Tag Archives: family

Montreal health agency says communications with family were ‘incomplete’ after woman found dead in ER

Montreal’s West Island health agency has admitted its communications were lacking with the family of a woman who was found dead last month on the floor of a room in the emergency department of Lakeshore General Hospital in Pointe-Claire, Que. 

But the family says that’s not enough.

In a statement emailed to the media this morning, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest de l’Île de Montréal said it has asked the coroner to investigate Candida Macarine’s Feb. 27 death. 

“Although the investigation is still ongoing, the CIUSSS is already able to say that its communications with the family were incomplete, especially at the time of the announcement of the death,” the statement said.

“The CIUSSS team is obviously sorry for the concerns this caused to the family of the deceased,” it continued.

Macarine died in a negative pressure isolation room that nurses in the Montreal-area hospital had warned managers about several times, saying it was difficult to see and monitor patients there.

The day of her death, Macarine’s family was told only that she had died of cardiac arrest. 

Learned circumstances of mother’s death from news report

It wasn’t until they noticed a CBC News story two weeks later about a woman found “dead and ice cold” on the floor beside her bed that they realized that woman was likely their mother.

The family and CBC News have repeatedly requested more information from the hospital during the last two weeks.

The agency finally acknowledged Tuesday that Macarine was the patient who died, and that it had failed to report the circumstances of her death to the family.

WATCH | Placido Macarine shares how it feels to know so little about his mother’s death:

The family of a woman who died at Lakeshore General Hospital in a room that staff had warned managers about for weeks only learned about the circumstances of her death after reading a CBC story earlier this week. 2:19

‘Unacceptable’

The statement comes a day after the family of Filipino heritage held a tearful news conference, accusing the hospital of racism.

In an interview with CBC Tuesday, Candida Macarine’s son Emmanuel Macarine said he wasn’t impressed with the hospital’s statement.

“No, no, I’m sorry, but for me it’s not an apology,” Macarine said.

He scoffed at the hospital’s admission that its communication with the family was “incomplete.”

“Incomplete? Well I don’t know how they tried to communicate with us! Until now, we didn’t receive anything — until after the press conference yesterday,” he said.

Head of CIUSSS offers to meet with family

The health agency intends to act on recommendations from the coroner’s investigation to “ensure that such a situation does not happen again,” CIUSSS said in its statement.

“Moreover, if it is shown that our staff acted inappropriately, the CIUSSS will not hesitate to take the decisions and actions that are necessary in such situations.”

The health agency statement didn’t explain why the family was never told of the circumstances of Macarine’s death.

In an email, a spokesperson told CBC News that the agency would not comment further until the CIUSSS CEO Lynne McVey has had a chance to meet with the family.

“Lynne McVey wrote to family members yesterday and asked to meet with them to offer her support in this difficult ordeal,” the statement said.

‘Cannot trust them anymore’

Emmanuel Macarine said the family has no immediate plans to meet with McVey.

“After all the refusals to our requests to know the truth of what happened to our mom, we cannot trust them anymore,” he said. “I mean, what are they going to say now?”

Macarine said the family would prefer to deal with the coroner’s office.

He said he and some of his brothers and sisters would hold a news conference Wednesday.

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CBC | Health News

Breonna Taylor’s family continues to demand justice 1 year after her death

On the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s death, the slain Black woman’s family continued their call for justice as hundreds of demonstrators gathered in downtown Louisville, Ky., on Saturday.

“Eyes are on Louisville, Kentucky, today so let’s show America what community looks like,” said Taylor’s aunt, Bianca Austin, who wore her niece’s emergency medical technician jacket.

Austin spoke from a stage set up in Jefferson Square Park, which became an impromptu hub for protesters during months of demonstrations last summer. Flanked by two hand-painted murals of Taylor, activists repeated calls to charge the police officers who killed the Black woman during a raid at her apartment.

The crowd shouted Taylor’s name and “No justice, no peace” as they gathered near an outdoor memorial that includes a mural, posters, artwork and other mementos honouring Taylor’s life. Some organizers gave away food during the speeches.

Taylor’s family then led the protesters on an afternoon march past City Hall.


Members of the protest group known as Bike2Breathe approach the area where the Breonna Taylor memorial protest is occurring in Jefferson Square Park on Saturday. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

No officers charged in death

Taylor’s front door was breached by Louisville officers as part of a drug raid in the early morning hours of March 13, 2020. Her boyfriend fired his gun once, saying later that he feared an intruder was entering the apartment. One officer was struck, and he and two other officers fired 32 shots into the apartment, striking the 26-year-old Taylor five times.

Taylor’s death initially flew under the media radar, as the COVID-19 crisis shut down society, but George Floyd’s death in Minnesota and the release of a chilling 911 call from Taylor’s boyfriend in late May sparked interest in the case.


A portrait of Breonna Taylor is seen in front of another protest sign during a protest memorial for her in Jefferson Square Park on Saturday. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images)

A grand jury indicted one officer on wanton endangerment charges in September for shooting into a neighbour’s apartment, but no officers were charged in connection with Taylor’s death.

Police had a no-knock warrant but said they knocked and announced their presence before entering Taylor’s apartment, a claim some witnesses have disputed. No drugs were found in Taylor’s apartment.

The city of Lousiville has since banned no-knock warrants, hired a new police chief and paid a $ 12 million US settlement to Taylor’s family.

An ongoing federal investigation could be wide ranging and is regarded by many as the last chance for justice for Taylor’s death.

WATCH | How the internet worked to keep Breonna Taylor’s name in the news:

The internet worked to keep Breonna Taylor’s name in the news — by turning it into a meme. But does online activism translate to IRL justice? How do those memes serve her memory? Plus: We review Netflix’s new doc phenom, The Social Dilemma. New ep out: http://smarturl.it/popchat 8:32

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CBC | World News

Minneapolis to pay George Floyd’s family $27M US to settle civil suit

The city of Minneapolis on Friday agree to pay $ 27 million US to settle a civil lawsuit from George Floyd’s family over the Black man’s death in police custody, even as jury selection continued in a former officer’s murder trial.

The Minneapolis City Council emerged from closed session Friday to announce the settlement, which includes $ 500,000 US for the neighbourhood where Floyd was arrested.

Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump said in a prepared statement that it was the largest pretrial civil rights settlement ever, and “sends a powerful message that Black lives do matter and police brutality against people of colour must end.”

Floyd was declared dead on May 25 after now-former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. Floyd’s killing sparked protests in Minneapolis and beyond and led to a national reckoning on racial justice.

City council offers condolences

“I hope that today will centre the voices of the family and anything that they would like to share,” council president Lisa Bender said. “But I do want to, on behalf of the entire city council, offer my deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd, his friends and all of our community who are mourning his loss.”

Floyd’s family filed the federal civil rights lawsuit in July against the city, Chauvin and three other fired officers charged in his death. It alleged the officers violated Floyd’s rights when they restrained him, and that the city allowed a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity to flourish in its police force.

In 2019, Minneapolis agreed to pay $ 20 million US to the family of Justine Ruszczyk Damond to settle her family’s civil rights lawsuit. Damond, an unarmed woman who was shot by an officer after she called 911 to report hearing a possible crime happening behind her home, was white.

The federal lawsuit sought unspecified compensatory and special damages in an amount to be determined by a jury. It also sought a receiver to be appointed to ensure that the city properly trains and supervises officers in the future.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the settlement might affect the trial or the jury now being seated to hear it. Joseph Daly, a professor emeritus at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minn., said it will be hard to stop jurors or potential jurors from hearing about it.

According to Daly, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill “will likely explain to the jurors that each must make a decision based solely on the evidence they hear in the criminal trial.” 

Jury selection continues in murder trial

Meanwhile, another potential juror was dismissed Friday after she acknowledged having a negative view of Chauvin.

