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Issue No : 159

Email: editor@canadianparvasi.com Contact Number : 905-673-0600 October 05, 2020 | Toronto | Pages 12

12 WEEKS OF CHRISTMAS

retailers speed up holiday

plans in a daunting year

The Canadian Press

Green Party of Canada

chooses Toronto

lawyer Annamie Paul

as new leader

The Canadian Press

Green Party of Canada

members have chosen

Toronto lawyer

Annamie Paul as

their new leader.

Paul won a

bare majority of

votes in the eighth

round, defeating

Dimitri Lascaris.

She says the race

showed the depth of talent

the Greens can attract and

pledged to give her all to

the party’s success.

Paul succeeds Elizabeth

May, who stepped

down last fall after leading

the party for 13 years.

Nearly 35,000 people

were eligible to vote, almost

10 times the turnout

in the last leadership

election in

2006, and nearly

24,000 ballots were

cast, according to

the party. The race

suffered several

hiccups, including

the disqualification of one

candidate, the disqualification

and reinstatement of a

second, and a bookkeeping

error that the party says

kept thousands of dollars

in donations out of the

hands of a third.

Prepare to buy your boughs

of holly early this year — or

just have them delivered — as

store owners adjust to a holiday

season that may prove far from

jolly.

Retailers are ramping up

plans for a transformed Christmas

shopping season in response

to the COVID-19 pandemic,

with strategies to draw

buyers early, step up their e-

commerce game and convince

consumers to buy gifts for farflung

friends and family.

Indigo Books & Music Inc.

is already rolling out cards and

advent calendars. Mountain

Equipment Co-op has seen a

sales surge for winter products

such as snowsuits, which it

aims to load onto shelves ahead

of schedule alongside snowshoes

and skis to spread out the

holiday rush.

Hudson’s Bay Co. will

launch its yuletide collection

of clothing and decor six weeks

early at the start of October,

while some Canadian Tire

stores are already aglow with

Christmas lights and baubles.

For Indigo CEO Heather

Reisman, flexibility and health

awareness are top of mind.

In the wake of 15 store closures

since March, the chain

has revamped its customer experience

with private shopping

hours “for people who may feel

particularly compromised,” she

said. Loyalty program members

can visit outside of normal operating

hours — typically before

10 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

— to browse at will, free from

crowds.

Continued on page 02

Canadians can get $500 a week if they

have COVID-19 or care for those who have it

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA : Canadians forced

to miss work because of CO-

VID-19 can start applying for

financial support from the federal

government today.

The new benefits come

amid concerns about new

lockdowns and job losses as

governments try to get a handle

on the growing number of

new cases and prevent healthcare

systems from being overwhelmed.

They also follow a bitter

political fight in Ottawa that

saw all parties support the

multibillion-dollar suite of

new benefits despite misgivings

about how it was rushed

through Parliament by the

Liberal government.

Continued on page 03

For advertimesment in


The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

02

12 weeks of Christmas

retailers speed up holiday

plans in a daunting year

Continued from page 01

The 12 weeks leading up

to New Year’s Day usually

account for about one-third

of annual sales, she said.

“It’s not possible to fully

make up for almost three

months of almost 200 physical

stores closed (earlier

this year)… so our goal is

to get as close to last year’s

sales as possible, recognizing

that it will depend on

customers spreading out

their time.”

Shipping and logistics

continue to be upended

as the pandemic’s second

wave begins to break.

Fashion retailer Simons is

investing millions in temporary

shipping and packing

stations to meet the

expected spike in demand

for online orders. However,

CEO Peter Simons doubts

the 180-year-old department

store can reach previous

revenue peaks for the season,

which typically make

up 40 per cent of sales for

the year.

E-commerce poses a

“huge logistical challenge,”

he said, with online sales

already tripling. “The complete

infrastructure will be

very taxed.

The pandemic prompted

Simons to postpone the

opening of a $215-million

automated distribution

centre in the Montreal area.

As a result, it will have to

spend millions more on a

hiring surge, already underway,

to pack and sort

online purchases through

December, he said.

While some companies

are relying on online deals

and curbside pickup, London

Drugs is bulking up its

physical presence. It plans

to construct queue shelters

at more than half of its 82

stores by mid-October, including

metal-roofed structures

bolted to buildings to

shield Prairie customers

from wind and snow.

Real estate company

Cadillac Fairview hopes to

shorten indoor lineups by

registering retailers on its

appointment-booking app.

The platform, launched recently

as a pilot with jewelry

chain Pandora at Toronto’s

Eaton Centre, lets

customers schedule a time

to swing by the store without

having to worry about

long queues or crowded

aisles. Companies like Apple

Inc. have relied on fluid

customer appointment systems

for years, but Cadillac

Fairview hopes to bring

less tech-savvy bricks-andmortar

vendors on board

across its 19 shopping centres

before Christmas.

Michael LeBlanc, a senior

adviser at the Retail

Council of Canada, says

consumers may have more

spending money on hand

after shelling out less on

vacations, commutes and

lunchtime cappuccinos.

“Our message to

Canadians for the

holidays is: shop

early and shop often.

This is not the year

to wait. And retailers

are telling me they’re

seeing signs of gift

buying already,”

LeBlanc said.

But a holiday

season that features

fewer store visits and

gatherings of friends

and family may see

a corresponding decrease

in impulse

buys and lavish gift

giving, with the unemployment

rate

lingering above 10

per cent and rent and

loan payment deferrals

set to expire.

More e-commerce

means fewer

whimsical purchases

in the aisles. But online

browsing offers

plenty of impulse

options as well, with

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retailers able to suggest

products based on previous

searches and purchases.

That’s not as smooth

online as we’d like… But

that’s where you’ll have to

fight this game, online,”

LeBlanc said. I can’t think

of a more important season

for all of us, and then maybe

that’s reflected in sending

people gifts online. Merchants

are hoping that will

be the case… but we just

don’t really know.

Reitmans Canada Ltd.,

which is restructuring after

the insolvent women’s apparel

retailer was granted

creditor protection in May,

hopes to claw back customers

with online style sessions

by appointment

for those hunting for

personalized tips.

More casual winter

wear will be among the

threads on offer as telecommuting

remains

the norm. “We definitely

have increased our

cozy assortment,” said

Reitmans president

Jackie Tardif.

Seasonal outfits

and items will hit the

shelves early at various

retailers across the

country as COVID-19

upends the annual

shopping surges on

Black Friday and Boxing

Day. But unless

the pandemic returns

with a vengeance — a real

possibility — in-person purchases

will not disappear

entirely.

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The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

03

Canadians can get $500 a

week if they have COVID-19

or care for those who have it

Continued from page 01

“It is vital that Canadians

have access to income

support that reflects the

impacts the pandemic has

on their employment,” National

Revenue Minister

Diane Lebouthillier said

in a statement on Sunday.

The new caregiver benefit

responds to numerous

calls since the pandemic

started for more support

for parents and others who

are forced to miss work to

care for a dependent due to

COVID-19.

Women in particular

have seen a disproportionate

impact on their careers

and earnings because of

the pandemic, with many

shouldering much of the

burden in terms of child

care and home schooling.

Canadian households

will be able to apply for

$500 per week for up to 26

weeks when one person

misses more than half a

week of work because they

have to care for a child because

of the illness.

That includes children

whose schools or daycares

are closed due to COV-

ID-19, and children who

are forced to miss school

or daycare because they

have contracted the virus

or may have been exposed.

The benefit, which

Canadians can apply for

through the Canada Revenue

Agency, also applies to

people forced to miss work

to care for family members

whose specialized care is

unavailable due to CO-

VID-19.

The federal government

anticipates 700,000

Canadians will apply for

the caregiver benefit.

Canadians will also be

able to access a new sickleave

benefit that pays up

to $1,000 over two weeks

for those unable to work

because they have contracted

COVID-19 or are

forced to self-isolate because

of the virus.

