Little League hit by thieves
Little League hit by thieves
Countries such as China, Russia, India and Cuba are developing and distributing their own COVID-19 vaccines, marking a biotechnology milestone for many of them. Here's a closer look at how they're doing it and what that means for the world, including Western countries such as Canada. Which countries outside Europe and North America are furthest along in developing COVID-19 vaccines? The highest-profile members of this group include Russia and China. The Sputnik V viral-vector vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Russia, and the inactivated vaccines from China's Sinovac and Sinopharm have already been ordered, donated or used in dozens of countries around the world. On May 7, the World Health Organization approved one of Sinopharm's vaccines for emergency use, paving the way for distribution through UN programmes. India's Bharat Biotech has also developed an inactivated vaccine, called Covaxin, that is in use in India. The company has also signed deals with firms in the U.S. and Brazil to produce versions of the vaccine domestically, pending approval. China, Russia and India all have other vaccines in late-stage clinical trials. Other developing countries with vaccines in late-stage trials include Cuba, Kazahkstan and Iran. Is this a surprise? Yes and no. Most people can't think of any time they've used a vaccine developed and exported by one of those countries, since "there haven't been products like that," said Achal Prabhala, co-ordinator of the accesIBSA project, a campaign to improve access to medicines in India, Brazil and South Africa. But many nations have built up the necessary infrastructure and expertise to develop their own vaccines, and weren't expecting easy access to vaccines developed in Europe and North America, which richer countries have been criticized for hoarding. A man flashes a victory sign after getting a shot of the Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 in La Paz, Bolivia, in April. The Russian vaccine and Chinese vaccines are the only ones available in many parts of the world.(Juan Karita/The Associated Press) U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba and the high cost of vaccines would make it difficult for the country to import any, said Helen Yaffe, a lecturer in economic and social history at the University of Glasgow who has studied and written about the development of Cuba's biotechnology industry. She said the country has produced its own vaccines for decades. "They had the capacity," Yaffe said, "but they also, arguably, had the need." Why are some of these vaccines controversial? 1. They were used for mass vaccination before clinical trials were complete. Russia was called "reckless" and criticized by health and science experts in Western media when the country became the first to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use last August — before Phase 3 trials of Sputnik V had even started. It subsequently gave the vaccine to tens of thousands of health-care workers, teachers and military personnel before Phase 3 trial results were released. WATCH | Growing recognition of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine: But it wasn't the only country to use emergency approval to start vaccinating local populations before Phase 3 trials were complete — China, India, Kazakhstan and Cuba did the same. Prabhala, who is based in India, thinks domestic use by these countries before Phase 3 results may be justified during a deadly pandemic, given that vaccine developers typically know whether a vaccine is safe and whether it shows promise for protecting against a disease by the end of Phase 2 trials. 2. They haven't released or published enough data and ran trials differently. Colin Funk, an adjunct professor with Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., and a biomedical consultant with Vancouver-based Novateur Ventures, co-authored a paper in the journal Viruses earlier this year with another Novateur consultant, Craig Laferriere, comparing all the front-running vaccines around the world. Empty vials of the Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaccines fill a container at Tecnopolis Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in April.(Victor R. Caivano/The Associated Press) Funk said in an interview that it's been hard to get reliable information about the Chinese vaccines because most haven't published the results of clinical trials. Sputnik V's Phase 3 clinical trials were published in The Lancet in February, but results were hard to compare to other vaccines due to differing methods, Laferrière told CBC News. Sputnik V was recently rejected by Brazilian regulators. Meanwhile, the reported efficacy of Sinovac's vaccine varied from 50.4 per cent in Brazil to 91.25 per cent in Turkey. Some experts have said the lower efficacy in Brazil may have to do with the different protocols and virus variants in the population — even participants with very mild symptoms were tested for COVID-19, unlike other trials, and there was a highly transmissible P1 virus variant circulating. WATCH | Few people in China receive COVID-19 jabs despite vaccine development there: Prabhala thinks the fact that the trials were run in different countries under different conditions was actually a good thing. "I think they provide a sort of independent third-party analysis of the vaccine itself, and in a very real way for me, they give me more confidence than having one corporation release one set of data based on one very tightly controlled trial that it ran itself." However, he said, "I wish we could see little more detail of what the data looked like." 3. There may be biases rooted in culture and politics. "In general, there's incredulity at the idea that you could have original science that could work anywhere in the world that comes out of a place not in the West," Prabhala said. This exists even in non-Western countries, he said. He suggested Russia and China may face higher levels of mistrust than other countries "because of the autocratic nature of the state and sometimes the justifiable anger that people feel at the state's human-rights violations." But those aren't relevant to the actual performance of their vaccines, he said. "I think the question with any of these vaccines is: do they work and are they effective?" A nurse prepares to inject a health-care worker with a dose of the Soberana-02 COVID-19 vaccine in Havana, Cuba, in March. (Ramon Espinosa/Pool Photo via AP) How important are these vaccines for global immunization efforts? They've already been a big part of vaccination campaigns in their home countries. Vaccines from China and Russia have also been used in dozens of other countries around the world, many of which have limited or no access to other options. Chinese vaccines have made up tens of millions of doses delivered in Brazil, Turkey and Chile, Nature reported this week. In Brazil, vaccination of the elderly was linked to a quick decline in mortality compared to unvaccinated age groups, local researchers report in a study that hasn't yet been peer-reviewed. Meanwhile, in Europe, Hungary and Serbia have much higher COVID-19 vaccination rates than other countries on the continent. Prabhala said that's because they both ordered, evaluated and approved vaccines from Russia and China. A box of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine is prepared for patients in Saint Margit Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, in April.(Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP) The reach of the Chinese and Russian vaccines could increase with a listing for emergency use by the World Health Organization — something one of Sinopharm's vaccines has already achieved. The WHO recently found Sinovac's vaccine was effective but the company didn't provide enough data, while Sputnik V has been submitted for WHO review. A WHO listing would allow their use by UN agencies, worldwide distribution through the global vaccine-sharing initiative COVAX and use in countries that don't have the capacity to do their own regulatory approvals. Meanwhile, Yaffe says Cuba's vaccines bring hope to populations in the global south. "If they wait for the big pharma companies for vaccines, then it could be many years until they have the possibility of being vaccinated," she said. Prabhala said more options are better for everyone — even richer nations that have secured deals with some manufacturers. He noted that Canada's initial vaccine rollout was off to a slow start compared to countries like the U.S. and the UK, largely due to manufacturing delays at both Pfizer and Moderna. "I would imagine, therefore, that had Canada had a wider choice of vaccines available ... the rollout would have been smoother and faster and would have given the country and its people much more security."
JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) -Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired rockets toward the Jerusalem area and southern Israel on Monday, carrying out a threat to punish Israel for violent confrontations with Palestinians in Jerusalem. The Gaza health ministry said nine Palestinians, including three children, were killed "in a series of strikes in northern Gaza".
OTTAWA — Canada is scheduled to receive two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week as provinces continue to ramp up their immunization efforts. The two million shots represent the only expected shipments in what should be a comparatively quiet week of vaccine arrivals after Moderna delivered one million doses ahead of schedule last week. The next shipment of Moderna jabs isn't due until next week, while the federal government has not said when Canada will receive more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson vaccines. The arrival of more Pfizer-BioNTech shots comes as British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are set to expand the list of people eligible for vaccines over the next seven days. The expansions are due largely to the steady supply of vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech, which are slated to deliver two million doses a week through the month of May before increasing the weekly figure to 2.4 million in June. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military officer overseeing the federal government's vaccine distribution effort, said last week that Canada was expecting another 650,000 AstraZeneca shots from the COVAX initiative. The exact delivery schedule, however, has yet to be finalized. Canada has also been in negotiations with the United States for more AstraZeneca doses after President Joe Biden suggested last month that Washington may release some of its unused stockpile. Those talks come amid questions about the AstraZeneca shot, which has been linked to a new and very rare vaccine-induced blood clotting syndrome. Twelve cases had been confirmed in Canada after about two million doses given as of Friday. Three people have died. The AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines use a similar technology, while the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots use a new technology dubbed mRNA. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization last week recommended that Canadians who aren’t at high risk from COVID-19 may want to wait until a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna is available. That prompted allegations that NACI was sowing the seeds of confusion and vaccine hesitancy. Alberta and other parts of Canada remain mired in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, even as hospitalization rates have started to tick downward in provinces such as Ontario and Quebec. Many parts of the country face tight restrictions, with schools closed across Ontario and Alberta and patios shut down in Montreal, Toronto and — as of this Monday — Calgary. Provinces reported 265,509 new vaccinations administered on Sunday for a total of 15,917,555 doses given. Nationwide, 1,248,931 people or 3.3 per cent of the population had been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 41,999.627 per 100,000. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Named after Harley's first electric motorbike, which was unveiled in 2019, the "LiveWire" division is slated to launch its first branded motorcycle in July. "We are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV," Chief Executive Officer Jochen Zeitz said in a statement on Monday. "LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future."
Halifax Regional Police have arrested a man for robbery in connection with an incident in March that sparked conversations about racial profiling among law enforcement. Police said the man, Robert Roech Chan, 28, was arrested Sunday night on an outstanding warrant. On March 26, officers were called to the 200 block of Wentworth Drive in Halifax for a weapons complaint. Three men were arrested at the scene, including two who were later released without charges. A fourth man fled on foot and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Videos shared online Hours after the incident, videos surfaced on social media showing an interaction between a white police officer and the fourth man, who is Black. The officer, who could be seen pointing a gun at the man — was heard saying something that sounded like, "I will fill you full of f--king lead." A number of people publicly condemned the language used by the officer, including Premier Iain Rankin, who called the comments "disgusting." The officer in the video was assigned to administrative duties while an internal investigation was carried out. That investigation is now complete and the officer has been returned to active duty. MORE TOP STORIES
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — The debate over Newfoundland and Labrador's troubled, pandemic-delayed election moved to the courtroom today in the form of several challenges of results.Three former candidates have applied to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador to have the results in their ridings overturned, and one of them — NDP Leader Alison Coffin — is also seeking a judicial recount of her narrow loss.Coffin was defeated in the St. John's East-Quidi Vidi riding by just 53 votes and has asked that the ballots be recounted, alleging issues with the original count.She has also filed a separate application to have the results in her district overturned and a byelection called, as have former Progressive Conservative candidates Jim Lester and Sheila Fitzgerald.Lester lost his seat in the Mount Pearl North district by 109 votes and Fitzgerald lost the race in St. Barbe-L'Anse aux Meadows by 216 votes.The three applications to nullify results will be back in court at a later date, while Justice Donald Burrage said he will rule by Wednesday on the NDP arguments for a recount in Coffin's district.This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
Alberta reported 1,633 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths on Sunday, as Edmontonians enjoyed one last patio day before firmer restrictions take effect at midnight Sunday. There are now 25,197 active cases in the province, as Alberta contends with the highest provincial case rate in the country. Variant cases make up about 44.5 per cent of active cases in Alberta under the province's rolled back testing for coronavirus variants this week. Currently, 668 people are in hospital with the illness, including 155 in intensive care unit beds, up slightly from Saturday, when there were 661 people in hospital including 148 in intensive care unit beds. Since the pandemic began, 2,110 people have died from COVID-19 in Alberta. Of the two deaths recorded on Sunday, one involved a man in his 50s in the Calgary zone, and the other was a man in his 60s in the Central zone. Both deaths occurred on Friday. Provincial labs completed 15,509 tests for the disease on Saturday for a positivity rate of about 10.3 per cent, down from 18,809 tests from the previous day, with a positivity rate of about 11 per cent. Last rush The next slate of COVID-19 restrictions will come into force Monday, including the closure of patios and personal services, such as hair salons and tattoo shops. In Edmonton, downtown patios and hair salons were busy Sunday, the last day Albertans could get a haircut before the restrictions take effect. In Edmonton, some hair salons were overwhelmed with booking requests Sunday, the last day Albertans could get a haircut before new restrictions take effect.(Gabrielle Brown/CBC Radio-Canada) Christina Yun, salon owner Dollhouse Hair Boutique, said the changing restrictions have been "difficult." The rush before this third shutdown of the pandemic was busy, but not as busy as before the second round, Yun said. "With the restrictions it's kind of been like a yo-yo," Yun said. "It's been really busy and then really slow, and then really busy and then really slow. "I'm hoping with the vaccinations that we will only see three weeks of it." The ongoing vaccination program has now delivered 1,889,039 doses. As of Monday, Albertans 12 and older will be eligible to book a vaccine appointment. Here are the province's 25,197 active cases broken down by health zone: Calgary zone: 11,312 Edmonton zone: 5,917 North zone: 3,749 Central zone: 2,844 South zone: 1,333 Unknown: 42
