After several members of his government were exposed for travelling during the holidays, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stayed quiet on the issue on Tuesday. As Heather Yourex-West explains, Kenney can't hide for long.
After several members of his government were exposed for travelling during the holidays, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stayed quiet on the issue on Tuesday. As Heather Yourex-West explains, Kenney can't hide for long.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
The first COVID-19 case in Prince Albert since schools re-opened on Jan. 18 was reported Thursday morning. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) identified a positive COVID-19 case in an individual at Ecole St. Anne School in Prince Albert. The Prince Albert Catholic School Division explained in a news release that communication has been shared with the specific classroom/cohort, as well as the school community. They also said case wasn’t acquired at the school. “The Saskatchewan Health Authority is proceeding with their assessment of the situation, and all individuals deemed to be close contacts will be communicated with.” As is the case in all cases in the division no further information will be made available citing privacy concerns. “We want to reassure families of Ecole St. Anne School that school will continue to operate for in-person classes while maintaining the safety protocols that are in place,” the release added. The cohort impacted by this cases being notified and provided instruction. The students and families will be receiving updates using the Edsby platform. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this member of our school community, and we hope they are doing well.” They emphasized that everyone has a shared responsibility to decrease the risk of COVID-19 entering schools. “Thank you to everyone for continuing to be diligent in performing daily health screening, staying home if ill, calling HealthLine 811 if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, practicing proper hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing as much as possible, wearing a mask when appropriate and doing everything we can to keep each other safe,” the release stated. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Jurisdictional issues are causing concerns when it comes to the distribution of coronavirus vaccines to Indigenous people. “There … (are) challenges to overcome when we try to work in partnership with multiple levels of governments and the prioritization province-by-province,” said Marion Crowe, CEO for the First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA). During the weekly virtual townhall Jan. 21 hosted by FNHMA, Crowe referenced comments by premiers who have questioned the need to provide their provinces’ allocated vaccines to Indigenous peoples because First Nations are a federal responsibility. Crowe said one premier even went so far as to say that First Nations were not a priority. She did not report which premiers she was referring to in her comments. The federal government’s role is to procure the vaccines. It’s up to the provinces to distribute them. However, said Dr. Tom Wong, executive director and Chief Medical Officer of Public Health with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), that distribution should follow the guidelines set out by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). Wong, who sits on NACI, told the virtual forum audience that NACI did a “thorough evidence review” and developed prioritization recommendations, including Elders and residents and staff in long-term care and Elder care facilities; frontline healthcare workers; and Indigenous peoples in communities in settings where they are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. “Those are the groups right at the very, very beginning. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is telling the whole country please follow these evidence-based guidelines and that includes marginalized, racialized groups in urban settings, including First Nations, Métis and Inuit in those settings,” Wong said. Issues have arisen in dealing with the urban Indigenous population and Wong highlighted outbreaks in Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg. “In particular, the (intensive care unit) admissions for off-reserve in urban areas in Manitoba has been found to be even worse than that on reserve. So this really highlights the point that, yes, there are great needs in the north, but equally that there’s huge needs in some of the urban centres where there’s a lack of services, overcrowding, in homeless shelters,” he said Kim Daly, senior nurse manager, Communicable Disease Control Department with ISC, is also with the COVID-19 vaccine working group for urban Indigenous populations. She told the virtual audience that working with provinces goes beyond prioritizing Indigenous groups. It’s also about making the vaccine accessible. “When we’re talking about items such as systemic racism, it’s important that provinces recognize that just opening a clinic down the road does not mean equal access for all the populations. We’re really trying to break down those barriers so that they know that it’s not just on reserve. It’s not just on remote and isolated (communities). There are barriers all across this country and we’re working together with them,” she said. Epidemiology, said Daly, also dictates how the vaccine is used province-to-province and that was clear throughout the country. Some provinces, like Newfoundland/Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia prioritized remote, isolated or fly-in communities, while other provinces, like Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, prioritized those 18 years and over in Indigenous communities. Manitoba, Alberta and the Northwest Territories prioritized Elder care homes. In Saskatchewan, northern communities were included in the first phase. Daly applauded provinces, like Quebec, which initially saw only about a 50 per cent uptake from Indigenous residents in remote communities for the vaccine. “The province was really gracious with communications, stating, ‘When you’re ready, the vaccine will be here.’ And there was a provision they kept back vaccines… So we really like that approach so people don’t have to make an on-the-spot decision, that they feel comfortable to come back through,” said Daly. Vaccine hesitancy, she added, should be answered with “kindness and understanding and facts.” Daly also pointed out that there were some First Nations and organization like Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which led the process, setting the example for how the vaccine should continue to be rolled out. Wong said more than 160 Indigenous communities have started immunization clinics. “As vaccine deployment continues it remains critical that First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders and partners are included at decision-making tables in each province and each territory and continue to engage in co-planning to determine ongoing capacity and needs with respective communities,” he said. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
As the vaccine rolls out in long-term care homes across the country, some provinces, including British Columbia, are also prioritizing essential caregivers for a shot to benefit residents and staff. But there’s some inconsistency about who qualifies as essential.
An additional $50 million in provincial funding is being earmarked for K-12 school capital projects, ranging from roof replacements to ventilation system upgrades, Manitoba’s education minister announced Thursday. Combined with a prior 2020 budget commitment of $160 million, the sum will both help facilities get much-needed upgrades and bring the province closer to its goal of opening 20 new schools in 10 years, Education Minister Cliff Cullen told reporters. “We must continue Manitoba’s ongoing investment in school infrastructure for the longevity of our schools and to improve accessibility for all students,” he said during a news conference. Cullen said investments will be made into multi-year projects already underway, purchasing future school sites, upgrading mechanical systems in schools, structural projects, and building new portable classrooms across Manitoba. Of the $210 million in total funding for infrastructure projects, $76 million has been allocated for existing projects and $61 million for new schools. Six new schools have opened, two are going to tender in the spring, and design will start on four projects during the 2021-22 school year, Cullen said. New schools are expected to be built in the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine and the Brandon, Louis Riel, River East Transcona, Seven Oaks, and Pembina Trails school divisions in the coming years. The province plans to spend $64 million on 84 renewal projects. That sum is broken down into: $10 million for access projects, such as elevator and wheelchair lift installations; $21 million for mechanical system upgrades for infrastructure, such as boilers and ventilation systems; $16 million for roof replacements; and $16 million to fix structural problems with aging foundations, walls and historic entrance stonework. The remaining $8 million is for building portable classrooms that can be moved wherever needed. Following the announcement, NDP education critic Nello Altomare called on the province to make “a real” investment in schools. “Now more than ever, kids deserve a quality education system that helps them succeed despite the pandemic. The Pallister government can continue to make promises, but the reality is they would rather underspend than help kids,” Altomare, MLA for Transcona, said in a statement. Last year, for the third year in a row, public schools received a $6.6-million boost in funding, totalling $1.33 billion — an approximately 0.5 per cent increase. Critics voiced concerns about the operating funding allocations — which are typically announced in late January — not keeping up with inflation and the province hamstringing divisions by capping education property tax increases to a maximum of two per cent. Also on the education file, Manitoba Education confirmed Thursday it is calling off spring senior provincial exams for the second year in a row. The province previously cancelled Grade 12 winter exams, citing learning disruptions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re still expecting that teachers will be evaluating Grade 12 students, whether that be some form of exam or testing,” Cullen said, adding the decision was made to ease the burden on students and teachers this year. The minister added Manitobans can expect an announcement on the teacher COVID-19 rapid-testing pilot in the coming days. Sixty rapid tests had been completed, as of Thursday afternoon. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Unconscious biases are the topic of a new mandatory training course for Edmonton Police Service employees. The course is an online learning module currently being rolled out to all EPS employees. The training was discussed at a police commission meeting on Thursday. The module's objective is to give staff the chance to reflect on how unconscious biases can negatively impact their work, while offering strategies to manage those biases. As part of a presentation to the police commission, Matthew Cheung, a methods analyst in the EPS equity, inclusion and human rights branch explained that unconscious biases can influence who is deemed suspicious, what kind of questions are asked to them, and ultimately who is arrested. He cited how numerous studies show this disproportionately affects marginalized communities. "While eliminating bias is not entirely plausible, it is essential for people to understand its pernicious aspects and how it can produce unintentional consequences," Cheung said. "Particularly for those who work in law enforcement who hold social power and have the ability to practise discretion." While education on the topic has been delivered to new recruits since 2012, this is the first time the course has been made available to the entire EPS staff. However, the course isn't the same one that was offered in 2012. EPS said the new training module has been updated incorporating input from BIPOC-focused non-profits and post-secondary representatives. EPS is planning to introduce other educational resources to complement the module, including anti-discrimination, anti-racism and gender-based learning. Police Chief Dale McFee reiterated the importance of maintaining discussion around unconscious biases as a priority for the police force. The module is about being inclusive and accepting, he said, and those lessons have to be a constant reminder for EPS staff with the expectation they all educate themselves to make better decisions. "This will be something that isn't one and done. It has to be right at the forefront. It's just going to maintain as our priority going forward," McFee said. Cheung also said he hopes in-person discussion and aspects of this training will be introduced after the COVID-19 pandemic has ended.
President Joe Biden is hiring a group of national security veterans with deep cyber expertise, drawing praise from former defense officials and investigators as the U.S. government works to recover from one of the biggest hacks of its agencies attributed to Russian spies. "It is great to see the priority that the new administration is giving to cyber," said Suzanne Spaulding, director of the Defending Democratic Institutions project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Cybersecurity was demoted as a policy field under the Trump administration.
Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Rosthern, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced that visitor limitations were put in place at Rosthern Hospital on Jan. 20. Family presence and visitation will be limited to compassionate reasons at the hospital. “The decision to restrict family presence is not taken lightly. These measures are in place to keep you, your loved ones, and health care workers safe. The Saskatchewan Health Authority is asking the public for their support and cooperation in order to contain the spread of the virus,” a media release stated. Compassionate care reasons include, but are not limited to, family or support persons during end-of-life care, major surgery, intensive care/critical care, maternal/pediatrics, long-term care residents whose quality of life or care needs are unmet or those inpatients and outpatients with specific challenges. No other visitors are allowed into Rosthern Hospital at this time and these limitations will remain in place until it is safe to return to the previous level of family presence. “Family members and support people who are permitted must undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility or home. This includes a temperature check and questionnaire.” The family member or support person will be required to perform hand hygiene (hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer) when entering and leaving the facility or home and when entering and leaving the patient's or resident’s room. Family members and support people will be required to wear a medical grade mask while inside the facility or home and potentially additional personal protective equipment if required. Family members and support people are not permitted to wait in waiting rooms or other common areas. “The decision to restrict family presence is not taken lightly. These measures are in place to keep you, your loved ones, and health care workers safe. The Saskatchewan Health Authority is asking the public for their support and cooperation in order to contain the spread of the virus,” a media release stated. Compassionate care reasons include, but are not limited to, family or support persons during end-of-life care, major surgery, intensive care/critical care, maternal/pediatrics, long-term care residents whose quality of life or care needs are unmet or those inpatients and outpatients with specific challenges. No other visitors are allowed into Rosthern Hospital at this time and these limitations will remain in place until it is safe to return to the previous level of family presence. “Family members and support people who are permitted must undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility or home. This includes a temperature check and questionnaire.” The family member or support person will be required to perform hand hygiene (hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer) when entering and leaving the facility or home and when entering and leaving the patient's or resident’s room. Family members and support people will be required to wear a medical grade mask while inside the facility or home and potentially additional personal protective equipment if required. Family members and support people are not permitted to wait in waiting rooms or other common areas. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Jordan Eberle scored twice, Mathew Barzal had a goal and two assists and Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves as the New York Islanders beat the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Thursday night. The Islanders improved to 3-1-0, while the Devils lost for the first time in regulation, falling to fall to 2-1-1. Varlamov has all three Islanders' wins, allowing only one goal. That came early in the second period by forward Nathan Bastian, who ended Varlamov’s season-opening shutout streak at 142 minutes and 10 seconds, the eighth-longest in NHL history to begin a season. Barzal opened the scoring with his second goal of the season at 4:43 of the first. Josh Bailey and Noah Dobson had assists. Eberle made it 2-0 at 19:39 of the first, beating goalie Scott Wedgewood with a backhand off a feed from Anders Lee. Barzal had the other assist. Wedgewood started in place of Mackenzie Blackwood, who was placed on the COVID-19 protocol list before the game. Blackwood had started each of the Devils' first three games. Wedgewood was playing his first NHL game since Feb. 13, 2018, when he was with the Arizona Coyotes. He made 31 saves. Bastian narrowed the deficit at 2:10 of the second with his first goal of the season. Rookie defenceman Ty Smith assisted on the goal. Smith has points in each of the first four games of his career and became the 11th defenceman in NHL history to achieve that feat. Eberle made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 1:56 of the third with Devils forward Travis Zajac in the penalty box. Eberle’s second goal of the game and season came after Dobson’s shot from the point ricocheted off the boards to Eberle below the right circle. Barzal also assisted. Nelson added another power-play goal at 5:16 of the third with a clean tip-in of a Nick Leddy point shot. The Islanders outshot the Devils 15-6 in the first. The Devils had a 13-9 advantage in the second. The Islanders were coming off a 1-0 victory over the Bruins in their home opener on Monday after splitting two games against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden last week, including a season-opening 4-0 shutout by Varlamov last Thursday. The Islanders improved to 6-1-0 against Devils in their last seven meetings over three seasons. ZAJAC NEARS MILESTONE Devils centre Travis Zajac played his 995th career game with the franchise, fourth best in franchise history. He needs five more to join Ken Daneyko, Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias as Devils to reach the 1,000-game mark. GREEN AGAINST DEVILS Islanders defenceman and former Devils captain Andy Greene, who spent 14 seasons and played 923 games with the team before his trade to the Islanders, played his first game against his former team. UP NEXT: Islanders: Visiting the Devils on Sunday night. Devils: Hosting Islanders on Sunday night. ___ More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Allan Kreda, The Associated Press
Surrounded by snow and ice — with sleet starting to fall — Ellen Lamont had all the teaching tools she could ever want to explain the states of matter to her elementary students this week. “What happens to our masks when we breathe outside?” Lamont asked her Grade 4/5 immersion students, each one seated in a homemade snow seat in their outdoor classroom, during a natural sciences lesson taught in French. She told them what they first exhale is a gas that condenses on their face coverings, and if they are outside long enough in the cold, that liquid may freeze and turn into a solid. Lamont could never have predicted she would be using personal protective equipment to conduct a lesson, nor she would ever be teaching in what her students have come to affectionately call “snow class” (classe de neige). The first-year teacher said she has taken all the pivots required during the COVID-19 pandemic in stride — and that’s how Laura Secord School’s snow class came to be. On Rupert DePape’s first day back after the holiday break, the fifth grader said he came across a sign posted near the designated school door for his class. The 10-year-old followed Lamont’s written instructions, and instead of entering the Wolseley area school as usual, built himself a snow chair. “We’re stuck in our seat, and have to stay far apart, and can’t really talk much (this year). Outside, it’s a lot more flexible with all the things you can do,” said Rupert, whose favourite subjects are history and math; the latter of which is taught outside, unless the wind chill makes the temperature feel -28 C or colder. While noting snow class can get “a bit chilly,” he said it’s superior to in-class learning, because all of the students can learn together and move freely. Lamont and David Seburn, an educational assistant, have been overseeing a duplex classroom, with Grade 4s in one room and Grade 5s in another, since Manitoba schools entered a restricted level (code orange) on the province’s pandemic response system. “I thought to myself, ‘It would be so nice — if just for this morning, we could all be outside so I could deliver this material once, altogether,’” Lamont said, recalling the moment she first decided to hold class outdoors Jan. 4. Engagement levels immediately spiked and students were more focused when they returned to their indoor classrooms to do pen-and-paper activities, she said. The success of an initial outdoor period has led to daily snow class lessons, which involve physical activity and the use of natural manipulatives, such as tree branches and ice cubes. Community members have donated Christmas trees, food colouring and a tree stump to decorate the space. The students also went on a nature walk to find items to make ice art with to spruce up the space. “To immerse children in nature and to create a love and reverence of nature is very important for this generation so we have kids that care about the environment and will protect it as they grow older,” said Seburn, an educational assistant and forest school practitioner-in-training who is currently enrolled in a course at the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada. It’s not only easier to engage students outdoors, he said, but also safer, at present. Lauren Phillips said she is incredibly appreciative of how her children’s teachers, at both Laura Secord and River Heights School, have put emphasis on the importance of fresh air this year, in recognition COVID-19 can be transmitted through aerosols. “There’s this notion of schools being safe, but schools aren’t safe if the behaviours aren’t safe,” Phillips said. While her seventh grader’s teacher keeps the windows open during the school day, she said her son is ecstatic about snow class with Lamont. “Most people say school sucks, but I don’t really get why,” said Callie Neek, a fourth grader in the class. The nine-year-old said she would much rather be in school than at home, so she can see her friends and learn outside. As long as students are getting something out of it, Lamont said snow class will continue throughout the school year. “They’ve been so adaptive, so flexible, so willing to happily go along with whatever we’re doing and show up and try their best,” the Winnipeg teacher said. “They have really truly amazed me.” One of her students has suggested the class collect more stumps, so they can continue to learn outside when the snow melts. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
It has taken one volunteer to spearhead the effort to develop and open up cross-country and snowshoeing trails in North Grenville. While the municipality has been supportive, Sarah Herring is the driving force behind the Kemptville Winter Trail initiative. "I first heard a few years ago about a new trail being developed in Ottawa and thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to develop something like that here?" said Herring. She had moved to Kemptville in the spring of 2017 and soon after got involved with Friends of Ferguson Forest Centre, and the municipal Active Transportation Committee. "I have a strong appreciation for nature and water in particular; that's what drew me to Kemptville. I'm a boat builder, my husband and I have built three boats," said Herring. She added she grew up cross-country skiing with her dad, but early onset arthritis took her off the trails for a number of years until she was able to get a new hip and now she's hoping to get back out gently. "Sarah got started with the idea of forming a trails group to work collaboratively with the municipality and Ferguson Forest Centre, and I supported it," said Coun. Doreen O'Sullivan, who sits on the same two boards. The land within the Ferguson Forest Centre is mostly Crown land with some municipal land as well, according to O'Sullivan, and there are already a number of walking trails, a dog park and a newly opened toboggan hill within the boundaries of the forest centre. "COVID has changed things quite a bit and we need these trails more than ever now. The curling club is closed, the arena is closed, travel is restricted and snowbirds are staying home. Hence the winter trails are very important to provide to our community; it's a physical and mental health issue, and a safe environment for social contact," said O'Sullivan. The new Kemptville Winter Trails will not be using the established walking trails in Ferguson Forest, but are developing new trails on the 25 acres of land known as the arboretum. "We had permission to start working in Ferguson Forest. Our goal is to start the multi-use trails at the forest centre but expand throughout the municipality. In total we expect to have six kilometres of trails this year and then expand into more of the residential areas, but avoid the snowmobile trails," said Herring. The idea, she said, is to create trails that can be used for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skate skiing and fat bikes. "It'll be trial and error in the first year to see what works for everyone and whether it's right for fat bikes or whether we’ll need the trails to be more packed, whether we need a roller as well as the trail groomer," said Herring. This year, Herring says the tails will be groomed for cross-country skiers, and there will be a flat area for snowshoeing, skate skiing and fat bikes. If all goes well, the trails should open by the end of January, when it's hoped more snow will have arrived. Herring started working on the project last year, just before the first pandemic lockdown. One of the first things she did was register the group as a not-for-profit corporation to give it the legitimacy to fundraise. "We've since raised more than $5,000 in the community through a GoFundMe campaign, Facebook and direct approaches to businesses," said Herring. Between corporate and individual donations the group has raised enough money to buy a trail grooming machine, which has just been ordered and is expected to arrive in the next day or two. Herring says they'll still need to secure more funding for operations and are just working through the last hurdle before they can open the trails – namely insurance. "There’s a lot of red tape – getting set up with bank accounts, finding someone who can offer the kind of insurance we need to operate, creating and paying for signage – that kind of thing," said Herring. Although the municipality has been supportive of the initiative, in the end the project has been a volunteer effort. "What we've done as an organization is bringing pieces together, but it's the whole community that’s making this happen," said Herring. Over the past two months, Herring, who is retired from Statistics Canada, says she's put in about 20 hours a week, but hopes the pace will drop off once the trails open. "While Sarah is very determined and I admire her 'get-up-and-go' attitude, she can be impatient with the bureaucracy, and I do appreciate her frustration. I share her passion for the outdoors and support the whole concept," said O’Sullivan, adding that as a cross country skier herself she's thrilled that there are going to be new winter trails in the municipality. O'Sullivan said she has encouraged the group to apply for a municipal community grant to top up their coffers and speed up the opening. The total municipal grant envelope is $125,000. Herring said the group has pulled together an application for about $1,500 to $2,000, which was headed to council. The biggest hurdle right now is insurance, but because the group is incorporated privately, it can't be covered under municipal insurance. "It's been very difficult to find someone who understands what we need and can provide it. There aren't very many insurance companies that do this kind of insurance," said Herring. Meanwhile, O'Sullivan said the municipality is working with the group to try to get them over the last hurdles if they can. She also appreciates the support of local business and individuals who have supported the fundraising initiatives. "This is a great thing for our community, particularly during COVID, people need things to do, and it's going to be a wonderful asset," said O'Sullivan, who also has the backing of Mayor Nancy Peckford. "It was one of the things we heard over and over again from residents when we were campaigning. People wanted to see more recreational options close to home," said Peckford. Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
Peterborough County residents may be paying 2.23 per cent more on the county portion of their property tax bills this year compared to last year. County councillors received the draft budget for 2021 from county staff during a special virtual meeting on Thursday. The county plans to raise an additional $1.5 million from tax dollars compared to last year, according to the draft budget, which recommends spending $48,052,395 to run the county in 2021. Increases for salaries and benefits are impacting this year’s budget by about $403,250 and the budget levy by 0.86 per cent. This is as a result of wage increases under collective agreements, non-union wage increases, a decrease in PCCP workplace safety and insurance program NEER charges, annualization of salaries and benefits for new positions or changed positions approved in the 2020 budget — which include purchasing supervisor and IT administrative support — and an additional summer student for the human resources department. Shared services with the city, including housing, child care, social services and the Provincial Offences Act office, are impacting the budget by $132,323 and budget levy by 0.28 per cent. The increase is due to an expected reduction of $139,207 in court fines, offset by Safe Restart funding, a social assistance decrease of $241,000, a child care increase of $81,839 and social housing increase of $50,725. The increase child-case costs for 2021 are primarily related to changes within provincial funding models announced in early 2019, according to county staff. Increases within social housing are due to reserve transfer increases required to fund future capital. Net reserve contributions are impacting the budget by $5,839,959 and budget levy by 12.55 per cent. Outside agencies including Fairhaven, Peterborough Public Health and Peterborough and the Kawarthas Economic Development have not requested increases that would affect the levy, said Trena Debruijn, the county’s director of finance and treasurer, but it’s not clear if these agencies can continue to operate without increases in the future. While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on county operations, the one-time funding the county received from provincial and federal governments to address the COVID-19 crisis has helped mitigate most of the impact, Debruijn said. The extent of the changes may have a long-lasting effect on county operations and it is unknown whether or not funding will continue in future years, she added. The county will hold a public meeting on Feb. 3 to review the proposed budget and provide answers to any questions or inquiries residents may have. The budget presentation can be accessed on the county’s website. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.com Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
CHICAGO — An Illinois man was ordered held without bond Thursday for allegedly threatening the lives of President Joe Biden and other Democrats before this week's inauguration. U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Fuentes rejected a defence argument that there was no evidence Louis Capriotti had any real plan to act on the threat. Capriotti, 45, of Chicago Heights faces a federal charge of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce. In rejecting bail for Capriotti, Fuentes said it was concerning Capriotti continued to make threats of violence to members of Congress even after the FBI told him a year ago to stop making threats. “Threats hurt people,” Fuentes said at the end of a nearly 90-minute hearing. “They terrorize people. They make people afraid. There’s an argument to be made that’s what they’re intended to do in the first place.” During the hearing, prosecutors played an excerpt of the Dec. 29 call at the heart of the criminal complaint, left on the voicemail of an unidentified New Jersey congressman. The message was peppered with obscenities. “If they think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that (expletive) White House on January 20th, they’re sadly (expletive) mistaken,” a man alleged to be Capriotti can be heard saying. A similar threat was made concerning now Vice-President Kamala Harris. The arrest of Capriotti came less than a week after supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from ratifying the electoral vote for Biden, leading to the deaths of a police officer and four others. Capriotti’s lawyer, Jack Corfman, argued home detention would be sufficient to ensure the safety of the community, especially since Biden's and Harris' inaugurations passed and “went smoothly.” Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dunn disagreed, saying Capriotti has a long history of ignoring court orders and only needs a phone to continue his campaign of harassment. The Associated Press
Amazon won't be forced to immediately restore web service to Parler after a federal judge ruled Thursday against a plea to reinstate the fast-growing social media app, which is favoured by followers of former President Donald Trump. U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein in Seattle said she wasn't dismissing Parler's “substantive underlying claims” against Amazon, but said it had fallen short in demonstrating the need for an injunction forcing it back online. Amazon kicked Parler off its web-hosting service on Jan. 11. In court filings, it said the suspension was a “last resort" to block Parler from harbouring violent plans to disrupt the presidential transition. The Seattle tech giant said Parler had shown an “unwillingness and inability” to remove a slew of dangerous posts that called for the rape, torture and assassination of politicians, tech executives and many others. The social media app, a magnet for the far right, sued to get back online, arguing that Amazon Web Services had breached its contract and abused its market power. It said Trump was likely on the brink of joining the platform, following a wave of his followers who flocked to the app after Twitter and Facebook expelled Trump after the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. Rothstein said she rejected “any suggestion that the public interest favours requiring AWS to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in.” She also faulted Parler for providing ”only faint and factually inaccurate speculation” about Amazon and Twitter colluding with one another to shut Parler down. Parler said Thursday it was disappointed by the ruling but remains confident it will “ultimately prevail in the main case,” which it says will have “broad implications for our pluralistic society.” Amazon said it welcomed the ruling and emphasized that “this was not a case about free speech,” a point also underscored by the judge. Parler CEO John Matze had asserted in a court filing that Parler’s abrupt shutdown was motivated at least partly by “a desire to deny President Trump a platform on any large social-media service.” Matze said Trump had contemplated joining the network as early as October under a pseudonym. The Trump administration last week declined to comment on whether he had planned to join. Amazon denied its move to pull the plug on Parler had anything to do with political animus. It claimed that Parler had breached its business agreement “by hosting content advocating violence and failing to timely take that content down.” Parler was formed in May 2018, according to Nevada business records, with what co-founder Rebekah Mercer, a prominent Trump backer and conservative donor, later described as the goal of creating “a neutral platform for free speech” away from “the tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords.” Amazon said the company signed up for its cloud computing services about a month later, thereby agreeing to its rules against dangerous content. Matze told the court that Parler has “no tolerance for inciting violence or lawbreaking” and has relied on volunteer “jurors” to flag problem posts and vote on whether they should be removed. More recently, he said the company informed Amazon it would soon begin using artificial intelligence to automatically pre-screen posts for inappropriate content, as bigger social media companies do. Amazon last week revealed a trove of incendiary and violent posts that it had reported to Parler over the past several weeks. They included explicit calls to harm high-profile political and business leaders and broader groups of people, such as schoolteachers and Black Lives Matter activists. Google and Apple were the first tech giants to take action against Parler in the days after the deadly Capitol riot. Both companies temporarily banned the smartphone app from their app stores. But people who had already downloaded the Parler app were still able to use it until Amazon Web Services pulled the plug on the website. Parler has kept its website online by maintaining its internet registration through Epik, a U.S. company owned by libertarian businessman Rob Monster. Epik has previously hosted 8chan, an online message board known for trafficking in hate speech. Parler is currently hosted by DDoS-Guard, a company whose owners are based in Russia, public records show. DDoS-Guard did not respond to emails seeking comment on its business with Parler or on published reports that its customers have included Russian government agencies. Parler said Thursday it is still working to revive its platform. Although its website is back, it hasn’t restored its app or social network. Matze has said it will be difficult to restore service because the site had been so dependent on Amazon engineering, and Amazon’s action has turned off other potential vendors. The case has offered a rare window into Amazon’s influence over the workings of the internet. Parler argued in its lawsuit that Amazon violated antitrust laws by colluding with Twitter, which also uses some Amazon cloud computing services, to quash the upstart social media app. Rothstein, who was appointed to the Seattle-based court by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, said Parler presented “dwindlingly slight” evidence of antitrust violations and no evidence that Amazon and Twitter “acted together intentionally — or even at all — in restraint of trade.” ___ AP Technology Writer Frank Bajak contributed to this report from Boston. Matt O'Brien, The Associated Press
On Thursday the province released the updated numbers on COVID-19 cases in youth. The total active cases in youth provincially in all locations are 969, 19 have no known location and 950 have a location reported. The province releases the update on the numbers each Thursday. Currently in the North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, there are 106 active cases in youth, an increase of 10 from the previous report. Last week there were 266 tests performed across the North Central zone. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 53 active cases in youth. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 53 active cases and North Central 3 has 15 active cases. Cumulative tests performed since Sept. 7, 2020 in the North Central zone is 4,925. Provincially there is a 17.5 per cent test positivity rate in youth. There were 2,941 tests performed in total in the province in the last week. The cumulative number of tests performed since Sept. 7, 2020 is 63,842. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
