WASHINGTON — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be energy secretary, joining President Joe Biden's Cabinet as a leader of Biden’s effort to build a green economy as the United States moves to slow climate change. The vote was 64-35, with all Democrats and 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voting yes. Granholm, 62, served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry and devastated by the 2008 recession. She has promoted emerging clean energy technologies, such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing, as an answer for jobs that will be lost as the U.S. transitions away from oil, coal and other fossil fuels. Granholm, who was sworn in late Thursday, is just the second woman to serve as energy secretary. She tweeted her thanks to senators and said, "I’m obsessed with creating good-paying clean energy jobs in all corners of America in service of addressing our climate crisis. I’m impatient for results. Now let’s get to work!'' Sen. Joe Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Granholm has the leadership skills, vision and compassion needed at the Energy Department to “develop innovative solutions for the climate challenge'' while preserving jobs. Granholm is committed to working every day “to ensure that we don’t leave any workers behind as we move towards a cleaner energy future,'' said Manchin, D-W.Va. During her confirmation hearing last month, Granholm pushed her plans to embrace new wind and solar technologies. But her position caused tension with some Republicans who fear for the future of fossil fuels. “We can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America,” Granholm told senators. “We can install wind turbines from Denmark, or we can make them in America.'' Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, said Biden “seems to want to pull the plug on American energy dominance. So I cannot in good conscience vote to approve his nominee for secretary of energy.'' Barrasso and other Republicans have complained that a freeze imposed by Biden on oil and gas leases on federal lands is taking a “sledgehammer” to Western states’ economies. The moratorium could cost tens of thousands of jobs unless rescinded, Barrasso said. He and other Republicans also bemoaned Biden’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, saying thousands of jobs will be lost and a friendly source of oil left idle. Granholm assured lawmakers that creating jobs was her top priority — and Biden's. “We cannot leave our people behind. In West Virginia, and in other fossil fuel states, there is an opportunity for us to specialize in the technologies that reduce carbon emissions, to make those technologies here, to put people to work here, and to look at other ways to diversify,'' she said at her Jan. 27 hearing. During her introduction as Biden's nominee, Granholm described arriving in the U.S. at age 4, brought from Canada by a family “seeking opportunity.” She said her father found work as a bank teller and retired as head of the bank. “It’s because of my family’s journey and my experience in fighting for hardworking Michigan families that I have become obsessed ... with gaining good-paying jobs in America in a global economy,” she said. In other action Thursday on Biden's Cabinet nominees: SURGEON GENERAL Surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy said Americans must not lose track of opioid addiction and other health emergencies amid the intense national focus on overcoming the coronavirus pandemic. He told senators at a hearing that “we cannot neglect the other public health crises that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, particularly the opioid epidemic, mental illness and racial and geographic health inequities.” After dipping slightly, opioid deaths have risen again, the result of street formulations laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Murthy told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that the overdose rescue drug naloxone should be even more widely available and that medication-assisted treatment must be expanded. Murthy, who was surgeon general in the Obama administration, has drawn opposition from gun rights groups because of his assessment that gun violence is a public health problem. But he tried to dispel notions that he would launch a crusade against guns. He told Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., that while he supports government studying the problem, “my focus is not on this issue, and if I’m confirmed it will be on COVID, on mental health and substance use disorder.” TRADE REPRESENTATIVE Biden’s pick for U.S. trade representative promised to work with America’s allies to combat China’s aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration’s go-it-alone approach. Katherine Tai told the Senate Finance Committee that rebuilding international alliances would be a priority, as well as "reengaging with international institutions? to present Beijing with “a united front of U.S. allies.? Tai did not address whether the Biden administration would drop former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum or whether it would revive the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific trade deal, which Trump killed. BUDGET DIRECTOR Another key Republican lawmaker came out against Biden’s embattled pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, raising further questions about her viability. Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters he won't support her nomination. He and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski were two Republicans seen as potentially gettable votes for the White House, as Grassley had previously said he’d had good conversations with Tanden. Murkowski has yet to say how she'd vote. With a handful of other key centrist Republicans coming out against her in recent days, Tanden’s path to confirmation hinges largely on Murkowski and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., neither of whom have made their positions known. The White House was forced to search for a Republican to support Tanden after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition last week. Lawmakers have largely cited Tanden’s controversial and at times harshly critical tweets about members of both parties in explaining their opposition to her. ___ Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Paul Wiseman contributed to this report. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — As Quebec began booking appointments Thursday for its expanded COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the province's health minister said he's in favour of vaccine passports for those who have been fully inoculated. Christian Dube was asked at a news conference whether such passports could be used to allow access to entertainment venues or restaurants. He said yes, drawing a parallel to the time of the H1N1 flu when people were required to provide proof of vaccination before boarding flights. "We're in digital world, I do not see why we could not have a QR code, like on a boarding pass when we fly," Dube said. “For me, a digital vaccine passport is normal, and we have teams that are looking into it." He said he has heard from businesses that would like to be able to check for proof of vaccination before letting people in. The notion of vaccine passports has been debated around the world as vaccinations have increased, but it has also raised ethical issues about possible discrimination. Quebec solidaire member of the legislature Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois criticized Dube's response and urged the government to tread carefully. “The potentially discriminatory effects of a 'vaccination passport' are considerable," Nadeau-Dubois wrote on Twitter. "It's not just about taking a plane or dining out, serious questions arise about access to housing, the right to work, to name just these two examples.” Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec's director of public health, said he would not want such a passport to be seen as a free pass. “One of the dangers is that we say we’re vaccinated and we end up in a free-for-all,” Arruda said. "We know it'll protect you, it'll decrease your risk of complications, but it won't necessarily stop transmission to someone else." So far, only about four per cent of Quebecers have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Dube said Moderna has confirmed a shipment for March and the province expects to receive 700,000 doses in total, so it will be able to begin providing second doses as of March 15, falling within the 90-day limit the government set out in January. Inoculation is set to ramp up next week with vaccinations for anyone 85 and up in the Montreal area beginning Monday and elsewhere on March 8. In the Montreal suburb of Laval, some people in the designated age group were already getting shots Thursday. Dube tweeted at the end of the day that close to 100,000 people had signed up for appointments on the first day, and he said there were just minor issues with the online platform and phone booking system. Also Thursday, Quebec announced it will require elementary school students in regions hardest hit by COVID-19 to wear masks when they return from next week's March break, as the cases of the more transmissible COVID-19 variants continue to rise. Across the province, the number of suspected cases of coronavirus variants jumped to 772, an increase of 170. The number of cases confirmed through sequencing increased to 34, including 30 of the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom. Arruda said that during the fall, outbreaks were seen mostly in high schools. But since Christmas more cases are being detected in primary schools. The Health Department said students in Grades 1 to 6 will wear pediatric procedural masks at all times inside classrooms and on school transport in Quebec's red pandemic-alert zones, which include Montreal and Quebec City. The new health orders comes into effect March 8, when students return from break. The province will be providing masks to the students, as it has done since Jan. 18 in high schools, where masks are mandatory. In elementary schools, only students in Grades 5 and 6 were previously required to wear masks in class. Health officials said certain students with special needs will be exempt from the new health order, and it won't apply when children are outside playing. On Wednesday, Montreal's public health director said 40 per cent of cases linked to variants in Montreal involve children, with another 20 per cent involving people in their mid-30s to mid-40s, believed to be parents of young children. As of Wednesday, there were 2,403 active cases in schools and 907 closed classrooms across the province due to COVID-19. Twelve schools were listed as closed or partially closed. Meanwhile, Quebec reported 858 new COVID-19 cases and 16 more deaths attributed to the virus. Hospitalizations declined by 22 to 633 and there were eight fewer patients listed in intensive care, for a total of 122. Quebec has reported 285,330 confirmed cases and 10,361 deaths attributed to the virus, with 266,879 people listed as recovered. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — Rebel Wilson is going to the dogs. And it’s not the first time. The Australian actress comes from a family with a long history of handling and grooming dogs and will return to her roots as host of ABC’s “Pooch Perfect,” an eight-episode series featuring 10 dog groomers and their assistants competing in challenges. She said Thursday that her great-grandmother began a beagle club in Australia and that her mother judges dog shows internationally. As a child, Wilson travelled in her family’s yellow van to shows and sold grooming products despite being allergic to dogs. “My mom was devastated when I chose not to continue the family legacy,” Wilson said in a virtual call with the Television Critics Association. “When I told her I wasn’t going to continue in the family business and try to be an international movie star, she cried. I had to tell her in a public place so she wouldn’t do anything too crazy.” In the show, Lisa Vanderpump, dog groomer Jorge Bendersky and veterinarian Callie Harris will vote on creations from dog groomers and one team will be sent back to the doghouse — or eliminated — each week. The remaining teams square off in a grooming transformation. The top three teams will compete for $100,000. The show debuts March 30 and is based on an Australian version. “Pooch Perfect” is Wilson’s first project after undergoing her own transformation. She lost 60 pounds during her self-proclaimed year of health last year. “I’ve been showing it off on Instagram a bit too shamelessly,” she said. “I get two looks per episode, and I like to work with my stylist and show off the new physique because still single. So this is my prime-time opportunity to just really put it out there.” Wilson worked without a studio audience because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the seats are filled with stuffed animals. “I do try to bring the comedy in the show,” she said. “I also do what's called ‘dogography' in the show, which is a new term I invented. We dress the PAs (production assistants) up in dog costumes, and I work out little dances. I tried to lighten it up.” Beth Harris, The Associated Press
HARDCOVER FICTION 1. “A Court of Silver Flames” by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury) 2. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s Press) 3. “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig (Viking) 4. “The Sanatorium” by Sarah Pearse (Viking/Dorman) 5. “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue” by V.E. Schwab (Tor) 6. “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett (Riverhead) 7. “Faithless in Death” by J.D. Robb (St. Martin’s Press) 8. “The Russian” by Patterson/Born (Little, Brown) 9. “Missing and Endangered” by J.A. Jance (William Morrow) 10. “Relentless” by Mark Greaney (Berkley) 11. “The Return” by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing) 12. “Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman (Atria) 13. “A Time for Mercy” by John Grisham (Doubleday) 14. “Neighbours” by Danielle Steel (Delacorte) 15. “Ready Player Two” by Ernest Cline (Ballantine) HARDCOVER NONFICTION 1. “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates (Knopf) 2. “Just As I Am: A Memoir” by Cicely Tyson (HarperCollins) 3. “Walk in My Combat Boots” by Patterson/Eversmann (Little, Brown) 4. “The Sum of Us” by Heather McGhee (One World) 5. “Keep Sharp” by Sanjay Gupta (Simon & Schuster) 6. “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama (Crown) 7. “Winning the War in Your Mind” by Craig Groeschel (Zondervan) 8. “Unmasked” by Andy Ngo (Center Street) 9. “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House) 10. “Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey (Crown) 11. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle (Dial) 12. “Between Two Kingdoms” by Suleika Jaouad (Random House) 13. “Four Hundred Souls” by Kendi/Blain (One World) 14. “Think Again” by Adam Grant (Viking) 15. “Magnolia Table, Vol. 2” by Joanna Gaines (William Morrow) MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS 1. “The Numbers Game” by Danielle Steel (Dell) 2. “Reckless Road” by Christine Feehan (Berkley) 3. “Western Stars” by Nora Roberts (St. Martin’s Press) 4. “The Lost and Found Bookshop” by Susan Wiggs (Avon) 5. “Bridgerton: The Duke and I” (TV tie-in) by Julia Quinn (Avon) 6. “Perfect Partners” by Debbie Macomber (Mira) 7. “The Sea Glass Cottage” by RaeAnne Thayne (HQN) 8. “Revenge” by Patterson/Holmes (Grand Central Publishing) 9. “Shadows in Death” by J.D. Robb (St. Martin's Press) 10. “A Minute to Midnight” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing) 11. “Long Range” by C.J. Box (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) 12. “Hit List” by Stuart Woods (G.P. Putnam's Sons) 13. “Highland Treasure” by Lynsay Sands (Avon) 14. “Wicked Game” by Jackson/Bush (Zebra) 15. “The Inn” by Patterson/Fox (Grand Central Publishing) TRADE PAPERBACKS 1. “Burn After Writing” (pink) by Sharon Jones (TarcherPerigee) 2. “The 20th Victim” by Patterson/Paetro (Grand Central Publishing) 3. “Home Body” by Rupi Kaur (Andrews McMeel) 4. “Fair Warning” by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing) 5. “28 Summers” by Elin Hilderbrand (Back Bay) 6. “Bridgerton: The Duke and I” (TV tie-in) by Julia Quinn (Avon) 7. “The Girl from the Channel Islands” by Jenny Lecoat (Graydon House) 8. “The Order” by Daniel Silva (Harper) 9. “Circe” by Madeline Miller (Back Bay) 10. “The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook” by Jeffrey Eisner (Voracious) 11. “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett (Harper Perennial) 12. “Thank You for Rejecting Me” by Kait Warman (Baker) 13. “Eight Perfect Murders” by Peter Swanson (William Morrow) 14. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey (Simon & Schuster) 15. “Firefly Lane” (TV tie-in) by Kristin Hannah (Griffin) The Associated Press
