Recent developments: Checkpoints will soon go up along the Ottawa-Gatineau border in an attempt to get rising COVID-19 case totals under control. A slate of other tough new rules are now in effect in Ontario. Pop-up vaccine clinics begin rolling out today in hard-hit neighbourhoods. Another 345 cases and one death were confirmed in Ottawa on Friday. What's the latest? Border crossings between Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., will soon be severely restricted as both the Ontario and Quebec governments have announced tough new rules around interprovincial travel. Checkpoints will begin going up Monday, similar to those that were put in place during the first wave of the pandemic last year. The restricted border is just one of a number of stricter regulations the Ontario government revealed Friday, as it tries to stem the tide of the pandemic's third wave. Here's what you need to know about what those restrictions mean for you. On Saturday, non-essential construction will be shut down, retail capacity will tighten even further, and some outdoor amenities like golf will be restricted. Police will be given the power to ask anyone outside for their address and the reason they've left home — although forces in Ottawa and Cornwall, Ont., have said they won't conduct random stops. Ottawa reported another 241 COVID-19 cases Saturday and two new deaths. Pop-up vaccine clinics launch today in a number of Ottawa neighbourhoods that have been hit hard by the virus. Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table says only 70 per cent of its recommended hot spots made the province's final list. How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining test sites and filling hospitals. As of Saturday, 21,552 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 3,218 known active cases, 17,852 resolved cases and 482 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 39,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 33,500 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 162 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 185. Akwesasne has had more than 590 residents test positive, evenly split between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 27 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least the first week of May. People can only leave home for essential reasons such as getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They're asked to only leave their immediate area or province if absolutely necessary. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions that include people who live together, those who live alone and pair up with one other household, and small religious services. Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted, and big-box stores can only sell essential items. WATCH | Ottawa's police chief weighs in on enforcement of new rules Gyms and personal care services must close, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Ontario is indefinitely moving to online learning after April break. Daycares remain open for now. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has said bylaw officers will inspect stores and respond to complaints about homes and parks. Rules may tighten in city parks this weekend. Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until April 25 in the Outaouais. Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people and masks are no longer mandatory if doing so. The director of the Outaouais health authority said Wednesday the provincial border checkpoints of spring 2020 may return if the situation doesn't improve. A young man wears a mask while on a soccer pitch in Gatineau, Que., on April 15, 2021.(Hugo Belanger/Radio-Canada) The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. People there are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are spreading quickly. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. A masked woman walks down a downtown Ottawa street on April 13, 2021.(Andrew Lee/CBC) Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 525,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 238,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 93,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is now in Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, with the first doses during Phase 1 generally going to care home residents and health-care workers. All health units in eastern Ontario are now vaccinating people age 60 and older at their clinics. It's 55 and over in Renfrew County. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. People who are above or turning age 55 can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Phase 2 now includes people with underlying health conditions, followed by essential workers who can't work from home in May. Phase 3 should involve vaccinating anyone older than 16 starting in July. Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. The province has opened up appointments for people age 50 to 54 in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes, though supply is currently limited. Separately, some Ottawans in certain priority neighbourhoods can check their eligibility online and make an appointment through the city. This should soon include all education workers and staff in large workplaces. Indigenous people over age 16 in Ottawa can make an appointment the same way. The health unit for the Belleville area says this hot spot strategy means some of its doses are being sent elsewhere and it will have to postpone some appointments. Western Quebec Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers. The vaccination plan now covers people age 55 and older, along with local essential workers and people with chronic illnesses. People age 55 to 79 can line up in their vehicles to get a ticket for a walk-up appointment at Gatineau's Palais des Congrès. Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province, not individual pharmacies. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Check with your area's health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. This week that includes school staff and students. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. Outaouais residents can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
The captain of the Vancouver Canucks has a message for the masses: take COVID-19 seriously. Bo Horvat, one of 21 Vancouver players recovering from the outbreak, said he unwittingly infected his wife with the virus. The couple's infant son, Gunnar, has not been tested. "It hit her a little harder than it hit me. I'm one of the lucky ones, my symptoms were fairly mild … I got through them and am continuing to get through them," he said. "I'm not going to lie, it was tough to know my family got it from me." On Friday the NHL once again adjusted the Canucks schedule to give players more time to recover from their illnesses and a three-week layoff. Vancouver returns to game play Sunday versus the Toronto Maple Leafs, with a repeat match up on Tuesday. P1 variant confirmed General manager Jim Benning confirmed the P1 variant originally detected in Brazil is the outbreak's cause. He also said the variant is why the Canucks were hit harder than other NHL teams that have dealt with COVID. Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has confirmed the teams COVID-19 outbreak was caused by the P1 variant initially detected in Brazil. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press) "What was different with our situation is with the regular COVID it seemed that after 10 days players were ready to get back on the ice and start working out and performing," he said. "But we had players that when they did that, they still had symptoms." Benning said the virus "buckled" some of the players, and that three or four regulars likely won't be ready when games resume. Head coach Travis Green, who also contracted COVID-19, has yet to return to practices. Originally, the Canucks were supposed to host Edmonton Friday night in their first game back. But after forward J.T. Miller publicly questioned the wisdom of forcing games when so many on the team were still recovering, the schedule was delayed. 'Guys were not healthy' "[J.T.] spoke on behalf of the team and it was needed. He basically got the ball rolling," said Horvat. "Guys were just not healthy enough to play.… I think a lot more guys will be ready to go on Sunday." According to Horvat, no Canucks players have yet been vaccinated. That's in comparison to the majority of players on U.S. teams — and their family members — who have. "It's a little bit of a slower rollout here in Canada. We've got to get the essential workers done first," he said. "That's out of our control and I guess we have to wait our turn." According to a Vancouver Coastal Health spokesperson, the Vancouver Canucks organization does not qualify for the program of accelerated vaccinations to target workplace outbreaks because employees are not essential workers. Benning said Canucks practices will remain closed to media for the time being to give recovering players some privacy. "Some haven't been on the ice for three weeks," he said. "We don't want them to be judged."
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says people can expect a conversation "in the coming days and weeks" about a return to "some degree of normal" in the province. Moe told CKOM radio show host John Gormley on Friday morning that he's been asked by people to justify the province's current slate of COVID-19 public health measures. "The question I'm fielding now when I talk to folks is, 'Why are we doing this? To what end? Where's the goal line? Where's the finish line?'" Moe said. "They see the premier out there now saying, 'Go get vaccinated to keep yourself [and] those around you safe.' "And the question I keep hearing is, 'Why? Why would I do that and when are we going to get through this?'" Moe told Gormley it's important for leaders to begin public conversations on what yardsticks might trigger a return to pre-COVID times. "I think in the days ahead or the next short while, you can look to the Government of Saskatchewan to start to provide some details around that conversation," he said. In the meantime, people need to follow all public health rules "until we can provide vaccines to the vast majority of people in this province," Moe said. Vaccination numbers key, Moe says In a scrum with reporters later Friday morning, Moe declined to provide a timeline for releasing a plan to lift restrictions. "I won't be able to provide those details at this point because I think this is a conversation that I think will come in the coming days and weeks," Moe said. When pressed further on timing, Moe said, "As soon as it's possible to safely do it." Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, said last week that the province would not likely be in a position to remove the current broad health measures until at least June. Both Moe and his health minister, Paul Merriman, strongly hinted that Saskatchewan vaccination numbers would factor into conversations about easing restrictions. Moe said his government is looking at other jurisdictions "where they had certain vaccination levels where [they saw] a decrease in daily case numbers, hospitalizations and ultimately a falling off and hopefully ending of fatalities." Vaccinations are "the first metric that is really going to change things in this province," he added, while cautioning that "this is the early days of that conversation." Merriman was then asked about Moe's statements about a return to normal. "The [two] biggest things is we need vaccines and we need people to go get them," Merriman said. "Once we can get vaccines into people's arms, then we start looking at what is it beyond COVID and beyond restrictions." Both men's pronouncements came a day after Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) physicians meeting during a weekly virtual town hall reported that, if the current trajectory holds, the province's health system will be overrun with COVID-19 patients. A slide shown Thursday night during a virtual town hall attended by Saskatchewan Health Authority physicians. (Saskatchewan Health Authority) Moe and Merriman said that overall hospitalization numbers have stabilized in recent days but at a worryingly high level, especially in Regina. The health authority was holding a news conference later Friday afternoon to address its bed capacity. Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the government and the SHA are clearly not on the same page. "We keep hearing two stories in this pandemic," Meili said in the legislative assembly. "What the premier and his health minister tell the public, and what the Saskatchewan Health Authority tells the doctors working on the front lines. Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili speaks to media after the throne speech at the Legislative Building in Regina on Monday Nov. 30, 2020. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press) "Last night the health minister tried to tell us that everything is fine in the province's ICUs. At the very same time, doctors in this province were told that we have the highest rate of ICU admissions in the entire country. "Who's telling the truth — the minister or the SHA?"
VANCOUVER — A mineral exploration company with provincial permits to work in Tahltan territory in northwestern British Columbia is treading on sacred grounds, an elected leader in the nation's government says. Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. There's "no way" the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, he said. "The Sheslay area was a major village site in pre-contact times and even nowadays we have many elders who were born in the Sheslay area. Many of our ancestors are buried out there," Day said in an interview. "British Columbia, Doubleview, we should all just save ourselves a lot of time, energy and conflict and get Doubleview out of there," he said. Doubleview has 10 mineral tenures covering about 63 square kilometres where "an aggressive 2021 exploration program is being planned," the company said in an update posted online in February. It said it expected to give shareholders a more complete assessment of the deposit's value after verifying the results of metallurgical sample analysis. The Tahltan Central Government accuses Doubleview of failing to act in a manner consistent with both Tahltan protocols for the mining sector and with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Tahltan made "many reasonable attempts to work with Doubleview in a respectful manner," the central government said in a statement in March. But the company has a "track record of being disrespectful ... including unsuccessfully taking legal action against Tahltan leaders and elders in 2015," it said. Doubleview "regrets the poor relationship that we have established" with the Tahltan, lead director Andrew Rees said in an email when asked about the conflict, and the company offered an apology letter after the nation's public statement. "Doubleview strives to be a responsible steward of the areas in which we live and operate, and continues to seek a positive, collaborative, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship with the Tahltan Central Government." The Mines Ministry said Doubleview was first granted a multi-year permit in 2012 in a process that included consultation with the Tahltan Nation. Laws and legal precedents concerning Indigenous rights and title have changed since then, said Day. The B.C. government is now in the early stages of aligning its laws with the UN declaration after adopting it through legislation. It requires governments to obtain free, prior and informed consent before taking actions that affect Indigenous Peoples and territories — which would include decisions on proposed mines and future exploration work permits. The statutory adoption of the UN declaration means industry and the B.C. government must start building "processes that seek a genuine consent from Indigenous governments, communities and people," Day said. "And there's a huge difference between having a conversation and calling it consultation versus having a robust consultation process that is aiming to get consent from Indigenous people." The Tahltan Nation has "excellent relationships" with the majority of mining and mineral exploration companies operating in its territory, Day noted. There are three active mines — Red Chris, Silvertip and Brucejack — and the nation has impact benefit agreements with each of the companies. "When you have Tahltan title and rights over 11 per cent of the province and you have jurisdiction over an area the size of Portugal, you don't need to be supportive of projects that are in really culturally sensitive areas," Day said. The Tahltan has communication agreements with more than two dozen mining and mineral exploration companies allowing it to check in on their work as necessary, he said. Day said Doubleview had refused to sign, though Rees said the company is now waiting to hear back from the nation after sending a written response about a communications and engagement agreement. "We acknowledge that it has taken us much longer to do so than we would have liked and attribute the delay to internal miscommunication and lack of expert resources," the Doubleview statement said. "Our utmost priority right now remains getting back to the table ... and doing so in a respectful and collaborative manner so that we can continue understanding Tahltan Nation's ongoing concerns, which will allow us to collaboratively develop appropriate mitigation measures." Day, however, said the company has "chosen a path of conflict" with the Tahltan and he would oppose any further permits. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press
Ontario's new COVID-19 rules and restrictions - from cutting outdoor gatherings to extending police powers - have drawn out mass criticism and condemnation by medical experts, residents.
A Peel police officer has been suspended and an internal investigation has been launched after a Global News reporter recorded him hugging unmasked people who were protesting against the closure of a Mississauga gym. Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said he became aware of the incident, which took place outside the gym, Friday afternoon after he saw various social media posts. "Upon learning of the incident, I immediately directed that the sergeant be suspended and commenced an Internal Affairs investigation," he wrote in a statement. "Peel Regional Police are committed to ensuring the safety of our members and the public. Our officers will enforce municipal and provincial regulations as required." According to reporting by Global News, one of its reporters was at Huf Gym near Cawthra Road and Dundas Street East on Friday to report on continuing protests against the Ford government's COVID-19 restrictions, which have temporarily shuttered gyms. There, the reporter, identified as Sean O'Shea, recorded himself as an unmasked protester aggressively approached him wearing a sweater with the words, "hugs over masks." O'Shea, still recording, approached a Peel police officer at the scene and asked if he condoned that behaviour. The officer in the video can be heard telling the journalist that he was agitating the crowd. The same officer, not wearing a mask or any COVID-19 protective gear, can later be seen hugging some of the protesters and posing for pictures. None of the demonstrators can be seen physically distancing or wearing any protective equipment. Duraiappah's statement says members of the force continue to follow advice issued by local public health officials "while using the appropriate safety precautions, including all available Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)." Under current COVID-19 restrictions, all gatherings and protests must follow provincial laws. Tickets may be issued to individuals or organizers who do not comply with this order, the statement reads.
NEW YORK — A judge on Friday rejected Ghislaine Maxwell’s arguments to toss charges that she recruited three teenager girls from 1994 to 1997 for then-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan denied claims that a non-prosecution agreement Epstein reached with federal prosecutors over a dozen years ago protects Maxwell from prosecution. She also disagreed that some or all charges should be tossed out for a variety of other perceived flaws. The judge, however, did agree that Maxwell can be prosecuted separately on perjury charges. And she said arguments the defence will make against new sex trafficking charges will be decided later. Defence lawyers publicly filed legal briefs Friday challenging the new charges on multiple grounds, including that evidence and the indictment was improperly obtained and charges duplicate crimes already alleged. In a written opinion, Nathan said that the law of contracts and prior precedents meant Manhattan federal prosecutors could charge Maxwell last year, even though a non-prosecution deal Epstein reached with federal prosecutors in Florida in 2007 seemed to protect his employees too. “Single-district plea agreements are the norm. Nationwide, unlimited agreements are the rare exception,” the judge wrote. The judge also rejected arguments that the charges had to be dismissed “because of the possibility of missing witnesses, failing memories, or lost records.” “These are difficulties that arise in any case where there is extended delay in bringing a prosecution, and they do not justify dismissing an indictment,” she said. She also rejected claims that pretrial publicity spoiled Maxwell's chance at a fair trial or resulted from accusers who fabricated stories based on media allegations. “The Court will not dismiss the indictment on Maxwell’s bare assertion that numerous witnesses are engaged in a perjurious conspiracy against her,” she said. “And the Court will take all appropriate steps to ensure that the pretrial publicity in this case does not compromise Maxwell’s right to a fair and impartial jury.” Maxwell, 59, has pleaded not guilty to charges filed against her when she was arrested last July at a New Hampshire estate where prosecutors claim she was hiding from law enforcement but where defence lawyers say she went to spare her family and herself from media attention and threats. Last month, prosecutors brought a superseding indictment to add sex trafficking charges and extend the alleged conspiracy between Maxwell and Epstein to a decade in length rather than three years in the 1990s. Prosecutors also added a fourth teenage victim to the charges. The judge's ruling came a day after a defence lawyer asked to delay a July 12 trial until mid-January, saying the rewritten indictment will require much more around-the-globe investigation that is hampered by the coronavirus pandemic and the busy schedules of defence lawyers. Epstein took his life in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in a Manhattan federal jail. Maxwell has repeatedly sought to be freed on bail, but Nathan has rejected the requests. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments on an appeal of the bail rejections later this month. Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A gay Liberal MP is calling on Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole to disavow a remark by one of his caucus members that appeared to suggest he and other LGBTQ people are "unclean."Toronto MP Rob Oliphant was indignant Friday after Conservative MP Tamara Jansen responded to a highly personal speech he'd given on a bill to ban the discredited practice of conversion therapy.Oliphant, a United Church minister, argued that objections to the bill are rooted in the belief that "God made a mistake" when he created people like him and that they should change who they are. He quoted from the Bible to urge MPs to "do justice and to love kindness."Jansen responded with a Bible quote of her own: "Woe to you, teachers of law and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean."Oliphant retorted that people like him are not "unclean.""It is deeply offensive to to play Bible baseball like that ... It is offensive even to use that word in the context of this debate."In an interview later, Oliphant called on O'Toole to disavow Jansen's comments.Jansen later said she used the quote "in reference to hypocrisy.""I plan to reach out to Mr. Oliphant and apologize for the misunderstanding," she said in a statement.The furor erupted during final debate on Bill C-6, which would criminalize the practice of forcing children or adults to undergo therapy aimed at altering their sexual orientation or gender identity.Liberal, Bloc Quebecois, New Democrat and Green MPs all support the bill.But some Conservatives have expressed fears that the wording of the bill would outlaw conversations between parents and their children or prohibit young people struggling with their sexual identity from seeking religious or other counsel. O'Toole himself has suggested it needs to be amended and has given his caucus a free vote on the bill.Oliphant, who kicked off final debate on the bill for the government, said those fears are "tired and worn out" excuses for objecting to the ban on conversion therapy."The political rhetoric is they're trying to not sound like they are still living in the Stone Age, saying they are not against (banning) conversion therapy but just this bill," he told the Commons."It is time to talk truth in this place. If someone is against this bill, they are against me and against people like me. They are saying ultimately that we are less than they are, that somehow God made a mistake when God created us and that we should change who we are or at least consider changing who we are."Jansen countered with the story of "Charlotte," a young woman she's heard from whose parents had helped her find a counsellor when she decided she no longer wanted "to continue with her lesbian activity" and who now fears the bill would outlaw that kind of support.Edmonton Conservative MP Michael Cooper prefaced his speech by stressing that conversion therapy is "absurd, it is wrong and it is harmful" and should be banned.But he went on to argue that the bill's failure to precisely define conversion therapy means the ban could apply to voluntary counselling and "good faith" conversations between persons struggling with their sexual identity with medical professionals, parents and other family members, religious leaders and others.This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
A Vancouver couple is calling Saint Andrews home without ever experiencing the town first-hand. Zainub and Ben Faulkner-Malik have been self-isolating at home in Charlotte County, since arriving two weeks ago. "It's a bizarre feeling because we feel like we've been here already," said Faulkner-Malik, from her new home in Saint Andrews. People have been dropping things off and sending messages — and they haven't even met their neighbours yet. Now that we're here, we made the best decision - Zainub Faulkner-Malik "The way the community has made us feel has got us really excited about when we can step outside our property lines and meet people and walk around the town itself." They're the new owners of the Montague Rose Bed and Breakfast. It's a historic building from the 1850s and can be found in the heart of downtown. "It's just magnificent," said the interior designer. "It's just way grander than I ever could have imagined." Deer problem a new experience And everyday, they're learning something new about the property or the area — such as the town's growing deer population. Last year, deputy mayor Brad Henderson told CBC News, a typical community of its size would have between three and five deer per square kilometre. In Saint Andrews, there are more than 20 deer per square kilometre. "People have hit multiple deer coming in and out of town," he previously said. "There's been situations where motorcyclists have hit them … there's been deer that have actually run into people." But Faulkner-Malik is looking forward to the wildlife. "I'll take the deer over the car and busy streets any day," she said. A home away from home They are hoping to make the business a place where residents and visitors can come and feel at home this summer. The couple will be taking bookings come May and by June, they're also hoping to add a tearoom, that will feature High Tea and traditional English treats. They're also want to bring a fresher look to the historic home for visitors, including new furnishings, modern technology "and also give them a really friendly visit as well." The couple started to think about moving when the first lockdown happened about a year ago. They felt like they were stuck inside their 500-square foot apartment. "We were really going stir-crazy," she said. Zainub Faulkner-Malik is hopeful guests will be able to visit in June.(The Montague Rose B&B Instagram) That's when they decided to look at real-estate across the country. "Fast forward a year and we just kind of pulled the plug," she said. Then they discovered Saint Andrews after seeing it was voted by USA Today in 2017 as the top destination in Canada for travellers. "We found a property. We put an offer in. And now we're here." Despite their fears, the couple said the move made sense. Faulkner-Malik had previously run a bed and breakfast in Australia. She had always dreamt of starting another one. Then along came COVID. "It was really risky and it was pretty scary," she said. "There were moments we were very unsure when we were putting our offer in." The couple plan to document their new Maritime adventure on YouTube and social media, to inspire others looking to move. "Now that we're here, we made the best decision."
TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in Ontario to stop any motorist or pedestrian and ask where they live and why they're not home prompted the provincial government on Saturday to reconsider the measures. As the number of infected people in hospital reached record levels, Premier Doug Ford tweeted that the measures, which also included shutting down all outdoor recreational facilities and playgrounds, would be clarified. "Ontario’s enhanced restrictions were always intended to stop large gatherings where spread can happen," Ford said. "Our regulations will be amended to allow playgrounds, but gatherings outside will still be enforced." Earlier, a government source speaking on background told The Canadian Press that a "clarification" of the police powers was pending final approval. "We have heard a lot of feedback on this in the last 24 hours in terms of the scope and applicability," said the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly. Civil libertarians, and pundits have attacked new anti-pandemic restrictions announced Friday by Ford as misguided. The added police powers aimed at enforcing stay-at-home orders, they said, were overkill. The closing of outdoor spaces puzzled many public health experts, who said the measures didn't make sense. "Outdoor activities are vital for mental and physical health, especially with stay-at-home orders," Dr. Isaac Bogoch, who sits on the province’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, said in a tweet. "Science is clear: Outdoor COVID transmission is extremely rare." The pandemic, meanwhile, continued unabated on Saturday. The number of patients in hospital due to the novel coronavirus rose above 2,000 for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, with 726 in intensive care and 501 needing a ventilator, authorities reported Health officials also recorded 34 more deaths related to the virus - the highest single-day count in almost two months , when 47 people were reported as dying from coronavirus disease. The province logged 4,362 new cases on Saturday, down from Friday's record-setting number of 4,812. Globally, the pandemic has now killed more than three million people. Politicians were among those denouncing the new police powers. In a note to constituents, Jill Andrew, a New Democrat provincial legislator, said the measures show the Ford government is out of touch. "Let’s be very real here: We are not going to police our way out of the pandemic," he said. "The reality here is that this will likely impact Black, Indigenous, and people of colour." "I am very concerned about arbitrary stops of people by police at any time," Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a tweet. While violating restrictions can carry a $750 fine, failure to provide police with requested information can result in criminal charges, according to the province's association of police chiefs. Large and small police forces across the province, however, said they had no intention of exercising their new-found powers. "I would like to reassure our citizens that our officers will not be conducting random vehicle or individual stops,” Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said in a statement on Saturday. Andrew Fletcher, chief of the South Simcoe Police Service, said officers would only act on complaints. Police forces from Thunder Bay to Ottawa to Toronto and Woodstock expressed similar positions. Civil rights groups, however, took little comfort. “Ontario is one step closer to becoming a police state,” said Joanna Baron, executive director of the Calgary-based Canadian Constitution Foundation. “Low income and minority communities have borne the brunt of this pandemic in terms of cases and mortality, and they are now more likely to bear the brunt of police enforcement.” The new restrictions, including a two-week extension to the province's stay-at-home order until May 20, were announced amid dire warnings from government scientific advisers that the pandemic was only set to worsen. Other measures include further restrictions on outdoor gatherings and indoor religious services, while recreational facilities such as sports fields and playgrounds are now closed. Ontario intends to shut its borders with Quebec and Manitoba to non-essential travel effective Monday. Ford said Friday the province was "on its heels" and the measures were urgently needed to bring the province's raging COVID-19 situation under control. But experts said Ford had missed the mark on key drivers of the pandemic, including a lack of paid sick leave for essential workers and dearth of evidence playgrounds have been a transmission source. “Doug Ford’s handling of this pandemic has been an abject failure and absolute disaster," said Patty Coates, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, a father of two young children, welcomed the change of heart on playgrounds, saying "common sense wins." "Now let’s have a discussion on other outdoor amenities as well," Brown said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
A dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases due to more harmful and transmissible variants of concern are creating challenges in Regina hospitals, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Intensive care units in the city have far exceeded their initial 27-bed capacity, and staff are "stretched to the max," said Lori Garbinski, executive director of provincial programs for tertiary care. As of Friday, there are 81 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Regina, 30 of whom are in the ICU. In order to make more room for those sick with the virus, the SHA has brought in 18 additional beds, and other wards have been expanded into ICU units. Additionally, the health authority has started housing two COVID-19 patients per room in the ICU, as well as in cardiac care units. "This action is unprecedented," Garchinski said. Regina ICU doctor Jeffrey Betcher said they are doubling occupancy to keep patients as close as possible in order to expand manpower, which he said was tight. Surge capacity The SHA will continue to double beds as needed, as all 45 of its Regina ICU beds are taken by both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. They are also considering expanding into the medical-surgical units if necessary. People who do not require critical care are being moved to hospitals in the rural south and also in the north in order to free up space. Other patients are bypassing Regina hospitals. Utilizing the field hospitals is not an option for the SHA. Garchinski said they were not built for critical care patients, but rather for those who are on the tail end of their journey and require oxygen or additional IVs. "The infrastructure is very different for critical care patients than a ward patient, and the field hospitals wouldn't have that sort of infrastructure in place," Betcher said. Beds at the Regina field hospital for COVID-19 patients. The SHA says the field hospital is not equipped to deal with critical care patients. (Saskatchewan Health Authority) With variants of concerns continuing to fuel a new surge of cases, health officials expect a rise in hospitalizations due to members of the public breaking public health orders over Easter. "What's happening now is really the result of what happened two weeks ago. As we're coming into the second week after Easter, we're seeing the results of large gatherings that may have not been in compliance with the health orders," Betcher said. Garchinski said the SHA continues to make plans with other ICUs in the province in order to expand levels of bed capacity and manpower. The SHA provided details of its ICU capacity by holding a rare press conference on Friday. "We're doing our part and it's really up to the public to do their part," Betcher said, as he pleaded with the public to follow all public health orders and get vaccinated. "If we tax our healthcare workers and healthcare system to the point of breaking, when this is over ... there's going to be a lot of people that are very tired. And I'm not sure the public would be confident and feel they got fresh healthcare workers looking after them after this is over." Dr. Jeffrey Betcher, right, was the very first person in Saskatchewan to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He is encouraging others in the province to help preserve the healthcare system and its workers, by getting the COVID-19 vaccine. (CBC) Health Minister says hospitalizations stabilized The SHA's message was different than the one provided by Health Minister Paul Merriman hours earlier. During a scrum at the Saskatchewan legislature Friday, Merriman said he heard double bedding "might be happening," adding it was "very temporary." Health Minister Paul Merriman. (CBC) He said while it's concerning Regina hospitals are on bypass, "we have seen the numbers stabilize as far as hospitalizations." "We're hoping that trend continues," Merriman said, encouraging the public, especially those in Regina, to get the COVID-19 vaccine. He said vaccines will continue to help drive down hospitalizations and deaths. However, Opposition Leader Ryan Meili called for the government to do more in order to reduce surge capacity at Regina hospitals. "We hope it's temporary, but it's avoidable. We didn't need to be in this situation, and it's much worse than the minister is willing to confess," Meili said.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India's capital New Delhi recorded 24,000 coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period and is facing an acute shortage of hospital beds, its chief minister said on Saturday, as the country overall recorded more than 200,000 cases for a third day. "Beds equipped with oxygen supplies, and for critical care, are filling fast," he added. New Delhi, which has imposed a weekend curfew, is among the worst hit cities in India, where a second major wave of coronavirus infections is straining health infrastructure.
As COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Ontario, the government is imposing the most drastic measures yet. Aaron McArthur has the details, and the reaction here in B.C.
OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19 vaccines to grow their international soft power by giving doses to desperate countries in order to have more political influence over them, experts say. Benjamin Gedan, deputy director of the Latin America program at the Wilson Center in Washington, called the practice "vaccine diplomacy," noting that it happens when countries seek to grow their international prestige by distributing vaccines to nations that need them. He said authoritarian governments, including those in China and Russia, have taken the lead in vaccine diplomacy in the last months. "It's never encouraging to see the world's largest dictatorships taking most advantage of this diplomatic opportunity," Gedan said. The China National Pharmaceutical Group Corp., Sinopharm, is producing two COVID-19 vaccines while Sinovac, a Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company, is making a third one. Gedan said while China had offered bilateral loans of US$1 billion in Latin America, it refused to give COVID-19 vaccines to Paraguay, which recognizes Taiwan diplomatically. "There have been reports from the foreign minister of Paraguay that intermediaries of the Chinese government explicitly said that Paraguay will not access the Chinese vaccine unless it changes its position on Taiwan," he said. He added there have been reports that Brazil, which is suffering one of the world's worst COVID-19 outbreaks, could not access Chinese vaccines without committing to allow Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from accessing its 5G wireless network auction. Lynette Ong, an associate political science professor at the University Of Toronto, said China has donated or sold its COVID-19 vaccine to almost all southeast Asian countries. "It usually comes with some sort of strings attached," she said. "There's definitely vaccine diplomacy going on quite aggressively by China." China's vaccine diplomacy is not as effective as its personal-protective equipment diplomacy was last year, Ong said. She said China was the only major producer of personal protective equipment last year while it's competing now with many other countries that are producing different types of COVID-19 vaccines. "China was not the first (country) to have the vaccine produced and manufactured," she said. Ong said China has invested a lot in boosting its soft power in developing countries from Latin America, Africa and southeast Asia, but it has also received a lot of pushback. "There is so much pushback against Huawei just because it is a Chinese brand, right, not because people have found evidence that we can squarely put Huawei in the category of espionage," she said. Aurel Braun, a Russian foreign policy professor at the University of Toronto, said Russia has been pushing particular political agendas and integrating vaccine diplomacy as a much more significant element of its foreign policy than China. "China is much wealthier, has a far larger economy than Russia. It is able to provide all kinds of other economic benefits. Providing the vaccine is one of many options that they have," he said. "(For Russia,) The Sputnik V (vaccine) is a much more important tool, and they have been especially focusing in certain parts of Europe or where leaders have been more sympathetic to Mr. Putin's policy ... like Viktor Orban in Hungary or in Slovakia." Jillian Kohler, a pharmacy and public health professor at the University of Toronto, said China and Russia saw an opportunity in the lack of COVID-19 vaccine supply, and they are taking advantage of that to further their political goals. "If ... Russia or China aren't actually asking for something explicitly, there's an implicit bargain happening here," she said. "Countries are turning to Russia and China because they're desperate, so when you do that, I mean, you're in a position of weakness, and when you're in a position of weakness that might mean at some point that you're going to have to compensate for that." Gedan, the Washington-based Wilson Center expert, said the United States may soon share its supply of COVID-19 vaccines globally, which would limit China and Russia's ability to influence other countries using their supplies. "I think we're rapidly approaching the moment where the United States will be able to play a major role in the global vaccination campaign," he said. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently named Gayle Smith, who headed the US Agency for International Development under former president Barack Obama, to a new position as the U.S. coordinator for global COVID-19 response to support a worldwide effort to inoculate against the novel coronavirus. Gedan said the United States has made some efforts to be helpful by committing US$4 billion to COVAX, a World Health Organization program, and by sending Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine shipments to Mexico and Canada. But these efforts are going to be more significant soon when the U.S begins exporting more of its Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, he said. He said the United States is planning to do most of its vaccine distributions through COVAX, which means they will get distributed to both friendly governments and adversarial countries. "(The U.S. approach is) to distribute vaccines in a way that reflects, you know, public health needs and not foreign policy goals," he said. Most countries are not only struggling with a lack of capacity to produce vaccines locally but also with a lack of resources to procure vaccines from the companies that are making them, he said. He said the lack of a local capacity to produce vaccines has slowed Canada's vaccination campaign, but Canada has been able to purchase an extraordinary number of doses. "Eventually, Canada will likely be exporting some of these vaccines that it has purchased that are above and beyond its local need." This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2021. ------ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
SANTA FE, N.M. — The 300-million-year-old shark’s teeth were the first sign that it might be a distinct species. The ancient chompers looked less like the spear-like rows of teeth of related species. They were squatter and shorter, less than an inch long, around 2 centimetres. “Great for grasping and crushing prey rather than piercing prey,” said discoverer John-Paul Hodnett, who was a graduate student when he unearthed the first fossils of the shark at a dig east of Albuquerque in 2013. This week, Hodnett and a slew of other researchers published their findings in a bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science identifying the shark as a separate species. He named the 6.7-foot (2 metre) monster Dracopristis hoffmanorum, or Hoffman’s Dragon Shark, in honour of the New Mexico family that owns the land in the Manzano Mountains where the fossils were found. Hodnett says the area is rife with fossils and easy to access because of a quarry and other commercial digging operations. The name also harkens to the dragon-like jawline and 2.5-foot (0.75-meter) fin spines that inspired the discovery’s initial nickname, “Godzilla Shark.” The formal naming announcement followed seven years of excavation, preservation and study. The 12 rows of teeth on the shark's lower jaw, for example, were still obscured by layers of sediment after excavation. Hodnett only saw them by using an angled light technique that illuminates objects below. Hodnett is now the paleontologist and program co-ordinator for the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission’s Dinosaur Park in Laurel, Maryland. His fellow researchers come from the New Mexico museum, as well as St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania, Northern Arizona University, and Idaho State University. The recovered fossil skeleton is considered the most complete of its evolutionary branch —ctenacanth — that split from modern sharks and rays around 390 million years ago and went extinct around 60 million years later. Back then, eastern New Mexico was covered by a seaway that extended deep into North America. Hodnett and his colleagues believe that Hoffman’s dragon shark most likely lived in the shallows along the coast, stalking prey like crustaceans, fish and other sharks. New Mexico's high desert plateaus have also yielded many dinosaur fossils, including various species of tyrannosaurus that roamed the land millions of years ago when it was a tropical rain forest. ___ Attanasio is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for Americ a is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. Follow Attanasio on Twitter. Cedar Attanasio, The Associated Press
A surge in patients with COVID-19 means Vancouver General Hospital's intensive care unit is under intense strain with patients arriving "back to back," according to a critical care physician who works there. Dr. Hussein Kanji, the hospital's medical director of the high acuity unit, said everyone working in the ICU is stretched to the limit. "Our hospital system is incredibly, incredibly stressed right now. Our ICUs are more stressed than they've ever been," Kanji told reporters Friday. "We're all exhausted." Friday saw a record 425 patients in hospital with COVID-19 across B.C., including 127 in intensive care — more than ever before. Between 50 and 70 patients a week are now entering critical care with the disease. On the ground, that's translating into hectic days at VGH. "They seem to be coming back to back or even at the same time needing admission into the ICU. Just right now we've had two simultaneous admissions into the emergency department needing our care," Kanji said. 'Way, way, way beyond the call of duty' He said patients are coming in more quickly after their initial diagnosis, they're much sicker and they're younger than what was seen previously in the pandemic. Younger patients are now needing ventilators and other lifesaving interventions more frequently as well. Data presented by health officials on Thursday shows a significant spike over the last month in the number of patients between the ages of 40 and 59 who are ending up in hospital with COVID-19. In Ontario, doctors have begun discussing "triage" measures in the event hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. In these scenarios, because of insufficient staff and resources, doctors would have to decide which critically ill patients will receive lifesaving care. Dr. Hussein Kanji is the medical director of the high acuity unit at Vancouver General Hospital.(CBC News) Kanji said B.C.'s medical system is not in immediate danger of being overwhelmed and "I very much hope we'll never be in that position." But he added that the availability of health care professionals will be the limiting factor in B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix told reporters Friday that B.C. has enough beds and equipment to handle a significant surge in hospitalizations, but the province cannot spare any workers. There are reports that Ontario Premier Doug Ford has asked other provinces to send health-care workers to support the crunch in his province, but Dix said it's not possible for B.C. to help out. Despite the pressures at VGH, Kanji said he's never seen staff working with such a high level of devotion to patient care. "There isn't a single staff member who hasn't gone way, way, way beyond the call of duty, and it's heartwarming," he said.
Members of Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table say the provincial government only included about 70 per cent of neighbourhoods it recommended be designated hot spots. Director Dr. Peter Juni told CBC's Ontario Today that the table was asked by the province to provide a list of postal codes it felt was at greatest risk. The list it created included about 20 per cent of Ontario's population, mostly in the Greater Toronto Area. But Juni said when the government revealed the final designations, there were some neighbourhoods that the science table couldn't "replicate how they came on there." In a statement, Rob Steiner, another member of the table, said they did not "determine the actual [postal codes] that the government would ultimately prioritize in its vaccine strategy." K2V with second-lowest hot spot population Earlier this month, the province released a list of 114 postal code zones designated as hot spots and announced the start of targeted vaccinations in those areas for people aged 50 and up. It later announced that all adults in those hot spots would be eligible to get vaccinated immediately. Included in that list are the K1T, K1V and the K2V postal codes in Ottawa. In a memo from Ottawa Public Health, the first two postal codes contain what it's identified as high-priority neighbourhoods, but K2V has none. The postal code, which includes Stittsville and Kanata, has the second lowest population of all the province's designated hot spots with just 2,435 people, according to the most recent Statistics Canada census in 2016. The only other postal code with a lower population is L9E, the Milton-Halton region, with 723 people. The populations of K1V and K1T are between 35,000 and 54,000. Province defends decision Both the NDP and Liberals questioned the province's list of hot spots earlier this week. For its part, the province said in a statement that hot spots were "identified based on Public Health Ontario data and criteria including hospitalizations, outbreak data, low testing rates and deaths during the second wave of the pandemic." It said regions in the highest 20 per cent were identified as hot spot communities, and regions in the top 30 per cent that had significant low-income populations or faced other challenges were also included. The undertaking also applied "an anti-racism lens to ensure Ontario protects vulnerable communities," the province said. The province defended including the K2V postal code, saying it had "44 per cent more COVID ICU cases per 10,000 than the provincial average." But given that the population of the K2V area is so low, CBC asked how much weight the province's calculations bears on its decision to label it as a "hot spot." As of Friday evening, the province had not sent a response.
Some trappers and elders from Little Red River Cree Nation in northern Alberta are urging the province to protect a dwindling Wabasca wood buffalo herd. In a letter to Environment Minister Jason Nixon, they ask for immediate action to end unregulated hunting by legally protecting the herd. "Our Woodland Cree Trappers and Elders have seen the Wabasca wood buffalo herd plummet without suitable recovery management actions," says the March 26 letter, which was signed by trappers Johnson Alook, Sylvester Auger and Lorne Tallcree. "We have not seen more than nine animals at a time of this herd this past season." A spokesman for Nixon said in a statement Friday that the province recognizes the importance of the Wabasca herd to Indigenous people and other Albertans. "The Wabasca bison population plays an important role in the conservation and recovery of wood bison in northern Alberta," said the emailed statement from press secretary Paul Hamnett. "Currently the Wabasca bison population is at low levels and at risk of local extinction. At this time, the Wabasca bison population cannot sustain any level of harvesting." The statement said the province is looking at all potential measures and actions that could be taken to conserve and recover the population. The trappers said they have yet to receive a response from the province, but hope officials will take steps to protect the herd before it disappears completely. "When I started trapping, I used to see 40, 30 buffalo," Alook said in an interview. "For a few years now, I haven't seen any buffalo. "There's some buffalo out there, but I haven't seen them. I used to see them every time we'd go out there." Other trappers and elders noticed the same thing, added Auger, so they decided to form a group to express their concerns. "We want to get them protected," he said. 'At this point it's dire' Kecia Kerr, executive director for the northern chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said it has worked with the group and shares its concerns. "There isn't a very good estimate of population size for this herd. But when you are talking about 20 individuals, at this point it's dire," she said. Kerr said the society would like to see the herd get subject animal status, which is a category that allows for legal protection. It would also like to see hunting become regulated, she said. "Ultimately, in Alberta, there needs to be a change to how bison are provided status across the province." The letter says the herd is culturally and ecologically important as one of the few disease-free, free-ranging wood buffalo herds in Canada. There are only two other healthy herds in Alberta — in Ronald Lake and Hay Zama — and both have protections that prohibit unregulated hunting. "The persistence of this genetically unique, disease-free herd is critical to the recovery of the species," says the letter. "It has been our observation that unregulated harvesting targets the largest members of the herd and that when this herd is faced with the threats originating from predators, the largest members of the herd protect the young by forming a protective shield around them. "Thus, we believe the unregulated harvesting weakens the protective capacity of the herd and has a compounding effect towards herd extinction." Urgent action must be taken so that future generations of the Little Red River Cree Nation can exercise ceremonial use and have food security from the herd, it says. "The current situation, as it trends now towards herd extinction, does not uphold the honour and integrity of the Crown in protecting our treaty right."
A B.C. man who deliberately crashed his car into the Fraser River with his then-girlfriend in the passenger seat has been given a two-month conditional sentence for dangerous driving. Hua Feng, 37, sent his car plunging into the river at the foot of Fraser Street in Vancouver on Sept. 17, 2019, during an argument with the woman he was dating at the time, according to a provincial court sentencing decision. The couple began arguing after they spent an unsuccessful day driving around the city trying to borrow money from friends, Judge Reginald Harris said in his reasons for sentence, handed down Tuesday. According to Harris, the girlfriend told Feng "she did not want to live this way and she told Mr. Feng that he was 'garbage' and said, 'Why don't you die?' Mr. Feng responded by saying, 'Then let's die together.' " He then began swerving across the roadway, accelerating and braking suddenly, while the girlfriend tried taking control of the steering wheel and pleaded with him to stop. According to the decision, video from the scene shows Feng speeding into the 8600 block of Fraser Street, driving between two concrete barriers, and then careening over an embankment and into the river. A forensic examination of the vehicle showed Feng was driving 71 kilometres per hour — 21 kilometres over the speed limit — just 2.5 seconds before they hit the water. He didn't hit the brakes until about one second before impact. When they landed in the water, the girlfriend tried to open the passenger door to escape, but it was stuck, according to the decision. Thankfully, Feng managed to open his door and they were both able to get to safety. 'Deliberately and recklessly' put woman in danger Feng pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving, and his defence team asked for a conditional discharge, arguing that he was "he was exhausted, distracted and driving in an unfamiliar area" at the time of the crash, the judge wrote. But Harris rejected those claims. "Mr. Feng conducted himself in a manner whereby he deliberately and recklessly put [his then-girlfriend] in danger. She was a passenger in his car and he had a duty to drive safely and exercise all caution. Instead … Mr. Feng acted without consideration for her safety and he drove into the river," the judge said. Because of what happened, the victim told the court she will not ride in cars with other people and gets nervous near flowing water. She said she was unable to sleep after the crash, and lost her job because of poor performance. Harris said Feng's crime warranted a sentence that will "send a message to Mr. Feng and others that driving with the intention of causing fear will result in harsh consequences, particularly when the conduct impacts a passenger who has no mechanism of escape." However, the judge rejected the Crown's suggested six-month conditional sentence, saying it was "disproportionate" to the crime. He said two months served in the community would send enough of a message. Harris also declined to make an order for probation once Feng's sentence is over, and said he would not impose a 12-month driving prohibition. Feng served six days in jail after his arrest for the crash.
In a Global News exclusive, a Peel Regional Police sergeant was filmed getting up and personal with supporters of a Mississauga gym that's been ordered to close. As of Friday evening, it still was open. There were no masks and plenty of hugs as the officer watched Sean O'Shea get approached by an anti-mask supporter.