Ontario's latest strategy to beat down community transmission has been to boost vaccination in areas considered to be hot spots.
Ontario's latest strategy to beat down community transmission has been to boost vaccination in areas considered to be hot spots.
CARWAY, Alta. — Linda Neilson had waited a long time to get her second COVID-19 vaccination and thanks to the generosity of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana her wait ended at the Canada-United States border on Tuesday.Neilson, who is from nearby Cardston, Alta., was in one of hundreds of vehicles lined up at the Carway crossing in southern Alberta.The Blackfeet Tribe, based 150 kilometres south of Lethbridge, Alta., had an abundance of vaccine and decided last month to share it with Canada rather than let it go to waste. Initially it was just open to First Nations, but the tribe soon decided to offer it to everybody."I'm going to be all done, finally. It feels great. It's been a bit of a wait, but it's worth it," said Neilson, who received her first shot of Moderna in March."I was amazed and grateful because it's too slow getting it any other way. We're just glad they were able to help us."Albertans who attend the clinic are given exemptions from having to quarantine for 14 days. They line up in their cars, drive through a loop that takes them just across the border, receive their shots through the window, are monitored for 15 minutes and return home. Health workers from the Blackfeet Tribe and members of the Montana National Guard administer the vaccine.Tuesday marked the second offering of shots. The lineup was more than a kilometre long by 9 a.m. Some people slept in their cars on the highway and on road allowances to ensure they got a turn before supply ran out.That's what happened to Ken Sawatzky when he drove from Calgary a couple of weeks ago. He wanted to get his booster shot because his wife is a cancer patient.He drove down again Tuesday."She's fully inoculated. This will make sure we're both safe, because I'm her caregiver, too. I think it's a great thing," said Sawatzky."I'm looking forward to getting this done. I'll sleep better."Bonnie Healy, health director for the Blackfoot Confederacy, helped co-ordinate the vaccination clinic. She said the response has been overwhelming."I had a hard time believing it was that hard to get a shot in Canada. A lot of people are coming for a second dose," Healy said.One man flew in from Toronto the last time around, drove to the site, got his shot and flew home, she said."We had a car full of 18-year-old girls and another car full of 18-year-old boys," Healy said."They were all coming to get their first vaccination. They were all celebrating it."Catherine Bechard, regional Indigenous Affairs adviser for the Canada Border Services Agency, said she jumped at a chance to help out at the clinic."It's just an amazing thing what they're doing and a gift they're giving to Canadians," Bechard said.Dave and Cathy Goodbrand also drove the 260 kilometres from Calgary to get their second shots."We're happy to get down here. It's a relief. Four months is too long to wait in between vaccines," said Cathy Goodbrand."It's absolutely beautiful. The Blackfoot Indians are just coming through (for us)."This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2021.Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Montreal police arrested two men last night for allegedly threatening members of the Jewish community in Côte St-Luc. Caroline Chèvrefils, a spokesperson for the Montreal police service (SPVM), said several people called 911 at about 6:30 p.m. to report the incident yesterday. Police had a description of the suspects' vehicle and arrested a 19-year-old and 20-year-old near the corner of Kildare Road and Westminster Avenue. The SPVM's hate crime unit is investigating. Côte St-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein posted a message on Facebook, saying police presence has increased around synagogues and other Jewish community buildings because of the events in the Middle East and some of the violence associated with demonstrations downtown over the weekend. "Everybody has a right to demonstrate, but we would hope that whatever your opinions are that you do it with respect peacefully," Brownstein said. Brownstein is calling on community members to call the police if they see anything suspicious. Security will also be increased in Hampstead.
