Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro called the display outside his constituency office "offensive".
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro called the display outside his constituency office "offensive".
There was no distribution plan for the coronavirus vaccine set up by the Trump administration as the virus raged in its last months in office, new President Joe Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, said on Sunday. "The process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House," Klain said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Biden, a Democrat who took over from Republican President Donald Trump on Wednesday, has promised a fierce fight against the pandemic that killed 400,000 people in the United States under Trump’s watch.
Guyana said late on Saturday that a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana's exclusive economic zone, the latest dispute in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations. Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim that is rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.
More people were allowed in churches and other places of worship Sunday after the province eased some COVID-19 measures this weekend. There have been no reported cases of influenza on P.E.I. this season, as well as fewer cases of coughs and colds, which the Chief Public Health Office credits to "unintended impacts" of pandemic restrictions. With cough and cold season all but non-existent this year because of COVID-19 health measures, Honibe lozenge-maker Island Abbey Foods has laid off 30 staff. Despite those layoffs, it's been a banner year for P.E.I.'s biosciences sector, with more than 200 new jobs in 2020, and seven Island bioscience companies planning major expansions this year. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases reported on P.E.I. remains 110, with seven still active. There have been no deaths or hospitalizations. New Brunswick reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, mostly in the Moncton and Edmundston regions. The province now has 334 active cases. Nova Scotia had a single new case of COVID-19 to report along with two recoveries, bringing the total of known active cases to 19. Also in the news Further resources Reminder about symptoms The symptoms of COVID-19 can include: Fever. Cough or worsening of a previous cough. Possible loss of taste and/or smell. Sore throat. New or worsening fatigue. Headache. Shortness of breath. Runny nose. More from CBC P.E.I.
Sherbrooke — Uniquement deux amendes de 5000 $ chacune ont été distribuées en milieu agricole par le ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques en Estrie en 2019 et 2020. Après 72 plaintes, dont 36 qui ont mené à des avis de non-conformité, les habitants de la région devrait-ils attendre davantage de conséquences ? Au ministère de l’Environnement, l’imposition de sanctions pécuniaires est plutôt laissée à la discrétion de l’inspecteur. Si on émet automatiquement un avis de non-conformité à tout manquement à la loi, on donnera une amende si on souhaite « obtenir un retour rapide à la conformité ou pour dissuader à court terme la répétition du manquement », explique le Ministère par écrit. C’est donc ce qui est arrivé à Saint-Ludger en octobre 2019, lorsque l’inspecteur s’est rendu sur une ferme après une plainte concernant l’accès d’animaux à un cours d’eau, mais qui s’est finalement solvée en amende pour débordement d’une fosse à purin. La deuxième sanction ici mentionnée a été imposée à une entreprise de transport pour avoir stocké inéadéquatement des matières résiduelles festilisantes sur un terrain du Canton de Cleveland, en juin 2020. Chantal d’Auteuil, qui est chargée de cours en gestion de l’eau à l’Université de Sherbrooke et directrice générale de l’Association des biologistes du Québec ne croit pas que les changements doivent venir de la sévérité du traitement des contrevenants, sauf dans un cas : l’épandage de pesticides trop près d’un cours d’eau ou d’un prélèvement d’eau. Pour 2019 et 2020, on recense 6 avis non-conformité sur 7 plaintes, mais aucune sanction (voir autre texte). « C’est assez sérieux, dit-elle. La conformité, c’est de se tasser, ce n’est pas compliqué. La distance d’épandage est de 3 m, alors d’habitude quand ça dépasse, c’est que c’est excessif et qu’on est quasiment dans le cours d’eau. Pour ça, on pourrait peut-être être plus sévère. Ce serait même mieux que la distance revienne à 5 m comme avant, mais ça, c’est de la volonté politique. » Parlant de volonté politique, tout comme la directrice général du COGESAF (Conseil de gouvernance de l’eau des bassins-versants de la rivière Saint-François) Stéphanie Martel, Mme D’Auteuil plaide pour que le Ministère déploie davantage de ressources. Un seul et unique inspecteur a effectivement été en charge de traiter les 72 plaintes des deux dernières années en milieu agricole estrien. « Je pense que le Règlement sur les exploitations agricoles a assez de grippe, note Mme Martel. Mais le problème, comme à peu près tous les règlements, c’est l’application de la loi. Il manque clairement de ressources humaines et financières en région pour en faire l’application. » Nul besoin donc d’augmenter la pression sur les agriculteurs, croient-elles. Les initiatives doivent venir d’en haut : « À la base ce qui est inquiétant, c’est ce que le gouvernement permet comme concentration de pesticides, ajoute même Mme D’Auteuil. Il y aurait moyen de réviser à la baisse ces concentrations-là pour éviter que ça se retrouve dans les fossés et dans les cours d’eau. » Assouplissements demandés « S’ils ne donnent pas de sanction, c’est probablement parce qu’il n’y a pas matière à en donner une, avance le vice-président de l’UPA-Estrie, Michel Brien. Parfois, ils demandent juste de réparer ce qui a été fait. Ça arrive parfois aussi qu’ils ne sont pas très complaisants. Chaque cas est différent. Ça dépend du problème. » Celui-ci affirme donc avoir confiance en le système actuel, mais croit que certains ajustement pourraient être faits au Règlement sur les exploitations agricoles, L’UPA demande par exemple depuis plusieurs années à ce que la date limite d’épandage soit repoussée du 1er au 15 octobre. « Après le 1er octobre, on n’a pas le droit d’épandre, à moins d’avoir une lettre d’un agronome. Ça arrive qu’on récolte à la fin septembre, mais qu’il pleuve pendant deux semaines de temps. Et en plus, les saisons allongent de plus en plus. » Il n’a pas été possible d’obtenir une réponse du cabinet du ministre de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques dans les délais. Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
NEW ORLEANS — The estate of a writer who chronicled Southern food and life will be auctioned next month to benefit a charity created to continue her philanthropy. Julia Reed was 59 when she died in August of cancer. She was a contributing editor to Garden & Gun magazine, which chronicles life and culture in the South, and wrote numerous books about the region. Reed’s estate includes art, furniture, china, flatware and jewelry from her homes in New York, New Orleans and Greenville, Mississippi, according to Neal Auction Co. of New Orleans. They’ll be auctioned online Feb. 5 to benefit the Julia Evans Reed Charitable Trust. Phone, absentee and online bids will be taken. The collection being auctioned ranges from coconuts carved in the 19th century to work by contemporary artists about whom Dunhap had written admiringly. The coconuts, which include two flasks, are expected to sell for $400 to $600, according to the auction catalogue. It quotes Reed as describing “Guarding Nefertiti,” a papier mache and beeswax coyote skull by Ashley Pridmore of New Orleans, as decorated “with incredibly lifelike but highly unlikely barnacles. Yet the piece looks as if it somehow evolved that way.” That sculpture is expected to bring in $1,800 to $2,500, while a storm-suffused landscape by Mississippi painter William Dunlap — one of several pieces of his work to be auctioned — is expected to raise $12,000 to $18,000. The sale is estimated to bring in at least $128,000 to $197,000 for the trust, Bettine Field Carroll, spokeswoman for the auction house, said in an email. “However, our estimates are constructed conservatively so as to appeal to the broadest audience and to compel competitive bidding,” she added. “We hope and believe that the items from Julia Reed’s estate will exceed their presale auction estimates.” The Reed trust’s webpage states that it continues her work to help people in need “by supporting organizations dedicated to providing the things in life that Julia deemed essential: a good home, nourishing food, a quality education, and opportunities for learning, literacy and engagement in the arts.” Reed’s estate is among a number being auctioned over the weekend starting Feb. 5. Six other collections include the estate of Dr. Kenneth McLeod Jr., a descendant of New Orleans architects James Gallier and James Gallier Jr. It includes the Gallier coat of arms and three groups of early 19th century paintings that the elder Gallier collected during a trip to Italy, according to the catalogue. The Associated Press
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and arrested. But for five Seattle officers the outcome is less clear. Their identities still secret, two are on leave and three continue to work while a police watchdog investigates whether their actions in the nation's capital on Jan. 6 crossed the line from protected political speech to lawbreaking. The contrasting cases highlight the dilemma faced by police departments nationwide as they review the behaviour of dozens of officers who were in Washington the day of the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Officials and experts agree that officers who were involved in the melee should be fired and charged for their role. But what about those officers who attended only the Trump rally before the riot? How does a department balance an officer's free speech rights with the blow to public trust that comes from the attendance of law enforcement at an event with far-right militants and white nationalists who went on to assault the seat of American democracy? An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behaviour in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in. They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law. “If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer's of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of colour.” In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic. “We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by anyone, including our officers and staff.” On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation's capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behaviour, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said. Officers' First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.” Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said. “It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said. In Houston, the police chief decried an officer who resigned and was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force "very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.” But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes. “The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally. Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some. A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. Martha Bellisle And Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan's premier says the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline isn't over yet. In a recent interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton, Premier Scott Moe says conversations around the TC Energy project are ongoing, despite U.S. President Joe Biden's recent cancellation of the pipeline's permit by executive order. "I wouldn't say this project is over by any stretch. There is a lot of conversation to have on KXL," Moe said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, connecting to the original Keystone pipeline running to the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. A portion of the project would have crossed into southern Saskatchewan. Moe, along with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, has pushed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to take action against the pipeline's halt. That could include economic sanctions, Moe suggested — a possibility also raised by Kenney. "I haven't said that we should go to sanctions and sanctions should be utilized first," Moe said in his interview with Barton. "But sanctions are always on the table in any conversation or any challenge that we may have with our trading relationship with our largest partner." The project, originally blocked by U.S. President Barack Obama, was then approved by President Donald Trump, who wanted to negotiate the terms of the project, before ultimately being blocked again by Biden in the first days of his presidency. Federal Opposition leader Erin O'Toole has also expressed frustration over the cancellation of the project, saying in a statement it "will devastate thousands of Canadian families who have already been badly hurt by the economic crisis." Trudeau's government has repeatedly said that it supports the project and has made that clear to the new U.S. administration, but both the prime minister and Canada's ambassador to the U.S. have said it is time to respect the decision and move on. Speaking on Friday morning, Trudeau reiterated his disappointment with the cancellation and said he would raise the issue during his phone call with Biden scheduled for later in the day. "Obviously the decision on Keystone XL is a very difficult one for workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan who've had many difficult hits," he said. "Over the past years we have been there for them and we will continue to be there for them and I will express my concern for jobs and livelihoods in Canada, particularly in the West, directly in my conversation with President Biden." Trudeau stressed he and the new president are on the same wavelength on fighting climate change and middle-class job creation, as well as the "values of Canadians." Moe called the cancellation a "devastating blow to North American energy security," and said in the interview with Barton he'll continue to advocate for the pipeline, which he says has both economic and environmental benefits for Canada.
