Weather Network meteorologist Jessie Uppal has the details.
Weather Network meteorologist Jessie Uppal has the details.
The most grueling and intense Premier League season appears to be catching up with Manchester United's misfiring players. It may yet cost them a place in next season's Champions League. There were worrying signs in United's third straight 0-0 draw, this time in the fog at Crystal Palace on Wednesday. Bruno Fernandes was sloppy in possession, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford exchanged angry words in the second half and — maybe most alarming of all — there was never any sign of the kind of late onslaught United teams down the years have been renowned for. Perhaps it is no surprise that United, which is now 14 points behind Manchester City in what is becoming a procession to the title, is running out of steam. Due to its involvement in the Europa League and going deep in both domestic cups, United has played games every midweek in this condensed, pandemic-affected season except for during international breaks. A last-16 double header against AC Milan in the Europa League is coming up over the following two weeks, and before that a Manchester derby on Sunday. No wonder energy levels seem to be down and there's no attacking spark in Solskjaer's side. “It’s been a long season,” Solskjaer said after United's sixth 0-0 draw in the league, the most of any team this season. There's still 2 1/2 months left of it, more than enough time for United to lose its spot in the Premier League's top four if it's not careful. The same applies to third-place Leicester, which was held 1-1 at relegation-threatened Burnley on Wednesday and might also be feeling the effects of an arduous season that has included a Europa League campaign, too. United and Leicester have won just five of their last 16 league games combined and they are giving their top-four rivals a big opportunity to reel them in. West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton are all within eight points and have games in hand, while Tottenham and Arsenal further back should not be discounted now. Leicester recovered from conceding a goal in the fourth minute to Matej Vydra, with Kelechi Iheanacho volleying in the equalizer in the 34th. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers considered it a decent result given the injury problems in his squad, which is currently depriving him of attacking midfielders Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Dennis Praet and Ayoze Perez, along with Jonny Evans and James Justin. BATTLING BLADES Sheffield United's players aren't leaving the Premier League without a fight. Chris Wilder's last-place team held on after a 57th-minute red card to veteran centre back Phil Jagielka to beat Aston Villa 1-0. With 11 games left, Sheffield United is 12 points from safety so securing a third straight season in the top flight remains highly unlikely. The players aren't giving up, though. “We’re all still fighting for our future and for this club,” said striker David McGoldrick, who scored the winner from close range in the 30th minute. "The saying is, ‘It’s not over till the fat lady sings.’ We’re all fighting to the end.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
Residents may see a new roundabout in Paradise just a moment’s drive from the Topsail Road - McNamara Drive roundabout. “The provincial government is in the process of constructing a new intermediate school near the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex,” explained councillor Alan English. “Upgrades are required to the access road and the intersection at McNamara Drive. The current soccer complex access road would be upgraded with allowance for a future bypass road and the intersection at McNamara Road will be enhanced with an allowance for a two-lane roundabout in the future.” That soccer complex access road, which is marked by both a sign proudly announcing the land as the site of the new school and a sign promoting the soccer complex, is across from the Rotary Paradise Youth and Community Centre. To allow for the upgrades, the town has to purchase a portion of a piece of land referred to as ‘Lot 9.’ “Lot 9 is located at the corner of the access road and McNamara Drive and the Town required a portion of Lot 9 to facilitate area improvements,” said English. “The lot will be impacted by the construction of the roundabout and improvements to the access road. As well, the property access will be negatively impacted due to the plans to install a median on the access road when upgraded to a by-pass road.” To allow access to Lot 9 from the access road, the town also needed to deed a piece of the town-owned land to the owner of Lot 9, which can only be done with ministerial approval. “Council discussed the negotiations extensively in privileged meetings of council, and are unanimously in favour of the offer,” said English. That offer was $100,000, and the motion was passed unanimously to purchase a portion of Lot 9 near McNamara Drive for that sum. A second motion, for the Town to request ministerial approval to dispose of a portion of town-owned land located alongside the access road to the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex, also passed unanimously. All in all, English applauded the decision. “The town is making a strategic move here by acquiring this piece of property, because in the event that we don’t, we will actually block access to the land owner and be subject to legal action, possibly, for devaluing their property, and the town has taken the initiative to negotiate an agreement with the landowner, and while the amount is significant, $100,000, the end result is much, much cheaper than going the legal route,” said English. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
STOCKHOLM — A man armed with an axe attacked and injured eight people in a southern Sweden town Wednesday before being shot and arrested, police said. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said a possible terrorist motive was being investigated. “In the light of what has emerged so far in the police investigation, prosecutors have initiated a preliminary investigation into terrorist crimes,” he said. Shortly after his statement, investigators at a police press conference said they had started a preliminary investigation into attempted murder with details “that make us investigate any terrorist motives.” "But at the moment I cannot go into details,” regional police chief Malena Grann said. Police said the man in his 20s attacked people in the small town of Vetlanda, about 190 kilometres (118 miles) southeast of Goteborg, Sweden’s second largest city. His motive was not immediately known. The man was shot by police, who said the condition of those attacked and of the perpetrator was not immediately known. Officials did not provide details on the identity of the suspect, who was taken to hospital. Local police chief Jonas Lindell said “it seems that the injuries are not life-threatening” but could not give further details. The events took place in downtown Vetlanda with police saying they got calls just after 1400 GMT about a man assaulting people with an axe. Police also said that there are five crime scenes in this town of roughly 13,000. Lofven condemned “this terrible act," and added that Sweden’s domestic security agency SAPO was also working on the case. ”They continuously assess whether there are reasons to take security-enhancing measures and are prepared to do so if necessary,” he said in a statement. The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Public health officials said Wednesday the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey says the decision is a game changer for the province's vaccination prospects. British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry raised eyebrows Monday when she announced her province will delay the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to four months. Henry said Monday she expected the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to issue a statement in the coming days aligning with B.C.'s decision. Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today and say all are linked to previously reported infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The United States is at a COVID-19 crossroads — and public health officials are worried about which path the country will choose. After a year of more than 513,000 deaths, a devastating economic crisis and restrictions on their personal freedoms, Americans have been basking in a recent torrent of seemingly good news. Daily caseloads are well off their January peaks, President Joe Biden is promising enough vaccine for every U.S. adult by the end of May and state after state is throwing off the shackles of the pandemic. Not so fast, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warned Wednesday. "We are at a critical nexus in the pandemic," Dr. Rochelle Walensky told a briefing by the White House COVID-19 response team, her second straight day of waving a red flag. The seven-day average rate of new cases in the U.S. is currently about 66,000, she said — a 3.5 per cent increase over the previous seven-day period, which itself was up 2.2 per cent. And "hyper-transmissible" variants of the virus, including the one known as B.1.1.7, are looming large, "ready to hijack our successes to date." Americans are in a weakened and vulnerable state after having waged war against COVID-19 for the last 12 months, she acknowledged. "Stamina has worn thin, fatigue is winning and the exact measures we have taken to stop the pandemic are now too often being flagrantly ignored," Walensky said. "How this plays out is up to us." As caseloads have come down over the course of the last two months, states and municipalities have gradually eased restrictions. Virginia, Massachusetts and South Carolina are among those that pushed back curfews and lifted limits on indoor dining and large gatherings in recent days. Texas and Mississippi went even further, promising Tuesday to lift all restrictions and mask-wearing mandates by next Wednesday, if not sooner. "It is time!" tweeted Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, as he announced an immediate end to all statewide restrictions. "We need to recognize that none of these orders, in any state, are anything short of unprecedented. They have to end at the earliest possible moment. This is that moment for Mississippi." Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said his order, which takes effect March 10, is the result of an accelerating rate of vaccinations — 229,000 alone on Wednesday, he said — that is resulting in fewer people in hospital. "We are able to contain COVID and safely allow Texas to open 100 per cent." Biden dismissed those attitudes Wednesday as "Neanderthal thinking." "It's critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science," he said. "I wish to heck some of our elected officials knew it." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau all but ignored questions Wednesday about the shifting perspectives south of the border, focusing on his government's own vaccination timetable. All Canadians who want the vaccine will be able to get it by the end of September, he vowed — maybe sooner if the stars align. But he wasn't about to allow any mixed messages to pull focus away from Canada's vaccination efforts. "Obviously, the pandemic has had a very different course in the United States, with far greater death tolls and case counts, and that has had its own impact on the American economy that Canadians haven't quite felt the same way," he said. "We're going to continue to work to get as many Canadians vaccinated as quickly as possible by following the science and following the best recommendations of our experts." That's what the president is doing, and what people in states where restrictions are being lifted should be doing as well, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. "This entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic," Psaki said. She acknowledged the hard-won gains of a difficult year, and how Americans have good reason to start feeling optimistic, whether it's news about vaccines or fully stocked grocery store shelves. "But there's still more work that needs to be done," she said. "We need to remain vigilant." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. James McCarten, The Canadian Press
CALGARY — Waterous Energy Fund says it has prevailed in its takeover of private junior oilsands producer Osum Oil Sands Corp. It says a total of 45.7 million Osum shares, about 34 per cent of the outstanding total and more than 50 per cent of the shares the fund didn't already own, were deposited to its offer of $3 per share by the expiry date. The fund says it intends to buy the remaining shares within four months. Osum leaders reversed their strong opposition to the Waterous deal last month after the initial offer of $2.40 per share was increased by 25 per cent. Waterous, a Calgary investment firm established in 2017 and headed by CEO Adam Waterous, said it bought 45 per cent of the outstanding shares last July from Osum's three largest shareholders. It says five of Osum's directors and four executive officers, including CEO Steve Spence, have voluntarily resigned. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
There were two deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the province on Wednesday. Both deaths were in the 80 plus age group and were located in Regina and Saskatoon. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the province is now 389. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This was among 121 new cases reported in Saskatchewan. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 19 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 30 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. There are currently 153 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 133 reported as receiving in patient care there are 14 in North Central. Of the 20 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central. The current seven-day average 154, or 12.5 cases per 100,000 population. The high was 312 reported on Jan. 12. Of the 29,059reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,431 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,239after 180 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,059 of those 7,437 cases are from the North area (3,024 North West, 3,259 North Central and 1,154 North East). There were 1,358doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 81,597. There were 232 doses administered in the North Central zone yesterday. The other zones where vaccines were administered were in the North West, Far North Central, Central East, Far North Central, Far North East, Saskatoon and Regina. According to the province as of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority healthcare workers received a first dose. This percentage includes healthcare workers from long term care and personal care home facilities. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by end of day March 3. There were 2,588 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Feb. 28. As of today there have been 582,829 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Walk-in testing clinics have been set up in the Miramichi region, Zone 7, amid new cases and "the likelihood of a variant being present," Public Health said Wednesday. The mass testing clinic is intended to determine if there has been any further spread in the area, the department said. Testing will be available without an appointment for individuals who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, and will be held on Thursday and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School, 124 Henderson St., in Miramichi. Screening tests will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. Asymptomatic people do not need to self-isolate while awaiting results, unless advised to do so by Public Health. People with symptoms are asked to request a test online or to call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment at the nearest screening centre. There are currently 37 active cases in the province.(CBC News) Three new cases reported Public Health reported three new cases in two zones on Wednesday. The cases break down in this way: Fredericton region, Zone 3, two cases: two people 20 to 29 years old. Both cases are travel-related and both individuals are self-isolating. Miramichi region, Zone 7, one case: an individual 50 to 59 years old. The case is under investigation and the person is self-isolating. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,438, and the number of active cases is 37. Since Tuesday, two people have recovered for a total of 1,372 recoveries. There have been 28 deaths. Three patients are in hospital, and two of them are in intensive care. A total of 230,540 tests have been conducted, including 753 since Tuesday's report. Exposure notifications in Miramichi Public Health has identified potential public exposures to the virus at the following locations in Zone 7. Individuals who tested positive were in these establishments, but do not have the exact times they were present in these businesses, the department said, "but it is believed it was for a short duration on these dates": Sobeys, 273 Pleasant St., Feb. 15, Feb. 19, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 Atlantic Superstore, 408 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 23 and Feb. 28 Shoppers Drug Mart, 397 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 17 and Feb. 26 Dollarama, 100 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 20 Winners, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 Giant Tiger, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 24 Walmart, 200 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 24 Bulk Barn, 100-99 Douglastown Blvd. on Feb. 27 NB Liquor, 221 Pleasant St., Feb. 27 What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
After Mateo Perusse-Shortte, experienced racism while playing his sport, he and his mom decided to plan a hockey diversity group in Quebec.
WHITEHORSE — Yukon's premier says COVID-19 vaccine uptake has been "fantastic" as just over half the territory's residents have received their first dose, but he's concerned about rising numbers of variants elsewhere in Canada. Sandy Silver says the territory is focusing on meeting its goal of vaccinating 75 per cent of the population to reach herd immunity before lifting current restrictions despite zero cases in Yukon. He says a clinic for everyone aged 18 and over opened in Whitehorse this week and mobile clinics are returning to smaller communities to provide second shots to people over 60. Silver says as of Monday, 11,503 Yukon residents had received their first shot while second shots were administered to about half that number. He joined chief medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley in saying numbers on vaccine uptake would not be provided for specific areas to prevent pitting communities against each other. Hanley is urging residents to continue taking all precautions as clinics go "full tilt" in the territory. "If cases, and particularly variants, lead to increased COVID our risk of importing variants will go up day by day," he says. Seventy-one Yukoners have recovered from the illness and one person has died since the pandemic began. Hanley says 850 people were immunized in the mass clinic on Tuesday, and he would be among those lining up for a shot in the arm on Wednesday. Yukon and other territories have received a higher allocation of vaccine doses because remote areas have limited access to specialized care. "While we recognize that immunizing the territories is the right thing to do for Canada this incredible opportunity should provide us with extra motivation to step up and get a vaccine," Hanley says. However, he says "vaccine hesitancy is a reality" and it will be important to address people's questions so they're comfortable being immunized in order to protect everyone. Hanley says despite four weeks without any active cases, the restrictions will remain because the territory is in a "nebulous" time and on guard against variants. "This is a huge consideration for us because regardless of whether we have zero or 10 cases right now we are always managing risk of importation," he says. "Vaccine uptake is so critical to getting to a place where we can be much more confident about being able to propose a solid framework for opening up." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that he informed Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan of allegations of misconduct against Gen. Jonathan Vance during a “hostile” closed-door meeting three years ago. Walbourne’s remarks appear to contradict Sajjan’s own testimony to the same committee Feb. 19, when he said he was as surprised as anyone when Global News first reported Vance’s alleged misconduct in early February. At that time, Sajjan repeatedly refused to confirm media reports that Walbourne raised allegations against Vance when the minister and ombudsman met in March 2018. Sajjan cited confidentiality and also said any allegations brought to him were taken seriously and referred to the appropriate authorities. Walbourne, whose testimony is protected by parliamentary privilege, used his opening statement to the House of Commons' defence committee to publicly confirm the conversation for the first time. “Yes, I did meet with Minister Sajjan on March 1, 2018,” he said. “Yes, I did directly tell him about an allegation of inappropriate sexual behaviour made against the chief of defence.” Global News has reported that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked. He is also accused of having made a sexual comment to a second, much younger, soldier in 2012, before he became commander of the Armed Forces. Vance, who turned over command of the military in January after more than five years in the job, has not responded to requests for comment by The Canadian Press and the allegations against him have not been independently verified. Global says Vance, who as defence chief oversaw the military’s efforts to root sexual misconduct from the ranks, has denied any wrongdoing. Military police are now investigating the allegations against Vance. They have also launched an investigation of Vance’s successor as defence chief, Admiral Art McDonald, who temporarily stepped aside last week in response to unspecified allegations of misconduct. Walbourne did not spell out the specifics of the allegation that he presented to Sajjan, and confirmed earlier reports that no formal complaint was filed. However, he said he came to possess “irrefutable, concrete evidence” about Vance, which is what led him to raise the matter with the minister. Walbourne told the committee Sajjan refused to look at the evidence and later cut off all contact until the former ombudsman’s resignation on Oct. 31, 2018. Walbourne also said he asked Sajjan to keep the matter in confidence until they could figure out how to handle the allegation, but that the minister instead told the Privy Council Office, which asked the ombudsman for information about the complainant. Walbourne, who initially declined an invitation to appear before the committee before being formally summoned to testify, said he refused to provide that information because the complainant had not given permission to do so. The former ombudsman, who has repeatedly decried a lack of independence for the office, went on to draw a link between his meeting with Sajjan three years ago and the Department of National Defence cutting off his financial and staffing authorities. The ombudsman’s office was being investigated at that time following a whistleblower’s complaint. Walbourne was adamant the complaint had no merit, and instead alleged that it was used as an excuse to put pressure on him and his team. Asked if there was any attempt by the government to cover up for Vance, Walbourne said: “I don’t know if it was an attempt at a coverup, but I know it was a full-court press to get rid of me.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Protesters attempting to protect some of the last stands of old-growth forest on southern Vancouver Island are facing arrest if a logging company gets court approval to disband their camps this week. Forestry company Teal-Jones has filed an application with the Supreme Court of British Columbia for an injunction to remove the Fairy Creek blockade at various entry points to its Tree Farm Licence (TFL) 46 near the community of Port Renfrew. The region encompasses the pristine old-growth forest at the headwaters of Fairy Creek with yellow cedars thought to be 1,000 years old, as well as other remaining groves on the Gordon River, Camper Creek and in the Upper Walbran Valley. A court decision is likely following an online hearing Thursday, said Kathleen Code, who is helping organize the defence against the injunction on behalf of the blockade residents. Activists from eight different camps have been blocking the logging company’s road building and forestry crews from accessing the area since August, Code said. “We want (the court) to disallow the injunction but that’s a very rare occurrence,” said Code. “So, our plan is to ask for an extension of three weeks, so that we can better prepare our defence.” Video courtesy of the Fairy Creek Blockade The group of forest defenders, the Rainforest Flying Squad, also hopes to file its own cross injunction against Teal-Jones, she said. “It’s a separate legal process that will have us filing an injunction against Teal-Jones themselves and bringing in the B.C. government as a third party,” Code said. “This way, we hope to make them accountable for the decades-long mismanagement of our forests.” Teal-Jones wants the court to prohibit the blockades until at least Sept. 4 and authorize the RCMP to arrest or remove protesters violating the order. The police force would determine when to enforce the potential order. Teal Cedar, a division of Teal-Jones, and its contractors have experience significant business disruption due to the blockades that threaten the company’s right to harvest timber but also the continued operation of its mills, the court application said. The company values the logs in TFL 46 to be worth $9 million, or approximately $19.4 million if turned into manufactured product. Teal Cedar also said it advised the Pacheedaht First Nation of its planned harvesting activities in its traditional territory, and after surveying the cut blocks, the nation told the company it’s permitted to harvest in those areas. However, Pacheedaht elder Bill Jones and some of his family are supporting the blockade and battle to protect the ancient temperate forest, Code said. Should the Teal-Jones application succeed, each individual forest defender will make the decision about whether they will risk arrest in the battle to protect the old-growth forest, she said. “But don't think Teal-Jones is going to waste any time,” Code said, adding the blockade isn’t about halting all forestry operations. “I want to make it really clear. We are not anti-logging,” she said. “We only obstruct areas where the old growth exist. “It's irreplaceable, and once you clear cut it, you have destroyed all of those ecosystems, destroyed the water systems, and you've destroyed the wildlife and their habitats.” Protests are being planned in various communities across the province on Thursday to protect Fairy Creek old-growth forest and in solidarity with the camp activists, Code said. Quadra Island resident Geraldine Kenny said a staggered, COVID-19-appropriate, “Last Stand” protest will be taking place in front of the office of North Island MLA Michele Babchuk in Campbell River all day. Support for the protest is coming in from communities around the North Island, said Kenny, a member of Sierra Quadra. “We want to show MLA Michelle Babchuk that her constituents … have fundamental concerns with regard to the government she represents and its protection of old-growth forests.” The Quadra senior has been trying to protect B.C. ancient temperate rainforests for three decades, and there’s precious little left, she said. Regardless of where people live on Vancouver Island, or in the province, the need to protect the last remaining stands of old growth is critical. “I started in 1987 with the Carmanah and the Walbran (forests), and here I am, a septuagenarian, and I’m still at it,” Kenny said, adding the argument of the necessity of intact forests to maintain biodiversity still holds true. “It’s old hat, and we’ve heard it so many times,” Kenny said. “However, the critical component now is climate change … maintaining old-growth forests is our best security and our best defence against global warming. “So, I want to stand as a forest defender and as a witness so that these trees, this ecosystem is preserved." Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Nearly eight years after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against giving Quebec unmarried couples the right to alimony, a Montreal lawyer is back in court once again fighting for them to have the same rights as those who are married or in a civil union. Montreal law firm Goldwater-Dubé is contesting in Quebec Superior Court the constitutionality of several articles in Quebec's Civil Code and Article 47 of the province's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms — in which only the rights of married and civil union spouses are guaranteed. Lawyer Anne-France Goldwater argues the lack of protection for unmarried partners in Quebec law is unconstitutional and disproportionately affects women and children. "Unmarried women in Quebec are severely disadvantaged over their married counterparts. They do not benefit from equal treatment even though equality is guaranteed them by the Quebec charter," said Goldwater. Currently, if an unwed couple splits up, neither partner can head to court to argue for spousal support and they don't have any rights in dividing their shared or family assets. They can, however, get child support. Quebec is the only province that does not recognize "de facto" marriages, despite one in three couples in the province fitting into that category. Back in 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the province's Civil Code was constitutional in its treatment of unwed couples who separate, because the province's laws promote autonomy. Goldwater represented one of the clients in the case that sparked that debate, known as Lola vs. Eric. A court order prevents the publication of the parties' real names. Goldwater began representing "Lola" at the end of 2004 but the case took nearly a decade to wend its way through the court system. It involved a Quebec couple who never married, but lived together and had three children. "Lola" had been fighting to get spousal support but the Quebec Superior Court rejected her claims, with the judge saying that under existing law, partners in a de facto relationship had no rights, duties and responsibilities to each other — no matter how many years they had lived together. The case went to the Quebec Court of Appeal which invalidated that section of the Civil Code, saying the law discriminated against unmarried couples. The court gave the province one year to change it. The Quebec government instead took the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in the Quebec government's favour and allowed the law to stay the same. Now, Goldwater has taken on a similar case, this time dubbed Nathalie vs. Pierre. In this case, the couple lived together for nearly 30 years and had four children together but never married. "Nathalie" is asking that she be granted the same rights as if she had been married to "Pierre." "I'm looking to protect everybody, if you're a couple, you're a family, the law should protect both partners and all the children with no regard for sex, orientation, or whether somebody wore a white dress the day of the wedding," said Goldwater. "This does not mean a blank cheque for anybody. It just means there's a set of rules that make it easy for people on the breakdown of their union to come up with equitable solutions that will be sure to protect both parties." Goldwater believes the ruling will be different this time though, because the province has become increasingly aware of inequities in its laws. Elisabeth Gosselin, spokesperson for Quebec Justice Minister Sonia LeBel, says the ministry is aware of the constitutional challenge, but will not offer any comment due to the ongoing legal process. "Regarding the reform of family law, we are continuing our work. This is a priority file. The last major reform of family law dates back to 1980," she said. "However, the needs and realities of Quebec families have changed a lot over the past 40 years and the legal framework must be modernized and adapted."
For the first time, an outbreak of COVID-19 in an Alberta long-term care facility has been linked to a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus. The outbreak was confirmed late on Friday at Churchill Manor in Edmonton with a single case, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Wednesday at a news conference. Since Friday, 27 staff and residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, she said, which includes 19 cases confirmed as positive for the variant. "This is a reminder that of course we are not out of the woods yet with respect to COVID-19, and the rapid spread that is possible with the variant," Hinshaw said. "Of course, it's very concerning to see an outbreak where we go from one case to 27 within a matter of days, and it's a reminder that all of us need to be taking the precautionary measures seriously every single day." Local public health teams and the operator of Churchill Manor are taking the outbreak seriously and working to limit spread and protect everyone involved, Hinshaw said. "Last week, before this outbreak started, we implemented mandatory new protocols that are being followed. These created new, stronger measures for when a variant case is identified in any supportive living, long-term care or hospice site. "Staff working at an outbreak site must not work at any other workplace for the duration of the outbreak, and anyone entering the facility will be required to wear a mask and eye protection continuously." Enhanced lab testing and rapid screening are being used help control the outbreak, she said. Hinshaw said she did not have details on how the outbreak began. Residents at Churchill Manor got their vaccinations as scheduled on Monday, she said, as part of the rollout. "That, of course, would not protect individuals who've already