An Oregon law cutting penalties for small amounts of hard drugs is in effect. Those caught with small amounts of meth, heroin or cocaine get a $100 ticket and treatment instead of criminal punishment. (Feb. 12)
An Oregon law cutting penalties for small amounts of hard drugs is in effect. Those caught with small amounts of meth, heroin or cocaine get a $100 ticket and treatment instead of criminal punishment. (Feb. 12)
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 in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. 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 Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- 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 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. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- 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. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- 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. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- 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 says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- 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 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Britain will modernise its listing rules to attract more high-growth company and so-called blank cheque flotations, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said after a government-backed review said London was on the back foot after Brexit. The London Stock Exchange is facing tougher competition from NYSE and Nasdaq in New York, and from Euronext in Amsterdam since Britain fully left the European Union on Dec. 31.
The union that represents cargo ship crews in Canada says its members are in desperate need to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The Seafarers International Union of Canada says that is because of the potential danger of an outbreak onboard a vessel and a shortage of workers to replace crew members who get sick. There is limited space to physically distance on a ship and there are few medical resources on a vessel to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak should it occur. "We don't want to interrupt the vaccinations right now of those front-line workers and our elderly that are absolutely in dire need, but we're in dire need as well," said union president Jim Given. The union represents seafarers who work inside Canada and abroad. Jim Given is president of the Seafarers International Union of Canada. (Submitted by Seafarers International Union of Canada) Given wants his crews to be given the vaccine after health-care workers and seniors get their shots. Many seafarers spend three months aboard ship, with one month off, but some crews spend up to nine months on a vessel. Some workers have stayed on board even longer during the pandemic. There have only been a handful of COVID-19 outbreaks on ships so far, and one seafarer has died as a result, said Given. He's worried that could get worse if his members aren't vaccinated soon. It's incredibly difficult to cope with a COVID-19 outbreak on a ship, according to Desai Shan, an assistant professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has been studying COVID-19's impact on seafarers. "They are extremely vulnerable in this pandemic," she said. "Considering they are important, and also vulnerable …seafarers getting priority for the vaccine is a fair request. "The medical resources and support seafarers would get on board are far, far limited compared to land-based working environments." Athaide waves to seafarers onboard bulk carriers in B.C.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Shan said countries like China and Singapore have already started vaccinating their seafarers because they recognize the importance of keeping their supply chains moving. "We carry most of the goods people use everyday, whether it be the raw materials to make the product or the product itself. We carry about 90 per cent of everything you touch and see everyday," said Given. A seafarer's job is so important it is considered essential. Given said the union wants to sit down with provincial and federal officials to come up with a plan to get its members vaccinated soon. Each individual province and territory decides how it will roll out its vaccinations. No province or territory has given seafarers priority, said Given. The CMA CGM Libra is the largest container ship ever to stop in Halifax. The vessel holds approximately 11,400 shipping containers.(Port of Halifax) Nova Scotia has taken an age-based approach. "We recognize there is interest from Nova Scotians who want to be prioritized to receive the vaccine, but we know the single biggest risk to COVID-19 patients is age," Marla MacInnis, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia's Department of Health, said in an email. She said eventually all Nova Scotians who want to get vaccinated will have the opportunity. Transport Canada had no comment on whether seafarers should be prioritized for vaccination. But spokesperson Sau Sau Liu said in an email that "Canada remains a strong advocate for the safety and welfare of seafarers and maritime workers." A truck passes by some of the many containers that it tows on a daily basis at Vancouver's port.(David Horemans/CBC) Liu said Transport Canada officials participate on a national seafarers' welfare board that advises the federal government on issues related to the well-being of seafarers. Given said that's not good enough. "It spreads so quickly and if we end up in a situation where we do get outbreaks on these ships the other aspect of it is there is nobody to replace the people to get the cargo moving again," he said. There is a shortage of seafarers in Canada right now, and with few people to replace them if they get sick, that could mean huge delays in the movement of goods and a slowdown in the Canadian economy, said Given. There are about 30,000 people across Canada employed as seafarers who directly or indirectly support 260,000 jobs and put $36 billion into the Canadian economy, he said. Many seafarers spend three months at a time on cargo ships like this one, but some can spend nine months aboard a vessel. That time onboard ship has been stretched out even further for some during the pandemic. (Steve Farmer/Port of Halifax) The country can't afford a slow down in the shipping industry, he said, especially with the busy season set to start in the spring when the Great Lakes thaw and ship traffic picks up. "We've got to find a way to get seafarers vaccinated so they have the mobility and the safety to do their jobs," said Given. MORE TOP STORIES
The number of charging points for electric vehicles in Germany has increased by more than 10% in the past three months to reach 39,538, energy industry association BDEW said on Wednesday. Policymakers in Europe's biggest economy aim to cut emissions from transport by expanding the use of electric vehicles. "The expansion of public charging points continues unabated," BDEW said, adding that government efforts to boost demand for electric vehicles and equipment were bearing fruit.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. There are 872,747 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 872,747 confirmed cases (30,252 active, 820,450 resolved, 22,045 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,457 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 79.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,449 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,921. There were 28 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 284 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 41. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.01 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,620,804 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 994 confirmed cases (207 active, 781 resolved, six deaths). There were five new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 39.65 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six. There were no new reported deaths Tuesday. 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 198,862 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 136 confirmed cases (22 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were four new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 13.78 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 21 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 104,715 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,643 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,549 resolved, 65 deaths). There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 2.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 30 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 338,114 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,435 confirmed cases (37 active, 1,370 resolved, 28 deaths). There were four new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 4.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There was one new reported death Tuesday. 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 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 237,782 tests completed. _ Quebec: 288,941 confirmed cases (7,378 active, 271,156 resolved, 10,407 deaths). There were 588 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 86.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,275 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 754. There were eight new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 78 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.37 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,320,910 tests completed. _ Ontario: 302,805 confirmed cases (10,546 active, 285,262 resolved, 6,997 deaths). There were 966 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 71.