Premier Doug Ford complains to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of ‘no action’ on borders to tackle COVID-19

Premier Doug Ford is escalating his calls to Ottawa for tighter border controls to limit the spread of COVID-19.After three unsuccessful requests for action from his cabinet ministers to their federal counterparts, Ford has written Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly.“I want to thank you again for your collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Progressive Conservative premier, who has worked closely with the Liberal prime minister throughout the 14-month crisis, wrote Wednesday.His letter was released to the public Thursday.“Ontarians, and all Canadians, expect their governments to work together, and that is why I am once again asking for your help to address the issues at our borders,” wrote Ford, adding he is “disappointed” the province’s recommendations have not been heeded.On April 22, Ford’s government asked for a reduction in “incoming international flights to lessen the mobility of COVID-19 variants and roll out further protective actions at the Canada-U.S. land border.”Four days later, the Tories asked for pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for “all domestic air travellers entering Ontario, consistent with the requirements for international flights.”Then, on April 29, they demanded the “loophole” at Canada’s international land borders be closed “by implementing a mandatory 3-day hotel quarantine in federally designated hotels at the highest traffic crossings” like Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, and Windsor.“To date, there has been no action on any of these requests and no indication that anything is coming,” complained Ford.“As you are aware, Ontario is currently fighting an extremely challenging third wave fuelled by variants, including the B.1.1.7 variant that has now become the dominant strain in the province,” he noted.“Recently, we have also seen new travel-related cases of the B.1.617 variant in Niagara, Ottawa, and London, and confirmed cases of the P1 variant in Hamilton.”Ford said over the past fortnight, 40 domestic and 24 international flights landed at Pearson International Airport with confirmed cases of COVID-19.“Unfortunately, because there is currently no testing requirement for domestic travellers, passengers who may have been exposed on the domestic flights are immediately able to move around within Canada.”The premier added that over that same two-week time frame, “172,000 individuals, excluding essential truck drivers, have crossed Canada’s international border” and many of these travellers entered at the land border to bypass mandatory hotel quarantine.” His border push to Ottawa comes at the same time as the PC party is airing campaign-style TV, radio, and online ads, attacking Trudeau over the borders.Last week, the prime minister said “if the Ontario government wants to do more to restrict the volume of people coming into Ontario, we are more than happy to work with them on it.” But he chided the provincial Tories for their ad blitz.“It’s been a week since we’ve received that request directly from the premier, that they haven’t followed up on, except with personal attacks, which doesn’t make sense and frankly won’t help Ontarians.”Trudeau said he told Queen’s Park he could impose stricter limits on temporary foreign workers, farm workers, and international students.Ford will meet with reporters later Thursday where he expected to announce that Ontario’s stay-at-home order, in effect since April 17, will be extended to June 2. It had been slated to expire May 19.That order has, among other things, closed golf courses and tennis and basketball courts in a bid to limit mobility that scientists say contributes to the spread of COVID-19.About 8,400 Ontarians have died from the virus since it struck in March 2020.Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Premier Doug Ford complains to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of ‘no action’ on borders to tackle COVID-19

Premier Doug Ford is escalating his calls to Ottawa for tighter border controls to limit the spread of COVID-19.

After three unsuccessful requests for action from his cabinet ministers to their federal counterparts, Ford has written Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directly.

“I want to thank you again for your collaboration during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Progressive Conservative premier, who has worked closely with the Liberal prime minister throughout the 14-month crisis, wrote Wednesday.

His letter was released to the public Thursday.

“Ontarians, and all Canadians, expect their governments to work together, and that is why I am once again asking for your help to address the issues at our borders,” wrote Ford, adding he is “disappointed” the province’s recommendations have not been heeded.

On April 22, Ford’s government asked for a reduction in “incoming international flights to lessen the mobility of COVID-19 variants and roll out further protective actions at the Canada-U.S. land border.”

Four days later, the Tories asked for pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for “all domestic air travellers entering Ontario, consistent with the requirements for international flights.”

Then, on April 29, they demanded the “loophole” at Canada’s international land borders be closed “by implementing a mandatory 3-day hotel quarantine in federally designated hotels at the highest traffic crossings” like Fort Erie, Niagara Falls, and Windsor.

“To date, there has been no action on any of these requests and no indication that anything is coming,” complained Ford.

“As you are aware, Ontario is currently fighting an extremely challenging third wave fuelled by variants, including the B.1.1.7 variant that has now become the dominant strain in the province,” he noted.

“Recently, we have also seen new travel-related cases of the B.1.617 variant in Niagara, Ottawa, and London, and confirmed cases of the P1 variant in Hamilton.”

Ford said over the past fortnight, 40 domestic and 24 international flights landed at Pearson International Airport with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“Unfortunately, because there is currently no testing requirement for domestic travellers, passengers who may have been exposed on the domestic flights are immediately able to move around within Canada.”

The premier added that over that same two-week time frame, “172,000 individuals, excluding essential truck drivers, have crossed Canada’s international border” and many of these travellers entered at the land border to bypass mandatory hotel quarantine.”

