Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
China's embassy in the Philippines has denounced the United States for "creating chaos" in Asia, after a visiting White House envoy backed countries in disputes with China and accused Beijing of using military pressure to further its interests. During a trip to Manila on Monday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien underscored the U.S. commitment to Taiwan and told the Philippines and Vietnam, countries both locked in maritime rows with China, that "we've got your back". "It shows that his visit to this region is not to promote regional peace and stability, but to create chaos in the region in order to seek selfish interests of the U.S.," the embassy said in a statement issued late Monday.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday vowed to defend the democratic island's sovereignty with the construction of a new fleet of domestically-developed submarines, a key project supported by the United States to counter neighbouring China. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has been for years working to revamp its submarine force, some of which date back to World War Two, and is no match for China's fleet, which includes vessels capable of launching nuclear weapons. At a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new submarine fleet in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, Tsai called the move a "historic milestone" for Taiwan's defensive capabilities after overcoming "various challenges and doubts".
The parents of a 19-year-old Briton killed in a road accident in 2019 lost their court battle with the British government on Tuesday over whether the wife of U.S. official involved in the crash had diplomatic immunity from criminal prosecution. Harry Dunn's family have said Anne Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road when she crashed with the teenager, who was riding a motor-bike, near an air force base in central England which is used by the U.S. military. Dunn's parents Charlotte Charles and Tim Dunn challenged British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police in London's High Court over the determination that Sacoolas had diplomatic immunity at the time of his death.
A northern Saskatchewan First Nation dealing with a spate of COVID-19 cases in the area is threatening members who hold house parties with eviction and the loss of their utilities.Chief Francis Iron of Canoe Lake Cree First Nation said the punishments are already spelled out in local housing policies, but that the band is underscoring them again to stave off parties that go over the current private gathering limit of five people. "It's tough and cruel, but, you know, we see elders getting sick and possibly passing away and then that's something we go on to live with," Iron said Monday. "We want to do everything that's necessary to keep our community safe."Canoe Lake Cree First Nation is located about 333 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert and has just under 1,000 residents, according to the 2016 census.Memo warns of stripping utilitiesOn Sunday, the First Nation's housing director circulated a memo on social media in light of "the spike of COVID-19 cases in our community and surrounding communities" — 13 cases in total, according to Iron. The memo went on to state that "there will be NO house parties allowed on the reserve. Anyone hosting a house party will be served with a warning of an eviction notice and utilities will be shut off. "If it happens again, an immediate eviction notice will be served."Iron said that with winter setting in, "we don't want the spread to go any further than it is."Learning from other First Nations and anywhere else, a lot of this originates from a house party where outbreaks are happening. We just want our people to be as serious as we are," he said. No one has had to be evicted or stripped of their utilities, Iron added."As of today and last night, there haven't been any house parties, which shows us that the people are taking it very seriously," he said. 'They do have their own autonomy'The Canoe Lake reserve is part of the Far North West region reported on by the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA). As of Sunday, the region had 66 active cases of COVID-19.Dr. Nnamdi Ndubuka, NITHA's medical health officer for the Prince Albert area, said the "stern" measures outlined by the band has the support of his office."We do recognize they they do have their own autonomy and they have their own ability to develop local measures to enforce the public health order," Ndubuka said. Asked if evicting people might not create more problems, he said there are mental health teams, and alternate shelter arrangements, in place."I wouldn't imagine that people who are struggling with addictions would be left isolated," he said.
Up to 2,000 GTA families will soon be able to get free dental care at new clinic. At the same time, they'll also be participating in research aimed at making sure every Canadian has access to dental coverage, and that such charity is no longer necessary in the future.The clinic is the centrepiece of what's being billed as the largest-ever dental public health service and research program, opening Tuesday at the University of Toronto.Funded by a $6.15-million donation from Green Shield Canada, the clinic and research program will be run by the U of T Faculty of Dentistry. Along with providing cost-free dental services, the clinic will allow researchers to investigate the long-term impacts of having access to quality care."We know that there's a clear connection between having poor oral health and having worse systemic health conditions," Dr. Carlos Quiñonez, a dental public health specialist, associate professor and program director at U of T's Faculty of Dentistry, said in an interview.Health disorders linked to teethAccording to Quiñonez, there are links between oral health and illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.Unhealthy teeth and gums can have an impact on an individual's mental health, self-esteem and quality of life as well."Just imagine having repeated toothaches and what that might do that to your ability to function well on a daily basis, or even work," Quiñonez said.The federal government estimates that roughly a third of Canadians have no access to dental coverage. "There's a group here that has fallen through the cracks," said David Willows, the executive vice president of innovation for Green Shield Canada, in an interview.Willows says this group is often described as "working poor." Because of the nature of their jobs, they don't have access to dental benefits through work, but also fail to qualify for government assistance.By serving these individuals and their families, researchers at the clinic will be able to learn more about how having regular dental care benefits their health and overall livelihood."We'll be doing the research project around these patients and trying to track their trajectory in terms of their total health and see whether this service really makes a difference more broadly that just in their mouth," Willows said.Universal dental coverageGreen Shield Canada's donation will fund the clinic and the research for at least five years. The goal of the research is to work towards an eventual permanent solution for the millions of Canadians without access to dental coverage.In public debate, that solution often takes the form of a national dental care program. As recently as the 2019 federal election campaign, the NDP proposed an $860-million dental coverage program for uninsured Canadians.Willows says that may not be the best direction, and the research will study any number of possibilities."It may not be the grand national program," he said. "Let's be a little more precise. Let's find out who this population is and how we can get them access."While Quiñonez believes there should be universal dental care coverage, he says it may not take the form of a single-payer system."I think starting off with baby steps to help us understand what we might be able to do is better than just throwing out this idea that it's going to be part of medicare. I think it's far more complex than that."