The woman, a recent college graduate, said she had seen a bystander video of Floyd’s arrest and closely read news coverage of the case. In response to a jury pool questionnaire, she said she had a “somewhat negative” view of Chauvin and that she thought he held his knee to Floyd’s neck for too long.

“I could only watch part of the video, and from what I saw … that did not give me a good impression.” She said she did not watch the video in its entirety because “I just couldn’t watch it anymore.”

The woman repeatedly said she could put aside her opinions and decide the case on the facts, but Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson nonetheless used one of his 15 challenges to dismiss her.

LISTEN | The trial for George Floyd’s killing begins:

Front Burner29:31The trial for George Floyd’s killing begins

This week, jury selection is underway for one of the most scrutinized court cases in recent history: the second-degree murder and manslaughter trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s killing sparked an enormous, international protest movement for racial justice. Today, CBC senior correspondent Susan Ormiston takes us to Minneapolis to hear from the people there as they brace for this trial. 29:31

With jury selection in its fourth day, six people have been seated — five men and one woman. Three of those seated are white, one is multiracial, one is Hispanic and one is Black, according to Cahill.

He has set aside three weeks for jury selection, with opening statements set to begin no sooner than March 29.

Friday’s quick dismissal echoed others earlier in the case for similar reasons. On Thursday, one woman was dismissed after she said she “can’t unsee the video” of Chauvin pinning Floyd.

Jurors pressed on potential bias

Nelson pressed the woman hard on whether she could be fair despite her strong opinions.

“Looking in your heart and looking in your mind can you assure us you can set all of that aside, all of that, and focus only on the evidence that is presented in this courtroom?” Nelson asked.

“I can assure you, but like you mentioned earlier, the video is going to be a big part of the evidence and there’s no changing my mind about that,” she replied.

Potential jurors’ identities are being protected and they are not shown on livestreamed video of the proceedings.

Chauvin and three other officers were fired. The others face an August trial on aiding and abetting charges. Lawyers haven’t said whether Chauvin will testify in his own defence.

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CBC | World News

Prince William insists Royal Family isn’t racist

Prince William defended Britain’s monarchy Thursday against accusations of bigotry made by his brother, Prince Harry, and sister-in-law, Meghan, insisting the family is not racist.

In comments made during a visit to an east London school, William became the first royal to directly address the explosive interview broadcast Sunday in the U.S. that Harry and Meghan gave to Oprah Winfrey.

“We’re very much not a racist family,” he said as his wife, Kate, walked by his side.

Harry and Meghan’s allegations of racism and mistreatment have rocked the Royal Family, and Buckingham Palace sought to respond to them in a 61-word statement Tuesday, but it has failed to quell the controversy.

William, second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles, says he hadn’t yet spoken to Harry in the aftermath of the interview, “but I will do.”

Racism, mental health discussions 

Meghan, who is biracial, said in the interview she was so isolated and miserable as a working member of the Royal Family that she had suicidal thoughts. She also said Harry told her there were “concerns and conversations” by a Royal Family member about the colour of her baby’s skin when she was pregnant with their son, Archie.

Their comments have touched off conversations around the world about racism, mental health and even the relationship between Britain and its former colonies.

William and Kate toured School21 in Stratford, east London as children returned to classes. The visit was also meant to mark the rollout to secondary schools of a mental health project Kate launched in primary schools in 2018.

WATCH | Prince William addresses Meghan, Harry’s interview:

Prince William responded to allegations of racism in the Royal Family by saying the family isn’t racist and he hasn’t spoken to his brother, Prince Harry, since the bombshell interview with Oprah aired. 2:02

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CBC | World News

Meghan says Royal Family had concerns about Archie’s skin colour

In a wide-ranging interview aired Sunday, Meghan described painful discussions within the Royal Family about the colour of her son’s skin before he was born and how the intense pressures of royal life led her to contemplate suicide.

“They didn’t want him to be a prince or princess, not knowing what the gender would be, which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey, referring to Archie.

“In those months when I was pregnant, all around this same time — so we have in tandem the conversation of, you won’t be given security, not gonna be given a title and also concerns and conversations about how dark his skin might be when he’s born,” said Meghan, who is biracial.

