Good evening, let’s start with today’s top coronavirus stories:
One million masks from China failed to meet standards, won’t be sent to provinces, Ottawa says
The Canadian government says about one million masks it purchased from China failed to meet standards for health care professionals and will not be distributed to provinces or cities.
The Public Health Agency is screening all medical supplies it’s buying. The recently-purchased masks were supposed to be rated to the KN95 standard for respirators, similar to the N95 rating.
The Department of Health says that while KN95 masks are an acceptable alternative to those rated N95, the shipment did not meet the filtering standards to capture 95 per cent of tiny particles.
Trudeau slams ‘racism’ of Conservative MP’s call for Tam to be fired
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has slammed Conservative MP Derek Sloan’s statements questioning the loyalty to Canada of Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam. The Ontario MP and Conservative leadership hopeful has called for her to be fired in fundraising e-mails and social media posts this week.
“Intolerance and racism have no place in our country, Canada has succeeded because of our diversity,” Trudeau said when asked about Sloan’s comments and other anti-Asian racism in Canada that has resulted from the pandemic.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer refused to answer repeated questions on Sloan’s remarks.
Separately, at his morning press brief, Trudeau said military assistance will be sent to hard-hit nursing homes in Quebec and Ontario at the provinces’ request, but adds that soldiers should not be caring for seniors in the long term.
As well, he said Ottawa will spend more than $1-billion to help develop, test and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine and to determine how widely the virus has spread throughout the country.
Saskatchewan’s plan could see golf courses, stores, hair salons start reopening in May
Premier Scott Moe has presented a five-phase plan that included timelines for when businesses and services shut to protect against the spread of COVID-19 may be allowed to reopen their doors
He said the number of cases will be monitored throughout each phase, and the government will only move ahead if the infection rate stays low. So far, the province has reported 326 cases of COVID-19 and four deaths.
Restrictions are to be lifted first for medical services such as dentists, optometrists and physical therapy on May 4. Golf courses could be allowed to reopen on May 15, followed on May 19 by retail shops. Hairdressers, barbers, massage therapists, and acupuncturists could also begin seeing clients again on that day, but those working directly with customers would have to wear masks.
In other coronavirus-related developments:
- Canadian cities are asking for at least $10-billion in emergency funding from Ottawa, warning that they are running short of the money needed to maintain essential services.
- The Toronto Transit Commission says it will lay off 1,000 drivers and cut 200 non-union staff after it has seen at least three-quarters of its ridership disappear amid the pandemic.
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s 95-year-old mother-in-law has tested positive for COVID-19 in her Toronto-area long-term home, one of more than 2,000 residents in the province sickened by the disease.
- Former Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s oldest brother, Donald Reed Herring, has died after contracting the coronavirus. The 86-year-old was an Air Force pilot who flew hundreds of combat missions in Vietnam.
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Recordings of first responders reveal frantic bid to help victims of Nova Scotia shooting
New details are emerging about the chaos that ensued as police in rural Nova Scotia tried to capture a shooter disguised as an RCMP officer – and first responders tried to help a rapidly growing list of victims. The 12-hour rampage over the weekend left 23 dead, including the gunman, in what has become the deadliest mass shooting in Canadian history.
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia’s police watchdog is investigating why two RCMP officers started shooting at a fire hall while the shooter was on the loose, because the suspect was believed to be elsewhere.
The RCMP has defended a decision not to send out a public alert until late in the rampage. Yesterday, provincial RCMP Chief Supt. Chris Leather said police were in the process of crafting an alert for the province’s emergency notification system when the killer – who The Globe and Mail has learned had drawn up a list of names of people to target – was gunned down Sunday.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Bernardo victims’ families seek parole board file: The parents of two teen girls - Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy - who were murdered by Paul Bernardo are seeking to obtain his entire file with the parole board, arguing public interest in the case outweighs the convicted killer and serial rapist’s privacy rights.
Toronto van attack anniversary: An online vigil is planned for tonight to commemorate the 10 people killed and 16 injured in a van attack in Toronto two years ago. The city has asked mourners to follow physical distancing orders and avoid gathering or placing flowers and other items near the site of the attack.
NFL draft starts tonight: The National Football League’s draft process has gone virtual this year, with some top Canadian prospects - Oklahoma defensive lineman Neville Gallimore of Ottawa and Notre Dame receiver Chase Claypool of Abbotsford, B.C. - expected to be picked early. The first round is tonight, second and third tomorrow and the fourth on Saturday. Check back at GlobeSports.com for the results.
Actress Shirley Knight dies: Shirley Knight, an actress twice nominated for an Academy award early in her career and went on to play an array of movie, stage and TV roles - including a recurring spot on Desperate Housewives - has died at 83.
North American stock markets closed little changed today after an early rally was tempered by a report that an experimental drug for the coronavirus flopped in its first randomized clinical trial, denting optimism that the impact of the pandemic on the labour market was nearing an end.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39.44 points or 0.17 per cent to end at 23,515.26, the S&P 500 lost 1.51 points or 0.05 per cent to finish at 2,797.80 and he Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.63 points or 0.01 per cent to 8,494.75.
Canada’s S&P/TSX Composite Index slipped 37.07 points or 0.26 per cent to 14251.09, despite a major rally in the price of crude oil.
Give me liberty, and give me death? The enduring legacy of America’s penchant for freedom
“For centuries Americans have battled others, and each other, in the name of freedom, sometimes weaponizing the word, sometimes twisting the notion out of recognition.” - David Shribman
This Ramadan, in solitude, will be more meaningful than ever
“It’s a period of spiritual detox – of connecting with God, finding renewed meaning in daily prayers and immersing in the Koran. It’s a time to give to and reflect on those less fortunate, those who struggle to eat and drink daily.” - Fatima Al Fahim, Vancouver-based writer
Gronk joins Brady because he’s the ‘sort of’ hero we need for these strange times
“Gronk represents something different. It’s not hope, exactly. It’s something more like heedlessness combined with joie de vivre. Remember when you last felt heedless and/or joyous? Yeah, me neither.” - Cathal Kelly
With many of us spending much time at home these day, why not make the most of it with some decluttering? Here are some tips for cleaning and organizing. They include:
- Plan of action: Start with a list of the areas that aren’t working for you - the kitchen junk drawer or the front hall closet, for example - and create a declutter calendar.
- Assess: Take everything out and make piles of what you need and don’t. Be ruthless and realistic.
- Set up a new system: Labels help create order from chaos. Corral bits and pieces in clear bins with compartments.
- Pro tip: Making a space both orderly and visually appealing will encourage you to keep it that way.