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Nov. 24 ...What we are watching in Canada ...EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says COVID-19 has become like a snowball rolling down a hill, picking up size and speed, and threatening to overwhelm the health system.Dr. Deena Hinshaw says immediate action is needed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.Premier Jason Kenney and select cabinet ministers were to meet with Hinshaw, and new measures are expected to be announced today.Alberta, once a leader in how to prepare for and contain the virus, has in recent weeks become a national cautionary tale.There have been well over 1,000 new cases a day for five straight days, and there are more than 300 patients in hospital and more than 60 in intensive care.Kenney has said he wants targeted measures to control the virus while keeping businesses as open as possible.Others, including some doctors, say the focus needs to be on a sharp clampdown, even for a short period.\---Also this ...A new poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggests many Canadians are gaining weight because they're eating more and exercising less during COVID-19 pandemic. Thirty-two per cent of respondents said they have gained weight since March, while 15 per cent said they lost weight over that time.Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, says this is one of the collateral effects of the pandemic, as the survey suggests there is a link between weight gain and fear of COVID-19.Forty-six per cent of respondents who said they are very afraid of COVID-19 gained weight during the pandemic.Forty-four cent of those who expressed that level of fear said they have been exercising less than they did before the pandemic and about 46 per cent said they were eating more than usual.The online survey of 1,516 Canadians was conducted Oct. 29-31 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.\---What we are watching in the U.S. ...The U.S. General Services Administration has ascertained that president-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election. President Donald Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said Monday that he is directing his team to co-operate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight. The move clears the way for the start of the transition from Trump’s administration and allows Biden to co-ordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20. An official said Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, most recently in Michigan, which certified Biden’s victory Monday.And today, Biden is preparing to formally announce his national security team to the nation. Those being introduced during an afternoon event are among Obama administration alumni whose roles in the upcoming administration signal Biden's shift away from the Trump administration’s “America First” policies. The picks include former Secretary of State John Kerry to take the lead on combating climate change. Outside the realm of national security and foreign policy, Biden is expected to choose former Fed chair Janet Yellen as the first woman to serve as treasury secretary.\---What we are watching in the rest of the world ...China’s latest trip to the moon is another milestone in the Asian powerhouse’s slow but steady ascent to the stars. China became the third country to put a person into orbit a generation ago and the first to land on the far side of the moon in 2019. The Chang’e 5 mission, launched today, will be the first to bring back moon rocks and debris since a Soviet mission in 1976. Future ambitions include a permanent space station and putting people back on the moon more than 50 years after the U.S. did.\---On this day in 2002 ...Quebec Premier Bernard Landry announced that the May 24th Quebec holiday, ``La fete de Dollard,'' would henceforth be known as ``La Journee nationale des Patriotes.'' The name was changed to honour the movement that contributed to the Rebellions of 1837-38 in Lower Canada and became an early symbol of French-Canadian nationalism.\---In entertainment ...Anne Murray wasn’t sure her singing voice was still intact until a few months ago.The famed Canadian crooner had left her most-cherished instrument largely unchecked while in retirement, aside from belting out a song here and there while doing household chores.But last summer, she decided to dust off her guitar to see whether her trademark lush alto voice could still carry a tune.Murray says she performed a few of her old songs “just for the fun of it,” and was pleased to learn her famous pipes are still humming.The winner of 24 Junos and four Grammys swore off recording new music more than a decade ago, but she recently compiled several of her classic tracks for a new holiday album.“The Ultimate Christmas Collection” brings together 22 songs pulled from Murray's various Christmas albums, including “Joy to the World, “Blue Christmas” and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” with Michael Buble.\---ICYMI ...A Quebec municipality that had planned to cull about 15 white-tailed deer in the coming days relented late Monday amid pressure on officials to relocate the animals.Longueuil Mayor Sylvie Parent said in a statement the threat of people intervening or attempting to thwart the cull has forced the city to consider other options. Parent noted the plan to capture and slaughter the deer, approved by Quebec's Forests, Wildlife and Parks Department, was supported by a "broad consensus within the scientific community."But given the circumstances, she's asking the city's top civil servant to come up with a plan to move the deer from Michel-Chartrand Park to a sanctuary authorized by provincial officials.Parent's announcement came hours after an animal rescue group and a lawyer who champions animal rights urged the Montreal-area city to reconsider its plan to kill half the white-tailed deer in the park and donate the meat to a food bank.The organization, Sauvetage Animal Rescue, along with well-known Montreal lawyer Anne-France Goldwater, had urged Parent to consider its own plan to relocate the animals to a sanctuary, free of charge.Ultimately, the city relented but Parent said the deer situation would need to be resolved quickly.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020The Canadian Press
Saskatchewan health policy consultant Steven Lewis has watched from the relative safety of Melbourne, Australia, as COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have spiked back in his home province.The southern Australian city of five million people, where Lewis is currently living, is now COVID-free and in the process of lifting restrictions.Lewis, who has advised governments in several provinces and countries, agreed to share his thoughts on Saskatchewan's rapidly deteriorating COVID-19 situation — which saw nearly 3,000 active cases and more than 100 people in hospital as of Monday.On Monday, the province announced four more people with the virus had died and that Premier Scott Moe is in isolation after a recent potential exposure in the Prince Albert area.Lewis said the three-month lockdown in Australia was difficult, but that residents generally agreed it was necessary. Those tempted to flout the rules were slapped with large fines. Lewis said he isn't recommending an Australia-style lockdown, but that one thing is clear: the Saskatchewan government's "half-assed" approach will simply prolong the pandemic's devastating effects on people's health and the economy.The following comments by Lewis have been condensed and edited.On 'high-risk venues'Lewis: It's crazy to allow bars and restaurants and gyms to stay open. They are known worldwide to be three sites where infections take off. Alcohol is a disinhibitor. Loud music makes people lean in and talk louder to be heard over it, expelling more droplets. People exercising strenuously breathe more heavily, sweat, expel. On gatheringsAll mass gatherings, including church services, weddings, funerals, should be locked down, and [there should be] very strong prohibition of socializing at home with non-family members.On mandatory masksAt least [Saskatchewan] has mandatory mask wearing indoors in public spaces. But responding too late can't be undone. It may be useful prospectively but the numbers got bigger than they had to.On enforcing the rulesI don't have strong enough evidence to suggest cause and effect, but enforcement appears to matter.Here in Victoria [Australia], population 6.5 million, since March the police have issued about 25,000 tickets for COVID non-adherence violations, at an average of about $1,200, which is pretty steep. I do think this, combined with the 8 p.m. curfew that was in place for weeks, was a deterrent for young people.What we've learned is that even if messaging is well-done and broadly effective, a small number of non-adherers can spark a new cluster that quickly expands. When 95 per cent adherence isn't good enough, you cannot rely on moral suasion or appeals to civility.On contact tracingOnce numbers get beyond double-digits per day, contact tracing becomes virtually useless. It's just too labour-intensive, people may not have good recall, and there is still stigma and suspicion of authority, so people may not disclose their contacts.On testingCanada is still terrible at testing.Slovakia tested just about the entire adult population in a weekend and then repeated a weekend later. They found about a 1 per cent positive rate the first weekend and directed the infected to isolate. The positive rate the second weekend was a lot lower, no doubt because the first one removed the positives and kept them out of the population.My understanding is that it is still hard for asymptomatic people (in Canada) to get a publicly provided test and the results take days rather than hours.On the Saskatchewan government's 'slowdown' plan[Health professionals] have I think justifiably hammered the government for it's half-assed and complicated approach.It is increasingly clear that you can't slow-walk the pandemic with a fine-tuned balancing act that keeps the economy humming while keeping daily case rates at a predictable and low level. It's too volatile, there are too many asymptomatic transmissions, and there's too big a time-lag between when you are infected and when you know you are.So you have to come down hard and fast and universally to flatten the curve quickly. If you have to stop and start and stop and start, it's just as disruptive for businesses and the pain is prolonged. Bottom line: Saskatchewan has been tested by the second wave and largely failed. It was stupid to differentiate between urban and rural Saskatchewan [on mandatory masks] and it's really stupid to keep known high-risk venues open. The virus doesn't care if you're going to a bar or to church. It's going to bite people in both places if you keep them open.
