Owner catches catalytic converter thief in the act but suspect flees with device: Guelph police

A bit of snow and cold temperatures didn’t prevent a thief from stealing a catalytic converter from a vehicle at a Guelph, Ont., home.

Guelph Police Service were notified after the homeowner noticed someone underneath her parked SUV in the area of Imperial Road North and Woodlawn Road West Sunday around 2:40 a.m.

Investigators say she banged on the window to attract the attention of the thief who then fled with the component.

They say the resident tried to chase down the suspect, but that was thwarted when the vehicle made a loud noise once the engine was started due to the removal of the exhaust.

Investigators are looking for a male dressed in black from head to toe carrying a backpack.

They say he drove away in a white pickup truck with red markings on the door.

Anyone with information on this is asked to contact Guelph Police Service at 519-824-1212, ext. 7129, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Alberta pro golfer – now on disability – on high cost of living: 'a real hardship'

Cathy Burton is trying anything to get by due to rising inflation. At 61, she finds herself on federal disability after almost 40 years in the golf industry.

Over a six-week period, as part of the ‘Out of Pocket’ series, Global News is examining how inflation is impacting Canadians from coast to coast.

Cathy Burton worked in the golf industry for 37 years. She played professionally and then coached in Manitoba and Alberta.

She did not expect to be out of work and on disability at the age of 61.

“Three years without work has been a real hardship for me,” Burton said. “I’ve had to sell my car.”

After five years as a dialysis patient, Burton had a kidney transplant in 2020. However, her recovery did not go as planned. She suffered several infections and was prescribed various medications.

Cathy Burton, 61, in hospital for kidney dialysis.

Cathy Burton, 61, in hospital for kidney dialysis.

Supplied

On New Year’s Eve she ended up in a Calgary hospital emergency room. She was losing vision in her right eye. Just two months later, she lost vision in her left eye.

“It’s been quite a transformation for me to get used to not having much sight.”

That’s not the only adjustment Burton has had to make. She’s also learning to live on a fixed income.

“With the federal disability that I receive — the CPP disability — I take in $1,180 a month and my mortgage payments are $1,200.”

Golf pro Cathy Burton.

Golf pro Cathy Burton.

Supplied

Last year, Burton was the recipient of the PGA Canada Foundation’s Benevolent Fund, which covered most of her household expenses.

“That was extremely helpful. I don’t think that I would have been able to keep my home. I think that would have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“I was so immunocompromised and so close after the transplant, I couldn’t see a way forward if I didn’t receive that.”

Burton does not qualify for AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) and she doesn’t meet the criteria for Alberta’s recently announced affordability payments.

She’s had to use her line of credit to cover basic expenses.

Cost-cutting measures

In the wake of a trifecta of challenges — pandemic, job loss and health issues — Burton is also facing inflation at the highest level it’s been in a generation.

Since she doesn’t have the option of increasing the amount of money coming in, she’s forced to reduce the amount going out. For Burton, that means careful budgeting, using flyers and tracking sales, and making sacrifices when it comes to grocery shopping.

“I haven’t had a salad in probably two years,” she told Global News.

Grocery prices were up 11 per cent in December 2022 compared with a year ago, Statistics Canada said. Overall, grocery prices were up 9.8 per cent in 2022 compared with a year earlier — the fastest pace since 1981.

Burton is trying to be creative — buying food that lasts longer and costs less, like frozen vegetables and starches.

“For example, I would make a shepherd’s pie but I would add other ingredients to make it more filling. Making hamburgers, I would add rice or mashed potatoes into the hamburger to make it go further. I’m just trying anything.”

She’s also finding ways to trim other household expenses.

“Around the house, I keep the temperature around 15 Celsius.

“I also have battery-operated sensor lights on my stairs so when I go up and down at nighttime, those lights come on. I also have them under my counters.”

Burton boils water in a kettle to wash her dishes in the sink and has been taking shorter showers.

