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, April 2020
Canadian Parliament votes unanimously to demand that Dr. Bruce Aylward of the WHO appear before a Parliamentary inquiry, report in Globe and Mail, Apr 30, 2020
* Laboratory in Wuhan, China cited in Trump regime’s accusations conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses but there is no evidence of any accidental release, report in Washington Post, Apr 30, 2020
* U.S. officials crafting retaliatory actions against China in exercise to cover their own failings. Report in Washington Post, Apr 30, 2020
* White House blocks Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying House panel, Associated Press, May 1, 2020
[The failure of Canada’s governments and medical establishments to prepare for the Covid-19 pandemic are not as catastrophic as in the U.S., but they are damaging enough. Canada has some 53,000 cases–11th highest in the world–and has suffered some 3,200 deaths. These provide compelling reasons for a scapegoating ‘inquiry’ directed against China and the WHO. In this news report in the anti-China Globe and Mail, Donald Trump’s accusations against the WHO are reported favorably while the report makes the false accusation that the the Chinese government and medical system “muzzled’ doctors and scientists in the early stage of the pandemic.]
Canada needs a lot more virus testing. So where is it?, editorial, Globe and Mail, Apr 29, 2020
…Keeping the coronavirus in check is unlikely to be possible without an extensive program of testing.
Testing, testing, testing has been a mantra from the beginning [though not among Canada’s political and public health leaders]. Until there is a vaccine, it will be a key tool… Extreme physical distancing, and the attendant economic freeze-up, contained the first wave of the virus [sic]. Testing and contact-tracing everyone connected with those who test positive offer the best hope for safely restarting much of the economy, while preventing a new wave of infections. Unfortunately, testing capacity in Canada remains short of what is necessary. Last week, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Theresa Tam, cited an initial target for testing of 60,000 people each day. On Monday, Canada tested just 26,000… According to a recent report from researchers at Harvard University, the hard-hit United States will need at least five million tests per day by early June to set the country on a course for a safe reopening. By midsummer, the report called for 20 million daily tests “to fully re-mobilize the economy.” The U.S. tested 220,000 per day in the past week. Five million daily tests in the U.S. is equivalent to nearly 600,000 tests per day in Canada, more than 20 times the current rate…
Critics slam Quebec’s ‘herd immunity’ social experiment in lifting Covid-19 restrictions while new cases escalate. Report in Toronto Star, Apr 29, 2020
* Quebec premier wants to create ‘natural immunity’ to Covid-19, including by using schoolchildren, Canadian Press, Apr 23, 2020 …Premier Legault said on April 23 that less than ten per cent of the province is currently naturally immune to COVID-19 — perhaps a bit more in hard-hit Montreal — and that number won’t change unless the province starts resuming certain activities… Quebec’s association of pediatricians came out in favour of the plan in a two-page letter published April 23…
* Quebec has seen Canada’s worst COVID-19 outbreak, but plans to reopen faster than anywhere else, National Post, Apr 28, 2020 [To date, there have been 25,757 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Quebec and 1,682 deaths. The province recorded 775 new cases of Covid-19 on April 27.].
* Embracing ‘natural immunity’ and sending children back to school is fraught with peril, by Andre Picard, health columnist, Globe and Mail, Apr 27, 2020 …Before wading into the question of reopening schools, let’s be clear about one thing. “Natural immunization is not a thing,” says James Kellner, a pediatrician and infectious-disease specialist at Alberta Children’s Hospital. “The term should not be used, because it implies that letting children be infected with coronavirus is benign, and it isn’t.”…
* World Health Organization says there are no studies showing that Covid-19 infection provides immunity from a second infection, BuzzFeed News, last updated Apr 27, 2020 There is currently no evidence showing that people who had the coronavirus can’t contract the virus again, the World Health Organization said in a scientific brief released on April 24…
Parties in Canadian Parliament agree to press forward with a scapegoating inquiry against World Health Organization. Report in Globe and Mail, Apr 29, 2020 …Don Davies, NDP health critic, said he would support issuing a summons to the WHO’s Bruce Aylward to testify before a Parliamentary committee…
Related: Trump regime officials are pressing U.S. spy agencies to link cornoavirus to laboratories in Wuhan, China, New York Times, Apr 30, 2020 Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials. The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic… Most intelligence agencies remain skeptical that conclusive evidence of a link to a lab can be found. Scientists who have studied the genetics of the coronavirus say that the overwhelming probability is that it leapt from animal to human in a nonlaboratory setting, as was the case with H.I.V., Ebola and SARS…
‘Racist and inflammatory’: Canadians upset by home deliveries of Epoch Times cult newspaper special edition that claiming China produced coronavirus as a bioweapon, CBC News, Apr 28, 2020 …The Epoch Times, headquartered in New York, is part of a group of organizations under the Epoch Media Group umbrella, which also includes the Shen Yun dance troupe and the New Tang Dynasty TV channel. It says it operates in 23 languages in 35 countries. The Epoch Media Group is affiliated with the Falun Gong movement, a religious group that began in China and was declared illegal and a “cult” by the Chinese government in 1999…
Ontario premier unveils vague proposal to ‘re-open’ the province’s economy, Toronto Star, Apr 27, 2020
Related: Ontario will pay a high price for Doug Ford’s shortcomings on COVID-19, by Martin Regg Cohn, columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 27, 2020 …Premier Doug Ford’s plan fails the test because it falls short on the widespread testing we need to conquer COVID-19. Without testing widely, there can be no planning wisely, no recovering broadly. Ford’s long awaited ‘Framework For Reopening Our Province’, released on April 27, is a framework for failing our province…
[Talk of ‘reopening’ of provincial economies is all the rage across Canada as the country continues to stumple along blindly, lacking accurate data on the spread of Covid-19 that random testing could provide. ‘Reopening’ is a useful distraction being propagated by governments and corporate media keen to avoid hard questions about why governments and public health officials in Canada delayed prompt action as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic loomed. Canada’s chief public health officer, Theresa Tam, is giving a vigorous defence of her record and that of the federal governmetn she serves in an interview with CBC News on April 26. Discussing the closure of the U.S.-Canada border on March 21, she said the closure of the border did not happen sooner because it wasn’t part of the government’s pandemic preparedness plan. “Could we have done more at the time? You can retrospectively say yes, absolutely, you could screen more, or you could change your stance. But at the time we had very, very few cases globally and in Canada…” At the time, there were some 300,000 cases being reported globally. ‘For now, the risk in Canada is low, but the risk is evolving.’–Theresa Tam, on February 25, 2020, when the world had some 80,000 cases.]
Canada seeks to ramp up virus testing but British Columbia’s chief public health officer continues to downplay its importance. Report in Vancouver Sun, Apr 27, 2020 BC has increased its capacity to do COVID-19 testing to almost 7,000 exams per day, which is enough for “everybody who needs it,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday. However, she still doesn’t see value in random testing…
* If we can’t test everyone for the coronavirus, random testing is the next best thing, commentary by Louis Kaplow (professor of law at Harvard U), in New York Times, Apr 24, 2020 …Random population testing is the key to unlocking the mysteries surrounding Covid-19. The quantity of current testing still does not tell us what we need to know…
* Trump vows more coronavirus testing, but it’s less than what may be needed, New York Times, Apr 27, 2020
Has Canada treated the Covid-19 emergency with urgency?, April 28, 2020 [In a new article published on April 27, writer Yves Engler argues that Canada should apply ‘the same’ urgency to the global warming emergency (called ‘climate change’ in Engler’s words) as it is applying to the Covid-19 emergency. His article is headlined, ‘Canada should treat climate change with same urgency as Covid-19’ ‘But Canada is applying comparable attention to Covid-19 and global warming: In both cases, a criminal negligence prevails. Corporate media is largely silent on this fundamental commonality. Unfortunately, alternative media is silent, too.]
Canada’s governments and chief medical officers played deflect and deny over the critical role of testing in combatting Covid-19. [There has been zero inquiry by Canada’s corporate and state media into the deadly policy by governments and chief medical officers in Canada that for more than two months deflected and denied the need for widespread testing of citizens for the Covid-19 illness. The policy was part and parcel of the criminal negligence that marked policy making in Canada for more than two months after the looming pandemic became evident in late January 2020.]
Quebec: [As the Covid-19 massacre in Quebec’s care-homes for the elderly became news in early April, the provincial government made an about-face on April 8 and announced that all residents and staff in homes would be tested.] source: CBC News, April 8, 2020
* …For two weeks following Quebec’s decision, Ontario’s public health officials continued to recommend against testing asymptomatic people. “You may be wasting a lot of tests that should be done on other people who are in an outbreak situation, or in the other groups that are very high priority,” Barbara Yaffe, the province’s associate chief medical officer of health, told reporters on April 13. On April 22, public health officials in the province inevitably shifted gears and announced all residents and staff would be tested… excerpt from story in National Post, April 24, 2020
* There is no wide-scale post-mortem COVID-19 testing in Ontario. Why experts say this is a ‘national embarrassment’, Toronto Star, Apr 27, 2020
British Columbia …BC’s chief medical officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was upbraided by some doctors over her decision not to test every single person who exhibited symptoms of the disease. She urged them to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days instead. Only when the person’s condition persisted or worsened were they instructed to visit a hospital for an appraisal. For the most part, the policy worked [sic]. It allowed health care workers to concentrate on other more pressing matters. The policy was recently changed and now anyone who feels the need to get tested for the virus, can do so… excerpt from report in Globe and Mail, April 24, 2020
* “Canada doesn’t yet have the capacity to properly test and contact-trace its own citizens.”, excerpt from column in April 25 Globe and Mail
* …”One step that’s being urged by medical experts around the world is to considerably increase our testing. This will take money and logistics but it needs to be done. It’s not what’s currently happening, though. Individuals with mild symptoms are not encouraged to go into an assessment centre. There is also no testing of asymptomatic persons… excerpt from editorial in Toronto Sun, Mar 30, 2020
* …On February 25, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told reporters to prepare for a pandemic. “For now, the risk in Canada is low, but the risk is evolving. Concerning developments in recent days tell us the window of opportunity may be closing, but there is still much that Canada can do to delay spread and become more prepared,” she said… excerpt from report in Global News, Feb 26, 2020
* Canada to finally commence widespread coronavirus testing. Report by CTV News, Apr 23, 2020 Canada’s chief medical officer Theresa Tam and the government she serves now say they want to increase testing threefold, to 60,000 per day
* Ontario doctor working in long-term care homes says lack of coronavirus testing is a dire threat to public health, interview with Dr. Barry Roth, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘As It Happens’, Apr 8, 2020
Housing the homeless in British Columbia threatened by Covid-19, or not. [The BC government has announced it will, as a temporary Covid-19 measure, relocate to hotels those people living in Oppenheimer Park in downtown Vancouver and two parks in Victoria. Here is an excerpt from the April 28, 2020 newsletter of Vancouver city councillor Jean Swanson: …The province announced on April 25 that it has secured hundreds of hotel rooms. But they’re only for people camping in tent cites in Vancouver and Victoria, not all people who are homeless in those cities, or across the province. It’s crucial to house people who are sleeping in emergency shelters, where physical distancing can be even harder than in tent sites. A resolution to house all the homeless is coming to Vancouver City Council this week. You can read the motion here…]
Long-term care facilties in Montreal are being ‘ravaged’ by Covid-19 while situation is ‘dire’ in the city’s acute-care hospitals as 8 of 17 are hit, interview with Aaron Derfel, journalist with Montreal Gazette, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current, Apr 27, 2020 (nine-minute interview, begins at 23’45” mark)
40 migrant workers out of 100 at southwest Ontario greenhouse operation test positive for COVID-19, CBC News, Apr 27, 2020
Related: Quebecers answer call to work on farms, but are they up to the task?, Canadian Press, Apr 26, 2020
Ignoring alarms sounding in the U.S. industry, Alberta meatpackers spawned Canada’s biggest Covid-10 outbreak, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Apr 24, 2020 As the virus gripped meatpacking plants in the U.S, the UFCW union on Canada pleaded for a shutdown but was rebuffed.
