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, June 2020
Toronto city council majority follows mayor’s lead, votes 16-8 against cuts to police budget, CBC News, June 29, 2020 read also: report in Toronto Star, June 29, 2020
[The city council meeting on June 29 did vote in favour of installing body cameras on police officers. Sandy Hudson, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto, said the council majority was “disrespectful” in ignoring studies showing that body-worn cameras make police-citizen interactions worse, also in using their meeting to commend the police amid protests and promising to do things they’ve promised and failed to do before. “The level of discourse is just so shallow,” said Hudson.] Related: Toronto City Council rejects call to eliminate TTC special constables, votes instead to ‘review’ unit, Toronto Star, June 30, 2020 One day after voting down a resolution that would cut the Toronto police budget by 10 per cent, city council rejected a call to have the TTC look into eliminating its special constables…
* Chief of Vancouver police, who’s also head of the Canadian Police Federation, says there is no systemic racism in Canadian policing, Vancouver Sun, June 26, 2020
* Canadian media has failed Black people, by Sandy Hudson, published in Passage online magazine (Toronto), June 18, 2020
* Defunding police is a necessary first step toward abolition, by Jon Milton, published in Passage, June 16, 2020
Testing blitz in Ontario’s agricultural region reveals grim Covid-19 case numbers, Toronto Star, June 29, 2020 COVID-19 has exploded among agri-farm workers outside Windsor, with almost 200 new cases on the weekend and public health units from London and elsewhere sending staff to help control the outbreaks. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 87 more cases in farm workers Monday on top of 96 the previous day — both highs for the region and all at the same operation, which officials would not identify. “It’s unprecedented. Nobody was expecting this high number,” medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed told a news conference Monday. The cases accounted for almost 70 per cent of the 257 new infections reported Monday across Ontario by the Ministry of Health. It was a 44 per cent increase in infections from the previous day at a time when new cases have mostly been limited to fewer than 200 daily…
[Following the Covid-19 massacres in elderly care homes in Ontario (1,809 deaths to date), the pandemic is now revealing insights into the living and working conditions for migrant agricultural workers in Canada’s most populated province. They are already toiling for the minimum wage while the law prohibits organizing into a union; now their working conditions have become life threatening. Conservative Party Premier Doug Ford is putting on his best ‘I’m concerned’ face. But it was way back in 1995 that an earlier Conservative Party government passed a law prohibiting farmworkers from organizing into a union. The law was passed precisely to permit the hyper-exploitive working conditions that are now causing illness and death from Covid-19.] Related: Ontario tops Canadian provinces for new Covid-19 cases with agricultural areas leading the numbers, Toronto Star, June 29, 2020
Canada’s lost months: When COVID-19’s first wave hit, governments and health officials were scattered and slow to act, feature report by Robyn Doolittle, Michelle Carbert and Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail, June 26, 2020 Read the report here in pdf format: Canada’s lost months with Covid-19 ‘With the news on January 25 that Canada’s first Covid-19 case had arrived, public health officials across the country held news conferences to reassure the public that things were under control and that the risk of an outbreak in Canada was low.’
[This Globe and Mail report is the first, lengthy report in Canadian media (corporate and ‘alternative’ alike) to document the criminal negligence of Canada’s official response to the Covid-19 pandemic.]
COVID-19 ‘reopening’ plans in British Columbia continue to put Indigenous people at risk, commentary by Joe Alphonse (Tribal Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government), Judith Sayers (president of Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council) and Marilyn Slett (Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council), published in Globe and Mail June 27, 2020
Related: How health authorities in British Columbia are undermining Indigenous governments, commentary by Roxanne Robinson (Chief Councillor of Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation), Danielle Shaw (Chief Councillor of Wuikinuxv Nation), Marilyn Slett (Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council) and Wally Webber (Chief Councillor of Nuxalk Nation), published in Globe and Mail, May 8, 2020
Ontario sees jump in migrant farm workers with COVID-19, Globe and Mail, June 28, 2020 …Ontario’s June 28 update means there are now more than 800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among migrant farm workers in Ontario, with more than half in the Windsor area, according to a Globe and Mail count. Health officials have stressed the workers arrived healthy [from Mexico] and contracted the coronavirus locally. Three have died…
Hours-long lines for COVID-19 testing in Kingston, Ont. following ‘reopening’ outbreak at nail salon where six staff as well as health care workers and prison guards who were customers have tested positive. Report on CBC News, June 27, 2020 The medical officer of health for Kingston and the surrounding area is asking the 500 customers who have visited Binh’s Nail and Spa since it ‘reopened’ two weeks ago to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Canada’s state broadcaster and Globe and Mail daily cite war criminal John Bolton as authority in claiming that Meng Wanzhou’s detention and the attempt to railroad her into the U.S. prison gulag is ‘not political’. Interview with John Bolton on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, June 26, 2020, and report in Globe and Mail, by lead writers Robert Fife and Steven Chase, June 27, 2020 …In an interview on CBC on June 26, Bolton said, “This was not anything directed in an anti-China mode, or even anti-Huawei for that matter, although I do think Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese state”…
State broadcaster CBC interviews convicted financial criminal Bill Browder as expert on ‘Putin’s Russia‘. [The interview was broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘Day Six’ program on June 27, 2020. It follows by one week a risible, book-length essay on the same topic in the Globe and Mail by its ‘senior international correspondent’ and leading anti-Russia writer Mark MacKinnon. Among the many unfounded and undocumented claims by MacKinnon in his essay is the oddball claim that Vladimir Putin’s political and personal history is so hidden that he has earned the nickname ‘Man From Nowhere’. It seems the Globe writer is unaware of an online entity called ‘Wikipedia’. See the lengthy entry for Vladimir Putin on Wikipedia here.]
Quebec gov’t balked and successfully blocked use of term ‘systemic racism’ in statement issued by federal and and provincial governments promising ‘action’ against racism, Globe and Mail, June 26, 2020
* Dafonte Miller’s supporters call ruling for Toronto cop ‘appalling,’ but not surprising, Toronto Star, June 26, 2020
Background: Toronto police officer found guilty of off-duty assault of Dafonte Miller in Dec 2016, judge finds, Global News, June 26, 2020 and read: report in Toronto Star, June 26, 2020
* Chief of Vancouver police, who’s also head of the Canadian Police Federation, says there is no systemic racism in Canadian policing, Vancouver Sun, June 26, 2020 …”Just because of something that four cops did down in Minneapolis…it’s everywhere. We see people jumping on this train, that ‘policing is broken and has to be fixed and police are violent and police don’t have proper training and police are racist’… I’m not going to be one of these police leaders that’s saying that there’s systemic racism in the VPD, because I don’t buy it. And actually, I find it offensive to even suggest that,” Adam Palmer said…
Background: Calls to Vancouver police over mental health issues have doubled in past decade, Vancouver Sun, June 26, 2020, June 26, 2020 and: Vancouver police chief defends handcuffing of Indigenous man and granddaughter accused of ‘bank fraud’ while they attempted to open a bank account for her, CBC News, Jan 10, 2020
Editors of Globe and Mail daily hit back against calls to negotiate release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from prison in China, saying Chinese gov’t is ‘behaving like terrorists’. [The Globe and Mail daily penned a hard-hitting editorial on June 25 countering the growing crescendo of calls on the Canadian government to negotiate the release of two Canadian intelligence officers–Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig–held in prison in China on charges of spying for the past 18 months. Just before their detention, the Canadian government joined the Trump regime’s efforts to railroad Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou into the U.S. prison gulag under accusations of ‘violating’ the illegal U.S. sanctions against Iran. The government detained her on Dec 1, 2018 and initiated deportation proceedings. Editorialists, columnists and and commentators in corporate and state media in Canada have supported that effort, though Canada’s state broadcaster typically distorts reality by reporting that the Canadian government is ‘caught between’ the two competing powers.]
Proportion of COVID-19 deaths in long-term care homes in Canada is the worst among the wealthy imperialist countries. Report by Canadian Press, June 25, 2020
Related: Eighty one per cent of COVID-19 deaths in Canada were in long-term care, nearly double OECD average, Globe and Mail, June 25, 2020 [The criminals who were in power during the past three decades and set the stage for the Covid-19 massacre in nursing homes by privatizing and cutting health care and seniors’ care spending are all walking free and laughing at the spectacle. The most notorious of these is former Ontario premier Mike Harris, 1995-2002 (and here). He is today the head of Chartwell Industries, the company that is among the highest corporate killers of seniors.].
* Forty three per cent of coronavirus deaths in U.S. are linked to nursing homes, New York Times, June 27, 2020
Uncovering Canadian media’s devastating pro-Israel bias, by Davide Mastracci, published in Passage, June 23, 2020 (Davide Mastracci is a founding editor in Toronto of the recently launched Passage online magazine.)
Woman in Nanimo BC assaulted by RCMP during ‘wellness check’, leaving her with broken nose and tooth, CBC News, June 25, 2020
Related: Judge to rule on police assault in Toronto region against Dafonte Miller in December 2016 that cost him an eye, Toronto Star, June 25, 2020
BC Supreme Court issues schedule for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case, next hearing in August; Federal Court of Canada will hear arguments in July and August on related matters, Canadian Press, June 23, 2020 read also: Extradition hearing in BC court for Meng Wanzhou to start in August, Globe and Mail, June 23, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: Extradition hearing Meng Wanzhou
* Liberal (large and small ‘l’) dissenters pen open letter urging Canadian government to cease detention and deportation proceedings against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Report in CBC News, June 24, 2020
* Father of Michael Kovrig, detained in China, says Ottawa must do everything in its power to free his son, report in Globe and Mail, June 23, 2020 ‘I urge the government to live up to its obligations,’ says Bennett Kovrig, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Toronto. ‘Failure to act now is tantamount to a historic betrayal.’ …Canada’s Extradition Act gives Justice Minister David Lametti the power to end the extradition proceedings against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou “at any time”. If he does so, “the court shall discharge the person”, according to the act. Several prominent Canadians, including former justice minister Allan Rock and former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour, have argued Ottawa must consider intervening. Michael Kovrig’s family now says it’s time for Ottawa to consider using that power…
* Ex-spouse of one of two Canadian intelligence officers detained in China under charges of spying says Canadian gov’t should act to ‘bring them home. Report by CBC News, June 22, 2020.
* Ottawa has the authority to free Meng Wanzhou now, former justice minister, Supreme Court justice say, by Sean Fine, justice reporter, Globe and Mail, June 22, 2020 Read the article here in pdf format: Ottawa has the authority to free Meng Wanzhou
* Bowing to Beijing [sic] would put ‘an awful lot more Canadians’ at risk, says Trudeau, Canadian Press, June 25, 2020
* Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers accuse U.S. of misleading court in extradition case, CBC News, June 15, 2020
* Canada’s spy agency CSIS predicted Meng Wanzhou’s arrest would cause ‘shock waves’ and trouble for Canada, court documents reveal, CBC News, June 12, 2020
[Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were formally charged in China last week with spying, having been arrested and detained in China since December 2018. On Dec 1, 2018, acting on a request from the Trump regime in Washington, the Canadian government placed Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou under house arrest in Vancouver and initiated deportation proceedings against her into the U.S. prison gulag. The U.S. falsely accuses the Huawei executive of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran more than ten years ago; those sanctions are arbitrary and have no international legal standing. Globe and Mail editors and lead writers, as well as those at the state broadcaster CBC, have been pushing hard for the past 18 months for Canada to stay committed to the new cold war against China, spearheaded by the Trump regime in Washington. This includes ongoing agitation for the Canadian government to carry through the deportation of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou into the U.S. prison gulag. CBC, in particular, routinely portrays the Canadian government as ‘caught in the middle’ of a dispute between the Chinese and U.S. governments.]
Speechwriter for Alberta premier Jason Kenney called residential schools a ‘bogus genocide story’ in 2013 article, CBC News, June 25, 2020 Paul Bunner penned a column titled ‘The ‘Genocide’ That Failed’ for the online magazine ‘C2C Journal’ in 2013. He was a speechwriter for prime minister Stephen Harper from 2006 to 2009 and was hired by Kenney last spring. In at least one interview since, Bunner has stood by the column.
Nursing student Mona Wang is suing RCMP after she was brutalized by a female officer in Kelowna BC responding to a ‘wellness check’ into her, Vancouver Sun, June 23, 2020 The student’s ordeal at the hands of the RCMP as she was suffering mental distress was captured on video.
Related: As long as police with weapons respond to mental-health calls, people will die, by Robyn Urback, columnist, Globe and Mail, June 23, 2020 At least five Canadians have died at the hands of police during mental-health crises over the past two months.
Civil liberties watchdog warns of ‘ugly ticketing pandemic’ during COVID-19 outbreak, by Robert Benzie, Toronto Star, June 23, 2020
* Covid-19 law enforcement in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia slammed by new report, press release by Canadian Civil Liberties Association, June 23, 2020 The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project have released a new report entitled ‘Stay off the Grass: COVID-19 and Law Enforcement in Canada’. The report examines Canada’s use of law enforcement and coercive fines during the COVID-19 pandemic… Read the 44-page report here.
* Rights in Canada During Covid-19: Interim Report on COVID’s First Wave, report by Canadian Civil Liberties Association, issued on June 19, 2020 Read the 44-page report here.
(The Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project was launched on April 4, 2020 to track and visualize the expansion of police power across Canada in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The project aims to bring to light COVID-19 related patterns of police intervention to help understand who is being targeted, what justifications are being used by police, and how marginalized people in particular are being impacted.)
Racism against Chinese-Canadians now commonplace during pandemic, survey finds, by Wanyee Li, Vancouver bureau, Toronto Star, June 21, 2020
Related: Chinese Canadians reveal their experiences with racism during COVID-19, poll published by Angus Reid Institute and University of Alberta, June 22, 2020 …COVID-19 indiscriminately touches all people. But it has brought another kind of virus – one that does discriminate – to the doorsteps of only some Canadians. That virus is racism. Across the country, assaults, verbal threats, graffiti and worse – all directed at people of Chinese (and other East Asian) descent – have been reported since the pandemic was declared…
[This poll has failed to analyze how the Canadian government’s detention of Huawei CEO Meng Wanzhou and the related anti-China propaganda by politicians and corporate and state media in Canada are contributing to anti-Asian racism. The government is working hand in glove with the racist Trump regime in Washington to deport Meng Wanzhou into the U.S. prison gulag. The pretext for the deportaton threat is the unproven claim that years ago, Huawei violated U.S. sanctions against Iran. Those sanctions are illegal under int’l law.]
Canada’s military gave 2,012 assault rifles to 68 police forces in 2016, other ‘gifts’ have been passed along since then, The Tyee, June 23, 2020
An inside look at Scotlynn Growers industrial farm in southwest Ontario. It has a long history of safety complaints and a third migrant worker has died there from Covid-19, investigative report by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, Toronto Star, June 23, 2020 More than 600 migrant workers in Canada have been diagnosed with COVID-19, on farms and in meatpacking plants. Three farmworkers have died in Ontario. In that province, it is illegal for farmworkers to join a union.
Killer who murdered 22 people in Nova Scotia on a shooting rampage April 18/19 has ‘all the hallmarks’ of someone who was working as an RCMP agent when something went terribly wrong, special report in Maclean’s Magazine, June 19, 2020
* Time for real answers on the Nova Scotia mass murder, editorial commentary by Paul Wells, Maclean’s Magazine, June 20, 2020 [The Nova Scotia and Canadian governments have been conspiring to delay a full public inquiry.] * Families’ proposed class action lawsuit alleges that RCMP and Nova Scotia gov’t failed to protect loved ones in N.S. mass shooting, CTV News, June 17, 2020
Police in Peel region of Toronto break into home of frail 65 year-old man during ‘wellness’ check, shoot him dead five times. Report by CBC News, June 21, 2020 (read also: report by Global News, June 20, 2020) [Ejiz Ahmed Choudry was married with four children. He was originally from Pakistan. Three police entered his apartment from a balcony, kicking down the door. Choudry’s killing by police will be investigated by… police–Ontario’s ‘Special Investigations Unit’.]
First Nations grand chief and First Nations member of Ontario legislature call for immediate closing of provincial jail in Thunder Bay. Report in Globe and Mail, June 19, 2020 [Alarms have sounded again following another death of a First Nations prisoner at Thunder Bay jail in early June. There have been seven such deaths at the prison since 2002. Thunder Bay District Jail became infamous earlier in 2020 after revelations that Adam Capay (Wikipedia), a young First Nations man, was held there in solitary confinement for more than four years.]
After 100 days of ‘war’ against COVID-19, it’s clear that governments in Canada have lost, by Chris Selley, columnist, National Post, June 18, 2020 …At 2,226 cases and 173 deaths per million population, Ontario is 40 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, above average for the total OECD population… This is bad, but it’s nothing compared with Quebec: At 6,326 cases per million, Quebec’s record is worse than any OECD country save Luxembourg, the United States and Chile; at 621 deaths per million, it’s tied with the United Kingdom and worse only than Belgium…
[This columnist in the conservative National Post is one of the few journalists in Canada to pen objective assessments of Canada’s pandemic response. Liberal and left-wing writers and publications are all but silent.]
Statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister overseeing the country’s genocidal settling of western Canada, defaced overnight in Charlottetown, CBC News, June 20, 2020
Globe and Mail editors go over the top in their anti-Russia drive. [Covid-19 has stricken more than 100,000 Canadians and killed 8,400 as of June 20. The closest ally of Canada’s corporate and political–the Trump-led United States–is dragging the world into unfathomable dangers due to the SARS-CoV-2 emergency and a renewal fo the nuclear arms race. But the editors of the Globe and Mail daily choose to feature in their edition of Saturday, June 20 a four-page feature article by their renowned, anti-Russia writer Mark MacKinnon titled ‘Vladimir Putin’s War of Fog’. The article begins with a rehash of the writer’s 2014 argument that the right-wing coup in Ukraine in February 2014 sparked a ‘takeover’ of Crimea by the Russian government and military. The entire front page of the June 20 edition, headlined ‘The Chaos Agent’, features a stern image of Russian president Vladimir Putin.]
Canada loses its bid for a two-year seat on the UN Security Council, CBC News, June 17, 2020 Norway and Ireland won the two available temporary seats, with 130 and 128 votes respectively. Canada won 108 votes, falling 20 short of the 128 votes (two-thirds of the UN General Assembly) needed to win a spot at the table…
* Canada’s failed bid for election to the UN Security Council is a win for Palestine, press release by the Just Peace Institute, June 17, 2020 “The Trudeau government’s anti-Palestinian voting record at the UN undoubtedly contributed to its failure to gain a seat on the Security Council,” said Karen Rodman of the Just Peace Institute today. “Those who support Palestinian rights should rejoice”…
* Why we oppose Canada’s bid for the UN Security Council, by Hanna Kawas and Marion Kawas, published in Mondoweiss, June 15, 2020 (Hanna Kawas and Marion Kawas are Palestine solidarity activists in Vancouver, Canada.)
* Canada does not deserve a seat at the UN Security Council, by Jonathan Kuttab, Al Jazeera, June 16, 2020 (Jonathan Kuttab is a Palestinian-American attorney specialising in international law.)
[Canada’s state broadcaster the CBC carefully avoided any mention of the word ‘Palestine’ in its first national radio news report on June 17 reporting the Canadian government’s failure to win election to a two-year term on the UN Security Council. Corporate print media is following the same playbook.]
BC health minister orders inquiry into accusations of systemic racism in the province’s hospitals against First Nations people, CBC News, June 19, 2020
Chief medical officer of BC responds to questions about rising drug poisoning deaths in the province but doesn’t mention 2019 recommendation to decriminalize illicit drug injection use.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Chief Medical Officer of British Columbia, responded on June 18 to a reporter’s question on the opioid poisoning epidemic in Canada and British Columbia. The question and response was part of Dr. Henry’s daily update on June 18 on the Covid-19 epidemic in BC. The reporter’s question was narrowly focused on the findings by a report in the Globe and Mail on the same day, June 18, explaining that injured workers receiving workers compensation in British Columbia were becoming addicted to opioid drugs after being prescribed the drug for their pain. Dr. Henry’s response to the reporter was also narrowly focused. The reporter as well as Dr. Henry said nothing about the release one week earlier of the shocking news that in May 2020, British Columbia suffered its worst ever month of opioid poisoning deaths, 170 deaths. That’s three more deaths, in one month, than all the Covid-19 deaths to that date in BC. The two-minute exchange begins at the 27-minute mark of the podcast for June 18.
Dr. Henry is formally in favour of the decriminalization of injection drug use. This was laid out in a report issued by her office in April 2019. But in her daily update on June 11, 2020 in which Dr. Henry spoke to the grim news of the record opioid deaths the previous month, she made no mention of her earlier recommendation for decriminalization. She stated, “It has been particularly hard in these last three months because we had been making such progress [sic] in addressing the many underlying causes of the overdose [drug poisoning] crisis…. We also know there are a number of things we have put in place that were working.” She continued, “Since the Covid has pandemic hit us in British Columbia, there are a number of other things we put in place,” citing the provision of safer, alternative drug supplies to some users in the province. The exchange on the subject lasted nine minutes, at the beginning of the June 11 update. In the first five months of 2020, 554 people have died of opioid drug poisonings in British Columbia. That’s a large increase compared to 457 in the same five months of 2029. (source)
Why Canada exploits temporary foreign workers, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, June 18, 2020
Talks proceed on recognition of Wet’suwet’en rights and title in northern BC while construction of fracked gas pipeline across their territory to feed LNG project on the coast proceeds. By Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, June 18, 2020 Five weeks after signing a landmark deal to recognize Wet’suwet’en rights and title, the provincial and federal governments are now into talks on translating the commitment into legally binding language
Canada’s wealthiest families hold about 25.6% of country’s riches, new report by Parliamentary Budget Office shows, Canadian Press, June 17, 2020 The concentration of wealth among Canada’s richest one per cent is deeper than previously believed, according to a federal government report based on a new modelling approach. The top one per cent of Canada’s families hold about 25.6 per cent of the wealth – roughly $3-trillion – up from 13.7 per cent estimated under previous methodology…
Who investigates complaints about the RCMP? In ‘99.9 per cent’ of cases, it’s the RCMP, Toronto Star, June 17, 2020 …”We’ve got the RCMP investigating RCMP and it’s totally unacceptable,” said Darryl Davies, a criminology professor at Carleton University, who is sharply critical of the federal oversight regime. “Nobody in their right mind today accepts the idea that a police agency is capable, independent and unbiased, yet they are the ones that do the investigations.”…
Following in BC’s footsteps, Ontario gov’t is moving to grant immunity to the elederly care homes in the province that killed nearly 2,000 residents during pandemic. Report by CBC News, June 17, 2020 …British Columbia passed a cabinet order in early April saying any person or corporation “providing an essential service” is not liable for damages resulting from COVID-19 infections. The list of B.C. essential service providers granted immunity extends from front-line health workers to long-term care facilities and grocery stores…
[The immunity measure in Ontario would apply to former Conservative Party premier Mike Harris. He is Chairman of the Board of Chartwell Industries, the largest operator of elderly care homes in Canada.]
Essential but expendable: How Canada failed migrant farm workers, investigative report in Globe and Mail, June 15, 2020 …In Ontario alone, more than 600 foreign farm workers have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Globe and Mail count. Health officials have stressed that, for the most part, the workers came to Canada healthy and contracted the virus locally. British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec have also recorded outbreaks among migrant agri-food workers…
Related: Mexico pauses temporary foreign workers to Canada’s agricultural industry after two COVID-19 deaths at Ontario vegetable farms, CBC News, June 15, 2020 [Mexicans make up about half of the temporary foreign worker population employed in Canada’s agriculture industry. Statistics Canada reports: In 2018, there were nearly 55,000 jobs filled by temporary foreign workers in Canada’s agriculture industry and these accounted for 20 per cent of total employment in the primary agriculture sector. Temporary foreign workers in 2018 came from nearly 100 countries, the majority from Mexico (51%); Guatemala (20%) and Jamaica (18%).] Postscript: Mexican gov’t retreats, says it will permit migrant workers to continue to sign up for work in Canada’s dangerous agriculture industry. Report in CBC News, June 21, 2020
Montreal has turned a blind eye to systemic racism and discrimination in police and the city administration, says report by the city’s public consultation agency, CBC News, June 15, 2020 …The report concludes the city has “neglected” the fight against racism and discrimination and does not recognize the systemic nature of the problem…
Testing and contact tracing are the key to battling Covid-19, but since March, Ontario has used less than 60 per cent of its testing capacity. Report in Toronto Star, June 14, 2020
Canadian troops to leave for Ukraine as military resumes training of that country’s mlitary and associated right-wing militias. Report by Canadian Press, June 14, 2020
Quebec’s police watchdog is called in to investigate police killings of Indigenous people in New Brunswick but has a long record as a toothless agency. Report in Globe and Mail, June 14, 2020 [The police ‘watchdog’ agency of the Quebec government has been tasked to investigate the two recent police killings in New Brunswick because that province has no such agency of its own. The staff of Quebec’s Bureau des enquêtes indépendentes is comprised in its majority of former police officers. It has conducted 167 investigations in Quebec following a serious injury or death of a civilian at the hands of police; none resulted in criminal charges against police. Since April, six Indigenous people in Canada have been killed by police shootings–in New Brunswick, Winnipeg and the northern territory of Nunavut.]
Indigenous leaders outraged as Trans Mountain Pipeline spills 190,000 liters of crude oil in Fraser River watershed near border with Washington state, Common Dreams, June 15, 2020 Indigenous leaders are demanding that the Canadian government immediately halt the ongoing expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline after the leakage of an estimated 50,000 gallons of crude oil at a pump station in British Columbia on June 13 [According to CBC News, this is the 4th crude oil spill in 15 years by the Trans Mountain Pipeline onto the lands of the Sumas First Nation. The pipeline was bought by the Canadian gov’t in May 2018 in order to press forward with a big expansion of its Alberta tar sands carrying capacity, destined for the Port of Vancouver and to processors in northern Washington state.] The pandemic has exposed the precarious economic situation of many Canadian families, analysis in Globe and Mail, June 14, 2020 …Over the past two months, as workplaces closed and millions of Canadians were furloughed or lost their jobs entirely, the precarious economic situation of most Canadian families has come into vivid and troubling relief:
- More than half of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque.
- One-third of households are “asset poor.”
- Ten million workers have no workplace retirement plans.
- The median retirement savings of near-retirement households without pensions is only $3,000.
- Nearly four in 10 Canadians have no retirement savings at all. Household debt is hovering at an all-time high.
On June 12, RCMP in New Brunswick shoot and kill Rodney Levi, a Mi’kmaq man attending a garden party, CTV News, June 13, 2020 and read: Indigenous man fatally shot by RCMP was troubled but not violent, says chief, Canadian Press, June 13, 2020 [This latest killing by police in New Brunswick is, once again, to be investigated… by police. In this case, the toothless police ‘watchdog’ of the Quebec government has been tasked to investigate. (New Brunswick has no ‘watchdog’ agency of its own.) This is the second killing this month of an Indigenous person by police in New Brunswick. On June 4, a lone officer from the Edmundston Police Force shot 26-year-old mother Chantel Moore five times in her home in the middle of the night while doing a ‘wellness check’ on her. In that case also, the police killer alleged he was threatened with a knife.].
First Nations chiefs in British Columbia issue open letter demanding review of justice system after shooting death of 26 year-old Chantel Moore in New Brunswick, Canadian Press, June 6, 2020 …The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in British Columbia has also called for the independent investigation to be conducted in a timely way. The council represents 14 First Nations on the west coast of BC, including the home community of Chantel Moore…
* A report in the Globe and Mail dated June 5, 2020 explains: ‘While there is a lack of reliable data on police-related deaths and race across Canada, a recent access-to-information request revealed that more than one third of people shot to death by RCMP officers between 2007 and 2017 were Indigenous, despite Indigenous people only making up five per cent of the population of Canada.’ The Globe report continues: ‘First Nations leaders in British Columbia issued a statement calling out what they see as systemic failings in Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the British Columbia Union of Indian Chiefs said the federal government has to share some responsibility for Ms. Moore’s death, calling it a “pattern rather than an exception”. Chief Phillip said, “I believe we need to tear down the systems that allow for the pattern to continue.” ‘]
Families of three Black people killed by police in Toronto region are speaking out as police investigate the killings by their own. Report in Toronto Star, June 13, 2020 [28 year-old Jamal Derek Jr. Francique was shot dead by Peel Region police on January 7. The same force killed 26 year-old D’Andre Campbell in his home on April 6. Regis Korchinski-Paquet, 26, fell from her high-rise balcony on May 27 after Toronto city police entered her home.]
Here is what experts see in the beating of Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation by RCMP in northern Alberta outside a casino in the middle of the night on March 10, Toronto Star, June 13, 2020
* Full dashcam video of Chief Allan Adam’s arrest and beating in Fort McMurray, Alberta on March 10, 2020, broadcast by CBC News, June 11, 2020 (12-minute video) and read: news report by CBC, June 11, 2020
* Video of March 2020 arrest and beating in northern Alberta of Indigenous chief Allan Adam shocks Canada, New York Times, June 11, 2020
CEO of Sienna Senior Living, with 37 care homes in Ontario and 292 Covid-19 deaths on her hands, resigns and, walks free. Report by CBC News, June 13, 2020 [According to Toronto Star investigations, 16 of the 20 deadliest Covid-19 outbreaks in care homes in Ontario have occured in for-profit homes. According to shambolic, provincial gov’t records, there have been 1,606 deaths among residents at all long-term care homes in the province. Several decades of government privatizations and cutbacks along with criminal negligence in the operation of homes have caused this carnage. In addition, care workers at the homes have been placed at severe risk. In Canada in 2020, such conduct and outcomes are perfectly legal. Lois Cormack is unlikely to ever see the inside of a courtroom.]
How the Canadian state weaponizes an unjust criminal justice system, commentary by Marie Henein, published in Globe and Mail, June 12, 2020 (Marie Henein is a criminal defense lawyer in Toronto.)
Profound suffering in Downtown Eastside Vancouver continues despite official attempts to relieve it, commentary by Dr. Bill MacEwan and Paul Sullivan, Vancouver Sun, June 12, 2020 (Dr. Bill MacEwan is the former head of psychiatry at St. Paul’s Hospital and is a clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at UBC; Paul Sullivan is a communications consultant and former editor of The Globe and Mail and managing editor of The Vancouver Sun.) …The Downtown Eastside has a population of 20,000 people, of whom 7,000 are low income. Of those, 2,500 suffer untreated, severe mental illness and addiction. A disproportionate percentage of this most-vulnerable population is Indigenous… Further, health workers understand there are approximately 200 to 300 individuals whose mental health issues are too severe to be addressed by the current system… While we need to recognize that some individuals will always need supported care due to head injury, etc., we need to develop a meaningful housing ladder that starts with treatment facilities, leads to supportive housing, and goes on to social housing (defined as affordable to those on income assistance)… Do we really want to wait for more people to die of overdoses and suicides, have poorly treated physical and mental illnesses, and repeatedly go in and out of the criminal justice system before a health care and social support system reaches out to them? … How many major addiction rehabilitation programs have been added in the four years the opioid crisis has been going on? Zero! …
* Judge orders the dismantling of the last of the tent cities in downtown Vancouver, but the 150 or so residents say they have ‘nowhere to go’, Vancouver Sun, June 12, 2020
* Canada’s and British Columbia’s cruel ‘war on drugs’ kills a monthly record of 170 victims in May 2020, Report by CBC News, June 11, 2020 [The lockdowns and disruptions to social services caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have accentuated the cruelty of the ‘policing model’ to manage the opioid drug poisoning epidemic. Political, police and medical officials in Canada and British Columbia are exhibiting their usual handwringing and feigned concern over the deaths caused by their proscription of opioid drugs, which forces users into an increasingly dangerous black market. A large proportion of the victims of this policy are First Nations people. The lives of people addicted to opioids matter, but not in the eyes of the officials of the police/medical industry nexus. For them, the decades-old ‘war on drugs’ remains a pillar of their capitalist order.].
* Experts call for the decriminalization and safe supply of drugs, CBC News, Sept 19, 2019 Health care and addiction specialists say decriminialization is the only way to start saving lives
Vancouver mayor’s big cop-out on policing, The Tyee, June 12, 2020 He heads BC’s largest city and its police board but claims he can’t lead anti-racist change.
* Vancouver Police Board rejects city’s call for one per cent budget cut, asks council to rescind May 13 motion, CTV News, June 6, 2020 [Policing eats up one fifith of the Vancouver municipal budget. Under provincial law, the Vancouver Police Board is accountable to the provincial government, not to elected city councillors. The Board sent a letter to Vancouver City Council on June 2 asserting it would not implement the one per cent cut in funding which city council voted on May 13. The letter asserts, “The police department takes its direction from the [appointed] municipal police board, not the municipal council.”].
RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki backtracks, now says systemic racism does exists in the force she leads, Global News, June 12, 2020
* RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki dodges question of whether there is systemic racism in the police force she leads, Global News, June 10, 2020
* Systemic racism exists in RCMP, Trudeau argues, in answer to RCMP commissioner who says she is ‘struggling’ with the term, CBC News, June 11, 2020
Toronto region police officer who shot 26 year old black man in his home ‘multiple times’ two months ago won’t cooperate with toothless police oversight agency. Report by CBC News, June 11, 2020
Haitian asylum seekers are risking their lives working in Canada’s pandemic, are hoping that’s enough to stay, New York Times, June 12, 2020
New Covid-19 cases are still high in Quebec and Ontario and grocery chains in Canada are earning big profits, but two of the largest chains, Loblaw and Metro, are cancelling their $2 per hour Covid-19 ‘bonus’ to workers, Canadian Press, June 11, 2020 [‘Unionized’ workers at Loblaw and Metro (UFCW and Unifor) work at or just above the risible minimum wage in their respective provinces ($14 per hour in Ontario, $12.50 in Quebec, $14.60 in BC).]
Former police chief and public safety minister Bill Blair rides a public relations wave over policing in Canada. Report in National Post, June 10, 2020 …Speaking exclusively to the National Post, Blair previewed changes coming to civilian oversight of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police… But the minister was light on clear timelines on when his government would be moving on these issues… The RCMP is the single largest police force in the country and maintains a database detailing every time its officers use force in the line of duty. But it has consistently refused to release information from that database. The RCMP also confirmed that the database does not collect the race or Indigenous identity of the citizens who were on the other end of the firearm, taser, pepper spray, or physical restraint… Blair is also the minister responsible for Canada’s federal corrections system. He has refused calls to release at-risk, non-violent inmates… During the pandemic, Correctional Services Canada has aggressively used segregation to house sick inmates, often locking them in tiny cells for 23 hours a day. Asked whether those measures were appropriate, given courts in two provinces have called the practice of solitary confinement unconstitutional, Blair said he was comfortable with how Correctional Services handled the situation…
Petition asks city of Toronto to rename major street honoring pro-slavery advocate in Scotland at the turn of the 19th century, Toronto Star, June 10, 2020 [Henry Dundas, born 1742 and a former British secretary of war during the long war against France, never set foot in Canada but was friends with John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from 1791-96. Simcoe named numerous streets and a town after Dundas in southern Ontario. Captain George Vancouver named a island on the BC coast after Dundas. A movement is afoot in Edinburgh, Scotland to remove one of the most prominent memorials in the city, the 150-foot high ‘Melville Monument’ at St Andrew Square in the heart of New Town erected in commemoration to Dundas.]
While paying lip service to anti-racism, Ontario gov’t is systemically dismantling judicial tribunals responsible for upholding citizen rights, by Martin Regg-Cohen, Toronto Star, June 10, 2020
Related: Quebec premier François Legault sticks to position that systemic racism doesn’t exist in the province, The Canadian Press, June 8, 2020
Migrant workers call for permanent resident status in shocking new report on abuses, press release by Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (Ontario), published on its website, June 8, 2020 [The 28-page report is titled ‘Unheeded warnings – COVID-19 and migrant workers in Canada’. You can find the report at the weblink above, or you can read or download it here.].
* Migrant Worker Health Project is launched by health professionals in Ontario to advocate for agricultural workers. Website here, see June 11, 2020 news report in Toronto Star here
* Testing center for Covid-19 assessment for migrant workers opens in Leamington, southwest Ontario after the deaths of two workers, CBC News, June 8, 2020 As migrant workers plead for a safer work environment in Canada, a new COVID-19 assessment centre where health-care workers will swab, test and provide care for about 8,000 workers in the region is opening its doors in Leamington… This past weekend, a 24-year-old migrant worker, Rogelio Muñoz Santos, died from COVID-19. One week earlier, a 31-year-old worker also from Mexico, Bonifacio Eugenio-Romero, died from the disease…
Ottawa provides financial aid to giant, U.S.-owned manufacturer of armoured vehicles sold to Saudi Arabia. Globe and Mail, June 8, 2020 The federal government tapped the seldom-used ‘Canada Account’ at Ottawa’s export-financing agency in autumn 2019 to extend $650-million of loans to General Dynamics, the giant U.S. military contractor building combat vehicles in London, Ontario for Saudi Arabia… [The ‘repayable’ loans were prompted by the failure of the Saudi regime to make payments on $4 billion of ‘light armoured vehicles’ it has purchased from General Dynamics. The vehicle purchases require Canadian government approval due to ‘human rights’ guidelines. New purchases were temporarily suspended in November 2018 as Ottawa maneuvered in response to public outrage over news that the vehicles are being used to suppress protest in Saudi Arabia and wage a barbaric war in Yemen. According to the Globe and Mail, the Canada Account is used by Ottawa to authorize loans and subsidies deemed to be in the country’s ‘national interest’ but also considered riskier than those provided by Ottawa’s Export Development Corporation. The Canada Account has been used in the past to subsidize industries in the fossil fuel nexus, including the auto industry in Ontario, the Davie Shipyards military shipbuilder in Quebec and civilian aircraft manufacturers. It was used for the federal government purchase of the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in May 2018.]
Unpaid sick days stills ails Ontario premier’s Covid-19 ‘recovery’ plan, by Martin Regg Cohn, columnist, Toronto Star, June 8, 2020 [Upon election in 2017, the Conservative Party government of Premier Doug Ford cancelled a series of income support programs for low-paid workers, including a $1 per hour increase in the minimum wage, a minimum income pilot program, pharmacare for youth and seniors, a miserly two sick days per years of sick pay. Despite all of this and more, corporate media treats Ford’s Covid-19 public relations efforts as evidence of a compassionate leader.]
Motion to defund Toronto police by ten per cent heading to city council for vote at end-June, Toronto Star, June 8, 2020 …The motion by Councillor Josh Matlow, seconded by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, comes as Toronto city council members are being inundated with demands from residents to defund the police…
* Toronto board of health votes unanimously to recognize anti-Black racism a public health crisis, Toronto Star, June 8, 2020 and read: report by CBC News, June 8, 2020
* Police violence and COVID-19 fuel a push to declare anti-Black racism a public health crisis, Toronto Star, June 7, 2020 …Safia Ahmed, executive director of the Rexdale Community Health Centre, pointed to recently released Toronto Public Health data showing that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting racialized neighbourhoods in the city. Ontario has yet to begin collecting race-based and socioeconomic data that could reveal the depths of these health inequities, a month after saying it would… [Canada’s national statistics agency also has a policy to not collect race-based and socio-economic data.].
* Calls to equip police with body cameras are another case of deferred accountability, op-ed commentary by Phillip Dwight-Morgan, Toronto Star, June 8, 2020 (Phillip Dwight Morgan is a Canadian writer of Jamaican heritage.) …If Police Chief Mark Saunders and Mayor John Tory were truly listening to protestors, they would be hearing chants of ‘Justice for Regis’, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Defund the police’ at protests. There are not, to the best of my knowledge, any crescendos of ‘Body cameras now!’.
* Toronto police chief announces resignation, CBC News, June 8, 2020
Tens of thousands of Montrealers take to the streets on June 7 to fight racism. Report by Montreal Gazette (Postmedia), June 8, 2020 …Several times during the march, people paused to take a knee and hold a moment of silence for Floyd and all other victims of police brutality. A list of Quebec victims included two dozen names — Anthony Griffin, Fredy Villanueva, and Bony Jean-Pierre among them — and ended with a prayer for “all the men and women whose names are unknown.” …
Related: Report on June 7 anti-racism rally and march in Montreal, published in Mtl Blog, June 7, 2020
[Corporate and state media in Quebec report that ‘thousands’ took part in the anti-racism march in Montreal on June 7. But alternative media reported that the similar march one week earlier was attended by ‘50,000’ people and this latest march was larger. Such are the censoring ways of corporate media in Canada when it comes to reporting on the anti-racism, anti-police brutality rallies taking place all across Canada. The absence of accurate reporting in corporate media is worsened by the barren, alternative media landscape in the country.]
The police riot at the G20 summit in Toronto in June 2010 remains a wound and a sign that police reform is critical in a post-COVID world. By Shawn Micallef, contributing columnist, Toronto Star, June 8, 2020 [The police chief who oversaw the 2010 police riot in Toronto was elected to the Canadian Parliament in the 2015 election. He was re-elected in 2019 and several months later was appointed Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Wikipedia.].
Related: Trudeau breaks his silence, says he agrees to equip police in Canada with body-cameras, The Canadian Press, June 8, 2020 [‘Body cameras’ and other public relations efforts long in place in the U.S. will multiply in Canada in the coming days and weeks as governments scramble to deflect growing calls to defund (abolish) existing police forces.]
Ontario’s for-profit nursing homes have significantly higher rates of COVID-19 deaths but 17 per cent fewer workers, Toronto Star, June 7, 2020 The Star’s analysis is based on pre-pandemic staffing levels …Previous reporting by the Star has found significantly higher rates of COVID-19 infection and death in for-profit nursing homes compared to non-profit and municipal homes, and also that municipal homes pay higher wages and benefits to workers, leading to better staff retention…
The ‘watchdog’ agency over RCMP misconduct keeps its work under wraps. Report by CBC News, June 6, 2020 The RCMP continues to mull over a number of high-profile investigations completed by its watchdog body involving allegations of Mountie misbehaviour — ultimately stalling their release and raising questions about the effectiveness of public oversight…
RCMP officer removed from Nunavut community after video surfaces of he and fellow officers bludgeoning a young Inuk man on the streets near midnight June 1, CBC News, June 3, 2020
Related: Young Inuk man who was bludgeoned and arrested by RCMP in village of Kinngait, Nunavut (population 1,500) is badly beaten in jail and taken to hospital, report in Globe and Mail, June 3, 2020 …The victim, whom the Globe is not identifying, was not taken immediately to a health centre [following the jail cell assault against him), according to the document obtained by the Globe. He was “eventually removed from cells when sober.” His right eye was swollen shut, he had heavy bruising around his orbital bone and blood on or in his ear drum, according to nursing staff cited in the document. The Globe has been unable to reach him for comment…
Winnipeg police killed three Indigenous people in ten days in April, Vice News, Apr 22, 2020
* Northern Alberta First Nations chief alleges he was beaten by RCMP officers in Fort McMurray on March 11, Global News, June 6, 2020
* Video of Kelowna RCMP arrest shows three arresting officers punching suspect at least ten times, CBC News, June 3, 2020
* Edmonton man says police used knee-on-neck restraint on him during 2018 arrest, CBC News, June 4, 2020 [According to CBC Radio One news on June 4, the arresting officer was disciplied for his use of profanity against the arrested victim but not for his use of the knee-on-neck restraint.]
Defunding the police isn’t radical. It’s so lucid it’s a wonder it took a movement to catch on, by Calum Marsh, arts columnist, National Post (Canada), June 5, 2020
* The answer to police violence is not ‘reform’. It’s defunding. Here’s why, by Alex Vitale, commentary in The Guardian, May 31, 2020 (Alex Vitale is professor of sociology and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and the author of The End of Policing.) [Oddly, this otherwise informative commentary makes no mention of the decades-old ‘war on drugs’ waged by successive governments in the United States and their associated police agencies, courts and prison gulag. The U.S. ‘war on drugs’ has been aped for decades by its imperialist allies in NATO and the ‘Five Eyes’ spying alliance and by subordinate governments and corporate elites in such drug-producing countries as Colombia and Mexico.] * Justin Trudeau takes a knee at anti-racism protest in Ottawa but is silent on reforms to policing, The Guardian, June 5, 2020 …Activists point out that Canada has its own problems with race and policing: black residents of Toronto are 20 times as likely to be shot dead as white residents…
State-sponsored racism: ‘Only in the U.S.’, you say? [Liberal newspaper columnists and editors in Canada say they are positively shocked by the violence and racism of their foreign policy ally Donald Trump and his governing regime. Yet, has there been a single threat and declaration by the Trump regime against a declared foreign enemy that the Canadian government and its allied media did not rally behind? Venezuela, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea… the list is long. Meanwhile, here are headlines from the Globe and Mail print daily on June 3, 2020:
- RCMP officer in Nunavut faces investigation after he and four cohorts bludgeon an apparently intoxicated First Nations man late at night
- Trudeau government continues to stall on 2017 recommendations by UN Human Rights Council to redress Canada’s history of anti-Black slavery
- Ottawa under fire for delaying action plan proposed one year ago by the National Inquiry Into Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Within days of ending his seven-year run as governor of Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz joins board of directors of Enbridge Inc, North America’s largest fossil fuels pipeline operator, CBC News, June 5, 2020
Two systems were promised, but so was one country when China assumed control of Hong Kong in 1997, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, June 4, 2020 Read the column here in pdf format: Hong Kong’s new national security law [This column is a rare departure from the anti-China propaganda and threats that dominate corporate and state media in Canada and are also present in alternative media. Astute consumers of this media will note, as columnist Thomas Walkom writes, “The details of the proposed [national security] law in Hong Kong have yet to be revealed…” The column provides facts about the political and constitutional history and situation in Hong Kong. Novel approach!]
Is it safe to reopen Ontario right now?, investigative report, with charts, by Toronto Star, Jun3 2, 2020 As the Ford government makes plans for a regional reopening of Ontario’s economy, the latest COVID-19 case numbers from across the province suggest we may be already feeling the effects of loosened restrictions. On a day when the province once again fell short of reaching capacity of 20,000 COVID-19 tests, the number of new reported cases of the virus in Ontario on June 1 was 458 [of which 270 were in the greater Toronto region], rising above 400 for the first time in six days… On June 1, Quebec embarked on its next phase of jump-starting its economy [sic], with numerous public and private institutions and businesses given the go-ahead to open their doors… The moves to reopen Quebec so quickly come as its biggest city, Montreal, has seen much higher COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people than Ontario’s largest city…
Related: Day of reckoning looms for Ontario premier Doug Ford over Covid-19 massacres in long-term care facilities. Column by Bob Hepburn, in Toronto Star, June 3, 2020
Former Conservative leader Stockwell Day exits role as talking head on CBC and corporate posts at Telus and law firm after comments denying systemic racism in Canada. Report by CBC News, June 3, 2020
Farms in Ontario are dangerous places for migrant workers to work and live, Report in Globe and Mail, June 2, 2020
British Columbia re-opens schools on part-time basis and only one third of students show up. Report in Vancouver Sun, June 2, 2020
Public needs quick answers to the death of 29-year old Regis Korchinski-Paquet on May 27 after six-member police squad entered her apartment, editorial, Toronto Star, June 1, 2020
…There’s another problem: the veil of silence that descends on an incident once the provincial Special Investigations Unit takes charge…
Related: List of killings by law enforcement officers in Canada, Wikipedia There are no concrete statistics on fatal shootings by law enforcement officers in Canada. The range has been estimated to be between 15 and 25 per year. Statistics Canada only tracks fatal police shootings if an officer is criminally charged…
Alberta gov’t passes severe law prohibiting environmental protests while its minister of energy denounces environmental ‘nutbars’ and says Covid-19 pandemic provides great cover for building more tar sands pipelines. Column by Gillian Steward, in Toronto Star, June 1, 2020 and read: Alberta’s ‘Critical Infrastructure Defence Act’ (Bill 1) targets environmental protesters with harsh penalties. Report by CBC News, May 28, 2020
* Alberta’s Bill 1 targetting protesters could make the province a ‘police state’, statement by the Alberta Federation of Labour, May 28, 2020 …Debate in the Legislature around Bill 1 has given us no comfort that this is anything but a police-state Bill designed to punish perceived enemies of conservative governments…
* Trump regime changes EPA rules to limits the power of states to stop oil and gas pipelines, NPR, June 1, 2020
City of Toronto calls for immediate collection of race-based and occupational data on COVID cases, Toronto Star, June 1, 2020 …In April, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the collection of race-based data wasn’t necessary, because “regardless of race, ethnic or other backgrounds, they’re all equally important to us.” On May 6, the province reversed course and said it would begin collecting race-based and socioeconomic data on COVID-19 cases. Last week, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health told the Star that regulatory changes were needed to collect this information, and that in the meantime local public health units could do it themselves on a voluntary basis…
As Covid-19 cases surge in Ontario, the gov’t reduces its ‘not useful’ public communication and that of its ‘chief medical officer’. Column by Bruce Arthur in Toronto Star, June 1, 2020
NDP gov’t in British Columbia approves 312 new logging clearcuts in habitat of endangered spotted owls, by Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, June 1, 2020 The B.C. forests ministry has approved new clearcut logging in habitat for highly endangered northern spotted owls, including in the Fraser Canyon, where biologists sighted the last three spotted owls known to exist in Canada’s wild… The spotted owl has been listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act since 2003, requiring Ottawa to take action to recover populations. A 2006 federal recovery strategy for the spotted owl committed to producing an action plan within a year to identify the raptor’s critical habitat and activities likely to destroy it. But BC, which is responsible for developing the habitat action plan, hasn’t produced it… “This is a bit of a dance. The province is responsible for logging. The federal government is responsible for species. The province does not want the feds to take over the forest. And the feds don’t want to get into a giant fight with the province. So the feds bend over backwards to believe the province’s promise.”…
Canada news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, May 2020
This expert is alarmed by Canada’s failure to collect race-based pandemic data, interview with Dr. Kwame McKenzie, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The House’, May 30, 2020 (Seven-minute interview. Dr. Kwame McKenzie is a psychiatry professor at the University of Toronto and CEO of the Wellesley Institute, a think tank that studies urban health issues.)
Wearing of masks for Covid-19 protection: A bizarre, unfathomable pandemic screw-up Canadian officials will have to answer for, by Chris Selley, columnist, National Post, May 29, 2020 …For 15 years, we were told SARS had transformed Ontario and Canada as a whole into the most pandemic-ready society on earth. Then, suddenly, with elderly relatives dropping dead in their thousands of a virus transmitted via droplets landing in our face-holes, scientists were telling us that covering our mouths and noses was worse than useless. Not only did our public health officials fail to learn the headline lesson from the SARS report, many of them sounded borderline deranged… I’m not at all sure Canadians realize quite how badly Ontario and Quebec have fared during this nightmare. Combined, Toronto and its neighbour regions of Peel, York and Durham have a death rate of 225 per million — more than twice Germany’s. Ottawa is worse, at 250 per million. If Montreal and its surrounding regions comprised a country, they would have the third-highest fatality rate in the world after San Marino and Belgium: 765 per million… History will record that one of the most advanced countries on earth proudly avoided one of the simplest and cheapest anti-viral measures available to us. We can only hope history also records what the hell the people in charge were thinking. [End article.]
* Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam now recommends wearing masks to guard against COVID-19–two months after dismissing them, Canadian Press, May 20, 2020
* The Trinity-Bellwoods jamboree on May 23-24 laid bare our governments’ total pandemic-planning failure, by Chris Selley, columnist, National Post, May 25, 2020
* Shameful nursing home report shows how Canada’s lockdown strategy went wrong, by Chris Selley, columnist, National Post, May 27, 2020
Illusions in Liberal Party government in Ottawa run deep among liberal environmentalists as they muse about a ‘green shift’ during Covid-19 recovery. Report in Toronto Star headlined ‘Environmental advocates say going green could help boost Canada’s COVID recovery, May 30, 2020 [Instead of fighting for a government of social equity and ecological balance, liberal environmentalists dream of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party and government ‘getting religion’ on the global warming emergency. In this Toronto Star report, the reporter chips in with his own dreamy musings, commencing his article with “The global pandemic may have temporarily sidelined Canada’s climate plan…” But Canada’s ‘climate plan’ is nothing of the sort. It is a smokescreen for continuing the country’s expansionist and fossil fuel-powered capitalist economy. The government trumpets a ‘net zero emissions by mid-century’ plan, in the words of the Star reporter, which is real life means exporting emissions to other parts of the world. Julia Levin of Environmental Defence, meanwhile, is cited in the article as follows: “We need the forward momentum [from the government] that we had seen before COVID.” ! This being the government that is pressing for new tar sands production and pipelines and is subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of billions of dollars per year!]
Growing uncertainties in Canada raise alarm for Chinese companies, editorial by Global Times (state media outlet in China), May 2020 [This Global Times editorial makes no reference to the vast, anti-China propaganda campaign being waged by Canada’s corporate and state-run (CBC) media on behalf of the Canadian government and the corporate elite it represents. The contrast could not be more striking between the peaceful handling of violent protesters in Hong Kong for several years now and the ongoing killings of Black people in the U.S. and the violent attacks by police against protesters. Don’t look in corporate media for reporting on the contrasts.
Ontario gov’t refuses to collect data showing Covid-19 impacts on racial minorities, Toronto Star analysis shows disproportionate rates of illness. Analysis by Kate Allen, s … On average, the five most affected neighbourhoods in Toronto have significantly higher proportions of people who are low-income, racialized, immigrants, and live in denser housing with longer commutes… Comparing these geographic pockets reveals telling disparities. But area-based analyses are no substitute for individual-level data on income, race and other socio-economic factors, experts say. While Toronto Public Health already collects this data, Ontario has yet to begin, despite the province’s top doctors committing to it more than three weeks ago. Experts say this information is essential to fighting the pandemic and its impacts on the most vulnerable… in Toronto Star, May 28, 2020
Related: Ontario premier accuses unionized public health inspectors of refusing to enter long-term care homes; their union explains he is distorting the difficult reality of their work. Report in Toronto Star, May 28, 2020 …Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton said conditions in Ontario’s 626 nursing homes have improved. There are now just 19 in the “code-red” category of high-risk concern, while 59 are “code yellow” and the rest in “code green.” She refuses to name the 19 homes still tagged ‘code-red’…
City of Toronto considering housing the homeless with less use of temporary shelters, by Donovan Vincent, housing reporters, Toronto Star, May 27, 2020 [Canada’s rulers and their allies internationally have long, domestic records of housing failure and betrayal of their most vulnerble populations. This was on full display in Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake where promises to assist Haiti in ‘building back better’ have been cruelly betrayed. There is no reason to expect different outcomes from them over Covid-19.]
A judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia rules against Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou on issue of ‘double criminality’, her extradition process continues, CTV News, May 27, 2020 [Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has been detained in Vancouver under house arrest since December 2018 as part of a tag-team effort with the U.S. government to extradite her into the U.S. gulag. Journalists and editors in Canada’s corporate and state-run media are howling for the Trump regime’s demand to be met. Her lawyers argue that the extradition demand is outside the terms of Canada’s extradition treaty with the U.S. because it consists of accusations of ‘financial fraud’ related directly to U.S. sanctions against Iran. Much of the world, including Canada, does not recognize the legality of those sanctions. But the supreme court judge in BC says the illegal U.S. sanctions are merely “context or background” to accusations of financial fraud. One of the ironies in the case is that Canada is recognized worldwide as a hub for illegal, financial fraud and money laundering, including in its gambling and housing industries and the ease with which criminals can use foreign tax havens to park their wealth.]
Ontario’s 34 medical care units draw up their own guidelines for easing Covid-19 protection measures in what’s being called a ‘mutiny’ against provincial government ‘reopening’ decisions deemed to be unsafe. By Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, May 27, 2020
Canada needs a comprehensive testing strategy for combatting Covid-19, op-ed commentary by Dick Menzies and Tim Grant Evans, Toronto Star, May 27, 2020 …We estimate that implementing the full testing strategy to all vulnerable groups across Canada would mean testing close to nine million Canadians over three months. Impossible? The Chinese government recently announced a plan to test all 11 million citizens of Wuhan in ten days…
Alberta Premier Kenney begins the normalizaton of COVID-19, a risk mainly to the elderly with almost zero danger to the young, by Don Braid, columnist, Calgary Herald (Postmedia), May 27, 2020
Military members sent to provide support in five for-profit nursing homes in Ontario issue ‘gut wrenching’ report on conditions they found, CTV News, May 26, 2020 (and read: report by Global News, May 26, 2020 and report by CBC News, May 27, 2020) [More than 1,600 residents of care homes for the elderly in the province of Ontario have died from Covid-19. In all of Canada, more than 80 per cent of the country’s 6,800 Covid-related deaths have occurred in long-term care homes.] Related: Scathing report on long-term care homes ‘a shame, but not a surprise,’ says resident’s daughter, interview with Jacqueline Mitchell, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘As It Happens’, May 26, 2020 (seven-minute interview) Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the descriptions of abuse and neglect inside Ontario’s long-term care homes “shocking”, but Jacqueline Mitchell wasn’t surprised at all. The Kitchener, Ontario woman’s 94-year-old mother Lena is a resident at Eatonville Care Centre in Toronto — one of five Ontario facilities at the heart of a scathing report from the Canadian Armed Forces …
Canada’s state broadcaster airs attack-dog interview against World Health Organization official, interview with Peter Singer, broadcast on CBC Radio One’s ‘The Current’, with guest host Rosemary Barton, May 25, 2020 (20-minute interview. Dr. Peter Singer is a Canadian physician and special adviser to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.)
[The interview with Dr. Singer was conducted by leading CBC infotainment figure Rosemary Barton. Here are three questions posed by Barton, typical of the attack-dog character of the interview: ‘Why did the WHO director-general praise China’s efforts [in January 2020] when it is clear [sic] that China was silencing whistleblowers and playing down the virus threat?’; ‘Why was the WHO so willing to accept the claims of China knowing some of the other problems we’ve had in the past, particularly when it came to SARS?’; ‘Because it was China, why wasn’t the WHO more skeptical of the information it was receiving [in January 2020]?’ The attack-dog questions by the CBC host were effectively parried by Dr. Singer and the interview is well worth listening to for that reason.]
Quarantine was supposed to buy time but the gov’t of Ontario squandered it, by Robyn Urback, columnist, Globe and Mail, May 25, 2020
Canada is taking a backwards approach to reopening — and we’re not going to like the results, by Heather Scoffield economics columnist, Toronto Star, May 25, 2020 …Chris Bauch, a mathematician at the University of Waterloo, has worked on modelling that suggests a hyperlocal approach would work better than provincial or national strategies… But in order for that approach to have a hope of working, there needs to be widespread and frequent testing, so restrictions can be reimposed the moment the virus pops up again. And, as Bauch notes, “We’re not even close to what’s required for that to work.”…
Novel virus, old story: Government cuts and failings put healthcare workers at risk, by Jane E. McArthur, Margaret M. Keith and James T. Brophy, published in The Bullet, May 26, 2020
How systemic failings fuelled outbreak at Hagersville, Ont. care home, special investigation by Globe and Mail, May 25, 2020 Twenty seven residents at Anson Place Care Centre died at the seniors’ home as officials at every level missed early opportunities to prevent spread of the corononavirus.
* Families of COVID-19 victims launch $50M lawsuit against long-term care homes in Ontario owned by Revera Retirement Living, CBC News, May 1, 2020
* $25M class-action suit filed against Calgary nursing home owned by Revera Retirement Living, where COVID-19 claimed 21 lives, CBC News, May 13, 2020
* One of Canada’s largest long-term care operators, Revera Retirement Living, is owned by Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board, CBC News, May 25, 2020
Ontario reports 460 new coronavirus cases marking highest increase in over two weeks, Global News, May 24, 2020
* Far more Ontarians are catching COVID-19 in community settings than previously known, Star analysis finds, Toronto Star, May 24, 2020
* Time to get Covid-19 testing right, editorial, Toronto Star, May 23, 2020
Housing experts say pandemic has exposed the bankruptcy of Toronto’s ‘tall and sprawl’ housing practices. Report in Toronto Star, May 23, 2020 …Increased density in residential neighbourhoods could make automobile traffic levels — already overwhelming road capacities — worse still. But James McKellar, a professor of real estate and infrastructure at York University, says there’s a solution to increased traffic chaos that the new housing strategies could help foster. “Ban the car,” he says. “It’s that simple.”… [The calls by housing experts for a genuine housing strategy putting people before profits is emphatically relevant to every urban municipality in Canada without exception.]
Quebec is Canada’s hardest-hit province and is also the most aggressive about reopening, Washington Post, May 23, 2020 [Quebec is home to roughly 22 per cent of Canada’s population but it has suffered more than 60 percent of Canada’s deaths from Covid-19. Quebec has some 46,000 of Canada’s roughly 84,000 cases and 3,900 of its roughly 6,400 deaths. Montreal is the epicenter of the Covid-19 crisis in Canada; the borough of Montreal-Nord, one of Canada’s poorest, has the city’s most coronavirus cases; infected health-care workers make up 25 per cent of cases in the borough.]
Dr. Bonnie Henry, chief medical officer of Canada, says past pandemics show the ‘inevitability’ of second waves. Do the advancements of medical science in the 19th and 20th centuries make no difference? [Dr. Bonnie Henry’s pronouncement to a CBC interviewer on May 19 that a second wave of Covid-19 infection is “inevitable” has been taken as straight fact and reported uncritically by corporate media. But it is anti-science because adequate testing and contact-tracing can stave off a renewed wave of infections. Meanwhile, the fatalistic view of an ‘inevitable’ second wave of infections serves as justification for Canada’s failed, criminally negligent Covid-19 response. Dr. Henry told the same CBC interview that testing and contact tracing for Covid-19 will continue to be crucial, particularly when seasonal flu returns in the fall. But she has argued for months against widespread testing and the results show–British Columbia has one of the lowest rates of testing among Canadian provinces. Canada as a whole is woefully lacking in testing capacity, a key part of the country’s overall failure. Its testing rate is lower than those of the U.S. and Britain, two of the most delinquent of the NATO-member countries. Russia’s testing rate, by comparison, is more than 50 per cent higher than Canada’s while Portugal’s rate is nearly double. Canada is the 39th largest country in the world by population but it has the 13th highest number of Covid-19 cases. Russia has half the number of Covid-19 deaths compared to Canada while having four times the number of cases and four times the population. Dr. Isaac Bogoch echoes the anti-scientific fatalism of Dr. Henry. He is an infectious disease specialist and researcher at Toronto General Hospital and is regularly featured on CBC News as an expert. He was asked directly on CBC‘s ‘World This Weekend’ national radio news broadcast on May 23 exactly why a second pandemic wave is inevitable. He answered, ‘Because the virus causing Covid-19 is highly infectious.’]
We have to test and trace more to end lockdowns safely, by André Picard, health reporter, Globe and Mail, May 22, 2020 …There are more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported daily in Canada – virtually all of them in Quebec and Ontario. Where are the new cases occurring? We know about the big clusters, such as meat-packing plants, but that’s not enough. If we don’t have that basic information, how can we reopen the economy smartly and safely?…
* As coronavirus lockdowns lift, how far can we return to normal without triggering a second wave?, by Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter, Globe and Mail, May 22, 2020 A new analysis conducted for The Globe and Mail offers some insights into what Canadians can expect in an uncertain situation – and of the challenges facing policy makers.
* Canada is ‘reopening’ without knowing where or how Canadians are contracting Covid-19, CBC News, May 22, 2020
[Canada’s federal and provincial governments are lucky that most Canadians have a poor understanding of the crucial role of testing and contact tracing to limit the spread of Covid-19. Thus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can with a straight face tell a press conference on May 22 (more that four months after the Covid-19 threat emerged), “Taking strong, collaborative action to expand testing and contact tracing is important for both Canadians and businesses to have confidence that we’re on the right foot.” Trudeau was announcing that his government will assist provinces in expanding testing capacity and practices. (Under Canada’s quasi-public health care system, provincial governments implement the delivery of health care, under the guidelines of the federal Canada Health Act and with Ottawa providing significant funding.) Poor understanding by Canadians of the science of testing/contact tracing means that most do not understand the criminal neglect with which their governments have treated the Covid-19 threat ever since it emerged in late 2019.]
Doug Ford may have to backtrack on Ontario’s ‘reopening’ measures due to the ongoing failure to test widely enough for Covid-19, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, May 21, 2020 …Ontario’s daily case counts of COVID-19 are up–in the past four days, 427, 394, 413 and 404 new cases– while testing has dropped precipitously… “Why was phase one [‘reopening’] even allowed to happen if our testing wasn’t where it needed to be?” asks epidemiologist Dr. Nitin Mohan, who teaches public and global health at Western University. “If we’re in the 600s (daily) do we pull back on phase one? I think that’s the fear you’re seeing from the critical care physicians, and (epidemiologists), is that we’re worried that all the measures that we’ve done the last two months might be for naught now. I’d like to be wrong.” …
Related: Doug Ford promises new COVID-19 testing plan as more people come up positive, Toronto Star, May 21, 2020 …Ford’s latest pledge to improve testing in the province came after Ministry of Health figures revealed Ontario has been testing fewer people for COVID-19 this week but more people are coming up positive for the highly contagious virus…
Critical care doctor says the failures of Ontario’s public health strategy are ‘inexcusable’, are wasting the lockdown efforts, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, May 19, 2020
Canadian Medical Association president says Canada has a ‘sick’ health care system unprepared for a second pandemic wave, CBC News, May 20, 2020
Canada’s response to COVID-19 pandemic slowed by lack of data and sharing, witnesses tell Parliamentary health committee, Canadian Press, May 20,2020
* Why are travellers from abroad still landing at Canada’s airports during COVID-19 lockdown?, National Post, May 20, 2020 The Canada Border Services Agency is not sharing information about who is traveling by air into Canada these days
* Canada’s chief public health officer changes tune on mask wearing, now recommends them as an additional layer of protection, CTV News, May 20, 2020
* Canada’s COVID-19 blind spots on race, immigration and labour, by Canadian Center for Policy Options, May 19, 2020
Let’s not be duped again by Canada’s deficit hawks peddling austerity, by Linda McQuaig, columnist, Toronto Star, May 19, 2020 [Unfortunately, the best example which liberal writers can marshall against the looming deficit hawks in today’s world of globalized capitalism is the spending of imperialist governments during World War Two (a war which these governments themselves helped to cause). Why not examples of how planned, social economies in the past and present (Cuba) have defied ‘austerity’ dogma while meeting social needs?]
Canadian province of Ontario is taking small steps to ‘reopen’; its imperfect wall against COVID-19 is about to be severely tested, by Richard Warnica, National Post, May 18, 2020 This look at how one of Canada’s worst-hit provinces lost control of the coronavirus, and its plans to reopen, forms part of our ‘Lessons from a Pandemic’ series …Experts are concerned about a lack of detailed benchmarks for the reopening, about continued weaknesses in the testing and contact tracing systems, and about an apparent absence of plans for supported isolation. They’re worried that as Ontario opens up, new outbreaks will appear and spread faster than they should, forcing everything to shut down again. “What I worry about with Ontario is that we’ll get blindsided. Because I’ve still yet to see any actual plan,” said Dr. David Fisman, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health…
* Ontario’s expanded COVID-19 testing will make it harder to assess the economy’s reopening, Toronto Star, May 18, 2020 …By changing two variables at the same time–‘reopening’, and expanded testing–Ontario has made the data picture going forward murkier. Numbers of cases will increase in the next few weeks, but epidemiologists will have a difficult time telling what proportion of that increase is due to expanded testing, and what proportion is due to the effects of relaxing restrictions. Ideally, the government would have instead introduced expanded testing a few weeks earlier, enabling epidemiologists to establish a baseline on the new testing criteria…
* Canada can’t afford to fail on effective contact tracing, editorial, Toronto Star, May 18, 2020 Test and trace. Test and trace. As provinces start cautiously to restart public life after weeks of lockdown, that’s the mantra from politicians and public health officials alike… [But the ‘mantra’ cited by the Star editors has, precisely, NOT been followed in Canada until now. Ontario, for example, has only one-fifth of the Covid-19 testing capacity it needs, according to experts (see news article immediately below), And this only after weeks of ‘herculean’ efforts to get to there.].
* Why it is proving so difficult in Ontario to ramp up COVID-19 testing, Toronto Star, May 17, 2020 [Last month, health officials and the Ontario gov’t set a target of performing 20,000 Covid-19 tests per day. The number climbed from 8,700 tests in the middle of April to an average of 15,800 over the last week. That took a ‘herculean’ effort, yet experts have said 100,000 tests per day are needed if the province is to safely resume economic activity.].
* Ontario’s reopening plan needs to put families first — and it’s not, op-ed commentary by Lindsay Springer, Toronto Star, May 19, 2020
Economic storm brews over Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, facing financial default as oil and fishing industries battered, Globe and Mail, May 18, 2020
Canada’s nursing home crisis: 81 percent of coronavirus deaths are in long-term care facilities, Washington Post, May 18, 2020
Ottawa can’t procure the masks to protect from Covid-19 that it says are needed, Globe and Mail, May 16, 2020
* At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the head of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory resigns, CBC News, May 15, 2020 [Dr. Matthew Gilmour has resigned and is taking a new job at bio-research institute in the United Kingdom. The reason for the resignation is unknown. The laboratory was drawn into the Canadian government’s anti-China policies in July 2019 when two Chinese-Canadian scientists working there were suspended and smeared with anonymous allegations of inappropriate collaboration with fellow scientists in China.]
Open letter condemns Canada’s decision to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia, open letter by Project Ploughshares, Amnesty International, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Oxfam, issued on May 14, 2020
Related: How bombs made in America have been killing civilians in Yemen, New York Times, May 15, 2020
Private nursing home chains in Ontario make a financial killing alongside their better-known Covid-19 human killing. Special report in Toronto Star, May 15, 2020. Three of the largest for-profit nursing home operators in Ontario, which have had disproportionately high numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, have together paid out more than $1.5 billion in dividends to shareholders over the last decade. This massive sum does not include $138 million paid in executive compensation and $20 million in stock buybacks (a technique that can boost share prices)… Lawsuits launched over the last week claim that homes owned or managed by the three companies did not adequately plan and respond to the pandemic, lacked sufficient staff to look after residents, did not provide adequate personal protective equipment, and failed to communicate with residents’ family members, among other allegations. Deaths in long-term-care homes account for an estimated 82 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada. That’s the highest proportion among 14 countries found by international researchers comparing fatalities in long-term-care settings. In Ontario, 1,306 COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes, according to a Toronto Star tally…
Related: For-profit nursing homes in Ontario have four times as many COVID-19 deaths compared to non-profit homes, Star analysis finds, Toronto Star, May 8, 2020
COVID-19 testing shortfall in Canada spurs quest for radical approaches as provinces look to reopen, by Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter, Globe and Mail, May 14, 2020
* Canadians are not getting the necessary data on COVID-19 from the federal andprovincial governments, by Douglas Todd, columnist, Vancouver Sun, May 14, 2020
* Regions of Ontario with the highest rate of COVID-19 cases, including Toronto, have less Covid-19 testing than regions with lower cases, by Patty Winsa, data reporter, Toronto Star, May 14, 2020
* Ontario’s new COVID-19 strategy falls short by not testing workers as economy ‘reopens’, report in Toronto Star, May 14, 2020 The number of confirmed and probable cases in Ontario since the virus arrived in late January topped 23,000 on May 14 with more than 1,900 deaths, many of them in long-term care.
Canadian government short on details on a supposed plan to screen overseas travelers for Covid-19. Editorial, Globe and Mail, May 14, 2020
Death rate from Covid-19 in Canada is approaching the rate in the United States, Globe and Mail, May 13, 2020
Statistics Canada mortality report is too limited in data to be useful during pandemic, experts say, Globe and Mail, May 13, 2020 …For years, opioid overdose deaths weren’t tracked in many parts of Canada and it wasn’t until the situation was a full-blown public health crisis that the federal government started regularly collecting and publishing the national death figures.
Toronto Western Hospital declares new COVID-19 outbreak, there are 12 hospitals in Toronto with outbreaks, Toronto Star, May 13, 2020
Related: Ontario government is preparing to ease Covid-19 restrictions, but inadequate testing in the province means it is flying blind. Report in Toronto Star, May 13, 2020 …”Not having a fully accurate picture of actual infections means that any decisions are being made on information that’s incomplete,” said Todd Coleman, an assistant professor of health sciences at Wilfred Laurier University and a former public health official in London, Ontario. “I don’t feel entirely confident that this is under control.”…
Hindered by past government decisions, Canada’s vaccine efforts may have to heavily rely on other countries for manufacturing, Toronto Star, May 13, 2020
World Economic Forum calls out Canada for slow move to sustainable energy, Globe and Mail, May 13, 2020 In a ranking of countries by the The Energy Transition Index, Canada ranked #28, just above the U.S. The index measures countries on the performance of their energy system as well as their readiness for transition to a secure, sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy future.
Canada’s corporate media is renewing its anti-China propaganda, aided by Amnesty Int’l report, while incidents of threats and assaults against Asian-Canadians on the rise. See the following media reports:
* Canada’s ambassador to China hits out against China, voices scapegoating of World Health Organization for Western countries’ disastrous Covid-19 responses. Report in Globe and Mail, May 12, 2020
* China ramping up bullying and intimidation of activists in Canada, says report by Amnesty Int’l and anti-China poliltical coalition. Report by Globe and Mail, May 12, 2020
* Canada needs to stand up to China and protect its own citizens from intimidation at home, column in Vancouver Sun (Postmedia), May 12, 2020
* China, COVID-19 and the WHO: What is the Trudeau government afraid of?, column in National Post, May 8, 2020
* Suspect wanted in assault on Vancouver bus one month ago against woman who stood up to racist comments, Global News, May 12, 2020 Twenty anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported to Vancouver city police so far this year, compared to 12 in all of 2019.
Second Cargill employee at High River, Alberta processing plant dies from Covid-19, Globe and Mail, May 12, 2020 …There are now three confirmed cases of COVID-19 among workers at Cargill’s ‘Dunlop’ facility in Guelph, Ont. Further, Cargill said on May 10 it is halting operations at its meat-processing and packaging facility in Chambly, Quebec after 64 unionized workers tested positive for the disease… [Nearly half the 2,000 workers at the Cargill plant in High River tested positive for Covid-19 in late April, but the company re-opened the plant on May 11. The UFCW union was powerless to stop it. The union is fighting for a stop-work order and has filed an unfair labour-practice complaint with the Alberta labour board.].
Related: Covid-19 infection rates are climbing at Nebraska meatpacking plants; state officials have stopped reporting the numbers, Washington Post, May 12, 2020 For weeks, people in rural communities in Nebraska charted the rise of coronavirus cases at the state’s several meatpacking plants. First, there were handfuls, and then, many more. As of the first week of May, public health officials reported 96 at the Tyson plant in Madison, 237 at the JBS plant in Grand Island and 123 arising from the Smithfield plant in Crete. There were other cases around the state, too, and the counts were climbing. At least three were reportedly dead…
Toronto scientists document that Covid-19 illness is hitting marginalized people and communities the hardest, special report in Toronto Star, May 12, 2020
World’s largest wealth fund, bars investment in four Canadian tar sands firms due to their greenhouse gas poisoning of the planet. Report by CBC News, May 12, 2020 …Norges Bank also excluded three other companies — Egypt’s ElSewedy Electric Co, Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA , and Brazilian power holding Eletrobras — for causing severe environmental damage…
Neighbour reported N.S. mass killer’s domestic violence and weapons to police in 2013, then moved when nothing was done, The Canadian Press, May 12, 2020
Related: Halifax police force held back its response as the mass murders by Gabriel Wortman unfolded on April 19, Halifax Examiner, May 4, 2020
As Ontario gov’t takes steps to ‘reopen’ the province’s economy, epidemiologists warn about absence of crucial data about COVID-19 spread, Toronto Star, May 11, 2020
* Fauci to warn U.S. Senate of ‘needless suffering and death’ if country reopens too quickly, CNN, May 12, 2020
* After six new cases, Wuhan plans to test all 11 million residents for coronavirus, Washington Post, May 12, 2020
Inside the biggest prison coronavirus outbreak in Canada, in Mission BC, by Douglas Quan, Toronto Star, May 10, 2020
Coronavirus outbreak linked to over 100 cases in four provinces, including vulnerable community in northern Saskatchewan, stems from Imperial Oil’s (Exxon’s) Kearl Lake tar sands operation, by Emma Graney, energy reporter, Globe and Mail , May 10, 2020
The National Research Council of Canada and CanSino Biologics Inc. announce collaboration to advance vaccine against COVID-19, press release by the National Research Council of Canada, May 12, 2020 [If successful, this Canada-China cooperation to resesarch and develop a vaccine to combat SARS-CoV-2 virus symptoms will be a serious impediment to the anti-China propaganda campaign being waged by right-wing ideologues–including members of Parliament and political police officials–and published and aired in Canada’s leading news outlets.] Related: Even discovery of a Covid-19 vaccine won’t be enough to end the pandemic, Washington Post, May 11, 2020
Racist messaging by Canadian music star Bryan Adams draws rebukes, report by CBC News, May 11, 2020
Related: Trump walks out of daily press briefing after responding to Asian-American reporter’s question about Covid-19 testing with ‘ask China’, Common Dreams, May 12, 2020
More than 500 formal complaints in past two years against Canada Border Services Agency, from soliciting bribes to abuse of authority, CBC News, May 11, 2020
For-profit nursing homes in Ontario have far more Covid-19 illnesses and deaths compared to non-profit and city-run homes, Toronto Star, May 8, 2020
This U.S. energy analyst says the Alberta oilsands [sic] ‘are done’, The Tyee, May 11, 2020
Canada has the worst record among 14 countries for proportion of COVID-19 deaths in long-term care, Toronto Star, May 6, 2020 …Ontario reported 590 deaths in long-term-care homes on May 2, which is 49 per cent of total deaths. Those numbers do not include fatalities in retirement homes and assisted living facilities, which are not regulated by the ministry of health and long-term care and therefore not included in the count. Independent analysis by the National Institute on Ageing’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Tracker Open Data Working Group suggests the number of deaths in the province’s long-term-care homes, retirement homes and assisted living facilities could be as high as 1,021…
Related: New data shows the massacre of elderly people in Canada by Covid-19 is worse than previously thought; 82 per cent of deaths in Canada were in care homes, Toronto Star, May 7, 2020 …The National Institute on Aging says that as of May 6, 3,436 residents and six staff members of long term care settings had died of COVID-19, representing 82 per cent of the 4,167 deaths reported as of May 6… Ontario has seen outbreaks in 300 care homes while in Quebec at least 273 homes have been struck… Last fall, the National Institute on Aging warned long term care homes were plagued by conditions that increased the risk of spreading infections…
Public health officials in Ontario cannot or will not release data on total deaths in the province, limiting knowledge of the impact of Covid-19, Toronto Star, May 6, 2020
Related: Ontario continues to miss its own targets for Covid-19 testing, Toronto Star, May 6, 2020
No easing of Canada’s harsh sanctions during coronavirus against some 20 countries, including Iran, Russia and Venezuela, by Linda McQuaig, columnist, Toronto Star, May 6, 2020
Canada’s ‘ban’ on semi-automatic assault rifles is not a ban as the government falsely claims, by Robyn Urback, columnist, Globe and Mail, May 6, 2020 Read the column here in pdf format: Canada gun laws [Gun violence or the threat of same by police, criminals or gun advocates remains a key measure of social control in Canada. The newly announced ‘ban’ on semi-automatic weapons by the Canadian government is a ruse, while its soundings about banning handguns going back to the 2015 election were mere stalling and diversion.]
Inside the slaughterhouse at Cargill Foods in High River, Alberta, special report by CBC News, May 6, 2020 [North America’s largest single coronavirus outbreak started at this Alberta meat-packing plant on April 6. Neither the public nor UFCW union officials were told of the initial outbreaks and community infections from the plant spread to the town of High River and a local First Nation. Nearly half the workforce of 2,000 has since fallen ill. Following a temporary closure, Cargill ordered workers to return to work on May 4. The UFCW union opposed the re-opening move but proved itself to be powerless in stopping it. It has instead appealed to courts to do its work for it in halting the reopening. The Alberta government has consistently backed Cargill’s practices and public relations efforts.].
Related: Ottawa offers $77 million to fund safety protections in meatpacking and other industries that companies themselves won’t provide, report by Canadian Press, May 5, 2020
Public health officials in Ontario ignored the early pleas by service staff, professionals and advocates to protect nursing homes from Covid-19. Special report in Toronto Star, May 4, 2020 It’s been 100 days since Ontario’s first COVID-19 case. The virus has infected 18,000 people and killed 1,300, 75 per cent of whom were nursing home residents. The fatality rate of nursing homes is similar in Quebec where there are nearly 33,000 cases and nearly 3,000 deaths. …Provincial and federal officials lamented how the virus’s devastation of frail seniors’ was “unprecedented” and Canada simply did not have a “playbook” for handling COVID-19 in nursing homes. But there were several playbooks — federal and provincial pandemic plans, post-SARS reports and infection prevention and control guidelines — all painstakingly developed in preparation for the inevitable next pandemic. These predicted that elderly people would be among the hardest hit due to declining immune systems and multiple health conditions… “We knew exactly what was going to happen … We saw it in Asia. We saw it particularly among seniors in congregate-care settings, in Italy and Spain and then France,” said Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge, a national seniors’ advocacy organization. Tamblyn Watts said she was part of a chorus of long-term care experts and front-line health care workers that for weeks had been calling for more aggressive, meaningful government action to help halt the virus’s wildfire spread through nursing homes. “We knew what was needed,” she continued. “The problem was the Ontario government didn’t do it.”…
Related: As premier of Ontario during the 1990s, Mike Harris expanded the privatization of long-term care. Now he is head of Canada’s largest private, long-term care juggernaut, by Martin Regg-Cohen, columnist, Toronto Star, May 4, 2020 [Ontario premier Doug Ford says that during this pandemic, he has spoken to former premier Mike Harris only once, briefly. Long-term care for the elderly never came up although the majority of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths have taken place in Ontario and most of those have taken place in long-term care homes. Of those privately-owned home conglomerates, Chartwell Retirement Residences headed by Mike Harris is the largest in Canada…
Health care workers call for public inquiry into the Covid-19 massacre ravaging Northwood Manor nursing home in Halifax where 32 residents have died. Report in Globe and Mail, May 4, 2020 [Northwood Manor is one of the largest care homes east of Montreal for seniors in Canada, with nearly 500 residents. It is the site of one of Canada’s largest Covid-19 outbreaks.].
Related: Chief medical officer of Nova Scotia accuses union of fear mongering over Covid-19 crisis in Northwood Manor, CBC News, Apr 22, 2020 [At the time of the chief medical officer’s callous remarks on April 22, Northwood Manor had reported 175 Covid-19 cases–132 residents and 43 staff–and eight resident deaths.]
Did Ottawa’s Covid-19 advisory against travel in mid-March come too late?, Special report in Globe and Mail, May 4, 2020 The Globe has identified more than 5,200 flights between Canada and countries with at least 1,000 COVID-19 cases between March 1 and March 13; the latter date is when the federal government released its travel warning for Canadians.
[The criminal negligence by governments in Canada as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic broke is revealed by their delays in issuing travel restrictions. The World Health Organization declared a global SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic on March 11. Canada was caught flat-footed by the declaration. Ontario premier Doug Ford was asked by a reporter on March 12 whether Canadians should still plan to travel abroad. He answered, “Go away, have a good time, enjoy yourself.” The Ottawa government announced restrictions on air travel on March 13; the following day, it advised Canadians abroad to return home. Canada’s border with the U.S., the country that is by far the world’s leading source of Covid-19 illnesses, was not closed to personal travel until March 20. On that same date, 108 flights from the U.S. were permitted to land at Vancouver’s airport while the U.S. was reporting 20,000 total cases and 5,000 new cases.]
UFCW union fails to stop ‘reopening’ of Cargill meatpacking plant in High River, Alberta where half of the workforce of 2,000 have fallen ill from Covid-19.
Related news reports:
* Workers return to Alberta meat plant despite union’s effort to block reopening over COVID-19 dangers, CBC News, May 4, 2020
* UFCW union takes legal action to stop Cargill meat-packing plant in High River, Alberta from forcing its employees back to work on May 4, CBC News, May 1, 2020
[Once upon a time, unions fought for workers rights through strikes and other forms of social protest. In the era of globalized capitalism, bureaucratized unions shun strikes and protest, instead turning to courts to do their work for them. When that predictably fails, they say ‘Ah well, we tried our best’.]
In Calgary, 30 Covid-19 cases at Purolator delivery facility and eight at Amazon delivery center; province passes 100 deaths mark as gov’t peddles ‘reopening’ promises. Report in Postmedia, May 4, 2020
Montreal not flattening the curve, city’s public health director says, CBC News, May 4, 2020
Coronavirus pandemic, collapsed fossil fuel prices and global warming be damned, Ottawa to loan $500 million Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline in northern BC, report in Toronto Star, May 4, 2020
Ontario fails to achieve even its own, limited Covid-19 testing goals, Toronto Star, May 1, 2020 [University of Ottawa epidemiologist Amir Attaran says Ontario needs 100,000 tests daily before it can safely contemplate a graducal reopning of its economy. To date, the province has failed to achieve its goal of 19,000 tests daily set many weeks ago.]
Coronavirus means endangered Pacific coast orca whales are experiencing a quieter ocean for the first time, Toronto Star, May 3, 2020
Ottawa’s announced ‘gun control’ will restrict sales of military assault weapons, allow existing owners to keep them, while handgun control is unmentioned, report in Toronto Star, May 1, 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…
* Trudeau makes more promises for gun-control legislation after deadliest shooting in Canadian history, Report in Washington Post, Apr 20, 2020
[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.]