Tag Archives: moment

Christine Sinclair’s milestone 185th goal named Canada Soccer’s Moment of the Year

Christine Sinclair’s record-breaking strike at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship in January has been named the 2020 Canada Soccer Moment of the Year.

The Canada captain scored career goal No. 185 in the 23rd minute of Canada’s opening match against St. Kitts and Nevis on Jan. 29 at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas. That moved Sinclair past retired American Abby Wambach, who had held the world record of 184 goals since 2013.

“When we think back to some of the great moments in sport, we can cherish the moment that our Canadian captain Christine Sinclair became the world’s all-time international goal-scoring record holder,” Canada Soccer president Nick Bontis said in a statement.

“To score 185 goals at the international level is an incredible feat and we may never get to see such a thing again in our lifetime. Watching Christine Sinclair lead Canada on the world stage has offered all of us some of the best memories as sports fans and as proud Canadians.”

WATCH | Sinclair weighs in on becoming all-time international goalscorer:

Canadian soccer star Christine Sinclair talks about making history with her 185th goal and has a message for the next generation. 2:56

After tying the record from the penalty spot for a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute, the 37-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., got some help from her friends on the milestone goal.

Jessie Fleming stole the ball from St. Kitts’ Calvonis Prentice, sending it to an onrushing Adriana Leon in space. Leon and Sinclair found themselves on a two-on-one and Leon passed the ball to an unmarked Sinclair, who took a touch with her left foot and then slotted the ball into the corner with her right foot from six yards out.

A smiling Sinclair turned, her arms outstretched and pumped her fists before Leon arrived to hug her. The goal celebration continued on the sideline with Sinclair rolling the ball into her teammates, who went down like bowling pins.


Behind her, the Canadian substitutes had donned goat masks to honour the Greatest Of All Time.

“Christine Sinclair, an absolute treasure to Canada and Canadian sport, is truly deserving of her remarkable achievement in setting the world’s all-time international goal-scoring record,” said Canada Soccer general secretary Peter Montopoli.

“She has been making history throughout her career, leading Canada with skill, determination, pride and honour on the international stage. There is only one Christine Sinclair and she is simply greatest of all time.”

Goal No. 184 came as Canada pressed from the get-go and a defender bundled Sinclair down in the penalty box just minutes after kickoff.

St. Kitts, then ranked 127th in the world, offered little resistance in the 11-0 loss to eighth-ranked Canada. Canada outshot St. Kitts 42-2 (16-2 in shots on target) and had 67 per cent possession.

Few saw the milestone goal with the stadium virtually empty. Mexico-Jamaica was the marquee nightcap game, no doubt because of Edinburg’s close proximity to the border.

WATCH | Top goals from the ‘Greatest of All Time’:

Canadian captain Christine Sinclair scored her 185th international goal on Wednesday to break the all-time record, so we look back at some of her best. 3:54

Sinclair’s historic goal came in her 290th career game for Canada. Wambach, who retired in 2015, compiled her total in 255 games.

Sinclair then scored goal No. 186 in a win over Mexico on Feb. 4 at the Olympic qualifier. Canada went on to finished runner-up to the U.S. at the tournament.

Canada Soccer Moments of the Year

  • 2019: Canada men’s team defeats the U.S. at the international “A” level for the first time in 34 years.
  • 2018: Canada, Mexico and the U.S. win the rights to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
  • 2017: Toronto FC wins the treble: Canadian Championship, MLS Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup.
  • 2016: Canada women’s team wins its second consecutive Olympic bronze medal after a 2:1 win over host Brazil.

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Football pioneer Emmarae Dale meets her moment in history

Emmarae Dale has been part of big games her entire life. She knows what it’s like to have pregame jitters, both as a fan and as a player.

But nothing could have prepared her for the first time she stepped on the field for the first practice as a member of her hometown Saskatoon Hilltops. 

“I was at work and two hours beforehand I was so nervous. This was actually happening. My heart was racing. I was sweating. I had to tell myself to breathe. I knew I was stepping into something big,” said the 22-year-old.

She met the moment. 

On the same field on the east side of Saskatoon, not far from the banks of the South Saskatchewan River, where Dale spent hours as a young girl watching her older brothers practise for the ‘Toppers, she put on her cleats, heaved on her shoulder pads and snapped on her blue-and-gold helmet. 