The problems in seniors’ homes in British Columbia aren’t new, the coronavirus emergency shows they can be deadly, by Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee, Apr 25, 2020 …In B.C., about 35 per cent of long-term care is provided by for-profit operators like Chartwell Retirement Residences. The rest is split between non-profits and facilities run directly by the province’s health authorities…
A half-hearted, half-reform in solitary confinement (torture) practices in Canada’s prisons, editorial, Globe and Mail, Apr 27, 2020 (read the editorial here in pdf format: Half-hearted prison reform in Canada For five years, the Trudeau government fought a legal battle to maintain the use of solitary confinement in federal prisons. Last week, it stopped fighting. Its officials said the government would drop a Supreme Court appeal of two lower-court rulings, effectively making it illegal to hold a person in solitary for more than 15 consecutive days…
Related news reports: Ottawa gives up its fight against 15-day hard cap on solitary confinement, CBC News, Apr 21, 2020 and read: report in Globe and Mail, Apr 21, 2020
Canada’s prison watchdog says the Canadian government is violating the human rights of prisoners sickened with Covid-19, CBC News, Apr 25, 2020 …As of April 23, five of the 43 federal penitentiaries have experienced or are now managing an active outbreak. Of the 195 inmates across the country who have tested positive, 122 are in Quebec… On March 31, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair asked the heads of Canada’s prison system and parole board to consider early release for some federal inmates to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 behind bars. It’s not clear how many, if any [emphasis added], federal prisoners have been released early due to the pandemic… [The CBC‘s numbers are faulty. It reports that 195 inmates across Canda have fallen ill to Covid-19, of which 122 are in Quebec. But in the federal prison in Mission BC alone, 106 prisoners have fallen ill (out of a prison population of 289!).].
* More than one third of prisoners and 12 prison guards in federal prison in Mission BC have tested positive for Covid-19, CTV News, Apr 26, 2020 [In reporting the latest, grim figures in Mission, the chief medical officer of British Columbia made no call for the release of non-violent offenders. The ‘union’ of prison guards opposes humanitarian releases. The federal government promised only one month ago to ‘look into’ the matter but true to form, that was a deflection and a lie. Prison officials in Mission refused to allow Covid-19 testing of inmates, only relenting under pressure on April 22.].
* As coronavirus strikes prisons around the world, hundreds of thousands are released, New York Times, Apr 26, 2020 …As the virus plunged virtually every country into crisis mode last month, United Nations experts on detention, the World Health Organization and human rights activists have urged governments to reduce their prisoner populations swiftly…
Inmates are ‘sitting ducks’ as Ottawa lets COVID-19 sweep through Canadian jails, by John Ivison, conservative columnist, National Post, Apr 20, 2020 ‘Inmates are expected to pay their debt to society by giving up their freedom, not their lives
Keep Canada-U.S. border closed until U.S. ‘breeding ground’ for virus under control, say public health experts in Canada, Hill Times, Apr 27, 2020
Related: Canada must protect itself from America’s response to COVID-19, by Robyn Urback, columnist, Globe and Mail, Apr 25, 2020 (subscriber only) …Canada has its own serious problems with COVID-19, but fortunately, for the next almost-four weeks, U.S. dysfunction will not be among them. On April 18, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada and the U.S. had reached an agreement to extend cross-border travel restrictions until May 20, meaning that, for now, we are just bystanders to the U.S. experiment in severely disjointed and partisan disease control. But that won’t last. Our geographic proximity to, and economic dependence on, the U.S. means Canada is never really a bystander to what’s going on in the United States…
Canada to finally commence widespread coronavirus testing. Report by CTV News, Apr 23, 2020 [Having downplayed for several months the central role of testing for combatting Covid-19, Canada’s chief medical officer Theresa Tam and the government she serves now say they want to increase testing threefold, to 60,000 per day.]
* Canada must triple its COVID-19 testing before loosening restrictions, experts say, Toronto Star, Apr 23, 2020
* Crucial data gaps are hindering the coronavirus pandemic response in Canada, Globe and Mail, Apr 23, 2020
[Canada’s corporate and state-run media are carefully avoided the background story to Covid-19 testing in Canada. For many weeks before and even after the United Nations declared a global Covid-19 pandemic on March 11, federal and provincial government and health authorities downplayed the necessity for widespread testing for the Covid-19 virus. This was not a science-based policy. It was part and parcel of the criminal negligence by federal and provincial governments in Canada in failing to respond decisively in late-January and February 2020 to the evidence of a looming pandemic. That included ignoring the pleas by medical experts to rapidly assemble the equipment, personnel and logistical infrastructure needed for widespread testing.]
Ontario joins Quebec in seeking military aid for nursing homes, Globe and Mail, Apr 22, 2020
Related: After weeks of refusal and hundreds more deaths, Ontario will now test every resident of the province’s 626 long-term care homes for COVID-19. Report by Toronto Star, Apr 22, 2020
* Ontario Nurses Association files court action against management at three nursing homes seeking order to protect vulnerable residents and staff, Toronto Star, Apr 17, 2020
* Ontario gov’t rejects call by SEIU union to take over operations at the two worst long-term care homes in the province where 54 residents have died, Globe and Mail, Apr 17, 2020
Long-term care in Quebec is a real-life horror story, by Konrad Yakabuski, conservative columnist, Globe and Mail, Apr 22, 2020 … The requests are the first for Ontario and the third for Quebec. They come as both provinces report staggering mortality rates for COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. The official death toll in Quebec reached 1,134 on Wednesday, with more than 80 per cent of the province’s deaths in long-term care homes. In Ontario, almost 70 per cent of the province’s 659 deaths have occurred in long-term care…
Covid-19 has exposed the horrors of long-term care facilities in Canada, by Nora Loreto, published in Passage (Toronto), Apr 21, 2020
Inmates are ‘sitting ducks’ as Ottawa lets COVID-19 sweep through Canadian jails, by John Ivison, conservative columnist, National Post, Apr 20, 2020 Inmates are expected to pay their debt to society by giving up their freedom, not their lives
* After weeks of refusing to allow Covid-19 testing, federal prison in Mission BC will test all inmates and guards, Vancouver Sun, Apr 22, 2020 Seventy seven of the 300 inmates at the minimum security prison in Mission (Vancouver region) have fallen ill with COVID-19
* Provincial jail in Toronto area closes, moves inmates to other prisons after more than half of inmates and eight staff test positive for Covid-19, Toronto Star, Apr 20, 2020 …The prison in Brampton is a treatment facility (sic) focused on providing treatment for substance abuse, sexual offending and mental health. All inmates there are serving sentences of less than two years…
* Human rights groups in British Columbia call for coroner’s inquest into the first Covid-19 death at the federal prison in Mission BC. They also call for the release of as many inmates as possible, Canadian Press, Apr 17, 2020
[Officials at the provincial jail in Brampton, Ontario have all along refused demands for social distancing measures. Across Canada, provincial and federal governments are dismissing demands to release non-violent offenders from prisons. At the minimum security federal prison in Mission BC, the number of inmates fallen ill to Covid-19 has risen to 75, out of a prison population of some 300.]
More than 95 per cent of Canada’s beef comes from three processing plants. Two of them have COVID-19 outbreaks, Toronto Star, Apr 22, 2020
Tensions and fear in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside over the plight of the homeless, CBC News, Apr 20, 2020 …Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs called safe housing for Downtown Eastside residents a fundamental human right “at all times, not just during a crisis”. In a statement issued on April 20, he noted the homeless population on the Downtown Eastside is disproportionately Indigenous and said it’s “a national disgrace” that residents of the neighbourhood face extra health risks during the Covid-19 crisis…
* Vancouver police arrest 14 housing rights advocates for occupying vacant school, demanding safe housing, CBC News, Apr 19, 2020
* Union of BC Indian Chiefs calls for emergency interjurisdictional meeting to address housing the homeless during Covid-19 crisis, statement by Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, April 20, 2020
One worker dies, hundreds of others are ill from Covid-19 as Cargill temporarily closes its meat-processing plant at the centre of a Covid-19 outbreak just south of Calgary, CBC News, Apr 21, 2020
Related: Hundreds of Covid-19 infections in and around High River, Alberta, just south of Calgary, are linked to the town’s giant Cargill meat-processing plant, but company refuses to consider closing, Globe and Mail, Apr 19, 2020 and read: report by Global News, Apr 19, 2020
In wake of latest mass murder in Canada, this one in Nova Scotia , Canadian Doctors For Gun Control reiterates its call for ban on sale of assault rifles. Statement by Canadian Doctors For Gun Control, April 20, 2020 …The devastating tragedy in Nova Scotia has supplanted the original intent of our letter, which was to express our alarm over continuing media reports of an “explosion” in sales of ammunition and guns – including military style assault weapons…
Related: Trudeau makes more promises for gun-control legislation after deadliest shooting in Canadian history, Report in Washington Post, Apr 20, 2020 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on April 20 that his government would move ahead on the gun-control legislation he promised during last year’s election campaign after the deadliest shooting in his country’s history, though it was not clear how soon he would do so…
[The Liberal Party government in Ottawa has been manipulating Canadians’ concerns over gun violence ever since the 2015 election that brought the party to power. Its election campaign promised to institute undefined ‘gun control’, though this did include a specific promise to ban assault rifles. The same promises were repeated four years later during the 2019 election. But nothing has happened and the killings continue. The truth is that gun killings–including mass murders, violence and killings by police–and the fears all this generates perfectly serve the interests of the dominant capitalist class. It maintains social control through a complex mechanism of sowing division and fear, and, where necessary, applying police, judicial or military violence. Social control measures include outlawing the possession and use of addictive injection drugs. The ‘war on drugs’ in Canada kills thousands of Canadian society’s most vulnerable each year. The better-known ‘war on drugs’ variant in the U.S. kills tens of thousands annually and is largely responsible for the U.S. having the highest prison incarceration rate in the world.]
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer echoes rising anti-China drive in Canada among newspaper editorialists and right-wing ideologues. Report by CTV News, Apr 19, 2020, titled ‘Canada must ‘re-think’ relationship with China over pandemic, says Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer’ …Scheer said the cost of following WHO orders has been severe, pointing specifically to their advice [in late January] not to impose travel restrictions from China. “At the time, they were suggesting calls to restrict travel from China were racist. Well, look, we’re talking about containing a virus, we’re talking about ensuring that we have time here in Canada to build up capacity. So clearly mistakes were made.”…
* Head of Canadian Medical Association pushes Ottawa to explain lack of preparation ahead of pandemic’s arrival, Globe and Mail, Apr 10, 2020 …Doctors have questioned whether federal health authorities acted quickly enough after the virus emerged in late December. Through much of January and February, the government said the risk of an outbreak in Canada was low. When asked on April 9 if she regretted not taking action to prepare for the current situation earlier, Health Minister Patty Hajdu did not answer that directly, but repeatedly praised the work public health officials…
* News report documents Canada’s failed pandemic response, a case of criminal negligence. Special report in Globe and Mail, Apr 8, 2020, titled ‘Ottawa had a playbook for a coronavirus-like pandemic 14 years ago. What went wrong?’
[In 2006, a report commissioned by the Canadian government was released recommending preparations for a pandemic scenario that have proven to be eerily similar to today’s Covid-19 emergency. The responses of successive federal and provincial governments to the 2006 report has been negligence. One of the authors of the 2006 report was Theresa Tam, currently the Chief Public Medical Officer of Canada. She told members of Parliament on January 29, 2020 that Canada’s coronavirus risk is “much, much lower” than that of many countries. “It’s going to be rare,” was her prediction for cases in Canada. She continued, “It doesn’t matter how few those cases are, we are preparing the whole country in the event that you might pick up a rare case.” One day later, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a “public health emergency of international concern”. As of April 19, Canada has some 34,000 reported cases and more than 1,500 deaths. Among the deficiencies in the 2006 report that were not acted upon was the poor state of medical equipment production capacity in Canada.].
* Warned of a pandemic, Canada’s governments still seem to be playing catch-up, by Andrew Coyne (conservative columnist), Globe and Mail, Apr 3, 2020
* Is Canada taking COVID-19 seriously enough? It didn’t look like it on my flight home from Mexico on March 29, by Timothy Wilson, The National Observer, Apr 1, 2020
Liberal columnist in Toronto Star provides foretaste of anti-China propaganda drive to come. [Toronto Star columnist Martin Regg-Cohen fills his column dated April 17 with wild and unsubstantiated rumours against the Chinese government. Titled, ‘Canada should not remain silent about China’s handling of COVID-19‘, the column accuses the Chinese government of a “conspiracy of silence” that allowed Covid-19 to become a pandemic. He throws in for good measure the conspiracy theory that the virus may have ‘escaped’ from a secret research laboratory, a claim denied by scientists studying the matter (here and here and here).
In lead article in Saturday edition, anti-China Globe and Mail writers go after PM Trudeau for not following Trump’s lead in attacking China. News commentary headlined ‘PM defends relluctance to criticize China‘, Apr 18, 2020 [The commentary denies that China has handled its Covid-19 pandemic better than Western imperialist countries. Fact check: As of April 18, 2020, the United States has four times the per capita number of cases of Covid-19 compared to China and 35 times the number of deaths per capita (nine times the number of total deaths). The comparable numbers in most countries in western Europe are far worse than those of the U.S., excepting total deaths, where the U.S. has app. one fifth of the world total.] Background:
* As the Trump administration legitimizes Covid-19’s ‘China lab’ origins conspiracy theory, remember the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ lie in Iraq, commentary by Scott Ritter, published in RT.com, Apr 17, 2020 (Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer and former UN weapons inspector (1991-98).)
* Forget the Russians and Chinese: Trump is the biggest source of Covid-19 disinformation, by Scott Taylor, publisher, Esprit de Corps military affairs magazine (Canada), Apr 14, 2020
Indigenous leaders in Canada urge action to protect prison inmates, saying that gov’t and prison authorities are failing to recognize the seriousness of the Covid-19 crisis, Globe and Mail, Apr 17, 2020
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association calls for inquest into federal prison at Mission BC after 54 inmates and nine prison guards fall ill from Covid-19 and first prisoner dies, Vancouver Sun, Apr 17, 2020 The federal prison in Mission BC, near Vancouver, holds some 300 inmates. Families of inmates as well as prison guards say the institution has been negligent in its handling of a Covid-19 outbreak … A staff member who was told to self-isolate by a public health officer after someone he was in contact with tested positive was ordered by prison management to continue working because of staff shortages. He now has COVID-19…
* Covid-19 outbreak in federal prison in Mission BC, Global News, Apr 12, 2020 [Unlike countries such as Iran, the Canadian government is refusing to institute early releases from prison of non-violent offenders in Canada or to ease bail conditions for those facing criminal charges.].
* Families of inmates kept in the dark amid COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. prison, CBC News, Apr 12, 2020
Trudeau announces $1.4 billion bailout of oil and gas industry delinquents with ‘orphan well cleanup’ program, CBC News, Apr 17, 2020 …NDP natural resources critic Richard Cannings said it’s encouraging that the government “listened to the NDP and to oil and gas workers” and is funding orphan well cleanup…
Canada records highest number of new Covid-19 cases on April 17, while each of the past four days has seen more than 100 deaths. (See full statistics on Canada here on the Canada page of the Worldometer website.)
Open letter to Canadian gov’t urges steps to replace industrial farming with agroecology model, published in The National Observer, Apr 17, 2020
Federal court in Montana cancels key permit for Keystone XL tar sands pipeline over environmental concerns, report by Natural Resources Defense Council, Apr 16, 2020 A federal court in Montana has revoked a key permit and TC Energy’s [formerly Trans Canada Pipeline] approvals to construct Keystone XL through approximately 700 water crossings in the United States.
Related: Alberta gov’t. is throwing billions of dollars into supporting Keystone XL pipeline, CBC News, Apr 1, 2020
Association representing nursing homes for the elderly concerned by number of staff still working at multiple sites, Vancouver Sun, Apr 16, 2020 … The B.C. Care Providers Association said data it has received from the ministry of health shows 4,200 of 18,000 staff at nursing care homes for the elderly are still working at multiple homes… “I do expect it [her March 26 order mandating a one facility-only policy for care home staff] will be substantially implemented within the next week to two weeks,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time for all the dust to settle.”…
* COVID-19: Nursing home workers ordered to work at one facility only, report in The Province, Mar 26, 2020 …Health authorities in British Columbia bolstered measures to protect health care workers and residents of long-term care homes with two new provincial orders on March 26. One bans staff from working at more than one home, the other requires home operators to turn staff rosters over to health officials… Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, used her powers under B.C.’s public health emergency declaration to make a mandatory order limiting movement of staff at public and private long-term care facilities…
[The two news reports listed above do not report on the conditions across Canada which have led staff at care homes for the elderly to be working in multiple facilities, namely, the poor wages and poor working conditions which years of anti-worker, anti-union policies by provincial governments and by private employers have facilitated. These same governments and their public relations machines are now professing ‘concern’ over the deadly conditions in care homes which have led to the Covid-19 massacres. Approximately half of the nearly 1,200 Covid-19 deaths in Canada have happened at care homes.]
Vulnerable seniors in assisted living in Ontario will not receive COVID-19 testing, Toronto Star, Apr 16, 2020 The Ontario government is promising to ramp up COVID-19 testing for residents of long-term care, homeless shelters, group homes for people with disabilities, and for pregnant women and patients undergoing dialysis or chemotherapy. But vulnerable seniors in assisted living are on their own…
Related: As COVID-19 ravages nursing homes in Canada, researcher in Ontario warns that home-care patients are also in serious danger, National Post, Apr 16, 2020 There are an estimated 560,000 home-care patients in Canada, compared to 200,000 nursing home residents …John Hirdes, a researcher at the University of Waterloo, says data on how home-care patients have been affected by COVID-19 likely won’t be clear until months after the fact, but he suspects it’s already strongly present in Canada’s numbers. Federal data shows 94 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Canada so far are from people aged 60 or older, and 62 per cent are from people aged 80 or older. Half of all deaths are connected to nursing homes…
Open letter condemning China’s coronavirus response is initiated by right-wing think tanks in Canada, England and Czech Republic. Report by Global News (Canada), Apr 16, 2020 [The open letter is coordinated by the MacDonald Laurier Institute (Canada), Henry Jackson Society (England) and the European Values Center for Security Policy (Czech Republic).].
* Canada’s Globe and Mail daily publishes anti-China diatribe by right-wing ideologue, a former Liberal Party justice minister. Commentary by Irwin Cottler titled ‘The Chinese Communist Party’s culture of corruption and repression has cost lives around the world’, published in Globe and Mail, Apr 15, 2020
* World Health Organization, now Trump’s scapegoat, warned about coronavirus early and often, New York Times, Apr 16, 2020
* Don’t blame China for your government’s Covid-19 failures, by Davide Mastracci, managing editor, Passage online magazine (Toronto), Apr 7, 2020
[Donald Trump’s salvos against the government of China and the World Health Organization signal a deepening of the violent, new cold war being waged by the United States and its imperialist allies against Russia, China, and progressive countries such as Cuba and Venezuela engaged in socialist paths of development. Washington’s allies will follow its lead because their entire world order is at stake–it lies in tatters and requires scapegoats to deflect attention. A ‘reopening’ of this world order will be accompanied by a vast police and propaganda effort to silence doubters and critics. Today, the world’s working class peoples have a unique but time-limited opportunity to stop this suicidal course and fight to dismantle the destructive, expansionist capitalist world order and replace it with a planned system of social justice and ecological balance. Failure to act on this opportunity will open the door to an acceleration of the terminal decline of human civilization itself which the world is already experiencing. (See the ‘World news‘ page of A Socialist In Canada website for ongoing coverage of the targetting of China as a scapegoat by Western governments and ideologues following the West’s criminally negligent response to the Covid-19 pandemic.) ]
Covid-19 carnage in Canada’s for-profit, poorly regulated care homes for the elderly: Half of Canada’s Covid-19 deaths (822 and counting) have occurred in care homes for seniors. Report in Globe and Mail, Apr 13, 2020 and read: report by CBC News, Apr 13, 2020
* Elderly care homes in BC are flouting health authority’s announced rule preventing workers from working multiple sites, and the health authority says that’s ok. Report by Denise Ryan, Vancouver Sun, Apr 15, 2020 …Fraser Health’s [Vancouver region] chief medical health officer, Dr. Martin Lavoie, says the agency is working on compliance with the single-site policy, but said that staffing levels need to be looked at carefully before changes can be made…
* Ontario is vastly under-reporting COVID-19 deaths in long-term-care homes, Toronto Star, Apr 15, 2020 Public Health Ontario, the agency responsible for protecting the health of Ontarians, is vastly under-reporting the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 at long-term-care homes in the province, a Star analysis has found. As of the morning of April 15, the agency was reporting 144 residents of Ontario long-term-care homes have died from COVID-19. But a Star analysis of deaths reported by the province’s regional public health units and local media reveals there have been at least 219 deaths at Ontario long-term-care homes — a difference of more than 50 per cent…
* Ontario gov’t delays promised rule preventing elderly care home workers from working in multiple facilities, Toronto Star, Apr 15, 2020
* Advocates for seniors say new national guidelinesnot enough to protect residents of care homes, CTV News, Apr 14, 2020
[According to a study published in 2011, approximately 20 per cent of Canadians 85 and older live in care homes. Of those, men are nearly twice the number of women. Privatization of elderly care homes grew during the decade of the 2000s.]