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,686 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,098. There were 11 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 113 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 47.49 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,933,714 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,950 confirmed cases (1,151 active, 29,901 resolved, 898 deaths). There were 56 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 83.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 405 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 58. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 12 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.11 per 100,000 people. There have been 533,840 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,938 confirmed cases (1,492 active, 27,059 resolved, 387 deaths). There were 137 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 126.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,015 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 145. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.83 per 100,000 people. There have been 577,151 tests completed. _ Alberta: 134,052 confirmed cases (4,631 active, 127,531 resolved, 1,890 deaths). There were 257 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 104.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,449 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 350. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 37 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.74 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,409,039 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 81,367 confirmed cases (4,747 active, 75,255 resolved, 1,365 deaths). There were 438 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 92.22 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,509 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 501. There were two new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 29 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 26.52 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,935,174 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death). There were no new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. 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 8,172 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. 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 14,559 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 359 confirmed cases (nine active, 349 resolved, one death). There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 22.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been eight 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 8,696 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary’s governing party pulled out of its conservative group in the European Union’s legislature on Wednesday following years of conflict over the rule of law and European values. The right-wing Fidesz party has held a two-thirds majority in Hungary’s parliament almost uninterrupted since 2010. It left the European People’s Party over the latter’s adoption on Wednesday of new procedures allowing for entire parties to be excluded from the group rather than just individual lawmakers. Fidesz officials, including Hungary’s prime minister and head of the party, Viktor Orban, had argued that the rule changes were “tailor-made” to sanction Fidesz, and threatened over the weekend to pull out of the EPP if the rules passed. The EPP backed the rule changes with an overwhelming majority: 148 in favour, 28 against and four abstentions. In a letter Wednesday to Manfred Weber, chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, Orban announced Fidesz’s decision to leave the group. “The amendments to the rules of the EPP Group are clearly a hostile move against Fidesz and our voters ... This is anti-democratic, unjust and unacceptable. Therefore, the governing body of Fidesz has decided to leave the EPP Group immediately,” Orban wrote. Orban said the rule changes deprived Hungarian voters of their democratic rights and that Fidesz lawmakers would continue to represent Hungary in the European Parliament. A spokesman for the EPP Group, Pedro Lopez de Pablo, told The Associated Press that Orban pulling his party out of the EPP was “his own personal decision,” and that the group would not comment. Fidesz’s decision to leave the group could be the final note in a series of longstanding clashes with the EPP, the largest political family in Europe. The group suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary, engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric and attacking the EPP leadership. In a tweet, Hungary’s minister for family affairs and a Fidesz vice-president, Katalin Novak, confirmed Fidesz’s decision to leave the EPP Group. “We will not let our MEPs be silenced or limited in their capacity to represent our voters. Tackling the pandemic and saving lives remains our number one priority,” Novak wrote. Justin Spike, The Associated Press
Starting Thursday, non-essential travellers who are already required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test on the Windsor side of the land border must participate in on-site testing at the Ambassador Bridge or Windsor-Detroit Tunnel. Trailers in the duty-free parking lots of both the Ambassador Bridge and Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, set up by the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross, will be used for tests of non-essential, Canadian travellers coming back into Canada — as well as those who have landed from out of the country. Testing will begin Thursday at 7 a.m. at both the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge. An onsite testing trailer can be seen in the duty free store parking lot at the Ambassador Bridge. (Sanjay Maru/CBC) "This won't affect [essential workers]. They'll pull up to the customs lanes. They'll say they're an essential worker and they'll do what they've done for the past year," said Chris Tremblay, general manager for Windsor Detroit Borderlink, the company which operates the tunnel. Melanie Soler, vice president of emergency management response operations for the Canadian Red Cross, said individuals who partake in on-site testing at the land border will be given two testing kits. The first kit will be self-administered by the traveller inside the testing trailer. "Our personnel will observe them administering their own sample and packaging their own sample," said Soler. "Once the traveler deposits that sample in a safe and sanitary spot, our personnel will put that in a refrigeration package to make sure it gets to the lab for testing." It's not mandatory for individuals to be supervised by Red Cross staff when they self-administer their "day one" test, but the option is there in case they have any questions about it or need assistance, she added. In fact, a non-essential traveller can self-administer the "day one" swab in their personal quarantine location, if desired, according to PHAC. The general manager of the Ambassador Bridge says while it may seem redundant to come to the border with proof a COVID-19 test result only to be swabbed again on site, it's an added measure to keep people safe.(Sanjay Maru/CBC) After the first test is done, the traveller will be given a second testing kit which they will self-administer on "day 10" of quarantine. "The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading the collection of samples from travellers at land borders in coordination with federal partners including Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Canada Border Services Agency," said PHAC in a statement. In all instances of on-site testing, travellers will be pulled away from the flow of essential traffic to ensure border flow keeps moving. 'A lot can happen within 72 hours' Since Feb. 15, non-essential travellers entering Canada through the land border have been required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted 72 hours before arrival. According to the Public Health of Agency of Canada, this on-site testing effort will help travellers "meet day one arrival requirements." But that doesn't mean on-site testing will replace the need for a pre-arrival test. Non-essential travellers will still have to show up to the border with proof of a negative result even if they participate in on-site testing. In fact, travellers without that pre-arrival test result may be directed to a designated quarantine facility by PHAC officials, according to the CBSA. COVID-19 testing trailers like these have been setup near Windsor's two international land border crossings. (Sanjay Maru/CBC) "From our level, is it redundant? Sounds like it's redundant," said Ambassador Bridge general manager Randy Spader. "I'm going to give you a negative test — and you're going to test me?" He adds, however, that "a lot can happen within 72 hours," and the federal government is seemingly doing whatever it can to prevent the cross-border spread of COVID-19. "Somebody who takes a test on Thursday, they're at the border on Sunday. What were they doing for those three days?" he said. "I think it's just a precaution to ensure the testing ramps us and Canada has the most information available to them for people wanting to get home." An invalid or inconclusive "day 10" test result will result in another test being mailed out to the traveller. The federal governments adds that failure to complete either of the self-administered swabs "could lead to fines of up to $750,000 or imprisonment."
