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Canada’s population fastest growing in G7 thanks to immigration

Canada’s population growth over the the past half decade has been largely driven by immigration, according to 2021 census data.

Statistics Canada captured the Canadian population on May 11, 2021, five years after its previous census in 2016.

The newly-released findings reveal Canada grew about twice as fast as other G7 countries, which include France, Germany, Italy, Japan, U.K. and U.S. Even in 2020 when the pandemic halted Canada’s population growth, it continued to be the fastest-growing in the G7. The main reason for the slowdown was the border restrictions Canada put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Canada is now home to nearly 37 million people. Immigration, not fertility, drove Canada’s population growth. Four out of five of the 1.8 million people added to the population were either temporary residents or immigrants with permanent status. The remaining population growth was due to natural increase (the difference between births subtracted by deaths)…read more.

Liberal MP decries ‘politicization’ of pandemic, questions federal policies

A Liberal MP is speaking out against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and provincial governments’ pandemic policies, and politicians’ handling of the ongoing trucker convoy protests.

Joel Lightbound, the Louis-Hébert, Que. MP, held a press conference on Parliament Hill on Tuesday morning saying that he thinks those concerned about COVID-19 policies have “legitimate concerns” that should not be dismissed.

Citing the impact on Canadians’ mental health, families becoming divided, and people losing their jobs over decisions to not to get vaccinated, Lightbound said he thinks political leaders are “unwilling to adapt.”

“I’ve heard from hundreds of constituents and citizens who took the time to reach out to me these past weeks, folks who have nothing to do with these demonstrations, who are for the most part vaccinated, who have done everything as they should these last two years,” Lightbound said.

He thinks political leaders have failed at explaining to Canadians their rationale for continued public health measures, citing the vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers as the latest example.

“I fear that this politicization of the pandemic risks undermining the public’s trust in our public health institutions. This is not a risk we ought to be taking lightly,” Lightbound said…read more.

Corruption in Canada worst in a decade, finds international watchdog

Canada has, once again, slipped down an international ranking for corruption, standing at 13th in the world and well back of world leaders, such as Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.

Since 2015, the year Liberal leader Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister, Canada has fallen nine points, to a score of 74 out of 100 on the Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index. No country has seen a bigger drop in ratings since 2017 than Canada.

While the latest ranking is Canada’s worst in a decade, the country remained at the top of the rankings in the Americas, where progress on stamping out corruption has “ground to a halt” and democracies like Chile and the United States rank even lower.

Transparency International, a non-profit non-government organization dedicated to sunshine laws, specifically cited ethical breaches by former Finance Minister Bill Morneau for awarding the administration of a $900 million grants program to WE Charity, which has a history of paying politicians and family members, including the Trudeaus, for speaking events.

Also cited is the SNC-Lavalin “foreign bribery case that spiralled into a political crisis” when Trudeau breached conflict of interest rules by improperly pressuring then-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to defer prosecution of the construction company.

Transparency International notes how “top-scoring countries,” such as Canada, “have proven too weak to meet the challenge of increasingly globalised, networked corruption – which is not measured by the Index…read more.

An Indonesian 22-year-old makes $1M by selling NFT selfies on OpenSea

An Indonesian college student has reportedly become a millionaire by selling nonfungible token (NFT) versions of his selfies on the OpenSea NFT marketplace.

Sultan Gustaf Al Ghozali, a 22-year-old computer science student from Semarang, Indonesia, converted and sold nearly 1,000 selfie images as NFTs. According to Ghozali, he took photos of himself for five years — between the ages of 18 and 22 — as a way to look back on his graduation journey.

Ghozali took selfies, either sitting or standing in front of his computer, which were later converted into NFTs and uploaded to OpenSea in December 2021. The artist set the price for each NFT selfie at $3 without expecting interest from serious buyers. While monetizing his expressionless images, Ghozali said:

“You can do anything like flipping or whatever but please don’t abuse my photos or my parents will very disappointed in me. I believe in you guys so please take care of my photos.”

Going against his wildest expectations, Ghozali’s NFT offering blew up as prominent members of Crypto Twitter showed support by purchasing and marketing the offerings…read more.

Crypto-backed mortgages still raise red flags, says B.C. regulator

B.C.’s mortgage regulator continues to sound warnings about anyone considering purchasing a home with cryptocurrency.

The BC Financial Services Authority says there is nothing prohibiting buyers from using such unregulated digital currencies, however there are limited protections and persisting unknown risks in doing so.

The concept garnered significant media attention in December when Toronto-based lender Ledn announced a $70-million investment for building a Bitcoin-backed mortgage product.

“This mortgage will enable Ledn clients to use their Bitcoin holdings to purchase a property while continuing to benefit from potential price appreciation of both assets,” the company wrote.

A client wishing to take out a Bitcoin mortgage needs to own as much Bitcoin equivalent to the property value or purchase price. The company will issue a loan equal to 50% of the combined value of both assets…read more.