The coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K. has been found in more than one Ontario long-term care home, and is already potentially spreading.
The coronavirus variant first detected in the U.K. has been found in more than one Ontario long-term care home, and is already potentially spreading.
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 64,485 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,014,128 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,314.423 per 100,000. There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,482,350 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 81.14 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 966 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 79.405 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.6 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 5,505 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,471 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.298 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 54 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 16,513 new vaccinations administered for a total of 455,328 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.213 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 22,326 new vaccinations administered for a total of 727,021 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 49.494 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,535 new vaccinations administered for a total of 78,205 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 56.794 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 947 new vaccinations administered for a total of 80,236 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 68.045 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 107.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 9,546 new vaccinations administered for a total of 245,054 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.668 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 7,501 new vaccinations administered for a total of 283,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.184 per 1,000. There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 364,020 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.79 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 1,097 new vaccinations administered for a total of 17,168 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 411.397 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 90.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 3,321 new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 103.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 664 new vaccinations administered for a total of 8,066 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 208.284 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 33.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Over 200 polar bear hides are on their way home to Nunavut from an Ontario auction house where they have been stuck in storage — some for up to a decade. The return comes after the Fur Harvesters Auction in North Bay, Ont., accumulated a stock of around 300 untanned Nunavut polar bear hides that it couldn't sell. The territory says it's about 235 hides. A quality polar bear hide used to sell for between $12,000 and $20,000, but now a large and high grade hide goes for $5,000 at the most, says Edwin Ferguson, a fur technician. When that market fell, buyers stopped looking for small bears. "There's a market for bigger bears. Anything nine feet and up you can sell very readily as long as they're decent quality. But anything under that eight foot level is very hard to sell," Ferguson said. Many of the bears coming home are under that benchmark, he said. Premier Joe Savikataaq, who is also the environment minister, and says the skins shouldn't be abandoned. "By reclaiming the backlog of hides from Fur Harvesters Auction, we ensure that Nunavut polar bear hides do not degrade in quality simply to sit in storage," Savikataaq said in the Legislative Assembly on Monday. Paid for, or given back Because of low prices and low demand at auction, the department is telling hunters to sell their polar bear hides privately, or to keep them for traditional use. MLAs have often asked Savikataaq about the bear hides, saying their constituents want to be paid for the bears, or get them back. Hunters can get their bears by giving back the advance the government paid them for the hide in the first place. But the advance could have been up to $3,000. Ferguson says, many of the untanned bear hides are no longer worth that much. The Fur Harvesters Auction is sending them back because, under its contract with the government of Nunavut, the bears can't be sold at a loss. That's why bear skins that hunters don't want will be sold to the public or given to non-profits for community use. "Let's keep our traditions and culture sustainable, and use this global downturn to benefit our communities instead," Savikataaq said. Joe Savikataaq, Nunavut's premier and minister of environment, says hunters should sell their bears privately while the market remains low. (Ashley Burke/CBC) Ferguson guessed that many of the hides sent back to the territory will be hard to use whole. When they're kept in storage for a long time, even at the right temperature, the untanned furs do get course because the hairs gets hollow the longer a skin dries, he said. Another set of those hides are in good shape, he said, but couldn't be sold internationally because they were hunted during the early 2000s when some Nunavut bears were banned from export for political reasons. Ferguson says bear prices were high around the same time, because there were concerns that selling polar bears would become illegal. "Everybody thought that they were going to stop us trading in them. The world did not want us to sell a polar bear to anybody. They hate the fact that they are killed and sold," he said. "That drove the market crazy for two or three years." Auction still accepting Nunavut hides The Fur Harvesters Auction kept any bear hides it knew it could sell for at least the advance money. Ferguson says the auction is still accepting Nunavut hides to sell on behalf of hunters, but he recommends being picky about which bear you send. He says the "big and beautiful" trophy bears get the best price internationally. Before shipping a bear, it should be washed of all stains, and dried well so it won't get mouldy when it's being shipped. The hides make more money if they still have the head, with an unbroken jaw, and paws with claws that are needed to make a taxidermy rug, he said. In its next April sale, the Fur Harvesters Auction expects to market over 100 polar bear hides from Nunavut and Northwest Territories.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. There are 872,747 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 872,747 confirmed cases (30,252 active, 820,450 resolved, 22,045 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,457 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 79.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,449 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,921. There were 28 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 284 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 41. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.01 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,620,804 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 994 confirmed cases (207 active, 781 resolved, six deaths). There were five new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 39.65 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six. There were no new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 198,862 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 136 confirmed cases (22 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were four new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 13.78 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 21 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 104,715 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,643 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,549 resolved, 65 deaths). There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 2.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 30 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 338,114 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,435 confirmed cases (37 active, 1,370 resolved, 28 deaths). There were four new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 4.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There was one new reported death Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 237,782 tests completed. _ Quebec: 288,941 confirmed cases (7,378 active, 271,156 resolved, 10,407 deaths). There were 588 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 86.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,275 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 754. There were eight new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 78 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.37 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,320,910 tests completed. _ Ontario: 302,805 confirmed cases (10,546 active, 285,262 resolved, 6,997 deaths). There were 966 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 71.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,686 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,098. There were 11 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 113 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.49 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,933,714 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,950 confirmed cases (1,151 active, 29,901 resolved, 898 deaths). There were 56 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 83.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 405 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 58. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 12 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.11 per 100,000 people. There have been 533,840 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,938 confirmed cases (1,492 active, 27,059 resolved, 387 deaths). There were 137 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 126.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,015 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 145. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.83 per 100,000 people. There have been 577,151 tests completed. _ Alberta: 134,052 confirmed cases (4,631 active, 127,531 resolved, 1,890 deaths). There were 257 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 104.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,449 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 350. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 37 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.74 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,409,039 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 81,367 confirmed cases (4,747 active, 75,255 resolved, 1,365 deaths). There were 438 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 92.22 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,509 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 501. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 29 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.52 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,935,174 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death). There were no new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,172 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,559 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 359 confirmed cases (nine active, 349 resolved, one death). There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 22.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been eight new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,696 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Tensions between the United States and Iran simmered on Wednesday after a new rocket attack against Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base that hosts U.S. forces, which U.S. officials told Reuters fit the profile of a strike by Iran-backed militia. There were no reports of injuries among U.S. service personnel but an American civilian contractor died after suffering a "cardiac episode" while sheltering from the rockets, the Pentagon said.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is considering two sites in Arizona and another one in New York in addition to Austin, Texas, for a new $17 billion chip plant, according to documents filed with Texas state officials. The documents dated Feb. 26 also estimated tax abatements concerning the plant will be about $1.48 billion over 20 years from Travis County in Texas and the city of Austin, up from the $805.5 million previously mentioned. Samsung is in talks with the sites at Arizona and New York, with each offering property tax abatement and "significant grants and/or refundable tax credits" to fund infrastructure improvements, the documents said.
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Ontario is happening at 34 different speeds, with each public health unit taking its own approach. The pace in the province's largest public health unit is notably slower than average. Officials in Toronto can't say when people aged 80 and up will be eligible to get vaccinated and are urging people not to call the public health hotline with questions about the timeline. Meanwhile, several public health units covering large urban areas have already started giving shots to that age group. York Region and Windsor-Essex both began their vaccinations of 80-plus-year-olds on Monday. In York Region, 20,000 of the roughly 45,000 people eligible have already booked appointments. People aged 80 and older line up outside a sports centre in Richmond Hill, Ont. on Monday to be among the first participants in York Region's mass vaccination program against COVID-19.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) During a City of Toronto news conference on Monday, officials were asked specifically when people in this age group in can expect to get the shot. There was no clear answer. Medical officer of health Dr Eileen de Villa spoke for two and a half minutes without addressing the question. WATCH | Questions and concerns continue around the timeline for Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout: Next, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, leading Toronto's COVID-19 emergency response, said bookings would begin once the province's appointment system launches (slated for March 15), and added that vaccinations would begin in "early April." De Villa then jumped in to say that vaccinations of some sub-groups of people in this age group could begin this month, but added, "We need supply to be more readily available to get into the large-scale administration of vaccine for that 80-plus population." Given that all of Ontario's public health units are facing the same supply constraints, why is Ontario's largest city weeks behind other major population centres in the province? Ontario's timeline for vaccinating people against COVID-19 puts 2.1 million people in its Phase 1 priority group, including long-term care residents, health-care workers and people aged 80 and older.