As a plane of relieved Canadians evacuated from the virus-plagued cruise ship in Japan flies back home, dozens of others are being left behind.
Rose and Greg Yerex from Port Dover, Ont. tested positive for COVID-19 in their final days aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship. The federal government has said it is better for them and dozens of other infected Canadians to be treated locally in Japan rather than return home with the virus.
“Both my husband and I are actually physically feeling great,” Rose Yerex told CTV News Channel from their hospital room in Nagoya.
Despite testing positive, the couple has not shown any signs of the illness and is being kept in a section of the hospital dedicated to patients without symptoms. Even though they were not deemed well enough to fly home, they don’t require medical treatment.
“The problem is that there’s no treatment for this. We are asymptomatic, so what you can only really do is treat the symptoms — if there are any — and basically let this this run its course,” Rose Yerex said.
Forty-seven of the 250 Canadians on the ship tested positive for the virus. The total number of cases on board the ship was 634, or roughly one in six of the 3,700 people on board.
Rose and Greg were surprised to end up in the hospital together. Initially, Greg tested positive for the virus, but Rose was negative. They planned on having Rose return to Canada while Greg stayed in Japan for treatment.
Then, on one of the final days of quarantine, Rose was tested again. Her results came back positive.
It was difficult news, especially after 14 days sequestered in their cabin.
“It was a total surprise and we had maybe a couple hours’ notice so I could pack up,” she said.
Greg described the experience as “surreal.”
“It’s like my whole world is topsy-turvy, because what I should be doing and what I want to be doing, I can’t do.”
While the Yerexes remain in Japan, their friend Kate Bedding is on her way back home to Canada. Bedding and the other evacuees were tested on the ship one last time by Canadian medical personnel Friday before being given the all-clear to fly home.
The Canada-bound flight left Tokyo International Airport at 4:30 a.m. local time and is scheduled to land in Trenton at 4 a.m. EDT on Friday.
Once home, evacuees will undergo more testing at a military base in Trenton, Ont. before being relocated to a hotel and conference centre in Cornwall, Ont. for another two weeks of quarantine.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it’s possible that some evacuees may be able to leave quarantine sooner than the designated two-week period if they continue to test negative for the virus and don’t have any symptoms. Hajdu said that will be determined by the chief public health officer of Canada on a case-by-case basis.
Bedding admits that leaving her friends behind was difficult.
“I’m leaving my two friends here in Japan, and I’m a little hesitant to leave without them,” Bedding said, becoming emotional.
Two cruise ship passengers – a Japanese man and woman in their 80s – have died in hospital, officials confirmed Thursday. Their deaths are the first from the ship.
Globally, the novel coronavirus has killed more than 2,100 people and infected 76,000 others since it was identified on New Year’s Eve.
Prime Minister travelling to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula today
Trudeau is there to continue the summer meet and greets he started in July in other parts of Canada.
His planned events include visits to a farm, wind farm and a train retrofitting plant in New Richmond.
Trudeau’s last stop in the region came when he was in full pre-campaign mode just one month before he called a federal election.
This visit comes as the provincial government is set to go into an election where the future of French is sure to play a big role.
On Wednesday, new census data showed Gaspé to be the only region in the province where the share of people claiming French as their first language grew in the last five years.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.
The Canadian Press
80 years after Dieppe, postcards share stories of soldiers who died in deadly raid
Paris Eakins was 26 years old when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in November 1940 during the Second World War.
He was born in Minnedosa, Man., where he lived until he attended the University of Manitoba, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree. Eakins worked at his town’s newspaper and went on to join the sports department at the Winnipeg Free Press.
After he enlisted, Eakins worked his way to become a pilot officer in a fighter squadron based in England in 1941. The next year, he was killed in northern France during the disastrous Dieppe Raid. He was 27.
Eakins’ story is featured in a Canadian postcard campaign ahead of the 80th anniversary of the raid on Friday.
The Juno Beach Centre Association has sent 400 unique postcards to addresses across the country that share the name and fate of a serviceman whose records show once lived in those places.
“(We) encourage people to take a moment to consider the anniversary, to consider what happened to this individual who lived in their home or very nearby to them, 80 or more years ago,” said Alex Fitzgerald-Black, the association’s director.
The Dieppe Raid, known as Operation Jubilee, on Aug. 19, 1942, was the Canadian Army’s first major combat against Nazi Germany.
Canadian and British troops landed on beaches near the German-occupied French port with a mission to capture the town, destroy the port facilities and return to England with information that could give them an advantage.
Instead, the raid backfired and Operation Jubilee became Canada’s bloodiest day of the Second World War.
“It was the Canadian Army’s baptism of fire against Nazi Germany during the war. Unfortunately, it was a deadly failure,” said Fitzgerald-Black.
About 5,000 Canadian soldiers took part in the raid. In less than 10 hours of fighting, more than 800 died, with about 100 more later succumbing to their injuries. About another 2,000 became prisoners of war.
Preparations for the postcard campaign began at the end of last year. Employees and volunteers at the association went through the service files of those who were killed to see if they could link their old home addresses to a current one.
They were able to develop a list of addresses for half of those who died. The list skews toward addresses in urban settings because those who were from rural areas couldn’t be reproduced, said Fitzgerald-Black. Many went to cities in southern Ontario, as well as Montreal and Winnipeg.
The association also produced a temporary exhibition honouring the anniversary in Normandy, France.
A delegation of federal ministers, veterans, representatives of veterans and Indigenous organizations, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces travelled to France this week to take part in events marking the anniversary.
Three of the veterans participating served in the Second World War, including a survivor of the raid.
“It’s vitally important that we continue to recognize and honour the extraordinary service and sacrifice witnessed 80 years ago on the beaches of Dieppe,” Lawrence MacAulay, minister of veterans affairs, said in a release.
“As the living memory of this seminal moment fades, we as Canadians must ensure that the legacy of those who served Canada is never forgotten.”
Stories like Eakins’ have made an impression on Fitzgerald-Black.
He hopes the postcard project will help Canadians remember the people who died serving their country and those who survived.
“They’re not going to be around much longer to share these stories — the stories of their comrades who were killed during the raid,” he said.
“And so we hope that Canadians will continue to take up the torch to do this into the future.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.
Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press
Census data shows linguistic diversity on the rise in Canada – Saanich News
A growing number of new immigrants to Canada are bringing with them increasingly diverse languages, setting a record for the number of Canadians whose mother tongue is neither English nor French, new 2021 census data reveals.
One in four people in Canada have a mother tongue other than English or French, and about 12 per cent of people predominantly speak a non-official language at home as of last year.
Proficiency in those languages tends to fade after a generation or two, however, Statistics Canada’s deputy head of the Centre for Demography said Wednesday.
“From 2016 to 2021, the number of Canadians who predominantly speak languages other than English and French at home grew significantly,” said Éric Caron-Malenfant at a media briefing.
The trend is mainly driven by immigration, and continued even during the pandemic when immigration slowed considerably due to COVID-19 health restrictions and related backlogs, Caron-Malenfant said.
The average age of new immigrants is typically between 25 and 35, he said.
“After that, when you have children in Canada, often more and more English and French will be spoken at home,” he said.
British Columbia speech-language pathologist June Cheung noticed that phenomenon play out in her own Cantonese-speaking family and community when she was growing up in Edmonton.
“My parents were the ones who originally immigrated here from Hong Kong whereas my siblings and I, we were all born here,” Cheung said in an interview.
“My parents would speak to my older brothers and myself in Chinese but often we would reply in English.”
The generational language shift inspired her masters thesis, which further showed how “heritage” language proficiency fades with each generation.
“By the time the second generation has kids, it’s very unlikely that they’ll choose to use a heritage language,” she said.
The trend was also true for French-speaking families outside of Quebec in most provinces, the census data shows.
The proportion of Canadians living outside Quebec whose first official language spoken is French was down to 3.3 per cent in 2021 from 3.6 per cent in 2016.
Statistics Canada attributes the decline to the fact that people whose first official language is French tend to be older, and haven’t consistently passed the language on to the next generation. Sometimes other languages can take over inside the home.
Cheung, who says she’s reinvested in her Cantonese-speaking skills, says fading language proficiency can create intergenerational divides.
“I can ask you where the bathroom is, versus being able to talk about your hopes and fears, your dreams,” she said. “It’s a lot harder to have those conversations sometimes if there is that language barrier.”
Mandarin and Punjabi are the most common non-official languages, with more than a million people predominantly speaking one of the two languages.
Statistics Canada noted a large increase in the growth of the number of Canadians who predominantly speak South Asian languages such as Punjabi, Gujarati, Hindi or Malayalam since the last census in 2016, a rise which was fuelled by immigration.
The growth rate of the population speaking South Asian languages was at least eight times greater than that of the overall Canadian population during the same period.
The massive increase in the growth of South Asian languages closely aligns with immigration trends from those countries.
At the same time, European languages like Italian, Polish and Greek are fading in Canada.
“This decline is primarily linked to the speakers of these languages aging, a significant proportion of whom emigrated to Canada before 1980,” Caron-Malenfant said.
Relatively few recent immigrants from those countries have recently landed in Canada, he said.
Regardless of their mother tongue, most people in Canada access services in one of the two official languages.
English and French are still by far the most common languages spoken in Canada and 90 per cent of Canadians speak at least one of the official languages.
—Laura Osman, The Canadian Press
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