This is an archived newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, consisting of headlines and weblinks for the indicated month(s) and year, including occasional news summary and brief analysis. See the current, ‘Canada newsroll’ website page here.
Canada news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, February 2021
RCMP shoot and kill second First Nations person in nine months from Vancouver Island town of Tofino, CBC News, Feb 28, 2021
Related: Human rights complaints detail the toxic, systemic racism at Toronto’s main jail, a provincial-run institution, Toronto Star, Feb 28, 2021
As Biden changes U.S. tune on Saudi Arabia, will Canada keep shipping armoured vehicles to the kingdom?, special report in Toronto Star, Feb 28, 2021 [Canada continues to permit the sale of armoured vehicles to the represssive regime in Saudi Arabia that is waging a deadly and heartless war in Yemen. The policy pleases the Unifor union at the manufacturing plant in London, Ontario where General Dynamics makes the killer vehicles. Which leads the Canadian government and its stooges to say, ‘Could we please talk about China, instead? Like, what about that (make-believe) ‘genocide’ against Uyghurs? Now there’s a subject we’re happy to talk about!’].
* U.S. implicates Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi’s killing, Associated Press, Feb 27, 2021
* Biden balks at sanctions on Saudi crown prince after release of report on killing of Jamal Khashoggi, The Intercept, Feb 27, 2021 Biden imposed sanctions only on aides to Mohammed bin Salman even though a new intelligence report said that MBS approved the mission on Khashoggi.
Toronto Star investigation confirms that private, for-profit ownership explains higher COVID-19 death rates in elder care residences compared to non-profit residences. Report in Toronto Star, Feb 26, 2021 Ontario’s for-profit long-term-care homes have reported far more COVID-19 deaths on average than non-profit and municipal facilities, even accounting for factors the industry has repeatedly claimed explain the long-standing disparity…
At $16 billion and counting, BC gov’t doubles down on ‘Site C’ hydro-electric dam construction boondoggle. Report in CBC News, Feb 25, 2021 and read: report in The Tyee, Feb 26, 2021
* NDP premier Horgan to blame for BC Hydro’s Site C oversight failures, by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Feb 26, 2021
* Open letter by 18 prominent British Columbians calls on BC gov’t to stop Site C dam construction so review can be conducted, open letter dated Sep 28, 2020
Federal gov’t has never been on track on 2015 announcement to fix First Nations drinking water, says report by auditor general, by Brett Forester and Brittany Hobson, Aboriginal People’s Television Network, Feb 25, 2021
Related: Many First Nations communities still without reliable access to safe drinking water, press release by the office of Auditor General Karen Hogan, Feb 25, 2021
Canadian gov’t promised to end solitary confinement following several court rulings, but new report says it’s still happening, CBC News, Feb 25, 2021
Disgraceful capitulation by NDP and Green Party to anti-China racism and big power threats as Canada’s Parliament votes unanimously to condemn something it calls a ‘genocide’ in China’s Xinjiang autonomous republic. Report by CBC News, Feb 22, 2021
* MPs, advocates urge more action by Canadian gov’t to combat ‘pandemic of anti-Asian racism’, The Hill Times, Feb 24, 2021 …Justin Kong, executive director of the Toronto chapter of the Chinese Canadian National Council, says the main impetus for more recent racism is Covid-19 and the political rhetoric circulating. “Irresponsible politicians have scapegoated Chinese people as the cause of this virus,” he said… [This news report does not make any specific connection between the racist campaign by the Canadian government, Parliament and media against the Chinese government and people, on the one hand, and what the news report itself headlines as a ‘pandemic of anti-Asian racism in Canada’. Hopefully, more Canadians will begin to make that connection and begin acting to stay the hands of the many in government and media who are pressing Canada to join the U.S. in waging war threats and economic sanctions war against China.].
* Parliamentary subcommittee report in Canada declaring ‘genocide against Uighurs’ is dominated by researchers and groups funded by CIA-backed National Endowment for Democracy, by Aidan Jonah, The Canada Files, Feb 22, 2021
* One year on, victims of anti-Muslim riots in India say justice still unserved, Associated Press, Feb 22, 2021 [Canada’s ‘save the Uyghurs’ brigades are silent over a real, not make-believe, campaign of violence against Muslims, taking place in Canada’s ally and partner India…].
* Chinese gov’t awaits reply from EU representatives after inviting them to Xinjiang, Global Times, Feb 20, 2021
* Xinjiang: A report and resource compilation, by Qiao Collective (based in New York City), Sep 21, 2020
[The charade in the Canadian Parliament over a non-existent ‘genocide’ against the Uyghur people of China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Republic was an initiative of the hard-right Conservative Party. It takes its cue from no less than the disgraceful, now-departed Trump regime in Washington. Ministers of the Liberal Party-led minority government cast abstentions on the racist and imperialist resolution adopted by the Parliament. There were zero votes against. Such bedfellows–the Donald Trump regime and the entirety of the Canadian Parliament! Uyghurs make up app. half the population of 22 million of Xinjiang. Their population growth during the past ten years has been faster than the Han Chinese ethnic population that makes up the other half of Xinjiang. The coterie of soft-left publications in Canada have been complicit in the racist, anti-China drive by virtue of their silence. The left-wing publications that have spoken out against the anti-China drive have been The Canada Files and Passages, based in Toronto, and Canadian Dimension. Their circulation is small.
[Canada’s ‘genocide’ vote trivializes the real genocides that have taken place in the world… including the historic cultural genocide by Canada against First Nations people. Arguably, that genocide continues today in the form of Canada’s ‘war on drugs’, which disproportionately targets and kills First Nations people, and the country’s failure to provide adequate housing, health care services and meaningful employment to First Nations people. Importantly, the Parliament vote also serves to distract attention from Canada’s criminally negligent response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. China’s highly successful fight against the pandemic is potentially a huge political embarassment and liability for Canada’s ruling class those of its NATO allies. For now, the leaders of the NATO powers have largely avoided political liability. Even the Trump regime monstrosity ended quietly and peacefully (albeit with a burst of right-wing showboating in Washington DC on January 6).]
More shambolic pandemic response in Canada: Provinces are working with outdated vaccine tracking systems, hindering national data. Report in Globe and Mail, Feb 21, 2021 As Canada prepares for a massive increase in vaccine doses from abroad, some provinces and territories are using outdated technology to record their vaccination data and not fully participating in a system Ottawa created to manage infectious disease outbreaks…
Related: Alarmingly low vaccination rates for measles in school districts in Ontario is cause for alarm over coronavirus vaccination plans, special report in Toronto Star, Feb 21, 2021
Vancouver mayor rejects applying lessons from Portugal’s successful fight against opiod drug poisonings, wants policy changes to be on narrower issues of decriminalization and safe supply. Report in Vancouver Sun, Feb 21, 2021 …In Vancouver last year, there were 58.9 illicit overdose deaths per 100,000 people. In Portugal, it was 0.45 deaths per 100,000. That is one of the lowest in Europe despite Portugal having the sixth-highest opioid use…
U.S. State Department accusations of China ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang Autonomous Republic rely on data abuse and baseless claims by far-right ideologue, by Gareth Porter and Max Blumenthal, The Grayzone, Feb 18, 2021 President Joe Biden and his secretary of state Anthony Blinken have both endorsed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s last-minute accusation of “genocide” against the Muslim Uyghur population in China’s Xinjiang province. But an investigation of published work by the researcher Pompeo relied on to level his genocide allegation, Adrian Zenz, reveals a pattern of data abuse and fraudulent assertions that substantially undermines the incendiary charge. The US government’s accusation of genocide against China stems from a single source: a June 2020 paper by Adrian Zenz, a right-wing German researcher affiliated with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation and neoconservative Jamestown Foundation in Washington, DC…
[Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China, located in the far west of the country. It comprises one sixth of China’s territory; its population is 22 million, evenly divided between Uyghur and Han ethnicities. Genocide against the Uyghurs? The Uyghur population of some 12 million rose by 25 per cent between 2010 and 2018; Uyghurs were exempted from China’s former, ‘one child’ family planning policy (1979-2015).].
