Here's the latest for Friday December 4th: Congress members express support for COVID relief compromise; Conservatives in Congress want election investigated; Orange County wildfire burns 10 square miles; WWII Vet leaves hospital after coronavirus.
Here's the latest for Friday December 4th: Congress members express support for COVID relief compromise; Conservatives in Congress want election investigated; Orange County wildfire burns 10 square miles; WWII Vet leaves hospital after coronavirus.
For two Virginia police officers who posed for a photo during the deadly U.S. Capitol insurrection, the reckoning has been swift and public: They were identified, charged with crimes and arrested. But for five Seattle officers the outcome is less clear. Their identities still secret, two are on leave and three continue to work while a police watchdog investigates whether their actions in the nation's capital on Jan. 6 crossed the line from protected political speech to lawbreaking. The contrasting cases highlight the dilemma faced by police departments nationwide as they review the behaviour of dozens of officers who were in Washington the day of the riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. Officials and experts agree that officers who were involved in the melee should be fired and charged for their role. But what about those officers who attended only the Trump rally before the riot? How does a department balance an officer's free speech rights with the blow to public trust that comes from the attendance of law enforcement at an event with far-right militants and white nationalists who went on to assault the seat of American democracy? An Associated Press survey of law enforcement agencies nationwide found that at least 31 officers in 12 states are being scrutinized by their supervisors for their behaviour in the District of Columbia or face criminal charges for participating in the riot. Officials are looking into whether the officers violated any laws or policies or participated in the violence while in Washington. A Capitol Police officer died after he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher as rioters descended on the building and many other officers were injured. A woman was shot to death by Capitol Police and three other people died after medical emergencies during the chaos. Most of the officers have not been publicly identified; only a few have been charged. Some were identified by online sleuths. Others were reported by their colleagues or turned themselves in. They come from some of the country’s largest cities — three Los Angeles officers and a sheriff’s deputy, for instance — as well as state agencies and a Pennsylvania police department with nine officers. Among them are an Oklahoma sheriff and New Hampshire police chief who have acknowledged being at the rally, but denied entering the Capitol or breaking the law. “If they were off-duty, it’s totally free speech,” said Will Aitchison, a lawyer in Portland, Oregon, who represents law enforcement officers. “People have the right to express their political views regardless of who’s standing next to them. You just don’t get guilt by association.” But Ayesha Bell Hardaway, a professor at Case Western Reserve University law school, said an officer’s presence at the rally creates a credibility issue as law enforcement agencies work to repair community trust, especially after last summer's of protests against police brutality sparked by the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Communities will question the integrity of officers who attended the rally along with “individuals who proudly profess racist and divisive viewpoints,” she said. “It calls into question whether those officers are interested in engaging in policing in a way that builds trust and legitimacy in all communities, including communities of colour.” In Rocky Mount, a Virginia town of about 1,000, Sgt. Thomas Robertson and Officer Jacob Fracker were suspended without pay and face criminal charges after posting a photo of themselves inside the Capitol during the riot. According to court records, Robertson wrote on social media that the “Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem … The right IN ONE DAY took the f(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) U.S. Capitol. Keep poking us.” Attempts to contact the pair were unsuccessful and court records do not list lawyers. Leaders in Rocky Mount declined to be interviewed. In a statement, they said the events at the Capitol were tragic. “We stand with and add our support to those who have denounced the violence and illegal activity that took place that day,” said Police Chief Ken Criner, Capt. Mark Lovern and Town Manager James Ervin. “Our town and our police department absolutely does not condone illegal or unethical behaviour by anyone, including our officers and staff.” On the other side of the county, five Seattle officers are under investigation by the city’s Office of Police Accountability. Two officers posted photos of themselves on social media while in the district and officials are investigating to determine where they were and what they were doing. Three others told supervisors that they went to Washington for the events and are being investigated for what they did while there. Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said his department supports officers’ freedom of speech and that those who were in the nation's capital will be fired if they “were directly involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” But police leaders need to evaluate more than just clear criminal behaviour, according to Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing research and policy group. They must also consider how their actions affect the department credibility, he said. Officers' First Amendment rights “don’t extend to expressing words that may be violent or maybe express some prejudice,” Wexler said, “because that’s going to reflect on what they do when they’re working, when they’re testifying in court.” Through the summer and fall, Seattle police — along with officers elsewhere — came under criticism for their handling of mass protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. The city received more than 