Ex-Defense Secretary: White House Is ‘Leading Us Down The Trail Toward A Dictatorship’

Lee Moran

Former Defense Secretary William Cohen on Friday called out President Donald Trump’s violent rhetoric about anti-racism protesters, warning the White House is “leading us down the trail toward a dictatorship.”

Cohen argued to CNN “Newsroom” host Jim Sciutto that Trump’s sharing of a letter that called protesters “terrorists” meant that “he has no understanding of what the rule of law really means in this country.”

“He has declared that he wants to be the ‘president of law and order,’ but that’s not what the declaration of this country is,” said Cohen, the GOP former senator for Maine who headed the Pentagon during Bill Clinton’s administration.

“If you go over to the Supreme Court, you see cut in stone, it is equal protection or equality under law, equality under law,” he explained. “So when he says law and order, he’s missing something. The word ‘justice’ has to be there, and that is what people of this country expect when they sign a contract with the U.S. government, that there will be laws, there will be justice, and so law and order.”

Cohen then recalled a professor once telling him that “liberty without order is a mess, but order without liberty is a menace.”

“What I see taking place is the White House engaging in very menacing activity and leading us down the trail toward a dictatorship where it is only the law of rule, not the rule of law,” he added.

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  • Book by Trump's niece claims he has psychological disorders. We asked psychologists
    Politics
    CBC

    Book by Trump's niece claims he has psychological disorders. We asked psychologists

    Armed with a doctorate in psychology, a piercing pen and a decades-old grudge, Mary Trump has attacked one of the world's most powerful people.The target is her uncle, the president of the United States.Her new book about Donald Trump is decidedly unique in the annals of presidential biographies: the author purporting to probe the president's mind not only has personal access to family gossip but also professional credentials as a clinical psychologist. There is deep debate in her field about the ethics of making public pronouncements on the mental health of a public figure — especially one she's never clinically observed.In Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man, Mary Trump describes the president's father — her grandfather — as a high-functioning sociopath and blames him for instilling in his children the value of aggression and the notion that kindness is weakness.She suggests the most damaged of the siblings is Donald Trump who, she said, has a variety of psychological impairments: definitely narcissism, for which she says he meets all nine criteria, but probably other conditions. She lists as possibilities antisocial personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, a learning disorder and sleep disorder.The president of the United States, in her opinion, struggles to control his impulses; tell the truth; learn new facts; apologize for mistakes; and lives in constant terror of having people perceive his flaws.She said she was traumatized by his 2016 election win, and feared that her uncle was uniquely ill-qualified to govern in a crisis."It felt as though 62,979,636 voters had chosen to turn this country into a macro version of my malignantly dysfunctional family," writes Mary Trump, whose immediate family has feuded bitterly with the rest of the Trumps ever since it was sidelined from the grandparents' wills.   "Donald's pathologies are so complex and his behaviours so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neuropsychological tests that he'll never sit for."She wrote that she hoped her book would put to rest the idea that Trump deploys strategies or has a tangible agenda — when his only aim is to protect his own fragile ego and have others see him as strong and smart.The White House press secretary has called her work "a book of falsehoods." The Trump family lawyer has sued to try blocking its distribution, alleging violation of a nondisclosure agreement.But on the broader issue of global public interest, the mental state of the U.S. president, what do Mary Trump's colleagues say?CBC News reached out to about two dozen psychologists at U.S. universities who study pathologies, and asked two questions: * Is it ethically permissible to write what Mary Trump wrote? * Do they agree with what she's written about the president, based on excerpts they've seen from media reports on the book?There's a formal taboo in psychiatry against opining publicly on public figures, named after Barry Goldwater, a presidential candidate who successfully sued a magazine that ran a series of psychiatrist opinions on him.Psychology does not have the same so-called Goldwater rule but also has professional standards discouraging public speculation about people's mental health. Nearly all the experts contacted by CBC News declined to comment, several citing various reasons: ethical considerations, fear of professional consequences and fear of harassment from Trump supporters. "All of the above," said one clinical psychologist, who requested not to be named, when asked why people wouldn't comment on the record.She said people in her profession could face expensive lawsuits, or lose career opportunities with public organizations if they're perceived to have a political bias, which she said would be "career suicide" for some. She also mentioned "intimidation.""I wouldn't want someone coming to my house and saying, 'How dare you say this?'" she said.She did agree to speak without being named. Several others responded to a request for comment by offering the names of two colleagues quoted here, who have previously spoken publicly.Here are their answers, which have been edited for clarity.Is it ethically permissible to write what Mary Trump wrote?Josh Miller, a clinical psychologist and director of clinical training at the University of Georgia, defended the author: "Does the Goldwater rule apply to psychologists, and does it make a great deal of sense in the modern day?... I think we sometimes privilege the idea that you can only make a diagnosis if you're treating a patient. But psychiatrists make diagnoses after one 50-minute session, or three, or four, all the time. We surely all have much more information on Donald Trump at this point in time than a mental-health professional would after somewhere between 50 and 200 minutes. Then, a family member … I think clearly has much more information than a mental-health professional ever would. The ethics? I don't know — I personally fall into the category that there is a duty to warn about potentially the most important person in the world and whether they have a pattern of personality traits that portend quite poorly."So did Donald Lynam, a distinguished professor of clinical psychology at Purdue University: "I don't have a real problem with a trained professional who has access to lots of behavioural data on a person making an assessment like this.… I personally think that there is more than enough longitudinal life-history data available on many persons in the public eye that would enable professionals to make such assessments. I think Trump is no exception. He has always been a very public figure. Many books and stories have been written about his behaviour."Another clinical psychologist who works in the Washington, D.C., area, and asked not to be named, offered a more nuanced view: "The only ethical concern I can see is when someone puts their clinical hat on to diagnose, treat or make clinical recommendations based on a personal story … not rooted in data. That's where, in my view, we run across some ethical grey zones. When we combine someone who has a title, and knowledge about a particular field, and offers an opinion, we can easily interpret that this is their professional opinion as opposed to a personal opinion. That can become very blurry.… One of the reasons psychology is a science-based field is we root our conclusions in data, in scientific principles. … [Otherwise] it becomes a question of opinion and that's where biases can come from.… If a patient comes into my office and I really don't [like] them … I still have to give them a fair and objective treatment, or I have to identify that I'm too biased to be able to evaluate them and refer out.… That's why we use questionnaires, and ink-blot cards we give people sometimes ... [to] test a hypothesis. ...There is also a very high risk of bias when there's a particular family member who is not someone's favourite."  Do you agree with what she's written about the president?Miller: "[On narcissism] I agree entirely. 'Prototypical' doesn't describe the degree to which [Trump] meets the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Many of us who study it say that if we [described a character like his in a paper] other peer reviewers would say, 'You've made up too cartoonish of a case.' They wouldn't believe it would be possible. That's how incredibly well he fits those symptoms. I've viewed Donald Trump as an example of narcissism going back 15 years. Long before he was running for president, long before he was associated with the Republican Party. Literally, going back into the mid-2000s … at academic talks he was one of the pictures I would put up. This is hardly new.… Narcissism is associated with aggression, in general, and specifically under an ego-threat. When someone has criticized you, we're going to see lashing out.… An inability to accept blame — it's always someone else's fault.… To not admit one's mistakes ...that inability to admit that one has ever been wrong is a really huge problem…. I agree that we should not be distracted by his narcissism from his psychopathy…. Search for the criteria for psychopathy. Look at traits and behaviours in the psychopathy checklist written by Hare. Grapple with how many would he not fit there. And psychopathy is associated much more strongly than narcissism with behaviours that are particularly scary.… It's the callousness, irresponsibility, impulse-control problems, lack of remorse or shame."Lynam: "I agree that Trump meets most, if not all, of the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.... He certainly meets more than enough to deserve the diagnosis. I am not sure that I would say he has other pathologies, but I would say that he appears to have some additional traits outside of the ones included in NPD that make him more 'disturbed.' I think he is reckless, impulsive, unreliable and dishonest. There are some stories that suggest a tendency towards antisocial behaviour.... I am hesitant to say this, but I think the other diagnosis that should be considered is psychopathy... I have seen some commentators refer to a similar construct to psychopathy with the term 'malignant narcissism.' The only part with which I might disagree with Mary Trump (based on reported details of the book) is that I am not sure it is possible to pinpoint causes for these traits. It could be due to his father's treatment of him. It could be due to the genes he shares with his father. It could be due to a host of factors. I would not speculate on that."Anonymous: "[Mary Trump's book is] informative, but it's not surprising.… Is it really surprising to many of us, the things that may come out of this book? Do we need a book? … You just have to open the DSM [the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders].… [Mary Trump] is a legitimate author. She is not a pop-psychologist. Again, her only bias is that she's a family member."

