Vancouver is experiencing a spate of gang-related shootings — one of the victims was just 14 years old. And now, a former gang member is trying to help.
Vancouver is experiencing a spate of gang-related shootings — one of the victims was just 14 years old. And now, a former gang member is trying to help.
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Starting Thursday, non-essential travellers who are already required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test on the Windsor side of the land border must participate in on-site testing at the Ambassador Bridge or Windsor-Detroit Tunnel. Trailers in the duty-free parking lots of both the Ambassador Bridge and Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, set up by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross, will be used for tests of non-essential, Canadian travellers coming back into Canada — as well as those who have landed from out of the country. Testing will begin Thursday at 7 a.m. at both the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge. An onsite testing trailer can be seen in the duty free store parking lot at the Ambassador Bridge. (Sanjay Maru/CBC) "This won't affect [essential workers]. They'll pull up to the customs lanes. They'll say they're an essential worker and they'll do what they've done for the past year," said Chris Tremblay, general manager for Windsor Detroit Borderlink, the company which operates the tunnel. Melanie Soler, vice president of emergency management response operations for the Canadian Red Cross, said individuals who partake in on-site testing at the land border will be given two testing kits. The first kit will be self-administered by the traveller inside the testing trailer. "Our personnel will observe them administering their own sample and packaging their own sample," said Soler. "Once the traveler deposits that sample in a safe and sanitary spot, our personnel will put that in a refrigeration package to make sure it gets to the lab for testing." It's not mandatory for individuals to be supervised by Red Cross staff when they self-administer their "day one" test, but the option is there in case they have any questions about it or need assistance, she added. In fact, a non-essential traveller can self-administer the "day one" swab in their personal quarantine location, if desired, according to PHAC. The general manager of the Ambassador Bridge says while it may seem redundant to come to the border with proof a COVID-19 test result only to be swabbed again on site, it's an added measure to keep people safe.(Sanjay Maru/CBC) After the first test is done, the traveller will be given a second testing kit which they will self-administer on "day 10" of quarantine. "The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading the collection of samples from travellers at land borders in coordination with federal partners including Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Canada Border Services Agency," said PHAC in a statement. In all instances of on-site testing, travellers will be pulled away from the flow of essential traffic to ensure border flow keeps moving. 'A lot can happen within 72 hours' Since Feb. 15, non-essential travellers entering Canada through the land border have been required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted 72 hours before arrival. According to the Public Health of Agency of Canada, this on-site testing effort will help travellers "meet day one arrival requirements." But that doesn't mean on-site testing will replace the need for a pre-arrival test. Non-essential travellers will still have to show up to the border with proof of a negative result even if they participate in on-site testing. In fact, travellers without that pre-arrival test result may be directed to a designated quarantine facility by PHAC officials, according to the CBSA. COVID-19 testing trailers like these have been setup near Windsor's two international land border crossings. (Sanjay Maru/CBC) "From our level, is it redundant? Sounds like it's redundant," said Ambassador Bridge general manager Randy Spader. "I'm going to give you a negative test — and you're going to test me?" He adds, however, that "a lot can happen within 72 hours," and the federal government is seemingly doing whatever it can to prevent the cross-border spread of COVID-19. "Somebody who takes a test on Thursday, they're at the border on Sunday. What were they doing for those three days?" he said. "I think it's just a precaution to ensure the testing ramps us and Canada has the most information available to them for people wanting to get home." An invalid or inconclusive "day 10" test result will result in another test being mailed out to the traveller. The federal governments adds that failure to complete either of the self-administered swabs "could lead to fines of up to $750,000 or imprisonment."
The Red Shores racetrack in Charlottetown is in a complete lockdown in an effort to control an outbreak of strangles. About 200 horses at the track were tested late last week, and officials are now awaiting those results before deciding on further actions. "We decided that to get a better understanding of what we're dealing with, and for heightened precautionary measures, that we would go into a lockdown for the grounds, which essentially means no horses coming or going for a time period," said Lee Drake, manager of racing, brands and broadcast divisions at Red Shores. "We've only had two confirmed cases of strangles on Prince Edward Island. Those horses were removed from the barns and are undergoing isolation at this point, and we are conducting screening tests for all the horses that are currently on the grounds." Red Shores Racetrack has taken measures to prevent the spread of strangles, including adding security and restricting who can enter the barns.(Shane Hennessey/CBC) The cost of the mandatory testing is being covered by Red Shores, the P.E.I. Harness Racing Industry Association and the Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission. Highly contagious Red Shores says only essential workers will be allowed into each barn, as identified by each trainer, and they must now follow strict biosecurity measures. That means foot baths, brushes and disinfectant have been supplied to each barn. (Red Shores Racetrack)Strangles is an upper-respiratory illness that can cause swollen lymph nodes, nasal discharge and fevers in horses, donkeys and mules. While the illness can be fatal, most animals do survive. It is highly contagious and spreads easily through nose to nose contact between horses, or even contact with people. If handlers get the bacteria from one horse on their hands, feet or clothing, they can pass it on to another horse. A meeting was held on February 23 that included the Atlantic Veterinary College, Charlottetown Veterinary Clinic, Prince Edward Island Harness Racing Industry Association, Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission and Red Shores. The lockdown took effect two days later, with no additional horses allowed on the grounds until further notice. "The next step is to to consult with the veterinarians — they are, of course, guiding us through this — and just get a better understanding of those results, the next steps," Drake said. "I should say that's confidential, like a doctor-patient privilege, if you will, between them and their client [the horse owner]. And so they'll be guiding them, and updating us, on the next steps that are going to be taken." Lockdown rules Under the lockdown rules, horses will be allowed to leave the track property only if they have a clearance letter from a veterinarian. During the lockdown, Red Shores says only essential workers will be allowed into each barn, and they must now follow strict biosecurity measures, including foot baths, brushes and disinfectant supplied to each barn. About 200 horses at the track were tested late last week and officials are now awaiting those results before deciding on further actions.