Fluffy snow falls in the backyard in front of a bright yellow tree.
Fluffy snow falls in the backyard in front of a bright yellow tree.
TORONTO — A civil liberties lawyer says a decision by the City of Toronto to bill a restaurant owner nearly $200,000 to cover the cost of enforcing lockdown regulations raises concerns about people's constitutionally protected right to protest. Adam Skelly, the owner of Adamson Barbecue, opened his restaurant for indoor dining in November in violation of COVID-19 public health regulations, drawing dozens of anti-lockdown protesters. On the weekend, Skelly posted on social media that he had received an invoice from the city for $187,030.56, with the cost of the police response accounting for $165,188.73 of the total. Cara Zwibel, the director of the fundamental freedoms program with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said the idea that individuals should have to pay for the opportunity to exercise their freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly is concerning. There are significant costs to policing a wide variety of matters, she said, but criminals don't pay the policing costs associated with those crimes. "There is a concern that the city is not treating this as part of their normal operations," Zwibel said. "But this is what police do, they enforce the law and keep the peace, that's the cost of doing business as a municipality." A spokesman for the city said businesses that have violated the law and have been ordered to close have remained closed, making Adamson Barbecue an exception. "There was a significant amount of time that the police and city incurred in dealing with this issue in terms of his opening the establishment and our need to close it under public health orders," Brad Ross said in an interview. The invoice was sent to Skelly in December but has not yet been paid, he said, adding that the city is considering launching a civil suit to recoup the money. Ross said this is the first time the city sends an invoice to someone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, he said a business or resident was billed for not clearing a sidewalk of snow, leaving the city to do the work - but those cases were not common. Zwibel said there is already a system in place to deal with people who break the law: the justice system. The "pay-to-protest" issue has come up in the past, she said, especially on university campuses. If a topic of a planned protest is a hot-button issue and the event is expected to attract a large crowd, universities have tried to have organizers pay for security. "The universities will sometimes say 'well, there's going to be a big reaction to that and so we're going to need security, and so you're going to have to pay for it," Zwibel said. "I would say it's not appropriate to have to pay to exercise your constitutionally protected right to protest." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Advocates say migrant and undocumented workers should have access to COVID-19 vaccines.The Migrant Rights Network is calling on all levels of governments to guarantee that access.The group is expected to make the call in a news conference today along with doctors and labour leaders .They say they are concerned that thousands of migrant and undocumented workers will not get the vaccine because of their immigration status.The group says government vaccination plans do not include measures that would guarantee safe access to the shot for the workers.The Ontario government has not said if temporary foreign workers employed on the province's farms would have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Deutsche Bank and Mastercard said on Wednesday they would deepen their collaboration as the German lender aims for a greater share of the payments business. The partnership will seek to jointly develop digital payment solutions for companies, they said. McKinsey and Capgemini are projecting growth in digital payments revenues and transactions, and Deutsche Bank hopes that the segment will provide it with additional income as it further cuts costs.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. There are 852,269 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 852,269 confirmed cases (30,677 active, 799,830 resolved, 21,762 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,760 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 80.72 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,693 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,956. There were 40 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 367 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 52. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.26 per 100,000 people. There have been 23,880,652 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 955 confirmed cases (375 active, 576 resolved, four deaths). There were 15 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 71.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 244 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 35. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 183,360 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 115 confirmed cases (one active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 0.63 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 99,303 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,613 confirmed cases (20 active, 1,528 resolved, 65 deaths). There were three new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 2.04 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 316,029 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,424 confirmed cases (76 active, 1,322 resolved, 26 deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 9.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.33 per 100,000 people. There have been 232,291 tests completed. _ Quebec: 283,666 confirmed cases (7,880 active, 265,456 resolved, 10,330 deaths). There were 739 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 91.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,479 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 783. There were 13 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 86 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 120.47 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,127,867 tests completed. _ Ontario: 295,119 confirmed cases (10,296 active, 277,939 resolved, 6,884 deaths). There were 975 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 69.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,383 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,055. There were 12 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 165 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 24. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 46.72 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,578,867 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,551 confirmed cases (1,212 active, 29,453 resolved, 886 deaths). There were 76 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 87.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 620 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 89. There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.24 per 100,000 people. There have been 521,439 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 27,923 confirmed cases (1,530 active, 26,017 resolved, 376 deaths). There were 126 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 129.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,094 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 156. There were four new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 19 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 31.9 per 100,000 people. There have been 560,268 tests completed. _ Alberta: 131,603 confirmed cases (4,516 active, 125,234 resolved, 1,853 deaths). There were 267 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 102.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,265 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 324. There were 10 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 62 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.2 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 41.91 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,353,608 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 77,822 confirmed cases (4,733 active, 71,753 resolved, 1,336 deaths). There were 559 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 91.94 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,539 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 506. There was one new reported death Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 22 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.95 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,876,985 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,071 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (five active, 37 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 11.07 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,026 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 351 confirmed cases (33 active, 317 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 83.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 28 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,462 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Euronews correspondent Shona Murray spoke to Sunday World reporter Patricia Devlin who has been targeted for her work in Northern Ireland.View on euronews
(Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press - image credit) Halifax's new tourism strategy will be a year-round effort to showcase the local music scene, launch new events and appeal to international travellers as the municipality looks to rebound post-pandemic from losses of around $800 million so far. Discover Halifax, the regional marketing association that oversees tourism in the Nova Scotia capital, presented its long-awaited integrated tourism master plan to regional council on Tuesday. The plan includes 28 ideas to help breathe new life into a struggling sector, including working with the province's musicians to make Halifax a music destination. "The opportunity to leverage that talent for live performances, for cultural performances — those things don't need to be here just in the summertime," said Ross Jefferson, the CEO of Discover Halifax. "There are opportunities for us to animate our destination, improve these experiences all year round." The organization estimates Halifax saw tourism plunge by 85 per cent last year. It's a hit that will also be felt this year, with the federal government extending its ban on cruise ships until 2022. Local tourists keep industry afloat Dennis Campbell, CEO of Ambassatours Gray Line and Murphy's The Cable Wharf, said he never imagined he'd see his bustling tourism companies experience such a devastating blow. He said they were saved by the support of locals, who took boat tours and jumped at the chance to visit Georges Island when it temporarily opened up last summer. "We know there's a demand for that this season," he said. While that will keep his companies afloat, Campbell said he's thrilled with what he has seen from the new master plan. Emphasizing Halifax's music scene, he said, is long overdue. "That's an initiative that there's been talk of for some time. It makes so much sense," he said. "It would just be so, so good for not just Haligonians, but all Nova Scotians." The new master plan was developed before the pandemic and was supposed to be launched a year ago. Jefferson said the plan places the tourism industry in a strong position to work together as it rebuilds. A stop along the way The plan also calls for the renewal of a stopover promotion which partners with airlines to allow travellers between Europe and North America to tack Halifax on to their trip. A test project was in the works with WestJet when everything shut down due to COVID-19. "It was getting good attention and we were looking forward to expanding that," said Jefferson. "As we do look for the return now of air access into the region, that's a program that we're very excited about pursuing again with the major airlines." Discover Halifax said it also wants its tourism plan to encompass all of the Halifax Regional Municipality, instead of focusing on the traditionally popular spots. "We've got an opportunity here to leverage the beautiful communities that we have so that we are making sure that visitors are not being concentrated necessarily at one site," said Jefferson. "We're making strong investments in a number of new icons to be developed, transportation corridors to those regions, and the opportunity to disperse visitors throughout HRM." Evergreen Festival a success Campbell said the municipality has already seen the benefit of some of the plan. A new event — the Evergreen Festival — was hosted in the city's downtown and waterfront areas in December. Walkable parts of the municipality were decked out in twinkling lights, including a light show displayed at city hall, as part of the inaugural outdoor festival. "Once we get beyond restrictions, the Evergreen Festival is going to be spectacular for Halifax," said Campbell. "It's going to be something that is going to be a legacy that will continue on for many years." MORE TOP STORIES
(The Canadian Press, The Associated Press - image credit) History will not record the first official meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden as "normal," per se. Owing to the pandemic, the two met via video — there was no trip to Ottawa or Washington and it's unclear when it will be considered safe again for the two leaders and their advisers to share a room. But this first meeting with the new president was still perhaps more normal than Trudeau's first, almost exactly four years ago, with the last president. The question now is, what Trudeau might be able to accomplish in this new normal? But then it's also necessary to wonder how long this normal might last. On the way to Washington in February 2017 for a highly anticipated meeting with Donald Trump, Trudeau had to strategize about how to approach the introductory handshake, owing to Trump's tendency to try to physically and publicly dominate other men. The two leaders inaugurated a business council involving the president's daughter and then Trudeau had to step gingerly around a reporter's question about Trump's thinly veiled ban on Muslim immigration. At lunch, Michael Flynn, Trump's national security adviser, left the room and did not return; after Trudeau had departed it would be announced that he had resigned because he gave the White House "incomplete information" about his pre-inauguration interactions with the Russian ambassador. That meeting had been preceded by weeks of effort by senior officials in the Trudeau government to begin to manage the chaos that an unpredictable president might unleash, particularly as it pertained to NAFTA, the continental trade agreement that Trump had promised to rip up. By contrast, Biden's election last fall did not feel like a national emergency. (In the official photo released from his first phone call with the president, Trudeau looked positively relieved.) And except for the fact that it was happening by video and all the participants were wearing masks, the first meeting between Trudeau and Biden seemed as straightforward and unperilous as these things are supposed to be. Which is not to say that the Canada-U.S. relationship will be uneventful over the next four years. Already there has been the cancellation of Keystone XL and the threat of "Buy American" procurement policies. But such events are likely to remain with the traditional parameters of continental conflict that have tended to exist since the conclusion of the War of 1812. There is also now a clearer chance for mutually beneficial collaboration. Biden and his team don't like to talk about the last guy, but Trudeau couldn't resist noting at least one change during the public happy talk that preceded the private meeting. "On tackling climate change — U.S. leadership has been sorely missed over the past years and I have to say, as we're preparing the joint rollout and communique for this one, it's nice when the Americans are not pulling out all references to climate change and instead adding them in," the prime minister said. Indeed, the word "climate" does not appear anywhere in the 1,100-word joint statement that the Prime Minister's Office and the White House released at the conclusion of Trudeau's visit in 2017. The "environment" received a single sentence. Michael Kovrig, left, and Michael Spavor, right, were arrested by China in the wake of charges against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, and remain detained. Four years later, the word "climate" appears 15 times in the 2,500-word joint statement signed by Biden and Trudeau. There is a whole section under the heading "accelerating climate ambitions" and the two leaders agreed to launch a "high level climate ministerial" to co-ordinate and align policy. In addition to reaping significantly less chaos and anxiety, Biden might blow a bit of wind into Trudeau's political sails. The two leaders share a fondness for the idea of "building back better." They both like to talk about "sustainable" and "inclusive" economic growth and they're both committed to addressing inequality and racism. Trudeau likely benefited politically at various points over the last four years from opportunities to contrast himself with Trump. But it probably wouldn't hurt Trudeau now to have the American president talking about the same kinds of issues that he would like to be talking about. But in real policy terms, the greatest impact might be on action to combat climate change. The "Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership" that was released after Tuesday's meeting speaks of working together to boost battery production, cross-border electricity transmission, reducing methane emissions and co-ordinating transportation policy. More broadly, Biden's presidency should accelerate momentum toward a cleaner economy and that might clear further political space for Trudeau to act. If Trudeau needs to capitalize on anything in this Biden presidency, it might be that — though it would certainly also help if, as promised, Biden could also do something to bring Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor back from China. But history's attic is full of long-forgotten summit communiques. Twelve years ago, for instance, Stephen Harper and Barack Obama agreed to a "clean energy dialogue." And there's no guarantee that this road map will be precisely followed. For one thing, the Trudeau government is still living day to day in a minority parliament and there's no telling when the next election might come or who will be in power afterwards. So someone should probably ask Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole how many of those 2,500 words he agrees with. But whatever the relief or excitement that Biden's victory brought to Ottawa (and other foreign capitals), it also can't be forgotten that he is still only currently entitled to be president until January 2025. And 74 million Americans still voted for Donald Trump last November. There is no guarantee that this return to normal will hold — if it's not Trump himself who is the Republican candidate for president in 2024, it could easily be someone a lot like him. Maybe it's nice to have things back to normal, however abnormal everything is right now. But perhaps the lesson of the last four years is to enjoy this normal while it lasts. Biden's cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline is among the issues still facing Canada-U.S. relations.
