Now that the lawsuit against Masai Ujiri has been dropped by Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland, it might be time for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to offer the Raptors president an apology.
Now that the lawsuit against Masai Ujiri has been dropped by Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland, it might be time for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to offer the Raptors president an apology.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
THORSBY, Alta. — The Transportation Safety Board says a plane that crashed last year southwest of Edmonton, killing the two people on board, had collided with a power line. The Harmon Rocket two-seat sport plane took off Sept. 26 from Rocky Mountain House and went down near Thorsby before catching on fire. RCMP said at the time that the pilot, a 59-year-man, and a passenger, a 48-year-old woman, both from Rocky Mountain House, were killed. The board says the pilot was a well-known air-show performer and was cleared to perform aerobatic manoeuvres at any altitude. There was no public air show that day, though, and the purpose of the trip was to gather with friends for an afternoon of go-karting next to an airfield. The board says the pilot was unfamiliar with the area and, while doing a second circuit of the field, went from flying low over the racetrack into a climb and struck an unmarked power line. The board's report, released Wednesday, says low-level flight is very risky because not all hazards, such as power lines, can be seen in time to avoid a collision. The Harmon Rocket is an aircraft regularly seen at air shows across North America. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021 The Canadian Press
The province's top court says a sentencing judge went too far in banishing a man with a past conviction for manslaughter from a southern Saskatchewan village. Nikki Sixx Serafino pleaded guilty in September 2020 to a charge of criminal harassment, following what a court document called "a campaign of harassing and intimidating conduct." That included ensuring people in the village of Abernethy knew he had killed before, the court document says. He was sentenced to one year, less 71 days for time on remand, for the harassment, to be followed by 18 months probation. The probation order included, among other things, a condition that prohibited him from being in the village of Abernethy "unless he has the prior written permission of his probation officer or designate or the court," according to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruling. Serafino appealed that term of his probation order. The appeal court agreed and struck that provision. 2012 manslaughter conviction The appeal court ruling laid out the background of the criminal harassment charge and Serafino's troubled history in British Columbia. Serafino and his partner moved from B.C. to Abernethy in May 2019. It was less expensive to live in the village, about 100 kilometres southwest of Yorkton, than to remain on the West Coast. Serafino also had a significant criminal history in B.C., including a conviction for manslaughter in 2012. Serafino was arrested in April 2010 and originally charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting of a man in Surrey, B.C. News stories at the time noted that Serafino was a fan of the rock band Motley Crue and had legally changed his name to match that of the band's bass player, Nikki Sixx. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to six years. He also had a prior conviction for criminal harassment in 2002 and convictions for uttering threats in 2007 and 2010, the appeal ruling said. 'Come out of retirement' The trouble in Abernethy began about six months after Serafino bought a house on an acreage, the court document said. It all turned on a set of propane tanks that Serafino had moved onto his property. The tanks did not comply with the village bylaws. A member of council hand-delivered a letter to that effect. "[The councillor] opened the door to the residence and placed the letter inside. Mr. Serafino viewed this as an unlawful entry of his home and let [the councillor] know of his displeasure. Things went downhill from there," according to the court document. "Over the course of the next six months, Mr. Serafino engaged in a campaign of harassing and intimidating conduct." Mr. Serafino made reference, on more than one occasion, to the fact that he'd killed someone in the past and suggested that he may have to 'come out of retirement.' - Court document Part of this campaign included letting everyone in the village know he was capable of lethal violence. "Mr. Serafino made reference, on more than one occasion, to the fact that he'd killed someone in the past and suggested that he may have to 'come out of retirement.'" In June, he was charged with criminal harassment after the targeted councillor heard an intoxicated Serafino talking loudly on a phone, saying that he was "planning on getting a gun" and that when he did so, he would not hesitate to walk into the house of "that f---tard" and "gun them down." The sentencing judge described his behaviour as "intimidating, confrontational, aggressive, threatening, frightening and at times even terrifying." The Court of Appeal ruled that the sentencing judge made the mistake of banishing Serafino without giving his lawyer the chance to argue against it. The Crown had not asked for that provision. "It was an error for the sentencing judge to impose a term of probation — banishment from the community — that was not part of the submissions by counsel and not the subject of an invitation for counsel to make further submissions."
The global technology services company Infosys plans to create 500 jobs in Calgary over the next three years as it ramps up its Canadian workforce. Infosys president Ravi Kumar made the pledge at a virtual news conference on Wednesday with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "Calgary is a natural next step as part of our Canadian expansion and represents a significant and promising market for Infosys," Kumar said. "The city is home to a thriving pool of talent that the economic downturn of COVID-19 has impacted. We will tap into this talent and offer critical skills and opportunities that will build on the city's economic strengths." The company, which started in India and now has operations in 46 countries, provides digital services and consulting for clients in many industries, such as natural resources, energy, media, retail and communications. Infosys's head of global government and public affairs, Anurag Varma, who spoke from the company's office in Silicon Valley, said because he was born in Calgary and educated in Alberta he's confident that the expansion is a smart move. "It only gives me more pride that our global company is coming to a neighbourhood that I know very well, and I believe that this is going to be a match made in heaven," he said. Officials said the Calgary office will be in the core, but a location was not specified. The Calgary office currently has fewer than 10 employees, but the company has hired about 2,000 people in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver over the past two years. Officials say the plan is to double the Canadian workforce to 4,000 employees by 2023. Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development, says the Infosys expansion could be a game-changer for the city. "We are embracing digital transformation in Calgary and Infosys can support companies on their digital journey as they address global challenges like cleaner energy, safe and secure food supplies, safer and more efficient transportation and logistics and better health solutions," she said. Infosys says it will hire tech grads from 14 educational institutions in Canada, including the University of Calgary, SAIT and the University of Alberta.
No one was harmed after a sour-gas leak on Range Road 92 near Township Road 704 south of Huallen Monday, said Matthew Smith, Wembley Fire Department chief. “There was a significant leak,” Smith said. “We’re glad it went the way it did, and no one was hurt or injured.” Smith said the department received a 911 call from a resident reporting “a dirty vapour or dirty cloud” near an oil-and-gas facility. When the firefighters arrived, they found several pickup trucks belonging to the energy company were on site and the leak had been stopped. Smith said he was unsure how long the leak lasted. The Wembley firefighters checked with residents living downwind from the incident. They reported smelling something funny but no one was ill, he said. Smith encouraged anyone who observes similar incidents related to oil-and-gas facilities to keep a distance and call 911. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
TORONTO — The judge who found Alek Minassian guilty of murder and attempted murder in the Toronto van attack set Canadian precedent Wednesday by considering autism a "mental disorder" under the Criminal Code. Justice Anne Molloy ruled that autism spectrum disorder did not leave the 28-year-old not criminally responsible for killing 10 people and injuring 16 others, but her decision to consider that possibility means the argument could be made in future cases. Some legal experts expressed concern about the implications of Molloy's decision, while members of the autism community said it would further stigmatize those living with the condition. Molloy noted, however, that the decision does not "say anything at all about any connection between ASD and criminality," and each case must be decided based on the specific circumstances. "This merely opens the door," she wrote in the decision. "It means that people with ASD are eligible to be considered for a possible defence under this section, in the same manner as people with many other kinds of disabilities." The only other Canadian case that had argued someone was not criminally responsible due to autism was appealed, and Molloy said the appeal judge did not rule on whether autism was a "mental disorder." For someone to be found "not criminally responsible," they must have a condition that meets the legal definition for a "mental disorder," and also fail to understand the nature or consequences of their actions. "In this context, 'mental disorder' is a legal term with a specific legal meaning that may not be the same as what a layperson would consider to be a mental disorder in everyday language," she wrote. Molloy ruled that autism is a mental disorder by the Criminal Code's definition because it is a permanent condition with an "internal cause, rooted in the brain" that "has an impact on brain functioning and thought processes." "In its severe manifestations, and particularly where there are comorbidities, ASD might cause a person to lack the capacity to appreciate the nature of an action or to know that it is wrong," she wrote, underlining the word "might" in the decision. Those with autism spectrum disorder are far more likely to be on the receiving end of violent crimes than perpetrating them, the Minassian trial heard. Roxanne Mykitiuk, a professor of disability law at Osgoode Hall Law School, said she worries about the implications of Molloy's decision. "I am a little bit concerned about the overbreadth of autism spectrum disorder becoming conceptualized as a mental disorder and not perhaps some small portion of individuals who are on the spectrum with particular kinds of characteristics," she said, though she added that figuring out a way to narrow that down could be tricky. Alex Echakowitz, who spent a year in the same high school homeroom as Minassian, said she was shocked when Molloy said autism qualifies as a mental disorder under the Criminal Code. "With all due respect to Justice Molloy, I feel as though she tried to wash her hands of any responsibility for the stigma that follows," said Echakowitz, who is autistic. "The reality is she can say this has no bearing on people with ASD as a whole and speak to the morality of autistic people, but now the idea is in the public's head." Kim Sauder, an autistic activist who uses the pronouns "she" and "they" interchangeably, said the defence's arguments played into inaccurate stereotypes that autistic people are somehow dangerous, while downplaying other aspects of Minassian's life. "It completely ignores the deep-rooted misogyny that was very prevalent in what he did and why he did it," she said. Minassian has said he carried out the attack as retribution for women who had rejected him, but also because he wanted to gain infamy. But Sauder said it was fair of Molloy to open the door for someone to be deemed not criminally responsible due to autism in the future. She said there are some circumstances where she could imagine that being the case, for instance if an autistic person accidentally injured somebody else while in the throes of a meltdown. But Mike Cnudde, a spokesman with Autism Ontario who is on the autism spectrum, worried that Molloy's judgment "threatens to push us back into the dark ages." He said it was difficult to watch Minassian's defence lawyers use autism to try to explain the attack. "How dare he use this defence to hide behind," Cnudde said. "This was the worst kind of stigmatization." He said he's glad the judge saw through Minassian’s argument and delivered a guilty verdict, but the decision came with mixed feelings. That Molloy opened the door for others to use autism in a similar defence means this case isn't the end of the story for those in the autism community, he said. "If this defence pops up again, we'll start the whole process of stigmatizing people on the spectrum again," Cnudde said. "But you have to keep fighting the good fight – the answer is more educuation and more acceptance." - With files from Liam Casey This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
The COVID-19 pandemic has elicited strong emotional reactions across the globe, and a St. John’s author and her extended family are using poetry to bottle and preserve those emotions. Though written in verse, Lillian Bouzane said the collection of poems is as much a historical documentation of the early days of the pandemic as it is a book of art. “I imagine that a hundred years down the road, some graduate student is writing about the pandemic of 2019 and 2020 (or however long it lasts,) and comes across this book of poetry, or the manuscript of poetry, which I have every intention of putting in the archives, and what they get is a picture of the beginning of the pandemic, when very few people, including the doctors and scientists, knew what to do about it,” said Bouzane. “So, I see it more as a historical document written in verse.” The poems, written by siblings, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and spouses, reflect a wide range of emotions, emotions that we’ve all felt at some point during the pandemic: anguish, fear, boredom, uncertainty, contentment, bravado, and joy. One poem paints a picture of planting gardens and snaring rabbits during isolation, while another highlights the heartache of grandparents who are not able to properly visit growing grandchildren. The poems, written by everyday folk who would never style themselves as ‘poets’, portray how folks felt in all the moments, little and big, of unprecedented times. Bouzane, herself the author of In The Times of Wolves, a suite of poems on the Mount Cashel crimes, and the novel In The Hands of the Living God, which was long listed for the International IMPACT Dublin Literary Award in 2000, said that creativity provides an emotional lift, especially during times such as these. “The joy of writing the poems makes you feel good,” said Bouzne. “To write a poem, as one person said, makes you feel as if you’ve had a glass of wine… I heard on the radio that somebody has composed a song to Janice Fitzgerald, the Chief Medical Officer.” Bouzane said she was ‘surprised by joy,’ a line borrowed from poet William Wordsworth that expresses the feeling of being caught off guard by a sudden burst of joy in a dark moment, when her family embraced her suggestion to write and publish the collection. “I was so surprised by all of the members of the family who were writing poems,” said Bouzane. “I thought, ‘Am I going to get 30? Am I going to get 20? Am I going to get any at all?’ And I got 75.’” The collection, the cover of which is a photo of The Rower statue at Quidi Vidi Lake adorning a facemask, is available as an eBook from Amazon at $3.94. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
STOCKHOLM — A man armed with an axe attacked and injured eight people in a southern Sweden town Wednesday before being shot and arrested, police said. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said a possible terrorist motive was being investigated. “In the light of what has emerged so far in the police investigation, prosecutors have initiated a preliminary investigation into terrorist crimes,” he said. Shortly after his statement, investigators at a police press conference said they had started a preliminary investigation into attempted murder with details “that make us investigate any terrorist motives.” "But at the moment I cannot go into details,” regional police chief Malena Grann said. Police said the man in his 20s attacked people in the small town of Vetlanda, about 190 kilometres (118 miles) southeast of Goteborg, Sweden’s second largest city. His motive was not immediately known. The man was shot by police, who said the condition of those attacked and of the perpetrator was not immediately known. Officials did not provide details on the identity of the suspect, who was taken to hospital. Local police chief Jonas Lindell said “it seems that the injuries are not life-threatening” but could not give further details. The events took place in downtown Vetlanda with police saying they got calls just after 1400 GMT about a man assaulting people with an axe. Police also said that there are five crime scenes in this town of roughly 13,000. Lofven condemned “this terrible act," and added that Sweden’s domestic security agency SAPO was also working on the case. ”They continuously assess whether there are reasons to take security-enhancing measures and are prepared to do so if necessary,” he said in a statement. The Associated Press
Residents may see a new roundabout in Paradise just a moment’s drive from the Topsail Road - McNamara Drive roundabout. “The provincial government is in the process of constructing a new intermediate school near the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex,” explained councillor Alan English. “Upgrades are required to the access road and the intersection at McNamara Drive. The current soccer complex access road would be upgraded with allowance for a future bypass road and the intersection at McNamara Road will be enhanced with an allowance for a two-lane roundabout in the future.” That soccer complex access road, which is marked by both a sign proudly announcing the land as the site of the new school and a sign promoting the soccer complex, is across from the Rotary Paradise Youth and Community Centre. To allow for the upgrades, the town has to purchase a portion of a piece of land referred to as ‘Lot 9.’ “Lot 9 is located at the corner of the access road and McNamara Drive and the Town required a portion of Lot 9 to facilitate area improvements,” said English. “The lot will be impacted by the construction of the roundabout and improvements to the access road. As well, the property access will be negatively impacted due to the plans to install a median on the access road when upgraded to a by-pass road.” To allow access to Lot 9 from the access road, the town also needed to deed a piece of the town-owned land to the owner of Lot 9, which can only be done with ministerial approval. “Council discussed the negotiations extensively in privileged meetings of council, and are unanimously in favour of the offer,” said English. That offer was $100,000, and the motion was passed unanimously to purchase a portion of Lot 9 near McNamara Drive for that sum. A second motion, for the Town to request ministerial approval to dispose of a portion of town-owned land located alongside the access road to the Diane Whalen Soccer Complex, also passed unanimously. All in all, English applauded the decision. “The town is making a strategic move here by acquiring this piece of property, because in the event that we don’t, we will actually block access to the land owner and be subject to legal action, possibly, for devaluing their property, and the town has taken the initiative to negotiate an agreement with the landowner, and while the amount is significant, $100,000, the end result is much, much cheaper than going the legal route,” said English. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
After Mateo Perusse-Shortte, experienced racism while playing his sport, he and his mom decided to plan a hockey diversity group in Quebec.
HALIFAX — Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan released a plan Wednesday outlining conditions for Indigenous lobster fishers to participate in moderate livelihood fisheries during commercial seasons. The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs, however, said Ottawa's latest overture is "unacceptable." Jordan said her plan would allow moderate livelihood fishing activity during the commercial, federally regulated season, through licences issued under the Fisheries Act. She said her idea wouldn't increase the total amount of fishing conducted in the country's waters. "I need to make sure the stocks are health and sustainable," she said in an interview Wednesday. "And we have the seasons for that purpose: to make sure that this is orderly, it's regulated and it does meet our conservation objectives." The plan would also allow First Nations communities to sell moderate livelihood catches to processors, which is currently illegal under Nova Scotia regulations. "The difference is we are now authorizing a moderate livelihood fishery, which is completely separate from a commercial fishery," Jordan said. She said the plan — which she said can be long-term or yearly — can be used while First Nations communities and the government negotiate an overarching Rights Reconciliation Agreement on Indigenous fishing rights. She said there are a number of banked licences that can be used to give access to First Nations communities, adding that she hopes there can be some voluntary buyouts of existing commercial licences. The Fisheries Department, she said, will work with First Nations communities to develop moderate livelihood fishing plans that could be unique to each community. The minister said the interim plan is a "path" that is "flexible and adaptable" and is based in the implementation of First Nations treaty rights, the conservation and sustainability of fish stocks, and transparent management of the fishery. The Sipekne'katik and Potlotek First Nations have launched lawsuits against the Nova Scotia government, with both saying existing regulations interfere with their treaty right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood. Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia argue that a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirms the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood'' when and where they want — even outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. That decision was later clarified by the court, however, which said Ottawa could regulate the Mi'kmaq treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes. Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack said his band is not impressed with the government's new plan. The First Nation launched its own moderate livelihood fishery last fall in St. Mary's Bay, outside of the federally regulated season. Members of the band encountered violence from non-Indigenous residents that resulted in the destruction of a lobster pound and the burning of a band member's van. Sack said it was "kind of the same old stuff" when asked about Jordan's plan. "We are strongly for not having the department issue our licences and we want to exercise our right and have our own season," he said. "It's way off the mark." Sack said Sipekne'katik plans to go ahead with its own fishery this spring, likely in June. Meanwhile, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs said in a news release on Wednesday the plan by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was "unacceptable." "Minister Bernadette Jordan ... has also made unilateral decisions and asserted a position ... having full control over our Rights-based fishery. This is unacceptable. "DFO is continuing to impose rules without consultation with, accommodation of, or agreement with, the Assembly." Gordon Beaton, president of Local 4 of the Maritime Fishermen's Union, said commercial fishers are open to allowing First Nations participation as long as any agreement adheres to three primary pillars: in-season fishing only, no overall increased fishing, and the same basic rules for all fishers. "If there is some different kind of access, the industry has no problem with that as long as it's under the same rules," Beaton said. "As always, it will be what's in the (plan's) details." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
BISMARCK, N.D. — Republican and Democratic legislative leaders were finalizing a resolution Wednesday to expel a North Dakota House member accused of threatening and sexually harassing women at the state capitol. House Majority Leader Chet Pollert told The Associated Press that the resolution to expel GOP Rep. Luke Simons will be introduced on the House floor Thursday. Simons, who has denied wrongdoing and refused Republican leaders' calls for him to resign, is accused of a pattern of sexually aggressive, lewd, and threatening behaviour, dating back to shortly after he took office in 2017. Republican Rep. Emily O'Brien issued a statement last week saying that his harassment was so pervasive that she switched desks to get away from him. The GOP-controlled Legislature reconvened Wednesday after its midsession break known as crossover. Pollert and Democratic House Minority Leader Josh Boschee said they worked together over the recess to craft the expulsion resolution. Legislative officials said there is no record of any lawmaker being expelled since statehood. Pollert told House members Wednesday that he expected all of them to be in attendance the following day for the floor session that would address “workplace harassment.” The resolution will be debated by the entire House. All members are expected to be present for a vote on the resolution, thought to be the first in state history. “We have a duty as legislators,” Pollert told the assembly. “I don't want to, but I will have a call of the House.” “Rep. Simons will have his day and will be able to defend his actions,” Pollert told the AP. A 14-page document compiled by the nonpartisan Legislative Council includes allegations that Simons made “advances” toward female staffers and interns, commented on their appearances and tried to give one staffer an unsolicited shoulder massage. One staffer described his behaviour as “really creepy.” Simons, 43, said in a statement issued late Tuesday that the allegations “have been totally misconstrued and taken out of context.” “If the Legislature decides to inquire into any of my conduct or any of the allegations made by the director of the Legislative Council, then I look forward to a full and complete public hearing in which witnesses are heard, the true facts are determined, and where I am provided all of my due process rights and afforded the opportunity to require the attendance of witnesses, if necessary by subpoena,” Simons’ statement said. Simons, a barber and rancher, is a member of the loosely organized Bastiat Caucus, a far-right group that supports limited government and gun rights. Simons has insisted on social media that he’s being targeted for his politics. Simons’ attorney, Lynn Boughey, said he believes the House cannot expel Simons, and beyond censure, can only impeach him, which would require a Senate trial. Legislative leaders and their lawyers note the North Dakota Constitution says either chamber can expel a member with two-thirds approval. That would mean 63 members of the House would need to approve. Republicans hold an 80-14 advantage in the chamber. James MacPherson, The Associated Press
There were two deaths related to COVID-19 reported in the province on Wednesday. Both deaths were in the 80 plus age group and were located in Regina and Saskatoon. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 in the province is now 389. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. This was among 121 new cases reported in Saskatchewan. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 19 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 30 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. There are currently 153 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 133 reported as receiving in patient care there are 14 in North Central. Of the 20 people reported as being in intensive care there is one in North Central. The current seven-day average 154, or 12.5 cases per 100,000 population. The high was 312 reported on Jan. 12. Of the 29,059reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 1,431 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 27,239after 180 more recoveries were reported. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 29,059 of those 7,437 cases are from the North area (3,024 North West, 3,259 North Central and 1,154 North East). There were 1,358doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 81,597. There were 232 doses administered in the North Central zone yesterday. The other zones where vaccines were administered were in the North West, Far North Central, Central East, Far North Central, Far North East, Saskatoon and Regina. According to the province as of March 2, 50 per cent of Phase 1 priority healthcare workers received a first dose. This percentage includes healthcare workers from long term care and personal care home facilities. Pfizer shipments for the week of March 1 have arrived in Regina (3,510) and Saskatoon (3,510). North Battleford (2,340) and Prince Albert (4,680) shipments are expected by end of day March 3. There were 2,588 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Feb. 28. As of today there have been 582,829 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
MONTREAL — Quebec provincial police say a man in his 50s is dead after the small plane he was flying crashed into a lake in Gore, northwest of Montreal. Provincial police spokesman Sgt. Stephane Tremblay says the man was the only person aboard the plane. He says witnesses who saw the crash, which took place around 8:30 a.m., called emergency services. The pilot was removed from the plane by the local fire department and transported to hospital, where he was declared dead. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it has sent a team of investigators to determine the cause of the crash of the Wag-Aero amateur-built aircraft. Tremblay says provincial police investigators are on the scene to determine whether any crimes were committed and the coroner's office is also investigating to determine the cause of the death. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
SHEFFIELD, England — Last-place Sheffield United overcame the sending-off of Phil Jagielka to beat lacklustre Aston Villa 1-0 on Wednesday in what is likely to prove only a consolation victory on its way out of the Premier League. Leading 1-0 thanks to David McGoldrick's close-range strike in the 30th minute, United was reduced to 10 men in the 57th when Jagielka brought down Anwar El Ghazi as the Villa winger charged toward the penalty box. Referee Robert Jones initially gave a yellow a card to Jagielka but changed that to a red after being advised by VAR to look at the incident again on the pitchside monitor. Jagielka was deemed to have denied a goal-scoring opportunity as the last man. Villa piled on the pressure in the final half-hour but, with captain and star midfielder Jack Grealish out because of injury, lacked any creativity and cutting edge to break down the hosts. United's fourth win of the season moved the team onto 14 points, three behind next-to-last West Bromwich Albion but still 12 adrift of safety. Villa stayed ninth, missing the chance to close within two points of the European qualification positions. McGoldrick's goal came when he turned the ball home from inside the six-yard box after meeting a drive by George Baldock that might have been a shot as opposed to a pass. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
A survey conducted by P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch (PSB) indicates only a few of the 45 schools that took part feel they're able to effectively serve special needs students. "There (were) only nine schools that identified they have enough support and are adequately meeting the needs of all students," the PSB's researcher Carolyn Duguay said. The information was shared during a PSB board of directors meeting in mid-February. Student services director Terri MacAdam noted the survey results don't mean the remaining English schoolboard schools are entirely lacking in services. "There were lots of schools that felt that in certain areas they were doing really well," she said in a follow-up interview with The Guardian. The survey was part of MacAdam’s and her department's work to identify better evidence- and skills-based models for its schools in areas such as special needs services, French immersion, behavioural resources and school counseling. P.E.I. has 56 English schools, and Duguay had requested that their principals fill out her survey. "Most schools have identified that behaviour and mental health are the areas of greatest need," she said. For special needs services, some of the barriers listed by principals are the physical space of their schools, funding and staffing limitations, time and paperwork, inconsistency between how schools implement services and the current model in general. "Not all students fit into what we're asking them to fit into," Duguay said. As well, principals reported it can be difficult getting parental support and engagement, especially at rural schools, she said. Duguay has researched the models of other province's school boards, such as in Nova Scotia where model changes were just implemented this year. MacAdam said the plan is to finalize a report and recommendation for a more up-to-date model by the end of this year. The report would hopefully be a benefit for P.E.I. students and families as well as speak to the question her department is constantly asking: "How can we do things better?" she said. "We want to make sure we have evidence." Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
OTTAWA — Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that he informed Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan of allegations of misconduct against Gen. Jonathan Vance during a “hostile” closed-door meeting three years ago. Walbourne’s remarks appear to contradict Sajjan’s own testimony to the same committee Feb. 19, when he said he was as surprised as anyone when Global News first reported Vance’s alleged misconduct in early February. At that time, Sajjan repeatedly refused to confirm media reports that Walbourne raised allegations against Vance when the minister and ombudsman met in March 2018. Sajjan cited confidentiality and also said any allegations brought to him were taken seriously and referred to the appropriate authorities. Walbourne, whose testimony is protected by parliamentary privilege, used his opening statement to the House of Commons' defence committee to publicly confirm the conversation for the first time. “Yes, I did meet with Minister Sajjan on March 1, 2018,” he said. “Yes, I did directly tell him about an allegation of inappropriate sexual behaviour made against the chief of defence.” Global News has reported that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked. He is also accused of having made a sexual comment to a second, much younger, soldier in 2012, before he became commander of the Armed Forces. Vance, who turned over command of the military in January after more than five years in the job, has not responded to requests for comment by The Canadian Press and the allegations against him have not been independently verified. Global says Vance, who as defence chief oversaw the military’s efforts to root sexual misconduct from the ranks, has denied any wrongdoing. Military police are now investigating the allegations against Vance. They have also launched an investigation of Vance’s successor as defence chief, Admiral Art McDonald, who temporarily stepped aside last week in response to unspecified allegations of misconduct. Walbourne did not spell out the specifics of the allegation that he presented to Sajjan, and confirmed earlier reports that no formal complaint was filed. However, he said he came to possess “irrefutable, concrete evidence” about Vance, which is what led him to raise the matter with the minister. Walbourne told the committee Sajjan refused to look at the evidence and later cut off all contact until the former ombudsman’s resignation on Oct. 31, 2018. Walbourne also said he asked Sajjan to keep the matter in confidence until they could figure out how to handle the allegation, but that the minister instead told the Privy Council Office, which asked the ombudsman for information about the complainant. Walbourne, who initially declined an invitation to appear before the committee before being formally summoned to testify, said he refused to provide that information because the complainant had not given permission to do so. The former ombudsman, who has repeatedly decried a lack of independence for the office, went on to draw a link between his meeting with Sajjan three years ago and the Department of National Defence cutting off his financial and staffing authorities. The ombudsman’s office was being investigated at that time following a whistleblower’s complaint. Walbourne was adamant the complaint had no merit, and instead alleged that it was used as an excuse to put pressure on him and his team. Asked if there was any attempt by the government to cover up for Vance, Walbourne said: “I don’t know if it was an attempt at a coverup, but I know it was a full-court press to get rid of me.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods' SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said traffic investigators executed a search warrant Monday to retrieve data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. There was no immediate information regarding what was found in the black box, Deputy Trina Schrader said in a statement. The 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxury brand, is likely to have a newer version of event data recorders nicknamed “black boxes” after more sophisticated recorders in airplanes. The devices store a treasure trove of data for authorities to review. Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a downhill stretch known for crashes. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was not drunk and was driving alone in good weather when the SUV hit a raised median, went across oncoming lanes and rolled several times. The crash injured his right leg, requiring surgery. Deputies will review data from the black box to “see if they can find out what was the performance of the vehicle, what was happening at the time of impact,” said Villanueva, who previously faced criticism for almost immediately calling the crash “purely an accident.” During a live social media event on Wednesday. the sheriff said the new data could provide more information on the cause of the accident. “And that’s all it is, and we’ll leave it at that,” he said. California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders that were involved in motor vehicle crashes that result in death or serious bodily injury. Law enforcement must show that the recorders could have evidence of a felony or misdemeanour in the crash, and detectives must limit their review of the data to information directly related to the offence. USA TODAY first reported the search warrant. A black box is a computer that stores data from a vehicle’s sensors, which can be downloaded. The boxes usually are below the centre of the dashboard or beneath seats to be protected from damage. There aren’t any federal regulations requiring the boxes, but the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says nearly all vehicles have them now. The government does require the recorders to store 15 data points including speed before impact and whether brake and gas pedals were pressed. __ Associated Press Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report. Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press
(ANNews) - On Saturday Feb. 20, hundreds of people gathered at the Alberta Legislature to protest COVID-19 restrictions, but the rally raised concerns over racism in the province. A similar "anti-lockdown" rally was held in Calgary on Feb. 27. Both rallies included people holding lit tiki torches as they marched through the streets. Although the rallies were attended and organized by members of known hate groups, Edmonton’s police chief says the department doesn’t have evidence of racist intent behind the use of tiki torches at the rallies. On March 2, Chief Dale McFee said that the EPS doesn't condone tiki torches but "some people didn’t know why they were carrying them at the legislature." He added that if the real intent of the torches was racist, he'd like to see the evidence. Premier Jason Kenney, Mayor Don Iveson, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, former Premier Rachel Notley and MLA David Shepherd are among those who condemned the rallies as having racist intent. Mayor Nenshi stated that there is “no lockdown to protest in Alberta, schools are open, restaurants are open… It’s been clear for some time that the regular demonstrations against pandemic public health measures are also a vehicle for spreading hate. “When we see people advertising these marches using pictures from Charlottesville, we know what that means. We know who that’s meant to intimidate,” he said. “And I will tell you right now, as a person of colour in this city, I will never be intimidated by that.” Regarding the suggestion that marchers were using the tiki torches for purposes other than hatred, Nenshi tweeted, “It's not for light, it's not for heat – don’t be ridiculous.” "What are those torches used for?" he added. "They're used to light crosses on fire. This is disgusting behaviour and frankly we need to denounce it and we need to denounce strongly." I don't accept this, tweeted Notley, about the suggested naiveté of the torch bearers."These marches have been advertised using images from the racist, hate-filled Charlottesville march. There is a long history of racist hate groups using torches to intimidate, going back to the Nazis and the KKK." The convoy, which was organized by the “Walk for Freedom Alberta” group, began in Lethbridge and travelled up North through Calgary and Red Deer before arriving in Edmonton. The group claims to stand up for rights and freedoms and “peacefully promote breaches to civil liberties across Alberta.” Saturday morning before the convoy gathered, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson released a statement, saying “COVID-19 is not a joke nor a hoax.” “We are in the middle of a global public health crisis,” Iveson said. “Wearing a mask and following other public health measures keeps people safe and saves lives.” Iveson also said he had been “made aware” that some of the organizers “may be associated with known hate groups.” “Edmonton unequivocally condemns racism, misogyny and other forms of hate — such speech is not welcome in our community,” said Iveson. The protest was attended by those who organized it, as well as other groups. Concerns about racism were raised after some of the attendees started carrying lit tiki torches during their “walk for freedom.” The tiki torch is a symbol that is historically linked with white-supremacists such as the KKK and was recently used by white-supremacists chanting racist rants at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. On Monday Feb. 22, Premier Jason Kenney released a statement which condemned the event’s connection to hate groups. “Albertans value the constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and assembly. This weekend, protesters gathered at the Alberta Legislature to oppose our government’s public health measures that are in place to protect the vulnerable, and our hospitals, from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kenney stated. “I understand that publicity for this event incorporated an image apparently taken from the notorious 2017 Charlottesville torch rally, which was an explicitly white supremacist event. “Prominent racists promoted Saturday’s protest at the legislature, and individuals attended the event from known hate groups like the ‘Soldiers of Odin’ and ‘Urban Infidels.’ I condemn these voices of bigotry in the strongest possible terms. “Albertans believe in the dignity of every human being and have no time for these voices of division and hate, or the symbols that they represent.” Kenney then went on to say that there were likely people with varying views at the protest, mentioning some who came only because they were opposed to the public health restrictions. “Like any large public protest, there was likely a range of perspectives and motivations amongst those who attended. There is no doubt that some people came just to register their opposition to public health measures, which is their democratic right.” “But these people also have a responsibility to disassociate themselves from the extremists who peddle hatred and division, and who played a role in this event,” Kenney said. David Shepherd, MLA Edmonton City Centre, also released a statement, “I'm saddened. I'm frustrated. I'm angry.” “It's clear it was not a march about freedom. It was about anger, hatred and fear.” “As others have ably explained, the symbol of crowds marching with torches has a long-standing history of threat towards racial minorities as clearly demonstrated by the white supremacist hate rally in Charlottesville in 2017, which was included on this event's poster,” said Shepherd. EPS Chief Mcfee reiterated that the rally / protest was “largely peaceful” even though four police officers were assaulted during the protest after attempting to conduct an arrest. No officers were injured; however, Edmonton police are looking at protest footage in order to identify the culprits. Sgt. Mike Elliot, president of the Edmonton Police Association, said “Right now we’re reviewing video footage to identify the suspect or suspects involved in this.” “Usually, it’s best to try and identify and then contact that person later instead of in a heated, dynamic situation.” Before the Feb. 27 protest in Calgary, police chief Const. Mark Neufeld assured there would be a large police presence. “The vast majority of these events pass uneventfully with the members of our service working with groups of all sorts to facilitate the expression of constitutional rights in a way that is not only safe but in a way that minimizes the impact on the public and the broader community,” said Neufeld. Irfan Chaudhry, director of the office of human rights, diversity and equity at MacEwan University, told the Edmonton Journal that downplaying the significance of racist symbols is “disheartening.” “Symbols are power in right-wing extremism, and the power in itself is by being able to deny that it’s connected to any type of … hateful ideology,” he said. “Acknowledging the impact that the symbols have on communities of colour — whether or not there’s enough evidence to proceed with any charges, I think that’s another consideration — but it’s that support for the community that I think is missing.” Jacob Cardinal is an LJI reporter for Alberta Native News. Jacob Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
Toronto officials are recommending that the city enter the grey-lockdown level of the province’s coronavirus response framework next week, which would see the loosening of some restrictions. Toronto Mayor John Tory said moving to the grey zone will allow the city to begin to reopen “with caution” and stay open as vaccines continue to be administered.