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Majority of Canadians see their homeland as a top vacation destination: poll

TORONTO – A new poll finds that while most Canadians have lived or travelled abroad, the majority see their homeland as a top vacation destination.

A survey conducted by Ipsos Reid for Historica Canada says 68 per cent of participants agreed that “Canada has something for everyone, so why go anywhere else.”

About a third of respondents, on the other hand, said they think Canada is a great place to live but not that interesting to visit and they’d rather travel outside its borders.

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Among those planning Canadian vacations, most – 32 and 24 per cent, respectively – are headed to Ontario or Quebec, where the bulk of the country’s population lives.

READ MORE: Calgary prepares for visitors as direct flights from Beijing begin

But a quarter of respondents say British Columbia is their dream destination in Canada, far ahead of any other province, though almost as many (22 per cent) say they long to go on a coast-to-coast road trip.

The poll, administered online to 1,008 Canadians between June 17 and 22, is accurate to within 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

“Canadians are very happy at home and there’s a lot to choose from in Canada and Canadians in general celebrate that,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, president and CEO of Historica Canada.

Many respondents (46 per cent) say they would prefer to travel domestically rather than head south of the border even if the exchange rate wasn’t a factor, although 26 per cent say they would choose the U.S. if our dollar was stronger, the poll says.

Close to a third say their preference depends more on the weather, noting they like summer in Canada and winter down south.

READ MORE: Surviving the Slump: Travel Alberta without breaking the bank

Those at least 55 years old are the most likely to choose based on the season – 36 per cent say that affects their decision, compared to 32 per cent of those 35 to 54 years old and 24 per cent of those 18 to 34.

Nearly four in 10 say they visit the U.S. less often due to safety concerns.

“There’s a lot of general discussion lately of gun issues, of crime issues, how much does that affect you? And you see a high return there of people saying, ‘Actually, yeah, I do think about that and that makes it less likely for me to go there,”‘ Wilson-Smith said.

Still, the average Canadian has lived in or visited five other countries, the poll finds. Most (39 per cent) have been to two to five other countries, while 20 per cent have visited one and 15 per cent have never left the country.

Residents of Alberta were the most likely (22 per cent) to say they’ve never left Canada, followed by those in Atlantic Canada (19 per cent).

Prolific travellers – those who have been to at least 10 other countries – were most likely to be from British Columbia, with Ontario as runner-up and Quebec close behind.

At Three Amigos summit, leaders sound protectionism alarm

OTTAWA – North America’s three political leaders wrapped up their day-long summit meeting Wednesday by presenting a united front against the global forces of protectionism.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto all said it would be a mistake for the continent to shut itself off from an integrated global economy.

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But Obama in particular noted that free trade also needs to be fair trade, and countries need to take steps to ensure that prosperity continues to flow to all of their citizens.

READ MORE: Canada to lift visa requirement for Mexico as of December 2016

Trudeau said it’s one of the key themes of the North American Leaders’ Summit, to highlight how trade and international agreements are good for global economy and for people around the world.

He said countries that export more of their goods to markets around the world are wealthier, and citizens are able to share in that growth.

Obama said it’s too late to try to prevent the integration of national economies into a single global entity, because it has already happened.

“The question is not whether or not there’s going to be an international, global economy – there is one,” the president said. “Under what terms are we going to shape that economy?”

Earlier Wednesday, Pena Nieto offered a sharp rebuke of the protectionist forces north of his country’s border and in Britain.

WATCH: Obama arrives in Ottawa for Three Amigos summit

His anti-isolationism message came one day after he and Trudeau trumpeted their bilateral relationship as a model of political and economic co-operation.

They presented the Canada-Mexico relationship as a sharp contrast to the growing strains of protectionism and isolation sweeping the United States and Britain, with its referendum decision to leave the European Union – a theme the Mexican leader placed squarely on the agenda of the summit.

Pena Nieto’s remarks also came one day after Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee to replace Obama, delivered his most explicit threat to smash the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“The world is teaching us lessons,” Pena Nieto said in Spanish at the end of his meeting with Obama, which preceded the three-way talks.

“We need to be very clear in terms of describing the benefits of being an integrated region. Jobs are created, companies are incorporated, trade is free and more development can reach people due to regional integration. Isolationism is not a route towards progress; integration is.”

He said the Obama administration and his government have stressed “the importance and the relevance that working as a team” and standing together.

President Barack Obama walks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Neito at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Wednesday, June 29, 2016.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Barack Obama walks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Pena Neito at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Wednesday, June 29, 2016.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomes Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa, Wednesday June 29, 2016.

Fred Chartrand/

U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he arrives at the airport in Ottawa for the North American Leaders’ Summit on Wednesday, June 29, 2016.

Justin Tang/

Obama praised the U.S. relationship with Mexico on a number of fronts, including their shared membership in the 12-country Pacific Rim trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which also includes Canada.

“All too often hearing rhetoric that ignores the enormous contributions … by Mexican-Americans and the enormous strengths that we draw from the relationship with our good neighbour to the south,” Obama said.

Trump said he would inform Mexico and Canada of his desire to immediately renegotiate a more favourable deal and if they refused significant concessions, he threatened to withdraw from it all together.

WATCH: There’s a push in North America to prevent the kind of division that is tearing Europe apart. Later this week, the leaders of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada will meet in Ottawa for what’s known as the “Three Amigos Summit.” Mike Le Couteur reports.

As Obama was winging his way to Canada, White House spokesman Josh Earnest played down the remarks, saying NAFTA has already been renegotiated in the form of the TPP.

“It includes, obviously, countries in the Asia Pacific as well, but it includes Canada and Mexico and it raises standards related to the environment and to labour conditions in all of the countries that have signed the agreement,” Earnest said.

“It also makes those higher standards enforceable in a way that they weren’t in NAFTA. So the president promised in 2007 and 2008 – this got a lot of attention – that he would work, that he would engage with our partners to make changes to those agreements to make them more fair to U.S. workers and the broader U.S. economy. That’s exactly what we’ve succeeded in doing.”

Trump also made it clear Tuesday he’s no fan of the TPP either, calling it “a continuing rape of our country.”

Earlier, Trudeau greeted Obama with a warm hug Wednesday before the two sat down with Pena Nieto to begin the summit in earnest. Obama praised the setting – the locked-down National Gallery of Canada – and fondly acknowledged the Mounties clad in red serge that helped greet him.

READ MORE: Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa will close roads, bridges, museums, waterways and (almost) everything

“It’s good to see Mounties around,” the president said. “It always makes me feel safe.”

Indeed, security was an ever-present theme throughout the morning as the iconic Boeing VC-25, better known as Air Force One, touched down at the Ottawa airport for what is widely expected to be Obama’s last visit to Canada as president.

He was greeted by Governor General David Johnston, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion and a large group of officials and dignitaries.

WATCH: Trudeau jokes about Obama’s ‘impending retirement’; Obama offers thumbs up 

A towering convoy of black limousines and SUVs – including the heavily armoured presidential Cadillac nicknamed “The Beast” – ferried the president to the National Gallery of Canada, not far from Parliament Hill.

The Mexican president, who has been on a state visit to Canada since Monday, is to sign on to a Canada-U.S. pledge to cut methane emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025.

North America accounts for about 20 per cent of global emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that the Pembina Institute estimates accounts for a fifth of all man-made global warming to date.

The trio will also announce plans to achieve 50 per cent clean power generation across North America by 2025, including renewable energy, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage and increased energy efficiency.

VIDEO: Preview of ‘Three Amigos Summit’ in Ottawa

Canada has over 80 per cent clean electricity generation, by that measure – North America as a whole is at 37 per cent – meaning the plan could put Canada in a lucrative position to export more power to the U.S.

Obama was to have his own bilateral meeting with Trudeau before capping his day-long visit to the national capital with an address to Parliament.

On Tuesday, Trudeau and Pena Nieto cleared away long-standing trade and travel irritants: Canada will lift its controversial visa requirement for Mexican visitors before the end of the year while Mexico will end restrictions on Canadian beef imports.

Massive rooftop solar array south of Edmonton nearly complete

ENMAX is putting the finishing touches on a project it bills as the largest commercial rooftop solar system in Canada.

The installation at the Leduc Recreation Centre will produce electricity and is a key component in the City of Leduc’s strategy to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

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Related

  • Alberta offers rebates to municipalities, farms that set up solar power

  • Edmonton installs solar-powered benches that charge smartphones

  • Solar Impulse 2 completes unprecedented flight across Atlantic Ocean

    “The sheer size of this solar installation as well as the subsequently planned Operations Building retrofit, will lead to emission reductions of over 1,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking about 200 cars off our roads and a significant step towards reaching our future goals,” Mayor Greg Krischke said in a statement Tuesday.

    The 1.14-megawatt system is expected to begin operating before the Alberta Summer Games start on July 31. According to ENMAX, an Alberta utility provider, the panels, which cover the area of about four-and-a-half NHL rinks, will generate about 15 per cent of the recreation centre’s annual energy consumption needs.

    The City of Leduc’s partnership with ENMAX on both its recreation centre and operations centre is projected to cost $3.1 million.

    ENMAX is putting the finishing touches on a project it bills as “Canada’s largest rooftop solar array,” which is expected to begin producing electricity in Leduc by July 31, 2016.

    COURTESY: ENMAX

    ENMAX is putting the finishing touches on a project it bills as “Canada’s largest rooftop solar array,” which is expected to begin producing electricity in Leduc by July 31, 2016.

    COURTESY: ENMAX

    ENMAX is putting the finishing touches on a project it bills as “Canada’s largest rooftop solar array,” which is expected to begin producing electricity in Leduc by July 31, 2016.

    COURTESY: ENMAX

Edmonton councillors concerned ride-sharing companies potentially breaking rules

The same day the Alberta government rolled out its new insurance plan for ride-sharing companies in the province, councillors at Edmonton City Hall were discussing concerns those same companies are already going against the bylaw that governs them.

READ MORE: Alberta government unveils insurance policies aimed specifically at ride-sharing companies

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Related

  • Edmonton paves the way in Canada for Uber

  • Edmonton ride-sharing upstart revved up to challenge Uber for street supremacy

  • Edmonton cabbies fighting Uber legalization

    Edmonton’s vehicle-for-hire bylaw came into effect on March 1 and stipulates only taxis are allowed to pick up passengers hailing a ride on the street.

    However, on Tuesday, several municipal lawmakers, including Coun. Dave Loken, said they are concerned ride-sharing companies are picking up street hails.

    READ MORE: Edmonton becomes first city in Canada to legislate ride sharing

    Loken suggested the size of the decals on ride-sharing vehicles may be confusing for customers.

    “You can see them from blocks away,” he said. “If it looks like a taxi, they’re going to try and hail it, right? So that’s a problem and something we need to address because that’s something that we told the taxi industry we would be watching for. Clearly it’s in the bylaw so we need to enforce it.”

    Loken acknowledged that council originally required the decals to easily identify ride-share drivers but said the decals may be too large and that the rules on decals may need to be reconsidered altogether.

    Mayor Don Iveson also said he thought council would need to revisit how the bylaw deals with decals on ride-share vehicles.

    “Right now, because you have vehicles that have decals, even if someone’s prearranged a trip on their phone and is now flagging the vehicle that they’ve prearranged that trip with, that can look to a third party like a street hail,” the mayor said. “But if you’re just waving at a car that has a very small decal on it that you couldn’t reasonably see from the curbside, then it’s clear to everyone that you’re just having a private interaction between a couple of vehicles and you’re only waving at them because you know who they are or you’ve pre-booked that trip.

    “I think there’s a perception right now, rightly or wrongly, that there’s hailing activity happening.”

Have higher speed limits made B.C. roads more dangerous?

Two years ago, the provincial government increased speed limits on 33 stretches of road in B.C. in an effort to make them safer.

A report on the changes released Tuesday by the Transportation Ministry found that crash rates have dropped or are unchanged on 19 of 33 sections of highway where speed limits were increased.

Accidents were up on 14 of the 33 stretches of road where speeds were increased, but speed wasn’t necessarily to blame in all but two cases.

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MORE: British Columbia’s 12 deadliest highways

“The top three contributing factors in collisions in British Columbia, particularly during this period, is driver inattentiveness; weather or road conditions that can change very quickly; and thirdly, it’s driving too fast for the road conditions,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said.

However, he said at least three years worth of data are needed to determine whether speed has been a major factor.

Stone believes roads that have seen an increase in accidents could be made safer through engineering and other measures so the higher speed limits could remain.

READ MORE: Who is watching you on B.C. Highways?

But speed limits will be lowered in a couple of areas — on Highway One from Hope to Boston Bar, where 90 km/h will replace the 100 km/h limit, and Highway 5A from Aspen Grove to Princeton, where the 90 km/h speed limit will drop to 80 km/h.

A stretch on the connector from the Penask Summit to Peachland will see new variable speed limits.

Stone says the 120 km/h speed limit on the Coquihalla Highway from Hope to Kamloops will remain because that section has had low collision rates.

– With files from Ted Chernecki and