DJ is such a smart boy but we're not sure where he learned that last bit. Hilarious!
DJ is such a smart boy but we're not sure where he learned that last bit. Hilarious!
An envoy hired to defuse tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous commercial lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia has released a bleak interim report highlighting poor communication and a lack of trust between both sides. The report by Université Sainte-Anne president Allister Surette found perhaps the only thing the fishermen can agree on is blaming the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the situation. "The lack of trust and respect has been presented to me by many of the individuals I interviewed," Surette said in his interim report filed with Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Carolyn Bennett, minister for Indigenous-Crown relations. "Firstly, I have heard from Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties of the lack of trust in government," Surette wrote. "Added to this level of the lack of trust and respect, some interviewed also expressed the lack of trust and respect within parties involved in the fishery and I also heard of the lack of trust and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, stakeholder groups and organizations." Appointed by Ottawa Surette was named special federal representative by the Trudeau government after an outbreak of violence and protests at the launch of an Indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery by the Sipekne'katik band in St. Marys Bay last fall. The band cited the Mi'kmaq's right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 but never defined by Ottawa. The fishery was conducted outside of the regulated season for commercial lobster licence holders in Lobster Fishing Area 34, who objected saying the fishery was a blatant violation of fishery regulations. The reaction included alleged assaults, arson, blockades, volleys of wharfside profanity and online venom. It garnered international attention. The blowup capped years of tensions over an escalating Sipekne'katik food, social and ceremonial lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay that was, in some cases, used as a cloak for a commercial fishery. Lobster caught under food, social and ceremonial licences cannot be sold. In one case, a Crown prosecutor said the lobster caught under those licences from Sipekne'katik supplied an international "black market operation." Despite a number of federal initiatives to integrate the Mi'kmaq into the fishery since 1999 — including half a billion dollars for training and buying out and providing commercial licences — there has been a lack of progress defining moderate livelihood and implementing the fishery. Expectations of the First Nations were not met, leaving many of them to doubt the sincerity of DFO, Surette reported. Debate over enforcement Surette said the issue is complex and will not be easily solved. Non-Indigenous fishermen have argued there is not enough enforcement when it comes to Indigenous lobster fishing while the bands have complained of harassment. "However, the point to note on this matter, and more closely related to my mandate, seems to be the lack of clear direction from the government of Canada and the multiple facets and complexity of implementing the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood," he said in the report. Surette's mandate is not to negotiate but rather to "restore confidence, improve relations" and make recommendations to the politicians. His interim report calls for more dialogue to build trust, suggesting areas of declared common interest like conservation and marketing. A lack of information from DFO was a recurrent complaint from the commercial fishermen, said Surette. "There should be some type of formal process for the non-Indigenous to be kept up to speed, especially the harvesters, since this could affect their livelihood. Some process, even though they're not involved in negotiation, that they could have input or at least understand what's going on," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Friday. Improving communication He made three suggestions for improving communication: a clearinghouse for accurate information, a formal process for talks between the commercial industry and the government of Canada, and forums to create a "safe space" to talk on important issues without extreme emotions. Surette interviewed 85 people — 81 per cent were non-Indigenous. "In some cases, they were heavily focused on the fishery. Others said that they preferred dealing with the ministers at this present time," he told CBC News. Surette said he will be reaching out to gather more perspectives. MORE TOP STORIES
Saskatchewan will start to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses, as supplies run short. Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine will be administered up to 42 days after the first dose. Official guidelines say the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is meant to be given as two doses, 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends spacing doses 28 days apart. The National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI), a body made up of scientists and vaccine experts, say provinces should follow the dosing schedule as closely as possible, but the panel is now offering some wiggle room. WATCH | Canada's COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee approves delaying 2nd dose NACI recommends spacing out the doses up to 42 days when necessary. The recommendation is also supported by the World Health Organization and Canada's chief medical health officer. "The flexibility provided by a reasonable extension of the dose interval to 42 days where operationally necessary, combined with increasing predictability of vaccine supply, support our public health objective to protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible," reads a statement released Thursday from Dr. Theresa Tam, as well as the provincial and territorial chief medical officers of health. The same day, Saskatchewan announced it would further space out its doses. "Saskatchewan will be implementing these recommendations of up to 42 days where operationally necessary in order to deliver more first doses to eligible people," the government of Saskatchewan said in a news release. WATCH | Dr. Howard Njoo addresses questions on taking first and second dose of vaccine 42 days apart: Saskatchewan's supply runs short As of Friday, 96 per cent of the province's vaccines have been administered, and new supplies coming in are not enough to replenish what has been used. Pfizer has said it will not ship a single vial of its highly effective vaccine to Canada next week as the pharmaceutical giant retools its production facility in Puurs, Belgium, to boost capacity. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, says it's very reassuring to have the length between doses extended to 42 days. "When there's a sudden, further disruption that does present challenges," Shahab said during a news conference on Tuesday. "Most provinces are able to give the second dose of both Pfizer and Moderna within 42 days ... and that becomes very important with the disruption of shipment." Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, agreed. "It does mitigate some of the decreased doses coming in. We also know through contact with the federal government that once the Pfizer plant is back online, they'll be increasing our shipment," Livingstone said during Tuesday's news conference. Livingstone said the new shipments coming in will be allocated for an individual's first and second shot. WATCH | Canada facing delays in vaccine rollout More vaccines on the way Another shipment of vaccines will arrive in Saskatchewan on Feb. 1, says the government. The province is expecting 5,850 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine and 6,500 doses of Moderna's vaccine. The government says they will be distributed to the Far North West, Far North East, North East and Central West. A second shipment of 7,100 doses from Moderna will arrive on Feb. 22, and will be distributed to the Far North East, North East and Central East. "Our immunization team is trying to be as nimble as possible knowing that we could at any time through the pandemic receive more vaccines, but also then having to readjust our targets and still focusing on the most needy in this Phase 1, and we will continue to do that as vaccine supply keeps coming back up," Livingstone said.
Alberta's film and TV industry is gearing up for an unprecedented production season that promises jobs and a cash injection for the economy as major U.S. studios look north for locations due to COVID-19 slowdowns, says Damian Petti, local president of a union for film and stage technicians. "The season ahead is something I've not seen before," Petti told the Calgary Eyeopener on Friday. "We've not seen this level of scouting and shows that are already greenlit in January — ever. I've been doing this 22 years and this is shaping up to be the most robust season ever." Petti, president of Local 212 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), says there are 19 projects in the works within Alberta, but even more are being scouted and greenlighted each day. These include a series called Guilty Party with Kate Beckinsale, a Fraggle Rock series reboot and another season of Jann with Alberta's own Jann Arden. He says it's also likely that Season 15 of CBC's Heartland will shoot this year in Alberta. Industry giants Disney, NBC Universal and HBO are scouting projects in Alberta too, Petti says. The draw Petti points to three reasons for the boom in interest: the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar, federal and provincial incentives and Canada's management of the pandemic. Investors are interested in getting more bang for their buck in Canada, says Petti. One American dollar is worth around $1.28 Canadian, according to recent data from the Bank of Canada. There are also several tax credits eligible to companies who shoot in Alberta. Within Alberta, there is a film and television tax credit of up to $10 million per production for eligible Alberta production and labour costs incurred by companies that make films and television series in the province. The federal film or video production services tax credit encourages foreign-based producers to hire Canadians by offering a tax credit for Canadian labour. In terms of COVID-19 safety, Petti says major studios and streaming platforms have negotiated protocols over the summer. "We're in a good position to actually work safely. And the studios acknowledge that," he said. In Los Angeles, the epicentre of the film industry, COVID-19 has overwhelmed hospitals and funeral homes, which Petti says has led to a slowdown in production. Job creation Despite common misunderstanding on hiring, most of the film production labour in Alberta is hired within the province, says Petti. "There's a common misconception among the public that these crews are actually coming in from outside of the province," he said. "On a big Netflix of Apple project, 97 per cent or more of the shooting crew is actually hired locally." He says small businesses that produce things needed on set, like costumes and props, "thrive on the industry." "We hope to do $400 million in production this year," he said. "That would make it our best year ever." With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod says the public health directive supporting in-class learning in northern Ontario schools is more political than scientific. The community’s high school opted to keep Nbissing students online until at least February 16 after the province extended its COVID-19 pandemic emergency order. The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is one of the few in Ontario to support in-class learning, a decision panned by many in light of it closing down toboggan hills, outdoor skating rinks and snowmobile trails. “We're just trying to deal with the Covid and we just shut our rinks down and we're just kind of monitoring what provinces and municipalities are doing and making sure that we're consistent or more stringent in areas like our school being closed,” McLeod said about Nbisiing Secondary School Thursday. “It's all online right now, despite the provinces still allowing it, at least in northern Ontario, the high schools are still open,” he said, noting that seems to be out of step with what some provincial experts are saying. “I was listening to Dr. Kevin Brown. He's the co-chair of the Covid Science Table for Ontario,” said Chief McLeod. “He was giving an update to the Chiefs of Ontario and he honestly can't understand why the schools in northern Ontario are still open. And you know, that, to me was troublesome, right? ‘You have one of the top epidemiologists saying that he doesn't understand. I was expecting ‘Here, this is the data, shows this or that,” because I like listening to the data, not just listening to people rant on Facebook. But, yeah, he was lost for an answer as to why it's still open. “And so obviously it's a more political call than a science one,” McLeod said. The school posted the update on its website, as did the community. “In response to Ontario’s second declaration of emergency and to align Nbisiing with Nipissing First Nation’s response to the provincewide stay-at-home order and shutdown restrictions, Nipissing First Nation (NFN) Council has approved changes to Nbisiing’s return to in-person learning date,” it reads. “In order to keep people home as much as possible to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our community, protect vulnerable populations, and keep our school community safe, Nbisiing will continue to teach all classes virtually and will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021 (Monday the 15th is Family Day).” Nipissing FN only closed its outdoor rink in Garden Village, which is enclosed with walls and roof, because they don’t want people from outside the community taking advantage of it while their rinks are ordered closed. “Our problem with the skating rinks, as soon as North Bay and Sturgeon closed, we have to close because they all come down hours and we don't want them there,” he said. Chief McLeod did what many others are doing in response by creating their own ice sheets, whether that’s in a yard or on the lake. They can control the numbers and make it safe by following the known protocols, he added. “Well, I made one in my backyard and I Facebooked all my family members saying, ‘You want to come skating with your family, book it … just message me so I know that there's no other family there and you can have it to yourself.’” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
The federal government is mulling a mandatory quarantine in hotels for returning travellers as the country's top doctor warns that easing COVID-19 restrictions too quickly could cause case numbers to shoot up again. The federal government is also looking at other options that would make it harder for people to return from foreign trips, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday. He said it's time to "kill the second wave of the virus." Monday will mark a year since the first recorded appearance of the novel coronavirus in Canada. Trudeau said it is understandable that Canadians are tired and fed up, but they must remain cautious. “We need to hang on and hold tight for the next few months,” he said. “We must get through to the spring and mass vaccinations in the best shape possible.” Trudeau said the next few weeks will be challenging for vaccine supply as Pfizer-BioNTech slows deliveries to Canada and other countries while the company retools its plant in Belgium. The prime minister said Pfizer-BioNTech has committed to ensuring Canada will receive four million vaccine doses by the end of March. Provinces have reported a total of 738,864 vaccine doses used so far. That's about 80 per cent of the available supply. COVID-19 cases began to spike across the country in December and January, which put a strain on hospitals. Quebec and Ontario were particularly hard hit and officials responded with restrictions. Quebec instituted a curfew, while Ontario brought in an order for people to stay at home except for essential purposes such as work, food shopping or health care. Daily case numbers have slightly decreased in Ontario in the last week. There were 2,662 new cases Friday and 87 more deaths. The seven-day average of new daily cases was 2,703, down from a high of 3,555 on Jan. 11. There were 1,512 people in hospital on Friday, a decrease of 21 from the previous day. COVID-19 continued to pressure some local hospitals, so Ottawa said it would send two federal mobile health units to the Greater Toronto Area, adding an additional 200 hospital beds. Quebec has been under its provincewide curfew for nearly two weeks. Health officials reported 1,631 new cases and 88 deaths Friday. Hospitalizations decreased by 27 people to 1,426. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said that bringing down the second wave of COVID-19 has been a "trickier path" than the first wave last spring. Daily case counts are higher than they were then and have put increased pressures on the health-care system. "If we ease up too soon or too quickly, resurgence will be swift," she said. She also expressed concern that 31 cases of the United Kingdom COVID-19 variant, and three of the South African variant have been found in Canada. It's believed that both are more contagious. The cases were identified through screening smaller batches of tests. Tam said more needs to be done to understand the level at which new variants are circulating in communities. Nova Scotia reported four new COVID-19 infections on Friday, two of which were variant cases. Health officials said both cases were related to international travel. There were 731,450 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada and 18,622 deaths as of Thursday. Over the past seven days, there were a total of 42,555 new cases. The seven-day rolling average was 6,079. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
The bill proposes that the Minister “respect and promote certain rights for persons receiving care, support or services in congregate care settings and their designated caregivers.”
Two weeks ago, little was left of the Dank Bank after it caught fire in the middle of the night. But rather than throwing in the towel, the owners, Mary and Victor Nicholas, rolled up their sleeves and re-opened within days. Last Wednesday, with the help of community members, the owners cleaned everything up and brought in a trailer to get the business going again - hoping that they could quickly raise enough money to rebuild the Dank Bank. On January 8, the cannabis store in Kanesatake was completely destroyed, only two months after its grand opening. Mary estimated the damages to the structure and products at more than $130,000. “It’s a difficult time for anybody, but the best thing is that everybody is safe,” said Mary. “It is what it is.” After investigation, the Surete du Quebec (SQ) ruled out the possibility of arson. The fire department, which was called around 2:30 a.m., checked the security cameras. “Nobody was in the building, but a security guard was there and saw the fire coming out of the roof,” said the director of the Oka Fire Department, Sylvain Johnson in an interview with The Eastern Door. Johnson confirmed that the cause of the fire was declared electrical. Mary said that her brother and herself were both relieved of the result that came out of the investigation. However, the non-criminal cause doesn’t make it less difficult for the owners who rushed over and watched their business burn to the ground. “It was a shock, as you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy thing to see,” said Mary. “They showed me where the fire caught and started from, there was no accelerant or anything, so I’m confident it was electrical.” Mary explained that she and her brother not only had to deal with the incident, but also with community members who were more suspicious of the fire’s cause. “I know others wanted more answers, and dramatized it, but it doesn’t help anybody and anything,” said Mary. “But you can’t change people’s minds.” While Kanesatake has a long history of arson, one of the reasons why some Kanehsata’kehró:non were skeptical of the investigation’s outcome was the fact that Molotov cocktails were thrown at Mary’s car earlier in December. “It was almost a month apart, so obviously I immediately thought it was connected,” said Mary. “I’m not gonna lie, that’s the first thing that popped in my head.” No suspects were arrested and the investigation is still ongoing. But Mary said that instead of pointing fingers and starting accusations, she prefers focusing her energy on rebuilding. And this time, said Mary, they will be more careful when it comes to the electricity. “I’m good to say that cutting corners for a quicker construction doesn’t pay off,” she said, laughing. email@example.com Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
Last week Daisy Ridley and Jennifer Hudson went to a movie premiere together. They posed for photos and made remarks from a stage while an audience watched quietly. Or, more accurately, their avatars did. The actors were actually on different continents, brought together for a few minutes through virtual reality headsets to walk a red carpet, pose for photos in front of a step and repeat and to speak to a crowd of other avatars on behalf of their short film “Baba Yaga.” It’s being called the first ever VR movie premiere. “I truly feel like I went to a premiere,” Hudson said later. “But I didn’t leave home! I think it’s a cool way to do it, especially right now.” She especially liked seeing her team and how much their avatars looked like themselves. Virtual movie premieres have become standard in Hollywood since the pandemic started. The “events” typically just involve a start time for the film to broadcast on your home screen and, sometimes, a zoom-style Q&A with talent afterward. But Baobab Studios, the 6-year-old interactive animation studio behind a handful of cinematic VR