VICTORIA — British Columbia Premier John Horgan says he apologizes for “intemperate comments” he made during a heated question period in the legislature.
During a debate Monday with Opposition Liberals in the legislature over the province’s shortage of family doctors, the premier used the F-word.
The question period ended shortly afterwards with Speaker Raj Chouhan calling for the members to refrain from making debates personal and saying, “Let’s behave like adults, please.”
Liberal House Leader Todd Stone rose in the legislature shortly afterwards requesting a point of privilege to discuss the matter further at another time.
Horgan initially posted a statement on his Twitter account saying “If my mom was still around, she’d be on her way to the legislature with a bar of Irish Spring.”
But the premier returned later to the legislature to make a full apology.
“Earlier today at the end of question period, my passion for health care got the better of me and I made some intemperate comments that may well have offended members of this house or others,” Horgan said. “I apologize for that and withdraw those remarks unreservedly.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2022
The Canadian Press
Freeland defends Bank of Canada amid opposition attacks – Global News
Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Friday defended the central bank as inflation spikes to a three-decade high and the frontrunner to take over the opposition Conservative Party pledges to fire the Bank of Canada governor if elected.
“It is clear to us all that we are living through a period of global volatility. We have COVID. We have the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We have China’s zero-COVID policy,” Freeland told reporters by teleconference from Munich, Germany after a G7 meeting.
“In this environment, responsible political leadership means reinforcing for Canadians, and for the world, our government’s very clear commitment to the independence of the Bank of Canada and our confidence in the Bank of Canada.”
Pierre Poilievre, who leads in all polls ahead of a September vote to elect a new Conservative leader, has said he would turf Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem “to get inflation under control” if he becomes prime minister.
Inflation inched up to 6.8% in April, with food price growth hitting a four decade high, upping the pressure on the central bank to hike interest rates quickly to avoid an inflationary spiral.
Separately, Canada said on Friday it was imposing additional sanctions on Russian oligarchs and banning trade in certain luxury goods with Russia in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
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Freeland also told reporters the G7 had broadly discussed “further strengthening” sanctions against Russia, including the question of an oil and gas embargo.
“We absolutely recognize that the economic challenge of an oil and gas embargo is much greater for our European partners,” she said, adding the group had discussed ways Canada could support Europe on energy security.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
© 2022 Reuters
Trudeau says Huawei, ZTE 5G ban took longer because government wanted to get it right – CBC News
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada took longer that its allies did to ban Chinese firms Huawei Technologies and ZTE from Canada’s 5G networks because the government wanted to make sure it was making the right move.
Speaking in Sept-Îles Que. on Friday, Trudeau said the decision will serve to “ensure the safety of Canadians” online.
“We took the time to carefully analyze the situation, look at all sorts of factors, to look very closely at what our allies and partners were doing around the world in regards to telecommunications safety,” he said.
The ban puts Canada in line with key intelligence allies like the United States, which have expressed concerns about the national security implications of giving the Chinese tech giant access to key infrastructure.
Canada is the last member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance — which includes the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand — to impose the ban.
Critics warned that Huawei’s participation in Canada’s 5G networks could give the company an inside look at how, when and where Canadians use internet-connected devices — and that the Chinese government could force the company to hand over that personal information.
The government is also banning ZTE, another Chinese state-backed telecommunications firm. Companies will have until June 28, 2024 to remove or terminate 5G equipment from Huawei and ZTE.
They’ll also have to remove or terminate any existing 4G equipment provided by the companies by Dec. 31, 2027. A government policy statement says Ottawa expects companies to stop purchasing new 4G or 5G equipment from the companies by September of this year.
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Trudeau said that to ensure Canada’s economy and telecommunications networks are safe, his government is working with financial institutions and companies across the country to boost cybersecurity.
“We’ve continued to invest more and more in cyber defence, in cyber capabilities and we will do more, whether it’s legislation or further investments or better and stronger partnerships,” he said.
The U.S. State Department said Friday it welcomes Canada’s decision to ban Huawei Technologies and ZTE from its next-generation mobile networks.
In a statement, the State Department said it supports efforts around the world to ensure consumers and customers can trust their wireless networks and providers. It said it will continue to collaborate with Canada and other allies to ensure shared security in the 5G era.
The U.S. first began restricting domestic firms from doing business with Huawei back in 2019 and has been waiting for Canada to follow suit ever since.
During his confirmation hearing in September, U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Cohen suggested Washington was growing impatient with the delay.
“We are all waiting for Canada to release its framework for its overall China policy,” Cohen said last year before he was confirmed.
As COVID-19 begins to diminish, more Canadians are getting sick with the flu – Global News
“We’re seeing influenza activity increasing up to the seasonal threshold despite the opposite trends being expected this time of year,” Dr. Theresa Tam, the nation’s chief public health officer, told reporters during a federal COVID-19 update.
Without many COVID-19 health mandates like masking in effect in most places across the country, cases of the flu have increased, according to Tam.
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“One of the things we’ve learned about the use of public health measures for COVID-19 in the past two years is that they were also effective in reducing the prevalence of other infectious diseases. Our reduced contact rates may have interrupted transmission of other diseases such as influenza,” said Tam.
“Personal protective habits help reduce the spread of COVID-19 as well as other risky transactions during diseases,” she added. “This is a reminder that our efforts are still needed.”
According to a report from the federal government, cases of the flu have sharply increased since the beginning of April.
From May 8 to May 14, 2,121 laboratory detections of the flu were reported. The percentage of visits for influenza-like illness was 1.8 per cent during this time period, exceeding pre-pandemic levels typical of this time of year.
“Now because we don’t have masks, you see this huge increase of flu in the population,” Horacio Bach, clinical assistant professor affiliated with the division of infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine, told Global News.
Bach still recommends the use of masks and continues to double mask when in public.
As of May 20, the seven-day average of daily lab-confirmed cases sits just above 3,564, down more than 60 per cent from the rate seen a month ago.
The number of Canadians seeking treatment in hospital for COVID-19 sits at 4,880 patients, down more than 20 per cent from two weeks ago.
That includes 349 people being treated in intensive care units, a number that has now stabilized after falling through the first half of April.
The country is currently seeing an average of 63 deaths per day. The rate has stayed steady throughout early May after steadily rising over the course of April.
However, newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases have brought the national total to over 3.84 million cases and more than 40,600 deaths. More than 4,800 patients are currently in the hospital with COVID-19 including more than 340 people in intensive care.
As of May 19, more than 84,952,660 doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across Canada.
So far, more than 34,986,036 Canadians have received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, while 31,356,155 Canadians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with two doses.
Since they were authorized in September 2021, 18,610,469 third “booster” doses have been administered, according to available provincial and territorial data — meaning 48.7 per cent of the Canadian population has received three doses.
As of May 19, 90.4 per cent of eligible Canadians aged five and up have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 86.2 per cent are fully vaccinated with two shots. Vaccinations for children aged five to 11 were approved by Health Canada last November.
In Ontario, 1,412 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 new deaths were reported in the latest update on May 20.
In Quebec, there have been 612 reported new cases of COVID-19 in its latest update on May 20, with 12 new virus-related deaths.
The province has seen 15,312 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Saskatchewan announced 465 new infections and 22 new deaths over seven days in the latest update on May 19 and Alberta reported 3,614 new COVID-19 cases and 61 new deaths over seven days in the latest update on May 18.
In Nova Scotia’s latest update, 2,513 new COVID-19 cases and 24 new deaths were reported over seven days.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported 264 new COVID-19 cases and one new death over five days in the latest update on May 18.
There are currently 14 patients in hospital with COVID-19, up from the last update, with two people in intensive care.
Adapting to inflation in a post-COVID world
The Northwest Territories reported 31 new COVID-19 cases over seven days in the latest update on May 16 and Prince Edward Island reported 792 new COVID-19 cases and one new death over seven days in the latest update on May 17.
Although Manitoba has seen a decline in the number of daily cases, it has seen an increase in the number of hospitalizations and ICU admittances over the past week. The same is true for British Columbia.
“This is a reminder that our efforts are still needed,” Tam said on Friday, speaking about elevated hospitalization levels.
As of May 18, Yukon reported four new cases of COVID-19. There have been 4,339 cases to date, 4,290 of whom have recovered. The territory has seen 25 deaths from COVID-19.
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Tam remains “cautiously optimistic” that COVID will continue to reprieve slightly in Canada over the next few months.
“But, anything can happen and we just need to remain vigilant,” she said.
— with files from Sean Boynton
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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