Canadian firefighting experts cheered on by Australians upon arrival
Australians cheered on Canadian wildfire workers as they arrived at the Airport in Sydney after an almost 16-hour flight.
They are the most recent Canadians to arrive in there to help with the ongoing wildfires.
Senior representative of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, Morgan Kehr told CBC, “It’s something we really have to wrap our heads around,” she added, “We have seen extreme fire behaviour in Canada. But not over the geographic area we are dealing with here. Or with the frequency.”
As the new deployment of Canadians arrives in Australia, the country is experiencing fires that have scorched 20 times the amount of land that they burn in an average year.
The Canadians helping in Australia are not fighting fires on the ground but are specialists trained in aviation and predicting the future location of the fires. They are involved in organization and planning.
There are 95 Canadians helping in Australia, including previous deployments.
The extremely dry conditions have caused the fires that started much earlier than they generally do to fiercely carry on. The NSW Rural Fire Service facing the dangerous conditions is made up of mostly volunteers.
Will Lee, a group captain for the service said, “It’s the largest voluntary fire service in the world.”
“A fire came through here the other day, fairly ferociously, and it was stopped by a ton of heroes,” he added.
Usually the Australian law gives 10 days off of their regular job to every volunteer to fight fires. This year’s circumstances have caused many volunteers to have to stay on the service for months.
Luckily temperatures have lowered slightly this week and some rain has been falling around the coastal areas where the fires are.
The temperatures look like they will be rising to the 30s again soon and winds are projected to pick up as well. This may be enough to cause the contained fires to lose control again.
According to CBC, 3,000 reservists for the Australian military will be joining the firefighters.
A large Royal Australian Navy ship called HMAS is also making preparations to bring those in danger on board. The ship has a large number of cots ready and will bring those on board to the open water.
Insp. Ben Shepherd of the RFS referred to the current conditions saying, “I have been in the rural fire service for over 20 years and have never seen it to this magnitude.”
Canada has been able to bring resources to Australia as there are enough to spare in the off season.
Shepherd also noted, “Where traditionally we would have seen a quiet time of the year, we don’t have that anymore.”
As we approach our fire season in Canada, some of the deployed Canadians will be coming back to Canada in order to prepare.
Bombardier Inc. has announced that it will be selling its rail-building unit to the French-based Alstom SA. The sale marks Bombardier’s departure from the rail business.
Alstom announced plans to secure the deal with Bombardier and major shareholder Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec—a deal worth roughly $9 billion in stock and cash.
“I’m very proud to announce the acquisition of Bombardier Transportation, which is a unique opportunity to strengthen our global position on the booming mobility market,” Henri Poupart-Lafarge, chairman and CEO of Alstom, said in a news release.
“This acquisition will improve our global reach and our ability to respond to the ever-increasing need for sustainable mobility.”
The purchase is an important one for Alstom. In a market with competitors such as the Chinese-government owned CRRC, Alstom say they will be focusing on “further develop[ing] its presence in Quebec, Canada,” with plans for Montreal to become the headquarters for Alstom in North and South America.
Alstom also plans on establishing a centre of excellence for design and engineering, along with other high-tech research and development facilities.
“Alstom is committed to recovering Bombardier Transportation’s full operational and profitability potential with the objective of restoring project execution and margin towards standard level,” the press release reads.
This comes less than a week after Bombardier announced it was exiting the commercial plane business as well. The Trudeau government is not trying to retrieve a $372 million interest-free loan given to Bombardier in 2017, despite the company selling of core parts of its business.
Kristina Shramko has decided to remain in Wuhan in order to stay with her cat, Kitya. Wuhan has been under lockdown since Jan. 23 in the wake of the coronavirus that began there and has now infected at least 67,000 people and killed more than 1,500. The majority of cases have been in the Hubei province, where the city of Wuhan, with a population of 11 million, is located.
China has so far quarantined more than 50 million people in the Hubei province and all transportation in and out has been shut down.
Shramko can leave her loft in Wuhan, although officers will check her temperature and she is required to wear a mask. Officers patrol the street and and shops to make sure that people comply with the precautions.
Shramko was born and raised in Vancouver and met her boyfriend in Wuhan during a month-long trip to the city. She moved there to be with him about a year prior to the coronavirus outbreak. Shramko’s boyfriend was not in Wuhan at the time of the shutdown due to a business trip. He isn’t allowed to return as per the quarantine rules, so he is currently staying with his family in another province.
Shramko had initially registered herself to be on an evacuation flight when Canadian authorities began chartering flights to get citizens back to Canada, however the strict no-pet policy forced Shramko to make the tough decision to remain in Wuhan to take care of her cat.
“I don’t know when the epidemic will be over so it’s kind of abandoning her in a way, even if I give her to a friend,” Shramko told Business Insider.
Shramko went on to describe the mental conditions of living in quarantine.
“After a month of just being alone and not having that much human interaction, it really takes its toll mentally,” Shramko said
“It’s pretty much a ghost town outside,” she said. “I live directly across from a huge mall and this mall was always packed with people. Even the street to get into the mall’s parking lot was always busy. Now, there are no cars at all and nobody outside.”
Shramko described many of the grocery stores shelves as being barren. She spends her time working on her YouTube channel, watching a Chinese version of Netflix, reading books and playing with Kitya.