Ottawa expects 4.4 million

Canadians to apply for

sick leave.

The federal NDP had

made the creation of a sickleave

benefit for workers a

condition for it to support

the Liberals’ effort to fasttrack

billions of dollars

in new COVID-19 relief

through Parliament last

week.

The package included

the two new programs

and a third replacing the

$500-per-week Canada

Emergency Response Benefit,

the main support program

for those unable to

work due to COVID-19.

Canadians can start applying

for the new Canada

Response Benefit, which

will also pay $500 per week

for up to 26 weeks, starting

Oct. 12.

Canadian Labour Congress

president Hassan

Yussuff on Sunday welcomed

the new caregiver

and sick-leave benefits as

long overdue for Canadian

workers whose employers

don’t offer such support.

They are also timely

given the rising number

of cases in different parts

of the country, he said.

More than 1,600 new

cases of COVID-19 were

reported on Sunday, even

though some provinces did

not provide updated numbers.

The figures have

prompted fears of looming

lockdowns in some areas.

“It’s really a blessing

for a lot of people who are

going to need them,” Yussuff

said of the new benefits.

“People are going to

have the security of having

an income if they have

to take time off, and

not have to worry about

not being able to pay their

rent or buy groceries or

whatever their needs

might be.”

Yet even as he welcomed

the new benefits,

Yussuff noted they are

only temporary and that

COVID-19 has underlined

the need for permanent

caregiver and sick-leave

support even after the pandemic.

“While these benefits

are temporary in nature,

they also speak to the fact

that millions go to work

every day without having

sick leave or access to

family-care leave,” he said.

Canadian Federation

of Independent Business

president Dan Kelly described

the new caregiver

and sick-leave benefits as

“entirely reasonable” given

the unprecedented nature

of the pandemic.

Yet he expressed concern

about any move

making the measures permanent,

suggesting businesses

will be forced to

shoulder much of the financial

burden in the form

of increased EI premiums

or taxes.

“Any of those changes

will have to come from the

pockets of employers that

are already empty,” Kelly

said, adding that the vast

majority of small businesses

have yet to return

to pre-pandemic levels.

Quebec coroner’s office to launch public

inquest into Joyce Echaquan’s death

The Canadian Press

A public inquest into the death of an

Indigenous woman who filmed herself being

insulted by Quebec hospital staff hours

before she died will be launched as soon

as possible, the province’s chief coroner

announced. Pascale Descary said the late-

Saturday decision came as the result of

a formal request filed hours earlier from

Quebec’s Public Security Minister Genevieve

Guilbault.

Descary’s office pledged to launch the

inquiry soon, but offered no specific dates.

Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw

mother of seven, died shortly after

she filmed herself from her hospital bed in

Joliette, Que., about 70km north of Montreal,

last Monday while she was in clear

distress and pleading for help.

Hospital staff can be heard in the video

making disparaging comments about

Echaquan, including calling her stupid and

saying she’d be better off dead.

The video created widespread indignation,

touched off several inquiries and

prompted Echaquan’s family to launch

a lawsuit against the hospital where she

died. Echaquan’s relatives and members of

the Atikamekw community of Manawan,

Que., about 200km north of Joliette, welcomed

the pending coroner’s inquest.

“Every day in Quebec and Canada,

Indigenous men, women and children

are victims of contempt and racism in the

health care system,” family and community

members said in a statement released

hours after Descary’s announcement.

“Joyce Echaquan’s case at Joliette Hospital

is certainly not unique, but rather the tip

of the iceberg.” “The public inquest must

provide answers that will initiate change

in how health care services are delivered

to Indigenous people.”

Similar calls for reform rang through

the streets of Montreal on Saturday as

crowds of protesters held a rally to both

express support for Echaquan’s family and

voice concerns about systemic racism in

the health-care system.

The coroner’s office said the public inquest

will seek to examine the cause and

circumstances surrounding her death, and

make recommendations to prevent similar

incidents in the future.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault referenced

Echaquan’s death in a Sunday

statement marking the annual day commemorating

missing and murdered Indigenous

women in Canada.

“It falls only a few days after an event

that profoundly shocked us all: the death

of Joyce Echaquan and the racism that she

was subjected to,” Legault wrote in a post

on Facebook. “We have asked the coroner

for a public inquest to shed light on this

tragedy.” Legault has been criticised for

failing to acknowledge the existence of systemic

racism in the province.


The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

04

Joyce Echaquan’s death

highlights systemic racism

in health care, experts say

The Canadian Press

denounced Echaquan’s

treatment as “unacceptable,”

and on Saturday,

deputy premier Genevieve

Guilbault announced

that she has asked the

coroner’s office to order

a public inquest into the

death. The two healthcare

workers heard in the

video have been fired. But

Legault has consistently

maintained there is no

systemic racism in the

province.

Echaquan’s death took

place almost a year to the

day after a public inquiry

released 142 recommendations

aimed at improving

Indigenous people’s access

to government services

in Quebec. Though

Quebec’s minister responsible

for Indigenous

affairs said this week

that dozens of those recommendations

have been

implemented, both Boyer

and Nakuset question her

claim.

After all the inquests

and recommendations,

both women feel that little

real change has occurred.

How are you ever supposed

to fix (systemic racism)

if people believe it

doesn’t exist?” Boyer said

in reference to Legault.

She said there needs to

be a “national response”

that sets clear standards

for hospitals and clear

consequences for those

who violate them.

Nakuset, who organized

a protest in downtown

Montreal on Saturday,

is hopeful that what

happened to Echaquan

could be a turning point

for Canada, the way the

death of George Floyd

during an arrest by police

in Minnesota galvanized

the Black Lives Matter

movement in the United

States.

She believes there’s

still hope for change, but

only if Canadians from all

backgrounds demand it.

The only way that we

can make changes as a

society is to show up, because

actions speak louder

than words,” she said.

The fate of Joyce

Echaquan, an Indigenous

woman who died in a Quebec

hospital after filming

staff insulting her, is a

tragic example of the systemic

racism many Indigenous

people face when

accessing health services

in Canada, advocates and

patients say.

The Atikamekw mother

of seven died soon after

she filmed herself from

her hospital bed last Monday

while she was in clear

distress and pleading

for help. Toward the end

of the video, which was

streamed live, two female

hospital staff enter her

room and are heard making

degrading comments,

including calling her stupid

and saying she’d be

better off dead.

The video has created

widespread indignation,

several inquiries

and a lawsuit

from Echaquan’s family

against the hospital

where she died in Joliette,

Que. But Yvonne

Boyer, a Metis Canadian

senator, lawyer, and former

nurse, says what happened

to Echaquan was in

no way a surprise.

“For every Joyce

Echaquan that comes forward,

there’s a hundred

that have not been heard,”

she said in a phone interview.

Echaquan’s partner,

Carol Dube, says he

believes she died as a result

of the racism she and

many other Indigenous

people face.

“I’m convinced that

my partner is dead because

systemic racism

contaminated the Joliette

hospital. It killed my partner,”

he told a news conference

Friday at which

his lawyer announced a

lawsuit and a criminal

complaint against the hospital.

Frederick Edwards, a

Cree man from Manitoba,

said he has faced racism

and stereotypes throughout

his life while trying to

access health care.

He remembers being

in unbearable pain before

going to an emergency

room in Winnipeg about

seven years ago, after having

already seeing multiple

doctors who couldn’t

provide a diagnosis. He

says he was shocked when

the triage nurse immediately

told him to shut

up and sit down — treatment

that made him feel

“worthless.”

After being made to

wait, then seeing a doctor

who dismissed his symptoms,

his phone rang as

he waited in the ER: a doctor

he had seen previously

had results of a blood test

showing that his health

was at serious risk. He

was rushed to surgery at

another hospital because

his gallbladder had ruptured.

