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Poll suggests COVID-19 not changing Canada Day for many Canadians

OTTAWA — COVID-19 means the true north is not entirely free this Canada Day, but a new survey suggests that’s not going to change how many people mark the holiday.

Leger Marketing and Association for Canadian Studies surveyed Canadians asking whether, given all that’s gone on in the last three months with the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ll be more or less likely to find a way to celebrate this year.

For 42 per cent of those polled, this Canada Day will be no different than any other.

Sixteen per cent overall of those surveyed are feeling that true patriot love — they say they’re more likely this year to find a way to celebrate, even if it’s just a small gathering.

The feeling is strongest in B.C., the province widely seen as weathering the COVID-19 storm better than others. There, 22 per cent say they’re more likely to party.

But 38 per cent overall in Canada are standing on guard, saying it’s actually less likely they’ll mark the holiday.

In Ontario, still struggling with pockets of oubtreaks, 44 per cent say they’re less likely to mark the occasion, and the figure is the same for those in Alberta.

In the U.S., where there is a surge of outbreaks and some states have even revised their opening plans, 39 per cent of those polled say it’s less likely they’ll mark their own national holiday, the Fourth of July.

For 35 per cent of Americans, their plans are unchanged, while 18 per cent say they’re more likely to celebrate.

The poll surveyed 1,524 Canadians and 1,002 Americans online between June 26 and June 28 and cannot assigned a margin of error because internet polls are not considered truly random.

As both countries get set to celebrate, there is more of a divide when it comes to how they’re feeling about their respective nations. 

Of those polled, 90 per cent say they’re proud to be Canadian, compared to 74 per cent of Americans.

For Americans, it is a phrase rooted in the Declaration of Independence that gives them the most pride: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness  — 93 per cent said that was the thing that made them most proud to be American.

For Canadians, the slightly less cinematic slogan of “peace, order and good government” was also at the top of the list, as was universal health care, the natural landscape and equal rights.

Mid-way through the rankings? Political leadership. Fifty-five per cent of Canadians surveyed said it was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who makes them proud, compared to 42 per cent who feel the same about U.S. President Donald Trump.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2020.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press


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Asylum seekers on front lines of COVID-19 to have chance at permanent residency

OTTAWA — Asylum seekers working on the front-lines of the COVID-19 crisis are getting an early chance at permanent residency in Canada.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced the program today in response to public demand that the so-called “Guardian Angels” — many in Quebec — be recognized for their work in the health-care sector during the pandemic.

Ordinarily, asylum seekers must wait for their claims to be accepted before they can become permanent residents, but the new program waives that requirement.

To apply for residency now, they must have claimed asylum in Canada prior to March 13 and have spent no less than 120 hours working as a orderly, nurse or other designated occupations between the date of their claim and today.

They must also demonstrate they have six months of experience in the profession before they can receive permanent residency and have until the end of this month to meet that requirement.

The approach recognizes the extraordinary contribution of asylum claimants, particularly in long-term care centres, Mendicino said in a statement.

“As these individuals face an uncertain future in Canada, the current circumstances merit exceptional measures in recognition of their service during the pandemic,” he said.

The new program was the result of negotiations between the federal government and Quebec.

That province has housed many of the nearly 60,000 people who have requested asylum in Canada after crossing on foot into the country from the U.S., the majority using an entry point in Quebec called Roxham Road.

About half the claims have already been heard, and the rest are still working their way through the system.

The irregular border crossers, as they are known, did so to get around a loophole in an agreement between Canada and the U.S. that forbids most people from entering the country by land and asking for safe haven.

The Safe Third Country Agreement, however, was struck down by the Federal Court in July, when a judge ruled elements of it violate constitutional rights.

The judgment was suspended for six months to give the government time to find a solution.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 14, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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Atlantic Canadians against lifting travel restrictions next month, survey finds

A new survey indicates Atlantic Canadians are largely opposed to lifting quarantine requirements for Canadians who live outside the region.

More than 3,300 Atlantic Canadians participated in the Halifax-based Narrative Research survey that asked questions about existing travel restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

More than three-quarters of respondents were opposed to lifting 14-day quarantine requirements for visitors from the rest of Canada within the next month.

Seventy-nine per cent of respondents said they had not left their home provinces since Atlantic Canada created the so-called travel “bubble” in July, which waived the 14-day self-isolation rules for residents of the region who cross provincial borders.

Prince Edward Islanders were most likely to have travelled within the Atlantic region, at 38 per cent, while Newfoundlanders and Labradorians were the least likely, at seven per cent.

People who had travelled within the Atlantic bubble were more likely under the age of 55 and higher income earners.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 14, 2020.

 

The Canadian Press

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Vigils to take place tonight for Alberta doctor killed in walk-in clinic

RED DEER, Alta. — Two vigils are planned tonight for a family doctor who was killed at a walk-in clinic in central Alberta earlier this week.

Dr. Walter Reynolds, a 45-year-old father of two girls, died in hospital after he was attacked Monday morning at the Village Mall clinic in Red Deer, Alta.

Deng Mabiour, who is 54, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Reynolds, as well as assault with a weapon and assaulting a police officer.

Police have said Mabiour and Reynolds knew each other through the clinic, but did not say whether Mabiour was a patient.

One witness told media that she heard cries for help and a man in the clinic had a hammer and a machete.

The Alberta Medical Association, which is organizing the vigils in Red Deer and Edmonton, is asking doctors who attend to wear white lab coats or white clothing to honour Reynolds.

The clinic where Reynolds worked has described him as a devoted husband, father and doctor who came to Canada from South Africa in 2003.

It says Reynolds and his wife, Anelia, first lived in Manitoba then moved to Red Deer in 2006.

“From the delivery room to the hospice, he dedicated himself 100 per cent,” the Village Mall clinic said in a statement earlier this week.

“If there was a task at work that needed to be done, he would step up to the plate. If a patient needed help, he walked the extra mile … and then some.”

Reynolds and his wife were often seen jogging around the neighbourhood. He was an avid runner, often participating in marathons and mud races, the clinic said.

“If there was a campsite to explore, then they were there. Always exploring, always an adventure, always on the move … so full of life.”

A GoFundMe page was set up to raise funds for the education of Reynolds’ children. It reached more than $230,000 by Thursday afternoon. 

Dr. Edward Ohanjanians said in an interview that Reynolds was “the best colleague I ever had.”

Reynolds founded the Village Mall clinic and took care of all of its shopping and scheduling, he said.

Ohanjanians was there when Reynolds was attacked. He said he was unable to talk about what happened.

“I witnessed the tragic death of my colleague and friend,” he said. “It’s a difficult time.”

The vigils, both scheduled for 7 p.m., are to take place outside Red Deer City Hall and Edmonton City Hall.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 14, 2020

The Canadian Press


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