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Chinese Canadians commit 'to support each other' as they encourage 14-day self-quarantine to fight coronavirus –



Chinese Canadians concerned about potential coronavirus spread have launched mutual help groups to encourage those who have travelled to China to go through self-imposed quarantine.

Canadian health officials have urged anyone returning from Hubei — the Chinese province at the centre of the outbreak — to voluntarily quarantine themselves for 14 days. But many have chosen self-imposed quarantine even if they haven’t been to Hubei, organizers of the groups told CBC News. 

“We built a WeChat group consisting of volunteers and people who were recently in China,” Naijun Wang told CBC News in Mississauga on Saturday.

“We have hundreds of people across Ontario and other provinces. We’re working together as a team trying to help [in this] hard time.”

Wang and other volunteers are using the WeChat social media and messaging platform to provide support — such as  shopping services and deliveries — to those in quarantine. 

Wang has been making deliveries over the past two weeks. So far, he has delivered supplies to seven families.

Chinese Canadians have launched mutual help groups on WeChat to connect with and offer help to people in self-imposed quarantine. (Angelina King/CBC)

The most common items being requested by people in quarantine are hand sanitizer, face masks and groceries, he said. 

There’s no face-to-face contact between the volunteers and those in quarantine. After requests are made via WeChat, the closest available volunteer buys the items and delivers them to the family’s doorstep. The volunteer then sends a picture to alert the person who made the request that the items have been delivered. 

“You still have people coming, especially students, so we try to encourage more people to join the group,” Wang said.

“When everybody works together, it will be easy for us. It’s team work. When there is a need for help, I’ll be there. I’ll be there to help people.”

The most common items being requested by people in quarantine are hand sanitizer, face masks and groceries. (Angelina King/CBC)

Volunteer Bing Cui, who lives in Aurora, Ont., said it was an easy decision for him to support people who need help, especially after they took the step to be self-quarantined. 

“Maybe the whole family, they don’t have any other friends or people to support [them] to buy something for them, so I just do the voluntary thing to support them,” Cui told CBC News.

“These people self-quarantined, take responsibility for the whole community or the whole society. That’s their activity just to reduce the risk of the whole community, so as a member of the community I just want to contribute something. 

“Also, I want to set an example for my son to volunteer to contribute to the society,” Cui added.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency over the new coronavirus that has infected more than 37,000 people and killed 811 people in mainland China — surpassing the number of deaths globally during the 2002-2003 SARS pandemic. Coronavirus cases have also been confirmed in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S.  As of Saturday, there were seven confirmed cases in Canada.  

So far only two deaths have been reported outside mainland China, in Hong Kong and the Philippines. Both of those victims were Chinese nationals.

“When facing these problems, worry or discrimination or some complaint doesn’t help,” Cui said.

“What we need is love, or to work hard together to help each other, to support each other and then I think finally we will win the battle with the virus.”

CBC News spoke to a man in self-imposed quarantine who said he is grateful to the other members of his community who have volunteered to do pick-up and delivery.

The man, from Toronto, did not want to be identified because of the stigma associated with coronavirus.

“The volunteers deliver food to the door of my house twice and now I have plenty of supplies,” he told CBC Toronto. “Also, two of my friends who returned to Toronto also voluntarily started self-quarantine and the volunteers delivered food and supplies to their apartment.”

This man, from Toronto, who did not want to be identified because of the stigma associated with the coronavirus, says he is grateful to the other members of his community who have volunteered to do pick-up and delivery. (CBC)

“I see so many Chinese people start their self-quarantine considering safety to the public and I’m really surprised that so many Chinese strangers help people like me in the community without even charging a penny, especially [now] when the weather is not really good and windy and they have their own work,” he said.

“The Chinese community really shows helpfulness and consideration to everyone. It’s really perfect.”

The volunteers say there are hundreds across Ontario ready to help complete strangers with anything from grocery shopping  and running errands to delivering vehicles at the airport.

They say they’ll continue making deliveries as long as needed, adding that if people continue to take extra precautions to keep other people safe, they’ll keep helping them to make that possible.

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Prime Minister travelling to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula today



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is resuming his summer politicking tour today with a trip to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula.

Trudeau is there to continue the summer meet and greets he started in July in other parts of Canada.

His planned events include visits to a farm, wind farm and a train retrofitting plant in New Richmond.

Trudeau’s last stop in the region came when he was in full pre-campaign mode just one month before he called a federal election.

This visit comes as the provincial government is set to go into an election where the future of French is sure to play a big role.

On Wednesday, new census data showed Gaspé to be the only region in the province where the share of people claiming French as their first language grew in the last five years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.


The Canadian Press

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80 years after Dieppe, postcards share stories of soldiers who died in deadly raid



Paris Eakins was 26 years old when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in November 1940 during the Second World War.

He was born in Minnedosa, Man., where he lived until he attended the University of Manitoba, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree. Eakins worked at his town’s newspaper and went on to join the sports department at the Winnipeg Free Press.

After he enlisted, Eakins worked his way to become a pilot officer in a fighter squadron based in England in 1941. The next year, he was killed in northern France during the disastrous Dieppe Raid. He was 27.

Eakins’ story is featured in a Canadian postcard campaign ahead of the 80th anniversary of the raid on Friday.

The Juno Beach Centre Association has sent 400 unique postcards to addresses across the country that share the name and fate of a serviceman whose records show once lived in those places.

