January 2021 This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, commencing September 2017. It consists of headlines with weblinks to published news articles and political analysis. Occasional commentary by the website publisher, Roger Annis, appears in square brackets [ ] . For preceding months, go to ‘News pages archives’ on the home page of A Socialist In Canada and use the drop-down menu. To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. Headlines in red denote items published on the main news page of A Socialist In Canada.
Covid-19 cases in Canada. Students at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto maintain a website project reporting on Covid-19 cases in Canada, here. As of January 19, 2021:
There have been 719,465 total Covid-19 cases in Canada and 18,171 deaths. There are 4,645 people currently hospitalized. Canada is #22 in the world for total cases and #39 by population. Canada’s per capita case rate is 26 per cent that of the U.S., 38 per cent that of Britain and 43 per cent that of France. The seven-day, rolling average of daily new cases in the six largest provinces are (with population in brackets): Ontario 2,970 (14.6 million), Quebec 1,951 (8.5 million), Alberta 769 (4.4 million), British Columbia 498 (5.1 million), Saskatchewan 352 (1.2 million) and Manitoba 169 (1.3 million) . Total Covid-19 cases by province per 100k population are Quebec at 2,880; Alberta 2,684; Manitoba 2,018, Saskatchewan 1,751; Ontario 1,680; and BC 1,212.
Canada news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, January 2021
Record numbers of new Covid-19 cases being reported in Canada’s largest provinces, Jan 195, 2021
Here are the number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths for the listed listed reporting date [population figures in brackets]:
* Quebec on Jan 18: 1,634 new cases (record is 3,127 on Jan 9) and 32 new deaths (record is 74 on Dec 22). There are 1,491 hospitalizations, including 217 patients in intensive care. [8.5 million].
* Ontario on Jan 18: 2,578 new cases (record is 3,945 on Jan 10) and 24 new deaths (includes updating of numbers; one-day record is 89 on Jan 7). There are currently 259 long-term care homes with active Covid-19 outbreaks; 3,085 people have died from Covid-19 in these homes. There are 1,571 hospitalizations, including 394 in intensive care. [14.6 million].
* Manitoba on Jan 184: 118 new cases (record is 543 on Nov 23) and four new deaths (record is 19 on Dec 5) [1.3 million].
* Saskatchewan on Jan 18: 290 new cases (one-day record is 439 on Nov 21) and four new deaths (one-day record is 11 on Dec 12) [1.2 million].
* Alberta on Jan 18: 474 new cases (one-day record is 1,879 on Dec 5) and 11 new deaths (record is 23 on Jan 13) [4.4 million].
* British Columbia on Jan 18: for the three days Jan 15 to 17, 1,330 new cases (one-day record is 941 on Nov 23) and 31 new deaths (one-day record is 28 on Dec 10) [5.1 million].
Alberta’s cancelled coal mining leases called a ‘trick’ by environmental campaigners, by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee, Jan 19, 2021 …Alberta’s government announced yesterday it would cancel 11 newly-issued coal leases covering 1,800 hectares. But the action was miniscule, notes David Luff, a former assistant deputy environmental minister, because it affects less than half of one per cent of some 420,000 hectares already under existing leases. “It’s a trick, smoke and mirrors and misleading,” said Luff. Under existing leases, four Australian companies plan to industrialize more than 800 square kilometres of the southern and central Rockies with half a dozen open-pit mines…
Canadians are in denial about our right-wing extremism problem, by Rob Rousseau, Passage, Jan 19, 2021 [This article ignores the fact that Canadian government foreign policy is closely allied with extreme-right movements and ideologies, notably in Ukraine but also in Israel and the Baltic region. Canada is also allied with right-wing ‘opposition’ movements in such far-flung locations as Russia, Syria, Hong Kong and Venezuela. Few alternative media outlets in Canada challenge Canada’s aggressive, imperialist foreign policy and its association with extreme-right militias and movements. Indeed, this is a key explanation of why the political left in English-speaking Canada and in Quebec is so weak and ineffective. A notable exception among alt-media outlets is The Canada Files.]
With clownish incompetence, Ontario enacts a new, incomprehensible ‘lockdown’ , by Robyn Urback, columnist, Globe and Mail, Jan 13, 2021 read the column here in pdf format: Ontario lockdown
* Ontario government’s ugly Covid-19 agenda is watch people die while preaching vaccination salvation. By Rick Salutin, columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 14, 2021
* Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s new pandemic plan has strong words – but weaker measures, editorial, Globe and Mail, Jan 13, 2021 The leader whom Ontario Premier Doug Ford most resembles isn’t Donald Trump but Boris Johnson: buffoon and blusterer, procrastinator and reverser.
* Hundreds of personal support workers in Ontario have yet to receive the $3/hour wage increase promised in October, Toronto Star, Jan 15, 2021
* Ontario reports 3,326 new Covid-19 cases, 62 more deaths, CP24 News, Jan 14, 2021
* Ontario premier stands by his 2018 decision to cut already-meagre sick day benefits, Toronto Star, Jan 19, 2021 [The cruel and miserly cuts to sick pay in 2018 underline the criminally negligent refusals by the same Ontario government in 2020 to extend sick leave benefits for workers amidst the Covid-19 emergency. The government says sick workers can draw from the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, but it provides only $500 per week to a maximum of two weeks and involves a delayed application process and long wait times.]
Global warming death cult in Canada braces for Biden-led U.S. gov’t cancellation of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline construction. Report by CBC News, Jan 18, 2021
* Couple says Alberta’s new direction on coal threatens livelihood of third-generation ranch, CBC News, Jan 16, 2021 …Along with his wife Laura Laing, John Smith is pushing back against the provincial government’s decision to revoke a 1976 policy that kept coal mines out of most of the province’s Rocky Mountains and Foothills…
* Bringing coal back in Alberta, interactive feature report by CBC News, July 7, 2020 In a desperate economic moment, Alberta is abruptly reshaping a decades-old balance in the Rockies and Foothills, chasing opportunity in the volatile market of coal exports, at the risk of the very land that defines the province and its people.
Canada’s long-term care for the elderly needs national standards, commentary by Pat Armstrong (York University) and Marcy Cohen and Shannon Daub (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives), Vancouver Sun, Jan 14, 2021 …We propose seven specific standards for long-term care: Ensure access based on assessed care needs… Establish and enforce minimum staffing levels.. Minimum of 70 per cent full-time staff in a single site… Physical environments that ensure safety and social support for residents, staff, family, friends and volunteers… Determine education and training standards… Provide transparent, verified reporting… Public money goes only to public and non-profit providers…
New drilling permits in offshore Newfoundland could put Canada’s climate targets out of reach, endangered right whales at risk, The Energy Mix, Jan 15, 2021
From facial recognition, to predictive technologies, big data policing is rife with technical, ethical and political landmines, by John Lorinc, Toronto Star, Jan 14, 2021 [Corporate media and governments in the West are working overtime to distract attention from their incresingly authoritarian rule. Instead, they want want their citizens to surrender to the media and government lead in waging economic warfare and military threrats against China under the banner of their laughable claims of concern about ‘human rights’.]
Pro-Trump riots and more police powers in the name of Covid-19: How white supremacy is delivering a one-two punch on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, by Shree Paradkar, race and gender columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 13, 2021
The Alberta government’s official inquiry into ‘foreign influence’ among environmental groups in Canada has commissioned reports consisting of junk climate-denial science, bizarre conspiracy theories and oil-industry propaganda. Report by CBC News, Jan 14, 2021
Canada’s failed and ciminally negligent Covid-19 response:
Ontario declares Covid-19 emergency, a limited 28-day ‘stay-at-home’ order is in place, Global News, Jan 12, 2021 …Provincial officials released new COVID-19 modelling data on January 12 showing that deaths in Ontario’s second wave [sic] could outpace the first if people don’t have a “significant reduction” in contacts with others… [Retail stores will remain open, though with reduced hours, while the list of ‘essential’ construction projects to remain open is long. Schools in five regions of the province will remain closed until February 10: Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton, and Windsor.].
