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Meet the nurse clinician shedding light on pioneering Black scientists

CBC Quebec is highlighting people from the province’s Black communities who are giving back, inspiring others and helping to shape our future. These are the Black Changemakers.

As a child, Stephanie Bumba never saw any Black people in the history books and cartoons she read, or the science movies she watched.

In school, she learned about the contributions of pioneering white scientists but was left wondering why she wasn’t hearing about Black scientists and what they had achieved.

So last summer, Bumba, who is now a nurse clinician, created a web series called Ces afro-scientifiques d’hier à aujourd’hui, or Yesterday’s and Today’s Afro-scientists, dedicated to telling the stories she longed to see.

“These Afro-scientists were hidden under historic rubble, and it’s the time now to make them visible and to dispel the ignorance surrounding these scientific pioneers,” she said.

Each episode features someone who worked in health sciences and whose discoveries and inventions are still relevant today. The episodes are in French, but the second season, slated to debut this month, will feature English and Spanish subtitles.

So far, she has profiled people such as Dr. Charles Drew, a surgeon who organized the first large-scale blood bank in the U.S. and directed a project that sent blood and plasma collected in New York to Britain in order to treat people during the Second World War.

In addition to working as a nurse clinician during a pandemic, Bumba is doing a master’s degree in health care administration at Université de Montréal.

She did a lot of the research for the series last summer, after work. She would come home, take a nap and then spend her evenings and nights combing through the databases she has access to through her studies to look up information about people she wanted to highlight.

Bumba said the episodes have been well received so far — two have more than 10,000 views on her YouTube channel, Nurse Stephie TV. She has heard from high school teachers who are showing the videos to their students.

Her career as a science communicator is evolving; after Bumba wrote an op-ed that appeared in La Presse, the Montreal Science Centre invited her to write a series of blog posts about pioneering Canadian and Quebec scientists for Black History Month.

Bumba said she wants young Black people to have scientists to idolize so that they, too, are inspired to do great things.

“Black history is not only about slavery and the hardship, it’s also about those pioneers who contributed to the advancement of our health-care sciences.”

The Black Changemakers is a special series recognizing individuals who, regardless of background or industry, are driven to create a positive impact in their community. From tackling problems to showing small gestures of kindness on a daily basis, these changemakers are making a difference and inspiring others. Meet all the changemakers here.

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CBC | Health News

Biden to meet virtually with Trudeau on Tuesday in first meeting with a foreign leader

U.S. President Joe Biden’s first official meeting with a foreign head of government will be a virtual encounter on Tuesday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“The president will highlight the strong and deep partnership between the United States and Canada as neighbours, friends and NATO allies,” the White House said in a statement on Saturday.

The Prime Minister’s Office said meeting agenda items include the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery, job creation, maintaining cross-border supply chains, climate change, energy, defence and security, and diversity and inclusion.

In a statement, Trudeau said he looked forward to the meeting and working with Biden to end the pandemic. 

The lengthy video meeting is expected to last more than one hour and will include a one-on-one chat between the leaders, as well as an expanded session between U.S. and Canadian cabinet members and officials. 

The U.S. president’s Keystone XL pipeline cancellation is expected to come up but will not likely be a main focus of the meeting. 

The detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China is also expected to be raised by Trudeau, according to a source who spoke to CBC News confidentially.

Cross-border tensions won’t disappear

Biden has already had a series of phone conversations with a number of leaders, starting with Trudeau, shortly after his Jan. 20 inauguration.

The new administration has signalled its desire to improve relationships with traditional American partners by scheduling his first calls, and now a first meeting, with the country’s democratic allies. 

WATCH | What Biden’s first call with Trudeau means for Canada-U.S. relations:

Despite disagreement over Keystone XL, U.S. President Joe Biden’s phone call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signals a likely return to normal U.S.-Canada relations. 1:51

But the first weeks of the Biden administration have illustrated how cross-border irritants have not, and will not, disappear with a change in president. 

The new administration has cancelled a major pipeline project from Canada; promised a Buy American policy in its infrastructure purchases — though it’s still unclear how extensive that policy will be; and continued former president Donald Trump’s export restrictions on vaccines produced in the United States.

Conversely, Biden has de-emphasized relationships with non-democratic figures that had been cozier during the Trump era.

The White House has said Biden would not deal directly with Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman because the crown prince is not officially the country’s ruler. It also said Biden planned to speak with allied leaders before figures such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, though he did eventually talk to Putin in the second week of his presidency.

Biden emphasizes ‘shared democratic values’

The new U.S. president emphasized that point in a speech addressing the Munich security conference on Friday.

Biden promised to enforce NATO’s mutual-defence pact and called this a key moment in the struggle for democracy.

He contrasted his view of democratic alliances to that of his predecessor, without explicitly naming Trump. 

“Our partnerships have endured and grown through the years because they are rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values. They’re not transactional. They’re not extractive,” Biden said.

