February 16, 2022

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Military drops general from sexual misconduct file after uproar

Amid a growing public backlash and mounting anger from sexual assault survivors, the military has pulled Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe from his new role working on the military’s response to reviews of sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Journalists reported Monday that Dawe quietly returned to work in the role. The move shocked and disappointed current and former military members who have experienced sexual trauma in the Forces. They called the move tone deaf and demanded an explanation.

The story also caused division in the ranks after the military failed to issue a public statement or explain its rationale until late Tuesday night. 

Dawe was placed on leave from his role as commander of the Special Forces in May after CBC News reported that he had written a positive character reference for a soldier facing sentencing for sexually assaulting the wife of another soldier.

The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Lt.-Gen. Frances Allen, issued an apology for the handling of the case and said Dawe will no longer be in that role. Instead, he will be engaging in some sort of restorative process.

“Many, including Canadian Armed Forces members, victims, survivors and stakeholders, were informed of Major-General Dawe’s return to the workplace through the media,” Allen wrote.

“This is not in keeping with our commitment to transparency. I recognize and apologize for the harm this has caused. The release of this news should have been handled by us with greater care and consideration.”

The military is in the midst of a sexual misconduct crisis with a series of senior leaders off on leave in connection to various allegations. The military and defence department has promised cultural change, but this latest move is a setback, according to experts who study military culture. 

Simon Fraser University professor Megan MacKenzie said she was “disgusted,” saying the move signals the military is doubling down to protect senior leaders. Read more on this story here.

If Joyce Echaquan were white, she would still be alive, Quebec coroner says

(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Marie-Wasianna Echaquan-Dubé, the daughter of Joyce Echaquan, listens as coroner Géhane Kamel explains the findings in her coroner’s report into Echaquan’s death, on Tuesday in Trois-Rivières, Que. The coroner who presided over a three-week inquiry into the death of Echaquan said she believes the Atikamekw woman would still be alive today if she were white. Read more on this story here.

In brief

This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil details of his government’s plan to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory in the public service and for travellers within Canada, a source tells CBC News. The announcement is expected to include details of how the mandates will be enforced and when they will go into effect. Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland are expected to speak about the plan at a news conference scheduled for 11 a.m. ET. The federal government first announced in August its intention to make vaccines mandatory for federal public servants and travellers on planes, ships and interprovincial trains. Read more about the federal government’s plan

Alberta is expanding COVID-19 booster eligibility to more vulnerable groups as the province battles a severe wave of infections that has strained its health-care system for weeks. Starting today in Alberta, everyone who is 75 years of age or older, and First Nations, Inuit or Métis people who are 65 or older, can book a third dose of the vaccine, provided it has been six months since their last dose. The change means more than 150,000 Albertans will be eligible for booster shots by the end of October, Premier Jason Kenney said. Meanwhile, British Columbia announced it will expand the group of immunocompromised people who are eligible for a third dose of the vaccine. Third doses are already available for those in the province who are the most clinically vulnerable, including people who have had whole organ transplants, bone marrow transplants and stem cell transplants, those with blood cancers and certain immune disorders. Read more on this story here.

When Amy Studholme visited The Brick shortly after Boxing Day last year, she wouldn’t have imagined that nearly one year later, she’d still be without the appliances she ordered. Studholme had ordered a fridge, a stove and a dishwasher. The stove arrived within a few weeks, she said, but turned out to be defective; she had to pay several hundred dollars more for another that was in stock. Her dishwasher only recently arrived at the store, but now she’s waiting on her fridge, so she can bring both of the appliances home at once. Studholme is among a number of customers who told CBC News they’ve waited several months for appliances ordered during the pandemic from various stores. According to the Retail Council of Canada, ongoing global supply-chain challenges are resulting in some retailers reporting that the situation has become worse, with product delays, shortages and higher prices. Business experts and retailers are forecasting things will improve in 2022, but for those waiting on appliances now, it’s a frustrating time. Read more about the ongoing supply chain problems

For 17-year-old Toronto student Scarlett Pourmartin, Instagram has been a bit of a mixed bag. It has provided the opportunity to be part of a larger social network, exchange information and share experiences with her peers. But it’s had some drawbacks, significantly when it comes to self image and comparing herself to others. “I feel unworthy. I just don’t feel great. I don’t feel pretty. I don’t feel right. I don’t feel like I’m up to the beauty standard that women kind of have to uphold,” she said. U.S. senators last week grilled a Facebook executive after company documents, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, revealed that for the past three years, Facebook conducted studies into how Instagram, which it owns, affects its millions of young users. It found Instagram can be harmful for a significant number of users, in particular teenage girls. According to the research, about one-third of teen girls said that, when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. Read more on this story here.

Despite the fact that more than 80 per cent of eligible Canadians are now vaccinated against COVID-19, infectious disease specialists from across the country agree that people still need to be careful this year about gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend. One important aspect to keep in mind is that the COVID-19 situation is different depending on where you are. It is important to check local public health guidelines and to be aware of how much COVID-19 is circulating in your area. CBC has received many questions from readers — on everything from whether a gathering of fully vaccinated people is safe, to mixing unvaccinated kids with vaccinated seniors and eating from shared dishes. Click here for answers from three physicians to the most common questions you had. 

WATCH | While vaccines help, delta variant means precautions needed for Thanksgiving: 

Holiday gathering amid COVID-19

Anna Rupani works in an undisclosed location, in an undisclosed part of Texas helping women leave the state to get abortions elsewhere. Her group, Fund Texas Choice, is raising money to pay the average $800 US it costs to get patients transportation, food and lodging in states with freer abortion access. On Sept. 1, the demand for her group’s services exploded. That’s the day the state’s new law severely restricting abortion access went into effect. Her group used to get 10 to 15 requests per week for help, but on that first day alone, it received 42 requests, including patients needing money for interstate travel. What worries her now? That her reality is about to spread. The U.S. Supreme Court has just begun its fall session and will soon hear a case the country has spent years bracing for: One that could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that treats abortion as a constitutional right. Read more on this story from CBC Washington correspondent Alexander Panetta.

Now for some good news to start your Wednesday: As dozens of Afghan refugees start to get settled in Calgary, following a chaotic and heart-wrenching exit from their home, some have begun to feel the need for a new look to go along with their new life. The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society reached out to Goat Salon in southwest Calgary to see if they could provide free haircuts for a few of the new arrivals. That’s turned into 78 and counting. “We just feel very honoured,” said Amanda Weightman, manager of Goat Salon. “A lot of us have immigrant backgrounds, and so I think it’s an issue close to our hearts as well.” She said 20 stylists from several Calgary salons have stepped forward to provide their services for free on their days off. Read more about the free haircuts. 

Front Burner: Squid Game’s not-so-subtle message about capitalism

Netflix executives say the Korean dystopian horror Squid Game, which portrays the inequality of capitalism, is on track to be their most successful show of all time. And it should hardly be a surprise that people are hungry for this content; the pandemic has exacerbated a global wealth gap. The wealth of the planet’s billionaires grew by 54 per cent, or $4 trillion US, in the first year of the pandemic, according to the Institute for Policy Studies.

But it’s also a very Korean show in its cultural references and how it portrays inequality. The participants in the game are dressed in Korean gym-class track suits and compete in a series of uniquely Korean children’s games; one of the challenges they face involves a popular Korean candy. 

Prof. Suk-Young Kim of the University of California – Los Angeles explains that, while the premise is felt globally, this show is also a unique product of South Korea’s own cultural anxieties and economic disparities.

Front Burner20:45Squid Game’s not-so-subtle message about capitalism

Today in history: October 6

1948: A delegation from Newfoundland arrives in Ottawa to discuss the terms of union with Canada. Earlier that year, on July 22, Newfoundlanders voted in a plebiscite to become Canada’s 10th province. An agreement consummating the union was signed Dec. 11 and became effective March 31, 1949.

2000: NHL player Marty McSorley is found guilty of assault with a weapon (his hockey stick). He was granted a conditional discharge and was told to use his influence to clean up the game. He was charged in February 2000 after he attacked Vancouver Canucks forward Donald Brashear from behind. Brashear was briefly knocked unconscious by the blow and suffered a concussion.

2009: Willard S. Boyle, a scientist born in Amherst, N.S., shares the Nobel Prize in Physics with George E. Smith and Charles Kao for their work in developing the sensor that is widely used in digital cameras.

2011: A software error that occurred during a routine manoeuvre triggers Telesat’s Anik F2 satellite to shut down, causing many Canadians to lose communications for much of the day.

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