  • Comet streaking past Earth, providing spectacular show
    Science
    The Canadian Press

    Comet streaking past Earth, providing spectacular show

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A newly discovered comet is streaking past Earth, providing a stunning nighttime show after buzzing the sun and expanding its tail.Comet Neowise — the brightest comet visible from the Northern Hemisphere in a quarter-century — swept within Mercury’s orbit a week ago. Its close proximity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn off its surface and create an even bigger debris tail. Now the comet is headed our way, with closest approach in two weeks.NASA's Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March.Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about 3 miles (5 kilometres) across. Its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.The comet will be visible across the Northern Hemisphere until mid-August, when it heads back toward the outer solar system. While it's visible with the naked eye in dark skies with little or no light pollution, binoculars are needed to see the long tail, according to NASA.It will be about 7,000 years before the comet returns, “so I wouldn't suggest waiting for the next pass,” said the telescope's deputy principal investigator Joe Masiero of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.He said it is the brightest comet since the mid-1990s for stargazers in the Northern Hemisphere.Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have already caught a glimpse.NASA's Bob Behnken shared a spectacular photo of the comet on social media late Thursday, showing central Asia in the background and the space station in the foreground."Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet!" he tweeted from orbit.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

  • Ontario reports 130 new COVID-19 cases, while 18 public health units record no new cases at all
    News
    CBC

    Ontario reports 130 new COVID-19 cases, while 18 public health units record no new cases at all

    Ontario reported 130 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, with 18 public health units recording no new cases at all.A total of 28 of the province's 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases.New cases are concentrated in Toronto and the Peel, York, Windsor-Essex, Durham and Ottawa regions, with 42, 26, 12, 12, 11 and 9 respectively.Saturday's new COVID-19 figures represent a 0.4 per cent overall increase and bring Ontario's cumulative total since the outbreak began to 36,594.Ontario's health ministry considers 32,422 of those cases — or 88.6 per cent — resolved.The number of patients in Ontario hospitals with confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus increased by 11 and now sits at 128.Thirty-one people are being treated in intensive care units, while 18 of those are on ventilators, a drop of six since Friday. Ontario's network of about 30 community, commercial and hospital labs processed 29,522 test samples for the novel coronavirus on Friday. An additional 22,083 tests are currently under investigation. The province reported another six deaths on Friday, bringing its official death toll to 2,716. But a CBC News count based on data provided by public health units puts the actual toll at 2,752.The Ministry of Health also reported an eighth death of a health-care worker associated with the long-term care system today. Windsor-Essex asks Ottawa to tackle outbreaks in farms The latest numbers come as officials in Ontario's Windsor-Essex region are calling on the provincial or federal government to manage COVID-19 outbreaks in farms.Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said there have been instances where "the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing," and having a lead agency would help prevent that confusion.Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald said there should be incentives for farms to have their workers tested, or fines for those who refuse.Hundreds of migrant workers have tested positive for the virus, and three have died — two of them in Windsor-Essex and one in Norfolk County.Annual Pottahawk boat party still going aheadMeanwhile, Norfolk County officials say they are surprised and disappointed the Pottahawk boat party is going ahead.The so-called "Pottahawk Pissup" happens every second Sunday in July off Turkey Point in Lake Erie.The party draws as many as 10,000 people from across Ontario and the U.S."I wish it was cancelled this year," Jim Millson, Norfolk County's bylaw supervisor and a retired OPP officer., said."Not to ruin anyone's fun, but why take a chance? We've seen what happened in the United States." OPP vessels will be patrolling the water and local bylaw officers will be at piers reminding people to maintain physical distancing. Millson is also asking people not to pass food or drinks between boats.COVID-19 complicates an event already known for its safety issues. Party-goers have been charged with assault, and those who hitchhike have sometimes ended up stranded, calling out for help in a dark, remote location.At the province's daily COVID-19 update on Friday, Premier Doug Ford said he doesn't think it's "right" that the party is proceeding as planned."I'm just not in favour of this, unless people want to stay on their own boat or pleasure craft," he said. And despite the pressure he has faced, Ford said he's in no rush to move into Ontario's Stage 3 of reopening. "We're going to get there," he said. "I am going to make sure we are careful and go by the guidance of our medical health team."