“In too many places, including in Europe and the United States, democratic progress is under assault…. We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future direction of our world. Between those who argue that … autocracy is the best way forward and those who understand that democracy is essential to meeting those challenges. Historians will examine and write about this moment. It’s an inflection point.”

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CBC | World News

Will the Queen meet any of her family outside at Christmas? How royal festive traditions change with the times

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.

For the past few years, there has been much anticipation before Christmas over how members of the Royal Family would come together to mark the festive season.

Amid rumours of rifts involving Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, public appearances at Christmas became an opportunity to try to suss out the true nature of royal relationships. Maybe a sideways glance during a walk to church would indicate who was getting along — or not — with whom?

Such glimpses might not come anywhere close to revealing much of anything, but the interest was there.

It is still there, even in this year turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, complete with the recommended abandonment of large family get-togethers — royal or otherwise — over the holidays.

Queen Elizabeth has decided she and Prince Philip will mark Christmas quietly at Windsor Castle — where they have been living in virtual isolation for most of the pandemic — rather than with the large family gathering that has taken place over Christmas at her Sandringham estate northeast of London for more than three decades.

New, stricter pandemic restrictions announced Saturday that cover the area around Windsor could mean further changes to any plans some members of the Royal Family may have had for Christmas Day.

“Under these restrictions, individuals may meet with one person from another household outdoors, and there will be interest in whether one of the Queen’s children or grandchildren meets with her outside Windsor Castle at Christmas in accordance with these requirements,” said Carolyn Harris, a Toronto-based royal historian and author.

Kate, left, William, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, keep their physical distance as they thank volunteers and key workers at Windsor Castle on Dec. 8. (Richard Pohle/Getty Images)

Already there has been notable interest in another outdoor — and physically distanced — pre-Christmas meeting of some senior members of the family at Windsor Castle. 

The Queen stood outside, well apart from William and Kate, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, as they thanked volunteers and workers from local charitable organizations.

It’s hardly the first time the Royal Family has altered its actions to accommodate the world around them.

“During times of crisis, the Royal Family adjusts their own routines to reflect the conditions experienced by the wider public,” said Harris.

In the Second World War, food was rationed at Buckingham Palace, even on formal occasions, when more modest meals were served to visitors — albeit still on the fancy china.

The announcement earlier this month of the Queen’s decision to mark Christmas quietly at Windsor Castle “just shows how … clear the palace [is] about understanding the nation, or particularly the Queen is, in her 95th year,” said British public relations expert Mark Borkowski, adding that the announcement was a further reflection of her ability to do “the right thing at the right time in the right way.”

William and Kate walk with their children, Prince Louis, left, Princess Charlotte and Prince George, on the red carpet — their first such appearance as a family — to attend a special pantomime performance in London on Dec. 11 to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the pandemic. (Aaron Chown/Getty Images)

Harris said public interest in royal Christmas celebrations mirrors the interest in royal weddings and births — they’re milestones that average people also experience and ones that could provide “a glimpse of more personal moments.”

That was seen this year, she said, when William and Kate took their children to see a Christmas pantomime, and there was public curiosity about how Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis responded to the performance, and how their parents explained the jokes to them.

Watching how the royals celebrate Christmas goes back several generations.

Some of the traditions they followed then found favour with the wider public, especially during the 19th-century reign of Queen Victoria, when her husband, Prince Albert, brought his own traditions from Germany, particularly the Christmas tree.

Christmas trees had been in use during previous royal Christmases, but the unprecedented expansion of that era’s mass media helped to spread the word about what the royals were doing in the festive season. 

William and Kate sit with Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte at the pantomime performance. (Aaron Chown/Getty Images)

“An image in the London Illustrated News of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, their children and Queen Victoria’s mother gathered around the Christmas tree provided a famous image of the royal Christmas, which was widely admired and emulated,” said Harris.

In that instance, there was also some royal image management going on in an attempt to counter public perception of the monarchy at the time.

“After the scandalous reigns of Queen Victoria’s uncles, George IV and William IV, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were determined to demonstrate that the monarchy was once again respectable and mirrored the prevailing middle-class views of the importance of domesticity and the home as a refuge from the concerns of the wider world,” said Harris.

Ready for his shot

Prince Charles, wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, arrives to meet with workers at a vaccination centre in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in Glouscestershire, England, on Thursday. (Chris Jackson/The Associated Press)

Prince Charles, who had COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic, says he will get a vaccination against the coronavirus.

But he’s not expecting his shot will come any time soon.

His comments came Thursday as he and Camilla toured a vaccination centre in western England and met front-line health-care workers administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Charles chats with front-line workers administering and receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. (Chris Jackson/The Associated Press)

“I think I’ll have to wait for the AstraZeneca one before it gets to my turn. I’m some way down the list,” Charles said, according to a report from ITV.

Speculation has swirled about whether or when his mother, the Queen, might also receive a coronavirus vaccine, with palace comments widely reported that she might let it be known once she and Prince Philip had received the shot.