MASCOUTAH, Ill. (AP) — Two pilots ejected safely from an F-15 fighter jet Tuesday morning when the aircraft left a runway while landing at a southwestern Illinois airport, military officials said. The two U.S. active duty pilots suffered minor injuries in the 7:30 a.m. incident at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Illinois, the U.S. Air Force said in a statement. MidAmerica is located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of St. Louis. Officials at the nearby Scott Air Force Base said both pilots were taken to a hospital, and one has since been released. Scott Air Force Base officials said in February that Boeing’s new F-15QA, which was designed for the Qatar Emiri Air Force, would operate out of MidAmerica and that Qatari student pilots would be trained on the aircraft there for several months. The F-15QA involved in Tuesday's incident "was slated to be transferred to the Qatari Air Force through the Foreign Military Sales program. The incident is currently under investigation,” the U.S. Air Force said in its statement. The Associated Press
Iceland spent its two years as chair of the Arctic Council with a focus on sustainability in marine life, climate and green energy, and a stronger council for Arctic communities. This week, their term as chair comes to an end and will be passed to the Russian following their bi-annual meeting, the 12th Arctic Council Ministerial Meetings kick off in Reykjavik, Iceland, this week. There will be briefings on the effects of climate change on the Arctic, the future of shipping in the Arctic, human health and what we can learn from Arctic and Indigenous peoples when looking to the future. Delegates and representatives from all eight Arctic states and six Indigenous groups will sum up all the work Iceland has completed between 2019 and 2021. This is also the 25th anniversary of the Arctic Council and ministers are expected to sign the council's first ever strategic plan. Background on the Arctic Council The Arctic Council was established in 1996 and is comprised of Canada, the United States, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Every two years the chairmanship is passed on to another Arctic state. The council's main priorities include examining the effects of climate change and pollution on the Arctic, improving the wellbeing of Arctic residents, studying changing ice and increased marine traffic in Arctic waters, monitoring biodiversity and species, and encouraging international cooperation. Six Indigenous groups, known as permanent participants, also sit on the Council and have full consultation rights in any decision or negotiation made by the Arctic States. They include the Aleut International Association, Arctic Athabaskan Council, Gwich'in Council International, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North and Saami Council. There are also six groups that manage, coordinate and report on projects started by a new chairmanship or continuing on from previous years. They focus on sustainable development, Arctic contaminants, conserving Arctic flora and fauna, marine protection, Arctic monitoring and emergency prevention and response. Russia plans to focus its next two years on the Arctic Council promoting sustainable development.
The number of people from Myanmar seeking shelter in India has swelled to more than 15,000, with more likely to cross over as fighting intensifies in parts Myanmar following a coup, an Indian government official said on Tuesday. The influx into the small, northeast Indian state of Mizoram, which shares a porous, mountainous border with Myanmar, began in late February as policemen fled to avoid having to take orders from a junta trying to suppress opposition to the Feb. 1 coup. By April, about 1,800 people from Myanmar - including several lawmakers - had crossed the border but the number has recently grown to more than 15,400, according to the vice chairman of Mizoram's State Planning Board, H. Rammawi.
HONG KONG/TAIPEI (Reuters) -Hong Kong government's suspended on Tuesday operations at its representative office in Taiwan in a sign of escalating diplomatic tension between the global financial hub and the democratically ruled island that Beijing claims. Tension between Hong Kong's Beijing-backed government and Taiwan have risen since pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong in 2019 and China responded by imposing a sweeping national security law in the city that prompted many activists to leave, some for Taiwan. A Hong Kong government representative did not provide an explanation for the decision to halt operations at the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office, adding only that the decision was not related to the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Taiwan.