In that moment, during that first practice in early September, Dale became the first woman on the roster of a Canadian Junior Football team.

WATCH | Dale credits brothers for helping pave path:

The 22-year-old from Saskatoon embraces her role model status as the first woman to play in the Canadian Junior Football League. 5:25

“I realized the responsibility of it after that first practice,” she said. “I just thought I was a kid taking that next step. But then when it started sinking in, I definitely understood I was part of something bigger than myself. It’s going to mean a lot, to a lot of people everywhere.”

Dale is getting the full Hilltops experience so far at practice — being hit and tackled with the full weight of each player. It’s exactly how she wants it. 

“I’ve taken some pretty good shots. Pretty bruised up. No one is taking it easy and they’re showing me what the league is about. That was expected. This is a challenge. A step up. You just have to persevere through it,” she said.

Head coach Tom Sargeant says the five-foot-seven, 185-pound Dale is explosive on the field. 

“She’s always stood out. We scouted her during her time with the Valkyries,” he said, referring to the Saskatoon team of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League. “I have two daughters myself. This needed to happen. I’m just lucky to be a part of it.”

She’s the perfect candidate if there ever was one. This is not a PR stunt.— Hilltop team president Chris Hangen-Braun

Chris Hangen-Braun, team president and a former player on the Hilltops, says the support in the football community for having Dale on the team has been overwhelming.

“She’s the perfect candidate if there ever was one. This is not a PR stunt,” he said. 

And more than anything, Dale knows who’s watching her every move.

“This is going to pave the way for other girls and hopefully inspire girls everywhere that sports just don’t have to be for boys,” she said.

Dale says she doesn’t mind shouldering this responsibility — she has a football family walking alongside her every step of the way. The youngest of six children, including four big brothers, Dale learned how to tackle in the family’s backyard at an early age. They all played sports, running from field to field. 

Trying to keep up with it all are a very busy and proud mom and dad, Wendy and Darren Dale.


Hilltops coach Tom Sargeant says the five-foot-seven Dale, No. 45, is explosive on the field. (@SaskHilltops/Twitter)

“We have a calendar that I started making when the kids were young,” Wendy said. 

“It’s about five feet long. Everyone’s practices and games were on there. Soccer. Hilltops. We were always trying to figure out where we could go to see our children play.”

That calendar became Darren’s lifeline in the early days. 

“The big calendar was a godsend for me balancing work and all the games. To be able to come downstairs and look at the calendar at the end of the day.”

The Dale house was humming with a competitive spirit, they say, from card games to street hockey (Emmarae always had to play goalie) and football games in the backyard that started out as touch football and ended in tackling. The Dale children were constantly trying to find an edge to stand out. 

“Emmarae was always there playing. She was always much smaller than us but she still played to compete,” Anthony, one of her brothers, said. “That’s where the edge comes from. We all hate to lose.”


Dale was good at a number of sports growing up. The youngest of six children, including four big brothers, she learned how to tackle in the family’s backyard at an early age. (Submitted by the Dale family)

That feeling is shared by another brother, Donovan.

“Brothers aren’t allowed to fight sisters,” he said, laughing. “But scrappy touch football always turned into tackle football and she was fierce.”

The two both won championships with the Hilltops. Emmarae was their biggest fan, even going on one epic cross-country train trip with her mom to watch them compete in one of the title games.

“I made Emmarae come on the train with me to Hamilton,” Wendy said. “We left on a Thursday, we arrived one hour before the game. Three-day trip. The boys won and we got back on the train and headed home. That was a special time with Emmarae.

One of Emmarae’s favourite traditions after wins was a sweaty celebration picture with her brothers towering over her. 

“They were my heroes. I idolized them. And I have countless memories of them just sitting on me. Squishing me. So when I first got hit by one of these big [offensive] linemen out here, I was like, ‘This is not an unfamiliar position to be in,'” she said. 


Dale’s brothers Anthony and Donovan also played for the Hilltops, and she says one of her fondest memories are the celebration hugs. (Submitted by the Dale family)

Looking back on it all, Dale is in awe of how her parents juggled six kids and their work and made it all seem smooth and flawless.

“Growing up you don’t realize what they do for you. I don’t know how they did it and how they got through it. I can’t thank them enough for everything they gave us. The love and support they gave us was incredible,” she said.

And now the Dale family is back for one more push at a national title for the Hilltops. Emmarae has one year of eligibility left, because of age restrictions, pushed over to next season because of the pandemic. 

When Anthony and Donovan’s careers ended they say they never thought they’d be back at the field on game day. 

Now it’s Emmarae’s turn.

“She had to come watch us. Now we get to say to our kids, ‘Let’s go watch Emmarae play football today,'” Anthony said. “It’s just so surreal to think we can even say that. Aunty Emmarae plays for the Hilltops and the kids know that’s where we played. It’s just a really special thing.”

Wendy, the football mom, says she couldn’t be happier to be back. 

“When I came to watch Emmarae’s first practice I had that sense of, I’m home again,” she said. “The coaches were calling out to me by name. We’re just so, so proud of her.”

And for Darren, the entire journey has been something he could have never imagined — overrun with emotion when he talks about it.

“Emmarae is my youngest daughter. My baby girl. And probably the last person I thought would be on the Hilltops football team,” he said. “As she always says it is surreal. It’s so humbling. I think she’s going to do us proud.” 

Standing together on a football field with her family — Emmarae says she’s unafraid of being the first and ready to challenge any naysayers who might question her ability. 

“Just watch me play and you’ll see,” she said. “It’s not a joke and not something I’m taking lightly. Come watch me.”


Dale and her family have always been involved in sports. (Don Somers/CBC)

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Heather and Terry Dubrow on the ‘Proud Parent’ Moment of Their Daughter Max’s Coming Out (Exclusive)

Heather and Terry Dubrow on the ‘Proud Parent’ Moment of Their Daughter Max’s Coming Out (Exclusive) | Entertainment Tonight

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MLS returns to action after poignant moment of silence to protest racial injustice

Nearly 200 players took the field for an 8-minute, 46-second moment of silence to protest racial injustice before Major League Soccer’s return to action Wednesday night.

Players wore black T-shirts, black gloves and black facemasks emblazoned with Black Lives Matter. The shirts had varying slogans that included Black And Proud, Silence Is Violence and Black All The Time.

The players walked toward midfield, raised their right arms one at a time and held the pose so long that some could be seen stretching fatigued muscles afterward.

It was a poignant moment that put two of the nation’s most prominent changes over the last four months — masks and movements — at the forefront of the sport’s return.

WATCH | Players observe 8 minute, 46-second moment of silence:

Before the MLS is Back Tournament got underway, members of the Black Players for Change took to the field in a joint protest to send a powerful message about social injustice. 6:13

The group was formerly called the Black Players Coalition of MLS but changed its name this week to Black Players for Change. Originally announced on Juneteenth, the group started in the wake of George Floyd’s death with the hope of combating systemic racism both in soccer and the players’ communities. The league and the players’ union endorsed the organization.

Several other players from Orlando City and Inter Miami took a knee near midfield during the demonstration. Orlando’s Nani scored in the seventh minute of stoppage time and held on for a 2-1 victory over expansion Miami.The two in-state teams delivered their own moment of silence by taking a knee along with the referee and the line judges just before the opening kick.

WATCH | Orlando wins 1st game of MLS is Back tournament:

Nani scored seven minutes into 2nd half stoppage time to help push Orlando City SC to a 2-1 win over Inter Miami in the MLS is Back Tournament. 1:17

The national anthem was not played before or after the demonstration. MLS previously said it would not be played because no fans were in attendance.

Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. Prosecutors said that a police officer had his knee on the neck of Floyd for 7 minutes, 46 seconds — not the 8:46 that has become a symbol of police brutality.

MLS players had weeks to decide what to do prior to the MLS is Back tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World.

Tournament underway with hiccups

The league’s teams are sequestered in resorts for the duration of the World Cup-style tournament, which began with a Group A match that was the first meeting between two Sunshine State teams.

FC Dallas withdrew Monday after 10 players and a coach tested positive for COVID-19. A day later, Nashville SC’s status was thrust into doubt with five confirmed positive tests.

Nashville was supposed to play Chicago in the second game of a doubleheader Wednesday but it was postponed.

MLS shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12, after the league’s teams had each played two regular-season games.

The reboot had a considerably different feel — without fans and with plenty of concern even amid a safety bubble. Can 25 teams that include nearly 700 players plus coaches, trainers and other support staff do everything right for a month? And what’s the threshold for more positive tests?

The NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball surely have a close eye on what’s happening outside Orlando.

The NBA should get an up-close look. The league already has part of its bubble established at the ESPN venue. NBA team flags fly on every flagpole, and some areas have been sanitized and cordoned off for basketball’s return later this month.

Reyes leaves on stretcher

MLS is using three fields near the back of the complex, two of the ones the NFL used for Pro Bowl practices the last four years. The league mandated masks for everyone other than players. Coaches, support staff and media donned masks during the game. Miami star Rodolfo Pizarro, who wasn’t in the starting lineup, also wore one during warmups.

Miami’s Andres Reyes left the field on a stretcher early in the second half after a scary collision with Orlando’s Dom Dwyer. Replays appeared to show Dwyer hitting Reyes in the throat as they went for a 50-50 ball.

Reyes had trouble breathing as teammates and the referee called for help. Adding to the growing concern on the field, the emergency crew got hung up trying to gain access to him.

Security personnel struggled to open a gate, delaying the medical team’s response. It was slow enough that one of Reyes’ teammates, Juan Agudelo, ran across the field to help and ended up assisting in pulling the stretcher across the soggy grass.

Chris Mueller scored the equalizer for Orlando, getting a sliding toe on a perfect cross from Nani to the back post in the 70th minute.

Agudelo scored the first goal of MLS’ return, drilling a left-footer past Pedro Gallese to cap a play that started with two teammates on top of each other in the box.

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For some non-profits, COVID-19 isn’t just a struggle. It’s a do-or-die moment

While some of Canada’s most revered non-profit organizations are struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, others have already been defeated and forced to close their doors permanently. 

Charitable providers of social services — daycare, community venues, support groups and more — have seen a catastrophic drop in revenue, with some forced to cancel fundraising events because of physical distancing requirements while others are simply unable to operate.

That means a complete loss of user fees and other regular sources of income. Meanwhile, rent and salaries still need to be paid.

Although many charities qualify for the federal wage subsidy, that covers only part of the cost of staff.

Among the casualties so far:

  • The YMCA in Yarmouth, N.S. — a fixture on the city’s Main Street for 162 years, has closed for good; other Y locations are at risk. 
  • As many as 124 Royal Canadian Legion branches across the country either don’t have the resources to reopen, or say they won’t last longer than three months if they do.
  • The Boys and Girls Club of Canada location in Edson, Alta., has notified the community it won’t be able to reopen.
  • IMPACT Parkinson’s Centre, a small non-profit in New Westminster, B.C., closed its doors June 1, unable to “make it through to the other side,” according to a notice on its website.
  • The Old East Village Grocery in London, Ont., a social enterprise that supported disabled people dealing with food insecurity, had to shut down due to the cost of new sanitation protocols and a lack of staff.

The YMCA of Greater Vancouver makes a large portion of its revenue from membership fees, but the gyms are empty and fees have been suspended during the COVID-19 lockdown. (Ema Peter/YMCA)

Peter Dinsdale, the president and CEO of YMCA Canada, worries that its facility in Yarmouth may not be the only one to close forever.

“There could be some YMCAs that never open again, or have to merge with others in nearby communities in order to be able to open,” he said, noting that the YMCA is the biggest non-profit provider of child care in Canada.

‘Massive disruption’ in the sector

A survey conducted in April by Imagine Canada, an organization that works with charities, found that one in five of its member organizations had suspended or ceased operations. 

“The sector is not well constructed for this kind of massive disruption,” said Bruce MacDonald, Imagine Canada’s president and CEO.

He said the impact of COVID-19 has been worse than the global financial crisis of 2008-09.

“The pandemic has affected all revenue streams and all potential sources of support, so it’s way deeper and will be way more challenging to come back from.”

The organization has written to the prime minister to ask that a $ 3.75 billion grant program be established to help guarantee survival of what it calls “critical social infrastructure” across the country.

The group estimates the pandemic’s financial impact on registered charities alone to be between $ 9.5 and $ 15.7 billion, due to the loss of fundraising events, membership fees, donations and sales of goods and services.  

Although Imagine Canada said there is no data regarding the extent to which Canadians use non-profits and charities, it said the sector accounts for 8.5 percent of national GDP, and employs 2.4 million people who offer “vital services that communities rely on to thrive.”

A struggle even before the pandemic

The Boys and Girls Club of Canada, for example, is a non-profit organization that offers before and after school child-care programs at its 775 locations across the country, as well as summer camps.

The now-closed Edson location was struggling financially even before COVID-19 hit, according to president and CEO Owen Charters.

“The situation was exacerbated by the pandemic,” he said.


The Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada normally offer after school programs like this one at the Kingston and Area club. Closures due to COVID-19 mean a lack of child care. (Stevie Shipman/Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada)

Charters said mostly single working mothers across the country who are both the main caregiver and breadwinner of the family will be affected by the loss of the clubs’ child-care services. All of the locations are closed and unable to operate currently. 

“It’s going to be pretty tricky for families who thought they had support through the summer season and now they don’t,” said Charters.

Scrambling to innovate

Despite the myriad challenges, many non-profit groups continue to offer services one way or another. 

Cathy Taylor, executive director of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, says people in the field have scrambled to innovate.

“One of the things that has really struck me is the resilience of the sector,” said Taylor. “Their revenue is down tremendously, but they’re finding creative ways to service their communities.”

She said some have transformed their services “overnight,” noting how organizations that help immigrants quickly turned their English as a second language classes to virtual cafés, and food banks started shipping boxes instead of having volunteers on site to hand out groceries.

“There have been amazing stories of local mental health services and seniors’ programs going online,” she said.

Hundreds of Legion branches in trouble

The Royal Canadian Legion says it has continued to offer support to veterans during the pandemic.

“Throughout our closure every one of our 1,381 service officers across the country has maintained a virtual presence,” said executive director Steven Clark. “They were virtually accessible at all times.”

Legion volunteers have continued to make meals for seniors and deliver prescription medications, among other community supports, but weddings and other social events typically held in local Legion halls have been suspended.


Legion staff like bartender Kate Fitzmaurice, seen chatting with regular Ralph Moan at a Winnipeg branch, continue to provide service to veterans during COVID-19. (Mikaela MacKenzie/Winnipeg Free Press)

More alarming was the result of a survey of branches that the Legion conducted in June.

“We found that 124 branches are in immediate danger of not being able to reopen, or they will close within three months of reopening,” said Clark.

“We have 357 others that say when they do open, they will face significant financial hardship.”

Sector calls for more government help 

The federal government has already provided some support to the sector, in the form of the $ 350 million Emergency Community Support Fund.

The Red Cross, the United Way and the Community Foundations of Canada will disburse the funds to non-profits and charities that help “vulnerable populations who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”

But that won’t be enough, according to MacDonald of Imagine Canada.

“As reserves run out and the federal government stops the wage subsidy program, there are going to be many organizations under stress,” he said.

“We are already seeing examples of organizations that won’t be able to weather the storm.”

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George Floyd’s brother urges U.S. lawmakers to seize the moment on police reform

A U.S. congressional panel confronting racial injustice and police violence on Wednesday heard an impassioned plea from the younger brother of George Floyd not to let his death in Minneapolis police custody be in vain, lamenting that he “didn’t deserve to die over $ 20.”

Philonise Floyd, 42, was testifying before the House of Representatives judiciary committee along with 11 others at the first congressional hearing to examine the social and political undercurrents that have fuelled weeks of protests nationwide and overseas.

George Floyd’s death on May 25 after a policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes was the latest in a string of killings of African-American men and women by police that have sparked anger on America’s streets and fresh calls for reforms.

“Hold them accountable when they do something wrong,” Philonise Floyd said. “Teach them what it means to treat people with empathy and respect. Teach them when necessary force is. Teach them that deadly force should be used rarely and only when life is at risk.”

“He didn’t deserve to die over $ 20,” Floyd said, referencing the call alleging counterfeit money that prompted the police to arrest his brother. “I’m asking you, is that what a Black man’s worth, $ 20?”

Meaningful change

The judiciary panel is preparing to shepherd a sweeping package of legislation, aimed at combating police violence and racial injustice, to the House floor by July 4, and is expected to hold further hearings next week to prepare the bill for a full House vote.

WATCH: Philonise Floyd’s opening statement:

Philonise Floyd asks lawmakers in Washington to make the necessary changes to ensure law enforcement is part of the solution, not the problem. 4:46

“The nation demands and deserves meaningful change,” House judiciary committee chair Jerrold Nadler said at the start of the hearing.

“We must remember that he is not just a cause, a name to be chanted in the streets. He was a man. He had a family. He was known as a gentle giant. He had a rich life that was taken from him far too early and we mourn his loss,” Nadler said.

It is unclear how much, if any, agreement exists on the Democratic proposals from Republicans, who control the Senate. As well, there could be pushback at the state or local level, where many decisions about policing resources are carried out.

Other witnesses included attorney Ben Crump — who has served as attorney for a number of victims’ families, including Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery — and Pastor Darrell Scott, a member of Republican President Donald Trump’s National Diversity Coalition.

WATCH l What House Democrats are asking for:

Democrats in Washington pushed a sweeping police reform package, including a ban on chokeholds and expanded racial bias training, as the debate over police reform goes from city halls across the U.S. to Capitol Hill. 2:46

Crump named several African Americans who have been killed in recent years as a result of police interactions and said “it’s way past time we revise the role of police to become peacekeepers and community partners.”

Crump said the use of force by officers should be commensurate with the threat faced, and he decried the so-called “Blue Shield,” a term used to describe a culture in which police colleagues are encouraged to remain silent over abuses within their ranks.

Scott testified he has been racially profiled and pulled over because of the colour of his skin, but he accused Democrats of being reactionary and taking advantage of Floyd’s killing to advance pet causes.

Scott said the rates of violent crime in too many urban centres beg for an increase in police presence.

House Republicans, like Trump, have responded to protests largely by underscoring their support for police and accusing Democrats of wanting to cut off police funding altogether.

Republican calls defunding ‘insanity’

Ohio Republican Jim Jordan condemned Floyd’s death as a tragedy in his opening statement but stressed that the    vast, vast majority of law enforcement officers are responsible, hardworking, heroic first responders.”

Jordan characterized calls to defund the police as being “pure insanity.”

Jordan earned immediate praise from Trump on Twitter for his opening statement.


The push for defunding is favoured by many progressive groups and activists but opposed by a number of top Democrats including presumptive nominee Joe Biden.

“We need to root out systemic racism across our laws and institutions, and we need to make sure black Americans have a real shot to get ahead.” Biden wrote in an opinion piece published in USA Today on Wednesday.

‘Out of crisis comes opportunity’

The Republican witness list includes the partisan Fox News host Dan Bongino and Angela Underwood Jacobs to speak. Her brother, Patrick Underwood, was a federal officer gunned down last week in Oakland, Calif., in circumstances that are still unclear. There have been no arrests yet in the fatal shooting.

“America is in pain and she is crying. Can you hear her?” said Underwood Jacobs, who is Black.


Lancaster, Calif., city council member Angela Underwood-Jacobs speaks on Wednesday. Her brother was fatally shot last week by an unknown assailant. It is not clear if the killing was tied to protests over George Floyd’s death. (Michael Reynolds/Reuters)

Underwood Jacobs condemned looting and violent acts that have been outgrowth of the nationwide protests and urged the lawmakers to invest in “economic justice” measures in education, jobs and housing that can lift the prospects of the disadvantaged.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo also said it was time to look at some of the root causes that drive criminal behaviour and that the time to enact meaningful reform was “long overdue.”

“Out of crisis comes opportunity,” he said.

Acevedo said his department answers 1.2 million calls annually and that they are disproportionately located in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

Ron Davis, chair of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, criticized the Trump administration and its Justice Department for essentially doing away with civil rights mechanisms at its disposal to hold local police departments accountable for their behaviour, a practice the Barack Obama administration encouraged.

On the weekend, a majority of the Minneapolis city council declared their intention to disband the city’s police force. The move comes in response to the killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin — a member of that force — and to other local instances of police brutality. Today on Front Burner, we talk about the growing “defund police” movement that says scaling down police budgets and spending the money on social services could be a way to protect civilian lives. 28:33

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Oprah Winfrey Recalls the Moment She Discovered She Was Trending for an Ugly False Accusation

Oprah Winfrey Recalls the Moment She Discovered She Was Trending for an Ugly False Accusation | Entertainment Tonight

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Beijing’s pandemic response is China’s ‘Chornobyl moment,’ critics say

China is getting its own “Chornobyl moment” due to Beijing’s attempts to hide and distort key scientific data on the COVID-19 pandemic and its crackdown on whistleblowers questioning the government’s response to the outbreak, say the authors of an open letter published Tuesday.

The letter, signed by more than 100 experts, politicians and activists, compares China’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak to the Soviet Union’s initial response to the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, when it took Moscow three days to acknowledge the accident and the threat its radioactive fallout posed to neighbouring countries.

The letter comes amid reports that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has launched a crackdown on Chinese journalists reporting critically on the COVID-19 crisis and is now censoring scientific research on the origins of the pandemic.

‘A coverup’ by Beijing

“While the exact source and spread of the virus are not clear yet, the question of origin is highly important, for the people of China and for all humankind: only by understanding how this global disaster could emerge we can prevent it from happening again,” the letter says.

“The roots of the pandemic are in a coverup by CCP authorities in Wuhan, Hubei province.”

China expert and former Canadian diplomat Charles Burton, one the people who signed the letter, said he was very concerned about Chinese disinformation campaigns suggesting that the novel coronavirus originated in the United States and was brought to China by U.S. athletes participating in the Military World Games in Wuhan last October, or that it may have originated in Italy.

Burton said the attempt by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian to blur the fact that the Chinese government had dissembled about person-to-person transmission of the novel coronavirus, and had not provided the World Health Organization (WHO) with accurate data, was a serious problem.

Misinformation kills: Burton

Based on that false information Canada received from the WHO, the federal government did not close Canadian airports to Chinese travellers until relatively late in the process, allowing the virus to spread in Canada, Burton told Radio Canada International.

“I think that it is important that the fact of the matter should be laid bare so that we can avoid future incidents where Chinese misinformation leads to the loss of Canadian lives,” Burton said.


WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The WHO has been criticized by former Canadian diplomat Charles Burton for providing false information about the human to human spread of COVID-19 (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

Had Canadian authorities known earlier that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be passed from human to human, they would have moved sooner to restrict travel from China and initiate more robust quarantine and contact tracing measures on travellers from there, Burton said.

WHO denies downplaying the pandemic

The open letter also claims that, under China’s influence, the WHO initially downplayed the pandemic — a claim officials at the UN health body strenuously deny.

WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said that on Jan. 22, the organization issued a statement saying that there was evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan but more investigation was needed to understand the full extent of transmission.

On Jan. 30, after the first cases of human-to-human transmission were reported outside of China, the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), Jasarevic said.

‘A self-inflicted wound’

“We should never forget that China’s Chornobyl moment was a self-inflicted wound,” the letter says. 

The Communist government silenced Chinese doctors who wanted to warn other health professionals during the early stages of the outbreak, the letter added.

The letter claims that Dr. Ai Fen, who accused her superiors of trying to suppress her warnings about the novel coronavirus, can no longer appear in public after accepting a domestic media interview, while her colleague Dr. Li Wenliang  — who tried to warn his colleagues about the virus and was detained by Chinese authorities for “spreading rumours” — died while fighting the virus in Wuhan.


A recovered patient (C in wheelchair), 98, is discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, the makeshift hospital for the COVID-19 coronavirus patients, in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province in early March. (AFP via Getty Images)

Media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders says it believes that Ai, the head of the emergency department at Wuhan Central hospital, is now missing — apparently as a result of her criticism of censorship in an interview with a Chinese state-owned magazine.

More recently, reporters who have spoken critically about Beijing’s response to the pandemic have disappeared and are probably being held in isolation in China’s vast network of prisons and camps, Burton said.

“The are likely under Chinese imprisonment and being [subjected] to what is common in Chinese imprisonment, which would be torture and interrogation and sensory deprivation, such as we know from consular reports … has been the case with our own citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor,” Burton said.

The pandemic has laid bare the risks involved in the suppression of information and freedom of expression in China, Burton said.

“This doesn’t just impact people inside China such as the Uighurs in Xinjiang, who are currently being subject to a program of cultural genocide that the Chinese government describes as reeducation, or other groups,” Burton said. “This impacts the whole global community in an increasingly globalized and internationalized world.”

Officials at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa could not be reached for comment.

Stop politicizing the pandemic, say Chinese scholars

Beijing has denied misrepresenting or hiding information about COVID-19 and has pointed to the fact that Chinese scientists openly shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with the global scientific community on Jan. 12.

Communist officials argue that Western countries wasted the precious time bought for them by the tremendous sacrifices made by tens of millions of Chinese citizens — who endured weeks of severe quarantine measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In an earlier open letter, a group of 100 Chinese scholars urged their American counterparts to refrain from “politicizing the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Facing the most dangerous infectious disease in a century, these criticisms help neither China, the U.S., nor the world, to curb the spread of the virus,” the letter by Chinese scholars read.

The letter argued that questions about the origin of the virus “are unimportant and finger-pointing is demeaning and hurtful to everyone.”

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Frightening moment as Boychuk takes skate to face in Canadiens’ victory over Islanders

Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist in Montreal’s three-goal first period, and the Canadiens went on to a 6-2 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.

Joel Armia also had a goal and an assist, and Jeff Petry, Charles Hudon, Paul Byron and Jordan Weal also scored for the Canadiens, and Phillip Danault had two assists. Carey Price stopped 20 shots to improve to 14-6-4 against the Islanders.

“We were pretty solid in all areas,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “We scored goals by going to the net, we created some traffic there. We played well defensively. We didn’t give them much.”

Montreal improved to 4-1-1 in its last six games and pulled seven points behind the Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets, who hold the wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference, with Carolina, the Rangers and Florida also in between.

“We still have minimal chances for the playoffs,” Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen said. “We have to take it game by game.”

WATCH | Habs’ win keeps playoff hopes alive:

Montreal wins 6-2, trails N.Y. Islanders and Columbus by 7 points in battle for wild card spot. 0:53

Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock scored for the Islanders, who have lost four straight and eight of their last 10 games (2-6-2). Thomas Greiss gave up three goals on 12 shots in the first period. Semyon Varlamov replaced him to start the second and finished with 12 saves.

Trailing 4-0, Anders Lee appeared to get the Islanders on the scoreboard 17 seconds into the third as Andy Greene sent the puck at the net from the left side and it deflected off Lee’s skate and in. However, the officials reviewed the play and disallowed the goal, ruling Lee made a distinct kicking motion.

Josh Bailey then stole the puck from Price behind the net, and passed in front to Nelson, who put it into the open goal for his 24th at 6:14. It ended a scoreless drought of 153:03 for the Islanders, who last scored in the first period at St. Louis on Thursday before being shut out at home against Boston on Saturday.

WATCH | Boychuk injured by skate blade:

Islanders defenceman Johnny Boychuk is cut when he is hit in the face by the skate of Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen. 0:49

‘It’s a scary situation’

Islanders defenceman Johnny Boychuk was cut when he was hit in the face by Lehkonen’s skate as the Canadiens’ left wing fell forward. Boychuk was down on the ice briefly before he got up and skated off the ice with his hand covering his face.

New York coach Barry Trotz didn’t have an update on Boychuk after the game.

“I think he’ll be OK, but it doesn’t matter, it’s a scary situation,” Lee said. “You hate to see that happen. It happens quick, skate in the face. We’ll check on him here, that’s where our minds are right now, that’s for sure.”

Boychuk’s brother, David, indicated through social media that the veteran defenceman had escaped serious injury.



 

Weal pushed the Canadiens’ lead to 5-1 with his eighth with 4 1/2 minutes left, and Pulock pulled the Islanders back within three on a power-play goal less than a minute later.

Armia then sealed the win with an empty-netter with 2:50 to go,

With the Islanders on their first power play of the game, Devon Toews turned over the puck in the defensive zone. Armia got the puck and passed to the middle to Byron, who beat Varlamov for his fourth with 7:25 left in the second to make it 4-0.


Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher, centre, celebrates with teammates Artturi Lehkonen (62) and Phillip Danault after scoring during the Canadiens’ 6-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday. (Kathy Willens/The Associated Press)

New York was unable to muster anything on its second power play later in the second, and heard boos from the home crowd in the closing minutes of the period.

“I don’t think they had much to cheer for,” Lee said. “We didn’t give them anything. I wouldn’t be cheering either.”

Montreal took the lead with three goals in a 5:03 span late in the first period.

Gallagher got the Canadiens on the scoreboard as he deflected a shot by Ben Chiarot from the left circle up over Greiss’ shoulder for his 22nd with 6:29 to go.

Petry doubled Montreal’s lead 2:12 later as he beat Greiss with shot fro above the left circle. It was Petry’s 11th of the season and gave him one in two straight games.

Hudon made it 3-0 when he got the puck near the middle of the blue line, skated up to the left and fired a shot off the left post and in with 1:26 left in the opening period. Hudon, playing in his 12th game of the season, got his first goal since Nov. 10, 2018, against Vegas.

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