A bail hearing Friday morning for Adam Skelly, a BBQ shop owner facing lots of legal trouble for defying the Toronto health measures COVID-19 lockdown orders currently in effect in Toronto. Mark Carcasole has more
A bail hearing Friday morning for Adam Skelly, a BBQ shop owner facing lots of legal trouble for defying the Toronto health measures COVID-19 lockdown orders currently in effect in Toronto. Mark Carcasole has more
WASHINGTON — The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection. At least five supporters facing federal charges have suggested they were taking orders from the then-president when they marched on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 to challenge the certification of Joe Biden's election win. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. It's the first time a former president will face such charges after leaving office. “I feel like I was basically following my president. I was following what we were called to do. He asked us to fly there. He asked us to be there," Jenna Ryan, a Texas real estate agent who posted a photo on Twitter of herself flashing a peace sign next to a broken Capitol window, told a Dallas-Fort Worth TV station. Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man photographed on the dais in the Senate who was shirtless and wore face paint and a furry hat with horns, has similarly pointed a finger at Trump. Chansley called the FBI the day after the insurrection and told agents he travelled “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” authorities wrote in court papers. Chanley’s lawyer unsuccessfully lobbied for a pardon for his client before Trump's term ended, saying Chansley “felt like he was answering the call of our president.” Authorities say that while up on the dais in the Senate chamber, Chansley wrote a threatening note to then-Vice-President Mike Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” Trump is the first president to be twice impeached and the first to face a trial after leaving office. The charge this time is “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” His impeachment lawyer, Butch Bowers, did not respond to call for comment. Opening arguments in the trial will begin the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the storming of the Capitol say a full reckoning is necessary before the country — and the Congress — can move on. For weeks, Trump rallied his supporters against the election outcome and urged them to come to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to rage against Biden's win. Trump spoke to the crowd near the White House shortly before they marched along Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill. “We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen,” Trump said. “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore.” Later he said: “If you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He told supporters to walk to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically” make your voices heard. Trump has taken no responsibility for his part in fomenting the violence, saying days after the attack: “People thought that what I said was totally appropriate.” Unlike a criminal trial, where there are strict rules about what is and isn’t evidence, the Senate can consider anything it wishes. And if they can show that Trump’s words made a real impact, all the better, and scholars expect it in the trial. "Bringing in those people's statements is part of proving that it would be at a minimum reasonable for a rational person to expect that if you said and did the things that Trump said and did, then they would be understood in precisely the way these people understood them," said Frank Bowman, a constitutional law expert and law professor at University of Missouri. A retired firefighter from Pennsylvania told a friend that that he travelled to Washington with a group of people and the group listened to Trump's speech and then “followed the President’s instructions” and went to the Capitol, an agent wrote in court papers. That man, Robert Sanford, is accused of throwing a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers. Another man, Robert Bauer of Kentucky, told FBI agents that “he marched to the U.S. Capitol because President Trump said to do so,” authorities wrote. His cousin, Edward Hemenway, from Virginia, told the FBI that he and Bauer headed toward the Capitol after Trump said “something about taking Pennsylvania Avenue." More than 130 people as of Friday were facing federal charges; prosecutors have promised that more cases — and more serious charges — are coming. Most of those arrested so far are accused of crimes like unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but prosecutors this week filed conspiracy charges against three self-described members of a paramilitary group who authorities say plotted the attack. A special group of prosecutors is examining whether to bring sedition charges, which carry up to 20 years in prison, against any of the rioters. Two-thirds of the Senate is needed to convict. And while many Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky— have condemned Trump's words, it remains unclear how many would vote to convict him. “While the statements of those people kind of bolsters the House manager's case, I think that President Trump has benefited from a Republican Party that has not been willing to look at evidence,” said Michael Gerhardt, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during Trump's first impeachment hearings in 2019. “They stood by him for the entire first impeachment proceeding, thinking that the phone call with the president of the Ukraine was perfect and I’m sure they will think that was a perfect speech too. There is nothing yet to suggest that they would think otherwise," Gerhardt said. ____ Richer reported from Boston. Alanna Durkin Richer And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
