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Docuseries depicts ‘gigantic hearts,’ stories of migrant farm workers in Ontario

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Migrant farm workers in Norfolk County in southestern Ontario tell their own stories in a four-episode documentary series.

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Lilly Singh’s network late-night show coming to an end

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The Canadian Press Published May 7, 2021 Updated May 7, 2021 Getting audio file … Audio for this article is not available at this time. This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy. Full Disclaimer Lilly Singh greets fans at the We Day event in Toronto, on Sept. 20, 2018.…

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The Canadian Press

Published May 7, 2021 Updated May 7, 2021

Getting audio file …

Audio for this article is not available at this time.

This translation has been automatically generated and has not been verified for accuracy. Full Disclaimer

Lilly Singh greets fans at the We Day event in Toronto, on Sept. 20, 2018.

Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press

Toronto-raised entertainer Lilly Singh’s NBC late-night show is coming to a close.

The YouTuber whose popularity landed her a network television gig announced on Instagram that A Little Late with Lilly Singh will end with its second season.

Singh says she’s moving on to other projects that will allow her to make “longer form content telling underrepresented stories.”

She says her company Unicorn Island Productions has signed a first-look deal with the unscripted division of Universal Television.

Singh says she’s also developing a self-starring comedy project at Netflix with “black-ish” creator Kenya Barris attached as executive producer.

A Little Late with Lilly Singh grabbed attention upon its 2019 debut for having an Indian-Canadian at the reins. It was the sole late-night show hosted by a woman of colour on U.S. network television.

“I’m beyond grateful for your support past, present and future,” Singh wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday. “And to the Late with Lilly crew, I’m so proud of the progress we made in diversifying late night.”

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Trudeau won’t state position on patent waivers for COVID-19 vaccines as pressure from MPs grows

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to a news conference in Ottawa on May 7, 2021. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press Justin Trudeau is under mounting pressure to support an international effort to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents but on Friday wouldn’t state where he stands on the matter, and an international aid group accused his…

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes his way to a news conference in Ottawa on May 7, 2021.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Justin Trudeau is under mounting pressure to support an international effort to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents but on Friday wouldn’t state where he stands on the matter, and an international aid group accused his government of blocking the effort.

At a news conference, the Prime Minister fielded six questions from journalists asking him to explain Ottawa’s position. In each case, he avoided a direct response and instead said Canada is working to build a consensus at the World Trade Organization where the issue is being debated.

“We are of course continuing to work at the WTO on a range of discussions around proposals and we look forward to moving forward on a consensus basis,” Mr. Trudeau said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports a temporary patent waiver aimed at enabling developing countries to make their own COVID-19 vaccines. He will only say his government is participating in World Trade Organization talks to figure out what the “right path forward” looks like. The Canadian Press

A coalition of members of Parliament from different parties held a news conference on Friday urging Mr. Trudeau to support the waiver. A letter sent to the Prime Minister by MPs had the support of more than 70 MPs, including more than 30 MPs from the governing Liberal Party.

NDP MP Don Davies noted how rare it is for MPs from all parties to unite on an issue. He said the MPs call on Canada to “immediately support” the waiving of intellectual-property trade rules that “are working to prevent countries from producing COVID vaccines.”

The waiver was first proposed by India and South Africa in October on a broader range of COVID-19-related patents and has the support of more than 100 countries – primarily in the developing world. However, it has languished at the WTO, where it requires unanimous support from 164 members to pass.

On Friday, the U.S. branch of the international group Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) called out Canada for doing just that.

“I can assure you that Canada is not interfering or blocking,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters.

“Countries that continue to oppose the WTO waiver, such as European Union countries, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway, Japan and Brazil must now take action, too, and decide to put people’s health before pharmaceutical profits,” the U.S branch’s executive director Avril Benoît said in a press release.

In March, The Globe and Mail reported that Canada was among a group of wealthy countries stalling the WTO talks. At the time, Canada said it was merely asking questions about the patent waiver proposal, rather than opposing it. But a leading drug-company lobby group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, in a letter to the U.S. government in March, publicly named Canada as one of several countries opposing the waiver.

On Wednesday, the United States brought renewed momentum to the waiver campaign when it surprised allies and offered support for a narrower waiver focused only on COVID-19 vaccine patents.

The change in position from the White House took place only after a significant number of Americans have been vaccinated and after months of an America-first vaccine policy. Proponents say lifting intellectual-property protections would drive down prices and increase the supply of vaccines because more companies could make the life-saving shots.

“We welcome the shift in position that the United States has brought,” Mr. Trudeau said. He added that Canada is at the WTO “figuring out what the right path forward is.”

At the news conference with Mr. Trudeau, International Trade Minister Mary Ng pointed out that Canada is already tackling other barriers to vaccine access.

“The work we have been doing and the leadership we have been providing is very much about removing all barriers to vaccine access, whether it be production or supply chain or export restrictions,” Ms. Ng said. “We’re trying to remove all barriers to access to vaccines.”

On Friday, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole clarified his party’s position and said the Tories are in favour of a temporary patent waiver.

“Conservatives support a temporary suspension to intellectual-property rules in this pandemic to help get vaccines as quickly around the world as possible,” he told reporters.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Canada should clearly be siding with the United States on the patent issue.

“We should unequivocally be in favour of the waiver without a doubt. And it’s, to me, disappointing that the Liberals are saying they’re open to a conversation. The United States has already committed to the waiver. We unequivocally should be in support of a waiver.”

Mr. Singh said it is hypocritical of the Prime Minister to appear at a coming online celebrity concert focused on global vaccine equity while not clearly advocating for a vaccine waiver.

“Trudeau is going to do a concert to raise money so that poorer countries can actually afford the vaccine,” he said. “That is ludicrous and absurd when he’s not advocating to waive the patent protection so that those countries can actually produce it themselves.”

With reports from Bill Curry and Geoffrey York

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms says she won’t seek a second term in surprise announcement

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announces that she will not seek re-election at a news conference at City Hall, in Atlanta, on May 7, 2021. Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Friday she has wrestled since her first year in office with whether to seek a second term, and this week she…

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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announces that she will not seek re-election at a news conference at City Hall, in Atlanta, on May 7, 2021.

Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Friday she has wrestled since her first year in office with whether to seek a second term, and this week she made a final decision to step aside even as she insisted she doesn’t know what she’ll do next.

“Leadership sometimes is about passing off the baton,” Bottoms told reporters at City Hall, the morning after releasing an election-year surprise public letter and video announcing that she wouldn’t run for re-election this year.

It was a stunning announcement for the 51-year-old politician who is just the second Black woman to lead Atlanta and who less than a year ago was among the women President Joe Biden considered as a possible running mate.

Bottoms called it a decision rooted in her faith, and pushed back at any notion that she is afraid of a bruising campaign. She noted she’s built a flush campaign account – with Biden’s help – and maintains a strong standing with the electorate, even as she navigates a sometimes rocky relationship with the City Council and with her one-time ally and political benefactor, former Mayor Kasim Reed.

“There is a divine voice that lives inside each of us … that may not make sense to anyone else … But when you know what you know, it becomes less and less important what other people think,” Bottoms said, adding that she considered the matter as early as the opening months of her administration.

Bottoms is the first Atlanta mayor since World War II not to seek a second term, and only one mayor since then has been defeated for re-election. She acknowledged that history Friday, saying “this is something that’s not ordinary.”

The mayor emphasized she will finish out her term, which runs through early January.

She did not rule out a future post in Biden’s administration.

“We’ll see. I can tell you being mayor with President Biden in the White House has made a world of difference,” said Bottoms, one of Biden’s earliest endorsers in a crowded Democratic primary campaign.

At the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki gave no indication a post for Bottoms is imminent, saying the mayor has indicated she’ll be entering the private sector. “She remains of course someone who the president has a fondness for,” Psaki said.

Bottoms said donors to her re-election account will receive a letter offering to refund their contributions. While Bottoms said she has no plans to “anoint a successor,” she said she’ll “make it known at the appropriate time who I will cast my vote for.”

The City Council president, Felicia Moore, has announced her candidacy. Some political observers believe Reed, who endorsed Bottoms in her 2017 bid, is angling for a return, after being dogged by a federal investigation into city contracts and finances during his administration.

Signalling a falling-out with Reed, Bottoms pledged not to interfere with her successor. “Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case, always, during my term,” she said.

The mayor also lamented the federal investigation, saying it sometimes “sucked the life out of City Hall.”

Bottoms’ tenure has been a mix of rough-and-tumble City Hall politics and an ever-brightening national spotlight for her.

She frequently travelled and appeared on national television to campaign for Biden. He later considered her for the vice presidency, though he eventually chose Kamala Harris, now the first woman to hold the national office.

Bottoms’ profile rose during the coronavirus pandemic and with attention on policing after George Floyd’s killing by a white Minneapolis officer last spring.

She drew plaudits for a nationally televised news conference in which she chided protesters to “go home” while sharing her own experiences as a mother of Black sons to empathize with citizens distraught over police violence. She pledged to review police procedures.

Yet Bottoms met criticism herself weeks later when an Atlanta police officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks. The officer, Garrett Rolfe, was fired last June, a day after he shot the Black man in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant. Rolfe was later charged with murder.

The Atlanta Civil Service Board on Wednesday reversed the firing, finding the city failed to grant Rolfe due process. Bottoms said Rolfe would remain on administrative leave while criminal charges against him are resolved.

The mayor didn’t mention Floyd or Brooks in her announcement letter, focusing instead on having given the city’s police and firefighters raises and alluding to a “social justice movement (that) took over our streets and we persisted.”

Early in her term, Bottoms eliminated cash bail in Atlanta and ended the city jail’s relationship with federal immigration enforcement agencies, joining big-city mayors around the country in criticizing then-President Donald Trump’s hard line immigration policies. Her administration navigated a cyberattack on the city’s computer systems early in her tenure.

She helped renegotiate the long-term redevelopment of “The Gulch,” part of the city’s old railroad footprint downtown. But the city did not score the biggest potential prize for the location: the second Amazon headquarters that instead is being built in northern Virginia, outside Washington, D.C.

An Atlanta native and graduate of Florida A&M University, Bottoms is the second Black woman to lead the city. She joined Shirley Franklin, who served two terms from 2002-2010. Bottoms noted her family’s deep ties to the city.

“My ancestors, direct descendants of the once enslaved, travelled by horse and buggy from the cotton fields of east Georgia in search of a better life for themselves and their children in Atlanta,” she wrote in her open letter Thursday. “I have carried their belief for a better tomorrow in my heart, their earnest work ethic in my being, and their hopes for generations not yet born on my mind, each day that I have been privileged to serve.”

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