Nestled in a steep rocky hillside among the remote mountains of northern Iraq, the Rabban Hormizd Monastery has watched invaders come and go through Christianity's tumultuous history in this corner of ancient Mesopotamia. Mongols, Persians, Arabs, Kurds and Ottomans have sacked, surrounded or occupied the seventh century monastery and the Christian town of Alqosh, above which it perches, near the borders with Turkey, Syria and Iran. But Christians there survived the latest onslaught, this time by Islamic State militants who took over one third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017, including the city of Mosul just 20 miles (32 km) to the south.
Michael Widner's death in March 2017 left a lot of questions unanswered — and not just for the investigators tasked with solving the targeted killing of a Hells Angels prospect. Widner's wife learned the man she wed in 2008 had also maintained a long-term "marriage-like relationship" with another woman. The parts of each week he had claimed to be working in a different part of Vancouver Island were actually spent living with his other family, which included two children. The "who" and the "why" of Widner's killing remain unsolved. But a B.C. Supreme Court judge this week answered one of the other mysteries sparked by his death: provincial law allows for both of the dead man's partners to be considered spouses despite a criminal prohibition against polygamy. "He left a complicated legacy," wrote Justice Jennifer Duncan. 'Caught completely off guard' "Complicated" appears to have been an understatement. Duncan's lengthy decision on a lawsuit filed by Widner's secret spouse for a share of his estate pulls back the curtains on a double life spent evading the scrutiny of both romantic partners and police. Widner is believed to have died around March 9, 2017. His body was found near Port Renfrew, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, a week after he was reported missing. Police have not said how he was killed, but are treating the death as a homicide. RCMP released this image of Michael Widner after he went missing. His body was found a week after he disappeared. Police consider his death a homicide. Nobody has been charged.(RCMP) According to the decision, Widner had been living with Sabrina Widner since 2000, and the couple had two children. They married in a civil ceremony in 2008 followed by a Mexican resort celebration attended by Bob Green, a prominent Hells Angel who was himself murdered in 2016. Sabrina Widner said she didn't learn of her husband's involvement in the gang until police started asking questions after his disappearance four years ago. "Did he own a Harley, did he have any ties to the Hells Angels? Ms. Widner said no," Duncan wrote. "Within a day or two the police advised her that they had found a body in Port Renfrew and were certain it was Mike. The news began carrying reports about the killing of a Hells Angels prospect with criminal ties. Ms. Widner said she was caught completely off guard by this." 'Trusted him about everything else' Sara Boughton met Widner in 2009, four years after graduating from high school. They moved in together within a month. At the time, Widner claimed to be going through a divorce that would be settled in three months. Three months morphed into eight years. Michael Widner, not pictured here, was a prospect for the Hells Angels, but his wife says she did not know he was involved with the organization.(Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press) The couple had a son and a daughter and went on holidays to Mexico together. Boughton said Widner told her he and his wife often argued, and that when he asked for a divorce she would "tell him he would not see his children and threaten him about being a criminal," the judge wrote. Since 2013, Boughton and Widner had been renting a house in Shawnigan Lake, about an hour's drive from Widner's other home in Sooke. Widner claimed he slept on the couch when he returned to his other family. Boughton said she didn't believe that, but it never struck her that he might still be "intimate" with his wife, Duncan wrote. Boughton said Widner also concealed his relationship with the Hells Angels from her. She said she found out some time in 2015, and didn't think it was a wise move for him to join. "Despite the fact that the deceased lied about his marital status and covered up his involvement in the Hells Angels, Ms. Boughton trusted him about everything else," Duncan said in her decision. 'Difficult to lead two lives' Widner died without a will. His wife said he didn't have a bank account or anything but a boat and a car left in his name. He listed his income at $1,500 in his 2011 tax return and $300 the following year. "In 2013, he claimed an income of zero," Duncan wrote. Widner's estate is estimated to be worth $150,000. (Mike Widner Memorial Page/Facebook) And yet, Boughton estimated Widner provided her with $8,000 a month for household expenses, and the dead man's mother claimed she saw him give Sabrina Widner "handfuls" of large bills — an allegation his wife denied, saying they didn't live a "lavish" lifestyle. According to the judgment, Widner appeared to get his money from a variety of sources. He ran a legal medical marijuana grow-op licensed in Sabrina Widner's name. He also tried his hand at a variety of odd jobs. And during the court proceedings, his mother said he was a high-level cocaine dealer. Widner's father and mother, who are separated, both testified at the proceeding. They each claimed to have known about their son's romantic entanglements, but neither shared the information with Sabrina Widner. "Mr. Widner felt his son's relationships were none of his business. He told his son to deal with the situation, because it was difficult to lead two lives," the decision says. His mother said she "did not think it was any of her business to tell Ms. Widner about Ms. Boughton." Psychics and politicians speak The possibility of a girlfriend was mentioned by a psychic whom Sabrina Widner consulted in the days after her husband disappeared. It was also because of a psychic that she didn't believe her husband owned a Harley-Davidson. "He had a motorcycle when their daughter was born but a psychic told them he would die on a motorcycle so they sold it," Duncan wrote "She learned that the Deceased had two motorcycles at Ms. Boughton's house and had purchased several others for the Hells Angels." Former Liberal attorney general Mike de Jong once spoke about the kinds of circumstances that would require a provision in B.C. law for two spouses to share a dead person's estate.(Tanya Fletcher/CBC) A pair of B.C. politicians would also turn out to be prescient in the matter of Michael Widner's life and death. Duncan cites legislative debate in 2009 between Liberal Attorney General Mike de Jong and NDP critic Leonard Krog about provisions of the Wills, Estates and Successions Act that are at the heart of the fight between Boughton and Sabrina Widner. The law specifically mentions a situation involving the division of an estate for "two or more spouses." "I'm just trying to grasp and get my head around this concept when you would have this intersection where two spouses would in fact have a claim," Krog said. De Jong said the law was drafted to include every possible circumstance — including one involving two people unwittingly involved in "overlapping" relationships. "As distasteful or tawdry as it may seem, the possibility that an individual or two individuals might find themselves in this situation requires, we believe, the inclusion of the provision," de Jong said. Duncan said it was clear the legislature intended to provide for people who were in a "marriage-like relationship" with someone who was also married at the time of their death. Sabrina Widner still plans to challenge the validity of the spousal provisions of the law, because her lawyers claim it would appear to conflict with the criminal law against polygamy. In the meantime, Duncan found Boughton is entitled to half of what can be found of Widner's estate — which appears to be about $150,000. "Ms. Widner understandably resents her husband's duplicity in forming a relationship with Ms. Boughton, having children with her and supporting a separate, secret household," Duncan wrote. "The resulting amount is to be divided equally between the two surviving spouses."
The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Ontario is happening at 34 different speeds, with each public health unit taking its own approach. The pace in the province's largest public health unit is notably slower than average. Officials in Toronto can't say when people aged 80 and up will be eligible to get vaccinated and are urging people not to call the public health hotline with questions about the timeline. Meanwhile, several public health units covering large urban areas have already started giving shots to that age group. York Region and Windsor-Essex both began their vaccinations of 80-plus-year-olds on Monday. In York Region, 20,000 of the roughly 45,000 people eligible have already booked appointments. People aged 80 and older line up outside a sports centre in Richmond Hill, Ont. on Monday to be among the first participants in York Region's mass vaccination program against COVID-19.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) During a City of Toronto news conference on Monday, officials were asked specifically when people in this age group in can expect to get the shot. There was no clear answer. Medical officer of health Dr Eileen de Villa spoke for two and a half minutes without addressing the question. WATCH | Questions and concerns continue around the timeline for Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout: Next, Fire Chief Matthew Pegg, leading Toronto's COVID-19 emergency response, said bookings would begin once the province's appointment system launches (slated for March 15), and added that vaccinations would begin in "early April." De Villa then jumped in to say that vaccinations of some sub-groups of people in this age group could begin this month, but added, "We need supply to be more readily available to get into the large-scale administration of vaccine for that 80-plus population." Given that all of Ontario's public health units are facing the same supply constraints, why is Ontario's largest city weeks behind other major population centres in the province? Ontario's timeline for vaccinating people against COVID-19 puts 2.1 million people in its Phase 1 priority group, including long-term care residents, health-care workers and people aged 80 and older.(Ontario Ministry of Health) The chair of Toronto's board of health, Coun. Joe Cressy, blames a vaccine allocation mismatch: the province is distributing doses to each public health unit based solely on its total population, not based on its population in the high-priority groups. In short, the argument is that Toronto is hampered from moving on to vaccinate seniors aged 80 and older because it has yet to receive enough doses to vaccinate those who were first in line -- such as hospital workers. "We have a disproportionately large number of people who qualify in phase 1 because they are more vulnerable," Cressy told the news conference. That leads to a question: why didn't the province provide a larger number of vaccines to places with a larger number of people in priority groups? Solicitor-General Sylvia Jones acknowledged Tuesday that Toronto's explanation for its slower pace "makes sense." But when asked whether the province should have distributed doses on an as-needed basis instead of a per-capita basis, she didn't directly answer. Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, left, gives Ontario Premier Doug Ford, centre, and Toronto Mayor John Tory, right, a tour of a vaccination clinic for health-care workers in January. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press) "The focus on the over 80 (age group) is critical," Jones told a news conference. "We'd love to have more vaccines to give to our public health units." Just don't ask the provincial government how many vaccine doses it has actually given to its public health units. The Ministry of Health refused CBC's request for this data on Tuesday, citing security concerns. The government also refused to provide a breakdown of how many vaccine doses have been administered by each public health unit, even though the ministry reports a province-wide total every day. The lack of disclosure makes it challenging to prove or disprove the claim that the distribution of vaccines has been unfair to Toronto. However, some figures disclosed by health units allow for rough math. The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit says it has received 12,285 doses of vaccine, while Toronto has received 195,440 doses. Using population data from Public Health Ontario, those shipments are enough to give one dose to 10.8 per cent of people living in Haldimand-Norfolk, but just 6.3 per cent of the population of Toronto. Toronto Public Health estimates that 325,000 people are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 under Phase 1 of Ontario's vaccine rollout. (Evan Mitsui/CBC) What is less clear is the evidence for Toronto's claim of being home to a disproportionate number of people in the priority groups for vaccination. People aged 80 and over are part of phase 1 of Ontario's vaccination timeline. But before getting to them, public health units were told to target the province's top-priority categories: long-term care residents and staff, other front-line health-care workers and Indigenous people. Ontario estimates 1.15 million people belong to those highest-priority groups. That is roughly eight per cent of the province's total population. Toronto Public Health could not provide an estimate Tuesday of how many people in the city are in those top-priority groups. But for Toronto to have a disproportionate burden, the number would need to be more than 240,000. Another comparison stick is the number of people eligible for vaccination through the whole of phase 1. Toronto Public Health says it's 325,000 people in the city, roughly 11 per cent of Toronto's population. That is no higher that the proportion of Ontario's population eligible in phase 1. Toronto Public Health COVID-19 vaccination numbers 195,440 doses of vaccine have been shipped to Toronto around 325,000 people are eligible to be vaccinated in phase 1 around 135,000 of them are aged 80 and above, including some 10,000 residents of long-term care