His border push to Ottawa comes at the same time as the PC party is airing campaign-style TV, radio, and online ads, attacking Trudeau over the borders.

Last week, the prime minister said “if the Ontario government wants to do more to restrict the volume of people coming into Ontario, we are more than happy to work with them on it.”

But he chided the provincial Tories for their ad blitz.

“It’s been a week since we’ve received that request directly from the premier, that they haven’t followed up on, except with personal attacks, which doesn’t make sense and frankly won’t help Ontarians.”

Trudeau said he told Queen’s Park he could impose stricter limits on temporary foreign workers, farm workers, and international students.

Ford will meet with reporters later Thursday where he expected to announce that Ontario’s stay-at-home order, in effect since April 17, will be extended to June 2. It had been slated to expire May 19.

That order has, among other things, closed golf courses and tennis and basketball courts in a bid to limit mobility that scientists say contributes to the spread of COVID-19.

About 8,400 Ontarians have died from the virus since it struck in March 2020.

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Supreme Court Justices Consider Hearing Dallas Hospital Case On ‘Most Offensive Word’

A worker at Parkland Hospital is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if a single workplace use of the N-word constitutes a hostile work environment.

Supreme Court Justices Consider Hearing Dallas Hospital Case On ‘Most Offensive Word’

WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to decide if a single workplace use of the N-word constitutes a hostile work environment.

Robert Collier says that during the seven years he worked as an operating room aide at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, white nurses called him and other Black employees “boy.” Management ignored two large swastikas painted on a storage room wall. And for six months, he regularly rode an elevator with the N-word carved into a wall.

Collier ultimately sued the hospital, but lower courts dismissed his case. Now, however, at a private conference Thursday, the Supreme Court will consider for the first time whether to hear his case. Focusing on the elevator graffiti, Collier says the use of the N-word can be so damaging that it gives an employee the ability to pursue a case under Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Already, the court’s two newest members, both appointed by President Donald Trump, are on record with seemingly different views. The case is also a test of whether the justices are willing to wade into the ongoing, complex conversations about race happening nationwide. The public could learn as soon as Monday whether the court will take Collier’s case.

Jennifer A. Holmes, a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which has urged the court to take the case, says she hopes the conversations taking place nationally will push the justices in that direction.

Doing so gives the court an “opportunity to show that they’re not insensitive to issues of race,” Holmes said. And courts are “all the time” confronting workplace discrimination claims involving use of the N-word, she said. The question for the justices, she said, is just whether someone who experiences an isolated instance of the N-word can “advance their case beyond the beginning stage.”

Two of the court’s nine justices have experience with similar cases.

In 2019, as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote an opinion for a panel of three judges who unanimously ruled against a Black man who sued over alleged discrimination and had his case dismissed at an early stage. Among other things, he claimed a former supervisor at the Illinois Department of Transportation called him the N-word.

“The n-word is an egregious racial epithet,” she wrote. But she said previous cases have made clear that an employee can’t win his case “simply by proving that the word was uttered.” He also must prove that “use of this word altered the conditions of his employment and created a hostile or abusive working environment.”

Barrett’s colleague, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, has said he sees things differently.

In 2013, as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Kavanaugh was a part of a three-judge panel including now-Attorney General Merrick Garland that sided with a Black former Fannie Mae employee who sued alleging racial discrimination. The judges ruled that the man, who said he was called the N-word by a supervisor, shouldn’t have had his case dismissed at an early stage.

Kavanaugh wrote separately about “probably the most offensive word in English.” His view, he said, is that the word’s use in the workplace by a supervisor “suffices by itself to establish a racially hostile work environment.”

The Supreme Court itself has yet to squarely address the issue. The justices have said that the “mere utterance of an ethnic or racial epithet” doesn’t allow a person to sue under the Civil Rights Act’s Title VII. But in a 1998 case, the court suggested that a single, “extremely serious” incident could.

The hospital’s lawyers, for their part, have urged the court not to take Collier’s case. Parkland, the hospital where President John F. Kennedy was taken in 1963 after he was fatally shot, says the case’s “factual record … is neither strong nor clear.” And Collier himself previously said that the racial graffiti he saw “had no appreciable effect on his job performance.”

In a statement to The Associated Press, hospital spokesman Michael Malaise noted that there is no evidence “that any Parkland employee was responsible for the alleged graffiti or that it was directed specifically at Mr. Collier.” Over 70% of hospital staff members self-identify as minorities and the hospital’s “diversity is one of our strongest assets,” he said.

Collier was fired by the hospital in 2016 after a conflict with a supervisor. He brought his lawsuit after he was fired. His attorney, Georgetown law professor Brian Wolfman, declined an interview request on his client’s behalf. During a 2018 deposition, however, Collier talked about how seeing the elevator graffiti made him feel.

“I would say it was something I noticed and complained about,” Collier said. “And that every time I would have to catch that elevator by not seeing anything done about it … it was upsetting … Because I would have wanted to see it gone away pretty much instantly.”

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Source : CBS Dallas More   

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