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Canadian leaders congratulate Biden and Harris on U.S. election win

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OTTAWA —
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is “really looking forward” to working with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and his running mate California Senator Kamala Harris, congratulating the pair on their historic election victory that was declared Saturday morning.

“Our two countries are close friends, partners, and allies. We share a relationship that’s unique on the world stage. I’m really looking forward to working together and building on that with you both,” the prime minister posted on social media, just minutes after the election was called in favour of the Democrats.

Biden and Harris—soon to be America’s first Black, South Asian and female vice-president—clinched their victory in critical battleground states, turning Trump and Vice President Mike Pence into one-term leaders.

Trump has not conceded, with his campaign stating on Friday that “this election is not over.” Instead, the Republicans have waged a series of legal challenges to the vote, which Trump is claiming baselessly and without evidence has been fraudulent and improperly managed in some key states.

Expanding on his initial comment, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement that does not reference Trump directly but mentions the “extraordinary relationship” between the two nations.

On Friday Trudeau said that he had faith in the American electoral process to determine a fair and accurate result, and understood that citizens on both sides of the border were eagerly awaiting the declaration of a winner but cautioned the importance of not wading into a foreign country’s election.

Freeland also issued tweets congratulating Biden and Harris.

“As your friend, neighbour, and closest ally, Canada will work shoulder to shoulder with you as together we confront the greatest challenges of our time, at home and abroad,” Freeland said, adding a “very personal congratulations” to Harris.

“Your victory is an inspiration to women and girls and to people of colour across our continent. I look forward to working with you to help both our countries crush this global pandemic and to crack more glass ceilings along the way,” she said.

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul also was quick to offer her congratulations, paying particular tribute to Harris as she becomes the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States.

“The election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is an opportunity to usher in a new chapter in the vital U.S.-Canada relationship,” Paul said, citing the prospect for enhanced climate commitments as one example, as well as calling for reforms to the Safe Third Country Agreement.

“The results of this election are also an opportunity to renew a shared commitment to the rule of law and human rights,” Paul said.

Taking to social media with their congratulations, both Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh congratulated Biden and Harris on their win.

“Canada and the U.S. have a historic alliance. Canada’s Conservatives will always work with the U.S. to advance our common values and close economic ties,” said O’Toole. 

Singh congratulated Biden and Harris in separate posts, saying that: “As the Trump Presidency comes to an end I’m reminded of Jack’s final words ‘Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.’”

“You’ve sparked the imagination for generations of young women to come,” Singh said of Harris. 

Reflecting on how the results indicate deep divisions among our neighbours to the south earlier this week, Singh said that while he was “initially troubled” by the strong showing for Trump after the last four years of nearly daily headline-grabbing behaviours, decisions, and comments from the president, he’s now seeing why there wasn’t a “clear rebuke” of Trump and thinks it’s political opportunity to offer those kinds of voters a different way.

“If we can help people out in a real way we can tackle the cynicism,” he said.

In terms of what he sees Biden’s presidency meaning for Canada, Singh has said he is hopeful that the situation with COVID-19 in the United States is brought under control.

“I think there seems to be a more rational and thoughtful approach that Joe Biden’s team has taken to various issues, so I expect that that would hopefully also include a relationship with Canada,” Singh said.

These quick moves to congratulate and tout the close cross-border relations comes after four days of Canadian political figures holding their tongues about the nail-biter of a race until the outstanding surge of advance and mail-in votes were counted.

Other than promises to work to uphold Canadian interests, assuring that game plans were made for all potential scenarios including civil unrest in the U.S., and remarks about how thankful some MPs are for Elections Canada and our standardized domestic voting processes, most federal leaders waited to see how the results would unfold.

THE BIDEN DIFFERENCE

The Trump administration has challenged the Trudeau Liberals at times over the last four years, with his 2016 win taking many by surprise and forcing Trudeau to reconfigure some key federal cabinet roles, including seeing Freeland take on the Canada-U.S. file. Since then, the Canada-U.S. relationship has had its rocky moments, with personal and policy conflicts erupting periodically between the leaders of the two countries.

It’s largely expected that Trudeau and the Liberals will have an easier go at cross-border collaboration under a more ideologically-aligned Biden-led administration, as the final year of former president Barack Obama’s term generated headlines about the duo’s “bromance,” which since has apparently carried on, with Obama offering a key endorsement of Trudeau during the 2019 federal election.

“Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship – one that is unique on the world stage. Our shared geography, common interests, deep personal connections, and strong economic ties make us close friends, partners, and allies,” Trudeau said in his Saturday statement congratulating the incoming U.S. administration.

“We will further build on this foundation as we continue to keep our people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world,” he said.

Biden campaigned on being a president for both Democrats and Republicans, pledging that: “There will be no red states and blue states when we win. Just the United States of America.” That is a similar message to Trudeau’s on election night in 2019 when voters in this country handed him a minority government.

“Regardless of how you cast your ballot, ours is a team that will fight for all Canadians,” Trudeau said on Oct. 21, 2019, in reference to the increase in western alienation and support shown for Conservatives during the campaign. “I have heard your frustration and I want to be there to support you. Let us all work hard to bring our country together.”

