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Meng’s defence team to argue for admission of evidence to bolster its case

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Mar 1st, 2021

VANCOUVER — The chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei is set to return to the British Columbia Supreme Court today for arguments over the admission of evidence in her extradition case.

Meng Wanzhou’s defence team alleges the evidence will prove that international bank HSBC was aware of the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, a subsidiary of the technology company.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport in December 2018 at the request of United States authorities over claims she misrepresented that relationship, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

She is wanted on fraud charges in the United States that both she and Huawei deny.

Later this week, the court is expected to hear her team argue that former U.S. president Donald Trump used Meng as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with China and that she should be released.

Her team alleges she was subjected to an abuse of process but Canada’s attorney general says that argument is irrelevant now that Trump is out of office.

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

The Canadian Press

How can we learn to embrace boredom?

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Mar 1st, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, even without a global pandemic, we’re spending less and less time just doing nothing. The urge to check our phone every 20 minutes is the same urge that leads us to online shopping and bread making and … anything else to distract us from our current predicament.

But what if we could learn to turn our boredom into a strength? If we could train ourselves to once again sit quietly in the moments we get to ourselves? It’s no secret the past year has taken a toll on our mental health. But can we help ourselves by embracing the stillness forced upon us?

GUEST: Mark Hawkins, author of The Power of Boredom

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 26th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 55,116 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,707,398 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,505.094 per 100,000.

There were 3,510 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,043,599 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 83.55 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 26,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,176 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 76.758 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 93.34 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 5,716 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 30,748 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.507 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 10,166 new vaccinations administered for a total of 387,076 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 45.237 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 509,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 19,112 new vaccinations administered for a total of 621,960 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.342 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 2,688 new vaccinations administered for a total of 69,060 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 50.152 per 1,000. There were 3,510 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 102,360 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.47 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 2,091 new vaccinations administered for a total of 65,436 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.494 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 110.2 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 9,000 new vaccinations administered for a total of 195,572 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.428 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 9,008 new vaccinations administered for a total of 239,883 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 46.746 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 307,849 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.92 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 810 new vaccinations administered for a total of 15,174 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 363.615 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 80.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 184 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,257 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 187.393 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 47.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

A note of optimism on the climate crisis

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Feb 26th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, temperatures are rising everywhere. Severe weather is becoming more common. And climate disasters are becoming an increasing part of our lives. So it can feel like we’re hurtling off a cliff.

But in the past few years, we’ve also made incredible progress on reducing emissions, renewable energy and other efforts—so much so that the grimmest of possible futures is much less likely to occur. It can feel like a naive question to ask, but are we turning a corner in our fight to save the Earth?

GUEST: David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Health Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 26th, 2021

Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, the third to be given the green light for national use.

Details of the approval and when Canadians might see doses begin arriving are due at a technical briefing later this morning in Ottawa.

Canada has pre-ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was co-developed by researchers at the University of Oxford.

It will also receive up to 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX by the end of June.

Vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna had already been approved by Health Canada.

Approximately 1.7 million doses of those formulas have been administered in Canada.


RELATED: Health Canada reviewing Johnson & Johnson vaccine


Health Canada is also reviewing two other vaccines.

Approval of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine will likely not come until early March and Novavax is not expected until April.

The European Union has also approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca formulas.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s formulations, requires refrigeration and takes two doses for maximum efficacy.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 25th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 49,917 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,652,282 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,359.666 per 100,000.

There were 36,279 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,040,089 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 80.99 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were 2,340 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 26,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,020 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,630 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 73.316 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 5,188 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 29,237 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 29.959 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 10,932 new vaccinations administered for a total of 376,910 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.049 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 509,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 17,141 new vaccinations administered for a total of 602,848 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.041 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.23 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 2,402 new vaccinations administered for a total of 66,372 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 48.20 per 1,000. There were 14,040 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 98,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.14 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 1,003 new vaccinations administered for a total of 63,345 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.721 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 106.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 5,817 new vaccinations administered for a total of 186,572 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.383 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.62 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 6,521 new vaccinations administered for a total of 230,875 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.991 per 1,000. There were 19,899 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 307,849 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 941 new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,364 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 344.205 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 76 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 62 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,073 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 182.642 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 45.93 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Government back in court seeking extension on medical assistance in dying reform

JOAN BRYDEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 25th, 2021

The federal government will be back in court Thursday to seek a fourth extension to the court-imposed deadline for expanding access to medical assistance in dying.

