The sun rises once again on Weyburn, SK.
The sun rises once again on Weyburn, SK.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
China was the biggest source of applications for international patents in the world in 2020 for the second consecutive year and extended its lead over No. 2 filer the United States, the U.N. patent agency said on Tuesday. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which oversees a system for countries to share recognition of patents, said China filed 68,720 applications last year while the United States filed 59,230. The rate of increase was higher for China with a 16.1% year-on-year increase versus 3% for the United States, it added.
Unlike many teenagers, Abdoulaye Diakhaby was petrified to turn 18. He had spent the previous four years in the child-welfare system living first in a foster home, then a group home. But at 18, he was forced to be on his own. Diakhaby, who is now 21, says he didn't feel ready; he was still perfecting his English, he didn't know how to cook and needed help with homework. "I was thinking, 'How am I going to be able to do my groceries? How to cook? How to go to school? How to pay my rent? How to get a job?'" he told CBC Toronto. Days after moving into his own place, Diakhaby returned to the group home for a couple of nights to sleep. He was lonely and isolated. Diakhaby says if he could, he'd still be living there, instead of having to make the transition away. "Everything was tough for me," he said. Diakhaby says prior to leaving care at 18, he worried about how he'd buy groceries, cook, get to school, pay rent and find a job.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province placed a moratorium on youth aging out of care and has extended it to Sept. 30, 2022. Just under 12,000 children and youth in care CBC News has learned the Ontario government will use the time to redesign how young people leave the system by doing away with the current age cut-off. Instead, provincial officials say they plan to ensure youths feel confident and prepared. According to the province, just under 12,000 children and youth are in the child-welfare system. About half of youths who experience homelessness in Ontario were involved in that system, more than half drop out of high school and 57 per cent rely on social assistance, according to a 2017 report by the now-closed Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth. Jill Dunlop, the associate minister of children and women's issues, says the government wants children to meet key milestones before they leave care. "We're building a model that's going to work for them," Dunlop said in an interview. "Young people take different paths, but we want to ensure that the supports are there." Under the current system, some young people who leave care are eligible for financial assistance until age 21 and other supports until 24. Still, advocates who have been calling for a readiness-based model say those supports haven't been close to enough. "The system itself was traumatizing and it retraumatized them," said Irwin Elman, Ontario's former — and only — child and youth advocate. "When they left the system, they felt dumped out and as one young person said, 'shoved off the edge of a cliff, alone, with nothing and expected to do well.'" The Ford government cut Elman's position and closed the office in 2018 and moved his responsibilities to the Ombudsman's office. What the new system will look like and how it will work is still being determined. The ministry says it's working with former children in care, advocates and others to design the program. More than 2,500 young people expected to age out by 2022 will be protected by the moratorium, according to Dunlop. New system must give youth a voice, advocates say When Cheyanne Ratnam aged out of care at 18, she took a blanket with her that symbolized a piece of family she knew she was losing. She survived childhood sexual abuse and other trauma before entering the child-welfare system, and says although it was the "lowest low," she was relieved to finally have a safe place to sleep. "I was just so happy to be away from abuse and not really having stability," she said. Ratnam is now the co-founder and president of Ontario Children's Advancement Coalition, which is partnering with the ministry to help develop the new model. She calls it an "ethical system reset" and says the decision on when a youth leaves should include input from designated support people. Ultimately, she says, the people in care should decide when it's time to be on their own. Cheyanne Ratnam was in the child-welfare system and is now the co-founder and president of Ontario Children’s Advancement Coalition, which is partnering with the government to help develop the new model. (Children's Aid Foundation of Canada ) "It should be in a way where young people are supported to make those decisions and not have decisions made for them so they can take ownership of their lives," she said. She also says the new model shouldn't include any sort of age cut-off and young people should be able to return to care if they choose to after leaving. "When you're alone in the community, a lot of trauma gets relived," she said. Ratnam says the child-welfare system funnels young people into homelessness, mental health issues and the justice system, and that the new model should help avoid that and set young people up for success. Conner Lowes, the president and Ontario director of Youth in Care, co-authored a letter to the province calling for a new system to be designed.(Honour Stahl) Ratnam and Conner Lowes, the president and Ontario director of Youth in Care Canada, co-authored a letter in June to the ministry calling for a new system to be designed. Lowes is also working with the province on the new model and says it's imperative it listen to those who experienced the current system. "It sets the precedent for that to be the standard, that the people [the system] is being designed for should be helping to create it," he said. "Because how else can we know what a system should look like if you're not asking the people that you're making the system for?" Support networks vital Shomari Mabayeke was placed in five different foster homes in five years. "It's kind of hard to trust people," he told CBC Toronto. "I'd move again and then it was kind of numbing after that because then I didn't make any new friends." Mabayeke first entered the system at 13 and says some homes were better than others. He aged out five years ago. "My process of coming out of care was more like, 'I just want to be gone. I don't care. Like, this is the worst thing ever,'" he said. Mabayeke says while he felt ready to be on his own at the time, he realizes now he wasn't taught certain skills, such as cooking or financial planning. Shomari Mabayeke looks through a basket of groceries delivered to him by StepsStones for Youth, a charity that helps young people transition out of the child-welfare system.(Angelina King/CBC) "They didn't do anything to prepare us for reality," he said. "You don't really get all the skills that growing up with an actual family and interacting with a loving family would give you." Mabayeke says he received some government assistance while transitioning out of care, but still relies on StepStones for Youth, a charitable organization in Toronto. "I feel like there would have been a really disastrous, chaotic moment if I didn't … use resources," he said. StepsStones helps youths who leave care secure housing, complete education and build support networks based on their interests. Heather O’Keefe, who runs StepStones for Youth, says the biggest challenge young people face when they leave the child-welfare system is not having a support network.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) "They deserve what other young people deserve," executive director Heather O'Keefe said. "They need to have people that care about them and guide them through life choices. And not only people who are paid to care for them, but people who actually genuinely care for them." Diakhaby also receives support from StepStones. He's unemployed right now and says it's been hard finding a job during the pandemic, but would like to be a plumber one day. He recently turned 21 and will soon lose his government financial assistance, but says he'll continue to rely on help and guidance from StepsStones. "They care about me," he said.
