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Fearing election outcome, U.S. citizens consider moving to Canada – CBC.ca

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With just hours to go before the United States presidential election, some Americans are thinking seriously about permanently moving to Canada. Especially if the election’s outcome is a second term for President Donald Trump.

Lee Cohen, a Halifax-based immigration lawyer, estimates he’s received a 25 per cent increase in calls from American citizens inquiring about immigration to Canada within the last six months.

“The overarching theme is absolutely Donald Trump, the current election, the generation of fear and divisiveness,” he said.

Cohen received a spike in similar calls 20 years ago after George W. Bush was re-elected for his second term.

A familiar situation

Back then, the calls were mostly people assessing the situation, figuring out the process of immigrating to Canada. But this time, Cohen said the tone is different.

Today is election day in the United States. And the prospect of four more years of Donald Trump has some Americans looking to move to Canada. Reporter Kayla Hounsell introduces us to one woman who says, even if she doesn’t qualify for immigration, she plans to seek asylum. 2:06

“The callers are not speculating. They’re not tire kicking. These are people who want to move to Canada. These are people who want to leave the United States,” he said.

“There’s a genuine fear that the current president is a corrupted criminal.”

Rosette Molnar, a health-care worker in Waterbury, Conn., said she’s frightened at the thought of another four years under Trump.

“It scares me and it honestly makes me want to leave this country. If this is the America that I have to look forward to, I don’t want to be here anymore,” she said.

Molnar, who is Black, said racism in America is more prevalent than ever under the Trump administration because the president seems to “fan the flames” of racism instead of condemning it.

There was a bump in calls from U.S. citizens asking about Canadian immigration in 2000 when George W. Bush ran for re-election against Democratic candidate Al Gore, says Halifax-based immigration lawyer Lee Cohen. (Ed Reinke/The Associated Press)

She said being Black in America is exhausting, especially when she turns on the news to learn about another Black person killed by police.

“I feel like Black people are an endangered species in America. I feel like we’re being hunted,” she said.

Rosette Molnar of Connecticut said she’s ready to pack her bags and leave the country for good if President Trump is re-elected. (CBC)

Molnar said the existence of the electoral college makes the country feel like a “dictatorship,” citing how Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but ultimately lost the election to Trump in 2016.

“If they can make the decision … of who the next president is, then how is this a democracy? How are we free? How do our votes even matter?” she said.

Sights on Nova Scotia

Molnar has her sights set on Cape Breton. But it has nothing to do with the safety and security of the Atlantic bubble.

She came across a website called Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins.

Rob Calabrese, a radio announcer in Cape Breton, created the website four years ago — as a joke — when Trump first ran for president.

Rob Calabrese created a website called Cape Breton if Donald Trump Wins. (Eric Woolliscroft/CBC)

It was a way to put Cape Breton on the map and attract immigrants to a part of Nova Scotia that has long suffered from population decline.

But with another election on the horizon, Calabrese said website traffic has been up in the past few months.

“It’s mostly the descent of civility and the erosion of community — I’m paraphrasing a lot of different emails — but it’s mostly a sense of they don’t feel they’re headed in a good direction,” he said.

Seeking political asylum

Molnar has done her research to find out whether she qualifies for immigration. Unfortunately, she doesn’t.

Her only option is to get herself to the border — a six-hour drive from her home in Connecticut — and try to claim political asylum.

“I literally will cry at the border and beg at the border and hope that they would understand what’s going on here and why the urgency is so real to me,” she said.

“And why I can’t possibly live another four years under these conditions.”

Cohen, who has been an immigration lawyer for more than 35 years, said it’s a “long shot” that an American citizen would qualify for refugee status in Canada.

Lee Cohen, a Halifax-based immigration lawyer, says a future where Americans can claim political asylum in Canada is not out of the realm of possibility. (Eric Woolliscroft/CBC)

He said there are some unique scenarios where it might be possible, especially for Black and Indigenous Americans who have a “justifiable, subjective fear” of continuing to live in the U.S.

“If Trump gets re-elected, and if the things people fear become real, Americans claiming political asylum in Canada, as astonishing an idea as that is, becomes a more realistic scenario,” he said.

Cohen said there’s a sense that regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s election, the damage has been done and it will take years to walk it back.

Molnar agrees. She’ll likely stay in the U.S. if Joe Biden is elected president, and hopes things will slowly return to the way they used to be.

“But if things continue, then I’ll still be considering leaving no matter who the president is,” she said.

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Canada As a Prosperous Economic Nation For Immigration

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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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As Crime Rises in Toronto, Criminal Lawyers Ensure the Accused Get a Fair Trial

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violent crime

Over the past two years, Toronto has soon a noteworthy uptick in the incidence of violent crime. While much of this has been the result of turf wars between mafia and other criminal organizations, it has also involved more random, unpredictable attacks that have claimed the lives of a tragic number of young Torontonians.

As is to be expected whenever there is a rise in violent crime, the police are aggressively working to prosecute suspects and renew public confidence. Unfortunately, this zeal to tamp down the problem of gun violence can sometimes cause innocent people to get caught up in police investigations — and as a 2018 Ontario Human Rights Commission report found, the system problem of racial profiling in the Toronto Police Service means that these innocent people are far more likely to be Black.

Criminal Law and the Presumption of Innocence

The vast majority of Torontonians want to live in a safe, peaceful city where violent crime is as rare as it is shocking. But if real progress is to be made toward identifying and addressing the rise in gun and knife violence, it cannot come at the expense of the civil rights of Torontonians.

The presumption of innocence is a bedrock principle of our legal system, and all people accused of violent crimes, no matter the evidence, must be given a chance to defend themselves and clear their names in court.

This cannot happen without criminal lawyers, who ensure that anyone accused of a violent crime will have access to the kind of expert legal advice that is the precondition of a fair trial.

 

What to Do if You’ve Been Charged with a Violent Crime

If you have been charged with a violent crime, it can be hard to know how to respond. Unlike in other countries, the police are under no legal obligation to inform you of your rights, so it is essential that you understand what you are owed:

  • The Right to Silence: If the police have taken you into custody and charged you with a criminal offense, you are not under any obligation to provide them with information. The police are not judges, and they cannot compel testimony from you. What they can do is take what you’ve said to build a case against you, so it is always better to say nothing until you’ve spoken with a lawyer.
  • The Right to Counsel: Ontario law guarantees you the right to legal counsel and representation. Talking to a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto as soon as you’ve been charged will help you understand how best to proceed. They will also be able to advise you about whether to make a statement to the police.

Violent crimes are some of the most serious offenses in Canadian law, and those convicted often face harsh penalties. But this is also why the bar for conviction is high: in order to send a person to prison for years or decades, it is essential that their guilt be established beyond reasonable doubt.

As violent crime rates remain high despite the COVID-19 lockdowns, it is more essential than ever that Ontarian’s faith in their justice system be maintained. But the only way to do this is by ensuring that all people are treated equally under the law, and that those accused of a serious crime are given the resources necessary to defend themselves.

 

 

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Demand spikes for COVID-19 treatment that's saving lives but is in limited supply in Canada – CBC.ca

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Tony Passarelli was used to having a bit of breathing trouble.

The 52-year-old’s asthma often flares up in the spring, but this past March, something felt different. He started wheezing, and several rounds of antibiotics didn’t solve whatever was ailing him.

Later that month, his wife of more than 25 years, Linda, fell ill as well. Then she tested positive for the virus behind COVID-19. While she isolated in a room at the couple’s Bolton, Ont., home, Tony took a turn for the worse, and his wheezing became a cough that just wouldn’t quit. 

He headed to the nearest emergency department — Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville — on March 29.

“They just said I had pneumonia,” Tony said, “and that they were going to keep me.”

That’s the last thing he remembers.

What happened next, according to the soft-spoken father of three, was a weeks-long ordeal with COVID-19.

After passing out in the hospital, he wound up intubated in an intensive care unit, was transferred to Etobicoke General Hospital in Toronto, suffered round after round of fevers and infections, then became so ill that doctors thought there was nothing more they could do to keep him alive.

“There’s nothing else left,” Linda recalled being told by one of the ICU physicians in early April.

Then came a sliver of hope.

Tony qualified for an ECMO treatment — or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — which could be his last chance at survival.

‘High level’ of demand

Roughly 40 Canadian hospitals have access to at least one ECMO machine, representing just three per cent of all hospital sites across Canada — though it’s unclear how many machines in total the country has access to.

Offered at only a handful of Ontario hospital sites, with the bulk of the machines at Toronto General Hospital, it’s a form of life support that uses a pump to circulate blood through a machine that replaces the work of someone’s lungs and, in some cases, their heart.

The machine removes carbon dioxide, then sends oxygen-filled blood back into the bloodstream, giving damaged lungs a chance to rest and recover.

Passarelli relaxes at home after he spent time in three separate Ontario hospitals while battling COVID-19. In the pandemic’s first wave in Ontario, 34 COVID-19 patients were given ECMO treatment, and more than half survived. (Submitted by Linda Passarelli)

Patients who qualify for the treatment are usually under 65 and have few pre-existing health conditions, ensuring they have the best shot at surviving.

Linda credits the device with saving her husband’s life, and she’s not alone. In the pandemic’s first wave in Ontario, 34 COVID-19 patients were given this potentially life-saving treatment, and more than half survived.

Now, as coronavirus infections are surging to record-breaking levels, there’s concern that demand is quickly rising again for ECMO — this time as Toronto General juggles both COVID-19 cases and other patients requiring the last-resort approach that’s in limited supply, including those hospitalized for lung transplants.

“It’s a pretty high level,” said Dr. Marcelo Cypel, surgical director for the University Health Network’s extracorporeal life support program, which includes the ECMO treatment at the network’s Toronto General site.

Dr. Marcelo Cypel is the surgical director for the University Health Network’s extracorporeal life support program in Toronto, which handles ECMO treatments. (Submitted by University Health Network)

In just the last two weeks, Cypel said, at least a dozen COVID-19 patients have been hooked up to ECMO machines. 

At the time of his interview with CBC News on Tuesday, nine of the hospital’s 11 intensive care admissions were being given the treatment, using nearly a third of the hospital’s 30 ECMO machines — a supply that was increased this year to brace for the earlier influx of COVID-19 patients.

“We are working at our full ICU capacity right now already,” Cypel said. “And that’s a concern, because we continue to receive referrals every day.”

ECMO team ‘may have to slow down’

While the first coronavirus wave saw the cancellation of thousands of elective surgeries and other procedures to make room for COVID-19 patients, Cypel said in the second wave, his team is handling another influx of the sickest of those patients, as well as anyone needing ECMO for other reasons.

But he worries that may not be sustainable much longer.

If recent provincial lockdowns for Toronto and Peel Region don’t put a dent in case growth and ICU admissions, Cypel said, the ECMO team “may have to slow down,” which could affect patients waiting for other crucial hospital services such as transplants.

That’s a situation Renee Alkass finds alarming, since she once had the treatment herself for a non-COVID medical issue.

In 2017, long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Guelph student developed an ear infection that spiralled into acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). After struggling to breathe, Alkass was hospitalized, and doctors discovered that both of her lungs were filled with fluid.

After suffering from fluid in her lungs during a strange infection in 2017, Renee Alkass was sent to Toronto General Hospital, where she spent 18 days on an ECMO machine. (Submitted by Renee Alkass)

She wound up being sent to Toronto General and was on ECMO for 18 days during her stay.

“I can’t even fathom to understand what everyone must be feeling,” said the 21-year-old, who has since recovered from ARDS and was eventually diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder.

“And I do hope that there’s a light at the end of all this and things start looking up from here, and there isn’t such a stretch or this need.”

When asked if the province has any plans to address the recent demand for ECMO at Toronto General, provincial officials didn’t outline any.

Instead, a spokesperson told CBC News the decision to use it is a clinical one, with the Ministry of Health providing dedicated funding to the hospital for patients who require the treatment.

“The hospital can expense the ministry for costs related to treating patients with COVID-19 … if it is above and beyond their funding allocation,” the ministry said in a statement.

“So, it’s not expected that the needs of patients with COVID-19 will impact the use of the therapy for other patients.”

1 in 10 ICU beds have COVID-19 patients

But Anthony Dale, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, said the pressure on the ECMO program is just one example of the impact from rising numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Roughly one in every 10 intensive care beds in Ontario is now occupied by someone infected with the virus, he recently noted.

“What people simply have to appreciate is that critical care is the most complex care that you can access in an Ontario hospital, and it’s located in only certain hospitals,” Dale said. “And it’s totally dependent on having access to the right kinds of health professionals with the right kind of technology.”

Both Dale and Cypel say the key to lowering demand for limited treatments like ECMO is simply reducing the amount of community spread of COVID-19.

“I don’t want people to only see how serious this is when the province’s hospitals are facing an even more destabilizing crisis,” Dale said.

“Right now I know it’s hidden from you. But I assure you that right now hospitals, especially in major urban centres, are bracing for serious impact over the next two to four weeks.”

The Passarellis, with their three children and Tony’s mother, at home in Bolton, Ont., north of Toronto, after he returned home in May. Tony now uses an oxygen machine to help him breathe (Submitted by Linda Passarelli)

‘We’re so blessed that he was picked’

When Tony Passarelli finally woke up at Toronto General, months before the second surge of COVID-19 cases, he had no idea a machine had helped him get to that point.

“I just remember one of the nurses there saying, ‘Do you know where you are? Do you know what day it is?’ Groggily I said, ‘I’m in the hospital, but day-wise, no,'” he recalled. “She said the date — which I don’t remember — and she says, ‘You’ve been here three weeks.'”

Tony soon learned more alarming details: His entire family in Bolton, northwest of Toronto, including his three children and mother, all wound up having confirmed or likely infections of the virus.

And he found out there was a long recovery ahead. Tony’s motor skills weren’t working, and he couldn’t eat or drink on his own. He was transferred back to Etobicoke General and discharged in early May, and he now uses an oxygen machine to help him breathe.

But he’s alive, Linda said, and that’s enough.

“Our family’s a family right now because of the ECMO,” she added.

What scares the couple now? The realization that there’s high demand for only a limited number of machines across the entire province.

“The fact that there are so few, and there’s such a demand … that is incredibly scary,” Linda said.

“We’re regular people; we’re so blessed that he was picked and he’s here today.”

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