Canadians embrace Asia-Pacific neighbours – except China: poll

The Canadian Press – Nov 28, 2020 / 7:36 am | Story: 317708

New research suggests a bump in the number of fathers who planned to take time off with a new baby under a nascent national leave program could be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been just over a year since the government started offering the use-it-or-lose-it extra weeks of paid time off work for non-birthing parents. The program was designed to mostly target fathers, who don’t take paternity leave in large numbers.

It was modelled after a program adopted over a decade ago in Quebec, which has the highest paternity leave rates in the country.

A study published this month in the Journal of European Social Policy noted a five per cent rise in mothers’ labour force participation rates after the Quebec policy came into effect, compared to Ontario where parents had no such policy at the time.

The authors also noted Quebec mothers were less likely to work part-time or be unemployed than they would have been absent the paternity leave policy.

The authors of the study also found the benefits were largest within the first three years of the new program being available to fathers, but fizzled out thereafter.

Sample size could have played a role, but one of the authors said another explanation was timing: The period under review overlapped with the last big recession in 2008-2009.

That raises questions about whether the impact of the Canada-wide version of the program could be shaped by an even sharper recession caused by COVID-19.

“It’s a bit of a crystal ball in terms of will more fathers take it, will (fewer) fathers take it,” said Andrea Doucet, an expert on parental leave policies from Brock University. She was not involved in the recently published study.

“But there’s a whole part of this which is about social norms around gender and gender equality. The conversation (on paternity leave) has just changed enormously.”

The federal program, which launched in March 2019, includes five to eight weeks of extra paid leave for the second parent, with the length depending on whether a family chooses standard or extended benefits. It was designed to incentivize new fathers to take some time off work to care for their children, even if their partner stays home for much longer.

The difference between the federal employment insurance program and the Quebec version lies in the income-replacement rate. Quebec’s is about 70 per cent, while EI is 55 per cent, up to a limit. There are also differences in who can qualify, with individuals eligible in Quebec while EI depends on the eligibility of the mother, or first parent.

Allison Dunatchik, one of the study’s authors from the University of Pennsylvania, said the size of the take-up now depends on how many parents qualify and whether they can afford the drop in income.

“There’s some question about whether that’s really enough incentive to get men to change their leave-taking behaviour, particularly when we’re in this context of greater economic uncertainty,” she said.

“There is a lot we don’t know about how these policies play out in the context of a recession.”

A report this month from Statistics Canada said the proportion of spouses or partners of recent mothers who claimed, or intended to claim, the EI leave increased to 35.4 per cent last year from 31.3 per cent in 2018 and 29.1 per cent in 2017.

Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees EI, couldn’t say many parents used the sharing benefit last year and so far this year.

Doucet said rates could actually go up as more fathers work remotely and take care of children at home because of school or daycare closures. Research suggests the more fathers are home, the more they want to get involved in care.

“They want to be involved. They don’t just want to go to work the next day,” she said.

“All that could have some benefit. There could be some implications for fathers working from home, or their take up of leave.”

But, she added, the policy has to change.

Doucet and two co-authors recently called on the government to boost the income-replacement rate and ease access, particularly in light of an economic downturn disproportionately affecting women.

As is, about one-third of women don’t qualify for EI parental benefits, Doucet said, noting many are mothers from low-income, racialized or new immigrant families.

“Parental leave is critical to shifting those gender equality patterns, so that if we ever get into another pandemic … things could be different,” Doucet said.


The Canadian Press – Nov 28, 2020 / 7:34 am | Story: 317707

Derek Mueller, a senior researcher at Carleton University, cut his scientific teeth studying mats of microbes on some of Canada’s oldest, thickest and most remote sea ice.

“They have some very interesting pigments in their cells to fend off harmful UV radiation,” Mueller said in an interview.

“It’s kind of a tricky thing to do, physiologically. You never know. It could very well be that someday we discover something useful out of that life.”

That’s one reason why he, along with colleagues and Inuit groups, are calling for stronger protections for Canada’s northernmost waters as the so-called Last Ice Area rapidly lives up to its name.

“It’s so poorly understood,” said Mueller, co-author of an article in the journal Science that urges the federal government to expand and make permanent the conservation of Tuvaijuittuq, 320,000 square kilometres of frozen ocean off the northern coast of Ellesmere Island.

Tuvaijuittuq, which means “the place where ice never melts” in Inuktut, has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic. Because of how ice moves in ocean currents, Tuvaijuittuq is likely to be the last place it remains.

The region is provisionally protected until 2024. But Mueller said the pace of Arctic warming argues for permanent status as a Marine Protected Area connected to Quttinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere’s north coast.

