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Number of new coronavirus cases spike in China; In The News for Feb. 13 – National Post

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In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Feb. 13 …

What we are watching in Canada …

Via Rail has extended train cancellations on major routes in Ontario and Quebec as protests against a pipeline in northern B.C. stretched into a sixth-day on Wednesday.

Passenger and freight rail services have been hit particularly hard by the protests as demonstrators erect barricades on lines in different parts of the country.

Via Rail is cancelling service on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto routes until at least the end of the day on Friday because of a blockade near Belleville, Ont.

Via has also said a blockade near New Hazelton, B.C., means normal rail service is being interrupted between Prince Rupert and Prince George.

In Manitoba, Premier Brian Pallister said the Justice Department will seek an injunction to end a rail blockade west of Winnipeg and have it enforced within a few days.

Meanwhile, two hereditary chiefs from the British Columbia First Nation that is getting support from protesters across the country have launched a constitutional challenge of fossil fuel projects.

The challenge calls on the Federal Court to declare that Canada is constitutionally obliged to meet international climate change targets, which the chiefs contend would cancel approvals for a natural gas pipeline that runs through traditional Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Blockade organizers across Canada have said they’re acting in solidarity with those opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation near Houston.

The blockades were erected after the RCMP enforced a court injunction last week against Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been blocking construction of the pipeline, a key part of a $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export project.

Also this …

A funeral is set to take place today for a four-year-old girl whose body was found next to her father’s at the base of an escarpment in southwestern Ontario.

Keira Kagan’s family says the funeral is open to anyone who wants to attend.

The girl and her father, Robin Brown, went missing Sunday afternoon after they went hiking in Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton, Ont.

Police launched a massive search of the area during a snow and freezing rain storm.

Kagan’s mother and stepfather believe the deaths were a murder-suicide that took place in the middle of a lengthy custody battle.

Halton regional police say they are not investigating the deaths as homicides “at this point.”

What we are watching in the U.S. …

A 9-year-old boy has been charged with trying to kill his 5-year-old sister by stabbing her with a kitchen knife inside their Florida apartment last month, officials said.

The boy was charged Tuesday with attempted first-degree murder and appeared in court on Wednesday in the central Florida city of Ocala, prosecutors said.

The mother of the children told police she left the apartment to get the mail and to get some candy for her children from a neighbour. When she returned, she said she found the boy stabbing his sister with a kitchen knife in a bedroom.

The child told investigators he thought of killing his sister two days before the Jan. 28 stabbing, Ocala police said.

The girl was released last Friday from the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

The boy remains detained and is being represented by the public defender’s office, which did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

The public defender’s office is awaiting results of a competency examination that will determine whether the boy understands the charges, the Ocala Star-Banner reported.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

China has reported 254 new daily deaths and a spike in new daily virus cases of 15,152, after new methodology was applied in the hardest-hit province of Hubei as to how cases are categorized.

The total deaths from the more than 2-month-old outbreak as reported on Thursday stood at 1,367, with the total number of confirmed cases mounting to 59,804. The change in categorization appeared to push forward the process to a doctors’ on-the-spot diagnosis rather than waiting for the results of laboratory tests.

China on Thursday replaced its top officials in the central province of Hubei and its capital, Wuhan, the epicenter of a viral outbreak that has infected more than 45,000 people worldwide.

Former Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong succeeds Jiang Chaoliang as the ruling Communist Party’s chief in the beleaguered province, the Xinhua state news agency reported, while Wang Zhonglin will take over from Ma Guoqiang as the party secretary in Wuhan.

The high-level appointments follow the sacking earlier this week of two leaders of the provincial health commission. State media also reported that a slew of others were expelled from the party for transgressions related to the epidemic.

The public has widely criticized local officials for their handling of the outbreak of a new form of coronavirus. The virus first surfaced December in Hubei’s capital, Wuhan, and has since spread to more than two dozen countries.

Many countries have implemented travel restrictions on recent visitors to China, which has more than 99% of the world’s reported infections.

In Vietnam, official media reported that a commune of 10,000 residents northwest of the capital Hanoi was put in lockdown due to a cluster of cases there.

The online newspaper VN Express cited a senior official of Vinh Phuc province as reporting an increase in cases in Son Loi commune. Vietnam has confirmed 16 case of the diseases, most of them in the province.

