Two people killed in the deadly stampede at an Israeli religious festival had links to Montreal's tightly knit Orthodox Jewish community. We learn about who they were.
Two people killed in the deadly stampede at an Israeli religious festival had links to Montreal's tightly knit Orthodox Jewish community. We learn about who they were.
Karine Spénard, the coroner investigating the death of Candida Macarine at the Lakeshore General Hospital in Montreal's West Island in February, has stepped aside after Macarine's family suggested she was in a conflict of interest. Macarine was found dead on the floor of a negative pressure isolation room in the emergency room at the hospital Feb. 27, a few hours after being admitted. Nurses had repeatedly warned managers it was difficult to monitor patients in the room because of visibility problems. The hospital did not tell Macarine's family about the circumstances of her death, which they only learned of two weeks later after seeing a CBC story. The family was hoping the coroner's investigation would finally bring some answers, but at a news conference Monday morning they said they were worried about Spénard's ability to look at the case impartially. Spénard's profile on LinkedIn shows that directly before she joined the coroner's office in 2017, she was the head of legal affairs for the CIUSSS de l'Ouest de l'Île de Montréal, the health agency that oversees the Lakeshore. "We are concerned that with the possible conflict of interest, the coroner's investigation will not shed light on all the facts and circumstances of my mom's death," Gilda Macarine, Candida Macarine's daughter told the news conference. Coroner steps aside Late Monday, Jake-Lamotta Granato, a spokesperson for the coroner's office, told CBC in an email that while the chief coroner still has full confidence in Spénard, she's no longer on the case. "She hasn't been an employee of the CIUSSS for several years. She has all the independence necessary to carry out this investigation," Lamotta-Granato said. Karine Spénard asked the Chief Coroner Monday to appoint another coroner to the case, saying she had lost the trust of the family.(LinkedIn) "However, as Ms. Macarine's family members withdrew their trust in Coroner Spénard, the latter requested that the investigation of the death be transferred to another coroner," Lamotta-Granato said. "The Chief Coroner accepted his request and a new coroner will be appointed to pursue the case," he added. Important to 'rebuild confidence' Emmanuelle Marceau, associate professor at Université de Montréal's school of public health, told CBC that while Spénard wasn't in a direct conflict of interest, it's probably best that a new coroner will be appointed. "Considering that the person (Spénard) was at the job for a certain number of years, maybe she made connections, she knows people internally, so perhaps she might not have been able to lead this investigation in the most objective fashion," Marceau said. "In situations where people have lost a loved one, and where they've lost confidence in the system, they have doubts because they don't understand what happened, there's miscommunication, it's important to rebuild that confidence," Marceau said. "It's important for this family, but also for Quebec society, to maintain confidence in our CIUSSSes and our health-care system," she added.
EDMONTON — Staff in Alberta hospitals are treating more people in intensive care units than at any other time in the province's history, officials warn, adding that hospitalizations for COVID-19 are particularly high for people in rural areas. Dr. Verna Yiu, president and chief executive officer of Alberta Health Services, said more than 240 patients are in intensive care, including 186 with COVID-19. "That is easily the most ICU patients that we have ever seen in our health-care system and definitely higher than what we have seen in waves one and two," Yiu said Monday during a COVID-19 update with the premier and the province's chief medical officer. "The threat of serious illness is real. We are seeing more people needing ICU care, particularly younger adults with fewer underlying problems." Capacity would have been surpassed had the province not opened an additional 106 ICU beds on top of its pre-pandemic capacity of about 170, Yiu said. The province can expect to see the need for more beds continue to grow, she said, since hospitalization numbers lag about two weeks behind changes in infection rates. If needed, up to 425 ICU beds could be made available in Alberta by repurposing isolation or operating recovery rooms, "but we hope never to use these units," Yiu said. "Our biggest current challenge is staffing these additional spaces, and this is certainly more difficult than the first and second waves," she said. "ICU teams are doing incredible work, but they're exhausted. They have been doing this for more than 15 months." Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said the idea that the pandemic is affecting mostly urban areas is a myth. Rural areas account for 12 of the 15 locations with the highest active COVID-19 case rates, she said. And, since February, rural Albertans have been 26 per cent more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people who live in urban centres. "None of this is to stigmatize rural Albertans or to suggest that any one part of our province is to blame," Hinshaw said. "This is not an urban versus rural issue. It is clear that COVID-19 is spreading and having an impact everywhere in our province." Hinshaw said the northern and central health zones have had the highest hospitalization rates per capita since the beginning of May. Northern Alberta, in particular, has had hospitalization rates more than double those of Edmonton and Calgary, she said. Health officials reported 721 new COVID-19 cases in the province and three new deaths Monday. There were 21,288 active cases in the province and 678 people in hospital. Premier Jason Kenney said overall transmission is going down, but public health restrictions are still needed to safeguard the health-care system and to keep the more contagious COVID-19 variants at bay. "If we did not take action, we would have to start looking at cancelling even thousands more surgeries and triaging patients — that means denying some people care and making the decision on who gets intensive care, for example," Kenney said. "I can't imagine that there is a single person out there who wants to test out this scenario." The premier has come under fire from some members of his party over restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. Last month, 16 legislature members wrote an open letter to Kenney, saying the rules were needlessly restrictive and infringed on personal freedoms. Many of them represented rural areas. But the premier stressed Monday that the latest COVID-19 briefing wasn't about politics. "It doesn't matter where you live, your life is invaluable and we must take reasonable measures to protect lives wherever people happen to live," Kenney said. He said the emergency management cabinet committee will discuss reopening strategies this week and next. "We will certainly be tying reopening in large part to the percentage of the population that gets vaccinated," Kenney said. "We'll also be looking at hospitalizations, at least early in the reopening phase, in the reopening plan." Early this week, more than 50 per cent of eligible Albertans will have had at least one vaccine dose, Kenney said. Another 1.2 million doses are scheduled to arrive this month and there are currently 800,000 appointments in the system, he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press
Pharmacists on Prince Edward Island are now delivering first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Islanders 40 and over. Last week they stopped administering AstraZeneca-Oxford shots, on the direction of the province. Twelve pharmacies across P.E.I. are part of the vaccine program. "The use of AstraZeneca was suspended," Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association, told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin Monday. "Any of the AstraZeneca doses that they had on hand has been returned to [the] provincial pharmacy." Pharmacies are only giving first doses of vaccines for now, and are continuing to give shots of Moderna. Moderna uptake has been good The province does have enough AstraZeneca to deliver second shots to anyone who received it in the first round, but MacKenzie said the Chief Public Health Office will let pharmacies know around the end of May whether that will happen. She said the uptake of Moderna vaccines at pharmacies has been very good, especially since those 40 and over can now book appointments either at pharmacies or through the province's mass clinics. She said she is excited to hear pharmacies will be getting more Moderna delivered by the end of this week. Watch for online bookings at pharmacies to open up soon as the vaccine supply arrives, she said. She said pharmacists are getting a lot of questions about which vaccines are best, but she believes they are all safe and people should get vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. More from CBC P.E.I.
A Saskatchewan man who brutally attacked a woman and set her on fire has been denied parole. Leslie Black, 35, pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the beating, burning and sexual assault of Marlene Bird in Prince Albert, Sask., in 2014. Bird's injuries resulted in the amputation of both of her legs and the Indigenous woman also lost much of her eyesight. She died in 2017 at the age of 50 from heart, liver and kidney failure. Her death was only a few months after Black was sentenced to 16 years for the vicious assault. He was given credit of four years, eight months for time already served, so faced just over 11 years in prison. “Your actions were unpredictable, brutal and indifferent,” said a decision released Monday by the Parole Board of Canada. Black told a parole board hearing last week that the attack on Bird happened around the anniversary of his own mother’s murder and he’d been drinking more frequently. He didn’t know Bird and told the board the sexual assault was “out of the blue.” After setting Bird’s shirt on fire, Black left the woman in flames and went to a store to get candy. He walked past Bird again, who was still on fire, and ignored her. Bird was found several hours later with burns so severe her facial bones were exposed. Black told the hearing that the decision to light Bird on fire “just happened” because he had a lighter in his coat pocket. He told the parole board that he prayed with an elder for Bird and her family when he learned of her death. The board’s decision said Black still shows “limited insight into the underlying factors that allowed (him) to engage in this level of violence.” Black has continued to have issues with violence behind bars, including fights with other inmates and weapons found in his cell, the board said. “Your inability to follow institutional rules raises concerns for the board about your ability and willingness to abide by conditions in the community." Psychological assessments presented at the hearing said Black presents a risk for future sexual offences and suggested any form of conditional release would be premature. After Black was sentenced, Bird, a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, said she thought she “could forgive him” but friends said she was upset by the length of his incarceration. “I’m doing my best, because my mom told me to forgive people that do wrong,” Bird said at the time. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Roads were flooded, water-logged cars abandoned in the street and high water vehicles dispatched to help people as heavy rain fell across southern Louisiana Monday. In some areas of western Louisiana still recovering from back-to-back hurricanes last year more than a foot of rain fell. The National Weather Service said in a Facebook post Monday that south Lake Charles in western Louisiana saw 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 centimeters) of rain in a 12-hour period. But the rainfall wasn't limited to that one area. Numerous areas in Calcasieu Parish where Lake Charles is located saw totals of 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) of rainfall Monday. The mayor of Lake Charles, Nic Hunter, told The Advocate that they didn't have an exact number of flooded homes but that it would likely be in the hundreds. Hunter was mayor last fall when the city was hit by Hurricane Laura on August 27 and then six weeks later by Hurricane Delta. “We will continue to be resilient through this event. But I will admit it would be nice if Mother Nature would give us a break," Hunter told the newspaper. Parts of southeastern Texas and western Louisiana were under flash flood warnings on Monday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service's Lake Charles office. Several inches (centimeters) of rain also feel on parts of Arkansas. Tornadoes also were a threat as storms pounded south Louisiana. In Lafayette, The Daily Advertiser reported that multiple warnings of possible tornadoes prompted shelter-in-place warnings at area schools, where students were held past the usual dismissal time until the danger passed. The National Weather Service in Lake Charles reported that the public reported a possible tornado in the Church Point area of rural Acadia Parish, west of Lafayette. There were no immediate reports of injuries or major damage. The Baton Rouge area was also hammered with rain Monday. The National Weather Service's New Orleans branch said on its Twitter feed that according to radar estimates as much as 12 inches of rain may have fallen in parts of East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Iberville parishes. In Ascension Parish, Parish President Clint Cointment put all employees responsible for drainage issues on alert after the “massive amount of rain.” Meanwhile, the sheriff's office for Calcasieu parish was asking residents to stay off the roads and said they had already deployed high water vehicles and boats to assist residents, KPLC reported. Photos on local media showed water up to the doorsteps in one subdivision of Lake Charles while vehicles sought to navigate flooded streets in another part of town. The rainy weather is expected to continue in southern Louisiana through the middle of the week. Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency late Monday for southwest Louisiana. Western Louisiana is still recovering from back-to-back hurricanes Laura and then Delta last year. And then, in February, frigid temperatures froze pipes and led to problems getting drinking water to area residents. The National Weather Service’s Little Rock office said on their Twitter feed, that parts of central Arkansas also had seen two to more than four inches (5-10 centimeters) of rain as of Monday morning. More rainfall is expected this week, the agency said. The Associated Press
Prince Albert police have released more details about their investigation into the death of Braden Herman. They say that on May 11, veteran RCMP officer Cpl. Bernie Herman phoned a co-worker and said he had "killed someone." He agreed to go to his co-worker's house, located just north of Prince Albert. The RCMP, whose district the house was in, were then contacted and Bernie Herman was taken into custody. On May 12, 53-year-old Bernie Herman was charged with first-degree murder. He had served on the force for 32 years. He and Braden Herman are not related but knew each other for several years, according to police. During the initial RCMP response, Bernie Herman provided information as to where police could find the victim. Police say that when they located 26-year-old Braden Herman on the edge of Prince Albert near Little Red Park, he was dead and appeared to have been shot. At that time, the Prince Albert Police Service took over the investigation. Braden Herman, 26, was found dead on the edge of Prince Albert near Little Red Park. (Braden Herman/Facebook) Investigation continues, motive unknown Braden Herman's siblings have told CBC News the 53-year-old Mountie was known to them as having a "personal" and oftentimes "controlling" relationship with their brother. Braden Herman came from Clearwater River Dene Nation and Bernie Herman comes from the neighbouring community of of La Loche. Police say they cannot confirm what weapon was used in the homicide at this time. But Prince Albert police have seized Bernie Herman's service pistol and other "use-of-force equipment." Police say he was not on duty at the time of the offence. But upon investigation it was been determined that he left work in full uniform and utility belt after finishing his shift at 5 p.m. on May 11. Police have taken statements from family members of both Bernie Herman and Braden Herman. Investigators are continuing to gather statements in order to gain insight into the nature of their relationship, as well as the possible motivation for the offence. Bernie Herman made his first court appearance on May 13. His next court appearance is expected to be on May 26.
Just a few weeks ago, Janine Fisher was on the brink of death. The healthy, active 51-year-old Sherwood Park mother had been diligently following public health guidelines and was just two weeks shy of becoming eligible for her coronavirus vaccine when she suddenly fell ill with the variant first discovered in the U.K. Doctors battled to save Fisher — placing her on a ventilator and then moving her to ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), the most extreme form of life support available — and while she survived, she's not sure if she'll ever fully recover. "There was no reason for me to get very sick — no previous conditions — and yet I almost died," said Fisher. "This variant is insidious. It just seemed that it was unstoppable." One of her family members caught the B117 variant in late March, and the virus swept through her household. One by one, each person tested positive despite their attempts to stay apart and follow the rules. "Everyone was struck down by it," said Fisher. 'I was afraid I was going to die' Fisher tested positive and immediately checked into an isolation hotel on April 7, the day after developing a sore throat and cough. Two days later, she was struggling to breathe and was rushed by ambulance to hospital. With her entire immediate family in isolation, she was alone — and frightened. "I was afraid that I was going to die," Fisher recalled. "I spent several days feeling like I was … drowning." Within five days her condition was so critical she was sedated and placed on a ventilator. A single, hazy memory lingers from that traumatic time. "My son sat beside me and held my hand and sang to me for hours," she recalled. "And my husband also would come … and sing to me. Even though I wasn't conscious, I do remember." Janine's husband took this photo of Janine Fisher (and her son, Cohen) when she was hooked up to an ECMO machine, a treatment considered a last line of defence. As a safety precaution, visitors are not allowed to remove their phone from plastic bags in this intensive care unit.(Janine Fisher) Cohen Fisher, 25, was the first family member out of isolation and allowed to visit. As she lay, eyes closed and hooked up to a ventilator, he sang the same children's hymns his mother sang to him years earlier. "My first impression was she looks pretty lifeless … And I was dying for any ounce of response," he said. But his mother's lungs were so severely infected it became clear she wouldn't survive on a ventilator alone. Doctors decided to try ECMO, the most advanced form of life support. It gives the lungs a chance to heal by pumping blood through a heart and lung machine, and is considered a last line of defence for patients who will otherwise die. "That was one of the worst days of my life," said Cohen. 'They saved my life' Fisher is one of a just a few dozen Albertans with COVID-19 who have been treated with ECMO since the start of the pandemic, and one of fewer yet who have survived. As her lungs improved, doctors and nurses weaned her off the machine and later off the ventilator. She was released from hospital just in time for Mother's Day. "They're heroes. They saved my life," she said. Janine Fisher and her son Cohen pose for a photo after she was moved out of the ICU onto the COVID-19 ward. She says she's grateful to her medical team and to members of her faith community who prayed for her during her ordeal.(Janine Fisher) Fisher is now recovering at home. But her battle is far from over. She relies on a walker to get around, she's extremely short of breath and she needs help with basic tasks. It's unclear whether she'll ever fully recover and she hopes her story prompts other Albertans to follow public health rules and get vaccinated. "I would not wish my experience on anyone. It was a traumatic, debilitating, painful experience for me and for all of my family," Fisher said. "Respect the virus that's still with us. The variant is no joke. It nearly killed me. And it is ferocious." 'It's easy to say it hasn't affected you and it won't affect you … and everyone's over-reacting, until your mom almost dies," said Cohen, pictured here with his mother a week after she was released from hospital. He's urging Albertans to take the virus seriously.(Janine Fisher)
Questions are still outstanding around what Ontario will do with its AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Vancouver police have released the names and photos of six known gangsters they believe pose a significant risk to residents as the Lower Mainland gang war continues to claim victims and play out during the daytime in busy public places. Vancouver police Chief Const. Adam Palmer said the men are being identified because, according to police intelligence, they are the most likely next targets of rival gangs and a danger to anyone who happens to be nearby. "I want to make it clear that today's announcement is not about naming and shaming," he said on Monday. "We are providing these photos and names so Vancouverites can know them and take steps to ensure their own safety and safety of friends and family." The Lower Mainland has recorded 20 gang-related homicides in 2021 and 20 gang-related attempted murders. In the past three weeks alone, seven men tied to gangs have been shot dead in public settings that include Vancouver International Airport, a recreation centre, a community park, a mall parking lot and outside shops and restaurants. The men identified by the VPD are Garinder Deo, 35; Harjit Deo, 38; Barinder Dhaliwal, 38; Meninder Dhaliwal, 28; Ekene Anigbo, 22; and Damion Ryan, 41. 2015 murder attempt Ryan, a full-patch member of the Hells Angels, was the target of a wild 2015 murder attempt at the Vancouver airport food court, carried out by a teen disguised in a black burka. Would-be killer Knowah Ferguson was from Ontario, had no previous criminal record and was promised $200,000 for the hit. WATCH | Surveillance video shows failed assassination of Hells Angels member: Security video played at his trial shows a burka-clad Ferguson walking up to Ryan and putting a gun to his head. The gun jams and both men flee. The 18-year-old was later sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted murder and four years for conspiracy. Palmer said neither Ryan nor the other five men identified on Monday are currently wanted by police. He said releasing their names is in the interest of public safety, similar to when police release the name and photo of a sex offender who has moved into the community. "[The six] not only pose a risk to friends, family and acquaintances, but also to people who don't even know them every time they go to the gym, go shopping, to the grocery store, to a restaurant or a bar, when bars are open." Palmer said he expects other police agencies to follow Vancouver's lead and release more names and photos of gang members in their jurisdictions. He said the VPD is deploying a suite of overt and covert operations in an attempt to tamp down the violence and that officers would be seizing gang members' cars, homes and other valuables gained through crime. RCMP officers stand near a body covered with a tarp in the parking lot of a shopping complex in Burnaby, B.C., on May 13. Police later said the victim, Jaskeert Kalkat, was connected to gangs and targeted.(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press) A new department task force that was recently formed to react quickly to gang activity stopped a retaliation shooting last week, according to Vancouver police Supt. Lisa Byrne. Two men were arrested in a stolen car loaded with gas canisters. One of the individuals was a youth, the other had a loaded firearm. Deputy Chief Howard Chow said citizens should report any suspicious cars they notice to police. "We know gang members park stolen cars in neighbourhoods in advance of targeted hits that they later use as getaway vehicles that we find later burned," he said. Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers announced Monday that it is reviving its gang violence awareness campaign.(CBC) Earlier Monday, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers announced it is reviving a gang violence awareness campaign thanks to new funding. The campaign encourages people with information on gangs and illegal guns to report anonymously. "If you see something, say something," said Crime Stoppers executive director Linda Annis. "We only want your information so we can pass it on to police. We do not want to know who you are." The widow of Paul Bennett, who was killed in 2018 in what police believe was a case of mistaken identity, said she is pleased the Crime Stopper guns and gang campaign is coming back. "Every arrest, every gun seized means a threat to an innocent life will be reduced," Darlene Bennett said. "Next month marks three years since Paul's life was so senselessly taken. Our lives will never be the same."
