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Follow Canada’s lead on vaccine rule, Maine businesses tell U.S.

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American travellers can freely cross Canada’s border without having to make sure they’re carrying proof of vaccination — but Canadians entering the United States do not yet have the same experience.

Canada dropped all COVID-19-related travel restrictions — including proof of vaccination — on Oct. 1.

However, an Oct. 4 update published by the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada was a reminder foreign travellers must still be fully vaccinated to fly, ferry or drive into the country.

According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, those without U.S. citizenship crossing a border will still be asked to verbally confirm they are fully vaccinated and may have to provide proof they received a jab approved by the Centers for Disease Control.

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Some businesses near the border in Maine say they are hoping the U.S. government will follow Canada and remove all travel restrictions for those entering the country, particularly from nearby communities in New Brunswick.

Alf Anderson, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, hopes the difference in restrictions won’t stop Canadians from visiting Maine. (Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce)

“It would just be fair, right?” said Alf Anderson, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

“One side treating the other the same way. I think [that] would be terrific.”

When reached for comment, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security directed CBC’s questions about restrictions to the CDC, which did not respond prior to publication.

Any challenges have an impact: business group

As the difference in restrictions has only been in effect for a few days, Anderson said he doesn’t have any evidence yet that it’s making a significant difference.

“But just know that any challenges or hurdles to completing a trip, or booking a visit, have got to have some impact.”

Sue Provencher, manager at C&E Feeds in Calais, Maine, hopes the U.S. will follow Canada’s lead to help border-town businesses. (Alexandre Silberman/CBC)

Sue Provencher, the manager at C&E Feeds in Calais, Maine, said she and other staff had been helping travellers crossing from the U.S. into Canada navigate the ArriveCAN app, which is no longer mandatory for travel.

She said she’s pleased to with Canada’s decision.

“I’m hoping that everything will go away on both sides. And we can return back to normal, because the small border towns depend on each other,” Provencher said.

Small border towns depend on each other.– Sue Provencher

“It makes it much easier for older senior citizens to come back and forth, and come across. Business already started to pick up. And hopefully that will continue.”

She added that businesses near the border may be losing out on business from unvaccinated Canadians.

“There’s a lot of people that didn’t get vaccinated … so I think it would still make a great impact to the economy if they got rid of [the vaccination requirement].”

Despite the differences in regulation, Anderson is optimistic.

“We love Canadian visitors, because there’s such a long history of Canadian travellers coming to spend time in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park … hopefully this won’t present such a challenge that they won’t be able to come visit.”

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Conservatives are ‘fearmongering’ over assault-style gun ban: public safety minister

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OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino accuses the Conservatives of “whipping up fear” that the Liberal government is outlawing ordinary long guns and hunting rifles.

In an interview, Mendicino says the government only wants to reinforce a regulatory ban on assault-style firearms like the AR-15 by enshrining a definition in legislation, and it is prepared to work with MPs to get it right.

He insists the government has no intention whatsoever of going after everyday long guns and hunting rifles, calling the notion “Conservative fearmongering.”

In May 2020, the Liberal government announced a ban through order-in-council on over 1,500 models and variants of what it considers assault-style firearms, such as the AR-15 and the Ruger Mini-14.

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The Liberals recently proposed including an evergreen definition of a prohibited assault-style firearm in gun-control legislation being studied by a House of Commons committee.

The Conservatives claim the government’s amendment amounts to the most significant hunting rifle ban in the history of Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

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Joly seeks reprimand of Russian ambassador as embassy tweets against LGBTQ community

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OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has asked her department to summon Russia’s ambassador over social media postings against LGBTQ people.

In recent days, Russia’s embassy in Ottawa has posted on Twitter and Telegram that the West is imposing on Russia’s family values, and arguing that families can only involve a man, a woman and children.

The embassy has posted images of a crossed-out rainbow flag and Orthodox icons of Adam and Eve.

The tweets came as Russia expanded a ban on exposing children to so-called homosexual propaganda, meaning authorities can now prosecute Russians for doing things they argue might entice adults to be gay or transgender.

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Joly’s office says the posts amount to “hateful propaganda” that must be called out and “an attack on the Canadian values of acceptance and tolerance.”

If Global Affairs Canada follows Joly’s request, it will be the third time the department has summoned ambassador Oleg Stepanov this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

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Work hard and never give up, Michelle O’Bonsawin says during Supreme Court welcome

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OTTAWA — The newest member of the Supreme Court of Canada says her journey has not been an easy one, but it has been meaningful and rewarding.

Members of the legal community and Michelle O’Bonsawin’s fellow judges welcomed her to the bench in a ceremony today.

O’Bonsawin, who replaced the retiring Michael Moldaver on Sept. 1, is a bilingual Franco-Ontarian and an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation.

O’Bonsawin says she is a big believer that if a person has a goal, works hard and never gives up, they can achieve their dreams.

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She adds that while she has made mistakes and fallen down, those missteps have been her teacher.

Richard Wagner, the chief justice of Canada, praises O’Bonsawin’s generosity and volunteer activities, noting she shares his passion for open courts, access to justice and education.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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