Emergency/ Crisis Management

More private healthcare inevitable?

A move by Ontario to have more surgeries performed in private clinics in a bid to relieve pressure on hospitals is being monitored by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “It is one of the primary responsibilities of the federal government . . . to ensure that the Canada Health Act is always respected,” he said January 16, adding that he and the premiers are “very much on the same page” on a broad range of health services. [node:read-more:link]

Canada sends armoured vehicles for Haiti

Canada delivered three more armoured vehicles to the Haiti National Police via military aircraft. The vehicles are for use against criminal gangs which have caused a humanitarian crisis. Canada supplied an initial batch of AVs last October. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine nuclear plant talks difficult

Brokering a deal on a safe zone around Ukraine’s Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is getting harder because of military involvement in talks, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi said today. He had hoped to have an agreement in place by the end of 2022 but remains optimistic even though the negotiation table had become “longer and more difficult.” [node:read-more:link]

Sweden contemplates civil conscription

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced today that his government is preparing to reintroduce conscription of civilians for its emergency services. His Civil Defence Minister, Carl-Oskar Bohlin, said the focus will be on deploying appropriately trained civilians within the municipal rescue services and bolstering their capabilities to respond in a state of emergency or to any potential attack. [node:read-more:link]

Election denial erupts in Brazil

Things began to return to normal today in Brasilia after massive crowds breached Congress, the Supreme Court and other buildings, protesting that last October’s election which ousted Jair Bolsonaro was fraudulent. His successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, has promised to prosecute protesters for their “barbaric” behaviour which mirrored the similar assault on the U.S. Capitol two years ago by supporters of Donald Trump. [node:read-more:link]

Mexican violence traps Canadians

Canadian tourists were trapped inside a Mexican hotel January 5 when widespread violence between drug cartels saw the trvellers’ airport transportation set ablaze outside. The upshot was advice from the federal government shelter in place. [node:read-more:link]

Convoy protests 2.0 DOA?

One of the anti-government protest groups behind last winter’s “Freedom Convoy” protests says he has called off plans for a repeat performance. The Canada Unity Official Freedom Convoy 2.0 Reunion scheduled for Winnipeg is “out of service,” organizer James Bauder said on social media. An initial anniversary protest had been planned in Ottawa but plans changed with the prospect of a strong pushback by the city’s police service and that recently was echoed by its Winnipeg counterpart. [node:read-more:link]

Iran booted from UN women’s group

The UN Economic & Social Council ousted Iran’s representative December 14 in response to Tehran’s violent crackdown on widespread protests over the death of a young woman. There were 29 votes in favour of a U.S. motion, eight against (including China and Russia) and 16 abstentions. Iranian Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani said the decision could be a “dangerous precedent with far-reaching consequences,” a view shared by some other delegates. [node:read-more:link]

More armoured vehicles for Haiti

Canada’s UN envoy, Bob Rae, says the federal government will send more armoured vehicles to Haiti to help its national police deal with gang violence that has escalated over five years and effectively paralyzed the country. Canada shipped three Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicles and three commercial-pattern AVs in October and details of the next batch evidently will await an in-country assessment by three Canadian experts. [node:read-more:link]

No frozen funds for protest principals

An Ontario judge has ruled that two organizers of last winter’s month-long “Freedom Convoy” blockade in Ottawa cannot use money raised by protest supporters to defend themselves against a $306-million class-action lawsuit on behalf of Ottawa residents. They had sought access to $200,000 of the millions in donations frozen by the court [node:read-more:link]

China eases pandemic restrictions

After unprecedented massive public protests in several major cities against President Xi Jimping‘s rigidly enforced zero-Covid policy, and despite the latest wave of infections, the Chinese government is lifting its most severe restrictions such as enforced quarantine. Persons who test positive but are asymptomatic now can isolate at home and others no longer need proof for most venues and can travel more freely. [node:read-more:link]

Broad support for Emergencies Act

Results of a late November poll by Nanos Research indicate that a majority of Canadians approve of the use of the Emergencies Act to shut down “Freedom Convoy” protests last February. Some 48 per cent if the more than 1,000 respondents supported the government’s decision and 18 per cent were “somewhat” in favour. [node:read-more:link]

Massive Salvadoran gang crackdown

Unable to deal with widespread gang violence through conventional policing, the government of El Salvador deployed some 10,000 troops to surround the city of Soyapango December 3 as part of a massive crackdown. President Nayib Bukele said “extraction teams from the police and the army are tasked with extricating all the gang members still there one by one.” [node:read-more:link]

Unredacted protest documents to be released

Lawyers for “Freedom Convoy” organizers will have access to unredacted versions of 20 government documents about last February’s invocation of the Emergencies Act. The commission of inquiry, which has an early February 2023 deadline for issuing its final report, announced the decision today as it wound up proceedings after seven weeks. [node:read-more:link]

UN unveils record aid budget

The United Nations is asking its member states for a record US$51.5 billion in aid funding for 2023, some 25 per cent more than in 2022. Citing Russia’s war on Ukraine, drought in Africa and flooding in Pakistan, among other things, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said today that “humanitarian needs are shockingly high, as this year's extreme events are spilling into 2023.” [node:read-more:link]


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