Royal commentator Phil Dampier talks about Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip’s life and legacy who died at the age of 99 on Friday morning.
Royal commentator Phil Dampier talks about Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip’s life and legacy who died at the age of 99 on Friday morning.
Is Gerald Cotten, the late CEO of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX really dead? That's just one of the questions explored in the documentary Dead Man's Switch a crypto mystery (part of the 2021 Hot Docs festival), which takes you on a deep, but explanatory, dive into the mysterious death that left $215 million dollars in cash and cryptocurrency missing.
The Lower Mainland's homicide investigation team says a man is dead following a shooting in Burnaby. B.C. Emergency Health Services said paramedics responded to the incident at 6th Street between 12th and 13th Avenue around 7 p.m. PT and transported one patient to hospital. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) later said in a tweet that the victim died of his injuries. Burnaby RCMP originally responded to the shooting, but has not yet shared any details about what happened. There have been multiple shootings across the Lower Mainland in the last few weeks, many in public places such as mall parking lots or public parks. Police say many of the shootings are connected to drugs and gangs. Burnaby violence Six days ago, a 43-year-old man was arrested after an early morning shooting in Burnaby that sent a 25-year-old woman to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. In mid-March police discovered a female burned body in a Burnaby park with other suspicious injuries. IHIT later took over the case. One man died after a shooting in a residential neighbourhood of Burnaby in February, which followed another fatal shooting nine days earlier in the city.
Police in southeastern B.C. are looking for help to determine what happened to a 35-year-old woman found dead Thursday who had been travelling from Didsbury, Alta., to Kootenay National Park near Radium, B.C. RCMP say the victim, Brenda Ware, was found 54 kilometres northeast of Radium, along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park. Police are calling her death suspicious but have not released any details about what happened to her. Her vehicle, a red 2019 Jeep Cherokee with Alberta licence plate YPC 553, was also discovered Thursday. Police say Ware had been driving a red 2019 Jeep Cherokee with Alberta licence plate YPC 553.(B.C. RCMP) Police are asking anyone who saw Ware or her vehicle from May 4 to May 6 to contact them. Ware is described as being five feet one inch, or 155 cm, and weighing 108 pounds, or 49 kilograms. She had blue eyes and brown hair. Social media accounts associated with her name and image say she lived in Cremona, Alta., and worked as a hairstylist. Hitchhikers B.C. RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said in a release that investigators want to speak with anybody who may have encountered hitchhikers in the area or who has dash-camera video of driving through Kootenay National Park between May 5 and 6. Anyone with information on this case can call police at 1-877-987-8477. B.C.'s Southeast District Major Crime Unit is investigating the death.
MIRROR, Alta. — RCMP ticketed protesters leaving an anti-lockdown rally outside a central Alberta café Saturday, after the establishment was closed by health officials earlier in the week. Despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction, hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Café in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta., for the "Save Alberta Campout Protest." Demonstrators were there to support café owner Chris Scott and challenge Public Health Orders meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. A spokesman for the RCMP said officers took the first three hours of the protest to educate demonstrators on COVID-19 regulations and notify them that they were contravening the injunction. "There was a decision at one point to start mounting enforcement," said Cpl. Troy Savinkoff. "That was around 4 p.m." Savinkoff said police would provide a more thorough update on how many people were ticketed later Saturday. On Wednesday, AHS said it closed the café after the agency received more than 400 complaints about the business since January. Health authorities said the café is to remain closed until Scott can demonstrate the ability to comply with health restrictions. Alberta Health Services said after hearing about plans for the protest that the provincial government would take legal action that would allow RCMP officers to use reasonable force in arresting and removing any person at the rally who contravenes public health orders. But that didn't stop people without masks from standing together to cheer and clap when Scott stood on a stage and encouraged them to fight for their freedom. "I've been accused of a lot of things over this. They think it's about money. They think it's about popularity. I could care less about that," Scott told the crowd. "I'm not fine with anyone telling me what to do with my body or how to earn an income." Scott then asked the crowd to follow COVID-19 regulations at the rally due to the injunction. Three hours later, RCMP officers with body cameras began handing out tickets under the Public Health Act to those leaving the area for participating in the illegal gathering. Last weekend, hundreds of people gathered near Bowden, also in central Alberta for a pre-advertised maskless "No More Lockdowns'" protest rodeo. Days later, the premier announced stronger restrictions and doubled fines for scofflaws. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. --- This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