Cathy Burton, lives in Calgary on a fixed income. Jan. 17, 2023.

Cathy Burton, seen here with her dog Lewis, lives in Calgary on a fixed income. Jan. 17, 2023.

Global News

But there are certain things that are out of her control.

“I expect my taxes will go up,” Burton said. “My property value has gone up $113,000 in two years. That’s a lot.

“How do I figure all that out? Insurance has gone up for the house. It is overwhelming as I say all those things but I’m trying my best.”

An Ipsos poll of 1,004 adult Canadians conducted exclusively for Global News between Dec. 14 and Dec. 16, 2022, found 36 per cent of respondents had reduced spending on non-essentials like entertainment and travel, while 27 per cent had cut back spending on essentials such as food or clothing to pay for other basic needs.

Community support

Social programs that offer supports to Albertans are seeing much higher demand.

“We talk about families that are just on the cusp,” said Murtaza Jamaly. “They’re just barely making ends meet.

“Well, these are the times that we’re seeing those people are being pushed over the edge.”

Jamaly, who is based in Westlock, is board president of the Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta.

“We’ve seen a huge influx of people through the door for a variety of reasons,” he said. “We know that programs are more heavily subscribed to in recent years and we know that donations are down in certain programs that are donation-run just because there’s less out there to give.”

FCSS has been providing preventive programs — like homelessness prevention, poverty reduction and aging in place —  in Alberta for more than 50 years.

In an informal survey, 90 per cent of FCSS offices said their community has seen an increased demand for programming by people on fixed incomes as a result of inflation.

Staff said the programs seeing the biggest intake increase include help applying for Alberta Supports or other income support, subsidized transit and subsidized recreation programs, referrals to food banks, information and referrals to affordable, low-income housing options, free kids’ activities, seniors outreach, counselling or mental health help.

Many FCSS workers said they’re seeing more crisis and emergency cases than prevention, which is their official mandate.

“We need to ensure that we protect prevention as a service because when we see massive need in interventive services — when we see the homeless shelters are overrun, when we see the food banks don’t have enough food or enough funding — this is a result of a lack of prevention or a lack of being able to offer these types of services long-term,” Jamaly said.

And those on fixed incomes are even more vulnerable.

“The cheque that you receive, is it enough to pay for rent, for transportation, for clothing, for food?”

Those are the kinds of questions Burton hopes policymakers are asking themselves.

“I think both the federal and the provincial government really need to look at: who are we helping? Are we really helping the people who need the funds or are we just painting a broad brush and saying, ‘This should cover a bunch of people.’

“I just don’t think they’re really in touch with what’s really going on. It’s just so expensive to run a home.

“They need to come and sit in my shoes and then tell me how I’m going to pay my bills.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Utah and Toronto meet in cross-conference matchup

Toronto Raptors (23-29, 12th in the Eastern Conference) vs. Utah Jazz (26-26, 10th in the Western Conference)

Salt Lake City; Wednesday, 9 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Lauri Markkanen and the Utah Jazz host Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors in a non-conference matchup.

The Jazz have gone 17-9 in home games. Utah is 12- when it turns the ball over less than its opponents and averages 14.7 turnovers per game.

The Raptors have gone 8-17 away from home. Toronto has a 12-12 record in games decided by 10 or more points.

TOP PERFORMERS: Markkanen is averaging 24.9 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Jazz. Jordan Clarkson is averaging 22.4 points over the last 10 games for Utah.

Siakam is averaging 25 points, eight rebounds and 6.3 assists for the Raptors. Gary Trent Jr. is averaging 3.2 made 3-pointers over the last 10 games for Toronto.

LAST 10 GAMES: Jazz: 6-4, averaging 117.3 points, 47.7 rebounds, 24.3 assists, 5.6 steals and 5.7 blocks per game while shooting 48.1% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 114.4 points per game.

