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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Freeland hints at potential hotel quarantines for returning travellers – CTV News
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the federal government is “looking seriously” at tougher travel measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including mandatory hotel quarantines for air travellers returning from non-essential trips abroad.
Freeland’s remarks build on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leaving the door open earlier this month to tighter restrictions, sparking questions about how a stricter isolation regime would roll out relative to other countries.
Successful pandemic repellers from South Korea to Australia and New Zealand require 14-day hotel quarantines for passengers arriving from abroad.
Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease physician at St. Joseph’s hospital in Hamilton, says the move would deter leisure travel, and could include scheduled testing that allows guests who come up negative to go home earlier.
Federal data suggests only a small fraction of COVID-19 cases are linked to travel, but there is still virtually no testing at the border and many recent cases do not have an identified source.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the government should consider mandatory hotel quarantines as well as outright bans on non-essential international travel, which Quebec Premier Francois Legault has also called for.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 – News 1130
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern):
There are 1,958 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Ontario today and 43 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says 727 of the new cases are in Toronto, 365 in Peel Region, and 157 in York Region.
She says nearly 36,000 tests were completed since Sunday’s report.
Ontario also reports that 2,448 more cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.
The Canadian Press
Commons returns with opposition leaders slamming COVID-19 vaccine program – CBC.ca
Canada’s opposition leaders attacked the federal Liberal government’s COVID-19 vaccination program today in their first encounter in the House of Commons following the winter break.
Vaccine deliveries will grind to a halt this week as a shutdown at Pfizer’s plant in Belgium disrupts shipments from that company.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said that while the prime minister promised a steady supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots in the first three months of 2021, the country’s inoculation efforts are now “in jeopardy” and provinces are scrambling to meet vaccination targets.
The delivery delay is already prompting some provinces — notably Alberta and Ontario — to warn that they will have to curtail vaccination appointments in the weeks ahead as they direct the existing supplies of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine to patients who need their second shots.
“We want to see our government succeed but this prime minister has abandoned us. The Liberal plan for vaccines must be reviewed by all of Parliament. We must work together to improve the Liberal vaccine plan and get Canadians back to work,” O’Toole said.
“We wish we could trust the prime minister but this situation demands Parliament’s urgent attention.”
Canada will receive no doses of the Pfizer product this week, and a dramatically reduced shipment next week, as the company retools its plant to pump out many more shots this year than planned.
O’Toole said the Liberal government should have prepared for delivery disruptions like this one with a contingency plan to prevent the provinces from running dry.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada, has said Pfizer deliveries will be reduced by roughly 50 per cent over a four-week period — and Canada doesn’t know for certain how many doses will arrive over that time period.
The Health Canada website that tracks vaccines has been scrubbed of all Pfizer delivery forecasts, citing “changes to manufacturing timelines.”
“Unknown means there is no real plan,” O’Toole said. “Canadians are worried. We’re in the second wave of the pandemic, there’s U.K. strains and this week we’re receiving zero Pfizer vaccines.”
Moderna, which delivers shots to Canada every three weeks, is expected to deliver roughly 230,000 doses over the first week of February.
Later in question period, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the “ongoing challenges” with the global supply vaccine chain but said Canada is expecting “hundreds of thousands” of Pfizer doses, some in February. He said Canada expects to have enough doses on hand this year to vaccinate every Canadian who wants a shot by the end of September.
Michelle Rempel Garner, the Conservative health critic, questioned that promise, saying that Canada needs to start getting through tens of thousands of vaccinations each day to reach that target.
With only 100,000 people fully vaccinated so far, Canada would have to administer well over 200,000 shots a day for the next 248 days to fully vaccinate Canadians with the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna products.
O’Toole said the Liberal government never should have partnered with the Chinese firm CanSino Biologics to develop a vaccine — a collaboration that was derailed last summer when China refused to ship vaccine samples to Canada for clinical trial testing.
After that partnership was shelved, O’Toole said, Canada then turned to procuring promising vaccine candidates from U.S. firms like Pfizer and Moderna.
Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand has disputed this version of events. Speaking to reporters in December, Anand said the CanSino deal fell within former industry minister Navdeep Bains’ portfolio, not her own, and nothing about the project prevented her from negotiating with other companies.
Anand has said she started talks with the companies behind promising vaccine candidates in July — companies that were recommended by the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force — before Canada walked away from the ill-fated CanSino partnership in late August. Canada was among the first countries in the world to sign deals with Pfizer and Moderna.
“Engagement and negotiations with COVID-19 vaccine suppliers began in early July 2020, following the receipt of recommendations from the vaccine task force in June,” a spokesperson for the minister told CBC News.
O’Toole said Canada should have sought domestic manufacturing of vaccine candidates to avoid having to depend on other countries for supply. The government did not pursue domestic manufacturing rights for the AstraZeneca product.
Asked what he’d do to jump-start the stalled vaccination campaign, O’Toole said he would encourage Trudeau to obtain doses from the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Mich., which is not experiencing the same disruptions as the Belgian facility and is only 220 kilometres away from the Detroit-Windsor border crossing.
“There are vaccines being made not far from us, in Kalamazoo. Did the prime minister ask for the ability to have that plant used, not just rely on the retooled plant in Belgium?” O’Toole said. “There are a lot of options here, but there’s never any leadership from Mr. Trudeau.”
Anand has said the Michigan facility’s product is earmarked for the American market in the first quarter of this year.
While there will be significant delivery disruptions over the next month, Anand has said that Canada still expects to receive 4 million doses of the Pfizer product and 2 million Moderna shots in the first three months of this year. That would be enough to vaccinate 3 million people by the end of March.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh pointed out that the prime minister and his office are mired in a scandal of their own making over the abrupt resignation of former governor general Julie Payette amid reports of workplace harassment.
“The focus should be on the pandemic and the struggles that we’re going through. This has become a distraction,” Singh said of the Payette affair. “The focus … should be entirely on making sure people are vaccinated.”
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