Background: No, the UN did not report China has ‘massive internment camps’ for Uighur Muslims, by Ben Norton and Ajit Singh, The Grayzone, Aug 23, 2018 Media outlets falsely claimed the UN reported China is holding a million Uighurs in camps. The claim is based on unsourced allegations by an American commission member, U.S.-funded outfits, and a shadowy government-funded opposition group.
China’s ambassador to Canada denounces pending vote in Parliament declaring ‘genocide’ against Uyghurs, Canadian Press, Feb 20, 2021 …Ambassador Cong Peiwu also denounced Canada’s leadership of a 58-country international declaration against arbitrary detention amid the 800-plus days that Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been in prison in China… The ambassador says if Canada really wants to live up to the spirit of that declaration, it should release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who the RCMP arrested on a U.S. extradition warrant on Dec 2, 2018…
Green Party of Canada leader joins anti-China crusade, says 2022 summer Olympics should be moved from China due to ‘genocide’ in China’s Xinjiang autonomous republic, Canadian Press, Feb 17, 2021 [Green Party leader Annamie Paul suggests that Canada could join its imperialist partner the U.S.in hosting the 2022 Olympic summer games. NDP members of Parliament, including party leader Jagmeet Singh, have joined the call to move the Olympics. So, too, have corporate ‘human rights’ organizations and anti-China advocacy groups in an open letter signed by 180 of them. The Conservative Party, meanwhile, wants the Canadian Parliament to approve a formal resolution recognizing a ‘genocide’ taking place against the Uyghur people who live in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Republic. Canada, of course knows all about genocide–real ones, not the make believe variants of which China is accused. Canada’s history is rooted in genocidal practices against Indigenous peoples, many of which continue today–for example, the deadly ‘war on drugs’ that has killed close to 20,000 people since 2016, many of whose victims were First Nations people.].
Related news: As Canada’s arbitary detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou enters its third year, Canada and its NATO allies launch public relations campaign condemning arbitrary detention of foreign nationals. Report by Deutsche Welle, Feb 15, 2021 Without naming China directly, Canada, its NATO allies and a cast of celebrities are condemning countries that wage ‘hostage diplomacy’. Among the cast members is the British government, which has arbitarily held Julian Assange hostage in a prison for more than one year. The hostage takings of Meng Wanzhou and Julian Assange are at the behest of the U.S. government, which wants both individuals locked up in its prison gulag.].
Tribunal in Colombia reveals at least 6,402 people were killed by army between 2002-08 to boost ‘body counts’ in its war against rebel groups. [This report is published in The Guardian on Feb 19, 2021. The Guardian, like the state-run BBC, actively campaigns for the violent overthrow of the neighbouring government of Venezuela. Missing from the Guardian and BBC‘s reports on the grisly killings in Colombia is a rote, ‘Ok, the West’s (our) allied government in Colombia has murdered tens of thousands of its citizens in its decades-long counter-insurgency war, and it has caused nearly 60,000 deaths due to the criminal negligence of its reponse to the coronavirus pandemic (compared to 1,300 deaths in Venezuela). But can we please not talk about Colombia and instead talk about how terrible is the government of Venezuela?’ Colombia is #11 in the world for total Covid-19 cases. Seven of the world’s top-ten countries for Covid-19 cases are members of the NATO military alliance. An eighth–Brazil–is a close subordinate.]
Covid-19 will be with us for years, but the worst should be over by end-2021 says author of new book, by Sharon Kirkey, National Post, Feb 16, 2021 …After a year of living with COVID-19, Postmedia is taking an in-depth look at the significant social, institutional and economic issues the pandemic has brought to light in Canada and, more importantly, how we can finally begin to solve them…
Related pandemic news: New COVID-19 variants raise renewed concerns over a potential third wave across Canada, Globe and Mail, Feb 14, 2021
Disband secretive procurement task force behind flawed Covid-19 vaccine effort, experts tell Parliamentary committee. Gov’t responds ‘hell, no’. Report by National Post, Feb 16, 2021
Pork slaughterhouse in Red Deer, Alberta to close temporarily due to growing Covid-19 outbreak that has claimed one life, CBC News, Feb 15, 2021 …Alberta Health Services says around one in five workers in the plant is believed to be infected and spreading the virus. The plant has a workforce of close to 1,850 and about 60 per cent of the staff hold at least one other job outside the slaughterhouse. A spokesperson for Alberta’s labour minister said on February 14 that occupational health and safety (OHS) officials had inspected the facility 14 times, remotely and in-person, since the outbreak began in mid-November, deeming the plant safe to remain open…
[Of note in this news report: “The union that represents employees at the plant said more than 90 per cent of approximately 600 workers it surveyed through a text-message poll said they wanted the plant to close temporarily, and that 80 per cent of respondents reported feeling unsafe at work.” And so what, exactly, has prevented the UFCW union from taking action to close the plant and press for strict measures to protect the safety and lives of its members?]
Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s ‘we can have it all’ energy minister, by Michael Harris, The Tyee, Feb 15, 2021 O’Regan says oilsands [sic] output must rise as Canada shifts to green energy [sic] and small nuclear reactors.
Canada’s murderous ‘war on drugs’ sets new record in BC with 1,716 opioid drug poisoning deaths in 2020, a 74% increase over 2019. Report by CBC News, Feb 11, 2021 (and read report in Toronto Star, Feb 12, 2021) …Decades of criminalization, an increasingly toxic illicit drug market and a lack of timely access to treatment and recovery services contributed to the deaths of thousands of British Columbians, chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in the 24-page report released by her office…
* BC’s deadliest year for overdoses and a ‘shameful,’ ‘unconscionable’ response, by Moira Wyton, The Tyee, Feb 11, 2021 …BC’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson said today the deaths were an “insidious impact of the pandemic,” wiping out progress made in 2019. But advocates and experts say the province’s small, slow steps to address the crisis, even after the potential impacts of the pandemic on overdose deaths became clear, are a slap in the face to the families and friends of the 6,733 people who have died since 2016… Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry proposed a made-in-B.C. plan to decriminalize illicit drugs in April 2019, which the province rejected. In December, Vancouver made a similar request to the federal government seeking an exemption from personal possession laws. Talks are to begin next month. But public health experts say decriminalization isn’t enough. A safe supply of pharmaceutical-grade drugs is needed to stabilize people and separate them from the contaminated street supply…
* Sad daily cycle continues in the streets of Vancouver without major spending on mental health care, by Daphne Bramham, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Feb 11, 2021
[The 1,716 drug poisoning deaths in BC in 2020 compare to an estimated 900 deaths from Covid-19 during the same period. 1,549 and 984 victims died from drug poisonings in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The optics of so many drug poisoning deaths among society’s most vulnerable have now become so bad that the City of Vancouver as well as the Province of British Columbia have formally requested that the federal government take a special decision for their jurisdictions to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illicit drugs.].
* Opioid drug poisoning deaths rise in Toronto. [Reporting of opioid drug poisonings in Ontario is notoriously poor. Statistics only began to be compiled in 2017. In December 2020, 38 people died in Toronto from drug poisonings, the worst month since reporting began. January 2021 saw 30 such deaths. The Toronto Star reported in late January 2021 a 90 per cent increase in drug poisoning deaths in Toronto in 2020 compared to 2019. No actual figures were reported.]
Covid-19 outbreaks are rising in Ontario prisons as safety measures allowed to falter. Report in Toronto Star, Feb 12, 2021
One year after beginning of pandemic, Canadian gov’t bends to pressure and introduces coronavirus controls at airports and land border crossings with U.S. Report by CBC News, Feb 12, 2021
Slow vaccine rollout in Canada exposes the country’s failed values, by Linda McQuaig, columnist, Toronto Star, Feb 10, 2021 [Canada is #38 among the world’s countries for vaccinating its population (National Post, Feb 11, 2021, page one). The U.S. is vaccinating its population nine times faster than is Canada.]
