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Majority of Canadians want to ditch the British monarchy. How feasible is it? – Globalnews.ca

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Canada’s ties with the British monarchy are under scrutiny once again after Barbados officially removed Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and became a republic this week.

For Barbados, the transition on Tuesday marked an end to its last remaining colonial bonds nearly 400 years after the first English ships arrived at the Caribbean island.

Read more:

Barbados celebrates as it officially becomes a republic, cuts ties with British monarchy

There is now renewed debate in Canada over whether to follow Barbados’ lead, with a majority of Canadians saying the monarchy is becoming less relevant or is no longer relevant at all, new polling shows.

According to an Angus Reid survey published Tuesday, more than 50 per cent say Canada should not remain a constitutional monarchy indefinitely, while one-quarter say it should.

The same poll also suggests that as long as Queen Elizabeth II continues to reign, 55 per cent of Canadians support continuing to recognize her as the official head of state.


Click to play video: 'Rising number of Canadians support dropping monarchy: poll'



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Rising number of Canadians support dropping monarchy: poll


Rising number of Canadians support dropping monarchy: poll – Mar 1, 2021

However, that support has declined over the years, polling shows.

In an Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News in March 2021, two in three Canadians, or 66 per cent of respondents, said the Queen and the Royal Family should not have any formal role in Canadian society, as they are “simply celebrities and nothing more.”

That was up two per cent over last year and six per cent since 2016, according to Ipsos.

The waning support comes amid uncertainty around the 95-year-old monarch’s health that has recently limited her public appearances.

Challenges for Canada

Despite Canadians’ dwindling enthusiasm for the royals, eliminating the monarchy in Canada will be a “complicated process,” experts say.

To make any change to the role of the Queen or her representatives in Canada, there must be unanimous consent from the House of Commons, the Senate and each of the provincial legislatures to change the constitution — a process that could take years to complete.

Read more:

How Canada could break up with the monarchy

“Under our constitution, all 10 provinces would have to agree on changes to the office of the Queen and it’s very difficult for all 10 provinces to be on the same page at the same time,” said Carolyn Harris, historian and author of Raising Royalty: 1,000 Years of Royal Parenting.

Because Canada’s Indigenous communities have their own treaties with the Crown, First Nations would need to be consulted as well for any transition to take place, Harris said.

“So in Canada, it would be a very complicated process compared to the comparatively straightforward process in Barbados,” she told Global News.


Click to play video: 'Queen responds to Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview'



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Queen responds to Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview


Queen responds to Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview – Mar 9, 2021

​Citizens for a Canadian Republic (CCR), a non-profit group, acknowledges there would be challenges when it comes to amending the Constitution but still encourages the discussion.

Among the hurdles it highlights on its website is “an unfair amending formula.”

“Compounding these difficulties is the subject of how Canadians should choose their new head of state and what role it would play in the federal system,” CCR states.

In the practical sense, abolishing the monarchy would not change much for Canada, as the Queen has no political authority, argued Melanie Newton, an associate professor of history at the University of Toronto.

“And the federal government could become a republic without the Indigenous people necessarily having to give up those symbolic ties to the British monarchy,” she said.

Barbados breaks free

Barbados’ move to becoming a republic was the culmination of a more than two decades-long push to ditch the monarchy.

A “major shift” took place last year spurred on by the racial inequalities of the COVID-19 pandemic response, access to vaccines and the Black Lives Matter protest movement across the world, said Newton.

Read more:

53% of Canadians skeptical of the monarchy’s future beyond the Queen’s reign: Ipsos poll

In a historic throne speech in Sept. 2020, governor-general Dame Sandra Mason told the world Barbados was removing Queen Elizabeth as its head of state.

A two-thirds majority vote was needed to amend the country’s constitution.

The parliament unanimously passed the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2021 last month, effectively transferring the responsibilities of the governor general to a new position of president.

Mason was elected as the island’s first president by the Barbados parliament on Oct. 20 and formally sworn in on Nov. 30.


Click to play video: 'Barbados becomes a republic and parts ways with the Queen'



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Barbados becomes a republic and parts ways with the Queen


Barbados becomes a republic and parts ways with the Queen

Cynthia Barrow-Giles, professor of political science at the University of West Indies, said the transition to the republic represents a “moment of pride for many Barbadians.”

“This move is very emblematic of overthrowing the yoke of British colonialism and with it some of the negative connotations that people have been dealing with more recently with respect to the character of British colonialism,” she told Global News.

But there is still a “significant amount of work” left to do in terms of the constitution and governance, Barrow-Giles added.

The process of becoming a republic is “far easier” when there is a centralized system of government, as was the case with Barbados, she noted.

“Canada’s situation compared to the Caribbean situation is a little more complex,” she said.