experiences, decided to push the envelope for “Baba Yaga.” “I really don’t think we would have ever thought of this if it wasn’t for COVID,” said Eric Darnell, the man behind the “Madagascar” films and co-founder of Baobab. “We usually have our films premiere at festivals.” “Baba Yaga” actually got a real festival premiere too as part of the Venice Film Festival last year. But as it became increasingly clear that there would not be an opportunity stateside, the company started working alongside the XR consultancy firm MESH to produce the ambitious event, which included designing a rainforest room inspired by the one in the film. The virtual reality movie premiere is not entirely dissimilar to an actual premiere. There are publicists, filmmakers and actors, things to look at and displays to take selfies with (really). At this particular event, there was also a roped off “restricted” area, although organizers said it was simply there to designate the end of space and not an exclusive side party. And not unlike at actual events, sometimes you find yourself without anyone to talk to and just awkwardly wander around eavesdropping. But at a virtual reality premiere you can’t even pretend to send text messages or respond to emails. This reporter also had to take off her headset for a few minutes after getting VR dizzy. Darnell co-wrote and directed the film/experience alongside Mathias Chelebourg. It also features the voices of Kate Winslet and Glen Close. The film and the rainforest room are currently available to experience through Oculus Quest. Events like this may have been born out of necessity, but they could be the way of the future. “Even if we did go back to premiering at festivals, I still think this is an amazing way to bring people together and to say let’s celebrate this medium by actually having a party inside of it,” Darnell said. —- Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
Three years ago, Erin Archer told local residents that renewing a permit to take water from the Teedon Pit was an open and shut case. "It is the world's purest water after all," she said believing officials would move to protect the water at the Tiny Township aggregate quarry. So imagine her surprise when she learned last week that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) had renewed the water to take permit for CRH Canada Group Inc. "There are several wells experiencing quantity and quality issues," said Archer, who lives in Tiny Township. "The aquifer becomes more and more vulnerable as the layers above it get peeled back. In Tiny Township, (there is) not much protection for drinking water sources as approximately 80% of households are on a well. "The water speaks to me; I know her to be a living entity. I can't stand by and watch how she is being abused, without acting." The action Archer is taking has many layers. She has already contacted her township's mayor and deputy mayor to express her concerns around the issue and she will be mobilizing supporter through her Facebook group The Friends of the Waverley Uplands. Then, Archer said, she will be watching Tuesday's special council meeting, which has an open session at the beginning to discuss the township's response to this issue. Coun. Tony Mintoff, who brought it up at a recent council meeting, told MidlandToday he would be willing to provide clarification after that meeting. "Quite frankly, I’m rather shocked as the host municipality on this business venture we weren’t copied on," he said at the meeting. "We’ve taken the position quite some time now that we have some fundamental principles to be adopted, a water study that needs to be taken into consideration. Having said that and having said we disagree with any issuance of licensing, it follows that we should be initiating an appeal of the decision." Even though Mintoff wouldn't discuss the issue before the special council meeting, plenty others were ready to talk. Judith Grant and Lynne Archibald, members of Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations (FoTTSA), were more than willing to share background on the issue and talk about next steps residents could take. "The company that owned the well and the pond and the pit had a 10-year permit to take water, which ended in 2018," said Grant, who is past president of FoTTSA. "It wasn't a concern until 2009 when they suddenly increased the amount of gravel they were taking and their water use. Before that, they didn't need to wash gravel because they weren't taking much." The company was allowed to take 6.5 million litres a day, she said. In 2009, when the county's proposal for dump site 41 was defeated, the pit owners decided to up the amount of gravel they were taking, consequently increasing their use of water, said Grant, who noted residents living near the quarry are worried about their wells' water quality. A hydrogeologic study included in CRH's 2018 renewal application answers Grant's concerns. The aggregate company's consultant's hydrogeologic assessment concluded that the silt in the domestic wells and the reduced water supply is not due to the operations at Teedon Pit. "The distance of these domestic wells from the Teedon Pit and their shallow nature preclude Teedon Pit from being the cause of silt in the water supply," reads the report. "The shallow aquifer contains a significant amount of silt." The provincial ministry concurred with this assessment, adding that poor well maintenance and/or construction may be the cause for the presence of silt in the domestic wells. When the renewal application came up in 2018, the township hired a consultant to complete a study. Their response: But matters escalated to the point of litigation. The township has held a number of in-camera meetings since then to discuss the issue. "At the end of February, there's another LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) meeting of the three parties: the township, FoTTSA and CRH," said Grant. "The ministry has been dragging its feet on this. We've been doing this since 2019 and we still haven't gotten to a hearing." The renewed permit lists one Springwater and two Tiny hamlets, which contain the wells from which CRH is permitted to extract tonnes of water annually. "At the Teedon Pit, water from the on-site pond (referred to as a wash pond) is used for washing the aggregate, and separating silt and sand from coarser material," reads the permit renewal decision. "The water that is used is sent to two settling ponds where the silt and sand settle to the bottom. Water from the settling ponds is directed back to the Wash Pond for reuse. The water level within the Wash Pond is topped up as needed from the on-site Production Well." The amount allowed from the well is The permit details also mention the thousands of comments (5,246) received, as well as the ministry's response to those concerns, such as that of the impact of the washing operations on the aquifer. "Teedon Pit will only use water with no additives in their washing process," reads the explanation. "The silt and sand contained in the used wash water settles to the bottom of the settling ponds. Any water that infiltrates into the ground at the bottom of the ponds is filtered, much like rain water. Therefore, the ministry is satisfied that the operation is unlikely to adversely impact the groundwater quality." Archibald said residents, however, are not satisfied. "All our water comes from groundwater, wherever you are," she said. "The problem is, once it gets to the point when all our water is contaminated, good luck trying to uncontaminate it." In addition, Archibald said, she can't understand why the township wasn't informed of the renewal. Archibald, who noted FoTTSA plans on fighting this decision. said more public action may be required to make an actual change. "There's unanimous concern for the water and people are working together," said Archibald, adding it might require similar action to when citizens gathered in large numbers to oppose Site 41. Unfortunately, Archibald added, the pandemic prevents large gatherings so the case has to be fought in the courtroom. "There's a little bit of David and Goliath going on here," she said. "You've got Tiny Township and a mega-corporation like CRH that's based in Europe that has hired high-end lawyers." Her association, Archibald said, is relying on the pro bono work of the Canadian Environmental Law Association. But there's still money to be paid to expert witnesses and those who will conduct studies on FoTTSA's behalf. To raise awareness and funds, the association has set up a website dedicated to the issue. "The township benefits very little from this operation," Archibald said. "It's not making jobs. It's just environmental damage and not much else." CRH did not respond to a request for comment before publishing time. The Tiny Township special council meeting begins at 1 p.m. and will be streamed live on the municipal YouTube channel. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's admission Friday that he might have to improve the vetting for high-level appointments sparked criticism over why he didn't figure that out before he chose Julie Payette as governor general. Trudeau named the former astronaut as Canada's 29th governor general in 2017 after disbanding a non-partisan, arm's-length committee created by the previous Conservative government to recommend worthy nominees for viceregal posts. Thursday, she resigned over allegations she created a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall, an unprecedented move for a monarch's representative in Canada. Trudeau faced questions Friday about his judgment and his government's failure to check with Payette's former employers at the Montreal Science Centre and the Canadian Olympic Committee, where she faced similar allegations of harassing and bullying subordinates. "We will continue to look at the best way to select people for viceregal appointments," Trudeau told a news conference Friday outside his residence at Rideau Cottage. "It's an important role for Canadians and we will look at how we can improve it." But Trudeau would not commit to reinstating the non-partisan, arm's-length committee to choose her successor. Payette announced her resignation about a week after the government received the damning findings of an independent investigation into allegations of harassment and other workplace issues at Rideau Hall. Trudeau said he spoke with the Queen by telephone Friday to inform her that Chief Justice Richard Wagner is stepping in until a new governor general is named. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said earlier that the Queen was being kept informed and will leave the matter in the hands of the Canadian government. Trudeau said everyone deserves a safe and healthy workplace, including employees at Rideau Hall. He also said the work they have done has been "exceptional." But he deflected a question over whether he owed those employees and all Canadians an apology. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the choice of Payette was one of style over substance. "Really it comes down to Justin Trudeau, who was more interested in a flashy announcement of a governor general rather than doing the work of making sure it was the right selection," Singh said Friday. "And it seems to be an ongoing trend, this pursuit of a flashy headline instead of working to get the job done." Patricia Faison Hewlin, of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, said leaders with authentic leadership skills have never been more important than now. "During these uncertain and devastating times, we are in critical need of leaders who are skilled at connecting to people in meaningful ways — building unity, allaying concerns, and showing empathy," she said. "The days are over when leaders could skimp on emotional intelligence and building relationships. Employees are demanding more from their leaders." Trudeau's minority Liberal government could be defeated at any time and, were that to happen, it would fall to the governor general to decide whether to call an election or give Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole a chance to see if he can command the confidence of the House of Commons. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday the government has begun discussions with those responsible for vetting, but the prime minister hasn't had time yet to reflect on the best way to choose Payette's successor. The government will have more to say on that likely next week, he said. He agreed the debacle of Payette's tenure shows a need to strengthen the process for vetting viceregal appointments. LeBlanc said the government report came to "compelling" and "stark" conclusions and that Payette's tenure shows that the vetting system for such appointments needs to be strengthened. "There always has been a process of vetting, of checks that are made when somebody is appointed to any government job. But clearly, the process can be strengthened, can be improved," LeBlanc said in an interview shortly after Payette's resignation. The government does not intend to release the report due to privacy issues and the promises of confidentiality made to all complainants, LeBlanc said. It will instead release a redacted version of the report in response to requests made under the Access to Information Act. LeBlanc would not discuss the contents of the report, but said it found Rideau Hall "was obviously an unacceptable workplace." LeBlanc said federal public servants "have the right to a secure, safe and healthy workplace and we are adamant … that standard be upheld at every institution of the government of Canada." He said the report "painted a picture that was not consistent" with that standard. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation called on Trudeau to stop paying the expenses of former governors general after they have left office. Former governors general also qualify for a pension of more than $140,000, the federation said. "Two years ago, the prime minister said he would review this program," said federation director Aaron Wudrick. "Nothing has happened since. It's time to save taxpayers money by scrapping this outrageously wasteful program." The Senate recently agreed to pay $498,000 in compensation to nine former employees of ex-senator Don Meredith, who was accused of sexually harassing, belittling and humiliating his staff. LeBlanc said there's been no consideration thus far — and no mention in the report — of paying compensation to Rideau Hall employees, some dozen of whom complained anonymously to the CBC about Payette yelling at, belittling and publicly humiliating staff, reducing some to tears and prompting some to quit. He said such questions will be handled by senior federal officials, who are planning to talk with all employees at Rideau Hall to plan next steps. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Mike Blanchfield and Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
MADRID — Public outrage is growing in Spain as cases of politicians and well-connected opportunists jumping the queue in the national coronavirus vaccination campaign come to light, even as delivery delays have forced some regions to stop new inoculations. Spain’s Defence Ministry has been the latest governmental department to launch an internal inquiry to find out if the military top brass dodged coronavirus vaccine protocols by receiving a jab before their turn. El Confidencial Digital, an online news site, first reported that Chief of Staff Gen. Miguel Ángel Villarroya and several other high-ranking officers in Spain’s Armed Forces had recently received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Spain, top government and other officials have not been granted preferential access to the vaccine — unlike other European countries where they were among the first to get the jab, to encourage members of the public to follow suit. Nursing home residents and staff, as well as first-line health workers, are currently receiving jabs as priority groups in the national vaccination plan. The rollout is suffering delays due to a shortage of deliveries by Pfizer-BioNTech, currently the main supplier of vaccines. Having administered over 86% of the 1.1 million vaccine doses received, several regions have halted new vaccinations until fresh supplies arrive. The Health Ministry announced this week that the next group will be those above 80 years old. Defence Minister Margarita Robles said Friday that the Armed Forces had their own vaccination plan but that she nevertheless had requested a report from Gen. Villarroya, who is 63, to clarify the issue. The questions follow several cases of queue-jumping by politicians or people with connections that have come to light in recent weeks, drawing widespread criticism and leading to high-profile dismissals. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialist Party on Friday issued a statement urging any elected official who has skipped the line to resign immediately. Top members of the Popular Party, the conservative leader of the opposition, have made similar remarks. But whereas the regional health chief of the south-eastern Murcia region, a PP member, appeared on television, tearful, after he lost his job when media revealed that he had received the first vaccine jab, party colleague Javier Guerrero, who has the equivalent position in Ceuta, a Spanish outpost in northern Africa, refused to resign saying that fieldwork often exposed him to contagion. Guerrero, who is a physician himself and has diabetes, said at a press conference Thursday that he accepted getting the jab because his staff insisted. “I didn't want to get vaccinated, but my technical staff told me that unless I did it they wouldn't do it themselves,” he said. “I really didn't want to. I don't even get the flu vaccine. I don't like vaccines.” Pressure from the public has so far led to resignations or dismissals of several local mayors and councillors, as well as some hospital directors. At the San Carlos Clinic Hospital in Madrid, retired health workers and family members were asked to show up for a vaccine so as not to waste soon-to-expire doses. Experts have highlighted the need to ramp up vaccination to counter the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 2.5 million and killed over 55,400 people in Spain. The health ministry reported 42,885 new infections and 400 additional confirmed deaths on Friday, as several regions launch new restrictions aimed at curbing the contagion. One in five hospital beds and over 37% of ICU beds are now devoted to treating coronavirus patients. In six of the country’s 19 regions, half or more of ICU beds are already filled with patients that need ventilation or other acute treatment. Authorities say that while the number of new cases continues to soar, the daily percentage increases are diminishing, indicating the surge could be levelling out. Some experts have argued that a strict stay-at-home order is needed urgently. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Associated Press, The Associated Press
Two teachers at Rothesay Park School will be able to get their students outside and moving with the help of new grants. Julie Cyr, who teaches art, wellness and French, was awarded a $1,250 Innovation and Engagement Grant from the Anglophone South School District. With that, she bought outdoor classroom equipment, including clipboards, tarps and rope. "The planet is in great need of some change. And research is showing that students or kids who spend time outside in nature, form bonds with nature," Cyr said. She also received a First Nations Education Grant from ASD-S for $3,000 to purchase drums kits. Once the region returns to the yellow phase of COVID recovery, Cyr said she'll bring in an elder to teach the kids how to make the instruments and how to play them, as well as teach lessons about sharing circles and First Nations culture. Meanwhile, her colleague Jeanette Fisher, who teaches music and physical education, has received four grants for a project to overcome the obstacles of gym classes during the pandemic. With the school district encouraging teachers to stay away from team sports during the pandemic, Fisher found she couldn't use many of the regular equipment she would use for her gym classes. "I was thinking, 'What can I do? What kind of sports can I do that will engage the kids and keep them active during this time?'" she said. So Fisher decided to give the kids sticks and get them to try drumming with them. So far the kids love it. "It helps the body, the brain, and for the students, it helps strengthen the heart and the lungs, and increases muscular strength and endurance," Fisher said. "It builds brain connections, promotes social emotional learning, improves coordination. And with the student, it builds confidence and self-expression." Fisher received a $500 Education Improvement Grant for online training for cardio drumming, a $1,800 Innovation and Improvement Grant, and a $1,500 Teacher-Designed Professional Learning Grant. Those grants will go toward a training course, equipment and the continued development of integrating the drumming into courses. Fisher also received a $1,000 grant to purchase an iPad, which allows students to use GarageBand on the iPad to compose music. Fisher said drumming also gives an opportunity for kids who aren't getting regular exercise or participating in team sports like usual. Less exercise, she said, is affecting their social, emotional and mental well-being. Cyr said she's nice to be able to get outside during the pandemic, which has kept many people inside. She hopes to secure grant funding in the future to create an outdoor classroom as well. In the meantime, she plans to lay some groundwork for teachers through her new programming to get their kids outside, and she's open to letting other teachers use her equipment for their classes. "It's maybe a stress reliever to be outside. But [for teachers] it can also be just an extra thing to plan and prepare for," she said. "And I think it's what I'm hoping to do with this is to create an easier way for teachers to be able to go outside" The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Canada Post is telling customers to expect delivery delays due to a COVID-19 outbreak at a key mail facility in Mississauga, Ont., that has sickened dozens of workers. A spokesman says testing at the Dixie Road site has found 39 positive COVID-19 cases over the last three days. Canada Post says 182 workers at the site have tested positive since the start of the new year. Spokesman Phil Legault says the Mississauga facility is central to the crown corporation's entire national delivery and processing network. Legault says the plant continues to operate and process heavy incoming parcel volumes, but there will be delays. More than 4,500 people work at the Mississauga site. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Residents and local organizations are joining Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher in objection to a cluster of seven cannabis shops around Queen Street East and Broadview Avenue. It’s the second time Fletcher’s office has sent a letter to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) regarding the issue. The first was sent in July 2020, when the city passed her motion requesting ACGO to consider the proximity to community services and parks, as well as communications from the city against clustering of cannabis shops. While in the summer the initial objection referred to four pending applications for pot shops on Queen Street East, this second objection comes as the area is expecting to see seven such shops. “It is concerning that there are so many along this stretch of Queen Street East, and that they are so close to the South Riverdale Child-Parent Centre, the Ralph Thornton Community Centre, the Queen/Saulter Library and public parks,” Fletcher wrote in the letter. She said she has heard from several community members, with more than 20 constituents writing in, all trying to understand why there are seven cannabis stores near one major intersection and how the AGCO approves applications for these shops. “Everyone’s clear, no one is opposed to legal marijuana,” Fletcher told the Beach Metro News. “They’re opposed to the overconcentration of shops.” She cites the corner store model adopted by the current provincial government as problematic for residents and communities, akin to having “seven LCBO stores one after the other.” Original regulations set up by the provincial government of Kathleen Wynne restricted cannabis shops within 300 metres of a school, childcare centre, or daycare centre, but Fletcher said “it flew out the window” with the change in Ontario governments. Others in the community raise economic and social concerns of the clustering of pot shops. “The problem is what’s happening on Queen is if you end up with all these stores selling the same thing a whole lot of them will go out of business,” Ralph Thornton Community Centre board chair Alan Lennon said. As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many small business closures and commercial evictions, Lennon is concerned that it will become more and more difficult to fill the small storefronts in an economically viable way. “The other part is, if you have a block with all the same shops, you’re not going to have a lot of traffic – you’ve limited it,” he said. “It doesn’t make economic sense to us,” Lennon said. “You’re setting up people for failure in their business, and you’re making it so they will fail, and it doesn’t make social sense, you’re setting up a community to be one-dimensional.” “That’s not what we want,” he added. “And they’re [AGCO] not listening.” Non-profit community organization Fontbonne Ministries has a branch – Mustard Seed – on 791 Queen St. E. The location is a short walk from Queen Street East and Boulton Avenue, where there are three pending cannabis shops at the small intersection. “We understand it’s something legal, regulated, and you have these stores,” Fontbonne Ministries executive director Ben Vozzolo said. “But we question the need for that many in such a small area.” The organization serves vulnerable populations and runs a drop-in program at its Mustard Seed location on Queen Street East. Vozzolo raises concerns of having so many cannabis stores in close proximity to vulnerable people. But it’s not just the social effects, they’re concerned about the diversity of retail in the neighbourhood. “I’m curious to know what AGCO’s criteria is for determining how many of these shops are put in one neighbourhood,” Vozzolo said. Fontbonne, along with Ralph Thornton Community Centre, and other community members, has sent letters to the AGCO asking about the approval of these shops. No one has received any replies. “It would be nice to have a response acknowledging the concern,” Vozzolo said. In December 2020, AGCO announced it was issuing 80 cannabis retail store authorizations per month. To date, it has received more than 1,300 applications for retail store authorizations, 305 have been issued and 269 authorized cannabis retail stores are currently open in the province. Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
Speaking to reporters outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is thinking about getting Canadians the COVID-19 vaccine "when I wake up in the morning, when I go to bed, and every hour in between."
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska had 24,100 fewer jobs in December than a year earlier amid ongoing economic repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the state labour department reported Friday. Karinne Wiebold, a department economist, said there aren't many bright spots to glean from the December jobs report. “One possible glimmer is that we think oil and gas employment has bottomed out, so while the year over year losses are still steep, it should not get much worse,” she said by email. That sector reported about 6,800 jobs in both November and December, but the department said there's no sign yet of a “bounce.” Oil and gas employment stood around 10,000 in December 2019, the department said. Leisure and hospitality recorded the largest losses, with much of the December drop attributed to bar and restaurant restrictions in Anchorage aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, the department said. The sector had 8,600 fewer jobs than in December 2019, according to the labour department report. State government gained 500 jobs in December, compared to a year earlier, primarily due to pandemic-related hires, such as contact tracers and additional staff to help process unemployment insurance claims, the department said. The Associated Press
TORONTO — Canada's main stock index dipped to cap a losing week as COVID-19 virus and vaccine concerns weighed on the energy sector. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 70.29 points to 17,845.91. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 179.03 points at 30,996.98, the S&P 500 index was down 11.60 points at 3,841.47, while the Nasdaq composite was up 12.14 points at 13,543.06. The Canadian dollar traded for 78.64 cents US compared with 79.2 cents US on Thursday. The March crude contract was down 86 cents US at US$52.27 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was down 4.1 cents US at nearly US$2.46 per mmBTU. The February gold contract was down US$9.70 at $1,856.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was down about 2.1 cents at almost US$3.63 a pound. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Two COVID-19 variants have been identified in Nova Scotia, the province's chief medical officer of health said Friday, adding that in both cases, the variant wasn't able to reproduce in the community. Tests conducted at Canada's national laboratory in December identified the U.K. variant in one COVID-19 sample from Nova Scotia and the South African variant in another case from the province, Dr. Robert Strang told reporters. "We know that neither case resulted in spread into the community," Strang said. He said, however, that household members of one person infected with a COVID-19 variant had tested positive, adding that those results identified viral loads that were too small to be analyzed at the national lab. Strang said those cases were likely connected to the South African variant. He said health officials weren't surprised to learn the variants had landed in the province, adding that their detection shows Nova Scotia's surveillance system works. "It reinforces why we need to maintain federal and provincial border measures and it certainly is another reason why we need to continue our cautious approach to COVID-19." Strang said the province was still awaiting results from the national lab on another 20 to 30 test samples. Health officials on Friday reported four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of active reported cases in the province to 22. Strang said one case involves a student at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., who tested positive shortly after completing a 14-day quarantine. Strang also announced that most of the restrictions imposed across the province would be extended until at least Feb. 7, including 10-person gathering limits and the requirement that restaurants end service by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. "We are still in the middle of a severe second wave that is all around us including our closest neighbour in New Brunswick," he said. As of Thursday, 10,575 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered, while 2,705 Nova Scotians had received their second dose. The Nova Scotia Nurses' Union launched a campaign Friday aimed at convincing as many people as possible to get vaccinated. The union uploaded a series of video testimonials to its website that offer insight and firsthand accounts from nurses who discuss their vaccinations. "We did it because we believe that our patients look up to nurses and physicians, they look up to us for direction," union president Janet Hazelton said in an interview. "We think it's important that we get the message out that the nurses' union supports the vaccine." Hazelton said while the majority of people are keen to get a shot there are still some who are "vaccine hesitant," adding that the union wants the public to know its members are confident the vaccine is safe and effective. She said annual flu vaccination rates among health Nova Scotians are usually relatively low — except this year, she said, which has seen a large uptake. People, however, need to be far more willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine than they are with the flu shot, she added. "We don't and can't have that same (lower) percentage for the COVID-19 vaccine," Hazelton said. "We need to have higher than 50-60 per cent." Front-line nurses were among the first to be vaccinated in Nova Scotia and Hazelton said so far none of her members have refused to get a shot. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A group of large businesses in Banff National Park is proposing a rapid COVID-19 testing project meant to help reopen the economy safely. Yannis Karlos, the head of the group, said rapid testing can guarantee the safety of the community while allowing the return to a semblance of normality in a place heavily dependent on tourism. "We're just looking for options to take a different approach to ensure that our community remains safe," said Karlos, who owns a distillery and restaurant in Banff, Alta. "Back in March, our community basically fully shut down and we had an extremely high level of unemployment," he said. Karlos said the group of businesses that represent 5,300 employees would cover the costs of deploying COVID-19 rapid tests if the Alberta government will supply them. "The way we envision it is becoming a public-private partnership, so we're looking for some assistance from the municipality as well as from the province," he said. Town of Banff spokesman Jason Darrah said the municipality will support the project. "We want to support however possible, such as offering facilities for doing it," he said. Sandy White, the co-founder of a coalition of academics, medical professionals and business leaders called Rapid Test and Trace Canada, which is working with the businesses in Banff, said millions of rapid tests already bought and distributed by the federal government are sitting in warehouses across Canada because provincial governments are either unable or unwilling to deploy them. "The overall mismanagement of this file in particular, to say nothing of vaccines and everything else, has been depressingly indicative of Canada's response to this thing," he said. White, who himself owns two inns in Banff, said other countries have responded to the pandemic more efficiently than Canada using rapid tests and other measures to reopened their economies safely. "We are drowning in this situation and we've had a year to get all these wonderful things in place and we could be Taiwan or South Korea or Australia or New Zealand but we're not," he said. "That's very frustrating." White said the 90-day rapid-testing project proposed for Banff would aim to test as many of the town's roughly 8,800 residents as possible within the first two days. After that, the program would test between five and 10 per cent of residents every day. "We are quite confident that with a strategy like that, we can eradicate COVID within the community," he said. Banff had close to 200 active cases of COVID-19 at the end of November, when the economy had reopened and tourists were in town. "The goal really is to be able to safely reopen the economy and encourage tourists to come back to town," he said, noting local jobs depend on tourism. He said the program could also be used as a "test case" to prove that a rapid-testing strategy can work to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. White said his organization is speaking with several groups across the country, including universities and Indigenous communities, to prepare rapid-testing project proposals. "It would be us advising and assisting in setting up pilots and executing on them with the government really just provided testing services in the form of the tests and maybe some basic guidance," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
Six weeks into Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, a panel of medical experts weigh in on the bumps in the road and where to go next.