Looking at Biden’s platform, a promise to aim for national unity is just one of the shared goals he and Trudeau have for their countries. While it remains to be seen how effective either Trudeau or Biden will ultimately be, both have promised to tackle the opioid crisis, lift the “discriminatory” blood donation ban for some members of the LGBTQ community, address government accountability, end gun violence, strengthen the “nation-to-nation” relationship with Indigenous communities, and take on systemic racism.

Canadian political observers will also remember the “vive le Canada” that former vice president Biden exclaimed during a dinner held by Trudeau during his December 2016 visit to Ottawa in advance of Trump’s inauguration. During his term, Trump did not once make a state visit to Canada, other than to attend the infamous 2017 G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Que. where after a short stay, Trump tweeted that Trudeau was “very dishonest and weak.”

TRUDEAU TO VISIT D.C.?

With the new year bringing in a new administration—Trump will remain in office until Biden’s January inauguration—it’s possible that Trudeau’s inner circle will trot out a new strategy to the Canada-U.S. relationship, or try to find a new tact with the Democrats than the cautious approach seen with Trump.

From his perspective, former prime minister Brian Mulroney has publicly advised that Trudeau quickly plan to head down to Washington, D.C. for some face time with the winner, despite the ongoing 14-day quarantine requirement for Canadians who cross back into Canada from the U.S.

“It is so important for whomever emerges, that the prime minister get down there for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, for informal meetings with the president to advance the Canadian agenda. I’ll bet you a dollar to a doughnut that without the president on-side, major issues for Canada are not going to be resolved,” Mulroney said in an interview on CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday.

Former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. Gary Doer has also said, in an election night interview on CTV’s Power Play, that it will be “really important” that the other political leaders support how Trudeau deals with the next president.

Source: – CTV News

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3 Nova Scotians appointed to the Order of Canada – CBC.ca

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Three Nova Scotians have been appointed to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours.

They are among the 114 appointees announced Friday.

The list includes eight companions, 21 officers, one honorary member and 84 members. The full list can be found here.

“Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation,” said a statement on the office of the Governor General’s website.

Appointments are made by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. More than 7,000 Canadians have received the honour since its inception.

Jeff Dahn of Halifax, who has led groundbreaking research on lithium-ion batteries, was appointed as an officer.

Dahn is considered a pioneer of lithium-ion battery research. (Jill English/CBC)

In 2017, he won the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering for his work in making batteries increasingly efficient. He also won a Governor General’s Award for Innovation in 2016.

Dahn works out of a lab at Dalhousie University. He also began a five-year research partnership with Tesla In 2016.

In the statement, the Governor General’s office also commended him for “his mentorship and adroit bridging of academia and industry.”

Dahn could not be reached for comment Sunday.

‘It’s humbling’

Meanwhile, Dr. Ken Wilson and John Eyking were appointed as members.

Wilson, a plastic surgeon in the Halifax area, was appointed “for his nationally recognized expertise in reconstructive and plastic surgery, and for his volunteer work on international medical missions.”

“It’s humbling, but a very nice addition to a great career,” Wilson said of the honour.

In the mid-80s, Wilson became the first person east of Montreal to dedicate himself to doing plastic surgery for children.

“It was a very satisfying thing for me to be able to look after a lot of the children who have either had to travel, or that hadn’t had, sometimes, the attention they would’ve had otherwise,” he said.

Wilson has spent more than 30 years doing plastic and reconstructive surgery for children. (Submitted by Ken Wilson)

In the mid-90s, Wilson began working with Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgeries and dental care to children with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. He travelled a couple times a year to do surgery in underdeveloped countries, and he estimates he went on about 46 missions.

In the late 1990s, Wilson became the chief of surgery at the IWK children’s hospital in Halifax, a position he held for more than a decade.

He stopped practising five years ago, but Wilson now works as a medical consultant for Doctors Nova Scotia and is chair of the board for Operation Smile Canada.

“It was a wonderful career,” said Wilson. “I gotta say, I’ve been very lucky over the years to have the opportunity to do what I did.”

While there is no ceremony this year due to COVID-19, Wilson was mailed his snowflake insignia, as well as a “lovely book” detailing the history of the Order of Canada and the many recipients over the years.

‘All in a day’s work’

Eyking, a farmer and entrepreneur who founded Eyking Farms, was recognized for his “personal and professional dedication to the Cape Breton community, particularly within the agriculture industry.”

Eyking, of Millville, N.S., immigrated to Canada in 1963 from the Netherlands. He started a farm, which later grew into a family operation run by him, his wife and their 10 children.

He is also an inductee of the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Reached by phone Sunday, Eyking, 89, was modest about his appointment. He credited his farm’s accomplishments to the work of his large family.

“For me, it was all in a day’s work and I enjoyed it,” he said.

He, too, received a parcel from the Order of Canada, and said he enjoyed the book.

“There’s quite a few Cape Bretoners in there,” he said.

The recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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