Coronavirus: Trump aide claims China guilty of cover-up akin to Chernobyl

Richard Luscombe in Miami and Martin Pengelly in New York
Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The White House on Sunday accused China of a cover-up that will “go down in history along with Chernobyl”, ramping up efforts to deflect attention from a Covid-19 death toll in the US fast closing on 100,000.

Related: The US doctors taking Trump’s lead on hydroxychloroquine – despite mixed results

Robert O’Brien, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, made the claim on two political talk shows, saying Beijing gave “false information” to the World Health Organization (WHO) at the start of the year and alleging that stonewalling of an investigation into the origins of the pandemic has cost “many, many thousands of lives in America and around the world”.

On Saturday Mike Pence, the vice-president, told Breitbart News that China had “let the world down” and insisted the WHO was “their willing partner in withholding from the US and wider world vital information about the coronavirus”.

The Trump administration has become increasingly keen to move attention away from its handling of the pandemic, which has seen more deaths in the US than any other nation and a broken economy including soaring unemployment that another senior adviser told CNN would still be “in double digits” by the 3 November presidential election.

O’Brien dampened speculation that the administration might seek to delay that election. But as China warned that Washington’s “lies” were “pushing our two countries to the brink of a new cold war”, he went firmly on the attack.

Someday they’re going to do an HBO show like they did with Chernobyl

Robert O'Brien

Speaking to CBS’s Face the Nation, he claimed Beijing knew of the looming crisis as early as November but chose to keep it quiet.

“We don’t know who in the Chinese government did it, but it doesn’t matter if it was the local Chinese government or the Communist party of China,” he said.

“Look, this was a virus that was unleashed by China. There was a cover up that someday they’re going to do an HBO show like they did with Chernobyl,” he added, likening the pandemic to the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine which Soviet authorities initially tried to hide.

O’Brien repeated the claim on NBC’s Meet the Press, accusing China of a “cover-up that … is going to go down in history along with Chernobyl”.

Most scientists say the pathogen that has infected 5.3 million people and killed more than 342,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, was passed from bats to humans via an intermediary species probably sold at a wet market in Wuhan, China, last year.

But Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior US figures have repeatedly said they suspect the coronavirus was somehow released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a claim China has strenuously denied.

O’Brien claimed China’s alleged skulduggery was continuing.

“There’s a chance, and it’s been reported, that the Chinese have been engaged in espionage to try and find the research and the technologies that we’re working on both for a vaccine and a therapy,” he told CBS.

“So look, they’ve got a many, many year history of stealing American intellectual property and knocking off American technology. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did that with vaccines.”

O’Brien also said the US would soon implement restrictions on travelers from Brazil.

After spending much of Saturday playing golf at his resort in Virginia, Trump had no public engagements on Sunday. He duly went back to Trump National in Sterling.

On Twitter the president, who criticized Barack Obama in 2014 for golfing when a second case of Ebola was confirmed in the US, preferred to concentrate on topics other than the pandemic.

Trump feuded with his former attorney general, Jeff Sessions; attacked Joe Biden, his likely opponent in November; retweeted abusive messages about female opponents; repeated unsubstantiated allegations that mail-in ballots lead to rigged elections; and repeated baseless insinuations that an MSNBC host might have murdered an aide.

He also tweeted falsely that coronavirus “cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country!”

On Saturday, North Carolina reported its highest one-day spike in cases. Official statistics continue to show hotspots in other places including Washington DC – where O’Brien said the administration still hopes to hold an in-person G7 summit in July – and Florida, where the Miami Herald reported that the rate of new cases was not slowing.

On Friday Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, encouraged the public to go outdoors over the Memorial Day weekend.

Donald Trump leaves the White House on Sunday. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

“We know being outside does help, we know the sun does help in killing the virus, but that doesn’t change the fact that people need to be responsible and maintain that distance,” she told Fox News Sunday, when presented with images of packed beaches and people in close proximity, not wearing masks.

“I was hoping to convey this very clear message to the American people,” she said, “… across the country there is a virus out there.”

Birx also said Trump himself did wear a mask when not able to maintain social distance. Trump was not pictured using a mask on his trips to play golf in Virginia.

On ABC’s This Week, Birx was asked if the nation would need an extended or second lockdown.

Related: 'Incalculable loss': New York Times covers front page with 1,000 Covid-19 death notices

“It’s difficult to tell and I really am data-driven, so I’m collecting data right now about whether governors and whether states and whether communities are able to open safely,” she said.

“All of this proactive testing needs to be in place and needs to continue to be in place because that will determine safely remaining open in the fall.”

One thing the Trump administration admits will not bounce back fully by fall is the US unemployment rate, which Kevin Hassett, a senior adviser, told CNN would still be in double figures by the time of the election.

“Unemployment will be something that moves back slower,” he said. “You’re going to be starting at a number in the 20s [per cent] and working your way down. And so, of course, you could still not be back to full employment by September or October.”

  • Video of family feeding bears through patio door leads to charges for West Vancouver man

    Video of family feeding bears through patio door leads to charges for West Vancouver man

    A man from West Vancouver, B.C., has been charged with one count of feeding dangerous wildlife and one count of attracting dangerous wildlife after video surfaced of a family hand-feeding black bears from their home in 2018.The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says the B.C. Wildlife Act prohibits such close contact with wild animals."The biggest concern for the [Conservation Officer Service] with respect to feeding dangerous wildlife is the serious risk to public safety, as well as the safety of the bear" said Chris Doyle, head of provincial operations for organization. Doyle said when people feed bears or any wild animal, they can become conditioned to human food, putting the safety of the animal at risk."It also puts the individuals involved in the activity at risk of being hurt, or worse," said Doyle.The videos sparked outrage when they surfaced on Instagram and news reports. In one of the videos, two unidentified girls giggle when a bear cub swats at one of them after she gave it a cracker through an open patio door.Another video shows a man, who appears to be their father, feed an adult-sized bear a full package of crackers through a screen door.In 2019, 542 black bears and 26 grizzlies were killed by conservation officers in B.C. due to human conflict, according to provincial statistics.The destruction of bears has caused issues in some communities, including a neighbourhood in Coquitlam where three people were charged last summer for allegedly obstructing a conservation officer who had been called to search for a family of black bears. In August 2019, a B.C. man was fined $2,000 and ordered to stay 50 metres away from bears for six months after he posted photos of himself feeding Timbits and hot dogs to bears on social media.Conservation officers said the man had been posting pictures on social media of himself feeding bears along the Alaska Highway since 2017.The West Vancouver man is expected to appear in North Vancouver Provincial Court on July 29.

  • Business

    Cenovus oil shipment leaves West Coast bound for eastern refineries — via Panama Canal

    Cenovus Energy is sending a shipment of crude oil down through the Panama Canal as part of its first-ever transaction with New Brunswick's Irving Oil.The oil shipment will make the 11,900-kilometre journey to Irving's refinery in Saint John by tanker ship, Cenovus announced in a social media post on Wednesday.The news comes two months after Irving Oil, the operator of the country's largest refinery, surprised the sector with its plans to begin receiving more crude from Western Canada by using tankers starting this summer. Cenovus vice president Keith Chiasson said in a statement provided to CBC News that it's a "one-off "shipment for now."But we believe this Canadian success story has the potential over time to create significant value for both companies and the entire country," he said, adding Cenvous is pleased with the economics of the transaction.On Friday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he considered Irving Oil's decision to seek more oil from the West to be an "important expression of confidence" in Canada.But he said the long journey via tanker also underscores the need for national pipeline infrastructure."On the one hand, it makes me happy that we're finally going to be able to supply a Canadian refinery on the East Coast with Alberta oil, but it just underscores how crazy this whole situation is," said Kenney, pointing to the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline nearly three years ago.The Energy East project would have carried more than one million barrels of oil every day from Alberta and Saskatchewan across the country to be refined or exported from facilities in New Brunswick and Quebec.The energy giant then known as TransCanada — since renamed TC Energy — had proposed adding 1,500 kilometres worth of new oil pipelines to an existing network of more than 3,000 kilometres, which would have been converted from carrying natural gas, to carrying oil.About 99 per cent of Canada's exports now go to refiners in the U.S., where limits on pipeline and refinery capacity mean Canadian oil sells at a discount.Privately held Irving applied this spring to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to use foreign tankers in order to increase the amount of domestic crude it gets from offshore Newfoundland and Western Canada. Irving Oil's application included a proposal for the tankers to transport oil from a terminal in Burnaby, B.C., through the Panama Canal and on to Irving Oil's refinery in Saint John.The company said at the beginning of May that it wanted to increase the mix of Canadian crude it uses, which at that time was in the range of 20 per cent.Increasing the amount of Canadian oil that the refinery uses would displace the crude imports the company gets from around the world, but it wasn't clear which shipments might be affected. An official with the refinery said at the time that it uses a "significant" amount of oil from the United States.Chiasson said the transaction shows the ability of the two companies "to help drive Canada's economy even during these unprecedented times of turbulence created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting challenges for the energy industry."Tanker shipment comes as TMX, Keystone XL pipelines move forwardNews of the Cenovus shipment via tanker to the East Coast came as the Supreme Court released a decision dismissing a First Nations' legal challenge to the Trans Mountain expansion project.The Trans Mountain pipeline will allow Canada to diversify oil markets and vastly increase exports to Asia, where they can command a higher price than those sent to the U.S.Some experts said the top court's decision to end the years-long legal battle demonstrates stability to potential investors and provides clarity about what constitutes adequate consultations with Indigenous groups.And on Friday, Alberta's premier visited the small town of Oyen to mark the start of construction within the province of the Keystone XL pipeline. Work is already underway in three U.S. states. The 1,947-kilometre project will be able to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Neb., where it will connect with TC Energy's existing facilities and eventually reach refineries on the Gulf Coast.

  • 'I don't think we're going to be able to contain this virus:' Fears of second wave loom large
    Yahoo News Canada

    'I don't think we're going to be able to contain this virus:' Fears of second wave loom large

    Experts largely agree collectively Canada has done a good job against limiting spread, but with the virus remaining active it still has plenty of potential hosts.

  • Canadian drivers with U.S. licence plates harassed by fellow Canadians

    Canadian drivers with U.S. licence plates harassed by fellow Canadians

    Some Canadians driving cars with U.S. licence plates say they've endured vandalism, harassment and even a minor assault from fellow Canadians convinced that they're Americans illegally in Canada. Lisa Watt said she was harassed twice in Calgary last month — she believes because of her Texas licence plates. In one incident, she said a driver stopped right behind her car in a parking lot and glared at her, and in another situation, a driver tailgated her car for several kilometres before pulling up beside her and flipping her the finger. "It made me angry," said Watt, a Canadian citizen who moved to Houston in 2000 for work. She drove to Calgary in June to visit her 84-year-old mother, who was feeling isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm here to help my mother. I have every right to be here."To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential traffic. As a result, some Canadians are alarmed when they spot cars with U.S. licence plates, especially as COVID-19 cases south of the border escalate.There is reason for concern. Alberta RCMP said that since mid-June, they have fined 10 Americans $1,200 each after they sneaked in to Banff National Park. Americans are allowed to drive straight through Canada to Alaska for work or to return home, but they can't stop in Banff — or anywhere else — to see the sights.However, not all drivers of cars with U.S. plates in Canada are breaking the rules. They could be Americans who are essential workers or have immediate family in Canada, or Canadian citizens — all of whom can enter the country legally. Watt wants Albertans to know she's a patriotic Canadian who's taking every precaution while in Canada. She self-quarantined for 14 days when arriving in Calgary and wears a face mask in stores. She said both incidents of harassment happened on June 21, the day she finished her quarantine and headed to town to run errands.'You can't judge a book by its cover'As a result of her experiences, Watt started driving her mother's car — which has Alberta plates. "I'm a little afraid to leave my car parked anywhere for fear somebody does something to it," she said. "I'd like people to understand that people with U.S. licence plates have legitimate reasons for being here."Mayor Phil Harding of the Township of Muskoka Lakes also wants to spread that message. "You can't judge a book by its cover," said Harding, whose township is part of the Muskoka region, a vacation hot spot in Ontario. The mayor said he recently heard from several Canadians with U.S.-plated cars in the region, who claimed they were accused of being Americans unlawfully in Canada."'You shouldn't be here. Americans aren't allowed. How did you get across the border?'" said Harding, about the types of accusations the drivers have fielded from local residents. Car keyed at marinaIn one case, a woman reported that her husband's car — which has Michigan plates — was scratched with a key, said the mayor. CBC News confirmed the incident with the woman who said the approximately metre-long scratch appeared after the car had been parked at a marina on June 6. The woman said she and her husband are Canadian but that her husband works for an American company and drives a company car with U.S. plates. The woman asked that their names be kept confidential because her husband doesn't want his workplace associated with this story. "We think it's terrible and are really aware that we are a target with our U.S.-plated company vehicle," said the woman about the incident in an email. "This makes you aware that the cross-border tension is building."WATCH | COVID-19 could close Canada-U.S. border for a year, expert says:Snowbird accostedIn another incident in Huntsville, also in the Muskoka region, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said a Canadian filed a police report after he was allegedly accosted by two men upset over the Florida plates on his car. OPP spokesperson Jason Folz said the incident happened on June 12 at a car wash. "They harassed him, and the assault was they poked him in the chest, demanding to know why he was in Canada."Folz said the man is a snowbird who spends winters in Florida and owns a car with Florida plates. "People are stressed [about COVID-19], and it comes out in strange ways. This is perhaps one of those ways," said Folz about the incident. Lawyer avoids crossing borderU.S. immigration lawyer Len Saunders said several of his clients — who are dual Canadian-U.S. citizens or essential workers — have complained of mean looks when driving their U.S.-plated car in Canada. As a result, Saunders said he avoids crossing the border, even though he can as an essential worker and a dual citizen. "I'm concerned about being socially shamed up there in B.C., driving a U.S.-plated car because I've heard from multiple clients, stories of dirty looks," said Saunders, whose office sits close to the British Columbia border in Blaine, Wash.He said he can understand why some Canadians get upset when spotting U.S. licence plates in the country, considering COVID-19 cases are spiking in some U.S. states.But they must remember that many people driving U.S.-plated cars in Canada are there for a valid reason, Saunders said. "They really have to look at the big picture before they pass judgment."

  • 'COVID divorce' is very real, say lawyers on the front lines of marriage breakdowns

    'COVID divorce' is very real, say lawyers on the front lines of marriage breakdowns

    In another sign of how the global pandemic is taking a toll on families, some lawyers in St. John's say their workload has intensified in recent weeks as clients inquire about separations and divorce.Melanie Del Rizzo, a specialist in family law said one recent Monday morning, she had eight new clients before 11 a.m., a figure that increased to 20 midway through the week."That's unheard of. It's absolutely crazy," said Del Rizzo, who said June was her busiest month in 25 years of practising family law.Sharon McKim-Ryan tells a similar story."We're used to advice calls on a regular basis, but the sheer volume? It's unprecedented," said McKim-Ryan, a family law lawyer with 15 years' experience as a solicitor.Both say the workload is so intense they're having trouble keeping up."I would say I probably would need someone else to come help me fairly soon. Absolutely," said Del Rizzo.Early on during the pandemic, both lawyers said they were swamped with issues related to child custody, with parents bickering over child-sharing arrangements because of fears it would increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.With the courts closed to all but urgent matters during the height of the pandemic in Newfoundland and Labrador, they were busy hashing out alternative dispute resolutions."Some decided that they were going to have the children or the child remain in one household as a measure of protection," said McKim-Ryan.Parents bickered over child-sharingIn other cases, she added, parents agreed to lengthen the stays at each household in order to lower the number of transitions for the child.McKim-Ryan said some of her clients who worked in high-risk sectors like health care also placed children with grandparents."Some parents came up with creative ways to minimize the risk of exposure during this pandemic," she said.Issues relating to child and spousal support payments were also amplified by the fact that thousands of people lost their jobs. Some had to make tough choices, said McKim-Ryan."Some parents decided they would agree to a reduced amount of child support for the duration of time that the payer parent was unemployed. Other parents weren't able to come up with an agreement, and some parents had to liquidate investments in order to meet their child support obligations," she said."I received calls from small business owners who were forced to close their doors during the pandemic, and they also had concerns about their ability to pay."The crisis has placed a great deal of stress on marriages, and lawyers like Del Rizzo said the early indicators point to something she's calling "COVID divorce.""To me it appears to be something that is real," said Del Rizzo."I actually have never seen this level before," added McKim-Ryan.Del Rizzo said it reminds her of the week after Christmas, when marriage breakdowns are most common, but this trend appears to be showing no signs of slowing down."It could be be the strain and stresses of quarantine shone a bright light on problems that people were having in their relationships," said Del Rizzo.People often take stock of their lives during a crisis, and McKim-Ryan said it appears those in relationships that may have been declining before the pandemic may be feeling that added motivation to make a change in their lives."There certainly was an increase, and there still is an increase in the volume. Absolutely," she said.For many households, the last few months have delivered a cascade of challenges, ranging from employment and economic uncertainty and the closure of schools, to wider concerns about the coronavirus disease.Blend that with a quarantine that required families to shelter in their homes for weeks on end, and it's not surprising that some notable patterns have emerged, said Del Rizzo, including an increase in incidents of gender-based violence."I can see every day I'm getting more and more calls from people looking for help," she said.Adding to the workload for lawyers like Del Rizzo and McKim-Ryan is the fact that a handful of very senior family law lawyers in the St. John's region have retired in recent months, and that family law is not attractive for many new lawyers entering the profession."It's not a very popular area of law. It's very difficult emotionally," said Del Rizzo. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • 'I procrastinated,' says B.C. lawyer who sat on sex assault claim for 5 years

    'I procrastinated,' says B.C. lawyer who sat on sex assault claim for 5 years

    A Squamish lawyer who agreed to represent an alleged sex assault victim in court and then did no real work on her case and ignored most of her messages for five years has been fined $10,000.Douglas Bernard Chiasson, who has spent 30 years as a lawyer in B.C., blamed procrastination for his lack of action on the planned civil lawsuit, according to a June 30 decision from the Law Society of B.C.Meanwhile, "the client suffered undue stress, confusion and frustration. The client was deprived of five years in which the legal matter did not progress," the law society panel wrote, finding Chiasson guilty of professional misconduct.According to the decision, Chiasson first met with the client on May 17, 2013, when he advised her to file a civil claim for sexual assault in small claims court.This was the first time Chiasson had been involved in a sex assault case — his experience is mainly in family law, residential real estate, motor vehicle claims, and wills and estates. Nonetheless, he agreed to take on the case, and accepted a retainer cheque for $1,130 five days after his first meeting with the client.For the next three years and four months, the client left voicemails and hand-delivered letters for Chiasson about her case, but received no reply until Sept. 16, 2016.After that first response, the client continued emailing "with increasing frustration and urgency," according to the decision, but Chiasson "either did not respond or advised that a response would be forthcoming without following through."Finally, on May 1, 2018, after Chiasson had taken "no substantive steps" on the file, the client filed a complaint with the law society.Lawyer 'wholeheartedly embarrassed'In a July 13, 2018 letter to the law society, Chiasson admitted he hadn't taken any action on the file and said there were "no excuses" for what he'd done."I am apologetic in my reply to the law society and wholeheartedly embarrassed by my inaction on the file," Chiasson wrote in an excerpt of the letter included in the law society decision."I procrastinated on this file and did not follow up with the client when I found myself incapable of handling the matter. In retrospect I ought to have returned the retainer then and suggested she approach new counsel to take on her matter."He admitted to law society representatives that "he had not previously acted on a civil sexual assault file prior to taking on the client's file, which was one of the reasons why the file was not being worked on," the decision says.According to the decision, Chiasson has personally apologized to the client and returned her retainer.The law society notes that Chiasson has had previous issues with procrastination, including a 2013 citation for failing to communicate with another client for 17 months as well as two similar complaints filed in 2006.Chiasson will have until May 21, 2021 to pay his fine, along with $1,000 in costs.

  • Man charged with negligence after Quebec tractor accident kills 3 children

    Man charged with negligence after Quebec tractor accident kills 3 children

    Three children under five years old are dead after a tractor accident in the small Quebec town of Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge. A 30-year-old man has been charged after allegedly operating a tractor while 10 people were in the front loader.

  • Hockey Culture Wants 'Good Canadian Boys,' Just None That Look Like Me
    HuffPost Canada

    Hockey Culture Wants 'Good Canadian Boys,' Just None That Look Like Me

    As a half-Thai player, I was part of the team — until I wasn't.

  • Vehicles simply waved through at clogged N.B. border checkpoint, travellers say

    Vehicles simply waved through at clogged N.B. border checkpoint, travellers say

    Despite long lineups at the New Brunswick border much of the day Friday, it appears not all travellers from Nova Scotia were checked by Department of Public Safety officials. Many were simply waved through.Trucker Trevor Wilson said when he arrived at the Aulac border crossing shortly after 4 p.m., officials were waving everyone in all vehicles right past the station set up for health screening and a quick check of ID."Not a single vehicle coming into New Brunswick was being screened," said Wilson.This included both commercial vehicles, which have had few restrictions for entering the province all along, and passenger vehicles now able to travel more freely because of the opening of the Atlantic travel bubble.The bubble opened early Friday morning, allowing people to travel within all four Atlantic provinces for any reason and without having to self-isolate for 14 days.Nova Scotian James Spray said he and his passengers "rolled right by the tents.""Definitely not paying any attention to us at all. … It's definitely surprising." Spray, who was on his way to Prince Edward Island, said the situation was a lot different on the Island after he drove across the Confederation Bridge.Everyone was asked for a pre-filled out questionnaire and had to show ID proving they lived in Atlantic Canada."That was a good experience actually, we felt really good about the organization at P.E.I," Spray said.Supposed to check IDsEach provinces has its own rules, but all four are supposed to be checking travellers at their borders for proof of residency in the region. Visitors coming to New Brunswick must also answer questions about possible symptoms of COVID-19, their contacts with anyone who may have been ill, and their recent travel history.Officers are also supposed to collect travellers' contact information for public health purposes in the event of an outbreak of the respiratory disease, the province said before the bubble opened.Long lines started to form just after daybreak. The waving through of vehicles Friday afternoon has been reported to CBC News by other travellers and been written about on social media.In an email to CBC News, government spokesperson Shawn Berry said the province made the decision to forego screening because traffic congestion represented a safety concern."[Public safety] began expediting traffic flow into New Brunswick around 3:45 p.m.," Berry said."This continued until congestion no longer represented a safety concern. Screening resumed when it was safe. We are looking at improvements to keep things as smooth as possible."Earlier in the day, department spokesperson Coreen Enos said a large number of vehicles were in line to get into the province and officials were "making adjustments as they go."  There were many smiling faces excited to be travelling to New Brunswick through the Aulac checkpoint, but with hundreds of vehicles waiting to cross, the delays were frustrating for some.Wilson was stuck in line when he talked to CBC News, after moving only about 300 feet (about 91 metres) in more than hour. "I did hear truckers say that a little further up that there are signs telling cars to stay in one lane, but apparently a lot of people ignored them," Wilson said.For Wilson, the first-day delays could have kept him from getting across the U.S-Canada border later Friday as planned. In Canada, he is able to drive 13 hours a day, but that changes once he goes into the U.S."Once I get to the states I can only be driving 11 hour days, and it was already going to be around an eight- hour drive when I got there. If I'm stuck here for two or three hours I will not actually be able to cross into the United States."It's frustrating, it's very frustrating."Wilson said it was the worst traffic delay he' seen since COVID-19 started. He said he wishes it had been worked out so bubble travellers would pull off the highway for their screening. People travelling for leisure were surprised by the wait times but didn't seem to mind.Ann Dunlap said she was content waiting on her way to her new home in Moncton, but she worried about delays for essential workers."I wish they would have something a little bit better for essential workers and the truck drivers for them to get through."Anyone travelling between provinces on Friday should expect some delays. Despite the wide open travel now allowed among the four Atlantic provinces, each has its own rules and questions for people coming in. What isn't required now is automatic self-isolation for 14 days.Todd Kent was travelling with his family from Halifax to to Belleisle Bay in New Brunswick. They were on the road by 6:30 a.m. and expected to wait about about half an hour. They'd waited in traffic for almost two hours and still hadn't crossed, but they were still in good spirits. "It's a relief for us. We travel there every weekend throughout the summer months, and being shut down because of COVID it takes a toll on us. It's a good place to go relax and unwind."Earlier in the day, Urquhart, the minister, said he was expecting to see quite a rush of travellers Friday and Saturday."I know at 1 a.m. as soon as they opened up the Confederation Bridge they had an hour wait, same with Aulac," Urquhart told Information Morning Fredericton. "They wanted to get in and get their summer started."But no numbers were available about the traffic coming into New Brunswick through any entry or by any particular point in the day.  Enos said figures would be available Saturday on the government website."Officers are working hard to welcome travellers efficiently, making adjustments as they go," she wrote in an email.In the morning, it was taking a few minutes to get people in each vehicle through the process.While not required, people travelling into New Brunswick can print and fill out a questionnaire from the government of New Brunswick's website to save a few minutes during screening. Urquhart said there was talk of having all the provinces follow the same guidelines, but each province's residents brought different concerns to the attention of their governments."There are certain conditions that each province wants to put in and we respect that and they respect ours." The other three provinces also require proof of Atlantic residency. 'Welcome to P.E.I.'Among those thrilled to get out of New Brunswick Friday morning was Cindy Grant, a CBC Saint John producer, who hadn't been in her native province of Prince Edward Island for months. "It's a big deal to be able to come home and you kind of take it for granted that you can go back and forth between New Brunswick and P.E.I.," she told Information Morning Moncton from the Island. "I never would have dreamt that I would not have access to Prince Edward Island from New Brunswick."Grant said the P.E.I. line moved quickly. Once off the bridge, travellers were directed to a screening lane. The lane Grant got had no other cars in it. "It's a very strange time we're in, so just to be able to come back and be on the island for a few days — it means a lot, it's exciting."Some people arriving on the Island were being given care packages as a welcome. The packages have chips, cheese and other P.E.I.-related items.2 active cases in N.B.New Brunswick is hoping for much greater numbers crossing the border than were possible during the closed months.This week on Canada Day, for instance, when people were only allowed in for an essential purpose or if they fell under certain exceptions, 2,645 personal vehicles and 2,679 commercial vehicles came into the province through seven entry points .  Aulac saw 965 personal vehicles and 1,100 commercial cross from Nova Scotia. Restrictions still apply to travel from Quebec and the border with the U.S. is closed to most personal travel.New Brunswick has gone nine days without seeing a new case of COVID-19, and has only two active cases, including one person in the ICU in Campbellton.

  • What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, July 3

    What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Friday, July 3

    Recent developments * Ottawa reported three new COVID-19 cases on Friday but no new deaths.  * Four more people in Kingston have tested positive for COVID-19, health authorities said on Friday. * Ottawa hospitals are pushing for the creation of space for non-acute patients to help free up hospital beds. * Renfrew County has recorded its first new case of COVID-19 since the beginning of June.What's the latest?Ottawa hospitals are asking the Ontario government to quickly approve plans to create hundreds of new long-term care and transitional beds at local retirement homes in order to free up space for acute-care patients.Hospital administrators say COVID-19 has prompted them to take action to deal with overcrowding, an issue that existed long before the pandemic. Kingston health officials reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Health authorities in the region say they're seeing more cases due to the disease spreading at a third nail salon in the city.Renfew County is warning residents they could have been exposed to the virus after a new, positive case.The Renfrew County and District Health Unit issued an advisory Thursday, stating the person had visited the Walmart in Pembroke, Ont., between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on June 22 and the Shopper's Drug Mart in Petawawa, Ont., between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on June 24.Anyone who visited either location during those times is asked to self monitor for symptoms.How many cases are there?There have been 2,104 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and 263 deaths. The vast majority of cases in the city, 1,798, are classified as resolved. Health units report more than 3,300 known cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec and more than 2,800 people in the region have recovered from COVID-19.Kingston now has 36 new, active cases of COVID-19. Most are linked to three nail salons: Binh's Nails and Spa, where the recent outbreak started, Kingdom Nails and Georgia Nail Salon. Amherstview Golf Club has also seen new cases. Clients at all four businesses are being asked to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.COVID-19 has killed 102 people outside Ottawa: 52 in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 17 in other parts of eastern Ontario and 33 in the Outaouais.What's open and closed?Eastern Ontario is in "Stage 2" of the province's recovery plan, allowing more activities and "circles" of up to 10 people that don't have to distance.Some streets in Ottawa's ByWard Market turn into patio space starting tomorrow. Ottawa's pools start to open next week.The City of Ottawa has started warning people tickets will be given out again next week for overstaying at on-street parking spaces with posted time limits.The National Gallery of Canada reopens Thursdays to Sundays starting July 18. The iconic downtown hotel Fairmont Château Laurier reopened on Canada Day. Quebec now allows indoor, distanced gatherings of up to 50 people, including in places of worship and indoor sports venues, and has relaxed rules at daycares.The province has also allowed bars, spas, water parks and casinos to reopen.Quebec's back-to-school plans bring older students to classrooms again. Ontario has put three options for next school year on the table, while post-secondary schools are moving toward more online classes in September.Distancing and isolatingThe coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious.That means physical distancing measures such as working from home and in Ontario, staying at least two metres away from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle.Anyone who has symptoms or travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days.Specifically in Ottawa, anyone waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate at least until they know the result.The same goes for anyone in Ontario who's been in contact with someone who's tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly urges self-isolation for individuals who have weakened immune systems and Ottawa Public Health recommends people over 70 stay home as much as possible. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pinkeye. The Ontario government says in rare cases, children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can now be tested at one of three sites.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.Testing has also expanded for local residents and employees who work in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area.There is a drive-thru test centre in Casselman and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead.Others in Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.A COVID-19 assessment centre will open in Alexandria next week, running Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment only.In Kingston, the Leon's Centre is now open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, replacing the location at the Kingston Memorial Centre. Find it at Gate 2.Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call for an appointment.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.It has a walk-in site in Brockville open seven days a week at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call it, their family doctor or Telehealth if they have symptoms or questions.You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre, or in Picton by texting or calling 613-813-6864.There is a pop-up clinic in Madoc on Friday. You may also qualify for a home test.Renfrew County is also providing pop-up and home testing under some circumstances. Residents without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 to register for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.If you're concerned about the coronavirus, take the self-assessment.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents should call 1-877-644-4545 if they have symptoms for further assistance.First Nations:Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.Akwesasne has opened a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to Akwesasne who's been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. The community's reopening plan that's now underway.There's a pop-up testing clinic at Pikwakanagan's Makwa Centre Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. for people who pre-registered by Tuesday evening.Kitigan Zibi is planning for an Aug. 29 election with changes depending on the status of the pandemic at that time.For more information

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    Blackfoot Confederacy calls for Jason Kenney to fire speechwriter

    The Blackfoot Confederacy is the latest group of Indigenous Albertans calling for the firing of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's speechwriter after a 2013 column resurfaced that called residential schools a "bogus genocide story.""We call upon the province to make the right decision and dismiss this person," said Blood Tribe/Kainai First Nation Chief Roy Fox in a statement."Some of our residential school survivors and their multi-generational families continue to be blamed by others as a result of their experiences as victims, and these misguided statements by governments only encourages continued racism against Indigenous people."The Blackfoot Confederacy includes the Siksika, Kainai and Piikani Nations, representing more than 23,000 members in Alberta and another 19,000 in the state of Montana.Bunner has been under fire for the past week after a series of articles and columns written from the late 1990s to 2016 resurfaced.His article from 2013 called residential schools a "bogus genocide story" and said Indigenous youth could be "ripe recruits" for violent insurgencies. In another article, he called homosexuality "socially destructive.""Bunner's views on residential schools are offensive, dehumanizing and has hurt our Treaty relationship," said Judge Eugene Creighton, a Blackfoot community member, in a release. "These stereotypes of First Nations fuel systemic racism that we're struggling with in Treaty No. 7, Alberta and Canada."If Bunner's views have changed, he needs to demonstrate that."Bunner was a speechwriter for prime minister Stephen Harper from 2006 to 2009 and was hired by Kenney last spring. In a statement provided to CBC News on Friday, a spokesperson said that Bunner's views had evolved over time.When asked for comment on the new comments from the Blackfoot Confederacy, a spokesperson for the premier's office referred to the statement provided on Friday.Treaty SixOn Friday, the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations also called for Bunner's resignation, writing that Bunner "does not have the ability to see past his own privilege and prejudice to apologize for insulting our Indian residential school survivors and their children.""Any government with an interest in building trust with Indigenous communities must hold their employees accountable for blatantly discriminating against Indigenous peoples, especially when working to achieve reconciliation," read the statement from members of Treaty Six.Other Alberta Indigenous leaders, including Marlene Poitras, the regional chief in Alberta for the Assembly of First Nations, have also called for Bunner's resignation."The premier should take heed of the calls for his resignation and release him immediately," Poitras told CBC News on Saturday.

  • Doubt cast over Trudeau's assertion that only WE Charity can run $900M student grant program

    Doubt cast over Trudeau's assertion that only WE Charity can run $900M student grant program

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's assertion that only the WE Charity could administer a $900 million student grant program is being disputed by some experts in the sector who say other organizations would be up to the task or have more experience."There are many strong, reputable charities with offices in multiple locations across Canada who could do this youth volunteer program well," Ann Rosenfield, editor of the Hilborn Charity eNews, which covers fundraising and non-profit management, said in an email to CBC News.Volunteer Canada, the United Way and Community Foundations of Canada are all logical partners, she said.Broad and deep expertiseEach of those organizations have existing infrastructure, including local offices across the country, Rosenfield said. As well, they have broad and deep expertise, with extensive direct ties to local communities and organizations that ensure volunteers are properly matched to local needs, she said. "Each also have deep expertise in partnering with local charities, including a strong infrastructure in partnering, monitoring for collaborative programs."WE Charity, which was started by human rights advocates Marc and Craig Kielburger in 1995, will administer the Canada Student Service Grant. The federal grant, announced by Trudeau on June 25, will provide eligible students with up to $5,000 each to help cover the cost of post-secondary education in the fall.The amount of each grant will depend on how much time the recipient devotes to volunteer work.WATCH | Prime minister defends awarding contract to WE Charity:But the Liberal government has been criticized for allocating such a large sum of money to a third party that has ties to Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.Trudeau has defended the decision to give the contract to WE, saying its networks across the country made it the right choice, and the organization itself won't make any profit from the contract."Quite frankly, when our public servants looked at the potential partners, only the WE organization had the capacity to deliver the ambitious program that young people need for this summer that is so deeply impacted by COVID," he told reporters on Monday."WE organization is the largest national youth service organization in the country. They have networks in every corner of the country and organizations that they work with."Largest youth organization on paperGail Picco, editor-in-chief of The Charity Report, said she can certainly understand why the federal government would look at WE Charity, because on paper at least — with its involvement in 18,000 schools in Canada, the U.S. and the UK— it is the largest youth organization in the country.However, success in executing the government program requires connections with other non-profit organizations, she said."It's one thing to recruit young people," Picco said. "But WE has to figure out where those volunteer placements are going to be."That, she said, requires extensive networking within the not-for-profit sector."They have to know a lot of not-for-profits and have relationships with a lot of not-for-profits," Picco said. "And for many reasons, WE does not have those kinds of relationships with other non-profit organizations and charities."Instead, WE is focused on promoting social action among students and parents and bringing a broader understanding of equity in the world to an external audience, she said.  "They're not talking to other charities or not-for-profits. They don't work in coalition with other organizations," Picco said. "They are really, really quite externalized in their focus."Kate Bahen,  managing director of the charity watchdog Charity Intelligence Canada, said she hasn't seen the government's due diligence on its decision and questioned what specific expertise WE Charity has in implementing a grant program."I'm not sure how you would assess the charity's track record or capability to do this if it had not previously done such work in the past," she said."To the best of my knowledge, having analyzed WE Charity, I have seen no program activity in this area." 'Incredible' domestic network neededFor any organization to deliver a $900 million program in four months, it will also need to have an "incredible" domestic network of individuals and organizations that can work together, Maryann Kerr, CEO of the Medalist Group, a boutique firm that provides philanthropic and organizational health services to the social-profit sector, said in an email to CBC News."A multi-level national organization that has people on the ground across the country, in both official languages, makes far more sense," she said."It is absolutely incorrect to believe that WE is the only organization in Canada that can implement this program, and there is no doubt that in order to deliver what they've committed to, they will have to collaborate with other organizations."Deborah Morrison, president and CEO of Experiences Canada, which offers youth exchanges for participants who are 12 to 17 years old, said many organizations are equally equipped and have a proven track record for mentoring and overseeing community service programs for youth, including the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, 4-H Canada, Volunteer Canada and Community Foundations of Canada. Morrison, as well as others, questioned why the government didn't rely on Canada Service Corps, launched by Trudeau in 2018. The national youth service initiative already offers young Canadians micro-grants to participate in volunteer service projects."Canada Service Corps, which has already established multiple non-profit partnerships, might also have been a fairly quick ramp-up delivery vehicle for this program in much the same way [the Canada Revenue Agency] became for CERB," Morrison said, referring to the government's COVID-19 financial aid program for Canadians.She also said the mandate to mobilize and deliver on almost $1 billion in grants is a huge undertaking for any one organization.Morrison said while she has high regard for the reputation and networks that WE Charity has developed, there are many strong youth service organizations with their own networks and volunteer management expertise that can help ensure greater success."Hopefully, WE Charity will reach out and engage them in this important and worthwhile project."

