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Inside the making of an incel

THE BIG STORY | posted Thursday, Sep 17th, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, this November, accused killer Alek Minassian will face trial for the 2018 Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 16. In the aftermath of that attack, we learned that Minassian subscribed to the incel ideology — which has been linked to mass killings around the world.

Incels entered the public consciousness as lonely people obsessed with other people’s sex lives. But in recent years they’ve become increasingly deadly. How do young men find themselves radicalized into the incel subculture online? Where are they slipping through the cracks? And how can we respond more effectively to signs of violence before it happens?

GUEST: Katharine Laidlaw

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Rampant COVID-19 school closures, lack of online learning plague poorer countries

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

OTTAWA — As fretful Canadian parents mull sending their children to school or opting for at-home learning, there are countries where no school at all is the only option.

One is Lebanon, where the fallout from the massive Aug. 4 port explosion in Beirut will keep tens of thousands of children out of classrooms because their schools were levelled or severely damaged.

Peter Simms, the education adviser for Plan International Canada, says a lost year of school is threatening to compound the “toxic stress” that young people in Lebanon were already experiencing after surviving the explosion.

In Lebanon, 180 schools were damaged in the blast and that will keep 85,000 students out of classrooms.

The United Nations estimates 1.5 billion children were adversely affected by COVID-19 school closures.

Aid agencies such as World Vision and Save the Children say the education vacuum is exposing girls, especially, to rising violence and sexual exploitation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Air quality improves slightly in Vancouver from U.S. wildfires

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

VANCOUVER — Air quality in the Vancouver area has improved slightly but an advisory on smoke that drifted north from wildfires in the United States was still in effect on Tuesday.

The advisory was initiated on Sept. 8 for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District because of smoke from fires in Washington and Oregon.

Metro Vancouver says while the air quality did improve slightly, ground-level smoke still remains and it is expected to remain through the week.

It says a change in the weather on Friday may help improve the air quality through the weekend.

A fire at a timber wharf continued to burn in New Westminster on Tuesday after catching fire on Sunday night, which Metro Vancouver says was causing “considerable local smoke.”

Canada Post cancelled delivery services for several parts of British Columbia on Monday because of the wildfire smoke and deliveries remained suspended for some communities on Tuesday including Castlegar, Duncan, the Okanagan Valley, Trail and White Rock.

The corporation said air quality over central and southern B.C. made delivery unsafe for its workers.

It resumed deliveries in other parts of central and southern British Columbia but warned there could be delays.

Environment Canada also maintained poor air quality advisories for a large swath of the southern part of the province.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sept. 16

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Sep 16th, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. EDT on Sept. 16, 2020:

There are 138,803 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 65,554 confirmed (including 5,785 deaths, 57,628 resolved)

_ Ontario: 45,068 confirmed (including 2,820 deaths, 40,091 resolved)

_ Alberta: 15,957 confirmed (including 254 deaths, 14,212 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 7,376 confirmed (including 219 deaths, 5,548 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 1,741 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,616 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 1,466 confirmed (including 16 deaths, 1,181 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,086 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,020 resolved)

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 271 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 266 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 194 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 189 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 57 confirmed (including 56 resolved)

_ Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 138,803 (0 presumptive, 138,803 confirmed including 9,188 deaths, 121,840 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press

COVID-19 controls tightened as cases rise and possible second wave looms

DIRK MEISSNER, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Sep 15th, 2020

The looming prospect of a second wave of COVID-19 this fall has governments cautiously monitoring daily infection rates as economies restart and students return to school.

A widespread return of economic and social restrictions that closed businesses and schools and cancelled public events in March is not the preferred option, but there may be no choice, say politicians and health officials.

“The last thing that anyone wants is to have to once again shut down our economies and suspend our lives to try and counter a massive second wave,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week.

He stressed public vigilance to fight the pandemic, frequent hand washing, mask wearing and physical distancing, because “as we’re seeing with cases rising across the country, we are not out of the woods.”

Winnipeg epidemiologist Cynthia Carr said Canadians should brace for more restrictions and shutdowns if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, even without the arrival of a second wave.

“There could still be a large increase in cases related to behaviour and that gives government opportunity to go, ‘OK, what are we going to change now to get the transmission back under control?’” she said. “That’s where government will need to focus.”

British Columbia ordered the immediate closure of nightclubs and banquet halls last week after daily COVID-19 case numbers were consistently above 100, with many infections traced to young people out socializing at events where alcohol was served.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also ordered bars, pubs, lounges and restaurants to cut off alcohol sales at 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m., unless serving only food.