She communicates often with her boyfriend and family back in Canada.
“They update me on what they’re hearing about the coronavirus in Canada and I let them know what’s going on in China,” she said.
The Chinese government has extended foreigner visas as a result of the epidemic, however money is getting tight for those forced to stay in quarantine.
“Nobody is working right now so there is no income,” Shramko said. “I’m trying to save as much money as possible since we don’t know when all of this will be over.”
Shramko was initially unphased by the coronavirus lockdown.
“In my mind, a super contagious and deadly virus just didn’t seem real,” she said. “It seemed like something you only saw in movies. After a few weeks, it really kicked in that this was a serious matter.”
Shramko said she understands the circumstances she’s in and doesn’t resent the Chinese government’s handling of the virus.
“I can’t say that I’ve put all my faith in the Chinese government, but I can say that they are doing their best,” she said. “It’s a highly contagious virus, so it’s hard to control.”
Shramko is getting restless to return to Canada now and wishes the government would allow her to take her cat on the plane.
“She’s been there for me throughout this whole quarantine,” Shramko said of her cat. “I should be there for her, too.”
The personal information of 144,000 Canadians has been mishandled by federal departments and agencies over the last two years according to the House of Commons figures.
CBC News reported that the Privacy Commissioner’s office noted that they saw “strong indications of systemic under-reporting.”
Many people who were affected by the privacy breaches were not notified.
The breaches were not explained by the federal government when they received an order paper question from Conservative MP Dean Allison. The errors were anywhere from small mistakes to large breaches that included sensitive and personal information.
David Fraser, a Halifax lawyer at McInnes Cooper said, “There’s a significant problem with the way that the government protects personal information.”
“The numbers that we’re consistently seeing reported out of the federal government are higher than they should be and significantly higher in my view.”
Most of the breaches involved the Canadian Revenue Agency with over 3,005 different incidents that ultimately affected around 60,000 Canadians. The breaches took place between Jan 1 2018 and Dec 10, 2019.
The reasons the department gives for these errors are security occurrences, misdirected mail and employee misconduct.
CRA spokesperson, Etienne Biram said, “We consider a single privacy breach to be one too many. Two-thirds of the total individuals affected were as a result of three unfortunate but isolated incidents.”
In January 2019, the personal information of 11,780 people was accidentally made accessible to employees of the CRA.
Another incident involved one CRA employee who was able to view the information of 11,745 people by accessing certain accounts.
“These individuals are not notified since the risk to them is deemed to be extremely low,” said Biram.
Throughout the same time period, Health Canada saw 122 breaches which affected about 24,000 people.
CBC had 17 breaches resulting in the information of over 20,000 employees being at risk.
There were over 2,000 combined breaches within Refugees and Citizenship Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada.
Some of the breaches at Employment and Social Development Canada included birth certificates and passports being mishandled and sometimes lost.
Errors were also reported by the RCMP, the Communications Security Establishment, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Department of National Defence.
Fraser noted that private sector firms follow strict rules by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the government should have higher standards for breaches and the protection on personal information.
“In the private sector, individuals can choose what businesses they do business with. If they don’t like the privacy practices of a bank, they can go to another,” Fraser told CBC News.
“But we don’t get to choose as citizens what governments we deal with, and governments are custodians of a significant amount of highly sensitive personal information.”
An Office of the Privacy Commissioner spokesperson noted that the order paper question is still being reviewed.
Vito Pilieci said, “We have raised concerns about strong indications of systemic under-reporting of certain types of breaches across government.”
Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at University of Ottawa, Teresa Scassa said that when the government makes errors like this, they can not be trusted to always report their mistakes.
“That is the classic conundrum. On the one hand, you don’t want to get people so used to data breaches … so that every time they get a notification they think, ‘Whatever, doesn’t matter.’ You want people to pay attention when it’s necessary to pay attention,” said. Scassa
“At the same time, you don’t want the discretion being exercised on the side of avoiding embarrassment, so that internally the nature of the severity of the breaches is played down because an organization really just doesn’t want to have to own up to the fact that they’ve had a significant data breach.”
Left-wing blogs have been offering instructions and maps during the #ShutDownCanada protests on how to blockade and destroy train tracks and other pieces of Canada’s infrastructure, according to True North.
Two websites in particular, these being North Shore and Warrior Up, have instructed demonstrators how to damage Canada’s pipelines, roads and railways.
In some of North Shore’s posts, for instance, they told their readers to stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en tribe by destroying train tracks. In this article, the author makes it perfectly clear that he wants to damage Canada’s economy at large.
More absurdly, however, the article then went on to instruct the reader on how to compose a chemical mixture that destroys steel rail tracks—taking particular care to describe how not to leaving fingerprint or DNA evidence.
The far-left blog Warrior Up also gave instructions on how to sabotage the Canadian economy. The website describes itself as a how-to-guide for “for anarchists and other rebels carrying out actions against the economy of death.”
Warrior Up went on to say that they were calling on “all warriors and revolutionaries around the world to immediately orient themselves around blockading infrastructure.”
“Collectives must research infrastructure to find the most vulnerable chokepoints and get organized to block them in effective ways,” it adds.