Tag Archives: makes

Leylah Fernandez makes quick work of Chinese opponent in Charleston opener

Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez beat No. 16 seed Zhang Shuai of China 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of the Volvo Car Open on Tuesday in Charleston, S.C.

The 18-year-old Fernandez, from Laval, Que, saved four of five break points, while Shuai was one-for-six in the same category.

It was the first match of the clay-court season for Fernandez, who was ousted in qualifying for the recently completed Miami Open one day after winning her first career WTA Tour event in Mexico last month.

Fernandez, ranked 72nd in the world, will next face world No. 91 Danka Kovinic of Montenegro at the WTA 500 event.

WATCH | Laval’s Leylah Fernandez cruises past Zhang Shuai in straight sets at Volvo Open:

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., beat No. 16 seed Zhang Shuai of China 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of the Volvo Car Open clay court tournament in Charleston, S.C. 0:35

Shuai, ranked 41st, has lost all three matches she has played in 2021.

World No. 1 Ash Barty of Australia headlines the field this week after capturing the Miami title.

Canada’s top-ranked player for Billie Jean Cup

Fernandez is the top-ranked player on the Canadian roster for the April 16-17 Billie Jean Cup playoff against host Brazil as world No. 6 Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., and No. 120 Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., are not in the lineup.

Andreescu hurt her foot in the Miami Open final last Saturday, while Bouchard hasn’t played since March 16.

Fernandez is joined by Vancouver’s Rebecca Marino and Toronto’s Sharon Fichman and Carol Zhao.

WATCH | Andreescu retires from Miami Open final with injury:

Australian Ashleigh Barty claimed the WTA Miami Open title Saturday 6-3, 4-0 after Canada’s Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire in the 2nd set having fallen awkwardly earlier in the match with what appeared to be a right ankle injury. 6:03

Serbia has one player in the top 100 of the singles rankings — No. 85 Nina Stojanovic.

The Billie Jean King Cup is the new name for the Fed Cup.

The winner of the Canada-Serbia tie will play in the qualifiers next year for a chance to reach the 2022 finals. The loser drops into a regional group.

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CBC | Sports News

Prince Edward makes royal visit to Canada — pandemic-style

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Royal visits to Canada may be out of the question right now, but Prince Edward took to Zoom the other day to check in virtually with Canadian Armed Forces reserve regiments that have him as their colonel-in-chief.

For about an hour, Edward shared the screen with commanding officers from the Prince Edward Island Regiment, the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment in eastern Ontario and the Saskatchewan Dragoons, along with two reserve units in the United Kingdom.

Officers told Edward how their regiments turned to online training after the pandemic struck, how they worked to support the mental health of their members and how they prepared to help as needed in their communities.

Maj. Mack Driscoll of the Saskatchewan Dragoons welcomed the chance to speak online with Edward, who last visited the regiment in person in 2016.

“I think that what I really appreciated about it is [how] the adoption of virtual visits across the board this year has certainly made people more accessible than … they were in the past,” Driscoll said in an interview.

Britian’s Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, left, inspects soldiers of the Saskatchewan Dragoons at the Regina International Airport in Regina on June 22, 2016. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)

Edward was “really interested” in how the last year has affected the regiments when it comes to training in a virtual environment, and the tasks they have taken on in support of government pandemic response efforts, Driscoll said.

“Also, we had quite a discussion on just the mental resiliency of soldiers and how we all worked to support our unit members during a really challenging time.”

Members of the Royal Family have taken to virtual visits in a major way throughout the pandemic, opening facilities, speaking with numerous front-line workers and, in the case of Queen Elizabeth, even attending online for the unveiling of a portrait of herself. 

Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, spoke online with health-care workers at a B.C. hospital to mark Canada Day last year.

Lt.-Col. Glenn Moriarity, left, is pictured here with Prince Edward during the royal’s visit to the Prince Edward Island Regiment in Charlottetown in 2007. (Submitted by Glenn Moriarity)

Lt.-Col. Glenn Moriarity, commanding officer of the Prince Edward Island Regiment, said it was a “real honour and a privilege” to have the opportunity to speak with Edward. 

Moriarity outlined how in the early days of the pandemic they shifted to training from home — and returned later to in-person sessions — along with offering his perspective on morale, which is “quite high” right now among members of the regiment.

“It was a very relaxed conversation [with Edward],” Moriarity said in an interview. “It was very natural.”

Moriarity, left, seen here in another photo from Prince Edward’s visit to Charlottetown in 2007, says it was an honour to speak with Edward again recently via videoconference. (Submitted by Glenn Moriarity)

Members of the Royal Family serve as colonel-in-chief of numerous military units across Canada.

Edward “is always … very well read in to the situation both with our regiment and just the overall situation in the military in general,” said Driscoll.

“I think what we all took away from the conversation was just how similar our experiences are, both amongst the Canadian regiments and the regiments in the U.K…. He was certainly very interested in that, especially the well-being of the units and the members.”

Doing a virtual visit raises the possibility of similar online contact in the future, although Edward also told the officers he hoped that as soon as travel would allow, he would be able to visit in person.

The hour-long session was not without a lighter moment or two.

Driscoll’s sergeant major, Master Warrant Officer Rob Tryhorn, was also on the Zoom call. But reservists are part-time soldiers, so his participation came while he was at work. And in his case, work is driving a truck.

“He had to join the call from a truck stop in Montana,” said Driscoll. 

“So I think that was really something that His Royal Highness got a kick out of … as [Tryhorn] is kind of huddled at a table wearing a mask and I’m sure everyone in the truck stop is wondering exactly what is going on, and here he is talking to Prince Edward.”

William and Kate make their own mark

After the explosive Oprah Winfrey interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, laid bare their view on their departure from the upper echelons of the Royal Family, many looked to the House of Windsor for a response.

The interview raised numerous serious issues and allegations around race, mental health and support within the family itself. 

Buckingham Palace responded with a short statement two days later, and Harry’s brother, Prince William, in response to a question from a reporter, said the Royal Family is “very much not a racist family.”

Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, talk with the family of paramedic Jahrin (Jay) Khan via cellphone during a visit to an ambulance station in East London on March 18. (The Associated Press)

Beyond that, however, there has been no official comment. But William’s reaction, along with how other members of the family are carrying on with their duties, may offer some insight into their position. 

“Many millions of people watched Oprah and millions will have believed everything Harry and Meghan said,” royal author and biographer Penny Junor said via email this week.

“I think William will have been furious with his brother and sister-in-law, and his remark to the reporter’s question about whether the family was racist was an admirably measured response. 