Canada building its own personal protective equipment supply chain… in China, CBC News, Apr 12, 2020 [Canada is joined with the Trump regime in the U.S. and with the rest of the imperialist countries in waging a new cold war against the Chinese government and people. That includes Canada’s arrest (in December 2018) and ongoing detention of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou; efforts to ban Huawei from selling its ‘5G’ telecommunications equipment; and a continuous, barrage of propaganda by politicians, news editors and hostile academics presenting China as a dire threat to Western ‘democracy’.]
Canada re-embraces Saudi monarchy by lifting freeze on arms exports, by Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension, Apr 11, 2020 There is credible evidence Canadian weapons are being used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen
* Saudi-led ceasefire in Yemen begins, lifting hopes for peace, Reuters, Apr 9, 2020
* Coronavirus prompts Saudi-led war coalition to declare two-week ceasefire in Yemen, Agence France presse (AFP), Apr 8, 2020
Why provinces in Western Canada are reporting fewer per capita cases of the coronavirus, Toronto Star, Apr 12, 2020 …Jeff Kwong, an epidemiologist and public health professor at the University of Toronto said one factor that could be contributing to the trend is greater availability of testing in some provinces compared to others. As of Thursday evening, the rate of testing per 100,000 people was 605 in Ontario compared to 1,598 in Alberta, 1,368 in Quebec and 1,048 in BC… David Fisman, an epidemiology professor at the University of Toronto, credits the government in British Columbia for implementing rules last month ordering long-term care workers to work at only one facility. Ontario [and Quebec?] has not mandated such a move…
Quebec gov’t takes control of ‘Residence Herron’ private nursing home in Montreal where a reported 31 residents have died in the past month, Global News, Apr 12, 2020 [The Quebec government says it wants a police investigation into the home owned by ‘Katasa Group’ where on March 29, public health investigators found ‘concentration camp’ conditions of neglect and abandonment of residents. The facility was quietly placed under government trusteeship and officials have yet to explain exactly why. As of April 13, five of the 31 deaths are confirmed as caused by Covid-19.].
* COVID-19 stricken nursing home in Quebec like a ‘concentration camp,’ with dead bodies and soiled residents, Montreal Gazette, Apr 11, 2020
* Ontario won’t follow Quebec’s lead and test all long-term care homes for COVID-19, Globe and Mail, Apr 10, 2020 …Earlier this week, Premier Doug Ford slammed the province’s low testing rate as “unacceptable”.
* What went wrong in Bobcaygeon, Ontario: How the COVID-19 pandemic killed 29 people at an ill-prepared, private nursing home, National Post, Apr 10, 2020
Health minister Patty Hadju denies her government failed to act decisively as the Covid-19 virus struck, CBC News, Apr 10, 2020 [As late as March 10, CBC reports, the health minister received briefing notes saying the risk of the virus spreading remained low and the country’s public health system remained “well-equipped to contain cases coming from abroad”. The country’s chief medical officer Theresa Tam is fully implicated in spreading these false tales for several months after the World Health Organization warned the entire world of the looming danger of Covid-19.].
Related: Missed opportunities in Canada to address COVID-19 early may prolong response measures, experts say, CBC News, Apr 11, 2020 Widespread testing, stricter isolation and border controls are among measures seen as most effective.
Head of Canadian Medical Association pushes Ottawa to explain lack of preparation ahead of pandemic’s arrival, Globe and Mail, Apr 10, 2020 …Doctors have questioned whether federal health authorities acted quickly enough after the virus emerged in late December. Through much of January and February, the government said the risk of an outbreak in Canada was low. When asked on April 9 if she regretted not taking action to prepare for the current situation earlier, Health Minister Patty Hajdu did not answer that directly, but repeatedly praised the work public health officials…
* News report documents Canada’s failed pandemic response, a case of criminal negligence. Special report in Globe and Mail, Apr 8, 2020, titled ‘Ottawa had a playbook for a coronavirus-like pandemic 14 years ago. What went wrong?’ [In 2006, a report commissioned by the Canadian government was released, recommending preparations for a pandemic scenario that has proven to be eerily similar to today’s Covid-19 emergency. The responses of successive federal and provincial governments to the 2006 report has been negligence. One of the authors of the 2006 report was Theresa Tam, currently the Chief Public Medical Officer of Canada. She told members of Parliament on January 29, 2020 that Canada’s coronavirus risk is “much, much lower” than that of many countries. “It’s going to be rare,” was her prediction for cases in Canada. She continued, “It doesn’t matter how few those cases are, we are preparing the whole country in the event that you might pick up a rare case.” One day later, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a “public health emergency of international concern”. As of April 9, Canada has nearly 20,000 reported cases and 435 deaths. Among the deficiencies in the 2006 report that were not acted upon was the poor state of medical equipment production capacity in Canada.].
* Warned of a pandemic, Canada’s governments still seem to be playing catch-up, by Andrew Coyne (conservative columnist), Globe and Mail, Apr 3, 2020 …Here we are in the first week of April, scrambling desperately to catch up. Having failed to stockpile protective masks, ventilators, intensive care beds or testing kits in advance, having failed to order more in January or February 2020 as the epidemic approached, our governments are only now starting to acquire them, weeks too late…
* Ontario doctor working in long-term care homes says lack of coronavirus testing is a dire threat to public health, interview with Dr. Barry Roth, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘As It Happens’, Apr 8, 2020 (first item on weblink, eight-minutes) [Canada’s largest province, Ontario, is only using one quarter of its Covid-19 testing capacity. It is testing at a rate of 5,600 per million population, which is half of the rate of South Korea, one-third that of Germany and one-quarter that of Norway. Yet Justin Trudeau told his daily media briefing on April 9 that coronavirus testing in Canada is “getting better all the time”. Governments and even some medical officials in Canada have consistently downplayed and even lied about the crucial role of coronavirus testing in combatting Covid-19. Dr. Roth is a long-term care physician and says patients in long-term care homes are “sitting ducks” for the virus. “We need to find out where is the virus. We need to test, to test, and to test again.”]
Ontario premier says he wants much more Covid-19 testing, but the health care agencies he directs are doing everything but, Toronto Star, Apr 9, 2020
* Carnage in Ontario’s long-term care homes for the elderly, but the provincial gov’t is not ordering testing of residents or staff. Report in Globe and Mail, Apr 9, 2020 [The Ontario government is withholding data on infections and deaths in long-term care homes in the province. There are 69 such institutions in the province with reported cases of Covid-19 and dozens of deaths, including 28 residents at Pinehurst Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon–half of the residents there. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is telling media that he wants every long-term care resident, every front-line health-care worker and every first responder tested for the virus, but his public health officials are acting otherwise.].
* Ontario is using less than a quarter of its COVID-19 testing capacity, Toronto Star, Apr 7, 2020
Even with strict containment measures, COVID-19 could claim 22,000 lives in Canada says projection issued by Ottawa government, CBC News, Apr 9, 2020 …”We can’t prevent every death, but we must prevent every death that we can,” said Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam, releasing Canada’s Covid 19 projection on April 9, 2020 saying that even with strict prevention measures, there could be up to 22,000 deaths…
–‘It’s going to be rare.’–Theresa Tam speaking of projected Covid-19 cases in Canada to the Canadian Parliament, Jan 29, 2020. As of April 9 in Canada, there are nearly 21,000 Covid-19 cases and just over 500 deaths.
Toronto’s working poor obliged to use crowded transit routes, by Ben Spurr, Toronto Star, Apr 7, 2020
Related: Ontario groups call for raise in welfare rates that pay less than half the poverty line, by Laurie Monsebraaten, social justice reporter, Toronto Star, Apr 7, 2020
New Covid-19 cases soaring in Ontario and Quebec, by Carly Weeks, Globe and Mail, Apr 6, 2020 …Ontario has the lowest testing rate of any province, with only 517 out of every 100,000 people being tested as of Monday. By comparison, Alberta does 1,469 tests for every 100,000 people, while Quebec does 1,157 and B.C. does 949. David Fisman, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said Ontario’s testing rates mean provincial officials don’t know the true scope of the outbreak, which makes the disease harder to contain…
* No Covid-19 protection measures at crowded training meeting held by Toronto Public Health on March 13, by Kevin Donovan, chief investigative reporter, Toronto Star, Apr 6, 2020
…“Loblaws up the street had better sanitary precautions than we did at Toronto Public Health,” said one nurse insider who works for the city. “I would say it was as if nobody wanted to be Chicken Little and say the sky is falling,” said another nurse insider. “Guess what? The sky was falling.”
Huawei donates medical supplies to Canada amid shortage concerns, CTV News, Apr 6, 2020 …As reported first in The Globe and Mail, the Huawei donation includes more than a million masks, 30,000 goggles and 50,000 pair of gloves. When CTV News contacted the telecommunications company, Huawei had no comment… As of April 2, the Canadian government had secured more than 157 million surgical masks and had ordered an additional 65 million N95 masks… [The Globe and Mail news report cited above is authored by the newspaper’s ‘China correspondent’. The report pushes the newspaper’s conspiratorial viewpoint that China’s international pandemic assistance to countries around the world is not driven by humanitarian concern but, rather, by selfish, national self-interest. Some 80 per cent of the world’s supply of N95 masks are made in China.].
* Talks with U.S. continue over Trump regime’s plan for ‘America first’ with medical supplies; agreement reached allowing 3M to export masks to Canada, CBC News, Apr 6, 2020
* Manufacturer in Vancouver rushes into production of medical and N95 masks using machines purchased from China, Vancouver Sun, Apr 6, 2020
* Canada to receive ‘millions’ of cornavirus protection masks from China, Global News, Apr 4, 2020
* ‘Millions of masks’ expected in Canada from China as 3M faces pressure in U.S. to constrain medical equipment exports, CBC News, Apr 4, 2020 [Of note in this news report by Canada’s state broadcaster is the avoidance of any reporting of how, exactly, the airplance flight ‘travelling from China’ to Canada with ‘millions of surgical masks’ came to be. The Chinese government presumably assisted in expediting the shipment, or perhaps its organized it outright as a humanitarian initiative? Were the masks perhaps manufactured in a state-run or state-directed enterprise? Instead of answers to such question, the new report barely mentions China’s humanitarian gesture. In other words, the ‘news’ report reflects typical hostility by Canada’s ruling class to the Chinese government and people in this era of the New Cold War.]
Advice on masks is changing as coronavirus knowledge evolves, by André Picard, health columnist, Globe and Mail, Apr 6, 2020 …The evidence for mask-wearing as a means of infectious disease prevention remains mixed at best. Increasingly, however, making and wearing a mask in public is becoming a demonstration of civic-mindedness, a public acknowledgment of the risks coronavirus poses, and a fitting symbol for the new normal.
We don’t have a North American ally anymore. We have a sick gorilla in a cage, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Apr 6, 2020 [This newspaper column begs, but does not answer, the question: If the U.S. government is so dysfunctional and un-humanitarian in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, why has the Canadian government and ruling class been so tightly allied with it, including with foreign military adventures in Ukraine and Iraq/Syria and the New Cold War against Russia and China? The question is not asked or answered in the column because Canada’s newspaper editors have been entirely in lock-step with Canada’s aggressive, political and military alliance with the U.S. All that is best left unsaid…]
Covid-19 could ‘spread like wildfire’ in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Vancouver Sun, Apr 6, 2020 [The Canadian and British Columbia governments have temporarily suspended their death-by-injection-drug program (so-called war on drugs) in recognition of the public relations complications which high Covid-19 death numbers would cause for them. But otherwise, the extreme poverty and vulnerability of disenfranchised residents in downtown Vancouver is raising alarm bells about the extreme threat to them of Covid-19.].
Related: A perfect storm: Covid-19 and the opioid crisis in Canada, by Benjamin Perrin and Jordan Westfall, Vancouver Sun, Apr 5, 2020 Canada is in the midst of two simultaneous public health emergencies — the COVID-19 and drug-overdose epidemics. We are gravely concerned that this has all the makings of a perfect storm that will exacerbate suffering and loss of life if immediate action isn’t taken. The response to COVID-19 has rightly been rapid, intense and extensive. Tragically, the opposite is true of the continuing opioid crisis, which has already claimed over 14,000 lives in Canada since 2016 [emphasis added] with a person dying every two hours. It’s Canada’s forgotten public health emergency… (Benjamin Perrin is a law professor at the University of B.C. and author of the 2019 book Overdose: Heartbreak and Hope in Canada’s Opioid Crisis (review here). Jordan Westfall is president of the Canadian Association for Safe Supply.)
BC Hydro suspends shuttle service between Site C dam construction site and city of Fort St. John citing coronavirus safety, but Indigenous leaders continue to insist on site shutdown, The National Observer, Apr 6, 2020
* BC premier, backed by province’s chief medical officer Bonnie Henry, says work camp of nearly 1,000 workers at ‘Site C’ hydroelectric dam construction project will remain, dismissing concerns of local municipality and First Nations, Alaska Highway News (Glacier Media), Apr 2, 2020
* A potential coronavirus outbreak at ‘Site C’ dam work camp is a threat to Fort St. John, city officials say, by Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, Mar 26, 2020 [Public health officials in Fort St. John, population 20,000 and located 15 km from Site C, say a coronavirus outbreak in work camps at Site C or the Coastal GasLink pipeline construction route (app. 60 km away) would quickly overwhelm the local hospital. As a further sign of criminal neglect, the megaprojects are located near to First Nations communities, or otherwise interact with them. These communities are particularly endangered by coronavirus infections.] * First Nations in Canada’s Yukon territory call for halt to mining operations in light of coronavirus, The Narwhal, Apr 3, 2020 …Some 190 people are currently working at Eagle Gold, the largest mine in Yukon territory (pop. 36,000). Owners of the other large mine in Yukon, Minto, located some 250 km north of Whitehorse, did not respond to questions about the size of its workforce. To date, there are six reported cases of Covid-19 in Yukon…
Canada’s newspaper editors waste no time in using Covid-19 pandemic to voice new conspiracies and threats of aggression against China and Russia, Apr 3, 2020.
[In late February 2020, a delegation of the World Health Organization visited China to examine that country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The 40-page report by the delegation praised the work of the Chinese government and health care system inpreventing an even more serious outbreak with deep, international repercussions. The report was a serious blow to media editors in the Western countries who were in the midst of covering up their own government’s shambolic and negligent responses to the looming crisis. Now they are turning their guns on China in preparatory steps for a post-pandemic propaganda drive that will squarely blame China for worldwide disaster. The Globe and Mail daily publishes a page-one article on April 3 by its ‘China correspondent’ making the conspiratorial argument that “questions are being asked about the WHO’s relationship with China and whether the organization has sought to curry favour with Beijing – for access or money – in ways that have undermined the reliability of its advice.” The following day, the newspaper published this item: Experts lend credence to concerns that China played down COVID-19 impacts, Apr 3, 2020 The article begins: Experts [sic] say there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about whether China is concealing the full impact of COVID-19… (end citation) For several years, the Globe has led a media charge arguing that China is a direct threat to the business and profiteering of Western corporations, for example those which compete with Huawei Technologies. Canada jailed the chief financial officer of Huawei in December 2019; to this day, she remians under house arrest.
[Meanwhile, the National Post daily published on the same day a column by far-right journalist Dianne Francis arguing, “Other than coronavirus, it is Russian President Vladimir Putin who has wreaked the most damage on Canada’s economy lately. At an OPEC meeting in Vienna earlier this month, Russia refused a request by Saudi Arabia to cut back on oil volumes in order to prop up prices. Snubbed, the Saudis flooded the market and an oil war began…” The reality of the oil price war is that Russia refused the Saudi ultimatum to lower its oil production because this would directly serve to prop up the financially bankrupt oil-fracking industry in the United States. Francis repeats the far-right trope (endorsed by most liberals and leftists in the West) that the U.S. president is a “pal” of Vladimir Putin and acts on his behalf, knowinglly or not. The list of Russia-related conspiracies in her column are too numerous to enunciate here. She concludes with, “To marauders like Putin and the Saudis, Canada is easy prey. Without Alberta’s prosperous oil industry [sic], the country’s living standards will fall apart, and so will the nation.”]
Two peas in a pod: How right-wing foreign minister Chrystia Freeland and right-wing Ontario premier Doug Ford have forged an unlikely friendship in the fight against COVID-19. Report in Toronto Star, Apr 4, 2020
Four hospitals in Ontario declare internal Covid-19 outbreaks, Globe and Mail, Apr 3, 2020 …In all, 33 hospital workers in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health region have tested positive for the disease. , demonstrating how easy it is to transmit COVID-19 once it infiltrates a facility… A spokeswoman for Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said a total of 274 health-care workers in various institutions, including hospitals and long-term-care homes, had tested positive as of April 2, one in ten cases in the province…
Pandemic has intensified crisis in care homes for the elderly, Globe and Mail, Apr 2, 2020 …The novel coronavirus has caused more devastation in nursing and retirement homes than in any other setting in Canada, with at least 75 deaths among residents as of April 1, according to a tally done by The Globe and Mail after contacting local and provincial public-health authorities across the country. The new coronavirus has invaded at least 600 nursing and retirement homes. The toll continues to rise. Two more residents died of COVID-19 overnight on April 1 at the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., the site of the deadliest outbreak in the country with 16 deaths… [Update on Apr 4: 20 residents of the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont. have died, out of a total of 67 residents.].
* If you can get your relatives out of seniors’ homes, try to do so as fast as you can, by Andre Picard, health columnist, Globe and Mail, Apr 2, 2020
* Covid-19 outbreak overwhelms Canada’s nursing and retirement homes; at least 600 homes have cases and at least 75 residents have died, Globe and Mail, Apr 1, 2020 …In Quebec, 519 of the province’s 2,200 seniors’ homes have at least one case of Covid-19…
* 29 dead from COVID-19 in Ontario nursing and retirement homes, CBC News, Apr 1, 2020 …At least 22 facilities for seniors in Ontario are currently facing outbreaks of COVID-19, according to the public health units, raising fears that the pandemic will result in more deaths in long-term care homes… Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday afternoon that 11 of the deaths in Ontario were residents in long-term care homes, although she acknowledged that the figure was not up to date. But CBC News found that in addition to the deaths of 12 residents and one volunteer worker at the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, there were another 17 COVID-19-related deaths at long-term care and retirement homes stretching from Sarnia to Ottawa…
* Viruses and care of the elderly in Canada, by Pat Armstrong, published in The Bullet (Canada), Apr 1, 2020 It is not surprising that the first recorded deaths from COVID-19 were in nursing homes. But the contributing factors cannot be attributed solely to age…
‘Shocking’ and ‘indefensible’: Federal gov’t should release national COVID-19 modelling information, experts say, National Post, Apr 2, 2020 [Secrecy is a hallmark of the operations of authoritarian, capitalist governments. The Canadian government’s secrecy in declining to make available its outlook for the coronavirus pandemic highlights that the rulers of the Western capitalist regimes will use every opportunity offered by the pandemic to deepen their course towards greater authoritarian rule.].
* Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford have seen ‘dire’ pandemic projections but they aren’t sharing them, Toronto Star, Apr 1, 2020
* Governments aren’t levelling with Canadians about the COVID-19 future we face, by Chris Selley, National Post, Apr 2, 2020 [What is not stated in this column is that governments in Canada have good reason to keep secret their forecasting of coronavirus trends: the political reaction could be severe if Canadians come to understand that their governments have been criminally negligent in failing to prepare for the pandemic once the threat became clear in January 2020.].
* Ontario’s official data is short dozens of recent COVID-19 deaths, Toronto Star, Apr 1, 2020
In Canada’s fight against the coronavirus, the U.S. border remains a problem, column in Globe and Mail, Apr 2, 2020 …During the week of March 23 to 29, for instance, the number of people coming into Canada from the U.S. over land was down 82 per cent and down nearly 85 per cent at airports, compared to the same time last year, according to the Canadian Border Services Agency. However, in that same week, more than 88,000 truck drivers from the U.S. were allowed into the country, along with nearly 100,000 “other travelers” – a group I suspect largely consisted of Canadian snowbirds returning from sunny southern getaways…
* Is Canada taking COVID-19 seriously enough? It didn’t look like it on my flight home from Mexico on March 29, by Timothy Wilson, The National Observer, Apr 1, 2020
* Russia to halt international flights bringing citizens back home over Covid-19, RT.com, Apr 3, 2020 …The Russian government shut down all regular and charter international flights in late March due to the coronavirus, but exceptions were made for flights repatriating Russian citizens as well as planes with cargo and humanitarian aid. The number of people allowed into the country was limited to 500 a day at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport – 200 for airports in other cities…
Canada’s food supply is threatened by short supply of seasonal and other temporary foreign workers, Globe and Mail, Apr 1, 2020 … Canada admits about 60,000 seasonal agricultural and other temporary workers each year to work on fruit, vegetable and other farms – a program farmers say is critical to reliable food production. The federal government last month allowed their entry, stipulating that they must self-isolate for 14 days – a two-week period during a busy season when they’re not allowed to work. And the logistics of getting them here have been extremely difficult. Visa offices in Mexico have been closed, bureaucracy has slowed and flights are scarce…
Related: Coronavirus threatens the seasonal farmworkers at the heart of supplying the U.S. with food, by Michael Haedicke, The Conversation, Apr 3, 2020
As Canada’s forests become carbon bombs, Ottawa pushes the crisis off the books, in depth analysis by Barry Saxifrage, The National Observer, Apr 1, 2020
Canada news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, March 2020
Official nonsense on masks, travel bans is killing Ottawa’s COVID-19 credibility, by Chris Selley, columnist, National Post, Mar 30, 2020 [Canada’s corporate and alternative media are avoiding analysis of the halting, shambolic preparations by the federal and provincial governments in Canada for the coronavirus outbreak/become pandemic. This column is a rare exception, though it is nonetheless superficial considering that the governments’ slow or non- responses to the looming danger beginning in early January 2020 constitute criminal neglect.]
Ontario’s rate of COVID-19 testing is significantly lower than other big provinces, Toronto Star, March 30, 2020 Ontario is testing for coronavirus at a rate less than half that of the other big provinces, leaving thousands of potentially undiagnosed cases out of official statistics and instilling a false sense of confidence as the province enters a key period for flattening the curve of infection… As of March 30, Ontario has tested only 333 people per 100,000, Quebec has tested 777, B.C. 757 and Alberta has tested more than 1,000 people per 100,000… “One of the pillars of managing an epidemic is to have diagnostic testing,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. “It’s very challenging to manage this if you’re working in the dark.”…
* Ontario’s online Covid-19 tool has told 100,000 to seek ‘immediate’ medical help through 911 call or visit to hospital, by Kevin Donovan, chief investigative reporter, Toronto Star, Mar 29, 2020 …To put the online tool’s numbers in perspective, as of March 29, Ontario was reporting 1,355 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, including 23 deaths…
* Fear and anger among Ontario nurses battling COVID-19 pandemic, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Mar 30, 2020 …There are frantic efforts in government and the private sector to procure or manufacture enough personal protective equipment for the waves COVID-19 is expected to bring. Wuhan’s hospitals sent warnings from the future, as did Italy’s, Spain’s, Seattle’s, New York’s. One in 12 coronavirus patients in Italy was a health-care worker; it was one in eight in Spain…
Covid-19 tears through private nursing home in southern Ontario, infecting more than half the staff and killing nine residents, Globe and Mail, Mar 29, 2020 … “It’s a war zone. I’ve never seen anything like it in all my years of nursing,” Sarah Gardiner, a nurse at Pinecrest, said through tears. “Here’s my fear: It’s going to wipe out the senior population in nursing homes across the country. If Pinecrest is any indication, this is just going to change things forever.” …In shared rooms, the sick have not been separated from the well, Ms. Gardiner said, because there is no place to move the residents. “It’s too late now. It’s all through both wings. Everywhere.” …
Update: As of March 31, a total of 12 residents of the Pinehurst Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario have died from Covid-19..,
Related: Ontario promises to probe ‘tragic’ situation at Bobcaygeon nursing home, Globe and Mail, Mar 31, 2020 …It is difficult to say how many nursing homes across Ontario are fighting outbreaks of COVID-19. Unlike some provinces, Ontario does not collect that data and publish it in one place. It leaves local public-health units and long-term-care homes to make that information public. The Globe and Mail surveyed numerous public-health units in Ontario on Monday and learned of 26 long-term-care homes with at least one case of COVID-19. According to the Globe‘s reporting, 17 residents have died of the virus. As the numbers of cases rise, health-care workers have expressed fear that the pandemic threatens Canada’s older population, with those in nursing homes particularly at risk…
Trans Canada Energy to proceed with construction of Keystone XL pipeline after US$1.1 billion investment from Alberta government, Financial Post, Mar 30, 2020 Alberta will also provide a $6 billion loan guarantee for the project, which is now expected to cost $14.4 billion to build
How Canada needs to respond to the pandemic, op-ed by David Naylor and Tim Evans, in Globe and Mail, Mar 29, 2020 Excerpts: So what is to be done? Canada’s governments must intensify their collaborative procurement efforts to avoid hospitals and ICUs being overrun. Detailed de-identified data must be shared in real time with a range of trusted analysts, inside and outside governments. If scorecards send danger signals, intensification of physical distancing must be done at once. Identifying the exit strategy will be greatly facilitated by two key steps. The first is massive augmentation of capacity for testing and contact-tracing. The second is implementing a sero-surveillance strategy where small samples of blood are rapidly tested for antibodies to COVID-19 in order to determine immunity. (David Naylor is professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. Tim Evans is director of the McGill School of Population and Global Health who formerly served as a Global Director at the World Bank and assistant director general at the WHO.)
The United States is now the epicentre of the pandemic and Canada has every reason to be alarmed, by Dr. André Picard, medical columnist, Globe and Mail, Mar 29, 2020 [Canada has about half the per capita coronavirus illnesses and related deaths as the U.S. Does that mean Canada is doing twice as well as the U.S. in response to the coronavirus, or is it simply wallowing in ignorance? Due to the absence of comprehensive testing in both countries, public health officials believe the numbers of Covid-19 illnesses are estimated to be five to ten times the officially reported numbers.]
Canada’s response to Covid-19 pandemic is greatly weakened by absence of data (meaning absence of testing). Report by Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter, Globe and Mail, Mar 28, 2020 How widespread is the virus now? It’s the question that has most bedevilled public-heath officials urgently trying to understand the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. And in the absence of mass public testing, it’s the one that has catalyzed researchers, innovators and anyone else looking to beat back the unknown… Our ability to respond to COVID-19 is impaired by our lack of knowledge about who has the virus, who doesn’t and who is not longer susceptible. That data gap has led to the virtual shut down of the country in order to protect the most vulnerable; multiple efforts are now under way across Canada to close it…
[The daily reports by Canada’s prime minister and provincial health officials on the coronavirus pandemic say little or nothing about the imperative to expand testing for the Covid-19 illness. This is crucial in pinpointing prevention and treatment. There is a reason for the silence over testing: government and health officials in Canada have been criminally negligent in failing to implement rigorous testing once the pandemic threat became alarmingly clear in early January 2020. See the extensive reporting on the subject of cornoavirus testing on the ‘World news‘ page of A Socialist In Canada.]
Is factory farming to blame for coronavirus?, by Laura Spinney, The Guardian, Mar 28, 2020 …An expanding human population pushing into previously undisturbed ecosystems has contributed in recent decades to the increasing number of zoonoses (human infections of animal origin). That has been documented for Ebola and HIV, for example. But behind that shift has been another one–the way in which food is produced. Modern models of agribusiness are contributing to the emergence of zoonoses…
[Canadian governments, medical authorities and media are all-but silent about the criminal negligence that delayed and failed to implement widespread coronavirus testing. But as concerns the role of industrial, chemicalized and globalized agriculture in spawning the virus in the first place, the silence is total.]
No shame in Canadian newsrooms: Citing juvenile or vacuous sources, warmongering newspaper editors and writers use coronavirus tragedy to stir anti-Russia, anti-China conspiracies and hatred. Examples:
* For China and Russia, coronavirus hoaxes are another strain of disinformation warfare, by Mark MacKinnon, ‘senior international correspondent’, Globe and Mail, Mar 27, 2020
* China’s COVID-19 disinformation push, aided by Canadian group, raises concerns about next pandemic, by Tom Blackwell, National Post, March 28, 2020
* Canada braces for an online disinformation assault on COVID-19, by Murray Brewster, CBC News, Mar 13, 2020
China donates medical equipment supplies including personal protective equipment to Canada, CTV News, Mar 28, 2020
Covid-19 pandemic exposes the dangers in how Ontario’s nursing homes are run, by Kate Allen, science and technology reporter, and Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Mar 27, 2020 Experts and advocates have warned for years that chronic understaffing, precarious working conditions and poor workplace safety at nursing homes put Ontario’s vulnerable elders and the workers who care for them at risk. Now, nursing homes are “ground zero” for the COVID-19 pandemic…
Community coronoavirus spread was present in Canada at the beginning of March, but personal distancing and other public health measures were only declared weeks later, by Kevin Donovan, chief investigative reporter, Toronto Star, Mar 25, 2020 [The key indicator of criminal negligence by the Canadian government and its military and political allies over the coronavirus pandemic remains their decisions to not implement widespread testing of citizens. The SARS-CoV-2 virus causing Covid-19 illness was announced to the world by Chinese health authorities in early January 2020. See the multiple, news headline/reports immediately below on the criminal failure in Canada to swiftly implement coronavirus testing.]
Ottawa and British Columbia governments promise to relax their ‘war on drugs’ killing program against the poor, but promised provision of safe injection drugs in order to lessen coronavirus danger is slow to appear. Report by CBC News, Mar 26, 2020 read also: Safe-drug supplying is part of delayed gov’t preparation as cornnavirus threatens Vancouver’s poorest district. report in Vancouver Sun, Mar 26, 2020 [Early in March 2020, the Canadian government said it would relax its killer drug laws and allow health authorities in British Columbia to provide a safe supply of opioid drugs. But the policy change is slow to roll out, even though addicts are becoming frantic as border closures have slowed the illegal supply of opioid drugs. In 2016, the Liberal Party government of the day in British Columbia declared a ‘public health emergency’ over the opioid injection drug epidemic in the province. But since then, governments in Ottawa and Victoria have overseen deaths by opioid injection in British Columbia of 981 people in 2019, 1,543 in 2018 and 1,495 in 2017. Some 14,000 people have been killed in Canada by the ‘war on drugs’ during the four years commencing 2016. The ‘public health emergency’ declaration in BC in 2016 made no change to the criminalization of injection drug use–a federal government policy–and so the killing has continued. Those overseeing the injection drug killing program are also overseeing Canada’s criminally negligent coronavirus response.]
Residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside highly vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreak, Vancouver Sun, Mar 25, 2020 [It is more than two months since the extreme danger of the coronavirus epidemic in China became known to the world of public health care. Authorities in the city of Vancouver have yet to take measures to protect the city’s most vulnerable residents, residing in the Downtown Eastside, Canada’s poorest urban district.]
Faster COVID-19 testing for Canadians is coming, Trudeau says, but timeline remains vague, National Post, Mar 24, 2020 It’s not clear how quickly Canada can get to the point where results are available in hours, not days, and backlogs in the provinces are eliminated
* No COVID-19 testing for cluster of illness after March 13 memorial service in Vancouver, CBC News, Mar 23, 2020 …Last week, the director-general of the World Health Organization urged nations to “test, test test every suspected case,” as the backbone of a COVID-19 response. But that is not what is happening in British Columbia, even though this province has been hailed as a leader with 17,912 tests as of March 20. Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s chief medical officer, says not everyone with symptoms needs a test, especially if the resulting advice would still be to self-isolate…
* British Columbia’s chief medical officer continues to downplay the role of cornoavirus testing. Excerpt from news report in Vancouver Sun, Mar 24, 2020: …Those with no symptoms, mild symptoms or who have returned from travel and are isolating at home — even if they develop an illness during their 14-day isolation period — are told not to get tested. “I know there has been some concern that our change in our strategy for testing means that there’s a bunch of cases that we’re not getting to or we’re not recognizing in the community. While we do recognize that people who have symptoms and they had an exposure may have this disease, it doesn’t mean that everybody needs to be tested,” she [BC Chief Medical Officer Bonnie Henry] said….
* [On March 24, the ‘house doctor’ for CBC News, emergency room doctor Brian Goldman, told a network interviewer that the “single most important thing” that Canada’s public health authorities could do today is institute mass testing for Covid-19, including tracing all those who may have had contact with an infected person.].
* Mass testing: The only sustainable and effective course for slowing and stopping the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., op-ed by Tim Searchinger, Anthony LaMantia and Gordon Douglas, in Washington Post, Mar 23, 2020 We suggest a strategy of massive testing that goes far beyond the group currently being tested — those most likely infected. Instead, we need to test as many people as possible. (Tim Searchinger is a research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University; Anthony LaMantia is a professor at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Virginia Tech University; Gordon Douglas is professor emeritus of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.) …Although the U.S. health-care system is now struggling to produce enough tests even for those who are likely infected, we recommend a massive mobilization that would allow hundreds of millions to be tested…
* How COVID-19 tests work and what’s in development, by Professor Alexander Edwards (University of Reading), published in The Conversation, Mar 24, 2020
Ottawa to intervene in lagging regions amid COVID-19 test backlog, Globe and Mail, Mar 23, 2020 …To combat growing demands for tests, B.C. and Ontario officials have moved in recent days to increasingly tighten criteria for who can get a test. They are focusing on patients who are sick enough to be hospitalized and other high-risk groups, including health-care workers and long-term-care residents. Infectious disease experts have become increasingly concerned over the approach, with many singling out Ontario for what they describe as a response that is out of step with some best practices. In addition to tightening testing criteria, provincial officials have also declined to confirm COVID-19 is spreading locally in the province. Local spread refers to cases that are not linked to international travel…
[Corporate media in Canada and elsewhere in the West is doling out in tiny spoonfuls its reporting of failed coronavirus testing regimes. Above all, it is avoiding analysis of why the spreading coronavirus pandemic was ignored or downplayed by Western governments in its early stages (January and February 2020), including why the key role to be played by testing was ignored or downplayed.] Related:
* Wakayama prefecture in Japan pioneered in the coronavirus fight by using extensive testing, becoming a ‘model’ in local action. Report in Washington Post, Mar 22, 2020 [Tracing and testing everyone with known contacts with infected persons was key to the successful fight against Covid-19 in Wakayama prefecture. In the U.S., Canada, and Europe, governments ignored or downplayed the urgency of producing testing kits. Some continue to downplay the role of testing, and in any event, they don’t have enough kits to introduce an effective strategy using testing.] * Why South Korea’s COVID-19 strategy is working, Al Jazeera, Mar 21, 2020 …According to John Hopkins University medical researchers, as of this week, the COVID-19 death rate is 0.97 percent in South Korea, compared to 7.94 percent in Italy, 3.98 percent in mainland China and Hong Kong, and 1.68 percent in the United States…
* Coronavirus success vs failure: A tale of two strategies, video presentation on Al Jazeera’s ‘Up Front’ program, video news report (25 minutes), Mar 20, 2020
Public intellectual Stephen Lewis says Canadian gov’t has responded ‘remarkably well’ to coronavirus pandemic, interview with Stephen Lewis, broadcast on CBC Radio One’s ‘The Current’, Mar 25, 2020 (begins at 45-minute mark) [When asked which countries have combatted well the coronavirus pandemic, Lewis cites the Nordic countries as well as Belgium and Switzerland. But all of the wealthy, imperialist countries in the world failed in heeding the early warnings of a coronavirus pandemic and those in Europe are no exception. The countries praised by Lewis are recording very high death rates (eg Belgium’s rate is 20 times higher than Canada’s), signalling that there are many more illnesses than are being reported. Lewis makes no mention of the countries in Asia that have succeeded in combatting the virus, notably China (including Taiwan) and Korea.]
The 200 Canadian troops in Ukraine face uncertainty due to COVID-19 crisis, Canadian Press, Mar 24, 2020
Related: Six years and $20 billion in Russian investment later, survey shows that Crimeans are happy with 2014 referendum vote to secede from Ukraine and join Russian Federation, by Gerard Toal, John O’Loughlin and Kristin M. Bakke, Washington Post, Mar 18, 2020 (Read the article here in pdf format: Survey of Crimeans, 2020)
[Western media continues to peddle the lie of a ‘Russian annexation’ of Crimea in 2014, all the while avoiding the evidence of the fair, albeit rushed, referendum vote of March 14, 2014 to secede from Ukraine. At the time, most Western leftists joined the ‘condemn Russian annexation’ chorus; or they opted for studied silence, including silence over the punishing sanctions levied by the Westrn imperialist countries against the Russian and Crimean people.]
Ottawa’s top doctor estimates there are now 4,000 cases of COVID-19 in the city, CTV News, Mar 22, 2020
Doctors in British Columbia call for stricter coronavirus measures, warn the province is on track with Italy, Global News, Mar 22, 2020
Justin Trudeau calls on Canadian businesses to re-tool for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Business’ (the expansionist capitalist order) created the pandemic emergency in the first place. Report on CTV News, Mar 20, 2020, headlined, ‘Trudeau rallies industry to aid in COVID-19 fight’ “We are launching Canada’s plan to mobilize industry to fight Covid-19, to ensure that we can quickly produce here in Canada the things we need.” –Justin Trudeau speaking to daily press briefing in Ottawa on March 20, 2020. [Corporate media globally and in Canada is systematically ignoring how it is that the SARS-CoV-2 (‘Covid-19’ illness) pandemic came about in the first place. This,in turn, hides the stark reality that expansionist capitalism is threatening even worse civilization-ending emergencies in the near future, notably global warming and imperialist war.]
Asylum seekers to be turned back at Canada-U.S. border, Trudeau announces, The Canadian Press, Mar 20, 2020
* Decision by Canada to begin turning back irregular migrants at border to U.S. ‘knowingly creating chaos’ says refugee rights group, by Carl Meyer, The National Observer, Mar 21, 2020
Ottawa prepares multibillion-dollar bailout of oil and gas industries, Globe and Mail, Mar 20, 2020
* Alberta gov’t rolls out the first wave of bailouts for its crude oil and tar sands industries. Report by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, Mar 20, 2020
* Canadian gov’t analyzing the best path for bailing out the country’s airline industry. Report in Financial Post, Mar 20, 2020
* These are the five industries in Canada being targetted for bailouts by the federal gov’t, Financial Post, Mar 20, 2020
* How the pandemic is highlighting Canada’s class divide, op-ed commentary by Dakshana Bascaramurty, The Globe and Mail, Mar 17, 2020
In leaked email, medical officer condemns Ontario provincial government preparation and response to coronavirus, by Jennifer Yang and Kate Allen, Toronto Star (page one), Mar 21, 2020
The private nursing home in North Vancouver where coronavirus struck first in Canada and owners dismissed concerns for days, feature report in Globe and Mail, Mar 21, 2020
Two months after cornonavirus pandemic began, Canadian gov’t says it is ‘scrambling’ to obtain testing kits and medical supplies and prepare hospital spaces. Report in Toronto Star, Mar 18, 2020 [Until mere days ago, corporate media in Canada, led by the Globe and Mail daily and the state-run Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, was belittling and mocking the Chinese government’s actions in combatting the ‘SARS-CoV-2’ coronavirus pandemic. Today, new cases of Covid-19 have dropped to near zero in China while the Canadian/U.S. governments are still ‘scrambling’ to prepare for the anticipated crash of the illness upon their citizens.]
Game over for pro-oil fanatic Jason Kenney, premier of Alberta. Report by Michael Harris, The Tyee, Mar 20, 2020
Pandemic gives voice to far-right views in Canada’s ‘Postmedia’ newspaper chain, Mar 20, 2020. [Two early indications of a surge in anti-China, far-right ideology in corporate media in Canada amidst the cornoavirus emergency are signalled in the Postmedia chain. It features two recent articles by far-right journalists Dianne Francis and Terry Glavin. Both writers have been outpsoken in favour of the neo-Nazi movement in Ukraine. Francis opines in the March 20 Financial Post that the “much maligned” Pentagon (U.S. government department of war) is working on a miracle plan to “trick the human body into guarding against the virus for up to six months”, providing time for development of a vaccine. Serious writers at Postmedia report the scientific studies suggesting an end to the pandemic, including a vaccine, could be 18 months away. Meanwhile, occasional National Post columnist Terry Glavin writes in the March 18 edition that the coronavirus pandemic signals that it is time for the “liberal democracies” in the West to deepen their war threats and actions against Russia, Syria, Iran and, most of all, China. He throws in for good measure, “We can’t rely for leadership on the World Health Organization, or any other international agency beholden even indirectly to Beijing.” Alternative media The Tyee in Vancouver tells readers that the article by Glavin is “recommended” by its respected environmental writer and associate editor Andrew Nikiforuk. For the past 18 months or so, the Globe and Mail daily and the state-run CBC have been the loudest corporate media outlets in Canada encouraging the U.S.-led new cold war against China.]
Months of school closures, social distancing needed to fight pandemic conclude researchers at U of Toronto, by Kate Allen, science and technology reporter, Toronto Star, Mar 18, 2020 …Outbreak modelling shows that four weeks of intensive social distancing interventions will be insufficient to suppress a sharp rise in new cases, hospitalizations, and critically ill patients in intensive care. The disruptive measures must continue for more than six months to slash the size of the epidemic peak by more than half and delay it long enough that a vaccine might become available, the model found… The team’s findings echo those of scientists at Imperial College London, which found that extreme social restrictions might need to last 18 months in the U.S. and UK to avert hundreds of thousands of deaths…
Restrictions on border crossings from the U.S. threaten Canada’s domestic food production, by Naomi Powell, Financial Post, Mar 17, 2020 [For decades, the world’s food production has been subjugated to the workings of industrial, globalized capitalism. That legacy now stands as a deadly threat to the world’s populations as border restrictions are thrown up to restrict the flow of people and goods. The anti-human and anti-ecological policies governing food production in capitalist societies are coming home to roost with a vengeance.]
