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Email: Contact Number : 905-673-0600 October 19, 2020 | Toronto | Pages 12

Restaurants near virus hot

spots weigh safety-vs-profit

with locals-only dining

The Canadian Press

Some southern Ontario

restaurants are making the

tough financial choice to bar

out-of-town customers from indoor

dining as COVID-19 cases

surge in nearby hot spots.

Ramshackle Industries,

which owns four restaurants

and bars in Stratford, Ont.,

first introduced the policy

when restaurants reopened in

June, slowly dialing it back as

the pandemic waned this summer.

Now that the province has

reintroduced tighter restrictions

in Toronto, York and

Peel regions and Ottawa amid

the second wave of COVID-19,

Ramshackle owner Jessie Votary

said the rule is being enforced


Tourists are a “huge part”

Surrey RCMP respond

to drug overdose

involving five people

The Canadian Press


say naloxone was used to help

five people who overdosed

after using drugs together in

the early hours of Saturday

morning. They say officers

initially responded to a report

of a gas leak inside a home at

1:48 a.m. and located five unresponsive


Other emergency services

attended and administered

Narcan, which is also known

as naloxone, a medication

that can help reverse opioid


Police say all five people

were revived after receiving

up to four doses of Narcan

each before being transported

to hospital. The Mounties

determined there was no gas

leak, but they say the five people

had consumed drugs and

overdosed one by one.

Police say no drugs were

located at the time, so it’s not

known what they consumed,

but it’s believed to have been

a highly concentrated batch.

Provincial health officer

Dr. Bonnie Henry, as well as

chief coroner Lisa Lapointe,

have said the COVID-19 pandemic

is exacerbating the

overdose crisis as border closures

disrupt the supply of

illicit drugs and fuel the distribution

of even more toxic

substances. There were 703 fatal

overdoses in the first eight

months of 2019 compared

with 1,068 between January

and August of this year.

of the customer base in Stratford,

especially in the summer

months, but Votary said

the safety of employees at the

worker-owned businesses had

to come first.

“We want the people to

come, we just are also wary

and sensible about what potential

infection of our team could

mean, and what potential infection

of our community could

mean,” Votary said in a telephone


The restaurants have been

explaining the rules before

seating customers, with staff

checking IDs in a handful of

cases, and some non-locals

have been turned away from

indoor dining.

Votary said reactions have

ranged from understanding to


Continued on page 02

Opposition parties gear up for next round of

fight with Liberals over WE controversy

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA : The threat of a

possible snap election will be

hovering over Parliament Hill

this week as opposition parties

resume their fight with

the Liberal government over

the WE controversy and preparations

for the second wave

of COVID-19.

Conservative health critic

Michelle Rempel Garner on

Sunday called for a House of

Commons committee to investigate

what she suggested was

Ottawa’s lack of readiness in

dealing with the recent resurgence

in COVID-19 cases.

The request was in relation

to a motion that she made

to the Commons health committee

earlier this month

Continued on page 03

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The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


Restaurants near virus hot

spots weigh safety-vs-profit

with locals-only dining

Continued from page 01

“We have people who

throw up their hands and

storm out, we have people

who swear at the staff, but

those people are merely

showing we made the

right decision to ask those

questions,” she said.

Staff take a conversational

approach to discussing

the rule and they

work to find alternatives

for out-of-town customers,

such as ordering


“It really is about being

pleasant humans,”

Votary said. “It’s about

setting boundaries and

then having conversations.”

Full-time workers

earn a living wage at the

establishments, rather

than relying on tips,

which Votary said made

it easier to keep up with

salaries while weathering

some hits to profits.

The City of Stratford

opened an outdoor dining

area this summer

with space for 200 people

to bring their food and

alcohol from local restaurants,

which helped

Ramshackle restaurants

direct visiting customers

outside to enjoy their


While Ramshackle

Industries was an early

adopter of local-only dining

rooms, other establishments

already battered

by the pandemic are

taking a similar approach

in the face of rising infection

rates near their communities.

The Ale House in Cobourg,

Ont., announced

Wednesday it was limiting

indoor service to locals

in response to the

restrictions on Toronto,

which is an hour’s drive


Owner Todd Oberholtzer

said he struggled

with the decision but ultimately

made the move

to protect the community,

which has many older

residents and employees

who work multiple jobs

in town.

“It’s very difficult for

me,” Oberholtzer said.

“I was just hoping to do

something for my community.”

The small pub already

lost significant business

this summer, with less

seasonal tourists and local

residents stopping in,

and no outdoor seating


There is a sign on

the door explaining the

locals-only rule, but Oberholtzer

said it’s tough to

enforce. He recognizes

many of the regulars in

the community already,

and plans to

take enforcement

on a case-by-case


“We kind of do it

more of an honour

system than anything

else,” he said.

“I just really don’t

want to get shut

down again.”

Romby’s Tavern

and Smokehouse

in St. Catharines,

Ont., announced a

similar policy just

before Thanksgiving

weekend. In

an Oct. 9 Facebook

post, the restaurant

said proof of Niagara

residency would

be required to dine

in “as an extra

safety precaution

for our staff, our

customers and their

loved ones.”

“Niagara, we

are getting closer to

another shutdown, let’s

do what we can to avoid

that for the sake of EV-

ERYONE,” the post said.

Other business types

have been forced to adapt

quickly to the targeted

restrictions during Ontario’s

second COVID-19

wave, tackling the challenge

of customers who

would usually be welcome

hopping between regions

in the densely populated

Greater Toronto Area.

Earlier this week,

gym chains L.A. Fitness

Manpreet Minhas

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and GoodLife Fitness

asked their clients

not to travel from Toronto

and Peel Region

to work out at open

facilities nearby.

GoodLife took the

measure of freezing

GoodLife members’

accounts in hot-zone

regions on Oct. 10,

preventing them

from booking workouts

in other areas.

In Stratford, Votary

said the pandemic

has already put restaurants

in “an impossible

situation,” so the

loss of a few indoor diners

doesn’t make much of a

dent in an already brutal

year – and community

spread would make matters


“A COVID infection

in our team or a rise of

cases in our community

that shuts us back down

to takeout only is an additional

loss,” she said.

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The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


Opposition parties gear up

for next roaund of fight with

Liberals over WE controversy

Continued from page 01

asking for a wideranging

study on the issue,

which is expected to

be debated by committee

members on Monday.

“Today, as businesses

are closed and in another

series of COVID-related

economic shutdowns, we

are looking for answers

as to why the federal government

left Canadians

unprepared to deal with

this second wave,” Rempel

Garner told a news


“That’s why this study

is so important. Canadians

deserve an explanation

about why the federal

government only has

an economic shutdown to

rely upon after months,

and billions of dollars being


Among the issues

the Tories want studied

are Ottawa’s efforts to

buy personal protective

equipment, why rapid

COVID-19 tests have not

been approved as well as

the decision to shutter

Canada’s pandemic earlywarning

system last year.

Yet the real drama

will surround ongoing

opposition efforts to dig

into the government’s

decision in the spring to

have WE Charity run a

multimillion-dollar federal

program for student

volunteers during the


The Conservatives are

scheduled to have what is

known as an opposition

day on Tuesday, and have

indicated they plan to

raise one of three issues

in the House of Commons

that will be put to a vote.

Two relate to China

and are non-binding on

the government. One

calls for Ottawa to impose

sanctions on Chinese officials

for recent crackdowns

on protesters in

Hong Kong, and the other

to ban Huawei from Canada’s

5G network.

But the third, if supported

by the three main

opposition parties, would

roll several committee investigations

into the WE

deal — and the charity’s

payments to members of

Prime Minister Justin

Trudeau’s family — into

one special committee.

Rempel Garner was

noncommittal on Sunday

when asked if the Tories

planned to push for

what they are describing

as an “anticorruption



the party still has

another day to decide.

“But one way

or the other, we

are going to get

answers on this

issue,” she added.

“These documents

should come to light.”

The comments follow

Liberal filibusters on the

Commons’ ethics and finance

committees last

week as opposition members

tried to resurrect

two WE investigations

suspended when Trudeau

prorogued Parliament in


The finance committee

was tied up for hours

Thursday over a Conservative

motion denouncing

redactions to more

than 5,000 pages of WErelated

documents released

last August. The

ethics committee was

similarly stalled over a

Conservative motion demanding

the agency that

arranged speaking events

for Trudeau, his wife,

mother and brother, turn

over receipts for all the

Trudeaus’ paid engagements

over the past 12


The Liberals have

since proposed their

own special committee

that would examine billions

of dollars in federal

spending related to CO-

VID-19, which is closer

to what the federal NDP

have wanted. At the same

time, Government House

Leader Pablo Rodriguez

on Friday suggested that

if the Conservatives push

ahead with their motion

on Tuesday to create a

new committee, the Liberals

could make the matter

a confidence vote.

That would mean a

possible snap election if

the Conservatives, NDP

and Bloc Quebecois all

supported the Tories’

move to create an anticorruption


which would also look at

what the Tories describe

as other “scandals or potential


The other potential

scandals include allegations

that the husband of

Trudeau’s chief of staff

may have benefited from

the government’s program

for commercial rent

relief and improperly lobbied

for changes to the

emergency wage-subsidy

programs — which federal

ethics commissioner

Mario Dion has already

dismissed as speculative

and without evidence.

They also include a

contract given to former

Liberal MP Frank Baylis’s

company for ventilators

not yet approved by

Health Canada.

The Bloc did not respond

to a request for

comment on Sunday.

NDP ethics critic

Charlie Angus dismissed

Rodriguez’s threat, saying

it would be “one of

the most irresponsible

things anybody’s ever

done in the history

of Canada” to plunge

the country into an

election now.

“Given the fact

that our COVID-19

numbers are going off

the charts right now,

that the government

would even threaten to

plunge us into the chaos

of an election … in order

to avoid answering questions

on the Trudeau relationship

with WE, that

would be so staggeringly

irresponsible, I can’t

think that he could be serious.”

And while Angus indicated

an openness to

the Liberal proposal for

a COVID-19 committee,

he suggested opposition

parties were getting tired

and frustrated at what he

described as the government’s

stonewalling over

the WE controversy.

“The Liberals have

said publicly that they’re

ready to work on establishing

the committee,”

he said. “Everybody’s

waiting to see if the Liberals

are serious. If they’re

not serious, it’s just going

to make the opposition

party’s even more frustrated.

The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


‘We're being targeted now’: N.S.

First Nations chief calls for military

support after lobster pound torched

The Canadian Press

A federal promise of

more police resources to

contain escalating violence

in southwestern

Nova Scotia fishing communities

met with scant

approval Saturday, with

one First Nations leader

calling for military support

in the wake of a suspicious


Federal opposition

leaders, meanwhile, said

the blaze that gutted the

lobster pound in Middle

West Pubnico, N.S., was

the result of past government


Charred debris from

the burnt out fish plant

lay scattered along the

shore, the lobster catch

of Mi’kmaq fishers destroyed.

It’s the latest battleground

in an escalating

crisis over

Indigenous fishing

treaty rights.

No one was inside

the building

at the time, though

police said a man believed

to be a person

of interest in the suspicious

fire was sent to

hospital with life-threatening


The incident prompted

statements of solidarity

from various federal cabinet

ministers and a pledge

to deploy more RCMP officers

to the area.

But Chief Mike Sack

of the Sipekne’katik First

Nation said the army is

needed to prevent commercial

fishermen from

“taking the law into their

own hands.”

“They’re doing whatever

they want and getting

away with it,” he said in

an interview. “We need the

military to come step in to

keep the peace.”

The fire erupted hours

after police arrested and

charged a man in relation

to an assault against Sack

in New Edinburgh, N.S.,

earlier this week.

“This was retaliation,”

Sack said. “We’re being

targeted now. These are

hate crimes.”

The blaze capped a

week of violence that included

two other clashes

involving hundreds of people

outside lobster pounds

that store Indigenouscaught


Public Safety Minister

Bill Blair said he has approved

a request by Nova

Scotia’s Attorney General

to step up the RCMP presence

in the region in an effort

to keep the peace.

“The recent acts of violence

in Nova Scotia are

unacceptable and I strongly

condemn them,” he said

in a statement.

“The current tensions

cannot continue,” Blair

added. “The temperature

of this dispute must be

lowered, now. The threats,

violence, and intimidation

have to stop.”

The move fell short for

two of the federal opposition


Conservative Leader

Erin O’Toole said the

government is not doing

enough to ensure public

safety and find a peaceful

resolution to the fisheries


He said Prime Minister

Justin Trudeau “cannot

abdicate responsibility in

this case or hide behind

empty words.”

“His government’s dismal

handling of this situation

and his lack of leadership

are undoing decades

of relationship building …

and putting lives and livelihoods

at risk,” O’Toole

said in a statement.

NDP Leader Jagmeet

Singh called the violence

against the Indigenous

fishers “terrorism.”

“The Mi’kmaq people

desperately need help

now,” he said on Twitter.

“This must be


Various federal

ministers said Sack’s

concerns for his community

were wellfounded.

Both Fisheries

Minister Bernadette

Jordan and Crown-Indigenous

Relations Minister

Carolyn Bennett said they

spoke with the chief on Saturday

to express support

for the community and Indigenous

treaty rights.

“We share the urgent

priority for the safety of

his community,” Bennett

said on Twitter. “Canadians

are appalled at this

assault on the Mi’kmaq


Jonathan LeBlanc, fire

chief for Eel Brook District

Fire Department, said

his team got a call around

midnight about a blaze at

a large commercial structure

in West Pubnico.

He described the plant

as “a lost cause,” but said

crews were able to prevent

damage to adjacent buildings.

“There was no hope of

saving it,” LeBlanc said of

the building, noting it was

engulfed in flames when

fire crews arrived and the

wind was stoking the embers.

“The power lines to the

building were arcing out

quite severely. That made

it very difficult for us to get

close to extinguish it.”

LeBlanc said it’s still

too early to identify the

cause of the blaze, but the

fire marshal’s office is investigating.

Non-Indigenous protesters

oppose the band’s

decision to start a commercial

lobster fishing

business that has operated

outside the federally regulated

lobster season since


But Sack argues Indigenous

people in Atlantic

Canada and Quebec have

a treaty right to fish for a

moderate livelihood — a

right upheld by the Supreme

Court of Canada.

Many non-Indigenous

critics, however, cite a

clarification issued by

court, stating the Mi’kmaq

treaty rights would be subject

to federal regulations

to ensure fish conservation.

Yet Sack argued fishing

seasons are based on

the economy and trade,

and the small Indigenous

fishery doesn’t impact conservation.

“The commercial fishermen

are just not wanting

to make less money,”

he said. “They’re afraid to

share an asset.”

