In the News

Apr 29, 2020

New Brunswick-based Irving Oil is seeking regulatory permission to use tankers to supply its Saint John refinery with crude oil as opposed to railway tank cars. The company has told the federal government that the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant uncertainty in its usual supply chain.

Apr 29, 2020

The largest recorded hole in the ozone layer above the Arctic has closed. Scientists say that it evidently caused by a strong polar vortex rather than to any buildup of ozone-depleting chemicals in the stratosphere.

Apr 29, 2020

A Canadian Cyclone helicopter deployed on HMCS Fredericton has gone missing while on a NATO exercise with allies off the western coast of Greece in the Ionian Sea. DND has confirmed that a search and rescue mission is underway at this time. 

Apr 28, 2020

The mayor of the Alberta oilsands town of Fort McMurray, which was devastated by wildfires four years ago and now is grappling with COVID-19, has requested Canadian Armed Forces help in dealing with widespread flooding from the Athabasca River. Parts of the town have been ordered evacuated.

Apr 28, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump is said to have been warned about the looming COVID-19 crisis in his daily intelligence briefings in January as various agencies highlighted the threat more than a dozen times. Officials are quote anonymously as saying that Trump often skips the President’s Daily Brief and has shown impatience when receiving the oral briefing.

Apr 28, 2020

The federal government is leaving each province to figure out to ease their COVID-19 lockdowns and other measures. “The provinces have the authority to determine what is in their best interests,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeay says as some jurisdictions began considering their options. “They have the responsibility to do what is right for their citizens.”

Apr 28, 2020

While the 16 German states have varying approaches for easing the lockdowns imposed to contain COVID-19, cloth masks now are mandatory in most jurisdictions on public transit and in stores. However, the World Health Organization continues to suggest that masks should be worn only by persons who are displaying symptoms, have tested positive or are caring for others.

Apr 28, 2020

Women and Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef says the spread of COVID-19 evidently has resulted in a rise in domestic violence. “Abuse rates are rising in parts of the country,” she says. “What the pandemic has done with the self-isolation measures, with the closures of some of the support systems, is create a powder keg.”

Apr 27, 2020

In what is described as “the first overall assessment of Canada's Arctic Ocean”, dozens of federal scientists and Inuit observers have concluded that the region may be changing faster than any other body of water on the planet, with economic and strategic implications. “As the Arctic changes, the rest of the ecosystem is going to track with those changes,” says the project's lead scientist, Andrea Niemi of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “There isn't going to be a delay.”

Apr 27, 2020

Earlier this month, the Department of National Defence issued a request for proposals for delivery of a readily-deployable “biocontainment aeromedical evacuation system” as developed and refined by the U.S. Air Force in the aftermath of the 2013-2016 Ebola crisis. The RFP seems to have been precipitated by the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Apr 27, 2020

British intelligence agencies have been told they require computer assistance to counter a variety of threats. The Royal United Services Institute also says new artificial intelligence capabilities are critical to identifying criminal as well as military threats before they become reality.

Apr 27, 2020

The U.S. has notified Canada and Mexico that the new North American trade agreement can go into effect 1 July. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer also has advised Congress that all three countries are now ready to forge “uniform regulations” which would govern how the language of the replacement for the 1994 North America Free Trade Agreement is interpreted.

Apr 27, 2020

Breaking a peace deal signed in November with the internationally-recognised government of Yemen, United Arab Emirates-backed separatists in the country’s south have declared self-rule. The Saudi-backed government has warned of “catastrophic consequences.”

Apr 27, 2020

The notion of an independent investigation into the origin of COVID-19 doesn’t sit well with China. Chen Wen, described as a “top diplomat” in Britain, says the call is politically motivated and would divert his country’s attention from fighting the pandemic which is believed to have begun at a wildlife market in the city of Wuhan late last year.

Apr 27, 2020

The U.S. Navy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have begun studying a COVID-19 outbreak in one of its aircraft carriers in the hope of contributing to a better understanding of the pandemic. More than 17 per cent of its crew of 4,845 have tested positive.

Apr 27, 2020

Brazilian Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who oversaw a major corruption probe, has quit President Jair Bonsolaro’s cabinet, accusing his leader of political interference. Bonsolaro dismissed the allegation as “baseless” and said “the day I have to submit to any of my subordinates, I cease to be president.” He had earlier fired his health minister for supporting social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak which the president continues to downplay.

Apr 27, 2020

Boeing Co. has withdrawn from a $4.2-billion deal to buy Brazil-based Embraer's commercial aircraft division. The U.S. giant accused Embraer of having not met conditions for finalizing the sale but the São Paulo-based company countered that Boeing’s financial difficulties were the reason.

Apr 24, 2020

The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting a $3.7-trillion deficit for the U.S. by year’s end, which it says would represent a 5.6% economic contraction and a 12% jump in unemployment. The CBO also reported 24 April that while it expects an historic drop in U.S. economic activity this spring, a recovery will begin once social distancing measures are relaxed.

Apr 24, 2020

The latest projection of COVID-19’s financial impact on the federal treasury and, eventually on taxpayers going forward, has topped $817 billion. It includes various public support programs for individuals and businesses as well as the knock-on effect of tax deferrals and loan guarantee programs.

Apr 24, 2020

The federal government has committed an additional $1.1 billion to development of a national COVID-19 medical and research strategy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in announcing the funding that increased testing and further understanding of the virus are needed before the economy can be reopened.

Apr 24, 2020

A member of the government’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force says the World Health Organization set back the global response by up to three weeks by placing too much confidence in Chinese data. “I think they were a little too deferential,” Dr. David Naylor, a physician and former University of Toronto president, said in a televised interview. He also didn’t think it was “a massive amount of time lost” and those who hold that view “are simply wrong.”

Apr 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense is looking for additional insight into how to keep better track of contractors’ cybersecurity practices through its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification process. It has issued a request for proposals designed to end self-certification, a proposal which would require third-party audits.

Apr 24, 2020

Unmanned aerial vehicles designed by Draganfly Inc. of Saskatoon have been deployed near New York City in a pilot project to detect the spread of COVID-19. Draganfly has been working with the University of Southern Australia to equip its drones with sensors that can measure from nearly 60 metres not only social distancing compliance, but also body temperature, heart and respiratory rates, and whether people are sneezing and coughing in crowds.

Apr 24, 2020

Transport Canada now requires all arriving and departing airline passengers to wear face masks while in transit, including through security screening when social-distancing is impracticable. Also, passengers displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed aboard regardless of whether they have a mask.

Apr 24, 2020

The much-maligned middle seat in airliners with three-seat rows have become even less desirable since the advent of COVID-19. Several carriers have announced plans to not assign them to passengers for the foreseeable future and other options are being considered.

Apr 23, 2020

Rookie Ontario Conservative MP Derek Sloan, who’s also a leadership candidate, took to social media this week to question the loyalty of Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Medical Officer of Health overseeing Canada’s COVID-19 response. He asked whether the Hong Kong-born epidemiologist -- who grew up in Britain and was educated there and in Canada -- worked for “Canada or China?” Dr. Tam dismissed the comment as “noise” and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was no place for “intolerance and racism” in Canada, but Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer declined comment on leadership candidates.

Apr 23, 2020

As President Donald Trump looked on during a White House briefing 23 April, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is convinced that COVID-19 will be a presence until at least the fall. Trump has been urging a relaxation of some lockdowns but Cauci reiterated the importance of continued caution and the need for politicians to heed their public health authorities’ advice.

Apr 23, 2020

Premier François Legault has asked the federal government to send 1,000 additional Canadian Armed Forces personnel to help staff long-term care institutions in Quebec which have been hit hard by COVID-19. He says the province has unable to find enough trained workers to meet immediate needs.

Apr 23, 2020

Ontario Premier Doug Ford wants Canadian Armed Forces personnel to help his government stop the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes. He said they would be deployed to five homes where infection rates have been extreme. “When you’re in a fight like this, you leave nothing off the table,” he said.

Apr 23, 2020

A flurry of email and social media messages in mid-March to the effect that the U.S. was about to lock down the entire country is reportedly being blamed on Chinese operatives.

Apr 23, 2020

Having tweeted 20 April that he would sign an executive order to “temporarily suspend” immigration as an anti-COVID-19 measure and to protect Americans’ jobs, President Donald Trump eventually opted three days later only to suspend some green cards for 60 days. Exceptions include migrant farm workers, citizens' spouses and unmarried children younger than 21, and green card applications already in the U.S.

Apr 22, 2020

A Canada-U.S. agreement to extend restrictions on cross-border travel has prompted Air Canada to suspend all commercial service to the U.S., effective 26 April and until at least 22 May. WestJet also has extended its original suspension until at least 4 June 4 as well as shutting down some domestic services.

Apr 22, 2020

An Ontario company which claimed a link to The 3M Company in advertising COVID-19 protective masks is being sued by the Minnesota-based giant. The action in Ontario Superior Court of Justice states that Caonic Systems Inc. of Waterloo used Internet-based marketing to sell N-95 masks at five times the suggested retail price.

Apr 22, 2020

Repeated suggestions that COVID-19 ws manufactured in a high-level containment lab in China are being discounted by the World Health Organization, which said 21 April that all available evidence points to animal-human transmission as the “likely” vector. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is dismissing the notion that it had synthesized the virus or permitted it to escape.

Apr 21, 2020

President Donald Trump said 20 April that he will sign an executive order “to temporarily suspend” immigration because of COVID-19 and to protect jobs. A White House spokesperson echoed the president 21 April but offered no additional insight.

Apr 21, 2020

The weekend shooting spree in Nova Scotia which left at least 23 dead, including a police officer and the gunman, has prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to resurrect a promise during last fall’s election campaign to strengthen gun controls. “We were on the verge of introducing legislation to ban assault-style weapons across this country,” he said 20 April, explaining that his plan had been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “As long as Canadians are losing their loved ones to gun violence, not enough has changed.”

Apr 21, 2020

U.S. federal agencies that heeded President Donald Trump’s push to move operations to the cloud are being reminded that security is paramount. “We want to ensure that in these quick migrations that we’ve done, that we fully understand both the positives as well as some of the assumptions we’ve made,” says Matthew Scholl, chief of the Computer Security Division in the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He and other officials warn that security could be compromised if vendors aren’t appropriately managed.

Apr 21, 2020

Essye Miller, principal deputy chief information officer at the Department of Defense, retiring at the end of June, is to be succeeded John Sherman, CIO of the Intelligence Community. Miller, who previously held senior Army and Air Force positions, played a key role in preparing the DoD for COVID-19. Sherman, who has been at the IC since September 2017 and is responsible for ongoing IT modernization, previously was with the CIA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Apr 20, 2020

The largest single-day drop in world crude oil prices 20 April was reflected in a major impact on Alberta, where Premier Jason Kenney called for more federal support for his province’s already floundering economy. Domestic oil prices plunged into negative territory as producers reportedly were willing to pay buyers to take oil off their hands due to a lack of storage capacity.

Apr 20, 2020

After three inconclusive general elections in less than a year, and faced with the prospect of a fourth in August, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz agreed 20 April to form a unity government.

Apr 20, 2020

The first docking of two orbiting unmanned commercial spacecraft is being reported by Virginia-based Intelsat Corp. It said 17 April that the mission has demonstrated a satellite life-extension capability of interest also to the military. Its Intelsat 901 communications platform was nearing the end of its operational life and its renewal was made possible by SpaceLogistics, a Northrop Grumman subsidiary.

Apr 20, 2020

Results of a national survey released 20 April by the Angus Reid Institute indicate that most Canadians are prepared for at least another 4-8 weeks of social distancing as governments try to contain COVID-19. Fully 77 per cent of the respondents evidently feel that it is too soon to be relaxing the current constraints and most say they would wait until the number of new confirmed cases had declined significantly.

Apr 20, 2020

Carmen Gentile, a longtime conflict reporter who was severely injured while embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2010, writes that the angry protests against the COVID-19 lockdowns in some U.S. states frighten him more than his experiences overseas.

Apr 20, 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plans to ease New Zealand’s stringent COVID-19 lockdown 27 April. Thanking her people for “stopping an uncontrolled explosion” and doing “what very few countries have been able to do,” she said some businesses and schools will be permitted to reopen and limits on local travel are to be relaxed.

Apr 20, 2020

Fines of up to $2,000 per offense are proposed by British Columbia for persons who exploit the COVID-19 environment to engage in price gouging and resell medical supplies. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnsworth. In addition, individuals who do not self-quarantine after returning from travel also could be liable for fines.

Apr 19, 2020

An RCMP officer is among 16 dead after a lone shooter took down "multiple" victims during a 12-hour rampage near Truro, Nova Scotia. Police neutralized the shooter at a truck stop near the town of Enfield. Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, few other details are being released about the tragedy, such as whether fires blazing in the rural area of Portapique that night are connected to the shooter who reportedly owned three properties in the area.

Apr 19, 2020

Despite growing pressure in some parts of the U.S., Canada will keep its border closed to non-essential for at least 30 more days due to the COVID-19 crisis. “While we want to be optimistic, we need to be absolutely cautious,” Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos said 18 April.

Apr 19, 2020

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, and the federal government need to be questioned about their handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. He says there are “important questions as to why certain directives were issued by the public health agency, and ultimately ministers are responsible for … the decisions they make based on whichever advice they take.”

Apr 19, 2020

Disruptions in primary elections and political infighting in the run up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election evidently are raising questions about the logistics of holding the national vote on schedule. It also prompts questions about President Donald Trump’s future.

Apr 19, 2020

Continued political deadlock as the two major parties in Israel are unable to form a workable government means that Israelis could be facing their fourth general election in 17 months. If the latest impasse cannot be resolved by early May, a new election would be held by early August. The country went to the polls in April and September 2019 and last month.

Apr 17, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense insists that a Federal Communications Commission plan to reallocate part of the radio spectrum for broadband communications will do “irreparable” harm to the Global Positioning System used for civilian as well as military navigation. The proposal requires only a majority vote by the five-person FCC to pass.

Apr 17, 2020

Despite a suggestion by President Donald Trump that the U.S. border with Canada “will be one of the early borders to be released” from COVID-19 travel restrictions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there is a “significant amount of time still before we can talk about loosening such restrictions.”

Apr 17, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump has backed down on his claim that he has absolute constitutional authority to force state governments to ease their COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. He now says governments can “call their own shots” on allowing businesses and some public institutions to reopen.

Apr 17, 2020

Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeated dismissed the threat of COVID-19, has fired his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, for urging people to observe social distancing and stay indoors. Despite nearly 31,000 confirmed cases and some 2,000 deaths to date, Bolsonaro has called the virus “a little flu.”

Apr 17, 2020

Chinese officials say that a 50 per cent jump in the official number of deaths reported in Wuhan, the city where COVID-19 erupted in December, is due to updated reporting and deaths elsewhere than in hospitals. Insisting that there was no cover-up, they now put the total number of deaths at 3,869 in the city of more than 11 million people.

Apr 16, 2020

The federal government will review how it manages its National Emergency Stockpile System after it was disclosed that technically outdated equipment which could have been used in the COVID-19 campaign had been disposed of. Health Minister Patty Hajdu said 15 April that there are “opportunities to look at a process where that equipment is offered first of all to parts of Canada that may not have easy access to that equipment, and if not, then overseas to other countries that may need it.”

Apr 16, 2020

Canada’s chief public health officer says that while there is evidence that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing, with the number of cases in the country doubling every 10 days or so compared with every three days in late March, the battle is far from won. Likening the emergence from the pandemic to “making our way down the mountain in the darkness,” Dr. Theresa Tam warns that if governments “let go of our safety measures” too soon, “the fall will be hard and unforgiving.”<

Apr 16, 2020

The Canada Border Service Agency has reduced staffing hours at 27 low-volume land crossings in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec. Those normally open around the clock are closing earlier while others already on reduced schedules will see more cuts as well as weekend closures.

Apr 15, 2020

The federal government is willing to send money to provinces that want to augment the salaries for workers who have been deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re having discussions,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed 15 April, explaining that several jurisdictions are considering following Quebec’s lead in offering incentives.

Apr 15, 2020

A call by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be available for “regular opportunities” to ask questions in the House of Commons about the government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis has drawn a sharp rebuke from Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. She said 15 April that Scheer “should be thinking over whether his actions look like he’s putting the public interest of all of Canadians first or his efforts to be part of this crisis.”

Apr 15, 2020

The federal government is considering legislation which would make it an offence to knowingly spread potentially harmful misinformation, as has been happening in several jurisdictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Privy Council President Dominic LeBlanc said 14 April that he has discussed the idea with other cabinet members, including Justice Minister David Lametti, and evidently has New Democratic Party support.

Apr 15, 2020

Having cut its benchmark interest rate three times in recent months, the Bank of Canada said 15 April that it would remain at its “effective lower bound” of 0.25 per cent, which indicates no plans for further easing. The bank also said that due to the uncertainty created by COVID-19, it could not make economic predictions “with any degree of confidence”, only that economic activity in the next few months could be gross domestic product in the current quarter could be at least 15 per cent below 2019 year-end levels.

Apr 15, 2020

Other countries have condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to cut World Health Organization funding, warning that it could undermine the global effort to deal with COVID-19. Trump’s justification for cutting at least $400 million was what he said was the WHO’s role “in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus” once it had been identified in China.

Apr 14, 2020

President Donald Trump threatened 14 April to “put a hold” on U.S. funding for the World Health Organization, accusing it of a pro-China bias. “We're going to put a very powerful hold on it, and we're going to see,” he said at the White House, adding that he had not made a final decision. He tweeted earlier that the WHO is “largely funded” by the U.S. even though it is “very China-centric.”

Apr 14, 2020

The International Monetary Fund said the world this year likely suffer the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression as governments wrestle with COVID-19. The Washington-based IMF’s chief economist, Gita Gopindath, expects the global economy to contract by three per cent, a stark reversal of the 3.3 per cent growth it had forecast as recently as January. 

Apr 14, 2020

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and his counterparts across NATO are to discuss the alliance’s COVID-19 response during a videoconference 15 April. The pandemic is being described as the most comprehensive security challenge NATO has encountered.

Apr 14, 2020

The espionage trial in Moscow of a former US Marine, Paul Whelan, has begun behind closed doors more than a year after he was arrested. Prosecutors say he was in possession of state secrets stored in a thumb drive which Whelan says was planted by a former friend. Whelan also holds British, Canadian and Irish citizenship.

Apr 14, 2020

Concerns about the security of Zoom, the popular videoconferencing app, has prompted the U.S. Department of Defense to declare it off-limits to personnel for any official use. The FBI recently reported that the app had seen an increase in uninvited participants.

Pages