Howe Sound is a gorgeous natural environment in southern British Columbia that came back from the brink of ecological disaster. But as Mia Gordon explains, history may be repeating itself as climate change stresses an already vulnerable habitat.
Howe Sound is a gorgeous natural environment in southern British Columbia that came back from the brink of ecological disaster. But as Mia Gordon explains, history may be repeating itself as climate change stresses an already vulnerable habitat.
Supercar maker the Gordon Murray Group said on Tuesday it plans a 300-million-pound ($420 million) expansion over the next five years, which includes developing electric SUVs and delivery vehicles for carmakers as it shifts towards an all-electric supercar by 2030. "Electric is what we've been missing and that's where the future is," founder and chairman Gordon Murray, the Formula One design great who oversaw one of the sport's most successful cars to date, told Reuters. The carmaker will make 100 of them next year, selling for around 2.4 million pounds each.
NEW DELHI (AP) — Scores of dead bodies have been found floating down the Ganges River in eastern India as the country battles a ferocious surge in coronavirus infections. Authorities said Tuesday they haven't yet determined the cause of death. Health officials working through the night Monday retrieved 71 bodies, officials in Bihar state said. Images on social media of the bodies floating in the river prompted outrage and speculation that they died from COVID-19. Authorities performed post mortems on Tuesday but said they could not confirm the cause of death due to the decomposition of the bodies. More corpses were found floating in the river on Tuesday, washing up in Ghazipur district in neighboring Uttar Pradesh state. Police and villagers were at the site, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Monday’s incident. “We are trying to find out where did these dead bodies come from? How did they get here?” said Mangla Prasad Singh, a local official. Surinder, a resident of Ghazipur who uses one name, said villagers didn't have enough wood to cremate their dead on land. “Due to the shortage of wood, the dead are being buried in the water,” he said. “Bodies from around 12-13 villages have been buried in the water.” Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are experiencing rising COVID-19 cases as infections in India grow faster than anywhere else in the world. On Tuesday, the country confirmed nearly 390,000 new cases, including 3,876 more deaths. Overall, India has had the second highest number of confirmed cases after the U.S. with nearly 23 million and over 240,000 deaths. All of the figures are almost certainly a vast undercount, experts say. The Associated Press
A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for a suspect in a stabbing death in downtown Calgary last month. Police said the victim, who was identified by police as Russell David Younker, 49, was stabbed on April 15 during a fight on 11th Street S.W. near the Downtown West-Kerby CTrain station. Younker collapsed at the scene while the attacker ran away. Younker later died in hospital. Police believe the victim and the accused knew each other, and the altercation resulted from a previous incident that occurred between them. Christopher Douglas Mathers, 34, was identified as a suspect because of a tip provided by a member of the public, police said Tuesday. Upon attempting to locate Mathers, investigators said they learned he had moved out of his house and had potentially left Calgary. Mathers is believed to have connections to British Columbia, Halifax and London, Ont. A warrant has now been issued for Mathers. He faces a second-degree murder charge. Police describe him as six-foot-one, about 220 pounds and having brown hair and blue eyes. Investigators are still hoping to speak with a potential witness.(Calgary Police Service) Investigators are still hoping to speak with a potential witness. The witness was seen wearing a blue hoodie with a red logo on the front, a baseball cap, sunglasses and a backpack. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Mathers is asked to call the homicide tip line at 403-428-8877, or the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.
EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is rejecting an accusation from Alberta’s justice minister that the federal government is part of a trio wanting the province’s health system to collapse under the pressure of COVID-19. “It’s a shame to see people pointing fingers and laying blame and suggesting that anyone in Canada wants anything else than to get through this pandemic as safely as possible everywhere,” Trudeau, responding to remarks by Kaycee Madu, said in Ottawa on Tuesday. “Playing politics at this point is just not what Canadians want to see.” Alberta has recently had COVID-19 case rates that are the highest in North America. Trudeau noted he reached out to Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta's big city mayors last week to offer further support if called upon. “Every step of the way the federal government has been there to support Canadians, with $8 out of every $10 in pandemic support coming from the federal government,” said Trudeau. “We will continue to work with all governments across this county to make sure we’re getting through this.” Last week, Kenney introduced tighter public health restrictions. He warned that hospitals were otherwise on course to be overwhelmed in a matter of weeks. Madu, in a Facebook post last Friday, wrote that the province can't risk giving the COVID-19 virus a chance to "overwhelm our health-care system. "That's what the NDP, the media and the federal Liberals were looking for and want," he wrote. Madu was not made available for an interview, but his spokesman, Blaise Boehmer, has said Madu stands by the remark. Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said her caucus has pushed for Kenney’s government to enact rules and messaging to reduce the spread of the virus, while giving businesses financial aid to survive and workers support to allow them to isolate but still provide for their families. “A minister of the Crown would be best served to listen to the proposals that are put forward by the Opposition as well as, heaven forbid, the critiques, because that is actually the way our system works,” said Notley. She said Madu’s comments in the justice post are Kenney’s responsibility. “You don’t tend to see that sort of incendiary, thoughtless messaging or tone from someone who takes on the role of justice minister,” she said. Alberta has well over 25,000 active COVID-19 cases. There were 690 people in hospital on Monday and 158 of them were in intensive care -- the highest since the pandemic began. Kenney, after resisting calls for more health restrictions, acted last Tuesday. He closed schools and brought in sharper limits on businesses and worship services. He had been facing criticism that his government waited too long to react to the pandemic's third wave, but replied that no one should point fingers and politicize the fight against COVID-19. Kenney and his minsters have repeatedly accused Trudeau’s government of hamstringing the relief effort and, as late as April 29, Kenney blamed Alberta's third wave on Ottawa for a slow vaccine rollout. Also Tuesday, Alberta Health confirmed it won't give out more first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being. Spokesman Tom McMillan said the decision was made because there aren't any confirmed shipments of AstraZeneca coming and the province only has 8,400 doses left. Those are to be used as second doses. “Unlike with AstraZeneca, Alberta is receiving the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in large and consistent shipments,” said McMillan, who noted that more than 236,000 doses are arriving this week alone. Alberta has administered 255,000 first doses of AstraZeneca. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021. Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — New Democrats have joined forces with the Liberals to cut short initial debate on a bill aimed at ensuring a federal election could be held safely, if need be, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The move ensures that Bill C-19 will be put to a second reading vote Tuesday, allowing it to be referred to a House of Commons committee for greater scrutiny and potential amendments. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says the move short-circuits democracy on a bill meant to protect democracy. Conservatives are complaining bitterly that they've had only four hours to debate the bill since it was introduced almost five months ago. But they also ate up the three hours that were supposed to be devoted to C-19 today, using a procedural tactic that forced the Commons to debate instead a committee report on the Line 5 pipeline dispute with Michigan. NDP MP Daniel Blaikie says his party supported time allocation on C-19 after the Conservatives made it clear they're only interested in blocking the bill. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
The ongoing Lower Mainland gangs conflict is increasingly putting the public in danger as brazen killers move to target their rivals in public spaces during daytime hours. In the past three weeks, six men have been shot to death in places like a park, mall or sports facility, a seeming departure from earlier gang-related murders that happened mostly at night and out of sight. Last month, Manny Mann, head of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. said elements of the increasing violence are related to the historic gang war that dates back 15 years between the Red Scorpions, Independent Soldiers and Wolf Pack versus the United Nations. He also said new players on the gang landscape are contributing to drive the escalation. Below is a list of men and one boy who have been killed in the past five months. Police have either linked the homicides to gang warfare or have said the victim was targeted. May 9 - Karman Grewal, 28 In the latest brazen murder, Grewal was shot to death on the sidewalk outside the international departures terminal at Vancouver Airport around 3 p.m. Suspects in a getaway vehicle fired shots at police as they fled. They remain at large. May 8 - Blerton "Toni" Dalipi, 19 Dalpi died in hospital after being shot in broad daylight as he left a vape store on Sixth Street in Burnaby. An innocent male bystander was hit by a stray bullet and suffered non-life threatening injuries. Ahmed Riyaz Tahir, 20, was charged with one count of first-degree murder. Tahir was previous charged with attempted murder in a 2019 shooting in New Westminster. May 1 - Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29 The B.C. corrections officer was shot and killed in broad daylight in the busy parking lot of the Scottsdale Centre mall on the Surrey-Delta border. Bystander video caught the apparent killer running to a getaway car. Police believe Randhawa was targeted but say the motive is unclear. B.C. corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa was shot and killed in a busy Delta mall parking lot on May 1, 2021.(Facebook) April 22 - Todd Gouwenberg, 46 The United Nations gang associate and ex-MMA fighter was gunned down outside the front doors of the Langley Sportsplex around 9 a.m. The facility houses a daycare, four rinks and a fitness centre. April 19 - Bailey McKinney, 20 Shot to death near a skateboard park at busy Coquitlam Town Centre Park around 6:30 p.m. IHIT said McKinney was in conflict with people or a group who were believed to have targeted him. April 17 - Harpreet "Harb" Singh Dhaliwal, 31 The Abbotsford man was shot to death outside of Cardero's restaurant in Vancouver's Coal Harbour at 8:30 p.m. on a Saturday night in the first of a string of brazen daylight killings in public spaces. March 19 - Joban Dhindsa, 23, and Chaten Dhindsa, 25 The brothers were found dead inside a burning building in the 22000-block of Rathburn Drive in Richmond. Investigators said they had suffered injuries consistent with homicide and were likely targeted in the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict. Feb. 3 - Chris Kenworthy, 32 Shot to death in his vehicle at 8 p.m. in the 6500-block of Portland Street in Burnaby in what police say was a targeted murder. Kenworthy pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2006 killing of Surrey drug dealer Kee Woo and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Although 17 at the time of the murder, Kenoworthy's case was raised to adult court. Jan. 26 - Arshdeep Singh, 22 Shot dead in a vehicle in the 5300-block of 207 Street in Langley. A second man in the vehicle was also shot but survived. Singh was known to police and had ties to the drug trade. Jan. 9 - Dilraj Johal, 28 Found shot to death in a condo unit at 8120 Lansdowne Road in Richmond, in what was the third gang-related killing in a four day span. Investigators said Johal was known to police and was targeted. Jan. 7 - Anees Mohammed, 29 Shot several times in the area of Garry St. and Fentiman Place in the Steveston neighbourhood of Richmond. IHIT investigators linked his death to gangs and say he was targeted for murder. Jan. 6 - Gary Kang, 24 Shot several times just after 5 a.m. at his home near 161 Street and 30th Avenue in the Morgan Heights neighbourhood of Surrey. Kang was well known to police who said his killing was connected to the ongoing Lower Mainland gang war. Dec. 28, 2020 - Tequel Willis, 14 The Burnaby teen is the youngest victim of the ongoing violence. He was shot multiple times while getting out of a taxi near 148A Street and 110 Avenue in Surrey at 7:30 in the evening. Police say he was targeted. Dec. 27, 2020 - Harman Singh Dhesi, 19 Shot to death in his vehicle in the area of 137A Street and 90th Avenue in Surrey at 10:30 p.m. Dhesi was known to police who say he was targeted for murder.
The health minister spoke Monday on possibly extending the stay-at-home order. Right now, it’s looking more and more like it will be extended. Travis Dhanraj reports.
The Philippines has detected its first two cases of a coronavirus variant first identified in India, its health ministry said on Tuesday, even as confirmed daily COVID-19 infections fell to a near eight-week low. The World Health Organization has classified the coronavirus variant, known as B.1.617, as a variant of global concern with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily.
Peru's sol currency on Monday posted its biggest daily gain in just over five years after opinion polls showed the gap closing between socialist front-runner Pedro Castillo and the right-wing Keiko Fujimori ahead of June 6 presidential elections. Two new polls released Sunday and Monday showed Castillo, a little known schoolteacher from rural Peru, had lost almost his entire lead over Fujimori, a three-time contender for the presidency. The sol closed up 2.36%, its strongest daily performance since April 2016.
