolerates prolonged shutdowns and other public health restrictions to keep hospitals from collapsing. “America’s outcomes are almost inexplicable given the scientific and medical firepower of the USA,” Naylor said. “With regret, I’d have to say that America’s radical under-performance in protecting its citizens from viral disease and death is a symptom of a deeper-seated political malaise in their federation.”
  13. Don't think so, there is an option if you qualify
  14. "In the case of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, the restrictions will cover a broad area surrounding the runways themselves — where no 5G base stations will be permitted — plus two long stretches from Etobicoke to Brampton and another two from Downsview to Mississauga. In the longer stretches, there will be limits on power use, which can affect network performance. ISED said the restrictions are needed because there is a possibility that radio signals from 5G equipment on the new spectrum frequency could interfere with the operation of altimeters, which are used in automatic flight guidance systems." Canadians living near airports won’t get full 5G service
  15. Addendum: On Thursday, Cornwall ('Karen') was returning from the restroom when she saw a flight attendant conducting beverage service and blocking the aisle, according to the complaint. After Cornwall asked the flight attendant to help her find her seat, the flight attendant requested that she find an available seat until the conclusion of the beverage service, the complaint says. “What am I? Rosa Parks?” said Cornwall, who is White, according to the complaint. Upon hearing the comment, the complaint says, the male passenger sitting in seat 37C told Cornwall “it was an inappropriate comment and that she ‘isn’t Black … this isn’t Alabama and this isn’t a bus.’ ” He then called her a catchall term popularized in recent years to describe an entitled, demanding White woman who polices other people’s behavior. “Sit down, Karen,” he said to Cornwall, according to the complaint. Video posted to Twitter from @ATLUncensored appears to match the description of the incident involving Cornwall. Authorities declined to confirm that Cornwall is the woman seen in the video, which has been viewed 8.7 million times as of Tuesday. After the man calls the woman a “Karen,” the female passenger yells at the man to put on his mask as he is eating and drinking, the video shows. The woman, who has her mask pulled below her chin, calls him a sexual slur, which is then repeated by the man toward her. When a flight attendant asks the woman to mask up, she ignores the order and asks the flight attendant to tell the male passenger to “mask up.” The man, who still has his mask off, calls the woman another derogatory term, according to video — and that is when she slaps his face. “Now you’re going to jail! That’s assault,” the man exclaims, according to video. “You’re going to jail as soon as we get to Atlanta.” The woman then appears to spit in the man’s face. The two passengers were separated only by the beverage cart, but they continued to lob expletives at each other as other passengers stood up during the chaotic situation. “I will put my mask on when you put your mask on!” the woman says, according to video. Toward the end of the video, one passenger is heard saying that the woman “went crazy on the airplane.” Federal Magistrate Judge Christopher Bly on Monday set Cornwall’s bond at $20,000 but allowed her to fly home to Southern California if she followed the judge’s requirements, CNN reported. However, Cornwall won’t be flying home on Delta. The airline placed the woman on its no-fly list.