  • Justin Trudeau drops into another pitfall of his own making
    News
    CBC

    Justin Trudeau drops into another pitfall of his own making

    Justin Trudeau and his government have shown a remarkable ability to find trouble in novel places — a Christmas vacation, the Shawcross doctrine and the possibility of a deferred prosecution agreement for SNC-Lavalin, the prime minister's choice of attire during a trip to India.And now, a national program for student volunteers.News that a subsidiary of the WE Charity paid Trudeau's mother and brother for speaking engagements raises further questions about the government's decision to enlist WE to disburse the funds from that program — and the prime minister's apparent involvement in signing off on that decision.It inflames doubts that were already being raised about the intent behind the government's decision to partner with WE.But it also makes one wonder why the prime minister keeps putting himself in these situations.WE insisted at first that "the charity" had "never paid an honorarium" to Margaret Trudeau, the former wife of Pierre Trudeau, who is known for her advocacy on the issue of mental health. In some cases, that statement now appears to be incorrect: the charity did pay Margaret Trudeau for some appearances, though WE now claims that was a paperwork error. But WE's original claim also elided over the fact that its for-profit arm, ME to WE, had paid the prime minister's mother.For WE, it's impossible to justify that omission. For Trudeau, the newest facts make it much more difficult for him to explain why he went anywhere near this decision.Trudeau insists that the recommendation to partner with WE came from public service officials and an associate deputy minister has defended the choice. A committee of the House of Commons has requested the internal documentation related to the government's decision and the paper trail will now be studied closely.But even a recommendation from a non-partisan public servant won't be enough to entirely redeem what has happened here.Even without the participation of Trudeau and his family members in WE events, it's now obvious that the charity's involvement would have attracted WE's various critics regardless. In fact, it was criticism of WE's general practices and new complaints about how it was administering the volunteer program that compelled the government and the charity to walk away from their arrangement last week.A scandal in plain sightThat false start has real implications for a program that is supposed to be creating opportunities for young people.But the demise of the partnership was not enough to end the controversy because of the known ties between Trudeau and WE. In addition to the appearances by Margaret and Alexandre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau has made several appearances as prime minister at WE events and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau hosts a podcast for WE (she is not paid for that, though she was paid for an appearance in 2012).That was always going to be enough to raise suspicions. The fact that Margaret and Alexandre, also known as Sacha, were paid for their appearances now adds money to the mix.Maybe, by some strict reading of the applicable rules, the Liberals can argue that Trudeau's involvement in the decision to go forward with WE didn't amount to a conflict of interest. That ultimately will be up to the ethics commissioner to decide. But the prime minister himself could have eliminated the possibility of any conflict — simply by stepping back and excusing himself from any participation in the decision.As Trudeau acknowledged earlier this week, he did not recuse himself. And now he faces the possibility of a third reprimand by the ethics commissioner — after earlier rulings against that vacation on the Aga Khan's private island and the government's handling of the SNC-Lavalin case.Some may choose to believe that there was corruption in any or all of those cases. A final verdict on the current controversy will depend on both documentation and the testimony of officials. But even a less-damning read of the last five years is unflattering.Self-inflicted woundsFor whatever reason, the prime minister and his office seem to have a recurring problem of failing to check themselves. As a result, they have now repeatedly wrecked themselves.Perhaps believing their motives are sound and their intentions are good — and that meaning well should transcend all potential problems — they have waltzed into a series of avoidable spectacles.In each case, it seems as if someone (not least the prime minister himself) should have seen the trouble coming — that what this government lacks is someone willing to put their hand up and ask, "Wait, are we sure about this?" (In that respect, Trudeau's worst moments as prime minister might have something in common with his infamous decision to wear blackface in previous years — the lack of an internal or external voice counselling caution.)Trudeau's life has played out at a rarified level, where your father can be a friend of the Aga Khan and your mother and your brother can be celebrities who get paid to speak. Someone from that world should be keenly aware of how vulnerable he is to the charge of being out-of-touch — should know how dangerous it is to leave the impression that the standards of mere mortals don't apply to him. And yet, more than once, he seems to have lost track of what is expected from a politician.Burning through the benefit of the doubtTrudeau's Liberals came to power having made many promises to do big things. They might tell themselves now that their electoral fortunes still depend ultimately on getting those big things right — on the economy, equality, climate change, and so on. There is still a pandemic to battle. But ethics and judgment and character become big things when people in public life leave room for doubt — when they can be labelled arrogant, or entitled, or worse.It also gets much harder to do those big things every time you turn a Christmas vacation or a student volunteer program into a multi-chapter affair of revelation and recrimination.In the absence of the WE controversy, the focus of political attention in Ottawa yesterday might have been the new jobs numbers, or the testimony of grocery store executives who recently withdrew a wage bonus for their employees. The Liberals might only have had to worry about how they were going to manage the economy's restart and the government's fiscal situation.Instead, the prime minister is being asked again to account for actions that apparently weren't accounted for very well to begin with.

  • Man, 21, in life-threatening condition, 4 others seriously injured following 'brazen' shooting in York
    News
    CBC

    Man, 21, in life-threatening condition, 4 others seriously injured following 'brazen' shooting in York

    Five people, including a woman and two men, were seriously injured after two suspects began "indiscriminantly" shooting at a crowd of people in York Friday night, Toronto police say.Police say the woman is in her 50s, one of the men is 21 years old, while the other is in his 40s. The sex and ages of the other two victims is currently unknown. The 21-year-old man is listed in life-threatening condition. The injuries of the remaining four victims are considered non-life-threatening. The incident happened shortly before 10:30 p.m., when police received reports of multiple gunshots in a parking lot in the area of Jane Street and Woolner Avenue. When officers arrived at the scene they found three victims in serious condition. One of the victims was transported to a trauma centre, while the other two were taken to a local hospital.Police later said two other victims made their way to hospital on their own.Police say the victims were shot by two men in a black sedan who drove into the parking lot and opened fire.Both suspects drove away after the shooting.Insp. Shawna Coxon told reporters Saturday that dozens of people were gathered in the parking lot because the area is an "informal community space" where people hang out and relax. Coxon described the shooting as "brazen," adding that many more people could have been injured. "I'm very concerned for the community," she said. Coxon says more than a dozen shell casings were recovered. Toronto police say this was one of five shootings that took place in the city on Friday. "It's very concerning," Coxon said. "The last 24 hours has been violent in the city of Toronto." 'No regard for human life' Initial reports indicate that the suspects with "no regard for human life just took it upon themselves to shoot out of their vehicle at anybody who was in the area," Insp. Norm Proctor told reporters at the scene Friday evening. "It was completely reckless." Proctor said at this point, there is no evidence that the victims shot back at any time during the incident. Proctor said police would like to speak with the multiple witnesses that were on scene that had left. Anyone with information is asked to contact police or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers.

  • Survey suggests 40 per cent of Alberta doctors have considered leaving province
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Survey suggests 40 per cent of Alberta doctors have considered leaving province

    CALGARY — A survey by the Alberta Medical Association suggests more than 40 per cent of the province's physicians have at least considered looking for work elsewhere in Canada.The group blames the potential exodus on the United Conservative government's announced changes to how doctors are paid.Some of the measures announced in February were rolled back during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the government and the association remain at odds, and Premier Jason Kenney has said compensation needs to be reined in.The survey found 87 per cent of Alberta doctors were making changes to their practices, including layoffs, reduced hours, early retirement and possibly leaving Alberta.The medical association is taking the province to court, alleging breaches of charter rights because it was not given access to third- party arbitration.Health Minister Tyler Shandro said it's questionable whether doctors would leave for other provinces, where they would earn far less than under Alberta's funding arrangement.He said the AMA has never presented a credible proposal to keep physician spending at $5.4 billion annually. Alberta's United Conservative government's filed a statement of defence to the lawsuit this week, arguing the province has engaged with doctors in good faith."The AMA needs to stop playing games and start taking the economic crisis facing this province and this country seriously," Shandro said in a statement Friday. "We’re still offering to hold our spending at the highest level in Canada, and, frankly, that commitment is looking more generous by the day, considering the fiscal situation in this province and this country."The government is looking into publicizing physician compensation, as it does for other public servants, he added.Kenney, asked by reporters Friday about the conflict, said "we are going through a fiscal and economic crisis and everybody needs to be part of the solution."In the past five years, the average private sector after-tax income has declined by 10 per cent. Most people in the government sector have been frozen over the past five years. But physicians, who are the best compensated people in the public sector, have seen a 23 per cent increase in their compensation over four years."That simply is not sustainable."AMA president Dr. Christine Molnar said she can't blame doctors for wanting to protect their livelihoods and calls the Alberta government's actions "reckless.""Physicians have reached a breaking point," Molnar said in a release Friday. "I'm deeply troubled by where this is going and what it’s going to mean for medical practices and patients in the coming months."Opposition NDP health critic David Shepherd said he was troubled, but not shocked, by the survey's results."Premier Jason Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro are at war with Alberta doctors: tearing up their contract, cutting their pay, and imposing hundreds of pages of new paperwork in the middle of a public health emergency," the New Democrat said in a statement."Kenney and Shandro have smeared Alberta doctors at every turn, suggesting they are lazy, greedy and dishonest. It’s despicable."The AMA surveyed 1,470 physicians from across Alberta between June 24 and July 3. It says the results are accurate within 2.4 percentage points 19 times out of 20.— With files from Dean Bennett in EdmontonThis report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2020Lauren Krugel, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story; a previous version had physician spending at $5.4 million.

  • Turkey's president formally makes Hagia Sophia a mosque
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Turkey's president formally makes Hagia Sophia a mosque

    ANKARA, Turkey — The president of Turkey on Friday formally converted Istanbul’s sixth-century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and declared it open for Muslim worship, hours after a high court annulled a 1934 decision that had made the religious landmark a museum.The decision sparked deep dismay among Orthodox Christians. Originally a cathedral, Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque after Istanbul's conquest by the Ottoman Empire but had been a museum for the last 86 years, drawing millions of tourists annually.There was jubilation outside the terracotta-hued structure with its cascading domes and four minarets. Dozens of people awaiting the court’s ruling chanted “Allah is great!” when the news broke. A large crowd later prayed outside it.In the capital of Ankara, legislators stood and applauded as the decision was read in Parliament.Turkey's high administrative court threw its weight behind a petition brought by a religious group and annulled the 1934 Cabinet decision that turned the site into a museum. Within hours, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree handing over Hagia Sophia to Turkey's Religious Affairs Presidency.In a televised address to the nation, Erdogan said the first prayers inside Hagia Sofia would be held on July 24, and he urged respect for the decision.“I underline that we will open Hagia Sophia to worship as a mosque by preserving its character of humanity’s common cultural heritage," he said, adding: “It is Turkey's sovereign right to decide for which purpose Hagia Sofia will be used.”He rejected the idea that the decision ends Hagia Sophia's status as a structure that brings faiths together.“Like all of our other mosques, the doors of Hagia Sophia will be open to all, locals or foreigners, Muslims and non-Muslims,” Erdogan said.Erdogan had spoken in favour of turning the hugely symbolic UNESCO World Heritage site back into a mosque despite widespread international criticism, including from U.S. and Orthodox Christian leaders, who had urged Turkey to keep its status as a museum symbolizing solidarity among faiths and cultures.The move threatens to deepen tensions with neighbouring Greece, whose prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, condemned the decision as an affront to Hagia Sophia's ecumenical character.“It is a decision that offends all those who recognize Hagia Sophia as an indispensable part of world cultural heritage” Mitsotakis said. “This decision clearly affects not only Turkey’s relations with Greece but also its relations with the European Union, UNESCO and the world community as a whole.”In Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, protesters gathered outside a church that is modeled on Hagia Sophia and bears the same name. They chanted, “We’ll light candles in Hagia Sophia!” and held Greek flags and Byzantine banners.Cyprus “strongly condemns Turkey’s actions on Hagia Sophia in its effort to distract domestic opinion and calls on Turkey to respect its international obligations,” tweeted Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy head of the foreign affairs committee in the Russian upper house of parliament, called the action “a mistake.”“Turning it into a mosque will not do anything for the Muslim world. It does not bring nations together, but on the contrary brings them into collision," he said.The debate hits at the heart of Turkey's religious-secular divide. Nationalist and conservative groups in Turkey have long yearned to hold prayers at Hagia Sophia, which they regard as part of the Muslim Ottoman legacy. Others believe it should remain a museum, as a symbol of Christian and Muslim solidarity."It was a structure that brought together both Byzantine and Ottoman histories," said Zeynep Kizildag, a 27-year-old social worker, who did not support the conversion. “The decision to turn it into a mosque is like erasing 1,000 years of history, in my opinion.”Garo Paylan, an ethnic Armenian member of Turkey’s Parliament tweeted that it was “a sad day for Christians (and) for all who believe in a pluralist Turkey.”“The decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque will make life more difficult for Christians here and for Muslims in Europe,” he wrote. “Hagia Sophia was a symbol of our rich history. Its dome was big enough for all.”The group that brought the case to court had contested the legality of the 1934 decision by the modern Turkish republic’s secular government ministers, arguing the building was the personal property of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, who conquered Istanbul in 1453.“I was not surprised at all that the court weighed to sanction Erdogan’s moves because these days Erdogan gets from Turkish courts what Erdogan wants,” said Soner Cagaptay, of the Washington Institute.“Erdogan wants to use Hagia Sophia’s conversion into a mosque to rally his right-wing base,” said Cagaptay, the author of “Erdogan's Empire.” “But I don’t think this strategy will work. I think that short of economic growth, nothing will restore Erdogan’s popularity.”In Paris, the United Nations cultural body, UNESCO, said Hagia Sophia is part of the Historic Areas of Istanbul, a property inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List as a museum.“States have an obligation to ensure that modifications do not affect the `outstanding universal value’ of inscribed sites on their territories,” Director-General Audrey Azoulay said.The Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, considered the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, warned last month that the building's conversion into a mosque “will turn millions of Christians across the world against Islam.”On Friday, Archbishop Elpidophoros of America said the decision runs counter to the vision of secular Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk “who understood that Hagia Sophia should serve all Turkey's people and indeed the whole world.”"The days of conquest should remain a closed chapter of our collective histories,” he told The Associated Press, adding that Turkey's government “can still choose wisely” but letting Hagia Sophia remain a “monument to all civilizations and universal values.”Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, called for “prudence” and the preservation of the “current neutral status” for the Hagia Sophia, which he said was one of Christianity’s “devoutly venerated symbols.”U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that the landmark should remain a museum to serve as bridge between faiths and cultures. His comments drew a rebuke from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, which said Hagia Sophia was a domestic issue of Turkish national sovereignty.Erdogan, a devout Muslim, has frequently used the Hagia Sophia issue to drum up support for his Islamic-rooted party.Some Islamic prayers have been held in the museum in recent years. In a major symbolic move, Erdogan recited the opening verse of the Qur’an there in 2018.Built under Byzantine Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia was the main seat of the Eastern Orthodox church for centuries, where emperors were crowned amid ornate marble and mosaic decorations.The minarets were added later, and the building was turned into an imperial mosque following the 1453 Ottoman conquest of Constantinople — the city that is now called Istanbul.The building opened its doors as a museum in 1935, a year after the Council of Ministers’ decision.Mosaics depicting Jesus, Mary and Christian saints that were plastered over in line with Islamic rules were uncovered through arduous restoration work for the museum. Hagia Sophia was the most popular museum in Turkey last year, drawing more than 3.7 million visitors.___Associated Press writers Zeynep Bilginsoy and Ayse Wieting in Istanbul, Derek Gatopoulos in Athens, Menelaos Hadjicostis in Nicosia, Cyprus, and Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed.Suzan Fraser, The Associated Press

  • Testing during worst of Alberta's outbreak suggests COVID-19 wasn't slipping into hospitals undetected
    Health
    CBC

    Testing during worst of Alberta's outbreak suggests COVID-19 wasn't slipping into hospitals undetected

