“Hustlers” star Keke Palmer is set to host the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, airing live from Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Aug. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.
The world's nations must do all they can to understand the origins of COVID-19, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday, comments that could worsen tensions with China. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Morrison said an inquiry into the roots of the virus would minimise the threat of another global pandemic. Morrison's comments came after similar comments by the prime minister earlier in the year soured ties between Australia and China.
TORONTO — Bars and restaurants across Ontario will shut down earlier and all strip clubs will close, Premier Doug Ford announced Friday, saying the new rules were needed to fight a surge in COVID-19 cases.Ford said the latest restrictions would help reduce transmission in high-risk businesses.Bars and restaurants will now be required to close at midnight, except for takeout and delivery, and will have to stop serving alcohol by 11 p.m."We've seen doubling in cases in a very short period of time and it's very, very concerning," Ford said. "There's been outbreaks and ... we just can't chance it."Some mayors in the Greater Toronto Area had requested similar measures for weeks, and Ford had initially resisted taking action, saying municipalities had the power to impose restrictions on businesses under public health regulations if they wanted to.On Friday, however, Ford said a change was necessary."We just can't have these places open until three o'clock in the morning," he said. "But we're being very balanced, I feel."The new rules follow a decision by the province last week to change limits on social gatherings, lowering the number of people permitted at outdoor events to 25 and indoor events to 10.A spokesman for Restaurants Canada said Friday that the government had not shown that organization any data to backup the restrictions, but the businesses will continue to do their part to fight the pandemic.James Rilett, the group's vice-president of Central Canada, said the new restrictions would have a detrimental impact on night clubs and bars, many of which are already struggling to survive."It will have an incredibly bad impact on some restaurants at a time where you have historic debt loads and you're starting to close down outdoor patios," he said.Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said with the new restrictions on bars and restaurants in place the province must offer some financial support."I feel for owners and employees who will be affected by these new restrictions," he said in a statement. "(They) must be accompanied by help for small businesses to stay afloat during a second wave."NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the Ford government has let COVID-19 infections rise by delaying putting new public health measures in place."We are teetering on another health and economic disaster because this government has not been listening, and not been acting," she said in a statement.Ford also announced Friday that the province will spend an additional $741 million to help clear a backlog of surgeries that has developed at Ontario hospitals during the pandemic.Health Minister Christine Elliott said the funds will help the health-care system to build more capacity to manage surges in COVID-19 cases and outbreaks."We are working directly with our health-care partners to ensure our ... system is ready to respond to the challenges that we face with future waves of COVID-19," she said.The president of the Ontario Hospital Association warned Friday that the pandemic is straining health-care resources across the province and further action will be needed to respond to rising case rates.Anthony Dale said currently hospitals are running assessment centres, processing COVID-19 tests, helping manage some long-term care homes, working to cut the surgical backlogs and handling their normal operations."Any serious wave of COVID-19 means that it will be impossible for hospitals to continue all those roles at once, full stop," he said. "And the only way to keep hospitals functioning in the way that the public wants and expects is to help stop the spread of COVID-19."Dale urged people across the province to follow basic health guidelines like practising physical distancing, hand-washing and wearing a mask to stop the rise in case numbers."I think it's about helping people understand that things have changed, and change very quickly, in just a little under two weeks," he said. "And we don't have much time at all."Ontario reported 409 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and one new death related to the virus.The province said it processed 41,865 tests over the previous day, with another 65,227 under investigation.Meanwhile, Toronto's top public health official ordered four hospitality businesses to close on Friday.The businesses were flouting public health protocols and evading investigators, Dr. Eileen de Villa said, adding that some were pressuring staff to work, even when sick.The businesses, whose names she did not share because the operation to shut them down was not yet complete, will be allowed to reopen once the city is satisfied they'll follow the rules.Also in Toronto, officials declared an outbreak at Glen Park Public School in North York — the city's first school-based outbreak — after two students tested positive for the virus.Two class cohorts — one with 17 children and the other with 18 — were sent home to self-isolate for 14 days, as was one staff member, de Villa said."All steps have been followed as expected in a situation of this nature," she said."One of the realities of living in a world with COVID-19 is that there will be cases in schools. Today's news is expected. I expect there will be similar announcements in future and you can be confident the steps developed to manage the situation and reduce the risk of spread will be followed."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
Steve Daines is the affable one, the smiler, a consummate salesman who parlayed his corporate success into a meteoric rise through Montana politics and a seat in the U.S. Senate. Together they form a powerful political alliance on the cusp of dominating Montana politics for years to come, pushing the state's Republican Party away from a Western brand of centrism and toward the hard-line partisan agenda of President Donald Trump. Daines, 58, is seeking a second six-year term while Gianforte, 59, is pouring millions of dollars from his private fortune into another run at the governor’s mansion.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said he was “disappointed” to hear of an RCMP policy that calls for all officers to shave their beards and wear medical-grade face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic as a safety measure. It is being criticized as discriminatory against Sikh and Muslim officers whom keep facial hair for religious reasons.
The recent COVID-19 outbreak at a Saskatoon manufacturing plant should serve as a wake-up call for business and government, says a University of Saskatchewan epidemiologist.According to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), the Brandt manufacturing plant is now the source of at least 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Brandt officials said in an email 11 employees have tested positive, and the SHA has linked an additional eight cases to the outbreak.No one from Brandt was made available for an interview, but an official said in an email that the business is doing all it can to keep everyone safe. That includes a new mandatory mask policy.U of S professor of community health and epidemiology Nazeem Muhajarine said he's shocked Brandt didn't require masks until now."After the fact, after about 19 cases have been connected to this particular business, making mask wearing mandatory is a little it too late. It's kind of like closing the barn door after the horses have left," he said.Muhajarine said this shows the need for a provincewide mandatory mask-wearing policy in all indoor spaces. Things could get much worse without one, he said."Leadership makes a difference, not only just preparedness, but how we actually put that preparedness for the pandemic and containment of the pandemic into operation. Leadership is so important," Muhajarine said.Muhajarine said public health and safety decisions should not be left to the discretion of individuals and businesses. This "patchwork" approach puts everyone at risk, he said.Premier Scott Moe reiterated the government's position this week. Masks are encouraged if people are unable to remain two metres apart indoors, but are not mandatory.The Brandt official said in the written statement that for the past few months, the business has made "elevated commitments to physical distancing, sanitization, self-monitoring and stay-at-home policies."Aside from mandatory masks, the new company policy will also include more frequent deep cleaning and sanitary fogging.The official said Brandt will continue to monitor the situation closely and is following all directions set out by the SHA.CBC Saskatchewan wants to tell more stories about how the pandemic is touching the province's most vulnerable and marginalized populations. How has COVID-19 affected you? Share your story with our online questionnaire.
Western powers called on China on Friday to restore basic legal rights in Hong Kong and open up to scrutiny its remote Xinjiang region where more than one million ethnic Uighurs are held. The rare rebuke of China came at the U.N. Human Rights Council where the European Union, Britain, Australia and Canada were among those voicing mounting concerns about both areas.
COPENHAGEN — Norway’s 83-year-old King Harald V was admitted to the main hospital in Oslo on Friday with breathing difficulties, the Norwegian palace said. It added that he tested negative for COVID-19.The palace said his son, Crown Prince Haakon, has stepped in and taken over his father’s duties, including a scheduled meeting with the Norwegian government.“The king is now being examined. COVID-19 is already excluded,” the palace said in a later statement.Harald ascended the throne upon the death of his father King Olav on Jan. 17, 1991.The country’s first native-born king since the 14th century, he married a commoner as a prince and won hearts in his egalitarian country by leading the mourning in 2011 for the victims of mass killer Anders Behring Breivik.In 2016, a speech by Harald in support of gay rights and diversity attracted widespread international attention. “Norwegians are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and girls and boys who love each other,” he said.The speech was shared tens of thousands of times on social media.Earlier this year, Harald was briefly admitted to Rikshospitalet, the capital's university hospital, after experiencing dizziness. No serious illness was found, but the monarch was on sick leave for two weeks.The Associated Press
The Ontario government's move to axe its out-of-country health insurance program violates the Canada Health Act, a court ruled this week as it ordered the province to reinstate the coverage. The province overstepped its bounds in eliminating the Out of Country Travellers' Program at the beginning of 2020, which reimbursed Ontario residents who experienced medical emergencies when outside of Canada, a three-judge panel with the Superior Court of Justice found. If a province doesn't meet the portability pillar — one of five pillars in the Canada Health Act — after consulting with the federal health minister, Ottawa can "by order direct that the cash contribution to that province for a fiscal year be either reduced or withheld," the court said.
WARSAW, Poland — Nobel Prize-winning writer Olga Tokarczuk has declined an honorary citizenship from the region of Poland where she lives because she would have had to share the honour with a Roman Catholic bishop who has made hostile comments about the LGBT community.Tokarczuk said in a tweet Friday that while she appreciated being considered, she “sadly” couldn't accept Lower Silesia’s honorary citizenship. She said that receiving it at the same time as Bishop Ignacy Dec would highlight the “painful rift” in Poland over LGBT rights.“I do not want to become an object of such actions and an element in this game,” said Tokarczuk, the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in literature and a vocal supporter of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.Dec has repeatedly described the LGBT rights movement as a threat to the Catholic Church and to Poland, which is predominantly Catholic.Local councillors linked to Poland's centrist opposition Civic Coalition party nominated Tokarczuk as a honorary citizen, while members of the right-wing Law and Justice party that governs the country recommended Dec.Tokarczuk, who lives in the southwestern city of Wroclaw, explained her reasons behind declining the honour.“Instead of being a joyous celebration of a sense of community, it is a vivid illustration of the painful rift in our society,” she said.Poland has produced heated debates over LGBT rights in recent months, including after right-wing President Andrzej Duda described the movement as worse than communism as part of his reelection campaign earlier this year.The Associated Press
Coughing or sneezing in public has always been part of allergy and flu season, but today people might get a worried glance from their fellow citizens if they show any symptoms that are related to COVID-19.The Saskatchewan Health Authority has published a list that compares the symptoms of COVID-19 with those of allergies.According to the SHA list, fatigue, sore throat, shortness of breath and congestion are symptoms that can occur sometimes in both cases.Runny noses, which are commonly associated with seasonal allergies, are rare in cases of COVID-19.Itchy and watery eyes, and sneezing are also commonly associated with allergies, but are not COVID-19 symptoms.Challenges for people with allergiesFor people with allergies, it hasn't been an easy fall. Shannon Stumph said the smoke from forest fires has been irritating her allergies and she's been on the receiving end of funny looks if she coughs or sniffles in public."I have taken probably way more allergy medication in the last few months than I have in my entire life, just so that I can avoid that in public."Especially in the spring and fall, coughing, itchy eyes, a scratchy throat and a runny nose are not unusual reactions of her body. Usually the Regina woman chooses more natural alternatives to treat her allergy symptoms, like teas. Now she wants to make sure that the symptoms are always allergy-related. If she is unsure, she takes an allergy pill to see if symptoms go away within a certain time period. "It's on me, too, to just make sure that I'm actually healthy."The Saskatchewan Health Authority also recommends on its website that if your go-to allergy medication does not work to improve symptoms in the usual timeframe, your should stay home and call the Health Line or your physician in order to arrange a COVID-19 test.Allergy stigmaStumph believes there will continue to be a stigma during COVID-19 toward anybody who coughs or sniffles in public."It would be great if those of us who have allergies would have T-shirts to wear when we go out in public ... that just say, 'Oh, it's allergies,' or something like that."The Saskatchewan Health Authority notes that the information on the chart is broad and "does not apply to every individual circumstance." People should contact their physician for advice if they have questions about their situation.People who have had allergies chronically for years often know the difference between their allergy symptoms, a cold or a flu, according to Stumph."I'm stuffed up every single morning when I wake up, regardless of what's going on," she said.Seasonal allergies in schoolsSeasonal allergies with COVID-like symptoms can be particularly challenging for school children. Regina Catholic Schools, for example, asks families to use their daily screening questionnaire each day, which also lists symptoms such as runny nose.Parents should talk to the principal or teacher if they know that a symptom is specific to another condition, said spokesperson Twylla West in an email."Depending on the situation, we will react accordingly," she said."A school might ask for a doctor's note, as we will always err on the side of caution while conducting the business of education during a global pandemic."Reducing exposure to allergy triggersAccording to the Saskatchewan Health Authority, people suffering from seasonal allergies can also try to reduce their exposure to things that trigger allergies. This includes: * Staying indoors on dry, windy days. * Delegating lawn mowing and other gardening chores to others. * Showering after spending time outdoors. * Washing outdoor clothes. * Closing windows at night. * Using high-efficiency filters in the furnace. * Vacuuming often.CBC Saskatchewan wants to tell more stories about how the pandemic is touching the province's most vulnerable and marginalized populations. How has COVID-19 affected you? Share your story using our online questionnaire.