The government is asking for one more month, until March 26, to pass Bill C-7, which is currently stalled in the House of Commons with no prospect of being passed by Friday — the current deadline.

The bill is intended to bring the law into compliance with a 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling that struck down a provision allowing assisted dying only for people whose natural deaths are “reasonably foreseeable.”

Should the court refuse to grant one more extension, Justice Minister David Lametti has warned that as of Saturday assisted dying would become legally available in Quebec to intolerably suffering individuals who are not approaching the natural end of their lives, without any of the safeguards proposed in the bill.

The same people elsewhere in the country, meanwhile, would continue to be denied access to the procedure.

Despite Friday’s looming deadline, the Conservatives have refused to facilitate debate in the Commons over a motion that lays out the government’s response to five amendments to C-7 approved last week by the Senate.

They talked out the clock on the motion Tuesday and then refused the unanimous consent needed to extend the debate until midnight, despite calling last week for extended hours to allow thorough debate on the issue.

They refused unanimous consent again Wednesday to allow the Commons to sit into the night to wrap up debate on the motion.


RELATED: Poll finds strong support for expanding access to medical assistance in dying


The Bloc Quebecois offered Wednesday to give up its opposition day today to allow debate on the motion to continue but the minority Liberal government decided that would be pointless, given the Conservatives’ stalling tactics.

“Conservatives have twice blocked our proposal that the House sit late to debate this important issue, despite claiming that they want extended hours,” said Mark Kennedy, a spokesman for government House leader Pablo Rodriguez.

“Based on this, we now know that Conservatives will continue to obstruct, and cancelling the Bloc opposition day tomorrow will not change anything.”

The Conservatives were largely opposed to the original bill and object even more strenuously to the amended version the government is now proposing.

The bill originally would have imposed a blanket ban on assisted dying for people suffering solely from mental illnesses. The government is now proposing a two-year time limit on that exclusion, six months longer than the time limit approved by senators.

The government has rejected another Senate amendment that would have allowed advance requests for assisted dying, as well as an amendment intended to clarify what constitutes a mental illness. It has accepted a modified version of two others.

The Bloc has said it will support the government’s response to the Senate amendments, assuring the motion’s eventual passage. But until Conservatives agree to wrap up debate, it can’t be put to a vote.

Once the motion is passed, the bill will still have to go back to the Senate for senators to decide whether to accept the verdict of the elected parliamentary chamber or dig in their heels on their amendments.

Would you let your face be your passport?

THE BIG STORY | posted Thursday, Feb 25th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, what if your face could serve as your passport and identification? Does that sound convenient, or incredibly creepy and invasive? As advances in technology spread from pilot programs to wider use at borders around the world, there’s very little governing what agencies can and can’t do with the data they capture. And there’s almost no way for us to opt out—at least, if we want to ever visit the United States again.

How far can this technology go? What can it be used for? Are there any regulations in place to protect you? And just how much of our body’s unique signature are we prepared to hand over, anyway? Where does this end?

GUEST: Hilary Beaumont, freelance investigative reporter

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Liberal cabinet minister Jean-Yves Duclos steps aside to recover from illness

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2021

OTTAWA — Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos is stepping aside due to illness.

Duclos says in a statement that he felt persistent chest pain over the past several days.

He went to hospital on Sunday and was told he had a pulmonary embolism.

He says he is home again and feeling well, but his doctor recommended he rest for a few days.

Joyce Murray, the minister of digital government, will assume his duties for now.

Duclos has been the Liberal MP for a Quebec City riding since 2015, and was the minister for social development in the Trudeau government’s first mandate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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