She declined to say who had aired such concerns. Asked by Winfrey if she was silent or had been silenced, she replied: “The latter.”

WATCH | Meghan says Royal Family expressed concerns about son’s skin colour:

Meghan told Oprah Winfrey that the Royal Family didn’t want her and Prince Harry’s son to be made a prince or receive security partly over concerns over how dark the baby’s skin would be. 0:15

Meghan also she had suicidal thoughts and considered harming herself after asking for help but getting none. “This was very, very clear … and very scary,” she said.

“I just didn’t want to be alive any more. And that was a very clear and real and frightening constant thought. And I remember how [Prince Harry] just cradled me.”

WATCH | Meghan says she thought about suicide during royal life:

The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey that she had asked for help from the Royal Family for her mental health, but received none. 0:22

Harry says Charles stopped taking his calls

Harry, who joined the interview halfway through, said his father — Prince Charles, the heir to the throne — had stopped taking his calls when he and Meghan decided to step away from their royal duties.

The Duke of Sussex, who announced that he and his wife are expecting a girl this summer, said that he felt let down by his father and that his late mother, Princess Diana, would have been angry and upset at the way the Royal Family had treated his wife Meghan.

Harry told Winfrey that he would not have stepped back from the royal family had it not been for Meghan, because “I was trapped but didn’t know I was trapped.”


Meghan, left, discusses her experiences with the Royal Family with Winfrey. (Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters)

“I feel really let down because he’s been through something similar. He knows what the pain feels like,” Harry said of his father. “I will always love him but there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened.”

“My family literally cut me off financially,” Harry said. “But I’ve got what my mum left me and without that we would not have been able to do this.”

Earlier, Meghan said the Royal Family tried to silence her and people within the institution not only failed to protect her against malicious claims by the British press but lied to protect others.

WATCH | Meghan says Royal Family failed to protect her and Prince Harry:

The Duchess of Sussex told Oprah Winfrey that things started to worsen with the Royal Family after she and Harry were married. 0:23

“It was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family,” Meghan said.

“But they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.”

Harry also denied blindsiding his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, saying he had too much respect for her.

“I had three conversations with my grandmother, and two conversations with my father before he stopped taking my calls. And then he said, can you put this all in writing?”

Asked why Charles had stopped taking his calls, Harry said “by that point I took matters into my own hands.”

“It was like, I needed to do this for my family. This is not a surprise to anybody. It’s really sad that it’s got to this point, but I’ve got to do something for my own mental health, my wife’s and for Archie’s as well.”

Refuting tabloid reports

Meghan also refuted British tabloid reports that she made her sister-in-law Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, cry before her 2018 wedding, but rather that the reverse happened.

Meghan told Winfrey that Kate subsequently apologized and she forgave her. But when tabloid stories emerged purporting the opposite, Meghan said that marked a turning point for her relationship with U.K. media, and said she would have hoped Kate would have wanted the story corrected.

“What was hard to get over was being blamed for something that not only I didn’t do, but that happened to me.”

The show, which included Winfrey’s interviews with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, aired first in the United States — Meghan’s home country — and Canada at 8 p.m. ET. British audiences will wake up Monday to headlines and social media posts about Winfrey’s special, but won’t be able to see the full interview until Monday night when it airs on ITV.

Meghan told Winfrey that she realized life as a royal would be different than she anticipated when her future husband asked her if she knew how to curtsey before meeting Queen Elizabeth.

“There was no way to understand what the day-to-day was going to be like,” Meghan told Winfrey.

“I went into it naively,” she said about joining the royal family.

Meghan, who said she was not being paid for the interview, also said she and Harry were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before their public wedding. She called that day an “out-of-body experience.”


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CBC | World News

Famed hockey dad Walter Gretzky remembered as family man, proud Canadian

A formal farewell to Walter Gretzky, the famed Canadian hockey patriarch, focused on his faith, his family and his love of the game during a pandemic-adjusted funeral service held in his hometown of Brantford, Ont., on Saturday afternoon.

“He was a remarkable man who loved life, loved family,” his son, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, said Saturday, as he paid tribute to his late father inside St. Mark’s Anglican Church.

“We’d be a way better world if there were so many more people like my dad.”

Walter Gretzky, died on Thursday at the age of 82. He left behind his five adult children and 13 grandchildren.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mourners wore masks at the service, which was limited to family and located just a few blocks from the home where Gretzky and his late wife, Phyllis, raised their family.

WATCH | A look back at the life of Walter Gretzky:

CBC Sports remembers the life and times of Canada’s most famous hockey dad. 2:13

Canada and hockey

Walter Gretzky’s parents were immigrants, and Wayne Gretzky said his father, who was appointed a member of the Order of Canada, grew up to be a very patriotic individual.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met a prouder Canadian than my dad,” he said.


Walter Gretzky, seen here watching a Leafs-Kings game in 1988, died last Thursday at age 82. (Hans Deryk/The Canadian Press)

But Walter Gretzky also loved hockey — so much so that the game wove its way into family history in many ways, including when Wayne Gretzky’s brother Brent, a fellow future NHLer himself, was born.

Wayne recalled that his father, who played minor and Junior B hockey, missed Brent’s birth due to a hockey tournament out of town. 

“On a Friday night, we were going to the tournament, and my mom said to him: ‘Walter, we’re going to have this baby this weekend,”” Wayne Gretzky said, recounting the tale during the service.

“And he said: ‘It’s OK, you can wait till we get back.'”

Brent Gretzky was born the next day, and Walter Gretzky took a lot of ribbing about having missed his delivery — and he had one comment to make after one too many people chided him for what happened.

“He was so mad,” Wayne said. “He stood and he grabbed the trophy and he goes, ‘Yes, but we got the trophy!”‘

‘We’re all going to miss Wally’

Tim Dobbin, the religious official delivering the homily at the service, described Gretzky as a gregarious and generous man who always made time for others.

“This is a painful day for us, another chapter in our lives is drawing to a close,” Dobbin said.

“We’re all going to miss Wally.”


People gathered along the sidewalk to pay their respects as the funeral procession for Walter Gretzky passed by in Brantford, Ont., on Saturday afternoon. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Hockey Night in Canada fans would recognize the theme that was briefly played on the church organ as the funeral came to an end, and the casket with Gretzky’s body was carried outside. An interment ceremony was to take place at the Farrington Burial Ground, according to an online obituary.

As the funeral cortege left the church, people on the street — some wearing hockey jerseys — gathered along the sidewalk and gently tapped hockey sticks in tribute to Gretzky. Hundreds of people were there, according to a report from The Canadian Press.

‘A profoundly sad day’

Prior to Saturday’s funeral service, Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis called Gretzky’s passing “a profoundly sad day for all those who knew and loved Walter,” saying the hockey patriarch’s impact on his community extended beyond the ice.

WATCH | Walter Gretzky, Canada’s hockey dad:

How Walter Gretzky helped make The Great One great. 5:53

Glen Gretzky told the Brantford Expositor that his father had dealt with a series of health issues over the years. He said family had gathered at his father’s Brantford home to be with him in his final hours.

“We always said he’s had nine lives,” Glen said. “But he was unbelievable. He just wouldn’t stop and nothing would keep him down.”

The backyard rink

It was in Brantford that Walter Gretzky famously built a backyard rink where Wayne, who would go on to be known as the Great One, honed his hockey skills from an early age.

“His birthday falls in January, so it was the winter that he turned three that he had skates on,” Walter Gretzky said, when recalling Wayne’s early days during a conversation with CBC back in 1982, as his eldest son was playing in the NHL playoffs.


Hockey sticks, cards and flowers are seen on a snowbank beside Walter Gretzky’s reserved parking spot at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ont., on Friday, following news of Walter’s death. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

That support continued throughout Wayne Gretzky’s pro hockey career, something that the people who shared the ice with No. 99 noticed.

“We all know that the relationship between Wayne and Walter was incredible,” Mark Messier — the Hall of Fame hockey player who won four of his six Stanley Cups playing alongside Wayne during his Edmonton days — told CBC News recently.

“I think it’s something to be emulated, the way he nurtured Wayne.”


Wayne Gretzky is hugged by his father, Walter, after being presented with a car during the pre-game ceremonies for Gretzky’s last game in the NHL, as a New York Ranger, on April 18, 1999. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

That included supporting his famous son when a controversial trade sent Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988.

“If Wayne is going to be happy there and he enjoys it, then certainly I won’t regret it,” his father said at the time.

Walter Gretzky was also on hand for the day his son became the NHL’s all-time points leader.


A woman places flowers at the foot of a statue depicting Walter Gretzky outside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ont., following news of his death. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

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CBC | Sports News

Deep Nostalgia Animates Your Old Family Photos

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The first “deepfake” tools appeared in 2018, leveraging deep learning to create lifelike but completely artificial copies of someone’s face. Naturally, people used it to make fake celebrity porn, but there’s a more socially acceptable use now. Genealogy firm MyHeritage has launched an online tool called Deep Nostalgia that can animate your old family photos — or really, any photo with a face. It’s both fascinating and deeply unsettling at times. 

MyHeritage didn’t develop this tool itself. It partnered with an Israeli company called D-ID, which specializes in generating AI fices. With traditional deepfake content, you want the artificial face to be able to mimic anything the “real” face does. That means you need a lot of source material like high-resolution photographs. Deep Nostalgia is less flexible. You provide it with a photo, and it will create a short video, not unlike an iPhone Live Photo. 

Deep Nostalgia works with any photo that features a clear image of a face (and nothing else, ideally). Most of the demos feature old family photos, which are very much in the MyHeritage wheelhouse. However, Deep Nostalgia is available for free after signing up, and that’s encouraged the internet to try their hand at all sorts of images including statues, paintings, and more. Some of it is pretty creepy. 

Processing and rendering your photos takes a few minutes, but it’s possible this is supposed to be faster — the MyHeritage site is being hit pretty hard right now. Just make sure your image is a headshot of a single person, and you should be all set. The animations you get from the service are eerie. MyHeritage says it used motion capture from its own employees to make the animations more lifelike. You can see facial features shifting unnaturally at some angles, but it’s overall very believable. 

MyHeritage is offering Deep Nostalgia for free, but its goal is to sign users up for premium services. According to the company, any photos uploaded without completing the mandatory account creation will be deleted in the interest of privacy. There are share buttons on the Deep Nostalgia site, which have no doubt helped the company go viral in recent days. You can also download the output from Deep Nostalgia, which is a standard MP4 file, and ignore all the upsells. 

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NASA’s Perseverance Has a Mars Rover Family Portrait

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It’s not every day you send something to another planet, and NASA likes to adorn its robotic explorers with a little decoration to make these missions extra-special.

The post NASA’s Perseverance Has a Mars Rover Family Portrait appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Canadian swimmer Maggie Mac Neil facing prospect of competing at Olympics without family

When Maggie Mac Neil won the 100-metre butterfly at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, her mother, father and younger sister were in the stands cheering.

“My parents have done a great job throughout my career always trying to come to as many meets as they can,” said the 20-year-old London, Ont., native who is now attending the University of Michigan. “It was definitely nice to have them there in Korea.”

When Mac Neil competes for Olympic gold this summer in Tokyo, it’s unlikely any family members will be there to watch. Concerns about COVID-19 and restrictions due to the virus are convincing friends and family of many Olympic athletes to rethink travelling to the Games.

Susan McNair, Mac Neil’s mother, said staying home won’t be easy.

“I didn’t grow up anticipating I would have a child in the Olympics,” McNair said. “I didn’t anticipate if she did make the Olympics that we would ever not be there.”

WATCH | Maggie Mac Neil posts Canadian-record time at aquatic worlds:

Canadian teen Maggie MacNeil posts a Canadian-record time of 55.83 seconds at the world aquatics championships. 2:56

Last March, Nathan Hirayama celebrated with his family in the stands at BC Place Stadium after Canada defeated South Africa to win the bronze medal at the HSBC Canada Sevens Rugby tournament. He had hoped to repeat the experience in Tokyo — his parents had already booked flights — but now doubts it will happen.

“Our families have been on this journey with us for so long, supporting us and travelling and staying up in the middle of the night watching,” said the 32-year-old from Richmond, B.C. “They invested in what we’re doing. I think the whole experience would be fantastic to share with our loved ones.

“I think what we’re coming to understand now is, if these Olympics do happen, they’ll look a lot different than what we all dreamed about or foreseen for so long.”

Fears over COVID-19 forced the Tokyo Olympics to be delayed one year. With the Games now scheduled to begin July 23, some of the playbooks that instruct athletes, officials and members of the media of the protocols to be followed have been released, but many questions remain.

“If you have been to the Games before, we know this experience will be different in a number of ways,” reads the playbook for international federations. “For all Games participants, there will be some conditions and constraints that will require your flexibility and understanding.”

WATCH | Breaking down the IOC playbook:

With less than six months to go to the Tokyo Olympics, organizers have said the Games will go on no matter what. Now, they’ve released some preliminary guidelines explaining how that will happen. 1:37

Organizers have said they will wait until the spring to decide if fans will be permitted to travel to Tokyo or attend any events.

Dick Pound, a Canadian member of the International Olympic Committee, believes a limited number of fans will be allowed.

“I would see some, but certainly not full stadiums,” he said.

The Canadian Olympic Committee is waiting for more information before advising families and friends about travelling to Tokyo.

“We continue in our preparation to participate at Tokyo 2020 with a focus on the health and safety of our athletes, their families, and their communities,” Eric Myles, the COC’s chief sport officer, said in a statement.

“We are planning based on the assumptions that the COVID-19 virus will still be present internationally and that Team Canada may not be vaccinated. We expect the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee to update their playbooks in April, at which point we hope to provide a more thorough update for athletes to help inform their family and friends’ decisions.”

WATCH | Mac Neil overcomes nerves to claim gold at acquatic worlds in 2019:

Canadian Maggie MacNeil discusses her victory in the 100m butterfly at aquatics worlds. 0:50

McNair, who is a family physician, had originally planned on her brother and his family to join them at the Olympics. Now, with tight restrictions expected on access to athletes, she questions the point of going.

“There’s a lot of factors kind of against going at this point,” she said. “Even if we didn’t have access to her there [but] we could see her swim, I think I’d be the first one on the plane.

“But there’s a lot of cons against it right now. I want the joy of watching her swim, but I also want to do what’s right, in terms of our safety and the safety of others.”

Another deterrent could be recently-introduced rules that travellers returning to Canada are required to take a COVID-19 test upon landing and spend the first three days of their quarantine, at their own expense, at a supervised hotel while awaiting their results.

For Hirayama, whose great grandparents came to Canada from Japan, Tokyo has special significance. His parents had planned to meet up with old friends while in Japan.

He hopes conditions will change and his parents can make the trip.

“It’s hard to plan for anything that’s not a week away,” he said. “Things change so quickly. It would be awesome for them to book a last minute ticket, but I don’t think they’re planning on it now.”

In some ways, not having her parents make the journey would be a relief for Mac Neil.

“My parents are getting older,” she said. “It’s definitely better for them to just stay home safe and healthy.

“I think no matter where I am in the world, no matter where they are, I can always feel their support.”

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Thierry Henry, citing family, steps down as CF Montreal head coach

CF Montreal lost a head coach and Major League Soccer said goodbye to a marquee name with news Thursday that Thierry Henry was stepping down.

Citing family reasons, the 43-year-old former star striker said he was quitting the club after one season at the helm to return to London. Kevin Gilmore, Montreal’s president and CEO, called it a “difficult day” but said Henry was leaving on good terms.

“I’m surprised but given the circumstances it doesn’t shock me that this has happened given what he went through last year,” he told reporters.

Separation from his children plus the prospect of having to spend another season on the road due to pandemic-related travel restrictions contributed to Henry’s decision.

“Last year was very difficult on this club across the board,” said Gilmore. “But especially with those that had to spend the last four months of the season outside of Montreal. And the prospect of starting a season like that again is very difficult. And it’s taken its toll on a lot of people. Obviously it’s taken its toll on Thierry and his children.

“He made a difficult decision — although I keep saying when you make decisions based on family, they’re always good decisions — to stay in London and give up his position as the head coach of the club in order to be close to his family.”

‘Heavy heart’

The announcement comes on the eve of training camp. Players report Monday for a seven-day quarantine period, medicals and COVID-19 testing prior to the start of team training March 8. The MLS regular season kicks off April 17.

Montreal said it will take a committee approach to coaching led by assistant coach Wilfried Nancy until a successor is found. The new head coach will take charge of a roster that has been radically changed since last season with 11 players having left and eight new faces.

Henry spoke to the Montreal players and staff Thursday via video but not the media.

“It is with a heavy heart that I’ve decided to take this decision,” the French native said in a statement. “The last year has been an extremely difficult one for me personally. Due to the worldwide pandemic, I was unable to see my children.

“Unfortunately due to the ongoing restrictions and the fact that we will have to relocate to the U.S. again for several months, [this year] will be no different. The separation is too much of a strain for me and my kids. Therefore, it is with much sadness that I must take the decision to return to London and leave CF Montreal.”


Henry was hired in November 2019, succeeding interim coach Wilmer Cabrera on a two-year contract with an option for the 2022 season.

Henry has been linked to the managerial opening at England’s Bournemouth in recent days. But Montreal officials said there had been no contact with the Championship side, which recently handed the manager’s job to Jonathan Woodgate through the end of the season.

“Bournemouth was nothing more than a rumour,” Gilmore said.

Still, Montreal says it will be entitled to compensation if Henry takes a position with another club in the near future.

Gilmore said Henry was not focused on a job hunt. “Right now his sole and only focus is his children and his family.”

But Montreal sporting director Olivier Renard said he hopes Henry returns to coaching as soon as possible.

“He deserves it. I can say that I was very proud of him last year ΓǪ You could see he was in difficulty about his family, about the players. He was the leader of the team.”


Henry, seen taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, led Montreal (8-13-2) to the playoffs last season, for the first time since 2016. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Henry led Montreal (8-13-2) to the playoffs last season, for the first time since 2016. Montreal, which finished out the 2020 campaign based in Harrison, N.J., exited in the play-in round in November thanks to a 95th-minute goal by New England’s Gustavo Bou.

Gilmore said Henry flew home for the holidays, returning to Montreal the last week of January. After finishing quarantine in early February, he told the club he had to fly home to deal with some personal issues.

“His children were struggling with him having just left,” said Gilmore.

Last Thursday, Henry indicated he was leaning toward not coming back. Gilmore said while the club tried to find ways to ease his burden, Henry told them Monday he was stepping down.


“Is it perfect timing? Absolutely not. But like I said there is no deadline or prescription date on personal decisions and we fully understand where he’s coming from,” Gilmore said.

“Of course it’s a loss when you lose a person like Thierry Henry, who’s a football legend known worldwide and is associated with your club,” he added. “The thing is he’ll always be associated with this club.”

Gilmore said the team is in the process of finalizing where in the U.S. it will play home matches this season while the border restrictions continue. A return to New Jersey or Florida are possibilities.

Toronto FC is also looking at Florida, with Orlando and Tampa possible venues. Vancouver is reportedly looking at Utah.

Henry was an elite forward whose playing resume includes Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal, Barcelona, the New York Red Bulls and France. He retired in December 2014 after a 20-year career that saw him score 411 goals in 917 matches.

Henry was an academy coach at Arsenal and an assistant coach with the Belgian national team before taking charge of AS Monaco and then Montreal.

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