  16. Now all they have to do is sell the cars. Good luck pushing Buttigieg Buggies in the Fractured States of America.
  17. Not sure it would be the same with a Tesla... 396.mp4
  18. Cutting out the middleman... While church attendance among Canadians plunges, belief in God stays nearly the same All provinces saw declines in the number of people attending services, but Quebec saw the biggest drop, with people going to church often and occasionally falling from 33% to 8% Fri Dec 24, 2021 - National Post by Jessica Mundie Throughout the pandemic, there has been a sharp decline in Canadians attending religious services despite only a slight drop in their belief in God, a new survey has found. The Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and Leger recently released findings from a survey that looked into how Canadians kept their faith during the pandemic when many places of worship have had to close their doors or severely limit capacity to comply with public health rules. The survey was conducted through a web panel between Nov. 19 to 21, with 1,565 Canadians 18 years of age or older. The results of the survey are compared to a similar pre-pandemic survey of 2,215 Canadians that was conducted in May 2019. The most significant finding of the 2021 survey is the decrease in Canadians attending religious services since the pandemic began. Respondents who said they never attend services increased from 30 per cent pre-pandemic to 67 per cent. The survey also found that 60.5 per cent of Canadians who say they strongly believe in God never or rarely attended a religious service since the beginning of the pandemic. Although attendance has dropped, the survey found that one-third of respondents still say religion is important in their lives. The survey found only a slight decrease in the belief in God — down six per cent from May 2019 to November 2021. Jack Jedwab, president and CEO of ACS, said the drop in attendance reveals that Canadians have been able to separate their religious beliefs and the physical act of attending church service. “It is possible that people made recourse to virtual platforms for attending religious services,” Jedwab said in an email. “Still, it speaks to the personal side of religious conviction as opposed to the need for the group or communal feeling.” While restrictions on places of worship due to COVID-19 were seen as unfair for four in ten Canadian faithful according to one poll, 50 per cent said the restrictions were fairly balanced. While all provinces saw declines in the number of people attending religious services, Quebec saw the biggest drop, with people attending church often and occasionally falling from 33 per cent to eight per cent. Comparatively, Francophones have the lowest rate of attendance — 91 per cent said they have rarely or never attended religious services since the beginning of the pandemic. The survey also points to interesting trends in religious beliefs within different populations in the country. Belief in God is lower among men (50 per cent) than women (57 per cent). Younger people also believe less, only 41 per cent of respondents aged 18 to 34 say they believe compared to 64 per cent of those 55 years of age or older. Jedwab said younger people are less likely to believe in God because they are still forming their own ideas about religion. He also said because they spend more time online, they may not encounter religion as much in their day or consider it as important as older generations do. While attendance at religious services was down in all provinces, some saw a rise in believers. In Atlantic Canada, respondents saying they attend services often and occasionally dropped from 38 per cent in May 2019 to 17 per cent in November 2021. Yet, throughout the pandemic, Atlantic respondents who say they believe in God rose nine per cent, from 54 per cent to 63 per cent. “It is possible that the lesser impact of COVID-19 may have some positive impact on religious sentiment in the Atlantic,” said Jedwab. The surveys have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent (2019) and 2.9 per cent (2021)
  19. Airlines Brace for Flight Restrictions in 5G Standoff Carriers are taking steps to prepare for potential FAA flight limits when a new 5G wireless service goes live Jan. 5 Tue Dec 21, 2021 - WSJ By Andrew Tangel and Drew FitzGerald Airlines have begun planning for possible flight disruptions from a new fifth-generation cellular service slated to go live early next year, industry officials said. The early steps by airlines are a response to a Federal Aviation Administration order earlier this month. The directive outlined potential restrictions on landing in bad weather in up to 46 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, where the new wireless service is scheduled to roll out starting Jan. 5. The planning comes as U.S. regulators consider two proposals––one from the telecom industry and another from the aviation industry––for protecting aircraft from potential 5G interference with cockpit safety systems. Commonplace in modern air travel, they help planes land in poor weather, prevent crashes and avoid midair collisions. The wireless industry has said that the planned service poses no risk to aircraft, while the Federal Aviation Administration has said it is worried that the frequencies the cellular signals use could possibly disrupt the cockpit systems. The airlines are in the middle of the dispute. “If there’s any kind of weather, if there’s high winds, if the visibility isn’t good because of smog, you can’t use that equipment,” United Airlines Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Scott Kirby told reporters Dec. 15. “You can’t land at airports—at Chicago O’Hare, at Atlanta, at Detroit—just think about what that means. This cannot be the outcome.” As they game out various scenarios, airlines are awaiting specifics from the FAA about how broad or targeted the restrictions on landings might be—and where—starting Jan. 5, industry officials said. About a week before that date, the FAA is expected to issue pilot warnings specifying which airports will be subject to restrictions, people familiar with the matter said. Air-safety regulators have been analyzing cell-tower and aircraft data to determine where 5G signals could potentially interfere with aircraft, people familiar with the matter said. Despite the unknowns, airlines are assessing what canceled or diverted flights could mean for fuel, aircraft and crew needs, said George Paul, vice president for technical services at the National Air Carrier Association, which represents smaller cargo and passenger airlines. “It’s like a bad hurricane—you don’t know where it’s going to hit until it actually gets a little closer,” Mr. Paul said. The early planning by airlines is the result of long-simmering conflict between U.S. telecom and aviation regulators, which have been working out of sync for more than a year. The Federal Communications Commission auctioned off portions of the 5G-friendly frequencies, also known as C-band, about a year ago. Top auction winners AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc. were authorized to start offering some of the faster cellular service early this month, but the companies delayed their rollout until Jan. 5 to address the FAA’s still-unresolved concerns. The companies also pledged to dim the power of C-band signals, especially near airport runways, for an additional six months. Flight limits could complicate the U.S. airline industry’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Domestic travel has bounced back, and airlines have been betting on a surge in demand for international flights in summer 2022. While some carriers might need to trim travel plans because of Boeing Co.’s delays delivering its 787 Dreamliner, Mr. Kirby, speaking at a Dec. 15 Senate hearing, called possible 5G restrictions the “biggest and most damaging potential issue facing us.” U.S. telecom industry officials have disputed claims about the new technology’s safety risks. “The aviation industry’s fearmongering relies on completely discredited information and deliberate distortions of fact,” said Nick Ludlum, a spokesman for the wireless industry group CTIA. “We will launch this service in January with the most extensive set of protective measures in the world.” Regulators are at odds over competing proposals from the U.S. aviation and telecom industries to limit the new 5G signals near airports. At a high-level meeting Wednesday that included Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, officials discussed both industries’ proposals to create buffer zones around airports, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Buttigieg requested that the FCC consider the aviation industry’s proposal, some of these people said. FCC officials described that proposal as a nonstarter that would amount to a no-5G option, another person familiar with the meeting said. The FCC’s Ms. Rosenworcel has said she believed officials would find a solution to allow 5G deployment swiftly and safely. “I have confidence in the mitigations that have been offered up by the wireless industry,” she said at a Dec. 14 press conference. An FAA spokesman said the regulator continues to work with other federal agencies and wireless companies so “5G C-band and aviation can safely coexist.” Boeing, which at times makes its own safety recommendations, is evaluating potential risks not addressed by the FAA, people familiar with the matter said. Boeing engineers have been examining issues related to takeoff and pilots’ responses to possible 5G interference, according to one of these people. European plane maker Airbus SE said it was working with its regulators and the FAA to provide guidance to airlines. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, the FAA’s counterpart, doesn’t view the 5G issue with as much concern as American regulators do, a person close to the regulator said, but is aware of unconfirmed reports of 5G interference and is fielding inquiries from worried airlines. The scope of any U.S. flight restrictions is expected to depend largely on 5G buffer zones around airports. Such proposed protections include reduced 5G signal strengths and limits on antennas pointed in certain directions to avoid potential interference with planes’ radar altimeters, which measure the distance between aircraft and the ground. A preliminary FAA analysis has found that the aviation industry’s proposal would likely avoid significant disruptions of U.S. air traffic, people familiar with the matter said. The agency’s early analysis of the telecom industry’s proposal suggests that it could lead to widespread cancellations and diversions in bad weather, these people said. The FAA may also determine that certain radar altimeters aren’t at risk of interference, exempting aircraft equipped with them from any flight limits, according to a senior White House official involved with mediating the dispute. Larger airport buffer zones would prevent cellphone carriers, which spent $81 billion for C-band licenses, from reaching as many customers in some of the often densely populated cities they serve. Speaking at the recent Senate hearing, Delta Air Lines Inc.’s operations chief, John Laughter, said: “The safety concerns with aircraft and aviation are very real, and I also know that there’s a solution here.”
  20. The best antidote for Trumpism would have been an effective Biden administration. All they had to do was not be crazy. It's not Manchin, it's not the Republicans, it's not the media - it's them, they did it to themselves. Joe Biden’s presidency is in big trouble – and that’s good news for Donald Trump Tue Dec 21, 2021 - The Globe and Mail - Editorial Board Joe Biden’s presidency is in trouble. This past weekend, it was abruptly torpedoed by Senator Joe Manchin – live on Fox News. The U.S. President’s signature piece of legislation is – was – the so-called Build Back Better bill. It’s been pitched as the most ambitious overhaul of American social policy since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s, and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society of the 1960s. The New Deal’s legacy is programs such as Social Security (more generous than the Canada Pension Plan, and created decades earlier); the Great Society’s legacies include Medicare and Medicaid – health insurance for the elderly and poor. Build Back Better included an evolving list of promises, from clean energy to subsidized child care, free prekindergarten, free community college, a poverty-reducing child credit modelled on Canada’s, and expanded health coverage. Mr. Biden’s Democratic Party has a slim majority in the House of Representatives, but the Senate is split 50-50. To pass Build Back Better, Democrats can’t lose a single vote. For months, they’ve been fiddling with the bill, and whittling it down, in an attempt to woo Mr. Manchin, a Democrat from tiny, Republican-leaning West Virginia. But on Sunday, the lawmaker popped up on TV to announce that, after all these months of his own party tying itself in knots trying to mollify, cajole or charm him into supporting at least some of Mr. Biden’s plan, he’s out. After months of saying he was on the fence but persuadable, he’s off the fence – with both feet on the other side. It leaves the core of Mr. Biden’s agenda somewhere between limbo and non-existence. Which explains why, in response to being blindsided, the White House released a scathing and deeply personal statement, unprecedented in tone and directed at a fellow Democrat. “On Tuesday,” the statement said, “Senator Manchin came to the White House and submitted – to the President, in person, directly – a written outline for a Build Back Better bill that was the same size and scope as the President’s framework, and covered many of the same priorities.” The statement described the senator’s move as “a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.” There was more, and not much of it involved words used when negotiations are still ongoing. The Biden administration was left trying to save face, having been jilted at the altar by someone who’d gone on TV to tell the world he wouldn’t be showing up at the church, without so much as a call beforehand to his intended. For Canada, the sudden transfer of Build Back Better to somewhere between the ICU and the morgue does have a small upside. The bill included big subsidies for buyers of electric cars, but only American-made vehicles. In addition to violating the spirit of every trade agreement between Canada and the U.S., such subsidies would disintegrate North America’s integrated auto manufacturing supply chains, and crush Canada’s car industry. But most of the rest of Build Back Better is – was – about funding programs to make America a bit less unequal, poor, sick and resentful. Which, given that we’re stuck living next door, is something Canadians should get behind. Among its peers in the developed world, the U.S. stands out for high levels of income inequality and poverty, and low levels of economic mobility. The U.S. has comparatively low taxes and a weak social safety net, and though no country spends more per capita on health care, tens of millions of Americans have no health insurance. The average American works longer hours than a Canadian; gets less (or no) holidays, sick leave or parental leave; and dies three years earlier. Mr. Manchin represents one of the poorest states, so one would expect he could get behind Mr. Biden’s old-fashioned, prewoke economic program. His voters would be among those who would benefit most from a stronger safety net, support for working parents, better health coverage and more educational opportunities. However, Mr. Manchin is also a Democrat in a state whose Republican lean grows ever more pronounced. In 2020, Donald Trump won 69 per cent of the vote. The senator’s U-turn helps his own political fortunes. But he just drove right over Mr. Biden.
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