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Canadiens’ Carey Price becoming like a big brother to Cayden Primeau


Canadiens rookie goalie Cayden Primeau was asked after practice Friday in Brossard to describe his relationship with Carey Price.

“I’m not sure … probably big brother, little brother,” Primeau said. “But he’s been nothing but great and super supportive. I try to stay out of his way, but like I said he’s been super supportive. So I can’t say any more nice things about him.”

The big brother had the little brother’s back after Primeau recorded his first NHL victory Wednesday night, making 35 saves in a 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre. The Senators’ Brady Tkachuk picked up the puck after Ben Chiarot scored the winning goal in OT and was leaving the ice with it when he was stopped by Price.

Tkachuk handed the puck over and Price presented it to Primeau after the rookie was named the first star in only his second NHL start since getting called up from the AHL’s Laval Rocket.


Carey Price congratulates rookie goalie Cayden Primeau after his first NHL victory, a 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Dec. 11, 2019.

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“That means so much,” Primeau said. “(Price) probably doesn’t even realize how much it means to me that he got a piece of that night there I’ll be able to have for the rest of my life.”

Tkachuk, who is known as a pest and tangled with Shea Weber during Wednesday’s game, claimed he was going to give the puck to a fan as a souvenir, but most likely knew exactly what he was doing when he tried to take away the special souvenir. Primeau and Tkachuk were teammates for international play at the U-18 level with Team USA.

“He messaged me and he told me that he was doing that (giving the puck to a fan),” Primeau said. “But it’s all part of the way he plays and I respect that. When people don’t like him, that’s what he’s supposed to do. I’m going to take his word for it, but definitely part of his game.”

“Nothing can surprise me with Brady,” the goalie said with a big smile.



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Apprentice star Lottie Lion, 20, claims infamous Ghandi text was ‘taken out of context’


When she was told that she’d been selected to take part in the latest series of The Apprentice earlier this year, the then 19-year-old Lottie Lion had a pretty shrewd idea of what her role on the show might be.

‘I was going to be the young, posh, clever one,’ she recalls. ‘And it was a role I was happy to play.’

The very self-confident teenager — she only turned 20 last week and is the second youngest contestant in the series’ 14-year history — certainly lived up to the billing.

Lottie Lion was the second youngest contestant in the series’ 14-year history and she certainly lived up to the billing

Lottie Lion was the second youngest contestant in the series’ 14-year history and she certainly lived up to the billing

There was a cut-glass accent, a business plan targeting the huntin’, shootin’, fishin’ set and a razor-sharp mind that prompted even Lord Sugar to acknowledge she was ‘a bright girl’, before qualifying the rare compliment by comparing her to a ‘fine wine bouquet’, i.e. she ‘gets up everyone’s nose’.

Perhaps not quite everyone’s — but there’s no doubt Lottie immediately proved a Marmite character, with some viewers applauding her take-no-prisoners confidence and others accusing her of being a fame-hungry narcissist.

There is another role, however, that Devon-based Lottie — who left the show on Wednesday night after losing out in the notoriously tough semi-finals ‘interview’ round — believes was also cynically allocated to her by the producers of The Apprentice. One she says she was unprepared for: that of the series villain.

‘I was going to be the young, posh, clever one,’ she recalls. ‘And it was a role I was happy to play.’ Pictured Lottie on The Apprentice

‘I was going to be the young, posh, clever one,’ she recalls. ‘And it was a role I was happy to play.’ Pictured Lottie on The Apprentice

Apprentice contestant Lubna Farhan

Apprentice contestant Lubna Farhan

And not just any old villain either: a racist one at that (she told a fellow Apprentice contestant, whose parents hail from Pakistan, to ‘Shut up Gandhi’). It’s an accusation that, as she says in her first, full blistering interview, was not only unfair but untrue.

The quote — which became public in October — was taken out of context, Lottie says. It was made in a private WhatsApp conversation after the recording of the show had stopped, and Lottie believes that this, together with the ‘cynical editing’ of her footage in the show, has led her to become a hate figure.

She’s been trolled on social media, spat at in the street, verbally abused in wine bars, and has been sent links to websites showing ways to end your life. She’s even had to report two death threats to police.

‘I have had people abusing my looks, my character, threatening to beat me up, everything,’ she says. ‘The judgment the public has made of me from ten hours of edited footage has been savage. I know I am a forthright character and not everyone likes that so I expected some negative criticism, but it is the level of it that I wasn’t prepared for.

‘It has been much worse than anything I could have imagined. Whatever The Apprentice say about caring for the people on their show, they have effectively abandoned me. I just feel they don’t care at all. They got their viewing figures, a show they can sell around the world and that’s all that matters.’

From left to right: Lottie Lion, Jemelin Artigas, Lubna Farhan, Carina Lepore have a disagreement in South Africa

From left to right: Lottie Lion, Jemelin Artigas, Lubna Farhan, Carina Lepore have a disagreement in South Africa 

The personal fallout, meanwhile, has been immense. ‘I’ve watched myself on TV and I don’t like myself either — and that’s a very toxic thing to go through. I have cried myself to sleep a lot,’ she says.

‘They have ruined my confidence. I feel like it is going to take a while to get the old me back.’

Her story certainly serves as a timely warning to anyone who is contemplating signing up for their 15 minutes of fame on a reality TV show — a potent reminder of the pitfalls of exposing yourself to the blowtorch of hatred that finds its home on social media.

It is a formula that even the most self-assured person would struggle to cope with — and Lottie is certainly that. When we meet, she is calm, measured and personable, although clearly wounded from recent experience.

She is also, we have to remind ourselves, very young — only just an adult, albeit one with a lot more life experience than most people her age. As she reveals for the first time today, she moved out of home at 16, has lived independently since then and is effectively estranged from both of her parents.

Yet she had a happy childhood at first. The daughter of Dominique Lion, a Belgian-born businessman, and Stephanie Blackmore, a former desk officer at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who is now an estate agent, Charlotte Lion grew up in a cottage outside Barnstaple in Devon with what she admits was a ‘beautiful lifestyle’ of winter skiing and summer holidays.

That all changed when Lottie was 12 and her father, in her words, ‘disappeared’. ‘I don’t want to go into the details, but when he left it all came crashing down,’ she says.

Following her parents’ divorce, Lottie moved with her mum to a remote farm near Morebath, close to her maternal grandparents Bruce and Rita, to whom she remains close. A Saturday job on a local country estate introduced her to the country club world of hunting and shooting — and proved the kernel of her subsequent Apprentice business idea, an elite country club exclusively for women.