  • A 'Walk against Winston' stirs debate over another Halifax statue

    A 'Walk against Winston' stirs debate over another Halifax statue

    On a fine summer evening, a group of people recently marched up to Halifax's Winston Churchill statue and surrounded it. Slowly, they applied stickers to it until the former First Lord of the Admiralty had been figuratively tarred and feathered.None of the stickers bore the British prime minister's better-known quotes, such as: "We shall never surrender;" or, "If the British empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: This was their finest hour."Instead, Churchill was quoted as saying: "I'm strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes. It would spread a lively terror;" and "I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits."The debate over Churchill's legacy — and his statues — has now come to Halifax. Alex Khasnabish is an anthropology professor at Mount Saint Vincent University. He spoke at the Walk Against Winston, but had a more nuanced take than might be expected.'An enthusiastic imperialist'"Churchill is an interesting figure," he said. "I think it's absolutely vital that we honour the memory of people who engaged in the struggle against Nazi Germany and that period of fascism."Khasnabish's father is from India and he grew up hearing about the 1943 famine in Bengal, where millions died. It was then a British possession and Churchill wouldn't allow food relief to be sent, directing it onward instead to Europe. The "beastly people" quote came from that period.  Despite Churchill's reputation as a freedom fighter, Khasnabish said it was often freedom for a certain type of person. He had no problems crushing anti-British rebellions."Churchill in his early life was an enthusiastic imperialist. He participated in many of Britain's wars abroad in putting down popular rebellions against British rule," Khasnabish said. "Churchill has some really awful things to say, frankly, against people who weren't white."The "poison gas" quote comes from squashing those rebellions, although scholars say he was writing about using something non-lethal, more like tear gas. It's not the only statue in the city to come under scrutiny. Two years ago, a statue of Edward Cornwallis, Halifax's controversial founder who issued a so-called scalping proclamation that offered a cash bounty to anyone who killed a Mi'kmaw person, was removed from a local park and placed in storage.While some who were on the recent walk want the Churchill statue to come down, Khasnabish said he's not certain that's the best outcome. "I'm willing to continue to celebrate what I think his myth is meant to celebrate, which is a grass-roots anti-fascist resistance."Khasnabish said the statue debate points to a deeper societal idea that "great men" define history, rather than the millions of people who actually make movements move. "Those are the stories we need to know about."He said similar drives turned Martin Luther King and Malcolm X into icons of the Black rights movement, and Gandhi into the hero of Indian independence.Yet all were humans, and had personal and private failings they wouldn't want stuck to their statues. Khasnabish said turning humans into icons doesn't eradicate their shortcomings. "If we really want a clear view of where we are now and what we need to change in our society, we have to have an honest accounting of these 'great men' and their role in history."'A unique accomplishment'Lee Pollock, a writer and historian, is the former executive director of the International Churchill Society. Yet his perspective on Churchill isn't that different from that of Khasnabish. "Quite clearly, Churchill had a view of the world that isn't one that comports with how we think about the world today," he said.Churchill believed that "white, Anglo-Saxon, English-speaking countries and civilizations" had most improved the world, Pollock said, a view many white, Anglo-Saxon Brits and Canadians at the time shared. "Churchill was wrong about a lot of things," Pollock said. "But against that you have to set a unique accomplishment of being one person at a unique time and place in history who literally changed the world."Without Churchill in 1940, Pollock said, the Nazi swastika could well have flown across Europe. Without Churchill, the U.K. may have settled with Hitler, and the U.S. might have stayed out of the war or entered too late to change the outcome, he said.Pollock said controversies over Churchill statues are strongest in Canada and the U.K. The U.S. focuses on American figures. "It's a legitimate question to raise, and I think there are ways to answer it without tearing Winston Churchill off his literal pedestal, if not his figurative one."Apart from the man it represents, Halifax's Churchill statue raises other questions. Was it an original work of art commissioned for the city? Or was it a surplus statue bought on the cheap? Both theories have their adherents. The truth is Halifax's Churchill statue started with a man named Leonard Kitz, who in 1955 had become Halifax's first Jewish mayor. In the 1970s, Kitz, a veteran of the Second World War, collected private donations to pay for a Churchill statue.  Newspapers reported on the statue's progress from England, where it was delayed by striking workers, to its grand unveiling in front of the old Halifax library on Jan. 20, 1980. Sculptor lost family to the HolocaustThe three-metre tall, 1.5-tonne bronze statue shows Churchill wearing a three-piece suit and bow tie, left foot stepping ahead, hands clasped behind his back.Oscar Nemon created it. Nemon was Jewish, and most of his family died in the Holocaust. Admirers of Nemon's work saw his deep personal grief and hope for a better future etched into his busts and sculptures of Churchill. Nemon described Churchill as a "bellicose, challenging, and deliberately provocative" person and said he wanted his sculptures to be biographies set in bronze. Churchill found Nemon compelling, too, and once created a sculpture of the sculptor. Nemon created many busts and sculptures of Churchill, but no others look quite like Halifax's. So was the striding statue based on a photograph from a Halifax visit? Churchill stopped in Halifax in August 1943. It was part of a trip to meet with allies, but he also visited Citadel Hill and took in the view. Halifax Daily Star reporter R.D. Palk reported that only railway workers, clerks and "women cleaners in slacks" saw Churchill during that clandestine visit."He turned to the small gathering and gave the V salute, bringing a spontaneous burst of applause from the group," Palk wrote in September 1943. The accompanying photo shows him smoking a cigar and talking to premier A.S. MacMillan. Another photo shows Churchill striding along the Halifax dockyard, left foot forward, but he's holding a cane. Churchill visited Halifax again in February 1944. Some 1,500 Haligonians lined up to see Churchill and cheered as he stood on the rear platform of his train, rolling a cigar in one hand. He urged them to come closer and soon they were serenading him with the war-time classic, It's a Long Way to Tipperary. He asked to hear O Canada, and they obliged. A photo shows him smiling and pointing something out to his wife. The evidence suggests that Halifax's Churchill statue is a unique creation, unmatched elsewhere, and while it may have been inspired by photos of his wartime visit, it largely came out of its creator, inspired by his own memories of Churchill.Churchill died in 1965.MORE TOP STORIES

  • N.S. premier criticizes China for requiring lobster shippers to assume COVID-19 liability

    N.S. premier criticizes China for requiring lobster shippers to assume COVID-19 liability

    Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil is criticizing a new border measure imposed by China that requires Canadian lobster exporters to assume liability for COVID-19 in order to get their product into the country."I don't believe that the requirement to accept liability on live seafood going into that marketplace is a reasonable one," McNeil told reporters in Halifax Thursday.China is the second largest market for Canadian lobster, with exports of live lobster alone in 2019 valued at $457 million, most of it supplied by inshore fishermen from Nova Scotia.That demand has upended traditional economics in the fishery. Even as landings soared in recent years, the increased demand from China helped keep prices up.Earlier this year, it came crashing down when China shut down because of the pandemic.The border impedimentsSales had just started to recover when a COVID-19 outbreak in a Beijing seafood market last month was traced to a cutting board used for imported Atlantic salmon.In response, China increased random inspections on all imported food.That forced exporters of live lobster from Nova Scotia to cancel shipments rather than risk their perishable product while they waited up to 36 hours for test results.China then demanded companies sending food into the country to sign a customs declaration accepting liability if COVID-19 is found on their product.Some Nova Scotia shippers of live and frozen lobster refused because they were uncertain what liability entails in the Chinese legal system and fearful of becoming pawns as tensions rise between the countries.They also cite public health agencies — including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency — who say there's no evidence COVID-19 is transmitted on seafood.'It doesn't make a lot of sense'McNeil agrees."I think that adding that requirement in terms of accepting liability around lobster and seafood with no evidence ... it doesn't make a lot of sense," McNeil said.China has pushed back against Canadian criticism, arguing all countries are subject to these conditions, which are focused on combatting the spread of the coronavirus.The Seafood Alliance of Nova Scotia is awaiting legal advice about what assuming liability would mean in China.In the meantime, some Nova Scotia exporters have signed the customs declarations in order to get their product into China.McNeil said the province is promoting more sales to Europe as a way to diversify markets while lobbying for easier access to China.The border issues come as lobster fishing season in Nova Scotia winds down for the summer.Large-scale harvesting will not occur until the fall when seasons reopen in southwestern Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy.MORE TOP STORIES

  • France's Macron picks little-known civil servant as new prime minister

    France's Macron picks little-known civil servant as new prime minister

    French President Emmanuel Macron named Jean Castex, a senior civil servant, as his new prime minister on Friday as he acted to recast his presidency and take back control of policy ahead of elections in 2022. Outgoing premier Edouard Philippe gave Castex a "namaste" welcome greeting outside the prime minister's Matignon office, having earlier tendered his government's resignation ahead of an anticipated reshuffle. "The economic crisis is already here," Castex said.

  • News

    Girl, 7, and man, 61, killed after semi drives into row of cars at Manitoba highway construction site

    A seven-year-old girl and a 61-year-old man are dead and 15 others were injured after a collision west of Winnipeg Thursday morning, when the driver of a semi-trailer crashed into a row of vehicles waiting to pass through a construction zone, Manitoba RCMP say.Five passenger vehicles, two semi-trailers and one motorcycle were involved in the crash on Highway 2, Mounties said in a news release on Friday.They say the vehicles were stopped in the eastbound lane in a construction zone about three kilometres east of Fannystelle, Man. — a community about 50 kilometres west of Winnipeg — waiting for direction to safely drive through. An eastbound semi failed to stop and drove into the line of vehicles, police say.Carman RCMP responded around 11:50 a.m., the release said.The seven-year-old Winnipeg girl killed was in one of the passenger vehicles, while the 61-year-old St. Andrews man was on the motorcycle, the release said. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.Fifteen people were injured in the crash. Six of those — two adults, two kids under the age three and two others under the age of 16 — were taken to hospital, the release said. One of those adults and one of the children under three have since been released.A 22-year-old woman, a 14-year-old girl and a 10-year-old girl are still in hospital with serious injuries, the release said.The 56-year-old driver of the semi-trailer that crashed into the row of cars was arrested at the scene and is still in custody. The Saskatchewan man is charged with two counts each of dangerous operation of a conveyance causing death and criminal negligence causing death, the release said. He is also charged with three counts of dangerous operation of a conveyance causing bodily harm.Carman RCMP, the criminal collision investigation team, a forensic collision reconstructionist and a provincial motor carrier enforcement officer are investigating the crash, the release said.

  • How safe is flying during the pandemic?

    How safe is flying during the pandemic?

    Passengers travelling through Vancouver international Airport (YVR) were alerted to six possible exposures aboard airplanes in June while Canadian airlines have now dropped in-flight physical distancing measures.So how concerned should people be about flying?Dr. Srinivas Murthy is an infection disease expert and associate professor at the University of British Columbia. He said he would weigh the risks and benefits of taking a flight before he set out."The thing we know about how the virus is transmitted is that in enclosed spaces, without ventilation, with many individuals indoors seems to be a high-risk zone for transmission," said Murthy.'In theory it's a reasonably high risk area'"Whether that translates to airplanes, it's difficult to say," he said. "We haven't seen a lot of airplane-based transmission — that's mostly because the airlines haven't flown as much with as many people — but in theory it's a reasonably high-risk area to be in."Earlier this week, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix called on his federal counterparts and the airlines to reveal the evidence that it was safe to drop physical distancing on flights.On Thursday he seemed to soften his tone, but still stressed that of the various measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of the virus, physical distancing is at the top of the hierarchy."Physical distancing is something we preach here every day. Physical distancing saves lives and it's important wherever you are," Dix told reporters.He said without that distance, people need to have discipline about wearing masks, washing hands and avoiding touching surfaces and faces.'You cannot travel if you are sick'Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, highlighted the need to keep sick people off planes — a responsibility shared by passengers and airlines, she said."You should not, you cannot travel if you are sick or if you've been in contact with people who have COVID-19," said Henry.She also said that it's still a challenge for health officials to efficiently and effectively get in touch with everyone who was on flights when a COVID-19 case has surfaced.'Airlines are being treated differently'On Friday, Don Davies, member of parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway and NDP health critic, called on Transport Canada to immediately impose physical distancing requirements on all passenger aircraft in Canada."One must question why airlines are being treated differently than every other business and industry in Canada," said Davies, accusing the federal government of putting commercial interests above the health and safety of travellers."We must not jeopardize the progress that Canadians have worked so hard to make in their fight against COVID-19 by allowing these airlines to fly into known hotspots like California, Nevada and Florida without any physical distancing requirements," he said.On Thursday the B.C. Centre for Disease Control warned passengers on four flights that arrived at YVR in June they had potentially been exposed to COVID-19 — in addition to two other flights departing from the airport that month (one bound for Edmonton, another for Calgary).The agency asked people aboard the affected flights to self-isolate and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days.In the case of two of the flights, 14 days had already passed. For two others, the intended self-isolation period has nearly elapsed.The BCCDC did not answer a question from CBC News on Thursday asking why the warning came long after the potential contact, saying only that people can find out about possible exposure on flights and other public places on the agency's website.Both WestJet and Air Canada defend the safety measures they're taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus."We are left to use a combination of approaches to mitigate risk as far as practical," said a statement sent by Air Canada.Both airlines highlighted their use of HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, filters, with WestJet claiming they remove "99.999 per cent of all airborne particles," and Air Canada claiming they ensure complete changes of air every two to three minutes.They have both been doing aircraft interior disinfecting between flights, with WestJet describing "fogging using a hydrogen peroxide-based solution."WestJet also highlighted mandatory pre-boarding temperature checks."It is noteworthy there have been no reports of outbreak clusters onboard individual flights during the COVID pandemic," said the Air Canada statement.Do you have more to add to this story? Email rafferty.baker@cbc.caFollow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Germany's Merkel pictured wearing mask in public

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has started making official appearances wearing a mask, after being called out for never having being pictured wearing one despite it being part of the government’s official guidance in the fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Merkel appeared in the upper house of parliament in Berlin on Friday wearing a black mask sporting the logo of Germany's European Union presidency, taking it off after she took her seat at an appropriate distance from others in the chamber. The day before, she was pictured with a state governor at a meeting in Berlin wearing a similar mask.