* ‘System on the brink of collapse’: Ontario gov’t issues a 28-day stay-at-home order, but there are lots of loopholes. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 12, 2021
* Ontario gov’t knows who to blame for its failed pandemic response: you. By Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 12, 2021 The Ontario government is still choosing the economic ownership class over actual public health, as it did when Covid-19 first struck.
* Saskatchewan now has highest rate of active COVID-19 cases in Canada, Global News, Jan 12, 2021 The province has 320 active cases per 100k population.
BC health minister ducks and covers before finally admitting that most Covid-19 infections in killer long-term care homes come via staff. Yet his gov’t and the provincial health officer continue to oppose manadatory testing of staff. By Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Jan 12, 2021
* As killer Covid outbreaks continue to hit long-term care homes in BC, the province’s health officer reaffirms policy of no testing for staff. By Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Jan 11, 2021
* Health authority declares two more COVID-19 outbreaks in B.C. long-term care homes, The Canadian Press, Jan 9, 2021 …The B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s website shows active COVID-19 infections in 14 long-term care homes in BC as of January 7. More than 80 per cent of the 1,030 deaths in the province have been among people over the age of 70…
* COVID-19 in long-term care homes in Ontario compared to British Columbia, report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Nov 23, 2020 (seven-page report) …As of Sept. 10, 2020, there were 5,965 resident cases and 1,817 resident deaths in Ontario LTC facilities compared to 466 cases and 156 deaths in British Columbia care facilities. Rates of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection (7.6% v. 1.7%, respectively) and COVID-19 mortality (2.3% v. 0.6%, respectively) among residents in LTC were several times higher in Ontario than British Columbia, although case fatality rates were similar…
Canada rejects WHO request for immediate vaccine donations to lower-income countries, Globe and Mail, Jan 11, 2021 …Of the 28 million vaccine doses that have been administered worldwide in recent weeks, almost none have been given in Africa…
* African countries are turning to Russia, India, and China for Covid vaccines, Quartz, Jan 10, 2021 (Quartz is a business-focused English-language international news organization owned by Japanese business media company Uzabase.)
* China keeps promising its African allies that coronavirus vaccines for the continent are a priority. Where are they?, CNN, Jan 10, 2021 [Is this news report just the latest scurrilous attack against China by anti-China Western media? The dearth of news reporting on Covid-19 in Africa makes that a difficult question to answer. The wealthy imperialist countries purchased their vaccine supplies many months ago. Today, they are clarifying their earlier statements that they would share their vaccine purchases with poor countries: the message is ‘later’.]
How to get to zero community Covid-19 cases in Ontario, commentary by Hsien Seow, Toronto Star, Jan 10, 2021 (Dr. Hsien Seow is associate professor at McMaster University and Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care and Health System Innovation.) …If we continue to allow new cases to enter into Canadian provinces, we will enter a perpetual cycle of community spread and looming lockdowns. In October, approximately 300,000 international travelers entered or returned to Ontario, of whom 80,000 arrived by air, according to Statistics Canada. While the new policy to have a COVID-negative test within 72 hours prior to air travel into Canada will help reduce active cases from entering, the test is only a snapshot in time and does not guarantee the traveler isn’t infected with COVID that will become detectable days later…
Related: Doctors weigh in on how to get Covid-19 under control in Canada, interview with three Canadian doctors, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Jan 11, 2021 (23-minute broadcast)
Canada’s vaccination rate is far to slow to meet official target of 70 per cent vaccination by end-2021, Toronto Star, Jan 9, 2021 [The vaccination goal of the Canadian government is set out in a December 9 document. Justin Trudeau’s stated goal of ‘vaccinating every Canadian who wants it by end-September 2021’ is even more unrealisable, or let’s simply call it ‘deceptive’.]
Covid-19 crisis situation in Ontario requires stronger measures and stronger supports for people impacted. Today is deadliest day of pandemic so far. Statement by the Ontario Health Coalition, Jan 7, 2021
Covid death toll reaches 41 at non-profit, 117-bed Little Mountain Place in Vancouver, CBC News, Jan 7, 2021 99 of 114 residents have now tested positive for coronavirus, health authority says
* For the first time, detailed information released on every care home outbreak in British Columbia, CTV News, Jan 7, 2021 …The ongoing outbreak at Little Mountain Place has spread to 169 people and claimed 41 lives. That’s more fatalities than any previous care home outbreak in BC and more than double the 20 deaths recorded during the province’s first such outbreak at Lynn Valley Care Home company beginning in early March…
* Death toll at Tendercare Living Center (Extendicare Inc.) reaches 73, the worst among long-term care homes in Ontario, Toronto Star, Jan 7, 2021
* Residents at Tendercare nursing home battling severe Covid-19 outbreak lack sufficient medication and drinking water, CBC News, Dec 23, 2021
Canada-China trade is up notwithstanding Canada’s lead role in the West’s anti-China threats. Report in Financial Post, Jan 7, 2021 …Exports to China represented 4.6 per cent of Canadian exports in November, compared with 3.6 per cent one year earlier, according to new trade data released on January 7 by Statistics Canada. That figure was about seven per cent in April and May, the highest level recorded in data going back to 1997; it has hovered around five per cent since then, compared with a monthly average of 4.1 per cent in 2019…
Western leaders wring their hands as their ally Donald Trump goes rogue.
[Leaders of the member countries of the NATO military alliance are expressing discomfort with the right-wing violence on display on January 6 in the halls of power of their closest ally, the Trump-led United States. They are all expressing variants of the rich statement by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who declared, “Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people.” This from a leader of a government that is spearheading an international effort to violently overthrow the government of Venezuela and is waging a murderous ‘war on drugs’ against vulnerable Canadians. Canada is closely joined with the Trump regime in waging economic warfare and military threats against the people and governments of China, Russia, Iran, Palestine and elsewhere. It has tied the economic and ecological fate of the Canadian people to the U.S. colossus thanks to an updated, sweeping, comprehensive trade and investment agreement (Wikipedia) that was not even deemed worthy of approval by the Canadian Parliament. And as concerns the storming of an elected seat of government, the U.S., Canada and other NATO countries are old hands at that. In February 2014, they provided essential political cover for a right-wing coup d’etat in Ukraine. Following the coup, they helped train and integrate the neo-Nazi stormtroopers into the ‘new’ Ukrainian army. The list of coups supported by the NATO powers in the past decades are far too numerous to enunciate here; it includes South Korea (numerous), Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Vietnam (1963), Chile (1973), Argentina (1974)…]
Unmasked: Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole opposes priority vaccination for vulnerable prisoners, by Paul Willcocks, The Tyee, Jan 6, 2021 …“Not one criminal should be vaccinated ahead of any vulnerable Canadian or frontline health worker,” O’Toole harrumphed. In this one sentence, he evoked both the callousness of the former Stephen Harper government and its unwillingness to leave such decisions to experts who actually make them based on evidence, rather than political calculation…
Doctors point to failure to fix staffing issues as Covid-19 rips through Ontario’s nursing homes for a second time. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021 Despite assurances from Premier Doug Ford last March that his government would put an “iron ring of protection” around Ontario’s seniors, the number of residents in long-term care who have died from COVID-19 or contracted the virus has continued to grow. More than 1,840 residents of Ontario long-term-care homes died of COVID-19 during the first wave [sic]. Since Sept. 1, the virus has claimed an additional 947 lives of nursing home residents. Overall since the pandemic began, there have been 11,369 cases among residents in long-term care and 4,434 cases in staff…
* Ontario has hit a new high for COVID patients in intensive care; experts say it’s ‘not even close to the peak’, Toronto Star, Jan 5, 2021
* With COVID-19 at record levels, health experts say Ontario’s decision to reopen schools on Jan 11 is unwise and unsafe, Toronto Star, Jan 5, 2021
* Where’s the urgency in Canada’s vaccine rollout?, by André Picard, Globe and Mail, Jan 4, 2021 …Getting vaccines to more people in Canada seems to have been treated with shocking lassitude. There is nothing more symbolic of this disdain than the fact that Canadian politicians were sunning themselves in places such as Hawaii, St. Barts and Barbados while vaccines languished in freezers back home. What’s unfortunate, however, is that the antics of scofflaw politicians have generated far more media attention than the slow vaccine rollout that will ultimately cost lives…
* Ontario Premier Doug Ford is trying to manage COVID-19 by dribs and jabs. It’s not working, by Bruce Arthur, columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021 The last time the Ontario premier held a media briefing on the Covid-19 emergency was two weeks ago. The government closed vaccination clinics during the Christmas/New Year holidays. …“There’s been no communication or plan on how to better control community transmission,” says Dr. Nathan Stall, a geriatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital. “The hospitals are being pushed to the brink, the long-term-care homes are on fire, our vaccines are locked in freezers, and there’s no clear plan…”
* A bleak winter could herald a grim spring, by John Ivison, columnist, National Post, Jan 4, 2021
* Ontario gov’t rejects extension for probe into long-term care homes after commission blames province for ‘significant delays’, Globe and Mail, Jan 4, 2021 and read: report in Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021 The Ontario government reported on January 4 that a record 219 long-term care homes in the province, 35 per cent of all homes, have active outbreaks of COVID-19. Since the onset of the pandemic, 2,795 nursing-home residents in the province have died of the virus.
* Health authorities to start naming specific Toronto workplaces with significant COVID-19 outbreaks, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021
[Newspaper columnists and editorialists, such as the National Post‘s conservative columnist John Ivison and the Toronto Star editorial board, are fretting and wringing their hands over Canada’s ongoing, criminally negligent Covid-19 response. Of note in that response is the resurgence of killer outbreaks among elderly citizens residing in private care home chains. The columnists and editorialists are carefully avoiding mention of the obvious fact that government and public health officials in Canada decided long ago that deaths and illnesses from Covid-19 (13,835 and 485,529 to date, respectively) are an ‘unfortunate’ price to pay so that capitalist industry and commerce may continue to roll unimpeded. The difference in Canada with the criminal Covid-19 responses by Canada’s closest allies in the U.S. and Europe is one of degree, not of fundamentals.]
Top manager of border regulations and travel health for the Public Health Agency of Canada took holiday in Jamaica in November paid for by Air Canada, CBC News, Jan 7, 2021
[The list of politicans and public health officials in Canada being outed for travel to the U.S. and further abroad during the past months in defiance of Covid-19 safety guidelines is growing longer by day. It’s one more sign of the failed and shambolic response by Canada to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.].
* Ontario hospital CEO who travelled to the Dominican Republic for Christmas holiday loses jobs, Globe and Mail, Jan 7, 2021 Tom Stewart has been fired as CEO of St. Joseph’s Health System in Hamilton and CEO of the Niagara Health network of hospitals. He has resigned his post as a member of the Ontario government’s Covid-19 advisory team.
* Press secretary of Alberta’s governing United Conservative Party spotted at posh Vancouver club, Western Standard, Jan 5, 2021
* Top aide of Alberta premier Jason Kenney is among the many politician-hypocrites in the province, federal and provincial, who have flouted Covid safety travel restrictions. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021
* Trudeau gov’t caught out on its pampering treatment of Canadians who travel abroad, says it will close ‘loophole’ that paid travelers for their quarantine upon return. Report in National Post, Jan 5, 2021
* Why so many entitled politicians deserve special mention on a non-essential travellers’ wall of shame, by Shree Parakar, columnist, Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021
Why isn’t the NDP questioning the largest military procurement in Canadian history?, by Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension, Jan 5, 2021
Residents and Indigenous communities in northern BC fear work camps still a pandemic threat, The Tyee, Jan 6, 2021
[The NDP government in British Columbia has refused all along to close down work camps at the large, natural resource extraction projects in the north of the province. Due to surging Covid-19 cases, it has reduced the number of workers allowed at five large sites–the Coastal GasLink pipeline; the associated LNG Canada plant in Kitimat; the second hydroelectric dam tunnel at Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter, also in Kitimat; the Site C hydroelectric dam; and the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. The government thus continues to prove its fealty to the ‘growth at all cost’ death cult that governs in Canada.]
Dogfight between Enbridge Inc. pipeline company and crude oil and tar sands producers in Alberta over new, competing pipelines. Report in Financial Post, Jan 5, 2021
Saving more lives and the economy through lockdown. Experts have a plan but will Canada use it?, Toronto Star, Jan 4, 2021 In a newly released strategy paper titled ‘Building the Canadian Shield’, the Covid Strategic Choices Group say their alternative — a longer lockdown, followed by a gradual results-based relaxing of restrictions — will save more lives and cost less economically in the long run. The group is an interdisciplinary task force that includes doctors, epidemiologists, public policy experts, economists and businesspeople…
CEO bonuses should be cancelled for companies that take Canada’s wage subsidy, recommends CCPA, Canadian Press, Jan 4, 2021 The recommendation comes as the think tank issued a report on January 4 showing the country’s 100 highest-paid CEOs made 202 times more than the average working Canadian in 2019.
Scores of people protest conditions at Extendicare chain-owned ‘Tendercare’ elder care home in Scarborough (Toronto) where 60 residents have died from Covid-19, CBC News, Jan 2, 2021
[As of January 1, 2021, 2,814 residents of long-term-care homes in Ontario have died of Covid-19. (Toronto Star, Jan 2, 2020) In Canada as a whole, 75 per cent of the country’s 15,700+ deaths from Covid-19 have occured in long-term-care homes.].
* As death toll at Extendicare-owned long-term care home climbs to 60, protesters demand that private care homes be nationalized, CTV News, Jan 2, 2021 …Another rally was held outside the home located in the area of McNicoll and Victoria Park avenues on January 2, calling for the end of for-profit long-term care homes. Carrying signs that read ‘save our seniors’ and ‘care over profit,’ demonstrators said the pandemic has shown that private nursing homes only focus on profit instead of providing care to residents. They also want the Ford government to revisit legislation that they say makes it harder to hold private operators liable for any harm caused by the pandemic…
* These nursing home chains have the highest COVID-19 death rates in Ontario, data analysis finds, CBC News, Dec 18, 2020 …Sienna homes had a death rate of 6.5 per 100 beds, Revera had a rate of 6.3 and Chartwell 4.6, while Extendicare was at 3.6, closer to the overall industry average of 3.7…
* This is why nursing homes in the U.S. failed so badly, New York Times, Dec 31, 2020 …Long-term care continues to be understaffed, poorly regulated and vulnerable to predation by for-profit conglomerates and private-equity firms. The nursing aides who provide the bulk of bedside assistance still earn poverty wages, and lockdown policies have forced patients into dangerous solitude… The awful truth is that long-term care was designed to fail years before Covid-19…
* More than 100,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths are linked to nursing homes, New York Times, Dec 4, 2020 Long-term-care homes in the U.S. account for five per cent of all Covid-19 cases but 38 per cent of all Covid-related deaths.
‘Shameful’ report shows Canada’s federal prison service is violating Supreme Court decisions to limit use of solitary confinement. Report by Vancouver Sun, Jan 3, 2021 The Canadian government was forced to restrict solitary confinement but its replacement looks pretty much the same according to a new report by an oversight panel
Related: Federal prisons flout law by keeping inmates in solitary conditions, say oversight researchers appointed but shunned by federal gov’t, by Patrick White, Globe and Mail, Oct 27, 2020 Federal prisons continue to place inmates in conditions that flout a 2019 law designed to eliminate solitary confinement, according to data contained in a new report. The report’s authors, who were mandated by the federal government to assess the new standards, also say they struggled for months to get the Correctional Service of Canada to release information. The report offers a bleak statistical assessment of the agency’s “structured intervention units” (SIU), a practice for separating inmates introduced last year to replace administrative segregation, an isolation method akin to solitary confinement that has been declared unconstitutional in Canadian courts. The United Nations defines solitary confinement as isolation in a cell for 22 hours a day without meaningful human contact. The international body says it should be used only as a last resort and never beyond 15 days…
How will the pandemic end? Not with a moment of triumph we’ll all remember, but with a slow whimper we’ll soon forget, by André Picard, health reporter, Globe and Mail, Jan 2, 2021 …“We’ve only just begun to vaccinate and it will just get harder,” said Dr. Noni MacDonald, a professor of pediatrics at Dalhousie University in Halifax and vaccinologist who has worked for decades in global health… That’s just distribution. The immunology part of the puzzle is just as rife with potential complications. Among those who are inoculated, the big question is: Will they be protected from infection for life – or at least for a few years? Similarly, are those who were infected by coronavirus at risk of reinfection? No one knows… Canada is closing in on 600,000 cases and COVID-19 has claimed more than 15,000 lives here. By all appearances, the carnage is going to continue through the winter, whether vaccines are effective or not. In fact, based on the trend lines of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, there is every reason to believe that the coming months will be the darkest yet…
* COVID-19 didn’t take a holiday, and the vaccine rollout in Canada should not have been allowed to either, by André Picard, health reporter, Globe and Mail, Dec 30, 2020 …As of the morning of December 28, 52,179 doses of novel coronavirus vaccine had been administered in Canada. Another 350,000 or so doses are sitting in freezers, unused. In many provinces, the vaccination rollout has slowed considerably, or even stopped, for the holidays…
* Slow vaccine rollout across Canada draws criticism, anger, CTV News, Dec 28, 2020
* Hospitals in COVID-19 hot spots warn situation is about to become even more dire, Globe and Mail, Jan 1, 2021 Hospitalizations from COVID-19 are increasing sharply in several provinces in Canada, pushing health care facilities beyond capacity even in places that have had recent success in bringing down infections. There were more patients in Canada in intensive care this week than at any other point in the pandemic, according to data compiled by The Globe and Mail, and experts are expecting hospitalizations to continue increasing well into the new year…
Medical officer of health in York Region (Toronto) steps in after 12 residents die at Sienna-owned elder care home, Toronto Star, Jan 1, 2021 …The provincial government does not post its orders online. But the Ontario Health Coalition, with its 400-member organizations, has done a good job of keeping track by cross-referencing data. In ‘A Call to Conscience’,’ a 68-page report issued Dec. 17, the Ontario Helath Coalition documents in heartbreaking detail the inequities and shortfalls in institutional care for the elderly. Outbreaks following the first wave of massive long-term care contagion skyrocketed “with hair-raising speed’’ from 18 facilities, active, on Sept. 1 (only two had more than five cases) to 117 facilities, active, on Dec. 1 (and had reached 187 by December 31). The report lists eight institutions which have received management orders and 16 with “facilitated management agreements’’. All but one are for-profit homes…
* New deaths in elder care home outbreaks in Hamilton, Toronto Star, Dec 31, 2020
* Ontario reports record high 3,328 new COVID-19 cases, 56 new deaths, CBC News, Dec 31, 2020
* Former Ontario premier Mike Harris who privatized long term elder care and now heads one of the largest, killer elder-care home chains is appointed to ‘Order of Ontario’. Report in Toronto Star, Jan 1, 2021
* Big for-profit long-term-care companies paid out more than $170 million to investors through Ontario’s deadly first wave, Toronto Star, Dec 26, 2020
‘Journalists for Human Rights’ agency in Canada is anything but when it comes to the persecution of journalist Julian Assange. By Aidan Joseph, editor-in-chief, The Canada Files, Dec 31, 2020 Original title: ‘Press Forward board of directors member Rachel Pulfer refused to resist persecution of Julian Assange as Journalists for Human Rights executive director’
Related: The Kafkaesque imprisonment of Julian Assange exposes U.S. myths about freedom and tyranny, by Glenn Greenwald, published on his Substack outlet, Dec 31, 2020
Canada news headlines on A Socialist In Canada, December 2021
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
For the full archive of news and analysis headlines for November 2020, click here.