OTTAWA — A Liberal MP is advising the Public Health Agency of Canada not to rely on legal advice from the federal Justice Department because it is not always right. Toronto MP Rob Oliphant, parliamentary secretary to the Foreign Affairs minister, gave the advice late Monday at a House of Commons committee that is trying to find out why two scientists at Canada's highest security laboratory were fired. PHAC president Iain Stewart told the special committee on Canada-China relations that revealing details would breach the Privacy Act and jeopardize national security and an ongoing RCMP investigation. He says that advice was given by the Justice Department. Committee members, backed up by parliamentary law clerk Phiippe Dufresne, insist they have the constitutional authority to order the production of any documents they please and that their authority takes precedence over any other laws. But Christian Roy, director and senior general counsel of health legal services at the Justice Department, says the department has never recognized the power of committees to compel documents in violation of the Privacy Act or other laws. Oliphant questioned Roy's legal opinion. "Lawyers are not always right and Justice lawyers are particularly, in my mind, not always right," he told the committee. He noted that Justice lawyers were wrong in claiming a law banning genetic discrimination was unconstitutional, after fighting it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Moreover, Oliphant said he was "horrified" to discover that Justice lawyers had advised the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to illegally keep potentially revealing electronic data about people over a 10-year period. "I have learned to now question of Department of Justice lawyers," Oliphant said, suggesting that Stewart get "a second opinion because the Justice Department is not giving you the best advice." The committee voted unanimously later Monday to give PHAC 10 days to turn over unredacted documents about the fired scientists, which the parliamentary law clerk is to review and advise committee members as to what needs to be blacked out to protect privacy, national security and the police investigation. If the agency continues to refuse to disclose the unredacted documents, the committee will seek an order to do so from the House of Commons. PHAC formally terminated the employment of Canadian scientists Xiangguo Qiu and her husband, Keding Cheng, in January. The pair was escorted out of the National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in July 2019 over what Stewart has described as "relating to possible breaches in security protocols." The Winnipeg lab is Canada’s only Level Four laboratory, designed to deal safely with deadly contagious germs such as Ebola. PHAC has previously said the pair's escorted exit had nothing to do with the fact that four months earlier, Qiu had been responsible for a shipment of Ebola and Henipah viruses to China's Wuhan Institute of Virology. Stewart has released some redacted documents to the committee about that virus transfer, which he said show that all laws and protocols were followed. He also assured the committee Monday that there is no link between those viruses and the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which first surfaced in China's Wuhan province. That didn't stop Conservative MP Michael Chong, who referred to the two fired scientists as being Chinese when they are in fact Canadians. "There is no doubt that (Qui) trained technicians at that very institute of virology to establish a Level Four lab, the only Level Four lab in the People's Republic of China, and there is no doubt that the coronavirus emerged ostensibly in Wuhan a number of months later," Chong said. He dismissed suggestions that he was peddling a conspiracy theory, citing various experts who've posited that the coronavirus may have been inadvertently released from the Wuhan lab. Oliphant accused Chong of "drawing two threads that are completely unrelated together," calling it "absolutely irresponsible" and "cheap politics." Bloc Quebecois MP Stephane Bergeron agreed that Chong's language was inflammatory. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including confirmation of a presumptive case in a school on Newfoundland's west coast. With five new recoveries, there are now 77 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Six of Tuesday's new cases are in the Eastern Health region, four are in Central Health, and five are in Western Health. Thirteen are related to travel within Canada and the other two are close contacts of previous cases, the Department of Health said in a media release. On Tuesday morning, before confirmation of the presumptive case announced Monday, the department asked students and staff of Belanger Memorial School in the Codroy Valley to arrange a test, even if they did not have any COVID-19 symptoms. "This testing is part of a public health investigation to determine whether there has been transmission within the school. Being tested is an opportunity to help protect the health of all school and community members," reads a media advisory issued by Western Health on Tuesday morning. Belanger Memorial School is in the Codroy Valley and has an enrolment of 143 students, according to its profile on the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District website. The department issued a batch of flight advisories in relation to the new cases. Public health is asking passengers who travelled on these flights to arrange COVID-19 testing: Air Canada Flight 678 from Montreal to St. John's on Friday. WestJet Flight 3422 from Halifax to St. John's on Friday. Air Canada Flight 7542, leaving Toronto on Friday and arriving in Deer Lake on Saturday. Air Canada Flight 678 from Montreal to St. John's on Saturday. Air Canada Flight 7542, leaving Toronto on Saturday and arriving in Deer Lake on Sunday. Air Canada Flight 8016 from Montreal to St. John's on Sunday. Passengers can complete the online self-assessment tool or call 811 to arrange testing. There were also five more recoveries on Tuesday: one in Eastern Health, three in Central Health and one in Western Health. One person is in hospital due to COVID-19. To date, 136,615 people have been tested, including 317 since Monday's update. How to book a test To book a test, students and staff should complete the online self-assessment and referral tool here or call 811. When asked if they require a COVID-19 test as a result of an advisory from public health, people should select "Yes," and also answer "Yes" when asked if they're involved in the Belanger Memorial investigation. Residents will be contacted to book an appointment time. A temporary drive-up testing site is set up for Tuesday and Wednesday at at St. Ann's Social Centre in the Codroy Valley. People can check their test results here and they will usually be available within 24 hours. Anyone who has symptoms must isolate themselves, under public health guidelines. Individuals who do not have symptoms do not need to isolate themselves unless they have been advised to do so by public health. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Alberta reported 1,597 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and seven new deaths, as the province's COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opened up to everyone in the province age 12 or older. The province has now seen 1,916,957 doses of vaccine administered, an increase of 27,918 from the previous day. So far, 318,841 Albertans have been fully immunized with two doses of vaccine. As of end of day Sunday, about 35.7 per cent of Alberta's population had received at least one dose. In a social media post, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said more than 112,000 Albertans age 12 and older had booked vaccine appointments as of 2:30 p.m. Monday, the first day of the newly expanded eligibility. Labs completed 13,921 tests for COVID-19 Sunday, with a positivity rate around 11.4 per cent. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 continue to rise. Across the province, 690 people were being treated in hospital for the disease, an increase of 22 from the previous day. Included in the total were 158 patients in intensive care. Alberta had 25,438 active cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday. Here's how those cases break down regionally: Calgary zone: 11,539 Edmonton zone: 5,944 North zone: 3,762 Central zone: 2,807 South zone: 1,335 Unknown: 51 The latest R-value information, the number of people infected by each infected person, shows that spread of COVID-19 had slowed across the province last week, except for the Calgary zone. Here are the latest R-value numbers from May 3 to May 9: Alberta, province-wide: 1.00 Edmonton zone: 0.96 Calgary zone: 1.06 Rest of Alberta: 0.94 On Monday, the World Health Organization classified the B1617 variant, first found in India, as a global variant of concern. So far, six cases of that variant have been detected in Alberta. There are currently 10,673 active variant cases in Alberta, though the province recently reduced its variant testing and is no longer screening all positive cases for variants of concern.