Raptors: 4-6, averaging 116.2 points, 43.5 rebounds, 23.2 assists, 8.3 steals and 5.8 blocks per game while shooting 47.0% from the field. Their opponents have averaged 115.8 points.

INJURIES: Jazz: Micah Potter: out (elbow).

Raptors: Otto Porter Jr.: out for season (foot), OG Anunoby: out (wrist).

___

The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Vandalism, crime at Edmonton transit centre despite safety task force formed to tackle issues

The Edmonton Transit Service continues to face safety problems, despite a provincial task force being formed in early December 2022 to try and curb the issues — especially around addiction, homelessness and crime. Lisa MacGregor reports.

The Edmonton Transit Service continues to face safety problems, despite a provincial task force being formed in early December 2022 to try and curb the issues — especially around addiction, homelessness and crime.

Police said on Sunday, Jan. 22, at around 10:45 p.m., a man acting in an erratic manner entered a bus parked at the Northgate Transit Centre near 97 Street and 137 Avenue, causing significant damage inside.

Police said he then got off the bus with an ice pick that he found on it and threatened a woman who was standing outside.

Vandalism an ETS bus at the Northgate Transit Centre near 97 Street and 137 Avenue on January 22, 2023.

Vandalism an ETS bus at the Northgate Transit Centre near 97 Street and 137 Avenue on January 22, 2023.

Supplied to Western Standard

Police said officers quickly located the 20-year-old suspect and charged him with a number of offences, including mischief over $5,000.

Edmonton police said he appeared to be intoxicated, but officers did not know what kind of substance the suspect was on.

The bus operator had left the vehicle prior to the incident to use the washroom and was not directly involved, but is being offered support by the city.

The Edmonton Public Safety and Community Response Task Force was formed last month to try and deal with the complex and often-intertwined issues of addiction, homelessness and crime in Edmonton.

It’s comprised of 12 people and chaired by former Calgary police officer and current Public Safety and Emergency Services Minister Mike Ellis.

The goal is to address social issues through a coordinated response between the province, city and local partners such as Homeward Trust, which provides broad supports for Edmonton’s homeless community.

The provinces said the task force will be responsible for implementing several initiatives as part of a $187-million commitment announced in October 2022 to address addiction and homelessness in Alberta’s urban centres.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the City of Edmonton has done its part to try and tackle these issues but its still waiting on the province to step up and take care of its responsibilities.

The province is responsible for funding shelter spaces in the province, and it’s that level of government’s duty to provide the health and social services often needed to address homelessness and addictions.

“We don’t need more studies, we need action,” Sohi said.

“They haven’t really stepped up to provide necessary supports to struggling Edmontonians and the impact is more disorder, more vandalism.”

On Monday, Ellis said action is coming but first the task force wanted to speak with people in the community first.

“Action is going to be taken, we just had to hear from all of the stakeholders first,’ Ellis said.

“I was very clear at the beginning when this task force was to be created, that it was not about a report that was going to be created — it was about gathering all the people that are decision makers within the community.”

Sohi said the city has been providing the province with proposals and solutions — to no avail.

“We have been proposing solutions ever since May,” Sohi said.

“And I welcome provinces intervention in this because these are provincial responsibilities.”

The province said it’s making an announcement Wednesday, Feb. 1, specifically on taking action around these issues, but did elaborate on the details.

— With files from Karen Bartko, Global News

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Bridges scores 29, Suns pull away late, beat Raptors 114-106

PHOENIX (AP) — Deandre Ayton had to do a double-take in the final minutes as his Phoenix Suns pulled away for another win.

His eyes weren’t playing tricks. That was Mikal Bridges getting big mid-range buckets during crucial possessions in the fourth quarter, not injured All-Star guard Devin Booker.

Bridges had one of his best games of the season with 29 points, Ayton added 22 points and 13 rebounds and the Suns won for the sixth time in seven games by beating the Toronto Raptors 114-106 on Monday night.

“I told Booker — ‘You know what’s crazy? These are your plays,'” Ayton said, teasing his teammate. “These are Mikal’s plays now.”

The Suns are on a bit of roll despite missing Booker the past several weeks. The 6-foot-6 Bridges has always been a solid player — mostly known for his defense and 3-point shooting — but he has morphed into a lead scoring option with Booker on the shelf with a groin injury.

The fifth-year player is averaging 23 points per game over his last nine contests, which has coincided with a Suns revival after an extended midseason swoon. He shot 12 of 19 from the field against the Raptors, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

“I’m loving it,” Suns guard Chris Paul said. “It’s a confidence thing and I think it just keeps building.”

Neither team led by more than 10 points in a contest that featured 16 lead changes and five ties.

The Raptors trailed by nine to start the second half but scored 12 straight points in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to take a 65-62 lead. Toronto took an 84-82 advantage into the fourth.

The game stayed tight from that point forward until Phoenix pulled away in the final minutes. Bridges had a pair of clutch jumpers before Paul made a 3-pointer to push the Suns ahead 106-102 with 1:30 left. Ayton added a tip-in with 51.4 seconds left to extend the advantage to 108-102.

Paul finished with 19 points and nine assists.

“They threw some shots in that we needed to miss,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. “We fought hard, we competed, but give them credit.”

Toronto was led by VanVleet’s 24 points and nine assists. Gary Trent Jr. added 21 points while Pascal Siakam had 19.

“We were playing really hard, really well,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We could have down a few things and shored up the rebounding, but it didn’t really bounce our way when it needed to.”

Bridges scored 23 points on 9 of 12 shooting to push the Suns to a 62-53 halftime lead.

“I felt it for sure,” Bridges said. “The crowd had me all gassed up. The crowd and our bench. I felt it from both of them.”

TIP-INS

Raptors: G O.G. Anunoby (wrist) and F Otto Porter Jr. (foot) were out. … Shot just 9 of 33 (27.3%) from 3-point range.

Suns: Guards Devin Booker (groin), Cameron Payne (foot) and Landry Shamet (foot) were out. … Hosted a 53rd straight sellout crowd. … Paul hit a 3-pointer at the first quarter buzzer to give the Suns a 32-28 lead. … Dario Saric added 11 points over 14 minutes off the bench.

UP NEXT

Raptors: Travel to face Utah on Wednesday night.

Suns: Host Atlanta on Wednesday night.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Morrissey, Scheifele each score twice in the third as Jets rally to beat Blues 4-2

For a healthy chunk of the Winnipeg Jets tilt with the St. Louis Blues Monday night, it looked like they were destined for a fourth straight loss to head into the all-star break.

But a third period flurry keyed by Josh Morrissey helped the Jets recover from a two-goal deficit in an eventual 4-2 triumph.

Morrissey and Mark Scheifele each scored twice in the final frame as the Jets ended their three-game skid, and won for just the second time this season when trailing after two periods.

“Every guy was battling and every guy was doing the right thing,” said Scheifele. “And even when we got the lead, we kept doing the same thing, we got it in deep, got O-zone time, made plays, made passes, and that was huge.”

After getting shutout for the first two periods, the Jets appeared to be well on their way to a fourth straight loss. But Morrissey’s goal ended a 103 minute shutout streak, and flipped the momentum as they scored three goals in a little over seven minutes to take the lead for good.

“We were playing well,” said head coach Rick Bowness. “I know there was a lot of power plays, and the power play got a little disconnected there for awhile, but 5-on-5, we were happy with what we were doing. We had some great looks, and it was just a matter of staying with it.

“That team tonight – I told them after the game, they were not going to be denied tonight. Even though (Jordan) Binnington was outstanding and kept them in the game, we were not going to be denied, and that’s how we approached that third period.”

The Jets badly outshot the Blues 19-7 in the second period, but just could not solve Binnington.

