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Update on COVID-19 emergency aid and the CFL in peril; In The News for April 30

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Apr 30th, 2020

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of April 30 …

COVID-19 in Canada …

OTTAWA — Canadians will get an update today on two of the costliest emergency aid programs the federal government has initiated to help them weather the COVID-19 crisis.

The parliamentary budget officer is scheduled to post a costing note on the 75 per cent wage subsidy — a program the government expects to cost $73 billion and which it has called the largest economic policy in Canada since the Second World War.

Yves Giroux is also expected to post a costing note on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which is providing $2,000 a month for four months to Canadians forced out of work due to the pandemic.

The government has estimated the cost of that program at $35 billion, but has expanded the eligibility criteria several times to add those initially left out, including workers earning up to $1,000 per month, seasonal workers and those who have exhausted their regular employment insurance benefits.

In total, the federal government has so far poured $145 billion into emergency aid and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised more to come, including for seniors.

In other Canadian news …

OTTAWA — The search continues today for a Canadian military helicopter that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea while participating in a NATO exercise off the coast of Greece.

Greek state broadcaster ERT was first to report that a Canadian military helicopter had gone down in the water between Italy and Greece on Wednesday.

The broadcaster later said one body had been found and five others on board were missing.

The Canadian Armed Forces says the Cyclone was deployed on board the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton.

Cyclone helicopters carry a crew of four, including two pilots, a tactical operator and a sensor operator with space for several passengers.

They are primarily based on naval vessels and used for hunting submarines, surveillance and search and rescue.

Also this …

REGINA — Kelly Knowles is a hair stylist in Regina who could go back to work next month, but right now her son’s daycare is only accepting children of essential workers.

She says without a daycare, she can’t start booking clients in her salon.

Experts say provinces planning to relax public health restrictions around COVID-19 and reopen businesses have to first deal with the issue of child care.

Jennifer Robson, a professor in political management at Carleton University, says without child care, parents with young kids who have the chance to go back to work will have to decide who stays home.

And she says often because of gender roles and a gap in pay, it’s women.

Robson says for the economy to fully recover and household incomes to rebound, women need to get back to work and child care is essential for that.

Lindsay Tedds, a professor of economics at the University of Calgary, says most women have already borne the brunt of the pandemic and, without child-care, that could be exacerbated.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A memo sent to California police chiefs says Gov. Gavin Newsom will order all beaches and state parks closed starting Friday to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The California Police Chiefs Association sent the bulletin to its members Wednesday evening. Association President Eric Nunez said it was sent to give chiefs time to plan ahead of Newsom’s expected announcement today.

Most state parks already are closed and many communities have shut their beaches, but some of those open in Ventura and Orange counties attracted large crowds last weekend, drawing Newsom’s ire. He called them an example of “what not to do” if the state wants to continue its progress in fighting the virus.

In Washington, the federal government’s physical distancing guidelines are soon to expire, and President Donald Trump says he’s not extending them.

Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is predicting that the country will be “really rocking again” by July.

The White House’s “30 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines expire today.

COVID-19 around the world …

JERUSALEM — Physical distancing doesn’t come naturally in Israel. But the country, known for its informal, in-your-face mentality, seems to be setting a new standard for public demonstrations in the age of coronavirus.

During the past two weekends, thousands of people have gathered in organized geometric patterns in Tel Aviv’s central square to comply with social distancing rules as they express their anger over the continued rule of a prime minister charged with serious crimes.

The demonstrations, resembling a vast glowing human matrix in stunning aerial photos, have become a poignant symbol of the country’s duelling political and health challenges.

COVID-19 in sports …

TORONTO — Toronto Mayor John Tory has been in a similar spot to where CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie finds himself today.

And just like when he was commissioner during troubling times before the turn of the century, Tory believes the CFL can survive its latest crisis.

On Tuesday, Ambrosie divulged the CFL is asking the federal government for up to $150 million in federal assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal involves $30 million now to manage the current affect the novel coronavirus outbreak has had on league business, and up to another $120 million if the 2020 campaign is cancelled.

Ambrosie added the league’s long-term future would be in peril if the season was wiped out.

Tory served as a volunteer CFL commissioner from 1996-2000. During his first season, the league did not have enough cash to pay Edmonton Eskimos and Toronto Argonauts players in the Grey Cup game in Hamilton.

Fortunately, Tim Hortons provided the league with extra funds to ensure the players’ cheques would clear.

“I’ve seen it at that level of despair,” Tory said. “We came back from that to the point where the league was very strong over the last number of years.

“It’s just now this pandemic has (brought) many very well-run organizations to their knees and the CFL has the same kind of problems many other businesses in Canada have.”

In 1997, the CFL faced another financial crisis that threatened its survival. But the league secured a much-needed US$3-million loan as part of a partnership with the NFL that it ultimately repaid, with interest.

So, Tory isn’t surprised to hear the CFL is having problems once again.

“The fact they’ve turned to government, to me, would be part of what I think they should do.”

But Tory said that’s not all the CFL could be doing to help remedy the situation.

“To me, I think they should show a little, good old-fashioned CFL creativity,” he said. “Turn to the TV networks and say, ‘OK, what can you do,’ because the TV networks are the beneficiary of having this great Canadian game that attracts a lot of interest around the country.”

Then Tory would look to CFL owners.

“I’d say, ‘OK, what can you do,’ knowing some of them in places like Regina are community owners and they can’t do as much,” Tory said. “But there could be something, I think, the owners could do collectively.”

Tory would also get CFL fans involved.

“If you sort of do the math, I think I’m right in saying they’d have about 100,000 fans a week,” he said. “Maybe you could have a bit of a campaign among the fans with each buying sort of a membership into the CFL.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press


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