Calgary Pastor Tim Stephens has been arrested, after months of encouraging church congregants to break public health rules. Police said Stephens was arrested for organizing a church service on Sunday at Fairview Baptist Church in southeast Calgary, in violation of a Court of Queen's Bench Order that requires organizers of events to comply with public health restrictions. Stephens was proactively served a copy of the court order, which was obtained by Alberta Health Services, last week. "The pastor acknowledged the injunction, but chose to move forward with today's service, ignoring requirements for social distancing, mask wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees," police said in an emailed release. Police said AHS had been attempting for weeks to work with the church to address the ongoing public health concerns at the site, and that enforcement was a last resort. "We continue to ask those who may be considering organizing or participating in any outdoor events to ensure they are familiar with public health order requirements and to do their part to prevent further spread of the virus," police said. The church leader has previously been fined and ticketed for defying public health regulations by holding over-capacity gatherings and not enforcing mask use. Churches are currently limited to a maximum occupancy of 15 people, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta. The province has the highest active case rate in the country, with more than 22,000 active cases. "Restricting the church to 15 people — which essentially restricts the church from gathering — is against the will of Christ and against the conscience of many who desire to worship the Lord of glory according to his word," Stephens wrote in a blog post following the updated restrictions earlier this month, added that he planned to continue to not follow safety precautions. Many Calgary churches have moved to offering online services in order to keep their congregants safe. There have been multiple outbreaks at churches around the province during the pandemic, but only one church outbreak is currently active. Stephens said in the blog post that his church has seen no coronavirus transmission. CBC News has reached out to AHS to ask if any cases have been tied to the church. A January inspection by Alberta Health Services at the church found only two of approximately 75 attendees were wearing masks, the pastor and church staff were unmasked and rows in the auditorium were full, with people sitting side-by-side in rows less than two metres apart. The inspection also found that there was no cleaning or disinfecting of high-touch surfaces between services. Alberta has seen increased enforcement against COVID-19 rule-breakers this month, after bringing in a new protocol to allow for a more coordinated response between police and health agencies for targeting those repeatedly not complying with health orders.
As violence continues to unfold in Gaza and Israel, Ottawa played host to a pair of rallies this weekend, with attendees expressing fear for loved ones overseas and calling for an end to the hostilities. On Saturday, thousands of people took part in a rally organized by Ottawa's Palestinian community, gathering at the Human Rights Monument before marching to the National War Memorial near Parliament Hill. The crowd held signs, waved Palestinian flags, and chanted slogans like "Free Palestine!" and "End the occupation now!" The rally was organized to condemn the latest Israeli strikes in Gaza and the ongoing violence in occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. Many who attended — about 2,000 to 3,000 people, according to police estimates — expressed anxiety, fear, and solidarity with friends and family in the region. "I'm very, very worried about my family," said Janan Arafa, who helped organize the rally and has family in the Gaza Strip. "I'm a Canadian-Palestinian and I just want to advocate for peace, justice, equality and their human rights ... this has nothing to do with politics [or] religion. It really just has to do with advocacy for human rights." Janan Arafa, who has family living in the Gaza Strip, was one of the organizers of Saturday's rally.(Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC) Shahed Helmy, a Palestinian-Canadian who studies at the University Ottawa, also helped put on the demonstration. "People are tired. People want to see justice. People want to see the Canadian government help Palestinians in their fight for justice," Helmy said. "I do have family living over there, and you know, it's a terrible thing because they're constantly in fear of their lives." A man waves a Palestinian flag at Saturday's rally. Police say between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended.(Alexander Behne/Radio-Canada) Fareed Khan, founder of Canadians United Against Hate, also attended the Saturday rally. "I'm here to send a message to the Canadian government and to Justin Trudeau — and all the federal political leaders — that they can no longer hide behind political platitudes and meaningless statements, which do nothing," he said. Pro-Israeli rally Sunday One day after the rally, hundreds of people gathered at the Tom Brown Arena parking lot for a pro-Israeli rally against Hamas, the militant group that rules the Gaza Strip. The purpose, organizers said, was to express unity, support, and solidarity with the Israeli people, and their right for peace, while also drawing local attention to the situation in the Middle East. After gathering outside the arena, a convoy of about 100 vehicles, according to police, drove through downtown past Parliament Hill. Drivers honked, while Israeli flags flew out of the windows. "We have family there, and it's just so heartbreaking because we can't really do much. And it's so hard to see everybody who gets hit and who dies. And their homes are being destroyed," said Yael Levin, who attended Sunday's rally with her mother. Both are from Israel, and Levin said they have friends and extended family living all over Israel and the West Bank. They've been in contact with them daily to see if they're OK and to bring them comfort, Levin said. "It doesn't matter what ethnic background you are, what your religion is. You're in this conflict, and your family is in the conflict, and you just want peace [for] everybody," she said. "And you just want your family to be OK and everybody to be OK. Yael Levin (right) and her mother Lili (left) were one of hundreds who took part in Sunday's rally in solidarity with Israel. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC) Bella Kravtzob, one of the organizers, said the rally was designed to show "solidarity, unity [and] support to the Israeli people" while also raising awareness locally about the conflict. "We are striving for peace in Israel and in the Middle East in general. So we know that both sides are suffering, but we need to understand that we need to stop it," said Kravtzob, who moved to Canada from Israel a decade ago and still has family there. Kravtzob said she speaks with her sister every day, and her family is spending every night in a bomb shelter. Bella Kravtzob helped organize Sunday's rally, and says its purpose was to show 'solidarity, unity, support to the Israeli people.'(Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC) Rally attendee Nicole Goldstone said she placed blame directly on the government in power in Gaza. "We wish peace in the Middle East. The people of Gaza are not our enemy. We feel terrible for any loss of life in Gaza, women and children," she said. "Hamas is the enemy."