(CBC) Owners and trainers are also being encouraged to take their horses' temperature daily and log the results, and consult a veterinarian if they see any symptoms. Drake said he can't confirm stories of strangles in other horses on P.E.I., outside of the racetrack. "Whether you're based on track, or you're on a farm, you have a heightened awareness of what's happening," Drake said. A medical laboratory technician in the AVC Diagnostic Services bacteriology lab examines bacterial growth on culture plates. (Anna MacDonald/AVC) "Until we know more of what we're dealing with, every stable — whether you're either on the grounds here or off the grounds — should be doing the measures that the veterinarians have asked. And that is, keeping a close watch on your horses and doing daily temperature checks." Meanwhile, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says it has been informed that three additional horses tested positive for strangles in a barn at Shamrock Training Centre. Restrictions were put in place there after a horse shipped from Prince Edward Island tested positive. It had just been transported from Red Shores on Sunday, Feb. 14. No horses will be allowed to ship in for training until further notice.(Shane Hennessey/CBC) Also, Truro Raceway has issued a statement saying that it will be restricting horses from P.E.I. because of the strangles outbreak. "Any individual seeking to move a horse from P.E.I. to Truro will need the horse to have two negative strangles tests, conducted one week apart, prior to being permitted to enter the property," Truro officials said in the statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation, and this will be our policy until further notice." More from CBC P.E.I.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 64,485 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,014,128 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,314.423 per 100,000. There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,482,350 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 81.14 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 966 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 79.405 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.6 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 5,505 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,471 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.298 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 54 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 16,513 new vaccinations administered for a total of 455,328 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.213 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 22,326 new vaccinations administered for a total of 727,021 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 49.494 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,535 new vaccinations administered for a total of 78,205 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 56.794 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 947 new vaccinations administered for a total of 80,236 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 68.045 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 107.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 9,546 new vaccinations administered for a total of 245,054 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.668 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 7,501 new vaccinations administered for a total of 283,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.184 per 1,000. There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 364,020 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.79 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 1,097 new vaccinations administered for a total of 17,168 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 411.397 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 90.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 3,321 new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 103.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 664 new vaccinations administered for a total of 8,066 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 208.284 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 33.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
It was 11:30 on a night in early May when Louisa Mussells Pires first walked into a long-term care home in Lachine and learned some hard truths about the health-care system in one of the richest countries in the world. Pires, 31, had almost finished nursing school. There was a crying need for extra staff in Quebec's long-term care network, which had been decimated by COVID-19 infections. So she volunteered to help and readily agreed to grab a night shift at the CHSLD Nazaire-Piché. Pires can still recall in vivid detail what it was like to walk through its halls for the first time. It was dark. The common areas were roped off. At a nursing station, a television blared news about the dizzying death toll at CHSLDs across the province. She eventually found the only other person working on the floor, a tired-looking nurse. "Tell me what needs to be done," Pires said to her. The nurse replied: "Make sure everyone is breathing. And then come back and we'll take things from there." Scattered throughout the ward were large piles of pink plastic bags that held the final possessions of the residents who had succumbed to COVID-19. An inside view of CHSLD Nazaire-Piché in Lachine.(Myriam Fimbry/CBC) Over the next few weeks, until military reinforcements arrived, Pires and the rest of the skeleton staff were able to offer a minimum level of care. The residents were cleaned, fed and given medication; little else. When an infected resident began to hyperventilate, Pires knew the end was near and provided what comfort she could. But make no mistake, she said, these were lonely deaths, away from family and friends, away from those who loved them the most. "It was a reminder that even in a high-income country, that is supposed to be well off, you can have a humanitarian crisis of this scale," Pires said in a recent interview. "It might be quickly forgotten. But it happened. I mean, how can you have people dying of dehydration in Canada?" Last spring, 5,000 people in the province died of COVID-19, more than anywhere else in Canada. And the sense that Quebec's health-care system failed is as widespread among many frontline workers as it is among the families of the dead. But it is less clear how the system's administrators could have acted differently, faced with an unprecedented situation. CBC News conducted a series of interviews with both frontline workers and managers to get a better understanding of how one part of the system — the health authority covering Montreal's West Island — responded at the outset of the pandemic. What emerged was a portrait of a system under severe strain, exposing some to uncommon horrors while others had to make ethically fraught, complex decisions. WATCH: One year later, front-line workers reflect on how they responded in the first weeks of the pandemic 'We had to improvise' The top officials in the West Island health authority — the Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre (CIUSSS) — began planning for a pandemic in January of 2020, as evidence began to accumulate that a novel coronavirus was spreading around the world. In those early plans, any West Island cases of COVID-19 were to be transferred to the Jewish General Hospital, which has several negative pressure rooms, ideal for treating infectious diseases. The lone hospital in the West Island, Lakeshore General, was built in 1965 and doesn't have the same up-to-date equipment. It also has one of the city's busiest emergency rooms. Louisa Mussells Pires, 31, worked at CHSLD Nazaire-Piché during the first wave of the pandemic. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC) By mid-March it was apparent that Quebec was seeing more cases than initially anticipated. The West Island CIUSSS leadership began meeting every morning in a large boardroom on the fifth floor of Lakeshore General Hospital. They were carefully monitoring the hospital's capacity. The hospital serves a territory dotted with homes for the elderly and long-term care centres, and suspected COVID cases kept coming into the ER. When the Jewish General hit capacity in the third week of March, those cases could no longer be transferred downtown. "We had no choice. Somebody had to take those patients," said Dr. Guy Bisson, Lakeshore's medical co-ordinator. Plastic dividers were thrown up and a makeshift COVID ward was fashioned out of a short-term stay ward. "We couldn't close the door. We had to improvise," said Bisson. Herron and the CHSLD disaster On Sunday, March 29, the morning meeting of the CIUSSS West Island's leadership was interrupted by a call from CHSLD Herron. They needed staff, urgently. It was unclear, at first, how bad the situation was, said Najia Hachimi-Idrissi, the associate CEO of the CIUSSS. Two colleagues were dispatched to investigate. "The conditions were disgusting. The patients were drenched in urine and feces," Loredana Mule, a nurse who was assigned to help at Herron that night, told CBC News last April. "It was quite appalling." A body is removed from CHSLD Herron on Saturday, April 11, 2020.(Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press) The health authority placed Herron under trusteeship on March 29. But that was not enough to prevent at least 47 residents from dying last spring — deaths that will be the subject of a coroner's inquiry this fall. "It was very difficult emotionally for everybody," Hachimi-Idrissi said. "In a society like ours, we would like to be more organized. Nobody knew the virus could be that destructive." The situation at Herron prefigured similar staffing situations at CHSLDs elsewhere in the province. Underpaid staff were getting sick; others were too frightened to show up to work. Their managers, meanwhile, were overstretched, racing to different locations, said Anne-Marie Chiquette, who works for an organization, APER, that represents health-care managers. In 2015, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette amalgamated dozens of local medical establishments into a handful of super-agencies. At the same time, he eliminated around 1,300 management positions in the health-care system. Chiquette said those reforms — which left fewer managers responsible for larger areas — contributed to the scale of the tragedy in the CHSLD network. "When you have a pandemic, you need to have a link with employees to reassure them, because they are scared. But in this case the managers couldn't be there," Chiquette said. At one point while Pires was working at CHSLD Nazaire-Piché, the building ran out of apple juice. The staff spent several hours trying to identify who was responsible for replenishing their stock. Eventually they gave up. "There was no clear person in charge," she said. ""There was a lack of leadership. I don't think it was due to personal shortcomings. It was due to the structure of the system." As the virus continued to spread within the long-term care network, the ER at Lakeshore went through periods when it was effectively overwhelmed. Nathan Friedland, an ER nurse at the hospital, recalled one day in early May when in the span of 15 minutes five ambulances arrived, each carrying ailing patients from long-term care homes. The ER was already jammed. The incoming stretchers were placed in a waiting area. Among them was a woman in severe respiratory distress. All he could do was get her a blanket. "I had a line of patients, five in a row, with this woman dying in front of me and I had to go to the next patient," he said in a recent interview. The hospital's morgue eventually filled up and the dead had to be stored in a refrigerated truck parked behind the hospital. "It was deeply disturbing," Friedland said. At the height of the first wave, nearly half of the Lakeshore's 265 beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients. After the first wave, staff at Lakeshore Hospital undertook renovations aimed at decreasing transmission of COVID-19.(Jaela Bernstien/CBC ) That required making difficult decisions about who received the limited amount of personal protective equipment available. They also had to choose which non-urgent surgeries would be cancelled and which patients would be transferred to other hospitals. Hachimi-Idrissi rejected the suggestion that the health-care system in the West Island collapsed in the spring. "But we did have to make choices about where we concentrated the resources that we had," she said. "It was risk management everyday." Is anyone to blame? The staggering death toll from those first critical months of the pandemic has left many of those who had to witness it up close demanding accountability. Frontline health-care workers have complained for years about staffing shortages, ramshackle long-term care homes and overcrowded ERs. They feel that if only their warnings had been heeded, the outcome could have been different. "The virus made a mockery of our health-care system," said Friedland. Legault has also called for accountability, though he denies any of his government's decisions contributed to the scale of the disaster. In recent interviews marking the anniversary of the first case, Legault has suggested there were major shortcomings in the management of the health-care system. At one point in the pandemic, Legault mused about firing half of the health authority CEOs in Montreal, according to a new book by Alec Castonguay. But the eagerness to lay blame may also obscure the unprecedented nature of the crisis that Quebec confronted last year. Those who administer the province's large, complex health-care system have difficulty identifying what they could have done differently, given what they knew at the time and the resources they had available. "The problem is not the hospitals. It's not the CHSLDs," said Bisson. "The problem is COVID. That's the true culprit. We have to remember that."
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary’s governing party pulled out of its conservative group in the European Union’s legislature on Wednesday following years of conflict over the rule of law and European values. The right-wing Fidesz party has held a two-thirds majority in Hungary’s parliament almost uninterrupted since 2010. It left the European People’s Party over the latter’s adoption on Wednesday of new procedures allowing for entire parties to be excluded from the group rather than just individual lawmakers. Fidesz officials, including Hungary’s prime minister and head of the party, Viktor Orban, had argued that the rule changes were “tailor-made” to sanction Fidesz, and threatened over the weekend to pull out of the EPP if the rules passed. The EPP backed the rule changes with an overwhelming majority: 148 in favour, 28 against and four abstentions. In a letter Wednesday to Manfred Weber, chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, Orban announced Fidesz’s decision to leave the group. “The amendments to the rules of the EPP Group are clearly a hostile move against Fidesz and our voters ... This is anti-democratic, unjust and unacceptable. Therefore, the governing body of Fidesz has decided to leave the EPP Group immediately,” Orban wrote. Orban said the rule changes deprived Hungarian voters of their democratic rights and that Fidesz lawmakers would continue to represent Hungary in the European Parliament. A spokesman for the EPP Group, Pedro Lopez de Pablo, told The Associated Press that Orban pulling his party out of the EPP was “his own personal decision,” and that the group would not comment. Fidesz’s decision to leave the group could be the final note in a series of longstanding clashes with the EPP, the largest political family in Europe. The group suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary, engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric and attacking the EPP leadership. In a tweet, Hungary’s minister for family affairs and a Fidesz vice-president, Katalin Novak, confirmed Fidesz’s decision to leave the EPP Group. “We will not let our MEPs be silenced or limited in their capacity to represent our voters. Tackling the pandemic and saving lives remains our number one priority,” Novak wrote. Justin Spike, The Associated Press
A judge has declared that the man responsible for Toronto's deadly van attack in 2018 is guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. In rendering her decision, which was broadcast on YouTube Wednesday morning, Justice Anne Molloy said Alek Minassian's rampage was "the act of a reasoning mind," and noted that the 28 year old has "no remorse for it and no empathy for his victims." "He freely chose the option that was morally wrong, knowing what the consequences would be for himself, and for everybody else," Molloy said in her decision. "It does not matter that he does not have remorse, nor empathize with the victims. "Lack of empathy for the suffering of victims, even an incapacity to empathize for whatever reason, does not constitute a defence." The man had pleaded not guilty at the judge-alone trial, which was held virtually at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Canada, a first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years. Justice rejected defence's autism argument Defence lawyer Boris Bytensky said in his closing arguments that his client's autism disorder left him without the ability to develop empathy, arguing that his client had no idea how horrific his actions were to his victims, his family and the community. Molloy outright rejected that notion in her decision, which you can read in full at the bottom of this story. "He considered the impact it would have on his family, and deliberately set those thoughts aside, ignoring them, because he did not want them to deter him from achieving this important goal," she said, noting that he had been fantasizing about a crime like this for over a decade. "He was capable of understanding the impact it would have on his victims. "He knew death would be irreversible. He knew their families would grieve." WATCH | Remembering the victims of the Toronto van attack: Elwood Delaney, who lost his 80-year-old grandmother Dorothy Sewell in the attack, told CBC News that watching the judge give her decision was extremely emotional for his family. "I don't want to say happy, but we were relieved," he said. "I've held a lot of anger towards him this whole entire time. Knowing that he's going to be locked up for a very long time … is a relief." Delaney said his grandmother was one of Canada's biggest sports fans, and was a fervent follower of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. "Every time I watch sports … I constantly think of her," he said. "I miss her a lot. We all do." WATCH | Man remembers grandmother who was killed in Toronto attack: Crown lawyer praises everyday people at scene Speaking outside the courthouse after the decision was read, Crown attorney Joe Callaghan lauded the actions of the first responders who attended the scene, and read off the names of everyone killed in the attack. "In addition, a neighbourhood was attacked, leaving its residents fearful and traumatized," he said. Callaghan also commended the actions of everyday people who were on the street that day, who tried to help victims who had been struck and comforted the dying. "They demonstrated a remarkable level of selflessness and empathy, reflecting the true community spirit of this city," he said. Cathy Riddell, who was badly injured in the attack, also told reporters outside the courthouse that she feels justice has been done. "I probably will sleep tonight for the first time in a while," she said. "He can spend the rest of his life in jail, because he deserves it … he took lives, and he didn't care." WATCH | Family members, victim and Crown attorney react to judge's decision: Police say on the afternoon of April 23, 2018, the killer drove a rented van down Yonge Street near Finch Avenue, veering onto the busy sidewalk and hitting one person after another. After a brief standoff with a police officer, he was arrested. His victims included Sewell, who was killed, and another woman who survived but had both of her legs amputated as a result of injuries suffered in the attack. Molloy made sure to say the name and age of each of the victims in her decision. She also listed the serious, and in some cases life-changing injuries suffered by those who survived, including broken bones, bleeding on the brain and a collapsed lung. The judge also said she would not be naming the killer in her decision and referred to him instead as "John Doe," noting that notoriety was a driving force in his crimes. "I am acutely aware that all of this attention and media coverage is exactly what this man sought from the start," she said. CBC News will continue to use his name, in some instances, for clarity. Toronto van attack victim Cathy Riddell speaks with the media outside the Superior Court of Justice on March 3, 2021. She says she has no memory of the incident itself.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Autism group relieved at verdict In a statement issued Wednesday morning, the Ontario Autism Coalition said it was relieved at Molloy's decision, and said it was a "firm rejection" of the use of autism as a defence. "Violent traits have no connection to autism; in fact, people on the autism spectrum are far more likely to be victims as opposed to perpetrators of violence," the statement reads. "The court's decision makes it clear this was never a case of autism causing mass murder, but rather a case where someone who committed mass murder happened to have autism. "An autism diagnosis does not predispose one to commit acts of violence." The killer told police his rampage was a mission for the incel movement, an online subculture of so-called "involuntarily celibate" men who direct their misogynistic rage at women. But Molloy noted in her decision that he also made mention in interviews of making that connection purely to upgrade the notoriety of his actions. Molloy said the killer has never shown any pleasure or sense of satisfaction to have killed or injured women, apart from the notoriety his crimes have brought to him. "Accordingly, I agree with the assessors that [the killer's] story to the police about the attack being an 'incel rebellion' was a lie," the judge wrote.
Nestled in a steep rocky hillside among the remote mountains of northern Iraq, the Rabban Hormizd Monastery has watched invaders come and go through Christianity's tumultuous history in this corner of ancient Mesopotamia. Mongols, Persians, Arabs, Kurds and Ottomans have sacked, surrounded or occupied the seventh century monastery and the Christian town of Alqosh, above which it perches, near the borders with Turkey, Syria and Iran. But Christians there survived the latest onslaught, this time by Islamic State militants who took over one third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017, including the city of Mosul just 20 miles (32 km) to the south.
Candice McCowin's brother Graeme McLean died of an opioid overdose three years ago. For three years she's been among advocates calling for Windsor police to carry naloxone. For three years she's felt ignored. Now, with news hundreds of frontline officers are being trained to use the drug, McCowin said she's relieved. But one question lingers. "What was the deciding factor? What makes all the lives moving forward more important than my brother's was or people before him?" In the past the department said data didn't support officers being equipped with naloxone — which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Meanwhile, statistics from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) show the number of opioid-related emergency room visits have climbed steadily. There were 249 opioid-related visits in 2019, more than three times greater than the 78 that were tallied in 2007, according to WECHU. Twenty-nine were tallied in January 2021. This chart shows the rise in opioid-related emergency department visits in Windsor-Essex in recent years.(Windsor-Essex County Health Unit) Late last week Mayor Drew Dilkens, chair of the service's board, said Police Chief Pam Mizuno had decided to make a change. On Tuesday the chief said more than 275 patrol and investigative officers have already learned to administer the Narcan nasal spray version of the drug and that training is ongoing. There are roughly 500 frontline officers in the service. "Our officers being deployed at the emergency shelters for people who are experiencing homelessness, as well as the recovery centres. I think that changes it," Mizuno said in explaining her decision and the timing of it, adding the kits are being provided to the service for free. While the chief cites the shelters set up amid COVID-19 outbreaks as a difference, it's not clear how interacting with users there will be different from the ways officers would interact with people while regularly patrolling the community. Explanation a 'bit of a shock' Bruce Chapman, president of the Police Association of Ontario (PAO), expressed surprise when asked about the explanation. "[It's] a little bit of shock I guess," he said. "There are countless cases of police personnel during their regular patrols coming across individuals who have suffered an overdose and saving their lives. I could give you 20 examples across the province and that happens every day." Last month, for example, OPP issued a media release stating it has saved 210 lives using naloxone since its officers started using it in 2017. Others, including Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky, have suggested police linking their decision to the emergency shelter serves to stigmatize people experiencing homelessness. It's a view McCowin shares. "[Police] didn't decide to come to this determination because we have a crisis," she said. "They're coming to this determination because there's stigma attached to homeless people and they're going to be working around them so now it's important." The chief said the service does not want to further stigmatize people with addictions, noting the majority of overdose calls police respond to are at private residences. Officers have used naloxone twice this year Mizuno also pointed to "stress" on emergency systems in the city during the pandemic and a pair of community alerts from the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy. One of the alerts was in response to 22 fentanyl-related visits to the emergency room in just one week, including 16 overdoses, numbers described as "extremely high." "All of those things in totality have certainly led to the decision," said the chief. The PAO represents officers at dozens of police services, including Windsor, and has been pushing departments to carry the drug since 2019. Chapman said as far as he's aware Windsor is the last large department to do so. Bruce Chapman, Police Association of Ontario president, said Windsor police should have started carrying naloxone a long time ago.(Radio-Canada) "It should have been done a long time ago. It's unfortunate it wasn't," he said. "Who knows how many lives could have been saved. We don't know the answer to that, but we do know as a result of the decision Windsor has finally made that there will be lives saved." A CBC analysis of police reports where officers responded and naloxone was administered between November 2018 and December 2019 found that on at least 14 occasions, Windsor police arrived first to the scene of a drug overdose without naloxone in-hand. The chief said police still consider an overdose a medical emergency that is best responded to by medical personnel such as paramedics. She also stated she believes no one has died because police didn't have the drug in the past. "Our officers have not attended a scene where, and of course you cannot definitively say, but where a life has been lost because our officers have not been carrying naloxone. That has not happened." Up until this decision, Windsor police had officers with just three units — detention, city centre patrol and problem-oriented policing — that had access to the drug. Officers equipped with naloxone in those units have already used it twice this year, according to Mizuno. McCowin said the decision from police could mean another family is spared the pain she carries. Graeme McLean was sober for more than 100 days before his fatal overdose. (Supplied by Candice McCowin) Graeme was the baby of the family, a "joker," who was helpful and "larger than life" with a wife, baby and job before he became addicted. But years of hearing police give reasons not to carry naloxone left her questioning whether his death meant anything. She can't shake that feeling, even now. "I just thought. 'There isn't a need? I think if it was only one person, my brother, or whoever, there should have been a need,'" she explained. "Think about how many people have died in the city of Windsor from opioid overdose."
While many P.E.I. students are enjoying some extra days off during the three-day period of heightened public health restrictions, a couple of private schools decided to offer online learning. Teachers at the Mount Academy were sending Google Meet invites to students in time for them to be part of an online class Monday. "We had the ability to do it so why not?" said Kenny MacDougall, head of school at the Mount Academy. He said because athletes with the school often travelled in pre-pandemic times, the school is set up to switch back and forth between online and in-person learning. The Mount Academy is a small school with 105 students, which he said also helps in making the switch. MacDougall says the three-day closure is 'a small blip in the road.'(Laura Meader/CBC ) MacDougall said it's not just about the education but also touching base with students, and looking after their mental health. "Have an opportunity to see their face, check in, give them a bit of school work, see how they're doing," he said. MacDougall, who also worked in P.E.I.'s public school system for more than 20 years, said he understands how it would be difficult for the much larger system to do what they did. "I think it's a massive undertaking, so I certainly understand the difficulty they would have pulling that off," he said. Wanted to offer school work Grace Christian School's online plan was to provide some math and reading activities for elementary students and some more traditional ongoing assignments for older students. "We haven't introduced a full online platform learning like we did last March," said Jason Biech, principal and head of school for Grace Christian School. Both private schools say online learning is not ideal, but it's nice to able to have it as an option when public health rules don't allow staff or students to be in school. (Marlee McKinnon) Biech said the school wanted to offer some basic work for students. He said teachers gave assignments through blogs or other online platforms. He also pointed out school closures can happen because of weather during winter and said it made sense to offer digital learning. Thoughts from students Emily Chong is a Grade 12 student at Grace Christian, and said she was working on some assignments during the school closure. "I think it's impressive that we're able to do this," Chong said. She said she prefers going to school but she's getting used to COVID-19 restrictions and closures. Emily Chong says she's been working on some school presentations during the closure.(Laura Meader/CBC ) Marlee McKinnon, also in Grade 12 at the school, said that she loves online school. "It's given me a chance to catch up on work I might need to catch up on, or get ahead of work as well," McKinnon said. She said she's been mostly working on English and biology assignments. Fellow Grade 12 student Anna Paquet said there weren't a lot of new assignments for her so she kept working on ongoing work. "We haven't been getting a whole lot of new work," she said. She said she misses school sports and the socializing with her peers. Marlee McKinnon does her homework with her dog on her lap, something that wouldn't happen at school. (Marlee McKinnon) Chenyu Hsu said the three-day closure was unexpected and although he's happy to have some digital learning, he said he gets distracted working on his computer. "In-person learning has definitely helped me to pay more attention," said Hsu. 'Not ideal' Both schools hope in-person learning will be back soon, noting that online is not the preferred way. "It's not a way to go to school, it's not the ideal way — it's a fill in, it's stop-gap measure," said MacDougall Biech agrees that digital learning is tough on parents, children and educators. "We have the ability to do remote learning, we can do that, but that's not what we wish to do. We really want our students and our staff back here." More from CBC P.E.I.
Regina's COVID-19 case numbers are among the highest per capita for major Canadian cities. Dr. Alexander Wong, an infectious diseases physician in Regina, says it's no reason to panic, but that people should keep following public health advice on how to contain the spread. As of Monday, Regina had 180 active cases per 100 000 people — about double Saskatoon's per capita number. Regina's per capita numbers are significantly higher than cities like Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton and Winnipeg, according to data gathered from provincial governments and regional health authorities. "I don't necessarily feel that things are, quote unquote, out of hand. I think our public health colleagues have a pretty good grasp of sort of what's kind of taking place," Wong said. "But I can understand how some people might look at the raw data and think that there could potentially be issues." Wong said several factors could be contributing to the high rates, including outbreaks linked to homes and workplaces, and contact tracers in the province being good at finding secondary cases. Are variants at play? Variants have been cited as a possible reason for the rising numbers. Wong said there's not clear evidence to show that variants are common in the province, but that some cases have been found so it's a reasonable assumption they are out there. "Assuredly there is community transmission of variants of concern that's currently occurring. We just don't know what the prevalence of that actually looks like. Right now that's pure speculation," he said. "Regardless of what prevalence of variants are circulating or not, it doesn't change the fundamental pieces that we all need to take responsibility for." Wong said people need to continue to reduce contact with others, wear masks and get tested if they show any symptoms to contain the spread. Consequences of slow restrictions at play: doctor Dr. Cory Neudorf, a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan and a public health physician, agreed. He said Regina's per capita numbers being high isn't surprising. In fact, as case numbers are still relatively high in multiple places throughout the province. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of cases per capita out of all provinces. "What we're seeing in Saskatoon and Regina is really just a continued expression of the fact that our restrictions have just not been as much as other provinces," Neudorf said. The province's unwillingness to implement strong restrictions early is part of why the province remains under heavy public health order, he said. The province saw a sustained high level of cases that rose throughout the fall and peaked in January. Now the decline from the peak has been slower compared to other regions. Neudorf said the people need to proceed with caution, because even though numbers are dropping in some parts of the province, they're dropping slowly. He said community spread still prevails in homes (where one family member brings it home and gets the rest of the family sick) as well as in the workplace. Health officials need to keep aggressive tabs on the variants, ramp up testing to control community spread and be ready to tighten restrictions if the province wants to see meaningful decline in numbers, he said. Doctors urge people to remain vigilant Neudorf said the reproductive number for the virus remains in a risky area between .8 and 1 — a range that is viewed as a growth phase. He said that number should ideally be below .7 with the new variants. Wong said the "new normal" people talk about is still a long way off. "Stay the bleep home. The pandemic is going to continue on indefinitely. It's not going to disappear," Dr. Wong said. "There will be new variants, never ending strains of the virus and probably ongoing need to vaccinate." Both Wong and Neudorf said it's important people are prepared for what's to come and that things won't return to normal until most of the general population is vaccinated. "It's like we're balanced on a bit of a knife edge right now," Dr. Neudorf said, adding a drop in numbers will allow the vaccine program to work. "It doesn't take very much to all of a sudden see a spike in cases, and if that happens we could very easily see a third wave starting in March and April, especially if these new variants take hold." Premier teases loosening of restrictions Premier Scott Moe said in a news conference Tuesday that he has heard from people who want the public health restrictions eased up, specifically around household gatherings. "We are very close to making and finalizing these decisions," Moe said. Moe said chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab wants to see the hospitalizations and case number stabilize for a "few more days." "If that occurs, we should have more to say about household restrictions possibly by early next week," Moe said.
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Ontario is happening at 34 different speeds, with each public health unit taking its own approach. The pace in the province's largest public health unit is notably slower than average. Officials in Toronto can't say when people aged 80 and up will be eligible to get vaccinated and are urging people not to call the public health hotline with questions about the timeline. Meanwhile, several public health units covering large urban areas have already started giving shots to that age group. York Region and Windsor-Essex both began their vaccinations of 80-plus-year-olds on Monday. In York Region, 20,000 of the roughly 45,000 people eligible have already booked appointments. People aged 80 and older line up outside a sports centre in Richmond Hill, Ont. on Monday to be among the first participants in York Region's mass vaccination program against COVID-19.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) During a City of Toronto news conference on Monday, officials were asked specifically when people in this age group in can expect to get the shot. There was no clear answer. Medical officer of health Dr Eileen de Villa spoke for two and a half minutes without addressing the question. WATCH | Questions and concerns continue around the timeline for Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout: Next, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, leading Toronto's COVID-19 emergency response, said bookings would begin once the province's appointment system launches (slated for March 15), and added that vaccinations would begin in "early April." De Villa then jumped in to say that vaccinations of some sub-groups of people in this age group could begin this month, but added, "We need supply to be more readily available to get into the large-scale administration of vaccine for that 80-plus population." Given that all of Ontario's public health units are facing the same supply constraints, why is Ontario's largest city weeks behind other major population centres in the province? Ontario's timeline for vaccinating people against COVID-19 puts 2.1 million people in its Phase 1 priority group, including long-term care residents, health-care workers and people aged 80 and older.(Ontario Ministry of Health) The chair of Toronto's board of health, Coun. Joe Cressy, blames a vaccine allocation mismatch: the province is distributing doses to each public health unit based solely on its total population, not based on its population in the high-priority groups. In short, the argument is that Toronto is hampered from moving on to vaccinate seniors aged 80 and older because it has yet to receive enough doses to vaccinate those who were first in line -- such as hospital workers. "We have a disproportionately large number of people who qualify in phase 1 because they are more vulnerable," Cressy told the news conference. That leads to a question: why didn't the province provide a larger number of vaccines to places with a larger number of people in priority groups? Solicitor-General Sylvia Jones acknowledged Tuesday that Toronto's explanation for its slower pace "makes sense." But when asked whether the province should have distributed doses on an as-needed basis instead of a per-capita basis, she didn't directly answer. Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, left, gives Ontario Premier Doug Ford, centre, and Toronto Mayor John Tory, right, a tour of a vaccination clinic for health-care workers in January. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press) "The focus on the over 80 (age group) is critical," Jones told a news conference. "We'd love to have more vaccines to give to our public health units." Just don't ask the provincial government how many vaccine doses it has actually given to its public health units. The Ministry of Health refused CBC's request for this data on Tuesday, citing security concerns. The government also refused to provide a breakdown of how many vaccine doses have been administered by each public health unit, even though the ministry reports a province-wide total every day. The lack of disclosure makes it challenging to prove or disprove the claim that the distribution of vaccines has been unfair to Toronto. However, some figures disclosed by health units allow for rough math. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit says it has received 12,285 doses of vaccine, while Toronto has received 195,440 doses. Using population data from Public Health Ontario, those shipments are enough to give one dose to 10.8 per cent of people living in Haldimand-Norfolk, but just 6.3 per cent of the population of Toronto. Toronto Public Health estimates that 325,000 people are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under Phase 1 of Ontario's vaccine rollout. (Evan Mitsui/CBC) What is less clear is the evidence for Toronto's claim of being home to a disproportionate number of people in the priority groups for vaccination. People aged 80 and over are part of phase 1 of Ontario's vaccination timeline. But before getting to them, public health units were told to target the province's top-priority categories: long-term care residents and staff, other front-line health-care workers and Indigenous people. Ontario estimates 1.15 million people belong to those highest-priority groups. That is roughly eight per cent of the province's total population. Toronto Public Health could not provide an estimate Tuesday of how many people in the city are in those top-priority groups. But for Toronto to have a disproportionate burden, the number would need to be more than 240,000. Another comparison stick is the number of people eligible for vaccination through the whole of phase 1. Toronto Public Health says it's 325,000 people in the city, roughly 11 per cent of Toronto's population. That is no higher that the proportion of Ontario's population eligible in phase 1. Toronto Public Health COVID-19 vaccination numbers 195,440 doses of vaccine have been shipped to Toronto around 325,000 people are eligible to be vaccinated in phase 1 around 135,000 of them are aged 80 and above, including some 10,000 residents of long-term care
Regina's executive committee has approved a $2.5-million program to increase bus driver safety in the city. The program will now go to Regina's city council on March 10 for final approval. In November 2020, the city applied for funding under the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream for two upgrades: permanent bus driver shields and spots on buses where people with mobility issues could secure themselves without driver assistance. Buses currently are equipped with vinyl barriers, however city administration said the shields would help in multiple ways. "It's definitely something that will protect the health and safety of the driver, but it will also make sure that opportunity or interaction of physical altercation potentially occurring will no longer exist," Chris Holden, city manager, said. City administration says there are other benefits to the mobility station. Drivers won't to come out of their shields and take time to help the person secure themself. That can help keep buses on time, the city said. "It does provide a level of independence," Holden said. The total cost would be $2,571,177, with 40 per cent from the federal government, 33.3 per cent from the provincial government and 26.7 per cent — $656,505 — from the city. City council approval is needed to move ahead on the project. It just seems to be getting a little bit more dangerous out there all the time. - Kevin Lucier, ATU 588 president Kevin Lucier, president of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 588, said the upgrades are long overdue. ATU 588 represents more than 200 Regina Transit employees. "We were incredibly happy to receive this and we feel it's long overdue, but very welcomed," Lucier said. He said the shields are needed beyong the COVID-19 pandemic after assaults on drivers. He said a driver was assaulted in Regina just last week over a fare dispute and that there have been four assaults since last March. "It just seems to be getting a little bit more dangerous out there all the time," he said. "Every employee, every worker has the right to feel safe at work and an ability to get home at the end of their day safely." Lucier said the union has been having ongoing discussions with councillors and expects this proposal to pass at both executive committee and city council. Kevin Lucier is the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 588. (Submitted by Kevin Lucier)
Estevan, Sask., is officially laying out the welcome mat for tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. On Wednesday, Mayor Roy Ludwig officially sent the invitation to Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, in order to raise the profile of the SaskPower Boundary Dam Carbon Capture and Storage facility (CCS) located near the city. Last month, Musk announced details of a competition that would put up a total of $100 million US in a global carbon capture competition. Mayor Ludwig thought the competition would be a good chance to showcase the local project. "It's one of the largest clean coal units anywhere," said Ludwig. "We've got people from all over the world beating a path to our door to learn about the technology." The Boundary Dam CCS project was completed in 2014 and was the first carbon capture project in the world to use carbon capture technology. According to the City of Estevan, the facility is capable of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to one million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Ludwig noted that Musk has family living in Saskatchewan and even lived in the province for a brief time as a youth. "We would like to bring him back to a province that, I think, he has some familiarity with, and have him tour our clean coal plant and show him how many technological advances we have been able to make here," he said. Concerned about future Ludwig admitted he was worried about movement away from coal-fired plants. Coal has traditionally been a major economic driver for Estevan and talk of phasing it out has been a major local concern for years. Despite the project's cost, the mayor believes carbon capture and storage could help prolong the life of the power plant. "These are well-paying jobs that we have out here," said Ludwig. "They pay a lot of income tax. They help the local, the provincial, the federal coffers. And it is clean energy and it does work." Musk's competition will last for four years and complete in 2025. The grand prize winner will take home $50 million US.
