This 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy challenged himself to complete two marathons and raised over $100,000!
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This 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy challenged himself to complete two marathons and raised over $100,000!
Brought to you by Yahoo! Mobile: https://bit.ly/2PjpMiH
An envoy hired to defuse tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous commercial lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia has released a bleak interim report highlighting poor communication and a lack of trust between both sides. The report by Université Sainte-Anne president Allister Surette found perhaps the only thing the fishermen can agree on is blaming the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the situation. "The lack of trust and respect has been presented to me by many of the individuals I interviewed," Surette said in his interim report filed with Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Carolyn Bennett, minister for Indigenous-Crown relations. "Firstly, I have heard from Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties of the lack of trust in government," Surette wrote. "Added to this level of the lack of trust and respect, some interviewed also expressed the lack of trust and respect within parties involved in the fishery and I also heard of the lack of trust and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, stakeholder groups and organizations." Appointed by Ottawa Surette was named special federal representative by the Trudeau government after an outbreak of violence and protests at the launch of an Indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery by the Sipekne'katik band in St. Marys Bay last fall. The band cited the Mi'kmaq's right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 but never defined by Ottawa. The fishery was conducted outside of the regulated season for commercial lobster licence holders in Lobster Fishing Area 34, who objected saying the fishery was a blatant violation of fishery regulations. The reaction included alleged assaults, arson, blockades, volleys of wharfside profanity and online venom. It garnered international attention. The blowup capped years of tensions over an escalating Sipekne'katik food, social and ceremonial lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay that was, in some cases, used as a cloak for a commercial fishery. Lobster caught under food, social and ceremonial licences cannot be sold. In one case, a Crown prosecutor said the lobster caught under those licences from Sipekne'katik supplied an international "black market operation." Despite a number of federal initiatives to integrate the Mi'kmaq into the fishery since 1999 — including half a billion dollars for training and buying out and providing commercial licences — there has been a lack of progress defining moderate livelihood and implementing the fishery. Expectations of the First Nations were not met, leaving many of them to doubt the sincerity of DFO, Surette reported. Debate over enforcement Surette said the issue is complex and will not be easily solved. Non-Indigenous fishermen have argued there is not enough enforcement when it comes to Indigenous lobster fishing while the bands have complained of harassment. "However, the point to note on this matter, and more closely related to my mandate, seems to be the lack of clear direction from the government of Canada and the multiple facets and complexity of implementing the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood," he said in the report. Surette's mandate is not to negotiate but rather to "restore confidence, improve relations" and make recommendations to the politicians. His interim report calls for more dialogue to build trust, suggesting areas of declared common interest like conservation and marketing. A lack of information from DFO was a recurrent complaint from the commercial fishermen, said Surette. "There should be some type of formal process for the non-Indigenous to be kept up to speed, especially the harvesters, since this could affect their livelihood. Some process, even though they're not involved in negotiation, that they could have input or at least understand what's going on," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Friday. Improving communication He made three suggestions for improving communication: a clearinghouse for accurate information, a formal process for talks between the commercial industry and the government of Canada, and forums to create a "safe space" to talk on important issues without extreme emotions. Surette interviewed 85 people — 81 per cent were non-Indigenous. "In some cases, they were heavily focused on the fishery. Others said that they preferred dealing with the ministers at this present time," he told CBC News. Surette said he will be reaching out to gather more perspectives. MORE TOP STORIES
Saskatchewan will start to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses, as supplies run short. Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine will be administered up to 42 days after the first dose. Official guidelines say the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is meant to be given as two doses, 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends spacing doses 28 days apart. The National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI), a body made up of scientists and vaccine experts, say provinces should follow the dosing schedule as closely as possible, but the panel is now offering some wiggle room. WATCH | Canada's COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee approves delaying 2nd dose NACI recommends spacing out the doses up to 42 days when necessary. The recommendation is also supported by the World Health Organization and Canada's chief medical health officer. "The flexibility provided by a reasonable extension of the dose interval to 42 days where operationally necessary, combined with increasing predictability of vaccine supply, support our public health objective to protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible," reads a statement released Thursday from Dr. Theresa Tam, as well as the provincial and territorial chief medical officers of health. The same day, Saskatchewan announced it would further space out its doses. "Saskatchewan will be implementing these recommendations of up to 42 days where operationally necessary in order to deliver more first doses to eligible people," the government of Saskatchewan said in a news release. WATCH | Dr. Howard Njoo addresses questions on taking first and second dose of vaccine 42 days apart: Saskatchewan's supply runs short As of Friday, 96 per cent of the province's vaccines have been administered, and new supplies coming in are not enough to replenish what has been used. Pfizer has said it will not ship a single vial of its highly effective vaccine to Canada next week as the pharmaceutical giant retools its production facility in Puurs, Belgium, to boost capacity. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, says it's very reassuring to have the length between doses extended to 42 days. "When there's a sudden, further disruption that does present challenges," Shahab said during a news conference on Tuesday. "Most provinces are able to give the second dose of both Pfizer and Moderna within 42 days ... and that becomes very important with the disruption of shipment." Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, agreed. "It does mitigate some of the decreased doses coming in. We also know through contact with the federal government that once the Pfizer plant is back online, they'll be increasing our shipment," Livingstone said during Tuesday's news conference. Livingstone said the new shipments coming in will be allocated for an individual's first and second shot. WATCH | Canada facing delays in vaccine rollout More vaccines on the way Another shipment of vaccines will arrive in Saskatchewan on Feb. 1, says the government. The province is expecting 5,850 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine and 6,500 doses of Moderna's vaccine. The government says they will be distributed to the Far North West, Far North East, North East and Central West. A second shipment of 7,100 doses from Moderna will arrive on Feb. 22, and will be distributed to the Far North East, North East and Central East. "Our immunization team is trying to be as nimble as possible knowing that we could at any time through the pandemic receive more vaccines, but also then having to readjust our targets and still focusing on the most needy in this Phase 1, and we will continue to do that as vaccine supply keeps coming back up," Livingstone said.
REGINA — The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed American quarterback Tom Flacco. Flacco joins the Roughriders after two strong seasons at Towson University in Maryland. In his senior year, Flacco was named to the All-CAA second team, finishing the regular season with 2,831 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and just six interceptions while adding 324 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. As a junior, he finished fifth in voting for the 2018 Walter Payton Award given to the top offensive player in NCAA Division I football. That year he matched the Towson single-season record with 28 passing touchdowns and threw for 3,251 yards while also adding 742 yards on the ground. Flacco is the younger brother of NFL quarterback Joe Flacco. Saskatchewan also signed American offensive lineman Andrew Lauderdale. STAMPS SIGN SINDANI CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders have re-signed Canadian receiver Richie Sindani. The Regina native had 32 catches and 362 receiving yards over 15 games last season. He also had a catch for a two-point convert and a career-long 51-yard reception against Edmonton in the Labour Day Classic. Calgary selected Sindani in the eighth round of the 2017 CFL draft. He made the Stampeders roster in 2018 and was a member of Calgary’s Grey Cup championship team. ALOUETTES SIGN SIX MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes have signed six players, including quarterbacks Philip Nelson and Broc Rutter. Nelson took part in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' training camp in 2018 and participated in the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals rookie mini-camps a year earlier. He also played for the Dallas Renegades and for the San Diego Fleet in the defunct Alliance of American Football. Rutter was the North Central University Cardinals' starting quarterback from 2016 to 2019. He completed 309 of his 435 attempts (71 per cent) for 4,591 yards and 56 touchdowns in 15 games in his senior year. The Alouettes also signed receivers Jordan Lasley, Eli Rogers, Nelson Spruce and Reggie White Jr. TICATS RE-SIGN DEFENSIVE TACKLE HAMILTON — The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have re-signed Canadian defensive tackle Brett Wade. The Regina native has two defensive tackles, one special-teams tackle and two sacks in 20 career games with Hamilton since being selected in the second round, 15th overall, in the 2018 CFL draft. The University of Calgary product was a U Sports second-team all-Canadian in 2017. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22 , 2021. The Canadian Press
Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod says the public health directive supporting in-class learning in northern Ontario schools is more political than scientific. The community’s high school opted to keep Nbissing students online until at least February 16 after the province extended its COVID-19 pandemic emergency order. The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is one of the few in Ontario to support in-class learning, a decision panned by many in light of it closing down toboggan hills, outdoor skating rinks and snowmobile trails. “We're just trying to deal with the Covid and we just shut our rinks down and we're just kind of monitoring what provinces and municipalities are doing and making sure that we're consistent or more stringent in areas like our school being closed,” McLeod said about Nbisiing Secondary School Thursday. “It's all online right now, despite the provinces still allowing it, at least in northern Ontario, the high schools are still open,” he said, noting that seems to be out of step with what some provincial experts are saying. “I was listening to Dr. Kevin Brown. He's the co-chair of the Covid Science Table for Ontario,” said Chief McLeod. “He was giving an update to the Chiefs of Ontario and he honestly can't understand why the schools in northern Ontario are still open. And you know, that, to me was troublesome, right? ‘You have one of the top epidemiologists saying that he doesn't understand. I was expecting ‘Here, this is the data, shows this or that,” because I like listening to the data, not just listening to people rant on Facebook. But, yeah, he was lost for an answer as to why it's still open. “And so obviously it's a more political call than a science one,” McLeod said. The school posted the update on its website, as did the community. “In response to Ontario’s second declaration of emergency and to align Nbisiing with Nipissing First Nation’s response to the provincewide stay-at-home order and shutdown restrictions, Nipissing First Nation (NFN) Council has approved changes to Nbisiing’s return to in-person learning date,” it reads. “In order to keep people home as much as possible to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our community, protect vulnerable populations, and keep our school community safe, Nbisiing will continue to teach all classes virtually and will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021 (Monday the 15th is Family Day).” Nipissing FN only closed its outdoor rink in Garden Village, which is enclosed with walls and roof, because they don’t want people from outside the community taking advantage of it while their rinks are ordered closed. “Our problem with the skating rinks, as soon as North Bay and Sturgeon closed, we have to close because they all come down hours and we don't want them there,” he said. Chief McLeod did what many others are doing in response by creating their own ice sheets, whether that’s in a yard or on the lake. They can control the numbers and make it safe by following the known protocols, he added. “Well, I made one in my backyard and I Facebooked all my family members saying, ‘You want to come skating with your family, book it … just message me so I know that there's no other family there and you can have it to yourself.’” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Canada Post is telling customers to expect delivery delays due to a COVID-19 outbreak at a key mail facility in Mississauga, Ont., that has sickened dozens of workers. A spokesman says testing at the Dixie Road site has found 39 positive COVID-19 cases over the last three days. Canada Post says 182 workers at the site have tested positive since the start of the new year. Spokesman Phil Legault says the Mississauga facility is central to the crown corporation's entire national delivery and processing network. Legault says the plant continues to operate and process heavy incoming parcel volumes, but there will be delays. More than 4,500 people work at the Mississauga site. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
For years, Jordan Murphy longed to complete her weight-loss transformation with another round of cosmetic surgery. It was a matter of finding the right time. The Toronto social media influencer knew from her prior procedures that going under the knife could require weeks of bedrest. She was also conscious of the fact that medically altered beauty doesn't come cheap. But when the COVID-19 crisis cleared her calendar, Murphy found herself with a sudden abundance of time and money she would typically spend on travel and recreation. The 27-year-old filled the hours by scrolling through social media, sizing up how her body compared to others, particularly the before-and-after photos plastic surgeons posted to their feeds. "I think it just put the idea into my head: This is the perfect time to do this," said Murphy, adding that she's been barraged by questions from her online followers since documenting her "360 lift," an operation that removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, waistline and back, last summer. "(The only downside is) that I haven't been able to dress up cute and go out anywhere to rock the new bod." Murphy is one of many Canadians who plan to emerge from lockdown looking leaner, lifted or augmented in all the right places as several clinics report an uptick in demand for cosmetic procedures during the pandemic. Some cosmetic physicians say more patients are seeking out their services as the crisis has afforded people more time to scrutinize their perceived flaws, and the flexibility to get work done without raising eyebrows among friends and coworkers. But critics worry that people could be rushing into serious medical procedures as the psychological toll of the pandemic has fuelled body image issues, in part because of the distorting powers of video-chat platforms and social media. Others in the medical community, including a Quebec doctors' association, say private clinics shouldn't be performing cosmetic surgeries as COVID-19 caseloads have strained the health-care system, forcing many patients to wait for medically necessary operations. There's little data available on the number of cosmetic procedures that are performed in Canada. But according to a Google Trends analysis published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, U.S. searches for some of the most popular ones dropped off in the early months of the pandemic, before rebounding to hit two-year peaks over spring and summer of last year. This is consistent with what Dr. Mathew Mosher, president of the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is hearing from members who, in some cases, have been struggling to keep up with the increased interest in their services. "The sustained nature of the added interest has surprised many of us," said Mosher, who operates out of the YES Medspa and Cosmetic Surgery Centre in Langley, B.C. When private clinics started to reopen last spring, Mosher said surgeons were bracing for a backlog of postponed procedures, but didn't expect they'd be fielding an influx of calls from first-time patients and regulars. It's hard to gauge whether this spike in inquiries is translating into more surgical bookings, Mosher said, noting that COVID-19 precautions have curtailed many clinics' operational capacity. It also seems that demand has ebbed to some degree as many jurisdictions ramped up lockdown measures. Still, he said, it's clear that the pandemic has opened up new possibilities for patients to revamp their natural assets. While job losses have forced many Canadians into financial precarity, Mosher said those fortunate enough to have maintained a steady paycheque may have more money to spend on esthetic concerns. Moreover, he said, patients are able keep up with their professional duties while recouping at home. "Doing something that is in some ways empowering and positive has come up on the to-do list for a few more patients." While most of his patients are seizing the chance to move ahead with procedures they've been thinking about for a while, Mosher said he's also sensed a concerning "urgency" among clients who seem to be fixated on a newly detected imperfection or acting on an impulse to make a change during a stressful time. "I've seen more patients coming to the office where they frankly have been given poor advice," he said. Toronto dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll said she credits the surge in demand for cosmetic services such as Botox, lip fillers and laser peels in part to what some have dubbed the "Zoom boom." As our conversations have shifted to video conference calls, many people are spending more time staring at their own faces, and some don't like what they see. "Most people get up in the morning, brush their teeth or put on their makeup, and they don't look at themselves for the rest of the day," said Carroll. "But now, you're seeing yourself in animation all day long.... So you see things that bother you." Carroll cautions that these virtual visages probably aren't accurate, because most webcams use short focal lengths that can warp how certain features appear onscreen. But while she doesn't think anyone "needs to look a certain way," Carroll says cosmetic procedures can boost a person's confidence. "For some people, there's a real disconnect between how they feel on the inside and what they present to the world," Carroll said. "I think a lot of patients are just trying to reconnect those two parts of themselves." Catherine Sabiston, a University of Toronto professor and Canada research chair in physical activity and mental health, says the lack of in-person social interaction under lockdown means people are spending more time online comparing themselves with filtered images of others, which can negatively impact body image. The internet is also filled with counterproductive messages about the COVID-19 crisis being a time for self-improvement, feeding into the guilt many feel about changes to their exercise and eating habits, she said. As these forces conspire to make people feel bad about themselves, Sabiston said it's no surprise that people are turning to the scalpel as a quick-fix solution. The fact that cosmetic surgeries are moving forward when many patients can't access cancer treatments speaks to the social disconnect that seems to prioritize people's appearance over their health, said Sabiston. She urged authorities to adopt a more balanced approach that would allow people to access the services they need to ensure their bodies are healthy and help them feel better in them. "Our bodies are miracles in so many ways, and yet, we hone in on the appearance aspects when there's so much more to what our bodies can do," she said. "We should be putting our emphasis on how to help people so that more plastic surgery isn't necessarily the bottom line." In a statement Wednesday, the Quebec College of Physicians called for all non-essential cosmetic procedures to be postponed in light of the measures the province is taking to limit COVID-19 spread. Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters last week that the province is considering how to address the medical staffing crisis, but suggested it would be easier to bring in intensive care personnel from other regions than to enlist nurses from private care and cosmetic surgery clinics. A spokeswoman for Quebec's health ministry added that staff from private cosmetic surgery clinics can still volunteer in the public health sector without shutting down operations. In Ontario, some clinics that offer cosmetic procedures have opted to scale back services or shut down altogether. While health practices remain open under the province's latest directive, a spokesman for Ontario's health ministry said "it's up to each professional's clinical judgment to determine what services should be offered," in accordance with the rules set out by their regulatory colleges. On its website, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario says regional restrictions on personal care services, such as facials and hair removal, apply to medical practices, but clinics can continue to offer procedures that can only be performed by health-care professionals. Mosher appreciates the frustrations front-line medical workers feel as the recent surge in infections pushes health-care systems to their limits, but argues that closing private clinics will do little to assuage capacity concerns. Cosmetic surgeons report relatively low rates of complications, so there's little risk that their patients will need urgent care in overburdened hospitals, he said. Mosher said the cosmetic surgery industry isn't large enough to provide the reinforcements that hospitals require, and while some cosmetic surgery providers work in both the private and public sector, many don't have the expertise to help much with urgent care. "Health-care workers that are involved in delivering (cosmetic surgery) services would be more than happy to step up and assist if we were called upon," he said. "But like everybody else, we rely on the guidance from the health authorities." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021 Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
More than $100,000 worth of unpaid water and sewage bills could result in the Town of St. George starting to turn off the taps for some customers as soon as this spring. Town CAO Jason Gaudet said the town couldn't shut down off any delinquent accounts last year due to the province's emergency order as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that changed in October. "We'll be back shutting water off for delinquent accounts in the spring," he said. With a total water and sewage budget of $800,000 for the town annually, Gaudet said that $100,000 in unpaid bills is "like one-eighth of our budget is being held in delinquency." Without those payments coming in, Gaudet said the town's ability to maintain its aging water and sewage system is hampered. Some of that system dates back to the 1930s. It's also believed St. George has more sewage lift stations than other towns because the town is hilly. Those lifts all require maintenance. Earlier this month, St. George had a boil water advisory because of a valve and water main break. In order to fix the problem, Gaudet said the town had to repair the water main break, pay for two tests to declare the water safe to drink again, and pay the wages for the workers involved in the project, which all in total cost about $7,000. This all come out of the water and sewage fund. The funds collected are reserved for maintenance and repairs on the water and sewage system throughout the year, said Gaudet. That work can include clearing out sewage lines, rebuilding sewage lift stations, flushing testing and preparing for capital projects. "If you don't have the money there, you have to wait until it's there or postpone the project, or work," he said. "It's tough to budget for." He said he believes some St. George water customers were less inclined to pay their bills because of the past year's emergency order and they may have just forgotten during the frenetic year, but the town will be turning off service for delinquent customers this year. Typically, the town shuts the water off on the first of April or May, he said. But before that happens, final notices are sent out followed by phone calls. Customers typically have three months from the date the bill was sent out to pay, he said. Bills are sent out twice annually, in January and June. Past due notices were recently sent out, Gaudet said, noting notices are being sent out for those who haven't paid their bills as of June 2020. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
If we didn't know any better, it would have seemed that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders took a tour through Canada's North recently. The U.S. senator popped up in a series of spoof photos this week that showed him in front of Iqaluit's post office, at a handgames tournament, and all the way to Yukon, posing in front of the SS Klondike. The hilarious shots were part of a wave of Bernie Sanders memes that have cropped up after he drew fashion praise on social media for his cozy, comfortable attire at President Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, including a fuzzy pair of mittens. And northerners couldn't resist turning the photo of Sanders, cozied up on a chair with his mittens, into memes. Thaidene Paulette in Fort Smith, N.W.T., was behind the meme of Sanders playing traditional Indigenous handgames. "We basically live in the age of memes right now ... like with the internet and stuff going viral," Paulette said. "Whatever the meme may be at the moment, Indigenous people always put the best spin on it." He said he opted to put the U.S. senator into the handgames photo because it was fitting, based on Sanders' posture, which is similar to how players sit. Opposing teams of men kneel in lines and challenge each other to guess which hand an object is in — the idea is to trick the opponent into guessing the wrong hand. Paulette says Sanders could make a good handgames player in real life, calling him "pretty sly." "Those old timers are pretty good, you know, you don't think they move around too much, but once they get playing, they're into it and they can pull some tricks," he said. "So I wouldn't be surprised if Bernie's an old champ, maybe." Handgames isn't the only adventure the senator had in the North. Northerners enjoyed putting Sanders on a scene of a Nunavut government COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory's chief public health officer. And they took him on a hunting trip. He watched Yukon's well-known Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher Bhangra. And was outfitted with more traditional wear. He went to the recycle depot in Whitehorse, made a pit stop at Tags gas station downtown, and of course, dropped by the public library. Then Sanders took a load-off at the Iqaluit post office. And finally, he waited for the northern lights to dance through the sky.
There were another eight deaths related to COVID-19 reported in Saskatchewan on Friday. This follows 13 deaths that were reported on Thursday by the province. Six deaths were reported in the Regina zone with two from the 80-years-old and over age group, one from the 70 to 79-year-old age group, two from the 60 to 69-year-old age group and one from the 40 to 49 age group reported. There was also one death reported in the 80-years-old and up age group in the Central East zone and one death in the 60 to 69 age group reported in Saskatoon. The number of deaths in the province has grown to 247. There were 312 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the province on Friday. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported 38 new cases. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 139 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 58 active cases and North Central 3 has 108 active cases. There was one case with pending information added to the North Central zone. North Central now ranks fourth in the province in Active Case Breakdown behind Saskatoon, Regina and the North West. Seven previously reported cases have been found to be out-of-province residents and removed from the counts. There are currently 175 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 147 reported as receiving in patient care there are 17 in North Central. Of the 30 people reported as being in intensive care there are four in North Central. The current seven-day average is 275, or 22.4 cases per 100,000 population. Of the 21,643 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 3,196 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 18,200 after 203 more recoveries were reported. The total numbers of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 21,643 of those 55,675 cases are from the North area (2,144 North West, 2,680 North Central, 851 North East) There were 1,448 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 31,275. As of January 22, 96 per cent of the doses received have been administered in Saskatchewan. There were 101 doses administered in North Central on Thursday. An additional 46 doses, not previously reported, were administered in Saskatoon on January 20 Pfizer’s Feb. 1 allocation to Saskatchewan has been confirmed to be 5,850 doses. Moderna shipments are expected for February 1 (6,500 doses) and will be distributed to the Far North West, Far North East, North East and Central West; and February 22 (7,100 doses) and will be distributed to the Far North East, North East and Central East. There were 3,147 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Jan 14. As of today there have been 485,003 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Nearly a year to the day after the Chinese city of Wuhan went into lockdown to contain a virus that had already escaped, President Joe Biden began putting into effect a new war plan for fighting the outbreak in the U.S., Germany topped 50,000 deaths, and Britain closed in on 100,000. The anniversary of the lockdown Saturday comes as more contagious variants of the coronavirus spread and efforts to vaccinate people against COVID-19 have been frustrated by disarray and limited supplies in some places. The scourge has killed over 2 million people worldwide. In the U.S., which has the world's highest death toll at over 410,000, Dr. Anthony Fauci said a lack of candour about the threat under President Donald Trump probably cost lives. Fauci, who was sidelined by Trump, is now the chief medical adviser to Biden in an ambitious effort to conquer the virus. He told CNN that the Trump administration delayed getting sound scientific advice to the country. “When you start talking about things that make no sense medically and no sense scientifically, that clearly is not helpful,” he said. Biden signed a series of executive orders Thursday to mount a more centralized attack on the virus and has vowed to vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days, a number some public health experts say is not ambitious enough. Dr. Eric Topol, head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said the U.S. should aim to vaccinate 2.5 million a day. “This was already an emergency,” Topol said, but with more contagious mutations of the virus circulating, “it became an emergency to the fourth power.” In Britain, where a more transmissible variant of the virus is raging, the death toll hit close to 96,000, the highest in Europe. And the government's chief scientific adviser warned that the mutated version might be deadlier than the original. Patrick Vallance cautioned that more research is needed but that the evidence suggests that the variant might kill 13 or 14 people out of every 1,000 infected, compared with 10 in 1,000 from the original. Germany extended its lockdown this week until Feb. 14 amid concern about the mutant viruses. Some nations are imposing or considering new travel restrictions for the same reason. France said it will require a negative test from travellers arriving from other European Union countries starting Sunday. Canada said it may force visitors to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense upon arrival. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned the country: “No one should be taking a vacation abroad right now. If you’ve still got one planned, cancel it. And don’t book a trip for spring break,." In another apparent setback, AstraZeneca said it will ship fewer doses of its vaccine than anticipated to the 27-country EU because of supply chain problems. Amid the crisis, Japan is publicly adamant it will hold the postponed Olympics in July. Many experts believe that to pull that off, the nation will have to vaccinate all 127 million citizens, an effort that may not even begin until late February. The 76-day Wuhan lockdown began a year ago with a notice sent to people’s smartphones at 2 a.m. announcing the airport and train and bus stations would shut at 10 a.m. It eventually was expanded to most of the rest of Hubei province, affecting 56 million people. By the time of the lockdown, the virus had spread well beyond China's borders. Wuhan has largely returned to normal. The rollout of shots in the U.S. has been marked by delays, confusion and, in recent days, complaints of vaccine shortages and inadequate deliveries from the federal government as states ramp up their vaccination drives to include senior citizens as well as teachers, police and other groups. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that of nearly 40 million doses distributed to the states so far, just 19 million have been dispensed. Why there are reports of shortages when so many doses are apparently going unused is not entirely clear. But some vaccination sites are believed to be holding back large quantities to make sure that people who got their first shot receive the required second one on schedule a few weeks later. At the rate vaccines are being delivered, Alabama officials said it would take two years to vaccinate all adults in the state of 5 million people. “Every state had the idea that they were going to get much more vaccine than they ultimately got,” said Scott Harris, head of the state Department of Public Health. “There just wasn’t enough vaccine to go around.” Louisiana said it plans to set up mass vaccination events but can’t do so until it receives larger quantities of vaccine. The state said it has been receiving about 60,000 doses weekly for the last few weeks and was told by federal officials to expect similar allocations for the next month or so. “We all are asking for the exact same thing,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said of the nation’s governors. “We want more vaccine as soon as we can possibly get it, and we want more lead time to know how many doses we’re going to get so that we can do a better job of planning at the state level.” In Boston, nearly 2,000 doses vaccine were spoiled at a Veterans Affairs hospital after a contractor accidentally unplugged a freezer. Biden pledged to set up Federal Emergency Management Agency mass vaccination sites, but some states said they need more doses of the vaccine, not more people or locations to administer them. “We stand ready, willing and able to handle it,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “Trying to find FEMA set up sites, first of all, that would take like 30 days. It’s not necessary in Florida. I would take all that energy and I would put that toward more supply of the vaccine.” Brian Melley, The Associated Press
Speaking to reporters outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is thinking about getting Canadians the COVID-19 vaccine "when I wake up in the morning, when I go to bed, and every hour in between."
NEW YORK — Bob Avian, a Tony Award-winning choreographer who had a role in some of the most beloved and influential shows on Broadway, including “Dreamgirls,” “A Chorus Line,” “Follies” and “Miss Saigon,” has died. He was 83. Avian died Thursday of cardiac arrest at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said Matt Polk, head of the theatrical publicity firm Polk & Co. Tony-winner Tony Yazbeck on Twitter called Avian “a sweet and kind spirit who generously gave his creative talents to legendary works.” Marvin Hamlisch said: “His legacy will live on stage for years to come.” Avian rose from a dancer in “West Side Story” and “Funny Girl” to work alongside such theatre luminaries as Michael Bennett, Cameron Macintosh, Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was with Bennett that Avian enjoyed a long professional partnership, working as associate choreographer or assistant director on such Bennett-choreographed productions as “A Chorus Line,” “Promises, Promises,” “Coco,” “Company,” “Follies, “Seesaw” and “God's Favorite.” He was a producer on the original “Dreamgirls” and “Ballroom” and did musical staging for “Sunset Boulevard” starring Glenn Close in 1994, “Putting It Together” with Carol Burnett and the original “Miss Saigon” with Lea Salonga in 1991. Avian earned six Tony nominations and won twice, for choreographing “Ballroom” and co-choreographing “A Chorus Line.” He won an Oliver Award for choreographing Boublil and Schonberg's musical “Martin Guerre” in London. He also choreographed “The Witches of Eastwick” in the West End starring Ian McShane. Avian's association with “A Chorus Line” continued when he directed the 2006 revival on Broadway and the London revival at the Palladium in 2013. He also directed touring versions. He earned a bachelor's degree from Boston University and also studied at Boston Ballet School. In 2020, his memoir “Dancing Man: A Broadway Choreographer’s Journey” co-written with Tom Santopietro was published by University Press of Mississippi. He is survived by his husband, Peter Pileski, and a sister, Laura Nabedian. Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
The Village of Morrin will pay for repair of a frozen water line, a decision made by the Official Administrator (OA) at the regular meeting of council Jan. 20. The meeting was held via teleconference to meet pandemic rules. Harold Johnsrude, OA, mentioned at the beginning of the meeting he was going through past council meeting minutes along with Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner to address unresolved agenda items and dealt with several Public Works issues as a result. Johnsrude noted that past minutes stated that in March, 2020 the village received a $504 bill for repairing a frozen water line, and added that the village has a sewer repair policy which he asked Plachner to summarize. She stated if a landowner has a water line problem they shall contact the village before hiring a contractor, and if a contractor is hired, that may release the village from financial responsibility. However, if the water line problem is on the landowner’s property, the landowner is purely responsible. Plachner clarified that in this instance she could find no record of the landowner notifying the village of the problem. However, the CAO also stated that because of lateral line problems in that neighbourhood, her recommendation was for the village to pay for the repairs. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion for the village to pay the $504 bill. 2nd Ave N. sewer lateral lines Johnsrude asked Public Works Manager Dave Benci to report on the 2nd Ave North sewer lateral lines problem. Benci responded he found problems with a camera report but also noted four residences in that area were having flow problems that require excavation. Benci stated this was deferred in 2020 and doing it in winter would be a challenge. When asked by Johnsrude if other properties in that neighbourhood were also having flow problems, Benci responded most of the homes on that line have problems as the line has “sagged.” Benci pointed out repairing the lateral lines would require digging up pavement and sidewalks. Johnsrude responded that tearing up additional pavement and sidewalks without knowing exactly what’s wrong with other homes wouldn’t be a great idea. Benci agreed. Johnsrude then moved and passed a motion for Public Works to provide a 2021 budget amount for the four residences identified by Benci to be repaired in 2021 for the February meeting. A motion was also passed for Benci to continue working on a Public Works Policy and look at making the items covered broader. Water & Sewer Excavation policy Johnsrude clarified this policy which was also an outstanding agenda item from past meetings. He pointed out the Municipal Government Act, which gives municipal councils their authority, states that councillors have a duty to develop policies and that sometimes councillors confuse general participation in developing policies with implementing polices, which is the staff’s role. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion that the village staff would investigate what other municipalities are doing with regards to water and sewer excavation policies and report back at a future meeting. Hydrant repair Benci gave a report on hydrant testing, and stated this was done on Apr. 28, 2020 with the help of local firefighters. Some issues were identified, but then Three Hills came in to help and found that only one hydrant was actually in need of repair. Benci noted an expert on hydrant repair has agreed to put on a training workshop for Morrin and other municipalities, using Morrin's hydrant as the sample. Benci noted this will reduce the hydrant repair costs which he noted can be quite expensive. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion for Public Works to proceed with the training session and also prepare a report on hydrant repair for the 2021 budget. Machinery Park approach removal The OA asked why the Machinery Park approach removal was included in past meeting minutes despite no resolution ever having been made. Benci responded he didn’t know exactly why but stated it may have been related to the demolition of the Noble house. Benci stated when a contractor demolished the Noble house, his equipment then broke down and the contractor never returned. Benci stated the approach is barricaded off and in his opinion he saw no reason to remove it. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion that removal of this approach would be at the discretion of the Public Works department. Water plant Johnsrude noted an older agenda item about the water plant had no council resolution connected. Benci stated the village reports to Alberta Environment regularly about the water plant in accordance with provincial regulations. Benci noted a provincial inspector checks out the plant on an annual basis, if his memory served. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion that no further action on the water plant was necessary. Johnsrude motioned for an expenditure up to $1,000 for a laptop computer for Public Works. Johnsrude requested the CAO discuss with MPEngineering what they see as priority for the major projects of replacing sewer/water lines on 2nd Ave. S. or Railway Ave. S. and bring it back to the February meeting. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has suspended the sale of decommissioned RCMP vehicles, two days after a man in Nova Scotia was arrested for allegedly impersonating an officer while driving a fake police car. The suspect's 2013 Ford Taurus was a decommissioned police car and was allegedly altered to look like an unmarked police vehicle. The car was similar to the replica RCMP cruiser used by a gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia during a 13-hour rampage on April 18-19. Blair issued a statement today saying the RCMP's resale process for decommissioned vehicles ensures they cannot easily be misused for criminal purposes. The minister said, however, such sales will be suspended to ensure the process is not flawed. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said today he was pleased with Blair's decision. "It's a great first step," McNeil said, adding that the province's justice minister, Mark Furey, has been working with Blair on the police vehicle file. "We have a piece of legislation that will be introduced during the next session. It deals with (police) accessories and how to deal with municipal (police) vehicles in our province." On Wednesday, the Mounties said that in the most recent case, a 23-year-old suspect from Antigonish, N.S., may have used the car in question to pull over other vehicles in the Halifax region and Antigonish County. The vehicle was outfitted with LED lights in the rear window, a microphone on the dashboard, a public address system, citizens band radio and a push bar with LED lights mounted on the grill. Police also confirmed the suspect did not appear to have any police clothing or firearms of any kind. "It remains illegal to impersonate a police officer and we will take every step possible to prevent such crimes from taking place," Blair said in the statement. "We will continue to work so that all Canadians feel safe in their communities." The vehicle used in the April mass shooting was heavily modified with an emergency light bar on the roof and decals that looked exactly like those found on marked RCMP cruisers. Early in the RCMP's investigation of the mass killing, a senior officer said the killer's vehicle allowed him to "circulate around the province, steps ahead of our investigators." The replica vehicle was so convincing that questions were raised about the availability of former police vehicles for public purchase. The Mounties have confirmed that on the night of April 18, the killer set fire to several homes and killed 13 people in Portapique before evading police later that night while disguised as an RCMP officer. The next morning, he resumed killing people he knew and others at random before he was fatally shot by a Mountie at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., which is just north of Halifax. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's admission Friday that he might have to improve the vetting for high-level appointments sparked criticism over why he didn't figure that out before he chose Julie Payette as governor general. Trudeau named the former astronaut as Canada's 29th governor general in 2017 after disbanding a non-partisan, arm's-length committee created by the previous Conservative government to recommend worthy nominees for viceregal posts. Thursday, she resigned over allegations she created a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall, an unprecedented move for a monarch's representative in Canada. Trudeau faced questions Friday about his judgment and his government's failure to check with Payette's former employers at the Montreal Science Centre and the Canadian Olympic Committee, where she faced similar allegations of harassing and bullying subordinates. "We will continue to look at the best way to select people for viceregal appointments," Trudeau told a news conference Friday outside his residence at Rideau Cottage. "It's an important role for Canadians and we will look at how we can improve it." But Trudeau would not commit to reinstating the non-partisan, arm's-length committee to choose her successor. Payette announced her resignation about a week after the government received the damning findings of an independent investigation into allegations of harassment and other workplace issues at Rideau Hall. Trudeau said he spoke with the Queen by telephone Friday to inform her that Chief Justice Richard Wagner is stepping in until a new governor general is named. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said earlier that the Queen was being kept informed and will leave the matter in the hands of the Canadian government. Trudeau said everyone deserves a safe and healthy workplace, including employees at Rideau Hall. He also said the work they have done has been "exceptional." But he deflected a question over whether he owed those employees and all Canadians an apology. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the choice of Payette was one of style over substance. "Really it comes down to Justin Trudeau, who was more interested in a flashy announcement of a governor general rather than doing the work of making sure it was the right selection," Singh said Friday. "And it seems to be an ongoing trend, this pursuit of a flashy headline instead of working to get the job done." Patricia Faison Hewlin, of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, said leaders with authentic leadership skills have never been more important than now. "During these uncertain and devastating times, we are in critical need of leaders who are skilled at connecting to people in meaningful ways — building unity, allaying concerns, and showing empathy," she said. "The days are over when leaders could skimp on emotional intelligence and building relationships. Employees are demanding more from their leaders." Trudeau's minority Liberal government could be defeated at any time and, were that to happen, it would fall to the governor general to decide whether to call an election or give Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole a chance to see if he can command the confidence of the House of Commons. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday the government has begun discussions with those responsible for vetting, but the prime minister hasn't had time yet to reflect on the best way to choose Payette's successor. The government will have more to say on that likely next week, he said. He agreed the debacle of Payette's tenure shows a need to strengthen the process for vetting viceregal appointments. LeBlanc said the government report came to "compelling" and "stark" conclusions and that Payette's tenure shows that the vetting system for such appointments needs to be strengthened. "There always has been a process of vetting, of checks that are made when somebody is appointed to any government job. But clearly, the process can be strengthened, can be improved," LeBlanc said in an interview shortly after Payette's resignation. The government does not intend to release the report due to privacy issues and the promises of confidentiality made to all complainants, LeBlanc said. It will instead release a redacted version of the report in response to requests made under the Access to Information Act. LeBlanc would not discuss the contents of the report, but said it found Rideau Hall "was obviously an unacceptable workplace." LeBlanc said federal public servants "have the right to a secure, safe and healthy workplace and we are adamant … that standard be upheld at every institution of the government of Canada." He said the report "painted a picture that was not consistent" with that standard. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation called on Trudeau to stop paying the expenses of former governors general after they have left office. Former governors general also qualify for a pension of more than $140,000, the federation said. "Two years ago, the prime minister said he would review this program," said federation director Aaron Wudrick. "Nothing has happened since. It's time to save taxpayers money by scrapping this outrageously wasteful program." The Senate recently agreed to pay $498,000 in compensation to nine former employees of ex-senator Don Meredith, who was accused of sexually harassing, belittling and humiliating his staff. LeBlanc said there's been no consideration thus far — and no mention in the report — of paying compensation to Rideau Hall employees, some dozen of whom complained anonymously to the CBC about Payette yelling at, belittling and publicly humiliating staff, reducing some to tears and prompting some to quit. He said such questions will be handled by senior federal officials, who are planning to talk with all employees at Rideau Hall to plan next steps. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Mike Blanchfield and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
Tanner Stewart can think of no better way to flush 2020 down the drain than by filling up a tub with his cannabis-infused bath bombs in 2021. Stewart, founder and CEO of St. Stephen-based Stewart Farms, said his new bath bomb, made with 50 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 50 milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) and essential oils, has been receiving rave reviews. "It's a really nice way to engage with a familiar thing like a bath bomb for a lot of consumers who already really like bath bombs and combine it with a cannabis-infused experience," he said. Stewart Farms makes three different types of bath bombs, each tailored with the help of the essential oils for a different experience. Trainwreck combines the scents of eucalyptus, sweet orange and Spanish rosemary to be uplifting and energizing. Bubba Kush is meant to be calming, with the scents of lavender, white grapefruit and cassia, and Blue Dream is meant to be a harmonizing bath bomb, with the scents of lemon grass, pepper, orange and lavender. CBD is a known anti-inflammatory, Stewart said, and THC is known to be antibacterial and anti-fungal. All of the products, which retail for $16.99 per bath bomb, are packaged individually in 100 per cent biodegradable packaging. Stewart said it's believed his farm is the first cannabis producer in Canada to use this type of packaging. He said environmental protection is a cannabis company’s responsibility. "We think that's setting a new precedent in the industry," he said. Stewart Farms' bath bombs have just sold out for the second time in multiple locations since launching about a month ago. Products are being sold in New Brunswick and in Alberta for now, with plans to expand from coast to coast by the end of 2021. Stewart said the bombs are a great, easy and harmless introduction for those who've never used cannabis products before, especially older people. "They need to be grabbing these things, and giving themselves a nice, well-deserved self-care treatment." Stewart said bath bomb users won't get high from the cannabis per se, but he's received feedback from customers that tell him their skin feels great after, they're relaxed and they have a great night's sleep. Some other say they feel clarity and it helps with pain, he added. Stewart, who's originally from Miramichi, said he's grateful the cannabis industry allowed him to move back to his home province in August 2019 from Alberta to start this business. "This industry has allowed me not only to come back home to my own province and have a job, but I'm able to build a business in a globally-leading industry." The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Two teachers at Rothesay Park School will be able to get their students outside and moving with the help of new grants. Julie Cyr, who teaches art, wellness and French, was awarded a $1,250 Innovation and Engagement Grant from the Anglophone South School District. With that, she bought outdoor classroom equipment, including clipboards, tarps and rope. "The planet is in great need of some change. And research is showing that students or kids who spend time outside in nature, form bonds with nature," Cyr said. She also received a First Nations Education Grant from ASD-S for $3,000 to purchase drums kits. Once the region returns to the yellow phase of COVID recovery, Cyr said she'll bring in an elder to teach the kids how to make the instruments and how to play them, as well as teach lessons about sharing circles and First Nations culture. Meanwhile, her colleague Jeanette Fisher, who teaches music and physical education, has received four grants for a project to overcome the obstacles of gym classes during the pandemic. With the school district encouraging teachers to stay away from team sports during the pandemic, Fisher found she couldn't use many of the regular equipment she would use for her gym classes. "I was thinking, 'What can I do? What kind of sports can I do that will engage the kids and keep them active during this time?'" she said. So Fisher decided to give the kids sticks and get them to try drumming with them. So far the kids love it. "It helps the body, the brain, and for the students, it helps strengthen the heart and the lungs, and increases muscular strength and endurance," Fisher said. "It builds brain connections, promotes social emotional learning, improves coordination. And with the student, it builds confidence and self-expression." Fisher received a $500 Education Improvement Grant for online training for cardio drumming, a $1,800 Innovation and Improvement Grant, and a $1,500 Teacher-Designed Professional Learning Grant. Those grants will go toward a training course, equipment and the continued development of integrating the drumming into courses. Fisher also received a $1,000 grant to purchase an iPad, which allows students to use GarageBand on the iPad to compose music. Fisher said drumming also gives an opportunity for kids who aren't getting regular exercise or participating in team sports like usual. Less exercise, she said, is affecting their social, emotional and mental well-being. Cyr said she's nice to be able to get outside during the pandemic, which has kept many people inside. She hopes to secure grant funding in the future to create an outdoor classroom as well. In the meantime, she plans to lay some groundwork for teachers through her new programming to get their kids outside, and she's open to letting other teachers use her equipment for their classes. "It's maybe a stress reliever to be outside. But [for teachers] it can also be just an extra thing to plan and prepare for," she said. "And I think it's what I'm hoping to do with this is to create an easier way for teachers to be able to go outside" The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Le député fédéral de la circonscription de Mirabel, Simon Marcil annonce qu’il quittera la vie politique au terme de son présent mandat; une décision qui fait suite à un arrêt de travail pour des raisons reliées à sa santé mentale. En prévision de la rentrée parlementaire de cette semaine, l’élu se dit maintenant en parfaite condition et fin prêt pour reprendre ses responsabilités à la Chambre des communes, sise à Ottawa. Simon Marcil quittera la tête haute et sans aucun regret. En entrevue téléphonique, il partage un bilan somme toute chargé, que ce soit en matière de travail dans la circonscription, auprès des électeurs, ou encore au niveau législatif, au parlement canadien. «Ma priorité aura toujours été de servir nos concitoyens de manière efficace, de mentionner le député du Bloc québécois. Et nous continuerons à le faire jusqu’à la fin. Mais, pour ce faire, on souhaitait connaître notre monde. Mirabel est une circonscription vaste, rurale et urbaine. Il s’agit d’en ressortir les réalités différentes pour mieux servir nos concitoyens.» Il faut dire que M. Marcil connaît très bien ce territoire qui l’a vu grandir; et maintenant en tant que père de famille. Face aux défis reliés à la pandémie, son équipe, dit-il, s’est ajustée, afin de toujours mieux servir les citoyens. «Nous travaillions déjà en équipe et nous devions faire face à ces circonstances, comme tout le monde. Je suis très fier de mes collègues, qui ont tenu le fort, toujours, même lorsque j’étais absent. Ensemble, nous avons servi plus de 500 personnes, entreprises et organismes, en ces temps pandémiques.» Au niveau législatif, son passage aura notamment été marqué par ses efforts pour protéger la gestion de l’offre. En 2018, il a déposé un projet de loi afin d’assujettir, à la loi 101, les entreprises de juridictions fédérales, interdire les briseurs de grève et compenser adéquatement les femmes devant se prémunir d’un retrait préventif. De retour à 100 % Simon Marcil a fait les manchettes au cours des dernières semaines, en raison d’une absence à la Chambre des communes qui s’est étendue sur un an, jusqu’au lundi 11 janvier dernier. Le député a dévoilé la raison de celle-ci sur les réseaux sociaux. Atteint d’un trouble bipolaire, il s’était retiré pour prendre du mieux, se familiariser avec une nouvelle médication, trouver le bon dosage, et retrouver un équilibre et une hygiène de vie saine. «Je suis parti, à l’origine, car je me sentais en épuisement professionnel, explique M. Marcil. C’est ce que je pensais. En moyenne, et je généralise ici, une personne en épuisement professionnel se retire de son lieu de travail pendant quelques mois et revient en meilleure condition. Après sept mois, mon médecin s’est rendu compte que je n’allais pas mieux. J’ai passé les tests. Le diagnostic est venu. Je devais prendre une nouvelle médication.» D’un autre côté, Simon Marcil aura passé un an auprès de sa famille. Il se dit, en ce sens, très reconnaissant. «Ce n’est pas pour rien que je m’en vais. J’aime mon travail, la députation, servir la population. Pour une raison d’équilibre, avec mes enfants et ma femme; je dois partir. Avec le diagnostic que j’ai eu, faire 50 000 km par année, en voiture, c’est beaucoup. J’ai besoin de stabilité.» La santé mentale est un tabou. Mais, l’élu est d’avis que les gens, hommes et femmes de tous âges ne doivent pas hésiter à en parler et à consulter. «Il ne faut pas avoir honte, dit-il. Un trouble de santé mentale, ça ne définit pas une personne. Il faut s’informer, ne pas s’isoler, ou penser qu’on est la seule au monde à avoir ce genre de conditions. Nous ne sommes pas seuls!» Le député fédéral dit avoir reçu nombre de messages d’encouragement de la part de concitoyens, de membres de cabinets et de politiciens, de partout au Canada. Et maintenant, il conclura le mandat confié par les électeurs de Mirabel. Par la suite, il a pour projet de s’acheter une terre et de devenir agriculteur, dans sa circonscription. «Pour l’instant, je souhaite vraiment me concentrer sur moi et ma famille. Mais je reste toujours indépendantiste et je défendrai toujours cette idée», de conclure Simon Marcil. Nicolas Parent, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Éveil
When drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna learned to successfully incorporate messenger RNA technology into a COVID-19 vaccine, experts say they likely opened the door to a significant shift in the future of immunization.The milestone in vaccine development was met with enthusiasm from most, but the seemingly swift pace and novel approach is causing hesitancy in others. Experts say the new technique shouldn't dissuade people from getting the vaccine. While the mRNA method is new to inoculations, the actual technology has been around for decades. The difference now, they say, is scientists have ironed out the kinks to make a useful product."It sounds fancy, mRNA, but there's nothing outlandish about it," said Dr. Earl Brown, a virology and microbiology specialist with the University of Ottawa. "This is the way our cells operate — we live by mRNA."Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were the first inoculations approved for humans to use mRNA, which provides our cells with instructions to make proteins. In the case of COVID vaccines, the injected material shows cells how to make a harmless piece of the coronavirus spike protein, which then teaches our immune system to recognize the virus and fight off a future infection.Scientists made the vaccine by programming genetic material from the spike protein into mRNA, a process that theoretically could work for other viruses."As long as you know how to create those instructions — that genetic code you need to convince your body to create that target — you can design an mRNA vaccine against any antigen," said Nicole Basta, an associate professor of epidemiology at McGill."But the question is whether it will be effective, and whether it will be safe."The development of future mRNA vaccines might be quick, Basta says, but they would need to go through the usual evaluation process and clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. So vaccines for other viruses won't be popping up overnight.Still, Basta adds, there's potential for using mRNA to either improve upon existing vaccines or to develop new ones against other pathogens.Dr. Scott Halperin, a professor at Dalhousie University and the director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, sees mRNA vaccines as "evolutionary rather than revolutionary."Part of the reason COVID vaccines came together so quickly was the technology had been developing for years, Halperin said. The global pandemic offered scientists a pressing opportunity — and unprecedented funding and collaboration — to try again for a viable injection.Previous research had been done on creating mRNA vaccines against Zika and other viruses, Halperin added, and there were earlier efforts focused on cancer treatments. Coronavirus-specific research was further sped up by spike protein analysis from SARS and MERS.While the mRNA technology itself is impressive, Halperin says improvements need to be made to create a more temperature-stable product before these types of vaccines and treatments "truly take over.""The logistics of delivering mRNA vaccines right now, we wouldn't want to have to do that for every vaccine we produce," he said, referencing the ultra-cold storage temperature that's currently needed. "But I do think it's an important milestone."Scientists are expected to continue advancing the technology, just as they did recently in solving two confounding problems with mRNA — its fragility and instability.Brown says fragility was resolved by packaging the mRNA in a fat coating, giving it something to help bind onto cells so it wouldn't disintegrate upon injection. The instability was conquered by modifying the uracil component of RNA, one of the four units of its genetic code."The technology application is new, but the science is mature," Brown said. "We've just reached the point at which we can apply it." Traditional vaccines typically contain a killed or weakened virus, Brown said. Those methods are still being used in COVID vaccine development, including by AstraZeneca-Oxford, whose product has not yet been approved in Canada.A benefit to using mRNA is the speed at which a vaccine can be developed or updated once scientists know what to target, Brown says. While experts believe current vaccines will work against recent variants of the COVID virus — including one originating in the U.K. that's more transmissible — Brown says mRNA's adaptability could theoretically come in handy if new strains emerged that necessitated an update. "In six weeks they could produce something," he said. "It would still have to go through Phase 3 trials, but it does give you more flexibility and a big leg up."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Images of National Guard soldiers camped in a cold parking garage after being sent to protect Washington sparked new calls Friday for investigations of the U.S. Capitol Police, now facing allegations that the agency evicted troops sent to help after its failure to stop rioting mobs two weeks ago. Members of both parties were irate about reports that Guardsmen were forced to take rest breaks outside the Capitol building. About 25,000 Guard members from across the country deployed to help secure President Joe Biden's inauguration, which went off with only a handful of minor arrests. Biden spoke Friday morning to Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard, said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. She said the president thanked Hokanson and the Guard for their help the last few weeks and offered his assistance if Hokanson needed anything. She did not say if they discussed what happened at the Capitol on Thursday. First lady Jill Biden visited Guard troops outside the Capitol on Friday, bringing them cookies and thanking them for protecting her family. She noted that the Bidens’ late son, Beau, served in the Delaware Army National Guard. A jittery Washington requested the aid following the riot where police were badly outnumbered, locking down the nation's capital with soldiers, police and barricades and lawmakers and Biden took pains to thank security forces for their effort. All 25,000 Guard members were vetted by the FBI over concerns of an insider attack, and a dozen were removed from their posts including two who made extremist statements about the inauguration. The National Guard said it originally moved troops out of the Capitol Rotunda and other spaces to garages at the behest of the Capitol Police. The Guardsmen were allowed back inside late Thursday after reports were widely shared of the conditions in the garages, with few bathrooms and little covering from the cold. Capitol Police Interim Chief Yogananda Pittman issued a statement Friday saying her agency “did not instruct the National Guard to vacate the Capitol Building facilities.” But two Capitol Police officers who spoke on condition of anonymity contradicted her statement, saying they were told department higher-ups had ordered the Guardsmen out. It was unclear why. The two officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by the department to speak. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said that “multiple members of military leadership” had told him a uniformed Capitol Police officer told them to leave the Capitol Visitor Center. “The troops didn't move on their own,” said Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added: “This isn’t a blame game, but I want to know what happened so we can make sure it can’t happen again.” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who leads a subcommittee that oversees the Capitol Police budget, said Pittman and other commanders would eventually need to testify about their decision-making. “If the Capitol Police in any way, shape, or form pushed the Guard out into a cold garage, then there’s going to be hell to pay,” Ryan said . “We’re already trying to re-establish trust with the Capitol Police and we’ve got to figure out exactly what happened.” The National Guard Bureau said Thursday that of the nearly 26,000 Guard troops deployed to D.C. for the inaugural, just 10,600 remain on duty. The bureau said the Guard is helping states with co-ordination and the logistics so that troops can get home. Thousands of Guard troops from all across the country poured into D.C. by the planeload and busload late last week, in response to escalating security threats and fears of more rioting. Military aircraft crowded the runways at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, carrying Guard members into the region in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Guard forces were scattered around the city, helping to secure the Capitol, monuments, Metro entrances and the perimeter of central D.C., which was largely locked down for several days leading up to Wednesday’s inaugural ceremony. Some local law enforcement agencies have asked for continued assistance from the Guard, so roughly 7,000 troops are expected to stay in the region through the end of the month. The insurrection highlighted multiple failures by the Capitol Police to prepare for what became a violent mob overrunning parts of the building. Officers who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity said there was little planning before the riot or guidance from department leaders once the riot began. The riot left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was hit in the head by a fire extinguisher. Another officer died in an apparent suicide after the attack. ___ Merchant reported from Houston. Nomaan Merchant, Lolita Baldor, And Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press