With Chris St. Clair.
With Chris St. Clair.
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
For 15-year-old Logan Graham, becoming a hockey referee was a way to learn more about the sport, practice his skills on the ice, and choose his own hours. It was also a way for Graham to be a part of a family tradition. Both his older brother and father are also referees. While Graham has been in the job for only a year, he knows all too well what can come along with it — harassment or abuse from parents and coaches angry with a call. "I guess in the heat of the moment, parents get pretty mad but, you know, at the end of the day, it's just a game," he said. It's why Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO), the governing body that regulates amateur hockey across eastern Ontario, is launching a campaign that aims to put a halt to that behaviour against minor hockey officials. Logan Graham, 15, has been a referee with Hockey Eastern Ontario for a year.(Submitted by Kevin Graham) All hockey officials under the age of 18 will wear a green armband, regardless of the skill level they're presiding over, to identify them as a minor. There are also stricter penalties in place for coaches, team officials and spectators who harass officials wearing the band. "This is important, that as an organization, that we're cognizant of the fact that there is abuse, there is harassment, and we need to level this up," said John Reid, referee-in-chief for HEO. 'They're going to quit hockey' More than 40 per cent of all officials in the region are under the age of 18 and Reid said the effect on their mental health is "tremendous." According to HEO, one in three referees quit after the first year-and-a-half. About 50 per cent quit after their second year. Most reported abuse as the reason for leaving. Reid said he hopes the campaign make parents and coaches think twice before getting angry. "They're going to quit hockey. They're going to leave refereeing. They're going to leave the officiating and we don't want that," he said. Green band mandatory The initiative will officially begin at the start of the next hockey season, later this year. All minor officials will be required to wear the armband no later than Oct. 15. Officials with HEO will track the effectiveness of the program by comparing the number and types of infractions given for harassment before and after the campaign. "I hope that it will be really effective," said junior hockey referee Tyson Stewart, who was a minor when he started refereeing with HEO. "There's really no excuse if you come in now and you clearly see that that person is under 18, you should be thinking before you do anything, that that's not an adult. That's a child." Graham said he plans to wear his green armband the next time he referees a game. "I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens. I hope it does because the rough abuse is pretty common, I guess, across Canada. So I hope it makes a difference."
An Ottawa man is being remembered for his contributions to disability rights, his fight for recognition and his strong desire to be with the family he was isolated from at a young age. Justin Clark, born with cerebral palsy, won a landmark case in 1982 to live independently. He died last week at The Ottawa Hospital at 58 years old. Born in 1962, Clark was institutionalized at the now-defunct Rideau Regional Centre located in Smiths Falls, Ont., by age two at the recommendation of doctors. While Clark fought his parents in court when he was 20, lifelong friend and former caretaker Normand Pellerin said Clark's journey began, in part, with a deep desire to be closer with his family. Pellerin held Clark's hand when he passed away on Thursday. A court sketch from Clark's landmark case in 1982 to live independently.(Submitted by David Baker) "He was not afraid at all. It was a peaceful, peaceful departure," he said. "What we had chatted [about beforehand] is that he [will] be dancing with his mom." Pellerin said he'll miss his friend's humanity, humility and his ability to laugh at life. Justin was a person who loved a lot of people, but he has been loved a lot too. - Normand Pellerin, Clark's friend and former caretaker In 1982, Clark fought an application — ultimately taken to trial by his parents — to have him declared incompetent, incapable of making personal decisions. The issue came to a head when Clark decided he wanted to leave the institution and live in a group home in Ottawa. While Clark's parents were villainized at the time of the high-profile case, Pellerin said no one can know the burden felt by them, caring for five children already. They believed they were doing what was best for Clark, Pellerin said. "Justin was wounded in that story, but the parents, too," he said. "It was a societal mistake — not the Clarks'," he said. "With the court case, they have to carry that on their shoulders. They're dead and they're buried and they still have to carry that." Justin Clark, right, found himself at the centre of a high-profile trial. It was considered a breakthrough in Canada. John Clark, his brother, is photographed on the left. (Submitted by John Clark) Able to communicate with Blissymbolics — a board that allowed users to communicate by pointing at symbols — Clark retained lawyer David Baker to represent him in his bid to prove he was mentally competent and could make his own decisions. The lawyer said if there's something he's proudest of, it's letting the young Clark tell his own story using Blissymbolics. It was the first time the symbols were used in testimony in a Canadian courtroom. "His parents stood up and applauded his testimony," the lawyer said. Melanie Panitch was in the courtroom for the six-day trial and later taught the case during her disability studies classes at Ryerson University. "What's significant about this case is that it's history being told by Justin," she told CBC News, "by someone who has lived experience of disability." Relationship a highlight of life, says brother After Clark left Rideau Regional Centre, he began to explore life in every way he could — travelling the world and going on canoe trips — not letting cerebral palsy hold him back, said his brother John Clark. He calls building upon his relationship with his younger brother a highlight of his life. Clark went to "extraordinary efforts" to forge stronger bonds with family once he left the institution, John said by phone on Monday. "I could imagine, if I were in his shoes, having been disconnected from my family for 18 years, it would be easy for resentment to build up," he said. "But it never did." Justin Clark, left, known for his contributions to disability rights, died on Thursday. His brother is on the right.(Submitted by John Clark) While they once sat on opposite sides of the courtroom, John remembers his father saying the words, "Justin, my son," repeatedly at a private ceremony following the funeral of his wife. And at the end of his life, Clark was joined — over FaceTime — by family members. "Justin was a person who loved a lot of people, but he has been loved a lot too," Pellerin said.
Romanian blockchain start-up Elrond is preparing to have its new global payments app support Bitcoin this month as it looks to rival more established rivals PayPal or Revolut, its CEO said, as it taps surging interest in crypto currencies. Led by a sharp rise in Bitcoin, digital asset markets rose above $1 trillion in early 2021, as big money managers and companies begin to take the sector seriously. "This transforms what once looked like a Mexican standoff, where potential investors waited on the sidelines, into an arms race," Elrond founder Beniamin Mincu told Reuters.
Mona Lisa describes feeling isolated and cut off from her community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tensions between the United States and Iran simmered on Wednesday after a new rocket attack against Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base that hosts U.S. forces, which U.S. officials told Reuters fit the profile of a strike by Iran-backed militia. There were no reports of injuries among U.S. service personnel but an American civilian contractor died after suffering a "cardiac episode" while sheltering from the rockets, the Pentagon said.
A group of Chinatown advocates are calling on Vancouver Coastal Health to involve them in the COVID-19 vaccination effort and provide more information in Chinese to seniors as Phase Two of vaccinations starts in B.C. Vancouver Coastal Health says translated information will be available in Phase Three of the vaccination plan, expected in mid-April. In Phase Two, starting Monday, seniors aged 90 or over and Indigenous people who are 75 or over will be able to make appointments to get vaccinated starting the following week. Michael Tan is the vice-president of the Chau Luen Society, which operates an apartment building for Chinese seniors at Keefer Street and Gore Avenue in Chinatown. He says his group wants to see Vancouver Coastal Health do more to support vaccination in the community based on what it saw during an initial push in February to vaccinate people living in the Downtown Eastside. That vaccination program targeted people living in shelters or supportive housing or people who are unhoused. For the elderly Chinese people who lined up for vaccinations, many of whom don’t speak much English, it could have gone better, Tan said. “There was an extreme lack of translated information, volunteers or even staff that could provide linguistically accessible information relating to the vaccination,” Tan said, adding that it also wasn’t ideal for the seniors to be waiting in line outside in the rain and cold. Tan said Chinese seniors are vulnerable to misinformation questioning the safety of vaccines, so it’s important to provide accurate printed information in Mandarin or Cantonese. Seniors are often seeing misinformation through WeChat, a Chinese-language social media app. “That’s their only way to access the news through the internet, and they get clippings from friends,” Tan said. Tan estimates that 1,900 seniors living in independent housing in Chinatown and Strathcona will be eligible for the next round of vaccinations. He said he expects seniors who have trouble speaking or understanding English will also need help with making appointments to get vaccinated over the phone or online. Tan is urging Vancouver Coastal Health to make a plan to vaccinate people where they live, in spaces like building lobbies or common rooms of the independent living buildings operated by societies like his. He said he and other Chinatown advocates have been searching for translated material on the Vancouver Coastal Health and provincial Health Ministry websites, but haven’t been able to find anything. After Tan started speaking to the media about the issue, Vancouver Coastal Health staff asked him for feedback on translated materials they are preparing. But the health authority has not yet committed to mobile vaccination clinics, Tan said today. In a letter sent to Vancouver Coastal Health last week, Tan asked it to “provide vaccination information printed on flyers translated into Chinese and direct your staff to liaise with providers of seniors’ living residences like Chau Luen Society, seniors’ outreach groups like the SRO Collaborative and Yarrow Intergenerational Society, and also City of Vancouver staff so that these vulnerable seniors can access COVID vaccine information and the vaccination process itself, in a timely and safe manner. “A co-ordinated effort to ensure vulnerable seniors in Chinatown/Strathcona have translated information and access to the COVID vaccine is urgently needed.” In response to questions from The Tyee, Vancouver Coastal Health said it will be working “closely with community partners, providers and agencies to ensure all eligible residents have access to the information they need regarding COVID-19 vaccines. This will include the translation of pertinent information about the vaccine and how individuals can register for vaccination once they are eligible, in addition to other translation supports.