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Floyd mourned in Minneapolis and march in Ottawa; In The News for June 5

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 5th, 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 June 5 …

What we are watching in Canada …

Demonstrators plan to march from Parliament Hill through Ottawa streets in mid-afternoon today to honour black lives lost at the hands of police.

A similarly themed Toronto march is slated to proceed south in the early afternoon from the Bloor-Yonge subway station, circling back north to city hall.

The demonstrations follow days of protests across the United States after a video showed Minneapolis police killing a black man, George Floyd, unleashing a torrent of anger over persistent racism.

A police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.

The Ottawa event is being organized by No Peace Until Justice, formed by a young black woman.

The group says its goal is to bring together black activists and organizations and allies to stand in solidarity against police brutality and societal racism.

Also this …

Statistics Canada will provide a new snapshot today of the job market as it stood last month with expectations that figures will show a continued bleeding of jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than three million jobs were lost over March and April as restrictions to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus were put in place.

The average economist estimate is for the loss of 500,000 jobs in May and for the unemployment rate to rise to 15.0 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

If that happens, it will push the unemployment rate past the 13.1 per cent set in December 1982 to its highest level in more than four decades of comparable data.

The actual figure will be influenced by how many people gave up looking for a job because they are not counted in the unemployment rate.

In April, the unemployment rate would have been 17.8 per cent instead of 13 per cent had the report counted among the unemployed those who stopped looking for work — likely because the economic shutdown has limited job opportunities.

COVID-19 in Canada …

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is to offer premiers billions in federal funding to help them safely reopen provincial and territorial economies without triggering an explosive second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Trudeau is expected to present the offer to premiers during their weekly conference call today — the twelfth such call since the pandemic sent the country into lockdown in mid-March.

Precise details, including how to allocate each province’s share of the cash, are to be negotiated in the coming days, but federal officials hope agreements can be reached quickly to get the money flowing fast.

The offer comes with some strings attached, according to federal officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

Trudeau is offering to transfer the money to provincial and territorial governments, provided they agree to spend it on a number of areas the federal government considers necessary to reduce the risk of a second surge of the deadly coronavirus.

They include testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment, bolstering municipalities, helping the most vulnerable Canadians and strengthening the health care system, possibly including improving conditions in long-term care homes linked to more than 80 per cent of the deaths in Canada so far.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

Celebrities, musicians and political leaders gathered in front of George Floyd’s golden casket Thursday for a fiery memorial service for the man whose death at the hands of police sparked global protests, with a civil rights leader declaring it is time for black people to demand, “Get your knee off our necks!”

The service — the first in a series of memorials set for three cities over six days — unfolded in Minneapolis at a sanctuary at North Central University as a judge a few blocks away set bail at $750,000 each for the three fired police officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death.

“George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. Because ever since 401 years ago, the reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is you kept your knee on our neck,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a fierce eulogy. “It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks!’”

Floyd, a 46-year-old out-of-work bouncer, died May 25 after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, put his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he lay handcuffed on the pavement, gasping that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin has been charged with murder, and he and the others could get up to 40 years in prison.

From coast to coast, and from Paris and London to Sydney and Rio de Janeiro, the chilling cellphone video of Floyd’s slow death has set off turbulent and sometimes violent demonstrations against police brutality, racism and inequality. Some protests continued Thursday.

Those gathered at the Minneapolis tribute stood in silence for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was alleged to be on the ground under the control of police.

COVID-19 in Sports …

The NHL’s return-to-play plan came into even sharper focus Thursday.

If the league is able to resume the pandemic-hit 2019-20 season this summer, its playoffs will feature the usual four rounds of best-of-seven series after the qualifying portion of the schedule.

The NHL announced the 24-team format last week, but had yet to iron out some of the specifics, including whether or not the first two rounds of the playoffs would be best-of-five or best-best of seven.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a 22-team format for restarting the league season in late July at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida.

The format calls for each team playing eight games to determine playoff seeding plus the possible utilization of a play-in tournament for the final spot in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference post-season fields. The National Basketball Players Association has a call on Friday to approve the plan as well.

ICYMI (In case you missed it) …

Tomas Manasek says he’s thrilled that his beliefs about Alberta independence didn’t end up costing him his personalized FREE AB licence plate.

Manasek won a battle to get a licence plate initially rejected by the Alberta Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

A rejection letter said the plate didn’t fit within the department’s guidelines.

“They said it doesn’t fit with the guidelines of the program and that they have a right to refuse anything deemed inappropriate. I guess asking for freedom and democracy is deemed inappropriate,” Manasek said.

Manasek, an Alberta Independence Party candidate in last year’s provincial election, fought the ruling with help from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.

“This plate is not offensive. It’s not vulgar, so I fail to see any reasons for the rejection,” he says

“My personal views shouldn’t make a difference. I think our democracy is strong enough to be generous. I’m entitled to my views and I am entitled to promote them.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2020

The Canadian Press

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