Racism often captured headlines and took up space in public discourse in 2019 — but a new poll shows those discussions didn’t necessarily change Canadians’ opinions.
An Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News found 49 per cent of Canadians don’t think racism is a serious problem in the country, while 43 per cent do.
Those numbers are similar to April findings, when 46 per cent said racism was a serious problem.
Sean Simpson, the vice-president of public affairs at Ipsos, told Global News that the poll was conducted to see whether key Canadian news events this year — including the federal election, videos and photos of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing blackface and Sportsnet’s firing of Don Cherry — changed opinions.
“It’s both good news and bad news,” Simpson said.
“The good news is that things don’t seem to be getting worse. The bad news is that there hasn’t been a lot of improvement.”
Simpson also pointed to the poll’s finding that nearly four in 10 Canadians feel that “white Canadians are under threat from immigration” — a number that’s unchanged from April.
“I think people hold their opinions and things that they see and hear from leaders or celebrities reinforces their own positions,” Simpson said.
“Either they agree with what’s being said, or they disagree with what’s being said, but it doesn’t necessarily have impact or sway their own point of view.”
However, changing opinions on racism won’t happen overnight, noted Kathy Hogarth, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, whose work focuses on marginalized populations in Canada.
“We can’t lose hope because our numbers aren’t changing as quickly as we want them to change,” she said.
“We need to continue having the conversation, and we cannot let the resistance to changing attitudes derail the attitudes about racism.”
Hogarth said Canadians have only begun to question issues such as racism in the justice and child welfare systems, and there’s much more to do.
“We’re only scratching the surface. We need to dig deeper to what are the pillars, what are the policies that are holding and breeding racism in place.”
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Amira Elghawaby of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network added there needs to be systemic change in order for the country to truly understand and eradicate racism.
“We know that in our education system, there is not enough work being done to really understand Indigenous experiences in the this country,” she said.
“We’ve seen cutbacks in different provinces around funding and supporting Indigenous study, as well as looking at various forms of discrimination — Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism.
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“We need to have more in our curricula that reflects these experiences; they can’t sort of be tacked on as an afterthought.”
Elghawaby said that efforts to eliminate racism need to be supported by all level of government, citing the federal anti-racism strategy, which advocates will be closely monitoring.
“At the city level, as well, there’s much that can be done to ensure barriers to services, barriers to employment, and any type of hate that’s going on in our communities, we’re looking for solutions.”
An ongoing conversation
Conversations about racism need to go beyond just high-profile news events, both Elghawaby and Hogarth agreed.
“I think that in our media, we need to consistently and continually have these conversations,” Elghawaby said, noting Canadians did have meaningful conversations after the blackface and brownface incident and after Cherry’s firing — but then it faded.
“It sort of winds up being only when such a high-profile situation happens. It captures people’s attentions over a news cycle or two, then it fades from public consciousness.”
Poll: Racism is less of a problem now than before
“We need to talk about these issues — and they are difficult conversations, but we still need to be having them,” Elghawaby said.
Hogarth added having ongoing conversations on racism would also help tackle the issue of polarization.
“When we begin to take an issue that’s really impacting the lives of a minority of people and make it a discussion point, people feel threatened, they feel the need to get defensive,” she said.
“We need to keep the conversation going because we need to understand that it’s not only a Black issue, it’s not a brown issue, it’s not an Indigenous issue. It’s all of our issue.”
Even beyond news events, she noted, conversations need to happen throughout the year — not just focused on specific months, such as Black History Month.
“The conversation must remain alive,” she said.
This Ipsos poll on behalf of Global News was an online survey of 1,002 Canadians conducted between Dec. 3-5, 2019. The results were weighted to better reflect the composition of the adult Canadian population, according to census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canada adds 2,300 new COVID-19 cases as provinces split on next steps against pandemic – Global News
Canada’s COVID-19 hotspots showed diverging approaches to handling the crisis on Sunday, as Ontario and Prince Edward Island prepared for new lockdowns while Quebec entered a week of spring break complete with some activities meant to ease the monotony of life during a global pandemic.
The developments came amid another 2,302 new cases of COVID-19 across the country, which pushed the national total to 866,434. Another 34 deaths were reported on Sunday as well, with the national death toll standing at 21,994.
