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Burning, picketing, marching, chanting: How solidarity for a pipeline spread through the nation – National Post

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In downtown Victoria, scores of protesters marched and chanted in front of government offices as protests that have unfolded across Canada this week in solidarity with Indigenous objections to a natural gas pipeline continued on Friday.

Perhaps the most visible in the B.C. capital, the protests have played out across the country throughout the week, from a sit-in in Ottawa and marches in Edmonton, to rail blockades in Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario.

By Friday, there was an easing of tension: Even as demonstrators marched outside government buildings in Victoria, having held a prayer earlier in the morning to “open the hearts and minds” of politicians and the public, reports came that a rail blockade in northern B.C., near New Hazelton, had come down as government officials and protesters reached an agreed to meet. Another blockade, in Coquitlam, organized by the Red Braid Alliance for Decolonial Socialism, which had disrupted the morning commute, also ended Friday.

But the rail blockade in Ontario remained.

Near Belleville, Ont., roughly halfway between Ottawa and Toronto, protesters continued to stand firm. Temperatures hovered around -18C Friday morning, but a handful of people, bundled up, milled around the blocked tracks. Two trucks were parked alongside the tracks, and a banner reading “Stop Colonization” hung beside a pickup truck and camper.

As well, media reports said a blockade of a CP Rail line on Kahnawake Mohawk Territory near Montreal remained Friday morning, while the Quebec Union des municipalités demanded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government put an end to the protests that, as of Thursday evening, saw the shutdown of Canadian National Railway freight shipments in eastern Canada and Via Rail passenger shutdowns across the country.


VIA Rail trains are seen parked at Via Rail’s Toronto Maintenance Centre after the Canadian National Railway Co (CN Rail) said it will halt operations in eastern Canada and VIA Rail cancelled its service, as its rail lines continue to be blocked by anti-pipeline protesters, at Union Station in Toronto, Ontario, Canada February 14, 2020.

Carlos Osorio /

Reuters

“The situation is extremely worrisome and it is urgent the government of Canada settle it. We cannot wait another week,” said Suzanne Roy, interim president of the Union des municipalités in a statement.

The protests are over a pipeline through the interior of B.C: The $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline is to run some 670 kilometres from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat, on the northwestern B.C. coast, where a major, $40-billion natural gas project is underway.

Elected band councils have signed agreements with Coastal GasLink Pipleline Ltd., a subsidiary of TC Energy (formerly TransCanada Corp.) for the pipeline, but the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs, who claim jurisdiction over 22,000 square kilometres of the B.C. interior, object to the project. For  years, the hereditary chiefs have been attempting to block access to construction sites. The matter heated up when, earlier this week, the RCMP cleared out the final blockades to the pipeline construction sites.

In preparation for Friday’s protests in Victoria, Darryl Plecas, speaker of the B.C. legislature, sought and won an injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court, barring protesters from blocking or “physically barring” access to the legislative precinct. Earlier in the week, as legislators returned to work, protesters blocked access, shouting “shame!” and leading B.C. Premier John Horgan to condemn the protests.

An event posting on Facebook for the series of Friday protests was described as a “picket.”

“We call on settlers to help take responsibility for the colonial institutions causing violence against Wet’suwet’en land and people by picketing BC government buildings,” the posting said.

The  British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ Union notified its members Friday that it was not affiliated with the protests, but that employees had “the right not to cross a picket line.”


Protesters block the Halifax port railway in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada February 11, 2020, in this image obtained from social media.

Laura Cutmore/ REUTERS

In Ontario, despite calls from politicians and business leaders to step in, police had not moved to enforce a court order to remove the rail blockade near Belleville that is causing major disruptions to goods and passengers ahead of the Family Day long weekend. Earlier in the week, the court injunction had been given to the protesters; they torched it on the train tracks.

The Ontario Provincial Police defended its handling of the situation, saying officers have been in talks with the protesters throughout the week — a move that’s in line with the force’s framework on resolving conflicts with Indigenous communities.

“The proper use of police discretion is a valid, appropriate approach to de-escalating situations such as this,” spokesman Bill Dickson said in a statement. “The proper exercise of police discretion should not be confused with a lack of enforcement.”

Meanwhile, Marc Miller, the federal Liberals’ Indigenous services minister, had been seeking to meet with protesters. His office said Friday there were  no updates on whether or not his attempts to schedule a meeting Saturday had proved fruitful.

With files from the Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun and The Canadian Press

• Email: tdawson@postmedia.com | Twitter:


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Disney to lay off nearly 28K workers at California, Florida locations due to coronavirus – Global News

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U.S. President Donald Trump would not say during his first debate with former Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday if he will urge his supporters to stay calm in the event of a contested election in November.

Asked by moderator Chris Wallace, Trump said he is urging people to be poll watchers to stop fraudulent activity both in polling places and with mail-in ballots, which Trump has repeatedly said will be a “disaster.”

Read more:
Donald Trump refuses to condemn white supremacists during first U.S. presidential debate

“I hope it’s going to be a fair election. If it’s a fair election, I am 100 per cent on board,” Trump said. “But if I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that.”

“What does that mean?” Wallace asked. “Does that mean you’re going to urge your people to take to the streets?”

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“It means you have a fraudulent election,” Trump replied.

“These people aren’t equipped to handle it, number one. Number two, they cheat,” he continued.






3:07
US Presidential debate: Trump avoids condemning white supremacist groups


US Presidential debate: Trump avoids condemning white supremacist groups

Biden, when asked the same question, promised to not declare victory until the election results are independently certified.

“Here’s the deal: we count the ballots,” he said. “Some of these ballots in some states can’t even be opened until Election Day. And if there’s thousands of ballots it’s going to take time to do it.”

Trump also said he’s counting on the Supreme Court to settle any dispute in the final electoral count. By that time, the court will likely include Trump’s third nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, creating an unbreakable conservative majority if the Republican-led Senate votes to confirm her before Nov. 3.

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Read more:
‘Shut up man’: Trump, Biden clash, interrupt each other during U.S. presidential debate

“I’m counting on them to look at the ballots, definitely,” he said. “I hope we don’t need them in terms of the election itself, but for the ballots I think so.”

Trump has already refused to confirm whether he’ll accept a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.

For months, the president, Attorney General Bill Barr and other fellow Republicans have argued that mail-in ballots — which is being expanded or introduced in nearly every state due to the novel coronavirus pandemic — will lead to widespread fraud, while providing little concrete evidence. They have voiced support for solicited absentee ballots, which Trump himself has used to vote.


Click to play video 'US Presidential debate: Biden presses Trump to release his tax returns after Trump claims he’s paid ‘millions’'



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US Presidential debate: Biden presses Trump to release his tax returns after Trump claims he’s paid ‘millions’


US Presidential debate: Biden presses Trump to release his tax returns after Trump claims he’s paid ‘millions’

While Trump tried to point to examples of election fraud during the debate, those were full of mischaracterizations. A story about a group of Trump’s so-called poll watchers being turned away from an office in Philadelphia, for example, was due to many reasons beyond hiding fraud, local media has pointed out.

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Biden pointed out during the debate that members of the military have been voting by mail since the Civil War, and refuted Trump and Republicans’ arguments that mail-in voting will lead to widespread fraud.

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“Why is it for them somehow not fraudulent,” Biden asked, speaking of military members. “It’s the same process. It’s honest.”

Biden closed by promising that not only would he accept the results if he loses, but so would Trump.

“Once the winner is declared and all the ballots are counted, all the votes are counted, that’ll be the end of it,” he said.

“If we get the votes, he’s going to go. He can’t stay in power. It won’t happen. So vote,” he said earlier, directly addressing the camera.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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These COVID-19 symptoms are more concerning for kids than the sniffles: B.C. doctor

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VANCOUVER —
When it comes to COVID-19 symptoms, there are some that parents of young kids should be more wary of, a B.C. doctor says.

Dr. Rhonda Low, a physician based in Vancouver, says sneezing and sore throats don’t necessarily mean parents need to sound the alarm or keep their kids at home. This comes more than a week after health officials suddenly changed screening requirements for students heading to class.

“Talk about making parents nuts because kids have runny noses and sore throats all year, as soon as school starts,” she said about the old requirements on CTV Morning Live Tuesday.

Low says according to current data, kids under the age of 10 aren’t likely to have COVID-19 if they just have a runny nose.

“The chance of them having COVID is only about seven per cent,” she said. “If a child has a sore throat, the chance of them having COVID is only about 13 per cent.”

The new checklist for schools says kids should stay home if they have fever, chills, a cough or shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting. But if they have a runny nose, a sore throat, headache, fatigue or body aches, they are no longer required to be absent.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, addressed the changes last week.

“There are so many things that cause children to have one symptom that has nothing to do with an infection,” she said.

“It’s a balancing act to make sure children are able to attend school as much as possible and minimizing the risk that they pose.”

Some of the symptoms that are still on the screening checklist are more concerning for young kids.

“The most important symptoms that seem to indicate that we should get your child tested for COVID are a fever and a cough,” Low said. “And those two are present in about two-thirds of cases.”

And Low says new research confirms what health experts have understood since earlier in the pandemic: kids under 10 are less likely to become infected, even with similar exposure to COVID-19 as adults.

“But the role of kids transmitting to others and adults is still not really clear,” Low said.

Source:- CTV News Vancouver

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Three Shoppers Drug Mart workers test positive for virus in Belleville stores – Belleville Intelligencer

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Medical officer of health Dr. Piotr Oglaza stands outside Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.
FILE


Luke Hendry / Luke Hendry

Three employees at a trio of Shoppers Drug Mart store locations in Belleville “have tested positive on a presumptive test for COVID-19”and are in isolation away from work, said parent firm Loblaw Companies Limited.

Word of the three cases follows public notification by Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health of two positive cases of COVID-19, one recorded Tuesday and another reported Thursday in the region.

The transmission origin of Tuesday’s case is listed as pending while Thursday’s case was attributed to close-contact transmission.

Loblaw Companies said on its website that given “the important role we play in our communities, we are prepared for all possible situations, including a positive test for COVID-19 in our stores.”

All public safety measures are taken by Shoppers Drug Mart to clean and sanitize stores following a positive test of an employee, the firm said.

“In these cases, we work closely with public health and follow their guidance to ensure proper notification of close contacts and required cleaning and sanitization in our stores.”

The company said for “transparency, we regularly update the sections … with all positive COVID-19 cases in our stores by province in the last 15 days. For privacy, we will not release any personal information about our colleagues and employees.”

One infected employee working at Shoppers’ 150 Sidney Street location worked their last day Sept. 23, said the company, while another infected employee at Shoppers’ 405 Dundas Street location worked their last day Sept. 20, the company confirmed.

The employee at Quinte Mall’s Shoppers Drug Mart location at the Quinte Mall’s 390 North Front Street location worked their last day at the store Sept. 22, said the firm.

Quinte Mall property management did not return a phone call by The Intelligencer placed Monday for comment on any possible actions, if any, were needed to protect mall visitors.

Dr. Piotr Oglaza, medical officer of health for Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health, declined comment Monday on the Shoppers’ employee testing positive on a presumptive test at Quinte Mall and whether there was a safety concern for a privately-owned mall that sees high footfall daily on its premises.

Oglaza told The Intelligencer in an interview the health unit is bound by provincial health privacy provisions not to release information that could lead to the identification of an individual.

However, speaking in general terms, Oglaza said identifying an individual case and issuing a public COVID-19 advisory can be warranted if the health unit deems a public health safety risk to the public when proper contract tracing cannot locate all people who have been exposed to an infected person.

In the case of a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year at a Kingston beauty services salon, for example, health unit officials there made the name of the spa public to trace all customers who may have visited the spa in order to conduct further contact tracing to find, isolate and stem any further spread of the virus.

Oglaza said contact tracing in all 54 local cases so far listed by HPE Public Health up until Tuesday’s latest additional case confirmation has been successful to the point that there has been no need to make any public appeals in the health unit’s catchment area.

Contact tracing is key to countering more anticipated cases in a second wave, Oglaza said, because health officials can rapidly identify, trace and isolate new infections to avoid community spread throughout Hastings and Prince Edward catchment area.

“There is a role, time and place for public announcements. That’s when we are unable to trace contact if the nature of the setting is challenging, impossible, and if there is a risk if we don’t get to the public,” Oglaza said.

“In cases of COVID-19, our work is really focusing on as quickly as possible connecting with the person who has been confirmed and getting from them a detailed history of who they’ve been in contact with over a certain amount of time we deemed they were infectious and then getting that list of individuals and connecting with them directly.”

“In that situation, once these contacts are basically identified,” Oglaza said, “connected with all the measures that are in place, there really is no need for anything more for the public to know other than there is a case and it’s being handled by us because any more information provided by a case could potentially lead to identify who that individual is and we’re not a position to do that.”

“This is personal health information,” Oglaza said.

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