19,000 complaints against officers, most for excessive use of force and improper use of pepper spray. Andrew Myerberg, director of the Seattle Office of Police Accountability, said none of the officers now under investigation were involved in those cases. But Sakara Remmu, cofounder of Black Lives Matter Seattle/King County, said the officers should be fired regardless. Their public declarations of solidarity with Trump fosters not just community distrust, but terror of the entire department, she said. “It absolutely does matter when the decorum of racial peace cracks and racial hatred comes through, because we already have a documented history and legacy of what that means in this country,” Remmu said. In Houston, the police chief decried an officer who resigned and was later charged in the riot. A lawyer for Officer Tam Pham said the 18-year veteran of the force "very much regrets” being at the rally and was “deeply remorseful.” But many chiefs have said their officers committed no crimes. “The Arkansas State Police respects the rights and freedom of an employee to use their leave time as the employee may choose,” department spokesman Bill Sadler said of two officers who attended the Trump rally. Malik Aziz, the former chair and executive director of the National Black Police Association, compared condemning all officers who were in Washington to tarring all the protesters who took to streets after the killing of George Floyd with the violent and destructive acts of some. A major with the Dallas Police Department, Aziz said police acting privately have the same rights as other Americans, but that knowingly going to a bigoted event should be disqualifying for an officer. “There’s no place in law enforcement for that individual,” Aziz said. Martha Bellisle And Jake Bleiberg, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan's premier says the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline isn't over yet. In a recent interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton, Premier Scott Moe says conversations around the TC Energy project are ongoing, despite U.S. President Joe Biden's recent cancellation of the pipeline's permit by executive order. "I wouldn't say this project is over by any stretch. There is a lot of conversation to have on KXL," Moe said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live. The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, connecting to the original Keystone pipeline running to the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. A portion of the project would have crossed into southern Saskatchewan. Moe, along with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, has pushed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to take action against the pipeline's halt. That could include economic sanctions, Moe suggested — a possibility also raised by Kenney. "I haven't said that we should go to sanctions and sanctions should be utilized first," Moe said in his interview with Barton. "But sanctions are always on the table in any conversation or any challenge that we may have with our trading relationship with our largest partner." The project, originally blocked by U.S. President Barack Obama, was then approved by President Donald Trump, who wanted to negotiate the terms of the project, before ultimately being blocked again by Biden in the first days of his presidency. Federal Opposition leader Erin O'Toole has also expressed frustration over the cancellation of the project, saying in a statement it "will devastate thousands of Canadian families who have already been badly hurt by the economic crisis." Trudeau's government has repeatedly said that it supports the project and has made that clear to the new U.S. administration, but both the prime minister and Canada's ambassador to the U.S. have said it is time to respect the decision and move on. Speaking on Friday morning, Trudeau reiterated his disappointment with the cancellation and said he would raise the issue during his phone call with Biden scheduled for later in the day. "Obviously the decision on Keystone XL is a very difficult one for workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan who've had many difficult hits," he said. "Over the past years we have been there for them and we will continue to be there for them and I will express my concern for jobs and livelihoods in Canada, particularly in the West, directly in my conversation with President Biden." Trudeau stressed he and the new president are on the same wavelength on fighting climate change and middle-class job creation, as well as the "values of Canadians." Moe called the cancellation a "devastating blow to North American energy security," and said in the interview with Barton he'll continue to advocate for the pipeline, which he says has both economic and environmental benefits for Canada.
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Sunday: ENGLAND Old rivals Liverpool and Manchester United meet in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Liverpool's poor recent form gives United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer an excellent chance of his first win over Liverpool as a coach. Jürgen Klopp's team has won just one of its last six games in all competitions and failed to score in four of those six matches. Liverpool and United drew 0-0 in the Premier League a week ago at Anfield. Chelsea has won just three of its last nine games as it faces second-tier Luton for a place in the fifth round and Leicester plays Brentford without injured forward Jamie Vardy. Fulham faces Burnley and Everton takes on Sheffield Wednesday. SPAIN Atlético Madrid hosts Valencia and is seeking a seventh straight win in the Spanish league to strengthen its hold at the top. Atlético midfielder Héctor Herrera is back from injury, but defender Kieran Trippier remains suspended for breaking betting rules in England and Mario Hermoso is injured. Diego Simeone’s side leads second-place Real Madrid by four points and has played two fewer games. Barcelona needs to win at Elche to reclaim third place from Sevilla. Lionel Messi will miss the match serving the second of a two-game suspension for hitting an Athletic Bilbao player in the Spanish Super Cup