RCMP equity drive and Bell pulls Mulroney series; In The News for June 12

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 12th, 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 12 …

COVID-19 in Canada …

Alberta and Ontario are taking the next steps to reopening and getting life as close to normal as possible while COVID-19 lurks.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says everything from casinos, gyms and arenas to spas, movie theatres and pools will be allowed to reopen starting today.

Fifty people will be allowed to gather indoors and up to 100 will be able to congregate outside.

Ontario is allowing child-care centres to reopen as of today.

Child-care operators say they received a 20-page document with all the new rules for operating on Tuesday — hours after the province publicly announced centres could open.

Operators and advocates say there is no way most can implement a host of new COVID-19-era rules to open with just a few days’ notice.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says any centres that aren’t ready just shouldn’t open.

Also this …

A drive to make the RCMP’s workforce more diverse stalled last year as the Mounties struggled to become fully representative of the communities they police, newly available statistics show.

The national police force’s report on employment equity for 2018-19 says the diversity of the RCMP’s overall workforce had “not changed by any significant measure” from the previous year.

The proportion of women, visible minorities and disabled people also remained lower than the rates found in the general Canadian workforce, while the proportion of Indigenous employees was a notable exception.

“Diversity has traditionally been a challenge for police forces in Canada, and the RCMP is no exception,” says the report, recently tabled in Parliament.

The killing of a Black man by police in Minnesota has set off a global wave of calls for law-enforcement agencies to fundamentally address entrenched racism and the oppression of minorities.

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has acknowledged her police force can improve. But she has stopped short of endorsing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assessment that the force, like all Canadian institutions, faces systemic racism.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

States are rolling back lockdowns, but the coronavirus isn’t done with the U.S.

Cases are rising in nearly half the states, according to an Associated Press analysis, a worrying trend that could intensify as people return to work and venture out during the summer.

In Arizona, hospitals have been told to prepare for the worst. Texas has more hospitalized COVID-19 patients than at any time before. And the governor of North Carolina said recent jumps caused him to rethink plans to reopen schools or businesses.

There is no single reason for the surges. In some cases, more testing has revealed more cases. In others, local outbreaks are big enough to push statewide tallies higher. But experts think at least some are due to lifting stay-at-home orders, school and business closures, and other restrictions put in place during the spring to stem the virus’s spread.

The increase in infections pulled stocks down sharply Thursday on Wall Street, dragging the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than 1,800 points lower and giving the S&P 500 its worst day in nearly three months. The infections deflated recent optimism that the economy could recover quickly from its worst crisis in decades.

COVID-19 in entertainment …

Reduced crowd scenes. Fewer people on set. COVID-19 testing. Handwashing stations.

Those are some of the health and safety protocols Canadian film and TV producers are mulling over for their projects as provinces including British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec ease pandemic restrictions that shut down the industry in mid-March.

But despite such measures, many independent producers can’t set a date to roll cameras yet because of a key issue: insurance.

The Canadian Media Producers Association says insurance companies that service the film and TV industry are excluding from their new production policies any coverage for COVID-19 on a go-forward basis.

That means a large number of Canadian productions that didn’t have insurance policies in place before COVID-19 — including the long-running series “Heartland” — can’t take the financial risk of starting up only to have the virus shut down the project.

The CMPA recently developed a proposal with a “market-based solution” to the problem asking the federal government to serve as a backstop.

The proposal says producers would pay premiums to access COVID-19 coverage, which would go into a dedicated pot to pay for potential claims. The government would only contribute financially, through a proposed $100-million backstop, if the funds generated though the sale of the policies were insufficient to cover the claims made.

Also this…

Bell Media pulled Jessica Mulroney’s reality series “I Do, Redo” off the air Thursday after the celebrity stylist was accused by Sasha Exeter of threatening the Toronto lifestyle influencer’s career and trying to “silence a Black woman” during the anti-Black racism movement.

Exeter said in an Instagram video Wednesday that the dispute started when she put out a call on social media for her peers to use their platform to support Black voices.

Exeter said Mulroney, who had not been speaking up about the movement on social media at that time, mistook her call to action for a personal attack and threatened her in writing last week.

Exeter accused Mulroney of lashing out at her several times since then, including a claim that she was speaking with companies about Exeter’s behaviour, which could jeopardize any potential brand partnerships.

“That’s a threat to my livelihood — and for her to threaten me, a single mom, a single Black mom, during a racial pandemic blows my mind,” said Exeter, who used to be an acquaintance of Mulroney’s. “It’s absolutely unbelievable.”

The media company issued a statement Thursday saying it had removed Mulroney’s show, which recently launched its first season, from all of its platforms.

COVID-19 in sports …

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association have given the go-ahead for teams to open training camp on July 10.

The league and union have already approved a 24-team playoff format, but still need to decide on testing and health and safety protocols along with potential host cities for the games.

“I think safety’s first and foremost,” Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel said earlier this week. “I still think there’s a lot to go into it.”

Camps are expected to last two weeks, if not slightly longer. Under this timeline, exhibition games could begin as soon as July 24 with playoff games starting roughly a week later.

Setting a July 10 start for camps allows players to make arrangements to return to their home cities in light of quarantine regulations in the U.S. and Canada.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said recently 17 per cent of the league’s players were overseas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2020

The Canadian Press


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