In the end, it shouldn’t really have come as a surprise to see the Supreme Court of Canada so swiftly and thoroughly reject the B.C. government’s arguments about regulating the flow of bitumen through the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX).
After all, the B.C. Court of Appeal was unanimous and unequivocal in rejecting those same arguments. It would be highly unusual for such a resounding verdict to be viewed differently by the Supreme Court of Canada, especially given the rather straightforward constitutional principles at play here.
So while the high court’s decision may have been predictable, it was necessary and welcome nonetheless. While the debate around pipelines can be divisive, the Supreme Court’s decision is unifying in one important sense: it is a reminder that we are a federation and that a national interest can still exist and still triumph.
To that end, it may help quell the separatist sentiment — or at least the more general sense of Confederation cynicism — that has started to take hold in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The notion that Canada is broken has found a rather receptive audience in those two provinces; this Supreme Court decision is a fairly convincing rejoinder to that.
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More specifically, it should hopefully convince Alberta to back away from its so-called “turn off the taps” legislation; a law aimed at punishing B.C.’s obstructionism by cutting off energy shipments to their western neighbor. This, too, is likely constitutionally problematic and such conflict amongst provinces is not helpful in maintaining a cohesive confederation, to say the least. When we can rely on the rule of law, retaliation is unnecessary.
That TMX could clear room for more refined fuels to be shipped from Alberta to B.C., thus helping to ease some of the gasoline shortages — and associated higher prices — that B.C. has endured is an example of how we can start to view these projects as a win-win, as opposed to a source for internecine Canadian conflict.
This decision obviously doesn’t guarantee that TMX will be completed, and there are still some remaining matters to be cleared. But this removes one potential roadblock and reaffirms the exclusive federal jurisdiction over such matters, which is important not just for TMX, but for any future project that would fall under this same federal jurisdiction and the necessary certainty that should accompany a cabinet approval.
As the courts have noted, in this instance, it’s a specific product (bitumen) being transported in a specific manner (through a pipeline). But if we’re to accept the notion that B.C. has jurisdiction here, then it would open up the door to other provinces asserting jurisdiction and being able to restrict or ban other products being transported through other means. This would severely erode the very premise of Canada.
TMX has gone through a rigorous review process, has received federal approval (with literally hundreds of conditions imposed), has the support of a majority of Canadians and has the support of (and partnerships with) many of the First Nations communities along its route. Furthermore, there is the very real prospect of a meaningful Indigenous ownership stake in the project. On top of that, of course, is the compelling economic case for the project. In other words, there’s really no reason why TMX should not proceed.
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Not only have the courts exposed just how empty John Horgan’s so-called “toolbox” was when it came to stopping TMX, but perhaps the B.C. premier has subsequently gained a better appreciation for the important issues highlighted by their legal humiliation. On a separate pipeline debate — that over the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the $40-billion LNG Canada project — Horgan is a big believer in the power of federal jurisdiction, federal approval, public support, First Nations support, and, of course, economic development.
Ultimately, though, the only thing the Supreme Court of Canada was concerned with was the constitutional question, and it was about as close to a slam dunk as we’re likely to see. Nonetheless, though, the court’s clarity is most welcome and most helpful.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Quebec tightening COVID-19 restrictions as 3 regions put on red alert – CBC.ca
Residents in three Quebec regions won’t be allowed to visit friends or family at home for most of October or eat out at their favourite restaurant as the provincial government struggles to slow the surge of new coronavirus cases.
Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions are now considered red zones under the province’s COVID-19 alert system, Quebec Premier François Legault said Monday.
“I’m a bit heavy-hearted today,” Legault said during a late afternoon news conference.
“We looked at the results over the weekend, and the number of cases has gone up significantly.”
This rise in cases could lead to an increase of hospitalizations and deaths, he said, and the government must act quickly in the interest of all Quebecers.
“We need to make some difficult decisions,” Legault said.
The new restrictions, announced after Quebec reported 750 new coronavirus cases, take effect 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday and are set to last for 28 days, until Oct. 28, in the red zones. The restrictions are:
- A ban on home gatherings, with some exceptions, such as a single caregiver allowed per visit.
- All bars, casinos and restaurants are closed (takeout only).
- Libraries, museums, cinemas and theatres will also be closed.
- Being less than two metres apart will be prohibited. Masks will be mandatory during demonstrations.
- Houses of worship and venues for events, such as funerals and weddings, will have a 25-person limit.
- Hair salons, hotels and other such businesses will stay open.
- Schools will remain open.