Ross Miller, 85, thought he needed a new TV last October, so he went to The Source — a consumer electronics store owned by Bell Canada. But he got much more than he intended. A sales rep signed Miller to two-year contracts for Bell Fibe TV and a new cell phone with data and a warranty plan; sold him a cordless phone, landline and tablet; and signed him to another two-year contract for high-speed home internet. Miller, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, isn't clear what happened. He already had a cell phone, which he doesn't use, didn't know what a tablet was and doesn't understand the internet. The new products and services "seemed to have been sold to me without my knowledge, I guess," he told Go Public, shrugging. "That's the only explanation I can have. I'm still not sure how that happened." Miller's son has a pretty good idea what happened — he says a sales rep at the store in Toronto's Dufferin Mall acted unethically. "He went in to get a TV … and came out with everything except a TV," said James Ogden. "There's no justification for what they did, just taking advantage of somebody. It was exploitative." An insider who works at another location of The Source tells Go Public that constant pressure to hit unrealistic sales targets — even when people are staying home because of the pandemic — is forcing employees to make unethical sales. He says he and his colleagues are encouraged not to ask too many questions when a customer doesn't appear to have good cognitive function. "The goal … is to get them pen to paper, signing a contract. So if the person does not have their faculties, then we're basically just told to go through the [sales] script," he said. "We are told to just push through." CBC News is not identifying him, because he says he fears he would lose his job. He describes intense pressure from his store manager, sharing texts in which they tell the team there are no excuses for not selling and say employees can't blame a lack of customers for not making sales. Miller, 85, isn't clear what happened. He already had a cell phone, which he doesn't use, didn't know what a tablet was and doesn't understand the internet.(Keith Burgess/CBC) "There's a constant, every day, 'We need to hit this [sales target], why isn't there anything on the board?'" he said. An expert in business ethics says encouraging high-pressure sales is detrimental to a company's brand. "During this challenging time, it's so easy for [companies] to be pushed over this ethical line and … push their employees to engage in sales misconduct," said Ruodan Shao, an associate professor specializing in corporate responsibility and business ethics at York University's Schulich School of Business. "Companies should … offer protection and support for their employees rather than shifting all this financial difficulty and pressure towards their employees." Bell declined an interview request, but eventually refunded Miller and waived the contracts. In a statement to Go Public, spokesperson Nathan Gibson said the company "is focused on championing customer experience" and takes concerns about sales and service practices "very seriously." He also said the company has launched an internal investigation into Miller's experience, that staff involved will face disciplinary action and that what happened "does not align in any way with our policies and we have apologized to him and his family." A location of The Source in Toronto is seen in March 2009. Employees of the Bell-owned chain say they face pressure to reach unrealistic sales targets.(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press) "We do not encourage or support high-pressure sales tactics," Gibson said. The upselling came to light when Ogden visited his dad last November and noticed the Bell Fibe TV receiver — which struck him as odd, because his dad's condo fees included Rogers Cable. He soon discovered the other items. His dad couldn't remember much, so Ogden says he called Bell — over and over. He says the customer service reps simply refused to cancel the TV, internet and cell phone plans, or take back any of the untouched devices. Several said his dad was stuck with the cell phone and tablet because he had passed the two-week "buyer's remorse" window. Out of frustration, Ogden started recording the calls. On one — shared with Go Public — an agent insisted Ogden's father was responsible for what happened, despite having Alzheimer's, because he signed a contract. "Your father was of sound body and mind in order to be able to process and provide the information required to complete the signing of the contract," said the rep. "End of story." Ruodan Shao, a business professor and expert in corporate social responsibility, says encouraging ethical conduct pays off for companies in the long run.(Andy Hincenbergs/CBC) The insider says it's upsetting but not surprising to hear what happened to Miller. "The more that is bundled, the higher the payback is for the sales associate. So we are encouraged to bundle," he said. Go Public heard from a handful of other current and former employees at The Source, who also say the pressure to meet sales targets is unreasonable. One said there is a culture of management "looking the other way" if an employee is hitting targets. Older people 'a specific target' The CRTC held a public inquiry in 2018, partly prompted by Go Public reports, into aggressive sales tactics by the telecoms, at which the seniors advocacy group CARP called on the regulator to protect older people — warning they "are a specific target for over-selling." No such protections have been introduced, but they are long overdue, according to Ogden. "There should be something to protect vulnerable people from exploitation," he said. Miller, seen here with his son James Ogden, never opened the new tablet or cell phone but The Source wouldn’t take them back because the two-week window for returns had passed.(Keith Burgess/CBC) The Source insider says Bell talks a good game about not encouraging a stressful work environment and is known for its "Let's Talk" campaign about mental health, but says the company needs to significantly decrease sales targets if it cares about its employees' state of mind. "Bell needs to take a good, hard, long look at how they are approaching sales at this time," he said. The spokesperson says Bell is talking with its leaders and sales teams about its code of conduct and sales ethics. "We do not … condone any behaviour that is contrary to the strict policies and extensive training programs we've noted," Gibson said in the statement. WATCH | 85-year-old man with Alzheimer's sold Bell products he can't use: After Go Public contacted Bell, the company agreed to take back the cell phone and tablet, waived the contracts and erased Miller's outstanding charges. Gibson acknowledged the company's "policies and training were not followed in multiple instances." He said that Bell reps are bound by the company's "stringent Business Code of Conduct" and their training includes mandatory courses on ethical sales behaviour and accessibility. Shao, the ethics professor, says employees who feel pushed to engage in unethical behaviour often start looking elsewhere for work, harming the company in the long run. "I think Bell should be paying closer attention to their employees' mental health and psychological well-being," she said. "They need to walk the talk." She says she's pleased Bell took steps to address Miller's case, but says it should have happened months ago. "It clearly shows the company knows they are engaged in wrong behaviour," she said. "They should be more proactive." As for Miller, he has sworn off making any trips to the store without his son and has gone back to Rogers for TV and home phone services. But his son worries about Bell trying to get his dad back as a customer. "Literally, two days later, Bell was calling [him] to see if he would like to reactivate his Bell account," Ogden said. "There's nothing on his file that explains the ordeal we've gone through." Submit your story ideas Go Public is an investigative news segment on CBC-TV, radio and the web. We tell your stories, shed light on wrongdoing and hold the powers that be accountable. If you have a story in the public interest, or if you're an insider with information, contact GoPublic@cbc.ca with your name, contact information and a brief summary. 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A Siberian doctor who treated poisoned Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny last year reappeared on Monday after being reported missing while on a hunting trip, Russian news agencies cited the regional government as saying. A search was launched in the forests of the Omsk region, about 2,200 km (1,370 miles) east of Moscow, after physician Alexander Murakhovsky left a forest hunting base in an all-terrain vehicle on Friday. Murakhovsky exited the forest himself and made contact with residents of the village of Basly, RIA news agency quoted the Omsk regional government as saying.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 5:55 p.m. Alberta is reporting 1,633 new COVID-19 cases and two additional deaths. The new cases were identified from 15,509 tests, for a test-positivity rate of 10.3 per cent. There are 668 people with COVID-19 in Alberta hospitals, with 155 patients in intensive care. Variants of concern now make up 44.5 per cent of Alberta's active COVID-19 cases. --- 4:15 p.m. Saskatchewan is setting May 30 as the target date for the first step of its COVID-19 "Re-opening Roadmap." An announcement from the province says restaurants and bars will open with a maximum of six to a table, distanced between other tables. Places of worship will be able to hold services with 30 per cent capacity, or a maximum of 150 people, and group fitness classes can resume with three-metres distance between participants. Gathering limits will rise, although current protocols for schools and post-secondary institutions will remain in place, and the province-wide mask mandate will stay in effect. Premier Scott Moe says the province is able to move forward with the re-opening plan because so many people have been getting vaccinated, adding residents are also following public health orders. The province says more than 70 per cent of Saskatchewan residents age 40 and older have received their first shot of Covid-19 vaccine, surpassing the threshold for Step One of the Re-Opening Roadmap. Details of the plan came as Saskatchewan reported 177 new COVID-19 cases in the province and no new virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours. --- 2:15 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting 165 new cases of COVID-19 today. Of those, 138 cases are in the central zone in and around Halifax, 16 are in the eastern zone, six are in the western zone and five in the northern zone. One case in the central zone is a homecare staff member with Northwood in Halifax. Nova Scotia Health says it has created a team that is immediately calling all positive patients to advise them of their test result and determine whether they need supports. --- 2 p.m. Manitoba is reporting new daily COVID-19 cases over the 500 mark once again, with officials logging 532 new infections in the past 24 hours. There are also three additional deaths, which the province says were all linked to the variant of concern first identified in the United Kingdom. Manitoba's daily pandemic update notes the five-day test-positivity rate is 10.9 per cent provincially and 13 per cent in Winnipeg. There are 3,499 active COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, with 210 people in hospital and 52 patients in intensive care. --- 1:10 p.m. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new confirmed cases of COVID-19. Three of the cases are in the Eastern Health region, and all are people in their 40s. The fourth new confirmed case is a man in the Central Health region in his 60s and the fifth is a woman in her 70s in the Western region. There are 67 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. --- 12:55 p.m. Public Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting six new cases of COVID-19 today, including one at the Kennebecasis Valley High School in Quispamsis. There are also three cases in Moncton, with two of those people in their 20s. The province is also reporting two cases in the Fredericton area. The total number of active infections in the province currently stands at 141. --- 11:30 a.m. Quebec is reporting 960 new cases of COVID-19 and six additional deaths linked to the pandemic, including one in the last 24 hours. Hospitalizations declined by eight in the previous 24 hours to 539, while the number of people in intensive care dropped by six to 124. The province gave 74,694 doses of vaccine on Saturday, and has currently administered at least one shot to almost 42 per cent of the population. --- 10:45 a.m. Ontario is reporting 3,216 new COVID-19 cases today and 47 deaths from the virus. The province says 1,640 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. That number includes 848 people in intensive care and 580 on ventilators. The data is based on 38,540 completed tests. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2021. The Canadian Press
Call him Dr. Kyle Lowry. Philadelphia-born star guard of the Toronto Raptors became an honorary doctor of humanities at Acadia University's virtual spring convocation ceremony on Sunday. Acadia bestowed the honour on Lowry for his role in rallying the country during the Raptors' 2019 run the NBA title, the first for the franchise, and for establishing the Lowry Love Foundation with his wife, Ayahna Cornish-Lowry. Lowry's foundation is committed to improving the lives of disadvantaged people in Toronto and Philadelphia. Nova Scotia's two top public health officials were among seven people to receive honorary degrees from the university in Wolfville, N.S. Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer or health, and Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, the deputy chief medical officer of health for the province, were bestowed honorary doctor of science degrees. In a news release, the university said the degrees were being given to recognize "the amazing work of the entire Nova Scotia Public Health department." The release said Strang and Watson-Creed had shown "outstanding leadership" in helping Nova Scotia deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Robert Strang accepted his degree on behalf of all public health professionals in Nova Scotia(Acadia University) In a video response, Strang said the pandemic has shown us that unity is important in times of crisis. "The way we get through all of these things is ... that we put each other first, and we come together as communities." Former prime minister Paul Martin delivered the keynote address by video. He was awarded an honorary doctor of civil laws. Rev. Malcolm Card, Nancy McCain and retired justice Murray Sinclair also received honorary degrees. MORE TOP STORIES
OTTAWA — Canada should open its doors to military pilots from other countries as it seeks to address a critical shortage of experienced aviators to fly its helicopters and planes, according to the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force. In an interview with The Canadian Press, Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger said the military is currently working with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to facilitate and streamline the enrolment of seasoned pilots from overseas. “We would not be in a position to influence ... or demand certain outcomes,” he said. “But I do think it’s a valuable opportunity space for us to continue to leverage individuals who want to come to Canada and want to serve still as an air force member.” The initiative is the latest in a long list of moves by the air force in recent years as it has scrambled to make sure it has enough experienced pilots to both train new recruits and lead air missions at home and abroad. The seriousness of that pilot shortage has been repeatedly noted by military officials and others such as the federal auditor general, prompting concerns about the short- and long-term impacts on Canada’s defence and security. Meinzinger said there has been some progress in addressing that shortage. The air force is supposed to have about 1,500 pilots and was short around 225 at the end of December 2019. Currently, Meinzinger said, the air force is short about 130. Yet most of that progress can be traced to a reorganization that saw about 60 unfilled pilot positions reclassified into what the air force calls “air operations officers,” which are responsible for planning and co-ordinating missions rather than flying them. “We're short 130 pilots,” Meinzinger said. “But if you add 61, you're really at a number closer to 195. ... So there's been a small improvement in the aggregate.” The progress has been less than the military and government had hoped. Efforts to retain experienced personnel have been underway since 2018. They include providing better supports for military families, tapping reservists to help with basic maintenance work and creating the air operations officer position to keep pilots in the air rather than working desk jobs. There was also optimism at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the financial difficulties facing commercial airlines would result in an influx of former military pilots who had left for private-sector gigs but were now furloughed or unemployed. Despite a dedicated unit in his office responsible for reaching out to former air force personnel and an advertising campaign touting the benefits of re-enlisting, however, Meinzinger said only about 15 pilots have decided to put their uniforms back on. “It’s not a significant number,” he acknowledged. “I would rationalize it in that individuals may have already transitioned into a civilian job and they're probably trying to ascertain whether they can maybe get their old job back or in some cases, individuals have been furloughed.” It is in this context that Meinzinger is hoping to ensure pilots who have flown with other militaries and now want to fly for Canada aren’t blocked by bureaucratic red tape or other technical barriers. The air force commander suggested the majority of those who would be interested in putting on a Canadian Armed Forces uniform are from NATO or European countries, but may also hail from others such as India. “Of course, we would value that clearly because often they have thousands of hours of experience and it's a great opportunity,” he said. The push for more pilots comes amid challenges in the military’s entire recruiting and training systems caused by the global pandemic. Acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre has said recruitment was down by two-thirds last year. Meinzinger said that decline has had an obvious impact across the air force, which was exacerbated by the closure of various training institutions due to the pandemic. “That will be a challenge for us,” he said. “We will strategically have to manage that demographic issue.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
The joy of Komal Garg's first Mother's Day has been tempered with fear and frustration as she awaits the green light to start enjoying family life in the Toronto home she hasn't seen for months. She and her husband Hari Gopal Garg are stranded in India, where they flew earlier this year to adopt their first child and have since been held up as the country buckles under a tidal wave of COVID-19 infections. Baby Kaveri's first birthday came and went under a cloud of pandemic-related anxiety in March, coupled with an unrelated hospital stay for the little one around that time. The family had been looking forward to celebrating both that milestone and Mother's Day in the comfort of their Canadian home. But the federal government banned incoming flights from India just days before they were due to return to Toronto, leaving them to mark another occasion that's lost much of its festive feel. "We are really scared and just want to go back home as soon as possible," Komal Garg said. "We're desperate to go back and start our life there." The family's eventual return will mark the end of a four-year-long saga. It's taken that long for the couple to realize their dream of adopting a child from India, finally taking custody of Kaveri last December. The couple said they realized that COVID-19 infections in India were rising rapidly, but the wheel of bureaucracy turns slowly. Paperwork to return to Canada was completed on April 21, they said, and they were scheduled to fly home to Toronto on April 25. But Canada suspended all flights from India the day after the paperwork was completed, they said, leaving them with no option but to ride the pandemic out in a country with some of the highest infection rates in the world. "We don't have any option to go back home," Gopal Garg said. "We are stuck." Like many with family in India, they've experienced the loss associated with the pandemic first-hand. Three family members have died of COVID-19 over the last three weeks alone, they said. But the tragedy surrounding them, and the inconvenience associated with adjusting to family life far from home, hasn't dimmed Garg's delight in her new daughter. "You can't even imagine because me and my husband, we've been married for 20 years," Garg said. "I can't express in words my first Mother's Day. I cannot. I cannot." That occasion has been a far cry from the celebration the family intended to hold in Toronto. Garg said the new family intends to lie low in Punjab for the sake of Kaveri's health. Gopal Garg said the family had hoped to celebrate with a bit more pomp, but had to shelve those plans when it became clear they wouldn't be able to return to Canada. "We wanted to get a nice meal or order some food at home," he said. "So that we could feel that it's special — together. Be a family. And we wanted to cherish that and celebrate that at home, which is Toronto." But still, their small immediate family tries to keep some semblance of normalcy, spending quiet days together and not leaving the house for anything but grocery shopping. They're watching their daughter mark her first baby milestones as they await word they can finally go home. Kaveri took her first steps in March, and has now started to talk. "She says some little tiny words like baba, dada, mama," Garg said. Gopal Garg said the new family is now looking ahead to future holidays and hoping they can unfold at home. "We were hoping that we could start a family in Canada," he said. "We hope we'll be there for Father's Day." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2021. Hina Alam, The Canadian Press
With the second-highest COVID-19 case rate in the country, Manitoba is re-entering lockdown and moving schools online in some areas. Meanwhile, some Albertans remain defiant of new restrictions and Nova Scotia tightens its borders.
