'Everything from flip-flops to a light bulb' found in Murray Harbour shoreline sweep

The Nature Conservancy of Canada partnered up with the Island Nature Trust to clean up shorelines in Murray Harbour, P.E.I., on Saturday.

Their haul included everything from flip-flops to a light bulb.

Staff and volunteers travelled by boat to several islands in the area, including Thomas Island, where they collected plastic waste and marine garbage. It was the third cleanup the NCC has hosted on P.E.I. this summer. 

The area is home to various nesting and migratory birds such as great blue herons.

All five Islands within Murray Harbour are protected areas, said Lanna Campbell, the NCC's program director.

The conservancy hasn't had an organized cleanup in Murray Harbour since 2015, although officials said other groups have most likely conducted their own cleanups since. 

The Nature Conservancy of Canada

While the organization won't know for sure how much marine debris was collected until it is weighed, finding garbage along the area's shorelines wasn't difficult.

"There was literally hundreds of Styrofoam buoys ... one really large lobster trap, everything from flip-flops to a light bulb," Campbell said. 

While it appears to be less garbage than previous cleanups hosted by the NCC, Campbell said, there still seemed to be a "significant" amount of garbage collected. 

About a dozen people participated, she said. 

"We covered quite a bit of ground today," Campbell said. "I think we may have covered all the coastal landscape on all of the islands.

"Marine debris is a huge issue worldwide, the more we do to pick it up and take it out of our natural environment the better," she said. 

The garbage is expected to be weighed over the next couple of days to determine how much was collected, Campbell said.

More P.E.I. news

  • Autopsy confirms Naya Rivera's death was accidental drowning
    Celebrity
    The Canadian Press

    Autopsy confirms Naya Rivera's death was accidental drowning

    LOS ANGELES — An autopsy confirmed Tuesday that “Glee'' star Naya Rivera died from accidental drowning, officials said, while her family released a statement honouring her ”everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit."The examination, performed the day after the 33-year-old's body was found in a Southern California lake, showed no signs of traumatic injury or disease that might have contributed to the drowning, and gave no initial indication that drugs or alcohol may have played a role in her death, the Ventura County Medical Examiner said in a statement.Dental records were used to confirm Rivera's identity, and routine toxicology tests will be performed for the presence of drugs and alcohol, the statement said.Rivera was found in Lake Piru on Monday, five days after she disappeared while boating with her 4-year-old son, who was found asleep and alone on the boat hours later. The autopsy's findings were all consistent with the expectations of the Sheriff's Office, which conducted the search and investigation.Rivera's family members released their first public statement Tuesday since her disappearance, saying they are “so grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers for Naya, Josey and our family over the past week. While we grieve the loss of our beautiful legend, we are blessed to honour her everlasting legacy and magnetic spirit.”The statement said Rivera was “an amazing talent, but was an even greater person, mother, daughter and sister ... Heaven gained our sassy angel."The family thanked the search teams for their “commitment and unwavering effort to find Naya.”The creators of “Glee” also released a statement in tribute to Rivera Tuesday, announcing that they would be creating a college fund for her son and remembering her as a joyful and immensely talented performer.“Naya was more than just an actor on our show — she was our friend,” Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan said in a statement Tuesday.“Our hearts go out to her family, especially her mom, Yolanda, who was a big part of the ‘Glee’ family, and her son Josey,” the three producers said, referring to the child as “the beautiful son Naya loved most of all.”Josey is Rivera’s son with her former husband, actor Ryan Dorsey. She called the boy “my greatest success, and I will never do any better than him.”While she wasn’t initially hired as a “Glee” cast member, it “didn’t take more than an episode or two for us to realize that we had lucked into finding one of the most talented, special stars we would ever have the pleasure of working with,” the producers said.Rivera could act, sing, dance and “nail a joke as well as she could crush you with an emotional scene. ... She was a joy to write for, a joy to direct and a joy to be around,” they said.In portraying a high school student in an openly lesbian relationship on “Glee,” Rivera ensured that her character's love for her partner was “expressed with dignity, strength and with pure intentions,” the producers said.___Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press

  • Ontario emergency rooms fill up again as COVID-19 fears ebb, patients with other illnesses return
    Health
    CBC

    Ontario emergency rooms fill up again as COVID-19 fears ebb, patients with other illnesses return

    Ontario's emergency rooms are getting busier as most of the province prepares to enter Stage 3 of the recovery from COVID-19, and some doctors are warning patients are coming in with more serious illness after avoiding seeking care at the height of the pandemic.The most recent data from Health Quality Ontario shows there's an average wait time of 11.2 hours before patients are admitted to hospital. That's a steep drop from a record average wait of 18.3 hours in January of this year, but still an increase from an average wait time of nine hours recorded at the height of the pandemic. Dr. Erin O'Connor, deputy medical director for the University Health Network's emergency departments at Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals, said at the peak of the pandemic her facilities were dealing with just 50 per cent of their normal volume. Now she's worried about what the results of that "drastic" decrease will be."People stopped presenting to emergency departments for things that they really should have been presenting to the departments for," she told CBC Toronto."We saw a decrease in [heart attack and stroke] presentations and the thought was that likely people were still having these events but were staying home."When patients did finally go to the emergency department, some did so late and with deteriorating health conditions."We know that delayed presentations for these things really result in poor outcomes. I think what's most heartbreaking for all of us is knowing that decisions needed to be made," O'Connor said.Doctors and hospital officials are bracing for a surge in people flooding back to emergency rooms to seek medical help that's unrelated to the novel coronavirus, especially as flu season approaches and even as COVID-19 is still infecting more than 100 people per day across the province.Meanwhile, the Ontario Ministry of Health said it's creating a plan that will optimize capacity across all sectors and help treat patients who have been waiting for elective surgeries that were postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic. Hallway medicine isn't safe, doctor saysIn a statement to CBC Toronto, the ministry addressed the growing concern felt by doctors like O'Connor about the increase in patient volume, given Ontario hospitals' history with overcapacity and the use of hallway medicine. "In 2020-21, the ministry will invest an additional $594 million in the hospital sector to accelerate progress on the government's commitment to address capacity issues," the statement read, referencing their March announcement on funding.The province intends to use the money to help publicly funded hospitals continue providing high-quality care to their patients and "support the ending of hallway health care in hospitals."O'Connor said her facilities are looking at extending the COVID-19 protocols put in place to prepare for a second wave of cases: making use of and maximizing existing spaces; erecting tents in parking lots to help with physical distancing; and installing Plexiglas to make shared rooms more isolated and safe. "But what we are not willing to do is to go back to the situation where we had patients in hallways. It is not safe, particularly when you have a certain amount of virus circulating in the community," she said.Ontario must prepare for second surge: OHA"A contingency plan is needed to ensure the health-care system is equipped for a potential second surge, including the creation of regional health service and staffing plans that must be in place at the earliest opportunity," said Anthony Dale, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), in a statement Monday evening. Dale said the OHA recommends that the government support the "widespread expansion" of home care and community services, virtual care, and maintenance or construction of new, temporary infrastructures to use to fight overcapacity issues, such as field hospitals and decommissioned buildings. At a Tuesday news conference, Premier Doug Ford touted his government's forthcoming plan to deal with a potential second wave of COVID-19, saying Ontario is now "100 times better and more prepared now with health care and PPE."The province is also launching a long-term care pilot project Tuesday morning, which the government says is another step toward ending hallway healthcare — something Ford promised to do during the 2018 election campaign. The project, in partnership with North York General Hospital, would give alternate level of care (ALC) hospital patients priority access to a long-term care home, a government statement read. Dale said the number of patients currently waiting in Ontario hospitals for an ALC, like home care or a long-term care home, is "well over 5,000."Ontarians have to play their partBut O'Connor said the province isn't the only body responsible for the public's health, saying citizens of Ontario have to do their part as well. "We need to think about how to protect each other so that things don't become overwhelming," she said."We have to remember that still keeping physically distanced, making sure your bubble is not too large, washing your hands, wearing masks ... [is] what's going to keep this big second wave surge from happening."

  • Nigerian man plans to say goodbye to Canada after 10 years of immigration limbo
    News
    CBC

    Nigerian man plans to say goodbye to Canada after 10 years of immigration limbo

    After 10 years in Canada, Alpha Ndamati is resigned to giving up the immigration process, and is now actively trying to get deported. After years of red tape trying to become a permanent resident, the Nigerian man has been asking to leave the country and go home. But he's been given little direction on how to do so, and is asking why something he thought would be straightforward — immigrating to the N.W.T. — has left him at the end of his rope."I'm left dumbfounded," he said. "I don't wish this situation for my worst enemy." His bags are packed, and he's telling his story in hopes that no one else has to repeat his experience. Ndamati says he can't afford a ticket home himself, so he's trying to get a removal order issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or the Canada Border Services Agency, forcing him to go. But he doesn't know how."If it means going back home, I'm willing to do that. But I don't want to see anybody go through the ordeal that I've gone through to get something that looks simple."Years of trying to stayWhen he graduated from Dalhousie University in 2014, he was hopeful that he could find his way into permanent residency within the three years before his post-graduate studies visa expired.Ndamati stayed in Halifax looking for a job, before moving to B.C. to work in the oil and gas sector and then onto Yellowknife about halfway through his visa.He says we wanted to move to the N.W.T. for a long time. When he saw online what appeared to be a seemingly straightforward immigration process with the territory's nominee program, he was sold.In June 2016, he got a job working at Corothers Home Hardware, and after six months of employment they agreed to help him apply for the territory's employer-driven nominee program.> If you advertise for me to come in, and I come in, and you push me out like this. \- Alpha NdamatiBut the employer failed to meet all the requirements and the application was denied, forcing Ndamati through more hoops. Despite help from a local law firm, and losing $2,000 to a dubious consultant he met through church, his last work visa expired in September 2019.He has reached out to MLAs for advice, as well as the federal government, and has been in touch with the Nigerian embassy in Ottawa. He says he has twice reached out to MP Michael McLeod's office to no avail. (McLeod's office wouldn't comment, pointing CBC to Canada Border Services Agency.)He gave up on the visa application process, feeling it was hopeless, and stopped working altogether out of fears that he would be committing a crime and get deported. But now all of his savings have dried up, and not wanting to go through the process again, he is asking Canada to send him back."This has been 10 years. I'm not supposed to be in this position if I've done everything outlined that I should do."No direction on how to stay, or how to leaveA few months ago he says he called the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), asking them how he could start the process of being deported. He says the agency told him that leaving the N.W.T. was under the RCMP's jurisdiction.So, a couple of weeks ago, he says he went to Yellowknife's RCMP detachment to get sent out of the country, only to be told that it was the responsibility of the CBSA. A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada told CBC that the border services agency is responsible for immigration enforcement.A spokesperson for the CBSA noted in an email that "any persons subject to a removal order can voluntarily depart the country and validate their removal from Canada at the CBSA office at the port of departure."CBC asked the agency how someone such as Ndamati can obtain a removal order, if they are willingly opting to leave but have not been told to, but did not hear back by the time of publication.N.W.T. immigrationImmigration is ultimately something that falls under federal jurisdiction, but nominee programs aim to allow provinces and territories to attract and select the newcomers to fill critical labour shortages and promote business development.The N.W.T. provides a nomination certificate to successful applicants, who then apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a review of whether the applicant is admissible to Canada.In 2017, the territorial government released its first-ever Northwest Territories' Immigration Strategy, a five-year plan to boost the nominee program.A spokesperson for the territory's Department of Education, Culture, and Employment told CBC that in the past three years they have taken multiple steps to encourage foreign nationals to settle in the territory, including promoting the program and making more information available online.The department said that in 2018 and 2019, approximately 80 per cent of complete applications submitted to the program were approved. And while they used to assess incomplete applications, they no longer do.But unfortunately, in cases like Ndamati's, some people don't always get the result they hoped for. The department says this can happen for multiple reasons, including the employee moving out of the territory, the application not meeting program criteria, and the employer withdrawing the application. For Ndamati, he's looking forward to putting years of confusion behind him. He just hopes it doesn't happen to anyone else."I don't understand. If you advertise for me to come in, and I come in, and you push me out like this."

  • Distorted image of billboard promoting racial equality leads to lesson for angry callers
    News
    CBC

    Distorted image of billboard promoting racial equality leads to lesson for angry callers

    The giant ads were intended to promote peace and racial equality in Edmonton. "Prophet Muhammad taught a white is not superior to a Black and a Black is not superior to a white, except by piety and good action," stated the electronic billboards displayed across Edmonton.But soon Pattison Outdoor Advertising, the company that owns the billboards, was bombarded by angry calls.It turned out that a distorted photo of the sign was being widely circulated on social media.In the manipulated image it's difficult to see the second "not" so the message can easily be incorrectly read as: "a Black is superior to a white."That altered message sparked a flurry of furious Islamophobic comments on social media, alongside the odd warning that the image had been tampered with.A Pattison spokesperson said the company received close to 100 calls and emails from outraged people across Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. They demanded explanations or simply wanted to vent their anger."Many of the messages were extremely rude and offensive and some were violent and  threatening," Pattison wrote in an emailed statement provided to CBC. "There were posts claiming that the sign should be burned down, pulled down, and that if we didn't remove the ad that it would be done for us."Pattison checked the billboard to see if there was a mechanical problem but soon realized what had happened."Someone had intentionally posted a distorted, or doctored image on Facebook, claiming that the ad was racist, encouraging everyone to call our office to complain," the company said.An employee called back more than 80 people to explain that the post they had complained about was not an accurate reflection of the real ad on the billboard. "Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of people were surprised and upset to learn that they had been a victim of fake news," the statement said. Many people apologized for being too quick to anger. Some even offered to repost the correct image. "I learned something today, that all of us need to verify anything we see on [Facebook] as there are a ton of lies and post manipulation," said one post, which was shared with CBC. "Whoever posted this is an irresponsible POS."  'Don't believe what you see'The backlash contrasted sharply with the intent of the campaign that saw 15 ads, mostly electronic, go up in the Edmonton area, and two more in Grande Prairie.The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC) said the billboard initiative was launched by a group of Edmontonians in the wake of George Floyd's murder and ensuing protests to promote peace and racial equality. The five-week campaign began three weeks ago.Momin Saeed, AMPAC's executive director, praised both Pattison and others for setting the record straight. The incident provides a valuable reminder, he said."Don't believe what you see and verify information that is posted on the internet," said Saeed, who emphasized the importance of finding out if something is true before sharing it.He said the original campaign was inspired by the final sermon given by the Prophet 1,400 years ago."He wanted people to understand that it's the content of your character and your deeds that God looks at," Saeed said. "Your skin has nothing to do with it."'Alarmist perspective'MacEwan University sociology professor Irfan Chaudhry, who studies racism and discrimination, said the incident speaks to a broader divide connected to Islamophobia and xenophobia.He said the divide is often amplified by misinformation and discussions around inclusion, which some instead view as exclusion and the encroachment of non-Christian religions in Canadian society."This is a strong narrative that's played oftentimes in a lot of these right leaning and right-wing extremist groups," Chaudhry said."Just because you're being inclusive doesn't mean you're taking away from anyone or anything. But it's one of those things where when people are scared of difference or they're unfamiliar with change … that's where you get that very strong alarmist perspective."

  • John Browne steps down as Huawei UK chairman ahead of government ban
    News
    Reuters

    John Browne steps down as Huawei UK chairman ahead of government ban

    Former BP chief John Browne is stepping down as chairman of Huawei's UK operation ahead of the British government banning the Chinese company from the country's 5G networks later on Tuesday. "When Lord Browne became chairman of Huawei UK's board of directors in 2015, he brought with him a wealth of experience which has proved vital in ensuring Huawei's commitment to corporate governance in the UK," a Huawei spokesperson said.

  • Cat stalks chicken coop, tries to make new friends
    News
    Rumble

    Cat stalks chicken coop, tries to make new friends

    Roxy is a very curious cat and is always trying to figure out what is going on over there. She saw that there was a different smell coming from the coop so she went to investigate the strange scent, and discovered there were three living and moving things. Roxy crept closer to them, not knowing if she needed to attack them, protect us, or just leave them be. She decided to watch them and see what they would do. As she intensely watched them, she let down her guard a bit and then proceeded to studied theses strange animal’s behaviour. Roxy sat and watched the chickens patiently as they strutted around the pen. With no other action going on between the chickens and her, it turned out that they were both curious with each other.

