Britney Spears’s longtime boyfriend, Sam Asghari, made a rare public statement after the new documentary about her amplified the #FreeBritney movement.
Britney Spears’s longtime boyfriend, Sam Asghari, made a rare public statement after the new documentary about her amplified the #FreeBritney movement.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
HOLTVILLE, Calif. — Authorities are investigating whether human smuggling was involved after a crash Tuesday involving an SUV packed with 25 people and a tractor-trailer that left 13 people dead and bodies strewn across a roadway near the U.S. Mexico border. Most of the dead were Mexicans, a Mexican official said. When police arrived, some of the passengers were trying to crawl out of the crumpled 1997 Ford Expedition while others were wandering around the fields. The rig's front end was pushed into the SUV's left side and two empty trailers were jackknifed behind it. Twelve people were found dead when first responders reached the two-lane highway, which winds through fields in the agricultural southeastern corner of California about 125 miles (201 kilometres) east of San Diego. Another person died at a hospital, California Highway Patrol Chief Omar Watson said. “It was a pretty chaotic scene,” said Watson, who also described it as “a very sad situation.” Roberto Velasco, director of North American affairs for Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department, confirmed Tuesday on his Twitter account that at least 10 of those killed have been identified as Mexicans. No identities have been released. The cause of the collision was unclear, authorities said, and it also was not immediately known why so many people were crammed into a vehicle built to hold eight people safely. Watson said the SUV only had front seats — the middle and back seats had been removed. That would allow more people to fit into the vehicle but makes it even more unsafe. It wasn't immediately clear whether the SUV was carrying migrants who had crossed the border, ferrying farmworkers to fields, or was being used for some other purpose. “Special agents from Homeland Security Investigations San Diego responded ... and have initiated a human smuggling investigation," the agency said in a statement, adding that other details weren't being released. Macario Mora, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, said agents were not pursing the SUV at the time of the crash, which was initially rumoured. The immigration status of the passengers was unknown. “It was an unusual number of people in an SUV, but we don’t know who they were,” Mora said. The people in the vehicle ranged in age from 15 to 53 and were a mix of males and females, officials said. The 28-year-old driver was from Mexicali, Mexico, just across the border, and was among those killed. The 68-year-old driver of the big rig, who is from nearby El Centro, was hospitalized with moderate injuries. The passengers' injuries ranged from minor to severe and included fractures and head trauma. They were being cared for at several hospitals. One person was treated at a hospital and released. The crash occurred around 6:15 a.m. at an intersection just outside Holtville, which dubs itself the world’s carrot capital and is about 11 miles (18 kilometres) north of the U.S.-Mexico border. It was a sunny, clear morning and authorities said the tractor-trailer and its two empty containers were northbound on State Highway 115 when the SUV pulled in front of it from Norrish Road. A California Highway Patrol report said the SUV entered an intersection directly in front of the big-rig, which hit the left side of the SUV. Both vehicles came to a halt on a dirt shoulder. It's not clear if the SUV ran a stop sign or had stopped before entering the highway. It's also not yet known how fast the tractor-trailer was travelling. The speed limit for tractor-trailers on the highway is 55 mph (88.5 kph), according to CHP Officer Jake Sanchez. The other road is also 55 mph for vehicles. A 1997 Ford Expedition can carry a maximum payload of 2,000 pounds. If it had 25 people inside, that would easily exceed the payload limit, which taxes the brakes and makes it tougher to steer, said Frank Borris, former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation. “You’re going to have extended stopping distances, delayed reactions to steering inputs and potential over-reaction to any type of high-speed lane change,” said Borris, who now runs a safety consulting business. SUVs of that age tended to be top-heavy even without carrying a lot of weight, Borris said. “With all of that payload above the vehicle’s centre of gravity, it’s going to make it even more unstable,” he said. The crash occurred amid verdant farms that grow a wide variety of vegetables and alfalfa used for cattle feed. Thousands of people cross into the U.S. each day to work in the fields. The harvest of lettuce and other winter vegetable crops runs from November until March, and buses and SUVs carrying farmworkers are often rumbling down the rural roads s in the early morning hours. The area has also seen smugglers carrying migrants in trucks and vehicles. Hundreds of migrants who died after crossing the border are buried in unmarked graves in Holtville’s cemetery on the edge of town. ___ Associated Press reporters Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles, Julie Watson in San Diego, Anita Snow in Phoenix, Tom Krisher in Detroit and Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed. ___ This story has been corrected based on updated information from officials to show the tractor-trailer driver is 68, not 69. Elliot Spagat, The Associated Press
St. Louis’ first-ever female mayor will be replaced by another woman, after city Treasurer Tishaura Jones and Alderwoman Cara Spencer on Tuesday bested two men in a new primary election format to advance to next month’s general election. Jones received 25,374 votes and Spencer was second with 20,649 votes, according to unofficial final results. Aldermanic President Lewis Reed was third, followed by businessman Andrew Jones. Incumbent Democrat Lyda Krewson chose not to seek a second four-year term. Tishaura Jones said on Zoom that St. Louisans “should be able to succeed here regardless of your skin colour, who you love, how you worship, your ZIP code, or any identity you have.” Spencer has been outspoken against special interests. She said on Facebook that her campaign “has changed the dialogue about how we serve St. Louis.” The city’s new “approval voting” format makes municipal contests nonpartisan and has another unique feature: Voters can “approve” of as many candidates in the primary as they want. Each vote counts as one. The idea is to get the two candidates with the most support to the general election, which is April 6. Four years ago, Tishaura Jones finished a close second to Krewson in the Democratic primary, and Reed was third. Krewson easily defeated Andrew Jones, a Republican, in the April 2017 general election to become the city's first woman mayor. Tishaura Jones and Andrew Jones are not related. Though this year's general election also will be nonpartisan, both Jones and Spencer are Democrats. The next mayor faces the daunting challenge of taming violent crime in a city that has been at or near the top of per capita homicide rankings for decades. Jones and Spencer, in interviews with The Associated Press last week, both said reducing violence was the top priority. Both pledged to address the underlying issues that lead to crime such as drug and alcohol addiction, poverty and mental illness. Jones, 48, is a former state representative who has been treasurer since 2013. She said the “arrest and incarcerate” model of criminal justice has been a failure. She would bring in more social workers, mental health counsellors and substance abuse counsellors, rather than adding more uniformed officers. Spencer, 42, has been a member of the Board of Aldermen since 2015. She favours a “focused deterrence” model connecting those at risk of committing violence to self-help resources, but making it clear those who cross into crime will face the consequences. Krewson, 67, had a personal connection to the violence -- her husband was fatally shot in a 1995 carjacking. She ran on a pledge to battle crime, but the city saw a staggering increase in killings during the coronavirus pandemic. Police said 262 people were killed in St. Louis last year — five less than the record of 267 set in 1993. But because the city’s population has declined since 1993, the homicide rate was much higher in 2020. In announcing her retirement from politics in November, Krewson said elections “are about the future.” She said at the time that challenges posed by crime, COVID-19 and other issues were not factors in her decision. In previous years, Democrats and Republicans squared off in separate primary elections in March. St. Louis is so heavily Democratic that the April general election was virtually irrelevant. Voters in November adopted the new “approval voting” method. St. Louis is just the second city to try it. Fargo, North Dakota, used it for the first time last year. Jim Salter, The Associated Press
One in five Chinese Australians say they have been physically threatened or attacked in the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and tensions in Australia's relationship with China, a survey by the Lowy Institute think tank reported. The findings prompted a call from the Chinese Australian Forum, a community group, for national leadership to tackle racism as Australia deals with a more assertive China, and also recognition that the Chinese community in Australia is diverse in its political views and origins.