VICTORIA — British Columbia's provincial health officer says COVID-19 measures will eventually be loosened across the province at the same time despite lower transmission rates in some regions, but case numbers and hospitalizations are still too high to consider changes. Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday that two previous attempts last year to lift restrictions regionally did not work because people travelling from one area to another brought the illness along or took it back home with them. She said Nova Scotia is an example of how a low number of cases can quickly climb, so everyone in B.C. will need to follow the same rules as rising vaccination levels and fewer hospitalizations allow indoor dining to resume, for example. "We know how important that is for restaurants, but it's also an important safe place when rates are low in our community and when people are protected through immunization," Henry said. People who have received two doses of a vaccine can't yet return to post-pandemic activities with each other, she said, because vaccines do not provide 100 per cent protection and those who have been immunized can get infected again because too much of the virus is still being transmitted. "Right now we're not at a place where any of us can let our guard down, but we will get there and we will be there in a matter of weeks now, not months anymore." Henry urged everyone who is eligible to book an appointment to get vaccinated and said that compared with teachers, fewer child-care workers have chosen to get immunized. The province reported 1,759 cases of COVID-19 over three days on Monday, along with 20 deaths, most of them among people over the age of 70. People who are aged 40 and up could register for the province's age-based vaccination plan as of Monday, along with those who are 18 and over and living in high-risk areas. Henry said a vaccination plan for children between the ages of 12 and 17 will be released in the coming days and anyone who received their first dose before the provincial registration system was set up should book their second dose online. An interactive app providing information on case numbers and vaccination rates in particular neighbourhoods and by age and sex will also be available soon, she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The Toronto Zoo says an endangered tiger cub born just over a week ago has died after experiencing serious health issues. The zoo says in a Facebook post that the Amur tiger cub, one of three born on April 30, was euthanized Sunday evening. It says the decision was made after the cub's health deteriorated despite days of critical care by veterinarians. The zoo says the male cub started looking lethargic last Friday, and tests eventually showed it had severe liver damage and life-threatening electrolyte imbalances. The organization says an autopsy has since confirmed the liver damage and indicated the cub was not properly digesting milk. It says the two other cubs appear to be doing well and continue to be monitored by zoo staff. The cubs were born after their mother, an Amur tiger nicknamed Mazzy, was paired with the male tiger Vasili through a program meant to promote conservation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021. The Canadian Press
After being detained on and off in Dubai since December 2015, Quebec geologist André Gauthier has finally returned to Canada. "I'm feeling very relieved, very well and very happy to be with my family," Gauthier said Tuesday morning. "And also very happy to retake the course of normal life." Originally from the Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean region, Gauthier was a whistleblower who alerted authorities in the United Arab Emirates to irregular dealings in a gold-trading company, Gold AE. But instead of being thanked for his efforts, he was arrested, charged and convicted with committing 73 counts in the very fraud he uncovered. After his arrest, Gauthier spent nearly 16 months in detention in Dubai from December 2015 to April 2017. "The conditions were very basic," said Gauthier. "Though we did manage to negotiate with the direction to buy some books." He later attempted to escape and return to Canada but was stopped in Oman before he could board his flight and was detained there before being extradited back to the UAE. "There was only one period where I really was down … and that was when I was recaptured in Oman," said Gauthier. In 2019, two Dubai court-appointed experts who analyzed the facts in the case exonerated Gauthier. However, due to a a technicality, Gauthier was only cleared of 11 counts of the total 73. "The court decided anyway to charge me with this and to go ahead with the condemnation so that's why I was a little scared and that's why I wrote to my son and my wife and my daughter, on a piece of paper, that they better forget me," said Gauthier. "Because certainly I'm innocent, certainly I will get out of this one day, but I could not ask them to wait anymore for me or even to have hope." André Gauthier arrived back in Toronto on May 5. He is now in mandatory quarantine. (Submitted by Alexis Gauthier) Still, the family did not give up hope. They continued to lobby the Canadian government on his behalf. His son, Alexis, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2019, appealing for help. In June of 2020, after years of detention and legal battles, Gauthier was finally ordered released. However, he had to remain in the country to face civil charges related to the same affair. This explains why his return to Canada was delayed another 10 months. Cleared of all charges Radha Stirling, Gauthier's laywer, said her client has now been cleared of all charges in connection with the fraud case. Stirling told CBC that the real culprits responsible for the multimillion-dollar fraud fled Dubai before they could be caught and used her client as a scapegoat. She said that Gauthier didn't even have access to the bank accounts that would have allowed him to commit the crimes he was accused of. Stirling said it was thanks to the intervention of Global Affairs Canada that Gauthier's release was secured. Second honeymoon André Gauthier sees this mandatory quarantine period as an opportunity to make up for lost time with his wife. (Submitted by Alexis Gauthier) After years away, Gauthier, now 68, finally returned to Canada last week. He arrived in Toronto May 5 and is completing the mandatory quarantine for travellers in his home. Gauthier says he is grateful to be back and is looking at this quarantine period as a sort of honeymoon with his wife. "I am actually in honeymoon with my wife at home because my wife decided to confine," said Gauthier. "I've been seeing, through the window, my son and my grandson who I don't know." He hopes to be able to make up for lost time with his family once his quarantine is over. "Soon, I will be able to have [my family] in my arms," he said. While he was detained, his father and father-in-law both died and he missed their funerals. He hopes to go pay his respects once he gets out.