HONG KONG — A court hearing for 47 democracy activists charged under Hong Kong's national security law resumed Tuesday, following a marathon session that was adjourned well past midnight after one defendant appeared to collapse and was taken away in an ambulance. The court is weighing whether to grant bail to the activists, who were detained and charged Sunday over their involvement in an unofficial primary election last year that authorities say was part of a plot to paralyze Hong Kong's government. Less than half of the bail proceedings were heard on Monday when the court adjourned the session at about 2 a.m. The hearing resumed later Tuesday morning, although at least four defendants who were taken to the hospital in the early hours of Tuesday were not present in the morning session. The national security law, which China imposed on Hong Kong last June in response to months of anti-government protests, makes it a crime to overthrow, seriously interfere in, disrupt or undermine Hong Kong's government. The law, which also criminalizes acts that incite Hong Kong's secession from China, collusion with foreign powers and terrorism, has largely silenced protest in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. The 47 activists, who include prominent leaders such as Joshua Wong and Benny Tai, were among 55 arrested in January on suspicion of subversion in what was by far the biggest sweep by police since the security law's enactment. The 47 were formally charged Sunday. Authorities have not said whether the other eight will be charged. Defence lawyers are fighting against a bid by the prosecution to remand the activists in custody for three months while police conduct investigations, arguing that the activists should not have been charged if the case against them was not ready. A clause under the national security law specifies that bail will not be granted to suspects unless the judge has sufficient grounds to believe that defendants “will not continue to commit acts endangering national security." Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the courthouse Monday, displaying slogans in favour of the 2019 pro-democracy protests advocating greater local autonomy. Some chanted protest slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times" — which the Hong Kong government has said has secessionist connotations and thus could contravene the national security law. China has cracked down hard on such calls, demanding changes to the legal and educational systems to inculcate loyalty to the ruling Communist Party. Hong Kong's security secretary, John Lee, defended the national security law at a webinar Monday during a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting. “The effect of the law is obvious and direct,” he said, according to a transcript. “Violence has dropped significantly. Advocacy of ‘Hong Kong independence' subsided." The 47 charged this week were involved in primaries held by the pro-democracy camp last year to determine the best candidates to field to try to win a majority in the legislature. If the pro-democracy camp had won a majority, at least some members of the camp had plans to vote down major bills that would eventually force Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign. Authorities said the activists’ participation in the primary was part of a plan to paralyze the city’s legislature and subvert state power. Human Rights Watch said Hong Kong should drop the charges against the activists. “The Hong Kong authorities are using the Beijing-imposed National Security Law to wrongfully charge 47 people who sought peaceful change through the democratic process,” Maya Wang, senior China researcher at the New York-based organization, said in a statement. Nearly 100 people have been arrested under the national security law. Serious offenders could face life imprisonment. Zen Soo, The Associated Press
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The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 66,691 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,949,643 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,144.275 per 100,000. There were 500 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,442,170 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 79.83 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,176 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 76.758 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 5,335 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 32,856 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.667 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 53.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 6,560 new vaccinations administered for a total of 438,815 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 51.284 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.59 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 17,424 new vaccinations administered for a total of 704,695 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.974 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,222 new vaccinations administered for a total of 76,670 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.679 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 70.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 1,063 new vaccinations administered for a total of 79,289 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 67.242 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 106.3 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 7,830 new vaccinations administered for a total of 235,508 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.50 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 23,308 new vaccinations administered for a total of 275,681 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.722 per 1,000. There were 500 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 323,840 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 897 new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,071 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 385.109 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 85.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 126 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,402 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 191.138 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.97 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
WARSAW, Poland — A court in Poland on Tuesday acquitted three activists who had been accused of desecration and offending religious feelings for adding the LGBT rainbow to images of a revered Roman Catholic icon. The three women created posters in 2019 that used the rainbows in place of halos in an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Their aim was to protest what they considered the hostility of Poland’s influential Catholic Church toward LGBT people. The court in the city of Plock did not find any signs of a crime and also found that the activists were not motivated by a desire to offend anyone’s religious feelings or to insult the image of the Virgin Mary, according to reports in the Polish media. The case of the three women was being watched in Poland as a test of freedom of speech under a deeply conservative government that has been seeking to push back against secularization and liberal views often seen as a foreign imposition. Abortion has been another flashpoint in the country after a top court ruling last year that resulted in a near total ban on abortion. One of the defendants, Elzbieta Podlesna, said when the trial opened in January that the 2019 action in Plock was spurred by an installation at the city’s St. Dominic’s Church that associated LGBT people with crime and sins. The image that they created involved altering Poland’s most-revered icon, the Mother of God of Czestochowa, popularly known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. The original has been housed at the Jasna Gora monastery in the city of Czestochowa — Poland's holiest site — since the 14th century. Podlesna told the Onet news portal that the existence of a provision in the penal code "leaves a door open to use it against people who think a bit differently. “I still wonder how the rainbow — a symbol of diversity and tolerance — offends these feelings. I cannot understand it, especially since I am a believer,” Podlesna told Onet. If Podlesna and the other two activists — Anna Prus and Joanna Gzyra-Iskandar — had been found guilty, they could have faced up to two years of prison. An LGBT rights group, Love Does Not Exclude, welcomed the ruling as a “breakthrough." “This is a triumph for the LGBT+ resistance movement in the most homophobic country of the European Union," it said. Podlesna was arrested in an early morning police raid on her apartment in 2019, held for several hours and questioned over the posters of the icon that were placed around Plock. A court later said the detention was unnecessary and ordered damages equaling some $2,000 awarded to her. Because of all the attention the altered icon has received, it is now also a very recognized image in Poland and is sometimes seen at street protests. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — A majority of Canadians believe Ottawa will follow through on its plan to provide enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for everyone who wants a shot by the fall, a new poll suggests. Fifty-six per cent of respondents are confident the federal government can buy enough vaccine to ensure inoculation for those who seek it by September, according to an online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies. Canadians on both coasts and in Quebec were optimistic about their provinces' rollout plans as well as that of the feds. Respondents in Ontario and the Prairies were more skeptical, with just one in three Albertans expressing faith in their government's delivery scheme. The poll also found that most residents are in no rush to lift anti-pandemic lockdowns, with two-thirds saying restrictions should remain at least until half the population is immunized. Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the ramp-up in vaccine shipments last week likely brightened Canadians' views of federal distribution efforts. Only two weeks ago, 69 per cent of respondents blamed Ottawa rather than provincial governments for delays in vaccine delivery, Léger found. "There’s been a bit of a change over the past couple of weeks," Bourque said in an interview. "The news we got about the doses coming in from Pfizer and the new doses acquired from (Moderna) plus the fact that we approved AstraZeneca … all of these elements together have actually had some positive influence on Canadians’ confidence that we will get vaccinated before the deadline that the federal government set for itself." Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly promised to secure enough doses to immunize all willing Canadians by the end of September. The Public Health Agency of Canada is currently expecting delivery of about 445,000 doses of various vaccines this week, following last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period. It's unclear when the first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine — approved by the public-health agency on Friday — will arrive in the country, but a senior government official told The Canadian Press on background the first doses could land as early as mid-week, boosting the total. Now, attention turns to the provinces as shipments start to pour in and provincial administration is put to the test. Despite the challenges of ongoing public health restrictions, the more prudent strain of Canada's national character is visible behind the responses to the Léger survey, Bourque suggested. "The majority of Canadians are extremely careful about what should happen and when, depending on the pace at which we vaccinate," he said, referring to lockdown lifts. "Basically, there’s no rush." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
An Amherstburg nurse denied immediate reentry into Canada, despite believing she would have no problem crossing the border as an essential worker, says the federal government and Canadian border officials need to "get on the same page" as concerns continue over how rules at the Canada-U.S. land border are enforced. She's far from alone. Windsor West MP Brian Masse says his office has been flooded with calls from individuals who used to cross the border without issue — but, as of last week, were being denied immediate reentry back home into Canada. "Nurses, engineers, teachers, business owners and workers in social services, for example, are now penalized," Masse said Friday in the House of Commons. "How can people be expected to comply [with the land border rules] when they don't have a definite directive from the minister? This situation needs to be altered." On Friday, CBC News reported that an Ontario man who serves as president of a construction company was fined $3,755 by Canadian border officials after attempting to cross back into Canada through the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel. He was deemed a non-essential traveller last Tuesday after previously crossing the border in the past about once every two weeks with no issue. Following the publication of that story, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reached back out to CBC News to clarify its enforcement of rules at the land border. According to the agency, its rule regarding frequency of travel (affecting whether or not an individual would be permitted reentry back into Canada without having to meet pre-testing or quarantine requirements) applies only to cross-border workers — and not essential workers. "CBSA officers use all of the information available to them when a traveller is seeking entry into Canada, to determine which set of instructions (exempt or required to quarantine) apply to the traveller," the CBSA said. This means cross-border workers can only enter Canada without having to meet pre-testing and quarantine requirements if they a "normal place of employment" to work and "establish a regular pattern of travel," generally defined as daily or weekly. In practice, this should also mean essential service providers — including health-care workers, truck drivers and law enforcement — are exempt from pre-testing and quarantine requirements when crossing the land border into Canada for work-related reasons. The Canada Border Services Agency says essential service providers, including health care workers, are exempt from pre-testing and quarantine requirements when crossing the border for work-related reasons. However, CBSA says it does not comment on individual cases. But that's not what happened to Kaitlyn Desjardins. Ten days ago, she crossed into the U.S. to attend an orientation session for her new job as a registered nurse at William Beaumont Hospital. On her way back, she said, the CBSA informed her that she was crossing into Canada as a non-essential traveller. Before crossing the border, Desjardins had been told by her new employer that she'd be exempt from pre-testing requirements due to the nature of her work, she added. "I let them know I was a nurse. I gave them my letter of employment. I had all my documents on me. I even had my work visa. It didn't matter. They said that what I was crossing for wasn't essential," she said. Desjardins was pulled into secondary and given two options: drive straight to Toronto without stopping anywhere and quarantine in a Toronto hotel for 14 days or go back into the U.S. and come back to the border crossing with proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. She chose the latter option. "I had to make some arrangements for somewhere to stay and ended up getting a swab in Detroit," said Desjardins, adding she paid $150 US for the test and was unable to return to Canada until the next day. "I think the most important is that everyone gets on the same page. Right now, even still, they're not. I'm hearing so many different things from nurses, CBSA, public health. Everyone is on a different page." As a health-care worker, Desjardins said she understands the importance of keeping people safe. But these current border rules are affecting people's livelihoods. "It's not really a good feeling when you're told you can either drive four hours away without going to pick anything up or you have to go back and not be able to enter Canada." Brian Masse, MP for Windsor West, says his office has fielded calls from nurses, teachers and business owners who have been given trouble at the border while trying to cross back into Canada. In a follow-up statement to CBC News, the CBSA said it does not comment on individual cases.
Nova Scotia RCMP are worried about possible increased friction between rival motorcycle gangs with the opening of a new Outlaws Motorcycle Club prospective chapter in the Halifax region — an area the Hells Angels consider their territory. "The Hells Angels may see this expansion of the Outlaws as a competitive move and also disrespectful," said Det. Const. Jeff Temblett, an intelligence officer with the RCMP's criminal intelligence service. "It could lead to violence," he said. "Where they're in their backyard now there may be more opportunity for confrontation." The two motorcycle gangs have been enemies for years. Up until now the two groups have mostly been able to avoid each other, with the Outlaws set up in Cape Breton. That changed in February when the Outlaws opened a prospective chapter in Lake Echo, in the Halifax Regional Municipality. "With a new club starting up in Halifax, police believe the rivalry could escalate between the Hells Angels and the Outlaws. The Outlaws in Cape Breton remained generally out of sight to the Hells Angels," said Tremblett. The Outlaws Motorcycle Club has a one full patch chapter in Cape Breton and has opened an additional prospective chapter in the Lake Echo area of the Halifax Regional Municipality. The Hells Angels haven't had an official chapter in Nova Scotia since 2001, when their Halifax chapter was shut down by police. But their power base in the province has remained largely intact through their 10 support clubs. Support clubs are small groups that have aligned themselves with a larger, more powerful biker gang. These clubs copy the structure of the gang they've partnered with and follow the dominant club's orders. Support club members can be used to assist in criminal activities and protect the dominant club from prosecution, said Tremblett. The clubs also act as a recruiting ground for potential new members and help funnel money to the dominant club through the sale of merchandise like shirts and hats emblazoned with the gang's logos. In Nova Scotia, the Red Devils and several other groups are support clubs for the Hells Angels, while the Black Pistons support the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The Red Devils are the top support club for the Hells Angels. It's not clear why the Outlaws have chosen to expand into Halifax where the Red Devils are situated. "Right now it's unclear if the expansion is to gain more control over the illicit drug trade in Nova Scotia," said Tremblett. Generally, each gang wants better control of Nova Scotia's ports to more easily move illegal drugs like cocaine, meth and illegal marijuana. They also want to establish networks to move drugs from province to province. The Hells Angels and the Outlaws have been rivals across North America for years, and have even faced off in