Ontario Premier Doug Ford is accusing Ottawa of failing to enforce mandatory self-isolation under the Quarantine Act. Health Minister Patty Hajdu says provinces have full power to enforce penalties under the act.
Gangster Jamie Bacon has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in the Surrey Six killings, bringing more than a decade of prosecution proceedings to an end — but bringing no justice for the men gunned down over a turf war between two callous, rival gang leaders, the victims' families say. With credit for time already served in pre-trial custody, Bacon will spend five years and seven months behind bars.The families of those killed quietly cried as the sentence was read aloud in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday. Bacon, now 35, stood still before the justice as she read the terms of his sentence."To conspire with others to kill people ... is among the most despicable crimes imaginable," said Justice Kathleen Ker.Bacon reached a plea deal in July to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit the murder of rival gang leader Corey Lal in 2007.Six people were massacred when Bacon's associates came for Lal at his stash house in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Surrey, B.C.: Lal, his brother Michael, two of Lal's criminal associates and two bystanders who had no connections to the gang world at all.Christopher Mohan, 22, was walking out of his apartment across the hall from the suite when the hitmen were standing there. He was dragged into the apartment, forced to lie face down on the floor and executed with the others.Mohan's mother, Eileen Mohan, has been vocal in her belief that Bacon received a sweetheart deal when he should have had a life sentence.She cried while leaving B.C. Supreme Court on Friday afternoon, vowing to fight for change in the criminal justice system to honour her son."Mr. Bacon gets to return home to his mother's arms. Today we celebrated his life ... his rights ... instead of celebrating Christopher," said Mohan, who added that no other family should need to suffer as she has every day for the past 13 years."I don't know what tomorrow [brings] ... but tomorrow is really, really difficult to accept. I want to respect the process, but I think the process is not respecting us in return."Justice accepted sentence put forward by Crown, defenceJustice Ker accepted the 18-year sentence, less time served, from a joint submission by the Crown and defence as part of Bacon's plea deal. Ker said it is rare for a judge to override a joint submission, and said Bacon's case did not meet the bar to do so."No doubt, some wish I would override the joint submission and give a life sentence," Ker said."Judges are awarded discretion," she said, "but it does not mean a judge is free to do whatever she wants.""The joint submission as to sentence clearly represents an agreement negotiated ... by extremely competent, senior and experienced counsel who have considered the effect of the joint submission from all perspectives."During a sentencing hearing in August, Corey and Michael Lal's sister, Jourdana Lal, confronted Bacon in an emotional victim impact statement."You decided which hallways were unsafe to walk down," she told the court. "You decided which mothers didn't deserve to watch their children grow. You decided which fathers would lose their bloodline."According to an agreed statement of facts, Bacon was trying to take over Surrey's illegal drug market and Corey Lal was the leader of a group of rival dealers.A conflict arose between the two, and Lal was ordered to pay a $100,000 tax to resolve it. When he did not pay, a plan to kill him was put into action. As part of his plea deal in July, Bacon also pleaded guilty to counselling someone in 2008 to commit the murder of an associate who'd fallen out of his favour.Bacon had grown impatient with the associate, believing he was getting lazy and taking sellable drugs for himself and threatening the gang's bottom line. The assassination attempt on Dec. 31, 2008, was unsuccessful. The associate escaped, but suffered a bullet wound to his lower back and an abrasion to the right side of his scalp. End to lengthy justice processThe sentence Friday brings an end to a lengthy prosecution against Bacon in the case, involving more than 1,300 officers and 80 police informants.Six others have also been convicted for their roles in the Surrey Six killings. Cody Haevischer and Matthew Johnston were given life sentences in 2014 after being convicted of six counts of first-degree murder, though both of them are appealing. Another person, known by the court as Person X pleaded guilty to three counts of second degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit murder. Two more pleaded guilty to breaking and entering to help the aforementioned individuals get access to the condo where the killings took place. They also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for destroying evidence. And in 2014, Red Scorpion co-founder, Michael Le pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in exchange for his testimony against Haevischer and Johnston.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Saying the president had exceeded his authority, a panel of three federal judges on Thursday blocked an order from President Donald Trump that tried to exclude people in the country illegally from being counted when congressional districts are redrawn.The federal judges in New York, in granting an injunction, said the presidential order issued in late July was unlawful. The judges prohibited Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose agency oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, from excluding people in the country illegally when handing in 2020 census figures used to calculate how many congressional seats each state gets.According to the judges, the presidential order violated laws governing the execution of the once-a-decade census and also the process for redrawing congressional districts known as apportionment by requiring that two sets of numbers be presented — one with the total count and the other minus people living in the country illegally.The judges said that those in the country illegally qualify as people to be counted in the states they reside. They declined to say whether the order violated the Constitution.“Throughout the Nation’s history, the figures used to determine the apportionment of Congress — in the language of the current statutes, the ‘total population' and the ‘whole number of persons' in each State — have included every person residing in the United States at the time of the census, whether citizen or non-citizen and whether living here with legal status or without," the judges wrote.Opponents of the order said it was an effort to suppress the growing political power of Latinos in the U.S. and to discriminate against immigrant communities of colour. They also said undocumented residents use the nation’s roads, parks and other public amenities and should be taken into account for any distribution of federal resources.The lawsuits challenging the presidential order in New York were brought by a coalition of cities, civil rights groups and states led by New York. Because the lawsuits dealt with questions about apportionment, it was heard by a three-judge panel that allows the decision to be appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.The judges agreed with the coalition that the order created confusion among undocumented residents over whether they should participate in the 2020 census, deterring participation and jeopardizing the quality of the census data. That harm to the census was a sufficient basis for their ruling and they didn't need to rely on the speculation that a state would be hurt by possibly losing a congressional seat if people in the country illegally were excluded from apportionment, the judges said.The head count of every U.S. resident, which which helps determine the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding as well as apportionment, is set to wrap up at the end of September.“This is the most blatantly unconstitutional act I've ever encountered in years litigating the federal government," Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, one of the group's that challenged the order, said in an interview.New York Attorney General Letitia James noted that the federal court in New York also had ruled against the Trump administration in its failed attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. That case went to the Supreme Court which blocked the citizenship question from being added.“The courts have ruled in our favour on every census matter in the last two years and continually rejected President Trump’s unlawful efforts to manipulate the census for political purposes," James said.After Trump issued the order in July, around a half dozen lawsuits around the U.S. were filed by states, cities, immigrant advocates and civil rights groups challenging its legality and constitutionality.The New York case is the first to get a ruling, but there are other issues the New York judges didn't address that could be addressed in the other court cases. Those include whether the order violated governmental administrative procedures and whether the Census Bureau will have to use a statistical method to calculate who is in the country illegally. The Supreme Court has ruled that method, sampling, can't be done for apportionment numbers.The lawsuits said there was no reliable method for counting people in the U.S. illegally and the order would have diminished the accuracy of the census.An analysis by Pew Research Center showed that California, Florida and Texas would end up with one less congressional seat if people in the country illegally were excluded from apportionment. Alabama, Minnesota and Ohio would each keep a congressional seat they most likely would have lost if the presidential order were enforced, according to the Pew analysis.The Commerce Department didn't respond to an emailed inquiry.___Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAPMike Schneider, The Associated Press
Months before he announced his resignation, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set in motion a policy change that could for the first time allow Japan's military to plan for strikes on land targets in China and other parts of Asia. Japan's Self Defence Forces are geared toward stopping attackers in the air and the sea. The policy change would direct the military to create a doctrine for targeting enemy sites on land - a mission that would require the purchase of long-range weapons such as cruise missiles.
Albertans will soon be able to see how much their doctor bills the provincial government, but some physicians argue the billing totals won't provide enough context.The province will make their gross fee-for-service payments to physicians public within the next 60 days.The data from the province's last three fiscal years, dating back to 2017–2018, will be published, according to Steve Buick, press secretary to the health minister. The move would effectively create a sunshine list, with doctor's names and pay to be posted online for the public to see, similar to lists already published for high-paid public service employees.B.C., Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland already disclose physician compensation.But Alberta's website on physician pay —which is already being developed— will have "the most comprehensive disclosure of physician payments in Canada," Buick said in an email to CBC News on Thursday.Alberta's sunshine list will include the gross payments to doctors but also "items such as the number of patients served," Buick wrote. The province may also disclose the location where the doctors performed the medical services and the total number of days during the fiscal year on which the physician provided the insured medical services, according to an order-in-council issued Thursday. Some physicians have raised concerns about public disclosure of their billings because they say the figures don't represent their take-home pay. Alberta Medical Association (AMA) officials want the province to include overhead costs in the sunshine list. Doctors pay for staff, clinics, liability insurance and equipment out of their fee-for-service billings, costs that are not accounted for in their billings. "It's very important that people understand what those numbers mean," said Dr. Christine Molnar, AMA president. "I think [doctors] are OK with that as long as Albertans, in general, understand that's not what [doctors] put in [their] pocket. Those dollars are a business revenue, they're not what [they] take home. That's really important."Buick said the province won't disclose physicians' overhead costs on the provincial website.He said the province recognizes that payments to physicians are not the same as take-home income and that the website will specify that the numbers are gross payments. Doctor pay has been a point of discussion for several months in the province. Health Minister Tyler Shandro first threatened to make pay disclosure mandatory in July following the release of a survey from the AMA suggesting 42 per cent of Alberta doctors are planning to leave the province due to changes in how they are paid.In response, Shandro denied that any doctor's exodus was imminent and told the AMA to "stop playing games." He had said Albertans should "know the facts" about how Alberta doctors are compensated compared to their Canadian counterparts. Some doctors will be able to apply for an exemption from the sunshine list, which could allow them to not have their name disclosed for safety reasons."It's one thing if you're one physician in a thousand in a major urban centre and you're identified," Molnar said. "It's quite another thing if you're a rural or remote physician and all of a sudden now, you're very visible and not anonymous at all and you may become the target of unwanted attention."
Within the first 10 days of reopening, at least 16 infectious cases of COVID-19 have been identified in schools across the province and outbreaks were reported at three schools.It's been a nerve-wracking back-to-school transition for parents and teachers. But are the kids all right?From angered and scared to not very fussed, it depends on whom you ask.Since classes resumed Sept. 1, public health measures have been in place to suppress transmission of the virus in schools.These include physical distancing, mandatory masking when distancing cannot be maintained, enhanced cleaning procedures and daily screenings for symptoms.But cases have surfaced, including someone at Bowness High School who tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 5, which a parent says prompted an entire classroom to isolate for 14 days.Days later, trepidation lingers for some at the school, while others are heartened by the measures the school has been taking."When I found out that they [the confirmed case] weren't in any of my classes, it made me feel a lot better," Grade 12 student Faith Long, 17, told CBC News on Tuesday."But it made me realize that I could have been in the bathroom at the same time as them, or they could have been in the hallway at the same time as me, and I could never know. And I'm thinking of getting tested, just to be safe."Meera Mahram is also in Grade 12 at Bowness High School, and like Long, she feels unnerved."I'm a bit worried," said Mahram, 16. "I think it was handled pretty well, but I'm just a bit scared."Carter Bird, 16, is a Grade 11 student who says he isn't too afraid to be back. People certainly congregate, but Bowness High is doing everything it can for the students, he says."Our school had been trying pretty hard to, you know, keep us safe," Bird said."We've been wearing a mask, sanitizing. We wipe down all of our, you know, high touch areas every single time we're finished in class. So, we're definitely trying our best."Physical distancing a challenge insideAlberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said on Tuesday that the province is not surprised to see cases of COVID-19 in schools.On Wednesday, Alberta launched an online map to help parents track COVID-19 cases in schools across the province."We have known that with opening schools in person, it was absolutely expected that there would be infectious cases," Hinshaw said.Dr. Vanessa Meier-Stephenson, an infectious diseases physician who works with the University of Calgary, isn't surprised by the cases, either. She expected to see the virus in schools because the province has reported high community transmission in recent weeks, and active cases that approached 1,700 after the Labour Day long weekend — the highest since May 9."The individuals who currently have infections now obviously didn't get it from schools, so they got it from the community," Meier-Stephenson said."The catch … now is to make sure that we're preventing any spread in the school setting." Outside the medical community, someone who also expected a case is Emma Reimer, a Bowness Grade 12 student — though she was taken aback by how quickly it happened."I kind of knew it was coming … because [of] just the lack of social distancing. But I didn't think that there would be a case as