Just last July, 40 per cent of the area’s Milne Ice Shelf collapsed within two days — 80 square kilometres of ice that had been stable for millennia now adrift. It happened so quickly an uninhabited research camp was lost.

“(The area’s) under threat and we’re hoping for conservation measures to mitigate that,” Mueller said.

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is working with the federal and Nunavut governments to determine if Tuvaijuittuuq should be permanently protected and, if so, how.

“QIA is leading an Inuit knowledge study which will really try to tackle what is current and historical Inuit use of the area,” said Andrew Randall, the association’s director of marine and wildlife stewardship.

“(We’re) looking at cultural sites, some of the impacts associated with climate change.”

Inuit want to understand what resources might lie in the area, Randall said. They also want to ensure Inuit play a role in managing and studying it, he added.

“(Research) doesn’t only mean bringing in more western scientists,” he said.

The Arctic sea ice ecosystem may seem desolate, but it’s anything but, said Mueller. The ice supports a whole range of life important to humans and animals a long way away.

As the rest of the circumpolar world shifts under climate change, ensuring that a piece of the frozen Arctic remains free of human disturbance is key to understanding both how things used to be and what they are becoming, said Mueller.

Just this year, scientists discovered a whole ecosystem of shellfish, anemones, starfish and brittle stars living on shelves in pockets within the ice.

“What a wonderful surprise!” said Mueller. “We are now just beginning to understand this environment.”

The Canadian Press – Nov 28, 2020 / 1:59 am | Story: 317701

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada on Nov. 28, 2020:

There are 359,055 confirmed cases in Canada.

 Quebec: 138,163 confirmed (including 6,984 deaths, 119,727 resolved)

 Ontario: 111,216 confirmed (including 3,595 deaths, 94,366 resolved)

 Alberta: 53,105 confirmed (including 519 deaths, 38,369 resolved)

 British Columbia: 30,884 confirmed (including 395 deaths, 21,304 resolved)

 Manitoba: 15,632 confirmed (including 280 deaths, 6,487 resolved)

 Saskatchewan: 7,691 confirmed (including 44 deaths, 4,384 resolved)

 Nova Scotia: 1,257 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,078 resolved)

 New Brunswick: 477 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 356 resolved)

 Newfoundland and Labrador: 331 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 296 resolved)

 Nunavut: 159 confirmed (including 8 resolved)

 Prince Edward Island: 70 confirmed (including 68 resolved)

 Yukon: 42 confirmed (including 1 death, 29 resolved)

 Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

 Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

 Total: 359,055 (0 presumptive, 359,055 confirmed including 11,894 deaths, 286,500 resolved)


Chuck Chiang, BIV – | Story: 317690

Canadians continue to feel positive about its Asia-Pacific neighbours – with one significant exception, an Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada national poll (AFP) has revealed.

Containing the opinions of 3,519 respondents and released on November 25, it shows Canadians’ feelings towards most Asian countries on the positive end of a 1-to-10 scale. Japan, for example, scores a 7.4; South Korea, meanwhile, is at 6.7 and even a more divisive market like India lands on the positive side with a 5.7.

The exception is China.

The country, increasingly defiant of the West in areas ranging from Hong Kong, the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and Huawei 5G networks to the Meng Wanzhou arrest, the detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and the origins of COVID-19, now scores only a 3.6 out of 10 in terms of favourability.

China is also one of only two countries to receive a score below 5 out of 10, joining the United States (4.9).

“While China had a relatively effective response to COVID-19, the government has been highly criticized for its handling of the initial outbreak,” the report said. “As a result, 55% of Canadians said that their perceptions of China have worsened due to the pandemic.”

A greater proportion of Canadian respondents (78%) said their perception of the United States had worsened during the pandemic.

This year’s survey also logged some shifts in how Canadians perceive each Asian market’s importance to the economy. On a scale of 1 to 7, Japan (5.1) displaced China (5) as the Asian country identified as most important to the Canadian economy, although China’s score still places it above every other market in Asia. India (4.7) and South Korea (4.5) also place high on the list and remain on an upward trend.

The results are not difficult to interpret, said APF President and CEO Stewart Beck in a statement.

“Given the current global geopolitical climate and the devastating impacts of the pandemic, it is perhaps not surprising to find Canadians’ perceptions of China and the United States at historic lows.” But he added that Canadians remain acutely aware of each market’s economic importance.

“[Canadians] are keen for their governments to explore new partnerships, engage more vigorously in multilateralism and areas of mutual benefit like public health, climate change, and cybersecurity, and to encourage investment from Asia that would benefit this country.”

