Quebec makes mask mandatory on public transit, but experts say province needs to go further

Quebec makes mask mandatory on public transit, but experts say province needs to go further

Wearing a face mask will be mandatory for all public transit users in Quebec beginning July 13, Premier François Legault announced Tuesday.

The announcement frustrated some health experts, who believe the province needs to follow other jurisdictions around the world to also make masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces, such as stores.  

The new rule will apply to anyone over the age of 12 who is taking a bus, commuter train or the Metro. For children younger than that, wearing a mask is strongly recommended by the province, but not obligatory.

Following a two-week grace period — that is, after July 27 — transit officials will be required to bar access to users who refuse to wear a mask, Legault said.

But, he added, there will be no fines for people who disobey the new rule, nor will police be specifically tasked with enforcing it.

"We also need to count on the respect and solidarity of the population," Legault said. "The goal is to respect other people."

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

It's unclear who will be enforcing the new rule.

In a statement Tuesday, Montreal's public transit agency said it welcomed the rule, but that "its employees will not be able to exercise surveillance control over all customers on every trip. Other solutions must be considered."

Bus drivers and Metro operators won't "act as mask police," said Daniel Leroux, the acting president of their union.

"It is not up to our members to manage who has a mask and who does not have one, nor to restrict access to public transportation."

Mask use needs to be more widespread

Legault's government stopped short of making masks mandatory in other indoor public spaces, such as stores.

That additional measure is being adopted by a growing number of jurisdictions amid concerns a new wave of infections could erupt sooner rather than later. 

Toronto Mayor John Tory is pushing for his city to adopt a temporary bylaw making masks mandatory indoors, which he hopes to have in place by the time new rules for masks on his city's public transit go in place next week.

Ontario's Peel region, just outside Toronto, announced Tuesday it was making masks mandatory in stores and other indoor public spaces.

In the United States, 18 states have rules requiring a mask when physical distancing isn't possible, such as at the grocery store or on public transit. 

"We are lagging behind in adopting this measure," said Dr. Amir Khadir, an infectious disease specialist and a former opposition politician. "The government risks destroying its credibility."

Khadir was among 30 health experts who signed an open letter earlier this month calling on the Quebec government to require a mask anywhere that physical distancing is impossible.

The group pointed to a recent study, which is awaiting peer review, that demonstrated COVID-19 transmission chains could be broken if 80 per cent of the population wears masks in public.

Reaching that 80 per cent threshold in Quebec, Khadir said, will require the government to make masks mandatory beyond just public transit.

"If there is a game-changer, this is it," he said. 

'It has to become a social norm'

So far in Quebec only the Montreal municipality of Côte Saint-Luc has passed a bylaw making a mask mandatory in businesses.

At Tuesday's news conference, Legault didn't rule out the possibility that Quebec would eventually follow suit with a province-wide rule.

He said the decision would be based on a number of factors, including how the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

In recent weeks, the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths has trended downward across the province, even as lockdown measures continue to be lifted. Bars, spas and water parks were allowed to reopen last week.

But projections released this week by Quebec's public health research institute warned Montreal could be hit with another wave of infections as early as August if Montrealers waver in their obedience to public-health guidelines.

WATCH | How will Quebec enforce the wearing of masks on public transit?

The province's public-health director, Horacio Arruda, said regardless of whether it is mandatory to wear a mask inside a public space, Quebecers should nevertheless make it a habit. 

"It has to become a social norm," Arruda said, comparing it to taking one's keys when leaving the home.

  • Jagmeet Singh Is All Of Us Who've Been Told To Apologize For Calling Out Racism
    HuffPost Canada

    Jagmeet Singh Is All Of Us Who've Been Told To Apologize For Calling Out Racism

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  • Justices keep hold on secret Russia investigation material
    The Canadian Press

    Justices keep hold on secret Russia investigation material

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court is denying Congress access to secret grand jury testimony from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation through the November election.The justices agreed on Thursday to hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a lower court order for the material to be turned over to the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. The high court’s action will keep the documents out of congressional hands at least until the case is resolved, which is not likely to happen before 2021.Arguments themselves might not even take place before Americans decide whether to give President Donald Trump a second term.The delay is a victory for Trump, who also is mounting a Supreme Court fight against congressional efforts to obtain his banking and other financial records. Those cases are expected to be decided in the coming days or weeks.The court’s action also could mean the justices never have to reach a definitive ruling in a sensitive dispute between the executive and legislative branches of government, if either Trump loses reelection or Republicans regain control of the House next year. It’s hard to imagine an administration of Democrat Joe Biden would object to turning over the Mueller documents or House Republicans would continue to press for them.The House wants previously undisclosed details from the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called the court's decision disappointing.“Unfortunately, President Trump and Attorney General (William) Barr are continuing to try to run out the clock on any and all accountability. While I am confident their legal arguments will fail, it is now all the more important for the American people to hold the President accountable at the ballot box in November,” Nadler said in a statement.The federal appeals court in Washington ruled in March that the documents should be turned over because the House Judiciary Committee’s need for the material in its investigation of Trump outweighed the Justice Department’s interests in keeping the testimony secret.Mueller’s 448-page report, issued in April 2019, “stopped short” of reaching conclusions about Trump’s conduct, including whether he obstructed justice, to avoid stepping on the House’s impeachment power, the appeals court said.The committee was able to persuasively argue that it needed access to the underlying grand jury material to make its own determinations about the president’s actions, the court said.The materials initially were sought last summer, but by the time the appeals court ruled in March, Trump had been impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate.The Justice Department said in its Supreme Court filings that the court’s action was needed in part because the House hasn’t given any indication it “urgently needs these materials for any ongoing impeachment investigation.”The House had opposed the delay on the grounds that its investigation of Trump was continuing and that time is of the essence because of the approaching election. The current session of the House will end Jan. 3, and lawmakers elected in November will take their seats.Democrats have suggested that the grand jury materials could reveal new misconduct that could potentially form the basis of new articles of impeachment, but such a course would have been unlikely so close to the 2020 election even if the court had allowed the material to be turned over immediately.The House impeached Trump for his efforts to get Ukraine to announce an investigation of Biden, but the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted the president in February.It is also unclear how many new, or incendiary, revelations might be contained in the grand jury transcripts. Mueller’s report, though redacted in parts, revealed more than a year ago significant information about the president’s efforts to choke off the investigation and raised substantial questions about whether he had committed obstruction of justice.Besides, many of the witnesses closest to Trump appeared voluntarily before Mueller’s team of prosecutors, and the Justice Department in recent months has released written — albeit redacted — summaries of those interviews. That means the public already has insight into the accounts of key Trump associates, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and advisers like Steve Bannon and Hope Hicks.___Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.Mark Sherman, The Associated Press

  • Indian PM Modi shuts Weibo account after banning Chinese apps

    Indian PM Modi shuts Weibo account after banning Chinese apps

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  • Photo of toddler sitting on slain grandpa angers Kashmiris
    The Canadian Press

    Photo of toddler sitting on slain grandpa angers Kashmiris

    SRINAGAR, India — A photo of a toddler sitting on the chest of of his dead grandfather has outraged residents of Indian-controlled Kashmir after the victim’s family accused government forces of shooting the 65-year-old man during a clash with rebels in the disputed region.Suhail Ahmed, the victim's son, said on Thursday that his father, Bashir Ahmed Khan, was “dragged out of his car and shot in cold blood” in front of his 3-year-old grandson during a gunbattle Wednesday between Indian troops and rebels in northwestern Sopore town. He said troops later placed the child on his father's chest and took pictures.A series of pictures by an unidentified photographer were widely shared on social media shortly after the gunbattle. Hundreds of angry people staged anti-India protests, accusing the government forces of using the child’s images as a PR stunt.Police said the man was killed when rebels fighting against Indian rule shot at paramilitary soldiers from a mosque attic in Sopore. They said the attack killed one soldier and wounded three others.Kashmir's inspector-general of police, Vijay Kumar, denied the family’s account, saying the man was killed by militant firing. He said troops rescued the child during the fighting and accused the family of blaming the government forces under militant pressure.According to the family, Khan was driving in his car with his grandson from his home in the main city of Srinagar.“The police version is a blatant lie. If he was caught in crossfire, his body would have been inside his car or his car would have suffered some damage. There’s not even a scratch or a bullet mark on his car,” Ahmed said, as he wailed. "This is such heartlessness, such cruelty.”One of the photos showed a policeman holding the child in his lap and another showed the crying toddler, blood stains on his shirt and cookies in both of his hands, inside a police jeep.The Indian chapter of Amnesty International criticized the police for disclosing the child's identity, saying it was a violation of juvenile justice and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.Despite the coronavirus outbreak, violence has escalated in Kashmir in recent months as India has stepped up its counterinsurgency operations. Militants have also continued attacks on government forces and alleged informants.At least 143 rebels, 54 government troops and 32 civilians have been killed in more than 100 military operations across Kashmir since January, the Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a prominent local rights group, said in a recent report.India and Pakistan both claim the territory in its entirety. Muslim Kashmiris generally support the rebels' goal of uniting the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.Rebels have been fighting Indian rule since 1989, with tens of thousands of lives lost, including civilians, militants and government forces.India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the anti-India rebels. Pakistan denies this, saying it offers only moral and diplomatic support to the militants and to Kashmiris who oppose Indian rule.Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained further over Kashmir since last August, when India stripped the portion of Kashmir it administers of its status as a semi-autonomous state.Security forces imposed blockades and a communications blackout on internet and phone service that officials said were necessary to stop anti-India protests and better integrate Kashmir.The tensions in Kashmir come after a deadly face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers June 15 along the Asian giants' disputed border in Ladakh that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.Aijaz Hussain, The Associated Press

  • P.E.I. fishermen surrounded by 'thousands' of jellyfish

    P.E.I. fishermen surrounded by 'thousands' of jellyfish

    Just outside the Tryon River on Prince Edward Island, Brian Campbell's boat motor began to stall as it became surrounded by lion's mane jellyfish. "I've never seen that many before," said Campbell. "They would get caught up in that propeller. There's quite a few of them — I want to say thousands and thousands."Lion's mane jellyfish can grow to two metres in diameter with tentacles as long as 30 metres, roughly the same length as a blue whale. What's more? They sting.High concentration of lion's mane"Wouldn't want to be swimming there that day, that's for sure," said Campbell, who has been a fisherman for 42 years. "It's all right if you got one or two that sting you. But at that point right there, I think you could probably do some harm … if you get 30 or 40 on you."Last Tuesday, Campbell posted on Facebook warning people not to swim in the area. He later added a video of the encounter. Oceanographer Nick Record says the species is common throughout Atlantic Canada and the Gulf of Maine, but this is the first he's heard of such a large group."I'm pretty sure that's the highest concentration of lion's mane jellyfish that anyone has reported to me," said Record, a senior research scientist at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, a non-profit research institution in Maine. 'Just giants'Record said he has noticed a new phenomenon of gigantic lion's mane jellyfish washing up onshore."They're usually about the size of a dinner plate or smaller," he said. "The last 18 months or so there's been a handful, maybe five to 10 instances, where they were like [one and a half to two metres] across — so just giants."Record has been using citizen reports to track the creatures for about a decade. He said it's hard to know whether or not  jellyfish are increasing based on the reports, because while more reported sightings could mean more jellyfish, it could also just mean more people are out on the water.That being said, there are several factors that could impact the population including weather, currents and the food chain. "Partly it's the biology. Jellyfish can reproduce really quickly when conditions are good," said Record. "Partly it's the ocean physics."'I couldn't believe how many there was'"When I first saw it, I thought maybe somebody hit a seal up there just a little ways away," said Chad Gallant, a lobster fisherman in North Rustico, P.E.I."There was a bunch of pink in the water. I thought it might've been blood."It wasn't blood, it was jellyfish. These were moon jellyfish, a different species from those Campbell saw."We just stopped there," said Gallant. "I couldn't believe how many there was."Gallant also posted a video on Facebook. "It's not too surprising to me to see a really high abundance of them," said Record. " But I've never seen a photo where they were that dense before."Moon jellyfish are seasonal and feed on zooplankton, according to Record. He said they "don't generally sting," but some people have sensitivities or allergic reactions to them. "I thought it was kinda cool," laughed Gallant. "It don't bother me from going swimming again." Competing with fish for foodRecord said there are both pros and cons to seeing groups this large. "Some people see jellyfish as a total nuisance and large jellyfish aggregations as an unequivocally bad thing," he said. "Other people see jellyfish as these amazing, beautiful animals and just want to take photos of them all day."They can impact the ecosystem in many ways, too. On one hand, they're prey for sea turtles. On the other, they compete with fish for food. > There's a scientific debate about whether jellyfish are increasing globally or not. — Nick Record, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences"People have tried to get fish stocks to rebound, but because the [jellyfish] are eating the same food that the fish would be eating, it makes it more difficult for fish stocks to come back," said Record. But unlike other living organisms, the jellyfish can survive and thrive in stressed environments with little oxygen and depleted ecosystems. More data needed"There's a scientific debate about whether jellyfish are increasing globally or not," said Record. "In order to answer the question about whether there's a long-term trend, you need decades of data."We don't really have that in Atlantic Canada." According to Record, this citizen reporting program is "really the only long-term survey for jellyfish in our part of the world." In order to track the sea animal, Record has to know where they are. And to know where they are, he needs people to report them. Record said people can send information regarding sightings to's little doubt the videos taken around P.E.I. show a significant number of jellyfish. However, whether this means their population is climbing, the response isn't so clear. "We don't know yet," said Record. "It'll take many years before we can answer that question." More from CBC P.E.I.

  • Canada Day protests against systemic racism draw hundreds in Vancouver

    Canada Day protests against systemic racism draw hundreds in Vancouver

    As anti-racism protests shine a spotlight on systemic discrimination across the country, a demonstration in Vancouver took a more critical look at the nation's legacy of racism this Canada Day.Following weeks of protest against police brutality and accusations of systemic racism in health care, hundreds gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery to call out what they see as an "ongoing genocide" against Indigenous people in Canada, in an event organized by the Indigenous protest movement Idle No More.Sierra Tasi Baker, who is Indigenous, said it is important to learn the history of Canada and particularly the history of its Indigenous people. "It is our right as Indigenous people to be on our sovereign territory and exert our sovereignty and our title in our territories," Baker said. "Moving forward, know whose land you're on."Later Wednesday evening, a group of protesters formed around the Gassy Jack statue in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood. Activists have been calling attention to the history of Gassy Jack, a.k.a. John Deighton, a bar owner who had operated a saloon in the neighbourhood in the 1860s. Deighton married a 12-year-old Indigenous girl, Quahail-ya, when he was 40 years old, after his first wife's death.Activists delivered speeches and demanded action, saying the statue represents pedophilia.The statue was vandalized with red paint last month. More than 17,000 people have signed a petition calling for the removal of the statue, which is owned by the City of Vancouver.In his Canada Day address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged there are real problems the country has to address like systemic discrimination and the continued marginalization of Indigenous peoples."That doesn't prevent us of from saying, 'wow, we're a great country,' but it does highlight that we need to be even better. We need to make sure everyone benefits from this country," Trudeau said.Another event was held at Vancouver's Trout Lake, where organizers wanted to celebrate Black and Indigenous artists often ignored by the arts industry.Tinthi Tembo, one of the organizers of the event, said the struggles of Black and Indigenous people overlap."We just couldn't stand anymore to commemorate a day that sensationalizes and glorifies colonialism and genocide, and especially being on this particular land here in B.C., being on stolen land, it's a force to be reckoned with," Tembo said.  Organizer Kimani Geoffrey added it's important for people to consider their own role in oppression."Everybody in this country is going to have to ask [themselves] what have I done … what have I done to count?" he said. "Am I going to be counted in this moment in history as somebody who did something?"

  • Stage 3 of Ontario's COVID-19 reopening plan looms nearer

    Stage 3 of Ontario's COVID-19 reopening plan looms nearer

    The chances of large parts of Ontario moving soon to Stage 3 of the province's COVID-19 reopening plan are looking bright as the spread of the coronavirus remains slow in most public health units. It's been nearly three weeks since all of eastern and northern Ontario, as well as much of the southwestern part of the province, advanced to Stage 2. That allowed the opening of shopping malls, hair salons, swimming pools, and bar and restaurant patios. Data from those 24 public health units — everywhere but the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, Lambton and Haldimand-Norfolk — show the spread of the virus remains largely contained."We hope to be able to move into the next stage as soon as possible," Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Tuesday."It's looking very good, but we still need another week's data to really inform the situation, and then decisions will be made about the opening of Stage 3."More than half of Ontario's 34 public health units currently have fewer than 10 active cases (coronavirus cases that are considered to still be infectious). Fifteen health units have three or fewer active cases. The parts of the province that were first to advance to Stage 2 — including Ottawa, Waterloo Region and London — have a combined population of nearly six million. In these areas, since restrictions were eased on June 12:  * The combined number of new cases daily has averaged 27, down from a daily average of 34 in the four preceding weeks.      * The number of new cases reported daily has remained below 35 on all but one day.   The trend in the daily number of new cases is the statistic watched most closely by health officials in determining whether restrictions can be lifted. Provincial-level discussions are currently happening about when to announce Stage 3, Elliott said. She said the decisions to be made include which parts of the province would move ahead and which measures would be relaxed.      "We have to do it safely," Premier Doug Ford said. "We will do it safely, and we're going to do it in steps as we did before. We just have to continue seeing the numbers go in the right direction."  Provincial officials have said any announcements about progressing to the next stage would be made on Mondays. An announcement on Stage 3 could come within the next week or so, according to Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, a medical officer of health in eastern Ontario. He told a videoconference with reporters on Tuesday that officials are looking at increasing the maximum size of gatherings and allowing customers inside restaurants. Specific Stage 3 changes not yet clearThe province has not laid out precisely what changes will come in Stage 3 of the reopening. Its general framework released back in April suggested Stage 3 would mean "opening all workplaces responsibly" and "further relaxing the restrictions on public gatherings."Even with a move to Stage 3, mass gatherings such as concerts and spectator sports events would remain prohibited "for the foreseeable future," the framework says.Restrictions currently in place in Stage 2 that could be eased include the closure of playgrounds, the 10-person limit on social gatherings, and the ban on indoor seating at restaurants and bars. While the daily number of new COVID-19 cases is a crucial metric for determining the timing of Stage 3, the other measures that are considered include the availability of hospitals beds, speed of testing, and effectiveness of tracing close contacts of each person who tests positive.    Some public health units see mandatory mask usage in indoor public settings as a key tool in preventing outbreaks and advancing to Stage 3."We want to move to Stage 3," Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's chief medical officer of health, said while presenting evidence in favour of a mask policy during a news briefing on Monday. "We want all the businesses to be open. We want people to be able to continue to get back to work." The public health unit covering Kingston — which previously had among the lowest number of COVID-19 cases in the province — ordered masks to be worn in indoor public places in response to an outbreak at a nail salon that is now linked to 27 confirmed cases.Mask wearing, handwashing likely to remainA mask policy takes effect in Toronto on July 7, and it's being considered in Hamilton. The ability to prevent and contain local outbreaks will be one of the province's considerations about whether a public health unit is ready to move to Stage 3, said Dr. Chris Mackie, the London-Middlesex medical officer of health. The province is "watching the data carefully and not rushing into a Stage 3 reopening, which I think is appropriate," Mackie said on Tuesday in a news conference. The province will take the lead on the decisions about Stage 3, according to Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, medical officer of health for the Region of Waterloo, among the first public health units to advance to Stage 2.  "When we reach Stage 3, it is very likely that many of our current heath measures, such as physical distancing, mask wearing and handwashing, will remain in effect," Wang said in a statement to CBC News.

  • Some tourists cancel P.E.I. holidays as negative stories circulate in media

    Some tourists cancel P.E.I. holidays as negative stories circulate in media

    P.E.I. Tourism Minister Matthew MacKay is urging Islanders to welcome tourists to the province as stories spread of unwelcoming behaviour by some.Starting Friday, residents of Atlantic Canada can come to P.E.I. without having to self-isolate for two weeks, partially opening up the Island for tourism. Last year, Atlantic Canadians made up 60 per cent of the province's tourism market.But just as hope of some kind of tourism season was raised, stories appeared in the national media about vehicles with out-of-province plates being vandalized. Two weeks ago a Salvation Army pastor with Nova Scotia plates on her vehicle had a nasty note placed on her windshield.MacKay said tourism operators are telling him these stories, known as plate shaming, are leading to cancelled reservations."It's certainly alarming," he said. "It's our tourism product that has taken us a lifetime to build."'These are our neighbours'MacKay said he understands that some people are afraid, and fear affects everyone differently, but the Atlantic bubble is being opened up with the guidance of the Chief Public Health Office, and it is important to start to get the economy moving again."The public health office has done a tremendous job in guiding us through this pandemic, and we need to trust the science behind this. I just urge all Islanders to please support your tourism sector," said MacKay."These are our friends, these are our neighbours."MacKay said whether the tourism sector opens or not there will certainly be more cases of COVID-19 on the Island.But he added the health system is in a much better position to deal with an outbreak now than it was in March."We've got plans in place, we have science in place, to allow us to work through this," he said."It's crucial right now to get our economy start to open up a little bit."MacKay said the cancellations he has heard about are devastating for the operators, who are trying to salvage what business they can out of the year.More from CBC P.E.I.

  • Boost in support for Liberals the biggest for a minority government in 60 years

    Boost in support for Liberals the biggest for a minority government in 60 years

    Governing parties across Canada are enjoying a surge in support as they confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Justin Trudeau's Liberals are no exception.But for a party heading up a minority government to be in such a position is rare. The Liberals' polling bump is the biggest for a minority government in over 60 years.The Liberals were in a state of post-election stagnation in late February and early March, averaging about 33 per cent in the polls. That's exactly where they were on election night nearly nine months ago.Since then, however, the Liberals have seen their support increase significantly. It has risen to between 39 and 42 per cent support among decided voters, according to a monthly average of national polls.That's a big increase of between six and nine percentage points compared to the last election. To understand how remarkable that is, you have to go back through decades of Canadian political history.Since modern political public opinion polling began in Canada in the 1940s, 10 elections have ended with minority governments. Most of the time, the first nine months of a newly elected (or re-elected) minority government do not see wide swings in public opinion.The increase in support for the Liberals — which seems to have settled around 7.5 points — eight to nine months after an election is the largest for a minority government since John Diefenbaker's Progressive Conservatives surged by 11.5 points in 1957-58.That's the only case of a minority government experiencing a larger increase in support than the one lifting up the Liberals now.Minority governments since the end of the Second World War have had a mixed record of political success — three were re-elected with majorities, three had to settle for subsequent minority mandates and three were defeated. But Diefenbaker's first minority ended with the biggest majority win in Canadian history.From minority to majority governmentsDiefenbaker rode a wave of popularity into election day in 1957 that continued into the first months of his new minority government.The PCs kept up a frenetic pace in the early days, following through on popular election promises. After three months in office, support for the PCs ballooned from 38.5 per cent to 47 per cent, according to Gallup. Between six and eight months after the 1957 election, the PCs were polling at 50 per cent among decided voters.Diefenbaker's support was boosted by the lacklustre performance of the newly-minted Liberal leader, Lester Pearson, who clumsily suggested the PCs willingly hand power back to his party. With the wind in his sails, Diefenbaker dissolved Parliament and called a new election. It delivered him 54 per cent of the popular vote and the highest share of seats in the House of Commons ever won by a party.After being reduced to a minority government in the 1972 federal election, Pierre Trudeau had to govern with the support of the New Democrats. He introduced new social welfare policies that helped boost Liberal support.The gains weren't enormous — four points after eight months — but it was enough to put the Liberals back into majority territory. After being defeated on a budget vote in 1974 when the NDP withdrew its support, Trudeau increased his party's share of the vote by five points over 1972 and returned to Parliament with a majority government.Stephen Harper, re-elected with a minority government in 2008, did see a short-lived boost in support in the early months of his second term when the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois tried to form a coalition to boot him from office. But before long, Harper's Conservatives were down in the polls again, slipping as much as 7.5 points seven months after the 2008 election.Harper's minority government hung on, however, and it wasn't until 2011 that the opposition finally defeated the Conservatives in the House and forced an election. The result was a Conservative majority government.Pearson, Harper re-elected with minoritiesThe Pearson minorities and Harper's first term in 2006-08 featured few big swings in the polls. After ousting Diefenbaker in 1963, Pearson's Liberals retained their support over the next few months and, when Pearson decided to call an election, the result in 1965 was scarcely different from the outcome in 1963.The polls wobbled back and forth during the first months of Pearson's second term. It wasn't until Pearson stepped aside and was replaced by Pierre Trudeau that the Liberals were able to break the logjam in 1968.Harper's first term had a similarly stable polling trend line and his minority government lasted for nearly three years. By 2008, when Harper called an election, the Conservatives had done a good job of undermining Liberal leader Stéphane Dion — but it only got them another minority government.Going from minority to defeatThere are a few minority government horror stories, of course.After five years in office, Diefenbaker's PCs were unpopular and had been reduced to a minority government in 1962. The once-active Tories were now looking incompetent. The cabinet was in revolt and support for the PCs had dropped four to five points. Diefenbaker's weakened minority government lost a vote of confidence in the House and the election in 1963.Joe Clark, who won a shaky minority government in 1979 despite finishing significantly behind the Liberals in the popular vote, could not fulfil his election promises once in office. Support for Clark's PCs plummeted by nine points after only eight months. In 1980, they were defeated and back on the opposition benches.Paul Martin, once seen as the head of a Liberal juggernaut, was significantly damaged by the sponsorship scandal and held on with only a minority government in 2004. The Liberals managed to retain a lead in the polls going into the 2005 election campaign but it could not be sustained. By January 2006, the Liberals were out and Harper was in.When to pull the plugTiming matters with minority governments. Had Martin become prime minister earlier and called an election in late 2003, he might have secured a majority government that would have been in a better position to survive the sponsorship scandal.Had Diefenbaker not cashed in on his popularity very quickly in 1958, he might not have won his historic majority government. Had Clark handled his minority in the House better, he might have staved off defeat in 1980 long enough for Pierre Trudeau to make his planned retirement from politics.Not surprisingly, minority governments that decide their own fates have tended to fare better than those forced to call elections due to defeats in the House. The record is not perfect, however — which shows why campaigns still matter.There's also no guarantee that the trend in the polls after less than a year in a minority Parliament will continue indefinitely. The records of the past nine minority governments show that on only four occasions did the trend line after nine months (positive or negative) stay the same straight through to election day.When an election is called well after a minority government's first eight or nine months in office are over, the polling trends can be more unpredictable. Opinions shift over time, so troubled governments tend to get quickly defeated by opportunistic oppositions — and popular ones tend not to hesitate to renew their mandates.That brings us to today.The surge in support for Trudeau's Liberals is historically abnormal. The unprecedented pandemic is one reason for that — but if COVID-19 prevents an election call despite the government's strong support, that also would make for an abnormal situation.

  • Border town pays price for Sweden's no-lockdown as Norway reopens

    Border town pays price for Sweden's no-lockdown as Norway reopens

    The Swedish border town of Stromstad is paying a heavy price for Sweden's decision not to lock down its economy like neighbouring Norway and other Nordic nations to halt the spread of COVID-19. Stromstad is just a two-hour drive from Oslo and popular with Norwegians who shop for cheaper consumer goods in Sweden, but Norway's lockdown, imposed in mid-March, put a stop to that.

  • Protesters gather in Saskatoon to demand Canada Day be cancelled

    Protesters gather in Saskatoon to demand Canada Day be cancelled

    A large group of protesters gathered together in Saskatoon Wednesday afternoon to protest the country's national holiday.More than 100 people carried signs and gave speeches at the city's Kiwanis Park, demanding that Canada Day be cancelled, due to the country's colonial past."Celebrating Canada Day is celebrating the genocide against Indigenous people that has been committed for the past 400 years," said protester Tanzy Janvier."Celebrating this every year for 153 years is extremely traumatizing for Indigenous people who were forcibly removed from their lands."The protest was part of a larger conversation around Indigenous and racial inequity that has raged across the country for years.Events opposing the celebration of Canada Day were also held across the country, from Vancouver to Halifax, including a live broadcast hosted by Idle No More."I don't feel that pride that I did as a child listening to O Canada, like I used to," said protest co-organizer Colleen Whitedeer. "Now I feel shame. It's embarrassing and I feel we need to do more."The group called for a wide range of changes, including massive reforms to the justice and health care system and to build a more just and equitable country.

  • What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, July 2

    What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Thursday, July 2

    Recent developments * Kingston reported three new cases COVID-19 cases Thursday and is asking clients of a third nail salon to go into self-isolation even if they test negative.  * Ottawa is reporting seven new positive cases but no new deaths. * The City of Ottawa is expected to announce plans to mandate face mask use at commercial settings this week.What's the latest?Kingston health officials reported three new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and say more cases of the virus have been linked to a third nail salon in the city.Clients of Georgia Nail Salon are now being asked to self-isolate for two weeks following their last visit, even if they test negative. While some families headed downtown on Canada Day, the usual throngs of tourists, the street vendors and fireworks were notably absent. Due to COVID-19, all official Canada Day celebrations were cancelled. Instead, hundreds of protesters, many in yellow vests, gathered around midday at Parliament Hill to oppose a range of issues, including mandatory masks, the Trudeau government and the United Nations.The City of Ottawa is expected to follow other municipalities in Ontario and make masks mandatory soon in places like grocery stores and hair salons, in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.How many cases are there?There have been 2,101 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and 263 deaths. The vast majority of cases in the city, 1,794, are classified as resolved. Health units report more than 3,300 known cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec and more than 2,800 people in the region have recovered from COVID-19.Kingston now has 33 new, active cases of COVID-19. Most are linked to three nail salons: Binh's Nails and Spa, where the recent outbreak started, Kingdom Nails and Georgia Nail Salon. Amherstview Golf Club has also seen new cases. Clients at all four businesses are being asked to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.COVID-19 has killed 102 people outside Ottawa: 52 in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 17 in other parts of eastern Ontario and 33 in the Outaouais.What's open and closed?Eastern Ontario is in "Stage 2" of the province's recovery plan, allowing more activities and "circles" of up to 10 people that don't have to distance.Some streets in Ottawa's ByWard Market turn into patio space starting Saturday. Ottawa's pools start to open next week.The City of Ottawa has started warning people tickets will be given out again next week for overstaying at on-street parking spaces with posted time limits.The National Gallery of Canada reopens Thursdays to Sundays starting July 18. The iconic downtown hotel Fairmont Château Laurier reopened on Canada Day. Quebec now allows indoor, distanced gatherings of up to 50 people, including in places of worship and indoor sports venues, and has relaxed rules at daycares.The province has also allowed bars, spas, water parks and casinos to reopen.Quebec's back-to-school plans bring older students to classrooms again. Ontario has put three options for next school year on the table, while post-secondary schools are moving toward more online classes in September.Distancing and isolatingThe coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious.That means physical distancing measures such as working from home and in Ontario, staying at least two metres away from anyone they don't live with or have in their circle.Anyone who has symptoms or travelled recently outside Canada must self-isolate for at least 14 days.Specifically in Ottawa, anyone waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate at least until they know the result.The same goes for anyone in Ontario who's been in contact with someone who's tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19.Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly urges self-isolation for individuals who have weakened immune systems and Ottawa Public Health recommends people over 70 stay home as much as possible. WATCH: What it's like at the dentist nowWhat are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pinkeye. The Ontario government says in rare cases, children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can now be tested at one of three sites.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.Testing has also expanded for local residents and employees who work in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area.There is a drive-thru test centre in Casselman and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead.Others in Rockland and Cornwall require an appointment.A COVID-19 assessment centre will open in Alexandria next week, running Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment only.In Kingston, the Leon's Centre is now open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day, replacing the location at the Kingston Memorial Centre. Find it at Gate 2.Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call for an appointment.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to get tested if you have a symptom or concerns about exposure.It has a walk-in site in Brockville open seven days a week at the Memorial Centre and testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call it, their family doctor or Telehealth if they have symptoms or questions.You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the centre, or in Picton by texting or calling 613-813-6864.There is a pop-up clinic in Madoc on Friday. You may also qualify for a home test.Renfrew County is also providing pop-up and home testing under some circumstances. Residents without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 to register for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.If you're concerned about the coronavirus, take the self-assessment.WATCH: U.S. buys up supply of COVID-19 drug In western Quebec:Outaouais residents should call 1-877-644-4545 if they have symptoms for further assistance.First Nations:Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both.Akwesasne has opened a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to Akwesasne who's been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. The community's reopening plan that's now underway.There's a pop-up testing clinic at Pikwakanagan's Makwa Centre Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. for people who pre-registered by Tuesday evening.Kitigan Zibi is planning for an Aug. 29 election with changes depending on the status of the pandemic at that time.For more information

  • Canadian government warns travel to Hong Kong could lead to arbitrary detention

    Canadian government warns travel to Hong Kong could lead to arbitrary detention

    The Canadian government warns that travelling to Hong Kong could put you at risk of arbitrary detention and extradition to China. Hong Kong police have quickly used a new national security law, concocted by China's leadership, to make arrests and suppress calls for independence.

  • Studies show no consistent evidence body cameras reduce police violence
    The Canadian Press

    Studies show no consistent evidence body cameras reduce police violence

    A Calgary police officer loudly tells an Indigenous man to put his hands on the roof of his car and, within seconds, the situation escalates to yelling. Body-worn camera video from the officer's chest then shows the man's head pushed into his vehicle.Herbert Daniels, 67, made a freedom of information request to get the video of his arrest, which he provided to Global News, saying it demonstrates excessive force.Using the arrest of Daniels as an example, many politicians have been calling for wider use of police body cameras in the wake of global protests calling to defund police, claiming the technology increases accountability.There is, however, no consistent evidence that the cameras reduce police violence.A study in the Criminology & Public Policy journal published last year looked at 70 other studies into body-worn cameras and found the technology had statistically insignificant impacts on police and citizen behaviour."(Cameras) will not be an easy panacea for improving police performance, accountability, and relationships with citizens," the study said.A trial published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in 2019 also found the cameras "did not meaningfully affect" police behaviour on outcomes that include complaints and use of force.A six-month study by Western Australia Police Force in 2016 actually found a small increase in use-of-force incidents when officers wore the cameras.Minneapolis police officers involved in the May arrest of George Floyd were wearing body cameras as one of them knelt on the Black man's neck for several minutes and he died.Data is still emerging in Canada about the efficacy of the cameras. Since 2010, many police forces have implemented pilot projects but most abandoned them later, saying they didn't provide value for what they cost to both purchase the devices and store the data. Calgary is the only large police force to so far adopt the technology for front-line officers.A final report into an Edmonton pilot project, which ran from 2011 to 2014, said the cameras had a potential for positive outcomes. But it found concerns about policy and no quantitative evidence that the cameras had an impact on complaints against officers."Body-worn cameras not only create concerns about the public's privacy rights but can also affect how officers relate to people in the community, the community's perception of the police, and expectations about how police agencies should share information," the report said.There have also been pilot projects in Toronto, Thunder Bay and Montreal. Montreal found the cameras had little impact on police interventions and there were significant logistical and financial challenges.Some smaller forces have cameras for a few officers. Fredericton police have six and the force in Medicine Hat, Alta., has 10.Recently, many communities have changed their positions on cameras. Toronto Mayor John Tory said he expects to have cameras on officers by the fall and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said the technology will be adopted as soon as possible. The RCMP has also committed to outfitting some officers with cameras.Nunavut is pushing forward with a pilot project for cameras after a bystander recorded footage of police using a car door to knock a man over during an arrest.Erick Laming is a Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation PhD candidate in criminology at the University of Toronto. He also researches police use of force and oversight.He said he's concerned the technology is being rushed by politics and not empirical data."We have to look at how police respond to (situations)," he said. "It's not really the body camera."Laming said there isn't transparency about police force policies on cameras, such as ensuring public privacy, who gets access to the video or when officers are required to turn them on.Sgt. Travis Baker leads the body camera project for the Calgary police, which has equipped about 1,150 officers with cameras.City council originally approved $5 million to get the cameras and to fund an eight-year contract with Axon, an American company that supplies the gear and stores the data. All video is uploaded into a cloud-based storage system based in Ontario and only officers involved in an investigation get access to the video related to it, Baker said.Before the cameras were rolled out, the Calgary force conducted a privacy impact assessment, Baker said. Broadly speaking, the policy says officers are required to record any interaction they have with the public.An evaluation of the project is underway, with information about use-of-force and complaints to be released later this year. Baker, however, said all officers have embraced the technology.He said the cameras hold police and the public accountable."We truly see it as a tool," Baker said. "It gathers evidence at a level that is unprecedented. It keeps absolutely everybody engaged and honest in the interaction."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 2, 2020Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

  • Fox News fires Ed Henry after sexual misconduct allegation
    The Canadian Press

    Fox News fires Ed Henry after sexual misconduct allegation

    NEW YORK — Fox News on Wednesday fired daytime news anchor Ed Henry after an investigation of sexual misconduct in the workplace.The network said it had received a complaint last Thursday from an attorney about the misconduct. An outside investigator was hired and, based on the results of that probe, Fox fired Henry.Fox offered no details of the complaint that resulted in Henry’s firing, only to say that it happened “years ago.” A lawyer for Henry, Catherine Foti, said he denied the allegations “and is confident that he will be vindicated after a full hearing in an appropriate forum.Henry, who co-anchored “America's Newsroom” between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon on weekdays, had slowly rehabilitated his career on Fox following a four-month leave of absence that ended in 2016. That followed published reports of Henry's extramarital affair with a Las Vegas cocktail waitress.Meanwhile, HarperCollins said Wednesday that it would no longer publish a book by Henry that had been scheduled for September. Titled “Saving Colleen: A Memoir of the Unbreakable Bond Between a Brother and Sister," it was about Henry donating part of his liver to his sister.The alleged victim is represented by noted sexual harassment attorney Douglas Wigdor. He also would not provide any details of the case.Henry's former co-anchor, Sandra Smith, announced the firing on the air. Fox said she'll continue in her role with rotating co-anchors until a full-time replacement is hired.Henry, a former White House correspondent for Fox, was only recently elevated to the role on “America's Newsroom.” He got the job after Bill Hemmer moved to Shepard Smith's afternoon time slot.In a memo to staff, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and President Jay Wallace reminded employees of Fox's 2017 overhaul of its human resources operation and the avenues they can follow with a sexual harassment complaint.Fox's late former chairman, Roger Ailes, was fired in 2016 following harassment allegations made by former anchor Gretchen Carlson. Prime-time anchor Bill O'Reilly lost his job a year later following the revelations of settlements reached with women who had complaints about his behaviour.David Bauder, The Associated Press

  • NDP wants United Conservative MLAs to reject idea of Alberta separation

    NDP wants United Conservative MLAs to reject idea of Alberta separation

    All 87 Alberta MLAs should declare that they reject the notion of separating from Canada, the NDP says.Opposition house leader Heather Sweet said the government's Fair Deal panel report and comments from United Conservative Party MLAs are prompting her to push for an emergency debate in the legislature on loyalty to Canada.She'll ask for MLAs to debate a motion on Monday to reject the idea of Alberta separation."What we would like to hear from the premier, and his cabinet, as well as his members, is that there is a commitment from this government to stop playing games with the idea of Alberta separating from Canada," Sweet said on Wednesday.The Fair Deal panel, struck by the provincial government to study ways Alberta could assert itself within Confederation, recommended the government study an independent provincial police force and consider withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), among other proposals.Premier Jason Kenney has said the government will study those options. He has also pledged to hold referendums on Alberta's participation in CPP and withdrawal from equalization. Alberta could not do either of these things unilaterally.Panel member and Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes issued a dissenting opinion after the report's release last month. He said if Alberta failed to get fairer treatment soon from the federal government, Albertans should have an opportunity to vote on independence from Canada.Also last month, Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan told the legislature Alberta should "liberate" itself from the "mess" of equalization."In the real world a partnership agreement providing structural welfare payments to hostile, parasitic partners would never survive," Stephan said on June 8. "That is equalization."Proposals are scaring Albertans, NDP chargesIn a Wednesday statement, Kenney's press secretary, Christine Myatt, said the premier has spoken frequently about his patriotism and desire to improve Alberta's plight within Canada.Kenney told reporters last month that empty threats about separation are unhelpful to improving Alberta's economy."I completely understand and sympathize with the profound frustration that so many Albertans have with the way Canada has worked — particularly in recent years," Kenney said on June 19. "I understand the frustration that has driven a not insignificant number of Albertans to talk about separation. But I fundamentally believe that that's the wrong path for Alberta."Although he disagrees with some of them, backbenchers in his government are free to speak their minds, he said at the time.Sweet said Kenney is sending mixed messages by entertaining the Fair Deal panel's recommendations and leaving some UCP MLAs' separatist statements unchallenged."When you start talking about getting rid of the CPP and creating your own police force, all of these different things, we know that that makes Albertans nervous, and it makes people nervous to come to Alberta," Sweet said.She went to a physically distanced pancake breakfast at a legion on Canada Day and the first thing people asked her about was the future of CPP, she said.Earlier this week, members of the Freedom Conservative Party and Wexit Alberta also voted to merge into a new Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta.Kenney knows there is separatist sentiment out there, and he may be attempting to appeal to those folks while trying to keep hold of more mainstream, federalist supporters, Sweet said.Myatt pointed to the United Conservative Party's founding principles, which include, "Loyalty to a united Canada, and a commitment for Alberta to be a Leader in the Canadian federation that constructively defends the best interests of the province and its constitutional sovereignty."The NDP would need unanimous support from all MLAs in the chamber to debate their motion.

  • Johnny Depp's 'wife beater' libel case can go ahead, UK judge rules

    Johnny Depp's 'wife beater' libel case can go ahead, UK judge rules

    A British judge ruled on Thursday that Hollywood star Johnny Depp's libel case against The Sun newspaper over claims he abused his ex-wife can go ahead next week after rejecting the publication's bid to have the case thrown out. Depp, the 57-year-old star of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, is suing the tabloid's publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, at London's High Court for libel over an article Wootton wrote in 2018 calling Depp a "wife beater". Last week, Judge Andrew Nicol ruled that Depp had not fully complied with a court order by not supplying details of mobile phone texts to his assistant which the Sun's legal team said referred to obtaining drugs for the actor.

  • Amid a housing crisis, should Montrealers be allowed to convert duplexes into single-family homes?

    Amid a housing crisis, should Montrealers be allowed to convert duplexes into single-family homes?

    When Hugo Levasseur bought a duplex in Villeray three years ago, he figured that as his family grew, he would be able to renovate the building into a single-family home.But he says new rules aimed at predatory landlords and large developers mean he can't transform his 800-square-foot apartment into a 1,600-square-foot family home, and that the regulations will drive more people to the suburbs.Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension is among several Montreal boroughs that are moving to ban property owners from transforming duplexes, triplexes and larger buildings into a single-family homes, due to a growing housing crisis in Montreal.With vacancy rates at a 15-year low, the borough has halted issuing renovation permits as it moves forward with the regulation change."It's kind of like trying to fill a large sinkhole with a few pebbles, and the pebbles happen to be families like ours," said Levasseur on CBC Montreal's Daybreak."We're not taking five blocks and turning it into a single-family home of 3,000 square feet," he said. Levasseur says he recognizes that the housing crisis is a severe problem, but measures like these are not an effective way to tackle the crisis.If he is unable to convert his apartment to suit his growing family, Levasseur says he likely will have no choice but to consider moving off the island, because it will be hard to find a home that meets his family's needs, at a price that is affordable.But housing advocates say that families are already being forced out by landlords looking to renovate their homes, and then rent them out again for higher rents: a practice they say the new regulations would help curb. "Which families do we want to keep in Montreal? Is it only the ones who have the means to acquire property and to carry out a major renovation, or is it also the longer-term tenants who are low income and who face being pushed out of their neighbourhoods altogether?" asked Amy Darwish, a community organizer with Comité d'Action de Parc-Extension. The same regulations preventing Levasseur from transforming his duplex, she said, gives those tenants a fighting chance to remain in their homes. Evictions are on the rise, said Darwish, and many landlords are not occupants of the properties they wish to renovate. She said those who are most affected end up being those who live with lower incomes, or are immigrants."Should people be forced onto the streets in the midst of a global pandemic because somebody wants a larger home?" she said.The debate also comes in the context of widening wealth gaps between owners and renters, according to a study released Tuesday by not-for-profit research group Institut de recherche et d'informations socio-économiques (IRIS).Speculative practices over the past 20 years in the housing market drove up property values, says the report, reducing access to housing. It concludes government intervention, such as revising how property tax is calculated, is needed to protect affordable housing.Vacancy rates are unlikely to rise unless fewer people move to the city, according to the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC). Levasseur says he's open to working with others to find a solution."The best way to solve the crisis is to sit together and collaborate to find constructive solutions that will satisfy all parties involved," he said.

  • Lives Lost: Brazilian toddler was saying her first words
    The Canadian Press

    Lives Lost: Brazilian toddler was saying her first words

    RIO DE JANEIRO — Vitoria Gabrielle crawled all the time and was starting to walk this year with a little help, hanging on to her 4-year-old brother's arm while exploring her mother's small apartment on a cobblestone street in Rio de Janeiro's working-class Piety neighbourhood.The girl with a constant smile celebrated her first birthday in February, slept and ate well and was enthusiastically saying her first words: “mamãe" and “vovó” (mama and grandma), said her mother, Andréa de Sousa.But after recovering from viral meningitis, Vitoria Gabrielle suffered gastrointestinal problems that sent her from her mother's barely furnished hilltop home back to the hospital several times for treatment. It was during an April hospital stay that de Sousa suspects her daughter was infected with the coronavirus that was just starting to circulate in Rio and Brazil.Vitoria Gabrielle died last month — 1 year, 2 months and 21 days after she was born — as COVID-19 cases surged in Latin America's largest and most populous nation, which is now the hardest-hit country globally after the U.S. for virus cases and deaths.___EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of an ongoing series of stories remembering people who have died from the coronavirus around the world.___Only de Sousa and the child's stepfather were allowed to attend Vitoria Gabrielle's funeral in a cemetery where the gravediggers referred to the child and others recently buried there as “little angels" because their lives were cut short long before they could sin. No words were said at the event, kept brief to avoid more infections; the only sounds were de Sousa's sobs.“My heart is destroyed with the loss of my daughter,” de Sousa, 20, said later in an interview. “You are not ready to lose anybody but, a child? I’m not used to being without her. I miss her a lot.”At home these days, de Sousa loses herself as if she were in another world, spending much of her time gazing at a slideshow on her phone of pictures of her daughter set to the song “Law of Life” by Brazilian pop music star Sabrina Lopes.“Everything that is born, dies. Everything that comes, goes. Today a dream died ... On the road of life, we are passengers. But God protects every extra star in the sky,” Lopes sings.It was on April 9 when Victoria Gabrielle was admitted to Jesus Municipal Hospital to undergo tests to determine why she had been vomiting.By April 20, de Sousa said she realized that her daughter was constantly tired and having difficulty breathing, a condition she had never suffered before. The child was put in intensive care on April 24, diagnosed a short time later with the coronavirus and died on May 4.A death certificate that de Sousa showed to The Associated Press said her daughter's causes of death were “Bilateral pneumonia, infected by COVID-19" along with a buildup of fluid in the brain and swelling of the liver and spleen.While de Sousa is convinced her daughter was infected at the hospital, Rio's Municipal Health Secretariat said in a statement said it wasn't possible to identify the origin of infection because the virus had been spreading throughout Brazil when Vitoria Gabrielle was infected. The statement added that the child received proper care while hospitalized.De Sousa said her son, Gabriel, had always been very close to his sister and doesn't understand why he hasn’t seen her for so long. He just wants to play with her.“He asks about her all day. He says, ‘Mom, I miss Gabrielle, why is she living with Jesus Christ?’"De Sousa added: “And I say to him, ‘God took her, God wanted her close to him.’ Then he says, ‘Wow, but I want to go see my sister.’"“I'm asking God for strength and it's not easy," de Sousa said. “So I'm looking at her photos and I'm really missing her.”____Clendenning reported from Rio de Janeiro. Associated Press senior television producer Yesica Fisch contributed to this report from Rio de Janeiro.Leo Correa And Alan Clendenning, The Associated Press

  • Canada's Supreme Court dismisses appeal of long-delayed Trans Mountain oil pipeline

    Canada's Supreme Court dismisses appeal of long-delayed Trans Mountain oil pipeline

    WINNIPEG, Manitoba/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's Supreme Court removed an obstacle to expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline on Thursday, dismissing an appeal of a lower court decision that had backed Ottawa's approval of the project. The pipeline has put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, which bought it in 2018 to ensure the expansion overcame legal and regulatory hurdles, in a political quandary. The ruling ends seven years of legal challenges, Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said, adding that most Canadians, including many indigenous communities, want to share Trans Mountain's economic benefits.

  • News

    OPINION | In Alberta, it's always the economy, stupid

    This column is an opinion from Max Fawcett, a freelance writer and the former editor of Alberta Oil magazine.Staged photo opportunities are common fare in Canadian politics, but few have been more widely mocked than the gas station selfies taken by Alberta conservative politicians on the eve of the Jan. 1, 2017, implementation of a carbon tax.As the National Post's Tristin Hopper wrote at the time, Jason Kenney's Dodge Ram 1500 "carries a fuel capacity of about 98 litres, so if Kenney rolled in running on fumes, at 4.5 cents a litre he dodged just enough tax to buy a New Year's Eve Molson Canadian at the Legion (if it's on special)."As it turns out, though, those MLAs — and especially Jason Kenney — got the last laugh. Yes, as Hopper wrote in his piece, nobody was saving any real money by front-running the carbon tax. But that was never the point. Instead, it was about framing the new policy in terms of its financial costs, not its environmental benefits.The lesson, in retrospect, is clear: if you want to speak to Albertans, you need to be using the language that they're most familiar with: the economy.  Moments of fluencyThat lesson was driven home most recently on Monday, when the premier announced his "Alberta Recovery Plan." But while the NDP has already taken a swipe at its contents, which include an acceleration of an already announced corporate tax cut and some additional stimulus spending, it's not clear that they'll be forthcoming with a competing economic narrative of their own.After all, that was something they rarely talked about when they were in government. Yes, there were moments, like premier Notley's speech in 2015 at the Stampede Investment Forum, where it flashed some fluency."We know there is only one way to succeed," she told the people in attendance. "And that's by supporting a free, open, sustainable and increasingly diversified economy."But it became clear throughout the course of the next three-plus years that the economy was the NDP's second language, at best.Instead, it preferred to talk about increasing supports for vulnerable populations, improving rights for workers and showing leadership on the environment — all important priorities, but ones that rarely spoke to Albertans' economic concerns that only grew as oil and natural gas prices continued to fall and pipeline projects continued to get stalled or cancelled outright.That focus on social issues continued into their 2019 campaign, which focused on Jason Kenney's perceived shortcomings as a leader and the threat his government would present to certain Albertans. The results, in the end, say it all. If they want those results to be different in 2023, they're going to have to become far more fluent in the language of jobs and economic prosperity — and fast, if the latest batch of polls are any indication.Yes, the sample size on the Innovative Research poll that was taken in early June was almost laughably small at just 297 people, but its results should still serve as a warning to Alberta's New Democrats.After all, despite its self-defeating war with doctors and a growing array of gaffes and missteps, Kenney's party is polling at 42 per cent — the same as the combined total of the NDP (28 per cent) and Alberta Liberals (14 per cent)."They've struggled to find their footing in opposition, and particularly during COVID, just as any opposition party has. I think they've done better than Scheer, but that's a pretty low bar," says Duane Bratt, a professor of political science at Mount Royal University."They had gained momentum between the election and our poll in March. [But] they lost that momentum by May."And while the province has been battered by bad economic news over the last few months, the recent bout of ultra-low oil prices could be seeding the ground for a much healthier economic environment in Alberta down the road.Higher oil prices could be comingShale oil production, for example, may never recover to the levels it was at back in January, and it's entirely possible that oil prices could be far higher than where they are today by the time Albertans head to the polls in 2023.JP Morgan, for example, recently published a note that suggests $100 oil isn't out of the question in the relatively near future, while Rystad Energy is calling for an oil spike "between 2023 and 2025."Even if those prices don't materialize, the Trans Mountain expansion should still be nearing completion, Line 3 will be in service and Keystone XL could even be getting built. Fair or not, Kenney will be able to point to these developments as validation of his government's approach — and a sign of its achievements. That's why the NDP needs a competing narrative, one that directly challenges the UCP's double-or-nothing approach to economic development and its apparently unshakeable faith in the oil and gas industry's ability to turn back the clock. And as the CBC News-Road Ahead poll from March reveals, there's lots of opportunity there.For example, when asked if "oil and gas companies have too much say in Alberta politics," 54 per cent either strongly or somewhat agreed. More importantly, those figures held in Calgary, with 26 per cent strongly agreeing and 27 per cent somewhat agreeing. That majority held across key NDP demographics, from younger people (indeed, 63 per cent of those aged 25-44 agreed) to lower and middle income families and the highly educated.  In a bit of a shocker, 54 per cent of Calgarians agreed that "Alberta should transition away from oil and gas." And here, again, this majority held across the young, the working and middle class, and the highly educated.When asked if "Alberta should transition toward renewable energy," fully 80 per cent of Calgarians agreed. And when asked if Alberta should "do more to encourage the development of the technology sector," support in Calgary hit 95 per cent.Yes, the sample sizes here aren't enormous, but they're big enough to lend some credibility to these results, which should serve as a roadmap for the NDP's economic message over the next 30 months.And while it might be tempting to read these results as an invitation to talk about a "Green New Deal," the political failure of the Climate Leadership Plan speaks to the dangers of putting environmental objectives ahead of economic ones in Alberta.A compelling economic messageInstead, they need to remember that when progressive politicians win elections, it's usually because they have a compelling economic message that connects with working and middle class voters. That was true of Bill Clinton's "It's The Economy, Stupid" campaign of 1992. It was true of Barack Obama in 2008. And to some extent, it was true of the NDP back in 2015. But those elections are the exceptions, not the rule."Typically," Bratt says, "the NDP owns the issue of health care and education. They don't [own] the economy."Even with all of the health-care and education-shaped rakes that the UCP has stepped on lately, it's still polling ahead of the NDP — and that's before any potential rebound in commodity prices.In a recent blog post, progressive organizer Scott Harold Payne argued that "as long as we're busy attacking Kenney on issues of his choosing, we're not busy building an alternative economic narrative that could unseat the UCP."In other words, even if they can't truly own the issue of the economy, they have to find a way to not get owned on it again.And if it takes a few silly staged photo-ops to do that? Well, it beats losing another election.This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

  • Business

    Passengers on 4 flights into YVR warned of possible COVID-19 exposure

    Health authorities are warning passengers on four recent flights into Vancouver International Airport of possible exposure to COVID-19.The warning comes just days after Health Minister Adrian Dix said he wanted to see evidence it's safe for British Columbians to fly,The B.C. Centre for Disease Control is asking everyone on the affected flights to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days following their flight.According to the BCCDC, the affected flights are: * June 3, Delta flight 3898 from Seattle * June 16, Air Canada flight 217 from Saskatoon * June 18, Air Canada flight 557 from Los Angeles * June 21, Flair Airlines flight 8102 from TorontoInformation on the number of passengers who were possibly affected was not immediately available."We are aware of the COVID-19 positive passengers on board our flight 8102 on June 21, 2020," said Jamina Kotak with Flair Airlines."We have had no employees or flight crews test positive for COVID-19, nor are we aware that any other passenger on this flight was affected," she said.On Monday, Dix said he wanted to see evidence that it's safe for the country's two largest airlines to drop their in-flight distancing policies during the pandemic.Dix said he would like to hear from federal agencies to allay fears or explain why they've allowed Air Canada and WestJet to end the seat-distancing policies as of July 1.The airlines announced last week that they are using health recommendations from the United Nation's aviation agency and the International Air Transport Association.In May, there was possible COVID-19 exposure for passengers on two domestic flights and four international flights landing at YVR, according to the BCCDC.

  • News

    Human rights tribunal finds Toronto police officer endured 'significant' sexual harassment on the job

    The Toronto Police Services Board has been ordered to develop new human rights policies and training programs after an officer was found to have been the subject of years of sexual harassment at the hands of her colleagues.The ruling by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario also awards Const. Heather McWilliam $75,000 from the police board as result of injuries to her "dignity, feelings and self-respect."Tribunal adjudicator Jo-Anne Pickel wrote in her ruling that McWilliam likely endured a "poisoned work environment" during her career at the force's 23 Division.In a statement, McWilliam said her "integrity has been returned" as a result of the ruling."This decision is truly priceless for me and all those who have been affected by police abuse. This decision takes seriously the need to change the deeply troubled police culture and signals that perhaps there is hope," McWilliam said.McWilliam, in her initial complaint filed in 2014, said a superior officer once made a sexual joke about wanting her to "ride his horse."She said another superior, Sgt. Angelo Costa, tried to force his tongue into her mouth at an after-work function. Costa is the only officer named as a respondent in the case. He has since retired from the service.McWilliam also recounted being called "degrading names" such as "c--t, bitch and dyke" by colleagues in her submission to the tribunal."The evidence in this case demonstrates how the cumulative effect on someone of a series of comments and actions may be very significant," Pickel wrote, adding that many of the accused harassers "had a significant degree of power over [McWilliam's] day-to-day work as well as her career prospects."Pickel goes on to say that inappropriate sexual comments and harassment were so routine that they became "a condition of her employment" during McWilliam's time at the division."That is the essence of a poisoned work environment," Pickel writes.The Toronto Police Services Board, a civilian body charged with governing the Toronto Police Service, said it is in the process of reviewing the ruling and its orders. It also pointed to a number of enhanced policies introduced since McWilliam's complaints."The Board must constantly strive to do better, to move forward and to listen to the experiences of those in our organization, with a willingness and openness to embrace change," said the board in a statement.Toronto police chief Mark Saunders called the findings "serious and concerning" while pointing to an independent workplace harassment and discrimination review happening right now within the force."I am disappointed," Saunders added. "We will take the time to carefully review the public interest remedies ordered by the [tribunal] and make the necessary adjustments to our efforts."The board and Costa were also ordered to pay McWilliam an additional $10,000.The board is also ordered to retain an external expert on human rights and policing to conduct training for supervising officers at 23 Division within the next four months.Another order calls for all officers at 23 Division to take part in annual training related to sexual harassment.Pickel said she has reason to believe sexual harassment issues exist at other police divisions, but she said the limited scope of McWilliam's case did not allow her to order training across the entire force.

  • Landslide at Myanmar jade mine kills at least 162 people
    The Canadian Press

    Landslide at Myanmar jade mine kills at least 162 people

    HPAKANT, Myanmar — At least 162 people were killed Thursday in a landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar, the worst in a series of deadly accidents at such sites in recent years that critics blame on the government's failure to take action against unsafe conditions.The Myanmar Fire Service Department, which co-ordinates rescues and other emergency services, announced about 12 hours after the morning disaster that 162 bodies had been recovered from the landslide in Hpakant, the centre of the world’s biggest and most lucrative jade mining industry.The most detailed estimate of Myanmar’s jade industry said it generated about $31 billion in 2014. Hpakant is a rough and remote area in Kachin state, 950 kilometres (600 miles) north of Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon.“The jade miners were smothered by a wave of mud," the Fire Service said.It said 54 injured people were taken to hospitals. The tolls announced by other state agencies and media lagged behind the fire agency, which was most closely involved. An unknown number of people are feared missing.Those taking part in the recovery operations, which were suspended after dark, included the army and other government units and local volunteers.U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep sadness at the deaths, sent condolences to families of the victims and Myanmar’s government and people.Gutteres reiterated “the readiness of the United Nations to contribute to ongoing efforts to address the needs of the affected population,” said his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.The London-based environmental watchdog Global Witness said the accident “is a damning indictment of the government”s failure to curb reckless and irresponsible mining practices in Kachin state's jade mines."“The government should immediately suspend large-scale, illegal and dangerous mining in Hpakant and ensure companies that engage in these practices are no longer able to operate,” Global Witness said in a statement.At the site of the tragedy, a crowd gathered in the rain around corpses shrouded in blue and red plastic sheets placed in a row on the ground.Emergency workers had to slog through heavy mud to retrieve bodies by wrapping them in the plastic sheets, which were then hung on crossed wooden poles shouldered by the recovery teams.Social activists have complained that the profitability of jade mining has led businesses and the government to neglect enforcement of already very weak regulations in the jade mining industry.“The multi-billion dollar sector is dominated by powerful military-linked companies, armed groups and cronies that have been allowed to operate without effective social and environmental controls for years,” Global Witness said. Although the military is no longer directly in power in Myanmar, it is still a major force in government and exercises authority in remote regions.Thursday's death toll surpasses that of a November 2015 accident that left 113 dead and was previously considered the country's worst. In that case, the victims died when a 60-meter (200-foot) -high mountain of earth and waste discarded by several mines tumbled in the middle of the night, covering more than 70 huts where miners slept.Those killed in such accidents are usually freelance miners who settle near giant mounds of discarded earth that has been excavated by heavy machinery. The freelancers who scavenge for bits of jade usually work and live in abandoned mining pits at the base of the mounds of earth, which become particularly unstable during the rainy season.Most scavengers are unregistered migrants from other areas, making it hard to determine exactly how many people are actually missing after such accidents and in many cases leaving the relatives of the dead in their home villages unaware of their fate.Global Witness, which investigates misuse of revenues from natural resources, documented the $31 billion estimate for Myanmar's jade industry in a 2015 report that said most of the wealth went to individuals and companies tied to the country's former military rulers. More recent reliable figures are not readily available.It said at the time the report was released that the legacy to local people of such business arrangements “is a dystopian wasteland in which scores of people at a time are buried alive in landslides.”In its statement Thursday, Global Witness blamed the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, which came to power in 2016, for failing “to implement desperately needed reforms, allowing deadly mining practices to continue and gambling the lives of vulnerable workers in the country's jade mines.”Jade mining also plays a role in the decades-old struggle of ethnic minority groups in Myanmar's borderlands to take more control of their own destiny.The area where members of the Kachin minority are dominant is poverty stricken despite hosting lucrative deposits of rubies as well as jade.The Kachin believe they are not getting a fair share of the profits from deals that the central government makes with mining companies.Kachin guerrillas have engaged in intermittent but occasionally heavy combat with government troops.___Pyae Son Win reported from Yangon, Myanmar.Zaw Moe Htet And Pyae Sone Win, The Associated Press

  • Mysterious light orbs filmed over Colorado

    Mysterious light orbs filmed over Colorado

    A resident in Hayden, Colorado, USA recently captured footage of apparent light orbs in the daytime sky.