soon," said the 17-year-old."I didn't really want to go to school today because of it, but it seems like we're doing better right now."The number of students in the school makes everything a bit crowded, Reimer says. Precautions have been taken to streamline traffic areas, but the volume of students is still high, making physical distancing a challenge."It's better since we have two-way traffic and we have designated stairwells to go up and down," Reimer said. "But there is a lot of kids in the school still, and it's still a problem."That there are lots of kids in the school — and the strain that puts on the ability to physically distance — is not a problem unique to Bowness High School.'I don't feel safe'A photo obtained by CBC News shows students — many who appear to be wearing masks — packed in halls at Sir Winston Churchill.And at Central Memorial High School, one student says they feel some of the safety measures are not enforced.They shared a video with CBC News of students packed into a crowded hallway, and CBC News has agreed to withhold the student's name over concerns it could affect his academic standing.The short, two-second clip shows a crowd of approximately 200 students passing each other elbow-to-elbow and lingering in a hallway.All of the students appear to be wearing masks, but few seem to be maintaining even 10 centimetres distance from each other — let alone the recommended two metres."I don't feel safe at school," the student said. "In the hallways as well, there's no staggered entries, or staggered class changes or lunches. It's like a free for all."We do have one-way hallways and directions but they aren't really followed. Sometimes I feel our school put them in place just so we can say we have those. But no one really follows them."The student says the situation in classrooms, most of which have 30 to 40 students, isn't much better."Some teachers are really good about having kids sanitize their hands ... and then other teachers are talking about how they give their students mask breaks and how they are not going to wear masks when they talk to us when they are presenting," they said. "It angers me knowing that people who are supposed to be there to protect us aren't enforcing rules or are being bad examples for kids."CBE, UCP respond to footageCBC News shared the video shot at Central Memorial High School with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and the provincial government, and both issued statements."As we move through the school year, we all share a responsibility to follow safety measures for ourselves and others. As shared by Alberta Health Services, we cannot stop COVID-19 from entering our schools, but we can minimize the risk of infection and spread," the CBE's statement read in part."To this end, Calgary Board of Education will approach safety measures from the perspective of helping students learn new behaviours and strategies to stay healthy in a world where COVID-19 continues to be a threat."Colin Aitchison, the press secretary to Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, says that guidelines, including physical distancing, need to be followed, but are managed by each school and school authority."All students and staff are expected to follow the public health guidelines that have been set out for schools, including social distancing guidelines," part of Aitchison's statement read."Regarding distancing, many schools are adjusting their daily calendars to allow for staggered bell times to minimize traffic in the hallways. Since situations will vary from school to school, this is a decision each school and school authority will have to make together."Schools would also be inspected by Occupational Health & Safety under Alberta Labour and Immigration to ensure they are following public health measures, he says."If a teacher, staff member, parent or student feels that their school is not following provincial guidelines, we would encourage them to raise their concerns with their principal or school board trustee."Safety measures followed inside, not outside, students sayAt Bowness High School, both Faith Long and Meera Mahram say that inside the school, COVID-19 safety measures are well-followed, surfaces are sanitized and masks are worn.It is outside, they say, that the vigilance deteriorates."I think everybody's doing well in the school, but like outside of school, everybody takes the mask off and no one really follows the protocols," Mahram said.Dr. Hinshaw acknowledged this trend in a briefing on Sept. 8."We've seen with school reopening that students who are understandably excited to see each other are perhaps forgetting that COVID-19 doesn't just live in the school," Hinshaw said."You know, the risk is probably higher as they step out of the doors and then start to congregate socially."Long says she has seen social media videos that show the same behaviour in other high schools, and worries it will perpetuate transmission of the virus."They know that once they get outside the school, that they don't have to wear masks and the teachers can't make them wear a mask," Long said."I believe that's one of the reasons why the cases are going to increase — not just at our school, but in all schools.… And I think that kids need to be, to make sure the spread doesn't increase."However, Long says that ultimately, the school is doing as well as it can with the resources that it has — though it should have had more."I think that they've done whatever they can, judging by what they've been given, even though they could do a lot better if they were given more support from the government," Long said.UCP support not enough, student saysOn Sept. 1, Premier Jason Kenney said suggestions that cutting class sizes to allow for more physical distancing are unrealistic."There is no world in which you could reduce class sizes in half and reopen the schools for the current school year.... It's simply fictitious. It has nothing to do with reality," Kenney said at the time.Last weekend, after the COVID-19 case at Bowness High was confirmed, principal Jana Macdonald expressed frustration at the provincial government in a social media post, and invited Kenney and LaGrange to visit the school.Long says that if Kenney and LaGrange took the principal up on her offer, they would understand more help is needed."I think they would see that what they're saying the schools should do isn't enough," Long said."That they need to hire more teachers to make social distancing possible in classes, and wearing masks isn't just enough, and doing split-up lunches isn't enough, so that there aren't cases in the school."