A group of Hong Konger Canadians has launched a nationwide campaign in the hopes of making their mark on the 2021 census and encouraging the federal government to recognize "Hong Konger" as an official identity. The #IAmHongKonger campaign calls on members of the diaspora to select Hong Kong as their ethnic origin in the long-form census and to list Cantonese as one of their spoken languages at home in the short-form version. Campaign organizers say they want their unique identity as Cantonese-speaking Hong Kongers recognized in Canada. "We need to really uphold our identity, because we are not the same as Chinese," said Henry Lam, who moved to Vancouver with his husband six years ago. Every five years, Canadians are invited to participate in the census to provide information on socioeconomic and demographic trends that can influence future policy decisions. WATCH | #IAmHongKonger organizers want to make statement on 2021 census: Hong Konger wasn't provided as an option in the 2016 census, and officials say anyone who noted it on the form would have been grouped as Chinese. Lam said that can affect government services for Cantonese-speaking Hong Kongers. "When they send out a survey to me, they only give me simplified Chinese, a.k.a. Mandarin, so it is not our reading language at all." Census now includes Hong Konger as ethnicity The director general of this year's census says Hong Konger is now included as an ethnicity on the form. "Never has [there] been more desire for disaggregated data — data that doesn't lump people together," Geoff Bowlby said. Bowlby said he believes there will likely be enough of a response to provide information specific to the Hong Kong diaspora. Lam's husband said that in addition to the practical aim of better government services, China's actions in Hong Kong have given Hong Kongers in Canada a political motivation for the campaign. "We don't want to be erased," Guy Ho said. "That is what the Chinese or the [People's Republic of China] is trying to do, and they want to keep the city but remove the people." Protests against governments in Hong Kong and China swelled in 2019, and Beijing clamped down on expressions of anti-government sentiment in the city with a new national security law. Nearly two million people flooded Hong Kong's streets during mass demonstrations in June 2019. The protesters were voicing their concern over China's expanding influence and the erosion of democratic rights. (Sasa Petricic/CBC) Leo Shin, an associate professor in the Asian studies department at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said China and its supporters could take note of an official distinction in census data. "Given the sort of hyperconnected world that we live in? No doubt it will be noticed," he said. "I think there will be some reactions — maybe not necessarily from the government, but from the netizens to make this a political issue." For Lam, it's about more than politics. "We don't want our identity to be faded in our generation, because I am not sure for the future of Hong Kong." He said the census campaign is a way to support friends protesting back home.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Sunday May 9, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 326,863 new vaccinations administered for a total of 15,652,046 doses given. Nationwide, 1,240,997 people or 3.3 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 41,299.062 per 100,000. There were 8,580 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 18,042,094 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 86.75 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 23,201 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 200,591 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 383.077 per 1,000. In the province, 1.85 per cent (9,676) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland and Labrador for a total of 244,930 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 47 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 6,556 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 59,758 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 376.715 per 1,000. In the province, 6.78 per cent (10,750) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 76,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 44,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 356,978 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 365.794 per 1,000. In the province, 3.86 per cent (37,630) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 450,600 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.22 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 34,600 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 302,262 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 387.496 per 1,000. In the province, 3.81 per cent (29,688) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 373,815 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 91,009 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,641,908 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 425.623 per 1,000. There were 8,580 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 4,119,439 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.41 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 138,125 new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,023,610 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 410.074 per 1,000. In the province, 2.66 per cent (390,990) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 7,056,415 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 48 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 12,272 new vaccinations administered for a total of 546,919 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 397.18 per 1,000. In the province, 5.50 per cent (75,755) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 686,160 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 50 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 13,042 new vaccinations administered for a total of 504,482 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 427.834 per 1,000. In the province, 3.90 per cent (46,022) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 542,935 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 46 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 92.92 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 54,242 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,846,554 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 419.476 per 1,000. In the province, 7.14 per cent (314,504) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 2,002,215 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 92.23 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,042,442 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 398.015 per 1,000. In the province, 1.94 per cent (99,461) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 2,330,040 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,439 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,184.707 per 1,000. In the territory, 55.23 per cent (23,048) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 55,920 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 88.41 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 48,007 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 1,064.009 per 1,000. In the territory, 48.04 per cent (21,674) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 58,800 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 130 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 81.64 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 29,096 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 751.33 per 1,000. In the territory, 32.97 per cent (12,768) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 44,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 110 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 9, 2021. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Demand for jade has sparked both a reality TV series set in the remote northwestern corner of British Columbia and opposition from an Indigenous nation over its lack of consent to jade mining in its territory. The Tahltan Nation has strong ties to the mining and mineral exploration sector, but the extraction of nephrite jade is "a very problematic industry for us," said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. B.C.'s consultation with the nation over jade mining permit applications has been "minimal," Day said in an interview, and in recent years the nation has expressed opposition to new permits and the industry overall. Abandoned machinery, shipping containers and jade boulders, cut open and discarded because they're too low in quality, are scattered across areas where caribou roam and Tahltan people hunt and go snowmobiling, he said. Day said he's also concerned that unlike major mines, smaller-scale jade extraction doesn't always require archeological assessment before work starts. Any discoveries are important evidence of Tahltan rights and title to the nation's territory that comprises 11 per cent of the province, he said. B.C.'s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources and to stop work in the event of a potential finding. Jade is mined from mountainsides or through placer mining, a smaller-scale excavation ranging from old-style gold panning to digging in and around riverbeds for deposits of minerals washed away over time. The Mines Ministry said it has been working with the industry and Indigenous nations to develop recommendations for higher operational and reclamation standards for the sector. The B.C. government paused decisions on new placer jade permits in Tahltan territory for two years as it works to "establish a long-term economic, reconciliation, wildlife and land-use partnership" with the nation, Mines Minister Bruce Ralston said in a recent statement. Ten jade mining permits remain active in Tahltan territory, the ministry said, while 34 are inactive after operating between 2015 and 2019. Another seven permits are not being used because the operators' certificates are suspended, it said. The ministry said it takes issues of non-compliance seriously and uses enforcement tools, such as monetary penalties, as a deterrent. There is no index for the price of jade, which refers to two different stones: nephrite and jadeite. The finest jadeite can be valued at a higher price than the same weight in gold, while the jade mined in B.C. is mainly nephrite. Its value is determined by different factors including its colour and clarity. While the Tahltan have signed engagement agreements with many mineral exploration companies, along with impact benefit agreements for three major mines, there are no such agreements with jade operators, said Day. "Is there any revenue sharing? Are there jobs? Are there contracts? Is there equity ownership? Where are the benefits?" he asked. "There's nothing." Day and other Tahltan leaders visited jade and placer mining operations by helicopter in 2019 to deliver letters expressing their lack of consent. Among those who received a letter were the Bunces, a mining family featured on the reality TV show "Jade Fever." The seventh season is set to launch Monday on Discovery Canada, which is owned by Bell Media. Concerns over the jade industry have "been on the radar of more and more Tahltan people because of Jade Fever," Day said. The show follows the Bunces' mining operation as they search for "million-dollar boulders of jade," according to promotional materials posted online. It's a small-scale, family-run operation with an exploration permit to work on one claim, which is not a placer claim, Claudia Bunce said in an email. The permit limits their land disturbance to 2.5 hectares over five years and it required a financial surety to ensure remediation of the land, she said. Every permit under the Mines Act includes a bond that's held until reclamation is finished, or the money may be seized, the Mines Ministry said. The B.C. government has improved environmental regulations for jade mining in recent years, said Bunce, adding she fully supports those measures and any additional recommendations the Tahltan have. Their target is to extract about 50 tonnes of jade each year, said Bunce, enough to fashion jewelry and other products sold at the family's store in Jade City, a tiny community between Dease Lake and the Yukon boundary. Revenue from the store funds their next mining season, she said. Bunce said she's had to fight for a voice in a male-dominated industry and she respects others' right to do the same, including the Tahltan. After receiving the letter from Tahltan leaders, Bunce said she immediately called the Mines Ministry to confirm their jade operation was lawful. "I was told by (the ministry) that my permit goes through a consultation process before being approved, with three Indigenous groups in the area, the Tahltan, the Tse'Khene, and Kaska Nation," she said. Tahltan consent is not required, but that's set to change as the B.C. government implements the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which it adopted through legislation in late 2019. The declaration requires governments to obtain free, prior and informed consent before taking actions that affect Indigenous Peoples and territories. Bunce said it's up to the B.C. government, not individual mining operations, to implement the UN declaration and she hopes the Tahltan can reach an agreement with the province that addresses their concerns. "I will abide by whatever agreement they make," she added. Jade Fever's producers at Vancouver-based Omnifilm Entertainment were aware of the Tahltan letter delivered to the Bunces, they said in a statement. At the time, they contacted the province and confirmed the Bunces have a work permit that provided for Indigenous consultation, they said. "As a documentary series, we are on site to follow the real-life story of a family run jade operation. We do not participate in the mining or intervene in the business side of their operation as that is handled by the family." A statement from a Bell Media spokesperson said the company had not been aware of the concerns over jade mining raised by the Tahltan Nation. "We take this matter seriously and are investigating further," it said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press
In an interview with CBC's chief political correspondent, Rosemary Barton, Jim Diodati, the mayor of Niagara Falls, Ont., says it's time for the federal government to have a discussion on where the benchmarks are for reopening the U.S.-Canada border and how they can be reached.