HALIFAX — The Canadian military says aircraft and ships have responded to an emergency aboard a Canadian fishing vessel that has been damaged by fire off of the coast of Nova Scotia. The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax says the FV Atlantic Destiny is a scallop freezer factory ship with 32 people on board and there are no reports of injuries. The ship has lost power and is adrift about 120 nautical miles south of Yarmouth, N.S., in heavy seas. Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens said a CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter has started removing some of the crew members from the ship. "It has started extracting non-essential crew from the Atlantic Destiny and will be transporting them to Yarmouth, N.S.," Owens said in an interview Tuesday night. "The U.S. Coast Guard has a helicopter on scene and once our helicopter clears the area will extract the remaining personnel." Owens said a small number of the crew will remain on board to manage the vessel. He said the fire is out but the ship was taking on water and the crew have put on their immersion survival suits. Owens said the rescue centre received a call from the master of the ship at around 8 p.m. reporting a fire on board, a loss of power and that it was adrift. The ship reported eight-metre waves and 55-knot winds. Owens said a CC-130 Hercules aircraft was tracking the vessel and a Canadian Coast Guard ship was en route to the location. Another fishing vessel, the FV Lahave, was nearby. Owens said the families of the crew members have been contacted by the company that owns the vessel and was giving them updates. The FV Atlantic Destiny's home port is Riverport, N.S. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Health experts in China say their country is lagging in its coronavirus vaccination rollout because it has the disease largely under control, but plans to inoculate 40% of its population by June. Zhong Nanshan, the leader of a group of experts attached to the National Health Commission, said the country has delivered 52.52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Feb. 28. He was speaking Monday at an online forum between U.S and Chinese medical experts hosted by the Brookings Institution and Tsinghua University. The target is the first China has offered publicly since it began its mass immunization campaign for key groups in mid-December. China has been slow to vaccinate its people relative to other countries, administering 3.56 doses per 100 people so far, according to Zhong, in a population of 1.4 billion. The fastest to vaccinate is Israel, which has given 94 doses per 100 people. The U.S. has administered 22 doses per 100 people. Chinese health experts say the country has enough vaccine supply for its population, although the country has pledged to provide close to half a billion doses abroad, roughly 10 times the number it has delivered at home. “The current vaccination pace is very low due to outbreak control (being) so good in China, but I think the capacity is enough,” said Zhang Wenhong, an infectious diseases expert based in Shanghai who also spoke on the panel. Developers of China’s four currently approved vaccines have said they could manufacture up to 2.6 billion doses by the end of this year. Still, vaccinating China’s massive population will be a daunting task. Even at the rate of vaccinating 10 million people a day, it would take roughly seven months to vaccinate 70% of its population, Zhang noted. The experts all acknowledged the complex task of vaccinating the world's population, pointing to the slowness in the global rollout of vaccines. “Demand will outstrip supply for many months, and unless there is more manufacturing, … for years,” said Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also cautioned against expecting a quick return to normal. The head of China’s Center for Disease Control, Gao Fu, predicted that life could return to an “approximate normal” in summer next year. Gao, along with Zhong and other Chinese health experts, urged more U.S.-China co-operation. Gao specifically called on the U.S. and China to co-operate on COVAX, an initiative to distribute vaccines more fairly across the developing world. “Let’s work together,” he said. ____ This version has been updated to CORRECT that the figures of doses administered per 100 people in China, Israel and the United States is not a percentage of their populations since many people vaccinated have received both of the two doses required. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens have made another change to their coaching staff, appointing Sean Burke to take over as the director of goaltending. General manager Marc Bergevin made the announcement Tuesday following a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators that gave rookie head coach Dominique Ducharme his first NHL victory. Burke replaces Stephane Waite, who held the position since 2013 and was let go Tuesday. Ducharme replaced the fired Claude Julien last week in the wake of consecutive shootout and overtime losses to the Senators in Ottawa. No. 1 goaltender Carey Price made 26 saves for the victory Tuesday over the Senators, but has struggled in 2020-21. He entered Tuesday with a 5-4-3 record to go along with an .888 save percentage and 3.13 goals-against average this season. Over his previous six starts, the former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner was 1-4-1 with an .870 save percentage. Montreal backup Jake Allen, meanwhile, is 4-2-2 with a .929 save percentage and 2.12 GAA this season. Burke will be required to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine before joining the team. Laval Rocket goaltending coach Marco Marciano will work with Montreal's goaltenders until Burke is cleared to join the squad. The 54-year-old Burke was originally hired by the Canadiens in 2016 as a professional scout for the Western region. He has also worked as a goaltending consultant for Montreal. He spent six seasons as a member of the Coyotes' hockey management group, serving as goaltending coach and director of player development before being promoted to assistant general manager in 2012. He had an 18-year NHL career, suiting up for eight organizations before moving into management post-retirement. The three-time NHL All-Star represented Canada at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics, and served as Canada's general manager at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang where the team won bronze without NHL players. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
The security forces resorted to live fire with little warning in several towns and cities, witnesses said, as the junta appeared more determined than ever to stamp out protests against the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The heaviest toll was in the central town of Monywa, where five people - four men and one woman - were killed, said Ko Thit Sar, editor of the Monywa Gazette.
Trustees at the York Region District School Board voted on Tuesday night to rename a secondary school in Vaughan, Ont. after a late Somali-Canadian journalist known as a positive voice for her people. Formerly known as Vaughan Secondary School, it will now bear the name of Hodan Nalayeh, trustees decided at a board meeting. Nalayeh had a TV show and established herself as a journalist who wrote uplifting stories about Canada's Somali community. She was killed in an attack on a hotel in Somalia in 2019. The school, and the city, originally was named after Benjamin Vaughan, a slaveholder in the 18th century. Black community organizations pushed last year for the name to be changed. Shernett Martin, the executive director of ACORN, formerly Vaughan African Canadian Association, said the renaming is a positive move for the community. "Her legacy will be kept alive and the joy of who she was and what she stood for will reverberate through the hallways and the classrooms of this high school and we'll never forget the sacrifices that Hodan made. We celebrate having a hijab-wearing Black Muslim woman in a high school our city," she said. Trustee Bob McRoberts described Nalayeh as an "inspirational storyteller." "She believed that education was the foundation upon which life can be built," McRoberts said. Nalayeh's family told CBC News in a statement on Tuesday night after the vote: "It is with a heavy-heart and with a deep sense of gratitude that we accept the community's recommendation and in turn the York Region District School Board's decision to rename the school in question with Hodan's name. "With it, comes a tremendous responsibility to uplift and support all students, their families and the communities they are a part of whether local to the school or across our great region." Emily Mills, founder of a group called How She Hustles and a friend of Nalayeh, said it is meaningful "to have somebody that represents, and reflects your community in a way, on a building." 'An inspiration for all of us' "Hodan is an inspiration for all of us, you don't have to be Somali, you don't have to be female, you don't have to be from Vaughan, I think she represents the best of what Canada should be about," she said. "I think she represents exactly what we need at this time, which is stories of resilience," she added. "When you've got someone who touches a community, in life and even in their passing, as Hodan did, it just lands a different way and it's going to resonate in a different way, and I think it's going to leave a legacy for this generation to relate to and many generations to come." Nalayeh, who once resided in Vaughan, Ont., and her husband, Farid Jama Suleiman, were among those who were killed in the July 2019 attack in Somalia's port city of Kismayo. Nalayeh was pregnant at the time. "It was really hard for so many in the community, it was really hard to understand how a light so bright could be dimmed," Mills said. Ahmed Hussen, who was minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship at the time of the attack, had said Nalayeh made immeasurable contributions to the Canadian Somali community. "Through her work as a journalist, she highlighted the community's positive stories and contributions in Canada, and became a voice for many," Hussen told CBC News. "Her work, particularly in helping women and youth, strengthened the ties between Canada's Somali community and Somalia, as it continues to go through stabilization and reconstruction. We mourn her loss deeply, and all others killed in the Kismayo attack." Added Mills: "When you've got someone who touches a community, in life and even in their passing, as Hodan did, it just lands a different way and it's going to resonates in a different way, and I think it's going to leave a legacy for this generation to relate to and many generations to come." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC)
Emergency crews were evacuating crew members from a fishing vessel that twice caught fire and was taking on water off the Nova Scotia coast Tuesday night. A CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter has removed six of the 32 crew members from the Atlantic Destiny, according to Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens, a spokesperson for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC), a federal government search and rescue organization. The ship has lost power and is adrift about 222 kilometres south of Yarmouth, N.S., in heavy seas. There were no reports of injuries. All fires are out, but the ship is still taking on water, Owens said. A small crew will remain aboard the vessel "to control the water coming into the vessel," the JRCC said. "They have restored generator power, so the pumps are working," Owens said. The master of the Atlantic Destiny called the JRCC to report the fire at 8 p.m. AT. Experienced crew The Atlantic Destiny is based in Riverport, N.S., and is part of the fleet owned by Ocean Choice International of Newfoundland and Labrador. Company CEO Martin Sullivan said it's unclear how many people will have to stay onboard the vessel, but estimated it will be between six and 10. Sullivan said the crew and captain have lots of experience. "It's a tough situation, but we have great people that can stand up to it," he said. A CC-130 Hercules aircraft from Canadian Forces Base Greenwood, a fisheries patrol vessel and two U.S. Coast Guard helicopters were responding. JRCC said all crew evacuated from the ship will be flown to Yarmouth, N.S. The first six crew members were being flown aboard the CH-149 Cormorant, Owens said. Additional crew members will be transported in the U.S. helicopters, Sullivan said. Another fishing vessel, the Lahave, is near the Atlantic Destiny and is standing by to assist. High seas and strong winds Owens said the Atlantic Destiny was adrift in eight-metre seas and winds of 55 knots. "The weather is quite adverse," he said. It's unclear what caused the fire. Sullivan said the company is focused on the safety of the crew and have been providing updates to family members throughout the evening. "The rest we can deal with later," he said. In March 2017, the Atlantic Destiny suffered a catastrophic engine failure that caused the ship to lose power. A year later, a Transportation Safety Board report blamed the failure on a combination of maintenance gaps, a broken emergency stop mechanism and the actions of an inexperienced crew member. MORE TOP STORIES
VANCOUVER — British Columbia health officials say their plan to delay the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to four months is based on scientific evidence and real-world experience, as Ontario and Alberta consider following the province's lead. Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, responded Tuesday to criticism from Canada's chief science adviser. Henry said the decision was made in the context of limited supply and based on strong local and international data. "This makes sense for us, knowing that it is a critical time right now with the limited amount of vaccines that we have in the coming weeks, to be able to provide that protection ... to everybody here," Henry said at a COVID-19 briefing. "That is why we made the decision that we did." Chief science adviser Mona Nemer told the CBC on Monday that B.C.'s plan amounts to a "population-level experiment" and that the data provided so far by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech is based on an interval of three to four weeks between doses. Henry said the manufacturers structured their clinical trials that way to get the vaccines to market as quickly as possible, but research in B.C., Quebec, Israel and the United Kingdom has shown that first doses are highly effective. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control examined the effects of a single dose on long-term care residents and health-care workers and found that it reduced the risk of the virus by up to 90 per cent within two to three weeks, Henry said. "It is a little bit unfortunate that the national science adviser ... obviously was not involved in some of these discussions and decision-making and perhaps did not understand the context that this decision was made in," Henry said. Dr. Danuta Skowronski, a B.C. Centre for Disease Control epidemiology lead whose work underpinned the province's plan, said Pfizer-BioNTech underestimated the efficacy of its first dose in its submissions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Skowronski said the company included data from the first two weeks after trial participants received the shot, a time when vaccines typically aren't effective. When she and her colleagues adjusted the data, they found it was 92 per cent effective, similar to the Moderna vaccine. She said B.C.'s plan was based on the basic principles of vaccine science. The protection from a first dose of vaccine does not suddenly disappear, it gradually wanes over time, and scientists are typically more concerned about providing a second dose too soon rather than too late, she said. "I think if the public had a chance to hear and to understand that, they would say, 'OK, this is not messing around. This is really managing risk in a way that maximizes protection to as many Canadians as possible.'" B.C. has administered 283,182 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to date, including more than 86,000 second doses. The province reported 438 new cases of the virus on Tuesday and two more deaths, pushing the death toll in B.C. to 1,365. Henry said she expects a statement soon from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization aligning with the province's decision, while Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said Tuesday she wanted to wait for such a recommendation. Elliott said extending the interval between doses would allow the province to get some level of protection to more people. "This would be a considerable change," she said. "With the variants of concern out there, this could make a significant difference for Ontario in reducing hospitalizations and deaths. So, we are anxiously awaiting NACI's review of this to determine what they have to say in their recommendations." Dr. Shelley Deeks, vice-chair of the national committee, said in an email the group is expected to issue a statement on extending the dose interval on Wednesday, but she did not confirm it would align with B.C.'s plan. Alberta's health minister said a committee of COVID-19 experts is analyzing emerging data and a decision on whether to follow B.C.’s lead is coming. "There's fantastic evidence that's coming out," Tyler Shandro said Tuesday. "What the exact period of time (between doses) is going to be is still to be decided. We'll be announcing it soon, but we will be looking at having that length of time between first and second extended." Alberto Martin, a University of Toronto immunology professor, said there is "obviously some concern" about B.C.'s plan because he is not aware of any clinical trial that examined a four-month gap between Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna doses. However, he said difficult times — when the vaccine supply is so limited — require drastic measures. "It's a difficult decision to make. I don't know whether I'd like to be in that position, but I think it's understandable why they're doing this." Daniel Coombs, a University of British Columbia mathematician who has done COVID-19 modelling, said Nemer was right that B.C. was conducting an "experiment," but it seemed to be a necessary one. He added that the province may also be anticipating the approval of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which only requires one shot. Michael Houghton, director of the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute at the University of Alberta, said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine data shows that one shot conveys 76 per cent protection for the next 12 weeks. Houghton said he is more concerned about extending the dose interval to 16 weeks for the other two approved vaccines. "These make vaccinologists nervous since, usually, we use in the real world what was tested in the clinic, but given the vaccine shortage, perhaps desperate times warrant such calculated gambles." — With files from Holly McKenzie-Sutter in Toronto and Sylvia Strojek in Edmonton. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Laura Dhillon Kane, The Canadian Press
On Wednesday, the verdict in Toronto’s van attack trial will be revealed. Alek Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. Erica Vella reports.
This year's large snowfall in southern Yukon has caused issues for highway staff and for people contracted by the territory's Highways and Public Works department to deal with avalanches. This weekend was no exception, and crews kept bust as they responded to avalanche activity along the South Klondike Highway. Colin MacKenzie, an avalanche contractor for Yukon's Department of Highways and Public Works, said this is due to a series of storms coming off the Pacific that have brought more snow, intense winds, and warmer temperatures. This has a particularly big impact on the north end of the highway near the Venus mine, he said. "They're short, steep slopes that have just been getting pummeled by strong winds. We had winds up to 100 kilometres an hour [Monday] night," he said. On Tuesday morning the highway was shut down to assess and do explosive control to the slopes, with closures that continued into the afternoon. Workers remove snow piled up along the South Klondike Highway on March 2, 2021.(Colin MacKenzie) Most storms in over a decade along highway He said it has been a very busy winter on the highway and the surrounding area for a variety of reasons. "Natural avalanches, we're well over 100 per cent … the snowfall is way, way above average. And as well, the storms have this frequency and intensity that I haven't seen in, you know, the last 12 years on the highway," MacKenzie said. Luckily, he said this hasn't led to any injuries this season, but it has led to quite a bit of inconveniences with road closures. 'The snowfall is way, way above average,' MacKenzie said.(Colin MacKenzie) He has spent a lot of time this winter watching the weather, and keeping tabs on how much snow is loading up in certain areas. "When it's getting a bit too stormy, we can shut the road down and then we need to wait for good weather windows and use helicopters to drop bombs and these avalanche start zones and clean them out," he said. If people want to get out into the backcountry along the South Klondike, MacKenzie said people need to really pay attention to the weather. He also said people can check Yukon 511, the radio forecasts, and Avalanche Canada for the latest information.
André Picard likes to stay busier than most, if his new book is any indication. The Globe and Mail’s health reporter and columnist penned Neglected No More during evenings, weekends and vacations away from his day job as more Canadians turned to him to make sense of the pandemic unfolding around them. But he wasn’t interested in writing about the pandemic just yet — “the important book about COVID will probably be written in 10 or 20 years,” he told The Tyee. Picard wanted to ask different questions. And there were big ones to answer, as thousands of elders and residents of long-term care died during the pandemic’s first wave. To date, at least two-thirds of the 21,905 people who have died of COVID-19 across Canada lived in long-term care or assisted living facilities. “What kind of excuses do we make to ourselves as a society that this is acceptable?” asked Picard. The failures of elder care in Canada, as Picard argues, began long before the novel coronavirus arrived. Readers may be surprised that Picard forgoes lambasting the easy villains in the devastating crisis — for-profit care providers, “bad apple” care staff — in service of a deeper indictment of Canada’s refusal to value elders in life as well as in death. Ten months after we first spoke about health reporting, I reached Picard by phone in Vancouver, where he is spending the winter as an Asper Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia. We discussed the difficulty of writing about people who often can’t speak for themselves, what accountability for these preventable deaths could look like, and how his optimism that the pandemic will be a turning point for elder care has managed to stay alight. Moira Wyton: You wrote Neglected No More during the pandemic, but it’s not really about the pandemic at all. Where does this story begin for you? André Picard: If you’re worried about health care in Canada, you have to write about elders and you have to write about older people, because that’s who uses the vast majority of care, so I’ve always been interested in this issue. And to me, we know that COVID has shone a spotlight on a lot of failings. We’ve all known for a long time that the way we treat seniors in our health system is terrible. And this was just an opportunity to jump on that topic and use COVID as a launching pad to talk about these larger issues. How do you approach reporting on an issue where the people who are most affected, the elders in care or seeking care, are impossible to reach? Can there really be any substitute for speaking to elders directly? And what do you think you might still be missing from this picture? You can do it indirectly. Normally, if I get a book like this, I would be going to the homes and visiting and getting the colour, et cetera, so the book is more sparse in that sense. That’s always a challenge. It’s not unique to the pandemic. You always wish you could speak directly to everyone all the time. I always worried the most about people with dementia, and my two parents who lived with dementia, so you really wish you could get inside their mind, to know what they’re thinking and get their real thoughts and not get them second-hand, but you do as best you can. And you try and represent their lives fairly via their caregivers and their care providers, and other things that you can see when you have that opportunity. With the pandemic, we’ve seen a rise in opinions about COVID-19, saying, “Oh, it’s not that bad, it’s ‘only’ killed people who are quite elderly.” I’m curious whether you think this failure that we’re seeing, and have been seeing for many decades, amounts to ageism and discrimination? I think there’s no question that our public policies are just rife with ageism, it’s just ingrained. What other people in society do we send off to live in these prison-like facilities just because they’re old? And again, I think COVID sort of highlighted this, as you mentioned, with all the people just saying, “Oh, they’re old, they were going to die anyhow.” That’s just an appalling thing to say. Not only is it not true, but it’s appalling in itself. And I think something like COVID, what happened in our home care — our long-term care system, specifically — is this perfect intersection of ageism, sexism and racism. The vast majority of workers are racialized. The vast majority of people living there are women. They’re not just older, but they’re women. It’s these three marginalized communities coming together in one spot. It’s just like triple the bad treatment. And so that’s why it’s a lot of focus on the homes, because there’s just so much wrong with them. How do we as a society, and as journalists, even begin to address ageism, sexism and racism in elder care? I think the starting point has to be a pretty profound philosophical shift. The countries that treat their elders the best have a philosophy that we don’t. You have to have that fundamental starting point... that you’re going to do everything in your power to keep people in the community and have a dignified life. Now, we have a policy where the default mechanism is once you get a little sick, you can’t live in your home, we shoot you off to this home, out of sight, out of mind and out of dignity. There are good homes, I repeat that many times in the book, there’s lots of good care. But should people be there in the first place? That’s the larger issue. I think we have to ask ourselves this really profound question about what kind of excuses do we make to ourselves as a society that this is acceptable. And it’s an uncomfortable question to ask because I don’t think there’s a good answer to it. It’s pretty appalling what they’re doing, and we have to confront it. As you write in your book, better care is possible, and already exists for veterans in Canada through well-funded home care and long-term care for veterans who really need it at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre in Toronto. And in certain cultures, such as many South Asian cultures, staying in a multigenerational home is a lot more normalized and expected. How do you think those in charge of elder care in Canada can learn from these other perspectives and from what we’re already doing for some people? We can learn a lot from cultural diversity. Canada has the benefit of being able to benefit from that, and we should do a lot more. Respect for elders is what it comes down to in a lot of cultures. You wouldn’t dream of sending your grandparents off to live somewhere else. But the flip side of that is there are realities of modern life. Chinese culture is really seen as respecting elders, but we still have long-term care homes that are for the Chinese community, just because of the practicalities. Their kids now live 4,000 kilometres away; they don’t have five kids, they have one. Regardless of your culture, I would think one issue that cuts across every culture is we should respect older people... for the knowledge of what they’ve given us, their sacrifice. I use the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre example because nobody ever argues that we shouldn’t treat veterans, right? If it’s good enough for veterans, why isn’t it good enough for everyone? We have the solution. There’s no reason everyone in Canada couldn’t be treated like those at Sunnybrook. But before we do that, we should also make sure that only people who need to be in the home are there. That’s the other great thing about Sunnybrook: nobody’s there by default, they’re there because they really need the care that’s provided. Over the last 11 months, for-profit care has been like a universal punching bag, being blamed for many deaths. But you’re a bit easier on for-profit care providers, pointing out that issues stem elsewhere. Why do you think that widespread anger against for-profit care is misplaced? I decided deliberately to not write a lot about that, because I just think it’s almost a dogmatic political issue. I think there are some good private homes and some good public homes, or some terrible public homes and some terrible private homes. Now, that being said, if there is no private care in Canada, will we be any worse off? No, I don’t think we need it. I think it’s been there for so long, it’s hard to get rid of it. And I think we would serve ourselves better to understand why it’s there, rather than just saying “get it out now.” I just think there’s a lot more to resolve before privatization. To me, the worst thing is not privatization in itself. It’s that we have a bunch of owners who are essentially property managers — they’re not care providers. I understand why people are angry at private care when the data is yes, more people died in private homes. But again, there are explanations for that: the homes are older, they’re bigger, they have different clientele. So, what do we do with these “excuses”? We ask what’s happened there, but it doesn’t make it right. I just think that it distracts from doing other things that have to be done much more urgently. You spoke to a number of staff and personal support workers in care facilities for the book. What stood out to you from your conversations? What do you think will be really surprising to readers about what they said? I think people will be surprised at [the number of] people who are really dedicated to this work and really want to do better. And I’d say what would surprise the public is that the staff are just as angry and frustrated as families and recipients of care. People really want to be able to have time to care, and they don’t. So they leave their shifts, and they’re angry at themselves that they just couldn’t do what they know needs to be done... because there’s no hours, they don’t have the equipment, they don’t have the time. I hope you’ll forgive me for asking about the pandemic a little bit. For this book, you analyzed data ending around Sept. 30, 2020, before the second wave had taken hold, and you sang the praises of B.C.’s handling of long-term care. Yet since the end of September, B.C. has had at least 1,000 more elders die in long-term care homes in a tragic and fatal second wave. What do you make of the fact that the second wave was so much worse? Yes, first of all, the frustration of deadlines is real, especially for a daily reporter. That was always driving me crazy, knowing that the book would have to be done in September and wouldn’t be out till March. You hedge your bets a bit, so I focus mostly on the first wave, because nobody could predict exactly what would happen. I said some positive things about B.C., but it’s all relative. I think B.C. has some policies, has some newer infrastructure, that made things better. Proportionally, probably today, B.C did a little bit better in the second wave too. But I think it’s just a reminder that nobody did a good enough job of learning the lessons of the first wave. Quebec made a big show of hiring 10,000 more workers. And in the end, how many did they get? Maybe 5,000. B.C. did the same thing, made big announcements about hiring more people, but they lose almost as many as they hire. Also, we let down our guard, and I think that’s true everywhere in the country. It’s doubly tragic that the second wave was worse than the first wave because it just reminds us we didn’t do enough to correct [the mistakes]. The horrors that happened the first time around just got repeated — and then some. Does this make you think differently about what you wrote or the capacity of the elder care sector to have learned and enacted changes during the summer’s lull in cases? To me, the most frustrating and angering thing I see comes where they’ve now had two and three outbreaks. How can you not learn from that? Fifty people die in your home and then you bury them, and then you make the same mistakes? It just seems so unthinkable. And I think the larger [issue], the one we’ve known all along, is the way to prevent cases and deaths in long-term care is to get control in the community. That’s been our biggest failure, because we just never got control of the pandemic within the larger community. The homes are not isolated. We can do our best to isolate them, but they’re not ever going to be isolated from the community. We forgot that the way to solve this was to solve the larger problem of the virus. The second part is, we could have done better on testing. We know we banned workers working in more than one home. But there were exceptions to that rule every day. The locking out of caregivers — it’s a big mistake to the degree and the length of time we did it, it’s just horrible. People suffered a lot from the isolation and the loneliness, as much as from the pandemic. We should have found ways to make it safer for caregivers because they’re so essential to the care. And then the big one is: we never solved the fundamental problem of the labour issue. There are just not enough bodies in there to provide the care. The lack of good care makes it easier for diseases to spread and more people working with large numbers of people... you have them being less cautious because they’re in a hurry. All these things all feed into each other. I hear from families every single day about how frustrated they are, and you can’t argue with them. It’s awful, what’s still going on. In the beginning of the book, you said you were skeptical that there would be any accountability for the mass deaths of vulnerable seniors that we have seen. Why is that? We’re not ever good at accountability in Canada, because we don’t have a system. Nobody’s really in charge. It’s hard to figure out who’s accountable [and] there’s a structural way of avoiding any accountability, which is unfortunate. Are people going to go to jail for this? Are they going to be losing lawsuits? I don’t know. If you look at Canada’s history, that’s very unlikely to happen, unfortunately. What we have to focus on is building a better system, so it doesn’t happen again. What might accountability look like in that better system? On the ground, at that level, we need better inspection, better regulation. But I try to be careful to say not more regulation, because we have so much regulation and people work in these homes, but they don’t measure the right things. We make sure that the fridge is exactly at the right temperature, but there’s not really any measure of quality of care. So you’re going to have someone wallowing in their feces for 10 hours, and as long as their milk is the right temperature, the home passes with flying colours. And then there has to be political accountability, and I think that the political accountability comes from putting someone in charge. A lot of these elder care issues go across four or five ministries in most provinces, and no one’s really in charge and there’s a lot of buck passing. I’m a big fan of having a serious ministry of seniors, or of elders, or whatever you want to call it, and put them in charge and make sure they’re accountable. B.C. stands out in that it has the seniors advocate. I think that’s a really good step, even though she doesn’t have any power. But she does have at least the ability to kind of embarrass the government and put them on the spot, so there’s some accountability there. When I asked you in April whether you thought the pandemic would trigger structural changes to health and social safety nets, you said no except for “some hope on the seniors’ care side, just because it’s so, so devastating.” Are you still optimistic things will change? I think there’s a real opportunity to fix things. I think there has to be a certain amount of guilt in politicians, and seeing how horrible this is, and wanting to fix it. So yes, I do have some hope. I despair at the fact that it took this much to make us even talk about change — it should have never have come to this. When we see countries that have zero deaths in long-term care, you just shake your head and say, “Why? Why couldn’t that be asked of one of the richest countries in the world? Why do we have this kind of carnage?” I’m hopeful, but I think hopeful with an asterisk on it. You have been open that your parents both lived with dementia in long-term care. What is the personal impact of this reporting been for you? Is there a part of this process that stays with you? First of all, I’m old. So that gives me a personal stake in this, I’m getting up there in age. But on a more serious note, anyone who’s had parents who have gone through “the system,” who’s had parents with dementia, with these chronic illnesses in long-term care, they lived these frustrations. And they stay with you, they anger you, and that anger never really goes away. I think you see some of that in the book, that I understand and empathize with what a lot of the families are talking about, because I lived it too. And then I just have the benefit of knowing the system from having written about it a long time. And I hope that combination makes it a little more powerful. For people without that personal connection and or that lived experience, how do you think we rally or engage them in pushing for more investment and transformation? I think you have to remind them that everyone’s going there eventually. We’re all on a fast stream to taking care of our parents and our grandparents. This is simple demographics — there are fewer children born, our parents are living longer, and it just means there’s going to be more and more caregivers, and they’re going to be younger and younger. There’s going to be a lot more pressure to do this on everyone. Even younger people really have to take this to heart. It’s going to be a lot more people caring for their parents and their grandparents. One of the most interesting trends in the caregiving data is grandchildren caring for elders. That’s a fairly new thing. So I think this issue is expanding, and it’s touching much more people across society. I hope that will give impetus for governments to act, knowing that people are really going to want change, and they’re not going to be part of our neglect of elders. The younger people, I think, are more outspoken, and they’re more adept at doing that, and they’re more willing to speak out. It’s not the same as my parents’ generation, where you would never even question the government, you don’t question your health-care provider. That stuff’s all going out the window. One of the first lines I highlighted in the book when I was reading was you saying that an aging population is a success, and it’s something to honour and to cherish in our country. What would be an indication to you that Canada is moving in that direction? The way to honour people is to make sure they live in dignity, that they live where they want and how they want. Once that becomes the guiding principle, everything flows from that. We just don’t have that principle. We talked about this respect of what veterans have given, the sacrifice. And not to undervalue the contributions of veterans, but that applies to that entire generation. They’ve made sacrifices that we’ve built on, and we owe them. They’ve paid their taxes for 40 and 50 years. And now it’s time to cash in. We are already reneging on that basic social contract in a really horrible way. Thank you so much, André. I actually lied, I have one last question. Where on Earth did you find the time to write this book? People keep asking me that. I always keep busy, I’m a very regimented person. So I sort of decided to do this fairly late in the process. Publishers were approaching me to do some books about COVID, and I wasn’t interested. Because to me, I think the important book about COVID will probably be written in 10 or 20 years when we have the proper perspective. And then suddenly, someone said, “Well, what are you interested in?” And after I said elder care, they said, “Go for it.” So then from that it went really rapidly. I had in my mind what I wanted to highlight, and I said I’m just going to do it in a regimented way, I have 60 days, I have 1,000 words a day to write after my day job. I didn’t want to take time off work, other than anything I took from my summer holidays to do this, because the pandemic was already keeping me very busy Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