“Schools must remain open,” Legault said. “Businesses are open so parents can continue to work and earn money.”
Though people are generally following the public health guidelines, Legault said many are not and he showed frustration toward those who are throwing caution to the wind.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “We are not putting measures in place just for fun. We are putting measures in place to protect others.“
WATCH | Legault announces new measures:
Legault said the government is working on compensation packages for those businesses that are being shut down by the pandemic, though he declined to go into detail about those packages.
The government is enacting the restrictions as of Thursday to give the owners of businesses that will be closed time to prepare, he said.
The government could restrict travel between regions as was done in the spring under public health guidelines, but for now it won’t be banned.
However, travel between different regions of the province is strongly discouraged, Legault said.
Legault making right decision, specialist says
The government has been urging people to stop socializing for a month in order to slow the spread of the virus. Now that it is prohibited to gather in homes, Legault said the Public Security Ministry is now exploring how the regulation will be enforced.
Dr. Cécile Tremblay, an infectious disease specialist at the Université de Montréal hospital, said the government is making the right decision.
“People can get a serious illness even if they are young,” she said. “People can die even if they are young.”
WATCH | Infectious disease specialist explains why Quebec is so hard hit:
She said the extent of long-term damage COVID-19 is causing to the heart, lungs and other organs is still not known and that it is important that everybody, including young people, does their part to prevent the spread of the disease.
Shutting down for 28 days is a good start, but it’s hard to say how effective it will be, Tremblay said. Strict health measures have prevented transmission in other countries, she said, but it all depends on how well the population respects the rules.
The hope is to limit the impact on the health-care network, especially with the cold and flu season upon us, she said.
Cases on the rise in Quebec
Quebec reported 750 new cases on Monday, 245 of which were on the island of Montreal. The Quebec City area, which had few cases during the first wave in the spring, had another 125 cases.
Quebec City and its immediate environs have emerged as a second epicentre of the fall coronavirus wave.
Taken together, the Capitale-Nationale region and Chaudière-Appalaches added more than 1,000 cases from Sept. 20-27.
Infection rates also continued to tick upward in the Eastern Townships, the Mauricie, the Gaspé Peninsula and Lanaudière.
Many regions have set new single-day records for COVID-19 cases; in the cases of Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches, they have tended to be superseded a short time later.
As Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume said succinctly last week: “The virus is among us.”
Hospitalizations are still manageable, but that could still change, according to Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital.
He said the gradual increase in cases throughout September is similar to what happened in the spring. Because it takes several days for people to develop symptoms severe enough to seek medical care, he explained, it leads to an avalanche of new patients down the road.
WATCH | COVID-19 surge forces new lockdown in Quebec:
“It is quite clear we are going to see this wave of hospitalizations increase and likely accelerate,” he said. “It’s a little discouraging to see we are going through the same process again.”
Quebec’s Health Ministry reported Monday there were already more than 5,000 health-care workers in the Montreal hospital network on leave.
“The rise in new cases is not simply because of an increase in the number of tests,” said Dr. Donald Vinh, a microbiologist at the McGill University Health Centre.
“It’s that the tests are becoming positive more often. That’s what worries us.”
So far, there has been a total of 1,163 cases in 489 schools in Quebec. There are more than 3,000 public and private schools across the province, with more than than one million students and 226,000 staff.
Neighbouring Ontario has also seen a resurgence of the virus. The province reported more than 700 cases today, the most on a single day since the start of the pandemic.
Canadian travel restrictions extended until Halloween – Canada Immigration News
Canada is once again extending travel restrictions to foreign travellers as cases of coronavirus continue to rise.
A new Canadian government Order in Council states that coronavirus travel restrictions will be extended until Halloween, on October 31.
Canada initially closed its borders from March 18 to June 30. Since then travel restrictions have been rolled over on a month-by-month basis.
The border is closed to foreign travellers who are coming to Canada for a non-essential reason such as recreation, tourism, or entertainment.
Some people are exempt from travel restrictions, such as:
- Canadian citizens (including dual citizens) or permanent residents;
- certain people who have been approved for Canadian permanent residence;
- certain temporary foreign workers;
- certain international students;
- protected persons;
- immediate family members of Canadians; or
- anyone else who falls under the exemptions listed on the government’s webpage.
Everyone who crosses the Canadian border must still quarantine for 14 days. The only exemptions to the mandatory quarantine requirement are:
- crew members;
- people invited by the health minister to help with the COVID-19 response, and other healthcare workers;
- members of visiting forces who are coming to work;
- people coming to receive medical services within 36 hours of their arrival;
- crossing the border in a trans-border community;
- people crossing into Canada aboard a “vessel” for the purposes of research, as long as they stay on the vessel; and
- other circumstances listed in the Order in Council.
Canada has a separate order in place that has also limited cross border travel between it and the U.S. since March. This order was also extended again earlier this month.
The decision to extend Canada’s travel restrictions come as no surprise in light of the rising COVID-19 cases in Canada and abroad.
Canada was able to successfully flatten the coronavirus curve from late May until August.
However, COVID-19 cases have been steadily increasing since late August.
Canada’s largest provinces, Ontario and Quebec, have announced stricter measures in recent days to try and reduce the significantly higher levels of COVID-19 cases they have experienced over the past month.
Canada is still issuing new permanent residence invitations throughout the pandemic.
These invitations are being issued to individuals currently in Canada as well as those abroad, although the number of individuals completing their permanent residence landing in Canada is much lower than usual due to the pandemic.
In addition, the travel restrictions stipulate that only those who received their permanent residence approval prior to March 18 are currently eligible to travel to Canada.
In a speech last week, the Canadian government stated it plans to continue to welcome global talent to drive the country’s economic growth.
Two major events in October will provide more clarity on the Canadian government’s immigration plans following the pandemic.
Canada’s immigration minister Marco Mendicino has made a series of remarks throughout the pandemic suggesting that immigration will be vital to Canada’s economic recovery.
Since 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal government have regularly and widely championed immigration to Canada and the welcoming of refugees. Now, …
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World must get COVID-19 under control before winter comes to Northern Hemisphere: WHO doctor – CTV News
Countries with rising COVID-19 numbers – Canada among them – must get the curve under control before hospitals are inundated with huge numbers of people battling either the novel coronavirus or winter’s seasonal sicknesses, says a doctor with the World Health Organization.
“Well, certainly the winter months are very important because that’s when other illnesses appear,” said Dr. Margaret Harris, who spoke to CTV’s Your Morning from Geneva on Monday.
“That’s the time when respiratory illnesses really love to circulate in our communities.”
That includes colds, flus, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
The world is rapidly closing in on a million deaths from COVID-19 and has surpassed 33 million cases, according to WHO numbers updated Monday.
“So we’ve already got this terrible virus, and as you said, we are reaching an awful milestone.”
Case numbers are rising in Canada and in many countries around the world. On Monday, Canada recorded 1,450 new cases in just Ontario and Quebec. Ontario’s 700 new cases is the highest single-day COVID-19 increase ever recorded in the province.
Canada has now recorded 154,575 cases and 9,270 deaths, according to figures compiled by CTV News. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that a second wave is already underway in most of Canada that could make the fall “much worse” than the spring.
Canada’s seven-day tally of new cases – 8,897 – places it No. 26 on that score, according to WHO numbers. The U.S. ranks worst, with 305,412 new cases in the last week, bringing its total to more than 7 million.
The WHO has called surging coronavirus cases in Europe a “very serious situation.”
Harris says caseloads are rising because people are spending more time together, and holding more mass gatherings.
As COVID-19 numbers climb, it will place a heavy burden on hospitals that will also be dealing with seasonal illnesses. Cold weather can even bring an uptick in heart attacks because cold weather can constrict the flow of blood to the heart.
“Your hospitals won’t be able to deal with all the things they have to do,” said Harris. “So that’s why it’s so critical to really suppress transmission of this virus right now.”
It’s just as important to seek out knowledge from reputable sources, says Harris, including the WHO, national health departments, and universities.
“One of the biggest problems right now is that misinformation is flying around the world a lot more quickly than the right information,” she said.
“We all hear all sorts of stuff from friends and neighbours and social media and everything else, but go check it first, and before you pass anything check whether it’s true.”
Harris says there is reason to be optimistic on the vaccine front.
The WHO is tracking more than 170 COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are being developed and tested around the world.
“Never have there been so many vaccines, so many scientists, so many groups working so hard to create such an important tool for humanity.”
Nine vaccines are in Phase 3 clinical trials, says Harris, meaning they are being tested to see if they work “out in the wild” to protect against transmission of the virus.
“To really know that, you have to give it to a lot of people, between 30,000 and 60,000. And half of them have to get the vaccine and half of them have to get something else, and you look to see if there is a difference.”
To be really effective, the trial needs to be “double blinded,” where neither the researchers nor the trial participants know whether or not they got the vaccine.
Harris says it’s expected that results from the first of the Phase 3 trials will begin to be known at the end of this year or early next year.
“It’s still a while yet, but it’s still very good news.”
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