“I don’t like hospitals

because of so many bad

experiences,” Edwards, a

communications professional,

said in an interview.

“This is just one of

them.”

Boyer said discrimination

in the health-care

system is “pervasive,”

spanning every province

and territory.

As an example, she

cited legal actions being

mounted in Alberta, Saskatchewan

and British

Columbia by Indigenous

women who allege they

were forced or coerced

into undergoing sterilization

procedures.

Accounts from Indigenous

women in 2015

about forced sterilizations

in Saskatchewan led

to hundreds more coming

forward with similar

stories from across the

country. A report into the

Saskatchewan tubal ligations

found the women

felt profiled and powerless

and concluded racism exists

within the health-care

system.

Boyer said she received

another email from

a Canadian Indigenous

woman alleging a coerced

procedure on Thursday,

suggesting such practices

are not just a relic of the

past. The issue of healthcare

discrimination was

also raised in the case of

Brian Sinclair, a 45-yearold

Indigenous man who

died of sepsis in 2008 after

sitting in a Winnipeg hospital

in his wheelchair for

34 hours.

Later it was discovered

that staff assumed

he was homeless or intoxicated.

By the time

his body was discovered,

rigor mortis had set in.

An inquest into the death

made recommendations

about structural changes

to how hospitals conduct

triage, but family members

have said it didn’t

address the real issue –

racism in the health-care

system.

Mary Jane Logan Mc-

Callum, a member of the

Munsee Delaware Nation

in Ontario and co-author

of a book about Sinclair’s

death, said racism continues

to be a significant barrier

to proper health care

for Indigenous people.

They fear facing stereotypes,

having their symptoms

ignored or being left

to die without treatment.

This is not a one-off for

Indigenous people,” Mc-

Callum said in reference

to the deaths of Sinclair

and Echaquan. “This is

absolutely part of the way

that many Indigenous people

prepare themselves to

go to the hospital.”

In Montreal, Nakuset,

the executive director of

the Native Women’s Shelter,

said situations like

Echaquan’s are “heartbreakingly

normal.”

Over the last 20 years

of directing the shelter,

she says she’s seen and

heard of countless instances

of racism, including

a Cree patient being

told to go to a Mohawk

reserve for treatment and

an Inuk woman leaving

a health-care facility in

tears after being rebuffed

while seeking treatment

for an addiction.

It’s so bad, she said,

that the shelter has taken

to sending support workers

with patients to the

hospital, partly to witness

and document racist incidents.

Quebec Premier

Francois Legault has


The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

05

Experts, national parents

group, call for specialized

proton therapy clinic in Canada

The Canadian Press

An advocacy group for

children’s cancer research

says it’s time Canada

makes an advanced form

of radiotherapy, called proton

beam therapy, more

widely available.

Canada is the only G7

country without a clinical

proton facility — a situation

that forces families to

travel to the United States

to seek a treatment that

has been around for about

a decade.

Canadians should have

access to the advanced level

of care that comes from

proton beam therapy, said

Chris Collins, chair of Advocacy

for Canadian Childhood

Oncology Research

Network, or Ac2orn.

This is an important

and proven technology

and medical treatment,”

Collins said in a recent interview.

Proton radiotherapy

uses a beam of protons to

irradiate cancerous tissue

in children and adults. In

comparison to conventional

radiation therapy,

proton therapy delivers a

higher concentration of radiation

without affecting

nearby organs.

Collins is a former

speaker of the New Brunswick

legislature who lost

his 13-year-old son Sean

to cancer in 2007. He said

the COVID-19 pandemic

is making it more difficult

for families to travel to

the United States for treatment.He

said the pandemic

is exposing an inequity

in the health-care system

that would be largely addressed

if there were a Canadian

option.

“Proportionally, it

would be good to have a

centre in Vancouver, Montreal

and Toronto, and to

fund families who are travelling

to these places,” he

said. Kimberley Berger,

of Vancouver, knows how

difficult it can be to access

the treatment her 12-yearold

son Jonah received at

a private clinic in Seattle,

Wash., last February.

While the B.C. health

system funded the treatment,

the family was on

its own to pay their accommodations

during the six

weeks her son received

proton therapy and chemotherapy

following surgery

for a brain tumour.

“My immediate

thought when this happened

was, ‘how are we

going to do this?’” Berger

said. “I have another son

and my husband is working,

we have to rent a home

in another city and that is

expensive.”

She said dealing with a

foreign health system was

an added stress.

“You don’t know how

the system works and then

throw a pandemic on top

of it,” she said in a recent

interview. “The pandemic

drives it home that we

need to be sustainable in

Canada when something

like this does happen.”

Dr. Jim Whitlock, division

head of haematology

and oncology at SickKids

hospital in Toronto, said

proton therapy is a particularly

effective option for

children who have brain

tumours or other types of

cancer. Proton therapy, he

said, is preferable for patients

who have tumours

at the base of the skull: “A

tricky area to try to radiate

and not cause damage.”

Whitlock said the upfront

capital costs — estimated

between $75 million

and $250 million — are the

main hurdle to building a

proton centre in Canada.

He said there should be

at least one national facility,

adding that any province

that decides to build

one will need the help of

the federal government.

The vision of building

centres of excellent for expensive

and uncommon

therapies is one “Canada

needs to embrace as a nation,”

Whitlock said. “I

hope the federal government

will consider taking

a more active role in helping

address these national

needs because some of

these problems need to be

solved at a national level.”

According to Health

Canada, proton beam

therapy systems are rated

as Class III devices under

federal regulations, meaning

they must be licenced

prior to importation or

sale in the country.

“While Health Canada

is responsible for assessing

the safety, effectiveness

and quality of medical

devices, the availability,

its use, and the funding of

proton therapy in Canada

fall under the responsibility

of the provinces and territories,”

the department

said in an email.

Dr. Rob Rutledge, a radiation

oncologist at the

Nova Scotia Cancer Centre

in Halifax, agrees that

money is the issue.

Currently, the handful

of patients in the Maritimes

who qualify for the

proton treatment are sent

to the United States. But

Nova Scotia, which funds

the treatment, is looking at

referring some patients to

the Netherlands, a country

Rutledge said has “excellent

technology at a fraction

of the cost.”

Proton treatment, however,

needs to be offered to

some children with brain

tumours in Canada, Rutledge

said, adding that the

non-availability of the procedure

exposes a gap in the

health system.

Pandemic aside, we

need this treatment.

Military base housing Canadian troops

attacked as U.S.-Iraq tensions escalate

The Canadian Press

Canadian troops involved in the sixyear-old

war against ISIL risk being

caught in the middle of escalating tensions

between the U.S. and Iraq.

The dispute between Washington

and Baghdad revolves around the rising

threat posed by Iranian-backed militia

groups in Iraq, which have stepped up

their attacks against U.S. targets in recent

weeks.

That includes several rocket attacks

against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad

and a strike on Wednesday targeting an

American military base that is also home

to dozens of Canadian soldiers.

U.S. military officials say the rockets

did not hit the base located near the city

of Irbil in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, and

the Department of National Defence said

all Canadian troops at the base were safe.

Canada has around 170 military members

in Iraq, including an undisclosed

number of special forces soldiers working

out of Irbil and another group participating

in a NATO-led training mission in the

south.

Canada’s ambassador to Iraq joined

other allies in expressing concern about

attacks against diplomatic missions

in Baghdad after a meeting with Iraq’s

Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi on

Wednesday.


The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

06

The

w w w . canadianparv asi. c o m

Publisher & CEO

Associate Editor

Editor (India)

Online

Graphic Designer

Official Photographer

Contact

Editorial

Sales

Rajinder Saini

Meenakshi Saini

Gursheesh

Kshitiz Dalal

Naveen

Bashir Nasir

editor@canadianparvasi.com

sales@canadianparvasi.com

ATAL TUNNEL OPENS

Start of a new chapter

beyond Rohtang

The inauguration of the strategically

important, all-weather Atal Tunnel in Himachal

Pradesh marks the realisation of a

decades-long project, once considered too

difficult to be implemented. The highestaltitude

tunnel in the world and one of the

longest in the country, it is nothing short

of an engineering marvel of which the Border

Roads Organisation, other agencies,

contractors and the expert workforce can

be justifiably proud. The feasibility study

was first done in 1990, 10 years before the

decision to construct the 9.02-km doublelane

tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was

taken when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the

Prime Minister.

It would take 15 minutes on an average

to travel from the south portal of the

horseshoe-shaped tunnel, located 25 km

from Manali, to the north portal in Sissu,

Lahaul valley. Designed for daily traffic

density of 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks, it reduces

the road distance by 46 km between

Manali and Leh and the travel time by

four to five hours. The tunnel is a defining

moment for the intensive Central push towards

better border connectivity. Though

it has the potential to link Ladakh to the

rest of the country all 12 months of the

year, as it would bypass Rohtang Pass that

is snowbound during the winter, passes

like Thanglang La and Baralacha La can

still cut off road access to Leh in extreme

weather conditions.

The immediate change would be felt in

Lahaul and also Spiti valley, as the tunnel

promises to transform the winter cut-off

existence patterns. For the locals, however,

the significance of the tunnel opening

is also riddled with apprehensions of hectic

trade and business activity threatening

the traditional ways of life in the serene

and remote mountain areas. While exploring

the tunnel as a huge business opportunity

for the travel industry, the Himachal

government would face a challenging time

regulating and educating tourists. Going

by the reckless expansionist experience

in Manali, maintaining an ecological balance

and cultural sensitisation should remain

the top priority. The Tribune

HIGH STAKES IN PAKISTAN

Imran Khan will now have to deal with the

collective might of the Opposition

Tilak Devasher

The political temperature

in Pakistan has gone

up several notches with

the coming together of 11

disparate Opposition parties

in an all parties conference

(APC) on September

20. The meeting was

notable for Nawaz Sharif’s

aggressive speech from

London, as also the formation

of the Pakistan Democratic

Movement (PDM)

with an agenda to unseat

the ‘selected’ government

of Imran Khan. Nawaz

Sharif has posed the question

and set the narrative

that will dominate Pakistan

politics in the immediate

future: should the

elected representatives

rule the country or the establishment.

The Opposition had

been struggling for the

last two years to forge a

strategy against the Pakistan

Tehreek-i-Insaf government

of Imran Khan.

The example of Jamait-i-

Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana

Fazlur Rehman being

left alone when he staged

a dharna in Islamabad

in 2019 was one example

of divisions within it. A

major factor that brought

the Opposition together

was Imran’s intolerance

towards them, in fact, towards

any form of dissent

as well as his arrogance.

As a result, a large number

of Opposition leaders

have been in and out of

jails or have faced trials

in one-sided accountability

cases. Another critical

factor was that the Opposition

would lose its majority

in the Senate in March,

foreclosing any chance of

checking the government

in parliament and further

narrowing the space for it

to operate.

In his speech to the

APC, Nawaz stated boldly

that there was ‘a state

above the state in the

country’, and that the Opposition’s

struggle was

against a ‘parallel state’

that had imposed an incapable

person on the

country through a rigged

election process. The APC

demanded Imran’s immediate

resignation, failing

which the PDM would

launch a three-phased programme

of protests and

rallies, culminating in a

long march to Islamabad

in January 2021. The first

protest is slated for October

11 in Quetta. Unlike

the past two years, where

the individual Opposition

parties attacked the government,

now the Opposition’s

struggle would be

directly against the establishment

in which the protests

against Imran would

be a façade.

Nawaz had been silent

for the past two years during

which the Pakistan

Muslim League-Nawaz

(PMLN) had veered towards

the accommodating

politics of Shahbaz Sharif,

which did not achieve

anything in terms of letup

in the persecution of

the party. Nawaz’s hardline

articulation signalled

the end to the policies of

accommodation. Henceforth,

his daughter Maryam

would call the shots

in the party in Pakistan

and he himself will set

the agenda from London.

The APC’s 26-point resolution

that called for ‘end of

establishment’s interference

in politics’ vindicated

his position.

The Opposition has

passed the first test — of

coming together. The real

test of staying together

and choosing a leader of

the PDM comes next, especially

since most of the

parties have a history of

bad blood and mutual rivalries

and have, in the

past, fallen prey to the

establishment’s machinations.

The other big

test would be to translate

the APC rhetoric and action

plan into an effective

movement within and outside

parliament. Maulana

Fazlur Rehman and his

madrasa-based students

and religious cadres will

play a crucial role in such

mobilisation. Failure to

establish and sustain a

strong physical presence

on the streets would make

the speeches and action

plan meaningless.

Imran’s government

stands on a weak wicket

largely because of his

failure on practically every

front, including providing

good governance.

The economy, which was

already on a slippery

slope, has been battered

by the impact of Covid-19.

Growth has slipped into

the negative territory.

Thus, even though it has

underplayed Opposition

unity, a lot of the government’s

attention henceforth

would get diverted

to their protests, further

adversely impacting governance.

Government statements

both before and

after the APC, calling it

anti-Pakistan, betrayed a

sense of panic. Imran held

that speeches against the

government and state institutions

were an attempt

to appease the Indian lobby

and that the Opposition

wanted to create a rift between

the government and

the armed forces.

Since the government

was unable to contain

the fallout of the APC,

the army jumped into the

fray with a series of media

leaks and statements in

order to create rifts in the

political alliance. These

included disclosures made

by DG ISPR on a private

TV channel about two

meetings held by PMLN

leader Mohd Zubair with

the army chief, thus trying

to discredit the party.

However, leaks about the

meetings, instead of diluting

the impact of Nawaz’s

speech or of the APC, only

strengthened their validity.

The combined government/establishment

strategy would be to create

obstacles to ensure

the Opposition is unable

to conduct successful and

well-attended rallies. Measures

would include arrest

of key Opposition leaders,

denying permission for

rallies and venues, engineering

splits in parties

and between parties, etc.

However, they would have

to contend with the combined

political and cadre

strength of a three-time

PM with a strong base in

Punjab and the street power

of the Maulana in the

other provinces.

Ultimately, the fallout

of the APC will be less a

test for the Opposition

as for Pakistan. What is

at stake is the future of a

functioning democracy.

If the Opposition falters

or breaks ranks, the establishment

would have

won and Pakistan can bid

farewell to a functioning

democracy for the foreseeable

future. If the Opposition

stays the course, it

would still find it difficult

to prise the establishment

away from political interference

but at least a functioning

democracy would

have a fighting chance.

The die has been cast

and the stakes for Pakistan

are high. In this, Imran

finds himself on the

wrong side of the equation.!

Source Credit: This article

was first published in The Tribune.

The writer is Member,

National Security Advisory

Board.

Parvasi weekly & people associated with it are not responsible for any claims made by the advertisement & do not endorse any product or service advertised in Canadian Parvasi. Please consult your lawyer before buying/hiring/contracting through

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The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

07

Tam urges Thanksgiving

caution amid recent rise

in cases of COVID-19

The Canadian Press

Plan ahead to make sure

this year’s Thanksgiving

holiday is safe during the

COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s

top public health officer

urged on Sunday as case

counts continued to soar in

several parts of the country.

Dr. Theresa Tam said

indoor holiday gatherings

of family or friends should

be kept small, especially in

provinces such as Quebec

Ontario where infection

rates are highest.

“We’ve got some serious

planning to do,” Tam said in

a statement released nearly

a week before the national

holiday on Oct. 12.

“Not the carefree planning

we had last Thanksgiving

but rather some ingenious

Canadian COVID-19

’holiday-hacks’ that will

ensure there are no viruses

invited or passed around at

our gatherings.” Tam said

people celebrating outdoors

should follow physical distancing

guidelines and encouraged

people to avoid

sharing food and other objects

during their meals.

She also suggested that

Canadians opt for virtual

Thanksgiving dinners instead

of in-person gatherings.

Her advice comes as

new COVID-19 case numbers

continued their upward

trajectory in several

parts of the country, most

notably in central Canada,

where tighter restrictions

have been put in place in

recent days to try to prevent

the spread of the virus.

Quebec reported more

than 1,000 new diagnoses

for the third straight day

on Sunday, while Ontario

has recorded more than 500

cases every day for the past

week. The Quebec government

announced plans to

move three towns in the

Gaspesie region to its highest

COVID-19 alert level on

Monday, and urged residents

to minimize their contacts

with people outside

their homes.

In Ontario, stricter limits

on restaurants, bars and

fitness facilities took effect

in three main hot spots —

Toronto, Peel Region, and

Ottawa — this weekend in a

bid to halt the surging case

numbers in those regions.

The province also has

announced other measures

aimed at addressing a testing

backlog, all of which

take effect this week.

Manitoba said Sunday

that multiple people tested

positive for COVID-19 in

Little Grand Rapids First

Nation, after it said they

attended events at a recreation

centre late last month.

The province said the

chief and council of the eastern

Manitoba community

have ordered residents to

stay home and only go out

for medical appointments

and testing. If essential supplies

are needed, only one

person should venture out

to collect them.

Manitoba also reported

one new death attributed

to the virus, a man in his

50s in the Winnipeg region,

who became the 23rd person

to die from COVID-19 in the

province.

Health officials in

Prince Edward Island identified

two more cases in

that province, attributing

both to unspecified travel

outside the region. Chief

Medical Officer Dr. Heather

Morrison said the patients,

both men, have been selfisolating

since arriving on

the Island.

Meanwhile, Canadians

struggling with the fallout

of the COVID-19 pandemic

will be able to start applying

on Monday for two new benefits

available from the federal

government after legislation

creating them was

rushed through the House

of Commons last week.

The first is a caregiver

benefit targeting Canadians

with young children forced

out of school or day-care

settings due to the virus. It

provides $500 per week for

up to 26 weeks to those with

children under 12 who can’t

work more than half-time

due to pandemic-related

caregiving responsibilities.

The benefit, which is

only payable to one worker

in a household, is also available

to those who can’t work

because their children or a

family member is sick, has

to quarantine or is at high

risk of COVID-19.

The second benefit is a

two-week paid sick leave

worth up to $1,000 for workers

who can’t work more

than half the week because

they have contracted COV-

ID-19 or have an underlying

condition that puts them

more at risk of the illness.

Starting on Oct. 12, Canadians

will also be able to

start applying for a third

program which replaces

the $500-per-week Canada

Emergency Response Benefit

that has formed the

main support for Canadians

unable to work due to CO-

VID-19.

Pandemic concerns: Teachers worried

about their health, quality of education

The Canadian Press

Kelly Main says she has never

felt as exhausted and stressed during

her 27 years of teaching high

school as she has since returning

to the classroom this fall during the

COVID-19 pandemic.

As someone who teaches

Grades 10 and 12 in Waterloo, Ont.,

she is facing the challenge of delivering

material to students in class

and online at the same time.

Waterloo Region School Board,

like many others across the country,

has adopted a hybrid system to

have a smaller number of students

in class at one time in a bid to avoid

COVID-19 outbreaks.

We’re expected to deliver the

material every day to both cohorts,”

she said of the 15 students she has in

class with her and the other 15 who

are studying remotely from home.

The two groups switch places every

five days. “You’re never going to be

on the same page because it’s obviously

harder to be working online.”

Rachel Collishaw, president of

the Ontario History and Social Science

Teachers’ Association, says

teachers are putting their students’

well-being above their own mental

health, which she thinks will end

up causing long-term problems

with stress.

Teachers are feeling stressed

about becoming sick, but also being

unable to adapt to the new hybrid

teaching system, Collishaw said.

It’s basically doubling the workload

on top of the COVID stress.”

A recent survey of high school

teachers from the Association for

Canadian Studies found 78 per cent

of respondents were afraid of getting

COVID-19. Only 40 per cent

said they were confident upholding

safety protocols within their own

classrooms.

The online survey of 250 high

school teachers, mostly from Ontario

and Alberta, was conducted from

Sept. 4 to 14. It cannot be assigned a

margin of error because internetbased

polls are not considered random

samples.

A lot of these teachers, I would

argue, also are on the front line,”

said Jack Jedwab, president of the

Association for Canadian Studies.

And while about three-quarters

of high school teachers who responded

to the online survey said

they understand the measures

needed to support the well-being of

students during the pandemic, Jedwab

said it is concerning the rest

did not. Teachers need more support

in terms of addressing the challenges

that they’re facing with respect

to the effects of the pandemic,”

he said. On top of wearing a mask,

goggles and using hand sanitizer

dozens of times a day, Main says

making sure that students follow

those measures too is now also part

of her workload.

It’s a lot more time,” she said.

“It’s exhausting because of

course we’re shouting through

our masks and through our facial

shields or goggles to be heard.”

Even all those measures do not

necessarily make her feel safe.

She said one of her students

emailed her that she had a sore

throat and a headache, which made

Main concerned about her health.

Main, 53, has also stayed up until

after midnight in recent weeks

marking assignments and recording

videos for her students.

The day never ends,” she said.

“It never ends.”

She also noted that some teachers

are in an even tougher position,

such as those who are newer to the

profession or have younger children

in the classroom.


The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

08

New faces bring renewal, political

opportunity after B.C.’s Oct. 24 election

The Canadian Press

It’s still a long way

from election day in British

Columbia, but one

thing is certain after the

Oct. 24 vote, there will be

at least 15 new faces in the

legislature.

The number of people

not seeking re-election for

the New Democrats, Liberals

and Greens leaves the

door wide open for political

opportunity and party

renewal, say political experts.

Among those not seeking

re-election in the 87-

seat legislature are seven

New Democrat cabinet

ministers and seven Liberals,

two of whom were first

elected in the 1990s.

Former Green party

leader Andrew Weaver,

who left earlier this year

to sit as an Independent,

won’t be running after

serving two terms in the

Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding.

Prof. Gerald Baier, a

Canadian politics expert at

the University of B.C., said

he considered it strange

the number of incumbent

New Democrats who decided

not to run this fall, especially

with the party ahead

in the polls.

Usually, that attracts a

lot of people who want to

stick around,” he said in an

interview. “I was actually

surprised by the number

of the people who had been

in opposition and now that

they are in government

and they are tired of it that

quickly.”

Among the NDP cabinet

ministers not running

are Judy Darcy, Doug

Donaldson, Scott Fraser,

Michelle Mungall, Shane

Simpson and Claire Trevena.

The portfolios they

held included: forests, energy,

mental health and

addictions, poverty reduction,

transportation and

Indigenous relations.

Finance Minister Carole

James announced last

March she would not be

running in the 2020 election

for health reasons.

The departure of seven

Liberal MLA’s, including

veterans Rich Coleman,

Linda Reid and Ralph Sultan,

gives Liberal Leader

Andrew Wilkinson the

opportunity to put a new

face on his party, said Prof.

Kimberly Speers, a Canadian

politics expert at University

of Victoria.

Certainly, those who

have served a political

party as an elected member

for a long time, sometimes

they can also be seen

as the old guard,” she said.

“If they’ve been affiliated

with a previous leader or

thinking within a party,

sometimes a new leader or

new members might think

it’s time to get rid of the old

guard.”

Baier said the NDP

turnover gives party Leader

John Horgan the chance

at renewal for his group

while offering opportunities

for his members.

The current NDP vacancies

allow Horgan, if

the NDP is re-elected, to

promote from his backbench

or reward newly

elected members of the legislature,

said Baier, adding

members Sheila Malcolmson

and Bowinn Ma are

possible new ministers.

The candidacy of three

former federal New Democrat

members of Parliament:

Fin Donnelly, Murray

Rankin and Nathan

Cullen, also provides Horgan

with the possibility of

having three experienced

politicians who could be

potential cabinet ministers,

Baier said.

But the possible arrival

of new NDP faces may also

force Horgan to change his

political style of leaving

ministers on their own to

handle their duties as he

has done with James and

Health Minister Adrian

Dix during the COVID-19

pandemic.

It might mean he may

be a little more hands-on,

because certainly the feeling

was with James and

Dix he could just leave

them in those jobs,” Baier

said. “He’s had utter confidence

in them because he’s

known them since they

were puppies.”

With the Liberals, the

departures of Donna Barnett,

Linda Larson, John

Yap, Steve Thomson and

Sultan, Reid and Coleman,

gives Wilkinson the

chance to renew the party,

but he may not have much

time, said Baier.

The question is, is

Wilkinson making the party

in his own image? I don’t

know,” Baier said. “I think

people still don’t have a

good grip on who he is.”

Speers said the COV-

ID-19 pandemic may have

played a part in decisions

made by the politicians not

to run again.

I think it’s given everybody

a time to reflect and

perhaps revamp their priorities

in terms of what is

really important,” she said.

Chance to prevent COVID resurgence

‘narrows with each passing day,’ Tam says

The Canadian Press

Canada is running out of

time to prevent a major resurgence

of COVID-19, the country’s

chief public health officer said

Saturday as its two most populous

provinces continued to report

some of their highest daily

case counts in months.

The country’s chance to

avert a COVID comeback “narrows

with each passing day,”

Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement.

“It is clear that without all

of us making hard choices now

to reduce our in-person contacts

and maintain layers of personal

protections at all times, it won’t

be enough to prevent a large resurgence,”

Tam said.

Her comments came as Quebec

and Ontario continued moving

toward harsher restrictions

in coronavirus hot spots amid

surging daily case counts.

Quebec reported 1,107 new

cases of COVID-19 on Saturday

— the largest daily increase

since the pandemic began, and

the second straight day the province

reported more than 1,000

cases.

Ontario reported 653 new

cases — down slightly from Friday’s

record high of 732, and

partially inflated by an ongoing

“data cleaning initiative” at Toronto

Public Health.

Tam cautioned that the epidemic

growth is already stretching

local public health and laboratory

resources — a warning

borne out by a number of developments

in Ontario, where a

backlog of tests considered “under

investigation” has grown to

more than 91,000.

Public health officials in Toronto,

meanwhile, announced

that their case and contact management

team is making a “strategic

shift” to focus only on the

highest-risk scenarios.

That move came as case

counts continued to climb in the

city, which is one of three Ontario

COVID-19 hot spots where

new public health restrictions

kicked in on Saturday.

The provincial government

announced Friday that Ottawa,

Toronto and Peel Region would

face tighter regulations. Restaurants,

bars, banquet halls and

gyms in those areas will all face

restrictions on their operations.

More restrictions could soon

be imposed in hot spots of neighbouring

Quebec as well, with the

province planning to announce

new rules for sporting activities

and gyms on Monday.

Authorities already consider

greater Montreal, Quebec City

and a region south of the provincial

capital to be in red alert —

the highest pandemic alert level

— and have placed those regions

under a partial lockdown for 28

days.

“If there was anyone who

still needed proof that the situation

is critical, we have it day

after day,” Premier Francois Legault

said Friday.

Elsewhere in the country on

Saturday, an outbreak of CO-

VID-19 among almost two dozen

staff at a British Columbia food

distribution warehouse forced

its closure.

The Fraser Health authority

said in a statement that 23 employees

at Valhalla Distribution

in Delta have tested positive for

coronavirus.

Public health officials in

Manitoba said a woman in her

80s at a personal care home in

Winnipeg has died, the third

death associated with that outbreak.

The death of a man in his

70s connected with the outbreak

was announced Friday, and a

woman in her 90s died late last

month.

And in New Brunswick, public

health officials announced a

new case in a person in their 20s

in the Saint John region.

The case — only New Brunswick’s

201st — is related to travel

from outside the so-called Atlantic

bubble, and officials say the

person is self-isolating.

Newfoundland and Labrador,

meanwhile, reported a new

death linked to the virus — only

its fourth. The government said

the man in his 60s had travelled

from Central Africa, via Toronto,

and died while self-isolating

in Deer Lake, N.L.


The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

09

'Prisoners are treated

better' Residents describe

emotional devastation in LTC

The Canadian Press

One by one, residents

of Ontario’s long-term care

homes described the emotional

devastation caused

by the COVID-19 lockdown

to an independent inquiry

— and implored the governments

to address isolation

before the second

wave of COVID-19 crashes

down.

Lonely, depressed,

muzzled and trapped are

some of the words the

residents used to describe

the pandemic to the Long-

Term Care COVID-19 Commission

by video conference.

“Now when I see these

dog cages on TV for stray

animals, I see myself as one

of these neglected, filthy,

and starving-for-love-andaffection

little critters,”

said Virginia Parraga, who

lives in a long-term care

home in Toronto.

“I now weep for our human

race and mankind.”

The novel coronavirus

ripped through the

province’s long-term care

homes overwhelming the

system and killing more

than 1,900 residents, as

of Thursday. Severe staff

shortages, crumbling infrastructure

and lack of

The Canadian Press

The RCMP has eased restrictions

that sidelined bearded officers,

including some Sikh and

Muslim members, from frontline

policing during the COV-

ID-19 pandemic.

Difficulties with properly

fitting a mask over religiously

mandated facial hair meant some

Mounties have been assigned to

desk duty in recent months.

That prompted the World

Sikh Organization of Canada to

press the government to come up

with a solution.

Prime Minister Justin

Trudeau and Public Safety Minister

Bill Blair also stressed the

need to accommodate members.

oversight were some of the

factors that contributed

to the mass COVID-19 outbreaks

in those facilities.

The commission, led

by former Superior Court

judge Frank Marrocco, will

investigate how COVID-19

spread in the long-term

care system and come up

with recommendations.

Barry Hickling, one

of the residents who testified

last week, spoke of the

long-lasting effect of the

lockdown.

“I hope that this will

The RCMP says affected

members across the country may

return to operational duties, with

a mask, under certain circumstances.

Bearded members will be

sent out to calls only if the risk

of exposure is low or multiple responding

officers will be present.

The RCMP says at no time

will officers or the public be

placed at undue risk.

In addition, the return to operational

duties will always rest

with the affected members, said

a statement Thursday from Gail

Johnson, the RCMP’s chief human

resources officer.

“Should they prefer to be assigned

to other policing duties as

be a tremendous learning

experience for all of us, but

the pain will not go away. It

will stay,” he said.

“It will torment us because

of the potential for

another wave or potential

of someone bringing something

into a long-term care

home.”

Hickling, who has lived

in a long-term care home in

Windsor, Ont., for the past

10 years, said the government

should take immediate

action to fix the problems.

“We are isolated, alone,

without family or friends

to visit with us,” he said.

“I don’t want to go through

this ever in my life again.

And I pray and hope that,

by gosh, if there is another

wave, let’s deal with it adequately,

appropriately, efficiently,

and directly.”

The province eased visitation

restrictions several

months into the pandemic,

but many homes continued

with the lockdown, the inquiry

heard.

The province recently

a safety precaution, we will continue

to make that accommodation,”

she said.

“Each case will be assessed

on an individual basis and in

cases where we find accommodations

were not appropriate, we

will address them through internal

processes.”

While certain risks are being

reduced, all risk cannot be

announced new restrictions

on homes in CO-

VID-19 hot spots, limiting

visitors to staff, essential

visitors and caregivers.

Carolyn Snow, who

lives at a long-term care

facility in Keswick, Ont.,

said the isolation felt like

living behind bars.

“Except that prisoners

are treated better,” said

Snow. She said her sisterin-law,

who was staying

at another long-term care

home, contracted the novel

coronavirus and died.

“It went from not being

too concerned to being devastated,”

Snow said.

The residents also described

a litany of problems

inside the homes.

Residents could not socialize

with their friends,

ate soggy meals alone in

their rooms and watched

endless television, said

Sharron Cooke, the president

of the Ontario Association

of Residents’ Councils

who lives at a facility

in Newmarket, Ont.

She said the lack of activity

and stimulation “left

residents dormant and

sleeping all the time.”

Several residents said

they were left in the dark

with minimal information

or communication from

completely eliminated, Johnson

said. “This is the nature of police

work.”

The national police force

will continue to work on finding

longer-term solutions that fully

accommodate all bearded members,

the statement added.

“We are committed to resolving

this issue as quickly as possible

in order to help us further advance

the important work that is

ongoing in the RCMP to enhance

diversity, equity, accountability

and trust.”

Earlier this week, the RCMP

said it was in a unique position

compared to other police services

because it is subject to the

Canada Labour Code and Canada

the homes.

“Just to be left in a

room and not know what is

past the walls has caused a

lot of emotional concern,”

Cooke said.

The communication

vacuum left vulnerable

residents confused and disoriented.

“The residents didn’t

know what day it was,

what time it was,” Cooke

said. “They were looking

for nighties at noon because

they couldn’t figure

out what time of day it

was.”

Hickling said staff

shortages led to two mixups

with his medication,

which if he hadn’t noticed,

would have left him in a

great deal of pain.

Marrocco asked the

residents for ideas on how

to improve the situation in

the homes.

Hickling said the key

is to take care of staff, who

then in turn can take better

care of the residents.

“If they are not being

cared for, if they are not

taking the swabs and being

tested in any other way,

that is our lives,” Hickling

said. “That is where we

live. They bring it in. They

take it out. Whatever they

are doing was frightening.”

RCMP eases mask policy for bearded members,

allows return to front line in some cases

Occupational Health and Safety

Regulations when it comes to

personal protective equipment,

known as PPE.

Unfortunately, there is presently

no evidence of a safe and

proven alternative to the currently

approved PPE that meets

the unique, uncontrolled setting

in which our front-line members

operate and that adheres to occupational

health and safety regulations,”

the RCMP said.

The World Sikh Organization

of Canada said at the time that if

the problem was indeed regulatory,

the government should step in

and solve the issue, particularly

given that the organization first

raised the issue in early June.


The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

10

O'Toole accuses Liberals of deliberately

introducing divisive anti-conversion bill

at start of his leadership

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA : The federal

Liberals have reintroduced

a bill that would ban

forcing children or adults

to undergo therapy aimed

at altering their sexual orientation

or gender identity.

The government had

previously introduced the

legislation in March, just

before Parliament shut

down due to the COVID-19

pandemic, and then their

decision to prorogue in

August erased the bill

from the House of Commons

agenda.

Diversity Minister

Bardish Chagger said

choosing to reintroduce

an effort to ban so-called

conversion therapy just

days into the new parliamentary

session sends a

strong signal.

She called conversion

therapy destructive,

harmful and deadly

“On this side of the

House we focus on advancing

and protecting LG-

BTQ2 rights,” she told the

House of Commons Thursday.

The NDP had backed

the previous bill. They

suggested Thursday they

would support this one as

well, ensuring its passage

through the House of Commons.

“Attempting to change

a person’s sexual orientation

or gender identity

is impossible and the attempts

themselves do

great harm to those fearing

or already suffering

from rejection by family,

friends and their community,”

NDP MP Randall

Garrison said in the House

of Commons.

Conservative Leader

Erin O’Toole called conversion

therapy wrong

and said it should be

banned.

But he accused Liberals

of deliberately introducing

a potentially

divisive piece of legislation

just as he’s begun his

job as leader of the party.

There are MPs in his caucus

who have been vocally

opposed to the bill in the

past.

The new bill ignores

the “drafting failures” of

the first one, O’Toole said.

“Clarity is one of the

goals of legislative drafting

but the Liberals know

that clarity and sincerity

don’t always make for

good wedge politics in the

age of Twitter,” he said.

“The government

knows if the bill is more

clearly drafted they might

lose their ’gotcha’ effect

that is becoming far too

common in the politics we

see to the south of us.”

The bill would ban

conversation therapy for

minors and also outlaw

forcing an adult to undergo

conversation therapy

against their will. The bill

would also ban removing a

minor from Canada for the

purpose of obtaining conversion

therapy abroad.

The bill also aims to

make it illegal to profit

from providing conversion

therapy and to advertise

an offer to provide

conversion therapy.

The new offences

would not apply to those

who provide support to

individuals questioning

their sexual orientation

or gender identity, such

as parents, friends, teachers,

doctors, mental health

professionals, school or

pastoral counsellors and

faith leaders.

But those who oppose

the bill have suggested it

is too vaguely worded to

assure those protections.

Among them, former

leadership contestant and

MP Derek Sloan, who has

the previous bill amounts

to “effectively putting

into law child abuse” because

it promotes genderreassignment

surgery and

criminalizes conversations

between parents and

their kids.

Justice Minister David

Lametti insisted Thursday

it does not.

He said conversations

youth have with supportive

adults and professionals

are critical to their

development. The bill also

wouldn’t criminalize conversations

where personal

points of view on sexual

orientation or gender

identity are expressed, he

said.

“What this bill targets,

what we are targeting, are

those who actively work

to and provide services

designed to change someone’s

gender identity.”

Lametti said the Liberals

will work in good faith

with the opposition on the

bill and noted the support

O’Toole gave the ban itself.

“If Mr. O’Toole is sincere,

and I think he is, it

will be up to him to bring

his caucus in line.”

Bloc Quebecois Leader

Yves-Francois Blanchet

said his party will also

support the bill.

The sooner (LGBTQ2

people) get all the respect

that they deserve as much

as anybody else, the sooner

it is possible, the sooner

it must happen,” he said.

O’Toole’s office did not

directly answer a question

about whether Conservative

MPs would be told

how to vote on the bill or

allowed to choose. During

the leadership race,

O’Toole had pledged to allow

free votes on matters

of conscience.

He has specifically

mentioned that legislation

on doctor-assisted death is

a conscience issue. Many

Tories are against the law,

and O’Toole himself voted

against it.

But amendments to it

are required to conform

with a court ruling last

year. It struck down a

provision that only allows

those near death to end

their lives with medical

assistance. The Liberals

put forward a bill with the

changes before prorogation,

meaning they now

have to introduce it again.

The court gave the

government until Dec.

18 to change the law, and

Lametti said Thursday

bill will be tabled “in the

coming days.”


The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

11

Here’s what to do as Canada Student

Loan payments resume, starting

The Canadian Press

Before graduating with

a double master’s in information

and museum studies

from the University of

Toronto in June, Elizabeth

Cytko was gearing up to apply

to jobs at libraries and

institutions across the country.

The plan was to launch

her career and start working

down her debts.

My wild daydream was

to have them paid off in

three years,” Cytko said.

I assumed I would have

had full-time work by now,

but that hasn’t quite happened

with COVID-19.”

The graduate is living

at home in Edmonton and

taking a free online course

as she wrestles with how to

handle her federal student

loans.

I’m just living in limbo

at the moment.”

She’s not alone. Thousands

of recent graduates

are facing the end of the

six-month freeze Ottawa

imposed on repayments and

interest for Canada Student

Loans in response to the

coronavirus outbreak. Oct. 1

is the first day monthly payments

resume.

Graduates like Cytko

have a range of options,

from requesting to postpone

payments to tackling them

on a budget.

Those with an income

below $25,000 per year are

eligible for continued deferrals

until they hit that

threshold. They can apply

through the Repayment Assistance

Plan (RAP), which

also allows borrowers to apply

for a reduced payment.

Depending on your income,

you may not be required

to make payments

that exceed your income by

20 per cent, or any payment

at all,” the program website

states.

However, just because

you’re able to kick the debt

can down the road doesn’t

mean you should.

“Attack that debt as best

you can,” said Keith Emery,

co-CEO of Credit Canada, a

not-for-profit credit counselling

service.

“If you’re getting a debt

deferral, as with the RAP,

that’s not a debt writeoff,

that’s just putting it on

pause to a later date… sort of

like a giant don’t-pay-a-cent

event.”

Graduates should steer

away from the vicious cycle

of using borrowed money

— especially if it’s higher interest

— to pay down other

loans, while sticking to their

payment due dates, Emery

said.

“It is important to maintain

those payments because

you don’t want it to impact

your credit score and credit

report, which are important

to build as you’re getting

your financial start,” Emery

noted.

Payment delinquency,

including with the National

Student Loans Service Centre,

will eventually come

across the desks of all three

major credit bureaus, he

added.

Young people have been

among the hardest hit financially

by the pandemic. Employment

of Canadians aged

15 to 24 was 15.3 per cent

below pre-pandemic levels,

by far the largest gap among

age groups, according to Statistics

Canada.

More than one in three

postsecondary students had

a work placement cancelled

or delayed as a result of the

outbreak, according to an

Statistics Canada survey of

more than 100,000 in April.

The time-tested method

of living on a budget can

make for quicker debt repayment.

“If you don’t have a car,

if you’re living at home…

I would say kudos to you.

Don’t let anybody tell you

what you should be doing at

this stage in life financially.

All that matters is what

works for you,” Emery said.

“Maybe you’re not going

out to eat as much…

Anything that allows you to

weather this storm without

taking on debt and while

maintaining your student

loan payments is a positive.”

The federal government

tends to be more flexible

with repayment plans than

most private lenders, said

Doug Hoyes of Hoyes Michalos,

an Ontario-based debtrelief

firm.

A solid sense of your

own financial situation provides

the key to charting a

path out of student debt, he

said.

You want to take stock

of where you’re at. You’re

supposed to be paying $400

a month, say. Can you actually

afford that?”

Hoyes recommends taking

the initiative and giving

the government a call.

You’re allowed to pick

up the phone and call the

lender and make a plan: ‘I

can’t afford to give you $400,

but I can afford to give you

$100 a month for the next six

months.’

You’re the boss. You

want to take charge. You

don’t want to hide from it,”

he said. “If it’s a federal student

loan, they know where

you are. So hiding is not a

good strategy.

Airline unions call on

Trudeau for $7 billion in

loans for ailing industry

The Canadian Press

Labour leaders are calling on Ottawa to provide immediate

financial aid to an airline industry devastated by the

COVID-19 pandemic.

The heads of two pilots’ unions and Unifor have asked

the federal government to offer carriers one per cent loans to

the tune of $7 billion in total.

The labour groups are seeking a combination of loan

guaranties as well as direct financial aid, but say they are

not seeking grants.

Unifor president Jerry Dias pointed to the U.S., Germany,

France and other countries that have offered billions

in sector-specific support in contrast to Canada, which has

instead rolled out financial aid such as wage subsidies available

to many industries.

Travel restrictions and dried-up demand continue to

take a toll on the airline and tourism industries, with more

than 30,000 employees laid off or furloughed at Air Canada

and WestJet Airlines Ltd.

In its throne speech last week, the Liberal government

pledged to “support regional routes,” but has provided no

details.

The unions also called for funding to develop a quarantine

and testing plan that would ramp up rapid viral tests for

passengers as a step toward easing travel restrictions.


The International News Weekly October 05, 2020 | Toronto

12

Active cases hit

first-ever plateau

With 936,089 active cases of Covid-19, as of Sunday night, India appears to have

stemmed the rise in the crucial statistic for the first time as the figure remained

below the million mark for 14 consecutive days. This is the first time since the start

of the pandemic that the total number of active cases in the country has seen a

sustained decline for two weeks. A look at how this change happened, and which

states are driving the trend:

Several crops sell

below MSPs amid farm

legislation debate

NEW DELHI : A range of kharif, or summer-sown,

crops are selling below federally

fixed minimum support prices (MSPs),

or floor rates, as record output dampens

prices at a time when farmers are protesting

against a set of laws enacted recently to

liberalise farm trade in the country.

Crops, such as soyabean, ragi, maize

and cotton, are selling up to 30% below

MSPs, data from Agmarknet, the agriculture

ministry’s portal that tracks prices in

mandis or wholesale markets, show.

Poor returns from crops have been a

lingering problem for farmers, especially

during episodes of gluts, such as now.

MSPs, which are fixed at 50% over cost

for nearly two dozen crops, don’t necessarily

lead to higher farm incomes as the

government’s procurement at MSP rates

is largely restricted to wheat and rice. For

most other crops, farmers are mostly price

takers, meaning they are forced to accept

whatever the markets dictate.

Output of kharif foodgrains this year

is likely to touch a record 144.5 million

tonnes, marginally higher than last year’s

143.4 million tonnes.

The unprofitable sales come despite

the government’s assurances of robust procurement

at MSP rates. For example, the

government last week announced that it

would procure 1.4 million tonnes of pulses

and oilseeds at MSP rates. However, at just

about 15% of the total production, this is

too small a quantity to make a difference in

prices offered by private entities.

For efficient farm markets, the government

recently enacted three laws, allowing

farmers to bypass state-controlled market

yards run by agricultural produce market

committees (APMCs) and enter into

five-year farming contracts with agribusinesses.

The government also freed up several

commonly consumed food items from

strict stocking limits that discouraged private

investment in cold storages.

Farmers’ groups are protesting against

the reforms, including the move to end the

monopoly of APMCs, because they fear

deregulation will leave them vulnerable

to powerful agribusinesses and in an even

weaker negotiating position than before.

They also fear the reforms may weaken

the MSP mechanism. The wholesale price

for soyabean during September 16-23 in 9

states worked out to `3,683.02 per quintal

(100 kg), against the promised MSP of `3,880

per quintal, ministry data shows.

Rahul vows to scrap laws once

Congress forms govt at Centre

MOGA/LUDHIANA :

Sharpening his attack on

the BJP-led NDA government

over the new agriculture

laws, former Congress

president Rahul Gandhi on

Sunday said they will scrap

these contentious legislations

once the Congress returns

to power at the Centre.

Launching the threeday

‘kheti bachao yatra’

along with Punjab chief

minister Capt Amarinder

Singh and a battery of Congress

leaders at Moga district’s

Badhni Kalan village,

the Gandhi scion vowed to

fight till end against the legislations

passed during Parliament’s

monsoon session

and extended his party’s

“firm support” to the agrarian

community. “Some chosen

corporate houses are

dictating the Centre’s policy

decisions. Land of farmers

in the states like Punjab and

Haryana is facing the threat

of acquisition by powerful

business houses,” he said

while addressing the gathering

in Moga.

The Congress’s state

unit tried to put a united

face with sulking Amritsar

(East) MLA Navjot Singh

Sidhu, a bete noire of the

Amarinder, also attending

the march after staying

away from party events

for months. He was invited

over cabinet ministers to

address the gathering. Rahul

also released a `kisanmazdoor

ekta’ (farm labourer

unity) flag.

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