‘I’ve always had ideas — I set up a car washing business at the age of 12,’ she recalls. By the time Lottie was 16, however, relations at home had deteriorated to the extent she decided to move out. ‘I really didn’t get on with my stepdad and I wanted freedom. Mum and I were arguing a lot — I am sure I was a nightmare to live with too but I just had to get away,’ she says.

And so Lottie moved into a flat on her own, working evenings and weekends as a waitress while also studying for her A-levels.

It can’t have been easy. ‘It wasn’t,’ she says. ‘I struggled even to get a flat — I had to work really hard to persuade my landlord that I was a good bet. I worked 40 hours a week while also studying.’

By 18, deciding to eschew university, Lottie moved to Taunton and got a job in the local school library — a job she describes, in rather grandiose Apprentice-style language, as ‘secondary education consultant’ on her LinkedIn page — although she says she also gave speech and language classes to the local students.

It wasn’t all work and no play though: Lottie also seems to have acquired a taste for spa breaks, days at the races, expensive cars, drinks and shoes, all showcased on countless pouting Instagram posts featuring glasses of champagne and Louis Vuitton bags.

That is a lot of lifestyle on waitress money — how on earth did she afford it?

‘I also did some modelling work which was pretty well paid and I organised parties, too. I juggled a lot of plates basically,’ she says. ‘That’s one of the things that makes me sad about what has happened — that people won’t give me credit for how far I have come. I have worked really hard.

‘If the flip side of that is being confident, then I am not going to apologise for that.’

Again, one must remind oneself that Lottie is only just 20 — something that will have caught the eye of researchers for The Apprentice, who no doubt gobbled up the forthright Lottie’s application in which she described herself as a ‘very cut-throat person’ who brings ‘class’ to everything she does.

This, of course, is entirely in keeping with the show’s general thrust: no series of The Apprentice is complete without candidates jostling for the limelight and making a series of laughably supercharged claims about their abilities and talents.

Indeed, it is encouraged, says Lottie. ‘When I was doing my recorded interview the team say, “Give us your cheesiest lines.” They encourage you to say things like, “I’m the best of the best.” But that’s fine, it’s a game,’ she says.

‘The way I saw it there were not a lot of opportunities in my area. This was a way of getting my business idea out there. It was a no brainer to try to apply.’

Filming took place between April and June, and Lottie insists that generally she got along with her fellow candidates, particularly ‘luxury womenswear consultant’ Ryan-Mark Parsons and risk management consultant Marianne Rawlins.

She shared a room with semi-finalists Pamela Laird, a beauty brand owner, Carina Lepore, an artisan bakery owner, as well as account manager Iasha Masood — and says they all got on well.

‘Honestly the main argument was about Pamela’s amazing hair clogging up the sink,’ she says.

All seemed well, in fact, until a chat which took place on the candidates’ WhatsApp group in August — long after filming had finished — was made public in October, when the show was on TV.

In it, Lottie writes ‘Shut Up Gandhi’ to fellow contestant, account manager Lubna Farhan — who was one of the first to be voted off the show.

It left Lottie mired in accusations of racism and the series producers fighting off echoes of the now notorious 2007 Channel 4 Celebrity Big Brother episode in which the late reality star Jade Goody referred to Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty as ‘Shilpa Poppadom’. Yet it’s an entirely unfair comparison, insists Lottie.

The 20-year-old insists she wasn’t making a comment about race but was responding to what she believed was a quote by the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, which read, ‘sometimes people with a character are characterless’ — posted by Farhan.

‘I said, “Shut up Gandhi, that doesn’t make any sense!” directly relating to the quote. Everyone laughed and that was that,’ she says. ‘I even had some separate friendly communication with her [Lubna Farhan] afterwards. The next thing I know, a few weeks later, I read that I have made a racist comment.’

There is no doubt that there was bad blood between the two, with Lottie also writing: ‘I f****** swear if you disrespect me again I will f*** you up,’ in another post.

‘Lubna had been winding me up,’ she says now. ‘But I shouldn’t have got into an argument.’

Either way, at least four of the contestants complained to Boundless, the production company that makes The Apprentice, which, after an investigation, reprimanded Ms Lion’s ‘unacceptable behaviour’.

‘I have a recording of that meeting,’ she says. ‘They told me they were fully aware I wasn’t racist, but because Lubna was hurt they had to do something.

‘So they knew I had been misconstrued and were happy to see me branded a racist in public.

‘But the reality is that all a future employer will now see if they put my name into Google is “race row”.’

The show’s producers also told her she could not appear on ‘You’re Fired’ — the spin-off show in which former contestants chat to a panel about their experience — and that she would not receive the £1,000 fee given at the end of the process to candidates who fulfil the terms of their contract. ‘They effectively washed their hands of me,’ she says.

By this stage, of course, The Apprentice was on air and Lottie was more than aware of her public presence. ‘I knew from the very first episode what the producers of The Apprentice had decided to do with me,’ she says.

‘As the series went on, it felt like they even deliberately edited it so I looked like a bad guy. It was incredibly upsetting — this huge wave of disappointment washed over me.’

A spokesperson from The Apprentice says: ‘Every show is a fair and balanced representation of events. We have a thorough and robust duty of care protocol. It is not the case that the production has abandoned Lottie. The production team has repeatedly offered her various forms of support which she has failed to respond to.

‘The negative Press coverage stemmed from Lottie’s language to another candidate, not the actions of the production.’

There are some, of course, who would say that it is all fair game —that once you sign up for a reality TV show you have to take whatever comes your way. ‘People have to be reminded that just because I have decided to put myself out there on television doesn’t mean I’m not human,’ says Lottie. ‘There’s criticism and then there’s abuse.

‘The sad thing is that generally I really enjoyed the process — but the aftermath has been horrible.’

This week, that process came to an on-screen end, when Lottie’s business plan for her ‘socially elite’ country club floundered in the face of a lack of detailed figures. It left finalists Carina and recruitment company owner Scarlett Allen Horton, 32, to battle it out for Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment.

Lottie was, at least, afforded a gracious exit. ‘It didn’t show this on-screen, but Lord Sugar told me that he felt I had taken part in the process five years too early and I think he was right,’ she says.

Little chance of her going back for more, of course — those bridges are well and truly burned. Instead, she is trying to focus on moving forward with her business plan — and focusing on the positive. ‘Love it or loathe it, the Lottie Lion brand is pretty well known now,’ she says.

Few could argue with that. The pertinent question might be — at what price?



