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, December 2020
Protesters call for urgent support by military medics at ‘Tendercare’ elderly care home in Toronto where 48 have died from Covid-19 and scores more residents and staff have contracted the virus, CTV News, Dec 30, 2020
* Enough is enough: We demand change to the inhumane tragedy playing out in Ontario’s long-term care homes, editorial by Paul Rivett and Jordan Bitove, co-owners of the Toronto Star, Dec 31, 2020
* There is no excuse for the suffering and death happening again in Ontario long-term care, by Robyn Urback, columnist, Globe and Mail, Dec 30, 2020
* Ontario Health Coalition says the military is needed again in Ontario’s long-term-care homes, Toronto Star, Dec 30, 2020 Measures taken to protect those in Ontario’s long-term-care homes have been a failure and the military should once again be sent into the facilities, says the executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition. Natalie Mehra said, as the second wave of COVID-19 continues to ravage Ontario, the conditions inside long-term-care homes for the elderly are at an all-time low… As of the morning of December 30, 2,729 people have died as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks in Ontario care homes. A Covid testing backlog and poor enforcement have contributed to the deaths…
[A measure of the criminal negligence of the Canadian ruling class in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic is the extraordinarily high illnesses and deaths in long-term care homes for the elderly, particularly in for-profit homes. Some 75 per cent of Canada’s 15,400+ deaths from Covid-19 have taken place there. Newspaper editors and columnists are powerless to make a difference–their pleas to reverse the carnage fall on deaf ears and they are far more preoccupied with propaganizing against the people and governments in China, Russia and Venezuela. Only a mobilized working class, led by the trade unions, can reverse the carnage–by campaigning, for example, to make care for the elderly a publicly owned and managed service. Such awareness has been lost during the decades of the ascent of globalized capitalism; it has to be won anew in struggle.]
Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips went on Caribbean vacation at Christmastime while using his Twitter account to pretend he was home following safety guidelines. Report in HuffPost Canada, Dec 30, 2020
Related: Premier Doug Ford acknowledges he knew finance minister was away before news broke of Caribbean vacation, CBC News, Dec 30, 2020
[Here is a list of federal and provincial politicians known to have snubbed Covid safety travel guidelines and traveled abroad, as of Jan 3, 2021. Some of these politicians used their social media outlets to coverup their violations.]
Federal prisons could have better prepared for Covid-19, advocate says, after first death and nearly half of prisoners ill in largest federal prison in Canada, Stony Mountain in Manitoba. Report by CBC News, Dec 28, 2020 The first inmate at Stony Mountain Institution tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 10 and an outbreak was declared by Nov. 14. That outbreak has since grown to 316 total inmate infections and 33 staff infections as of Dec. 24. According to Correctional Services Canada, there are currently 744 inmates and about 285 correctional officers in Stony Mountain Institution…
Novel idea!: Criminally negligent Canada responds to public anger with promise to begin testing air travellers into Canada. Report by CBC News, Dec 30, 2020
Related: Majority of travellers entering Canada during Covid-19 have been given the OK to not quarantine, CBC News, Nov 18, 2020
The big for-profit long-term-care companies in Ontario that have killed hundreds from Covid neglect took relief money and paid out more than $170 million to investors. Report by Toronto Star, Dec 26, 2020 …A Star analysis of the financial statements of Extendicare, Sienna Senior Living and Chartwell Retirement Residences shows that in the first three quarters of 2020 (ending Sept. 30), these for-profit companies collectively paid out nearly $171 million to shareholders at the same time they received $138.5 million from provincial pandemic pay for front-line workers, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program and other pandemic funding… Through the end of the third quarter on Sept. 30, Ontario reported an average of 3.4 deaths for every 100 beds in long-term-care homes with a reported COVID-19 outbreak. That rate falls to 2.9 deaths per 100 beds among non-profit homes with an outbreak, and 0.9 deaths per 100 beds in municipal homes… In total, the three companies own or operate 24 per cent of Ontario’s nearly 80,000 registered long-term-care home beds, but were home to 37.5 per cent of the long-term-care resident deaths through Sept. 30…
After weeks of ignoring appeals for lockdown, Ontario gov’t order partial lockdown, but not until another five days. Report by CBC News, Dec 21, 2020 [As of Dec 26, construction and manufacturing businesses will remain open, as will hotels. Grocery stores, pharmacies and liquor stores will remain open with capacity limits. Schools are closed until varying dates in January. The measures in Ontario fall short of stay-at-home orders, curfews and strict enforcement. They will last two to four weeks, depending on region.].
* In Ontario, Covid safety measures and now lockdown exempt those most responsible for Covid-19 cases: capitalist owners of warehousing and light manufacturing. Three interviews on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Dec 22, 2020 (23 minutes total, first item at weblink)
* ‘Working conditions are hell’: Amazon employees in Toronto region not surprised the company’s warehouses have seen hundreds of Covid cases, National Post, Dec 23, 2020 …The tightening lockdowns in Ontario and other provinces have tended to target private gatherings and places where the public congregates — stores, restaurants, bars, houses of worship and gyms. But factories, food-processing plants and the distribution centres that service a soaring volume of online shopping are generally considered essential and largely exempt from those controls… None of Amazon’s approximately 21,000 workers in Canada are unionized…
* Ontario’s Covid-19 shutdown won’t stop the spread of the virus in workplaces, health experts say, Globe and Mail, Dec 22, 2020
Previously reported: Doctors, nurses and hospitals in Ontario urge government to lock down harder and longer, Toronto Star, Dec 17, 2020 Premier Doug Ford is under mounting pressure to impose wider lockdowns and make them more strict as the daily number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise, hitting another record on Dec 16 (2,432) and risking a major surge over the holidays. The Ontario Hospital Association called on Ford to put almost half of the province’s regional health units into a four-week lockdown along with Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Windsor-Essex when he announces the weekly changes to public health measures on December 18…
Canada’s future as warmaker and junior partner of U.S. military-industrial complex:
The Canadian government talks about peace but it’s investing in war, by Yves Engler, Jacobin Magazine, Dec 18, 2020
* Dep’t of National Defense defends exhorbitant cost of Canada’s new warships, CBC News, Dec 23, 2020 Military analysts estimate the lifetime cost of 15 new frigates will exceed $213 billion over four decades …The federal government selected the British Type 26 design in a proposal from Lockheed Martin Canada and BAE Systems in the fall of 2018. Their team, and the prime contractor, Irving Shipbuilding, are now tailoring the plans to specific Canadian needs…
[Canada is in the grip of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and a global warming emergency. But the main political course of Canada’s capitalist rulers is economic war and military threats, in partnerhip with the U.S. and NATO, against challengers to imperialist dominance of the world from Russia and China to Venezuela. As things stand presently, most Canadians are ill-informed and care too little. Above all, there is no political leadership in the country opposing the threat of imperialist war and advocating an economic ‘degrowth’ to lessen, over time, the danger of ecological annihilation.].
* Why is the Guardian promoting more Pentagon war propaganda?, by Dimitri Lascaris, Canadian Dimension, Dec 19, 2020 ( Dimitri Lascaris was a candidate in 2020 for leadership of the Green Party of Canada. He finished a close second.)
Globe and Mail daily keeps up its steady stream of anti-China vitriol.
[Typical daily editions of the Globe and Mail now contain two, three, four stories promoting the newspaper’s disinformation and war threats against China. These happen to echo the threats by the Trump regime and U.S. government. Who says Canada’s capitalist rulers are unhappy with Trump? The articles are often straight-up conspiracy theory. On December 21, the newspaper features an article warning that China is on the verge of invading Taiwan, the island of 23 million people which much of the world recognizes as de facto Chinese territory. The newspaper says China is waging “greyzone warfare” against Taiwan, which it defines as “falling short of outright armed conflict and employing cyber-attacks, infiltration, disinformation, and other tactics to sap an enemy’s will”. The phrase ‘sapping an enemy’s will’ is reminiscent of the iconic 1964 satirical film Dr. Strangelove by director Stanley Kubrick. In the film, the unhinged U.S. Air Force General Jack D. Ripper, played by Sterling Hayden, unleashes a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union. He is convinced the Russians have invented water fluoridation as a means of sapping the “precious bodily fluids” of America’s men. The island of Taiwan was seized by the counter-revolutionary forces that were defeated by the Chinese peoples’ popular revolution in 1949. In 1971, the People’s Republic of China attained the seat at the United Nations as the sole representative of the Chinese people and also attained one of the five permanent seats on the Security Council.
[Canada’s war minister Harjiit Sajjan has joined in the latest round of anti-China vitriol with December 20 media interview saying his government has “significant concerns” about China, including its “increasingly assertive foreign policy”. That’s rich, considering that Canada has joined the U.S. in parading its warships through the Taiwan Strait, the 130 km-wide body of water seperating Taiwan from mainland China. The last time anyone checked, no Chinese warships have been observed sailing through the Cabot Strait, the 110 km-wide body of water that opens into Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence, or through Hecate Strait, the 60 km-wide body seperating the Haidi Gwaii island group from mainland British Columbia.]
Related: Canadian government invokes ‘national security’ to block Chinese purchase of gold mine in Canadian Arctic, CBC News, Dec 22, 2020 …In an interview with CBC News, Mark Warner, principal counsel with international business law firm MAAW Law, said potential Chinese investment in the Arctic is complicated by tense relations between U.S. and China in which Canada finds itself embroiled because of the possible extradition to the U.S. of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou and the imprisonment of two Canadians in China… It’s not the first time the government has blocked a Chinese takeover. In 2018, the federal government cited national security to block the $1.5-billion buyout of the construction and engineering firm Aecon Group Ltd. by a Chinese state-owned firm. Chinese investment in Canada has been declining, from $9.9 billion in 2017 to less than $2 billion so far in 2020, according to the China Institute’s China-Canada Investment Tracker…
Canada’s heartless ‘war on drugs’ marches on: Record 153 deaths in BC in November, double the pre-Covid numbers for that month. Report by CBC News, Dec 21, 2020 …There were 153 suspected drug toxicity deaths in BC in November 2020, an 89 per cent increase from the 81 drug deaths recorded in November 2019…
Related: Advocates for drug users want national safe drug supply, Canadian Press, Dec 17, 2020 …The federal government issued data on December 16 showing 17,602 people have died from opioid overdoses between January 2016 and June 2020… The government of British Columbia created a safe supply program in March 2020, allowing doctors and nurses to prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to illicit drugs. But its reach is limited. Last month, Vancouver city council voted unanimously to ask the federal government to decriminalize small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use… The federal government announced $9.5 million in funding for four safe supply pilot projects in Ontario in September, but advocates say that the small size of the project doesn’t do enough…
[So far in 2020, 1,548 people have died in BC from drug poisonings. That compares to 456 Covid-19 deaths. Across Canada, there were 2,657 drug poisoning deaths from January to June 2020, some 15 deaths per day. In all of 2019, there were 3,823 drug poisoning (opioid) deaths in Canada. First Nations people are disproportionately victimized by the joint ‘war on drugs’ policies of federal and provincial governments.]
Thousands of workers in Ontario have contracted Covid-19 on the job, but the Ministry of Labour has fined just one employer for safety violations, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Dec 18, 2020
Previously reported: More than 400 COVID-19 cases at Amazon warehouses in Ontario amid concern over industrial spread of virus, National Post, Dec 17, 2020 …The limited amount of data released publicly suggests that factories, food-processing facilities and distribution centres feeding the surge in online retailing–generally considered ‘essential industries’–are a significant source of COVID-19 spread…
Corrupt Canada: Canada’s financial crimes tracking agency refusing to cooperate with an already pointless money laundering inquiry in British Columbia. Report in Toronto Star, Dec 17, 2020 [For several decades now, British Columbia has a well-earned international reputation as an easy touch for laundering proceeds-of-crime funds. Casinos and real estate are the preferred outlets for laundering funds. The current NDP government has convened an ‘inquiry’ into the matter to appease public concern and curb the worst of the laundering. That brings it up against the federal government, which sees no need to act.]
The company chosen by Ontario gov’t to take over management of Revera-owned care home in Oakville where 27 have died has been cited for multiple violations in the homes it operates, Toronto Star, Dec 16, 2020 UniversalCare, the private company selected by the Ontario government to take over management of a Revera-owned long-term-care (LTC) home in Etobicoke [Toronto] where 27 seniors have died of Covid-19, also manages facilities cited for multiple violations of provincial rules designed to protect residents… In June 2020, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that Canada had a higher proportion of Covid-19 deaths within LTC settings than other OECD countries included in its comparison. At that time, deaths in Canadian LTCs from Covid-19 were at 81 per cent of the total, while OECD countries reported LTC Covid-19 deaths of 10-66 per cent (average of 38 per cent) of their totals…
Related: Long-term care homes in Canada – The impact of Covid-19, report by HillNote (Library of Parliament, Ottawa), Oct 30, 2020, revised on Nov 24, 2020 According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at Ryerson University, by November 24, 2020, long-term care and retirement homes reported 12 per cent of the Canadian totals of Covid-19 cases and 75 per cent of total deaths… In June 2020, the Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that Canada had a higher proportion of Covid-19 deaths within LTC settings than other OECD countries included in its comparison. At that time, deaths in Canadian LTCs from Covid-19 were at 81 per cent of the total while OECD countries reported LTC Covid-19 deaths of 10-66 per cent (average of 38 per cent) of their totals…
[According the Dec 17, 2020 update of the ‘Long Term Care Covid-19 Tracker‘ of the National Institute on Aging, there have been 465,866 total Covid-19 cases in long term care homes and 13,495 deaths. According to the Canadian Insitute for Health Information, 54 per cent of LTC homes in Canada are privately owned and 46 per cent are publicly owned. In 2015, the five largest private companies operating LTC homes in Canada were, in order, Extendicare Inc., Revera Inc, Sienna Senior Living, Revera, Chartwell Retirement Residences, and Schiegal Villages. Revera is owned by the Canadian Public Sector Pension Investment Board. The chair of the board of Chartwell is former Ontario premier Mike Harris. There have been no criminal charges against any of the long term care homes in Canada that have killed nearly 14,000 people. And the deaths continue…]
Keeping the curtains drawn on Canada’s secretive factory farm industry and its cruelties towards animals, by Linda McQuaig, columnist, Toronto Star, Dec 16, 2020
Ontario orders hospitals to get ready for a surge of COVID-19 patients, Toronto Star, Dec 15, 2020 Hospitals are being ordered by the Ontario government to quickly get ready for a surge of COVID-19 patients as admissions keep rising toward levels not seen since the peak of the first wave of the pandemic last spring
As Covid-19 benefits flowed in, dividends flowed out, Financial Post, Dec 7, 2020 At least 68 publicly traded Canadian companies have continued to pay out billions of dollars in dividends to their shareholders while receiving government assistance in the form of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy…
The ‘freedom’ crusade of Alberta premier Jason Kenney is losing the battle against COVID-19, by Gillian Steward, columnist, Toronto Star, Dec 14, 2020
* Alberta gov’t does complete about-face on Covid-19 safety measures as Covid-19 infections and deaths soar. Report by CBC News, Dec 9, 2020
* Alberta locks down, Premier Jason Kenney feels no remorse, in daily newsletter of Passage (Toronto), Dec 9, 2020
The sad shortfall of Vancouver city’s plan to end Strathcona Park homeless camp adjacent to downtown, Vancouver Sun, Dec 14, 2020 …in an October 2020, the general manager of community services in Vancouver reported “as many as 750 Vancouver residents experiencing homelessness are sleeping outside and are in need of urgent solutions,” noting it was “very much a conservative estimate”. In other words, with considerable behind-the-scenes effort in the face of strong opposition from neighbourhood groups, the city hopes to create enough space to house the estimated 100 homeless people still sleeping in Strathcona Park…
[Reports in corporate media on Canada’s intractable housing crisis carefully avoid any analysis of the imperative of state-built and managed social housing. This same media also self-censors any reporting of how, over decades, federal and provincial governments in Canada have inflated the country’s private housing industry by opening it to any and all individual and institutional overseas investors.]
Lobster traps vandalized and gunshots fired by racist vigilantes against First Nations fishery in northern Nova Scotia. CBC News, Dec 14, 2020 [The actions by racist vigilantes in Pictou Country in northern Nova Scotia occur as the federal government stalls on negotiations that would create a more formal legal framework for First Nations fishers who have long been excluded from fishing livelihoods due to the legacy of Canda’s racist and colinial past.]
With $170/tonne carbon price and $15 billion in new spending announced on December 12, Canada’s 2030 carbon reduction target still falls far short, report compiled by Mitchell Beer, The Energy Mix, Dec 14, 2020
* Ten myths about net zero targets and carbon offsetting, Climate Home News, Dec 11, 2020
* Not zero: How ‘net zero’ targets disguise climate inaction. Joint technical briefing by climate justice organisations, Oct 2020
Far from signifying climate ambition, the phrase ‘net zero’ is being used by a majority of polluting governments and corporations to evade responsibility, shift burdens, disguise climate inaction, and in some cases even to scale up fossil fuel extraction, burning and emissions. The term is used to greenwash business-as-usual or even business-more-than-usual. At the core of these pledges are small and distant targets that require no action for decades, and promises of technologies that are unlikely ever to work at scale, and which are likely to cause huge harm if they come to pass.
What cellphone mobility data can teach us about why Ontario’s lockdown lite might not be working in Toronto region, and what to expect from the holidays. Feature report in Toronto Star, Dec 13, 2020
Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia refuses to negotiate away treaties, calls off talks with Canada, by Angel Moore, APTN News Network, Dec 10, 2020
Vaccine ‘hoarding’ by wealthy countries triggers growing worries in poorer countries, by Geoffrey York, Africa bureau chief, Globe and Mail, Dec 10, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: Vaccine hoarding …In 67 lower-income countries, vaccine supplies are likely to cover just ten per cent of the population unless there is urgent action to help them, according to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition representing groups such as Oxfam and Amnesty International. Rich countries with just 14 per cent of the world’s population have purchased 53 per cent of the most promising vaccines so far, the alliance said in a report this week… Canada [population 37.6 million] has secured up to 414 million doses of various vaccines and vaccine candidates. Activists have pointed to Canada as an example of “shopping sprees” and “vaccine hoarding” that could cause unfairness for poorer countries…
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at LNG Canada Project site in northwest BC, The Interior News, Dec 17, 2020 To date, 15 employees have tested positive and 13 cases are still considered active
* LNG Canada workers complained about unsafe conditions prior to COVID-19 outbreak, by Matt Simmons, The Narwhal, Dec 4, 2020 …More than 180 frontline health workers have signed an open letter to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that started circulating on December 3, calling on her to immediately shut down industrial work camps on Indigenous territories…
[There are 54 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the LNG Canada worksite in Kitimat on the northern BC coast. Rising number of cases at work camps across BC’s Northern Health region have prompted fresh calls for shutdowns, but industry and the NDP government are saying no. At the Site C hydro-electric dam construction site near the Alberta border, there have been 17 Covid-19 cases to date.].
* British Columbia should follow the lead of the most-successful jurisdictions to control virus, says researcher at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Sun, Dec 9, 2020 British Columbia has failed to implement the lessons to be gleaned from provinces and countries that have successfully controlled the spread of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes Covid-19, an SFU academic argues…
Canada embarrasses itself by rejecting dominant Chavista victory in Venezuela elections, by Tyler Shipley, The Canada Files, Dec 8, 2020
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole panders to the worst in his party, by Bob Hepburn, columnist, Toronto Star, Dec 9, 2020 …Since O’Toole won the party leadership in late August, the Conservative Party has increasingly become the home of far-right conspiracists, COVID-19 anti-vaxxers, emboldened hard-line gun lovers and politicians spouting anti-socialist hysterics. Through all of this he has tried to appease the worst elements in the Conservative fold by issuing vague statements that say nothing…
Related: Erin O’Toole is trying to rebrand the Conservative Party. Will it work?, by Althia Raj, HuffPost Canada, Dec 1, 2020
Previously reported: Erin O’Toole is gambling on building a new, union-friendly Conservative voting coalition, National Post, Nov 12, 2020
Canada has been reluctant to embrace rapid tests. This Harvard epidemiologist says we can’t afford to wait, Toronto Star, Dec 6, 2020
Previously reported: Rapid tests for COVID-19 have been distributed across Canada. Here’s why some provinces aren’t using them, Toronto Star, Nov. 29, 2020 The latest COVID-19 tests might be rapid, but Canada’s uptake in using them has been anything but. The federal government says it has procured 38 million rapid tests, and has so far shipped out about 5.5 million of them. The provinces have been hesitant to use them…
Most of the provincial premiers in Canada are presiding over a worsening Covid-19 disaster but score well in new poll. Report by Angus Reid Institute, Dec 1, 2020
[Only two premiers received an approval rating below 50 per cent–Jason Kenney of Alberta and Brian Pallister in Manitoba. The population of these two provinces is enduring the most deadly consequences, per capita, of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic; on top of that, the ultra-conservative government in Alberta has been waging cuts to the province’s already-patchwork public health care system. (In Canada, public health care services are delivered by provincial governments with significant federal government funding. The public system pays for hospitalizations, but many vital services–optical, dental, elder care, pharmaceutics–are private.) As case rates and death rates rise across Canada, the Canadian government and its largest provincial counterparts have officially abandoned any goal of reducing Covid-19 transmission to zero or near-zero. Instead, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is telling Canadians, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll have vaccines for half of you by the summer of 2021.’ But that’s a vacuous promise–the government, quite simply, cannot promise when, how and with what results that vaccines will become widely available in Canada.]
It’s time for wearing masks for Covid-19 protection in classrooms say teachers in British Columbia, The Tyee, Dec 4, 2020 [From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, government and public health officials in British Columbia refused to require mandatory masks in indoor settings. They relented only two weeks ago, in the face of demands by business groups to enact a requirement. But they continue to resist wearing of masks in high school classrooms, and masks are not required at all in grade schools. In Ontario, hardly a shining example of combatting Covid-19, all students age 10 and up are required to wear masks everywhere in school.]
Canada’s Globe and Mail daily pours on the anti-China invective.
[The Globe and Mail is the leading voice among corporate media in Canada in support of the U.S.-led economic and military aggression against the Chinese government and people. In its December 7 edition, the newspaper prints a feature article disparaging China’s successful effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. In Canada, the pandemic is running out of control, with record numbers of new cases and deaths (total of 418,677 cases and and 12,715 deaths as of December 7). The Globe article is datelined ‘Wuhan, China’ and is written by its ‘Asia correspondent’. It consists of smears and petty, disparaging comments against China’s successful pandemic fight. Meanwhile in the real world, China is commencing a vast vaccination program for the five different vaccines which have been pioneered there, all the while living almost entirely free of new Covid-19 infections. The December 7 edition of the Globe also features a threatening op-ed by regular contributor Charles Burton headlined ‘Beijing should worry about the Biden era’. Burton is a writer at the ultra-conservative Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa. The institute draws half of its name from the racist, first prime minister of Canada, John A. Macdonald (1867-73 and 1878-91). Statues of Macdonald are being removed by popular demand in towns and cities in Canada in recognition of the genocidal policies he and the governments he led waged against First Nations people.]
Manitoba First Nations disproportionately hit by COVID-19 with 11 deaths, 625 cases in past week, CBC News, Dec 4, 2020 …The secondary attack rate — a measure of how many people are likely to contract COVID-19 after being a close contact with a positive case — is about 16 per cent for all of Manitoba but around 40 per cent for First Natons people… The five-day test positivity rate — a rolling average of the tests that come back positive — is 13.4 per cent Manitoba-wide but 20 per cent among First Nations people…
Related: ‘Unfolding nightmare’ in Shamattawa First Nation in northern manitoba as Covid-19 outbreak worsens, Global News, Dec 3, 2020 …As of Wednesday, at least 91 people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the community of 1,000, located 745 km north of Winnipeg. The test positivity rate is 50 per cent. Overcrowding in the community’s homes has created the “perfect breeding ground” for the spread of the virus…
Poverty and racism are still causing higher Covid-19 cases in Ontario, and Covid safety measures are still ignoring these facts. Special report in Toronto Star, Dec 3, 2020 The data is clear, and has been for months: Ontarians who are poor, under-housed and racialized are disproportionately attacked by COVID-19. And yet, deep into the second wave [sic], this central feature of the pandemic has not been central to our pandemic response, health experts say… In the first wave, lockdowns worked instantly in richer, whiter Toronto neighbourhoods but failed to flatten the curve in the poorest, most racialized ones, Star analyses showed…
Related: Lockdown worked for the rich, but not for the poor. The untold story of how COVID-19 spread across Toronto, in seven graphics, Toronto Star, Aug 2, 2020
Alberta gov’t asks Ottawa for four Covid-19 field hospitals while continuing to dodge responsibility to declare lockdown. Report by CBC News, Dec 2, 2020 …Alberta continues to set new daily COVID-19 infection records. It leads Canada in the number of active cases per capita… On December 1, there were 16,628 active cases in Alberta, population 4.4 million, compared to 14,524 in Ontario — a province with more than three times as many people. On December 2, the province reported a near-record 1,685 new cases…
[Edmonton pediatrician Dr. Tehseen Ladha is one of the doctors who signed a third open letter to the Alberta government on November 23 urging a lockdown to lessen the surge in Covid-19 cases in the province. She told CBC Radio One national news on December 2: “This was our worst nightmare–having to request intervention for field hospitals. This means that our health system is inevitably going to be overwhelmed. The fact that the province is asking for federal intervention for field hospitals but has not instituted a lockdown is completely negligent.”] Related:
* ‘We’re in big trouble’: Alberta double-bunking in ICUs, limiting oxygen due to surge in hospitalizations, Toronto Star, Dec 1, 2020
* Doctors in Edmonton form pandemic advisory committee in response to ‘decrease in public trust’, CBC News, Nov 27, 2020 [New Covid-19 cases in Alberta are soaring due to the negligence of the provincial government and its related public health agencies. Doctors in Edmonton say they have formed a pandemic response (advisory) committee due to declining trust in the government and the need to counter its disinformation and inaction.].
* Hundreds of Alberta doctors sign third letter urging lockdown, CBC News, Nov 23, 2020
* Ultra-conservative premier of Alberta has failed Alberta in its time of crisis, by Mitchell Anderson, The Tyee, Dec 3, 2020 Jason Kenney’s politics of pipeline myopia, division and disinformation are exactly what’s not needed.
There are no procedures in Canada to inform air passengers exposed to Covid-19, National Post, Dec 2, 2020 …The curious thing is that nobody seems to think passengers should be alerted if a person sitting close to them becomes sick. Air Canada said it provides flight manifestos to Canadian health authorities “upon request” within 24 hours but does not contact passengers directly.
The PHAC said follow-ups are done by local health authorities. Not so, say a number of provincial and municipal health agencies…
The anatomy of the red-scare smear campaign against activists calling for release of Meng Wanzhou, by Aidan Jonah, editor, The Canada Files, Dec 3, 2020
Related: Panel discussion at ‘Free Meng Wanzhou’ virtual event stresses need for independent foreign policy for Canada, by Daniel Xie, published in The Canada Files, Dec 1, 2020
Canada on track for 4,000 coronavirus patients in hospital by Christmas, eclipsing first wave, Globe and Mail, Nov 30, 2020
* One Quebec hospital has an alarming COVID-19 death toll, Globe and Mail, Dec 1, 2020 …The hospital in Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, less than an hour’s drive north of Montreal, suffered its first Covid-19 outbreak on April 4. By the end of the month it had six more, four of which lasted three months or longer and killed 44 people in total. While the majority of Saint-Jérôme’s deaths took place during the first spring wave and the summertime aftermath, the hospital is still struggling to keep COVID-19 out. It has two continuing outbreaks and at least three people have died in November…
* ‘No lessons learned’ as deadly Covid-19 outbreaks hit Manitoba nursing homes, by Sherina Harris, HuffPost Canada, Dec 1, 2020
Deflection play: Trudeau claims most Canadians will be vaccinated by September 2021. Report by Canadian Press, Nov 27, 2020
[The federal government in Ottawa and the provincial governments outside of Atlantic Canada have, by negligence and inaction, effectively given up on stopping the transmission of Covid-19 illness (a so-called zero-Covid strategy). They are deflecting attention from that failure by making vaccination promises which at this stage are nothing more than estimates and guesses. Corporate and state media are playing along, deflecting attention onto the important but secondary subject of why past Canadian governments have allowed vaccine manufacturing capacity to whither. Another side of the media deflection is ignoring news of the rapidly expanding rollout in many countries of vaccines being tested and produced in China and Russia. Instead, media is focused on promoting the vaccines being produced by Big Pharma and,so far, announced by press release. Canada is waging an unseemly ‘vaccine nationalism’; it is the highest, per-capita buyer and hoarder of vaccines under development by Big Pharma.]
In search of some sanity over Canada’s reluctance to embrace rapid COVID testing, by Chris Selley, National Post, Nov 30, 2020 The earlier prejudice [aka reckless negligence] among public health experts against masks has nearly dissipated, but the prejudice against rapid testing is as strong as ever …Health Canada finally got around to approving a test called ID NOW, on September 30, more than six months after the U.S. FDA. Ottawa bought millions of them and shipped them to the provinces. Ontario’s government has made a show of deploying them to long-term care homes, but other provinces seem reluctant to deploy them at all…
* Positive COVID tests at Thorncliffe Park school in Toronto might tell us something. The Ontario government’s reaction might tell us more, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 30, 2020
* Parents in British Columbia organize one-day ‘sick out’ at schools, demanding smaller class sizes and mask-wearing policy, Global News, Nov 30, 2020 read also: report by CTV News, Nov 30, 2020 [The parents’ demands mirror those made for months now by the BC Teachers Federation.].
* Researchers at Simon Fraser University say regular, rapid testing in schools can help prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, News 1130, Oct 23, 2020
Imperial Oil (Exxon) is latest oil company to write off value of tar sands assets, Financial Post, Dec 1, 2020
* French oil giant Total writes off $9.3B in oilsands assets, cancels Canadian oil lobby membership, CBC News, July 29, 2020
* Minnesota follows other jurisdictions in approving replacement and expansion of Enbridge’s ‘Line 3’ crude oil pipeline connecting Alberta to Wisconsin, Associated Press, Dec 1, 2020 [Line 3 connects Alberta to upgraders and refineries in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Its replacement will approximately double its current transport capacity of 390,000 barrels per day.] * Enbridge sues Michigan over ‘Line 5’ pipeline shutdown order, Associated Press, Nov 25, 2020 [Line 5 connects Alberta to refineries in Michigan, Ontario and Quebec. It transports up to 540,000 barrels per day (bpd) of light crude oil, light synthetic crude, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) to markets in Michigan, Ontario, Quebec and export destinations.].
* First Nations in Canada accept stake in Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project, pressing for construction to continue, Reuters, Nov 30, 2020
* Global fossil fuel extraction plans will drive greenhouse gas emissions far past 1.5°c limit, by Mitchell Beer, The Energy Mix, Dec 2, 2020
Report finds ‘widespread and insidious’ racism against Indigenous people in British Columbia’s health care system, The Tyee, Nov 30, 2020
[This first-of-its-kind, formal investigation into anti-Indigenous racism in British Columbia’s health care system was convened in June 2020 and overseen by former BC childrens’ rights advocate Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. The report is here, 236 pages. It has found hundreds of horrific stories of racism against Indigenous peoples seeking health care. Interviewed on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Early Edition’ on December 1, Minister of Health Adrian Dix was asked when he became aware of systemic racism in BC’s health care system. He did not answer the question. He was then asked if those responsible for condoning or turning a blind eye to systemic racism in the health care system would face legal or professional consequences. Dix replied that such action was not the purpose of convening the investigation five months ago.] Related: Indigenous leaders want immediate action on health care racism, The Tyee, Dec 1, 2020
Canada news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, November 2020
Record numbers of new Covid-19 cases being reported in all of Canada’s largest provinces, Nov 30, 2020
Here are the number of new Covid-19 cases being reported in the largest provinces in Canada, for the 24 hours preceeding the indicated date [population figures in brackets] :
* Quebec on Nov 30: 1,333 (record is 1,480 on Nov 28) [8.5 million].
* Ontario on Nov 30: 1,746 (record is 1,855 on Nov 27) [14.6 million].
* Alberta on Nov 30: record 1,733 [4.4 million].
* British Columbia on Nov 30: record 2,354 during three days of Nov 27-29 incl. [5.1 million].
* Manitoba on Nov 30: 342 (record is 543 on Nov 23) [1.3 million].
* Saskatchewan on Nov 30: 325 (record is 439 on Nov 21) [1.2 million]
Rapid tests for COVID-19 have been distributed across Canada. Here’s why some provinces aren’t using them, Toronto Star, Nov 29, 2020
Related: Rapid at-home COVID testing remains a dream for Canadians, Toronto Star, Nov 26, 2020
Nursing homes in Canada were a horror story in COVID-19’s first wave. Why are we seeing a sequel?, by André Picard, Globe and Mail, Nov 27, 2020 Between March and August 2020, the coronavirus killed at least 7,000 Canadians in long-term care facilities, exposing weaknesses in the system that authorities swore to fix. Now, experts in the field say we’re back where we started.
Related: More than 100,000 nursing home residents and staff have been killed by the pandemic in U.S., Common Dreams, Nov 27, 2020 Forty percent of all Covid-19 deaths in the United States have occurred in long-term care facilities.
Coronavirus cases are soaring but Trudeau’s approval ratings hold steady: Ipsos poll, Global News, Nov 29, 2020
Assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is an attempt to block diplomacy and start military confrontation, statement by the Iranian Canadian Congress, Nov 27, 2020
* U.S. officials say Israel was behind the assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, reports the New York Times, Press TV, Nov 27, 2020
* Iran in the crosshairs: Tracing overt and covert action, by Eric Walberg, Covert Action Magazine, Nov 28, 2020
No one is tracking the deaths from Covid-19 of homeless people, Toronto Star, Nov 26, 2020 …The Public Health Agency of Canada said it doesn’t collect the data on the homeless population’s experience of COVID-19; it doesn’t compel the provinces or territories to do so. And it won’t even say if it is advocating for that collection. It punts the question to each province…
Canada will get Covid-19 vaccines after other countries due to lack of manufacturing capacity, Trudeau says, Globe and Mail, Nov 24, 2020 …Prime Minister Trudeau has said recently that Canada doesn’t have “any domestic production capacity for vaccines”. Amir Attaran, a professor at the University of Ottawa with the School of Public Health and Faculty of Law, said the Prime Minister’s comments are “beyond preposterous”. While Canada doesn’t have the ability to mass-produce a vaccine, it could make enough for vulnerable populations and health care workers. “We’re going to end up being months later getting the vaccine to Canada in large part because the federal government failed to do the obvious thing, to license it [for production] as other countries have,” said Prof. Attaran, an immunologist by training…
* Trudeau delivers the bad news to Canadians that the country has little vaccine production. Negligence and past privatizations of public resources are to blame. Report in National Post, Nov 25, 2020 Even if construction wasn’t months behind at the Montreal facility, Canada hasn’t secured the rights to manufacture that vaccine
* Is Canada at the back of the line for COVID-19 vaccines?, interview with Amir Attaran, a professor of law and public health at the University of Ottawa, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Nov 26, 2020
* How the Liberals are bungling the vaccine endgame, by Amir Attaran, Maclean’s Magazine, Aug 24, 2020 Seven promising vaccine candidates are nearing the finish line. Why hasn’t Canada locked down orders for them like our closest allies have?
Logging of massive, ancient cedars in British Columbia’s Caycuse watershed signals urgent need for provincial action to stop logging of old-growth forests, press release by the Ancient Forest Alliance, Nov 24, 2020
* BC government’s announced ‘protection’ of old growth forests won’t actually slow down the logging, by Sarah Cox, The Narwhal, Sep 16, 2020 …“If you look at the facts, the new policy essentially preserves the core of the old-growth logging industry,” said Ken Wu, executive director of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance. “Left as it is, it will liquidate most of the remaining endangered old-growth.” …
* British Columbia gov’t vastly overestimates size of the province’s old-growth forests, independent researchers say, CBC News, June 4, 2020 …The three co-authors of B.C.’s Old Growth Forest: A Last Stand for Biodiversity write that most of what is currently considered old growth are small subalpine or bog forests. “They don’t distinguish between all the different types of old growth,” said Rachel Holt, co-author and registered professional biologist…
Inquiry by Ontario auditor-general reports that delays, conflicts and confusion hampered the province’s Covid-19 response, CBC News, Nov 25, 2020
* Ontario premier flatly rejects auditor-general review and criticism of his government’s handling of pandemic, The Daily Hive, Nov 25, 2020
* Ontario’s auditor general stuck to the facts in criticizing Covid response. Premier Doug Ford didn’t take it well, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 25, 2020 …The central tenet of auditor-general Bonnie Lysyk’s report is that the Ontario government has a muddled command structure, has not put public health at the forefront of its response, hides public health advice and has alternately ignored its own experts or listened to the weaker ones. When the auditor general asked for correspondence detailing public health advice, by the way, the request was ignored…
NDP government in BC triggered a self-serving provincial election on Sept 21, 2020; three quarters of the province’s total Covid-19 cases have happened since then. By Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Nov 25, 2020 [The impetus for the BC election on October 26 was strictly to weaken the Green Party and end the NDP’s dependence on minority government with the Greens. Mission accomplished, pandemic be damned. Three provincial governments have handily won re-election since the pandemic began–in New Brunswick, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.]
Vancouver city council votes unanimously to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illicit drugs. Decision does not address the toxic drug supply nor whether a new regime will replicate Portugal’s punishment model. Report by Rachel Browne, Vice News, Nov 24, 2020
Related: Canada’s other health crisis: Record 162 drug poisoning (‘overdose’) deaths in British Columbia in October 2020, CTV News, Nov 25, 2020
[October is the fifth month in 2020 with more than 160 deaths in British Columbia and the eighth month with more than 100. The 162 drug poisoning deaths in October 2020 is more than double the number of deaths in October 2019. To date in 2020, there have been 1,386 drug poisoning deaths in BC; in contrast, there have been a total of 371 deaths from Covid-19 in the province. In Toronto, ]
Vaccine nationalism and Canada’s negligent response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, by Roger Annis, published on A Socialist In Canada, Nov 24, 2020
What we need in Ontario to get through this lockdown and prevent another one, commentary by Joe Cressy, Toronto Star, Nov. 24, 2020 (Joe Cressy is chair of the Toronto Board of Health and the Toronto city councillor for Spadina-Fort York.) …All three levels of government must work together to use this time to scale up the necessary public health systems to ensure this doesn’t happen again. It’s already time to prevent a third wave. Public health experts around the world agree that a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system is critical to containing transmission. Right now, we still have low testing rates in high-need communities. We have delays in lab reporting of test results. We have contact tracers overwhelmed by the number of contacts people are reporting. And we have vulnerable residents living in crowded homes, struggling to isolate safely…
Related: Ontario rolling out rapid tests for COVID-19, Toronto Star, Nov 24, 2020 In a long-awaited move [sic], the Ontario government is rolling out almost 1.3 million rapid-testing kits to help diagnose and contain COVID-19 outbreaks more quickly in hospitals, community hot spots, nursing homes and remote areas…
National Post columnist John Ivison is the real ‘useful idiot’ over Canada’s deteriorating relations with China, by Yves Engler, columnist, The Canada Files, Nov 25, 2020
Related news on Canada’s new cold war against China:
* What’s the deal with ‘Blacklocks’ online media outlet that pushes Sinophobic ‘Never tracked China agents’ story?, by Aidan Joseph, editor, The Canada Files, Nov 25, 2020
* MPs Niki Ashton and Paul Manly are correct to speak at Nov 24 ‘Free Meng Wanzhou’ virtual event, commentary by Ellen Judd (University of Manitoba), in The Canada Files, Nov 24, 2020
Ottawa fails again with its latest climate legislation, by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, Nov 19, 2020 New bill by the Liberal government in Ottawa promises net-zero emissions by 2050 but has no targets, no plan, no commitment to involve other levels of government. In other words, much ado about nothing.