Despite over a year of negotiations, Sudan is facing a fresh obstacle to its removal from a U.S. terrorism list that has hindered its economy: a demand that it normalize relations with Israel, three sources familiar with the matter said. Sudan's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism dates back to its toppled ruler Omar al-Bashir, and makes it difficult for its new transitional government to access desperately needed debt relief and foreign financing. Sudan's skyrocketing inflation and plummeting currency have been the biggest challenge to the stability of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's transitional administration.
OSHAWA, Ont. — A young Black man who was assaulted by an off-duty Toronto police officer more than three years ago said the incident permanently changed his life and the way he views police.Dafonte Miller laid out the lingering impact of the Dec. 28, 2016 encounter in a statement read by prosecutors Friday at a sentencing hearing for Const. Michael Theriault.In it, Miller said that as a Black man, he had long heard stories about police abusing their power, but had never experienced it like he did that night."To this day, I can't believe that these would be the actions of a police officer. Someone that is sworn to serve and protect was viciously attacking me without any justification for doing so," he wrote in the statement. "No one questioned him. Only I was worthy of suspicion ... Because of the colour of my skin, Michael Theriault could have got away with what he did to me."Miller described feeling isolated and on edge since the incident, grappling with headaches and failing to find meaningful employment or return to school. He said the incident will forever be a part of his story.Theriault's assault conviction was a first step in accountability, Miller said, adding he would like to see the constable serve jail time.Several of Miller's relatives also submitted victim impact statements, while representatives of two organizations spoke about how the incident affected the community.Miller's mother, Leisa Lewis, said the incident has placed a "heaviness" on the family."Everyone feels like they are walking on eggshells, not sure what to say to Dafonte, not sure how to help him heal," she said.The sentence must send a message that "justice does not have special treatment for police officers," Lewis said.Miller's sister, Lataijah Lewis, said Theriault's crime affected not only her family but the entire Black community, "who was forced to relive, once again, the reality that our lives are not valued; we are not treated as human beings deserving of respect and care by the law."The Crown is seeking a jail sentence of 12 to 15 months and several other restrictions for Theriault, who was convicted of assault in June.In written submissions, prosecutors stress the need for denunciation and deterrence, and list a number of aggravating factors, including that Miller was defenceless and clearly injured.Defence lawyers, meanwhile, are asking for an absolute discharge or suspended sentence, arguing Theriault's penalty should not be used to address the broader issue of systemic racism."This is not a crime that is a racially motivated crime," defence lawyer Michael Lacy told the court. "Michael is not to be punished for the sins of the larger policing community."In written submissions, the defence highlighted letters of support vouching for Theriault's good character as well as several mitigating factors, such as his "positive employment history" as a peace officer.It also noted that he could face "collateral employment consequences, including termination" if sentenced to jail time. Theriault has been suspended with pay but would be suspended without pay if jailed. He also faces a disciplinary hearing with the force.Theriault also addressed the court Friday, saying he has been publicly "vilified," called a racist and held up as an example of police brutality. "That is not who I am," he said.The 28-year-old said he became a police officer to protect people and the community, and never intended to seriously hurt Miller."Both of our lives are forever changed but obviously the permanent injury to Mr. Miller will be far more devastating than anything else."The sentencing decision is expected Nov. 5.Theriault and his brother were charged with aggravated assault and obstruction of justice in connection with Whitby, Ont., incident.Prosecutors alleged during trial that the Theriault brothers chased Miller, then 19, and beat him with a metal pipe, leaving him with a ruptured eye and other injuries.The defence argued the pair wanted to arrest Miller after catching him and his friends breaking into the Theriault family truck.They alleged Miller was the one armed with a pipe and the brothers were forced to defend themselves.Ontario Superior Court Justice Joseph Di Luca said he couldn't rule out the possibility that self-defence played a role in the early portion of the encounter.It was during that part of the incident that Miller sustained the eye injury that warranted the aggravated assault charge, Di Luca said.However, the judge said the self-defence argument fell apart shortly afterwards when Theriault grabbed a roughly metre-long pipe and hit Miller in the head as the young man was trying to flee.Theriault was thus acquitted of aggravated assault but convicted of the lesser charge of assault.The officer was also found not guilty on the obstruction of justice charge, and his brother was cleared of all charges. Theriault's lawyers had filed an application to vacate the verdict, arguing assault was not listed as an option on the indictment and should not have been available for a guilty verdict.Di Luca dismissed the application, saying the defence's bid was not based on fresh evidence or a change in law, but rather on a new legal argument not raised during closing arguments. He noted that the argument that he made an error in law is one that should be left to the Appeal Court.The Crown is also challenging the verdict, arguing Di Luca "erred in his analysis and assessment of the defence of self-defence."The case has spurred protests against anti-Black racism and police discrimination. This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 25, 2020.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Around two hundred people staged a sit-in on Friday in downtown Toronto to mark the return of global climate protests that had been derailed by the novel coronavirus. Activists gathered at the intersection of Bay Street and Wellesley Street West near Queen's Park with banners, megaphones — and plenty of hand sanitizer — to demand immediate action on climate change and call for a "just recovery" from the COVID-19 pandemic. "The message of today is that the youth are back," said Cooper Price, an organizer and activist with the Fridays for Future project."We're back in the streets; we're back with our message."The Fridays for Future movement, inspired by environmental activist Greta Thunberg, now 17, has been unable to hold its protests, which that had garnered considerable traction but were derailed when the pandemic hit. In September 2019, thousands of people descended on Queen's Park to demand change. But due to COVID-19, this year is different.Everyone present wore masks, a microphone was disinfected between speakers, hand sanitizer was available, and safety reminders were abundant. The demonstrators sat on "Xs" that had been drawn on the roadway with white chalk so that people could physically distance. Police closed Bay Street in both directions from College to Bloor Street West, but traffic has since resumed. Toronto joined other Canadian cities, such as Halifax and Vancouver, as well as cities around the world in the movement's return.Youths spoke about their desire for accountability from politicians, clean water, and their drive for change.."We want to remind our leaders that we've not forgotten the promises that they've made and that we're here to help hold them accountable," said Avery Thorne, who came from Guelph to join the sit-in."I think our generation really understands the emergency that we're in."The need for a "just recovery" and transition out of the pandemic was also top of mind. A just recovery, said organizer