Henry said she took “draconian” measures in March to slow infections, and closing nightclubs and halls is a necessary step now.

“I think we need to all start rethinking about what we need to do to get us through the next few months as a community together, and these are some of the things that we’ll need to put aside for now,” she said at a news conference.

Last week in Quebec, the government said police can hand out tickets ranging between $400 and $6,000 to those who don’t have a face covering in indoor public spaces or on public transit.

The province also announced several measures in addition to the fines, including the banning of karaoke and obliging bars to keep registers of clients as infection numbers rise.

Carr said other public health officials will look at increasing restrictions to limit COVID-19 transmission.

“The more opportunity you give the virus to spread again, the more it will take that opportunity,” she said.

Carr, a private consultant who advises governments and communities on health policy, said the arrival of a second wave of COVID-19 will cause widespread fear because it signals the virus has changed its behaviour.

“That’s where the scariest parts are,” she said. “If the virus starts to mutate and become different and impact, for example, much younger people significantly.”

But Carr said increasing restrictions are inevitable in a second wave or uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Economics professor James Brander said politicians and health officials should carefully weigh the impact of imposing more restrictions or shutdowns on the economy in the event of a second wave or increasing infection rates.

“What you want is the low hanging fruit,” said the public policy expert at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.

Governments were too harsh on the economy in March and with hindsight should now consider more targeted restriction options, including shutting down bars, preventing large gatherings and requiring more aggressive mask-wearing policies, Brander said.

Carr said pandemic control involves juggling three areas: health, the economy and social well-being.

“The best decision is typically related back to controlling as much as possible the transmission so that economies can get back to thriving and that people can maintain social well-being.”

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sept. 15

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Sep 15th, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. EDT on Sept. 15, 2020:

There are 138,010 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 65,262 confirmed (including 5,780 deaths, 57,428 resolved)

_ Ontario: 44,817 confirmed (including 2,816 deaths, 39,974 resolved)

_ Alberta: 15,833 confirmed (including 254 deaths, 14,041 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 7,279 confirmed (including 219 deaths, 5,446 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 1,731 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,604 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 1,449 confirmed (including 16 deaths, 1,176 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,086 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,020 resolved)

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 271 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 266 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 194 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 189 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 55 confirmed (including 47 resolved)

_ Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 138,010 (0 presumptive, 138,010 confirmed including 9,179 deaths, 121,224 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Some Canadians believe officials exaggerate threat of COVID-19, poll suggests

JORDAN PRESS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Sep 15th, 2020

A new survey suggests there are Canadians who believe that warnings from public officials about the threat of COVID-19 are vastly overblown.

Almost one-quarter of respondents in an online poll made public today by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they believe public health and government officials exaggerate in their warnings, including about the need for measures like physical distancing to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Regionally, respondents in Alberta were more likely to believe the threat was embellished, followed by Atlantic Canada and Quebec, with Ontario at the bottom.

Broken down by age, younger respondents were more likely than those over 55 to believe statements were being exaggerated.

The online poll was conducted Sept. 11 to 13 and surveyed 1,539 adult Canadians. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the results may explain something else that came up in the survey: That a majority of respondents said they have relaxed how strictly they adhere to public health recommendations.

Aline Chretien, wife of former PM Jean Chretien, has died

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Sep 14th, 2020

Aline Chretien may have been the most influential political figure Canadians never knew.

She was often seen at political events – a petite, elegant figure standing demurely at the side of her gregarious husband, former prime minister Jean Chretien – but was seldom heard. At least not publicly.

Behind the scenes though, she was Chretien’s confidante and most trusted adviser, his “Rock of Gibraltar,” as he always called her.

Aline Chretien died surrounded by family Saturday morning at her home in Shawinigan, Que., a family spokesman said Sunday. She was 84. A cause of death was not specified.

“Prime Minister Chretien, I think, would be the first to say that without her he never would have been prime minister,” says long-time Chretien aide Eddie Goldenberg.

“She knew very well that she had not been elected herself so she didn’t try to take the limelight. She felt that would be the wrong thing to do. She felt her role was to be supportive and … to be very candid with advice and she could do that best in private.”