The city of Moncton is asking residents not to treat parks like decoration stores.Dan Hicks, the director of parks and leisure operations for the city, said he's aware of incidents in two local parks where residents have been cutting pine branches and taking them home.One incident happened at Centennial Park. And Hicks said someone witnessed branches being cut in Irishtown Nature Park, and alerted the city.Irishtown Nature Park is one of Canada's largest urban parks and is designated as a nature park, meaning the land is permanently set-aside for the enjoyment of residents but also for the conservation of biological diversity.While some may think it's harmless, Hicks says it's stealing."It's theft, it's destruction of property, it's not your property you shouldn't take it home so that's the first thing." Hicks said."The second thing is these are nature areas, these parks are for everyone, they're the lungs of the city and overall we'd like to see these small trees eventually become big trees and be contributors to our ecosystems so that's why these spaces are here and protected."Hicks said cutting branches can damage the ecosystem."Each one of these trees has a function. They're here to provide ecological benefits and services to the park and ultimately to the citizens and the four legged citizens that also use them for food and shelter and everything else." he said.Hicks said the pandemic is making it hard for many people as the holiday season approaches, but he says there are alternatives to cutting branches off trees in a park."We all want to celebrate the festive season and it's a difficult year for that for sure but there are a lot of really good local sustainably produced festive decor products that people can find in their local area. You don't have to go far, we're in New Brunswick." he said.Hicks said people can also apply for a permit to harvest wreath tips and branch materials on Crown land through the provincial Natural Resources Department. The fee is $20 and the landowner's permission is required.If someone is caught cutting branches in a park, Hicks said the RCMP can be called and charges could be laid.He said if anyone sees this happening, they should report it to the city.Hicks said the parks are there for everyone's enjoyment, not "just for your living room."
Scotland's High Court was told on Tuesday that the conviction of a Libyan man over the 1988 Lockerbie aircraft bombing, the deadliest militant attack in British history, rested on evidence that was badly flawed. The family of now deceased Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the only person convicted over the bombing that killed 270 people, have launched a posthumous appeal, supported by some victims' relatives who say the truth has yet to come out. Pam Am Flight 103 was blown up over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in December 1988 en route from London to New York, carrying mostly Americans on their way home for Christmas.
Cape Breton Regional Police are stepping up foot patrols in downtown Sydney at the request of local business owners.It's been a difficult year for retailers because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that have so far survived 2020 are now trying to protect against thefts as holiday shoppers return to the downtown core."You're a little bit busier and you're not maybe paying as much attention," said Bruce Meloney, owner of Rieker by the Shoe Tree on Charlotte Street."It's an easy time to be targeted by would-be thieves who want to steal."Hard to ID mask-wearing thievesA Shoe Tree employee grabbed a shoebox for sizing last week only to realize it was empty. Meloney said he believes a woman snagged a pair of expensive boots by tucking them underneath a cape she was wearing. The store is monitored by security cameras, but identifying a suspect has become more difficult due to pandemic protocols. "With masks on, it's harder to say, 'Oh, I know who that person is now,'" said Meloney. "And that's why I'd love to have just a police presence, just for simple things like that."Police patrols returningLast week, during an education session with police on biker gang activity in the local area, members of Sydney's business community asked the force why regular foot patrols were stopped in the downtown core.Acting police chief Robert Walsh responded that there had been very little foot traffic in the area."For a long while there wasn't a presence in the downtown community, in the downtown core," he said.After the meeting, the police service committed to increasing its presence downtown during the shopping season.Michelle Wilson, executive director of the Sydney Downtown Development Association, said preventing thefts is always better than trying to solve shoplifting crimes. "We always appreciate when the police have enough resources to put someone downtown," she said. "It creates an extra sense of safety and security — not only for our customers, but for our business owners and staff, as well."Campaign to attract customersFor many retailers who survived the first difficult months of the pandemic, Christmas sales are crucial. A cancelled cruise ship season this year has brought hardships to several downtown merchants.For many, the hope is shoppers will spend their holiday dollars locally. "We always rely more heavily on the Christmas season," said Wilson. "For a lot of people, year end is December 31st … and it's right before a few really slow months."To draw more visitors to local businesses, the association is issuing a challenge to light up downtown Sydney.The campaign aspires to have 30,000 lightbulbs glowing outside downtown buildings and in window displays. MORE TOP STORIES
Good morning! This is our daily news roundup with everything you need to know in one concise read. Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox every morning.As COVID-19 cases soar and regions lock down, Dr. Tam has a blunt message about holiday planningOn a day that saw Ontario and Manitoba announce record-high numbers of new COVID-19 cases, two provinces pull out of the much-lauded Atlantic bubble and close their borders, and millions of people in different regions of the country plunge back into lockdowns reminiscent of last spring, Canada's chief public health officer said the tighter rules are a necessary evil right now. "The longer you wait to increase the measures, the longer it would take to come out of the restrictions," Dr. Theresa Tam told The National co-host Andrew Chang. She said that over the past several months, provincial and territorial medical officers of health tried hard to achieve a balance where they could keep up with COVID-19 testing and contact tracing while keeping society open. "It's just something that people have never tried in the history of the last hundred years," Tam said. "They were trying really hard to minimize impact on the economic side, on schools, on work.... It's just not an easy thing to do."WATCH | Tam says the message around holidays is the same no matter where in Canada you live:In the past month alone, Canada's number of confirmed or presumptive cases rose by more than 125,000, increasing from 211,732 on Oct. 23 to 337,555 on Monday. Provinces are seeing daily case counts higher than they ever saw during the first wave. And so now, with the holiday season just weeks away, Canadians are wondering if one of the bright spots in Canada's long, dark winter will be another casualty of 2020 — and whether the country will ever get off the roller-coaster of flattening the curve only to see cases soar again. Tam is blunt when it comes to the upcoming holiday season: No large gatherings. Keep it small. Keep it within your own household. "Christmas is not going to be having any kind of large group interactions," she said. "Even with family, you've got to really think twice. Avoid non-essential travel. Keep to your current household contacts as much as possible." Read more on this story here.Simian serenade(Prapan Chankaew/Reuters)British musician Paul Barton plays the piano for the macaques that occupy the Phra Prang Sam Yot temple site in Lopburi, Thailand, in this photo taken Nov. 21. The audience was a bit unruly as they climbed all over him, pulled his hair and tried to eat his sheet music. Barton said he hoped the music might calm the animals at a time when the pandemic-caused drop in Thailand's tourism industry means fewer visitors to feed them, and less money for their welfare.In briefAlberta has reached a "precarious point" in the coronavirus pandemic, the province's top doctor said Monday upon reporting 1,549 new cases and five more deaths. The province's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw also said there were 13,166 active cases in Alberta — surpassing Ontario's 13,004 for the most in the country. Hinshaw said she was meeting with a cabinet committee "to discuss a series of new measures to reduce the rising spread of COVID-19," and said a detailed update would be coming today. "We must take action. Waiting any longer will impact our ability to care for Albertans in the weeks and months ahead," she said. Read more on this story here.WATCH | Alberta faces pressure for increased restrictions as COVID-19 cases 'snowball':The Canada Revenue Agency says it's warning about 213,000 Canadians who may have been paid twice through the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) program that they could be called upon to repay the money. But repayment isn't required right away, says the agency. The CRA has suspended collection of debts for the duration of the pandemic emergency. "The Canada Revenue Agency … has issued letters to individuals who may have applied for the Canadian emergency response benefit … from both Service Canada and the CRA, and who may be required to repay an amount to the CRA," an agency spokesperson said in an email. "We will resume collections activities when it is responsible to do so, including collection of debts related to CERB payments." The agency is still recommending people pay back any CERB funds to which they're not entitled by the end of the year, warning that if they don't, the sum will appear on T4A tax slips and will need to be reported as income on next year's tax return. Read more about the possible CERB repayments. Canada has turned away at least 4,400 asylum seekers at the U.S. border since 2016 — including some who were hoping to find refuge here at the height of the global pandemic — according to newly released government figures. Nearly half of those trying to enter Canada over that nearly five-year period made the attempt in the year after U.S. President Donald Trump took office. The figures were released in response to a parliamentary request from NDP MP Jenny Kwan. Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, which has been in effect since 2004, Canada and the U.S. consider each other to be "safe countries" for refugees and require them to make their claims in the country they arrive in first. The agreement has long faced criticism and legal challenges from refugee advocacy groups, who say the agreement is an inhumane way to limit the number of people Canada accepts as refugees. They say the U.S. is not a safe country for all refugees and that the dangers they face have increased under the Trump administration. Read more about the figures on asylum seekers. NAV Canada, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, is considering cutting air traffic controller jobs at seven towers across Canada in an effort to save money as the global health crisis continues to drag down air traffic. CBC News obtained an internal memo from Nav Canada president and CEO Neil Wilson informing staff that the not-for-profit company that operates Canada's civil air navigation system is conducting studies of air traffic control towers in Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray, Alta., Prince George, B.C., and Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor in Ontario, which "will result in workforce adjustments." The company also is looking into closing a control tower in St. Jean, Que. These locations were identified as having low air-traffic levels, even prior to the pandemic, the memo said. Some aviation experts and airlines warn that the cuts would amount to removing a layer of protection. "It would degrade the level of safety at Whitehorse," said Joe Sparling, president of Whitehorse-based airline Air North. "We would encourage Nav Canada to look for other cost reduction measures." Read more about possible NAV Canada cuts here. U.S. president-elect Joe Biden can start the formal transition of power process after the federal agency that must sign off on it said Monday that he could. "I take this role seriously and, because of recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results, am transmitting this letter today to make those resources and services available to you," General Services Administration (GSA) chief Emily Murphy wrote in a letter to Biden. Yesterday, Michigan certified Biden's victory in that state, while a judge in Pennsylvania over the weekend threw out a lawsuit from U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign that sought to block certification in that state. The move by the GSA means Biden's team will now get federal funds and an official office to conduct his transition. Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will also get access to the regular national security briefings that Trump gets. Read more about the transition here.WATCH | Trump allows co-operation in presidential transition as Biden chooses cabinet:Now for some good news to start your Tuesday: Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honey combs. Tristan Kennedy, 5, shared that joke and more than 100 other knee-slappers outside his home in Pitt Meadows, B.C., this spring in an effort to brighten up the days of his neighbours during the pandemic. For 155 days straight starting in April, Kennedy and his mother, Naya Kohout, searched for jokes and then shared them on a sign at the end of their driveway, with the setup line written up and posted on one side and the punchline on the other. Despite hearing a few groans from those bemoaning the jokes, the response was so positive they asked passersby if they would be interested in a book of jokes. Kohout says the demand was there, so they put together an offering. To date, they have sold more than 120 books, and raised more than $1,200, which they are donating in equal parts to the Ridge Meadows Senior Society and the Friends in Need Food Bank. Read more here about the joke book.Front Burner: Virus rages in 'precarious' AlbertaIn the first wave of the pandemic, Alberta was one of the provinces that seemed to have things relatively under control. Now, the province has daily case rates three times as high as Quebec or Ontario, and ICUs in Calgary and Edmonton have been hitting 90 per cent capacity. But Premier Jason Kenney hasn't addressed the province at a COVID-19 briefing for almost two weeks, and has resisted repeated calls for lockdowns from doctors and other experts. It's leading some Albertans to tweet the hashtag WhereIsKenney. Today, Jason Markusoff of Maclean's joins us to talk about how Alberta got here, and what happens now.Today in history: November 241892: Sir John Abbott, third prime minister of Canada and the first PM born in Canada, steps down due to ill health. He is succeeded by Sir John S. D. Thompson. 1937: The Canadian Authors Association sets up the Governor General's Literary Awards. Bertram Brooker wins the first award for his 1936 novel Think of the Earth. 1980: Moretta (Molly) Reilly, the first woman in Canada to get an airline transport pilot's licence and a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, dies in Edmonton at the age of 58. 1981: The Metric Commission of Canada announces the full conversion to the metric system in food stores across Canada. The changeover from imperial units to metric was implemented simultaneously in 21 areas across Canada in January 1982 and covered the rest of the country within two years. 1987: Jehane Benoît, called Canada's first lady of cuisine who published 25 cookbooks and was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1973, dies at age 83.