  • Alberta RCMP have hired first 46 new workers for rural crime strategy

    Alberta RCMP have hired first 46 new workers for rural crime strategy

    The Alberta RCMP have hired about 10 per cent of the new workers required for a new provincial strategy to combat rural crime, the organization announced on Thursday.The list of new hires include 25 officers stationed at small town detachments, three civilians and 18 police officers working in specialized or central support programs.Many of those 18 "support" officers will be working out of Edmonton and Calgary, according to RCMP. The proportion came as a surprise to some people who are waiting for more boots on the ground in rural Alberta. Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) President Barry Morishita said increasing the share of policing costs paid by municipalities to fund centralized positions wasn't how government initially described a new rural policing model."We do still believe that the primary goal of this is to have new boots on the ground, whether they be RCMP or not, who support local police work," Morishita said on Thursday. "We haven't seen enough of that yet."Al Kemmere, president of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta, says it's going to be a challenge to explain to residents now paying more property taxes for police how more centralized police services will reduce rural crime.Many rural municipalities have now separated out the cost of rural policing on property tax invoices to show residents why their bills have risen, he said."We are already getting people saying, 'So, what's the difference going to be?' And we don't have those answers yet," he said of local police service.RCMP looking for 300 more officers by 2024Last year, the United Conservative Party government said hiring more police officers and civilian RCMP members would be one of several strategies to combat a perceived increase in rural crime.In 2019-20, rural RCMP cost about $375 million in Alberta, of which the province paid 70 per cent of the cost and the federal government paid the remaining 30 per cent.Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer said Alberta would recruit 300 new RCMP officers and 200 more support staff by 2024. There were about 1,600 rural officers at the time. The cost of the increase would be $286 million over five years.Government also told communities with fewer than 5,000 people they would now be paying some of the freight. The new funding model began this year, with counties and small towns picking up 10 per cent of the provincial cost. Municipalities' share will rise each year to 30 per cent by 2023.Alberta RCMP spokesperson Fraser Logan said Thursday the police hope to have 76 new police officers and 57 civilian support workers hired by the end of 2020.The 25 front-line officers hired so far are posted in Evansburg, Airdrie, Morinville, Rocky Mountain House, Bonnyville and beyond.Twelve more officers have joined "front line support units," including a call centre for people who experience minor auto collisions, theft or gas-and-dash incidents. This allows officers physically present in small communities to deal with more serious matters, a police news release said.Officers have also been recruited who specialize in crimes against children, serve on an emergency response team for high-risk situations in southern Alberta and for a program that gathers intelligence on repeat offenders.Logan said there will be no correlation between the amount of money a community pays into the provincial police funding formula and number of officers stationed there. The RCMP makes staffing decisions based on an analysis of detachment workloads, travel times to calls, call volume and the type of crimes common in an area.Staffing can also change with demand, he said.He couldn't speak to any challenges with recruitment, which is handled by the RCMP's depot in Regina. The facility shut down its training program in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It restarted limited training in May.Rocky Mountain House Mayor Tammy Burke said Thursday she was ecstatic to hear of two more officers coming to that detachment, and is confident it will make a difference.She said it also makes sense to bolster provincial services that support local detachments.Communities want rebate for empty positionsAlthough Kemmere and Morishita are both pleased to see the number of officers beginning to increase, both said community members want more input into how the police operate in their area."Not all our members supported the requisition of money, and the ones that do support it expected the terms of our support to be fulfilled, and one of those very big points was there had to be community consultation about annual policing plans," Morishita said.Residents know what the prevailing problems are and where they happen, he said.Morishita said AUMA has also asked Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer to refund some municipal policing funds this year since not all positions have been filled as quickly as they hoped.

  • What the Trans Mountain challenge dismissal means for Alberta

    What the Trans Mountain challenge dismissal means for Alberta

    The Supreme Court's decision to dismiss a First Nations' legal challenge to the Trans Mountain expansion project sends important signals about the viability of energy projects in Canada, experts say.On Thursday, the country's top court decided it would not hear an appeal from a group of First Nations in British Columbia — the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band — that had challenged  the adequacy of Indigenous consultation around the federal government's approval of the pipeline."This is yet another critical victory for pipelines, for our prosperity," Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said, hailing it as a win both for the province and the project — which will nearly triple the flow of oil from the Alberta oilsands to the West Coast.The pipeline will allow Canada to diversify oil markets and vastly increase exports to Asia, where they can command a higher price. About 99 per cent of Canada's exports now go to refiners in the U.S., where limits on pipeline and refinery capacity mean Canadian oil sells at a discount.Kenney pointed out the court found that of the 129 Indigenous groups potentially affected by the project, 120 either support it or do not oppose it, and 43 Indigenous groups have signed benefit agreements."This is an affirmation that reconciliation also means reconcili-action," Kenney said, repeating his familiar catchphrase. "It means economic opportunity, it means saying 'yes' to the vast majority of First Nations and Indigenous people who want to move their communities from poverty to prosperity by being full participants in responsible resource development." The B.C. First Nations behind the appeal to the top court had challenged the adequacy of Indigenous consultation that lead up to a second cabinet approval of the pipeline expansion, which was first proposed eight years ago but delayed by numerous legal challenges. Two years ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government stepped in after years of uncertainty around the project left an empty field of prospective buyers and nationalized the pipeline for $4.5 billion.Court decision signals stability to investorsExperts say the court's decision to end the years-long legal battle demonstrates stability to potential investors and provides clarity about what constitutes adequate consultations with Indigenous groups.That ripple effect could permeate beyond oil and gas projects into the energy sector as a whole.> "There's greater clarity on what can be appealed and what can't be appealed, and what the likely outcome is." \- Marla Orenstein, Canada West Foundation"There's greater clarity on what can be appealed and what can't be appealed, and what the likely outcome is. It provides certainty or additional certainty for projects of all different types," said Marla Orenstein, the director of the natural resource centre at the Canada West Foundation. "The certainty that this decision provides is important."The expansion would nearly triple the capacity of the pipeline, to 890,000 barrels per day, delivering diluted bitumen to a terminal in Burnaby outside Vancouver.It's also expected to lead to a sevenfold increase in the number of tankers in the shared waters between Canada and Washington state.Construction is already underway, supplying more jobs in a sector devastated by the pandemic. It is expected to slightly improve on Alberta's unemployment rate — which could hit upwards of 25 per cent.Trans Mountain says it currently employs 4,919 people working on the project and current forecasts suggest 5,500 people will be employed by the company during the peak construction period in mid-to-late 2021.The expansion is scheduled to be completed in two years.Earlier this year, Canadian oil prices hit historic lows, spurred partially by an international price war and partially by the COVID-19 pandemic.While the demand still hasn't recovered, one market analyst says Canada is going to need that extra pipeline eventually. Kevin Birn, who works for IHS Markit in Calgary, says this court dismissal keeps the Trans Mountain timeline on track and could help avoid supply problems down the road as demand increases again."That will continue to ramp up going into 2021 and 2022, and then you need another pipeline at that point in time."Birn says if the expansion were blocked, Alberta's natural resource sector would remain locked to whatever volatility occurs with Canada's southern neighbour.Alberta chief says decision likely to fuel other projectsThe court's rejection can also salvage the momentum for partnerships between the provincial United Conservative Party government and Alberta First Nations. Kenney's government has made a point of encouraging more Indigenous participation and investment in natural resource projects. Some of the Indigenous groups in favour of the pipeline have been working together to convince Ottawa to give them a stake in the project. Chief Calvin Bruneau, who leads the Papaschase First Nation near Edmonton and is involved with a bid to get Indigenous ownership in the project, says he's frustrated by the court challenges but he knows this one was imperative. "It was good to help keep the pipeline going, it does need to be built and that sort of decision was necessary," he said. Meaningful and appropriate consultations are non-negotiable in Bruneau's mind, but so are employment and economic prosperity. For him, Trans Mountain ticks all those boxes.Bruneau says this Supreme Court dismissal will have lasting legal implications for natural resource development in Alberta. "It is going to help with other projects," he said, adding this decision will cause other groups to think twice before challenging pipelines that have received Ottawa's stamp of approval. Fewer roadblocks for the project will also steady tensions between Alberta and Ottawa, as the Trans Mountain expansion is one of a minority of things the two governments agree on. When the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the First Nations' appeal of cabinet approval in February, Kenney praised the prime minister for his commitment to the pipeline. "I have my disagreements with Prime Minister Trudeau on a number of issues ... but I think they did realize there has to be at least one project that gets Canadian energy to global markets so we can get a fair price," he said at the time.4th court victory this year for pipeline proponentsHowever, the experts agreed it's likely not the end of the opposition to the pipeline — as Orenstein puts it, "it's not free sailing from from here on out."The First Nations that had appealed to the Supreme Court say they are exploring other avenues to block the pipeline.The expansion also still faces stiff environmental opposition from British Columbia's provincial government.But Thursday's decision is the end of the road to have the courts overturn the federal government's approval of the project, and is the fourth court victory this year for pipeline proponents, including the February Appeal court decision at the centre of Thursday's case.In January, the Supreme Court ruled against the B.C. government's attempt to regulate what can flow through the pipeline in January because as an interprovincial project it is entirely within federal jurisdiction. In March it also declined to hear an appeal over the federal approval from environment groups.Ottawa has now approved the project twice, forced to do more Indigenous consultation and environmental review after the Federal Court of Appeal agreed with First Nations and environment groups that the first attempts were flawed. In February, however, that court said Ottawa had now lived up to its duty to consult.Natural Resource Minister Seamus O'Regan said consultations will continue as construction continues."To those who are disappointed with today's SCC decision — we see and hear you," O'Regan said in a statement."The Government of Canada is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous people and understands that consultations on major projects have a critical role in building that renewed relationship."

