Chief of the Defence Staff Art McDonald, who sought a return to work after an investigation into sexual-misconduct allegations against him ended with no charges, has been placed on administrative leave in an extraordinary move by the federal government.
The leave was announced Thursday by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan a day after lawyers for the admiral said he was returning to his job as Canada’s top soldier.
The administrative leave was contained in an order-in-council document dated Thursday, and obtained by The Globe and Mail. Orders-in-council are legislative instruments that constitute a formal cabinet recommendation approved and signed by the governor-general.
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British Columbia makes COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for long-term care workers
British Columbia will require everyone working in long-term care and seniors’ assisted living facilities to be immunized against COVID-19 by Oct. 12.
Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry announced the order on Thursday, citing a changing level of risk driven by an increase in cases among unvaccinated and partly vaccinated people, as well as new, highly transmissible variants.
The condition of employment will apply to all licensed facilities, whether private, contracted, or owned and operated by a health authority, Dr. Henry said. Local public-health units will verify the immunization status of all workers. Public-health officials will then work with individual staff and facilities to ensure they have access to vaccinations.
O’Toole asks to intervene in court case over Parliament’s right to see virus-lab firing records
Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole is seeking intervenor status in a court battle over unfettered access to government documents that, if they were released unredacted, would offer insight into the firing of two scientists. Xiangguo Qiu and her husband Keding Cheng were fired from Canada’s top infectious-disease laboratory, the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, this January.
Separately, Mr. O’Toole is promising that if his party wins power in an expected September federal election he will make public all available government documents on what led to the firing of the scientists.
For months, opposition parties have been demanding from the Public Health Agency of Canada unredacted records that explain why Dr. Qiu and her husband were fired from the Winnipeg lab. The two lost their security clearances in July, 2019, leading the RCMP to investigate the matter.
Trudeau plans to trigger campaign on Sunday, election to take place on Sept. 20
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to visit Governor-General Mary Simon on Sunday to trigger a campaign that will end in a Sept. 20 vote, according to sources. This comes at a time when the Liberals have been making funding announcements for weeks and polls suggest that the party is solidly ahead. The election would occur two years before Trudeau’s official term ends as the Liberals hope to turn their minority government into a majority.
“You can expect he will argue that the pandemic has changed the country so much it is time to seek a new mandate,” writes Campbell Clark.
“Beyond that, the entire Liberal campaign will be a political gamble that times have changed. It is based on the idea that the pandemic has altered the mindset of Canadian voters – that they have been given a sense of vulnerability not just about COVID-19 but what comes after, that government has to do more, and that they are in no mood to count the costs.”
On the Decibel podcast: Why Trudeau may want an election to start next week
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Canada, U.S. sending troops to Afghanistan to help evacuation: Amid a speedy Taliban takeover, Canadian special forces will deploy to Afghanistan where Canadian embassy staff in Kabul will be evacuated before closing, according to a source. Just weeks before the U.S. is scheduled to end its war in Afghanistan, the Biden administration is also rushing 3,000 fresh troops to the Kabul airport to help with a partial evacuation of the U.S. embassy.
Alberta NDP says it has persuaded province to delay plans to end COVID-19 measures: The Alberta NDP is claiming victory in its push to get the province to delay parts of its controversial plan to end routine COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and mandatory isolation this month. This come as the United Conservative Party government held an emergency COVID-19 cabinet meeting on Thursday to discuss next steps in the province’s strategy, a government source said.
Latest from Meng Wanzhou extradition hearing: A judge presiding over the extradition hearing of a Chinese executive being sought by the United States says the fraud charge against Meng Wanzhou is unusual. No one lost money, the allegations are several years old, and the intended victim, a global bank, knew the truth even as it was allegedly being lied to, the B.C. judge said on Thursday.
Six dead in England mass shooting: Six people were killed in a mass shooting in the city of Plymouth in southwest England on Thursday evening, in an incident described by the British Home Secretary as “shocking”. Police had earlier described the shooting as a “serious firearms incident” and said the situation was contained. The police added that the incident was not related to terrorism.
Arrest of Cameroonian tech entrepreneur Rebecca Enonchong: One of Africa’s best-known tech entrepreneurs, Rebecca Enonchong, has been arrested in Cameroon, provoking a storm of global criticism over human-rights abuses in one of Africa’s most entrenched dictatorships. Enonchong spent a third night in police custody in the city of Douala on Thursday after her arrest this week on accusations that remain unclear.
Mammoths roamed far and wide, possibly to their doom: During the last ice age, woolly mammoths were among the largest creatures to walk the North American landscape. Now, a team of American and Canadian researchers has discovered that the elephantine beasts journeyed about 70,000 kilometres over the course of their lives – a trip equivalent to nearly twice around the world.
European stocks hit new highs on Friday and were on course for a record-breaking run, capping another strong week as investors seize on a dip in U.S. inflation and more forecast-beating corporate earnings. France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.2% while the DAX in Germany added 0.3%. Britain’s FTSE 100 picked up 0.4% in early trading. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.2% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 0.5%.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Exiting Afghanistan will go down in history as Joe Biden’s big blunder
“The Taliban’s swift advances raise the spectre of a reconstituted extremist emirate emerging in Kabul – one that is likely to deliver the rebirth of global terror. And just as the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq led to U.S. reintervention, a Taliban emirate in Kabul will likely trigger the same awful cost eventually – which would only affirm Mr. Biden’s decision as a historic blunder.” -Brahma Chellaney
Vaccine passports could win Trudeau a majority
“In the end, it is Mr. Trudeau’s call – figuratively as well as literally. Will he make the election about nothing more than a sly play for more seats? Or will he present Canadians with a purpose and seek their partnership?” -Peter Donolo
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Few Canadians bought travel insurance for holidays at home, but that may be something to reconsider now
“Summer 2021 has given Canadians hope, with COVID-19 case numbers declining and an ever-increasing percentage of the population fully vaccinated. As pandemic rules slowly disappear, planning a vacation is back on everyone’s must-do list, but should travel insurance be something to consider as well?” -Waheeda Harris
MOMENT IN TIME: AUGUST 13, 1907
First metered taxi cabs hit the streets of New York
Competition between businesses is always good for consumers. In early 1907, 30-year-old New York businessman Harry Allen took a horse-drawn cab from a Manhattan restaurant to his home. That three-quarter-mile trip cost US$5 (US$144.52 in today’s dollars). Incensed, Allen vowed “to start a service in New York and charge so-much per mile.” He left for France, returned with 65 gasoline-powered vehicles, and the New York Taxicab Company was born. Allen later painted his cars yellow so they could be seen from a distance. Fitted with taximeters, drivers with a courteous demeanour and West Point cadet-like uniforms, the cabs offered a brand-new style of travel at the steady price of 50 cents a mile. Despite the relatively low fare and public-safety concerns, the New York Taxicab Company thrived. By the following year, Allen had 700 cars on the road. Even today, despite competition from the technologically advanced Uber and Lyft, canary-coloured taxis are still a hallmark of New York City, but they wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Harry Allen and his innovative New York Taxicab Company. — Demar Grant