Flash back more than six decades, to a time when the British government wanted members of the public to take another vaccine, and Elizabeth let it be known that Charles and his sister Anne had received shots to protect them against polio.

“As a result, public mood over the vaccine thawed and millions of others went on to take the drug, which the National Health Service said helped cases ‘fall dramatically,'” the Daily Express reported recently.

No formality here 

Zara and Mike Tindall attend the 2019 Magic Millions official draw at Surfers Paradise Foreshore on Jan. 8, 2019 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

When it comes time to declare another royal baby is on the way, the general modus operandi is a formal announcement from Buckingham Palace.

So it caught people’s attention and spawned headlines the other day when Mike Tindall, husband of the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall, shared news via his sports podcast that they are expecting another child.

“Had a little scan last week, third Tindall on its way,” the former rugby player told the 150,000 weekly listeners of The Good, the Bad & the Rugby podcast. 

“Z is very good … obviously always careful because of things that have happened in the past. But so far, so good. Fingers crossed. I’d like a boy this time. I’ve got two girls, I would like a boy. I will love it whether it’s a boy or a girl, but please be a boy,” he said, holding up those crossed fingers and waving  in the podcast video.

“Things that have happened in the past” refers to two miscarriages Zara had between the birth of their elder daughter Mia, 6, and younger daughter, Lena, 2.

Zara Tindall and daughter Mia Tindall pose with Mike Tindall after he finished a quadrathlon on July 11, 2015, in Aberfeldy, Scotland. (Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

According to The Telegraph, the announcement was very much in keeping with the couple’s casual, down-to-earth manner, and their “reputation as the Royal Family’s most relatable couple.”

The baby will be the Queen’s 10th great-grandchild, and is the second royal birth expected in 2021. Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, are also expecting a child in the new year.

Royally quotable

“You just disappeared, all of you.”    

— Queen Elizabeth takes a technical glitch in stride during a virtual meeting with staff at the accounting giant KPMG, as it marked its 150th anniversary. The pandemic has led to numerous online firsts for the Queen, as she carries out duties remotely. Last week, she conducted her first diplomatic audience via a video call.

Queen Elizabeth speaks with, top row from left, Cheryl Valentine and John McCalla-Leacy, and bottom row from left, David McIntosh, Bill Michael and Jennifer Lee, during a virtual visit with KPMG staff to mark the firm’s 150th anniversary. (Royal Communications/The Associated Press)

Royal reads

  1. A three-day rail tour through the U.K. by William and Kate to meet and thank front-line pandemic workers ran into a lukewarm welcome in Scotland and Wales. [The Guardian]

  2. Harry and Meghan will host and produce podcasts as part of a deal the couple, now living in California, have made with the streaming service Spotify. [BBC]

  3. Netflix says it has “no plans” to include a disclaimer with The Crown to make it clear that the award-winning drama about Queen Elizabeth’s reign is a work of fiction. [Los Angeles Times]

  4. Christmas means Christmas cards, often including a happy family photo from the past year. For their 2020 festive mailing, Charles and Camilla are relaxing in their garden at their home in Scotland, while William and Kate are all smiles with their kids at their country home northeast of London. [BBC]

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CBC | World News

Indigenous Services minister acknowledges Liberals won’t meet promised drinking water target

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller confirmed today that the Liberal government will not meet its commitment to lift all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations by March 2021.

At a press conference in Ottawa, Miller took full responsibility for the broken promise and pledged to spend more than $ 1.5 billion to finish the work.

“This was an ambitious deadline from the get-go,” Miller said. “While there have been many reasons for the delay, I want to state as clearly as possible that, ultimately, I bear the responsibility for this and I have the … duty to get this done.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first promised to end all long-term boil water advisories within five years during the 2015 campaign

It was the first major promise on the Indigenous reconciliation file, which became one of the central goals of the Liberals’ governing agenda. At the time, the Trudeau government said it would meet the target by March 2021.

“What communities want is not an Ottawa-imposed deadline. It’s a long-term commitment for access to clean water,” Miller said.

WATCH | ‘We didn’t appreciate the state of decay of some of the public infrastructure,’ minister says

Indigenous Services Minister assures reporters the federal government has a stronger grasp on the water system needs of Indigenous communities now than in 2015. 2:16

In October, CBC News surveyed all communities on the long-term drinking water advisory list maintained by Indigenous Services Canada.

More than a dozen First Nations said their projects would not be completed by the promised deadline. Five communities said a permanent fix would take years.

The Trudeau government has helped lift 97 long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations since 2015, according to Indigenous Services Canada. Currently, 59 advisories are still in place in 41 communities.

Miller said another 20 advisories could be lifted by the end of December and that by spring 2021, the number of advisories remaining could shrink to 12. 

Since forming government, the Liberals have spent more than $ 1.65 billion of the $ 2.19 billion they set aside to build and repair water and wastewater infrastructure, and to manage and maintain existing systems on reserves.

The $ 1.5 billion proposed in Monday’s fiscal update is in addition to that $ 2.19 billion.