Covid-19 emergency in province of Newfoundland and Labrador with 53 new cases reported on Feb 10. Report by CBC News, Feb 10, 2021 [Most of the new cases are reported in the St. John’s capital city region of the province and involve people under the age of 20. The flareup began in schools and spread from there. Until now, as with other provinces in Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland, population 521,000, has been largely Covid-free; the previous, daily case high was 32 last March. But the province “let down its guard”, according to public health officials. St. John’s and region have now gone into advanced lockdown. The province of Nova Scotia, where ferry and most air travel to Newfoundland from mainland Canada originates, now requires a 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving from Newfoundland.].
Update: The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting 100 new cases of Covid-19 on February 11 and 50 new cases on February 12.
Remembering the journalists fooled by Doug Ford’s pandemic disguise, by David Mastracci, managing editor, Passages, Jan 28, 2021
Media is ignoring alleged illegal Israeli army recruitment in Canada, by David Mastracci, managing editor, Passages, Feb 12, 2021 Far from being the “most moral army in the world”, as it likes to claim, the Israeli military is depraved and cruel. It has acted as the military muscle enforcing Israel’s decades of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and cultural genocide. It has killed thousands of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, including children and the disabled. It is going to be investigated by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. And, according to a group of lawyers, human rights activists, academics, religious leaders and others, it is here in Canada, trying to recruit Canadian citizens to join its forces…
Trudeau pledges $3 billion in annual funding for public transit expansion; spending won’t start until 2026. Report by CBC News, Feb 10, 2021 [Expansion of ‘public transit’ systems has long been proposed by liberal environmentalists as a means to alleviate global warming. But ‘public transit’ in a system of expansionist capitalism has little to do environmentalism or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Rather, it serves to fuel runaway urban sprawl and other forms of intensified commodity production and consumption. The global pandemic further complicates the picture because ridership on ‘public transit’ systems is way down with little sign of whether and when it will return to pre-pandemic levels. So hold the ‘hurrahs’ about more ‘public transit’ spending–under expansionist capitalism, such spending will only accelerate global warming.].
* Rapid transit debacle in Toronto, by Matt Elliot, columnist, Toronto Star, Feb 8, 2021
* Eglinton West rapid transit debate shows that subway boosters have learned nothing from their epic failure in Scarborough, by Matt Elliot, columnist, Toronto Star, Dec 15, 2020
[The debacle over efforts to improve the ‘Line 3’ rapid transit line in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough (completed in 1985) reminds that public transit in capitalist society is designed, first and foremost, to supplement the workings of expansionist capitalism, in particular to advance the interests of the owners of the real estate, construction and transportation industry nexus. All large Canadian cities are facing transportation gridlock caused by the never-ending rise in automobile usage. In response, they are scrambling to spend untold billions of dollars more on ‘public transit’ systems and more highways. The ‘transit’ side of that equation only serves to aid the nexus in its never-ending lust to pave over more natural lands and build more factories, warehouses and real estate projects that have nothing to do with creating sustainble communities.]
Labour inspectors now targetting Peel region warehouses where hundreds contracted Covid-19, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Feb 10, 2021 [In 2020, Ontario’s ministry of labour fined just one employer for Covid-19 related violations between March and mid-December. Public outcry has shifted the ministry’s criminally negligent practices.].
Previously reported: Ontario pressured to expand workplace inspections, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Jan 20, 2021 …“The combination of precarious employment and the lack of ability to speak up without fear of losing work are the critical factors leading to more outbreaks,” says Deena Ladd of the Toronto-based Workers Action Centre… More than 11,400 workers have fallen ill due to work-related COVID-19 exposures in Ontario since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest statistics from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. There are 259 active workplace outbreaks in the province, the second highest number behind long-term care settings. In Peel [Toronto region] and Toronto, warehousing and manufacturing have emerged as two of the hardest hit sectors…
Ontario gov’t continues to pass responsibility for paid sick leave onto federal government’s threadbare Covid sickness benefit. Report in Globe and Mail, Feb 7, 2021
Related: Even small businesses are now asking Ontario to legislate paid sick days, Toronto Star, Feb 10, 2021
Following public outcry, Alberta reinstates 1976 policy freezing strip mining for coal in areas of Rocky Mountains, for now, CBC News, Feb 8, 2021 (see map at weblink)
Alberta ‘inquiry’ into environmental advocacy groups should be shut down before it embarrasses us any further, by Gillian Steward, columnist, Toronto Star, Feb 8, 2021 It began as a smear against environmentalists. Then it became a full-fledged conspiracy theory that quickly caught on among the higher echelons of the Canadian petroleum industry. It went like this: U.S. foundations (also known as “foreign funders”) were shovelling money into Canadian environmental campaigns designed to stop pipelines carrying bitumen and generally impede growth of Alberta’s oilsands [sic]…
* A data-based dismantling of Jason Kenney’s foreign-funding conspiracy theory, by Sandy Garossino, National Observer, Oct 3, 2019
* My not-so-secret communication channel with Alberta’s oilsands inquiry, by Sandy Garossino, National Observer, Feb 1, 2021
Here’s what an effective rapid testing campaign in Canada would look like, if only the country’s health officials would decide to make it happen, by Brian Platt, National Post, Feb 5, 2021 …The main obstacle to deploying rapid tests is the stance of some health officials who claim the tests are cumbersome and inaccurate — to the intense frustration of experts who argue a very valuable tool is being neglected. When the federal government’s COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel released its first report last month, increasing rapid testing was a priority recommendation… Rapid tests are a screening mechanism. They can be used to quickly find COVID-19 in people who would otherwise not be tested. A positive rapid test means the person can be immediately isolated until the case is confirmed with a PCR test…
At least five people have died in the winter streets of Thunder Bay since Christmas. Who’s keeping track?, CBC News, Feb 5, 2021
Canada’s public sector employee pension plan not only owns the Covid-killer retirement home chain Revera, now it’s cashing in on rental housing evictions in the U.S., special report by Richard Warnica, Toronto Star, Feb 5, 2021
Environmentalists condemn Ontario gov’t plan to build new highway through Holland Marsh north of Toronto, CBC News, Feb 5, 2021 [The proposed, 16 km, east-west ‘Holland Marsh Highway’ north of Toronto follows the traditional pattern of urban sprawl in Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax. Namely, allow urban sprawl (real estate industry greed) to pave over and spoil wetlands and forest and agricultural lands, then declare transportation gridlock requiring new roads or ‘rapid transit’ megaprojects.]
As schools prepare to reopen in Ontario’s highest-risk regions, how risky are they for transmission?, Toronto Star, Feb 3, 2021 …As of February 3, Ontario had recorded 7,392 school-related cases of COVID-19 to date, including 5,167 among students and 1,107 among staff. A further 1,118 cases were among “individuals not identified.” There are currently 42 schools in the province with a reported case…
* Masks now mandatory for all middle and secondary students at B.C. schools, Vancouver Sun, Feb 5, 2021 [including ‘Mask requirements in schools and classrooms vary across Canadian provinces’] …B.C. Teachers Federation president Teri Mooring said educators will be relieved to see a stricter mask policy but said it’s long overdue and only came as a result of pressure from teachers and staff…
* Survey commissioned by BC Teachers Federation shows 57% of teachers do not feel safe from Covid-19, press release by BCTF, Feb 4, 2021 (and link to 34-page report)
Canada designates mixed bag of 13 groups as ‘terrorist entitities’, including ‘Proud Boys’ and several other far-right U.S. groups, CBC News, Feb 3, 2021 [Small ‘l’ liberal voices in Canada are hailing the government’s move, taken in the wake of the Jan 6 right-wing riot in Washington on January 6. They, along with state and corporate media, are carefully avoiding any mention of Canada’s and NATO’s financial and military support to neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine and to far-right governments and movements in the Baltic region. Did we mention the Canadian government’s fomal support for violent coups in such countries as Venezuela and Syria? Surely this qualifies the government itself as a terrorist entity. Perhaps too, it is time to shed more public light on Canada’s decision following World War Two to welcome into the country thousands of Nazis and Nazi collaborators from the countries that waged genocidal war against the Soviet Union. Leading NATO country Germany knows all about neo-Nazis–they are widely present in the country’s state governments and police and military units.]
