Eighteen more people have died from COVID-19 over a three-day period in B-C, pushing the death toll in the province to one-thousand-940. The Health Ministry says another two-thousand-239 cases were detected over three days for a total of nearly 61-hundred active infections across the province. It says 80.5 per cent of eligible B-C residents age 12 and up are fully vaccinated, while 87.7 per cent have received their first dose.
The Vancouver School Board has voted to make masks mandatory in all schools. This was previously just grades 4 – 12, but it will now be k-12, making Vancouver the first district in the province to make this extension beyond what the has already been mandated. Eyes will now be on other districts like ours here in surrey to see if we follow suit. The Mandate should take effect within a couple of weeks.
Six candidates seeking the leadership of the B-C Liberal Party meet tonight in the campaign’s first debate streaming live on the party’s website and Facebook page. The Liberals will elect a new leader February 5th to replace former leader Andrew Wilkinson who stepped down shortly after the party’s election defeat last October. Stewart Prest, a political science lecturer at Simon Fraser University, says the Liberals are seeking new political directions after consecutive election losses, and the debate offers opportunities for the candidates to put forward new visions. The six candidates are: Vancouver entrepreneur Gavin Dew, former cabinet minister Kevin Falcon, former chamber of commerce executive Val Litwin, and current M-L-As Michael Lee, Renee Merrifield and Ellis Ross. The debate will be live on the party’s website and Facebook page.
The first of a few dozen miners have begun returning to the surface after spending more than a day trapped underground in a mine in northern Ontario. An official with mining company Vale says it is relieved and delighted to see the miners returning above ground safe and sound. The 39 miners at the Totten Mine, west of Sudbury, had been in several different locations between 900- and 12-hundred meters down when a mechanical failure with a scoop bucket blocked the shaft for their own transportation needs.
The Alberta Medical Association is joining doctors and infectious disease experts in calling for an immediate lockdown, including closing schools and businesses, to get COVID-19 under control. The province has seen more than 17-hundred new daily infections from Friday through to Sunday and there are now 265 people crowding intensive care units. Doctors are warning the system is on the verge of being overwhelmed, but Premier Jason Kenney continues to reject calls for a lockdown.
People looking for a furry companion can now adopt a new pet for half price this week. The B-C S-P-C-A has announced that it will hold a half-price adoption promotion starting today until October 6th to free up space in its locations for incoming animals. Spokeswoman Lorie Chortyk says the offer of 50 per cent off adoption fees applies to all companion animals, small animals and farm animals, with the exception of horses. She says full-price adoption fees vary depending on the location of the S-P-C-A branch and the type of animal being adopted.
B-C’s top doctor has issued a new public health order tightening COVID-19 restrictions in the eastern Fraser Valley in response to rising case numbers. Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order covers Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission and Agassiz-Harrison, where indoor social gatherings will be limited to five additional people or one additional household and to 10 people outdoors, unless everyone is vaccinated. Organized events like weddings or conferences will be limited to 10 people indoors or 50 people outside, unless everyone is fully vaccinated. Henry says rising COVID-19 cases among children reflect lower vaccination rates in some communities where hospital capacity is being strained. (The Canadian Press)
A man whose downtown Vancouver condo was allegedly used for repeated large parties and illegal alcohol sales in violation of COVID-19 restrictions could lose his property under B-C’s civil forfeiture act. The director of civil forfeiture says the 2.8-million dollar condo was allegedly used for additional illegal activities and it should be sold — with proceeds going to the government, once the roughly two-million dollar mortgage is paid. The registered owner of the penthouse unit is Mohammad Movassaghi (moh-vah-SAW’-ghee), who was sentenced to one day in jail, fined and placed on 18 months probation in April for violating B-C’s COVID-19 restrictions. He has until mid-October to answer the claims, which haven’t been proven in court, and his lawyer has not responded to a request for comment. (The Canadian Press)
The City of New Westminster is renaming two places along its Fraser River waterfront to commemorate the 1914 Komagata Maru incident. A statement from the city says its Queensborough River Walk as well as the pedestrian ferry docks in Queensborough and Downtown will be renamed. The changes follow an apology from council in October 2019 that found New Westminster’s actions in 1914 supported discriminatory, racist and exclusionary laws that affected the passengers during the three months they were trapped aboard the steamship moored in Vancouver’s harbour. The Komagata Maru carried nearly 400 South Asian passengers — all British subjects hoping to immigrate to Canada — but it was denied supplies and passengers were barred from landing before being forced to return to India, where officers of the British raj fired on those aboard, killing 20.