Workers, inspectors ask government to shut Cargill plant amid safety concerns
Unions representing the workers and inspectors at Cargill Ltd.’s slaughterhouse in High River, Alta., are calling on all levels of government to force the closing of the plant after it reopened yesterday.
Cargill, which idled the facility two weeks ago, reopened it after a weekend of negotiations with the United Food and Commercial Workers union. The union has filed an unfair practice complaint to the Alberta Labour Relations Board, which has the power to issue a cease and desist order to stop a business from operating. Discussions about the complaint are still continuing and a hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
Partitions have been installed on the line and staff are now required to wear masks. A total of 936 workers at the facility – the site of Canada’s largest COVID-19 outbreak – have so far tested positive; 810 have recovered. One employee has died.
Provinces begin phased-in relaunches
Quebec stores outside the Montreal region reopened yesterday as the province began its relaunch, even while announcing a delay for the Montreal region, which will now wait at least until May 18.
The plan to open elementary schools, daycares, stores, construction sites and factories over the next three weeks remains intact.
“We want to reopen stores in Montreal, but we know when we do we will have more cases in Montreal,” Premier François Legault said. “If we open things up a bit, we need to have a margin [in hospital capacity] we don’t see right now.”
Outside Quebec, the COVID-19 outlook looks less daunting as businesses begin to reopen.
Ontario opened garden centres for curbside delivery, along with landscapers, car washes and car dealerships (by appointment only). Premier Doug Ford said other businesses that could reopen for curbside pickup only would be released this week. The province also expanded its list of essential construction projects to include shipping, municipal projects, schools and daycares, as well as preparation for industrial work.
The Prairie provinces reopened medical services, such as dental and physiotherapy offices. Saskatchewan and Manitoba added some retail and low-risk recreational activities, such as golfing. Manitoba also added campgrounds, restaurant patios and day camps to its approved list.
British Columbia will announce its relaunch plan Wednesday.
Ottawa ponders budget schedule
The Liberal government is weighing whether it should release a 2020 budget in light of the rapidly changing economic landscape because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
A budget was originally scheduled for March 30, but that plan was shelved. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says that a budget or fiscal update should be released before Parliament’s summer recess.
Did Ottawa’s spring break COVID-19 travel advisory come too late?
Nearly 8,000 flights left the country in the week leading up to the federal government’s advisory that Canadians should refrain from all nonessential travel due to COVID-19, according to a Globe and Mail analysis of flight data.
Adding to travellers’ confusion were mixed messages from officials across Canada on whether it was safe to travel.
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Herbal remedy touted by some African governments for coronavirus, despite scientists’ warnings
So far, five African governments – Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros and the Republic of Congo – have obtained shipments or promised to import an unproven herbal tonic from Madagascar, even though international experts have warned against it.
When the government of Madagascar began touting the product, one of its most enthusiastic supporters was Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who announced that he would dispatch a plane to pick up a supply of the beverage. The two governments are emerging as leaders of a movement to promote what they call “traditional African” solutions to the pandemic, although most African governments are declining to follow their approach.
Hope and fear grip Italians as the world’s longest coronavirus lockdown is partly lifted
A partial lifting of the quarantine yesterday sent about four million Italians back to work but leaves many restrictions in place. Italians will be able to visit their relatives for the first time in two months, and exercise outdoors. But they are encouraged to stay home and will have to carry certificates to justify their outings.
Factories and construction companies are back at work, including the Ferrari factory in Emilia-Romagna, one of the hardest-hit regions of the north. Most retailers remain closed, but will be allowed to open on May 18 as long as physical-distancing rules are respected. Bars and restaurants are open for take away and delivery and will open for seating on June 1, though their tables will have to be reconfigured to ensure much less density, which will damage their profitability.
Reopening society after COVID-19: Join André Picard on the Globe’s Instagram channel for a livestream Q&A. André and senior audience editor, Madeleine White, will explore what specifics we know about reopening, and how they will affect your life. May 7 at 8:00 p.m. EST. Readers can submit their own questions via firstname.lastname@example.org
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Trump administration models predict near doubling of U.S. daily death toll by June
While pressing states to reopen their economies, the White House is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of cases and deaths from the coronavirus over the next several weeks, reaching about 3,000 daily deaths June 1, nearly double the current level of about 1,750.
The projections forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the month, up from about 25,000 cases now. They underscore a sobering reality: While the United States has been hunkered down for the past seven weeks, not much has changed. And the reopening of the economy will make matters worse.
Enbridge makes deal to store Canadian crude in Mainline as oil glut grows
The Canadian pipeline operator has reached a deal with shippers to temporarily store crude oil in North America’s largest oil pipeline network from June 1 and is working with governments to provide additional capacity.
Enbridge is offering about 900,000 barrels of storage, equivalent to about four standard-sized tanks, for an eight-month term, a spokeswoman said. It would use an older portion of its Line 3 pipeline in Canada before the line is decommissioned next year.
Police investigating three suspicious fires at Quebec cell towers as anti-5G conspiracies spread
Two fires broke out at cell towers in separate towns – Piedmont and Prévost – northwest of Montreal early yesterday morning after a similar incident in Laval early Friday. All three are under investigation by Quebec police, who say it is too soon to determine whether these are acts of vandalism by anti-5G protesters. More than 20 people had to be evacuated from their homes in Laval on Friday because of fears that the tower could collapse.
There have been numerous incidents of arson and vandalism targeting cellphone masts and other telecom infrastructure in Europe in recent weeks, which some politicians have attributed to baseless conspiracy theories linking the spread of the coronavirus to fifth-generation wireless technology.
Oil spurt lifts world stocks out of three-day losing streak: Stock markets snapped a three-day losing streak on Tuesday and oil was on its longest run of gains in nine months as moves to ease major economies out of their coronavirus lockdowns lifted sentiment. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.93 per cent just before 6 a.m. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 1.19 per cent and 1.52 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.08 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading around 71 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
No, Toronto’s problem isn’t ‘too many’ people going outside. It’s too little public space
Editorial: “Telling people to never go out makes no sense, and won’t work. Instead, we need to think about how to make more space for walkers, joggers and cyclists.”
It’s time for Ottawa to take on Google and Facebook
Jerry Dias: “Between them, they have scooped up the vast majority of the revenue in Canada’s $6-billion-plus online advertising market – advertising that has been the chief source of revenue for Canadian media organizations. They use content that is created by those organizations to do so, and they don’t pay a cent for it.” Jerry Dias is the national president of Unifor
Don Shula may have had rough edges, but he was a softie on the inside
Marty Klinkenberg: “Never did he hold a grudge. Always, after the occasional flare-up, he would try to find a quiet way to apologize.”
Let’s restore confidence in Canada’s economy
Preston Manning: “Regardless of the nature and magnitude of the political fallout from COVID-19, what is needed as soon as possible is a national economic recovery plan capable of restoring investor and public confidence in the country’s economic future.” Preston Manning is the founder of the Manning Centre and the former leader of the Reform Party of Canada.
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Erik Larson’s The Splendid and the Vile picks up Churchill’s story where other authors left off
When the story begins in May, 1940, Churchill had finally achieved his life’s ambition. He was prime minister, but he faced impossibly grave circumstances. The Nazis were advancing across Europe, France was weeks from surrender and the United States still reluctant to join the fight.
Larson’s latest book, The Splendid and the Vile, is an account of the crucial year that Britain withstood the Blitz and staved off invasion, thanks in no small part to Churchill’s extraordinary leadership.
MOMENT IN TIME: MAY 5, 1980
Colourful nicknames were dotted across the green baize landscape of the snooker world in the 1980s. Dracula. Whirlwind. The Maltese Falcon. While (Champagne) Cliff Thorburn had his share of them, the Grinder, as he was more commonly known, carved out his own niche, including infamously punching out Alex (Hurricane) Higgins at a bar in 1983. But it was his title bout against the hot-tempered Northern Irishman three years prior for which the Victoria native is best remembered. Although the Hurricane saw off Toronto’s Kirk Stevens 16 frames to 13 in the semi to prevent an all-Canadian final, Thorburn, in his second world final, did his country proud. Despite falling into an early 9-5 hole, the Rhett Butler of the Green Baize turned on the style to level the score at 9-9 at the end of the first day. The resumption of play resulted in even more drama for the millions watching at home, particularly when the BBC’s broadcast cut away from the action to cover British special forces storming the Iranian embassy in London. However, Thorburn kept his focus, ultimately prevailing 18-16 to ensure that the world snooker crown would be leaving the British Isles for the first time in the modern era. – Paul Attfield