Australian scientists have discovered a coral reef that’s millions of years old and dwarfs the Empire State Building.
Australian scientists have discovered a coral reef that’s millions of years old and dwarfs the Empire State Building.
China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
There's mixed messaging emerging from the debate over methylmercury contamination in Labrador, with a U.S. researcher again raising the alarm about the toxic organic compound, while a contractor monitoring the effects of Muskrat Falls — backed up by the Department of Environment — says there's no need to worry.Ryan Calder co-authored a 2015 study by researchers at Harvard University saying hundreds of Labrador Inuit will be exposed to dangerous levels of methylmercury once the Muskrat Falls reservoir is fully flooded.The report was rejected at the time by Nalcor Energy, the government-owned corporation building the controversial hydroelectric generating station and dam on the Lower Churchill River.Calder has since moved on to research university Virginia Tech, but has continued to follow the findings of an ongoing monitoring program on the river and in Lake Melville.He said recent data showing an increase in the toxin is cause for concern."There's a small number of people that eat enough fish and marine mammals for it to be a concern," Calder said during a phone interview. "Probably in the hundreds of people among the Labrador Inuit that would be pushed beyond the Health Canada and EPA [United States Environmental Protection Agency] reference sources for mercury exposure."But Jim McCarthy — a senior biologist with Wood Environmental Infrastructure Solutions, which has been contracted by Nalcor to lead a methylmercury monitoring program in central Labrador — disagrees.It's now been a full year since the Muskrat Falls reservoir was filled to capacity, and McCarthy said methylmercury levels in the Muskrat reservoir has average 0.06 nanograms (one billionth of a gram) of methylmercury per litre of water. And as expected, McCarthy said levels increased in the summer, reaching as high as 0.2 nanograms per litre in one sample, with the 2020 summer average at 0.07 nanograms per litre.The natural levels prior to reservoir flooding was 0.017 nanograms per litre, said McCarthy.So is McCarty alarmed by those numbers? "That's not high at all," he said. "To put it in terms of drinking water quality, there'd be an advisory on if the water quality had 1,000 nanograms per litre of methylmercury."The main concern for area residents is their wild food supply becoming contaminated with unsafe levels of methylmercuy, and so far there is no evidence of this, said McCarthy, who has been studying the water and fish in the Churchill River for two decades.Fish samples collected in 2019 did not show any changes in methylmercury levels from previous years.McCarthy is awaiting laboratory results from fish samples collected in September and October, but is not expecting any significant change again this year.McCarthy said it can take anywhere from three to five years for higher concentrations of methylmercury to appear in fish, and, he said, "I don't expect it to be much."When asked if he envisioned a scenario where area residents might be advised against consuming fish or mammals, McCarthy said, "I"m not a human health person, I'm a fish person. But I don't believe so, based on the data that I've seen, I don't think there'll be advisories."The Environment Department said methylmercury levels are below the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment's guidelines."To date, monitoring data confirms that the actual methylmercury levels are far below predicted levels by CCME guidelines for aquatic life," a department spokesperson wrote in an email to CBC News.A statement from Nalcor says, "The Muskrat Falls reservoir is reacting in a similar way to other reservoirs following the first year of flooding."In fact, Nalcor says average methylmercury concentrations in the reservoir are slightly lower than predicted for the past year, at 0.058 nanograms per litre. The concentrations decrease further downstream, said Nalcor."We've noticed that there is an increase, but not a very large increase," said McCarthy.McCarthy said it's common for concentrations to increase in the first three years after reservoir flooding, and eventually return to natural levels.He said he could easily find a pond dammed by a beaver anywhere in the province and find higher concentrations of methylmercury.He stressed that the consumption of fish and mammals should not be avoided."I think they're safe to eat, yes," he said.Ballooning project costs and long delays have dogged the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project for years, but human health concerns have also been at the forefront, especially for those who eat fish and other mammals in the region.The threat of methylmercury contaminating the wild food supply resulted in protests four years ago, and a prolonged impasse was resolved after the provincial government agreed to establish an independent expert advisory committee.An enhanced monitoring program was also launched, with weekly testing at more than a dozen sites upstream of the Muskat Falls reservoir, downstream into Lake Melville, as far as Rigolet.The issue flared again last year after the provincial government failed to deliver on a promise to clear some vegetation — a process known as wetland capping — from the reservoir prior to full flooding, with then premier Dwight Ball calling it an unintentional oversight.Nalcor responded by allocating $30 million in compensation for three Indigenous groups in Labrador.Meanwhile, Ryan Calder says the data emerging from river monitoring is supporting his early concerns about methylmercury."The first data that's rolling out is consistent with our predictions, and is exactly what Nalcor refused to believe five years ago," said Calder."Immediately the levels are going way beyond the Nalcor projected peak, and are now well within the range of what we had predicted. And they're still rising. The fact that we're in late November now and the levels are still rising quite sharply, when they usually are falling, is a concern. And it suggests they'll probably continue to rise next spring and summer."When asked why Calder's tone is so different from his own, McCarthy replied, "Well, there's two conflicting models too, I guess."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate from the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Alberta, said a mostly salt and water solution that coats the first or middle layer of the mask would dissolve droplets before they can penetrate the face covering.As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, damaging the bacteria or virus within five minutes, Rubino said."We know that after the pathogens are collected in the mask, they can survive. Our goal was to develop a technology that is able to inactivate the pathogens upon contact so that we can make the mask as effective as possible."Rubino, who collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago, was recognized Tuesday with an innovation award from Mitacs. The Canadian not-for-profit organization receives funding from the federal government, most provinces and Yukon to honour researchers from academic institutions.The reusable, non-washable mask is made of a type of polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, and could be safely worn and handled multiple times without being decontaminated, Rubino said.The idea is to replace surgical masks often worn by health-care workers who must dispose of them in a few hours, she said, adding the technology could potentially be used for N-95 respirators.The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval. It could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza, Rubino said.Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the "exciting" technology would have multiple benefits.Clase, who is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials in the engineering department at McMaster, said there wasn't much research in personal protective equipment when Rubino began her work."It's going to decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask," she said, adding that the mask could also address any supply issues.The Public Health Agency of Canada recently recommended homemade masks consist of at least three layers, with a middle, removable layer constructed from a non-woven, washable polypropylene fabric to improve filtration.Conor Ruzycki, an aerosol scientist in the University of Alberta's mechanical engineering department, said Rubino's innovation adds to more recent research on masks as COVID-19 cases rise and shortages of face coverings in the health-care system could again become a problem.Ruzycki, who works in a lab to evaluate infiltration efficiencies of different materials for masks and respirators, is also a member of a physician-led Alberta group Masks4Canada, which is calling for stricter pandemic measures, including a provincewide policy on mandatory masks.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
Cape Breton Regional Police are stepping up foot patrols in downtown Sydney at the request of local business owners.It's been a difficult year for retailers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that have so far survived 2020 are now trying to protect against thefts as holiday shoppers return to the downtown core."You're a little bit busier and you're not maybe paying as much attention," said Bruce Meloney, owner of Rieker by the Shoe Tree on Charlotte Street."It's an easy time to be targeted by would-be thieves who want to steal."Hard to ID mask-wearing thievesA Shoe Tree employee grabbed a shoebox for sizing last week only to realize it was empty. Meloney said he believes a woman snagged a pair of expensive boots by tucking them underneath a cape she was wearing. The store is monitored by security cameras, but identifying a suspect has become more difficult due to pandemic protocols. "With masks on, it's harder to say, 'Oh, I know who that person is now,'" said Meloney. "And that's why I'd love to have just a police presence, just for simple things like that."Police patrols returningLast week, during an education session with police on biker gang activity in the local area, members of Sydney's business community asked the force why regular foot patrols were stopped in the downtown core.Acting police chief Robert Walsh responded that there had been very little foot traffic in the area."For a long while there wasn't a presence in the downtown community, in the downtown core," he said.After the meeting, the police service committed to increasing its presence downtown during the shopping season.Michelle Wilson, executive director of the Sydney Downtown Development Association, said preventing thefts is always better than trying to solve shoplifting crimes. "We always appreciate when the police have enough resources to put someone downtown," she said. "It creates an extra sense of safety and security — not only for our customers, but for our business owners and staff, as well."Campaign to attract customersFor many retailers who survived the first difficult months of the pandemic, Christmas sales are crucial. A cancelled cruise ship season this year has brought hardships to several downtown merchants.For many, the hope is shoppers will spend their holiday dollars locally. "We always rely more heavily on the Christmas season," said Wilson. "For a lot of people, year end is December 31st … and it's right before a few really slow months."To draw more visitors to local businesses, the association is issuing a challenge to light up downtown Sydney.The campaign aspires to have 30,000 lightbulbs glowing outside downtown buildings and in window displays. MORE TOP STORIES
Following a serious COVID-19 outbreak at a French public school in Ottawa, some parents are threatening to keep their kids out of class unless they get assurances it's safe to return. Sixteen students and one teacher at École publique secondaire Omer-Deslauriers tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, forcing the shutdown of all grades 7 and 8 classrooms by Nov. 4, and three more classes in the upper grades by Nov. 10. > I'm feeling very sad because I'm jeopardizing my daughter's education, but I'd rather keep her safe than the danger of sending her to school. \- Idil OmarLast Wednesday evening, parents received notice the children could return the following day, however the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario (CEPEO) confirms about 40 per cent of the students did not immediately return."It has been very dramatic to many, many families," said Youcef Fouzar, a parent representative on the school council.Fouzar said about half a dozen families have moved their children to another school in a different board. He said the council is demanding assurances from CEPEO that the school will be safe, as well as better communication with parents.Superintendent points to surrounding communityCEPEO superintendent of education Sylvie Tremblay said the outbreak at the school occurred because COVID-19 rates in the surrounding community are high."More often than not, when there are cases in any school, it's because of behaviours and practices that people have outside of the school," Tremblay said.CBC did ask to speak with the principal of the school, but was referred to Tremblay for comment. But parents at Omer-Deslauriers aren't buying that explanation. There have been no cases at the neighbouring English high school or middle school, and only two at the nearby French Catholic elementary school.Instead, they're pointing to overcrowding in two Grade 7 International Baccalaureate (IB) classrooms. On Oct. 21, the school eliminated one of three Grade 7 IB classes, creating two larger classes of 28 and 29 students.In Ontario, there are no cap sizes for classes in grades 4 through 8, only a maximum average of 24.5 across each board. Public health guidelines mandate large classes must be in rooms that can accommodate adequate physical distancing. Tremblay said an Ottawa Public Health investigator suggested only a few "tweaks" to the current class configuration following the outbreak, including Plexiglas dividers between desks. That change has been delayed because of supply problems, she said.Girl came home 'very anxious'Idil Omar said her 12-year-old daughter came home after the first day back at school "very anxious" over a lack of physical distancing. The girl told her mother she could reach out and touch her nearest classmate, and said there was no adult supervision at lunch. Omar's daughter is among the students who have not yet returned to the school. "I'm feeling very sad because I'm jeopardizing my daughter's education, but I'd rather keep her safe than the danger of sending her to school," Omar said.Tremblay said there has always been supervision at lunch.A source with L'Association des enseignantes et enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the union representing teachers at the school, confirmed it's heard health and safety complaints regarding COVID-19, but said it can't discuss the details while it's actively trying to resolve the issues.Several parents said members of their families have since contracted the virus, and school council members estimate some 100 households with links to the school have been under quarantine. The president of the school council, Yussuf Farah, said in one case both parents have been so ill they've had trouble caring for their children."I hope the community keeps these families in mind," Farah said in a French interview. Fouzar said he's interested in how the Toronto District School Board used its own funds to cap grades 4-8 at 20 students in neighbourhoods with higher COVID-19 transmission, and said he'd like to see the CEPEO take similar steps."This is like a huge anxiety," he said. "Every morning I have to talk to myself, am I doing the right thing? Am I protecting my kids?"
For the second time this month, Canada has ordered a temporary fishery closure in the Roseway Basin off southern Nova Scotia after multiple detections of endangered North Atlantic right whales in the area.The latest order, issued Monday, closes several fisheries until further notice and could affect the lucrative commercial lobster fishery when the season opens next week."We intend to conduct an aerial survey of the area in the coming days to determine if there continues to be [right whale] presence," Barre Campbell, a spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said in a statement Monday night."Management measures will continue to be applied if right whales are detected."Acoustic sensors detect whalesSince Nov. 9, acoustic sensors on board a marine glider cruising the area made 11 separate right whale detections."It could be one animal calling over all of that period of time. It's more probable that it was multiple animals that happened to come through. But how many?" said Fred Whoriskey, executive director of the Ocean Tracking Network, which deployed the glider in collaboration with the Ocean Frontier Institute."We can't tell because all we're doing is picking up a call. Our algorithms on board the machine that is detecting the calls are saying that's a right whale."It's the first time DFO is acting on data from autonomous gliders to make the call to shut down a fishery, said Adam Burns, director general of fisheries resource management for the department."We've been doing acoustic monitoring now for a few years, but this is the first year that we've considered them to be a trusted source in terms of implementing dynamic closures," Burns told CBC News on Tuesday.The Roseway Basin — located approximately 20 nautical miles, or roughly 37 kilometres, south of Cape Sable Island — has been designated a critical habitat for the whales, which used to feed there in late summer.The glider that found the whales is scheduled to come out of the water Wednesday, and the aerial survey will take over.If no right whales are spotted during the aerial surveys, the area will reopen for the start of the lobster fishery, said Burns. Sightings stump scientistsSightings have become rarer in recent years as the critically endangered whales moved north into the Gulf of St. Lawrence with disastrous results.Since 2017, 20 have died in the gulf, caused in some cases by vessel strikes and gear entanglements. No deaths have been reported so far in 2020."What we do know is something massive has changed in the way the right whales are interacting with our ocean here right now. And so it's very hard to say what is normal anymore, and this is basically a part of that. They were in Roseway for many, many years, and suddenly disappeared a few years ago. Now suddenly we're picking up a few," said Whoriskey."We don't know whether at this particular point in time if these are transitory animals that are on their way south for the winter — they probably are — or whether there are some that have moved in and tried to occupy it for longer periods of times."The detection means fishing for multiple species is closed until further notice. That will apply to lobster and crab when those seasons open.Because of a forecast for bad weather, fishermen have been given until Thursday to remove gear from parts of the Roseway Basin where the whales were most recently detected.DFO had reopened some, but not all, parts of the Roseway Basin that were closed temporarily earlier this month.Unusually late in the seasonSean Brillant of the Canadian Wildlife Federation said detections in Canadian waters this late in the year are unusual, but DFO is doing the right thing."The fact that they're taking this new information and acting on it in a way to try and prevent entanglements is encouraging. This is the kind of adaptive and strong leadership we need to see. Nobody wants to be closing these fisheries," said Brillant. "But at the same time, these rules are important to try and prevent this accidental harm that can happen to these animals."Whales' behaviour not understoodThe implications for the lobster fishery are potentially dramatic.Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34 from Halifax to Digby are the most valuable in Canada. Combined landings in 2018-19 were valued at $490 million.Fishermen there have largely been spared the intrusive measures taken to protect the whales elsewhere in the region. It was always presumed the whales had migrated out of Canadian waters before the season opened in late November or early December."What we're trying to do is protect the whales, but we're also trying to protect Canadian fisheries. Obviously there's going to be a huge problem if we have mortalities caused by our fisheries and then buyers begin to boycott Canadian seafood products," said Whoriskey."For us, as scientists encountering this all of a sudden, it's very uncomfortable, and we don't really understand what the whales are doing or why they're doing it right now."I personally am hopeful that this is a migratory movement of the animals and they are heading south, and heading south fairly fast, so the fishery can reopen again fairly quickly and get these guys back out in the water."MORE TOP STORIES
The year 2020 has been already been full of woe, but Dr. Joe Vipond fears the worst is yet to come in Alberta.The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 has tripled in the past four weeks, but December, he believes, will bring new levels of suffering, as the current surge in COVID-19 cases translates into more people sick and more people dying."There's a deep, dark sense of foreboding," Vipond said of the mood at the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, where he works as an emergency room physician.At last count, Alberta had 13,166 active cases. That's more than any other province, including Quebec, which has twice the population, and Ontario, which has more than three times as many people as Alberta.Health-care workers who have been tracking the trajectory of the virus are beyond alarmed at the rate of exponential growth through October and into November, Vipond said.Many have been calling for weeks for a "circuit-breaker" lockdown — relatively short and severe — to slow the spread of the virus."The pandemic has begun a slow collapse of our health-care system and time is running out to reverse it," reads a letter signed by more than 300 physicians and sent to Premier Jason Kenney and other senior provincial leaders on Sunday."Health-care workers are a finite resource. We cannot continue providing adequate care at this pace."More hospitalizations on horizonRoughly 3.5 per cent of Albertans diagnosed with COVID-19 have wound up in hospital so far, Vipond noted, and roughly one per cent have ended up dying.Do the math on the 1,546 new cases announced Monday alone, he said, and you can expect 54 more hospitalizations and another 15 deaths in several weeks' time — just from a single day's worth of viral spread.Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, issued a similar warning when she announced the new cases on Monday."We know that hospitalizations typically lag behind the rise in cases by about a week to 10 days," she said."So we will, absolutely, expect to see a continuing rise in hospitalizations and ICU cases over the coming two to three weeks. That's something we would expect to see independent of any measures that are introduced."After delivering those comments, Hinshaw hurried off to meet with members of a cabinet committee to discuss what those new measures might look like. An update is expected Tuesday.Vipond is frustrated it has taken this long for the government to consider serious countermeasures, as the trajectory of the spread has been consistent — and predictable — for some time."We've seen [new-case] doubling times of two weeks for at least six weeks," he said. "You can see people's tweets where they actually calculated it out. And they are bang-on."Foreseeing deathMalgorzata Gasperowicz is one of those people. She is a developmental biologist and independent researcher who has been tracking Alberta's COVID-19 data closely.Gasperowicz correctly predicted in October that, given the trajectory in Alberta's COVID-19 spread at the time, the province would be seeing 1,000 new cases per day by mid-November.Even if Alberta were to be locked down overnight, she says, the province should still expect to see a surge of deaths in the coming weeks from the high number of existing infections.Compounding the problem is the fact that many of the recent cases have come among older adults, who are typically more vulnerable.Throughout the pandemic, the number of deaths among Albertans aged 70 and over has been roughly equal to the number of new cases per 100,000 people in this age group, with the deaths lagging about four weeks behind.The fact this relationship is nearly one-to-one, Gasperowicz said, is a bit of a mathematical coincidence that has to do with the size of Alberta's population. But it allows for data visualization that neatly illustrates the general relationship between daily new cases and daily deaths among older adults in particular.The animated chart below shows that relationship. The case rate among older adults is indicated by the red line and the number of deaths among this age group is indicated by the black line, which trails behind by four weeks. (The chart runs from March to November.)New cases vs. deaths among people 70 and olderThe way the red line shoots suddenly upward in the past few weeks, Gasperowicz said, is alarming. She sees no reason the lagging black line — indicating deaths — won't continue to follow."The more cases we have in this age group, the more deaths we will have, too," she said. "It's pretty scary."Health minister taking situation 'very seriously'Health Minister Tyler Shandro said Monday the government is "taking these rising numbers very seriously."He said senior cabinet ministers would be meeting late Monday and "reviewing that data and reviewing what options are available to us, as a government.""I am taking it very seriously. We all are, around that table," Shandro said. "We are going to be deliberating [on] the situation and we'll be listening to the advice of Dr. Deena Hinshaw."He also warned about a looming increase in demand on Alberta's health-care system."As we have transmissions rise, so will hospitalizations," he said."And that means one less hospital bed for somebody to have their important surgery. So I hope all Albertans listen to that and understand the importance of being able to take all measures and take COVID responsibility throughout the fall and throughout the winter, as we continue to protect ourselves and our health-care workers."
The province is looking for additional health-care workers and alternative accommodations for people who may need to isolate in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 on P.E.I.The accommodations could be for health-care workers in COVID-positive wards, for example, said Tanya Tynski, executive director of human resources and pharmacare with Health PEI. "They may feel that they need to have an alternative accommodation because they may have a loved one at home who is immunocompromised. And this would allow them to continue to work and maintain the health of their family members," Tynski said."So that would be one of the main areas where we would consider that staff accommodation." 'We plan for everything'Tynski, who serves as P.E.I.'s chief planner with the COVID-19 Joint Response Team, said the accommodations could potentially be used to house patients who are recovering or preparing to be discharged if capacity becomes an issue at hospitals."That would be obviously in a very exceptional circumstance where the pandemic has progressed to a high level of spread and our surge capacity within our system has been exceeded," she said."We certainly don't expect that but we plan for it. We plan for everything."Tynski said the province is also looking to bolster its staffing levels. She said anyone who has worked in the health-care field, even those who are retired, can send an expression of interest to Health PEI.P.E.I. has had 69 known cases of COVID-19. Two remain active.On Monday, the province suspended its participation in the Atlantic bubble as cases in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia continue to rise.All areas of IslandEarlier this month, the province issued a tender to potential accommodation providers. Tynski said it's difficult to predict how many accommodations might be needed, but said they are looking for them for all areas of the Island to support health-care workers.The province had used places such as Holland College for similar purposes in the summer, but that is no longer feasible now that some students have returned to campus.The province is looking for any accommodations that have separate entrances as well as laundry and cooking facilities. A price for the accommodations will be agreed upon beforehand, but providers will not be paid unless the accommodations are used.More from CBC P.E.I.
NAV Canada, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is considering cutting air traffic controller jobs at seven towers across Canada in an effort to save money as the global health crisis continues to drag down air traffic.But some aviation experts and airlines warn that reducing the number of people who control air traffic and ensure aircraft keep their distance in the sky and on the ground would amount to removing a layer of protection."It would degrade the level of safety at Whitehorse," said Joe Sparling, president of Whitehorse-based airline Air North. "We would encourage Nav Canada to look for other cost reduction measures."CBC News obtained an internal memo from Nav Canada president and CEO Neil Wilson informing staff that the not-for-profit company — which operates Canada's civil air navigation system — is conducting studies of air traffic control towers in Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray in Alberta, Prince George in B.C., and Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor in Ontario which "will result in workforce adjustments."The company also is looking into closing a control tower in St. Jean, Quebec. These locations were identified as having low air traffic levels, even prior to the pandemic, the memo said."We are working closely with our bargaining agents to safely streamline our operations in an ongoing effort to align with traffic levels," wrote Wilson on Nov. 14, adding his commitment to safety is unwavering.Nav Canada manages millions of kilometres of airspace over Canada and used to provide air navigation services for more than 3 million flights a year. It's funded through service fees paid by air carriers.COVID-19 has dramatically decreased the number of flights across the country since March. In September, there was a 63 per cent drop in air traffic compared to the same month in 2019, according to Nav Canada numbers.In response, the company announced in September it was cutting more than 720 jobs, or 14 per cent of its workforce. The CEO also warned more layoffs remain possible.Transitioning to flight service stationsNav Canada is studying the possibility of closing the St. Jean tower in Quebec. The company is also looking into transitioning the other six towers to "Flight Service Stations," which would involve cutting air traffic controller jobs.Flight service specialists — who cost less to employ than air traffic controllers — would replace those workers. They do not have the power to control air traffic and keep planes separated while in flight or on the ground. Instead, they provide advisory services and information about weather, runway conditions and air traffic, leaving it up to pilots to keep a safe distance from other planes.Sparling said Whitehorse doesn't have radar, so the tower can't see air traffic on its screens. He said cutting the number of air traffic controllers from the airport could affect pilots by making it harder for them to keep track of everything in the air."It removes the level of safety afforded to air operators," he said. "During peak season, during heavy traffic periods, it is a safer environment if you're in a tower environment ..."The worst instance would be a collision or something like that."Mid-air collision in 1999David McNair, a former aviation safety investigator with the Transportation Safety Board, said airports "with air traffic controllers tend to have a safer management of traffic."He pointed to a fatal mid-air collision over Penticton, B.C. in 1999 that killed five people and involved flight service specialists. One plane had just taken off from the airport when it collided with a descending plane. One aircraft smashed into the parking lot of the Okanagan University College, the other into the yard of a business. The crash raised concerns about the lack of air traffic controllers at the airport at the time — positions that were eliminated years earlier in a cost-cutting move by Transport Canada, according to a CBC report in 1999."Likely, neither pilot was aware of where the other aircraft was or what exactly it would be doing," said McNair. "A tower controller would have controlled as required to provide separation."Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens also raised concerns last week about the impact on Windsor's airport, arguing that removing "Nav Canada controllers at YQG will really cut us off at the knees ... it will have a detrimental impact." City officials plan to fight the move by arguing it could cause delays and operational challenges.'Safety is always our number one priority,' said Nav CanadaIn a statement, Nav Canada said that its studies are "rigorous" and follow a process set by Transport Canada that includes public consultation."Safety is always our number one priority — and we would never do anything to jeopardize that," said Nav Canada spokesperson Rebecca Hickey in a statement to CBC News."When making decisions, we always take a long-term view to preserve the sustainability of the company and the integrity of the air navigation system of behalf of all Canadians."Transport Minister Marc Garneau's office said that before Nav Canada moves forward with any staff reductions or terminations, it must ensure it will maintain "rigorous aviation safety standards." "Transport Canada will work closely with Nav Canada to ensure the safety of air transportation in Canada," said department spokesperson Amy Butcher in a statement to CBC News.Under Canadian aviation regulations, Garneau also has the power to direct Nav Canada to maintain levels of service if he believes there is an unacceptable risk to aviation safety.
France's interior minister called the images of police forcefully removing migrants from the Place de la République "shocking".View on euronews
The NATO principle of one-for-all and all-for-one was the reason it — and by extension Canada — went into Afghanistan, but that assumption is being sorely tested by a U.S. administration that is in a hurry to wind things up.Hurry might be a relative term, though, considering Washington's military involvement in the country is approaching the two-decade mark.The Trump administration's deadline to draw down U.S. forces to 2,500 troops by mid-January — paving the way for a full withdrawal — has been greeted with nervousness by NATO allies.There is an old saying, from early in the war, that the Taliban were fond of repeating: you have the watches, we have the time.The implication was that militants could simply wait out foreign forces and wear them down in a steady drip of casualties and spectacular setbacks.It seems time is still on the Taliban's side.Witness the steady rise in attacks across at least 50 districts in the country, according to Afghanistan's Interior Ministry, in figures that were recently reported in the local media.Key parts of Kandahar province, which have remained relatively peaceful since the Canadian withdrawal from there almost a decade ago, have become contested. Afghan forces, with the help of punishing U.S. airstrikes, were forced to retake the Arghandab district from the Taliban recently in a level of fighting that matched the darkest days of Canada's involvement in the restive province.With their refusal to agree to an outright ceasefire, the Taliban are putting pressure on both the Afghan government and the U.S. as a deadline for the complete withdrawal of international forces looms next spring.A hard decisionThe Taliban are playing for time as peace talks grind on in Doha, Qatar, leaving bewildered NATO allies warning that the last two decades may end up being for naught should the Taliban succeed in their resurgent campaign of violence. "We strongly support the peace talks that are taking place between the Taliban and the government," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a pre-recorded interview at last weekend's Halifax International Security Forum."And part of the agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban is that all international troops would be out by the first [of] May next year. So, clearly we have to make a very hard decision and that is whether to leave and risk to lose the gains we've made … or whether we stay and continue to be involved in a very challenging and demanding operation in Afghanistan."Stoltenberg staked his ground on the possibly quaint notion that the alliance is free to make its own collective decision about whether to follow the U.S. out the door next spring."My message is that we must assess whether the conditions for leaving are met together," he said. "We need to make these decisions together, and as we have said many times at NATO, we went into Afghanistan together, we should make decisions about adjustments to our presence together, and when the time is right we should leave together in a co-ordinated and orderly way."The reality is, without U.S. logistical and air support, a standalone NATO mission would have a short shelf life.Abdullah Abdullah, the chair of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation and the man leading the government's negotiating team, told Agence France-Presse a few days ago that the two sides are "very close" to breaking a deadlock in peace talks.Those negotiations started on Sept. 12, but bogged down over agenda disagreements, the basic framework of the discussions and religious interpretations, according to the news agency."We haven't moved towards discussion of the main substance of negotiations, the main agenda," said Abdullah, who was interviewed in Turkey."We are close. We are very close. Hopefully we pass this phase and get to the substantial issues" including security.The assessment coincided with a separate statement from the Taliban to AFP that said "sufficient progress" had been made on key sticking points.At the same time, the group has consistently refused to take part in a ceasefire, with frequent attacks against Afghan security forces.They show no signs of being in a hurry. As ever, the Taliban don't need watches.
P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison is urging Islanders not to travel during the upcoming Christmas holidays. Premier Dennis King announced this week that those arriving on the Island from the other Atlantic provinces will now have to self-isolate for 14 days.Many Islanders reacted to news by echoing King's sentiments — it's unfortunate but necessary.As Island businesses gear up for the holidays, news of the Atlantic bubble closing has left some hoping it will be a chance to attract and retain more local customers. Hockey leagues across the Island have had to rejig their schedules. Health PEI says it's preparing for a potential rise in cases. The province is looking for additional health-care workers and isolation accommodations in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.The Chief Public Health Office is warning about possible coronavirus exposure involving a New Glasgow, P.E.I., funeral home. One new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the province on Monday. Dr. Heather Morrison said the new case is a woman in her 40s that travelled outside Atlantic Canada. On Twitter, the Government of P.E.I. issued a new directive advising anyone who has travelled to Halifax, Moncton or Saint John between last week and 12:01 am Tuesday to: * Closely monitor for symptoms * Wear a mask at all times, including outdoors * Limit contacts * Hand wash regularly * Physically distance when possible * Download the COVID Alert AppIn other COVID-19 developments, a one-day COVID-19 testing clinic was held at Lennox Island Friday out of precaution. There are no known cases of COVID-19 on Lennox Island, said Chief Darlene Bernard.A P.E.I. teen has turned his science fair project into a business building and selling bat houses after the pandemic cancelled the provincial science fair.There is one active COVID-19 case in the province. P.E.I. has seen a total of 69 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.Nova Scotia reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday — the fifth highest single-day increase in cases since the start of the pandemic — as officials announced new restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.New Brunswick announced five new cases, bringing its number of active cases to 93.Also in the newsFurther resourcesMore from CBC P.E.I.
It's flu season, which means the glass-and-concrete warehouse on an industrial stretch of Pie-IX Blvd. in Montreal's north end is buzzing. Forklifts are trundling to and fro.It's the sort of secure building — owned by the medical distributor McKesson Canada — that comes in handy if you're preparing mass immunization for COVID-19.It's expected that campaign will begin at some point in early 2021, but what will it look like in Quebec?There are several clues: new federal guidelines suggest health-care workers and vulnerable elderly populations will probably be at the head of the line. In all likelihood, people will need to be injected twice, so an appointment system will be set up.Unlike the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, which provides a recent blueprint for mass inoculations, it seems unimaginable people will gather in, say, shopping malls to queue for a shot.The effort will likely involve CLSCs and family medicine clinics, as well as hospital installations. Might pharmacies be involved? Possibly, but those questions haven't been dealt with yet.Coincidentally, the province moved to a new distribution model for the flu vaccine this fall. It has involved the private sector to a greater degree than in years past and by all accounts it has worked smoothly, with only minimal hiccups."We've offered our help. We are in active exchanges with the various levels of government involved so we can be part of the solution," said Jean-Philippe Blouin, McKesson Canada's senior vice-president of pharmaceutical distribution and operations.As the province gears for a COVID-19 serum — which should arrive this winter if the front-running candidates from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca/Oxford University win speedy approval from Health Canada — there are still pivotal issues to sort out.'The main obstacle is not having any data'Several European countries and multiple U.S. states have already spelled out how they plan to vaccinate their populations — some as early as next month.If it seems like Quebec and the other Canadian provinces are lagging behind, there are solid reasons for that.For one thing, Quebec has a large territory to cover.For another, there are likely to be two, three or more simultaneous rollouts, aimed at different segments of the population."What's complicated is there are multiple things that need to happen at the same time," said Dr. Caroline Quach-Thanh, a microbiology and infectious diseases professor at Université de Montréal and chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (or NACI), the external scientific body that advises the Public Health Agency of Canada."The first one is to see the data from the vaccines to see in which population we'll use which vaccine."The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use similar technologies, but Quach-Thanh said there is comparatively little data on their effect "in the most vulnerable populations, or even in the healthy population for that matter."It seems likely one or more of the vaccine candidates will prove more effective with some clienteles than others, she said.The most pressing need is to decide who comes first."If we decide we want to start with elderly people in long-term care facilities that's an entirely different strategy than if we want to start with health-care workers in hospitals and clinics," said Quach-Thanh.The scientists at NACI recently issued preliminary guidance on prioritization, but it will ultimately be up to Quebec public health authorities to decide."We don't know yet what's going to be the final distribution model," said McKesson's Blouin. "There are still a lot of unknowns. What we know, though, is that the front-runners ... are going to use frozen or ultra-frozen conditions on their products, which creates some challenges, obviously."In a white paper issued in September, the company warned "the overall public and private vaccine supply chains in Canada are not equipped to support frozen and/or ultra-frozen COVID-19 vaccines at scale."But that's changing. Health Minister Christian Dubé said recently the province has arranged for the purchase of 60 specialized refrigeration units. As of September, McKesson, one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the country, only had one.The Canadian government has also entered into agreements to buy 100 more, according to the federal procurement department.There is a low-intensity international scramble to acquire the equipment, which is key to preserving some of the vaccines.The AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine can be stored between 2 C and 8 C but Moderna's needs to be kept at -20 C and Pfizer's must be kept at the ultra-cold temperature of around -70 C."It has to be kept at a specific temperature, it's not just 'get a big freezer and put everything in the big freezer,'" said David Levine, a former junior health minister who managed the vaccine rollout for the H1N1 flu pandemic, as head of Montreal's regional health authority.It may also be that Pfizer and the other vaccine providers decide to deliver their product directly on a just-in-time basis rather than providing a stockpile that can be kept in facilities like McKesson's or the provincially-owned medical depots.But Quach-Thanh says it's not how the health-care system here is used to doing things."We don't necessarily have a good handle on who is going to show up the next day," Quach-Thanh said. "Yes, you can book appointments but you have no-shows. It would be very regrettable to have vaccines go to waste."A logistical challengeOne person who will play a part in ironing out the logistics: Jérôme Gagnon, Quebec's assistant deputy minister of health.Dubé appointed the operations specialist on Oct. 19. Gagnon has spent the past two decades in the Public Security department. His background is in civil security and anti-terrorism.Quebec's Health Ministry declined to make Gagnon available for interviews, citing his busy schedule.On Tuesday, Dubé said the current flu vaccination campaign has managed to reach 200,000 people per week, and that his department is discussing options to scale that up quickly depending on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines."Are we going to go to the pharmacists, or other medical professionals ... we're in the middle of preparing for that. Those discussions have started. That means in the coming weeks not only will we be ready, I would tell you we already are," the health minister said.There are complex issues to manage in any vaccination effort, for example, the winter rollout will be complicated by the fact that most of the leading candidate vaccines will require two injections, with the second coming between two and four weeks after the first.Levine said the good news is Quebec's health-care system — despite the perennial staff shortage it faces — is well-equipped to organize a mass inoculation. Centralization, usually something to be feared and loathed by regional health administrators, is a good thing in this case, he said."I don't think the logistics today is a problem," he said.It also helps that another substantial piece of the puzzle, namely millions of needles and syringes, is already taken care of, courtesy of the federal government.Then, there's the issue of who wants the vaccine."Everyone is going to want the vaccine and they're going to want to get it as soon as possible," Levine said. "There might be parts of the population that say I'm going to wait and see that the vaccine works well. And those will be the main challenges."Though the health system doesn't have a surplus of nurses, Levine said the government showed this past spring that it's possible to temporarily re-allocate staff, if necessary.Lessons from the pastThe H1N1 episode is instructive, even though it was a far different situation, in that the pandemic never really took off. "We were lucky," Levine said.The government also learned the importance of clear communication."Throughout the whole process remain very transparent, very open. It'll be a moment of intense movement in the population when the vaccine is made available," Levine advised.In 2009, as today, there were multiple vaccines and one drug in particular, the antiviral Tamiflu, was in heavy international demand."Everybody was nervous: 'Are we going to get it? What about the hoarding? Who's stockpiling?'" The lesson, in Levine's view, was clear."You need to be careful that in that type of scenario there is an equal distribution of the vaccine, and it isn't related to social class, it isn't related to parts of the city rather than other parts of the city, parts of the country rather than other parts of the country," he said. Dividing up the dosesCanada has a contract for 20 million doses each of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and options to acquire 56 million more of the Pfizer and 36 million of the Moderna.In all, the federal government has agreements in place for 350 million total doses from seven manufacturers, including Quebec City-based Medicago.The blanket-tugging has already started.Last week, Ontario plainly stated that it expects to receive 1.6-million doses of Pfizer vaccine and 800,000 of Moderna in the first three months of 2021.Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott lifted the cover on how much Canada expects to receive as a whole between January and March: four million of the first and two million of the second.Her Alberta counterpart quickly staked a public claim to about 900,000 doses. Last week, Quebec's public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda stated plainly that Quebec will ensure no other province claws into its per capita share.There should be enough to go around, although the provincial Health Ministry indicated in an email that it expects limited quantities of serum at first.WATCH | One man's struggle with COVID-19 Quach-Thanh suggested the vaccination campaign needn't be mandatory, and pointed out children won't be vaccinated, at least not to start, because "there is no data whatsoever, they haven't been enrolled yet in phase three studies."Also, there may be a popular misconception about the benefits the vaccines will provide.Quach-Thanh said it's still not clear the vaccine has "any capacity to mitigate transmission."In other words, the vaccine can and does protect against symptomatic and acute illness from COVID-19, but it may not prevent a pre-symptomatic person from spreading the coronavirus.Thus, the key is to provide it to those people who face the greatest risks."To me, the overall goal of this vaccination program is not herd immunity, it's individual protection of those who are vulnerable and those who need to be protected," she said, later adding "you're going to vaccinate those whose working and living conditions put them at higher risk of infection, regardless of their risk of complication."
One of two people who murdered a young Inuk woman nearly seven years ago in Halifax has been granted eight escorted temporary absences from prison. Victoria Lea Henneberry pleaded guilty in 2015 to second-degree murder in the death of Loretta Saunders. Henneberry, 35, received an automatic life sentence with no chance of full parole for 10 years. Earlier this month, the Parole Board of Canada granted Henneberry passes to attend programs that are not offered in the prison where she is incarcerated. Each of the eight trips will be for an hour and a half, plus an additional 2½ hours for travel time. Saunders, a 26-year-old woman from Labrador, was subletting her Halifax apartment to Henneberry and Henneberry's then-boyfriend, Blake Leggette, at the time of her death in February 2014.She was killed after showing up at the apartment to collect late rent payments. Her body was discovered in the median of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Salisbury, N.B., a couple of weeks later. Police caught up to Henneberry and Leggette in southern Ontario, where they also discovered Saunders's car and some of her personal belongings. The couple was arrested and returned to Halifax.Previously granted 5-hour passLeggette, now 31, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, which also carries an automatic life sentence. He must serve 25 years before being eligible for parole.At the time of her death, Saunders was studying at Saint Mary's University and writing a thesis on missing and murdered Indigenous women. She was also pregnant.Henneberry has identified as American Cherokee on her mother's side, but the parole board noted in a decision she was not raised in the culture and has no knowledge of her history."A number of victim and community submissions were presented that opposed your claim to Indigenous heritage and your access to related resources and supports," the board said in its decision.Henneberry was granted a five-hour pass last February to attend a session with the Healing of Seven Generations, an Ontario-based organization offering various programs for Indigenous people.However, amid public outcry, Henneberry lost community support for attending the session and was banned from accessing services for the remainder of her sentence. Being held in minimum-security facilityWhile she has been granted new escorted absences, COVID-19 restrictions mean that programs outside the prison are not currently available.Overall, the parole board said Henneberry's behaviour in prison has shown steady improvement, to the point where she is now being held in a minimum-security facility. It did not disclose where.However, it also noted Henneberry does not believe she should be serving a life sentence."Your Case Management Team (CMT) report you continue to demonstrate an unrealistic sense of entitlement at times, as you state that you should not be serving a life sentence and should not be incarcerated as there is nothing left for you to learn in prison and you should be released at your earliest eligibility date," it said. The board said Henneberry plans to apply for day parole in February of next year.While the board does not disclose where any inmate is being held for security reasons, its latest decision on Henneberry was released from Ontario.MORE TOP STORIES
As the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador stared down the barrel of the camera Monday and offered a stern warning to rotational workers, some of those workers sat in isolation or at faraway work camps and worried about how much pressure they'd face at home.As of Monday, the province had seen 52 new cases of COVID-19 since September. Those cases, though minuscule in comparison with many other provinces in Canada, came after months of calm and streaks of weeks without any cases at all.In total, 18 infected people came directly from Alberta, and 16 of those were from workers returning to the province. Other workers returned from places like Ontario and Manitoba with the virus.Rotational workers have been blamed for two recent outbreaks — one in Deer Lake and one in Grand Bank — when the virus spread to family members and close contacts.One worker, who spoke to CBC News on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal at home, said the cumulative effect of working in a hot spot and coming home to people being afraid of him has been crushing."Morale is very low," said the man as he sat in his room at one of six outbreak sites in the northern Alberta oilsands. "It feels like a jail."The camp has 800 workers in it, and 39 have tested positive for the virus. There hasn't been a positive case in more than a week, but the camp remains locked down with no new workers coming in from outside for two weeks.If a person from Newfoundland and Labrador is identified as a close contact of an infected worker, they could spend 14 days alone in their room before being allowed to go home.More than the virus or the isolation, it's the going home part that has him worried."The only part that actually gives me any anxiety is reading how the general population feels about rotational workers by reading nasty comments online, as well as the government's refusal to entertain point-of-entry testing."This worker, like many others, has been calling on the provincial government to test workers as soon as they get home.On Monday, Premier Andrew Furey said there is no science to back up the idea. In some cases, workers have tested negative after five days at home and then tested positive later.With that in mind, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, announced the province was changing its testing regimen for rotational workers to add two more days of isolation before testing.A worker must now receive a negative test after seven days of isolation, instead of five, effective Wednesday, Nov. 25, she said.Furey spoke directly to rotational workers and had a serious message."Let me be very clear, rotational workers must continue to adhere to the measures put in place by [Chief Medical Officer of Health] Dr. [Janice] Fitzgerald and her team at public health," he said. "This is of the utmost importance to our many dedicated rotational workers. To this group, I say I know travel during the pandemic has been stressful enough for you and your families, but please, please, I implore you to follow the provincial guidelines. We have shown that when we do, it works and it only takes one. We all need to work together and support each other."The premier called on companies in places like Alberta to consider changing shifts to 30 days on, 30 days off. That would allow workers more time with their families when they return home.The worker who spoke with CBC News doesn't expect his request will get much consideration from companies who use rotational workers.Much of the workforce consists of people who live in Western Canada and won't want to work for a month straight without commuting the relatively short distance home. Companies also have structured schedules with cohorts of workers sticking together for shifts to reduce the number of contacts for each person. If accommodations were made only for workers from Newfoundland and Labrador, it would throw off that balance, he said.N.L. has long history of rotational workAnother worker speaking with CBC News said people need to consider the sheer number of workers who travel to and from places like Alberta, and then look at the number of cases.While current data was unavailable as of publishing time, a 2016 study undertaken by Memorial University pegged Newfoundland and Labrador's workforce in Alberta alone at more than 8,000 people on average per year from 2002 to 2016.That number peaked in 2008, with more than 25,000 people calling Canada's most eastern province home while working elsewhere.Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have occasionally faced criticism in Alberta for making large wages and spending the money at home. Now they're facing scrutiny from their neighbours for working away.Six cases broke out in Grand Bank, including two in a long-term-care home. Tensions are high in the small town, and fingers were being pointed at a rotational worker and his family.In an interview on Monday, Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews urged people to remain calm."People on rotational work, they do sacrifice," he said. "They travel to other provinces of this country for employment, they leave their families, they leave their home, they leave their community, and it helps our economy. So under normal circumstances there's no issues, but these are extraordinary times."The situation has some rotational workers considering a new career, said another man who spoke with CBC News.He works short contracts across numerous sites in Alberta. In each place, he works mostly in isolation, and spends downtime in isolation. Even outdoors away from other people, he said, he can be fired for not wearing a mask."I don't think people realize the rules we have to follow. That's what I think people are missing," he said.When he comes home, he isolates away from his family until a test comes back negative. That means his children are a wall away, and he can't hug them.He said he's not alone in his reservations about continuing with this career. There's no end to the pandemic in sight, and for some workers, that could mean living longer in isolation than out of it for another six months, a year, or more."I'm definitely starting to think about staying home a little bit more," he said. "I don't know when we're going to be back to normalcy again."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
This column is an opinion by Alfred Burgesson, a member of the Prime Minister's Youth Council, curator of collectiveaction.ca, and co-host of the New Action Podcast. For more information about CBC's opinion section, please see the FAQ.This year has afforded all of us more time to pay attention to the needs of people in our communities, especially the most marginalized, vulnerable and oppressed.This past summer I expressed how we can turn the momentum of Black Lives Matter into real change.Over the past several months, I decided to learn about Africville, so I engaged with former residents and the community's descendants. The so-called "settlement" was home to hundreds of individuals and families, and together they built a thriving, resilient and close‐knit community, until it was expropriated by Halifax city council in the 1960s.From the early 1800s to 1970, Africville was home to many Black families, a school and a church. However, the community was denied access to clean drinking water, paved roads and sewage treatment.Africville was also home to the first people who came to help during the 1917 Halifax Explosion, and to heroes of the world wars.Eddie Carvery has been protesting for 50 years, demanding justice and reparations for the past residents of Africville. Thanks to Eddie and his family, I've learned a great deal about Africville, the people of Africville, and the harm caused by our governments back in the 1960s.We have formed a special relationship over several months together. I cannot write this piece without giving thanks to a living legend.A mother's wise adviceMy first time visiting Eddie Carvery was spontaneous, and I quickly realized that this man is not as crazy as some members of the public made him out to be. I have enjoyed spending time with him and his family, and hearing their stories. When I visited Eddie on my birthday, I was greeted by the family and was given a birthday card with a gift.My favourite story about Eddie is that he tried to orchestrate a plan to destroy city hall with a bomb after the community that raised him, Africville, was demolished. This plan never succeeded due to sage advice from his mother, Daisy Gehue Carvery.Eddie is peaceful, thoughtful, and he is still fighting for justice for Africville.Fifty years later, the Africville protest is gaining more momentum — this time with some support from young people in Halifax and across the country.Eddie's grandson, Eddie Carvery III, is determined to bring the community together, determined to create a plan, and committed to giving Africville back to the former residents and descendants.Next generation takes up the causeEddie Carvery III has been working on a solution. Right now, the plan is to get as many people in Canada to take action by petitioning the federal, provincial, municipal governments and human rights commission while at the same time engaging the community in a plan to redevelop Africville.On Saturday Nov. 21 at City Hall, over 100 people showed up to support the cause. Coun. Lindell Smith, member of Parliament Andy Fillmore and Leader of NDP Party of Nova Scotia, Gary Burrill, all made remarks to protesters at the rally.The following call to action can be sent to your local MP, MLA, the mayor of Halifax, the premier of Nova Scotia, the prime minister, the Human Rights Commission of Canada and Human Rights Commission of Nova Scotia:"We, the citizens, demand reparations now! * WHEREAS in the year 2020, the Halifax Regional Municipality, in collaboration with the Province of Nova Scotia, Government of Canada, and the Human Rights Commission, in the interest of restoring justice, launches a reparations process. * WHEREAS monetary contributions to ensure social and economic development, quality of life and prosperity, land, education, business and employment will be considered reparations. * WHEREAS the government will grant ownership of the land and management of the district of Africville will be returned to the residents and descendants of Africville. * WHEREAS the government will return all of the buildings and land formerly occupied by Africville residents, families and descendants of Africville, and redevelopment of Africville shall occur. * NOW, THEREFORE, a new community entity led by former residents and the descendants of Africville, Africville Legacy and Development Association, will form a community working group to discuss and define the terms and conditions of said reparations with government bodies."If you believe this is reasonable and is a decent way forward, join the people demanding reparations for Africville now.In 2016, the United Nations' Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, on the conclusion of its official visit to Canada made a statement. I would highly recommend you read it if you haven't already. Among several other recommendations, the statement by the working group recommended that governments "issue an apology and consider reparations for enslavement and historical injustices."'We're not giving up'I'm not convinced that former Halifax mayor Peter Kelly's apology and the joint investment of $5 million from all three levels of government in 2010 qualifies as reparations. The funds were used to build a replica church of the Seaview Baptist Church, now a museum managed by the Africville Heritage Trust. A nice gesture; however, it does not meaningfully address the generational trauma, misfortune and lost opportunities for Africville residents and descendants.I'm convinced there is a better way forward.I hope you take 30 seconds of your time to respond to the above call to action, demanding reparations for Africville. I will end this piece with this quote:"There will be a protest until the Africville people have been dealt with fairly. If not me, it will be my children, if not them, their children. It's not going to go away. We're not quitting, we're not giving up." — Eddie Carvery, CBC Radio, Sept. 8, 2020MORE TOP STORIES
There are barely a dozen homes at Cape Spencer on the Bay of Fundy coast. But people here are not surprised when strangers quietly appear in their community about 25 minutes from downtown Saint John.The arrivals are often preceded by an upward trend in gold prices."We've always had people looking for gold out here," said Kimberly Burry, whose home sits atop a hill looking out toward the ocean.The latest newcomers, a small crew of geologists, caused barely a ripple this fall when they took up residence in a rented house and began their daily trips into the woods to explore the many rock outcrops and other geological features.If they find what they're looking for, they'll want to take care to reassure neighbours a new mine will not be like the old mine, which left a legacy of environmental ruin when it closed more than thirty years ago. Gold prices have climbed steadily since September, 2018 and, as of last week, sat at $2400 an ounce, close to a nine year high.'The region's becoming hot'These particular newcomers work for Magna Terra Minerals, a junior mining company based in Toronto whose stock was trading at 24 cents on Friday.That doesn't diminish the optimism of company president, Lewis Lawrick."The region's becoming hot," said Lawrick, who claims there is evidence of gold throughout a fault known as the Avalon Terrane that extends from Newfoundland, through northern Nova Scotia, southern New Brunswick and on down the New England coast."It's probably one of the most unloved and under explored and misunderstood mineralized gold belts in North America," he said. "And it's starting to gain a lot of interest within the geological community." Magna Terra has obtained mineral rights for more than 5000 hectares extending almost ten kilometres along the Fundy coast and inland two to four kilometres.Included is the site of the former Gordex Minerals gold mine that closed in 1988 leaving a legacy of lost investments and environmental desecration.Clean-up & restoration attempts 'feeble'Gordex opened with much fanfare in 1986, 30 years after its founder, Morton Gordon, a young hobbyist prospector, discovered gold while exploring with a simple rock pick.He later staked claims and raised more than a million dollars to mine the low-grade ore using a then new method, called heap leaching to draw out the gold.Heap leaching involved spraying a diluted calcium cyanide over the crushed rock. The solution leaches down, melting the gold from the rock as it passes through.It worked fairly well as a method for extracting gold, but set off alarms when it came to the environment.When Environment Canada learned runoff from the site was making its way into a nearby stream just a few hundred meters from the ocean, they ran a water quality test.All the rainbow trout used in the test died within 60 hours.Changes were made and later tests showed the water to be clean, but contaminated barrels remained onsite for years after the mine closed. And three decades later, a beautiful coastal landscape remains badly scarred.Neighbour Stephen Mitchell, whose family now owns part of the mine site, said large areas were cleared and excavated for the mine, roads were built with little regard for property owners. He describes the cleanup and restoration effort mandated by the province afterward as 'feeble.' "It will take nature hundreds of years to correct it," said Mitchell.Lawrick said he's very much aware neighbours will be apprehensive about talk of a new mine."It left a pretty sour taste in people's mouths," he said. "And that's certainly not something we're intending to repeat."Lawrick said his company is most interested in a formation dubbed 'Emilio's Zone', about three kilometres to the northeast of the Gordex mine site, and roughly the same distance from the nearest homes.He's hoping to find higher grade gold that can be extracted by far more efficient means than were employed by Gordex Minerals.> Going back 150 years or so 'til now, there's never been a profitable gold mine \- David Thompson, former Fundy Baykeeper"I wouldn't anticipate that we would ever, in my wildest dreams, be looking at any sort of a bulk tonnage, heap leach operation in this part of the world."Lawrick said it is too early to determine whether an open pit or underground mine would be used or whether there's enough gold in the area to justify any mining.Even then, he said with permitting and other hurdles, it takes 10 to 15 years from the time a significant gold deposit is discovered to the opening of a mine.Longtime environmentalist and former Fundy Baykeeper David Thompson was active in the fight to have the Gordex mine site cleaned up by the province in the early 1990's following the collapse of the venture. He doubts heap leaching would be attempted here a second time, and he's skeptical a significant gold deposit will ever be found. "Going back 150 years or so 'til now, there's never been a profitable gold mine," said Thompson. "I mean anywhere in southern New Brunswick or along the Fundy coast here."Still a business case for goldPrior to entering politics, former Saint John MP Paul Zed was Gordex Minerals' secretary treasurer and spokesperson.He said millions of dollars worth of gold was poured at Cape Spencer. And at today's prices he believes there's still a business case for some kind of gold extraction in the Cape Spencer area. Looking back, he said a lot of emphasis was placed on creating jobs rather than on creating an 'appropriate balance' when it came to the environment.He said the operation had cleaned up its practices by the time it was forced out of business by falling gold prices.Nonetheless the concerns raised by the facility's neighbours can be justified."I think they were valid," said Zed. "You know, to tear up a beautiful coastline without proper standards becomes, I think, a critical factor in any operation."
Up to 2,000 GTA families will soon be able to get free dental care at new clinic. At the same time, they'll also be participating in research aimed at making sure every Canadian has access to dental coverage, and that such charity is no longer necessary in the future.The clinic is the centrepiece of what's being billed as the largest-ever dental public health service and research program, opening Tuesday at the University of Toronto.Funded by a $6.15-million donation from Green Shield Canada, the clinic and research program will be run by the U of T Faculty of Dentistry. Along with providing cost-free dental services, the clinic will allow researchers to investigate the long-term impacts of having access to quality care."We know that there's a clear connection between having poor oral health and having worse systemic health conditions," Dr. Carlos Quiñonez, a dental public health specialist, associate professor and program director at U of T's Faculty of Dentistry, said in an interview.Health disorders linked to teethAccording to Quiñonez, there are links between oral health and illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.Unhealthy teeth and gums can have an impact on an individual's mental health, self-esteem and quality of life as well."Just imagine having repeated toothaches and what that might do that to your ability to function well on a daily basis, or even work," Quiñonez said.The federal government estimates that roughly a third of Canadians have no access to dental coverage. "There's a group here that has fallen through the cracks," said David Willows, the executive vice president of innovation for Green Shield Canada, in an interview.Willows says this group is often described as "working poor." Because of the nature of their jobs, they don't have access to dental benefits through work, but also fail to qualify for government assistance.By serving these individuals and their families, researchers at the clinic will be able to learn more about how having regular dental care benefits their health and overall livelihood."We'll be doing the research project around these patients and trying to track their trajectory in terms of their total health and see whether this service really makes a difference more broadly that just in their mouth," Willows said.Universal dental coverageGreen Shield Canada's donation will fund the clinic and the research for at least five years. The goal of the research is to work towards an eventual permanent solution for the millions of Canadians without access to dental coverage.In public debate, that solution often takes the form of a national dental care program. As recently as the 2019 federal election campaign, the NDP proposed an $860-million dental coverage program for uninsured Canadians.Willows says that may not be the best direction, and the research will study any number of possibilities."It may not be the grand national program," he said. "Let's be a little more precise. Let's find out who this population is and how we can get them access."While Quiñonez believes there should be universal dental care coverage, he says it may not take the form of a single-payer system."I think starting off with baby steps to help us understand what we might be able to do is better than just throwing out this idea that it's going to be part of medicare. I think it's far more complex than that."
A class-action lawsuit launched against a Catholic religious order in 2018 has grown from the initial 30 Innu claimants on Quebec's Lower North Shore to 190 Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from across Quebec.Allegations of sexual abuse by priests with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate initially surfaced during the federal inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG). Those allegations have now multiplied across several First Nations, where the clergy tried to "silence repeated sexual assaults it was well aware of," according to court documents submitted to Quebec Superior Court, in the request for authorization for the class action.The inquiry's stop in Mani-Utenam in November 2017, an Innu community near Sept-Îles, on Quebec's North Shore, revealed decades of alleged abuse against Innu children and women living in Unamen Shipu and Pakua Shipu, on the province's Lower North Shore.Alexis Joveneau, a Belgian priest who arrived in the region in the 1950s, held a tight grip on the Innu communities where he worked, until his death in 1992.Noëlla Mark, who is the main claimant in the class-action suit, said during the MMIWG hearings, that she never talked about the abuse because Joveneau "was considered to be the chief of the village, the head." That public image of a "god-like" figure has since been torn down, says lawyer Alain Arsenault.Fifty Innu women and eight Innu men from Unaman Shipu and Pakua Shipu have since come forward with complaints of sexual abuse by Joveneau. And other members of the congregation have been named in the class action, which hasn't yet been authorized by Quebec Superior Court.Alleged abuse in several First NationsThirty-one people, mainly from the Innu First Nation of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, have made similar allegations against father Omer Provencher. None of those allegations have been proven in court, at this time.Other priests included in the class action have already been found guilty of acts of a sexual nature.Father Raynald Couture was sentenced in 2004 to 15 months for sexual assault against Atikamekw children. Nine alleged victims from Wemotaci and Opitciwan are naming him as their alleged abuser, in the class-action request.Thirty-three Anishnabe people also came forward with allegations against Father Edmond Brouillard, who was sentenced in 1996 to five years in prison for sexual abuse.Seven Atikamekw people from Manawan claimed to be victims of Édouard Meilleur. And 34 other Indigenous people, as well as 17 non-Indigenous claimants, have come forward regarding allegations of sexual abuse by other members of the order.Out-of-court settlement not yet reachedArsenault says he is not surprised that the number of cases has grown since the case was first presented. There would have been many more, he said, if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn't prevented visits to other communities in northern Quebec."It's the tip of the iceberg," Arsenault told CBC. Initially, the Oblates stated they wanted to settle out of court to spare the victims further trauma. The congregation also set up a confidential hotline, in English and French, to offer counselling to victims of sexual abuse.But the initial negotiations never led to an agreement, Arsenault said, leaving few options other than pursuing the matter in court.The hotline has since been taken down, according to the lawyer representing the congregation, Charles Gibson. Gibson told CBC the Oblates are still hoping to settle the matter out of court and continue to be open to negotiations.Arsenault said that hasn't been possible because the proposals made so far have been "disproportionate" to the harm caused in the various communities where the Oblates were based.The request for the class action covers alleged abuse that would have happened between January 1, 1950, and December 31, 2018.