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Canada recommends AstraZeneca vaccine despite U.S. criticism of trial data – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canada on Tuesday said the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is safe and will continue to be recommended for use despite criticism from U.S. health officials of the drugmaker’s analysis of the shot’s efficacy, health officials said.

“The message is that the efficacy and the safety of the vaccine have been shown,” senior Health Canada official Marc Berthiaume told reporters. “It continues to be beneficial for Canadians to prevent COVID-19.”

Deliveries of coronavirus vaccines are ramping up in Canada, with some 2 million doses of the Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc vaccines coming in this week. The United States has said it is sharing 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with Canada as early as this week.

The U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on Monday that the board charged with ensuring the accuracy of AstraZeneca’s latest trial said the company may have given an incomplete view of the shot’s effectiveness. The company has since said it will publish up-to-date results.

“We will look at the complete data package (from the U.S.) sometime in April, and will assess and communicate the results,” said Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada. “The bottom line is: that doesn’t change recommendations on the AstraZeneca vaccine at this time.”

There will be a delay of a day or two of the delivery of the Moderna vaccines this week, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said on Twitter on Tuesday, adding that bookings for shots will not be affected.

Also on Tuesday, Canada said it would give $23.7 million to the province of Ontario to open more voluntary isolation sites for those who catch the virus and need a place to quarantine as cases surge during a third wave.

Canada has recorded about 940,000 virus infections and more than 22,700 deaths from COVID-19.

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Canada Energy Regulator allows resumption of Trans Mountain oil project

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The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has issued a notice https://bit.ly/35Sm87H allowing Trans Mountain Corp to resume work on its Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) oil pipeline project.

The company was ordered in April to halt work on a section of the project in Burnaby, British Columbia, for four months to protect hummingbird nests.

The C$12.6 billion ($10.17 billion) TMX project will nearly triple capacity of the pipeline, which runs from Edmonton in Alberta to the coast of British Columbia, to ship 890,000 barrels per day of crude and refined products when completed late 2022.

(Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman)

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Senate vote opens way for single event betting

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Canada’s Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that will open the way to legalize betting on single games or sporting events, which is currently illegal except for on horse racing.

The vote sent gambling shares higher as it is seen helping them win back customers from offshore websites and U.S. casinos.

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday made history by nominating the first judge of color to sit on the country’s Supreme Court, which has only ever had white justices in its 146-year existence.

Mahmud Jamal, who has been a judge on Ontario‘s court of appeal since 2019, trained as a lawyer and appeared before the Supreme Court in 35 appeals addressing a range of civil, constitutional, criminal and regulatory issues.

“He’ll be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court – and that’s why, today, I’m announcing his historic nomination to our country’s highest court,” Trudeau said on Twitter.

Trudeau has frequently said there is a need to address systemic racism in Canada.

Jamal, born in Nairobi in 1967, emigrated with his family to Britain in 1969 where he said he was “taunted and harassed because of my name, religion, or the color of my skin.”

In 1981 the family moved to Canada, where his “experiences exposed me to some of the challenges and aspirations of immigrants, religious minorities, and racialized persons,” he said in a document submitted to support his candidacy.

Canada is a multicultural country, with more than 22% of the population comprised of minorities and another 5% aboriginal, according to the latest census.

“We know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every single day,” Trudeau said last year.

Jamal will replace Justice Rosalie Abella, who is due to retire from the nine-person court on July 1.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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