“(We) encourage people to take a moment to consider the anniversary, to consider what happened to this individual who lived in their home or very nearby to them, 80 or more years ago,” said Alex Fitzgerald-Black, the association’s director.

The Dieppe Raid, known as Operation Jubilee, on Aug. 19, 1942, was the Canadian Army’s first major combat against Nazi Germany.

Canadian and British troops landed on beaches near the German-occupied French port with a mission to capture the town, destroy the port facilities and return to England with information that could give them an advantage.

Instead, the raid backfired and Operation Jubilee became Canada’s bloodiest day of the Second World War.

“It was the Canadian Army’s baptism of fire against Nazi Germany during the war. Unfortunately, it was a deadly failure,” said Fitzgerald-Black.

About 5,000 Canadian soldiers took part in the raid. In less than 10 hours of fighting, more than 800 died, with about 100 more later succumbing to their injuries. About another 2,000 became prisoners of war.

Preparations for the postcard campaign began at the end of last year. Employees and volunteers at the association went through the service files of those who were killed to see if they could link their old home addresses to a current one.

They were able to develop a list of addresses for half of those who died. The list skews toward addresses in urban settings because those who were from rural areas couldn’t be reproduced, said Fitzgerald-Black. Many went to cities in southern Ontario, as well as Montreal and Winnipeg.

The association also produced a temporary exhibition honouring the anniversary in Normandy, France.

A delegation of federal ministers, veterans, representatives of veterans and Indigenous organizations, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces travelled to France this week to take part in events marking the anniversary.

Three of the veterans participating served in the Second World War, including a survivor of the raid.

“It’s vitally important that we continue to recognize and honour the extraordinary service and sacrifice witnessed 80 years ago on the beaches of Dieppe,” Lawrence MacAulay, minister of veterans affairs, said in a release.

“As the living memory of this seminal moment fades, we as Canadians must ensure that the legacy of those who served Canada is never forgotten.”

Stories like Eakins’ have made an impression on Fitzgerald-Black.

He hopes the postcard project will help Canadians remember the people who died serving their country and those who survived.

“They’re not going to be around much longer to share these stories — the stories of their comrades who were killed during the raid,” he said.

“And so we hope that Canadians will continue to take up the torch to do this into the future.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.


Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press

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Census data shows linguistic diversity on the rise in Canada – Saanich News



A growing number of new immigrants to Canada are bringing with them increasingly diverse languages, setting a record for the number of Canadians whose mother tongue is neither English nor French, new 2021 census data reveals.

One in four people in Canada have a mother tongue other than English or French, and about 12 per cent of people predominantly speak a non-official language at home as of last year.

Proficiency in those languages tends to fade after a generation or two, however, Statistics Canada’s deputy head of the Centre for Demography said Wednesday.

“From 2016 to 2021, the number of Canadians who predominantly speak languages other than English and French at home grew significantly,” said Éric Caron-Malenfant at a media briefing.

The trend is mainly driven by immigration, and continued even during the pandemic when immigration slowed considerably due to COVID-19 health restrictions and related backlogs, Caron-Malenfant said.

The average age of new immigrants is typically between 25 and 35, he said.

“After that, when you have children in Canada, often more and more English and French will be spoken at home,” he said.

British Columbia speech-language pathologist June Cheung noticed that phenomenon play out in her own Cantonese-speaking family and community when she was growing up in Edmonton.

“My parents were the ones who originally immigrated here from Hong Kong whereas my siblings and I, we were all born here,” Cheung said in an interview.

“My parents would speak to my older brothers and myself in Chinese but often we would reply in English.”

The generational language shift inspired her masters thesis, which further showed how “heritage” language proficiency fades with each generation.

“By the time the second generation has kids, it’s very unlikely that they’ll choose to use a heritage language,” she said.

The trend was also true for French-speaking families outside of Quebec in most provinces, the census data shows.

The proportion of Canadians living outside Quebec whose first official language spoken is French was down to 3.3 per cent in 2021 from 3.6 per cent in 2016.

Statistics Canada attributes the decline to the fact that people whose first official language is French tend to be older, and haven’t consistently passed the language on to the next generation. Sometimes other languages can take over inside the home.

Cheung, who says she’s reinvested in her Cantonese-speaking skills, says fading language proficiency can create intergenerational divides.

“I can ask you where the bathroom is, versus being able to talk about your hopes and fears, your dreams,” she said. “It’s a lot harder to have those conversations sometimes if there is that language barrier.”

Mandarin and Punjabi are the most common non-official languages, with more than a million people predominantly speaking one of the two languages.

Statistics Canada noted a large increase in the growth of the number of Canadians who predominantly speak South Asian languages such as Punjabi, Gujarati, Hindi or Malayalam since the last census in 2016, a rise which was fuelled by immigration.

The growth rate of the population speaking South Asian languages was at least eight times greater than that of the overall Canadian population during the same period.

The massive increase in the growth of South Asian languages closely aligns with immigration trends from those countries.

At the same time, European languages like Italian, Polish and Greek are fading in Canada.

“This decline is primarily linked to the speakers of these languages aging, a significant proportion of whom emigrated to Canada before 1980,” Caron-Malenfant said.

Relatively few recent immigrants from those countries have recently landed in Canada, he said.

Regardless of their mother tongue, most people in Canada access services in one of the two official languages.

English and French are still by far the most common languages spoken in Canada and 90 per cent of Canadians speak at least one of the official languages.

—Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Proportion of French speakers declines nearly everywhere in Canada, including Quebec

RELATED: More Canadians report strong attachment to their language than to Canada: poll


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