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B.C. emergency officials have yet to use Canada’s direct-to-cellphone alerting system to warn the public about about major threats, despite an unprecedented, week-long heatwave in which hundreds of people died, followed by severe forest fires that razed the village of Lytton and led to the evacuation of thousands.

Statistics show British Columbia is the only province never to use the system – known as Alert Ready – since jurisdictions across Canada got access to the technology three years ago. Municipal managers have expressed concern because the province is holding the system in reserve for a tsunami to the exclusion of all other threats. By comparison, emergency officials in neighbouring Alberta have used Alert Ready more than 70 times since 2019 – including 25 times for wildfires.

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Canada’s national alert system has been criticized because provinces have different standards for when alerts should be sent and for what.

A man takes a photo and a woman eats an ice cream cone as they stop to view the Tremont Creek wildfire burning on the mountains above Ashcroft, B.C., on Friday, July 16, 2021.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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Alberta expects to pay $1-billion in insurance as a result of drought

Alberta expects to pay out about $1-billion in insurance this year because of a severe drought that has crippled crops, killed poultry and cut into dairy production across Western Canada and the United States.

Devin Dreeshen, Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, said this year’s crop insurance claims will be comparable to 2002, when farmers and ranchers in Alberta collected about $1-billion after a significant drought. He made his estimate as a number of rural municipalities in Western Canada declared states of emergency in an effort to draw political attention to the deteriorating conditions of fields and pastures.

The dry conditions, which were made worse by a recent heat wave that shattered records and is believed to have contributed to hundreds of B.C. deaths, are also fuelling wildfires in Western Canada in what has already become the most destructive season in recent memory. Experts have said climate change is driving an increase in such extreme conditions.

Three companies chosen to revitalize Ontario Place

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Three companies, including a Quebec outdoor recreation firm and a European spa and water park provider, have been chosen to revitalize Ontario Place after a closed-door bid process that has dragged on for years, sources have told The Globe and Mail.

The Ontario government plans to give Quebec’s Écorécréo the reins for part of the 63-hectare site on Toronto’s waterfront, along with Austrian company Therme, the sources said. Live Nation, which runs the performance venue at Ontario Place, will have an expanded role.

A formal government announcement could come as early as this month. The Globe is not identifying its sources, who have direct knowledge of the bid process, because they are not authorized to speak publicly.

Subscribe to our Olympics newsletter: Tokyo Olympics Update features original stories from Globe reporters in Canada and Tokyo, will track Team Canada’s medal wins, and looks at past Olympic moments from iconic performances.

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ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Canada’s deep dive into the data pool: When Penny Oleksiak took the swimming world by storm in 2016, becoming the first Canadian to win four medals at a Summer Olympics, there was one aspect of her performances that became as unmistakable as her trips to the podium. As the races wore on, Oleksiak only seemed to get faster.

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Everything you need to know about the Summer Games: After waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple pleas for cancellation, a recent surge of coronavirus cases in Japan and an official name that went out of date, the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics are finally on. Athletes across the globe are arriving in the Olympic village and preparing to compete for international glory on the largest stage in the sports world.

In latest Decibel: To keep their edge after a fantastic showing at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Swimming Canada got serious about their data-mining mission. They tracked all kinds of metrics to understand their swimmers’ performance. Data analysis can show you how to shave a fraction of a second off a race time and, in some cases, that can mean the difference between a gold and silver medal.

As government hosts antisemitism summit, opposition leaders say they should have been invited to speak: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged support for the Jewish community in the face of rising hate-motivated crimes at his government’s national antisemitism summit – but other federal party leaders expressed frustration at not being invited to speak at the event. The event was created as part of the government’s Anti-Racism Strategy, and will be followed by a National Summit on Islamophobia later today.

Businesses that promote vaccinated staff targeted by online attacks, fake reservations: When the entire staff at People’s Pint Brewing Company became fully vaccinated last week, owner Doug Appeldoorn wanted to tell the world. The Toronto brewery posted about it on Instagram on Thursday. The next day, Mr. Appeldoorn found his company listed on safetodo.ca, a website that published the names of businesses in Ontario with fully inoculated staff. Shortly after People’s Pint made the list, its Google reviews page started getting one-star ratings.

EU rejects U.K. push to alter Northern Ireland protocol: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a massive majority in 2019 by promising to “get Brexit done.” But the practicalities of leaving the European Union have proven tricky, especially in Northern Ireland, where Brexit has caused havoc for businesses and riots in the streets of Belfast.

Biden selects Comcast executive David Cohen as envoy to Canada, as bilateral irritants persist: U.S. President Joe Biden has named Pennsylvania powerbroker and Washington lobbyist David Cohen as the next ambassador to Canada at a time when Ottawa appears to be making little headway on a host of bilateral issues.

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Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to sexual assaults in California: Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday to four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts. Attorney Mark Werksman entered the plea for the disgraced movie mogul a day after Weinstein was extradited to California from New York, where he was serving a 23-year prison term.


MORNING MARKETS

European markets gain: European stocks returned to near record highs on Thursday as investors bet on the European Central Bank keeping its stimulus taps open as long as COVID remains a threat to growth. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.16 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were up 0.79 per cent and 0.55 per cent, respectively. Markets in Japan were closed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.83 per cent. New York futures were modestly positive. The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.61 US cents.


WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT

Combating antisemitism will require action beyond a single day’s national summit

“Growing up in Montreal, nothing equalled the excitement of watching my beloved Canadiens play at the Forum. The joy of that experience, however, was sometimes eclipsed by the shame and anxiety my brother and I felt when, as we left a game, other fans would occasionally toss pennies at us, two obviously Jewish kids wearing kippot. Though uncomfortable, it was really the only anti-Semitism I encountered in my youth.” - Shimon Koffler Fogel, president and CEO of Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

If governments want to combat Islamophobia, they will need to take a hard look in the mirror

“On July 22, the federal government will host a national summit on Islamophobia. All levels of government in Canada will be represented, as will Muslim-Canadian community organizations and leaders, so as to chart a path forward to combat racism and discrimination in Canada. This path will not be easy. If done in good faith and with integrity, this project will not only require our governments to work on fighting Islamophobia in the broader public, but will also require them to take a hard look in the mirror to face their complicity.” - Anver Emon, Canada Research Chair in Islamic Law and History and Nadia Hasan, chief operating officer of the National Council of Canadian Muslims

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TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON

David Parkins

David Parkins/The Globe and Mail


LIVING BETTER

What’s for dinner? 130 delicious main, side and dessert recipes by Lucy Waverman

Lucy Waverman’s recipes are perfect for any occasion, from dinner in a hurry to feasts for the whole family and everything in between. The Globe and Mail has gathered her best recipes from vegan delights to seafood staples, plus pastas, salads, soups and more.


MOMENT IN TIME: July 22, 1793

Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean

"MacKenzie at the Pacific, 1793". Drawing by C. W. Jeffreys (1869-1951).

C. W. Jeffreys/Library and Archives Canada

Born on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, fur trader and explorer Alexander Mackenzie was a driving force behind the expansion of the Montreal-based North West Co.’s operations across North America. Leaving Fort Chipewyan on the south shore of Lake Athabasca with a crack canoe team in June, 1789, the then-25-year-old Mackenzie eventually reached the mighty Mackenzie River only to find that it emptied into the Arctic Ocean – hence the nickname, the River of Disappointment. He left Fort Chipewyan again in 1793, this time heading west, following the Peace River headwaters upstream into the northern Rockies and then descending the Fraser River to the Pacific Ocean. On this day in 1793, Mackenzie mixed some vermilion with grease and painted his name and the date on a large rock in the Dean Channel to mark his achievement. It was the first known crossing of North America north of the Rio Grande River. In 1805, when Americans Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis on their famous expedition up the Missouri River before continuing overland to the Pacific Coast, they carried with them a copy of Mackenzie’s memoir of his travels. Bill Waiser


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