(Ontario Ministry of Health) The chair of Toronto's board of health, Coun. Joe Cressy, blames a vaccine allocation mismatch: the province is distributing doses to each public health unit based solely on its total population, not based on its population in the high-priority groups. In short, the argument is that Toronto is hampered from moving on to vaccinate seniors aged 80 and older because it has yet to receive enough doses to vaccinate those who were first in line -- such as hospital workers. "We have a disproportionately large number of people who qualify in phase 1 because they are more vulnerable," Cressy told the news conference. That leads to a question: why didn't the province provide a larger number of vaccines to places with a larger number of people in priority groups? Solicitor-General Sylvia Jones acknowledged Tuesday that Toronto's explanation for its slower pace "makes sense." But when asked whether the province should have distributed doses on an as-needed basis instead of a per-capita basis, she didn't directly answer. Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, left, gives Ontario Premier Doug Ford, centre, and Toronto Mayor John Tory, right, a tour of a vaccination clinic for health-care workers in January. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press) "The focus on the over 80 (age group) is critical," Jones told a news conference. "We'd love to have more vaccines to give to our public health units." Just don't ask the provincial government how many vaccine doses it has actually given to its public health units. The Ministry of Health refused CBC's request for this data on Tuesday, citing security concerns. The government also refused to provide a breakdown of how many vaccine doses have been administered by each public health unit, even though the ministry reports a province-wide total every day. The lack of disclosure makes it challenging to prove or disprove the claim that the distribution of vaccines has been unfair to Toronto. However, some figures disclosed by health units allow for rough math. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit says it has received 12,285 doses of vaccine, while Toronto has received 195,440 doses. Using population data from Public Health Ontario, those shipments are enough to give one dose to 10.8 per cent of people living in Haldimand-Norfolk, but just 6.3 per cent of the population of Toronto. Toronto Public Health estimates that 325,000 people are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under Phase 1 of Ontario's vaccine rollout. (Evan Mitsui/CBC) What is less clear is the evidence for Toronto's claim of being home to a disproportionate number of people in the priority groups for vaccination. People aged 80 and over are part of phase 1 of Ontario's vaccination timeline. But before getting to them, public health units were told to target the province's top-priority categories: long-term care residents and staff, other front-line health-care workers and Indigenous people. Ontario estimates 1.15 million people belong to those highest-priority groups. That is roughly eight per cent of the province's total population. Toronto Public Health could not provide an estimate Tuesday of how many people in the city are in those top-priority groups. But for Toronto to have a disproportionate burden, the number would need to be more than 240,000. Another comparison stick is the number of people eligible for vaccination through the whole of phase 1. Toronto Public Health says it's 325,000 people in the city, roughly 11 per cent of Toronto's population. That is no higher that the proportion of Ontario's population eligible in phase 1. Toronto Public Health COVID-19 vaccination numbers 195,440 doses of vaccine have been shipped to Toronto around 325,000 people are eligible to be vaccinated in phase 1 around 135,000 of them are aged 80 and above, including some 10,000 residents of long-term care
The first legislative session of 2021 began this week amid a grueling pandemic and an unrelenting overdose crisis, and the BC Green caucus intends to advocate for ramped up mental health supports and more government transparency. “I don't think anybody out there is like, ‘No, I'm good. Everything's perfectly fine,’” said BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau in an interview on Feb. 24. “The priority going into this session really is about mental health and what government can do to better support people's mental health. We want to see some pretty significant steps taken on that front.” The legislative session began Mar. 1 and will run, with breaks, until June 17. Furstenau has repeatedly argued for the inclusion of psychologists in primary healthcare teams, and for psychological counselling to be covered by public healthcare. Thus far, the Province has declined to include counselling under the Medical Services Plan. When pressed by Furstenau during Question Period on Dec. 9, Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson suggested British Columbians experiencing immediate mental health distress should call the 811 COVID-19 call-in helpline for assistance. “We have to be able to recognize mental healthcare and healthcare are the same thing,” Furstenau said in February. People should be able to access it as part of their primary healthcare without a cost barrier, she said. “Counselling is very expensive,” said Mackenzie Kerr, co-chair of the BC Greens youth council, and former 2020 Green party candidate for Prince George-Valemount. “Including mental health in our provincial health care would be absolutely huge right now, crucial.” Having someone to talk to for a professional opinion is important, said Kerr. “If you're just stuck in the same loop every day staying home, it can become very lonely, and you can talk yourself in circles in your head.” The year-long (and counting) pandemic has also exacerbated the province’s opioid health emergency, making 2020 the deadliest year yet for illicit drug overdoses. Of the 8,530 people who died from illicit drug overdoses in B.C. the past decade, 20 per cent lost their lives last year. In 2020 alone, paramedics attended more than 17,000 overdose events, including 1,250 in the north, which had the highest rate of deaths in the province last year. The cost of waiting until people are in crisis and needing emergency healthcare system is far more expensive than providing proactive mental health supports when people seek them, said Furstenau. Other issues for the Greens this session relate to trust and transparency, Furstenau said. Since last September, the legislature has been in session eight days. In previous years over the same period, fall legislative sessions ranged from 20 days in 2019 to 41 days in 2017. “During a time when people are feeling increasingly concerned about how government is making decisions,” said Furstenau, “we've had very limited and very restricted opportunity to be able to ask the questions of government that it is our job as elected representatives to ask.” Now, more than ever, governments need to ensure they have the trust of their citizens, she said. Crisis situations require collective action, and the public must trust the people asking them to make sacrifices for the common good. Mistrust of experts was the number one determinant of vaccine hesitancy, according to a study entitled Understanding Vaccine Hesitancy in Canada, by McGill University and University of Toronto researchers. Mistrust of key figures and institutions is now driving online conversations and skepticism about vaccines as much as safety concerns, revealed First Draft, an international research coalition of journalists and academics. “People want to understand; people want to have an explanation,” Furstenau said. “If it's not forthcoming from government, they will look elsewhere for those explanations. And it's dangerous.” The government’s handling of the now $16 billion Site C dam project in the province’s northeast also raises serious concerns around trust, transparency and accountability, Furstenau said. “Government has not been forthcoming with information reports, terms of reference, and even quarterly reports from BC Hydro have not been released publicly for a year now.” Another significant 2021 priority for the Greens will be holding government to its commitment to implement recommendations from last year’s old growth review panel, A New Future for Old Forests. A key recommendation called for immediate protection of old forests in ‘high and near-term risk of irreversible biodiversity loss.’ “Yet, we keep hearing and seeing evidence of ongoing logging of old growth,” said Furstenau. “The reality is, this is not a sustainable activity.” Communities need help from governments to transition from old growth logging into sustainable economic activities, Furstenau said. Turning away from old growth logging is a tough sell in Northern BC, but communities would do it if there were alternatives, said Kerr, a University of Northern BC forestry student. “If they were given more options of renewable projects,” Kerr said, “we know that they will be choosing those instead.” Conservation financing would help communities break free of dependence on boom or bust resource development projects that only deplete resources, Furstenau said, pointing to land-based aquaculture, landscape restoration, ecotourism, and sustainable agriculture and agritech as possible alternatives. “We're sort of trapped in an eternal present in our politics, when what we have to recognize is every decision we make shapes the future,” said Furstenau. “What should future generations and communities expect from us in our decision-making right now?” Fran@thegoatnews.ca / @FranYanor Fran Yanor, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Rocky Mountain Goat
'I have to choose between my safety and my education,' said Concordia University student Alicia-Ann Pauld. (Submitted by Alicia-Ann Pauld) Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a struggle for Alicia-Ann Pauld, who has muscular dystrophy, to get to Concordia University's campus in downtown Montreal, especially during the winter. "If I fall, I can very seriously injure myself and I can't get back [up] on my own," said Pauld. "I've been in situations in the past where there's a snowstorm the day of an exam and I have to go outside and literally put my life in danger." She recalled an incident last year, when she fell on the ice on the way to one of her exams. "I injured myself a lot and I had to wait for someone to pick me up — a stranger." When the pandemic hit last March, universities quickly moved online. Lectures were given over Zoom or were recorded online as campuses shut down. For Pauld, it was a gift. She no longer had to choose between her health and her education. While the shift to the virtual world has been a source of distress for university students in general, it has been a revelation for many students living with disabilities and chronic illnesses. But with universities saying they are preparing for some form of in-class instruction in the fall, many students living with disabilities wonder what the future holds. 'I can't always get to class' Concordia told CBC that "public health conditions permitting, we are looking at a hybrid model of remote and in-person instruction" for the fall of 2021. McGill University has already announced it will return to in-person instruction at that time, but that it will make accommodations for students who need them. Concordia University in Montreal says it is considering a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning for the fall.(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press) "Students with a weakened immune system or chronic condition that may be at risk of developing complications to COVID-19 should work or study from home if possible," McGill said in a statement. If activities require students to be on campus, they are supposed to contact their faculty's student affairs office to work something out. Students with disabilities and chronic illnesses are worried about losing the progress the pandemic has brought, in terms of providing more accessible education. "I can't always get to class, due to a combination of just, like, the building not always being super-accessible and the classroom not being accessible," said Aaron Ansuini, an art education student at Concordia who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a multi-systemic connective tissue disorder that often affects his mobility. Improving academic success As an ambulatory wheelchair user, it is often difficult for Ansuini to attend classes, so he misses important course content. "I've been encouraged to drop classes when I physically can't get to them, despite the fact that I maintain a 4.0 GPA," Ansuini told CBC Montreal's Daybreak. Before the pandemic, both Ansuini and Pauld sometimes had to miss classes and drop courses, which hurt their academic success. That's why remote learning has been so beneficial to them. "My only chance of graduating on time is [online learning], because it's the only way that I could actually do all the classes, all five classes that I know that I can do," said Ansuini. "My classes are going great," said Pauld, "I had such a high GPA last semester and I know this is what I'm capable of doing." Concordia University student Aaron Ansuini says returning to ‘normal’ is not equitable for students with mobility disabilities. (Submitted by Aaron Ansuini) While many students are looking forward to a return to normalcy, a return to how things were pre-pandemic is not ideal to students with mobility disabilities. "What's normal for most people [is] ... not exactly equitable for students with disabilities," said Ansuini. "So I'm concerned about people returning to normal and not realizing that what they're actually returning to is just an inequitable access to education." Pressure worldwide A 2018 report from the National Education Association of Disabled Students, in collaboration with Canadian researchers, concluded that accessibility and inclusion lag behind technological advances. Canadian students aren't the only ones who are feeling it. Students at the University of Washington, for example, are pushing their administration to continue to make class recordings available online even though the school has already opened its campus to students. They argue the current lack of access creates an unequal education system between students who are able-bodied and those with disabilities. Students with disabilities at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland made their case to the administration by documenting their experiences with remote learning. Now, with its campus reopen,Trinity College Dublin has implemented a hybrid model of remote learning and in-person instruction. For Pauld, the fact that Concordia says it is looking at a hybrid model of education is promising, but she would like to see every single class be part of such a model. "So that students who have to attend remotely for different reasons can have access to that, with no exception," she said. Pauld and Ansuini are hoping that the pandemic is proof that accommodations at school, as well as in the workplace, are possible for people with disabilities. "We are not some sort of other or some sort of anomaly," said Ansuini. "We're just part of the student population and our access to education should matter."