Across Canada, opposition parties have struggled to make a mark as governments continue to steal the spotlight as they grapple with COVID-19. Jagmeet Singh's New Democrats are not one of those parties. The polls suggest support for the NDP is on the rise. But what's behind it — and is it something that might last? According to the CBC's Canada Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data, the Liberals still hold a solid lead in national polls. Erin O'Toole's Conservatives continue to trail with less support than they had in the 2019 federal election. But the New Democrats stand at 19 per cent in the Poll Tracker, well above the party's 15.9 per cent share of the popular vote from 2019. It didn't happen overnight; the NDP is not in the midst of a surge. Instead, the New Democrats have been picking up a point or two per month since the beginning of May 2020, when the NDP bottomed out at 14.2 per cent in the Poll Tracker. The NDP's position in the polling average oscillates up and down based on which pollsters have published the most recent numbers. Certain polling methodologies appear to give better results for the NDP than others. Online surveys, for example, tend to produce higher numbers for the NDP than those conducted via interactive voice response (IVR) over the telephone. But regardless of their methodologies, multiple pollsters are picking up this rising orange tide. Léger has pegged the NDP at between 20 and 23 per cent support in each of its last seven polls going back to the end of November. The online polling firm had the NDP at just 14 to 17 per cent in April and May. Mainstreet Research, which does its polling via IVR, has had the NDP at 15 per cent after a few earlier surveys put the party in the 12 to 14 per cent range. The Angus Reid Institute and Ipsos have put the NDP around 20 per cent in national polls; last year they were recording NDP support in the 17 to 18 per cent range. While the increase only amounts to a few points — and not every pollster is seeing the same thing — the trend line broadly appears to be a positive one for Singh. NDP up in every part of the country The polls suggest the New Democrats have improved their position in every region of the country, with gains of between three and five points since their low last spring. The NDP now sits at about 28 per cent support in B.C., an increase of five points since May 2020. The party is also up five points to just under 20 per cent in Ontario. The NDP is up by about four points in Alberta (to 18 per cent) and three points in Quebec and Atlantic Canada (to 12 and 16 per cent, respectively). The fact that the rise in NDP support has been nearly uniform from coast to coast suggests that Singh and the federal party can take some credit for the better numbers. It also suggests a spillover effect from provincial politics. Take British Columbia. It's unlikely a coincidence that support for the federal New Democrats spiked in mid-October, when B.C. was in the midst of a provincial election. The B.C. New Democrats under Premier John Horgan secured a solid majority government that month. The federal NDP saw its poll numbers go from the 21 to 24 per cent range prior to October to the 25 to 29 per cent range afterward. And as the popularity of Premier Jason Kenney's government slipped in Alberta, support for the federal NDP has risen. Some provincial-level polling puts Rachel Notley's Alberta NDP ahead of Kenney's United Conservative Party. As in 2015 — when Tom Mulcair's federal NDP got a bounce from Notley's upset victory — it's hard to see the two polling spikes as unrelated. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh (right) with B.C. Premier John Horgan in 2019. The federal NDP experienced a spike in support in B.C. coinciding with the provincial B.C. NDP's election victory.(Chad Hipolito / Canadian Press) Political shifts in provincial capitals can't entirely explain the rise of the federal New Democrats, however. The NDP does not have a significant presence in Quebec or much of Atlantic Canada. In Ontario, Andrea Horwath's NDP has been unable to make any major headway in the polls against Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative government. Liberals and Conservatives stuck At the federal level, the New Democrats undoubtedly are benefiting from the inability of both the Liberals and the Conservatives to get their own numbers to budge. National support for the Liberals and the Conservatives has been largely unchanged for more than six months. There has been a little movement regionally, however, and the NDP has been able to take support away in several places. The Liberals have lost the most since their peak last spring, with the NDP being the primary beneficiary in Ontario, Atlantic Canada and the Prairies. The federal Conservatives have fallen back while the NDP has picked up support in Alberta. In B.C., the NDP is up while the Liberals, Conservatives and Greens are down. In Quebec, it's the Bloc and Liberals who have slid while the New Democrats (and Conservatives) have climbed. Both Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, left, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have struggled with stagnant poll numbers for months.(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press) With a minority government in Ottawa, Singh has enjoyed some success in using his party's leverage in the House of Commons to get the Liberals to move on things the NDP supports. Recently, he's started presenting election-style campaign promises. But Singh might also be able to thank O'Toole and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for making him look good by comparison. Trudeau's approval ratings have slipped in recent weeks but the Conservatives have not seen any corresponding bump. At 29.9 per cent, the party is below 30 per cent in the Poll Tracker for the first time since O'Toole became leader at the end of August. Like Trudeau, O'Toole has watched his personal polling numbers worsening. Canadians have a more positive impression of Singh — but that has been the case for some time. The most recent survey by the Angus Reid Institute finds 49 per cent holding a favourable view of Singh, compared to 39 per cent who hold an unfavourable view. That's almost exactly where the Angus Reid Institute situated Singh in May 2020. This all suggests that the NDP's steady rise might have a lot to do with how the other parties are doing — which raises the question of just how durable it might be. Little to gain, lots to lose for NDP Singh pledged last week that, because of the pandemic, he would not force an election by defeating the Liberal government in the House of Commons (though a spokesperson later told CBC News this pledge did not extend to a budget vote, which would force an election if the Liberals lost it). The experience of Newfoundland and Labrador — which might only learn the outcome of its election two months after it was originally supposed to — has provided a stark example of what can happen when an election is held in the midst of a pandemic. And there might be little for the NDP to gain from forcing an election in the near term. According to the Poll Tracker, at their current level of support the New Democrats might emerge from a spring election with about 29 seats, only five more than they hold now. But if an election were held with the parties polling as they do now, the Conservatives might actually lose seats — and perhaps hand the Liberals a narrow majority government in the process. For a few seats more, Singh could risk losing the leverage his party holds with a minority government. It's also possible that the polls are little more than a mirage. The NDP under-performed its polling in the last federal election, winning about a dozen fewer seats than expected. If Singh is being buoyed by the popularity of some of his provincial cousins and the uninspiring performance of his federal opponents, he might be better advised to avoid putting his party's support to the test too soon.