Galina Ermakova was looking forward to Mother's Day. The 28-year-old Edmonton mom planned to have a physically distanced, over the gate visit with her own mother, Anna. "Unfortunately, that morning I woke up to two policemen at my door telling me that my mom has passed away, " Galina Ermakova told CBC News as she struggled to hold back tears. Anna Ermakova, 49, was found dead on May 8. RCMP said officers were called to a firearms complaint at a rural property in Redwater, Alta., at about 9:45 p.m. and Ermakova's body was discovered at the scene. The man who lived with her, Robertas Kalkius, was severely injured and taken by ambulance to hospital, police said. Kalkius was charged with first-degree murder five days later. On Monday, he made his first court appearance in Vegreville provincial court, appearing virtually from a hospital bed where he remains under police guard. An autopsy is expected to be performed this week on the much-loved daughter, mother and grandmother. Galina Ermakova did not want to elaborate on any problems her mother and common-law partner may have been experiencing but in a recent Facebook post, she wrote that she believes her mother was a victim of domestic violence. On a fundraising page, the victim's friend called Anna's death a "senseless tragedy." Sheila Wilson said her friend came to Canada from Russia to escape domestic abuse and to give her daughter a better life. "We came to Canada when I was 11-years-old," Galina said. "We came with $5,000 and just the two suitcases … We didn't have much but we kind of almost had everything we needed. Because we had each other." When she came to Canada, Anna forged a new career as an insurance broker. She eventually traded in the insurance business and purchased a 169-acre farm outside of Redwater. Galina said she met Lithuanian immigrant Robertas Kalkius about four years ago at a Polish hall and he moved in with her shortly thereafter. Robertaas Kalkius in a 2015 photo with a family member.(Facebook) "At first, I would love to think she was happy," Galina said. Previous assault charge Court records show Kalkius was charged with assaulting Anna on Dec. 27, 2018. The charge was withdrawn in October 2019. The 46-year-old was also charged with impaired driving on March 2, 2020, and was scheduled to appear in court on May 13, 2021. By that time, he was in hospital and the court issued a warrant for his arrest. Galina said it's regretful that the impaired driving trial was delayed due to the pandemic. "Maybe if things went a little bit differently, my mom would still be here," she said. "There are not many things I can say at the moment, but if I could have done something, I would." The victim's mother was living with her and has now moved in with Galina as both women try to cope with the loss and make funeral arrangements. Galina tries to focus on the love and stability her mother brought to her life. Three generations of Ermakova women.(Facebook/Galina Ermakova) "She was my rock. She was just the most wonderful grandmother," Galina said. "She was a beautiful soul and she did touch so many hearts." Galina said she agreed to an interview with CBC News with the hope it might help someone else who could be struggling. "I do believe people need to have a certain awareness of domestic violence, especially being cooped up at home," she said. "We do need to make sure everybody is safe." Galina is asking people to consider placing a flower and light near a window or in a front yard to remember those impacted by domestic violence.
Recent developments: Ottawa is reporting 50 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and two more deaths. What's the latest? Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has confirmed another 50 COVID-19 cases and two more deaths. Renfrew County's health unit reported its eighth COVID-19 death Tuesday. Quebec Premier François Legault is set to announce a roadmap to reopen the province at a 5 p.m. ET news conference. Sources tell Radio-Canada that could mean a return to dining out and an end to the curfew on May 28. Ontario has lowered its general elegibility age for a COVID-19 vaccine to 18. Anyone born in 2003 or earlier can now reserve an appointment through the provincial booking system. However most health units in eastern Ontario including Ottawa Public Health say all available slots were quickly claimed. Anyone who missed out is being advised to watch for more openings. How many cases are there? The region is coming down from a record-breaking peak of the pandemic's third wave, one that has included more dangerous coronavirus variants. The rate of spread is still high. As of Tuesday, 26,161 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,007 known active cases, 24,616 resolved cases and 538 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 47,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 45,100 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 184 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 208. Akwesasne has had more than 680 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any. The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Tuesday, there were 24 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least June 2. People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising in their immediate area. A young man wearing a life jacket paddles in his kayak on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River on May 15, 2021. (Olivier Plante/CBC) The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services. Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues. Ontario has moved to online learning. Daycares remain open and the plan is to open summer camps. WATCH | Lessons from a full school year of pandemic disruptions: Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa is doing around playgrounds and the Belleville area is doing for the agriculture industry. Western Quebec Western Quebec is under red zone rules. High schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are now able to reopen, albeit with restrictions. The curfew is now in place from 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. WATCH | Latest legal arugment against curfew rejected: Private gatherings remain banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Small religious services are allowed and people can go to theatres. Older secondary school students will be going to classrooms every second day. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. People can't travel to yellow or green zones or risk a fine. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are now established. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. The wind blows sand into the air as three masked beachgoers take in the warm weather at Mooney's Bay beach in Ottawa May 15, 2021.(Justin Tang/Canadian Press) People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Ontario and Quebec have both stopped giving first doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, but plan to give second doses. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 1,040,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 470,000 doses to Ottawa residents and more than 210,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is vaccinating people 18 and older and 17-year-olds turning 18 in 2021. People can look for a provincial appointment online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. Pharmacies continue to offer vaccines through their own booking systems as supply allows. Ontario plans to allow everyone over age 12 to make an appointment starting the week of May 31. Individual health units and First Nations can choose to vaccinate that age group at pop-up clinics. Local health units have other kinds of flexibility in the larger framework, including around booking, so check their websites for details. Western Quebec Quebec is vaccinating everyone age 18 and older. Teens age 16 and 17 are eligible if they have certain jobs or a chronic illness or disability. The province plans to reach children as young as 12 in June. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. There are currently no local walk-in options. WATCH | U.S. sharing more vaccines: Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. WATCH | The sudden, dramatic increase in young people needing mental health care: In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms, exposure or a certain job. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Shoppers Drug Mart stores can now offer rapid tests. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. People can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
MADRID (Reuters) -A Spanish study on mixing COVID-19 vaccines has found that giving a dose of Pfizer's drug to people who already received a first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine is highly safe and effective, preliminary results showed on Tuesday. The Combivacs study, run by Spain's state-backed Carlos III Health Institute, found the presence of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream was between 30 and 40 times higher in people who got the follow-up Pfizer shot than in a control group who only received one AstraZeneca dose.
As violence continues in Gaza, a former refugee living in Ottawa is pleading with the federal government to help get her three young children out of the area.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — If Richard Moore is executed, he will have some say in how he goes — the electric chair or the firing squad. Moore is one of three prisoners on South Carolina's death row who have run out of appeals in the past six months and could be among the first to face the grim choice under a new state law. But his supporters — including the state's former prisons chief — say he deserves better. The state Supreme Court set and then stayed the prisoners' executions after the Corrections Department said it didn’t have the drugs needed to carry out lethal injections. Now, Gov. Henry McMaster has signed a law requiring the condemned to choose to die by gunshot or electrocution if lethal injection drugs aren’t available. South Carolina once had one of the nation’s most prolific death chambers, but a shortage of the drugs has caused a decadelong lull in executions. The