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Scaled-down ceremonies mark Remembrance Day across Canada

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The boom of a gun rang out in the sky above Ottawa at 11 a.m. ET to mark the start of a moment of silence, but the tens of thousands of people who normally gather to mark Remembrance Day in the nation’s capital weren’t there in person to hear it.

Instead, a much smaller crowd of a couple of hundred dignitaries, active service members, veterans and members of the public gathered at the National War Memorial while Canadians across the country tuned in to the ceremony online or on TV.

The scaled-down ceremony in Ottawa reflected the need to avoid large gatherings because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s incredibly important that no matter what is going on we remember our veterans, we remember this moment, we have that moment of silence,” said Gen. Johnathan Vance, the country’s top military commander.

“It’s comforting to people that we can still do some of these normal, important national moments even though there’s a pandemic.”

The ceremony featured some traditional elements — including the playing of the Last Post and the ceremonial laying of wreaths at the foot of the memorial — while others were cancelled or scaled back.

A lone singer from the Ottawa Children’s choir sang O Canada instead of the usual chorus of voices from  the choir that sing the national anthem.

 

People take part in Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Grand Parade in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

 

There was a special emphasis on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War after many commemorations planned for earlier this year in Europe and elsewhere were cancelled because of the pandemic.

But most observances of Canada’s wartime sacrifices are expected to be extremely small after the Royal Canadian Legion explicitly discouraged Canadians from attending Remembrance Day ceremonies, instead asking people to watch TV or tune in online. Around 30,000 people normally turn out for the national ceremony.

“It’s completely against what we [normally] want … but this year is a completely different situation. Everybody’s health is in jeopardy being in close quarters. We don’t want any sort of spread of the disease due to this particular remembrance ceremony,” said Danny Martin, who organized the ceremony in Ottawa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived at the National War Memorial Wednesday morning, along with his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau. Both wore masks, as did others in attendance.

Other participants at the ceremony near Parliament Hill, where a crowd of thousands normally turns out to watch the solemn events, included Gov. Gen. Julie Payette and Debbie Sullivan, this year’s Silver Cross Mother.

Sullivan’s son, Chris Saunders, was a naval officer who was killed after a fire broke out on HMCS Chicoutimi, a submarine that was on its way to Canada in October 2004.

Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, also attended in person. There was a small military parade with a band, but no parade of veterans down the street.

There was a special emphasis on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War after many commemorations planned for earlier this year in Europe and elsewhere were cancelled because of the pandemic.

But most observances of Canada’s wartime sacrifices are expected to be extremely small after the Royal Canadian Legion explicitly discouraged Canadians from attending Remembrance Day ceremonies, instead asking people to watch TV or tune in online.

“It’s completely against what we [normally] want … but this year is a completely different situation. Everybody’s health is in jeopardy being in close quarters. We don’t want any sort of spread of the disease due to this particular remembrance ceremony,” said Danny Martin, who organized the ceremony in Ottawa.

Many other legion branches across the country have also prepared stripped-down ceremonies, with parades by veterans and serving military personnel cancelled and wreaths laid before the events.

Private ceremonies are also being planned by long-term care facilities that are home to some of Canada’s oldest surviving veterans, many of whom might normally attend a local commemoration but who are at particularly high risk for COVID-19.

In a statement issued earlier Wednesday, Trudeau had encouraged Canadians to mark Remembrance Day despite the pandemic.

“Even if we are not able to gather in person today, we can still take the time to honour and remember our veterans and the fallen, especially this year as we mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War,” Trudeau said.

 

 

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole echoed the sentiment in a Wednesday-morning statement.

“Reflection, remembrance, and respect — these are not actions that can only happen during parades or at cenotaphs. They are emotional acts we will uphold during a year when Canadians have dedicated themselves to adapting and persevering through these challenging times,” he said.

Payette released a video message featuring interviews with Second World War veterans.

“It’s been 75 years since the end of the Second World War. Our veterans won many battles at great sacrifice. Over 43,000 Canadians died. Many more came home wounded and carrying psychological scars from years of conflict, something that wasn’t talked about much at the time,” Payette said.

“We remember them. Today and always.”

Modest ceremony in St. John’s

A modest crowd gathered around the National War Memorial in St. John’s Wednesday morning. They lifted their heads following two minutes of silence as a Cormorant helicopter soared over the harbour and the memorial below.

Residents of St. John’s were asked to observe the 11 a.m. Remembrance Day moment of silence from their doorways this year, to keep safe in the global pandemic. Still, about 100 onlookers gathered along Water and Duckworth Streets by the memorial to pay their respects to soldiers lost in war. They wore masks as they bowed their heads, distanced from each other.

Derek Windsor attended with a picture of his father, Harold, in hand. Harold Windsor served for three years in the Korean War and passed away in 2011 at the age of 79.

“I know social distancing is important but I really felt it important to remember him today,” said Windsor. “I really hope that we’re able to get back to some sort of normal … It’s really important that we’re here as a group of citizens to make sure that we remember.”

Premier Andrew Furey and federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan laid wreaths of the foot of the memorial as cannon shots echoed out over the water and through The Narrows.

Source – CBC.ca

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3 Nova Scotians appointed to the Order of Canada – CBC.ca

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Three Nova Scotians have been appointed to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours.

They are among the 114 appointees announced Friday.

The list includes eight companions, 21 officers, one honorary member and 84 members. The full list can be found here.

“Created in 1967, the Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation,” said a statement on the office of the Governor General’s website.

Appointments are made by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. More than 7,000 Canadians have received the honour since its inception.

Jeff Dahn of Halifax, who has led groundbreaking research on lithium-ion batteries, was appointed as an officer.

Dahn is considered a pioneer of lithium-ion battery research. (Jill English/CBC)

In 2017, he won the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering for his work in making batteries increasingly efficient. He also won a Governor General’s Award for Innovation in 2016.

Dahn works out of a lab at Dalhousie University. He also began a five-year research partnership with Tesla In 2016.

In the statement, the Governor General’s office also commended him for “his mentorship and adroit bridging of academia and industry.”

Dahn could not be reached for comment Sunday.

‘It’s humbling’

Meanwhile, Dr. Ken Wilson and John Eyking were appointed as members.

Wilson, a plastic surgeon in the Halifax area, was appointed “for his nationally recognized expertise in reconstructive and plastic surgery, and for his volunteer work on international medical missions.”

“It’s humbling, but a very nice addition to a great career,” Wilson said of the honour.

In the mid-80s, Wilson became the first person east of Montreal to dedicate himself to doing plastic surgery for children.

“It was a very satisfying thing for me to be able to look after a lot of the children who have either had to travel, or that hadn’t had, sometimes, the attention they would’ve had otherwise,” he said.

Wilson has spent more than 30 years doing plastic and reconstructive surgery for children. (Submitted by Ken Wilson)

In the mid-90s, Wilson began working with Operation Smile, an organization that provides surgeries and dental care to children with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. He travelled a couple times a year to do surgery in underdeveloped countries, and he estimates he went on about 46 missions.

In the late 1990s, Wilson became the chief of surgery at the IWK children’s hospital in Halifax, a position he held for more than a decade.

He stopped practising five years ago, but Wilson now works as a medical consultant for Doctors Nova Scotia and is chair of the board for Operation Smile Canada.

“It was a wonderful career,” said Wilson. “I gotta say, I’ve been very lucky over the years to have the opportunity to do what I did.”

While there is no ceremony this year due to COVID-19, Wilson was mailed his snowflake insignia, as well as a “lovely book” detailing the history of the Order of Canada and the many recipients over the years.

‘All in a day’s work’

Eyking, a farmer and entrepreneur who founded Eyking Farms, was recognized for his “personal and professional dedication to the Cape Breton community, particularly within the agriculture industry.”

Eyking, of Millville, N.S., immigrated to Canada in 1963 from the Netherlands. He started a farm, which later grew into a family operation run by him, his wife and their 10 children.

He is also an inductee of the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Reached by phone Sunday, Eyking, 89, was modest about his appointment. He credited his farm’s accomplishments to the work of his large family.

“For me, it was all in a day’s work and I enjoyed it,” he said.

He, too, received a parcel from the Order of Canada, and said he enjoyed the book.

“There’s quite a few Cape Bretoners in there,” he said.

The recipients will be invited to accept their insignia at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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Ottawa extends international travel restrictions citing COVID-19 risk – CBC.ca

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The federal government has extended existing international travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring entry to most travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents or people entering from the U.S. for “essential” reasons.

In a news release issued Sunday, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21.

Similarly, restrictions on travellers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21, as will the mandatory requirement for anyone who is granted entry to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

Emergency orders brought forward on Mar. 16 banned most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.

By extending the expiration dates to the 21st of the month, today’s change brings the timing of the international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.

Both have been regularly extended since March.

“The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe,” the release said.

“The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021 will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers.”

International travel restrictions on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals seeking to enter Canada from the U.S. will be extended until Dec. 21. (Rob Gurdebeke/The Canadian Press)

Exemption for amateur sports events

The release also said the government will begin accepting applications from “high-performance amateur sport organizations” seeking to hold single sport events in Canada. Applicants will need to show they have a plan to protect public health that is approved by provincial or territorial officials and the relevant local health authorities in order to be considered.

Sport Canada, which is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, will be responsible for authorizing such events, in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the release said.

More than 1,300 professional athletes have been issued national interest exemptions, which allow those who don’t qualify under current COVID-19-related restrictions to travel to Canada, or to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine when they arrive.

Last month, the federal government expanded the eligibility for people coming from the U.S. on compassionate grounds. Those changes governing family reunification have been broadened to include exceptions for certain extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents including couples who have been dating for at least a year, including their children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents. 

Despite travel restrictions, more than five million arrivals into Canada have been allowed to skip the 14-day quarantine requirement, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency, mainly because they’re essential workers.

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