President Vladimir Putin reviewed Russia's traditional World War Two victory parade on Sunday, a patriotic display of raw military power that this year coincides with soaring tensions with the West. The parade on Moscow's Red Square commemorating the 76th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two featured over 12,000 troops and more than 190 pieces of military hardware, including intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, and a fly-past by nearly 80 military aircraft under cloudy skies.
If water levels rise another 10 centimetres in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories, officials say a siren will sound and they'll be going door to door to make sure island residents are evacuated. The new measures will kick in if water levels along the Mackenzie River hit 15 metres. According to updates on the community's website, water levels were still at 14.9 metres as of 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When the water reached that point, at around 8:55 a.m., officials said all residents on the island were advised to evacuate and that people should turn off their power and propane before leaving. Fort Simpson started flying some residents out of the community Saturday night, after issuing an evacuation order because of rising flood waters.(Submitted by Lisa Kraus) On Saturday night, officials said they were evacuating residents who had registered at the Recreation Centre to Fort Smith by plane. Fort Simpson is dealing with rising water levels because of the seasonal breakup of ice along the Mackenzie River. Other communities, including Hay River and Jean Marie River are also navigating flood situations.
Large Canadian cities, usually major tourist destinations, have have experienced drastic declines in tourists and tourism spending while some regional hotspots have been overwhelmed with visitors.
The federal government responded this weekend to three letters written by the Ontario government that call for stricter measures on international travellers crossing at land borders and on interprovincial travellers flying into the province. In a letter dated May 7, 2021, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc tells Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones that the federal government is willing to work with the province to curb the spread of COVID-19 but is waiting for it to produce a list of international travellers it would like Ottawa to ban from entering Ontario. "We welcome your specific requests for further refinements to the mutually agreed list of acceptable International travellers," LeBlanc writes in the four-page letter. "The federal government stands ready, however to date we have not received such a request." The letter outlines the financial support that the federal government has provided to Ontario to fight the virus and provides a list of measures that the federal government has implemented to limit international air travel. The letter notes that the government has prohibited all non-essential travel into Canada since March 2020 with a "very limited" number of exceptions. This measure includes closing the border with the U.S. except for essential supply lines and essential workers who deliver food and medicine and for some humanitarian purposes. The letter does not respond specifically to a request made by the Ontario government for a three-day hotel quarantine for international travellers crossing at land borders. On the subject of interprovincial travel, the letter notes: "... several provinces and territories have put in place additional measures to limit interprovincial travel, including implementing quarantine. I note that your government has taken some measures at interprovincial land borders to limit entry for non-essential travel. Premier (Doug) Ford noted a desire to manage or limit interprovincial air travel. "As with other provinces and territories that have taken those measures, we are prepared to work with you to help facilitate additional provincial measures requiring interprovincial travel." Ontario praised for vaccine hot spot focus, paid sick leave The letter concludes by commending the Ontario government for prioritizing COVID-19 vaccines for vulnerable people and residents of hot spots and for instituting sick pay for workers under provincial jurisdiction. "A science based data driven strategy is essential to ensure that when the time is right, we can resume a normal life," the letter says. Cars from Canada line up to cross into the U.S. in Blaine, Wash. In a letter dated April 29, 2020, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones had asked Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and federal Health Minister Patty Hadju to implement a three-day hotel quarantine at land crossings.(Elaine Thompson/AP Photo) Alexandra Adamo, spokesperson for Premier Doug Ford, said in an email on Sunday in response to the federal letter: "The Premier has said he will use every tool at his disposal to protect Ontarians. This is an extremely urgent situation and we need the federal government to act now. We cannot sit back and watch the fourth wave of COVID-19 walk across our border." In a letter dated April 29, 2020, Elliott and Jones had asked Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and federal Health Minister Patty Hadju to implement a three-day hotel quarantine at land crossings. "Specifically, we are requesting the implementation of a three-day hotel quarantine in federally designated hotels at the highest traffic crossings, including those in Niagara, Windsor, Sarnia and Brockville. Some of these crossings, including the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, are located in close proximity to other crossings. It is important that all air travellers in these regions are met with the same quarantine requirement, to ensure all points of entry are protected." In a letter dated April 26, 2021, Elliott and Jones had asked Blair and Hadju to restrict interprovincial air travel through PCR testing (also known as polymerase chain reaction testing), which is lab testing to detect viruses. Elliott and Jones had written: "We are asking that you implement mandatory pre-departure PCR testing for all domestic air travellers entering Ontario. This measure will be an extension to the current 72-hour PCR required for international passengers seeking entry into Canada." And on April 22, 2021, Ford had asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reduce more incoming international flights and roll out more "protective actions" at the Canada-U.S. border.