“It was important for someone to say something, but I think he and the rest of the family know that the best way to counter all the claims and accusations is to keep on trucking, to continue the work, to be visible and to behave with dignity.”

Prince William visits the vaccination centre at Westminster Abbey on March 23 to pay tribute to the efforts of those involved in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. (The Associated Press)

Kate also made a low-key appearance at a vigil in honour of a London woman who was slain while walking home alone from a friend’s house.

“The contrast, for instance, between Kate quietly joining the Sarah Everard vigil and Meghan appearing on Oprah spoke volumes,” Junor said.

William and Kate also posted online cards their children had made for Mother’s Day, with one mentioning that William missed his mother, “Granny Diana.”

As touching as the cards are, in that action of social sharing from royal parents who have been vigorous in protecting their children’s privacy, it was hard not to see at least a bit of public positioning.

“I think this was a gentle way of reminding people that William was Diana’s son, too — and that Harry was not the only one who lost his mother,” said Junor.

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, spoke about their departure from the upper echelons of the Royal Family with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey in an interview broadcast earlier this month. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions/The Associated Press)

William and Kate have continued with royal engagements, some related to the pandemic, including an appearance at Westminster Abbey, where they met people there to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. 

The public spotlight on William continued last weekend when he was the focus of a report in the Sunday Times magazine that spawned numerous other news reports. Many cited comments from insiders regarding how as King, William would “robustly challenge” advice from his prime ministers in private if he felt it would damage the monarchy.

Junor said she’s sure William’s friends quoted in the article would not have spoken “without at least a nod” from him.

“I suspect there is a feeling that Harry and Meghan’s behaviour is providing a very distracting sideshow and taking the spotlight away from the important work that the rest of the family does,” Junor said.

“Harry claimed that William is trapped but can’t escape, as he did. I guess William is keen to demonstrate that that is not the way he feels about royal duty and that he accepts his destiny and, like his grandmother, will devote his life to the service of the country.”

A baby boy — on the bathroom floor

Zara and Mike Tindall, seen in this file photo at Surfers Paradise Foreshore in Gold Coast, Australia, back in January 2019, recently welcomed a new member to their family. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

When Zara and Mike Tindall let it be known they were expecting their third child, the news was in keeping with their laid-back ways, and came from a decidedly unroyal source.

The father-to-be — a former rugby player — took to his sports podcast late last year to share the word that he and Zara, the Queen’s eldest granddaughter, were looking forward to the arrival of a brother or sister for daughters, Mia, 7, and Lena, 2.

So it was perhaps not that much of a surprise that Tindall turned to his The Good, the Bad & the Rugby podcast again this week to announce the birth of their son on Sunday.

Zara, Mike and daughter Mia pose for a photograph after Mike finished the gruelling Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon in Loch Tay Scotland on July 11, 2015. (Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were “delighted” with the arrival of Lucas Philip Tindall, their 10th great-grandchild.

What might have been more of a surprise for the Tindalls was the way in which the baby — whose middle name honours both sides of the family — came into the world.

“Arrived very quickly. Didn’t make it to hospital. On the bathroom floor,” Tindall told his podcast listeners.

“So yeah, it was running to the gym, get a mat, get into the bathroom, get the mat on the floor, towels down, brace, brace, brace.”

Royally quotable

“It’s fascinating to see the pictures of Mars — unbelievable, really, to think one can see its surface.”

— Queen Elizabeth, in reference to photos of the Red Planet taken by NASA’s Perseverance rover, during a virtual event to celebrate British Science Week. Elizabeth also got a lot of laughter from the scientists she was speaking with when she recalled her 1961 meeting with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human to travel into space. When asked what he was like, Elizabeth said, “Russian,” before adding that “he was fascinating, and I suppose being the first one, it was particularly fascinating.”

Royal reads

  1. The Royal Family is considering appointing a diversity czar. Reports regarding that move come after Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey where they said an unnamed member of the family had made a racist comment about their son before he was born. The Guardian reported that the palace work regarding diversity predates the March 7 interview, but Harry and Meghan’s comments “will be taken on board as part of the process.”
  2. Prince Philip returned to Windsor Castle after a month-long stay in hospital. After his return, Queen Elizabeth sent flowers to the hospital where he underwent a heart procedure, in a gesture that also marked the anniversary of the first COVID-19 lockdown. [CBC, ITV]
  3. A private investigator employed by the British tabloid The Sun has said he illegally accessed Meghan’s private information shortly after she met Harry. [The Guardian]
  4. Harry said he is “really excited” about taking on the position of chief impact officer with BetterUp, a San Francisco-based mental health and coaching firm. [BBC]
  5. Harry has also written a foreword for a book aimed at children of front-line workers who died in the pandemic, sharing pain he felt as a boy after the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. [CBC]
  6. In Barbados, leaving the monarchy is just the first step on a long path to healing. [CBC]

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CBC | World News

Assistant referee Kathryn Nesbitt makes history in men’s World Cup qualifier

Kathryn Nesbitt ran the sidelines, waving a flag, blending in for all the right reasons.

The 32-year-old from Philadelphia became a pioneer as FIFA appointed women to work on-field officials for men’s World Cup qualifiers, serving as an assistant referee Thursday night when Canada opened with a 5-1 rout of Bermuda at Orlando, Florida.

There were no controversies in a match that featured Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies setting up three goals for Besiktas’ Cyle Larin. Nesbitt disappeared into the background as much as one can while working in a yellow jersey and black shorts, an orange and yellow flag in her hands.

FIFA announced the first men’s World Cup qualifiers with woman referees will be when Stephanie Frappart of France works the Netherlands’ match against visiting Latvia on Saturday and Kateryna Monzul of Ukraine calls Austria’s game vs. the visiting Faeroe Islands on Sunday. Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico served as an assistant referee for Suriname’s 3-0 win over the Cayman Islands on Wednesday.

WATCH | Nesbitt adds her name to the record books again: 

Kathryn Nesbitt, 2020 MLS Assistant Referee of the Year, makes history by becoming the first woman to referee a CONCACAF men’s World Cup qualifier. 0:34

“I’m hoping that people will bring her to the men’s World Cup in a couple of years instead of the Women’s World Cup — actually both,” said Rick Eddy, U.S. Soccer’s director of referee development. “If FIFA really wants to make a stand towards saying they’re supporting women, here’s their opportunity.”

Nesbitt worked 18 MLS games last season, including the MLS is Back tournament final, and was voted the league’s assistant referee of the year. The workload of the 6-foot tall official has included 82 league games in all since 2015 plus seven more as an assistant video referee during the last two seasons.