The Strathmore town hall solar project is proceeding, dependent on grant funding and after the establishment of a reserve to meet the eventual costs of decommissioning. During its regular meeting on Feb. 17, Strathmore town council voted to approve a proposal to construct a solar power array on the rooftop of the new Strathmore Municipal Building. The 73.5-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system will be installed by SkyFire Energy Inc. at an estimated cost of about $120,000. However, the decision was made dependent on the receipt of a grant from the Alberta Municipal Solar Program that, if received, will limit the town’s cost of the project to less than $70,000. The estimated program funding will be a $36,000 rebate ($0.75 per watt) plus a first-time applicant bonus of about $18,000 ($0.25 per watt). The cost will be sourced from unspent funds allocated to the town hall. The decision comes after proposals for rooftop solar for the building have come to council before, with different project details and suppliers. Council voted to approve a solar panel array for the building on May 20, 2020, but this decision was deferred on Sept. 2, due to uncertainty of grant funding for the project. But then on Oct. 21, town council directed administration to again pursue the concept of installing solar panels on the building’s roof. Given SkyFire’s new proposal and the availability of the grant funding, council decided the financials for the project now work. The project is projected to provide the town about $4,500 per year in savings, while reducing the building’s dependence on the electrical grid by about 55 per cent. The panels will require about $1,000 per year of maintenance, however. Administration returned with this new proposal on Feb. 3, but council wanted answers to several inquiries before deciding, so the proposal was postponed to the following meeting, on Feb. 17. One of the questions during the Feb. 3 meeting, raised by Councillor Tari Cockx, was whether the solar panel project would affect the view of residents of Lambert Village, located across Second Avenue from the new municipal building. But as the top (third) floor at Lambert Village is below the roof level of the municipal building, residents there will not be able to see the panels or see any reflection from them, explained Ethan Wilson, the town’s infrastructure manager, during the Feb, 17 meeting. The panels are static, being arranged at an optimum angle for Strathmore, meaning there will be no noise as in some other systems. There will be rooftop access to the solar panels, so the array can be maintained throughout the year, including the clearing of snow, as necessary. No changes are needed to the current roof layout to install the panels, said Wilson. Another issue brought up during the Feb. 3 meeting, by Councillor Jason Montgomery, was the cost of recycling the panels at the end of their estimated 30-year lifespan. SkyFire will provide a full three-year warranty, alongside manufacturer and product warranties ranging between 10 and 25 years in duration. There are currently options to recycle the panel materials, said Wilson. But the panels would still need to be removed from the building and disassembled at the end of their lifetime. However, there is indication the programs available now will be improved in 30 years, with the Alberta Recycling Management Authority starting a two-year pilot program for electronics recycling, including solar panels, he said. But in response to this uncertainty, Montgomery requested the establishment of a reserve fund to pay for the ultimate removal and disposal of the solar array at the end of its lifetime. “Something that’s been very important to me is just that whenever we embark on a new project or new idea, that we are looking down the road of what our future obligations are,” he said. As part of the motion to approve the project, town council directed the creation of a restricted reserve fund for end-of-life disposal of the solar array, to which $1,500 will be allocated yearly. The motion to approve the project then passed unanimously. Proceeding with the project is an achievement 10 years after the town hired a consulting firm to produce a report, called the Strathmore Community Sustainability Plan, identifying ways the town could be more sustainable, recounted Councillor Bob Sobol, during the Feb. 17 meeting. One of the recommendations was to establish a sustainability committee. “They believe, as do I, that it is time for the town to take more aggressive steps regarding dealing with solar energy,” he said. Other benefits of the project include reducing the building’s electrical bill, thereby insuring against rising power prices, it being an environmentally friendly project, and providing leadership in sustainability, said Sobol. “I support this project, which I see as a pilot, and encourage council to support our municipality’s first journey into clean, sustainable energy.” Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
OTTAWA — The federal government has been granted one more month to expand access to medical assistance in dying. Quebec Superior Court Justice Martin Sheehan has agreed to give the government a fourth extension — until March 26 — to bring the law into compliance with a 2019 court ruling. The decision comes just one day before the previous deadline was to expire. The 2019 ruling struck down a provision in the law that allows assisted dying only for those whose natural deaths are "reasonably foreseeable." The government has introduced Bill C-7 to expand assisted dying to intolerably suffering individuals who are not approaching the end of their lives. It is currently stalled in the House of Commons, where the Conservatives are refusing to facilitate debate on the government's response to amendments made by the Senate. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press
Trois-Rivières – Alors que la semaine de relâche débute pour plusieurs, le Défi château de neige se poursuit encore pour environ deux semaines. Jusqu'à présent, ce sont 114 châteaux qui ont été érigés et enregistrés pour la compétition en Mauricie. La limite a été fixée au 8 mars. Pour participer, il suffit de construire un château de neige à l’endroit de son choix, de l’immortaliser en photo et de partager celle-ci en l’inscrivant sur le site www.defichateaudeneige.ca. L'organisation souligne qu'il est «évidemment important de respecter les mesures sanitaires en vigueur ainsi que les règles de sécurité associées à de telles constructions.» En Mauricie, ce sont six grands coffrets polaires - comprenant du matériel pour construire des châteaux - ainsi que 30 cartes-cadeaux dans des magasins offrant du matériel de loisir et de sport qui seront attribués au hasard parmi ceux et celles qui auront inscrit leur château. Le Défi château de neige n’est pas un concours visant à déterminer le plus beau château. C’est avant tout un programme qui a été mis de l’avant pour développer l’intérêt pour l’activité physique et les saines habitudes de vie auprès des enfants et des familles durant l’hiver. Il est présenté dans toutes les régions du Québec. Pour l’édition 2021, plus de 2715 châteaux ont déjà été enregistrés à l’échelle de la province, soit plus que le record des années précédentes. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
La Ville de Saint-Sauveur a acquis deux terrains par dons écologiques pour créer la réserve naturelle du Mont-Christie. Les travaux débuteront au printemps et les sentiers seront accessibles dès l’été 2021. Un nouveau projet parmi les nombreux autres de la Ville. Ces dons proviennent du promoteur Immo-Mc inc et de Madame Nancy Guillemette qui ont donné chacun une partie de leur terrain. Au total, cela représente 1,6 million de pieds carrés dans le domaine du Mont-Christie, en bas et à l’est de la montagne du même nom. Il s’agit d’un milieu humide et un lac se trouve également au centre. La création de la réserve permettra de préserver ce territoire naturel et d’y faire de l’interprétation. « Il s’agit d’un don écologique, car c’est un milieu humide et il n’est pas possible de toute façon de construire dans ce genre d’endroit », a précisé le maire de la Ville, M. Jacques Gariépy. La Ville profitera donc de ce territoire pour y installer des sentiers d’interprétation de la faune et du milieu naturel. « Dans ce coin, la faune est très diversifiée. Des écologistes vont d’ailleurs travailler avec nous pour développer cette partie. » Des passerelles en bois seront également construites pour que le terrain ne soit pas abimé, mais aussi parce qu’il s’agit d’un milieu humide, donc il y a souvent de l’eau. Comme il s’agit de dons, la Ville a eu moins d’investissements à faire, sauf pour les infrastructures de bois et l’aménagement. Dans le budget 2021, le montant est estimé à 600 000$. En été, les sentiers seront accessibles pour la randonnée pédestre et pour y faire de l’interprétation. En hiver, il sera possible d’y faire de la randonnée pédestre également, mais aussi de la raquette et du ski de fond. « On regarde pour peut-être permettre le fatbike à l’hiver », précise le maire. Il y aura également un belvédère avec une vue sur le lac et le terrain pour y faire de l’interprétation. « Les écoles et les camps de jour pourront également en profiter. Du point de vue académique, c’est très intéressant. » Il y aura deux accès pour entrer dans la réserve : un sur la rue de l’Église et un autre à l’extrémité du chemin Papineau. Des stationnements sont prévus aussi à ces endroits, mais il reste à la Ville d’acquérir ces deux terrains situés au nord et au sud. Selon le maire, il est aussi important de prendre en compte cet enjeu avant de lancer le projet. « Le problème qu’on a dans les sentiers des Pays-d’en-Haut, c’est que les gens se stationnent n’importe où dans les milieux résidentiels et dans les rues, car il n’y a pas assez de stationnements. » La Ville souhaite donc travailler en amont, et ouvrir la réserve lorsque des stationnements auront été prévus à cet effet. Cela fait déjà plusieurs années que la Ville de Saint-Sauveur travaille pour créer cette réserve. « C’est un long processus, autant du point de vue écologique qu’au niveau interne. Mais toutes ces étapes sont maintenant passées et nous sommes prêts à passer à d’autres choses », explique M. Gariépy. Dès le printemps, la Ville entamera l’aménagement des sentiers et des passerelles en bois et travaillera avec des écologistes pour le volet interprétation. Mais la réserve du Mont-Christie n’est pas le seul projet qui prendra forme cette année. En effet, grâce au don écologique de la famille De Volpi, la Ville a acquis un terrain de plus de 3 millions de pieds carrés. Ce dernier est situé près du Lac des Becs-Scies et de la municipalité de Mille-Isles. À cet endroit seront aménagés des sentiers de randonnée pédestre et de vélo qui seront accessibles dès cet été. Certains sont déjà en place, mais il restera à les baliser par la Ville. Dans les autres grands projets de Saint-Sauveur, il y a également l’acquisition du Cap Molson pour y faire des sentiers balisés et y construire un belvédère. « Nous sommes actuellement en procédure d’expropriation. Dans les prochaines semaines ou mois, la procédure devrait être finalisée. On devrait commencer les travaux prochainement. » La Ville souhaite principalement sécuriser les sentiers, comme ils sont déjà beaucoup utilisés. Les sentiers du sommet de la Marquise seront aussi accessibles dès cet été. Il reste à la Ville d’acquérir un terrain pour en faire un stationnement à l’entrée sud des sentiers pour empêcher les gens de se stationner dans les rues. Selon M. Gariépy, ces projets aboutissent presque tous maintenant, mais la Ville travaillait sur eux depuis des années. « Les projets étaient liés à des échéanciers écologiques, avec le ministère de l’Environnement notamment. Par exemple, pour les sentiers du Mont-Christie, on attendait des autorisations de leur part qu’on a eues. » Voyant l’engouement pour le plein air cette année en raison de la pandémie, ces projets s’inscrivent parfaitement dans le mouvement. « On n’avait pas prévu la COVID-19 il y a deux ou trois ans lorsqu’on avait commencé ces projets, mais la concrétisation de ces derniers tombe pile avec ce besoin. » Marie-Catherine Goudreau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
OTTAWA — The Public Health Agency of Canada is launching an investigation and reviewing its practices after two returning travellers were allegedly sexually assaulted during their mandatory quarantine periods. A spokesperson for Health Minister Patty Hajdu said allegations of assaults reported in the media this week are "really concerning." Cole Davidson said the public health agency would review its own procedures as well as those of its service providers to ensure the safety of travellers returning to the country. The response follows reports that a quarantine screening officer as well as a returning traveller have been charged in separate sexual assault cases that allegedly occurred last week. The Opposition Conservatives immediately demanded a suspension of the obligation for travellers to quarantine in hotels until better safety measures are in place, as well as an end to the use of security guards, who they say haven't been properly evaluated, to check on people quarantining at home. Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says he doesn't necessarily believe the quarantine measures need to be suspended, but he wants to see improvements to ensure the safety of travellers under quarantine. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021 The Canadian Press
REGINA — A legal battle that a judge once called one of the most important in Saskatchewan's history is over, after the country's highest court decided against hearing the case about funding non-Catholic students who attend separate schools. The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday dismissed a request for a leave to appeal by the Good Spirit School Division against the Saskatchewan government and a Catholic school division. The issue began in 2003 when the village of Theodore, Sask., had its public kindergarten-to-Grade 8 school closed because of declining enrolment. Court heard at the time that the closure meant 42 students in the community would have to be bused to another school 17 kilometres away. After failed attempts to save the school from closing, a minority of Roman Catholic residents pushed the Saskatchewan government for a Catholic separate school. The St. Theodore Roman Catholic School was created. The Good Spirit School Division, which operated the original Theodore school but under a different name, brought forward legal action against the province and Catholic division over funding. It argued the new Catholic division was not created to serve the community's Catholics, but rather to prevent students from being bused to a neighbouring town. Fourteen years later, a Court of Queen's Bench judged ruled that funding for non-minority faith students attending separate schools infringed on equality rights and religious neutrality. Justice Donald Layh said at issue was the provincial policy of funding separate schools based solely on student enrolment without regard to students' religion. He wrote in his 2017 decision that the case was a flashpoint about the extent of separate school rights. "The community saved its school but prompted one of the most significant lawsuits in the province’s history," Layh wrote. When the decision came down, the province said it threatened to cause havoc to the education system. The Saskatchewan Party government, led by former premier Brad Wall, introduced legislation invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to ensure it could fund students attending Catholic or public school, regardless of their faith. It also appealed the court decision. Last year, Saskatchewan's Appeal Court ruled in favour of the province and the Catholic school division. Public Schools of Saskatchewan, which represents 15 public school boards, sought to bring the case to the Supreme Court on behalf of the Good Spirit School Division, arguing the issue had national importance. Justice Minister Gord Wyant said that the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case allows the province to carry on with the status quo. In a statement, Premier Scott Moe said he's pleased with the outcome. "We can continue to rely on the previous ruling which provides certainty for thousands of families in our province," he said. "Our government strongly supports parent and student choice in education, including Saskatchewan’s public, separate and faith-based schools." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Author and editor Nadja Spiegelman is heading a new literary magazine that will highlight writing from around the world. Astra Quarterly will likely release its first issue later this year. “It feels like the ideal moment for a publication whose primary focus is on international literature. There is a growing awareness that America is not the centre of the world, that reading widely is vital to all of us,” Spiegelman told The Associated Press. “Technology has led to the rise of a multilingual, multicultural class of readers and writers, all of whom are in conversation with one another. Astra Quarterly hopes to be read in Mexico City or Lagos as much as in New York or Paris.” Spiegelman most recently served as online editor of The Paris Review. She has also written the memoir “I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This,” and such illustrated works as “Lost in NYC” and the upcoming “Blancaflor.” Astra Quarterly will be released through Astra Publishing House, which announced the new, English-language publication Thursday. The Associated Press