Business owner Jeremy Regan woke up angry and dejected Monday — yet another day when his barbershop had been forced to shutter again by the Manitoba government without any evidence about why it needed to happen, more than 14 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, Regan is frustrated for his storefront not even because it had to close. “But I’m just absolutely confused and irritated that public-health officials and Premier Brian Pallister lied to us for weeks leading up to this,” the Hunter & Gunn owner told the Free Press. “We would’ve all been OK with these type of circuit-breaker closures, but it’s completely ruthless that they get a free pass on doing this, when all they did was tell us that the virus wasn’t coming from businesses and that we were doing a good job... When Pallister said the same things about us today, while telling us we still had to close, I just sighed so loudly. I literally wanted to yell.” Regan is not the only such business owner expressing this kind of discontent. In fact, stakeholders like the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce insist the provincial government has “completely flip-flopped” on its messaging leading up to new restrictions that came into effect Sunday, just before further measures were announced for schools and educators. “We simply don’t have the rationale, data or any such evidence provided to us right now for why this happened,” said Chuck Davidson, president and chief executive officer for the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “It seems businesses are bearing that brunt certainly, not because they’re the cause of the soaring cases, but because they’re lumped into helping turn down the dial on transmission overall at other places — mostly gatherings which the province isn’t enforcing to its full capacity,” said Loren Remillard of the Winnipeg Chamber. On Monday, Premier Pallister announced new grants, after a weekend of outrage from the business community. Pallister failed to provide such supports earlier at a press conference announcing the restrictions, which he also did not attend. The Manitoba Bridge Grant, which will dole out $5,000 a pop, is expected to be automatically provided to small- and medium-sized business owners who had qualified for its previous three iterations by the end of this week. “We’re grateful for this grant because, yes, we’d been asking for this for weeks,” said Davidson. “Is it going to be enough? I don’t think $20,000 will ever be enough when you’ve been basically closed for well over a year.” Pressed Monday, Pallister would not answer why the Tory government changed its tune about imposing new restrictions that required these grants in the first place. And Pallister also refused to say how this “tough decision” was made without any modelling or contact tracing data showing they were needed. “I’m not going to apologize. We had to act. We chose to act,” Pallister told reporters at a news conference, about his “unapologetic” demeanour for imposing restrictions that he admitted were “done out of a sense of urgency without a lot of advance notice.” The premier acknowledged restaurants, in particular, were “caught off guard” by the Mother’s Day measure. “So, this is a thank-you to them,” he said of a new top-up for eateries on top of the bridge grant for their plight. “We continue to offer the most generous programs and supports in the country,” said Pallister inaccurately, when asked about assistance for workers, who will lose hours or be stuck without pay altogether due to the new provincial measures. He touted a new provincial pandemic sick leave program that provides workers $600 for up to five full days, but only if it’s related to COVID-19 and if they’re taking time off completely — not if they lose hours because of the new measures. Last week, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced more than a dozen new measures, as coronavirus infections reached a level not seen since the peak of the second wave in November. The new orders will last at least until May 30. “I think it’s a valid question to ask why businesses are being closed when all we’ve heard is cases are coming from elsewhere,” said Jonathan Alward, Prairies director for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, on Monday. “That said, I know for a lot of people this grant extension will definitely be very helpful as they deal with that.” The CFIB, Retail Council of Canada (Prairies), and the Winnipeg and Manitoba Chambers of Commerce all expect future closures and layoffs as a result of the new restrictions. Temur Durrani, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
As some experts continue to warn of very rare side effects associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, Canadian health officials are now reviewing the research on mixing various COVID-19 shots. A study of a "mismatched" vaccine regimen is underway in the U.K. — but some scientists say there's reason to believe that administering two doses of different products could boost a person's immune response beyond what can be achieved by giving the same shot twice. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) caused some confusion earlier this month when it said the viral vector shot from AstraZeneca is not the "preferred" product given its associated risk of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) — a condition that causes blood clots. That warning came out after hundreds of thousands of Canadians had received the AstraZeneca vaccine already. According to the Ontario Science Table, estimates of the frequency of VITT in individuals who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine now range from 1 case in 26,000 to 1 case in 127,000 doses administered. The risk of developing this side effect, combined with an uncertain delivery schedule for future supply, has prompted some provinces to consider pausing AstraZeneca vaccinations altogether. Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's chief provincial public health officer, said Sunday a temporary suspension "has been discussed at many levels, and certainly discussed at our provincial program right now." Christine Elliott, Ontario's health minister, said Monday that recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine may receive a different shot for their second dose. While the AstraZeneca product has been deemed safe and effective repeatedly by Health Canada regulators, some people who already have received that vaccine are now looking at their options. What does the research say about mixing vaccines? Researchers at Oxford University in the U.K. launched a study in early February to explore the possible benefits of alternating different COVID-19 vaccines. According to the lead scientists, the study is "looking for clues as to how to increase the breadth of protection against new virus strains." The study — otherwise known as the COVID-19 Heterologous Prime Boost study, or "Com-COV" — is collecting data to determine whether receiving two different types of vaccine generates an immune response at least equal to the response that follows receiving the same product twice. (A "heterologous" vaccination regimen is one that uses more than one product.) Some early results may be available soon; the study team told CBC News it's "anticipating sharing data in the next week or so." People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton on April 20, 2021.