(Justin Tang/The Canadian Press - image credit) In an effort to help the beleaguered hospitality sector recover from the pandemic, the city is proposing to let restaurants and bars expand their patios and stay open longer during this year's outdoor dining season. Members of council's transportation committee next week will consider staff recommendations to allow the city to close streets for expanded patio use, allow patios on city property to say open until 2 a.m., and will waive most fees for the 2021 season. It's a move welcomed by the restaurant industry, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 era's physical distancing rules and on-again-and-off-again business closures. "We have a long road to recovery in this sector," said Sarah Chown, the managing partner of Metropolitain Brasserie and chair of the Ottawa branch of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association. She said that the industry expects that physical distancing protocols will be in place for some time, and restaurants need more space to accommodate patrons. "Anything that the city can do to help our businesses operate with more capacity, we welcome," Chown told CBC News. "So whether that is expanding … into the street or the extended hours on those right-of-way patios, I think it's important." She said there's also a "fairness factor" in allowing patios on city property to stay open until 2 a.m., as that is the closing time for patios on private property. Councillors will be discussing and voting on the following proposals for the upcoming summer patio season that begins April 1: Waive most fees related to patios on city rights of way (ROW), such as sidewalks, on-street parking spaces, and roadways. A two-metre path for pedestrians must be maintained. Allow ROW patios to stay open until 2 a.m., an hour later than last year. Allow staff to close streets at the request of a Business Improvement Area (BIA); in places where a BIA doesn't exist, three-quarters of the businesses of each affected city block must agree to the closure. Allow retailers to run pop-up stands and patios on terms similar to restaurants. Allow restaurants to have unlimited "café seating" — the two-seat bistro tables usually set up against a building — as long as space permits. City staff is recommending that 'café seating' be unlimited in areas where space permits. Usually, café tables are limited to two per establishment. 'Big party space' While businesses and many patrons look forward to outdoor drinking and dining, some residents are concerned about the crowds and noise it could bring. This is particularly true in the ByWard Market area, where many of the city's ROW patios are located. Last summer, when the city extended the patio spaces and hours until 1 a.m., the market was "a zoo," according to Norman Moyer, president of the Lowertown Community Association. "It turned into just one big party space," he said. "It was not attractive for residents. It was frankly not attractive for people that were visiting either. They pretended that there would be room for pedestrians on the street — there really wasn't." He said the problems are more evident in narrow streets like Clarence Street. Noise is also an issue of concern. According to the city staff report, only 17 official noise complaints last year were related to patios on city property. But Moyer suggested that residents often don't call in noise complaints because by the time bylaw officers show up, the brouhaha is over. He said he has "almost zero" faith in bylaw's ability to control the noise, unless officers are stationed in busy places to proactively enforce the rules. The restaurant industry would also welcome bylaw monitoring the situation, said Chown. "We need to keep the residents happy, too." The transportation committee, where the public can speak to the issue, meets next Wednesday.
The largest outflow on record for Cathie Wood's ARK fund was not enough to stop the firm from increasing its bet on Tesla Inc after the electric carmaker's stock closed below $700 for the first time this year on Tuesday. Wood, whose $26.6 billion ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund (ETF) was the top-performing actively managed U.S. equity fund tracked by Morningstar last year, bought $171 million of Tesla shares, pushing its weight to about 10% of the fund. The sell-off triggered heavy trading, with $5 billion of ARK Innovation shares changing hands on Tuesday - more than double the previous session's volume.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Neil Lennon resigned as manager of Scottish club Celtic on Wednesday with the team a distant second behind Glasgow rival Rangers. Celtic was in pursuit of a 10th consecutive league title but is 18 points behind Rangers in a turbulent season punctuated by a 1-0 loss to struggling Ross County on Sunday. "We have experienced a difficult season due to so many factors and, of course, it is very frustrating and disappointing that we have not been able to hit the same heights as we did previously," Lennon said in a statement. “I have worked as hard as ever to try and turn things around, but unfortunately we have not managed to get the kind of run going that we have needed.” Lennon began his second stint as Celtic manager in February 2019 after Brendan Rodgers left to take over at Leicester and led the team to two league titles. Assistant coach John Kennedy was named to take over on an interim basis. “I would like to pay tribute to Neil for all he has done for the club in his second spell, delivering our eighth and ninth successive league titles, the quadruple treble and winning the last five available domestic trophies,” Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said. “Neil has always been and will always be a true Celtic man and someone I will always hold in the highest regard.” Lawwell said it is a “sad day” to see Lennon leave. “Neil is a man of quality and decency," he said, "he is someone who will always be part of the fabric of Celtic and someone who will always be welcomed at Celtic Park.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
India's central bank has "major concerns" about cryptocurrencies, Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday, flagging potential risks to financial stability. Das said he had communicated his concerns to the government, which has largely opposed trading in private cryptocurrencies in recent years. "We have major concerns from the financial stability angle," Das told news channel CNBC-TV18 in an interview, adding that the RBI was "targeting to launch" a digital currency.
(Vahid Salemi/The Associated Press - image credit) The rulings of a court in a rural corner of northeastern Iran have brought together a Who's Who of Canada's legal profession to denounce the mistreatment of members of a religious minority who are being driven from their homes. One former prime minister — Brian Mulroney — three former attorneys-general (including Jody Wilson-Raybould and Irwin Cotler) and four former Supreme Court justices are among those who signed their names to a letter calling for justice for the Baha'i residents of the village of Ivel, where 27 families were recently evicted from their homes. The letter was also signed by several former provincial Supreme Court and appeals court judges and professors of law. Cotler said it was the "punitive and predatory" nature of Iranian court rulings against the Baha'i that struck a chord with Canada's jurists, along with the judges' use of openly discriminatory arguments. The Iranian courts' claim that they were following Islamic law in confiscating property from non-believers has been rejected by many Muslim groups outside Iran, including the Canadian Council of Imams. "I think that what was so outrageous here was the judicial complicity, brazenly acknowledging that they were engaged in this persecution based solely on what they called 'the perverse sect of Bahaism,' which is known to all the signatories to be a peaceful religious minority," said Cotler. "I might add that in this legal process, the Baha'is' counsel were not allowed to see any evidence against them, not allowed to adduce any evidence, not permitted to make any representations. In other words, [the ruling was] not only an abandonment of due process, [it] adds to the entire shocking legal and judicial complicity in this." Crimes of faith Cotler said Ivel's Baha'is have suffered years of official persecution. "There've been a series of home raids, assaults, confiscations, arrests, imprisonment," he said. "In 2020 we saw an alarming new chapter — two courts sanctioning the confiscation of their property based on religious belief." The confiscation was carried out by members of a state-affiliated organization called Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order (EIKO) that answers directly to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The U.S. Treasury Department accuses EIKO of controlling "large swaths of the Iranian economy, including assets expropriated from political dissidents and religious minorities, to the benefit of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian government officials." The Canadian letter is addressed to Iran's chief justice, Ebrahim Raisi, who is in charge of Iran's investigation into the destruction of Flight PS752 with 176 people on board. Raisi is often touted as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corp fired two surface-to-air missiles at Flight PS752 killing all 176 people onboard on Jan, 8, 2020. Iran's Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi is in charge of Iran's investigation of the aircraft's destruction. A history of persecution "The Baha'is have been persecuted since the inception of their faith in Iran in the 19th century," said Winnipeg Baha'i Payam Towfigh. He said that persecution caused him to leave Iran for Canada, while his parents already had been exiled internally in the country because of local hostilities. "Right after they got married in the 1940s, they moved to a village close to Ivel named Damghan, which had a number of Baha'is there," he said. But local mullahs incited the village's Muslim population against the "heretics" living among them, he said. "A few of the Baha'i were murdered. My father ended up in jail because of the Baha'i belief that he had," he said. "After a year or two they had to leave at night because some of their neighbours told them there were rumours they were going to come and burn their house down. So they had to leave town in the night." Since the Islamic Revolution, said Towfigh, the persecution has become national and organized. "It's no longer just local religious leaders inciting the population against the Baha'i," he said. "Now it's systematic and it's the leader of the country." He said the estimated 300,000 Baha'is across Iran have watched their situation grow worse. "Over the last couple of years, Baha'is have lost their shops, their stores, they've been kicked out of their homes," he said. "Government agents feel very comfortable coming to their homes at night and just taking them away to jail. "What really we are worried about is that this is a test case that could now be replicated and copied around Iran." Change of heart unlikely While Cotler said he believes the letter to Iran from some of the best-known legal minds in Canada "is unprecedented," he's "not sure that Chief Justice Raisi will pay attention." With little hope of a change of heart by the Islamic Republic regime, Cotler said the letter-writers intend to pursue their case in international courts and to call on the Canadian government to use Magnitisky sanctions to punish those who have benefited from the expropriations. Foreign Minister Marc Garneau has tweeted about the evictions, but the Trudeau government — which doesn't have diplomatic relations with Iran — has taken no substantive actions. Canada has used Magnitsky sanctions against Russia, Venezuela, South Sudan and Myanmar, but no Iranian official has been subjected to the measure. The U.S. Treasury Department, meanwhile, has sanctioned Raisi as an individual. Towfigh said he has no illusions about the letter changing hearts and minds within the regime. "I am certain that they will dismiss it," he said. "From what I've seen in the past, that will be the posture they will have." But he said it's still a worthwhile effort, for two reasons. "The more important one is the effect on the Baha'i who are in Iran right now, when they see and hear that they are not forgotten," he said. "Because the authorities — not only in Iran but under all of these despotic governments — want to remind oppressed individuals that everyone has forgotten about you, you may as well give up, change your religion. So this brings hope and reminds people that the world has not forgotten about them. "Secondly, Iran may dismiss this but they are still mindful of their image in the world. Prominent people bringing this up in the United Nations — I personally believe it does have an effect on their behaviour."
(Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press - image credit) When Iain Rankin was sworn in on Tuesday as Nova Scotia's new premier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became something very few prime ministers become, something none of his predecessors became at such a young age — the person with the most experience at the table. With the retirement of former Nova Scotia premier Stephen McNeil, Trudeau is now the senior figure in the federation. No provincial or territorial premier has been in government as long as Trudeau has been prime minister, even though he started in the job little more than five years ago. That makes Trudeau just the sixth prime minister ever to become the longest-serving sitting government leader in the country. It also puts him in a club with some accomplished members: the other PMs who hit that longevity mark before leaving office were John A. Macdonald, Wilfrid Laurier, Mackenzie King, Pierre Trudeau and Stephen Harper. Unlike those five, however, Trudeau hasn't had to wait very long to become the last person standing. No other prime minister (with the exception of Macdonald, who by default was the senior figure nearly from the start) has served for less time than Trudeau before becoming the most seasoned leader in the country. Trudeau has been in office for just 5.3 years. Harper — who previously had been the prime minister who had the shortest wait to seniority — was starting his seventh year in office when he became the longest-serving leader in the federation in 2013. Trudeau's father had to wait over a decade. Pierre Trudeau was also nearly 60 when he took over the mantle of Canada's senior political figure, while both King and Laurier were over 60 when they reached the milestone. Justin Trudeau is just a little over 49 years old — a few years younger than both Harper and Macdonald when they achieved seniority. Since 1867, the average age of the senior figure around the first ministers' table has been around 55 years old, making Trudeau one of the younger oldest-hands in Canadian political history. Even in the current context, it might seem a bit odd that Trudeau's longevity is greater than that of his provincial colleagues. Only Rankin (37), Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey (45) and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe (47) are younger than Trudeau. Few premiers have reached seniority faster than Trudeau In fact, for most of Canada's history the longest-serving sitting government leader has come from a provincial capital rather than Ottawa. That makes Trudeau's quick rise to seniority even more of an oddity. Only two provincial premiers have served for less time than Trudeau before becoming the most experienced leader — and the last one served nearly a century ago. Former British Columbia premier John Oliver waited just 4.9 years before becoming the senior figure in the federation in 1923, while New Brunswick premier George E. King did it in just under three years in 1875. On average, premiers and prime ministers have had to wait about nine years to achieve senior status — enough time to cover at least two governing mandates. Trudeau is only a third of the way through his second term in office. Former Quebec premier Robert Bourassa had to wait the longest before getting to the head of the table. He became the senior figure in 1990, about 20 years after his first election win in 1970. Of the 43 people who have held senior status since Confederation, only eight premiers were younger than Trudeau when they reached the top of the mountain. They include New Brunswick's Frank McKenna and Richard Hatfield and Alberta's Ernest Manning. Seniority is fleeting On average, Canada's "senior statesman" (and it has only ever been a man) has held the title for just 3.7 years. Trudeau will have to hold on to his job until November 2023 to pass Harper and avoid becoming the prime minister who has been the senior figure for the least amount of time. Macdonald, of course, holds the record — nearly 19 years spread over two non-consecutive periods in office. No provincial premier has broken that record, though Manning came the closest. He was the senior political figure for nearly 15 years between 1954 and 1968. Manning was also the last figure to hold the title for more than seven uninterrupted years. Why? The past few decades have seen a lot of turnover among premiers and prime ministers. The last person to be the longest-serving governing leader for more than three years was Alberta's Ralph Klein, who stepped down as premier in 2006. Iain Rankin was sworn in as Nova Scotia premier on Tuesday, replacing Stephen McNeil, who previously had been the longest-serving sitting premier in Canada. Trudeau is the 12th person to hold the senior status title since Klein retired from politics. Compare that to the relative stability in federal and provincial leadership between 1927 and 1968, when only four leaders sat as senior figures: Quebec's Louis-Alexandre Taschereau, Nova Scotia's Angus L. Macdonald, King and Manning. Trudeau has seen his fair share of turnover during his relatively short time in office. Rankin is the 27th provincial or territorial premier Trudeau will get to know. That might sound like a lot — but King, Macdonald, Harper and Jean Chrétien each saw at least 40 premiers and territorial leaders come and go. Trudeau might still have to make it through another election or two to get into that company.