Ontario premier defends office of chief medical officer; medical professionals consider the office and its chief officer incompetent. Column by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 23, 2020
* Fresh from her climbdown from opposing mandatory mask wearing, BC’s chief medical officer sticks to opposing Covid-19 testing for workers in killer elder care homes. Report by Victoria News, Nov 23, 2020
* More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s elders advocate says, Victoria News, Nov 23, 2020 …British Columbia’s worst day so far was November 12, when outbreaks were declared in five elder care facilities and one hospital. That brought the total of active outbreak protocols in the health care system to 35. The death total of elders is approaching 300 [out of a total of 348 Covid deaths in the province]…
* Newfoundland and PEI exit Atlantic provinces Covid-19 travel and protocol bubble as new cases rise in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Report by Toronto Star, Nov 23, 2020
* Covid-19 cases soaring in Alberta but libertarian, right-wing premier has been out of sight. Interviews broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Nov 24, 2020 (Interviews with Alberta resident Talana Hargreaves; Edmonton ICU doctor Darren Markland; and Kelly Cryderman, reporter at Globe and Mail.) [Premier Jason Kenney opposes mandatory mask wearing in indoor public spaces and opposes routine testing of staff in the killer elder care homes; his gov’t says Covid contact and tracing has ‘broken down’.]
Lessons learned and forgotten from the first surge of Covid-19 in Canada, now surging again, interview with Andre Picard, health reporter at Globe and Mail, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘Frontburner’ podcast, Nov 17, 2020
Canadians seem happy to tolerate government ineptitude as Covid restrictions tighten, by Chris Selley, columnist National Post, Nov 20, 2020
The wheels are fast coming off Canada’s criminally negligent pandemic response. News reports:
* Ontario gov’t places Toronto and Peel Region under lockdown-lite. Reports by CTV News and CBC News, Nov 20, 2020 and read: What’s open and closed during Toronto and region’s 28-day lockdown lite. Report by Toronto Star, Nov 19, 2020
* Canada could see 20,000 COVID-19 cases per day by end of year warns Public Health Agency of Canada, CBC News, Nov 19, 2020 and read: report in Toronto Star, Nov 19, 2020 [The latest modelling shows Canada could hit 60,000 new daily cases in December if Canadians increase their contacts, 20,000 cases if people maintain current rates of social interaction, and 10,000 only if they move quickly to reduce contacts. Since mid-September, new Covid-19 cases have risen steadily from an average of 1,500 per day to more than 4,000.].
* Ontario’s looming ‘lockdown lite’: Expect Premier Doug Ford to come out with a stern face and simplistic plan, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 19, 2020
* Ontario (and Ottawa) have stabbed ‘front line’ workers in the back by failing to expand sick pay, letting grocers cut $2 per hour from employee wages, and letting testing and contact tracing fall to the wayside. See report in Toronto Star, Nov 19, 2020
* British Columbia joins other provinces in stricter coronavirus controls, CBC News, Nov 19, 2020
* British Columbia’s chief medical officer climbs down, bows to pressure to make mask wearing mandatory in all public indoor spaces. Report by Victoria News, Nov 19, 2020
* Three more outbreaks at care homes in Vancouver’s Surrey suburb, the hardest hit Covid-19 region in the province, CTV News, Nov 15, 2020
* Did British Columbia do enough to guard against Covid-19?, by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Nov 19, 2020 [The headline of this newspaper column asks a question that few journalists in British Columbia have explored to date. By all evidence, British Columbia’s chief public health officer is a libertarian ideologue, but she has been running the show for the past nine months. She has opposed mandatory mask wearing in indoor public spaces, opposed mask usage in schools and opposed comprehensive testing of staff in care homes for the elderly (the latter opposition is shared with the right-wing, Trumpian governments of Ontario and Alberta) The record rises in Covid-19 cases in cases in British Columbia follow the selfish and opportunist election staged by the NDP government on October 26. Government and public health officials are diverting attention from their own conduct by blaming the individual actions of citizens for the growing crisis. This includes the limiting of information released to the public on Covid-19 cases and outbreaks in schools and other spaces.]
Double standard is blatantly evident in Canada on Israel influence compared to alleged ‘China influence’, by Yves Engler, published in Dissident Voice, Nov 20, 2020
Report details ‘toxic’ and hateful culture within RCMP against female and gay officers, CTV News, Nov 19, 2020 [Oh, and the head of the RCMP, Brenda Lucki, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are ‘very sorry’ that the RCMP has for years and decades operated a toxic and hateful culture towards their own officers who happen to be female. They have previously explained how ‘sorry’ they are for the violent, deadly treatment of First Nations people by the RCMP throughout the history of the force. But not to worry: ‘change’ is coming.].
Related: Will RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki find a cure for the force’s ‘toxic culture’?. Feature report by Douglas Quan, Toronto Star (page one), Nov 19, 2020
* Why sweeping changes are needed at the RCMP, commentary by Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, in Toronto Star, Oct. 27, 2020 My request to the prime minister last week to remove Brenda Lucki as commissioner of the RCMP came as quite a surprise to many. It shouldn’t have…
* Trudeau stands by RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki amid calls for her resignation, Globe and Mail, Oct 27, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: Trudeau defends RCMP commissioner
* Trudeau defends RCMP head, says many Canadians are also ‘struggling’ with idea of systemic racism, Global News, June 11, 2020
Justin Trudeau goes out on a limb to defend his government’s arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhoul as news of its legal case keeps worsening. Report by Global News, Nov 19, 2020
[Trudeau’s government has brushed aside calls to drop its extradition persecution of Meng Wanzhou in order to facilitate the release from prison in China of Canadian intelligence operative Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor. Corporate and state media, meanwhile, are waging a daily McCarthyite witchhunt against the Chinese government and people.].
Related: Former RCMP officer who conspired with U.S. officials to arrest Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver airport on Dec 1, 2018 now heads security at a casino in Macau and is refusing to testify at her extradition hearing. Report by CBC News, Nov 18, 2020
Doctors advocate aggressive strategy to get COVID-19 cases down to zero, Globe and Mail, Nov 15, 2020 and read: report by Global News, Nov 16, 2020
Listen: Interviews with two Ontario doctors, one for and one against Covid elimination strategy, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current”, Nov 18, 2020 (The two interviews begin at the 8’30” mark.)
[The discussion in Canada over a ‘zero-Covid’ strategy or not is now largely superfluous. That’s because governments and the medical establishment have allowed the pandemic to run without strict controls. As a result, record-high infection numbers are being recorded in most of Canada, contact and tracing networks fuction poorly or not at all. The population is too ill-informed and too disempowered politically to conter the negligence. Instead, politicians and medical officials are now promising what they and the pharmaceutical cannot actually deliver due to all the unknowns–vaccines against Covid-19 in early 2021. See the news item immediately below.]
Canada has given up on eliminating Covid-19 and is banking instead on a vaccine miracle. To that end, it is the largest per-capita hoarder of vaccines in the world. Stories:
* Trudeau says coronavirus vaccines in spring will begin end of pandemic, Global News, Nov 17, 2020 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canadians will only need to hold on for “a few more months” as he says the country will begin to see the other side of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the spring… “People just need to hang on. It’s not forever, it’s only for a few more months,” Trudeau said in an interview which aired on 570 News Kitchener on November 17…
* Producing the vaccine is just the start, by Carolyn Johnson, The Washington Post, Nov 16, 2020
* Canada is world’s leader in procuring COVID vaccine, leading critics to accuse it of hoarding, National Post, Nov 17, 2020 and previously reported: Canada and other wealthy countries are undermining efforts to ensure equitable distribution of coming Covid-19 vaccines, warns study at Duke University, Globe and Mail, Nov 1, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: Canada and vaccine nationalism
* ONE.org finds Canada is top of the vaccine hoarding list, interview with Elise Legault, broadcast on Spice Radio (Vancouver), Nov 17, 2020 (Ten-minute interview. Elise Legault is the Policy and Advocacy Manager at The ONE, a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030.) [ONE.org is making the paltry demand that the Canadian gov’t spend one per cent (!) of the billions of dollars it is spending on acquiring (hoarding) its own vaccine supply on procurement for poor countries (through the global COVAX project). Officially, Canada has promised $220 million to COVAX for assistance to poor countries.].
