Residents of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia were searching for answers on Monday, a day after a gunman dressed as a policeman went on a rampage, killing at least 18 people in the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history.
The motives of suspected gunman 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, who was killed in an apparent confrontation with police on Sunday in Enfield, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast, remain unknown.
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Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said there is “in excess of 19 victims”. The RCMP commissioner later said there were at least 18 victims. It was unclear whether Leather’s figures included the gunman.
The victims were all adults, both men and women. “It appears that some of the victims were known to the suspect,” Leather said during a news conference on Monday afternoon.
He said police were investigating at 16 separate crime scenes in Portapique, where the shooting began, and other communities.
Questions around how families, friends and communities will be able to mourn the dead during the COVID-19 pandemic – with social distancing rules in place – have also compounded many peoples’ grief.
“Nova Scotia is devastated,” Mike Savage, the mayor of the province’s largest city, Halifax, said on Twitter on Monday morning. “As we wait for more details of this horrific crime there is an ominous silence that is unprecedented in my lifetime.
“This will not define us as a Province, but it has shaken us to our core.”
The shooting began around 11:30pm on Saturday night in Portapique, Nova Scotia, a small, rural community about 130km (80 miles) north of Halifax, and it continued for several hours on Sunday in various locations.
Wortman was disguised as a police officer and was using a car that closely resembled those used by members of the federal police force, the RCMP, local media reported.
An RCMP officer, Heidi Stevenson, was killed in the shooting. Stevenson was a 23-year veteran of the force and a married mother of two children.
“Two children have lost their mother and a husband his wife. Parents lost their daughter and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague,” Nova Scotia RCMP said in a statement on Sunday.
“I brought flowers to honour her memory and let the Stevensons know there’s people here standing with them, and we’re going to keep them in our thoughts,” Jesse Casavechia, who knew the family, told CBC News on Monday.
“We’re devastated by this loss and I can’t even imagine what they’re feeling.”
RCMP lights brighten a memorial placed earlier in the day by Dave Brown at Portapique, Nova Scotia, Canada, after a mass shooting [John Morris/Reuters]
Lisa McCully, an elementary school teacher, was also among those killed.
McCully was known “not only as a passionate teacher, but as a shining love” in the lives of her friends, family members, colleagues and students, said the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, which confirmed her death.
“There are no words to capture the loss Nova Scotia has suffered today. This is a devastating time for all communities affected across our province,” NSTU President Paul Wozney said in a statement on Sunday.
McCully’s sister, Jenny Kierstead, said the family’s “hearts are broken” by their loss. “Our condolences go out to the other family members who are affected by this tragedy. Thank you for your support, it’s a hard day.”
Two healthcare workers – veteran nurse Heather O’Brien and continuing care assistant Kristen Beaton – were also killed in the shooting, the Victorian Order of Nurses Canada (VON Canada), a non-profit medical charity, confirmed on Monday.
O’Brien was a “wife, mother and grandmother” who “shared her deep caring of others as a VON nurse for nearly 17 years”, the group said in a statement, while Beaton, a wife and mother, was “caring and compassionate”.
“We mourn their loss, and we mourn for their families,” said VON Canada President and CEO Jo-Anne Poirier.
Deadliest in Canada’s history
The shooting is the deadliest in Canadian history, surpassing 1989’s Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, Quebec, which left 14 women dead.
RCMP officers stand on Portapique Beach Road after Gabriel Wortman, a suspected shooter, went on a rampage in Nova Scotia [John Morris/Reuters]
In a news conference on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that “such a tragedy should never have occurred”.
“Violence of any kind has no place in Canada. We stand with you and we grieve with you, and you can count on our government’s full support during this incredibly painful time,” he said.
Trudeau added that while the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent people from mourning together in-person, an online vigil for the victims will take place on Friday evening.
“As we learn more about what happened yesterday, it’s important that we come together to support communities.”
Canada aluminum tariffs upset automakers, brewers
The U.S. and Canada are locked in another tariff war barely a month after a major North American trade pact took effect, flummoxing carmakers who would prefer to let the deal play out and brewers who say the standoff will raise costs during challenging economic times. President Trump said he is protecting American workers by…
The U.S. and Canada are locked in another tariff war barely a month after a major North American trade pact took effect, flummoxing carmakers who would prefer to let the deal play out and brewers who say the standoff will raise costs during challenging economic times.
President Trump said he is protecting American workers by imposing a 10% levy on some aluminum products imported from Canada. His action Thursday could benefit top U.S. aluminum producers, underscoring the Trump campaign’s “America First” message as the president competes with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden for the votes of blue-collar workers on Election Day in three months.
But the tariff dispute erupted just weeks after the U.S., Mexico and Canada reached a hard-won agreement to cut red tape and integrate their economies. Canadian officials pledged retaliation, raising the specter of higher costs for cans of beer, air conditioning units, washing machines and other products.
“The timing is just terrible. The USMCA trade agreement is barely a month old, the economy is fresh off the worst quarter in American history and here comes a tax increase on something everyone uses. It makes no sense politically, let alone economically,” said Ryan Young, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Jim McGreevy, president and CEO of the Beer Institute, said the tariffs will result in higher costs for brewers during an economic downturn.
“For the beer brewer, I can tell you actions like yesterday’s raise the cost of production,” he told The Washington Times on Friday. “And aluminum is the single-highest input cost [for breweries].”
The U.S. imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum in 2018, kicking off a tit-for-tat exchange. The countries lifted the levies last year to clear the path for negotiations to create the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The president said last week that Canada is violating its side of the bargain.
“My administration agreed to lift those tariffs in return for a promise from the Canadian government that its aluminum industry would not flood our country with exports and kill all our aluminum jobs, which is exactly what they did. Canadian aluminum producers have broken that commitment,” Mr. Trump told factory workers Thursday during a stop in Ohio, a must-win state in November.
He said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer looked at the data and said the decision to reimpose the 10% tariff was justified.
“The aluminum business was being decimated by Canada,” Mr. Trump said. “Very unfair to our jobs and our great aluminum workers.”
Analysts said U.S. imports of unalloyed aluminum jumped in recent months, but mostly because of depressed prices during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Critics say the White House is overreacting.
Clifford Sosnow, chairman of Fasken’s International Trade and Investment Group, said a closer look at the data doesn’t show a “flood” of Canadian imports.
“The president is looking at the last several months, at a COVID-related issue, and saying the sky is falling and we have a national security issue,” he said.
The Aluminum Association of Canada said monthly fluctuations resulting from market forces do not justify the change.
Jean Simard, the association’s president and CEO, said shipments of basic aluminum ingots rose because it was impossible to shut down smelters during a slowdown of separate aluminum shipments to carmakers, which were forced to shutter during the height of the pandemic. He called Mr. Trump’s tariffs an “electoral ploy” at odds with the spirit of the USMCA.
“It doesn’t make any sense. It’s an oxymoron. It’s a self-contradiction. There’s no market logic to what’s happening. It’s politically driven,” Mr. Simard said in a phone interview.
Canadian officials on Friday called Mr. Trump’s decision “ludicrous” and ill-timed and said they plan to hit $2.7 billion in American goods with retaliatory tariffs.
“These tariffs are unnecessary, unwarranted and entirely unacceptable. They should not be imposed,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said. “Let me be clear: Canadian aluminum is in no way a threat to U.S. national security, which remains the ostensible reason for these tariffs. And that is a ludicrous notion. On the contrary, Canadian aluminum is essential for U.S. industry.”
She said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is consulting with business leaders on a “long and detailed list” of products with aluminum so it can impose dollar-for-dollar reprisals within 30 days.
Ms. Freeland said the tariffs will exacerbate the fallout from the pandemic, which is hitting the U.S. hard.
“By imposing these tariffs, the United States has taken the absurd decisions to harm its own people at a time when its economy is suffering the deepest crisis since the Great Depression,” she said. “Any American who buys a can of beer or soda, or a car or a bike, will suffer. In fact, the very washing machines manufactured at the Whirlpool plant where the president made his announcement yesterday will become more expensive for Americans and less competitive with machines made elsewhere in the world as a result of these tariffs.”
Trade experts said people on both sides of the border will suffer as importers pass the costs of tariffs down the supply chain.
“The problem with retaliation is you end up shooting yourself in the foot,” Mr. Sosnow said. “At the same time, what you’re doing is causing harm to the ordinary consumer.”
Bob Pease, president and CEO of the Brewers Association, said the tariffs will increase costs for his members and create another headache in a tough year.
“It’s an additional straw that’s being added to the camel’s back. We’re in an economy where my members are seeing their revenues decline,” said Mr. Pease, whose trade association represents small and independent craft breweries.
It’s unclear how long the standoff will last.
Analysts say Mr. Trump is unlikely to back off before the election, and the main question is whether steel is implicated, too, a situation that would have an outsized impact on automakers.
The American Automotive Policy Council said last week that the administration “should let the USMCA’s groundbreaking steel and aluminum requirements achieve their intended effect, rather than reimposing tariffs on key trading partners.”
Ms. Freeland said she is confident that the steel trade between Canada and the U.S. is “balanced, reciprocal and mutually beneficial.”
“My policy with this U.S. administration,” she said, “is hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
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UK, US, Canada accuse Russia of hacking virus vaccine trials |NationalTribune.com
Britain, the United States and Canada accused Russia on Thursday of trying to steal information from researchers seeking a COVID-19 vaccine. The three nations alleged that hacking group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear and said to be part of the Russian intelligence service, is attacking academic and pharmaceutical research institutions involved in coronavirus vaccine…
Britain, the United States and Canada accused Russia on Thursday of trying to steal information from researchers seeking a COVID-19 vaccine.
The three nations alleged that hacking group APT29, also known as Cozy Bear and said to be part of the Russian intelligence service, is attacking academic and pharmaceutical research institutions involved in coronavirus vaccine development.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre made the announcement, which was coordinated with authorities in the US and Canada.
“It is completely unacceptable that the Russian Intelligence Services are targeting those working to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement. “While others pursue their selfish interests with reckless behaviour, the UK and its allies are getting on with the hard work of finding a vaccine and protecting global health.”
The persistent and continuing attacks are seen by intelligence officials as an effort to steal intellectual property, rather than to disrupt research. The campaign of “malicious activity” is ongoing and includes attacks “predominantly against government, diplomatic, think-tank, healthcare and energy targets,” the National Cyber Security Centre said in a statement.
Countries around the world are racing to find a vaccine for COVID-19 [File: Dado Ruvic/Reuters]
It was unclear whether any information was stolen but the centre says individuals’ confidential information is not believed to have been compromised.
Moscow rejected the allegations.
“We have no information on who could have hacked pharmaceutical companies and research centres in Britain,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the TASS news agency.
“We can only say this: Russia has nothing to do with these attempts.”
The director of operations for the British cybersecurity centre, Paul Chichester, urged “organisations to familiarise themselves with the advice we have published to help defend their networks”.
The statement did not say whether Russian President Vladimir Putin knew about the vaccine research hacking, but British officials believe such intelligence would be highly prized.
A 16-page advisory made public by Britain, the US and Canada on Thursday accuses Cozy Bear of using custom malicious software to target a number of organisations globally. The malware, called WellMess and WellMail, has not previously been associated with the hacking group, the advisory said.
“In recent attacks targeting COVID-19 vaccine research and development, the group conducted basic vulnerability scanning against specific external IP addresses owned by the organisations. The group then deployed public exploits against the vulnerable services identified,” the advisory said.
The US Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency warned in April that cybercriminals and other groups were targeting COVID-19 research, noting at the time that the increase in people teleworking because of the pandemic had created potential avenues for hackers to exploit.
Vulnerable targets include health care agencies, pharmaceutical companies, academia, medical research organisations and local governments, security officials have said.
It is unclear whether any information actually was stolen but the centre says individuals’ confidential information is not believed to have been compromised [Kacper Pempel/Reuters]
The global reach and international supply chains of these organisations also make them vulnerable, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in an alert published in conjunction with its counterparts in Britain.
CISA said it and the British cybersecurity agency have detected the threat groups scanning the external websites of targeted companies and looking for vulnerabilities in unpatched software. It did not name any of the targeted companies.
US authorities have for months levelled similar accusations against China. FBI Director Chris Wray said last week, “At this very moment, China is working to compromise American health care organisations, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions conducting essential COVID-19 research.”
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