A woman in the Kootenays is sharing a harrowing account of how she survived a windstorm earlier this week that sent two trees crashing through her mobile home. Sarah MacDonald reports.
A woman in the Kootenays is sharing a harrowing account of how she survived a windstorm earlier this week that sent two trees crashing through her mobile home. Sarah MacDonald reports.
Trout Creek has lost a popular and longtime volunteer firefighter with the passing of Ted Weiler. Powassan Mayor Peter McIsaac, who announced Weiler's death on his Facebook page, describes him as a “healthy, happy, active person. “It was definitely unexpected and shocking to the entire community,” says McIsaac, adding Weiler died Sunday morning of a heart attack. Weiler, 58, was retired from Ontario Power Generation, but McIsaac says he remained active in the community. In addition to being a volunteer firefighter, the former Powassan deputy mayor also served on the municipal emergency management committee. “I got to know Ted quite well,” McIsaac says. “Ted was a fantastic person to work with on council. You could disagree with him and have a good conversation. It was never personal. “Ted was the type of guy who looked at the facts, the science and did his homework. He came prepared to meetings.” But McIsaac says it wasn't all work with Weiler. At social gatherings, McIsaac says, “Ted was the guy who always had the guitar in his hands. “At any municipal function, there was Ted, singing,” he recalls. “He'll probably be missed the most just for that.” Kathie Hogan, Powassan's events coordinator at 250 Clark, also has fond memories of Weiler, adding he was a person who always gave. Hogan recalls one incident when he helped a friend with his vehicle all day “and then turned up to decorate the fire trucks in Trout Creek and go on a food bank collection run. “I saw him go out of his way on two occasions to give money to a worthy cause,” Hogan recalls. “There was absolutely no fanfare, no cameras, just a giving and generous man.” Hogan says regular visitors to the local farmers' market were sure to see Weiler singing and strumming his guitar. “His music was terrific and he will be sorely missed,” she says. Weiler had another trait people liked, which McIsaac says was his laugh. “If you were ever in a room with Ted, you always knew where he was because you'd hear his laugh,” he explains. “He had this booming laugh you heard no matter where you were in the room. You couldn't ask for a nicer person.” McIsaac says he was sorry Weiler decided not to seek re-election. “He chose to take a quieter life and retire, and you have to respect that,” he says. Weiler leaves behind a wife and daughter. Flags at the Trout Creek Fire Department and 250 Clark are flying at half mast. Funeral arrangements have yet to be made. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
PLAINS, Ga. — Now that former President Jimmy Carter and his wife are vaccinated against COVID-19, they have returned to one of their favourite things: church. Maranatha Baptist Church in tiny Plains, Georgia, announced on its Facebook page Wednesday that Carter, 96, and Rosalynn Carter, 93, were again attending worship in person. The couple has been in the sanctuary the last two Sundays, Pastor Tony Lowden said in a video. Jimmy Carter hasn’t resumed teaching his Sunday school class, which once drew thousands of visitors annually. But video from last Sunday’s service showed both of the Carters sitting in their customary spots on the front pew and wearing face masks. The former president waved as members applauded their presence. “They’ve both had their shots," Lowden said from the pulpit. In a reminder to keep a safe distance from the couple, Lowden said if someone gets tackled by him, another man or Secret Service agents, “it's because we're still practicing social distancing.” With the Carters once again in church, Maranatha Baptist posted rules that also include mandatory face masks and temperature checks; limited building capacity; reservations and no photographs. Before the pandemic, visitors usually gathered around the couple for pictures at the end of worship. The Carters celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary last July and are the longest-married presidential couple in U.S. history. The Associated Press
Travel booking company FlightHub Group Inc. reached a $5-million settlement with the Competition Bureau of Canada after an investigation into the company's marketing practices. The Competition Bureau said FlightHub made millions in revenue from charging hidden fees and misled consumers about the costs and terms associated with various services. “We have pursued this case relentlessly to ensure that Canadians would be protected against any further deceptive marketing by FlightHub and its directors," commissioner of competition Matthew Boswell said in a statement Wednesday. FlightHub operates two websites, FlightHub.com and JustFly.com, that allow people to book flights and hotels. Among other practices, FlightHub allegedly increased prices after consumers selected a flight and actively concealed fees it charged for seat selection, the Competition Bureau said. The agency also said FlightHub gave consumers the false impression that they had more extensive cancellation and rebooking rights than they did. The agency noted that it reviewed thousands of consumer complaints about the company over the course of its investigation. Christopher Cave, FlightHub's chief executive officer, said the company disagrees with the Competition Bureau's conclusions about its business practices, saying its transparency level with customers was on par with industry standards. Cave added that the company has now resolved the Competition Bureau's concerns about its practices. The Competition Bureau began a formal investigation into the Montreal-based company in 2018. FlightHub has about 100 employees in the Montreal area, Cave said. In addition to the $5-million penalty for FlightHub, two company directors, Matthew Keezer and Nicholas Hart, agreed to pay penalties of $400,000 each, the agency says. FlightHub was granted creditor protection by the Quebec Superior Court in May 2020, a factor the Competition Bureau said it took into account in reaching the settlement. "Finalizing this agreement with the Canadian Competition Bureau was the last major issue to resolve prior to emergence from our ongoing restructuring process," Cave said in a statement. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Jon Victor, The Canadian Press
(Sandra Sanders/Reuters file photo - image credit) Saskatchewan reported its lowest new daily case number since November Wednesday, with 56 new cases. Known active cases in the province are sitting at 1,425. Here's where the new cases are by zone: Far northwest (five). Far north central (two). Far northeast (15). Northwest (two). North central (five). Saskatoon (six). Central east (one). Regina (16). South central (one). Southeast (one). Two new cases have pending location information. Eighteen cases that were pending have been assigned to the far northeast (one), northwest (seven), north central (eight) and Regina (2) zones. One Saskatchewan resident who tested positive out of province has been added to the northwest (one) zone. One hundred and sixty-five people are in hospital for the virus, with 17 in intensive care. The province also reported 158 recoveries, bringing the total in the province to 26,176. Three Saskatchewanians who contracted COVID-19 have died. One was in their 60s in the northwest zone and the other two were in the 80+ age group, one in the Saskatoon zone and one in the central east. On the vaccine front, 46 per cent of long term care residents have received both first and second doses, while 24 per cent of people have now received both doses. "Pfizer vaccine shipments for the week of February 22 have now arrived in the Saskatoon and Regina zones. Shipments for the northwest, north central and southwest zones are scheduled to arrive later today," a news release from the province said. Saskatchewan is still recommending interprovincial travellers get tested upon their return to Saskatchewan and then again a week later. CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson said Wednesday there is an “opportunity” to work with the Biden administration on integrated vehicle emissions standards, rather than working “at odds” with the United States on issues of efficiency and zero-emissions technologies.
