Ford has raised its stake in a small Colorado battery startup, a move that Chief Product and Operations Officer Hau Thai-Tang says will help in the race to increase range and cut costs in the next generation of electric vehicles. (May 5)
Ford has raised its stake in a small Colorado battery startup, a move that Chief Product and Operations Officer Hau Thai-Tang says will help in the race to increase range and cut costs in the next generation of electric vehicles. (May 5)
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus unveiled on Thursday a phased rollback of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions over the next month, including a shortened curfew and a reopening of all schools next week. But the island will demand the compulsory display of proof of vaccination, virus testing or convalescence from COVID-19 in areas where people gather in numbers — including restaurants and churches — together with mask-wearing and social distancing. A strict, two-week lockdown has curbed the record-high number of infections, although some health officials had wanted restrictions to be slightly extended. Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou told a news conference that the primary purpose of the rollback that starts May 10 is to “lift the spirits of the public after months of sacrifices,” without jeopardizing public health by abolishing all restrictions at one go. He said some restrictions will remain in place until at least the end of June, when authorities hope to have 60-65% of the population vaccinated. As of next week, people will no longer need to secure text message permission to leave home. There will be caps on capacity at bars, restaurants, malls and parks that will be gradually increased from 30% to 50% over the next few weeks. Retail stores, gyms and hair dressing salons will also reopen. But Ioannou said people will need to display to police either a vaccination card, a health services text message proving convalescence from COVID-19 or a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours prior to an outing at any place where people gather en masse. Some exceptions will be made, including for going to supermarkets, pharmacies, beaches, parks and outdoor farmers' markets where people will be simply required to wear masks and keep distances. Ioannou said the measure will be “temporary” and authorities are working on a smartphone application to simplify the procedure. Authorities said already a third of Cyprus’ population of roughly 875,000 people have received at least one shot as part of a ramped-up vaccination program that’s seen as key to buoying the tourism-reliant country’s chances of attracting more vacationers. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Lobbying by Poland and Hungary has led to the removal of the phrase "gender equality" from a draft declaration on advancing social cohesion that the EU is due to publish on Friday, according to diplomats and documents seen by Reuters. Poland's nationalist ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and its eurosceptic ally, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, promote what they call traditional social values at home and have repeatedly clashed with their more liberal Western peers over the rights of women, gays and migrants.
A 51-year-old man is facing a host of charges after allegedly blowing past police in a construction zone at a high rate of speed — and with open liquor and pot in his car. According to the OPP, it happened at 9:55 p.m. on Wednesday evening, in a construction zone along Highway 400 and King Road. OPP media relations officer Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told CBC News that officers were coming from a fatal accident when they saw a vehicle coming up behind them at a high rate of speed. "The vehicle went right by the officer in a fully marked in a construction zone where workers were present," Schmidt said. "The officer was able to keep an eye on him and get him stopped." According to police, the man was stopped going 195 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. Open liquor and "readily available cannabis" were found in the car, police said in a tweet. A Richmond Hill man now faces charges of dangerous driving, refusing to provide a breath sample, and having open liquor and pot in his car. The OPP says the driver will automatically have his license suspended for 90 days and his vehicle will be impounded for seven days.
A Mississauga gym that was the subject of a Global News report remains open three weeks after City of Mississauga staff tried to have it closed down. As Seán O’Shea reports, other Ontario gyms are staying open during the stay-at-home order by claiming they are seeing clients with disabilities only.
A former Saskatoon police officer has joined the ranks of "crackpots" who spread COVID-19 misinformation online, says a professor who specializes in social media. University of Regina professor of educational technology and media Alec Couros says these conspiracy theorists will do their best to "leverage" the statements made in an eight-minute Facebook video by former officer Nathan Lynchuk. "They reject most science. They reject most experts. But when they find a dissenter, they latch onto them because it fits their particular narrative," Couros said. Lynchuk was identified at a recent anti-mask children's festival in downtown Saskatoon. A crowd of maskless parents hugged and talked without physical distancing while their kids played games and got their faces painted. Saskatoon police have issued nearly a dozen tickets so far to those in attendance for violating public health laws. The current legal maximum gathering size is 10 people. In the Facebook video posted this week, Lynchuk said he was assigned temporary desk duty and told he'd have to be tested while the matter was investigated. Lynchuk said he decided to quit. A large crowd attended a maskless children's festival at a downtown Saskatoon park on Saturday in violation of public health laws which limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people. No tickets have been issued.(CBC) Lynchuk said the children's event was simply a group of "normal people" who believe in freedom. He dismissed the seriousness of COVID, saying most people who contract it don't get sick. He said he didn't want to follow the government's agenda anymore. "I haven't been believing in what's being enforced," Lynchuk. Lynchuk could not be reached for comment Thursday. Couros said Lynchuk is "parroting" many of the anti-science conspiracy theories floating around the internet. Couros said any message from a former police officer will have an impact, but that he hopes it will be limited. "It becomes very powerful, especially for those who already believe and who already drink this Kool-Aid. It may bring a few people over, but most people will probably see right through this," he said. Public health physician Dr. Cory Neudorf said COVID-19 being a major threat should be obvious to everyone, especially to police officers and other front-line emergency responders. He said Lynchuk's video makes it harder to educate the public and keep everyone safe. "It just adds to confusion for people. I don't think this is the view of the majority of police or their leadership," Neudorf said. University of Regina professor Alec Courose says COVID-19 conspiracy theorists will latch on to anyone in authority who makes a statement matching their anti-science beliefs.(Submitted by Alec Couros) Neudorf said COVID-19 restrictions are an attempt to keep people safe, similar to impaired driving or speeding laws. He said they need to be enforced to be taken seriously. Neudorf agreed laws must not infringe on freedoms unnecessarily, but said COVID-19 laws are a temporary, reasonable response to a global threat. The Saskatoon Police Service declined to comment on Lynchuk or the video, but did say in an email that police are "committed to upholding and enforcing the restrictions under the Public Health Order in our community's fight against COVID-19." The Saskatchewan Health Authority also sent an email response. It said the SHA is "highly concerned" about these continued "freedom" rallies and anti-masking events spreading misinformation. "This is not only offensive but dangerous, as it publicly downplays the significant risk of harm and death created by community transmission of this virus," read the statement.
The Canadian Coast Guard will get two new heavy icebreakers, the Liberal government announced today — a significant decision that critics say is meant to avoid making political waves ahead of the next federal election. The decision is expected to fulfil a promise made more than a dozen years ago by the former Conservative government to build one Polar-class icebreaker at Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver. The Liberals also promised today to build a second vessel at Davie Shipbuilding in Levis, Que., once the company is formally admitted to the National Shipbuilding Strategy. By promising two ships and splitting the work, the government avoids the political consequences of having to decide between competing shipyards in B.C. and Quebec in what could be an election year. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet today accused the Liberals of playing politics. That charge was denied by the three federal cabinet ministers taking part in today's virtual press conference; they insisted the addition of the second vessel is about securing the Arctic, providing support for remote communities and maintaining a year-round presence in the Far North. Two years ago, the federal government set aside $15.7 billion to rebuild the aging coast guard fleet. Many of its vessels are more than three decades old. No cost estimate for the new icebreakers was released. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, who is responsible for the coast guard, said price tags will be released once contracts are negotiated with the individual yards. She also pledged the ships would be built concurrently, with the first ship entering service in 2030 and the second one following soon afterwards. The new ships are intended to replace the coast guard's principal heavy icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, which is almost 55 years old. A 'game-changer' "The new Polar icebreakers will be a game-changer for Canada's marine industry, both in their construction and the difference that a stronger presence in the Arctic will make," said Jordan, who was joined for the announcement by Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez and Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. "Built by Canadian shipyards, these vessels will enable the coast guard to conduct critical science, supply and other missions in our Arctic region year-round. Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we're putting thousands of Canadians to work building a fleet that will serve those communities for decades." The future of the heavy icebreaker plan has been in question since the summer of 2019 when the single-ship program, originally given to Seaspan Shipyards, was mysteriously dropped from the company's work schedule. WATCH: Fisheries minister announces plans to build two new icebreakers Both Seaspan and Davie have lobbied hard to build the ship, already designated as the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. That vessel was originally budgeted by the Conservative government at $721 million and was supposed to have been delivered four years ago. But the retooling of the Vancouver yard, technical problems and construction delays caused the program to be pushed back repeatedly. Federal officials said today that, so far, three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels (OFSV) and 18 smaller vessels have been delivered to the coast guard under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, along with two refitted medium interim icebreakers. Crews work on two Canadian Coast Guard vessels at the Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards in West Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Those medium icebreakers were converted from civilian use by Davie — which has attempted to set itself apart from the rest of the industry by creating a National Icebreaker Centre, which focuses on Arctic research and maritime engineering. In order to hold on to its contract, Seaspan has focused its lobbying efforts on the economic benefits current and future ship construction brings to B.C. The company continued with that theme on Thursday in its response to the federal announcement today. "This is an important day for Seaspan employees and suppliers, and for shipbuilding in Canada and B.C.," said Mark Lamarre, the chief executive officer of Seaspan Shipyards. "With the Polar program, we can keep the [National Shipbuilding Strategy] working as the important economic engine and strategic national asset it was designed to be." In a statement, the chief executive officer of the Davie Shipyard said the company is pleased to be building the "flagship" of the Canadian Coast Guard. "We also fully agree with Canada that time is now of the essence," said James Davies. "We must start the project without delay to ensure the Polar offers immediate, material and sustainable stimulus to the pandemic recovery." The federal Conservatives were cautious in their reaction, calling the commitment to Seaspan a re-anncouncement of something the former government had engineered, and pointing out that the inclusion of Davie was still tentative because the company hasn't been admitted to the shipbuilding program yet. "The announcement made by the Trudeau Liberals in no way guarantees that Davie Shipyards in Quebec will also get a contract to build a heavy icebreaker," said Pierre Paul-Hus, the Conservative critic for Public Services and Procurement Canada. "Conservatives will support a National Shipbuilding Strategy that includes Davie Shipyards, and its dual goal of providing ships for our Navy and Coast Guard while securing jobs for Canadian industry." What the party will not support, he said, is "repeated and costly delays," which he blamed on the Liberal government. The plan comes a little more than two months after the federal auditor general complained that the overall shipbuilding strategy, which includes both the navy and the coast guard, had been plagued by mismanagement and delays.
OTTAWA — Liberal MP Anthony Housefather says the federal government will not be taking part in 20th-anniversary events for an international conference where Israel was singled out for condemnation. In a Twitter post today, the lawmaker says Ottawa confirmed it will avoid the gathering in South Africa known as Durban IV, which he says "continues to be used to push anti-Israel sentiment and as a forum for anti-Semitism." The United States and Australia have also stated they will steer clear of events commemorating the 2001 Durban Declaration. The coming event, slated for Sept. 22 and authorized by the United Nations, will mark 20 years since the World Conference on Racism in Durban. The initial conference was consumed by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery, prompting the U.S. and Israel to walk out during a meeting over a draft resolution that censured Israel and likened Zionism to racism. B'nai Brith Canada chief executive Michael Mostyn says he is "very encouraged" that Ottawa continues to boycott what his group calls a "profoundly flawed" process tinged with anti-Semitism. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
This item is part of Watching Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News correspondents reporting on U.S. politics and developments that affect Canadians. What's new There's new political muscle in the United States pushing for a return to more regular travel between Canada and the United States after more than a year of pandemic-related disruptions. The top member of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer, has written a letter to members of the Biden administration making several demands regarding the border. He's asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for four things. One is a detailed Canada-U.S. plan — released as soon as possible — explaining what rules and health-related benchmarks will guide the return to non-essential travel. He said this should add clarity and transparency to a process that's confused and frustrated people. And in the interim period, he immediately wants to see Canada and the U.S. allow more people to travel. Schumer wants the definition of essential travellers expanded to include vaccinated people who have property, educational, medical or business reasons for crossing the border. He also wants clarity for boaters and, finally, he wants a safety plan for border agents including access to testing, vaccines and protective equipment. Why it matters to Canadians and cross-border travellers Other lawmakers from Schumer's border state of New York have been making similar calls with little sign of progress. Neither national government has made it a priority to articulate a reopening plan for the border. But Schumer's entry into the debate is a sign of increased pressure on the national governments to at least begin articulating their longer-term intentions. "Having endured one of the deadliest chapters in New York's history, the residents along the border are ready to turn the page and re-establish the familiar links to their loved ones, their property and their prosperity," Schumer's letter said. "It is now incumbent on the federal government to do their part and aid their desperate desire to fully rebuild and recover. This recovery cannot be done, and I will not rest, until bilateral collaboration to safely reopen the United States and Canadian land border is an utmost priority and a plan for a full reopening is publicly released." Sen. Chuck Schumer says New Yorkers want life to return to normal. Indoor dining is expanding closer to full capacity this week, and here Schumer takes a bite of a sandwich at Junior's restaurant in Times Square in New York City on Thursday. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters) One reason for Schumer's optimism about reopening is the progress the U.S. has made on residents receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Nearly 50 per cent of adults in New York state are fully vaccinated, and indoor dining is expanding this week to near-full capacity in New York City. The United States remains far ahead of Canada in its share of fully vaccinated residents. However, with vaccine hesitancy becoming an issue in many states, the pace is slowing down, and Canada is steadily catching up in the rate of residents having received a first dose.
EDMONTON — Alberta's top doctor says it's very likely that second doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be offered within less than four months of the first as supplies ramp up. The province authorized a 16-week interval in order to get as many people protected with their first shots as possible while vaccine shipments remained uncertain. For Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the drug makers say the gaps between doses should be three weeks and one month, respectively. "I want to be clear that that four-month interval was always a maximum," Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday. "We were never planning to require a wait of four months. It was really about we would not have anyone go beyond four months, but if we can offer it sooner, we will." People on immunosuppressive drugs, like chemotherapy, are already being offered their second shots in a shortened time frame, Hinshaw said. She noted that for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, there is evidence that a 12-week wait between doses is more effective than a shorter interval. As of Monday, all Albertans born in 2009 and earlier will be able to book their first shot. On Thursday, some 100,000 people born in 1991 and earlier booked their first vaccine appointments. After that, the province will be able to start offering followup doses, Hinshaw said. So far, 1.73 million doses of vaccine have been given in Alberta. Alberta recorded 2,211 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Thursday. There were 654 people in hospital, including 146 in intensive care. More than 11 per cent of tests came back positive. Hinshaw also reiterated that the province is no longer testing every positive COVID-19 swab for variants. Instead, labs are testing a representative sample. "This frees up crucial lab capacity to ensure that people get their COVID-19 test results back as soon as possible, which is the most important thing we can do with our lab capacity to minimize further transmission." She added that anyone with a positive test should assume they have contracted a variant, as variants are now dominant in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. — By Lauren Krugel in Calgary. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The federal government is being asked to give new and soon-to-be moms a Mother's Day gift by closing a hole in the safety net preventing some from having their maternity leave fully covered. As is, eligible workers need a minimum number of hours on the job to qualify for employment insurance benefits, including maternity and parental leave. But many moms have been unable to work because of pandemic-related job losses, and been caught by the EI safety net. When a new mother receiving regular benefits gives birth, they have to file a new claim for maternity and parental benefits, meaning they need to meet the hours requirement anew, even though they have been unable to work because of the pandemic. Opposition critics say they worry new parents might be forced to stay home without income support, or potentially be forced to look for work before they're ready and able. The Conservatives are asking the Liberals to allow expecting mothers to qualify for their full employment insurance parental leave, even if they are currently receiving federal unemployment aid. The call follows a similar request made by the federal New Democrats to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough that said a current workaround to allow unemployed mothers to qualify for EI wasn't working. Qualtrough told the House of Commons on Thursday that she would look at how to improve the EI system for workers, and mothers in particular. "Women, of course as we know, they've been hit the hardest through this pandemic," Qualtrough said in question period. "We are there for all Canadian workers, women in particular, and we are committed to modernizing our EI system to be even more there for them." It was just ahead of Mother's Day last year that the Liberals dealt with another unexpected flaw in the pandemic safety net where women who identified as pregnant on their EI applications weren't automatically moved over to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Since the EI system kicked back up in late September, just over 298,000 parents have received maternity and parental leave benefits for a combined value of nearly $2.7 billion, according to the latest federal data. A handful of mothers-to-be worried they won't be able to qualify for their full benefits told Conservative critic Raquel Dancho their stories during a virtual roundtable on Thursday morning. Some spoke about not knowing how they would pay the bills, expressed frustrations at ongoing parental leave issues, and highlighted how they're now scrambling to make the hours hoping that they can work enough. "These are real situations with women and men ... trying to figure out how to do this at a very uncertain time," Dancho said at the end of the roundtable. "It's an overwhelming time as it is, let alone now, and I think a lot of you really nailed it when you said, you know, parents have dealt with so much this year and now this is just one more thing and deeply unfair." Federal officials had come up with a workaround to the hours issue, giving a blanket, one-time credit to applicants who weren't able to work because of the pandemic and needed federal aid. In a letter last month to Qualtrough, NDP critic Daniel Blaikie noted some expectant mothers had the credit applied to their EI claims even though they had enough hours, which then made it impossible for them to have enough hours to access their maternity leave once their baby comes. He suggested the government consider giving expecting parents an option to set aside their one-time credit of insurable hours to use instead for qualifying for maternity and parental leave. "It's so frustrating to not see any kind of co-ordinated and systematic policy response on the part of the government," Blaikie said in an interview. "There's more than one way to solve this problem. What you need is that will and the volition on the part of government to make it a priority, and I can't figure out why that's not something that they're willing to focus in on." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
A citizens' group is accusing Canada's nuclear industry of using its financial might to groom a declining Ontario farm community into becoming a willing host for the country's most dangerous radioactive waste. In a pamphlet about the proposed disposal site that was published last year, the Ontario municipality of South Bruce —which encompasses the farming communities of Teeswater, Mildmay, Formosa and Salem — says it's "on the decline." The pamphlet tells of a shrinking population, where rural towns and village "downtowns are fading from what they used to be," with vacant store windows, big infrastructure bills and few prospects for new economic growth. Protecting Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste, a grassroots citizens' group, accuses the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) of taking advantage of the decline by spending millions of dollars on "goodwill" projects the community couldn't afford on its own. Bill Noll, a resident of Teeswater and the vice-president of Protecting Our Waterways, said the money has done a lot of good — it's helped find small-town doctors, boosted senior care, upgraded wells, and even bought local firefighters lifesaving new safety equipment. Money 'divorced' from project, group says "Its strictly a goodwill gesture," said Noll. "That money is not tied to anything to do with the project. It is completely divorced. Why would you spend one and a half million dollars on a community if you didn't expect something back in return?" School officials pose with NWMO relationship manager Paul Austin, second from the left, at a cheque presentation at Hillcrest Central School in Teeswater. The NWMO has been bankrolling community projects for years through a 'goodwill' fund.(Steven Travale/Municipality of South Bruce) The project Noll is referring to is a $23-billion nuclear disposal site where the NWMO wants to inter some three million spent nuclear fuel bundles in a sprawling network of tunnels and holes 500 metres below the ground. South Bruce is one of two Ontario communities — the other is Ignace, about 2½ hours northwest of Thunder Bay — under consideration for what the NWMO is calling the "deep geological repository." The NWMO says it's working with local communities in selecting the site in 2023. In the case of South Bruce, test drilling recently began north of the dairy town of Teeswater to see if the ancient bedrock is viable enough. But funds from the NWMO have been flowing in since 2012, when the local council volunteered to be considered as a host. A NWMO diagram shows the vast underground network of chambers that would permanently hold spent nuclear fuel deep below the Earth. The complex would cost $23 billion and take 40 years to complete. (Nuclear Waste Management Organization) According to a March 2021 report from South Bruce Treasurer Kendra Reinhart, the community has received more than $3.2 million from the NWMO since 2012. It's been used to pay for everything from St John Ambulance training, to offsetting extra costs of the pandemic, to the salaries of municipal employees. The report didn't include all the money, and noted several sources of NWMO funding were omitted. For instance, left out were requests for additional support, such as the $1.5 million the municipality is seeking from a $4-million NWMO-sponsored investment fund to help offset the cost of expanding a local sewage treatment plant. Michelle Stein, another Teeswater resident and president of Protect Our Waterways, said the money has become so ubiquitous that on March 23, the same day the treasury report was presented to South Bruce council, NWMO appeared on the council agenda 121 times. Mayor says community 'foolish not to' take money "If you look through our council agendas, its commonplace now to see an organization now like a community centre or fire hall to put in a request for a project, and included in their request is, 'Could we please have some money from the community well-being fund?'" The NWMO plans to take spent nuclear fuel bundles encased in copper containers, then embed them in holes bored 500 metres below ground.(Nuclear Waste Management Organization) "Our community has really started to rely on the money from the NWMO," said Stein. Stein and Noll said the more the municipality of South Bruce becomes intertwined financially with the NWMO, the harder it will be for the community to disentangle itself by saying no to the nuclear disposal site, lest it cut off the community's newfound source of wealth. "We are not depending on the money we get from the NWMO to run the municipality. I can't stress that enough," South Bruce Mayor Robert Buckle told CBC News on Wednesday. Buckle said that aside from the expense of exploring the proposal, the community is using the money for other projects he described as "not necessary to have, but are nice to have." Critics say by taking the money, the municipality is undermining its official position, which has neither been for or against hosting the nuclear disposal site. Buckle disagrees, saying the municipality is open to explore any and all opportunities that come its way and, if an organization such as NWMO is willing to pay the expenses, then the town should take full advantage. "You are foolish not to," he said. "That's just business." In the end, Buckle said, it should be the people who decide, but only if and when the NWMO picks Teeswater as its preferred location, and the decision should go to a referendum. "This is my personal view," he said, noting council has yet to take an official position. Until then, he said, the community will continue to take the money until the NWMO is set to make its official announcement sometime in 2023. Nuclear industry wants to build 'positive legacy' The NWMO said it is fully prepared to help shoulder the cost of the project as well as help build infrastructure capacity in South Bruce, if the community decides it's willing to host the project. Firefighters with the South Bruce Fire Rescue service pose in new gear purchased by the NWMO, which is spending millions in the community on everything from playgrounds to finding rural doctors with its 'goodwill' fund. (Steven Travale/Municipality of South Bruce) "We are committed to leaving a positive legacy in all the communities in which we engage," said Lise Morton, vice-president of site selection for the NWMO. Morton said all of the documentation for the spending as well as the financial agreements with communities participating in the site selection process are fully transparent and available online. Still, critics charge that communities with few prospects for economic development may grow dependent on NWMO money, something Morton said she wouldn't speak to. "That's really not for NWMO to determine or comment on. Really the municipality needs to ensure they're following their requirements under the Municipal Act." She said the main objective of the NWMO, which is a non-profit organization, is to leave the potential host communities better off than when the process began, even if they say no. But for Stein and Noll, who co-chair Protecting Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste, no isn't the answer they worry about when it comes to the $23-billion project or the 700 jobs that would come with it. "With such a large influx of employees and such a large influx of traffic going on, we're going to see a significant change to the culture of the community," said Noll. "The population of South Bruce is only 5,600 people. When you bring that amount of people, there's going to be major changes going on."
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 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
The municipality of North Cowichan, B.C., is stepping up patrols of the region's forest reserve, after an increase in timber theft in the area, which lies 70 kilometres north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Since January, approximately 100 trees, including Douglas fir and Western red cedars have been poached and local residents and officials believe the spike is likely tied to the surge in lumber prices. North Cowichan resident Larry Pynn stumbled upon a large cedar tree stump along slabs of crudely cut wood while he was out for a walk two weeks ago in a forested area known as Stoney Hill. "I immediately thought that this had to be the work of a poacher," he said in an interview with CBC News. "Something like this is not being taken for firewood. It's a valuable tree." Pynn estimated the tree was 87 years old because he counted the rings on the remaining stump. At least four Western red cedars and dozens of Douglas fir trees have been cut down and removed in a number of areas within the forest reserve in North Cowichan. (Submitted by Larry Pynn) Not far from it, the mossy ground had been torn up by what appeared to be ATV tracks. Local officials say it's not clear who took the tree or how they managed to get it out of the woods, but it is one of several large trees that have been poached since the beginning of the year in the North Cowichan Municipal Forest Reserve. Community forest The 5,000-hectare forest is owned by the municipality and is part of the coastal Douglas fir ecosystem, which is considered endangered because of logging and development. While the area has been logged in the past, the activity is on hold while the community and nearby First Nations discuss how to manage the forest going forward. Municipal officials say they have learned of several timber thefts in recent months, including one incident where 50 Douglas fir trees were taken. "It was definitely a concentrated effort," said Shaun Mason, the municipal forester for North Cowichan. "That is something we haven't seen in the past before and what is more concerning is that other areas are popping up despite our efforts to try and curb it." The municipality says it has stepped up patrols and increased signage as a result of the increasing number of trees being poached.(Briar Stewart/CBC) Mason said patrols are now taking place in the forest seven days a week, up from about once a week. However, he said it is a challenge to try to cover a vast and densely wooded area. The municipality is also considering installing cameras at certain locations in the forest. Under North Cowichan's bylaws, a person can be fined $200 if they "remove forest products without a permit." Penalties questioned When it comes to trees taken from provincial Crown land, the penalty could be as much as $1 million, but legal experts say those who are caught are usually fined just $173. "It's really important that people feel that if they are caught, that there will be real consequences and a $200 penalty doesn't cut it," said Andrew Gage, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law who reviewed a provincial database that detailed the fines levied by the province. The B.C. ministry responsible for forests said that in the past 10 years, it has issued 728 penalties to people who removed or destroyed Crown timber without authorization. Together, the fines totalled more than $500,000. WATCH: Resident Larry Pynn describes why he thinks trees are being stolen: Soaring lumber prices In North Cowichan, officials are considering increasing the financial penalties to try to deter theft at a time when lumber prices are soaring and even selling firewood can be lucrative. According to the provincial government, the current price for two-by-fours of B.C. spruce, pine or fir is $1,420 per thousand board feet. In 2020, the average price was $570. Cedar, which is more valuable, is currently going for $1,700 per thousand board feet. Dozens of Douglas fir trees have been found cut down in numerous sites in the forest reserve.(Submitted by Larry Pynn) Terry Sunderland, a professor in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia, said he believes rising prices are the main driver for timber theft, and it is crime of opportunity with low technical requirements: the only equipment a poacher would need is a chainsaw and a way to haul the wood out, such as a pickup truck. He said in order to move and sell timber legally, wood has to be imprinted with a stamp issued by the province. However a growing demand for bespoke products like rustic tables could be fuelling a black market. Damage left behind For Icel Dobell, a North Cowichan resident who roams the forest reserve daily and is co-founder of a local group trying to preserve it, the issue is much bigger than just the missing trees. Those who are hauling away the wood are driving trucks and quads into sensitive ecological areas. Icel Dobell has been organizing a movement to permanently protect the community forest and is disappointed someone has been logging it on their own. (Briar Stewart/CBC) "The biggest issue is this damage, this destruction," she said referring to the muddy ruts in the ground. She also wants to see an increase in penalties, but said the community is mobilizing and keeping an eye on the woods. "More and more people are watching and so hopefully that will be another deterrent." WATCH: Tree thefts spark calls for more enforcement:
SAINT-MICHEL-DES-SAINTS, Que. — A man and a child were found dead on Wednesday after their car went off the road and plunged into a river in Quebec's Lanaudiere region. Quebec provincial police confirmed today that the bodies of Jonas Dubé, 29, and Weyko Jacob, 7, were discovered in the submerged car in St-Michel-des-Saints, about 170 kilometres north of Montreal. The Atikamekw band council of Manawan said in a press release the father and son were members of the community who had been missing since Tuesday night. A citizen called police at about 1 p.m. on Wednesday about a car that had skidded off the road and gone into the water. Officers on the scene found the car upside down and underwater and called in fire and rescue services, who discovered the bodies. Police say a collision specialist is investigating the cause and time of the accident, which took place sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. A mechanical inspection has been ordered for the car. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A finding that wine from the West Bank can be labelled as a product of Israel was not reasoned properly and should now be thrashed out again, the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled. As a result, the appellate court said the politically sensitive case, which at one point threatened to put Middle East politics on trial, should go back to the Complaints and Appeals Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. "The administrative decision maker must demonstrate that its interpretation of the relevant provisions is consistent with their text, context and purpose," Chief Justice Marc Noel said. "Here this demonstration is totally lacking." The case arose in 2017, when Dr. David Kattenburg, of Winnipeg, raised concerns that wines produced by Psagot and Shiloh Winery, located in the West Bank, were from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, not Israel itself. He argued the wines should not, under Canadian law, be branded as Product of Israel. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency initially sided with him. However, the agency reversed course after some Jewish groups protested and Global Affairs Canada said the West Bank could be considered Israeli territory under the Canada-Israel free trade agreement. In July 2019, a Federal Court judge found the settlements were not part of the State of Israel and the labelling was therefore misleading and deceptive. She sent the case back to the food inspection agency, saying Canadian consumers needed to know exactly what they were buying. "One peaceful way in which people can express their political views is through their purchasing decisions," then-judge Anne Mactavish wrote, prompting the federal government to appeal. In its analysis, the Federal Court of Appeal said the food agency was required to interpret and apply Canadian laws to decide whether the wine labels were indeed false or misleading. The view of Global Affairs that the West Bank falls under the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement played a "determinative role" in the food agency's decision that the labelling was legal, Noel said. However, that was not enough to decide whether the agency's ruling had been reasonable, he said. "We simply have no idea how the agency construed its legislation in coming to the conclusion that the labels are compliant," Noel said. Noel said the agency, in taking a fresh look at the case, will want to hear from the affected parties, including Psagot, which had been unaware of the case until it reached Federal Court. Noel also made it clear the agency is not bound by Mactavish's reasons. "It will be open to the agency, as the decider of the merits of the labelling issue, to come to whatever outcome it thinks appropriate, provided that its interpretation and application of the relevant provisions to the facts in issue can be seen to be reasonable," Noel said. Psagot bills itself as an award-winning winery 15 minutes north of Jerusalem. It says its wines are produced by Israelis under auspices of an Israeli company in an Israeli community subject to Israeli law in Israeli territory. "Put simply, Psagot Winery proudly produces wines that are products of Israel," it says. The winery said it was pleased the Federal Court of Appeal had now sent the case back to the food agency with direction the lower court's decision was not binding, and that Psagot can make submissions. Dimitri Lascaris, the lawyer who acted for Kattenburg, said the government had again failed to persuade the court that the food agency had acted reasonably. The agency will not succeed in justifying its decision, he said. "The reason for this is simple: As Canada’s government has long acknowledged, the West Bank is not part of Israel," Lascaris said. "The settlements in which these wines produced are, in the words of the U.N. Security Council, a 'flagrant violation of international law'." Some Jewish groups called the ruling a victory, with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs saying the case was "part of a broader campaign to boycott Israel and Israeli goods." Michael Bueckert, vice-president of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, said the organization was disappointed. "There's no question that it is both false and misleading to apply "Product of Israel" labels to goods from illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank," Bueckert said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
York police have charged three Brampton men in connection with an alleged attempt to defraud an 80-year-old woman of $10,000. In a news release, police say the woman received a call on May 3 from one of the accused claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. Police allege the man instructed the woman to withdraw $10,000 from the bank in two $5,000 increments and send the money to a Brampton address through a courier. Investigators say the victim was threatened with arrest if she didn't comply. York police say they intercepted the package the next day and when one of the three accused arrived to pick it up , investigators arrested him at the scene. Through the investigation, police say they later found that two additional suspects were involved. Both men were arrested and charged. The men, two 19-year-olds and one 21 year-old, face charges of extortion, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and possession of property through crime of over $5,000. They're to appear in court in June. The money said to be stolen from the woman was returned to her by police.
Taxi drivers and Uber drivers perform the same work, but Uber's categorization as a tech company has contributed to the historical stigma against taxi drivers.
The Canadian dollar hit its highest level in almost four years on Thursday, buoyed by high commodity prices The loonie was changing hands at 82.08 cents US early in the afternoon, its highest level since September 2017. Two broad trends are combining to push the loonie higher. First, the improving outlook for the global economy coming out of COVID-19 has pushed up prices for commodities that Canada has a lot of. Lumber prices have hit record highs due to a construction boom, and the price of a barrel of the North American oil benchmark, known as West Texas Intermediate, topped $65 US this week, its highest level since the pandemic started. The price of wheat has hit its highest price since 2013, and copper prices are at a nine-year high, too. An index of commodity prices has risen by 37 per cent in the past six months alone Bank of Canada economist Doug Porter noted recently. "This six-month run rivals anything we have seen in the past 50 years," he said. Booming commodity prices are a boon for Canada's economy, which is pushing up the value of the country's currency. Potential of higher rates That commodity boom is happening as Canada's central bank shows signs of hiking its benchmark interest rate far sooner than most other countries. At its policy meeting last week, the Bank of Canada said it would slow its pace of bond buying, a sign it thinks the economy may soon need less stimulus. Trading in financial instruments known as swaps, that bet on rate decisions, implies the market thinks the Bank of Canada may hike rates as many as two times by the end of next year. "Meanwhile, you have the U.S. Federal Reserve showing no inclination to go down that route," said David Doyle, economist and market strategist with Macquarie Group, in an interview with CBC News. If Canada raises its rate while other countries do not, that makes Canada look more attractive for investors as a place to put their money to work. So money would pour into the country, and by extension, push up the value of the currency. "The Canadian dollar tends to respond positively to those circumstances," Doyle said. Audrey Childe-Freeman, a foreign exchange strategist with Bloomberg Intelligence, thinks Canada's currency could be poised for further gains. "In a … currency market that's gone back to being mainly driven by yields and growth prospects, and providing … commodity prices consolidate or push up more, we believe the loonie may continue to outperform," she said in a recent note to clients.
Canada's most populous provinces showed promising signs of containing their COVID-19 cases Thursday, as pandemic urgency shifted to surges in Alberta and Nova Scotia, and efforts to vaccinate teenagers before the next school year. Ontario reported 3,424 new cases Thursday and 26 more deaths linked to the virus. While that's an increase from 2,941 reported Wednesday, the province's seven-day average dropped to 3,369 from a record-high 4,348 on April 19. The slight levelling off came as the province said it had administered a record 141,000 vaccines Wednesday, while over in Quebec, Health Minister Christian Dube noted declines in case counts, hospitalizations and test positivity rates were pushing his province "in the right direction." Hospitalizations there dropped by eight, to 580, and 144 people were in intensive care, a decrease of eight. Eyes remained on Nova Scotia, however, where an alarming upswing pushed daily counts to a pandemic-high of 182 on Thursday, following a 175-case tally a day before. Alberta meanwhile, reported 2,271 cases on Wednesday, as the province waited to see whether new containment measures announced early this week would make a difference. Vaccine strategy and lockdown measures are playing a role in Ontario's dropping daily average, infectious disease doctor Zain Chagla said in an interview. And promising provincial data on vaccine effectiveness may give other jurisdictions hope things can turn around quickly, especially if inoculations are prioritized to those who need them most. "The big thing now is vaccinating people in places where density of transmission is high," Chagla said. "So having that mentality of, we're not only vaccinating to a particular age but scaling vaccines in populations that have been hit hard throughout this pandemic." Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, said "vaccines alone are not the silver bullet" to easing spread in Alberta, which has seen skyrocketing infection rates and a health-care system that's "beginning to be overloaded." He said "strong public health measures" are also necessary. Nova Scotia, which was mostly spared by COVID-19 in earlier stages of the pandemic, added new restrictive measures last week, including a $2,000 fine for anyone caught leaving their counties for non-essential reasons. Premier Iain Rankin said he was "frustrated" by his province's rising case numbers. "I don't know what more I can say to Nova Scotians to make sure they take this issue seriously," he said. Quebec reported 907 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, along with seven more deaths attributed to the virus. Nunavut reported 12 new cases, all in the 8,000-population capital of Iqaluit, with chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson saying house parties were to blame. Data released by Public Health Ontario this week showed how effective Canada's approved COVID-19 vaccines have been. The agency found that from Dec. 14, 2020 — the beginning of the rollout — to April 17, only 2,223 people tested positive for COVID-19 out of almost 3.5 million people vaccinated with at least one dose in Ontario. Ontario says it expects 65 per cent of adults to have their first dose by the end of May, and eligibility could soon open to teenagers following Health Canada's authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab in 12- to -15-year-olds on Wednesday. Other provinces are making similar plans. The Northwest Territories said it would open vaccine eligibility for teens starting Thursday, while Alberta will allow booking up from that age range as of Monday. Manitoba said it will start vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds on May 21. Dube said he's waiting for details on a formal plan but said youth between the ages of 12 and 17 can expect to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June and be fully vaccinated by the time they return to school in September. Dr. Anna Banerji, a pediatrician and infectious disease expert with the University of Toronto, said vaccinating teenagers marks an important step in Canada's rollout. "Just having adults immunized is not enough to get to that herd immunity point," Banerji said. While kids are less likely to suffer severe disease from a COVID infection, Banerji said they have played a role in spreading the virus. Canada achieved a new milestone in its vaccination program this week, surpassing the vaccination rate in the United States for the first time. The Our World in Data project, which tracks vaccinations around the world, says the United States injected doses at a rate of 6.4 doses for every 1,000 people on Wednesday. Canada injected 6.6 doses for every 1,000 people. Canada had vaccinated more than 14.5 million people with at least one dose as of Thursday, which represents 41 per cent of the adult population. Njoo said he believes there's a "new energy" and "new optimism" around the country's rollout. "The overall goal has always been to vaccinate as many eligible Canadians as soon as possible," he said. "So I think we're on track and I think it bodes well for the summer." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press