Walt Disney Co's latest animated movie, "Raya and the Last Dragon," aims to offer a fresh take on a princess tale in a fantasy world inspired by Southeast Asia and no prince coming to the rescue. The film, which debuts on Friday, tells the story of Raya, a young princess voiced by "Star Wars" actress Kelly Marie Tran, who is hardened by her past. Raya goes in search of the last dragon, Sisu (played by actress Awkwafina), to rid the world of a killer plague.
Mona Lisa describes feeling isolated and cut off from her community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Romanian blockchain start-up Elrond is preparing to have its new global payments app support Bitcoin this month as it looks to rival more established rivals PayPal or Revolut, its CEO said, as it taps surging interest in crypto currencies. Led by a sharp rise in Bitcoin, digital asset markets rose above $1 trillion in early 2021, as big money managers and companies begin to take the sector seriously. "This transforms what once looked like a Mexican standoff, where potential investors waited on the sidelines, into an arms race," Elrond founder Beniamin Mincu told Reuters.
'I have to choose between my safety and my education,' said Concordia University student Alicia-Ann Pauld. (Submitted by Alicia-Ann Pauld) Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a struggle for Alicia-Ann Pauld, who has muscular dystrophy, to get to Concordia University's campus in downtown Montreal, especially during the winter. "If I fall, I can very seriously injure myself and I can't get back [up] on my own," said Pauld. "I've been in situations in the past where there's a snowstorm the day of an exam and I have to go outside and literally put my life in danger." She recalled an incident last year, when she fell on the ice on the way to one of her exams. "I injured myself a lot and I had to wait for someone to pick me up — a stranger." When the pandemic hit last March, universities quickly moved online. Lectures were given over Zoom or were recorded online as campuses shut down. For Pauld, it was a gift. She no longer had to choose between her health and her education. While the shift to the virtual world has been a source of distress for university students in general, it has been a revelation for many students living with disabilities and chronic illnesses. But with universities saying they are preparing for some form of in-class instruction in the fall, many students living with disabilities wonder what the future holds. 'I can't always get to class' Concordia told CBC that "public health conditions permitting, we are looking at a hybrid model of remote and in-person instruction" for the fall of 2021. McGill University has already announced it will return to in-person instruction at that time, but that it will make accommodations for students who need them. Concordia University in Montreal says it is considering a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning for the fall.(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press) "Students with a weakened immune system or chronic condition that may be at risk of developing complications to COVID-19 should work or study from home if possible," McGill said in a statement. If activities require students to be on campus, they are supposed to contact their faculty's student affairs office to work something out. Students with disabilities and chronic illnesses are worried about losing the progress the pandemic has brought, in terms of providing more accessible education. "I can't always get to class, due to a combination of just, like, the building not always being super-accessible and the classroom not being accessible," said Aaron Ansuini, an art education student at Concordia who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a multi-systemic connective tissue disorder that often affects his mobility. Improving academic success As an ambulatory wheelchair user, it is often difficult for Ansuini to attend classes, so he misses important course content. "I've been encouraged to drop classes when I physically can't get to them, despite the fact that I maintain a 4.0 GPA," Ansuini told CBC Montreal's Daybreak. Before the pandemic, both Ansuini and Pauld sometimes had to miss classes and drop courses, which hurt their academic success. That's why remote learning has been so beneficial to them. "My only chance of graduating on time is [online learning], because it's the only way that I could actually do all the classes, all five classes that I know that I can do," said Ansuini. "My classes are going great," said Pauld, "I had such a high GPA last semester and I know this is what I'm capable of doing." Concordia University student Aaron Ansuini says returning to ‘normal’ is not equitable for students with mobility disabilities. (Submitted by Aaron Ansuini) While many students are looking forward to a return to normalcy, a return to how things were pre-pandemic is not ideal to students with mobility disabilities. "What's normal for most people [is] ... not exactly equitable for students with disabilities," said Ansuini. "So I'm concerned about people returning to normal and not realizing that what they're actually returning to is just an inequitable access to education." Pressure worldwide A 2018 report from the National Education Association of Disabled Students, in collaboration with Canadian researchers, concluded that accessibility and inclusion lag behind technological advances. Canadian students aren't the only ones who are feeling it. Students at the University of Washington, for example, are pushing their administration to continue to make class recordings available online even though the school has already opened its campus to students. They argue the current lack of access creates an unequal education system between students who are able-bodied and those with disabilities. Students with disabilities at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland made their case to the administration by documenting their experiences with remote learning. Now, with its campus reopen,Trinity College Dublin has implemented a hybrid model of remote learning and in-person instruction. For Pauld, the fact that Concordia says it is looking at a hybrid model of education is promising, but she would like to see every single class be part of such a model. "So that students who have to attend remotely for different reasons can have access to that, with no exception," she said. Pauld and Ansuini are hoping that the pandemic is proof that accommodations at school, as well as in the workplace, are possible for people with disabilities. "We are not some sort of other or some sort of anomaly," said Ansuini. "We're just part of the student population and our access to education should matter."