From hockey arenas to Montreal's Olympic Stadium, sites across Canada that are usually dedicated to sports, business or entertainment are being repurposed to serve the goal of mass vaccination. As provinces prepare to expand their vaccine rollouts to the general population in the coming days and weeks, here's a look at some notable landmarks that have been named as mass vaccination sites. Olympic Stadium, Montreal Built for the 1976 Olympics, Montreal's towering "Big O" has previously hosted the Expos baseball team and major sporting events such as the CONCACAF Champions League soccer final. It's known for holding major events, such as a concert by the Rolling Stones and a mass by Pope John Paul II, as well as for costly and embarrassing falling concrete and roof tears. In mid-February, the local health authority announced the atrium of the stadium would be repurposed as a mass vaccination clinic. Quebec is set to start vaccinating people 85 and older there next week. Canada's Wonderland, Vaughan, Ont. The theme park bills itself as "the country’s premier amusement park," featuring more than 200 attractions, including a 20-acre water park and 17 roller-coasters. The Yukon Striker, it boasts, is the world's fastest, longest and tallest dive coaster. Now, the site is also being eyed as a drive-thru vaccine clinic in the spring, according to public health officials. The City of Toronto is also preparing a number of mass vaccination sites, including the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto Congress Centre and the Cloverdale Mall. Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province's vaccine distribution task force, said Wednesday there would be enough sites to allow Ontarians to get the vaccine close to where they live. "Whether it's a Shoppers Drug Mart in Orleans, Ont., or whether it's a drive-thru vaccination clinic at Canada's Wonderland later on in the spring, when the weather improves a bit, or whether it's a hockey rink in York Region ... the ones closest to you will be the ones brought up (where) you will be able to reserve an appointment," he said. Keystone Centre, Brandon, Man. The Keystone Centre is home to the Brandon Wheat Kings junior hockey team and the Brandon Curling Club, as well as the as the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and special events, such as a now-postponed ZZ Top concert. In addition to the Keystone Centre, the province has announced other mass vaccination sites including the Thompson Regional Community Centre and the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg. Canada Games Complex, Sydney, N.S. The venue at Cape Breton University was originally built for the 1987 Canada Winter Games. It is now listed as a recreational facility on the website of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. The university announced in 2019 that some 500 solar panels would be installed on the roof of the complex in what it called the largest solar installation on Cape Breton Island. Other vaccine clinics in Nova Scotia include the IWK Health Centre, a major hospital in Halifax, and the New Minas Baptist Church. Other venues The government of British Columbia has not yet released the locations of its clinics but says they will take place in large spaces including school gymnasiums, arenas, convention halls, and community halls. In Nunavut, upcoming vaccination clinics are to be run out of schools and community halls. The government of Alberta has chosen not to publish the locations of its vaccine sites in order to try to avoid having people show up without appointments, according to a spokesman for Alberta Health Services. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
PARIS — Striker Renaud Ripart scored a late penalty as Nimes beat Lorient 1-0 in the French league on Wednesday to move out of the relegation zone and put Lorient there instead. Nimes has won three consecutive matches without conceding a goal and is in 17th place while Lorient dropped to 19th after a second straight loss. Ripart confidently sent the goalkeeper the wrong way in the 88th minute after a Lorient defender handled the ball following a corner. In an even first half, Nimes midfielder Haris Duljevic missed a good chance and Lorient defender Julien Laporte hit the crossbar with a powerful shot from 25 metres. Lorient again went close when striker Terem Mefi's header struck a post early in the second half. The match was rescheduled from the 21st round of matches following a coronavirus outbreak in the Lorient squad. Lorient's five-game unbeaten league run ended last weekend when it lost 4-1 at home to leader Lille. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
(Andrew Lee/CBC News - image credit) A former Rideau Hall employee who resigned in June is warning that problems at the institution go well beyond workplace harassment and include an instance of racism that drove her to leave the public service altogether. Khadija El Hilali said the Rideau Hall workplace is "toxic, unhealthy, and unsafe" for employees who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour. She said the discrimination she experienced working for the Governor General's office took a toll on her mental health. El Hilali told CBC News she chose to end her contract early after management reprimanded her for sharing her feelings about racism and the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police in an email she sent to staff. She said a white employee was later praised as courageous for raising the same issues at work. "I felt ostracized," El Hilali, who identifies as Afro-Arab. "I felt inferior, that I was insignificant. My voice didn't matter because I was racialized ... I did feel hurt. I remember crying for what felt like days. "I literally didn't sleep for a couple of weeks. I kept going through the chain of events over and over again." She said she's sharing her story publicly to urge the next governor general and future Rideau Hall officials to make racial equality a priority. WATCH | Ex-employee says racism forced her out of Rideau Hall job: The government is working to rebuild the governor general's office after Julie Payette and her second-in-command, Assunta Di Lorenzo, resigned in the wake of a damning report by a consulting firm that found the pair presided over a "poisoned" and "toxic" workplace. The consulting firm's mandate was to define the scope of the problem, not to determine fact. The report says workplace investigators documented "allegations of yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliation." Rideau Hall did not refute or address any of the specifics of El Hilali's case in its response to CBC News. The office said it's in an "important period of renewal" and is "taking meaningful action regarding the unjust treatment of Black people, other racialized groups, and Indigenous peoples in our society." The Rideau Hall office said it endorses the call to action issued by Clerk of the Privy Council Ian Shugart last month to end "all forms of discrimination and oppression" across the public service. Shugart wrote to the heads of all departments urging them to combat racism so that employees feel "empowered and safe to speak up when they witness barriers to equity and inclusion." 