Nesbitt earned a FIFA badge in 2016 and officiated at that year’s Women’s Under-17 World Cup, the 2018 Women’s Under-20 World Cup, and two matches at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

“She’s pretty imposing physically,” said Howard Webb, a Premier League referee from 2003-14 who is entering his fourth season as general manager of Major League Soccer’s Professional Referee Organization. “She’s tall, athletic. She’s very calm and clearly intelligent as well. She’s able to process a lot of information quickly and accurately.”

WATCH | Nesbitt marks a North American pro sports 1st during MLS Cup final:

Kathryn Nesbitt, 2020 Assistant Referee of the Year, becomes the first woman to referee a championship match in professional men’s sports in North America by officiating the 2020 MLS Cup Final. 0:30

In U.S. soccer, “The Professor” was the nickname of Julio Mazzei, who served two stints as coach of the Cosmos in the old North American Soccer League in 1979-80. Nesbitt is a real professor with a Ph.D. She taught analytical chemistry as an assistant professor at Towson University in Maryland from 2017-19.

She quit to become a full-time soccer official.

“I actually started when I was 14 years old. Clearly, that was more of a hobby at the time,” she said. “So it’s just kind of made its way into a career over the last 20ish years or so.”

A competitive figure skater for 15 years and a volleyball player in college, she began officiating under-8 games while growing up in Rochester, New York. She started to work adult and semipro matches after she finished her bachelor’s degree at St. John Fisher College and worked toward her doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh.

“It kept me active and I really liked that way of thinking about the game,” she said.

Breakthrough weekend for women soccer officials

She made her professional debut in a National Women’s Soccer League match between Kansas City and Portland on April 13, 2013, and her MLS debut when D.C. United played Columbus on May 2, 2015.

“I have always felt respected there, and there really hasn’t been an example for me that stands out as sexism towards me,” she said. “My first couple of years in the league, I think I was treated the same way a new referee would be treated, as, who is this person and are they going to be any good?”

At the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, Nesbitt worked Norway vs. Nigeria and Sweden vs. Canada game plus three more games as a video official, including the England-Sweden third-place match.

“That was probably one of the most incredible feelings of my entire life — to actually reach a huge milestone for myself and get to experience a World Cup in person,” she said.

On-field officials navigate the additional complication of video review. MLS has used Video Assistant Referees since late 2017, but World Cup qualifying is not aided by technology. Nesbitt has to remind herself not to raise her flag quickly on offside calls in case the VAR decides there was no violation, but be quick to wave off action when electronics are not involved.

“It can be really interesting to switch between doing an MLS game, let’s say, and then going to do a women’s international match that doesn’t necessarily have VAR yet,” she said.

Nesbitt was just the start of a breakthrough weekend for American women and soccer officials, who are selected by CONCACAF and approved by FIFA. Jennifer Garner is scheduled to be an assistant referee and Tori Penso the fourth official for Saturday’s qualifier between Aruba and Suriname in Bradenton, Florida.

Nesbitt earned a FIFA badge in 2016 and officiated at that year’s Women’s Under-17 World Cup, the 2018 Women’s Under-20 World Cup, and two matches at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. (John Raoux/The Associated Press)

Nesbitt is to work as an assistant referee when Anguilla plays the Dominican Republic in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the same day Brooke Mayo is slated to be an assistant referee Sunday, and Penso is the fourth official when Canada hosts the Cayman Islands in Bradenton.

Wendy Toms was the first woman assistant referee in the Premier League from 1997-2005 and Sian Massey-Ellis is perhaps the most well-known woman soccer official worldwide because of viewers seeing her as an assistant referee in the Premier League since 2010. She worked her first Europa League match last October when PSV Eindhoven played Austria’s LASK.

Camaraderie has developed

Nesbitt trained with her for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

“That was a really cool experience for me because she is the first,” Nesbitt said. “I had already looked up to her for years before I even got the chance to work in MLS. She’s always been an inspiration for me. She is so consistent and solid.”

The pioneering women have been rated among the sport’s best. They needed to be among the best to break through.

“Unfortunately, women are judged differently instead of being judged as equals in a lot of a professional sports,” Eddy said.

A camaraderie has developed.

“It’s a really unique, select group of women that have had these opportunities, so I think we do share that feeling and that ambition that we all have,” Nesbitt said. “We’ve all probably had a few conversations about it. And when those appointments come out and we find out about the other one getting a really special new type of appointment, we reach out to each other.”

Webb, who refereed both the 2010 Champions League and World Cup finals, hopes the pool of female officials will expand. For a long time, he says, women unfairly had to be “better than their male counterparts to prove that they were worth an opportunity.”

Nesbitt isn’t in the already under-consideration group for the 2022 men’s World Cup, but there’s always the 2026 tournament co-hosted by the United States. Webb envisions a woman taking the whistle for a men’s World Cup match, with hundreds of millions of people around the globe tuned in.

“I think it is only a matter of time before it will happen,” he said.

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CBC | Soccer News

The Harry and Meghan interview: Beyond the turmoil and what makes a prince a prince

Hello, royal watchers. This is your regular dose of royal news and analysis. Reading this online? Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox.

While sifting through everything Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, had to say to Oprah Winfrey Sunday night, many saw parallels to other troubled times for the Royal Family.

The interview raised concerns particularly around race and mental health, and some found in it reminders of what Harry’s mother, Diana, experienced, as she laid bare the lack of support she felt after her ill-fated marriage to Prince Charles.

But the Diana period, which came as the clock wound down on the 20th century, was hardly the first time of family turmoil. 

And in those earlier experiences going back decades — and centuries — there could lie hints of the House of Windsor’s fate after this latest crisis.

“I don’t think the history of this Royal Family, which has been written off so many times, tells you anything other than they know how to survive,” said John Fraser, author of The Secret of the Crown: Canada’s Affair with Royalty, and founding president of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada.

“Going back, back, back, there has never been a reign that hasn’t had some domestic problems.”

Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, front, with Harry and Meghan, behind, attend the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9, 2020. (Phil Harris/The Associated Press)

So far, there have been only the slimmest of hints of what will come next.

In a short statement issued by Buckingham Palace Tuesday, the Queen said she and her family were saddened to learn of Harry and Meghan’s experiences, and that issues raised, particularly of race, would be addressed privately by the family.

In response to a question from a reporter while at an engagement at a school in east London on Thursday, Prince William said, “We’re very much not a racist family,”

BBC royal correspondent Sarah Campbell said William could have ignored the question.

“Despite the Queen’s statement saying the race issue would be dealt with privately, the prince clearly felt he had to push back on what has become a very public and damaging allegation,” Campbell wrote on the BBC website. “Remaining silent, he felt, was not the best option.”