The amount of road salt that people, businesses, and cities are using over the winter is likely too much and is definitely hurting local waterways, according to the Ottawa Riverkeeper. The organization began monitoring how much road salt is making its way into local creeks last winter as part of its road salt monitoring pilot project. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment has established federal guidelines around the amount of chloride — which is partly what salt breaks down into when it dissolves in water — in waterbodies. Those guidelines state that 120 milligrams per litre leads to chronic, long-term toxicity, while anything above 640 milligrams per litre is considered acutely toxic. According to the Ottawa Riverkeeper, researchers found water samples containing chloride amounts five times the acute level. "Last year we were seeing levels well into the thousands," said Katy Alambo, a biologist with the Ottawa River Keeper. "We've expanded the program [this year] and we're seeing similar if not higher numbers." Not only does chloride take a long time to break down further, it's also toxic to aquatic life such as fish, amphibians, invertebrates and insects. "High chloride levels can cause disruptions to their reproduction cycles, their growth cycles," Alambo said. "In cases of species like amphibians who respire through their skin, it can also pose consequences there, too, and keep them from being able to breathe properly." You might be using too much salt As part of a pilot project that ran between January and March 2020, volunteers monitored five creeks — Pinecrest, Graham, Green, McKay, and Moore creeks — that were close to roads, shopping plazas, residential areas and anywhere else in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., where high amounts of road salt could be used. They measured the water's conductivity at each of those creeks after a large snowfall, rainstorm, thaw, or any event that would lead to more water entering the creeks. The conductivity of water rises the more dissolved ions like chloride there are. If the volunteers measured a certain level of conductivity, they then took a water sample to be analyzed. What they found, Alambo said, suggested too much road salt was being used. Instead of using salt, which is ineffective in temperatures under –10C, the Ottawa Riverkeeper suggests using salt, gravel or even cat litter to provide traction.(David Horemans/CBC) "We definitely understand that salt is important to keeping our roads safe," said Alambo. "One coffee mug full of road salt is pretty much all you need to de-ice one of your standard to two-car driveways." Salt is also ineffective at temperatures colder than –10 C, she added. Instead of salt, Alambo suggests using sand, gravel, or even cat litter to help provide traction. The Ottawa Riverkeeper also plans to approach the City of Ottawa about its salt use, especially as municipal officials are in the midst of reviewing the city's winter maintenance standards.
Orban announced the decision in a letter to the chairman of the EPP, Manfred Weber, on Wednesday, making good on his threat to leave the grouping over changes to its rules.View on euronews
Chris Daken is taken aback by the outpouring of attention, support and condolences his family is receiving in the wake of unspeakable tragedy. Lexi Daken, daughter to Chris and Shawna Betts, sister to Piper and Brennah, student at Leo Hayes High School, friend, athlete, teenager, took her own life last Wednesday. She was just 16. A week earlier, Lexi had been taken to the emergency room at Fredericton's Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital by a 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 left the hospital with a referral for followup. Since her death, Daken said, the family has been bowled over by the offers of support, from here in New Brunswick and right across the country. "Lexi's story has touched a lot of people in ways we would never have imagined," he said. Chris Daken with daughter Lexi, when she was about 2-years-old. (Submitted by Chris Daken) 'Lexi didn't get the help she went there for' On Tuesday, one day after Lexi's funeral service, Daken told CBC News his heart is aching but his mission is clear: to shine a spotlight on the broken system that allowed this to happen, and to never let it fade until things change. "It can't be acceptable that a person could go to the hospital and not get the care they need, that they be made to feel like a burden and pushed away," he said. "Lexi didn't get the help she went there for, and I really believe the government has to take a good look in the mirror and … at the decisions that were made that day." That's part of the reason Daken said his family made a conscious choice to speak openly about the tragedy. "The day after her death, we started getting calls from media," he said. "We sat down as a family to decide whether we should ignore the publicity and deal with Lexi's death in our own way, or speak out about it to everyone." Ultimately, they decided that "keeping it in the dark" would only perpetuate the stigma around mental health issues. "This has happened too often," Daken said. "We can't let this go away. We want to keep the momentum going, and hopefully it leads to change." That can't happen if people aren't talking about it, he said. "We want kids to know there's help out there. We're hoping to make mental health an easier subject to talk about. … It's no problem for people to talk about having a broken bone, so why can't we talk about having a broken brain?" Green Leader David Coon said Tuesday he will push the government to call for a public inquiry in the wake of Lexi Daken's death, noting "I will be relentless about it."(CBC News file photo) Family supports call for a public inquiry For this reason, the family also supports Green Party Leader David Coon's call for an inquiry into the province's handling of suicidal youths in emergency rooms. In an interview Tuesday morning, Coon said he plans to push the government to call a public inquiry into Lexi's death, noting "I will be relentless about this." "Too many teens in crisis have been turned back from emergency rooms without getting help, without getting admitted into a safe place where they won't be able to harm themselves," he said. "Something has to be done. We can't keep going with this broken system." Coon said he'd like to see "everyone along the chain" called as witnesses at the inquiry, from the psychiatrist and nurse on duty the day Lexi visited the hospital to the hospital management. Lexi Daken shown here with her sisters. From left to right, Brennah, Piper and Lexi. (Submitted by Chris Daken) Daken said he spoke with Coon about his plan at Lexi's vigil, and he supports it completely. "I think it's a good thing," he said. "The public is looking for answers just as we are." Daken sees a public inquiry as another crucial step on the road to real change. "What we have seen over and over again in the past, when a teen has taken their own life, there's a big outcry for a week or two, and then after a while it just quietly goes away," he said. "We don't want that to happen this time." The sheer number of individuals and groups who have contacted Daken and his family to offer help and support gives him hope that this time, it really will be different, he said. "We've had mental health associations reaching out from across the country, people here in the community organizing fundraisers, we've had [People's Alliance Leader] Kris Austin and the Liberals and Mr. Coon in touch with us," he said. "None of us wants to let this fade away. "So as tragic as Lexi's death is, we hope some good can come out it." 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.