A prominent Canadian Jewish advocacy group hosted a virtual event in solidarity with Israel on Sunday, and pro-Palestinian demonstrations continued in Canadian cities, amid ongoing violence between Israeli forces and Palestinians in Gaza. "Even the remarkable Iron Dome defence system cannot protect Israeli citizens — young and old, Jew and Arab — from the trauma of an endless barrage of alerts and rockets," Andrea Freedman said at the beginning of the pro-Israel virtual event, which was organized by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). "Jewish Canadians want peace, and we are very concerned that antisemitic violence is taking root here in Canada," said Freedman, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa. CIJA said almost 1,000 people attended the event, which featured prayers from students and Holocaust survivors as well as remarks from Ohad Kaynar, the deputy head of mission at Israel's embassy in Canada. The virtual event came amid a weekend that saw pro-Palestinian demonstrations in cities across Canada, with particularly large crowds in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver on Saturday. "People are tired. People want to see justice. People want to see the Canadian government help Palestinians in their fight for justice," Shahed Helmy, a Canadian-Palestinian student at the University of Ottawa who assisted with Saturday's demonstration in the capital, told Radio-Canada's Nafi Alibert. On Sunday, Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people, Palestinian medics said — the deadliest single attack in the latest round of violence. Hamas also pressed on, launching rockets from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel. One slammed into a synagogue in the southern city of Ashkelon hours before evening services for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, Israeli emergency services said; no injuries were reported. 'Don't give up' On Sunday in St. John's, about 200 people attended a pro-Palestinian rally in front of the Colonial Building. Among the speakers was St. John's East NDP MP Jack Harris, the federal NDP's foreign affairs critic, who said Canada hasn't done enough to advance peace and justice in the Middle East. Harris said the protest against ongoing violence might be part of a broader awakening that could result in progress. "Let's fight for it, don't give up, we have people on your side around the world," he told the crowd. About 200 people attended a pro-Palestinian rally outside the Colonial Building in St. John's on Sunday.(Heather Gillis/CBC) Pro-Israel demonstrations were also held in person in Canadian cities on Sunday. In Ottawa, a few hundred people gathered at a pro-Israel rally in the parking lot at Tom Brown Arena west of the city's downtown calling for peace in the region. Organizers said the purpose of the rally was to show support for people in Israel and their right to live in peace. Following the rally, a car convoy drove through downtown past Parliament Hill, as car horns honked and Israeli flags flew outside vehicles. Ottawa police estimated that about 100 vehicles took part in the convoy. In Vancouver, a few hundred pro-Israel demonstrators marched from city hall to the Vancouver Art Gallery downtown, calling for peace in the region. "Every single one of my children have trauma from living there," Amanda Malul, who raised her children in Israel before moving to Canada, told CBC's Joel Ballard. "And I know Palestinian children have trauma, too. It's terrible on all sides. It shouldn't be this way. "There's no reason we can't come to some sort of agreement where we can all live together." Allegations of assault at Saturday rally in Toronto In Toronto, several Canadian Jewish organizations published a statement early Sunday alleging that pro-Palestinian demonstrators, who gathered for a rally in Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday, assaulted pro-Israeli demonstrators. "We condemn in the strongest terms these brazen acts of assault, intimidation, and hate targeting members of Toronto's Jewish community and supporters of Israel," said the statement from CIJA, B'nai Brith Canada, Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies and the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. "There is absolutely no justification for political violence in the streets of Toronto, whatever one's cause may be." Toronto police separated pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrators at Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday.(Chris Young/The Canadian Press) Toronto police said in a news release Sunday they are aware of a video circulating online that shows a man being assaulted. Police said the incident happened outside of Nathan Phillips Square and officers are investigating. The statement from the Canadian Jewish organizations was shared on Twitter by Conservative Sen. Linda Frum, while federal Conservative Party Leader Erin O'Toole retweeted her and commented: "acts of violence and antisemitism on the streets of Toronto and elsewhere in Canada are disturbing and unacceptable." Toronto Mayor John Tory also posted a similar statement, adding that he's been in contact with interim police chief James Ramer and asked to be informed of the steps police are taking to investigate "a particularly disturbing incident" from Saturday. "Discrimination or hatred of any kind against any community in our province should never be tolerated," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a series of tweets posted Sunday evening. Toronto police announced on Sunday that they arrested and charged two people following Saturday's demonstrations at Nathan Phillips Square, as well as one person at an unrelated event at Queen's Park.
Montrealers are heading to public parks in massive numbers as the pandemic restrictions prohibit home gatherings. But once they are out getting some fresh air with friends and family, there are limited places to go to the bathroom. By Saturday evening, Jarry Park was brimming with more than a thousand people, but there was one only one building open with bathrooms as well as six chemical toilets. While some people were willing to stand in line and wait for at least 30 minutes, others went off to find an inconspicuous spot to relieve themselves. "With friends, we went to pee in nature," Sarah Denchetri told Radio-Canada while she was in Jarry Park on Saturday. Things weren't much better at parks like Jeanne-Mance or Laurier, where demand for public bathrooms also outstripped supply. Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said 140 portable chemical toilets have been added to parks around the city. He estimated parks are getting between seven and10 times the usual amount of visitors. "We are still in the red zone. There are not many activities to do. We know that Montrealers like to go to their parks," Sabourin said. Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said 140 portable chemical toilets have been added to parks around the city.(Radio-Canada) "Certainly there will be adjustments to be made in the coming weeks," he added, but things may change if the provincial government scales back restrictions. "We will see how it will unfold in terms of the reopening of non-essential businesses, especially restaurants," he said. In Quebec's red zones, outdoor gatherings of a maximum of eight people are allowed on condition that a mask is worn when the distance of two metres cannot be respected. Gatherings on private property, be it inside or outside, remain prohibited. Police fined 75 people, for a total of $135,000, after breaking-up an illegal house party this weekend in Sainte-Beatrix, about 100 kilometres north of Montreal.
People ticketed for breaking public health rules during a pro-Palestinian car rally in Halifax say they were "shocked" to receive a fine while sitting in their car, and plan to fight the fine. The rally, which organizers with the Atlantic Canada Palestinian Society called the "Free Palestine COVID safe car rally" saw more than 200 cars participate. The group began at Tower Road and Inglis Street, outside Saint Mary's University, before the long line of cars drove through downtown streets, waving flags and honking. But multiple people say they were ticketed in the parking lot before the drive began when there was a bottleneck of traffic trying to leave. Nada Musa was sitting in a car with her roommate, who was driving, and two of the roommate's family members, all in their COVID-19 bubble. She said one Halifax Regional Police officer hit the car as he walked by in the parking lot, shouting at them to move along. 'We were really shocked' Soon after, another officer came up to the car and issued Musa's roommate a ticket under the Health Protection Act for physically gathering with "everyone outside," referring to the nearby cars. That ticket carries a $2,000 fine. "So I go, 'Wait, you're telling me the gathering is people in their cars' … we didn't even come into contact with anyone outside our car," Musa said Sunday. "We were really shocked." Nada Musa holds the Palestinian flag out the window of a car during the pro-Palestinian demonstration in Halifax on Saturday. (Nada Musa) Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella said Saturday that the rally was an illegal gathering, and the time for demonstrations and protests "isn't now." The province has been under lockdown for more than two weeks to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus as the Halifax region deals with community spread, high cases and increasing hospitalization. The province reported 126 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Musa said she understands how serious the virus is and felt like their group did everything right to keep themselves and the public safe. But she saw police ticket other people for honking and making noise, or pull them over at different points of the rally as they drove along, for leaving their homes for non-essential reasons. At the same time, Musa said lots of people were moving around on scooters or enjoying the sunshine in groups and were not ticketed. As someone with family in the Palestinian territories, Musa said raising awareness of the escalating violence in the Middle East was too important to just leave to social media, and attending the rally to make noise was vital. "They're calling us every day. They don't know if they're going to make it tomorrow," Musa said. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations like Halifax's were held across Canada on Saturday, in large cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Fairness questioned Musa said it was unfair for Halifax police to single out their rally as an illegal one, alongside one on Citadel Hill at the same time. That event was organized on Facebook by a group called Freedom Nova Scotia, and a small number of people showed up Saturday to protest the current restrictions. "We were not gathering on the hill or having people close to each other. People were in their bubbles, their families," Musa said. She added her roommate is planning to work with a lawyer to argue the ticket. Police laid charges at the start of a car rally near Saint Mary's University in the south end of Halifax(Jeorge Sadi/CBC) Police issued 21 tickets in total under the Health Protection Act and the Emergency Management Act for two events, while Kinsella said the Inglis Street rally also led to fines under the Motor Vehicle Act. Dana Elborno, one of the rally organizers with the Atlantic Canada Palestinian Society, said Sunday she is especially upset with the tickets because they reached out to Halifax police days before the rally. Elborno said police thanked their group for the notice, and a few officers arrived at the Inglis Street parking lot around noon before the rally began. She said the police told them they were there to make sure public health rules were followed, but never said the rally was illegal or that it should be stopped. Exit blocked Then as more and more cars arrived, many honking horns to grab attention, Elborno said police informed them they were starting to get noise complaints and tickets would now be handed out. Police blocked one of the parking lot exits to only allow cars to leave through Robie Street, Elborno said, which she feels added to the traffic issues. "I feel like I was betrayed by the police," Elborno said. "They gave us their word and they were fine with it … they knew that this was going to happen." Elborno said she can't see how their rally was any different from cars sitting in a parking lot at a grocery store, or people gathering within their households at the beach. CBC has asked Halifax police for a response about the tickets handed to people in cars and what their knowledge of the rally was before it began. Police said Sunday afternoon that a response would come on Monday. MORE TOP STORIES
Saskatchewan is reporting 167 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the known active case count to 2,082. One person in their 80s has died in the Saskatoon zone. There are 137 people in hospital in the province, with 24 people in intensive care. Here's where the new cases are: Far northwest, six. Far northeast, one. Northwest, 20. North central, 16. Saskatoon, 54. Central west, one. Central east, six. Regina, 29. Southwest, three. South central, 11. Southeast, 14. Six new cases are pending residence information. One case with pending residence information was assigned to the Saskatoon zone. Beginning Monday, restaurants in Regina can open in accordance with restaurant restrictions across the province. Vaccine eligibility is now down to people aged 20 and up, and remains 18 and up in the northern district. Seventy-four per cent of Saskatchewan residents over the age of 40 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Over the last day, 18,995 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were given — a daily record, according to the government. It said in a release that it's mostly due to the ability to have pharmacies delivering vaccine.