(Jason Franson/The Canadian Press) All of the shots currently in use in Canada and the U.K. follow the same two-dose schedule, with a "prime" dose followed by a second "boost" dose some weeks later. (The one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot has been approved for use in Canada but it has not yet been administered.) The Oxford researchers are evaluating the effects of vaccine combinations — comparing the results of a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by either the Pfizer vaccine or a second AstraZeneca dose, or a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine followed by either the AstraZeneca or a second dose of the Pfizer. A second study, called Com-COV 2, includes the products from Moderna and Novavax as booster vaccines. Jonathan Van-Tam is the deputy chief medical officer for England and one of the senior officials responsible for this study. He said this research will "give us greater insight into how we can use vaccines to stay on top of this nasty disease." "It is possible that by combining vaccines, the immune response could be enhanced, giving even higher antibody levels that last longer," he said in a statement. "Unless this is evaluated in a clinical trial, we just won't know." Dr. Helen Fletcher is a professor of immunology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the U.K. She said a "mismatched" vaccine program would deliver some practical benefits — vaccine delivery logistics would be greatly simplified — but there could be another good reason to pursue a mixed-dose regimen. The prospect of a 'stronger immune response' "I'm excited about the study because I think it's likely that the immune response will be even better if you mix and match vaccines," Fletcher said in an interview with CBC News. "Mixing vaccines could give you a stronger immune response, or it could give a broader type of immune response — generating a wider range of antibodies, or T cells as well as antibodies. It's also possible that a mix and match regimen could strengthen our immune response against virus variants because of this stronger or broader immunity." Vaccines teach the immune system — which includes both antibodies and T-cells — to recognize part of a virus. A T cell is a type of white blood cell that responds to viral infections and boosts the immune function of other cells. Vials of the COVID-19 vaccine are seen on a filling machine at the Serum Institute of India, Pune, India, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.(Rafiq Maqbool/Associated Press) A single dose of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer shots has been found to generate a significant antibody response to the novel coronavirus. But a recent study by the U.K. Coronavirus Immunology Consortium and the University of Birmingham found that the AstraZeneca vaccine may actually induce a stronger cellular immune response than the Pfizer shot. So a combination of the two shots "could lead to a higher quantity of antibody, but it can also broaden the immune response," Fletcher said. Is there any history of mixing different vaccines like this? Yes. Fletcher said people have been combining vaccine types for several decades in an effort to boost immune responses to malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and cancers. A mixed vaccine regimen was approved for Ebola last year. "When we give immunizations to infants, we use several different types of vaccine over a period of months and years with no safety concerns," Fletcher said. Are there any risks associated with a mismatched regimen? Fletcher said there have been no reports of any side effects beyond the ones already reported when the vaccines are administered individually. "The Com-COV study will, of course, be looking very closely at safety and it's great that this is being carefully monitored as part of a clinical trial, but I would not anticipate any safety problem with mixing vaccines," she said. Different vaccines administered as part of a two-dose regime do not directly interact with each other, as the vaccine particles are swiftly cleared by the immune system within days of immunization, Fletcher said. "There's no remaining vaccine mRNA or vaccine viral vector around when you give a second dose," she said. Jorg Fritz, a microbiology and immunology professor at McGill University, said he doesn't see why there would be any additional danger involved in receiving two different vaccines. Fritz said he also thinks it would be better to mix two vaccines that use different technologies than to wait too long to give the second shot. "I think it's more important to get a booster vaccination to have a more robust and more durable immune response against the viral proteins than using the same technology," Fritz told the Canadian Press. What have Canadian officials said about this? Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said last week the current guidance is for AstraZeneca recipients to get a second dose of the same product, but NACI is now reviewing the Oxford research on mixing AstraZeneca with an mRNA shot. "There will be further advice forthcoming on that second dose based on the evolving science. We should watch this space," Tam said. "All of the vaccines being used in Canada are targeting the virus' spike protein, so I think the science will look not just at whether the mixed schedule is safe, but whether that's actually an even better approach than using exactly the same vaccine for the two doses. Those questions remain to be answered." Would we have enough mRNA doses for a mix-and-match program? Probably. According to Health Canada, at least 1,540,000 AstraZeneca doses have been administered in Canada as of May 1. Thousands of Canadians have been vaccinated since then. With delivery of millions more mRNA shots expected over the coming months — Pfizer alone will deliver 2 million shots each week in May before ramping up to 2.4 million a week next month — there should be enough shots on hand to vaccinate AstraZeneca recipients with a second dose of a second product. But provinces may have to hold back some Pfizer supply to make this work. Canada has ordered 48 million Pfizer doses — 5.5 million were delivered in the January-through-March period, 24.2 million will arrive in the second quarter of this year and 18.3 million more are to follow between July and September. That's enough shots to vaccinate 24 million people with two doses. If some of that product is earmarked for people who already have doses of AstraZeneca, that leaves less product for first doses. Moderna is also expected to deliver 12.3 million doses of its mRNA product in the April-through-June period, with millions more doses expected in the third quarter of this year. WATCH: Canada will soon have enough doses to offer vaccines to all who want them Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said last Thursday that officials are "only starting to do deliberate planning on second doses." "What I would tell you is provinces and territories have a good handle on what they need. They keep tabs on who is getting which vaccine," he said. "Everybody is working on a very deliberate plan making sure people get the right vaccine when they're supposed to receive it." Will Canada shorten the time between shots? Possibly. NACI said in early March that, given the limited vaccine supply, provinces and territories may want to wait up to 16 weeks between first and second doses to give more people at least some level of protection. The provinces have since followed this guidance, with a few exceptions. For example, many long-term care home residents have been fully vaccinated on the timeline recommended by the vaccine makers. Pfizer calls for a second dose 21 days after the first, while Moderna stipulates the second shot should come 28 days later. Ontario announced Monday that it would begin offering second doses to some high-risk groups this week. "As more vaccines come in, that interval can be shorter," Tam said.
MONTREAL — Quebec eased restrictions in the provincial capital area on Monday but increased them in the region east of Montreal, causing surprise and dismay among weary residents and business owners. The Estrie region, composed largely of rolling hills dotted with small cities, moved to the red pandemic-alert level on Monday, under which in-person dining is prohibited, gyms are closed and places of worship are limited to 25 people. Estrie reported 43 cases on Monday, down from 77 on Sunday and 86 on Saturday. Of the region's 512 active reported cases, more than two-thirds are in the Sherbrooke area and the Lac-Mégantic area, declared a red zone last week. Dr. Alain Poirier, public health director for Estrie, said COVID-19 indicators had been slowly rising in different sub-regions for weeks while cases were going down elsewhere in the province. He said the new measures will take a few weeks to have an impact and the Health Department will want to see some stability before easing restrictions. "Two things have me hoping for the best: the increase in vaccination rate and that the red-zone measures have helped all the other regions; you can see the decrease of cases happening while we weren't seeing that," Poirier said in an interview Monday. Anik Beaudoin, owner of Restaurant Auguste and head of a merchants association for downtown Sherbrooke, said restaurant owners were shocked when they learned Saturday of the shift to red-zone rules. Beaudoin said restaurants are safe when health orders are enforced. “There was a wave of exasperation among restaurant owners, along with all the workers we lose each time," she said in an interview Monday. "We have to start at zero each time we reopen." Beaudoin said she hopes the Quebec government presents a comprehensive reopening plan for restaurants across the province in the coming weeks. While restaurants in some regions had been able to open for dining, in Montreal, restaurant dining rooms have been shuttered since October. Vicki-May Hamm, the mayor of Magog, Que., about 125 kilometres east of Montreal, was surprised with the quick turn to red-alert status. "I was surprised, I didn't know ahead of time and I was even more surprised it was effective so rapidly because the local businesses didn't have time to sell their food," Hamm said. "Our summer season starts around the 24th of June, so if we suffer for a month and then have a great summer season ahead of us, we know people will be travelling in Quebec, so we hope to be able to greet people safely." And as Estrie was locking down on Monday, Quebec City and parts of Outaouais, in western Quebec, were opening up — slightly. Those areas joined Montreal in the red pandemic-alert level following several weeks of emergency measures, under which non-essential businesses and schools were closed and the nighttime curfew was 8 p.m. On Monday, Quebec reported 662 new COVID-19 cases and six more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Health officials said hospitalizations rose by four, to 543, and 123 people were in intensive care, a drop of one. Montreal led with 189 new infections. Meanwhile, Quebec's minister responsible for seniors said Monday all long-term care residents across the province who had received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine had also received a booster shot. "Good news for our seniors and another milestone in our collective fight against COVID-19," Marguerite Blais tweeted. The province administered 61,768 COVID-19 vaccine doses on Sunday; 42.6 per cent of Quebecers have received at least one dose. The province said it expects 458,640 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week. Quebecers age 30 and up are now eligible to book vaccine appointments as the province continues to expand its rollout. Health Minister Christian Dubé urged people to sign up before demand swells again when shots are made available to those 25 and older on Wednesday. The provincial government says that by the end of the week, all Quebec adults who want to will be able to book a vaccine appointment. Quebec has reported a total of 358,796 COVID-19 infections and 10,993 deaths linked to the virus; there are 8,143 active reported cases in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
A pedestrian in a mask passes a restaurant on promenade du Portage in downtown Gatineau, Que.'s Hull community in late April 2021. (Guillaume Lafreniere/Radio-Canada) Recent developments: A woman in her 20s has died of COVID-19 in Ottawa. What's the latest? Quebec Premier François Legault says the strict pandemic rules for Gatineau, the Pontiac and Collines-de-l'Outaouais end Monday, when those areas will become a red zone along with the rest of the region. That means high schools and non-essential businesses can reopen, and the curfew will move to 9:30 p.m. Random police checkpoints will continue on the Quebec side of the border with Ontario. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 67 new COVID-19 cases and two deaths Tuesday. One of the two people who died was a woman in her 20s, the city's youngest COVID-19 victim. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged provinces today to maintain strict public health measures until COVID-19 case counts are much lower than they are now , so that Canadians can enjoy a "one-dose summer." How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining contact tracing and pushing hospitals past their limits. As of Tuesday, 25,513 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,285 known active cases, 23,701 resolved cases and 527 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 46,500 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 43,500 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 181 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 205. Akwesasne has had nearly 680 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any. 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. The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Tuesday, there were 27 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least May 20. Its health minister says that it will likely be extended. People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising in their immediate area. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services. Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues. Ontario has indefinitely moved to online learning. Daycares remain open. WATCH | How online learning can affect students: Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa is doing around playgrounds and Prince Edward County is doing around travel. 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. High schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed in Gatineau, the Pontiac and Collines-de-l'Outaouais until Monday. A view of Gatineau, Que., from across the Ottawa River on May 5, 2021.(Christian Patry/CBC) Private gatherings are banned in those areas, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and Papineau are red zones with looser restrictions, meaning a 9:30 p.m. curfew and allowing secondary schools and non-essential businesses to reopen. The rest of the region joins it next week. People 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 now established. 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. People walk in Ottawa in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday, May 17, 2020. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press) 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. 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. WATCH | The carrots dangled by the travel industry: 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. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands. 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. More than 920,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 420,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 185,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario's general vaccination age is 50 and older. Other factors such as jobs and health conditions also qualify — this category has expanded today. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Appointments are available through the province for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's three "hot spot" postal codes, Indigenous adults and, through the city, Ottawans in more than 20 "priority" neighbourhoods. WATCH | Convenience matters for those who can't travel to vaccine clinic: People who are 40 or will be this year can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine. Six Ottawa pharmacies in hot spots are offering a limited supply of Moderna vaccines to people age 18 and up. Ontario is speeding up the second dose for some groups, such as frontline health-care workers and Indigenous people. WATCH | A Q&A on the strength of a first dose: It plans to allow everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24 and expects about two-thirds of adults to have a first dose by the end of May. People as young as age 40 can book through the province starting Thursday. Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. Western Quebec Quebec's vaccination plan covers people 30 and older in the Outaouais, along with essential workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, including pregnancy. The province plans to reach children as young as 12 in June. The next expansion is tomorrow, when people as young as 25 can get immunized. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. 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 make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. 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. People 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. Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish. 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
Canadian workers and others who benefit from Enbridge's Line 5 are anxiously watching what's playing out this week in Michigan, which has given the Calgary-based company until Wednesday to shut down the pipeline. While backed by Indigenous groups, decommissioning the pipeline would cut off a major source of fuel for Ontario and Quebec. For its part, Enbridge insisted to CBC News on Wednesday that it won't halt operations unless forced by a court to do so. That's little comfort to people in the border city of Sarnia in southwestern Ontario. "You want to provide for your family and give them everything they could possibly want or need in life, and this does put that in jeopardy," said steam fitter James Williamson. "[It] is something that does make you a little uneasy and I think everybody in the community is feeling that right now." The pipeline carries some 540,000 barrels of Canadian crude oil and other petroleum products per day across Wisconsin and Michigan to Sarnia, and accounts for nearly half of the supply of light crude oil, light synthetic crude oil and natural gas liquids in Ontario and Quebec. The Line 5 pipeline carries Canadian petroleum from Western Canada and Wisconsin, though Michigan to Sarnia, Ont.(CBC) The U.S.-Canada clash stems from an objection by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan to a specific part of the 65-year-old pipeline, which runs across the environmentally sensitive Straits of Mackinac, just south of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., that link Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. Governor calls Line 5 'ticking time bomb' In a move applauded by environmentalists and Indigenous groups in both Canada and the U.S., in November, Michigan revoked an easement granted from 1953 that's allowed Enbridge to run the pipeline across the straits. Whitmer also ordered the company to shut down the nearly 70-year-old pipeline by May 12, 2021, saying "the devastating economic, environmental and health impacts of a catastrophic oil spill in the Great lakes" can't be risked. She referred to the pipeline as "a ticking time bomb". If you just drive by any business in town and look out the window, you can expect it to disappear if Line 5 does. - Scott Archer, UA Local 663 representing Sarnia pipefitters and plumbers Enbridge, which maintains the pipeline is safe, launched a lawsuit in a U.S. federal district court shortly after the governor's order, and is still in mediation with the government. In a statement Wednesday to CBC, the company reiterated it won't stop operating the pipeline unless ordered to do so by a court or regulator, "which we view as highly unlikely." James Williamson, a steam fitter in Sarnia, says he and others would likely leave the city if the pipeline's work stops.(Jacob Barker/CBC) For his part, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley feels confident the pipeline won't shut down. "There may be some political histrionics that day from Michigan and the governor, but I believe that with discussions underway about mediation and other possible actions that may take place, I don't believe the line will shut down." Last week, Enbridge's senior vice-president, Mike Fernandez, told the CBC that Michigan's deadline is more likely to prompt protests than state action. Scott Archer, of UA Local 663, the union that represents 1,600 plumbers and pipefitters in Sarnia, has hopes a decision on the pipeline goes in "a rational direction" instead of being led by emotion. "I understand people's good intentions, but many of these people need to do a little deeper dive into the information and see that the alternative to this is disastrous." Scott Archer, union rep with UA Local 663 representing pipefitters and plumbers in Sarnia, Ont., says thousands of workers rely on the pipeline both directly and indirectly for employment.(Jacob Barker/CBC) Archer said thousands of jobs in Sarnia, both directly and indirectly connected to the pipeline, would be affected by a shutdown. "They're not going to be ordering pizzas, they're not going to be buying new shoes, they're not going to be investing in real estate," he said about people in the city of about 71,000. It's amazing that you can have the federal government of Canada who is committed to climate action, yet they seem to be the biggest proponent and the biggest advocate for pipeline, for oil and gas pipelines. - Bean Deleary, Anishinaabe educator, Walpole Island First Nation "If you just drive by any business in town and look out the window, you can expect it to disappear if Line 5 does," said Archer. Williamson, who was born and raised in Sarnia, said halting the pipeline would turn the border city into a retirement community and families would leave, and even he would consider that. "It's about providing for your kids and the sacrifices you have to make to ensure that they get the best shake at life." Indigenous disappointment In March, federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan said operation of the pipeline is non-negotiable, and the government would do whatever it takes to keep it running. In the House last week, he reiterated his support for Line 5, saying it would take 800 rail cars and 2,000 trucks in Canada alone to move an equivalent amount of petroleum products in a day. Indigenous and environmental groups, however, have severely criticized the Canadian government for supporting Line 5. Danny Deleary, an Anishinaabe educator and activist who lives on Ontario's Walpole Island First Nation, has been critical of the Canadian government's support of Line 5.(Colin Butler/CBC News) "It's amazing that you can have the federal government of Canada who is committed to climate action, yet they seem to be the biggest proponent and the biggest advocate for pipeline, for oil and gas pipelines," said Bean Deleary, an Anishinaabe educator and activist who lives on Canada's Walpole Island First Nation, on the Ontario-Michigan border. "Water is essential and clean water is essential to life, and why we would risk the largest sources of fresh water in the world? Why would we potentially risk that in the name of profit?" Push for energy alternatives Dean Sayers, the chief of Ontario's Batchewana First Nation, which is near the Straits of Mackinac, also sides with Whitmer. "What happens at the Mackinac straits will have an effect on all of the people that live in that watershed downstream from there, so it's really important for all my relatives around the Great Lakes that we have access to that really pristine Great Lakes water," said Sayers. "I think it's important for us to maybe find alternative ways to look after our energy needs, and I'm not so sure fossil fuels are the way to go." Dean Sayers, chief of Batchewana First Nation, near the Straits of Mackinac, believes it's important 'to find alternative ways to look after our energy needs, and I'm not so sure fossil fuels are the way to go.' (Erik White/CBC ) Some have suggested that Canada will look to a treaty it signed with the U.S. in the 1970s that seems to guarantee the uninterrupted transit of hydrocarbons across the border. Glen Hare, grand chief of the Anishinabek Nation Council, which advocates for First Nations across Ontario, last week accused the government of picking and choosing which treaties to uphold based on convenience and profit. "The government of Canada is not upholding the treaties made with the First Nations, but will uphold the 1977 treaty for pipelines," he said in a statement.