Candice McCowin's brother Graeme McLean died of an opioid overdose three years ago. For three years she's been among advocates calling for Windsor police to carry naloxone. For three years she's felt ignored. Now, with news hundreds of frontline officers are being trained to use the drug, McCowin said she's relieved. But one question lingers. "What was the deciding factor? What makes all the lives moving forward more important than my brother's was or people before him?" In the past the department said data didn't support officers being equipped with naloxone — which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Meanwhile, statistics from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) show the number of opioid-related emergency room visits have climbed steadily. There were 249 opioid-related visits in 2019, more than three times greater than the 78 that were tallied in 2007, according to WECHU. Twenty-nine were tallied in January 2021. This chart shows the rise in opioid-related emergency department visits in Windsor-Essex in recent years.(Windsor-Essex County Health Unit) Late last week Mayor Drew Dilkens, chair of the service's board, said Police Chief Pam Mizuno had decided to make a change. On Tuesday the chief said more than 275 patrol and investigative officers have already learned to administer the Narcan nasal spray version of the drug and that training is ongoing. There are roughly 500 frontline officers in the service. "Our officers being deployed at the emergency shelters for people who are experiencing homelessness, as well as the recovery centres. I think that changes it," Mizuno said in explaining her decision and the timing of it, adding the kits are being provided to the service for free. While the chief cites the shelters set up amid COVID-19 outbreaks as a difference, it's not clear how interacting with users there will be different from the ways officers would interact with people while regularly patrolling the community. Explanation a 'bit of a shock' Bruce Chapman, president of the Police Association of Ontario (PAO), expressed surprise when asked about the explanation. "[It's] a little bit of shock I guess," he said. "There are countless cases of police personnel during their regular patrols coming across individuals who have suffered an overdose and saving their lives. I could give you 20 examples across the province and that happens every day." Last month, for example, OPP issued a media release stating it has saved 210 lives using naloxone since its officers started using it in 2017. Others, including Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky, have suggested police linking their decision to the emergency shelter serves to stigmatize people experiencing homelessness. It's a view McCowin shares. "[Police] didn't decide to come to this determination because we have a crisis," she said. "They're coming to this determination because there's stigma attached to homeless people and they're going to be working around them so now it's important." The chief said the service does not want to further stigmatize people with addictions, noting the majority of overdose calls police respond to are at private residences. Officers have used naloxone twice this year Mizuno also pointed to "stress" on emergency systems in the city during the pandemic and a pair of community alerts from the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy. One of the alerts was in response to 22 fentanyl-related visits to the emergency room in just one week, including 16 overdoses, numbers described as "extremely high." "All of those things in totality have certainly led to the decision," said the chief. The PAO represents officers at dozens of police services, including Windsor, and has been pushing departments to carry the drug since 2019. Chapman said as far as he's aware Windsor is the last large department to do so. Bruce Chapman, Police Association of Ontario president, said Windsor police should have started carrying naloxone a long time ago.(Radio-Canada) "It should have been done a long time ago. It's unfortunate it wasn't," he said. "Who knows how many lives could have been saved. We don't know the answer to that, but we do know as a result of the decision Windsor has finally made that there will be lives saved." A CBC analysis of police reports where officers responded and naloxone was administered between November 2018 and December 2019 found that on at least 14 occasions, Windsor police arrived first to the scene of a drug overdose without naloxone in-hand. The chief said police still consider an overdose a medical emergency that is best responded to by medical personnel such as paramedics. She also stated she believes no one has died because police didn't have the drug in the past. "Our officers have not attended a scene where, and of course you cannot definitively say, but where a life has been lost because our officers have not been carrying naloxone. That has not happened." Up until this decision, Windsor police had officers with just three units — detention, city centre patrol and problem-oriented policing — that had access to the drug. Officers equipped with naloxone in those units have already used it twice this year, according to Mizuno. McCowin said the decision from police could mean another family is spared the pain she carries. Graeme McLean was sober for more than 100 days before his fatal overdose. (Supplied by Candice McCowin) Graeme was the baby of the family, a "joker," who was helpful and "larger than life" with a wife, baby and job before he became addicted. But years of hearing police give reasons not to carry naloxone left her questioning whether his death meant anything. She can't shake that feeling, even now. "I just thought. 'There isn't a need? I think if it was only one person, my brother, or whoever, there should have been a need,'" she explained. "Think about how many people have died in the city of Windsor from opioid overdose."
The Kremlin on Wednesday played down the impact of sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union over Moscow's treatment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, but said it would retaliate with reciprocal measures. In President Joe Biden's most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin, the United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow's attempt to poison Navalny with a nerve agent last year.