final. Barcelona will have United States defender Sergiño Dest back from injury for the game. Coach Ronald Koeman says his players must improve at penalties after missing seven of 12 spot kicks this campaign, including two against a third-tier team in the Copa del Rey midweek. Granada visits Osasuna, while Eibar is at Celta Vigo. ITALY Sixth-place Juventus has the chance to gain some ground in the Serie A title race when it hosts Bologna. With a win, the nine-time defending champion can move within seven points of Italian league leader AC Milan, which was beaten 3-0 at home by Atalanta on Saturday. Second-place Inter Milan also dropped points with a 0-0 draw at Udinese. Even after playing Bologna, Juventus will still have a match in hand. Fifth-place Napoli faces a tricky visit to ninth-place Hellas Verona, and seventh-place Lazio hosts eighth-place Sassuolo. Genoa plays Cagliari in a matchup of two teams fighting to avoid the drop zone while relegation-threatened Parma hosts Sampdoria. GERMANY Bayern Munich can stretch its lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a win over Schalke after its main rivals — Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund — all lost their games. Bayern hammered Schalke 8-0 on the opening day of the season and will be confident of another win against a team which is last in the league and in financial trouble. There are some bright spots for Schalke, with veteran striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar returning to the club and the 19-year-old Matthew Hoppe on a good run of scoring form. Hoffenheim hosts Cologne in the other game. FRANCE Second-place Lille needs to win at fifth-place Rennes to stay level on points with leader Paris Saint-Germain, which has a much better goal difference. It promises to be a tight game in chilly Brittany. Rennes has found its form again after being knocked out of the Champions League group stage and is unbeaten in seven games, winning five of those. If Lille loses, Lyon can move into second place with a win away to local rival Saint-Etienne, which has several players out with the coronavirus. Former France coach Raymond Domenech is unbeaten since taking charge of struggling Nantes, which is just above the relegation zone. But after three gritty draws Domenech will hope for a first win when his side goes to midtable Metz. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
A 97-year-old woman in Montreal may be the first person in Quebec to receive a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, albeit accidentally. Two weeks after receiving the Moderna vaccine, Antonietta Pollice was given a dose of the Pfizer-Bio-NTech vaccine, said her daughter, Patrizia Di Biase. Pollice, who has dementia, did not understand what vaccine she was receiving, Di Biase said. The mix-up has left the daughter livid. "Shocked. I was upset," she said. "How can that happen? 'Mistakes happen,' well, it's not a small mistake." Di Biase said Pollice received a dose of the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 7 at CHSLD Herron. With the owners of the private seniors' home deciding to close the facility, Pollice was transferred temporarily to CHSLD Joseph-François-Perrault on Jan. 11. Di Biase said staff at the CHSLD called her on Friday to inform her that Pollice had accidentally been given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. She says she was in shock and had staff repeat the information twice before she hung up because she couldn't process the news. "It's unacceptable. They have to do something about it," Di Biase said. "I don't want this to happen again. It's happened now, we can't go back for my mom, but we need to go forward and have everybody know." Quebec Premier François Legault made the decision earlier this month to delay all second doses of the vaccine in favour of inoculating more people with a first dose instead. The government has said that everyone who received the first dose so far will get the second after 90 days. Di Biase said she has reached out to Quebec Public Health seeking answers. A spokesperson for the regional health authority in charge of CHSLD Joseph-François-Perrault said the situation has been brought to its attention and it is currently investigating. The CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal wouldn't give further details, citing confidentiality. But spokesperson Valérie Lafleur said that if this happened, a rigorous review would be put in place involving the medical team, public health and a team from infection prevention and control. Mixing COVID-19 vaccines Most concerning to Di Biase is the effect of inoculating her mother with two different vaccines. The Public Health Agency of Canada says Canadians should receive the same COVID-19 vaccine for both shots — except in very specific and unlikely situations. According to the public health agency's recommendations on the use of the vaccine, "no data exist on the interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines." Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Public Health England share those same recommendations. Infectious disease specialist and microbiologist Dr. Donald Vinh, who is also an adviser to the federal government's COVID-19 task force, said each individual's situation is different but that the jury is still out on mixing vaccines. "The short answer is that we don't know anything," he said. "There is no data to determine whether or not that's efficacious. There is simply an experience, or more of a gut feeling, among people who have vaccine and immunology experience that it is probably acceptable to use different mRNA-based vaccines." WATCH | Montreal woman says vaccine mix-up 'not a small mistake': Jörg Fritz, an associate professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at McGill University in Montreal, agrees. Still, despite the lack of data, he said mixing the two vaccines should not be immediate cause for alarm. "I wouldn't be too worried because both vaccines were approved, they went through rigorous testing," Fritz said. "It shouldn't happen, a mix-up like that, but I don't think it'll have any negative consequences. There is no scientific reason to believe there are any negative consequences."
VANCOUVER — Several Metro Vancouver taxi companies have lost a court bid to quash the approvals of ride-hailing operators Uber and Lyft in British Columbia. Nine cab companies filed a petition asking the B.C. Supreme Court to overturn the decisions of the provincial Passenger Transportation Board that allowed the two major ride-hailing providers to operate. The cab companies argued that the board's decisions were "patently unreasonable," because they allowed Uber and Lyft an unlimited fleet size while the number of taxis is capped. The companies, including Yellow Cab and Black Top Cabs, claimed that the board failed to consider whether there was a public need for an unlimited number of ride-hailing cars in the province. The board also did not consider whether granting unlimited licences to Uber and Lyft would promote "sound economic conditions" in the passenger transportation business in B.C., the cab companies argued. The cab companies said that the board had extensive evidence before it describing the economic harm suffered by taxi operators in other jurisdictions as a result of allowing unlimited ride-hailing. However, Justice Sandra Wilkinson said in a written ruling this week that the board carefully considered fleet size and decided not to limit ride-hailing cars at this time, but left the issue open for future review. "In each of the decisions, the board devotes numerous paragraphs to discussing whether an indeterminate fleet size will promote sound economic conditions in the passenger transportation industry," she wrote in the decision dated Jan. 20. "This is not a deferral of a decision or a failure to consider the issue of fleet size. I would go so far as to say that the board made a very common sense decision in the circumstances." The board's decisions were made one year ago, on Jan. 23, 2020. Wilkinson added there is nothing in the board's decisions that is "obviously untenable" or "clearly irrational," and therefore they cannot be considered "patently unreasonable." She dismissed the petition and granted costs to Uber and Lyft. The B.C. Taxi Association, Yellow Cab and Black Top Cabs did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ruling. Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself. "Uber is excited to be celebrating one year in Metro Vancouver this weekend, and looks forward to making the app available in more communities in 2021," it said. Lyft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The arrival of ride-hailing in Metro Vancouver early last year, long after it was already common in many other Canadian cities, was contentious. The provincial government has said it spent two years developing legislation and regulations in advance of ride-hailing licences being approved by the Passenger Transportation Board. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Laura Dhillon Kane, The Canadian Press
Toronto police say they have arrested 10 people flouting provincial orders at anti-lockdown protests in the downtown core Saturday. In a news release late Saturday evening, police say they monitored and attended "several large gatherings" at Nathan Phillips Square, Yonge-Dundas Square and Queen's Park. Among the 10 people charged, seven protesters are facing criminal charges. Of those, five are facing charges for obstructing a police officer, two for common nuisance, one for assaulting a police officer and one for four counts of public mischief. All 10 protesters were arrested at Yonge-Dundas Square. Police say nine charges were also laid against attendees at the gatherings for failing to comply with the province's emergency orders, and three charges were laid under the Highway Traffic Act. This comes exactly one week after Toronto police arrested three people and issued 18 charges for failure to comply with the provincial stay-at-home order currently in effect for protesters in large gatherings that were flouting the order. "[We] continue to respond to calls to attend large gatherings and will take steps to disperse. Police will issue tickets and summonses to individuals when there is evidence of non-compliance of the provincial order under the EMCPA or the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA)," police said in a news release.
Former President Donald Trump considered replacing the acting attorney general with an official willing to pursue unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, and he pushed the Justice Department to ask the Supreme Court to invalidate President Joe Biden’s victory, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Journal said the efforts in the last weeks of Trump's presidency failed because of resistance from his Justice appointees who refused to file what they viewed as a legally baseless lawsuit in the Supreme Court. Other senior department officials later threatened to resign if Trump fired then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, several people familiar with the discussions told the Journal.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After Pierre-Luc Dubois was benched for lack of effort two days ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday traded the unhappy star centre to the Winnipeg Jets for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. Dubois, Columbus' top-line centre, made it clear when he signed a two-year contract before the season that he wanted a change of scenery. Laine, an All-Star winger also had been asking for a trade. Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said the deal had been in the works and wasn't hastened by the rift between Dubois and Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, who benched the 22-year-old star for loafing in Thursday's loss to Tampa Bay. “We've been working on this for a while and we've always said that it could take a while until we find the right deal, but if the right deal is on the table we're ready to move fast,” Kekalainen said. “So just everything came together." Hours after the trade, the Blue Jackets played their best game of the season to beat Tampa Bay 5-2. Dubois is a dynamic centre whom the Blue Jackets hoped would be one of their building blocks. But he declined to sign a long-term deal and let it be known he wanted to play elsewhere. After leading the team in scoring with 49 points last season, Dubois had one goal and no assists in the first five games of 2021. Laine, a 22-year-old Finnish winger, has scored 36, 44, 30 and 28 goals in each of his four NHL seasons but has grown into a better all-around player in the process. Roslovic, a 23-year-old centre who grew up in Columbus, has 26 goals and 41 assists in 180 career games. Laine said he is open to a long-term deal with Columbus. “It’s obviously a big thing for me that a team wants me and wants me bad," he said. "That was obviously a great thing for me. I’m open, for sure. Hopefully that’s going to be a spot where I’m enjoying life, I’m enjoying playing hockey and everything I’ve heard about the organization and the city, it’s only positive things. "They have a good, young team and hopefully I can bring my kind of playmaking abilities and my shooting abilities into the team and work as hard as I can and hopefully build something good.” Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice said the trade is mutually beneficial. “We’re giving up an elite shooter that I firmly believe is going to develop into a strong, very powerful power forward,” Maurice said. “And then we’re going to get a power forward that I think is going to develop into an elite point-producer. So different starting points. ... They’re both going to be big, powerful men that’ll drive play and drive offence.” The trade included signing Roslovic, a unsigned restricted free agent, to a two-year, $3.8 million contract through the 2021-22 season. “He's a hometown boy, and we think he can play centre in the National Hockey League,” Kekalainen said. “He's got tremendous speed and skill and hockey sense, and we're excited to have both those players join the Blue Jackets.” The Jets will also get a third-round pick in the 2022 draft. Roslovic, who had been working out in Columbus recently, may be available as soon as he gets through the COVID-19 protocol, Kekalainen said. The situation may be a little more complicated for Laine, who landed on the Jets' injured reserve list this week with an unspecified upper-body injury and has visa issues to work out. Kekalainen didn't say when Laine would be ready to play. Laine has 140 goals, 110 assists and 250 points in 306 games with the Jets, who failed to sign him to a long-term contract and settled on a one-year deal worth $6.75 million. “I won’t lie. It’s kind of sad,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said of Laine being traded. “There weren’t any smiles, put it that way. I think we were both sad we’re at this point. But he has nothing but a fan in me.” Maurice isn’t worried about how Dubois’ time in Columbus ended — he didn't engage in the corner and glided to the bench, where he sat the rest of the game Thursday. “I don’t know what went on there,” Maurice said. “None of us were a part of what went on there. You have no idea what went on in the background, so I’d be very careful with my character assassinations before I get to meet the man. He’ll walk in here, he’ll present himself, we’ll accept him with open arms as we always do with new players.” ___ AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed. ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL ___ Follow Mitch Stacy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mitchstacy Mitch Stacy, The Associated Press
Twenty people in custody at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam, B.C., have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Fraser Health. The health authority announced the outbreak on Friday and said it is working to identify others who may have had contact with those who tested positive at the jail. There have been several outbreaks in prisons and jails across Canada, including Mission Institution in B.C.'s Fraser Valley, where an inmate died in April. Fraser Health says there is also a new outbreak at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. It says two patients tested positive for COVID-19 in a surgical unit at the hospital and the outbreak is limited to that unit. The emergency department remains open and the health authority says other areas of the hospital are not affected by the outbreak. The health authority also announced two outbreaks have ended: one at the rehabilitation unit at Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster and the other at Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre. The news follows Friday's announcement of 508 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix put the number of hospitalized patients at 315, including 74 who are in intensive care. There are currently 4,479 active cases of coronavirus in the province. On Saturday, Vancouver Coastal Health announced an exposure event at Hail Mary's, a restaurant at 670 East Broadway, from Jan. 13 to Jan. 16. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control also announced new possible COVID-19 exposures on recent flights between Toronto and Vancouver, and from Dallas to Vancouver.
Liquor restrictions in Fort Simpson are set to be lifted on February 1, the village's mayor has said. The village voted to lift the restrictions in November. However, the change requires formalization from the N.W.T. government, meaning the restrictions did not simply lift the day following that plebiscite. Mayor of Fort Simpson Sean Whelly on Friday said a regulation had now been drafted that would lift restrictions from February 1. The territorial government's Department of Finance, which holds oversight of the relevant legislation, did not respond to confirm that date when approached by Cabin Radio. Fort Simpson will still have restrictions in place, despite the plebiscite's result, as the territory must abide by separate, pandemic-related restrictions on alcohol sales mandated for all N.W.T. communities. The plebiscite applied only to a set of restrictions specific to Fort Simpson that had existed before the pandemic. The pandemic rules state customers are limited to a maximum spend of $200 per day at any N.W.T. liquor store, plus a limit of six mickeys (375-ml bottles) of spirits in any 24-hour period. The plebiscite was held in response to a petition signed by more than 150 Fort Simpson residents asking for the village's restrictions to be removed. November's ballot saw 240 of 730 eligible residents vote, with 175 in favour of the change. Fifty-eight were opposed while seven ballots were rejected. The result was criticized by some residents who felt not enough public notice had been given beforehand. Finance minister Caroline Wawzonek dismissed that complaint. “Based on all of the information I have received to date, I am confident in the integrity of the plebiscite held in the village of Fort Simpson,” Wawzonek said in response. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio
Quebec's Hasidic Jewish council is asking all community members to follow public health guidelines after Montreal police intervened at several illegal gatherings in Outremont and the Plateau this weekend. "It is with regret that the Council of Hasidic Jews of Quebec has learned that certain members of the community have not respected the public health guideline limiting the number of people in a religious institution to 10," the council said in a statement Saturday night. In all, police were called to nine places where people were allegedly contravening public health rules on Saturday, and identified 223 offenders. Police issued 15 tickets for illegal indoor assemblies as well as one for breaking the curfew. According to SPVM spokesperson Const. Véronique Comtois, police were called to a synagogue on the corner of Hutchison Street and St-Viateur Avenue around 9:30 Saturday morning. There, Comtois said, officers found dozens of people inside the building. Police identified them and issued a general offence report, Comtois said. That report will be analyzed and more fines may be issued at a later date, she said. Just over two hours later, Montreal police issued another general offence report after being called to a place of worship on Durocher Street, near the corner of Lajoie Street. Comtois said officers found a group of people gathered both inside and outside. 2nd incident at same location According to Montreal police, it was the second time in less than a day that officers were called to the Durocher Street synagogue, after another illegal gathering around 5 p.m. Friday. In that incident, people fled when officers arrived. Police have since set up a security service in the area to make sure public health measures are being followed and to intervene if there are violations, a spokesperson said. While the Council of Hasidic Jews is denouncing any illegal gatherings that took place, the organization is also accusing the SPVM of not properly enforcing the law. At least one of the establishments in question has three separate entrances into three separate closed off spaces, the council said, allowing them to safely accommodate 10 people each. Mayer Feig, a member of the Council of Hasidic Jews, said the government's new regulations are confusing. "Before, it was 25 people per room. Now, it says 10, and that came late on Friday. We didn't know if it was  per room or per building," he said. Feig also denounced what he called a "disproportionate" police presence at the synagogues this weekend. "I don't think you need 30 police cars for 15 people," he said. "It's really frustrating." 'Now is not the time to gather,' Guilbault says The province had ordered all places of worship to shut down earlier this month, with an exception for funerals. But earlier this week, the province reversed that decision, opting to limit religious gatherings to a maximum of 10 people instead. In a statement to Radio-Canada, Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault called illegal gatherings "unacceptable" and said it's important for all Quebecers to keep following the public health guidelines put in place. "The regulations are the same for everyone," the statement said. "Now is not the time to gather. The situation is still fragile in our hospitals." Outremont Mayor Philipe Tomlinson said he was disappointed to see people in the borough not following the rules. "It's a matter of public health. It's not just their health, it's everyone's health."
The federal government is providing Ontario with some much-needed support in the fight against COVID-19. Ottawa is deploying two mobile health units – an additional 200 beds – to the Greater Toronto Area. The assistance comes as the province grapples with the growing strain on its hospital system. Morganne Campbell has more in this report.
WASHINGTON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made clear to President Joe Biden on Saturday that he's eager to forge a new U.S.-U.K. trade deal. The push for a new deal came in a broad-ranging call between the two leaders that touched on the global response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the Biden administration announcing this week that the U.S. would rejoin the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization, according to a statement from Downing Street. A new trade agreement between the allies is a higher priority for Johnson than it is for Biden. The U.K. regained control over its national trade policy at the start of the month following the end of a post-Brexit transition period. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the administration had no timeline for forging a new trade deal as Biden's attention is largely focused on getting the coronavirus pandemic under control and pressing Congress to pass the president's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan. Janet Yellen, Biden's Treasury secretary nominee, also signalled during her confirmation hearing earlier this week that Biden wasn't eager to negotiate new trade deals. “President Biden has been clear that he will not sign any new free trade agreements before the U.S. makes major investments in American workers and our infrastructure,” Yellen said. Downing Street said Saturday that Biden and Johnson discussed “the benefits of a potential free trade deal between our two countries," and Johnson “reiterated his intention to resolve existing trade issues as soon as possible." The White House in its own statement said that the two leaders spoke about combating climate change, containing COVID-19, and ensuring global health security as well as shared foreign policy priorities in China, Iran and Russia. But the statement notably made no mention of discussion on trade. The call with Johnson was at least Biden's third call with a foreign counterpart since Friday. The president spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Friday evening. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions hired Aaron Glenn to be their defensive co-ordinator. The Lions announced the move Saturday. Glenn joins new coach Dan Campbell's staff after spending the past five seasons as the secondary coach for the New Orleans Saints. Before his tenure in New Orleans, Glenn was an assistant defensive backs coach for the Cleveland Browns. He also worked as a personnel scout for the New York Jets for two seasons. Glenn was a three-time Pro Bowler as a player and played in 205 games in 15 years for the Jets, Texans, Cowboys, Jaguars and Saints. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL The Associated Press
New Zealand health officials said on Sunday they were investigating what they said was probably the country's first community coronavirus case, in months in a woman who recently returned from overseas. The 56-year-old, who returned to New Zealand on Dec. 30, tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 days after leaving a two-week mandatory quarantine at the border where she had twice tested negative. New Zealand, one of the most successful developed nations in controlling the spread of the pandemic, last recorded a community coronavirus transmission on Nov. 18, according to the Health Ministry website.
TORONTO — The federal government has approved an Ottawa company's made-in-Canada rapid COVID-19 test, Health Canada confirmed Saturday as the nation's top doctor warned the virus's impact on the health-care system showed no signs of abating. The test developed by Spartan Bioscience is performed by a doctor and provides on-site results within an hour, a spokeswoman for the federal agency said. Spartan bills the test as the first "truly mobile, rapid PCR test for COVID-19 for the Canadian market." "The Spartan system will be able to provide quality results to remote communities, industries and settings with limited lab access, helping relieve the burden on overwhelmed healthcare facilities," the company said in a news release Saturday. The company originally unveiled a rapid test for COVID-19 last spring but had to voluntarily recall it and perform additional studies after Health Canada expressed some reservations. At the time, Spartan said Health Canada was concerned about the "efficacy of the proprietary swab" for the testing product. The new version uses "any nasopharyngeal swab" rather than one of the company's own design, Health Canada said, and meets the agency's requirements for both safety and effectiveness. The Spartan COVID-19 System was developed through clinical evaluation completed in Canada and the U.S., with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute as one of the testing locations. The company said it has already started production on the rapid tests. The news comes as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, warned that COVID-19 continues to strain the health-care system even as daily case counts decline in several long-standing hot spots. "As severe outcomes lag behind increased disease activity, we can expect to see ongoing heavy impacts on our healthcare system and health workforce for weeks to come," she said in a written statement. Surging new infection rates continued to show signs of easing in multiple provinces, though one jurisdiction was poised to impose new restrictions in a bid to stem the ongoing spread. Public health officials in New Brunswick reported 17 new cases across the province, 10 of which were in the Edmundston region, which was set to go into a lockdown first thing Sunday morning. Starting at midnight, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the area, which borders northern Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. The health order forces the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as schools and public spaces, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. All indoor and outdoor gatherings among people of different households are prohibited. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, logged 274 new cases of the virus and three new deaths, while Manitoba counted three more deaths and 216 new diagnoses. Alberta logged 573 new cases and 13 virus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, while both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new infections on Saturday. Both Quebec and Ontario reported fewer cases Saturday — 1,685 and 2,359 respectively. But officials in Ontario expressed concern about a highly contagious U.K. variant of the virus that was detected at a long-term care facility north of Toronto. Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed the variant was behind the outbreak at Roberta Place Retirement Lodge in Barrie, Ont., where 32 residents have died of COVID-19 and dozens of others have tested positive. "Stringent and consistent efforts are needed to sustain a downward trend in case counts and strongly suppress COVID-19 activity across Canada," Tam said. "This will not only prevent more tragic outcomes, but will help to ensure that new virus variants of concern do not have the opportunity to spread." Fears of variants that can circulate quickly come as the federal government considers a mandatory quarantine in hotels for travellers returning to Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Victoria Ahearn and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Office has a suspected Prince George drug dealer in its sights. The office's director has filed a notice of claim seeking forfeiture of two homes in the city owned by Tyler Aaron James Gelowitz, claiming they were used to engage in unlawful activity. Gelowitz faces five counts of trafficking in a controlled substance, along with one count each of possessing a controlled substance and possessing a loaded, restricted firearm without authorization. The counts stem from an Aug. 1, 2019 arrest when Prince George RCMP's street crew unit executed search warrants on five homes, including two named in the notice at 2805 Parent Rd. and 6843 Fairmont Cres. During the searches, police seized 1.3 kilograms of cocaine, 0.5 kg of methamphetamine, 200 grams of fentanyl and 28 grams of gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB). In addition, police seized a total of nine firearms, including two pistols, a silencer and $129,000 in cash. According to B.C. Assessment, the Parent Road home is valued at $442,000 and the Fairmont Crescent home at $332,000. The office is also seeking $36,995 in cash seized by RCMP on the day of Gelowitz's arrest, as well as a satellite phone, a cellphone and a money counter. Although she faces no criminal charges, Randi Alisia Lynn Temoin is also named in the notice of claim as a co-owner of the two homes. The claim goes on to provide an account of observations made by RCMP during a series of searches, arrests and surveillance operations targeting Gelowitz and Temoin over the course of about two months leading up to the arrest. The criminal matter remains before the court with Gelowitz scheduled to appear for arraignment in February after making a first appearance in November. Even if Gelowitz is found not guilty, he and Temoin could still lose the properties, cash and items, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Because it's a civil proceeding, a judge decides on a balance of probabilities, in contrast to the more stringent standard of reasonable doubt for a criminal matter. "Civil forfeiture actions do not depend on criminal charges or convictions," the statement says. "Even if a person is found not guilty of an offence or a charge is stayed, the Civil Forfeiture Office can still proceed with an action against the property associated to the unlawful activity." Defendants can appear before the court in order to tell their side of the story, the statement adds. The CFO does not initiate investigations on its own but rather relies on referrals from law enforcement agencies, which in turn are assessed on a number of factors, including the quality of the evidence, the fairness and proportionality of seeking forfeiture and the public interest in pursuing forfeiture, the statement also says. The claim was filed on Dec. 14, 2020 and after Temoin filed an application on November 17 seeking return of $26,430 and the satellite phone. Neither defendant has yet filed a response to the CFO's claim and the claims have not yet been tested in court. Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Alberta reported 573 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, and 13 more deaths. Active cases continue to drop, with 9,727 total cases of the illness in Alberta reported Saturday, a decrease of 260 from Friday. Hospitalizations also saw a slight decrease, with 676 people in hospital with the illness on Saturday — down 15 from Friday — including 114 in intensive care unit beds. On Friday, there were 691 people in hospital, with 115 in intensive care unit beds. Provincial labs completed 10,894 tests for the disease on Friday, for a positivity rate of about 5.3 per cent, down fromabout 13,000 tests completed on Thursday. The positivity rate remained about the same from the previous day, which had a positivity rate of five per cent. Of the 13 deaths reported Saturday, two involved people in their 20s: a man and a woman, both in the Calgary zone. Three deaths in total were in the Calgary zone, four in the Edmonton zone, four in the North zone, and two in the Central zone. The deaths occurred between Dec. 16 and Jan. 22. Since the pandemic began last March, there have been 120,330 cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, including 1,525 deaths from the disease. Here's a regional breakdown of active cases: Calgary zone: 3,786 Edmonton zone: 3,407 North zone: 1,325 Central zone: 799 South zone: 396 Unknown: 14 An additional 1,022 doses of vaccine had been administered by the end of the day on Friday, bringing the total number of doses administered to 98,807. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, will provide her next in-person COVID-19 update on Monday.
QUEBEC — Nathan Gaucher scored a hat trick as the Quebec Remparts defeated the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 6-4 in Québec on Saturday afternoon. The Armada lost their first game of the season after winning their first nine games of the season, including a 5-2 win over Rimouski Friday night. Gaucher scored the game-winning goal, shorthanded, at 15:41 of the third period. Gaucher scored a goal in each period, with his first two coming on the power play. Thomas Caron, Gabriel Montreuil and Theo Rochette also scored for the Remparts. Mathias Laferriere, Yaroslav Likhachev, Blake Richardson and Luke Henman scored for the Armada. Thomas Sigouin stopped 25 shots for Quebec. Olivier Adam turned aside 20 shots for Blainville-Boisbriand. The Armada outshot the Remparts 29-26. The Remparts (5-2-2-0) went 2-for-6 on the power play. The Armada (9-1-0-0) went 2-for-7 with the man advantage. --- PHOENIX 2 DRAKKAR 0 BAIE-COMEAU, Que.— Xavier Parent and Israel Mianscum each scored a goal in a 2-0 Sherbrooke Phoenix win over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar Saturday afternoon. Lucas Fitzpatrick turned away 29 shots for Baie-Comeau while Samuel Hlavaj made 26 saves for a shutout victory. --- TIGRES 2 HUSKIES 0 VICTORIAVILLE, Que. — Olivier Coulombe and Shawn Element both scored in a 2-0 Victoriaville Tigres win over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in Victoriaville Saturday. Nikolas Hurtubise made 18 saves for the shutout. --- OLYMPIQUES 5 FOREURS 2 GATINEAU, Que.— Andrew Coxhead scored twice as the Gatineau Olympiques beat the Val-d'Or Foreurs 5-2 in Gatineau on Saturday afternoon. Antonin Verreault, Manix Landry and Mikael Martel also scored for the Olympiques. Alexandre Doucet and Marc-Olivier Racine-Roy scored for the Foreurs. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
La Septîlienne Émilie Maïsterrena est auteure et éditrice de ses propres romans d’horreur-fiction. Grâce à Cauchemars Airlines, l’auteure propose aux gens d’embarquer à bord de vols au cœur de son imagination, avec elle comme commandant. Déjà à la maternelle, son enseignante de l’époque avait remarqué qu’Émilie se passionnait pour l’écriture. Elle a quelque peu perdu la flamme à l’adolescence, mais s’y est remise depuis 3 ans. À présent, elle revient en force avec un concept soutenu, tournant autour des voyages, de l’horreur et d’histoires dignes des pires cauchemars. Dans son roman Oslav, Émilie propose aux lecteurs d’embarquer à bord du vol 218, à destination de la Côte-Nord, afin de découvrir ce territoire d’une toute autre manière. Il respecte son univers, tout comme ses autres créations, toutes autant surprenantes les unes que les autres. Le vol 513, sa prochaine parution, sera sorti tout droit de son côté obscur, qu’elle dit ne pas avoir montré complètement dans Oslav, œuvre qu’elle juge plus douce. Le site web et la page Facebook de l’auteure contiennent et des informations inédites sur les personnages, à travers de courtes nouvelles. De plus, Émilie Maïsterenna s’y entretiens en direct à ses lecteurs. Son roman est disponible en s’adressant directement à la dame, via ces plateformes. Il est actuellement en réimpression, les premières copies ayant toutes été vendues. Voici le lien de la page Facebook de l’auteure :https://www.facebook.com/emiliemaisterrenaauteureKarine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord