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Canada still struggles with the Second World War’s legacy, says historian

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Seventy-five years ago today, a little-known Canadian colonel — a half-blind veteran of the First World War — sat pen in hand before a dark cloth-covered table on the quarterdeck of the American battleship U.S.S. Missouri.

Allied warships had assembled in a long, grey line in the stifling heat of Tokyo Bay — a mute audience for the moment the victors met the vanquished.

Along with a host of military glitterati that included U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Col. Lawrence Cosgrave accepted the surrender of the Japanese empire on Canada’s behalf. He signed on the wrong line, causing a minor kerfuffle that was soon rectified by MacArthur’s chief of staff with a stroke of his own pen.

The Second World War ended at that moment.

 

A copy of the Sept. 2, 1945 Japanese surrender document, displayed aboard the USS Missouri historical site at Pearl Harbor, Oahu. ( Murray Brewster/CBC News)

 

The most deadly and destructive conflict in human history — a war that killed at least 75 million people worldwide, claimed 45,000 Canadian lives and left another 55,000 Canadians physically and mentally scarred — was finally over.

Once the shooting stopped, said historian Tim Cook, war-weary Canadians were eager to forget the war — or at least to move on from it. Few people know, and even fewer appreciate, the somewhat droll role Cosgrove played in that great moment three-quarters of a century ago.

That act of collective forgetting bothers Cook. It’s reflected in the title of his latest book: The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War.

One of the book’s working titles was “The Deafening Silence.”

“It’s not easy to talk about our history,” Cook told CBC News. “History often divides us.”

Cook — one of the country’s leading military historians and authors — said he’s baffled by Canadians’ apparent reluctance to come to grips with the war’s legacy.

 

Historian Tim Cook: “History often divides us.” (CBC News)

 

Following the First World War, Canadians built monuments from coast to coast. Canadian soldiers who served in that war — Cosgrave among them — wrote sometimes eloquent and moving accounts of their experiences under fire.

That didn’t happen in Canada following the Japanese and German surrenders in 1945, said Cook.

“We didn’t write the same history books. We didn’t produce films or television series,” he said. “We allowed the Americans and the British and even the Germans to write about the war and to present it on film.”

Some Canadian war correspondents wrote books in the immediate aftermath of the victory, hoping to speak to history — but senior military commanders and leaders subsequently shied away.

Unlike the American and British generals who wrote Second World War memoirs (Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton and Bernard Montgomery), Canadian commanders Harry Crerar, Andrew McNaughton, George Pearkes and Guy Simmonds all chose to remain silent and allowed biographers to tell their stories — sometimes decades after the fact.

Cook said the reluctance of many returning Canadian soldiers to discuss the war beyond the tight circles of Royal Canadian Legion halls — a silence that persisted for decades — also contributed to Canadians’ lack of engagement with the country’s experiences in the Second World War.

The ‘comfortable’ image of Canada the peacekeeper

The advent of peacekeeping has also tainted Canada’s view of the conflict, he said.

While some critics have argued successive governments have exploited the peacekeeping mythology, Cook said he’s very proud of Canada’s peacekeeping legacy. But peacekeeping “became a very comfortable symbol for us,” he said. “I argue in the book that it too has contributed to the silencing of the Second World War.”

In the 1960s, Cook said, Remembrance Day ceremonies in Canada suffered from dwindling attendance. It was only in the 1980s and 1990s — when the war was being re-examined through American popular culture properties like the hit movie Saving Private Ryan — that a deeper appreciation began to take root, he said.

Cook argues that revival of interest happened almost too late — at a time when many veterans had already passed away and few living Canadians remembered the war as a personal experience.

“We shouldn’t expect the Americans or the British and the Germans and the Japanese to talk about the war” in the same way Canadians experienced it, he said.

“If you don’t tell your own story, no one else will.”

History can be “dangerous” for politicians, Cook argues, because of the divisions it leaves behind (the conscription crisis of 1944 damaged English-French relations in Canada) and the effect of its darker chapters — such as the internment of Japanese citizens — when they come to light.

Many of the international institutions that were born out of the Second World War are under attack today. That’s just one reason why remembering the war is so important, said Cook.

“I’m not suggesting we should write heroic history and that we need to chest-thump and stand behind the flag. But I do think we need to tell our stories.”

 

The American battleship USS Missouri hosted the Japanese surrender ceremony on Sept. 2, 1945. It is now a museum in Oahu, Hawaii. ( Murray Brewster/CBC News)

 

Source: – CBC.ca

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Canada at 'crossroads' in battling COVID-19 as cases accelerate nationally, officials say – CBC.ca

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Canada is at a “crossroads” in its pandemic battle and the actions of individual Canadians will decide whether there’s a massive spike in COVID-19 cases coming, according to the latest projections from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Federal health officials presented new modelling today that shows the epidemic is accelerating nationally. They warned that if Canadians don’t step up preventative measures, the virus could spread out of control and trigger a wave of infections bigger than the first one.

“With minimal controls, the virus is capable of surging into a very sharp and intense peak because most Canadians don’t have immunity to the virus,” Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told a news conference in Ottawa today.

Short-term projections show there could be up to 155,795 cases and up to 9,300 deaths by Oct. 3.

If the current rate of infection is maintained, the epidemic is expected to re-surge — but if that rate increases, it is expected to resurge “faster and stronger.”

Rapid detection of new cases and a swift response to outbreaks are both key to controlling the pandemic, PHAC modelling documents show.

Tam said there has been a significant demographic shift in the caseload since June: instead of the virus disproportionately affecting elderly Canadians, most infections are now being reported in Canadians aged 20 to 39.

Tam and her deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, are joined by Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand at the news conference.

CBC News is carrying it live.

The last modelling figures were released on Aug. 14. At that time, Canada’s top doctors said they were striving for a best-case scenario but preparing for the worst: a so-called “fall peak” of COVID-19 cases across Canada that would threaten to overwhelm the public health care system.

PHAC officials said they were aiming for a “slow burn” scenario, in which the number of cases remains low enough for the public health care system to keep ahead of the influx of patients.

But officials also were planning for a “reasonable worst-case scenario” — a fall spike in infections followed by ongoing peaks and valleys that put excessive pressure on the health care system.

The recent rise in cases coincides with the flu and cold season, which could put added strain on hospitals and other health resources.

Health care workers have been working on the front lines for months now and are now bracing for a possible spike in hospitalizations, prompting concerns about potential burnout.

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Canada sees 1,307 new COVID-19 cases, marking highest daily increase since early May – Global News

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Canada added 1,307 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, fueling worries that the country could be headed towards a second wave of the virus.

Provincial and territorial health officials also said 11 new fatalities had occurred, bringing Canada’s death toll to 9,228.

Monday marked the third straight day the country has reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19.

The new infections also reflect the highest daily increase since May 6 when more than 1,400 new cases were reported.

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Read more:
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Ontario reported 425 new cases of the virus on Monday, and health officials said two more people had died.

The new infections bring the province’s total caseload to 47,274. 

Since the pandemic began, a total of 3,580,343 tests have been administered in Ontario, and 41,146 have recovered after falling ill.

Quebec saw 586 new cases of COVID-19, and provincial officials said two more people had died after testing positive for the virus.

The new fatalities bring Quebec’s death toll to 5,804.






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Coronavirus: Canadians should ‘redouble their efforts’ at preventing COVID-19 spread as national case count rises, Tam says


Coronavirus: Canadians should ‘redouble their efforts’ at preventing COVID-19 spread as national case count rises, Tam says

However, 59,131 have recovered from the virus, and more than 2,067,000 tests have been conducted. 

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New Brunswick added two new cases of the virus on Monday, but health officials confirmed no additional deaths had occurred.

So far, 191 people have recovered after contracting the virus, and 70,268 have been tested.

Health officials in Nova Scotia reported no new cases and said no new deaths had occurred.

A total of 1,021 people have recovered after contracting COVID-19 and 89,014 tests for the virus have been conducted in Nova Scotia.

Newfoundland did not report any new cases of the virus on Monday, either, and health authorities said the province’s death toll remained at three.

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Thus far, 38,118 tests for the virus have been administered, and 268 people have recovered. 

The latest data released by Prince Edward Island on Sept. 15 said the province has seen a total of 57 cases of COVID-19 but no deaths.

Read more:
Coronavirus took their lives. Here’s how their families will remember them

Saskatchewan health officials said seven new cases of the novel coronavirus were detected, but no one else had died.

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The province has seen 24 deaths since the pandemic began.

A total of 1,645 have recovered after falling ill with the respiratory illness, and 173,764 tests for the virus have been conducted in Saskatchewan.

In Manitoba, 22 new novel coronavirus infections were detected, and health officials said two more people had died.

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Since the virus was first detected 1,227 have recovered from COVID-19 infections.

Over 165,990 people have been tested for the virus in Manitoba.

Further west in Alberta, 137 new infections were reported, bringing the province’s case count to 16,739.

Health officials also said one new death associated with COVID-19 had occurred.

Since the pandemic began, 1,215,672 people have been tested for the virus, and 15,024 have recovered.

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British Columbia health authorities reported 128 new cases of the novel coronavirus, and said four additional deaths had occurred since Friday.






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Coronavirus: Dr. Tam explains what ‘manageable levels’ of COVID-19 in Canada might mean


Coronavirus: Dr. Tam explains what ‘manageable levels’ of COVID-19 in Canada might mean

The new infections bring the province’s total case load to 8,079. However, 5,797 have recovered from the virus.

So far, 455,395 tests for COVID-19 have been administered in British Columbia.

Territories

All five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Northwest Territories are considered to be resolved.

Health authorities have administered a total of 4,732 tests for the virus in the territory.

Similarly, in the Yukon, all 15 people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus have recovered.

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The latest data released by health officials on Thursday said 3,049 people have been tested for the virus.

Nunavut has seen three cases of the virus, however, each have been tied to workers from other parts of the country.

The territory says the infections will be counted in the totals for the workers’ home jurisdictions, meaning Nunavut still considers itself free of COVID-19 cases.

Read more:
Patio heaters won’t cut it. What will it take for restaurants to survive winter?

Global cases top 31 million

Since the novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December, it has infected 31,186,000 people and claimed 962,343 lives, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

The United States remained the epicentre of the virus on Monday, with more than 6.8 million confirmed cases.

As of 8 p.m. ET, COVID-19 had claimed 199,816 lives in the U.S.

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

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Student visa limbo leaves thousands unable to start school in Canada – CBC.ca

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Gustavo Camelo is one of thousands of international students stuck in limbo, ready to start college or university but missing one thing — a Canadian student visa.

The delays in documentation are due to travel restrictions brought in to protect Canadians from the spread of COVID-19. A spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said the ministry is trying to smooth the process and reduce delays for international students.

International education as a sector contributes $21 billion a year to the Canadian economy.

Camelo completed his undergraduate degree at the University of São Paulo in Brazil and was all set to start his masters degree in chemistry at the University of Victoria this month.

He and his partner rented a $1,800-a-month Victoria apartment and couldn’t wait for September. 

But then came COVID-19. The border closed and new rules came into play for student visas as of March 18.

Even international students approved before March are not automatically allowed to travel to Canada. Foreign nationals with a valid study permit or letter of introduction dated before March 18 may still be denied entry if their reason for travelling is deemed “discretionary.”

Students must prove it’s necessary for their program for them to be on campus.

Approved for online studies

When Camelo applied on May 15, he said he faced a 27-week wait for processing. So far he has only been approved to begin studies online, but he said he needs to be on campus to do research in order to complete the program. He said if he doesn’t get to Victoria soon, he could lose his spot in the program. 

IRCC confirmed there are delays and, right now, restrictions are not being eased — that will depend on how well the virus is contained.

“In regards to processing times, COVID-19 has meant significant challenges continue to affect processing timelines and we are doing our best within existing limitations. Because there are so many different variables involved, we are unable to provide specific timelines at this time,” a spokesperson said Monday in an email.

The University of Victoria campus is a dream right now for some international students who can’t get their student visa approved. (Twitter/@UVicLib)

“It’s very stressful. It’s hard to have your plans frustrated,” Camelo said in a phone interview from the U.K., where he and his dual-citizen partner, Tom Crocker, are waiting for word from Canada.

In July, the pair spent thousands of dollars on flights from Brazil and Canada to meet up in London, as the U.K. was one of the only places they could get in and face only a 14-day quarantine.

They had been separated since December 2019 and the border restrictions kept being extended.

“The U.K. is the only country that has its borders open for anyone,” said Crocker.

After reuniting at an Airbnb in London, where they quarantined for 14 days, the couple are staying with Crocker’s family near Dorchester until they can finally move back to B.C., where Camelo’s British-born partner has lived for a decade.

Camelo said he has about a month before he loses his spot in the UVic program, despite his acceptance and the fact that he’s paid his tuition.

“I can lose the offer for sure. The university is expecting me to get there in a month or so. No one knows exactly what’s going to happen,” he said.

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