Demonstrators in Montreal toppled and defaced a statue of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, on Saturday.
The incident comes in the wake of simultaneous marches across the country in support of growing calls to defund the police.
A flier obtained by Global News shows that the movement to remove the statue was organized separately from the group calling for police defunding.
“Today, inspired by a summer of rebellion and anti-racist protest, a diverse coalition of young activists take it upon themselves to act where the city has failed,” read the flier.
“We offer this action in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of Tio’tia:ke, Turtle Island and across the globe, and all those fighting against colonialism and anti-blackness in the struggle for a better world.”
The statue — which has long been at the centre of a debate over how it symbolizes Canada’s colonial past — was unbolted, pulled to the ground and sprayed with graffiti earlier Saturday afternoon, according to images of the incident posted to social media.
The statue was removed at the end of a peaceful protest where an estimated 200 people marched, according to The Canadian Press. No arrests were made.
Protests have also taken place in Toronto and others are expected to happen in Fredericton, Moncton and Calgary on Saturday.
The demonstrations are calling for money allocated to police forces to be reinvested into community organizations that work to address systemic racism and save the lives of BIPOC Canadians.
“This event, it’s been organized by groups and organizations from all across the country. We all got together and decided we needed to stage something bigger to get more people’s attention and to try and get people to understand that we’re not just going to take this lying down,” Gal Harper, member, organizer, and lead activist with Black Lives Matter London told Global News.
“Things need to change and it needs to happen now,” Harper said.
In Toronto, demonstrators gathered at Downsview Park for a march beginning at 11 a.m. ET, according to the Coalition for BIPOC Liberation.
By 12:30 p.m. ET, dozens of protesters had gathered on Sheppard Avenue.
A second march is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET at Christie Pits Park.
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In a Facebook post Saturday morning, the coalition outlined its demands.
“We demand our basic human right to live peacefully with the equitable opportunity to live our best lives, take care of our families and support our communities,” the statement reads.
The coalition says without the removal of the laws of colonialism, the liberation of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour will “cease to exist.”
“Invest in people, not police,” the statement says. “Reallocation Committees will ensure funding divested from police forces will be reallocated back to community-based initiatives.”
In a press release issued on Thursday, Black Trans Lives Matter, DefundYYC and Idle No More — who have organized the demonstration in downtown Calgary — asked protesters to gather at Sien Lok Park.
That march is slated to begin at 2 p.m.
In the release, organizers said the world is “changing fast,” and that systems in place are “not evolving at the same pace as humanity.”
“We must keep putting pressure on those in power to make swift change that immobilizes racism at every interaction to alleviate ALL oppressions,” the release reads. “We believe ALL Black lives matter and will amplify Trans voices as well as other folx on the LBGTQ2S+ spectrum.”
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However, opponents of the defund the police movement claim doing so could have dangerous implications for society.
U.S. President Donald Trump has claimed calls to defund forces are an attempt to “take away” police.
A poll conducted last month by Ipsos on behalf of Global News found that Canadians are split on whether to defund the police.
The survey found 51 per cent of Canadians support the idea of defunding the police and redirecting the funds to other local government services.
Of those respndents, 19 per cent said they “strongly” agree, 32 per cent said they “somewhat” agree.
However, 49 per cent of Canadians said they do not support the idea of defunding the police.
The incident was caught on camera by bystanders and has been shared widely on social media.
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Blake was shot as he opened the door to his vehicle. Three of his children were present at the time of the incident.
In an interview with the Chicago Sun Times, Blake’s father — also named Jacob Blake — told the paper that his son, who was rushed to hospital after the shooting, is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Wisconsin’s Department of Justice is investigating the shooting, and all three officers involved have since been put on administrative leave.
The shooting sparked days of protests in Kenosha. On Friday, a candlelight vigil was held for Blake in the city.
A number of pro sports games were postponed after players took a stand against racial inequality following Blake’s shooting.
The NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks were the first franchise to postpone a game.
The decision caused a domino effect within the NBA and across several pro sports leagues with athletes in the WNBA, MLB, NHL, NFL, MLS and ATP choosing to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Blake’s shooting follows months of unrest across the U.S. and around the world over police brutality and racial injustice.
–With files from Global News’ David Lao, Chris Jancelewicz, Jacquelyn LeBel and The Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Woman suspected of mailing ricin to White House arrested at U.S.-Canada border – CBC.ca
Three U.S. law enforcement officials say a woman suspected of sending an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House and President Donald Trump, has been arrested at the New York-Canada border.
The officials say the woman was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and is expected to face federal charges. The officials were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Aaron Bowker of the CBP confirmed with CBC News that the arrest took place at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, N.Y., and that the individual was travelling from Canada into the United States.