Police in Regina say 13 tickets were handed out for public health order violations on Saturday. Around 2 p.m. police monitored a gathering of about 40 people protesting the provincial health orders regarding COVID-19, on the 2100 block of Victoria Avenue. Police said the tickets were handed out for failing to comply with the public health orders by participating in a gathering that exceeded 10 people. More from CBC News:
The RCMP dive team and volunteer search and rescue crews are looking for a diver who went missing in Okanagan Lake in Kelowna, B.C. In a written statement, RCMP said emergency crews responded to a call about a possible drowning shortly before 3 p.m. on Saturday. Officers learned that a 52-year-old man was scuba diving on the east side of the William Bennett Bridge when he failed to resurface. Ed Henczel, a volunteer with Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, said late Saturday night that the man had been diving with three other people. Henczel says the area has a fairly strong current because of water constriction under the bridge. "We're still searching, we're still positive," he said Saturday evening. Underwater Recovery Team deployed The search crew on Saturday included 20 volunteers, as well as first responders from RCMP and the local fire department, and some teams searching for the missing man on foot. Crews were planning to head out at first light on Sunday, Henczel said, joining the RCMP Underwater Recovery Team. RCMP are asking that the public give crews space and distance as they continue their search Sunday.
More than 150 people gathered in downtown Fredericton Sunday afternoon to denounce violence against Palestinians in Gaza. The latest developments in the confrontation between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants saw more deadly airstrikes from Israel into Gaza on Sunday. Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and at least 42 people died, Palestinian medics said Sunday. The Gaza Health Ministry said 16 women and 10 children were among the dead, with more than 50 people wounded, and rescue efforts are still underway. Supporters in Fredericton waved the Palestinian flag and held signs overhead while chanting in solidarity with Palestinians. Laila Abuamer and Rania Al-Chalabi organized Sunday's demonstration.(Gary Moore/CBC) Laila Abuamer, one of the organizers of the rally, has family in Gaza. "What's happening is so unfair," she said. "The children, women and families are being attacked and being kicked out of their homes." Abuamer said she receives videos from her family with sounds of bombs and airstrikes in the middle of the night. "They're living [in] fear all the time of losing their homes, losing their land at any moment and losing their loved ones," she said. The Fredericton rally is among several demonstrations held over the weekend in Canada. A young boy shows his support for the Palestinians at a rally in Fredericton on Sunday. (Gary Moore/CBC) Fredericton police monitored the rally, but it remained peaceful. Rania Al-Chalabi, another organizer, said holding the demonstration is her way of helping her loved ones in the Palestinian territories. "And letting them know that they are not alone they're voices are heard. Their leaders are silent, but us people are not silent." Pro-Palestinian supporters are shown at a demonstration in Fredericton. (Gary Moore/CBC) The Israeli air assault early Sunday was the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting broke out between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza nearly a week ago.
A driver is dead after a three-vehicle crash in Caledon on Sunday afternoon, Ontario Provincial Police say. The crash happened on Highway 10 near Charleston Side Road before 4 p.m. One of the three drivers died of injuries suffered in the crash. OPP said the investigation is ongoing. Debris was strewn over a large area of the highway. Officers have closed Highway 10 between Charleston Side Road and Highway 9 as they investigate the crash.
Montreal police deployed tear gas in downtown Montreal on Sunday after a demonstration in support of the Israeli government was declared illegal. Several hundred people gathered early afternoon at Dorchester Square, waving Israeli flags and dancing to music. They were met by about a dozen pro-Palestinian demonstrators, who launched a protest of their own. The two groups argued, and altercations ensued. Police intervened with tear gas to disperse the crowds, according to Radio-Canada. Police were still on the scene at 4 p.m. encouraging people to leave the area. On Saturday, several thousand people marched through downtown Montreal to the Israeli consulate in Westmount, protesting Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip as well as recent settlement activity. Fighting between the Israeli military and the Gaza-based militant group Hamas continued on Sunday. Militants in Gaza fired an early-morning barrage of rockets into Israel. Then Israeli airstrikes on Gaza flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people on, Palestinian medics said. But despite the heavy death toll and international efforts to broker a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signalled the fourth war with Gaza's Hamas rulers would rage on. In a televised address on Sunday evening, Netanyahu said the attacks were continuing at "full force" and will "take time."
Two young children are in critical condition following a single-vehicle crash in Vaughan on Sunday. York Regional Police said they were called to Athabasca Drive, near Dufferin Street and Teston Road. Officers said a vehicle went off the road and struck three people, including two children aged four and 11. A male neighbour was also transported to hospital with minor injuries. Police said the driver, a teenage boy, has been arrested. Investigators are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
Vancouver police say they deployed an RCMP Air One helicopter and a marine unit to disperse people gathered on downtown beaches Saturday night. According to a statement from police, thousands of people gathered on Vancouver's beaches Saturday to enjoy the warm May weather. The statement said officers patrolled the beaches to ensure people were not drinking, and began asking people to leave at 10 p.m., when the beaches officially close. Police said while most complied, some people refused to leave, and a small group threw bottles at officers, prompting more police to be called to the scene. Police then used spotlights from the helicopter and marine unit to disperse people. No arrests were made. B.C. health officials are currently encouraging people to socialize outdoors only, as the risk of COVID-19 transmission is significantly reduced outdoors compared to indoors.