'There was a lot of silent suffering' El Hilali said that when she spoke up about racism this past summer at Rideau Hall, her superiors made her feel like she did something wrong. Payette and Di Lorenzo have since left the office, but other superiors involved in handling her case under Payette and Di Lorenzo still work at the office in positions of power. El Hilali said she did not take part in the consulting firm's workplace review of claims of harassment because investigators didn't contact her. She said she joined Rideau Hall's Chancellery of Honours as a university student in the summer of 2018 through the government's student work experience program. El Hilali said her goal was to bridge from a part-time contract to full-time, permanent employment upon graduation from Carleton University. Over the subsequent two years as a program assistant, she said, she regularly experienced fraught interactions related to her racial background, such as coworkers confusing her with other dark-skinned employees and repeatedly mispronouncing her name. Conversations about "race were always diluted or minimized," she said. "There was very little representation of us and our voices were often silenced if we brought up issues," she said. "There was a lot of silent suffering. People feared speaking up ... I felt alone" El Hilali said she hit her breaking point in June 2020 after being told she was being reprimanded for emailing more than 200 staff about racism. Reprimand for George Floyd email She said she was deeply affected by Floyd's death in police custody and saw her Black colleagues "distressed and heavily impacted" as well. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. His death sparked protests around the world — including one on Parliament Hill which saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appear and kneel with the crowd. Trudeau later said systemic racism "is an issue across the country, in all institutions." El Hilali wrote in her resignation letter that she was disappointed the Governor General didn't release a public or internal statement in response to the death of George Floyd. As companies and federal organizations confronted the issue and made public statements reaffirming their commitment to fighting racism and discrimination in the workplace, there was "absolute silence" at Rideau Hall, El Hilali said. She said that, more than a week after Floyd's death, she emailed her manager asking if she could send a group email about racial injustice. According to her June 3, 2020 email to her superior, viewed by CBC News, she asked to show employees what "their minority colleagues are going through right now and what goes on every day." After she didn't hear back from the manager for a day, she said, she sent the email anyway. El Hilali said she did not want to see the managers involved named in this story because she sees them as part of a larger problem within the system. CBC News emailed all four of the individuals involved, but they did not provide a comment. In the email she sent to staff, El Hilali wrote about Floyd's death, forwarded a three-page document on the definition of white privilege and linked to petitions, educational books, movies, TV series and articles on the issue. "It is not the job of only Black people and people of colour to continuously speak up against racism'" El Hilali wrote in the June 4 email, viewed by CBC News. "I invite and urge you to use your privilege to make a change." El Hilali said management made her recall email El Hilali said that within 10 minutes of sending the email, she received a call from a member of management who said Di Lorenzo had seen the message and had asked that it be recalled immediately because it was political. CBC News contacted Di Lorenzo for comment but did not receive a response from her or the law firm representing her. "The tone was very aggressive," El Hilali said. "I was told that this was a political matter and that the organization is apolitical. I tried for a few minutes to explain how this racial equality is not a political matter. It's not something that's up for debate." El Hilali said she followed the directive and recalled the email. By that point, she said, some staff members had viewed it already. CBC News viewed a series of emails from El Hilali's coworkers thanking and applauding her for starting an important conversation at work. Some said they were proud of her and had shared the email with friends and family. "Thank you for being the voice we needed," wrote one employee. Another colleague wrote that the message "caused a lot of people to confront things that make them feel uncomfortable, myself included." Khadija El Hilali wrote in her resignation letter that "anti-Black and any sort of racism is not political ..." During a virtual weekly office staff meeting with about 30 people the next day, El Hilali said, a white colleague talked about how she was struggling with what was going on in the news surrounding Floyd's death and told her colleagues about a planned protest. El Hilali said the same superior who reprimanded her for sending the email thanked her white colleague for having the courage to speak up and share her feelings in a group setting. "How can [a member of management] reprimand a Black employee who speaks out about an issue, but then praise and compliment a white employee who expressed the same thing?" she wrote in her resignation letter, which was submitted to Di Lorenzo on June 12, 2020. She said she emailed another member of Rideau Hall management on June 16 and said she could see herself staying in the job if Di Lorenzo issued a statement apologizing for asking her to pull back the email about Floyd. El Hilali said management accepted her resignation and wrote in a June 16 email that they sincerely regretted her choice to leave and thanked her for discussing how the office "may better foster a culture of inclusion" and "promote diversity." "It sounds like the status quo' Erica Ifill, a member of the Federal Black Employee Caucus, said that El Hilali's story shouldn't surprise anyone. "It sounds like the status quo for the public service," said Ifill, an economist at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). "Black employees are often reprimanded for bringing up issues pertaining to our racialized experience." Ifill said that when she spoke up during a staff meeting in June about how Floyd's death was affecting people of colour already stressed by the pandemic, a director told her that everyone was suffering — not just Black employees — and that if she needed help she should go to the Employee Assistance Program. Ifill said she's currently on sick leave and filed a human rights complaint in September over claims of pay discrimination, harassment and bullying spanning more than a decade at multiple government departments. "Most of my career in the public service has been riddled with harassment, isolation, gaslighting, dismissal of concerns and microaggression," she said. "It was abusive ... I felt devalued. I've felt that I was worth nothing." She said that Black employees who speak out face management reprisal, are "blackballed" and risk getting bad job references that can prevent them from moving on to other jobs. "It's that feeling of being stuck that's actually the most disempowering," she said. ISED told CBC News diversity and inclusion are core values in the public service, but issues remain. "There has been steady progress over the past decade, but many gaps remain. In particular, the lack of diversity in leadership roles across the public service has been persistent and must be addressed," the department said in a statement. The department said it has created a diversity and inclusion task force and is committed to "addressing and dismantling structural and systemic racism and discrimination." "We are learning from lived experience through ongoing employee consultation and safe space discussions." WATCH | 'We have to go into battle every time we go into work': Erica Ifill on being Black in the public service A group of current and former Black civil servants launched a proposed class action lawsuit late last year alleging decades of discrimination in federal departments kept them from being promoted. PCO says initiatives underway to foster diversity The Privy Council Office told CBC News that several initiatives are underway "to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service, including creating a Centre on Diversity and Inclusion." "The Centre will co-develop initiatives with employee communities and stakeholder groups that continue to face barriers to representation and inclusion, leveraging the lived experiences of public servants to foster an ongoing dialogue for positive change," wrote the department in a statement to CBC News. Rideau Hall added it is "committed to fostering a work environment where every employee feels heard and empowered, where authentic dialogue is encouraged and public service values are respected." WATCH | Lawyer says historical report showed systemic racism against Black public service employees: The Trudeau government pledged during its speech from the throne last September to "address systemic racism." "Many people – especially Indigenous people, and Black and racialized Canadians – have raised their voices and stood up to demand change," said Payette, reading the speech. "They are telling us we must do more. The government agrees." Trudeau repeated that message last week during a press conference and reflected on the Black Lives Matter protests across Canada. "I saw you," said Trudeau on Friday. "I heard you. And I agree. It's past time for change." But Eli Hilali said it isn't enough for Trudeau to keep promising to do more. She has launched an online petition calling for mandatory inclusion and diversity training for all students at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa to help eliminate discrimination. "Anti-Black and any sort of racism is not political; it is basic human rights that everyone deserves," El Hilali concluded in her resignation letter. For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. A protester holds up a Black Lives Matter sign behind Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as people take part in an antiracism protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, June 5, 2020.
WASHINGTON — Republican leaders in the House and Senate say a proposed plan for an independent commission to study the Capitol insurrection is overly tilted toward Democrats, arguing that the panel should have an even party split like the one formed to study the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that a legitimate commission would be comprised of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. A draft proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would create an 11-member commission with four Republicans and seven Democrats, three of whom would be chosen by President Joe Biden, according to one of multiple aides who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the details under negotiation. Pelosi has not commented on the draft or said why there should be more Democratic members. Last week, she said the commission must be “strongly bipartisan” and have the power to subpoena witnesses. But on Wednesday, House Democratic Conference Chair Hakeem Jeffries said McCarthy hasn’t operated in good faith and “set a bad tone” when he supported former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s legitimate election victory. The partisan bickering before the commission gets off the ground is raising questions about whether lawmakers can coalesce around a thorough review of the Jan. 6 riot that interrupted the presidential electoral count and led to five deaths. Both parties support creating an independent investigation, but much of the consensus ends there, with Democrats demanding accountability for lawmakers who amplified Trump's falsehoods about the election. The vast majority of Republicans stood by Trump as Democrats impeached him for telling his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat as Congress counted votes. And it is an open question whether the commission will be authorized to investigate Trump’s actions. Republicans have suggested an evenly divided 10-member panel and have also objected to some of the rationale for forming the commission. A second aide said that Pelosi's proposal would give broad latitude to the commission to investigate what led to the effort to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power and that it quotes FBI and intelligence assessments that show some of the violence was motivated by racism and false narratives about the election. McConnell said on the Senate floor that the language is “artificial cherry picking” and that the commission should either look narrowly at the specific security failures in the Capitol or “potentially do something broader to analyze the full scope of political violence here in our country.” He said an inquiry “with a hardwired partisan slant would never be legitimate in the eyes of the American people.” McCarthy pointed to the Sept. 11 commission as the model. “It’s only Speaker Pelosi who’s trying to make this thing partisan,” he said. That commission in 2004 made 41 recommendations to prevent another terrorist attack, covering tighter domestic security, the reform of intelligence gathering and new foreign policy directions. Several of them were later passed by Congress and signed by then-President George W. Bush. The two chairs of that panel, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean and former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton, wrote a letter to congressional leaders and Biden after the Jan. 6 attack recommending they set up a similar commission to investigate and “establish a single narrative and set of facts to identify how the Capitol was left vulnerable, as well as corrective actions to make the institution safe again.” In their letter, Hamilton, a Democrat, and Kean, a Republican, said that a “strong, resilient, and responsive Congress is essential for our system of government to work,” and that the commission was essential so that the American people learn the truth of what happened. But politics have changed in the intervening 17 years, and Democrats and Republicans rarely agree on anything — including, in some cases, basic facts. Some of Trump’s most ardent supporters in Congress, and many of their constituents, still question whether Biden really won the election, even though Trump’s false allegations of widespread fraud have been rejected by election officials in both parties, his own attorney general and courts up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Jeffries charged on Wednesday that McCarthy had given “aid and comfort” to the insurrectionists by voting for GOP challenges to the election the evening of Jan. 6, when Congress reconvened after the riot to finish counting the electoral votes and certify Biden’s win. The rioters had been calling for Congress to “stop the steal” and even called for the death of then-Vice-President Mike Pence, who was presiding over the count and ultimately announced the results of his own defeat. Democrats now control both chambers, and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has said he also supports a commission. Jeffries said, “This is the beginning of a dialogue that ultimately will turn into a legislative product.” He added, “The guiding principle remains: This should be done in a bipartisan fashion. That is our intention. And that is I believe what will ultimately occur.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Tens of thousands of seniors in the Prairies secured appointments to receive COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday as officials in the two provinces hardest hit by the pandemic laid out their own plans for inoculating older residents. The launch of vaccine reservations in Alberta saw some 20,000 slots filled as of early Wednesday afternoon, just hours after the province opened up bookings to those born in 1946 or earlier, public health officials said. But the process was not without hiccups as many hoping to book shots for elderly relatives reported difficulties accessing the government's website and phone line. Kim Fandrick, who sought to make appointments for her parents, said she logged on to the government portal at 8 a.m. only to have it crash. Later attempts saw her kicked off the site before she could submit the forms. Fandrick, who lives with her parents in a rural area south of Edmonton, also tried the 811 health line and got a busy signal. In the end, she managed to reserve shots for both of them, but at different times, requiring four separate trips to the city so her parents can each get two doses. "It's just disappointing that I couldn't book both of them at the same time," she said. The provincial health agency said more staff were brought in to manage the surge in calls to 811, but Alberta's top public health doctor has advised people to be patient, noting there are 230,000 people in the eligible age group. Appointments were also made available Wednesday to Manitobans over the age of 95, or over 75 for First Nations individuals, as the province began to roll out vaccines to the general population. So far, only those in designated groups such as health-care workers had access to the shots. In Quebec, one of the two provinces most affected by COVID-19, officials said residents born in 1936 or earlier would be able to reserve vaccinations starting Thursday. The Montreal region is a priority, they said. The move comes as the province, which has so far focused its vaccine campaign on seniors' homes, seeks to inoculate as many residents 70 or older in an effort to protect them against dangerous new variants of the virus. "This vaccination of the most vulnerable population is going to help us protect them from the most severe form of the disease," said Dr. Mylene Drouin, who heads Montreal's public health department. Ontario also laid out its timeline for vaccinating older residents on Wednesday, announcing that a booking system similar to Alberta's would be made available March 15 for those 80 and older, and opened up to younger seniors in the weeks and months after. Health officials stressed, however, that the timeline largely depends on the province's supply of vaccines. The head of the province's vaccination task force, retired Gen. Rick Hiller, said those 75 and older should start getting immunized mid-April, and those 70 and older at the start of May. Ontarians 65 and over will be next in June, and those 60 and older will start getting shots the following month. Moderna, one of two drugmakers with a COVID-19 vaccine currently approved for use in Canada, confirmed Wednesday it will ship 1.3 million doses to Canada next month. The shipments will fulfil the company's contract to ship two million doses by the end of March. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said 1.5 million doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech would delivered in the first two weeks of April. Pfizer is shipping 2.2 million doses in March. Meanwhile, the National Association of Friendship Centres called on Ottawa to co-ordinate a vaccine rollout for Indigenous people living in urban communities, as it is doing in collaboration with First Nations and Inuit governments for those on reserves. The organization's executive director, Jocelyn Formsma, called on the federal government to consider doling out doses to clinics serving Indigenous people in urban areas, rather than waiting for the provinces to do it. She said more than 50 clinics run by her organization could administer the shots. But Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said the distribution of vaccines to Indigenous people outside of reserves will be faster and more efficient if done through the provinces. At the same time, active cases of the virus in First Nations communities are going down across Canada, the minister said. He reported 1,443 active cases on reserves as of Tuesday, adding vaccinations have begun in 440 Indigenous communities. Surging cases prompted officials in the Nunavut community of Arviat to declare a state of emergency Wednesday, and impose a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. effective immediately. There are currently 27 active cases in the community of about 2,800 people, which was previously the centre of Nunavut's largest COVID-19 outbreak. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
DALLAS — An art collection worth an estimated $150 million that belonged to the late Texas oil and ranching heiress Anne Marion is going up for auction this spring in New York. Sotheby's said Wednesday that Marion's private collection includes works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Franz Kline. Marion, who founded the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, died last year at the age of 81. Marion and her husband, John Marion, a former Sotheby’s chairman and auctioneer, established the museum in 1997. Sotheby's said three masterworks at the heart of the collection are expected to each sell for over $20 million. They are: Warhol's “Elvis 2 Times,” Richard Diebenkorn's “Ocean Park No. 40,” and Clyfford Still's “PH-125 (1948-No. 1).” Marion, the great-granddaughter of Capt. Samuel Burk Burnett, was the heiress to the historic Four Sixes Ranch in King County in West Texas. Sotheby's said the masterworks that formed her art collection were featured in her Fort Worth home, which was designed by architect I.M. Pei. Sotheby's said that a number of other works from her collection will be gifted to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. The Associated Press
The family of a 26-year-old First Nations man who died by suicide in Williams Lake, B.C. just hours after being released from RCMP custody is going public in the hopes it never happens to anyone else. Kenneth Seymour Michell of the Ts’kw’aylaxw First Nation in Pavilion was found dead behind a Williams Lake business in the 1100 block of Broadway Avenue South at 6 a.m. Jan. 14, 2021, after having strangled himself with his shoelace. His family and friends remain devastated and continue to grieve one month after burying him at Xaxli’p First Nation’s cemetery near Lillooet. “It’s crazy how many hearts he touched,” Michell’s aunt Georgina Lazore told Black Press Media from her home in Cornwall, Ont. Although Michell struggled with his mental well-being as well as drug and alcohol addiction which resulted in trouble with the law, he had amassed many friends and was close with his large family, even being a ring bearer at Lazore’s wedding. The young man who enjoyed hanging out with his friends, fishing, listening to music and travelling never stayed in one place for long. He found himself in Williams Lake where he was taken into police custody on Jan. 11 for outstanding warrants after RCMP were called to a Williams Lake residence in the 700 block of Midnight Drive regarding a suspicious person. The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO), which investigated the RCMP’s involvement into Mitchell’s sudden death, confirmed police were concerned for Michell’s welfare after he was arrested. Lazore said her nephew even used an officer’s phone to call his uncle when he was in distress because he knew no one in Williams Lake. The investigation found Crown Counsel also raised concerns during Michell’s Jan. 13 bail hearing and opposed his release. The court, however, chose not to detain Michell, who told police and others he was experiencing suicidal thoughts. According to the First Nations Leadership Council (FNLC), who are assisting the family in bringing forward their concerns, Michell was released on conditions and dropped off in Williams Lake in the middle of winter wearing only a sweater. A friend had attempted to pick him up from the courthouse but was told he would be transported to Kamloops, where he called home. Michell was found dead early the next morning. Less than two weeks after his death, the IIO concluded police actions/inactions “did not play any role” in Michell’s death, and that both police and Crown Counsel took positions that attempted to prevent it. FNLC is calling for further investigation including reprimands to the RCMP and judge involved in the case. BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee said the entire judicial system continues to harm First Nations people despite commitments to reform the justice and policing system, including support for the First Nations Justice Strategy a year ago. “The strategy included a commitment to training and education to reduce bias among frontline workers, RCMP and judges in the justice system,” Teegee stated in a news release Jan. 24. “Did this judge receive that training? And if so, what made (the judge) think Kenneth Michell should have been released without support? How did the RCMP and Sheriffs’ Office think it was OK to leave him in the cold, on the street miles from home?” Secretary-treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Kukpi7 Judy Wilson said Michell should be alive today. “Our people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and not brushed aside like Kenneth was,” Wilson said. “The officials involved must be removed, and the broken so-called justice system must be repaired to ensure that there is no space for the current widespread racism and discrimination toward Indigenous peoples.” Michell’s loss is even more painful for Lazore who believes his death was preventable. “It’s so hard,” she said. “It never should have happened.” Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
Clearing the snow on roadways in town is a co-ordinated effort, from lining up staff to run equipment to alerting residents to move their vehicles in the areas being cleared. “Our first goal when we’re doing this is to make sure things are safe for drivers and pedestrians,” said John Greathead, director of operations with the Municipality of Jasper (MOJ). “From November to March, our focus is beating the weather and trying to stay ahead of the road conditions. We look at it as road maintenance. We’re geared up for snow removal.” Greathead said the town crew makes sure intersections and high-traffic areas - including Connaught Drive, Patricia Street and Miette Avenue - are cleared as soon as possible. Salting and sanding are part of the routine. “They’re out daily, working on that,” Greathead said. “We make sure we keep the walkability up on sidewalks and crosswalks.” Greathead explained that preempting the weather challenges presented by mother nature takes focus. “We pay attention to the weather a lot,” he said. “If we anticipate a significant snowfall or a change in the weather, we pre-wet the roads for easier removal of snow.” There are 12-to-14 workers involved in clearing the snow for a major snowstorm. After snow is plowed, crews use a snowblower to load it into dump trucks and it gets transported to the snow dump on Whistlers Road. Greathead, along with communications officer Amanda Stevens, explained in email that this snow clearing equipment includes two municipality-operated graders, two trucks to sand/salt the roads, two trucks and a pup trailer for hauling. There’s also a snowblower used that can move 3,500 tonnes per hour. “It can move more snow, more quickly, than we could possibly provide trucks for,” Greathead said. Greathead and Stevens added, “Additionally we have our grounds crew which look after cleaning municipal-operated sidewalks, specific Parks properties (under an agreement with Parks Canada), using many pieces of equipment including two tractors with sweeping attachments, a skid steer, a Toolcat and numerous shovels.” A couple of factors have led to cost savings for the municipality. Staff have been busier this year because a bulk of the work is being done in-house as opposed to contracting out trucks to haul snow away, and that has saved the municipality “a lot of money.” “We expect to see a significantly lower cost for this season once we finalize all the costs in the spring due to the lighter than normal snowfall this season so far as well as performing most of the work in-house as opposed to contracting out,” Greathead and Stevens said. “We usually spend more than $220k per winter season.” When an area is scheduled to be worked on, signage is placed on the streets at least 24 hours in advance and sometimes a few days before, when it’s possible. “If you see signage in your neighbourhood, it means the entire street will be plowed,” they said. “Whenever possible, it’s best to remove your vehicle from the street the night before, as snow removal operations may start in the early hours of the morning.” If signage was placed on the street less than 24 hours in advance, no tickets can be issued. Residents are expected to move their vehicles until the snow removal is complete. “We aim for compliance first but tickets ($65) can be issued if vehicles are not removed and signage was placed within the prescribed timeline,” Greathead and Stevens said. Residents and business owners are responsible for clearing the ice and snow on the sidewalk in front of their properties. Any accumulation of snow in excess of two centimetres has to be removed within 24 hours. Compliance is encouraged but if it comes down to it, a $100 fine may be issued. “Jasper is very pedestrian-friendly and people of all walks of life, from young parents with strollers to school-aged kids to seniors, use the sidewalk,” Greathead and Stevens said. “It is important that everyone do their share to keep our sidewalks safe and clear of snow and ice for everyone to use.” Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
WASHINGTON — Canada and the United States will push each other toward more ambitious climate goals, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Wednesday after a meeting with special envoy John Kerry. Wilkinson met virtually with Kerry, Joe Biden's presidential envoy on climate, one day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did the same with the new U.S. commander-in-chief. That push begins immediately, said Wilkinson, who promised to increase Canada's 2030 emissions reduction target past 30 per cent before the president's climate summit meeting in April. In particular, in co-operation with the U.S., Canada can further cut tailpipe emissions and methane from oil and gas facilities, Wilkinson said, with plans to land somewhere between 31 and 40 per cent before April 22. "The focus for us over the next few months is going to be looking at how we can go farther," Wilkinson told a conference call after his meeting with Kerry. "We'll be coming forward with a target that essentially fully examines all of those issues, and is as ambitious as we possibly can be, while being realistic with Canadians that it is achievable." On Tuesday, Biden said the U.S. and Canada would work together to meet or exceed effective and attainable emissions targets, all in hopes of reaching the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. "We intend to demonstrate our leadership in order to spur other countries to raise their own ambitions," Biden said. "Canada and the United States are going to work in lockstep to display the seriousness of our commitment at both home and abroad." Wilkinson mentioned Japan and India as two major emitters that he hopes will come to follow the lead Canada and the U.S. hope to set, along with Australia and Mexico. China, too, will be an "important player" in the global effort to reduce emissions, "and certainly engaging with China on the climate issue is going to important as part of the broader discussion." The subject of pipelines, in particular Line 5 — an Enbridge Inc. pipeline beneath the Great Lakes that Michigan has vowed to shut down — did not come up in the Kerry meeting, but did the day before, Wilkinson said. Kerry was Barack Obama's secretary of state when he made the original recommendation to the White House that resulted in the first cancellation of the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline expansion in 2015. Biden, who was Obama's vice-president, cancelled the project for a second time last month after it was resurrected by his predecessor, Donald Trump. The Americans well understand the importance of energy production to the Canadian economy, and are in a similar boat themselves, Wilkinson said — which is why they stand to be good partners in the effort. "There is certainly an understanding that we need to think about the energy opportunities that exist broadly, and it's important for us to be thinking about how we move through the transition," he said. "I think in Canada, we don't always understand that the Americans face some of the similar challenges that we do in the context of the path forward and how we ensure that there are economic opportunities and the ability for continued economic prosperity in every region of this country." In addition to agreeing to set new targets before April's meeting, Trudeau and Biden also agreed to explore ways to protect against "unfair trade" from countries that fail to take action on climate change. They also agreed to a "high-level climate ministerial" meeting to better co-ordinate efforts and to look for ways to better align policies and approaches that can help meet climate goals and also create jobs. Biden also committed the U.S. to a net-zero power sector by 2035, with Canada's goal to reach 90 per cent non-emitting electricity by 2030. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. James McCarten, The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — Camping enthusiasts in British Columbia will be able to book summer campsites in parks across the province starting March 8. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy says in a statement Discover Camping, the online reservation system, will allow campers to book sites up to two months in advance. Thousands of sites are available, including access to a new, fully serviced 90-site campground that opens this spring in Manning Park, east of Vancouver. B.C.'s roughly 1,000 provincial parks receive more than 23 million visits every year and the ministry statement says this year's camping season is expected to be busy. Those seeking a site are urged to have a backup location planned if their first choice is taken and campers must also ensure they meet all provincial public health regulations regarding size limits for gatherings. When the pandemic hit last spring, camping reservations were delayed until May and the booking system crashed within minutes of launch as more than 50,000 people attempted to log on. The government says B.C. residents will have priority access to campsites until July 8, when residents from other provinces can sign into www.discovercamping.ca. George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, says access to provincial parks has never been as important as it is now. "We are all looking forward to another summer of camping and outdoor recreation in B.C., and while public health concerns and advice remain, we are asking people to pick a campground as close to home as possible to avoid long road trips and non-essential travel," he says in the statement. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Saint-Élie-de-Caxton – Une institution de Saint-Élie met la clé sous la porte. Happé de plein fouet par la pandémie et une baisse importante de sa clientèle en raison de «la mauvaise presse» de la municipalité, le Rond Coin cesse ses opérations. La copropriétaire du lieu touristique, Marylène Deschênes souligne également que l'absence de relève pour reprendre le commerce a également joué dans la décision. «Quand on a parti le projet il y a 15 ans, on voulait que ce soit quelque chose de familial. Aujourd'hui, les enfants devenus grands préfèrent se concentrer sur autre chose», explique-t-elle, sur un ton serein. La situation politique et culturelle qui prévaut à Saint-Élie a amené une certaine usure chez les entrepreneurs. «Cette situation s'est fait ressentir de différentes façons. Oui, le tourisme a été affecté. Mais c'est aussi que nous, nous donnions des spectacles chaque semaine et la municipalité a commencé à présenter des spectacles par elle-même. On a signalé la situation à la municipalité en leur disant qu'elle faisait concurrence à ses commerçants, mais elle est allée de l'avant quand même», confie Mme Deschênes. La pandémie s'est finalement avérée la cerise sur le gâteau. «Quand Fred Pellerin a été tassé, les touristes étaient déjà mécontents parce qu'ils venaient pour ça, entre autres. Il y a eu une baisse d'achalandage sur notre plan culturel et de la restauration. L'impact financier a été important, mais les années précédentes avaient été bonnes et on avait confiance pour la suite», précise-t-elle. L'ironie, c'est qu'il y a un an, les copropriétaires envisageaient de doubler la superficie d'hébergement et même d'investir dans l'entreprise. Maintenant, ils plancheront sur d'autres projets. «Nous avons d'autres projets qui sont embryonnaires pour le moment. Nous mettons notre énergie à la vente de nos équipements prêt-à-camper.» Le couple souhaite par ailleurs demeurer sur le site du Rond Coin et continuer à y habiter, comme c'est le cas depuis cinq ans. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Les Canadiens sont invités à partager leurs points de vue selon leurs domaines et les besoins des collectivités sur les meilleures options pour protéger et revitaliser la santé des océans tout en profitant des atouts économiques dans l’ensemble des secteurs océaniques. L’engagement en ligne ouvert jusqu’au 15 juin 2021 par Pêches et océans Canada permettra « de tirer le meilleur parti d’une approche coordonnée rigoureuse en matière d’investissements dans les océans et d’élaboration de politiques » dans le pays qui possède le plus long littoral au monde. « Un océan en bonne santé a plus à offrir, il peut nourrir plus de bouches, permettre de créer plus d’emplois, et plus de possibilités pour l’ensemble du pays. Le Canada a besoin d’une stratégie d’économie bleue qui exploitera la puissance et le potentiel de nos océans pour créer un avenir plus durable, plus prospère, et plus inclusif », a soutenu la ministre des Pêches des Océans et de la Garde côtière canadienne, Bernadette Jordan. Elle y a ajouté que la meilleure façon de s’assurer que les gens sont au cœur de ce plan était de veiller à ce que les Canadiens fassent part de leurs idées. Les entreprises, les peuples autochtones, les gouvernements locaux et provinciaux, les organisations de développement économique, les groupes environnementaux et d’autres sont invités à télécharger la trousse d’information de l’engagement pour organiser leur propre table ronde en vue d’éclairer la stratégie fédérale. Selon les services du ministère, la stratégie fédérale de l’économie bleue permettra, entre autres, de « mieux reconstruire en intégrant la croissance à la conservation des océans et à l’action climatique… d’encourager la participation des peuples autochtones, des femmes, et des groupes sous-représentés à l’économie océanique » ou encore de positionner les secteurs océaniques en vue de leur prospérité après la Covid-19. Avant la pandémie, la contribution de l’économie océanique du Canada au produit intérieur brut (PIB) était d’environ 31,7 milliards de dollars par an, soit 1,6 % du PIB total et près de 300 000 emplois dans des secteurs variés. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
Residents of Simon Place and Ryan’s Road were likely glad to hear the Town of Spaniard’s Bay will be putting money towards addressing flooding concerns in their area. “Because of the complexity of the issue, we needed engineers to help us come up with a resolution,” said Mayor Paul Brazil during the February 9 meeting of council. The engineering firm in question is Progressive Engineering, which sent the town a proposal with a staged estimate totalling up to $20,950 concerning the flooding concerns on Simon Place and Ryan’s Road. Councillor Eric Jewer moved to approve Progressive Engineering to proceed in accordance with the proposal. Council voted unanimously to approve the motion. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
The status of the PGA Tour's RBC Canadian Open is up in the air once again after Toronto announced the cancellation of city permits for events through July 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lone Canadian stop on the PGA Tour is scheduled for June 7-13 at St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto's west end. While the golf course is privately operated and not subject to the city's permit cancellation, the 2020 Canadian Open scheduled to take place at the same venue was eventually cancelled because of international travel and government restrictions related to the pandemic. Golf Canada said in a statement that the organization and event sponsor RBC are assessing how the city's decision will impact this year's Canadian Open. "The health and safety of everyone connected to the tournament will always come first, and we respect the City’s decision to act in the best interest of community health," Golf Canada said. "We continue to work with our partners at RBC and the PGA Tour to determine the best course of action for the 2021 RBC Canadian Open." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
RICHMOND, Va. — During a visit to a cancer centre Wednesday, first lady Jill Biden said health disparities have hurt communities of colour “for far too long” and “it’s about time” the country got serious about ending those inequities. Jill Biden's visit to Virginia Commonwealth University's Massey Cancer Center in Richmond was her first public trip outside Washington since her husband's inauguration last month. She has been a longtime advocate for cancer patients and their families. Her and President Joe Biden's son Beau died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46. Her parents also died of cancer. During her visit, Jill Biden recounted how four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer within a one-year period in the 1990s. “Cancer touches everyone,” she said. Biden praised the work of doctors and researchers at the Massey centre, which has been nationally recognized for its work to study the socioeconomic and cultural factors that contribute to disparities in cancer outcomes. The centre focuses on community engagement as part of a strategy to better reach underserved communities and to address health disparities, particularly in the Black community. It also works to expand minority participation in cancer research. Biden cited “Facts and Faith Fridays,” a weekly conference call started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic by Dr. Robert Winn, director of the Massey centre, and Black clergy, to provide pastors and their congregations with key updates on pandemic-related issues, including personal protective equipment, social distancing, and rent and mortgage relief. Recently, the calls have included information about COVID-19 vaccinations, with a focus on addressing vaccine hesitancy. Guest have included Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as state and local health officials. Biden said the initiative has helped build trust between communities and the Massey centre, which she said has made strides to reduce health disparities. “It's about time that we started getting really serious about this,” she said, adding that the pandemic has put a spotlight on the problem. She said churches have been key players in bringing everything from food to vaccinations to people of colour during the pandemic. ”I think that the communities of colour, they trust you, and now, I think it's important that they learn to trust the federal government again," she said. The Massey centre, founded in 1974, is one of two centres in Virginia designated by the National Cancer Institute to help lead the country’s cancer research efforts. Biden toured the centre’s research laboratory with Winn and Dr. Ned Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute. She also received briefings from several doctors on their research. Denise Lavoie, The Associated Press