A parliamentary e-petition sponsored by Conservative Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner that calls for the federal government to scrap its firearms ban has been certified with more than 230,000 signatures — the most on the online platform since it was introduced in 2015.
The petition asks the prime minister to immediately scrap his “firearms confiscation regime,” calling it “undemocratically imposed without debate during a pandemic while Parliament is suspended, [and] an assault on Canadian democracy.”
“[Canadians] are wondering why the government has chosen to confiscate legally-owned firearms during a suspended parliament,” Rempel Garner said in an interview with CBC News.
“When we know that that is going to do little to reduce the issue of violent crime in Canada, in terms of firearms that are obtained illegally.”
In May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a ban on 1,550 makes and models of “assault-style” weapons in Canada. A two-year amnesty period was granted before Canadians are required to dispose of the weapons.
In making the announcement, the prime minister said that assault-style weapons had “no place” in Canada.
“These weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time,” he said at the time.
Instead of a ban on assault-style weapons, Rempel Garner’s petition calls on the government to crack down on firearms obtained illegally, specifically targeting the prevention of smuggled firearms across the U.S. border.
“Canada has one of the most rigorous firearms acquisition licensing regimes in the world,” she said.
“When we’re looking at the very important issue of preventing firearms violence in Canada, we have to look at where firearms that are used in violent crime are coming from and we know that the vast majority of those are illegally obtained and primarily smuggled in from the United States.”
Advocate says weapons are ‘designed to kill’
Heidi Rathjen, a gun control activist and survivor of the 1989 Polytechnique massacre, pushed back against Rempel Garner’s petition, saying the banned weapons are “designed to kill.”
“There’s no legitimate justification for allowing that kind of power in the hands of ordinary civilians. These weapons belong to the military. These are weapons of war,” Rathjen said.
“They’re not needed for hunting or even legitimate target practice … these are civilian versions of military weapons that, you know, many, if not most, have been put on the market in the last couple of decades.”
Following the Polytechnique massacre, Rathjen said students of the school garnered more than 500,000 signatures on a paper petition, signed by hand and gathered through regular mail, over a period of four months.
“But again, petitions are one thing. I think, what really matters, is what the public wants,” Rathjen said. “A majority of Canadians support the ban on assault weapons. I think the Liberal government did the democratic thing when they passed these orders in council.”
As Parliament is currently prorogued until Sept. 23, Rempel Garner will need to wait to table the petition.
“Because it is an official parliamentary petition, the government is required to respond to all the signatories that are on there,” she said.
“So I think that the government is going to have to think really carefully about its response, because there’s a lot of people in Canada that cross political boundaries that are concerned with this issue and are not pleased with the government’s response.”
According to a spokesperson in the House of Commons, Rempel Garner’s petition has surpassed any other petition on the number of signatures since the launch of the new system for electronic petitions in 2015.
Historically, however, a number of paper petitions have also obtained a large number of signatures, including an anti-abortion petition in 1975 that contained more than one million signatures. That contradicts Rempel Garner’s claim in social media that hers is the largest Parliamentary petition in Canadian history.
As part of the e-petition platform, signatories are required to enter a valid email address and click on a link sent to that address, and additional monitoring tools are in place to ensure the integrity of signatures, the spokesperson said.
Health Canada approves rapid COVID testing device as Canada braces for caseload spikes – CBC.ca
Health Canada regulators today approved the ID NOW rapid COVID-19 testing device for use in this country — a move that could result in millions more tests for communities grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases.
The Abbott Laboratories-backed point-of-care devices can be administered by trained professionals at places like pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices without the need for a laboratory to determine if someone is infected with the virus.
The approval comes only a day after the federal government announced that it would buy some 7.9 million ID NOW tests from the U.S.-based firm for distribution in Canada.
A nasal or throat specimen is collected from a patient on a swab and plugged into the ID NOW’s analyzer, which can detect the presence of the virus. The molecular devices can produce COVID results in 15 minutes.
To date, the vast majority of tests have been done at public health clinics, with samples then sent to laboratories for analysis — a process that can take days.
Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Tuesday that the purchase was designed to help the provinces and territories offer more testing options as some cities face hours-long lines at public health testing centres.
Speaking in question period today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is expecting to receive the first batch of these Abbott tests “in the coming weeks.”
Abbott has already shipped more than seven million ID NOW tests to all 50 U.S. states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. territories.
Trudeau said the government has earmarked more money for Health Canada to expedite the approvals process for “new technologies” like these diagnostic devices.
Health experts and the opposition Conservatives have said Health Canada’s regulatory process has been too slow to this point. Other Western nations have had such tests for months.
WATCH: Conservatives call on Trudeau to approve more rapid tests
Trudeau said his government put “science first” to protect Canadians from faulty devices. He said regulators were not pressured to approve the device after the multi-million dollar order for Abbott’s test.
The United States Food and Drug Administration first issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Abbott for the ID NOW device at the end of March — just one of 248 such authorizations the U.S. has issued for testing devices since the onset of the pandemic. Only three point-of-care tests have been authorized for use in Canada.
Some researchers have said this Abbott device has led to false positives in a small number of cases. The FDA re-issued a revised EUA on Sept. 18, saying that the test should be administered within the first seven days of the onset of symptoms.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford praised Abbott as a group of “incredible folks.”
The premier also said he’s eager to see Health Canada approve another form of testing that could be used outside of health care settings: antigen devices which — like the ID NOW device — can produce COVID results in minutes.
The regulator hasn’t yet approved any antigen tests. In fact, Health Canada only posted guidance for antigen device manufacturers to its website yesterday, seven months into the pandemic.
Ford said he wants to send antigen tests to high-risk places — such as some workplaces and schools — to identify positive cases early enough to avoid further spread.
“I think it’s an absolute game-changer for the education system, for long-term care. It’s absolutely critical. My frustration is, how can regulatory authorities in countries around the world approve this? How can the U.S. regulatory bodies approve this, and everyone’s getting it, and it’s taking this long to go through Health Canada?” Ford said.
“People can know in 15 minutes. Imagine that. Think about going to a pharmacy, getting the test, waiting outside, and coming back in in 15 minutes and you have your results. Why it’s taking so long is just beyond me.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to always pick on Health Canada but they’ve got to move faster, quicker, please. We’re in a crisis.”
Ford said he was told Health Canada is reluctant to approve rapid testing devices after the botched approval of the Spartan Bioscience testing product early in the pandemic.
The device was found to be faulty after it was subjected to efficacy testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory. Health Canada had to issue a recall on the device in May after the federal government already had placed an order for 40,000 tests.
Antigen tests — which, depending on the device, use matter collected from a nasal or throat swab — don’t require the use of a lab to generate results.
While much faster, these tests are considered by some to be less accurate than the “gold standard” — the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing process currently in use across Canada.
Antigen testing devices like Quidel Corporation’s Sofia 2 SARS, which received emergency authorization from the U.S. FDA in May, can produce results in less than 20 minutes.
As of Tuesday, Quidel’s device was still listed as “under review” by Health Canada.
Antigen tests have been used in thousands of U.S. long-term care homes for months.
Canada's GDP grew by 3% in July as more sectors reopened – CBC.ca
Canada’s economy continued its recovery in July from the first wave of COVID-19, with the country’s gross domestic product expanding by three per cent.
Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that all 20 sectors of the economy grew as businesses continued to reopen and tried to get back to some sense of normal after lockdowns in March and April.
Output in agriculture, utilities, finance and insurance businesses, as well as real estate rental and leasing companies, clawed back to where it was before the pandemic struck. Retail trade businesses accomplished the same feat the month before, in June. But despite July’s growth, all other types of businesses still have yet to get back to their previous highs.
The biggest expansions in the month were in hotels/restaurants (up 20.1) and arts/entertainment/recreation (up 14 per cent), but those figures come off a very low base and are still facing the deepest slump versus year-ago levels, Bank of Montreal economist Benjamin Reitzes said of the numbers.
All in all, GDP was six per cent below February’s level, Statistics Canada said.
The three per cent gain was in line with what economists had been expecting. It was about half as much as the 6.5 per cent increase seen in June.
While StatsCan is still calculating the final numbers, its early projection for August shows an expansion of just one per cent, which suggests that Canada’s economic recovery is running out of steam as it appears a second wave of the virus is hitting some parts of the country.
TD Bank economist Sri Thanabalasingam said based on the July numbers, those fears are well founded.
“Slowing and uneven growth are indications that the Canadian economy is transitioning from the rebound phase to a more challenging stage of the recovery,” he said.
“Even without restrictions, consumers and businesses may rein in spending activity in response to rising caseloads. The second wave is now upon us, and the course of the recovery will depend on our success in containing it.”
Canada reports 1,657 new coronavirus cases, 13 new deaths on Tuesday – Global News
A new set of restrictions are in store for the Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions to stem the tide of COVID-19.
Those three areas are officially in a red zone, the province’s highest alert level for the health crisis, starting Thursday.
Here is a guide to the tightened measures and partial lockdown aimed at limiting the second wave of the novel coronavirus.
How long is the partial lockdown?
Quebec has placed those three regions in its highest alert level for nearly a month.
The new rules are set to last Oct. 1-28 — if all goes well. Premier François says he hopes to lift restrictions if the situation improves, but can’t make false promises.
What’s closed in red zones?
Bars, theatres, cinemas, casinos, museums and libraries are closed for at least four weeks starting Thursday.
Dining rooms in restaurants have also been ordered to shut down, but takeout and delivery are permitted.
Schools and daycares remain open, but the sanitary rules put in place are still in effect.
Gyms, retail stores, hair salons and other beauty care businesses remain open.
Private professional health services are allowed to operate, but only for services that require the patient to be physically there.
Places of worship are allowed to accommodate a maximum of 25 people and must keep a register.
Community organizations are also permitted to stay open.
Can I have someone over to my house?
The short answer is no. Quebecers who lived in designated red zones are prohibited from inviting others to their homes.
There are a few exceptions, however. The government says informal caregivers, individuals offering support or labour for planned work are permitted.
People who live alone are also allowed to welcome one other individual into their residences.
Quebec Premier pleads with young adults to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19
Can I visit loved ones in long-term care homes?
Visits are limited in long-term care homes and private seniors’ residences located in red zones.
The goal is to keep the health crisis from sweeping through those facilities like it did during the deadly first wave.
The province says visits for humanitarian purposes are allowed. Informal caregivers are allowed to visit the elderly, but it’s limited to one person at a time and a maximum of two people per day.
Are private gatherings okay?
Private gatherings are not allowed in red zones.
Are gatherings in public places permitted?
Social gatherings in public places are also prohibited.
There are two exceptions: gatherings are allowed at funerals and places of worship. There is a maximum of 25 people allowed and a register of everyone attending must be maintained.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, for instance, has urged all city dwellers to steer clear of socializing in parks.
What about protests?
The province says protests or rallies are permitted, but all attendees must wear a mask to curb the spread of the virus.
Can I travel to other parts of Quebec?
Quebecers in red zones are asked not to travel to regions that aren’t as hard hit by the health crisis.
There is no ban, but the province says people should avoid heading to designated green, yellow and orange zones.
Essential travel such as for work and freight transportation is allowed.
Can I go to Ontario or elsewhere in Canada?
It is strongly advised that people in Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches do not travel outside of the province.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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