Air pollution dropped significantly during the pandemic, and health experts hope that could lead to changes that could save lives.
Air pollution dropped significantly during the pandemic, and health experts hope that could lead to changes that could save lives.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to make an announcement at 2:30 p.m. ET at Queen's Park. Ford's office says he will be joined by the ministers of health and labour, the solicitor general and the chief medical officer of health. Shortly before, at 1 p.m. ET, Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table will present its latest modelling. You'll be able to watch both news conferences in this story. Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet are meeting again Friday morning to consider further COVID-19 restrictions to combat a worsening third wave that is pushing the province's health-care system to the breaking point. The meeting comes ahead of a scheduled briefing from the province's COVID-19 science advisory table that is expected to include stark new forecasts for the weeks ahead. A government source told CBC News revised modelling suggests Ontario could see up to 18,000 daily cases of COVID-19 by the end of May if current trends continue unabated, even with help from the province's ongoing vaccination campaign. The projections show that cases could be limited to about 10,000 per day if additional public health measures are implemented. However, they would have to be considerably more restrictive than what's currently in place to curb the rate of infection, the source said. Sources with knowledge of the discussions said Ford and his ministers are debating the following proposals on top of the stay-at-home order and shutdown already in place: Closing all non-essential retail, no curbside pickup or delivery. Further restricting retail hours of operation. Restricting curbside pickup (only permit non-essential retail to deliver). Shutting down non-essential construction, warehouses and manufacturing not related to health, food or automotive. Tightening capacity of indoor events like places of worship, weddings and funerals. Increasing fines, increase policing powers. Cabinet met late into the night Thursday. Sources said they talked about the option of a curfew but ultimately decided against it. Sources spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Ontario reported 4,812 more cases of COVID-19 this morning, the most ever on a single day, marking three straight days of new peaks. Admissions to hospitals climbed to 1,955, while the number of people being treated for COVID-related illnesses in intensive care rose to 701, both all-time highs since the pandemic began. According to Critical Care Services Ontario, a government agency that compiles a daily report for hospitals, 74 more people with COVID-19 were admitted to ICUs on Thursday alone, again the highest number ever on a single day in the province. Public health units also reported the deaths of 25 more people with COVID-19, bringing the official toll to 7,664. The seven-day average of deaths is up to 21.7 per day, a new third-wave peak. The seven-day average for daily deaths reached its highest point of more than 60 in mid-January, before most residents of long-term care and retirement homes had been vaccinated. Health Minister Christine Elliott said this week that the province is trying to open up hundreds of additional ICU beds in coming days and weeks. Sources said Ontario intends to make a formal request to the federal government for more than 600 critical care staff to support front-line efforts in hospitals. "We have received Ontario's draft letter," said Mary-Liz Power, spokesperson for federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. "We are currently in discussions with the province to determine how best we can support them with more resources," she said, adding that the federal government is working closely with all provinces and territories to help support them amid the pandemic. In Toronto, where the pressure on health-care providers has reached a crisis point, multiple hospitals are preparing for a continued influx of patients in the weeks ahead. Sunnybrook Hospital, where a field hospital was constructed in a parking lot earlier this month, says it will be prepared to begin accepting patients as early as Monday. The unit has capacity for up to about 80 beds, and a spokesperson for the hospital said it will largely cater to patients who have already been in hospital for some time and their COVID-19 symptoms have subsided. Transfers to the field hospital will free up critical care beds in the city, the spokesperson said. A field hospital was built in the parking lot of Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto earlier this month. A spokesperson said the temporary facility will be ready to help patients next week.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Meanwhile, tents are being set up outside the emergency departments of Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals to limit overcrowding in waiting rooms at the two facilities. On Thursday night, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he had spoken with the mayors of Toronto, Brampton and Mississauga — cities home to many communities severely impacted by COVID-19 — about further supports that could be available, particularly with respect to vaccinations. This week has seen three major health networks in Toronto temporarily shut down vaccination clinics due to a lack of stable supply. Public health units collectively administered 115,634 doses of vaccines yesterday, also a new high for the province. As of yesterday evening, a total of 341,933 people have gotten both shots. Ontario has now used 3,644,038, or 75 per cent, of the 4,852,885 doses of vaccines it has received from the federal government to date. More than 700,000 of those total doses arrived in the province this week.
EDMONTON — The Alberta Teachers’ Association wants the province to immediately scrap its draft education curriculum for young students and to start over. Association president Jason Schilling says most of his members feel teaching what's being proposed for kids in kindergarten to Grade 6 could damage their development. “This curriculum is fatally flawed,” Schilling said Thursday. “Many of the teachers believe that putting it before children will cause harm. We cannot allow that to happen.” Schilling said the plan is not developmentally appropriate for young kids, is jammed with random facts, and too loosely structured with concepts well over students’ heads. He said it pushes Eurocentric history while giving short shrift to francophone and Indigenous cultures and perspectives. He noted that since the curriculum was introduced by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange two weeks ago, more than 20 school boards have said they will not pilot it in classrooms this fall. They include the public school boards in Edmonton and Calgary. Schilling pointed to a survey of teachers released last week that revealed an overwhelming call for the draft to be overhauled. The proposal has also faced accusations that parts of it have been cribbed or lifted verbatim without citation from Wikipedia and other sources. Advocates, including LaGrange, say it takes a common-sense approach that includes basic concepts, such as multiplication tables, along with real-life skills for the information age, including how to budget and computer code. LaGrange spokeswoman Nicole Sparrow said in a statement that the Alberta government "has been very clear that we want feedback from Albertans on the draft curriculum. "Teachers have been very involved and will continue to be involved in the curriculum development process. Alberta’s government brought together more than 100 Alberta teachers, many who are members of the teachers’ union, to review the draft K-6 curriculum and provide feedback." Schilling said the participation was short and secret. “We had 100 teachers who met for two days that had to sign a non-disclosure agreement," he said. "We have no idea what they said, what they saw, and if the feedback they provided to government was actually taken into account and is reflected in the draft.” He acknowledged teachers can face disciplinary measures if they do not follow lawful direction, such as implementing a curriculum, but added there is a higher principle at stake. “Teachers who believe this curriculum is flawed and potentially damaging to student learning have the professional responsibility and moral right to refuse to participate in any voluntary piloting.” Schilling said he hopes school boards will respect such refusals, but declined to say specifically what the teachers association will do, legal or otherwise, should co-operation turn into confrontation down the road. “We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to that point, but my hope is that we don’t.” The K-6 curriculum is part of a broader overhaul. A new learning plan for Grades 7 to 10 is to be in place in the fall of 2023, and one for Grades 11 and 12 in September 2024. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2021 Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin says his government does not plan to have settlement talks with Northern Pulp, despite a warning from the company that it might sue the province if the two sides can't agree on the terms of an environmental assessment for a new effluent treatment facility. The company said in an affidavit recently filed in a B.C. court that it intends to submit a revised proposal for the new facility next month. It added litigation may be necessary to resolve disputes if common ground can't be found. Rankin said Thursday the company is showing interest in finding a way to resume operations and he's waiting to see what unfolds. "If litigation ends up happening, then we'll participate in that," Rankin told reporters at Province House. 'Potentially not achievable' The premier said he has no details about the potential proposal and described the timelines outlined in court documents as "questionable." "We thought that it was potentially not achievable, but that's for them to answer," he said. In February, a community liaison community established in the wake of the mill shutdown said if company officials were serious about restarting and building community trust, they should withdraw an application for a judicial review and the proposal that is currently before the province. The court documents provide no details about whether this new plan would include using a pipeline to send treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait. That was part of an earlier proposal — which to date has not been approved — that caused a firestorm of protest from the Pictou Landing First Nation, fishing and environmental groups and many others living in Pictou County. The mill shut down at the end of January 2020 when it failed to get approval for its proposal and it could no longer use Boat Harbour as its treatment lagoon. Old proposal remains on the books Rankin said the province is considering filing its own affidavit with the court to identify where government officials see challenges with what the company is suggesting, including the idea that the project could be ready for an environmental assessment decision by the end of June 2022. Like the premier, Environment Minister Keith Irving said he's heard nothing from the company about the proposal. In fact, Irving said the company has not officially abandoned its original proposal, which is subject to a deadline of April 22, 2022, to complete an environmental assessment report. "That's still the information that we have at the department," he told CBC News. "If they submit any alterations to that, then we'll make a judgment on what's appropriate timelines." Feds should do the assessment Tory Leader Tim Houston, whose riding includes the Pictou Landing First Nation, said if a new plan comes forward, the evaluation process needs to be clear from the start. He recommended a Class 2 environmental assessment, which would require a report and a formal public review that could include hearings. NDP Leader Gary Burrill agreed on the need for a stringent assessment, but said he doesn't think the evaluation should be left to the provincial government. "If there is an effluent treatment facility proposal, we can only go forward on the basis of the very highest standard available of arm's length, independent review — and that is a full-scope federal environmental assessment," he said. Northern Pulp's court filings suggest they view their new submission as being classified as a "modification to existing infrastructure," something that would be subject to a 50-day review, which could be extended at the environment minister's discretion. MORE TOP STORIES
OTTAWA — The government House leader has asked the Speaker of the House of Commons to investigate a photo leak of a Liberal MP caught naked on camera during a virtual sitting of Parliament. Pablo Rodriguez said Thursday the incident involving Quebec MP William Amos was "mean-spirited" and has been "life-changing" for him. He suggested there could be serious implications for the person who took and shared this intimate image on Wednesday. "Taking a photo of someone who is changing clothes and in the nude and sharing it without their consent could very well be criminal," Rodriguez said. A screenshot shows Amos standing unclothed behind a desk between the Quebec and Canadian flags with what appears to be a phone covering his private parts. During virtual House of Commons sittings, only those who speak are shown on the public feed. Therefore, Amos's fellow MPs could see him on camera but he did not appear on the main screen. Bloc Québécois MP Claude DeBellefeuille, the party whip, raised the incident in a point of order after question period Wednesday, as she called for parliamentary decorum. "It may be necessary to remind the members, especially the male ones, that a tie and jacket are obligatory, but so are a shirt, boxer shorts or pants," DeBellefeuille said in French. "We have seen that the member is in great physical shape, but I think members should be reminded to be careful and control the camera well." In a statement Wednesday, Amos said he had returned from a jog and was changing into his work clothes, and did not realize his camera was on. "This was an unfortunate error," said Amos, parliamentary secretary to Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne. "I sincerely apologize to my colleagues in the House of Commons for this unintentional distraction. Obviously, it was an honest mistake and it won't happen again.'' Thursday morning, Rodriguez opened the House of Commons by blasting the unidentified person who leaked the nude photo of Amos to media, asking if they had given any thought to the ramifications on Amos's personal life when they shared it. He called it a case of "callous disrespect." "Did they think of (Amos's) family, children, friends and the fact that the internet is forever? Are we really at the point in our politics that it is acceptable to try and destroy the reputation and humiliate a colleague because someone finds an unfortunate error and unintentional mistake to be funny?" Rodriguez said. "Our politics have taken a very dark and destructive turn if this is the case." Neither MPs nor staff are allowed to to take photos in the House of Commons when it is sitting — a rule that has been extended to include virtual sittings. This includes taking screenshots of the public and non-public video feeds, Speaker Anthony Rota ruled in September 2020. "For taking screenshots, it is the same as being in the House. If a member takes a picture, they are taking a picture, and posting it just adds to that. Members are not permitted to take photos in the House," Rota said in an exchange on Sept. 29. Rodriguez has asked Rota to launch an immediate investigation to determine who took the controversial photo so the House of Commons could then decide on a next course of action. Rota said he would take the matter under advisement. In another statement posted to Facebook on Thursday, Amos thanked people who "sent messages of moral support and encouragement in the aftermath of this most regrettable situation." He described the past day as having been difficult, both personally and professionally. "It is most unfortunate that someone shared, without my consent, a photo in which I was changing my clothes," he said, adding that he expects the Speaker to investigate. Procurement Minister Anita Anand also expressed concern over the shared image. Amos was scheduled to appear at an announcement with Anand Thursday morning, but she said he is instead "taking a day" and noted that he has apologized for the incident as an accident. “I do, as a member of Parliament, have concerns that we should all, as members of Parliament, be respecting the rules of the House of Commons as well as any additional applicable law,” Anand said when asked about the incident. Amos was described by Liberal government whip Mark Holland as an "upstanding member of the House" who made an honest mistake. "His screen was on while in the middle of getting dressed. It could have happened to any of us," Holland said in a statement. "We must know who is responsible for leaking non-consensual images from a private video feed. We must also be assured that the video taken by this person is deleted so that further violations of privacy and decency are not possible." This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2021. Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's house of assembly opened on shaky foundations Thursday, with Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote delivering a throne speech less than three weeks after an election that faces several court challenges. Though the speech was meant to inspire, there was no escaping the grim financial outlook facing Liberal Premier Andrew Furey and the unease around the election that returned him to power. "The road before us starts with fully coming to terms with the extensive economic crisis facing this province," said the speech read by Foote. A few lines later, the government pledged a complete review of the province's Elections Act. The legislature's opening came after a protracted 10-week election that was upended in mid-February by a COVID-19 outbreak in the St. John's area. With the province in lockdown, chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk cancelled in-person voting and instead held the election by mail. Furey's Liberals were re-elected March 27 with a slim majority, winning 22 of the province's 40 seats. The Progressive Conservatives won 13 seats, down from 15, and the NDP was reduced to two seats from three. Three Independents were also elected. Voter turnout was 48 per cent, marking a historic low for the province. One of those Independents, Paul Lane, announced he'd be putting forward a motion on Monday to request an independent investigation into the election. "There are so many very serious allegations," Lane told reporters. "We need to confirm what is fact, what is fiction. Were there breaches of the Elections Act?" When asked whether he felt the troubled election left Furey with a legitimate mandate, Lane said that was a decision best left for the courts. NDP Leader Alison Coffin said she'd happily support Lane's motion. She and her party launched a constitutional challenge of the election on Monday, asking that the results be thrown out and a new vote be held. Her suit claims Chaulk failed to run a fair, impartial vote and that the election violated charter rights. Her application lists 28 specific irregularities, including an allegation that Chaulk encouraged his staff to include people on the voters list without verifying their identity. Coffin has also requested a judicial recount in her St. John's East-Quidi Vidi district, where she lost her seat to Liberal John Hogan by 53 votes. Two unsuccessful Progressive Conservative candidates are also challenging the results in their ridings. Sheila Fitzgerald lost the race in St. Barbe-L'Anse aux Meadows to Liberal Krista Lynn Howell by 216 votes. According to court documents viewed by The Canadian Press, Fitzgerald signed an application Monday to have the results in her district tossed out. The application alleges that Chaulk misled Furey when he told the premier it was safe to hold an election and that he failed to let Furey know changes to the Elections Act were needed. Fitzgerald did not respond to a request for comment. Jim Lester said he also filed his legal paperwork on Monday claiming that some voters in his riding never received ballots and others were added to voting lists without proper verification. He had held the Mount Pearl North seat but lost to Liberal Lucy Stoyles by 109 votes. The Progressive Conservatives have said they will not be challenging the election in court as a party. When asked Thursday if he felt Furey had a legitimate mandate, interim party leader David Brazil said that "will be determined by the courts." Furey and the Liberals have shied away from commenting on the election, pledging instead to revisit the Elections Act. As for the financial sinkhole ahead of him, Furey said his first goal is to find a solution for the cash-sucking Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project. The massive dam and generating station in Labrador has run over schedule and over budget, essentially doubling in cost to $13.1 billion. Without outside assistance — ideally from Ottawa — power rates across the province could also double in order to pay for it. "And that effects the economy," Furey told reporters. "Muskrat Falls is an incredible anchor around our souls and our finances." Furey said the province's next budget, which should be tabled in June, will be another "COVID-19-style budget," aimed at maintaining stability as the province navigates the global pandemic. "This is not time for austerity," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
The federal government is buying more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech as it moves to offset reduction in supply from another producer. And while it offered to help Ontario distribute its shots, the hot-spot province turned down that assistance. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday a contract with Pfizer for eight million additional doses of their vaccine hours after Canada said Moderna would slash its deliveries in half through the rest of April. The increase in Pfizer supply is coming at a time when COVID activity is rapidly spreading in parts of the country, including Canada's most populous province. Trudeau said the federal government will provide more relief to Ontario, including deploying the Canadian Red Cross to help with their mobile vaccination teams; setting up additional hospital beds in Toronto and Hamilton; and sending equipment and drugs. "In many places, numbers are higher than they’ve ever been before," Trudeau said. "And far too many hospitals are already stretched far too thin. ... So we’re going to do whatever it takes to help." Ontario logged a record 4,812 new cases on Friday and 25 more deaths related to the virus. Its science advisers presented stark new projections predicting daily infections could hit 20,000, and that 100,000 vaccine doses would need to be administered per day to flatten the curve. And while Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government made an appeal to other provinces to send health-care workers to alleviate pressure on its hospitals, it appeared tepid on the offer from the federal government to help with the vaccine rollout. Ford spokesperson Ivana Yelich said that while the offer was appreciated, the province would not need the Red Cross to help administer vaccines "unless it is match with an increase in supply." "We do not have a capacity issue, we have a supply issue," Yelich said. Data from the federal government shows Ontario has received more than 4.8 million vaccine doses. The provincial data shows that 3.6 million administered as of Thursday evening, suggesting 1.2 million doses were still to be used. Rapid growth in COVID activity continues to be seen as variants of concern escalate in parts of the country. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief medical officer, said the ramped up vaccine rollout has been positive, however, with seven million residents inoculated this week. "Vaccines are reducing severe illness, death and outbreaks in high-risk setting and populations that were targeted in that initial phase of vaccination," she said. "These benefits are building, and they will be the bridge that takes us all to greater safety." Canada's expanded contract with Pfizer will kick in next month, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said, with the first four million of the new eight million doses arriving in May. She said two million more doses will come in June and July, respectively, and Pfizer is also moving another 400,000 doses from the third quarter into June. Canada's initial shipment of approximately 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also arrive during the week of April 27, Anand said, to be delivered to the provinces at the beginning of May. The increased Pfizer doses help offset another production delay from Moderna. Anand said earlier Friday that Moderna will ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million. Anand said in a statement that Moderna advised Canada the limited supply is due to a slower than anticipated ramp up of production capacity. The company also told Canada that one to two million doses of the 12.3 million scheduled for delivery in the second quarter may be delayed until the third quarter. "We are disappointed, and while we understand the challenges facing suppliers in the current global market for vaccines, our government will continue to press Moderna to fulfil its commitments," Anand said in a statement. Moderna said in a statement there has been a "shortfall" in estimated doses from the European supply chain, and that it will be "making adjustments" to expected delivery quantities in a number of countries, including Canada. Trudeau said Friday he was "concerned" about the delays and production challenges facing Moderna, but added that Pfizer has been reliable. He said their doses will make up the "bulk of vaccines being given to Canadians in the coming months." Earlier Friday, the Canadian Medical Association called for "extraordinary" measures, including sharing provincial health-care resources and dropping the per-capita approach to vaccine distribution, to address the COVID-19 crisis unfolding in several provinces. The CMA said it wants the federal government to consider re-prioritizing its vaccine distribution strategy to focus on urgent areas instead of distributing to provinces on a per-capita basis. Trudeau said conversations with provinces about vaccine allocation have been "ongoing." "We're happy to continue to work with the provinces on adjusting (vaccine distribution) as the provinces see necessary," he said. The CMA president-elect Dr. Katharine Smart said further restrictions must also be considered in provinces experiencing rapid rates of COVID-19 transmission, including a "total lockdown" in Ontario. "That means anything that's truly not essential ... needs to be closed completely for a period of time," she said. "These half-closures and half-measures and not working." Ontario was expected to announce new measures later Friday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry went through new provincial modelling data today, showing that people must reduce their number of contacts to bring transmission down. “Right now, the rate of infectious contacts, the contacts we’re having where the virus can be transmitted to others, on average in the province is somewhere around 55 to 60 per cent. That is too high,” said Henry. “We need to get down to 40 per cent or less. We had done that consistently, we were able to do that last March, we did that in November when we put in restrictions again, and I want to remind people: the restrictions that we put in that worked in November are still in place.” She suggested people may be feeling a sense of complacency around continued restrictions on social gatherings, but added that “we need to pay attention again.” “The people that you are seeing every day, whether at work, whether