What about other Commonwealth nations?

Other Caribbean nations have also left the monarchy to become republics, including Trinidad and Tobago, but the last country to remove the Queen as head of state was Mauritius in 1992.

With Barbados cutting ties, that leaves 15 Commonwealth countries that have the Queen as their monarch, including Canada.

Read more:

Barbados becomes a republic: What it means for the Crown, the Commonwealth and Canada

However, Barbados will remain part of the Commonwealth, a grouping of 54 countries across Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe.

Other Caribbean nations, including Jamaica and St. Lucia, have also discussed breaking away from the monarchy.


Click to play video: 'The details on the Queen’s mounting health concerns'



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The details on the Queen’s mounting health concerns


The details on the Queen’s mounting health concerns – Nov 16, 2021

Now, Barbados’ move may fuel republicanism within the Commonwealth, experts say.

“It’s certainly something that will be discussed and debated in the Commonwealth realms, especially as this transition does not mean a departure from the Commonwealth,” said Harris.

Barrow-Giles concurred, saying, “I would think that for a lot of the other Caribbean countries, the conversation would resume, and hopefully we’ll get that transition going.”

— with files from Global News’ Redmond Shannon

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Crypto money laundering rises 30% in 2021 -Chainalysis

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Cybercriminals laundered $8.6 billion in cryptocurrencies last year, up 30% from 2020, according to a report from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis released on Wednesday.

Overall, cybercriminals have laundered more than $33 billion worth of crypto since 2017, Chainalysis estimated, with most of the total over time moving to centralized exchanges.

The firm said the sharp rise in money laundering activity in 2021 was not surprising, given the significant growth of both legitimate and illegal crypto activity last year.

Money laundering refers to that process of disguising the origin of illegally obtained money by transferring it to legitimate businesses.

About 17% of the $8.6 billion laundered went to decentralized finance applications, Chainalysis said, referring to the sector which facilitates crypto-denominated financial transactions outside of traditional banks.

That was up from 2% in 2020.

Mining pools, high-risk exchanges, and mixers also saw substantial increases in value received from illicit addresses, the report said. Mixers typically combine potentially identifiable or tainted cryptocurrency funds with others, so as to conceal the trail to the fund’s original source.

Wallet addresses associated with theft sent just under half of their stolen funds, or more than $750 million worth of crypto in total, to decentralized finance platforms, according to the Chainalysis report.

Chainalysis also clarified that the $8.6 billion laundered last year represents funds derived from crypto-native crime such as darknet market sales or ransomware attacks in which profits are in crypto instead of fiat currencies.

“It’s more difficult to measure how much fiat currency derived from off-line crime — traditional drug trafficking, for example — is converted into cryptocurrency to be laundered,” Chainalysis said in the report.

“However, we know anecdotally this is happening.”

 

(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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Interest rate: Bank of Canada holds key rate – CTV News

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OTTAWA –

The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate target on hold at 0.25 per cent, but warning it won’t stay there for much longer.

The trendsetting rate has been at its rock-bottom level since March 2020 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as the economy went into a downturn and three million jobs were lost.

The central bank said Wednesday the rebound since then and especially over the last few months has been stronger than it anticipated.

In a statement, the bank’s senior decision-makers said the economy is running at capacity, including a labour market that is by most standards back at pre-pandemic levels.

The rebound is why it now says it will no longer promise to keep its key policy rate at 0.25 per cent, adding that rates will need to rise to bring inflation back to the central bank’s two per cent target.

“Interest rates will need to increase to control inflation. Canadians should expect a rising path for interest rates,” Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said in a statement.

He also pointed to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant as an economic “wild card” at home and abroad to explain why the bank held off on hiking rates Wednesday.

“Our approach to monetary policy throughout the pandemic has been deliberate, and we were mindful that the rapid spread of Omicron will dampen spending in the first quarter. So we decided to keep our policy rate unchanged today, remove our commitment to hold it at its floor, and signal that rates can be expected to increase going forward,” Macklem said.

CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld said he expects the Bank of Canada to raise rates in March if the country gets better news about the Omicron variant.

The central bank didn’t outline the timing or pace of increases in its statement, but the decision to hold off on a first hike will be controversial in financial markets at a time when headline inflation is at a 30-year high, says Stephen Tapp, chief economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The Bank of Canada warned in its updated economic outlook that inflation rates are likely to creep above five per cent for the first quarter before easing by the end of the year.

The pace of price growth is then expected to ease by the end of 2022, but inflation for the entire year is forecasted to clock in at 4.2 per cent, up from the 3.4 per cent the bank forecasted in October.

Surveys from the Bank of Canada suggest Canadians are now expecting inflation rates to remain higher for longer.

The longer inflation rates stay high, the more likely Canadians will believe they will stay elevated over the long-term, which the bank worries could lead to runaway price growth.

In the rate announcement, the bank said it will use its policy tools to ensure “near-term inflation expectations do not become embedded in ongoing inflation.”

The central bank estimates the economy grew by 4.6 per cent in 2021, down half a percentage point from its previous forecast in October, and now projects growth in real gross domestic product in 2022 at four per cent, down from 4.3 per cent.

The Bank of Canada said part of the downgrade this year is due to the impact of Omicron, hints from governments that spending is easing earlier than expected, and supply chain issues that will have “larger and more broad-based negative implications on economic activity” this year.

The bank said the possibility of more variants in the future renewing restrictions here and abroad also cloud the outlook.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2022.

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday – CBC News

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The latest:

Hospitals in New Brunswick are feeling the strain of the Omicron wave, with four hospitals at or near capacity.

“Our hospitals are caring for higher volumes of COVID-positive inpatients than at any other point in the pandemic,” a statement from the Horizon Health network said Tuesday.

The hospital network said that the number of people in hospital combined with staff shortages is having an impact on how it delivers care. The province shifted to emergency and urgent hospital care only at the end of 2021 as it faced a mounting Omicron wave. 

According to the provincial update on Tuesday, a total of 138 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 — a pandemic high in the province — including 11 in intensive care. The province also reported three additional deaths and 350 additional lab-confirmed cases.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, said in a statement Tuesday that while hospitalizations are rising, they are trending below the province’s projections.

“The data indicates that New Brunswickers have reduced their contacts by about 30 per cent,” she said in a statement. “This has made a tremendous difference to our acute care system, which has been heavily impacted by employees who are absent due to Omicron and the increasing number of patients.”

Tight restrictions are still in place in the Atlantic province, and students are expected to continue with remote learning until Jan. 31.

In Nova Scotia, health officials on Tuesday said 92 people were in the province’s designated COVID-19 units, including 15 people in intensive care. The provincial update showed a total of 304 people in hospital with COVID-19, including cases where people contracted the virus while in hospital. The province also reported five additional deaths and 492 additional lab-confirmed cases.

Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador on Tuesday said COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 20, with five people in critical care. The province, which sent students back to in-person learning Tuesday, also reported an additional 296 lab-confirmed cases.

Prince Edward Island health officials on Tuesday reported a ninth COVID-19-related death and 275 additional lab-confirmed cases. Health officials in the province said there were 10 people in hospital being treated for COVID-19 — including two in ICU. There were two others in hospital with COVID-19 being treated for other illnesses, the province said. 

-From CBC News, last updated at 10:05 a.m. ET


What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Quebec premier talks about living with COVID-19 long-term and structural issues in the health-care system: 

Legault describes Quebec living with COVID-19 long-term

21 hours ago

Duration 1:22

Living with COVID-19 long-term means accepting hospitalizations and deaths, says Quebec Premier François Legault. 1:22

With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.

For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click through to the regional coverage below.

You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every region — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.

In Central Canada, Ontario’s health minister on Wednesday reported a total of 4,016 hospitalizations, with 608 people in intensive care. The province, which saw 5,368 new lab-confirmed cases, also reported 89 additional deaths — though Christine Elliott’s office noted that the deaths occurred over the past 21 days.

Quebec on Wednesday reported 3,270 hospitalizations, with 252 people in intensive care. The province reported 73 additional deaths and 4,150 new lab-confirmed cases, according to the COVID-19 situation report posted daily by health officials.

The update comes a day after Premier François Legault said that the province will ease some COVID-19 restrictions in the weeks ahead. The initial shift, which is set for Jan. 31, will allow restaurants to open dining rooms with limited capacity. Some sports will return, with further easing expected in early February.

Quebec’s health system, however, is still feeling the strain, Legault said, noting that it will take time to build the capacity the province needs.

Across the North, Nunavut on Wednesday reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths, while Yukon reported 25 additional cases and no new deaths.

Health officials in the Northwest Territories had not yet provided updated information for the day.

In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba on Tuesday reported a total of 729 COVID-19 hospitalizations — another pandemic high. Of those, 49 people were receiving intensive care. Health officials also reported six additional deaths and 637 additional lab-confirmed cases.

In Saskatchewan, the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 291, with 33 people in the province’s intensive care units. The province also reported two additional deaths and 1,049 lab-confirmed cases.

Alberta on Tuesday said hospitalizations stood at 1,377 — a pandemic high — with 111 people in intensive care. The province also reported 13 additional deaths and 2,772 additional cases.

“Our hospitals are under strain, especially in the larger urban centres,” said Jason Copping, the province’s health minister. “Staff are tired, not just from the current wave of cases, but from five waves over two years.”

Copping said there are signs Omicron transmission may be slowing, but he had cautious words about the weeks ahead, saying they will be the “toughest yet for many Albertans.”

In British Columbia, total COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 985, health officials said Tuesday, with 144 in intensive care units. The province also reported one additional death and 1,446 additional lab-confirmed cases. 

People in the province will need to bring their vaccine card with them through to the end of June if they want to access indoor spaces, restaurants or most events, says the provincial health officer. Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday the vaccine card is specifically designed to mitigate the risks of spreading COVID-19, allowing certain businesses and activities to remain open.

“As we move through this period, it will, I expect, no longer be necessary,” Henry told a news conference. “But right now, it is one of those important tools that we have.”

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 12:30 p.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

The Australian Navy’s HMAS Adelaide docked at Vuna Wharf in Tonga’s capital Nukualofa to deliver aid following the Jan. 15 eruption of the nearby Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano. (Mary Lyn Fonua/Matangi Tonga/AFP/Getty Images)

As of early Wednesday afternoon, more than 359.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.6 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Australian navy’s largest ship docked at disaster-stricken Tonga on Wednesday and was allowed to unload humanitarian supplies in the South Pacific nation despite crew members being infected with COVID-19, officials said.

Nearly two-dozen sailors aboard HMAS Adelaide were reported infected on Tuesday, raising fears the mission could bring the coronavirus to the small archipelago devastated by an undersea volcanic eruption and a tsunami on Jan. 15. Supplies were to be delivered without contact with the local population to avoid infections, the Australian government said in a statement.

Since the pandemic began, Tonga has reported just a single case of COVID-19 and has avoided any outbreaks. It’s one of the few countries in the world currently completely virus free. About 61 per cent of Tongans are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

South Korea’s daily new cases exceeded 13,000 for the first time, as the government seeks to revise its anti-virus response scheme to focus on Omicron.

Shoppers look at plants at a flower market ahead of the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Current physical distancing rules will be extended to cover Lunar New Year as the semi-autonomous region continues to see a number of COVID-19 infections linked to imported cases. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

In Europe, Austria’s lockdown for people not fully vaccinated will end on Monday because the pressure on hospitals has eased, the government said.

Sweden will extend several restrictions for another two weeks, while neighbouring Denmark was expected to announce that it no longer considers COVID-19 as “a socially critical disease” as of next month and will remove most restrictions.

Sweden’s Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren said the country was seeing “an extremely record-high spread of infection,” so the existing measures “need to remain in place for another two weeks.” It was not immediately clear what restrictions will end in Denmark. But a letter from the health minister to lawmakers said the “categorization of COVID-19 as a socially critical disease will be abolished as of Feb. 1.”

Russia, meanwhile, has expanded a domestically developed coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12-17 to include more regions, amid the country’s biggest infection surge yet due to the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

In Africa, Uganda wants to curb its borrowing and boost exports in sectors such as meat and dairy as the East African country lifts restrictions triggered by the pandemic, President Yoweri Museveni and government officials told Reuters.

In South Africa, health officials on Tuesday reported 3,197 new cases of COVID-19 and 132 additional deaths.

LISTEN | What can Canada learn from South Africa’s experience with the Omicron variant: 

The Current19:49What can Canada learn from South Africa’s bout with Omicron?

South Africa’s bout with Omicron is slowing down — offering other countries a glimpse of what might be coming next in the pandemic. Matt Galloway discusses what Canada might learn, with Dr. Shabir Madhi, a professor of vaccinology at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand; and Jason Kindrachuk, a virologist at the University of Manitoba. 19:49

In the Middle East, Kuwait on Tuesday reported more than 5,742 additional cases and one additional death. 

In the Americas, the United States has shipped 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses as part of its earlier pledge to donate about 1.2 billion doses to low-income countries, the White House said on Wednesday.

“Today, we will hit a major milestone in our global effort: 400 million vaccine doses shipped to 112 countries … for free, no strings attached,” White House COVID-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients told reporters at a briefing.

President Joe Biden’s administration had previously said it would donate a second tranche of 500 million doses to the COVAX global vaccine sharing program, raising its total pledge to some 1.2 billion COVID vaccine doses, with the latest batch expected to start shipping this month.

Global health experts have said at least five billion to six billion doses are needed by poorer countries to help protect them against the coronavirus amid the ongoing pandemic.

Overall COVAX, backed by the World Health Organization and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, has delivered more than a billion doses to 144 countries and aims to achieve 70 per cent COVID-19 immunization coverage by mid-2022.

-From Reuters, CBC News and The Associated Press, last updated at 12:25 p.m. ET

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