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 64,485 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,014,128 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,314.423 per 100,000. There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,482,350 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 81.14 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 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 966 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 79.405 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.6 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 5,505 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,471 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.298 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 54 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 16,513 new vaccinations administered for a total of 455,328 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.213 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 22,326 new vaccinations administered for a total of 727,021 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 49.494 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,535 new vaccinations administered for a total of 78,205 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 56.794 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 947 new vaccinations administered for a total of 80,236 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 68.045 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 107.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 9,546 new vaccinations administered for a total of 245,054 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.668 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 7,501 new vaccinations administered for a total of 283,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.184 per 1,000. There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 364,020 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.79 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 1,097 new vaccinations administered for a total of 17,168 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 411.397 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 90.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 3,321 new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 103.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 664 new vaccinations administered for a total of 8,066 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 208.284 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 33.75 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. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Britain will modernise its listing rules to attract more high-growth company and so-called blank cheque flotations, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said after a government-backed review said London was on the back foot after Brexit. The London Stock Exchange is facing tougher competition from NYSE and Nasdaq in New York, and from Euronext in Amsterdam since Britain fully left the European Union on Dec. 31.
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s attorney-general denied having sexual contact with a 16-year-old who had accused him of raping her 33 years ago and said Wednesday he would not resign as the nation's top law officer. Christian Porter instead said he would take leave to care for his mental health after the allegations recently became public. “I’m going to take a couple of short weeks leave just for my own sanity,” Porter told reporters. “I think that I will be able to return from that and do my job.” The accuser took her own life last year, and her allegations against Porter became public last week when they were sent anonymously to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other lawmakers. Media had reported the alleged rapist was one of the 16 men in Morrison’s 22-member Cabinet, but Porter was widely identified online. The 50-year-old former criminal prosecutor said he decided to speak out after police said Tuesday there was insufficient admissible evidence to proceed with a criminal investigation. Prominent lawyers and the woman’s friends have called for an independent inquiry to test the evidence against Porter. Morrison has noted Porter’s denials and said the allegations should be left with police to handle. Porter said any inquiry into the allegation would require him to “disapprove something that didn’t happen 33 years ago.” Buy Michael Bradley, the alleged victim’s former lawyer, said there would “trial by media” in the absence of a formal inquiry. “We should all not want that to happen, but it’s going to happen if the allegation and his response are not tested in a proper formal process,” Bradley said. Porter said the reported rape allegation did not warrant him standing down from his job. “If I stand down from my position as attorney-general because of an allegation about something that simply did not happen, then any person in Australia can lose their career, their job, their life’s work based on nothing more than an accusation that appears in print,” Porter said. “If that happens, anyone in public life is able to be removed simply by the printing of an allegation,” he added. Porter said he was 17 when he competed alongside the then-16-year-old accuser on a four-member school debate team in January 1988. He said he had not heard from her since. “I did not sleep with the (alleged) victim. We didn’t have anything of that nature happen between us,” Porter said. “I remember the person as an intelligent, bright, happy person,” he added. The woman has not been named. Police are preparing evidence to help a coroner determine the cause of her death. The case has added to intensifying scrutiny of attitudes toward sexual harassment and violence in Parliament after a staffer made an unrelated allegation two weeks ago that she had been raped by a senior colleague in a minister's office. The government notified Parliament House staff in an email this week of a new confidential complaints hotline for the reporting of serious workplace incidents. Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press
A sharp spike in bond yields last week caught some hedge funds unaware, and saw macro and long-short funds in general give back February profits to end the month modestly up, several market participants said. Hedge funds, which target returns that outperform the markets, take positions in a variety of assets such as bonds, currencies and equities, depending on the strategy employed. The sharp rise in yields - which saw ten-year Treasury yields hit a one-year high of over 1.6% on Thursday - came after a tumultuous January when some funds got burned by holding short positions in stocks caught up in the GameStop trading frenzy.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. There are 872,747 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 872,747 confirmed cases (30,252 active, 820,450 resolved, 22,045 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,457 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 79.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,449 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,921. There were 28 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 284 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 41. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.01 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,620,804 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 994 confirmed cases (207 active, 781 resolved, six deaths). There were five new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 39.65 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six. There were no new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 198,862 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 136 confirmed cases (22 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were four new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 13.78 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 21 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 104,715 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,643 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,549 resolved, 65 deaths). There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 2.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 30 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 338,114 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,435 confirmed cases (37 active, 1,370 resolved, 28 deaths). There were four new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 4.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There was one new reported death Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 237,782 tests completed. _ Quebec: 288,941 confirmed cases (7,378 active, 271,156 resolved, 10,407 deaths). There were 588 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 86.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,275 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 754. There were eight 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 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.37 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,320,910 tests completed. _ Ontario: 302,805 confirmed cases (10,546 active, 285,262 resolved, 6,997 deaths). There were 966 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 71.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,686 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,098. There were 11 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 113 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.49 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,933,714 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,950 confirmed cases (1,151 active, 29,901 resolved, 898 deaths). There were 56 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 83.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 405 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 58. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 12 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.11 per 100,000 people. There have been 533,840 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,938 confirmed cases (1,492 active, 27,059 resolved, 387 deaths). There were 137 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 126.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,015 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 145. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.83 per 100,000 people. There have been 577,151 tests completed. _ Alberta: 134,052 confirmed cases (4,631 active, 127,531 resolved, 1,890 deaths). There were 257 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 104.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,449 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 350. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 37 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.74 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,409,039 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 81,367 confirmed cases (4,747 active, 75,255 resolved, 1,365 deaths). There were 438 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 92.22 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,509 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 501. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 29 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.52 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,935,174 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death). There were no 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 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,172 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 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 14,559 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 359 confirmed cases (nine active, 349 resolved, one death). There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 22.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been eight new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,696 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
The militant group, which has a presence in Afghanistan, said its fighters had targeted the three female employees of a television station in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Tuesday evening, according to the SITE Intelligence group. The women, who worked for local broadcaster Enikas TV, were aged between 18 and 20 and were shot on their way home from work, according to Afghan officials. Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, which local police initially blamed on the insurgent Taliban, who denied any involvement.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is considering two sites in Arizona and another one in New York in addition to Austin, Texas, for a new $17 billion chip plant, according to documents filed with Texas state officials. The documents dated Feb. 26 also estimated tax abatements concerning the plant will be about $1.48 billion over 20 years from Travis County in Texas and the city of Austin, up from the $805.5 million previously mentioned. Samsung is in talks with the sites at Arizona and New York, with each offering property tax abatement and "significant grants and/or refundable tax credits" to fund infrastructure improvements, the documents said.
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of March 3 ... What we are watching in Canada ... TORONTO — A judge is expected to deliver her verdict today in the case of a man who deliberately drove a van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk killing 10 people and injuring 16 others. Alek Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack on April 23, 2018. But he has argued he should be found not criminally responsible for his actions because he is autistic. The 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Justice Anne Molloy's judgment will be delivered via video conference and broadcast on YouTube. The key issue at Minassian's trial, which began last November without a jury, was whether he had the capacity at the time of the attack to make a rational choice. --- Also this ... OTTAWA — The first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are set to arrive in Canada today as confusion persists over who should get it. Canada is to receive 500,000 doses of the vaccine, the third approved for use in Canada, from the Serum Institute of India. But questions about who should receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine continue amid conflicting guidance about its use. Health Canada last week authorized its use for all adult Canadians but the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended Tuesday that it not be administered to people 65 years of age or older. The committee says there is limited data from clinical trials about how effective the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is for seniors and recommends that they be given priority for the two other vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — already greenlighted for use in Canada. Both Health Canada and the committee stress no safety concerns have arisen in the clinical studies or among the millions of seniors who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in other countries. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... HOLTVILLE, Calif. -- Barely a couple of kilometres from where an SUV packed with 25 people struck a tractor-trailer — killing 13 inside — a cemetery with unmarked bricks is a burial ground for migrants who died crossing the border from Mexico to remote California desert. Authorities are investigating whether human smuggling was involved in Tuesday's early-morning collision that killed the 22-year-old male driver of the SUV and 12 passengers. The Mexican government said 10 of the dead were Mexican citizens and that nationalities of the three others who died was undetermined. Seats of the 1997 Ford Expedition were removed except for the driver and right front passenger's, said Omar Watson, chief of the California Highway Patrol's border division. The cause of the collision was undetermined, authorities said, and it also was unknown why so many people were crammed into a vehicle built to hold eight people safely. But smugglers have been known to pack people in extremely unsafe conditions to maximize profits. The crash occurred during the height of harvest in California's Imperial Valley, which provides much of the lettuce, onions, broccoli and winter vegetables to U.S. supermarkets. Holtville, a no-stoplight town with a gazebo in its large central square, calls itself the world's carrot capital. The area became a major route for illegal border crossings in the late 1990s after heightened enforcement in San Diego pushed migrants to more remote areas. Many crossed the All-American Canal, an aqueduct that runs along the border and unleashes Colorado River water to farms through a vast network of canals. At the back of Terrace Park Cemetery in Holtville, single bricks — rows of them — mark the unidentified remains of people who died, many of them migrants. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... BAGDAD — At least 10 rockets targeted a military base in western Iraq that hosts U.S.-led coalition troops today, the coalition and the Iraqi military said. It was not immediately known if there were any casualties. The rockets struck Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar province at 7:20 a.m., spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said. Later, the Iraqi military released a statement saying the attack did not cause significant losses and that security forces had found the launch pad used for the missiles. An Iraqi military official said they had been found in the al-Baghdadi area of Anbar, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to brief media. It was the first attack since the U.S. struck Iran-aligned militia targets along the Iraq-Syria border last week that killed one militiaman, stoking fears of a possible repeat of a series of tit-for-tat attacks that escalated last year, culminating in the U.S.-directed drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani outside the Baghdad airport. Today's attack targeted the same base where Iran struck with a barrage of missiles in January last year in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani. Dozens of U.S. service members were injured, suffering concussions in that strike. The attack today comes two days before Pope Francis' is scheduled to visit Iraq in a much anticipated trip that will include Baghdad, southern Iraq and in the northern city of Irbil. --- On this day in 1875 ... The first recorded hockey game under new rules developed by McGill University student J.G.A. Creighton took place in Montreal. Those rules formed the basis of the current game. --- In entertainment ... TORONTO — Canadian actor Jahmil French of "Degrassi: The Next Generation" fame has died. His agent, Gabrielle Kachman, confirmed the news to The Canadian Press through a statement. Kachman did not provide details on his death but noted French "will be remembered by many for his passion for the arts, his commitment to his craft, and his vibrant personality." French played high-school student Dave Turner on the Toronto-shot teen series "Degrassi: The Next Generation." In a statement, "Degrassi: The Next Generation" co-creator and executive producer Linda Schuyler said she was "heartbroken" to hear the news Tuesday. "Jahmil was an extraordinary talent and a bright light on and off the screen," Schuyler said. "He was a joy to work with on 'Degrassi: The Next Generation.' "He brought an authenticity and burst of life to every scene he was in and infused his character 'Dave' with an airy lightness. Off screen Jahmil would always make me smile. He will be deeply missed.” French's other credits include the Netflix series "Soundtrack," the Pop TV show "Let's Get Physical," and the Canadian film "Boost," for which he earned a 2018 Canadian Screen Award nomination for supporting actor. According to various bios online, he was 29. --- ICYMI ... BOSTON — Six Dr. Seuss books — including "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" and "If I Ran the Zoo" — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author's legacy said Tuesday. "These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong," Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday. "Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalogue represents and supports all communities and families," it said. The other books affected are "McElligot's Pool," "On Beyond Zebra!," "Scrambled Eggs Super!," and "The Cat’s Quizzer." The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company, which was founded by Seuss' family, told AP. "Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalogue of titles," it said. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021 The Canadian Press
The European Union aims to increase the region's COVID-19 vaccine production capacity to 2-3 billion doses per year by the end of 2021, Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton was quoted as saying on Wednesday. In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera he also urged member states to implement their vaccination policies quickly "because the capacity to produce doses is increasing from week to week", he said. Breton said that while around 43 million doses have been delivered to the EU so far, only 30.2 million have been administered, adding the bloc was targeting deliveries of 95-100 million doses by the end of March.
'I have to choose between my safety and my education,' said Concordia University student Alicia-Ann Pauld. (Submitted by Alicia-Ann Pauld) Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a struggle for Alicia-Ann Pauld, who has muscular dystrophy, to get to Concordia University's campus in downtown Montreal, especially during the winter. "If I fall, I can very seriously injure myself and I can't get back [up] on my own," said Pauld. "I've been in situations in the past where there's a snowstorm the day of an exam and I have to go outside and literally put my life in danger." She recalled an incident last year, when she fell on the ice on the way to one of her exams. "I injured myself a lot and I had to wait for someone to pick me up — a stranger." When the pandemic hit last March, universities quickly moved online. Lectures were given over Zoom or were recorded online as campuses shut down. For Pauld, it was a gift. She no longer had to choose between her health and her education. While the shift to the virtual world has been a source of distress for university students in general, it has been a revelation for many students living with disabilities and chronic illnesses. But with universities saying they are preparing for some form of in-class instruction in the fall, many students living with disabilities wonder what the future holds. 'I can't always get to class' Concordia told CBC that "public health conditions permitting, we are looking at a hybrid model of remote and in-person instruction" for the fall of 2021. McGill University has already announced it will return to in-person instruction at that time, but that it will make accommodations for students who need them. Concordia University in Montreal says it is considering a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning for the fall.(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press) "Students with a weakened immune system or chronic condition that may be at risk of developing complications to COVID-19 should work or study from home if possible," McGill said in a statement. If activities require students to be on campus, they are supposed to contact their faculty's student affairs office to work something out. Students with disabilities and chronic illnesses are worried about losing the progress the pandemic has brought, in terms of providing more accessible education. "I can't always get to class, due to a combination of just, like, the building not always being super-accessible and the classroom not being accessible," said Aaron Ansuini, an art education student at Concordia who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a multi-systemic connective tissue disorder that often affects his mobility. Improving academic success As an ambulatory wheelchair user, it is often difficult for Ansuini to attend classes, so he misses important course content. "I've been encouraged to drop classes when I physically can't get to them, despite the fact that I maintain a 4.0 GPA," Ansuini told CBC Montreal's Daybreak. Before the pandemic, both Ansuini and Pauld sometimes had to miss classes and drop courses, which hurt their academic success. That's why remote learning has been so beneficial to them. "My only chance of graduating on time is [online learning], because it's the only way that I could actually do all the classes, all five classes that I know that I can do," said Ansuini. "My classes are going great," said Pauld, "I had such a high GPA last semester and I know this is what I'm capable of doing." Concordia University student Aaron Ansuini says returning to ‘normal’ is not equitable for students with mobility disabilities. (Submitted by Aaron Ansuini) While many students are looking forward to a return to normalcy, a return to how things were pre-pandemic is not ideal to students with mobility disabilities. "What's normal for most people [is] ... not exactly equitable for students with disabilities," said Ansuini. "So I'm concerned about people returning to normal and not realizing that what they're actually returning to is just an inequitable access to education." Pressure worldwide A 2018 report from the National Education Association of Disabled Students, in collaboration with Canadian researchers, concluded that accessibility and inclusion lag behind technological advances. Canadian students aren't the only ones who are feeling it. Students at the University of Washington, for example, are pushing their administration to continue to make class recordings available online even though the school has already opened its campus to students. They argue the current lack of access creates an unequal education system between students who are able-bodied and those with disabilities. Students with disabilities at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland made their case to the administration by documenting their experiences with remote learning. Now, with its campus reopen,Trinity College Dublin has implemented a hybrid model of remote learning and in-person instruction. For Pauld, the fact that Concordia says it is looking at a hybrid model of education is promising, but she would like to see every single class be part of such a model. "So that students who have to attend remotely for different reasons can have access to that, with no exception," she said. Pauld and Ansuini are hoping that the pandemic is proof that accommodations at school, as well as in the workplace, are possible for people with disabilities. "We are not some sort of other or some sort of anomaly," said Ansuini. "We're just part of the student population and our access to education should matter."
It was 11:30 on a night in early May when Louisa Mussells Pires first walked into a long-term care home in Lachine and learned some hard truths about the health-care system in one of the richest countries in the world. Pires, 31, had almost finished nursing school. There was a crying need for extra staff in Quebec's long-term care network, which had been decimated by COVID-19 infections. So she volunteered to help and readily agreed to grab a night shift at the CHSLD Nazaire-Piché. Pires can still recall in vivid detail what it was like to walk through its halls for the first time. It was dark. The common areas were roped off. At a nursing station, a television blared news about the dizzying death toll at CHSLDs across the province. She eventually found the only other person working on the floor, a tired-looking nurse. "Tell me what needs to be done," Pires said to her. The nurse replied: "Make sure everyone is breathing. And then come back and we'll take things from there." Scattered throughout the ward were large piles of pink plastic bags that held the final possessions of the residents who had succumbed to COVID-19. An inside view of CHSLD Nazaire-Piché in Lachine.(Myriam Fimbry/CBC) Over the next few weeks, until military reinforcements arrived, Pires and the rest of the skeleton staff were able to offer a minimum level of care. The residents were cleaned, fed and given medication; little else. When an infected resident began to hyperventilate, Pires knew the end was near and provided what comfort she could. But make no mistake, she said, these were lonely deaths, away from family and friends, away from those who loved them the most. "It was a reminder that even in a high-income country, that is supposed to be well off, you can have a humanitarian crisis of this scale," Pires said in a recent interview. "It might be quickly forgotten. But it happened. I mean, how can you have people dying of dehydration in Canada?" Last spring, 5,000 people in the province died of COVID-19, more than anywhere else in Canada. And the sense that Quebec's health-care system failed is as widespread among many frontline workers as it is among the families of the dead. But it is less clear how the system's administrators could have acted differently, faced with an unprecedented situation. CBC News conducted a series of interviews with both frontline workers and managers to get a better understanding of how one part of the system — the health authority covering Montreal's West Island — responded at the outset of the pandemic. What emerged was a portrait of a system under severe strain, exposing some to uncommon horrors while others had to make ethically fraught, complex decisions. WATCH: One year later, front-line workers reflect on how they responded in the first weeks of the pandemic 'We had to improvise' The top officials in the West Island health authority — the Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre (CIUSSS) — began planning for a pandemic in January of 2020, as evidence began to accumulate that a novel coronavirus was spreading around the world. In those early plans, any West Island cases of COVID-19 were to be transferred to the Jewish General Hospital, which has several negative pressure rooms, ideal for treating infectious diseases. The lone hospital in the West Island, Lakeshore General, was built in 1965 and doesn't have the same up-to-date equipment. It also has one of the city's busiest emergency rooms. Louisa Mussells Pires, 31, worked at CHSLD Nazaire-Piché during the first wave of the pandemic. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC) By mid-March it was apparent that Quebec was seeing more cases than initially anticipated. The West Island CIUSSS leadership began meeting every morning in a large boardroom on the fifth floor of Lakeshore General Hospital. They were carefully monitoring the hospital's capacity. The hospital serves a territory dotted with homes for the elderly and long-term care centres, and suspected COVID cases kept coming into the ER. When the Jewish General hit capacity in the third week of March, those cases could no longer be transferred downtown. "We had no choice. Somebody had to take those patients," said Dr. Guy Bisson, Lakeshore's medical co-ordinator. Plastic dividers were thrown up and a makeshift COVID ward was fashioned out of a short-term stay ward. "We couldn't close the door. We had to improvise," said Bisson. Herron and the CHSLD disaster On Sunday, March 29, the morning meeting of the CIUSSS West Island's leadership was interrupted by a call from CHSLD Herron. They needed staff, urgently. It was unclear, at first, how bad the situation was, said Najia Hachimi-Idrissi, the associate CEO of the CIUSSS. Two colleagues were dispatched to investigate. "The conditions were disgusting. The patients were drenched in urine and feces," Loredana Mule, a nurse who was assigned to help at Herron that night, told CBC News last April. "It was quite appalling." A body is removed from CHSLD Herron on Saturday, April 11, 2020.(Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press) The health authority placed Herron under trusteeship on March 29. But that was not enough to prevent at least 47 residents from dying last spring — deaths that will be the subject of a coroner's inquiry this fall. "It was very difficult emotionally for everybody," Hachimi-Idrissi said. "In a society like ours, we would like to be more organized. Nobody knew the virus could be that destructive." The situation at Herron prefigured similar staffing situations at CHSLDs elsewhere in the province. Underpaid staff were getting sick; others were too frightened to show up to work. Their managers, meanwhile, were overstretched, racing to different locations, said Anne-Marie Chiquette, who works for an organization, APER, that represents health-care managers. In 2015, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette amalgamated dozens of local medical establishments into a handful of super-agencies. At the same time, he eliminated around 1,300 management positions in the health-care system. Chiquette said those reforms — which left fewer managers responsible for larger areas — contributed to the scale of the tragedy in the CHSLD network. "When you have a pandemic, you need to have a link with employees to reassure them, because they are scared. But in this case the managers couldn't be there," Chiquette said. At one point while Pires was working at CHSLD Nazaire-Piché, the building ran out of apple juice. The staff spent several hours trying to identify who was responsible for replenishing their stock. Eventually they gave up. "There was no clear person in charge," she said. ""There was a lack of leadership. I don't think it was due to personal shortcomings. It was due to the structure of the system." As the virus continued to spread within the long-term care network, the ER at Lakeshore went through periods when it was effectively overwhelmed. Nathan Friedland, an ER nurse at the hospital, recalled one day in early May when in the span of 15 minutes five ambulances arrived, each carrying ailing patients from long-term care homes. The ER was already jammed. The incoming stretchers were placed in a waiting area. Among them was a woman in severe respiratory distress. All he could do was get her a blanket. "I had a line of patients, five in a row, with this woman dying in front of me and I had to go to the next patient," he said in a recent interview. The hospital's morgue eventually filled up and the dead had to be stored in a refrigerated truck parked behind the hospital. "It was deeply disturbing," Friedland said. At the height of the first wave, nearly half of the Lakeshore's 265 beds were occupied by COVID-19 patients. After the first wave, staff at Lakeshore Hospital undertook renovations aimed at decreasing transmission of COVID-19.(Jaela Bernstien/CBC ) That required making difficult decisions about who received the limited amount of personal protective equipment available. They also had to choose which non-urgent surgeries would be cancelled and which patients would be transferred to other hospitals. Hachimi-Idrissi rejected the suggestion that the health-care system in the West Island collapsed in the spring. "But we did have to make choices about where we concentrated the resources that we had," she said. "It was risk management everyday." Is anyone to blame? The staggering death toll from those first critical months of the pandemic has left many of those who had to witness it up close demanding accountability. Frontline health-care workers have complained for years about staffing shortages, ramshackle long-term care homes and overcrowded ERs. They feel that if only their warnings had been heeded, the outcome could have been different. "The virus made a mockery of our health-care system," said Friedland. Legault has also called for accountability, though he denies any of his government's decisions contributed to the scale of the disaster. In recent interviews marking the anniversary of the first case, Legault has suggested there were major shortcomings in the management of the health-care system. At one point in the pandemic, Legault mused about firing half of the health authority CEOs in Montreal, according to a new book by Alec Castonguay. But the eagerness to lay blame may also obscure the unprecedented nature of the crisis that Quebec confronted last year. Those who administer the province's large, complex health-care system have difficulty identifying what they could have done differently, given what they knew at the time and the resources they had available. "The problem is not the hospitals. It's not the CHSLDs," said Bisson. "The problem is COVID. That's the true culprit. We have to remember that."