The poll numbers also show an increasing ideological shift in Canadians’ thinking when it comes to foreign policy. According to the report, 56% of those surveyed said Canada’s top trade and foreign-policy priority should be to align with “like-minded democracies” like the European Union, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

As many as 83% of respondents felt Canada should stand up to China for what’s defined as Canadian national values such as rule of law, human rights and democracy.

“Canadians clearly hold the view that Canada must move forward in Asia, but in a way that upholds our core values, respects human rights and sustainability, and provides economic benefits to all Canadians,” Beck said.

That thinking also extends to support for potential free-trade partners, where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations scored the highest with 68% support, followed by India (63%). A free-trade agreement with China was supported by only 33% of the respondents – falling 26 percentage points from 2018 numbers.

Furthermore, Canadians’ perception of India’s growing economic power “contrasts sharply” with what they think about China’s growing economic power, the report said. For example, 72% agreed that India’s rising economic power is more opportunity than threat, while only 35% thought the same about China’s economic rise.

The same applied as well to views on foreign direct investment (FDI). The poll showed, for example, strong support for FDI in the technology sector from Japan (72%) and South Korea (62%), but not for tech investment from China (30%).

In non-renewable resources,  where support for FDI is much lower, no Asian country scored a favourability above 50%, with Japan topping out at 44% while China scored only 19%.

There are some provincial discrepancies on the FDI front, however. Atlantic Canada (54%) and Ontario (52%) were most supportive of Asian investment in Canada, while Quebec, Saskatchewan and Manitoba scored a low 41%. Support in B.C. was slightly higher at 45%.

On whether there should be government incentives to encourage Canadian companies to set up in Asia, B.C. (40%) had the second-lowest level of support, ahead of only Manitoba and Saskatchewan (both 37%). Atlantic Canada again led the way with 47% support.

The Canadian Press – Nov 27, 2020 / 4:07 pm | Story: 317668

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his public video gaming session with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tonight is about reaching young people where they hang.

Legislators have an obligation to connect with younger Canadians struggling to cope with the pandemic, said Singh, who challenged the firebrand member of Congress on Thursday to a round of “Among Us,” a popular online multiplayer game.

“I think it’s a great way to reach out to young people who have been really hard-hit by COVID-19, who often get blamed. But they’re the ones that are working in the jobs that expose them — in service jobs, in retail jobs, in restaurants and bars,” Singh said in a phone interview.

“Also they’re the ones who lost their jobs, because these are the sectors that have been impacted by the shutdown,” he added.

“It’s really hard to physically distance when you don’t have a career settled and you’re still going to school or you haven’t found a partner.”

Singh says he and AOC, as the U.S. representative from New York is known, share progressive values on health care, economic equality and climate change, views that align with a growing slice of young voters.

Ocasio-Cortez livestreamed her debut on “Among Us” last month in an effort to lure younger voters to the polls for the Nov. 3 election in the U.S., attracting a staggering 439,000 viewers.

Friday’s matchup, which will stream on the online gaming site Twitch, begins at 7 p.m. eastern time.

“It’s going to be one of the most epic crossovers in Canadian politics,” Singh said.

A controversial standard-bearer for left-wing progressive politics, the 31-year-old Ocasio-Cortez was first elected to represent her New York City district in the House of Representatives in 2018.

Since then, she has become one of the most familiar faces on Capitol Hill, part of a progressive wing of the Democratic party that includes former presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

“Among Us” pits a team of tiny astronauts trying to return to Earth against one of their own, a sneaky saboteur or “impostor” whose objective is to kill off other crew members before they can repair their ship and identify the impostor.

The Friday showdown — “talking together, and figuring out who’s sus and who’s not” — will be Singh’s first interaction with Ocasio-Cortez outside of posts and direct messages on Twitter, he said.

“If you think about the impostors as the ones that are at the very top exploiting the system or the ultra-wealthy who aren’t paying their fair share,” Singh said. “That’s a pretty cool metaphor.”

His teammate also found symbolic significance in the mission.

“Canadian members of Parliament and U.S. members of Congress venting each other into space. What could go wrong?” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday in response to Singh’s invitation.

“See you tomorrow.”

Her Oct. 20 livestream, which included fellow progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar, was one of the most-viewed events in the nine-year history of Twitch, which has become a popular way for politicians to attract young supporters.

The record still belongs to a professional gamer who played the popular game “Fortnite” with Canadian superstar Drake, rapper Travis Scott and NFL wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, with 628,000 viewers watching at the same time.

The Canadian Press – Nov 27, 2020 / 2:49 pm | Story: 317655

A spokesman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his office accidentally sent out an account of a phone call with Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole that hadn’t happened yet.