“Today, we are providing sustained funding in the spirit of partnership,” said Miller. “We’re listening to communities and we want to let them know that our government is going to be there for the long run.”

WATCH | Singh asks why the federal government has failed Neskantaga First Nation on clean drinking water

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh presses Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on why the federal government has not yet provided clean drinking water to the Neskantaga First Nation and other Indigenous communities. 1:26

Funding for repairs, training and ongoing maintenance

The new money is aimed at helping First Nations in three key areas.

The first area is ongoing support for daily operations and maintenance of water infrastructure on reserves, to help keep that infrastructure in good condition even after long-term drinking water advisories are lifted. The money earmarked for this — $ 616.3 million over six years, with $ 114.1 million per year ongoing — will also fund training for water treatment plant operators and help communities better retain qualified workers. 

The second is continued funding for water and wastewater infrastructure on reserves: $ 553.4 million to prevent future drinking water advisories.

And finally, $ 309.8 million of the total will pay for work halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other project delays. The pandemic caused some First Nation communities to close their borders to contractors and temporarily stop work on improving their water systems.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomed the proposed new funding. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations called the proposed new funding a move in the right direction, but warned more resources may be required in future budgets to lift all water advisories.

“Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right,” Bellegarde said.

“It’s not right that in a rich country like Canada, you still can’t turn on the taps for potable water.”

NDP MP Charlie Angus said the new commitment is a recognition that the government initially low-balled the amount of money it would take to address water advisories on reserves. 

“The government has recognized that they can’t keep doing this as a publicity exercise,” Angus said. “So that money will go a long way.”

In 2017, the parliamentary budget officer found the federal government was spending only 70 per cent of what was needed to eliminate boil water advisories in First Nations.

Conservative Indigenous services critic Gary Vidal said it’s clear “there is no intent to meet the 2021 target.

“We know this is going to be an ongoing challenge.”

Miller told CBC’s Power and Politics he wants to see target dates for lifting long-term drinking water advisories in individual communities.

He also told CBC the government is moving to give First Nations more control over solving their water problems through self-determination.

Most long-term on-reserve drinking water advisories are in Ontario. RoseAnne Archibald, the Assembly of First Nations regional chief for the province, said she has asked Miller to work with her team in the coming months to address the problem.

“Why do we have so many boil water advisories?” Archibald asked. “What barriers exist in Ontario that don’t seem to exist anywhere else that we need to fix?”

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CBC | Health News

Ontario cabinet to meet with top doctor as province sees nearly 1,400 new COVID-19 cases

Premier Doug Ford will be joined by Ontario’s health minister and top doctor on Friday after hearing a loud, clear warning that the province could face more than 6,000 COVID-19 cases per day by mid-December if it doesn’t add more public health restrictions.

Ford’s office confirmed there will be a cabinet meeting today to review the latest recommendations from Dr. David Williams, the province’s chief medical officer.

That dramatic COVID-19 projection was contained in updated modelling by health experts released on Thursday.

It comes as the province reported 1,396 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter that 440 of those cases were found in Toronto, 440 in Peel and 155 in York Region.

Just over 40,500 tests were completed, she said. Ontario is also reporting 19 deaths on Friday, as well as 1,018 resolved cases.

Other regions that saw double-digit increases included Ottawa at 41, Durham at 41, Hamilton at 43, Halton at 55 and Waterloo at 43.

The province is also reporting 116 school-related cases Friday. There are ongoing outbreaks of the illness in 93 long-term care facilities, with 702 active cases among residents and 478 among staff.

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found in the Ministry of Health’s daily update, which includes data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any particular region on a given day may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, which often avoids lag times in the provincial system.)

Pressure on ICUs growing, at least 67 people on ventilators

The growing number of cases is also coming with some grim outcomes. More vulnerable seniors are again dying in long-term care homes and intensive care units are seeing more COVID-19 patients, something that might soon force hospitals to limit other surgeries and procedures.

There are also 110 patients in intensive care in the province, according to the latest report from Critical Care Services Ontario (CCSO), which is distributed daily to critical care stakeholders and shows the most up-to-date numbers provided directly by intensive care units across the province.

That figure was shared on Twitter Friday by Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto. He said patients are now being moved from “overburdened” ICUs to those with more space.

The province’s daily report states 452 people are now hospitalized, an increase of 21 from yesterday. The report says that of those in the ICU, 67 are on a ventilator.

Ford was not part of the modelling news conference, but his office said said later in an email statement that he “won’t hesitate to take action” if Williams recommends it. 

Ford, Williams and Elliott are set to speak at Queen’s Park at 2:30 p.m. ET — later than Ford’s usual news conference time. You’ll be able to watch that announcement live in this story.

So far, Ford has defended his approach to dealing with the pandemic, even as Peel Region and the City of Toronto ratcheted up their responses beyond what’s in the provincial framework. On Thursday, the Ontario NDP called for a two-week “circuit-breaker” shutdown to disrupt COVID-19, something Ford rejected.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath repeated that call on Twitter on Friday morning.

