PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
The call is out for municipal leaders around the world to join a network using COVID-19 as an opportunity to develop more climate-resilient communities. The new program,“1000 Cities Adapt Now,” was launched Monday at the global Climate Adaptation Summit, co-convened by the government of Canada and the United Nations Environment Programme, among others. The 10-year plan was unveiled by the mayors of Miami, Paris and Rotterdam, Netherlands, alongside world-leading research organizations World Resources Institute and Global Centre on Adaptation. The goal is to encourage urban development at the municipal level that will prepare cities and residents for the coming changes in climate. “Our cities are at the forefront when it comes to tackling COVID-19, but also tackling the crisis of climate change,” said Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. More than a dozen other centres have signed on, including: Accra, Athens, Istanbul, Jakarta, and Antwerp, Belgium. No Canadian cities have yet to join the initiative. Antwerp Mayor Bart de Wever said worrying about climate change and the end of the century is a luxury for citizens who right now are financially stable enough to not have to worry about the end of the month first. De Wever advocated for climate adaptation at the municipal level in order to protect those at the lowest socio-economic levels who will feel the impacts of climate change the most. His city is already implementing adaptation plans that include flood dykes, repurposing of parking lots for community use, and amending building codes so every new build is required to have a “green roof.” Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said he was eager to be involved, because cities were the only level of government that could implement a bottom-up approach to tackling climate change. In Athens, this means “changing the face of the city” as green corridors and cycling infrastructure are prioritized. “We need to get ourselves ready for the day after the pandemic, because I think none of us want this pandemic to actually become an alibi or an excuse for our cities to lose valuable time,” Bakoyannis said. Former U.N. secretary-general and current co-chairman of the Global Commission on Adaptation Ban Ki-moon congratulated the mayors who have signed on for being leaders in the field of climate adaptation and preparedness. “The world is at a crossroads. COVID-19 is colliding with the existential crisis of a climate emergency, and your cities are on the front lines. But the good news is, that because of your work, cities around the world are rising to the challenge of protecting their citizens,” Moon said. He reminded conference attendees New York’s Central Park and Victoria Park in London were created in response to historical public health crises, and have since become the most iconic green spaces in the world. “If we work together, I believe we can prepare our cities for a warmer future, and create healthy living spaces where people and biodiversity can thrive.” Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
The current public health order will remain in effect until Feb. 19, 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced Tuesday. At a press conference, Premier Scott Moe explained that numbers are moving in the right direction but measures should continue. “The restrictions that we have are working but we need to leave them in place for a while longer,” Moe said. Measures remaining in place for another three weeks include limiting private indoor gatherings to immediate households with some exceptions for people living alone and caregivers and private outdoor gatherings remaining at a limit of 10 as long as physical distancing can be maintained. On the business side, most retail and personal services are still reduced to 50 per cent capacity and large retail locations are reduced to 25 per cent capacity. Restaurants remain limited to four customers per table and three meters between tables for in-person dining. As well, places of worship, concert venues and theatres are limited to a maximum of 30 people “I ask everyone to continue following the public health orders and the guidelines to keep yourself and those around you safe. These measures are working when we follow them as the vast majority of Saskatchewan people and businesses are doing,” Moe said. Chief Medical Health Officer Saqib Shahab explained later that public health measures are either seen as too much or too little depending on whom you are talking to. “You know they do try to strike a fine balance between minizing cases as long as the guidelines are followed and letting people work and enjoy other amenities as possible. According to Shahab these measures have to be balanced with economic mental, health and social costs of stricter measures. Obviously it does impact some people more than others in terms of what their interests are,” Shahab said. “The downward trend shows that if all of us abide by public health principles it has a significant impact on our case numbers. Making measures more stringent would always be an option, unfortunately, if our case numbers ramped up,” Shahab said. Moe explained that the gradual decline in case numbers can be seen in 232 cases reported Thursday and a seven-day average of 254, down from 321 on Jan. 12. He added that active cases are down to 2,665 which are the lowest since late November and down from the peak of 4,763 on Dec. 7. The province also began issuing tickets to establishments that fail to abide by public health orders. Tickets of $14,000 each were issued Tuesday morning to Crackers and the Crazy Cactus in Saskatoon and Stats Cocktails and Dreams in Regina. “There have been a small number of mainly bars and restaurants who may not have been following (orders), putting their staff, putting their customers and essentially putting their communities at risk.,” Moe said. Moe said that he had asked for an increase in enforcement and that was one reason the tickets were issued. “There have been three tickets with significant fines that have been issued to bars in Saskatoon and Regina. Some other investigations are ongoing and they may result in additional fines,” Moe said. According to both Moe and Shahab, issuing fines and penalties are a last resort but have become necessary. “What we really desire is compliance, for everyone to follow all of the public health orders and the guidelines that are in place. That is how we will continue to reduce our case numbers so that hopefully in three weeks from now we can start to maybe look at easing some of the restrictions that are in place,” Moe said. Shahab reminded people to familiarize themselves with guidelines and comply as citizens and business owners. “It’s not just up to the business owner. As a customer in a retail location or restaurant or bar, it is up to us to comply. I think when we don’t comply we put our friends, family, the business, the community at risk,” Shahab said. When asked by why these businesses had their names and fines released Moe said that they should be released. “It’s our hope that we wouldn’t have to release any more as compliance is always the effort. I have said over the course of the last few weeks that we are going to be and I was encouraging all of those involved to increase the enforcement,” Moe said. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
NEW YORK — Jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. is deepening its partnership with Target Corp. by launching its first-ever home collection at the discount chain. Levi's limited time only 100-item collection of denim-inspired tableware, quilts, pillows and other items will be launched on Target's website and most Target stores on Feb. 28. Target started selling low-price brand Denizen from Levi's in 2011 and then began carrying its premium Red Tab brand in 2019. It will be expanding the Red Tab brand to 500 stores by fall of this year. The move is yet another blow to department stores, which have been struggling even more during the pandemic. Target CEO Brian Cornell and Levi's CEO Chip Bergh told The Associated Press they believe the Levi products, which also include some clothing, will be collectors' items. For Target, it's the latest strategic partnership with a major brand and comes as Target extends its strong sales streak through the pandemic. The Minneapolis-based discounter signed a deal late last year with beauty chain Ulta to open more than 100 beauty shops by middle of this year. In 2019, it forged a partnership with Disney & Co to open Disney-branded shops at its stores. Cornell said that strategic partnerships “have been key to Target’s success" and has set it apart from rivals. For San Francisco-based Levi, the collaboration reflects how the company has been diversifying its label away from department stores and focusing on retailers that drive customer traffic. Bergh said that the expansion with Target has helped the brand reach a broader customer base, but he cautions that the jeans maker has no intention of going into the home business in a permanent way. “This is unexpected Levi’s stuff that they are going to find inside Target, and it’s going to surprise and delight them," Bergh said. _______ Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio Anne D'Innocenzio, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Dwayne Johnson’s new NBC comedy “Young Rock” has him campaigning for president in 2032, but the actor and producer sidestepped the possibility of a real-life run someday. A coming-of-age story inspired by the former pro wrestler's colorful but challenging childhood and youth, “Young Rock” is framed by the adult Johnson's reflections on his life as he stumps for office. Is Johnson cleverly preparing America for his next act? “I think the people will prepare me. I can say that,” he replied with a laugh. Using the candidacy as a device to revisit his past was suggested by Nahnatchka Khan, executive producer of “Young Rock,” he told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Johnson also is an executive producer for the series, debuting Feb. 16, with his younger versions played by Adrian Groulx and Bradley Constant. “We were trying to figure out a creative way that I can be intertwined in every episode, to be part of it. This was (Khan’s) idea, and at first I was a little reticent about it because it’s political,” he said. “You just knew that by the time the show was coming out, politics was gong to take yet another hard turn and be so polarizing as it is.” Khan’s persuasive argument: “She said something to the effect of, ‘Well, you always say you’re a man of the people, and I think we should give it a shot,’” Johnson recounted. In a 2018 Vanity Fair interview, the film and TV star said he'd seriously considered a 2020 run for president but decided against it. During a Q&A Tuesday with TV critics, Johnson was asked if he would invite U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren — a self-proclaimed fan of Johnson's 2015-19 “Ballers” sports comedy — to make a cameo appearance on “Young Rock.” “If we're lucky enough to come back for a second round (of episodes), then maybe she will then," he said. And what about President Joe Biden as a guest? “Well, I can see that happening,” he told The AP. “It all depends on how far we go with it (the series). But I am friends with Sen. Warren, President Biden as well, and Vice-President Kamala Harris, and so I wouldn't rule it out." Johnson, a self-described independent, bestowed his first political endorsement on the Biden-Harris Democratic ticket last year. But he suggests a a bipartisan approach ahead for “Young Rock." "I'm also friends with a lot of Republicans, so who knows what kind of melting-pot politics we'll have down the road, if by chance we're lucky to come back,” Johnson said. Lynn Elber, The Associated Press
A Saskatchewan woman says she is scared for her life after she was brutally arrested by three RCMP officers after a trip to the local emergency room to get her two-year-old son’s arm examined at the end of December. Emily Kammermayer, a member of Lac La Ronge Indian Band, is facing multiple criminal charges including assault with a weapon and assaulting a police officer, in what RCMP called a physical altercation between officers during her arrest at the La Ronge Health Centre on Dec. 29. The 20-year-old woman said the RCMP officers tackled her to the ground, punched her repeatedly in the head and face and that one officer placed a knee on the back of her neck. Ms. Kammermayer said the officers then hog-tied her, carried her to a police vehicle and drove her to the detachment. While in custody, she said, officers continued to violate her as she lay on the ground, still bound by her wrists and ankles behind her, telling her to hop like a bunny into the cell and laughing. “I felt as if my limbs and neck were being torn apart,” she said. “It was worse than childbirth or surgery.” She said she was eventually untied and allowed to speak to legal aid. Complaining of a headache and blurry vision, Ms. Kammermayer, who is also epileptic and being investigated for possible multiple sclerosis, was given Advil by paramedics. When she was released that evening, Ms. Kammermayer said she travelled to a Prince Albert hospital more than 200 kilometres away where she was examined for a concussion and possible broken vertebrae. RCMP said they responded to a complaint of an assault between an adult woman and physician at the La Ronge Health Centre around 1 p.m. on Dec. 29. A communications officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority confirmed in a statement that staff members called