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MPs convene today and a special ramp ceremony; In The News for May 6


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 May 6 ...


COVID-19 in Canada ...

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is expected to face a grilling today from opposition parties over its handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

A small number of MPs are to convene for a once-a-week, in-person sitting of the House of Commons and they are expected to zero in on the perceived deficiencies of the billions of dollars in emergency aid programs the federal government has implemented to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic.

Among the criticisms, the outraged reaction of Canadian farmers to the $252 million in support announced Tuesday for the agri-food sector — far less than the $2.6 billion deemed necessary by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Trudeau will not be in the Commons to deflect the criticism — he is to be at a base in Trenton, Ont., for a repatriation ceremony for the six members of the Forces who died in last week's helicopter crash off the coast of Greece. 

Nor will he be giving his usual morning briefing on the COVID-19 crisis.

The absence of the prime minister and lack of any new announcements will shift the focus from what the government is doing to combat the pandemic to what opposition parties contend it is doing wrong.


In other Canadian news ...

OTTAWA — The Canadian military is to hold a special ramp ceremony today at Canadian Forces Base Trenton to repatriate remains of a service member and honour all six who died in a helicopter crash off the coast of Greece.

The Cyclone helicopter carrying six Armed Forces members crashed into the Ionian Sea on April 29. Defence officials have said it was returning to HMCS Fredericton at the end of a NATO training mission.

The remains of Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough were recovered while the other five service members on board are missing and presumed dead. The remains of one other person have been recovered but not yet identified.

Those service members whose remains were not recovered will be represented by military headgear resting on pillows to be carried by fellow military members.

Following the ceremony, a procession will proceed down the Highway of Heroes from Trenton to Toronto.


Also this ...

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — A moment of silence is planned at the Cargill meat packing plant near High River, Alberta, today to honour an employee who died of COVID-19.

Hiep Bui, who was 67, worked at the Cargill slaughterhouse for 23 years and was responsible for picking out beef bones from hamburger meat.

She became ill on her shift on a Friday, was hospitalized the next day and died on the Sunday.

The plant, which employs 2,000 people, reopened Monday after a two-week shutdown due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Bui's husband, Nga Nguyen, told reporters at her memorial that he hadn't heard from Cargill.

Cargill says it has now reached out to him and described Bui as a "long-time employee, trusted colleague and friend."


COVID-19 in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — A senior government scientist is alleging that the Trump administration failed to prepare for the onslaught of the coronavirus in spite of his repeated warnings earlier this year.

Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, also alleges in his whistleblower complaint that he was reassigned to a lesser role because he resisted political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine.

U.S. President Donald Trump has pushed the malaria drug as a treatment for COVID-19, but the Food and Drug Administration now warns doctors against prescribing it except in hospitals and research studies.


COVID-19 around the world ...

NEW DEHLI — Health officials are rushing to contain the spread of the coronavirus in India's southern city of Chennai.

A large cluster has been identified among people at one of the country's largest markets for fruit, vegetables and flowers.

The busy Koyambedu market is central to the food supply chain in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states.

It had remained open through India's nationwide lockdown but was shut after the viral cluster was detected.

Tamil Nadu has confirmed more than 4,000 cases and says many of the new cases are linked to the market.

The cluster contributed to India's biggest single-day increase in virus infections yet, 3,900 cases and 195 deaths.


COVID-19 in Sports

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the Toronto Maple Leafs' parent company has been in contact with the province about the possibility of Canada's biggest city serving as a so-called "hockey pod" for teams should the NHL resume its season.

Speaking at his daily COVID-19 media briefing Tuesday, Ford said Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has reached out, but hasn't provided any details about a potential proposal.

The NHL, which was forced to pause its schedule March 12 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has been looking at plans to centralize groups of teams in low-risk centres in hopes of resuming the 2019-20 campaign this summer.

Under one rumoured proposal, fans wouldn't be allowed in arenas and teams would be sequestered in hotels. There were 189 games left in the regular season when the NHL halted play.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said he's interested to see what the NHL and other leagues eventually propose for a resumption of play.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2020

The Canadian Press

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