A Halifax woman is calling for more protections on some retirement saving plans after her husband's sudden death left her and their teenage daughter faced with the prospect of losing the majority of the couple's life savings. In August 2018, Dianne Taylor's husband, Tim Taylor, wasn't feeling well. The 50-year-old went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with stomach cancer. By that point, it had already spread to his lungs. He died just three weeks after his diagnosis. In the midst of her own grief, Dianne Taylor was also trying to support her daughter, who was 13 at the time. Little did she know there was another shock still to come. It turned out, Tim's registered retirement savings plan — worth $685,000 — had a listed beneficiary that wasn't his wife. Despite his will, which left everything to Taylor, the bulk of their savings was designated to Tim's mother. "Just when you feel like you have nothing left, I had to deal with a beneficiary issue," she said, noting that Tim was a banker and not someone green when it came to finances. More protections needed, widow says Taylor is urging others to check their listed beneficiaries for things like RRSPs and life insurance policies. But she also wants to see protections put in place similar to those under the Nova Scotia Pensions Benefits Act. "There's definitely a gap in law. Something like this should never be able to happen," she said. A friend of the Taylor family told CBC that Tim's wife and daughter were his whole world. (Submitted by Dianne Taylor) In Nova Scotia, pensions have to be registered in the province and are beholden to the Pension Benefits Act, said Derek Gerard, a consulting actuary with a specialty in pensions. He said that under the act, if a pension plan member dies, the spouse automatically has a priority to the death benefits — even if there is another beneficiary. "It gets overruled by the law and the spouse becomes the beneficiary in the case of death," he said. Gerard, who was also a family friend of Tim Taylor, said it seems inconsistent that RRSPs do not have the same protections. "When people are in a marriage or a relationship and they're partners, those assets are shared retirement assets," he said. "For one spouse to be able to designate a huge chunk of their estate to somebody outside of the marriage, that would be pretty inconsistent with the rest of the way we treat marriage and partnerships." Revoking clause in will didn't change designation Taylor and her husband listed their assets, including the RRSP, when they created their will years before he fell sick. The will stated that 100 per cent of their estates would each go to the other, should one of them die. They even included a revoking clause in the will that would override the issue should a beneficiary be forgotten. "It was shocking to find out that that's not how it works," said Taylor. Taylor says that when Tim first opened the RRSP — as a young man and before they were married — he listed his mother as the beneficiary. As the years went on, she said there was no paperwork to name the beneficiary, so she believes he forgot about it. When the issue arose after Tim's death, Taylor said she was confident that it would work out in her favour. She believed they could prove his intent to the court. But lawyers felt otherwise. "We took a look at whether his will would change the designation that he had left in his RRSP and we unfortunately came to the conclusion that it wouldn't fix it," said Brian Casey, counsel at BoyneClarke. Casey said this situation isn't unique to Taylor's family. People sometimes forget they've made designations, then when life changes — a second child arrives, for example — and the beneficiary isn't updated, it can lead to an "ugly situation." There was a similar case in Nova Scotia in 2016, Casey said, which meant there was a precedent to suggest Taylor would not be successful. "I had a 13-year-old daughter at the time that I had to be financially responsible for, and it would have been irresponsible of me to actually fight it in court," Taylor said. Taylor was just 50 years old when he died from cancer.(Submitted by Dianne Taylor) 'Right now, there are no protections' As for the clause in the will, Casey said those are often too general to change a specific designation. "Unfortunately the message is you need to keep those things up to date." But there was also another blow: the RRSP would not only go to the beneficiary, but the estate would then be left to pay the tax bill. In her case, that would have been 54 per cent of $685,000. Taylor's matter was settled out of court. Because Tim had a life insurance policy, that money was used to give the after-tax value of the RRSP to the listed beneficiary. If he did not have that policy, Taylor said the issue would have "wiped out the whole estate." "RRSPs deserve the same protections that pensions have. Both of them are retirement savings, both of them are family assets," Taylor said. "Right now, there are no protections." Taylor is pictured here with his daughter, who was 13 years old when her father died.(Submitted by Dianne Taylor) Calling for change Taylor wants to see legislation to protect families, even starting with requiring beneficiaries to be clearly listed. In Quebec, beneficiaries must be named through a will under provincial legislation. A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Department of Finance said this issue falls under federal tax code. The federal Finance Department has not yet responded to CBC's request for comment. Taylor said she has considered the possibility that the listed beneficiary was intentional, but she does not believe that is the case. "He was so concerned about my daughter and I when he was dying. I can't even begin to imagine that he was aware and never said anything." Taylor left behind his wife, Dianne, and their daughter.(Submitted by Dianne Taylor) Gerard agrees, saying that Tim's wife and daughter were his whole world. "He breathed every day for them. And he wanted everything for his daughter's well-being and her future to look after her," he said, adding that it is devastating Tim's daughter, now 16, was not protected. "Anything we can do to help protect that in the future, I think would be pretty important that we could all get behind that." MORE TOP STORIES
The Saskatchewan Medical Association's new president — and former vice-president — hails from rural Saskatchewan and intends to make that part of his focus representing the organization for the next year. On Friday at a virtual event, the association that represents some 2,400 physicians in Saskatchewan elected Dr. Eben Strydom, a physician currently working in Melfort, Sask., as its 55th president. Strydom is taking over as president of the Sask. Medical Association amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On the front lines he said he's heard a lot of worry and fatigue from physicians. "The system has been strained significantly over the last year basically," he said. "The variants of concern have a significant impact and it looks like the peak that it's causing now, it's more difficult to contain." Intensive care unit patients, he said, are getting younger, showing up sicker and staying longer than they have before, which is contributing to the concern physicians are feeling. Strydom said as long as the province showed flexibility and a willingness to introduce stricter measures if and where needed, he was cautiously optimistic about the possibility of bringing an end to the pandemic. Two milestones need to be reached and three weeks needs to pass before the province moves into its reopening strategy. Vaccinations will open to anyone over the age of 18 on May 18 — when the 16 and above category becomes eligible — and Saturday's COVID-19 update said nearly 70 per cent of those over the age of 40 received their first dose of vaccine. Once those benchmarks are reached and sustained, Step 1 of the provincial plan comes into effect. The number of COVID-19 patients receiving intensive care would also be considered before the province moves into the next step of the reopening plan, Premier Scott Moe said last week. On the flip side of the coin, the rules within the province's reopening plan are subject to change should the laid-out vaccination targets not be met. Access to rural health care a priority Pandemic aside, Strydom also wants to look into increasing access to rural health care in Saskatchewan. Strydom grew up in rural southwest Africa — now Namibia — where he said he became more aware about issues around rural access to healthcare. He arrived in Canada in 2003 after working for five years in Paarl Hospital in South Africa, where he trained as a generalist and obtained post-graduate diplomas in anesthesiology and obstetrics. Strydom practised as a family doctor for two months in Redvers before moving to Melfort, where he provides a full-service family practice and his work includes anesthesia, surgery and palliative care services. The mixed bag of services he can provide is part of what keeps him in rural Saskatchewan, but it also allows him to have an impact on people's lives in other ways. "[It's also] the connection we have with rural outpatients, the cradle-to-grave medicine, the fact that we can make a big difference," Strydom said in an interview with CBC News. "It's a lot of work and it's long hours but it's very satisfying." He plans to focus on supporting rural healthcare as the association's president through doing what he can to make working rurally attractive to doctors. Strydom said part of doing so is finding fair compensation for doctors who work rurally, which he said from his experience and that of his peers often comes with quite a heavy workload. The other part attracting doctors to rural Saskatchewan, he said, comes in ensuring the proper tools are in place to develop, enhance and maintain doctors' skills and support capabilities in rural areas to provide quality care to their patients. Strydom is to serve a one-year term as the medical association's president and replaces Dr. Barb Konstantynowicz, a doctor from Regina.
The federal government, province of P.E.I. and Abegweit First Nation are partnering to reconnect the Scotchfort community to the Hillsborough River. The river was an essential transportation route and food source for previous generations of the Abegweit First Nation, but the Scotchfort community is now separated from the river by Route 2, a major highway that runs through the centre of the province. In a joint announcement on Monday morning, the province said it would transfer six hectares of land, between the highway and the river, to the band for a nominal fee of $1. The federal government announced $4.4 million for active transportation and social infrastructure on the land, which will link the corridor to the Confederation Trail as well as to the Hillsborough River. "This project includes the construction of several structures to create a safe and direct access to the waterfront and multi-use trail," said a government news release. "We are very grateful and excited for the support from our provincial and federal partners and look forward to our continued partnership as we advance these projects in the spirit of reconciliation and mutual prosperity," Abegweit First Nation Chief Junior Gould was quoted as saying in the news release. Some of the funding announced Monday will go toward the development of the Epekwitk Mena'taqug Centre, a business and retail centre. Initial funding for that project was announced in August 2019. More from CBC P.E.I.
HALIFAX — A United Nations committee on racial discrimination is asking the federal government to respond to allegations it committed racist actions in its treatment of Mi'kmaq lobster fishers in Nova Scotia. The April 30 letter of notice from the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination asks Leslie Norton, Canada's permanent representative to the U.N., to respond to allegations by Sipekne'katik First Nation by July 14. The First Nation has argued that it has the right to fish for a "moderate livelihood" when and where they wish, based on a decision from the country's Supreme Court. The court later clarified that ruling to say Ottawa could regulate the treaty right for conservation and other purposes. Members of the Sipekne'katik band encountered violence from non-Indigenous residents last fall, resulting in the destruction of a lobster pound and the burning of a band member's van as the First Nation conducted a fishery outside of the federally regulated season in southwestern Nova Scotia. The federal minister has repeatedly noted the principle of closed seasons exists for conservation purposes and has said her department will negotiate the distribution of commercial licences, which occur within existing seasons, tailored to the needs of each First Nation. Talks with the band broke down earlier this year, and Sipekne'katik says it is planning to resume a self-regulated lobster fishery outside of federal seasons. However, the United Nations committee says it is considering allegations the RCMP and the federal Fisheries Department "failed to take appropriate measures to prevent these acts of violence and to protect the fishers and their properties from being vandalized," and that treaty rights weren't respected last year. "The committee is concerned about allegations of lack of response by the state party authorities to prevent and to investigate the allegations of racist hate speech and incitement of violence online as well as acts of violence and intimidation against Mi’kmaq peoples by private actors," says the letter of notice to the Canadian representative. The committee's letter noted its prior recommendations requesting governments that have signed the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination "take steps to prevent racist hate crimes against all ethnic and minority groups, migrants and Indigenous peoples." The letter asks Canada to respond to the allegations and indicate what actions have already been taken to deal with allegations of racism. The notice is signed by Yanduan Li, the chair of the committee and a representative of China. The First Nation's leader, Chief Mike Sack, said in a news release Sunday that it intends to proceed with a lobster fishery beginning in June, despite the lack of an agreement with the federal Fisheries Department. Sack has said he will request United Nations peacekeepers if federal enforcement officers remove his band's lobster fishing gear from the fishing area in southwest Nova Scotia. He said the involvement of the racial discrimination committee is encouraging. "Being recognized by a body that represents marginalized people experiencing the destructive and intergenerational effects of systemic racism is a new milestone in our community’s efforts to overcome poverty and oppression,” said Sack in the release. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2021. Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 400 a:.m. ET on Monday May 10, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 265,509 new vaccinations administered for a total of 15,917,555 doses given. Nationwide, 1,248,931 people or 3.3 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 41,999.627 per 100,000. There were 76,725 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 18,042,094 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 88.22 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 21,916 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 202,222 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 386.192 per 1,000. In the province, 1.27 per cent (6,676) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 244,930 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 47 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.56 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 6,556 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 59,758 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 376.715 per 1,000. In the province, 6.78 per cent (10,750) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 76,725 new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 76,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 44,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 356,978 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 365.794 per 1,000. In the province, 3.86 per cent (37,630) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 450,600 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.22 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 31,772 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 302,262 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 387.496 per 1,000. In the province, 3.81 per cent (29,688) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 373,815 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 76,166 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,718,074 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 434.524 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 4,119,439 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 121,075 new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,144,685 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 418.317 per 1,000. In the province, 2.67 per cent (392,835) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 7,056,415 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.08 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 10,501 new vaccinations administered for a total of 557,420 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 404.806 per 1,000. In the province, 5.51 per cent (75,866) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 686,160 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 50 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.24 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 13,651 new vaccinations administered for a total of 518,133 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 439.411 per 1,000. In the province, 3.92 per cent (46,277) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 542,935 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95.43 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 42,485 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,889,039 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 429.128 per 1,000. In the province, 7.19 per cent (316,357) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 2,002,215 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,042,442 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 398.015 per 1,000. In the province, 1.94 per cent (99,461) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 2,330,040 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,439 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,184.707 per 1,000. In the territory, 55.23 per cent (23,048) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 55,920 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 88.41 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 48,007 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,064.009 per 1,000. In the territory, 48.04 per cent (21,674) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 58,800 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 81.64 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 29,096 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 751.33 per 1,000. In the territory, 32.97 per cent (12,768) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 44,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 110 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.98 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 May 10, 2021. The Canadian Press
PHOENIX — Joshua Matthew Black said in a YouTube video that he was protecting the officer at the U.S. Capitol who had been pepper sprayed and fallen to the ground as the crowd rushed the building entrance on Jan. 6. “Let him out, he’s done," Black claimed to have told rioters. But federal prosecutors say surveillance footage doesn’t back up Black’s account. They said he acknowledged that he wanted to get the officer out of the way — because the cop was blocking his path inside. At least a dozen of the 400 people charged so far in the Jan. 6 insurrection have made dubious claims about their encounters with officers at the Capitol. The most frequent argument is that they can't be guilty of anything, because police stood by and welcomed them inside, even though the mob pushed past police barriers, sprayed chemical irritants and smashed windows as chaos enveloped the government complex. The January melee to stop the certification of Joe Biden's victory was instigated by a mob of supporters of then-President Donald Trump who have professed their love of law enforcement and derided the mass police overhaul protests that shook the nation last year following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But they quickly turned on police in one violent encounter after another. “We backed you guys in the summer,” one protester screamed at three officers cornered against a door by dozens of men screaming for them to get out of their way. “When the whole country hated you, we had your back!” The Capitol Police didn't plan for a riot. They were badly outnumbered and it took hours for reinforcements to arrive — a massive failure that is now under investigation. Throughout the insurrection, police officers were injured, mocked, ridiculed and threatened. One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, died after the riot. Officers who spoke to The Associated Press said police had to decide on their own how to fight them off. There was no direction or plan and they were told not to fire on the crowd, they said. One cop ran from one side of the building to another, fighting hand-to-hand against rioters. Another decided to respond to any calls of officers in distress and spent three hours helping cops who had been immobilized by bear spray or other chemicals. Three officers were able to handcuff one rioter. But a crowd swarmed the group and took the arrested man away with the handcuffs still on. Still, some rioters claim police just gave up and told them that the building was now theirs. And a few — including one accused of trying to pull off an officer’s gas mask in a bid to expose the officer to bear spray — have claimed to be protecting police. Matthew Martin, an employee for a defence contractor from Santa Fe, New Mexico, who has acknowledged being inside the building, claimed police were opening doors for people as they walked into the Capitol. Dan Cron, Martin’s attorney, said a photo filed in court by authorities shows an officer using his back to hold a door open for people. No police barriers were in place when Martin walked into the Capitol area, nor was there anyone telling people they weren’t allowed in the building, Cron said. “He thought that was OK,” Cron said, adding that his client was inside the Capitol for less than 10 minutes and didn’t commit any violence. “He doesn’t know what the policies and procedures at the Capitol are,” Cron said. “He had never been there.” On the surface, images taken of officers who appear to step aside as the mob stormed the building could be beneficial to the rioters' claims. In the days after Jan. 6, those images fueled rumours that police had stood by on purpose, but they have not been substantiated. Experts caution against drawing conclusions. “The context will be very important in claiming officers welcomed in a crowd,” said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. “They were trying to control a fast-developing, difficult, potentially explosive situation. So I don’t think it’s enough to say, ‘The officer didn’t tackle me.’” Authorities say Michael Quick of Springfield, Missouri, claimed that he didn’t know at the time that he wasn’t allowed in the Capitol when he and his brother climbed in through an open window. He believed police were letting people in, despite seeing officers in riot gear. Attorney Dee Wampler, who represents Michael and Stephen Quick, said he doesn’t currently have proof for the claim the officers were letting people into the building, but he pointed out that he has thousands of documents from prosecutors still left to review. “If this case was tried, the evidence would be that there was a fairly large number of officers that were standing around when my clients entered, and they didn’t try to stop the Quicks,” Wampler said, adding that his clients didn’t commit any violence inside the Capitol. But the argument did not work for Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man who sported face paint, a furry hat with horns and carried a spear during the riot. Chansley's lawyer said an officer told his client that “the building is yours” and that he was among the third wave of rioters entering the Capitol. In rejecting a request two months ago to free Chansley from jail, Judge Royce Lamberth said it wasn’t clear who made the comment and concluded Chansley was unable to prove that officers waved him into the building, citing a video that the judge said proves that the Phoenix man was among the first wave of rioters in the building. The judge noted that rioters were crawling in through broken windows when Chansley entered the Capitol through a door. Chansley's attorney, Albert Watkins, still insists that his client was in the third wave of rioters in the building and said it shouldn’t shock the public that rioters who were hanging on to Trump’s every word and believed the election was stolen legitimately believed they were allowed in the building. “It’s what’s in their hearts and minds,” Watkins said. In all, Joshua Black made two claims that he helped officers at the Capitol. Before encountering the officer he claimed to have protected at a Capitol doorway, Black said, police shot him in the cheek with a plastic projectile as he tried to keep another officer from being “bootstomped” by other rioters while outside the Capitol. But prosecutors say surveillance video doesn’t depict an officer on the ground, nor is Black shown trying to help an officer. Black’s attorney, Clark Fleckinger II, didn’t return a phone call and email seeking comment. ___ Associated Press writer Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report. Jacques Billeaud, The Associated Press