Kandie the Goldendoodle puppy plays with all of her siblings before she goes to her forever home. Adorable!
A Nova Scotia man whose wife tried to stop him from having a medically assisted death has followed through with the procedure, which was delayed by court proceedings for the past two months.Jack Sorenson of Bridgewater, N.S., died with medical assistance at the Fishermen's Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg, N.S., on Saturday at the age of 83, according to his obituary. He was approved and scheduled for medical assistance in dying (MAID) this summer, but his plans were put on hold when his wife, 82-year-old Katherine Sorenson, applied to Nova Scotia Supreme Court to stop him.Jack Sorenson had Stage III chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and was assessed with only 49 per cent lung capacity. In an interview in August, he said his shortness of breath caused him immense suffering.Katherine Sorenson has acknowledged her husband's suffering, but she said it was mental, not physical. She opposed his request for MAID because she said his wish to die was rooted in anxiety and mental delusions. She has also said she has a moral opposition to MAID.The day before Sorenson's death, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal had rejected his wife's latest bid to block her husband's efforts. Justice Cindy Bourgeois, who authored the decision on behalf of the three-judge panel, ruled that, with only rare exceptions, courts should not intercede if medical authorities have followed the proper procedures for assessing a patient's MAID request.A divisive dispute in a long marriageThe Sorensons had known each other for more than 60 years and were married for 48. After Katherine Sorenson launched her legal efforts to stop her husband from accessing MAID, he moved out of their shared home and the couple stopped speaking.In an interview Tuesday, Katherine Sorenson said she last spoke to her husband on Aug. 15, when she called him and learned he had made a suicide attempt. At that time, a temporary injunction was legally preventing him from MAID.She learned of his death when the funeral home called to tell her they had his body.She said that after months of separation, his passing was not a shock and she was doing "pretty well, considering.""I've had a wonderful life with Jack. There have been, as with any marriage, lots of varying opinions between the spouses and I thought we did a pretty good job of reconciling two pretty opposite views," she said, referring to their difference of religion. She is a practising Christian and he had been an atheist since his early adulthood.She said they dealt well with their differences "until this issue came up of end of life."In the obituary she wrote for her husband, Katherine Sorenson asked for donations to the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in lieu of flowers. That organization has been paying her legal fees throughout her court challenge.As for what her husband would make of that request appearing in his obituary, she said, "I don't think he would like it.""But I don't know where he is right now, so I haven't got any idea what his frame of mind would be."Pursuing a Supreme Court of Canada appealAfter last week's decision from the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, Katherine Sorenson's lawyers said they had instructions to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. On Tuesday, she said that plan had not changed."Because this is an important issue that has not been dealt with, and it isn't just for Jack. It's for any vulnerable person. I think MAID is not very concerned about mentally ill people," she said.Kate Naugler, one of Katherine Sorenson's lawyers, said she and her colleagues were in the midst of drafting their application to the court.In addition to Jack Sorenson, the Nova Scotia Health Authority and Schelene Swinemar — a nurse practitioner with the health authority — were also listed as respondents in Katherine Sorenson's court challenge.A spokesperson for the health authority told CBC Tuesday, "we are confident that in this case appropriate steps and processes were followed, in accordance with current legislation and policies."Brendan Elliott also said the health authority recognizes Katherine Sorenson's right to apply for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, and respects the legal process.Jocelyn Downie, a Dalhousie University law professor who has been a member of multiple expert panels on MAID, said she believed that if Katherine Sorenson were granted leave to appeal to the high court, she would lose.In an email to CBC, Downie said the decisions from the courts in Nova Scotia were "incredibly robust.""The judges (six in all) walked carefully through all the relevant case law, applied the relevant tests to the evidence, and came to correct decisions."Downie said she suspected this case may have given some clinicians pause about whether to continue providing MAID if they could end up in court."These decisions, especially the Court of Appeal decision, should provide reassurance to clinicians and to the lawyers who advise them."Sorenson remembered as great musician, teacherJack Sorenson's obituary said he was born May 3, 1937, in the small mining town of Wallace, Idaho.Carrying a masters and a doctorate in music from the University of Washington at Seattle, he taught at Dalhousie University in Halifax from 1970-1974. Following that, he was a music producer for CBC for several years before he and his wife bought a restaurant in Mahone Bay on Nova Scotia's South Shore. The couple ran two Mahone Bay restaurants over the years, selling the last one in 2003. He also taught private piano lessons, and many students and employees remember him with fondness for his kindness in encouraging them in their skills whether in music or cooking."Many good friends will miss Jack for his interesting, quirky, challenging ideas," the obituary said.MORE TOP STORIES
The federal government is expected to reveal this morning which single-use plastics will be covered by a national ban coming into effect next year. Ahead of the 2019 election, the Liberals promised they'd seek to ban plastic versions of a number of products by 2021, a commitment that was reiterated during last month's speech from the throne. Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is expected to name which products are on that list at 10:30 a.m. ET. CBC News will carry it live online. The ban, which follows some local bans on single-use plastics, is happening under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which required a scientific assessment of the problem first. That report, released in January, said that in 2016, 29,000 tonnes of plastic garbage, the equivalent of about 2.3 billion single-use plastic water bottles, ended up as litter in Canada — on beaches, in parks, in lakes and even in the air. The report looked at the impact of all types of plastics and points to evidence that macroplastics — pieces bigger than 5 mm — are hurting wildlife. Dead birds were found with plastic in their intestines, whales had washed up on shore with stomachs full of plastic (including flip flops and nylon ropes) and in one case, an emaciated turtle was found with plastic in its digestive tract, notes the study. The evidence was less clear about the harmful impacts for people and wildlife of ingesting microplastics, and the scientists recommended further study. At the time, Wilkinson said the evidence on the effect of macroplastics was enough to go ahead with the ban.
Victoria's iconic 112-year-old Empress Hotel will be out of commission this winter.Fairmont Hotels and Resorts announced late Monday that the hotel will close completely for 87 days, starting Jan. 3, to complete a necessary $3-million renovation to its heating system. A release from Fairmont Hotels and Resorts says there'll be "periods of time where the building will be without heat ... or hot water," as the project involves replacing the building's steam heating system with a high-efficiency hot water heating system, along with replacing two 1960's-era steam boilers and hot water tanks.The hotel's automation system, which controls things like heating, lighting and security features, will also be upgraded. The building is expected to reopen on April 1.The hotel's general manager Indu Brar said in a press release that "being able to leverage the slower season and reduced tourism due to COVID-19 travel restrictions gives us the opportunity to complete these necessary upgrades."Union 'disappointed,' as workers laid off yet againPublic Relations director Tracey Drake said employees will be laid off during the three-month closure, and the hotel is extending its recall time period from 12 months to 24 months, so 90 per cent of employees can return. "[These] are always our quietest months of the year, so many of our colleagues do not work during these months anyways," added Drake.She couldn't say how many employees will be out of work, as many remain laid off from when the hotel closed in March due to COVID-19.Stu Shields, a national representative of Unifor, the union representing the hotel workers, said he's upset that around 75 employees who'd returned to work when the hotel reopened will be out of work yet again. The workers are voting on whether to approve the one-year recall extension that would allow them to reclaim their jobs until March 2022. Results will be known next week. "They are understandably disappointed. They were really hoping that business would open up. It's back onto [Employment Insurance] for the vast majority of the workers there," he said, adding the union is skeptical that the hotel has to close entirely to complete its upgrades.A prudent time to renovate, say tourism advocatesPaul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria, said it's a "prudent time" for the Empress Hotel to renovate, given the slow season expected."They're making a strategic investment ... and it shows a commitment to improve the guest experience," Nursey said.Anthony Everett, CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island said he's surprised the Empress will be closing completely, but expects tourism numbers to drop significantly in Victoria and across Vancouver Island this winter. "Successful businesses … have been using this time to do those things that they otherwise might not be doing, [such as] improvements," he explained. Nursey said he's sympathetic to those businesses who cannot afford to make improvements for the long-term this winter."There's a lot of anxiety as we're heading into the fall," Everett said, adding that "there are going to be some tough decisions this winter" as many businesses decide whether to keep their doors open.
The COVID-19 outbreaks at Foothills Medical Centre, the largest hospital outbreak in terms of sheer numbers to hit Alberta since the start of the pandemic, are taking a devastating toll on heart patients and prompting at least one doctor in southern Alberta to keep less-urgent heart patients closer to home.According to Alberta Health Services, as of Monday afternoon, six of the eight deaths are connected to outbreaks on cardiac wards at the Foothills hospital and 34 of the 42 infected patients have been on impacted cardiac units.All five of the visitors who have tested positive are connected with patients on cardiac wards.As of Monday afternoon a total of 80 patients, staff and visitors had tested positive for COVID-19, and seven units were battling outbreaks, including two cardiac care wards and a cardiac intensive care unit.Because Foothills hospital has one of just three cardiac catheterization labs in Alberta (the other two are in Edmonton) many heart patients from southern and central Alberta often need to be sent there for diagnostic procedures and specialized treatment.For years, doctors in both Lethbridge and Red Deer have been calling for their own cardiac catheterization labs so they don't have to send patients to Calgary or Edmonton for potentially life-saving treatment.'Conservative approach'And doctors outside of Calgary are now weighing the risks of sending patients who are not in urgent need of care.Lethbridge cardiologist Dr. Sheila Klassen said a seriously ill patient she helped care for had be sent to Foothills hospital, just before the outbreak was discovered."That transfer was medically necessary.," she said. "He required advanced care in Calgary but unfortunately he ended up in the middle of the Foothills outbreak. Sadly that was something that we didn't want to see."According to Klassen, the man ended up on one of the cardiac wards with an outbreak. He tested positive for COVID-19 and later died of cardiac arrest."I don't know whether the cardiac arrest was due to COVID-19 or due to his underlying cardiac disease in absence of COVID-19," she said. "But I am concerned he was a very vulnerable patient in terms of COVID-19 infection. So I"m concerned that COVID-19 may have caused the cardiac arrest."It's an ongoing worry for doctors and patients in southern Alberta as the pandemic drags on.There are are only 47 confirmed cases in all of the south zone, while staff inside the walls of Foothills hospital are battling an outbreak that is nearly double that number."Throughout the course of COVID-19 over the last few months and certainly during the recent outbreak … there are many patients who are reluctant to travel up to Calgary because of fear of infection and them knowing that they are in a more vulnerable… population in terms of consequences from COVID-19," Klassen said.When cases aren't urgent, Klassen is finding ways to keep her patients close to home."I lean toward a more conservative approach in terms of medical management and local testing just to avoid inter-hospital transfers recently because of COVID-19," she said.But there are bigger implications to the Foothills hospital outbreaks, according to Klassen.The outbreaks have underscored the need for services, including cardiac catheterization labs, in Lethbridge and Red Deer. "The fact that we're deferring these procedures because of location and distance from a [catheterization] lab and because of COVID-19 cases that differ between locations, I think it speaks to again the inequity in access to care for Albertans living in certain areas of the province versus others."John Church, a health policy expert in the department of political science at the University of Alberta, said the disparity between the healthcare services available in urban and rural Alberta is an ongoing issue and a problem that is very expensive to fix."The stress that the system is currently under [due to the pandemic] is highlighting some of these flaws in our system," said Church."There is a problem in the province with the distribution of healthcare resources, in particular the south of the province … and the Calgary zone in particular gets way more resources than other parts of the province."Church said it's a budgetary issue for AHS which decided long ago that certain expensive services — including cardiac catheterization — would be centralized."And it's not an ideal situation from the point of view of the patient at all."
After a tweet by President Donald Trump downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus, Americans who have been personally impacted by COVID-19 react to the commander-in-chief's words. (Oct. 6)
Islanders may be exchanging face masks for bibs when the COVID-19 pandemic finally comes to an end.Ontario Premier Doug Ford has promised to host "the best Fordfest barbecue that P.E.I. has ever seen" to thank the province for sending 2,000 COVID-19 kits — which equals 8,000 tests — to Ontario."This is a province with 157,000 people helping a province of 14.5 million people," Ford said Tuesday at a news conference in Toronto."I just want to tell the people from P.E.I., I absolutely love you folks."Ford also thanked P.E.I. and Premier Dennis King for sending a tractor-trailer full of meals in the early days of the pandemic, an example of what he called working together in the "great Canadian spirit."He said East Coasters are the type of people who "give their shirts off their backs" in a time of crisis."So Premier King and to all of the folks of P.E.I., I love you, I will be there… This is amazing. I'm getting chills just talking about this."Ontario announced it had 547 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing its total to 55,362. It has 5,469 confirmed active cases.More from CBC P.E.I.
MONTREAL — The second wave of COVID-19 infections in Quebec is already looking "very different" from the first, provincial Health Minister Christian Dube said Tuesday. The provincial government reported 1,364 new confirmed cases on Tuesday morning – the highest daily total since the beginning of the pandemic. There have now been 81,014 cases of the novel coronavirus confirmed in Quebec, more than half of all cases in Canada. While the first wave was marked by serious outbreaks in long-term care centres, there was limited community transmission outside of those facilities, Dube told reporters at an afternoon press conference. "This time, this is totally different," Dube said, noting there are currently more than 500 active outbreaks across the province. But Dube said the government doesn't know how the virus is spreading through the community. "It's really hard to say, when you have a student being diagnosed at school, where he got it. Did he get it from his parent? Did he get it from his friend? From an uncle who got it at work? It is very difficult to know exactly where you got it," he said. "That's the reason we are saying right now, we are shutting down all those places where we can get together, because we don't know exactly." Schools remain open in the province, but on Monday the government announced high school students in maximum-alert regions will be required to wear masks in class and those in Grades 10 and 11 will spend one day out of every two at home. As of Oct. 2, the most recent date for which data is available, 666 schools had active cases of COVID-19 among staff or students. Restaurant dining rooms, bars, theatres and other venues were shut in the so-called red zones, including greater Montreal and Quebec City, on Oct. 1 for a period of four weeks. The Health Department reported three deaths in the previous 24 hours on Tuesday and said 14 earlier deaths have been linked to the novel coronavirus. Two deaths previously attributed to the disease were determined to have been from other causes, leaving the provincial death toll at 5,899. There are now 397 people in hospital, an increase of 36 from the previous day, while 67 people are in intensive care — an increase of five. But while the number of new cases is now higher than at any other point in the pandemic, the number of hospitalizations remains lower than during its previous peak. Throughout most of April, there was an average of more than 100 hospitalizations a day. Part of that may be due to the fact that younger people, who are less likely to have severe symptoms, are now getting the disease, said Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiology professor at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health. But it's also likely that the number COVID-19 cases in the spring were underestimated. "Comparing the number of positive cases this month to the number of positive cases in April, isn't a fair comparison, because we're just doing more tests in the population," she said. On average, Quebec is now conducting more than three times as many tests as in April and more than twice as many as in May. "There's no such thing as one measurement that tells us everything we need to know," said Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious disease specialist at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital. One important factor, he said, is the percentage of tests that are positive. The higher that number, the more likely the disease is widespread in the community. "We usually consider anything less that one per cent to be indicative of good control. In the middle of August, we were at around half a percent," Oughton said. "Whereas, from these numbers today, we're at six per cent provincially." That figure could be even higher in hard-hit areas of the province, he said. While the provincial government releases data on the number of new cases by region, it doesn't do that for testing. As the number of cases grows in the community, there's a greater chance that the disease will once again spread to a high-risk community, which could lead to a sudden rise in the number of severe cases, Oughton said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020 ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press
Calgary police say they are looking for a man who sexually assaulted a woman jogging in Coach Hill early Tuesday morning.At around 5 a.m., the woman was jogging south from Coach Hill Road S.W. toward Bow Trail S.W. when she passed a man who was walking north.Police said the man yelled at the woman before charging her and touching her sexually without her consent. The woman screamed and ran away, then called police. The man was last seen running south toward Bow Trail S.W.He's described as Caucasian, five feet five inches and 20 to 30 years old, with a medium build and a day's growth beard. He was wearing a dark-coloured tuque, a dark T-shirt with a red and black plaid shirt tied around his waist and baggy blue jeans, police said. Police said they are looking to speak with any witnesses or anyone who has information about the man's identity or location. Anyone with information can call 403-266-1234, or contact Crime Stoppers anonymously."No one deserves to be victimized, and there are some things joggers can do to improve their safety while exercising outdoors," police said.Recommendations include jogging with others, staying in well-lit areas and not wearing earbuds.Police also said those jogging alone should tell someone where they are going and when they expect to return, or share their location through GPS on their phone.
NEW YORK — For the 21 years while Sibil “Fox” Richardson’s husband, Rob, was imprisoned, they were, she says, “a telephone, letter-writing, visitation, just-stay-alive and keep-your-head-above-water couple.” How long is 21 years plus four days? Garrett Bradley’s acclaimed documentary about the Richardson family, “Time,” measures its passage through a father’s absence. It’s seen in children growing up, graduations coming and going, faces changing with age. Made with family video diaries shot by Fox of herself and their six children that span more than two decades, “Time” lends a powerfully intimate portrait of the toll of mass incarceration. Many films have sought to capture the impact of America’s prison industrial complex, but “Time” is something else. The film, which Amazon will release in select theatres Friday and launch on Amazon Prime next week, is a lyrical, black-and-white montage that digs into the long-term ache of incarceration. In footage that unspools more circularly than chronologically, toddlers turn into young men and then back again. It’s also about an enduring love. Throughout the two decades, Fox remains steadfastly devoted to her husband. She becomes a social rights advocate and works tirelessly to get him freed from the Louisiana State Penitentiary where he’s serving a 60-year sentence for robbing a bank. “Love never left off,” says Fox, speaking by Zoom alongside Rob from New Orleans. Says Rob: “Instead of a story of crime and punishment, a story of love and conviction was put before our people to see.” Rob and Fox were high-school sweethearts. They married, bought a house and planned to start a business. But when their plans for a hip-hop clothing store fell through in 1997, they held up a branch of the Shreveport Credit Union. The scheme was poorly thought out; they didn’t steal any money and no one got hurt. But their sentences were harsh. Fox, the getaway driver, got 19 years. Rob got 60 years. “It was hard to even admit out of pride and out of guilt that our actions had led us to such a lowly place,” says Fox. “We’re good people. And sometimes good people do the darnedest dog-gone things.” They never claimed they were innocent but the length of sentence seemed to them excessive. Fox was three-months pregnant with twins at the time of sentencing. In “Time,” she grows furious, weary and increasingly impatient with the bureaucratic appeals process. “These people have no respect for other human beings’ lives,” she says in the film. “We want to believe that justice is not just some imaginary thing that we’ve conjured up inside of our minds,” Rob says now. “When you find yourself up against a system, the system, you realize how heinous and harsh and unusual such a system is, it takes you back to another space in time where people wanted to justify slavery.” Bradley, 34, was working on “Alone,” a 2016 short about incarceration from the point of view of a single mother, when she met Fox. Bradley first began filming Fox imagining she would make a sister short to “Alone." On what was to be her last day shooting, Fox handed her 100 hours of mini-DV tapes. Her plans went out the window. “Getting a hundred hours-worth of Fox’s family archive and personal footage was very much a thwarting of the vision I thought I had,” says Bradley. “But it was completely necessary and opened up doors that needed to be opened.” With editor Gabriel Rhodes, Bradley sifted through the tapes and something larger took shape that captured the hard-to-see family reality of incarceration. She scored it partly with the piano solos of Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, an Ethiopian nun who released a handful of records in the 1960s. At the Sundance Film Festival in January, “Time” won the award for documentary directing. Bradley credits the films of the L.A. Rebellion by filmmakers like Charles Burnett and Julie Dash as inspiring her formally adventurous but deeply humanistic approach to filmmaking. She envisions “Time” as a kind of meeting of her film and Fox’s. Next month, she’ll present an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art of vignettes interspersed with footage from 1913’s “Lime Kiln Field Day,” one of the first films made with an all-Black cast. “I’m interested in seemingly opposing ideas or communities or individuals and thinking about filmmaking as a tool to bring these things together to create sort of third ideas or proposals for a blending and communication,” says Bradley. Bradley kept shooting, too, including the day Rob finally got out of prison. So ecstatic to finally be reunited, Fox and Rob quickly set to making love in the backseat even with a cameraperson from the documentary crew in the front seat. You’d say they picked up right where they left off, but Fox disagrees. “This is a well-oiled machine over here,” she says, laughing. “Our sex life at 50 is so much better.” So is everything else. Fox sees the difference most in their children’s eyes, in their sense of security. “It’s better than I ever imagined,” she says. Early in the pandemic, Rob and Fox each contracted COVID-19, and as difficult as the experience was, they had the chance for the first time in a long time to take care of each other. They’ve since regularly posted videos of their family workouts on Instagram. “Time” resurrected a lot of what they — and Rob, in particular — are also trying to get past. Watching and talking about the film, he says, has been both therapy and torture. “You’re aware of a lot of things that took place because you’ve been there by way of phone, but it’s something else when you put video with audio,” he says. “You can hear the voices and hear the sounds and hear the lectures, but it’s another all together different when you can see the images and the faces.” Bradley screened the film for the family shortly before its Sundance premiere. “We’ve been crying ever since,” says Rob, smiling. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Combating systemic racism experienced by Indigenous women and girls requires better training and education starting in childhood, says former Opposition leader and ongoing advocate for girls' rights Rona Ambrose. Ambrose, the author of a new book celebrating the International Day of the Girl, says teaching kids early about equality equips them to speak up when they witness or experience discrimination later in life. "Having these conversations with boys and girls at a really young age is, I think, absolutely essential to really make sure that they absorb what it is to be equal," she said. "And make that part of their identity of that a very, very young age." That a dying Quebec Indigenous woman, Joyce Echaquan, was taunted with racist slurs while in hospital last month by professional adults is "unconscionable," said Ambrose, and there must be accountability for those involved. Two people have been fired, and a coroner's inquest will be held into the incident. On Tuesday, Quebec Premier Francois Legault apologized to her family. But too often stories like Echaquan's are met with a collective gasp of shock and then nothing really changes, Ambrose said. While interim Conservative leader in 2017, Ambrose introduced a bill that would mandate training for judges to ensure they weren't being influenced by stereotypes when rendering decisions in sexual assault cases. "That's why we put forward things like this bill, so that people in the highest positions of our system get training," she said. "But frankly, that kind of training should exist for a lot of people that are interfacing with the public." The bill languished in the Senate, despite a cross-partisan show of support in the House of Commons, and died when an election was called last fall. It was reintroduced last week by the Liberals, and Ambrose said the fact it has the backing of the country's justice minister gives her confidence it will pass. While the bill is important, efforts to educate must go beyond legislation, she said, and that's why she's written the book, along with co-author Jessica Dee Humphreys. International Day of the Girl: Celebrating Girls Around The World is a project that Ambrose has long had in the works, linked to an achievement during her days in politics to get the UN to agree to setting aside Oct. 11 as the international day of the girl. In writing the book, she said it was important to not skip over the fact that there are girls in Canada who also struggle with inequality. Included is a story based on that of Shannen Koostachin, whose advocacy for a school in the First Nation community of Attawapiskat drew international attention. She died in a car accident at the age of 15 in 2010, and Ambrose said her family is aware that a version of her story appears in the book, using a different name. The story is one of nine featuring girls from around the world who have overcome obstacles often deliberately placed in their way. Ambrose's share of the proceeds from the book will go to charity. "For me, it's about teaching kids to be better and great global citizens," she said. "But then it's also to raise awareness that there's a lot of work to be done around gender equality. And then what it looks like to overcome those challenges." A key challenge facing governments now, Ambrose said, is how to respond to the gender inequality created by the COVID-19 pandemic. During past economic recessions, pouring money into infrastructure projects was a tried-and-true way to spur growth, and it does work, Ambrose said. Except the jobs those projects create are more likely to go to men, and in the context of the pandemic, women's livelihoods are under attack. Jobs in retail or hospitality are dominated by women, and those sectors are in crisis. Meanwhile, women are also seeing all the formal and informal supports they had for childcare become far less reliable, she said. The question, Ambrose said, is what the policy response can or should be. "Can you fix this with money? Or is it fixed with a better testing regime to make sure that we keep daycares and schools open?," she said. "And then corporations, companies are going to have to figure out how to stop this backslide and accommodate a lot of issues that women are dealing with in the workforce." The Liberals have staked their political credibility on being a "feminist" government that will address the so-called "she-cession" but Ambrose said her party, under the new leadership of Erin O'Toole, must also stake out turf on that front. "Women are pretty good judges of slogans versus action, and they are pretty tough on who they vote for," she said. "They know what's good for their families and their communities and their economy. So, you know, it'll be up to our party to make the case." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON, Wash. — Anyone looking for Trump-style fireworks from tonight's vice-presidential debate is likely to be disappointed. But it will still likely be one of the most watched presidential undercard debates in recent history. Vice-President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will be seated when they face off, at a distance, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. They are also expected to be divided by Plexiglas barriers, although the Pence campaign raised objections to that idea late Tuesday. Experts expect the prosecutorial Harris, a former California attorney general, to take the fight to Pence, especially when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pence's job will be to radiate rationality and common sense as a counterpoint to the daily chaos of President Donald Trump. Voters on both sides of the partisan divide will be paying more attention to the running mates than they have in the past, not least because of the age and health of the presidential candidates themselves. Democratic challenger Joe Biden is 77, and the Trump campaign has done its best to depict him as a frail old man with neither the stamina nor the smarts to be commander-in-chief. The 74-year-old Trump, on the other hand, tested positive Friday for COVID-19, and has been trying mightily ever since to depict himself as a president at the peak of his power. As a result, both Harris and Pence are under pressure to demonstrate they could take over the top job, said Mitchell McKinney, director of the Political Communication Institute at the University of Missouri. "Is Kamala Harris capable and ready to be president? She has to answer that question," McKinney said. "But now, that question is not just on her side of the table, but for both of these candidates, with the President's recent health concerns." Reminders of the pandemic will be everywhere, from a face mask-clad studio audience to Plexiglas barriers and the nearly four metres separating the vice-president, the California senator and moderator Susan Page. Harris is expected to deploy her clinical, prosecutorial style against Pence, whose position atop the much-maligned White House coronavirus task force will ensure COVID-19 is a dominant topic. For his part, the vice-president, whose retiring political style is diametrically opposed to that of his boss, will need to demonstrate there's at least one adult in the White House, McKinney said. That mission will be helped by the format ⏤ a sit-down, tabletop affair that McKinney described as a "chat" debate. COVID-19 has been running rampant through the West Wing in the days since Trump himself tested positive last week before spending three chaotic days at Walter Reed National Military Health Center. That hospital stay, which produced more questions than answers about the president's health, culminated Monday in a theatrical, made-for-TV return to the White House, complete with a breathy, unmasked salute from atop the Truman Balcony. "Don't let it dominate you," Trump said in a video posted to Twitter minutes later, seemingly oblivious to the mounting death toll or to the number of White House staff who tested positive in his absence. "Don't be afraid of it." Trump continued to shrug off the crisis Tuesday, pulling the plug on congressional efforts to negotiate a new economic stimulus package and demanding the effort be tabled until after the election. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2020. James McCarten, The Canadian Press
Australian miner Newcrest Mining Ltd. says it has conditional approval to list its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange, a move designed to increase its exposure to North American investors. It says it expects to satisfy remaining conditions for the listing in time to allow trading to start on Oct. 13, adding it plans no equity offering with the listing. Newcrest says the listing is part of its strategy to pursue growth in the Americas.
Two-way protected bike lanes are opening in Regina along Park Street. The $1.5 million dollar project was started in June and officially finished only a few days behind schedule in October. The bike lanes connect the Park Street bike lane to the Arcola multi-use parkway. "These are key elements of the transportation master plan," Diane Hawryluk, executive director of city planning and community development, said. Hawryluk said the older communities were not built to have bike lanes and now the city is working hard to give people options to get around. "The bi-directional bike lane on Park Street helps to improve cyclist safety and create a more inclusive, cycling-friendly community," Hawryluk said. Cyclists will continue to yield to pedestrians on the bike lane and the dotted lane means cyclists can pass each other when it's safe to do so. There is also an elevated curb with transit access platforms for pedestrians to still use public transportation and "elephant's feet" signs to let bikers know there may be pedestrians crossing. Ellen Mclaughlin is with Bike Regina and attended the announcement on Tuesday morning. She's been cycling in the city for about three years and says she typically stays on the paths but sometimes needs to go on the road. "I probably get yelled at once a week by vehicles telling me to get off the road," she said. "That's fun … It's a bit nerve-wracking."She said she uses the bike safety tip of owning her lane when needing to be on the street but was pleased when she heard about the protected bike lane. "It's great to see this commitment from the city to cyclists in Regina and the improvement of safety for cyclists in Regina," she said. "It makes a huge difference." There are fewer opportunities for collisions with protected lanes and the lanes can be used by all ages and abilities, she said. Snow to be removed in winter: cityIn the winter, snow from the bike lanes, the parking lane and driving lanes would be moved to the centre boulevard as usual. "Once that snow affects sight lines or lane widths then the crews would come out to remove the snow," Chris Warren, director of roadway and transportation for the City of Regina, said."This will be a combined effort with some of our sidewalk maintenance machines as well as our road maintenance machines to ensure that as we clear the snow in tandem and move the snow to the centre so that both the bike lanes and driving lanes are accessible." This means the lanes can be used year round, which is good news for McLaughlin who bikes whenever she can in the winter. "It means we'll have a safe space to ride during the winter when lanes get even narrower and difficult to manoeuvre," she said. The City of Regina's transportation master plan has a map for bike lane plans for the next 25 years. McLaughlin said she hopes to see more protected lanes on high traffic areas such as on Albert Street and Broad Street. "What we are generally planning is focusing our priority on the centre of the city and moving our way out from the centre," Shanie Leugener, who is with the City of Regina, said. She said the planning will look at adding lanes when the city is also redoing existing roads, such as what happened with the Park Street protected bike lanes.
Steve Balog was 18 and sitting beside his mother as she drove down a rural Saskatchewan highway when their car was hit. Now 42, Balog and his younger brother say they have recently learned the identity of the man responsible for the collision. “My deepest question that I would want answered is: why did it happen?" Balog told The Canadian Press in a phone interview.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault stood in the legislature Tuesday and formally apologized on behalf of the government to the family of an Indigenous woman subjected to verbal abuse as she lay dying in a hospital. His apology came the same day a private funeral was scheduled for Joyce Echaquan in the Atikamekw community of Manawan, about 250 kilometres north of Montreal. The 37-year-old mother of seven died in hospital in Joliette, Que., last week, after she filmed herself in distress and pleading for help in a video that also captured hospital staff making degrading comments about her. "I want, on behalf of the Quebec state, to offer my apologies to the family, loved ones and the community of Joyce Echaquan," Legault said. "Unfortunately this isn't an isolated case," the premier added. "There continue to be a lot of racist acts against Indigenous people in Quebec, and it's not by chance. For decades, Indigenous people have been subjected to discrimination by different levels of government." The video, filmed from Echaquan's hospital bed northeast of Montreal, triggered widespread indignation, protest marches and vigils across Canada. In Ottawa, a minute of silence was held for Echaquan following question period Tuesday. Legault met with the grand chief of the Atikamekw Nation on Monday and promised better training throughout the hospital network as well as a public awareness campaign on the importance of fighting racism. But while his government has taken action that includes opening a public inquiry into Echaquan’s death, the premier has consistently maintained that systemic racism doesn't exist in Quebec. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct 6, 2020 The Canadian Press
Next year is expected to be another rocky one for the City of Ottawa's transit ridership numbers, public health costs and recreation revenues, but staff still plan to craft a 2021 budget that holds property tax increases at three per cent.Ottawa's finance and economic development committee set that goal Tuesday, which would mean an increase of $115 on the average tax bill for an urban house assessed at $415,000.Staff will now come up with a draft budget to table Nov. 9, and will base their calculations on the assumption that the federal and provincial governments will come through and cover tens of millions of dollars in costs caused by COVID-19.Mayor Jim Watson urged council colleagues to keep pressing upper levels of government to "fill that void," and said there appears to be an understanding that they will.Municipalities are not allowed to run deficits. The city has also learned that the upcoming second stage of COVID-19 funding will cover transit costs through to the end of next March, a point that hadn't been clear earlier.Vice-chair Coun. Laura Dudas said the city couldn't "squander the goodwill" of those governments, however, especially if the pandemic's drag on the economy requires subsidies for another year or two."It's setting the tone for the year to come so our residents know we're going into this with a prudent vision ... that we're not thinking we're flush with cash," said Dudas. Dudas's colleagues ultimately agreed with the motion she put forward, which asked staff to dig into the city's operations to look for savings and also consider which capital projects can be delayed if that government funding doesn't come through.EquiPass to be frozen for 2021But some councillors sought assurances that delaying work wouldn't lead to extra costs.Coun. Eli El-Chantiry said he worried deferring projects would be akin to putting off roof repairs on a house, leading to more expensive fixes in the long term.Chief financial officer Wendy Stephanson said Dudas's motion would guide staff if the city is forced to look for extra savings, but she also noted staff are already careful not to create extra costs down the road.While COVID-19 might deal a wallop to transit and recreation revenues, and also increase for cleaning and protective equipment, the city sees a few other pressures, too. Its insurance costs are rising, it has pegged construction inflation at about 2.3 per cent, and it is gradually having to increase its employer contributions to the Canada Pension Plan.The city must still also contribute an extra $5 million to transit capital costs, leading to a higher transit levy of 4.6 per cent on property tax bills. That's because gas tax revenues didn't materialize after the change of government from Kathleen Wynne's Liberals to Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives.On the other hand, the Ontario government's earlier plan to have municipalities take on a 30 per cent share of the cost of running public health agencies will not be felt until at least 2022, Stephanson said.Ottawa's 2021 budget will also assume transit fares will rise by 2.5 per cent, although Mayor Watson has directed staff to freeze the low-income Community Pass, EquiPass and EquiFares.
TORONTO — Canadian researchers have launched a study to determine if a century-old vaccine against tuberculosis can offer some protection against COVID-19. Investigators at the University Health Network in Toronto say they hope to test a theory that Bacille Calmette Guerin, or BCG, can reduce the incidence and severity of COVID-19 infection. The trial is open to police, fire and health-care workers in the Greater Toronto Area who are at greater risk of COVID-19 exposure, with researchers hoping to recruit more than 3,600 participants. Principal co-investigator Dr. Alexandre Zlotta says that if the inexpensive vaccine proves helpful, it can be rapidly deployed to offer temporary protection until a COVID-specific vaccine is widely available. Even before COVID-19 arrived, Zlotta says BCG was believed to offer protection from other viral infections, pointing to research going back a decade. He touted a study published in Cell last month among elderly participants in Greece that found those vaccinated with BCG suffered fewer serious respiratory viral infections. "There is a possibility that it would help fight COVID, and other pandemics. Is it (guaranteed)? Absolutely not," says Zlotta. "Until we have the study done, no one should be advised to get a BCG vaccination to fight COVID. The issue is not settled." While BCG continues to be used in European and developing countries, Canada discontinued routine use in the early 1970s, according to Toronto Public Health. Tuberculosis cases in Canada are among the lowest in the world, although certain vulnerable populations are at higher risk for the infectious, bacterial disease. Dubbed "COBRA," the double-blind placebo-controlled study is unfolding alongside similar trials in Germany and the United States. Experts expect to release results in May 2021. Interest in BCG emerged early in the pandemic when researchers noticed some countries with higher rates of BCG coverage also had significantly lower rates of COVID-19 deaths. But more recent analysis reflecting the pandemic's movement across the globe bucks that idea. "Lack of evidence for BCG vaccine protection from severe COVID-19," states the headline of a letter published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept. 29. Citing updated analysis based on data from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, the study notes Bolivia, Panama, Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa had the largest increases in COVID-19 deaths on Aug. 1, even though the countries also have high BCG coverage. The letter concludes by saying ongoing randomized controlled trials should provide more concrete answers. Zlotta acknowledges ongoing questions about what, exactly, BCG can do to protect against this novel coronavirus, and says his study — along with similar trials around the world — should help settle debate once and for all. "I think we're going to have enough (evidence) in the different studies to settle the issue as to whether yes or no it does protect." UHN says the Canadian study uses an improved version of the vaccine, which researchers expect "will help muster a stronger immune response." The study is being funded by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
After lobbying to be included in the Atlantic bubble this spring, an eastern Quebec town may be leaving it over what its mayor describes as overly onerous restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19. Pointe-a-la-Croix along with the neighbouring Listuguj First Nation are the only remaining Quebec communities whose residents are allowed to make day trips to New Brunswick for reasons other than work, child custody or medical care. While the links between his Gaspe town and neighbouring Campbellton, N.B., are strong, Pointe-a-la-Croix Mayor Pascal Bujold says the new rules go too far.
OTTAWA — The Liberals and the NDP have blocked an effort by the Conservatives to get the WE Charity affair probed ahead of a study into why the Liberals prorogued Parliament. The government must provide a report within 20 sitting days to the Commons procedures and House affairs committee explaining why the August prorogation was necessary. The Tories had sought to get ahead of it by calling witnesses and requesting documents related to the Liberal government's choice to have WE Charity run a multimillion-dollar student program. They argued there's a clear link between the parliamentary reset and the issue, accusing the Liberals of proroguing Parliament to stop several committee investigations into the controversy. But Liberal committee chair Ruby Sahota ruled their effort didn't abide by the procedural rules of the committee, partially on the grounds that it prejudges what is in the government's coming report. The Tories tried to overturn Sahota's ruling but it stood with the NDP's support. NDP MP Rachel Blaney had earlier said that while the public does see a connection between the WE affair and prorogation, she had issues with the Conservatives' motion. Before prorogation, the Liberals had been facing sustained heat over a decision to award a major contract to WE Charity, an organization with long-standing ties to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's family. Trudeau has apologized for not recusing himself from the decision, which he has maintained was made by bureaucrats not under political pressure. The Tories have vowed to keep up the pressure on the government over the issue and will likely to try to revive studies that had been underway at other committees before the government shut them down. The NDP, despite supporting Sahota's ruling that the Tory effort to get the issue before that committee broke the rules, have said they too want further scrutiny of the WE Charity deal. They've called for the creation of a new special committee that would examine WE and all COVID-19 related spending. This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 6, 2020. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
With cold weather quickly approaching amid a pandemic, the City of Toronto’s winter homeless programming will begin two weeks early. But even with additional supports and shelter space, many are remaining outdoors over COVID-19 fears. Matthew Bingley reports.