Ten thoughts on the power of pandemics, by Andrew Nikiforuk, TheTyee.ca, Mar 17, 2020 They disrupt, reveal, renew. They give opportunity to rethink what we’ve come to believe is normal.
And by the same writer: COVID-19, brought to you by globalization, by Andrew Nikiforuk, TheTyee.ca, Mar 13, 2020 How the virus exploits traits of our economy extolled as modern triumphs
Top Canadian public-health officials warn ‘the window is closing’ to limit the exponential spread of COVID-19, Globe and Mail (page one), Mar 16, 2020
How prepared are Canadian hospitals for the coronavirus outbreak?, Globe and Mail, Mar 16, 2020 The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm Canada’s supply of life-saving ventilators for the most severe cases of the disease, as health officials across the country scramble… Questions about ventilators and other supplies are being raised as hospitals and public-health officials across the country prepare to cope with a potential surge of patients… [Charts accompanying this Globe and Mail article show the number of hospital beds in Canada per thousand residents have been cut by more than half since 1976, from close to seven per 1,000 to 2.5. Acute care beds have droppped from five per 1,000 to 1.95. The worst province in Canada’s quasi-public, patchwork medical care system for intensive care units in hospitals is British Columbia. Meanwhile, the government and the doctors’ association in Canada’s largest province, Ontario, are asking hospitals to cancel ‘elective’ surgeries and “other non-emergent clinical activities” in anticipation of a surge of acute coronavirus cases.].
* Surge in coronavirus patients threatens to swamp U.S. hospitals, Washington Post, Mar 15, 2020
* Spiking U.S. coronavirus cases could force rationing of hospital beds and life-saving equipment similar to those made in Italy, China, Washington Post, Mar 15, 2020
Paid time off is rare for low-wage earners in Toronto. So what will they do now?, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Mar 16, 2020 Social distancing is essential to manage the spread of COVID-19. But just 20 per cent of the work leave taken by low-wage earners in Toronto is paid, according to new statistics provided to the Star… Nationally, employers paid for less than 40 per cent of illness or disability leave and less than a quarter of family responsibility leaves in 2019. Again, sectors most likely to be impacted by COVID-19 were also amongst the least likely to offer paid leave. For example, only 19 per cent of the leave taken by workers in accommodation and food services was paid…
Make no mistake: Italy’s runaway cornavirus spread is not an outlier in this global pandemic, by Dr. André Picard, health columnist, Globe and Mail, Mar 13, 2020 How much worse can the new coronavirus pandemic get? One would be hard-pressed to find anything but alarming answers to that question. Europe has now become the epicentre of the global pandemic – it is recording more cases daily than China did at the peak of its outbreak. This, despite having weeks to prepare. The grim epidemiological reality is that every Western country now faces the prospect of an Italy-like explosion of coronavirus…
The coronavirus is about to expose just how broken Canada’s welfare state really is, by Taylor Scollon, publisher and co-founder, Passages, Mar 13, 2020
Arrest in U.S. of neo-Nazi, ex-Canadian soldier Patrik Mathews highlights Ottawa’s support for Ukrainian far right, by Yves Engler, Ricochet, Feb 27, 2020
Ontario Court of Appeal rejects federal gov’t solitary confinement (torture) policy in prisons, upholds lawsuit award of $20 million each to two inmate groups, The Canadian Press, Mar 9, 2020 read also report by Patrick White in Globe and Mail, Mar 9, 2020 Ontario’s top court has upheld a lower court ruling that federal inmates should be compensated for time spent in solitary confinement. A three-member appellate panel agreed that placement in solitary can cause physical and mental harm within a few days and endorsed $40-million in damages awarded in two class-action cases last year. The judgment adds to a growing stack of court decisions that have rendered as unconstitutional the practice of confining inmates to parking-space-sized cells for upward of 22 hours a day. “The Court of Appeal is again taking serious issue with Canada’s conduct over the past couple of decades,” said James Sayce, who argued the case for representative plaintiffs Christopher Brazeau and David Kift. “This is the third time a Canadian appellate court has come to this conclusion. Each and every one of these judges is finding serious, unconstitutional conduct.” That consensus will face a final test later this year when the Supreme Court hears two federal government appeals in cases that struck down sections of the legislation governing solitary confinement and set a 15-day limit on the amount of time an inmate can spend in isolation…
Transport Canada test pilots posed questions about Boeing’s 737 Max as early as 2016 but they weren’t answered and airworthiness certification went ahead, CBC News, Mar 12, 2020 read also: report in Globe and Mail, Mar 12, 2020
Mining industry conference went ahead in Toronto on March 2, 3 despite warnings; one participant was an Ontario gov’t employee and he has tested positive for coronavirus, sparking closure of Laurentian University, Postmedia, Mar 11, 2020 and read: report by CBC News, Mar 10, 2020. [The employee’s illness has sparked the closure of Laurentian University in Sudbury, where Ontario’s Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines is located. Some 100 people from the university attended the industry conference in Toronto, attended by some 23,000 people. Those attending included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.]
Public health researchers warn the coronavirus could infect 35 to 70 per cent of Canadians, medical workers warn the country is not prepared, by Sharon Kirkey, National Post, Mar 9, 2020 If there is a pandemic, makeshift hospitals and quarantine centres could be needed to shore up a health system that has virtually no give, experts say …“We have scenarios where there are more people requiring ICU beds than there are acute care beds (all hospital beds) in Ontario at peak,” said Dr. David Fisman, a professor in the division of epidemiology at the University of Toronto. “We see in Italy that G7 countries can have total collapse of health systems under the strain of this, even early in the epidemic.”…
Related: Health officials in British Columbia advise keeping cruise ships away, by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Mar 9, 2020 …The cruise ship season is currently slated to begin April 2 in Vancouver and April 3 in Victoria. Ironically, the first vessel on the schedule was to be the Grand Princess, now stranded in California because of a virus outbreak. About a dozen ships are scheduled to visit Vancouver in the first month and a number of those would stop in Victoria as well. Together they could be carrying more than 40,000 passengers and crew…
[The three holy grails of Vancouver region’s ecology-wrecking economy are building and highway expansion, related real estate trading, and tourism. The BC government can be expected to resist any advice from public health officials that touches the holy grail of tourism.]
Can we fix Toronto’s transportation gridlock by 2030? With an expected population of 8 million, experts say it’s already too late, by Ben Spurr, transportation reporter, Toronto Star, Mar 5, 2020 …The Regional Transportation Plan published in 2018 by Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, provides sobering reading. The report assessed the impact of dramatically expanding the region’s rapid transit network, taking into account dozens of planned projects including well-advanced initiatives like the introduction of 15-minute, all-day GO Transit service and the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, potential future projects like a Waterfront LRT and an extension of the Finch LRT to Pearson airport, and less expensive measures like priority bus and streetcar corridors. It concluded that if such an enhanced rapid transit network was in place — far from a certainty given the region’s tumultuous transit politics and the level of investment required — by 2041 just 14.7 per cent of residents would commute by public transit. That’s an increase of only 0.5 per cent from 14.2 per cent in 2011…
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate bails on ‘Energie Saguenay’ liquefied natural gas project in Quebec. Report by CBC News, Mar 5, 2020 [The $14 billion (and counting) ‘Energie Saguenay’ liquefied natural gas project in the Saguenay region of Quebec is every bit as crazed as its counterpart being built in Kitimat BC. Construction of the BC project’s east-west ‘Coastal GasLink’ fracked gas pipeline, 700 km long, has sparked the land rights struggle of the Wet’suwet’en people. In the Quebec case, it would transport natural gas some 4,000 kilometers from Alberta, using an existing gas pipeline and requiring construction of a new, 800 km pipeline section (‘Gazoduc’) across north-central Ontario and Quebec. Pro-industry voices in Canada are blaming the solidarity movement in support of the Wet’suwet’en for creating an unfriendly business environment for major fossil fuel investments. But unfortunately, awareness and outrage over the global warming emergency is not the reason why fossil fuel investors are pulling back from Canada. Berkshire Hathaway is already a major investor in the Alberta tar sands. The reason for the Gazoduc decision is the continued, global slump in fossil fuel prices. See the news item immediately below.]
Oil consumption to fall by largest volume on record, dealing fresh blow to Canada’s oil/tar sands industry. Report by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post (Postmedia), Mar 4, 2020 As coronavirus brings the world’s economy to a grinding halt, global oil demand is expected to decline by the largest volume in recorded history in the first quarter, dealing another blow to fiscally vulnerable Canadian oil producers…
Ten per cent of active and abandoned oil and gas wells in northeastern British Columbia are leaking, by Romain Chesnaux (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi), published in The Conversation, Mar 3, 2020 …We found that almost 11 per cent of all oil and gas wells had a reported leak, together releasing 14,000 cubic metres of methane per day. This is more than double the leakage rate of 4.6 per cent in Alberta, which may have less stringent testing and reporting requirements…
Lawyer for victims of railway accidents and union of railway workers call for federal government to disband the private police forces of Canada’s railway duopoly. Report by CBC News, Mar 6, 2020
Bernie Sanders’ ‘Medicare for all’ plan isn’t Canadian-style, it’s much more radical, by Sean Speers, social conservatism columnist, National Post, Mar 6, 2020 …Canada’s medicare model provides compulsory, single-payer coverage for roughly 45 per cent of health-care expenditures. It relies on a mix of employer-provided insurance, targeted public spending on the poor and elderly, and out-of-pocket spending to cover the other 55 per cent …Total health-care spending in Canada in 2019 was $264.4 billion; the public share was about $184 billion. A Sanders-style approach in Canada would thus bring about $80 billion in annual private spending on to government balance sheets…
Ford government in Ontario stands by its 2018 changes cutting paid sick days and demanding doctor notes for sick days, by Rob Ferguson, Toronto Star, Mar 3, 2020 [In November 2018, the Ontario gov’t ignored the near-unanimous advice of medical practitioners and health experts and rolled back the two paid sick days enacted by the previous Liberal government and reimposed the right of employers to demand sick notes. It also canceled a legislated hike in the minimum wage from $14 to $15.]
* As coronovirus looms, Ontario gov’t cuts to paid sick days looms anew, by Martin Regg Cohen, columnist, Toronto Star, Mar 2, 2020
* Health care workers stage rally calling on Doug Ford government to reinstate paid sick days, CBC News, Nov 18, 2019
Ottawa’s offer to recognize Wet’suwet’en land rights could be a game-changer for Canada. Here’s how, by Alex Ballingall, Toronto Star, Mar 3, 2020 The government has long said an important element of its reconciliation agenda is the recognition of land rights and title for all Indigenous nations that wish to pursue them. But what does that actually mean for the relationship between First Nations and [Canada]…
Related: Ottawa’s offer to recognize Wet’suwet’en land rights was not conditional on an end to blockades, by Alex Ballingall, Toronto Star, Mar 2, 2020