state is one of only nine to still use the electric chair and the fourth to allow a firing squad. Moore, 56, has lived on death row for two decades after being convicted in 2001 for the fatal shooting of convenience store clerk James Mahoney. The Spartanburg man hasn't made a choice, said his attorney Lindsey Vann, because he is focused on a current petition to the state Supreme Court. As his lawyers continue to mount court challenges, they're also preparing a case for clemency. Among his supporters is the former director of South Carolina's Department of Corrections, Jon Ozmint, who asserts Moore is a reformed man who deserves life without parole instead of death. “Circumstances took place inside the store that certainly made him guilty of killing another man, but in most counties in this state, I doubt you could even find a jury to recommend the death penalty on those facts,” said Ozmint, a self-described supporter of the death penalty who helmed the department between 2003 and 2012 — one of the death chamber’s busier periods. Moore's lawyers argued in front of the state Supreme Court this month that Moore’s crime simply doesn’t rise to the level of heinousness in other death penalty cases. Inmates most recently executed in the state include a man who strangled his cellmate while serving time for a double murder and a man who secretly took out life insurance policies on his wife and son before killing them and burning their bodies. “Richard's case just wasn’t like theirs,” Ozmint told The Associated Press. No one contests that Moore killed Mahoney, who was working at Nikki’s Speedy Mart in Spartanburg County on Sept. 16, 1999. During the 2001 trial, prosecutors said Moore entered the store looking for money to support his cocaine habit and got into a dispute with Mahoney, who drew a pistol that Moore wrestled away from him. Mahoney pulled a second gun, and a gunfight ensued. Mahoney shot Moore in the arm, and Moore shot Mahoney in the chest. Prosecutors said Moore left a trail of blood through the store as he looked for cash, stepping twice over Mahoney. At the time, Moore claimed that he acted in self-defense after Mahoney drew the first gun. His appeals lawyers have said that because Moore didn't bring a gun into store, he couldn't have intended to kill someone when he walked in. Lawyers for the attorney general's office argued this month that Moore was trying to turn the court's attention away from “the damning evidence presented against him” and toward “generalities, innuendo and speculation." Mahoney’s relatives haven’t spoken publicly on the case in recent years. At the sentencing, family members described the 42-year-old clerk as a beloved uncle and friend who loved NASCAR and dutifully worked the third shift at the store, according to The Spartanburg Herald-Journal. “We’re pleased with the verdict, and exceptionally pleased with the manner in which the case was prosecuted,” Mahoney's father, James Mahoney, said at the time. Moore, who is Black, is the last person to enter death row with a trial where the state struck all potential African American jurors, according to Justice 360, the nonprofit that represents Moore and many others on South Carolina's death row. During Moore's trial, the jury learned of his rap sheet, ranging from weapons charges to burglary and assault convictions. But in prison, Moore has grown into a man remorseful for his crimes who's built up relationships with his family and his Christian faith, supporters say. In his two decades on death row, he has received just two minor infractions. “His life in the Department of Corrections has been exemplary. He’s a giver, not a taker," Ozmint said. Even with the new law, Moore’s fate remains a waiting game for all involved. “There’s never anything definite, and it leaves your mind wondering: When’s the last time I’m going to talk to him? When’s the next time I can see him, because of the pandemic? Is this going to go in his favor or not?" said Moore's daughter, Alexandria Moore. “It definitely makes you get stuck in your own head, thinking about the hypotheticals.” Retired state Rep. Gary Clary, who as a state judge presided over Moore's case, says it's inevitable that lawsuits will follow the bill's signing. On the House floor, he argued against similar legislation, noting it would continue costing the state more money in court. “When a jury convicted Richard Bernard Moore, I think I set his execution ... 90 days later. We all knew when those arbitrary dates were established, it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon," Clary said. "And here we are, 20 years later.” ___ Liu is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Michelle Liu, The Associated Press
Hong Kong's incoming Catholic bishop said on Tuesday he will pray for the victims of China's 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in and around Beijing's Tiananmen square, but whether he could do that in a public venue depends on the city's laws. Pope Francis on Monday named Stephen Chow, 61, head of Hong Kong's Jesuit order, after a long delay. Chow will officially take the helm of the Diocese on Dec. 4.