Iakoiehwahtha Patton, is "for all people across Canada," meaning the inclusion of Indigenous, marginalized, racialized and Black communities. "It means taking the approach ...of actual tangible reconciliation," she said. While the numbers are smaller compared to last year's turnout, participants say the protest is still powerful because of its timing. It comes two days after the Liberal government's throne speech. By committing to net zero emissions by 2050 instead of 2030, Price said, the federal government missed the mark. "By 2050, I'm going to be an adult. I don't know what kind of world I'm going to be living in. I don't know what kind of future I'm going to have. So we need that action now," he said. He added that the group would like Premier Doug Ford to repeal Schedule 6 of Bill 197, which deals with environmental assessments, as well as implement the United Nations declaration on the rights of Indigenous people. Price also pointed out that political leaders like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who marched in Montreal last year, were absent from this protest when they were perhaps "needed most."Other protesters echoed his sentiment, adding that they felt betrayed by political decisions, such as pipeline expansions."I'm actually pretty disappointed," said Thorne, adding political leaders who showed up to protests and "acted like they really cared" last year have shown everyone "their real priorities" by skipping this year's demonstrations. In Stockholm, Thunberg and other demonstrators protested in front of the Swedish parliament. It's now been over two years since Thunberg started her solo protests, which inspired students and young people around the world to follow suit and stage their own. Older adults also came out to the Toronto protest. Ann Pennington said she wanted to support her niece, who helped organize the sit-in, and raise her voice for her newborn grandson."It's not fair that it's on their shoulders, they're just kids," she said."It's the last 30, 50 years that we should've been doing things differently. And we weren't." The youth activists say they aren't going anywhere."We're afraid and we're angry, and this combined is leading to us taking the streets," said Alienor Rougeot, coordinator of Fridays for Future Toronto."We would really, really like the rest of Canada, the rest of the other generations, to join us in this fight and realize we can't do this alone."
The Atlantic Loop was mentioned just once in the speech from the throne this week — but if the project goes ahead, it could transform the energy market of eastern Canada, bringing billions of dollars and thousands of new jobs to the region in the process.A senior Liberal source called the Atlantic Loop the "top regional priority" for the federal government. The broad concept is to upgrade transmission capacity on the East Coast to allow hydroelectric power from Labrador and Quebec to displace coal use in the region.It has the support of the four Atlantic premiers. They met with Quebec Premier François Legault in St. John's in January to discuss the possibility of using both Quebec's surplus hydroelectricity and soon-to-flow power from the Muskrat Falls project in Labrador as a clean energy solution for Atlantic Canada."It's clear that we have, right now, some capacity and we can add to this capacity," Legault said in January. "So why don't we work together on a plan, a complete plan, to serve 100 per cent of clean energy to all our provinces?"In the months since, the Loop earned the backing of enough key people in the federal government to earn a spot in the throne speech. In early September, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau voiced his support for the project during an appearance on the Newfoundland and Labrador radio station VOCM.Key allies at the cabinet table"I think there's a lot of really, really strong interest in the idea of an Atlantic Loop, the idea of investing to get Nova Scotia, New Brunswick off coal," Justin Trudeau told Open Line host Paddy Daley. "We have a lot of opportunities to look at a greener future that involves, strong, strong investments in hydro and Muskrat Falls is certainly going to be part of the mix."Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan — who is also Newfoundland and Labrador's lone federal cabinet minister — is championing the plan. So is Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, whose home province of New Brunswick would benefit from a cleaner energy supply and the chance to pursue tidal power developments with an upgraded grid."We believe in the idea. Let's work together to make it happen," said Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly, whose department likely would get involved in the project through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.Multiple federal and provincial sources tell CBC News the Canada Infrastructure Bank is also contemplating an investment in the project.Sources say that Michael Sabia, the chair of the Infrastructure Bank, has been speaking to the regional utility companies about the project. A spokesperson for the Infrastructure Bank would not confirm those conversations when contacted by CBC News."While we cannot comment on any specific project, what I can tell you is that we are open to governments and investors bringing forward proposals for further due diligence with us," said Félix Corriveau, the Canada Infrastructure Bank's senior director of communications."(The bank) is interested in new infrastructure projects that are revenue-generating, in the public interest and commercially structured to attract private sector investment."A second chance for Muskrat Falls?Multiple federal sources say that the Atlantic Loop is the biggest green infrastructure project available to the region — one that could help stabilize electricity rates, which are high across Atlantic Canada.Eliminating coal use — a key step toward meeting Canada's carbon emissions reduction targets — could lead to a sharp increase in electricity rates. A significant federal investment such as the one represented by the Atlantic Loop could blunt the price impact while also reducing the region's emissions. It also could allow the Atlantic provinces to woo new employers with the promise of long-term stability in electricity prices.Including energy from the overbudget and behind-schedule Muskrat Falls project in the Loop also creates a path for Ottawa to help Newfoundland and Labrador with its enormous financial problems.Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey is close to both Trudeau and LeBlanc and is counting on those relationships to help find a solution to his province's fiscal crisis, aggravated by the pandemic recession and volatility in resource markets. Furey's predecessor Dwight Ball wrote the prime minister in March warning that the province was unable to finalize its borrowing programs and would be out of money and unable to make its payroll by April.Soon, Newfoundland and Labrador will face the additional challenge of paying for excess power from Muskrat Falls — a project that has doubled in cost since it was sanctioned and now represents about a third of the province's crippling debt. Ball called Muskrat Falls the greatest economic mistake in the province's history.But an open path for hydro exports could boost revenue for the beleaguered project. And depending on the scale of federal involvement in the Atlantic Loop, it also could open the door to a restructuring of Muskrat Falls' finances, or even the development of the much larger Gull Island project in Labrador.