It’s time to get voters to the polls, with the last week of the federal election ahead. The final days will be focused on getting out the vote and making sure ballots are cast on time. It’s unclear whether the pandemic is going to heavily affect voter turnout, so politicians have been taking creative approaches to get people out to vote. In addition to phone calls and door-knocking, the NDP will be trying to reach gamers through Animal Crossing, for example. One way they’re doing that is by creating custom fireworks for players to download. Parties will also be vying for your support and sharing the platform promises that matter most to them. This year, key subjects covered at the debates include the country’s COVID-19 response, cost of living, and natural resource management, among other issues. Leaders are also likely to be at events in ridings where they stand a chance at winning. Advanced polling ends Monday.
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and the Ontario Medical Association are strongly condemning anti-vaccine protests planned outside hospitals across Canada today. They are calling for designated safe zones around health-care facilities to protect staff and patients. Toronto Mayor John Tory is also condemning the protests and says he has received assurances from the city’s police chief that staff will be protected and patients will be able to access the buildings. Tory tweeted that it’s long past the time when — quote — “we can have this tyranny of a few interfere with access to healthcare during a pandemic.”
To align with the start of school, the City of Surrey launched Blueprint Pathways this week. The new crime prevention pilot partnership is aimed at keeping high risk Surrey youth safe from gangs and criminal exploitation. The program, which is to run through the 2021-2022 school year, will connect up to 30 youth ages 13-19 with a City of Surrey outreach worker, a news release said. The outreach worker, in partnership with Surrey Schools and the Surrey Wraparound Program, is to provide “intensive” one-on-one support at school and in the community. Fore more information on the program, visit surrey.ca/communitysafety.
Demonstrations in response to COVID-19 public health restrictions are picking up across the country as more provinces introduce proof-of-vaccination systems. A group calling itself Canadian Frontline Nurses has planned what it calls “silent vigils” in all 10 provinces. The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and Ontario Medical Association are condemning the disruptions outside hospitals. On the campaign trail today, N-D-P Leader Jagmeet Singh and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are both pledging to criminalize protesters who block hospitals or harass health-care workers.
Dua Lipa has announced the long-awaited dates of her upcoming tour of the same name. And Vancouver is on the list. The official announcement of the North American tour was shared on her Instagram page on Monday. Future Nostalgia is the longest-running top 10 album by a female artist on the Billboard 200 in 2021. It was also the #1 most-streamed album of 2020 on Spotify. Lipa is set to play at Rogers Arena on Friday, April 1. Tickets go on sale on Friday, September 17.
B-C’s finance minister is set to provide an update this morning on the province’s finances, economy and first quarter results from April to June. The last update from Selina Robinson showed the COVID-19 pandemic was battering the province’s bottom line, but the effects hadn’t been as bad as feared. She reported in July that the deficit of close to 5.5 billion dollars for the fiscal year that ended March 31st was nearly three billion lower than forecast. The 2021-22 budget released in April forecast a deficit of 9.7-billion dollars followed by at least two more years of billion-dollar deficits. (The Canadian Press)
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was in British Columbia this weekend as the federal election campaign enters its final stretch. Speaking from a hotel in Vancouver, O’Toole pledged to extend employment insurance benefits to parents for up to eight weeks following the death of a child. He said a Conservative government would also provide up to eight weeks of paid leave after a stillbirth and three days following a miscarriage. O’Toole made an explicit pitch to women — a demographic that has traditionally leaned more Liberal than Tory — saying he wants to make sure they can look at the Conservative party as a strong option to help their families.
British Columbia health officials announced on Monday that there have been 1,984 new test-positive COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 175,142. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 5,825 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 278 individuals are currently hospitalized, 139 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. There were 823 cases between Friday and Saturday, 641 between Saturday and Sunday, and 520 between Sunday and Monday. New cases, as well as total active cases, broken down by health region are as follows:
- Fraser Health: 609 new cases, 1,711 total active cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 319 new cases, 945 total active cases
- Interior Health: 542 new cases, 1,618 total active cases
- Northern Health: 294 new cases, 931 total active cases
- Island Health: 220 new cases, 607 total active cases
- Outside of Canada: No new cases, 13 total active cases
There have been nine new COVID-19-related deaths for a total of 1,865 deaths in British Columbia. Of the new deaths, three were in Fraser Health, one was in Vancouver Coastal, three were in Interior Health, and two were in Island Health. Health officials in BC also shared data on COVID-19 cases in vaccinated and unvaccinated people:
Past week cases (September 3 – 9) – Total 4,779
- Not vaccinated: 3,305 (69.2%)
- Partially vaccinated: 411 (8.6%)
- Fully vaccinated: 1,063 (22.2%)
Past two weeks cases hospitalized (August 27 – September 9) – Total 348
- Not vaccinated: 282 (81%)
- Partially vaccinated: 18 (5.2%)
- Fully vaccinated: 48 (13.8%)
Past week, cases per 100,000 population (September 3 – 9)
- Not vaccinated: 306.3
- Partially vaccinated: 92.9
- Fully vaccinated: 27.4
From September 3 to 9, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 77.8% of cases, and from August 27 to September 9, they accounted for 86.2% of hospitalizations. To date, 85.8% of all eligible people 12 and over have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; 78.4% have received their second dose. 167,078 people who tested positive have now recovered.