“Binnington was making some big saves,” Scheifele said. “I don’t think we tested him quite enough, caught a lot of pucks, was able to kill a bunch of plays. But that third period, we just kept on coming in waves and waves and waves, and got to the net, and good things happen when you go to the net.”

Upset with his so called difference makers after Saturday’s loss, Bowness completely shuffled his forward lines, dropping Nikolaj Ehlers down to the fourth line to start the game. By the time the third period rolled around the Jets lines were looking more normal, and those difference makers left their mark in the final frame.

“You get in the situation like we’ve been in – we’ve lost three in a row,” said Bowness. “We haven’t played well at all, the big guys have to step up, and they all did tonight.”

The Jets now have at least a point in their last nine straight games against St. Louis where they have an 8-0-1 record.

With a pair of markers, Scheifele hit the 30-goal plateau for the third time in his career and the first since 2019.

Despite all their recent struggles, the Jets enter the all-star break just a point out of first place in the Western Conference.

READ MORE: ‘Golden Jet’ Bobby Hull dies at 84

Neither side was able to find the back of the net in the first period despite each getting 12 shots on goal, though the Jets had the better of the chances. They also had a four-minute power play but only managed one shot during the four minutes. The Blues also failed on an early chance with the man advantage.

That trend continued in the second as Winnipeg continued to funnel shots toward Binnington, but the Blues goaltender was turning aside all comers, and the Jets power play continued to falter, failing on four tries with the man advantage.

There were some audible boos heard from some fans during the final failed power play.

Given the Jets’ scoring struggles of late, it seemed almost fitting that St. Louis cashed in on their only power play chance in the period.

With Nate Schmidt in the box, Winnipeg cleared the puck down the ice but as they changed penalty killers, Binnington got the puck to Torey Krug who hit Jake Neighbours with a stretch pass. Neighbours walked in alone and beat Connor Hellebuyck to open the scoring.

In live time, it appeared that the play may have been offside, but the Jets decided against challenging it once seeing video that showed it was a legit zone entry.

Despite outshooting the Blues 19-7 in the second, Winnipeg trailed 1-0 after 40 minutes, and it got worse just moments into the third.

After Dylan Samberg made a questionable pinch, Josh Leivo got free along the boards for a 2-on-1. Kyle Capobianco decided to try and take Leivo, who found a wide open Nikita Alexandrov streaking in alone. The rookie made no mistake for his third career goal, beating Hellebuyck to give the Blues a 2-0 advantage just 2:02 into the third.

That’s when Josh Morrissey put the team on his back.

Just 40 seconds after the Blues scored, the Norris Trophy contender raced up the ice and ripped a wrister past Binnington before letting out a huge celebration, looking at the crowd as he skated up the boards towards centre ice, imploring them to make some noise.

The energy seemed to be shifting in Winnipeg’s favour as the third period went along, and just before the midway point, the team’s big guns tied the game.

After the Blues turned the puck over to Kyle Connor in the St. Louis end, the forward found Nikolaj Ehlers in the corner, who quickly passed it back to Scheifele in the slot for the tying goal.

It was the 30th of the season for Scheifele while Connor picked up his 200th career assist.

The building ignited when Morrissey gave the team the lead just 21 seconds later, sending one on goal off the rush that glanced off Brayden Schenn and past Binnington.

From there, the Jets went into shutdown mode, allowing just two shots the rest of the way before Scheifele put the game on ice with an empty-netter.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: How can the Winnipeg Jets stop the bleeding of a discouraging homestand?

Hellebuyck turned aside 24 shots as Winnipeg avoided its first four-game losing skid of the season, while Binnington stopped 35 shots as the Blues’ losing streak reached five games.

Hellebuyck and Morrissey will now head to Florida to take part in the All-Star game while the rest of the team takes time off. They will return to action Feb. 11 at home against Chicago.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

VPD officer who died by suicide worried 'rumour mill' would destroy her career, inquest hears

WATCH: (Disturbing Content) The inquest into the suicide of Vancouver Police Const. Nicole Chan has heard from her friend and mentor on the force, who says she was worried about a familiar office minefield – the rumour mill. Rumina Daya reports.

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details and may not be suitable for all readers. Discretion is advised.

VPD Sgt. Corey Bech, a friend and mentor of a Vancouver police officer who died by suicide, told a coroners inquest Monday that Nicole feared the effect that the department rumour mill would have on her reputation and career.

Const. Nicole Chan took her own life on Jan. 27, 2019. The inquest has heard previous testimony that she felt coerced into sex by a senior officer, and was suffering deepening mental health issues after filing a complaint against him and another superior.

Bech told a coroner’s jury in Burnaby that he spoke with Chan the day before she took her own life, and that he still feels guilt related to her death.

“I still to this day blame myself for not hearing it in her voice, or missing it in some way. That’s what I mean by guilt,” he said outside the inquest.

Bech, who said he was never in a sexual relationship with Chan, testified she was devastated no criminal charges were laid against human resources officer Sgt. Dave Van Patten.

The inquest has heard previous testimony that Van Patten had allegedly recorded images of her genitals that were on another officer’s phone, then threatened to send them to her spouse if she didn’t maintain a sexual relationship with him.

Chan lodged a complaint naming Van Patten in 2017 and was later placed on stress leave.

Bech testified Chan told him it would be untenable for her to return to work if Van Patten kept his job.

An Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner-ordered Police Act investigation later concluded Van Patten had committed four counts of discreditable conduct.

He never faced criminal charges and has denied all of the allegations.

Van Patten was ultimately dismissed after Chan’s suicide.

Bech told the jury Chan was worried the rumors in the VPD could negatively affect her return to work.

“How can I return? No boss would want to work with me,” Chan wrote in a notebook.

“I don’t want you taking me to court and holding it over my head for the next two years. I can’t do this anymore,” she wrote in another passage.

“Absolutely there was a rumour mill at work,” Bech said outside the Burnaby coroners’ court.

“You have a lot of people who work closely with each other, and people enjoy the gossip that goes on.”

The New Westminster Police Department handled both a Police Act and a criminal investigation into Chan’s complaints.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police Chief David Jones, who led the New Westminster department at the time, testified a report was forwarded to Crown counsel, but that prosecutors chose not to proceed with charges.

Van Patten was being investigated for sexual assault, he added.

Chan’s other superior, Sgt. Greg McCullough was also investigated under the Police Act for having an inappropriate relationship with Chan, given his position. He was suspended for 15 days and later retired.

The inquest into Chan’s death is expected to conclude Tuesday.

The coroner’s jury cannot assign blame but can make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.

— with files from Global News’ Rumina Daya

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 9-1-1 for immediate help.

For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention at suicideprevention.ca.

Learn more about preventing suicide with these warning signs and tips on how to help.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

10 injured, 2 critically, after drive-by shooting in central Florida: police

WATCH: Drive-by shooting in Lakeland, Fla., leaves 10 injured, 2 critically

Ten people were injured Monday afternoon during a drive-by shooting in a central Florida neighborhood, police said.

Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor said during a news conference that two of the victims were critically injured, while the wounds of the other eight victims weren’t considered life-threatening. The victims were males between the ages of 20 and 35.

Lakeland is located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Tampa.

“I’ve been here 34 years, and I can tell you I have never worked an event where this many people were shot at one time, ever,” Taylor said.

A crowd of people were gathered along a residential street when a dark-blue sedan rolled by, slowing but not stopping, police said. Four people fired shots from the sedan’s windows before the car sped away, Taylor said.

Officers were searching for the vehicle and the shooters Monday night, officials said.

Taylor said investigators believe the shooting was a targeted attack.

Police said marijuana was found at the scene of the shooting, and investigators believe drug sales were taking place.

Taylor described the neighborhood as “challenged” and said the police had focused a lot of attention on the area in recent years.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Recent cold snap could lead to less Okanagan wine next year

WATCH: Recent cold temperatures are having a major impact on the Okanagan wine industry.

A recent cold snap across B.C.’s Southern Interior could impact the amount of wine that is produced next year.

According to the Summerland Research and Development Centre, results from a recent bud dissection show primary and secondary bud damage across the Okanagan due to extreme weather.

“After that cold snap event, we (had) to take our actual measurements,” said research scientist Ben-Min Chang.

“That’s when I decided to collect extra samples and see how bad the crops are and the impacts over the Okanagan Valley and the result ended up not looking good.”

Experts say a grapevine can generally survive temperatures of -20 and above. Anything colder, like the extremely low temperatures back in late December, can pose a problem.

“Generally, everywhere is seeing some pretty significant – up to 80 per cent – potential loss,” said Wine Growers British Columbia president Miles Prodan.

“We won’t really know until the spring but as we monitor the buds every month, what we’ve seen so far is not looking good at all.”

Wine Growers British Columbia says the damage isn’t specific to any variety or area, and it’s hard to pinpoint which grapevines were hit the hardest.

“We’re seeing it just right across all varieties. So we’re concerned but I think it’s indicative of climate change and something we’re seeing in the overall decline of crop harvest overall, which we’re concerned about,” said Prodan.

Prodan went on to say that wineries along the Naramata Bench were impacted less than other wineries in terms of bud damage.

“Probably where it’s least happening, less for us is like 40 per cent, is on the Naramata Bench,” he said.

“On that sort of side of the lake, anywhere that they’ve got good slope and water – bodies of water will tend to warm the air – have done better.”

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time wine growers have worried about a short crop.

“We had the same thing happen last year, not to the same extent, but we did have some damage. In the end, it was not as significant as it had looked to be and so we’re hoping again this to be the case,” said Prodan.

“But this time last year, we’re not as concerned as we are right now.”

He said crops overall have continued to decline over the past couple of years due to extreme weather events.

“Climate change is part of the issue for us for sure. We know it’s getting colder, but it’s also those heat domes that are affecting our crop. We’re having water shortages in terms of precipitation and the rest of it,” said Prodan.

“Generally, we’re seeing some of the worst crops over a nine-year period. We’re very concerned about how climate change is affecting our grapes.”

The organization and researchers say steps are being taken to adapt to the changing climate and hopefully protect the wine industry.

“We may need to take a look at what we planted and where and then maybe take a look at replanting some of those grapes because they just aren’t able to survive where we are now,” said Prodan.

“I think there’s an opportunity to change over some of those grapevines – that’s going to take a huge investment by the industry and hopefully we can look and ask for some government support to help us with that as well.”

Although the quantity of wine may decrease, Wines of British Columbia says the quality and price of wine in the region won’t be impacted.

“We are very reluctant to pass any of the short crop onto our consumers. I think there’s a general theory that – supply and demand – if you have demand and less supply you raise your prices. Well, that’s certainly not what B.C. winemakers do,” he said.

“We’ve been hit with all kinds of cost increases over this last year and we have not passed those on to the consumer. We don’t intend on doing that at all. So it’s just us really having to absorb the cost of a little crop and it’s not something we like to see and because there’s huge potential and B.C. consumers love 100 per cent B.C. wine.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

IMF projects rosier global economic outlook for 2023, expects inflation to ease

WATCH: What a 2023 recession in Canada could look like

The outlook for the global economy is growing slightly brighter as China eases its zero-COVID policies and the world shows surprising resilience in the face of high inflation, elevated interest rates and Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine.

That’s the view of the International Monetary Fund, which now expects the world economy to grow 2.9% this year. That forecast is better than the 2.7% expansion for 2023 that the IMF predicted in October, though down from the estimated 3.4% growth in 2022.

The IMF, a 190-country lending organization, foresees inflation easing this year, a result of aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other major central banks. Those rate hikes are expected to slow the consumer demand that has driven prices higher. Globally, the IMF expects consumer inflation to fall from 8.8% last year to 6.6% in 2023 and 4.3% in 2024.

“Global conditions have improved as inflation pressures started to abate,” the IMF chief economist, Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, said at a news conference in Singapore. “The road back to a full recovery with sustainable growth, stable prices and progress for all has only started.”

 

A big factor in the upgrade to global growth was China’s decision late last year to lift anti-virus controls that had kept millions of people at home. The IMF said China’s “recent reopening has paved the way for a faster-than-expected recovery.”

The IMF now expects China’s economy — the world’s second-biggest, after the United States — to grow 5.2% this year, up from its October forecast of 4.4%. Beijing’s economy eked out growth of just 3% in 2022 — the first year in more than 40, the IMF noted, that China has expanded more slowly than the world as a whole. But the end of virus restrictions is expected to revive activity in 2023.

Together, China and India should account for half of this year’s global growth, while the United States and Europe contribute 10%, according to Gourinchas.

“China’s reopening is certainly a favorable factor that’s going to lead to more activity,” Gourinchas said. “But this is in the context in which the global economy itself is slowing down.”

The IMF’s 2023 growth outlook improved for the United States (forecast to grow 1.4. Europe, though suffering from energy shortages and higher prices resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, proved “more resilient than expected,” the IMF said. The European economy benefited from a warmer-than-expected winter, which held down demand for natural gas.

Russia’s economy, hit by sanctions after its invasion of Ukraine, has proved sturdier than expected, too: The IMF’s forecast foresees Russia registering 0.3% growth this year. That would mark an improvement from a contraction of 2.2% in 2022. And it’s well above the 2.3% contraction for 2023 that the IMF had forecast for Russia in October.

The United Kingdom is a striking exception to the IMF’s brighter outlook for 2023. It has forecast its economy will shrink 0.6% in 2023; in October, the IMF had expected growth of 0.3%. Higher interest rates and tighter government budgets are squeezing the British economy.

“These figures confirm we are not immune to the pressures hitting nearly all advanced economies,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said in response to the IMF forecast. “Short-term challenges should not obscure our long-term prospects — the U.K. outperformed many forecasts last year, and if we stick to our plan to halve inflation, the U.K. is still predicted to grow faster than Germany and Japan over the coming years.”

The IMF noted that the world economy still faces serous risks. They include the possibility that Russia’s war against Ukraine war will escalate, that China will suffer a sharp increase in COVID cases and that high interest rates will cause a financial crisis in debt-laden countries.

Asked about the impact of U.S. efforts to limit Chinese access to advanced processor chip technology due to security concerns, Gourinchas cautioned that curbs on semiconductor trade and government pressure to pull back industries to within their own borders and limit reliance on foreign partners “potentially could be harmful to the global economy.”

“Diversification of supply chains is much more important in trying to improve resilience, improve growth, improve standards of living, rather than moving toward re-shoring or `friend shoring,”’ Gourinchas said.

The global outlook has been shrouded in uncertainty since the coronavirus pandemic struck in early 2020. Forecasters have been repeatedly confounded by events: A severe if brief recession in early 2020; an expectedly strong recovery triggered by vast government stimulus aid; then a surge in inflation, worsened when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago disrupted world trade in energy and food.

Three weeks ago, the IMF’s sister agency, the World Bank, issued a more downbeat outlook for the global economy. The World Bank slashed its forecast for international growth this year by nearly half — to 1.7% — and warned that the global economy would come “perilously close” to recession.

AP Business Writer Joe McDonald in Beijing and AP Writer Danica Kirka in London contributed to this report.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

You May Also Like

Top Stories