been exposed, but it will help those at that site to now be building their immunity, and those who haven't been exposed would be expected to have some protection against infection and severe outcomes within the next couple of weeks." Now 3 vaccines Now that Health Canada has approved the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, she said, there will be three safe, effective vaccines to help the fight against COVID-19. Alberta is scheduled to receive some doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine next week but those shipments will likely be small, Hinshaw said, and no details are available yet about who will be eligible for those inoculations. "We are still working to confirm exactly how many doses we will receive, and when they will arrive. We hope to update you soon on how these vaccines will be distributed here in Alberta. "What's clear is that all three of these vaccines reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 and prevent serious outcomes, including hospitalization and death," Hinshaw said. About 255,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province, and more than 89,000 people have now been fully immunized with two doses, she said. "In the last week alone, we have administered almost 20,000 doses of vaccine," Hinshaw said. This is great news for our most vulnerable Albertans and those who care for them." Gap between doses extended Hinshaw also announced that Alberta will join other provinces in adopting the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommendation to extend the period between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines. In an effort to protect as many people as possible as quickly as possible, starting on March 10 those who book a first dose of vaccine will have their second-dose timeline extended to up to four months, Hinshaw said. Those who already have second-dose appointments booked will go ahead as scheduled. Anyone who books their appointment before March 10 will be able to book a second appointment within the 42-day window. From March 10 on, people who book vaccinations will only be able to book their first appointment, and will later receive a reminder to book a second dose, she said. "The evidence on COVID-19 is constantly evolving, and it is critical that we use the most up-to-date information as we refine our approach," Hinshaw said. Recent research in Canada suggests that one dose of vaccine can provide about 80 per cent protection against infection, she said. Data from the U.K. released this week suggests 70-per-cent effectiveness from a single dose of Pfizer, a level of protection that remained at a stable level over several months. "This change will significantly increase how quickly we can offer Albertans the protection of their first dose," she said. "The more people that we can offer this protection to in the coming weeks and months, the more effective we will be at stopping spread. "At the same time, second doses are still important, and we are recommending that every Albertan receive one within the 16-week window in order to provide long-lasting protection. This change is about providing the most benefit to the most people, based on evidence that we have seen from around the world." Latest case numbers The province reported 12 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday and 402 new cases. Across the province, hospitals were treating 251 patients with the illness, including 48 in ICU beds. About three per cent of Albertans (134,052 cases) have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began a year ago. Of those, about 4.4 per cent (5,942 people) have ended up in hospitals, including 974 who spent time in ICU beds. Of the 1,890 people who have died so far, 84 per cent were age 70 or older. Over the past year, the province has closed down twice. With new cases and hospitalizations declining, Alberta is once again starting to ease restrictions. Alberta reported two more deaths and 257 news cases on Tuesday. Hospitals were treating 261 patients for the illness, including 54 in ICU beds. Testing has now confirmed 492 cases in Alberta of two highly contagious variants first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
HALIFAX — Canadian and American rescuers are describing a tightly choreographed effort in heaving Atlantic seas that saved 31 seafarers early Wednesday before an offshore scallop dragger sank off Nova Scotia. The hoisting of the crew aboard the 39-metre FV Atlantic Destiny onto helicopters began late Tuesday night and extended into the next morning after the ship caught fire at sea south of Yarmouth, N.S. Lt.-Cmdr. Edward Forys, commander of a United States Coast Guard fixed-wing aircraft that flew above the scene, outlined the close co-operation of the two countries in the frightening seas. "It (the Atlantic Destiny) was taking on water when we arrived and they didn't have any power or ability to steer," Forys said Wednesday in an interview from the coast guard base in Cape Cod, Mass. "So they were bobbing in the water and it was imperative we started to get people off that ship." He estimated that winds were gusting from the northwest at more than 90 kilometres per hour, with sea swells of between five to seven metres pitching the stricken ship up and down as the hoists were lowered. The lieutenant-commander said that at first, Canadian Forces CH-149 Cormorant helicopter lowered two of its search and rescue technicians on board the floundering vessel. He said the Cormorant carried out the first hoists, followed by lifts conducted by two American Jayhawk helicopters, with a total of 27 people brought into the rescue aircraft. The 43-year-old officer said it was the most hoists during one incident he's witnessed in his 13-year career with the coast guard. Each time the basket came down to lift up crew, the two Canadian search and rescue technicians on board would help them strap in, as the teams from the two countries communicated by radio and international hand signals, Forys said. As this was going on, the American and Canadian fixed-wing aircraft were relaying information from the helicopters back to command centres on shore to provide updates on the condition of the survivors and indicate where they needed to be taken. Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens of the search and rescue co-ordination centre in Halifax, confirmed the Atlantic Destiny sank at 10:36 a.m. Wednesday morning after succumbing to damage it sustained in the fire. Owens said 27 crew members were taken to Yarmouth by the three helicopter crews during the night, where they received medical attention, food and accommodations. The remaining crew members, as well as two search and rescue technicians who were on board, were transferred at about 8 a.m. from the fishing vessel to the Canadian Coast Guard ship Cape Roger, Owens said, adding that they were on their way to shore on Wednesday afternoon. The rescue co-ordination centre said it had received a call from the ship around 8 p.m. Tuesday night reporting there was a fire on board and that it had lost power and was taking on water as it drifted in the rough seas and powerful winds. Ocean Choice, the owner of the ship, said other offshore fishing vessels, including the Cape LaHave, Maude Adams and the Atlantic Protector, took part in the rescue effort. "They're professional seamen and we have an experienced captain and crew members that handled this incredibly well," Ocean Choice CEO Martin Sullivan said in an interview Wednesday. “The collective efforts of our crew and all those who came to assist the crew and the vessel resulted in the best possible outcome for this situation,” Blaine Sullivan, the president of Ocean Choice, said in a statement. “We are sincerely thankful to everyone that helped ensure that every single crew member is safe and accounted for.” Ocean Choice said an investigation into what caused the fire will begin in the coming days, adding that no injuries were reported as a result of the fire. The company said the Atlantic Destiny, one of six of its offshore fishing vessels, harvests and freezes sea scallops. Its home port is Riverport, N.S. The Atlantic Destiny was involved in a similar incident in 2017 when its main engine broke down, causing a blackout on the ship while it was southwest of Nova Scotia. No injuries were reported. Martin Sullivan said the trawler had a major overhaul about a year ago and the ship was signed off by a classification society, which inspects and certifies vessels on behalf of Transport Canada. Meanwhile, Forys said the teams returning from the international rescue were tired but satisfied by Wednesday's outcome. "This is a major case," the lieutenant-commander said. "This is one of the search and rescue cases you'll remember." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. — With files from Sarah Smellie in St. John's, N.L. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Michael Tutton and Danielle Edwards, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau signalled Wednesday that Canada will stand up for an Ottawa sociology professor facing trial in France as human-rights advocates renewed calls for the Liberal government to intervene. The prime minister's words left Hassan Diab's supporters wishing Trudeau had been more forceful in pledging assistance. In late January, France ordered Diab to stand trial for a decades-old synagogue bombing, a move his lawyer called the latest misstep in a long odyssey of injustice. The Canadian government has been communicating with officials in France about the case and will continue to do so, Trudeau said during a news briefing Wednesday. "It has been a priority for us to make sure that we're standing up for our citizens all around the world, with countries that are challenging, but also with our allies," he said. "And those conversations will continue." Canadians would rightly expect their prime minister and government to stand up for a falsely accused citizen, said Donald Bayne, Diab's Ottawa lawyer. "But what does that ambiguous phrase mean?" Born in Lebanon, Diab became a Canadian citizen in 1993, working in Ottawa as a university teacher. The RCMP arrested him in November 2008 in response to a request by France. French authorities suspected Diab was involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured dozens of others, an accusation he has consistently denied. After lengthy proceedings that went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, Diab was extradited to France, where he spent three years behind bars, including time in solitary confinement. In January 2018, French judges dismissed the allegations against him for lack of evidence and ordered his immediate release. Trudeau said later that year that what Diab went through "never should have happened." Diab's supporters have long argued he was in Beirut — not Paris — when the attack took place and that his fingerprints, palm prints, physical description and age did not match those of the suspect identified in 1980. Earlier this year, Bayne called the French move to have Diab stand trial "a travesty of justice," saying the latest analysis of handwriting evidence in the case makes the argument for pursuing his client even weaker. Diab, 67, is now back with his wife and young children in Ottawa as his lawyers in France appeal the latest decision. Alex Neve, former secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, said in January it is "cruel and baffling" that French authorities continue to suspect Diab. Neve said the Canadian government must become involved at the highest political levels and not simply stand aside on the grounds that justice must be allowed to run its course. Justin Mohammed, a human rights law and policy campaigner with Amnesty Canada, said Wednesday the organization was encouraged by Trudeau's remarks but stressed that Canada must not co-operate with extradition requests that prolong Diab's ordeal. "It would be unconscionable to return him to face trial in France given the way his case has proceeded.” The Ottawa-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group has called on Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau to intervene with their French counterparts "to put a stop to this endless, Kafkaesque affair." The group, which represents dozens of civil-society voices, also wants the prime minister to commit to not extraditing Diab to France a second time. It also says Canada must reform its extradition laws to ensure no one else is forced to go through what Diab has endured. Tim McSorley the group's national co-ordinator, said Wednesday that while the prime minister's words were encouraging, Trudeau missed an opportunity to "clearly and publicly denounce the ongoing miscarriage of justice being faced by Hassan Diab." Early last year, Diab filed a lawsuit accusing the Canadian government of negligent investigation and malicious prosecution, saying federal officials violated his constitutional guarantees of freedom of movement, liberty and security of the person. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press
(ANNews) - On Saturday Feb. 20, hundreds of people gathered at the Alberta Legislature to protest COVID-19 restrictions, but the rally raised concerns over racism in the province. A similar "anti-lockdown" rally was held in Calgary on Feb. 27. Both rallies included people holding lit tiki torches as they marched through the streets. Although the rallies were attended and organized by members of known hate groups, Edmonton’s police chief says the department doesn’t have evidence of racist intent behind the use of tiki torches at the rallies. On March 2, Chief Dale McFee said that the EPS doesn't condone tiki torches but "some people didn’t know why they were carrying them at the legislature." He added that if the real intent of the torches was racist, he'd like to see the evidence. Premier Jason Kenney, Mayor Don Iveson, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, former Premier Rachel Notley and MLA David Shepherd are among those who condemned the rallies as having racist intent. Mayor Nenshi stated that there is “no lockdown to protest in Alberta, schools are open, restaurants are open… It’s been clear for some time that the regular demonstrations against pandemic public health measures are also a vehicle for spreading hate. “When we see people advertising these marches using pictures from Charlottesville, we know what that means. We know who that’s meant to intimidate,” he said. “And I will tell you right now, as a person of colour in this city, I will never be intimidated by that.” Regarding the suggestion that marchers were using the tiki torches for purposes other than hatred, Nenshi tweeted, “It's not for light, it's not for heat – don’t be ridiculous.” "What are those torches used for?" he added. "They're used to light crosses on fire. This is disgusting behaviour and frankly we need to denounce it and we need to denounce strongly." I don't accept this, tweeted Notley, about the suggested naiveté of the torch bearers."These marches have been advertised using images from the racist, hate-filled Charlottesville march. There is a long history of racist hate groups using torches to intimidate, going back to the Nazis and the KKK." The convoy, which was organized by the “Walk for Freedom Alberta” group, began in Lethbridge and travelled up North through Calgary and Red Deer before arriving in Edmonton. The group claims to stand up for rights and freedoms and “peacefully promote breaches to civil liberties across Alberta.” Saturday morning before the convoy gathered, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson released a statement, saying “COVID-19 is not a joke nor a hoax.” “We are in the middle of a global public health crisis,” Iveson said. “Wearing a mask and following other public health measures keeps people safe and saves lives.” Iveson also said he had been “made aware” that some of the organizers “may be associated with known hate groups.” “Edmonton unequivocally condemns racism, misogyny and other forms of hate — such speech is not welcome in our community,” said Iveson. The protest was attended by those who organized it, as well as other groups. Concerns about racism were raised after some of the attendees started carrying lit tiki torches during their “walk for freedom.” The tiki torch is a symbol that is historically linked with white-supremacists such as the KKK and was recently used by white-supremacists chanting racist rants at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. On Monday Feb. 22, Premier Jason Kenney released a statement which condemned the event’s connection to hate groups. “Albertans value the constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and assembly. This weekend, protesters gathered at the Alberta Legislature to oppose our government’s public health measures that are in place to protect the vulnerable, and our hospitals, from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kenney stated. “I understand that publicity for this event incorporated an image apparently taken from the notorious 2017 Charlottesville torch rally, which was an explicitly white supremacist event. “Prominent racists promoted Saturday’s protest at the legislature, and individuals attended the event from known hate groups like the ‘Soldiers of Odin’ and ‘Urban Infidels.’ I condemn these voices of bigotry in the strongest possible terms. “Albertans believe in the dignity of every human being and have no time for these voices of division and hate, or the symbols that they represent.” Kenney then went on to say that there were likely people with varying views at the protest, mentioning some who came only because they were opposed to the public health restrictions. “Like any large public protest, there was likely a range of perspectives and motivations amongst those who attended. There is no doubt that some people came just to register their opposition to public health measures, which is their democratic right.” “But these people also have a responsibility to disassociate themselves from the extremists who peddle hatred and division, and who played a role in this event,” Kenney said. David Shepherd, MLA Edmonton City Centre, also released a statement, “I'm saddened. I'm frustrated. I'm angry.” “It's clear it was not a march about freedom. It was about anger, hatred and fear.” “As others have ably explained, the symbol of crowds marching with torches has a long-standing history of threat towards racial minorities as clearly demonstrated by the white supremacist hate rally in Charlottesville in 2017, which was included on this event's poster,” said Shepherd. EPS Chief Mcfee reiterated that the rally / protest was “largely peaceful” even though four police officers were assaulted during the protest after attempting to conduct an arrest. No officers were injured; however, Edmonton police are looking at protest footage in order to identify the culprits. Sgt. Mike Elliot, president of the Edmonton Police Association, said “Right now we’re reviewing video footage to identify the suspect or suspects involved in this.” “Usually, it’s best to try and identify and then contact that person later instead of in a heated, dynamic situation.” Before the Feb. 27 protest in Calgary, police chief Const. Mark Neufeld assured there would be a large police presence. “The vast majority of these events pass uneventfully with the members of our service working with groups of all sorts to facilitate the expression of constitutional rights in a way that is not only safe but in a way that minimizes the impact on the public and the broader community,” said Neufeld. Irfan Chaudhry, director of the office of human rights, diversity and equity at MacEwan University, told the Edmonton Journal that downplaying the significance of racist symbols is “disheartening.” “Symbols are power in right-wing extremism, and the power in itself is by being able to deny that it’s connected to any type of … hateful ideology,” he said. “Acknowledging the impact that the symbols have on communities of colour — whether or not there’s enough evidence to proceed with any charges, I think that’s another consideration — but it’s that support for the community that I think is missing.” Jacob Cardinal is an LJI reporter for Alberta Native News. Jacob Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
The government of Ontario's announcement of funding of a wearable contact tracking device for workplaces raises concerns about privacy and surveillance.
Toronto officials are recommending that the city enter the grey-lockdown level of the province’s coronavirus response framework next week, which would see the loosening of some restrictions. Toronto Mayor John Tory said moving to the grey zone will allow the city to begin to reopen “with caution” and stay open as vaccines continue to be administered.