Skeptics are labeling the fate of former U.S. President Donald Trump's Facebook page as a "sideshow" that fails to address the flaws of the social network's content moderation system, which they argue lacks accountability and transparency. (May 5)
Skeptics are labeling the fate of former U.S. President Donald Trump's Facebook page as a "sideshow" that fails to address the flaws of the social network's content moderation system, which they argue lacks accountability and transparency. (May 5)
Rain is expected to give firefighters the upper hand on a fast-moving Alberta wildfire that has destroyed more than 1,000 hectares of land and triggered evacuation orders in areas west of Edmonton. Residents who live near in or near the hamlet of Tomahawk in Parkland County, about 100 kilometres west of the capital, have been ordered to leave their homes. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for parts of the area Thursday evening. The evacuation zone expanded overnight due to high winds. The most recent critical alert issued says the evacuation area is now defined by Highway 22 to the west, Township Road 524 to the north, Range Road 63 to the east and Township Road 510 to the south. Anyone in the area must leave immediately. In a statement issued shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, Parkland County said the fire is expected to be contained by nightfall due to the forecasted rain, with Environment Canada saying as much as 15 millimetres is expected in the region overnight. The county said the fire has covered at least 1,000 hectares or roughly 2,500 acres. Fire could smoulder for weeks Parkland County fire chief Brian Cornforth said conditions are tinder dry and the winds remain unforgiving. While rain would help, he cautioned that the forecast has proven unpredictable. "We had a good forecast for rain yesterday, but it keeps getting diminished," he said. "We need several millimetres of rain to make a difference." Brian Cornforth, Parkland County fire chief, expects to have the fire contained by Friday night but says crews will likely be on scene for up to two weeks to monitor smouldering areas. (David Bajer/CBC) Even if the forecast remains in their favour, Cornforth expects the fire to smoulder for weeks. The area is riddled with peat bogs where fire can burn deep underground, even in damp conditions. "The fire is going to sit in that ground for a long time," Cornforth said in an interview from the scene. "We're going to be here for a week or two." Cornforth said 20 additional firefighting crews have been dispatched to the scene, along with air tankers and three helicopters used in aerial firefighting, and a bulldozer crew that digs for hotspots and monitors potential flare ups. At least 45 people have been forced from their homes, but he said that number is expected to grow as more evacuees register. All evacuees are required to register — in-person or by phone — at a reception centre set up at the district sports arena in Tomahawk. The fire had covered at least 1,000 hectares of land as of Friday, leaving charred trees in its wake.(David Bajer/CBC) Cornforth said conditions remain unsafe and urged residents to stay out of the evacuation zone. "People may not see fire at their door," he said. "We need to evacuate you because we can anticipate where that fire is going to go. And last night was a great example of how fast that fire went. "We literally drove up the driveway, told people to leave and the fire was at the door when they were packing their house out, so we need people to co-operate with us on that." Waiting for evacuation orders Krystina Lynn Kowalik, who lives on the edge of the evacuation zone, watched the fire burn from her 300 acre property. She and her husband, Dan, were driving into town Thursday afternoon when they noticed a puff of smoke on the skyline. Then Kowalik got a call from her neighbour telling her to turn around because their home was under threat. They returned home to their dogs and horses, packed up a few belongings and waited at the end of their driveway for evacuation orders to come. But they never did. The couple didn't have to leave, but they spent a fitful night worried about their land and their neighbours. "We could still see the glow of two hot spots in the distance," she said. "I'm terrified to think of the homes that have been lost and the livestock and whatever that didn't get out." Kowalik said the community has come together and people in need of a place to sleep have been taken in. Others spent the night driving around in their livestock trucks, helping people save their horses and cattle from danger. "We're out of harm's way at this point unless the wind changes direction," she said.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 6, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 350,701 new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,918,768 doses given. Nationwide, 1,196,166 people or 3.2 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 39,364.255 per 100,000. There were 1,147,668 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 17,981,872 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 82.97 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 18,126 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 188,204 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 359.421 per 1,000. In the province, 1.85 per cent (9,676) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 35,880 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 244,930 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 47 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 3,556 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 56,758 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 357.803 per 1,000. In the province, 6.78 per cent (10,750) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 12,390 new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 76,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 73.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 43,096 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 347,283 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 355.86 per 1,000. In the province, 3.83 per cent (37,346) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 62,150 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 450,600 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.07 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 27,943 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 285,000 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 365.366 per 1,000. In the province, 3.70 per cent (28,847) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 62,820 new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 373,815 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.24 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 80,582 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,446,157 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 402.746 per 1,000. There were 165,678 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 4,059,217 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 47 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 141,038 new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,740,761 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 390.818 per 1,000. In the province, 2.62 per cent (384,589) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 420,690 new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 7,056,415 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 9,485 new vaccinations administered for a total of 519,507 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 377.273 per 1,000. In the province, 5.41 per cent (74,435) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 110,170 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 686,160 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 50 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 10,195 new vaccinations administered for a total of 480,910 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 407.843 per 1,000. In the province, 3.85 per cent (45,419) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 39,980 new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 542,935 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.58 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 37,907 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,732,582 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 393.586 per 1,000. In the province, 7.00 per cent (308,027) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 228,150 new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 2,002,215 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 52,266 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,995,496 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 388.866 per 1,000. In the province, 1.87 per cent (95,868) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 9,760 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 2,330,040 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.64 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 199 new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,140 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,177.542 per 1,000. In the territory, 54.94 per cent (22,927) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 55,920 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 87.88 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 48,007 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,064.009 per 1,000. In the territory, 48.04 per cent (21,674) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 58,800 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 81.64 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 126 new vaccinations administered for a total of 28,963 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 747.895 per 1,000. In the territory, 32.77 per cent (12,692) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 44,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 110 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.68 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 May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ronald Smith sounds tired. Despite good news last month, when a bill to resume executions in Montana was unexpectedly defeated, the Canadian on death row in that state is in a sombre mood. Smith, originally from Red Deer, Alta., has been facing capital punishment since 1983 for killing two young Montana men in 1982. "I thought we were screwed," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press from Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, Mont. "I didn't think there was a chance in hell that this wouldn't be approved. Once my daughter found out, I explained to her which road we were going down and what the probable outcomes were going to be. I was that sure that it was over." All executions have been stayed in Montana since 2015 because the state requires the use of an ultra-fast-acting barbiturate, which is no longer available. There hasn't been an execution in Montana since 2006. Montana's house of representatives passed a bill in February that would have amended protocol to include any substance in a lethal quantity sufficient to cause death. But the senate voted it down 26-24. The execution issue is likely to arise again in two years when the state legislature reconvenes. "Obviously, I'm happy about it, but at the same time it keeps running through the back of my head, 'Oh crap. I'm stuck sitting around here again,'" Smith sighed. "A lot of people look at it and say, 'Well at least you're alive,' but I'm really not. I'm just sitting around like a bump on a log is all I'm doing, and after almost 40 years of this, anything is preferable." Smith, 63, rephrased his response when asked if he would prefer to be executed. "Well, maybe not preferable, but I wouldn't be bothered by it. As soon as I heard what was going on, I accepted it. I went, 'OK, cool. I don't have to deal with this crap anymore.' "I was worried about my family because they were going to take it hard. Personally, I don't care. I've hit that point where I've done enough of this. If they're (legislators) not going to cut me a break, than go ahead and do away with me." Smith and Rodney Munro, both high on LSD and alcohol, shot and killed two Indigenous cousins near East Glacier, Mont., in 1982. They admitted to marching Harvey Mad Man, 23, and Thomas Running Rabbit, 20, into the woods by a highway. They shot each man in the head with a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle. Court heard that Smith and Munro wanted to steal the victims' car. Smith also said at the time that he wanted to know what it was like to kill someone. He was initially offered a plea deal that would have taken the death penalty off the table, but he rejected it. He pleaded guilty and asked to be put to death, but later changed his mind. He has had five execution dates set over the years. Each has been overturned. The victims' families have continued to push for Smith to be executed. Munro took the plea bargain, was eventually transferred to a prison in Canada, and has been free since 1998. "He's been out 23 years and doing well and I wish him all the very best. Had I taken that plea deal, then I'd have been out a long time ago. It's hard not to have that in the back of your mind on a pretty regular basis." Smith said he's content with paying for his crimes, but would like to be transferred to a prison in Canada, where he has a daughter, two sisters, grandchildren and a great-grandchild. "I'm getting pretty much what I deserve for the crime I committed," he said. "If I was in a position where I could see my family on a constant basis, then leave me locked up. I don't care. "It is what it is. I committed the crime." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021. — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
The founder of a failed B.C. cryptocurrency exchange has been ordered to pay $535,000 to a man who agreed to sell him 50 bitcoin in 2019 — despite the fact the missing commodity is now worth more than $3 million. According to a B.C. Supreme Court judgment, Michael Gokturk wrote to Scott Nelson in August 2019, two months after Nelson transferred bitcoin into Gokturk's digital wallet at an agreed price of $10,700 a piece. Within months, Gokturk's Einstein Exchange would shut its doors amid a B.C. Securities Commission investigation, a cloud of complaints, lawsuits and debts of $16 million owing to customers. "None of this is your problem and I owe you what I owe you," Gokturk wrote to Nelson, who was asking for the money he'd been promised. "Keep these text messages and email records as proof. I am sorry I have been avoiding you. This has been the absolute worst year of my entire existence. These are not excuses, I just don't know what to tell you besides the truth." 'Wire is being set up right now' The details of the correspondence are contained in a B.C. Supreme ruling released this week. Nelson, a Vancouver technology entrepreneur, sued Gokturk for breach of contract in 2019, asking for either the amount the bitcoin was worth on the open market on Feb. 16, 2021 — $3,084,393 — or the amount Gokturk originally agreed to pay. The Einstein Exchange shut its doors in 2019 after a slew of complaints. An interim receiver found that the company had assets of $45,000 and debts of $16 million.(Yvette Brend/CBC) In coming to a decision, Justice Sheila Tucker found Gokturk had breached a contract that concluded on June 7, 2019, when he sent Nelson a text reading: "BTC received! Thank you. Wire is being set up right now. Will send you confirmation." Tucker said the law required her to award Nelson the amount lost at the time of the breach, not the amount his bitcoin would be worth in 2021, following recent astronomical gains. "Using the date of breach to assess the damages puts the defendant in the position he would have been had the contract been fulfilled, Tucker wrote. "The fact that [bitcoin] is worth more now than it was at the time of the contract does not result in an injustice." 'No one will lose their money here' The judgment comes a year and a half after accountants estimated that the Einstein Exchange had "hard" assets of $30,000 in cash and less than $15,000 in cryptocurrency when the court appointed an interim receiver to take control of the company on Nov. 1, 2019. The same report noted that customers were owed around $16 million, noting Nelson's lawsuit and another call from a creditor who said they were owed $7 million but had not yet filed a claim with the court. A visual representation of the digital cryptocurrency, bitcoin. Bitcoin has seen a massive increase in value, which poses a question for judges trying to determine the value of the loss in a contract breach. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) Gokturk spoke to the CBC in January 2018 about a storm of online criticism that accompanied the opening of the exchange. Customers claimed that staff were slow to respond and expressed fear they might lose their money. At the time, Gokturk claimed his team was overwhelmed by the response and demand for digital currency and promised that "no one will lose their money here." Gokturk has filed responses to a number of B.C. Supreme Court claims in the months since the collapse of the Einstein Exchange, arguing that he was not personally liable for agreements made with the company. The responses claim the customers signed agreements acknowledging that "some digital currency exchanges had been the subject of cyberattacks that have resulted in the loss or theft of digital currencies to their users and there is a risk that a similar cyberattack could affect Einstein's services and result in the theft or loss of your digital currencies." According to Tucker's decision, Gokturk's counsel withdrew last November, after which he stopped responding to Nelson's lawyer and failed to attend an examination for discovery. He did not respond to a request for comment through LinkedIn. 'Which date do you use?' Evan Thomas, a Toronto-based litigator with Osler who specializes in digital assets and blockchain, says Tucker's decision is notable because it's one of only a few in a growing body of Canadian law to deal with disputes involving cryptocurrency. He says it's interesting to see judges treat bitcoin as property in the same way as a physical asset like a gold bar. Thomas says courts have also had to grapple with the question of how to determine the value of a commodity that has seen such rapid shifts in worth in recent months. A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled that the founder of a collapsed bitcoin exchange must pay $535,000 for breaking a contract to purchase 50 bitcoin.(David Horemans/CBC) In the past year alone, bitcoin has risen from around $13,000 Cdn per unit to highs of nearly $80,000. One bitcoin was worth $68,000 Cdn Thursday. "This has come up before in cases about how do you value bitcoin, a cryptocurrency which is a bit unique in commodities in that the prices can change quite dramatically over relatively short periods of times," he said. "So, of course, there's an obvious question: which date do you use?" Thomas says it's well-settled law that breach of contract disputes assign value at the date the breach occurred — which in Gokturk and Nelson's agreement was June 2019, "when the buyer actually failed to pay the money for the bitcoin." The decision says Nelson doesn't know whether Gokturk sold the 50 bitcoin and if he still has any or all of it in his possession. Thomas says it's easy to see how Nelson might feel out of pocket by $2.5 million, even if Gokturk pays the court-ordered amount. But had bitcoin dropped in value instead of soaring in the interim, Thomas says Nelson likely would not have asked for 50 worthless bitcoin as compensation. "The law says it you're going to make that argument when the price goes down, you have to live by the same argument if the price goes up," Thomas said. "We can all disagree on whether that's fair or not, but that's just what the law is."