Two Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) special constables have been fired following an investigation that found they used excessive force in an altercation involving a passenger on the 501 Queen streetcar last February, their union said Friday. The termination comes more than a month after an independent investigation into the violent arrest found that three TTC officers used "unauthorized" and "unnecessary" force on a passenger and that their actions were "discriminatory." CUPE 5089, the union that represents special constables, fare inspectors, and protective services guards employed by the TTC, posted the news in a Twitter statement Friday night and expressed their disappointment with the TTC's decision. "The decision comes in the wake of an 11-month investigation by Rubin Thomlinson that was politically motivated and failed to take into consideration any of the relevant legal, procedural, or factual evidence," the statement reads. A 12-second video of the arrest that occurred on Feb. 7, 2020 was posted to social media and showed two TTC staff members tackling a male rider and spraying him with a substance. The poster of the video said it began when the man, who appeared to be intoxicated, was approached by fare inspectors, who asked for proof of payment. He blew them off, which is when it turned physical, the poster said. Toronto police have said that the man was reportedly "acting aggressive and violent." The video gained public attention, with at least two city councillors speaking out in reaction to it. Coun. Brad Bradford called it an example of the "wrong way to handle fare evasion." In March of last year, the TTC retained Rubin Thomlinson LLP, an independent workplace investigation firm to probe the arrest, which found that both special constables used excessive force against the man. It also determined their application of force was based on the man's mental health and this was found to be "discriminatory on the basis of disability," the report stated. The investigator made multiple recommendations for the TTC, including improved training for special constables and fare inspectors on how they interact with people with mental illness and clarity on fare inspectors' use of force. Actions were reasonable: union CUPE 5089 disputed this report and maintains that the actions of the constables were reasonable. In Friday's statement, they note that the officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Toronto Police Professional Standards a month after the incident. "As we have done from the beginning, we will continue to fully support the actions of our members," the union said. "The only positive that has come from this unfortunate incident is that the level of violence occurring almost daily towards customers and staff on Toronto Transit Commission has finally been brought to the public's attention." TTC spokesperson Stuart Green confirmed in an email that the employees had been fired, but would not comment further as the union has shown this matter is still active. CUPE said they filed a grievance with the TTC and they look forward to the reinstatement of both officers.
After an eight-year human rights battle, a former correctional officer who was targeted for being Black at work will learn by Jan. 28 how much compensation he'll get. Levan Francis loved his job before he was transferred to the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam, where he faced repeated racial slurs and physical attacks. In 2012, Francis filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. On Friday, Human Rights Tribunal arbitrator Diana Juricevic said she will deliver her decision about compensation by Jan. 28, after hearing final submissions from both sides. The province of B.C. is offering up to $368,491.18 for lost income and other expenses. Included in that total is $20-$35,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect. But the lawyer for Francis said legal costs, at close to $250,000 after such a long legal odyssey, would eat up most of that. However, legal expenses are not compensable under the B.C. Human Rights Code. $1.2M proposed as compensation Larry Smeets says his client would be left vindicated, but broke, after losing his 15-year career, his family home — and his mental health. In his final submission, Smeets put forward $1,236,465.05 as a fair total for compensation for all the income and personal costs to Francis during this protracted case. The 51-year-old suffers from severe depression and PTSD, much of it attributed to his treatment at work. "I was good at my job. I treated inmates like human beings. But things just kept coming at me and it comes to the point when I'd had enough," said Francis, in an interview last summer. Two years ago — July 4, 2019 — the Human Rights Tribunal issued a 106-page decision deeming his former workplace "poisonous" and his complaint justified. In final submissions, his lawyer said that Francis was labelled a "rat" and had a "target on his back" once he complained. His case has been plagued with delays — and setbacks. Smeets said it was a struggle for Francis, who was in financial turmoil, to find a lawyer who would agree to take the complex case against the province. Lawyer Peter Gall represents B.C. in the Francis case. He said the province agrees Francis must be "fairly and appropriately compensated by way of damages for the discriminatory incidents that occurred in his workplace. The government regrets that they occurred and agrees fully that he should be compensated for the damages as a result of the discriminatory incidents." But Gall says Francis is seeking compensation for some incidents and conflicts that were not discriminatory. Gall cited examples including trauma caused by the death of an inmate that Francis dealt with, the stresses of his disability claims being cut off after he refused to participate in investigations or attend psychiatric assessments needed to access benefits. "We say really you are the author of your own misfortune here, by not following the advice of your doctor and your union," Gall said in his final submissions on Zoom. But Smeets said his client became paranoid, believing his employer tried to delay his efforts to get disability benefits, labelling him "disgruntled" and suggesting his medical claim was "bogus." In his submissions, Smeets said there was nothing to show anything had been done to improve the "poisonous" work environment at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre. And he said more should have been done given the evidence brought by other employees about how Francis was stereotyped for no reason as "a slow, lazy Black man," after he filed a complaint. Smeets said past attempts by the province to settle were less than generous and he urged his client to reject them. During the tribunal hearing, Francis raised 32 incidents of conflict at his workplace. Of those, nine were deemed discrimination, eight were not and 15 were too dated, having missed the legal deadline. 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.