Nova Scotia before, but so far haven't come to blows. A member of the Hells Angels waves towards photographers as he enters the Hells Angels Nomads compound during the group's Canada Run event in Carlsbad Springs, Ont., near Ottawa, on Saturday, July 23, 2016. In 2019, things became tense between the two groups at a motorcycle show at Halifax's Exhibition Park. Hells Angels supporters and members of the Black Pistons had heated words when they came across each other. It was much the same in 2018, at the Wharf Rat Rally in Digby, N.S., when the groups got into a fiery verbal exchange on the community's main street. There are 14 active outlaw motorcycle gangs in Nova Scotia right now, according to Tremblett: • Outlaws MC - Cape Breton • Outlaws MC - Halifax • Black Pistons MC - Cape Breton (Outlaws Support Club) • Highlanders MC - Cape Breton (Hells Angels Support Club) • Highlanders MC - Antigonish County (Hells Angels Support Club) • Highlanders MC - Pictou County (Hells Angels Support Club) • Katt Sass MC - New Glasgow (Hells Angels Support Club) • Red Devils MC - Halifax (Hells Angels Support Club) • Darksiders MC - Dartmouth (Hells Angels Support Club) • Sedition MC - Fall River (Hells Angels Support Club) • Sedition MC - Yarmouth (Hells Angels Support Club) • Bacchus MC - Sambro • Niners MC - McGraths Cove (Hells Angels Support Club) • 103 Riders - South Shore (Hells Angels Support Club) Tremblett said it's very difficult to shut these clubs down. "Police need to prove there are laws being broken within the clubhouse. There's lease agreements, rights of the persons inside, so for the police it's not an easy task to simply go in there and shut it down." The Cape Breton Regional Police seized $120,000 worth of drugs, $12,000 worth of cash and several Black Pistons vests after searching two homes and a clubhouse in Glace Bay in 2020. Oftentimes, police will need to partner with municipal agencies to determine if clubs are abiding by a community's bylaws, and if they're not, then the clubs can be closed down, said Tremblett. He said people need to remember that most motorcycle riding clubs are made up of law-abiding citizens, and only about one per cent of clubs are actually outlaw motorcycle gangs. Clubhouses run by gangs are usually easy to spot because they have lots of video surveillance, they often have painted windows, and usually sport the gang's logo. A Hells Angels clubhouse in Rosser, Man., a rural community that's part of the Winnipeg Metro Region. Anyone with concerns about outlaw motorcycle gangs in their area can contact their local police, municipal or city councilors, and the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods group for advice, said Tremblett. "Don't believe the narrative that often goes around that ... your outlaw motorcycle gangs are just good old boys that like to hang out and party and do good for the community. That's not the case," said Tremblett. "They want the public to see them as community-spirited men, and they want people involved in organized crime to fear them." MORE TOP STORIES
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, was set to throw a Zoom party in quarantine to celebrate his 90th birthday on Tuesday, as President Vladimir Putin hailed him as an "outstanding statesman" who influenced the course of history. Gorbachev, who championed arms control and democracy-oriented reforms as Soviet leader in the 1980s, is widely credited with helping end the Cold War. His critics in Russia blame him for what they regard as the unnecessary and painful breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
CANBERRA, Australia — Police on Tuesday ruled out investigating an unnamed Australian Cabinet minister over an allegation that he raped a 16-year-old girl more than 30 years ago. The decision by New South Wales state police adds pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to establish an independent investigation to examine the accusation. The accusation has created a cloud over the 16 men in Morrison’s 22-minister Cabinet and is feeding complaints of a culture within Parliament that is toxic for women. The rape allegation was contained in an anonymous letter sent to the prime minister’s office and to three female lawmakers last week. The 31-page letter contained a statement from a complainant, taken by her lawyer, that detailed her allegation of a rape she said occurred in Sydney in 1988. The minister had not been elected to Parliament at the time. The letter, which included excerpts from her diary and a photograph of her with her alleged rapist from 1988, was forwarded by the lawmakers and Morrison to police. The woman, who has not been named, took her own life in her hometown of Adelaide in June at the age of 49. Morrison on Monday rejected calls to stand the minister down and to establish an inquiry, saying police should investigate. Police, however, said Tuesday that “there is insufficient admissible evidence to proceed.” Morrison said the minister “vigorously and completely denied the allegations.” But the woman’s lawyer, Michael Bradley, and several critics of the government have called for the minister to step down while an independent inquiry investigates the evidence. Nicholas Cowdery, formerly the chief prosecutor in New South Wales, said the allegation needs to be investigated to give voters confidence in the integrity of those governing them. The accused minister should step down, he said. “When something like this emerges, we need to know what is involved in it, does it disqualify that person from occupying that position and what action should be taken,” Cowdrey told Australian Broadcasting Corp. “The only way to do that is to run an investigation — not a criminal investigation, but an investigation with a political context run maybe by someone like a retired judge.” Barnaby Joyce was deputy prime minister when he ran into political strife in 2018 over revelations that he had impregnated a female staffer, who is now his partner, in an extramarital affair. The final straw in Joyce’s leadership of the Nationals party, the junior coalition partner, came when a woman from outside government accused him of sexual harassment. He quit as leader. Joyce, who remains a government lawmaker, said the 1988 rape allegation should be investigated in private, perhaps by a judge. But he added that the accused minister should not step down because such allegations are “a dangerous arrow that can be fired in all sorts of directions for political purposes.” “I was basically jammed out of a job, to be quite frank,” Joyce said of the sexual harassment complaint against him that was lodged with his party but not with police. “It was used as a mechanism to get me out,” he added, referring to his enemies within his party. The accused minister is also under mounting pressure to make his own identity public. Media have reported that he is expected to go public on Wednesday, but will not step aside. The police decision to drop the investigation comes two weeks after Morrison apologized in Parliament to a former government staffer who alleged she was raped by a more senior colleague in a minister’s office two years ago. Brittany Higgins quit her job in January and reactivated her complaint to police after initially not pursuing the case because she felt it would have affected her employment. The colleague, who has not been named publicly, was fired for breaching security by taking Higgins into a minister’s Parliament House office following a night of heavy drinking. The Associated Press does not usually identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Higgins has chosen to identify herself in the media. The public disclosure has triggered a flurry of complaints about the behaviour of lawmakers and a toxic work culture within Parliament House. Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the man whom Higgins accused of rape would be contacted by police “at the appropriate time.” Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of March 2 ... What we are watching in Canada ... VANCOUVER — Experts say a national vaccine panel's recommendation against administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to seniors could be good news for essential workers and younger populations, but it has to be promoted that way. Caroline Colijn, a COVID-19 modeller and mathematician at Simon Fraser University, and Horacio Bach, an adjunct professor in the division of infectious diseases in the faculty of medicine at the University of British Columbia, say it's up to provincial officials to advertise it as a valuable resource. Oxford-AstraZeneca has reported the vaccine is 62 per cent effective against preventing infection while Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have reported those vaccines have 95 per cent efficacy. Colijn and Bach say people seem to be fixated on the different numbers, but what really needs to be underscored is that Oxford-AstraZeneca has prevented serious illness leading to hospitalization and there haven't been any deaths. Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with most of it coming from the United States between April and September. British Columbia's provincial health officer, Doctor Bonnie Henry, says the vaccine may be offered to essential workers and they'll have limited choice in waiting for the other two vaccines, but should take whatever they're offered first. --- Also this ... OTTAWA — A new poll suggests a majority of Canadians believe Ottawa will follow through on its plan to provide enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for everyone who wants a shot by the fall. An online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies says 56 per cent of respondents are confident the federal government can buy enough vaccine to ensure inoculation for those who seek it by September. Canadians on both coasts and in Quebec were optimistic about their provinces' rollout plans as well as that of the feds. People in Ontario and the Prairie provinces were more skeptical, with just one in three Albertans expressing faith in their government's delivery scheme. Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the ramp-up in vaccine shipments from Pfizer and Moderna last week likely brightened Canadians' views of federal distribution efforts. The Public Health Agency of Canada is expecting delivery of about 445,000 doses this week, following last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... WASHINGTON — The White House is making it abundantly clear it has no plans to share America's COVID-19 vaccines with Canada or Mexico. Press secretary Jen Psaki has been indicating for weeks that the Biden administration would not allow the export of doses manufactured in the U.S. any time soon. She says President Joe Biden is focused first on making sure the vaccine is available to every American. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was expected to ask Biden directly for doses when the two meet virtually Monday evening. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly stopped short of making a similar request in his virtual meetings with Biden last week. "No," Psaki said Monday when asked whether the U.S. would be willing to share its supply of vaccine doses. "The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are available to every American. That is our focus." Psaki hinted last week that the White House position could change later this year once more Americans are vaccinated and the doses are no longer in such short supply. Johnson and Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine began shipping out Monday after it received emergency authorization over the weekend from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That now makes three vaccines that are available in the U.S., along with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Health Canada has yet to approve the Johnson and Johnson shot, but gave the green light last week to a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... YANGON, Myanmar — Demonstrators in Myanmar took to the streets again today to protest last month’s seizure of power by the military, as foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries prepared to meet to discuss the political crisis. Police in Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city, used tear gas against the protesters. The planned special meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations comes in the wake of worsening violence in Myanmar. The country’s new military rulers over the weekend escalated their use of deadly force and mass arrests to try to quash protests against the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The UN said it believed at least 18 people in several cities were killed on Sunday when security forces opened fire to disperse demonstrating crowds. Funerals were being held today for several of the victims. The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule, coming the day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term in office, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials. --- On this day in 1964 ... The House of Commons approved a bill changing the name of Trans-Canada Air Lines to Air Canada. The law, proposed by then Liberal MP Jean Chretien, took effect the following Jan. 1. --- In entertainment ... The show must go on at the Stratford Festival, but this summer it will be happening outdoors. Organizers say they have made tentative plans for "about a dozen" live productions held in-person at the renowned southwestern Ontario festival between late June and the end of September. The plays and cabarets will take place beneath two canopies, one at the Festival Theatre and the other at the new Tom Patterson Theatre. The idea was inspired by the original tent where the Stratford Festival first performed in the early 1950s. Under the outdoors model, the festival's organizers expect to seat up to 100 people in "socially distanced pods," double the usual number of audience members who could be seated at the indoor theatre. The full slate of plays and cabarets will be announced in the spring. The plan will keep the Stratford Festival in operation throughout this summer after COVID-19 forced the entire 2020 season to be cancelled, leading the organization to dip into its endowment and secure a line of credit to stay afloat. Stratford Festival's executive director Anita Gaffney says this summer's schedule is designed so that it can be modified to either shrink or grow in size, depending on provincial and community health guidelines. She added that it's "only through significant and thorough advance planning that we can put in place the safety measures that will be essential for any eventuality." Performances will be streamed online for those who cannot attend in-person shows. --- ICYMI ... CALGARY — It's been bananas at the Leftovers Foundation as the Calgary not-for-profit tries to find a use for thousands of bunches of the long, yellow fruit, which were donated all at once last week. Interim CEO Audra Stevenson said a call came in last Friday from produce distributor Fresh Direct and it had more than seven pallets of bananas with nowhere to go. That amounted to 346 cases, each with about 10 bunches in them. "Our bread and butter is rescuing food that doesn't have a home and getting it into the hands of people who need it," Stevenson said Monday. She said the priority is to get as many of the fresh bananas as possible to organizations that serve people in need, such as homeless shelters. As of Monday morning, there were about 150 cases left and a lineup of service agencies waiting to pick some up. But by Tuesday, Stevenson said, it's likely there will be a pallet left of bananas that are past their prime, like ones that start to turn brown on your kitchen counter. "You wouldn't give one to your kid, but you would make it into banana bread." The Leftovers Foundation also has a program that brings large quantities of rescued produce to local food artisans that can upcycle it into tasty treats. The groups' website says that in the past, Made by Marcus has made ice cream from bananas it procured through the program. This time, Stevenson said Hoopla Donuts and restaurant Donna Mac are on standby to grab whatever is left once the service agencies get their fill. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published xxx. x, 20xx The Canadian Press
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. There are 870,033 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 870,033 confirmed cases (30,430 active, 817,586 resolved, 22,017 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,559 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 80.07 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,525 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,932. There were 23 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 295 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 42. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.93 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,545,470 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 989 confirmed cases (240 active, 743 resolved, six deaths). There were two new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 45.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 50 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 197,997 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 132 confirmed cases (18 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were no new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 11.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 103,458 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,642 confirmed cases (35 active, 1,542 resolved, 65 deaths). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 3.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 32 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 334,183 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,431 confirmed cases (37 active, 1,367 resolved, 27 deaths). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 4.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There were no new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.46 per 100,000 people. There have been 237,242 tests completed. _ Quebec: 288,353 confirmed cases (7,590 active, 270,364 resolved, 10,399 deaths). There were 613 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 88.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,426 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 775. There were six new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 82 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,302,949 tests completed. _ Ontario: 301,839 confirmed cases (10,570 active, 284,283 resolved, 6,986 deaths). There were 1,023 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 71.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,695 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,099. There were six new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 114 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.41 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,898,699 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,894 confirmed cases (1,171 active, 29,827 resolved, 896 deaths). There were 35 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 84.