A winter storm has brought snow, blizzard conditions and cancellations to parts of Labrador Tuesday, as gusty winds also created travel delays and problems on Newfoundland.By Tuesday evening, 70 centimetres of snow had fallen in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Tuesday's snowfall alone broke the previous single-day record in November from 1944. The north coast and central parts of Labrador remained under a blizzard warning. "It's just going to be a dirty, dirty day across Labrador, really — no better way to put it," Mike Vandenberg, a meterologist with Environment Canada, said Tuesday morning.Winds were also high in central Labrador, gusting between 80 to 90 km/hr, causing extremely poor visibility."If you can stay home, that would be great," said Vandenberg, adding conditions won't improve much throughout Tuesday.That was a sentiment echoed by Happy Valley-Goose Bay resident David Martin, who turned off his snowblower to chat with CBC's Garrett Barry. "If you don't need to get out, I wouldn't," said Martin. He said his nine-year-old son was too young to help dig out, so he was inside playing video games — for now. "Two more years and he's doing the snowblower and old dad will be staying in the house," Martin said, laughing. Schools closed, mail delivery halted, flights cancelledSchools in both Happy Valley-Goose Bay and North West River closed for the day Tuesday, as well as the regional College of the North Atlantic campus.The blizzard warnings stretched up the coast from Postville to Hopedale, although somewhat less snow was expected in the area, with about 20 centimetres forecasted for Hopedale and up to 40 centimetres for Makkovik, along with wind gusting up to 100 km/hr.Late Tuesday afternoon, Canada Post issued a red alert for mail delivery in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and North West River. That means the agency is suspending service for the day and isn't sending workers outdoors, citing unsafe conditions.Air Borealis cancelled its Tuesday flights to coastal Labrador, citing the weather.The snowfall amounts will taper off in southern coastal areas of Labrador, with rain expected in the most southerly areas.Windy islandWhile the snow is skipping Newfoundland for the most part, almost all of the island's coastlines were under a wind warning, with gusts between 80 to 100 km/h expected. Stronger gusts up to 120 km/h are possible in some places, such as coastal eastern Newfoundland.The Wreckhouse area may see gusts up to 140 km/h. Strong winds knocked a transport truck onto its side, RCMP said in a warning Tuesday morning, partially blocking the westbound lane of the Trans-Canada Highway just outside of Port aux Basques.Unplanned power outages were reported on parts of the island Tuesday morning, with Newfoundland Power citing weather to blame for outages in Grand Falls-Windsor, Corner Brook, and St. Fintan's-Loch Levan in the Bay St. George South area.Marine Atlantic cancelled its day crossings Tuesday, and warned its night crossings may also be affected by the weather.Some intraprovincial ferry routes were also out of commission due to the wind Tuesday morning, with the Bell Island to Portugal Cove run as well as St. Brendan's to Burnside holding in port due to high winds.Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Back in mid-April, about a month into the COVID-19 pandemic, Magdalena became worried her husband's verbal and sexual abuse would escalate."'You're stuck here with me, you got to do everything I want you to,'" Magdalena recalls her husband telling her. CBC has agreed not to publish her full name to protect her identity and safety.Originally from Mexico, now living in rural eastern Ontario with no family support, Magdalena said she called 10 women's shelters before finding safe beds for her and her young son. "I just grabbed my kid and we left," she said.She was driven to an unfamiliar community 100 kilometres away, where she recently found a job and has lived in a shelter ever since. "I cannot imagine what could have happened if I didn't leave that day. I'm in a shelter and I'm grateful to be in here, but I don't want to be here forever," she said.Call volume up 75%Women's shelters in rural eastern Ontario say they're coping with an excessive number of crisis calls and an increasingly volatile environment for women, all while dealing with COVID-19 restrictions on their staff and facilities. "If you compare April 2019 to April 2020, our calls were 75 per cent up," said Erin Lee, executive director at Lanark County Interval House in Carleton Place, Ont. "We've seen more severe incidents of violence. Women are reporting more complexities in the violence."Across the region, Lee's counterparts report a similar story. "We're looking at about 800 crisis calls so far this year," said Deborah Thomas executive director of Naomi's Family Resource Centre, a nine-bed shelter in Winchester, Ont.To the southwest, Leeds and Grenville Interval House in Brockville, Ont., is chronically full, and like the others, has fewer rooms available due to COVID-19 precautions."We have had to use hotels ... for all of our overflow," said Charlene Catchpole, executive director of the Brockville shelter.Leeds and Grenville provides outreach services to about 250 families in an area from Westport to Kemptville to the St. Lawrence Seaway and everywhere in between, while the Lanark County shelter serves approximately 400 families in the wider community, women who may never need a shelter bed but still need help to stay safe. Money with strings attachedEarly on in the pandemic, women's shelters across the country shared a $20.5-million fund from Women and Gender Equality Canada. In October, the federal department promised "up to $10 million [more] for women's shelters and sexual assault centres to help them continue to provide their critical services safely.""It's the first time for us that we've ever received money from the federal government, so it has been helpful," said Lee.The rural directors say the money was spent on new equipment, mileage for outreach visits, and internet and data plans so staff could communicate with women in need. Money received from the Ontario government, the main funder of women's shelters, came with the condition that it be spent directly on services inside the shelter. "[If] we have to go and buy dash cams or we have to help with some of the security issues, we can't use the provincial money for that," said Lee.Staff burnoutWith fewer volunteers and more reports of violence, the executive directors worry about their staff. "I have no doubt that we're burnt out," said Catchpole. "Staff are doing all the cooking. They're doing three times the cleaning ... we don't have volunteers doing that anymore." Naomi's Family Resource Centre in Winchester has lost 30 per cent of its staff since March. "Some people openly declared at the beginning, 'I can't work here because of pre-existing health conditions,' and we're not allowed to have staff working at two shelters at the same time," said Thomson. Most shelters depend on community fundraising to keep operating, but during the pandemic, face-to-face fundraising events aren't possible."We're entering into the Christmas season, which is our big time of the year for fundraising. Right now we are probably down by about 60 per cent for this time of year," said Catchpole. "It's a perfect storm.
After a two-week controversy that sparked a petition, protest and several arrests in connection with threats against local elected officials, the city of Longueuil is ditching its plan to capture and put down 15 deer.Mayor Sylvie Parent says the city will work with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry to find a safe location for the animals.In a written statement issued Monday night, Parent said the city had no choice but to scrap the plan, despite having gotten the approval from the province's experts and "a large consensus within the scientific community", "The threat posed today by certain people in order to harm, or even thwart the implementation of the deer population's cull in Michel-Chartrand park forces us to consider another option."The city had originally said euthanizing the 15 deer — about half of the park's population — was necessary to preserve vegetation in the area.In the last week, Longueuil police have arrested three men in connection with threats allegedly issued against the city's mayor. According to police, none of the men live in the Longueuil area.Parent hopes to have the deer moved within weeks, pending instructions from the ministry on where and how to undertake the relocation.Earlier this month, Anaïs Gasse, a biologist with the province's forestry, fauna and parks ministry claimed many of the deer would die within days if relocated, due to how difficult it would be to adapt to new surroundings.
Students at the University of Calgary are fighting to expand the school's African studies program.For more than two decades, only two African studies courses have been available at the U of C, and for the past decade they've been taught by just one professor. Students say they hope an expansion of the program would mean more classes and more teachers. Prof. Caesar Apentiik said it would make him very proud to see the program finally expanded. "The university is trying to decolonize its curriculum, and decolonizing its curriculum means bringing into focus studies like African studies," he said. "This fits well with the university's strategic plan of trying to internationalize our students' degrees to give them a global perspective, and Africa is an important part of that discussion."Student advocates looking to help the program grow are now applying for $300,000 through the Quality Money program — a partnership between the Students' Union (SU) and the university — which gives the campus community an opportunity to bring forward ideas to enhance the overall student experience. "Each year, the SU is provided with approximately $1.67 million from the UCalgary board of governors to invest in these projects. Through this unique program, students have a direct say in how a portion of their tuition is spent," said students' union president Frank Finley in a written statement to CBC News."Since 2004, over $26,000,000 has been awarded to more than 260 Quality Money initiatives that range from physical space upgrades to the creation of expanded academic and professional opportunities for students."Second year student Prudence Iticka with Black People United is one of the students behind the application to expand the African studies program.Iticka said she became passionate about making this change after she inquired about getting a minor in African studies. "When I went to look at the course offerings, I realized that there are only two courses offered in African studies every academic year," she said. "I reached out to the only professor in the department and I asked him, 'how does one actually major when there are so few courses available within this program?'"Iticka said she was told that the way the program is now, that option simply isn't available."When I found that out, I started reaching out to other students within U of C to find out what we can do. How can we rally behind this program not only to save it, but also to expand it so that students can minor?" she said."Because right now you can't, really. You have to go to another school if you're seeking a minor in African studies because the course offerings here are just mediocre."As an educator, Apentiik said it's been difficult telling students they can't major or minor in African studies, despite their interest."I will say that the saddest moment is to see your student struggling when they have genuine interest in a regional area and they can't minor in it," he said. "We anticipate that if we are able to achieve what we're trying to do now, it means that we'll have enough courses within the program and students can be assured that they will have enough courses if they make a decision to minor." The expansion of the program is also something the U of C's African-Caribbean Student Association (ACSA) would like to see. "By using the Quality Money application, we're able to hire more black professors to teach more African studies courses. That's something that the African Caribbean Student Association has been pushing alongside multiple other organizations on campus," said co-president Ganiyat Sadiq.With their application due on Friday, Sadiq said student advocates are collecting all evidence of community support for the expansion of the African studies program. "We have to get a lot of student support and community support just to show the university administration that it is something that is wanted on campus, too," she said. Sadiq said a petition organized by ACSA has already garnered more than 1,000 signatures of support. "We were able to show that there are over a thousand students that do want to have Africana studies courses and who do want to take those courses and would potentially want a minor in that degree. That's a primary thing we've been doing."Iticka said the existing African studies courses offered at the U of C are already very popular. "They're constantly wait-listed. The enrolment is incredibly healthy for those two courses," she said. Iticka said offering more African studies courses isn't just something that students are showing they want, but also something she believes will have a big impact on the greater Calgary community. "If we truly seek to develop the next generation of leaders, we have to give them a global perspective. This education is so necessary and we don't want people to think that we're doing this for African students," she said. "Everybody benefits from learning about Africa. We want people to understand that, you know, this is so much bigger than just the university." Iticka said that since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May, the U of C has made a lot of statements about anti-racism but she hasn't seen a lot of concrete steps to make change at the school."For now, we've just seen that it's a lot of lip service that is being paid to dismantling structural racism and tackling racism and discrimination, but there is actually nothing that is being done so far," she said. "We believe that you can actually tackle racism and undo its harm through education, because a lot of the unconscious bias and the stereotypes that a lot of people have about Black people comes from the fact they know nothing about Black people, about Black history, about African history," she said."We can combat this unconscious bias. We can combat these stereotypes with proper education about African people, where they come from, what is their contribution to humanity [and by] seeing Black professors and having black professors in their life."In a written statement to CBC News, the U of C's faculty of arts said that while it is too early to know what the outcome of the Students' Union process for selecting Quality Money recipients will be, the faculty is supportive of the student-led application for Quality Money funds to expand course offerings in African studies."The faculty has committed to providing some additional funds, in the event of a successful application, and in order to hire an instructor of African studies for the next three years," said Richard Sigurdson, dean of the faculty of arts.The funding amount from the faculty will be determined following the decision by the Students' Union about the application, as they may choose to offer partial funding or the full amount requested.Recipients of Quality Money will be informed in April 2021. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
Canada has turned away at least 4,400 asylum seekers at the U.S. border since 2016 — including some who were hoping to find refuge here at the height of the global pandemic — according to newly released government figures.Nearly half of those trying to enter Canada over that five-year period made the attempt in the year after U.S. President Donald Trump took office, according to figures released in response to a parliamentary request from NDP MP Jenny Kwan.Under the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), which has been in effect since 2004, Canada and the U.S. consider each other to be "safe countries" for refugees and require them to make their claims in the country they arrive in first.The agreement has long faced criticism and legal challenges from refugee advocacy groups, who say the agreement is an inhumane way to limit the number of people Canada accepts as refugees. They say the U.S. is not a safe country for all refugees and that the dangers they face have increased under the Trump administration.The federal government is appealing a Federal Court ruling earlier this year that found the STCA infringed Charter rights.The figures provided to Kwan show there was a spike in the number of asylum seekers turned back at the border after Trump was elected in 2016 and took office in 2017.In 2016 there were 742 people turned back at the border. That figure jumped to 1,992 in 2017. There were 744 denied entry in 2018 and 663 in 2019.Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 23 this year — a period which captures the height of the first wave of COVID-19 — 259 people were turned back at the border.'Even more precarious'Kwan called that "really disturbing.""In the face of a pandemic, things are even more precarious for people who need to get to safety and Canada actually did not hesitate to turn people back," she said.Kwan said the Trump administration imposed detention and deportation policies that violated international human rights and provoked widespread fear among refugees. By turning away asylum seekers, Canada is "complicit" in the violation of their rights, she said.Kwan said Canada should immediately suspend the STCA and work to negotiate a new agreement with U.S. president-elect Joe Biden that addresses human rights issues. But she said the "aggressive and intense" detention policies could linger."I think even with the Biden administration, that policy may still continue to exist, and even if the Biden administration wants to make changes, it's not going to happen overnight," she said.Mary-Liz Power, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, said the government appealed the Federal Court ruling because it believes there were errors in key findings of fact and law.She said the decision mistakenly suggests that all asylum claimants who are ineligible under the STCA and turned back to the U.S. are automatically detained as a penalty. She also noted that the U.S. remains a party to the UN Refugee Convention.Refugee pact 'fair, compassionate': Blair spokesperson"The STCA, which has served Canada well for 16 years, ensures that those whose lives are in danger are able to claim asylum at the very first opportunity in a safe country," she said. "We are in continuous discussions with the U.S. government on issues related to our shared border. We believe that the STCA remains a comprehensive vehicle for the fair, compassionate and orderly handling of asylum claims in our two countries."As for the spike in numbers in 2017, Power said that 2017-2018 recorded the highest number of globally displaced individuals since the Second World War.Justin Mohammed, human rights law and policy campaigner for Amnesty International Canada, said a number of factors could have driven that sharp increase, including global patterns and Trump's policies.He said Canada should be fulfilling its international obligations under international refugee law at all times — even during a pandemic, when safety concerns are heightened.Mohammed pointed to exemptions made for students, family reunification and other immigration classes that allow people to arrive in Canada despite travel restrictions."Why are refugees being excluded from that? They're able to quarantine or be required to have a quarantine plan just like anyone else ... so why is there not the ability to be able to provide protection?" he said.Partial pictureJanet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, said the 2020 figures represent only a partial picture of the people turned back to the U.S. because of added restrictions after the border closed March 20.At that time, refugee claimants were denied entry on public health grounds whether they arrived at an official point of entry or at another crossing — such as Roxham Road in Quebec — where the STCA does not normally apply.Despite assurances the Canadian government says it received from the U.S. that refugee claimants directed back would not be subject to enforcement such as detention or removal, Dench said refugee advocates in Canada know of at least two people who were detained in the U.S. after being directed back.Conservative immigration critic Raquel Dancho said the Liberal record on administering the refugee and asylum system was one of "mismanagement, years-long backlogs and failure," even before the pandemic."Conservatives have long been calling on the government to close illegal border crossings and work with their American counterparts to close the longstanding loopholes in the Safe Third Country Agreement so that refugee and asylum seekers have a fair, compassionate and effective pathway to come to Canada," she said in a statement.
France's interior minister called the images of police forcefully removing migrants from the Place de la République "shocking".View on euronews
For the second time this month, Canada has ordered a temporary fishery closure in the Roseway Basin off southern Nova Scotia after multiple detections of endangered North Atlantic right whales in the area.The latest order, issued Monday, closes several fisheries until further notice and could affect the lucrative commercial lobster fishery when the season opens next week."We intend to conduct an aerial survey of the area in the coming days to determine if there continues to be [right whale] presence," Barre Campbell, a spokesperson for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said in a statement Monday night."Management measures will continue to be applied if right whales are detected."Acoustic sensors detect whalesSince Nov. 9, acoustic sensors on board a marine glider cruising the area made 11 separate right whale detections."It could be one animal calling over all of that period of time. It's more probable that it was multiple animals that happened to come through. But how many?" said Fred Whoriskey, executive director of the Ocean Tracking Network, which deployed the glider in collaboration with the Ocean Frontier Institute."We can't tell because all we're doing is picking up a call. Our algorithms on board the machine that is detecting the calls are saying that's a right whale."It's the first time DFO is acting on data from autonomous gliders to make the call to shut down a fishery, said Adam Burns, director general of fisheries resource management for the department."We've been doing acoustic monitoring now for a few years, but this is the first year that we've considered them to be a trusted source in terms of implementing dynamic closures," Burns told CBC News on Tuesday.The Roseway Basin — located approximately 20 nautical miles, or roughly 37 kilometres, south of Cape Sable Island — has been designated a critical habitat for the whales, which used to feed there in late summer.The glider that found the whales is scheduled to come out of the water Wednesday, and the aerial survey will take over.If no right whales are spotted during the aerial surveys, the area will reopen for the start of the lobster fishery, said Burns. Sightings stump scientistsSightings have become rarer in recent years as the critically endangered whales moved north into the Gulf of St. Lawrence with disastrous results.Since 2017, 20 have died in the gulf, caused in some cases by vessel strikes and gear entanglements. No deaths have been reported so far in 2020."What we do know is something massive has changed in the way the right whales are interacting with our ocean here right now. And so it's very hard to say what is normal anymore, and this is basically a part of that. They were in Roseway for many, many years, and suddenly disappeared a few years ago. Now suddenly we're picking up a few," said Whoriskey."We don't know whether at this particular point in time if these are transitory animals that are on their way south for the winter — they probably are — or whether there are some that have moved in and tried to occupy it for longer periods of times."The detection means fishing for multiple species is closed until further notice. That will apply to lobster and crab when those seasons open.Because of a forecast for bad weather, fishermen have been given until Thursday to remove gear from parts of the Roseway Basin where the whales were most recently detected.DFO had reopened some, but not all, parts of the Roseway Basin that were closed temporarily earlier this month.Unusually late in the seasonSean Brillant of the Canadian Wildlife Federation said detections in Canadian waters this late in the year are unusual, but DFO is doing the right thing."The fact that they're taking this new information and acting on it in a way to try and prevent entanglements is encouraging. This is the kind of adaptive and strong leadership we need to see. Nobody wants to be closing these fisheries," said Brillant. "But at the same time, these rules are important to try and prevent this accidental harm that can happen to these animals."Whales' behaviour not understoodThe implications for the lobster fishery are potentially dramatic.Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34 from Halifax to Digby are the most valuable in Canada. Combined landings in 2018-19 were valued at $490 million.Fishermen there have largely been spared the intrusive measures taken to protect the whales elsewhere in the region. It was always presumed the whales had migrated out of Canadian waters before the season opened in late November or early December."What we're trying to do is protect the whales, but we're also trying to protect Canadian fisheries. Obviously there's going to be a huge problem if we have mortalities caused by our fisheries and then buyers begin to boycott Canadian seafood products," said Whoriskey."For us, as scientists encountering this all of a sudden, it's very uncomfortable, and we don't really understand what the whales are doing or why they're doing it right now."I personally am hopeful that this is a migratory movement of the animals and they are heading south, and heading south fairly fast, so the fishery can reopen again fairly quickly and get these guys back out in the water."MORE TOP STORIES
The New Brunswick Medical Society is applauding impending legislation which would mandate doctors report most incidents of knife and bullet wounds to law enforcement.The province announced the it last Wednesday among a slew of other legislation.In an email to CBC News, Coreen Enos, spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Public Safety said the legislation will "enable the police to take immediate steps to prevent further violence, injury or death.""Often in the case of gunshot and stab wounds, a timely reaction by police is critical to preventing further violence, injury or death."Dr. Jeff Steeves, president of the medical society, said mandating the reporting of wounds will take a lot of stress off of doctors."Sometimes physicians find themselves in sort of an ethical dilemma of balancing when a person may not want to report an injury, but that by reporting that it may provide a benefit to society or to that individual," said Steeves."Until now, the right to privacy, the physicians have to follow that, which can put them at odds with what might be in the better interest of the patients themselves if they don't give consent to release that information."The legislation would mandate that hospitals must report knife and bullet wounds, except in the case of self-inflicted knife wounds where hospitals have some leeway.Bullet wounds believed to be self-inflicted must be reported to police.Privacy vs public safetySteeves said the new legislation is just the latest in a long line of decisions made to balance privacy and public safety."Shaken baby and abuse of children, there's mandatory reporting," said Steeves."These are already times where there's an obligation and a right to report. So it's not that this is the first time this dilemma has been addressed."Legislation has only been announced, not introduced, so specifics are slim, but Enos said the legislation will make clear how wounds "should be reported to police."Many jurisdictions in North America already have laws mandating the reporting of knife and bullet wounds to police, with Steeves saying it exists in all 50 states having laws and Enos pointing out New Brunswick is one of only two provinces without legislation.Michael Boudreau, a criminology professor at St. Thomas University, said the new legislation is just brining the province in line with the prevailing narrative."It does bring New Brunswick into line with other provinces who have had this in place for a number of years," said Boudreau."I'm sure that the province's police departments will welcome this legislation because sometimes they're not made aware of these incidents. And so this will help the police, or at least it could help the police, in some of their investigations into these crimes."More to tackleBoudreau said police associations have often called for this type of legislation in other jurisdictions.But with a new throne speech and mandate, Boudreau said he was hoping for more movement on other issues around policing.This includes revisiting the Police Act, how to deal with suspended officers, the lack of a serious response team and an independent body to investigate police involved shootings."These are longstanding issues … it's not as if they've just appeared," said Boudreau."The Chantel Moore tragedy has brought it back into the public light. But it doesn't mean that it hasn't happened before and hasn't been a long-standing issue, that successive governments have just either ignored or have had other priorities that they deem to be more important."
As the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador stared down the barrel of the camera Monday and offered a stern warning to rotational workers, some of those workers sat in isolation or at faraway work camps and worried about how much pressure they'd face at home.As of Monday, the province had seen 52 new cases of COVID-19 since September. Those cases, though minuscule in comparison with many other provinces in Canada, came after months of calm and streaks of weeks without any cases at all.In total, 18 infected people came directly from Alberta, and 16 of those were from workers returning to the province. Other workers returned from places like Ontario and Manitoba with the virus.Rotational workers have been blamed for two recent outbreaks — one in Deer Lake and one in Grand Bank — when the virus spread to family members and close contacts.One worker, who spoke to CBC News on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal at home, said the cumulative effect of working in a hot spot and coming home to people being afraid of him has been crushing."Morale is very low," said the man as he sat in his room at one of six outbreak sites in the northern Alberta oilsands. "It feels like a jail."The camp has 800 workers in it, and 39 have tested positive for the virus. There hasn't been a positive case in more than a week, but the camp remains locked down with no new workers coming in from outside for two weeks.If a person from Newfoundland and Labrador is identified as a close contact of an infected worker, they could spend 14 days alone in their room before being allowed to go home.More than the virus or the isolation, it's the going home part that has him worried."The only part that actually gives me any anxiety is reading how the general population feels about rotational workers by reading nasty comments online, as well as the government's refusal to entertain point-of-entry testing."This worker, like many others, has been calling on the provincial government to test workers as soon as they get home.On Monday, Premier Andrew Furey said there is no science to back up the idea. In some cases, workers have tested negative after five days at home and then tested positive later.With that in mind, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, announced the province was changing its testing regimen for rotational workers to add two more days of isolation before testing.A worker must now receive a negative test after seven days of isolation, instead of five, effective Wednesday, Nov. 25, she said.Furey spoke directly to rotational workers and had a serious message."Let me be very clear, rotational workers must continue to adhere to the measures put in place by [Chief Medical Officer of Health] Dr. [Janice] Fitzgerald and her team at public health," he said. "This is of the utmost importance to our many dedicated rotational workers. To this group, I say I know travel during the pandemic has been stressful enough for you and your families, but please, please, I implore you to follow the provincial guidelines. We have shown that when we do, it works and it only takes one. We all need to work together and support each other."The premier called on companies in places like Alberta to consider changing shifts to 30 days on, 30 days off. That would allow workers more time with their families when they return home.The worker who spoke with CBC News doesn't expect his request will get much consideration from companies who use rotational workers.Much of the workforce consists of people who live in Western Canada and won't want to work for a month straight without commuting the relatively short distance home. Companies also have structured schedules with cohorts of workers sticking together for shifts to reduce the number of contacts for each person. If accommodations were made only for workers from Newfoundland and Labrador, it would throw off that balance, he said.N.L. has long history of rotational workAnother worker speaking with CBC News said people need to consider the sheer number of workers who travel to and from places like Alberta, and then look at the number of cases.While current data was unavailable as of publishing time, a 2016 study undertaken by Memorial University pegged Newfoundland and Labrador's workforce in Alberta alone at more than 8,000 people on average per year from 2002 to 2016.That number peaked in 2008, with more than 25,000 people calling Canada's most eastern province home while working elsewhere.Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have occasionally faced criticism in Alberta for making large wages and spending the money at home. Now they're facing scrutiny from their neighbours for working away.Six cases broke out in Grand Bank, including two in a long-term-care home. Tensions are high in the small town, and fingers were being pointed at a rotational worker and his family.In an interview on Monday, Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews urged people to remain calm."People on rotational work, they do sacrifice," he said. "They travel to other provinces of this country for employment, they leave their families, they leave their home, they leave their community, and it helps our economy. So under normal circumstances there's no issues, but these are extraordinary times."The situation has some rotational workers considering a new career, said another man who spoke with CBC News.He works short contracts across numerous sites in Alberta. In each place, he works mostly in isolation, and spends downtime in isolation. Even outdoors away from other people, he said, he can be fired for not wearing a mask."I don't think people realize the rules we have to follow. That's what I think people are missing," he said.When he comes home, he isolates away from his family until a test comes back negative. That means his children are a wall away, and he can't hug them.He said he's not alone in his reservations about continuing with this career. There's no end to the pandemic in sight, and for some workers, that could mean living longer in isolation than out of it for another six months, a year, or more."I'm definitely starting to think about staying home a little bit more," he said. "I don't know when we're going to be back to normalcy again."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador