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'Stronger together': Canada honours COVID-19 victims a year into pandemic – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Marking a national day of observance to commemorate those who died due to COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says March 11, 2020 will be remembered as the day when life in Canada changed.

Delivering a speech in the House of Commons on Thursday, Trudeau said in a “heartbreaking” year with much loss, Canadians have showed persistence, solidarity, and compassion.

“Every Canadian we lost to this virus will be remembered. Every shift done by a frontline nurse, every mask made by a Canadian worker will not be forgotten. We are stronger together, today, tomorrow and always,” said Trudeau.

Thursday is the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring the novel coronavirus a pandemic. Worldwide, 118 million people have contracted COVID-19, and nearly three million people have died. Canada has reported more than 896,000 COVID-19 cases to date, with more than 22,000 related deaths.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole also honoured lives lost in his own speech to Parliament and recognized the unintended mental health and economic consequences of the pandemic.

“Youth mental health presenting as anxiety or eating disorders are alarmingly on the rise. The true cost of this pandemic on the lives and livelihoods of Canadians of all walks of life has been staggering,” O’Toole said.

He also thanked frontline health care workers who he said helped him personally. O’Toole and his wife tested positive for the virus in September, 2020.

The Conservative leader took issue with the pace of vaccine rollout in Canada, stating that businesses deserve to know when they can open up shop again. So far, more than two million Canadians have received their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. According to CTV News’ vaccine tracker, Canada ranks 55th in the world in population vaccinations.

“Like many Canadians, we’re frustrated by the slower pace of vaccines than elsewhere, but we want the government to succeed for the health and well-being of Canadians so we can get our lives back to normal,” said.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet used his time to also recognize teachers, health care and child care workers, and the most vulnerable.

“The pandemic has made the most vulnerable among us even more vulnerable. People who are isolated, who live in poverty, who suffer from anxiety are suffering even more,” he said speaking in French.

“Seniors are distressed in many ways as well, they are the most fragile among us.”

It was a sentiment shared by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh who has long advocated for better conditions for seniors living in long-term care, where COVID-19 hit hard and made an already grim situation worse.

“It is with great sadness when we reflect on who felt this pandemic the most and who bore the brunt of this pandemic, we come up with the answer that [it was] our seniors, particularly seniors living in long-term care,” he said. “It’s a national shame that’s the case.”

According to November data from Statistics Canada, Canadians age 85 and older have accounted for more than half of the excess deaths reported amid the pandemic.

HEALTH OFFICIALS REFLECT

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, who has become a trusted face since the pandemic began, providing almost daily updates about Canada’s fight to contain the virus, released a statement on Thursday noting how challenging the year has been.

“We have all made many sacrifices and have faced exceptional challenges, from balancing multiple roles and providing critical supports to Canadians in need, to financial uncertainty and experiencing a sense of loneliness and isolation; some have lost family and friends to COVID-19,” the statement reads.

Days earlier, Tam expressed optimism about Canada’s vaccination efforts following Health Canada’s approval of the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military general in charge of the logistical end of the vaccine rollout, told reporters on Wednesday that Canada was moving into its ramp-up phase in the national mass immunization campaign.

In total, by the end of June Canada is on track to receive 36.5 million doses and by the end of September a total of 117.9 million doses of currently-approved vaccines.

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti told CTV News Channel on Thursday that the past year has given Canada the opportunity to consider revising its approach when faced with a future pandemic.

“If something like this happens again, what can we do better? And I think one of the big things is we used a blunt tool – lockdown — and clearly that didn’t address all the very important structural inequities such as occupational health and [the pandemic] hitting marginalized people much harder than the rest of the population. It’s very important we address that,” he said.

Chakrabarti said the pandemic won’t completely expire anytime soon but he expects it will eventually take a different form.

“Especially in a place like Canada, where we have a temperate climate, we’ll likely see it in the winter time similar to influenza but it’s not going to be something that’s disruptive to our lives.”

With a file from CTV News’ Rachel Aiello

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Canadas Immigration Problems Solved by Invisible Border Walls

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Canadas’s immigration story is seen by the world as too liberal that gives them a good image through out but there seems to be some lesser-known information. It is not only liberal but conservative as well and they hide this fact all too well. This is only made possible by the invisible border walls that Canada has instore.

No this is not something out of sci-fi novel. This is actually true and will be discussed further down the article. But first we need to see what happen in the 1980s.

Since the 1980s, Canada has consistently been a high-immigration country, at least relative to the U.S. As a result, the proportion of Canadians born outside the country hit 21.9 percent in 2016. That same year, America’s foreign-born population was 13.4 percent. That’s a record high for the U.S.—but it’s been 115 years since Canada’s foreign-born population was at such a low level. As Derek Thompson put it in his article analyzing how Canada has escaped the “liberal doom loop,” Canada’s floor is America’s ceiling.

So, the question remain why has Canada managed to sustain popular acceptance and cross-party support for so much legal immigration?

Well firstly, this is because the intake of the Canadian population has been so law abiding and orderly so to be undisruptive and thus not being newsworthy. Canada unlike the neighbor USA is a country where mostly come in from the front door, in the open and during the daylight hours.

Everyone coming to Canada would have to apply from there home countries to come to Canada before they are granted access to the country, they have to go through a huge line of people already waiting after which they are subjected to extensive vetting by the Canadian authorities. Those who make the cut are then let in the country. In short it is not only you that chooses Canada but Canada would also have to choose you. For this to work.

For those who choose to trespass and try to enter Canada by illegal means well that where the invisible border walls come in. that right Canada has a border wall. In a sense of course. In fact, there are 5 of them. Four geographic and 1 bureaucratic. All of which have been effective at sustaining the legitimacy and popularity of Canada’s immigration policy.

Three of the walls are the dumb luck of geography: the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic oceans. You can cross the Aegean from Asia to Europe in a dinghy, but unless you can get your hands on a ship and a crew trained in navigating thousands of miles of difficult water, you aren’t sailing to Canada. So far in 2018, Canada has received exactly 10 asylum applications at sea ports.

The fourth wall is Canada’s southern border with the U.S. The world’s leading economy has historically been a magnet for people, not the reverse. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the volume of emigrants from Canada to the U.S. was at times so high that Canadians actually feared for the future of their country. The strength of the American economy long meant that few immigrants would think to use the U.S. as a back door into Canada.

The fifth wall is the bureaucratic barrier that Canadian governments, both Conservative and Liberal, have meticulously maintained to cover any gaps in the other defenses.

This is the underlying reason for Canada having an amazing immigration system, that would present itself as liberal but is actually more a concern of some natural luck.

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How to Immigration System in Canada has Changed Since the Covid-19

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Before we jump into the current situation we need to look into what Canada and its immigration system has been for people all around the world. Canada has been a keeper of refugees; for people that are involved in international controversies, religious persecution etc from there country of origin.

We see this in the 1947-1953 Canada welcomed thousands of Hungarians and Vietnamese “boat people”. In the late 1970s and Syrians in the 2010s.

This still continues to date since the immigration and retention of people from Hong Kong.

But all of this would begin to change since the beginning of the covid 19. The real question is Canada has suffered far worst and still managed to land on its feet. Will this time be different? Only time will tell.

The History of Immigration in Canada:

Canada has a history of coping with situation that limited its ability to accept newcomers to its country. The First World War saw immigration to Canada drop precipitously; in 1915, the intake was only 34,000 people (compared to over 400,000 just two years before).

In the 1920s we began to see an increase in numbers but again dropped sharply with the advent of the Great Depression, dipping still further with World War II. So, the drop in immigration to Canada resulting from the Coronavirus is far from unheralded in Canada’s history.

Canada has also seen great waves of immigration, particularly as part of a response to, and recovery from, challenges. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants poured into the country, many to the west, in the decade or so following the establishment of Saskatchewan and Alberta as provinces. Unlike many countries in Europe, which arguably had too many people and not enough land, Canada had the opposite problem.

After the calamity of the Second World War, Canada, unlike many other nations, had emerged strong and stable. But it was sorely lacking in the labor force and skills necessary for the great post-War economy and recovery taking place. Between 1946 and 1953, over 750,000 souls found a home in Canada.

Plans on Immigration After the Pandemic:

The government has announced a goal of settling over 1,200,000 new permanent residents in Canada from now until 2021-2023. In considerable measure, economic and population needs are the motivation for this ambitious plan. Marco Mendocino, the incumbent Immigration Minister, expressed it well in announcing the targets in the following statement:

“Immigration is essential … to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth … newcomers create jobs not just by giving our businesses the skills they need to thrive, but also by starting businesses themselves.”

Conclusion:

The pandemic has hit the world hard and well Canada has been no stranger to the virus, we have people lost lives and people that have suffered a lot financially and economically. This would have to turn around in the near future but until that happens Canada would have play there cards right for this to work out in the favor of the country and it’s citizens.

I personally think that Canada can still make a difference in the international world. If it were to continue to follow the plan it has set for itself. I am sure that this is going to be difficult but considering previous Canadian track record this is going to be something that Canada would be coming out of with potentially amazing results.

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Japan’s Suga visits for Biden’s first White House summit; China tops agenda

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By Trevor Hunnicutt and David Brunnstrom

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday became the first foreign leader to be hosted at the White House since President Joe Biden took office, underscoring Tokyo’s central role in U.S. efforts to counter China’s growing assertiveness.

The one-day summit offers the Democratic president a chance to work further on his pledge to revitalize U.S. alliances that frayed under his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

The meeting is expected to yield steps diversifying supply chains seen as over-reliant on China and a $2 billion commitment from Japan to work with the United States on alternatives to the 5G network of Chinese firm Huawei, a senior U.S. official said.

Biden and Suga also plan to discuss human rights issues related to China, including the situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the official said.

The summit, Biden’s first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader, is expected to produce a formal statement on Taiwan, a Chinese-claimed, self-ruled island under increasing military pressure from Beijing, said the official, who did not want to be identified.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Biden, in his talks with Suga, would address China’s “increasingly coercive action” on Taiwan, which is China’s most sensitive territorial issue.

It would be the first joint statement on Taiwan by U.S. and Japanese leaders since 1969. However, it appears likely to fall short of what Washington has been hoping from Suga, who inherited a China policy that sought to balance security concerns with economic ties when he took over as premier last September.

In a statement after a March meeting of U.S.-Japan officials, the two sides “underscored the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and shared “serious concerns” about human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

The U.S. official said that both countries, while not wanting to raise tensions or provoke China, were trying to send a clear signal that Beijing’s dispatch of warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense zone was incompatible with maintaining peace and stability.

A Japanese foreign ministry official said this week it had not been decided whether there would be a joint statement and two Japanese ruling party lawmakers familiar with the discussions said officials have been divided over whether Suga should endorse a strong statement on Taiwan.

The U.S. official said Washington would not “insist on Japan somehow signing on to every dimension of our approach” and added: “We also recognize the deep economic and commercial ties between Japan and China and Prime Minister Suga wants to walk a careful course, and we respect that.”

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Friday that China has expressed solemn concern about what he called “collusion” between Japan and the United States, and the countries should take China’s concerns seriously.

SUGA MEETS HARRIS

Suga met first with Vice President Kamala Harris and was then due to sit down with Biden in the Oval Office before holding a joint news conference. Earlier, Suga participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Japan highly praises and appreciates that the Biden-Harris administration puts high importance on cooperating with its allies and partners,” Suga told reporters as he began talks with Harris.

“There is no other time than today when the Japan-U.S. alliance needs to be strong,” he added, citing “a wide range of challenges.”

Harris said they would discuss “our mutual commitment in the Indo-Pacific.”

With his in-person summit with Suga, and another planned with South Korea in May, Biden – who took office on Jan. 20 – is working to focus on the Indo-Pacific region to deal with China’s rising power, which he sees as the critical foreign policy issue of the era.

He hopes to energize joint efforts with Australia, India and Japan, in a grouping known as the Quad, as well as with South Korea, to counter both China and longtime U.S. foe North Korea, and its increasingly threatening nuclear weapons program.

It requires a delicate balancing act given Japan and South Korea’s economic ties with China and currently frosty relations between Seoul and Tokyo.

Also expected to figure into the White House discussions are the summer Olympics due to be held in Tokyo. Psaki said the administration understands the careful considerations Japan is weighing as it decides whether to go ahead with the games. Japan is grappling with rising coronavirus infections with fewer than 100 days from the planned start.

The emphasis on Japan’s key status could boost Suga ahead of an election this year, but some politicians are pushing him for a tougher stance towards Beijing as it increases maritime activities in the East and South China Seas and near Taiwan.

The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada have all imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged abuses in Xinjiang and some Japanese lawmakers think Tokyo should adopt its own law allowing it to do the same, even as Japanese executives worry about a Chinese backlash.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Trevor Hunnicutt, additional reporting by Nandita Bose and Steve Holland; writing by David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick;Editing by Kieran Murray, Lincoln Feast and Chizu Nomiyama)

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