RCMP investigate deadly crash on Parkland County highway

The RCMP said it is investigating a fatal collision that occurred on Highway 16A in Parkland County on Monday.

Police did not say when the crash happened or how many vehicles were involved but said it unfolded near Range Road 20.

In a news release issued shortly after 8 p.m., the RCMP said traffic was being rerouted around the site of the crash to allow rescue crews and investigators to do their work

They did not say when the highway was expected to reopen.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

1 person dead, another hospitalized after home broken into in central Alberta

The RCMP is investigating a break-in at a home in rural central Alberta that left one person dead and another injured on Monday night.

Police said officers were called to a break and enter that was in progress at a residence off of C and E Trail in Red Deer County at 3:11 p.m.

“Upon arrival, police discovered that the homeowner had sustained injuries and another male in the residence had sustained a gunshot wound,” the RCMP said in a news release. “EMS attended and pronounced the male with the gunshot wound as deceased.

“The homeowner was transported to the hospital where he is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.”

Police did not say if they have any suspects in the break-in or if they have made any arrests. However, they noted “there is no ongoing danger to the public.”

The RCMP said its major crimes unit has been called in to take over the investigation.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Japan to only hospitalize seriously ill COVID-19 cases as medical system strains

WATCH: Tokyo's spike in COVID-19 cases 'not a problem' for Olympics: Japan PM

Japan will focus on hospitalizing patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19 and those at risk of becoming so while others isolate at home, officials said, amid worries about a strained medical system as cases surge in Olympics host city Tokyo.

The country has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, and is recording more than 10,000 daily new infections nationwide. Tokyo had a record high of 4,058 on Saturday.

Fewer elderly people, most of whom are vaccinated, are getting infected, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters.

“On the other hand, infections of younger people are increasing and people in their 40s and 50s with severe symptoms are rising,” he said. “With people also being admitted to hospital with heat stroke, some people are not able to immediately get admitted and are recovering at home.”

Read more:
COVID-19 resurgence hits Asia as Tokyo, Thailand and Malaysia post record cases

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, announcing the change on Monday, said the government would ensure that people isolating at home can be hospitalized if necessary.

Previous policy had focused on hospitalizing a broader category of high-risk patients.

Some worry the shift could lead to more deaths, and opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan leader Yukio Edano blasted change.

“They call it in-home treatment but it’s actually in-home abandonment,” NHK public TV quoted him as saying.

Japan on Monday expanded its state of emergency to include three prefectures near Tokyo and the western prefecture of Osaka. An existing emergency in Tokyo – its fourth since the pandemic began – and Okinawa is now set to last through Aug. 31.

The country has avoided a devastating outbreak of the virus, with about 932,000 total cases and just over 15,000 deaths as of Sunday.

But it is now struggling to contain the highly transmissible Delta variant even as the public grows weary of mostly voluntary limits on their activities and the vaccination rollout lags.

Just under 30% of the population is fully vaccinated, including three-quarters of those 65 and over.

Nearly 70% of hospital beds for seriously ill COVID-19 patients were filled as of Sunday, Tokyo data showed.

According to health ministry guidelines, seriously ill patients are defined as those needing admission to Intensive Care Units (ICU) or artificial respirators.

Read more:
Tokyo’s daily COVID-19 infections hit record high as Olympics continue

The Tokyo Shimbun newspaper said 12,000 patients were isolating at home, a 12-fold increase in the past month.

Suga and Olympics organizers say there is no link between the July 23-Aug. 8 Summer Games and the sharp increase in cases. Medical experts, however, have said holding the Olympics sent a confusing message about the need to stay home, contributing to the rise.

Unlike the voluntary restrictions and low vaccination rates elsewhere in Japan, more than 80% of the people in the Olympic village in Tokyo for athletes and coaches are vaccinated, testing is compulsory and movement is curtailed.

Organizers on Tuesday announced 18 new Games-related COVID-19 cases, bringing the total since July 1 to 294.

(Additional reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Kaori Kaneko. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

© 2021 Reuters

Calgary councillor pushing for emergency council meeting on COVID-19 data

WATCH ABOVE: With provincial health measures set to roll back on Aug. 16, there are concerns a lack of testing will lead to a lack of COVID-19 data. As Adam MacVicar reports, Calgary city councillors are weighing the options available for measures of their own.

With Alberta’s health measures set to be scaled back in two weeks, a Calgary city councillor wants her colleagues to step up to look into what options the City of Calgary has in terms of its own health measures.

Testing and isolation requirements implemented by the province during the COVID-19 pandemic are among the health protocols being lifted on Aug. 16.

“That data is essential. That data is all we have,” University of Calgary developmental biologist Dr. Gosia Gasperowicz said.

“If we know how fast the virus is growing, we know how fast we should react.”

Speaking at a fourth-straight day of protests against the public health changes outside McDougall Centre in Calgary, Ward 3 councillor and mayoral candidate Jyoti Gondek said she’d like to see the city take action on COVID-19 data collection and to look at other options.

“We’re not doctors but we are in fact able to understand what the evidence and the data is telling us,” Gondek said.

“To deny the public, and to deny policymakers access to the data is a big mistake.”

In lieu of COVID-19 testing data, Gondek is calling on the city to begin daily updates through Calgary’s emergency management agency to share data through the University of Calgary’s wastewater sample testing.

Read more:
How your sewage could help track coronavirus in your neighbourhood

The sampling and testing of wastewater began in July 2020, and researchers said the samples can detect areas with a rise in COVID-19 cases faster than provincial testing could.

“That data is awesome information — it’s probably the earliest signal that something is going wrong — so we absolutely should use it,” Gasperowicz said. “Because we’ll know not only if something is going bad in Calgary, we’ll know even where it is because you can trace where the wastewater comes from.”

Rally organizer and emergency room physician Dr. Joe Vipond said the wastewater data is helpful with providing broad data, but isn’t able to provide specific data to pinpoint exactly where there are outbreaks of the virus.

“It does not identify outbreaks,” Vipond said. “You can look at quadrants of the city and how bad it is in different areas of the city, but you can’t say Western Canada High School has an outbreak, that the Agape Hospice has an outbreak, that the McDonald’s on 4 Street has an outbreak.”

If cases continue to rise, Gondek said she will call on Mayor Naheed Nenshi to call an emergency meeting of council to discuss re-establishing some public health measures.

Masks are still required on public transit, in taxis and rideshare vehicles, but those requirements will also be lifted on Aug. 16.

Nenshi said he isn’t recommending bringing back the mask bylaw but would recall council over councillors’ August break to discuss the issue if cases dramatically rise.

“We have the power to continue requesting people to wear masks on transit. We regulate the taxi industry so we have the power to do that,” Nenshi told Global News on Friday. “But if there is a point that I need to recall council from their summer vacation because we have to put back the masking bylaw because we’re looking at an outbreak, I won’t hesitate to do that.”

Read more:
Alberta Medical Association head concerned over province lifting COVID-19 protocols

Other councillors are also in favour of reinstituting some measures, including Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell, who tweeted that she would would support reinstating the mask bylaw.

“I also support reinstating the mask bylaw,” Ward 9 councillor Gian-Carlo Carra tweeted. “Unfortunately, we will need to wait for the numbers to get worse before we’ll have the political support on (city council) to get it over the line.”

Meanwhile, Ward 13 councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart tweeted that she would be opposed to bringing back the mask bylaw, and added that it wouldn’t be enforcible.

Mayoral candidate and Ward 6 councillor Jeff Davison also took to social media to weigh in on the province’s decision to scale back measures.

“Are we really about to become the first place in the world to abandon test-trace-isolate practices?” Davison tweeted Monday. “Getting the world to take us seriously is hard enough — I worry this policy by the province is about to do us irreparable harm.”

City council is currently on summer break until September.

Duane Bratt, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, said due to the lack of power the city has in terms of health measures,  the Oct. 18 municipal election should be noted when analyzing what council decides to do with health measures.

“When we look at the COVID restrictions that the city has the capacity to do, they can’t be viewed independently of that ongoing election,” he said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

IOC probing case of Belarusian sprinter, awaiting report from country's Olympic body

WATCH: Belarusian Olympic sprinter granted Polish visa over fears for her safety

The International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday it was waiting for a report later in the day from the Belarusian National Olympic Committee on the case of sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya, after launching an investigation into the incident that has rocked the Games.

The athlete took refuge in the Polish embassy in Tokyo on Monday, a day after refusing her team’s orders to board a flight home from the Olympic Games. Warsaw has offered her a humanitarian visa.

Read more:
Olympian Krystsina Tsimanouskaya seeks asylum in Poland amid standoff with Belarus

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams told reporters the body had spoken to the athlete twice on Monday, that she was in a safe, secure place, and that the IOC needed to know all the facts before taking further action.

“We are expecting and have asked for a report from the National Olympic Committee of Belarus for today,” Adams said, adding the IOC was still gathering the facts.

“We want it (the report) today. We have decided to launch a formal investigation. We need to establish the full facts. We need to hear everyone involved.”

Asked whether an IOC decision on the matter would come during the Games, Adams said it was not possible to estimate how long the investigation would take.

“That obviously can take time. We need to get to be bottom of it. How long that will take I do not know,” he said.

Tsimanouskaya, 24, had been due to compete in the women’s 200 metre heats on Monday but said that on Sunday she was taken out of her room in the athletes’ village and driven to the airport to board a flight home after criticising team officials.

Read more:
‘I will not return’: Belarusian Olympian says she was taken to airport against her wishes

The incident has focussed attention on Belarus, where police have cracked down on dissent following a wave of protests triggered by an election last year which the opposition says was rigged to keep Lukashenko in power.

“We have also now contacted the NOC of Poland. In terms of what the IOC can for her future we have talked to them with regard to her sport, after he arrival in Warsaw if that is indeed where she chooses to end up,” Adams said.

In March, the IOC refused to recognise the election of Lukashenko’s son Viktor as head of the country’s Olympic Committee. Both father and son were banned from attending the Games in December.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken blasted Belarus’ attempt to send Tsimanouskaya home. “Such actions violate the Olympic spirit, are an affront to basic rights, and cannot be tolerated,” Blinken wrote on Twitter late on Monday.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, Editing by Himani Sarkar and Lincoln Feast.)

© 2021 Reuters

Calgary professional sports teams prepare to welcome back fans

WATCH: It’s been over a year and a half since the Calgary Stampeders and Cavalry FC have played in front of fans on home turf, but all that of that is about to change this week. As Matthew Conrod reports, the return to live, in-person sports events comes as Alberta prepares to remove more COVID-19 health protocols.

It’s been a very long time since fans of the Calgary Stampeders have been able to see their team take the field at McMahon Stadium live and in-person, and now the wait is almost over.

This upcoming Saturday, Aug. 7, the Stampeders will play their first home game since Nov. 10, 2019, when they lost to the eventual Grey Cup champions, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, in the West Semi-Final.

The team says they’ve already sold over 20,000 tickets to the contest against the Toronto Argonauts.

While there will be no capacity restrictions at McMahon, due to on-field restrictions, some seats will be blocked off and reserved for team personnel.

Read more:
‘This is a travesty’: Albertans protest COVID-19 rule rollback for second day

Before the Stampeders game, Calgary’s other “football” team, Calvary FC, will be back on the pitch Tuesday night at ATCO Field in Spruce Meadows where close to 4,000 fans are expected in the stands.

“It’s an exciting time for all of us” says Ian Allison, President and Chief Operating Officer of Calvary FC. “We’re getting the band back together. The players are here, the coaches are here and now we’re looking forward to welcoming the fans back.

Allison is also recommending fans give themselves more time to get the game due to ongoing construction near Spruce Meadows and new health measures, such as temperature checks, that the team has put in place for arriving fans this season.

A return to live, in-person sporting events does come at a precarious time, however.

COVID-19 case numbers are once again on the rise, and Alberta is only days away from effectively lifting all remaining health restrictions.

In recent days, the medical community has voiced their concern with this move, and rallies have been held in Calgary and Edmonton with people protesting the removal of restrictions.

Read more:
City council approves changes to Calgary Events Centre deal, project to move forward in 2022

Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease physician out of Mississauga, Ont., believes that while it may be premature to lift these restrictions, it’s better to do in the summer as opposed to the fall, when other respiratory illnesses become more prevalent.

On the topic of live sporting events, Chakrabarti says that to 2020, live events should be looked at differently due to vaccines.

“In this situation, vaccine coverage in the population is going to lead to a lot of dead ends in terms of viral transmission” says Chakrabarti. “It can explode the same way it did last year.”

Chakrabarti admits having thousands of screaming fans close to each other at an event will lead to transmission, but due to vaccines, large outdoor gatherings are safer than they were previously.

“Even if the cases go up, that doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing a huge spike in hospitalizations afterwards.”


© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Paramedic says Alberta Health Services COVID-19 rule changes put them, colleagues at risk

WATCH: Alberta Health Services has changed COVID-19 protocols for dispatchers and paramedics. As Jackie Wilson reports, one paramedic says the changes put them at risk.

In July, Alberta Health Services (AHS) made changes to COVID-19 protocols for dispatchers and paramedics, calling the decision a “transition to active recovery”.

According to an AHS memo obtained by Global News, as of July 15, communication officers or dispatchers no longer have to routinely screen for COVID-19 symptoms on calls with patients.

Dispatchers also no longer use the warning ‘Card 36’, which tells paramedics if a patient is presenting symptoms over the phone.

Read more:
Alberta EMS to expand ambulance transport locations beyond emergency departments

One Alberta paramedic, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, says these changes are putting them and colleagues at risk.

“With the removal of Card 36 there’s no longer a specific pathway that dispatchers can use to ask if a person is having COVID-19 symptoms… this in turn absolutely puts paramedics at an increased level of risk once they get to the patient,” they say.

“We rely fair heavily on the information that’s provides from dispatchers. To take this tool out of their toolbox at a time when there’s increasing COVID numbers and there’s more questions about the efficacy of vaccines against the delta variant,” they add.

“This will have a compounding affect on a system that’s already more stressed than people realize.”

“The EMS system in Alberta is in distress.”

AHS’ Response 

In a statement to Global News, AHS says that “treating individuals with suspected and confirmed COVID -19 will continue to be part of EMS work and our teams are well prepared to respond. EMS teams also have full guidance on COVID precautions available for their use.”

“Our communications officers (in dispatch) will no longer be screening for COVID symptoms as part of routine call evaluation. But, they can and will still use all screening tools – including asking about COVID symptoms – based on caller information,” the statement goes on to say.

Memo to AHS EMS Staff and CSP 

Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

COVID-19 pandemic did not affect Canada's preterm and stillbirth rates, study finds

New research has revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic did not not have an effect on the rates of preterm or stillbirths happening in Canada.

A study published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal analyzed over 2.4 million births in Ontario and found that there was changes in the rates of such adverse birthing events during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, lead by Sinai Health chief pediatrician and University of Toronto professor Dr. Prakesh Shah, cited several reports of shifting preterm births and stillbirths during the pandemic — including here in Canada.

According to the study, those reports were not of the same scale.

Read more:
Severe COVID-19 infections linked to higher stillbirth, preterm birth risks: study

Shah said that the the findings were “reassuring” given the initial reports of increased or decreased pregnancy complications.

“Basically what we did was we looked at the data from one period, for the last 18 and a half years of the births of the babies that occurred in Ontario, and then looked at the preterm births and the stillbirths,” Shah told Global News in an interview Saturday.

Shah and the other researchers had combed through the more than 18 years worth of data to figure out what Ontario’s “natural fluctuations” — fluctuations in the rates of preterm and stillbirths that occurred every six months — were normally like in the last 18 years before the pandemic.

His team had also took into account how pandemic-related measures and restrictions could be a factor affecting preterm birth rates in different settings, and instead focused on looking at the birth outcomes in public health units with higher positivity rates of COVID-19, like Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Ottawa.

Taking those factors into account, as well as the difference between urban and rural births as well as neighbourhoods of varying socioeconomic levels, the researchers had found that those fluctuations in premature and stillbirths were more or less the same as before the pandemic.

“The overall rate of preterm birth as well as stillbirth … was within the boundary that we would have expected,” he said. “So that’s how we concluded there was no difference.”

In order to broaden the findings of the study past that of Ontario, Shah said they had looked at another study conducted by some researchers at the Public Health Agency of Canada that measured preterm and stillbirth rates across the country from March to August in 2020.

That study had found preterm births were “unchanged” during that period compared to previous years, as well as a slight increase in stillbirths in April. Shah reasoned that the one month measurement in increase was probably a fluctuation due to natural causes as opposed to the pandemic, and that overall that study’s findings were the same as his own.

A previous study conducted by researchers at the University of Manitoba at the onset of COVID-19’s spread had found that fewer babies were being born prematurely in Canada and in several countries around the world during the pandemic.

Merilee Brockway, post-doctoral researcher at the University of Manitoba’s Azad Lab who worked on the study, said on 980 CKNW’s Mornings with Simi in August of 2020 that the apparent reduced rate of premature births happening then could be due to several pandemic-related reasons.

Read more:
Major new Calgary study tackles ‘really big problem’ of premature births

Brockway said that the rates could either be linked to expecting mothers not being forced to work regular hours late into their pregnancy anymore due to many businesses shifting to working from home practices, as well as either the reduction in air pollution or exposure to other infections which were a result of widespread lockdown measures.

In the end, Shah said he was not surprised by his study’s findings and instead said that the earlier findings on preterm birth rates were too premature.

“My thoughts would that I wasn’t surprised — I was surprised when the story started to come out ,” he said. “I think there was a story in the newspaper and TV as well.”

“That’s where I told that we need to wait, we are doing this Ontario-wide study and we need to look at it from a holistic perspective.”

with files from the Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Norway's Warholm smashes his own world record in Tokyo Olympics 400m hurdles final

A world record had been predicted but Norway’s Karsten Warholm had to utterly destroy it to hold off American Rai Benjamin and take gold on Tuesday in the men’s 400 metres hurdles, in what will go down as one of the all-time great Olympic races.

Last month, Warholm broke Kevin Young’s 29-year world mark with a time of 46.70 seconds but he blew his own record away with an astonishing 45.94 run. Benjamin pushed him all the way to take silver in 46.17, also half a second inside the old record.

Brazilian Alison dos Santos, 21, took bronze in 46.72, also inside Young’s previous best, as six of the first seven finishers set national or continental records.

“You know the cliché that it hasn’t sunk in yet? I don’t think it has, but I feel ecstatic,” Warholm said.

“I can’t believe the time, it’s so fast. A lot of the time I am asked about the perfect race. I said it didn’t exist but this is the closest I’ve ever come.

“I told myself going in to the race, remember all the work you have put in. It was the only thing missing from my (medal) collection. I can’t describe how important this is for me. This is what I do morning until night, it’s huge.”

Read more:
Andre De Grasse captures Olympic bronze for Canada in men’s 100m dash

The new carbon-technology shoes may be contributing to the rash of blazing times being seen in Tokyo but even if they had been running barefoot, the two great rivals would have put on a show to remember.

Double world champion Warholm runs every race as if he is trying to break the world record and on home soil in Oslo last month he finally got Young’s 1992 Barcelona Olympics mark off the books – and seemingly a weight off his shoulders.

With Benjamin posting 46.83 in the U.S. trials, the record was widely expected to be broken in Tokyo, but nobody could have predicted the massive bites both men took.

In perfect conditions, the two 25-year-olds hurdled beautifully and were side-by-side coming into the final straight, only for Warholm to forge clear.

When he saw the astonishing time, Warholm looked to be in shock. He ripped his vest apart and beat his chest in celebration before sinking to his knees.

Karsten Warholm, of Norway, celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 400-meter hurdles at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Karsten Warholm, of Norway, celebrates after winning the gold medal in the men's 400-meter hurdles at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Benjamin would have been equally amazed with his time, all the more so for it being only good enough for second place.

“Both of them smashed the old world record. No wonder he rips his shirt apart – he is Superman in this event,” said BBC commentator and former world 1,500m champion Steve Cram.

“I cannot believe what we’ve just seen. Two men running times you could only dream of. Dos Santos was nearly within the old world record and he was miles back.”

Former 110m hurdles world record holder Colin Jackson added: “When you talk about world records, this is up there with Usain Bolt’s time of 9.58 seconds in the 100m, up there with Flo Jo’s 10.49 seconds in the 100m.

“This is one of the most outstanding world records and I’m pretty sure that world record will outlive me.”

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Karishma Singh )

© 2021 Reuters

Trudeau talks Olympic soccer, trade and border 'collaboration' in call with Biden

WATCH ABOVE: Team Canada kicks U.S. out of running for women's soccer Olympic gold

Justin Trudeau and Joe Biden each got the chance to sports-gloat a little Monday as the two North American leaders talked for the first time since Canada and the United States appeared to part ways over their shared border.

The call, the first discussion since the pair met during a G7 sidebar in June, gave Trudeau the opportunity to needle his U.S. counterpart about Canada’s semifinal soccer win at the Tokyo Olympics.

A White House version of the call, however, suggests the U.S. president was more interested in the basket of Montreal smoked-meat sandwiches he won after Tampa Bay dispatched the Habs in the Stanley Cup final.

Biden reached out to Trudeau “to thank him for the gift of Montreal smoked meats,” the White House report said from the outset.

Read more:
Canada defeats USA 1-0 in women’s Olympic soccer

The readout said nothing about the Canada-U.S. border, where fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to cross beginning next week.

Canada, on the other hand, made a point of mentioning it.

“The prime minister and president discussed COVID-19 and agreed to continue close collaboration in the management of the Canada-U.S. land border,” said Ottawa’s rendition of the call.

Although U.S.-bound flights from Canada have never been restricted, the White House has pointedly chosen to maintain its land border restrictions, insisting — in the words of press secretary Jen Psaki — that its actions depend on public health advice, “not on the actions of other countries.”

The PMO readout also says Trudeau made the case for Canada as an economic partner, a priority message as Biden makes to look good on his promise that U.S. infrastructure spending would prioritize American firms and suppliers.

With Congress closing in on passing his signature infrastructure plan, which lays out US$1 trillion in spending on upgrading roads, bridges, water systems and high-speed internet access, Biden travelled to Pennsylvania last week to promise a stern approach.

“In recent years, ‘Buy American’ has become a hollow promise,” he told his union-friendly blue-collar audience at a Mack truck factory in Macungie, Penn.

“My administration is going to make ‘Buy American’ a reality.”

Canada has successfully negotiated exemptions in the past, notably in 2009 after then-president Barack Obama imposed his own version of the rules, and more recently under Donald Trump when the Federal Emergency Management Agency was limiting exports of personal protective equipment at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Then, of course, there’s the mother of all beacons of bilateral co-operation: the newly updated NAFTA, christened by Trump the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which features progressive new enforcement tools for climate change impacts and fairer working conditions.

“The prime minister highlighted the significant alignment between labour and environmental standards in both countries,” the PMO readout said, “and the benefits to each country of open government procurement.”

The White House version: a shared commitment “to strengthening the resilience and competitiveness of the U.S. and Canadian economies.”

In that vein, Trudeau also raised Line 5, the Canadian-owned and operated cross-border pipeline that Michigan wants shut down for fear of an environmental disaster in the Great Lakes.

He “reiterated Canada’s support for a negotiated settlement” in the dispute between the state and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., and the pair “agreed to continue to monitor developments closely.”

The two sides have a meeting with the court-appointed mediator Aug. 11 and talks are expected to wrap up by the end of the month.

Read more:
‘You’re on pal’: Biden agrees to Trudeau’s bet over Stanley Cup final

Trudeau and Biden also discussed a collective response to the wildfires currently ravaging the western half of the continent.

“Canada and the U.S. will work together to further strengthen bilateral co-operation on wildfires,” the readout said, “including by developing proposals to increase and share firefighting resources.”

Firefighters from B.C. and Alberta were among those who helped battle the flames last year as West Coast states like California and Oregon battled some of the worst fire disasters in recent history.

The leaders also called for the “immediate release” of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadian citizens detained in China since December 2018 in the fallout from that ensued from the detention of Meng Wanzhou.

Read more:
Inside Trudeau’s premiers’ meetings: New records reveal PM’s strategy on issues from Biden to COVID

The financial head of Chinese tech giant Huawei was detained by Canada at the behest of the U.S., where she is wanted on allegations of trying to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Indeed, the plight of “two Michaels,” as they’re known in Canada, was the only subject where the White House readout chose to elaborate.

Biden “condemned” the “arbitrary detention” of Kovrig and Spavor, describing the pair as “unjustly detained” and promising to “stand strong with Canada to secure their release.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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