  • Vet warns pet owners after husky gets cannabis and possible cocaine poisoning
    Health
    CBC

    Vet warns pet owners after husky gets cannabis and possible cocaine poisoning

    According to Coquitlam veterinarian Dr. Rajan Kansal, pets getting cannabis poisoning has been on the rise since legalization in 2018, but it's very rare to see an animal ingest cocaine. Kansal says, however, it's possible that's what happened to a 5-year-old Siberian husky named Halo on Saturday.Halo was brought to Kansal's clinic, Maillardville Animal Hospital, by his owner Kacy Wu, after he began having strange symptoms.Kansal said a urine test came up strongly positive for cannabis and slightly positive for cocaine."It wasn't 100 per cent confirmed, but we had suspicions that he had slight positivity for that, so that's how we treated for the positivity," said Kansal on Monday. "It could be the ingredient was there in a very low quantity."Halo's misadventure began earlier that day when he was out running alongside Wu, who was cycling near Simon Fraser University.About 20 minutes after they got home, Wu said the strange symptoms began. She said Halo began having convulsions, his hind legs wouldn't support his weight and he lay down, closing his eyes. Wu said his breathing became shallow and she had to carry him to the car to go to the vet's clinic."It's like he was paralyzed, like he couldn't function at all," she said.'I was speechless'When she heard the results of the urine test, Wu said she was shocked."I was speechless, like it's seriously like something that never came up in my mind," she said. "It sounds like something impossible."The only source of the poisoning that Wu could think of, was something that Halo had gotten into while they took a break at the university. She went back to investigate and found what looked like crumbled remains of a brownie or chocolate cake.Kansal said chocolate could also be harmful for dogs, depending on how much was consumed, and that, combined with the cannabis and possible cocaine further worried Wu."It's like a triple poison," she said. "I thought Halo could have died."Halo was treated through the day at Kansal's clinic then brought to an overnight clinic, where hundreds of dollars in vet bills later, he was discharged on Sunday.Pet accessWu said on Monday that Halo seems to be doing better, but she's concerned about the long term effects of what he ingested.She's going to try using a soft muzzle when she's out with the dog to make sure he can't get into anything suspicious on the street again.For Kansal, this case was another reminder of how careful people need to be with cannabis or other drugs around animals."It's legalized for humans, but we need to understand it's not legalized for pets," he said of cannabis. "Now pets can have more access to these drugs than before."He said people need to make sure their drugs are carefully stored and any leftovers are discarded properly.Kansal said if you think an animal may have consumed cannabis or another drug, contact a veterinarian for treatment.Do you have more to add to this story? Email rafferty.baker@cbc.caFollow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

  • US rejects nearly all Chinese claims in  South China Sea
    News
    The Canadian Press

    US rejects nearly all Chinese claims in South China Sea

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration escalated its actions against China on Monday by stepping squarely into one of the most sensitive regional issues dividing them and rejecting outright nearly all of Beijing’s significant maritime claims in the South China Sea.The administration presented the decision as an attempt to curb China’s increasing assertiveness in the region with a commitment to recognizing international law. But it will almost certainly have the more immediate effect of further infuriating the Chinese, who are already retaliating against numerous U.S. sanctions and other penalties on other matters.It also comes as President Donald Trump has come under growing fire for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, stepped up criticism of China ahead of the 2020 election and sought to paint his expected Democratic challenger, former Vice-President Joe Biden, as weak on China.Previously, U.S. policy had been to insist that maritime disputes between China and its smaller neighbours be resolved peacefully through U.N.-backed arbitration. But in a statement released Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. now regards virtually all Chinese maritime claims outside its internationally recognized waters to be illegitimate. The shift does not involve disputes over land features that are above sea level, which are considered to be "territorial" in nature.“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” Pompeo said. “America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law. We stand with the international community in defence of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose 'might makes right' in the South China Sea or the wider region.”Although the U.S. will continue to remain neutral in territorial disputes, the announcement means the administration is in effect siding with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, all of which oppose Chinese assertions of sovereignty over maritime areas surrounding contested islands, reefs and shoals.“There are clear cases where (China) is claiming sovereignty over areas that no country can lawfully claim,” the State Department said in a fact sheet that accompanied the statement.In a statement Monday night from its embassy in Washington, China accused the State Department of “deliberately distorting the facts and international law.” It added that the U.S. “exaggerates the situation in the region and attempts to sow discord between China and other littoral countries. The accusation is completely unjustified. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to it.”China also accused the U.S. of interfering in disputes in which it was not directly involved and “throwing its weight around in every sea of the world.”“We advise the US side to earnestly honour its commitment of not taking sides on the issue of territorial sovereignty, respect regional countries’ efforts for a peaceful and stable South China Sea and stop its attempts to disrupt and sabotage regional peace and stability,” the embassy statement said.The U.S. announcement came a day after the fourth anniversary of a binding decision by an arbitration panel in favour of the Philippines that rejected China's maritime claims around the Spratly Islands and neighbouring reefs and shoals.China has refused to recognize that decision, which it has dismissed as a “sham,” and refused to participate in the arbitration proceedings. It has continued to defy the decision with aggressive actions that have brought it into territorial spats with Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia in recent years.However, as a result, the administration says China has no valid maritime claims to the fish- and potentially energy-rich Scarborough Reef, Mischief Reef or Second Thomas Shoal. The U.S. has repeatedly said that areas regarded to be part of the Philippines are covered by a U.S.-Philippines mutual defence treaty in the event of an attack on them.In addition to reiterating support for that decision, Pompeo said China cannot legally claim the James Shoal near Malaysia, waters surrounding the Vanguard Bank off Vietnam, the Luconia Shoals near Brunei and Natuna Besar off Indonesia. As such, it says the U.S. will regard any Chinese harassment of fishing vessels or oil exploration in those areas as unlawful.The announcement came amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and China over numerous issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, human rights, Chinese policy in Hong Kong and Tibet and trade, that have sent relations plummeting in recent months.But the practical impact wasn't immediately clear. The U.S. is not a party of the U.N. Law of the Sea treaty that sets out a mechanism for the resolution of disputes. Despite that, the State Department noted that China and its neighbours, including the Philippines, are parties to the treaty and should respect the decision.China has sought to shore up its claim to the sea by building military bases on coral atolls, leading the U.S. to sail its warships through the region in what it calls freedom of operation missions. The United States has no claims itself to the waters but has deployed warships and aircraft for decades to patrol and promote freedom of navigation and overflight in the busy waterway.Last week, China angrily complained about the U.S. flexing its military muscle in the South China Sea by conducting joint exercises with two U.S. aircraft carrier groups in the strategic waterway. The Navy said the USS Nimitz and the USS Ronald Reagan, along with their accompanying vessels and aircraft, conducted exercises “designed to maximize air defence capabilities, and extend the reach of long-range precision maritime strikes from carrier-based aircraft in a rapidly evolving area of operations.”China claims almost all of the South China Sea and routinely objects to any action by the U.S. military in the region. Five other governments claim all or part of the sea, through which approximately $5 trillion in goods are shipped every year.Matthew Lee And Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press

  • COVID-19 in Canada: 'I love the Americans, I don’t want them up here,' Ford says, vaccine may not be available until 2021
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    COVID-19 in Canada: 'I love the Americans, I don’t want them up here,' Ford says, vaccine may not be available until 2021

    As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread around the world, Canadians are concerned about their health and safety.

  • Hugs in a reopened province: A refresher on COVID-19 guidelines
    Health
    CBC

    Hugs in a reopened province: A refresher on COVID-19 guidelines

    Not to burst anyone's bubble, but if New Brunswickers want to keep COVID-19 at bay, they still need to limit the number of people they hug and come into close contact with.That's what Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer, is reminding people as they enjoy summer and the Atlantic travel bubble. Since New Brunswick joined the other Atlantic provinces in a bubble more than a week ago, there has been an air of almost-last July in places.But this July is still very different, and there are guidelines that might be forgotten as friends and family reunite after being kept apart for months. There is also your own judgment, Russell said."We each as individuals have to make our own choices about what we're comfortable with."Here are some tips.Hugs and picturesEarlier in the recovery program, the province incorporated a two-household bubble rule to allow some visiting during the pandemic, but now you can spend time with family and friends outside these old bubbles."Yes, you could hug everybody you wanted to," Dr. Jennifer Russell said. "There's no law against hugging people, but in a pandemic situation, where at any time we can see outbreaks and we have no idea how big those outbreaks will be, and to manage them, they have to be small."If you only hug one other person in two weeks or get up close to one person for a photo, then only one person will be part of your close contact list.This translates into a lesser impact on New Brunswick's health-care system and resources, public health and the economy should new cases result."This is an exponentially transmittable disease in the sense that it's based on how many close contacts you have," Russell said.This translates into a lesser impact on New Brunswick's health-care system and resources, public health and the economy should new cases result."This is an exponentially transmittable disease in the sense that it's based on how many close contacts you have," Russell said.Larger groupsUnder the current yellow phase, almost everything is allowed to open, with precautions. According to the mandatory order, owners and occupiers of land or buildings must take all reasonable steps to prevent gatherings of more than 50 people, unless they can ensure adequate screening and distancing.This includes any kind of socializing, celebration, ceremony or entertainment.People visiting from other Atlantic provinces can stay at your home, but if it's more than a few, Russell suggested visitors use tents, trailers or airbnbs."The lower the number of people, the lower the risk."Although all Atlantic provinces have seen new cases of the respiratory illness since the bubble opened July 3, the numbers are still low."That was the basis of the decision to allow the Atlantic provinces to open up, to allow people to travel without having to self-isolate for two weeks."New Brunswick's lone active case is travel-related but not connected to the Atlantic bubble.The mask rule In New Brunswick, it is mandatory to wear a mask in places where physically distancing isn't possible, and this includes  government buildings, grocery and convenience stores and other retail spots.And if you cannot physically distance or wear a mask, you must remove yourself from the situation, Russell said. New Brunswick has strong requirements in its mandatory order. However, masks are constantly being discussed both provincially and nationally, she said.Russell also recommends people have a mask and hand sanitizer on hand at all times. "We do want people to feel very comfortable wearing masks," she said.At the beach or by the poolYou still need to avoid crowds and being close to others in social settings around pools and at the beach, Russell said.She also doesn't recommend eating from buffet-style food or sharing drinks or sharing food utensils. And although it's the responsibility of establishments and businesses to offer a safe environment for patrons and staff to interact, shop and work, it's important you still use your own judgment and be prepared to leave a place that has fallen short.  "People really have to really consider their exit strategy if they aren't comfortable."In other provincesRussell said there are differences in rules and regulations in each province, based on the number of COVID-19 cases, but the risk of transmitting COVID-19 among these provinces is considered low at the moment.That doesn't mean you should let your guard down. An outbreak could happen at any time."We still need to stay vigilant and we still need to self-monitor for symptoms."Some fun mattersTo protect mental health, Russell encourages everyone, including seniors, to socialize and participate in activities.It is also important to acknowledge the people you're spending time with and to know whether they are at high risk of COVID-19 because of medical conditions or have close contacts working in institutional settings. What happens now?As the pandemic continues to evolve, people who work in public health are learning more about the virus and updating rules and regulations..Russell said there is still a risk for a second wave of COVID-19 in New Brunswick. But it's important New Brunswickers do their part to remain in the yellow phase rather than be required to move backward.This requires frequent hand washing and keeping a distance of at least two metres until a vaccine is found. "There's going to be a bit of an on-off switch of how we respond and react."

  • Another casualty of COVID-19: LGBTQ bar The Beaver closes for good on Queen Street West
    Lifestyle
    CBC

    Another casualty of COVID-19: LGBTQ bar The Beaver closes for good on Queen Street West

    The west-end dive bar The Beaver, known for drag shows, trivia nights and karaoke, won't reopen after initially shutting down due to COVID-19-19 in March."We are a small, cramped bar," a staff member posted on the bar's Facebook page. "Some hate it, it's also what some of us like about it. Now it's a big hurdle."Numerous shops, restaurants, bars and performance spaces have been forced to shut down in Toronto during the pandemic. Many will be allowed to reopen when the city moves into Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan in the coming weeks, subject to certain restrictions to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.But others. like The Beaver, won't be able to serve enough patrons to be profitable under physical distancing rules, because they're too small.Owner Lynn MacNeil said he couldn't see a future, given the threat of COVID-19."I'm very sure it wouldn't have closed if the virus hadn't hit us in the way that it has."MacNeil and the late Toronto gay icon Will Munro opened The Beaver on Queen Street West in 2006. They set up shop in the location just east of Dufferin Street to show that LGBTQ spaces could exist far from the usual spots along Church Street. Munro wanted to open along Queen Street West "to make people reclaim spaces that they lived in," his brother Dave Munro said in a phone interview from St John's, Nfld.'Refusing to be relegated'"You're laying down your roots and staking your claim and letting people know exactly what you are," he explained, adding that his brother, who died of brain cancer in 2010, used to live above The Beaver. "It's a matter of being comfortable and not being ghetto-ized into one area," Munro said of his brother's thinking at the time."Refusing to be relegated." "It was really joyous," MacNeil said, recalling when they first opened the bar."You really felt like you were a part of the burgeoning subculture."He's now 64 and said he's "made peace" with letting the space go, but said current staff members are searching for another spot that's larger, "something that's a little more sensible for the current health climate," to re-invent the venue.MacNeil, who also works at live music venue Lee's Palace, says the closure represents a loss in culture happening due to the novel coronavirus."It's not just sweaty dance clubs and live rock venues," he said."It's opera and dance; we need to come up with some inventive solutions."

  • Science
    CBC

    Parks Canada staff forced to euthanize two wolves in one week

    Parks Canada staff have had a difficult July in Banff. They've had to euthanized two wolves in under a week. A young, emaciated male wolf was bold enough to enter a building at Sunshine Village, and was approaching people and cars in what appears to be an attempt to get food.Conservation officers had been aware of the wolf for weeks and were finally able to tranquilize and capture the animal on July 6. Bill Hunt, Parks Canada's resource conservation manager in Banff, said an older female that had been spotted numerous times in residential neighbourhoods of Banff, Canmore and Harvie Heights was captured the next day. "We did an examination of that animal and we found out that it was an older female wolf, she had had pups at some time but she wasn't lactating so she didn't have pups this year," Hunt told CBC."She had injuries indicative of fighting with other wolves and her teeth were in very poor shape, All four canines were badly worn, so it appears that she was an older animal that was either kicked out of her pack or had her position usurped by a younger female, and was on her own and was unable to take down prey or hunt for herself."  Hunt said euthanizing the animals is a decision that isn't taken lightly — a team of experts help to make the final call."It's a very difficult decision. Most of the analysis is focused on the behaviour that we have seen to date," Hunt said."So, is the animal a candidate where we could rehabilitate it and get it back into the wild so it can forage for itself? Or is it a situation where, even if we could get the animal in a little healthier shape, it's still not going to be accepted in a pack and it's not going to be able to survive on its own?" The young male was too used to the human connection to food to fend for itself in the wild, Hunt said, and the older female would not be able to hunt because of poor health and bad teeth. That means both would pose a continued risk to both people and pets.   Sarah Elmeligi is a conservationist with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. She said everyone using the parks has a responsibility to keep wildlife wild. "The death of these two wolves just reinforces the need for us to take responsibility as recreationists, to manage our food and any other attractants," Elmeligi said. "Keeping a clean camp and not feeding wildlife and not attracting them to us is essential." Parks Canada said that despite the two wolf deaths, the pack in Banff National Park is doing well, with five brand new pups born this spring.

  • Terror suspect wages court fight for info in bid to stave off deportation
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Terror suspect wages court fight for info in bid to stave off deportation

    OTTAWA — A terrorism suspect is waging a new court fight against the federal government for information he says he needs to mount a full argument against deportation to his native Egypt and possible torture.It is just the latest twist in Mohamed Mahjoub's two-decade legal odyssey.The government is trying to remove Mahjoub, 60, using a national security certificate, claiming he was a high-ranking member of a terrorist organization.Security certificates are rarely used federal tools for removing foreign nationals suspected of links to terrorist activity or espionage.Mahjoub, married with three children, came to Canada in 1995 and attained refugee status.He once worked as deputy general manager of a farm project in Sudan run by Osama bin Laden, who would later spearhead the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.Mahjoub was arrested under a security certificate in June 2000 after being interviewed by Canada's spy agency on six occasions between August 1997 and March 1999. Each time, he denied any involvement in extremism.The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the certificate regime as unconstitutional, but the government revamped the process and issued a new certificate against Mahjoub in 2009. It has subsequently been affirmed by the courts.In January, federal officials gave Mahjoub the results of two assessments — one examining the nature and severity of his acts, the other looking at the risks he might face upon removal from Canada.A designated government official will review the assessments in deciding whether Mahjoub should be deported.But before that happens, Mahjoub wants to see all the information underpinning the assessments.Last month the Canada Border Services Agency told Mahjoub and his lawyers it would not disclose "any of the requested documents or provide any further information," says his recent filing in the Federal Court of Canada.The information is important because, if deported, Mahjoub would be sent to Egypt, "a country where he is likely to face persecution, torture and possible death," the filing says.The severity of the potential consequences mean Mahjoub is entitled to see "all relevant information," whether the government intends to rely on it or not, given the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness, his submission says.In addition, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires the government to disclose any information related to proceedings that have potentially severe effects on Mahjoub's life, liberty and security, it adds.Mahjoub wants the court to prohibit the immigration minister and his delegate from issuing an opinion on his deportation until the information has been disclosed and he has had a chance to make submissions on it.The government has yet to file a response to Mahjoub's arguments.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2020.—Follow @JimBronskill on TwitterJim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

  • With uptick in COVID-19 cases, Quebec could be forced to choose between schools and bars
    Health
    CBC

    With uptick in COVID-19 cases, Quebec could be forced to choose between schools and bars

    When Premier François Legault announced Monday that masks will soon be mandatory across Quebec, he also confirmed that the province is witnessing a slight increase in the number of reported cases of COVID-19. After having dropped almost steadily since mid-May, the five-day rolling average of new cases began to rise in late June. Quebec is now registering about 100 new cases per day. While that's far from the peak of around 1,000 new cases per day the province saw two months ago, public health officials are nevertheless concerned. At Monday's news conference in Montreal, Legault pointed out that unlike at the height of the first wave, the new cases are turning up almost entirely in the general population, as opposed to in long-term care homes. The increase has coincided with the reopening of bars and nightclubs in the Montreal area. Health officials in the city have linked nine bars to about a dozen cases.In a buzzkill worse than Sunday morning, the officials are now asking everyone who's been to a Montreal bar in the past month to get tested.With the number of new cases headed in the wrong direction, Legault's announcement that, starting Saturday, masks will be mandatory in enclosed public spaces — like stores, bars and restaurants — came as little surprise. The reaction from infectious disease specialists, who've been calling for the measure for weeks, was closer to relief."Better late than never," said Dr. Karl Weiss, who heads the infectious diseases department at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital.   Bars are risky businessThat new provincewide mask rule (Montreal already announced its own) is part of a series of restrictions Quebec has been forced to introduce since it began lifting the lockdown.Last week, it added more rules for bars to follow if they want to stay open, including an earlier last call and serving even fewer clients at a time.  Bar owners, obviously, aren't thrilled. They're only just getting used to being open again, and already the government is adding burdens to their business.But the science is against them."Bars are enclosed spaces, and that's where the risk of transmission is highest," said Benoît Mâsse, an epidemiologist at the Université de Montréal."[Drinking in a bar] is a type of activity that is riskiest in terms of propagating the virus."Which raises the question of why bars and nightclubs were allowed to reopen in the first place, especially given Montreal has been the Canadian epicentre of the pandemic.schoolsbeforebarsThere are widespread concerns — not just in Quebec but across North America — that elected officials have jeopardized the return of children to classrooms this fall by seeking to salvage a nightlife in the summer.On social media, this concern has been given the pithy hashtag schoolsbeforebars.The argument, stated roughly, is that as major drivers of transmission, bars, nightclubs and parties could cause a big enough spike in COVID-19 cases to warrant keeping schools closed even longer.Doing so would entail significant social costs that must be considered alongside the loss of revenues to bar owners. In a widely read op-ed published in the Globe and Mail this month, gender equality consultant Lauren Dobson-Hughes noted it is women and lower-income children who will likely bear the burden if schools are forced to stay closed. "The lack of affordable child care, especially for low-income and racialized families, was already unsustainable," she wrote. "It is now a crisis for many. We must make the safe return to school a political and national priority."In Quebec, only elementary school children outside the greater Montreal area were able to return to classrooms this spring.Summer day camps, moreover, have had to reduce their offerings because of staffing shortages and space constraints, further complicating child care for parents.WATCH | 2 pandemics tell the story of the role women play in times of crisis:As it stands, Quebec's plan is to have children return to classrooms in the fall, though with several restrictions. Education Minister Jean-François Roberge, for instance, has warned that students in Grades 10 and 11 may have to do some of their schooling online if the public health situation worsens. The recent uptick in cases has reinforced just how delicate the situation is in Quebec, and in Montreal in particular.If the current trend continues, pressure will mount quickly on Legault to sacrifice the livelihoods of some business owners in order to protect not only a generation of young minds, but the province's hard-won gains for gender equality as well.

  • Former Fiat engineer aims to put the brakes on COVID
    Science
    Reuters

    Former Fiat engineer aims to put the brakes on COVID

    Fifty years ago, he designed a braking system that helped reduce fatal car crashes. Now Mario Palazzetti has invented a device he hopes will curb the spread of COVID-19. The retired Fiat Research Centre engineer is known as Mr ABS for the anti-lock braking system he created that is now standard in all motor vehicles.

  • Charities question whether WE-run student program would have been worth the money
    News
    CBC

    Charities question whether WE-run student program would have been worth the money