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé is asking the public to avoid social gatherings for 28 days.Dubé said the province's public health experts believe that, if transmission can be minimized for two consecutive two-week stretches, the second wave of the virus will be contained."I insist on this," he said Friday. "It is for a month."He said the public should take it "one day at a time." (He later added that, if the public had already started avoiding gatherings a day earlier, when he made a similar plea, then there's only 27 days left.)Dubé also moved the entire greater Montreal region into the heightened, orange level of alert on Friday, given what the health minister described as an increasingly worrisome situation.The change applies to parts of the Laurentians, Lanaudière and the Montérégie. Dubé said an increase in cases, outbreaks and hospitalizations prompted the move.No region has been driven into the red alert level, which would mean further restrictions, even though Montreal public health is preparing for the possibility.But the designation no longer carries as much meaning given that, for the past two days, Dubé has urged Quebecers in all parts of the province to avoid getting together.The province reported 637 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the highest daily number since May 21, while the number of hospitalizations also climbed for the sixth consecutive day.'Please, take the call' The province also conducted more than 36,000 tests on Friday, the most ever in a day. The increase, coupled with a higher number of positive results, has put a strain on the province's contact tracers.Contact tracing is viewed by experts as a crucial tool in both understanding how the virus is spreading, and containing outbreaks.In recent weeks, public health workers have complained that people weren't picking up the phone, in part because their caller ID was blocked.Dubé has estimated that up to 30 percent of people contacted due to potential exposure don't pick up the phone.On Friday, Dubé announced that now, when health workers call to give a test result or get in touch with someone who may have been exposed, the caller ID will show "Santé publique.""Please, take the call," he said.No plans to close bars, restaurants or schoolsDespite the rise in cases, the province has no immediate plans to close bars, restaurants or other businesses.Quebec's public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, said doing so wouldn't necessarily mean a decrease in outbreaks.He said that people who would otherwise go out for dinner, where the distancing rules are in effect, could end up having a party at their home, where the potential for spread is greater.Arruda also reiterated that the province has no plans to close schools and that they have not been a major source of transmission.As of Thursday, there were 1,163 cases across the province's network of 3,089 public and private schools. There are more than 1 million students in the province.Université de Montréal epidemiologist Hélène Carabin said that, for now at least, the government's decision is understandable."In most of those cases, the case was not acquired at school. It was acquired in the community," she said."The data is still very new. It's an emerging disease so it's difficuilt to know, but from what we have seen so far it doesn't look like school is a really big source."
LOS ANGELES — A radio reporter taken into custody while covering a demonstration the night two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were shot will not be criminally charged, the county's district attorney's office said Thursday.Josie Huang, a journalist for NPR affiliate KPCC, was slammed to the ground by deputies and accused of interfering with the arrest of a protester outside a hospital Sept. 12.After she was released from jail, Huang tweeted she was “filming an arrest when suddenly deputies shout ‘back up.’ Within seconds, I was getting shoved around. There was nowhere to back up.”In cellphone video of the incident, Huang can be heard shouting, “I’m a reporter. ... I’m with KPCC” as she tumbles to the pavement. She said she was wearing a press pass.Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Huang, 39, was too close to the deputies during the man’s arrest. But the Los Angeles County's District Attorney's Office said “it does not appear that she was intentionally attempting to interfere with the deputies, but merely trying to record” the incident.“Ms. Huang was in a public area filming a protest. When asked to back up, she is almost immediately grabbed by deputies and taken to the ground, giving her little if any time to comply,” prosecutors wrote in a memo declining to file criminal charges.The Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.A letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press condemning the arrest and calling for the charges against Huang to be dropped was signed by 64 media organizations, including The Associated Press.The Associated Press
The Yellowknives Dene First Nation has finalized an agreement with the federal government over the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve.Chief Ernest Betsina of Ndilo and Chief Edward Sangris of Dettah signed the agreement with Jonathan Wilkinson, the minister responsible for Parks Canada, in a virtual gathering on Friday. The signing completes partnerships between Parks Canada, and two other Akaitcho Dene First Nations; Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation and the Deninu K'ue First Nation, on the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve Regional Management Board, Parks Canada said in a news release. It also completes a "suite of federal agreements" that are needed for the park."The establishment of the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve in Traditional Akaitcho Territory and the signing of this agreement with the federal government respects the will of our elders and our people," Betsina said in the release."This park is a magnificent symbol and reminder of the Creator's power and beauty represented by the land, birds, fish, animals, and pristine water which will be shared with the rest of Canada to respect and protect. "The Yellowknives Dene First Nation looks forward to working with the government of Canada and the other co-signees of the agreement in the promotion and operation of the park."Agreement sets out training, employment commitmentsThe final agreement sets out the Yellowknives Dene First Nation's role on the regional management board, how its traditional knowledge will be used in management of the park, and commitments related to training, employment and contracting opportunities, says the release.It says an operational management board and a regional management board "based on a consensus model" will guide management of the park.Also, Parks Canada will support the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in the development of a tourism and boat access route strategy to boost economic activity for the First Nation."The Yellowknives Dene First Nation is supportive of this national park. The park allows our membership to participate economically in the protection and co-management of the park while respecting and preserving our treaty rights, history, culture and traditions," said Sangris in the news release. "The signing of this agreement between our First Nation and Canada is done out of mutual respect and co-operation along with the other Indigenous First Nations."Thaidene Nëné, which means "Land of the Ancestors" in the Dëne Sųłıné Yatıé language, covers 26,525 square kilometres northeast of Łutsël K'é. Of that, 14,305 square kilometres are a national park protected by Parks Canada and 12,220 square kilometres are protected by the territorial government, including a wildlife conservation area. Indigenous rights, including the right to hunt, trap and fish, still apply in the park.Parks Canada, the Łutsël K'é Dene First Nation, the Deninu K'ue First Nation and the Northwest Territories government signed agreements creating Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve in August of 2019. The Yellowknives Dene First Nation signed an agreement in principle at that time. The crown entered into Treaty 8 with the Akaitcho Dene First Nations over 1899 and 1900, and the First Nations have been working toward a land claim agreement for decades, having signed a framework agreement with the federal and N.W.T. governments in 2000.Friday's news release says Thaidene Nëné will remain a national park "reserve" until land claim agreements are reached with the Akaitcho Dene First Nations, as well as the Northwest Territory Métis Nation. It says the North Slave Métis Alliance also asserts rights in the area.The federal government says it will put $40 million into Thaidene Nëné infrastructure and operations in the park's first 12 years, and $3.4 million each year after that.