EDMONTON — Two RCMP officers who were charged in the shooting death of a 31-year-old man in northern Alberta two years ago are now facing manslaughter charges.Cpl. Randy Stenger and Const. Jessica Brown of the Whitecourt RCMP detachment were arrested on June 5 and were each charged with one count of criminal negligence causing death.The court registry now says the officers are charged with manslaughter.No one from Alberta Justice returned a request for comment, but the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) released a statement on the upgraded charges Thursday.The police watchdog said responsibility for the case was transferred to prosecutors with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General at the request of the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service."After consultation with the Ontario Crown, on Sept. 3, 2020, a replacement Information was sworn jointly charging both officers with the offence of manslaughter," said the statement."The original Information charging both officers with criminal negligence causing death was withdrawn at the request of the Crown."The ASIRT statement said no additional information would be provided because the case is before the courts; the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General also declined comment.ASIRT has previously said that Clayton Crawford died from multiple gunshot wounds inside a car after a confrontation with police on July 3, 2018.The Mounties had been investigating another shooting the day before at a home in Valhalla Centre, about 65 kilometres northwest of Grande Prairie.ASIRT said the officers were looking for a witness or possible victim in that case when they discovered a man sleeping in the driver's seat of a vehicle parked at a rest stop near Whitecourt.During the confrontation, the vehicle was "put into motion" and one officer fired a service pistol while the other discharged a carbine rifle, the agency said."The vehicle left the rest stop, crossed the highway and entered a ditch a short distance away," said a news release at the time.ASIRT executive director Susan Hughson told a news conference on June 8 that Crown prosecutors were consulted for their opinion and her team determined charges were warranted.Hughson said it was the first time in the Alberta agency's history that a police-involved shooting resulting in a death led to criminal charges against officers.Alberta RCMP confirmed Thursday that both officers were suspended with pay after the initial charges were laid.Stenger, 43, has 12 years of service with the RCMP and 29-year old Brown has four years, according to the police force.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2020.Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
Nightclub and stand-alone banquet hall operators in B.C.'s Interior are disappointed and frustrated with the latest public health order to close down all such businesses after 429 new cases of COVID-19 were reported across the province over the long weekend.Since the B.C. Centre for Disease Control began collecting data in March, Interior Health has recorded about seven per cent of total number of COVID-19 cases in the province so far in the pandemic. By comparison, Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health accounted for 86 per cent of 8,630 total cases as of Thursday. David Johnson restarted his Blue Grotto nightclub in downtown Kamloops for only two days before he had to shut its doors again this week. That's after spending more than $5,000 on plexiglass barriers and personal protective equipment to make the 20-year-old club safe for customers.Johnson says he's already had to pay rent for the venue for six months without bringing in any revenue and shouldn't suffer further because of outbreaks mainly in the Lower Mainland."This is a small market," said Johnson to CBC reporter Doug Herbert about the nightclub industry in the Interior. He hopes the provincial health authorities will consider this and change their order.Prince George banquet hall owner Bharpur Nijjer says the order to close her 15-year-old family business is creating more than financial loss."I'm sick to my stomach," said the 60-year-old operator of northern Prince George's Hart Crown Banquet Hall to Sarah Penton, host of CBC's Radio West. "My brain is not in balance because I can't pay attention."The banquet hall was back to operation in June following the province's guidelines. Nijjer said the venue was booked every weekend during the summer for wedding parties, but her overall revenue was reduced amid the pandemic because many customers cancelled their reservations and asked for refunds. Nijjer doesn't know what the future looks like for her business. "Nobody can pay my bills," she said. "I still can survive ... a few more months. Then we don't have anything to survive."Kamloops non-profit banquet hall Colombo Lodge also sees its income plummeting due to cancellations of wedding parties and corporate events, but its president Ross Spina remains optimistic. He said the lodge will stay connected to the local community by running a monthly take-home dinner program which gives profits to charity."And I have to brag, it does have one of the best dance floors in town," said Spina on CBC's Daybreak Kamloops to remind people that there will be life after the ban on banquet halls is lifted.
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's health minister says a judge's decision against a surgeon advocating for patients' rights to pay for private medical care highlights the significant role of the public health-care system as a cornerstone of Canada's identity."Our defence in the case was successful in its entirety," Adrian Dix said Thursday.Dr. Brian Day challenged the province's Medicare Protection Act, which bans extra billing and private insurance for medically necessary procedures.Justice John Steeves of the Supreme Court of British Columbia said in a written ruling after a four-year trial that Day and other plaintiffs failed to show patients' rights are being infringed by the act, adding its focus is on equitable access, not ability to pay."Equal or identical care between patients is not part of the purpose of the (Medicare Protection Act) and nor is it achievable," Steeves said, adding those who are healthier and wealthier would benefit most from a parallel health-care system.Lawyers also failed to provide enough evidence that patients' constitutional rights are being violated, he said.However, he noted some patients are waiting for elective surgery beyond established wait-time benchmarks because of a lack of capacity in the public system, which deteriorates their condition and reduces surgical outcomes.Provinces have made attempts to reduce wait times in specific areas, such as cardiac and other surgical care, with the most significant development in 2003 when all the provinces affirmed Canadians should have timely access to insured health services on the basis of need, he said.Priority codes on what are reasonable maximum wait times for a number of procedures were developed in B.C. with input from medical experts and specialists, Steeves said, adding they are intended to guide triaging to treat the sickest first.Duplicative private health care "would not decrease wait times in the public system and there is expert evidence that wait times would actually increase," he said. "This would cause further inequitable access to timely care."Day, 72, CEO of Cambie Surgeries Corp., argued wait times in the public system are too long and sometimes exceed those established by provinces in 2005."I think it's very disappointing. I think the court made a decision that's harming patients," Day said, adding he will appeal to the B.C. Court of Appeal and is prepared to take his case to the Supreme Court of Canada.Opponents have said a two-tier system would favour "queue-jumping" patients who can afford private insurance, as well as doctors who could bill both the public and private systems.Lawyers for both the B.C. and federal governments argued such an approach would erode Canada's universal health-care system and hurt patients with complex chronic conditions and the elderly.In April 2018, Dix announced that starting in October of that year, doctors who bill patients extra for services covered by the Medical Services Plan could face initial fines of $10,000 as part of amendments to the Medicare Protection Act that had not been enforced for 15 years.The new punishments were necessary because Ottawa had withheld $16 million in health transfer payments over extra billing by private clinics, Dix said.However, Day sought and