    Potential partners and participants in the Canada Student Service Grant program are questioning how money from the $912 million student summer grant program was being spent by WE Charity — and whether the programming would have provided meaningful experiences for student volunteers.CBC News has been shown documents that WE Charity created as part of its role as program administrator and funds distributor. Before it withdrew from its $19.5 million contract to administer the program, WE was partnering with charities and non-profit organizations to put the student volunteers to work. Teachers were also sub-contracted to both recruit and supervise groups of students from their communities.The program set aside money for training and supervising the students, based on the number of students who signed on — a financial incentive for the charities and teachers to get as many students involved as possible.Teachers picking up this extra contract work to supplement their regular public salaries this summer were to receive $12,000 for recruiting 75 to 100 students. In rural areas, they'd only need to supervise 55 students for the same amount of money.In a statement issued to CBC News Monday, WE said the primary role of these teachers was to support students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, or to recruit students in parts of the country with fewer volunteer opportunities.Many charities have seen their regular programming and fundraising significantly disrupted by the pandemic and have been forced to lay off staff, making it difficult for them to welcome new student volunteers. That's why up to $5 million of the program's budget was earmarked to give organizations the capacity to train and supervise volunteers.But charities appear to have been offered different amounts of money to supervise similar numbers of students.WE said the funds were being allocated among the 83 organizations that had signed up to take volunteers, based on each organization's reach (local versus national) and its ability to engage "target populations," which were defined in terms of regional diversity and whether the participants were visible minority individuals or Indigenous.Different sums for different charitiesWE was collecting information about the ethnicities of students applying for the grant.CBC News has been shown an email to a smaller charity. In it, a WE representative tells the charitable organization it could receive "up to $10,000" for supervising at least 100 students for a minimum of 100 hours.Meanwhile, another larger charity that was talking to WE about participating was told that it could receive $25,000 to host 100 students, or up to $100,000 in program funding if it could scale up to take 400 volunteers.CBC News is not identifying the charities or the individuals who provided this information because they remain interested in hosting student volunteers this summer. Operational responsibility for the grant has transferred to the government, but the program has not been cancelled — even if it has stalled for now.Danielle Keenan is a spokesperson for Bardish Chagger, the youth minister who is responsible for this program. Keenan told CBC News Monday that the government is still working diligently on a transition plan which, among other things, will determine what happens with partners and subcontractors who've already signed on to the program. Chagger said earlier this month her department wanted to proceed in a way that has as few adverse impacts on students as possible.WE told CBC that it has strongly recommended that the work begun by the partners it contracted continue.'Only positive mentions' allowedThe text of a potential partnership agreement between WE Charity and a charity that was a prospective participant in the program was shared with CBC News. It includes language requiring the partner to keep all information confidential.The program is defined in the agreement as part of the broader Canada Service Corps youth initiative that began prior to the pandemic.The agreement, which needed to be signed before an organization could receive any financial support for hosting volunteers, requires all personnel to "make only positive mentions of the project, including in public disclosures and social media."Organizations that participated were required to submit a positive quote that WE could use to promote the program, to allow their logos to be used by WE, to participate in WE-hosted launch events and to promote the program on their social media channels "at least twice" using templates WE would provide.The agreement shown to CBC News includes a specific target for the number of volunteers the charity or non-profit would oversee.Even if 100,000 students were recruited and logged enough hours to earn the maximum $5,000 grant, that would only account for $500 million of the more than $900 million allocated to the program.On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the size of the government's budget relative to the number of volunteers anticipated.The prime minister insisted again that WE Charity had a network capable of making these youth placements quickly, adding that was the reason why the public service recommended contracting the project out."We'll work with other organizations and perhaps with Service Canada as a way of delivering those grants," he said, adding that the public service is working on a new delivery model to replace WE.'I've heard absolutely nothing'In their statement published in full-page newspaper ads on Monday, WE founders Craig and Marc Kielburger said their coalition of 83 not-for-profit partners was supporting 24,000 placements, "with more opportunities being added."The prime minister said Monday in French that the placements WE arranged are still available to the government "free," even though WE has pulled out of its contract.Some students who have applied online have yet to be matched with a volunteer opportunity so they can start accumulating hours. They only have until the end of October to accumulate the 500 service hours required for the maximum $5,000 grant.University of British Columbia student Amanda Dickson-Otty told CBC News that she applied for the volunteer grant program before WE decided to withdraw from the contract, and was told that the first 40,000 applicants would be assigned to a "volunteer placement manager" to match them with a specific volunteer opportunity.She said she was never told if she was to be among this first cohort, but the most recent count of applications from both WE and the federal government is 35,000 — so it appears she could be."I've heard absolutely nothing," she said, adding that she hasn't seen many new listings lately. "It doesn't exactly inspire confidence."Dickson-Otty said she prefers to work with a placement manager rather than apply directly to one posting."Honestly, since there are hundreds of placement options, it's a bit overwhelming to pick just one," she said. "What if I pick one that has hundreds of applications for two positions, instead of another suitable position that desperately needs people? What if I pick a position that, once I learn more about it, I realize I'm not actually suited for?"Whether they were to be supervised by a subcontracted teacher or a non-profit organization, WE was allowing students to earn up to one quarter of the 100 hours required to receive the minimum grant ($1,000) by completing online training modules through LinkedIn Learning.WE told CBC News that it established a mandatory five-hour "on-boarding" course, followed by optional training materials that could be used toward a further 20 hours.This training could be specific to their volunteer job this summer, but could also include skills useful later in life. The cost of developing this training was part of WE's administration contract.No work available? Make someWE representatives encouraged charities and non-profits to participate even if didn't have any work that needed doing this summer, and offered to help those organizations invent new work.WE told CBC News on Monday that "many long-standing service opportunities did not fit the safety criteria which was established as part of the program considerations."Instead, it said, it created volunteer roles that were "repositioning these organizations' needs into safe service opportunities."Teachers supervising students could match students with volunteer jobs that individual organizations were offering, or — if there weren't any suitable ones available — create new jobs from WE's suggestions of activities, which included:  * Tutoring children whose classroom learning was disrupted this spring, including the kids of front line workers. * Creating exercise information and videos for children or seniors to help them keep active while staying inside. * Making protective masks, which could then be given to children for the next school year. * Creating ways to celebrate front-line workers.  The materials WE sent to charities offer suggestions like putting "digitally savvy student volunteers" to work designing social media campaigns, creating photo and video content or doing other online research.Another role suggested making students "COVID-19 Safe Ambassadors" who could be trained on "critical social issues" like bullying, literacy or mental health and then share their knowledge as mentors in the community.Students with creative skills could "interview and write stories on behalf of seniors who have been isolated by COVID-19, to celebrate their lives and achievements, and share their wisdom and knowledge through the creation of an intergenerational capsule of community stories," WE suggested.Colleen Sharen, a Brescia University College professor in management and organization studies, said she doubts that many students — particularly those just graduating from high school — have the expertise to work as trainers."You're setting students up to have an expertise that they don't really have," she said. Social media campaigns can be great, she said, but "if you're talking about mental health and tactics to manage mental health ... there are many students who might, with all the right intentions, communicate bad information because they don't have the expertise they need to do it."Other suggested activities — like telling seniors' stories or making masks — aren't necessarily experiences that set students up for future careers, she added."I'm not sure if employers care if you sewed 100 masks during COVID," she said. "Do we really need videos on seniors stories? It's nice, but if we weren't in a pandemic we would not be paying students to do this. Is it enough value we added, or are we just creating a justification for giving students money?"Rather than pay teachers and other groups to execute this program, Sharen said it would be cheaper and more efficient to just give students in need $900 million to fund their education next year through existing programs, as the current system for government grants does now.A straight cash transfer to needy students also would have avoided claims that the federal government has designed a program that violates employment standards by paying less than minimum wage.While it's important to make sure students don't drop out of school because of financial need during the pandemic, "let's not make this more complicated than it needs to be," Sharen said.

  • What's with all the cars parked at Ottawa's EY Centre?
    Business
    CBC

    What's with all the cars parked at Ottawa's EY Centre?

    With the vast majority of flights in and out of the Ottawa International Airport grounded and large indoor gatherings on hold, people passing the EY Centre recently have been struck by a curious sight — a parking lot crammed with vehicles.No, it's not a convention or a trade show — those are likely still a long way off, even as COVID-19 restrictions gradually loosen.The vehicles filling the vast lot on Uplands Drive are rentals from the nearby airport, sitting idle because there are very few visitors looking to drive them.An official from the EY Centre confirmed to CBC the lot is being used as overflow parking for rental vehicles during the pandemic. The conference facility isn't charging for the space, just being a "friendly neighbour," according to the official.With borders closed, more people working from home and many tourist attractions closed, demand for rental cars has dropped off significantly. "Earlier on, when travel had come to a virtual standstill, and reservations declined, we parked many of our vehicles not in use," said spokesperson Lisa Martini of Enterprise Holdings, the parent company of Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, Alamo and Enterprise.Martini said the companies are starting to see a slow but steady recovery in vehicle rentals for summer travel.That's good, because eventually the EY Centre is going to need its parking lot back as conventions and trade shows resume.

  • Feds should have put $912M into Canada Summer Jobs program: Opposition
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Feds should have put $912M into Canada Summer Jobs program: Opposition

    OTTAWA — Federal opposition parties are demanding to know why the Liberal government created a $900-million program to help students find volunteer positions rather than putting the much-needed funds into an existing summer jobs program.The call for answers comes as the government tries to chart a way forward for the new Canada Student Services Grant, which has been in limbo after WE Charity withdrew from administering the program amid controversy over its links to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family.The Liberals have billed the grant program as a way to reward tens of thousands of students who want to help with the COVID-19 pandemic and can't find paid work. Participants were told they could earn up to $5,000 toward their education costs by volunteering the maximum 500 hours.Opposition parties say the Liberals could have accomplished the same task without controversy by putting the money into the Canada Summer Jobs program, through which thousands of positions for students are subsidized by the federal government every year."The government chose specifically to ignore the opportunity of the Canada Summer Jobs and instead went for this," Conservative economic development critic Dan Albas said of the Canada Student Services Grant."It makes no sense ... They put a ton of money — $912 million — towards an untested concept when they have a ready-to-go program."The Liberals have expanded the summer-jobs program by increasing the wage subsidy available to companies and not-for-profit groups to 100 per cent of the local minimum wage, expanding what types of positions qualified and extending the eligible work period to early next year.Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough's office also noted the Liberals injected an extra $60 million to create 10,000 more positions than last year for students. The move brought the total budget for the program to $323 million and the expected number of summer jobs to 80,000."This additional investment is helping more youth stay connected to the labour market, save money for their return to school, and find quality jobs in safe, inclusive, and healthy work environments," Qualtrough spokeswoman Ashley Michnowski said in an email."By adapting the program this year, our government is making sure that we have the resources needed to support Canadian workers, businesses, and communities dealing with the social and economic impacts of COVID-19."But the opposition says the available funding is not enough to cover demand in a normal year. The federal Employment and Social Development Department itself says on its website that in 2019, "requests for funding totalled more than three times the program budget."Neither the government nor WE have said how many volunteer positions they were expecting to fill through the $912-million grant program. There has been criticism that participants receive only $10 per hour — less than the minimum wage in any province.There have also been questions about many positions advertised as available through the volunteer scheme, including thousands for students to shoot videos, make websites and create other content in placements apparently created by WE to meet the requirements of the volunteer program.NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus said that stands in contrast to the summer jobs program after the government asked members of Parliament across the country to identify potential positions in their ridings in the spring — many of which did not get funding."We had really legitimate organizations ready to hire students to do legitimate work, and all of that was sidelined," Angus said. "These were a lot more credible positions than making a video showing how to do exercises."The Liberals have indicated they plan to move ahead with the volunteer program despite WE's withdrawal, saying the federal Employment Department has taken over and is looking at ways to make it happen.But the Conservatives, NDP and Greens all say the government should learn its lesson and put the money into the Canada Summer Jobs program, which is already managed by the government and has a history of success.That starts with revisiting what the Tories and New Democrats suggested was the large number of summer jobs requested by businesses and not-for-profits and not funded because of a shortage of money."The government should be focused on a program that is transparent, that is fair, that is broadly supported by all parties, and that already has a number of applications that have been ranked and have not been filled just because there's not enough money," Albas said.Green MP Elizabeth May said organizations that applied for positions through the student-volunteer program should also be allowed to transfer their requests to the summer-jobs program.And if that is not possible, Angus said, the government should be looking at taking the money and putting it into direct financial support for students, including by adding the funds to the Canada Emergency Student Benefit for those unable to find work due to COVID-19."They have two options: One is to put that money into Canada Summer Jobs and one is to put it straight into the support for university students so they have the funds necessary to go to school and cut out all these schemes they worked out with WE," he said."I think they need to move on this immediately. The summer is getting close to half over. It may be at this point too difficult to get the Canada Summer Jobs up, but there are a lot of organizations that we submitted names for."Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, meanwhile, repeated a call on Tuesday for Trudeau to step aside in favour of his deputy Chrystia Freeland while the WE affair is fully investigated. But Blanchet said that based on what's known now, he doesn't believe the Liberal government should fall over it.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2020.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

  • Bill that would add Indigenous languages teaching to all schools wins all-party support
    News
    CBC

    Bill that would add Indigenous languages teaching to all schools wins all-party support

    A bill that would require New Brunswick schools to teach Indigenous languages to all students has won unanimous support from a committee of MLAs.Members from all four parties voted on Tuesday afternoon in favour of the bill, which was introduced last month by Green Party MLA Megan Mitton."There's a long history of Indigenous languages being systematically excluded from our public school system," Mitton said during the debate."This is an opportunity for the revitalization of Wabanaki languages in our public school system."The bill would add a requirement for the teaching of Indigenous languages to a section of the Education Act that already requires the teaching of Indigenous history and culture.That section was adopted in 2017 through a bill by Green Party Leader David Coon.Mitton said the goal was not to make all New Brunswick schoolchildren fluent in the languages but to "foster an understanding" about the languages.Progressive Conservative, Liberal and People's Alliance MLAs all spoke in favour of Mitton's bill Tuesday afternoon. No one opposed it."This is all part of a very necessary process that this province and this country needs to undertake as we examine issues around systemic racism in our country and society," said Education Minister Dominic Cardy.."Clearly, in New Brunswick, our biggest challenge as a society is examining the serious issues that have affected our First Nations communities now for hundreds of years."Few speakersMitton said there are fewer than 100 Wolastoqey speakers and fewer than 200 who speak Mi'kmaq. Last year the federal government passed an Indigenous Languages Act in response to calls from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages.The law sets out a funding system for those languages.Calls for inquiryMitton introduced her bill June 16, amid calls by First Nations chiefs for the Higgs government to establish an inquiry into how Indigenous people are treated by police and the justice system.Those calls came after the death of two Indigenous people, Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi, in two separate shootings by police. Both incidents are being investigated by Quebec's independent agency that reviews police shootings.Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jake Stewart supports the idea of an inquiry but has yet to persuade Premier Blaine Higgs.Cardy said Tuesday the language bill was "our opportunity as legislators to be part of moving toward some form of redress but also establishing some sort of foundation for a more harmonious relationship going into the future." He introduced an amendment to, as he put it, "broaden the scope" of Mitton's bill.It added the Passamaquoddy people to the existing section of the act and changed the word "Maliseet" to "Wolastoqiyik." It also changed the wording of a phrase that requires the province to "respond to the unique needs" of Mi'kmaq, Wolastoqi and Passamaquoddy children.That section applies only to on-reserve schools run by the province under agreements with chiefs and band councils, but Cardy's change means if the bill passes, it will apply to off-reserve Indigenous children as well. Liberal MLA Chuck Chiasson and People's Alliance MLA Michelle Conroy both supported Mitton's bill but asked how it will be implemented.Mitton said the goal of her legislation wasn't to prescribe a specific approach but to create a general requirement."The department would then need to work on the curriculum and on implementing, while doing consultation" with First Nations, she said. "There are different ways this could look."

  • Owner of 3 bars says 'things are going to be a lot different' when they reopen
    News
    CBC

    Owner of 3 bars says 'things are going to be a lot different' when they reopen

    An owner of three Toronto bars says "things are going to be a lot different" when he is allowed to reopen but first he must crunch the numbers to determine if it makes financial sense to resume business.Mickey Oberoi is the owner of Mister Wolf on Queen Street West, as well as Lost and Found and The Everleigh — both on King Street West.The businesses have been "at a complete standstill" since mid-March, he said, and reopening will come as a real relief. Bars are expected to allow customers inside, with limited capacity, whenever Toronto is allowed to enter Stage 3 of the province's reopening plan."It's a positive step in the right direction," Oberoi said, but ensuring social distancing among customers will be a challenge.For now, he has workers coming in to install things like sanitation units and barriers to help staff enforce social distancing measures. Oberoi has also started having conversations with servers and security staff about what the new reality will look like."Things are going to be a lot different," he added.Under Stage 3, customers will need to come with a specific number of people, and stay in the area where they are seated. It will be a significant departure from the pre-pandemic atmosphere at the bars."It's going to be different, but at least it's something to do, and I think people are very bored," he said.It may not make financial sense for Oberoi to reopen Mister Wolf, in particular, because it has a capacity of about 450 people. If bars are limited to 50 people indoors, then he will have to have only private bookings."It's tough because people come to clubs and bars to be with each other," he said.No "walk-ups" will be allowed in to any of the bars and communication with staff and clients will be very important, he said."We have roamers ready to go, so anyone who gets up, we're going to tell them: 'Okay, you have to stay in your area or you got to leave.'"Toronto, Peel regions held back from Stage 3 for nowOn Friday, regions outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas,as well as Niagara Region and Windsor-Essex, will move into Stage 3.All health units cleared to enter the next phase of economic recovery will see significant changes in everything from public gathering limits to the range of services available.Stage 3 will allow for indoor gatherings of up to 50 people, not including venue staff, while outdoor gatherings can include up to 100 people, as long as social distancing measures are in place.Toronto Mayor John Tory said Monday that city officials will be keeping a close eye on how things go in other areas of the province. There are big risks to reopening and he is not opposed to keeping bars closed longer if need be, he added.

