5 Things Everyones Talking About This Week

Written by: Rachel Antony

From the BC fires to our new Governor General here's what everyone's talking about this week. 

1. BC Fires

Things are looking dire in British Columbia as the wildfires are still spreading and with forecasted winds this weekend, the fires could hit new areas of the province. Even though there are thunderstorms predicted for the evening, the winds will counteract any positive impact that could have had on the fires. There was a break in the weather on Wednesday, giving crews a chance to bring down the number of fires from 220 to 183, but that number could go back up this weekend. Since last Friday more than 14,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes and thousands more have been warned to be ready in case they have to leave at a moment's notice.

2. Omar Khadr's Settlement

A judge has denied the request for a freeze to be placed on Omar Khadr's $10.5 million settlement. There was not enough evidence to justify the freeze. Lawyers for the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, and another injured U.S. soldier were hoping to have the settlement paid to them instead of Khadr - in  2015 they won a $134 million default civil judgment against him. Ottawa offered the former child soldier a compensation package because of Canada's involvement in unjust and unlawful treatment against him while detained in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Although Canada's rules are pretty liberal, getting the same ruling as the $134 million settlement in Utah recognized here in Canada will be a tough battle. A court date has not been set. 

3. Canada's New Governor General

Julie Payette will be appointed Canada's next Governor General by PM Justin Trudeau. The former astronaut comes from Quebec and fits the traditional francophone requirement for the position; the rest of Quebec is thrilled to have her serve the high-ranked position. Social media was actually just as pleased with the appointment, applauding Trudeau for his nomination. Not only did she spend 611 hours in space aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1999 and Endeavor in 2009, she also speaks four other languages and is a licensed pilot. The Prime Minister has already informed the Queen of Mr. Johnston's replacement. 

4. Antarctica

A massive iceberg has just broken off of Antarctica - scientists have said it's as large as Delaware and weighs more than a trillion tons. Scientists have been monitoring the ice shelf and we're expecting the break off for months now. The iceberg, now floating freely, will not impact anyone and any repercussions, if any, won't be felt for years. There hasn't been any link found between this iceberg break and human-induced climate change, scientists are reminding us that this is just a natural event that is expected to happen. However, the ice shelf is now at it's most retreated position ever recorded and the ice shelf will eventually collapse. 

5. Interest Rate Increase

The Bank of Canada announced that it is raising its key lending rate from 0.5% to 0.75%. It's the first increase in borrowing costs for Canadians in seven years. They had lowered the interest rate in 2015 to help counteract the falling oil prices, and the governor general says those cuts did their job. Quickly after the announcement, the Canadian dollar increased to 78.06 cents US - the first time since August 2016 that the Canadian dollar has reached past 78 cents. Now that the economy is getting stronger the banks are worried about inflation - increasing borrowing rates will help reduce consumer spending power and hopefully avoid inflation. However, many analysts say it was the wrong move since many Canadians are already over their head in debt and the increase in interest rates could do more harm than good.