ICYMI (In case you missed it) …

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri says a lawsuit filed against him by a northern California sheriff’s deputy is “malicious.”

Alan Strickland alleges in the lawsuit filed Friday in a northern California district court that he suffered injuries “which caused and continue to cause great mental, physical, emotional and psychological pain and suffering” after a shoving match with Ujiri.

The incident occurred June 13, after the Raptors won the deciding Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.

Ujiri went onto the court to join his celebrating team, when Strickland stopped him because the Raptors executive didn’t provide the proper on-court credential, leading to a shoving match that was partially captured on video.

“It’s malicious in a way,” Ujiri said Wednesday in Dakar, Senegal.

“To me it’s incredible that things play out like that. I think something incredible was taken away from me and I will never forget it. It is one of the things that drives me to win another championship because I want to be able to celebrate a championship the right way. This thing will be settled. The truth will come out. The truth will come out of this.”

Strickland and his wife, Kelly Strickland, are seeking US$75,000 in general damages, as well as other compensation including punitive damages, lost wages, current and future medical expenses and legal costs.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Weird and wild …

BERLIN — A German man’s marriage proposal got a bigger audience than he had planned, after it showed up on an aerial picture used by Google Maps.

The German news agency dpa reports that 32-year-old part-time farmer Steffen Schwarz used a machine to plant a field of corn in such a way that the gaps spelled out the words “Do you want to marry me?”

Schwarz says he got his girlfriend to fly a drone over the field last May in Huettenberg, central Germany, revealing the romantic message. She said yes.

He told dpa he hadn’t intended or expected the image to appear on Google’s popular mapping service until an aunt in Canada pointed it out to him.

Schwarz and his fiancee plan to marry in June.

Know your news …

A defibrillator was needed to revive St. Louis Blues defenceman Jay Bouwmeester after he collapse on the bench during a NHL game this week. Bouwmeester once held one of the longest ironman streaks in NHL history when he played 737 consecutive regular-season games. What was the injury that ended that streak in 2014?

(Keep scrolling for the answer)

On this day in 1947 …

An oil well dubbed Imperial Leduc No. 1 became the biggest oil strike in Canadian history when it began producing near Edmonton. The discovery touched off a drilling boom across Alberta and led to the establishment of the province’s oil and natural gas industry.

Entertainment news …

TORONTO — The Tragically Hip bassist Gord Sinclair says he hopes to meet with Canada’s new heritage minister to discuss ways to better “preserve and protect” the country’s live music industry.

Sinclair says he believes Steven Guilbeault, named to the federal position last November, should hear from Canadian musicians on the importance of protecting smaller live venues, often the spots where young artists cut their teeth.

He says it’s those places across Canada where his own Kingston, Ont., band got their start.

The Hip is often held as a prime example of an act that benefited from a strong foundation of artistic resources in the 1990s, including federal content regulations that stipulated radio stations play a certain percentage of homegrown music.

The bassist says he doesn’t know how those regulations translate to a world increasingly reliant on streaming services, but he believes it’s a conversation that needs to be stoked at all levels of the industry.

Sinclair will release his solo debut “Taxi Dancers” on Feb. 28.

Know your news answer …

A lower-body injury suffered in a 3-2 win over Ottawa ended the streak. At the time, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said Bouwmeester was hurt when he stepped in a crack in the Ottawa ice.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2020.

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The latest on protests across Canada in support of anti-pipeline demonstrators – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Here is the latest news on protests across Canada over a natural gas pipeline project in British Columbia:

The federal agriculture minister is indicating that help could soon be on the way for farmers impacted by barricades that have virtually shut down Canada’s rail network.

Marie-Claude Bibeau says 2019 and the beginning of this year have been difficult for Canada’s agriculture sector.

She told reporters in Ottawa today that she is looking for “practical ways” to support farmers who have been unable to get their products to market as a result of the barricades, but could not elaborate, saying she needs to speak with her cabinet colleagues first.

Rail and road barricades have been erected in several locations across the country over the last two weeks in solidarity with the hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, who oppose a pipeline project on their territory in northwestern B.C.

The RCMP confirms the commander of the Mountie’s British Columbia division has sent a letter to Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, agreeing to discuss the future of a small contingent of officers stationed on traditional First Nation territory near the site of a disputed pipeline.

The letter from Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan says she is willing to meet with the chiefs to discuss what she calls the Community Industry Safety Office, located southwest of Houston along a road leading to the area where the Coastal GasLink pipeline is under construction.

Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet says the letter states that if there is continued commitment to keep the road open, the need for the police presence is “diminished or decreased.”

Shoihet says the letter was sent Wednesday.

She says Strachan also sent an internal memo to all RCMP employees in B.C., offering her appreciation for their “professionalism” during recent enforcement of a court injunction ordering demonstrators away from the pipeline site.

The memo tells members that management is aware the presence of the RCMP contingent on the road is considered by hereditary chiefs as a barrier to further dialogue, and RCMP management supports efforts now underway to find a long-term solution to the issue.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says police will dismantle a rail blockade in St-Lambert, south of Montreal, if a court grants an injunction.

He says the blockade that went up Wednesday is not on First Nations land, making it easier to take action.

The blockade in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in British Columbia was erected on CN tracks, and has disrupted rail service for suburban commuters and travellers between Montreal and Quebec City.

A few dozen protesters, well stocked with supplies, tents, camping gear and firewood, are at the site today and say they plan to stay as long as RCMP remain on Wet’suwet’en lands.

Snow has been piled onto tracks, with signs strung across a cord hung between rail signals.

Protesters, who declined to give their names to reporters, describe themselves as supporters of the Wet’suwet’en and say they will take their direction from the B.C. First Nation’s hereditary chiefs, who are contesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole says he would criminalize blockades of railways, air and seaports, major roads, businesses and households if he were prime minister.

The Ontario MP and former cabinet minister says police should clear blockades as soon as possible without having to wait for court injunctions.

Blockades set up in support of Indigenous protests of a natural-gas pipeline in British Columbia have halted rail traffic in Central Canada and temporarily blocked roads and bridges in spots across the country.

O’Toole also says he would take charitable status away from any group that accepts foreign contributions and encourages blockades.

To improve relations with Indigenous Peoples, O’Toole says he would fund an Aboriginal liaison officers in the RCMP.

Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP have offered to move officers away from the area where traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have been opposing a pipeline on their territory.

Blair says that meets the conditions set by the chiefs, who have demanded that Mounties leave their traditional lands southwest of Houston, B.C.

But yesterday Chief Na’moks, one of five hereditary clan chiefs who lead the First Nation under its traditional form of governance, said pipeline builder Coastal GasLink must also pull out of the traditional territory before any meeting with provincial and federal politicians can proceed.

Canada’s minister in charge of Indigenous relations, Carolyn Bennett, and her B.C. counterpart Scott Fraser are in northern B.C. to meet with any of the hereditary chiefs who might be willing to talk.

Na’moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale, said he is attending a funeral and is unavailable to meet today, while the other four hereditary chiefs are expected in Mohawk territory to thank members of that Ontario First Nation for their solidarity.

Nationwide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to the company’s work site.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2020.

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Canadians can lose Nexus passes over legal cannabis use in Canada: U.S. document – Global News

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Cannabis use may be legal in Canada, but if U.S. border guards find out about it, a person could have their Nexus pass taken away or not granted in the first place, secret instructions issued to managers at U.S. border posts say.

“If an alien admits to the use of marijuana (post legalization) he or she is technically admissible to the U.S., but would not be eligible for a Trusted Traveller Program,” the instructions say.

The instructions were intended only for supervisors at U.S. border posts and weren’t supposed to be circulated below their rank level. Lower-level border officers got much simpler material.

A software developer on the West Coast, who did not want to be identified for professional reasons, found out about the rule the hard way.

A dual U.S.-Canadian citizen, he went to renew his Nexus card at the Vancouver airport, a process that needs interviews with both Canadian and U.S. officials. The Canadian interview went smoothly, but the trouble began with the U.S. one.

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“He just started asking rapid-fire questions: ‘Have you ever had a DUI?’ He was just looking for something,” he said.

“Finally he asked, ‘Have you ever smoked marijuana?’ He kind of curved his shoulders and looked at me.

“I told him I tried it when it became legal in Canada, but I don’t have any desire for it. I don’t like marijuana.”

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Later he got an e-mail saying his renewal had been denied on the basis that he is “not a low-risk person.”

“The worst I’ve ever gotten is a speeding ticket,” he says. “I can’t believe this is actually happening to me. Even though it’s federally prohibited in the U.S., it’s legal in Canada. How can you hold that against me? It doesn’t make any sense.”






1:47
Prospective Canadian cannabis investor gets lifetime U.S. entry ban


Prospective Canadian cannabis investor gets lifetime U.S. entry ban

The Customs and Border Protection policy creates a dangerous trap for people who don’t see a problem with admitting to legal cannabis use and are then surprised to find their pass taken away for life, says immigration lawyer Len Saunders.

“I get lots of phone calls from people who run into issues with the Nexus program,” he says. “As a U.S. attorney right at the border, they’ll call me and say, ‘I had this really weird situation that happened, I was conditionally approved, I went into the Nexus office, and I was basically interrogated by an American officer on my legal use of cannabis in Canada, and I walked away basically being told I wasn’t eligible.’

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“The people are dumbfounded. When I tell them there’s really not a lot I can do, they’re shocked.”

It’s been clear that a policy along these lines has been enforced, lawyers familiar with the issue say, but a written copy hasn’t been public until recently, when it surfaced during a lawsuit.

The language used internally is clearer and harsher than in CBP’s media talking points about the issue, which use words like “could” and “may.” It’s also much clearer that it’s referring to legal use, not illegal use before October of 2018; the public talking points could be read either way. It also appears to include medical use as a ground for refusal.






1:24
Think twice about asking for a pardon, border lawyer says


Think twice about asking for a pardon, border lawyer says

Nexus cards allow pre-screened travellers to cross the border easily, often skipping long lines.

The U.S. rule also applies to the less well-known FAST program, which is designed to let commercial truck drivers cross the border easily.

“Usually it’s someone who’s younger, in their teens or early 20s,” Saunders says. “The officers will frequently ask if you’ve ever used cannabis in the past. A lot of times people admit to it, whether they’ve done it before legalization in Canada or after.

“They don’t realize that if they’re asked that question and they admit to it, it’s basically the kiss of death to getting a Nexus card. It’s an immediate denial and a lifetime ban from the program.”

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The CBP instructions list 30 different cannabis-related scenarios that could come up at the U.S.-Canadian border, with correct solutions. All of the solutions are censored.

The lawsuit stems from a U.S. freedom-of-information request originally filed with CBP by Davis Wright Tremaine, a large Seattle-based law firm with a cannabis law practice.

The FOIA request was aimed at finding out the legal basis for CBP’s decision to treat Canadians with ties to the legal U.S. cannabis industry as “drug traffickers” liable to be banned from entering the U.S. for life.

Cases of this happening to unwary Canadians regularly come to light.

In 2018, senior executives in a Canadian farm equipment company were banned for life when they tried to cross the border to do a sales demonstration of a cannabis bud trimming machine. In a separate case, a B.C. man who admitted that he’d invested in a legal grow facility in Nevada was also banned for life.

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(In the U.S., cannabis is federally illegal but legal in several states; the tensions and contradictions that result create traps for unwary non-Americans.)

In 2018, CBP said it would also bar Canadians working in the fully legal Canadian cannabis industry, but reversed this position a few days before legalization.


READ MORE:
In major shift, the U.S. says it won’t ban Canadian pot workers

Davis Wright Tremaine’s lawyers take the position that they haven’t been given all the documents they’re entitled to, which led to the lawsuit. The goal is to find out what CBP thinks the legal basis is for policies like banning Canadians for life for involvement with the U.S. cannabis industry, says lawyer Chris Morley.

“There does appear to be, from CBP’s actions and statements, an actual policy that they’re implementing. There appears to be an interpretation of the Immigration and Nationality Act that they have turned into a policy. It appears that they developed this policy in April of 2018, and they started implementing it then.”

Morley says it isn’t clear to him how CBP justifies policies like these, based on the laws the agency is supposed to be enforcing.

“Really, the long game is to try to figure out what CBP’s policy is. CBP officials have discussed the policy, but we don’t know what it is.”

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Global News asked CBP whether the rule in the manual was still their policy, what the legal authority for it was, and why the language intended for the public was milder than the language used internally. They refused to comment, citing ongoing litigation.

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0:19
Past marijuana conviction could still prevent U.S. border crossing


Past marijuana conviction could still prevent U.S. border crossing

Significantly, the instructions advise CBP officers not to try to use a law excluding people from the U.S. for being a “drug abuser or addict” on Canadian cannabis users.

Since U.S. law assumes that any level of use of controlled substances like cannabis is “abuse,” there have been concerns since legalization that it could be used to ban any Canadian cannabis user, no matter how occasional their use was.

“It is recommended that this ground of removal not be used due to being difficult to sustain,” the instructions say. However, the explanation that follows only addresses addiction and not abuse, a much looser category.

(No case of the provision being used this way has become public.)






2:55
Canadian lawyer questions government advice to be honest at U.S. border


Canadian lawyer questions government advice to be honest at U.S. border

The application for a Nexus card asks about a criminal record but not about drug use, licit or illicit. Questions about cannabis use, if any, come up at the U.S. interview.

Bellingham, Wash., immigration lawyer Scott Railton represented an elderly American couple who were denied Nexus cards after admitting in an interview that they used CBD to help them sleep, he says. CBD is legal in the U.S. in most contexts.

“It is both confusing and ridiculous,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The information was volunteered to be candid and truthful in relation to a certain question.”

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READ MORE:
Pay cash for pot if you can, federal privacy commissioner urges






1:17
Trudeau asked to provide pot-users with advice on crossing U.S. border


Trudeau asked to provide pot-users with advice on crossing U.S. border

About 6.1 million Canadians used cannabis at least once in mid-2019, Statistics Canada says. About 1.4 million Canadians, and 400,000 Americans, have Nexus passes, the CBSA told Global News.

If asked the question, Saunders advises refusing to answer it. Not answering doesn’t have long-term consequences, but an admission does.

“I live in fear,” Saunders says. “I work right at the port of entry, in northern Washington State. I cross back and forth frequently. I live in fear that some silly decision by an officer could affect my Nexus privileges.

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“It can be life-changing. If someone has to cross over on a daily basis and they lose their Nexus privileges, or they’re not issued a Nexus card when they move to this area, what happens is that they have to change their job, they have to change where they live. It’s unfortunate if it happens to be an admission to smoking cannabis, when legally they’ve done nothing wrong.”

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

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Canadian with COVID-19 describes life under quarantine at Japanese hospital – CBC.ca

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A Canadian who contracted coronavirus aboard a quarantined cruise ship before being moved to a Japanese hospital said he’s being “well treated but would prefer to be on the plane” bringing Canadians home.

Craig Lee was travelling on the Diamond Princess when the ship was quarantined in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, in early February after a former passenger was diagnosed with the virus in Hong Kong.

Lee, a 72-year-old retired teacher from Richmond Hill, Ont., shared his story with CBC News, along with photos of his experiences aboard the cruise ship and in hospital.

He said he was tested by doctors on Feb. 15, and informed two days later that he had tested positive.

(Craig Lee)

On Feb. 18, Lee said he was taken off the ship. He added that his travel companion, Larry, who tested negative, was allowed to join him. Lee said he and his companion were allowed to take all of their luggage onto the buses.

(Craig Lee)

He said there were seven vehicles in the convoy: three coach buses, two trailers with washrooms  — which passengers used during a stop — and two police cars that kept their lights flashing during the eight-hour trip.

(Craig Lee)

Lee boarded a bus for passengers who tested positive, while Larry boarded one for those who tested negative. He said the passengers on his bus had to wear masks, while the driver, doctor and nurse on board wore hazmat suits.

“It was a little scary,” he said.

(Craig Lee)

Lee arrived at a new, as-yet-unopened facility at Fujita University Hospital, west of Yokohama, after the trip, which took twice as long as it normally would due to the convoy. He said Larry is staying on the floor below him and they communicate through WhatsApp since they are restricted to their own floors.

(Craig Lee)

Lee received a care package from Care Team Japan, which was set up by the Canadian Embassy, upon arriving at the hospital. It included toiletries, a coffee mug, a T-shirt, some shortbread cookies, a Kit-Kat bar, earbuds and more.

Lee told CBC News Network’s John Northcott that it was “like having Christmas all over again.”

(Craig Lee)

Lee also sent along a photo of his dinner from Thursday night — a far cry from what many Canadians would think of when they imagine hospital food.

(Craig Lee)

Canadian passengers aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan who have not tested positive for COVID-19 are expected to disembark today ahead of a charter flight that’s scheduled to leave Tokyo on Friday.

Lee, who was described as “extremely positive” but “very emotional” by Northcott, said he and his travel companion will be quarantined for another week or two. Lee said this experience won’t prevent him from travelling in the future — but said he’ll be cautious if he hears of any outbreaks abroad.

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