  • Peregrine falcons entertaining visitors at Hopewell Rocks
    Lifestyle
    CBC

    Peregrine falcons entertaining visitors at Hopewell Rocks

    Visitors to the Hopewell Rocks are getting an up-close look at a family of peregrine falcons with three young ones that are learning to hunt and survive on their own."They are spending most of their time in the air flying, interacting talon to talon in the sky", said Kevin Snair, supervisor of interpretive services.According to Snair, it's a major undertaking for the parents to work together as a team to supply food for the young ones, especially as they get bigger and need more food. He said he was with a group of visitors when they were able to watch one of the adults deliver food to the young ones in midair. "The young one flips over, grabs the food from the adult."Snair said park guests were thrilled to be able to witness their interactions and told their children they'd just witnessed a "once in a lifetime sighting."Snair said four chicks were born around May 13, according to staff calculations. All of the young peregrines, also known as eyases, fledged. He said they develop quickly at that stage and the parents fly in with food for the young ones."They learn very quickly, the best way to get the food is to fly out and meet the mother or father in mid-air and take the food from them to eat." One falcon diedSnair said they noticed that one of the four was developing more slowly than the others and wasn't getting the food it needed to thrive."We became aware that it wasn't doing well. We saw it one day on the beach just kind of hanging out, being pretty docile."Two days later, Snair says they found the same eyas on the beach again. That's when he made the decision to call for help."Unfortunately, before we managed to get him to the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, he just did not make it. So, we lost one."Young peregrine falcons have a mortality rate anywhere from 60 to 80 per cent. Although it was upsetting to lose one, the remaining three are all thriving and appear to be doing very well.Snair expects some further investigation into the cause of death because peregrine falcons are top-tier predators and an indicator species for how well the ecosystem is doing in general. "They're pretty important to the birding community as a whole", he said. "At some point this summer, they probably will do a necropsy on the bird just to confirm what we are suspecting, which is that it was literally starving and malnourished." The remaining three young peregrines will depend on their parents for food all summer before they are strong enough to head south for the winter.In the meantime, guests and staff are enjoying watching the aerial interactions of the falcons. Snair recounted how a park interpreter recently watched as one played with a mouse on a rock along the beach before picking it up and flying off. He said that is unusual because they eat other birds almost exclusively. "They're curious," Snair said. "They're young. They're just exploring their new environment. I don't know if he saw it as prey or if he was just playing."But it was not good news for the mouse."

  • Family of Canadian child stuck in Syria taking government to court
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Family of Canadian child stuck in Syria taking government to court

    OTTAWA — Relatives of a five-year-old Canadian girl stuck in Syria have one question as they head to court in an escalation of a nearly year-long effort to bring the child to Canada: Why won't the government help?The girl known publicly as Amira was found on the side of a road last year after her parents and siblings were killed in an airstrike, and she was taken to a refugee campHer uncle, known as Ibrahim, has been trying nearly ever since to get her to Canada to join family in Toronto but the federal government has refused to help. "Why won't they do it? It's a five-year old Canadian orphan girl and why won't they repatriate her in the face of repatriating thousands of Canadians all over the world, why not Amira?" the family's lawyer Lawrence Greenspon asked Tuesday after filing an application in Federal Court.The family is arguing the federal government has failed to provide her with emergency travel documents and make an official request to the regional Syrian government to repatriate her and has refused to send a representative to assist in making that happen.Taken together, this treatment violates her rights as a citizen, the family alleges.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked on June 29 why the federal government wasn't doing more to get Canadians out of Syria.Trudeau said while there are countries that have diplomats on the ground in Syria, Canada is not one of them and it remains a dangerous place, especially in a pandemic."We will continue to ensure that we're keeping as a priority the protection of Canadians working abroad, particularly in this COVID context, but in every context," he said.Global Affairs Canada spokesman John Babcock said in Tuesday that the government "is evaluating options to assist further in this case as we continue to advocate for the child's health and safety."In a statement, he said immigration authorities have confirmed Amira's identity."This is an extremely complex situation and we recognize how difficult it is for this child and her family in Canada. Officials are in regular contact with her family and Minister (Francois-Philippe) Champagne has spoken to them directly."Babcock repeated that the lack of Canadian diplomats in Syria, plus the pandemic, make the situation "extremely difficult."The court documents point out that Amira's uncle has travelled to Syria on his own, with no protection, and was able to not just meet with Amira in the refugee camp but government officials there who agreed she would be allowed to leave once Canada gave the green light.Lawyers also note that countries with no consular services in Syria have leaned on other countries or humanitarian groups to help repatriate their citizens.Greenspon said the family is working to identify one such group that could assist in bringing Amira back, and time is of the essence. She is currently being cared for by a non-governmental organization working inside the Al-Hawl camp, in a region of Syria controlled by Kurdish-led forces.In recent weeks, the family has learned that the Syrian regime has been making inquiries about her, Greenspon said.The regional government supports efforts to repatriate the child but the Syrian regime may not, he suggested."We don't want to think about the consequences of what might happen if the Syrian government went after Amira and tried to take custody of her," he said.Amira is one of 47 Canadians, 26 of whom are children, stuck in northeastern Syria and Greenspon said the case could also pave the way for them to be able to come home.The regional government, known as AANES, has urged countries to repatriate their citizens, in part because they no longer want to look after them, Greenspon said.Many are being held on suspicions of collusion with Islamic State militants, and Greenspon said there has been the suggestion Amira's parents were involved in the group as well."Even if that's the case, so what?" Greenspon said."With Amira ... an orphaned Canadian, it really matters not to what extent her parents were sympathizers or involved with ISIS."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2020.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

  • West-end councillor asks for systemic racism report, more inclusive street names
    News
    CBC

    West-end councillor asks for systemic racism report, more inclusive street names

    A Windsor city councillor wants to look at more inclusive naming practices for streets and buildings.Ward 2 Coun. Fabio Costante asked for a report to be prepared on systemic racism, during Monday's council meeting. He wants there to be an acknowledgement from the city of its historic and systemic racism."We understand that to move forward and promote equity and eliminate anti-racism requires reaching out to and hearing from the voices of those in our community and corporation most impacted by discrimination and racism."Costante also wants city administration and the diversity advisory committee to look at hiring and advancement practices.The ask comes after a Black historian spoke with CBC Windsor about street names — particularly in Sandwich Town — named after slave owners. Askin, Labadie, Peter, Russell and Baby are all streets named after prominent figures in Windsor's history who also owned slaves at some point."What we accept, what we honour, who we choose to honour says a lot about what we value as a society and maybe it's time to take a look at some of those," said Irene Moore Davis, president of the Essex County Black Historical Research Society.Moore Davis suggested that instead of renaming the streets, the city might consider an alternative route. "It's better to educate people about the street names and the people and everyone who was involved — both the slave owners and the enslaved — and what their roles were and how those other individuals have been overlooked in the story of how this community was founded," said Moore Davis."It may be more constructive actually to leave the street names and focus on what's been excluded to date and what we can learn from that. It's all a conversation worth having."Founder of The Bloomfield House in the city's west end and advocate within the city's Black community, Teajai Travis, said he was disturbed to learn Peter and Russell streets were named after a man who owned slaves. "I'd like to see full acknowledgement of the damage that these monuments cause, the generational trauma that people have to experience on a day-to-day basis, being reminded of that oppressive legacy," he said to CBC Windsor Morning host Tony Doucette. "Change the names of the streets."Travis said the city needs to hire more people from Black and other marginalized communities so that decisions being made are fully inclusive."What I'm hopeful for is we can really move forward and see some material changes," he said. "It's a step in the right direction."

  • Great Dane bewildered by cat chilling on computer
    Technology
    Rumble

    Great Dane bewildered by cat chilling on computer

    Jack really enjoys his cat naps beside the computer. Mikey discovers Jack as he stretches out two paws onto the laptop from behind the curtain of invisibility.