One day after Vancouver police released the names and photos of six gangsters believed to be the next likely targets in the Lower Mainland's ongoing gang conflict, the province's anti-gang agency released a list of its own. The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit says the 11 men identified pose a significant threat to public safety because of their gang involvement and "ongoing nexus to violence." "CFSEU-BC is advising the public to avoid any interaction with these 11 individuals, as police believe these individuals may be targets for future violence," reads the agency's statement. They are: Shakiel Basra, 26, Albert Dario, 26, Barinder Dhaliwal, 37, Meninder Dhaliwal, 27, Samroop Gill, 28, Sumdish Gill, 27, Damion Ryan, 40, Amarpreet Samra, 26, Ravinder Samra, 26, Joseph Whitlock, 28 and Min Zin, 21. The agency said all 11 men are known to police and have been connected to the current spike in violence. Three of the men, Barinder Dhaliwal, Meninder Dhaliwal and Damion Ryan are also on the list released Monday by Vancouver police. CFSEU B.C. say these 11 men pose a public safety risk.(CFSEU B.C.) "CFSEU-BC is issuing a public warning and identifying them in order for family, friends, associates and the public to take measures to increase their own personal safety." So far this year, 20 homicides and 20 attempted murders have been connected to gang violence, say police, including a recent spate of killings and shootings in public places during daylight hours. "Citizens deserve to be able to enjoy all their communities have to offer without fear of being caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting," said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, who oversees organized crime investigations in B.C. CFSEU Chief Officer Manny Mann said additional public warnings may be coming from other police agencies in the near future. "Gang members travel between jurisdictions and it is important for the public to be aware so they can take steps to ensure their safety," he said.
Looking back on her high school years, 31-year-old Emily Dickinson says she now knows she was taken in by a masterful manipulator — her former teacher Jeff Peters, who was recently convicted of sexual assault in Perth, Ont. "Our relationship was certainly crossing a million boundaries in terms of messaging outside of school, making comments about me in a kilt, making sexually suggestive comments," said Dickinson. "I just thought I was so mature. You're not. You're being manipulated." On April 29, Peters pleaded guilty to charges of sex crimes against two former students. The victims attended St. John Catholic High School in Perth between 2013 and 2016. CBC has since heard from other women, including Dickinson, who say they were victimized by Peters before that. Dickinson said she was never physically assaulted by Peters, but said her former teacher did groom her with sexually inappropriate comments and messages, then asked her to lie about what was going on. Dickinson said her mother went to a school administrator more than a decade ago, asking for the behaviour to stop and for the teacher to be reprimanded. "There's just a lot of frustration about knowing how preventable this whole situation was, and also just devastation. How many people were affected over these last 15 years? A lot more than two, I know that for sure," said Dickinson. Former teacher Jeff Peters pleaded guilty in April to the sexual assault of two former students. These are photos of Peters found in high school yearbooks.(St. John Catholic High School) 'I lied' Dickinson attended St. John between 2004 and 2008, when Peters taught a popular American history class that she said often included a trip to Washington, D.C., or Boston. As a teacher, Peters was "engaging, interesting … buddy-buddy," she recalled. Dickinson said the grooming started when she was 16. The two chatted using an online messenger, conversations that she described as "super sexual." She said he gave her gifts and once told her, "I saw you in your kilt today. If I was a boy your age, you have no idea the things I'd do to you." She said Peters had a "special" connection with other girls, too. In her last year of high school, Dickinson said a parent of one of those students went to the principal with concerns about Peters, and mentioned his closeness with Dickinson. She was subsequently called to the office, she said, but went to Peters first. "He was super calm and just was like, 'OK, all of those messages we have between us, they need to be deleted and you need to lie because they won't understand our relationship,'" she recalled. "So that's what I did. I lied." Peters taught history and religion and also coached sports teams at St. John Catholic High School in Perth, Ont.(Julie Ireton/CBC) Worried about her sister Andrea Dickinson said she grew suspicious of Peters after Emily graduated and the teacher began turning his attention to her younger daughter. "He started stalking [my younger daughter] in the hallway every day to ask how Emily was," she said. "I just thought, he's trying to ... start a relationship with my younger daughter, who also looks a lot like Emily." Emily, who had just started at Carleton University, was also worried about her sister and told her mother about what had happened with Peters. Andrea Dickinson said she went to see the principal, who told her he'd deal with it. "But literally nothing was done," she recalled. Dickinson said she asked the school not to place her younger daughter in any of Peters's classes. But when the schedule came out, she had been. For other family reasons, the younger girl eventually left St. John. CBC asked the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario for an interview or comment regarding parents having approached the principal about Peters years ago. The board responded with a statement that read in part: "Given that the Board has referred this matter to the Ontario College of Teachers for review, it would be inappropriate to make any further comments at this time." 'Finally, they've got this guy' Andrea Dickinson says she was relieved in 2019 to hear Peters had been charged. 'Finally, they've got this guy,' she recalled saying. (Submitted by Andrea Dickinson) When Andrea Dickinson heard Peters had been arrested and charged in 2019, she said she felt immediate relief. "Oh my god, like finally, finally, they've got this guy," she recalled saying. "Between the 11 years, between the time I complained and he was arrested, you can only imagine how many girls were affected." But the news left Emily with feelings of guilt. "I wish I could have done more," she said. "Even though it's not my responsibility ... at the same time, now I'm older, I wish I'd done something to prevent this." Now living in Toronto, Emily Dickinson knows many people in Perth feel the same way. "It's a really small community and every single person would have been manipulated to some extent," she said. "What's most important to me is obviously showing respect and remorse to victims, because that's what's actually important here."
