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Trudeau exploits rival’s split on vaccines as parliament reconvenes

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Canada’s vaccine mandate for members of parliament is helping Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau exploit divisions in the opposition Conservative Party, some of whose lawmakers will be shut out when the House of Commons reconvenes next week.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, whose party finished second in seats in the Sept. 20 election, has been unable to persuade a portion of his caucus to get inoculated against COVID-19, which means those legislators will not be let into the House when it reopens on Monday.

The party declines to say how many of its parliamentary members are unvaccinated. O’Toole encourages the use of vaccines and says his caucus will follow House rules, but some leading figures in his party want accommodations.

The party split is undermining O’Toole as he fights to ward off a leadership review. Late on Tuesday, the party removed Conservative Senator Denise Batters from its national caucus after she launched a petition to oust O’Toole, saying he was a poor and untrustworthy leader.

“I will not tolerate an individual discrediting and showing a clear lack of respect towards the efforts of the entire Conservative caucus,” O’Toole said in a statement.

To appease the right wing of his party, O’Toole opposed vaccine mandates during the campaign https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-pandemic-election-unvaccinated-candidates-are-knocking-doors-2021-08-23 and allowed his candidates not to be inoculated, even though most Conservative voters embraced vaccines.

“The vaccination issue is sort of coming back and repeating on the (Conservative) party as its absolute worst liability,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, a research foundation.

O’Toole is “a leader who clearly does not feel he can push back in a strong way against that libertarian-minded, freedom-minded segment of the Conservative caucus,” she added.

Trudeau narrowly won https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-trudeau-may-cling-power-election-looks-unlikely-secure-majority-2021-09-20 the September election and ended up with another minority government that forces him to depend on opposition parties to pass legislation.

The two other main opposition parties side with the Liberals on vaccines, isolating the Conservatives in what a senior government source called a “dangerous and risky” position on COVID-19 as cases spike again across the country.

TOUGH STANCE

Speaking to his caucus last week for the first time since the election, Trudeau chided the Conservatives for “stepping up to stand against vaccination, to stand against science, to stand against being there for each other.”

Trudeau’s tough https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/unvaccinated-federal-workers-canada-will-be-put-unpaid-leave-globe-mail-2021-10-06 stance on vaccine mandates is putting some 13,000 civil servants on unpaid leave because of their refusal to get inoculated, a move supported by 70% of Canadians, according to a recent EKOS Research poll.

Some 85% of eligible Canadians have been vaccinated.

In the U.S. Congress, CNN has reported that all Democrats are vaccinated, while some Republican members openly say they are not. There is a mask requirement in Congress, but no vaccine requirement. Canada also has a mask requirement while in parliament.

Conservative lawmaker Marilyn Gladu, who challenged O’Toole in a party leadership race last year, is forming a “civil liberties” working group of 15 to 30 members to stand up for privacy and for a “reasonable accommodation” for unvaccinated workers.

Leslyn Lewis, who also ran for the party leadership last year, has tweeted her opposition to vaccine mandates, as have a handful of others.

Garry Keller, a former senior Conservative Party staffer who is now vice president at public affairs consultancy Strategy Corp, said it is fine to quietly discuss the differences within the caucus.

“But generally speaking, this is a loser of an issue amongst the vast majority of Canadian voters, so why do you want to go down this road?”

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)

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COVID-19 shows up in Canadian wildlife for first time with three Quebec deer infected – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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OTTAWA – For the first time, the COVID-19 virus has been detected in Canadian wildlife.

Environment Canada says the virus was detected late last month in three wild white-tailed deer in Quebec.

The department says the deer all appeared healthy and showed no clinical signs of COVID-19.

The discovery follows recent reports of the virus spreading among white-tailed deer in the United States.

There has so far been no known transmission of COVID-19 from deer to humans and Environment Canada says it remains “largely a disease of human concern and typically spreads from human to human.”

Still, until more is known, it says anyone exposed to respiratory tissues and fluids from deer should wear a well-fitting mask and avoid splashing of fluids as much as possible.

COVID-19 has infected multiple species of animals, including dogs, cats, farmed mink and zoo animals. But this is the first time in Canada that it has spilled over into wildlife.

Deer in the Estrie region of Quebec were sampled Nov. 6 to 8. The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease confirmed the virus in three of them on Monday. The World Organisation for Animal Health was notified on Wednesday.

“As this is the first detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife in Canada, information on the impacts and spread of the virus in wild deer populations is currently limited,” Environment Canada said in a news release Wednesday.

“This finding emphasizes the importance of ongoing surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife to increase our understanding about SARS-CoV-2 on the human-animal interface.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.

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KFL&A reports 34 new COVID-19 cases, 304 active – Globalnews.ca

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The Kingston region is once again over the 300 active cases mark, as Wednesday’s 34 new cases bring the daily active case count to 304.

Of the new cases, 10 are in the five-to-11 age group.

Nineteen people remain in hospital, with 11 of those cases are in the intensive care unit. Six people are on ventilators.

Read more:

COVID-19 — Influx of cases causing strain on Kingston hospitals

The cases per 100,000 over the past week is up slightly to 104.7, from 102.8 Tuesday.

The rise in cases locally has also forced the postponing of at least one local event. The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was scheduled to have its grand opening on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have significant impacts throughout our communities, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is committed to supporting the community through this time of heightened risk and uncertainty,” the Marine Museum said in a statement Wednesday.

“We consider the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors paramount.”


Click to play video: 'As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts'



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As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts


As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Roussin takes aim at HIV stigma – Brandon Sun

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Wednesday was World AIDS Day and the province is getting behind the message to end the stigma of the disease.

There were 117 new cases of HIV identified in the province in 2020, slightly fewer than in 2019.

“Even though there are fewer cases, there was also significantly less testing,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday.

“Around 25 per cent of people with HIV are unaware they have it, and that can contribute to the spread.”

The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to be a significant public health issue in the province. Roussin said the populations most at risk are also facing problems of accessibility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roussin urged people who may be at risk to get regular testing and speak to their health-care providers regarding prevention, testing and treatment options.

All these services are confidential and free of charge.

Those living with HIV are also encouraged to stay connected to care and treatments.

Roussin said it is considered a chronic infection and there are effective treatments for HIV, with many being able to get the virus level down to undetectable levels and minimizing risk of transmitting it to other people.

» The Brandon Sun

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