    A pilot project conducted at three Alberta hospitals at the height of the pandemic shows patients were not being admitted with undetected cases of COVID-19. Over a six-week period, between April 9 and May 23, all patients admitted through the emergency departments at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary, the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton and the Red Deer Regional Hospital were screened for symptoms and tested for COVID-19. This was done regardless of whether or not any symptoms were identified.The testing project was carried out to provide a snapshot of just how often asymptomatic carriers of the virus that causes COVID-19 were presenting to the ER — and to address concerns about potential transmission to health-care workers or other patients in the hospitals.During the pilot project, 3,304 people were admitted through the ERs at the three hospitals and screened for symptoms.Of the 1,814 patients deemed asymptomatic, no cases of COVID-19 were found."Actually, we were a little surprised," said Dr. Braden Manns, the co-chair of the scientific advisory group for Alberta Health Services, a professor at the University of Calgary and and one of the authors of the review."This was happening right at the peak of all the outbreaks in Calgary. It was happening at the height of our reproducible number for the virus.… I think we all thought we would probably see around one per cent of people who ended up testing positive."Of the patients deemed symptomatic, 4.5 per cent tested positive across the three sites, with the highest positive rate at the Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary (7.5 per cent)."So it wasn't like there was nobody testing positive out there. But when you carefully screened people, you could identify who needed to be screened and then who would need to be isolated in the hospital as well to keep staff safe," said Manns."It's really important people continue to be vigilant and screen carefully for those types of symptoms and for risk that indicates you need to be tested."The review concludes current screening measures at Alberta hospitals appear effective."This suggests that careful assessment of symptoms during the admission process is effective at identifying patients who should be tested (and isolated) in the context of hospital admission. Given the state of the current pandemic in Alberta (a low reproductive number and low daily case numbers), screening people without symptoms who are admitted to hospital through the emergency department and who are at low risk is not supported," the review's authors stated."This recommendation may need to be re-evaluated should higher levels of community transmission be encountered as relaxation of social distancing and other control measures occurs."Officials keep an eye on outbreak at Misericordia HospitalThe review was conducted prior to the outbreak at Edmonton's Misericordia hospital.Five deaths are now linked to that outbreak — Alberta Health reported Friday that one death, previously believed to be connected, had been reclassified.An additional 36 cases had been confirmed as of Friday, including patients, staff and two cases in the community.Alberta Health Services says it carefully screens all hospital patients for symptoms and potential exposure when they arrive at the hospital.According to AHS, those who are found to have symptoms are tested. And, since May 30, AHS says it's offered asymptomatic testing to people who request it in emergency rooms and urgent care centres.Patients are regularly monitored for symptoms once admitted, according to AHS."As the pilot project concluded, careful and vigorous assessment of symptoms during the admission process has been shown to be effective at identifying patients who should be tested (and isolated)," an AHS spokesperson said in a statement emailed to CBC News."At this time, our current screening and testing protocols, including voluntary asymptomatic testing in EDs and UCCs, continues. However, we are carefully monitoring the situation at the Misericordia and we will reassess our protocols accordingly."

  • Job numbers show cautious optimism with long road ahead: B.C. finance minister
    Politics
    Canadian Press Videos

    Job numbers show cautious optimism with long road ahead: B.C. finance minister

    Statistics Canada's labour force survey for June shows 118,000 people in B.C. found jobs and the unemployment rate fell slightly to 13 per cent. In a briefing Friday, Finance Minister Carol James said the latest numbers paint a picture of cautious optimism with a long road ahead on B.C.'s path to recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Enbridge billed eatery for $4,000 worth of gas it didn't use during COVID-19 shutdown, owner says
    News
    CBC

    Enbridge billed eatery for $4,000 worth of gas it didn't use during COVID-19 shutdown, owner says

    An owner of one of Toronto's most iconic downtown restaurants says Enbridge Gas billed him for thousands of dollars worth of gas his eatery didn't use while it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.Andre Rosenbaum says the Queen Mother Cafe was forced to close its doors on March 15 and it didn't reopen until the middle of last month. But he calculates the difference between what Enbridge charged for and the gas the restaurant actually used is $4,000. "We were struggling, we had zero income during that period, and it was a really, really tough challenge," Rosenbaum told CBC News. Enbridge says it's been forced to estimate its customers' gas usage during the pandemic and is willing to adjust the bill if "we have overestimated" it.But that doesn't satisfy Rosenbaum."I feel they're taking us for a ride. I think it's cruel, I think it's unfair, unsympathetic. It's adding a burden to small businesses that need every spare penny now and I'm just completely and utterly offended," he said.The well-known spot, which has been a fixture on Queen Street West near University Avenue since 1978, reopened for takeout and delivery on June 17. The restaurant started serving diners on its patio a week later. But because of physical distancing restrictions that are still in place, the Queen Mum can seat only about 20 people — a far cry from its normal capacity of approximately 150 customers.Some suppliers were compassionate and made arrangements to defer or reduce payments.Enbridge did allow the restaurant to consolidate its bills, but when Rosenbaum started paying them he says he noticed they were high, even for the period they'd been closed. So he called customer service."They said because of COVID we can't send out technicians to check the meters, so we have to estimate."  He says he was told if he provided an accurate meter reading, his bill will be adjusted. "Why are they charging people huge estimated readings based on January, February and March when there was heating going on, and they also know that after that many of us were shuttered? It's absolutely crazy," he said."They are just taking money that they must realize it's very, very difficult for us to be paying for and they have not earned."Happy to 'rectify the issue,' Enbridge saysIn a statement to CBC Toronto, a senior communications adviser with Enbridge Gas confirms that the company is following the latest guidance provided by public health officials and government authorities. "Our meter readers are taking extra precautions to keep the public safe. We have suspended reading meters located inside homes and businesses, and outside meters are only read once every other month," Leanne McNaughton wrote.She says Enbridge uses customers' gas-use history, expected gas rates and weather forecasts to estimate monthly billings."If we have overestimated, we are happy to work with this customer to rectify the issue," said McNaughton, adding that customers are also welcome to submit their meter readings online.The company also postponed its regular quarterly rate adjustment for July, so rates did not increase.But Ryan Mallough, the director of provincial affairs for Ontario at the Canadian Federation of Business, says this is kind of thing that small businesses do not need as they struggle to recover."On the face of it, it's pretty silly," he said."We all know that most of the businesses across Ontario have been shut down for three months and that their gas usage has been very little at best."And while it's nice that Enbridge will help correct the bills by allowing small businesses to send in their gas readings, it's "just an added piece of stress," he says. "It shows a lack of understanding about what businesses in this province are going through."

  • COVID-19 in Canada: Ontario Premier Doug Ford has clear message for visiting Americans: 'Not right now'
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    COVID-19 in Canada: Ontario Premier Doug Ford has clear message for visiting Americans: 'Not right now'

    As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread around the world, Canadians are concerned about their health and safety.

