Connect with us

News

Soldier charged for criticizing vaccine mandates arrives in Ottawa amid protest fears

Published

 on

OTTAWA — A Canadian soldier charged for speaking out against COVID-19 vaccine requirements will march through Ottawa on Thursday, kicking off what organizers are promising — and residents fear — will be a new wave of protests throughout the summer.

Army reservist James Topp was charged in February with two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for comments made while wearing his uniform, and has since been leading a four-month march to the capital from Vancouver.

His march has been supported by many of the same figures involved in the “Freedom Convoy” that snarled downtown Ottawa for weeks until police used force to end what they and the government described as an illegal occupation.

His arrival in the capital and promises of a new round of protests starting Canada Day have set residents on edge. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and the city’s interim police chief, Steve Bell, have promised to crack down on any illegal activity.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the police are taking their responsibility to keep people safe during Canada Day celebrations “very seriously.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, meanwhile, called on those intending to protest in Ottawa this weekend to respect the law.

“Folks, be considerate this weekend, you’re going to Ottawa, be considerate. It’s Canada Day, we’re Canadians, just everyone have a good time, a safe time, stay healthy and safe and spend time with your families,” Ford said.

Ford said he is disappointed to see such protests return to the capital.

“I’m all for peaceful protests and you can demonstrate, but no shenanigans this weekend, just be peaceful and let the people of Ottawa enjoy their weekend,” he said.

“Honestly, we shouldn’t even be going through this. It’s disappointing, but it is what it is.”

More than two dozen Conservative MPs hosted Topp and other leading figures in the Freedom Convoy on Parliament Hill last week, posing for pictures, promising their support and listening to a lecture on the purported dangers of COVID-19 vaccines.

Health Canada says only vaccines that meet strict safety, efficacy and quality standards are approved for use in the country, and the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines continue to outweigh the risks of the disease. About 85 per cent of Canadians have received at least one dose.

Topp told the MPs that he was marching in part to get all vaccine mandates repealed, as well as to demand the reinstatement of anyone who lost their job because of such a requirement and compensation for wages lost.

At the same time, he and the others raised the spectre of civil war in describing the state of the country.

The charges against Topp relate to two videos posted online in the winter in which the army reservist appears in uniform criticizing vaccine requirements for military personnel and other federal employees.

Canadian Armed Forces members are severely restricted in the comments they can make while in uniform, particularly when it comes to criticizing government policies, in large part to protect the military from any perception of politicization.

His lawyer has argued such restrictions should not apply to policies that affect Armed Forces members personally.

Topp has said he has no plans to lead an occupation of the capital, and invited Ottawa police to work with him to facilitate his planned march through the city to the National War Memorial.

However, an organizer for a group calling itself Veterans 4 Freedom said in a recent video posted to YouTube that it plans to set up a semi-permanent camp east of Ottawa called “Camp Eagle” and hold events in the city all summer.

While police have since managed to prevent similar protests from taking over the city, stopping planned demonstrations from getting out of hand during Canada Day is likely to be complicated by the presence of thousands of people celebrating the holiday.

“We won’t be intimidated by any group that plans to disrupt the celebrations,” Mayor Jim Watson said during a briefing earlier this week. “We’re prepared and we will not tolerate any illegal activity by anyone.”

Bell said police are prepared for a number of different scenarios, and will respond quickly to any illegal activity, including efforts to set up structures such as stages.

In late April, the Ottawa Police Services Board approved a request from Bell to appoint up to 831 RCMP officers to help with the Rolling Thunder motorcycle events, and made those appointments valid until July 4.

The city is warning that vehicles will be ticketed and towed if they’re found violating no-stopping zones, although the full extent of the areas that will be off limits has not been determined.

Many Ottawa residents remain angry at how the city and police handled the “Freedom Convoy” protests, with several community groups banding together to launch a citizens’ inquiry into how that protest was handled.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.

 

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

News

Prime Minister travelling to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula today

Published

 on

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is resuming his summer politicking tour today with a trip to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula.

Trudeau is there to continue the summer meet and greets he started in July in other parts of Canada.

His planned events include visits to a farm, wind farm and a train retrofitting plant in New Richmond.

Trudeau’s last stop in the region came when he was in full pre-campaign mode just one month before he called a federal election.

This visit comes as the provincial government is set to go into an election where the future of French is sure to play a big role.

On Wednesday, new census data showed Gaspé to be the only region in the province where the share of people claiming French as their first language grew in the last five years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

News

80 years after Dieppe, postcards share stories of soldiers who died in deadly raid

Published

 on

Paris Eakins was 26 years old when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in November 1940 during the Second World War.

He was born in Minnedosa, Man., where he lived until he attended the University of Manitoba, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree. Eakins worked at his town’s newspaper and went on to join the sports department at the Winnipeg Free Press.

After he enlisted, Eakins worked his way to become a pilot officer in a fighter squadron based in England in 1941. The next year, he was killed in northern France during the disastrous Dieppe Raid. He was 27.

Eakins’ story is featured in a Canadian postcard campaign ahead of the 80th anniversary of the raid on Friday.

The Juno Beach Centre Association has sent 400 unique postcards to addresses across the country that share the name and fate of a serviceman whose records show once lived in those places.

“(We) encourage people to take a moment to consider the anniversary, to consider what happened to this individual who lived in their home or very nearby to them, 80 or more years ago,” said Alex Fitzgerald-Black, the association’s director.

The Dieppe Raid, known as Operation Jubilee, on Aug. 19, 1942, was the Canadian Army’s first major combat against Nazi Germany.

Canadian and British troops landed on beaches near the German-occupied French port with a mission to capture the town, destroy the port facilities and return to England with information that could give them an advantage.

Instead, the raid backfired and Operation Jubilee became Canada’s bloodiest day of the Second World War.

“It was the Canadian Army’s baptism of fire against Nazi Germany during the war. Unfortunately, it was a deadly failure,” said Fitzgerald-Black.

About 5,000 Canadian soldiers took part in the raid. In less than 10 hours of fighting, more than 800 died, with about 100 more later succumbing to their injuries. About another 2,000 became prisoners of war.

Preparations for the postcard campaign began at the end of last year. Employees and volunteers at the association went through the service files of those who were killed to see if they could link their old home addresses to a current one.

They were able to develop a list of addresses for half of those who died. The list skews toward addresses in urban settings because those who were from rural areas couldn’t be reproduced, said Fitzgerald-Black. Many went to cities in southern Ontario, as well as Montreal and Winnipeg.

The association also produced a temporary exhibition honouring the anniversary in Normandy, France.

A delegation of federal ministers, veterans, representatives of veterans and Indigenous organizations, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces travelled to France this week to take part in events marking the anniversary.

Three of the veterans participating served in the Second World War, including a survivor of the raid.

“It’s vitally important that we continue to recognize and honour the extraordinary service and sacrifice witnessed 80 years ago on the beaches of Dieppe,” Lawrence MacAulay, minister of veterans affairs, said in a release.

“As the living memory of this seminal moment fades, we as Canadians must ensure that the legacy of those who served Canada is never forgotten.”

Stories like Eakins’ have made an impression on Fitzgerald-Black.

He hopes the postcard project will help Canadians remember the people who died serving their country and those who survived.

“They’re not going to be around much longer to share these stories — the stories of their comrades who were killed during the raid,” he said.

“And so we hope that Canadians will continue to take up the torch to do this into the future.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.

 

Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press

Continue Reading

News

Census data shows linguistic diversity on the rise in Canada – Saanich News

Published

 on


A growing number of new immigrants to Canada are bringing with them increasingly diverse languages, setting a record for the number of Canadians whose mother tongue is neither English nor French, new 2021 census data reveals.

One in four people in Canada have a mother tongue other than English or French, and about 12 per cent of people predominantly speak a non-official language at home as of last year.

Proficiency in those languages tends to fade after a generation or two, however, Statistics Canada’s deputy head of the Centre for Demography said Wednesday.

“From 2016 to 2021, the number of Canadians who predominantly speak languages other than English and French at home grew significantly,” said Éric Caron-Malenfant at a media briefing.

The trend is mainly driven by immigration, and continued even during the pandemic when immigration slowed considerably due to COVID-19 health restrictions and related backlogs, Caron-Malenfant said.

The average age of new immigrants is typically between 25 and 35, he said.

“After that, when you have children in Canada, often more and more English and French will be spoken at home,” he said.

British Columbia speech-language pathologist June Cheung noticed that phenomenon play out in her own Cantonese-speaking family and community when she was growing up in Edmonton.

“My parents were the ones who originally immigrated here from Hong Kong whereas my siblings and I, we were all born here,” Cheung said in an interview.

“My parents would speak to my older brothers and myself in Chinese but often we would reply in English.”

The generational language shift inspired her masters thesis, which further showed how “heritage” language proficiency fades with each generation.

“By the time the second generation has kids, it’s very unlikely that they’ll choose to use a heritage language,” she said.

The trend was also true for French-speaking families outside of Quebec in most provinces, the census data shows.

The proportion of Canadians living outside Quebec whose first official language spoken is French was down to 3.3 per cent in 2021 from 3.6 per cent in 2016.

Statistics Canada attributes the decline to the fact that people whose first official language is French tend to be older, and haven’t consistently passed the language on to the next generation. Sometimes other languages can take over inside the home.

Cheung, who says she’s reinvested in her Cantonese-speaking skills, says fading language proficiency can create intergenerational divides.

“I can ask you where the bathroom is, versus being able to talk about your hopes and fears, your dreams,” she said. “It’s a lot harder to have those conversations sometimes if there is that language barrier.”

Mandarin and Punjabi are the most common non-official languages, with more than a million people predominantly speaking one of the two languages.

Statistics Canada noted a large increase in the growth of the number of Canadians who predominantly speak South Asian languages such as Punjabi, Gujarati, Hindi or Malayalam since the last census in 2016, a rise which was fuelled by immigration.

The growth rate of the population speaking South Asian languages was at least eight times greater than that of the overall Canadian population during the same period.

The massive increase in the growth of South Asian languages closely aligns with immigration trends from those countries.

At the same time, European languages like Italian, Polish and Greek are fading in Canada.

“This decline is primarily linked to the speakers of these languages aging, a significant proportion of whom emigrated to Canada before 1980,” Caron-Malenfant said.

Relatively few recent immigrants from those countries have recently landed in Canada, he said.

Regardless of their mother tongue, most people in Canada access services in one of the two official languages.

English and French are still by far the most common languages spoken in Canada and 90 per cent of Canadians speak at least one of the official languages.

—Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Proportion of French speakers declines nearly everywhere in Canada, including Quebec

RELATED: More Canadians report strong attachment to their language than to Canada: poll

CensusDiversity

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending