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Canada working on getting more weapons to Ukraine, Trudeau says – CBC News

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Canada is looking at ways to get more weapons into the hands of Ukrainian soldiers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday after an emergency meeting of NATO leaders.

He made the commitment even though his own defence minister, Anita Anand, has acknowledged publicly that the Canadian military’s stock of surplus weapons available for donation is largely depleted.

“We’ll continue to try and help out in the best possible way we can, and as [Ukrainian President Volodomyr] Zelensky has been asking for various new pieces of equipment, we’re looking at what we can send,” Trudeau said.

“At the same time, we’re also committed to looking at procuring that equipment directly for Ukrainians.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a plenary session at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday, March 24, 2022. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The prime minister offered no details on what Canada could contribute or buy.

Trudeau also hinted — more strongly than he has in the past — that his government is prepared to spend more on defence. Trudeau has been asked repeatedly about Canada’s defence budget over the past few weeks but has declined to give a direct answer.

The Liberal government’s 2017 defence policy set out a schedule for increasing spending on the military by 70 per cent over a decade — targets that have largely gone unmet because of delays in new equipment purchases.

On Thursday, NATO said it expected member nations to submit their revised defence spending plans by the time NATO leaders meet again in June. Trudeau would not say whether his government will increase defence spending beyond what was already promised.

Zelensky issued a direct appeal to NATO allies earlier in the day for high-end military equipment his country urgently needs to fight off Russia’s invasion — tanks, aircraft and anti-ship missile systems.

The Ukrainian president demanded a clear answer from the alliance. The response he got from NATO’s secretary general was somewhat muted: Jens Stoltenberg confirmed a previous decision by the alliance to supply Ukraine with equipment to protect against chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.

WATCH: Analyzing NATO’s response to Russian aggression

Analyzing NATO’s response to Russian aggression

1 day ago

Duration 7:41

Adrienne Arsenault speaks to Ivo Daalder, former U.S. ambassador to NATO, and Rose Gottemoeller, former deputy secretary general of NATO, about the deployment of more battlegroups to eastern Europe and the nuclear threat posed by Russia. 7:41

Trudeau, who has spoken often with Zelensky, would not say Thursday whether he endorsed allies sending Ukraine weapons systems larger and more complex than the anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets already provided.

The list of equipment Canada has sent or promised Ukraine includes machine guns, carbines, hand guns, ammunition, and anti-tank rockets, along with non-lethal items like flak vests and field rations.

Some of that materiel is still in the process of being delivered.

Christian Leuprecht, a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, said he doubts the country’s military can contribute much more of its own equipment without undermining its own readiness.

“Canada has paid it forward [in Ukraine] because it knew and realized that many of the continental European powers couldn’t or would do [it],” he said.

“Canada paid it forward on both the [Ukraine] training mission and on the enhanced forward presence [the NATO battle group in Latvia]. As the recent week showed, when allies came and asked for Canada to do more, Canada had virtually nothing to give … We sent a few surplus items that we had in stores.”

WATCH: Latvian Deputy Prime Minister says Ukraine needs more anti-aircraft weapons 

The West should send Ukraine equipment to shoot down Russian planes as soon as possible, says Latvian Deputy PM

6 hours ago

Duration 8:05

Latvian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Artis Pabriks says the West should deliver equipment with which Ukraine can shoot down Russian planes, as soon as possible. “I did not receive a very clear argument as to why exactly we are not giving those older Russian production planes for Ukraine to operate themselves, because we are not flying our pilots there…so in fact, what is the difference? Do we give a stinger or a MiG-29?” 8:05

Also Thursday, Trudeau announced sanctions against 160 members of the Russian Federation Council. The government also said that, in the coming days, new prohibitions to ban the export of certain goods and technologies to Russia will be introduced. The aim of those sanctions is to undermine and erode the capabilities of the Russian military.

The United States and the United Kingdom also imposed more sanctions.

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Parliamentary committee to start report on expanding eligibility for assisted dying

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OTTAWA — A special joint parliamentary committee will now consider its report on current legislation on assisted death and whether to expand who is eligible to opt for it.

The committee of MPs and senators is considering whether medically assisted dying should be expanded to people solely suffering from mental illness and mature minors.

It is also considering whether it should let people opt in to assisted dying in advance before they lose the mental capacity to do so.

The committee was also tasked with studying a host of associated issues, such as the state of palliative care in Canada and the protection of Canadians with disabilities.

It will begin drafting its report based on its findings.

The government already agreed in Bill C-7 passed last March to lift the current ban on assisted dying for those suffering solely from mental illness in 2023.

It set up a separate panel of experts to advise on the rules that should apply in those cases and the panel made 19 recommendations in a report tabled earlier this month.

The government’s work on the legislation is under scrutiny as critics say the law has unforeseen effects, amid reports of people opting for a medically assisted death because of inadequate care or resources.

The Liberals faced criticism last year for proceeding with amendments to the law — in response to a Quebec court ruling, which struck down the requirement that a person’s death be “reasonably foreseeable” — without having even launched the promised review.

Meanwhile, the Quebec government is removing a section of its end-of-life care bill that would have allowed quadriplegics and people with cerebral palsy to receive an assisted death.

Health Minister Christian Dubé told reporters that opposition parties expressed concern with the bill, which was tabled Wednesday, because the question of extending medical aid in dying to people with neuromuscular disorders was never debated in the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

 

Erika Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

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Monkeypox: 26 cases now confirmed in Canada – CTV News

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There are now 26 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Canada, and the virus has been detected in a new province, according to an update from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

In Thursday’s update, PHAC stated that over the past week, it had confirmed 25 cases of monkeypox in Quebec.

Now, it has confirmed a case of monkeypox in Ontario as well, the first case in a province outside of Quebec.

“Our understanding of the virus is still evolving, but I want to emphasize this is a global response,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, said in the update.

Toronto Public Health stated Thursday that they have confirmed one case in Toronto, and are also investigating several suspected and probable cases.

“It is likely that additional cases will be reported in the coming days as the [National Microbiology Laboratory] is continuing to receive samples for confirmatory testing from multiple jurisdictions,” PHAC said in a written statement Thursday evening.

Monkeypox is a rare virus from the same family as smallpox, with symptoms including fever, muscle aches, skin rashes, swollen lymph nodes and headache, among others.

Canadians should be aware of the symptoms, Njoo said, and limit contact with others and seek medical attention particularly if they have an unexplained rash, one of the more recognizable symptoms.

The incubation period — the span of time between initial infection and seeing symptoms — for monkeypox is generally 6-13 days, but can range to as many as 21 days, according to PHAC.

Spread occurs through close contact with an infected individual, usually through contact with an infected person’s fluids, open sores or large “respiratory droplets”, Njoo said, as well as through shared contaminated objects.

He emphasized that although the risk to Canadians is currently low, anyone is capable of contracting this virus.

Because smallpox was eradicated in 1980, many people do not already have the smallpox vaccine, which provides some protection, which means the “whole Canadian population is susceptible to [monkeypox].”

“Contrary to recent media reports, this virus does not discriminate and is not limited to spread from sexual activity,” he said.

Because the virus spreads through close contact, this obviously includes sexual activity, Njoo said, but it’s important to note that sexual contact is far from the only way the disease is spread, and it can infect anyone — it’s not limited to one specific demographic.

“Anyone who is engaged in close contact with someone who is infected with monkeypox is certainly susceptible to infection,” Njoo said.

“At the present time, it appears to be circulating in specific communities.”

Many of the current individuals who are infected with the virus are men who have sex with other men, who are believed to have contracted the virus through sexual contact with an infected individual.

Officials are working with community organizations to spread awareness to those who may be at an elevated risk currently, Njoo said.

He added that incorrectly viewing this virus as purely sexually transmitted, or a disease only affecting a certain group, can lead to stigmatization and “misunderstanding of risks, and negative health outcomes.”

PHAC stated that they are focusing on a “targeted approach to vaccination and treatment”, and do not believe a mass vaccination campaign is necessary.

They have already supplied Quebec with 1,000 doses of the smallpox vaccine Imvamune from Canada’s National Emergency Strategic Stockpile. Due to the similarity between the viruses, the smallpox vaccine can provide around 85 per cent efficacy in protecting recipients from monkeypox as well, according to the World Health Organization.

They’re also looking at the use of the antiviral Tecovirimat (TPOXX), an oral capsule designed to treat smallpox, which was approved by Health Canada last fall.

Monkeypox is endemic in animals in regions in Western Africa, and can sometimes transmit from animals to humans, often through a bite from an infected animal, with the first human case recorded in 1970.

While monkeypox has popped up in countries where it is not endemic before, the cases typically involved people who recently travelled from a country in Africa where the virus is endemic.

What is unusual right now is that officials in numerous countries that don’t usually deal with monkeypox are seeing cases where the patient has no travel history, Njoo said.

Prior to this month, monkeypox had never been detected in Canada.

He added that clinicians on the ground are seeing variety between cases — some patients have not presented with a rash on their face, the common location for this symptom, and instead have just had rashes around their genitals.

“They’re not all similar in how they’re presenting,” he said.

Co-operating with international partners will help Canadian officials keep track of the virus and whether it is evolving, he said.

Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory is continuing to do testing on samples to track the spread and keep Canadians updated on risk level if the virus continues to progress.

“We will provide updates to the public as new emerging information becomes available,” Njoo said. 

More guidance on case identification and contact tracing, along with infection prevention, will be released shortly, PHAC stated.

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Guilbeault ‘optimistic’ G7 climate ministers will agree to gradually phase out coal

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MONTREAL — Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Thursday he’s “very optimistic” this week’s meeting of G7 climate and energy ministers will produce a consensus to gradually phase out the use of coal.

Ministers and senior officials from the G7 countries are holding a three-day meeting in Berlin during which they will seek to agree on common targets for the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, which scientists say is urgently needed to curb climate change.

Guilbeault told The Canadian Press from the German capital that he is insisting “on the importance of strong international action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and ensure that the 1.5°C warming target remains achievable.”

Guilbeault said he thinks his counterparts in the Group of Seven countries — the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Japan — agree with him that “we need to reduce, even eliminate the use of coal.”

But, he said, “it remains to be seen where we will land precisely.” The ministers need to publish a communiqué on Friday, at the conclusion of the meeting. And there have been reports that Japan and the United States are pushing back against having anything firm about reducing coal in the wording of the document.

Robert Habeck, German minister for economic affairs and climate action, said on Thursday that G7 countries “can perhaps take on a certain pioneering role to push forward ending the use of coal for electricity and in decarbonizing the transport system.”

G7 members Britain, France and Italy have set deadlines to stop burning coal for electricity in the next few years, while Germany and Canada are aiming for 2030. Japan wants more time, and the Biden administration has set a target of ending fossil fuel use for electricity generation in the United States by 2035.

Guilbeault, meanwhile, said the G7 doesn’t intend to sacrifice climate goals to fill the gap in fossil fuels entering Europe caused by sanctions levied on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. He said the the climate ministers recognize they “cannot sacrifice the fight against climate change in the name of energy security, and the members of the G7 are unanimous and unequivocal on this.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.

— With files from The Associated Press.

 

Stéphane Blais, The Canadian Press

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