The letter had been intercepted earlier this week before it reached the White House.
An RCMP spokesperson told CBC News on Saturday that it was assisting the FBI in the investigation and that “initial information from the investigation suggests that the letter originated in Canada.”
An official from the Western District of New York told CBC News on Monday they “don’t have a time yet for a court appearance.”
There have been several prior instances in which U.S. officials have been targeted with ricin, which can be derived from castor oil plants.
A navy veteran was arrested in 2018 and confessed to sending envelopes containing the substance from which ricin is derived to Trump, CIA Director Gina Haspel, FBI Director Christopher Wray and James Mattis, then the secretary of defence. At least two of the letters made it to a Pentagon mail sorting facility.
The Utah man has yet to be tried in the case and could face life in prison if found guilty.
In 2014, a Mississippi man was sentenced to 25 years in prison after sending letters dusted with ricin to then-president Barack Obama and other officials.
The previous year, a woman was accused of mailing ricin-laced letters to Obama and Michael Bloomberg, then the mayor of New York City. The woman, who tried to frame her husband for the scheme, was sentenced to 18 years in prison after reaching a plea deal.
Canada confirms 873 more coronavirus infections as cases continue to surge – Global News
Canada has diagnosed 873 more people with the novel coronavirus, bringing the country’s surging case count to 143,527 on Sunday.
Provincial and territorial health authorities reported six more people had died from the virus, although those numbers are incomplete as British Columbia, Alberta, Prince Edward Island, the Yukon and Northwest Territories did not report updates over the weekend.
Since the pandemic began, 9,217 people have died from COVID-19 in Canada, while 124,691 have recovered from the virus after falling ill. So far, more than 7.8 million tests have been administered across the country.
Twenty new cases and no new deaths were reported in Saskatchewan. A total of 1,807 infections have been diagnosed there since the pandemic began. Of those, 24 patients have died and 1,643 have recovered.
Health officials have administered 171,945 tests so far.
In Manitoba, provincial health authorities detected 29 new confirmed cases of the virus, though one previously announced diagnosis was removed from the total. Overall, the province has recorded 1,586 cases.
As of Sunday, the province had administered 164,177 tests in total, while 1,216 people had recovered after becoming infected and 16 people had died.
Ontario has diagnosed 46,849 people with the the virus, including 365 announced Sunday along with one more death.
To date, 2,827 people have died throughout the province while more than 3.5 million tests for COVID-19 have been conducted and 40,968 people have recovered.
In Quebec, the province hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials confirmed 462 new cases of the virus, bringing the provincial tally to 67,542.
In total, the province has confirmed 5,802 people have died from the virus, including five deaths on Sunday. One of those deaths occurred within the last 24 hours, while the other four occurred earlier this month. So far, more than 2 million people in Quebec have been tested for the virus, while 58,796 have recovered.
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New Brunswick reported no new cases of COVID-19 or deaths relating to the virus, and only one case remains active. The provincial tally remains at 194 confirmed diagnoses and two deaths.
There have been 69,791 tests for the virus administered by the province.
Nova Scotia’s provincial cases numbers remained at 1,086 after health authorities detected no new infections or deaths. In total, 88,514 people have been tested, 65 have died and 1,021 are in recovery.
Newfoundland and Labrador saw no new cases of COVID-19 reported Sunday. The provincial total remains at 272, while health authorities said a total of three people had previously died from the virus.
N.L. has conducted more than 37,738 tests for COVID-19, while 268 people have recovered from the virus.
Nunavut confirmed its first two cases of the virus on Saturday. However, a spokesperson from the territory said the cases will not be counted in Nunavut as the individuals who contracted COVID-19 were not residents.
“[The cases] will be counted in the jurisdiction where they contracted the virus,” they said.
So far, 2,593 tests have been administered in Nunavut.
In British Columbia, provincial health officials reported a total of 7,720 cases on Friday and 223 deaths.
In Alberta provincial health officials recorded 107 new infections Friday for a cumulative total of 16,381 infections and 255 deaths.
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No new cases were diagnosed in Prince Edward Island during its most recent update on Wednesday, keeping the provincial tally at 57. The province has yet to see its first COVID-19-related death.
To date, 56 in the province have recovered from the virus.
All 15 confirmed cases in the Yukon have recovered. Nobody in the territory has died from the virus.
All five confirmed cases in the Northwest Territories have also recovered.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canadians are still flocking to parks and businesses as country braces for second wave – CTV News
Even though the back-to-school season has coincided with a steady rise in Canada’s active COVID-19 case count and fears that a second wave may soon be upon us, Canadians do not seem to be meaningfully adjusting their behaviour when it comes to leaving the house.
Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, said Sunday that a lot of Canadians seem to be taking a “we can do whatever we want” approach to their life in recent weeks.
“It feels to me like a lot of people just threw up their hands and said ‘I’m tired of this. I’m hugging, I’m going out, I’m seeing friends,'” he told Sunday on CTV News Channel.
That feeling is backed up by data compiled by Google and Apple, which shows that Canadians are spending more time in parks and at businesses than they were even in the first half of the summer, when the country first emerged from its various pandemic-imposed lockdowns.
Google bases its public mobility reports on information gleaned from users of its services who allow the company to keep track of the destinations they visit.
According to its most recent report for Canada, dated Sept. 11, Canadians are spending 151 per cent more time in parks than they were before the pandemic began.
This can be partially explained by the calendar; of course a park will be busier in September than it was in February. More telling, though, is that based on Google’s data, park usage has steadily increased over the past few months – from 80 per cent above the baseline level in early June to 140 per cent in mid-July to 150 per cent on Sept. 11.
SPENDING LESS TIME AT HOME
Also increasing has been Canadians’ activity in retail and recreation settings – what Google terms “places like restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, theme parks, museums, libraries, and movie theatres.”
At the height of the lockdown, in early April, activity at these establishments was as much as 80 per cent below Google’s pre-pandemic baseline. That number has slowly crept back up ever since, even surpassing it on Labour Day weekend before settling in for a longer stay just below the baseline.
Labour Day weekend also represents a peak in Apple’s mass-collected mobility trends report for Canada. Apple found that requests made for driving directions were 88 per cent higher on Sept. 4 than they were on Jan. 13 (their pre-pandemic baseline), while requests for walking directions were up by 80 per cent. Both numbers were at their highest points in 2020. (Requests for public transit directions were about two-thirds of their pre-pandemic levels, or about four times what they were at the height of the pandemic.)
Time spent in grocery stores and pharmacies has been slightly above Google’s baseline for the past month, suggesting Canadians may be doing more supermarket shopping to make up for the decreasing number of meals eaten out.
The amount of time spent at home, meanwhile, has fallen from 20 per cent in early May to 10 per cent in mid-July to eight per cent on Sept. 11.
Taken together, all of this implies Canadians feel safer leaving their homes now than they did not only early on in the pandemic, but also for most of the summer.
That would certainly make sense if the novel coronavirus was still slowing its spread across Canada – but aside from Atlantic Canada and the territories, that’s hardly been the case.
Canada’s active case count has been rising since early August and is more than double what it was one month ago, according to a CTV News tally. Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia have all begun to re-enact some of the restrictions lifted earlier in the summer. All four provinces show similar patterns in the Google data, with their residents spending less time at home and more time out in public than they were even a month or two ago.
“We know what to do; we just aren’t necessarily doing it as well as we could,” Dr. Brian Conway, president and medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, said Sunday on CTV News Channel.
“Certain individuals are making decisions … not to follow all of the public health recommendations, and this leads to an increase in cases.”
IS IT QUARANTINE FATIGUE?
Because of the increasing COVID-19 diagnosis numbers and rolling back of reopenings, there is a rising belief that Canada is on the precipice of a second wave of the pandemic.
Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease specialist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, told CTV News Channel on Sunday that she believes “some form of a second wave” is already underway in Ontario and Quebec.
“We don’t know yet if it’s going to be a big wave or one of those smaller waves that we can control. That really, really depends on how people manage themselves,” she said.
Dr. Theresa Tam said this week that “the time to act is now,” noting that the daily new case numbers more accurately reflect how society was responding to the virus two weeks ago than how it is responding today.
Of course, the rising numbers do not come as a surprise to Canada’s chief public health officer. She warned in July that Canada could see a “backslide” if too many Canadians continued to ignore public health advice, and cautioned in August that the fall would be a “period of challenge” due to cooling weather and the back-to-school period.
On the surface, something doesn’t add up. The warnings from authorities have been constant and consistent, and are starting to come true – and yet Canadians are still spending more time in public, where contact with the virus is more likely.
One possible explanation is that quarantine fatigue has set in.
Also known as pandemic fatigue, response fatigue and many other terms, quarantine fatigue is essentially the idea that citizens are tired of the pandemic and no longer take the necessary precautions to stop it.
This is why “we can’t let our guard down” is such a common refrain from political and medical leaders – both in Europe, where the World Health Organization is now warning about quarantine fatigue as cases skyrocket, and in Canada, where authorities hope to avoid the same scenario.
Barrett said that Canadians “really need to take to heart” the advice from public health leaders, spending less time outside the home and keeping their social circles to a small number.
“If people are able to do the things that have already been suggested, we may be able to keep a handle on things,” she said.
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