Canadians who lost loved ones when Iran shot down Flight PS752 earlier this year have been reporting an increasing number of threats warning them against criticizing Iran’s response to the disaster.
“These are ugly, insidious crimes, apparently orchestrated at the behest of a foreign power. That is something that would be disturbing to every Canadian,” said former MP Ralph Goodale who is acting as Canada’s special adviser to the government on the incident.
Goodale says two cases of intimidation and harassment were reported to police in the spring. The number of such incidents of which authorities are aware has now increased to 11, he said. RCMP, local police and security organizations are working with Canada’s allies around the world and taking the threats seriously, Goodale added.
Hamed Esmaeilion lost his nine-year-old daughter Reera and wife Parisa when PS752 was shot down by the Iranian military over Tehran on Jan. 8, killing all 176 people aboard. He’s the spokesperson representing an association of victims’ families in Canada seeking justice and he said he has been receiving hateful messages for months.
‘Let’s talk about the last moments of your wife and daughter’
But the situation escalated after a rally he held on Parliament Hill on Oct. 5, he said.
A suspicious vehicle loitered outside his house that night, pulling up in front of his driveway and then backing up, Esmaeilion said. He also reported receiving a suspicious phone call on Oct. 5 from someone who left a message saying, “Let’s talk about the last moments of your wife and daughter.”
Esmailion said he blocked the number but received a threat in Farsi through his Instagram account later the same day: “Your name is on a list of terror, so enjoy your life before you get killed. And you would be a lesson for out of country traitors.”
Esmailion said he met with RCMP on Friday and was told to keep a record of further calls.
“It doesn’t scare me, honestly,” he told CBC. “This is something we have been through since the beginning and especially in the month of May and June … That was, I think, the peak of insulting and hateful messages that I received.”
He said he believes the messages are coming both from Iran and Canada but he has no idea whether they’re from representatives of the Iranian regime or just from its supporters.
Mahmoud Zibaie, who also lost his wife and daughter when PS752 was shot down, told CBC News that he received a call from someone identifying themselves as the chief investigator of the military court in Iran dealing with the lawsuit for compensation launched against the regime.
Zibaie said the caller told him that he needed to return to Iran to participate in the suit for compensation. He said the compensation is low down on the list of what he wants from Iran.
“In some sense, I can say that I can regard it as a threat because he … kept telling me that, ‘Okay, we have to see each other. You have to get back to Iran. You have to come here and you have to launch a lawsuit,'” he said.
Zibaie said he plans to share the audio of that call with the RCMP.
Javad Soleimani of Edmonton lost his wife on the flight. He said he is not taking the threats seriously because he has no family left in Iran but worries about those with family back home who could be targets for harassment or persecution.
“These threats and families harassment, actually, have been something ongoing from the very beginning,” Soleimani told CBC News. “From hijacking the funeral routine, writing congratulations on your martyrdom on the coffins, and also … detaining some family members in Iran.”
“It’s I think it’s a national threat to Canada,” he said. “I think the only way to deal with these intimidation or threats or concerns for families is that the Canadian government more publicly support families of victims.”
Goodale said the federal government is taking the threat very seriously.
“It is an offence against Canada, It is a crime under the Criminal Code, and foreign interference attacks the very sovereignty and integrity of our country. So it is indeed treated with gravity it deserves,” he said.
The RCMP issued a statement today saying that it is “aware of allegations of intimidation of the grieving families of the PS752 and we take such complaints seriously.”
“While we cannot comment on individual cases, Canadians and all individuals living in Canada, regardless of their nationality, should feel safe and free from criminal activity,” said the statement.
Coronavirus cases surge across Canada as vaccine still months away – Global News
Canada added 5,631 new coronavirus cases and 89 deaths on Thursday. It is the third-highest daily case increase on record in the country.
Canada now has reported 352,781 cases and 11,799 deaths total.
Today’s numbers come as it was revealed that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate could be approved in Canada by the end of the year.
“As things stand now, we expect certain vaccines to become available in early 2021,” Health Canada deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said.
“However, it’s important to note that the initial supply of these vaccines will be limited … When a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready.”
According to the federal government on Thursday, Canada is expected to gain six million vaccine doses total in its first batch, to be distributed between provinces on a per capita basis.
Since two doses of a vaccine are necessary per person, the amount could treat up to three million Canadians total.
For now, though, provinces are seeing an uptick in cases across the country.
Coronavirus: Initial Canadian COVID-19 vaccine distribution to focus on three core groups
British Columbia set another single-day record on Thursday with 887 new cases and 13 deaths. The province now has 7,899 active cases.
Almost a third of the province’s 384 total deaths have been reported in November alone, with 64 deaths occurring in the last week. Eighty-four per cent of the fatalities are among people over 70 years old.
Meanwhile, Alberta reported 1,077 new cases that occurred in the last 24 hours. There are currently 383 people in hospital due to the virus, with 84 of them in intensive care.
Ten deaths also occurred in the last 24 hours in the province, nine of which were connected to COVID-19 outbreaks in places such as long-term care homes. A total of 510 Albertans have now died from the virus.
Alberta premier Jason Kenney announced a state of public health emergency on Tuesday for the second time in the pandemic, which came with new restrictions on social gatherings as well as rules for masks in workplaces.
Ontario reported 1,478 new cases on Thursday and 21 more deaths.
The province has seen hospitalizations go up more than 63 per cent in the last four weeks, according to new provincial data, with those in intensive care expected to hit 200 next month. There are currently 556 people in hospitals in the province related to COVID-19.
In Quebec, 1,464 new cases were announced Thursday, setting a new record for daily infections for the province. The province also reported 32 more deaths, eight of which occurred in the last 24 hours.
Coronavirus: Legault says he’ll prohibit holiday gatherings if cases increase too much
“If our numbers increase too much, we won’t allow gatherings,” Quebec Premier François Legault said. “[But] we have no magic answer.”
The province has seen 136,894 cases total so far and 6,947 deaths, the highest in the country. There are currently 675 hospitalizations, 90 of which are in intensive care.
Out east, the once-hailed “Atlantic bubble” has seemed to burst as cases have risen in the eastern provinces.
New Brunswick reported 12 new cases Thursday to bring its total active cases to 105. The increase is fuelled by young adults, the province’s chief of health said.
The uptick has caused New Brunswick to end its border deal with neighbouring provinces. Effective midnight, anyone travelling to New Brunswick from another province, including any Atlantic province, must self-isolate for 14 days unless exempt.
Nova Scotia announced 14 new cases, bringing its total active cases to 114. The province said no one is currently in hospital due to the virus.
PEI reported no new cases, while Newfoundland and Labrador reported three new cases.
Coronavirus: Saskatchewan health officials warn province nearing ICU capacity
In the prairies, Saskatchewan reported 315 new cases, with 108 currently in hospital and 18 of them in intensive care.
The province also reported three additional deaths, bringing its total to 40.
Manitoba reported 383 new cases and 10 new deaths, bringing its total deaths to 266.
The province currently has a record-setting 307 in hospital due to the virus, with 46 in intensive care.
Manitoba leads all other provinces in per-capita rate of new infections.
The Yukon reported three new cases as no new cases were announced in the rest of the territories.
There have been 60,856,294 cases of coronavirus worldwide to date and 1,429,689 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
— With files from Global staff
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
3 million Canadians could be vaccinated in early 2021, but feds warn of ‘logistical challenges’
Federal officials sought to reassure Canadians today that Ottawa has a plan to procure and distribute millions of COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021, as the government’s critics argue that Canada seems to be falling behind other developed countries in planning for a mass vaccination campaign.
Health Canada regulators are reviewing clinical trial data, the government has signed purchase agreements for promising vaccine candidates and public health officials have procured needles and syringes for a future deployment, officials said. But top civil servants still don’t know how and when Canadians will be vaccinated due to a number of uncertainties.
Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said the country will grapple with “some logistical challenges” in the months to come as it prepares to inoculate Canadians. He said the federal government will leverage the Canadian Armed Forces and an existing influenza vaccine distribution network to help with deployment.
Njoo warned that vaccine supply will be quite limited at first and will be reserved for “high priority groups” only — seniors in long-term care homes, people at risk of severe illness and death, first responders and health care workers and some Indigenous communities, among others.
A larger rollout, he said, will happen once supply chains stabilize and regulators approve more vaccine candidates for use in Canada.
If all goes well, and if U.S. pharmaceutical giants are able to meet delivery timelines, Njoo said as many as six million doses could be deployed in the first three months of 2021. Each patient will need two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.
He cautioned, however, that it’s an “optimistic projection” and the details are far from certain right now.
Njoo said the federally run National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS), which has storage sites across the country, already has procured the needles and syringes needed for vaccinations, which will be shared with the provinces and territories.
The federal government also has purchased cold storage for the promising Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, should they be approved for use here in Canada. Those two drugs are based on groundbreaking messenger RNA technology, or mRNA, which essentially directs cells in the body to make proteins to prevent or fight disease.
The government has been criticized by the opposition, provincial leaders and some public health experts for providing few details about its plans to roll out a vaccine once Health Canada gives one the green light.
While the U.S. has publicly released a robust distribution plan — 20 million Americans are expected to be vaccinated in December alone — Canadian officials have been largely quiet about how the deployment here will be structured. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to speak with the premiers tonight to offer more specifics.
Njoo said there’s been a “great deal of preparation behind the scenes” and the government will provide more information about logistics, distribution and allocation at a later date.
Njoo did not offer a precise timeline, beyond a commitment to getting some Canadians vaccinated “early” next year.
Arianne Reza, an assistant deputy minister at Public Services and Procurement Canada, said she expects vaccines will be available in the “first quarter of 2021.”
She said Canada has so far finalized purchasing agreements with five different pharmaceutical companies — AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Medicago, Pfizer and Moderna — while agreements with Johnson & Johnson and Novavax are being finalized now.
Canada is expected to receive at least 194 million vaccine doses, with contractual options for 220 million more. “Canada does have firm agreements,” Reza said. “We work every day with the vaccine manufacturers to firm up the delivery schedule.”
Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, said her department has been reviewing clinical trial data on a rolling basis since October 9.
The rolling review process — a policy shift implemented because of the urgency of this pandemic — allows drug makers to bypass the lengthy timelines they normally face when launching a new vaccine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to make its final decision on the Pfizer product on Dec. 10 — the company has reported a 95 per cent effectiveness rate — and Sharma said Health Canada is expecting to give approval for that product “around the same time. We’re on track to make decisions on similar timelines.”
“We don’t want to set up expectations that we might not be able meet. We’re working flat out,” Sharma said.
Reza said she doesn’t know when that product might hit our shores, but she’s hopeful for a fast turnaround.
“The minute regulatory approval comes through, they will be ready to go quite quickly with supply and initial shipments,” she said.
Sharma said drug companies could send vaccines to Canada for “pre-positioning” — stockpiling in advance of regulatory approval — but no vaccines have yet been shipped to our country.
Health minister should apologize to families of dead Canadians: Tory
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner, the party’s health critic, said delays in vaccine deployment will lead to more COVID-19-related deaths. She said Health Minister Patty Hajdu should be prepared to apologize to Canadian families who lose loved ones to the virus.
“I know that sounds stark,” Rempel told a press conference. “But Canada’s inability to be clear on the details, to have a clear plan — when countries around the world have treated this with military efficiency and the severity that’s needed — will result in death.”
“Countries around the world will have the ability to vaccinate against COVID-19 but, in Canada, we will likely face 2,000 deaths per month because we don’t have the same ability,” she said, citing federal public health projections about the number of Canadians that could die each month if the virus continues to spread.
She said the government is perpetuating “mass chaos” and “mass confusion” by failing to release a clear distribution plan only weeks before an expected rollout.
She pointed to comments from Ontario’s health minister, Christine Elliott, who said Thursday she still wasn’t sure just how much her province will receive as part of the government’s coordinated vaccine bulk-buying program.
“I don’t even have words for how concerning this is … the provinces haven’t been brought to the table in a meaningful way. There’s a disconnect,” Rempel Garner said. “At the 11th hour, provincial governments shouldn’t be asking these questions.”
Canada As a Prosperous Economic Nation For Immigration
Canada has long enjoyed popularity as a great tourist destination. Immensely beautiful countryside and a vast array of outdoor activities, has always attracted tourists from different parts of the world. Cities such as Quebec and Montreal rich in tradition and also Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver with exemplary architecture are all worth the journey.
Canada has a large domestic and foreign tourism industry. This second-largest country in the world everything to lure globe trotters, from nature lovers, shopping buffs to adventure seekers. Canada belongs to the world’s leading economic nations. The country is rich in minerals and vegetable resources, has very fertile land for agriculture and forestry along with the immense potential for hydroelectric power have all contributed to its economic growth.
Canada is often referred to as a cultural mosaic, with one-fifth of its population comprising of foreign nationals, which is the highest ever proportion in the last 75 years. For the last decade, the Canadian economy has been growing rapidly by the aid of Immigration, low unemployment and significant trade surpluses with the United States.
Canada is preferred for Immigration all over the world due to its prosperous socio-economic structure, high education standards, lucrative career options and most importantly, not so stringent immigration laws. It is also a popular study destination, with over 1,300,000 international students studying at its various universities and institutes. International students experience a secure, peaceful and multicultural environment in Canada, getting the maximum exposure to work on a global platform.
The immigration policy of Canada can be divided into the temporary entry and Permanent Immigration. Under the Temporary entry, applicants can apply for Tourist Visa, Student Visa and Work permit. Tourist Visa to Canada allows visiting Canada for a period of two to five years. It is of three types, which are Single entry visa, multiple entry visa and transit visas.
Tourist visa to Canada does not entitle the visa holder to work in Canada. Canada Immigration and Citizenship department have developed a very systematic immigration procedure for economic class immigrants like skilled workers and business class immigrants. The Investor Immigration Program seeks experienced businessman to Canada who can support the economic development of the country. The categories under this program are investors, entrepreneurs and self-employed persons.
Many Immigration consulting firms provide useful guidance regarding the entire visa application process by asking the applicant to fill up free online assessment forms. To apply for permanent Immigration, the applicant needs to fill an application form that is reviewed by Canada Immigration authorities, who decide upon the eligibility of the candidate.
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