On Twitter Saturday,

Assembly of First Nations

National Chief Perry Bellegarde

said he’s reached

out to the RCMP and the

federal government to express

First Nations’ “deep

concern” over the fire.

“I demand a full and

thorough investigation by

the proper authorities,”

Bellegarde said.

A group of six Nova

Scotia senators, meanwhile,

condemned what

they described as escalating

violence against

Mi’kmaq fishers. Their remarks

came in a statement

released just hours before

the Middle West Pubnico

blaze broke out.

“Regardless of whatever

concerns individuals

or groups may have, there

can be no justification for

the vigilantism and blatant

racism that is now being

witnessed,” the statement


“We urge everyone involved

to remain calm and

peaceful and let the discussions

currently underway

proceed without any further

violent acts, racial

insults or threats of any


The senators said the

Mounties must “rapidly

and effectively uphold

their responsibility to restore

peace and order.”

The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


PM Trudeau says Canada won't stop calling

out China for 'coercive diplomacy'

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA : Prime Minister

Justin Trudeau says his government

will not stop standing

up for human rights in

China — or calling out Beijing

for its coercive approach to diplomacy.

Trudeau says that includes

the situation in Hong

Kong, where pro-democracy

activists have been protesting

a widely criticized national

security law imposed on the

territory by Beijing.

On Thursday, the Chinese

ambassador to Canada

warned Ottawa against granting

asylum to Hong Kong residents

fleeing the situation,

saying doing so would amount

to interfering in China’s internal


Cong Peiwu said if Canada

cares about 300,000 Canadian

citizens in Hong Kong — and

Canadian companies doing

business there — it should

support efforts to fight what

he called fight violent crime.

Trudeau said China is engaging

in coercive diplomacy

by imprisoning two Canadian

men, Michael Kovrig and Michael

Spavor, in retaliation

for the arrest of a Chinese

high-tech executive on an

American extradition warrant.

“We will make sure that

China knows that not only

are we standing up for human

rights and calling on a safe

return of the two Michaels

who’ve been arbitrarily detained,”

Trudeau said, “but

we stand with allies around

the world and the United

States, to Australia, to Great

Britain, to European nations

to many nations in every corner

of the world who share

these concerns.”

Cong told reporters in a

video press conference on

Thursday that China views

criticism of its record on human

rights as political interference.

He also rebutted

allegations that China has

forcibly detained ethnic Muslim

Uighurs in the country’s


“We will stand up loudly

and clearly for human

rights all around the world,”

Trudeau said Friday. “Whether

it’s talking about the situation

faced by the Uighurs,

whether it’s ⦠talking about

the very concerning situation

in Hong Kong, whether it’s

calling out China for its coercive


Banff wolves have lower survival

rate due to hunting, trapping

outside park boundary

The Canadian Press

A study shows grey

wolves in Banff National

Park don’t live much longer

than those in the rest of

Alberta because many are

being hunted or trapped

when they leave the protected

area. The paper that

documents the survival of

Banff wolves over three

decades was published this

week in the journal Global

Ecology and Conservation.

Researchers looked at

72 radio-collared wolves

in the national park from

1987 to August 2019.

“We found that the life

of a wolf in Banff looks

very much like the life of

wolves everywhere else

in the province of Alberta,”

said co-author Mark

Hebblewhite, an ecology

professor at the University

of Montana. “They are effectively

unprotected and

subjected to high risks of

mortality from hunting

and trapping outside the

park boundaries, and even

highway and railway mortality

inside (the park).”

The study found that

the risk of death rose 6.7

times when wolves left the

park for an overall survival

rate of 73 per cent.

Hebblewhite said that

isn’t much better than in

the rest of Alberta, British

Columbia or Montana.

“From the wolf’s perspective,

there’s no real

difference in terms of your

survival inside or outside

the park.”

The research showed

that wolves that spent

their entire life in Banff

had a better — about 84 per

cent — chance of survival,

but Hebblewhite noted

that most wolves leave the

park to follow prey.

“The most important

winter range for elk in

the whole Banff National

Park ecosystem isn’t in

the park,” he said. “It’s

outside the park so the

wolves go there and they

get subjected to hunting

and trapping.” The study

also found 36 per cent of

all deaths were caused by

trapping and 18 per cent

were from hunting. Wolves

getting killed within the

park were run over on the

highway or on the railway

tracks, or put down because

they got into human


“Inside the park isn’t

perfect either,” said Hebblewhite.

Jesse Whittington, a

wildlife ecologist in Banff

National Park who coauthored

the study, said

he was pleased to see that

some of the conservation

measures adopted within

the park have helped


“We fenced the Trans-

Canada Highway and installed

wildlife crossing

structures, and those have

substantially reduced wolf

and other wildlife mortality

on the highway,” he

said. “That, in combination

with our seasonal

closures and travel restrictions,

give wolves the habitat

they need.”

He acknowledged there

are still wolf deaths.

“Our biggest challenge

is with highway intersections

where secondary

roads intersect,” he said.

“We have cattle guards at

these sites to deter wildlife,

but wolves sometimes

still travel across those

and then, once they’re

along the highway, face a

high risk of mortality.”

Whittington said Banff

lost two wolves during

the summer in highway

deaths and a third had to

be put down because it

got into human food at a

campground. “When these

wolves become habituated

or food conditioned, they

become a risk to the public,”

said Whittington, who

noted that’s why parks

staff try to educate visitors

not to feed wildlife.

The study didn’t look

at reproduction rates,

but Whittington said the

population has generally

remained stable throughout

the decades and wolves

continue to be a key species

in Banff National

Park. “They play a lot of

roles in terms of regulating

our ungulate populations,”

he said. “That has

cascading effects on the

entire ecosystem.”

A high elk population,

for example, can lead to

overgrazing of vegetation.

But when wolves keep elk

numbers down, aspens

and willows can regenerate,

which can then help

the songbird population,

he said.

The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto



w w w . canadianparv asi. c o m

Publisher & CEO

Associate Editor

Editor (India)


Graphic Designer

Official Photographer




Rajinder Saini

Meenakshi Saini


Kshitiz Dalal


Bashir Nasir


WHO study says currently

no drug for Covid

The novel coronavirus is proving to be

a tough bug to crack. In a huge disappointment,

the WHO study on the drugs prescribed

to prevent and treat Covid-19 has

left healthcare providers with no definite

medicine for the patients for now. The widely

administered remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine,

lopinavir, interferon or interferon

plus lopinavir have all been found to be ineffective

in preventing the Covid-afflicted

from dying or even in reducing their recovery

time as compared with those without

drug treatment. That remdesivir, too, is

futile is a massive setback. Since its emergency

authorisation on May 1 in the US, it

has been the only antiviral drug in use for

the severely sick. Notably, in August, it was

expanded to include all patients.

The finding of the Solidarity trial puts

the spotlight on the dark underbelly of the

profit-driven, multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical

industry. It is shocking that lakhs

of patients have been given pills that now

seem to have been of no value. As they count

their losses (in India, Covid beds in private

hospitals cost upwards of Rs 50,000 per day),

they may also have to deal with the health

repercussions of ingesting these medicines.

However, unsurprisingly, remedesivir-maker

Gilead has cast a doubt on the

study, notwithstanding that its sample size

is bigger and more inclusive (covering 30

countries, including India) than any other.

Interestingly, the company signed a billiondollar

deal with the European Commission

to supply remdesivir a week after it was informed

of the WHO conclusions.

While the virus shows no sign of receding

as it ravages the world in waves — dipping

in India and rearing its head again

after a lull in Europe and America — scientists

are racing to find the vaccine to combat

the disease.

Hope rests on the clinical trials at advanced

stages, with the flattening of the

curve or herd immunity being elusive. But

universal vaccination is estimated to take

a couple of years, necessitating the urgent

need for a medicine to manage the disease.

Till then, the world has to live with the virus

and without paranoia. The Tribune

Pushing Sindh to the brink

Trouble brewing in province following ordinance

facilitating takeover of two islands

Tilak Devasher

Sindh became a part of

the territories of the East

India Company in 1843

through its conquest by

General Charles Napier.

Napier was under express

orders not to capture the

area. Despite this, he took

the province since he encountered

little resistance.

After the conquest, he is

supposed to have sent to

his superiors the short,

memorable message, ‘Peccavi’,

the Latin for ‘I have

sinned’ (which was a pun

on ‘I have Sindh’).

On March 3, 1943, in

a motion moved by GM

Syed, Sindh became the

first province in undivided

India to support the 1940

Pakistan resolution. On

June 26, 1947, the Sindh

assembly was also the first

to decide to join Pakistan.

Most analysts agree that

by supporting the cause of

Pakistan, the Sindhis were

actually looking for autonomy

to rule their province.

When Syed realised what

Pakistan was all about, he

left the Muslim League,

termed the Partition and

the two-nation theory ‘unnatural,

inhuman and unrealistic’

and became an

ideologue for Sindhi nationalism.

He spent many

years in prison for doing


Punjab did not forget or

forgive and used water as

a weapon to keep Sindh on

the straight and narrow.

Due to the construction of

dams upstream on the Indus

to serve the interests

of Punjab, there has been a

drastic reduction in water

availability downstream

in Sindh: as much as 58 per

cent shortage during early

Kharif in 2018 and around

40 per cent in 2019. The

reduction of the historical

flow of water has also led

to the slow strangulation

of the delta. The result has

been destruction of the

sixth biggest mangrove

forest in the world and

sea intrusion of over 200

km. Not surprisingly, two

tehsils of Thatta district,

i.e., Kharo Chan and Keti

Bander, have almost been

eliminated from Pakistan

in the past three decades.

Badin district has also

been badly affected leading

to mass migration. This is

the accumulated ‘environmental

debt’ (a term used

by the World Bank) that

Pakistan’s future generations

will have to pay.

The latest in the series

is the Centre’s takeover of

the twin islands of Bundal

and Buddo lying off the

Karachi coast via an ordinance

promulgated on August

31 without consulting

either the Sindh government

or parliament. The

Pakistan Islands Development

Authority (PIDA)

ordinance specifically

mentions taking control

of these two islands to facilitate

reclamation and to

promote the twin islands

as trade, investment and

logistics hubs, duty-free

areas and international

tourist destinations. A

Chinese hand seems clearly

visible in the formulation.

According to legal experts,

the ordinance is a

clear violation of the constitution

that gives the

ownership of the territorial

waters (12 nautical

miles from the coast) and

the islands in them, to

the provinces. Moreover,

altering the limits of a

province would require a

constitutional amendment

that has not been done and

also the consent of twothirds

of the total membership

of the provincial

assembly that has also not

been done. The Sindh government,

not surprisingly,

has rejected the ordinance,

asked the federal government

to withdraw it, and

asserted ownership.

Development of these

islands had been attempted

earlier too. The Musharraf

government had

tried it in 2000 and 2006,

but failed due to public opposition.

Later, in 2013, the

PPP government had made

a similar attempt, but the

Supreme Court put a ban

on construction.

The Opposition has

alleged ‘mala fide intention’

since the government

adopted the ordinance

route rather than bring

the matter to parliament

or take the Sindh government

on board. It has also

claimed that this was another

attempt to deprive

the provinces of the powers

that had been devolved

to them under the 18th

Amendment. There is also

an apprehension that this

could be the first step for

the Centre to take control

of the entire coastline of

Sindh and Balochistan

The construction of

the city and development

of islands would deprive

around 8 lakh fishermen

of their livelihood. This

apprehension has brought

together fishermen (who

are already protesting the

arrival of Chinese deepsea

fishing vessels), civil

society organisations and

Sindhi nationalist parties

(concerned about loss

of Sindh rights and the

islands being sold to the

Chinese). They have organised

a series of protest

marches all over Sindh

and in Karachi. A petition

has been filed in the

Sindh High Court that has

sought replies from the

federal and provincial governments

by October 23.

The surreptitious manner

in which the islands

have been taken over,

violating constitutional

provisions and Supreme

Court judgment, leads to

suspicions that the Chinese

are involved. Such

suspicions are strengthened

by the provision in

the ordinance that the

PIDA, that is directly responsible

to the PM, has

been empowered to retain,

lease, sell, exchange, rent

of otherwise dispose of any

land vested in it. In other

words, the islands could

well be sold to any private

person or country, should

the PM so decide. Further,

the Sindh governor’s

boast that Bundal could

take on Dubai and attract

investment of $50 billion

is a clear giveaway. Since

Pakistan is bankrupt, it

is only China that could

deploy such funds as an

adjunct to its investments

in CPEC and bolster President

Xi Jinping's Belt and

Road Initiative.

For Sindh, coupled

with historical grievances,

the takeover of its islands

is probably the last straw.

If the matter were above

board, the federal government

would not have

trampled the constitution,

provincial rights, environmental

concerns and livelihoods

of the fishermen.

Given the resentment

aroused in Sindh, the last

word has not been spoken

on the issue yet and Imran

Khan may well find that

while he could say ‘Peccavi’

(I have sinned), he

would not be able to use

the pun (I have Sindh).!

Source Credit: This article

was first published in The Tribune.

The writer is Member,

National Security Advisory


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The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


Provinces need to address

racism in the health-care

system, Trudeau says

The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin

Trudeau expressed confidence

that provinces will

join efforts to fight racism

in the health-care system,

adding he does not want

to jump to any conclusions

about how the federal government

could make sure

that happens.

“Right across country,

all premiers have condemned

racism,” Trudeau

said Friday at a news conference

in Ottawa.

“There’s still more

work to do, obviously, but

we are confident that we’re

going to be able to make

significant improvements

in the health care accessed

by Indigenous Peoples,” he


The issue of anti-Indigenous

racism in health

care gained new attention

from outrage over

the treatment of Joyce

Echaquan, who used her

phone to livestream hospital

staff using racist slurs

against her as she lay dying

in a Joliette, Que., hospital

last month.

On Thursday, Indigenous

Services Minister

Marc Miller said the federal

government is ready to

use its financial leverage

over the health system to

fight anti-Indigenous racism

there. The provinces

are seeking billions more

dollars health transfers

from Ottawa and Miller

suggested adding more

money to a health-care

system grappling with systemic

racism should not be

the only solution.

On Friday, Miller said

provinces are eager to address

systemic racism in

the health-care system

and “it would be careless

to suggest” Ottawa would

hold back federal health

transfers from the provinces

and territories during

the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But what we need to

do is ensure that when

federal money is invested

according to its constitutional

power, it is done in

a fashion that reflects our

values and our moral and

legal duty to serve Indigenous

Peoples and to ensure

that they have first-class

health care in the best

country in the world.”

Miller, federal Health

Minister Patty Hajdu and

Crown-Indigenous Relations

Minister Carolyn

Bennett met virtually

with about 400 people Friday,

including Indigenous

leaders and health-care

professionals, to discuss

experiences of racism and


Miller said they will

reconvene, with an action

plan, in January.

Rebecca Kudloo, the

president of Pauktuutit

Inuit Women of Canada,

said the meeting was a

good start.

“The barriers to good

health care is a problem,”

Kudloo said in an interview.

“The lack of cultural

training for health service

providers is a problem.

We’re sometimes treated

like we don’t have feelings.”

Kudloo lives in Baker

Lake, Nunavut, where

there is only a health centre

staffed with nurse practitioners

most of the time.

People in her community

often need to travel to Winnipeg

or Iqaluit to get medical


“A lot of times, diagnosis

is delayed,” she said.

“If you’re pregnant,

you go down usually a

month before your due

date, leaving your other

family and your other kids


Kudloo said that the

government is offering

Indigenous people encouraging

words but little concrete


Bennett said the meeting

should remind all institutions

that transformative

action is expected of

them. She said that there

is a need for better education,

data, surveillance

and accountability to stop

bad attitudes in the healthcare


Hajdu said racism is

not an accident.

“The system is not broken.

It’s created this way,”

she said. “The systems

and the people in them are

incentivized to stay the

same.” She also suggested

the federal government

can use its financial leverage

as positive reinforcement


“When we think about

health transfers, often

they’re thought of in a punitive

fashion, but I think

we also have to have the

promotion of systemic

change as well as the punishment

of bad behaviour,”

she told a news conference


Echaquan’s husband

Carol Dubé also spoke during

the meeting.

“We heard the emotional

testimony of a family

still living through the

shock,” Miller said.

“We wanted to listen to

these people.”

Nova Scotia calls on Ottawa to define a ‘moderate

livelihood,’ as fishing dispute boils over

The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen

McNeil is urging Ottawa

to define what constitutes legal

harvesting in a “moderate livelihood”

fishery, after a dispute

about Indigenous fishing treaty

rights boiled over this weekend.

McNeil issued a statement

on Twitter saying the federal

Department of Fisheries and

Oceans needs to answer the

question of what a moderate livelihood

looks like before the province

can examine its own rules

for fish buyers.

He says Nova Scotia’s regulations

rely on the federal department’s

authority and responsibility

to manage the fishery and

identify what constitutes legal,

licenced fisheries.

McNeil says the province is

working with Ottawa to find a

facilitator to “bring the sides together,”

adding that the way to

resolve the issue is through respectful


His comments come after

multiple acts of violence against

the Indigenous fisheries in

southwestern Nova Scotia.

A lobster pound in Middle

West Pubnico, N.S., was burned

to the ground early Saturday,

destroying the lobster catch of

Mi’kmaq fishers.

Earlier in the week, two

clashes involving hundreds of

people took place outside lobster

pounds that store Indigenouscaught


The Mounties have made

two arrests in relation to the incidents,

with one man charged

with assault against a local Indigenous

chief and another man

charged with arson.

In response to the escalating

violence, Public Safety Minister

Bill Blair has approved a request

by Nova Scotia’s Attorney General

to step up the RCMP presence

in the region in an effort to

keep the peace.

Chief Mike Sack of the

Sipekne’katik First Nation said

he is grateful for the additional

policing and law enforcement


But he said some of the “damage,

destruction, racist behaviour,

harassment and intimidation”

could have been avoided

had repeated requests for a

greater police presence been addressed

more promptly.

Prime Minister Justin

Trudeau said he is “appalled

by the acts of violence, intimidation,

and destruction taking

place in Nova Scotia.”

“The perpetrators will be

held accountable,” he said Saturday

on Twitter, noting that

Ottawa has approved the request

to provide more policing support.

“We’re focused on keeping

people safe.”

The Supreme Court of Canada

issued a landmark ruling

in 1999 that said the Mi’qmaq

and Maliseet people of Atlantic

Canada and Quebec have a right

to earn a “moderate livelihood”

from fishing.

The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


‘It’s like a pressure cooker in

the house:’ Calls to helplines

in Canada jump in pandemic

The Canadian Press

Several helplines for

women experiencing violence

at home are reporting

dramatic increases in calls

since public health measures

aimed at fighting the

spread of COVID-19 came

into effect last spring.

The urgency and severity

of many callers’ situations

have also intensified,

said Angela MacDougall,

the executive director of

Battered Women’s Support

Services based in Vancouver.

“What women are saying

is that it’s like a pressure

cooker in the house

and there isn’t a valve,” she

said in an interview.

The United Nations

has called violence against

women and girls a “shadow

pandemic” as the COVID-19

crisis fuels social isolation

and tensions caused by concerns

over health, safety

and financial security.

Claudine Thibaudeau,

a social worker and clinical

supervisor at the Montrealbased

helpline SOS domestic

violence, said the pandemic

has become a “new

tool” for abusers to gain


The helpline has fielded

calls from women diagnosed

with COVID-19

who were then kicked out

by their abuser, she said,

while others are confined

to their homes, cut off from


As cases climb across

Canada, particularly in

Quebec, and several provinces

tighten health restrictions

again, “we’re basically

back to square one,” said


SOS serves women

across Quebec and received

about 33,000 calls between

April 2019 and last March.

This year, Thibaudeau

said calls spiked in April

before levelling off in July,

though it’s hard to say how

the pandemic contributed

to the increase because the

helpline has stepped up its

outreach in recent years.

But calls from family,

friends and even employers

of women experiencing violence

have increased significantly,

she said, since

public health restrictions

mean victims are more isolated.

“They were more worried

because they couldn’t

keep an eye on the situation.”

Leaving an abusive

relationship is already difficult

and may require significant

preparation, added


She said the pandemic

has exacerbated existing

fears and challenges as she

explained the kinds of questions

women are asking.

“If I go to a shelter now,

if I decide to leave my violent

partner today, how can

I be sure that I’m going to

be able to shop for a new

place to live? And to go to

court to get my kids?” she

said. “Is the court system

going to remain open or is

it going to close down and

for how long?”

In B.C., the Battered

Women’s crisis line received

more than 1,800 calls

in March, doubling the

number of calls received

for the same month a year

earlier, said MacDougall.

Calls more than tripled in

April compared with the

same month in 2019 before

levelling off later in the

summer, she said.

The number of calls the

crisis line receives usually

ticks up by five to 10 per

cent each year, however

the increases in the months

corresponding with the

start of the pandemic were

“massive,” said MacDougall.

In Toronto, the Assaulted

Women’s Helpline usually

receives about 4,000

calls per month, said resource

development manager

Yvonne Harding.

This year, counsellors

picked up more than 55,000

calls between March and

September alone, she said.

Call volume began ticking

up in March and hit a peak

of about 8,000 calls in June.

An additional 11,630 calls

didn’t get through or were

dropped before connecting.

Women have called the

helpline from bathrooms or

closets when their abuser

was taking out the garbage,

said Harding, who has also

noticed an escalation in the

severity of abusive behaviour

in the calls.

“Where things maybe

were at a level of emotional

abuse and verbal abuse,

they’ve crossed the line

into physical abuse. Where

things were already physical,

it crossed another line

into threats and fear for

their safety and their life.”

The helpline serves

women across Ontario and

Harding said she’s heard

from shelter workers in

rural areas who noticed an

“eerie silence” in the first

few weeks of COVID-19 restrictions.

“You don’t just hop on

a city bus to be able to get

to the shelter,” she said. “It

could be tens of miles away

before you can access some

of the resources and if your

partner is home with you

it’s a lot more difficult.”

Call volumes to

helplines outpace police

data, which often showed

marginal fluctuations or

dips in reported incidents

of violence.

A Statistics Canada

analysis using data from 17

police departments across

the country shows reports

of assaults by family members

dropped by 4.3 per

cent and reports of sexual

assaults by family dropped

17.7 per cent between

March and June compared

with the same four months

last year.

However, it shows calls

to police related to domestic

disturbances increased

by nearly 12 per cent. It

says such disputes could

involve “anything from a

verbal quarrel to reports of


It’s well established

that incidents of domestic

and sexual violence areunder-reported

to police and a

lack of data has contributed

to “gross underestimates”

of the prevalence of genderbased

violence in Canada,

said Colleen Varcoe, a violence

researcher and nursing

professor at the University

of British Columbia.

Varcoe said she is not

surprised the number of reports

to some police agencies

have stayed the same

or dipped during the pandemic

because there have

been even fewer opportunities

for victims to seek help.

The pool of people who

may call police to report

abuse or express concern,

such as friends, neighbours,

employers or kids’

teachers, has also shrunk,

she said.

The Canadian Press

contacted police agencies

in all 13 provinces and territories

requesting the

number of reports related

to domestic and intimate

partner violence between

March and June this year

compared with the same

time last year.

The departments track

the reports differently.

Some provided separate

data about violence between

intimate partners,

while others included intimate

partner violence under

the broader category of

domestic violence, which

could involve parents,

children or other family

members. Domestic and intimate

partner violence

may also constitute other

crimes, such as sexual assault,

harassment or forcible


The police data show

marginal increases in incidents

reported in Toronto,

Vancouver and Halifax, as

well as to the RCMP in B.C.

for criminal offences related

to intimate partner violence.

Police in Winnipeg

said there was no notable

change in the number of reports


The exceptions were in

Saskatoon, where police

reported a 17 per cent increase

in calls related to domestic

violence, and in Alberta,

where the Mounties

reported a year-over-year

increase of about 11 per

cent between March and

September. Yukon RCMP

also recorded an increase

in reports.

Police data show decreases

of about 14 per cent

in Calgary and Montreal.

Malin Enstrom, a crime

analyst and criminologist

with the intimate partner

violence unit at the Royal

Newfoundland Constabulary,

said they also received

fewer reports than usual in

February and March.

It was a concerning

anomaly, she said in an interview,

since the provincial

police service has seen

fairly steady increases in

reports over the years as it

expands its outreach.

And, like Harding and

MacDougall, Enstrom said

they’ve received more “severe”


“Even though we saw

the decrease in calls, the

ones that came in, they

were at a point of escalating.”

The number of reports

levelled off when people

in Atlantic Canada were

allowed to expand social

interactions to include a

second household in late

April, said Enstrom, speculating

that the loosening of

restrictions meant women

had better access to support.

Data from the RCMP in

Manitoba show a decrease

of 34 per cent and in New

Brunswick, RCMP data

show a 21 per cent decrease

in reported incidents of intimate

partner violence between

March and June.

Cpl. Jullie Rogers-

Marsh said a four-month

snapshot does not indicate

a trend and complaints of

domestic violence remain

one of the most common

calls the RCMP receive in

New Brunswick.

RCMP divisions in

Nunavut, P.E.I. and Nova

Scotia were unable to

provided data in time for

publication, while Quebec

provincial policeand the

Ontario Provincial Police

did not respond to requests

for data.

The federal government

has announced it will

double emergency funding

for organizations serving

people experiencing gender-based

violence, bringing

the total to $100 million.

The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


Early figures for new aid and EI

provide glimpse of how post-

CERB supports to be used

The Canadian Press

The employment insurance

system absorbed almost 1.3 million

people in the last three weeks, new

figures show, as a key COVID-19

benefit wound down.

A breakdown of applications for

the simplified EI program shows

that overall there had been more

than 1.5 million claims as of late this

past week, among them 1.15 million

people who were automatically

transferred when their emergency

benefit ran out.

The figures are enormous for a

system that in one day this month

handled 246,000-plus claims. In the

spring, officials worried the 87,000

applications on one March day

would make the decades-old system

burst its seams.

Figures obtained by The Canadian

Press also show that more

than 84 per cent of applications had

been processed, which experts who

reviewed the numbers noted was a

positive sign for the transition off

the Canada Emergency Response

Benefit, better known as the CERB.

Couple that with the more than

300,000 people who turned to a suite

of new benefits on the first day they

were available, and the figures provide

a hint at the ongoing need for

The Canadian Press

British Columbia residents

won’t learn the results of next Saturday’s

snap election for at least two

weeks after polls close thanks to the

need to count hundreds of thousands

of mail-in ballots by hand.

Officials with Elections BC said

more than 700,000 votes have been

cast by mail-in ballot, which must

be tabulated manually due the timing

of the Oct. 24 election. The results

that would generally be available

hours after the polls close, they

added, will be postponed for weeks

while the votes are counted.

The setup may have been different

had the election taken place

a year from now as scheduled,

but NDP Leader John Horgan announced

the surprise campaign,

citing the need for political stability

during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legislative changes recommended

by the province’s chief electoral

officer and passed in 2019 are

income support even as employment

has picked up.

Figures on claims can be

“valuable in providing a partial,

real-time assessment” of the impact

COVID-19 has on the labour force,

officials wrote to Employment Minister

Carla Qualtrough in April.

At the time, they were writing

in a briefing note about providing

regular updates on CERB recipients

and payments as “the labour

market landscape continues to

evolve across the country.”

The Canadian Press obtained a

copy of the briefing note under the

Access to Information Act.

The CERB ceased to exist on

Oct. 3, although people can still

expected to kick in next year, allowing

a large number of ballots to be

processed quickly and centrally by

“tabulators,” which have been used

in provincial referendums.

Instead, Elections BC spokesman

Andrew Watson said employees

in 87 electoral districts will count

mail-in ballots one by one. Current

legislation means the counting can’t

start until 13 days after the election,

he added. “Those time periods could

take longer, given the really unprecedented

and historic volume of mailin

ballots,” Watson said.

Extra time is needed to ensure

ballots mailed to Elections BC from

anywhere in the province can be

shipped for counting to district offices

where voters live, he said.

Each ballot must be screened

to ensure the person was registered

and eligible to vote and has not voted

more than once. Two more days

will be needed to count the ballots,

Watson said. He said the province

with 3.4 million registered voters

retroactively apply for CERB payments

until Dec. 2. The government

expected up to four million people

would use the revamped EI and

three additional benefits for those

not EI-eligible.

Up to 2.8 million people would

need EI, based on internal projections

from the department that

oversees the program. About one

million more would likely need the

three new benefits.

On the first day it was available

this past week, 240,640 people applied

for the Canada Recovery Benefit.

By that same Monday, a further

107,150 applied for a caregiving benefit

and 58,560 applied for the new

two-week sickness benefit, both of

has received more than 700,000 requests

for mail-in ballots as of early

this weekend, compared to roughly

6,500 such requests during the 2017


Next year’s legislative changes

will also include a modernized

network that would record ballots

cast at polling stations in real time.

Names will no longer be crossed off

a paper list, and the information will

be immediately accessible to Elections

BC, Watson said.

“It would have been in place for

2021, but not now,” he said. “That

will be a focus for us after the election.”

Watson said the system being

adopted in B.C., is already available

to some degree in at least two provinces,

including Ontario and New


“Ballots would be fed into the

tabulators throughout the day and

then at the end of the night it would

just be a matter of calculating the results

and reporting them to the head

office based on what the tabulated

which had opened for applications

the previous week.

The Canadian Centre for Policy

Alternatives had estimated about

5,000 people would use the taxable

sickness benefit. Its senior economist

David Macdonald said the

vastly higher number suggests

some EI-eligible workers may have

found it easier to apply for the sickness


“There will be plenty of honest

confusion among people as to

where they might apply next, and

they might take the path of least resistance,

which is going to be these

(recovery) programs,” said Macdonald,

who has closely tracked aid


Mikal Skuterud, a professor

and labour economist at the University

of Waterloo, said there may also

be people who are EI-eligible but

apply for the CRB because of other

differences in the programs, such

as how quickly benefits are clawed

back, how long they last, and how

much tax is taken off at the source

of payments.

“There are some big issues

there, but that’s kind of unfair to

criticize the government because

designing these kinds of incomesupport

programs for self-employed

people is a quagmire,” he said.

report reads,” he said, adding the

same technology would be used for

absentee and mail-in ballots.

As for British Columbia’s election

on Saturday, Watson said Elections

BC will hire more staff to count

mail-in ballots in districts where a

high number of residents requested

them. In Saskatchewan, where election

day is Oct. 26, nearly 63,000 voteby

mail applications were received

as of last Thursday, Elections Saskatchewan

said of the province with

817,000 registered voters.

The ballots will be counted at

the election administrator’s office

in Regina rather than the province’s

61 returning districts, starting two

days after the election. But the final

result of the vote will not be known

until Nov. 7.

There were no such snags when

New Brunswick residents went to

the polls last month.

Paul Harpell, a spokesman for

Elections New Brunswick, said

about 13,000 residents among 547,000

The first EI payments went out

this week, with just over 84 per cent

of applicants receiving benefits, a

figure experts noted as positive.

The labour market has recouped

about 2.3 million of the three

million jobs lost when the pandemic

first struck. A new round of

restrictions amid rising COVID-19

case counts threatens some of those


Given the unknown future path

of COVID-19, Scotiabank senior

economist Marc Desormeaux said

the government will have to be very

careful about when it winds down

the pandemic benefits.

Ending programs too soon

could lead to weak business results

as fewer people have money

to spend, leading to potential bankruptcies

or closures, creating job

losses and making employment

weak anew.

“We want to try and recover

more quickly to the extent that we

can, because these things have a

way of reinforcing themselves,” he

said in an interview.

“At this point, we’re comfortable

with these (benefits) being in

place, just to provide that certainty

and a cushion against potential second-wave


B.C.’s snap election means 700k ballots will be

counted manually, delaying results

registered voters had asked for mailin

ballots for the Sept. 14 election in

the province where 100 people typically

vote by mail.

Harpell said tabulators processed

the ballots the day before the

election, and more ballots, including

those brought in by voters by 8 p.m.

on election day, were handled by the

machines by 11 p.m. that evening, a

couple of hours after the Progressive

Conservatives were re-elected.

But he described the situation

as less than ideal, noting the ballots

were processed in 49 returning districts

with the help of harried staff

handling an unprecedented number

of mail-in ballots.

“I still think we want to centralize

it because we know that the

returning districts weren’t built to

handle that degree of mail,” Harpell

said, adding that will be especially

important if the pandemic-related

push to cast ballots by mail will

prompt more people to vote the same

way in future elections.

The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


Panting, spewing droplets, poor

ventilation: What makes gyms a

superspreading risk

The Canadian Press

A recent COVID-19 outbreak

at a southern Ontario

fitness studio is illustrating

how certain indoor settings

can provide a perfect storm

for superspreading events.

The studio, a downtown

Hamilton SPINCO location,

has been connected to

69 cases of COVID-19 as of

Wednesday, despite screening

customers, operating

at 50 per cent capacity and

keeping the recommended

two-metre radius around


So how did so many cases

originate there? And does

it raise concern about how

the novel coronavirus can

spread in a gym setting?

“Certainly this event

makes you wonder that,”

said Dr. Matthew Oughton,

an infectious disease expert

at Jewish General Hospital

and McGill University in


“I can see where this

could lead to perhaps gyms

having serious restrictions

placed on them if they want

to avoid similar superspreading


Ontario and Quebec recently

reintroduced closures

at gyms in virus hotspots,

including Toronto, Montreal

and Ottawa, for a four-week

period to help limit spread.

And Dr. Barbara

Yaffe, Ontario’s associate

chief medical officer, said

Wednesday authorities are

reviewing guidelines for

fitness studios across the

province after the Hamilton


Oughton says gyms and

fitness studios have a few

strikes against them when it

comes to tailoring them for

the pandemic.

They’re operating almost

exclusively indoors,

which makes for poorer ventilation,

and patrons aren’t

usually masked when engaging

in strenuous exercise.

High-impact activity

also leads to heavier breathing,

which means droplets

are being expelled from

peoples’ mouths at an accelerated

rate — and being

propelled further distances.

Dr. Andrew Morris, a

professor of medicine at the

University of Toronto, likens

it to throwing a ball. The

harder you throw, the further

it goes.

“We still don’t have a

perfect understanding of

this,” he said. “But we do

know that when people are

exercising vigorously, the

volume and distance of what

comes out of their mouth

and their lungs is dramatically

different than when

somebody is speaking (in a

normal way).”

If people are shouting,

cheering or singing — which

often happens in a spin class

where music is blaring and

instructors spew out encouragement

to keep participants’

intensity up — that

can make things worse.

“And if you mix that

in with a space that may

not have proper ventilation,

there is risk for a lot

of spread to occur,” Morris


Dr. Ilan Schwartz, an infectious

disease expert with

the University of Alberta,

says spin classes may pose

more risk than other group

settings because of the bikes

themselves. In theory, the

rapidly spinning wheels

could aerosolize droplets by

flinging them further distances.

“I haven’t seen any studies

of this, but theoretically

it makes sense,” he said.

“I think going to the gym

isn’t necessarily high-risk,

unless individuals are close

together and there’s poor


But there might be specific

circumstances that

could make it higher-risk,

where something with fast,

moving parts (or) a rapidly

moving fan can generate

aerosols as well.”

But Morris says the real

danger comes when people

are spewing out droplets in a

poorly ventilated space.

The prolonged length of

time spent in a spin class,

typically one hour, and the

number of people in the

room will also impact risk.

Not all fitness classes

will present the same dangers,

he added.

A low-impact yoga class

where hearts aren’t racing

and breathing is kept under

control seems safer than a

high-impact spin class, but

not if it’s crowded and poorly


A dance class, where

participants are crisscrossing

into airspace previously

occupied by others, can be

risky as well in the same environment.

“Assuming that room

has relatively poor ventilation,

that’s the kind of setting

where yes, you’d be concerned

about the potential

for transmission,” Oughton

said. “But if you had the

exact same room with an excellent

HVAC system, or the

same room where windows

were kept open … those are

the kinds of things you could

do to reduce the risk.”

Morris says finding

ways to make these activities

safer is always better

than banning them.

Masks, while uncomfortable

when working out, can

be worn in most instances,

he said. Improving ventilation

and limiting numbers

of people even further can

also help.

“If we’re going to be successful,

we can’t keep telling

people they can’t have these

things,” Morris said. “We

need to be able to point to

something and say ‘this is

the better choice.’”

Schwartz says frequent

hand-cleaning and the

sanitization of equipment

should also be kept in mind,

even if surface transmission

isn’t as concerning as it was

earlier in the pandemic.

“And for now I think

it’s probably a good idea

to avoid spin classes,” he


Oughton foresees people

taking their workouts

outdoors in new ways over

the winter if gyms and fitness

centres are deemed too


That could mean dusting

off the skates or ski


“I think this is going to

re-emphasize the safety and

the necessity of being able to

get some activity and fresh

air outside,” he said.

“Hopefully we find new

appreciation for outdoor

winter sports that we can all


The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


New guidelines urge adults to cap screen

time, sedentary behaviour even in pandemic

The Canadian Press

New fitness guidelines

urge adults to limit screen

time and sedentary behaviour

while finding ways to

stay active, even amid the


Public health and

academic experts say it’s

more important than ever

to get enough sleep and exercise

as COVID-19 upends

daily routines, finances,

social lives and individual


Several groups, including

the Public Health

Agency of Canada and

ParticipACTION, have

combined forces to release

24-hour movement guidelines

that spell out how

people aged 18 to 64 should

split their time on various

levels of activities, hoping

detailed tips can make it

easier to increase healthy

activities and decrease

poor habits.

Guideline chair Robert

Ross, who is also a Queen’s

University kinesiology

professor, acknowledges

the pandemic has made

it harder for some people

to remain active but says

any activity is better than


“How you spend your

entire day matters. So if

you are physically active,

good for you. If you can’t

be physically active but

you’re decreasing sedentary

time and you’re getting

good quality sleep,

good for you,” says Ross,

encouraging Canadians

to adapt the guidelines to

their circumstances.

“It’s providing Canadians

options to improve

their health.”

The breakdown devotes

seven to nine hours

to sleep and caps sedentary

time to eight hours

— including no more than

three hours of recreational

screen time. Those older

than 65 should get seven to

eight hours of sleep.

The rest of the day

should be spent being active,

much of which can be

“light physical activities”

such as standing and casual


However, adults should

accumulate at least 150

minutes per week of moderate

to vigorous physical

activity, and work on muscle

strength at least twice

a week. Those older than

65 should also work on improving

their balance.

Ross says the guidelines

are especially timely

as many Canadians grapple

with increased anxiety

and stress wrought by

the pandemic, noting that

a balanced lifestyle can

also improve depression,

dementia, cognition and

quality of life.

At the same time, regular

movement lowers risk

of death, cardiovascular

disease, Type 2 diabetes,

weight gain, improved

bone health and several


“Two very strong determinants

of COVID that

have been identified early

are obesity and Type 2 diabetes,”

says Ross.

“If you follow these

guidelines, all that (you

do) will mitigate the very

risk factors that are associated

with COVID.”

Along with PHAC

and ParticipACTION, the

guidelines were developed

by the Canadian Society

for Exercise Physiology,

Queen’s University, and

a network of researchers

and stakeholders from

across Canada.

While past guidelines

have focused on 24-hour

schedules for younger

groups including babies,

toddlers, preschoolers, and

older children, this guideline

is the first to look at


Even before COVID-19,

adults received a grade of

“D” for overall physical

activity according to the

ParticipACTION Report

Card on Physical Activity

for Adults.

Ross suspected many

Canadians are even less

active now, but notes the

tips don’t require money,

equipment or services to

achieve, suggesting improved

fitness can come

from activities as simple

as a neighbourhood walk,

household chores, going

up and down stairs and

breaking up the time spent


“Not all Canadians

(who) view the guidelines

will be able, capable, or

willing to do any one of

them everyday,” he acknowledges.

“One day you just

couldn’t be as physically

active as you want, but you

reduced your sedentary

time. Perfect. You couldn’t

reduce your sedentary

time so you … lengthen

your walk around the

block, or you walk your

dog a little longer…. It’s

not just one guideline. It’s

an integration of movement

behaviours that coexist

in the whole day.”

Loneliness taking toll

on Canadian mental

health in COVID era,

study finds

The Canadian Press

A new report on the mental health of Canadian workers

suggests loneliness is worse for many people than the

fear of dying from COVID-19.

Morneau Shepell’s overall mental health index for

September was down 10.2 points from its pre-2020 benchmark.

The reading in August was down 11.2 points from

the benchmark, while July was down 10.4 points.

While the financial impact of the pandemic and getting

ill with COVID-19 were the most prevalent concerns,

people who identified loneliness as a concern had the

lowest mental health score at minus 25.8.

That was even lower than the score of minus 17.7

for those who cited a fear of dying from COVID-19 as a


Morneau Shepell’s latest monthly report on its mental

health index is based on online responses collected

Aug. 21 to 30, before the recent surge of COVID cases.

The polling industry’s professional body says online

surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because

they do not randomly sample the population.

The International News Weekly October 19, 2020 | Toronto


Start of the fourth

global Covid wave

As the global case tally of Covid-19 has crossed the 40 million mark, the outbreak

appears to have entered the fourth and strongest (yet) wave. The latest spurt of

infections is fuelled by the second wave in most of the European nations, the third

wave in the United States, and the tail-end of the first wave in India and South

America. A look at the countries that are behind the still-increasing cases:

Covid could be

under control

by Feb: Panel

NEW DELHI : A government-appointed

committee has said that

cases of the coronavirus disease

(Covid-19) in India peaked in mid-

September and the active cases can

largely be contained by February

according to mathematical modelling

if preventive guidelines are followed,

even as Niti Aayog member

VK Paul said on Sunday that the

possibility of a second wave of infections

in the winter can’t be ruled


The remarks came on a day

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan

said community transmission

of the disease was restricted to certain

districts in some states, saying

that “this is not happening across

the country”.

For a month now, daily infections

in India have been decreasing

consistently – the first time this has

happened since the outbreak started

in early March. For the week ending

on Saturday, India reported 63,025

new infections every day on average

— a drop of about 33% from the peak

recorded in the middle of September,

and the lowest this number has

touched since the middle of June.

“Our predictions show initially

the number of cases was negligible

around March, and then we entered

this kind of an exponential growth

rate and then it began to moderate,

and it had peaked somewhere in the

middle of September, and now it is

beginning to wind down,” said M

Vidyasagar, professor, IIT Hyderabad.

He is the head of the 10-member

government-appointed panel

that conducted a study titled ‘Progression

of the COVID-19 Pandemic

in India: Prognosis and Lockdown

Impacts’. “Bottom line being that

the pandemic has peaked; however,

this is not a reason for us to relax

because this nice downward trend

will be maintained only if we continue

with the protective measures,”

Vidyasagar added.

Professor Manindra Agrawal

from IIT Kanpur said: “Looks

like the daily active cases that are

around 800,000 currently will drop

below 40,000 by February-end if we

continue to take safety measures.”

The committee developed an evidence-based

mathematical model for

Covid-19 progression. The ‘Covid-19

India National Supermodel’ was

commissioned by the Department

of Science and Technology (DST) to

experts from the Indian Institute of

Technology (IIT) Kanpur, IIT Hyderabad,

Indian Institute of Science, Indian

Statistical Institute, Christian

Medical College, National Institute

of Epidemiology, ministry of defence,


Niti Aayog member Paul told

PTI on Sunday that the number of

new Covid-19 cases and deaths have

declined in the last three weeks as

the spread of the pandemic has stabilised

in most states. Paul said that

with the onset of winter, countries

across Europe are seeing a resurgence

of Covid-19 cases.

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