WATCH: Prince William responds to a reporter:

The Duke of Cambridge spoke briefly on Thursday about racial issues raised in the interview Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, gave to Oprah Winfrey. William denied the British Royal Family is racist. 0:13

In the interview with Winfrey, Meghan and Harry said there was a conversation — or conversations — with an unnamed family member in which concerns were raised about the colour of the skin of their first child before he was born.

It was perhaps the most damaging moment of the interview for the family, and one that is still surrounded in murkiness.

While Harry told Winfrey later that neither of his grandparents — Queen Elizabeth or Prince Philip — was part of that particular conversation, he refused to say during the interview who was.

“The fact that [Harry’s] on the outs with his father leads everyone to believe it must have been Charles, or possibly William, and until that’s dealt with, it’s this huge problem if they’re going to be future sovereigns,” said Fraser.

He said he finds it “unbelievable” that Charles, the man who walked Meghan halfway down the aisle at her wedding, would be worried about the colour of his grandson’s skin.

Meghan Markle walks down the aisle with Prince Charles for her wedding ceremony at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in Windsor, near London, England, on May 19, 2018. (Sky News/Associated Press)

“Nothing in his life suggests that he is that callous or stupid,” Fraser said.

Still, it’s not clear who might have said it.

“It’s been left like a timebomb,” said Fraser. “How can [Charles] be the head of the Commonwealth, which has so many Black nations, until this is resolved? It’s a real dilemma.”

Fraser expects we will eventually learn who was involved in the conversation in question. “It’s just the nature of the way things go.”

But Fraser hopes it will be a given a context, and that it will be worked out within the family, “at some point down the road when they’ve got some distance from the immediate hurt that everyone must be feeling at the moment.”

Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a lawyer and human rights activist in London, says the family’s circumstances are not beyond repair.

WATCH: What are the consequences of Harry and Meghan’s interview:

Royal commentator Roya Nikkhah and women’s rights activist Shola Mos-Shogbamimu talk to Adrienne Arsenault about the revelations in Prince Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, the media reaction in the U.S. and U.K. and what, if any, changes might come out of it. 6:56

“Buckingham Palace better take this seriously, not come out with any stiff-upper-lip nonsense,” she told Adrienne Arsenault, senior correspondent and co-host of CBC’s The National, this week, before the statement from the palace. 

“Nobody’s going to stand for it. Not for the racist comment, not for their lack of support for Meghan’s mental health, suicidal thoughts, not that fact that Prince Charles apparently failed to even speak to his son….

“All of those things should be answered, and they should be answered humanely, like the Royal Family is in touch with what the public expects from it.”

Maybe there is at least one more signal of efforts within the family to work things out. While the relationship between William and Harry has been deeply strained, William said Thursday he will be speaking with his brother.

Who can be a prince or princess?

Harry, Meghan and their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu during their royal tour of South Africa on Sept. 25, 2019, in Cape Town. (Toby Melville/Getty Images)

Amid the many issues Meghan raised during the interview, one that seemed particularly troubling for her concerned conversations before Archie’s birth.

“They were saying they didn’t want him to be a prince or a princess — not knowing what the gender would be — which would be different from protocol, and that he wasn’t going to receive security,” she said.

That got a lot of people wondering about just what provisions there are for determining who becomes a prince or princess.

Under provisions of a letter patent issued by King George V in 1917, Archie, a great-grandchild of the monarch, would not at this point in his life be eligible to be a prince. 

But his cousin — Prince William’s eldest son, seven-year-old George, who is in direct line to the throne — is a prince. George’s siblings can be princes or princesses, too, under provisions of a letter patent issued in 2012 by Queen Elizabeth, before George was born.

Prince Louis, left, Princess Charlotte, centre, and Prince George, with their parents, Prince William and Kate, attend a special pantomime performance at London’s Palladium Theatre in December 2020. (Aaron Chown/The Associated Press)

But that’s where it ends for that generation of royal great-grandchildren of the monarch, as things stand now.

“None of Harry’s children automatically get to be a prince except if there’s some reason that the Queen would bestow it on them,” said Fraser.

Grandchildren of a monarch can be princes or princesses, however, so things could change for Archie when his grandfather, Charles, becomes the monarch.

Whether Meghan’s comments might refer to what might happen then isn’t clear. 

There is a broad understanding that Charles is looking toward a more streamlined monarchy, with fewer working members.

“I saw that Meghan mentioned that there were plans to narrow eligibility, and I imagine that this is a reference to the Prince of Wales’s stated view that the size of the Royal Family needs to be reduced,” Bob Morris from the constitution unit at University College London told the BBC.

“However, he has not so far as I know given details of how it should be accomplished.”

Fascinator readers write

Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah set off another crisis for the Royal Family. (Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/handout via Reuters)

Readers of the Royal Fascinator shared their views in droves after the Winfrey interview. Here’s a sampling of emails and excerpts from longer messages that reflect the wide range of thoughts offered on Harry, Meghan and what they said on Sunday.

From Linda: “I was saddened by the interview. It could have been a great opportunity for the royals to move forward and acknowledge mental health issues, but the Firm refused to take that route. Shocked to hear how the men in grey suits direct so much of the agenda.”

From Susan: “Unsubstantiated accusations are very damaging. It’s easy to allege things were said and then refuse to say who said them. Then it’s just a case of he said, she said. But the damage is done.”

From Charlie: “I feel for Harry and Meghan, and I don’t blame them one bit for the decision they made for leaving the U.K. and the Royal Family in search for a more peaceful, sane and healthy lifestyle and mental health. I have never been a royal watcher or a fan of all the pomp that goes into it. I personally think Canada should abolish all that nonsense as it relates to a Governor General as the representative of the Queen in Canada (who is still our head of state). Canada should maintain close ties with the U.K., for sure, as partners, allies and friends, but this monarchy BS is a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

From Margaret: “I am still grappling with the intent of the interview and tell-all. And what is to be gained by the couple? Probably more paparazzi and Hollywood-like behaviours…. The constant referral back to Diana gives one pause for thought as well. Yes, Harry was totally traumatized by his mother’s death…. That said, although there are some similarities in press and media reporting, Diana was very young and naive when she joined ‘the Firm,’ whereas Harry and Meagan were well into their 30s when they married and should have known full well what could happen…. I do not mean to downplay or negate the comments on race/skin colour. Hopefully, there will be some conversations around that at the palace level.”

