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Douglas Todd: ‘Birth tourism’ jumps 22 per cent in B.C.


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St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver is also fast turning into a hub for birth citizenship, experiencing a 38 per cent rise in births by non-resident women, one in seven of the total.

Virtually no country outside North and South America provides citizenship to babies solely because they’re born on their soil.

The newly released figures show there were 4,400 births in Canada in the past year to non-resident mothers, an overall hike of seven per cent. Ontario doctors still preside over the most non-resident births, 3,109, with one hospital in Toronto, Humber River, having a sudden jump of more than 119 per cent.

But Ontario’s volume of privately funded procedures has not risen nearly as fast as in B.C., which had a total of 868 non-resident births. That’s a six-fold increase from 2010.

Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information/Andrew Griffith

The new data, compiled by Andrew Griffith, a former senior director of the federal Immigration Department, comes from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, which captures billing information directly from hospitals up until the end of March. It doesn’t include births in Quebec.

Birth tourism has recently been strongly condemned by Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Liberal MLA Jas Johal (Richmond-Queensborough), former Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido (Richmond East), the head of Doctors of B.C. and others.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which controls immigration policy, has been silent on the matter. Former Conservative party Leader Andrew Scheer said in 2018 he would end birth tourism. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has accused those who raise the issue of being guilty of “division and hate.”



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The Virus, the Earthquake and the Bio-Economy of Tourism


Most of us have seen one of the popular Covid-19 memes that says “Can we reset 2020? It has a virus!” – or something along those lines. Croatia would, indeed, badly need such a reset. The country did not have much luck this year, haunted by several plagues, one after the other. First came the presidency of the Council of the European Union, which Croatia held from January to June. Then Corona hit. And, in the middle of all that, a major earthquake shook Zagreb, the country’s capital. Then followed the risky gambling with early parliamentary elections. And, finally, the challenges of (collapsing) tourism.

The Croatian presidency of the EU was a big challenge, with historical tasks such as Brexit and the immigration crisis on the Union’s south-eastern borders on the agenda. But Croatia’s over-sized ambitions of contributing effective solutions and the illusion of its power and importance ended in June, without any memorable result. It would be easy to blame the pandemic for the meagre outcome, but as critics put it, the positioning of Croatia was wrong from the start. Instead of choosing to take on a leading role in the region and help Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia with their problems and further their negotiations with the EU the government wanted to be on the equal footing with the big European players. The Croatian presidency left no mark on EU politics.

When the Croatian government declared the coronavirus pandemic on 11 March, it turned out to be the start of an exercise in returning to a police state. An expert body of allegedly politically non-allied scientists and managers of health institutions, which curiously included the minister of the interior from the governing party HDZ, was formed to manage the pandemic. Bypassing the parliament, this group issued orders for a lockdown and decided about everything else related to the coronavirus, from the closing down of schools and tram lines, to the isolation of groups and individuals, to the compulsory wearing of masks in shops and public transport.

The virus united politics

Interestingly, citizens obeyed the new rules without protest, regardless of their questionable legitimacy and anti-democratic character. Not even the opposition opposed! On the one hand, fear of the virus united them all. But on the other, this extraordinary obedience was prepared by Croatia’s authoritarian past as part of Yugoslavia. When in trouble, people not only flock together, but also resort to the type of political leadership they know and recognise. 

Perhaps this is best illustrated by the habitual willingness to delegate the responsibility for decisions to a higher authority – which used to be the Communist Party – because they are supposed to “know better”. It is as if this legacy of the communist system still prevents citizens to believe in their own rights or even to question any decisions. The experience of democracy has in this context just been one of a new form for the old way of party-dominant gover…



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Travel Tourism Must Transform to Survive, Thrive — Global Issues


UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa (fourth right) at an event organized by the WTTC at COP25. Credit: UNFCCC
  • madrid
  • Wednesday, December 04, 2019
  • Inter Press Service

In 2018, the industry generated 10.4 per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product—or more than USD 8.8 trillion—but climate change puts those  numbers, and more, at risk.

Whilst the travel and tourism industry generated 10.4% of global Gross Domestic Product in 2018, it also accounts for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change.

“Thanks to this sector, millions of people have been able to explore new destinations, reunite with family and friends, and fulfill dreams of exploring the world,” said Ms. Espinosa at an event organized by the industry group World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). “As well, it has created jobs, most significantly in developing countries, offering people financial freedom. It is truly a global economic powerhouse.”

“With this sort of success, why should you change what you have been doing? Frankly, because you have no choice. None of us does,” said Ms. Espinosa.

“The ravages of climate change will soon require all of us, government and corporations especially, to do things differently,” said Ms. Espinosa, citing a recent open letter from heads of leading financial institutions: “If some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist.”

In opening remarks at the event, WTTC President and Chief Executive Officer Gloria Guevara said the message is already clear to her organization’s members, and climate and environment are “top priority.”

WTTC has set as an ambition for the sector to be climate neutral by 2050, in collaboration with UN Climate Change, and many companies are already showing leadership in reducing their climate impact: “In order for us to grow, the growth has to be good for everyone; it has to be sustainable,” said Ms. Guevara.

The organization last year signed up to the United Nations Climate Neutral Now initiative with a pledge to measure its greenhouse gas emissions, reduce what it can and offset the rest, while promoting the same climate-friendly regimen to its 150 members worldwide.

And in New York in September of this year, WTTC launched a Sustainability Action Plan, meant to help the industry deliver on its climate ambition.

“We need to find a way to have climate-friendly travel Saying simply ‘do not travel, it will help the environment’ would be very irresponsible” leading to increased poverty, increased unemployment and ultimately increased damage to the environment, said Ms. Guevara.

This story was originally published by UNFCCC

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

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