TORONTO — Thanksgiving fanatic Genna Buck is used to going all-out with an elaborate turkey spread for as many as 30 friends.But this year, COVID-19 will force her annual "friendsgiving" potluck bash to move online, where the avid party host plans to dine with pals over videoconference -- on a turkey meal she'll prepare the day before and drop off at "guests"' homes that morning.Buck says the pandemic has scuttled an annual Thanksgiving dinner with her parents, brother and grandparents in Belleville, Ont., but she refuses to cancel the friends version she typically hosts the weekend before or after the holiday. Even a scaled-back version wouldn't be the same, says Buck, whose guestlist has grown over six years to include co-workers, former classmates, and childhood camp friends."There's no such thing as a 10-person friendsgiving at my house, I can never do that," says Buck, referring to the 10-person bubble Ontario has imposed to contain COVID-19 spread."It's my way of showing love to the people that I love."Still, she says surging cases of COVID-19 in Toronto and other parts of Canada demand a drastic rethink of treasured traditions, which she admits may very well include Christmas for her.With a little over two weeks before Thanksgiving on Oct. 12, a growing chorus of public health and political leaders are urging Canadians to scale back any plans for a sprawling dinner party.The pleas started with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's sobering national address Wednesday, and were amplified Thursday by officials in Ontario and Quebec -- where the bulk of infections and deaths have occurred.Health Minister Christian Dube urged Quebecers to avoid parties over the next few weeks — including the Thanksgiving long weekend -- while Quebec's public health director suggested private gatherings are driving infections rather than restaurants, where restrictions are in place. "Which is very different from a party where ... we forget (to maintain) your two metres," said Dr. Horacio Arruda, referring to social distancing guidance.Earlier on Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford also acknowledged the temptation to gather with extended friends and family but stressed the importance of maintaining precautions."Nothing is more important than family and loved ones getting together," said Ford."But in saying that, we've got to keep it under 10."Alberta’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said Thursday that Thanksgiving can still happen as long as people practice caution and stick to gathering within their "cohorts," which in the province is a bubble of up to 15 people. "Smaller is safer. This is not the time for large gatherings," Hinshaw said.Infectious disease specialists warned any relaxation of the rules could undo months of sacrifice.Dr. Gerald Evans, chair of the division of infectious diseases at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., advised against travel and merging bubbles that share extended family members, even if it's for just one night."Some families there might be a bubble of them in Toronto, a bubble of them in Ottawa, a bubble of them in Kingston," notes Evans."But if at Thanksgiving they're sort of saying well you know winter's coming this is our last chance (so) let's all get together, then all of a sudden you've got a conglomeration of what could be up to 30 people, and whatever other little connections they have."Infectious disease epidemiologist Ashleigh Tuite cautioned against the temptation to expand bubbles by even one friend."If everybody thinks like that, you've really increased the number of contacts that people have and that really increases the potential for disease to spread in networks," says Tuite, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto."Ultimately, this is all about networks and how we're connected."Tuite welcomed clear directives around Thanksgiving, noting many Canadians may be confused by restrictions on private indoor gatherings while bars and restaurants can allow far more guests."There's not a lot of consistency there, which can be cognitively really hard to figure out," she says.A group of physicians and infectious diseases experts are calling on the Ontario government to shut down restaurants, bars, places of worship and other non-essential businesses in regional hotspots including Toronto and Ottawa, arguing they are especially vulnerable to outbreaks that can spread to schools, long-term care homes, and other congregate settings.While agreeing that individual actions play a key role in containing COVID-19 spread, infections disease doctor Andrew Morris says the group believes social restrictions and increased testing is not enough. He says more aggressive measures are needed now if we hope to see the pandemic's trajectory shift in coming weeks."Because cases grow exponentially, every delay magnifies the problem even more," says Morris, a U of T professor and physician at Sinai Health and University Health Network. "It's very clear they're doing everything at the moment to avoid changing how society is functioning in terms of the economy."Trudeau warned of a fall "that could be much worse than the spring” but suggested quick action now could give Canadians "a shot at Christmas.”Evans was skeptical the pandemic could be reined in by Dec. 25, and suggests Trudeau dangled the prospect of a holly jolly gathering as a way to counter bad news "with a hopeful message."Earlier this week, Toronto Mayor John Tory told the city to expect fall and winter events to be cancelled, including a popular six-week Christmas market that draws hundreds of thousands of revelers and New Year's Eve celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square.Morris, too, doubted much would change without a significant clampdown."Things can change a lot but certainly the provinces that are being hard hit in Canada -- B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Quebec -- are absolutely trying to take a wait-and-see approach in hoping that things will simmer down. "And as you know, so far it hasn't been very successful."It's really difficult to ask people to curtail their community ties, says Buck, who is reluctant to judge others for taking risks she may not be comfortable with. She says every individual will have their own health factors to consider."I've also had people that have really struggled with mental health during this time and just need to be around other people and I understand that urge so much," says Buck, who is asking her Thanksgiving guests to donate money to the social services agency where she works, West Neighbourhood House."But at the same time, this thing is real and it's super serious and you shouldn't take unnecessary risks."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020.Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
Pharmacists in Nova Scotia are preparing for more people to come to them for flu shots this fall and are asking patients to book an appointment.The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia says what it has learned from the southern hemisphere's flu season is that more people received their vaccination at the pharmacy, both because of physicians continuing virtual visits only and people wanting to avoid health-care facilities."Not only did they see an overall increase in demand of 25 per cent of people getting their flu shot," said CEO Allison Bodnar, "but pharmacy in particular saw an increase in demand.""What we have learned is that people's improved hygiene — handwashing, mask wearing, staying apart — combined with the increase in numbers of people getting the flu shot resulted in the easiest flu season in recent memory in the southern hemisphere. So it worked."WATCH | Canadians urged to get the flu shot, avoid 'twindemic':Patients have been able to simply walk into a pharmacy and receive a flu shot most years.Bodnar said that along with scheduling a time, patients will also have to do COVID screening and be required to wear a mask while in the pharmacy.The Public Health Agency of Canada has said the provinces and territories have collectively ordered 22 per cent more doses compared to the same time last year, as public health officials across the country are urging people to get their flu shot amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Bodnar said the health-care system is strained each year by the flu and it is already anticipating the effects of COVID-19 as cases start to climb."We don't need our health system to be strained by both this year," she said.It can also reduce the demand for COVID-19 testing, since the flu has similar symptoms. Bodnar said this is especially important for children in schools."If my kids show any symptoms of the flu, they're out at home until they get a COVID [test] and can prove that they're negative," she said."Why give yourself one more reason to have your kids home from school, have to miss work? If we can avoid getting the flu, we reduce the chances of having to stop our lives again."WATCH | Concerns about access to flu shots during the pandemic:Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease expert, told CBC Nova Scotia News at 6 that there are cases around the world where people have had the flu and COVID at the same time."Two respiratory viruses that can cause a significant amount of damage in the lung is a bad thing," she said, adding that it has shown "very poor outcomes" for people, including death.Barrett said this is also another way for people to help in the fight against COVID-19."[It's] hugely, hugely important in how we're going to manage our ICUs and hospitals as we go into flu season," Barrett said.'People do need to be patient'Bodnar said there doesn't seem to be any threat of doses running out in the province, but it's something to watch."We didn't run out last year, in fact we had lots left over last year and then they've ordered more this year," she said.Bodnar said the pharmacy association has been told by Public Health that the doses should arrive the week of Thanksgiving.However, she stresses that this is only the first shipment and that the supply is staggered over several weeks."People do need to be patient," Bodnar said."Pharmacists are doing the best they can, they don't control the flu supply. They will give out everything they have and they will do it as quickly as they can."Marla MacInnis, spokesperson for the Department of Health and Wellness, said in an email the province has increased its order for influenza vaccine over the past few years."Since the pandemic hit, we have increased our 2020/2021 order for Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine by about 5% more than what we had initially anticipated needing this year. We have the opportunity to request more vaccine, if needed."MORE TOP STORIES
Former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul posted a picture of himself in a hospital Friday but said he was OK after video circulated online of him struggling to speak during an interview. The 85-year-old former Texas congressman, who ran for president three times, posted a picture on Facebook showing him smiling in a hospital gown and giving a thumbs-up. The post came after a video took off on social media showing Paul having trouble speaking during an appearance on his livestreamed show “Ron Paul Liberty Report.”
Graham Thomson is an award-winning journalist who has covered Alberta politics for more than 30 years. This column is an opinion. For more information about our commentary section, please read our FAQ.It's probably fair to say Premier Jason Kenney has a love-hate relationship with the new federal speech from the throne — meaning, he doesn't just hate it, he loves to hate it.For Kenney, the Liberal government's throne speech is too good a target to ignore with its talk of a carbon-neutral future, a "feminist, intersectional response to the pandemic," retrofitting homes, and strengthening protection of the French language in Canada."There was space for every bright shiny object, every possible political distraction," said Kenney during an online news conference with reporters on Thursday. "Kooky academic theories like intersectionality found their way into yesterday's throne speech, but not one word about health transfers for the provinces that are carrying 80 per cent of the costs as our population ages and we cope with a pandemic."Kenney clearly wasn't happy with the throne speech but in another way I bet he couldn't be happier. The speech pretty much crystallizes into 17 pages everything Kenney despises about the federal Liberals and Prime Minister Trudeau. It was a warm and fuzzy promise of more action on climate change, a national daycare program, a national pharmacare program, more gun control, and a vague plan to create one million jobs.The speech mentioned Alberta but once, in connection with using the province's energy "know-how" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There was no mention of Alberta being the hardest hit of any province during the pandemic, no nod to the importance of oil and gas or the need for more pipelines, not even a wink to Alberta's plea for more federal aid."Alberta was not recognized in yesterday's throne speech," said Kenney. Of course, you could argue no province was recognized in the throne speech which, true to form, spoke in terms of aspirational goals for the nation, not concrete fiscal action for any particular province.Kenney must know this but he's premier of a province facing a record deficit, record debt and record unemployment. He doesn't want Albertans wondering if he is to blame, even partially. He wants to shift responsibility 100 percent on to the federal Liberal government. And the throne speech is his lever.Alberta premier says federal throne speech stomps into provincial jurisdiction"It was a fantasy plan for a mythical country that only exists in the minds of Ottawa Liberals and like-minded Laurentian elites," said Kenney in a comment that managed to be both lyrical and combative.Climate changeBut you have to wonder who is living in a mythical country?Is it the federal Liberals with their focus on clean energy, inclusivity, women, and higher taxes on the wealthy?Or is it Kenney who downplays the dangers of human-induced climate change and plays up the future of oil and gas?In the past he has ridiculed those who want to transition away from fossil fuels, saying they think airplanes can run on "unicorn farts."That was no doubt a nod to the late Ralph Klein who, as a climate skeptic premier, used to blame global warming on "dinosaur farts." Klein got laughs 20 years ago and no doubt Kenney will get laughs from climate change doubters now but times have changed.Oil companies, such as BP, say we might have already hit peak oil and, if so, demand will gradually drop. Jurisdictions such as California are taking steps to phase out gasoline-burning cars in favour of electric vehicles.When questioned about that by a reporter, Kenney repeated his assurances that oil demand will continue to rise globally: "If you really think the billion people in India who desperately want to move to a higher standard of living are all going to be driving Teslas 15 years from now then you're disconnected from reality. That is to say there are billions of people around the world living in extreme energy poverty. They don't have the luxury of repeating all of these California-style pieties. They want to stop burning cow dung."I'll leave it to others to determine if Kenney's comments are insulting to people in India but let me point out that many jurisdictions around the world, including India, have talked of banning internal combustion cars in the next 10 or 15 years.Kenney's opposition to the Liberal throne speech is so scathing and sarcastic as to be almost a parody in itself. He had to be coaxed by reporters to say some nice things about the throne speech when it promised, among other things, to continue with financial help for unemployed workers.But his default position is to demonize the Liberals and cynically blame them for all of Alberta's ills. Kenney actually does have valid complaints when it comes to the federal government encroaching on provincial jurisdiction in areas such as health care, child care and the environment. And you'd think it wouldn't have killed the Liberals to offer an olive twig, if not a whole branch, to Kenney in the throne speech.But the Liberals (quelle surprise!) used the throne speech to talk to the majority of Canadians (hello Ontario and Quebec) and gave short shrift to Conservative-supporting provinces (hello Alberta and Saskatchewan).A politically motivated move? Certainly.But no more politically motivated than Kenney's overheated reaction.
The Affordable Care Act has a date with the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 10. In the wake of Justice Ginsburg's death, the health car law hangs in the balance of a court with a four-four split.
Canada has signed an agreement to secure another 20 million vaccine doses as the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine intensifies.During a news conference in Ottawa today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a deal with AstraZeneca on access to a vaccine prospect now being developed at Oxford University. As a result, the federal government has now secured access to six leading vaccine candidates. None of the candidates has been shown to work so far."We've been guided by science since the very beginning and right now, both the COVID-19 vaccine task force and the immunity task force are doing important work to help us identify the most promising vaccine options and strategies," he said.There is no approved vaccine yet for COVID-19, though there are many in clinical trials and in development. Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the global market is "intense and unpredictable.""Each supplier and therefore each negotiation is unique, with its own set of concerns," she said. "The resulting agreements contain terms specifying the quantity, the price, the anticipated delivery schedule, the manufacturing and finishing parameters for each vaccine."When a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready."The federal government already has reached vaccine agreements with Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Pfizer and Moderna, for a total of 282 million doses.Full payments to drug companies are contingent on the vaccines passing clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval.Health Canada says it will review the evidence on safety, efficacy and manufacturing quality for each vaccine to determine if individual vaccines will be approved for use in Canada before they are made available to Canadians.Government buying syringes, swabs, needlesThe government is also procuring equipment and supplies needed for vaccine manufacturing and packaging, as well as immunization equipment such as syringes, needles and alcohol swabs.Trudeau also announced that Canada will provide $440 million to COVAX, a global procurement initiative meant to ensure fair, equitable and timely access to vaccines for less wealthy countries."This pandemic can't be solved by any one country alone because to eliminate the virus anywhere, we need to eliminate it everywhere," Trudeau said.The U.S. is not participating in the global COVAX project.Trudeau said the fact that 190 countries are participating — some as contributors, others as recipients — shows that "the world is coming together.""Unfortunately, there are a few large countries that have decided not to participate, but I can assure you that the number of countries that have stepped up and participated like Canada is ensuing that we're going a long way towards having a vaccine accessible for the most vulnerable around the world, which is essential as we move forward to get past this pandemic," he said.Rapid test in the worksWith frustratingly long waits for COVID-19 tests still the norm in some parts of the country, the federal government is under increasing pressure to approve rapid testing options. Asked about the holdup today, Trudeau said Health Canada accelerated the process to evaluate testing measures this spring."But at the same time we have to make sure that every step of the way we are not compromising science or the safety of Canadians," he said.Earlier this week, Tam warned that Canada is at a "crossroads" in its pandemic battle and said the actions of individual Canadians will decide whether there will be a massive spike in COVID-19 cases.Modelling shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally, with projections that cases could climb to more than 5,000 daily by October. If Canadians don't step up preventative measures, the virus could spread out of control and trigger a wave of infections bigger than the first one, Tam said.The following day, Trudeau delivered a rare address to the nation with a similar message. He warned that infections could surge and urged Canadians to do their part to prevent transmission by following public health guidelines on masks, gatherings and physical distancing.
"We are doing this because we want this technology to be developed so that more people, more countries, more companies can participate in it in the future," Norway's PM Erna Solberg told EuronewsView on euronews
An agreement securing 20 million doses of a potentially successful COVID-19 vaccine with AstraZeneca, being developed with the University of Oxford, was announced Friday by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In addition, Trudeau announced $440 million in funding for Gavi's COVAX Facility to ensure that when developed, a coronavirus vaccine will be available worldwide, including for impoverished nations because "to eliminate the virus anywhere, we need to eliminate it everywhere."