After its 2020 season was cancelled by COVID-19, the Stratford Festival announced plans this week to stage outdoor productions over the summer. Beginning in late June, the festival plans to stage a combination of plays and cabarets running about 90 minutes each. Performances will be held underneath two open-air canopies at the Festival Theatre and the Tom Patterson Theatre and will also be streamed online. "We realized we had to find an open airway where people could feel safe, socially distanced with masks on, but getting a very exciting experience on the stage," artistic director Antoni Cimolino told CBC News. "If things get better, we can always scale up, we can bring the productions indoors, but we needed to find a way to just be able to deliver the plays and that's what we're excited about." Cimolino said the festival lost millions when it cancelled last year's season. This year's season is supported, in part, by a $1.8 million cash infusion announced by the province Tuesday, though Cimolino expects with audiences capped at 100 people, they won't turn a profit this year, either. "We're going to be losing money again, but we have to be present this summer," he said. Return to festival's roots The Stratford Festival tent is pictured in 1953. The Festival's plan to hold performances under canopies is, in some ways, a return to its roots. (Photo by Peter Smith & Company. Courtesy of the Stratford Festival Archives.) The canopies will, in a way, be modified versions of the original performance tent used by the festival when it was first established in the early 1950s. The canopy top will provide protection from the rain while the lack of side panels means there will be better ventilation than in a traditional tent, Cimolino said. "It will be a change from what we had years ago but very much in the same spirit," he said. Each canopy is expected to seat about 100 people, although plans may change depending on what public health guidelines are in place over the summer. Performances will be capped at a brisk 90 minutes to avoid the risk of audience members getting too close during intermissions. Actors will also perform in one play each in order to bubble casts together and stop the spread of COVID-19 between different shows. "Everything about this summer will be tailor-made to address the current situation," said Cimolino. 'Great news' for local business Stratford City Centre BIA chair Rob Russell welcomed the news of the festival's upcoming summer season. Russell said his business, like many others in Stratford, suffered last year due to the lack of tourist traffic and he hopes to welcome more in-person customers this year. "I do know it's not nearly, of course, the size of season they would normally run, but it's great news for all the businesses in Stratford that are working hard to bring more people to town," said Russell, who owns MacLeods Scottish Shop. "That can only have a positive impact and make this year that much better than last year." Cimolino said this year's season will be tied to a theme of metamorphosis. Further details about the performance titles and cast members will be released later this spring. The 2021 season is expected to begin at the end of June and wrap up in late September. The Stratford Festival, which has been holding annual theatre productions in Stratford, Ont., since 1953, will put it’s entire 2020 season on hold amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. See man and woman walking in front of Stratford Festival shop.(Evan Mitsui/CBC)
As Amazon sets its sights on central and eastern Europe, the e-commerce giant will need to convince long-time Allegro shoppers like Elzbieta Modrakowska to click away from the region's leading online marketplace. While prioritising its expansion to other, bigger markets, Amazon has given companies such as Allegro the time to lay deep roots and prepare for its arrival - something the Polish firm has done with loyalty programmes, free delivery and other perks. "I don't think we will switch ... Allegro has set the bar very high," said Modrakowska, whose weekly shop spans everything from organic food to batteries.
The Red Shores racetrack in Charlottetown is in a complete lockdown in an effort to control an outbreak of strangles. About 200 horses at the track were tested late last week, and officials are now awaiting those results before deciding on further actions. "We decided that to get a better understanding of what we're dealing with, and for heightened precautionary measures, that we would go into a lockdown for the grounds, which essentially means no horses coming or going for a time period," said Lee Drake, manager of racing, brands and broadcast divisions at Red Shores. "We've only had two confirmed cases of strangles on Prince Edward Island. Those horses were removed from the barns and are undergoing isolation at this point, and we are conducting screening tests for all the horses that are currently on the grounds." Red Shores Racetrack has taken measures to prevent the spread of strangles, including adding security and restricting who can enter the barns.(Shane Hennessey/CBC) The cost of the mandatory testing is being covered by Red Shores, the P.E.I. Harness Racing Industry Association and the Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission. Highly contagious Red Shores says only essential workers will be allowed into each barn, as identified by each trainer, and they must now follow strict biosecurity measures. That means foot baths, brushes and disinfectant have been supplied to each barn. (Red Shores Racetrack)Strangles is an upper-respiratory illness that can cause swollen lymph nodes, nasal discharge and fevers in horses, donkeys and mules. While the illness can be fatal, most animals do survive. It is highly contagious and spreads easily through nose to nose contact between horses, or even contact with people. If handlers get the bacteria from one horse on their hands, feet or clothing, they can pass it on to another horse. A meeting was held on February 23 that included the Atlantic Veterinary College, Charlottetown Veterinary Clinic, Prince Edward Island Harness Racing Industry Association, Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission and Red Shores. The lockdown took effect two days later, with no additional horses allowed on the grounds until further notice. "The next step is to to consult with the veterinarians — they are, of course, guiding us through this — and just get a better understanding of those results, the next steps," Drake said. "I should say that's confidential, like a doctor-patient privilege, if you will, between them and their client [the horse owner]. And so they'll be guiding them, and updating us, on the next steps that are going to be taken." Lockdown rules Under the lockdown rules, horses will be allowed to leave the track property only if they have a clearance letter from a veterinarian. During the lockdown, Red Shores says only essential workers will be allowed into each barn, and they must now follow strict biosecurity measures, including foot baths, brushes and disinfectant supplied to each barn. About 200 horses at the track were tested late last week and officials are now awaiting those results before deciding on further actions.(CBC) Owners and trainers are also being encouraged to take their horses' temperature daily and log the results, and consult a veterinarian if they see any symptoms. Drake said he can't confirm stories of strangles in other horses on P.E.I., outside of the racetrack. "Whether you're based on track, or you're on a farm, you have a heightened awareness of what's happening," Drake said. A medical laboratory technician in the AVC Diagnostic Services bacteriology lab examines bacterial growth on culture plates. (Anna MacDonald/AVC) "Until we know more of what we're dealing with, every stable — whether you're either on the grounds here or off the grounds — should be doing the measures that the veterinarians have asked. And that is, keeping a close watch on your horses and doing daily temperature checks." Meanwhile, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario says it has been informed that three additional horses tested positive for strangles in a barn at Shamrock Training Centre. Restrictions were put in place there after a horse shipped from Prince Edward Island tested positive. It had just been transported from Red Shores on Sunday, Feb. 14. No horses will be allowed to ship in for training until further notice.(Shane Hennessey/CBC) Also, Truro Raceway has issued a statement saying that it will be restricting horses from P.E.I. because of the strangles outbreak. "Any individual seeking to move a horse from P.E.I. to Truro will need the horse to have two negative strangles tests, conducted one week apart, prior to being permitted to enter the property," Truro officials said in the statement. "We will continue to monitor the situation, and this will be our policy until further notice." More from CBC P.E.I.
