The Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens have question marks on both sides of the ball, but which Lamar Jackson will show up is likely to have the greatest impact on this divisional round clash.
The Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens have question marks on both sides of the ball, but which Lamar Jackson will show up is likely to have the greatest impact on this divisional round clash.
The federal government is eyeing a comprehensive North American energy strategy as workers reel from cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. The project's presidential permit was rescinded by U.S. President Joe Biden on his first day in office, prompting outrage from Alberta's provincial government. TC Energy, the proponent, had pre-emptively ceased construction of the project. "I was the minister of natural resources when the Obama administration cancelled Keystone XL. So for me, it's Round 2 of deep disappointment," Minister Jim Carr, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's representative for the Prairies, said Monday. "We have to look forward, however, to a continental energy strategy." That North American energy strategy is enticing to Alberta's premier as well, with Jason Kenney suggesting to the prime minister that they approach Washington together to pitch a collaborative approach to North American energy and climate policy. "Canada and the U.S. share a highly integrated energy system, including criss-crossing infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity transmission systems. Our energy and climate goals must be viewed in the context of that integrated system," Kenney wrote. The premier has called the Keystone cancellation an "insult" and a "gut-punch," repeatedly pressing for retaliation against the U.S. and suggesting economic and trade sanctions if the administration is unwilling to engage in conversations about the future of the pipeline. Last year, Kenney invested $1.5 billion in Keystone XL, arguing it would never be completed without the infusion. The pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oilsands in Alberta to Nebraska. The Biden administration has made no indication it intends to consider reinstating the permit. TC Energy has already laid off 1,000 workers in Alberta. A continental energy partnership has been an elusive goal for more than 15 years, with multiple trilateral meetings ending with consensus but often without measurable outcomes. It's been five years since Carr, then the minister of natural resources, hosted his American and Mexican counterparts to discuss the potential of such a partnership. They agreed to collaborate on things like energy technologies, energy efficiency, carbon capture and emissions reduction. While they signed a document stating these shared goals, synergy between the three countries has been slow to develop. In December 2014, a similar meeting ended with a to-do list to move forward on a continental energy strategy, including mapping energy infrastructure and sharing data. That data website hasn't been updated since 2017. In that meeting, then-natural resources minister Greg Rickford was making the pitch to the Obama administration for why Keystone XL should be permitted to live. It was cancelled — for the first time — less than a year later. "We've gone through a period over the last number of years where relations around energy have kind of died a slow death and become more and more narrowly focused around individual projects," said Monica Gattinger, director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. "There's tremendous potential between Canada and the United States to collaborate around energy and environmental objectives in the long term." Gattinger said changes in the United States around hydrocarbon and shale have diminished the country's motivation for a broader energy approach. With the national governments in Canada and the U.S. now more closely aligned on climate priorities, she added there's the potential for a breakthrough. "Both countries have vast potential across a whole host of energy resources," she said. "Those are the conversations that we have not been having in North America for a number of years now. And there is a real opportunity to do so at this time." Carr is optimistic, too. "We're hardly starting from scratch, and there will be alignment," he said, alluding to his hope for co-operation between the U.S. and Canada, but also with the Prairie provinces. "There is an awful lot of work to be done and an awful lot of potential."
CALGARY — The president of a union representing employees at some of the largest meat-packing plants in the country says there needs to be a discussion about making the COVID-19 vaccine more readily available to essential workers. Thomas Hesse of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 says he realizes there's a shortage of the vaccine right now. But once that is remedied, he say, workers at large operations such as the Cargill meat-packing plant in High River, Alta., and the JBS Canada plant in Brooks, Alta., shouldn't have to wait too long. "In the coming months at some point someone's going to make a decision about who gets the vaccination. Will there be a priority? Will there be any prioritization of any so-called essential workers?" he asked in an interview with The Canadian Press. The two plants, which together normally process about 70 per cent of Canada's beef supply, were hot spots for COVID-19 outbreaks last spring. Cargill's plant, south of Calgary, shut down for two weeks in April because of an outbreak that initially affected 350 of its 2,200 workers. Eventually nearly half the workers contracted the novel coronavirus and two employees died. COVID-19 forced JBS to reduce its production to a single shift a day for a month, which added to a backlog of cattle at feedlots. The plants brought in safety measures that included temperature testing, physical distancing, and cleaning and sanitizing before they returned to normal operations. Packing-plant employees are still at risk, Hesse said. "In a Cargill or a JBS or other manufacturing facility in Alberta, there'll be a couple of thousand workers in a big box still working in relatively proximity," he said. "These are essential workers. They're at higher risk. This is clearly an occupational disease. Many of them want to have access to a safe vaccine." Hesse said the union plans to hold a town-hall meeting Sunday to hear members views and what to do if getting a vaccination becomes a condition of employment. An official with Cargill said the company is working with health authorities and medical experts to make sure its employees have access to vaccines when they become available without jeopardizing the priority being given to health-care workers "We will prioritize our front-line workers whenever we can, as they continue to work tirelessly to keep our food system going strong," said Daniel Sullivan in an email. "Because we know vaccines don't work without vaccinations, we also will join local health authorities in promoting the importance of vaccination among our employees." JBS USA said it will offer all its employees a $100 bonus, including those in Brooks, if they get vaccinated in the future. "Our goal is to remove any barriers to vaccination and incentivize our team members to protect themselves, their families and their co-workers," said CEO Andre Nogueira. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021 — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 28,505 new vaccinations administered for a total of 868,454 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,291.479 per 100,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,122,450 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 77.37 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,258 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,549 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.326 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 51.81 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,207 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,117 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.866 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 3,102 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,622 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.909 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.28 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 3,821 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,257 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.277 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.78 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 4,164 new vaccinations administered for a total of 224,879 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 26.281 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 9,707 new vaccinations administered for a total of 295,817 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 20.139 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,618 new vaccinations administered for a total of 31,369 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.781 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.37 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 727 new vaccinations administered for a total of 34,080 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.902 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 32,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 104.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 361 new vaccinations administered for a total of 99,814 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.674 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.33 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 2,509 new vaccinations administered for a total of 122,359 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.844 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 144,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 445 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,397 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 105.365 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 7,578 new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,471 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 209.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 265 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,723 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 121.959 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 39.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published January 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
It's a sight familiar to anyone who's driven into or out of Windsor across the Ambassador Bridge — a woman in a bright red bikini, next to a massive number 4. For decades, Studio 4 has greeted millions of drivers entering Canada or heading to the United States; its risqué sign a distinctive —and for some an unwelcome — landmark. But the sign you can't miss won't be there for much longer. The strip club has been sold. "It hasn't really sunk in yet. I think if they demolish it or something I want to be there," said Peter Barth, who had owned the bar since 1984. Negotiations for the lot at the corner of Huron Church and Tecumseh roads began last year, according to Iyman Meddoui, president of Westdell Development Corporation, which bought the property. Both Brath and Meddoui declined to say how much the site sold for, but land registry documents show it was transferred on Jan 21 for $1,250,000. Plans for something 'completely different' The new owners won't say just yet what's coming to the site — but it won't be a strip club. "Our plans are going to be something completely different," said Meddoui. "We do have an exciting development that's under the planning." The company has applied to demolish the red building covered in signs currently advertising the XXXTASY LOUNGE, he added. "Saying that it was rough is putting it lightly. It looked like there wasn't much investment made there for many years now." Knocking down Studio 4 means the loss of a landmark — for better or worse. It was part of Windsor's exotic dancer heyday in the 1980s, when roughly a dozen strip clubs were operating and the city was dubbed "Tijuana North" by American visitors, said local historian Marty Gervais. "When you drive off the bridge and you see Studio 4 it's part of our Sin City image and people have always talked about it." The history of catering to partiers who streamed across the river dates back to Confederation when the city boasted the "best bawdy houses in North America," he explained. During prohibition, Windsor offered dance halls and a place to get a drink. More recently, it's attracted visitors with fully-nude dancing, Cuban cigars and a legal drinking age of 19. "We were constantly feeding thirsty Americans with what they wanted, which they couldn't get on the Detroit side of the border," said Gervais. Studio 4, and its salacious sign is part of that history. "It's very much a part of Windsor life. It just seems to have always been there," he said. Sign survived councillors and controversy But the sign, much like the club it stands outside, has had to weather controversy. Alan Halberstadt is a former newspaper columnist and city councillor. He remembers his council colleague, Caroline Postma, leading a crusade to "get that half-naked sign down because she felt it was against the city's sensibilities." Halberstadt said he wasn't happy about the sign either, but over time he got used to it. "After a while it becomes … kind of a Windsor insignia or landmark," he said, adding he believes any concerns about damage it may have done to the city's image is "overblown." "There's a lot of politicians and people that would have liked to see that sign come down, but she's stood the test of time," he said with a wry smile. Tussles with councillors and police officers enforcing the no-touching rule are among memories that were top of mind for Brath on Tuesday. He doesn't have any worries about his sign being a bad first impression of Windsor, or Canada for that matter. "We were right in their face, right on the corner," he said. The sign that's so recognizable today was also once a little more risque. "We had to draw on panties and a bra," said the former owner. "Originally, it was showing a little bit more." Strip clubs have been shut down by COVID-19, but even before the pandemic, Brath, who's 80 now, said business wasn't what it once was. Gone are the days of limousines pulling up out front, seven servers working non-stop and a lineup that extended beyond the canopy snaking out the back door. "The first week we were full, full, full," he said. "Lately? Nothing. Adult entertainment in Windsor is dead." Studio 4's new owners are planning to turn the site into a shopping development, he added. A 'fresh new look' coming to sign Meddoui was tight-lipped about his company's plans, saying they're still being developed. Westdell has also purchased an empty lot next to the club, along with the University and Ambassador shopping centres across the street. They're planning to "transform" the intersection over the next couple of years, said Meddoui. As for the sign? He's promising a very different look in the meantime. "You'll see a fresh new look on that sign on an interim basis," he said. "As the building will be removed, the sign will also be rebranded."
The European Union failed to make a breakthrough in crisis talks with AstraZeneca on Wednesday and demanded the drugmaker spell out how it would supply the bloc with reserved doses of COVID-19 vaccine from plants in Europe and Britain. The EU is making more comprehensive checks on vaccines before approval, which means a slower rollout of shots than former EU member Britain and growing public frustration. The issue has been exacerbated by Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca and Pfizer of the United States both announcing delivery hold-ups in recent weeks.
Most countries in Europe now require people to wear facemasks on public transport and in shops. In Germany, new rules allow only medical masks to be worn on public transport and supermarkets. Euronews has visited one small factory in the German capital that is ramping up its production.View on euronews
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Canada's breakout hit TV comedy "Letterkenny" is crossing another pop culture milestone with a slate of new merchandising deals. Producers of the show say they've struck several fresh agreements, including one with Funko, a producer of collectible figurines inspired by characters from popular franchises. New Metric Media, the Toronto company behind "Letterkenny," also signed licensing pacts for the show with apparel maker Ripple Junction and board game developer High Roller Games. The deals expand on a selection of "Letterkenny" merchandise that's sold through the show's website, including shirts, caps and beer cozies. Shot in and around Sudbury, Ont., "Letterkenny" stars Jared Keeso and Nathan Dales as best buds in a small town that lives for hockey, partying and its population of colourful characters. The show, which is stacked with quotable catchphrases, found a cult following in Canada when it debuted on the Crave streaming platform in 2016. Two years later, a deal with U.S. streamer Hulu drew an even larger audience, winning new fans in Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
Indigenous women traumatized by birth alerts continue to be haunted by them long after the alerts were first entered into the health-care system, says Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond (Aki-Kwe) — and she's not alone in saying simply ending the practice doesn't go far enough. "We have to repair the harm. [Government] has to acknowledge it," said Turpel Lafond, whowas the First Indigenous woman appointed to the bench in Saskatchewan. She is now a professor at the University of British Columbia's school of law and recently headed an intensive study that found widespread racism and discrimination against Indigenous peoples in B.C.'s health-care system. Saskatchewan posted an anouncement online Monday saying it would stop using birth alerts on Feb. 1. Under the practice, social workers or health-care workers would place an alert on the file of a mother-to-be — in Saskatchewan, most often an Indigenous woman, according to government data — considered high-risk before they entered labour. The baby would often then be seized by government and put into provincial care. Turpel-Lafond says women who were flagged were labelled as bad parents, drinkers or drug seekers. "Instead of working prenatal and postnatal with mums and families, it was just putting the alert in the system, doing the harsh removals [of babies]," she said. She's spoken to women affected years after having an alert placed upon them. "They're so traumatized to this day … they will not access the health care because they don't feel it's culturally safe," she said. "All of this extremely hostile profiling that came with the child welfare … goes with them, especially through the emergency departments." Turpel-Lafond said the data should be deleted and the government should apologize, acknowledging the harm caused by birth alerts. "There wasn't really appropriate attention to whether that was even legal, and in my respectful view as a lawyer, a law professor, I don't think it is legal to take private information and blast it through the health-care system." The government did not apologize in its recent announcement. "Our decision aligns with recommendations from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the federal Indigenous child welfare legislation," Janice Colquhoun, executive director of Indigenous Services with child and family programs at the Ministry of Social Services, said in a statement Tuesday. The TRC's final report was released in 2015. In 2019, the Saskatchewan government said it would continue using birth alerts, despite calls to immediately abandon the practice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. B.C. announced an end to birth alerts in 2019, with Manitoba and Ontario following in 2020. Saskatchewan's Ministry of Social Services said its latest decision came after "recognizing concerns raised by various Indigenous partners and community stakeholders across Saskatchewan." Between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, Saskatchewan issued 76 birth alerts — 53 involving Indigenous women, according to a Ministry of Social Services spokesperson. Data dating back to 2016 shows Indigenous moms had their children taken away at rates far higher than non-Indigenous moms. A spokesperson said the ministry is actively working on reunification. Gaps in support for expecting moms Jamesy Patrick, interim executive director at Sanctum Care Group in Saskatoon, said the alerts were essentially another discriminatory extension of colonial programs such as residential schools and the Sixties Scoop. Patrick, who holds a master's degree in law and focused her research on Indigenous children and youth in the child-welfare system, says the government needs to turn focus to supporting vulnerable women who would have been flagged. "There are significant gaps for prenatals in our community who interface homelessness, addiction, substance abuse, who are potentially HIV-positive or at risk of becoming, and also who have other children in care," she said. Patrick said they've served 54 moms (most postnatal) in a two-year period, and consistently have dozens of women on the wait-list. She advocates for the province to develop prenatal case management teams to connect vulnerable women to agencies providing support. She said case workers could help make women feel more comfortable accessing health care. "We know that many of our moms don't access prenatal care because they're worried about being alerted or they're worried that they're going to be discriminated against or marginalized, or they're going to face stigma in accessing care." Turpel-Lafond said anecdotes indicate Saskatchewan Indigenous women in the province receive less health-care in pre- and post-natal periods. "I think this is also connected to this tradition of birth alert, judging, shaming and and well and segregating Indigenous health care," she said. Patrick said stronger prenatal supports for vulnerable women are needed province-wide. She said this should be supported by government by lead by Indigenous leadership and frontline community organizations. The Ministry of Social Services said it will work with the Ministry of Health, the Saskatchewan Health Authority and other partners to ensure supports are available. Turpel-Lafond said in addition to supporting vulnerable moms-to-be, much more work is needed to make the health-care system as a whole accessible for Indigenous women who no longer feel safe accessing it. "Let's hope people in Saskatchewan will begin to use anti-racism tools in their workplace, in health and social services and child welfare, and eradicate the scourge of racism that is in the system."
The day is cold and overcast but inside, standing in an empty and cavernous former Target department store, Ahmed Hussein is beaming. This is where the director of the The Neighbourhood Organization in Thorncliffe Park envisions a mass vaccination site where tens of thousands of residents in this east Toronto neighbourhood could be vaccinated. This is where, he says, they could get a fair shot at making it through this pandemic. "The second wave really hit us hard," Hussein said. "We are really in a prison now. We will get out of that prison." Thorncliffe Park has been a hotspot since the start of the pandemic, with a disproportionately higher number of COVID-19 cases. According to the latest 2016 census, more than 20,000 people live there. Community leaders say the current number is much higher, with more than 30,000 people living in a three kilometre radius, a statistic they say makes the neighbourhood in Toronto's east end the most densely populated in Canada. The vast majority of residents live in apartment towers, and Hussein says families on average include five people. Most of them are newcomers and many are essential workers. How they live, and what they do, puts them at higher risk of catching COVID and spreading it. It's why Hussein is advocating to have the entire neighbourhood prioritized for vaccination. "A lot of these buildings are 15 floors, 20 floors, some of them 25 floors," Hussein said, adding that most of the aging buildings only have two working elevators. "When 2,000 or 3,000 people are coming down elevators at the same time when their kids are going to school, you can imagine how people will be close to each other, and that's the risk of spread. So having an immunization will clearly improve [safety for] people to go back to work, to earn an income, pay their rents and take care of their children." It would also help alleviate the mental health toll, he says: Canada's national advisory committee has prioritized key populations for vaccines, including residents and staff of long-term care homes and front-line health care workers. Hussein says once vaccines become more widely available, Thorncliffe Park and several other vulnerable neighbourhoods should be high on the list. This is not a case for jumping the queue, he and other advocates say. It's about reframing risk to recognize that entire pockets of people are more vulnerable because of their socioeconomic status. Hussain Rifnaz is one example. "I got the fever, and the worst was the body pain," he said. When Rifnaz got sick with COVID-19 last October, his wife and four children all got infected. Rifnaz works in public transit, servicing subway lines. He says he might have caught COVID on the job, or in his building's crowded elevators, or maybe it came from his children's school. Before Ontario's latest lockdown, Thorncliffe Park Public School was among the hardest hit in the city. Dozens of students tested positive in an asymptomatic screening pilot in December. Rifnaz said a vaccine would stop that invisible spread in the community from moving even further, as people like him have to go to work even in a lockdown. "They have a big chance of getting lots of COVID from this area, so therefore, we should be taking care of this area first as a priority. It will be helpful for the Toronto city." The City of Toronto has identified at-risk areas like Thorncliffe Park, and set up pop-up testing sites and city-run isolation centres to help identify cases and contain them. Wearing a mask, gloves and a face shield, Tabasum Mohammadi hands out flyers with information about those resources in the lobby of her building. Mohammadi is a community ambassador, and her role as a volunteer is to spread awareness about public health guidelines. Glancing toward a lineup forming for the elevators, she said being on constant guard is exhausting. Quicker access to a vaccine would ease a perpetual sense of dread. "Once we get vaccinated, at least we will reduce the numbers and we will be able to get protected," Mohammadi said. "We'll be mentally relaxed once the vaccine is here." The stress is unique to disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and it's why many are making the same case for priority access to vaccines. In the north-west neighbourhood of Weston-Mount Dennis, the buses tell the story of a community on the outskirts and struggling to get by. The bus lines here are among the busiest in Toronto, taking people to work in factories, grocery stores, and nursing homes. Those same people carry that risk back home, where many live with multiple family members. "It's not that people don't want to follow the public health regulations," Michelle Joseph, CEO of Unison Health & Community Services, said. "The issue is that they cannot always follow public health regulations. And the reason that they cannot is because there are systemic barriers that don't allow them to follow them." Joseph says the barriers are built-in and hard to overcome. Tight living conditions are one issue. So is poverty and lack of paid sick leave. Many people here tend to have multiple jobs that compound the risk of exposure, and they can't afford to miss work if they don't feel well. Early access to vaccines here is a shield of protection that is desperately needed. "These communities are often left behind," Joseph said. "It's very important that we ensure that they are not forgotten. And in this case, because they are experiencing a disproportional level of COVID and also the impacts of COVID economically, then we should make sure that they're a priority." Joseph says the risks here are too high to ignore. To strengthen that call, several communities have banded together to make a collective case for prioritization. Tied by common threads of inequity, it's a call that grows more urgent by the day. Further west of Weston-Mount Dennis, in the community of Rexdale, for many it has come down to survival. At a community hub, local volunteers like Bibi Hack package bags of donated food. Hack says the need has skyrocketed as more people lose jobs or are too sick to work. "They don't have transportation, they don't have money, and they're scared to go out. This is so helpful, without this I don't know how a lot of people would survive, believe me." Pascal Lumbala is the manager of the COVID Community Response with Rexdale Community Health Centre. Standing outside a COVID-19 testing centre set up in the community to make testing more accessible, Lumbala says while up to 200 people a day have been tested at three testing sites in the area, many in the low-income neighbourhood are reluctant to come because a positive result would mean staying home and missing work. "These people have bills and they have to pay those bills," Lumbala said. "Because of that fear, this could be an issue for them to go to work, so they don't get tested": As is the case in other vulnerable communities, many people here live in high-rises. The spread of infection, with several family members living in one space and usually with one bathroom, is almost inevitable, says Lumbala. Getting a vaccine soon could give people here a better chance of staying healthy and simply staying afloat. But he adds that there is a need to educate people about the vaccine in order to help combat hesitancy. "We are working on some messages," Lumbala said. "We are working on having some workshops to educate the population so they will understand the importance of getting this vaccine and to protect the entire community." Back in Thorncliffe Park, Mohammadi continues handing out flyers, undeterred by people who don't bother to take one. She says until vaccines become more widely available, she too will educate people about the need to get immunized and will keep making the case for safety. Mohammadi has four children, and says she owes it to them and everyone in her community. "It's a home here, and I want to protect all my family members. This building is a home for me." But while the case to prioritize whole neighbourhoods for immunization is compelling, the outcome is uncertain. Government and public health authorities decide who gets the vaccine and in what order, and it's not clear when communities advocating for priority access will find out where they end up on any list. The city of Toronto and local health authorities are supporting the initiative, but the province of Ontario will make the call once it starts offering vaccines to the general public. Meanwhile, there's no denying the need, or the commitment to keep fighting because of it. Back at the former Target store where community leader Ahmed Hussein wants to set up a mass vaccination site, there's now a temporary food bank. It was established during the pandemic and Hussein wants nothing more than to see it go. "COVID created this, and we hope the immunization and the vaccines will shut it down." Arms wide open, Hussein looks around the empty space and says he sees only promise, and better days ahead. "It symbolizes to us a hope that we are able to carry out the immunization for this community, this wonderful space that is available that we can immunize thousands and thousands of people." Hussein added with a broad smile, "It symbolizes that this is a space of hope, this is a space that we will say 'Goodbye COVID.'" Watch full episodes of The National on CBC Gem, the CBC's streaming service.
OTTAWA — Newly released documents show federal officials have been aware since the fall that some new parents might be receiving a smaller amount of money than they would have if not for a change in the way COVID-19 pandemic benefits are delivered to Canadians. That is due to a shift in late September, when the employment insurance system kicked back into gear and three new benefits rolled out to replace the Canada Emergency Response Benefit that was supporting Canadians who had lost income since the spring. On Sept. 27, eligible recipients started moving on to the decades-old EI system where the minimum weekly payment was set at $500 in line with the three "recovery" benefits. Prior to that date, benefits were calculated based on earnings, meaning any new parent that started their EI claim before the change could receive less than $500 a week. The documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act note the policy created inequities, and point to a similar effect for parents who will start claims after Sept. 25 this year, when the temporary rules are set to expire. Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough's office says the government will make any necessary changes so new parents don't face "additional barriers accessing maternity or parental benefits as a result of COVID-19." Changes to the EI program can take anywhere between three and 18 months to come into force, and they generally take effect on a particular date. Claims made before that date are often ineligible unless the change is simple and very specific to avoid what the document describes as the need to review claims that began "as much as 100 weeks in the past." But the undated memo outlines multiple, rapid changes and revisions to parental benefit rules in the wake of the CERB. When partial or retroactive changes were made, more problems seem to have cropped up. There were issues with how the system handled soon-to-be-mothers applying for emergency aid, which denied them CERB payments until changes to the system could be made and back payments processed. As well, other new parents, or those waiting the birth of their child, were put directly on EI benefits if they had enough hours to qualify, while those that didn't were put on the CERB until the government came up with a fix. That fix meant a one-time reduction in the number of hours needed to qualify for benefits to address concerns that some parents would lose out on benefits because they lost work hours through no fault of their own. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, over 35 per cent of new mothers outside of Quebec, which has its own system, didn't qualify for federal benefits. The pandemic has shone a light on the long-standing issue around the hours requirement, said Brock University's Andrea Doucet, an expert on parental-leave programs. "This was made even worse as women lost jobs and reduced (their) hours," Doucet said. "The reduction in insurable hours was presented as temporary, but will it lead to more inclusive policies that enable more parents to make claims?" Kate Bezanson, an expert on family and labour market policy, said the document points a need for a rethink of the parental leave program, noting that leave policies work hand-in-hand with child care and employment efforts. The Liberals have said they want to create a national child-care system, part of a plan to help more mothers enter the labour market. "We want people to have babies, and take care of those babies happily, and also have jobs to return to and be able to do that seamlessly," said Bezanson, associate dean of social sciences at Brock University. "This is one of those moments where if we're looking holistically and we're looking globally at our policy portfolios, let's put them together and get them to talk to each other and make the changes that have been long overdue." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
After hanging up her scrubs in 2019, retired Windsor nurse Susan Ellsworth wants to return to the front lines and help out health-care professionals during the pandemic. But she says one thing is stopping her from doing that — the cost to reinstate her license to work as a nurse again. According to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), the cost to apply and re-instate is $226 and the annual registration fee that is also required is $305.10 — making that a total of at least $531.10 — a fee that Ellsworth said she can't afford. "With this pandemic, people want to help out. And I think that it would free up licensed nurses, RNs and RPNs, to do other things. Then we could say, help out doing testing, help out with paperwork, help out with giving the vaccines," she said. "I'm sure I'm not the only person that feels this way." She said there is a series of procedures she must follow in order to return to work which can add up in cost. She wants the fees to activate her license to be waived. "Especially when there's some of us that have worked in nursing for years and they're not going to give us a break?" Ellsworth said, adding that the pandemic is far from over. "I worked through SARS. It was not near anything like this, but just when you hear people saying, like, 'oh, the cases are down today. ... It's going to get better now,' but, you know from working yourself and nursing that it's not," she said. Early in the pandemic last year, the Ontario government declared it needs "all hands on deck" to fight the pandemic and has called in the military to assist front-line workers, Ellsworth says feels heartbroken that she can't help and she's willing to volunteer her time and work unpaid. In an email statement to CBC News, CNO said retired nurses can work as an unrelated care producer which has no cost attached to it. "Retired nurses who are no longer registered with CNO and who want to help with the pandemic efforts, including the vaccination rollout, can choose to work as an unregulated care provider. As an unregulated care provider, any controlled acts they are performing, such as administering a substance by injection, would have to be delegated to them," the statement reads. "However, if they want to resume practice as a nurse and they have practised within the last three years, they can choose to reinstate their CNO membership," it continues. After being informed of this, Ellsworth said this brought her hope and she would look into working as an unregulated care provider immediately. One hospital says it's not suffering a shortage of nurses CBC News reached out to local hospitals to see if there was a demand for nurse volunteers. In an email statement, Erie Shores Healthcare said it's currently "not suffering a shortage of nurses, so this is not an issue we have discussed. That being said, if we ever found ourselves in a nursing shortage situation, this would be something we would have to consider on a case-by-case basis, along with any other relevant options." In another email statement from Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital (HDGH), it said it "will explore any and all options available to assist with the recruitment of nursing staff." "We have been actively recruiting since the beginning of the pandemic. To date, we have not had any retired nurses express an interest to join our hospital. With that said, HDGH would agree to pay the fees associated with reinstating a retired nurses licence." the statement reads. "However, in the interest of not disadvantaging our current nursing staff, we would pay the fee and establish an agreed-upon process that would allow for the hospital to recover the expense by way of payroll deduction," it continues. CBC News reached out to the provincial government for comment, but officials didn't respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2021. There are 757,022 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 757,022 confirmed cases (59,551 active, 678,068 resolved, 19,403 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 4,011 new cases Tuesday from 34,572 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 37,271 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,324. There were 165 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,137 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 162. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.43 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 51.62 per 100,000 people. There have been 17,120,912 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 398 confirmed cases (six active, 388 resolved, four deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday from 158 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.15 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 78,477 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (six active, 104 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday from 267 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 88,900 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,572 confirmed cases (11 active, 1,496 resolved, 65 deaths). There was one new case Tuesday from 934 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.11 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 11 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,358 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,161 confirmed cases (340 active, 807 resolved, 14 deaths). There were 10 new cases Tuesday from 1,048 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.95 per cent. The rate of active cases is 43.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 157 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 22. There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people. There have been 137,228 tests completed. _ Quebec: 256,002 confirmed cases (15,622 active, 230,803 resolved, 9,577 deaths). There were 1,166 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 184.11 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,268 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,467. There were 56 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 435 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 62. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.73 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 112.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,695,925 tests completed. _ Ontario: 258,700 confirmed cases (23,036 active, 229,755 resolved, 5,909 deaths). There were 1,740 new cases Tuesday from 29,712 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16,423 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,346. There were 63 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 430 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 61. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 40.57 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,007,713 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 28,902 confirmed cases (3,492 active, 24,601 resolved, 809 deaths). There were 92 new cases Tuesday from 1,556 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 254.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,162 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 166. There were five new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.27 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 59.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 450,194 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 22,646 confirmed cases (2,649 active, 19,729 resolved, 268 deaths). There were 230 new cases Tuesday from 897 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 26 per cent. The rate of active cases is 225.55 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,775 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 254. There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 43 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.52 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.82 per 100,000 people. There have been 331,591 tests completed. _ Alberta: 121,901 confirmed cases (8,652 active, 111,662 resolved, 1,587 deaths). There were 366 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 197.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,134 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 591. There were 13 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 124 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.41 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.3 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,061,844 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 65,234 confirmed cases (5,714 active, 58,352 resolved, 1,168 deaths). There were 406 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 112.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,322 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 475. There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 78 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.22 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 23.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,044,931 tests completed. _ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,229 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (six active, 25 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 13.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 9,064 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 282 confirmed cases (17 active, 264 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 43.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,382 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ever wanted to know more about sweat, but were afraid to ask? Sarah Everts, with three million sweat glands to her name, can tell you plenty. The Ottawa science writer has a fascination with perspiration, and has explored our "mercurial relationship" with the necessary — but sometimes nasty — bodily function. She's even arranged to have her sweat glands counted, which is how she knows she's got three million, well within the normal human range of two to five million. Everts, 44, has even attended a "sweat dating" event in Moscow, where connections were made irrespective of gender or sexual orientation, but instead were based on how one's body odour jived with the natural essences of other participants. Kind of like Tinder, but you swipe right based on smell, not looks. "You get this little cotton pad and you pat yourself down," said Everts. "Then you put it into a little jar that's numbered and anonymized. Then everybody at the event lines up and smells each little jar of all the different people, and if any of the odours appeal to you, you mark those down. "I actually ended up getting matched with this woman who imports handbags." The paradox of perspiration "Evolutionary biologists count bountiful sweating as one of the things that makes us human," Everts said. And yet it remains largely taboo. Call it the perspiration paradox. "We're so embarrassed by it and so mortified by it that we spend $75 billion annually on deodorants and antiperspirants, trying to pretend that we don't actually sweat, that we don't smell and that armpit stains are not actually there." At the same time, and in the right context, sweating is the right thing to do. "Humans also crave the catharsis of a good sweat," said Everts, who admits to the pandemic purchase of a spin bicycle to get her own healthy glow on. We both are mortified by sweat, and yet we also totally crave it. - Sarah Everts Indeed, the taboo isn't universal: Everts points to Indigenous sweat lodges, haman or Turkish baths across the Middle East, banyas in Russia, saunas in Finland, jimjilbangs in Korea and sentos in Japan. "The list goes on." But even in those perspiration-positive environments, we humans tend to cover our tracks. "There's something utterly absurd about going for a workout or sitting in a sauna where the goal is to sweat bountifully, and then to apply antiperspirant," said Everts. "We both are mortified by sweat, and yet we also totally crave it." Get over it Everts recalls doing hot yoga once, and being momentarily mortified as sweat dripped onto her yoga mat. Then she got over it. "Jeez, why am I even embarrassed by this? I'm not going to evolve an alternative for temperature control any time soon," she thought. Everts breaks down the taboo into two parts: visible sweat, the kind that drips down your face or creates unsightly circles under your armpits, and the invisible yet odiferous body odour that often accompanies it. There are also two kinds of sweat glands: the kind that help with temperature control, and the kind that appear at puberty "and turn those zones stinky during the teenage years," said Everts. But don't blame your teen's B.O. on the sweat glands alone. "Wherever your hair grows in adolescence, a new kind of gland also grows there, and it releases a waxy sweat that actually is odourless when it comes out," said Everts. "But the bacteria living in your armpits eat that and metabolize it … into stinky odour." "I don't know if it's good news or bad news, but the odour that you have in your armpit is not actually yours. It's the responsibility of all the bacteria living in your armpits," said Everts. In the final analysis, it's all a perfectly natural and necessary function of the healthy human body. "Humans have wasted too much energy throwing shade at our perspiration," Everts said. "We could all use a perspiration pep talk, myself included." Evert's work has resulted in a book called The Joy of Sweat, to be published this July. She'll be talking about the smelly subject in Carleton University's virtual Science Café: The Science of Sweat, Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 1:30 p.m. Click here to register for free.
After U.S. President Joe Biden moved recently to revoke permits for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline project, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "disappointed." That was a fairly tepid reaction to losing an infrastructure project billed as a job-generator and an essential prop for a struggling Canadian energy sector. But Trudeau doesn't really have an incentive to take on the Biden administration over Keystone because — economic and environmental arguments for and against the project notwithstanding — there simply isn't much of a political case for fighting for it any longer. Like Trudeau, most Canadians just want to move on. A survey by the Angus Reid Institute published on Tuesday found that 59 per cent of Canadians would "accept Biden's decision on Keystone XL and focus on other Canada-U.S. priorities" if they were in the prime minister's shoes. Only 41 per cent said they would instead "press for the authorization of Keystone XL above other Canada-U.S. priorities". That doesn't mean Canadians are indifferent, however. The poll found that 52 per cent of Canadians think Biden's decision is a bad thing for this country, while just 30 per cent think it's a good thing. While there were some regional divides on the issue, pluralities in every part of the country said losing Keystone is bad for Canada. So Trudeau's response might have been an accurate reflection of how most Canadians are reacting to the news — with grudging acceptance. Canadians also might be taking a dim view of the federal government's chances of convincing the U.S. president to abandon a campaign promise — one that Biden thought was important enough to get out of the way on his first day in the Oval Office. Biden has his own supporters to think about. So does Trudeau. Keystone a big issue where Liberals have little support Among those who voted for the Liberals in the 2019 federal election, 77 per cent of those polled by the Angus Reid Institute said they believed it would best for Ottawa to focus on priorities other than Keystone with Biden. The share of NDP and Green voters polled who felt the same way was even higher — at 81 and 87 per cent, respectively. Those NDP and Green supporters happen to be the voters the Liberals need on their side to secure a majority government in the next election. Regionally, the survey shows how the Liberals have little to gain by bringing up Keystone XL again. Only in Alberta and Saskatchewan did a majority of those polled by the Angus Reid Institute say they believe that the defence of Keystone XL should be placed above other priorities. The Liberals don't hold any seats in either province. They also don't have great prospects to change that situation any time soon. The party fell 13 seats short of a majority government in the last election — and not one of the 13 seats the Liberals came closest to winning was located in either Alberta or Saskatchewan. Those near-miss seats were in Ontario (seven), Quebec (three), British Columbia (two) and Nova Scotia (one) — all provinces where a majority of voters expressed a willingness to let Keystone go. In fact, the seat the Liberals came closest to winning in Alberta or Saskatchewan last time — Edmonton Centre — would rank just 30th on their list of target ridings based on voting margins in 2019. It may sound cynical, but when an entire region of the country is no longer politically competitive for a particular party, that party no longer has a strong incentive to compete for those votes. Canadians want the U.S. relationship to work And there's little for Trudeau to gain in picking a fight with Biden. In the days after the U.S. vote, the Angus Reid Institute found that 61 per cent of Canadians expected Biden's victory to have a positive impact on U.S.-Canada relations. Just 12 per cent expected the impact to be negative. More recently, an Abacus Data survey conducted between Jan. 15 and 18 found that 49 per cent of Canadians held a positive impression of Biden and just 16 per cent had a negative one. By comparison, 80 per cent of Canadians polled have a negative impression of Donald Trump, and just nine per cent have a positive view of the ex-president. Polls indicate Canadians were relieved to see Biden defeat Trump in the November presidential election. The former U.S. president was deeply unpopular in this country and most Canadians are unlikely to perceive the actions taken by the Biden administration as negatively as they viewed the decisions made by Trump — even the ones that could have a bad impact on Canada's interests. Preaching to the choir So this is a relatively easy political choice for the Liberals. The Conservatives are in a trickier position. According to the Angus Reid Institute poll, 79 per cent of Conservative voters think Keystone XL should be given priority over other issues. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has criticized the Liberals' "total failure" on Keystone XL. He has not, however, gone as far as Alberta Premier Jason Kenney by calling for retaliatory sanctions. It's the duty of the Official Opposition to oppose — but going hard against the Liberals over Keystone is unlikely to appeal to many people outside the Conservative base. The Conservatives already have 47 of 48 seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan. They need that last seat (Edmonton–Strathcona, occupied by a New Democrat) a lot less than they need to win dozens of new seats across Ontario, B.C. and Atlantic Canada. It makes sense for Kenney to go on the offensive against the federal government over Keystone XL, of course. He's doing what most of his constituents would do in his shoes, according to the Angus Reid Institute poll. Kenney also needs a political boost. Polls have shown he is now one of the least popular premiers in the country. Since the end of last summer, polls have consistently shown his United Conservative Party either statistically tied with or trailing the opposition New Democrats. The NDP even out-fundraised the UCP last year. O'Toole doesn't need to worry about his Alberta flank. But he still used his opening question in the first House of Commons question period of 2021 to needle the government over Keystone XL — on the one-year anniversary of the first recorded case of COVID-19 in Canada, during a week when no vaccines were being shipped into the country. According to a poll released by Nanos Research this week, 42 per cent of Canadians think the pandemic is the top issue facing the country. Just 12 per cent said it was jobs and the economy. Less than one per cent pointed to pipelines or energy issues. After the trauma of the Trump presidency, most Canadians appear ready to go along to get along — especially when there are plenty of other things to worry about.
For Debi Drennan, the film business is a family affair. The Toronto-based makeup artist has been working in the industry before the days of The Littlest Hobo. Her sons, Christian and Tyler, followed her into the business, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, they're all as busy as ever. Christian, a key grip, just wrapped The Man from Toronto starring Kevin Hart. Key rigger Tyler recently jumped from working on Netflix's Sex and Lies and is now on Station Eleven. Drennan herself was one of the first to return to work after Ontario's first coronavirus lockdown, as part of CBC's Murdoch Mysteries. She says that with all of the precautions in place, she wasn't worried about safety. "We're not allowed on the property until we have a correct temperature and we've done a screening. We all had apps on our phone, and we would have to answer those apps every morning." With surging coronavirus rates shutting down production in parts of California, Canadian crews such as the ones the Drennans worked on are competing with an influx of American productions. In both British Columbia and Ontario, the industry isn't just busy — it's booming. Switching face shields for safety glasses Virus or not, Drennan and her colleagues in the makeup trailer still had to make the cast look picture perfect. For starters, she procured a high-end UV sterilization machine to prevent cross-contamination. But applying makeup while wearing masks and face shields turned out to be a challenge. The solution was safety glasses with prescription lenses, which became standard on set. As both the face of and a director on the 14th season of Murdoch Mysteries, Yannick Bisson says he was all too cognizant of the risks. "There was pressure, we were going to be one of the first shows out of the gate," he said. "So the potential for failure was there." Drennan says the cast and crew quickly became accustomed to the new rhythms of work, but what she didn't anticipate was how worn out she would become. "It's exhausting.... I just felt like halfway through the day, they couldn't call lunch fast enough. I just needed to get in my car, pull my mask off, take my goggles off and just sit." Headaches were common, and Drennan says she thinks dehydration may have played a role: Taking off all the layers of personal protective equipment for a sip of water or a snack was such an ordeal that the temptation was just to tough it out. Pandemic keeps productions on edge Jason Jallet, a producer from Sudbury, Ont., completed two independent films during the fall and ran into trouble getting makeup and hair trailers, which had already been reserved for foreign productions. "They are all on a lot somewhere held until somebody needed them, so they were being paid for and unused." Jallet says he was forced to send drivers to Quebec from Sudbury for trailers, costing more time and money. He estimates COVID-19 precautions ate up about five per cent of his already precious budget. On-screen, life on the CBC sitcom Kim's Convenience looks the same as it did before the pandemic. But behind the scenes, the fifth season was shot under COVID-19 measures that were so strict, even Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who plays Appa, struggled to adjust. "I remember really wanting to push back at the absurdity of having to wear a mask because I knew I didn't have COVID and then realizing that I was making life hell for our COVID protocol officer." Eventually, Lee says, he decided to lean in and embrace the rules. Jean Yoon, who plays his on-screen wife, Umma, says she missed the faces of the crew. "Being in the same building with so many people we've worked with for all these years and not be able to see them." The strain of adapting to the regime of rules was so onerous that Jallet created a new position — a COVID-19 mental health officer — to give his crew someone to vent to. Jallet completed two films in northern Ontario last fall, Boathouse and Delia's Gone, starring Marisa Tomei and Canadian actor Stephan James. Jallet was also dealing with his own anxiety due to the lack of insurance for COVID-19 outbreaks. While the federal government eventually created a program to act as a backstop for Canadian productions, it wasn't available in time for Jallet, leaving him on the hook for any potential outbreak. "Every time the phone rang, I was like, 'Is there a COVID incident? Is somebody sick? Are we going to have to shut down?'" A surge in demand for studio space While the rush for resources has taxed Canadian productions, it's been a boon for companies offering studio space. Near Toronto's Pearson International Airport, the sound of jets overhead has been replaced by a fleet of film trucks supporting the newest location for TriBro Studios. What was once an airport hangar is now a soundstage, home to an upcoming Paramount production. TriBro president Peter Apostolopoulos says it can't build studio space fast enough. "The phone hasn't stopped ringing. There's a tremendous amount of calls coming in for studio space. That's why we expanded to the airport facilities. We needed more space." In Vancouver, independent producer Mark Miller says he is also seeing a scramble for space, with old warehouses being transformed into soundstages. The producer, who's worked with Great Pacific Media and Thunderbird Entertainment, is bullish on the future. "We're preparing for a big boom — actually, we think that once the pandemic comes to an end, there's a lot of pent-up demand for new content." At the same time, Miller says he's worried who will buy his shows. Aggressive tax credits and the low dollar continue to make Canada an attractive location to serve American shows, such as Star Trek: Discovery or Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. But Miller says the pandemic is changing the broadcasting landscape here at home. "COVID-19 has been very hard on our broadcasters. I know it's been hard on the CBC. I know it's been hard at CTV," he says. "Global advertising revenues are down throughout traditional television, which up until eight years ago was 100 per cent of my business." While COVID-19 has changed how stories are being captured, Yannick Bisson of Murdoch Mysteries says one thing remains the same: "The need for something to watch, the need for content. We want to watch our voices on our screen." In Ontario alone, there are an estimated 30,000 full-time jobs connected to the film and television sector. But as the pandemic stretches on, choosing whether to work or wait has producer Jason Jallet facing some tough choices. "Do we go come up here to northern Ontario to make films? So if I'm bringing actors up from Toronto on a weekly basis to be on screen, am I putting my community here in northern Ontario at risk?"
WARSAW, Poland — Tova Friedman hid among corpses at Auschwitz amid the chaos of the extermination camp's final days. Just 6 years old at the time, the Poland-born Friedman was instructed by her mother to lie absolutely still in a bed at a camp hospital, next to the body of a young woman who had just died. As German forces preparing to flee the scene of their genocide went from bed to bed shooting anyone still alive, Friedman barely breathed under a blanket and went unnoticed. Days later, on Jan. 27, 1945, she was among the thousands of prisoners who survived to greet the Soviet troops who liberated the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Now 82, Friedman had hoped to mark Wednesday's anniversary by taking her eight grandchildren to the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site, which is under the custodianship of the Polish state. The coronavirus pandemic prevented the trip. So instead, Friedman will be alone at home in Highland Park, New Jersey, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Yet a message of warning from her about the rise of hatred will be part of a virtual observance organized by the World Jewish Congress. Other institutions around the world, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial museum in Poland, Yad Vashem in Israel and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. also have online events planned. The presidents of Israel, Germany and Poland will be among those delivering remarks of remembrance and warning. The online nature of this year's commemorations is a sharp contrast to how Friedman spent the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz's liberation last year, when she gathered under a huge tent with other survivors and dozens of European leaders at the site of the former camp. It was one of the last large international gatherings before the pandemic forced the cancellation of most large gatherings. Many Holocaust survivors in the United States, Israel and elsewhere find themselves in a state of previously unimaginable isolation due to the pandemic. Friedman lost her husband last March and said she feels acutely alone now. But survivors like her also have found new connections over Zoom: World Jewish Congress leader Ronald Lauder has organized video meetings for survivors and their children and grandchildren during the pandemic. More than 1.1 million people were murdered by the German Nazis and their henchmen at Auschwitz, the most notorious site in a network of camps and ghettos aimed at the destruction of Europe's Jews. The vast majority of those killed at Auschwitz were Jews, but others, including Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war, were also killed in large numbers. In all, about 6 million European Jews and millions of other people were killed by the Germans and their collaborators. In 2005, the United Nations designated Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an acknowledgement of Auschwitz's iconic status. Israel, which today counts 197,000 Holocaust survivors, officially marks its Holocaust remembrance day in the spring. But events will also be held Wednesday by survivors’ organizations and remembrance groups across the country, many of them held virtually or without members of the public in attendance. While commemorations have moved online for the first time, one constant is the drive of survivors to tell their stories as words of caution. Rose Schindler, a 91-year-old survivor of Auschwitz who was originally from Czechoslovakia but now lives in San Diego, California, has been speaking to school groups about her experience for 50 years. Her story, and that of her late husband, Max, also a survivor, is also told in a book, “Two Who Survived: Keeping Hope Alive While Surviving the Holocaust.” After Schindler was transported to Auschwitz in 1944, she was selected more than once for immediate death in the gas chambers. She survived by escaping each time and joining work details. The horrors she experienced of Auschwitz — the mass murder of her parents and four of her seven siblings, the hunger, being shaven, lice infestations — are difficult to convey, but she keeps speaking to groups, over past months only by Zoom. “We have to tell our stories so it doesn't happen again,” Schindler told The Associated Press on Monday in a Zoom call from her home. “It is unbelievable what we went through, and the whole world was silent as this was going on." Friedman says she believes it is her role to “sound the alarm” about rising anti-Semitism and other hatred in the world, otherwise “another tragedy may happen.” That hatred, she said, was on clear view when a mob inspired by former President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Some insurrectionists wore clothes with anti-Semitic messages like “Camp Auschwitz” and ““6MWE,” which stands for “6 million wasn't enough.” “It was utterly shocking and I couldn’t believe it. And I don’t know what part of America feels like that. I hope it’s a very small and isolated group and not a pervasive feeling,” Friedman said Monday. Still, the mob violence could not shake her belief in the essential goodness of America and most Americans. “It’s a country of freedom. It’s a country that took me in,” Friedman said. In her recorded message that will be broadcast Wednesday, Friedman said she compares the virus of hatred in the world to COVID-19. She said the world today is witnessing “a virus of anti-Semitism, of racism, and if you don’t stop the virus, it’s going to kill humanity.” Vanessa Gera, The Associated Press
A management team from the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is now helping staff at a Regina nursing home try to contain a COVID-19 outbreak that has claimed the lives of 12 residents. Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home in Regina is operated according to a contract with the SHA. Health officials declared an outbreak at the 141-person home on Dec. 18. According to an update the home provided family members on Monday, the SHA "is piloting an outbreak management team." "This team will meet with us early [Tuesday] morning to see if we can implement new strategies to more effectively contain this virus and stop its spread," the update said. Kelly Chessie, the home's executive director, said it has been working with the SHA and other homes in the Regina area throughout the pandemic, "taking every opportunity to make important changes and improvements as we learn together about what works best when fighting this virus." She said the SHA reached out last Friday with its offer of help. "We happily welcomed their expertise," Chessie said Tuesday in an email to CBC News. "They came this afternoon and I am grateful for the fresh eyes and am optimistic that we can work together to further improve and tighten our infection control measures. "Responding to an outbreak takes a lot of time and effort. Everyone here has been working very hard to contain this virus and stop its spread. Having extra hands and fresh eyes to help with this critical work will be valuable." It's not the first time the SHA has come in to assist a Saskatchewan care home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In early December, the SHA signed a co-management agreement at Extendicare's Parkside home in Regina, where 43 deaths have been linked to COVID-19. That outbreak has since been declared over and the arrangement is set to expire on Jan. 31. The Saskatchewan NDP has called on the province to take similar steps at Extendicare's Preston home in Saskatoon, which is in active outbreak. Three residents have died and more than 30 residents were infected as of last week. SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said on Tuesday the authority is in daily contact with Extendicare Preston's leaders and is supporting them. "Our local teams are given daily updates," Livingstone said. "We've been in the facility doing safety reviews and supporting the use of PPE. The facility is fully staffed, which is different from some of the other situations we've seen." Home is 'slowly building immunity' As of Tuesday, 31 residents and five staff members at Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home were actively infected with COVID-19. Several others had recovered. Santa Maria was among the first long-term care homes in Saskatchewan offered a COVID-19 vaccine, with staff receiving their first Pfizer-BioNTech doses on Dec. 24. Second doses then followed about 21 days later, Chessie said. On Jan. 14, 114 residents received their first dose. No second doses have been administered to residents yet, Chessie said. Since Jan. 14, 17 new cases of COVID-19 have been found at the home, including some residents who were vaccinated with their first dose, Chessie said. "We are slowly building immunity in this home," she stated in a note to families last week. In a subsequent note to families on Monday, Chessie said the home has a "GO team" consisting of a respiratory therapist and nurse as well as a consulting physician. "[They] continue to be here every weekday, during the day, and the physician is available on call," Chessie wrote. She said there are some residents "who need help with this fight."
The Himalayan nation of Nepal launched its largest immunisation campaign on Wednesday with its first coronavirus vaccinations for medical workers, following a gift of one million doses from giant neighbour India. Wearing a traditional black peaked cap and sleeveless red vest, a doctor at a teaching hospital in the capital, Kathmandu, became the first recipient of a dose taken from a bed of ice in a cubical blue cooler and injected by masked and gowned staff. "We have a new weapon now and I hope we will be able to defeat the coronavirus soon," said Dinesh Kafle, 50, after he was applauded by those queuing for their turn while he sat in a white-walled room before a poster advertising the campaign.
Work continues in an effort to protect the province's last coastal wilderness — the Hog Island Sandhills — though the process has been slowed down due to COVID-19, Parks Canada says. The initiative was originally brought forward by the Mi'kmaq of P.E.I., as well as the province. In 2019, Parks Canada began a feasibility assessment with the aim of turning the area into a national park reserve, separate and distinct from the existing Prince Edward Island National Park. It would be given the Mi'kmaq name Pitaweikek. Shanna MacDonald, senior negotiator for protected areas establishment for Parks Canada, said plans are moving slowly because part of the process includes significant community and public engagement. "Given that there has been a lockdown and … wanting to follow public health rules and regulations and practise social distancing and all of those other things, a lot of the types of community engagement that we would normally do, like open houses, one-on-one meetings with key stakeholders, has had to be put on hold." MacDonald is hopeful community engagement will take place this spring. She said until that happens, it's hard to predict when Hog Island could become a national park reserve. Treasured place According to the Canada National Park Act, park reserves are established for the same purpose as national parks — to preserve the land for the benefit and enjoyment of Canadians — but in areas "subject to a claim in respect of Aboriginal rights that has been accepted for negotiation by the government of Canada." MacDonald said Hog Island is a treasured place among Indigenous people. "It was a place where the community could always go in times of scarcity because of the rich waters in Malpeque Bay and the ability to collect plants and fish in the waters offshore," she said. "It's a fascinating piece of geology as well because of igneous outcropping in the area which makes the environment around Hog Island significantly different than the onshore land." More from CBC P.E.I.