12% Wouldn’t Trust Vaccine

Twelve percent of Canadians wouldn’t take a Covid-19 vaccination even if it was available, Statistics Canada said yesterday. Two thirds of people, 68 percent, said they were very likely to get immunized: 'How large a threat is the anti-vaxer movement in Canada?'

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Most Collisions In Daytime

The Transportation Safety Board says poor driving habits, not shorter daylight hours, are likely to blame for a statistical spike in rail crossing accidents in winter months. The Board yesterday called train-car collisions “one of the most serious types of rail accidents” with 26 deaths last year: "We need to do more work."

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Health Card Not ID: Ruling

People cannot be forced to hand over their health cards for ordinary ID, says Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner. “It is personal health information,” wrote Commissioner Ronald Kruzeniski.

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Question Collusion By Chains

The Commons industry committee yesterday opened hearings on whether Canada’s three largest supermarket chains breached anti-trust law. Executives “should be ashamed” for the simultaneous rollback of $2 an hour pandemic bonuses for employees, said Unifor president Jerry Dias: “You would think people would have some integrity."

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Call PM Kneel “Humiliating”

The RCMP Veterans’ Association yesterday accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “humiliating us” by kneeling at a Black Lives Matter protest. The reaction followed remarks by a Liberal-appointed Senator lamenting a “wave of hatred and disrespect” against police: "Our renowned organization has served our country with honour, integrity and devotion for the last 147 years."

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Dr. Tam Failed Us, MPs Told

Mismanagement of pandemic supplies by the Public Health Agency of Canada was “my worst nightmare”, a senior advisor to a 2003 SARS Commission said yesterday. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam failed in her legal duty to stockpile masks, the Commons health committee was told: "They weren't ready."

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Found Sweetheart Contracts

A federal audit has uncovered sweetheart contracting in the Department of Fisheries, including cases where “winning bidders and evaluators were former colleagues”. Procurement Ombudsman Alexander Jeglic cited numerous irregularities in the department that awarded more than half a billion in contracts over the past two years: "There were six cases where the department appears to have manipulated the number of bidders invited to bid."

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China Mills Pollute In Canada

The Department of Environment says mills and factories in East Asia – it would not identify China by name – account for most airborne mercury pollution in Canada. Chinese mines, mills and factories were blamed for high mercury deposits at remote Canadian lakes and mountains: "97% of mercury deposited in Canada as a result of human activities originates outside the country."

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Press Advisors’ Record On Bias: “We Need Justin….”

Two cabinet advisors hired to vet press applications for millions in federal subsidies made anti-Opposition remarks and publicly ridiculed editorial standards at a newspaper that endorsed Conservatives in past elections. One appointee, Professor Karim Karim of Ottawa, in a Twitter comment said Stephen Harper played the politics of hate: "No, I do not see a problem."

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Agency Too China-Friendly

Federally-funded research says the World Health Organization was too quick to praise China and “created confusion” over the true peril of Covid-19. The study was financed by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research: "China’s actions were praised on multiple occasions by the WHO without scientific background."

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Blasphemy Not Our Business

Taking the Lord’s name in vain is not Parliament’s business, says a justice department Access To Information memo. Parliament in 2018 repealed a law on criminal blasphemy last used to prosecute distributors of a 1979 Monty Python film: "It stems from an antiquated perception that an attack on Christianity was an attack on government."

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McD Wins Food Poison Case

McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada has won $500 in costs from a customer who claimed he was poisoned by an Egg McMuffin. Evidence included data on McMuffin sales from clients who did not become violently ill: "Symptoms may have been triggered by dehydration related to gastroenteritis or food poisoning."

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Agency Offers Sex Advice

People seeking casual sex should avoid bars and consider meeting outdoors, says the Public Health Agency of Canada. Federal epidemiologists made the remarks under questioning by a women’s magazine at a Parliament Hill briefing on the pandemic: "Is there any way for single people hoping to have sex this summer to do so safely?"

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“In Case You’re Wondering”

Poet Shai Ben-Shalom, an Israeli-born biologist, examines current events in the Blacklock’s tradition each and every Sunday: “The newspaper promises to put readers’ interest first while making an impact on people’s lives. I turn to the Science section…”

Review: The Spider & The Automobile

Membership in hate groups has long been linked to economic failure; few millionaires joined the Aryan Nations. More contentious is a theory that all human beings are prone to irrational impulses that pit Catholic versus Protestant, English versus French, white versus Black. “We are hardwired to be ethnocentric,” writes Kenneth Stern, director of New York’s Bard Centre for the Study of Hate.

Stern argues we are programmed through millennia to instincts that long ago meant survival but today make no sense whatsoever. Consider the story of the spider and the sedan. He quotes social psychologist James Waller: “Automobiles kill far more people today than do spiders or snakes. But people are far more averse to spiders and snakes than they are to automobiles. Why? Because for most of our ancestral history, spiders and snakes were a serious threat to our survival and reproduction, whereas automobiles did not exist.”