To date over 813,520 patients infected with the virus have recovered however, while over 24.8 million tests and 1.87 million vaccine doses have been administered. Sunday’s data paints a limited snapshot of the virus’ spread across Canada however as B.C. and both the Northwest Territories and Yukon do not report new cases on the weekend.
Prince Edward Island announced it was entering a 72-hour lockdown starting at midnight as the province struggled to contain an outbreak of COVID-19.
The short-term public health order was announced as officials reported five new infections of the disease in a province that has seen few cases for most of the pandemic. The Island has now recorded 17 new infections over the past five days.
Health officials identified two clusters of COVID-19 in the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown, and said it’s possible the island has community spread of the virus. The province has a total of just 132 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
The three-day lockdown requires residents to stay home as much as possible and will close all kindergarten to Grade 12 schools, with post-secondary education moving online only.
“We would rather go harder and stronger now than wait for an outbreak like we have seen in other provinces that could put us in an extended period of lockdown for weeks or even months,” Premier Dennis King said late Sunday during a briefing with reporters.
Ontario, meanwhile, passed the 300,000 case mark on Sunday as the government prepared to hit a so-called ’emergency brake’ in two northern public health units grappling with surging case numbers.
The Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka District health units will enter the lockdown phase of the province’s pandemic response plan on Monday in order interrupt transmission of COVID-19 at a time when new variants are gaining steam.
The province has also pushed back its spring break until April in an effort to limit community spread.
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Quebec, in contrast, has allowed movie theatres, pools and arenas to open with restrictions in place to give families something to do as the traditional winter break kicks off, even as most other health rules remain in place.
The province opted to allow students and teachers the traditional March break, even though Premier Francois Legault has said he’s worried about the week off and the threat posed by more contagious virus variants.
Quebec’s health minister said the situation in the province was stable on Sunday, with 737 new cases and nine additional deaths _ even as confirmed cases linked to variants of concern jumped by more than 100 to 137.
Most of the variant cases have been identified as the B.1.1.7 mutation first identified in the United Kingdom, including 84 in Montreal.
Ontario, meanwhile, reported 1,062 new infections linked to the pandemic on Sunday as it became the first province to record more than 300,000 total cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.
The country’s chief public health officer urged Canadians on Sunday to continue following public health measures as a way of buying critical time as vaccine programs ramp up.
“Aiming to have the fewest interactions with the fewest number of people, for the shortest time, at the greatest distance possible is a simple rule that we can all apply to help limit the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement.
Canada’s immunization program received a boost last week with the approval of a third COVID-19 vaccine, raising hopes that provinces will be able to inoculate their most vulnerable populations before the more contagious variants can fully take hold.
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Toronto announced Sunday that it was expanding the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness, noting that they have a higher risk of serious health impacts due to COVID-19 and are vulnerable to transmission in congregate settings.
Quebec, meanwhile, is set to begin vaccination of the general population on Monday, beginning with seniors 80 and over in the Montreal area, or 85 and over in the rest of the province.
While some regions with extra doses began administering shots late last week, the pace of inoculation will ramp up on Monday when mass vaccination clinics in Montreal throw open their doors.
Case counts were more stable elsewhere in the country.
Manitoba reported just 50 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday and two new virus-related deaths, while Saskatchewan saw its overall tally climb by 181 but did not log any new deaths.
Alberta reported three new virus-related deaths and 301 new infections, including 29 identified as variants of concern.
In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia logged three new cases while officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported seven.
— With files from Global News
© 2021 The Canadian Press
Canada pension fund boss Machin quits after overseas trip for COVID shot
By Noor Zainab Hussain and Maiya Keidan
(Reuters) – The head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Mark Machin, has resigned after his trip to the United Arab Emirates for vaccination against COVID-19 flouted Canadian government’s travel advice and drew criticism.
CPPIB on Friday named John Graham, currently senior managing director and global head of credit investments, as the new chief executive officer of the country’s largest pension fund.
Machin, 54, becomes the second senior Canadian corporate executive to resign after attempting to jump vaccine queue, underscoring the frustration among some about the country’s slow vaccine roll out.
“It was a complete lapse of moral judgment which risked undermining people’s trust both in government policy and the stewardship of their public pension provision,” said David Wheeler, a former business professor at York University, adding that “clearly he had to go immediately”.
Machin received Pfizer’s <PFE.N> vaccine shot after arriving in the UAE with his partner this month, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, adding he had stayed on in the UAE and was due to receive his second dose in coming weeks.
“We are very disappointed by this troubling situation and we support the swift action taken by the Board of Directors,” Kat Cuplinskas, press secretary for Canada‘s ministry of finance.
CPPIB, which manages C$475.7 billion ($377 billion), is governed independently from the federal government but it reports to a board of directors selected by Canada‘s minister of finance. It manages Canada‘s national pension fund and invests on behalf of about 20 million Canadians.
Machin did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Machin, after discussions with the Board, agreed the most appropriate step was to tender his resignation, Michel Leduc, senior managing director and head of public affairs and communications said in a statement to Reuters.
NO TRAVEL BAN
Machin sent an internal memo to CPPIB staff acknowledging that he took a personal trip and was in Dubai for a number of reasons, some of which were “deeply personal”, the source said.
Machin also said in the memo that the trip was supposed to be “very private” and that he was disappointed it had become the focus of “expected criticism”, according to the source.
Although there is no specific ban on Canadians traveling abroad, the federal and provincial governments have advised against overseas trips to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Canada trails behind many developed nations in its vaccination drive, with under 3% of the population inoculated so far.
The UAE says it provides COVID-19 vaccinations to residents and citizens only, free of charge, and requires a valid residency identification card to receive the shots. It was not immediately clear how Machin, a British national, secured the vaccine by traveling to Dubai.
Machin worked with Goldman Sachs for 20 years before joining CPPIB in March 2012. He was appointed as president and CEO in 2016.
Under Machin, CPPIB reported net return of 3.1% for the year ended March 31, 2020, down from 8.9% a year earlier. Machin was paid C$5.4 million ($4.25 million) in 2020, according to CCPIB’s annual report.
Incoming CEO Graham has been with CPPIB for 10 years. Prior to that he was with Xerox Innovation Group for over nine years.
Some Canadian federal and provincial leaders have resigned in the past month after their overseas leisure trips sparked public outrage. https://reut.rs/3qZvDLh
Last Month, Great Canadian Gaming Corp CEO Rod Baker resigned after he and his wife were charged with traveling to northern Canada and misleading authorities in order to receive the vaccine.
($1 = 1.2699 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Maiya Keidan in Toronto; Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Marguerita Choy)
International permanent residency holders running out of time to come to Canada – CTV News
Immigrants waiting to come to Canada have been speaking out about the COVID-19 travel restrictions denying them the chance to start their new lives.
Last March, the federal government updated their exemptions to the international travel restrictions, which included “permanent resident applicants who had been approved for permanent residence before the travel restrictions were announced on March 18, 2020, but who had not yet travelled to Canada.”
Almost overnight, families and individuals around the world who had been approved for permanent residency (PR) in Canada after March 18, some of whom had been waiting years for their approvals, were no longer allowed to begin their new lives.
Applicants with a valid confirmation of permanent residency (COPR), but without immediate or extended family members in Canada are not included in the list of essential or exempted traveller lists, and for those holding COPRs issued from October 2020 onwards, authorization letters are needed to fly in internationally.
Now, almost a year later, those who hold COPRs approved after March 18, 2020 are facing their visas expiring – COPRs cannot be extended – leaving families desperate.
Many have quit their jobs in anticipation of immigrating after receiving their COPR, sold their properties, taken their children out of school and incurred expenses in preparation for travel – booking hotels, flights and other accommodations.
Others have been lobbying the government; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); and the media to allow an exemption for those who received their COPR after the cut-off date.
These are some of their stories, in their own words.
(Disclaimer: replies have been edited for length, clarity and brevity)
CHIRAG RATHOD – INDIA
“My wife and I are in great mental depression as we were all set to start our new life after getting the COPR. We had all our bags packed. It did not happen. Now, my wife has started feeling suicidal. I shut down my company thinking that I would be travelling soon and now we have no source of income. We are in such a limbo about restarting our life in India, as we do not know when the Canadian government let us in; it may happen in a month or in a year we have no idea. We are clueless about what will happen to our COPRs after they expire, will it be honoured or will we have to go through the entire PR process again?”
ISAAC BELLO – NIGERIA
“It has not been easy time emotionally and psychologically for me. The security situation around where I reside is deteriorating by the day. A lot of kidnapping for ransom takes place regularly. This tension is exacerbated by the fact that my family (spouse and children) are not accompanying me. I will have to land first, settle in and then apply for family sponsorship for them.
It would be nice and helpful if the government of Canada takes into consideration COPR holders irrespective of whether they have family in Canada or not, since they will have adequate quarantine measures in place. We should be able to land and confirm their permanent residency status since students and temporary workers are allowed in. We should also be exempted from travel restrictions as well since we are coming to stay permanently, unlike students and temporary workers. Many of us are stranded not knowing what our fate will be. Should we keep waiting, hoping that our peculiar situation will be addressed or should we try to pick up our lives where we left off?”
MAMTA SHARMA – INDIA
“I have two teenage daughters and I am a single parent taking care of all their emotional & financial needs.
I had informed their school about the withdrawal of their admissions. Now, in a limbo, I have to plead to the school to admit them back. I worked hard to provide them a better life and good future but currently it seems like a distant dream with lots of uncertainty. I am having sleepless nights and going through tremendous stress and trauma. It is affecting mine and my daughters’ mental health.
I am a valid COPR holder and should be given the right to enter Canada, my new homeland.
Being a single parent is itself a challenge in my community, I had worked hard for the Canadian dream for me and my daughters. We saved each and every penny wherever we could, I am emotionally strained but I have to appear strong in front of my daughters. It’s not only me, there are many people across the world who are facing the same issues. I know COPR visa is a privilege not a right, but understand how hard we have worked to reach for this position. “
FAUZIA KARIM – BANGLADESH
“We are family of three, I am originally from Bangladesh but living in India with my husband and 3-year-old son. We researched day and night about how things work in Canada; starting from transportation, housing, weather, daily life, job search, grocery and day care. Being a Bangladeshi citizen married to Indian man, I am already staying in India on a dependent visa and couldn’t work for the past four years. We invested a good portion of our savings in securing an invitation to apply for PR. My husband served his three months notice period to his employer, sold our car, home appliances and moved to his hometown.
We planned to travel to Calgary on Feb. 21 2021, travelled 800 km from our hometown to Delhi Airport, took a pre-departure COVID test, arranged a proof of funds letter from the bank, booked accommodations etc. We were denied boarding by Air Canada staff stating that our COPR was issued post- March 18 2020, and we aren’t travel exempt, we need to have an authorization letter from IRCC – which is only possible if we have an immediate or extended family member in Canada.
Apart from the financial and emotional stress, there is a lot we are going through. Every now and then are being questioned by family, relatives and several other people “When are you moving to Canada,” and now with no job in hand we are breaking down financially and on the edge of spending money from proof of funds, which was supposed to be for initial months for survival in Canada.”
GURPREET SINGH – INDIA
“When my COPR was approved I was so happy that my dream is going to be true, and I started preparing for the travelling with the hope that soon they will allow us to enter Canada. I resigned from my job, as I needed to serve a three month notice period and booked the tickets and accommodation to complete a 14 day quarantine.
I was not aware that a nightmare was on the way. I am scared because I have resigned from my job, I have my three-year old son who is ready to start school and I am the sole bread earner for my family. I really don’t know how I will fulfill my families basic necessities without a job. As of Feb. 2021, no exemption has been granted to us and our COPR will expire in upcoming months. Now getting into these situations all doors are locked for me, and every night I cry from my heart which has also raised our stress and anxiety. As an immigrant I always wanted to settle in Canada permanently so that my spouse and son would get a good future. Being a skilled worker I feel that hard work pays off in Canada and eventually I will contribute to the Canadian economy.”
KESHAV SHARMA – INDIA
“After getting my COPR, I was very happy and started to prepare to move permanently to Canada. I resigned from my job, as I was speculating that approved COPR holders will be able to land in the country without much hassle. Then we found out about the 14 days quarantine rule, which was sensible to me and I am happy to arrange that as I can understand completely how critical it is to be safe. We later found out about the three day hotel quarantine rule which again I understand the point of view from the Canadian government. I thought because they had issued COPR to us eventually they will allow us to enter Canada. In short, the situation has become so frustrating and heartbreaking that I am kind of starting to feel emotional trauma. I don’t know what is in the future, as there is not a single clarification provided about the agenda of travel restrictions and files processing by IRCC. Life has become miserable for me. I have been postponing my future plans about my family and my career in hope of migrating. Canada is our country now and we must be given a chance to enter our own country.”
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