Caitlyn Jenner says she will run for governor of California. The move comes as Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing a likely recall election in the fall. (April 23)
Caitlyn Jenner says she will run for governor of California. The move comes as Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing a likely recall election in the fall. (April 23)
CHARLOTTETOWN — Health officials in Prince Edward Island said Thursday they are concerned a case of COVID-19 tied to a daycare centre in Charlottetown may have spread beyond the facility. The case is likely travel-related and involves someone in their 20s who works at Leaps and Bounds Childcare Centre, chief medical officer Dr. Heather Morrison told reporters. "We really are going to need to focus on trying to see if we can contain and manage any potential spread that may have happened in this situation," she said. The centre takes care of between 38 and 40 children and has eight staff. Morrison said the daycare will be closed and children, staff and their close contacts will be tested and asked to isolate as they wait for results. Morrison said early contact tracing indicates the case may involve a close contact of someone who recently travelled, adding that it's too early to say if additional restrictions are needed in the capital. Premier Dennis King told reporters he has asked Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay to help people affected by the daycare closing to access federal support payments. The province has seven active reported cases of COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
SEVEROMORSK, Russia (AP) — A top Russian admiral complained Thursday about increased NATO military activities near the country's borders, describing them as a threat to regional security. Adm. Alexander Moiseyev, the commander of Russia's Northern Fleet, said that NATO navy ships' presence in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea have reached levels unseen since World War II. Speaking to reporters onboard the Northern Fleet's flagship, the Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) missile cruiser, at its Arctic base of Severomorsk, Moiseyev charged that NATO drills have edged closer to Russian borders, and noted increasingly frequent flights by U.S. nuclear-capable strategic bombers. “Such actions are provocative and have a negative impact on regional security,” Moiseyev said. He voiced particular concern about the U.S. military assets on the territory of NATO ally Norway that borders Russia, charging that it has led to an “increase of the conflict potential in the Arctic.” Ties between Russia and the West have plummeted to post-Cold War lows after the 2014 Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and Moscow’s support for a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly voiced concern over the deployment of NATO forces near Russian borders. Russia and the alliance also have blamed each other for conducting destabilizing military exercises near the borders. Last month, a massive build-up of Russian troops alongside the Ukrainian border fueled concerns in Ukraine and the West. The Kremlin rejected Western worries, charging that the troops don't threaten anyone, but it also warned Ukrainian authorities against trying to use force to reclaim control of the rebel east. The Associated Press
A small town congregation's defiance of COVID-19 public health orders and the community's surveillance of parishioners have created a toxic environment that could come to a head Friday when a judge decides whether to lock the doors of the Church of God in Aylmer, Ont. The church, Pastor Henry Hildenbrandt and Assistant Pastor Patrick Wall were found in contempt of court for continuing in-person services despite a court order to stop to meet COVID-19 restrictions. Ontario Superior Court Justice Bruce Thomas must now decide what penalty, if any, to impose. "This whole thing has turned one small community in Ontario into a cauldron of hostility, one that has pitted neighbour against neighbour. I am deeply concerned about the toxic environment in Aylmer," Thomas told virtual court Thursday. "This congregation and these people, although different than the mainstream population of southwestern Ontario, were living in peace and tranquility in this community in the past. Now, I see a splintered community, a fractious community." The town church is one of several in Canada that are challenging the constitutionality of public health orders that prohibit gatherings, including church services. Those will be heard in October. Locking the doors of churches in Canada is a poignant symbol of our democracy under threat. - Lisa Bildy, Aylmer, Ont., church's lawyer At the beginning of the pandemic last year, the southwestern Ontario church held drive-in services, which were prohibited by provincial law, and then escalated to 200-person gatherings within the building, with no physical distancing or mask wearing. Hildebrandt's sermons, in front of a large congregation, are available on YouTube and Facebook as shown in this image. (Church of God at Aylmer/YouTube) The church, and its pastors and parishioners have been ticketed multiple times by Aylmer police. But physically locking all the exterior doors, as the Crown has asked, goes too far, argued Lisa Bildy, a lawyer with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents the church. "Locking the doors of churches in Canada is a poignant symbol of our democracy under threat," she said. "This was two weeks to flatten the curve and has become 60 weeks and counting. No outbreaks have been traced to the church... I don't think we should be locking church doors in this country. Church is fundamental to these people." Welcomes further fines Many church members come from a Mennonite tradition, speak Low German (a variety or dialect of the language), and dress in modest clothing as a way to signal that church for them is way of life, not just something to attend on Sunday, Bildy said. They [Church of God] are flouting the law and public health orders. Locking the door is the only way to ensure they won't access the building. - Connie Vernon, Crown lawyer "Pastor Hildebrandt didn't set out to be defiant, he didn't set out to be a figurehead in a movement. He wanted his parishioners to have some community," she said. He has now embraced the role of figurehead, said Bildy. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hildebrandt has embraced the No More Lockdowns movement, including a 2,000-person rally against COVID-19 restrictions in the small town. He has preached that the virus doesn't exist and encouraged defiance of provincial lockdown rules. His sermons, in front of a large congregation, are available on YouTube and Facebook. The church and its pastors have "committed themselves to publicly and continuously defy the public health measures," said Crown lawyer Connie Vernon in her arguments to the court. "They have stated clearly that they plan to breach any court order, they have encouraged civil disobedience, they've encouraged others to come to the church," she said. "It is clear that [Hildebrandt] welcomes further fines and will continue to open the church. They are flouting the law and public health orders. Locking the door is the only way to ensure they won't access the building. There is nothing to suggest that they will stop inviting people in." The Crown wants: All exterior doors locked until there are no more public health orders. For Hildebrandt and his assistant pastor to be fined $10,000 each. For the church to be fined $50,000. For the church to pay for $100,000 in court fees. Bildy argued the court fees are much too steep and the monetary penalties too high. If the doors are locked, the pastor should be allowed to access the building sometimes to check on it, and they should be unlocked when public health orders are less restrictive. Hundreds of people stand by the side of the main street in Aylmer, Ont., before a rally and march to protest public health measures. (Kate Dubinski/CBC) Thomas said he will make his decision Thursday, but added he doesn't see Hildebrandt as a passive player in the movement against public health orders. "He has chosen the role he now has. He has chosen to be the spokesperson for the infringement of rights," said Thomas. "He uses his pulpit as a pulpit to exert an argument to others to follow his example. It's not about the word of his God, it's also about the concerns that he is exhorting others to breach the regulations. He's chosen to be the face, front and centre of this movement."
Ottawa is launching a new policy to help the families of victims of two major airline disasters become permanent residents in Canada, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Thursday. The new policy will apply to relatives of anyone who died on board Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 or Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, so long as those victims were Canadian citizens, permanent residents or found eligible on their application for permanent residency. The policy applies to people currently in Canada, and anyone who made a refugee claim after these two disasters happened is also eligible to apply under the new policy. Mendicino said the federal government is introducing this public policy, which will remain in place until May 11, 2022, to demonstrate compassion and solidarity with the families in their efforts to seek justice. "I've had the privilege of speaking with some of the families were related to the victims of flight PS752. Grief and anguish is real and ongoing," he said. "Families are in pain. They still ask questions." Kourosh Doustshenas, whose partner Forough Khadem died in the crash, said the association that represent the families of the victims welcomes the new policy. "We appreciate the government of Canada is taking these steps to support the families," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. Fifty-five Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed when a Ukrainian jetliner was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile minutes after taking off from Tehran on Jan. 8, 2020. The Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane crashed near Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019, claiming the lives of 157 people, including 18 Canadians. Mendicino said the new program provides a pathway to permanent residency to people whose loved ones made Canada their home before being so suddenly taken. He said a relative a relative could be spouse, common-law partner, child, grandchild, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew. Applicants may still be eligible even if they have entered Canada without the required visa or other documents, failed to comply with certain conditions or have worked or studied without being authorized under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, he said. Doustshenas the government should allow family members outside of Canada to apply. "We are hoping (the government) will expand (the new policy) to be more inclusive," he said. "We want to make sure other people who are not in Canada also get the chance to travel here and apply for permanent residency." He said the policy should be expanded to include the families of Iranian students who where among the victims of the plane shootdown and had the intention to work and live in Canada after graduation. Mendicino said his department is working on further measures to facilitate permanent residence applications for certain members of victims’ families who are currently outside Canada, and it will provide updates on this once those measures are in place. Former Liberal public safety minister Ralph Goodale, who was named Canada's special adviser on the response to the crash, released a report on the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in December concluding that it's vital it is for the investigation into this air disaster to be transparent to ensure accountability. Ten Iranian officials were indicted over the shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane by Tehran military prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki, who avoided naming those responsible when he announced the indictments last month. Doustshenas the families of the victims can't trust the Iranian justice system because the Tehran military prosecutor didn't disclose the names of those charged, nor the alleged offences. "We still don't know what happened. We still don't know the truth. We haven't seen any kind of justice," he said. "We are hoping through an independent investigation by Canada and other countries, we can finally get to the bottom of that and find the truth." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that Canada would work with the international community to reform aviation standards and to ensure the families of victims "get closure, get compensation and mostly get justice from Iran." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 13, 2021. —— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellows Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
BERLIN (AP) — Germany's leading Jewish group on Thursday sharply condemned protests in front of a synagogue in the western city of Gelsenkirchen as “pure antisemitism.” Several other German cities including Berlin, Hamburg and Hannover have seen anti-Israeli protests over the past few days. At least two synagogues were attacked, and several Israeli flags were torn down and burned since the latest eruption of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip. The Central Council of Jews in Germany tweeted a video of dozens of protesters in Gelsenkirchen waving Palestinian and Turkish flags and yelling expletives about Jews. “Jew hatred in the middle of Gelsenkirchen in front of the synagogue. The times in which Jews were cursed in the middle of the street should have long been over. This is pure antisemitism, nothing else!” the group tweeted. The German government repeatedly condemned anti-Israeli and antisemitic attacks earlier this week and said that “the perpetrators must be found and held responsible and Jewish institutions must be protected thoroughly.” On Thursday, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Funke Media Group that “there must be zero tolerance for attacks on synagogues in our country.” “All of us are called on to make it very clear that we do not accept if Jews in Germany are made responsible for the events in the Middle East — neither in the streets nor on social media,” Maas added. The protests in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday were dispersed by police, German news agency dpa reported, but authorities reported further incidents in other parts of the country. Some cities which had hoisted Israeli flags in front of their city halls on Wednesday in remembrance of the start of German-Israeli diplomatic relations on May 12, 1965, reported that the flags were torn down and sometimes burned. An Israeli flag in front of a city hall in the western town of Solingen was torn and burnt and two Israeli flags in Berlin were also torn down late Wednesday night. On Tuesday night, police stopped 13 suspects in the western city of Muenster near a synagogue after an Israeli flag was burned there. In the western city of Bonn, police said several people damaged the entrance of a synagogue with stones and investigators found a burned flag as well. In nearby Duesseldorf, somebody burned garbage on top of a memorial for a former synagogue. Several cities and states in Germany have since upped their security and raised police presence in front of Jewish institutions, dpa reported. In Berlin, some 100 people also assembled for a pro-Israel rally on Wednesday night in front of the city's landmark Brandenburg Gate waving Israeli flags and holding a banner saying “We stand with Israel — Now and Forever." Kirsten Grieshaber, The Associated Press
B.C.’s provincial health officer says officials are monitoring the province’s second case of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, also known as VITT, following a dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Bonnie Henry says the man in his 40s is in stable condition and receiving care.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford's recent letter calling on the federal government to further restrict travel into and across Canada is an attempt to deflect attention away from the third pandemic wave rampaging through the province, says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. "I would encourage the premier to look at his data, listen to his health experts and let's act on the facts. And frankly, we see an effort to deflect and distract from a very serious concern that everyone has in Ontario," Blair told guest host David Common on CBC News Network's Power & Politics Thursday. "I know they've got some serious problems ... in their workplaces and in their social gatherings but their own data tells us … they had 2,320 cases reported in Ontario yesterday. Zero of those were related to travel, so frankly I would disagree." The Ford government sent Prime Minister Justin Trudeau another letter this week restating requests it made in previous letters. The provincial government says it wants Ottawa to reduce the number of international flights allowed to arrive in Canada, require that Canadians take pre-departure tests before flying domestically and extend quarantine measures at Canada's airports to the land border with the United States. Blair dismissed the suggestion of restricting international flights further, saying all non-essential travel to Canada was halted 14 months ago. He also said international travel is down by 96 per cent and Canadians are returning home from abroad because they have a right to do so. As for Ford's request that domestic travellers be required to take a polymerase chain reaction test — commonly known as a PCR test — for COVID-19 before they travel, Blair said the federal government is willing to help but internal travel restrictions are a provincial responsibility. "If the premier wants to implement measures restricting travel into Ontario from anywhere domestically in Canada, he has the authority to do that and we're happy to work with him," Blair said. Land border measures working: Blair On Feb. 22, the federal government implemented new quarantine measures at airports requiring all air travellers returning from non-essential trips abroad to isolate in a federally designated facility for up to 72 hours while they await the results of a PCR test that they must take upon arrival. The three-day mandatory quarantine stay at a federally designated facility can cost as much as $2,000 per person. Ford said he wants those measures extended to the land border. "There are 117 land border points across this country and many of them are hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest hotel," said Blair. "The safest and most effective way to manage people who are arriving at our borders by land is by the system that we have put in place." Blair said Canadians returning by land from the U.S. while contained in their cars, with their families, and going directly home after their tests to quarantine for two weeks "is the safest way to manage those people." "All of the requirements of pre-arrival testing, post-arrival testing and 14 day quarantine are enforced vigorously at our land borders, and in fact we have 99.6 per cent compliance," he said. "And when people are not compliant with that, there are substantial consequences and fines that are imposed."
The province says virtual learning will remain in place until it can reach a consensus with public health units, teachers' unions and health officials on reopening schools safely — even though Ontario's COVID-19 case counts are trending downward and school-aged children will be eligible for vaccine appointments by the end of the month, The message came from Premier Doug Ford at a news conference on Thursday alongside Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health. "On the one hand, we have some doctors saying they want to open the schools. On the other hand, we have the teachers' unions saying we can't do that right now," Ford said. "We need public health doctors, teachers and labour partners to agree on the best path forward ... And we simply don't have that right now." Last week, the province announced it will offer online learning for the entirety of the 2021-2022 school year, but made no mention about whether or not students might return to in-person classes this spring. At Thursday's news conference, Williams said he is in discussions with public health units and the Ministry of Education to determine "when's the best time, the right time" to reopen. "We want [schools] to open and stay open because we feel it's very important to have our children back in the schools and to maintain the safety record we've had up to now," he said. In the meantime, the province said it will work to vaccinate as many teachers and students as possible given the expansion of vaccine eligibility to younger Ontarians. Starting May 31, youths aged 12 to 17 will be eligible to receive their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the province announced on Thursday. Prepare for all scenarios, Ministry of Education says Meanwhile, in a memo sent home to parents Wednesday night, Canada's largest school board announced it is bringing back the "quadmester" model next school year for its secondary students under recent direction from the Ministry of Education. Under this model, students with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) take two courses at a time during four separate academic semesters instead of four classes during two semesters. "We have to make sure that if you're taking X number of classes that students are able to be spaced out ... The bottom line is to reduce that student-to-student contact," said TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird. In an emailed statement to CBC News, the Ministry of Education said it has asked school boards to "prepare for all scenarios" given the expansion of vaccine eligibility. In an emailed statement to CBC News, the Ministry of Education says it has asked school boards to 'prepare for all scenarios' given that younger people will soon be eligible for vaccines.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) "The arrival of a more stable vaccine supply and recent Health Canada approval of vaccinations for youth aged 12-17 will enable more flexibility and allow for a more normal in-class learning experience," the ministry said. But a change in direction come September would be a challenge, Bird said, citing the preparation already underway to accommodate the schedules of 70 to 80,000 students. "When you're planning for tens of thousands of students and their course selections, to go from one model to another is not fun. It will be challenging. It will be complex," Bird said. "We can do it, but it will take some time." Still many unknowns, doctor says For infectious disease specialist Dr. Anna Banerji, having kids vaccinated is critical for a safe return to in-person learning. "Having the kids vaccinated means less outbreaks, less opening and closures, less uncertainty," she said. While there are still many questions about what ensures a safe reopening of schools, Banerji is hopeful things will be better come the fall. "It depends on case rate. It depends on the variants," she said. "If kids get two vaccines and they seem to be responsive to the circulating variants there, then I don't see why we can't start thinking about normalizing in school ... But there's a lot of things between here and there that we don't know." On Wednesday, Ottawa public health officials and the city's mayor called on Ontario to conduct a regional approach to reopening schools, with the city's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches saying the decline of COVID-19 indicators shows the schools in the nation's capital are on a path toward reopening within a matter of weeks. On Tuesday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said: 'We want to get kids in school,' but he added that Williams has not yet changed the current set of restrictions forcing in-person classes to close.
Ottawa has announced $2.73 million to build affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness in one of the largest Mi'kmaw communities in Nova Scotia. The 20-unit project in the Sipekne'katik First Nation will be constructed through the federal rapid housing initiative, with half of the units targeted to women and children. "This 20 that will go into our community, we're very grateful and we're happy to have," Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack said Thursday in a video conference. Sack said the contribution will help the housing crisis in Sipekne'katik, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to solve the issue. A home needs assessment completed two years ago found houses in the community needed $10 million in improvements to bring them up to standards, he said. The First Nation's housing list also indicated a need for 395 homes. A first step "This is an important investment," Kody Blois, the Liberal MP for Kings-Hants, said during the conference. "We know that this is not going to solve all issues in Sipekne'katik, but we have to start somewhere." The project received $681,340 from the Sipekne'katik First Nation, including $100,000 provided to Sipekne'katik by Indigenous Services Canada. Last month, the federal government announced $3.16 million in funding for 24 affordable housing units in the Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation and We'koqma'q First Nation as part of the rapid housing initiative. The $1-billion initiative was announced last fall to initially create up to 3,000 permanent, affordable housing units across the country. An additional $1.5 billion for the initiative was included in the recent federal budget. Original target tripled "This new funding of $1.5 billion in budget 2021 will more than triple our total target to over 9,200 units built under the rapid housing initiative," said Ahmed Hussen, federal minister of families, children and social development. "That means over 9,000 families will now have a safe and affordable place to call home." Hussen said at least 25 per cent of the new funding will go toward women-focused housing projects. All units will be constructed within 12 months of when funding is provided to the applicants. "Together we'll ensure that most vulnerable members of our communities are safe and sound," he said. HRM housing projects Last December, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said roughly $8.6 million would be used to fund rapid housing initiatives in the municipality. The funding would be shared among Adsum House, the North End Community Health Association and the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre. MORE TOP STORIES
Premier Andrew Furey issued his full thoughts on the Moya Greene report for the first time on Thursday. (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey says the province's financial circumstances are unsustainable and the total provincial debt of $47 billion is an unbearable load for residents. In a video released Thursday evening, Furey offered his full thoughts for the first time about the recently released, and blunt, Moya Greene report, which outlines the province's dire fiscal situation. "Our province is spending more than we have. We are borrowing just to pay interest on what we owe. Over a billion dollars a year with nothing to show for it. Our credit card debt is out of control," Furey said. Furey touched on a number of highlights from the report, from his appointed economic recovery team, including the need for the provincial government to quickly rein spending in to match revenue, and the fear of losing control of the province's future if nothing is done. The premier said "urgent actions" include: Raising taxes on people "who can afford it." Reviewing public sector salaries and eliminating bonuses. Evaluating the future of Nalcor and the province's future position in oil equity. Investing in technology innovation and the green economy. Amalgamating health authorities. Reaching a new deal with Memorial University. Examining "the purpose of a school district that continues to keep empty schools open." Watch Premier Andrew Furey's full statement: The numbers in the Greene report "should ring loudly for us all," said Furey. "This situation predates the pandemic and it has been compounded exponentially by Muskrat Falls." The premier provided no specifics about how the provincial government would implement the actions he mentioned. Furey also didn't take questions from the media Thursday evening, but has scheduled an availability for Friday morning. A collaborative approach The premier also said the province plans to approach fluctuations in the oil and gas sector by pursuing a green transition, continuing to build the technology sector and streamlining health care with the goal of reinvesting savings "into the social determinants of health." "These are just some of the bells that will ring in our reclamation," he said. Decisions made for the province's future will be come from a collaborative approach, including public consultations, said Furey. Waste needs be eliminated and accountability increased for government as well as non-elected officials on boards and agencies, said the premier. Interim PC Leader David Brazil says Premier Andrew Furey's video statement is unacceptable. (Mark Quinn/CBC) "The decisions will be collectively ours as to where we go from here. But they must be informed decisions because we know they will be hard ones," he said. "This approach needs to be fair and balanced built on principled, ethical action, a moral covenant to act based on answering one fundamental question. Not 'is this decision good for me, or my group, but is it good for the future of the province?' Through consultations, everyone has the opportunity to add their voice. We all knew this was coming." 'Borderline baffling' Interim Opposition Leader David Brazil, who met with members of the media minutes after the video was released, said he was surprised and disappointed by Furey's decision to release a video to address the public about the report. "It's borderline baffling that he wouldn't give the opportunity for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, through the media, to get clarification on what he's proposing and to get some better understanding as to how we would approach challenging situations that are in this report," Brazil said. "We in the House of Assembly, and I know the opposition have agreed, we will be collaborative. We will work with the government, but we need to know, as the people do, what the information is and where and how we're going to move this forward." Memorial University political science professor Russell Williams called Furey's statement "surprisingly vague," adding that it's not clear what Furey is specifically planning to do with the report's recommendations. "Some of those vague areas were made worse, obviously, by the fact that there was no opportunity to ask him questions about it afterwards," said Williams. Williams also said it's not clear what Furey meant by "a new deal with Memorial University." "I have no idea. There's some recommendations about that in the Greene report, but the premier hasn't really said what he means by that," said Williams. "I think if I was to boil to one simple point, this was a huge missed opportunity for the premier to actually tell us either what he thinks about the substantive recommendations in the Greene report, or to tell us what his plan is for a process going forward as to how he's going to choose what to implement." Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Canadian parliamentarians issued dissenting reports Thursday on implementing First Nations moderate livelihood fisheries in the Maritimes and Quebec. The fisheries and oceans committee report released by the Liberals makes 40 recommendations and supports positions taken by various sides in the contentious dispute: upholding the fisheries minister's ultimate authority to regulate the fishery while urging Ottawa to consider sharing management and decision-making with First Nations. It calls for greater consultation and co-operation between First Nations, commercial fishermen and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The report also calls on DFO to address "systemic racism" within the department and reform its enforcement arm, the conservation and protection branch, "to address systemic racism within their regulations and operational policies to provide protection for treaty right to harvest and sell fish." Moderate livelihood fisheries launched MPs held hearings after the Sipekne'katik band launched the first self-regulated lobster fishery in Nova Scotia last fall. The band said it would no longer wait for the federal government to authorize a moderate livelihood fishery, which was recognized — but not defined — by the Supreme of Canada in the 1999 Marshall decisions. What followed were sometimes violent protests by some commercial fishermen and their supporters who bitterly opposed commercial lobster harvesting when the federally mandated season was closed. Nova Scotia Liberal MP Jamie Battiste, a Mi'kmaw member of the committee who tabled the report, said the most important recommendations concern education about treaty rights. "The ones that I hope government takes into consideration is really the notions around creating more treaty education, more willingness to do what we can to address the systemic racism within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but also the ability to create the capacity to safely and without fear of harm, to be a part of a moderate livelihood fisheries that is transparent and accountable to all, including their community members," he told CBC News. The dissenting reports Although all parties supported the right to a moderate livelihood fishery, the committee was not unanimous. Both the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois issued dissenting reports. The Conservatives consider moderate livelihood fishing a commercial enterprise and subject to the same regulations, including seasons, as all commercial fisheries, with enforcement and regulation unambiguously under the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Bloc called for co-management. The office of federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan issued a statement Thursday that said it had received the report that morning and "look forward to reviewing its recommendations closely." In March, Jordan said the department was prepared to issue moderate livelihood licences to bands this year but the fishery must take place within existing commercial seasons. Indigenous communities quickly rejected the approach. Committee does not define moderate livelihood The committee report tabled in Parliament does not define moderate livelihood nor does it weigh in on efforts by successive federal governments to respond to the Marshall decision. Those included spending hundreds of millions of dollars integrating First Nations into the commercial fishery through training and buying back commercial fishing licences. "Although DFO has initiated programs to bolster First Nation participation in commercial fisheries since the Marshall decisions, there is so far no consensus regarding whether the Mi'kmaq and the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) treaty right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood has been effectively and meaningfully implemented," the report said. The Supreme Court also found the fisheries minister has the authority to regulate for conservation and compelling public interest reasons. "In any agreement with First Nations, only the Minister can be the regulator and the regulatory authority if we are to comply with the Court," the report said. Surette report also issued At the height of protests in southwest Nova Scotia last fall, DFO appointed Université Sainte-Anne president Allister Surette as a "federal representative" to try and rebuild trust between Indigenous and commercial harvesters. In his final report, quietly released last week, Surette also calls for more dialogue and trust-building between the sides. But his assessment remains bleak. "These divergent interpretations and understandings of the court decisions and entrenched positions have resulted in much controversy, tensions, and disagreements amongst the parties involved. Hence, the difficulty in bringing all parties together," he said. MORE TOP STORIES
MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — Netflix’s “Tiger King” star Jeff Lowe and his wife are willing to give up their big cats to resolve a Justice Department civil complaint against them over the animals' care, their attorney told a federal judge. At a hearing Wednesday where the judge found the couple in contempt for violating a previous order regarding the big cats, attorney Daniel Card said the Lowes “want out completely." Jeff Lowe took over the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park from founder Joe Exotic in 2016. Lowe and his wife displayed big cats there until shutting down the park in August. They then moved to a new facility in Thackerville. The civil complaint, filed in November, accused the Lowes of recurring inhumane treatment and improper handling of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act. U.S. District Judge John F. Heil III in January issued an order that, among other things, required the couple to prevent breeding; to relinquish all of their lion and tiger cubs to the federal government; and not to exhibit any of their big cats. The judge in March found that the Lowes had violated his order, and on Wednesday fined them $1,000 per day until they get in compliance, according to The Oklahoman. “They don’t want to fight this anymore. They don’t want to do it,” Card told Heil. “They want to give the tigers to a ... sanctuary of their choice and be done with it.” Jeff Lowe was one of the central characters in the Netflix series that became a pop culture phenomenon last year. The series focused on Joe Exotic, a pseudonym for Joseph Maldonado-Passage. He is serving 22 years in federal prison for violating federal wildlife laws and for his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his chief rival, Carole Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida. The Associated Press
Irving Shipbuilding has shut its Halifax Shipyard after a positive COVID-19 test from someone connected to its second Arctic and offshore patrol ship. Irving said production operations at the shipyard are paused until at least Monday's day shift. The company said it will provide more details later Thursday. The company is building six Arctic and offshore patrol ships for the Royal Canadian Navy. One has already been delivered. A second, the future HMCS Margaret Brooke, is undergoing final testing. The company plans to launch a third in 2022, and work on a fourth has begun. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia reported 110 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 155 recoveries. There are 83 new cases in central zone, 12 in eastern zone, nine in western zone and six in northern zone. The province said eight patients at the Halifax Infirmary who weren't in the COVID unit tested positive for the disease. They are now in the COVID unit. Patients near them have tested negative for the disease and Nova Scotia's health authority is testing staff who worked near them. Public Health said there is still community spread in central zone, and the other areas are being watched for signs of such spreading. Nova Scotia has 1,572 active cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, with 85 people in hospital including 15 in the intensive care unit. On Wednesday, the health authority completed 7,205 tests. "We are seeing early signs that our case numbers are declining, which is an indication that the restrictions that are in place are working," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "The cases we are seeing have fewer close contacts than cases in previous weeks. We're headed in the right direction, so let's keep up the good work by strictly adhering to the public health protocols." Staff at the Nova Scotia COVID-19 community vaccine clinic at Cape Breton University celebrate reaching the 400,000 mark.(Submitted by Communications Nova Scotia) Vaccination milestone hit Also Thursday, the province distributed its 400,000th dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Since the rollout by age cohort began, about 558,000 people have become eligible to book an appointment in Nova Scotia. The milestone was reached with a person at a drop-in clinic Thursday in Sydney. The province said a month ago, only 200,000 doses had been given out. As of Wednesday, about 37.5 per cent of Nova Scotians have had at least one dose. The province has also reached vaccine coverage rates of more than 80 per cent in people aged 60 and older. All licensed long-term care facility residents have been fully vaccinated. The province also added a wait-list to the vaccine booking page. That means if someone cancels, another person will be offered that spot. AstraZeneca side effects The province said people scheduled for their first AstaZeneca shot will get an email cancelling that appointment and asking them to book a new spot for another vaccine. Nova Scotia is waiting for guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to decide what second shot will be offered to the 57,576 Nova Scotians who've already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This week, Nova Scotia announced it will follow the lead of other provinces and pause the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine out of "an abundance of caution" over a rare blood-clotting disorder. The province and Public Health said no one in Nova Scotia has reported a case of vaccine-induced prothrombotic immune thrombocytopenia, the blood clots connected to the vaccine. Nova Scotia said people should watch for the following symptoms between four to 14 days after vaccination and seek immediate medical attention if they occur: Shortness of breath Chest pain Leg swelling Persistent abdominal pain Sudden onset of severe or persistent worsening headaches or blurred vision Skin bruising (other than at the site of vaccination) A headache that won't go away Blurred vision Atlantic Canada case numbers MORE TOP STORIES
A man who police feared was likely to hurt more youth is again accused of sexually assaulting a minor. On Tuesday police charged Marty Ryan Bouvier of Behchoko, Northwest Territories, with touching a minor for a sexual purpose, sexually assaulting the same child and six breaches of court orders. The 26-year-old is alleged to have committed the crimes late last year. Four of the alleged breaches are related to conditions the court placed on Bouvier on August 13, 2019, shortly after he was released after serving a prison sentence for sexually assaulting a minor in Behchoko. The judge imposed the conditions for two years at the request of the RCMP. It argued the conditions were necessary because Bouvier was still a risk to commit more sexual offences against minors based on his criminal history. An assessment the RCMP submitted as part of its application for the order concluded Bouvier was "a high priority for supervision and a high risk to reoffend." As a result of the order, Bouvier was barred from going to any place where children are likely to be — such as parks, pools, playgrounds and community centres — without being with a sober adult who is aware of his criminal history. 'Disturbing' criminal past The judge who sentenced Bouvier to prison time in 2017 described Bouvier's criminal history as "very disturbing." In 2015 he was sentenced to 135 days custody for raping a 12-year-old. Between the time he was charged with that offence and the time he was sentenced, he attempted to drag another youth into the woods. The minor escaped and he was convicted of the assault and sentenced to four months plus two years probation. While serving that probation, which included a condition to stay away from minors, he approached an 11-year-old in a local restaurant and told her she was "sexy" and "walked sexy." He told her he was 13, though he was in his early 20s at the time. In sentencing Bouvier to four years in prison in 2017 (credit for 557 days he spent in jail awaiting sentencing was deducted from his sentence), Justice Louise Charbonneau issued a warning. She said though Bouvier was still young, "his criminal record is such that I would expect the Crown, if Mr. Bouvier commits similar crimes in the future, is going to have to take a serious look at the options under the Criminal Code to have him dealt with as either a dangerous or long-term offender." Bouvier remains in custody, but has reserved his right to a bail hearing. His next appearance is scheduled for May 21, by video from the North Slave Correctional Complex in Yellowknife.
A Calgary doctor has been found guilty of unprofessional conduct by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta after engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient, creating false entries on patient charts and failing to have a chaperone present while examining female patients, as required under a previous ruling. Dr. Wequar Ahmad, a general practitioner, voluntarily withdrew from practice in 2018 when the most recent allegations surfaced. He had signed an undertaking with the college in 2014 that required a chaperone be present for all examinations of female patients. He was recently found guilty of creating false entries on the records of 13 female patients between 2014 and 2017 that stated a chaperone was present when that was not the case, according to the college. He also engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient and failed to disclose that relationship on his 2018 annual renewal form, the college said. The college says the hearing tribunal looking at the case will "reconvene at a later date to determine Dr. Ahmad's sanction."
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The governor of Mexico’s resort-studded Caribbean coast said Thursday his state is at “imminent risk” of returning to lockdown as coronavirus cases there rose steadily. Gov. Carlos Joaquín said the state of Quintana Roo, home to resorts like Cancún, Cozumel and Tulum, has seen five weeks of increases in cases. Joaquín suggested that increased tourism around Easter played a role in the rise. Anecdotal evidence suggests tourists are attracted to Mexico's Caribbean resorts in part because there has been no lockdown and sanitary measures are largely voluntary. Many visitors shed their masks when they reach their hotels or beach clubs. “We knew that there were large risks during Easter week, that there could be a greater number of infections. Unfortunately, that came to pass,” Joaquín said. Rates in most of the rest of Mexico have been declining, but Quintana Roo depends on tourism for 87% of its economic activity, and has instituted no travel bans or testing requirements. Mexico has never enforced a strict, European-style lockdown, but the state currently restricts some businesses like hotels and restaurants to operating at reduced capacity. At the highest level of alert, which the state has not reached yet, many non-essential businesses would be required to shut down entirely. Joaquín said the state still has plenty of hospital beds available; hospital occupancy rates are one of the criteria used to determine whether to order business closures. The state has suffered 2,677 COVID-19 deaths to date, and almost 25,000 test-confirmed cases. However, because Mexico does so little testing, that is clearly an undercount. Only about 226,000 of the state’s 1.8 million people have been vaccinated. In late March, the state's acting police chief patrolled the streets of the resort of Tulum, reminding people to wear their masks and complaining about how few people did. “It is regrettable to see how undisciplined things have become,” Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez said at the time. “It was truly frustrating to see hundreds of people walking around without face masks,” noting that tourists were the worst offenders. The Associated Press
SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Mainland China reported seven new COVID-19 cases on May 13, including its first local transmissions in more than three weeks, the country's national health authority said on Friday. Two of the new cases were local infections in the eastern province of Anhui, the National Health Commission said in a statement. The cases were the first local transmissions since April 20, when China recorded two local infections in the southwestern province of Yunnan, where a city on the border with Myanmar reported a new cluster in late March.
Five patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak at Chatham-Kent Health Alliance. The outbreak, declared on Tuesday, is taking place in the hospital's medicine unit. Four of those infected are in-patients while the fifth person had been discharged prior to the outbreak declaration, hospital president and CEO Lori Marshall told reporters during a media briefing Thursday morning. Fifty staff members have been tested for COVID-19 in relation to the outbreak, none of whom has tested positive as of Thursday morning. Marshall said that additional preventative measures are in place during the outbreak, which is believed to involve a COVID-19 variant of concern. Overall, the hospital has 17 COVID-19 patients, three of whom are in ICU, Marshall said. Eleven of the patients are residents of Chatham-Kent, while six are non-residents. The hospital is one of many in Ontario accepting transfers of COVID and non-COVID patients from hospitals facing capacity issues amid the third wave of the pandemic. The average age of COVID-19 in-patients as of Thursday is 48.2, she said.
A man is facing two assault charges in connection with an attack in Saskatoon that sent two city road workers to hospital. Police say the city employees were working at 1st Ave. S. and 20th St. E. at about 8:20 a.m. CST on Wednesday when a man threw a shovel at one of them. When the other worker tried to step in, that person was struck with a skateboard. Before that incident, the suspect was reported to have damaged a vehicle with his skateboard. Unfortunate and kind of shocking. - City spokesperson Goran Saric The man fled and the workers were taken to hospital with minor injuries. The city's director of roadways, Goran Saric, called it an "unfortunate and kind of shocking experience." Suspect spotted kicking a bus The workers are recovering at home and the city is trying to give them all the support they need, he said. On Thursday morning, police got a call about the suspect, who had just been witnessed kicking a city bus. Police arrested a man, who has been charged with two counts of assault with a weapon. The accused, 29, is also charged with mischief over allegations he damaged property. Saric says he wants the public, including drivers, to respect city workers and be polite. "I think it's really important that people are aware that they're out there, that they're doing a job for the benefit of the entire city," he said. "They take pride in what they do."
At least 84 businesses in downtown Vancouver had to permanently close their doors during 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the State of Downtown 2020 report released on Thursday by The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, 45 per cent of businesses closed were independently owned. "There's no doubt that this has been a horrible year, 2020," Charles Gauthier, association president and CEO told CBC 's On the Coast in an interview. The report stated that Granville Street was the street the most affected by closures, as it saw at least 29 businesses shut down. "Downtown restaurants were most impacted by the pandemic and account for almost half of total street-level business closures," the report stated. Granville street saw 29 businesses close down because of the pandemic in 2020.(Ben Nelms/CBC) The report also outlined additional effects COVID-19 had on the downtown area. Working from home shrunk the daytime downtown workforce from about 116,000 people in 2019 to as few as 11,000 people in 2020. The average office occupancy in the downtown dropped as low as 10 to 30 per cent at times in 2020. Despite the challenges the pandemic has brought, Gauthier says they remain optimistic about the future. "We believe in the long term economic and social health of our downtown core and plan on working together with the City of Vancouver and other stakeholders on economic recovery initiatives," he said. The DVBIA says many downtown businesses have been able to adapt well to the current pandemic restrictions, such as restaurants which opened temporary patios when indoor dining shut down. Some downtown restaurants opened temporary patios when indoor dining shut down.(Ben Nelms/CBC) "Our downtown has fared better than a lot of North American downtowns and I believe it will come back a lot better," Gauthier said. The report also lays out suggestions for the B.C. government on how to safely reopen and welcome people back to the city. "Once restrictions are eased and it's safe to welcome people back to downtown, we need to continue to support public events and festivals," said James Anderson, a research and data analyst with the DVBIA, in a pre-recorded video presentation. With the province's vaccination plan well underway, the DVBIA says it has strong hopes for downtown Vancouver's future and expects it to bounce back better than ever. "Downtown has strong market fundamentals, a diversified economy and a robust destination brand, which makes me optimistic for the future." Gauthier said.