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Feds mum on who will pay for Sussexes' security in Canada – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
The federal government is not saying whether or not it will be covering the costs of security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during their time spent in Canada.

On Monday the Queen issued a statement confirming that Prince Harry and Meghan will spend time in both Canada and the U.K. during a “period of transition” towards them taking a step back from the Royal Family.

This raises the question of who will pick up the tab for keeping the couple safe. Currently, the security costs for the Royal Family are covered by British taxpayers. The RCMP has in the past provided security for royal tours through Canada.

When asked on Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office told CTV News that it “has no comment on this.” During a press conference on another matter, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that the government hasn’t spent “any time thinking about this issue.”

“We obviously are always looking to make sure that as a member of the Commonwealth, that we play a role. We have not had any discussions on that subject at this time,” Morneau said.

In an interview on CTV Power Play, former Conservative heritage minister James Moore said that the security for these royal visits can cost millions of dollars, depending on the nature of the agenda, protocols, and security required.

He said in his experience the negotiations around security happen mainly between the RCMP and Buckingham Palace, but the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Governor General’s office are also in the loop on certain aspects.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions here, and I think for the Government of Canada, the representatives of taxpayers, I think the default instinct for most people right now would be if you’re stepping away from your royal duties, then we’re stepping away from our obligations of taxpayers to subsidize the Royal Family,” Moore said.

“So while it would be nice to have this couple here in Canada, and we want to maintain of course our ties to the Palace… I think we need to have a clear understanding of where they’re actually going to be, what the security nature would look like, and what the threats look like,” he said, noting that different parts of the country would have different requirements and local police capabilities depending on where the Sussexes settle down.

Moore said that there are a lot of factors that could change the cost and scope of security needed, and who would be responsible for picking up the tab, but if Canadians are being asked to foot a sizeable bill, it should be discussed publicly.

The Sussexes spent their Christmas holiday in Canada before breaking the news that they wanted to become financially independent and divide their time between Britain and North America.

At the time Trudeau wished the family a “quiet and blessed stay in Canada,” and said they were “always welcome here.”

The royal couple’s decision to call Canada home in part, will likely have consequences beyond security for the federal government, as CTV’s royal commentator Richard Berthelsen has noted.

“What their role would be here in this country, how they would interact with the Queen’s representatives, whether they would take engagements here… There’s all sorts of issues like this on the line,” he said in an interview on CTV News Channel on Monday.

CTV News has reached out to the RCMP for comment.

With files from CTV News’ Jonathan Forani

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Canada not ready for second wave of COVID-19, Senate committee says – CBC.ca

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Canada is ill-prepared for a second wave of COVID-19, says a Senate committee, calling on the federal Liberals to deliver a plan by Labour Day to help people and communities hit hardest by the pandemic. 

Seniors, in particular, are a focus of the report from the Senate’s social affairs committee, from those in long-term care homes to those with low incomes. 

Just this week, the Liberals rolled out one-time special payments of $300 to the more than six million people who receive old-age security, and $200 more for the 2.2 million who also receive the guaranteed income supplement. 

The income supports are meant to help seniors facing increased costs as a result of the pandemic, such as more frequent prescription fees and delivery charges for groceries.  Senators on the committee wrote of evidence of “financial insecurity and increased vulnerability” for low-income seniors as a result of the first wave of the novel coronavirus. 

A potential second wave, which could coincide with the annual flu season that starts in the fall, would make the situation even worse for these seniors “without concrete and timely government action,” the report says. 

Senators say the Liberals should deliver a plan to help low-income seniors, among other populations vulnerable to economic shocks like new immigrants, no later than the end of August, and contain short- and long-term options. 

The report also says the federal government needs to pay urgent attention to seniors in long-term care homes where outbreaks and deaths in the pandemic have been concentrated. 

The document made public Thursday morning is the committee’s first set of observations on the government’s response to the pandemic, with a final report expected later this year. 

Before then, the Liberals are planning to provide another economic update like the one delivered Wednesday, or possibly a full budget. 

Healthcare and pharmacare

The government shelved plans to deliver one at the end of March when the House of Commons went on extended hiatus due to the pandemic. 

The long-awaited economic “snapshot,” as the Liberals styled it, said federal spending is closing in on $600 billion this fiscal year. That means a deficit of $343 billion, fuelled by emergency pandemic aid that the government budgets at over $230 billion. 

The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada said the spending figures demand a “full and transparent assessment” to see what worked, what didn’t and what needs to change for an economic recovery. 

Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said the Liberals should take back up their promise to create a national pharmacare system as the government considers its next steps. 

A federal advisory council last year calculated the cost of a program at over $15 billion annually, depending on its design. 

“The last thing we want to have is Canadians in frail health as we’re dealing with this pandemic and I think the government really needs to think of that,” Yussuff said in an interview Wednesday. 

“Had it not been for the health care system we have right now,” he added later, “think of how this country would have fared in this pandemic.” 

The Senate committee’s report also notes the national emergency stockpile of personal protective gear like masks, gowns and gloves wasn’t managed well over the years, nor sufficiently stocked when the pandemic struck. 

Committee members added concerns that military members could be deployed without sufficient personal protective equipment because of “inconsistencies from international procurement.”

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Coronavirus: Canada adds 370 new cases, 12 deaths Thursday – Global News

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Canada’s total coronavirus case count went up by 370 Thursday and its deaths by 12.

The country now has 106,783 cases total with 27,460 of them active, and 8,749 deaths total.

Quebec, the hardest-hit province in Canada, reported 137 new COVID-19 cases, bringing its total to 56,216.

Read more:
Quebec bans bars from selling alcohol after midnight to limit coronavirus outbreaks

Six new deaths were also reported, though four of them occurred before July 1. There have now been 5,609 deaths due to the virus in the province.

There are currently 308 people hospitalized in the province, down 23 from Wednesday, and 27 are in intensive care.

Ontario reported 170 new cases on Thursday, with 86 of them originating in the Windsor-Essex region as the province targets temporary farmworkers for testing.

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Coronavirus: Federal health officials say ‘limit or no transmission’ of COVID-19 in most parts of Canada


Coronavirus: Federal health officials say ‘limit or no transmission’ of COVID-19 in most parts of Canada

The province now has 36,348 cases total with 31,977 of them recovered, or 88 per cent. Overall, the new daily infection numbers have been on the decline over the past several weeks.

There are currently 123 patients hospitalized, with 31 of them in intensive care (down by four the previous day) and 23 patients on a ventilator (down by three).

Ontario has seen 2,703 deaths after three more were reported Thursday.

Read more:
Ontario reports 170 new coronavirus cases, 86 from Windsor-Essex; total cases at 36,348

In Alberta, meanwhile, three new deaths were announced Thursday, all linked to a coronavirus outbreak at Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital.

The deaths bring the total number of COVID-19 fatalities in the province to 161, while 37 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the province over the past 24 hours. Currently, there are 584 active cases in Alberta.

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Of the total 8,519 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 7,774 have recovered.






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Canada’s greatest coronavirus threat comes from U.S.


Canada’s greatest coronavirus threat comes from U.S.

British Columbia reported 20 new cases Thursday, bringing its total to 3,028, nine of which were not tested but are considered epidemiologically-linked.

More than 88 per cent of those patients have fully recovered, while 175 cases remain active.

Seventeen of those cases are in hospital, four of them in critical care.

Read more:
20 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., no new deaths

In Saskatchewan, five new cases were added to bring its total to 813, while 750 of them have recovered, up by four from yesterday.

There have been 15 COVID-19-related deaths in the province.

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There are currently 48 active cases in the province, health officials said. Active cases are total cases less recoveries and deaths.

For the ninth straight day, no new COVID-19 cases were reported in Manitoba, keeping its total cases to 325 — 11 of which are presumptive cases — with four active cases. Seven Manitobans have died.

Read more:
Manitoba sees 9 straight days with no new coronavirus cases reported

New Brunswick reported one new case of the coronavirus on Thursday in the Fredericton region, and said it was a travel-related case and the individual is self-isolating.

The province said the number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 166 and 163 people have recovered. There have been two deaths, and there is one active case.

No new cases or deaths were announced in the rest of the Atlantic or Canada’s territories.

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— With files from Gabby Rodrigues, Phil Heidenreich, Thomas Piller, Shane Gibson, Kalina Laframboise, Aya Al-Hakim and Simon Little

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada pushes back on U.S. Congress members’ call to reopen border amid coronavirus – Global News

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The federal government is softly pushing back against an effort from U.S. Congress members to reopen the border with Canada amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, saying any decision will be made “by Canadians, for Canadians.”

A bipartisan group of 29 federal lawmakers led by New York representatives Blaine Higgins and Elise Stefanik sent a letter to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf late last week, urging both countries to “immediately craft a comprehensive framework for phased reopening of the border.”

Read more:
Coronavirus: U.S. sets single-day record with 60,000 new cases of COVID-19

The group also calls for interim measures to ease restrictions on family members and property owners, particularly those with property only accessible through cross-border travel, and “restore the social bond that unites our two nations.”

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“We hope that our legacy of binational cooperation would lend to the development of a thorough plan to protect the health of our shared communities and reinvigorate them in this time of recovery,” the letter reads.

The Canada-U.S. border was shut down to all but essential travel, including transportation of goods and work-related travel, on March 21. The closure has been extended by 30-day periods after assessments of the COVID-19 pandemic in both countries, pushing the deadline most recently to July 21.






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‘We’re very concerned’: Dr. Bonnie Henry on COVID-19 transmission coming from U.S.


‘We’re very concerned’: Dr. Bonnie Henry on COVID-19 transmission coming from U.S.

The Congress members argue those regular extensions have created “unnecessary tension” and uncertainty for individuals and the shared economy,

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“Continuing to extend border restrictions at 30-day intervals is untenable for the communities that have been separated from family and unable to tend to their property for over three months,” the group argues.

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Read more:
As travel increases, Canada boosting presence of health officials at airports, U.S. border

Higgins, a Democrat, and Republican member Stefanik are co-chairs of the Northern Border Caucus, which focuses on cross-border commerce and investment as well as border infrastructure.

In response to the letter, a spokesperson for the office of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said while conversations between Canada and the U.S. about the border are ongoing, “both sides agree that the current measures in place” have “worked well.”

“Our absolute priority is the health and safety of Canadians,” Katherine Cuplinskas said in an email. “That is why we want to be clear that decisions about Canada’s border are made by Canadians, for Canadians.”






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Coronavirus: Why reopening the Canada-US border too soon could mean a ‘second wave’


Coronavirus: Why reopening the Canada-US border too soon could mean a ‘second wave’

Cuplinskas did not give any suggestion either way as to whether the July 21 deadline will be extended yet again.

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Public polling has suggested Canadians are mostly supportive of the decision to keep the U.S. border closed to limit the spread of COVID-19, and has remained steadfast as cases have surged south of the border at an alarming rate.

Read more:
Canadians living in U.S. hunker down as coronavirus cases surge

The U.S. topped three million infections Wednesday, just 28 days after crossing the two-million mark — cutting by nearly half the time it took to grow from a million to two million cases.

Spikes in several states have lead to continuous record-breaking daily case counts, which have been blamed in part on aggressive moves to reopen local economies.

A Globe and Mail/Nanos poll released Monday, three days after Higgins’ and Stefaniuk’s letter was sent to Blair and Wolf, found 81 per cent of those surveyed want the border to remain closed “for the foreseeable future.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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