When asked about the time frame for administering second COVID-19 vaccine doses to Ontarians, associate chief medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said Monday the province will eventually see shorter intervals between mRNA vaccine doses, particularly for frontline health-care workers and for people in certain high-risk groups. But, the doctor said she doesn’t see the interval becoming “really short” but it might become shorter than 16 weeks.
Calgary police have released surveillance images of a suspect after several people were robbed on the street by an armed man in the downtown core last week. Police say nine robberies or attempted robberies happened from May 10 to May 12 in the core, mostly on the LRT platforms or along Eighth Avenue S.W. One incident happened in the Beltline near 12th Avenue and 11th Street S.W. "In each instance, a man approaches a female victim, shows a knife and then robs the victim of cash, their wallet or their purse," police said in a release. The culprit has been described as being in his early 20s, five foot six to five foot seven with a slim build and distinctive light blue to grey eyes. He was wearing dark clothing with his face and head covered during the robberies. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers.
The largest container ship to ever call on North America's east coast has arrived in Halifax. The Marco Polo cruised into the Port of Halifax on Monday evening, after travelling from South Asia. The vessel has the capacity to carry more than 16,000 shipping containers and is about three and a half football fields long. "It's an absolutely massive vessel," said Lane Farguson, spokesperson for the Halifax Port Authority. "We're really excited about this ship coming in and really what it means for Halifax and its place in the international shipping community." The Marco Polo is carrying everything from clothing to household goods and electronics.(Brett Ruskin/CBC) Farguson said at 16 metres depth, Halifax's terminal is deep enough to accommodate the vessel. The port also has the necessary berth length to accommodate the Marco Polo as well as other smaller ships that may arrive at the same time. "It's a huge advantage for us to be able to accept those vessels, because there are so few ports along the east coast of North America that can accept them. We are one of them," said Farguson. "Being able to turn them around puts us into a very unique category and we're the only container port in eastern Canada that can take these vessels." The Halifax Port Authority says at 16 metres depth, its terminal is deep enough to accommodate the vessel. (Submitted by Halifax Port Authority) Farguson said in the shipping industry, bigger can definitely be better. He said shipping costs are reduced when more containers can be loaded onto a single vessel — savings that could be passed on to the consumer. He said the Marco Polo is carrying everything from clothing to household goods and electronics. Roughly 60 per cent of the cargo will be loaded onto rail, destined for places like Quebec, Ontario and the American Midwest. MORE TOP STORIES
Alberta has seen a major drop in residents' unwillingness and hesitancy to get the COVID-19 vaccine between the beginning of the year and this month, according to a new Angus Reid survey. It suggests 17 per cent of Albertans now are either not interested or not sure about getting the vaccine. That's well down from the end of January, when 45 per cent of Albertans surveyed weren't sure about the vaccine, according to the public opinion research organization. The survey found that in Saskatchewan, one-quarter continue to be hesitant or opposed to vaccination, while all other regions hover around the 1-in-10 mark. Shachi Kurl, president of the Angus Reid Institute, says the results should be reassuring to public health officials about the ability to reach herd immunity — the point when a sufficient percentage of the population has become immune to the disease that it is no longer a major threat. "Public health officials still have their work cut out for them if they want as many Canadians as possible to be vaccinated, but it looks like overall the country — in terms of its enthusiasm for a vaccine — is on track for herd immunity," she said. "In the next weeks, the conversation for Canadians is going to no longer be, 'Should I get a shot?' It's going to be, 'Where's my second dose?' I think that is where this conversation is going to go very quickly." The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from May 14 to 16, among a representative randomized sample of 1,319 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. Nationally, the poll suggests the percentage of those unwilling to be vaccinated continues to hover at around 10 per cent of the population, although it is slowly decreasing. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/– 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. A poll conducted by Trend Research under the direction of Janet Brown Opinion Research for CBC News earlier this spring found at that time 20 per cent of Albertans had a wait-and-see approach to vaccination, with another 14 per cent saying they refused to get vaccinated. Dr. Jia Hu, a public health physician and chair of 19 to Zero, a coalition addressing vaccine hesitancy, says the newer Angus Reid survey numbers are good news. He said the trend away from vaccine hesitancy could be due to several factors, from people following the example of others whose judgment they trust, to people's reaction to the pandemic's third wave and a heightened desire to bring it to an end. The results come as Alberta continues to fight a devastating third wave that has set records for active infections, daily infections and ICU admissions for COVID. It also follows more widespread vaccinations and a proliferation of social media posts celebrating the jabs as younger generations swarm vaccine sites. "The worse the COVID situation is, the more people want to get vaccinated," said Dr. Hu. He says it takes time and effort to find out why people are not willing to get a vaccine — and then find a way to build trust in those communities.
The Yukon government has delivered on one of its promises to the NDP — a residential rent cap that came into effect over the weekend. The move has already drawn fire from the opposition Yukon Party, and some landlords who say they won't be able to afford their properties anymore. The cap came into effect on Saturday, and it limits any residential rent increases this year to one per cent, which is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Whitehorse in 2020. The percentage will be reviewed each year after the CPI is published. Housing was a central focus of the NDP's campaign platform this spring, and the party later made a rent cap a condition in their agreement to prop up the Liberals' minority government until at least 2023. Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn said the Liberals didn't support rent caps during the election campaign, but a deal's a deal. 'We're going to honour the agreement we signed with [the NDP],' said Richard Mostyn, Yukon's minister of Community Services.(Jane Sponagle/CBC) "Yukoners have spoken. They want us to work together with the New Democratic caucus. The New Democratic caucus wants a rental cap," Mostyn said. "We're going to honour the agreement we signed with them." 'I'm going to keep falling behind' The rent cap is already proving unpopular with some residential landlords. Louisa Williams says it's the "catalyst" for her selling her rental property. She bought a two-bedroom condo in Whitehorse two years ago as part of her retirement plan, and she's been renting it out for $1,600 per month. Now, she doesn't feel like she can afford to keep it any longer. "I'm going to be losing the small profit margin I had, because of the rent freeze. I am not going to be able to keep up with the fixed and variable costs that are being imposed. So I'm going to keep falling behind," she said. Williams is not evicting her tenants — she said they were already moving out. Now she'll take the opportunity to sell the place. Costs are going up all the time, she says, and rent is the only way to help cover those costs. "To make it fair, I think the government should impose a freeze on electrical fees, on Northwestel fees, on oil and renewable energy and on anything else, like insurance. So a freeze on all that, just like the rent, and then it would be fine, [it] would all equal itself out," Williams said. Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon said the rent cap is simply bad policy, and it's not going to improve Yukon's housing market for anybody. "It's going to result in fewer people wanting to be landlords, and therefore fewer rental properties, and fewer rental properties means fewer options for people in the housing market," Dixon said. Dixon also called the introduction of the rent cap a "masterclass in poor governance and bad policy-making." 'It's been messy, it's been ugly,' said Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon.(Mike Rudyk/CBC) "I mean, nobody seems to know what's going on ... there's been absolutely no communication with the public, there's been no consultation, there's no implementation plan, no communication plan. It's been, quite frankly, terrible," Dixon said, just before the change came into effect. "It's been messy, it's been ugly. And unfortunately, it's going to result in a whole lot of negative implications for our housing market." Tenants are relieved, says NDP leader NDP Leader Kate White dismisses the doomsaying. She says she's heard from landlords who are concerned about the change — but she's also heard from tenants. White argues that vulnerable tenants are rarely as outspoken as landlords, and don't have any sort of organization comparable to the Yukon Residential Landlords' Association. "I can tell you that I have heard from tenants who are relieved because those increases that they were facing are not going to come into effect right now," White said. White says the rent cap is in place until 2023, allowing plenty of time for the government to review it and also plan and consult about any long-term changes to rental legislation. White said it was important to do something now, and not wait to consult. "If there's a tenant right now facing a $300-a-month increase, and there's no flexibility around that, do they have the time to wait for that consultation? And my answer is no," White said. "Right now, this is a measure of protection and it's in place for 20 months."
WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials are expecting the demand for intensive care beds to soon reach a record level as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in the pandemic's third wave. There were 120 patients in intensive care beds on Monday, health officials reported. That is nine shy of the peak last December during the second wave of the pandemic. "I expect we're going to get to 129 very soon, the way we're admitting people," said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Manitoba Shared Health. Siragusa couldn't predict how high the patient load might go. She said much depends on how quickly people recover and leave intensive care, and whether the daily number of new infections continues to be high. The province reported 430 new cases Monday and one death — a man in his 60s from the southern health region. Manitoba has experienced big daily numbers for more than a month now, and edged past Alberta on the weekend to post the highest per-capita infection rate in Canada. The third wave arrived in Manitoba later than other provinces, Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, said when asked to explain the spike. Jason Kindrachuk, assistant professor in the department of medical microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba, said travel bans played a big role in delaying variants of concern from entering the province. But they eventually got in and began to spread quickly, causing a surge of infections in a restriction-weary population. "We are not dealing with the same pandemic that we were in 2020," he said. "The variants of concern have changed the game." The government has brought in stricter public health orders three times in the last month to try to bend the curve, including a ban on most social visits in private homes. Most recently, schools in some areas, including Winnipeg and Brandon, moved to remote learning. "At this point, we are looking to see that (case count) trajectory change with the updated orders," Roussin said Monday. When asked whether a stay-at-home order is a potential next step, Roussin said no options are off the table. Until the case numbers drop, the province is working to add staff to intensive care from other health-care areas. Some elective surgeries are being cancelled and more nurses are being recruited and trained for intensive care work. Sirgausa said having 129 people in intensive care beds in December was taxing, but the health system might handle a bigger number now. "Everybody was stretched. Everybody was stressed. Everybody was tried and not feeling good about the situation for sure," she said. "We learned a lot of lessons from that." One factor that could help this time around, she said, is that health-care workers are vaccinated, so fewer are having to miss work because they have fallen ill or need to self-isolate. "I don't know what the max number (of intensive care bed capacity) is," Siragusa said. "We are going to do everything we can to support Manitobans and support the demand that comes into the acute-care hospitals." Kindrachuk added that he's optimistic that Manitoba's cases will plateau in two to three weeks with the expanded eligibility for vaccinations and restrictions. "There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel but it's going to be a few weeks," he said. "We just have to get through this next part." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021 — With files from Kelly Geraldine Malone. Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
A Mill Cove, N.S., man has been charged with kidnapping and robbery after an incident where fishermen in Terence Bay were threatened and told to hand over their catch. Halifax District RCMP were called to Terence Bay Road around 9:40 p.m. Sunday. Two fishermen reported seeing a vehicle driving erratically toward the area where they had placed their nets. RCMP said seven men in three vehicles confronted the two fishermen, demanded their catch and blocked them from leaving the area. Police said the men were armed and told the fishermen to drive to another area where other nets had been set. After the men left, the fishermen called RCMP. Fisherman injured Police said one fisherman had minor injuries after being struck with a weapon. That same evening, Halifax Regional Police located a vehicle believed to be involved in the incident and arrested the driver. Jared Luben Young, 34, was charged with kidnapping, robbery, forcible confinement, uttering threats, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and theft over $5,000. RCMP said they are still looking for six other suspects. Anyone with information about the incident or the men involved is asked to contact Halifax District RCMP at 902-490-5020. Anonymous reports can be made to Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers by calling toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), by submitting a secure web tip or by using the P3 Tips App. MORE TOP STORIES
VICTORIA — British Columbians who've had a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will have the option of choosing their second shot within a four-month interval, the provincial health officer says. Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are set to expire at the end of June and were reserved for people who, for a variety of reasons, may not be able to get an mRNA vaccine such as the one made by Pfizer-BioNTech. However, further data are expected by the first week of June from a study in the United Kingdom on the effectiveness of switching vaccines for the second dose, and Henry said that information will be shared with B.C. residents. "I ask people to be patient," she said. "We know that we have some time in which your immune system is developing its protective response to your first dose," she said of evidence from the U.K. and other countries suggesting it may be more beneficial to wait up to 12 weeks for the second dose. "You will have the option of receiving the second dose of AstraZeneca and we have stock coming in to be able to support that. Or you can take the information once we have it and make your own decision about what you want for your second dose." An increase in the supply of vaccines in the coming weeks means everyone can expect to have their second dose moved up following a strategy that allowed for more people to get their first doses in order to provide greater community-wide protection, Henry said. British Columbia reported on Monday 1,360 cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period. Fourteen more people died, for a total of 1,648 fatalities, including one person in their 40s and another in their 50s. Over 55 per cent of B.C. residents have now received their first dose of a vaccine, while three per cent, or 130,023 people, have had their second shot, she said. Details about vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 are expected to be announced later this week. Henry said COVID-19 restrictions will not be eased by the Victoria Day long weekend to allow any non-essential travel as protective measures such as wearing masks must continue, even as more people are being immunized. "We now have 400 to 500 people a day that are still testing positive for COVID-19. And that reminds us that the virus continues to circulate and we have to do what we can to stop those transmissions as we are all developing this protection. We can't be travelling and we can't be having large gatherings this weekend." Four extra vaccination clinics have been set up in Surrey this week to ramp up immunizations in a COVID-19 hot spot with a high number of essential workers. The first 1,000 people to show up will be given wristbands for same-day appointments at the clinics, and residents aged 18 and up must present identification proving they live in Surrey, the Health Ministry said in a release. Everyone in B.C. aged 18 and up can now book an appointment to get immunized as part of the province's age-based approach. An independent COVID-19 modelling group said continuing restrictions such as a ban on indoor dining until June 15 would keep case counts low, while reopening too soon could risk a surge. Sarah Otto, a professor at the University of B.C. and a member of the modelling group that includes researchers from Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, said behaviour changes such as a ban on indoor dining and social gatherings inside were probably the two most important factors in driving down cases. However, an uptick in vaccinations last month helped lower transmission of the virus in areas like Whistler before more widespread immunizations elsewhere in mid-April, leading to fewer cases two weeks later as immunity developed, she said. "We're now seeing vaccines make a big difference and it is causing the case numbers to decline even faster," she said. — By Camille Bains in Vancouver This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — "Canada's Drag Race" crossed the finish line as the big winner on the first of four nights of presentations for the Canadian Screen Awards.The inaugural season of Crave's drag-queen competition took a leading five trophies in a pre-recorded livestream, including best reality/competition program or series, and honours for production design, direction and writing.The show's judges Brooke Lynn Hytes, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Stacey McKenzie also won an award for best host or presenter on the series, which is similar to "RuPaul's Drag Race" and has been renewed for a second season.Monday's CSA presentations honoured nominees in the TV categories of lifestyle, reality, news and documentary.The livestreams are running through Thursday on the website and social media channels of the Academy Of Canadian Cinema & Television.The CBC's "Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade" had the second-highest count with three awards, including best history documentary program or series.Canadian-Israeli director Simcha Jacobovici executive produced the six-part project alongside actor Samuel L. Jackson, who is seen on camera tracing his roots and the tragedy of the sunken ships during the transatlantic slave trade.Several projects won two awards apiece, including the CBC documentary "Toxic Beauty," about chemicals in cosmetics products. It took writing and directing honours for Phyllis Ellis.CTV's cooking show "Mary's Kitchen Crush" was named best lifestyle program or series, while its culinary star Mary Berg nabbed best lifestyle host.Best entertainment news program or series went to CTV's "Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble," a star-studded fundraiser and show of support for frontline workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The special from last year also got a trophy for picture editing.Also getting two CSAs apiece were "CBC News: The National" and "CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme.""The National" won best live news special and best national reporter for Christine Birak, while "CTV National News" was named best national newscast and best national news anchor for LaFlamme. This is the second time the CSAs, which honour TV, film and digital media, have had to present virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Thursday's presentation is the big event, with prominent awards and narration by actors Stephan James and Karine Vanasse.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday May 17, 2021. There are 1,334,104 confirmed cases in Canada. Canada: 1,334,104 confirmed cases (67,639 active, 1,241,482 resolved, 24,983 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 4,586 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 177.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 39,905 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,701. There were 35 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 301 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 43. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.74 per 100,000 people. There have been 33,592,273 tests completed. Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,203 confirmed cases (97 active, 1,100 resolved, six deaths). There were 10 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 18.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 62 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 256,309 tests completed. Prince Edward Island: 192 confirmed cases (nine active, 183 resolved, zero deaths). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 5.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 154,580 tests completed. Nova Scotia: 4,827 confirmed cases (1,434 active, 3,320 resolved, 73 deaths). There were 91 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 146.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 793 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 113. There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 725,813 tests completed. New Brunswick: 2,073 confirmed cases (119 active, 1,913 resolved, 41 deaths). There were 10 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 15.23 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 60 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 5.25 per 100,000 people. There have been 323,946 tests completed. Quebec: 363,847 confirmed cases (7,011 active, 345,794 resolved, 11,042 deaths). There were 551 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 81.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,051 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 722. There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 49 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 128.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,862,183 tests completed. Ontario: 511,486 confirmed cases (25,869 active, 477,128 resolved, 8,489 deaths). There were 2,170 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 175.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16,467 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,352. There were four new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 162 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 23. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.61 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,619,412 tests completed. Manitoba: 45,579 confirmed cases (4,568 active, 40,000 resolved, 1,011 deaths). There were 430 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 331.19 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,129 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 447. There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 73.3 per 100,000 people. There have been 747,968 tests completed. Saskatchewan: 44,709 confirmed cases (1,965 active, 42,225 resolved, 519 deaths). There were 178 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 166.71 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,414 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 202. There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 44.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 820,209 tests completed. Alberta: 219,682 confirmed cases (21,288 active, 196,246 resolved, 2,148 deaths). There were 721 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 481.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,295 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,328. There were five new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 31 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 48.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 4,404,789 tests completed. British Columbia: 139,664 confirmed cases (5,175 active, 132,841 resolved, 1,648 deaths). There were 424 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 100.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,556 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 508. There were 14 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.01 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,631,197 tests completed. Yukon: 84 confirmed cases (one active, 81 resolved, two deaths). There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 2.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,129 tests completed. Northwest Territories: 121 confirmed cases (38 active, 83 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 84.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 22,405 tests completed. Nunavut: 624 confirmed cases (65 active, 555 resolved, four deaths). There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 165.17 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 52 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,257 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
A four-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl have died in hospital after an out-of-control car mounted the curb and struck them on their family’s driveway in Vaughan on Sunday. Catherine McDonald reports.