Canada sanctions Russia again and bravo “Scarborough”: In The News for Apr. 11

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Apr. 11 …

What we are watching in Canada …

OTTAWA — Canada is targeting Russia’s defence industry with its latest round of sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says the new measures impose restrictions on 33 entities in the Russian defence sector.

She says the organizations have provided support to the Russian military — directly or indirectly — and are therefore complicit in the pain and suffering stemming from Vladimir Putin’s unjustifiable war in Ukraine.

The measures usher in asset freezes and prohibitions on listed entities including the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Integral SPB and Shipyard Vympel JSC.

Following Russia’s attack that began Feb. 24, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 700 individuals and entities from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Canada has levied sanctions on more than 1,100 individuals and entities.

“Canada has always and will always stand by Ukraine,” Joly said in a statement. “Today’s measures are the latest example of our unwavering support for Ukraine and its people.

“We will continue to support the brave men and women fighting for their freedom, and we demand that those responsible for atrocities be held accountable.”

Also this …

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about Budget 2022 highlights on housing investments from a podium in a family home’s backyard in Hamilton, Ont., Friday, April 8, 2022. The federal budget this year placed a heavy emphasis on transitioning to the green economy, with new investments in critical minerals and metals, expanding the availability of zero-emission vehicles and charging stations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Trudeau expected to make an announcement on electric vehicle infrastructure

VICTORIA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to be in Victoria today.

He is expected to make an announcement highlighting investments in electric vehicle infrastructure.

The federal budget tabled last week placed a heavy emphasis on transitioning to the green economy, with new investments in critical minerals and metals, expanding the availability of zero-emission vehicles and charging stations.

The new national emissions reduction plan added a goal this month that one in five new cars sold be zero emissions by 2026, and by 2030, the target is 60 per cent.

That is up from the 50 per cent goal the Liberals set less than a year ago.

Trudeau is also expected to meet with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps later in the day.

And this …

REGINA — Christine Enns said she was shocked when a rapid test showed she had tested positive for COVID-19.

Enns, who received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot, already had the virus in early February and thought reinfection was rare.

“I started feeling sick three to four days ago thinking, ‘This feels like COVID.’ I took five tests and … today it came back positive,” the bakery owner said Friday from her home in Warren, Mba., about 45 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

“It did come as a surprise to me because of all the things I put in place to not get it. Now that I had it twice, I don’t feel quite as invincible.”

Reinfection of COVID-19 was considered unusual, but then the Omicron variant arrived.

“Because Omicron is so different, previous infection doesn’t protect you,” Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said last week.

He said public health data suggests up to 10 per cent of infected Canadians who have recently had BA.2 — a sub-variant of Omicron — previously had BA.1 or a previous infection, like the Delta variant.

This aligns with recent studies done in England that suggest 10 per cent of reported cases are reinfections.

“That shows just because you got Omicron once doesn’t mean you’re bulletproof now,” Shahab said.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

SAN FRANCISCO — Tesla CEO Elon Musk won’t be joining Twitter’s board of directors as previously announced.

The tempestuous billionaire remains Twitter’s largest shareholder.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted the news, which followed a weekend of Musk tweets suggesting possible changes to Twitter, including making the site ad-free.

Nearly 90 per cent of Twitter’s 2021 revenue came from ads.

Agrawal didn’t offer an explanation for Musk’s apparent decision, although he dropped one major hint.

The Twitter board “believed having Elon as a fiduciary of the company, where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward,” he wrote.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

KYIV, Ukraine — A showdown looms in Ukraine after Russia appointed a new military commander and looked to concentrate its attacks in the east, while Ukraine’s president said his troops will hold their ground, urging Western leaders, in particular President Joe Biden, to do more.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Sunday in a nightly address that this week will be as crucial as any during the war, saying “Russian troops will move to even larger operations in the east of our state.”

Ukraine’s fate as the war shifts south and east depends on whether the United States will help match a surge in Russian weaponry, he said.

“To be honest, whether we will be able to (survive) depends on this,” Zelenskyy said in a “60 Minutes” interview. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the confidence that we will be receiving everything we need.”

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer was due to meet today in Moscow with Putin, after meeting with Zelenskyy in Kyiv. Austria, a member of the European Union, is militarily neutral and not a member of NATO.

More than six weeks of war in Ukraine has flattened cities, killed untold thousands and isolated Moscow economically and politically, and experts say the next phase of the battle may begin with a full-scale offensive that could determine the course of the conflict.

Questions remain about the ability of depleted and demoralized Russian forces to conquer much ground after their advance on the capital, Kyiv, was repelled by determined Ukrainian defenders. Britain’s Defense Ministry says Russia is trying to compensate for mounting casualties by recalling veterans discharged in the past decade.

Ukrainian authorities accuse Russian forces of committing war crimes against civilians, including airstrikes on hospitals, a missile attack that killed at least 57 people at a train station and other violence.

In entertainment …

TORONTO — The directors of “Scarborough” say the suburban drama’s standout showing at the Canadian Screen Awards is a testament to the east Toronto community that made it possible.

The book-to-screen adaptation collected three marquee prizes at Sunday’s televised bash, including best picture, making it the top film winner with a grand total of eight trophies over the weeklong celebration of cinema, television and digital media.

Leading the TV winners was CTV’s “Transplant,” which cleaned up the drama categories.

The medical show won best drama series and acting honours for leads Hamza Haq and Laurence Leboeuf, for an overall haul of eight prizes.

CBC’s gender-fluid millennial dramedy “Sort Of” nabbed best comedy series, clinching a total of three trophies for its inaugural season.

Another big winner on Sunday’s awards broadcast was CBC’s “Kim’s Convenience,” which saw stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon respectively named best lead actor and actress in a comedy series.

The prize for best feature-length documentary went to “Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy” from filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers from the Kainai First Nation.

Tailfeathers was also recognized for performing talents as best lead actress in “Night Raiders,” adding a sixth award to the Indigenous thriller’s collection.

Did you see this?

OTTAWA — The federal government has announced $100 million in additional humanitarian support to respond to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Saturday during a social media fundraiser.

“Whether it’s food, water, shelter, or medical aid — we will continue to have your backs and provide the assistance you need at this time,” Trudeau said in a statement. “We are standing up for Ukraine.”

With Saturday’s announcement, Canada has provided $245 million in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Of that, $145 million has been allocated to United Nations organizations, the Red Cross Movement, and to non-governmental organizations.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told reporters that Canada has already approved more than 30,000 applications under the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel program.

Repeating an announcement made in March, Fraser said Canada is exempting more Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion from providing biometrics before coming to Canada.

He said Canada won’t require biometrics from people under the age of 18, over the age of 60, and those with previous Canadian visas that have no immigration issues.

As well, Ukrainians arriving in Canada will be eligible for two weeks of temporary hotel accommodation and up to six weeks of income support.

Fraser said the income support will be $500 per week. He said many of the people arriving have family or other connections in Canada, so it’s unclear how many will need the temporary accommodations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Apr. 11, 2022