The premature account of the call today says Trudeau chided O’Toole about Conservative MPs downplaying the deaths of Albertans and comparing the novel coronavirus to the flu.

Alberta MP Rachael Harder shared a newspaper column on her Facebook page this week that pointed out provincial statistics saying that just 10 of 369 Albertans who had died of COVID-19 as of mid-November were otherwise healthy, and Ontario MP Dean Allison described COVID-19 as “influenza” in a talk-radio interview.

O’Toole, meanwhile, went into the conversation with Trudeau with proposals for how Canada could improve its relationship with the United States under president-elect Joe Biden.

In a letter to Trudeau, the Tory leader says responding to the COVID-19 pandemic must be the first priority, including ensuring a continent-wide response to vaccine supply, the production of personal protective equipment and managing the border.

O’Toole says after that must come dealing with the threat posed by China, and Canada should seek to join an existing dialogue among the U.S., Australia, India and Japan to oppose Chinese military expansionism.

The letter also talks about the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that outgoing President Donald Trump approved but Biden opposes. O’Toole says it must be made clear to Biden the project is important to Canada’s view of the bilateral relationship with the U.S.

The letter also cites a need for a collective effort on combating climate change, and a call to modernize the binational defence agreement known as Norad, which would include having Canada join the ballistic missile defence program.

A copy of O’Toole’s letter to Trudeau was obtained by The Canadian Press.

“This period of transition to the incoming Biden administration represents a unique opportunity to advance Canada’s interests and values on the world stage,” O’Toole writes in the letter.

“It is my sincere hope the Canadian and U.S. governments can work together for the mutual benefit of both our peoples who have endured so much this past year.”

The Canadian Press – Nov 27, 2020 / 1:38 pm | Story: 317648

An angry Premier Doug Ford lashed out on Friday at anti-lockdown protesters outside his home, accusing them of intimidating nearby residents and saying their actions wouldn’t sway him.

His neighbours, Ford said in offering them a sincere apology for getting caught up in the situation, make no government decisions and never signed up to be targets.

“Stop acting like a bunch of buffoons out there and start respecting the people of Ontario,” Ford said at his daily briefing. “This is totally unacceptable that my neighbours are being intimidated, being threatened, and these people, they need to stop.”

Protesters opposed to measures aimed at curbing the lethal spread of COVID-19 have gathered outside the premier’s west-end Toronto home daily. Their actions, he said, are unacceptable.

“You want to protest me, come down to Queen’s Park,” Ford said. “You can do cartwheels, you can jump up and down.”

Ford took aim at Independent legislator Randy Hillier, who did lead an anti-mask and anti-lockdown rally at the legislature on Thursday. Police ticketed Hiller, whom Ford called irresponsible, for allegedly breaking health rules imposed to curb COVID.

Hillier’s supporters took to social media to denounce the citation and restrictions as unnecessary. Ford, however, said it’s unfathomable that some people believe coronavirus disease to be a hoax when in fact the virus is so serious.

“Look at the states to the south of us that want to ignore the regulations — they’re blowing up,” he said. “They have mobile morgues driving around in Texas collecting bodies. If that’s not a wake-up call, I don’t know what is.”

On Friday, Ontario reported a record 1,855 new infections, a 25 per cent surge in a day, and 20 new deaths. The province has now seen 109,361 cases, 3,575 of them fatal.

Ford defended the restrictions that have shut down many businesses and limited gatherings as public health authorities urged people to stay home except for essential reasons. The measures, he said, were proven effective earlier this year.

“The proof is in the pudding: When we did it last time, we were down to almost 100 cases, which is unheard of in a population of 14.77 million people.”

The protesters outside his house, Ford said, were special interest and political groups. Small business owners on his street and elsewhere in the neighbourhood were among those anti-lockdown protests end up hurting, he added.

Ultimately, Ford said, the protesters were violating the very tenets of political discourse.

“There’s an unwritten rule here in Canada: You don’t go after people’s families and neighbours,” he said. “You want to come at me, come at me, and leave my family and leave my neighbours alone.”

The Canadian Press – Nov 27, 2020 / 12:48 pm | Story: 317643

A lobby group for Canada’s newspapers and magazines is asking MPs to enact new rules to let its members negotiate compensation from social-media giants that post their content.

News Media Canada wants the government to let the industry collectively negotiate with the likes of Google and Facebook.

The group’s CEO, John Hinds, says federal rules in that regard would negate the need for any new taxes or spending programs.

The group is making the argument today in front of the House of Commons heritage committee as part of a study of the challenges the pandemic has created for media groups and others.