What does it take to build a nation? It takes vision, confidence and bringing together everyone in that nation as one for the betterment of that whole nation. How does a person take a nation such as Canada, back in its early beginning, and make it one nation? There were not only citizens of countries in Europe emigrating, there as well as the original residents of the nation the Indigenous, Inuit and Metis. This was the challenge faced by the first Prime Minister of Canada. Beginning in the 1870s, both the federal government and Plains Nations wanted to include schooling provisions in treaties, though for different reasons. Indigenous leaders hoped Euro-Canadian schooling would help their young to learn the skills of the newcomer society and help them make a successful transition to a world dominated by strangers. With the passage of the British North America Act in 1867 and the implementation of the Indian Act (1876), the government was required to provide Indigenous youth with an education and to assimilate them into Canadian society. The federal government supported schooling as a way to make First Nations economically self-sufficient. Their underlying objective was to decrease Indigenous dependence on public funds. The government, therefore, collaborated with Christian missionaries to encourage religious conversion and Indigenous economic self-sufficiency. This led to the development of an educational policy after 1880 that relied heavily on custodial schools. These were not the kind of schools Indigenous leaders had hoped to create. Beginning with the establishment of three industrial schools on the prairies in 1883, and through the next half-century, the federal government and churches developed a system of residential schools that stretched across much of the country. Most of the residential schools were in the four Western provinces and the territories, but there were also significant numbers in northwestern Ontario and in northern Québec. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had no schools, apparently because the government assumed that Indigenous people there had been assimilated into Euro-Canadian culture. At its height around 1930, the residential school system totalled 80 institutions. The Roman Catholic Church operated three-fifths of the schools, the Anglican Church one-quarter and the United and Presbyterian Churches the remainder. (Before 1925, the Methodist Church also operated residential schools; however, when the United Church of Canada was formed in 1925, most of the Presbyterian and all the Methodist schools became United Church schools.) ( Canadian Encyclopedia - Residential Schools in Canada) Were the ideals of the first prime minister of Canada wrong? Was it wrong of Indigenous Leaders to want to teach their youth the skills of the newcomer to better assimilate into the new country being developed? The atrocities of the residential schools were definitely wrong. There were the atrocities of many of the boarding schools of the era such as St. Vincents and many other religious residential schools. We know our early politicians had a role to play in residential schools in Canada. Is it ok to tear down a statue commemorating a public figure who united us as one nation early in our beginning? Sir. John A Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada, and served 19 years; only William Lyon Mackenzie King served longer. Among his many accomplishments, he acquired territory that made Canada the second-largest country in the world. The National Post reported a quote from 1880 where Macdonald disparaged his forebears for the awful plight of Canada’s first peoples. “We must remember that they are the original owners of the soil, of which they have been dispossessed by the covetousness or ambition of our ancestors,” Macdonald wrote in a letter proposing the creation of the Department of Indian Affairs. “At all events, the Indians have been great sufferers by the discovery of America and the transfer to it of a large white population.” While there are many who hold different beliefs regarding Sir John A. Macdonald, it is important to have discussions regarding the context and events that took place, versus performing destructive acts on historical statues. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte lashed out at suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday, saying delays in deliveries amounted to a serious breach of contractual obligations. Italy will have to rethink its whole vaccination programme if supply problems persist, a senior health official warned on Saturday, after Rome was forced to cut its daily rollout of COVID-19 shots by more than two thirds. Pfizer Inc last week said it was temporarily slowing supplies to Europe to make manufacturing changes that would boost output.
SOUTHAMPTON, England — Last season's FA Cup winner Arsenal was eliminated from the competition in the fourth round on Saturday thanks to Gabriel's own goal in a 1-0 loss to Southampton. In an otherwise close game, Gabriel's decision to try to block a shot from Kyle Walker-Peters proved decisive for Arsenal losing its hold on the cup. Right-back Walker-Peters was allowed plenty of space to overlap the Arsenal defence, but his shot looked to be heading narrowly wide of the far post before Gabriel's failed attempt deflected the ball off the post and in. It was the first goal Arsenal had conceded since Dec. 26 after five consecutive shutouts. Southampton moves on to a fifth-round game away at Wolverhampton, which beat sixth-tier Chorley on Friday. Premier League clubs Manchester City, Brighton, West Ham and Sheffield United are all in action later Saturday against lower-league teams. There is also a rescheduled Premier League game between Aston Villa and Newcastle. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
The weekend should dawn bright and sunny for most of B.C.'s South Coast, but a change in the weather is on the way. Saturday night is expected to bring the first snowfall of the winter for many neighbourhoods on the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island and the Central Coast, and Environment Canada has issued special weather statements warning of the change in conditions. The snow is expected to continue into Sunday. Some of that snow might even linger on the ground for a little while, with accumulations of two to five centimetres in the forecast for most of the affected areas, and up to 15 centimetres in eastern and inland areas of Vancouver Island, including the Malahat Highway. By Sunday afternoon, the snow will be mixed with rain in many areas, forecasters say, but more snow is possible later in the week. In preparation for the wintry weather, the City of Vancouver says more than 100 vehicles and 3,000 tonnes of salt are ready to hit the roads this weekend. The city is also opening additional shelter spaces at the Powell Street Getaway, the Vancouver Aquatic Centre and the Creekside Community Centre.
Mayor Subkow called the regularly scheduled council meeting to order for the Village of Calder with all council members present. The council reviewed the minutes and Mayor Subkow made a motion to accept the minutes as reviewed; motion carried. Moving on, the council then reviewed the agenda as amended; carried. The council heard concerns from a village resident and discussed the situation with the resident. Carrying on, the council reviewed the correspondence prior to Councillor Buzinski making a motion to file it; the motion carried The council next reviewed the bank reconciliation report prior to Mayor Subkow making a motion for it to be passed; the motion carried. Moving on, the council reviewed the village’s accounts. Administrator Brock explained to the council what to expect in the accounts for the village. Mayor Subkow made a motion to accept the accounts which was carried. The council reviewed and signed the accounts payable prior to Mayor Subkow motioning to accept; motion carried. Administrator Brock was next to give her report to the council as to what she has done for the last month for the Village of Calder. Municipal Revenue Sharing was discussed under new business topics. The village meets all the criteria. Mayor Subkow made a motion to file the form for Municipals Revenue Sharing; motion carried. With only one (1) tender for garbage pickup, Councillor Buzinski made a motion to accept the tender which was carried. Summer student grants need to be filed prior to January 29, 2021. Councillor Spence made a motion to apply for a grant at a rate of $15 per hour for approximately 25-30 hours per week; motion carried. The meeting was then adjourned by Mayor Subkow. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
LISBON, Portugal — Portugal will hold a presidential election Sunday, choosing a head of state to serve a five-year term as the country suffers through a national lockdown and a worsening coronavirus outbreak. Saturday is a day of political reflection, when campaigning and the publication of opinion polls are forbidden. So here’s a look at the election: WHAT’S AT STAKE? The president in Portugal has no legislative powers, which lie with parliament and the government, but is an influential voice and under exceptional circumstances can dissolve parliament and call an early election. The head of state can also veto legislation, although parliament can overturn that veto, and refer legislation to the constitutional Court for vetting. Mostly, the president aims to stand above the political fray, refereeing disputes and acting as an arbiter to defuse tensions. WHO’S IN THE RUNNING? Seven candidates are running, but if none captures more than 50% of the vote, a runoff between the two top candidates will take place on Feb. 14. The incumbent, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, is widely expected to be returned for a second and final term. Charming and affable, the 72-year-old Rebelo de Sousa’s willingness to pose for selfies spawned a Portuguese Facebook page called “Selfies com Marcelo” (Selfies with Marcelo). He has had an approval rating over 60% and his six challengers haven’t come close to denting his apparent lead. But a new right-wing populist, André Ventura, may capture around 11% of the vote, opinion polls indicate, and could secure second place in a runoff. That would send a shock wave through Portuguese mainstream politics, where extremists have so far been absent. HOW IS AN ELECTION HELD DURING A PANDEMIC? Portugal, which is in a lockdown, has one of the worst rates of infections and deaths in the world, according to a tally by John's Hopkins University. The election campaign featured none of the usual flag-waving rallies or other large public events in order to avoid gatherings that would fuel the spread of the virus. Campaigning ended Friday. Early voting drew almost 200,000 of the country's 9.3 million registered voters. The government is opening 2,000 more polling stations to prevent crowds from forming on Sunday. Restrictions on movement are being lifted for election day and voters must bring their own pens. Barry Hatton, The Associated Press
Newly-minted President Joe Biden has signed many executive orders in his first few days in office, many of which are different from the previous U.S. government’s policies. McGill University professor Barry Eidlin joins Global News Calgary to discuss how the new administration’s approach might affect Canada.