RCMP regarding an incident on Dec. 29, citing there is zero tolerance for violence against patients, staff and physicians. Ms. Kammermayer said she took her son Holden to the emergency department for an X-ray on the advice of her mother, a nurse. She said a doctor’s refusal to do an X-ray frustrated her and she yelled at him and slammed the door of the examination room. The door is alleged to have hit the physician, which she says led to the assault with a weapon charge against her. Ms. Kammermayer said as she was gathering their belongings, she lunged to catch her son who was running and that’s when she was tackled by the RCMP officers. Kim Beaudin, the national vice-chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which represents non-status and off-reserve status Indigenous and Métis groups, said what happened to Ms. Kammermayer is a case of systemic racism in health care and unprofessional conduct and police brutality. “All because a mother, an Indigenous woman, was trying to get medical attention for her son,” Mr. Beaudin said. “It’s a classic move by the RCMP to overcharge and underprotect Indigenous peoples.” Ms. Kammermayer said she filed an online public complaint with the RCMP’s Civilian Review and Complaints Commission against the three constables on Dec. 31. The RCMP confirmed its Professional Responsibility Unit is investigating the complaint and that the North District Management Team is also reviewing the incident. NDP public safety critic Jack Harris said the report involving Ms. Kammermayer is “unfortunately consistent” with concerns that have been raised over the past six months during a study on systemic racism in policing. He called on Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to follow up with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on the incident. Mary-Liz Power, a spokesperson for Mr. Blair, said the allegations made by Ms. Kammermayer are deeply concerning. Ms. Power said the government has confidence in processes under way at the RCMP and in the courts to bring clarity to this situation and to advise whether any corrective action should be taken based on facts and evidence. Mary-Ellen Turpel Lafond, the director of the University of British Columbia’s Residential School History and Dialogue Centre who reported on racism against Indigenous people in B.C.’s health care system in November, said that while she does not know the circumstances of the Saskatchewan case, it shows many of the attributes that she examined in hundreds of B.C. cases. She noted the cases involved hospital security, emergency services and police interacting with Indigenous peoples in a disturbing way that often reflected “racism, prejudice, bias and profiling.” Senator Yvonne Boyer, a Métis lawyer who has studied systemic racism in health, also said that the allegations brought forward by Ms. Kammermayer do not surprise her. When Joyce Echaquan died in a Quebec hospital in September after live-streaming abuse she endured, the senator said there were hundreds of others Indigenous women who had endured similar experiences. “Emily is one of those hundreds,” she said. “I hope that by coming forward there will be some more focus on eradicating systemic racism within the health care system.” With reports from Kristy Kirkup and Patrick White Willow Fiddler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Globe and Mail
A group of doctors and advocates are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address what they call a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care homes by bringing the military back for support and embarking on hiring and training drives.
Même en tant que fonctionnaire québécoise, Coura Felwine Sene ne peut obtenir ses papiers d’immigrations. Tout commence au Sénégal en 2015. Coura Felwine Sene rêve de s’établir ailleurs. Le nom « Québec » circule autour d’elle et l’attire. Pour émigrer, elle fait affaire avec une agence locale afin d’obtenir les papiers. « J’ai payé 1200 dollars pour l’admission et le certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ). L’agence s’occupait de toutes les démarches », explique-t-elle. C’est là pourtant que, sans le savoir, elle se fait flouer. L’agence et les documents délivrés s’avèrent frauduleux. Mais personne ne s’en rend compte, ni elle, ni les fonctionnaires d’ici chargés de vérifier la crédibilité des documents. Ainsi, tout se déroule comme prévu à son arrivée au Québec. Son certificat d’acceptation est échangé contre un permis d’étude. Elle s’installe à Rimouski. Après quelques années à jongler entre les études et un emploi — « j’ai passé mes nuits à l’Université », dit-elle —, elle renouvelle son CAQ sans problème. Dès sa formation terminée, elle décroche un emploi à temps plein dans un des ministères québécois. On lui offre un statut de travailleur temporaire, qui expire en janvier 2023. Déterminée à s’installer pour de bon au Bas-Saint-Laurent, elle entreprend alors les démarches pour obtenir sa résidence permanente. Elle doit d’abord passer par Québec pour obtenir un nouveau certificat. Alors qu’elle en est à rassembler ses papiers, tout bascule. « J’ai demandé au ministère de l’Immigration un duplicata de mon premier CAQ. C’est là qu’ils se sont rendu compte du caractère frauduleux. » « Le numéro du dossier est à mon nom, mais le numéro de référence correspond à un autre individu au Sénégal », détaille-t-elle. Elle se dit atterrée que les fonctionnaires puissent renouveler ses papiers, pour ensuite les invalider. « Pourquoi ont-ils annulé le CAQ qui expire en août ? J’ai fini mes études depuis. Je n’en ai plus besoin. » Qui plus est, argumente-t-elle, elle aurait sans doute pu obtenir tous les papiers pour une résidence permanente sans cette copie du CAQ. « Il ne fallait pas appeler », lui aurait-on dit au ministère. Depuis, elle multiplie les recours pour demeurer au Québec. Elle porte plainte en justice au Sénégal et obtient gain de cause. Les autorités sénégalaises font fermer l’agence frauduleuse et arrêtent les propriétaires. Son employeur, le gouvernement du Québec, lui offre un permis de travail fermé. Ce document lui permettrait de postuler sur Arrima, la nouvelle plateforme numérique de sélection des immigrants. Or, avec une mention de fraude de son dossier, Coura Felwine Sene ne croit pas en ses chances. « C’est sûr qu’ils ne vont pas me choisir. » Prise dans un cul-de-sac administratif, elle ne peut croire qu’elle pourrait devoir quitter la province. Elle soutient avoir dépensé près de 100 000 $ pour ses études et son installation à Rimouski. « J’ai le droit d’être respecté. Ça fait cinq ans que je suis ici. Je travaille. Je ne reçois aucun chômage. » « Je suis très découragée. J’ai pleuré toute la fin de semaine. » L’avocate en immigration Nadia Bourra ne s’étonne pas du refus du gouvernement. « On peut être citoyen canadien et ensuite perdre ce statut, si le point de départ était frauduleux. […] S’il y a eu une fraude, c’est normal que le gouvernement refuse. Il ne peut pas permettre cela. » Le ministère québécois de l’Immigration ne commente pas les dossiers particuliers. Par courriel, une porte-parole confirme toutefois que « la ministre peut rejeter la demande d’une personne qui a fourni, dans les cinq ans précédant l’examen de la demande, directement ou indirectement, un renseignement ou un document faux ou trompeur ». « Sur l’ensemble des demandes reçues pour les dossiers « étudiants » de 2016 à 2020, ce sont 0,07 % des demandes qui ont reçu une décision de refus pour ce motif, en moyenne, par année », ajoute-t-elle. Mme Sene confirme ces statistiques. « L’agent m’a dit que c’est la première fois qu’il voit un cas comme ça. » Elle laisse cependant entendre que d’autres compatriotes pourraient se retrouver à la fois victimes de fraude et d’une erreur administrative. « Je suis la première victime, mais il y en aura d’autres. »Jean-Louis Bordeleau, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
VANCOUVER — A former executive with British Columbia's lottery corporation became emotional Tuesday after two days of testimony at a public inquiry into money laundering.Robert Kroeker took several moments to compose himself but his voice still cracked with emotion when he was asked to describe his experience as a focal point in B.C.'s probe into money laundering.Kroeker, who was fired as vice-president of corporate compliance in 2019, spent much of his testimony explaining what the Crown corporation knew about illegal cash circulating at casinos and what was being done to prevent it."You are not a floor manager. You are not on the business side of casinos. You are not wining and dining high rollers," said Marie Henein, Kroeker's lawyer. "That's not what you do. You've spent your life in compliance and trying to deal with money laundering and making casinos secure places in B.C."Kroeker's voice cracked as he tried to describe the impact of allegations that the lottery corporation did not act on large amounts of illegal cash at casinos."It's been devastating, not being able to respond, particularly when I was at the corporation, and especially for my team," said the former RCMP officer. "They're professionals and to see them continually attacked and maligned, it's really unfair."Former gaming investigator Larry Vander Graaf, who is also a former Mountie, told the commission last November that the B.C. Lottery Corp. did not move quickly enough to protect the integrity of gaming from organized crime more than a decade ago.Vander Graaf, the former executive director of the province's gaming policy branch, testified that large amounts of suspicious cash started to appear at B.C. casinos in 2007 and by 2010, loan sharks were circulating nearby parking lots with bags of money believed to be from proceeds of crime.Kroeker testified Tuesday he received a high-level briefing about suspicious cash activities at provincial casinos with possible links to organized crime on his first day on the job at the lottery corporation in 2015.He said he reviewed a document that concluded lottery officials appeared unwilling to address police concerns about suspicious cash and its potential connections to organized crime. The document also included the lottery corporation's concerns over the potential fallout if the information became public, he added."Certainly by this point BCLC knew there was a concern around the cash being brought into casinos being proceeds of crime," B.C. government lawyer Jacqueline Hughes asked Kroeker."Yes, for sure," said Kroeker.On Monday, Kroeker testified that Attorney General David Eby appeared uninterested in the lottery corporation's anti-money laundering efforts during a meeting in 2017 shortly after the New Democrats took power.The Ministry of Attorney General said in a statement on Monday that Eby would not comment on evidence or proceedings while the commission is underway.But in a statement on Tuesday, the ministry said "this government's actions to tackle financial crime in B.C. speaks for itself."Kroeker testified Tuesday that the money laundering issue in B.C. had become "politically charged" and was used by the two main political parties to criticize each other.The province appointed B.C. Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen in 2019 to lead the public inquiry into money laundering after three reports outlined how hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash affected the province's real estate, luxury vehicles and gaming sectors.— By Dirk Meissner in VictoriaThis report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy was taken to a hospital Tuesday evening after not feeling well and later sent home after tests, a spokesman said, hours after the 80-year-old Democrat began presiding over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. Leahy, who'd been in his Capitol office, was taken to George Washington University Hospital “out of an abundance of caution" after being examined by Congress' attending physician, Leahy spokesman David Carle said. The senator underwent an evaluation before his release from the hospital and looks forward to returning to work, Carle said. Leahy had commenced his role of overseeing Trump's latest impeachment trial by swearing in his fellow lawmakers. The actual trial will begin next month. Leahy is presiding because he is the Senate's president pro tempore, a largely ceremonial post. Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump's first impeachment trial a year ago when Trump was still president. The Senate president pro tempore job normally goes to the longest-serving member of the Senate's majority party. Leahy was first elected in 1974, making him the longest-serving current senator of either party. Leahy will be chairman once again this year of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a panel that controls a large chunk of the federal budget and will be in the middle of President Joe Biden's effort to provide more spending to combat the pandemic and recharge the economy. Leahy is the fifth-oldest current senator. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., 87, is the oldest. Alan Fram, The Associated Press
Canadians believe their politicians are lacking compassion more than any other leadership quality right now, according to a recent online poll conducted by Leger with a panel of respondents. While compassion was a quality seen as lacking for many leaders, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs had the lowest compassion rating of any Atlantic Canadian premier, earning a score of 5.7 on a 10-point scale from respondents. By comparison, Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King had a compassion score of 7.8 from respondents. The poll was conducted while the province was in yellow phase, prior to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick. Higgs's compassion score is the third lowest in the country, coming out ahead of Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Albert Premier Jason Kenney. When asked by Brunswick News for his response to these polling results, Higgs said, “Well, I’m obviously disappointed that this would be the outcome [of the poll]. However, throughout this whole process I’ve tried to balance what we need to get through this, as individuals and as a province, so that at the end of COVID – which we do see, that end in sight – we actually have a province that can survive and provide employment.” Université de Moncton political scientist Donald Savoie said compassion just isn’t a part of Higgs’s brand. “The competent manager is the image he wants to project,” said Savoie, adding if your brand is fiscal prudence, it’s difficult to project compassion. Higgs’s highest score, a 7.3, was for decisiveness. He also scored a 6.9 per cent for managing the pandemic, a score which is higher than many other leaders, but lower than that of Nova Scotia or P.E.I.’s premiers. Higgs also had one of the lowest scores for collaboration; residents gave him a 6.3, the third lowest score in the country. Higgs’s compassion score is likely a result of his approaches to problems and the way he has been communicating to the public, said Mount Allison University political scientist Mario Levesque. “Higgs doesn’t appear friendly, seems more feisty and quick to temper,” said Levesque. “He’s champing at the bit. He has a very narrow agenda and doesn’t like to be pulled away from it.” By contrast, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King could be delivering similar news or restrictions, but he seems more open in his delivery, Levesque added. He noted that it may help that King is a former comedian. The public's perception of compassion is also likely influenced by the way a variety of policy files have recently been handled, which may be giving Higgs some baggage, said Levesque, citing moves to reduce rural hospital ER access and not moving forward on an official inquiry into systemic racism. Joanna Everitt, a political scientist at University of New Brunswick, said while it is clear compassion is not an adjective many associate with the premier, it doesn’t mean they aren’t satisfied with his leadership. Although his cumulative leadership score also fell below other Atlantic premiers, character traits should not be confused with performance satisfaction or willingness to vote for someone, although they can form the basis of these other assessments, said Everitt. Higgs said he is looking forward to working closely with public health, his colleagues and the other parties. He said he thinks in the end “we will measure performance on actual results, not opinions. I feel confident that at the end of the day, we're going to look back on this and say New Brunswick came through this in a way like no other province, because we've got a province left when we actually get through COVID.” A total of 3,801 online surveys were conducted through Leger’s online panel, LEO and partner panels. Interviews were conducted from Dec 4 to 20, 2020. Leadership scores offered by the study were a cumulative average on the 10-point scale calculated from the sum of scores on six attributes: trustworthiness, transparency or openness, decisiveness, good communication, compassion and collaboration. As a non-probability internet survey, a margin of error was not reported. If the data were collected through a random sample, the margin of error would be plus or minus 1.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Many of us are looking for creative ways to fight boredom during the pandemic, and for about two to five hours a day, puzzles are retiree Garth Wilcox's go-to pastime. In fact, the Calgarian has completed so many that he now has a gallery display of 50 completed puzzles covering three walls of his garage. And though his interest in puzzles started long before COVID-19, Wilcox said the pandemic has allowed him to dedicate time to it. "I started doing them way back when I was growing up in Saskatchewan, and have sort of just taken it up more earnestly, I guess, with the COVID," Wilcox said on the Calgary Eyeopener. "I flip them over and then I tape them up with two-inch packing tape, and they're very sturdy then, and then I just staple them to the garage wall." Supply and demand There is not a specific theme that attracts Wilcox to a puzzle. He has assembled landscape puzzles, bird puzzles, country and western puzzles, and puzzles of U.S. presidents. "I usually like the 1,000-piece ones. They're good for a couple [days], three days, and that sort of thing," He said. "And then … I did one that was 4,000 pieces, and it was just too complicated." Wilcox's pandemic puzzling was nearly disrupted by an early, isolation-induced shortage of jigsaw puzzles when so many people were looking for something new to do. But they became easier to find as time went on, and his wife, Susan, picks them up for him at Winners or Walmart. "My wife keeps me quite well-supplied," he said. Relaxing, addictive and gratifying At the moment, Wilcox is working away on a tough, Christmas-themed puzzle that he said was a delayed gift from the holidays. "It is quite a complicated puzzle. It's got a lot of pieces that come together … at 45 degree angles," Wilcox said. "So, it's going to be quite a challenge." A challenge, certainly — but also gratifying, he said. It fills the time, and reaching the finish line feels wonderful. "It's relaxing, and then, after a while, it's quite addictive. When you get near the end, you want to finish it up," he said. In the next couple of months, Wilcox expects to finish eight to 10 puzzles. There is still space on the walls of his garage to fill, he said. "I'm only about two-thirds done [filling the walls] now, so I got a good 35 per cent to do yet." With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
AT&T Inc was sued on Tuesday for at least $1.35 billion by a Seattle company that accused the telecommunications giant of stealing its patented "twinning" technology, which lets smart devices such as watches and tablets respond to calls placed to a single phone number. Network Apps LLC said AT&T abandoned joint development and licensing agreements for its technology in 2014 after realizing it would owe a "fortune" in royalties because the market for smart devices was exploding, only to then incorporate the technology a year later in its own product, NumberSync. According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, NumberSync uses the "same concept and architecture" with only "cosmetic changes," and its purported "inventors" were the same AT&T personnel who had worked with the plaintiffs.
Health officials in British Columbia say the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 is too high and they are repeating calls for everyone's help to bend the curve. The province recorded 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed active infections to 4,260. Among those, 313 people are hospitalized, including 71 in intensive care. An additional 14 people died in the past day and the death toll in B.C. from COVID-19 rose to 1,168. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry say in a joint statement that now is the time for anyone who has put aside public health precautions to join or rejoin efforts to stop the spread. They say it is especially critical with the presence of variant strains of COVID-19 in B.C. "For the many who have been doing your part, you may be asking 'What more can I do?'" Dix and Henry say in the joint statement. "Be the voice of support and encouragement for those who may be wavering in their resolve." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Mental health and wellness supports are in place at Jasper schools, and just being at school can be a great mood booster itself. Kelly Harding, assistant superintendent with Grande Yellowhead Public School Division (GYPSD), described in an email the excitement over the recent return from an extended winter break. “The division has heard from many parents their appreciation for the province's decision to return to in-school learning, noting that their children are happier and more excited about their learning when they are with their teachers and their peers at school,” Harding said in an email. GYPSD includes Jasper Elementary School and Jasper Junior/Senior High School. “The best mental health a school can offer to students is to be open,” added Marie-Claude Faucher, principal of Ecole Desrochers, via email. “Just by being at school, with friends and teachers, it makes an enormous difference!” Harding said the division has had positive feedback from parents who are accessing the division's learn-at-home option this year, because it affords those families an extra level of safety if they are not comfortable returning to in-school learning at this time. “In addition to great teaching and learning opportunities,” Harding said, “the division has extensive mental health and wellness supports - including 10 family school liaison counsellors, three BEST (Bringing Empowered Students Together) coaches and a division psychologist. Parents can access any of these supports through their principals, as well as a number of resources and links on the GYPSD website.” Faucher said there are programs at the school to combine with the positive attitudes there. “Added to the fact that they are now back at school, with big smiles, we also have programs to teach students about Growth Mindset, to help them develop resilience and perseverance,” she said. “We also teach them to be attentive and take care of each other.” Faucher noted if the school has serious concerns about a student, they reach to Alberta Health Services and/or Jasper Outreach Services. “They are really helpful,” she said. Dealing with the pandemic is done by balancing COVID protocols with the social side of life, Harding said. “While no one is excited about having to wear a mask indoors or not being able to share a hug or high-five, the measures put in place by the government are there to keep our staff, students and communities safe,” she said. “We are deeply appreciative to our staff and to our students and families for their commitment to the protocols. Teachers miss seeing their students' smiles! We look forward to when COVID is gone and we can return to normal.” Faucher added, “Causes of mental health issues are when students are cut off from relationships, when they confront the challenges associated with virtual school, when they are playing video games alone. It's not COVID measures that challenge mental health, we are all used to it now, it is part of a routine. Schools are a safe and happy place to be. “As long as we can have all the students here, the atmosphere is focused on learning, and learning is fun!” Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.There are 757,022 confirmed cases in Canada._ Canada: 757,022 confirmed cases (59,551 active, 678,068 resolved, 19,403 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 4,011 new cases Tuesday from 34,572 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 37,271 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,324.There were 165 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,137 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 162. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.43 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 51.62 per 100,000 people. There have been 17,120,912 tests completed._ Newfoundland and Labrador: 398 confirmed cases (six active, 388 resolved, four deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 158 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.15 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 78,477 tests completed._ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (six active, 104 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 267 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 88,900 tests completed._ Nova Scotia: 1,572 confirmed cases (11 active, 1,496 resolved, 65 deaths).There was one new case Tuesday from 934 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.11 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 11 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,358 tests completed._ New Brunswick: 1,161 confirmed cases (340 active, 807 resolved, 14 deaths).There were 10 new cases Tuesday from 1,048 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.95 per cent. The rate of active cases is 43.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 157 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 22.There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people. There have been 137,228 tests completed._ Quebec: 256,002 confirmed cases (15,622 active, 230,803 resolved, 9,577 deaths).There were 1,166 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 184.11 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,268 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,467.There were 56 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 435 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 62. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.73 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 112.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,695,925 tests completed._ Ontario: 258,700 confirmed cases (23,036 active, 229,755 resolved, 5,909 deaths).There were 1,740 new cases Tuesday from 29,712 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16,423 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,346.There were 63 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 430 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 61. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 40.57 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,007,713 tests completed._ Manitoba: 28,902 confirmed cases (3,492 active, 24,601 resolved, 809 deaths).There were 92 new cases Tuesday from 1,556 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 254.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,162 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 166.There were five new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.27 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 59.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 450,194 tests completed._ Saskatchewan: 22,646 confirmed cases (2,649 active, 19,729 resolved, 268 deaths).There were 230 new cases Tuesday from 897 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 26 per cent. The rate of active cases is 225.55 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,775 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 254.There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 43 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.52 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.82 per 100,000 people. There have been 331,591 tests completed._ Alberta: 121,901 confirmed cases (8,652 active, 111,662 resolved, 1,587 deaths).There were 366 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 197.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,134 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 591.There were 13 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 124 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.41 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.3 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,061,844 tests completed._ British Columbia: 65,234 confirmed cases (5,714 active, 58,352 resolved, 1,168 deaths).There were 406 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 112.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,322 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 475.There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 78 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.22 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 23.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,044,931 tests completed._ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,229 tests completed._ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (six active, 25 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 13.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 9,064 tests completed._ Nunavut: 282 confirmed cases (17 active, 264 resolved, one deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 43.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,382 tests completed.This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Critics of Baffinland Iron Mines’ proposed Mary River mine expansion questioned the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and integration of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or traditional knowledge, during the second day of a Nunavut Impact Review Board hearing. It revealed that a clear divide between company and community still exists, despite CEO Brian Penney’s assertion Monday his company has addressed community concerns about the mine’s phase two expansion. Baffinland says it needs to build a 110-kilometre railway from Milne Inlet to the Mary River mine to make the mine financially sustainable. But the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization was one of the more outspoken presenters during Tuesday’s proceedings in Pond Inlet, repeatedly asking Baffinland staff if they considered Inuit traditional knowledge in their proposals, especially when regarding the environment. “Does Baffinland understand that proper incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is a requirement of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, not only an expectation of communities?” Eric Ootoovak, a member of the hunters and trappers organization asked. He also asked if Baffinland respects traditional knowledge as “factual information that is essential to the environmental impact statement.” Megan Lord-Hoyle, Baffinland’s vice-president of sustainable development, and Lou Kamermans, senior director of sustainable development, said the company has adapted its proposal to the needs of affected communities, even if it hasn’t been to the extent that groups such as the MTHO would like. “We can agree to disagree on the conclusions of our assessments, but your disagreement doesn’t mean that we haven’t carried out the studies that are included in our assessment,” said Kamermans, in reference to incorporating traditional knowledge. “That information is objectively there, there’s no debate on that. We have considered the information.” Critics’ questions about whether their environmental concerns will be addressed and honoured by Baffinland have persisted since November 2019. That was when the hearings were postponed after Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk brought forward a motion to postpone the hearing because were too many questions remained about the proposal. Since then, Baffinland has held meetings with affected communities and revised its proposal. Vessels would operate for four, rather than 10, months a year, to help avoid disturbing marine life. The company also introduced the Inuit stewardship plan to allow Inuit to “report on social, environmental, and cultural impacts” of the phase two proposal, which will be run by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and paid for by Baffinland. As well, the Inuit Certainty Agreement, a multimillion-dollar agreement between the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Baffinland, was signed in July 2020 and outlines community benefits, Inuit participation in the project and incentives for affected communities. “Science and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit will be considered in parallel and on equal footing as part of the adaptive management planning,” Lord-Hoyle said. But community representatives have yet to be won over. On Tuesday, Amanda Hanson Main, technical advisor to the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, asked Lord-Hoyle three times if, during the 2019 proceedings, Baffinland supported any requests or motions by communities to slow down the hearings when they felt their concerns weren’t being answered. The third time, Lord-Hoyle referred to Baffinland’s legal counsel to answer. “We believe that an answer has been given to this question, and the answer is that the position of the company on the motions is on the record and is well known to the board,” said Brad Armstrong. Hanson Main replied, “Noting the non-response at this oral hearing, I’ll move forward, recognizing that Baffinland not only did not support the motions or the requests, and in fact pressed forward despite the protests of communities.” The nine-member Nunavut Impact Review Board assesses the environmental and socio-economic impacts of development projects and advises the federal and territorial governments on their findings. The hearing will continue until Feb 6. Afterwards, the review board will send a report to federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal recommending whether the project should go ahead. David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News
A Surrey woman is appealing to anyone who has information about a truck stolen earlier this month, which contained the ashes of her deceased son and her father. Allecia Fagerlund's truck was stolen from a gas station the night before she planned to spread her family members' ashes. "I may be out money with my truck, but the only thing I care about and really, really desperately want back is my son's ashes." The truck contained two urns with the ashes of her stillborn son and her father, John Eric Fagerlund. At around 9 p.m. on Jan. 12, Fagerlund and her mother stopped at the Petro Canada at 12808 King George Boulevard. Because she only planned to be inside briefly, Fagerlund left the truck running and locked it with a fob. She says it must not have locked completely because when she came back out the truck was gone. "I almost fell to the ground," said Fagerlund. She later learned that her partner had already put the urns in the vehicle. The couple planned to spread the ashes of their son the following day, Jan. 13, which was their baby's due date. "It broke me. It felt like I lost him all over again." Fagerlund, who's experienced multiple miscarriages, gave birth to a stillborn baby in August. "I thought I was actually going to be a mom, you know, and I had gone through the whole, you know, my belly getting big and everything," explained the 38-year-old. "And then I was rushed to the hospital and I gave birth to my stillborn son." Her father passed away in 2018 and Fagerlund had been waiting to spread his ashes. "We wanted them to be together, because my father wanted a grandson so much and I know that my [son] and my father would have been very, very close." Reward for return of ashes Surrey RCMP confirmed they are investigating the theft of the vehicle, but could not verify its contents. Fagerlund says all she wants back are the ashes. She's offered a $500 reward to anyone who returns the truck, and $1,000 if it still contains the ashes. "I forgive you, just please, just please help me by just giving me the one, the one thing that I absolutely, desperately need and want, which is not my material items," she pleaded. "I don't care about my phone […] I don't care about anything else that was in the truck, just my son's ashes, please." She's asking anyone with information on the theft of her 2013 Dodge Ram to call RCMP and has promised not to press charges.
The Saskatchewan government is looking at the tools it has to prevent targeted protests at the homes of public servants. On Saturday, a crowd gathered outside the house of Saskatchewan Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab, protesting against public health orders implemented by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier Scott Moe called the act "disturbing" and "unprecedented" in the province. "What happened this weekend is not what Saskatchewan is about," Moe said during Tuesday's provincial COVID-19 update. "That protest is moving beyond the decision of a government, and moving to protest a person." The premier says his government is looking at what laws other jurisdictions have for similar incidents, and whether or not Saskatchewan should consider them. "It's a bridge too far for me, personally. I don't know what levers the government has to address that line that has been crossed, but we're looking at tools to use to do so," Moe said. WATCH | Moe condems protest outside Saskatchewan chief medical officer's home: In the meantime, the government has offered "as much security as necessary" to Shahab and his family to ensure they are safe and comfortable. Shahab feels sorry for 'good neighbours,' family Shahab said he was made aware of the protest at his home as he was working, as he normally does on a Saturday and Sunday. "I feel grateful for the Regina Police Service and I feel sorry for my good neighbours who didn't deserve to be harassed like this, and to my family who didn't deserve to see and hear the comments," Shahab said during Tuesday's press conference. He said the protests delayed him from clearing the snow at his house for about three hours. He was able to get to it once the crowd dispersed, he said, but by that time the temperature dropped from –20 C to –30 C. Shahab says that's how it personally affected him — but philosophically, he says protests should be held in public spaces, like in front of the Saskatchewan Legislature. "In a democracy you expect vigorous debate over every policy. Right now we're in a pandemic — it's a long year and it's creating pressures for everyone," Shahab said. "And you express your opinions through many channels that are available in a democracy. But you also obey the law, and in my view there is precedence that you don't picket outside any residence." WATCH | Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer responds to protesters outside his home: Regina police continue to investigate the matter. On Monday, Regina police Chief Evan Bray told reporters that police are working alongside the Crown to determine if charges should be laid. Protests escalate Bray says the protesters that showed up to Shahab's home are the same group of people who have previously protested at the Saskatchewan Legislature. From there, they have moved to protesting in front of Shahab's office on Albert Street, and in one occurrence, followed him to his car. Dr. Shahab was escorted by security during that time. "Social media also creates its own toxic echo chambers, and it does unfortunately perpetuate hate, and does radicalize those who are susceptible to hate," Shahab said. As protests escalate, so does the support for Shahab. On Twitter, people shared their gratitude to the doctor with messages using the hashtag #IStandWithShahab. Shahab says he is appreciative of the support. "The response to this protest by the vast majority of the public was more eloquent than I can be, and it gives wind to my sails, certainly," Shahab said. "And that's what Saskatchewan is all about and Canada is all about."
What started out as a bad day for a Calgary family turned into a reminder of the strength of community and the kindness of complete strangers. Last Thursday, Stephanie McLeod's car was stolen from in front of her house. "On Friday morning, police found the car just a few blocks away, but everything that could be ripped out including pieces of the car and all of our stuff was taken," she said. Among the stolen items was a backpack full of equipment for disc golf — a sport McLeod plays with her eight-year-old daughter, Tessa. "She was such a champ she didn't cry through the whole car being stolen and all of that stress. She only cried when she found out her favourite disc was gone! And I was like, 'OK, we're not having this. We're going to get you something.'" McLeod wrote about the ordeal on Facebook, asking if anyone had a spare disc or two they wouldn't mind parting with. Bryan Ferrari, an avid disc golfer, saw the post on the Calgary Disc Golf Club page and shared it. And then the disc golf community came through — big time. "That doesn't really surprise me about the disc golf community. They're just really giving. Everyone has extra discs that they've grown out of," he said. "All I did was make one comment … and then it blew up from there," he said. "The community took care of the rest." Watch McLeod's reaction to the surprise donation in the video above Ferrari's friend Jon Pease, who helped collect the donated items as they came in, said the call was answered by the disc golf community from Calgary and beyond. He says several groups and businesses helped out, including Don's Hobby Shop, the Calgary Disc Golf Club, the River Dogs and even groups in Red Deer and as far away as the Okanagan. "It wasn't surprising at all. Everyone in this community is top level," said Pease. "It was a community effort. It really makes you feel good." McLeod says she lost about 14 discs and a backpack. "What we got back was a proper disc golf bag and already, like, 25 discs," she said. She says she's feeling overwhelmed by the generous response. "I hoped that we would get enough to be able to get out and play, but what we got, like … this is three times probably what was taken," she said. "It was kind of just what we needed to restore our faith in humanity."