CALGARY — A Calgary man has admitted to slitting his girlfriend's throat and, days later, stabbing to death his mother and stepfather. Crown prosecutor Shane Parker said Tuesday that Dustin Duthie, 27, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murders of Taylor Toller and Shawn Boshuk and the first-degree murder of Alan Pennylegion. An agreed statement of facts said Toller, Duthie's girlfriend of five years, was last seen on video footage from outside her condo unit about 4 a.m. on July 26, 2018. Duthie was captured on video leaving the condo alone about an hour later. Police found Toller, 24, five days later with her throat slit and "tucked into her bed as if she was asleep." The agreed statement of facts mentions a torn-up note in which Duthie explains why he killed Toller, but the document does not detail the note's contents. On the same day Toller was found, Duthie stabbed Boshuk, his mother, six times in their home and covered her with a plastic sheet, the statement said. Boshuk had messaged Toller's grandmother a day earlier, concerned about how her son would react to police contacting him about Toller's disappearance. The statement said Pennylegion witnessed Duthie cleaning his mother's blood in the kitchen and Duthie attacked his stepfather, stabbing him eight times. Duthie and his stepfather had a tense relationship at the time and Duthie had threatened violence against Pennylegion over the years, the statement said. One of Duthie's pit bulls was stabbed but survived with surgery. Pennylegion's pet dog, Odie, found with his owner in the main floor bathroom, was also stabbed and died. The statement said Duthie shaved his head, showered, and changed his clothes after killing his mother and stepfather. About 10:50 a.m. on July 31, he called 911 and confessed to the killings. The document said he was "contemplating 'suicide-by-cop.'" A sentencing date has not yet been set. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 The Canadian Press
Toronto Community Housing has re-housed one of the five households it evicted for missed rent last fall, after a Star story that revealed one of the households landed in a homeless shelter. Those five evictions took place between the end of a provincial eviction moratorium in August and a motion from city council to halt arrears evictions in TCH in December. The day after the Star’s report, Mayor John Tory said he’d contacted TCH CEO Kevin Marshman, to confirm that no further arrears evictions would be taking place. “It shouldn’t have happened, and certainly today I had a conversation in light of this story,” Tory said at the time, while noting that the evictions had still been within the bounds of the law. “It was one of those things where it happened in kind of in a short gap that exists between one lockdown and another … I’m not making an excuse for it, I’m just staying that’s what happened.” Asked what would happen to the evicted households, Tory said he would ask Marshman to examine the cases “and see what the appropriate response should be.” During a committee meeting on Tuesday, Coun. Paula Fletcher asked for an update. “I know that at least one family was rehoused as a result of work we did with the shelter and the analysis that we did of their eviction,” replied Scott Kirkham, TCH’s manager of stakeholder relations. Asked by the Star to confirm whether the re-housed family was the one evicted into the shelter system, TCH declined to comment, saying it couldn’t reveal personal information. “We can confirm that, following a review, one of the five households was re-housed,” a statement read. Tory, in a statement Tuesday, said he was “pleased to hear” that an evicted family was re-housed in TCH. Wong-Tam said it seemed the agency had taken a “moment of self-reflection,” and credited its response to city officials’ requests about arrears evictions during the pandemic. “TCH seems to fully understand the severity of the issue,” she said. The housing committee on Tuesday voted to send a request to council on March 10 for TCH to extend its arrears eviction halt until at least June. With files from Francine Kopun Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden's pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination after she faced opposition from key Democratic and Republican senators for her controversial tweets. Her withdrawal marks the first high-profile defeat of one of Biden's nominees. Eleven of the 23 Cabinet nominees requiring Senate approval have been confirmed, most with strong bipartisan support. “Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities,” Tanden wrote in a letter to Biden. The president, in a statement, said he has “utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel” and pledged to find her another role in his administration. Tanden’s viability was in doubt after Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and a number of moderate Republicans came out against her last month, all citing her tweets attacking members of both parties prior to her nomination. Manchin, a key moderate swing vote in the Senate, said last month in a statement announcing his opposition that “her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget.” Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins, meanwhile, cited Biden’s own standard of conduct in opposing Tanden, declaring in a statement that “her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend.” Tanden needed just 51 votes in an evenly-divided Senate, with Vice-President Kamala Harris acting as a tiebreaker. But without Manchin’s support, the White House was left scrambling to find a Republican to support her. One potential Republican vote, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, told reporters earlier Tuesday on Capitol Hill she still had not yet made up her mind on Tanden’s nomination. The White House stuck with her even after a number of centrist Republicans made their opposition known, insisting her experience growing up on welfare and background working on progressive policies as the president and CEO of the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress made her the right candidate for the moment. White House chief of staff Ron Klain initially insisted the administration was “fighting our guts out” for her. Tanden faced pointed questions over her past comments about members from both parties during her confirmation hearing. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and prominent progressive lawmaker, accused her of issuing “vicious attacks” against progressives, and hadn’t said whether he’d support her nomination. Tanden apologized during that hearing to “people on either the left or right who are hurt by what I’ve said.” Just prior to the hearing, she deleted hundreds of tweets, many of which were critical of Republicans. Collins cited those deleted tweets in her statement, saying that the move “raises concerns about her commitment to transparency.” She said Congress “has to be able to trust the OMB director to make countless decisions in an impartial manner, carrying out the letter of the law and congressional intent.” As recently as Monday, the White House indicated it was sticking by Tanden’s nomination, with press secretary Jen Psaki noting Tanden's “decades of experience” in defending their pick. “We will continue of course to fight for the confirmation of every nominee that the president puts forward,” Psaki insisted, but she added, “We'll see if we have 50 votes.” The head of the Office of Management and Budget is tasked with putting together the administration's budget, as well as overseeing a wide range of logistical and regulatory issues across the federal government. Tanden's withdrawal leaves the Biden administration without a clear replacement. The apparent front-runner on Capitol Hill to replace Tanden was Shalanda Young, a former staff director for the House Appropriations Committee who has been actively pushed by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Other names mentioned include Ann O’Leary, a former chief of staff for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Gene Sperling, who served as a top economic adviser to both Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on Wednesday launched a search for eight people to join him as the first private passengers on a trip around the moon with Elon Musk's SpaceX. The first stage of the selection process runs to March 14, with applicants needing to pass medical checks and, eventually, an interview with Maezawa. The entrepreneur, who sold his online fashion business Zozo Inc to SoftBank in 2019, is paying the entire cost of the voyage on SpaceX's next-generation reusable launch vehicle, dubbed the Starship.
Members of Montreal's Asian communities say they are still targets of anti-Asian hate crimes — a year after the first case of COVID-19 in Quebec. Between March and December 2020, the Montreal police service (SPVM) recorded 22 crimes targeting Asian-Montrealers, an increase of 19 over the previous year. The SPVM said there were, in addition, eight anti-Asian hate "incidents" reported, compared to three in 2019. More than 40 per cent of the crimes reported involved vandalism. Police say about 10 events appeared to be directly linked to the pandemic and the fact that it originated in Wuhan, China. 'A constant stress' Sarah Le Côté, who's an administrator of a Facebook support group for Asian Quebecers, says she's all too aware of the discrimination Asian Montrealers face daily. "The fact that the numbers went up doesn't surprise me, because of the context, but it makes me happy to see the people are actually reporting," Le Côté said. "The Asian community — We're quiet. We keep to ourselves. We don't really go out of our way to call out those incidents." Le Côté, who is of mixed heritage, says anti-Asian racism is felt not only by the person on the receiving end but also the wider community. "Half of my family is Asian. That puts me in constant stress," Le Côté said. "Without a doubt, we feel that we are targeted...They keep equating the Asian community with the virus, when it doesn't have anything to do with the Asian community." Since the wave of vandalism in Chinatown, Eric Ku, co-owner of Dobe & Andy, says he's more vigilant when closing his restaurant. Born and raised in Montreal, Ku says he's dealt with racism most of his life. "Racism isn't really gone and it's not going away," he said. "[The pandemic] is a reason for people to give a little more hate." Bill Wong, the director of the business development group for Chinatown (Conseil de développement du Quartier chinois de Montréal), says he wants to start a campaign to counter anti-Chinese sentiment in the city. "We live in Canada. We live in Quebec. We have a duty to say things aren't right," Wong said. "Today, I think the Chinese are different than 40, 50 years ago. The young Chinese want to express their anger toward this racism and now is the time to do it."
McMurray Métis elder Anne Michalko said she felt like she was on her way to freedom when she learned she would be getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Michalko, 83, spent much of the past year in quarantine. On Thursday, she made a rare venture outside her home for her first vaccine shot. Her second shot comes one month before her birthday in May. She hopes she can celebrate turning 84 with family. “Can you imagine feeling excited to go out and get a needle?” she said. “I’m looking forward to sitting around the fire pit and enjoying each other’s company. Maybe I’ll take my great grandson for a walk.” Alberta’s vaccine rollout plan entered Phase 1B on Feb. 7, allowing anyone born before 1946 to get a vaccine. Anyone living in retirement centres, senior citizen lodges and other supportive living homes can also get vaccinated. There have been 546 people in Fort Chipewyan that have had their first vaccine dose. The community has been prioritized because of its remote location and limited health care services. The rollout has given some relief to a community with a long memory that includes the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which wiped out three-quarters of the community. One victim was Chief Alexandre Lavoilette, the first chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. Chief Allan Adam of ACFN remembers stories of the Spanish Flu from his late grandmother. She was 18-years-old when the pandemic hit the community, he said. “She said people were lost because they had also lost their chief,” said Adam. “Nobody knew where to go.” Adam is thankful Fort Chipewyan has not experienced anything like the Spanish Flu over the past year. He said he is proud of the work the work the community is doing to keep people safe. “A lot of history was lost from the older people at that time,” he said. “We were lucky and we dodged a bullet this time.” Chief Peter Powder of Mikisew Cree First Nation said stories of the Spanish Flu made some people anxious to get vaccinated. “That’s where people’s heads were at, just hearing about that and how bad it was back in the day,” said Powder. Powder said encouraging young people to get vaccinated has been a priority, since they are more likely to travel outside the community. Some people have been excited to get vaccinated, but Angela Conner, a nurse with Nunee Health, said she has seen some hesitancy in the community. Nunee Health is promoting vaccination and trying to fight false information shared online. The hamlet received a second shipment of vaccines on Feb. 28. “Everything that we use is evidence-based,” said Conner. “We’ve been opening up our facility here for any questions. Quite a few people have called and we did have our nurse practitioner open for any kind of consults.” Other Métis leaders feel they have been left out of Alberta’s vaccination program. Since the first vaccines arrived in Alberta, elders on First Nations or Métis settlements have been getting vaccinated if they are between 65 and 74. Some communities that are mostly Métis are not considered settlements, meaning those elders must wait until the general public can be vaccinated in the fall. A community like Conklin, for instance, is mostly Métis and has seen 11 per cent of its population get COVID-19. But the community is considered a rural hamlet under the responsibility of the municipality. Fort McKay’s Métis community is also on municipal land and not considered a settlement. McMurray Métis has 45 elders between 65 and 74 who will be left out of Phase 1B because the Local is based in Fort McMurray. “In Alberta, it is recognized that Indigenous elders are part of a first priority,” said Bryan Fayant, McMurray Métis’ disaster and recovery strategist. “Our elders are a part of the regular rollout and I just don’t think that’s enough.” email@example.com Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today