With input from the Town Engineer, Ste-phen Burnett and Director of Development and Operations Jim Moss, Treasurer Carey Holmes outlined the connecting link grant contract for the East portion of Main Street.The RFP was closed in November and four bids were received. The winning bid, which includes option 1, of the three options pro-vided, was Coco Paving at $491,609.Stephen Burnett outlined to council the total scope of the project and all three options. He explained that when the appli-cation was filed, the total scope of the work was not determined.Once this was accomplished, it was deter-mined that the curbing along the core area of Main Street did need replacement along with the road resurfacing. Behind the curb-ing, between it and the sidewalk, was an area of interlocking stone. The decision that needed to be made was as to whether or not this should be replaced, reused, or left alone, hence the aforementioned three options.The recommendation was that option 1 was the most efficient and practical, replace the interlocking stone and the curbing, along with the resurfacing of the road way.Some of the old interlocking stone could be saved and reused in the renovations to Jack Downing Park.In addition, the curbing in front of Town Hall, at the crosswalk, would be extended out so as to remove one lane of traffic and negate the use to the current barriers to pre-vent motorists from trying to pass cars wait-ing for traffic in the crosswalk.Both the new stone and the lane change are awaiting MTO approval but no issue with that is presently foreseen.Treasurer Holmes indicated that the extra costs of the new stone, which was a little over $82,000, could be taken from the Road Construction Reserve, leaving it with a bal-ance of $293,500.Once the MTO approvals are received for the optional work, the project should commence as soon as weather permits are available, assumably in early spring of 2021. Council approved the project unanimously. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Passengers on public transport systems should avoid talking to one another or on the phone in order to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, the French National Academy of Medecine said. Academy member Patrick Berche said on BFM TV on Saturday that if there were only three people in a subway car there was no problem, but if you were only two centimetres away from the next person it made sense not to converse or talk on the phone. The academy - which was founded in 1820 - criticised a recent government recommendation to wear only surgical masks in public, rather than masks made of fabric.
It's not out of the ordinary for it to be windy in southern Alberta. However, these days, it's been above average with gusts climbing to over 100 km/h. All of this prompted some questions on Alberta@Noon about the province's windy reputation. Kyle Brittain, Alberta bureau chief for The Weather Network, says he has felt its power many times, especially this year. For example, on Tuesday, Brittain was on Nakiska Ridgetop, where he was blown over by the 193 km/h wind gusts, he says. "I did not expect it to be that strong.… It looked like conditions were favourable," he said. "Let me tell you, it swept me right off my feet and I did a little bit of a roll there. I was literally hugging the ground at times." This particular spot, Brittain says, has hit over 200 km/h at least 50 times since recording started in 1994. And because Albertans are used to some windy days, especially those living in the Pincher Creek area, it makes for some interesting history. For example, Brittain says there are stretches of highway that are notorious for strong winds tipping over trucks. Strong crosswinds occur south of Stavely on Highway 2 and south of Maycroft Road on Highway 22, stretching down to the Crowsnest Highway. "Those two stretches are just infamous for trucks tipping over because they are really busy thoroughfares and strong crosswinds come across those roads," he said. "So if the truck has got a light load or no load at all, they can go down." "When you enter that area, there's a sign that literally will tell you, like, 'Here's the wind speed,'" he said. Why is it so windy in Alberta? Brittain says the main reason Alberta gets so much wind in the winter is due to the position of the jet stream over the region. "Which can result in strong downslope winds along the lee of the Rockies. Both the steep east slopes, as well as large gaps in the mountain chain — such as Crowsnest Pass, that funnel winds through and accelerate them — result in strong winds to the east of the mountains," he said in an email to CBC News. He adds that this also lends to the type of chinook conditions we see during this time of year. "We basically can picture the wind coming across the mountains across southern B.C. and then suddenly dropping down that steep east slope in southern Alberta. And that can lead to very strong winds in the immediate reach of these Rocky Mountains," he said. "So basically, the combination of steep slopes and those openings in the terrain is what gives us so much wind in southern Alberta in the winter." How does this help renewable energy? Tim Weis, a professor for mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta, says roughly six per cent of Alberta's annual electricity comes from wind. "So we're just above the average in Canada. On average, Canada is about just under six per cent, and it varies pretty widely from province to province," he said. However, down in the States, some places quadruple that statistic for overall wind energy. "When you look directly south of us, every single state from here to Texas has a higher percentage of wind [power]," he said. "Texas has about 23 per cent of their annual power come from the wind. So Texas is a huge wind energy boom. In fact, there's more wind turbines in Texas than all of Canada combined." He says Alberta's wind resources are still excellent and that there's lots of opportunities in store. "We could definitely catch up to where a lot of our American cousins are at," he said. "We obviously have more wind farms, but there might actually be less wind turbines in some cases because you can replace some of those old wind farms [that have] smaller machines with these new big guys." He says that lots of wind-powered projects are being built in the next bit, and expects by 2023 the fleet will be twice the size of what it was a couple of years ago. Winds connection to First Nations Cowboy Smithx, a Blackfoot filmmaker from the Piikani and Kainai tribes of southern Alberta, says wind has always felt nostalgic to him. "It's very comforting to me. I've got a very different relationship with the wind," he said. "Growing up in southern Alberta, I went to school in Pincher Creek.… The wind was prominent. It dominated our daily lives. We had to basically, you know, adjust our schedules based on how windy it was going to be on a particular day." He says he's learned from elders that the wind also dictated how seasonal changes would happen. "When the chinook would come through and melt certain parts of the snow, the Blackfoot had drive lanes to push these buffalo into certain coulees where the snow was deeply drifted, where the buffalo would actually get trapped," he said. "So that relationship with the wind, from the Blackfoot perspective, was deeply informing how we adapted to the seasons and came out of our winter camps." He adds that a number of ancestors have wind attached to their name, which means there is some sort of story connected to their lineage. Melanie Daniels from Wetaskiwin, Alta., says last year she was given her Cree name and that it means Old Lady Wind. "I participated in a sweat ceremony and the ceremony host will, you know, they receive our name through spirit and through ancestors," she said. "It definitely gave me a new perspective on the wind." Daniels says that before, she found wind incredibly annoying, but now she tries to listen to it more. "I've noticed that wind often means that something's changing. And I know I'm starting to become more in tune to those changes." With files from Alberta@Noon.