  • Union tells actors not to work on pandemic film 'Songbird'
    The Canadian Press

    Union tells actors not to work on pandemic film 'Songbird'

    LOS ANGELES — The union that represents film actors told its members Thursday not to work on the upcoming pandemic thriller “Songbird,” saying the filmmakers have not been up-front about safety measures and had not signed the proper agreements for the movie that is among the first in production after coronavirus closures.Actors had reportedly been rehearsing remotely for the film produced by Michael Bay and directed by Adam Mason.The film’s pre-production listing on says its stars include Demi Moore, Peter Stormare and Craig Robinson, and gives the description, “In a post-pandemic world, an even more serious virus continues to mutate.”But the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Actors issued a do-not-work order to its members, saying the production company “has failed to complete the signatory process,” and working on the film could result in disciplinary action.“The producers have not been transparent about their safety protocols and that is something we obviously take very seriously," a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said in a statement. "Also, as noted in the Do Not Work order, the producers have not yet become signatory to our agreement. We have no further comment.”The small film was among the first to attempt to resume production after the long closure. California Gov. Gavin Newsom gave film and television productions the green light to resume shooting in the state starting June 12, so long as strict coronavirus restrictions were in place.Messages seeking comment from the film's production companies and representatives for Bay and Mason were not immediately returned.One of the companies, Invisible Narrative, told Deadline, “We are actively working to resolve this paperwork issue with the guild.”The Associated Press

  • Ontario deploys emergency management team to Windsor-Essex due to agri-farm COVID-19 outbreak

    Ontario deploys emergency management team to Windsor-Essex due to agri-farm COVID-19 outbreak

    Ontario Premier Doug Ford has confirmed that the province's emergency management team has been deployed to Windsor-Essex. "It's all hands on deck," he said, during a daily COVID-19 briefing on Friday. "I want to try to help them, I feel terrible for the situation they're in."Ford says the province's emergency management team is working with members of the Canadian Red Cross already in the area, as well as Public Health Ontario, to address growing concerns about COVID-19 cases among agri-farm workers in the region. Last weekend, a single Essex County greenhouse — Nature Fresh Farms in Leamington, Ont. — saw almost 200 workers test positive for COVID-19.In an emailed statement, the Red Cross said Friday that it is "working closely with provincial and municipal authorities to determine the needs of migrant workers and the community" in Windsor-Essex and is taking part in ongoing discussions. This Red Cross statement was exactly the same as one it provided earlier this week when asked whether it was stepping in to help farms in the region. During the briefing, Ford also apologized for criticizing migrant workers during his briefing Thursday, when he said they were hiding from efforts to retest them for COVID-19.Ford says his comments were based on misinformation but declined to say how he received the erroneous report.WATCH | Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirms EMO in Windsor-Essex:Speaking at the same Friday briefing, Ontario's chief coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer explained that the emergency management team is "providing support for the workers from one farm, where there was the notable number of positive COVID-19 findings, as well as those who may have been in contact with those positive workers."Huyer added that the team is helping coordinate care, accommodations, as well as food for workers at the facility. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex, was asked earlier Friday morning if the province's emergency management team was on the ground here. He wouldn't confirm its presence."We have been in conversation with the Ministry of Health Operations Centre regulars to help us," he said. "There are a number of parties involved in that conversation. I cannot say if they are here or not. A statement emailed to CBC News Friday from a spokesperson for federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said that Canada has taken a number of "substantial and important steps to ensure both Canada and employers could safely welcome temporary foreign workers during the pandemic." One of the steps was an email from Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough to the Mexican Ambassador to Canada on June 19. The email listed several short-term measures to enhance the safety of temporary foreign workers, including increasing outreach to workers, having investigations for workplaces in outbreak and educating employers. The statement from Hajdu's spokesperson said the minister recognizes there is "more to do to protect temporary foreign workers in Canada, and we are committed to looking at additional steps we can take in order to do so."

  • Industry, mild winters clear way for white-tailed deer 'invasion' in Alberta's boreal forest

    Industry, mild winters clear way for white-tailed deer 'invasion' in Alberta's boreal forest

    Herds of invasive white-tailed deer continue to migrate north in Alberta's boreal forest — bolstered by milder winters and human development that cuts through the vast wilderness, a new study suggests. The survey, recently published in the journal Nature, used 62 trail cameras to track the movements of white-tailed deer near Fort McMurray, Alta., over three years.It's a "deer invasion," said Jason Fisher, study author and wildlife ecologist at the University of Victoria."They're all over the landscape," Fisher said. "They're expanding their range. And because they're having these negative effects on the ecosystem, they could definitely be considered invasive." The cameras captured more than 141,000 images, and white-tailed deer appeared in 80 per cent of them. The survey makes clear that deer are now, by far, the most prevalent large mammal in the habitat, Fisher said."We're kind of feeling around in the dark. But them being there in the numbers they currently are is definitely new, it's definitely increased, and it's gotten a lot worse over the last decade." 'Deer don't really belong in that landscape'Deer are not native to the boreal forest and their populations are thriving, often at the expense of other species, including fragile populations of woodland caribou, Fisher said. The deer create imbalances in the natural food chain. The herds compete with other animals, devouring the boreal forest's limited grazing lands. Their presence also draws more predators such as wolves to the area.> It's like a caribou, white-tailed deer teeter-totter with wolves as the fulcrum. \- Jason Fisher"The deer don't really belong in that landscape," Fisher said. "They're not evolved to move quickly over snow the way that caribou are, and so they're easy targets for wolves. "With all these white-tailed deer around, that's pushing wolf numbers up. With more wolves around, they're hitting caribou harder."It's like a caribou, white-tailed deer teeter-totter with wolves as the fulcrum. And that's the big problem." Historically confined to the Eastern Seaboard, deer have been expanding their territory across the continent since European colonization. First they followed farmers, occupying open areas created when land was cleared of trees.In their move north, they followed humans again, taking advantage of open grazing areas created by seismic lines and other industrial developments that cut through the thick bush."As agriculture swept across North America, white-tailed deer have come with it," Fisher said. "The increase we're seeing here in Alberta now is basically the continuation of that process. Alberta has had deer in the south ever since we've had agriculture. But the move north is a pretty recent phenomenon." The study area — 3,000 square kilometres of white and black spruce, aspen, Jack pine and muskeg — is marked by extensive oil and gas development, logging roads, off-road trails and seismic lines. Deer have only been in the area for a couple of decades, Fisher said. Aerial surveys done by the province provide some information on local populations, Fisher said, but his team wanted to better understand the animals in relation to the weather and the landscape. According to the thousands of images captured by their cameras, deer were most numerous in areas touched by human development, he said. During the three-year study, the severity of winter fluctuated. Populations would soar after a mild winter, but even after a "biblical" second winter, herd numbers appeared relatively untouched, he said. 'This isn't fully a climate-change problem'Climate change and landscape change are working in tandem to drive the deer invasion, Fisher said. But the loss of mature forest to oil and gas development in the area is the biggest driver, he said.The altered landscape has given the animals access to new foraging grounds, allowing them to withstand harsh seasons when they might normally starve, Fisher said. In an ongoing follow-up study he is overseeing in the Richardson Backcountry, an untouched swath of wilderness north of Fort McMurray, deer numbers are sparse. With milder winters expected and more development encroaching into the boreal habitat every year, white-tailed deer territory will only continue to grow, Fisher said."This isn't fully a climate-change problem," he said. "As long as there is ongoing disturbance in the landscape without restoration, then the white-tailed deer are going to be there."

  • B.C. pilot killed in Australian crash was overcome by carbon monoxide, investigation shows

    B.C. pilot killed in Australian crash was overcome by carbon monoxide, investigation shows

    More than two years after a respected pilot from B.C. died in an Australian seaplane crash, investigators say he was likely incapacitated by carbon monoxide from a leaky exhaust system.Gareth Morgan, who grew up in North Vancouver, died alongside five British tourists when the DHC-2 Beaver he was piloting crashed into a bay north of Sydney on Dec. 31, 2017.According to an investigation update published Friday by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), post-mortem blood tests performed on Morgan, 44, and two of his passengers showed elevated levels of carbon monoxide. "From that consultation with medical experts, and research into the effects of carbon monoxide on aircraft operations, the ATSB considers the levels of carbon monoxide were likely to have adversely affected the pilot's ability to control the aircraft," ATSB chief commissioner Greg Hood said in a press release.Investigators who examined the floatplane wreckage discovered a crack in the engine's exhaust system, which would have caused fumes to leak into the engine bay. They also discovered that bolts were missing from the firewall that separates the engine bay from the cabin of the plane, allowing the fumes to enter the area where Morgan and his passengers were sitting.The investigation into the crash is still underway, but the ATSB said it was necessary to inform the public about these findings so measures can be taken to prevent another tragedy."The ATSB is reminding aircraft maintainers that the primary mechanism for the prevention of carbon monoxide exposure to aircraft occupants is to carry out regular inspections of aircraft exhaust systems to identify and repair holes and cracks, and to detect breaches in the firewall," he said.The plane's owner, Sydney Seaplanes, said in a statement it had a strict program for engine maintenance and inspection which was performed by a regulator-approved organization.'Extremely experienced pilot'Morgan was taking a prominent British businessman and his family on a sightseeing tour when the crash happened. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff, and witnesses reported seeing the aircraft flying low over a bay before suddenly entering a steep right turn and diving into the Hawksbury River.Morgan was a dual citizen of Canada and Australia, and his bosses at Sydney Seaplanes described him as an "extremely experienced pilot" with more than 10,000 hours of flight time, who was liked and respected by his co-workers.His friends in B.C. described Morgan as a devout Christian who volunteered as a Big Brother and travelled with his church on missions abroad.Compass Group CEO Richard Cousins, his fiancee Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather Bowden-Page, and his two sons William, 25, and Edward, 23, were also killed in the crash.

  • Vancouver company playing key role in COVID-19 vaccine development
    Global News

    Vancouver company playing key role in COVID-19 vaccine development

    Alongside German biotech firm BioNTech and U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Vancouver's own Acuitas Therapeutics is playing a key role in the development of a vaccine for COVID-19. So far, researchers are optimistic as early human trials have been positive. Paul Johnson has more.