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Canadian human rights group calls for ban on tear gas

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TORONTO —
A human rights group at the University of Toronto is calling for a ban on tear gas as a riot control agent, arguing police often misuse the chemical weapon and that it can often harm peaceful protesters or innocent bystanders.

In a report released Thursday, the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program (IHRP) calls for all levels of government to issue legislation banning the use of tear gas, to destroy current stockpiles of the chemical weapon and to halt all imports, exports and manufacturing of it.

“It has an inherently indiscriminate effect and is really abused against peaceful assemblies and against vulnerable populations,” Vincent Wong, a research associate at the IHRP and co-author of the report, told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview.

It’s because of the “indiscriminate” nature of tear gas that that the report states that it “harms everyone in its vicinity regardless of whether one is engaged in militant actions in a demonstration, protesting peacefully, or merely observing.”

The report also states that tear gas is frequently misused by law enforcement, including incidents of tear gas being used on peaceful protesters and misuse of tear gas guidelines, which state it should not be administered indoors or directly on someone.

Tear gas can cause severe irritation of the lungs, eyes, nose and mouth. It can cause crying, difficulty breathing and temporary blindness. The symptoms can last upwards of 30 minutes after exposure.

Long-term side effects of tear gas include severe eye injures, development of respiratory illnesses and damage to the cardiovascular system. A 1995 report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, found that one person dies for every 600 times police administer tear gas.

“The long-term (side effects are) now really only starting to come to fruition as medical health professionals have done more longitudinal studies,” Wong said. “What they’re showing is that there’s actually warnings of higher risks of blindness, permanent chemical burns in the throat and lungs, of respiratory failure that can lead to death, of increased risk of heart attack.”

There is also concern that the use of tear gas could increase the risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading it, given the well-known increased risk of respiratory illnesses and the coughing and sneezing associated with its use.

In June, 1,288 American public health professionals signed an open letter urging law enforcement to halt the use of tear gas due to the increased risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

“Tear gas is not a low-risk weapon; instead, it can cause serious injury and have lasting effects, particularly for more vulnerable groups. This is exacerbated when it is misused by law enforcement officials,” the report states.

The use of riot control agents such as tear gas have been banned from warfare since 1997, but are still allowed for law enforcement in several countries.

“It’s really, really absurd when you think about that tear gas in war is even arguably an international war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and yet you see so many different countries — the U.S. is the one that we see the most in media — use it on its own citizens and civilians,” Wong said.

According to the report, the use of tear gas has increased worldwide, to the point where it has become the popular option for crowd control during pro-democracy protestsin Hong Kong and most recently during the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States. It was also used during a similar rally in Montreal back in June.

“What we’re seeing is that tear gas is now being misused as a riot or crowd-control tool of first resort,” Wong said. “It’s just effective, so they just shoot tear gas whenever they think people are not going to disperse if we tell them to.”

In June, NDP MP Matthew Green began a petition to ban the use and manufacturing of tear gas in Canada, which has since amassed more than 9,300 signatures. The deadline for signature is Sept. 8.

“This is not just a foreign issue,” Wong said. “This is also an issue that we are talking about here in Canada and hopefully this (report) will be of some use in those discussions.”

Source:- CTV News

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Coronavirus: Canada adds 1,329 cases, 5 deaths Thursday – Global News

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Canada added 1,329 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and five deaths.

That brings the national total to 148,941 cases and 9,249 deaths, with two deaths added from earlier in the week.

Read more:
Ontario reports 409 new coronavirus cases with most in Toronto-area, Ottawa

Ontario reported 409 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its case total to 48,496 and count back into the 400s after 335 cases were reported Wednesday.

Currently there are 88 people in hospital with the virus in the province, with 27 of them in intensive care and 11 on a ventilator.

Quebec, meanwhile, reported 582 new cases on Thursday, bringing the province’s total to 69,670. Hospitalizations increased by six to 184, with 31 in intensive care.

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One additional death was announced that occurred between Sept. 17 and 22. The province has the most deaths in the country at 5,810.

Out west, British Columbia reported 148 new cases on Thursday, with 61 currently in hospital, 20 of them in intensive care. The province has seen 8,543 cases total.

Two new deaths were reported as well.

Alberta announced 158 new cases, with 58 people currently in hospital, 14 in intensive care. There are 1,462 active cases total.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Alberta has 1.02% positivity rate; 4% of schools have active cases

The province also announced one new death — a man in his 80s from Calgary.

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Manitoba reported 37 new cases of COVID-19. The province currently has 449 active cases, with 11 in hospital and six in intensive care.

The province also confirmed the death of a woman in her 90s in a long-term care home in Winnipeg, which was first reported on Tuesday.

Saskatchewan added five new cases to its tally of 1,835 total cases on Thursday, and currently has 130 active cases with eight people hospitalized. No new deaths were reported.






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In the Maritimes, New Brunswick reported one new case of an individual from Fredericton but who is currently in Ontario.

Nova Scotia added no new cases to its sole active case. The province currently has one person in ICU and has had 1,087 cases total.

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No cases were reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI or any of the territories.

There have been 32,091,257 cases reported worldwide and 980,299 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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

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CP Holiday Train won't roll across Canada this year due to pandemic – CBC.ca

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Since 1999, the annual Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train has pulled into communities across Canada and the United States to raise money for local food banks.

But like so many events deemed unworkable amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the festive train won’t be leaving its station this holiday season.

Keith Creel, the railway’s president and CEO, said CP will instead donate to food banks across the railway network this year and host virtual concerts in lieu of the annual event.

“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” he said in a release.

“It is our honour to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run.”

Over its 21 years of operation, the holiday train has raised $17.8 million while collecting 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks.

Calgary Food Bank president and CEO James McAra said that support would be especially needed amidst rising demand during the pandemic.

“The need for food bank services has risen substantially over the course of this year and heading into the high-demand winter months. We hope CP’s concert will prompt the train’s supporters to give as generously as they’re able,” McAra said in a release.

Details about the virtual concerts will be released at a later date. CP said it plans to resume the holiday train in 2021.

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U.S. cosmetics chain Ulta scraps Canadian expansion plans – CBC.ca

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U.S. cosmetics chain Ulta has cancelled plans to expand into Canada this year, instead opting to beef up its online selling platform in the current economic environment.

The Illinois-based company planned to open a handful of stores across Canada by the end of 2020, but in a regulatory filing on Thursday the chain said it has cancelled those plans. “Given the current operating environment, the company has decided at this time to prioritize growth of its U.S. operations and is suspending its planned expansion to Canada.”

Ulta has become the largest seller of makeup and beauty products in the U.S., by taking the “big box” store concept of one stop shopping, and doing it for the cosmetics industry. Unlike other beauty chains that sell exclusively their own products, the company says it sells 25,000 different items, made by 500 different well known beauty brands.

In its most recently completed quarter, the company booked $1.2 billion in sales at its 1,264 stores across the U.S. in the three months up to the start of August.

Ulta became the largest seller of makeup and cosmetics in the U.S. by bringing the big box concept to the beauty industry. (Gabby Jones/Bloomberg)

Instead of expanding, the chain closed 19 locations during the quarter, as a result of slower sales because of reduced foot traffic amid COVID-19.

The company says it has spent between $55 and $65 million US kicking the tires on finding potential store locations and other “early-stage infrastructure buildout,” in Canada.

Instead of a Canadian launch, the company will focus its efforts on beefing up its online shopping presence. Barclays analyst Adrienne Yih says that is probably a good strategy. In a note to clients, she noted that the chain typically books about three quarters of its sales in store, and less than one quarter online. But the pandemic months of May, June and July, almsot 60 per cent of the company’s sales happened online.

With the pandemic showing no signs of abating, “we believe beauty is a category clearly women will continue to spend on,” she said.

But those online upgrades won’t include offering online sales to Canada, something the chain does not currently do.

While the chain is closing the book on Canada for now, it makes it clear it would still like to expand at some point in the future. “Ulta Beauty continues to believe international markets provide a long-term growth opportunity for the company,” the company said.

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