The family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by Cleveland police in 2014, asked the Justice Department on Friday to reopen the case into his death after it was closed in the waning weeks of the Trump administration.
The family of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed by Cleveland police in 2014, asked the Justice Department on Friday to reopen the case into his death after it was closed in the waning weeks of the Trump administration.
NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus unveiled on Thursday a phased rollback of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions over the next month, including a shortened curfew and a reopening of all schools next week. But the island will demand the compulsory display of proof of vaccination, virus testing or convalescence from COVID-19 in areas where people gather in numbers — including restaurants and churches — together with mask-wearing and social distancing. A strict, two-week lockdown has curbed the record-high number of infections, although some health officials had wanted restrictions to be slightly extended. Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou told a news conference that the primary purpose of the rollback that starts May 10 is to “lift the spirits of the public after months of sacrifices,” without jeopardizing public health by abolishing all restrictions at one go. He said some restrictions will remain in place until at least the end of June, when authorities hope to have 60-65% of the population vaccinated. As of next week, people will no longer need to secure text message permission to leave home. There will be caps on capacity at bars, restaurants, malls and parks that will be gradually increased from 30% to 50% over the next few weeks. Retail stores, gyms and hair dressing salons will also reopen. But Ioannou said people will need to display to police either a vaccination card, a health services text message proving convalescence from COVID-19 or a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours prior to an outing at any place where people gather en masse. Some exceptions will be made, including for going to supermarkets, pharmacies, beaches, parks and outdoor farmers' markets where people will be simply required to wear masks and keep distances. Ioannou said the measure will be “temporary” and authorities are working on a smartphone application to simplify the procedure. Authorities said already a third of Cyprus’ population of roughly 875,000 people have received at least one shot as part of a ramped-up vaccination program that’s seen as key to buoying the tourism-reliant country’s chances of attracting more vacationers. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic, https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Recent developments: What's the latest? Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 106 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and two more deaths. Quebec is set to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to children age 12 to 17 teens after it was approved by Health Canada. Health Minister Christian Dubé says the goal for the first dose is the end of June and the second, by the start of the next school year. Full details were not announced. WATCH | Ontario probably won't be ready to leave stay-at-home order on May 20: 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 Tuesday, 24,998 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,622 known active cases, 22,859 resolved cases and 519 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 45,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 42,200 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 178 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 201. Akwesasne has had more than 660 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 Tuesday, there were about 35 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. 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. An empty tennis court is seen May 4, 2021 in Ottawa. Outdoor tennis courts are part of the Ontario government's stay-at-home measures.(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. WATCH | We check back in with the Class of COVID-19: 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, Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. 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. Some rules start to loosen that day. WATCH | Managing post-secondary stress in the pandemic: 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. 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. 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 taking over. 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. Masked pedestrians wait at an intersection in downtown Ottawa in May 2021.(Andrew Lee/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 and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. WATCH | Epidemiologist says the language used by NACI is 'troubling': Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 845,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 381,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 165,000 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. Ottawans in the city's priority neighbourhoods above age 18 and Indigenous people above age 16 can check their eligibility online with the city. 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. Ontario has a staggered rollout plan to expand its vaccination campaign week-by-week, allowing everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24. The province expects to have given a first dose to about two-thirds of adults by the end of May. Next week, people as young as age 40 can 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. Some have said they won't have the vaccine supply to cover everyone who becomes eligible right away. Western Quebec Quebec's vaccination plan covers people age 40 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 people aged 35 to 39, starting tomorrow. WATCH | Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved for kids as young as 12: 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 book an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. 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. Outaouais residents 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
A former Saskatoon police officer has joined the ranks of "crackpots" who spread COVID-19 misinformation online, says a professor who specializes in social media. University of Regina professor of educational technology and media Alec Couros says these conspiracy theorists will do their best to "leverage" the statements made in an eight-minute Facebook video by former officer Nathan Lynchuk. "They reject most science. They reject most experts. But when they find a dissenter, they latch onto them because it fits their particular narrative," Couros said. Lynchuk was identified at a recent anti-mask children's festival in downtown Saskatoon. A crowd of maskless parents hugged and talked without physical distancing while their kids played games and got their faces painted. Saskatoon police have issued nearly a dozen tickets so far to those in attendance for violating public health laws. The current legal maximum gathering size is 10 people. In the Facebook video posted this week, Lynchuk said he was assigned temporary desk duty and told he'd have to be tested while the matter was investigated. Lynchuk said he decided to quit. A large crowd attended a maskless children's festival at a downtown Saskatoon park on Saturday in violation of public health laws which limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people. No tickets have been issued.(CBC) Lynchuk said the children's event was simply a group of "normal people" who believe in freedom. He dismissed the seriousness of COVID, saying most people who contract it don't get sick. He said he didn't want to follow the government's agenda anymore. "I haven't been believing in what's being enforced," Lynchuk. Lynchuk could not be reached for comment Thursday. Couros said Lynchuk is "parroting" many of the anti-science conspiracy theories floating around the internet. Couros said any message from a former police officer will have an impact, but that he hopes it will be limited. "It becomes very powerful, especially for those who already believe and who already drink this Kool-Aid. It may bring a few people over, but most people will probably see right through this," he said. Public health physician Dr. Cory Neudorf said COVID-19 being a major threat should be obvious to everyone, especially to police officers and other front-line emergency responders. He said Lynchuk's video makes it harder to educate the public and keep everyone safe. "It just adds to confusion for people. I don't think this is the view of the majority of police or their leadership," Neudorf said. University of Regina professor Alec Courose says COVID-19 conspiracy theorists will latch on to anyone in authority who makes a statement matching their anti-science beliefs.(Submitted by Alec Couros) Neudorf said COVID-19 restrictions are an attempt to keep people safe, similar to impaired driving or speeding laws. He said they need to be enforced to be taken seriously. Neudorf agreed laws must not infringe on freedoms unnecessarily, but said COVID-19 laws are a temporary, reasonable response to a global threat. The Saskatoon Police Service declined to comment on Lynchuk or the video, but did say in an email that police are "committed to upholding and enforcing the restrictions under the Public Health Order in our community's fight against COVID-19." The Saskatchewan Health Authority also sent an email response. It said the SHA is "highly concerned" about these continued "freedom" rallies and anti-masking events spreading misinformation. "This is not only offensive but dangerous, as it publicly downplays the significant risk of harm and death created by community transmission of this virus," read the statement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a backlog of more than 250,000 surgeries in Ontario, including cancer operations, forcing patients to wait for procedures that could save their lives.