Candice McCowin's brother Graeme McLean died of an opioid overdose three years ago. For three years she's been among advocates calling for Windsor police to carry naloxone. For three years she's felt ignored. Now, with news hundreds of frontline officers are being trained to use the drug, McCowin said she's relieved. But one question lingers. "What was the deciding factor? What makes all the lives moving forward more important than my brother's was or people before him?" In the past the department said data didn't support officers being equipped with naloxone — which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Meanwhile, statistics from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) show the number of opioid-related emergency room visits have climbed steadily. There were 249 opioid-related visits in 2019, more than three times greater than the 78 that were tallied in 2007, according to WECHU. Twenty-nine were tallied in January 2021. This chart shows the rise in opioid-related emergency department visits in Windsor-Essex in recent years.(Windsor-Essex County Health Unit) Late last week Mayor Drew Dilkens, chair of the service's board, said Police Chief Pam Mizuno had decided to make a change. On Tuesday the chief said more than 275 patrol and investigative officers have already learned to administer the Narcan nasal spray version of the drug and that training is ongoing. There are roughly 500 frontline officers in the service. "Our officers being deployed at the emergency shelters for people who are experiencing homelessness, as well as the recovery centres. I think that changes it," Mizuno said in explaining her decision and the timing of it, adding the kits are being provided to the service for free. While the chief cites the shelters set up amid COVID-19 outbreaks as a difference, it's not clear how interacting with users there will be different from the ways officers would interact with people while regularly patrolling the community. Explanation a 'bit of a shock' Bruce Chapman, president of the Police Association of Ontario (PAO), expressed surprise when asked about the explanation. "[It's] a little bit of shock I guess," he said. "There are countless cases of police personnel during their regular patrols coming across individuals who have suffered an overdose and saving their lives. I could give you 20 examples across the province and that happens every day." Last month, for example, OPP issued a media release stating it has saved 210 lives using naloxone since its officers started using it in 2017. Others, including Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky, have suggested police linking their decision to the emergency shelter serves to stigmatize people experiencing homelessness. It's a view McCowin shares. "[Police] didn't decide to come to this determination because we have a crisis," she said. "They're coming to this determination because there's stigma attached to homeless people and they're going to be working around them so now it's important." The chief said the service does not want to further stigmatize people with addictions, noting the majority of overdose calls police respond to are at private residences. Officers have used naloxone twice this year Mizuno also pointed to "stress" on emergency systems in the city during the pandemic and a pair of community alerts from the Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy. One of the alerts was in response to 22 fentanyl-related visits to the emergency room in just one week, including 16 overdoses, numbers described as "extremely high." "All of those things in totality have certainly led to the decision," said the chief. The PAO represents officers at dozens of police services, including Windsor, and has been pushing departments to carry the drug since 2019. Chapman said as far as he's aware Windsor is the last large department to do so. Bruce Chapman, Police Association of Ontario president, said Windsor police should have started carrying naloxone a long time ago.(Radio-Canada) "It should have been done a long time ago. It's unfortunate it wasn't," he said. "Who knows how many lives could have been saved. We don't know the answer to that, but we do know as a result of the decision Windsor has finally made that there will be lives saved." A CBC analysis of police reports where officers responded and naloxone was administered between November 2018 and December 2019 found that on at least 14 occasions, Windsor police arrived first to the scene of a drug overdose without naloxone in-hand. The chief said police still consider an overdose a medical emergency that is best responded to by medical personnel such as paramedics. She also stated she believes no one has died because police didn't have the drug in the past. "Our officers have not attended a scene where, and of course you cannot definitively say, but where a life has been lost because our officers have not been carrying naloxone. That has not happened." Up until this decision, Windsor police had officers with just three units — detention, city centre patrol and problem-oriented policing — that had access to the drug. Officers equipped with naloxone in those units have already used it twice this year, according to Mizuno. McCowin said the decision from police could mean another family is spared the pain she carries. Graeme McLean was sober for more than 100 days before his fatal overdose. (Supplied by Candice McCowin) Graeme was the baby of the family, a "joker," who was helpful and "larger than life" with a wife, baby and job before he became addicted. But years of hearing police give reasons not to carry naloxone left her questioning whether his death meant anything. She can't shake that feeling, even now. "I just thought. 'There isn't a need? I think if it was only one person, my brother, or whoever, there should have been a need,'" she explained. "Think about how many people have died in the city of Windsor from opioid overdose."