Since they were released, experts have slammed the thresholds for moving cities and regions into “red zone” or “lockdown” as too high. Ford has said he needs to balance controlling the spread of COVID-19 and the needs of the economy.

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CBC | Health News

Forge to meet Haiti’s Arcahaie FC in CONCACAF League quarter-finals

Hamilton’s Forge FC will face Haiti’s Arcahaie FC in the quarter-finals of the Scotiabank CONCACAF League.

The Haitian side advanced Thursday with a 3-1 win over Waterhouse FC in Kingston, Jamaica. Forge won its round-of-16 match Tuesday, defeating Panama’s Tauro FC in Panama City 2-1 on a stoppage-time penalty.

Arcahaie advanced to the round of 16 when Belize’s Verdes FC pulled out of their preliminary-round match due to positive COVID-19 tests.

The 22-team CONCACAF League is a feeder tournament, sending six clubs to the 2021 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League. The four quarter-final winners will qualify directly for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. The four losing quarter-finalists will compete in single-leg play-in games, with the two winners moving on.

WATCH | Forge advances to CONCACAF quarters:

Daniel Krutzen’s penalty in stoppage time lifts Forge FC to a 2-1 victory over Panama’s Tauro FC. 0:49

Time and location of Forge’s quarter-final have yet to be announced.

The Canadian Premier League champion will also have a chance to qualify for the main CONCACAF club competition when it takes on Toronto FC in the as-yet-unscheduled final of the Canadian Championship.

Forge exited the CONCACAF League in the round of 16 last year, beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Honduras’ Olimpia.

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CBC | Soccer News

Trudeau, EU leaders meet ahead of U.S. election to reinforce support of world order

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is speaking with the European Union’s two top political leaders Thursday, and they are expected to discuss their shared commitment to international co-operation and what that means ahead of Tuesday’s U.S presidential election.

Today’s three-way video conference between Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Charles Michel, the European Union Council president, will mark the first formal discussion they have been able to hold since the changing of the guard of Europe’s top political leadership late last year.

In a pandemic-free world, it would have been a formal summit, a followup to last summer’s two-day affair that Trudeau hosted with one of Von der Leyen and Michel’s predecessor, Donald Tusk.

That gathering was marked by gushing displays of Canada-EU political fealty that saw Trudeau and Tusk position themselves as defenders of a world order that has been increasingly under attack from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Now, in the COVID-19 world, Trudeau, Von der Leyen and Michel are poised to send the same signal.

Leaders to express support for WHO

A senior EU official in Brussels, who briefed The Canadian Press ahead of the talks on the condition they not be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said the talks would affirm strong support for the United Nations World Health Organization.

Trump has threatened to withdraw U.S. funding from the WHO and derided the agency as being a puppet of China because, he says, it downplayed the severity of the early outbreak of COVID-19.

With the U.S. election taking place next week, the EU official said it will be important for the three leaders to demonstrate their shared support for international organizations, respect of human rights and support of free trade.

Former president of the European Council Donald Tusk and Cecilia Malmstrom, who was European commissioner for trade at the time, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Canada-EU summit in Montreal in July 2019. Trudeau will speak with European Union leaders Thursday in a follow-up to that summit (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

On trade, they will discuss the Canadian-led efforts to reform the World Trade Organization, a process known as the Ottawa Group, said the official.

Canada leads about a dozen like-minded countries in wanting to reform the WTO, but it has not invited the U.S. or China to participate. The Trump administration has followed through on a plan that has essentially disabled one of the WTO’s main dispute settlement mechanisms, the appellate body.

Because the U.S. is the largest contributor to the WTO, it gets to appoint judges to the body, but it has failed to fill vacancies that have existed since December. The result has paralyzed the body because it doesn’t have enough judges to hear disputes.

Trump has called the WTO “horrible” and unfair to the U.S. in settling trade disputes.

Trade Minister Mary Ng convened the latest meeting of the Ottawa Group on Tuesday via video conference.

“Canadians benefit from an open, transparent, and rules-based international trade system with the WTO at its core,” Ng said in a statement.

Canada and the EU have created their own ad hoc replacement body for the appellate body in the hopes of attempting to settle disputes.

Lawrence Herman, a Toronto-based international trade lawyer, said the initiative was a good try but that it hasn’t replaced what Trump has undermined.

“It only works in a limited way,” said Herman.

“It’s a great idea, given what’s happening in at the WTO, but it doesn’t solve all problems.”

United front on China

The EU official said the three leaders would also be discussing the rising provocations posed by China.

At the EU’s recent summit with China, the bloc highlighted the plight of imprisoned Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

They were arrested nearly two years ago in what the Canadian government has interpreted as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition order.

Canada welcomed the EU support for the release of Kovring and Spavor, which came in the final communique of its summit with China. The EU has joined dozens of other countries in supporting Canada’s efforts in publicly calling for their release, a campaign that has angered China.