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Lockheed Martin’s experts details laser weapon program – Defence Blog


Lockheed Martin’s experts have revealed details of directed energy and laser weapon system programs.

Directed energy and laser weapon systems are a proven solution that effectively addresses tech-driven threats with more accurate, flexible and affordable performance than offered by traditional ballistics.

“They’re designed to be precise, to yield minimal collateral damage and, in essence, offer an endless magazine,” said Dr. Rob Afzal, Lockheed Martin senior fellow, Laser and Sensor Systems. “As long as you have power, you can shoot—that’s a critical capability when you have to take on a large number of low-cost distributed threats such as a swarm of drones, each carrying a small explosive.”

Today’s directed energy weapon systems have decades of research behind them. Industry leader Lockheed Martin has spent 40 years designing and developing electromagnetic energy systems and elevating their power to create directed energy defense systems.

Powered by batteries, generators or pre-existing power sources, Lockheed Martin’s technology is a Spectrally Beam Combined fiber laser—small, powerful and extremely accurate. It uses beam-control optics and software algorithms to focus a stream of multiple kilowatt fiber lasers into a single high-quality beam.

The energy travels via mirrors, lenses and windows and can be adjusted for any atmospheric distortions on the way to its target. Normal ballistic challenges such as wind and gravity aren’t a factor, and the beam can disable a truck engine, burn through a rubber boat or bring down a drone.

“You can’t actually see the laser light, it’s invisible. The enemy wouldn’t know where the laser is coming from, they wouldn’t be able to target back. Of course, lasers travel at the speed of light,” said Sarah Reeves, vice president, Missile Defense Programs at Lockheed Martin.

Directed energy weapons’ unique characteristics change the defense equation both tactically and financially. Troops in the field needn’t worry about transporting heavy ammunition. The “ammunition” is merely the power supply, and the magazine is limitless. Their stealthy operation makes them ideal for surprise engagements—the enemy never sees it coming—and they can track and eliminate targets at both short- and long-range.

And as the Patriot missile incident illustrates, directed energy weapons offer huge potential cost savings and value added in any tactical scenario. Traditional weapons cost thousands or millions of dollars per shot and are limited by availability. As long as they have power available, laser weapons are infinitely renewable.

“The upfront cost is offset by the fact that the energy source, be it fuel, oil or a nuclear reactor, is often already in place,” Afzal said.

But laser weapon technology is meant to complement existing defense platforms, not replace traditional kinetic ballistic systems.

“They’re designed to act as an additional layer of defense that provides an advantage as they protect troops and critical assets,” said Reeves.

Lockheed Martin is ready to deploy and integrate directed energy technology by 2021. It’s the first company to bring laser weapon systems out of the lab and put them into the hands of soldiers, sailors and warfighters across all branches.

“It’s time for these systems to start moving into the field,” said Steven Botwinik, director, Sensors & Global Sustainment Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin. “They’re ready now.”

Lockheed Martin’s research and development experience provides the knowledge needed to integrate such weapons across every defense platform.

“There are obviously different priorities for each branch,” Reeves said. “All of the services have the same need to find a target and defeat it—and the fundamental technologies are the same—but there are differences in how they might apply them in terms of tactics and target sets.”

Lockheed Martin’s ATHENA system, which is a prototype transportable, ground-based system designed to defeat close-in, low-value threats, is helping transform other defense platforms. The company provides the laser weapon system for the U.S. Navy’s HELIOS program, which has been retrofitted for a DDG-51, and delivers key subsystems for the U.S. Air Force’s SHiELD program, an aircraft-mounted high-power laser.

“We can put our laser weapon system into any existing architecture. Our systems are being designed to plug and play into any military system,” said Reeves.

Once implemented, directed energy weapons will become a defensive norm.

“We excel not only at efficiently producing tactical electro-optical systems like these but also sustaining them over time,” Botwinik said. “We’re building laser systems that must be able to perform repeatedly in war-fighting environments. We have the logistics and sustainment experience to maintain these systems anytime and anywhere in the world, for years and decades to come.”

* If you wish to report grammatical or factual errors within our news articles, you can let us know by using the online feedback form.





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American Samoans’ Citizenship Status Still In Limbo After Judge Issues Stay : NPR


John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan, filed the lawsuit against the U.S. government after he was denied the opportunity to apply for federal government jobs listing citizenship as a requirement.

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John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan, filed the lawsuit against the U.S. government after he was denied the opportunity to apply for federal government jobs listing citizenship as a requirement.

Katrina Keil Youd/AP

John Fitisemanu woke up early Friday morning, got dressed and finally completed one of the tasks on a more than 20-year-old to-do list: He registered to vote.

For less than a day, Fitisemanu, who was born in American Samoa, was legally considered a full-fledged American citizen with voting rights and the ability to run for office or hold certain government jobs. But a judge in a Utah federal court has once again thrown his much longed-for status into question.

After ruling on Thursday that anyone born in American Samoa should be recognized as a U.S. citizen, the same judge — U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups — on Friday decided to put the order on hold until the issue is resolved on appeal.

Since becoming a U.S. territory in 1900, the cluster of Pacific islands southwest of Hawaii has remained the only territory not granted birthright citizenship. Instead, people there are identified as U.S. nationals. That means they are not allowed to participate in federal, state or even local elections in the U.S. They cannot run for any elected office and they’re also denied from applying for government jobs that require citizenship. They’re also issued passports that say, “This bearer is a United States national and not a United States citizen.”

Fitisemanu and two other American Samoans who also live in Utah, sued the federal government to change all that. And Waddoups agreed.

“Any State Department policy that provides that the citizenship provisions of the Constitution do not apply to persons born in American Samoa violates the 14th Amendment,” Waddoups wrote, in a 69-page judgement on Thursday.

The decision contradicts a 2015 ruling in federal court in Washington, D.C., that determined only Congress can resolve questions of citizenship within the nation’s territories. And government attorneys plan to appeal Waddoups’ decision.

Neil Weare, a lawyer for Fitisemanu, Pale Tuli and Rosavita Tuli, said his clients, are eager to have the issue resolved once and for all and “be able to enjoy all the same rights as their fellow Americans.”

In the case of Fitisemanu, who has lived in Utah for more than two decades, Weare said, he’s been a hardworking, taxpaying American. “Yet, based on this discriminatory federal law, he’s been denied recognition of citizenship by the federal government and as a result he’s not able to vote.”

“All he wants is to have his voice be heard, just like any other American would,” Weare added.

In his younger years, Fitisemanu dreamed of landing a government job and all of the security and wages that come with it. “And when he looked in terms of the jobs qualifications, it said, you must be a U.S. citizen. So he was not able to pursue those very attractive, well-paying jobs,” Weare explained.

It was that experience that prompted Fitisemanu, now 56, to file the lawsuit.

Government attorneys dispute the argument that citizenship decisions can be made in federal courts. Their position is that only Congress possesses that power.

“Such a novel holding would be contrary to the decisions of every court of appeals to have considered the question, inconsistent with over a century of historical practice by all three branches of the United States government, and conflict with the strong objection of the local government of American Samoa,” government attorneys wrote.

The government of American Samoa sided with U.S. attorneys, arguing that “imposition of citizenship by judicial fiat would fail to recognize American Samoa’s sovereignty and the importance of the fa’a Samoa [the Samoan way of life].” Additionally, they maintain that an “imposition of citizenship over American Samoan’s objections violates fundamental principles of self-determination.”



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For Scotland and Northern Ireland, a Weakening of Ties


LONDON — While voters across England embraced Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, it was a different story in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where Thursday’s electoral earthquake has strained the ties that bind the United Kingdom and increased the risk of its eventual breakup.

In Scotland a constitutional crisis looms after the dominant Scottish National Party made significant gains, winning 48 of 59 seats, and said it would press its demands for a second independence referendum — something that Mr. Johnson has already rejected.

The background in Northern Ireland is more complicated. But for the first time in its history, the territory elected more nationalist members of Parliament, who support reunification with the Republican of Ireland, than unionists, who wish to remain a part of the United Kingdom.

Though the situations are quite different in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the common thread is Brexit, a project supported by English and Welsh voters but opposed by majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

“Brexit has completely transformed the debate in Northern Ireland,” said Daniel Keohane, an Irish political analyst. “Before Brexit, no one seriously thought a united Ireland would happen anytime soon. Now it’s a very real prospect based on these results.”

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, who leads the anti-Brexit Scottish National Party, said that it was “now clear beyond any doubt that an overwhelming majority of people in Scotland do want to remain in the European Union.” Then she demanded a repeat of the 2014 referendum in which Scots voted to remain part of the United Kingdom.

This was, she added, an “assertion of the democratic right of the people of Scotland to determine our own future.”

Such claims are unlikely to move Mr. Johnson, putting him and Ms. Sturgeon on a collision course. On Friday after a phone call between the two leaders, Mr. Johnson issued a statement saying that he had made clear to Ms. Sturgeon how he “remained opposed to a second independence referendum,” adding that the result of the 2014 vote “was decisive and should be respected.”

But the reality is that the politics of England and Scotland seem to be diverging. So while Mr. Johnson’s Conservatives won a landslide overall, they lost seven of their 13 Scottish seats despite their hopes that campaigning against Scottish independence might save them.

The main British opposition party, Labour, which once dominated Scottish politics, now holds just one seat there.

Removal from the European Union against its will is likely to feed a sense of resentment in Scotland, especially if Mr. Johnson’s Brexit plan proves as economically harmful as many expect.

In Northern Ireland it was a sobering night for the party that had championed Brexit there, the hard line Democratic Unionist Party. Its leader, Nigel Dodds, lost his parliament seat in Belfast North.

The Democratic Unionist Party had propped up the minority Conservative government since 2017, and ultimately felt betrayed when Mr. Johnson struck a new Brexit deal that leaves Northern Ireland linked closely to the European Union’s customs market, effectively severing it economically from the rest of the United Kingdom and putting a new border in the Irish Sea.

But an even more striking shift in Northern Ireland’s political trajectory, analysts say, is the startling support won by the centralist Alliance Party, which gained 8.8 percentage points in Thursday’s general election, more than any other party.

Unlike the territory’s main unionist and nationalist political parties, whose policies are mainly defined by sectarianism, the Alliance Party is neutral and has come to represent progressive and moderate politics across all communities.

“The real story of the night is the Alliance Party in the middle, which is now our third-largest party,” said Newton Emerson, a political commentator in Northern Ireland, who describes himself as a “liberal unionist.” “The big change we have seen in Northern Ireland is that we now have a three-community system.”

He said the troubled governance system created by the Good Friday agreement, the 1998 pact that halted decades of sectarian strife in Northern Ireland, “now has a third leg on the stool.”

Frustrated by the political deadlock between unionists and nationalists that led to the collapse of the region’s governing assembly more than three years ago, many voters supported the Alliance Party, hoping that an electoral sting for the main parties would force them to revive the local power-sharing government.

“The political paralysis has had great consequences,” said Marie Kelly, a trainee nurse, who voted for the Alliance Party in Belfast. “Our health system is collapsing, we just don’t have the resources and deprived areas are suffering so so badly.”

Ms. Kelly, who previously voted for the Democratic Unionist Party, said she had wanted to punish it for focusing on Brexit alone and ignoring other important problems. “We need a more neutral political representation that prioritizes issues over ideologies.”

Stephen Farry, the deputy leader of the Alliance Party, who won in the Belfast constituency of North Down that the Democratic Unionists had been favored to win, said his victory was tied to the values of “moderation, rationalism and inclusion.”

The biggest disappointment in the election was felt by unionists and loyalists who vehemently oppose Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal.

“Of course, there will be some loyalists who will make a lot of noise about it. I don’t blame unionists for being upset,” Mr. Keohane said. “they have been betrayed by Boris Johnson, it’s as simple as that.”



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Industrial Energy Efficiency is a Climate Solution — Global Issues


Staff from MCI Santé Animale, one of the 18 companies that have participated in energy management training organized by UNIDO´s Industrial Energy Accelerator in partnership with the Moroccan government, at work, as the country moves to reduce its reliance on fossil fuel imports. Credit: UNIDO
  • Opinion by Tareq Emtariah (vienna)
  • Friday, December 13, 2019
  • Inter Press Service
  • Tareq Emtariah is Director of the Department of Energy at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

However, historic slowdowns in energy efficiency progress persist. As we conclude another Conference of Parties (COP25) on climate change, and move into a new decade with unprecedented environmental challenges, governments have to put industrial energy efficiency back on the agenda before it is too late.

I have worked in the energy sector for nearly 25 years. During this time, I have witnessed some incredible advances. Yet, now, when we should be doing everything in our power to reduce the unnecessary use of fossil fuels, we are instead witnessing a slowing of progress on energy efficiency, with the International Energy Agency reporting last month that progress on energy efficiency had declined to its slowest rate since this decade began.

Among the many reasons for this “historic slowdown” is a lack of national government commitment for the cause, which is seriously hampering wide-scale change.

Prioritising industrial energy efficiency is one way that governments can simultaneously ease pressure on the economy, enhance energy security and the environment in the here and now. It’s what we at UNIDO refer to as the “invisible solution”.

Tareq Emtariah – Credit: UNIDO

A large-scale shift toward more energy efficient practices in industry would enable companies to massively reduce their power bills. In economic terms, industrial energy efficiency can increase productivity, lower manufacturing costs, and create more jobs.

When it comes to the environment, the widespread adoption of energy efficiency measures could reduce industrial energy use by over 25%. This potential is a significant reduction of 8% in the global energy use and 12.4% reduction in global CO2 emissions.

With this in mind, here are five practical steps governments can take to harness industrial energy efficiency against climate change:

1. Phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, at least for those industries which are large enough to afford it. Analysis commissioned by the IMF this year found that if fossil fuels had been priced appropriately, global carbon emissions would be reduced by 28 per cent and governments revenues would increase 3.8 per cent of GDP. Developed economies and nations such as those in the United States and European Union should be leading by example on this issue.

Meanwhile, in major emerging economies like Argentina, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Russia fossil fuel subsidies have historically kept the cost of energy artificially low.

As a result, there has never really been a major concern for industries to makes changes. When industries don’t fully understand the potential of energy efficiency, and energy costs are bearable, it’s a lot easier for them to become complacent.

One just has to look to Morocco for inspiration. In 2014 the North African nation ended subsidies of gasoline and fuel oil and begun to cut diesel subsidies as part of its drive to repair public finances.

Fast forward to today and Morocco is considered one of the most progressive countries when it comes to its national energy commitments and efforts to prioritise industrial energy efficiency.

2. Breaking down barriers to finance. In developing economies in particular, investors’ lack of awareness of the commercial benefits of best practices in energy efficiency is preventing much needed investment. In countries like Brazil, ‘high-risk’ perceptions surrounding energy efficiency projects mean that interest rates are often impossibly high for companies eager to invest in industrial energy efficiency advancements.

The public sector must pinpoint the best ways to design and implement energy efficiency policies to effectively mobilise finance and investment. Co-funded blended finance schemes, tax breaks, financial sector training and project bundling are just some of the many ways governments can help to simultaneously incentivise and de-risk investments into industrial energy efficiency.

Improving the competitiveness of Brazil’s industrial sector, which contributes to 20 per cent of the country’s GDP, requires significant investment into energy efficiency. UNIDO’s Industrial Energy Accelerator undertook three energy efficiency workshops aiming to change perceptions among investors. Credit: UNIDO

3. Supporting SMEs. Often in emerging economies, small-to-medium sized enterprises make up the majority of the industrial sector. However, many of these small businesses lack the formal qualifications and the collateral needed to access finance and adhere to newly introduced industrial energy efficiency regulations.

In Mexico for example, where small-to-medium sized enterprises form the backbone of the national economy, the government is working to introduce a labour competencies standard for internal energy auditors that responds specifically to the needs of SMEs.

4. Making the invisible, visible. Despite offering so many win-win benefits, industrial energy efficiency is often referred to as an invisible solution. Energy efficiency interventions require changing behaviours and they are often technical.

Retrofitting the insulation level of pipes or replacing an old inefficient boiler is not as appealing as investing into multimillion-dollar renewable energy projects panels or as noticeable as saving forests.

However, government leaders can help change this by working with industry to advocate and discuss the potential of implementing industrial energy efficiency measures to consumers and other stakeholders. To facilitate and amplify this conversation, UNIDO recently launched a dedicated Industrial Energy Accelerator website and Linkedin community.

5. Joining forces. We cannot solve this challenge country-by-country, we must work together under a coordinated and ambitious multilateral framework. At the end of the day we are calling on competitive multinational companies to overhaul their production processes, incentivize their global supply chains and invest in long-term sustainability measures.

In order to enable this, countries must create a level playing field for businesses to operate within by aligning national incentives and energy pricing systems.

Government is absolutely critical to the energy efficiency transition. Even with the willpower of the private sector, without coordinated government incentives, – such as support for SMEs, advocacy and effective policy- industrial energy efficiency will be impossible to achieve on a large scale.

As we conclude another COP and move into a new decade with unprecedented environmental, social and economic challenges, on behalf of UNIDO and the Industrial Energy Accelerator, I urge all governments worldwide to put industrial energy efficiency back on the agenda. We have the knowhow, we have the technology, now is the time for leadership and effective policy to help us implement the solutions.

UNIDO’s Industrial Energy Accelerator works on the ground to rally government, business and finance around solutions for industrial energy efficiency. Next year the programme will enter phase two of project implementation in the Accelerator’s first five partner countries, and we will begin work in new countries including: Palestine, Sri Lanka, India, Ukraine and Ghana.

© Inter Press Service (2019) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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#Brexit – ‘We are ready to start the next phase, to defend and promote Europe’s interests’ #EUCO


 

The decisive victory by the British Conservatives in yesterday’s general election was widely and enthusiastically welcomed by European leaders attending today’s (13 December) European Council.

Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said that they welcomed the certainty that the election provided and said that it had been difficult when things had been agreed in Brussels, then rejected by the House of Commons. Bettel added that it is also time for Boris to deliver.

The President of the European Council Charles Michel said that the EU is ready to start the next phase: “We are ready also to defend and to promote the European interest the level-playing field is a very important goal for us.”

The President of the European Commission underlined that the timeframe to reach an agreement in the second phase was going to be very challenging, she said that the EU will be ready to get the most out of the short period available. Von der Leyen was keen emphasise that while the UK would become a third country, she hoped that the UK would enjoy an unprecedented partnership with the EU. She also said that she hoped for a deal that was: “no tariffs, no quotas, no dumping.” The reference to ‘dumping’ refers to the guaranteeing of minimum standards in several fields including state aid, environmental and consumer standards, social rights and other fields. She also added that we should “care” for the 3.5 million European citizens living in the UK.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar congratulates Prime Minister Johnson on and “an enormous victory for him […] and for his party.” Varadkar also welcomed the clear majority the PM enjoys and hopes that it will help in swiftly ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement. Varadkar reminded us that the agreement would guarantee no hard border between North and South, the protection of the common travel area, and the protection of British and Irish citizen’s rights.

Varadkar said it was also important to work with Prime Minister Johnson on getting the Northern Ireland executive and assembly up and running again and that this will have to be a key priority for the next couple of weeks.

All leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron were optimistic about an ambitious trade deal, but all made it clear that the deal would be conditional. However, it is already clear that many countries will have very specific red lines. On her way into the European Council, Danish Prime Minister said that she would insist on access to British waters for fishing.

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Category: A Frontpage, Brexit, EU, EU, European Commission, European Parliament, UK





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Jeremy Corbyn’s Defeat Does Not Mean The Democrats Should Shift To The Center



Photo by Tolga Akmen – WPA Pool / Getty Images

LONDON — The votes were still being counted at polling stations across the UK when Joe Biden warned Democrats about the implications of Boris Johnson’s unexpectedly emphatic election victory.

It wasn’t so much about the UK prime minister winning an election that makes Brexit all but inevitable — the Conservative Party now has a majority of 80, the largest since the time of Margaret Thatcher — but the way in which Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party lost it.

“Look what happens when the Labour Party moves so, so far to the left,” former vice president Biden said at a fundraiser in California. “It comes up with ideas that are not able to be contained within a rational basis quickly.”

There have been four UK elections this decade, and Labour has lost them all — but this is its worst election result since 1935, as blue-collar voters in Northern England deserted the party. Lost seats included Sedgefield, which has voted for Labour since World War II, and was held between 1983 and 2007 by former prime minister Tony Blair. (Blair is the only person to lead Labour to victory in a general election in the last 43 years.)

Corbyn, whose leadership has been inundated with accusations of failing to tackle anti-Semitism within the party, has said he will not lead Labour into another election, but the party realistically faces another 10 years, or two election cycles, in the wilderness of opposition, regardless of who succeeds him.

He has taken Labour markedly to the left since he became leader in 2015, and the party’s election manifesto was proudly radical, promising to transform the UK with a green revolution, renationalize rail and energy services, and provide free university education and broadband.


Tolga Akmen / Getty Images

The parallels with the Democratic presidential primaries are readily apparent, but trying to understand what made rock-solid Labour seats like Bassetlaw and North West Durham go from Labour red to Tory blue, and then extrapolating what that means for the US, is trickier.

Even in light of a huge defeat, Corbyn has insisted that Labour’s election policies had been popular, and that it was Brexit that was ultimately responsible for the overall result. Since the 2016 referendum, Labour has struggled to articulate a coherent position on the issue, as it tried to satisfy both the supporters who voted Leave in the north of England and Wales, and the overwhelmingly pro-Remain Labour voters in cities like London and Manchester.

In fact, the issue could be much simpler: Labour lost because voters didn’t like who was offering the policies. Despite overseeing a surge in Labour membership and being feted by many first-time young voters, Corbyn will go down as a historically unpopular Labour leader.

Time and time again, Labour candidates and activists reported that the problem on the doorstep with voters was Corbyn himself and the rest of the Labour leadership — that is just not an issue for Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders in the same way, however much the policies that they support correlate with a Labour platform.

On the flip side, some seemingly unconnected political narratives can make a difference: Look at the way in which Donald Trump drew energy from the UK’s surprise vote of 52% to 48% in 2016 to leave the EU.

“They will soon be calling me MR BREXIT,” Trump tweeted in August 2016, despite not really seeming to know what it meant a few months before then.

A populist leader with improbable hair and a history of making racist and sexist comments, Johnson is often compared with Trump. (In his remarks on the UK election results Thursday, Biden described the victorious Johnson as a “kind of physical and emotional clone of the president.”)

Trump congratulated Johnson on his victory, saying that it would pave the way for a new US–UK trade deal, but his claim that the deal could be more lucrative than a future UK–EU trading agreement is fanciful: UK trade with EU countries dwarfs trade with the US many times over.

Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!

When Trump visited the UK in July 2018, he said Johnson would make a great prime minister, despite Theresa May still being in office. May, Trump told a tabloid journalist, was wrecking the chance of Brexit ever happening, and that of a US–UK trade deal too.

In contrast to Labour’s sprawling offer of radical ideas, the central campaign message of Johnson’s Tories was a simple refrain, repeated endlessly, emblazoned on everything from aprons to bulldozers: Get Brexit done.

It’s there that candidates and pundits in the US should be looking when trying to cherry-pick a moral of the story from the UK election. When the Trump 2020 campaign machine slides into full gear, it won’t be the Democrats’ policies, no matter how far left, that will resonate the hardest with the voters Trump hopes to drive out in his support again. It will be the crisp, newly manufactured, red “Keep America Great” hats, offering a simple solution for a world that seems increasingly baffling.





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50 Cent and Russell Simmons bash Oprah over #MeToo documentary



Media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s forthcoming #MeToo documentary is already sparking controversy.

Hip-hop artist 50 Cent took to Instagram on Thursday, writing, “I don’t understand why Oprah is going after black men,” along with a photo of Winfrey and Russell Simmons — the latter of whom was accused of sexual misconduct in 2017. Simmons, a 62-year-old music mogul, has denied the allegations.

“No Harvey Weinstein, No Epstein, just Micheal [sic] jackson and Russell Simmons this s - - t is sad,” writes 50 Cent.

Winfrey and Impact Partners have joined forces with filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering for a documentary, set to air on Apple TV+ in 2020, about sexual assault in the music industry. It features Drew Dixon, one of several women to allege Simmons hurt her.

In a separate Instagram post, also uploaded Thursday, 50 Cent shared a composite image of six men: Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, Kevin Spacey and President Donald Trump. The first two men have the word “JAIL” written under their faces, while “WALK” is placed under the others, all of whom are white.

“You think Oprah don’t notice how this s - - t is playing out?” 50 Cent writes.

Simmons also took to Instagram to share his own thoughts.

“Dearest OPRAH, you have been a shining light to my family and my community,” he begins the lengthy post, which he shared Friday morning. “It’s so troubling that you choose to single me out in your recent documentry [sic]. I have already admitted to being a playboy (more appropriately titled today ‘womanizer’) sleeping with and putting myself in more compromising situations than almost any man I know … So many that some could reinterpret or reimagine a different recollection of the same experiences.”

He adds that he’s passed “nine 3-hour lie-detector tests,” and the “stories are UNUSABLE.”

“I am guilty of exploiting, supporting and making the soundtrack for a grossly unequal society, but I have never been violent or forced myself on anyone,” he writes. “Still I am here to help support a necessary shift in power and consciousness.”

A rep for Oprah didn’t immediately respond to The Post’s request seeking comment.





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British Columbians fight US billionaire for ‘right to roam’ in wild


MERRITT — When most Canadians come across “No Trespassing” signs, they stop in their tracks and turn around, often in disappointment.

But not everyone gives up.

A few enter into decades-long battles, like the one against B.C.’s giant Douglas Lake Cattle Company, owned by one of America’s richest people, Stan Kroenke. And the lesson these diehards have been able to pass on is that “No Trespassing” and “Private Property” signs in Canada, despite being posted almost everywhere, are often not worth the plastic, wood or metal they’re printed on.


Stan Kroenke.

“Most of the no-trespassing signs you see in B.C. are illegal,” says Rick McGowan, as we travel over a gnarled, grassy track on the magnificent Douglas Lake ranch. This is not just any path, however. McGowan and his allies in the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club have shown in court it is a public right-of-way, even though it crosses the billionaire’s property.

The track leads to peaceful Stoney Lake, one of dozens of public bodies of water in the Cariboo-Chilcotin that locals, including Indigenous people, were able to fish on not long ago, but which have since been blockaded off by landowners.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves has ruled, however, that the American billionaire and his hired hands can no longer keep Stoney or nearby Minnie Lake, which are Crown property, behind locks, gates and no-trespassing signs.

The Nicola Valley club’s case against the Douglas Lake Cattle Company is a boon to Canadians who love the outdoors and seek rightful access to wild places.

McGowan, an easygoing but tough-talking man, is making a point of taking me over some of the long-obstructed public rights of way that lead to Stoney Lake on Kroenke’s ranch. The property is bigger than Metro Vancouver. It’s not only Canada’s largest ranch, it’s the biggest privately owned chunk of property anywhere in B.C.

“Pretty well all the no-trespassing signs around here are shot to s — t,” says McGowan, 67, who spent much of his career with the B.C. Highways Ministry mapping every metre of every road and right-of-way running through the stunning rolling hills southeast of Merritt.

“I’ve surveyed every road in the district. And I knew they were being locked illegally,” says McGowan, whose unique expertise is part of the reason Justice Grove called him an “impressive witness” and took him so seriously as an impartial “public-interest” litigant.

To put it another way, McGowan and his comrades are not in this for the money. Yet McGowan has been arrested three times by the local RCMP though never convicted. The judge criticized the police for their insidious collaboration with Kroenke’s ranch staff. B.C. government bureaucrats and politicians were also bitten by the judge’s rebukes.

Related

Even though the Douglas Lake ranch conflict has huge implications in its own right for access to wilderness, the Nicola Valley club’s concerted response to the reclusive billionaire’s efforts to lock out the people of B.C. is part of a much bigger movement.

That movement has been called “the freedom to roam” or “the right of public access to the wilderness.” It’s a centuries-old campaign by walkers, fishers, recreational users and other ordinary people to gain justified access to lakes, streams, mountains and wilderness, while showing respect for private property.

Sometimes campaigners try to gain access to government-owned lakes and rivers that end up surrounded by private land, which is the situation in the Nicola Valley case. Other times they battle to forge designated trails through “uncultivated” private property itself.

The freedom to roam is well advanced in Scotland, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and other nations, where it’s possible to walk pastoral routes that wend their way through a blend of public and private land for hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres.

Will Canadians follow the European path?

‘Everything you can see … is owned by Stan Kroenke’

“Everything you can see for 30 miles is owned by Stan Kroenke,” McGowan says, standing at the top of a hill that surveys vast grasslands dotted with horses, cattle, rocks, birds and lakes.

The Douglas Lake Cattle Company is one of many B.C. ranches bought since 2003 by Kroenke, a Colorado-based real-estate baron who owns the Los Angeles Rams, the Denver Nuggets basketball team, the Colorado Avalanche hockey team, London’s Arsenal soccer club and other major-league sports franchises. He is married to Ann Walton, a scion of the family that owns Walmart, the world’s largest company by revenue.


Rick McGowan, with his truck, next to Stoney Lake on the Douglas Lake ranch.

The Douglas Lake ranch — together with Kroenke’s recent acquisitions of nearby Alkali Lake, Riske Creek, Dog Creek and Quilchena ranches — encompasses roughly 5,000 square kilometres of deeded and Crown grazing land. Metro Vancouver, by comparison, covers 2,700 square kilometres.

The Douglas ranch has its own airstrip and fishing lodges. It also surrounds Stoney Lake and Minnie Lake, which McGowan and friends used to fish in before they were blocked by Kroenke, the man often known as “Silent Sam” since he never talks to the media. Forbes Magazine estimates Kroenke is worth $8.5 billion.

Since he owns more gigantic ranches in the U.S., Kroenke put a Canadian, Joe Gardner, in charge of the Douglas ranch and the extremely costly court case against the Nicola Valley club, which has had to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the non-resident magnate.

But Gardner, after 40 years at the ranch, stepped down as general manager in July, just six months after Justice Groves decided against the Douglas Lake Cattle Company, saying two of the Crown-owned lakes on the ranch must be reopened for catch-and-release fishing to the public, even if the lakes are stocked by the ranch. Gardner, who still works for Kroenke, was not available for comment.

The judge’s hard-hitting decision — which criticized Gardner for acting above the law and RCMP members for colluding with him — is a huge affirmation that the Canadian public has a right to cherished water bodies, at a time when many believe governments are failing to stand up to private interests.

Groves accused the B.C. government of failing to respond to Douglas Lake ranch’s unlawfulness. “Over 20 years, a privately held corporation, owning a large swath of land, prohibited the public from driving on the public road, and the province did nothing,” he said.

The judge also rebuked Victoria in a scorching epilogue: “It makes no sense to me that the Crown would retain ownership of the lakes, only for there to be no access.” He urged B.C. politicians to re-examine trespassing laws and “guarantee access to this precious public resource.”

The Douglas Lake ranch is appealing the judge’s decision.

McGowan, who acknowledges he’s “a bit of a pot stirrer,” has long found it both provoking and laughable that RCMP officers have arrested him and many others for fighting for the freedom to fish on public lakes. He’s supported by countless people in the Nicola Valley, Kamloops, Metro Vancouver, Victoria and farther afield.

Their donations arrive by many routes, including at Nicola Valley club picnics, where hunting rifles are raffled. “I’ve been fighting this for over 30 years,” including with Douglas ranch’s previous owners, says McGowan, adding how rewarding it is that he’s been joined in the past decade by the Nicola Valley club and people like his lifelong neighbour, retired school teacher Harry Little. 

Little, a soft-spoken 73-year-old, has come along with us for the ride onto the Douglas ranch, where he describes how McGowan and he have frequently cut off illicit gate locks and explains that the overgrown road to Stoney Lake — which bizarrely remains under a highways maintenance contract — now dives under the surface of the lake, since Kroenke’s people have flooded it.

McGowan, leaning his big frame against his white Dodge Ram three-quarter-ton pickup truck, says people often ask him how he can keep going, since they worry the long conflict must be stressful.

But he laughs at the idea, saying: “This is therapy.”

Surveying the near endless hills of the Douglas Lake ranch, he says, “This was all locked for 30 years.” And now some routes are slowly being reopened.

Not that it is mission accomplished. McGowan says there are at least 30 more lakes in the Nicola Valley that landowners are illegally blockading behind gates, boulders and logs.

That includes the former access route to nearby Quilchena Falls, a spectacular waterfall south of the Kelowna Connector highway, which locals decades ago used to love to visit for swimming and picnics. But Quilchena Falls is now also blocked by Kroenke’s vast land holdings.

What, McGowan muses, does one of the world’s richest land barons want? “At the end of the day, I guess the true capitalist wants to own everything.”

The right to public jewels

I have had the pleasure of walking for days on end on trails through Scotland, Denmark, Italy and Wales, which at certain points traverse private land.

The remarkable European hiking and pilgrimage routes, many of which were in use for a millennium, have been reopened in many cases only because citizens fought complex battles for the right to enjoy them. Now they are considered public jewels.


Chris Harvey at Quilchena Falls, a public body of water now surrounded by the Douglas Lake ranch, which is restricting access.

One of the first crusades for the right to cross private land occurred in Manchester, England, in the 1930s. That’s when a rebellious group of young factory workers who called themselves “ramblers” showed just how determined they were to walk in a beautiful, privately owned area known as the Peak District.

The ramblers did so en masse and many, like in the Nicola Valley, were arrested. But over the long run they prevailed. And Britain is not alone in offering the public access to rights of way, including around the edges of farms. Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand and many other countries make a point of offering ordinary people the freedom to roam.

Taking into account local context, each country has carefully worked out viable ways to protect landowners from irresponsible users, who owners fear might venture off designated trails, leave behind garbage, camp without permission, start a fire, damage the environment or sue for an injury.

In Canada, by contrast, private-property signs blocking access to public land abound, thoroughly intimidating the uninformed populace. The Nicola Valley club lawyer, Chris Harvey, says Canadians appear to expect governments to protect their access to the wild. But most governments are doing the opposite.

When it comes to property rights, Harvey says, Canadians are somewhere in between more open-minded European landowners and hypervigilant Americans, many of whom behave as if the right to protect private property, often with guns, is their nation’s most sacred value.

The right-to-roam movement in Canada is slowly gaining legs, however, including in B.C., where even city dwellers feel defined by wild places.

Two years ago, inspired by the Douglas ranch case, B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver launched private members Bill M223: The Right to Roam Act. Even though it died on the order paper, Green representative Claire Hume says it “remains an issue we think is incredibly important and one we would love to see government take on.”

Recognizing the right-to-roam discussion raises “some delicate decision points around traditional (Indigenous) territory and private property-trespass law,” Hume said Weaver didn’t expect his bill — which was intended to make nature “open to all, not just the privileged few” — to pass the way he had drafted it. But he does hope it will spark more discussion in the legislature.

Right-to-roam advocates have never sought unfettered access

The head of the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, Calvin Sandborn, is one of many leaders of a loose-knit coalition determined to make it possible for citizens to experience nature by venturing onto private land.

Sandborn and law students Graham Litman and Matt Hulse have created a seminal report titled Enhancing Public Access to Privately Owned Wild Lands, which looks at some of B.C.’s most lively action fronts.

In addition to covering the Douglas Lake conflict, Sandborn’s team is monitoring an effort to create a 700-kilometre walking network on Vancouver Island, called the Island Spine Trail. They’re also tracking roaming disputes on Lasqueti Island, Galiano Island and in Comox.


Rick McGowan and long-time neighbour Harry Little, on the Douglas Lake ranch.

The B.C. Wildlife Federation, the B.C. Federation of Fly Fishers and B.C. Outdoor Recreation Council have prepared positions on the right to roam. And they’re tracking the many ways recreational users constantly come up against landowners.

To ease landowners’ concerns, Sandborn emphasizes right-to-roam advocates have never sought unfettered access to property. “We don’t want people going through a hundred different trails on someone’s property. Access can be provided in a variety of ways.”

And not only to remote wilderness. The Gorge region of the City of Victoria is also in play. Sandborn’s students have surveyed how property owners have built carports and sheds over public rights of way to the Gorge waterway, which are legally supposed to occur every 200 metres.

Sandborn says when one Gorge neighbour who lived across the street from waterfront properties that were illicitly blocking beach access found out what the law students were doing, he remarked, “’I’ve lived here 20 years. And I didn’t realize until now I had the right to take my canoe down to the water.’”

Metro Vancouver has its own access-to-waterfront issues, says Sandborn — in White Rock and West Vancouver.

Washington state can be a model for B.C.

The University of Victoria report suggests which global jurisdictions could be models for B.C. Surprisingly, given Americans’ legendary emphasis on absolute private property rights, one of them is in B.C.’s own Cascadian backyard: Washington state.

The counties that contain Seattle and Bellingham both offer major tax breaks to owners who make portions of their land available to hikers, birdwatchers, sightseers, horseback riders and other nature lovers, all of whom are expected to follow rules for respecting private property.

Creative things have also been happening at the other end of Canada, in Nova Scotia. That province has long provided citizens the right to cross private, uncultivated land and to go on foot along the banks of rivers and lakes to fish, including with a boat.

Which is precisely the kind of freedom the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club seeks on the Douglas ranch and beyond.

McGowan is playing the long game, but he doesn’t, to put it mildly, trust politicians. He knows his comrades will need help, particularly from younger generations. He realizes his encyclopedic knowledge of roads and property bylaws in the Nicola Valley has been an incredible asset for the local cause, but he also knows most people don’t have the same background.

So, at his age, he’s worried.

As geese fly overhead, he says the access-to-land cause in the Nicola Valley needs “somebody else to pick up the cudgel.” The long-term strategy of billionaire landowners and their ilk, he believes, is to use their immense wealth to hire lawyers and others to wear people down.

“This is their dream: That guys like me will die off. And nobody will remember.”

The Douglas Lake ranch’s appeal will be heard March 30  and 31 in Vancouver.

[email protected]

Twitter.com/@douglastodd





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