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 419 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 60. There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.96 per 100,000 people. There have been 532,555 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,801 confirmed cases (1,551 active, 26,865 resolved, 385 deaths). There were 154 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 131.59 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,004 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 143. There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 575,410 tests completed. _ Alberta: 133,795 confirmed cases (4,674 active, 127,233 resolved, 1,888 deaths). There were 291 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 105.7 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,459 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 351. There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 45 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.7 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,403,106 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 80,672 confirmed cases (4,533 active, 74,776 resolved, 1,363 deaths). There were 438 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 88.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,409 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 487. There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.48 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,928,448 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death). There were no new cases Monday. There have been no new cases over the past seven days. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,168 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were no new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been no new cases over the past seven days. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,519 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 358 confirmed cases (eight active, 349 resolved, one death). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 20.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been seven new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,660 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
The death of 16-year-old Lexi Daken last week set off a searing wave of grief across the province. But it has also triggered a reckoning, with mental health experts taking a hard look at a worsening mental health crisis and legal experts saying her death was at least partly brought on by years of government underfunding. Lexi, a Grade 10 student who had previously attempted suicide, was taken to the emergency room at Fredericton's Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital on Thursday, Feb. 18, by a school guidance counsellor who was concerned about her mental health. She waited for eight hours without receiving any mental health intervention. After she was told by a nurse that calling a psychiatrist would take another two hours, Lexi said later, she left the hospital with a referral for followup. Her mother said no one ever contacted the family. Less than a week later, Lexi died by suicide. In an interview with Information Morning Fredericton on Monday, the executive director at the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick was overcome with emotion while discussing Lexi's death. Christa Baldwin, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick, said Lexi's death was shattering. "I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much as I have in the past week." 'This has to be the piece that moves us forward' Christa Baldwin noted that last week had started off with the promise of change, with a new mental health action plan, unveiled by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, "that would allow us to move forward." "But then later in the week, hearing the news about Lexi — it broke our hearts, to be honest. … I don't think I've ever cried as much as I have in the past week." But Lexi's death has also been a turning point, Baldwin said. She noted that Lexi's father, Chris Daken, said in an interview last week that "Lexi's death cannot be in vain." "This has to be a piece that moves us forward .... we can't have this happening to our youth in our province, we can't have this happening to anyone in our province." Baldwin said that resonated with her. "It feels like we have entered a new chapter in this province, building a service that is client-focused, client-centred," she said. "It has ignited a fire within me and within the CMHA to advocate and use our voice to make change happen. We need something to happen for Lexi's family … and for so many other individuals who have died by suicide in this province." The new mental health action plan has put some plans and pilot projects in place, Baldwin said. Those are positive steps, but more needs to be done, she said, noting barriers to service need to be removed and attitudes toward mental health issues need to change. "I think what bothered me most is after eight hours to ask about whether to call a professional to come in to asses Lexi further — if you went in with a broken leg, you would not be asked if someone should be called in to cast your leg," Baldwin said. "We need mental health parity. Mental health is a human right equal to physical health." In an op-ed, lawyer Jody Carr, above, and UNB law professor Kerri Froc say Lexi's death is a violation of her rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A violation of Lexi's charter rights, lawyers say It's a point some legal experts are also making. In an op-ed, lawyer Jody Carr and University of New Brunswick law professor Kerri Froc said Lexi's rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated. "Under Section 7 of the charter, 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,' " Carr and Froc wrote in the op-ed. "Because successive provincial governments have wilfully under-resourced this sector of health care, leading to delays in access to mental health services anchored in the Mental Health Act, violations of New Brunswickers' rights to personal security, and ultimately to life, results. "While it is true that the direct cause of these deaths and injury is self-harm, the Supreme Court of Canada has said that government is responsible for actions that enhance the risk of these violations." Carr and Froc argued that "New Brunswick has a duty to ensure that they can talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist at their and their family's time of greatest need." In an email Monday, Horizon noted it does provide around-the-clock psychiatric services. "Horizon provides emergency psychiatric services 24 hours per day, seven days a week at our regional hospitals," Dr. Edouard Hendriks, vice-president of medical, academic and research affairs at Horizon. "Medical psychiatry staff are available for consultation as required, in collaboration with the on-site care team." Nevertheless, some questions remain unanswered. Horizon did not immediately answer questions about whether it is tracking how often an on-call psychiatrist is called to come in to see a patient, or how often they decline or are unable to do so. It also did not answer questions about why Lexi was told she would face a two-hour wait for a psychiatrist, citing "confidentiality reasons." Pandemic taking deepening toll on mental health Meanwhile, the pandemic's toll on the mental health of almost every demographic in the province continues to deepen, Baldwin said. In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the Canadian Mental Health Association worked with more than 86,000 New Brunswickers, she said. "In the first three-quarters of this fiscal year, we were already at over 117,000 New Brunswickers. … Organizations are feeling that, hospitals are feeling that, Horizon and Vitalité are feeling that. We need to recognize what's happening here in terms of demand for service." Carefully developing programs and reaching out to certain demographics to make sure people are not falling through the cracks are more crucial now than ever, she said. But so is talking "openly" with people when you see they are struggling, even if it feels uncomfortable. "Asking someone if they're suicidal, having suicidal thoughts ... actually saying those words can help," Baldwin said. "We need to have these conversations, we can't sweep it under the rug. Not talking about mental health openly has done us no favours." If you need help: CHIMO hotline: 1-800-667-5005 / http://www.chimohelpline.ca Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566.
Two Nigerian nurses were attacked by the family of a deceased COVID-19 patient. One nurse had her hair ripped out and suffered a fracture. The second was beaten into a coma. Following the assaults, nurses at Federal Medical Centre in the Southwestern city of Owo stopped treating patients, demanding the hospital improve security. Almost two weeks passed before they returned to work with armed guards posted around the clock. “We don’t give life. It is God that gives life. We only care or we manage,” said Francis Ajibola, a local leader with the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives. The attack in Nigeria early last month was just one of many on health workers globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new report by the Geneva-based Insecurity Insight and the University of California, Berkeley’s Human Rights Center identified more than 1,100 threats or acts of violence against health care workers and facilities last year. Researchers found that about 400 of those attacks were related to COVID-19, many motivated by fear or frustration, underscoring the dangers surrounding health care workers at a time when they are needed most. Insecurity Insight defines a health care attack as any physical violence against or intimidation of health care workers or settings, and uses online news agencies, humanitarian groups and social media posts to track incidents around the world. “Our jobs in the emergency department and in hospitals have gotten exponentially more stressful and harder, and that’s at baseline even when people are super supportive,” said Rohini Haar, an emergency physician in Oakland, California, and Human Rights Center research fellow. “To do that work and to do it with commitment while being attacked or with the fear of being attacked is heartbreaking to me.” Medical professionals from surgeons to paramedics have long confronted injury or intimidation on the job, especially in conflict zones. Experts say many attacks are rooted in fear or mistrust, as family members react to a relative’s death or a community responds to uncertainty around a disease. The coronavirus has amplified those tensions. Ligia Kantún has worked as a nurse for 40 years in Mexico and never felt threatened until last spring. As she was leaving a hospital in Merida in April, she heard someone shout the word “Infected!” She was drenched in hot coffee before she could turn around. “When I got home 10 minutes later my daughter was waiting for me and I hugged her crying, all scared, thinking, ‘How is it possible that they have done this to me?’” she told The Associated Press. Kantún said many people in Mexico at the time thought health workers wore the same uniforms in public that they wore when treating coronavirus patients. “That ignorance was what made them act that way,” she said. Researchers saw the most attacks last spring and summer as the coronavirus swept across the globe. Yet recent events from Nigeria to the Netherlands, where in January rioters set fire to a coronavirus testing centre, prove the threat remains. Haar said she expected health care workers to be widely celebrated for their lifesaving work during the pandemic, just as Italians sang tributes to doctors during the lockdown. “But actually that didn’t happen in many, many places,” she said. “There’s actually more fear, more distrust, and attacks grew rather than decreased.” Many attacks may have gone undetected because they are never reported to police or in the media. Insecurity Insight scrambled to expand its monitoring as a flood of attacks were detected in countries that have traditionally been safe for health workers, said director Christina Wille. In the United States, for example, researchers counted about a dozen threats to health care workers last year. Several incidents involved the injury or arrest of street medics during Black Lives Matter protests. “I think in the U.S. the culture has been more of trusting health workers,” Haar, the emergency physician, said. “There hasn’t been a longstanding conflict where there’s been a dissonance between health workers and the community.” Yet health workers in the U.S. are still subject to great risk. Hospital employees in the U.S. are nearly six times as likely as the average worker to be the victim of an intentional injury, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and last month a Minnesota medical assistant was killed during a shooting at a clinic by a former patient unhappy with his treatment. Misinformation has spurred violence in some cases. Wille said her team looked closely at social media postings in April after three Ebola treatment centres were ransacked in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “We could actually see that there was a build-up over several days of misinformation about what they call the ‘Ebola business,’ that this was all related to people inventing the disease,” she said. Experts say that even though health workers are in many cases the target of attacks, entire communities suffer when they lose access to medical care after a clinic or medical facility is forced to close due to threats. “You’re robbing the community of the service they would have provided,” said Nyka Alexander, who leads the World Health Organization’s communications on health emergencies. With or without a pandemic, the most dangerous places for health workers are often areas of conflict and political upheaval. Last year, hundreds of threats and acts of violence were tracked in Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Naser Almhawish, surveillance co-ordinator for Syria’s Early Warning Alert and Response Network, said he faced threats several times while working as a doctor in the city of Raqqa. He recalled the day in 2012 at Ar-Raqqa National Hospital when armed men confronted him in the middle of an operation, saying they’d kill him if the patient died. “You just freeze and you know that you are working and you are trying to save this guy,” he said. “This is our duty. I didn’t ask if this guy was a military, civilian or anything. He’s a human being who needed an operation.” Almhawish said such attacks on health care settings in Syria had waned in the last year. Researchers said declining violence in the country was the reason they didn't see a greater surge in total health care attacks in 2020. Kantún, the nurse in Mexico, said she went almost eight months after the attack last April without wearing her nursing scrubs in public. Now, one year into the pandemic, she feels health workers are more respected. But she still worries. “I’ve had that fear of going out and finding my car scratched, or my car window broken,” she said. “I do have that fear, since I lived it.” ___ Helen Wieffering is a Roy W. Howard Fellow. Joshua Housing is an investigative fellow on the global investigative team. ___ Contributing to this report are AP video journalist Federica Narancio and Anne Daugherty and Devon Lum at the University of California, Berkeley Human Rights Center Investigations Lab. Helen Wieffering And Joshua Housing, The Associated Press
EDMONTON — Asmaa Ali says slurs about her hijab and the colour of her skin have become so frequent she doesn't report them to police anymore. Whether she's running errands or on her way to work as a nurse at an Edmonton hospital, the 23-year-old Somali-Canadian says she's always looking over her shoulder. She and several other Black and Muslim women in her life are feeling more frightened in public, she says, because of an increasing number of assaults. Five Somali-Canadian women, all wearing hijabs, have been attacked or threatened in Edmonton in the last 10 weeks. "I've always been hyper-vigilant in public spaces because of my identity. But hearing about these attacks has made me more anxious and aware of my surroundings." Ali says she also has been assaulted in the past, but is too traumatized to reveal details. Avoiding public transit, not running errands alone and self-defence classes are all things she says she and her female friends and family are considering. Edmonton's Al-Rashid Mosque began offering Muslim women self-defence lessons following the recent attacks. The classes are full. Ali says the number of hate crimes reported to Alberta's police forces are not reflective of the increasing number of people approaching her with their stories of assaults. "It makes me enraged," she says. "Most of my visibly Muslim friends and family members have a story of some kind of Islamophobia. The general public hears about this through the media, while our reality is that these are our sisters and our mothers." Trent Daley is a member of Edmonton's Anti-Racism Advisory Committee. He says someone approaches him or his network on a weekly basis about an assault. Most victims are Black and Muslim women. "There's been a notable marked increase (in assaults) following the pandemic. It's so pervasive right now," Daley says. "It's full of racial epithets, full of disgusting language targeting them based off the scarf that they wear and the identity they presumed that this person has. It's dehumanizing." Calgary police say they received 80 hate crime complaints between January and November 2020. Cheryl Voordenhout with the Edmonton Police Service says it received 60 reports of hate crimes last year. So far in 2021, three of seven hate-crime-related investigations have involved Somali-Muslim women. On Dec. 8, a mother and daughter were violently attacked in the Southgate mall parking lot. A week later, near the same mall, another woman was subject to racial slurs as someone tried to hit her head with a shopping bag. In February, a man made racial comments and became aggressive toward a woman at the University of Alberta transit centre. The same day, a man came up behind a woman walking in a popular neighbourhood, pushed her to the ground and made threats to kill her and tear off her burqa. The latest attack happened Feb. 17. The National Council of Canadian Muslims said a man approached a Black Muslim woman wearing a hijab at the Century Park transit station, swore at her and threatened to kill her. Political leaders, including Premier Jason Kenney, have spoken out against the attacks. But the CEO of the national Muslims council says condemnation is not enough. Mustafa Farooq says Alberta's government is turning a blind eye to an environment in which the region's racialized communities are being cast out. "Anti-Black racism is a real problem in Alberta," he says. "Black-Muslim women tend to face greater challenges than almost anyone else, because racism and gendered Islamophobia are real problems. "We can look, for example, at street harassment bylaws. We can look at ways in which anti-racism initiatives are being funded. We can look at hate crime units and their advocacy in dealing with these challenges," Farooq says. "So much can be done immediately, but it's not happening." Daley adds that recent rallies and marches in Edmonton and Calgary in opposition to COVID-19 measures are examples of how the pandemic has exacerbated racism in Alberta. Some participants were seen carrying tiki torches, which many say are a symbol used by white supremacists. Ali says the Muslim community needs support from leaders and neighbours. "It's widely researched that repeatedly experiencing racism ... causes worse health outcomes for communities of colour. In a pandemic that's brought so many of our inequalities to the forefront, these (attacks) are only making it worse," she says. "Every single time we hear that yet another woman has been attacked, we hold our breath and call our family and friends." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
Although difficult months remain ahead — especially for poorer countries lacking the resources to buy vaccines — the end of the coronavirus pandemic in the developed world is now in sight. Virus variants remain an unpredictable element but trendlines suggest that the great majority of deaths anticipated in developed countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic have occurred already. The range of impacts on different countries can be seen in the statistics as the first full year of the pandemic draws to a close. These statistics show how Canada has fared compared to the five other Western members of the G7: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy. The numbers do not explain why one country did better than another — whether it was the policies of the national government, the actions of local governments, the foresight of its health authorities or the nature of its society and the behaviour of its people. When historians look back on this pandemic, the first yardstick they'll apply to measure its severity is, of course, the number of people it killed. How bad did it get? The United States is now coming down from its third wave of COVID infections. Canada has only had two so far. The peak came at different times in different places — but each of the six countries in this comparison experienced one week that was worse than any other. In France and Italy, the pandemic peaked in November 2020, but in North America and the U.K. the first two weeks of 2021 were the worst. On January 8, Canada reported a single-day record of 9,214 new cases. The following day, the U.S. reported a single-day record of 315,106 new cases. A health care worker walks through the post-vaccine waiting area at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Peel Region in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, March 1, 2021. The peak of intensity is measured here by the highest recorded daily caseload, per capita. At the pandemic's height in the U.K., U.S. and France, COVID-19 was infecting almost one person in a thousand every day. In Canada, that number never reached one in 4,000. Canada had the least intense pandemic of the six. Immunizations vs infections Vaccinations are the magic bullet that will end this pandemic. Some countries have done far better than others in administering them. The U.K.'s vaccination effort started strong and stayed that way. Germany and the U.S. showed steady increases week over week. France was slow to start but soon caught up. Italy and Canada faltered and lost ground. But vaccinations don't tell the whole story. Vaccines entered the picture as much of the western world was racing to get ahead of a new wave of infections. Canada placed last among this group of nations in terms of doses per capita. But it also has posted the lowest per capita caseloads through 2021. The U.K. was the undisputed winner of the vaccine race but posted the worst per capita caseloads and death rates of the six. And the nation with the second-best record on vaccinations — the U.S. — had the second-worst caseloads. If this analysis had included the one non-Western member of the G7, Japan, that inversion would be even more extreme. Japan has only one-eighth the death rate of Canada, but Canada has vaccinated about 300 times as many people as Japan on a per capita basis. Given this strange inversion, how should we measure each nation's overall performance? The next graph attempts to do that by dividing each nation's total number of vaccines administered, week over week, by the number of new cases it recorded in the same week, to give an overall score — call it the "O Factor" — that may offer a clearer picture of how much progress each country has made so far in 2021. The O Factor penalizes countries for failing to control infections in the present, but gives credit for the future caseload reductions they can expect to achieve by getting needles in arms now. The damage to economies Historians will one day study the pandemic's social and economic effects. Some of those effects aren't clear yet. By killing a vast number of European peasants, the Black Death transformed the labour market, allowing workers to demand more for their work and ultimately helping to free them from feudalism. Perhaps this (far less apocalyptic) pandemic will free workers from the bondage of commuting and cubicles. Whatever changes it leaves in its wake, it's clear the economic blow of the pandemic has not fallen evenly on all nations. The six countries we're comparing here have taken different approaches to pandemic-related shutdowns and layoffs. Some (such as Canada) went big on public spending, while others held back. And some countries will struggle more than others with the debts they have accumulated. Some countries' measures, such as Canada's, were directed more toward items that appear in the budget (tax forgiveness or direct expenditures such as the Canada emergency response benefit) while others such as Italy kept most of their interventions off their budget bottom line (through measures such as loans to industry, or the purchase of an equity share in Alitalia). All six of the nations measured here saw nearly unprecedented spikes in the number of unemployment claims as the pandemic took hold. But some were hit harder than others and some bounced back faster than others. The graphs shown here only offer snapshots of a pandemic that isn't over yet. Although immunization appears to offer a path out of this global disaster, new mutations and new variants have the potential to delay that. Unless Canada can improve its vaccination performance, other countries probably will be quicker to bend their rates of death and hospitalizations downward, closing a gap that currently favours Canada. But the numbers suggest that one thing won't change: when compared with its peers in Europe and North America, Canada's pandemic experience has been less intense — and less deadly.
Alibaba and Ant Group founder Jack Ma has lost the title of China's richest man, a list published on Tuesday showed, as his peers prospered while his empire was put under heavy scrutiny by Chinese regulators. Ma and his family had held the top spot for China's richest in the Hurun Global Rich List in 2020 and 2019 but now trail in fourth place behind bottled water maker Nongfu Spring's Zhong Shanshan, Tencent Holding's Pony Ma and e-commerce upstart Pinduoduo's Collin Huang, the latest list showed.
March has lived up to the old adage — coming in like a lion — after a relatively mild winter that didn't physically arrive until February. Both a snow squall watch and a frostbite advisory were in effect for the nation's capital on the first day of the month. Yet, it follows a late fall and first couple of months of winter that seemed questionable if it was truly the season the calendar displayed. "Some people are going to say this winter was missing in action. Others will say, 'oh my gosh, it was too cold at the end,'" said David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. November, December, and January were two to three degrees warmer than normal, until the polar vortex hit last month. Don't write the obituary on winter quite yet. - David Phillips, Environment and Climate Change Canada February temperatures were close to normal — even though the first and last days of the month were above zero. "I give [this winter a] nine out of ten. It was actually ideal," Phillips said. "It wasn't painful or brutal at all and what I think was so interesting is that when you wanted the snow and the cold to freeze things up, it came in February." Ottawa had a few days at the end of January and mid-February where the temperature fell below –20 C, but that's only about a third of the usual three weeks worth the city would normally get in winter, he said. For those who enjoy the cold and snow, winter could not have come soon enough. The Rideau Canal Skateway didn't open until Jan. 28, and closed a mere 26 days later. One thing this winter did lack — and something most people were likely happy to live without in the dead of winter — was rain. Phillips said Ottawa normally sees about 45 millimetres of rain in January and February, but only saw about one millimetre, at least until Sunday. Looking north on Ottawa's Rideau Canal Skateway toward the Château Laurier and Shaw Centre in February 2021. The canal was open a mere 26 days this winter. The warmer winter was also helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. "I think this winter was particularly good for getting out and about when you could social distance," Phillips said. "Nature could have been far crueller." March prime maple syrup weather March may indeed bring along more of a chill, at least this week, with overnight lows ranging between –12 and –15 C. Phillips expects most of March to be prime maple syrup weather, with below freezing nights and melting daytime temperatures. This spring could bring ideal weather for maple syrup producers, says Phillips. Despite spring being a few weeks away, he said people shouldn't put away their shovels just yet, because the last month of winter and beginning of spring can also be unpredictable. "Don't write the obituary on winter quite yet ... You still get 50 cm of snow in Ottawa in an average spring."