Aline was instrumental in all Chretien’s seminal political decisions: to stay in the federal arena despite appeals in the 1960s to run for a seat in Quebec’s National Assembly; to quit politics in 1986 after losing the Liberal leadership to John Turner; to return to the fray in 1990; and to go for a third consecutive mandate in 2000.

She even arguably saved Chretien’s life on Nov. 5, 1995, when a jackknife-wielding, mentally unstable intruder broke into the prime minister’s official residence in the middle of the night. After encountering him in the hall outside their bedroom, Aline Chretien slammed and locked the door before calling the RCMP guardhouse and waking her husband, who then famously armed himself with a soapstone carving of a loon.

It was Aline who advised Chretien to recruit academic and future Liberal leader Stephane Dion to his cabinet after Canada’s near-death experience in the 1995 referendum on Quebec independence.

And throughout his 40 years in federal politics, it was Aline who warned him when she thought he was too loud or too aggressive or embarking on what she considered the wrong course of action.

“Those of us who worked for prime minister Chretien knew sometimes, if there was a problem, that she was, (as) I called it, the last court of appeal,” recalls Goldenberg.

“We could call her and say, ‘I’d like it if you could talk to your husband about something because he’s not listening to anybody else.’ And he sure listened to her – always.”

Aline Chaine and Chretien grew up in blue-collar families, just a few blocks apart in the Quebec pulp-and-paper town of Shawinigan. But their love affair began with a chance encounter on a bus when Aline Chaine was 16, two years younger than her eventual husband.

Chretien credits Aline with restraining some of his more boisterous youthful impulses and instilling him with self-discipline.

Aline had dreamed of studying languages at university but went instead to secretarial school at 16 so she could help support the Chaine family.

She adopted a similar support role once married to Chretien, staying home to raise daughter France and sons Hubert and Michel. During Jean Chretien’s early years in federal politics, she stayed in Shawinigan, where she was his eyes and ears in the riding.

But she never stopped her education. She became quadralingual, learning as an adult to speak English, Italian and Spanish in addition to French. She became an accomplished pianist, studying with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

And she did eventually make it to university in 2010 – as the first chancellor of Laurentian University in Sudbury.

In her autobiography, former U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton described Aline as “intelligent, sharply observant and elegant.”

But despite travelling the world with her husband and rubbing shoulders with some of the planet’s most powerful leaders, Aline always maintained close contact with family and lifelong friends in Shawinigan. The couple kept a home at nearby Lac des Piles, where Aline spent her final days.

In a rare interview with Maclean’s magazine in 1994, Aline described herself as “Madame Tout le Monde” – Mrs. Everybody.

She recounted calling her husband in a fury in 1973 when the federal Liberal government of the day was debating a cut in family allowances.

“I said `Jean, if you touch that, you’ll be in trouble. This is the only money some women in Shawinigan have got for themselves.’ You can have, as I did, a Madame Tout le Monde point of view when you are at home, listening to the radio with your kids.”

Peter Donolo, who was communications director for Chretien when he was Opposition leader and during his first term as prime minister, says Aline had refined taste in art and music but was totally unpretentious and never forgot her roots and, thus, kept her husband “grounded.”

“She was never impressed by wealth or power,” Donolo says. ” She could see through phonies in like a nanosecond.”

The first time he met Aline, Donolo says, she asked him about his young family and then advised him: “Remember, it’s very important that you not ignore your family while you’re working in politics because, after everything is done, all you have left is your family.”

She was, Donolo says, the love and “mainstay” of Chretien’s life for almost 70 years.

“I can’t think of a stronger bond between husband and wife that’s lasted this long and is as intimate and close.”

Aline and Jean Chretien marked their 63rd wedding anniversary on Sept. 10, just days before she died.

Family spokesman Bruce Hartley said only a private ceremony is being planned for now because of restrictions associated with COVID-19, with a public memorial planned for sometime in the future.

Starbucks makes masks mandatory at all Canadian locations

LISASTEACY | posted Monday, Sep 14th, 2020

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Masks will be mandatory at Starbucks’ across Canada starting Monday.

A post on the company’s website says the move was made as part of a “continued commitment to prioritize the health and well-being of partners (employees) and customers and to control the spread of COVID-19.”

Masks, or other face coverings, will be required at all “company-owned café locations in Canada.”

Those without masks will be allowed to order at drive-thrus, or pickup curbside.

“The company is committed to playing a constructive role in supporting health and government officials as they work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. All decisions are grounded in partner and customer care and safety, based on facts and science, and communicated with transparency,” the website says.

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