(WAHA Communications - image credit) The number of cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities reached a grim new milestone over the weekend, surpassing 20,000 cases since the pandemic arrived in Canada over a year ago. According to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada, the number of active cases on-reserve has been on the decline. There were 1,481 active cases as of Feb. 22. But new infections persist. Outbreaks have occurred primarily in the Prairies, the most reported in Alberta with 348 new cases on-reserve in the last week. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces will be deployed to Pimicikamak after visiting the First Nation in Manitoba last weekend to assess the COVID-19 outbreak there. Members of the Armed Forces are also assisting with outbreaks and vaccine distribution for Pauingassi First Nation in Manitoba, Fort Nelson First Nation in British Columbia, Hatchet Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan and Muskrat Dam Lake in Ontario according to a Feb. 17 update from Indigenous Services Canada. Since the pandemic began, there have been a total of 20,227 cases on-reserve. Fourteen people have died from the virus since last week, bringing the toll to 218. The total number of hospitalizations rose to 925. The number of First Nations people who have recovered from the disease is now at 18,528. Total cases in First Nations communities per region reported as of Feb. 22: British Columbia: 2,184 Alberta: 5,918 Saskatchewan: 5,477 Manitoba: 5,225 Ontario: 853 Quebec: 560 Atlantic: 10 Vaccinations As of Feb. 18, Indigenous Services Canada reported 433 First Nations and Inuit communities have vaccination plans underway. A total of 91,927 doses have been administered, representing a vaccination rate six times higher than Canada's general population. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? New or worsening cough. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Temperature equal to or over 38 C. Feeling feverish. Chills. Fatigue or weakness. Muscle or body aches. New loss of smell or taste. Headache. Gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting). Feeling very unwell. If you think you may have COVID-19, please consult your local health department to book an appointment at a screening clinic. CBC Indigenous is looking to hear from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit who have contracted or lost a loved one to COVID-19. If you would like to share your story, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Jean Delise/CBC - image credit) There are growing concerns in some parts of Ottawa hit hardest by COVID-19 that mistrust and vaccine hesitancy could make the situation worse. The South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre is aiming to bust myths about COVID-19 and vaccines during a townhall-style virtual meeting for on Wednesday evening. A panel of health experts will answer questions and share "honest information" about vaccines in this diverse community, organizers say. Soraya Allibhai, the health centre's COVID-19 coordinator, said with illness, isolation and lost jobs, some residents are struggling. "There is a predominance of COVID cases in Ottawa South, and so we want to provide education ... when it comes to vaccinations and building confidence around that as well," said Allibhai. "People are struggling financially, emotionally. There's a challenge with the school closures and lockdowns. Each and every day is harder." Soraya Allibhai is the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre's COVID-19 coordinator. Sudesh Gurung, who came to Canada from Nepal several years ago and now works as a resident leader with the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre, said building trust with the community is important during the pandemic. A lot of people in the community are essential workers, and some have been exposed the virus in the workplace, said Gurung. He spends time going door to door, providing information to residents in multiple languages including English, Nepali, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish and sign language. "There are a lot of myths circulating in our community, because the community is reluctant to trust the people," said Gurung. "So we want to try to engage them and share information about COVID vaccines." Concerns include the speed at which the vaccines have been developed, and Gurung said often misinformation is being spread through social media. Given the language barrier, he said, correct public health information can be drowned out by the myths. Sudesh Gurung came to Canada from Nepal several years ago and now works as a resident leader with the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre. He says building trust with the community is important during the pandemic. "The myths are circulating through their circles," said Gurung. "They're not sure what other things are in the vaccine. Is it halal [Arabic for "permissible under Islamic law"]?" While Wednesday night's session will be in English, the team is working on handouts in other languages, as well as other outreach events in a variety of languages including Arabic and Somali. "People can feel comfortable in their language to actually ask questions," said Allibhai. She said the centre also wants its neighbours to know support is available, including food, baby supplies and technology. Wednesday's event will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. on the South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre's Facebook page.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 48,362 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,602,365 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,227.957 per 100,000. There were 152,100 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,003,810 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 79.97 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 1,771 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 16,458 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.431 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 24,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,020 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,630 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 73.316 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 4,826 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 27,966 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.657 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 12,084 new vaccinations administered for a total of 365,978 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.771 per 1,000. There were 107,640 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 509,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 16,252 new vaccinations administered for a total of 585,707 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 39.874 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.72 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,605 new vaccinations administered for a total of 63,970 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 46.456 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 84,810 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.43 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 612 new vaccinations administered for a total of 62,342 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 52.87 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 105 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 7,216 new vaccinations administered for a total of 180,755 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.062 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 5,628 new vaccinations administered for a total of 224,354 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.72 per 1,000. There were 44,460 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 287,950 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.91 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 1,250 new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,423 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 321.655 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 71.02 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 2,297 new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 34 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,011 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 181.041 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 45.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he would seek $37 billion in funding for legislation to supercharge chip manufacturing in the United States as a shortfall of semiconductors has forced U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to cut production. Biden also signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at addressing the global semiconductor chip shortage that has alarmed the White House and members of Congress, administration officials said.
STONY PLAIN, Alta. — A pastor of an Edmonton-area church that has been allegedly holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules is to appear in court today. James Coates with GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove was arrested last week. RCMP have said he was remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions. The church has been holding services that officials say break public health regulations on attendance, masking and distancing. Police fined the church $1,200 in December and a closure order was issued in January. Coates was twice charged in February with violating the Public Health Act and violating a promise to abide by rules of his release, which is a Criminal Code offence. Coates has addressed the province's health restrictions in his sermons, telling worshippers that governments exist as instruments of God and there should be unfettered freedom of worship. An associate pastor of the church, Jacob Spenst, conducted last Sunday's service and told the congregation that messages of support have been pouring in for the jailed pastor. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit) Cape Breton Regional Municipality is looking for a new head for its police department. Robert Walsh has been acting chief since the summer of 2019, when Chief Peter McIsaac went on sick leave. On Tuesday, Mayor Amanda McDougall said the municipality is starting the formal process of seeking a permanent chief. She said McIsaac will be missed. "I had a wonderful relationship with Chief Peter in my first four years as a council member," McDougall said. "He was always so wonderful to communicate [with]. It didn't matter what day, what time. "He really was a wonderful resource and I consider him to be a wonderful friend, as well." Mayor Amanda McDougall says CBRM has been lucky to have Deputy Chief Robert Walsh as acting chief of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service. McDougall said CBRM's hiring policy requires the municipality to advertise the position internally with the police service first and if no suitable candidate is found, then a job ad will be placed externally. "It will be relatively quick," she said. "In a matter of weeks we will know whether or not the process was successful internally. "At the end of the day though, that position will have to come back to council for official appointment." McIsaac served as deputy chief from 2008 to 2011, when he was appointed to the top job following the sudden death of Chief Myles Burke. McDougall said CBRM was lucky to have Walsh step in as acting chief when McIsaac went on leave. She also said the municipality's chief administrative officer, Marie Walsh, declared a conflict of interest and has stepped away from the hiring process because of her family relationship to the acting chief. MORE TOP STORIES
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images - image credit) As Ottawa's network of shelters, respite centres and physical distancing centres reach capacity, outbreaks within the system continue to grow and support systems are left playing "catch up," trying to get them under control. According to Ottawa Public Health's (OPH) COVID-19 dashboard, there are four active outbreaks at shelters across the city. While OPH does not list the names of shelters on its dashboard, cases at one in particular have continued to grow. Two weeks ago it reported 70 positive cases. There are now 108. OPH also declared an outbreak at the physical distancing centre on Nicholas Street on Tuesday, with a number of workers and clients testing positive. In a memo to the city, OPH added that there have also been cases at the Dempsey Community Centre and Tom Brown Respite Centre. Wendy Muckle, CEO of Ottawa Inner City Health, said it's unclear exactly why cases in the city's homeless shelters rise, but winter has brought "a different set of challenges." With the colder weather, shelters have become more crowded and many staff are staying home because they're sick, Muckle said. 'We try as much as possible to distance people, although it's very tough in an overcrowded situation with this outbreak,' says Wendy Muckle, CEO of Ottawa Inner City Health. "It's been very difficult to catch up once you have an outbreak that's that significant," Muckle said. As for emergency overflow physical distancing centres, Muckle said those too are getting full. "They were set up at a time when we thought that they would have lots of extra capacity but the number of people entering the shelter system has really increased quite rapidly," she said. "We're in that proverbial rock and a hard place at this point in time." Testing within shelters Ottawa Inner City Health and OPH are conducting tests at different locations throughout the week and are testing different groups within those locations to help curb the spread. "The transient nature of the population and the ability of positive clients to self-isolate away from others will also contribute to the prolonged outbreaks," wrote OPH in a statement to CBC. OPH says it's working closely with facilities experiencing outbreaks to implement disease control measures including enhanced cleaning, self-isolation for those who have tested positive and surveillance testing "to identify the extent of the outbreak."