TORONTO — The patient, when he came into the hospital ER with what seemed to be mild pneumonia, wasn't that sick and might otherwise have been sent home. Except the man had just returned from China, where a new viral disease was spreading like a brush fire. His chest X-rays were also unusual. "We'd never seen a case like this before," says Dr. Jerome Leis. "I'd never seen an X-ray quite like that one." It was the evening of Jan. 23, 2020, when the team at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre decided to admit the 56-year-old patient. That same day, Canada's chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, told the country: "The risk of an outbreak in Canada remains low," Tam said in a refrain she and other officials would repeat for weeks on end. Less than two days after admission to Sunnybrook, the man would become "Patient Zero" — the first COVID-19 case in Canada. For several weeks, Leis, the hospital's medical director of infection prevention and control, had been anticipating just such a moment. He had known since the end of December about the outbreak in Wuhan, China, and he'd been following Chinese authorities as they published information about the new pathogen and its effects. Drawing on lessons learned from the SARS epidemic years earlier, Sunnybrook's screening staff were already asking new specific questions of incoming patients. Protocols were sharpened. Just that morning, in fact, internal-medicine residents and faculty had done a refresher around protective gear. "We were extremely suspicious that this was the novel coronavirus that had been described," Leis says. "It does feel like a lifetime ago and yet it does just seem like yesterday." Dr. Lynfa Stroud, on-call general internist and division head of general internal medicine at Sunnybrook, was notified the new patient needed to be admitted. "We didn't know what exactly we were dealing with," Stroud says. "We had early reports of presentations and how people evolved. We were a bit nervous but we felt very well prepared." The following day, as China was locking down Hubei province, Dr. Peter Donnelly, then head of Public Health Ontario, was asked about lockdowns in Canada. "Absolutely not," he declared: "If a case comes here, and it is probably likely that we will have a case here, it will still be business as normal.'' Confirmation of the clinicians' suspicions at Sunnybrook would come from the agency's laboratory, which had been working furiously to develop and validate a suitable test for the novel coronavirus based on information from China. The agency's lab had been testing samples for two weeks when the Sunnybrook call came in. "They sent a sample to us in a cab," says Dr. Vanessa Allen, chief of microbiology and laboratory science at Public Health Ontario. It would be the start of a round-the-clock effort to test and retest the new samples. "The last thing you need is a false signal or some kind of misunderstanding," says Allen, who had been a resident during the SARS outbreak. By about midday of Saturday, Jan. 25, the lab was sure it had identified the new organism that would soon take over the world and become a household name. "It wasn't called COVID at the time," Allen says of the disease. Over at Sunnybrook, Leis received the confirmation without much surprise. "It was consistent with what we were seeing and what we suspected," he says. "I was actually happy that the lab was able to confirm it." Within hours, public health authorities would let the country know that Canada had its first case of the "Wuhan novel coronavirus," although further confirmation from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg was pending. "I want Ontarians to know that the province is prepared to actively identify, prevent and control the spread of this serious infectious disease in Ontario," Health Minister Christine Elliott declared as the province announced a new "dedicated web page" for latest information. The wife of "Patient Zero" would also soon be confirmed as COVID-19 positive but was able to self-isolate at home. "This (man) was one of the first cases to report on the more milder spectrum of disease, which was not something we were aware of," Leis says. "It helped to teach us about the larger spectrum in disease severity that we see with COVID-19, which is very different from SARS." Looking back now at their roles in a small piece of Canadian pandemic history, those involved talk about how much we didn't know about a virus that has since infected three-quarters of a million people in Canada, killing more than 18,800 of them. "The initial detection, in some ways, was the easy part," Allen says. "This virus and the implications are extremely humbling, and just the prolonged nature and impact of this was certainly not on my radar in January of last year." Yet treating "Patient Zero" and his wife afforded valuable lessons about what was then a poorly understood disease. For one thing, it became apparent that most of those afflicted don't need hospital admission — hugely important given the massive number of infections and resulting stresses on critical-care systems. "To be honest: We would have sent this patient home from the emergency room," Stroud says. "We admitted him because, at that time, it wasn't known very well what the course of illness was." Sunnybrook alone has now assessed more than 4,000 COVID-19 patients. To survive the onslaught, the hospital developed a program in which patients are screened and, if possible, sent to self-isolate under remote medical supervision. Both "Patient Zero" and his wife recovered. Their cases would mark Canada's first minor health-care skirmish of what was to become an all-out global defensive war against COVID-19. It also marked the beginning of relentless work hours for those on the front lines of health care. For health-care workers, it's been a long year since those first energized, if anxious, days one year ago. There's a weariness in their voices, a recognition the war is still raging, even as vaccines developed with stunning alacrity offer some hope of a truce. "We have been working essentially non-stop since last January and it's not slowing down now," Leis says. "Health-care teams are tired. There's a lot of concern about burnout. It's been challenging for sure." Despite COVID-19's deadly toll, the vast majority of COVID-19 patients, like "Patient Zero," recover. Still, even for some of those, their battle might never be over. "These people just don't get magically better," Stroud says. "Some will have lifelong lung scarring and damage to their lungs." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
A new app has been created to bring awareness and support to those impacted by gun violence in Toronto. The Enough is Enough app was launched by music producer Dub J. Global News Weekend Host Mike Arsenault has more.
The Biden administration will work closely with Israel on regional security issues and to build on the country's regional normalization agreements, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told his Israeli counterpart, according to a statement on Sunday. "They discussed opportunities to enhance the partnership over the coming months, including by building on the success of Israel's normalization arrangements with UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco," according to a statement on Sullivan's call on Saturday with Israel's Meir Ben Shabbat.
The days may be cold and short for us humans at this time of year, but for some migratory birds, British Columbia's South Coast is like a tropical refuge that keeps them coming back each winter. Catherine Jardine, a data analyst and ornithologist with Birds Canada, says the Lower Mainland offers rich opportunities for amateur and professional birders alike. "It's literally a lot of really great winter birding to be had in B.C.," Jardine said from her office in Delta. "We're where a lot of birds come to over-winter." Jardine says several types of waterfowl, shorebirds and raptors make their way to the South Coast for winter. There are also birds that migrate to lower altitudes for winter, like dark-eyed juncos and fox sparrows. It doesn't take much to get started as a birdwatcher, Jardine says. She recommends heading out with a decent pair of binoculars and a free app to help identify different species, like Merlin Bird ID. "I didn't really get into birding until I was in my early 20s and then it shocked me how much I've been walking past my whole life," she said. Jardine says you don't have to travel far to go birding — she often likes to look out the window of her third-floor apartment to watch for Anna's hummingbirds, bright green little birds that are out defending territory at this time of year to get access to prime nesting spots. Some of Jardine's top recommendations for birding locations include: Iona Beach, Richmond. Boundary Bay Regional Park, Delta. Dyke Trails and Terra Nova Park, Richmond. Stanley Park Seawall, Vancouver. Westham Island, Delta. If you can't make it that far, don't worry. Jardine says there's a fair number of migratory birds that like to hang out in the ponds at Queen Elizabeth Park and at Trout Lake. "The wonderful thing about birds is that they're everywhere," she said. To find more locations, she recommends checking out the B.C. Bird Trail website, or the Tourism Richmond website. Linda Bakker, executive director with the B.C. Wildlife Rescue Association, agrees that your neighbourhood or favourite park are good places to start birding. Some of Bakker's favourite migratory birds are the waterfowl that make their way to the South Coast, like Buffleheads. "They're really cute," Bakker says. Unfortunately, Bakker says, some of them do end up in her care. She says that not all injured birds require human intervention, but if you spot one that obviously does need care, you can place it in a box and take it to the wildlife rescue hospital in Burnaby. Some of Jardine and Bakker's favourite birds to watch for on the South Coast include: Horned grebes. Surf scoters. Dunlins. Northern harriers. Snow geese. Buffleheads. Fox sparrows. Dark-eyed juncos. American wigeons.
WASHINGTON — As the House prepares to bring the impeachment charge against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, a growing number of Republican senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, dimming the chances that former president will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol. House Democrats will carry the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” across the Capitol late Monday evening, a rare and ceremonial walk to the Senate by the prosecutors who will argue their case. They are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again. But instead, GOP passions appear to have cooled since the insurrection. Now that Trump's presidency is over, Republican senators who will serve as jurors in the trial are rallying to his legal defence, as they did during his first impeachment trial last year. “I think the trial is stupid, I think it’s counterproductive,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.. He said that "the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I’ll do it” because he believes it would be bad for the country and further inflame partisan divisions. Trump is the first former president to face impeachment trial, and it will test his grip on the Republican Party as well as the legacy of his tenure, which came to a close as a mob of loyal supporters heeded his rally cry by storming the Capitol and trying to overturn Joe Biden's election. The proceedings will also force Democrats, who have a full sweep of party control of the White House and Congress, to balance their promise to hold the former president accountable while also rushing to deliver on Biden's priorities. Arguments in the Senate trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. Leaders in both parties agreed to the short delay to give Trump's team and House prosecutors time to prepare and the Senate the chance to confirm some of Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Democrats say the extra days will allow for more evidence to come out about the rioting by Trump supporters, while Republicans hope to craft a unified defence for Trump. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday that he hopes that evolving clarity on the details of what happened Jan. 6 “will make it clearer to my colleagues and the American people that we need some accountability.” Coons questioned how his colleagues who were in the Capitol that day could see the insurrection as anything other than a “stunning violation” of tradition of peaceful transfers of power. “It is a critical moment in American history and we have to look at it and look at it hard,” Coons said. An early vote to dismiss the trial probably would not succeed, given that Democrats now control the Senate. Still, the mounting Republican opposition indicates that many GOP senators would eventually vote to acquit Trump. Democrats would need the support of 17 Republicans — a high bar — to convict him. When the House impeached Trump on Jan. 13, exactly one week after the siege, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said he didn’t believe the Senate had the constitutional authority to convict Trump after he had left office. On Sunday, Cotton said “the more I talk to other Republican senators, the more they’re beginning to line up” behind that argument. “I think a lot of Americans are going to think it’s strange that the Senate is spending its time trying to convict and remove from office a man who left office a week ago,” Cotton said. Democrats reject that argument, pointing to a 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to opinions by many legal scholars. Democrats also say that a reckoning of the first invasion of the Capitol since the War of 1812, perpetrated by rioters egged on by a president who told them to “fight like hell” against election results that were being counted at the time, is necessary so the country can move forward and ensure such a siege never happens again. A few GOP senators have agreed with Democrats, though not close to the number that will be needed to convict Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said he believes there is a “preponderance of opinion” that an impeachment trial is appropriate after someone leaves office. “I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offence,” Romney said. “If not, what is?” But Romney, the lone Republican to vote to convict Trump when the Senate acquitted the then-president in last year’s trial, appears to be an outlier. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, said he believes a trial is a “moot point” after a president's term is over, “and I think it’s one that they would have a very difficult time in trying to get done within the Senate.” On Friday, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Trump ally who has been helping him build a legal team, urged the Senate to reject the idea of a post-presidency trial — potentially with a vote to dismiss the charge — and suggested Republicans will scrutinize whether Trump’s words on Jan. 6 were legally “incitement.” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said last week that Trump “provoked” his supporters before the riot, has not said how he will vote or argued any legal strategies. The Kentucky senator has told his GOP colleagues that it will be a vote of conscience. One of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s nine impeachment managers said Trump’s encouragement of his loyalists before the riot was "an extraordinarily heinous presidential crime." Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pennsylvania., said "I mean, think back. It was just two-and-a-half weeks ago that the president assembled a mob on the Ellipse of the White House. He incited them with his words. And then he lit the match.” Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol and interrupted the electoral count as he falsely claimed there was massive fraud in the election and that it was stolen by Biden. Trump’s claims were roundly rejected in the courts, including by judges appointed by Trump, and by state election officials. Rubio and Romney were on “Fox News Sunday,” Cotton appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures” and Romney also was on CNN's “State of the Union,” as was Dean. Rounds was interviewed on NBC's “Meet the Press.” ___ Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report. Mary Clare Jalonick And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Italy will take legal action and step up pressure in Brussels against Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca over delays in deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines with a view to securing agreed supplies, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Sunday. The aim was to get the companies to meet the vaccine volumes they had promised and not to seek compensation, Di Maio said on RAI state television. "This is a European contract that Pfizer and AstraZeneca are not respecting and so for this reason we will take legal action... We are working so our vaccine plan programme does not change," he said.
CALGARY — Dr. Liz Ruelle says it was a difficult decision to close her veterinary practice to first-time patients after being swamped with requests by new pet owners who turned to animal companionship during the pandemic.For Ruelle, who operates the Wild Rose Cat Clinic in Calgary, everything takes two to three times longer with COVID-19 safety protocols, so providing timely medical attention to animals can be challenging.She's six months behind on regular checkups and so decided last October to refer new furry patients to emergency clinics. "Everyone was running out and getting pets ... and we're now facing backlogs of annual exams, because we weren't doing them for months," Ruelle said."I have a hard time saying no to people. It's gut-wrenching for us. When we're saying no, it's because we physically can't."Humane Canada says 78,000 cats and 28,000 dogs were in shelters across Canada in 2019. Sixty-five per cent of the felines and 73 per cent of dogs were either adopted or reclaimed by their owners.Numbers for last year aren't yet available, but shelters across the country say demand has been brisk, although the number of cats and dogs available has dropped."Our adoptions have thankfully stayed steady throughout the pandemic and haven't seen a marked increase in animal returns," said Jessica Bohrson from the Calgary Humane Society."With so many folks now working from home, they've been able to give their new pets a great deal of attention."There are about 10,000 veterinarians in Canada. Dr. Enid Stiles, president of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, said that's too few vets for the number of pets.The greatest shortfall is in British Columbia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador."It's become a triage of what's most important. Certainly these new pets have thrown a wrench into things, because in Canada we already have a very big shortage of veterinarians," said Stiles, who shut down her Montreal clinic to new patients in December."My clinic said we would never do that, but ... we ended up having to stop taking any new patients because we're burning out. We had to put the brakes on and that's hard because where are those pets going to go?"The irony is they're going to end up being pushed out to more rural vets, who may still have some ability to see these patients, but now they're having to travel great distances in a pandemic just to get veterinary care."Lack of attention for newer patients has led to many veterinarians being subjected to verbal abuse from angry pet owners, Stiles added."People get frustrated and they're very emotional when dealing with pets. We understand, but certainly with the pandemic it's even more of a struggle," she said."People's fuses are short."The Toronto Humane Society switched to virtual adoptions last spring. The organization has fewer animals available than usual because it isn't allowed to bring in any from the United States with the border closed.Hannah Sotropa said the society has received more than 11,000 applications for adoption since the pandemic began."Definitely the interest has certainly increased. We're not seeing an increase in adoptions per se largely due to the fact we have had fewer animals," she said.The Toronto Humane Society has its own public veterinary service clinic which vaccinates, spays and neuters pets. It also has a dental suite."There's going to be backlogs. What's really important is we find ways to make veterinary care more accessible, so we can prevent animals ending up in our shelters simply due to affordability or lack of availability to basic, veterinary care," Sotropa said."It's important for people to know that even if they are an adopter, they can still come for help if they need it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
IQALUIT, Nunavut — In Nunavut, it's not unusual for the internet to cut out, slow down or stop working altogether. Unlike most jurisdictions in Canada, there is no option for unlimited internet. Instead, residents are faced with high prices and heavy fees for higher monthly data caps. Amy Matychuk, who lives in Iqaluit, says each month she and her fiancé wait for the notice from their internet service provider telling them they've reached their data limit. Matychuk says the couple spends about $250 a month on internet. Her fiancé is completing his masters, which requires him to be on Zoom nearly eight hours a day. "He's at the maximum data he can have on his phone, so once we run out of internet at home he can hot-spot to his phone," she said. Nunavut’s internet problems aren’t new, but the territory's senator, Dennis Patterson, says the pandemic has made a bad situation even worse. "Internet continues to be of crucial importance to remote communities in Nunavut. The situation has sadly not changed," Patterson said in an interview. A report commissioned by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the land-claim body that represents Inuit in the territory, says the fastest possible internet speed in Nunavut is eight times slower than the national average. The report states Nunavut is the only jurisdiction in Canada without residential access to internet speeds over 25 megabits per second. The highest possible speed in Nunavut is 15 megabits per second. Some 86 per cent of Canadian households have access to unlimited data packages and 94 per cent have access to broadband speeds of at least 25 megabits, the report says. It would cost a single Nunavut household at least $7,000 annually to reach the average level of data usage in Canadian households. Nunavut is also the only Canadian province or territory without access to fibre internet. There are three proposals that could bring it to Nunavut through lines connected to other provinces, but those are still a few years away from completion. Patterson says one reason internet hasn’t improved in the territory is a lack of competition for service providers. Northwestel, which is owned by Bell, serves all of Nunavut’s 25 communities. Qiniq, its main competitor, also offers internet and mobile phone service but runs off a different network because it doesn't have access to Northwestel's. “It's like an airport being owned by one airline and other airlines needed to either build their own airport or pay premium rates to access that airport," Patterson said. Another reason internet hasn't improved in the territory is because previously announced federal funding has not been distributed, he added. "There's been no action. It’s deeply disturbing to me." Last summer, projects in Yukon and the Northwest Territories received $72 million from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to improve broadband internet service. Nunavut did not receive any money. In a news release at the time, the CRTC said Nunavut projects were deferred to a second round of funding. "We need immediate relief during the height of the pandemic when all these services in health and education and working at home are so critical," Patterson said. The CRTC said in an email that it "is continuing to evaluate the applications submitted to the second call for applications." "Further funding announcements will be made as additional projects are approved." The CRTC said it could not disclose how many Nunavut projects had applied for funding. Andrew Anderson, communications director with Northwestel, said the company's proposal to the CRTC seeks to bring internet speeds up to 50 megabits per second with an option for unlimited internet. Right now, the company's highest internet package for home users is 150 gigabytes a month and costs $129. “We’re hopeful that our proposal brings good value to Nunavut and will help meet that standard, but we’re waiting to hear back on that," Anderson said. For his part, Patterson will continue to push the federal government to make immediate investments for faster, more affordable internet as the pandemic rages on. "People still need to work and do schooling remotely. It’s no secret that Nunavut has been subject to internet blackouts." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021 ___ This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press
Severe winds and heavy rains wrecked thousands of buildings, ruined crops and displaced almost 7,000 people in Mozambique over the weekend, officials said in their first detailed report on the disaster. Tropical cyclone Eloise hit Mozambique's Sofala coastal province on Saturday morning before weakening and heading inland to dump rain on Zimbabwe, eSwatini - formerly known as Swaziland - and South Africa. Authorities initially said Eloise had only caused minor damage in Mozambique's port city of Beira but that it was too early to gauge the full extent of the damage across the rest of the region.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is confronting the political risk that comes with grand ambition. As one of his first acts, Biden offered a sweeping immigration overhaul last week that would provide a path to U.S. citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who are in the United States illegally. It would also codify provisions wiping out some of President Donald Trump's signature hard-line policies, including trying to end existing, protected legal status for many immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and crackdowns on asylum rules. It's precisely the type of measure that many Latino activists have longed for, particularly after the tough approach of the Trump era. But it must compete with Biden's other marquee legislative goals, including a $1.9 trillion plan to combat the coronavirus, an infrastructure package that promotes green energy initiatives and a “public option” to expand health insurance. In the best of circumstances, enacting such a broad range of legislation would be difficult. But in a narrowly divided Congress, it could be impossible. And that has Latinos, the nation's fastest growing voting bloc, worried that Biden and congressional leaders could cut deals that weaken the finished product too much — or fail to pass anything at all. “This cannot be a situation where simply a visionary bill — a message bill — gets sent to Congress and nothing happens with it,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, which advocates for low-income immigrants. “There’s an expectation that they will deliver and that there is a mandate now for Biden to be unapologetically pro-immigrant and have a political imperative to do so, and the Democrats do as well.” If Latinos ultimately feel betrayed, the political consequences for Democrats could be long-lasting. The 2020 election provided several warning signs that, despite Democratic efforts to build a multiracial coalition, Latino support could be at risk. Biden already was viewed skeptically by some Latino activists for his association with former President Barack Obama, who was called the “deporter in chief” for the record number of immigrants who were removed from the country during his administration. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont defeated Biden in last year's Nevada caucuses and California primary, which served as early barometers of the Latino vote. In his race against Trump, Biden won the support of 63% of Latino voters compared with Trump's 35%, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 110,000 voters nationwide. But Trump narrowed the margin somewhat in some swing states such as Nevada and also got a bump from Latino men, 39% of whom backed him compared with 33% of Latino women. Biden became the first Democratic presidential candidate since 1996 to carry Arizona, in part because of strong grassroots backing from Mexican American groups opposed to strict GOP immigration policies going back decades. But he lost Florida by underperforming in its largest Hispanic county, Miami-Dade, where the Trump campaign's anti-socialism message resonated with Cuban- and some Venezuelan Americans. Biden also fell short in Texas even though running mate Kamala Harris devoted valuable, late campaign time there. The ticket lost some sparsely populated but heavily Mexican American counties along the Mexican border, where law enforcement agencies are major employers and the GOP's zero-tolerance immigration policy resonated. There were more warning signs for House Democrats, who lost four California seats and two in South Florida while failing to pick up any in Texas. Booming Hispanic populations reflected in new U.S. census figures may see Texas and Florida gain congressional districts before 2022's midterm elections, which could make correcting the problem all the more pressing for Democrats. The urgency isn't lost on Biden. He privately spent months telling immigration advocates that major overhauls would be at the top of his to-do list. As vice-president, he watched while the Obama administration used larger congressional majorities to speed passage of a financial crisis stimulus bill and its signature health care law while letting an immigration overhaul languish. “It means so much to us to have a new president propose bold, visionary immigration reform on Day 1. Not Day 2. Not Day 3. Not a year later,” said New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, his chamber's lead sponsor of the Biden package. Menendez was part of a bipartisan immigration plan championed by the “Gang of Eight” senators that collapsed in 2013. Obama then resorted to executive action to offer legal status to millions of young immigrants. President George W. Bush also pushed an immigration package — with an eye toward boosting Latino support for Republicans before the 2008 election — only to see it fail in Congress. Menendez acknowledged that the latest bill will have to find at least 10 Republican senators' support to clear the 60-vote hurdle to reach the floor, and that he's “under no illusions" how difficult that will be. Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a moderate Republican from Florida, said Biden may find some GOP support but probably will have to settle for far less than what’s in his original proposal. “Many Republicans are worried about primary challenges,” Curbelo said, adding that Trump and his supporters’ championing of immigration crackdowns means there's “political peril there for Republicans.” But he also said Democrats could alienate some of their own base by appearing to prioritize the needs of people in the country illegally over those of struggling U.S. citizens and thus “appearing to overreach from the perspective of swing and independent voters.” Indeed, Democrats haven't always universally lined up behind an immigration overhaul, arguing that it could lead to an influx of cheap labour that hurts U.S. workers. Some of the party's senators joined Republicans in sinking Bush's bill. Still, Latinos haven't forgotten past immigration failures and have often blamed Democrats more than Republicans. Chuck Roca, head of Nuestro PAC, which spent $4 million on ads boosting Biden in Arizona, said that while Hispanics have traditionally tended to support Democrats, he has begun to see trends in the past decade where more are registering as independent or without party affiliation. Those voters can still be won back, he said, but only if Latinos see real change on major issues such as immigration “even if it's piecemeal.” “They have to get something done if they want to start to turn around the loss of Latino voters,” said Rocha, who headed Latino voter outreach for Sanders’ presidential campaign. “They have to do everything in their power now to get Latinos back.” ___ Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report. Will Weissert, The Associated Press
TORONTO — When COVID-19 swept across Canada last year, Andre Mazerolle's five-year career in marketing ground to a halt as he was laid off from his job. Gutted, the Oshawa, Ont. man poured himself into his motorcycle hobby while he tried to plot the next phase in his working life. Then a chance conversation with a friend made him realize there was a way to do both. "She said, 'Hey, I got laid off too and I'm working at a motorcycle store selling parts and accessories....You should come and work with me,'" Mazerolle recalled. "A week later, I was at the motorcycle store ... doing something I was passionate about." Faced with hiring freezes, wage cuts and layoffs forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians like Mazerolle are making dramatic career changes. Others are seeking skills upgrades or shifting their hours after realizing their current jobs don't offer the stability and flexibility they need to raise kids or care for immunocompromised family members. An online survey of 3,000 Canadians that Morneau Shepell released in November found 24 per cent say the COVID-19 pandemic led them to consider a job or career change. Makenzie Chilton, a B.C. woman who runs career coaching company Love Your Mondays, said people around the world have been reaching out to her throughout the pandemic. As the economic downturn continued, she said, more people were ready to consider bigger moves on the job front. "Initially everyone was worried about their jobs because in March nobody knew what was happening ... (by) June, it was just an influx of people looking to create a change," she said. Educational institutions are seeing an uptick in interest too. Ryerson University's Chang School of Continuing Education, for example, said enrolment for spring-summer courses in 2020 grew by 15 per cent when compared with 2019. Particularly popular were certificate programs in disaster and emergency management, advanced safety and health studies, it said. Jennifer Hargreaves says that isn't surprising. The owner of Tellent, an organization that helps professional women find flexible work opportunities, said COVID-19 has triggered a "big pause" for Canadians juggling work, social calendars and kids, no matter what their plans looked like a year or two ago. The pandemic pushed them to slow down or stop, she said. Many women even decided to make their career a second priority because daycares closed or their kids moved to virtual schooling. "It sucks and it forces you to re-evaluate where you are and what you want, but I think that's a silver lining and a bit of a blessing for some people," Hargreaves said. That slowdown came in March for Kristin Hoogendoorn of Milton, Ont. Hoogendoorn has built a travel business over the past four years, and running it became her passion. When the pandemic started, she cancelled more than 100 flights for clients and found herself worrying about her husband's work too because he's employed by an airline. After more than a decade of self-employment, Hoogendoorn hadn't job hunted in years and her self-confidence was wavering, but she knew she had to do something. "I thought, 'I can't live on no income anymore'," she said. "I just don't know how we are going to get out of this." She eventually sat down with career coaches who boosted her morale and helped her plot her future. She's now seeking a part-time job, ideally something in sales or technology that's relatively pandemic-proof. She'll hang onto her travel business, but will keep it on the back burner until COVID-19 subsides. "If I let it go completely I would be giving up and doing a disservice to (my clients) after everything that we've been through together," she said. "It's too hard." Mazerolle, who moved from the first motorcycle company that hired him to working for Mackie Harley-Davidson in January, was quicker to make the career switch, but agreed it was an emotional process. His anxiety was high and because of strict lockdown restrictions, he felt isolated and missed work. "When I was let go, it was like I had lost this wonderful umbilical cord attaching me to all the people in my organization, and now they're gone too," he said. Finding a new job was a chance to leave some of those hardships in the dust, but it came with a learning curve, even for a motorcycle lover like Mazerolle. Now he is constantly learning about parts and accessories, getting excited about innovations Harley-Davidson is working on and talking to customers who love motorcycles as much as he does. "It is kind of like a dream coming true, and don't we want our dreams to come true?" This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2021. Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
Sherbrooke — Accès d’animaux aux cours d’eau, utilisation du contenu d’une fosse septique comme fertilisant, épandage de pesticides trop près d’un cours d’eau ou d’un puits... Dans les deux dernières années, le milieu agricole estrien a fait l’objet de 72 plaintes auprès du ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changemetns climatiques, dont la moitié se sont avérées fondées. Un bilan décevant, ou encourageant ? De ces 72 plaintes formulées entre le 1er janvier 2019 et le 30 novembre 2020 et dont La Tribune a pu obtenir les détails par le biais d’une demande d’accès à l’information, les trois types de plaintes qui se sont présentées en plus grand nombre concernent soit l’épandage de fumier de manière abusive, trop près de sources d’eau ou après le 1er octobre (16 plaintes, 7 avis de non-conformité émis), l’accès d’animaux à un cours d’eau (16 plaintes, 7 avis de non-conformité émis) ou le débordement ou l’écoulement de lisier, de lixiviat ou de résidus d’ensilage (15 plaintes, 10 avis de non-conformité émis). D’autre types de plaintes se répètent également, comme l’épandage de pesticides à une distance moins grande que les minimums exigés autour d’un cours d’eau (3 m) ou d’un puits (30 m) (6 avis de non-conformité, 7 plaintes), et l’entreprosage en amas de fumier, de compost ou de matières résiduelles fertilisantes (6 plaintes, 3 avis de non-confirmité). Stéphanie Martel, directrice général du Conseil de gouvernance de l’eau des bassins-versants de la rivière Saint-François (COGESAF), ne se dit pas surprise devant ces chiffres. « Il faut toujours garder en tête que le territoire des bassins-versants de la rivière Saint-François fait plus de 10 000 km2. On parle de quelques dizaines d’infractions. À l’échelle du territoire, ce n’est pas significatif. Mais ça ne veut pas dire qu’un débordement en particulier n’aura pas d’impact sur la qualité de l’eau ou sur un sous-bassin. Je ne veux pas diminuer l’apport ponctuel. Idéalement, il n’y en aurai pas du tout », dit-elle, précisant qu’il est difficile d’évaluer les impacts de manière juste, puisque la liste des manquements n’indique pas la durée ni l’ampleur des déversements, et que l’organisme n’est pas en mesure de récolter des données dans l’ensemble des sous-bassins. Problèmes de purin Pas d’étonnement non plus du côté de l’Union des producteurs agricoles de l’Estrie. Le vice-président, Michel Brien, se fait rassurant. « Il y a [près de 2700] fermes en Estrie. Ça démontre que la plupart respectent la réglementation », conclut-il. Le ministère de l’Environnement le confirme, les infractions les plus fréquentes au Règlement sur les exploitations agricoles, depuis les cinq dernières années, concernent le stockage de déjections animales. Un écoulement ou un débordement est une « source avérée de contaminants des ressources en eau et un danger sanitaire pour l’être humain », rappelle-t-on. Pourquoi tant de difficultés du côté des producteurs ? Michel Brien explique entre autres que les fosses ne sont pas conçues pour recevoir 365 jours de purin, et que la météo n’est pas toujours clémente. « L’automne 2018 a été très mouilleuse et le printemps 2019 très tardif. Environ 80 % des semences se sont faites après le 1er juin. On a dû accumuler le fumier un mois de plus et on s’est retrouvés avec des fosses qui n’avaient pas pu être vidées l’automne d’avant parce qu’il a plu. Moi-même, j’ai dû faire transférer du fumier durant l’hiver, parce que aurait débordé », indique le producteur laitier de Racine. Même s’il croit que le bilan est plutôt bon en ce qui concerne l’épandage de fumier dans les bonnes délimitations, celui-ci précise que la distance n’est pas toujours facile à respecter au milimètre près à l’oeil nu et du haut de la machinerie. Les puits ne sont pas toujours bien identifiés non plus. Des vaches dans la rivière Il y a maintenant plus de quinze ans qu’il est interdit de donner accès à des animaux à un cours d’eau. Chantal d’Auteuil, directrice générale de l’association des biologistes du Québec et chargée de cours en gestion de l’eau à l’Université de Sherbrooke, se souvient encore de l’époque où les canotiers côtoyaient les vaches dans la rivière Coaticook. Mais aujourd’hui, celle-ci estime que le milieu est suffisament informé pour éviter ce genre de pratiques. Elle explique cependant que le programme gouvernemental Prime-Vert avait un budget réservé à ceux qui avaient besoin de convertir leurs enclos. « Il y a eu tellement de demandes qu’ils ont manqué de financement, relate-t-elle. Certains sont toujours récalcitrants et ne le demanderont jamais. Le problème, c’est qu’on doit les trouver. C’est pour ça que c’est important que les gens qui voient ces choses-là les signalent au Ministère. » Pour sa part, Michel Brien suppose que les contrevenants ne sont majoritairement pas des producteurs de grande échelle, mais plutôt des particuliers en manque d’information ou de volonté. Une hypothèse plausible, puisque le Ministère a biffé le nom de 5 des 7 contrevenants avant de remettre la liste à La Tribune en vertu de l’article 54, qui garde secrètes les informations permettant d’identifier une personne physique. « Situation encourageante » dans les bassins-versants Stéphanie Martel se montre optimiste. Depuis 20 ans, le Conseil de gouvernance de l’eau des bassins-versants de la rivière Saint-François, dont elle est la directrice générale, n’a remarqué ni amélioration, ni détérioration de la qualité de l’eau dans la région. Dans le jargon, il s’agit en fait d’une bonne nouvelle. « Ce que ça nous dit, c’est que s’il n’y a pas eu de dégradation malgré le développement du territoire et la pression anthropique, ça veut dire qu’on arrive quand même à faire des efforts pour l’améliorer », vulgarise-t-elle, mentionnant des efforts comme l’adoption des cultures de couvertures et l’aménagement de bandes riveraines élargies, qui préviennent notamment toutes deux l’érosion des sols. « Je pense que la situation est encourageante. Les gens sont de plus en plus sensibilisés. Des réfractaires, il y en aura toujours dans tous les domaines. On y va avec ceux qui veulent travailler et on se dit qu’à un moment donné, la majorité va embarquer. Mais il faut de l’accompagnement. C’est ce que les producteurs nous disent : ils ont besoin de soutien financier et d’une expertise », renchérit celle qui voit une véritable implication du milieu agricole, notamment grâce à la Table agroenvironnementale de l’Estrie, où siègent notamment le Club agroenvironnemental de l’Estrie et l’UPA-Estrie. C’est pourquoi elle est impatiente de voir comment sera déployé le nouveau Plan d’agriculture durable du gouvernement, qui promet de récompenser financièrement les bonnes pratiques environnementales, en plus d’ajouter 75 agronomes et ingénieurs agricoles sur le terrain dans la province. Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
Genetically modified organisms can help address current agricultural challenges, but public opinion is against them. Maybe the search for delicious decaf coffee could lead to widespread acceptance.