The EU official said the bloc wants to discuss how it can reinforce its partnership with Canada on dealing with China and defending human rights.

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CBC | World News

Feds to meet Indigenous leaders Friday to discuss racism in health system

The federal government is ready to use its financial leverage over the health system to fight anti-Indigenous racism in health care, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says.

He says that includes promoting Indigenous health workers and calling out racism wherever it’s seen.

“The federal power to spend with conditions, it’s clear, it is a constitutional right. It exists within health,” he said Thursday. “The question then is how best to do it.”

Miller said the treatment of Joyce Echaquan, who used her phone to livestream hospital staff using racist slurs against her as she lay dying in a Quebec hospital, is more evidence of the ways the system has failed Indigenous people for generations.

Miller said he doesn’t think it’s helpful to try to punish provinces for inadequate action on racism, especially in the middle of a pandemic, but the federal government has a moral duty to set and maintain standards.

The provinces are seeking billions more dollars in health transfers from the federal government, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promising a first-ministers conference on the subject soon.

“Putting more money into a system which is beset by systemic issues with prospective systemic racism can’t be the only solution nor the only reply,” Miller said.

Major meeting set for Friday

Miller said he and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett are holding an emergency meeting on the problem Friday with as many as 200 participants, including Indigenous leaders.

The goal is to hear from Indigenous people, including health professionals, who have lived through racist treatment in the health system while politicians like Miller and Bennett listen.Rebecca Kudloo, the president of Pauktuutit Women of Canada, said in a statement Thursday she will participate in the meeting to highlight how the Canada Health Act is failing Inuit women and girls.

“The bottom line is that racism experienced before an Inuit woman even seeks health care impacts her socioeconomic status which, in turn, negatively impacts the quality of health care she receives and her health outcomes,” said Kudloo.

WATCH | Federal ministers, Indigenous leaders to discuss racism in health care:

Canada’s Indigenous services minister says the federal government will meet with Indigenous leaders to talk about racism in the health-care system after an Indigenous woman recorded nurses insulting her before her death in a Quebec hospital last month. 2:05

Kudloo said she will table recommendations to address racism experienced by Inuit women and children in the health-care system. These recommendations include increased funding, ensuring anti-racism education, culturally aware training and hiring Inuit staff at all levels.

The meeting will be focused foremost on the lived experiences of professionals in the health care system including Indigenous professionals, Miller said.

He said the task will be to sketch out a plan to address racism based on the views of Indigenous professionals who are living racism every day.

“This is not an artificial situation. This is an opportunity for people to share their experiences,” he said.

The meeting aims to make sure that medical professional organizations are respecting cultural sensitivities and recruiting more Indigenous people, Miller says. It also aims to explore ways to guarantee better education on racism and accountability from those hurting Indigenous people.

The participants will be able to reflect on the issues after the meeting.

“We can have a clear pathway, for example in January, to come back to the table with goals,” he said.

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Meet the experts trying to change the way we communicate about COVID-19

Keeping up with Canada’s COVID-19 public health information can feel like a full-time job. 

Ever-changing daily case numbers, countless news conferences, conflicting advice from officials and constantly updated guidelines can be overwhelming at the best of times.

So a group of experts has stepped up in an attempt to help with information overload by explaining the coronavirus in a clear and concise way that connects with a younger audience.

And they’re hoping that the powers that be are watching — and learning.

“We need to meet people where they are at,” said Dr. Naheed Dosani, a physician and health-justice advocate in Toronto. “We need to think about what works for them.”

Social media ‘lost opportunity’ with health officials

More than 45 per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 cases have occurred in those under the age of 40, and Dosani said the best way to connect with that demographic is through social media, something he called a “lost opportunity” with politicians and public health officials.

“Most people under 40 get their information nowadays not from a press conference in the middle of the day and typically not from traditional media sources,” he said. “They’re often using social media platforms to engage and collect information.” 

Dosani, a palliative care doctor, began using platforms like TikTok and Instagram in January to reach a younger audience and share information in an effort to destigmatize the topic of death.

WATCH | Doctor makes TikTok videos to reach young people about COVID-19:

CBC News Network’s Natasha Fatah speaks with Dr. Naheed Dosani, Palliative care physician and health justice advocate 8:01

“I was blown away by the response,” he said, adding that he gained hundreds of thousands of views and connected with people all over the world. “And then COVID-19 happened.” 

That’s when Dosani shifted from focusing on palliative care to cutting through the noise in the pandemic. 

His short, informative videos use popular music and simple visuals to highlight the benefits of physical distancing, break down the updates and guidelines from public health officials and assess the effectiveness of infection-control strategies. 

“People were really interested in the message. It was reaching them, and it was effective and it’s been quite a journey,” Dosani said. 

“I actually created a TikTok  to convince people of why public health messaging needs to be on TikTok and Instagram and then posted it on Twitter, and that video has actually gone viral. It kind of proves the point, doesn’t it?”