Alberta topped 2,000 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, as the number of active cases in the province surpassed 25,000 for the first time during the pandemic. There were 18,809 tests completed on Friday for a positivity rate of around 11 per cent. Alberta identified 406 new variant cases, making up 47.6 per cent of the province's new high of 25,155 active cases. Alberta rolled back testing for coronavirus variants this week, citing a rapid increase in positivity rates and test volumes. Variant testing is now limited to hospital patients, health-care workers, recent travellers and people involved in outbreaks. Currently there are 661 people being treated for COVID-19 in hospital including 148 in intensive care unit beds, compared to 659 people in hospital the previous day, including 150 in intensive care beds. Two deaths were reported Saturday, including a man in his 60s in the North zone and a woman in her 80s in the Central zone. Anti-restrictions protesters gathered outside a cafe in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta., for a Save Alberta Campout Protest, as the next slate of tougher COVID-19 restrictions are to come into force Monday, including the closure of patios and personal services, such as hair salons and tattoo shops. Alberta Health Services has said the provincial government will take legal action to stop any planned protests of COVID-19 public health orders, including the one outside the cafe. In Calgary, police arrested two organizers of a church service Saturday who have been defying public health restrictions for months and charged them with organizing an illegal in-person gathering. Here are the province's 25,155 active cases broken down by health zone: Calgary zone: 11,178 Edmonton zone: 5,900 North zone: 3,780 Central zone: 2,917 South zone: 1,355 Unknown: 25 Alberta reported 1,846,554 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered as of Saturday, an increase of 54,242 doses over the last 24 hours. The province administered a single day record of 57,716 doses on Thursday. As of Monday, Albertans 12 and older will be eligible to book a vaccine appointment.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Sunday May 9, 2021. There are 1,279,971 confirmed cases in Canada. Canada: 1,279,971 confirmed cases (81,052 active, 1,174,351 resolved, 24,568 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 6,805 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 213.27 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 52,103 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 7,443. There were 39 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 307 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 44. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 32,549,753 tests completed. Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,133 confirmed cases (71 active, 1,056 resolved, six deaths). There were six new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 13.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 52 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 248,761 tests completed. Prince Edward Island: 186 confirmed cases (10 active, 176 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 6.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. 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 zero per 100,000 people. There have been 148,332 tests completed. Nova Scotia: 3,754 confirmed cases (1,538 active, 2,145 resolved, 71 deaths). There were 163 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 157.04 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,179 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 168. There was one new reported death Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of four new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.25 per 100,000 people. There have been 661,716 tests completed. New Brunswick: 1,996 confirmed cases (142 active, 1,813 resolved, 41 deaths). There were eight new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 18.17 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 63 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There was one new reported death Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of five new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.25 per 100,000 people. There have been 312,348 tests completed. Quebec: 357,174 confirmed cases (8,655 active, 337,538 resolved, 10,981 deaths). There were 958 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 100.94 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 6,300 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 900. There were seven new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 48 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 128.06 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,540,951 tests completed. Ontario: 489,087 confirmed cases (32,888 active, 447,938 resolved, 8,261 deaths). There were 2,864 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 223.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 22,354 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,193. There were 25 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 182 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 26. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 56.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,264,950 tests completed. Manitoba: 41,425 confirmed cases (3,237 active, 37,198 resolved, 990 deaths). There were 488 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 234.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,432 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 347. There were three new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 71.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 709,668 tests completed. Saskatchewan: 42,964 confirmed cases (2,293 active, 40,169 resolved, 502 deaths). There were 269 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 194.54 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,604 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 229. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of eight 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 42.59 per 100,000 people. There have been 792,177 tests completed. Alberta: 207,157 confirmed cases (25,155 active, 179,894 resolved, 2,108 deaths). There were 2,042 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 568.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,990 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,999. There were two new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 25 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 47.67 per 100,000 people. There have been 4,272,048 tests completed. British Columbia: 134,341 confirmed cases (6,940 active, 125,799 resolved, 1,602 deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 134.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,024 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 575. There were zero new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 21 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 31.12 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,556,533 tests completed. Yukon: 82 confirmed cases (one active, 79 resolved, two deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 2.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one 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 4.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,129 tests completed. Northwest Territories: 99 confirmed cases (48 active, 51 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 106.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 48 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 20,024 tests completed. Nunavut: 560 confirmed cases (74 active, 482 resolved, four deaths). There were seven new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 188.04 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 51 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 13,040 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 9, 2021. The Canadian Press
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel's attorney-general secured a deferment on Sunday of a court hearing on planned evictions of Palestinians in Jerusalem, a session that had threatened to stoke more violence in the holy city and heighten international concern. The government could now have some breathing room to try to defuse a tinderbox situation in Jerusalem, where the court case and friction during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan have led to clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police. The Israeli Supreme Court had been due on Monday to hear appeals against the planned evictions of several Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, an area captured by Israel in a 1967 war.
Manitoba will shutter schools in two hard-hit regions and move students to online learning, officials announced Sunday, as several other provinces also tightened public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. While the overall number of new cases in Canada has been declining since mid-April, COVID-19 infection rates remain stubbornly high in parts of Canada. Manitoba Education Minister Cliff Cullen and chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said kindergarten to Grade 12 classes in Winnipeg and Brandon would moving online from Wednesday until at least May 30. In-person services will still be available to primary school students who are children of essential workers who cannot make other arrangements. Other schools across the province will remain open, but with additional restrictions in place. Roussin said the province needs to take action to manage high levels of community transmission that is spreading to schools and putting a strain on the province's hospitals. "We need to act now to break these transmission chains," he said. Manitoba also banned in-person restaurant dining, closed churches and some businesses and dropped capacity at retail stores to 10 per cent as of Sunday, as the province reported more than 500 cases of COVID-19. Alberta was also preparing to shut restaurant patios and to close personal wellness services such as hair salons and tattoo parlours on Sunday night as the final group of rules announced last week by Premier Jason Kenney were to come into effect. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside a central Alberta café Saturday to protest the health measures, which included shifting schools to online learning, limiting gatherings and forcing workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks to close. The Quebec government will tighten measures in the Estrie region east of Montreal as of Monday, even as it is set to lift emergency lockdown measures in the greater Quebec City region. The province's case count remained relatively steady on Sunday, at under 1,000 on Sunday, with a fifth straight drop in the number of hospitalizations, even as emergency measures remained in place in a few hard-hit areas. Canada's chief public health officer said on Twitter that infection rates remain high in many parts of the country, and urged people to maintain public health measures even if they've been vaccinated. "Vaccinated or not...for now we still need to take steps to go out safely," Dr. Theresa Tam wrote. She urged people to limit social interactions with people outside their households, and to meet people outdoors whenever possible. Ontario, meanwhile, reported 3,216 additional people have been infected with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, and 47 more people had died. Nova Scotia reported 165 new cases, with 138 coming from the central zone in and around Halifax. The province's chief medical officer of health urged the province's residents to avoid gathering for Mother's Day, given the high case count. “Now is not the time to let our guard down," Dr. Robert Strang said in a statement. "If you don’t live with your mother-figure, please celebrate Mother’s Day virtually." Other premiers and health officers issued similar messages, reminding people to follow health rules to avoid spreading COVID-19 to their loved ones. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2021. Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
Dozens of crosses lined the front lawn of the Saskatchewan legislature building on Saturday morning — part of a harm reduction advocate's effort to call on the government to address the rising number of overdose deaths in Saskatchewan. "I hear from neighbours and friends, and you see on Facebook, that one day this crisis will walk in through your doorstep," Ret Brailsford said. "My actions today are kind of about getting this [addressed] before it walks in my doorstep." Brailsford said he's studied harm reduction and engaged in discussions with his professors and with people who suffer from addiction, but he stepped forward as a spokesperson for the Regina Harm Reduction Coalition on Saturday. He says he hasn't lost anyone close to him to addiction yet, but Brailsford wants to do what he can to encourage the provincial government to take action, even if that means shaming them by putting the crosses on the legislature lawn. Regina alone saw more than 1,000 overdoses and 111 overdose deaths in 2020, and according to a recent report from the Board of Police Commissioners, those numbers are still increasing in 2021. Brailsford said the simplest solution to Saskatchewan's overdose crisis is funding harm reduction sites, like Prairie Harm Reduction in Saskatoon, or the Regina site that's operating through the Nēwo Yōtina Friendship Centre. He said they need to be operating 24/7, year-round, and need to be funded adequately to do so. Brailsford also called for the decriminalization of drugs across Saskatchewan. "That's proven to save lives and it's socially, economically good policy," he said. He says it's better policy for the government to spend money on supporting existing harm reduction programs to help prevent emergencies, rather than spending money on emergency response measures. Brailsford said he doesn't see the overdose crisis as a political issue as it's something that affects all communities in Saskatchewan. Ret Brailsford says he wants to see more provincial government action around overdoses and more support for harm reduction facilities that exist in Saskatchewan. (Bryan Eneas/CBC) He encouraged people to talk to their family, friends and co-workers about addiction, overdoses and harm reduction as ways to break the stigmas that exist about the topics. Brailsford also encouraged people to contact their municipal and provincial politicians to generate as much support as possible for harm reduction measures in Saskatchewan. The provincial budget, tabled last month, did not include annual funding for Saskatoon's Prairie Harm Reduction. The local community responded and since fundraised over $180,000 to keep the site open. Meanwhile, Regina's overdose prevention site launched in March, but executive director of the Nēwo Yōtina Friendship Centre told CBC News it is only meant to be a temporary measure to address the city's climbing overdoses. The Ministry of Health saw one per cent of its total budget dedicated to tackling addictions in the 2021-22 budget. Sites not the only option: minister In an April interview with The Canadian Press, Addictions Minister Everett Hindely said supervised consumption sites are one way to tackle addictions and overdoses, but said other options are available. Overdoses occur in Regina and Saskatoon, but the issue stretches to rural areas as well, Hindely said. "How do you best deploy those resources across Saskatchewan to try and get prevention and treatment supports to as many people as you can, no matter where you live?" Saskatchewan's government, he said, does fund harm reduction programs — and was looking to expand the free naloxone kit program, which puts the live-saving drug Narcan in people's hands. The province is working to change the conversations and stigmas around drug use, he said. "This is a provincewide discussion. It's why we're looking at provincewide solutions."
Recent developments: Ottawa reported 143 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and two new deaths. Show mom you love her from a safe distance today, experts urge. Free rapid COVID-19 tests coming to small, medium-sized businesses. What's the latest? Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 143 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Sunday. Another 36 cases and three deaths were logged in western Quebec. Today is Mother's Day, and while many Ottawans might want nothing more than to give their mom a big hug, public health officials are urging people to show their love from afar. Ottawa's board of trade is hoping to soon get free rapid COVID-19 tests into the hands of small- and medium-sized businesses, but there are questions about the timing of the rollout. WATCH | Keep your Mother's Day celebrations virtual again this year, OPH says: How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining contact tracing and pushing hospitals past their limits. As of Sunday, 25,363 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,448 known active cases, 23,392 resolved cases and 523 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 46,200 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 43,000 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 180 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 205. Akwesasne has had more than 670 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Friday, there were 32 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least May 20. Some experts say that should be extended. People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They should stay within their immediate area and province unless it's absolutely necessary to leave. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services. Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues. Staff drive a golf cart along a pathway at a closed golf course in Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Ontario golf courses are closed until at least May 20 due to provincial COVID-19 restrictions. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press) Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally. Ontario has indefinitely moved to online learning. Daycares remain open. Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa's is doing around playgrounds and Prince Edward County's is doing around travel. Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until Monday across the Outaouais. Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. The province is allowing sleepaway and day camps to open this summer. People are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. Some rules start to loosen Monday: elementary schools can reopen across the region, while the curfew moves later and high schools and non-essential businesses reopen in Vallée-de-la-Gatineau and Papineau. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are now established. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. Members of Ottawa-Gatineau's Colombian community wear masks as they rally against police repression in their homeland at a Friday protest on Parliament Hill.(Simon Lasalle/CBC) People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions get help with errands. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. More than 870,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 395,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 170,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is vaccinating people age 50 and older at its clinics. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. The province has opened up appointments for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes. Outside the provincial system, Ottawans in the city's priority neighbourhoods above age 18 and Indigenous people above age 16 can check for eligibility and pop-up clinics online with the city. A health worker prepares a vaccine dose at a mobile vaccine clinic held inside an Ottawa Community Housing building on May 7, 2021.(Francis Ferland/CBC) People who are 40 or will be this year can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Pharmacies can offer walk-in vaccines if they wish. Six Ottawa pharmacies in hot spots will be offering Moderna vaccines. Ontario has a staggered expansion plan, allowing everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24. It expects about two-thirds of adults to have a first dose by the end of May. Some time this week, people as young as age 40 are expected to be able to book through the province. Eligibility is also expected to include a wider range of health conditions and job types, such as transit and grocery store employees. Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. Western Quebec Quebec's vaccination plan covers people age 35 and older in the Outaouais, along with essential workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, including pregnancy. It's also doing a staggered expansion, reaching down to children as young as 12 in June. Its next expansion is to age 30 on Monday. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should make an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you fit certain criteria, such as having symptoms or a certain job. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms, their contacts and people who have been told to get tested. People can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
N'DJAMENA (Reuters) -Chad's military claimed victory on Sunday in its weeks-long battle with northern rebels that led to the death of President Idriss Deby on the battlefield. However, the rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) said it was not aware of an end to the fighting. The group "will comment when it has reliable and credible information," said FACT spokesman Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol.
OTTAWA — Canada should open its doors to military pilots from other countries as it seeks to address a critical shortage of experienced aviators to fly its helicopters and planes, according to the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force. In an interview with The Canadian Press, Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger said the military is currently working with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to facilitate and streamline the enrolment of seasoned pilots from overseas. “We would not be in a position to influence ... or demand certain outcomes,” he said. “But I do think it’s a valuable opportunity space for us to continue to leverage individuals who want to come to Canada and want to serve still as an air force member.” The initiative is the latest in a long list of moves by the air force in recent years as it has scrambled to make sure it has enough experienced pilots to both train new recruits and lead air missions at home and abroad. The seriousness of that pilot shortage has been repeatedly noted by military officials and others such as the federal auditor general, prompting concerns about the short- and long-term impacts on Canada’s defence and security. Meinzinger said there has been some progress in addressing that shortage. The air force is supposed to have about 1,500 pilots and was short around 225 at the end of December 2019. Currently, Meinzinger said, the air force is short about 130. Yet most of that progress can be traced to a reorganization that saw about 60 unfilled pilot positions reclassified into what the air force calls “air operations officers,” which are responsible for planning and co-ordinating missions rather than flying them. “We're short 130 pilots,” Meinzinger said. “But if you add 61, you're really at a number closer to 195. ... So there's been a small improvement in the aggregate.” The progress has been less than the military and government had hoped. Efforts to retain experienced personnel have been underway since 2018. They include providing better supports for military families, tapping reservists to help with basic maintenance work and creating the air operations officer position to keep pilots in the air rather than working desk jobs. There was also optimism at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that the financial difficulties facing commercial airlines would result in an influx of former military pilots who had left for private-sector gigs but were now furloughed or unemployed. Despite a dedicated unit in his office responsible for reaching out to former air force personnel and an advertising campaign touting the benefits of re-enlisting, however, Meinzinger said only about 15 pilots have decided to put their uniforms back on. “It’s not a significant number,” he acknowledged. “I would rationalize it in that individuals may have already transitioned into a civilian job and they're probably trying to ascertain whether they can maybe get their old job back or in some cases, individuals have been furloughed.” It is in this context that Meinzinger is hoping to ensure pilots who have flown with other militaries and now want to fly for Canada aren’t blocked by bureaucratic red tape or other technical barriers. The air force commander suggested the majority of those who would be interested in putting on a Canadian Armed Forces uniform are from NATO or European countries, but may also hail from others such as India. “Of course, we would value that clearly because often they have thousands of hours of experience and it's a great opportunity,” he said. The push for more pilots comes amid challenges in the military’s entire recruiting and training systems caused by the global pandemic. Acting chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre has said recruitment was down by two-thirds last year. Meinzinger said that decline has had an obvious impact across the air force, which was exacerbated by the closure of various training institutions due to the pandemic. “That will be a challenge for us,” he said. “We will strategically have to manage that demographic issue.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press