  • Fatal Christmas Eve beatings leave family mourning troubled couple in love
    News
    CBC

    Fatal Christmas Eve beatings leave family mourning troubled couple in love

    When Nellie-Rae Willams saw two suspects beating her boyfriend François Shurie in Duncan on Christmas Eve, her mother, based on witness accounts, believes she tried to jump in to protect him, screaming at his attackers.The 29-year-old Ditidaht First Nations woman died four days after the brutal attack in her small hometown. Her 37-year-old partner died the night of the beating.More than six months later, the couple's double homicide is described as targeted and remains unsolved by the RCMP.On Facebook, sister-in-law Susie Cusson described Nellie-Rae Marie as a "little warrior." "She would fight to the death for anyone she loved and unfortunately she proved it," wrote Cusson.When her daughter died, so did Linda Williams' hope that she would see her take on the family legacy of carving totems."I miss her so much," said Williams, 58.She wants justice and to understand why it took so long for authorities to contact her."They treated Nellie like she was homeless and she had nobody, but I'm still here," said Williams.RCMP identified two persons of interest soon after the Christmas Eve attack that happened around 11 p.m.Witnesses caught the men on video just metres from the scene near Trunk Road and Government Street, as first responders worked to save the injured couple.Williams believes Shurie was the first attacked."They were happy because they just got word they get to see their their baby girl Christmas Day," she said.Williams was trying to help the pair escape their lifestyle of drugs and petty crime.People who knew Kaslo B.C.-raised Shurie describe a kind, funny, caring man who was skilled at building.'My heart goes numb'The couple had a daughter, and a plan to turn their lives around within five years."It was like those two fell in love and no one could get between them," said Williams.In his obituary, Shurie's family wrote a goodbye to the "sweet little boy we knew" who loved his child and remained kind despite a hard life.In Duncan, witnesses often approach Williams. She says they say they watched the fatal fight that left her daughter with multiple injuries, including a broken jaw."I talk with different people downtown. Some of them seen it. Some of them heard her screaming and crying and asking for help. My heart goes numb when I talk about this," said Williams.Growing up in Duncan, she says, her daughter Nellie played soccer, biked and skateboarded.When she was 13, she had her first child.Williams says Nellie's life spiralled downward after she was beaten "black and blue" by a former partner and lost custody of their children.Five of William's grandchildren are now in the care of foster or adoptive families.This is another tragic loss for the Nuu-chah-nulth woman.In 2010, her brother, 50-year-old John Williams, a celebrated carver, was shot and killed by a Seattle police officer. The shooting was ruled unjustified and the City of Seattle paid the family $1.5-million.Eight years later, her 36-year-old son, Daniel Williams, died of an opioid overdose.'You act like I'm not even here'RCMP say they spoke to Williams on Christmas Day and broke the news about Nellie.At first, all hoped Nellie would make it.Williams said she went to Victoria General Hospital after church Dec.25 with a prayer cloth and candle to pray by Nellie's bedside. But she only got to the door of Nellie's room where she said she saw four nurses around the bed of the young woman who was restrained and struggling.She said she was wasn't allowed to visit because of the ongoing criminal investigation and never got a chance to see or talk to her, as she'd hoped.After surgery on Dec. 27, it became clear that the Duncan woman would not survive. RCMP investigators knocked on her mother's door that afternoon.Williams said she spoke to the doctor and saw her daughter before she died, but Nellie never regained consciousness. She said it made her angry that she was not contacted sooner, so she could have said goodbye."I thought … how could you? How could you not let me see her that night? Why did you stop me from seeing her? Why did you wait until she died? I'm her mother. You act like I'm not even here."Dec. 28, police were notified that Williams was dead, and the investigation shifted from aggravated assault to homicide.These days, Williams keeps busy.She buried the couple side-by-side at the Duncan Indian Road Cemetery and is planning to carve a totem in memory of her daughter who she believes would have made a great mother "given half a chance." She keeps urging police to investigate, hoping the attackers are found, to give her daughter a sliver of justice.The Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit told CBC the case is ongoing. They urge anybody with information to call 250-380-6211.

  • Health
    The Canadian Press

    Funding for northern Ontario First Nations harm reduction greenlit by government

    OTTAWA — The federal government is committing new funding toward harm reduction for First Nations in northern Ontario, in a move that one local leader says provides a "sense of relief" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Indigenous Services Canada says it will budget $2.5 million toward the Nishnawbe Aski Nation's mental health and addiction program, which aims to provide communities in northern Ontario with high-quality health-care and harm reduction services, such as crisis counselling and addiction support.Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler told The Canadian Press that the federal funding is welcome news, as the number of emergency calls relating to domestic issues, suicide and overdoses across NAN communities has skyrocketed in recent weeks."Right from the start ... we were way behind the 8-ball," Fiddler said, pointing to long-standing issues within Indigenous communities such as boil-water advisories and lack of health services as factors that compounded the threat of the novel coronavirus."We knew those things were going to make the whole situation a lot tougher on the vulnerable."Fiddler noted that children and seniors have been the hardest hit during the crisis, with self-isolation and quarantine measures preventing the help that would have normally been accessible from reaching those who need it.A report released Monday by the B.C. First Nations Health Authority showed a 93 per cent spike in overdose deaths within the province's First Nation communities between January and May compared to the same time last year.The NAN news comes as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police called for the government to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of all drugs at the national level, citing the ongoing opioid crisis and the success of harm reduction methods such as safe injection sites.Between January 2016 and 2019, almost 16,000 Canadians died due to opioid overdoses, with Indigenous people dying at three times the rate of any other demographic.Waterloo regional police Chief Bryant Larkin acknowledged the issue is still contentious among many Canadians who may not understand the gravity of the opioid crisis in Canada, but said he hopes decades of stigmatization will be quickly unlearned by the public as they become more familiar with the facts."We've never arrested our way out of this issue," Larkin said. "We still come in contact with repeat individuals who, in many different ways, end up in the roulette of the judicial system"Larkin hopes Canada can follow in the footsteps of countries like Portugal, which decriminalized all drugs in 2001, and begin treating substance abuse as a public health issue rather than a legal one.—by Jake Kivanç in TorontoThis report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 10, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Family, community marks second anniversary of Ashley Morin's disappearance
    News
    CBC

    Family, community marks second anniversary of Ashley Morin's disappearance

    The friends and family of Ashley Morin are on a journey to keep her memory alive, two years after Morin disappeared.On Friday, they set off on a walk from the Saskatoon Police Service headquarters to North Battleford, 128 kilometres away — Morin's home."[I] hope that this walk today, people out there will see it — and especially the perpetrator or perpetrators who caused Ashley to go missing," said Heather Bear, vice chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations."It's my prayer that this awareness will weigh on their conscience and they will come forward or find a way to give a message, to let us know. Let the family know."Morin was reported missing on July 10, 2018. She was 31 years old. Since then, her family has heard nothing from her, and as of 2019, the RCMP said they believe Morin was a victim of homicide. Her loved ones remember her kind smile and positive presence but remain haunted and with unanswered questions: What happened to Ashley? Who is responsible? Where is she now?FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron urged anyone with information about what happened to Morin to come forward with what they know. "For each and every one of you, we hope there's some closure one day, because someone out there knows something," Cameron said."Someone out there knows something and we hope to God and our Creator that someone comes and tells the family something. Give them some closure."Morin's family and community have not given up on the hope that they will see her again. "We hope for the best outcome ... That she comes home, alive, to be with you guys," Cameron said.  "And of course in the worst-case scenario, we end up finding her and give her a proper burial in the First Nations way and protocols."There is a $20,000 reward for information that leads to finding Morin, or to an arrest.Saskatoon mayor Charlie Clark spoke to the assembled crowd before the walkers set off on their journey, which is expected to take three or four days. "When I imagine what it's like for families who are facing that uncertainty, I just think of what it would be like if my daughter Rachel were in the same situation, and how painful it is, and how much you hope and you want to make sure that the system is working," Clark said. Bear said the walk is not only a symbol that Morin has not been forgotten, it is also a comfort to her family, as well as the families of other missing and murdered Indigenous people. "Many of our families, unfortunately, all they have right now is hope," she said."But hope is a real thing. And … as we continue our walk and our journey — not just for the three or four days that you're out here in honour of Ashley — but that walk each and every day; this means a lot to many of the families."The RCMP has encouraged anyone with information about Morin's disappearance or where she might be to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