Hinds notes some newspapers closed permanently because of the pandemic as advertising revenue plunged.

He adds that the future is grim for many of his member organizations without federal help.

The Canadian Press – Nov 27, 2020 / 11:25 am | Story: 317631

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed back against critics of his government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan with assurances most Canadians would be inoculated by September 2021, with a former NATO commander leading distribution.

Trudeau announced Friday that Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin will lead the nation’s vaccine distribution efforts, overseeing logistics that include cold storage requirements, data sharing, and reaching Indigenous communities.

He also acknowledged the public’s eagerness to know when those efforts might begin, but said what matters most is the “finish line.”

Trudeau said most citizens are expected to be vaccinated by September 2021, and it was important to make sure this was done as safely as possible.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo has suggested he hoped to see most Canadians vaccinatedby the end of next year, but this is the most specific the Liberal government has been.

Njoo later said the Prime Minister’s prediction is “in the same ballpark” as previous rollout plans, and said September was a good target to work towards.

Trudeau said that plan positions Canada well, despite criticism the country may not start vaccinations as early as the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

“The fact that the doctors highlighted that if all goes according to plan, we should be able to have the majority of Canadians vaccinated by next September, puts us in very good stead,” Trudeau insisted.

“We’re going to continue to do everything we can to deliver for Canadians, listening to experts working with top people to make sure that we’re doing this, right, and quickly and safely for all Canadians.”

Ottawa has finalized agreements with five vaccine makers and is in advanced negotiations with two more.

The deals would secure 194 million doses with the option to buy another 220 million, said Arianne Reza, the assistant deputy minister with Public Services and Procurement Canada.

The news follows more alarming daily COVID-19 case numbers from Ontario, which reported a record 1,855 new cases, and 20 more deaths on Friday.

Quebec reported 1,269 new COVID-19 infections and 38 more deaths linked to the virus, including nine that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Nunavut announced four new cases of COVID-19.

The Canadian Press – Nov 27, 2020 / 10:45 am | Story: 317588

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of Nov. 27, 2020:

There are 356,588 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 138,163 confirmed (including 6,984 deaths, 119,727 resolved)

_ Ontario: 111,216 confirmed (including 3,595 deaths, 94,366 resolved)

_ Alberta: 51,878 confirmed (including 510 deaths, 37,316 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 29,973 confirmed (including 384 deaths, 19,998 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 15,632 confirmed (including 280 deaths, 6,487 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 7,362 confirmed (including 40 deaths, 4,176 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,257 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,078 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 477 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 356 resolved)

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 331 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 296 resolved)

_ Nunavut: 159 confirmed (including 8 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 70 confirmed (including 68 resolved)

_ Yukon: 42 confirmed (including 1 death, 29 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Total: 356,588 (0 presumptive, 356,588 confirmed including 11,870 deaths, 283,933 resolved)

The Canadian Press – Nov 27, 2020 / 10:19 am | Story: 317623

Officials at Montreal’s Ecomuseum Zoo want their stolen raven returned immediately.

There’s still no sign of Kola, a common raven, who was taken during a break-in sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Executive director David Rodrigue said today one or more people broke into the zoo from the rear of the property and cut open a hole in his aviary, either to take him or to allow the bird to flee.

Rodrigue says no other creature was taken or harmed in the break-in.

He says Kola, who arrived from a sanctuary four years ago, requires medication and specialized food preparation, doesn’t fly well and is unlikely to survive without proper care.

The zoo, a refuge for animals who can no longer live in the wild, is asking anyone who has Kola return him — no questions asked.

The Canadian Press – Nov 27, 2020 / 10:12 am | Story: 317619

A leading forensic psychiatrist says the man who killed 10 people in the Toronto van attack has shown no anger through all his evaluations.

Dr. John Bradford says Alek Minassian’s complete lack of anger and emotion is in direct contrast with an American mass murderer he purportedly idolized.

Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

The defence argues the 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., should be found not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018 due to autism spectrum disorder.

Minassian told a police detective that day the attack was retribution against society for years of sexual rejection by women.

Bradford says Minassian later told him he was not angry at women, but used the word “disappointed.”

The psychiatrist said Thursday that Minassian is not psychotic and does not meet the “traditional” test to be found not criminally responsible for his actions.

Minassian also told Bradford he was motivated by the notoriety the attack would bring to anxiety over starting a new job.

Minassian has admitted in court to planning and carrying out the van attack and the only issue to be decided at trial is his state of mind at the time.

Another psychiatrist has testified that Minassian’s autism spectrum disorder left him fixated on mass killings and vulnerable to the ramblings of an American mass murderer.

More Canada News


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more