In her latest interview about her bestselling book, Mary Trump told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday that she has heard her uncle Donald Trump use racial and anti-Semitic slurs.
The world's nations must do all they can to understand the origins of COVID-19, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday, comments that could worsen tensions with China. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Morrison said an inquiry into the roots of the virus would minimise the threat of another global pandemic. Morrison's comments came after similar comments by the prime minister earlier in the year soured ties between Australia and China.
TORONTO — Bars and restaurants across Ontario will shut down earlier and all strip clubs will close, Premier Doug Ford announced Friday, saying the new rules were needed to fight a surge in COVID-19 cases.Ford said the latest restrictions would help reduce transmission in high-risk businesses.Bars and restaurants will now be required to close at midnight, except for takeout and delivery, and will have to stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m."We've seen doubling in cases in a very short period of time and it's very, very concerning," Ford said. "There's been outbreaks and ... we just can't chance it."Some mayors in the Greater Toronto Area had requested similar measures for weeks, and Ford had initially resisted taking action, saying municipalities had the power to impose restrictions on businesses under public health regulations if they wanted to.On Friday, however, Ford said a change was necessary."We just can't have these places open until three o'clock in the morning," he said. "But we're being very balanced, I feel."The new rules follow a decision by the province last week to change limits on social gatherings, lowering the number of people permitted at outdoor events to 25 and indoor events to 10.A spokesman for Restaurants Canada said Friday that the government had not shown that organization any data to backup the restrictions, but the businesses will continue to do their part to fight the pandemic.James Rilett, the group's vice-president of Central Canada, said the new restrictions would have a detrimental impact on night clubs and bars, many of which are already struggling to survive."It will have an incredibly bad impact on some restaurants at a time where you have historic debt loads and you're starting to close down outdoor patios," he said.Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said with the new restrictions on bars and restaurants in place the province must offer some financial support."I feel for owners and employees who will be affected by these new restrictions," he said in a statement. "(They) must be accompanied by help for small businesses to stay afloat during a second wave."NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the Ford government has let COVID-19 infections rise by delaying putting new public health measures in place."We are teetering on another health and economic disaster because this government has not been listening, and not been acting," she said in a statement.Ford also announced Friday that the province will spend an additional $741 million to help clear a backlog of surgeries that has developed at Ontario hospitals during the pandemic.Health Minister Christine Elliott said the funds will help the health-care system to build more capacity to manage surges in COVID-19 cases and outbreaks."We are working directly with our health-care partners to ensure our ... system is ready to respond to the challenges that we face with future waves of COVID-19," she said.The president of the Ontario Hospital Association warned Friday that the pandemic is straining health-care resources across the province and further action will be needed to respond to rising case rates.Anthony Dale said currently hospitals are running assessment centres, processing COVID-19 tests, helping manage some long-term care homes, working to cut the surgical backlogs and handling their normal operations."Any serious wave of COVID-19 means that it will be impossible for hospitals to continue all those roles at once, full stop," he said. "And the only way to keep hospitals functioning in the way that the public wants and expects is to help stop the spread of COVID-19."Dale urged people across the province to follow basic health guidelines like practising physical distancing, hand-washing and wearing a mask to stop the rise in case numbers."I think it's about helping people understand that things have changed, and change very quickly, in just a little under two weeks," he said. "And we don't have much time at all."Ontario reported 409 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and one new death related to the virus.The province said it processed 41,865 tests over the previous day, with another 65,227 under investigation.Meanwhile, Toronto's top public health official ordered four hospitality businesses to close on Friday.The businesses were flouting public health protocols and evading investigators, Dr. Eileen de Villa said, adding that some were pressuring staff to work, even when sick.The businesses, whose names she did not share because the operation to shut them down was not yet complete, will be allowed to reopen once the city is satisfied they'll follow the rules.Also in Toronto, officials declared an outbreak at Glen Park Public School in North York — the city's first school-based outbreak — after two students tested positive for the virus.Two class cohorts — one with 17 children and the other with 18 — were sent home to self-isolate for 14 days, as was one staff member, de Villa said."All steps have been followed as expected in a situation of this nature," she said."One of the realities of living in a world with COVID-19 is that there will be cases in schools. Today's news is expected. I expect there will be similar announcements in future and you can be confident the steps developed to manage the situation and reduce the risk of spread will be followed."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
It's been almost 15 years since Sébastien Simon beat and repeatedly stabbed 17-year-old Brigitte Serre at the gas station in Montreal's St-Léonard neighbourhood where she worked. And the feelings are still raw for her family."He stole something from us," said Darlene Ryan, Serre's stepmother. "He didn't steal a doll. He stole a person, with all the dreams that she has and we had for her."Simon, who married while in prison in 2017, has applied to the Parole Board of Canada for supervised outings. His hearing is scheduled for next month.But Ryan says she and family members will not be able to attend in person because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead they will have to listen to the hearing and deliver their victim impact statements over the telephone.That's not good enough for Ryan."It's important for the commissioners to see our reaction. It's not the same when you're talking in person and you're just talking coldly over the phone, even though some emotions might come through." said Ryan."It doesn't have the same impact. And I'm truly afraid that if it's just by phone, it's giving him an unfair advantage in the decision making."Parole Board adjusts to pandemicOn its website, the Parole Board of Canada says it has had to make adjustments because of the COVID-19 pandemic."[The Parole Board of Canada] has implemented technological and procedural enhancements in order to provide victims, as an interim measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to participate at PBC hearings via telephone," reads an entry on the board's site."Victims will be able to listen to the hearing and present their statement for Board members to consider in their decision-making."In an email to CBC, the board says it has facilitated the participation of 230 victims and 66 victim-support persons at 110 hearings by teleconference since April 22.Violation of rights, Ryan saysRyan says that not being able to attend in person violates her rights under the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which was enacted in 2015 — specifically the sections on the right to participate and the right to information.Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, has been a strong advocate for victims' rights since his daughter was kidnapped and murdered in 2002. He was one of the driving forces behind the Victims Bill of Rights.Boisvenu says delivering a victim impact statement over the phone will not have the same effect as if it were delivered in person. He supports Ryan in her bid to be present at Simon's parole board hearing."Because when you had the person in front of you, there was a non-verbal communication that you can see, how hard it is for the victim to do those kind of a testimony," said Boisvenu."And it's very important to know who is that person. It's not just a voice."Boisvenu said that if the courts can resume proceedings and still maintain safety precautions, then it should be possible for the parole board to do the same in its hearings.He said that almost every sector of society has adapted to the pandemic."We all wear [a mask] when we go in the grocery," said Boisvenu. "We go to government services, we wear a mask.""So they can put a plastic wall between the offender and the [parole board] commissioners and the victim.""Every industry in Canada, every restaurant, they adjust the way they work with some kind of protection. Why can't the parole board do that?"Ryan has filed a written complaint to the Parole Board of Canada, asking that she and her family members be allowed to be physically present or, failing that, that Simon's hearing be delayed until that is possible."If it is too dangerous for a victim to participate and defend their rights by being there in person … it is then logical to say it is too dangerous for the criminal to be allowed outside of prison wall," Ryan argued in her letter.
By Wednesday of the first week of virtual school, James Frodyma was frustrated.The Toronto father says a combination of technical issues, a sick call, and staffing shortages meant his children, attending Grade 3, Grade 1, and junior kindergarten in the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), haven't been taught a thing."I have 3 kids starting virtual learning today and it's a total mess," he tweeted earlier this week."My 3rd grader's teacher sent a message at 8:30am that he's not available today, my 1st grader has no teacher assigned and my little guy is starting JK and TDSB didn't activate his account!" the tweet continued."I know that it's a big learning curve for everyone, parents and children, teachers ... and even for the school board," he explained to CBC News over the phone."So I have sympathy for everyone, but we have three kids in the house, three different grades, and nobody's been able to get going yet."He's just one of thousands of parents coping with the delays as the TDSB pushed the start of virtual classes back to this week. The board is scrambling to hire and train enough teachers after thousands of children switched from in-class to online learning.And Frodyma is even starting to worry his kids might fall behind their peers attending in-person classes or in virtual school with other boards."They've been out of school for close to 200 days since last March break, and we're still not up and running," he said. Todd Cunningham, a clinical and school psychologist with the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, says Frodyma's concern is a valid one.'The summer slide'"We know from past research about what's called the summer slide," he explained."When children who either don't have access to materials due to impoverished families, or don't have the opportunity to practise if those tools are available, they do not continue ... the same gains compared to those who do have access," Cunningham told CBC Toronto, adding that teacher-led online classes are needed as soon as possible."In the typical summer ... those who don't have access can actually fall behind by two to three months in their reading, spelling, mathematical development," he explained."We're now into seven months now that they have had disrupted education going on. And now, if we continue to have more disruptive education is happening, I think parents should be concerned about it."Cunningham says online learning means parents will need to take a more active role in their children's education. "It's more important than ever that we're spending 15 minutes and reading to them. That helps with the development of vocabulary. It helps expand the knowledge. It helps them to understand genres and how language is used," he said.."So, there's definitely going to be some work that parents should be doing with their kids to help help with this."
Despite over a year of negotiations, Sudan is facing a fresh obstacle to its removal from a U.S. terrorism list that has hindered its economy: a demand that it normalize relations with Israel, three sources familiar with the matter said. Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism dates back to its toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir, and makes it difficult for its new transitional government to access desperately needed debt relief and foreign financing. Sudan's skyrocketing inflation and plummeting currency have been the biggest challenge to the stability of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's transitional administration.
The recent COVID-19 outbreak at a Saskatoon manufacturing plant should serve as a wake-up call for business and government, says a University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist.According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), the Brandt manufacturing plant is now the source of at least 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Brandt officials said in an email 11 employees have tested positive, and the SHA has linked an additional eight cases to the outbreak.No one from Brandt was made available for an interview, but an official said in an email that the business is doing all it can to keep everyone safe. That includes a new mandatory mask policy.U of S professor of community health and epidemiology Nazeem Muhajarine said he's shocked Brandt didn't require masks until now."After the fact, after about 19 cases have been connected to this particular business, making mask wearing mandatory is a little it too late. It's kind of like closing the barn door after the horses have left," he said.Muhajarine said this shows the need for a provincewide mandatory mask-wearing policy in all indoor spaces. Things could get much worse without one, he said."Leadership makes a difference, not only just preparedness, but how we actually put that preparedness for the pandemic and containment of the pandemic into operation. Leadership is so important," Muhajarine said.Muhajarine said public health and safety decisions should not be left to the discretion of individuals and businesses. This "patchwork" approach puts everyone at risk, he said.Premier Scott Moe reiterated the government's position this week. Masks are encouraged if people are unable to remain two metres apart indoors, but are not mandatory.The Brandt official said in the written statement that for the past few months, the business has made "elevated commitments to physical distancing, sanitization, self-monitoring and stay-at-home policies."Aside from mandatory masks, the new company policy will also include more frequent deep cleaning and sanitary fogging.The official said Brandt will continue to monitor the situation closely and is following all directions set out by the SHA.CBC Saskatchewan wants to tell more stories about how the pandemic is touching the province's most vulnerable and marginalized populations. How has COVID-19 affected you? Share your story with our online questionnaire.
It felt a bit like Christmas morning at Stewart Harris's Wolfville, N.S., home last week.With his wife, daughter and granddaughters looking on, he carefully opened a small manila envelope that had arrived all the way from the U.K. He reached inside and pulled out army identification tags attached to a long metal chain — a family heirloom that until recently he didn't know was missing.The dog tags belonged to his late father, Cpl. Ian Harris, who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1951-1966. "He's been gone a while so it's pretty nice," said Harris, his voice catching as he looked down at the family history in his hands. "[I have] thoughts of the people who held onto them for all those years and found us and got them back to us."It was Josie Bennett who first stumbled on the tags in a field outside of Dover, England, in 1956."Just playing in the field there, she found the dog tags, picked them up and kept them all these years," Bennett's neice Ali Roberts, who lives in Wrexham, Wales, told CBC's Information Morning earlier this month. The small metal necklace was in "remarkably good condition," said Roberts, with Ian Harris's initials and rank clearly visible: IN Harris, airman. Roberts's aunt kept the tags for more than 60 years and this summer asked her niece to put her genealogy sleuthing skills to good use and help solve the mystery.It only took about 12 hours for Roberts to find Harris on Facebook and send him a message. When Harris confirmed his father's service number with the number on the dog tags, Roberts said she became "extremely excited.""And I know my Auntie Josie as well was just so emotional and so happy because she'd kept them all these years," she said.Harris's daughter Erica and two granddaughters, seven-year-old Edith and four-year-old Agnes, have been staying with him and his wife, Deb, since the pandemic arrived in Nova Scotia this spring.It provided the perfect opportunity for the children to learn more about the great-grandfather they never got to meet."It just brings up a whole bunch of emotions," said Deb Harris. "It's wonderful to see his name again and validate him by talking about him, and sort of bringing a little piece of him back to us, which I think is really, really special."Ian Harris was born in 1932 and joined the Royal Canadian Air force about six years after the Second World War ended. He was an instrument technician who worked on the aircraft, first in Germany, then later in Newfoundland before his family returned to Nova Scotia and settled in Greenwood.Harris would have been just 18 months old in 1956, the year his father's dog tags were discovered. His father, who died in 2011 at 79, never mentioned them and he doesn't know how they came to be left in a field outside of Dover. But he knows his dad would have been excited to see them again.After serving in the military for 14 years, Ian Harris went back to night school to get enough high school credits so he could study education at Acadia University.He became a history teacher and spent the rest of his career working at a junior high school. "He'd definitely want to know the whole story behind Ali and her aunt and how they found the tags and then he'd be starting to tell me stories about where he might or might not have lost them, whether or not there was a pub involved," Harris chuckled.Roberts said it's been an emotional journey for her family, too."We all feel so passionately that things like this belong with the family," she said. She's asked for photos of the dog tags' homecoming to share with her aunt."It's remarkable, really," Harris said. "Most people would have just done away with them, I expect so it's quite something that they did that and actually that Ali was able to find me."MORE TOP STORIES
Western powers called on China on Friday to restore basic legal rights in Hong Kong and open up to scrutiny its remote Xinjiang region where more than one million ethnic Uighurs are held. The rare rebuke of China came at the U.N. Human Rights Council where the European Union, Britain, Australia and Canada were among those voicing mounting concerns about both areas.
COPENHAGEN — Norway’s 83-year-old King Harald V was admitted to the main hospital in Oslo on Friday with breathing difficulties, the Norwegian palace said. It added that he tested negative for COVID-19.The palace said his son, Crown Prince Haakon, has stepped in and taken over his father’s duties, including a scheduled meeting with the Norwegian government.“The king is now being examined. COVID-19 is already excluded,” the palace said in a later statement.Harald ascended the throne upon the death of his father King Olav on Jan. 17, 1991.The country’s first native-born king since the 14th century, he married a commoner as a prince and won hearts in his egalitarian country by leading the mourning in 2011 for the victims of mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.In 2016, a speech by Harald in support of gay rights and diversity attracted widespread international attention. “Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and girls and boys who love each other,” he said.The speech was shared tens of thousands of times on social media.Earlier this year, Harald was briefly admitted to Rikshospitalet, the capital's university hospital, after experiencing dizziness. No serious illness was found, but the monarch was on sick leave for two weeks.The Associated Press
Steve Daines is the affable one, the smiler, a consummate salesman who parlayed his corporate success into a meteoric rise through Montana politics and a seat in the U.S. Senate. Together they form a powerful political alliance on the cusp of dominating Montana politics for years to come, pushing the state's Republican Party away from a Western brand of centrism and toward the hard-line partisan agenda of President Donald Trump. Daines, 58, is seeking a second six-year term while Gianforte, 59, is pouring millions of dollars from his private fortune into another run at the governor’s mansion.
WARSAW, Poland — Nobel Prize-winning writer Olga Tokarczuk has declined an honorary citizenship from the region of Poland where she lives because she would have had to share the honour with a Roman Catholic bishop who has made hostile comments about the LGBT community.Tokarczuk said in a tweet Friday that while she appreciated being considered, she “sadly” couldn't accept Lower Silesia’s honorary citizenship. She said that receiving it at the same time as Bishop Ignacy Dec would highlight the “painful rift” in Poland over LGBT rights.“I do not want to become an object of such actions and an element in this game,” said Tokarczuk, the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature and a vocal supporter of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.Dec has repeatedly described the LGBT rights movement as a threat to the Catholic Church and to Poland, which is predominantly Catholic.Local councillors linked to Poland's centrist opposition Civic Coalition party nominated Tokarczuk as a honorary citizen, while members of the right-wing Law and Justice party that governs the country recommended Dec.Tokarczuk, who lives in the southwestern city of Wroclaw, explained her reasons behind declining the honour.“Instead of being a joyous celebration of a sense of community, it is a vivid illustration of the painful rift in our society,” she said.Poland has produced heated debates over LGBT rights in recent months, including after right-wing President Andrzej Duda described the movement as worse than communism as part of his reelection campaign earlier this year.The Associated Press
Coughing or sneezing in public has always been part of allergy and flu season, but today people might get a worried glance from their fellow citizens if they show any symptoms that are related to COVID-19.The Saskatchewan Health Authority has published a list that compares the symptoms of COVID-19 with those of allergies.According to the SHA list, fatigue, sore throat, shortness of breath and congestion are symptoms that can occur sometimes in both cases.Runny noses, which are commonly associated with seasonal allergies, are rare in cases of COVID-19.Itchy and watery eyes, and sneezing are also commonly associated with allergies, but are not COVID-19 symptoms.Challenges for people with allergiesFor people with allergies, it hasn't been an easy fall. Shannon Stumph said the smoke from forest fires has been irritating her allergies and she's been on the receiving end of funny looks if she coughs or sniffles in public."I have taken probably way more allergy medication in the last few months than I have in my entire life, just so that I can avoid that in public."Especially in the spring and fall, coughing, itchy eyes, a scratchy throat and a runny nose are not unusual reactions of her body. Usually the Regina woman chooses more natural alternatives to treat her allergy symptoms, like teas. Now she wants to make sure that the symptoms are always allergy-related. If she is unsure, she takes an allergy pill to see if symptoms go away within a certain time period. "It's on me, too, to just make sure that I'm actually healthy."The Saskatchewan Health Authority also recommends on its website that if your go-to allergy medication does not work to improve symptoms in the usual timeframe, your should stay home and call the Health Line or your physician in order to arrange a COVID-19 test.Allergy stigmaStumph believes there will continue to be a stigma during COVID-19 toward anybody who coughs or sniffles in public."It would be great if those of us who have allergies would have T-shirts to wear when we go out in public ... that just say, 'Oh, it's allergies,' or something like that."The Saskatchewan Health Authority notes that the information on the chart is broad and "does not apply to every individual circumstance." People should contact their physician for advice if they have questions about their situation.People who have had allergies chronically for years often know the difference between their allergy symptoms, a cold or a flu, according to Stumph."I'm stuffed up every single morning when I wake up, regardless of what's going on," she said.Seasonal allergies in schoolsSeasonal allergies with COVID-like symptoms can be particularly challenging for school children. Regina Catholic Schools, for example, asks families to use their daily screening questionnaire each day, which also lists symptoms such as runny nose.Parents should talk to the principal or teacher if they know that a symptom is specific to another condition, said spokesperson Twylla West in an email."Depending on the situation, we will react accordingly," she said."A school might ask for a doctor's note, as we will always err on the side of caution while conducting the business of education during a global pandemic."Reducing exposure to allergy triggersAccording to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, people suffering from seasonal allergies can also try to reduce their exposure to things that trigger allergies. This includes: * Staying indoors on dry, windy days. * Delegating lawn mowing and other gardening chores to others. * Showering after spending time outdoors. * Washing outdoor clothes. * Closing windows at night. * Using high-efficiency filters in the furnace. * Vacuuming often.CBC Saskatchewan wants to tell more stories about how the pandemic is touching the province's most vulnerable and marginalized populations. How has COVID-19 affected you? Share your story using our online questionnaire.
The Ontario government's move to axe its out-of-country health insurance program violates the Canada Health Act, a court ruled this week as it ordered the province to reinstate the coverage. The province overstepped its bounds in eliminating the Out of Country Travellers' Program at the beginning of 2020, which reimbursed Ontario residents who experienced medical emergencies when outside of Canada, a three-judge panel with the Superior Court of Justice found. If a province doesn't meet the portability pillar — one of five pillars in the Canada Health Act — after consulting with the federal health minister, Ottawa can "by order direct that the cash contribution to that province for a fiscal year be either reduced or withheld," the court said.
The company that owns Brunswick Square says it's committed to keeping the mall "a vibrant place to work, shop and stay."In a statement emailed to CBC on Thursday afternoon, Slate Asset Management also said it will continue to work with local groups to find solutions. "Though enclosed retail spaces are facing headwinds from a lack of COVID-era foot traffic and a trend of accelerated ecommerce, Slate remains engaged in dialogue and will continue to bring solutions to the table."Mayor Don Darling suggested earlier this week that the city has had trouble getting the company to meet.Officials at Slate, whose Canadian headquarters are in Toronto, declined a request for an interview.Retailer Wayne Smith says it's eerie to walk through Brunswick Square now. The mall in the centre of Saint John's uptown area has been home to his jewelry store for 28 years, and now he's one of only a handful of tenants left in the three-storey retail part of the complex. "It's so quiet walking through the mall," he said. The list of former tenants is a long one and includes Colwell's men's and women's clothing stores, Perfume's Plus, Hallmark, English Butler, Manchester Shoes, Collectables, Baubles, Paddington Station, Laura Secord and Starbucks. And as of Thursday at 6 p.m., the list includes the Running Room as well.The first-floor food court is a shadow of its pre-pandemic self, with Deluxe French Fries, McDonald's, and Mother Nature's not reopening. Only two vendors remain.With the exception of Cora's restaurant, the third floor is essentially empty. The second floor isn't faring much better. The Bank of Nova Scotia and three retail stores are all that's left. But not all of those who left went out of business. Collectables, Manchester Shoes, and Paddington Station all left for other locations in the last couple of years. The demise of Brunswick Square has been a slow and steady one that predates 2015, when the 508,000-square-foot property was sold by Fortis Properties Corp. — an electric utility holding company — to Slate Asset Management, which describes itself on its website as "a global investment and asset manager, with a bold vision to re-imagine the potential of properties, markets or opportunities that others overlook." Smith said he saw the decline coming long before Slate took over, but the change of ownership seems to have accelerated it, while the pandemic sealed the deal. Initially, Smith said, he had high hopes that Slate might be able to breathe new life into the mall. "I was a little excited when Slate bought it, because I thought they're going to really do something with the centre. And it just kept getting worse and worse and worse." In its email, Slate said it had invested $20 million in the property over the last three years to improve the hotel and parking garage and "explored other opportunities including relocating City Hall into the space."The company said it also pays levies to support business improvement groups and will continue to work with Opportunities New Brunswick and the province "to bring new entrants into the Saint John market."In addition to high rents, former tenants have complained about Slate's inflexibility regarding hours of operation — some wanted to stay open later to make the most of cruise ship visits, while others wanted to shorten their hours of operation. Smith said he's tried to ask the company about their plans for the mall, but said the company has been evasive. They're "like politicians," he said. "They really don't give you an answer." Darling hasn't gotten any answers from the company either. He said the city has made it clear to Slate that Brunswick Square "needs to be reinvented." And if they're not willing to do that, he said, they should sell to someone who is. "We need a meeting," the mayor said this week on CBC's Information Morning. "We need to understand what the future is of this space, and again, if Slate, for a variety of reasons, isn't interested in investing further or reinventing, then perhaps they're interested in selling this off to someone who can."Darling said the company hasn't appeared willing to meet with city officials. Since the property isn't derelict, the city's options are limited."We cannot find solutions without the owner being at the table, and that's why we're going to continue to reach out and get their people with our people, as they say, so we can try to move something ahead."Tough time for urban mallsDavid Soberman, a professor of marketing at Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, said Brunswick Square isn't the only mall suffering these days. He said malls have been negatively impacted by big box stores and online shopping. Add to that a pandemic that wiped out regular foot traffic and tourism, and things are pretty grim. Soberman said urban malls like Brunswick Square have been particularly hard hit, since they rely on the patronage of people who work nearby and find it convenient to run errands through the day. When all of those people went to work from home, businesses really suffered. Since it's in the company's best interest to operate at full capacity, Soberman said it's unlikely that Slate is being deliberately absent from discussions."Once the pandemic is behind us, something will happen, because it's not in equilibrium for such a beautiful space like that to sit empty," he said. "Even if it's repurposed to become commercial space or residential space. That's better than if it actually sits empty."Re-inventing the mallSome have suggested that Brunswick Square would be an ideal location for a grocery store, since one doesn't currently exist in the uptown. Others have suggested it shouldn't be a mall at all, and that the University of New Brunswick Saint John campus could expand into the space. Smith said the location is perfect for a casino — an adjacent hotel, another nearby, and close to the water, restaurants, galleries, the Imperial Theatre, and lots of interesting shops.The possibilities are endless and have been tossed around for years. But like the former Canadian Coast Guard site not far away, no one has been willing to pick up the ball and run with it. Soberman said he's not surprised that Slate officials aren't surfacing during the pandemic with a plan to revitalize Brunswick Square. He said it doesn't make any sense to come up with a plan until the fallout from the pandemic is known. In the meantime, the mall is likely to continue to lose tenants and Slate will have a tough time to attract new ones. "It's pretty hard to find a business and say, 'Please come to this mall now. There's nobody going through it and most of the mall is closed, but we'd like you to open a store here.' This isn't really a very appealing offer to a retailer, even if the rent is very, very attractive."As for the mayor's invitation to Slate to sell the company to someone willing to help reinvent the space, Soberman said the golden rule of asset management is to "buy low, sell high," and that just isn't going to happen right now. While not ideal for impatient city officials and nervous tenants, Soberman said everyone will likely have to wait a while to find out what the company has planned for Saint John's uptown mall.A storied locationThe site of Brunswick Square has a storied history and was, at one time, home to Manchester Robertson Allison, more commonly known as MRA's. The department store closed in 1973 after 107 years in business and the entire block was razed to make way for Brunswick Square, which was completed in 1976. In a 1958 Macleans magazine article, MRA's was described as "a sprawling emporium with forty-five departments" that opened in 1866. The article said many people "associate MRA's with the shopping excursions of their youth — with clothes and gifts bought for memorable occasions.People were also very sentimental about the store and "they can't imagine it changing." The general manager in 1958 said people complain when a department is redecorated. Lloyd Macdonald told the magazine at the time, "We could never modernize completely in one step. The public wouldn't let us."The article goes on to say that the store offers "the most up-to-date goods, which is typical of King Street, where the old and new are shuffled, the past blends with the present, and memories mix with hopes."Former city councillor and MLA Gerry Lowe still has hope for the complex. He said the company would not have just invested millions of dollars for renovations on the parking garage and hotel if they weren't planning on sticking around. But he expressed concern when the complex was sold in 2015. He said it would be devastating to uptown businesses if the city lost Brunswick Square. He's saddened by the current state of the mall."It's sad when you walk through it, and it's just store after store, floor after floor that's vacant. And the hotel, it's quiet, naturally. So many things where people would be drawn to that complex for retail is empty."
Around two hundred people staged a sit-in on Friday in downtown Toronto to mark the return of global climate protests that had been derailed by the novel coronavirus. Activists gathered at the intersection of Bay Street and Wellesley Street West near Queen's Park with banners, megaphones — and plenty of hand sanitizer — to demand immediate action on climate change and call for a "just recovery" from the COVID-19 pandemic. "The message of today is that the youth are back," said Cooper Price, an organizer and activist with the Fridays for Future project."We're back in the streets; we're back with our message."The Fridays for Future movement, inspired by environmental activist Greta Thunberg, now 17, has been unable to hold its protests, which that had garnered considerable traction but were derailed when the pandemic hit. In September 2019, thousands of people descended on Queen's Park to demand change. But due to COVID-19, this year is different.Everyone present wore masks, a microphone was disinfected between speakers, hand sanitizer was available, and safety reminders were abundant. The demonstrators sat on "Xs" that had been drawn on the roadway with white chalk so that people could physically distance. Police closed Bay Street in both directions from College to Bloor Street West, but traffic has since resumed. Toronto joined other Canadian cities, such as Halifax and Vancouver, as well as cities around the world in the movement's return.Youths spoke about their desire for accountability from politicians, clean water, and their drive for change.."We want to remind our leaders that we've not forgotten the promises that they've made and that we're here to help hold them accountable," said Avery Thorne, who came from Guelph to join the sit-in."I think our generation really understands the emergency that we're in."The need for a "just recovery" and transition out of the pandemic was also top of mind. A just recovery, said organizer Iakoiehwahtha Patton, is "for all people across Canada," meaning the inclusion of Indigenous, marginalized, racialized and Black communities. "It means taking the approach ...of actual tangible reconciliation," she said. While the numbers are smaller compared to last year's turnout, participants say the protest is still powerful because of its timing. It comes two days after the Liberal government's throne speech. By committing to net zero emissions by 2050 instead of 2030, Price said, the federal government missed the mark. "By 2050, I'm going to be an adult. I don't know what kind of world I'm going to be living in. I don't know what kind of future I'm going to have. So we need that action now," he said. He added that the group would like Premier Doug Ford to repeal Schedule 6 of Bill 197, which deals with environmental assessments, as well as implement the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous people. Price also pointed out that political leaders like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who marched in Montreal last year, were absent from this protest when they were perhaps "needed most."Other protesters echoed his sentiment, adding that they felt betrayed by political decisions, such as pipeline expansions."I'm actually pretty disappointed," said Thorne, adding political leaders who showed up to protests and "acted like they really cared" last year have shown everyone "their real priorities" by skipping this year's demonstrations. In Stockholm, Thunberg and other demonstrators protested in front of the Swedish parliament. It's now been over two years since Thunberg started her solo protests, which inspired students and young people around the world to follow suit and stage their own. Older adults also came out to the Toronto protest. Ann Pennington said she wanted to support her niece, who helped organize the sit-in, and raise her voice for her newborn grandson."It's not fair that it's on their shoulders, they're just kids," she said."It's the last 30, 50 years that we should've been doing things differently. And we weren't." The youth activists say they aren't going anywhere."We're afraid and we're angry, and this combined is leading to us taking the streets," said Alienor Rougeot, coordinator of Fridays for Future Toronto."We would really, really like the rest of Canada, the rest of the other generations, to join us in this fight and realize we can't do this alone."
OSHAWA, Ont. — A young Black man who was assaulted by an off-duty Toronto police officer more than three years ago said the incident permanently changed his life and the way he views police.Dafonte Miller laid out the lingering impact of the Dec. 28, 2016 encounter in a statement read by prosecutors Friday at a sentencing hearing for Const. Michael Theriault.In it, Miller said that as a Black man, he had long heard stories about police abusing their power, but had never experienced it like he did that night."To this day, I can't believe that these would be the actions of a police officer. Someone that is sworn to serve and protect was viciously attacking me without any justification for doing so," he wrote in the statement. "No one questioned him. Only I was worthy of suspicion ... Because of the colour of my skin, Michael Theriault could have got away with what he did to me."Miller described feeling isolated and on edge since the incident, grappling with headaches and failing to find meaningful employment or return to school. He said the incident will forever be a part of his story.Theriault's assault conviction was a first step in accountability, Miller said, adding he would like to see the constable serve jail time.Several of Miller's relatives also submitted victim impact statements, while representatives of two organizations spoke about how the incident affected the community.Miller's mother, Leisa Lewis, said the incident has placed a "heaviness" on the family."Everyone feels like they are walking on eggshells, not sure what to say to Dafonte, not sure how to help him heal," she said.The sentence must send a message that "justice does not have special treatment for police officers," Lewis said.Miller's sister, Lataijah Lewis, said Theriault's crime affected not only her family but the entire Black community, "who was forced to relive, once again, the reality that our lives are not valued; we are not treated as human beings deserving of respect and care by the law."The Crown is seeking a jail sentence of 12 to 15 months and several other restrictions for Theriault, who was convicted of assault in June.In written submissions, prosecutors stress the need for denunciation and deterrence, and list a number of aggravating factors, including that Miller was defenceless and clearly injured.Defence lawyers, meanwhile, are asking for an absolute discharge or suspended sentence, arguing Theriault's penalty should not be used to address the broader issue of systemic racism."This is not a crime that is a racially motivated crime," defence lawyer Michael Lacy told the court. "Michael is not to be punished for the sins of the larger policing community."In written submissions, the defence highlighted letters of support vouching for Theriault's good character as well as several mitigating factors, such as his "positive employment history" as a peace officer.It also noted that he could face "collateral employment consequences, including termination" if sentenced to jail time. Theriault has been suspended with pay but would be suspended without pay if jailed. He also faces a disciplinary hearing with the force.Theriault also addressed the court Friday, saying he has been publicly "vilified," called a racist and held up as an example of police brutality. "That is not who I am," he said.The 28-year-old said he became a police officer to protect people and the community, and never intended to seriously hurt Miller."Both of our lives are forever changed but obviously the permanent injury to Mr. Miller will be far more devastating than anything else."The sentencing decision is expected Nov. 5.Theriault and his brother were charged with aggravated assault and obstruction of justice in connection with Whitby, Ont., incident.Prosecutors alleged during trial that the Theriault brothers chased Miller, then 19, and beat him with a metal pipe, leaving him with a ruptured eye and other injuries.The defence argued the pair wanted to arrest Miller after catching him and his friends breaking into the Theriault family truck.They alleged Miller was the one armed with a pipe and the brothers were forced to defend themselves.Ontario Superior Court Justice Joseph Di Luca said he couldn't rule out the possibility that self-defence played a role in the early portion of the encounter.It was during that part of the incident that Miller sustained the eye injury that warranted the aggravated assault charge, Di Luca said.However, the judge said the self-defence argument fell apart shortly afterwards when Theriault grabbed a roughly metre-long pipe and hit Miller in the head as the young man was trying to flee.Theriault was thus acquitted of aggravated assault but convicted of the lesser charge of assault.The officer was also found not guilty on the obstruction of justice charge, and his brother was cleared of all charges. Theriault's lawyers had filed an application to vacate the verdict, arguing assault was not listed as an option on the indictment and should not have been available for a guilty verdict.Di Luca dismissed the application, saying the defence's bid was not based on fresh evidence or a change in law, but rather on a new legal argument not raised during closing arguments. He noted that the argument that he made an error in law is one that should be left to the Appeal Court.The Crown is also challenging the verdict, arguing Di Luca "erred in his analysis and assessment of the defence of self-defence."The case has spurred protests against anti-Black racism and police discrimination. This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 25, 2020.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said he was “disappointed” to hear of an RCMP policy that calls for all officers to shave their beards and wear medical-grade face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic as a safety measure. It is being criticized as discriminatory against Sikh and Muslim officers whom keep facial hair for religious reasons.
Canada has signed an agreement to secure another 20 million vaccine doses as the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine intensifies.During a news conference in Ottawa today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a deal with AstraZeneca on access to a vaccine prospect now being developed at Oxford University. As a result, the federal government has now secured access to six leading vaccine candidates. None of the candidates has been shown to work so far."We've been guided by science since the very beginning and right now, both the COVID-19 vaccine task force and the immunity task force are doing important work to help us identify the most promising vaccine options and strategies," he said.There is no approved vaccine yet for COVID-19, though there are many in clinical trials and in development. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the global market is "intense and unpredictable.""Each supplier and therefore each negotiation is unique, with its own set of concerns," she said. "The resulting agreements contain terms specifying the quantity, the price, the anticipated delivery schedule, the manufacturing and finishing parameters for each vaccine."When a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready."The federal government already has reached vaccine agreements with Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer and Moderna, for a total of 282 million doses.Full payments to drug companies are contingent on the vaccines passing clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval.Health Canada says it will review the evidence on safety, efficacy and manufacturing quality for each vaccine to determine if individual vaccines will be approved for use in Canada before they are made available to Canadians.Government buying syringes, swabs, needlesThe government is also procuring equipment and supplies needed for vaccine manufacturing and packaging, as well as immunization equipment such as syringes, needles and alcohol swabs.Trudeau also announced that Canada will provide $440 million to COVAX, a global procurement initiative meant to ensure fair, equitable and timely access to vaccines for less wealthy countries."This pandemic can't be solved by any one country alone because to eliminate the virus anywhere, we need to eliminate it everywhere," Trudeau said.The U.S. is not participating in the global COVAX project.Trudeau said the fact that 190 countries are participating — some as contributors, others as recipients — shows that "the world is coming together.""Unfortunately, there are a few large countries that have decided not to participate, but I can assure you that the number of countries that have stepped up and participated like Canada is ensuing that we're going a long way towards having a vaccine accessible for the most vulnerable around the world, which is essential as we move forward to get past this pandemic," he said.Rapid test in the worksWith frustratingly long waits for COVID-19 tests still the norm in some parts of the country, the federal government is under increasing pressure to approve rapid testing options. Asked about the holdup today, Trudeau said Health Canada accelerated the process to evaluate testing measures this spring."But at the same time we have to make sure that every step of the way we are not compromising science or the safety of Canadians," he said.Earlier this week, Tam warned that Canada is at a "crossroads" in its pandemic battle and said the actions of individual Canadians will decide whether there will be a massive spike in COVID-19 cases.Modelling shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally, with projections that cases could climb to more than 5,000 daily by October. If Canadians don't step up preventative measures, the virus could spread out of control and trigger a wave of infections bigger than the first one, Tam said.The following day, Trudeau delivered a rare address to the nation with a similar message. He warned that infections could surge and urged Canadians to do their part to prevent transmission by following public health guidelines on masks, gatherings and physical distancing.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé is asking the public to avoid social gatherings for 28 days.Dubé said the province's public health experts believe that, if transmission can be minimized for two consecutive two-week stretches, the second wave of the virus will be contained."I insist on this," he said Friday. "It is for a month."He said the public should take it "one day at a time." (He later added that, if the public had already started avoiding gatherings a day earlier, when he made a similar plea, then there's only 27 days left.)Dubé also moved the entire greater Montreal region into the heightened, orange level of alert on Friday, given what the health minister described as an increasingly worrisome situation.The change applies to parts of the Laurentians, Lanaudière and the Montérégie. Dubé said an increase in cases, outbreaks and hospitalizations prompted the move.No region has been driven into the red alert level, which would mean further restrictions, even though Montreal public health is preparing for the possibility.But the designation no longer carries as much meaning given that, for the past two days, Dubé has urged Quebecers in all parts of the province to avoid getting together.The province reported 637 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest daily number since May 21, while the number of hospitalizations also climbed for the sixth consecutive day.'Please, take the call' The province also conducted more than 36,000 tests on Friday, the most ever in a day. The increase, coupled with a higher number of positive results, has put a strain on the province's contact tracers.Contact tracing is viewed by experts as a crucial tool in both understanding how the virus is spreading, and containing outbreaks.In recent weeks, public health workers have complained that people weren't picking up the phone, in part because their caller ID was blocked.Dubé has estimated that up to 30 percent of people contacted due to potential exposure don't pick up the phone.On Friday, Dubé announced that now, when health workers call to give a test result or get in touch with someone who may have been exposed, the caller ID will show "Santé publique.""Please, take the call," he said.No plans to close bars, restaurants or schoolsDespite the rise in cases, the province has no immediate plans to close bars, restaurants or other businesses.Quebec's public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said doing so wouldn't necessarily mean a decrease in outbreaks.He said that people who would otherwise go out for dinner, where the distancing rules are in effect, could end up having a party at their home, where the potential for spread is greater.Arruda also reiterated that the province has no plans to close schools and that they have not been a major source of transmission.As of Thursday, there were 1,163 cases across the province's network of 3,089 public and private schools. There are more than 1 million students in the province.Université de Montréal epidemiologist Hélène Carabin said that, for now at least, the government's decision is understandable."In most of those cases, the case was not acquired at school. It was acquired in the community," she said."The data is still very new. It's an emerging disease so it's difficuilt to know, but from what we have seen so far it doesn't look like school is a really big source."
Pharmacists in Nova Scotia are preparing for more people to come to them for flu shots this fall and are asking patients to book an appointment.The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia says what it has learned from the southern hemisphere's flu season is that more people received their vaccination at the pharmacy, both because of physicians continuing virtual visits only and people wanting to avoid health-care facilities."Not only did they see an overall increase in demand of 25 per cent of people getting their flu shot," said CEO Allison Bodnar, "but pharmacy in particular saw an increase in demand.""What we have learned is that people's improved hygiene — handwashing, mask wearing, staying apart — combined with the increase in numbers of people getting the flu shot resulted in the easiest flu season in recent memory in the southern hemisphere. So it worked."WATCH | Canadians urged to get the flu shot, avoid 'twindemic':Patients have been able to simply walk into a pharmacy and receive a flu shot most years.Bodnar said that along with scheduling a time, patients will also have to do COVID screening and be required to wear a mask while in the pharmacy.The Public Health Agency of Canada has said the provinces and territories have collectively ordered 22 per cent more doses compared to the same time last year, as public health officials across the country are urging people to get their flu shot amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Bodnar said the health-care system is strained each year by the flu and it is already anticipating the effects of COVID-19 as cases start to climb."We don't need our health system to be strained by both this year," she said.It can also reduce the demand for COVID-19 testing, since the flu has similar symptoms. Bodnar said this is especially important for children in schools."If my kids show any symptoms of the flu, they're out at home until they get a COVID [test] and can prove that they're negative," she said."Why give yourself one more reason to have your kids home from school, have to miss work? If we can avoid getting the flu, we reduce the chances of having to stop our lives again."WATCH | Concerns about access to flu shots during the pandemic:Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease expert, told CBC Nova Scotia News at 6 that there are cases around the world where people have had the flu and COVID at the same time."Two respiratory viruses that can cause a significant amount of damage in the lung is a bad thing," she said, adding that it has shown "very poor outcomes" for people, including death.Barrett said this is also another way for people to help in the fight against COVID-19."[It's] hugely, hugely important in how we're going to manage our ICUs and hospitals as we go into flu season," Barrett said.'People do need to be patient'Bodnar said there doesn't seem to be any threat of doses running out in the province, but it's something to watch."We didn't run out last year, in fact we had lots left over last year and then they've ordered more this year," she said.Bodnar said the pharmacy association has been told by Public Health that the doses should arrive the week of Thanksgiving.However, she stresses that this is only the first shipment and that the supply is staggered over several weeks."People do need to be patient," Bodnar said."Pharmacists are doing the best they can, they don't control the flu supply. They will give out everything they have and they will do it as quickly as they can."Marla MacInnis, spokesperson for the Department of Health and Wellness, said in an email the province has increased its order for influenza vaccine over the past few years."Since the pandemic hit, we have increased our 2020/2021 order for Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine by about 5% more than what we had initially anticipated needing this year. We have the opportunity to request more vaccine, if needed."MORE TOP STORIES
LOS ANGELES — A radio reporter taken into custody while covering a demonstration the night two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were shot will not be criminally charged, the county's district attorney's office said Thursday.Josie Huang, a journalist for NPR affiliate KPCC, was slammed to the ground by deputies and accused of interfering with the arrest of a protester outside a hospital Sept. 12.After she was released from jail, Huang tweeted she was “filming an arrest when suddenly deputies shout ‘back up.’ Within seconds, I was getting shoved around. There was nowhere to back up.”In cellphone video of the incident, Huang can be heard shouting, “I’m a reporter. ... I’m with KPCC” as she tumbles to the pavement. She said she was wearing a press pass.Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Huang, 39, was too close to the deputies during the man’s arrest. But the Los Angeles County's District Attorney's Office said “it does not appear that she was intentionally attempting to interfere with the deputies, but merely trying to record” the incident.“Ms. Huang was in a public area filming a protest. When asked to back up, she is almost immediately grabbed by deputies and taken to the ground, giving her little if any time to comply,” prosecutors wrote in a memo declining to file criminal charges.The Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.A letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemning the arrest and calling for the charges against Huang to be dropped was signed by 64 media organizations, including The Associated Press.The Associated Press
The Yellowknives Dene First Nation has finalized an agreement with the federal government over the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve.Chief Ernest Betsina of Ndilo and Chief Edward Sangris of Dettah signed the agreement with Jonathan Wilkinson, the minister responsible for Parks Canada, in a virtual gathering on Friday. The signing completes partnerships between Parks Canada, and two other Akaitcho Dene First Nations; Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation and the Deninu K'ue First Nation, on the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve Regional Management Board, Parks Canada said in a news release. It also completes a "suite of federal agreements" that are needed for the park."The establishment of the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve in Traditional Akaitcho Territory and the signing of this agreement with the federal government respects the will of our elders and our people," Betsina said in the release."This park is a magnificent symbol and reminder of the Creator's power and beauty represented by the land, birds, fish, animals, and pristine water which will be shared with the rest of Canada to respect and protect. "The Yellowknives Dene First Nation looks forward to working with the government of Canada and the other co-signees of the agreement in the promotion and operation of the park."Agreement sets out training, employment commitmentsThe final agreement sets out the Yellowknives Dene First Nation's role on the regional management board, how its traditional knowledge will be used in management of the park, and commitments related to training, employment and contracting opportunities, says the release.It says an operational management board and a regional management board "based on a consensus model" will guide management of the park.Also, Parks Canada will support the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in the development of a tourism and boat access route strategy to boost economic activity for the First Nation."The Yellowknives Dene First Nation is supportive of this national park. The park allows our membership to participate economically in the protection and co-management of the park while respecting and preserving our treaty rights, history, culture and traditions," said Sangris in the news release. "The signing of this agreement between our First Nation and Canada is done out of mutual respect and co-operation along with the other Indigenous First Nations."Thaidene Nëné, which means "Land of the Ancestors" in the Dëne Sųłıné Yatıé language, covers 26,525 square kilometres northeast of Łutsël K'é. Of that, 14,305 square kilometres are a national park protected by Parks Canada and 12,220 square kilometres are protected by the territorial government, including a wildlife conservation area. Indigenous rights, including the right to hunt, trap and fish, still apply in the park.Parks Canada, the Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation, the Deninu K'ue First Nation and the Northwest Territories government signed agreements creating Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve in August of 2019. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation signed an agreement in principle at that time. The crown entered into Treaty 8 with the Akaitcho Dene First Nations over 1899 and 1900, and the First Nations have been working toward a land claim agreement for decades, having signed a framework agreement with the federal and N.W.T. governments in 2000.Friday's news release says Thaidene Nëné will remain a national park "reserve" until land claim agreements are reached with the Akaitcho Dene First Nations, as well as the Northwest Territory Métis Nation. It says the North Slave Métis Alliance also asserts rights in the area.The federal government says it will put $40 million into Thaidene Nëné infrastructure and operations in the park's first 12 years, and $3.4 million each year after that.
TORONTO — Thanksgiving fanatic Genna Buck is used to going all-out with an elaborate turkey spread for as many as 30 friends.But this year, COVID-19 will force her annual "friendsgiving" potluck bash to move online, where the avid party host plans to dine with pals over videoconference -- on a turkey meal she'll prepare the day before and drop off at "guests"' homes that morning.Buck says the pandemic has scuttled an annual Thanksgiving dinner with her parents, brother and grandparents in Belleville, Ont., but she refuses to cancel the friends version she typically hosts the weekend before or after the holiday. Even a scaled-back version wouldn't be the same, says Buck, whose guestlist has grown over six years to include co-workers, former classmates, and childhood camp friends."There's no such thing as a 10-person friendsgiving at my house, I can never do that," says Buck, referring to the 10-person bubble Ontario has imposed to contain COVID-19 spread."It's my way of showing love to the people that I love."Still, she says surging cases of COVID-19 in Toronto and other parts of Canada demand a drastic rethink of treasured traditions, which she admits may very well include Christmas for her.With a little over two weeks before Thanksgiving on Oct. 12, a growing chorus of public health and political leaders are urging Canadians to scale back any plans for a sprawling dinner party.The pleas started with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's sobering national address Wednesday, and were amplified Thursday by officials in Ontario and Quebec -- where the bulk of infections and deaths have occurred.Health Minister Christian Dube urged Quebecers to avoid parties over the next few weeks — including the Thanksgiving long weekend -- while Quebec's public health director suggested private gatherings are driving infections rather than restaurants, where restrictions are in place. "Which is very different from a party where ... we forget (to maintain) your two metres," said Dr. Horacio Arruda, referring to social distancing guidance.Earlier on Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford also acknowledged the temptation to gather with extended friends and family but stressed the importance of maintaining precautions."Nothing is more important than family and loved ones getting together," said Ford."But in saying that, we've got to keep it under 10."Alberta’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said Thursday that Thanksgiving can still happen as long as people practice caution and stick to gathering within their "cohorts," which in the province is a bubble of up to 15 people. "Smaller is safer. This is not the time for large gatherings," Hinshaw said.Infectious disease specialists warned any relaxation of the rules could undo months of sacrifice.Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of the division of infectious diseases at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., advised against travel and merging bubbles that share extended family members, even if it's for just one night."Some families there might be a bubble of them in Toronto, a bubble of them in Ottawa, a bubble of them in Kingston," notes Evans."But if at Thanksgiving they're sort of saying well you know winter's coming this is our last chance (so) let's all get together, then all of a sudden you've got a conglomeration of what could be up to 30 people, and whatever other little connections they have."Infectious disease epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite cautioned against the temptation to expand bubbles by even one friend."If everybody thinks like that, you've really increased the number of contacts that people have and that really increases the potential for disease to spread in networks," says Tuite, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto."Ultimately, this is all about networks and how we're connected."Tuite welcomed clear directives around Thanksgiving, noting many Canadians may be confused by restrictions on private indoor gatherings while bars and restaurants can allow far more guests."There's not a lot of consistency there, which can be cognitively really hard to figure out," she says.A group of physicians and infectious diseases experts are calling on the Ontario government to shut down restaurants, bars, places of worship and other non-essential businesses in regional hotspots including Toronto and Ottawa, arguing they are especially vulnerable to outbreaks that can spread to schools, long-term care homes, and other congregate settings.While agreeing that individual actions play a key role in containing COVID-19 spread, infections disease doctor Andrew Morris says the group believes social restrictions and increased testing is not enough. He says more aggressive measures are needed now if we hope to see the pandemic's trajectory shift in coming weeks."Because cases grow exponentially, every delay magnifies the problem even more," says Morris, a U of T professor and physician at Sinai Health and University Health Network. "It's very clear they're doing everything at the moment to avoid changing how society is functioning in terms of the economy."Trudeau warned of a fall "that could be much worse than the spring” but suggested quick action now could give Canadians "a shot at Christmas.”Evans was skeptical the pandemic could be reined in by Dec. 25, and suggests Trudeau dangled the prospect of a holly jolly gathering as a way to counter bad news "with a hopeful message."Earlier this week, Toronto Mayor John Tory told the city to expect fall and winter events to be cancelled, including a popular six-week Christmas market that draws hundreds of thousands of revelers and New Year's Eve celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square.Morris, too, doubted much would change without a significant clampdown."Things can change a lot but certainly the provinces that are being hard hit in Canada -- B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec -- are absolutely trying to take a wait-and-see approach in hoping that things will simmer down. "And as you know, so far it hasn't been very successful."It's really difficult to ask people to curtail their community ties, says Buck, who is reluctant to judge others for taking risks she may not be comfortable with. She says every individual will have their own health factors to consider."I've also had people that have really struggled with mental health during this time and just need to be around other people and I understand that urge so much," says Buck, who is asking her Thanksgiving guests to donate money to the social services agency where she works, West Neighbourhood House."But at the same time, this thing is real and it's super serious and you shouldn't take unnecessary risks."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
"We are doing this because we want this technology to be developed so that more people, more countries, more companies can participate in it in the future," Norway's PM Erna Solberg told EuronewsView on euronews
An agreement securing 20 million doses of a potentially successful COVID-19 vaccine with AstraZeneca, being developed with the University of Oxford, was announced Friday by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In addition, Trudeau announced $440 million in funding for Gavi's COVAX Facility to ensure that when developed, a coronavirus vaccine will be available worldwide, including for impoverished nations because "to eliminate the virus anywhere, we need to eliminate it everywhere."