The Canadian government’s early vaccine rollout is collapsing, editorial, Globe and Mail, Feb 3, 2021 [In its editorial, the anti-China Globe and Mail avoids any mention of the collapse in the summer of 2020 of Canada’s agreement with China’s CanSino Biologics firm to produce vaccines at the National Research Council laboratory in Montreal. Canada is fully joined with the United States in waging military and economic threats against China, including its outrageous detention at U.S. request of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou for the past two-plus years (!) and counting. But in the minds of anti-China editors in Canada’s media, the blame for the collapse of the production agreement lies with China, not with Canada’s anti-China aggression.]
Two expert reports on getting to Covid zero, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Feb 3, 2021 Health experts around the world are re-evaluating their nations’ responses to Covid-19 as ‘mitigation policies’ have failed to contain two waves of the pandemic while a probable third wave of highly infectious variants is on the way… A Canadian expert task force and a group of prominent German academics say enough is enough. Both groups are recommending a dramatic departure from the status quo, with clear targets aimed at engaging the entire community to end COVID-19’s rule…
As pandemic numbers slowly decline in Canada, new mutations threaten to send them soaring again. Report in National Post, Feb 2, 2021
Two lawsuits against Jarlette Health Services, owners of ‘Roberta Place’ killer long-term care home in Barrie, Ontario where half the 120 residents have died from Covid-19. Report by CBC News, Feb 1, 2021 and read: report by CTV News, Feb 1, 2021 …A number of proposed class actions that have sprung up after Covid-19 ripped through long-term care homes across Canada, inclluding two against Extendicare multinatinoal in Ontario. As of February 1, 3,543 of Ontario’s 6,224 COVID-19 deaths were among long-term care residents… Lawyer Gayle Brock said she is not deterred by the recently-passed Ontario legislation that critics say shields long-term care homes from legal action. “We have specific allegations of negligence against Roberta Place, ‘…
Canada news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, January 2021
Months before Albertans were told, mining companies in Australia knew of Alberta gov’t plans to lift moratorium on coal strip mining in Rocky Mountains, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Jan 29, 2021
* Loads of coal mining disinformation from the Alberta government, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Jan 25, 2021 How Alberta’s energy and environment ministers misled on open-pit coal mining expansion plans.
* Alberta’s cancelled coal mining leases called a ‘trick’ by environmental campaigners, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Jan 19, 2021 …Alberta’s government announced yesterday it would cancel 11 newly-issued coal leases covering 1,800 hectares. But the action was miniscule, notes David Luff, a former assistant deputy environmental minister, because it affects less than half of one per cent of some 420,000 hectares already under existing leases. “It’s a trick, smoke and mirrors and misleading,” said Luff. Under existing leases, four Australian companies plan to industrialize more than 800 square kilometres of the southern and central Rockies with half a dozen open-pit mines…
All countries should pursue a Covid-19 elimination strategy. Here are 16 reasons why, commentary by Michael Baker and Martin McKee, The Guardian, Jan 28, 2021 (Michael Baker is a professor of public health at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Martin McKee is a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.)
Related: The virus changed. Now we must ‘get to zero’ or face catastrophe, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Jan 28, 2021 Half measures haven’t worked. It’s time to beat the virus the way other places have done. [In this otherwise informed commentary, the writer reveals his anti-China bias by failing to cite China’s successful fight against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Instead, he cites a handful of small, island countries as examples to follow in the fight against the pandemic.]
Ontario’s long-term care sector homes are in a grave humanitarian crisis. We demand the Ontario government take the following immediate actions. Statement by Doctors For Justice in Long Term Care, Jan 26, 2021 and read: report by CTV News, Jan 26, 2021 and report by CBC News, Jan 26, 2021 [The statement is signed by more than 1,000 physicians in Ontario; see the full list of signators at the weblink.].
Related: As Ontario’s long-term-care homes stagger under a COVID death toll of more than 3,000, voices call to shut down for-profit homes for good, special report by Richard Warnica, Toronto Star, Jan 25, 2021 ‘The more you look at this, the more I say to myself, why is social care — which is a responsibility of society — being run for profit? The government has to step in here.’ [As of January 25, 3,365 residents of long-term care in Ontario have died from Covid-19. Others have been lost to pandemic-induced neglect or a lack of care, including starvation and dehydration, says Dr. Samir Sinha, the director of geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.]
Vaccines steal the headlines but our path out of the pandemic will also need contact tracing, Toronto Star, Jan 28, 2021
Related: Prepare for dose of reality — vaccines don’t guarantee a quick return to normal, by John Ivison, columnist, National Post, Jan 28, 2021
British Columbia has better tools than universal basic income to create a more just society, reports academic panel struck by BC gov’t, media release issued by the University of British Columbia, Jan 28, 2021 The full report is 529 pages. It and the nine-page executive summary can be found at the weblink.
[The first sentence in the report’s executive summary reads, “Our work has been guided by a vision of British Columbia becoming a more just society.” And further: “A basic income emphasizes individual autonomy—an important characteristic of a just society. However, in doing so it de-emphasizes other crucial characteristics of justice: community, social interactions, reciprocity, and dignity.”
[The report says little about the role and importance of a high (liveable) minimum wage in achieving social justice. It reads, “One issue of particular significance in terms of poverty and justice is the minimum wage. In October 2017 the B.C. government established the independent Fair Wages Commission “to advise government on how to raise minimum wages with increases that are regular, measured and predictable.” The Commission has three tasks—to recommend a path to a $15 per hour minimum wage, to recommend changes to the Employment Standards Act related to alternate wage arrangements, and to advise government on addressing the discrepancy between the minimum wage and a living wage. Reports covering the first two tasks have been completed and changes corresponding to those tasks have been implemented or are in process. As a result, we do not specifically address minimum wages in this section…” In point of fact, a key failing of universal basic income is that it blunts the class struggle for key social improvements such as a livable mimimum wage, higher rates of trade union organization, social housing for all, improved retirement pensions and improved public health care programs.]
Experts in Covid-19 prevention urge tougher travel rules for Canada, Toronto Star, Jan 26, 2021 …A petition submitted by a number of virologists, epidemiologists, doctors and public health officials to the federal government urges, among other measures, to more clearly define what is essential travel, cancel flights to holiday destinations, “strongly consider” designated quarantine facilities for returning travellers, and test all arriving travellers followed by two additional tests during the 14-day quarantine period. The petition also states that “interprovincial travel should be restricted to essential activities…
Virus variant could spell disaster for BC and Canada, says researchers in S. Africa and at Simon Fraser U, Vancouver Sun, Jan 26, 2021 Failure to contain the spread of high-transmission variants of COVID-19 now spells disaster in March, according to startling new research out of Simon Fraser University and the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis… The researchers recommended an end to non-essential travel, stepped-up quarantine and isolation of travellers, and vaccinating commercial truckers who need to cross the Canada-U.S. border…
* No plans in BC to follow Manitoba example and quarantine all domestic travellers into the province, Vancouver Sun, Jan 26, 2021
Grocery chains grapple with rising Covid-19 cases as second wave [sic] sweeps country, Financial Post, Jan 26, 2021 [Canada’s grocery chains suppress full information on Covid-19 infections among their employees.]
Another casualty of Canada’s heightened threats against China: Covid-19 vaccine development. Report in iPolitics, Jan 26, 2021 [Canada’s months-long collaboration to test and produce a coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with China’s CanSino Biologics Inc. was formally nixed by Canada in late August 2020, in favour of buying ready-made vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.]
Coverup of report critical of BC gov’t early handling of the pandemic in long term care homes began two days before the provincial election on Oct 24. Report by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Jan 26, 2021
Related: BC gov’t commissioned a review of its killer pandemic response in long-term care homes but hid the decision and the report from the public, Report by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Jan 21, 2021
West Moberley First Nations will step up its court fight against BC gov’t over Site C hydroelectric dam boondoggle in light of more revelations of geo-technical faults in dam foundation. Report by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Jan 25, 2021 read also: report by Canadian Press, Jan 25, 2021
The homeless in Toronto are suffering from winter cold like never before due to Covid-19. Health care workers fear the coming drop in temperatures. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 24, 2021 …The city of Toronto’s most recent estimate suggests that between 300 and 400 people are still sleeping outside. But that count only includes those staying on city land, such as parks…
Vaccines were our last line of defence, but now our governments have bungled that as well, by Andrew Coyne, columnist, Globe and Mail, Jan 22, 2021 …If the U.S. vaccination program is a disaster, what are we to call Canada’s? It isn’t just the United States we’re lagging behind… read the column here in PDF format: Canada vaccination
Related: Why is the virus still pouring into Canada on international flights?, editorial, Globe and Mail, Jan 23, 2021 …Ten months after the pandemic started, Canada’s supposedly closed border is still surprisingly open. Between March 21 and Dec. 27, 2020, more than 1.1 million Canadians flew home from a foreign country. Even though air traffic is down more than 90 per cent, Canada still saw about 65,000 people land in a week over Christmas, according to Canada Border Services…
Modelling shows chance of close to 4,000 COVID-19 cases a day by April if new variant of virus takes hold, Toronto Star, Jan 23, 2021 Ontario could see nearly 4,000 new COVID-19 cases per day by the end of March if a new variant of the virus becomes established in the population and the province sticks to its plan to reopen all schools on Feb. 10, new forecasting shows… [Ontario plans to reopen all schools on Februrary 10. Schools in seven southern public health units are already slated to reopen on January 24.].
* Fast-spreading Covid-19 variant tears through long-term-care home in Barrie, Ontario, Toronto Star, Jan 23, 2021 The top doctor of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit believes that all residents and staff infected with Covid-19 at the Roberta Place long-term-care home in Barrie [Jarlette Health Services] have the fast-spreading UK variant of the virus… A Covid-19 outbreak was declared at the long-term-care home on January 8 and has now spread to all but two of its 127 residents; 84 staff members have also tested positive. So far, 32 people have died…
* If dangerous COVID variants were spreading widely in Ontario, would we know? Why scientists are worried, Toronto Star, Jan 23, 2021
Ontario premier Doug Ford says sick-pay legislation isn’t necessary. We asked how many large grocery chains and other retailers provide paid sick days without it. Almost none. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 23, 2021 …In Canada’s most populous province, it’s estimated that as many as 3.9 million employees do not have access to paid sick leave… A representative with Unifor, which represents approximately 15,000 workers at supermarkets across Canada, said none of their part-time members at any of the three largest supermarket chains (Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys) receive a single paid sick day that is covered under their collective agreement…
On day one, Biden cancels Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and halts drilling in Arctic refuge, Inside Climate News, Jan 21, 2021
* What the Keystone XL Pipeline cancellatoin means for the future fight against fossil fuels, DeSmog Blog, Jan 21, 2021 …While the defeat of Keystone XL is historically momentous, it raises questions about other routes for Canadian tar sands. After sitting on the drawing board for years, Canada’s oil industry has already turned to alternative pipelines, such as Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement through Minnesota and, even more importantly, the Trans Mountain Expansion from Alberta to the port of Vancouver, British Columbia. “With Line 3 and the Trans Mountain Expansion, Alberta has sufficient capacity to get its oil to market,” Werner Antweiler, a business professor at the University of British Columbia, told DeSmog. In fact, scrapping Keystone XL arguably makes these other projects more urgent…
* Justin Trudeau said Canadians could have tar sands expansion and action on global warming. It isn’t working, report in Toronto Star, Jan 21, 2021 …What does Biden’s decision say about the Canadian government’s government’s oft-heard claim that Canada can protect the environment and develop fossil fuels — already the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions — at the same time? For Jason MacLean, an assistant professor in law at the University of New Brunswick… this claim was never believable, or even honest. It was more of a “neat rhetorical strategy” to bring oil-producing provinces — namely Alberta and Saskatchewan — on board with Trudeau’s climate plan. They would agree to a carbon price and other climate measures, and Ottawa would champion pipeline development to get a better price for landlocked Prairie oil…
* ‘Humiliated’ Alberta premier Kenney demands trade sanctions, could sell pipeline for scrap as TC Energy shuts down Keystone XL construction, The Energy Mix, Jan 21, 2021 A “humiliated” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has demanded trade sanctions against the United States, TC Energy has cut 1,000 construction jobs, Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal have falsely claimed 10,000 to 11,000 jobs lost, and the Keystone XL pipeline is at risk of being sold off for scrap after President Joe Biden signed a Day One executive order cancelling the presidential permit for the intensely controversial fossil megaproject. “The Canadian province that invested US$1.1 billion (or C$7.42 billion including loan guarantees) of taxpayers’ money in the controversial Keystone XL project is now considering the sale of pipe and materials to try to recoup some funds,” Bloomberg News reported on January 19…
Corrupt Canada: Canada’s big banks were money laundering enablers, BC gov’t inquiry hears, but the kid glove treatment of them by governments and regulators continues. Report in Vancouver Sun, Jan 21, 2021
‘Breathtaking’ failure of vaccination rate of long-term care home residents in Ontario, Toronto Star, Jan 20, 2021 …More than a month since vaccinations began, about 48 per cent of Ontario’s more than 72,000 long-term-care home residents have received a vaccination. Compared to other large provinces in Canada, Ontario’s progress vaccinating its most vulnerable does not appear favourable. Quebec has already vaccinated more than 75 per cent of its 40,000 long-term care residents, while Alberta has given doses to more than 90 per cent of about 25,000 residents in its publicly-funded continuing care facilities…
* Ontario’s for-profit nursing homes have 78% more Covid-19 deaths than non-profits, report finds, Toronto Star, Jan 20, 2021 …About 58 per cent of Ontario’s 626 long-term care homes are privately owned, with 24 per cent operated by non-profit organizations or charities and 16 per cent by municipalities. “Homes with for-profit status had outbreaks with nearly twice as many residents infected … and 78 per cent more resident deaths … compared with non-profit homes,” says the report… [Pandemic negligence has killed nearly 3,200 residents of long-term care homes in Ontario.].
* Ontario pressured to expand workplace inspections, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Jan 20, 2021 …“The combination of precarious employment and the lack of ability to speak up without fear of losing work are the critical factors leading to more outbreaks,” says Deena Ladd of the Toronto-based Workers Action Centre… More than 11,400 workers have fallen ill due to work-related COVID-19 exposures in Ontario since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest statistics from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. There are 259 active workplace outbreaks in the province, the second highest number behind long-term care settings. In Peel [Toronto region] and Toronto, warehousing and manufacturing have emerged as two of the hardest hit sectors…
Canadians are in denial about our right-wing extremism problem, by Rob Rousseau, Passage, Jan 19, 2021 [This article ignores the fact that Canadian government foreign policy is closely allied with extreme-right movements and ideologies, notably in Ukraine but also in Israel and the Baltic region. Canada is also allied with right-wing ‘opposition’ movements in such far-flung locations as Russia, Syria, Hong Kong and Venezuela. Few alternative media outlets in Canada challenge Canada’s aggressive, imperialist foreign policy and its association with extreme-right militias and movements. Indeed, this is a key explanation of why the political left in English-speaking Canada and in Quebec is so weak and ineffective. A notable exception among alt-media outlets is The Canada Files.]
With clownish incompetence, Ontario enacts a new, incomprehensible ‘lockdown’ , by Robyn Urback, columnist, Globe and Mail, Jan 13, 2021 read the column here in pdf format: Ontario lockdown
* Ontario government’s ugly Covid-19 agenda is watch people die while preaching vaccination salvation. By Rick Salutin, columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 14, 2021
* Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s new pandemic plan has strong words – but weaker measures, editorial, Globe and Mail, Jan 13, 2021 The leader whom Ontario Premier Doug Ford most resembles isn’t Donald Trump but Boris Johnson: buffoon and blusterer, procrastinator and reverser.
* Hundreds of personal support workers in Ontario have yet to receive the $3/hour wage increase promised in October, Toronto Star, Jan 15, 2021
* Ontario reports 3,326 new Covid-19 cases, 62 more deaths, CP24 News, Jan 14, 2021
* Ontario premier stands by his 2018 decision to cut already-meagre sick day benefits, Toronto Star, Jan 19, 2021 [The cruel and miserly cuts to sick pay in 2018 underline the criminally negligent refusals by the same Ontario government in 2020 to extend sick leave benefits for workers amidst the Covid-19 emergency. The government says sick workers can draw from the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, but it provides only $500 per week to a maximum of two weeks and involves a delayed application process and long wait times.]
Global warming death cult in Canada braces for Biden-led U.S. gov’t cancellation of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline construction. Report by CBC News, Jan 18, 2021
* Couple says Alberta’s new direction on coal threatens livelihood of third-generation ranch, CBC News, Jan 16, 2021 …Along with his wife Laura Laing, John Smith is pushing back against the provincial government’s decision to revoke a 1976 policy that kept coal mines out of most of the province’s Rocky Mountains and Foothills…
* Bringing coal back in Alberta, interactive feature report by CBC News, July 7, 2020 In a desperate economic moment, Alberta is abruptly reshaping a decades-old balance in the Rockies and Foothills, chasing opportunity in the volatile market of coal exports, at the risk of the very land that defines the province and its people.
Canada’s long-term care for the elderly needs national standards, commentary by Pat Armstrong (York University) and Marcy Cohen and Shannon Daub (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives), Vancouver Sun, Jan 14, 2021 …We propose seven specific standards for long-term care: Ensure access based on assessed care needs… Establish and enforce minimum staffing levels.. Minimum of 70 per cent full-time staff in a single site… Physical environments that ensure safety and social support for residents, staff, family, friends and volunteers… Determine education and training standards… Provide transparent, verified reporting… Public money goes only to public and non-profit providers…
New drilling permits in offshore Newfoundland could put Canada’s climate targets out of reach, endangered right whales at risk, The Energy Mix, Jan 15, 2021
From facial recognition, to predictive technologies, big data policing is rife with technical, ethical and political landmines, by John Lorinc, Toronto Star, Jan 14, 2021 [Corporate media and governments in the West are working overtime to distract attention from their incresingly authoritarian rule. Instead, they want want their citizens to surrender to the media and government lead in waging economic warfare and military threrats against China under the banner of their laughable claims of concern about ‘human rights’.]
Pro-Trump riots and more police powers in the name of Covid-19: How white supremacy is delivering a one-two punch on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, by Shree Paradkar, race and gender columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 13, 2021
The Alberta government’s official inquiry into ‘foreign influence’ among environmental groups in Canada has commissioned reports consisting of junk climate-denial science, bizarre conspiracy theories and oil-industry propaganda. Report by CBC News, Jan 14, 2021
Canada’s failed and ciminally negligent Covid-19 response:
Ontario declares Covid-19 emergency, a limited 28-day ‘stay-at-home’ order is in place, Global News, Jan 12, 2021 …Provincial officials released new COVID-19 modelling data on January 12 showing that deaths in Ontario’s second wave [sic] could outpace the first if people don’t have a “significant reduction” in contacts with others… [Retail stores will remain open, though with reduced hours, while the list of ‘essential’ construction projects to remain open is long. Schools in five regions of the province will remain closed until February 10: Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton, and Windsor.].
* ‘System on the brink of collapse’: Ontario gov’t issues a 28-day stay-at-home order, but there are lots of loopholes. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 12, 2021
* Ontario gov’t knows who to blame for its failed pandemic response: you. By Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 12, 2021 The Ontario government is still choosing the economic ownership class over actual public health, as it did when Covid-19 first struck.
* Saskatchewan now has highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in Canada, Global News, Jan 12, 2021 The province has 320 active cases per 100k population.
BC health minister ducks and covers before finally admitting that most Covid-19 infections in killer long-term care homes come via staff. Yet his gov’t and the provincial health officer continue to oppose manadatory testing of staff. By Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Jan 12, 2021
* As killer Covid outbreaks continue to hit long-term care homes in BC, the province’s health officer reaffirms policy of no testing for staff. By Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Jan 11, 2021
* Health authority declares two more COVID-19 outbreaks in B.C. long-term care homes, The Canadian Press, Jan 9, 2021 …The B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s website shows active COVID-19 infections in 14 long-term care homes in BC as of January 7. More than 80 per cent of the 1,030 deaths in the province have been among people over the age of 70…
* COVID-19 in long-term care homes in Ontario compared to British Columbia, report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Nov 23, 2020 (seven-page report) …As of Sept. 10, 2020, there were 5,965 resident cases and 1,817 resident deaths in Ontario LTC facilities compared to 466 cases and 156 deaths in British Columbia care facilities. Rates of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection (7.6% v. 1.7%, respectively) and COVID-19 mortality (2.3% v. 0.6%, respectively) among residents in LTC were several times higher in Ontario than British Columbia, although case fatality rates were similar…
Canada rejects WHO request for immediate vaccine donations to lower-income countries, Globe and Mail, Jan 11, 2021 …Of the 28 million vaccine doses that have been administered worldwide in recent weeks, almost none have been given in Africa…
* African countries are turning to Russia, India, and China for Covid vaccines, Quartz, Jan 10, 2021 (Quartz is a business-focused English-language international news organization owned by Japanese business media company Uzabase.)
* China keeps promising its African allies that coronavirus vaccines for the continent are a priority. Where are they?, CNN, Jan 10, 2021 [Is this news report just the latest scurrilous attack against China by anti-China Western media? The dearth of news reporting on Covid-19 in Africa makes that a difficult question to answer. The wealthy imperialist countries purchased their vaccine supplies many months ago. Today, they are clarifying their earlier statements that they would share their vaccine purchases with poor countries: the message is ‘later’.]
How to get to zero community Covid-19 cases in Ontario, commentary by Hsien Seow, Toronto Star, Jan 10, 2021 (Dr. Hsien Seow is associate professor at McMaster University and Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care and Health System Innovation.) …If we continue to allow new cases to enter into Canadian provinces, we will enter a perpetual cycle of community spread and looming lockdowns. In October, approximately 300,000 international travelers entered or returned to Ontario, of whom 80,000 arrived by air, according to Statistics Canada. While the new policy to have a COVID-negative test within 72 hours prior to air travel into Canada will help reduce active cases from entering, the test is only a snapshot in time and does not guarantee the traveler isn’t infected with COVID that will become detectable days later…
Related: Doctors weigh in on how to get Covid-19 under control in Canada, interview with three Canadian doctors, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Jan 11, 2021 (23-minute broadcast)
Canada’s vaccination rate is far to slow to meet official target of 70 per cent vaccination by end-2021, Toronto Star, Jan 9, 2021 [The vaccination goal of the Canadian government is set out in a December 9 document. Justin Trudeau’s stated goal of ‘vaccinating every Canadian who wants it by end-September 2021’ is even more unrealisable, or let’s simply call it ‘deceptive’.]