won an injunction in November 2018, when another judge stopped enforcement of parts of the act until their validity could be determined at trial.Dix said Thursday that a decision on fines will be made after a review of the lengthy ruling.Private clinics are not illegal, but billing for medically necessary services is a violation of the Canada Health Act.Dix said private clinics have played a small role when they are contracted to do day surgeries and last year performed about 12,000 procedures out of 300,000 done in the public system."The issue here is extra billing and undermining the basis of public health care," he said.Day launched his charter challenge in 2009 and the case ended up in the B.C. Supreme Court in 2016 with support from four patients.He opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996, saying he wanted to create more operating-room time for surgeons who couldn't get it in hospitals. However, the facility has been operating since 2003 in violation of the Medicare Protection Act. Steeves hinted on the last day of trial in February that the long-running case would end up at the Supreme Court.A 2005 challenge over private health insurance in Quebec ended with the top court finding the ban on private insurance violated the province's human rights charter. It did not lead to widespread privatization in Canada, though provinces set wait-time benchmarks in an effort to improve access to care.Dr. Rupinder Brar, spokeswoman for Doctors for Medicare, an interveners at trial, said Day's position involved having doctors bill for care in both the public and private systems where they could charge more and therefore prioritize those patients."This court case was about me being a doctor and charging patients whatever I want, so those people who can afford it will see me and I'll see them first," Brar said."It sets up perverse incentives for doctors," she said, noting physicians are free to opt out of the public system if they choose to practise in private clinics, but not do both.The head of the Canadian Medical Association, which Day led in 2006, agreed with Steeves' ruling that patients should have timely and equitable access to care not based on how much money they have.Dr. Ann Collins said the decade-long legal battle highlights the funding challenges of the health-care system, now exacerbated by COVID-19, including care of the aging population."While we recognize that today's decision is an important moment in the history of our publicly funded health-care system, it should represent an opportunity to reflect on what the future of our health-care system can and should be for all Canadians."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2020.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
The woman who survived the recent mass shooting of her family in Oshawa, Ont., is thanking supporters, first responders and the medical workers aiding her recovery. In a statement issued through the Durham Regional Police Service, Loretta Traynor says her family is "profoundly grateful" for the support they've received in the past week. Loretta Traynor was wounded in the attack and the couple's fourth child, Sam, was not home and is now by his mother's side.
An N.W.T. MLA is demanding an apology from the territory's premier after she drew comparisons between regular MLAs and children, calling her remarks "disgraceful and contemptuous."In a speech to reporters Tuesday, Premier Caroline Cochrane presented an extended analogy to explain why she was not always "transparent" in her decision making.Cochrane compared cabinet to parents deciding where their children should go to school."When the parents are just sitting down talking about that, is that the time you want your child in?" she asked.In a Facebook post Wednesday evening, Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty called those comments "deeply troubling"."I am offended that our Premier would refer to the people of the Northwest Territories as 'children' who must be misled in order to protect them from so-called 'mass confusion,'" he wrote.Pointing to the N.W.T.'s recent history of colonial rule, Lafferty suggested the comments demonstrated "a return to colonialist attitudes that could jeopardize the future of the very North itself.""I believe that all Northerners are capable of understanding the challenges of our government and do not need to be spoon-fed half-truths from elected leaders," he wrote."I am calling on Premier Cochrane to withdraw her remarks and publicly apologize for her disrespectful words that make a mockery of our democracy and cast our citizens in the role of children," the post concludes.Premier: 'I apologize if anyone was offended'In a written statement in response to a query from CBC News, Cochrane said she "disagree[s] with his interpretation" of her remarks."At the time my own family were having these discussions about sending our grandchild to Junior Kindergarten and I thought it was something that most people could relate to," she said.Cochrane said her intent was to emphasize the importance of "a safe and confidential space" to discuss ideas before they can be "communicated to the public clearly.""It is clear however, that my intent was misinterpreted by some and I apologize if anyone was offended," she said.Lafferty has been a vocal critic of the premier since failing in his own bid for the seat last year.In March, he was ejected from the assembly for refusing to apologize to the premier after accusing her of breaking the law in firing Aurora College president Tom Weegar.Lafferty also criticized the premier during an emergency session to remove her infrastructure minister, Katrina Nokleby, saying Cochrane had left his constituents "confused and frustrated" by her "unilateral decision."
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday urged a peaceful way out of conflicts with China over the South China Sea and said international law must be followed, amid increased regional friction over military activities by Beijing and Washington. Duterte made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Chinese defence minister, Wei Fenghe, whose tour of four Southeast Asian countries coincides with some rhetorical sparring between the United States and China over the disputed waterway.
Alberta's chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 outbreaks at three schools consist of two infected people in each school with no evidence of broader transmission."While we are calling these outbreaks, this is a very cautious use of the term," Dr. Deena Hinshaw told a news conference Thursday."We are acting out of an abundance of caution by treating two cases who are in a school while infectious within a 14-day span as an outbreak, even when the cases are within one family."There is no evidence of transmission within the school in any of these outbreaks."Hinshaw said the cases are at Henry Wise Wood high school and St. Wilfrid elementary school, both in Calgary, and at Chinook High School in Lethbridge, about 200 kilometres southeast of Calgary.Alberta Health Services said in a statement it's "working directly with the schools to limit risk of spread." That includes assessing the classrooms and identifying close contacts of the people who have COVID-19."Any individual considered exposed to these cases will be contacted directly by Alberta Health Services, per standard contact tracing procedures," the statement added.AHS said infection prevention control measures — physical distancing, masking, hand hygiene and environmental cleaning — have been reviewed with the schools.Hinshaw said overall, officials have confirmed 24 cases at 21 schools in the province. Support Our Students Alberta, a non-partisan, non-profit public education advocacy group, has put the number at 36, according to its online COVID-19 tracker.Hinshaw has said the numbers the Alberta government is releasing are based on whether an individual with COVID-19 was infectious when they were in a school.The province has launched a new online map listing every school where there have been two or more cases within a 14-day period and where the disease could have spread in the school.Hinshaw announced 113 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with 43 people hospitalized and seven of them in intensive care. Alberta has 1,494 active cases and five additional deaths.This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 10, 2020— By Dean Bennett and Colette Derworiz in EdmontonThe Canadian Press
U.S. Coast Guard veteran captures the panic as fires overtake a neighbourhood and residents desperately call for people to flee their homes.
TORONTO — Director Michelle Latimer was poring over about 100 years of archival film footage for the Indigenous-focused short "Nimmikaage" a few years back when she noticed a trend."There were very few instances where Indigenous people looked at the camera, looked down the barrel of the camera. They were always being looked at, and the people behind the camera were non-Native people filming them," says the Toronto-based writer-director-actor, who is of Algonquin, Metis, and French heritage."And so at the end of 'Nimmikaage,' all these young women look at the camera and they look down the barrel of the camera, and it's this montage of one after another of women. But I had to go through hours and hours and hours of footage just to find those 10 shots."There's something about the idea of a person being filmed, but then looking at the person filming them and going: 'I see you, you see me, I exist in my acknowledgment of seeing you.'"Latimer is reversing that white settler lens once again with "Inconvenient Indian," which debuts Saturday at the Toronto International Film Festival, where she's also getting a major spotlight with another project — the Indigenous series "Trickster."Based on Thomas King's award-winning 2012 non-fiction book, "The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America," the documentary looks at the cultural colonization of Indigenous peoples. King appears throughout the film and narrates. For much of the story he's seen sitting in a movie theatre, watching images of Indigenous people on the big screen and talking in a voiceover about how their history has been shaped by stereotypes and stories told by others.More Indigenous movie patrons trickle in to sit in the theatre with King. At times, they're facing the camera directly."I'd been thinking a lot about how Indigenous people have been represented throughout the ages; I always felt like I was passively ingesting these images," says Latimer, who grew up in Thunder Bay, Ont."There's something that feels very disempowering to be given images of your own community and you don't see yourself in that way, but you don't have the tools or the maybe the platform to speak out. And here I was given this platform and the tools to say something about that, and to use the same medium that's been used to misrepresent our community for so long."The National Film Board of Canada, which produced 2015's "Nimmikaage," is also behind "Inconvenient Indian."Latimer says she started making the film about three years ago, immediately after directing the Indigenous resistance Viceland series "Rise," which includes footage she shot during protests at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota.Shooting "Rise" was "an insane time" and Latimer wanted to work on something more meditative after. But then her grandmother died and, while in the airport en route to the funeral, she picked up Eden Robinson's acclaimed novel "Son of a Trickster" as "a palate cleanser, escapist kind of weekend read."Months later, she couldn't get Robinson's mythical story of an Indigenous teen out of her head, so Latimer paused "Inconvenient Indian" to option the rights to "Trickster," which premieres Tuesday at TIFF before its CBC debut on Oct. 7.When Latimer returned to "Inconvenient Indian," she got to know King's book intimately.She wanted to distill his story into a more metaphoric and visual film, which includes traditional hunters, visual artist Kent Monkman, and filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. Locations include Iqaluit, Treaty 9 territory in Ontario, Moose Factory, Ont., and the Crow reservation in Montana."It was really important to me to show Indigenous, Metis and Inuit people, because that is what comprises Canada," Latimer says.King was generous with his time and was hands-off with the storytelling, preferring Latimer to tell it in her own way."I think he was also very conscious of like, 'I don't want this film to be about me,' and so that was helpful, because I also wanted the film to be about ideas," Latimer says. "It wasn't a hagiography. It was a film that was celebrating our community and the people that are literally being the 'inconvenient Indians.'"And Thomas is one of those 'inconvenient Indians.' But there's many of us and I wanted to really celebrate that collective voice."And she wanted to encourage audiences to turn the gaze on themselves, she adds."That's exactly what I was trying to do, is make us think: 'What is our role in this? How do we look at representation? How can we be part of the change that is needed to move forward? And also, how are we going to acknowledge our history so that we don't repeat it?'"This article by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2020.The Canadian Press
NEW DELHI — The Indian and Chinese foreign ministers agreed that their troops should disengage from a tense border standoff, maintain proper distance and ease tensions in the Ladakh region where the two countries in June had their deadliest clash in decades.India’s S. Jaishankar and China’s Wang Yi met in the Russian capital on Thursday night and concurred that "the current situation in the border areas is not in the interest of either side,” according to a joint statement issued Friday.Since last week, the Asian giants have accused each other of sending soldiers into rival territory and firing warning shots for the first time in 45 years, threatening a full-scale military conflict.The foreign ministers did not set any timeline for the disengagement of tens of thousands of troops who have been locked in a standoff since May, but agreed that "both sides shall abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters.”The disputed 3,500-kilometre (2,175-mile) border separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety.The current standoff is over portions of a pristine landscape that boasts the world’s highest landing strip and a glacier that feeds one of the largest irrigation systems in the world.Both sides accuse the other of provocative behaviour including crossing into each other’s territory, and both have vowed to protect their territorial integrity.Earlier this week, Jaishankar described the situation along their shared boundary, known as the Line of Actual Control, as “very serious” and said the state of the border cannot be separated from the state of the bilateral relationship.On Thursday, the two countries agreed that as the situation eases, they should expedite work to conclude "new confidence-building measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquility in the border areas."In a separate statement, Wang said “China-India relations have once again come to a crossroads."That statement said Wang “outlined China's stern position on the situation in the border areas, emphasizing that the imperative is to immediately stop provocations such as firing and other dangerous actions that violate the commitments made by the two sides."“It is also important to move back all personnel and equipment that have trespassed. The frontier troops must quickly disengage so that the situation may de-escalate," it quoted Wang as saying.India did not release a statement of its own, but an official with the External Affairs Ministry said Jaishankar told Wang that India expected full adherence to all agreements on management of border areas and would not support any attempt to change the status quo unilaterally.The official said Jaishankar said the immediate task is to ensure a comprehensive disengagement of troops at all flash points to prevent any incidents, with details of how that is to be done worked out by military commanders. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.The two ministers met in Moscow on the sidelines of a gathering of the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The group comprises China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Krgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.On Friday, Wang held talks with Russia's foreign minister in Moscow and later told reporters that India had expressed a wish to ease tensions through diplomatic and political channels.Wang said the top priority now is to not break past agreements, including one not to open fire at the border.“Also, we should withdraw the personnel and equipment completely from the front line. In this way, we can implement the consensus and restore peace and stability along the border,” he said.Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he was very pleased that the Moscow venue enabled the foreign ministers of China and India to have a substantive meeting on deescalating their border tensions.In India, Vinod Bhatia, a retired Indian army general, said resolving the ongoing impasse will be a long process.“Disengagement is the first and the most important step that will guide the de-escalation process. The two armies will work out a mutually acceptable methodology for de-escalation,” Bhatia said.He said “there is a political will and direction now to resolve the crisis.”The two nations fought a border war in 1962 that spilled into Ladakh and ended in an uneasy truce. Since then, troops have guarded the undefined border area, occasionally brawling. They have agreed not to attack each other with firearms.Rival soldiers brawled in May and June with clubs, stones and their fists. A clash on a high ridge on June 15 left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China reported no casualties.After that clash, both sides disengaged from the site in Galwan valley and at least two other places, but the crisis continued.——-Associated Press journalists Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar, India, and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.Ashok Sharma, The Associated Press
A positive COVID-19 case has been identified in someone at the Félix-le-Chat child-care centre, which is connected to the École canadienne-française - Pavillon Monique-Rousseau on Albert Avenue in Saskatoon.Camille Lapierre, president of the daycare, confirmed there was a case but didn't give any more details."All I can say is that we are working with public health officials and we are following their guidelines," Lapierre told a Radio Canada reporter.The CÉF_Saskatoon (Conseil des ecoles fransaskoises) put out a statement to parents confirming someone who regularly attends the Félix-le-Chat childcare centre in Saskatoon had been diagnosed with COVID-19."A public health investigation has been launched by the Saskatoon health authority," the statement read. "Public Health is proceeding the necessary contact tracing and wishes to remind families to watch for the appearance of symptoms on their person and their loved ones."In the meantime, school activities will continue as normal and we will keep families informed as the situation develops."Robert Englebert has a child that attends the daycare.He said parents in the group immediately affected by the positive test were notified yesterday, but that he and other parents were only officially informed by e-mail this afternoon."We actually found out from a friend whose child is in the group that had the case yesterday evening," Englebert said.Englebert was disappointed with the delay."It's really important that parents are given information as soon as a case is discovered so that parents can make a decision as to whether they're going to send their child to school or to keep them home," he said.Englebert said he doesn't blame the daycare for the delay.He said government guidelines are weak when it comes to reporting cases in schools and daycares."The daycares have done a great job at preparing for prevention ... to prevent cases from coming in. But there are very weak guidelines coming from the province," he said."The daycare did its job, they told us quickly. But the problem lies in the fact that they were searching for answers, getting information from the health services and finding out, you know, what are our next steps?"He said parents would be less stressed if they knew there was a standard way that positive cases were going to be reported.Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, said he had not heard of the case but was not surprised."The experts have been predicting that there will be outbreaks in our schools. So one in a daycare isn't completely surprising. But I think it's almost just a matter of time before we start to deal with these types of issues in our K-12 system," Maze said.
The COVID-19 pandemic could be an opportunity to get more kids to school by foot, scooter or bike instead of bus or car, sustainable transportation advocates say."There is huge potential here to shift a long trend of driving our kids to school," said Jen Stelzer, manager of community sustainability programs at EnviroCentre."In Ottawa specifically, we definitely have a very significant part of our population continuing to work from home with flexible work hours, which means that maybe we do have a little bit more flexibility and time in the morning to spend walking or biking with our kid to school."Earlier this week, about 200 children and staff with Ottawa's French Catholic school board were told to self-isolate after potentially coming into contact with COVID-19 aboard school buses. The same day, Canada's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam encouraged families who are able to consider other ways of getting to school."Obviously, there are alternatives to busing, so you can try those and keep as active as you can," Tam said Tuesday.Vicky Kyriaco, general manager of the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority [OSTA], said her organization, which oversees school bus transit for both the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) and the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB), is continuing to encourage kids to think about other ways to get to school.OSTA said Wednesday it expects delays and cancellations of school buses this fall as it works to hire enough drivers and stabilize routes. This is the seventh fall OSTA has provided "walking school buses," where about 200 kids on 13 routes walk to school together in guided groups, and Kyriaco said there's an appetite for more."We've got some walking school bus routes where we need a combination of leaders and volunteers to actually increase the capacity of students that we can actually lead to school," she said. OSTA also helps facilitate "walk or roll" meet-ups where kids can join up with other students walking to school."The more volunteers that we can engage in this and the more that we can re-culture communities to actually adopt active transportation as the primary mode of transportation, that's really our end goal," said Kyriaco.Park-and-walkThis year, OSTA is also stepping up its efforts to discourage the crush of cars around schools at pick-up and drop-off times. The traffic jams can be unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists, and the crowds outside schools elevate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. OSTA has joined with the EnviroCentre to create maps for every elementary school in the OCDSB and OCSB that show parents where they can park far enough from their child's school that they still have a five- to 10-minute walk to the door. The maps are available on the OSTA's website."Little kids — that's where we get those habits formed so we really encourage walking and biking to school because that's where you learn those lifelong habits," said Stelzer.Even such small changes in habit can have a notable impact on emissions over a long period of time, Stelzer said — and walking or biking has the added benefit of giving kids one-on-one time with their families. "I did that with my son for a very long time, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. It is this one time where you have this lovely connection: you meet your neighbours, you discover your community and you're also teaching your kids how to get around a city."
The former president of the Harbourview Condominium Association on Boblo Island is frustrated with Amherstburg's bylaw enforcement division.Peter Dunn said a bylaw enforcement officer told him there was little he could do about a teen who refused to wear a face mask in the lobby of the condo, something mandatory under the town's face covering bylaw."When I talked to him, he said, 'Well, here's what'll happen. We'll have to call him and we'll ask him if he was wearing a mask. If he says he was, then there's nothing we can do,'" Dunn said."I said, then why do we pass a bylaw? We might as well tear down all the signs that we've got. He said, 'If you do you will get a fine,'" said Dunn, who says the condo has had to put up signs requiring face masks in common areas as per the bylaw.Dunn said the bylaw officer told him if the person has health issues — which they don't have to prove — they don't have to wear a mask."That's wrong. How many people need to die in a nursing home down here for this to happen," said Dunn.The alleged incident happened last Saturday and the bylaw officer didn't come to investigate until Tuesday. It's not clear whether the officer has done any follow up. Dunn said they have video proof of the incident but the bylaw officer refused to see it.Dunn is frustrated because he says there are four people with cancer, including himself, who have compromised immune systems and live in the building. Dunn said two residents have already died of COVID-19 so protecting the residents is paramount."When you see people die firsthand, this isn't a game anymore," he said. Dunn has taken the issue up with town councillor Michael Prue who lives on the island. He is vowing to bring the issue of enforcement up at Monday's council meeting."I'm disappointed because we were assured that the bylaw would would have some teeth and that the staff would go out and enforce it, and this is the first case that I know of where enforcement was requested and declined," Prue said.CBC News has reached out to licensing officer Katrina DiGiovanni but have not received a response.
A Saskatoon parent says her back-to-school anxiety worsened after she found out her daughter would be in a bigger class than the one she was in last year, despite returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.Tamara Hinz saw the size of her daughter's class increase by three students. The Grade 2 student now has 25 classmates, compared to 22 last year."My heart kind of sank when I learned that," said Hinz, who says she and her family have been working hard to follow the province's COVID-19 guidelines."It just felt really counterintuitive and a bit anxiety-provoking, I guess, to go against all of those instincts that we've been practising the last several months," she said.Hinz says she's aware that concerns around class sizes in Saskatchewan were raised prior to the pandemic, and notes her school has been doing amazing work.But she feels the provincial government should be putting a greater emphasis on class size as more is learned about how COVID-19 is spread."It just really, I think, should be accelerating the conversation about reduced class sizes and making that more of a priority," she said. CBC Saskatoon requested an interview with Education Minister Gordon Wyant to discuss Hinz's concerns, but a statement was provided instead.School division enrolments and staffing figures have not yet been submitted to the ministry, the statement said."Enrolment counts will be submitted on Sept. 30, as they are each year, but we will be monitoring enrolment changes monthly," the ministry's statement said, noting it's working with school divisions to get "a sense of what education choices parents across the province are making." The ministry said school divisions are in the best position to determine staffing levels that reflect the need of their students, noting they have taken a variety of measures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Meetings of the Committee on Class Size and Composition have also resumed and the ministry says it continues its work on the creation of a framework that will help guide school divisions on appropriate class size and composition within the province's classroom. The statement did not address questions about why the Ministry of Education did not include class-size requirements in its initial guidance to school divisions.Hundreds of new staff to be hired: ministerEarlier this week, Minister Wyant said that $51 million in funding has been approved to continue making schools safe during the pandemic, with 46 applications coming from the province's public schools."This significant investment will ensure that our school divisions have the resources they need to respond and plan for emergent items," said Wyant. The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, which represents 13,500 teachers in the province, has been critical of the provincial government's back-to-school plan since it was released in early August. The government has since amended the plan, pushing back the start of school and allocating $40 million from a government COVID-19 contingency fund worth roughly $200 million to support divisions as they return to school. However, federation president Patrick Maze says he feels the government missed the mark by not including class-size requirements in any of the guidance it provided to the province's 27 school divisions.He said while the public and members of the business community are enforcing things like physical distancing and smaller indoor crowds, when it comes to schools, it appears government has decided "all bets are off."'Double standard' for school system: STF"That's been a big frustration for teachers right from the start,… Where is the social distancing?" said Maze."The big problem is it comes down to money. And clearly, government hasn't been willing to spend money on significantly reducing class size in order to keep students and teachers safe." Maze said he feels the government has created a "double standard" for the education system. "Some businesses are on actually the threshold of going under, or have gone under, in order to keep social distancing to the recommended level," he said. "Yet here in schools, you can have a classroom of 36 students."Indian Head Elementary School, in the Prairie Valley School Division, has already resorted to online learning for the start of the school year after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.The government of Saskatchewan has provided numerous pieces of information to school divisions in regards to what should be included in their return-to-school plan, but the divisions and schools will be responsible for implementing the plans on the front lines.Maze said what will happen in the coming weeks is "anybody's guess" but noted the STF is concerned about a looming shortage of substitute teachers, and potentially teachers in general, if staff and students need to start isolating in large numbers.Anxiety, but 'a lot of joy': teachers association headJohn McGettigan, president of the Saskatoon Teachers' Association — which represents more than 4,000 educators in the city and surrounding areas — said the start of the school year has lifted some spirits."In the last few days, there's been a lot of joy," he said. "These teachers missed their kids a lot. Obviously there's still an underlying anxiety that everybody in society is feeling, but I have to say, when the kids started walking through the doors, teachers got their purpose back."In recent days, health officials with the provincial government have recommended against interprovincial travel, with Premier Scott Moe saying one of the best ways to keep COVID-19 out of schools is to keep it out of the community as a whole. While the government of Saskatchewan is confident in its back-to-school plan, with Minister Wyant saying he has no regrets, the province's chief medical health officer has advised parents to expect disruptions throughout the year as potential cases are discovered and isolated.