* Care homes for the elderly remain killing zones in Canada. Report in Globe and Mail, Nov 17, 2020 Canada’s lack of national public health standards governing testing residents and staff in nursing homes for COVID-19 is leaving many regions without a crucial tool for detecting and controlling the spread of infections as a growing number of facilities are declaring outbreaks. British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba do not require routine, surveillance testing of staff in long-term care homes…
* Surge in workplace Covid-19 infections in Toronto’s warehousing region of Peel, Globe and Mail, Nov 17, 2020
* British Columbia’s top public health official stands by her opposition to mandatory wearing of masks, opinion piece by Dr. Bonnie Henry, issued on Nov 16, 2020 …Ordering universal mask use in all situations creates unnecessary challenges with enforcement and stigmatization. We need only look at the COVID-19 transmission rates in other jurisdictions that have tried using such orders to see what little benefit these orders by themselves have served… and read: Businesses, doctors call for mandatory mask order in BC, CTV News, Oct 27, 2020
* Jason Kenney’s Covid disaster, by David J. Climenhaga, The Tyee, Nov 16, 2020 Failed contact tracing, overcrowded hospitals and renewed deadly outbreaks have yet to spark action from a fumbling Alberta government.
The three pandemic blunders of Canada’s national government: Interview with Amir Attaran, published in The Tyee, Nov 18, 2020 (Amir Attaran is a constitutional and public health expert at the University of Ottawa.) ‘The strategic error is Prime Minister Trudeau’s refusal to consider the pandemic a national emergency requiring national co-ordination, standards and goals. The fiscal error is forking over billions of dollars for pandemic relief while failing to ensure the provincial governments, who are responsible for distributing the lion’s share of the relief money, are mitigating risk. And finally the legal error is failing to use emergency powers under the constitution to enact measures to control the pandemic.’
‘You have zero privacy’ says an internal RCMP presentation. Inside the force’s web spying program, by Bryan Carney, The Tyee, Nov 16, 2020 Files obtained by The Tyee of the RCMP’s ‘Project Wide Awake’ show efforts to secretly buy and use powerful surveillance tools while downplaying capabilities.
Canadian military plans to establish new organization to use propaganda, other techniques to influence Canadians, by David Pugliese, military reporter, Ottawa Citizen, Nov 2, 2020
* Canadians shouldn’t be viewed as “targets” – Military initiative to aim propaganda at public is shut down, by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Nov 13, 2020
* Dept’t of National Defense propaganda project shut down, by Scott Taylor, publisher, Esprit de Corps military magazine, Nov 16, 2020 Late last week it was reported in the media that the Department of National Defence had ordered a halt to its controversial program of ‘weaponizing’ their Public Affairs branch.
* Canadian military’s new propaganda division brings echoes of new-age COINTELPRO, by Aidan Jonah, editor, The Canada Files, Nov 9, 2020
The eight ways that Conservative party leader Erin O’Toole is copying Donald Trump’s playbook, by Bob Hepburn, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 18, 2020
Related: Canada’s progressive politicians need to pay attention to Erin O’Toole’s pivot to unions, by David J. Climenhaga, Rabble.ca, Nov 18, 2020
Previously reported: Erin O’Toole is gambling on building a new, union-friendly Conservative voting coalition, National Post, Nov 12, 2020 …O’Toole’s goal is to expand the pool of people who vote Conservative, finding new voters among the working class and lower middle class who have drifted away from the left and become disengaged from electoral politics… To get into sustainable majority-government territory, the Conservatives need to find another five per cent of voter support, boosting them into the range of 39 per cent of the popular vote. Since the modern Conservative Party was formed in 2003, only one thing has been proven to work: a strong NDP that saps Liberal strength from the left… A panelist on CBC said O’Toole has sounded more like Bernie Sanders at times than a Conservative leader, but the strategy behind O’Toole’s comments is based in part on what’s already worked in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia…
How the BC Green Party betrayed the Wet’suwet’en land rights struggle in northern BC. Report by Vyas Saran, The Tyee, Nov 17, 2020
Grim Covid-19 outlook for Canada, interview with André Picard, health reporter at Globe and Mail, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’ on Nov 13, 2020 (interview begins at 19’30” mark)
* Hundreds of Alberta doctors and three major health-care unions join calls for ‘circuit-breaker’ targeted lockdown, CBC News, Nov 12, 2020
* New COVID-19 measures not nearly enough, says letter signed by nearly 300 doctors in Saskatchewan, CBC News, Nov 13, 2020
Canadian gov’t has spent billion of dollars to hoard coming vaccines but lacks the infrastruture to store and deliver them. Report by Tonda MacCharles, in Toronto Star, Nov 10, 2020
Premier Doug Ford’s climbdown on Nov 13 shows how grimly unscientific are his government’s Covid-19 policies, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 13, 2020 The province of Ontario has climbed down from its stated policy of lighting Covid-19 fires and watching them burn, though the changes will not be enough to avoid lockdowns
* Ontario on track to ‘horrifying scenario’ of 6,500 daily Covid-19 cases by mid-December, Toronto Star, Nov 12, 2020 and read: Ontario on track for 6,500 new coronavirus cases daily, Globe and Mail, Nov 12, 2020 Ontario is hurtling toward as many as 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December, four times the current record level, computer modelling predicts as Premier Doug Ford resists calls for stronger provincial action to slow the spread. “Our cases will likely exceed some jurisdictions in Europe that are now under lockdown,” Dr. Adalsteinn Brown of the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health warned Thursday at a briefing with provincial officials…
* Toronto fails to control Covid-19 spread, city officials announce 28-day period of heightened restrictions, CBC News, Nov 10, 2020 and read: report in Toronto Star, Nov 10, 2020 Indoor dining remains prohibited, meetings and event spaces remain closed, and health officials recommend no socializing with people outside the immediate household. Businesses to continue with work-from-home plans.
* Five key measures of the declining Covid-19 situation in Toronto, Toronto Star, Nov 9, 2020 [The Toronto Star looks at five key measures of Covid-19 in the city and finds that all five are deteriorating–rising per capita case numbers, rising outbreaks in seniors’ care homes, low rates of testing, rising positive results from testing, and hospital at near-capacity.].
* Ontario gov’t rejected health experts’ proposals two months ago for stricter pandemic control and now as pandemic deepens, it is lying about that decision. Report in Toronto Star, Nov 11, 2020 Public health officials in the province say government’s ‘framework’ for controlling the spread of the coronavirus is insufficient to contain its spread
Covid-19 massacres in Toronto, Winnipeg and Kitchener: 29 dead in seniors care home in Scarborough, 45 dead in two homes in Winnipeg, 51 dead in Kitchener, all owned by Canadian multinational Revera. Reports in Toronto Star, Nov 11, 2020 and CTV News Winnipeg, Nov 11, 2020 [The homes are owned by the Canadian multinational ‘Revera’. One of the large shareholders of Revera is Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board. Amazingly, there is zero criminal accountability for the 125 deaths in the company’s four ‘death zone’ homes.].
* Amidst surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths in Ontario, for-profit elderly care homes still much more dangerous and deadly than non-profit homes, special investigation by Toronto Star, Nov 12, 2020 [As an aside, the Toronto Star as well as public health officials in Canada persist in referring to the deadly rise in Covid-19 cases in Ontario and other provinces as a ‘second wave’ of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. This term serves to obscure the grim fact that the new surges in cases in Canada are a result of criminal negligence by governments and public health officials.].
* Killer Covid-19 outbreak at Revera’s Forest Heights care home in Kitchener declared over, CBC News, June 30, 2020
All of Manitoba, pop. 1.3 million, goes into ‘code red’ Covid lockdown as record new cases continue, CBC News, Nov 10, 2020 and read: report by Global News, Nov 10, 2020 …Schools and child-care centres will remain open because, despite hundreds of cases, there have been only a small number of confirmed transmission events or outbreaks in the K-12 system…
Related: Manitoba doctors issue urgent warning about hospital capacity, CTV News, Nov 2, 2020 …Doctors Manitoba which represents over 3,000 physicians in the province said on November 2 that the increased spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba is putting hospitals and ICUs at risk of being pushed beyond their limits…
Poll reports that most Canadians say Trudeau government is handling Covid-19 crisis well, Angus Reid Institute, Nov 10, 2020 [The Angus Reid poll confirms that most Canadians do not understand the origin and evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Canada. Specifically, they do not recognize the criminal neglect that has marked the actions of the federal government in Ottawa and the actions of the governments of the largest provinces in the country. One reason for this is the large amount of financial assistance that the government has shoveled out the door into Canadians’ pockets (‘To heck with austerity, we have a capitalist order to save.’) In the largest provinces, the pandemic presently risks running out of control. In two of them–Alberta and Ontario–the governments are effectively running Trump-style ‘herd immunity’ policies that prioritize the financial ambitions of businesses over the safety of citizens. In the words of Globe and Mail health reporter André Picard, these governments consider that “profits matter more than people, we should let the coronavirus run wild, and if the vulnerable die in service of economic growth, so be it.” One proof of the poor awareness of most Canadians is that three provincial governments have recently been re-elected by wide margins–in New Brunswick on Sep 14, in British Columbia on Oct 24 and in Saskatchewan on October 26. The BC election was specifically crafted by the NDP government there–in the midst of a pandemic, no less–to hobble the Green Party and quash minority government reliance on the Greens. Corporate news reporting of the pandemic has limited reach and has been too sporadic and superficial to shift public awareness, while left-wing and alternative media have largely been missing in action.]
Soaring coronavirus infections expose frayed Canadian response, Globe and Mail, print edition of Nov 9, 2020 read the news article here in pdf format: Frayed Covid response in Canada …Every province from Quebec to British Columbia is reporting record or near-record single-day case tallies. At the same time, physicians in hot spots say the rising tide of COVID-19 infections is straining hospitals and leading to more nursing-home outbreaks…
* Fasten your pandemic seatbelts: Leading provinces in Canada are embarked on the ‘herd immunity’ highway, by André Picard, health reporter Globe and Mail, print edition of Nov 9, 2020 read the column here in pdf format: Canadian governments and herd immunity Canada is now recording more than 4,000 new coronavirus cases daily, double the peak we saw in the spring. It will be 5,000 daily by the end of the week. And next week, 10,000?
* Canada needs a more aggressive COVID strategy to break the cycle of lockdowns, commentary by Brooks Fallis, in Globe and Mail, print edition of Nov 9, 2020 (Brooks Fallis is the medical director and division head of critical care at the William Osler Health System.) read the commentary here in pdf format: Canada needs aggressive COVID strategy
* New COVID reopenings in Ontario show the provincial gov’t is ignorant, or negligent, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 6, 2020 …The new framework for significant restrictions in this province regarding COVID-19 is almost useless in controlling the virus. It was done without consulting so many stakeholders in the medical community, and is an effective abrogation of public health. And after his daily press conference on November 6, it was clear that unless he is lying, Ford is befuddled at what is happening with a pandemic that is almost eight months on and in danger of spiralling out of control in this province…
* Ontario gov’t eases COVID-19 restrictions in Peel region north of Toronto despite cases being ‘out of control’, Toronto Star, Nov 6, 2020 Premier Doug Ford is easing COVID-19 restrictions in Peel Region despite warning that its spread there is “out of control,” prompting the Ontario Hospital Association to label the move “reckless”…
Canada’s criminally negligent pandemic response. [The following three articles analyze three elements of the criminally negligent response of governments in Canada to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, those being: Ottawa’s pre-pandemic dismantling of the country’s early-warning pandemic agency; the early discouragement by federal and provincial political and public health officials of the use of masks and other measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus by air-born droplets; and the ill-conceived ‘re-opening’ measures in the late spring and summer of 2020 which have caused new surges in coronoavirus infections (nonsensically termed by many political and media voices as being a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic).]
* Canada quietly updates COVID-19 guidelines on risk of airborne spread, CBC News, Nov 4, 2020 Canada has quietly revised its guidelines on how COVID-19 spreads to include the risk of aerosol transmission, weeks after other countries and international health organizations acknowledged the airborne threat of the coronavirus. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) updated its guidance without notice this week, making mention of the risk of transmission from aerosols — or microscopic airborne particles — for the first time…
* Ottawa is lying to an ill-informed public about its pre-Covid-19 dismantling of Canada’s pandemic early warning system. Report by Grant Robertson, in Globe and Mail, Nov 4, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: Ottawa is lying about pandemic early warning
* With COVID-19, Canada is paying the price for being complacent, by André Picard, health reporter, Globe and Mail, Nov 3, 2020 read the commentary here in pdf format: Canada’s Covid-19 complacency
Canada and other wealthy countries are undermining efforts to ensure equitable distribution of coming Covid-19 vaccines, warns study at Duke University, Globe and Mail, Nov 1, 2020 read the article here in pdf format: Canada and vaccine nationalism
…The report is the first detailed effort to quantify the number of vaccine doses that have been committed through country-level agreements and the impact this could have on low-income countries. Governments in Britain and the European Union have faced sharp criticism for signing large deals with pharmaceutical companies, but Canada’s efforts haven’t received the same level of scrutiny. Ottawa has secured “far and away” more vaccine doses per person than any other country…
Related: Mapping COVID-19 vaccine pre-purchases across the globe, report by the Launch and Scale Speedometer [?] project at Duke University (North Carolina), Oct 30, 2020
[Oddly, a map on this project website showing the status of participating countries in the COVAX vaccine access project for less wealthy countries lists China as ‘non-COVAX’. This is incorrect. See: China joins COVAX, the global program to aid developing countries to acquire vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, Global Times, Oct 9, 2020 and read: report in The Guardian, Oct 9, 2020 China will provide $1 billion to the COVAX Facility, which is led by GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance; The World Health Organization; and the CEPI foundation (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.]
The RCAF officer who brought members of Hitler’s Waffen SS to Canada, by David Pugliese, published in Esprit de Corps, Oct 30, 2020 In May 2020, the Globe and Mail newspaper as well as CBC Radio One’s ‘As It Happens’ interview program carried laudatory reports about the efforts by Royal Canadian Air Force veteran Flight Lt. Bohdan Panchuk to bring Ukrainian refugees to Canada in the aftermath of the Second World War… Missing from the accolades in the Globe article and the CBC broadcast were the details about some of the Ukrainian “refugees” that Panchuk managed to convince the Canadian government to accept – 2,000 members of Adolf Hitler’s Waffen SS… As many as 2,000 members of 14th SS Division Galicia arrived in Canada in the 1950s and immediately started to whitewash and cover up their past. The effectiveness of that whitewash was on display in 2020 – neither the CBC nor the Globe and Mail appeared to have a clue about the SS connection to Panchuk’s ‘refugees’…
Ontario premier offers owners of killer elder care homes an escape hatch from criminal liability. Report by Adam Riggio, in The Canada Files, Nov 1, 2020
* Commission investigating Covid-19 in Ontario long-term care homes releases interim recommendations, CTV News, Oct 23, 2020 The independent commission investigating Covid-19 in Ontario’s long-term care system is calling for immediate changes, including increased staffing, improved infection prevention and control measures and stronger relationships between homes and hospitals. The commission says it “felt compelled” to submit interim recommendations to the Ford government in light of the rising COVID-19 case numbers at long-term care homes. Currently, 77 nursing homes have declared an outbreak, with a total of 1,913 resident deaths reported…
* Ontario government’s proposed Bill 218 shields the owners of elderly care homes from Covid negligence lawsuits, Sudbury.com, Oct 22, 2020 …The new law would require those harmed as a result of exposure to a Covid-19 infection to prove gross negligence rather than the current standard which is ordinary negligence. This is a significant difference, says the Ontario Health Coaltion…
* Ontario gov’t vowed to ‘protect’ the families of elderly Covid-19 victimes… now it is making it almost impossible to sue long-term-care homes. Column by Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star, Oct 22, 2020 …The Act also retroactively wipes out existing COVID long-term-care lawsuits and creates something close to an unclimbable mountain: a high and uncertain standard of negligence, and proof that an action was done with something more than malfeasance…
* Law to shield businesses that spread COVID-19 could benefit insurers, Global News, Oct 22, 2020
Government of Canada is placing toxic, global warming nuclear energy ‘front and center’ of its energy plans. Report in The Hill Times, Nov 1, 2020 …The government is particularly interested in the development of what are called small modular reactors [aka nuclear waste and weapons proliferators]… Natural Resources Canada is listed as a co-sponsor on a slick website extolling the virtues of SMRs that is run by the Canadian Nuclear Association, a lobby group for the nuclear industry…
* Groups say federal funding of small nuclear reactors is a “dirty, dangerous distraction” from tackling climate change, press release by 30 public interest groups opposing SMR funding, issued on Oct 20, 2020
* Why won’t Canada back a ban on nuclear weapons?, by Bianca Mugyenyi, The Tyee, Oct 29, 2020