A coalition of five local agencies are working together to provide better support services for members of the community. The Strathmore Wheatland Wellness Resource Project will help residents of Strathmore and Wheatland County come to one place to access resources. It is composed of the Golden Hills School Division, Growing Family Society, Strathmore FCSS, Wheatland County Counselling and Wheatland FCSS.“ It’s a great partnership of not-for-profits coming together,” said May Rostecki-Budzey, executive director of the Growing Families Society. The provincial government announced the provision of grant funding of $100,000 to Wheatland County Counselling and $85,460 to the Growing Families Society on Feb. 11. Wheatland County Counselling is providing service delivery of the navigation phone lines, helping direct people to the proper channels for whatever they need, explained Rostecki-Budzey. If a crisis does arise, the caller can be redirected to one of the therapists there. Each member organization also collaborates to determine what resources are needed in the community, both in Strathmore and among rural communities in Wheatland County, explained Brittany Olsen, Wheatland County Counselling office manager. “We’ve able to identify needs for residents, from counselling to nutrition support and financial support,” said Olsen. The project is in its infancy, so it provides information only and does not perform case management. Other organizations may connect their services through the project as well, she said. “We’ve been able to help a dozen people so far, and we’re just wishing to still continue to help,” she said. Residents can access the project online at swwellness.ca or by phone 403-962-0167, email firstname.lastname@example.org and through its Facebook page. Providing access to many programs from a single point and contact makes getting support easier and less time consuming for residents, explained Olsen. “Instead of them being frustrated with Google searching, finding what resources are available to them and clicking a bunch of links, we’ve provided a one-stop shop resource providing them the information they need.” Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
Boeing Co will pay $6.6 million to U.S. regulators as part of a settlement over quality and safety-oversight lapses going back years, a setback that comes as Boeing wrestles with repairs to flawed 787 Dreamliner jets that could dwarf the cost of the federal penalty. Boeing is beginning painstaking repairs and forensic inspections to fix structural integrity flaws embedded deep inside at least 88 parked 787s built over the last year or so, a third industry source said. The inspections and retrofits could take up to a month per plane and are likely to cost hundreds of millions - if not billions - of dollars, though it depends on the number of planes and defects involved, the person said.
Canada's Auditor General Karen Hogan on Thursday delivered her 2021 report, including five performance audit reports to the House of Commons. Hogan's report found that Canada's ship building strategy was slow to deliver combat and non-combat ships.
Microsoft Corp's failure to fix known problems with its cloud software facilitated the massive SolarWinds hack that compromised at least nine federal government agencies, according to security experts and the office of U.S. Senator Ron Wyden. A vulnerability first publicly revealed by researchers in 2017 allows hackers to fake the identity of authorized employees to gain access to customers' cloud services. The technique was one of many used in the SolarWinds hack.
La campagne de sociofinancement pour les rénovations du Bar à Pitons bat son plein. En moins d’un mois, plus de 8000 $ ont été amassés, sur un objectif de 30 000 $, afin de permettre l’agrandissement de ce lieu culturel et d’ainsi assurer sa survie. Avec ces rénovations, l’établissement pourra revoir sa capacité d’accueil à la hausse et bonifier son offre d’activités. C’est la Coopérative de Solidarité V.E.R.T.E qui est responsable du bar et qui a mis en place la campagne de sociofinancement appelée Pour l’amour du Bar à Pitons. Selon Christine Rivest-Hénault, coordonnatrice générale de la coopérative, le Bar à Pitons est devenu, au fil des années, un endroit unique pour la scène émergente artistique du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. « La signature du Bar à Pitons, c’est que tout le monde peut être une vedette. Ils peuvent tous venir chanter ou lire leurs textes. On accueille aussi beaucoup de groupes émergents. On a une offre qui, je pense, est importante pour la région culturellement », explique-t-elle, lors d’un entretien téléphonique avec Le Quotidien. Alors que les gestionnaires avaient pris la décision, en février 2020, de concentrer leurs activités sur le Bar à Pitons et de fermer l’auberge, ils ont été frappés de plein fouet par la pandémie. Le bar a dû fermer ses portes tout l’hiver, avant de rouvrir quelques mois à l’été. La terrasse extérieure a permis la tenue de certaines activités. Cet automne, la coopérative a dû faire face à la réalité. Les normes sanitaires ne permettent pas au bar d’ouvrir ses portes à l’hiver. Les gestionnaires devaient donc décider de le laisser fermé tout l’hiver ou d’amorcer des rénovations qui permettraient au lieu d’être adapté aux règles sanitaires. « Ça faisait déjà deux ans que nous pensions à ces rénovations et, comme tout le monde, nous ne savons pas combien de temps nous serons dans cette pandémie. Nous nous sommes donc lancés. Nous savons qu’il y a plein de gens qui nous aiment, qui tiennent au Bar à Pitons. Nous avons décidé de prendre le pari que tous ces gens-là, qui voient que notre mission est importante, allaient nous aider », se réjouit-elle. Déjà, les rénovations sont amorcées. La coordonnatrice est fière du montant amassé jusqu’à maintenant et reconnaît que son objectif est ambitieux. L’important pour elle est d’amasser le plus de sous possible, pour que la relance de l’établissement soit le plus facile possible, à la réouverture. Jadis un lieu touristique Le Bar à Pitons a bien changé avec les années. Lorsque la coopérative a acheté la Maison Price, où se trouve le Bar à Pitons, le but était de transformer cette maison en auberge. Au sous-sol, une salle de réunion avait été aménagée, surtout pour les visiteurs. « C’est comme ça qu’est né le Bar à Pitons, une toute petite salle principalement pour les utilisateurs de l’auberge. Rapidement, les gens qui habitent autour se sont approprié le lieu », souligne la coordonnatrice générale. C’est cet engouement qui a motivé les