Canadian provinces continued to take steps towards hitting their vaccination targets today even as questions linger after the departure of the senior military officer in charge of the national immunization drive. Ontario administered its seven millionth vaccine dose over the weekend, which saw several hot spots trying to scale up their efforts to reach more residents. One vaccine clinic in Peel region west of Toronto operated for at least 32 hours straight in a bid to reach essential workers logging non-traditional hours as well as younger people. Ontario officials are set to expand vaccine eligibility to all residents 30 and older this week, though many younger adults have been able to secure shots in virus hot spots. Quebec began opening walk-in clinics for those 18 and up a few days ago, and announced today that it had surpassed the 4 million vaccine mark. The provinces are pushing ahead amid questions about who will lead Canada's vaccine rollout following the abrupt departure of Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who left the post late last week pending the results of a military investigation. The federal government has not said why Fortin was reassigned nor who will replace him. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2021 The Canadian Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 4:05 p.m. Saskatchewan is reporting 167 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional virus-related death. The person who died was in the 80-plus age category, according to the province's daily pandemic update, and was from the Saskatoon zone. The update says 2,082 COVID-19 cases are considered active in Saskatchewan. There are 137 people with COVID-19 in Saskatchewan hospitals, with 24 in intensive care. --- 2:35 p.m. Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19. The province is now dealing with 116 active infections, and has reported 2,063 cases and 41 deaths since the pandemic began. Seven people are recovering in hospital, including two in intensive care. --- 2:25 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting 126 new cases of COVID-19 today. On Saturday, the province's daily case count dropped below 100 for the first time since May 1. The entire province has been subjected to strict lockdown measures since April 28, when it became clear the third wave of COVID-19 had arrived in Nova Scotia. As of today, Nova Scotia has 1,531 active cases of COVID-19 — 92 people were in hospital, including 21 in intensive care. --- 2:10 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting nine new cases of COVID-19. All of the new cases are related to travel within Canada, and all but two involve people under the age of 40. Health officials are reporting 85 active infections in the province, but there is only one person recovering in hospital. The province has recorded 1,193 cases since the pandemic began, including six deaths. --- 1:50 p.m. Manitoba is reporting 534 new cases of COVID-19 today as well as four new deaths among virus patients. Three of them were in their 50s, while the fourth was in his 80s. The current five-day test-positivity rate is 12.3 per cent provincially and 14.1 per cent in Winnipeg. There are 258 people in Manitoba hospitals with COVID 19 and 71 patients in intensive care. --- 1:20 p.m. Ontario Premier Doug Ford says summer camps will be allowed to reopen in the province this year. The premier's remarks came during a stop at a mass vaccination clinic west of Toronto. Ford offered no details on reopening plans, including whether they pertained to overnight or day camps and any public health measures that may be in place. A spokesperson from the Premier's office says more details will be announced before the province's stay-at-home order lifts on June 2. --- 11:20 a.m. Quebec is reporting 716 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths, both from the past 24 hours. Hospitalizations and intensive care numbers each declined by one to 508 and 119, respectively. The province added 90,196 vaccine doses in the past 24 hours and 2,234 from earlier to its grand total of 4,323,040 vaccines administered. The province says 48.2 per cent of the population has received at least one dose. --- 11 a.m. Ontario is reporting 2,199 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today, along with 30 new deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 633 of the most recent infections were identified in Toronto, 547 in Peel Region, 172 in York Region, 143 in Durham and 129 in Hamilton. Hospitalizations fell by 254 to 1,292, with 714 patients in intensive care and 509 on ventilators. Elliott says the province administered more than 139,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday alone, bringing the provincial total past the seven million mark since the start of the immunization effort. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2021 The Canadian Press
Connecting with Alberta's migrant workforce is challenging — there's no public access to data around which of the province's farms employ these workers and many workers fear speaking out lest they be replaced. So for Vanesa Ortiz, secretary of the Association of Mexicans in Calgary, meeting these workers involved starting from scratch. "We had to travel to small towns in Alberta, and just basically stay in parking lots for hours and hours waiting for them to do their groceries and connect with them that way," Ortiz said. Ortiz learned these workers, who often live in congregate living situations, often lack access to essential services — a struggle exacerbated by the pandemic. In her conversations, Ortiz said many expressed they didn't even know vaccines were available. "You know, the way the mainstream public will learn about vaccination rollout is by listening to the radio or watching TV or social media with Canadian sources," she said. "But what happens when you don't speak the language, when you are in a very isolated community and when the person who is responsible for your wellbeing, which is your employer, is not communicating that information to you?" Making vaccines more accessible With those concerns in mind, the Association of Mexicans in Calgary sent a letter to the provincial government on May 3, requesting that: Accessible transportation be made available to vaccination sites. Farmworkers be prioritized in the vaccination rollout. Information about the vaccination rollout be disseminated in the language of these workers. A spokesperson for the Alberta government said the province was working to make vaccines more accessible, potentially involving pop-up clinics or other activities to reduce barriers. "We've translated vaccine education materials into 13 languages and are working with diverse sectors such as industry, municipalities, and community-based organizations," Brendan Procé said in an email. But advocates said vaccines are just one piece of the puzzle — and the struggles are emblematic of a larger societal issue. Seeking change for workers Last month, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced a new immigration pathway intended to allow up to essential workers and international graduates in Canada to convert their temporary status to permanent status. That program was criticized by the Migrant Rights Network, who said it would only benefit a small group and would disclude a large number of workers. Syed Hussan, executive director of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change and member of the Migrant Rights Network, has been calling on the federal government to immediately provide permanent resident status to all migrant and undocumented people in Canada. "We have a choice right now. One in 23 people in the country are migrant or undocumented. As a result, they're kicked out of public services or can't access the rights that they do have," Hussan said. "Whereas the primary issue is this — we cannot have public health if one in 23 people are excluded. We can't have labour laws if one in 23 people don't have access to basic labour rights." Speaking in April at a virtual news conference, Mendicino said Ottawa's new pathway to permanent status was about more than "a new piece of paper." "We're creating a pathway for newcomers that will strengthen their job security, expand their career horizons, and encourage them to put down deeper roots in our communities where they are giving back," he said. WATCH | Migrant workers need universal access to health-care, migrants rights activist says: Snapshot of the lives of workers Hussan said the challenges felt by racialized working-class people during the pandemic represents just a snapshot of the lives of these workers. Certain messaging — for example, "visit your local Shopper's Drug Mart to get vaccinated" — doesn't connect to these workers, Hussan said. "I'm sorry, but that actually excludes everyone without a phone line, everyone who doesn't speak the language, anyone who doesn't live close to a pharmacy," he said. "So it's the entire vaccine system, as part of the broader society we live in, which consistently and unconditionally excludes the same people that it calls essential. "We hear that migrants are essential, we hear that low wage workers are essential, we hear, it's the grocery store worker, the cleaner, the construction worker, the health-care worker — but why are they being excluded from essential rights and protections?" In the end, the issue isn't about prioritizing vaccines for migrant farmworkers, Hussan said, but something on a societal level. "If they can't get vaccines, they can't get any health-care. That's the point," he said. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada began accepting applications for three separate streams under its new immigration pathway on May 6. The streams will remain open until Nov. 5, or until they reach their limit.
Three Indigenous-owned companies in Saskatchewan have announced they're exploring small modular reactors (SMR). Kitsaki Management, Athabasca Basin Development and Des Nedhe Group have all signed a memorandum of understanding concerning their support for nuclear power in Saskatchewan. "We think that small modular reactors have a role to play in moving forward on climate change," said Sean Willy, CEO of Des Nedhe Group, which is the economic development arm of the English River First Nation.he said. "As three First Nations businesses, we wanted to support that and say listen, we want to be part of these discussions." Saskatchewan has already signed agreements with Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick to explore the technology of small modular reactors. The first reactor in Saskatchewan is scheduled to be operational in 2032. Willy said that he knows the technology won't be operational in Saskatchewan for some time, but that he wants to be a part of the supply chain and have a stake in jobs. "I think too often, First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities are the last ones at the table on business and we don't get our rightful spot [with] commercial opportunities and we want to flip that on its head," he said. The provinces have released a feasibility report prepared by Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, NB Power and SaskPower which gives a potential timeline for development and deployment of SMRs and assesses their competitiveness with other non-emitting energy sources. SMRs are nuclear reactors that produce less than 300 megawatts of electricity. Because they are smaller than traditional nuclear power plants, which generally produce 800 megawatts (MW) and up, they are expected to be cheaper to build, scalable to meet specific industrial and remote community needs and, according to the report, will have the potential to be competitive with other low-carbon forms of energy.
OTTAWA — The federal government faced growing calls for answers from experts and political opponents alike on Sunday amid lingering questions about the abrupt reassignment of the military general who was overseeing Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, as well as who may be stepping into his critical role.The Defence Department announced in a terse three-line statement on Friday evening that Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin was stepping aside from his role overseeing the delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine doses across the country. The reasons for his departure were not revealed, aside from a brief mention of a “military investigation.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office and the Defence Department, including Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office, have since refused to provide further information, including on the nature of the investigation.The government has also declined to say when officials became aware of the probe and whether Fortin was vetted before being appointed to lead the vaccination campaign in November. Nor has it yet indicated who will be taking over from Fortin as government across the country to ramp up their immunization efforts. Experts say the lack of information underscores existing frustration over a lack of transparency within the military and Defence Department, as well as raising concerns about Canada’s vaccination effort.“There is a lot of speculation about what's going on,” said Charlotte Duval-Lantoine, an expert on sexual misconduct in the military at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.“Dany Fortin had an impact on everyday Canadians because he was responsible for the vaccine rollout. So I think the Department of National Defense, at least in my opinion, has an additional duty to kind of tell us what's going on.”Nobody is expecting the Defence Department and government to reveal the specifics of any allegation, Duval-Lantoine added. But she argued a lack of transparency now undercuts already-shaky confidence that the military will hold top officers to account.“There’s no question that type of secrecy is going to be an additional blow to the legitimacy of the military justice system and how the military regulates itself,” she said.University of Ottawa law professor Penny Collenette, who previously served in prime minister Jean Chretien’s office while her husband David Collenette was Canada’s defence minister, echoed some of those concerns.“This is a huge operation we're doing, probably one of the most important ever,” she said of the vaccination campaign.“And we don't know what the allegation is. ... We're all at a loss. So that's a vacuum of information, which is inexplicable to me.”The Defence Department has taken a mixed approach to the release of information about investigations into several other senior officers, revealing details for some cases but remaining tight-lipped about others.It has also approved media interviews by two female officers who are at the centre of allegations into the conduct of former defence chief general Jonathan Vance and his successor, Adm. Art McDonald despite ongoing police investigations.Conservative defence critic James Bezan called on the government on Sunday to start answering questions.“As the sexual misconduct crisis continues to rock the Canadian Armed Forces and now our vaccine rollout, the Liberals’ lack of leadership is making the situation worse,” he said in a statement.“Justin Trudeau must be transparent with Canadians. Canadians need to have confidence in our military, and that starts with the government providing information."Collenette also questioned the government’s continued silence over who will replace Fortin, with the Prime Minister’s Office, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada refusing to say who will now oversee the vaccine effort.The government has insisted the vaccination campaign will not be negatively affected by Fortin’s departure, but Collenette worried about the impact on Ottawa’s work with the provinces to get vaccines into the arms of Canadians.