running errands, going for a walk, it’s likely that without you or them knowing it, somebody in your community, in your connections, has COVID, may not be aware of it, and is potentially infectious. The more people you see, the higher that likelihood would be. Right now, we have a lot of transmission in communities across the province. “Even if we can see people outside our household, we shouldn’t right now. And if we do, it needs to be the same small group of people. We know that outside is lower risk—it’s not zero, but it is lower risk. So have that small group of people that you meet with, that you need to support you, meet them outside, keep your distance. If you’re going to be in close contact, wear masks, even if it’s outside.” Henry said about 60 per cent of cases in the province are likely a variant of concern, particularly the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) and P.1 (Brazil) variants. In the Vancouver Coastal Health region, about two-thirds of variant cases are the P.1 variant, while in the Fraser Health region about two-thirds of variant cases are the B.1.1.7 variant. A study in Vancouver Coastal Health schools conducted between September and December indicated that of 699 school-based cases, only 55 were acquired in schools. Henry said schools don’t appear to be a major driver of community transmission. She also announced 1,205 new cases in B.C. today, bringing the province’s total to 116,075 cases since the pandemic began. Of the new cases, 301 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region (including Richmond), 730 in the Fraser Health region, 38 in the Island Health region, 69 in the Interior Health region, 66 in the Northern Health region and one in a person who lives outside Canada. The latest local data shows there were 266 new cases in Richmond between April 4 and 10. There are 10,052 active cases, a record high and the first time the number has risen above 10,000 in four months. The number of people in hospital with active cases continues to rise, with 409 reported today, 125 of whom are in critical care. A further 16,217 people are under active public health monitoring. Henry said there has been an increase in people aged 40 to 59 ending up in hospital, as well as an increase in the 60-79 age group. Hospitalization rates in those between 20 and 39 remain relatively low, although there has been an increase in people of that age becoming sick with COVID-19. Three more people have died as a result of COVID-19, and 12 active healthcare outbreaks continue across the province. To date, 1,235,863 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
The former CEO of a Saskatoon lab that develops vaccines, including one for COVID-19, says Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer has no game plan for dealing with the novel coronavirus. Andrew Potter, who worked at VIDO-InterVac for 22 years, first made the comment on Twitter following Tuesday's provincial update on COVID-19. "I must admit that I think Dr Shahab is way over his head with COVID based on what he has said so far at the press conference," the University of Saskatchewan professor tweeted Tuesday. "He dwells on the past and present but no game plan for the future (which is what counts right now)." In an interview with CBC News on Wednesday, Potter said he hadn't "seen any evidence yet that they're taking this seriousIy. "I recognize that there are medical decisions and recommendations and then there are political ones. And he doesn't control the political ones obviously." The Ministry of Health did not respond to a request for comment before publication. Potter said the government needs to communicate better with the public. He said the province has to stop comparing current cases with past waves — especially since the third wave involves coronavirus variants which are more transmissible. "Nobody's looking into the future as to where do we want to be and how we're going to get there," Potter said. "Right now, we're essentially repeating history that we know didn't work." Andrew Potter, former CEO of VIDO-InterVac, is now a professor at the University of Saskatchewan. (Andrew Potter) Variant cases erupting across province On Tuesday, Saskatchewan implemented a province-wide ban on private indoor gatherings while limiting crowds at places of worship to 30 people. Nazeem Muhajarine, a Saskatoon-based epidemiologist, said "it's a bit too little, too late." "We are going back to what should have been done on March 9 when public health measures were relaxed on that day," Muhajarine said on CBC's Saskatoon Morning. When the province allowed residents to expand their bubbles to a maximum of ten individuals in a home at any one time, Saskatchewan had 35 coronavirus variant cases. "And in the intervening five weeks, numbers increased a hundredfold." As of Thursday, Saskatchewan reported 4,183 coronavirus variant cases. "Expanding the bubbles has really backfired here in Saskatchewan, and especially knowing that the variant was spreading quite aggressively in the province," intensive care specialist Dr. Hassan Masri said. With variants erupting across the province, Muhajarine said the government is still doing "too little." "It's almost like, you know, trying to put off a raging house fire with a home fire extinguisher," Muhajarine said. Call to close bars and restaurants Masri, who works in intensive care units in Saskatoon, said "the variant is making people really sick." "We would not be in the situation that Regina is in, but certainly with the rising numbers ... we won't be surprised if that's our fate in the next week or so," Masri said. Intensive care specialist Dr. Hassan Masri says bars and restaurants in Saskatchewan should be closed.(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press) He said further restrictions, like closing bars and restaurants across the province and further reducing gathering sizes at religious institutions, could prevent further strain on the health-care system. Muhajarine agreed. "The question can be asked whether these cases, hospitalizations and even deaths could have been averted had timely action been taken," he said.
A 20-year-old Saint John man who stabbed his friend six times and left him on the side of the road to bleed to death was sentenced Friday to 8 1/2 years in prison. Tyler Gamblin was originally charged with second-degree murder in the death of 29-year-old Nathan Gallant but pleaded guilty in January to the lesser charge of manslaughter. Before sentencing Gamblin on Friday, Justice Darrell Stephenson said the attack on Gallant was without "significant provocation." He described it as an "abrupt, brutal, largely unprovoked attack." He also pointed out that Gamblin's immediate reaction was to try to conceal the body and then flee the scene. Stephenson said he also accepts the defence position "that things have not been easy for Mr. Gamblin." He noted that Gamblin didn't have a stable childhood, has been diagnosed with a number of learning problems and can't read or write. The judge gave Gamblin credit for pleading guilty and for apologizing to Gallant's family last week during a sentencing hearing. Members of Nathan Gallant's family leave the Saint John courthouse last week. From left are his aunt, sister, father and grandmother. (Roger Cosman/CBC) Although the family did not want to be interviewed, they emailed a statement to CBC on Friday afternoon. They insist that Gallant and Gamblin were not friends. "Friends do not kill each other. Friends help one another. "No amount of time will bring Nathan back but what hurts more than only getting 8.5 years is Nathan never made it to his 30th birthday, and Tyler will be walking the streets again before the age of 30. Is that justice?" Nathan Gallant's family said all he wanted in life was to find his soul mate and have a family.(Submitted by Kyla Gallant) They also said Gallant's family and friends meant the world to him. "All Nathan wanted in life was to find his soul mate and have a family. He wanted to be a father more than anything." Victim left in the ditch The court heard that Gamblin stabbed Gallant six times in the ribs, dragged him by his arms into the woods, and asked his ex-girlfriend to help hide the body — all after a day of drinking and "smoking weed" together. According to an agreed statement of facts, Gamblin was at home with his ex-girlfriend Bryanna McGaghey on July 8, when he contacted Gallant to ask if they could hang out. At around 5:30 p.m., the trio, along with Bailey Basque, who was driving, headed to Fairfield, near St. Martins. Along the way, Gamblin and Gallant were "bickering and arguing" about McGaghey, according to the statement of facts. While at their destination, they started getting physical and play wrestling. Nathan Gallant, 29, was stabbed six times in the ribs. (Submitted by Kyla Gallant) On the way back, Gallant, who was in the front seat, was "intensely staring" and smiling at McGaghey, who was seated in the rear, behind the driver. Gamblin told police on July 23 that Gallant was harassing McGaghey. When Gallant continued, Gamblin said he "snapped" and stabbed him. Neither McGaghey nor Basque saw it happen, but Basque pulled over because of the arguing and told everyone to get out of the vehicle. Basque drove off to get help. When he returned, he found Gallant's body in the ditch. Gamblin hid in the woods that night and eluded police for 15 days before being arrested in Woodstock with the help of a Crime Stoppers tip.
VICTORIA — The B.C. government is investing $2 billion in a low-interest loan program for builders of affordable housing. Housing Minister David Eby said Thursday the financing will be offered to private developers and community groups through the province's HousingHub program, a division of BC Housing. The funding will target projects for renters and buyers with average household incomes of $75,000. Eby said the loans will be provided at below-market rates and in return, developers will commit to passing the construction savings on to residents through more affordable rents and housing prices. The loans will be repaid once construction is complete, allowing HousingHub to reinvest in more units, he added. Finance Minister Selina Robinson said the funding is part of Budget 2021, which will be unveiled in full next week. "For far too long, housing in British Columbia was viewed as a commodity and a tool for building wealth, rather than a basic necessity of a home," said Robinson, who was the housing minister before taking on the finance portfolio. "The simple truth is, affordable housing is life changing." In order to ensure the savings are passed on to the residents, each developer must make a 10-year commitment around affordability. The agreements signed are unique to each project, Eby said. Financing rates will depend on factors like a developer's credit rating and relationship with banks, he said. BC Housing has already received about 90 applications from builders interested in accessing a loan, he said. "There's lots of demand and competition for the funding," Eby said. Applications will be prioritized based on maximizing affordability, such as the number of units and the price per unit offered to tenants or buyers, he said. Developments will also be assessed through a geographic lens to ensure the benefit of the program is felt across the province. "There's really not a community in our province that isn't facing some aspect of the housing crisis, although it looks different in different communities," Eby said. Paul Kershaw, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia's school of population and public health, said the HousingHub is a positive and important program. The program has seen private developers partner with non-profits to deliver the housing, which is an effective way to ensure the supply is affordable for middle-income households, said Kershaw. But increasing supply should be complemented with other policy measures if the government truly wants to dampen the escalating housing market, he said. "Anything being built and offered anew in a setting where ... home prices continue to rise on average is going to erode the affordability that the provincial government is aiming to bring in by offering these low-interest loans," he said. Complementary measures could include similar low-interest loans aimed at strengthening other parts of the economy, such as small businesses, he said. British Columbia is in an unhealthy situation when 18 per cent of B.C.'s economy is real estate rental and leasing, but only two per cent of the population is employed in that sector, Kershaw said. "It is a massive gap and as a result, that's why there's big growth in that industry but it's not generating earnings that are spread out to a whole bunch of people," he said. The Opposition Liberals said skyrocketing housing prices during the pandemic show the NDP government's housing plan is failing. The party referenced a report from the B.C. Real Estate Association that found the average home price in the province increased by 20.4 per cent last month compared with the same time last year. At the same time, active residential listings dropped by 24.4 per cent as the housing supply sunk to the lowest level seen in decades, it said. "It’s clear that the NDP’s supposed solutions for affordability have had no meaningful effect on the housing market," housing critic Ben Stewart said. "Young British Columbians are still watching their dreams of home ownership fade away, while this government takes an undeserved victory lap.” — By Amy Smart in Vancouver. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
This family bought their puppy a mini Golden Retriever sensor-activated toy that moves and barks. Check out the reaction!
OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have used an unpopular tool to limit time for debate in the House of Commons on a bill that would harmonize Canada's laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.The Liberals successfully passed a motion Thursday to impose closure on the opening round of debate on Bill C-15 in order to put it to a vote and move it along to a Commons committee for further scrutiny.The minority Liberal government received the support of the NDP to pass the time allocation motion, which will allow one additional day of debate before the bill is sent to committee.Conservative and Bloc MPs voted against limiting debate on the bill.Justice Minister David Lametti accused the Conservatives of using "dilatory tactics" to stall any and all Liberal government legislation. He stressed the aim of the time allocation motion was to ensure swift passage of the long-awaited UNDRIP bill. "This is a positive way forward, this is long overdue, there are no surprises in this bill … this is the time to do our best as parliamentarians to move this forward," Lametti said.The Commons, meanwhile, overwelmingly passed another bill Thursday that has been stalled for months.C-14, which would implement emergency pandemic aid and other measures contained in last fall's economic statement, passed by a vote of 210-118, with support from the NDP and Bloc Quebecois. The Conservatives voted against it. The bill now moves to scrutiny by the Senate.The move to limit debate on Bill C-15 came just two days after Indigenous leaders expressed concern that the bill, stalled at second reading since it was introduced in December, might never make it through the all the legislative hoops before a possible election, which would kill it.C-15 represents the third attempt to have Parliament approve implementation of the UN declaration in Canada.Former NDP MP Romeo Saganash introduced two private member's bills to implement UNDRIP, the first defeated at second reading in the Commons in 2014 and the second stalling in the Senate just before the 2019 election.This time, the Liberals have essentially turned Saganash's bill into a government bill.The UN declaration, which Canada endorsed in 2010, affirms the rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination and to their language, culture and traditional lands.It also spells out the need for free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous Peoples on anything that infringes on their lands or rights.The bill does not include a definition of consent, raising objections from Conservatives who fear it would give First Nations a veto over natural resource development projects.Their concerns have been dismissed as "fearmongering" by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, a former judge who helped draft similar legislation in British Columbia in 2019.The bill would simply put into operation policies and processes to ensure First Nations are involved at the outset when it comes to decisions regarding their existing land, title and human rights, she told a Commons committee last week.Many legal experts believe this could lead to fewer conflicts and less litigation, especially on issues of resource development.NDP MP Leah Gazan, who voted with her caucus in favour of time allocation Thursday, said she believes there could have been a better path for the government's UNDRIP bill."I want to get this through the Senate this time… I fundamentally believe the need for legislation that is going to help us create a framework to acknowledge Indigenous rights and title in this country is absolutely imperative," she said."I’m just really disappointed that this is the only way that the government sees this bill being able to go through."Conservative MPs, meanwhile, expressed concern over the bill, noting objections from some individual First Nations and Indigenous elders, who say they have not been sufficiently consulted.Lametti stressed that "robust consultations" will continue through the legislative progress of the bill and will also continue on an action plan promised within the new law that will set out how it is implemented.The plan had been to introduce an earlier draft of the UNDRIP bill last year, Lametti said, but these plans were sidetracked by the COVID-19 pandemic."I don’t like time allocation any more than the next member of Parliament and I would like to see everything debated fulsomely," he said."But there is a responsibility in debate… not just with prepared talking points but with actual new arguments and we’re not getting that from the Conservative party, we’re getting arguments repeated ad nauseam for the purposes of delaying and delaying and delaying."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2021. Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — La Soufriere volcano shot out another explosive burst of gas and ash on Friday as a cruise ship arrived to evacuate some of the foreigners who had been stuck on a St. Vincent island coated in ash from a week of violent eruptions. The explosions that began on April 9 forced some 20,000 to flee the northern end of the eastern Caribbean island for shelters and contaminated water supplies across the island. Friday morning's blast “wasn’t a big explosion compared to the ones that we last weekend, but it was big enough to punch a hole through the clouds," said Richard Robertson, lead scientist at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, in an interview with local NBC radio. “Probably got up to 8,000 metres (26,000 feet)." During a comparable eruption cycle in 1902, explosive eruptions continued to shake the island for months after an initial burst killed some 1,700 people, though the new eruptions so far have caused no reported deaths among a population that had received official warning a day earlier that danger was imminent. Meanwhile, British, U.S. and Canadian nationals were being evacuated aboard Royal Caribbean Cruises' Celebrity Reflection from the harbour in the Kingstown, capital of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The ship was due to arrive Saturday in Dutch Sint Maarten. Dozens of foreigners toting luggage descended from tour buses and cars at the port terminal in Kingstown and patiently waited in a line that began in the parking lot and reached deep into the terminal. They included students from the Trinity School of Medicine along with stranded tourists, including families with young children in arms. “As of right now, we are being evacuated for our safety and to keep the island as safe as possible," said LLeah Ransai, a Canadian student at Trinity. "Between the school, the government and the embassies of the US and Canada, we’re being evacuated now.” The U.S. Embassy said those aboard would have to make their own travel arrangements home. It also noted in an official statement that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended against travel on cruise ships because the chance of getting COVID-19 and said people who had been in close contact with suspected COVID-19 cases were barred from the trip. All aboard were supposed to have a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding. Meanwhile, thousands of locals were stuck n emergency shelters with no idea when they might be able to return home. Levi Lewis, 58, a retired public servant from the town of Fancy, said the eruption had left him trying to get by with practically nothing. “I just reusing clothing cause i didn't walk with much," he said. "Plus water is an issue, so I’m trying to conserve it still.” “I want to go back home, or to whatever is left of it," he added. A few people, however, never left, defying evacuation orders. Raydon May, a bus conductor in his late 20s who stayed in Sandy Bay throughout the eruptions, said he had always planned to stay if the volcano erupted and was trying to protect properties in the community while making occasional trips outside the evacuation zone to pick up water and supplies. He said so much ash had fallen that the roofs of houses were collapsing under the weight. “One roof might get on like three truckloads of sand," he said. “We trying to help ... but we can’t help everybody.” Kristin Deane, The Associated Press
Peel police are investigating after a man was found dead in a park in Mississauga Thursday morning. The body was discovered in Elmcreek Park at 8 a.m., near Morning Star Drive and Goreway Drive, police say. According to Peel Regional Police spokesperson Const. Danny Martini, there were no obvious signs of trauma. She said the body has been taken for an autopsy and police are waiting for the results from the coroner. Meanwhile, Ontario's police watchdog invoked its mandate following an altercation between police and a man a short distance from the park near Morning Star Drive and Goreway Drive earlier Thursday morning. Police were called to the intersection around 5 a.m., Martini says, following reports that a man was threatening to shoot people. When officers arrived, they became involved in an altercation with the man, Martini says. He was taken to hospital as a precaution and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was called in. The man has been charged with uttering threats. Peel police say this incident is separate from that of the man found dead in the park.
The Alberta government has proposed a timeline to remove all COVID-19 capacity restrictions for events including indoor and outdoor music, theatre and performance events by late July or earlier. In a letter sent to a wide range of industry stakeholders dated April 9, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, outlined a potential timeline for audiences to return to live events over the summer months. While contingent upon hospitalizations, case numbers, pressure on the health-care system and the vaccination rollout, it projects all capacity restrictions to be lifted on indoor and outdoor events by late July. The letter says this timeline has the potential to accelerate if there are "better than anticipated case trends and/or more aggressive progress for vaccines." "We are anticipating the ability to remove restrictions to enable a more normal level of operations by the summer, and acknowledge that the economic challenges you are facing requires the inclusion of an audience as soon as possible," Hinshaw wrote. "Alberta continues to closely monitor COVID-19 and the variants of concern and is taking a cautious approach to easing restrictions over the coming months." No final decisions made, Alberta Health says The timeline is staggered and projects no in-person audiences for events throughout April or early May. However, by late May, it anticipates the allowance of 15 per cent of fixed seating capacity, to a maximum of 100 people outdoors. In late June, this is anticipated to increase further — to 50 per cent of fixed seating capacity to a maximum of 500 people outdoors, and 15 per cent of fixed seating capacity indoors, to a maximum of 100 people. By late July, the removal of capacity restrictions is projected. In an email confirming the letter's authenticity to CBC News on Friday, Alberta Health spokesperson Tom McMillan emphasized the proposed timeline will be dependent on the evolving state of COVID-19 in the province. Sara Leishman, the executive director of the Calgary Folk Festival, told CBC News on Wednesday it is 'in the process of planning ways to safely bring live music back, in a very modified way, to Prince's Island Park this summer.'(Rachel Maclean/CBC) "We are helping performance groups get a sense of what the future could possibly hold, but no final decisions have been made. This includes any future decisions around specific timing and capacity limits at in-person events," McMillan said. "Any future changes to the health measures in place will be based on the spread of COVID-19 in the province and our ability to bend down the curve. We will publicly announce any future changes when they are made." Rising variant cases prompt possible new restrictions On April 6, the Alberta government reintroduced stricter health measures to counter a surge of COVID-19 variant cases and hospitalizations. But Premier Jason Kenney said on April 10 that once vaccines outstrip the variants, "we absolutely can get back to normal this summer." "I believe we're going to have a Calgary Stampede, we're going to have outdoor events," Kenney said. However, Hinshaw said earlier this week that more restrictions might be necessary if the situation continues to deteriorate. "Hospitalizations are increasing provincewide and cases continue to rise sharply," Hinshaw said Tuesday. "My team is monitoring closely, and if we do not see growth slowing soon, further measures may be required." But Hinshaw suggested in the same conference that it may be possible to host some big events this summer if enough people are vaccinated and case numbers drop. On Thursday Alberta reported 1,646 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily total since Dec. 13. For its part, Calgary Stampede officials told CBC News on Wednesday that it is planning to go forward. "We are committed to hosting the best and safest Stampede, July 9 to 18, and continue to work with various levels of government and health officials on specific safety measures," the statement said.
An Iqaluit man under the protection of Nunavut's public guardian is being forced into homelessness while government officials struggle to figure out how to help him and who should pay for that help, according to a case at the Nunavut Court of Justice. The Inuk man in this case, whose identity CBC is withholding, has schizophrenia and an intellectual disability. He was placed into the care of the public guardian according to an order under Nunavut's Public Guardianship Act in November last year. Those who fall under such protective orders do not have the capacity to make some basic life decisions for themselves. Last month, the man left Iqaluit's men's shelter in order to attend a court appearance in Kinngait. When he got back, the shelter was full. A couple days later, his defence lawyer noticed bruising and scratches on his face. The man reported the injuries were a result of frostbite due to homelessness. Legal aid lawyers quickly filed documents with the court demanding the public guardian secure temporary housing for the man under its care. But the guardian's office filed its own court documents refusing. It says it contacted numerous facilities in Iqaluit, none of which could house the man. It added that it is not its responsibility to house people under its care, especially in light of Nunavut's longstanding housing crisis. If it were their responsibility, the public guardian argued, it would have a long line at its door of people looking to be placed in its care for housing purposes. And the budget approved by the Legislative Assembly for the Office of the Public Guardian does not include such housing costs, the office argued. But Beth Kotierk, the man's legal aid lawyer, argued that the government cannot allow a person in its care to go homeless while it figures out which agency should pay for their care. Jordan's Principle should apply: legal aid lawyer In documents submitted to the court, Kotierk argues that Jordan's Principle should apply in the man's case. That principle was approved by a motion in the House of Commons in 2007, two years after five-year-old Jordan River Anderson died. The child, who was from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba, died while different levels of government argued in court about who should pay for his care. The principle named in his honour aims to prevent a similar situation from occurring. Although the man in Nunavut's public guardianship case is not a child, the same principle applies, Kotierk argued. The case went before Justice Paul Bychok on April 1, but due to administrative errors by legal aid lawyers, the case was dismissed without prejudice, which means it can be brought to court again. It was scheduled to go before the court again in late May. But the discovery of a case of COVID-19 in the capital suspended operations at Nunavut's Court of Justice on Thursday, and it's not clear when the case may be heard again. In the mean time, Kotierk said Nunavut's legal aid agency is working to secure a hotel room for the man.
Ontario needs at least a six-week stay-at-home order with an average of 100,000 vaccinations per day to get the third wave of COVID-19 now gripping the province under control, a panel of experts said Friday. "Without stronger system-level measures and immediate support for essential workers and high-risk communities, high case rates will persist through the summer," Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table said in its latest update, echoing recommendations it has been making for months. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the group of experts that advises the government on its pandemic, presented the table's latest modelling at a news conference this afternoon. He was joined by Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health. You can read the full presentation at the bottom of this story. Cases of the illness are rising in most of the province's 34 public health units, and the province-wide test positivity rate has climbed to 7.9 per cent. That figure is higher than 10 per cent in Toronto, Peel and York regions. The pace of vaccinations is simply not enough on its own to contain increasing transmissions of the virus, Brown said. Even with stricter public health measures in place and about 300,000 vaccinations per day (Ontario is currently averaging about 100,000) it could take until the end of June to see cases counts drastically reduced, Brown said. "It really requires everyone to pull together," Brown said. The sobering forecast comes as Ontario Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce new restrictions in the province, with daily COVID-19 case counts and admissions to hospitals and intensive care at new pandemic peaks. "Notice that our hospitals can no longer function normally. They are bursting at the seams, we are setting up field hospitals," said Brown, alluding to a hospital in the parking lot at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. "Our childrens' hospitals are admitting adults. This has never happened in Ontario before. It's never happened in Canada before." Many intensive care units in particularly hard-hit areas of the province were never able to fully recover from the second wave of the pandemic that peaked in January, Brown added. They are now approaching a breaking point. Under any scenario, ICU admissions are expected to top 800 in the coming weeks. With only the current measures in place, admissions will still likely exceed 1,000, Brown said. Continued impacts for critical care units are now "baked in" for at least two weeks given growth in overall cases. The "longer and stronger" public health measures remain in place, Brown said, the more it will drive down admissions to intensive care. Part of the problem, he explained, is that Ontario began easing public health measures during the brief lull between the second and third waves of the pandemic. During this time, the prevalence of variants of concern — which are more transmissible and increase the risk of both hospitalization and death — exploded. The science table reported as early as late January that if the spread of variants was not brought under control, Ontario was facing a potential "disaster" scenario. Revised projections published in March built on those concerns, forecasting up to 8,000 cases per day by the end of April if action was not taken. "This is what we were expecting moving forward if we relaxed public health measures" coming off the second wave, Brown said. Ford and his government imposed a month-long stay-at-home order on April 8, one week after moving the whole province into a "shutdown." Brown described the current suite of measures as "moderate," but said that without those steps, Ontario could have been on track to see more than 30,000 new infections per day by the end of May. Another key issue is mobility. The current stay-at-home order has reduced how much people are moving around, based on cell phone data, but not nearly as much as the order that kicked in Boxing Day 2020. Brown offered several key recommendations for curbing the ongoing third wave, many of them measures that science table has repeatedly called for without corresponding action from the government. Among them is a paid sick leave program for essential workers that offers easier, quicker assess to money than the federal option currently in place. Ford and his cabinet have thus far refused to offer such a program. Other recommendations to the province include: "Double down" on vaccinations in the highest-risk communities. Limit what businesses are allowed to stay open and enforce the rules. Limit mobility into Ontario and within Ontario.
The head of one of the largest First Nations groups in Saskatchewan says he is angered after seeing the violent arrest of an Indigenous woman by a security guard in Saskatoon and is now calling for the security guard to be fired. Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), which represents First Nations across the province, says the incident, which was captured on video, is just one instance of violence Indigenous women face. He said it's a symptom of a larger issue in the province. "Had that been a non-First Nation woman, shoplifting or not … do you think he would have done that to that extent and assaulted her? Never," Cameron said in an interview with CBC News. The altercation took place at the FreshCo on 33rd Street West in the city's Mayfair neighbourhood on Wednesday and has spurred a strong reaction online, with many saying the security guard in the video used excessive force. What led to the incident is not entirely clear. 9-minute video The nine-minute video, recorded by a witness, shows a man who identifies himself as the grocery store security guard trying to force handcuffs on the woman. The guard can be heard accusing the woman of stealing. Bystanders plead with him to let her go and let police handle it. The altercation escalates and the woman punches him. He continues to try to detain her and throws himself on top of her and says he is the one who is hurt as she climbs into the driver's seat of her parked van. Witnesses can be heard saying they can see both individuals are bleeding. Cameron said if the security guard had concerns about the woman's actions, he should have taken a photo of her and recorded her licence plate number. "He took the law into his own hands, and that's wrong," he said. Cameron said he was disturbed watching the video because he feels the woman was being assaulted and was in distress. Cameron said if he had been there, he would have kicked the man "right in the face." "He had no right to do that to her," he said. "Let the city police handle that. That's what he should have done. Instead, he took it upon herself to almost break her arm, throw her to the ground with her bare knees on hard pavement." GRAPHIC WARNING | FSIN calls for guard to be fired: In a post on the store's Facebook page, management indicated they have ended the contract with the third-party security firm in question. While Cameron said that's a good first step, he says the security guard should be fired. "He has no right and he doesn't deserve the privilege or honour to work in that type of environment," he said. Cameron says the FSIN will not identify the woman until she is ready. They say it should be the security guard who is charged, and the FSIN says it will assist the woman if she plans to pursue civil action. "We're going to do everything we can to advocate for her," he said. After speaking with her Thursday, Cameron said the woman is traumatized and in pain as a result of the incident. "She is battling PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]. She was crying … She's obviously distraught and now she's going to the hospital, or a health centre, to get treatment," he said. "She's in pain. She has stomach pains and obviously her arm and her knees. She's in pain." Security guard suffered 'minor injuries' CBC News spoke to an official with Emergency Security Management, the security company that employed the guard, but they said they were unable to comment on the situation because it is still under investigation. In a statement on Thursday, Saskatoon Police Service confirmed the woman was charged, saying officers were called to the area at around 4 p.m. CST for a report of shoplifting. "Upon arrival, Police located a 30-year-old female being detained by a loss prevention officer. A previous altercation between the two individuals had taken place, resulting in minor injuries to the LPO," the statement said. "He was treated on scene by paramedics. The female refused medical treatment and was taken into Police custody. She was charged with Theft Under $5000 and Assault." Police say the incident is still under investigation. They said they are aware of calls for the security guard to be charged, and "all details of the incident will be taken into account as the investigation continues." GRAPHIC WARNING | Violent arrest captured on video: Store owner 'horrified' A statement on FreshCo's Facebook page detailed the dismissal of the security company. "At FreshCo, the safety and well-being of our customers and teammates is our top priority. We have decided to end our relationship with our third party security vendor as the behaviour shown on April 14th outside our store is not tolerated or a representation of our values," the statement said. "We continue to cooperate with officials as this incident is currently under investigation. We are also working closely with our teammates and supporting them as they work through this investigation." Another statement from the store's owner, Chris Fowler, indicated the incident itself was disturbing to him as a Indigenous store owner and a member of the community. "I wanted to address the situation yesterday. First of all I'm beyond shocked and horrified. As Métis owner and a father of two daughters this should of not happened ever," he said in the post. When reached by phone, he referred interview requests to the media relations department of Sobeys, the parent company of FreshCo. In a statement to CBC, Sobeys said the company has ended its relationship with Emergency Security Management, as the behaviour captured in the video is "not tolerated or a representation of our values." "Creating a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for our customers and our teammates is very important to us. Our Franchisee partners share in these values," the statement said. Sobeys is co-operating with police and working to support staff, it said. "Our Franchisee has taken the time to reinforce our protocols in situations with his store team. As you can imagine, many are very upset by this situation — including our Franchisee and his store team."
Three people have been arrested following reports of a person with a weapon in Saint John on Thursday afternoon, police say. The Saint John Police Force responded to Charlotte Street in the south end just after 2:30 p.m. in response to reports of a person with a weapon and "a short time later, a suspect was located in a nearby building," said Jim Hennessy, spokesperson for the force, in a news release. Three people were taken into custody just after 3:30 p.m., he said. Members of the Patrol Unit and Emergency Tactical Services were called and cleared the scene just before 5 p.m. without incident, Hennessy said. In an email, Hennessy said he couldn't share information on the persons arrested as police are investigating the incident.
WASHINGTON — One by one, the Republican leaders of Congress have made the trip to Mar-a-Lago to see Donald Trump. Kevin McCarthy visited after the deadly Jan 6 Capitol insurrection, counting on the former president's help to win back control of the House in 2022. The chair of the Senate Republican campaign committee, Rick Scott, stopped by to enlist Trump in efforts to regain the Senate. Lindsey Graham goes to play golf. But missing from the appearances has been perhaps the most powerful Republican elected official in the country, Mitch McConnell, a onetime ally who ushered the former president’s legislative and judicial agenda to fruition, but now claims to want nothing to do with Trump. The very public pilgrimages, and the noticeable refusal to make one, have placed congressional Republicans at a crossroads, with one branch of the party keeping close to Trump, hoping to harness the power of his political brand and loyal voters for their campaigns, and the other splitting away, trying to chart the GOP’s post-Trump future. With no obvious heir apparent or leader-in-waiting, the standoff between the party’s two highest-ranking figures poses an uneasy test of political wills and loyalties, particularly for the rank-and-file lawmakers in Congress dependent on both men for their political livelihoods. Congress has become more Trump-like in the former president’s absence, as a new generation of Trump-aligned lawmakers emerges, particularly in the Senate, and more centrist Republicans announce their retirements. “We've got enough problems without fighting within ourselves," said Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., who was swept into office this year with Trump's support. “You know, being a football coach, that’s what I would tell our players and coaches,” he said. "You bring your whole team down. So that’s pretty much how I think about this. As a team, we don’t need arguing between teammates. We just need them to be on the same page.” The stark fallout was on display at the Republican donor retreat when Trump lashed into McConnell as a “stone-cold loser” but then was feted with an honorary award from Scott, the National Republican Senatorial Committee chair launching the campaign efforts. Asked about it later, McConnell responded with perhaps the most cutting retort of all: He simply ignored Trump. “What I'm concentrating on is the future,” said McConnell, the Senate Republican leader. Unlike past presidents who did not win a second term, the end of Trump’s presidency has not brought closure as much as it has a lingering uncertainty on Capitol Hill about the party’s pathway back to power. He is promising to return to the political stage, perhaps for his own bid for the White House. But more immediately he is being enlisted by GOP leaders in support of congressional candidates to win back the House and Senate. As McConnell tries to position Republicans as the opposition to President Joe Biden's agenda, it is clear that while he is the leader of the Senate, Trump remains, for now, the leader of the GOP. “Is it ideal? I don’t know. But is it sustainable? Sure,” said Scott Jennings, a GOP strategist and longtime McConnell confidant. “It’s easy to see how they both could frankly be successful in their individual goals without ever speaking another word to each other.” Jennings said McConnell and Trump aren’t jockeying for power as much as bringing complementary skills to the campaigns ahead. The former president can rev up his base of supporters with rally-style speeches while McConnell can assemble the campaign strategies and candidates to regain control of the Senate. “One of them is in party-building mode, which is McConnell, and the other one is in axe-grinding mode,” he said. “They don’t have to be golfing buddies,” he said. The congressional leaders want, and expect, Trump to play a role in next year’s midterm elections as they try to wrest control from Democrats, who have the slimmest majorities in the House and Senate in recent memory. “God, yes,” Graham, R-S.C., said recently. “He’s sitting on a mountain of money and has a 90% approval rating among Republicans.” McCarthy, the House Republican leader, said Trump has been helpful so far in House GOP campaign efforts. “Like all of the former presidents, they help, they’re engaged in many different ways,” McCarthy said. Yet as Trump assembles a political operation from his private club in Florida, his biggest priority so far appears to be trying to defeat some of the party’s most prominent lawmakers, including Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who were among those voting to impeach him over the Jan. 6 insurrection. While Trump has also endorsed some GOP incumbents, other Republican lawmakers, particularly in the Senate, have simply announced they are retiring. Asked specifically if Trump should quit attacking the Republican Party's leaders, McCarthy demurred. “The No. 1 thing I want to have happen is make sure the next century is the American century,” he said. “If the next century is going to be ours, we’re going to have to change administrations, we're going to have to change Congress. That’s my focus.” The deadly riot has become a political line of demarcation on Capitol Hill over those GOP lawmakers who stood with Trump to overturn Biden’s victory during the Electoral College tally. Trump was impeached for inciting the insurrection as he urged a mob of supporters to “fight like hell” for his presidency. One of the lawmakers Trump recently endorsed is Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks, who is running for the Senate seat that will be vacant with the retirement of longtime GOP Sen. Richard Shelby. Brooks had been a leader of the House efforts to challenge the election results and joined the rally outside the White House on Jan. 6. Trump encouraged the mob that day to head to the Capitol. Five people died, including a Trump supporter shot by police and a police officer who died later after fighting the mob of Trump loyalists who stormed the Capitol. At a dinner last month at Mar-a-Lago, Scott said he encouraged the president's support to win back the Senate — after the primaries are settled. Many Republicans recall the 2010 election when they won back control of the House, but not the Senate, because some of the candidates who won primary elections on the tea party wave were too conservative or hardline to appeal to voters statewide. Shelby said he wished the former president and McConnell would "put their differences aside," minding President Ronald Reagan's admonition not to battle each other. “Republicans fighting Republicans benefits who? The Democrats,” said Shelby. “I wish he’d stay out of all the Senate races, but he’s not,” Shelby said about Trump. “He’s got a lot of energy, he’s got a dedicated following. I don’t think he’s looking for retirement.” Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press