You may have seen their bus, full of power tools, motoring around Yellowknife, hosting workshops and helping people build things. Now Makerspace YK is working on creating a permanent home as it moves into the location that used to be the After 8 Pub. The non-profit organization is working with the building's landlord to renovate the space into a public workshop, and open later this year in spring or summer. Makerspace YK will provide people with access to the workshop and its equipment to build things, for a nominal fee. "[People] can use [the shop] to do all sorts of different kinds of art or construction ... that they might not [normally] be able to do," said Julian Morse, the executive director of Makerspace YK. It's also hoping to partner with another organization to get additional equipment such as TNT machines, which are programmable and allow people to make much more intricate objects that they would be able to with their hands. The workshop will also have 3-D printing. 'I just found out I really liked it' Twelve-year-old Leah Covey is looking forward to Makerspace YK's new permanent space. Two years ago, she was invited to build a sawhorse. "I just found out that I really liked it," she says. She also worked on a few picnic tables and experimented with melted copper. "I also got to use a whole bunch of other power tools," she says. She's hoping that in the new space, she'll be able to create things that she can sell on Facebook. "I would really like to make some, like, pretty useful objects ... just blanket holders and like a fancy bookshelf and like shelves," she said. Grow the knowledge economy Morse is hoping the workshop will become so popular, Makerspace YK will outgrow the space. "The hope is to make it really successful," he says. Morse was hired three weeks ago and took the job because he sees this as an opportunity to grow the knowledge economy in the N.W.T. "It helps grow the skill sets in the community," he says. "I think it'll help introduce people to trades in a way that they may not have been able to check it out in other ways."
Democrats plan to move quickly on one of the first bills of the new Congress, citing the need for federal election standards and other reforms to shore up the foundations of American democracy after a tumultuous post-election period and deadly riot at the Capitol. States have long had disparate and contradictory rules for running elections. But the 2020 election, which featured pandemic-related changes to ease voting and then a flood of lawsuits by former President Donald Trump and his allies, underscored the differences from state to state: Mail-in ballots due on Election Day or just postmarked by then? Absentee voting allowed for all or just voters with an excuse? Same-day or advance-only registration? Democrats, asserting constitutional authority to set the time, place and manner of federal elections, want national rules they say would make voting more uniform, accessible and fair across the nation. The bill would mandate early voting, same-day registration and other long-sought reforms that Republicans reject as federal overreach. “We have just literally seen an attack on our own democracy,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, referring to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. “I cannot think of a more timely moment to start moving on democracy reform.” The legislation first introduced two years ago, known as the For the People Act, also would give independent commissions the job of drawing congressional districts, require political groups to disclose high-dollar donors, create reporting requirements for online political ads and, in a rearview nod at Trump, obligate presidents to disclose their tax returns. Republican opposition was fierce during the last session. At the time, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., labeled it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act” and said in an op-ed that Democrats were seeking to “change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.” While Democrats control Congress for the first time in a decade, the measure's fate depends on whether enough Republicans can be persuaded to reconsider a bill they have repeatedly rejected. If not, Democrats could decide it's time to take the extraordinary and difficult step of eliminating the Senate filibuster, a procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. Advocates say the bill is the most consequential piece of voting legislation since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. House Democrats vowed two years ago to make the bill a priority, and they reintroduced it this month as H.R. 1, underscoring its importance to the party. “People just want to be able to cast their vote without it being an ordeal,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, a Democrat from Maryland who is the lead sponsor of the House bill. “It’s crazy in America that you still have to navigate an obstacle course to get to the ballot box.” Current plans would have the full House take up the bill as soon as the first week of February. The Senate Rules Committee would then consider a companion bill introduced in the Senate, and a tie vote there could allow it to move out of committee and to the floor as early as next month, said Klobuchar, who is expected to become the committee’s next chair. A quick vote would be remarkable considering the Senate also is likely to be juggling Trump’s impeachment trial, confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet choices and another round of coronavirus relief. While states have long had different voting procedures, the November 2020 election highlighted how the variability could be used to sow doubt about the outcome. The bill’s supporters, which include national voting and civil rights organizations, cited dozens of pre-election lawsuits that challenged procedural rules, such as whether ballots postmarked on Election Day should count. They also pointed to the post-election litigation Trump and his allies filed to try to get millions of legitimately cast ballots tossed out. Many of those lawsuits targeted election changes intended to make voting easier. That included a Pennsylvania law the state’s Republican-led legislature passed before the pandemic to make absentee ballots available to all registered voters upon request. Government and election officials repeatedly have described the election as the most secure in U.S. history. Even former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump ally, said before leaving his post that there was no evidence of widespread fraud that would overturn the result. “The strategy of lying about voter fraud, delegitimizing the election outcome and trying to suppress votes has been unmasked for the illegitimate attack on our democracy that it is, and I think that it opens a lot more doors to real conversations about how to fix our voting system and root out this cancer,” said Wendy Weiser, head of the democracy program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy institute. Along with the election reform bill, the House two years ago introduced a related bill, now known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in honour of the late civil rights activist and congressman. House Democrats are expected to reintroduce it soon after it had similarly stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. That bill would restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties. A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling set aside the method used to identify jurisdictions subject to the provision, known as preclearance, which was used to protect voting rights in places with a history of discrimination. In general, state election officials have been wary of federal voting requirements. But those serving in states led by Democrats have been more open and want to ensure Congress provides money to help them make system upgrades, which the bill does. “If you still believe in what we all learned in high school government class, that democracy works best when as many eligible people participate, these are commonsense reforms,” said Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat who oversaw California’s elections before being appointed to the seat formerly held by Vice-President Kamala Harris. But Republican officials like Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill remain opposed. Merrill said the federal government’s role is limited and that states must be allowed to innovate and implement their own voting rules. “Those decisions are best left up to the states, and I think the states are the ones that should determine what course of action they should take,” Merrill said, noting that Alabama has increased voter registration and participation without implementing early voting. “To just say that everything needs to be uniform, that’s not the United States of America,” Merrill said. In the Senate, a key question will be whether there is enough Republican support for elements of the voting reform bill to persuade Democrats to break off certain parts of it into smaller legislation. For now, Democrats say they want a floor vote on the full package. Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University, said Democrats should consider narrow reforms that could gain bipartisan support, cautioning that moving too quickly on a broad bill runs the risk of putting off Republicans. “It would seem to me at this moment in American history, a precarious moment, the right instinct should be a kind of bipartisanship to rebuild common ground as opposed to ‘Our side won, your side lost and we are off to the races,’” Foley said. ___ Cassidy reported from Atlanta. Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press
Area healthcare services were top of mind at Mono Council’s meeting last Tuesday (Jan. 12).The President/CEO of Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston, Jody Levac delivered a presentation to Council about the hospital’s new expansion and the impact it will have on both the facility and roughly 200 Mono residents who use it instead of Headwaters Health Care Centre.Long a staple of both Alliston and the surrounding area, Stevenson Memorial has been struggling with its size compared to its growing patient load and is thrilled to announce the new expansion. Opening in January of this year, will be a new Level 2 ICU at the hospital, with four ICU beds initially and a fifth to come later. In addition to providing care for patients with advanced care needs, close to home, the facility will house respiratory therapists – a new area of care at SMH. The trauma room, originally built in 1964, in the Emergency Department, is being reno-vated and updated, with new flooring, paint, lighting, fixtures and glass door entrance that can be turned opaque, for patient pri-vacy. All this is being done, while waiting for the much needed redevelopment.The hospital stepped up when COVID-19 struck, opening an assessment centre in the parking lot, which is now operated on an appointment-only system, doing thousands of swabs to date. The clinic has since been converted to a two car at a time heated and winterized drive-through facility. SMH is working on establishing an Influenza Like Illness (ILI) Clinic to assess patients.The hospital is working to submit a Stage 2 submission to the Ministry of Health for the proposed redevelopment. The submission will see a total of 47 beds in the redeveloped hospital. The next step in the process will be to secure the local share of funding for the proj-ect, $30 million over the next 18-24 months. The proposed revitalized Hospital will see a new two story wrap around addition, which encompasses the existing hospital in its design. Also included in that design is a new trauma centre with an indoor ambu-lance bay that can house four ambulances.In his wrap up, Dr. Levac expressed his appreciation for the support that SMH has received from both Mono residents and busi-nesses, and added that he hopes Council can afford to help out with fundraising for the new development. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Larry King, who quizzed thousands of world leaders, politicians and entertainers for CNN and other news outlets in a career spanning more than six decades, has died aged 87, his media company said in a statement on Saturday. King had been hospitalized in Los Angeles with a COVID-19 infection, according to several media reports. "For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry's many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster," it said.
The culling of two beavers in Annapolis Royal this week has drawn criticism from residents, but the mayor says it was necessary to protect the town's sewage treatment plant. "We felt that the situation just couldn't be allowed to sit because we had no idea what the beavers were doing underground," Mayor Amery Boyer told CBC's Mainstreet on Friday. "... It appeared that they were burrowing into the dyke system so that really kind of escalated things for us." Boyer said the town originally received a complaint about beavers destroying trees on French Basin Trail. But after consulting the Department of Lands and Forestry, the town's public works department and the Clean Annapolis River Project, it was discovered the beavers also posed a "significant risk to the town's tertiary sewage treatment plant, as well as the adjacent trail and dyke systems." The marsh near the French Basin Trail is part of the treatment system for the town's wastewater. "If there was a blockage, we could have flooding of the walkways. We could have exposure of contaminated water," Boyer said. "If there's burrowing into the sides of the treatment plant, it could cause the walls of the treatment plant to collapse." Town opted against relocation Boyer said the town did consider relocating the beavers. "The answer we got was that nearly all suitable habitat in the province already has a colony of beavers and apparently they do not usually accept outsiders, which gives little chance of survival for the beavers," she said. After that conclusion, town council hired a nuisance wildlife operator to remove the beavers. A notice about the removal was posted in the Annapolis Royal Town Crier and was shared on Facebook, where it drew criticism from residents. "I couldn't believe, firstly, that people complained [about the beavers] because it is a nature area. It's natural, it's a marsh, and you expect [to see] animals," Susan Woodland, a resident of Annapolis Royal, told Mainstreet on Thursday. "Secondly, I couldn't believe, basically, that they were going to be killed because it says they can't be relocated. So my first step was to find out, was there not something else they could do?" Woodland contacted Hope for Wildlife, a wildlife sanctuary in Seaforth, N.S. She said the owner agreed that relocation was not ideal this time of year, but recommended relocation be delayed until the spring. But Boyer said there was no time to wait, especially if damage could be done to the $968,000 treatment plant. "We did feel it was a time constraint. We just couldn't let the situation get beyond us," she said. Boyer said she understands why residents were upset, but the beavers could have caused more damage than originally thought. "We live closely with wildlife. There's a lot of respect for wildlife. It's just that in this particular situation, we didn't see a way out." MORE TOP STORIES
The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas and Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford are asking Premier Doug Ford to limit big box stores from selling non-essential items. In a letter to the premier, writing on behalf of the city’s 84 BIAs representing more than 70,000 businesses, the two state that the latest emergency orders, while important for reducing the spread of COVID-19, are harmful to small businesses. “Under the latest orders essential retailers – particularly big box stores – are able to sell non-essential items in-store, and after-hours,” the letter reads. “This puts small businesses at a disadvantage and is a public health concern as it may encourage non-essential travel.” Bradford has been on weekly calls with TABIA throughout the pandemic and says there have been a lot of grievances over emergency rules for big box stores compared to small businesses. In the letter, Bradford and John Kiru (Executive Director of TABIA) make their request. “We are asking you take urgent action by going one step further in the orders and mandating big box stores and other retailers selling essential goods to close off sections of their stores where non-essential items are displayed,” they said. They cite a similar strategy used in Manitoba. In that province’s second retail lockdown in November 2020, it chose to not allow big box stores to choose their hours of operation. The goal is fairness for small businesses, Broadview-Danforth BIA chair Albert Stortchak said, expressing what so many BIAs across Toronto are feeling. “You see the big box stores, they’re selling the same products as we are and that hurts,” he said. While explaining that small businesses have demonstrated their capability to follow COVID-19 health protocols, Stortchak goes said if small businesses are outcompeted by big box retail under the current disadvantage, it spells problems for the future of community main streets. Some vacancies have made room for other businesses to grow, such as Mary Brown’s Chicken which opened in GreekTown on the Danforth last year, but Stortchak said the risk is greatest for small, independent shops. He said it is those type of small, independent stores and their owners that make a community vibrant as compared to franchises or generic shops which are found in most neighbourhoods. “It’s going to hollow us out,” he said. “If we lose the small independents, you’re going to be going somewhere else.” The letter to Premier Ford asks to “even the playing field” and review the new public health measures to curb non-essential travel and allow for equal competition for all business operators. Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
The United States plans to reverse the Trump administration's "draconian" immigration approach while working on policies addressing the causes of migration, President Joe Biden told his Mexican counterpart, the White House said on Saturday. In a Friday call with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Biden outlined his plan to create new legal pathways for immigration and improve the process for people requesting asylum, according to an account of the call released by the White House.