“It seemed very odd that there wasn't something that said: ‘No problem, we have an interim person,’ or ‘No problem, his second-in-command will take over,’” she said. “Just something that lets voters, that lets citizens have some security and some certainty.”Fortin joins a growing list of generals and admirals who have been suspended or forced to step aside in recent weeks, many of them because of inappropriate conduct.Those include Vance and McDonald as well as Vice-Admiral Haydn Edmundson, who until last week commanded the military’s human resources section. Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe was also forced to step aside as commander of Canada’s special forces after writing a letter in support of a soldier found guilty of sexually assaulting a comrade’s wife. And Lt.-Gen. Christopher Coates retired after concerns were raised about an affair that he had with an American civilian while serving as deputy commander of NORAD.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Some Islanders have been booking COVID-19 vaccine appointments through a bot on Twitter, but few seem to know who is behind the mysterious service. Island couple Jonathan and Ashley Green are behind P.E.I. Vax Bot. Jonathan writes software for a living and created the bot. His wife, Ashley, works in marketing and design and is the voice of the service. The bot posts new and cancelled appointments automatically to a Twitter feed. Islanders can then click those links to book a COVID-19 shot at a pharmacy or vaccination clinic. "I think we all pretty much have a common goal that P.E.I. needs to be vaccinated as quickly as possible, and if we can help make that more efficient, we figured, why not?" Ashley said. Ashley Green, left, works in marketing and design and is the voice of P.E.I. Vax Bot. Her husband, Jonathan Green, writes software for a living and created the bot.(Submitted by Ashley Green) "I mean, it was just a one-evening project to start with, and then it's kind of become more than that … we've been spending some spare time on it. But it was pretty small to start," Jonathan said. "We got the cancellation appointments ourselves and then decided that it would be neat to be able to … show more people that this is possible because getting everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible is … I think the way out of all of this." The bot obtains information on cancellations and appointments from a feed on the Skip the Waiting Room website, a service many Islanders use to book vaccinations. It then relays that information on the bot's Twitter feed. Positive feedback Jonathan started out writing only 10 lines of code for the bot, but that has expanded to hundreds in order to keep up with appointment availability. The feedback has been positive. The couple said the bot doesn't pull any personal data from anyone who decides to use the service. P.E.I. Vax Bot can be found on Twitter @VaxPEI. The bot joins similar services in Atlantic Canada and across the country. Available COVID-19 vaccination appointments on Prince Edward Island can also be viewed at the province's website. More from CBC P.E.I.
An MLA from Saskatoon is sharing a racist encounter her young grandchildren had with a stranger earlier this week. Betty Nippi-Albright, MLA for the Saskatoon Centre constituency, is an Indigenous woman from Kinistin Saulteaux Nation. She said that on Tuesday, her young granddaughters had an experience while walking home from school with their dad when a man yelled out his car window. "A Caucasian male yelled out 'you little f----ing savages,' is what he told my little grandchildren," Nippi-Albright said. "The children were just so frightened by being called that and the tone and the angry person that called them that, they were very upset." She said the children's mother spent a lot of time talking to them, explaining that what had happened to them was not right. "I was so frustrated as a grandmother because this is not the first time that's happened to my grandchildren or to Indigenous children," she said. "It's one thing to be racist against adults, but it's another thing when it's directed to small children that do not have the capacity to speak up and address racism." Nippi-Albright made a social media post detailing the incident. She said the people commenting on the post helped her grandchildren feel supported and validated. "That is just one example of how racism is so entrenched in our society in Saskatchewan," she said. "However, they're not as blatant as what happened with my grandchildren, they're very covert and they're easily justified." Nippi-Albright said the reason her granddaughter's father did not go to the police was because of systemic racism in the police sector. "There's an issue there, and this is what we face as visible Indigenous people, he has faced many many racist comments," she said. "What recourse do the police have in addressing that? How do they stop that? "For us to report that in this case, to the police, they're not going to care." The Saskatoon Police said in a statement that it encourages people to report incidents where they feel threatened or if their safety is in jeopardy. "Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community," it said. Government response to systemic racism Nippi-Albright said when she brought up her concerns about systemic racism in the legislative assembly on May 10, it was met with the "same rhetoric." In a statement, the Government of Saskatchewan said systemic racism exists and there is work to be done to address it. "Our government condemns all forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance and bigotry. We will continue to work within government and with our partners so that everyone in Saskatchewan can live, work, and raise a family without facing discrimination or racism," it said. She said the government told her there is Aboriginal awareness training sessions offered within many organizations in the province. "In my opinion, and in my experience as a visible Indigenous person, [that] doesn't do anything to change people's attitudes and the way they treat Indigenous people," Nippi-Albright said. Nippi-Albright said she would like to see anti-racist training be mandatory for every worker in the province. She said she urges the public to write letters to their elected officials, as well as co-ordinate and sign petitions if they believe systemic racism is a problem in the province.
Memorial University President Vianne Timmons says a move to change the university's name to 'Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador' is long overdue.(Sherry Vivian/CBC) Adding 'and Labrador' to the name of Newfoundland and Labrador's university means a lot more to Memorial University President Vianne Timmons than just changing an acronym. "I'm so thrilled that Labrador is now included in our provincial university's name. And it's long overdue," Timmons told CBC Radio's Labrador Morning Friday. The university announced the school's board of regents approved a proposal to change its name earlier this week. The school formerly known as Memorial University of Newfoundland will now be called Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. The name change will take time, Timmons said, as the university's current name is established in provincial legislation. The school has written a letter to Education Minister Tom Osborne to consider the name change. But while it isn't official just yet, Timmons said she is already adopting the change. "We're gonna say we're Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador from now on," she said. "I'm gonna say it in all of my speeches and all of my talks. So to me, it's done." Memorial has written to the provincial government to ask to change the legislation surrounding the school's name.(Paul Daly/CBC) Timmons, who grew up in Labrador City, said the change means more of Newfoundland and Labrador will be represented at campuses across the province, along with celebrating the connection between the island and the Big Land. "Growing up in Labrador as a young girl, the island of Newfoundland sometimes seemed so far away," she said. "I really wanted to make sure that our university represented the entire province, which it does. But the next step is to make sure the name reflects that." "I think it's a really significant time for Labrador … and Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
One man is dead and at least three others are seriously injured after upwards of 100 shots were fired in Toronto's Etobicoke neighbourhood on Sunday. Police said they were called to the Willowridge Road and Eglinton Avenue West area shortly before 2:30 p.m. ET. Callers told police that a man got out of his vehicle and started shooting. Police confirmed a black car pulled up outside of an apartment building and shot at two other vehicles. A Toyota Camry was located in the area of Richgrove Drive and Willowridge Road with bullet holes. Police initially said they found five people suffering from "very serious" injuries as a result of the gunfire, but later updated that number to four people. One of those individuals later died. The homicide unit has been called to investigate. A Toyota Camry was located in the area of Richgrove Drive and Willowridge Road with bullet holes.(Mike Cole/CBC) Officers assisted with two emergency runs to hospital. They could not confirm whether either run included the individual without vital signs. Police say three men are in hospital, including one in serious condition, and two others in non-life threatening condition. Bullet holes were discovered in nearby buildings. Police said they are canvassing the area for other victims. According to reports, two suspected shooters fled the scene in the black car, although police say it's still unclear how many suspects they are searching for. No descriptions of the assailants have been released.
Coastal wind gusts exceeding 100 km/h are still expected around Mumbai, while Monday's landfall will yield gusts of more than 200 km/h along the less-inhabited peninsula.
Four more pop-up vaccine clinics will be coming to Surrey this week as B.C. continues to ramp up its rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. The province said in a statement that the clinics, set to provide 4,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, are a partnership with the Fraser Health authority and the City of Surrey to ensure people in the community have access to the vaccine. The clinics will take place at the following dates and locations: Bear Creek Park, May 17 and 18 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (or until 1,000 doses have been administered). Surrey Sport and Leisure, May 22 and 23, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (or until 1,000 doses have been administered). Pop-up clinics in the Fraser Health region have previously been a source of frustration after people waited in line for hours and were turned away when the clinics ran out of doses. Clinics have also been criticized as inequitable for not targeting those living in high-risk communities after people from different neighbourhoods attended the clinics to get inoculated. The province said at the new clinics, the first 1,000 people in line will be given a wristband guaranteeing them a vaccine. It said personnel at the clinics will also be verifying identification to ensure the doses are going to people currently living in Surrey. As of this weekend, everyone in B.C. aged 18 and above is eligible to book an appointment to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through the province's age-based rollout system.
When the pandemic struck, professional actors were forced off camera and stage and into their homes like everyone else while millions of people who had never been in the spotlight found themselves constantly on camera for the first time. School and work moved online while Victoria-based actor Emma Rendell's career was sidelined. Then she realized some of the skills she employed as an actor could help people now meeting on Zoom and other video conference platforms. Rendell and fellow actor Emily Steck decided to make a career pivot and the pair have launched their own company — Once More With Feeling — to offer tricks of their trade to help people communicate better, and feel more confident, during camera meetings. Just breathe The first tip Rendell offered during an interview on CBC's On The Island is to breathe properly under pressure. "Breath is your best friend," she said. Rendell recommends taking a few deep, diaphragmatic breaths before presenting virtually. This can slow your heart rate and help relax nerves. "Breath is so important, it is the cornerstone of good acting and also good communication," she said. WATCH | Emma Rendell offers breathing tips for your next virtual meeting: Vary your voice Another tip to keep in mind is how you use your voice. Rendell suggests varying your tone, pitch and pace to keep your audience engaged. "I think people underestimate the power of the voice," she said, adding that differing your voice patterns can keep others from zoning out during a presentation as virtual meetings can have an exhausting affect on participants. But don't stress your voice. In this helpful video, Rendell says to avoid vocal stress, do not lean forward into the camera and raise your voice volume as people tend to do. Sit back and speak at a normal volume says Rendell, this makes you look more confident and at ease. Be prepared (to forgive) In a blog entry on Once More With Feeling's website, Rendell refers to what she calls the "half-hour call". In the theatre, actors are usually given a 30-minute warning before curtain to make sure they are stage ready. Rendell suggests taking a few minutes to prepare yourself. This prep might include grabbing a glass of water, stretching, reviewing your meeting materials and taking some of those recommended deep breaths. And if things don't go perfectly when the meeting begins, Rendell says don't dwell on it. As an actor, she practices what she calls "instant forgiveness" which means when something goes wrong on stage you instantly forgive, breathe and keep going. "Mistakes happen," says Rendell. "Forgive yourself and move on." Rendell trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and has worked across theatre, television, radio, and cabaret, both in the U.K. and in Canada.