Meghan, Harry and Queen Elizabeth sit with some of the Queen’s Young Leaders at a Buckingham Palace reception following an awards ceremony on June 26, 2018. (John Stillwell/Reuters)

From Tina: “I felt so much of this interview resonated with the Diana era. It left me with many questions, but mostly: How on earth can a parent stop taking calls from their child? How on earth can a parent not want to keep their family safe? How on earth can a parent allow the words of racism to be spoken amongst anyone, never mind their own? How on earth can a parent knowingly watch your child go through such pain and not reach out? … I applaud the two of them for coming out to the world and letting people be reminded, once again, of a dated monarchy who cares more about how they are perceived to the world than that of their own. One can only hope for Meghan and Harry to have a life of joy with their little family and always be safe …. and perhaps maybe Harry’s wish that ‘time heals all’ comes true and his family come to their senses.”

From Paul: “Unless I misheard Meghan, she mentioned that she was not informed/prepared with the protocols of ‘the Firm.’ I find this difficult to believe. She is an intelligent, successful woman with a mind of her own…. I am not naive enough to not know there would be some racial problems. But I do believe too much emphasis was placed on the racial issue. As for protection being dropped for Harry, why not? He is in a foreign country, by choice…. With all Harry and Meghan’s money, they should be paying for their own protection. Remember, they optioned out of the U.K. Nevertheless, I wish them the best in their endeavours.”

From Anna: “I do not feel this interview will damage the Royal Family. There are differences of opinion in all families. I do not feel the whole Royal Family should be painted with the same brush. This interview will be so hard on the Queen. My heart goes out to her.”

We’ll continue to include comments from readers in future editions of the Royal Fascinator.

Royal reads

  1. Harry and Meghan’s interview might have some thinking it’s time for Canada to retire the Queen and its connection to the monarchy, but it wouldn’t be that simple to do, writes CBC’s Aaron Wherry.

  2. Harry talked of an “invisible contract” between the media and the Royal Family. The BBC took a closer look at what it is. 

  3. Journalist and TV presenter Piers Morgan left British broadcaster ITV after long-running criticism of Meghan that reached a crescendo after the interview with Winfrey. (CBC)

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CBC | World News

NASA’s Perseverance rover makes 1st test drive on Mars

NASA’s newest Mars rover hit the dusty red road this week, putting 6.4 metres on the odometer in its first test drive.

The Perseverance rover ventured from its landing position Thursday, two weeks after landing on the Red Planet to seek signs of past life.

The roundabout, back-and-forth drive lasted just 33 minutes and went so well that the six-wheeled rover was back on the move Friday.

During a news conference Friday, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., shared photos of the tire tracks over and around small rocks.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see wheel tracks and I’ve seen a lot of them,” said engineer Anais Zarafian. “This is just a huge milestone for the mission.”

As soon as the system checks on Perseverance are complete, the rover will head for an ancient river delta to collect rocks for return to Earth a decade from now.

Scientists are debating whether to take the smoother route to get to the nearby delta or a possibly tougher way with intriguing remnants from that once-watery time three billion to four billion years ago.

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Oilers’ 3rd-period comeback makes up for sleepy start in win over Canucks

Dominik Kahun scored twice Tuesday as the Edmonton Oilers clawed out a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Vancouver (8-13-2) had a 3-0 lead late in the first period, thanks to goals from Bo Horvat, Tyler Myers and Elias Pettersson.

Kahun sparked the comeback for Edmonton (13-8-0) with goals late in the first and early in the third. Connor McDavid buried a power-play tally to tie the game, and Tyler Ennis scored to seal the win. Leon Draisaitl registered three assists.

Edmonton’s Mike Smith had 30 saves, while Thatcher Demko stopped 25-of-29 shots for Vancouver (8-13-2).

The victory extends Edmonton’s win streak to four games. It was another disappointing result for the Canucks, who have just two wins in their last 12 games.

Ennis broke a 3-3 deadlock 13:25 into the third period. Stationed at the side of the net, he took a puck that had bounced off his shin and tipped it in behind Demko.

WATCH | Ennis nets winner for Oilers:

Tyler Ennis completes the comeback in Edmonton’s 4-3 victory over Vancouver. 0:54

McDavid knotted the score with a power-play tally 4:23 into the third.

Vancouver defenceman Alex Edler had been sent to the box for tripping just nine seconds earlier. When Demko dove to make a stop, McDavid was quick to capitalize, popping a shot in over the sprawled-out netminder from the side of the net.

Edmonton had already cut Vancouver’s lead to a single goal less than a minute into the third when Kahun’s shot from the face-off dot sailed in over Demko’s glove.

It was the Czech forward’s second goal of the night and fourth of the season.

After a slow start to the game, the Oilers came close to whittling away the Canucks lead in the second frame.

Draisaitl unleashed a blast that tested Demko mightily four minutes in. The goalie hugged his post tightly to ensure an errant puck didn’t sneak through, not letting up until the whistle sounded.

Near the end of the frame, McDavid fired a shot off the cross bar. Play continued for a few moments before officials decided to check the play to see whether the puck had, in fact, gone into the Vancouver net before bouncing back out. A video review confirmed there was no goal.

Quick start for Canucks

Vancouver started the scoring race just 1:06 into Tuesday’s game.

Horvat sprinted down the boards and fired a sharp-angle shot from near the goal line. The puck slid under Smith’s pads and into the net to the goaltender’s apparent disbelief.

Myers extended Vancouver’s lead seven minutes later with a blast from the top of the face-off circle. His shot ticked off the stick of Edmonton’s Tyler Ennis and sailed in over Smith’s shoulder to put the Canucks up 2-0.

A scramble in front of the Oilers net ended with another Vancouver goal midway through the first.

Canucks defenceman Jordie Benn sent the puck to the front of the net and, through a crowd of sticks, Miller was able to deflect it back to Pettersson at the top of the crease. Falling to the ice, the Swedish centre batted a backhanded shot past Smith.

It was Vancouver’s third goal, coming on its ninth shot of the night.

Edmonton responded just before the first intermission.

Kahun got a shot off from low in the face-off circle and Demko appeared to make the stop. But the Canucks netminder couldn’t hold on to the puck, which dribbled out from under his arm and into the net.

The Oilers and Canucks will face each other again in Vancouver on Thursday.

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Incomplete national data makes it hard to assess exactly how far along Canada is on vaccination

Officials in Canada’s most populous province are not submitting key COVID-19 data to the federal government’s health agency, making it difficult to get a clear, national picture of how the first phase of the country’s vaccination program is progressing.

Since Dec. 19, provinces and territories have been reporting the number of people vaccinated in three target populations that are top priority groups in the first phase: adults living in group settings, adults over the age of 80 and health workers.

The data is gathered by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and published once a week on its vaccine coverage website — with one key exception.

“Data for Ontario are not included,” reads a disclaimer on the PHAC site.

The reason given is that the province’s data is “not broken down by key population groups.”