OTTAWA — Four different Winnipeg players scored as the Jets defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Thursday night at Canadian Tire Centre. Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele, Adam Lowry and Blake Wheeler tallied as the Jets (3-1-0) controlled most of the game. All four players had two points apiece. Chris Tierney ended Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck's shutout bid at 17:03 of the third period. The Senators (1-2-1) looked flat throughout the contest and simply made too many careless mistakes. Winnipeg was coming off a 4-3 overtime win over Ottawa on Tuesday night. Ehlers opened the scoring at 11:50 with a low wrist shot from the high slot. The puck went between the legs of netminder Matt Murray, who was partially screened. Ehlers helped make it a 2-0 game early in the second period. He made a pass from the corner to Kyle Connor, who directed it to the side of the goal for Scheifele to sweep in at 4:22. Scheifele took advantage of some lax defending by Thomas Chabot, who was a minus-3 on the night. The Jets pulled away with two more goals later in the stanza. Derek Forbort made a crafty bank pass off the side boards to spring Trevor Lewis, who deked Murray but watched the puck hit the post. Lowry banged it in at 7:05. An Ottawa timeout did little to stem the momentum. Moments later, Connor knocked down a poor clearing attempt by Chabot and flipped it to Scheifele for a one-time pass to Wheeler, who made it 4-0 at 13:55. Hellebuyck, meanwhile, was steady when needed. His best stop came early in the third period when he stacked the pads to deny Connor Brown on a breakaway. Netminder Marcus Hogberg played the final 20 minutes for Ottawa. The Jets outshot the Senators 29-28. Centre Colin White was back in the lineup after being scratched in two of Ottawa's first three games. Defenceman Ville Heinola made his season debut for Winnipeg. Ottawa rookie Tim Stutzle and Winnipeg sniper Patrik Laine were out with injuries. The teams will face off again Saturday at Bell MTS Centre. It will be the opener of a seven-game road trip for the Senators. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Peterborough County councillors have agreed to send a request to the province to deploy rapid COVID-19 testing into long-term care facilities across the province to test residents and staff. The motion brought forward by Sherry Senis, deputy mayor of Selwyn Township, will be sent to both the federal and provincial governments and health officials further requesting they commit to vaccinating all long-term care residents, retirement and other congregate senior living facilities by Feb. 15. While the province has already made the Feb. 15 commitment, Senis said council members would be reiterating that commitment by supporting the motion. “Health Canada has yet to approve the rapid COVID testing for widespread use. Once this is done, we ask the province to deploy the testing into long term care facilities. At this time, Fairhaven is on a pilot project for the testing,” she said. During their special virtual council meeting held on Thursday, Senis said the pandemic has put a spotlight on long-term care homes across the province with devastating results for family members. “As of this week, over 3,000 (Ontario long-term care) residents have died, along with 10 staff. Every day we hear about another outbreak in a long-term care home,” she said. “As I’m a board member of Fairhaven, I felt it appropriate to bring forward this motion with the executive director, Lionel Towns supports.” The motion also requests the federal and provincial governments provide sufficient emergency funds to hire adequate staff, provide training and continue to enhance long term care wages, similar to what Quebec has done. “Quebec has done a massive hiring of staff and trained them for their long-term care homes and their numbers have decreased substantially as a result. In Ontario, we should be following suit and pay the staff accordingly,” Senis said. The Peterborough census metropolitan area has the second largest proportion of seniors living in Canada’s 34 census metropolitan areas, she said. “Many of them are vulnerable and cannot speak for themselves. County council represents a large swath in Peterborough County and I feel it would be appropriate for us to support the recommendations and send them forward. We have a voice and I can’t think of a better reason than this to use it,” Senis said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP Jamie Schmale, Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP Phillip Lawrence, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot, Premier Doug Ford, Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott, Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini, Long-Term Care Minister Merilee Fullerton, the City of Peterborough, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Eastern Ontario Wardens Caucus will all receive a copy of the motion. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
WASHINGTON — After an unexplained delay, the Pentagon announced plans Thursday to move ahead with a military trial for three men held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are suspected of involvement in deadly bombings in Indonesia in 2002 and 2003. A senior military legal official approved non-capital charges that include conspiracy, murder and terrorism for the three men, who have been in U.S. custody for 17 years for their alleged roles in the deadly bombing of Bali nightclubs in 2002 and a year later of a J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. The timing of the charges, which had been submitted under President Donald Trump but not finalized, caught attorneys for the men by surprise and would seem to be in conflict with President Joe Biden's intention to close the detention centre. Gen. Lloyd Austin, Biden's nominee to be secretary of defence, this week reaffirmed the intention to close Guantanamo to the Senate committee considering his nomination. "The timing here is obvious, one day after the inauguration,” said Marine Corps Maj. James Valentine, the appointed military attorney for the most prominent of the three. “This was done in a state of panic before the new administration could get settled.” A spokesman for the military commissions, which have been bogged down for years over legal challenges largely centred around the brutal treatment of men during their previous confinement in CIA detention facilities, had no immediate comment. Military prosecutors filed charges against Encep Nurjaman, an Indonesian known as Hambali, and the other two men in June 2017. The case was rejected by the Pentagon legal official known as a convening authority for reasons that aren't publicly known. “The case fell apart on them. I cannot tell you why because that’s classified,” said Valentine, part of the legal team for Hambali. Now that the convening authority has approved charges, the U.S. must arraign the prisoners before the military commission at the base in Cuba. Court proceedings at Guantanamo have been halted by the pandemic and it's not clear when they will resume. Hambali is alleged to have been the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian affiliate of al-Qaida. The Pentagon said in a brief statement on the case that he is accused with Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin, who are from Malaysia, of planning and aiding the attacks. All three were captured in Thailand in 2003 and held in CIA custody before they were taken to Guantanamo three years later. The October 2002 bombings on the tourist island of Bali killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, including 88 Australians. A cleric who inspired it, along with other attacks, was released from an Indonesian prison earlier this month after completing his sentence for funding the training of Islamic militants. The August 2003 attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta killed 12 and wounded about 150. In December, Indonesian police arrested a man believed to be the military leader of Jemaah Islamiyah network. The most prominent Guantanamo case, involving five men charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has been stuck in the pre-trial phase since their arraignment in May 2012. No date for the death penalty trial has been set. The U.S. holds 40 men at Guantanamo. President Barack Obama sought to close the detention centre, move the prisoners to facilities inside the United States and transfer military trials to civilian court. Obama reduced the prisoner population but his effort to close Guantanamo was blocked by Congress, which prohibited transferring anyone from the base to the U.S. for any reason. Biden has said he favours closing the detention centre but has not yet disclosed his plans for the facility. In written testimony to the Senate, Austin said he would work with others in the administration to develop a “path forward” to closure. “I believe it is time for the detention facility at Guantanamo to close its doors," he said. Ben Fox, The Associated Press
Mayor George Pirie’s State of the City address coincided with a major announcement. During his address, Pirie announced the sale of the former Tweed & Hickory and Bucovetsky’s retail building on Third Avenue. Due to the pandemic, the annual event, hosted by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, was held virtually over Zoom. The mayor was tasked with giving an overall update on the city, its operations, the local economy, and hot-button issues, as well as answering questions from chamber members and the media. After a question came about encouraging new construction and developments in the city centre as opposed to on the outskirts, Pirie was happy to state that the historic three-storey building at 227 Third Ave. will finally be undergoing major refurbishment in the near future. Things Engraved and Bloomex are the named purchasers. “I’m very, very excited about this,” said Pirie, adding that it is a significant announcement for the city and the Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Association. Pirie said it wasn’t an easy property to sell. “It takes a long time to find the right partner.” He added that much of the leg work was done with another local business owner who felt there was a major opportunity at that location. “We’ve got a good environment. The situation is improving on the ground. We've got a major corporation who says, 'Yeah, this looks like a great place to locate.’” While it is promising news to have another retailer open up shop in the downtown core, given the current circumstances, many local businesses are struggling to keep up with bills. Pirie said the city is doing everything it can to help, such as freezing tax payments and not implementing late fees, and said that everyone in the community has a role to play as well by making a concerted effort to shop at locally owned businesses whenever possible. “Shop there. Yes, you can go to Walmart or whatever, I guess. No. 1, you’re not going to get the same quality of service and more than likely, you’re not going to get the same quality of goods. Help them. Stop in and shop there. Pick something up. That’s what we can all do to help. It’s not just an idle phrase ‘shop local.’” In the meantime, renovation work on the recently purchased building is expected to begin later in 2021, and will run for approximately one year. The city said the goal is to bring the historic building “back to its former glory.” The company said its vision is to use the space to create a multi-retail “European Market” vibe with various departments such as home decor, clothing, wedding and bridal, gardening, and floral. Once fully operational, approximately 20 jobs will be created. Andrew Autio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Daily Press
Elected president of the Métis Nation B.C., Clara Morin Dal Col, has been suspended from her position amid escalating tension within its leadership. Nine members of the board voted to suspend her from her role as president in an unexpected meeting on Monday, tapping vice-president Lissa Dawn Smith to step in as acting president. Tension between Dal Col and board members has been playing out publicly for weeks, with waves of reactions from Métis people in B.C. throughout the turmoil. There are more than 21,000 registered citizens with Métis Nation B.C. which has 11 board members, including Dal Col. Some citizens have publicly taken sides, while others are expressing confusion and concern. Many are calling for more transparency around the events that led up to Dal Col's suspension after it was publicly announced on Tuesday. "This was not a decision taken lightly by the board," read a public statement released by Métis Nation B.C. on Tuesday. The specific reasons for the suspension were unclear in the statement — beyond broad allegations that Dal Col had contravened the oath of office and breached policies and procedures. The statement said, "the board was left with no other option but to issue a suspension." Métis National Council calls suspension a 'shocking coup' Leadership of the Manitoba Métis Federation and Métis National Council published a joint press release about Dal Col's suspension on Thursday, characterizing the board's actions as a "shocking coup." "This is a black eye for democracy," wrote Métis National Council president Clément Chartier. "We are disgusted by this underhanded attempt to eliminate a rightfully elected leader." The press release also stated that the federation and national council will not recognize Smith as the Métis Nation B.C. president. The mandate and direction of the national council flows from regionally elected leadership from the Métis governing bodies in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. There is ongoing tension and disagreement around the standing of the Métis Nation of Ontario at the national council. Public statements from Métis Nation B.C. and Dal Col in the lead-up to her suspension show that dispute over the status of the Ontario organization is among many points of disagreement between board members and Dal Col. Daniel Fontaine, CEO of Métis Nation B.C., was limited in what he would say about the suspension citing due process and Dal Col's right to appeal. "For us as public servants working at Métis Nation, our role is really to make sure that due process is undertaken. We want to make sure that all of our bylaws, our constitution, everything is properly adhered to," he said. "I'm confident that the process is unfolding as it should and we'll see what happens." When asked about the statement put out by the Manitoba Métis Federation and the National Council, Fontaine said he anticipates the board will issue a response soon. Dal Col was first elected president of the Métis Nation B.C. in 2016 and re-elected in 2020, securing 48 per cent of the votes cast for three candidates. Dal Col was not available for an interview prior to publishing.