The recent decision by five Canadian provinces to change the way they administer the AstraZeneca vaccine should not deter anyone from getting vaccinated, or to regret getting AstraZeneca if they already did, one expert says. Samantha Yammine, a neuroscientist and science communicator, says that with more than a billion vaccines already given out worldwide, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll see any major, common issues develop with other vaccines now.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, indicated that the most important factor in the declaration for the COVID-19 epidemic curve in Canada is how public health measures are applied by provinces and territories. "How fast we go down that curve and if we get to bottom of that curve is contingent on the work that they’re doing together with their communities," Dr. Tam said at a press conference on Tuesday. "With variants at play, while vaccinations are going up, we have to be very cautious about that downward path."
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he learned weeks ago that the military officer overseeing Canada's vaccination campaign was under investigation. Trudeau says he did not know the details of the investigation into Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who was abruptly sidelined from his role on Friday with little explanation. A source who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly told The Canadian Press that the investigation relates to an allegation of sexual misconduct. CTV News has reported that Fortin is being investigated for having allegedly exposed himself to a woman while he was an officer cadet at the Royal Military College in Saint-Jean, Que., in 1989. Fortin's lawyer says the general only learned of the allegation on Sunday and he categorically denies any wrongdoing. Trudeau says his first thought is with the alleged victim, but that he expects a fair, complete and rigorous investigation. The prime minister sought to reassure Canadians that the vaccination campaign, which is now being overseen by Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie, will not be negatively affected by Fortin's departure. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s total virus cases since the pandemic began swept past 25 million on Tuesday as the country registered more than 260,000 new cases and a record 4,329 fatalities in the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a trend of falling cases after infections dipped below 300,000 for the first time in weeks on Monday. Active cases in the country also decreased by more than 165,000 on Tuesday — the biggest dip in weeks. But deaths have continued to rise and hospitals are still swamped by patients. India has recorded nearly 280,000 virus deaths since the pandemic began. Experts warn that both the number of deaths and total reported cases are likely vast undercounts. Infections in India have surged since February in a disastrous turn blamed on more contagious variants as well as government decisions to allow massive crowds to gather for religious festivals and political rallies. In the last month, cases have more than tripled and reported deaths have gone up six times — but testing has only increased by 1.6 times, according to Bhramar Mukherjee, a biostatistician at the University of Michigan tracking India's battle with the virus. With infections outrunning testing capabilities, there are fears that many cases are going undetected. Experts also say India has lagged behind in doing the testing needed to track and better understand a worrisome virus variant first detected in the country. On Monday, the Health Ministry said 17 new labs will be brought online to help track variants. The variant first identified in India has prompted global concern — most notably in Britain, where it has more than doubled in a week, defying a sharp nationwide downward trend in infections. Meanwhile, ever since India opened up vaccinations to all adults this month, the pace of administering shots has plunged. Many states have said they don't have enough stock to give out. The southern state of Karnataka, for example, has temporarily halted its drive to inoculate those aged between 18 and 44 at government-run centers due to a shortage of doses. The Associated Press
BEIRUT (Reuters) -Lebanon's president said on Tuesday that critical comments made by the foreign minister about Gulf states did not reflect official policy, seeking to avoid further strain on ties with countries that have been Lebanon's allies and donors. Mired in its worst economic crisis since a 1975-1990 civil war, Lebanon has lost the financial backing of wealthy Sunni Muslim Gulf states, which resent the rising influence of Hezbollah, a Lebanese group backed by regional rival Shi'ite Iran. Lebanese Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe stoked tensions in a television interview on Monday, when he appeared to blame Gulf nations for the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
This weekend, Arjan Bhullar of Richmond, B.C., was declared the mixed martial arts (MMA) heavyweight champion of the world, becoming the first person of South Asian descent to win the title. His second-round technical knockout win against five-year champion Brandon Vera is the result of "a lifetime of work," Bhullar said. "I feel amazing," the 34-year-old told CBC's Gloria Macarenko. "I feel very fortunate, very blessed and excited for what comes next." Sportsnet radio host Randip Janda, who has been following Bhullar's career for 15 years, called Bhullar a local legend and a stand-up fighter. "Knowing his history ... it was a special moment," Janda said. "When he sets out to do something, there's no half measures." Wrestling roots Bhullar has wrestled for Canada in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games. He said he was "born into" wrestling, after his father took up the sport upon immigrating to Canada from India. "Wrestling is a big deal back home," Bhullar said. "My dad picked it up pretty quick when he got here, didn't know the language, family didn't have much in our pocket, but they knew wrestling." He's been wrestling, he said, "since I was in diapers." Bhullar's MMA coach, Adam Ryan, said he knew Bhullar had the skills needed to be successful in MMA from his history of wrestling, including how to train, follow diet and nutrition plans, and how to work hard. "I knew he was coming in with a tremendous foundation," Ryan said. He's been coaching Bhullar for about seven years, the entirety of his professional MMA career, and they've travelled all over the world together for training and matches. Unfortunately, due to quarantine rules, Ryan was unable to accompany Bhullar to Singapore for the championship match. "It was a hard decision," he said. The night of the big fight, Ryan was driving home after practice with some of Bhullar's teammates, and felt emotion rush over him. He pulled over and wrote a poem expressing his desire to be at the fight with Bhullar, and he sent it to him that night. "Anyone that's ever done anything dangerous and intense can understand," he said. "It's a special feeling." "I wish I could've been there." Indian heritage Bhullar takes pride in his Indian background, particularly in the context of his athletic achievements. "Every step of the way I've been representing my culture and my roots," he said. "My parents weren't able to do that when they came over, they stood out. It was racist times back then, and they were told that it wasn't okay to be different. I'm born and bred Canadian and I'm proud of that, and part of that is I can honour my culture, so I speak to that whenever I can." Bhullar hopes to get to India to share his win with the people of his family's hometown. "[I] want to take the belt back to our village where the family originally came from," he said. That trip, however, will have to wait as that country deals with a nationwide outbreak of the B1617 coronavirus variant. More than 25 million people have been infected with the virus in India. "There's someone in each family that's dealing with this," Bhullar said. "In certain parts of India, it's so bad that they're not even able to give proper funerals, like there's no place to cremate the bodies, even." He said he plans to use his platform, as MMA heavyweight champion, to help with the situation there. "This is the first time a fighter of Punjabi background, of South Asian background, has won a title in MMA," Sportsnet's Janda said. "There's always discussions about a pioneer and what a pioneer means — Arjan Bhullar has lived that life." Janda described Bhullar as an international role model, and said one of the things he loves most about Bhullar is his authenticity. "The guy you see in the ring making those post-match comments, the guy you listen to on the radio, or maybe you've seen him in the community, he's that guy." LISTEN | Arjan Bhullar's interview with CBC's On the Coast: