Finance Minister Bill Morneau said today the federal government hasn’t decided if Ottawa would help to cover the security costs associated with a move by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan to Canada.
A report in the London-based Evening Standard Monday said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told the Queen already that Canada would assume some of the costs associated with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex taking up residence here part-time.
Morneau said the government has not yet held any formal talks on the matter.
“No, we haven’t spent any time thinking about this issue,” Morneau told reporters in Toronto.
“We obviously are always looking to make sure, as a member of the Commonwealth, we play a role. We have not had any discussions on that subject at this time.”
The Evening Standard said Trudeau has “agreed taxpayers in his country should pick up the huge bill for the couple’s round-the-clock protection while they are in the country … Trudeau has privately assured the Queen that Harry, Meghan and Archie’s safety will not be jeopardised while they reside there.”
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the prospect of Canada paying for the family’s protection.
The royal couple would not automatically be granted Canadian citizenship, said Mathieu Genest, a spokesperson for Immigration Minster Marco Mendicino, in an emailed statement.
“In order to become legal permanent residents of Canada, they would need to apply through our normal immigration processes. However, members of the Royal Family are not required to seek authorization to come to and stay in Canada as visitors,” the spokesperson said.
“There are no provisions in the Citizenship Act that confer Canadian citizenship status to members of the Royal Family by virtue of their status as a member of the monarchy.”
Under Canadian immigration law, most British visitors to the country can stay visa-free for up to six months.
Security costs estimated at $1.7M
In announcing their decision to step back from their role as senior members of the Royal Family and divide their time between the U.K. and North America, the couple said they wanted to be financially independent and less reliant on funds from the Sovereign Grant, the pool of public money available to the royals to help them carry out their duties.
The cost associated with protecting the Sussexes has been pegged at more than a $1.7 million a year.
Security costs incurred by the royals have been covered by the British taxpayer — but the status of that funding for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is in doubt in light of their stated intention to withdraw from public life.
Canada has paid the costs associated with past royal tours. In 2010, for example, Canadian taxpayers spent $2.8 million to protect the Queen during her nine-day tour of Canada. Protecting Prince William and his wife Kate during a 2011 visit cost Canada about $1.2 million.
Period of transition will be spent in Canada, U.S.
The Queen, Prince Charles, William and Harry met Monday at the Queen’s winter residence, Sandringham House, to discuss Harry’s future in the House of Windsor.
In a statement issued after the talks, the Queen said all parties agreed that “there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the U.K.”
The Queen said that while she would prefer Harry and Megan “remain full-time working members of the Royal Family,” she respects and “understands their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
As for the costs associated with a move, the Queen said these are “complex matters” and “there is some more work to be done.”
When asked about funding, British Home Secretary Priti Patel, the minister responsible for policing and national security matters, said it would be “thoroughly inappropriate” to comment.
“Talking about it compromises much of the security arrangements and that is not something I will be discussing here today,” Patel said in an interview with the BBC.
“If I may, I think it’s right that the Royal Family now have the time and space to discuss the issues that they need to discuss. Therefore, I am not going to, and neither will the government, give a public commentary in terms of the security arrangements with anybody with protective security.”
The couple spent more than six weeks at a rented mansion on Vancouver Island during the Christmas holiday season. Meghan, an American-born former actress, spent years living in Toronto while filming the legal drama Suits.
Harry also has shown a fondness for Canada. While in the military, he did two stints at the Suffield military base in southeastern Alberta. He also picked Toronto to host the third iteration of the Invictus Games for wounded veterans.
After announcing their dramatic departure from regular royal life, Meghan immediately flew to Canada to be with her son, Archie, who had stayed behind in Canada after the Christmas break.
For more coverage of Harry and Megan, subscribe to the Royal Fascinator, our biweekly newsletter dedicated to news and analysis of the goings-on at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and beyond — in your inbox every other Friday.
What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Hundreds of scientists say there is evidence that the novel coronavirus in smaller particles in the air can infect people and they are calling for the World Health Organization (WHO) to revise its recommendations, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
However, the health agency said the evidence for the virus being airborne was not convincing, according to the NYT.
“Especially in the last couple of months, we have been stating several times that we consider airborne transmission as possible but certainly not supported by solid or even clear evidence,” Dr Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead of infection prevention and control, was quoted as saying.
India now has the world’s third-highest number of novel coronavirus cases behind Brazil and the United States, at nearly 700,000, according to the latest data, as the outbreak shows no sign of slowing.
India has seen eight times the number of cases as China, which has a similar-sized population and is where the virus originated late last year.
Late on Sunday, India cancelled the planned reopening of the Taj Mahal, citing the risk of coronavirus infections spreading in the city of Agra from visitors flocking to see India’s most famous monument.
Agra, site of one of India’s first big clusters of the virus, remains the worst-affected city in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state.
Not since the Spanish flu
Officials are closing the border between Australia’s two most populous states from Tuesday for an indefinite period as they scramble to contain an outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Melbourne.
The decision marks the first time the border between Victoria and New South Wales has been shut in 100 years. Officials last blocked movement between the two states in 1919 during the Spanish flu pandemic. Victoria’s only other internal border, with South Australia state, is already closed.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, has surged in recent days, prompting authorities to enforce strict social-distancing orders in 30 suburbs and put nine public housing towers into complete lockdown.
Hydroxychloroquine and HIV drugs off the table
The WHO said on Saturday that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.
The setback came as the WHO also reported more than 200,000 new cases globally of the disease for the first time in a single day.
The U.N. agency said the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee, does not affect other studies where those drugs are used for non-hospitalised patients or as a prophylaxis.
Kicking in place
Soccer-mad Argentines in the farmbelt city of Pergamino have devised a clever way to keep playing while avoiding risk of spreading COVID-19: a human foosball pitch with zones for each player to avoid physical contact.
The game, known as “metegol humano” divides the pitch into rectangular zones with white lines limiting where a player can move – helping to enforce social distancing, though limiting slide tackles or pitch-length dribbles with the ball.
Two teams of five players – a goalkeeper, a defender, a midfielder and two forwards – can take part, said Gustavo Cuiffo, a creator of the project.
Seen from above, the demarcated court resembles a large foosball table – though with real people and no swivel handles.
“It is the first time I have kicked in several months,” said Gustavo Santapaola, who took part in a match at the Play Fútbol ground. “I honestly tell you, I am excited.”
(Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Britain to put nearly $2 billion into arts to help survival
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will invest nearly $2 billion in cultural institutions and the arts to help a sector that has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.
Theatres, opera houses and ballet companies have been left without a live audience for months.
Though English museums and cinemas can re-open with strict social distancing in the latest easing of lockdown which began on Saturday, guidelines still dictate no live performances at theatres or concert halls.
That has created an existential crisis for much of the sector, which has been vocal in calling on the government for support.
“This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down,” Johnson said in a statement.
The government said the 1.57-billion pound ($1.96 billion) investment was the biggest ever in Britain’s culture sector.
It said that Britain’s museums, art galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues would be protected through emergency grants and loans.
The government will consult with figures from Arts Council England, the British Film Institute and other specialist bodies on awarding grants, while it said repayable finance would be issued on affordable terms.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Editing by Timothy Heritage)
Nearly 40 feared dead as torrential rains hit southwest Japan
TOKYO (Reuters) – Nearly 40 people were feared dead as torrential rains continued to hit Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu, with river banks at risk of bursting on Monday morning and new evacuation orders put in place.
Flooding and mudslides that began at the weekend torrential rains killed 21 people so far. A further 18 people were showing no vital signs and presumed dead pending official confirmation, and 13 people were missing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference.
“I offer my deepest condolences for those who have passed from the torrential rains,” Suga said, adding that some 40,000 members of the Self-Defence Force were involved in rescue missions.
He added that evacuation centres were also working on preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus by distributing disinfectant and asking evacuees to maintain their distance from each other.
As of Saturday, some 200,000 have been ordered to evacuate their homes, according to Kyodo news agency.
The floods are Japan’s worst natural disaster since Typhoon Hagibis in October last year that left about 90 people dead.
(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Michael Perry)
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