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In today's Morning Brief, we look at what politicians and health experts say about Canadians getting their COVID-19 vaccinations abroad.

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Should Canadians get vaccinated abroad? Liberals, Tories skirt the issue but health experts encourage it

The federal Liberals and Conservatives were both evasive when asked if Canadians abroad who have access to a COVID-19 vaccine should get a shot, but other federal leaders and health experts encourage such action if people get the opportunity.

CBC News asked the four federal political parties and health experts: Should Canadians who are snowbirds, or who are out of the country for business or other reasons, take advantage of vaccines that may be available where they are?

Cole Davidson, a spokesman for federal Liberal Health Minister Patty Hadju, would not answer the question directly, saying only that they "encourage everyone to get vaccinated when it's their turn, but we've been clear: now is not the time to travel."

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole was similarly coy about whether Canadians should be getting inoculations outside of the country. He instead slammed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's  government for being "slow and incompetent when it comes to securing vaccines for Canadians." 

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, while accusing the government of failing to secure enough vaccines, said in a statement that "Canadians should get the vaccine when they can access it, wherever they are in the world."

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul said in a statement that Canadians shouldn't be travelling for any non-essential reason, which includes to get vaccinated abroad. "However, if someone is out of Canada for an essential reason, or is currently a resident in another country in which they are eligible to be vaccinated, then they should get vaccinated," she said.

Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and an associate professor at McMaster University, said if someone could get a vaccine abroad and lower the risk to every Canadian, then so be it. "People with needs can do it. But at the end of the day, who cares. People are getting vaccinated. I would rather have more fully vaccinated people here in Canada than not," he said. Read more on this story here.

Reunited at last

(Brendan McDermid/Reuters) 

Loved ones embrace during a mass reunion event at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., yesterday. The event brought together almost three-dozen families who had been separated because of COVID-19. Dozens of vaccinated seniors from South Florida were flown in for the event, allowing some to meet their new grandchildren in person for the first time. The reunion was sponsored by the stadium, United Airlines and Marriott Bonvoy.

In brief

After a week of competing messages about the usefulness of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the federal government confirmed Thursday it will continue to procure the product — and that well over a million doses are expected to arrive between now and the end of June. And now that Health Canada has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech product for adolescents aged 12 to 15, federal officials say they expect to have enough of that product on hand to vaccinate that younger cohort by Canada Day. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said Canada will receive 665,000 doses of AstraZeneca from COVAX, the global vaccine sharing alliance, "in the coming weeks." That product, like the last COVAX delivery, is expected to come from a facility in South Korea. Read more about the vaccine shipments.

Women in Canada who are connected to the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) movement are questioning why their social media posts disappeared on a day meant to raise awareness about the issue. On May 5, many people in Canada wore red and hung red dresses and ribbons for Red Dress Day, which coincides with the National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in the United States. Emily Henderson, a Toronto-based Inuk arts and culture writer who created a four-part Instagram post Wednesday, woke up on Thursday to group messages saying the post she made, along with others meant to raise awareness for MMIWG, had vanished from her friends' Instagram stories. Read more on this story

With vaccinations spreading among Canadians, many may now wonder — when will I stop working from home? Linda Duxbury, a business professor at Carleton University, says a return to the office "is going to be a great source of conflict between employers and employees." Duxbury, who specializes in work-life balance and employee well-being, says according to a recent survey, only one in five people say they want to go back to work in-person full time. "Many employees don't ever want to go back full time.… Our data says they want a hybrid arrangement," she said. Read more about when working from home might end.

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier once discounted NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's chances of winning a seat in the House of Commons by saying he'd "never get elected with that rag on his head," according to an affidavit filed recently in an Ottawa court case. In a separate affidavit, however, Bernier says that he's not a racist and that the affidavit is the only eyewitness account of him "supposedly saying something racist" filed by the lawyer for political strategist Warren Kinsella. Bernier said Kinsella was hired to paint him and the People's Party of Canada as racist to draw support away from his fledgling party during the last election. The allegations and counter-allegations are part of hundreds of pages of affidavits and exhibits filed recently in Ontario Superior Court in an acrimonious defamation suit that pits Bernier against Kinsella. Read more on the legal case.

Prince Edward County — located east of Toronto, and south of Belleville, Ont. — has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, sending its real estate prices through the roof. Pandemic-fuelled migration to the county from the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa and Montreal has pushed house prices even higher. The boom has small business owners in the county routinely arranging or offering housing to try to secure summer staff who would otherwise be priced out of its housing market. The need for housing has the county looking west to another tourist town — Whistler, B.C. — for possible solutions. Read more about the county's housing issues.

WATCH | How one brewery built and found its staff housing in Prince Edward County:

How one brewery built and found its staff housing in Prince Edward County

CBC News Toronto

1 month ago
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Since the pandemic started, a lack of indoor dining has made takeout the only restaurant option in many places, and as a result, both the problems — and the solutions — have multiplied. At least five new startups across Canada are hoping to eliminate waste by allowing you to order your meal in reusable, returnable containers. A Friendlier Company (in Guelph, Ont.), Suppli (Toronto), Ekko (Waterloo, Ont.) and Reusables (Vancouver) are already serving restaurants and customers, while Re-Vita (Edmonton) is getting ready to launch. The pandemic might not be an obvious time to launch new services for the struggling restaurant industry. But many people have started ordering more takeout and feel guilty about the waste, said Anastasia Kiku, co-founder of Reusables. "We just wanted to solve this problem," she said. Read more in the latest edition of What on Earth?

Now for some good news to start your Friday: Kirsten Neuschäfer's plan to sail around the world did not include hunkering down this winter on Prince Edward Island. But the island, its people and their boat-building expertise have turned out to be just what this sailor needs. The South African-born professional sailor has her sights set on next year's Golden Globe Race, a non-stop, solo circumnavigation, and her sailboat is now on P.E.I. for an extensive refit. "I came as an outsider to Prince Edward Island. From the moment I arrived here, I've been only treated with such kindness and generosity," said Neuschäfer. "People in the community have taken a genuine interest in this project." Read how Islanders are helping out the sailor.

Front Burner: The debate over vaccine passports is here

This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that the federal government is part of ongoing international talks about vaccine certification. Canada's not the only country working on a plan to jump-start international travel with vaccine passports — some sort of system to validate if a citizen has been immunized against COVID-19 or has had a recent negative test result. Overseas, the European Union is betting on what it is calling a "digital green certificate" to eventually bring the tourism industry back to life.

But while it may sound promising, a Canadian vaccine passport poses massive logistical and ethical questions and there's growing debate about what certification could mean domestically across the country. Marie-Danielle Smith is a Maclean's writer in Ottawa who has been following this story. Today she joins CBC Montreal reporter and Front Burner guest host Antoni Nerestant to explain the latest. 

Today in history: May 7

1920: The first exhibition of the Group of Seven goes on display at the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the AGO). The seven artists were Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and Frederick Varley. Initial reviews were favourable, but only six of the 120-plus works were purchased.

1945: Germany surrenders unconditionally to western Allies and Russians at 2:41 p.m. French time at Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's headquarters in Reims, France. In Canada, celebratory rioters smash and loot downtown Halifax over two days.

1998: Chrysler announces it is merging with Germany's Daimler Benz in a $40-billion stock deal to become DaimlerChrysler AG.

2012: British Columbia formally apologizes to the Japanese Canadian community for the internment of thousands of people during the Second World War.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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