  • RCMP 'disappointed' by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest
    News
    The Canadian Press

    RCMP 'disappointed' by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

    OTTAWA — The idea that the man accused of crashing into the grounds of Rideau Hall would have been treated differently if he were dark-skinned is disheartening, the RCMP's commissioner and the head of its union said in a joint statement Friday.Not only that, said Commissioner Brenda Lucki and Brian Sauve of the National Police Federation, but it damages an "important national dialogue with all stakeholders seeking solutions to societal issues."The Mounties have said the suspect was armed and threatening Prime Minister Justin Trudeau but was arrested peacefully after Mounties talked him down for more than an hour and a half on the morning of July 2.They say the reservist on active duty with the Canadian Forces rammed a gate with a truck to enter the grounds.Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, faces 22 charges, nearly all of them weapons offences related to the guns allegedly in his possession.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is the most prominent person who has suggested the incident would have had a worse ending if Hurren weren't white.The incident at Rideau Hall followed weeks of stories about police officers treating people of colour, especially Indigenous people, harshly, to the point of killing them.That included Rodney Levi, an Indigenous man shot by RCMP in New Brunswick during a visit to check on his welfare in June.On Wednesday, Singh said the contrast "reminds us all of how systemic racism is real."Asked whether he believed the Rideau Hall incident would gone worse if the suspect hadn't been white, Singh simply replied: "Yes."Lucki and Sauve said in their statement that the RCMP resolve the vast majority of crises without violence because of their commitment to using as little force as possible."To suggest a more violent conclusion would have been inevitable if the suspect was of another race is speculative and disheartening to the arresting officers, their families, and all partners who helped successfully and professionally resolve this threat," they said.NDP MP Matthew Green said the joint statement is another example of Lucki being unable to recognize systemic racism.Green, who is Black, questioned what the federal Liberals are doing to combat what he called systemic racism in the RCMP."This is less about the feelings of police, it's about the tragedies families face when their loved ones die at the hands of the police," Green said in an email. "The incident at Rideau Hall is proof that under the greatest duress and threat, de-escalation works. But de-escalation is not always the experience of Black, Indigenous and racialized people. This should be the norm. Always."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • Migrant worker advocate says those mistakenly billed for COVID-19 care creates additional deterrent
    Health
    CBC

    Migrant worker advocate says those mistakenly billed for COVID-19 care creates additional deterrent

    A local migrant worker advocate says the mistaken billing of workers in Windsor-Essex who received medical attention for COVID-19 is just another deterrent for others to not access care. Justice for Migrant Workers organizer Chris Ramsaroop told CBC News that some undocumented migrant workers have been billed for healthcare services related to COVID-19 in Windsor-Essex.He said this should be a "tremendous concern" because if others find out, it could be another barrier to workers accessing care. Erie Shores Healthcare communications director Arms Bumanlag told CBC News that the hospital "had a few bills that were brought to our attention that were sent in error for COVID related issues. What we've done here at Erie Shores is immediately reverse those charges and apologize." Workers have been concerned with getting tested because they are worried of reprisals if they test positive, Ramsaroop said, adding that being mistakenly charged won't help when it comes to them getting tested or accessing care. As of Monday, 19 of about 175 farms in the Windsor-Essex area have completed onsite testing, according to Ontario Health, amounting to about 1,800 workers being tested.About 11 per cent of all workers who have been tested are positive for the disease. Bumanlag said the bills were likely sent out because the hospital is trying to limit the amount of clinical information that is accessible to non-clinical staff, which includes their billing clerks. During this process, the care a patient receives has been removed to protect patient confidentiality.He said they have now created a process where they will put a note on all COVID related care invoices. The messages say the billing office needs to be immediately notified to cancel any charges. "We are actively encouraging anyone who has received this bill to let us know that you have and we are going to correct it," Bumanlag said, adding that he realizes they have a very different demographic in the county and because of that they need to "work harder" to engage with the migrant worker community. "We've tried very hard to break down barriers to accessing care in our community...potential financial issues [shouldn't] stop someone from receiving care." In a March press release, the provincial government stated that testing and treatment for COVID-19 should be free of charge in Ontario. The province has said it would cover the cost of COVID-19 services for people who are uninsured and don't meet the criteria for OHIP coverage. By doing so, the province said it hopes no one will be discouraged from getting tested or treated for the disease due to financial concerns.

  • Politics
    The Canadian Press

    Storm clouds hang over Trump's attempted campaign reboot

    Friday was supposed to be the day President Donald Trump's campaign reboot itself got a reboot. Amid uncertainty over whether he can still draw big and enthusiastic crowds to his signature rallies in the coronavirus era, Trump postponed a planned Saturday rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, citing a tropical storm expected to hit a swath of the Eastern United States. “With Tropical Storm Fay heading towards the Great State of New Hampshire this weekend, we are forced to reschedule our Portsmouth, New Hampshire Rally at the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease,” Trump tweeted.

  • This Directory Makes It Easy To Find Black Canadian Fashion Designers
    Style
    HuffPost Canada

    This Directory Makes It Easy To Find Black Canadian Fashion Designers

    "When you're looking at more than 130 of us on a webpage, it's hard to say we don't exist."

  • Proposed changes to wills in B.C. draw support — and concern — about electronic documents
    Politics
    CBC

    Proposed changes to wills in B.C. draw support — and concern — about electronic documents

    When Vancouverite Jerrid Grimm's mother passed away in March 2017, he wasn't prepared for the mountain of tasks that would come within hours of her death.Luckily, his mother had planned for all of those details, leaving Grimm and his sisters to grieve her loss without that added stress."She had done an amazing job of having a will prepared," Grimm said. "I just realized what a gift that was."The process made Grimm, 40, realize the importance of leaving behind a will for his wife and two young children. But the prospect of lawyers and paperwork meant it would be another two years before he would do so.It wasn't until Grimm found a way to create a will online that he finally got around to preparing one last fall. He used Willful, an online service. In 20 minutes, he was done. And it only cost him about $100. Estimates vary, but surveys suggest only about 55 per cent of British Columbians have a will. Each year, the province encourages people to prepare one. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a rush of British Columbians to plan their estates and assign power of attorney, and some experts hope recently proposed legislative changes to allow people to do so electronically will extend that trend.Last month, the province proposed permanent changes to the Wills, Estates and Succession Act that would allow people to witness wills remotely through the use of technology like Zoom or FaceTime instead of in person. These measures have been available since March, when temporary changes were put in place because COVID-19.The proposed legislative changes would also allow British Columbians to create and sign their will electronically. 'Technology is here to make things easier'Erin Bury, co-founder of Toronto-based Wilful, says allowing people to create and file important documents digitally is a big step toward streamlining the task of making a will.Bury says demand for Willful has increased by up to 600 per cent since the pandemic began. "I really believe that technology is here to make things easier for people, to make them more accessible and affordable," she said."For a long time it's been inaccessible, inconvenient and unaffordable to get your will done." But some critics point to potential problems that come with digitization. Risk of litigationJohn Mayr, executive director for the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia, says since the pandemic began notaries have noticed about a 50 per cent increase in demand for end-of-life legal documents like wills and power of attorney.Mayr says he welcomes the proposed legislation to increase digitization, although he worries that it could open the door to "all kinds of interesting litigation in the future." "As the regulator I would strongly advise people to talk to a lawyer or talk to a notary," he said. Mayr says some of his concerns include undue influence over an elderly parent or friend, fraud and questions around which version of a will or power of attorney is the most valid or recent.He suggests people consult with a lawyer or notary for advice on how to properly store or file important documents so they're protected and their validity isn't questioned. Seeking professional helpBut Willful's Bury says keeping lawyers out of the equation for wills can save people a lot of time and money. "There is no requirement that says a lawyer has to draft your will," she said. Bury notes that, just like filing taxes, there are some more complicated cases where professional help is warranted — including wills involving foreign investments, trusts or a disinherited family member. Services like Willful are adequate for most people, she says, most of the time.

  • News
    CBC

    Drowning in B.C. lake investigated by RCMP, coroner

    RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning death of a man in West Kelowna on Thursday. Police say first responders rushed to the 2000 block of Boucherie Road near Okanagan Lake just before 1:45 p.m. for a report of a drowning. They learned that a 65-year-old man had been swimming in the lake, but failed to re-surface. Nearby witnesses found the man and pulled him from the water, and immediately began performing CPR.Emergency services arrived and continued the life-saving efforts, but the man could not be resuscitated. "Despite the best efforts of everyone involved and the heroic efforts of witnesses, the man passed away," said Kelowna RCMP Const. Solana Paré. "RCMP victim services are providing support to the witnesses, friends and family of the victim. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of the victim during this difficult time."Both the RCMP and the BC Coroners Service are not releasing or confirming the identity of the man at this time due to privacy concerns.

  • Health
    CBC

    B.C. officials warn of possible COVID-19 exposure at events in Kelowna

    B.C. health officials issued a sweeping warning on Friday about possible exposure to COVID-19 in Kelowna, covering anyone who attended public and private gatherings in the downtown and waterfront areas over 12 days this summer.Interior Health says eight people who have tested positive for the coronavirus attended private gatherings in the area and visited local bars and restaurants between June 25 and July 6.Events that took place on Canada Day and over the holiday weekend are of particular concern, according to a news release."We believe that these individuals acquired the disease elsewhere," Interior Health's Dr. Silvina Mema told CBC News.Six of the people who tested positive live outside of the region — mainly in B.C.'s Lower Mainland and Alberta, according to Mema."These are individuals who came here to spend time with friends, so there are a number of different restaurants and pubs, the waterfront area that they have been at," she said.Contact tracing is underway, and anyone who may have been exposed will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Anyone else who participated in events in the downtown area during the dates in question should monitor themselves for symptoms. Testing is available to anyone who has symptoms of the disease, but it is not recommended for anyone who doesn't have symptoms because of a risk of false negatives.Mema said this large-scale potential exposure should serve as a reminder that everyone still needs to be very careful about preventing transmission, even though B.C. is in its third phase of reopening."I think it's fair to assume that there could be a positive case anywhere, and the message that I would like to convey … is that we don't have to let our guard down. The virus is everywhere," she said."We have to assume that everybody who isn't in our bubble could have COVID-19 or could be incubating COVID-19."

  • Sports
    The Canadian Press

    Pandemic has Curling Canada facing Olympic trials qualifying complications

    Curling Canada has been forced to re-think qualification for the Olympic team and mixed doubles trials after cancellations and postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams and mixed doubles duos ultimately must win events or collect enough points at events to earn berths in the 2021 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings and the national mixed doubles trials in early 2022. The Roar of the Rings men's and women's champions and the victorious mixed doubles duo will represent Canada at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.

  • How a Canadian woman pushed a popular South Asian matchmaking site to drop its skin-tone filter
    Style
    CBC

    How a Canadian woman pushed a popular South Asian matchmaking site to drop its skin-tone filter

    When Meghan Nagpal decided to take her chances at finding love by signing up for a popular matchmaking website, she never expected to be asked to describe her skin tone — let alone the skin tone she would find desirable in a partner.About a year ago, Nagpal joined Shaadi.com, a website that asks users to choose potential matches based on family background, status and body type. She said there was also a filter asking users for their preference of skin colour."I felt really uncomfortable," said the University of Toronto graduate student, who is originally from Vancouver. Nagpal soon deleted her account, but returned to the site last month after feeling some pressure from her mother to get married. She was again confronted with the skin-tone filter, which allowed users to select from "fair," "wheatish" or "dark."This time, after all the worldwide anti-racism protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, her discomfort turned to outrage.WATCH | Matchmaking site removes skin tone filter:The skin-tone filter, she said, sparked her realization that something needed to be done about what she called the South Asian community's bias against skin colour."There's a preference for fair skin in the culture when it comes to marriage and finding a life partner," she said.Discrimination within communities of colourTo Nagpal, the need to do something felt urgent because even though many prominent people in the South Asian community have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, there are still some, including Bollywood actors, who continue to promote creams that promise to lighten skin tone.Nagpal emailed the website, which is owned by a company based in Mumbai, India, hoping to get the skin-tone filter removed. She received a one-sentence response saying the filter was a popular feature with parents looking to arrange marriages for their children. "Most parents do require this as an option so it is visible on the site," read the response sent on June 10. Nagpal then posted the response to a Facebook group with more than 2,000 South Asian women in North America.Group members Hetal Lakhani and Roshni Patel got involved, creating an online petition to remove the filter.They argued that it perpetuates a form of racial discrimination known as shadeism or colourism that's prevalent in the South Asian community — with light skin being historically viewed as more desirable than dark.Skin-tone filters removedOvernight, the petition had amassed more than 1,400 signatures and Nagpal said the skin-tone filter was no longer on the site. In an email, a spokesperson for Shaadi.com told CBC Toronto that they were not aware of the skin-tone filter and claimed it was a "non-functional aspect" of the site. "There is no skin colour filter on Shaadi.com, on any of its platforms," the spokesperson said."[It] is a several year old product debris left-over in one of our advanced search pages on the website, which is non-functional and barely used and hence it did not come to our attention," the email reads."We do not discriminate based on skin colour and our member base is as diverse and pluralistic as the world today is." Two other prominent South Asian matrimonial sites — Bharat Matrimony and Jeevansathi.com — were also pressured to remove skin-tone filters. CBC News contacted both websites for comment on this story, but received no response. 'Colourism is very easy to fester in communities'Thurka Gunaratnam, a filmmaker and educator based in Toronto who has focused on shadeism in her work, says the filter did not come as a shock to her. "When a group has been historically oppressed and they have not been given the freedom to understand what their own identity is, something like colourism is very easy to fester in communities," said Gunaratnam. Toronto-based writer and filmmaker Mirusha Yogarajah participated in a 2016 social media campaign called unfairandlovely. The campaign targeted the South Asian population in particular and was meant to tackle the issue of shadeism and the popularity of skin lightening creams — including one called "Fair and Lovely.""It's so embedded in us from such a young age, it just makes me really sad," Yogarajah told CBC News.She said women who are targeted by ad campaigns for the creams are "deeply impacted" by beauty standards, but that it "ultimately comes down to their value as a person." Prejudice should not be confused with preference, Gunaratnam said."In the wake of talking about colorism and racism, one thing that will help with unlearning is to really ask ourselves: Is it a preference or is it prejudice?"And if it's a preference, why is it that?"

  • Entertainment
    The Canadian Press

    Country stars talk of Charlie Daniels' faith at funeral

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    Global News

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