China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate from the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Alberta, said a mostly salt and water solution that coats the first or middle layer of the mask would dissolve droplets before they can penetrate the face covering.As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, damaging the bacteria or virus within five minutes, Rubino said."We know that after the pathogens are collected in the mask, they can survive. Our goal was to develop a technology that is able to inactivate the pathogens upon contact so that we can make the mask as effective as possible."Rubino, who collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago, was recognized Tuesday with an innovation award from Mitacs. The Canadian not-for-profit organization receives funding from the federal government, most provinces and Yukon to honour researchers from academic institutions.The reusable, non-washable mask is made of a type of polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, and could be safely worn and handled multiple times without being decontaminated, Rubino said.The idea is to replace surgical masks often worn by health-care workers who must dispose of them in a few hours, she said, adding the technology could potentially be used for N-95 respirators.The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval. It could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza, Rubino said.Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the "exciting" technology would have multiple benefits.Clase, who is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials in the engineering department at McMaster, said there wasn't much research in personal protective equipment when Rubino began her work."It's going to decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask," she said, adding that the mask could also address any supply issues.The Public Health Agency of Canada recently recommended homemade masks consist of at least three layers, with a middle, removable layer constructed from a non-woven, washable polypropylene fabric to improve filtration.Conor Ruzycki, an aerosol scientist in the University of Alberta's mechanical engineering department, said Rubino's innovation adds to more recent research on masks as COVID-19 cases rise and shortages of face coverings in the health-care system could again become a problem.Ruzycki, who works in a lab to evaluate infiltration efficiencies of different materials for masks and respirators, is also a member of a physician-led Alberta group Masks4Canada, which is calling for stricter pandemic measures, including a provincewide policy on mandatory masks.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
Recent developments: * Ottawa has 19 more people with COVID-19. * An update on the impact of COVID-19 on Ottawa's diverse communities is underway.What's the latest?Ottawa has 19 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases today.Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is among the groups holding a 1 p.m. ET news conference about the impact of the pandemic on the city's diverse communities.How many cases are there?As of Tuesday, 8,231 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are 323 known active cases, 7,540 cases now considered resolved and 368 people who have died of COVID-19.Public health officials have reported more than 13,300 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 11,900 resolved cases.Eighty-eight people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 76 in western Quebec. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do?Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with, or one other home if people live alone, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.Travel from one region to another discouraged throughout the Outaouais. Ontario says people shouldn't travel to a lower-level region from a higher one and some lower-level health units want residents to stay put to curb the spread.WATCH | No large gatherings for the holidays, says Dr. Tam:Ottawa is currently in the orange zone of the provincial pandemic scale, which allows organized gatherings and restaurants, gyms and theatres to bring people inside.Ottawa's medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches has said Ottawa's situation is stable and people should focus on managing risks and taking precautions, such as seeing a few friends outside at a distance, to bring the spread down further.Communities in the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) and Eastern Ontario health units have been moved to yellow.That means restaurant hours, capacity and table limits and other rules between orange Ottawa and the rest of eastern Ontario, which is green.In Gatineau and the surrounding area, which is one of Quebec's red zones, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.Indoor dining at restaurants remains prohibited and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.The rest of western Quebec is orange, which allows private gatherings of up to six people and organized ones up to 25 — with more in seated venues.Last week, Quebec announced what it will take to have a small holiday gathering next month. Rules won't be loosened until mid-January at the earliest.What about schools?There have been about 200 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.WATCH | Concerns about safety at École secondaire publique Omer-Deslauriers:Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can't distance from others. Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration depends on the circumstances in both Ontario and Quebec.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic and resources are available to help.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province.Anyone seeking a test should now book an appointment. Different sites in the area have different ways to book, including over the phone or going in person to get a time slot.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.Ottawa has nine permanent test sites, with additional mobile sites deployed wherever demand is particularly high. A test site opens at the McNabb Community Centre today.Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other test site is in Napanee.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test site visiting smaller communities.People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.In western Quebec:Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne has had its most known COVID-19 cases of the pandemic this month, with 22 and counting in its Ontario portion and more on the American side of the border. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel.Akwesasne schools are temporarily closed to in-person learning and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre has also closed. It has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte reported its first confirmed case this month.People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.For more information
The staff tested positive last week and Maxwell was checked for the virus on Nov. 18 using a rapid test which was negative, the prosecutors said in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan. Maxwell was placed in quarantine at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for 14 days, said the letter. Maxwell has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19 and will be tested again at the end of her two-week quarantine.
Canada has turned away at least 4,400 asylum seekers at the U.S. border since 2016 — including some who were hoping to find refuge here at the height of the global pandemic — according to newly released government figures.Nearly half of those trying to enter Canada over that five-year period made the attempt in the year after U.S. President Donald Trump took office, according to figures released in response to a parliamentary request from NDP MP Jenny Kwan.Under the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), which has been in effect since 2004, Canada and the U.S. consider each other to be "safe countries" for refugees and require them to make their claims in the country they arrive in first.The agreement has long faced criticism and legal challenges from refugee advocacy groups, who say the agreement is an inhumane way to limit the number of people Canada accepts as refugees. They say the U.S. is not a safe country for all refugees and that the dangers they face have increased under the Trump administration.The federal government is appealing a Federal Court ruling earlier this year that found the STCA infringed Charter rights.The figures provided to Kwan show there was a spike in the number of asylum seekers turned back at the border after Trump was elected in 2016 and took office in 2017.In 2016 there were 742 people turned back at the border. That figure jumped to 1,992 in 2017. There were 744 denied entry in 2018 and 663 in 2019.Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 23 this year — a period which captures the height of the first wave of COVID-19 — 259 people were turned back at the border.'Even more precarious'Kwan called that "really disturbing.""In the face of a pandemic, things are even more precarious for people who need to get to safety and Canada actually did not hesitate to turn people back," she said.Kwan said the Trump administration imposed detention and deportation policies that violated international human rights and provoked widespread fear among refugees. By turning away asylum seekers, Canada is "complicit" in the violation of their rights, she said.Kwan said Canada should immediately suspend the STCA and work to negotiate a new agreement with U.S. president-elect Joe Biden that addresses human rights issues. But she said the "aggressive and intense" detention policies could linger."I think even with the Biden administration, that policy may still continue to exist, and even if the Biden administration wants to make changes, it's not going to happen overnight," she said.Mary-Liz Power, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, said the government appealed the Federal Court ruling because it believes there were errors in key findings of fact and law.She said the decision mistakenly suggests that all asylum claimants who are ineligible under the STCA and turned back to the U.S. are automatically detained as a penalty. She also noted that the U.S. remains a party to the UN Refugee Convention.Refugee pact 'fair, compassionate': Blair spokesperson"The STCA, which has served Canada well for 16 years, ensures that those whose lives are in danger are able to claim asylum at the very first opportunity in a safe country," she said. "We are in continuous discussions with the U.S. government on issues related to our shared border. We believe that the STCA remains a comprehensive vehicle for the fair, compassionate and orderly handling of asylum claims in our two countries."As for the spike in numbers in 2017, Power said that 2017-2018 recorded the highest number of globally displaced individuals since the Second World War.Justin Mohammed, human rights law and policy campaigner for Amnesty International Canada, said a number of factors could have driven that sharp increase, including global patterns and Trump's policies.He said Canada should be fulfilling its international obligations under international refugee law at all times — even during a pandemic, when safety concerns are heightened.Mohammed pointed to exemptions made for students, family reunification and other immigration classes that allow people to arrive in Canada despite travel restrictions."Why are refugees being excluded from that? They're able to quarantine or be required to have a quarantine plan just like anyone else ... so why is there not the ability to be able to provide protection?" he said.Partial pictureJanet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, said the 2020 figures represent only a partial picture of the people turned back to the U.S. because of added restrictions after the border closed March 20.At that time, refugee claimants were denied entry on public health grounds whether they arrived at an official point of entry or at another crossing — such as Roxham Road in Quebec — where the STCA does not normally apply.Despite assurances the Canadian government says it received from the U.S. that refugee claimants directed back would not be subject to enforcement such as detention or removal, Dench said refugee advocates in Canada know of at least two people who were detained in the U.S. after being directed back.Conservative immigration critic Raquel Dancho said the Liberal record on administering the refugee and asylum system was one of "mismanagement, years-long backlogs and failure," even before the pandemic."Conservatives have long been calling on the government to close illegal border crossings and work with their American counterparts to close the longstanding loopholes in the Safe Third Country Agreement so that refugee and asylum seekers have a fair, compassionate and effective pathway to come to Canada," she said in a statement.
An opposition lawmaker called on Tuesday for Malaysia to outlaw online hate speech, accusing authorities of downplaying the gravity of an issue highlighted by a Reuters investigation into abuse on Facebook of Rohingya refugees and undocumented migrants. Citing the Reuters report on rising xenophobia online in Malaysia in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, lawmaker Chan Foong Hin asked the Communications and Multimedia Ministry last week to state its plans to combat such hate speech.
Following a serious COVID-19 outbreak at a French public school in Ottawa, some parents are threatening to keep their kids out of class unless they get assurances it's safe to return. Sixteen students and one teacher at École publique secondaire Omer-Deslauriers tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, forcing the shutdown of all grades 7 and 8 classrooms by Nov. 4, and three more classes in the upper grades by Nov. 10. > I'm feeling very sad because I'm jeopardizing my daughter's education, but I'd rather keep her safe than the danger of sending her to school. \- Idil OmarLast Wednesday evening, parents received notice the children could return the following day, however the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (CEPEO) confirms about 40 per cent of the students did not immediately return."It has been very dramatic to many, many families," said Youcef Fouzar, a parent representative on the school council.Fouzar said about half a dozen families have moved their children to another school in a different board. He said the council is demanding assurances from CEPEO that the school will be safe, as well as better communication with parents.Superintendent points to surrounding communityCEPEO superintendent of education Sylvie Tremblay said the outbreak at the school occurred because COVID-19 rates in the surrounding community are high."More often than not, when there are cases in any school, it's because of behaviours and practices that people have outside of the school," Tremblay said.CBC did ask to speak with the principal of the school, but was referred to Tremblay for comment. But parents at Omer-Deslauriers aren't buying that explanation. There have been no cases at the neighbouring English high school or middle school, and only two at the nearby French Catholic elementary school.Instead, they're pointing to overcrowding in two Grade 7 International Baccalaureate (IB) classrooms. On Oct. 21, the school eliminated one of three Grade 7 IB classes, creating two larger classes of 28 and 29 students.In Ontario, there are no cap sizes for classes in grades 4 through 8, only a maximum average of 24.5 across each board. Public health guidelines mandate large classes must be in rooms that can accommodate adequate physical distancing. Tremblay said an Ottawa Public Health investigator suggested only a few "tweaks" to the current class configuration following the outbreak, including Plexiglas dividers between desks. That change has been delayed because of supply problems, she said.Girl came home 'very anxious'Idil Omar said her 12-year-old daughter came home after the first day back at school "very anxious" over a lack of physical distancing. The girl told her mother she could reach out and touch her nearest classmate, and said there was no adult supervision at lunch. Omar's daughter is among the students who have not yet returned to the school. "I'm feeling very sad because I'm jeopardizing my daughter's education, but I'd rather keep her safe than the danger of sending her to school," Omar said.Tremblay said there has always been supervision at lunch.A source with L'Association des enseignantes et enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the union representing teachers at the school, confirmed it's heard health and safety complaints regarding COVID-19, but said it can't discuss the details while it's actively trying to resolve the issues.Several parents said members of their families have since contracted the virus, and school council members estimate some 100 households with links to the school have been under quarantine. The president of the school council, Yussuf Farah, said in one case both parents have been so ill they've had trouble caring for their children."I hope the community keeps these families in mind," Farah said in a French interview. Fouzar said he's interested in how the Toronto District School Board used its own funds to cap grades 4-8 at 20 students in neighbourhoods with higher COVID-19 transmission, and said he'd like to see the CEPEO take similar steps."This is like a huge anxiety," he said. "Every morning I have to talk to myself, am I doing the right thing? Am I protecting my kids?"
It's flu season, which means the glass-and-concrete warehouse on an industrial stretch of Pie-IX Blvd. in Montreal's north end is buzzing. Forklifts are trundling to and fro.It's the sort of secure building — owned by the medical distributor McKesson Canada — that comes in handy if you're preparing mass immunization for COVID-19.It's expected that campaign will begin at some point in early 2021, but what will it look like in Quebec?There are several clues: new federal guidelines suggest health-care workers and vulnerable elderly populations will probably be at the head of the line. In all likelihood, people will need to be injected twice, so an appointment system will be set up.Unlike the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, which provides a recent blueprint for mass inoculations, it seems unimaginable people will gather in, say, shopping malls to queue for a shot.The effort will likely involve CLSCs and family medicine clinics, as well as hospital installations. Might pharmacies be involved? Possibly, but those questions haven't been dealt with yet.Coincidentally, the province moved to a new distribution model for the flu vaccine this fall. It has involved the private sector to a greater degree than in years past and by all accounts it has worked smoothly, with only minimal hiccups."We've offered our help. We are in active exchanges with the various levels of government involved so we can be part of the solution," said Jean-Philippe Blouin, McKesson Canada's senior vice-president of pharmaceutical distribution and operations.As the province gears for a COVID-19 serum — which should arrive this winter if the front-running candidates from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca/Oxford University win speedy approval from Health Canada — there are still pivotal issues to sort out.'The main obstacle is not having any data'Several European countries and multiple U.S. states have already spelled out how they plan to vaccinate their populations — some as early as next month.If it seems like Quebec and the other Canadian provinces are lagging behind, there are solid reasons for that.For one thing, Quebec has a large territory to cover.For another, there are likely to be two, three or more simultaneous rollouts, aimed at different segments of the population."What's complicated is there are multiple things that need to happen at the same time," said Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, a microbiology and infectious diseases professor at Université de Montréal and chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (or NACI), the external scientific body that advises the Public Health Agency of Canada."The first one is to see the data from the vaccines to see in which population we'll use which vaccine."The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use similar technologies, but Quach-Thanh said there is comparatively little data on their effect "in the most vulnerable populations, or even in the healthy population for that matter."It seems likely one or more of the vaccine candidates will prove more effective with some clienteles than others, she said.The most pressing need is to decide who comes first."If we decide we want to start with elderly people in long-term care facilities that's an entirely different strategy than if we want to start with health-care workers in hospitals and clinics," said Quach-Thanh.The scientists at NACI recently issued preliminary guidance on prioritization, but it will ultimately be up to Quebec public health authorities to decide."We don't know yet what's going to be the final distribution model," said McKesson's Blouin. "There are still a lot of unknowns. What we know, though, is that the front-runners ... are going to use frozen or ultra-frozen conditions on their products, which creates some challenges, obviously."In a white paper issued in September, the company warned "the overall public and private vaccine supply chains in Canada are not equipped to support frozen and/or ultra-frozen COVID-19 vaccines at scale."But that's changing. Health Minister Christian Dubé said recently the province has arranged for the purchase of 60 specialized refrigeration units. As of September, McKesson, one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country, only had one.The Canadian government has also entered into agreements to buy 100 more, according to the federal procurement department.There is a low-intensity international scramble to acquire the equipment, which is key to preserving some of the vaccines.The AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine can be stored between 2 C and 8 C but Moderna's needs to be kept at -20 C and Pfizer's must be kept at the ultra-cold temperature of around -70 C."It has to be kept at a specific temperature, it's not just 'get a big freezer and put everything in the big freezer,'" said David Levine, a former junior health minister who managed the vaccine rollout for the H1N1 flu pandemic, as head of Montreal's regional health authority.It may also be that Pfizer and the other vaccine providers decide to deliver their product directly on a just-in-time basis rather than providing a stockpile that can be kept in facilities like McKesson's or the provincially-owned medical depots.But Quach-Thanh says it's not how the health-care system here is used to doing things."We don't necessarily have a good handle on who is going to show up the next day," Quach-Thanh said. "Yes, you can book appointments but you have no-shows. It would be very regrettable to have vaccines go to waste."A logistical challengeOne person who will play a part in ironing out the logistics: Jérôme Gagnon, Quebec's assistant deputy minister of health.Dubé appointed the operations specialist on Oct. 19. Gagnon has spent the past two decades in the Public Security department. His background is in civil security and anti-terrorism.Quebec's Health Ministry declined to make Gagnon available for interviews, citing his busy schedule.On Tuesday, Dubé said the current flu vaccination campaign has managed to reach 200,000 people per week, and that his department is discussing options to scale that up quickly depending on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines."Are we going to go to the pharmacists, or other medical professionals ... we're in the middle of preparing for that. Those discussions have started. That means in the coming weeks not only will we be ready, I would tell you we already are," the health minister said.There are complex issues to manage in any vaccination effort, for example, the winter rollout will be complicated by the fact that most of the leading candidate vaccines will require two injections, with the second coming between two and four weeks after the first.Levine said the good news is Quebec's health-care system — despite the perennial staff shortage it faces — is well-equipped to organize a mass inoculation. Centralization, usually something to be feared and loathed by regional health administrators, is a good thing in this case, he said."I don't think the logistics today is a problem," he said.It also helps that another substantial piece of the puzzle, namely millions of needles and syringes, is already taken care of, courtesy of the federal government.Then, there's the issue of who wants the vaccine."Everyone is going to want the vaccine and they're going to want to get it as soon as possible," Levine said. "There might be parts of the population that say I'm going to wait and see that the vaccine works well. And those will be the main challenges."Though the health system doesn't have a surplus of nurses, Levine said the government showed this past spring that it's possible to temporarily re-allocate staff, if necessary.Lessons from the pastThe H1N1 episode is instructive, even though it was a far different situation, in that the pandemic never really took off. "We were lucky," Levine said.The government also learned the importance of clear communication."Throughout the whole process remain very transparent, very open. It'll be a moment of intense movement in the population when the vaccine is made available," Levine advised.In 2009, as today, there were multiple vaccines and one drug in particular, the antiviral Tamiflu, was in heavy international demand."Everybody was nervous: 'Are we going to get it? What about the hoarding? Who's stockpiling?'" The lesson, in Levine's view, was clear."You need to be careful that in that type of scenario there is an equal distribution of the vaccine, and it isn't related to social class, it isn't related to parts of the city rather than other parts of the city, parts of the country rather than other parts of the country," he said. Dividing up the dosesCanada has a contract for 20 million doses each of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and options to acquire 56 million more of the Pfizer and 36 million of the Moderna.In all, the federal government has agreements in place for 350 million total doses from seven manufacturers, including Quebec City-based Medicago.The blanket-tugging has already started.Last week, Ontario plainly stated that it expects to receive 1.6-million doses of Pfizer vaccine and 800,000 of Moderna in the first three months of 2021.Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott lifted the cover on how much Canada expects to receive as a whole between January and March: four million of the first and two million of the second.Her Alberta counterpart quickly staked a public claim to about 900,000 doses. Last week, Quebec's public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda stated plainly that Quebec will ensure no other province claws into its per capita share.There should be enough to go around, although the provincial Health Ministry indicated in an email that it expects limited quantities of serum at first.WATCH | One man's struggle with COVID-19 Quach-Thanh suggested the vaccination campaign needn't be mandatory, and pointed out children won't be vaccinated, at least not to start, because "there is no data whatsoever, they haven't been enrolled yet in phase three studies."Also, there may be a popular misconception about the benefits the vaccines will provide.Quach-Thanh said it's still not clear the vaccine has "any capacity to mitigate transmission."In other words, the vaccine can and does protect against symptomatic and acute illness from COVID-19, but it may not prevent a pre-symptomatic person from spreading the coronavirus.Thus, the key is to provide it to those people who face the greatest risks."To me, the overall goal of this vaccination program is not herd immunity, it's individual protection of those who are vulnerable and those who need to be protected," she said, later adding "you're going to vaccinate those whose working and living conditions put them at higher risk of infection, regardless of their risk of complication."
Moh Ahmed narrowly missed the Olympic podium in 2016 and three years later earned world bronze after leading late in the race, yet some of his fiercest battles haven't been waged on a running track.There were many days spent as a young teen playing basketball at a park with younger twin brothers Ibrahim and Kadar, about two kilometres from home in St. Catharines, Ont., while their parents worked."They were feisty and competitive," Ahmed said in a phone interview with CBC Sports. "They wouldn't go home until they gave me the best effort they could. They were my brothers but also my best friends."Ibrahim and Kadar have watched the 5,000-metre runner become a five-time Canadian champion, national record-holder and now a serious medal contender for the Tokyo Olympics next summer.On July 10, Ahmed ran the 10th fastest 5,000 in history, bettering his own Canadian record by 10 seconds in 12 minutes 47.20 seconds. Two weeks later, he ran a 1,500 in 3:34.89, the fifth-fastest time ever by a Canadian.'They inspired me'All that time spent battling his brothers looks to be paying off."It's a competitive milieu I grew up in that really helped me. They inspired me," Ahmed said of his brothers, who also played soccer and basketball. "They were always good, making teams and brought that competitiveness home."In Grade 7 and 8 I was still immature, in terms of my body. I went to a school with some incredible athletes so I couldn't make any of the teams."WATCH | Mo Ahmed: From humble beginnings … to Olympic podium?:Ahmed started running track at age 13 and was further inspired seeing track athletes on television at the 2004 Athens Olympics, as well as Canadian sprint kayaker Adam van Koeverden, who won gold and bronze medals at those Games."Watching all those races," he said, "I had goosebumps. I remember running around the basement after each of those races for 15 to 20 minutes. In my Grade 8 yearbook I wrote 'Olympian' as my future occupation. I didn't know what that meant but it's the fact I was inspired and held on to that [dream]."Ahmed, now 29, realized his Olympic dream in 2012 in London, where he finished 18th in the 10,000. Four years later, he doubled up in Rio, placing 32nd and fourth, respectively, in the 10,000 and 5,000.Ahmed's breakout moment came three months earlier at the Diamond League's Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., according to Jerry Schumacher, his coach at the Portland-based Bowerman Track Club since 2014. The former University of Wisconsin-Madison standout took the lead with a lap to go in the 5,000 and hung on for a third-place finish in 13 minutes 1.74 seconds."I remember thinking he was just scratching the surface and there was better coming," Schumacher told CBC Sports.Ahmed went on to earn Commonwealth Games silver in 2018 and last September clocked 13:01.11 for bronze at the world championships in Doha, Qatar. If there's a sign the Somalia-born runner is ready for Tokyo, he said his record 5,000 run in July at an instrasquad meet in Portland "felt fairly easy.WATCH | Ahmed shatters his 5,000m Canadian record:"Physically I was ready for it, and mentally and emotionally as well," said Ahmed, who enjoys writing and poetry away from the track. "I was very much in tune with my body, on top of my stride, controlling my body and emotions, and was able to observe and read the race well."> He's kind of like that quiet assassin. ... He's got this quiet confidence but when he comes out [on the track] he packs a big punch. — Bowerman Track Club coach Jerry Schumacher on AhmedHis brother Ibrahim was able to attend, which gave him extra motivation."Every scream, every yell and every shout from [Ibrahim] and [my coach and teammates] had pure encouragement," Ahmed said. "It was pushing me, propelling me. There's a deep connection with those individuals and I know how bad they want it for me."Better at handling nerves, pressure"He's kind of like that quiet assassin," Schumacher said of Ahmed, laughing. "You don't expect it [because] he's a very unassuming guy and humble. He's got this quiet confidence but when he comes out [on the track] he packs a big punch."Ahmed admitted to feeling more confident in his abilities and more experienced in handling the nerves, anxiousness and pressures of racing. He also considers himself among those in the hunt for an Olympic medal next summer in Tokyo.Only Joshua Cheptegei, who set a world record of 12:35.36 on Aug. 14, has run faster than Ahmed since Jan. 1, while Cheptegei's Ugandan teammate Jacob Kiplimo (12:48.63) and Ethiopia's Selemon Barega (12:49.08) are the others to have run under 12:51.This is the company Ahmed now keeps and wanted, Schumacher said, when he arrived at Bowerman with big dreams but lacking the skills, confidence and development to immediately reach an elite level."That's what he's always been driving for," the renowned Schumacher said. "Moh's competitiveness or competitive instincts have been the same since [Day 1]. But medalling at that level, with those guys, is always hard."Ahmed hopes he put enough fear in his competitors in the world final after taking the lead with about 500 metres to the finish, dropping to fifth and working his way back to third on the straightaway at Khalifa International Stadium.WATCH | Ahmed claims 5,000m bronze at 2019 worlds:Health will be paramount in the eight months leading up to Tokyo, Ahmed noted."My dad once told me, 'Only a healthy man can go out and seek their destiny.' If you are healthy and can pile up the mileage week after week, you'll be prepared," he said.American runner Evan Jager remembers Ahmed having "a lot of room to grow" when he joined Bowerman, watching him make big gains the first two years and reset the bar soon after the 2016 Rio Olympics."He wasn't going to be satisfied with anything less than standing on the podium at global championships," said Jager, a silver medallist in the 3,000 steeplechase at Rio. "Every part of his life was centred around running and people are starting to see his hard work and dedication pay off."I was not shocked and shocked at the same time [at his running 12:47] because of how easy he made it look," said Jager, who was in the race but wasn't able to hold Ahmed's pace and didn't finish."Tough, fun and super frustrating" is how Jager describes battling his longtime teammate at practice these days."He's definitely more confident over the past two years," Jager said. "Keeping up with him is a tall, tall task. Everyone on the team looks up to him and it just sets the bar even higher."I would not bet against Moh to medal [in Tokyo] but championship races are so hard and competitive. Everyone brings their A-plus-plus game to an Olympic final and I have no doubt he'll do the required thinking and planning to get there."
China launched an ambitious mission on Tuesday to bring back material from the moon's surface for the first time in more than 40 years - an undertaking that could boost human understanding of the moon and of the solar system more generally. (Nov. 24)
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 24 ...What we are watching in Canada ...EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 has become like a snowball rolling down a hill, picking up size and speed, and threatening to overwhelm the health system.Dr. Deena Hinshaw says immediate action is needed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.Premier Jason Kenney and select cabinet ministers were to meet with Hinshaw, and new measures are expected to be announced today.Alberta, once a leader in how to prepare for and contain the virus, has in recent weeks become a national cautionary tale.There have been well over 1,000 new cases a day for five straight days, and there are more than 300 patients in hospital and more than 60 in intensive care.Kenney has said he wants targeted measures to control the virus while keeping businesses as open as possible.Others, including some doctors, say the focus needs to be on a sharp clampdown, even for a short period.\---Also this ...A new poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggests many Canadians are gaining weight because they're eating more and exercising less during COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-two per cent of respondents said they have gained weight since March, while 15 per cent said they lost weight over that time.Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, says this is one of the collateral effects of the pandemic, as the survey suggests there is a link between weight gain and fear of COVID-19.Forty-six per cent of respondents who said they are very afraid of COVID-19 gained weight during the pandemic.Forty-four cent of those who expressed that level of fear said they have been exercising less than they did before the pandemic and about 46 per cent said they were eating more than usual.The online survey of 1,516 Canadians was conducted Oct. 29-31 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.\---What we are watching in the U.S. ...The U.S. General Services Administration has ascertained that president-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election. President Donald Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said Monday that he is directing his team to co-operate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight. The move clears the way for the start of the transition from Trump’s administration and allows Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20. An official said Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Biden’s victory Monday.And today, Biden is preparing to formally announce his national security team to the nation. Those being introduced during an afternoon event are among Obama administration alumni whose roles in the upcoming administration signal Biden's shift away from the Trump administration’s “America First” policies. The picks include former Secretary of State John Kerry to take the lead on combating climate change. Outside the realm of national security and foreign policy, Biden is expected to choose former Fed chair Janet Yellen as the first woman to serve as treasury secretary.\---What we are watching in the rest of the world ...China’s latest trip to the moon is another milestone in the Asian powerhouse’s slow but steady ascent to the stars. China became the third country to put a person into orbit a generation ago and the first to land on the far side of the moon in 2019. The Chang’e 5 mission, launched today, will be the first to bring back moon rocks and debris since a Soviet mission in 1976. Future ambitions include a permanent space station and putting people back on the moon more than 50 years after the U.S. did.\---On this day in 2002 ...Quebec Premier Bernard Landry announced that the May 24th Quebec holiday, ``La fete de Dollard,'' would henceforth be known as ``La Journee nationale des Patriotes.'' The name was changed to honour the movement that contributed to the Rebellions of 1837-38 in Lower Canada and became an early symbol of French-Canadian nationalism.\---In entertainment ...Anne Murray wasn’t sure her singing voice was still intact until a few months ago.The famed Canadian crooner had left her most-cherished instrument largely unchecked while in retirement, aside from belting out a song here and there while doing household chores.But last summer, she decided to dust off her guitar to see whether her trademark lush alto voice could still carry a tune.Murray says she performed a few of her old songs “just for the fun of it,” and was pleased to learn her famous pipes are still humming.The winner of 24 Junos and four Grammys swore off recording new music more than a decade ago, but she recently compiled several of her classic tracks for a new holiday album.“The Ultimate Christmas Collection” brings together 22 songs pulled from Murray's various Christmas albums, including “Joy to the World, “Blue Christmas” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” with Michael Buble.\---ICYMI ...A Quebec municipality that had planned to cull about 15 white-tailed deer in the coming days relented late Monday amid pressure on officials to relocate the animals.Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent said in a statement the threat of people intervening or attempting to thwart the cull has forced the city to consider other options. Parent noted the plan to capture and slaughter the deer, approved by Quebec's Forests, Wildlife and Parks Department, was supported by a "broad consensus within the scientific community."But given the circumstances, she's asking the city's top civil servant to come up with a plan to move the deer from Michel-Chartrand Park to a sanctuary authorized by provincial officials.Parent's announcement came hours after an animal rescue group and a lawyer who champions animal rights urged the Montreal-area city to reconsider its plan to kill half the white-tailed deer in the park and donate the meat to a food bank.The organization, Sauvetage Animal Rescue, along with well-known Montreal lawyer Anne-France Goldwater, had urged Parent to consider its own plan to relocate the animals to a sanctuary, free of charge.Ultimately, the city relented but Parent said the deer situation would need to be resolved quickly.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020The Canadian Press
Two Green MLAs have called out some of their legislature colleagues for examples of what they call belittling, demeaning and patronizing language during last week's sitting.Kevin Arseneau said he's had enough of politicians referring to "our" Indigenous people, a phrase he said conjures up a colonial attitude.And Megan Mitton said she got overwhelming support on social media after revealing an unidentified older male MLA called her "young lady" to her face."Ultimately, language matters," she said. "It really matters what we say to each other and about each other. I think we should move calling women 'young lady' out of our vocabulary, especially in the workplace but probably everywhere else."Mitton won't identify the member but points out that she is, at 34, the youngest MLA in the house and one of only 14 women, "so there's quite a few people who it could be."Arseneau said he has heard the possessive pronoun "our" used for Indigenous people for a long time but decided to speak out after last week's Speech from the Throne. It said MLAs had gathered "on the ancestral territory of our Indigenous people.""It refers to colonialism," he said. "I find it's extremely disrespectful … to take possession of people."Two days later, Liberal leader Roger Melanson said he wanted to contribute to "a strong partnership with our First Nations."Melanson used the phrase while congratulating St. Mary's First Nation Chief Alan (Chicky) Polchies on winning a new term in band elections.Polchies said in an interview he'd also like to see the use of "our" disappear. "Indigenous people are the Indigenous people of this land," he said. "When you refer to 'our,' we don't belong to any group or government other than our own. We belong to the land of Turtle Island. It's the Indigenous people of the territory." The official French translation of the Throne Speech did not use "our." Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn won't say whether the phrase should have been in the English version but commented, "I would not refer to First Nations as 'our' First Nations. I refer to First Nations as partners. Full partners."She notes she has nine nieces and nephews who are Indigenous. "My preference is to call them partners, and be respectful."Arseneau said if Dunn had read the Throne Speech ahead of time, "she could have told government to change that part of it."I know a lot of people in that [Progressive Conservative] caucus, if they'd read it in advance, would have flagged it." Liberal MLA Lisa Harris, who became her party's aboriginal affairs critic after the provincial election, has been vocal in criticizing the Higgs government on its refusal to hold an inquiry on systemic racism but said the implications of the word "our" hadn't occurred to her."I never really thought about that question before but it's a good question," she said, suggesting the word could be seen as a way to be inclusive."I could only begin to imagine what it means, but I think we're blessed to have First Nations in our province, so I guess we're owning the fact that we have First Nations in the province, the same as our francophone population or anglophone population."To me, they're all to be celebrated." Mitton said 98 per cent of the people who responded to her Instagram post about being called a "young lady" agreed with her that the term was ageist and sexist. "In a workplace, but especially workplaces that are dominated traditionally by men, there's a power dynamic that exists, so I think it adds an extra layer to women maybe not feeling they belong because historically they haven't," she said.Fourteen women were elected as MLAs in September's election, a record number. Mitton said none of her fellow female members from other parties had approached her to talk about her post. She said that may be because COVID-19 guidelines have made discreet one-on-one conversations difficult in the corridors of the legislature.
Back in mid-April, about a month into the COVID-19 pandemic, Magdalena became worried her husband's verbal and sexual abuse would escalate."'You're stuck here with me, you got to do everything I want you to,'" Magdalena recalls her husband telling her. CBC has agreed not to publish her full name to protect her identity and safety.Originally from Mexico, now living in rural eastern Ontario with no family support, Magdalena said she called 10 women's shelters before finding safe beds for her and her young son. "I just grabbed my kid and we left," she said.She was driven to an unfamiliar community 100 kilometres away, where she recently found a job and has lived in a shelter ever since. "I cannot imagine what could have happened if I didn't leave that day. I'm in a shelter and I'm grateful to be in here, but I don't want to be here forever," she said.Call volume up 75%Women's shelters in rural eastern Ontario say they're coping with an excessive number of crisis calls and an increasingly volatile environment for women, all while dealing with COVID-19 restrictions on their staff and facilities. "If you compare April 2019 to April 2020, our calls were 75 per cent up," said Erin Lee, executive director at Lanark County Interval House in Carleton Place, Ont. "We've seen more severe incidents of violence. Women are reporting more complexities in the violence."Across the region, Lee's counterparts report a similar story. "We're looking at about 800 crisis calls so far this year," said Deborah Thomas executive director of Naomi's Family Resource Centre, a nine-bed shelter in Winchester, Ont.To the southwest, Leeds and Grenville Interval House in Brockville, Ont., is chronically full, and like the others, has fewer rooms available due to COVID-19 precautions."We have had to use hotels ... for all of our overflow," said Charlene Catchpole, executive director of the Brockville shelter.Leeds and Grenville provides outreach services to about 250 families in an area from Westport to Kemptville to the St. Lawrence Seaway and everywhere in between, while the Lanark County shelter serves approximately 400 families in the wider community, women who may never need a shelter bed but still need help to stay safe. Money with strings attachedEarly on in the pandemic, women's shelters across the country shared a $20.5-million fund from Women and Gender Equality Canada. In October, the federal department promised "up to $10 million [more] for women's shelters and sexual assault centres to help them continue to provide their critical services safely.""It's the first time for us that we've ever received money from the federal government, so it has been helpful," said Lee.The rural directors say the money was spent on new equipment, mileage for outreach visits, and internet and data plans so staff could communicate with women in need. Money received from the Ontario government, the main funder of women's shelters, came with the condition that it be spent directly on services inside the shelter. "[If] we have to go and buy dash cams or we have to help with some of the security issues, we can't use the provincial money for that," said Lee.Staff burnoutWith fewer volunteers and more reports of violence, the executive directors worry about their staff. "I have no doubt that we're burnt out," said Catchpole. "Staff are doing all the cooking. They're doing three times the cleaning ... we don't have volunteers doing that anymore." Naomi's Family Resource Centre in Winchester has lost 30 per cent of its staff since March. "Some people openly declared at the beginning, 'I can't work here because of pre-existing health conditions,' and we're not allowed to have staff working at two shelters at the same time," said Thomson. Most shelters depend on community fundraising to keep operating, but during the pandemic, face-to-face fundraising events aren't possible."We're entering into the Christmas season, which is our big time of the year for fundraising. Right now we are probably down by about 60 per cent for this time of year," said Catchpole. "It's a perfect storm.
NAV Canada, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is considering cutting air traffic controller jobs at seven towers across Canada in an effort to save money as the global health crisis continues to drag down air traffic.But some aviation experts and airlines warn that reducing the number of people who control air traffic and ensure aircraft keep their distance in the sky and on the ground would amount to removing a layer of protection."It would degrade the level of safety at Whitehorse," said Joe Sparling, president of Whitehorse-based airline Air North. "We would encourage Nav Canada to look for other cost reduction measures."CBC News obtained an internal memo from Nav Canada president and CEO Neil Wilson informing staff that the not-for-profit company — which operates Canada's civil air navigation system — is conducting studies of air traffic control towers in Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray in Alberta, Prince George in B.C., and Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor in Ontario which "will result in workforce adjustments."The company also is looking into closing a control tower in St. Jean, Quebec. These locations were identified as having low air traffic levels, even prior to the pandemic, the memo said."We are working closely with our bargaining agents to safely streamline our operations in an ongoing effort to align with traffic levels," wrote Wilson on Nov. 14, adding his commitment to safety is unwavering.Nav Canada manages millions of kilometres of airspace over Canada and used to provide air navigation services for more than 3 million flights a year. It's funded through service fees paid by air carriers.COVID-19 has dramatically decreased the number of flights across the country since March. In September, there was a 63 per cent drop in air traffic compared to the same month in 2019, according to Nav Canada numbers.In response, the company announced in September it was cutting more than 720 jobs, or 14 per cent of its workforce. The CEO also warned more layoffs remain possible.Transitioning to flight service stationsNav Canada is studying the possibility of closing the St. Jean tower in Quebec. The company is also looking into transitioning the other six towers to "Flight Service Stations," which would involve cutting air traffic controller jobs.Flight service specialists — who cost less to employ than air traffic controllers — would replace those workers. They do not have the power to control air traffic and keep planes separated while in flight or on the ground. Instead, they provide advisory services and information about weather, runway conditions and air traffic, leaving it up to pilots to keep a safe distance from other planes.Sparling said Whitehorse doesn't have radar, so the tower can't see air traffic on its screens. He said cutting the number of air traffic controllers from the airport could affect pilots by making it harder for them to keep track of everything in the air."It removes the level of safety afforded to air operators," he said. "During peak season, during heavy traffic periods, it is a safer environment if you're in a tower environment ..."The worst instance would be a collision or something like that."Mid-air collision in 1999David McNair, a former aviation safety investigator with the Transportation Safety Board, said airports "with air traffic controllers tend to have a safer management of traffic."He pointed to a fatal mid-air collision over Penticton, B.C. in 1999 that killed five people and involved flight service specialists. One plane had just taken off from the airport when it collided with a descending plane. One aircraft smashed into the parking lot of the Okanagan University College, the other into the yard of a business. The crash raised concerns about the lack of air traffic controllers at the airport at the time — positions that were eliminated years earlier in a cost-cutting move by Transport Canada, according to a CBC report in 1999."Likely, neither pilot was aware of where the other aircraft was or what exactly it would be doing," said McNair. "A tower controller would have controlled as required to provide separation."Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens also raised concerns last week about the impact on Windsor's airport, arguing that removing "Nav Canada controllers at YQG will really cut us off at the knees ... it will have a detrimental impact." City officials plan to fight the move by arguing it could cause delays and operational challenges.'Safety is always our number one priority,' said Nav CanadaIn a statement, Nav Canada said that its studies are "rigorous" and follow a process set by Transport Canada that includes public consultation."Safety is always our number one priority — and we would never do anything to jeopardize that," said Nav Canada spokesperson Rebecca Hickey in a statement to CBC News."When making decisions, we always take a long-term view to preserve the sustainability of the company and the integrity of the air navigation system of behalf of all Canadians."Transport Minister Marc Garneau's office said that before Nav Canada moves forward with any staff reductions or terminations, it must ensure it will maintain "rigorous aviation safety standards." "Transport Canada will work closely with Nav Canada to ensure the safety of air transportation in Canada," said department spokesperson Amy Butcher in a statement to CBC News.Under Canadian aviation regulations, Garneau also has the power to direct Nav Canada to maintain levels of service if he believes there is an unacceptable risk to aviation safety.
As the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador stared down the barrel of the camera Monday and offered a stern warning to rotational workers, some of those workers sat in isolation or at faraway work camps and worried about how much pressure they'd face at home.As of Monday, the province had seen 52 new cases of COVID-19 since September. Those cases, though minuscule in comparison with many other provinces in Canada, came after months of calm and streaks of weeks without any cases at all.In total, 18 infected people came directly from Alberta, and 16 of those were from workers returning to the province. Other workers returned from places like Ontario and Manitoba with the virus.Rotational workers have been blamed for two recent outbreaks — one in Deer Lake and one in Grand Bank — when the virus spread to family members and close contacts.One worker, who spoke to CBC News on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal at home, said the cumulative effect of working in a hot spot and coming home to people being afraid of him has been crushing."Morale is very low," said the man as he sat in his room at one of six outbreak sites in the northern Alberta oilsands. "It feels like a jail."The camp has 800 workers in it, and 39 have tested positive for the virus. There hasn't been a positive case in more than a week, but the camp remains locked down with no new workers coming in from outside for two weeks.If a person from Newfoundland and Labrador is identified as a close contact of an infected worker, they could spend 14 days alone in their room before being allowed to go home.More than the virus or the isolation, it's the going home part that has him worried."The only part that actually gives me any anxiety is reading how the general population feels about rotational workers by reading nasty comments online, as well as the government's refusal to entertain point-of-entry testing."This worker, like many others, has been calling on the provincial government to test workers as soon as they get home.On Monday, Premier Andrew Furey said there is no science to back up the idea. In some cases, workers have tested negative after five days at home and then tested positive later.With that in mind, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, announced the province was changing its testing regimen for rotational workers to add two more days of isolation before testing.A worker must now receive a negative test after seven days of isolation, instead of five, effective Wednesday, Nov. 25, she said.Furey spoke directly to rotational workers and had a serious message."Let me be very clear, rotational workers must continue to adhere to the measures put in place by [Chief Medical Officer of Health] Dr. [Janice] Fitzgerald and her team at public health," he said. "This is of the utmost importance to our many dedicated rotational workers. To this group, I say I know travel during the pandemic has been stressful enough for you and your families, but please, please, I implore you to follow the provincial guidelines. We have shown that when we do, it works and it only takes one. We all need to work together and support each other."The premier called on companies in places like Alberta to consider changing shifts to 30 days on, 30 days off. That would allow workers more time with their families when they return home.The worker who spoke with CBC News doesn't expect his request will get much consideration from companies who use rotational workers.Much of the workforce consists of people who live in Western Canada and won't want to work for a month straight without commuting the relatively short distance home. Companies also have structured schedules with cohorts of workers sticking together for shifts to reduce the number of contacts for each person. If accommodations were made only for workers from Newfoundland and Labrador, it would throw off that balance, he said.N.L. has long history of rotational workAnother worker speaking with CBC News said people need to consider the sheer number of workers who travel to and from places like Alberta, and then look at the number of cases.While current data was unavailable as of publishing time, a 2016 study undertaken by Memorial University pegged Newfoundland and Labrador's workforce in Alberta alone at more than 8,000 people on average per year from 2002 to 2016.That number peaked in 2008, with more than 25,000 people calling Canada's most eastern province home while working elsewhere.Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have occasionally faced criticism in Alberta for making large wages and spending the money at home. Now they're facing scrutiny from their neighbours for working away.Six cases broke out in Grand Bank, including two in a long-term-care home. Tensions are high in the small town, and fingers were being pointed at a rotational worker and his family.In an interview on Monday, Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews urged people to remain calm."People on rotational work, they do sacrifice," he said. "They travel to other provinces of this country for employment, they leave their families, they leave their home, they leave their community, and it helps our economy. So under normal circumstances there's no issues, but these are extraordinary times."The situation has some rotational workers considering a new career, said another man who spoke with CBC News.He works short contracts across numerous sites in Alberta. In each place, he works mostly in isolation, and spends downtime in isolation. Even outdoors away from other people, he said, he can be fired for not wearing a mask."I don't think people realize the rules we have to follow. That's what I think people are missing," he said.When he comes home, he isolates away from his family until a test comes back negative. That means his children are a wall away, and he can't hug them.He said he's not alone in his reservations about continuing with this career. There's no end to the pandemic in sight, and for some workers, that could mean living longer in isolation than out of it for another six months, a year, or more."I'm definitely starting to think about staying home a little bit more," he said. "I don't know when we're going to be back to normalcy again."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Residents were given proper notice of a vote to remove Fort Simpson's liquor purchasing restrictions, according to N.W.T. finance minister Caroline Wawzonek. MLA for Nahendeh Shane Thompson – also a minister – posted to Facebook on Monday regarding concerns constituents had raised about the plebiscite held on November 12. Specifically, the post related to concerns about how much public notice was provided leading up to the vote and how to contact the official in charge of it. Residents ultimately voted overwhelmingly in favour of lifting alcohol restrictions in the community. Of 730 eligible voters, 240 cast a ballot and 175 of those were in favour of removing restrictions. The Department of Finance, which oversees liquor regulations in the N.W.T., is now in the process of implementing the result, which may take several weeks. Thompson's post relayed a message he had received from Wawzonek addressing concerns. “Based on all of the information I have received to date, I am confident in the integrity of the plebiscite held in the village of Fort Simpson,” Wawzonek's message to Thompson reads. Wawzonek states some residents who attend school away from Fort Simpson believe they did not receive adequate notice of the plebiscite. She concludes, however, that there was sufficient notice within the village, on Facebook, and through the media in the weeks and months before the vote. She adds returning officer Tammie Cazon fulfilled her duties in the Local Authorities Elections Act by providing public notice of the plebiscite, including details on how and where to vote. Wawzonek says Cazon met legislative requirements by posting public notices in five locations – the bank, the Northern store, the Unity store, the Nahanni Inn and Pandaville restaurant. “It is not the responsibility of the returning officer to locate and notify every resident of the community who may not be currently living in the community. That would be an impossible task," Wawzonek writes. "Voters bear some of the responsibility for informing themselves about how to exercise their democratic right to vote.” The final concern regards the returning officer’s email address and confusion about how to reach Cazon. Wawzonek again asserts faith in the process, saying her department confirmed with Cazon only one email address was distributed for voters to use. Proxy voting was an option in the plebiscite but, according to Wawzonek, Cazon did not receive any emails related to proxy voting. The community of Fort Simpson requested the plebiscite after a petition with more than 150 signatures from residents was turned in to the village council late last year, asking for action to try to remove the restrictions. Restrictions are set to be lifted in the coming weeks, though an exact date has not been set. Once the regulations are changed and restrictions lifted, the village is still bound to pandemic-related alcohol restrictions, which limit customers to a maximum of $200 per day at any liquor store in the territory and six mickeys (375-ml bottles) of spirits in a 24-hour period.Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
A B.C. surgeon who called his preteen patient a "loose woman" during an appointment has been fined and reprimanded by his professional regulator.Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda, an orthopedic surgeon based in Victoria, has admitted that he "engaged in unprofessional conduct by using sexualized language during a surgical consult," according to a public notice posted Friday by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C.Yoneda also acknowledged telling the same young patient he would give her a "lube job," and admitted he did not give her a full explanation before he began questioning her about her menstrual cycle.The college's inquiry committee, which investigates complaints against doctors, "was critical of the registrant's admitted conduct and concluded that his use of inappropriate language displayed a lack of insight," the notice says.As part of a consent agreement with the college, Yoneda has been fined $7,500, received a formal reprimand and has had his registration as a doctor transferred to "conditional" status. He's also agreed to take courses in clinical communication and professionalism.
By Melissa Renwick Esowista, BC - A member within Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has tested positive for COVID-19. The Esowista resident started displaying symptoms upon returning home from a trip to Port Alberni and contacted the nation’s Emergency Operations Centre. A COVID-19 test was issued and once it was confirmed positive on Nov. 22, community members were notified. “We knew going into the second wave that we were going to experience this at some point,” said Elmer Frank, Tla-o-qui-aht Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) chair. “It’s unfortunate that it did happen, but our community was ready.” As COVID-19 cases began to rise across the province, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation returned to Stage One of their recovery plan at the beginning of November. “We needed to put our action plan in place and start ramping up our measures so that when a virus came into our community, we’d be ready for it,” Frank said. The community’s EOC is recommending that only one person per household leave the community for essential services, like picking up prescription medication and collecting groceries. “Now that the virus is here, I think that community members are starting to see how quickly it could spread,” said Frank. “There’s a lot of cooperation and understanding when we’re making these recommendations.” Frank said that the COVID-19 patient has been fully transparent, which has helped the EOC respond to contact tracing effectively. Anyone who was in direct contact with the patient has been notified and is self-isolating, he said. While the nation is taking all of the necessary steps to keep its members safe, Frank said that citizens need to keep their guards up. “The virus is spreading so quickly because we’re letting our guards down,” he said. “It’s our friends, it’s our family, it’s our loves ones – we have got to trust them in a different way at this time.” Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has urged British Columbians to do their part in restricting social gatherings and non-essential travel, a sentiment that Frank echoed. “At the end of the day, we’re hoping we become a COVID-19 free community,” said Frank. “Tla-o-qui-aht and Nuu-chah-nulth member have to be very careful on how we all act and discipline ourselves moving forward for the best interest of ourselves, our communities and our most vulnerable – our elders.”Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa
The RCMP officer who took Meng Wanzhou's phones and laptop into police custody says he didn't share technical details from the Huawei executive's electronic devices with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and doesn't recall ever saying any of his colleagues did either.Const. Gurvinder Dhaliwal denied key elements Monday of what Meng's lawyers claim was a conspiracy between Canadian and U.S. authorities to covertly gather information that would assist the FBI in its investigation.In B.C. Supreme Court testimony, Dhaliwal addressed an apparent contradiction between his evidence and the accounts of two of his supervisors — one of whom has denied passing along any information to the FBI, and the other of whom took notes indicating that Dhaliwal told her their colleague said he sent serial numbers to the U.S. agency."Did you provide this information to FBI?" asked Crown prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley. "Did any of your RCMP colleagues tell you they provided this information to the FBI?"Dhaliwal answered 'No' to both questions."Did you ever tell any of your colleagues that the information had been sent to the FBI?" Gibb-Carsley asked."No, I did not," Dhaliwal said.Warrant said arrest should happen 'immediately'Dhaliwal is one of 10 RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency officers expected to take the stand in a hearing to obtain evidence ahead of Meng's extradition proceedings next year.The 48-year-old was arrested on a provisional extradition warrant on Dec. 1, 2018, at Vancouver's airport after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong en route to Mexico City and Argentina, where she had planned to attend a conference.Meng faces fraud and conspiracy charges in relation to allegations that she lied to an HSBC executive about Huawei's control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.Proescutors claim that by relying on her alleged lies to continue a financial relationship with Huawei, HSBC placed itself at risk of loss and prosecution.Meng's lawyers have accused Canadian authorities of violating Meng's rights at the time of her arrest by having the CBSA conduct an immigration exam, despite wording on the warrant that called for her to be arrested "immediately."Instead, she was questioned by customs officers for almost three hours without a lawyer and without being told that she was the subject of criminal charges and an extradition warrant.Conflicting evidenceDhaliwal worked alongside the RCMP officer who was tasked with executing the warrant; he was put in charge of seizing Meng's electronic devices.In that capacity, Dhaliwal was asked to photograph the laptop and phones and to record serial numbers and other technical details.According to court documents and testimony, the FBI had made clear its interest in obtaining the information, but they would normally need to go through a mutual legal assistance treaty between agencies to get it.Dhaliwal said he recorded the technical details and sent them to the RCMP's file co-ordinator but not to anyone else.But notes recorded at the time, in December 2018, by one of Dhaliwal's supervisors, Sgt. Janice Vander Graaf, indicate that Dhaliwal told her the officer tasked with dealing with the FBI, Staff Sgt. Ben Chang, complied with the request."Gurv advised Ben Chang had email and provided serial 's," Vander Graaf's notes say.Vander Graaf is scheduled to testify later this week, and Chang has retained counsel and indicated that he will not testify.Beyond denying that he or anyone else sent the technical information to the FBI, Dhaliwal said he followed procedures under the Extradition Act to ensure that the phones and laptop were treated properly as exhibits.Not important enough to readDhaliwal also appeared to contradict the evidence of a CBSA officer who testified earlier that a scrap of paper containing passcodes to Meng's phones had mistakenly ended up in RCMP custody after it was left with her luggage.Dhaliwal recalled the officer handing him the paper with the codes.By the end of Monday, defence lawyer Scott Fenton had not yet had a chance to question Dhaliwal about the electronic devices. Instead, he covered the events which led up to Meng's arrest, expressing incredulity when the officer admitted he had never actually taken the time to read the exact wording of the one-page warrant for Meng's arrest.If he had, Fenton pointed out, he might have seen the word "immediately.""You didn't think it was important for you to understand what were the terms — if any — of the provisional arrest warrant set out by the court," Fenton asked."It's very important, yes," Dhaliwal answered."But you didn't think it was important enough to read?" Fenton asked.Dhaliwal said his partner was in charge of making the arrest, whereas he was given the job of looking after the electronic devices.Previous witnesses for both the RCMP and the CBSA have said the decision to have the CBSA deal with Meng first was made out of respect for the border agency's jurisdiction over the airport and the need to begin a process to determine Meng's immigration admissibility.But the defence has suggested that the customs questioning was a ruse to use the CBSA's extraordinary powers to ask Meng questions about her business in Iran. And that the delay in arresting her was in defiance of the instructions of the judge who issued the warrant.Meng has denied the charges against her.