In an email in response to CBC’s request for more information, a spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Health said the ministry is working with PHAC to provide more data in “the near future.”

In a statement released on Sunday, the chair of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution task force outlined a list of priority recipients for vaccination that included some health-care workers and adults aged 80 and over as “next priority” groups.

The ministry also provided some general estimates to CBC of its progress vaccinating some of the key populations so far. 

It said that as of Tuesday:

  • More than 63,800 long term care (LTC) residents have received at least one dose.
  • More than 33,900 retirement home (RH) residents have received at least one dose.
  • More than 42,700 LTC residents have received two doses
  • More than 17,600 RH residents have received two doses.

As of 8 p.m. ET Tuesday:

  • 176,279 doses were administered to health-care workers targeted for priority vaccination.
  • 84,385 doses were administered to LTC health-care workers.
  • 25,660 doses were administered to retirement home health-care workers.

Trudeau says Canada entering ‘big lift’ phase of vaccination

The latest PHAC numbers are from Feb. 6. But even with the time lag and the missing Ontario information, this data is one of the best measurements Canadians currently have of how the country is actually doing when it comes to vaccinating those first in line — as they try to predict when the general public will be able to get inoculated.

PHAC’s “health-care workers targeted for priority vaccination” category is progressing most quickly. A reported cumulative total of 397,154 people in that category have received at least one vaccine dose, representing 55.35 per cent of the priority group.

That group is followed by the “seniors in group living settings,” with a reported cumulative total of 149,305 people, or 52.74 per cent, having received at least one dose.

Finally, a reported 116,600 adults over the age of 80 have received at least one dose, which works out to 11.57 per cent.

Over the weekend, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance on which groups will be prioritized in the second phase of COVID-19 immunization.

It recommends that health-care workers not included in the initial rollout, essential workers and people living and working in group settings such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters be prioritized.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, announced the update  on Twitter with upbeat hashtags and an invitation to Canadians to “rejoice” over a decline in COVID-19 activity.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau struck a similarly hopeful tone when he spoke of a “big lift” phase of the vaccine rollout in coming weeks and reiterated his promise that every Canadian who wants a shot will get one by the end of September.

But with winter weather delaying vaccine shipments, a recent variant outbreak in Newfoundland and Labrador, and uncertainty around how prepared provinces are to ramp up vaccinations, it’s unclear how that promise will play out.

Provinces and territories decide

Ultimately, as PHAC stated in an email to CBC News, each province and territory is responsible for the “deployment and prioritization of the vaccination, via their public health authorities on the ground.”

The NACI guidelines are just that — a compass designed to help them navigate the ethical and logistical challenges involved with mass immunization.

Two months into the effort, fewer than one per cent of Canadians have been fully vaccinated.

To keep the federal government’s September deadline, Canada will need to administer more than 265,000 doses a day over the next 226 days to fully vaccinate 30 million people.

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Kamala Harris makes history as first woman of colour to take the oath of U.S. vice-president

U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris broke the barrier Wednesday that has kept men at the top ranks of American power for more than two centuries when she took the oath to hold the nation’s second-highest office.

Harris was sworn in as the first female vice-president — and the first Black person and person of South Asian descent to hold the position — in front of the U.S. Capitol by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

The moment was steeped in history and significance in more ways than one. She was escorted to the podium by Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, the officer who single-handedly took on a mob of Trump supporters as they tried to breach the Senate floor during the Capitol insurrection that sought to overturn the election results. Harris was wearing clothes from two young, emerging Black designers — a deep purple dress and coat.

After taking the oath of office, a beaming Harris hugged her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and gave President Joe Biden a first bump.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Harris share a fist-bump during the inauguration on Wednesday. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Her rise is historic in any context, another moment when a stubborn boundary falls away, expanding the idea of what’s possible in American politics. But it’s particularly meaningful because Harris is taking office at a moment of deep consequence, with Americans grappling over the role of institutional racism and confronting a pandemic that has disproportionately devastated Black and brown communities.

Those close to Harris say she’ll bring an important — and often missing — perspective in the debates on how to overcome the many hurdles facing the new administration.

“In many folks’ lifetimes, we experienced a segregated United States,” said Lateefah Simon, a civil rights advocate and longtime Harris friend and mentee. “You will now have a Black woman who will walk into the White House not as a guest but as a second in command of the free world.”

WATCH | Kamala Harris is sworn in as U.S. vice-president:

History has been made in the United States with the swearing-in of Kamala Harris as vice-president. She is the first woman, the first Black American and the first South Asian American to ever hold the job. 1:14

Child of immigrants

Harris — the child of immigrants, a stepmother of two and the wife of a Jewish man — “carries an intersectional story of so many Americans who are never seen and heard,” said Simon.

Harris, 56, moves into the vice presidency just four years after she first came to Washington as a senator from California, where she’d served as attorney general and as San Francisco’s district attorney. She had expected to work with a White House run by Hillary Clinton, but President Donald Trump’s victory quickly scrambled the nation’s capital and set the stage for the rise of a new class of Democratic stars.

After Harris’ own presidential bid fizzled, her rise continued when Biden chose her as his running mate last August. Harris had been a close friend of Beau Biden, the elder son of Joe Biden and a former Delaware attorney general who died in 2015 of cancer.

The inauguration activities included nods to her history-making role and her personal story.

Sorority marks the day

Harris used two Bibles to take the oath, one that belonged to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the late civil rights icon whom Harris often cites as inspiration, and Regina Shelton, who helped raise Harris during her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. The drumline from Harris’ alma mater, Howard University, joined the presidential escort.

To mark the occasion, the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the nation’s oldest sorority for Black women, which Harris joined at Howard University, declared Wednesday as Soror Kamala D. Harris Day.

“This event will certainly be a momentous occasion that will go down in the annals of our archives as one of the greatest days the founders’ of Alpha Kappa Alpha could have envisioned,” said Dr. Glenda Glover, the sorority’s international president and chief executive office.

Rep. Terri Sewell, wearing a mask with AKA, a reference to Alpha Kappa Alpha, the sorority of Harris, in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20. The sorority declared Wednesday Soror Kamala D. Harris Day. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

She’ll address the nation later in front of the Lincoln Memorial, a symbolic choice as the nation endures one of its most divided stretches since the Civil War.

Biden, in his inaugural address, reflected on the 1913 march for women’s suffrage the day before President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, during which some marchers were heckled and attacked.

“Today, we mark the swearing in of the first woman in American history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can’t change,” Biden said.

Harris leaves after the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States on the west front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool/Reuters)

Raised not to hear ‘no’

Harris has often reflected on her rise through politics by recalling the lessons of her mother, who taught her to take on a larger cause and push through adversity.