Samanta Krishnapillai, an “equity-oriented health scientist” in Markham, Ont., started the On COVID-19 Project after months of feeling frustrated about how “ineffective” public health communication strategies were in reaching younger Canadians.

“This isn’t a new problem, but during a global pandemic, it definitely should have been at the forefront of every pandemic plan,” she said. “To put it plainly, you can’t say we’re all in this together but not engage all of us in the solution.” 

Krishnapillai, who has a masters of health information science from Western University in London, Ont., said the reason she thinks those under 40 may be tuning out public health messaging isn’t because they don’t care but because they don’t have the capacity to retain it.

“There is a lot of discussion around pandemic fatigue, inconsistent messaging from officials and general uncertainty with regards to the virus that is often blamed,” she said.

“As health communicators, our job is to help build that capacity by finding Canadians where they are, breaking down credible information in engaging and easy-to-understand snippets and approaching it with respect for each individual.” 

The grassroots, youth-led and volunteer-based project, which launched over the summer, doesn’t yet have a huge following but has dozens of contributors, and more than 500 people have applied to join, which, Krishnapillai said, proves “young people want to do more.” 

Samantha Yammine, a neuroscientist with a PhD from the University of Toronto, has amassed close to 100,000 followers online with the similar goal of clearing up the muddy communication waters.

“There absolutely is a gap in public health communications on social media platforms,” she said. “So I’m trying to address that.”

Samantha Yammine, a neuroscientist and science communicator, uses social media to educate her almost 100,000 followers about science and COVID-19. (Michael Barker)

Yammine, a full-time science communicator in Toronto who also goes by the moniker “Science Sam,” has been communicating science information through social media for the past few years but noticed that those in her network were feeling stressed, scared and overwhelmed when the pandemic began. 

“So I pivoted my platform to start sharing some of the science behind the COVID headlines we were seeing and explain things in a friendly, critical and informed point of view to make things a little bit easier to manage,” she said. 

“I really believe in empowering people with scientific information and making science accessible, so that everyone can make the best decisions for them.” 

Yammine said that “social media is a beast” that may be underestimated by public health officials and politicians. But she said it should never be a one-person job and instead should draw on a variety of different voices to connect with people.

“It’s really unrealistic to expect one person to appeal to everyone, and that’s why a big thing I advocate for is for having a diversity of people communicating,” she said. 

“Not everyone’s going to relate to me, not everyone’s going to relate to [Canada’s chief public health officer] Dr. Theresa Tam, and we can’t ask individuals to represent science for everyone.” 

One way to get the message out widely is by leveraging those who already have a huge online following, such as celebrities and social media influencers, Yammine said.

“Who has time in a pandemic to create an entire following?” she said. 

“What’s unique about social media is we cultivate relationships with the people who follow us, we trust one another, we know one another, we know how to communicate to our followers, and so we absolutely need to be leveraging popular creators.”

Yammine said recruiting communicators from diverse backgrounds with different communication styles could also help politicians and public health officials reach more Canadians from different demographics during the pandemic.

“We need a whole science communication squad to be getting these messages out in their own ways,” she said. 

“We need all of them if we’re going to reach all Canadians.”

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Meet Mapletron: Why Chase Claypool could become the best Canadian NFL player ever

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

On Sunday afternoon in a mostly empty stadium in Pittsburgh, a largely unknown 22-year-old NFL rookie from Abbotsford, B.C., scored four touchdowns — three receiving, one rushing — to help the undefeated Steelers to a 38-29 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

In many ways, what Chase Claypool did was a fluke. A lot has to go right for even the best players to reach the endzone four times in one day. It’s happened eight times in the NFL in the past five years, and no rookie has done it since 2012.

But the man himself is no fluke. It may seem extremely early to say this about someone who’s four games into his pro career, but Claypool has all the ingredients to become the greatest NFL player Canada has ever produced. Here’s why:

His college pedigree

Claypool played four years at Notre Dame, which is not what it used to be but is still one of the better football programs. In his senior season last year, he put up monster numbers: 66 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games.

His body

Plenty of guys post impressive college stats and are never heard from again. NFL football is a different game. The players are bigger and stronger and yet somehow also faster, smarter and more athletic than they are in college. But what drew pro scouts to Claypool — and compelled Pittsburgh to use their second-round draft pick on him — was that he combined those big numbers at Notre Dame with NFL-grade physical traits.

In fact, even by the superhero-like standards of the NFL, Claypool’s body and athleticism stand out. At the scouting combine held before his draft, he measured in at 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in an astonishing 4.42 seconds. Only one man at least that tall and at least that heavy has run that fast in the history of the combine: Calvin Johnson, who’s one of the best receivers in history and was such a renowned super-human physical freak that he was nicknamed “Megatron.” After Sunday’s performance, some have started calling Claypool “Mapletron.”

“He has got some God-given abilities that not many people in this world have,” veteran Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “He’s big, fast and strong and he’s very, very smart.”

His skills

NFL history is littered with players who had the body of a Greek god and put up jaw-dropping workout numbers but never developed the technical precision required to achieve true greatness. Like any rookie, Claypool still has work to do in that department. But his impressive college stats suggest he came into the pros with a solid foundation, and he put his impressive skill set on display in the four-touchdown game.

Two of Claypool’s TDs on Sunday, including the run, came on plays that started within five yards of the end zone and were mostly the result of excellent play designs and blocking. It says something that the Steelers’ coaches chose to give him the ball on those plays. But any reasonably skilled receiver or running back probably could have done the job.

The other two touchdowns better showcased Claypool’s tantalizing combination of athleticism and technical skills. He used those to get open against his primary defender, secure the catch and finish the play all the way to the endzone. His second TD of the day was the most impressive. On that one, he beat the man pressing him at the line of scrimmage with some excellent footwork to get wide open immediately and catch Roethlisberger’s pass. A safety moved in to stop him, but Claypool roasted him with a quick lateral move, turning what should have been a nice 15-yard gain into a 35-yard, highlight-reel touchdown.

CBC Sports’ Dion Caputi, who’s an expert on NFL prospects and has covered the draft for years, likes what Claypool has shown so far. He’s also bullish on the receiver’s chances to get even better because of the “commitment and work ethic” that’s evident when studying tape of Claypool.

“There’s no degree of randomness to [his success] either,” Caputi says. “He’s exhibiting a real penchant for breaking press coverage at the hands of many big, physical modern NFL boundary corners he tends to be matched against.

“He creates his own opportunities with savvy route-running ability but can rely on his vertical skills and length to compensate when adjustments are required.”

Read more about Claypool in this story by Dion.

His surroundings

Claypool really lucked out when Pittsburgh drafted him. Besides being one of the best-run and most consistently successful franchises in football, the Steelers have an outstanding track record in developing receivers they drafted outside the first round. Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Heinz Ward and Mike Wallace are among the middling prospects Pittsburgh has cultivated into stars in recent years.

Better yet, this year’s Steelers team surrounds Claypool with talent. Roethlisberger is in his twilight, but he’s a future hall-of-fame QB who still likes to sling it around. Smith-Schuster is a good No. 1 receiver, James Conner a solid running back and the offensive line is strong (a Steelers trademark). The defence is among the best in the NFL, so it’s often getting the ball back in the offence’s hands quickly. And Mike Tomlin is one of the most respected head coaches in the league.

His competition

To be honest, Canada has not produced a ton of good NFL players. Yes, Super Bowl MVP quarterback Mark Rypien, receiver Nate Burleson and two-way legend Bronko Nagurski were all born in Canada. But they moved to the States when they were toddlers, so we can’t really give the Canadian football system credit for their success.

As far as NFLers who were actually born and raised in Canada, many of the standouts are kickers. Eddie Murray was named a first-team All-Pro after his rookie season with Detroit in 1980, won the Super Bowl following the ’93 season with Dallas and stayed in the NFL into his mid-40s. Steve Christie, also an All-Pro as a rookie, spent 15 years in the league, hit numerous clutch kicks to help Buffalo win the last two of its four consecutive AFC titles and still holds the record for longest field goal in Super Bowl history. Another Oakville, Ont., native, Mike Vanderjagt, was for a time the most accurate leg in NFL history before the “idiot kicker” wore out his welcome with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.

Honourable mention, as well, to defensive lineman Israel Idonije, who had a solid decade-long career (mostly with Chicago) in which he totalled 29 sacks, topping out with eight in 2010. And also to Kansas City offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a key member of the unit that protected Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes last year. The aspiring medical doctor opted out of this season to continue his work on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic in his native Quebec. His greatness clearly extends beyond the gridiron.

No disrespect to kickers and linemen — they’re unfathomably good at what they do. But they’re generally not stars. Football fans (especially casual ones) focus on the so-called “skill positions”: quarterback, running back, receiver, tight end. Those are the guys who rack up points for your fantasy football team, whose names go on replica jerseys, who get the cute insurance-company commercials.

Considering that, the bar Claypool needs to clear to be considered Canada’s greatest-ever NFL player is probably Rueben Mayes. The running back from North Battleford, Sask., had a phenomenal first season for New Orleans in 1986, rushing for 1,353 yards and eight touchdowns to win the offensive rookie of the year award. But his production tailed off after that and his career was cut short by injuries. Mayes was a significant player for only four seasons, finishing with 3,484 yards rushing, another 401 receiving and 23 touchdowns.

Mayes is also something of a cautionary tale for those hyping Claypool (like, for example, this newsletter). Pro football is an exciting but brutal way to make a living. Even the most talented and toughest players are always one snap away from a career-threatening injury (ask Dak Prescott). So Claypool has a long way to go and a lot of bullets to dodge. But all the pieces are in place for him to become the best player this country has ever sent to the NFL.

You’re up to speed. Get The Buzzer in your inbox every weekday by subscribing below.

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