A judge has declared that the man responsible for Toronto's deadly van attack in 2018 is guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. In rendering her decision, which was broadcast on YouTube Wednesday morning, Justice Anne Molloy said Alek Minassian's rampage was "the act of a reasoning mind," and noted that the 28 year old has "no remorse for it and no empathy for his victims." "He freely chose the option that was morally wrong, knowing what the consequences would be for himself, and for everybody else," Molloy said in her decision. "It does not matter that he does not have remorse, nor empathize with the victims. "Lack of empathy for the suffering of victims, even an incapacity to empathize for whatever reason, does not constitute a defence." The man had pleaded not guilty at the judge-alone trial, which was held virtually at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Canada, a first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years. Justice rejected defence's autism argument Defence lawyer Boris Bytensky said in his closing arguments that his client's autism disorder left him without the ability to develop empathy, arguing that his client had no idea how horrific his actions were to his victims, his family and the community. Molloy outright rejected that notion in her decision, which you can read in full at the bottom of this story. "He considered the impact it would have on his family, and deliberately set those thoughts aside, ignoring them, because he did not want them to deter him from achieving this important goal," she said, noting that he had been fantasizing about a crime like this for over a decade. "He was capable of understanding the impact it would have on his victims. "He knew death would be irreversible. He knew their families would grieve." WATCH | Remembering the victims of the Toronto van attack: Elwood Delaney, who lost his 80-year-old grandmother Dorothy Sewell in the attack, told CBC News that watching the judge give her decision was extremely emotional for his family. "I don't want to say happy, but we were relieved," he said. "I've held a lot of anger towards him this whole entire time. Knowing that he's going to be locked up for a very long time … is a relief." Delaney said his grandmother was one of Canada's biggest sports fans, and was a fervent follower of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. "Every time I watch sports … I constantly think of her," he said. "I miss her a lot. We all do." WATCH | Man remembers grandmother who was killed in Toronto attack: Crown lawyer praises everyday people at scene Speaking outside the courthouse after the decision was read, Crown attorney Joe Callaghan lauded the actions of the first responders who attended the scene, and read off the names of everyone killed in the attack. "In addition, a neighbourhood was attacked, leaving its residents fearful and traumatized," he said. Callaghan also commended the actions of everyday people who were on the street that day, who tried to help victims who had been struck and comforted the dying. "They demonstrated a remarkable level of selflessness and empathy, reflecting the true community spirit of this city," he said. Cathy Riddell, who was badly injured in the attack, also told reporters outside the courthouse that she feels justice has been done. "I probably will sleep tonight for the first time in a while," she said. "He can spend the rest of his life in jail, because he deserves it … he took lives, and he didn't care." WATCH | Family members, victim and Crown attorney react to judge's decision: Police say on the afternoon of April 23, 2018, the killer drove a rented van down Yonge Street near Finch Avenue, veering onto the busy sidewalk and hitting one person after another. After a brief standoff with a police officer, he was arrested. His victims included Sewell, who was killed, and another woman who survived but had both of her legs amputated as a result of injuries suffered in the attack. Molloy made sure to say the name and age of each of the victims in her decision. She also listed the serious, and in some cases life-changing injuries suffered by those who survived, including broken bones, bleeding on the brain and a collapsed lung. The judge also said she would not be naming the killer in her decision and referred to him instead as "John Doe," noting that notoriety was a driving force in his crimes. "I am acutely aware that all of this attention and media coverage is exactly what this man sought from the start," she said. CBC News will continue to use his name, in some instances, for clarity. Toronto van attack victim Cathy Riddell speaks with the media outside the Superior Court of Justice on March 3, 2021. She says she has no memory of the incident itself.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Autism group relieved at verdict In a statement issued Wednesday morning, the Ontario Autism Coalition said it was relieved at Molloy's decision, and said it was a "firm rejection" of the use of autism as a defence. "Violent traits have no connection to autism; in fact, people on the autism spectrum are far more likely to be victims as opposed to perpetrators of violence," the statement reads. "The court's decision makes it clear this was never a case of autism causing mass murder, but rather a case where someone who committed mass murder happened to have autism. "An autism diagnosis does not predispose one to commit acts of violence." The killer told police his rampage was a mission for the incel movement, an online subculture of so-called "involuntarily celibate" men who direct their misogynistic rage at women. But Molloy noted in her decision that he also made mention in interviews of making that connection purely to upgrade the notoriety of his actions. Molloy said the killer has never shown any pleasure or sense of satisfaction to have killed or injured women, apart from the notoriety his crimes have brought to him. "Accordingly, I agree with the assessors that [the killer's] story to the police about the attack being an 'incel rebellion' was a lie," the judge wrote.
Another socially-distanced legislative session kicked off this week, this one marked by COVID-related issues, a two-month delay of the provincial budget, and an Opposition bench tasked with holding a majority government in check during a pandemic. “Our job as the Official Opposition is to hold the government to account,” said Interim BC Liberal Opposition Leader Shirley Bond on Feb. 26. “That's going to be a challenging job with a significant majority in the legislature, but we have a skilled team.” One immediate challenge will be the delayed provincial budget. The legislative session will run from Mar. 1 to June 17, with some breaks, and the budget will be presented on Apr. 20. Typically tabled every year in mid-February, governments were legally bound to present a budget by the end of March. However, the Finance Statutes Amendment Act 2020, passed last December, extends the deadline to Apr. 30 when a budget follows an October election, as it does this year. “British Columbians deserve to know the financial state of our province,” said Bond. “We should have had that discussion. The budget should have been tabled by now.” Back in December, the Liberals voted against the legislation containing the extension. “We really don't see a need why it had to happen,” said BC Liberal House Leader Peter Milobar last week. “We said this would create uncertainty with groups. It was brushed off by government.” Now, as session begins two weeks after a budget would normally have been introduced, agencies, businesses and associations are starting to get worried, he said. “I've spent this week on a lot of Zoom calls with agencies and organizations that don't know what the budget delay will, or won't, mean to them,” said Milobar who represents the riding of Kamloops-North Thompson. “It's incumbent on the government, they're the ones that have delayed this budget, to provide that certainty.” The December legislation also included a provision to extend special warrant spending authority to keep essential funds flowing if the budget and estimates are presented after the beginning of the new fiscal year – Apr.1 for most businesses and institutions – which will be the case this spring. “It is not intended to provide for new program spending but, rather, to provide for continuation of the operations of government until a supply act can be passed by the Legislative Assembly,” Finance Minister Selina Robinson told the legislature on Dec. 9. “Any enhanced or expanded programming cannot happen until a new budget is introduced,” Milobar said. Meanwhile, the government will have four weeks to introduce legislation prior to the Throne speech, which occurs one week before the budget. “I'm assuming the government will have work for legislators to do. We'll have to wait and see what that agenda looks like,” said Bond, who is MLA for Prince George-Valemount, and will be attending the session in person for the first time since the pandemic began. Previously, she attended by Zoom, as do the majority MLAs due to public health restrictions. The top priority is the pandemic and the health and well-being of British Columbians, but people are also concerned about economic issues, said Bond. “How is British Columbia going to emerge as we move ahead? Sectors, like the tourism sector, that have been decimated by COVID, what will the government do to support and energize that sector?” Last year, the Province announced $105 million in funding for the sector, along with the creation of a task force made up of tourism and hospitality industry representatives to disperse the funding. “We're going to be highlighting the challenges that the Horgan government has created for small businesses and for British Columbians – a quarter of a billion dollars sitting on the sidelines, because the government couldn't manage the to get it out the door,” said Bond, referencing the $280 million or so in COVID-19 relief funding still not disbursed from $300 million designated for small and medium-sized businesses. The program is set to expire mar. 31, when any remaining funding will be rolled back into the provincial government coffers, Premier John Horgan confirmed in February. “They've made lots of commitments, and many of them they've yet to deliver,” said Bond. “There's going to be no shortage of questionable situations around how the premier and his ministers have been handling their files,” said Milobar. “We're all very focused on wanting to shine a light on the shortcomings of the government's response to a wide range of issues.” Additional priorities for the Opposition will include scrutiny of the vaccination roll out and continued calls for rapid testing in long term care and schools, said Bond, who is also the opposition critic for seniors services and long-term care. “There will be lots of debate and dialogue,” said Bond. “It's going to be a very intense session.” Fran@thegoatnews.ca / @FranYanor Fran Yanor, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Rocky Mountain Goat
For 15-year-old Logan Graham, becoming a hockey referee was a way to learn more about the sport, practice his skills on the ice, and choose his own hours. It was also a way for Graham to be a part of a family tradition. Both his older brother and father are also referees. While Graham has been in the job for only a year, he knows all too well what can come along with it — harassment or abuse from parents and coaches angry with a call. "I guess in the heat of the moment, parents get pretty mad but, you know, at the end of the day, it's just a game," he said. It's why Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO), the governing body that regulates amateur hockey across eastern Ontario, is launching a campaign that aims to put a halt to that behaviour against minor hockey officials. Logan Graham, 15, has been a referee with Hockey Eastern Ontario for a year.(Submitted by Kevin Graham) All hockey officials under the age of 18 will wear a green armband, regardless of the skill level they're presiding over, to identify them as a minor. There are also stricter penalties in place for coaches, team officials and spectators who harass officials wearing the band. "This is important, that as an organization, that we're cognizant of the fact that there is abuse, there is harassment, and we need to level this up," said John Reid, referee-in-chief for HEO. 'They're going to quit hockey' More than 40 per cent of all officials in the region are under the age of 18 and Reid said the effect on their mental health is "tremendous." According to HEO, one in three referees quit after the first year-and-a-half. About 50 per cent quit after their second year. Most reported abuse as the reason for leaving. Reid said he hopes the campaign make parents and coaches think twice before getting angry. "They're going to quit hockey. They're going to leave refereeing. They're going to leave the officiating and we don't want that," he said. Green band mandatory The initiative will officially begin at the start of the next hockey season, later this year. All minor officials will be required to wear the armband no later than Oct. 15. Officials with HEO will track the effectiveness of the program by comparing the number and types of infractions given for harassment before and after the campaign. "I hope that it will be really effective," said junior hockey referee Tyson Stewart, who was a minor when he started refereeing with HEO. "There's really no excuse if you come in now and you clearly see that that person is under 18, you should be thinking before you do anything, that that's not an adult. That's a child." Graham said he plans to wear his green armband the next time he referees a game. "I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens. I hope it does because the rough abuse is pretty common, I guess, across Canada. So I hope it makes a difference."
Mona Lisa describes feeling isolated and cut off from her community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Regina's COVID-19 case numbers are among the highest per capita for major Canadian cities. Dr. Alexander Wong, an infectious diseases physician in Regina, says it's no reason to panic, but that people should keep following public health advice on how to contain the spread. As of Monday, Regina had 180 active cases per 100 000 people — about double Saskatoon's per capita number. Regina's per capita numbers are significantly higher than cities like Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton and Winnipeg, according to data gathered from provincial governments and regional health authorities. "I don't necessarily feel that things are, quote unquote, out of hand. I think our public health colleagues have a pretty good grasp of sort of what's kind of taking place," Wong said. "But I can understand how some people might look at the raw data and think that there could potentially be issues." Wong said several factors could be contributing to the high rates, including outbreaks linked to homes and workplaces, and contact tracers in the province being good at finding secondary cases. Are variants at play? Variants have been cited as a possible reason for the rising numbers. Wong said there's not clear evidence to show that variants are common in the province, but that some cases have been found so it's a reasonable assumption they are out there. "Assuredly there is community transmission of variants of concern that's currently occurring. We just don't know what the prevalence of that actually looks like. Right now that's pure speculation," he said. "Regardless of what prevalence of variants are circulating or not, it doesn't change the fundamental pieces that we all need to take responsibility for." Wong said people need to continue to reduce contact with others, wear masks and get tested if they show any symptoms to contain the spread. Consequences of slow restrictions at play: doctor Dr. Cory Neudorf, a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan and a public health physician, agreed. He said Regina's per capita numbers being high isn't surprising. In fact, as case numbers are still relatively high in multiple places throughout the province. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of cases per capita out of all provinces. "What we're seeing in Saskatoon and Regina is really just a continued expression of the fact that our restrictions have just not been as much as other provinces," Neudorf said. The province's unwillingness to implement strong restrictions early is part of why the province remains under heavy public health order, he said. The province saw a sustained high level of cases that rose throughout the fall and peaked in January. Now the decline from the peak has been slower compared to other regions. Neudorf said the people need to proceed with caution, because even though numbers are dropping in some parts of the province, they're dropping slowly. He said community spread still prevails in homes (where one family member brings it home and gets the rest of the family sick) as well as in the workplace. Health officials need to keep aggressive tabs on the variants, ramp up testing to control community spread and be ready to tighten restrictions if the province wants to see meaningful decline in numbers, he said. Doctors urge people to remain vigilant Neudorf said the reproductive number for the virus remains in a risky area between .8 and 1 — a range that is viewed as a growth phase. He said that number should ideally be below .7 with the new variants. Wong said the "new normal" people talk about is still a long way off. "Stay the bleep home. The pandemic is going to continue on indefinitely. It's not going to disappear," Dr. Wong said. "There will be new variants, never ending strains of the virus and probably ongoing need to vaccinate." Both Wong and Neudorf said it's important people are prepared for what's to come and that things won't return to normal until most of the general population is vaccinated. "It's like we're balanced on a bit of a knife edge right now," Dr. Neudorf said, adding a drop in numbers will allow the vaccine program to work. "It doesn't take very much to all of a sudden see a spike in cases, and if that happens we could very easily see a third wave starting in March and April, especially if these new variants take hold." Premier teases loosening of restrictions Premier Scott Moe said in a news conference Tuesday that he has heard from people who want the public health restrictions eased up, specifically around household gatherings. "We are very close to making and finalizing these decisions," Moe said. Moe said chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab wants to see the hospitalizations and case number stabilize for a "few more days." "If that occurs, we should have more to say about household restrictions possibly by early next week," Moe said.
Newly-formed Stellantis, a combination of Peugeot-maker PSA and Fiat Chrysler (FCA), wants to use its clout to take on rivals racing to produce more electric vehicles, Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday. Stellantis is now the world's fourth largest carmaker, with 14 brands including Opel, Jeep, Ram and Maserati, and like its peers, it is grappling with a shortage of semiconductors and investments in electric vehicles. Low global car inventories and cost cuts should help boost profit margins this year, though the carmaker is also looking beyond savings, Tavares said.
Britain will modernise its listing rules to attract more high-growth company and so-called blank cheque flotations, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said after a government-backed review said London was on the back foot after Brexit. The London Stock Exchange is facing tougher competition from NYSE and Nasdaq in New York, and from Euronext in Amsterdam since Britain fully left the European Union on Dec. 31.