gestionnaires à faire des rénovations en 2015 et à mettre sur pied le Bar à Pitons. Le bar a eu le droit à un léger agrandissement, mais plusieurs espaces étaient toujours réservés à l’auberge. En 2018, l’auberge a commencé à perdre de la clientèle, tandis que le Bar à Pitons lui, en gagnait. C’est ce qui a amené les gestionnaires à fermer l’auberge, en février 2020, pour de bon et se concentrer sur le lieu culturel. « C’était rendu le Bar à Pitons qui faisait vivre l’entreprise. Notre programmation culturelle était de plus en plus riche, aimée et fréquentée, donc nous avons concentré nos activités là-dessus puisque c’est ce qui fonctionne et ce qui attire les gens », continue Mme Rivest-Hénault. La mission de l’établissement alors touristique a officiellement changé pour devenir plus culturelle. Tous les intéressés à participer à la campagne peuvent se rendre sur le site de la coopérative pour faire un don. Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
The U.S. government is taking new steps to speed up releases of unaccompanied children to parents or other sponsors as the Biden administration grapples with a growing number of underage migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, earlier this month reversed a policy put in place by former Republican President Donald Trump that allowed U.S. authorities to rapidly expel migrant children caught at the border without their parents. In January, U.S. Border Patrol caught 7,300 unaccompanied minors crossing the border illegally, the highest number of arrests in the month of January in at least a decade and up from 4,500 a month earlier.
WASHINGTON — The number of sexual harassment and sexual assault cases reported at the military service academies dropped in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 school year, the Pentagon said Thursday. The report, which is required by law annually, comes as Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that reducing sexual assault is one of his top priorities. He was recently briefed on the military service's programs to counter the problem. “We have been working at this for a long time in earnest, but we haven’t gotten it right,” Austin said last week at his first Pentagon news conference. He promised stronger efforts. “You can look for us to take additional steps in looking in detail at ourselves and what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what measures we need to take going forward to ensure that we provide for a safe and secure and productive environment for our teammates,” he said. “Any other approach is, in my view, irresponsible.” Thursday's Pentagon report said the number of reported sexual assault cases at the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy fell to 129 from 149 in the previous academic year. Sexual harassment reports dropped to 12 from 17. The report said the reason for the declines is unclear, but it noted that in-person classes at the military academies were suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Officials altered most academy activities, including holding graduations virtually and postponing commissioning ceremonies. Thus, it said, the academies offered only about three-quarters of normal levels of interaction. Separately, an in-person survey of military academy students that is normally conducted to give the Pentagon a better understanding of the sexual assault problem and its prevalence was cancelled because of the pandemic. Robert Burns, The Associated Press
Facebook Inc ended a one-week blackout of Australian news on its popular social media site on Friday and announced preliminary commercial agreements with three small local publishers. The moves reflected easing tensions between the U.S. company and the Australian government, a day after the country's parliament passed a law forcing it and Alphabet Inc's Google to pay local media companies for using content on their platforms. The new law makes Australia the first nation where a government arbitrator can set the price Facebook and Google pay domestic media to show their content if private negotiations fail.
(Submitted by Summerside Police - image credit) A Summerside man had to be given two doses of the life-saving medication naloxone after taking an unknown amount of the opioid fentanyl on Wednesday, police say. EMS staff called Summerside police around 12:30 p.m. to say they needed help at the scene of a suspected overdose, according to a police news release. Officers were told that a 36-year-old man had collapsed just after arriving at the home. People described in the release as "witnesses" knew there was a Narcan kit in the home and gave the man a dose. Narcan is a trade name for naloxone, which is highly effective at reversing the effects of overdoses of opioids including heroin, morphine or fentanyl. "The witnesses also confirmed that the man had consumed fentanyl," the news release said. The man showed improvement but relapsed after the officers arrived, "so police administered a second dose." The man recovered and refused any other medical treatment, the news release said. A small amount of a substance suspected to be fentanyl was found at the home. "Police are encouraging anyone consuming these drugs to ensure they are not alone when consuming and to have a Narcan kit on hand in case problems occur," the news release said. Overdoses, deaths concern officials Appearing at a legislative committee earlier this month, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said the number of accidental fentanyl-related opioid overdoses and deaths on P.E.I. took a sharp rise in 2020. As of Sept. 30, Morrison's office had been informed of six accidental deaths involving opioids, of which three involved fentanyl, and 17 non-fatal opioid overdoses, nine of which were linked to fentanyl. Fentanyl is widely considered to be 50 times more powerful than morphine in its effects on the user's body. More from CBC P.E.I.