Three people were hospitalized — and more than 160 seniors have been displaced — after a massive fire broke out at a seniors' residence in St. Albert, northwest of Edmonton Thursday night. Two people were treated for smoke inhalation and were in serious condition, and a third person suffered minor lacerations, officials said, after fire engulfed the Citadel Mews West Continuing Care Facility just before 8 p.m. The building is near the Sturgeon Community Hospital, between St. Albert Trail and Erin Ridge Drive, south of Erin Ridge Road. The fire forced the entire complex to be evacuated and saw firefighters from across the region called in to assist. St Albert Mayor Cathy Heron said many of the displaced residents were living in the extended care wing of the facility. "The priority will be finding space for every one of those residents and making sure they're cared for," Heron said in an interview Friday. Heron, who was at the scene Thursday night, said it was the largest fire she had ever seen and watching residents be evacuated was overwhelming. She commended firefighters for their coordinated efforts to extinguish it and ensure residents were safe. Heron said the offer of donations and care for the displaced residents has been overwhelming. "I love my community and the residents, they have responded with their hearts, which they always do." At least 167 seniors were displaced. Alberta Health Services said about 129 long term care residents and 38 designated supportive living residents were evacuated from the complex. Those numbers don't account for residents of the independent living wing of the complex, AHS said. The evacuated residents were relocated to the St. Albert Inn. Most were accommodated in hotel rooms and others were placed in available beds in other long-term care facilities in the region. The city is working with Alberta Health Services to ensure residents are appropriately cared for and provided transportation, the city said in a news release. Firefighters remained on scene throughout Friday morning, assessing extensive smoke and water damage to the property. In a statement Friday, the city asked for residents to stay away from the scene during the investigation, There's no word yet on the cause of the fire or a full estimate on the damages. Jackson Brown, 17, said he spotted smoke and helped some people leave the building. "All the alarms are going off and there was about four or five of us evacuating everyone, just going door-to-door trying to just get every one out," he said in an interview Thursday night. "Then the firefighters and police got here and of course helped us." Police officers were called to assist firefighters around 8 p.m. Officers blocked off nearby roads and helped residents evacuate the building. Residents were transported by bus to a muster point in the Costco parking lot, RCMP said. The St. Albert Alliance Church has opened its doors to residents until others arrangements could be made. Residents evacuated the Citadel Mews residence Thursday night after a fire broke out that engulfed much of the building. (Submitted by Jackson Brown) Fire crews from St. Albert, Morinville, Spruce Grove, Edmonton and Strathcona County all helped at the scene. A spokesperson for Edmonton Fire Services said some of its firefighters assisted with the blaze. According to the Christenson Communities website, the two Citadel Mews residences combined have about 175 units.
A shortage of surgeons is causing Prince County Hospital in Summerside, P.E.I. to divert all major trauma cases to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown for a four-day period, says a Health PEI memo obtained by CBC News and the Opposition Liberals. The hospital, the Island's second largest, will not be able to provide surgery coverage from Friday, May 7, until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 11. "PCH will be on diversion to the QEH for all major traumas during this time," the memo reads. The memo goes on to say surgeries will be triaged at the emergency department in Summerside in consultation with the surgeon on call at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. During question period, Health Minister Ernie Hudson said he was not aware of the memo, which the Liberals made public in the P.E.I. Legislature on Friday. 'Enormous pressure' Liberal Heath MacDonald, reading from the memo, said people in western P.E.I. could be two hours or more away from help this weekend with surgeries being diverted from Summerside to Charlottetown. "This failure will place enormous pressure on our health care system," MacDonald said during question period. Liberal Heath MacDonald points out that people seriously injured in West Prince this weekend could be two hours away from medical help. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC) "Your answer to the last question is kind of scary. I think all members in this house, and especially over on that side of the house, should get behind their minister, give him the support, find out what the heck is going on in Summerside. This is getting ridiculous. This is getting scary." 'It a personnel issue' Hudson said people are not being put at risk. He said the emergency department at the Prince County Hospital remains open and paramedics are able to stabilize patients before they are transferred to the QEH. Hudson added that as of Thursday, surgeries were covered for the weekend but something changed late Thursday night. "As I understand it a personnel issue, that I am not going to get into details on, come up yesterday that this individual who was going to be providing services over the weekend was not going to be able to and for what reason, I really can't say," Hudson said in an interview with reporters. As for the memo obtained by the Liberal opposition and the CBC, the health minister said he should have been made aware of the memo. Two surgeons leaving next month "I absolutely agree with the member that I should have had that letter before he did, and I will be absolutely looking into why I did not get that letter before the honourable member did. Long and the short, that is not acceptable." Health Minister Ernie Hudson acknowledged there are 'human resource challenges' at Prince County Hospital. (Province of P.E.I.) Hudson acknowledged there are "human resource challenges" at Prince County Hospital. Health PEI says one of the three general surgeons on staff at Prince County Hospital is resigning in June, and another surgeon, who is on a short-term locum contract, will also leave the same month. The province says it's in talks with seven surgeons, and made an offer to one of them on Friday. A statement from Health PEI Friday cautioned that until more surgeons can be recruited, there may be other gaps in surgery coverage at Prince County Hospital. The statement also said the public will be notified when those diversions take place. The acting CEO of Health PEI said in an earlier interview with CBC News that he's confident that by the summer, the staffing situation at the Summerside hospital will improve. Dr. Michael Gardam said Health PEI is seeing "quite a bit" of interest from doctors to fill the positions in Summerside. More from CBC P.E.I.
Another case of COVID-19 was confirmed for P.E.I. on Friday, in a person with a recent history of travel. There were also three new sites where Islanders might have been exposed to the virus. The day before, public health officials had announced two more cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. Thursday, along with three potential public exposure sites. Islanders 50 and over can book an appointment to get the Moderna vaccine at one of 12 pharmacies starting Monday. A P.E.I. man awaiting a second double-lung transplant in Toronto says he worries about contracting COVID-19, since it would almost certainly be fatal. A Green Party MLA thinks Island workers should get guaranteed time off to be vaccinated against COVID-19, just as their right to take time off to vote is protected without them having to fear repercussions. Introducing a hand sanitizer product may have saved P.E.I.'s Deep Roots Distillery.(Sheehan Desjardins/CBC) Prince Edward Island's economy lost 800 part-time jobs but gained 500 full-time ones in April, 13 months after the COVID-19 pandemic started to cut into employment. An increase in business spurred by the pandemic has continued in the spring of 2021, say P.E.I. garden centres. P.E.I. has 10 active cases of COVID-19. There have been 186 positive cases in total over the past 14 months, with two hospitalizations and no deaths. Elsewhere in the Atlantic region: Also in the news These Islanders are currently eligible for a vaccine People over 30. Pregnant Islanders. Front-line workers over 16 who interact with the public and cannot work virtually. People providing health-care services to the public — including optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists — and their support staff. Health-care workers not on the front line needed to maintain health-care system capacity Firefighters, police officers, power-line workers. Residents and staff of long-term care homes. Adults living in Indigenous communities. Residents and staff of shared living facilities. Truck drivers and other rotational workers. You can find more information about how to get a vaccine here. Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
TORONTO — A man who went on a racist tirade and grabbed a masked female Chinese student on a city bus at the start of the pandemic has been handed four months house arrest. In sentencing Michael Hennesy, 47, for assault, the Ontario court judge noted the physical attack was relatively minor but still had a severe effect on the victim. "This offence shows how vulnerable society is to the ugly reality of racism and how quickly it can spread, and how scared and vulnerable its targets are," Judge Howard Borenstein said. "Racism is awful on its own given the dehumanizing effects it can have, and it often can lead to physical violence, which is what occurred here." Evidence was that the student from China was sitting minding her own business on a downtown bus on an afternoon in February last year when Hennesy boarded. The student was wearing a medical mask. In the four minutes he was on the bus, Hennesy declared himself Canadian, hurled profanities at her, insulted Chinese people, and told her to go back to where she came from. The student began recording the tirade, prompting Hennesy to grab her arm in an effort to get her phone. She hit him across the face, screamed at him, and hung on to her phone, court documents show. Hennesy, who pleaded guilty last month, turned himself in after TV broadcast his image. The pandemic has sparked a surge in crimes against Asian people across North America, with victims often blamed for COVID-19 amid false allegations that China had deliberately unleashed the virus. In its recent annual report, Toronto police said members of various Asian communities had become targets. "Victims were subject to derogatory comments, and were either punched, pushed or spat on by the suspect(s)," the report said. In sentencing the first-time offender, Borenstein referenced the "disturbing increase" in anti-Asian sentiment. The impact on the student, he said, was "extreme." Among other things, she said she was unable to finish her semester, felt forced to move, and needed therapy. As mitigating factors, the judge noted Hennesy, who has long battled addictions, was drunk at the time, had apologized to the student, and was in counselling. His childhood was at times abusive and violent. He was five when his father killed his mother, the judge said. After living in shelters or community housing for the past eight years, he has now moved back to his native Newfoundland. Despite Hennesy's assertions, backed by a doctor, therapist and sister, that he showed no signs of racism before the attack, Borenstein was skeptical. "The aggravating features of this case is the racist nature of this attack and its impact on (the student) and beyond her, to others especially in the Asian community who feel more insecure and unsafe when this happens," the judge said. Borenstein opted for the four months house arrest along with a year's probation, and ordered Hennesy to do 30 hours of community service. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
What are the markers and icons that signify an Indigenous presence in Montreal? That is one of the many questions a collective of artists plan on tackling as they take a deep dive into the city's Indigenous history as a part of a year-long theatre residency. "Haudenosaunee people have so much history connected to the island," said Ange Loft, a Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) interdisciplinary performing artist from Kahnawake, south of Montreal. Loft, a part of the newly formed Talking Treaties Tio'tia:ke Collective, was selected as the inaugural Indigenous artist-in-residence at Montreal's Centaur Theatre. The residency, which begins in August, will be used to develop a new theatrical performance at the theatre and surrounding grounds with the incorporation of historic research, music, Kanien'kéha (the Mohawk language), large-scale puppetry, verbatim text, and dance. "We use big images and tactile props and stuff because you hit them with the heavy content, but do it in a beautiful, soft, fun and weird way," said Loft, who now lives in Toronto. The focus, Loft said, is on pre-contact governance symbolism and alliance patterns of the Haudenosaunee in the 1700s, such as the Great Peace of Montreal treaty and Dish with One Spoon agreement between Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee nations. Talking Treaties uses symbols and stories of agreement making that were gathered through interview, audio gallery, dance, choral composition, spectacle and arts based research in Toronto. (Talking Treaties) It builds on her work with Talking Treaties, a project she's been running since 2015 in Toronto with Jumblies Theatre. "I say it's an artful way to share Indigenous knowledge," said Loft. "Symbols of governance and alliance-making [are] things that you need to know before you can even start to break down treaties and conversations around that." Centaur's 1st Indigenous artist residency The Centaur Theatre is located in the Old Stock Exchange Building in the heart of Old Montreal. Eda Holmes, artistic and executive director at Centaur Theatre, said in a statement that although Indigenous stories have been essential to Montreal's heritage, they have been missing throughout theatre's half-century history. LISTEN: Ange Loft talks about her new residency with Centaur Theatre It's why the residency was created with new funding from the Conseil des arts de Montréal. "We sought an artist who was knowledgeable of Indigenous cultures and plugged into local Indigenous artistic communities and Ange is that and more," said Holmes. "Her curiosity, imagination and passion, combined with her wide range of talents and years of experience, make her ideal as our first Indigenous artist-in-residence." 'We are still here' The collective also includes Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo and Iehente Foote. Both are also Kanien'kehá:ka from Kahnawake. "I love that it is in Old Montreal. The visuals I see there are mostly the settlers, the statues of the settlers and the architecture of the settlers. It's like we're forgotten," said Diabo, a dancer and choreographer. "I'm hoping that our presence with this is going to re-show people that we've been here. We are still here." Barbara Diabo performs a hoop dance as part of her Sky Dancers piece.(Robert Newton) Foote has worked as an actor, stage manager, costume designer and production assistant in theatre, television and film since she was a teenager. She said the performing arts can be an accessible way to understand complex histories and relationships. "It's visual and it's eye-catching and there's repetition for memory," said Foote. Diabo echoed similar sentiments. "Being a live performance, there will be a sharing of energy and emotions that will touch people at a deeper level that they'll understand things more, feel things more, and remember things more with all these visuals."
TORONTO — The Toronto District School Board is suing the city, the province and local police over a fire that destroyed a high school two years ago, alleging negligence allowed a small blaze to erupt into a much larger one that gutted the historic building. Legal documents filed on Wednesday show the board is seeking $90 million in damages in connection with the fire at York Memorial Collegiate Institute. In an unproven statement of claim, the board alleges firefighters failed to completely extinguish a small fire in the school's auditorium on May 6, 2019, allowing flames to erupt again the next day and eventually destroy the building. "The fire struck the building only weeks before a celebration to mark the school’s 90th anniversary," reads the statement of claim, which notes no one was hurt in the blaze. "The consequences of the fire have been devastating for the TDSB, as well as its staff and its students." The school board alleges that because Toronto police and firefighters suspected that the initial fire may have been arson, the school's auditorium was sealed off as a potential crime scene. The suit notes that the evacuated building was in full custody of police, firefighters, and the Ontario Fire Marshal after the first small fire and alleges the defendants failed to control and supervise the scene, leading to the catastrophic damage to the school. The City of Toronto said in a statement that it plans on fighting the case. "Staff took all appropriate steps to preserve evidence, and allegations in the claim that suggest otherwise are patently untrue and irresponsible," it said. "It is unconscionable that the TDSB and its insurers would impugn the integrity of Fire Chief Matthew Pegg and other Toronto Fire Services staff in this manner." Ontario's Ministry of the Solicitor General said it wouldn't comment on the case as it was before the courts. The Toronto Police Services Board issued a similar statement. TDSB interim director Karen Falconer said in a statement that the school board and its insurers had hoped to resolve the matter outside court but were left with no choice but to take legal action. Falconer said that the school board will rebuild the school regardless of the outcome of the legal proceeding. She noted that the cost of the ongoing rebuild is covered by the TDSB’s insurer, who filed the legal action with the board in an effort to recover its policy payments and additional costs. "Our focus remains on supporting the 900 students and staff that were sadly displaced by the fire two years ago," said Falconer. City manager Chris Murray sent an open letter to Falconer on Thursday defending the reputation of Pegg, who is currently serving as the head of Toronto's emergency response task force charged with handling the COVID-19 pandemic. "We ask you to consider the harm caused to Chief Pegg’s reputation by the false claims of misfeasance advanced in your lawsuit," reads the letter from Murray. "We also ask that you reconsider maintaining those claims and consider whether a public apology is owing to Chief Pegg." According to the TDSB, the school was built in memory of those killed in the First World War and opened in 1929. It held a number of artifacts from the First World War. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The Canada Revenue Agency is being taken to task by a federal watchdog for not being as up front as it should be over how long it might take to process applications for pandemic aid. The $500-a-week Canada Recovery Benefit is paid out by the agency to qualifying workers who have earned at least $5,000 in the preceding 12 months. In most cases, the application process is quick, but in others, the agency has to do additional digging to verify eligibility. The taxpayers' ombudsperson said his office has received complaints that CRA call-centre agents can't offer a timeline for when verification work will be done, leaving thousands in financial hardship. Francois Boileau said taxpayers should be able to have more details on how long it will take the agency to verify documents so they can plan how to cover their bills like rent. He said complaints to his office have said the agency can take up to 10 weeks to finish the process before issuing a payment. The process differs from one that was used one year ago for the CRB's forerunner, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Applications were quickly approved and payments issued with the government opting to do a review after-the-fact to recoup improper payments. With the CRB, the government pushed that verification to the front of the application process, including asking for pay slips or records of employment if the agency couldn't easily confirm that someone met the earnings threshold. Once the documents came in, the agency started the clock. In March, there were complaints that it could take four to six weeks for the process to play out. More recently, it has risen to eight to 10 weeks. The agency had differing timelines referenced on different parts of its website, but updated them to in recent days after Boileau suggested the CRA do so. "The CRA understands that the longer processing times for these recovery benefit applications may place a financial burden on Canadians who depend on these benefits as income replacement," the agency said in a statement. "In some cases, processing times may be extended for unforeseeable reasons." The CRA says the process shouldn't be nearly as long for anyone who filed their 2020 tax return, which would easily let the agency verify income eligibility when an application rolls in. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
There's a "dirty little secret lurking under the ocean of Newfoundland and Labrador" and the documentary, "Hell or Clean Water," tells the story of the one man who is trying to fix it, part of the 2021 Hot Docs festival.
Recent developments: What's the latest? Quebec's COVID-19 vaccination age drops to 35 today. On Monday that moves to 30 and one week from today, it's 18. With vaccinations spreading among Canadians, many may now wonder — when will widespread working from home come to an end? WATCH | Bikes are a hot commodity in Ottawa: How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining contact tracing and pushing hospitals past their limits. As of Tuesday, 24,998 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,622 known active cases, 22,859 resolved cases and 519 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 45,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 42,200 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 178 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 201. Akwesasne has had more than 660 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Tuesday, there were about 35 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least May 20. People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They should stay within their immediate area and province unless it's absolutely necessary to leave. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services. Tulip bulbs in Ottawa on May 5, 2021, ahead of the official start of the Canadian Tulip Festival.(Andrew Lee/CBC) Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues. Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally. Ontario has indefinitely moved to online learning. Daycares remain open. Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa's is doing around playgrounds, Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until Monday across the Outaouais. Some rules start to loosen that day. Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. People are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are taking over. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 845,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 381,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 165,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is vaccinating people age 50 and older at its clinics. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. The province has opened up appointments for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes. Ottawans in the city's priority neighbourhoods above age 18 and Indigenous people above age 16 can check their eligibility online with the city. People who are 40 or will be this year can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Pharmacies can offer walk-in vaccines if they wish. Six Ottawa pharmacies will be offering Moderna vaccines to people age 50 and up. Ontario has a staggered rollout plan to expand its vaccination campaign week-by-week, allowing everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24. The province expects to have given a first dose to about two-thirds of adults by the end of May. Next week, people as young as age 40 can book through the province. Eligibility is also expected to include a wider range of health conditions and job types, such as transit and grocery store employees. Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. Some have said they won't have the vaccine supply to cover everyone who becomes eligible right away. Western Quebec Quebec's vaccination plan covers people age 35 and older in the Outaouais, along with essential workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, including pregnancy. It's also doing a staggered expansion, reaching down to children as young as 12 in June. Its next expansion is down to age 30 on Monday. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms, their contacts and people who have been told to get tested. Outaouais residents can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
The man accusing longtime junior hockey coach Bernie Lynch of sexual assault and assault tells CBC News what he says happened and why it took him more than 30 years to press charges.
A review of the province's rental housing market is ruling out a cap on rent increases in all but the most extreme cases. The report, drafted by civil servants and released, Friday says creating more incentives for the construction of new units is a more workable way to address the supply crunch in the white-hot housing market. It calls for "better protections against unreasonable rent increases" but Executive Council clerk Cheryl Hansen, the province's top civil servant, told reporters that does not mean "across the board" rent controls. "We have discovered that a far more comprehensive approach is required," she said, though in response to a reporter's hypothetical question she said the province was open to restricting extreme increases in the 25 to 30 per cent range. "I would suggest that we do not need to have that across the board." Officials say limiting rent increases to once a year, and requiring landlords to give tenants more notification of hikes, would help alleviate the phenomenon of soaring costs seen in recent months in the province. Earlier this year Statistics Canada reported that rent paid on accommodations in New Brunswick between March 2020 and March 2021 rose 4.8 per cent, the largest increase in the country. Nationally, rents inched up a fraction of that, an average of 0.5 per cent, over the same period. Hansen said Friday that the lowest-income New Brunswickers have seen rents increase by 34 per cent in the last decade while their incomes have risen only 18 per cent. But officials who briefed reporters said a cap on rent increases could have "negative consequences" for the housing market, creating a disincentive for landlords to build new units. They also said rent control tends to benefit higher-income renters the most. Higgs responded to the report within hours, telling reporters he has "sympathies" for tenants who experience "rate shocks." Premier Blaine Higgs said he doesn't believe his stated position on rent controls influenced the report prepared by public servants.(Ed Hunter/CBC ) "I believe there needs to be some protection there for tenants in relation to the frequency and the extent to which a rate could be changed in a span of time," he said. He attributed part of the phenomenon to more people moving to New Brunswick for work and driving up demand for housing, which he suggested has given apartment owners an opening to raise rents. "Did we have some cases where landlords looked at the market and said 'Now's our chance?'" he said. "I don't want people's livelihoods and situations played with just because it's the right time." Sarah Lunney of Acorn New Brunswick, a group advocating for low-income people, said she was disappointed with the rejection of rent control and rejected the rationale. "Saying that rent control disincentivizes development, that's just not a thing," she said. "I don't agree with that. Other provinces [with rent control laws] are still developing housing." The report found there are gaps in access to affordable, adequate, quality and safe rental units.(David Zalubowski/Associated Press) She said restricting rent increases to once a year would not do anything to protect people from big increases. "You would still need some kind of rent control to ensure that when that one time a year comes around, tenants aren't being forced out of their buildings at that time of year." Abram Lutes of the Common Front for Social Justice said he was disappointed the report dismisses the role of non-profit housing. The document quotes a developer saying the non-profit sector lacks the "knowledge and experience" to build multi-unit apartments. "The information in the report is useful in terms of knowing how bad the situation is, but the recommendations are inexcusably inadequate given what's been reported in the document," he said. The report says large rent increases are being driven by a changing rental market: more people are working longer, the population is increasing and older people are downsizing into apartments. Abram Lutes, with the New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice, pictured earlier this year, was disappointed the report dismissed the role non-profit housing could play in helping alleviate the affordable housing shortage.(CBC) At the same time, a growing number of remote workers are looking for more space so they can have a home office, and the growth of short-term vacation rentals is removing some apartments from the monthly rental market. Meanwhile, shortages of construction workers can slow the building of new apartment stock. "We're not necessarily in a crisis, but a crisis is pending," Higgs said. "We've got a situation we can't ignore." The report says housing is seen as both a human right and as a business. "These truths do not always co-exist comfortably and can polarize conversations." Premier rejects suggestion of influence Higgs said he didn't think his comments earlier this year opposing rent control influenced the report, which despite being drafted by civil servants was described as an independent process similar to a third-party study. "I don't think anyone would suspect that I would feel any differently about putting price controls on the free market. That's a position I've had for a long time," he said. The report does not comment on a proposal pushed by developers to cut property taxes on apartment buildings by removing the provincial portion of the tax. Hansen said that's being looked as part of work on local government reform. Higgs announced a phase-out of the provincial portion of the tax in the March 2020 budget but cancelled it after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
VICTORIA — British Columbia's minister of mental health and addictions said a suspected overdose death of a 12-year-old girl from Vancouver Island is driving the government "to do more and do better." But Sheila Malcolmson said she needs to learn more details about the case of Allayah Thomas, who went by Ally and died April 14, before commenting specifically on what the government can do. Malcolmson made the comment during a news conference to announce the new Foundry BC app, a free portal for people ages 12 to 24 to access counselling, primary care and peer support. "This is a terrible story that just re-strengthens our commitment as a government to build the kind of addictions and mental health-care system that anybody can access," Malcolmson said. Ally's mother, Adriana Londono, said her daughter had overdosed three times before her fourth fatal "cry for help." The family tried to get her support but was only given a list of counsellors, an avenue Ally wasn't willing to take, Londono said. She said the family was told by government staff that Ally was too young to qualify for rehab because she was under 14. "It was extremely frustrating, there was nothing we could do," Londono said in an interview on Friday from Saanich, B.C. "Ally was frustrated, too. She was crying for help but she didn't get the help she needed." The Children's Ministry said in a statement that it cannot comment publicly or confirm ministry involvement with any individual or family for legal reasons. However, it said there are a number of treatment options available, including 25 youth treatment beds on Vancouver Island, walk-in treatment at hospitals or urgent primary care centres and community-based services. The ministry said age requirements for support can be waived, a message echoed by Malcolmson. "If anybody needs access to life-saving support, age is not a barrier," Malcolmson said. Londono said that wasn't offered to the family. Ally is believed to be the youngest victim of British Columbia's overdose crisis since it was declared a public health emergency in 2016. More than 7,000 people have died from toxic drugs since then. The death rate had begun to ebb in 2019 until officials said the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption of illicit drug supply chains made 2020 the deadliest year on record. Youth overdose deaths have tended to rise and fall in line with overall deaths. Since 2016, those under 19 have comprised a steady one or two per cent of total illicit overdose deaths in B.C. The BC Coroners Service said it's still investigating the cause of Ally's death. The youngest confirmed fatality in the crisis was a 13-year-old who died in 2017. Londono said she was told that preliminary evidence suggested a fentanyl overdose but that a full report would take months. Londono said she wants to encourage people not to be scared or embarrassed to talk openly about addiction. "It's a disease and it's not something we choose to do, it's not something we should be ashamed to talk about as children or as parents," she said. Trevor Halford, B.C. Liberal critic for mental health and addictions, called on the province's NDP government to ensure youth have rapid access to comprehensive addictions services, including treatment. The government proposed amendments to the Mental Health Act last summer that could have forced youth under 19 into treatment for up to one week after an overdose. The bill was defeated after Indigenous and civil liberties groups raised alarms about a lack of consultation. Halford said the NDP used the failed bill as an example to justify an election call last fall, but the government has yet to reintroduce the bill or anything similar. "There is just no more time to wait," Halford said in a statement. Malcolmson said the government is working "as hard as we can" to build a system of care that offers a variety of different supports. She said she sees a role for involuntary admission in treatment, but the government also heard "quite strongly" from advocates for a broader system of voluntary treatment that would ensure a recovery system is available to youth after they stabilize from an overdose. Those "complex conversations" will continue as the government expands mental health supports for youth, she said. Other efforts include doubling the number of youth treatment beds in the province, which she said will be open to all ages, and expanding the ways youth can access support. "There's much for us to do, but we are continuing to build that system and will continue to be informed by the families and peers and young people for whom that system should be built," Malcolmson said. — By Amy Smart in Vancouver. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Republican Kevin McCarthy is leading his party to an inflection point, preparing to dump Rep. Liz Cheney from the No. 3 House leadership position and transform what's left of the party of Lincoln more decisively into the party of Trump. The GOP leader argues that ousting Cheney has less to do with her very public criticism of the former president's lies about his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden than her inability to set aside personal convictions and do her job. As conference chair responsible for communicating a unified party message, Cheney has lost the confidence of rank-and-file lawmakers, he said this week. But in tossing aside Cheney, the daughter of the former vice-president and as close as it gets to GOP royalty, and promising a “big tent” to win back power, McCarthy is hollowing out a cadre of lawmakers intent on governing while he is elevating the people and personalities most loyal to Donald Trump. In one stroke, he is amplifying the former president’s false claims about the election and seeking to mend his own tattered relationship with Trump, reasserting himself as Trump’s man in the House. It’s a transformational moment for McCarthy, who resurrected his political career by attaching himself to Trump — who called him “My Kevin” — and is now on a glidepath to become House speaker, second in line to the presidency, if Republicans win control in next year's elections. “There’s a complete changing of the guard here,” said Adam Brandon, president of the conservative FreedomWorks, a tea party group aligned with Trump’s rise. “This started as one thing and morphed into something else: It’s about the future.” The vote as soon as next week is expected to be decisive, showing the power of Trump's reach, particularly on McCarthy. The GOP leader initially criticized Trump's actions after the 2020 election, saying he “bears responsibility” for the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the most serious domestic assault on the building in its history. Five people died after Trump encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” as Congress was certifying his defeat to Biden. In a private call during the insurrection, McCarthy had urged Trump to call off the rioters, only to face the president's rebuke. “The saddest day I have ever had” in Congress, McCarthy said that night, even as he joined 138 other House Republicans in voting to overturn Biden's win. McCarthy stood by Cheney when she faced a February challenge for leading 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for his role in the insurrection. McCarthy argued that the House GOP needed to stay united against newly empowered Democrats, and she easily survived. But in between the lines, McCarthy was also considering the optics of the moment, according to Republicans who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private vote. Booting Cheney so soon after the riot would be a bad look for the party, especially when House Republican leaders were also encouraging a unified vote of support for newly elected Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Trump ally who faced reprimand from Democrats over her conspiracy-laden social media rants. The GOP leader counselled Cheney to stay on message, but as she continued to warn the party off Trump's falsehoods, he groomed a newly transformed Trump acolyte, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., as her replacement. Like McCarthy, she is raising millions of dollars for the GOP as a Trump defender. A last straw was Cheney’s press conference at the House GOP’s retreat in Florida last month when Cheney criticized Trump anew and broke with McCarthy to back a bipartisan commission fully focused on investigating the Capitol attack. “The American people need to know how we got to Jan. 6 — people need to be held accountable,” she said. In an essay in Wednesday's Washington Post, she warned colleagues, “History is watching." McCarthy, who has jetted to Trump’s private club at Mar-a-Lago to win back the former president's support, had already changed his own tune, now saying he did not believe the former president had provoked the Jan. 6 insurrection. Trump has made clear he wants Cheney out. During an event with the conservative Freedom Caucus at Mar-a-Lago ahead of the House GOP retreat, Trump told lawmakers that Cheney and other “RINOs,” including Senate leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, must go, according to two Republicans who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private remarks. RINO refers to those considered insufficiently loyal or conservative — Republicans in name only. In private calls with lawmakers, Trump had expressed similar displeasure with McCarthy, too, according to one of the Republicans. “It's not like the ‘My Kevin’ days,” the Republican aide said. Never fully supported by GOP’s far right flank, the California Republican has laboured to win over the party’s conservatives by embracing Trump and giving the former president’s allies a seat at the table in House leadership. McCarthy was among the first Republicans in Congress to endorse Trump’s presidential campaign and quickly became a close confidant and late-night telephone buddy, often fielding his calls in view of reporters in the Capitol. In many ways, McCarthy had bridged the party’s path to the Trump era years earlier. He recruited the tea party class of Republicans who seized control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections, newcomers who shut down the government during hardball fiscal fights with then-President Barack Obama. Underestimated by Democrats as a legislative lightweight, without a House Speaker Nancy Pelosi-style resume of committee work and policy chops to pass bills, McCarthy revels in outperforming expectations, steadily rising to the top GOP leadership position. But McCarthy has always had other would-be leaders on his heels. After the Freedom Caucus led by Mark Meadows forced former Speaker John Boehner into early retirement, McCarthy withdrew his own bid to become speaker in 2015. The gavel slipped away again after Speaker Paul Ryan retired and Republicans lost House control in 2018. McCarthy has faced potential challenges from conservative Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the GOP whip in charge of counting votes, though the two are more friendly rivals now, as well as from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the de facto leader of the swelling conservative ranks and another Trump confidant. Jordan said McCarthy has done what the others failed to do — bring the Freedom Caucus and conservatives into the fold. While Boehner punished what he sometimes called the "knuckleheads,” and Ryan simply ignored them, McCarthy showers the far right with face time and rank. He made Jordan the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, the perch he used to defend Trump from impeachment. “He’s going to become the speaker if we take back the House," Jordan said an interview Thursday. McCarthy, who declined to respond to an interview request, has said he wants House Republicans to focus their attention against Democrats, not on internal party rifts. Without Cheney, he may have fewer dissenters to contend with. “The frustrating thing about this is that they’re both right,” said Michael Steel, a former top Boehner aide. “Cheney is correct that President Trump lost the presidential election ... and McCarthy is also right — the job of the Republican leader is to gain the majority and become speaker of the House.” Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
The Dow and S&P 500 hit record closing highs on Friday while registering gains for the week, and the Nasdaq recovered after U.S. jobs data eased concerns over prospects for rising rates. "Growth names that were taken to the woodshed are getting another chance, because they will be perceived to be less risky in an environment where there is a slower recovery, and that's really what the jobs data is indicating", said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. Heavily-weighted growth stocks such as Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc rose by 1.1% and 0.5%, respectively, giving the S&P 500 and Nasdaq their biggest boosts.
EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it has taken legal action to stop any planned protests of COVID-19 public health orders, including one at a central Alberta cafe that was closed for not following the rules.On Wednesday, Alberta Health Services closed the Whistle Stop Cafe in the hamlet of Mirror until its owner can demonstrate the ability to comply with health restrictions. The agency says it had received more than 400 complaints against the business since January.Alberta Health Services says it has been granted a pre-emptive court injunction against a planned protest by the cafe owner and supporters.It says it also has received a court order against all other organizers of advertised illegal gatherings and rallies breaching COVID-19 public health orders.There is an ad promoting a rally this weekend at the cafe in Mirror called "The Save Alberta Campout Protest."The ad says the event is a response to "harmful restrictions" imposed by Premier Jason Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, and "the United Conservative Party caucus' ongoing attack on the rights and freedoms of the people of Alberta."Alberta Health Services says the court order restrains the cafe owner and others from organizing, promoting and attending the event."AHS has taken this step due to the ongoing risk to Albertans created by those breaching COVID-19 public health restrictions and advertising social gatherings which, if held, breach current and active CMOH Orders and pose a risk to public health," the agency said in a release Thursday."AHS strongly condemns the intentional disobeying of COVID-19 public health restrictions," The agency says with COVID-19 cases increasing in the province, including the more easily transmitted and potentially more severe variants, there is urgent need to minimize spread to protect all Albertans.Last weekend, hundreds of people gathered near Bowden, also in central Alberta, for a pre-advertised maskless "No More Lockdowns'' protest rodeo.Days later, the premier announced stronger restrictions and doubled fines for scofflawsThis report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021 The Canadian Press
A Stratford woman says Ontario's recommended COVID-19 vaccination schedule has left her with a difficult decision: Whether to get her second shot or stay on track with treatment to prevent her multiple sclerosis from worsening. Lindsey Martchenko, 32, was diagnosed in 2018 with MS, a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, and can cause symptoms including extreme fatigue, weakness and loss of muscle co-ordination. Since then, she's been receiving an infusion of the medication ocrelizumab, sold under the brand name Ocrevus, every six months. The immunosuppressive drug, recommended for people with relapsing forms of MS, works by controlling symptoms and stopping certain cells from causing damage. "My body has loved Ocrevus. I haven't had any new flare-ups of MS," said Martchenko, a mom who works full time as a fundraising specialist and volunteers with the MS Society of Canada's Oxford-Perth chapter. I don't want to end up being in a position where I'm not protected against COVID or I haven't done everything possible to keep myself healthy. - Lindsey Martchenko of Stratford, Ont. But the drug can also make MS patients more vulnerable to serious COVID-19 complications that could put them on a breathing tube, so it's important they get fully vaccinated as soon as possible, said Dr. Courtney Casserly, a neurologist based out of the London Health Sciences Centre. Ocrevus is also believed to make the COVID-19 vaccine less effective if given too soon after the last infusion of the MS drug, said Casserly. It's recommended people on Ocrevus wait at least four months after their last dose before getting vaccinated, she said, although even longer would be better. Narrow window of time That means patients like Martchenko have a narrow window to get both vaccinations against COVID-19, to ensure they are fully effective and stay on track with their MS treatments. They should be getting vaccinated three to four weeks apart — as per the original instructions for Pfizer and Moderna — to allow enough buffer time on either side of the infusions. This schedule would also allow them to keep getting their infusions on schedule, said Casserly. But the current four-month recommended interval between doses makes that impossible, said Casserly. They either must delay an Ocrevus infusion or hold off on vaccination — neither of which, she said, is ideal. Dr. Courtney Casserly, a neurologist with the London Health Sciences Centre, says it's important for people with MS to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.(Submitted by Dr. Courtney Casserly) "This particular patient population ... they're making this difficult decision of whether or not they want to be protected against COVID or whether or not they want to go forward with a treatment that could be preventing worsening of their MS," said Casserly. "It puts them in a really difficult spot." Difficult choice Martchenko, who received her first vaccination at the end of March, has an Ocrevus infusion scheduled for early next week, and is mulling whether to cancel the appointment. Martchenko got her first COVID-19 shot in March and hopes to get the second dose as soon as possible. (Submitted by Lindsey Martchenko) If she proceeds with the infusion, Martchenko said, she would have to wait until mid-September to get the second dose of the vaccine, an idea that doesn't sit right with her. "As a person on Ocrevus, I am more prone to upper respiratory infections and have been told by a medical professional that if I were to get COVID, I would likely end up in the hospital because of that. "I don't want to end up being in a position where I'm not protected against COVID or I haven't done everything possible to keep myself healthy." Martchenko has reached out to both Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) and the nearby Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) asking if she can get an exemption to receive her second dose, but said she hasn't heard back. In a statement to CBC News, HPPH said it couldn't comment on individual health matters for privacy reasons. But the health unit said it follows guidelines on vaccine dose intervals set out by the province in consultation with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). The health unit explained those guidelines only allow certain patients to receive their vaccines on a four-week interval, such as transplant patients and people receiving chemotherapy. MS patients taking Ocrevus are not among those eligible for this kind of schedule. The MLHU said it is also following provincial guidance, and directed questions involving Stratford to the HPPH. Shortened interval On Monday, Health Minister Christine Elliott said the province is expecting increased shipments of COVID-19 vaccines in the weeks to come, which may allow it to shorten the current four-month interval between the first and second shots. As that supply ramps up, Casserly hopes patients taking Ocrevus, and a similar drug called rituximab, will be prioritized to get that second dose sooner. She said while it isn't clear just how many people are taking these drugs, it's a relatively small proportion of the population who would get a lot of benefit from an expedited schedule. CBC News asked the Ministry of Health if it plans to allow these patients to get vaccinated on the four-week schedule or to prioritize the group for the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine when it becomes available. The ministry did not provide a statement by publication time. 'I don't want to end up being in a position where I'm not protected against COVID or I haven't done everything possible to keep myself healthy,' says Martchenko.(Submitted by Lindsey Martchenko)