Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse discusses how Chris Boucher has improved since moving to power forward and what stands out about Thunder forward Luguentz Dort.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse discusses how Chris Boucher has improved since moving to power forward and what stands out about Thunder forward Luguentz Dort.
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus unveiled on Thursday a phased rollback of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions over the next month, including a shortened curfew and a reopening of all schools next week. But the island will demand the compulsory display of proof of vaccination, virus testing or convalescence from COVID-19 in areas where people gather in numbers — including restaurants and churches — together with mask-wearing and social distancing. A strict, two-week lockdown has curbed the record-high number of infections, although some health officials had wanted restrictions to be slightly extended. Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou told a news conference that the primary purpose of the rollback that starts May 10 is to “lift the spirits of the public after months of sacrifices,” without jeopardizing public health by abolishing all restrictions at one go. He said some restrictions will remain in place until at least the end of June, when authorities hope to have 60-65% of the population vaccinated. As of next week, people will no longer need to secure text message permission to leave home. There will be caps on capacity at bars, restaurants, malls and parks that will be gradually increased from 30% to 50% over the next few weeks. Retail stores, gyms and hair dressing salons will also reopen. But Ioannou said people will need to display to police either a vaccination card, a health services text message proving convalescence from COVID-19 or a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours prior to an outing at any place where people gather en masse. Some exceptions will be made, including for going to supermarkets, pharmacies, beaches, parks and outdoor farmers' markets where people will be simply required to wear masks and keep distances. Ioannou said the measure will be “temporary” and authorities are working on a smartphone application to simplify the procedure. Authorities said already a third of Cyprus’ population of roughly 875,000 people have received at least one shot as part of a ramped-up vaccination program that’s seen as key to buoying the tourism-reliant country’s chances of attracting more vacationers. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
A former Saskatoon police officer has joined the ranks of "crackpots" who spread COVID-19 misinformation online, says a professor who specializes in social media. University of Regina professor of educational technology and media Alec Couros says these conspiracy theorists will do their best to "leverage" the statements made in an eight-minute Facebook video by former officer Nathan Lynchuk. "They reject most science. They reject most experts. But when they find a dissenter, they latch onto them because it fits their particular narrative," Couros said. Lynchuk was identified at a recent anti-mask children's festival in downtown Saskatoon. A crowd of maskless parents hugged and talked without physical distancing while their kids played games and got their faces painted. Saskatoon police have issued nearly a dozen tickets so far to those in attendance for violating public health laws. The current legal maximum gathering size is 10 people. In the Facebook video posted this week, Lynchuk said he was assigned temporary desk duty and told he'd have to be tested while the matter was investigated. Lynchuk said he decided to quit. A large crowd attended a maskless children's festival at a downtown Saskatoon park on Saturday in violation of public health laws which limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people. No tickets have been issued.(CBC) Lynchuk said the children's event was simply a group of "normal people" who believe in freedom. He dismissed the seriousness of COVID, saying most people who contract it don't get sick. He said he didn't want to follow the government's agenda anymore. "I haven't been believing in what's being enforced," Lynchuk. Lynchuk could not be reached for comment Thursday. Couros said Lynchuk is "parroting" many of the anti-science conspiracy theories floating around the internet. Couros said any message from a former police officer will have an impact, but that he hopes it will be limited. "It becomes very powerful, especially for those who already believe and who already drink this Kool-Aid. It may bring a few people over, but most people will probably see right through this," he said. Public health physician Dr. Cory Neudorf said COVID-19 being a major threat should be obvious to everyone, especially to police officers and other front-line emergency responders. He said Lynchuk's video makes it harder to educate the public and keep everyone safe. "It just adds to confusion for people. I don't think this is the view of the majority of police or their leadership," Neudorf said. University of Regina professor Alec Courose says COVID-19 conspiracy theorists will latch on to anyone in authority who makes a statement matching their anti-science beliefs.(Submitted by Alec Couros) Neudorf said COVID-19 restrictions are an attempt to keep people safe, similar to impaired driving or speeding laws. He said they need to be enforced to be taken seriously. Neudorf agreed laws must not infringe on freedoms unnecessarily, but said COVID-19 laws are a temporary, reasonable response to a global threat. The Saskatoon Police Service declined to comment on Lynchuk or the video, but did say in an email that police are "committed to upholding and enforcing the restrictions under the Public Health Order in our community's fight against COVID-19." The Saskatchewan Health Authority also sent an email response. It said the SHA is "highly concerned" about these continued "freedom" rallies and anti-masking events spreading misinformation. "This is not only offensive but dangerous, as it publicly downplays the significant risk of harm and death created by community transmission of this virus," read the statement.
A 51-year-old man is facing a host of charges after allegedly blowing past police in a construction zone at a high rate of speed — and with open liquor and pot in his car. According to the OPP, it happened at 9:55 p.m. on Wednesday evening, in a construction zone along Highway 400 and King Road. OPP media relations officer Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told CBC News that officers were coming from a fatal accident when they saw a vehicle coming up behind them at a high rate of speed. "The vehicle went right by the officer in a fully marked in a construction zone where workers were present," Schmidt said. "The officer was able to keep an eye on him and get him stopped." According to police, the man was stopped going 195 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. Open liquor and "readily available cannabis" were found in the car, police said in a tweet. A Richmond Hill man now faces charges of dangerous driving, refusing to provide a breath sample, and having open liquor and pot in his car. The OPP says the driver will automatically have his license suspended for 90 days and his vehicle will be impounded for seven days.
MONTREAL — Two groups that unsuccessfully challenged Quebec's secularism law in court said Thursday they will appeal last month's ruling. The National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said in a statement Thursday the law known as Bill 21 makes Quebecers who wear symbols such as hijabs, turbans and kippas second-class citizens. "We promised that we would not stop fighting until second-class citizenship ends for all Quebecers," said Yusuf Faqiri, the council's director of Quebec affairs. Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc-André Blanchard acknowledged in his April 20 ruling that the law violates the rights of Muslim women and has dehumanizing consequences for those who wear religious symbols. But he largely upheld the law, which the province had shielded from charter challenges by invoking the notwithstanding clause. Bill 21 was adopted in June 2019 and prohibits public sector workers who are deemed to be in positions of authority, including teachers, police officers and judges, from wearing religious symbols such as hijabs and turbans on the job. The law makes pre-emptive use of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms' notwithstanding clause, which shields legislation from court challenges over violations of fundamental rights. The Quebec government has said it will appeal because the ruling struck down clauses pertaining to English-language school boards and members of the provincial legislature. A teachers union has said it will also appeal, arguing the law infringes on the rights of its members to work in the profession. Four separate lawsuits challenging Bill 21 were merged into one trial, which was held over several weeks at the end of last year. Parties have 30 days to appeal and until an appeal is heard, the law remains in effect. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Liberal MP Anthony Housefather says the federal government will not be taking part in 20th-anniversary events for an international conference where Israel was singled out for condemnation. In a Twitter post today, the lawmaker says Ottawa confirmed it will avoid the gathering in South Africa known as Durban IV, which he says "continues to be used to push anti-Israel sentiment and as a forum for anti-Semitism." The United States and Australia have also stated they will steer clear of events commemorating the 2001 Durban Declaration. The coming event, slated for Sept. 22 and authorized by the United Nations, will mark 20 years since the World Conference on Racism in Durban. The initial conference was consumed by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery, prompting the U.S. and Israel to walk out during a meeting over a draft resolution that censured Israel and likened Zionism to racism. B'nai Brith Canada chief executive Michael Mostyn says he is "very encouraged" that Ottawa continues to boycott what his group calls a "profoundly flawed" process tinged with anti-Semitism. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
This item is part of Watching Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News correspondents reporting on U.S. politics and developments that affect Canadians. What's new There's new political muscle in the United States pushing for a return to more regular travel between Canada and the United States after more than a year of pandemic-related disruptions. The top member of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer, has written a letter to members of the Biden administration making several demands regarding the border. He's asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for four things. One is a detailed Canada-U.S. plan — released as soon as possible — explaining what rules and health-related benchmarks will guide the return to non-essential travel. He said this should add clarity and transparency to a process that's confused and frustrated people. And in the interim period, he immediately wants to see Canada and the U.S. allow more people to travel. Schumer wants the definition of essential travellers expanded to include vaccinated people who have property, educational, medical or business reasons for crossing the border. He also wants clarity for boaters and, finally, he wants a safety plan for border agents including access to testing, vaccines and protective equipment. Why it matters to Canadians and cross-border travellers Other lawmakers from Schumer's border state of New York have been making similar calls with little sign of progress. Neither national government has made it a priority to articulate a reopening plan for the border. But Schumer's entry into the debate is a sign of increased pressure on the national governments to at least begin articulating their longer-term intentions. "Having endured one of the deadliest chapters in New York's history, the residents along the border are ready to turn the page and re-establish the familiar links to their loved ones, their property and their prosperity," Schumer's letter said. "It is now incumbent on the federal government to do their part and aid their desperate desire to fully rebuild and recover. This recovery cannot be done, and I will not rest, until bilateral collaboration to safely reopen the United States and Canadian land border is an utmost priority and a plan for a full reopening is publicly released." Sen. Chuck Schumer says New Yorkers want life to return to normal. Indoor dining is expanding closer to full capacity this week, and here Schumer takes a bite of a sandwich at Junior's restaurant in Times Square in New York City on Thursday. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters) One reason for Schumer's optimism about reopening is the progress the U.S. has made on residents receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Nearly 50 per cent of adults in New York state are fully vaccinated, and indoor dining is expanding this week to near-full capacity in New York City. The United States remains far ahead of Canada in its share of fully vaccinated residents. However, with vaccine hesitancy becoming an issue in many states, the pace is slowing down, and Canada is steadily catching up in the rate of residents having received a first dose.
The federal government says it will boycott events commemorating the 20th anniversary of a United Nations anti-racism conference in South Africa, citing the event's legacy of criticizing Israel. A government spokesperson said Canada will join the U.S. and Australia, which have announced already that they won't be attending any of the commemorations scheduled for September. "Canada remains committed, at home and abroad, including at the UN, to advancing human rights, inclusion and combatting antisemitism, islamophobia and systemic racism in all its forms. Canada opposes initiatives at the United Nations and in other multilateral forums that unfairly single out and target Israel for criticism," said the spokesperson. "Canada is concerned that the Durban Process has and continues to be used to push for anti-Israel sentiment and as a forum for antisemitism. That is why we do not plan to attend or participate in events surrounding the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action." The 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, also known as Durban I after the South African city in which it was held, was disrupted by walkouts staged by national delegations offended by anti-Israel sentiments. Canada sent a delegation but then-foreign minister John Manley stayed behind and voiced concerns about the draft communique and a push by some countries to argue that Israel was founded on racist principles. In the end, Canada issued a statement of reservation on its final declaration, which included a statement of concern for the "plight of Palestinian people under foreign occupation." The document stopped short of directly condemning Israel. The Conservative government subsequently boycotted similar events in 2009 and 2011; then-immigration minister Jason Kenney called the conferences a "hatefest." Former federal immigration minister Jason Kenney called the Durban conferences a "hatefest."(THE CANADIAN PRESS) Earlier this year, at the United Nations Human Rights Council, Canada signed an American statement which cited the Durban anniversary and called on countries to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. That led to speculation that the Liberal government would attend events in the fall. B'nai Brith Canada and the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) issued a statement urging Canada to boycott the event again. "This process has received longstanding support from antisemites who have hijacked the conference agenda to advance their venomous attitudes towards Israel and Jews," they wrote in a media statement. "At a time of continuously rising antisemitism worldwide, Canada must continue its longstanding policy of boycotting Durban and rejecting all efforts to glorify or honour the outrageous events of Durban I."
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 6, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 350,701 new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,918,768 doses given. Nationwide, 1,196,166 people or 3.2 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 39,364.255 per 100,000. There were 1,147,668 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 17,981,872 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 82.97 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 18,126 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 188,204 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 359.421 per 1,000. In the province, 1.85 per cent (9,676) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 35,880 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 244,930 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 47 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 3,556 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 56,758 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 357.803 per 1,000. In the province, 6.78 per cent (10,750) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 12,390 new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 76,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 73.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 43,096 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 347,283 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 355.86 per 1,000. In the province, 3.83 per cent (37,346) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 62,150 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 450,600 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.07 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 27,943 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 285,000 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 365.366 per 1,000. In the province, 3.70 per cent (28,847) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 62,820 new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 373,815 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.24 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 80,582 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,446,157 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 402.746 per 1,000. There were 165,678 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 4,059,217 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 47 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 141,038 new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,740,761 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 390.818 per 1,000. In the province, 2.62 per cent (384,589) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 420,690 new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 7,056,415 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 9,485 new vaccinations administered for a total of 519,507 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 377.273 per 1,000. In the province, 5.41 per cent (74,435) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 110,170 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 686,160 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 50 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 10,195 new vaccinations administered for a total of 480,910 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 407.843 per 1,000. In the province, 3.85 per cent (45,419) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 39,980 new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 542,935 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.58 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 37,907 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,732,582 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 393.586 per 1,000. In the province, 7.00 per cent (308,027) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 228,150 new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 2,002,215 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 52,266 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,995,496 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 388.866 per 1,000. In the province, 1.87 per cent (95,868) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 9,760 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 2,330,040 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.64 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 199 new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,140 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,177.542 per 1,000. In the territory, 54.94 per cent (22,927) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 55,920 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 87.88 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 48,007 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,064.009 per 1,000. In the territory, 48.04 per cent (21,674) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 58,800 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 81.64 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 126 new vaccinations administered for a total of 28,963 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 747.895 per 1,000. In the territory, 32.77 per cent (12,692) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 44,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 110 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.68 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
Chance hurt her leg and was pretty sad about it. She stopped singing along to this boy's piano practice for a while. When her leg healed, she starting singing again. What a great sign!
Prince Edward Island's Chief Public Health Office is reporting two more cases of COVID-19 on the Island Thursday. Both people are in their 20s, said a written release from the province. One travelled outside Atlantic Canada and one travelled within Atlantic Canada. A news release said one of the cases is linked to three new public exposure sites: Walmart Charlottetown May 4 from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Home Depot Charlottetown May 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tim Hortons/Esso in Borden-Carleton May 5 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. The news release says anyone who was at these locations during the time periods should closely monitor for symptoms and get tested if symptoms develop. This brings the number of active cases on P.E.I. to nine. There have been 185 positive cases in total, with two hospitalizations and no deaths. Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Ronald Smith sounds tired. Despite good news last month, when a bill to resume executions in Montana was unexpectedly defeated, the Canadian on death row in that state is in a sombre mood. Smith, originally from Red Deer, Alta., has been facing capital punishment since 1983 for killing two young Montana men in 1982. "I thought we were screwed," he said in an interview with The Canadian Press from Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge, Mont. "I didn't think there was a chance in hell that this wouldn't be approved. Once my daughter found out, I explained to her which road we were going down and what the probable outcomes were going to be. I was that sure that it was over." All executions have been stayed in Montana since 2015 because the state requires the use of an ultra-fast-acting barbiturate, which is no longer available. There hasn't been an execution in Montana since 2006. Montana's house of representatives passed a bill in February that would have amended protocol to include any substance in a lethal quantity sufficient to cause death. But the senate voted it down 26-24. The execution issue is likely to arise again in two years when the state legislature reconvenes. "Obviously, I'm happy about it, but at the same time it keeps running through the back of my head, 'Oh crap. I'm stuck sitting around here again,'" Smith sighed. "A lot of people look at it and say, 'Well at least you're alive,' but I'm really not. I'm just sitting around like a bump on a log is all I'm doing, and after almost 40 years of this, anything is preferable." Smith, 63, rephrased his response when asked if he would prefer to be executed. "Well, maybe not preferable, but I wouldn't be bothered by it. As soon as I heard what was going on, I accepted it. I went, 'OK, cool. I don't have to deal with this crap anymore.' "I was worried about my family because they were going to take it hard. Personally, I don't care. I've hit that point where I've done enough of this. If they're (legislators) not going to cut me a break, than go ahead and do away with me." Smith and Rodney Munro, both high on LSD and alcohol, shot and killed two Indigenous cousins near East Glacier, Mont., in 1982. They admitted to marching Harvey Mad Man, 23, and Thomas Running Rabbit, 20, into the woods by a highway. They shot each man in the head with a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle. Court heard that Smith and Munro wanted to steal the victims' car. Smith also said at the time that he wanted to know what it was like to kill someone. He was initially offered a plea deal that would have taken the death penalty off the table, but he rejected it. He pleaded guilty and asked to be put to death, but later changed his mind. He has had five execution dates set over the years. Each has been overturned. The victims' families have continued to push for Smith to be executed. Munro took the plea bargain, was eventually transferred to a prison in Canada, and has been free since 1998. "He's been out 23 years and doing well and I wish him all the very best. Had I taken that plea deal, then I'd have been out a long time ago. It's hard not to have that in the back of your mind on a pretty regular basis." Smith said he's content with paying for his crimes, but would like to be transferred to a prison in Canada, where he has a daughter, two sisters, grandchildren and a great-grandchild. "I'm getting pretty much what I deserve for the crime I committed," he said. "If I was in a position where I could see my family on a constant basis, then leave me locked up. I don't care. "It is what it is. I committed the crime." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021. — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
The Canadian Coast Guard will get two new heavy icebreakers, the Liberal government announced today — a significant decision that critics say is meant to avoid making political waves ahead of the next federal election. The decision is expected to fulfil a promise made more than a dozen years ago by the former Conservative government to build one Polar-class icebreaker at Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver. The Liberals also promised today to build a second vessel at Davie Shipbuilding in Levis, Que., once the company is formally admitted to the National Shipbuilding Strategy. By promising two ships and splitting the work, the government avoids the political consequences of having to decide between competing shipyards in B.C. and Quebec in what could be an election year. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet today accused the Liberals of playing politics. That charge was denied by the three federal cabinet ministers taking part in today's virtual press conference; they insisted the addition of the second vessel is about securing the Arctic, providing support for remote communities and maintaining a year-round presence in the Far North. Two years ago, the federal government set aside $15.7 billion to rebuild the aging coast guard fleet. Many of its vessels are more than three decades old. No cost estimate for the new icebreakers was released. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, who is responsible for the coast guard, said price tags will be released once contracts are negotiated with the individual yards. She also pledged the ships would be built concurrently, with the first ship entering service in 2030 and the second one following soon afterwards. The new ships are intended to replace the coast guard's principal heavy icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, which is almost 55 years old. A 'game-changer' "The new Polar icebreakers will be a game-changer for Canada's marine industry, both in their construction and the difference that a stronger presence in the Arctic will make," said Jordan, who was joined for the announcement by Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez and Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. "Built by Canadian shipyards, these vessels will enable the coast guard to conduct critical science, supply and other missions in our Arctic region year-round. Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we're putting thousands of Canadians to work building a fleet that will serve those communities for decades." The future of the heavy icebreaker plan has been in question since the summer of 2019 when the single-ship program, originally given to Seaspan Shipyards, was mysteriously dropped from the company's work schedule. WATCH: Fisheries minister announces plans to build two new icebreakers Both Seaspan and Davie have lobbied hard to build the ship, already designated as the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. That vessel was originally budgeted by the Conservative government at $721 million and was supposed to have been delivered four years ago. But the retooling of the Vancouver yard, technical problems and construction delays caused the program to be pushed back repeatedly. Federal officials said today that, so far, three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels (OFSV) and 18 smaller vessels have been delivered to the coast guard under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, along with two refitted medium interim icebreakers. Crews work on two Canadian Coast Guard vessels at the Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards in West Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Those medium icebreakers were converted from civilian use by Davie — which has attempted to set itself apart from the rest of the industry by creating a National Icebreaker Centre, which focuses on Arctic research and maritime engineering. In order to hold on to its contract, Seaspan has focused its lobbying efforts on the economic benefits current and future ship construction brings to B.C. The company continued with that theme on Thursday in its response to the federal announcement today. "This is an important day for Seaspan employees and suppliers, and for shipbuilding in Canada and B.C.," said Mark Lamarre, the chief executive officer of Seaspan Shipyards. "With the Polar program, we can keep the [National Shipbuilding Strategy] working as the important economic engine and strategic national asset it was designed to be." In a statement, the chief executive officer of the Davie Shipyard said the company is pleased to be building the "flagship" of the Canadian Coast Guard. "We also fully agree with Canada that time is now of the essence," said James Davies. "We must start the project without delay to ensure the Polar offers immediate, material and sustainable stimulus to the pandemic recovery." The federal Conservatives were cautious in their reaction, calling the commitment to Seaspan a re-anncouncement of something the former government had engineered, and pointing out that the inclusion of Davie was still tentative because the company hasn't been admitted to the shipbuilding program yet. "The announcement made by the Trudeau Liberals in no way guarantees that Davie Shipyards in Quebec will also get a contract to build a heavy icebreaker," said Pierre Paul-Hus, the Conservative critic for Public Services and Procurement Canada. "Conservatives will support a National Shipbuilding Strategy that includes Davie Shipyards, and its dual goal of providing ships for our Navy and Coast Guard while securing jobs for Canadian industry." What the party will not support, he said, is "repeated and costly delays," which he blamed on the Liberal government. The plan comes a little more than two months after the federal auditor general complained that the overall shipbuilding strategy, which includes both the navy and the coast guard, had been plagued by mismanagement and delays.
OTTAWA — The federal government is being asked to give new and soon-to-be moms a Mother's Day gift by closing a hole in the safety net preventing some from having their maternity leave fully covered. As is, eligible workers need a minimum number of hours on the job to qualify for employment insurance benefits, including maternity and parental leave. But many moms have been unable to work because of pandemic-related job losses, and been caught by the EI safety net. When a new mother receiving regular benefits gives birth, they have to file a new claim for maternity and parental benefits, meaning they need to meet the hours requirement anew, even though they have been unable to work because of the pandemic. Opposition critics say they worry new parents might be forced to stay home without income support, or potentially be forced to look for work before they're ready and able. The Conservatives are asking the Liberals to allow expecting mothers to qualify for their full employment insurance parental leave, even if they are currently receiving federal unemployment aid. The call follows a similar request made by the federal New Democrats to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough that said a current workaround to allow unemployed mothers to qualify for EI wasn't working. Qualtrough told the House of Commons on Thursday that she would look at how to improve the EI system for workers, and mothers in particular. "Women, of course as we know, they've been hit the hardest through this pandemic," Qualtrough said in question period. "We are there for all Canadian workers, women in particular, and we are committed to modernizing our EI system to be even more there for them." It was just ahead of Mother's Day last year that the Liberals dealt with another unexpected flaw in the pandemic safety net where women who identified as pregnant on their EI applications weren't automatically moved over to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Since the EI system kicked back up in late September, just over 298,000 parents have received maternity and parental leave benefits for a combined value of nearly $2.7 billion, according to the latest federal data. A handful of mothers-to-be worried they won't be able to qualify for their full benefits told Conservative critic Raquel Dancho their stories during a virtual roundtable on Thursday morning. Some spoke about not knowing how they would pay the bills, expressed frustrations at ongoing parental leave issues, and highlighted how they're now scrambling to make the hours hoping that they can work enough. "These are real situations with women and men ... trying to figure out how to do this at a very uncertain time," Dancho said at the end of the roundtable. "It's an overwhelming time as it is, let alone now, and I think a lot of you really nailed it when you said, you know, parents have dealt with so much this year and now this is just one more thing and deeply unfair." Federal officials had come up with a workaround to the hours issue, giving a blanket, one-time credit to applicants who weren't able to work because of the pandemic and needed federal aid. In a letter last month to Qualtrough, NDP critic Daniel Blaikie noted some expectant mothers had the credit applied to their EI claims even though they had enough hours, which then made it impossible for them to have enough hours to access their maternity leave once their baby comes. He suggested the government consider giving expecting parents an option to set aside their one-time credit of insurable hours to use instead for qualifying for maternity and parental leave. "It's so frustrating to not see any kind of co-ordinated and systematic policy response on the part of the government," Blaikie said in an interview. "There's more than one way to solve this problem. What you need is that will and the volition on the part of government to make it a priority, and I can't figure out why that's not something that they're willing to focus in on." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
York police have charged three Brampton men in connection with an alleged attempt to defraud an 80-year-old woman of $10,000. In a news release, police say the woman received a call on May 3 from one of the accused claiming to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. Police allege the man instructed the woman to withdraw $10,000 from the bank in two $5,000 increments and send the money to a Brampton address through a courier. Investigators say the victim was threatened with arrest if she didn't comply. York police say they intercepted the package the next day and when one of the three accused arrived to pick it up , investigators arrested him at the scene. Through the investigation, police say they later found that two additional suspects were involved. Both men were arrested and charged. The men, two 19-year-olds and one 21 year-old, face charges of extortion, conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and possession of property through crime of over $5,000. They're to appear in court in June. The money said to be stolen from the woman was returned to her by police.
SAINT-MICHEL-DES-SAINTS, Que. — A man and a child were found dead on Wednesday after their car went off the road and plunged into a river in Quebec's Lanaudiere region. Quebec provincial police confirmed today that the bodies of Jonas Dubé, 29, and Weyko Jacob, 7, were discovered in the submerged car in St-Michel-des-Saints, about 170 kilometres north of Montreal. The Atikamekw band council of Manawan said in a press release the father and son were members of the community who had been missing since Tuesday night. A citizen called police at about 1 p.m. on Wednesday about a car that had skidded off the road and gone into the water. Officers on the scene found the car upside down and underwater and called in fire and rescue services, who discovered the bodies. Police say a collision specialist is investigating the cause and time of the accident, which took place sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. A mechanical inspection has been ordered for the car. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
Taxi drivers and Uber drivers perform the same work, but Uber's categorization as a tech company has contributed to the historical stigma against taxi drivers.
WASHINGTON — The United States has deployed a dozen additional warplanes to bolster protection of American and coalition troops making a final withdrawal from Afghanistan as Taliban insurgents step up pressure on Afghan government forces, top Pentagon officials said Thursday. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said F-18 attack planes have been added to a previously announced package of air and sea power — including the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea and six Air Force B-52 bombers based in Qatar — that can be called upon as protection for withdrawing troops. Also part of that previously announced package are several hundred Army Rangers. U.S. officials said before the withdrawal began that they expected the Taliban to attempt to interfere, even as the insurgents continue pressuring government forces, especially in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan. “There continue to be sustained levels of violent attacks” by the Taliban against Afghan security forces, Milley said, speaking alongside Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin at a Pentagon news conference. He said there have been no attacks against U.S. or coalition forces since they began pulling out of the country on about May 1, and he described the Afghan forces as “cohesive,” even as speculation swirls around Kabul's ability to hold off the Taliban in the months ahead. Both Milley and Austin, a retired Army general, are veterans of the war in Afghanistan. “They're fighting for their own country now, so it's not a foregone conclusion, in my professional military estimate, that the Taliban automatically win and Kabul falls, or any of those kinds of dire predictions,” Milley said. “That's not a foregone conclusion. There's a significant military capability in the Afghan government. We have to see how this plays out.” Milley said the Pentagon is considering options for continued support of Afghan government forces after the troop withdrawal is complete, including possibly training Afghan security forces in another country. That would be in addition to urging the Congress to authorize continued financial assistance to the Afghan forces, which has been in the range of $4 billion a year for many years, and possibly providing aircraft maintenance support remotely from another country. “We haven't figured that out 100% yet,” Milley said. Milley said Afghanistan's air force is central to the strategy for holding off the Taliban, but the durability of those planes is in some doubt. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in an April 30 report that without continued foreign contractor support, none of the Afghan air force's airframes can be sustained as combat effective for more than a few months. Austin acknowledged that holding off the Taliban without American support on the ground “will be a challenge” for the Afghans. “We're hopeful that the Afghan security forces will play a major role in stopping the Taliban,” Austin said. “What we're seeing unfold is what we expected to unfold — increased pressure” on the Afghan forces. He asserted that government forces launched a counterattack this week against the Taliban in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, and that they were “performing fairly well.” President Joe Biden announced last month that all American troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. NATO allies have said they will do the same, and troops have already begun leaving. Austin said the “drawdown is going according to plan." The Pentagon has said there were about 2,500 U.S. troops there in recent months, and Milley said in an interview last weekend that the total rises to 3,300 if special operations forces are counted. Military commanders have said that additional forces will flow in temporarily to help with security and logistics for the drawdown. Pentagon officials have said they will do all they can to monitor terror threats and help the Afghans from other locations in the region, described as “over the horizon.” But officials have not detailed where those would be. Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, has warned that Afghanistan’s military “will certainly collapse” without some continued American support once all U.S. troops are withdrawn. He has expressed concerns that Afghan forces may be unable to prevent the Taliban from taking more ground, and said the Afghans will need help and funding to maintain and fly their aircraft. Milley said last week that Afghan government forces face an uncertain future and, in a worst-case scenario, some “bad possible outcomes” against Taliban insurgents as the withdrawal of American and coalition troops accelerates in the coming weeks. On Thursday, Milley took a hopeful tone in speaking about the government forces avoiding a collapse. “There is 300-plus thousand (in the) Afghan army, Afghan police,” he said. “It's their country. They've been leading the fight for several years now. We've been supporting them, for sure. But they've been leading the fight. And I'm a personal witness ... that the Afghan forces can fight.” Robert Burns And Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Alberta's top doctor says it's very likely that second doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be offered within less than four months of the first as supplies ramp up. The province authorized a 16-week interval in order to get as many people protected with their first shots as possible while vaccine shipments remained uncertain. For Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the drug makers say the gaps between doses should be three weeks and one month, respectively. "I want to be clear that that four-month interval was always a maximum," Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday. "We were never planning to require a wait of four months. It was really about we would not have anyone go beyond four months, but if we can offer it sooner, we will." People on immunosuppressive drugs, like chemotherapy, are already being offered their second shots in a shortened time frame, Hinshaw said. She noted that for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, there is evidence that a 12-week wait between doses is more effective than a shorter interval. As of Monday, all Albertans born in 2009 and earlier will be able to book their first shot. On Thursday, some 100,000 people born in 1991 and earlier booked their first vaccine appointments. After that, the province will be able to start offering followup doses, Hinshaw said. So far, 1.73 million doses of vaccine have been given in Alberta. Alberta recorded 2,211 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths on Thursday. There were 654 people in hospital, including 146 in intensive care. More than 11 per cent of tests came back positive. Hinshaw also reiterated that the province is no longer testing every positive COVID-19 swab for variants. Instead, labs are testing a representative sample. "This frees up crucial lab capacity to ensure that people get their COVID-19 test results back as soon as possible, which is the most important thing we can do with our lab capacity to minimize further transmission." She added that anyone with a positive test should assume they have contracted a variant, as variants are now dominant in the province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. — By Lauren Krugel in Calgary. The Canadian Press
ROME — Manchester United has finally reached a major final under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A 3-2 loss to Roma in the second leg of the Europa League semifinals on Thursday didn't prevent United completing an 8-5 victory on aggregate. It ended a run of four losses in the semifinals of major tournaments in the last 18 months for Solskjaer, who is under pressure to win United’s first trophy since 2017. That came in the Europa League, when Jose Mourinho was manager. Villarreal will be United’s opponent in the May 26 final in the Polish city of Gdansk after beating Arsenal 2-1 on aggregate in the other semifinal. The second leg finished 0-0 on Thursday. Faced with a huge task at the Stadio Olimpico after its 6-2 thrashing at Old Trafford last week, Roma created enough great chances to pull off what would have been a remarkable comeback. Goals by Edin Dzeko and Bryan Cristante, in the 57th and 60th minute, briefly put Roma 2-1 ahead and were the least the Italian team deserved after regularly breaching United’s defence. The visitors were thankful for a slew of saves by David de Gea in both halves, ensuring Nicola Zalewski's 83rd-minute winner on the 19-year-old's debut proved only a consolation for Roma. Roma couldn’t keep United at bay at the other end as Cavani showed his prowess as a finisher, opening the scoring in the 39th minute by taking a touch from Fred’s pass and smashing in a shot from just outside the area. His second goal, a header from Bruno Fernandes’ cross in the 68th, made it 2-2 and came as a relief for United because Roma was threatening to score at will. Winning the Europa League was Roma’s only potential route back into the Champions League for next season, when it will be coached by Mourinho after the team chose this week to part ways with Paulo Fonseca. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The Atikamekw community of Manawan, 250 km north of Montreal, is grieving after a father and son died in a car accident on the only road leading to the community — a gravel road that's been flagged to the province as dangerous for decades. The Sureté du Quebec confirmed Thursday that Jonas Dubé, 29, and his son Weyko Jacob, 7, were found dead Wednesday inside their overturned vehicle in the Milieu River near a bridge on Chemin Manawan, an 86 km logging road which connects Manawan to the town of Saint-Michel-des-Saints. 86 kilometers of forest road separate Manawan from the nearest municipality, Saint-Michel-des-Saints. (Anne-Marie Yvon/Radio-Canada) "It's terrible to live these things. These deaths were avoidable," Paul-Émile Ottawa, chief of the Atikamekw Council of Manawan, told CBC in an interview Thursday. Ottawa estimates nearly 100 people have died in accidents on that road since it opened 50 years ago. He says the road has seven bridges, all of which are one lane only. It's also known for its many dangerous curves. "People have nicknamed the curves after forestry workers who died in car accidents on them," Ottawa said. Ottawa said the Atikamekw Council has been asking the provincial Transport Ministry for decades to do something about the road. He said the ministry finally agreed a few years ago, and plans have been drawn up to eventually pave it. Ottawa said in the meantime the ministry has promised to rebuild the gravel road with a more solid foundation, which he said would greatly improve safety. He said work would would likely start next year. Provincial police are investigating the crash to try to determine the cause. Community also dealing with covid outbreak Ottawa said losing a father and young son is hard enough but the deaths have also disrupted efforts to deal with a major COVID-19 outbreak in the community, with 12 confirmed cases. Jonas Dubé's wife is a nurse at the health clinic in Manawan, which is currently trying to manage a covid-19 outbreak. (Radio-Canada) He said Jonas's wife is a nurse, who is now off work to grieve. "To lose a member of our personnel who's trained to do testing and vaccination, that's affecting our health service's efforts to control the outbreak," he said. The Masko-Siwin Health Centre posted on its Facebook page Thursday that it was cancelling COVID-19 screening for the day because of the deaths. The council is collecting donations for the family and offering psychological counselling services to people in the community. Manawan was also home to Joyce Echaquan, a woman who died in hospital in Joliette last fall, just hours after filiming staff at the hospital insulting her with racist comments.