“I was raised to not hear `no.’ Let me be clear about it. So it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, the possibilities are immense. Whatever you want to do, you can do,'” she recalled during a CBS Sunday Morning interview that aired Sunday. “No, I was raised to understand many people will tell you, ‘It is impossible,’ but don’t listen.”

Harris’ swearing-in holds more symbolic weight than that of any vice president in modern times.

She will expand the definition of who gets to hold power in American politics, said Martha S. Jones, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University and the author of Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All.

People who want to understand Harris and connect with her will have to learn what it means to graduate from a historically Black college and university rather than an Ivy League school, Jones said. They will have to understand Harris’ traditions, like the Hindu celebration of Diwali.

“Folks are going to have to adapt to her rather than her adapting to them,” Jones said.

Her election to the vice-presidency should be just the beginning of putting Black women in leadership positions, Jones said, particularly after the role Black women played in organizing and turning out voters in the November election.

“We will all learn what happens to the kind of capacities and insights of Black women in politics when those capacities and insights are permitted to lead,” Jones said.

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Canadian Alphonso Davies makes history by earning a spot on FIFPRO World 11

Canadian Alphonso Davies’ remarkable year continued Thursday when he became the first North American player ever to be voted onto the FIFPRO Men’s World 11.

It was a vote of approval from his peers. FIFPRO which represents some 65,000 pro soccer players worldwide, said 15,878 took part in voting for the 16th edition of the men’s World 11.

The 20-year-old Bayern Munich fullback was the first North American male to make the initial list of 55 players with the most votes. He went one better Thursday at the Best FIFA Football Awards, joining the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos on the World 11.

“Christmas came early this year,” Davies said on social media. “Thank you to everyone who voted for me. Keep working hard and chasing your dreams.”

Davies edged Bayern teammate David Alaba by 275 votes, the closest race in positional voting.

Davies 3rd youngest to be voted on team

Davies is the third-youngest player to be voted onto the World 11. French forward Kylian Mbappe was 19 years old when he was honoured in 2018. Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt was four days younger than Davies when he voted to the team in 2019.

Bayern teammates Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich also made this year’s top 11. So did Thiago Alcantara, who left Bayern for Liverpool after winning the Champions League.

Lewandowski, a prolific goal-scorer for the German champion, was named Best FIFA Men’s Player over Ronaldo and Messi. England defender Lucy Bronze, who joined Manchester City from France’s Lyon in 2020, took top women’s honours over Denmark’s Pernille Harder (Chelsea) and France’s Wendie Renard (Lyon).

It was a big night for Bayern. Manuel Neuer was named Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper while Hansi Flick was runner-up to Liverpool’s Juergen Klopp for Best FIFA Men’s Coach.

Club president President Herbert Hainer called it “a proud day for FC Bayern.”

“The fact that Lewandowski, Joshua Kimmich, Alphonso Davies and our former player Thiago were chosen for the World 11 shows the terrific overall performance of our team,” he said in a statement.

WATCH | Davies’ dash leads to audacious assist in Champions League quarters:

The defender is absolutely mystified by a series of hypnotizing moves by Alphonso Davies in a beautiful drive and dish assist. 1:31

Ronaldo and Messi were voted onto the World 11 for a record 14th consecutive year. Ramos made the team for the 11th time.

Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) received the most votes followed by Brazil goalkeeper Alisson Becker (Liverpool) and Ramos (Real Madrid).

Davies, from his left fullback position, has won worldwide praise for his pace and athleticism while helping Bayern fill its trophy case.

So far in 2020, he has won the Champions League, German league title, DFB Cup and UEFA Super Cup. He was also named Bundesliga rookie of the season for 2019-20.

Off the field he was voted the Canadian Men’s Player of the Year and was co-winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy, presented by the Toronto Star to the Canadian athlete of the year.

Davies returned to action last week after tearing ankle ligaments in Bayern’s 5-0 win Oct. 24 over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Canadian defender Kadeisha Buchanan, who plays for French powerhouse Lyon, made the list of 55 top women vote-getters for the FIFPRO World 11.

Buchanan was previously named to the inaugural FIFPRO Women’s World XI in 2016 as a 20-year-old — which also made her the youngest player voted onto the team.

The FIFA Awards also paid tribute to Canada captain Christine Sinclair for topping the all-time world goal-scoring list in 2020. The 37-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., now has 186 goals to her credit.



Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker (Liverpool FC, Brazil).

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool FC, England), Alphonso Davies (FC Bayern Munich, Canada), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool FC, the Netherlands), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, Spain).

MIidfielders: Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool FC/FC Bayern Munich, Spain), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium), Joshua Kimmich (FC Bayern Munich, Germany).

Forwards: Robert Lewandowski (FC Bayern Munich, Poland), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona, Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus, Portugal).


Goalkeeper: Christiane Endler (Paris Saint-Germain, Chile).

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea, England), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City/Olympique Lyonnais, England), Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyonnais, France).

Midfielders: Barbara Bonansea (Juventus, Italy), Veronica Boquete (AC Milan/Utah Royals, Spain), Delphine Cascarino (Olympique Lyonnais, France).

Forwards: Pernille Harder (Chelsea/VfL Wolfsburg, Denmark), Tobin Heath (Manchester United/Portland Thorns, U.S.), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal, the Netherlands), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign, U.S.).

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Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination effort makes key step as Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved

The federal government has given the green light to the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, a key step toward launching the largest inoculation campaign in Canada’s history.

Health Canada announced the approval Wednesday after scientists finished a two-month review of the company’s clinical trial data.

“The data provided supports favourably the efficacy of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as well as its safety,” the department said in its report authorizing use of the vaccine in Canada for people over the age of 16.

“The efficacy of the vaccine was established to be approximately 95 per cent. The vaccine was well tolerated by participants and has no important safety concerns. The benefit-to-risk assessment for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is considered favourable.”

Canada is just the third country in the world to authorize the vaccine, after the United Kingdom and Bahrain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hear tomorrow from an advisory panel on whether the vaccine is safe for use in the United States and authorization is expected in “a matter of days,” U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said 249,000 doses of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine will be on hand by year’s end — shots primarily earmarked for long-term care home residents and the staff working there.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccination logistics at the national operations centre, said 30,000 doses out of the initial run will be shipped from a Pfizer plant in Belgium on Friday.

“We expect vaccines to arrive as early as Monday,” Fortin said, adding its “totally possible” some Canadians could get their shots by mid-week.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, left, said some Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses could arrive as early as Monday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Njoo said as many as six million doses will arrive in the first three months of 2021. Assuming other promising vaccine candidates from companies like Moderna and AstraZeneca secure regulatory approvals, millions more shots will come online in the months to follow, he said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said today the country will begin immunizing non-priority populations — people other than the elderly, health care workers and some adults in Indigenous communities — in April 2021. The vaccination campaign is expected to end next December.

“At last, we have a reason to feel optimistic and excited about returning to the lives we led pre-COVID,” Njoo said. “Things are happening quickly.”

Speaking in question period today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the Pfizer-BioNTech approval a “big deal” because it signals that the end of this destructive pandemic is in sight.

“It’s a good news day for Canadians but we are not through this yet. We have a tough winter to go through,” Trudeau said, urging Canadians to respect public health measures even as shots start to arrive.

Long-term care homes to be among first to get vaccine

The Pfizer trial had more than 43,000 participants — one of the largest such trials ever conducted — and regulators found that the vaccine’s efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics.

The vaccine is based on groundbreaking messenger RNA technology, or mRNA, which essentially directs cells in the body to make proteins to prevent or fight disease.

The shot was found to be 94.7 per cent effective among clinical trial subjects who were over the age of 65 and who had no prior COVID-19 infection — a significant finding, given most novel coronavirus-related deaths in Canada have been reported among the elderly.

While the Pfizer vaccine has been given the necessary approvals, regulators conceded that the clinical trial data could not establish the long-term efficacy of the vaccine.

It is not yet known how long the vaccine-induced immunity will last but Health Canada said it will implement a robust “risk management plan” to monitor immunity and gather data on when it begins to wane. The regulator will also track any “adverse events” that follow immunization.

Cole Pinnow, the president of Pfizer Canada, said Health Canada’s approval means the country can start to return to a sense of “normalcy,” with millions of Canadians set to be vaccinated over the coming months.

“This is historic. We couldn’t be more proud that Pfizer and BioNTech were able to bring to Canada the first COVID-19 vaccine. We think this represents a monumental change in the way that we are fighting the pandemic, and hopefully represents the first big step towards normalcy,” Pinnow said in an interview with CBC Radio’s The Current.

With recent polls showing that a sizeable number of Canadians will refuse a vaccine altogether, or will wait some time before lining up for a shot, Pinnow said he wants Canadians to be assured the product is safe.

“I would reassure Canadians that the scientific rigour and regulatory oversight that went into this product is as robust, if not more robust, than any other vaccine that’s been brought to market,” he said.

WATCH: Pfizer addresses vaccine concerns

Health Canada chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma briefed reporters on the vaccine’s approval during a briefing on Wednesday. 2:19

Dr. Supriya Sharma, the chief medical adviser at Health Canada, also sought to reassure Canadians that her department conducted a “rigorous” review of all the product’s clinical trial and technical information.

She said scientists found “strong evidence” that the vaccine’s potential benefits far outweigh any risks.

“Canadians can have confidence … the vaccine was authorized only after a thorough assessment of the evidence demonstrated it had met Health Canada’s strict standards for efficacy, safety and quality,” she said.

“It’s an exceptional day for Canada. In a year when we haven’t had a lot of good news, this is a bit of good news and we should acknowledge that.”

WATCH: Health Canada calls Pfizer approval a ‘critical milestone’ in fight against COVID-19

Pfizer Canada president Cole Pinnow said the four occurrences of facial paralysis among close to 22,000 subjects in U.S. clinical trials who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine represented a frequency not above what is expected in the general population. 0:18

British regulators warned Wednesday that people who have a history of serious allergic reactions shouldn’t receive the new Pfizer vaccine as they investigate two adverse reactions that occurred on the first day of the country’s mass vaccination program.

Asked about those warnings, Sharma said Canada is constant communication with British authorities.

“We are always on the lookout for more serious adverse events,” she said. “It is still a vaccine and there are potential risks even if they are rare. That’s why it’s important that we still continue to monitor it.

“Because these vaccines will be used in otherwise healthy people … our tolerance for safety issues is very, very low.”

WATCH: Health Canada discusses allergic reactions to the Pfizer vaccine

Health Canada chief medical adviser Dr. Supriya Sharma briefed reporters on the vaccine’s approval during a briefing on Wednesday. 2:38

Sharma said Health Canada is recommending individuals with allergies to any of the vaccine’s components avoid the shot.

Sharma noted that there were few serious medical incidents reported among the 43,000 clinical trial participants. The most common side effects were soreness at the site of injection, joint pain and fatigue, she said.

Inoculation to take months

Canada is expected to take delivery of vaccines produced in Puurs, a small town in the north of Belgium that will be churning out hundreds of millions of doses of the co-developed Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the European Union, Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom over the next 12 months.

Maj.-Gen. Fortin has been leading a series of dry-runs with the provinces and territories to ensure they are prepared to distribute the extremely heat-sensitive Pfizer shot, which must be stored at temperatures between –80 C and –60 C.

Because the Pfizer product is so temperature-sensitive, Pfizer is shipping it directly from its plants to 14 points of use throughout Canada to limit movement and keep the vaccine stable.

Those sites have the necessary cold storage in place and are ready for the “imminent arrival” of the shots, Fortin said. 

“We’re undertaking a mobilization effort of massive proportions. Never in modern memory have we seen such an unprecedented level of collaboration and cooperation,” he said. “It really makes me proud to be a Canadian and proud to serve.”

The vaccines will be distributed to jurisdictions on a per-capita basis, meaning each province will receive vaccine doses in numbers proportionate to its share of the population. The vaccine will not be sent to the territories for the time being as they now lack the capacity to safely store the Pfizer product.

While the exact location of each of the 14 distribution centres has not yet been disclosed, some provinces, including Newfoundland & Labrador, have said the Pfizer vaccine will be stored at major hospitals in urban areas.

The national advisory committee on immunization (NACI) said last week the limited initial quantity of doses should be reserved for people who are most at risk of contracting the virus and developing severe symptoms — elderly residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities, retirement homes and chronic care hospitals, and the staff who care for them.

After long-term care home residents and staff are immunized, NACI said the next priority group should be all Canadians over the age of 80.

It will be up to provincial leaders to decide who gets shots when, but Trudeau said the premiers are in agreement that the NACI guidelines should be followed and the most vulnerable should be first in line.

Trudeau is meeting with premiers virtually Thursday, with vaccine distribution, health care funding and improving long-term care facilities on the agenda.

Health Canada is currently reviewing other promising vaccines from companies like Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical division, Janssen.

In total, Canada has ordered roughly 418 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from seven different companies — an insurance policy against the possibility that some of the vaccines in development prove to be ineffective.

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