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One quarter of Canadians believe officials are exaggerating COVID-19 risk: poll – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


Published Tuesday, September 15, 2020 5:23AM EDT


Last Updated Tuesday, September 15, 2020 12:09PM EDT

OTTAWA — A new survey suggests there are Canadians who believe that warnings from public officials about the threat of COVID-19 are vastly overblown.

Almost one-quarter of respondents in an online poll made public Tuesday by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they believe public health and government officials exaggerate in their warnings, including about the need for measures like physical distancing to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Regionally, respondents in Alberta were more likely to believe the threat was embellished, followed by Atlantic Canada and Quebec, with Ontario at the bottom.

Broken down by age, younger respondents were more likely than those over 55 to believe statements were being exaggerated.

The online poll was conducted Sept. 11 to 13 and surveyed 1,539 adult Canadians. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said the results may explain something else that came up in the survey: That a majority of respondents said they have relaxed how strictly they adhere to public health recommendations.

Among those recommendations are things like wearing a mask in public, avoiding large gatherings and trying to maintain a two-metre distance between people.

“There is a link. If you believe we’re exaggerating the disease, you’re more likely to have relaxed on your strict observance of the rules in place,” Bourque says.

About 57 per cent of respondents in the survey said that they had eased their adherence to one or more of public health safety measures over the last month.

Proper physical distancing was the most likely to be relaxed at 37 per cent of respondents, followed by wearing a mask outside the home at 33 per cent and not gathering in large groups at 31 per cent.

Respondents age 18 to 34 were the most likely to have relaxed on how closely they followed measures, with nearly three-quarters of them saying they had done so in the past month.

Over the last month, case counts have gone up for young people, with Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam warning anew on Monday that the country can’t let its guard down.

“It’s a global pandemic and we don’t have to look very far to find countries that have lost control of their pandemic and are in serious condition, both from a health perspective and an economic perspective,” federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said on Tuesday.

“In fact, the health of Canada depends on all of us taking this seriously, but the economy of Canada depends on that as well. And those things go hand in hand.”

Weekly questioning shows an uptick in the percentage of survey respondents who believed the worst of the crisis is yet to come, which hit 45 per cent on Sept. 13, the highest level it has been since April 13.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents in the survey believe the country is heading back to some form of lockdown, similar to what happened in March and April.

How closely Canadians follow public health recommendations may rest on how soon officials declare the start of a second wave, Bourque said, or if jurisdictions crack down harder on those breaking rules, such as Quebec started doing in recent days.

“We’re not at this pivotal moment where people feel we need to go back to how we used to be, where basically Canadians were exemplary in terms of following the safety measures put in place,” he said.

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B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program – CBC.ca

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Migrant workers and advocates called for a “just recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic during a digital rally on Saturday based out of Vancouver.

The pandemic has shown how heavily Canada relies on migrant and undocumented workers to perform essential jobs, said Chit Arma, who chairs the Migrant Workers Centre’s board of directors in Vancouver.

“The pandemic has also exposed the extent to which these essential workers do not enjoy essential rights, and the long-standing systemic problems with the temporary foreign work program that puts workers in an extremely precarious position,” she said during the video conference.

The rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre.

The campaign calls on the federal government to create a new permanent residency program for all essential migrant and undocumented workers, and to allow the workers to apply for an open-work permit while waiting for their applications to process.

No one at the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada could immediately be reached for comment.

On July 31, the federal government announced $58.6 million in funding that it said would boost protections for temporary foreign workers and address COVID-19 outbreaks on farms.

Of that, $35 million was earmarked to improve health and safety on farms and in employee living quarters to prevent the spread of COVID-19. About $7.4 million would support the workers, including $6 million for direct outreach delivered through migrant support organizations, the government said.

‘Recognizes precarious status’

The government also said it was working to develop mandatory requirements to improve living conditions in employer-provided accommodations.

In August, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced a temporary measure to provide a pathway to permanent residency for asylum claimants working in health-care during the pandemic.

Under the measure, the front-line workers would be able to apply for permanent residency if they met certain criteria, including having made an asylum claim before March 13 and having been issued a work permit after their claim.

“This approach recognizes those with precarious immigration status who are filling an urgent need and putting their own lives at risk to care for others in Canada,” the government said in a news release.

Exclusions

Natalie Drolet, executive director of the Migrant Workers Centre, said the measure excludes other front-line workers like grocery store clerks, truckers and care workers.

“While this is a positive step, it leaves too many migrant workers and undocumented workers behind who have also been on the front lines in the pandemic,” Drolet said.

Migrants and undocumented workers play key roles as health-care workers, grocery store clerks, cleaners, care workers, truckers and agricultural workers, Arma said.

More than 1,300 migrant workers in Ontario alone have been infected with COVID-19, she said. Three have died, including one undocumented worker, she said.

‘Fear of being removed’

Arma came to Canada in 2005 to work as a caregiver. Her temporary status in Canada gave her stress and anxiety, she said.

“I had papers, I had documents, and yet I had that fear of being removed, a fear of speaking up because I might be deported,” she said.

“I can imagine how undocumented workers are experiencing even worse because of the lack of documents they have.”

Demonstrators called for paid sick days and better protections for migrant workers at a rally in Halifax on Labour Day. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Maria Cano arrived to work as a caregiver in 2017 through the temporary foreign worker program. She said the experience showed how disempowering the experience could be, even before the pandemic struck.

Cano worked for four different families and moved to three different cities in her first few years. They expected her to work long hours without compensation, she said.

“When I spoke up, I lost my job,” she said. “That entire process was very stressful and financially draining.”

She finally found a “nice Canadian family” who treated her with respect and sponsored her but said others shouldn’t hope for the same luck — they should be protected with recognized rights instead.

“The COVID-19 pandemic makes it more difficult and stressful for all the undocumented and migrant workers in Canada,” she said.

Beginning Dec. 15, the B.C. government will require employers wishing to hire foreign workers through federal programs to register with the province.

The government said in a news release Saturday that the measures would ensure the workers are paid for the hours they work, have accurate job descriptions and ensure their rights and safety are protected on the job.

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Vancouver theatre company among first in Canada to relaunch during COVID-19

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It’s been about six months since anyone has taken in a show put on by Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre Company, but that’s about to change.

The venue will be among the first in the country to resume live performances, when it launches a one-actor play under strict new COVID-19 protocols on Thursday.

“It is a huge step towards normalcy, I have had people say to me, ‘All I need is to see a show, and I can’t wait to come and see something,’” said actor Ali Watson, who will play all 16 parts in No Child, which premieres Sept. 24.

In order to allow for more performances, the play has been double-cast, with Watson and actor Celia Aloma starring in alternating shows — each with their own stage managers and crews.

“I think its a really excellent distraction from COVID-19, especially because it’s not about COVID-19, which everything you see online and in person is about that,” Watson said.

The Arts Club and virtually all live performance venues were forced to close their doors in March, when the province issued an order against gatherings of more than 50 people.

The venue usually puts in 18 shows a year for about a quarter-million spectators, according to artistic director Ashlie Corcoran.

The pandemic forced them to cancel 25 scheduled shows, including performances well into 2021.

“It’s been a long, hard six months of being dark,” she said.

“To use our brains to start planning and building and creating instead of cancelling, it’s very much buoyed our spirits.”

Starting with No Child, which focuses on the efforts of a drama teacher in an inner-city New York school, the Arts Club is rolling out three one-actor plays.

Audience members will need to sign a declaration of health before entering. There will be no queueing up before the show, bathroom capacity will be limited, masks will be mandatory, and exiting the theatre will be controlled to ensure physical distancing.

The audience will also be capped at 50 people in a theatre that normally seats 300.

“Doing theatre for audiences of 50 will not economically sustain us, but we do feel it’s very important to be connecting, both with artists … and with the audience,” said Corcoran.

The Arts Club relies on ticket sales for about 80 per cent of its revenue, and Corcoran said it’s managed to survive so far through donations over the summer.

Darrel Dunlop, president of IATSE local 118, which represents workers in the live performance sector, said the pandemic has been devastating to his members.

With CERB ending, he’s worried about a “brain drain” of skilled workers into industries.

“A lot of the people, they’ve had to start looking for jobs in another sector,” he said.

But Dunlop is cautiously optimistic, citing creative ways productions have been finding to reopen safely under new pandemic protocols with smaller casts, crews and audiences.

“They’re actually going to be doing multiple shows in a day, and they’re actually going to be doing that with separate crews,” he said, meaning if someone becomes ill another crew can always sub in.

“Until there’s a time when you can actually put a full audience in, it will be different, the experience will be different. … We have to be patient and we have to be willing to accept the change.”

 

 

Source: – Global News

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Former PM John Turner dead at 91

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TORONTO — Former prime minister John Turner, whose odyssey from a “Liberal dream in motion” to a political anachronism spanned 30 years, has died at the age of 91.

Marc Kealey, a former aide speaking on behalf of Turner’s relatives as a family friend, says Turner died peacefully in his sleep at home in Toronto on Friday night.

“He’s in a much better place, and I can say on behalf of the family there was no struggle and it was very, very peaceful,” Kealey said.

Politicians and other public figures immediately began sharing memories of Turner and expressing condolences to his family.

“A gifted politician, lawyer, and athlete, Mr. Turner became Canada’s 17th Prime Minister after having served in numerous other capacities,” Prime Minister Justin Trudea said in a written statement.

“Mr. Turner was a humble man with a strong social conscience. He supported many charitable organizations, including Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. He was also an honorary director of World Wildlife Fund Canada and an ardent advocate for the protection of Canada’s lakes and rivers.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole also offered his condolences, writing on Facebook, “Track star, lawyer, parliamentarian, but most importantly father and patriot, his contributions to Canada are profound and his legacy assured.”

Former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin both spoke of their one-time colleague’s love of Parliament.

“More than anything, John was a House of Commons man and an outstanding public servant. He revered our democratic institutions like no other and served his constituents and Canada with great distinction. He will be greatly missed. My sincere condolences go out to his wife Geills and to his family,” Chretien wrote.

Smart, athletic and blessed with movie-star good looks, Turner was dubbed “Canada’s Kennedy” when he first arrived in Ottawa in the 1960s. But he failed to live up to the great expectations of his early career, governing for just 79 days after a difficult, decades-long climb to the top job.

“The most unfortunate thing to happen to anybody is to come in at the top in politics,” Turner said in 1967.

“The apprenticeship is absolutely vital. And yet, the longer the apprenticeship, the more the young politician risks tiring the public. So that by the time he’s ready, the public may be tired of him.”

His words were prophetic.

Despite his missteps, Turner guided the Liberals through some of their darkest days in the 1980s. His right-of-centre contribution to party policy would help pave the way for fiscally conservative prime ministers Chretien — his longtime rival — and Martin.

Turner’s journey began as a dashing young politician with the world at his feet and ended nearly 30 years later when he could no longer overcome his image as a relic of the past.

There was a dichotomy to Turner’s life. He was a jock who studied at Oxford and the Sorbonne, a staunch Catholic who defended the decriminalization of abortion and homosexuality and a Bay Street lawyer who campaigned against free trade — describing it as the fight of his life.

“There were two Turners. There was the thoughtful, intelligent John Turner who was kind of an intellectual,” former aide Ray Heard said in an interview several years ago.

“But there was another side to him. … There was John the jock, who used to love watching NFL football with us, who sometimes drank too much, who used to put on his red cardigan and sit in his office having a good time,” he said.

“So there was these two Turners, and sometimes these two Turners were in conflict with each other.”

Born in England, John Napier Wyndham Turner emigrated to Canada in 1932 after the premature death of his father Leonard.

His young, well-educated and driven mother, Phyllis Gregory, moved the family to her hometown of Rossland, B.C., and then to Ottawa a year later, where she climbed to the top ranks of the civil service.

She married wealthy businessman Frank Mackenzie Ross, who later was lieutenant-governor of British Columbia.

An Olympic-calibre track star, Turner graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1949, winning the Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. After studying law, he went to Paris to work on a doctorate at the Sorbonne.

The young lawyer caused a stir when he danced with Princess Margaret at a party in 1959, giving rise to speculation that the two would become a couple. Heard said the two remained friends for life.

Turner moved to Montreal to practice law but was lured into politics by Liberal cabinet minister C.D. Howe, who asked him to help in an election campaign. Turner won a seat in 1962, representing the Quebec riding of St-Laurent-St-Georges.

He would later hold seats in two other provinces, Ontario and British Columbia, a feat unmatched since William Lyon Mackenzie King.

In 1965, he was named to cabinet by Lester Pearson, as a minister without portfolio. Two years later, Chretien and Pierre Trudeau joined cabinet, with Trudeau landing the plum post of attorney general and minister of justice. Turner toiled in the unglamorous job of registrar general, while Chretien languished with no portfolio.

It foreshadowed a rivalry that would divide the men in the years to come.

A few months later, Turner finally landed Consumer and Corporate Affairs, a ministry he convinced Pearson to create.

He once compared his job to that of a hockey star.

“Tonight you scored a goal and you’re a hero, tomorrow you let a goal in and you’re a bum,” he said in 1967. “And that’s politics.”

But Turner was well-liked on Parliament Hill, playing squash with opposition members and once, walking across the House of Commons to comfort a New Democrat who had just confessed to having a serious criminal record.

He saved then-Opposition leader John Diefenbaker from drowning while on vacation in Barbados, having unintentionally booked a stay at the same resort.

He married Geills McCrae Kilgour, the great-niece of Col. John McCrae who wrote “In Flanders Fields” and the sister of longtime MP David Kilgour, in 1963.

The two had a daughter, Elizabeth, and three sons, David, Michael and Andrew.

Turner ran to succeed Pearson in 1968, but lost to Pierre Trudeau. Even when it was all but certain he would lose, Turner stubbornly stayed in the race until the fourth and final ballot.

As justice minister in Trudeau’s cabinet between 1968 and 1972, Turner proposed a national legal aid system — an issue close to his heart — and created the Federal Court, among other reforms. But he was also put in difficult positions that sometimes challenged his personal beliefs.

He defended martial law and the suspension of civil liberties during the October Crisis of 1970, as well as the decriminalization of homosexuality and abortion in the 1960s.

“Those of us who support the bill recognize that there are areas of private behaviour which, however repugnant, however immoral, if they do not directly involve public order, should not properly be within the criminal law of Canada,” he said at the time.

He was named finance minister in 1972 and held the job for three turbulent years, marked by high unemployment and high rates of inflation. He left politics in 1975, which some believed was over his opposition to Trudeau’s decision to implement wage and price controls after the 1974 election.

Turner spent nearly a decade as a corporate lawyer on Bay Street before returning to politics after Trudeau resigned.

He won the 1984 Liberal leadership race, a divisive contest that pitted Turner against Chretien. The rift their rivalry created within the Liberal ranks plagued Turner for the rest of his career.

“Chretien and his people launched, almost from Day 1, a war of attrition against John Turner,” said Heard.

“Chretien’s people kept stabbing him in the back. They had coups and counter-coups going on. I spent more time dealing with caucus revolts inspired by the Chretien people than I spent opposing Brian Mulroney and his government. It was a ludicrous situation.”

Turner triggered an election just nine days after being sworn into office, forgoing the chance — some say foolishly — to host a visit by the Queen and another by the Pope that would have given the new prime minister golden opportunities for glowing, wall-to-wall media coverage.

The campaign was a disaster. The party wasn’t prepared to run a campaign and was mired in organizational problems. Chretien’s supporters were staging caucus revolts. And Trudeau’s parting gift — patronage appointments — would be Turner’s undoing.

But his outdated sensibilities landed him in trouble too, when he was filmed patting the rear end of Liberal party president Iona Campagnolo, who patted his bottom right back.

However, it made Turner look sexist and out of touch, and his unrepentant defence — calling himself a “tactile politician” and dismissing it as a joke — didn’t help matters.

The breaking point came during the 1984 election debate, when Turner was forced to defend Trudeau’s appointments, saying he had no option but approve them.

“You had an option, sir — to say no,” Mulroney said.

Turner, an expert debater, never recovered.

But he won a seat in Vancouver and led the Opposition Liberals for six more years.

The 1988 election provided a rematch with Mulroney over the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement, which Turner vehemently opposed, later calling it the fight of his life.

He triumphed in the debates, eloquently turning free trade into a referendum on Canadian sovereignty. But he faced mutiny from senior Liberals who wanted to dump him mid-campaign and choose another leader.

Turner didn’t win, but the Liberals recovered, doubling their seats in the House of Commons. He resigned in 1990 and quit politics three years later, joining a Toronto law firm.

Despite his declining health, he was a mainstay at many Liberal events. He gave speeches reminding the party of its golden years, sprinkled with wild stories about life on the political trail.

Throughout his political career, he stuck to his convictions, took up unexpected causes — like legal aid and free trade — and kept the Liberals together during some of their darkest days.

Bad timing stopped Turner from realizing his full potential as a great prime minister. In the end, the public tired of him before he reached the top.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2020.

Source:- CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News

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