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The Province of BC has been working for years in an attempt to have the United States remove duties on Canadian softwood lumber, and recently the province had a small victory.

Premier John Horgan released a statement saying that duties on softwood lumber crossing the border had been significantly reduced.

The reduction comes following an administrative review completed by the US Department of Commerce.

"We have always known that the duties imposed by the United States were unfair and unwarranted, and the release today of the final results of the US DOC's first administrative review of duties on softwood lumber significantly reduced the rates Canadian companies must pay to export to the U.S,” began Horgan. "Going forward, most B.C. companies will pay around 9% on shipments to the U.S., down from the current rate of 20.23%."

"While this reduction in duties will bring much-needed relief to our industry, any duties applied to our softwood lumber exports to the U.S. are unjustified,” added Horgan.

The Premier did state that the work being done to eliminate the tariffs is continuing.

“We will fight alongside Canada, on behalf of British Columbians and the communities that rely on the forest sector, as we continue to challenge these unfair tariffs through World Trade Organization and North America Free Trade Agreement appeals processes,” concluded Horgan.


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bc news

UPDATE on IH numbers:

  • IH is reporting 70 new cases overnight, for a total of 1,426.
  • 336 cases are active and on isolation
  • Five people are in hospital. None in ICU.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are reporting 738 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, for a total of 29,086 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 7,816 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 294 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 61 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Currently, 10,270 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and 19,814 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Since yesterday, we have had 169 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 443 in the Fraser Health region, 21 in the Island Health region, 70 in the Interior Health region, 35 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

"We are also reporting a data correction in the daily case numbers in the Fraser Health region. Due to an error in the transfer of data from a lab to the health authority, there were errors in the new cases reported from Nov. 17-24. The data has been reviewed and authenticated.

"There have been 13 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 371 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest COVID-19 figures in BC.

(Previous numbers in brackets)

New Cases – 738

Total Cases – 29,086 (28,348)

Active Cases – 7,616 (7,732)

Patients in Hospital – 294 (284)

Patients in ICU – 61 (61)

New Deaths – 13

Totals Deaths – 371 (358)

Health region breakdown of new cases

Vancouver Coastal – +169

Fraser – +443

Island – +21

Interior – +70

Northern – +35

Outside Canada – +0

More to come.

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The BC Coroners Service has published updated reports on illicit drug toxicity deaths and fentanyl-detected drug deaths to Oct. 31, 2020, with 162 illicit drug toxicity deaths reported in October.

The latest data equate to five people per day losing their lives to illicit drug overdoses.

"This is the fifth month this year with more than 160 suspected illicit drug deaths reported to the BC Coroners Service and more than double the number of people who died as a result of a toxic drug supply in October 2019," said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner.

In the Interior Health Authority, there have now been 216 illicit drug deaths after 31 deaths were reported in October alone. In 2019, there were 138 deaths.

Broken down further there were 8 illicit drug deaths during October in the Thompson Cariboo health service delivery area which encompasses Merritt. To date, there have now been 83 deaths more than double the 40 deaths recorded in 2019.

"We are continuing to see record-breaking numbers of people dying in B.C. due to an unsafe drug supply in our province, and it's taking a toll on families and communities in this dual health emergency," Lapointe said. "Challenges during COVID-19, such as access to key harm-reduction services and the toxic drug supply, including the extreme concentration of illicit fentanyl, are resulting in continuing significant and tragic loss of life across the province. Our hearts go out to those grieving the loss of family members, friends, and colleagues.

"We encourage clinicians to support those at risk of overdose by prescribing safe supply and reducing the numbers of lives lost to toxic substances. We also continue to advocate for an accessible, evidence-based, and accountable treatment and recovery system for anyone experiencing problematic substance use who is seeking this medical assistance."

The number of people who died from illicit drug toxicity in October 2020 (162) represents a 116% increase over the number of deaths in October 2019 (75). The BC Coroners Service has detected a sustained increase of illicit drug toxicity deaths since March 2020. The province has now recorded eight consecutive months with over 100 illicit drug toxicity deaths.


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The Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) is discontinuing its annual Free Disposal Days held throughout the region.

The decision comes following a recommendation from the Regional Solid Waste Management Committee to the TNRD Board of Directors at its November 19th inaugural meeting.

The TNRD has made the decision to discontinue these events based on a number of reasons:

  • The cost to taxpayers to hold Free Disposal Days has increased over 300% since the program began in 2011.
  • The list of materials that can now be recycled has been greatly improved since these events began, and the list continues to expand. There is no charge to home owners for residential recycling year-round.
  • Offering free disposal discourages the separation of recycling, which goes against the TNRD’s 10-year Regional Solid Waste Plan and the objectives to reduce waste going to landfills.
  • Safety concerns for both staff and the public have been ongoing due to high traffic at the sites and screening loads with unsafe materials, including potentially asbestos containing material, during these events.
  • There are environmental concerns with dangerous or prohibited wastes being left at the sites due to the high volume of users.

In addition, the TNRD maintains funding for the cleanup of illegal dump sites throughout the region. Free Household Hazardous Waste Roundup events will continue to be held annually at multiple locations in the TNRD.

To help offset the removal of Free Disposal Days, the TNRD will be eliminating the cost to recycle mattresses, box springs, and tires on rims at our sites.


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city merritt council

Following a public hearing which saw nobody speak, and City Staff confirming that now other correspondence had been received regarding the proposed bylaw, City Council moved forward with removing the cap of retail cannabis locations.

During legalization, the City of Merritt drafted a bylaw to cover the emerging retail sector including the self-imposed cap of four cannabis stores in town.

The cap was removed by a 6-1 vote, Councillor Melvina White was in opposition. No councillor addressed the motion at yesterday's meeting.

It was noted by staff that although the cap was removed, restrictions are still in place for the distance the stores must be from another cannabis store, from parks, schools, playgrounds, and more. Thus limiting the possible locations around the City.


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