Covid-19 crisis situation in Ontario requires stronger measures and stronger supports for people impacted. Today is deadliest day of pandemic so far. Statement by the Ontario Health Coalition, Jan 7, 2021
Covid death toll reaches 41 at non-profit, 117-bed Little Mountain Place in Vancouver, CBC News, Jan 7, 2021 99 of 114 residents have now tested positive for coronavirus, health authority says
* For the first time, detailed information released on every care home outbreak in British Columbia, CTV News, Jan 7, 2021 …The ongoing outbreak at Little Mountain Place has spread to 169 people and claimed 41 lives. That’s more fatalities than any previous care home outbreak in BC and more than double the 20 deaths recorded during the province’s first such outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Home company beginning in early March…
* Death toll at Tendercare Living Center (Extendicare Inc.) reaches 73, the worst among long-term care homes in Ontario, Toronto Star, Jan 7, 2021
* Residents at Tendercare nursing home battling severe Covid-19 outbreak lack sufficient medication and drinking water, CBC News, Dec 23, 2021
Canada-China trade is up notwithstanding Canada’s lead role in the West’s anti-China threats. Report in Financial Post, Jan 7, 2021 …Exports to China represented 4.6 per cent of Canadian exports in November, compared with 3.6 per cent one year earlier, according to new trade data released on January 7 by Statistics Canada. That figure was about seven per cent in April and May, the highest level recorded in data going back to 1997; it has hovered around five per cent since then, compared with a monthly average of 4.1 per cent in 2019…
Western leaders wring their hands as their ally Donald Trump goes rogue.
[Leaders of the member countries of the NATO military alliance are expressing discomfort with the right-wing violence on display on January 6 in the halls of power of their closest ally, the Trump-led United States. They are all expressing variants of the rich statement by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who declared, “Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people.” This from a leader of a government that is spearheading an international effort to violently overthrow the government of Venezuela and is waging a murderous ‘war on drugs’ against vulnerable Canadians. Canada is closely joined with the Trump regime in waging economic warfare and military threats against the people and governments of China, Russia, Iran, Palestine and elsewhere. It has tied the economic and ecological fate of the Canadian people to the U.S. colossus thanks to an updated, sweeping, comprehensive trade and investment agreement (Wikipedia) that was not even deemed worthy of approval by the Canadian Parliament. And as concerns the storming of an elected seat of government, the U.S., Canada and other NATO countries are old hands at that. In February 2014, they provided essential political cover for a right-wing coup d’etat in Ukraine. Following the coup, they helped train and integrate the neo-Nazi stormtroopers into the ‘new’ Ukrainian army. The list of coups supported by the NATO powers in the past decades are far too numerous to enunciate here; it includes South Korea (numerous), Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Vietnam (1963), Chile (1973), Argentina (1974)…]
Unmasked: Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole opposes priority vaccination for vulnerable prisoners, by Paul Willcocks, The Tyee, Jan 6, 2021 …“Not one criminal should be vaccinated ahead of any vulnerable Canadian or frontline health worker,” O’Toole harrumphed. In this one sentence, he evoked both the callousness of the former Stephen Harper government and its unwillingness to leave such decisions to experts who actually make them based on evidence, rather than political calculation…
Doctors point to failure to fix staffing issues as Covid-19 rips through Ontario’s nursing homes for a second time. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021 Despite assurances from Premier Doug Ford last March that his government would put an “iron ring of protection” around Ontario’s seniors, the number of residents in long-term care who have died from COVID-19 or contracted the virus has continued to grow. More than 1,840 residents of Ontario long-term-care homes died of COVID-19 during the first wave [sic]. Since Sept. 1, the virus has claimed an additional 947 lives of nursing home residents. Overall since the pandemic began, there have been 11,369 cases among residents in long-term care and 4,434 cases in staff…
* Ontario has hit a new high for COVID patients in intensive care; experts say it’s ‘not even close to the peak’, Toronto Star, Jan 5, 2021
* With COVID-19 at record levels, health experts say Ontario’s decision to reopen schools on Jan 11 is unwise and unsafe, Toronto Star, Jan 5, 2021
* Where’s the urgency in Canada’s vaccine rollout?, by André Picard, Globe and Mail, Jan 4, 2021 …Getting vaccines to more people in Canada seems to have been treated with shocking lassitude. There is nothing more symbolic of this disdain than the fact that Canadian politicians were sunning themselves in places such as Hawaii, St. Barts and Barbados while vaccines languished in freezers back home. What’s unfortunate, however, is that the antics of scofflaw politicians have generated far more media attention than the slow vaccine rollout that will ultimately cost lives…
* Ontario Premier Doug Ford is trying to manage COVID-19 by dribs and jabs. It’s not working, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021 The last time the Ontario premier held a media briefing on the Covid-19 emergency was two weeks ago. The government closed vaccination clinics during the Christmas/New Year holidays. …“There’s been no communication or plan on how to better control community transmission,” says Dr. Nathan Stall, a geriatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital. “The hospitals are being pushed to the brink, the long-term-care homes are on fire, our vaccines are locked in freezers, and there’s no clear plan…”
* A bleak winter could herald a grim spring, by John Ivison, columnist, National Post, Jan 4, 2021
* Ontario gov’t rejects extension for probe into long-term care homes after commission blames province for ‘significant delays’, Globe and Mail, Jan 4, 2021 and read: report in Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021 The Ontario government reported on January 4 that a record 219 long-term care homes in the province, 35 per cent of all homes, have active outbreaks of COVID-19. Since the onset of the pandemic, 2,795 nursing-home residents in the province have died of the virus.
* Health authorities to start naming specific Toronto workplaces with significant COVID-19 outbreaks, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021
[Newspaper columnists and editorialists, such as the National Post‘s conservative columnist John Ivison and the Toronto Star editorial board, are fretting and wringing their hands over Canada’s ongoing, criminally negligent Covid-19 response. Of note in that response is the resurgence of killer outbreaks among elderly citizens residing in private care home chains. The columnists and editorialists are carefully avoiding mention of the obvious fact that government and public health officials in Canada decided long ago that deaths and illnesses from Covid-19 (13,835 and 485,529 to date, respectively) are an ‘unfortunate’ price to pay so that capitalist industry and commerce may continue to roll unimpeded. The difference in Canada with the criminal Covid-19 responses by Canada’s closest allies in the U.S. and Europe is one of degree, not of fundamentals.]
Top manager of border regulations and travel health for the Public Health Agency of Canada took holiday in Jamaica in November paid for by Air Canada, CBC News, Jan 7, 2021
[The list of politicans and public health officials in Canada being outed for travel to the U.S. and further abroad during the past months in defiance of Covid-19 safety guidelines is growing longer by day. It’s one more sign of the failed and shambolic response by Canada to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.].
* Ontario hospital CEO who travelled to the Dominican Republic for Christmas holiday loses jobs, Globe and Mail, Jan 7, 2021 Tom Stewart has been fired as CEO of St. Joseph’s Health System in Hamilton and CEO of the Niagara Health network of hospitals. He has resigned his post as a member of the Ontario government’s Covid-19 advisory team.
* Press secretary of Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party spotted at posh Vancouver club, Western Standard, Jan 5, 2021
* Top aide of Alberta premier Jason Kenney is among the many politician-hypocrites in the province, federal and provincial, who have flouted Covid safety travel restrictions. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021
* Trudeau gov’t caught out on its pampering treatment of Canadians who travel abroad, says it will close ‘loophole’ that paid travelers for their quarantine upon return. Report in National Post, Jan 5, 2021
* Why so many entitled politicians deserve special mention on a non-essential travellers’ wall of shame, by Shree Parakar, columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021
Why isn’t the NDP questioning the largest military procurement in Canadian history?, by Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension, Jan 5, 2021
Residents and Indigenous communities in northern BC fear work camps still a pandemic threat, The Tyee, Jan 6, 2021
[The NDP government in British Columbia has refused all along to close down work camps at the large, natural resource extraction projects in the north of the province. Due to surging Covid-19 cases, it has reduced the number of workers allowed at five large sites–the Coastal GasLink pipeline; the associated LNG Canada plant in Kitimat; the second hydroelectric dam tunnel at Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter, also in Kitimat; the Site C hydroelectric dam; and the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. The government thus continues to prove its fealty to the ‘growth at all cost’ death cult that governs in Canada.]
Dogfight between Enbridge Inc. pipeline company and crude oil and tar sands producers in Alberta over new, competing pipelines. Report in Financial Post, Jan 5, 2021
Saving more lives and the economy through lockdown. Experts have a plan but will Canada use it?, Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021 In a newly released strategy paper titled ‘Building the Canadian Shield’, the Covid Strategic Choices Group say their alternative — a longer lockdown, followed by a gradual results-based relaxing of restrictions — will save more lives and cost less economically in the long run. The group is an interdisciplinary task force that includes doctors, epidemiologists, public policy experts, economists and businesspeople…
CEO bonuses should be cancelled for companies that take Canada’s wage subsidy, recommends CCPA, Canadian Press, Jan 4, 2021 The recommendation comes as the think tank issued a report on January 4 showing the country’s 100 highest-paid CEOs made 202 times more than the average working Canadian in 2019.
Scores of people protest conditions at Extendicare chain-owned ‘Tendercare’ elder care home in Scarborough (Toronto) where 60 residents have died from Covid-19, CBC News, Jan 2, 2021
[As of January 1, 2021, 2,814 residents of long-term-care homes in Ontario have died of Covid-19. (Toronto Star, Jan 2, 2020) In Canada as a whole, 75 per cent of the country’s 15,700+ deaths from Covid-19 have occured in long-term-care homes.].
* As death toll at Extendicare-owned long-term care home climbs to 60, protesters demand that private care homes be nationalized, CTV News, Jan 2, 2021 …Another rally was held outside the home located in the area of McNicoll and Victoria Park avenues on January 2, calling for the end of for-profit long-term care homes. Carrying signs that read ‘save our seniors’ and ‘care over profit,’ demonstrators said the pandemic has shown that private nursing homes only focus on profit instead of providing care to residents. They also want the Ford government to revisit legislation that they say makes it harder to hold private operators liable for any harm caused by the pandemic…
* These nursing home chains have the highest COVID-19 death rates in Ontario, data analysis finds, CBC News, Dec 18, 2020 …Sienna homes had a death rate of 6.5 per 100 beds, Revera had a rate of 6.3 and Chartwell 4.6, while Extendicare was at 3.6, closer to the overall industry average of 3.7…
* This is why nursing homes in the U.S. failed so badly, New York Times, Dec 31, 2020 …Long-term care continues to be understaffed, poorly regulated and vulnerable to predation by for-profit conglomerates and private-equity firms. The nursing aides who provide the bulk of bedside assistance still earn poverty wages, and lockdown policies have forced patients into dangerous solitude… The awful truth is that long-term care was designed to fail years before Covid-19…
* More than 100,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths are linked to nursing homes, New York Times, Dec 4, 2020 Long-term-care homes in the U.S. account for five per cent of all Covid-19 cases but 38 per cent of all Covid-related deaths.
‘Shameful’ report shows Canada’s federal prison service is violating Supreme Court decisions to limit use of solitary confinement. Report by Vancouver Sun, Jan 3, 2021 The Canadian government was forced to restrict solitary confinement but its replacement looks pretty much the same according to a new report by an oversight panel
Related: Federal prisons flout law by keeping inmates in solitary conditions, say oversight researchers appointed but shunned by federal gov’t, by Patrick White, Globe and Mail, Oct 27, 2020 Federal prisons continue to place inmates in conditions that flout a 2019 law designed to eliminate solitary confinement, according to data contained in a new report. The report’s authors, who were mandated by the federal government to assess the new standards, also say they struggled for months to get the Correctional Service of Canada to release information. The report offers a bleak statistical assessment of the agency’s “structured intervention units” (SIU), a practice for separating inmates introduced last year to replace administrative segregation, an isolation method akin to solitary confinement that has been declared unconstitutional in Canadian courts. The United Nations defines solitary confinement as isolation in a cell for 22 hours a day without meaningful human contact. The international body says it should be used only as a last resort and never beyond 15 days…
How will the pandemic end? Not with a moment of triumph we’ll all remember, but with a slow whimper we’ll soon forget, by André Picard, health reporter, Globe and Mail, Jan 2, 2021 …“We’ve only just begun to vaccinate and it will just get harder,” said Dr. Noni MacDonald, a professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University in Halifax and vaccinologist who has worked for decades in global health… That’s just distribution. The immunology part of the puzzle is just as rife with potential complications. Among those who are inoculated, the big question is: Will they be protected from infection for life – or at least for a few years? Similarly, are those who were infected by coronavirus at risk of reinfection? No one knows… Canada is closing in on 600,000 cases and COVID-19 has claimed more than 15,000 lives here. By all appearances, the carnage is going to continue through the winter, whether vaccines are effective or not. In fact, based on the trend lines of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, there is every reason to believe that the coming months will be the darkest yet…
* COVID-19 didn’t take a holiday, and the vaccine rollout in Canada should not have been allowed to either, by André Picard, health reporter, Globe and Mail, Dec 30, 2020 …As of the morning of December 28, 52,179 doses of novel coronavirus vaccine had been administered in Canada. Another 350,000 or so doses are sitting in freezers, unused. In many provinces, the vaccination rollout has slowed considerably, or even stopped, for the holidays…
* Slow vaccine rollout across Canada draws criticism, anger, CTV News, Dec 28, 2020
* Hospitals in COVID-19 hot spots warn situation is about to become even more dire, Globe and Mail, Jan 1, 2021 Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are increasing sharply in several provinces in Canada, pushing health care facilities beyond capacity even in places that have had recent success in bringing down infections. There were more patients in Canada in intensive care this week than at any other point in the pandemic, according to data compiled by The Globe and Mail, and experts are expecting hospitalizations to continue increasing well into the new year…
Medical officer of health in York Region (Toronto) steps in after 12 residents die at Sienna-owned elder care home, Toronto Star, Jan 1, 2021 …The provincial government does not post its orders online. But the Ontario Health Coalition, with its 400-member organizations, has done a good job of keeping track by cross-referencing data. In ‘A Call to Conscience’,’ a 68-page report issued Dec. 17, the Ontario Helath Coalition documents in heartbreaking detail the inequities and shortfalls in institutional care for the elderly. Outbreaks following the first wave of massive long-term care contagion skyrocketed “with hair-raising speed’’ from 18 facilities, active, on Sept. 1 (only two had more than five cases) to 117 facilities, active, on Dec. 1 (and had reached 187 by December 31). The report lists eight institutions which have received management orders and 16 with “facilitated management agreements’’. All but one are for-profit homes…
* New deaths in elder care home outbreaks in Hamilton, Toronto Star, Dec 31, 2020
* Ontario reports record high 3,328 new COVID-19 cases, 56 new deaths, CBC News, Dec 31, 2020
* Former Ontario premier Mike Harris who privatized long term elder care and now heads one of the largest, killer elder-care home chains is appointed to ‘Order of Ontario’. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 1, 2021
* Big for-profit long-term-care companies paid out more than $170 million to investors through Ontario’s deadly first wave, Toronto Star, Dec 26, 2020
‘Journalists for Human Rights’ agency in Canada is anything but when it comes to the persecution of journalist Julian Assange. By Aidan Joseph, editor-in-chief, The Canada Files, Dec 31, 2020 Original title: ‘Press Forward board of directors member Rachel Pulfer refused to resist persecution of Julian Assange as Journalists for Human Rights executive director’
Related: The Kafkaesque imprisonment of Julian Assange exposes U.S. myths about freedom and tyranny, by Glenn Greenwald, published on his Substack outlet, Dec 31, 2020