A man self-isolating at one of New Brunswick's designated quarantine hotels says he's worried for his health after finding out there have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the site where he's staying. Brian Nilson has been isolating at the Delta Fredericton with his husband and their two dogs since last Thursday, as part of their move from Hamilton to a St. Stephen home they bought in February. Nilson said on Wednesday morning a note from Horizon Health Network was slipped under their hotel room door, notifying them of confirmed cases at the hotel and a possible exposure between April 26 and May 2. He questions why the government is requiring him and his partner to isolate at a hotel, where they could be potentially exposed to COVID-19, rather than at their own home, which they'd be sharing with no one else. "I mean, this is a very dangerous environment they've put us in when they they knew damn well that we were going into our own bubble, our own space, our own four walls and and no one coming in or out," Nilson said. "And we were going to be there under isolation." As of April 25, the Government of New Brunswick required that all non-essential entrants to New Brunswick stay at a designated hotel for about $200 a day for at least seven days. Guests are to be administered a COVID-19 test on the fifth day, and if it comes back negative, they can complete the rest of their isolation at home. Nilson said he and his husband have been tested on Tuesday and Wednesday, and are now hoping to receive negative results so they can continue on to their home. In a news release Wednesday, New Brunswick Public Health listed an exposure notice for the Delta, located on Woodstock Road, from April 26 to May 2. In an email to CBC News, Bruce Macfarlane, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said an outbreak has not been declared at the Delta, but 170 guests and staff were tested today to "assess the situation." A letter from Horizon Health Network that was slipped under Brian Nilson's hotel room door says there were COVID-19 cases at the Delta Fredericton.(Submitted by Brian Nilson) Macfarlane said the Canadian Red Cross continues to co-ordinate services on-site for clients and with the hotel. Horizon, in the note, said it was working with the Delta to arrange on-site testing on Wednesday for guests at the hotel. "While testing is not mandatory, due to the increased risk of transmission, it is strongly encouraged," the note says. A cold welcome to N.B. Nilson said he and his husband, Alan Nilson, only found out about the hotel quarantine requirement for non-essential arrivals days before their scheduled move to New Brunswick. After spending hours on the phone unsuccessfully trying to get answers about the new rule, they decided to make the trip anyway, and were stopped at the Quebec-New Brunswick border, where peace officers told them they needed to book a stay at an isolation hotel to proceed, which they did. The couple finally arrived in Fredericton at 3 a.m. AT last Thursday. Since checking in, Nilson said it hasn't been a warm experience. As a diabetic, Nilson said his anxiety has been heightened due to his increased vulnerability to COVID-19. However, he said he's also been offered no help with getting access to insulin, which he's set to run out of in two days. He said walking the dogs has also been a hassle, adding he and his husband have been harshly reprimanded by hotel and security staff for either using the wrong doors to exit the building, or choosing the wrong lawn to let their dogs relieve themselves. "This is our introduction [to New Brunswick], and we're thinking [moving here] is the biggest mistake of our lives," Nilson said.
OTTAWA — The federal government is being asked to give new and soon-to-be moms a Mothers Day gift by closing a hole in the safety net preventing some from having their maternity leave fully covered. As is, eligible workers need a minimum number of hours on the job to qualify for employment insurance benefits, including maternity and parental leave. But many moms have been unable to work because of pandemic-related job losses, and been caught by the EI safety net. When a new mother receiving regular benefits gives birth, they have to file a new claim for maternity and parental benefits, meaning they need to meet the hours requirement anew, even though they have been unable to work because of the pandemic. Opposition critics say they worry new parents might be forced to stay home without income support, or potentially be forced to look for work before they're ready and able. The Conservatives are asking the Liberals to allow expecting mothers to qualify for their full employment insurance parental leave, even if they are currently receiving federal unemployment aid. The call follows a similar request made by the federal New Democrats to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough that said a current workaround to allow unemployed mothers to qualify for EI wasn't working. It was just ahead of Mothers Day last year that the Liberals dealt with another unexpected flaw in the pandemic safety net where women who identified as pregnant on their EI applications weren't automatically moved over to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Since the EI system kicked back up in late September, just over 298,000 parents have received maternity and parental leave benefits for a combined value of nearly $2.7 billion, according to the latest federal data. A handful of mothers-to-be worried they won't be able to qualify for their full benefits told Conservative critic Raquel Dancho their stories during a virtual roundtable on Thursday morning. Some spoke about not knowing how they would pay the bills, expressed frustrations at ongoing parental leave issues, and highlighted how they're now scrambling to make the hours hoping that they can work enough. "These are real situations with women and and men ... trying to figure out how to do this at a very uncertain time," Dancho said at the end of the roundtable. "It's an overwhelming time as it is, let alone now, and I think a lot of you really nailed it when you said, you know, parents have dealt with so much this year and now this is just one more thing and deeply unfair." Federal officials had come up with a workaround to the hours issue, giving a blanket, one-time credit to applicants who weren't able to work because of the pandemic and needed federal aid. In a recent letter to Qualtrough, NDP critic Daniel Blaikie noted some expectant mothers had the credit applied to their EI claims even though they had enough hours, which then made it impossible for them to have enough hours to access their maternity leave once their baby comes. He suggested the government consider giving expecting parents an option to set aside their one-time credit of insurable hours to use instead for qualifying for maternity and parental leave. "There must be a way to solve this problem and allow mothers whose work has been disrupted by the pandemic to access maternity benefits during these trying times," Blaikie wrote in the April letter. "If it requires a legislative response, I would welcome a conversation with you about how we can make that happen quickly. If not, I urge you to act without delay and look forward to hearing your plan for action promptly." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's Nintendo Co Ltd on Thursday forecast annual Switch console sales to fall 11.5%, in what would be the first decline for the five-year-old device after riding a pandemic-induced boom in home gaming. In announcing the figures, Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa also said a shortage of chips, which has affected electronics makers worldwide, was affecting production and adding to uncertainty. Last week, the share price of rival Sony Group Corp fell after the firm said the chip shortage would likely prevent it from drastically boosting console production.
Vivian Hermanson heard story after story from First Nations people around Campbell River, B.C., experiencing years-long delays in registering children for Indian status and delays in receiving their secure status cards from Indigenous Services Canada. "I was hearing the biggest need of all was coming out of the young parents generation, waiting two to three years sometimes to have their child registered," she said. Hermanson, a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, launched a petition to the House of Commons last month that calls on the government to take no longer than the time needed to process a Canadian passport — 20 business days — to process status cards and to find solutions to do this such as hiring more staff. Indigenous Services Canada's website says the processing time for a secure status card is 16 weeks. It says registering for Indian status takes six to eight months, or in "complex cases," up to two years. The petition says current wait times are an example of systemic racism being perpetuated by the Canadian government. "Our systems don't recognize the systemic racism that is built into them, or if they recognize it, they're unable to interact with it in a meaningful way," Hermanson said. She said she doesn't have a lot of knowledge about petitions but felt she had to do something. "When we're in community and things are happening, we participate in supporting. If there was something that I could do based on the stories I was hearing, then that's what my teachings tell me." 'It's almost like doing a passport, but worse' Kelly Shopland shared her story with Hermanson and also signed the petition. The mother from K'òmoks First Nation didn't expect she'd have to apply for a Secure Certificate of Indian Status card for her infant when he was born or that it would be four years before he finally received one. "It's a very frustrating process," said Shopland. "It's almost like doing a passport, but worse because you're not getting the feedback quick." The old Certificate of Indian Status cards are still being produced at some First Nations offices. They are laminated paper templates manually typed out by an Indian registration administrator who verifies an individual's information in the Indian registry. Secure Certificate of Indian Status cards, which have security features included in them, were introduced in 2009. They are administered through Indigenous Services Canada and printed by a third party. In April 2017, with the assistance of an Indian registration administrator at her community's band office, Shopland sent her baby's application for status to Indigenous Services Canada and received a response that was hard to understand in terms of what was missing or what the next steps were. She said they returned his long form birth certificate and indicated that he would be entitled to status under Bill C-3. She put the application for her baby's SCIS card on the back burner while on maternity leave, picked up the process in early 2019 and finally received her son's secure status card in January 2021. She's not looking forward to having to renew it when it expires. "That's leaving everyone with a period where they may not have a valid status card for whatever reason they may need it, whether that's in businesses or for tax exemptions or for health benefits." 'This is systemic racism' NDP MP Rachel Blaney, who represents a riding in B.C. with over 20 First Nations, introduced Hermanson's petition to the House of Commons on Apr. 30. "This is systemic racism, whenever there are systems that target a particular group of people because of who they are," she told CBC News. "We need to make sure that the government is responsible for the actions that they're taking and the implication it has on families and communities." Rachel Blaney, NDP MP for North Island-Powell River, presents petition e-3281 to the House of Commons on April 30.(Rachel Blaney/YouTube) During the 30 days the petition was open, 1,164 people signed it from across Canada. "We continue to have a government that steps in that place between the community and their own people," said Blaney. "We're asking them to create a meaningful solution that makes sure that people get acknowledged." A Canadian passport on the left, a Secure Certificate of Indian Status on the right; the petition calls for both of these secure federal government documents to be processed in the same time frame, 20 business days.(Francine Compton/CBC) Denis Poirier, director of the Individual Affairs Branch at ISC, said the department is working to help with the application process through partnerships and with the introduction of a new app. "When we launched the photo app, basically what we were trying to do is make the service more accessible," he said. "I think for us, what's important is to give the most timely feedback to applicants, to make sure that they get the services that they applied for and it's also important for us to be able to issue the cards to those who who want them as quickly as possible, so that the process has to be streamlined and as simple as possible." Danielle Shaw, elected chief councillor for the Wuikinuxv Nation in B.C., has been their Indian registration administrator for over eight years and started when the secure cards began rolling out. She said she thinks there were good intentions behind the department providing a legitimate looking piece of ID but she signed the petition because she feels providing the service hasn't been made a priority. "We're not looking for anything more than what any other demographic gets access to when issuing any sort of identification," she said. Once a petition is tabled in the house, the government is mandated to respond within 45 days.
The municipality of North Cowichan, B.C., is stepping up patrols of the region's forest reserve, after an increase in timber theft in the area, which lies 70 kilometres north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Since January, approximately 100 trees, including Douglas fir and Western red cedars have been poached and local residents and officials believe the spike is likely tied to the surge in lumber prices. North Cowichan resident Larry Pynn stumbled upon a large cedar tree stump along slabs of crudely cut wood while he was out for a walk two weeks ago in a forested area known as Stoney Hill. "I immediately thought that this had to be the work of a poacher," he said in an interview with CBC News. "Something like this is not being taken for firewood. It's a valuable tree." Pynn estimated the tree was 87 years old because he counted the rings on the remaining stump. At least four Western red cedars and dozens of Douglas fir trees have been cut down and removed in a number of areas within the forest reserve in North Cowichan. (Submitted by Larry Pynn) Not far from it, the mossy ground had been torn up by what appeared to be ATV tracks. Local officials say it's not clear who took the tree or how they managed to get it out of the woods, but it is one of several large trees that have been poached since the beginning of the year in the North Cowichan Municipal Forest Reserve. Community forest The 5,000-hectare forest is owned by the municipality and is part of the coastal Douglas fir ecosystem, which is considered endangered because of logging and development. While the area has been logged in the past, the activity is on hold while the community and nearby First Nations discuss how to manage the forest going forward. Municipal officials say they have learned of several timber thefts in recent months, including one incident where 50 Douglas fir trees were taken. "It was definitely a concentrated effort," said Shaun Mason, the municipal forester for North Cowichan. "That is something we haven't seen in the past before and what is more concerning is that other areas are popping up despite our efforts to try and curb it." The municipality says it has stepped up patrols and increased signage as a result of the increasing number of trees being poached.(Briar Stewart/CBC) Mason said patrols are now taking place in the forest seven days a week, up from about once a week. However, he said it is a challenge to try to cover a vast and densely wooded area. The municipality is also considering installing cameras at certain locations in the forest. Under North Cowichan's bylaws, a person can be fined $200 if they "remove forest products without a permit." Penalties questioned When it comes to trees taken from provincial Crown land, the penalty could be as much as $1 million, but legal experts say those who are caught are usually fined just $173. "It's really important that people feel that if they are caught, that there will be real consequences and a $200 penalty doesn't cut it," said Andrew Gage, a lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law who reviewed a provincial database that detailed the fines levied by the province. The B.C. ministry responsible for forests said that in the past 10 years, it has issued 728 penalties to people who removed or destroyed Crown timber without authorization. Together, the fines totalled more than $500,000. WATCH: Resident Larry Pynn describes why he thinks trees are being stolen: Soaring lumber prices In North Cowichan, officials are considering increasing the financial penalties to try to deter theft at a time when lumber prices are soaring and even selling firewood can be lucrative. According to the provincial government, the current price for two-by-fours of B.C. spruce, pine or fir is $1,420 per thousand board feet. In 2020, the average price was $570. Cedar, which is more valuable, is currently going for $1,700 per thousand board feet. Dozens of Douglas fir trees have been found cut down in numerous sites in the forest reserve.(Submitted by Larry Pynn) Terry Sunderland, a professor in the faculty of forestry at the University of British Columbia, said he believes rising prices are the main driver for timber theft, and it is crime of opportunity with low technical requirements: the only equipment a poacher would need is a chainsaw and a way to haul the wood out, such as a pickup truck. He said in order to move and sell timber legally, wood has to be imprinted with a stamp issued by the province. However a growing demand for bespoke products like rustic tables could be fuelling a black market. Damage left behind For Icel Dobell, a North Cowichan resident who roams the forest reserve daily and is co-founder of a local group trying to preserve it, the issue is much bigger than just the missing trees. Those who are hauling away the wood are driving trucks and quads into sensitive ecological areas. Icel Dobell has been organizing a movement to permanently protect the community forest and is disappointed someone has been logging it on their own. (Briar Stewart/CBC) "The biggest issue is this damage, this destruction," she said referring to the muddy ruts in the ground. She also wants to see an increase in penalties, but said the community is mobilizing and keeping an eye on the woods. "More and more people are watching and so hopefully that will be another deterrent." WATCH: Tree thefts spark calls for more enforcement:
The Canadian Coast Guard is getting two heavy icebreakers for Arctic work, the federal government announced today. The commitment by the Trudeau government would fulfil a promise made by the former Conservative government to build one Polar-class icebreaker at Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver. The second vessel is expected to be constructed by Davie Shipbuilding, of Levis, Que., pending the company's formal admission to the National Shipbuilding Strategy. By promising two ships and splitting the work, the government avoids the political consequences of having to decide between competing shipyards in B.C. and Quebec in what could be an election year. Two years ago, the federal government set aside $15.7 billion to rebuild the aging coast guard fleet. Many of its vessels are more than three decades old. The new ships announced today are intended to replace the coast guard's principal heavy icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent, which is almost 55 years old. The Liberal government promised that at least one of the new heavy icebreakers will be in service in 2030, when the Louis S. St-Laurent is scheduled to retire. A 'game-changer' "The new Polar icebreakers will be a game-changer for Canada's marine industry, both in their construction and the difference that a stronger presence in the Arctic will make," said Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, who is responsible for the Canadian Coast Guard. "Built by Canadian shipyards, these vessels will enable the coast guard to conduct critical science, supply and other missions in our Arctic region year-round. Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, we're putting thousands of Canadians to work building a fleet that will serve those communities for decades." The future of the heavy icebreaker plan has been in question since the summer of 2019 when the single-ship program, originally given to Seaspan Shipyards, was mysteriously dropped from the company's work schedule. Both Seaspan and Davie have lobbied hard to build the ship, already designated as the CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. That vessel was originally budgeted by the Conservative government at $721 million and was supposed to have been delivered four years ago. Crews work on two Canadian Coast Guard vessels at the Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards in West Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.(Ben Nelms/CBC) But the retooling of the Vancouver yard, technical problems and construction delays caused the program to be pushed back repeatedly. Federal officials said today that, so far, three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels (OFSV) and 18 smaller vessels have been delivered to the coast guard under the National Shipbuilding Strategy, along with two refitted medium interim icebreakers. Those medium icebreakers were converted from civilian use by Davie — which has attempted to set itself apart from the rest of the industry by creating a National Icebreaker Centre, which focuses on Arctic research and maritime engineering. In order to hold on to its contract, Seaspan has focused its lobbying efforts on the economic benefits current and future ship construction brings to B.C.
Neighbourhood groups are calling for a public inquiry into how the social housing component of a $400-million development at the site of the old Montreal Children's Hospital disappeared from the building plan. Maryse Chapdelaine, a project manager with the Peter McGill Community Council, was surprised to learn that nearly three years after it was announced, the social housing project was dead. "We're trying to figure out, maybe not who's to blame, but how could this happen?" said Chapdelaine. "Without the social housing units, the project makes no sense." The proposed social housing units made the highrise development acceptable to some community members. Now they're not only off the table, but the subject of an ongoing legal dispute. The situation has become so acrimonious that the developer says he would build a tower of social housing for free — if Mayor Valérie Plante resigned. Community groups want to know what went wrong — and whether this saga might serve as a cautionary tale as the city tries to confront a housing crisis. Maryse Chapdelaine, a project manager with the Peter McGill Community Council, said her group is calling for a public inquiry into what happened to the social housing project at the old Montreal Children’s Hospital site.(Charles Contant/CBC) The old hospital site is located on the square bordered by René-Lévesque Boulevard, Atwater Avenue, Sussex Street and Tupper Street. In addition to more than 1,000 rental and condo units, the new development is set to include an enlarged park, community centre, library and auditorium. The original plans also called for 174 social housing units, something for which there is an urgent need, say neighbourhood advocates. The average rent in the Peter McGill neighbourhood is about $1,200 per unit, said Éric Michaud, project manager for the neighbourhood housing group, the Comité logement Ville-Marie. He calls the lack of social housing at the old hospital site "a terrible failure." "It's scandalous, what happened," he said. Michaud said he hoped from the start that the public land on which the hospital sat would be returned for public use. He said he was dismayed when a private buyer bought the land for about half its appraised value in 2015. Residents 'excited' for original plan Public documents show the McGill University Health Centre sold the land for $25 million in 2015. The land is being developed by Philip Kerub's company High-Rise Montréal (HRM) and the developer Devimco Immobilier. The two developers proposed the six tower project. Devimco is responsible for four of those housing towers. HRM was responsible for two housing towers. The first is 1111 Atwater, a posh skyscraper being marketed as the most luxurious condos outside of Dubai. There was also Tower 6, where the social housing was supposed to be built. "We were very happy to hear when it was announced that there was going to be social housing units for families," said Chapdelaine of the original plan. Graham Singh, a pastor and father who moved to the neighbourhood several years ago, said the prospect of a mixed development attracted him to the area. "We were really excited to be living in this part of Peter McGill, where we were expecting this development to come out in the way that it had been proposed," he said. Rev. Graham Singh, a pastor and father who lives in the neighbourhood of Peter McGill, said he was attracted to the neighbourhood because of the development at the old Montreal Children’s Hospital, but he is disappointed by how the city has handled it. (Credit: Esteban Cuevas) Developer met with city 'countless times' The president of HRM, Philip Kerub, says he went in with good intentions. "I was trying because I wanted to do it," he said in an interview with CBC News. "It was important for me to actually make a deal and get this social housing." According to documents filed to the Quebec Superior Court, HRM signed a contract with the City of Montreal in June 2017, during the tail end of the Coderre administration. It includes a clause allowing the developer to pay a penalty of $6,235,000 if a deal could not be reached to build social housing after nine months of negotiation. CBC News has reviewed the relevant part of the contract. Kerub said his team met with the city "countless times" to work out a deal. He said the requirements for social housing are strict, and court documents claim HRM paid more than $750,000 to engineers, architects and other staff to draft plans for the housing. Per legal documents, HRM was looking at building a turnkey social housing project which would then be sold to the City and the City's housing office, the OMHM. According to the court filing, the developer says a tower that adhered to the standards of social housing would cost at least $40 million, but the city was able to offer a maximum of only $34.5 million. Kerub says he elected to pay the $6,235,000 penalty included in his contract rather than lose millions of dollars and build the housing. "I said, that's just not reasonable. Now, [the city] delayed me long enough… now we have to go our separate ways," he said. Publicly, Mayor Valérie Plante started calling out HRM as early as July 2019. By September 2019, negotiations had stalled. Kerub decided to pay the penalty and propose his Plan B for Tower 6. Plante retaliated by proposing changing the zoning of the sixth tower, so the building would have a maximum of four storeys instead of the approved 20. "There was a social contract that was made by the developer," Plante said during the council meeting on Sept. 16, 2019. "It's sad. It's a shame." In September 2019, Mayor Valérie Plante announced to the municipal council that HRM did not intend to fulfil its "social contract" and build social housing at the development at the old Montreal Children's Hospital.(City of Montreal) This was news to Kerub, who says he says he signed a legal contract — not a social contract — and that the city is both smearing his name and breaking the contract. "I'm tired of being attacked and being called the villain when it's the exact opposite," he said. Last month, HRM filed an injunction to prevent the rezoning of Tower 6, saying the city broke its contract and the developer ought to be allowed to build a 20-storey tower. "It's absurd. It's really outrageous. And now they've drawn themselves into a lawsuit, which they're going to lose miserably," he said. Kerub said he offered them other locations for social housing, and proposed creating student housing or a condo hotel in the sixth tower, where the social housing was supposed to go. "You know what I said to my friends? I said, the city still wants me to build social housing? No problem. You tell Valérie Plante to resign, and I'll build it for free," he said. He also questions the logic of blocking a 20-storey tower of potential housing amid a housing crisis. "How does that benefit the population?" he said. "You lost everything now and you cut it down to four storeys to try and penalize me. But how are you going to penalize me? I tripled my money here." The City responded with a statement, saying it could not comment on the matter because it is before the court. The statement said that the contract with HRM was signed by the previous administration, and that social and affordable housing is a priority of the Plante administration. The ordeal has left people who live in the neighbourhood scratching their heads, wondering how a municipal government that promotes social housing could have let this happen. "I would support a public inquiry not to see something change on this site because it is too little, it is too late," said Singh, "But I would support a public inquiry to try to do much better with figuring out how we're actually going to see downtown Montreal developed in the future." For now, because of the legal proceedings, any project for the sixth tower is in limbo. Kerub said so far, no court date has been set. WATCH | See what the work looks like at the site of the old Montreal Children's Hospital:
TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's capital on Thursday asked the government to extend until May 31 its state of emergency aimed at curbing coronavirus infections, a move that could spark more questions about its ability to host the Olympics. Japan had hoped a "short and powerful" emergency would contain a fourth wave of infections just under three months before Tokyo is set to host the Olympic Games from July 23. "Based on the analyses from various angles, my thinking is that we need an extension of the state of emergency," said Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.
Prince Edward Island's Chief Public Health Office is reporting two more cases of COVID-19 on the Island Thursday. Both people are in their 20s, said a written release from the province. One travelled outside Atlantic Canada and one travelled within Atlantic Canada. A news release said one of the cases is linked to three new public exposure sites: Walmart Charlottetown May 4 from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Home Depot Charlottetown May 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Tim Hortons/Esso in Borden-Carleton May 5 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. The news release says anyone who was at these locations during the time periods should closely monitor for symptoms and get tested if symptoms develop. This brings the number of active cases on P.E.I. to nine. There have been 185 positive cases in total, with two hospitalizations and no deaths. Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Taxi drivers and Uber drivers perform the same work, but Uber's categorization as a tech company has contributed to the historical stigma against taxi drivers.
WASHINGTON — The top U.S general for Africa is warning that a growing threat from China may come not just from the waters of the Pacific but from the Atlantic as well. U.S. Gen. Stephen Townsend, in an interview with The Associated Press, said Beijing is looking to establish a large navy port capable of hosting submarines or aircraft carriers on Africa’s western coast. Townsend said China has approached countries stretching from Mauritania to south of Namibia, intent on establishing a naval facility. If realized, that prospect would enable China to base warships in its expanding Navy in the Atlantic as well as Pacific oceans. “They’re looking for a place where they can rearm and repair warships. That becomes militarily useful in conflict,” said Townsend, who heads U.S. Africa Command. “They’re a long way toward establishing that in Djibouti. Now they’re casting their gaze to the Atlantic coast and wanting to get such a base there.” Townsend's warnings come as the Pentagon shifts its focus from the counterterrorism wars of the last two decades to the Indo-Pacific region and threats from great power adversaries like China and Russia. The Biden administration views China's rapidly expanding economic influence and military might as America's primary long-term security challenge. U.S. military commanders around the globe, including several who may lose troops and resources to bolster growth in the Pacific, caution that China's growing assertiveness isn't simply happening in Asia. And they argue that Beijing is aggressively asserting economic influence over countries in Africa, South America and the Middle East, and is pursuing bases and footholds there. “The Chinese are outmanoeuvring the U.S. in select countries in Africa," said Townsend. “Port projects, economic endeavours, infrastructure and their agreements and contracts will lead to greater access in the future. They are hedging their bets and making big bets on Africa.” China's first overseas naval base was built years ago in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and it is steadily increasing its capacity. Townsend said as many as 2,000 military personnel are at the base, including hundreds of Marines who handle security there. “They have arms and munitions for sure. They have armoured combat vehicles. We think they will soon be basing helicopters there to potentially include attack helicopters,” said Townsend. For some time, many have thought that China was working to establish a Navy base in Tanzania, a country on Africa's eastern coast, that has had a strong, longstanding military relationship with Beijing. But Townsend said it appears there's been no decision on that yet. He said that while China has been trying hard to get a base in Tanzania, it's not the location he's most concern about. “It's on the Indian Ocean side," he said. “I want it to be in Tanzania instead of on the Atlantic coast. The Atlantic coast concerns me greatly," he said, pointing to the relatively shorter distance from Africa's west coast to the U.S. In nautical miles, a base on Africa's northern Atlantic coast could be substantially closer to the U.S. than military facilities in China are to America's western coast. More specifically, other U.S. officials say the Chinese have been eyeing locations for a port in the Gulf of Guinea. The Defence Department's 2020 report on China's military power, said China has likely considered adding military facilities to support its naval, air and ground forces in Angola, among other locations. And it noted that the large amount of oil and liquefied natural gas imported from Africa and the Middle East, make those regions a high priority for China over the next 15 years. Henry Tugendhat, a senior policy analyst with the United States Institute of Peace, said China has a lot of economic interests on Africa's west coast, including fishing and oil. China also has helped finance and build a large commercial port in Cameroon. He said that any effort by Beijing to get a naval port on the Atlantic coast would be an expansion of China's military presence. But the desire for ocean access, he said, may be primarily for economic gain, rather than military capabilities. Townsend and other regional military commanders laid out their concerns about China during recent congressional hearings. He, along with Adm. Craig Faller, head of U.S. Southern Command, and Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, are battling to retain their military forces, aircraft and surveillance assets as the Pentagon continues to review the shift to great power competition. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is conducting a global posture review to determine if America's military might is positioned where it needs to be, and in the right numbers, around the world to best maintain global dominance. That review is expected to be finished in late summer. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
A Mount Allison University professor will not be teaching at the university for the fall term following an investigation into complaints that some posts on her personal blog were racist and discriminatory. In a memo sent to faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, Mount Allison's communications director said that Rima Azar, an associate professor of health psychology, will also be asked to take equity, diversity and inclusion training, at the university's expense. "Over the past two months, an independent investigator has reviewed complaints from students alleging discriminatory conduct, stemming from blog posts and student interactions," Robert Hiscock said in the memo. "The university has reviewed the report in which the investigator has made significant findings requiring action." Hiscock declined Thursday to provide examples of those findings, citing confidentiality. "The report is confidential and, as per university policy as well as the collective agreement with the Mount Allison Faculty Association, will not be released," he said in an email to CBC News. Mount Allison launched an independent internal review of complaints about Rima Azar's personal blog in February.(Submitted by Mount Allison ) Review launched in February after complaints The internal review was launched in February, after several students complained to the university's student union. Jonathan Ferguson, who was president of Mount Allison Students' Union at that time, said the union received multiple complaints about Azar's blog. The complaints were not about any one post specifically, he said, but rather about "what this professor was saying throughout her blog … denying systemic racism in New Brunswick or in Canada, talking about BIPOC students in unkind ways, labelling Black Lives Matter a radical group." During the controversy in February, Husoni Raymond, a St. Thomas University graduate who was mentioned in Azar's blog, tweeted: "Disappointing to see a professor who's still ignorant to what racism is and will be using her power within the institution to uphold racists ideologies. Racism IS in Canada. Racism IS in NB." Raymond was responding to a post by Azar in which she said, in part: "NB is NOT racist. Canada is NOT racist. We do not have 'systemic' racism or 'systemic' discrimination. We just have systemic naivety because we are a young country and because we want to save the world. "Oh, one quick question to Mr. Husoni Raymond: Upon your graduation from St. Thomas University, you have been named the 2020 recipient of the Tom McCann Memorial Trophy for your 'strong leadership and character' … If NB is as racist as you are claiming, would one of its prestigious universities be honouring you like that?" Prof launches GoFundMe campaign to cover legal fees Azar did not immediately respond to a CBC News request for comment on the investigation's findings and recommendations on Thursday. But in a post on a GoFundMe campaign page she launched on Wednesday, Azar said the allegations against her are false and that she plans to mount a legal defence. "I have been the target of cancel culture since February 22, 2021 simply because I love to write on my Bambi's Afkar blog," Azar wrote. "I now have been suspended from my job without pay, based on false allegations. We are in a pandemic and times are tough on all. This is why your support means the world to me. ... However, the reputational damage already done (defamation, attack to my character) has implications beyond my employer and workplace." Charlie Burke, president of the Mount Allison Student Union, said the union is pleased that students' concerns were taken seriously.(Tori Weldon/CBC) Academic freedom advocate calls suspension 'outrageous' Mount Allison Student Union's new president said the union is satisfied with the investigation's outcome. "We are very pleased that the university took the students' concerns seriously," Charlie Burke said in an interview Thursday. Burke said blog posts that condemned the Black Lives Matter group were among those concerns, as were incidents of "students who were taught by this professor being called out by name" in her blog. Several of Azar's posts quote from Black Lives Matter's Facebook page, in one instance questioning its push to be included in New Brunswick school curriculum and in another instance referring to its rating of political parties on their stand on Black Lives Matter issues as "ill-disguised communist propaganda." "At the end of the day, it is unprofessional to comment on students' beliefs," Burke said. "We believe that students have a right to a safe learning environment and should feel safe" bringing up certain subjects in the classroom. Mark Mercer, president of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, says Mount Allison University should have used the controversy around the complaints as a teachable moment about the academic values of free speech and discussion.(Submitted by Mark Mercer) But for Mark Mercer, head of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, the university's decision is a blow to academic freedom and to the vital tenet of free speech on campus. The society, which rallied to Azar's defence in February and urged Mount Allison to rethink its decision to call a review, said the university should have handled the situation differently. "They should have explained to the students that these are ideas and opinions that the professor is expressing, and if they wish to rebut them they are free to do so — and leave it at that," Mercer said in an interview Thursday. Instead, he said, "they launched an investigation, and now we discover that Dr. Azar is being suspended without pay … and that's outrageous. The most we would expect [as a] disciplinary procedure would be a letter of reprimand, and even that would be improper. Mercer said universities are "signalling" their commitment to the goals of social justice movements by vigorously prosecuting allegations. A 'chill' on expression underway, critic says But in so doing, he said, they will ultimately put a chill on the expression and discussion of ideas. That has already happened, Mercer said. "Many students and professors are now fearful not only of expressing the views they themselves hold, but even floating certain ideas to see what the criticisms are" because they're worried they'll be sanctioned, he said. "I don't think universities have done very well at creating safe spaces for discussion." In an email Thursday, the Mount Allison Faculty Association confirmed it has been working with Azar since the review process began and said it plans to ensure her union rights are protected. "It is the role of the union to defend our collective agreements and to ensure that the rights of a member under the collective agreement are not being infringed, and MAFA will continue to work with this member," association president Erin Steuter said.
This item is part of Watching Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News correspondents reporting on U.S. politics and developments that affect Canadians. What's new There's new political muscle in the United States pushing for a return to more regular travel between Canada and the United States after more than a year of pandemic-related disruptions. The top member of the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer, has written a letter to members of the Biden administration making several demands regarding the border. He's asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for four things. One is a detailed Canada-U.S. plan — released as soon as possible — explaining what rules and health-related benchmarks will guide the return to non-essential travel. He said this should add clarity and transparency to a process that's confused and frustrated people. And in the interim period, he immediately wants to see Canada and the U.S. allow more people to travel. Schumer wants the definition of essential travellers expanded to include vaccinated people who have property, educational, medical or business reasons for crossing the border. He also wants clarity for boaters and, finally, he wants a safety plan for border agents including access to testing, vaccines and protective equipment. Why it matters to Canadians and cross-border travellers Other lawmakers from Schumer's border state of New York have been making similar calls with little sign of progress. Neither national government has made it a priority to articulate a reopening plan for the border. But Schumer's entry into the debate is a sign of increased pressure on the national governments to at least begin articulating their longer-term intentions. "Having endured one of the deadliest chapters in New York's history, the residents along the border are ready to turn the page and re-establish the familiar links to their loved ones, their property and their prosperity," Schumer's letter said. "It is now incumbent on the federal government to do their part and aid their desperate desire to fully rebuild and recover. This recovery cannot be done, and I will not rest, until bilateral collaboration to safely reopen the United States and Canadian land border is an utmost priority and a plan for a full reopening is publicly released." Sen. Chuck Schumer says New Yorkers want life to return to normal. Indoor dining is expanding closer to full capacity this week, and here Schumer takes a bite of a sandwich at Junior's restaurant in Times Square in New York City on Thursday. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters) One reason for Schumer's optimism about reopening is the progress the U.S. has made on residents receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Nearly 50 per cent of adults in New York state are fully vaccinated, and indoor dining is expanding this week to near-full capacity in New York City. The United States remains far ahead of Canada in its share of fully vaccinated residents. However, with vaccine hesitancy becoming an issue in many states, the pace is slowing down, and Canada is steadily catching up in the rate of residents having received a first dose.
FREDERICTON — Two more North Atlantic right whales have been spotted in Canadian waters, prompting the first season-long closure of a specific fishing area. Two of the endangered whales were detected on Tuesday by a Fisheries Department aircraft that was conducting right whale aerial surveillance in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As a result, an area east of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine is closed to fishing activities until Nov. 15, while some surrounding areas will close at 5 p.m. on Saturday until further notice. DFO provided a 72-hour notice because of the weather forecast and to allow time for fishing gear to be removed. The crab fishing area known as 12F, east of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, remains under a 15-day closure that began after the first whale of the year was spotted in late April. There are an estimated 366 North Atlantic right whales in existence. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A finding that wine from the West Bank can be labelled as a product of Israel was not reasoned properly and should now be thrashed out again, the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled. As a result, the appellate court said the politically sensitive case, which at one point threatened to put Middle East politics on trial, should go back to the Complaints and Appeals Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. "The administrative decision maker must demonstrate that its interpretation of the relevant provisions is consistent with their text, context and purpose," Chief Justice Marc Noel said. "Here this demonstration is totally lacking." The case arose in 2017, when Dr. David Kattenburg, of Winnipeg, raised concerns that wines produced by Psagot and Shiloh Winery, located in the West Bank, were from Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, not Israel itself. He argued the wines should not, under Canadian law, be branded as Product of Israel. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency initially sided with him. However, the agency reversed course after some Jewish groups protested and Global Affairs Canada said the West Bank could be considered Israeli territory under the Canada-Israel free trade agreement. In July 2019, a Federal Court judge found the settlements were not part of the State of Israel and the labelling was therefore misleading and deceptive. She sent the case back to the food inspection agency, saying Canadian consumers needed to know exactly what they were buying. "One peaceful way in which people can express their political views is through their purchasing decisions," then-judge Anne Mactavish wrote, prompting the federal government to appeal. In its analysis, the Federal Court of Appeal said the food agency was required to interpret and apply Canadian laws to decide whether the wine labels were indeed false or misleading. The view of Global Affairs that the West Bank falls under the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement played a "determinative role" in the food agency's decision that the labelling was legal, Noel said. However, that was not enough to decide whether the agency's ruling had been reasonable, he said. "We simply have no idea how the agency construed its legislation in coming to the conclusion that the labels are compliant," Noel said. Noel said the agency, in taking a fresh look at the case, will want to hear from the affected parties, including Psagot, which had been unaware of the case until it reached Federal Court. Noel also made it clear the agency is not bound by Mactavish's reasons. "It will be open to the agency, as the decider of the merits of the labelling issue, to come to whatever outcome it thinks appropriate, provided that its interpretation and application of the relevant provisions to the facts in issue can be seen to be reasonable," Noel said. Psagot bills itself as an award-winning winery 15 minutes north of Jerusalem. It says its wines are produced by Israelis under auspices of an Israeli company in an Israeli community subject to Israeli law in Israeli territory. "Put simply, Psagot Winery proudly produces wines that are products of Israel," it says. The winery said it was pleased the Federal Court of Appeal had now sent the case back to the food agency with direction the lower court's decision was not binding, and that Psagot can make submissions. Some Jewish groups called the ruling a victory, with one saying the case was "part of a broader campaign to boycott Israel and Israeli goods." This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
The Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Yukon Region are calling on Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon to come down harder on some MLAs who engaged in a "deplorable, abhorrent and unacceptable" text message chat over the weekend. In a news release on Wednesday, both groups said Yukon Party MLAs Stacey Hassard and Wade Istchenko should be suspended without pay from the Legislative Assembly, and that all members of the Yukon Party should commit to anti-bullying training. "This must be addressed through firm and appropriate action. We expect respectful behaviour from our elected officials and an apology does not suffice in addressing this behaviour and the biases that fuel it," said CYFN Grand Chief Peter Johnston in a written statement. The reaction comes after text messages sent by Istchenko and Hassard, among others, were made public Sunday night. The texts made crude comments about all three party leaders, including references to their genitalia. On Tuesday, the White River First Nation, whose traditional territory falls within Istchenko's Kluane riding, called for that MLA to resign. The First Nation said it is no longer willing to work with Istchenko. 'Systemic violence' CYFN and AFN stopped short of demanding resignations, but did say that Dixon needs to do more to address the "misogynistic" comments made by the MLAs, and "issues of systemic violence." On Monday, the Yukon Party leader apologized and said that the two MLAs would not sit on any legislative committees, or be assigned roles in the party's shadow cabinet. On Monday, Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon apologized to the other party leaders for the text exchange involving MLAs from his party.(Chris Windeyer/CBC) Those proposed measures "don't go far enough to reprimand the MLAs involved in such deplorable, abhorrent and unacceptable behaviour," reads the news release from CYFN and AFN Yukon. "The removal of the MLAs from standing committees and critic roles in the shadow cabinet while still receiving full pay does nothing to penalize the MLAs." Along with suspensions and anti-bullying training for MLAs, the organizations say Dixon should ensure that elected officials adhere to the Yukon government's respectful workplace policy, and that they receive any necessary training. Kuane Adamek, Yukon regional chief with the AFN, said in a statement that the MLAs' text messages offer "a troubling look into how these elected representatives view their colleagues, and women." "Yukon families and young people require us to lead with integrity, accountability and respect. What these elected officials have shown us is that this type of behaviour is acceptable and excusable. In this time and era, it is not." CBC requested interviews on Wednesday afternoon with Dixon, Istchenko and Hassard, but none were available according to an emailed statement from a Yukon Party spokesperson. "Our statement on Monday included a formal apology, as well as specific apologies from both MLAs involved, and the serious reprimands that have been issued," the email says. It also says that Dixon had contacted Grand Chief Johnston to discuss the issue.