Black History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements made by Black Americans but it can also be a platform to discuss the historical inequalities faced by Black Americans and how to improve upon them for the future generations.
Black History Month is a time to celebrate the achievements made by Black Americans but it can also be a platform to discuss the historical inequalities faced by Black Americans and how to improve upon them for the future generations.
Canada added a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to its pandemic-fighting arsenal on Friday, approving Johnson & Johnson's product a week after it was authorized in the United States. That gives Canada four distinct vaccines — along with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca — and it adds flexibility to the country's plan to immunize the majority of its residents by September. Health Canada includes a fifth vaccine, Covishield, which is a separate brand name for doses of the AstraZeneca product made at the Serum Institute of India. The U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use on Feb. 27. Canada has already secured 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through previous negotiations with the company, with the option to buy another 28 million. The 10 million pre-purchased doses will be delivered before September, but they're not expected to start flowing into Canada until at least April. Here's what we know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT? Johnson & Johnson announced promising results from its Phase 3 clinical trials at the end of January, suggesting its vaccine reduced severe COVID-19 disease by 85 per cent, and prevented 100 per cent of COVID-related hospitalization or death. The vaccine had a 72 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID infections after 28 days in the company's U.S. trials. The efficacy dropped to 66 per cent when averaging in results from other global trials, including a South African study that factored in more transmissible variants of the COVID virus. An FDA report last month said the vaccine was 64 per cent effective in preventing infection in South Africa about a month after the vaccines were administered. Pfizer and Moderna showed 95 per cent efficacy in their respective trials, but those were both tested against previous dominant strains of the virus and didn't account for the variants that have popped up since. Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca also had zero hospitalizations and deaths in their trials. The FDA report said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was similarly effective across age, race and people with comorbidities. The agency added that effectiveness appeared to be lower (42.3 per cent after one month) in people over 60 with comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS VACCINE? The potential ease of distribution offered by a one-and-done shot, and its ability to be stored in a regular fridge are among its biggest strengths. Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca all require two doses. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine can be stored in a regular fridge for up to three months, the company says. Pfizer's vaccine initially required ultra-cold storage temperatures between -60 C and -80 C, though Health Canada said this week it could be stored in a regular freezer for up to 14 days. Moderna's vaccine can also be stored at regular freezer temperatures while AstraZeneca can be stored in a fridge. WHAT KIND OF VACCINE TECHNOLOGY IS USED? Unlike the mRNA technology used in Pfizer and Moderna's products, Johnson & Johnson is a non-replicating viral vector vaccine similar to AstraZeneca's. That means it uses a different harmless virus, which can't copy itself, as a vector to give our cells the instructions they need to make the coronavirus's spike protein. The immune system recognizes the protein and makes antibodies, which then allow us to fend off attack from the same virus if exposed in the future. WERE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS NOTED? No specific safety concerns were identified in participants of the trials, regardless of age, race and comorbidities. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said in a press conference Friday that almost 20 per cent of participants in the Johnson & Johnson trials were 65 years of age and older, and "no differences in safety or efficacy were seen compared to the younger groups." The FDA said the most common reported side effects were headache and fatigue, followed by muscle aches, nausea and fever. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
NASA's Mars rover Perseverance has taken its first, short drive on the surface of the red planet, two weeks after the robot science lab's picture-perfect touchdown on the floor of a massive crater, mission managers said on Friday. The six-wheeled, car-sized astrobiology probe put a total of 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) on its odometer on Thursday during a half-hour test spin within Jezero Crater, site of an ancient, long-vanished lake bed and river delta on Mars. Taking directions from mission managers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles, the rover rolled 4 meters (13.1 feet) forward, turned about 150 degrees to its left and then drove backward another 2.5 meters (8.2 feet).
A prominent medical journal’s provocative tweet was meant to prompt interest in a podcast on racism. Instead, the Twitter post and the podcast stoked backlash and admonishment from the doctors' group that publishes the journal. The tweet from the Journal of the American Medical Association said in part, “No physician is racist, so how can there be structural racism in health care?" It was promoting a podcast episode featuring two white doctors: a deputy journal editor and a physician who runs a New York City health system. They were discussing how structural racism worsens health outcomes and what health systems can do to address it, JAMA said in an online description. The episode, designed for doctors, was first posted last week and was billed as a discussion for skeptics. It included comments that racism is illegal and a term that should be avoided because it evokes negative feelings. The journal later removed the tweet. Its top editor, Dr. Howard Bauchner, issued an apology Thursday for the tweet and for portions of the podcast. Outcry continued Friday on Twitter. Some called the podcast “cringeworthy? and said physicians who have experienced racism should have been involved. The American Medical Association, which owns and publishes JAMA but has no editorial control over its content, tweeted Thursday that the podcast “was wrong, false and harmful." The association's CEO, Dr. James Madara, said in a statement that “structural racism in health care and our society exists and it is incumbent on all of us to fix it." The AMA’s chief equity officer, Dr. Aletha Maybank, who is Black, called the JAMA tweet and podcast “absolutely appalling.” Dr. Brittani James, a Black Chicago physician who co-founded the Institute for Anti-Racism in Medicine, accused the journal of “whitesplaining racism." Dr. Uche Blackstock of Advancing Health Equity tweeted that, “Yes, physicians can absolutely be racist”’ and that JAMA should not have deleted the tweet. Her group works to confront racism in medicine. A journal spokeswoman said Friday that Bauchner would have no additional comment. ___ Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner at @ LindseyTanner. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press
VICTORIA — Tax changes targeting sugary drinks and e-commerce services based outside of B.C. will come into effect on April 1 after being delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The B.C. government says the changes include the elimination of the provincial sales tax exemption for carbonated beverages that contain sugar, natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners. The tax will apply to all beverages dispensed through soda fountains or similar equipment, along with all beverages dispensed through vending machines. The government says the move is supported by health professionals. The second tax change will apply to those selling digital software and telecommunication services, who will be required to collect the PST on sales to B.C. customers if they have revenue in the province of more than $10,000. All Canadian sellers of vapour products, such as vape pens, will be required to register to collect the sales tax on all online or mail-order sales to B.C. customers as part of the new measure. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Five local health coalitions continued their efforts to transform Ontario’s long-term care home policies and funding structure with a virtual protest held this week. Chatham-Kent long-term care (LTC) representatives and family members of LTC residents shared stories from the front lines. The event was organized by the Ontario Health Coalition and joining them were other Southwestern Ontario LTC representatives. “Mr. Ford announced back in December that there will not be any increase in funding for staffing until April of 2022. That's woefully inadequate and it doesn't help our long-term care loved ones now,” said Shirley Roebuck, chair of the Chatham-Kent and Sarnia chapters. “So what we are pushing for is for the government to make legitimate realistic increases in funding and mandate better staffing and staff mixes, as well as infection control and safety.” The event was held via Zoom and live casted on Facebook. The protest received more than 1,600 views. Lucinda Allaer, a Sarnia resident whose 88-year-old dad, George, is currently living at Fairfield Park long-term care home in Wallaceburg, spoke of her experiences. “He's always filled with the joy of life and he has a wicked sense of humour. He used to carry around a fake finger in his pocket, which he would joyfully slip into his friend's sandwich and then just sit back and wait for the enduring drama to subside...I mentioned that because it's such a big difference to who he is today. My dad no longer laughs at all since he transitioned into long-term care.” The Wallaceburg home recently underwent a COVID outbreak affecting 100 people. Two people died from COVID-19 and two other residents passed away from other causes after testing positive. “My dad cries all of the time,” Allaer said. “He talks about suicide. He asks me to help him to die.” The organizers also held a tribute for all residents and staff that died of COVID-19. To date 146 LTC residents and one staff member passed away from the virus in Southwestern Ontario. In Ontario, 3,756 of its 7,024 COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term homes. Eleven of those individuals were staff members and the rest residents. The protest made a call-to-action, asking residents to email their local MPPs demanding better staffing and funding for long-term care. Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington was sitting in the house and unavailable for comment. Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, called the province’s staffing plan “woefully inadequate” and said it should look to Quebec where 10,000 personal support worker equivalents were brought in over the summer, trained in three months, and deployed in homes before the second wave hit. “(Staffing) was in crisis prior to the pandemic, and we have lost a significant proportion of the staff during the pandemic,” she said. “Staffing levels are now the lowest that we've ever seen across Southwestern Ontario.” Mehra said the government’s staffing plan, released in December, “embraces” what the health coalition has been lobbying for in the past decade which is a minimum care standard of four hours of hands on care for residents each day. However, the beginning of those changes, which is expected to add 15 additional minutes of care per resident per day, will only be implemented in April 2022. The full plan will be implemented by 2025. “It's about the same number of staff that get trained each year anyway. And we have lost at least a third of the staff in the first wave and more in the second wave. So we've lost more than 15 minutes of care through the pandemic, on average per resident anyway. So this is cruelly slow,” Mehra said. She added that the average lifespan of residents in long-term care homes is between 18 months and two years, so many will pass away before these changes are implemented. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
Saskatchewan reported 207 new cases of COVID-19 and two more coronavirus-related deaths Friday. One of the people who died was in the 60 to 69 age group from Regina. The other resident was in the 80 and older age group and was from Saskatoon. There have been a total of 393 known COVID-19-related deaths in the province as of Friday. Of the 29,432 total known cases to date, 1,507 are considered active. The seven-day average of daily new cases in Saskatchewan is 155 — 12.7 new cases per 100,000 population. The new cases Friday are in the following provincial zones: Far northwest, 23. Far north central, two. Far northeast, 13. Northwest, 20. North central, 13. Saskatoon, 45. Central east, 18. Regina, 43. Southwest, two. South central, five. Southeast, five. Ten of the new cases have pending residence information. There are currently 138 people in hospital in the province due to COVID-19, 20 of whom are in intensive care. The province also reported 125 new recoveries in the latest update. There have been 27,532 known recoveries total as of Friday. To date, 589,109 COVID-19 tests have been processed in Saskatchewan, 3,289 of which were processed on Thursday. 2,789 new vaccinations There were 2,789 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered Thursday in Saskatchewan, according to the province. To date, a total of 86,879 shots have been administered. The latest doses were administered in the following provincial zones: Far north central, 22. Northwest, 544. North central, 60. Central east, 120. Southeast, 30. Saskatoon, 850. Regina, 1,163. Health Canada approved the use of the new single-dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in Canada on Friday. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is approved for people 18 years and over. The province says shipment dates and vaccine quantities for Saskatchewan are not yet available. A shipment of the new AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine (15,500 doses) is expected arrive late the week of March 8, according to the province. It will be distributed among Regina, Saskatoon, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, and Yorkton. The Moderna vaccine shipment for the week of March 8 is now not expected until the week of March 15, according to the province. (CBC News Graphics) CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
Toronto's former police chief has been appointed special adviser to the province for its redevelopment of Ontario Place. The government says Mark Saunders will offer input on plans for the former waterfront theme park in Toronto. The province closed the park to the public in 2012 due to falling revenues and tight finances. The current Progressive Conservative government has said it wants to make the space that first opened in 1971 an impressive attraction. A government news release says Saunders will consult with the City of Toronto, local stakeholders and Indigenous communities. Saunders faced criticism in his tenure as police chief from both the LGBTQ and Black communities over his handling of various cases. He retired from the police force last year, and the search for his permanent replacement is ongoing. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
It may have been short of participants, but truly the best pilots came out last weekend, for the first annual Cardboard Sled contest in Kanesatake. Panzer Wagon and Sweet Victory, two homemade cardboard vehicles, competed for the grand prize of $250 on Saturday, February 27. With a name like Sweet Victory, community member Tanner Etienne said he was 90 percent sure that he was going to win. And whether it was a premonition or just luck, the 12-year-old boy came in first against Kanehsata’kehró:non Sage and Nation Harrington. “I think I’m ready to go pro, I’m definitely the best out there,” said Etienne during his victory speech, after he congratulated his opponents. For Etienne, becoming a professional only took him a day of construction, some green spray paint and a Home Depot box. While they suffered some engine trouble during their hill run, the Harringtons’ green two-seater sled was a little bit more sophisticated, compared to the winning box. “We decided to make a Jeep at first, but it turned into something else,” explained the siblings. The Harringtons received $150 for second place, while the third prize was handed to the media outlet APTN. Journalist Jeff Dorn donated the $75 toward the Tsi Ronterihwanónhnha ne Kanien’kéha Language and Cultural Center. Co-organizer Al Harrington said that this year, he invited different media outlets to take part in the contest, as a way to strengthen the relationship between the community and the media. He explained that while the community has had bad experiences with the media’s tendency to focus on negative stories, this was the opportunity to share something positive. “Not all journalists and media are bad,” said Harrington. APTN was selected as the contest’s judge by default as they were the only media who responded with their own personalized cardboard sled. APTN journalist Sylvie Ambroise arrived in Kanesatake thinking she was taking part in a team activity, only to discover that she was the test pilot. “They told me there was a race and that we would all compete,” she said. “But then I realized I’m the one representing them all!” The APTN mobile’s Innu name, Ka Tshepennte Mishkumit, meaning fast on ice, could have dangerously competed against Etienne’s cardboard sled. Right before the competition, Dorn, the engineer behind the APTN sled, shared its secret tool and wondered how safe it was. “Lots and lots of tapes,” said Dorn with a laugh. “It may be fast, it might not be... We will see.” The lack of participants didn’t keep the smiles off everyone’s face during the event. All enjoyed hot chocolates and snacks sponsored by the Medicine Box, who also donated the monetary prizes. By the end of the afternoon, participants around the bonfire were secretly dreaming of their potential international bobsleigh careers while planning for their future vehicle creations. firstname.lastname@example.org Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
Mourners left flowers and hockey sticks outside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ont., on Friday. The city is mourning Walter Gretzky, a fixture in the community, who died Thursday at age 82.
Lloydminster RCMP arrested three men from Onion Lake and Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation and a youth after a pursuit and charged them with numerous weapons and drug-related offences. On Feb. 25 at about 12 p.m. Lloydminster RCMP General Investigations Section members located a stolen vehicle in Lloydminster, which was connected to a prior serious occurrence in the area. Police attempted to stop the vehicle north of Lloydminster but the vehicle fled. RCMP from Lloydminster, the North Battleford RCMP Crime Reduction Team and Lloydminster Police Dog Services located and arrested the occupants of the vehicle shortly afterwards. When police searched the vehicle they recovered large amounts of drugs, firearms and weapons. Matthew Stanley, 27, Kashtin Sandfly, 21, both of Onion Lake Cree Nation, Samuel Kiseyinewakup, 19, of Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation, and a young offender were arrested. The young offender can't be identified in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Stanley was charged with flight from a peace officer, driving while prohibited, dangerous operation of motor vehicle, possession of a weapon contrary to an order, obstruction of a peace officer, possession of a restricted firearm without a license, possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle, possession of property obtained by crime less than $5,000, possession of controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking under $5,000, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, careless use of a firearm, unauthorized possession of a weapon, and possession of a controlled substance (Methamphetamine). Stanley was remanded in custody and is scheduled to appear in Lloydminster, Alta., Provincial Court on March 16, 2021. Sandfly was charged with flight from a peace officer, possession of restricted firearm without a licence, possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle, possession of property obtained by crime less than $5,000, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking under $5,000, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a firearm knowing the possession is unauthorized, unauthorized possession of a firearm, careless use of a firearm, and possession of a controlled substance (Methamphetamine). Kiseyinewakup was charged with flight from a peace officer, possession of a restricted firearm without a licence, possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle, possession of property obtained by crime less than $5,000, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking under $5,000, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, unauthorized possession of a firearm, careless use of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance (Methamphetamine), and possession of a weapon contrary to an order. The 17-year-old youth from Big Island Lake Cree Territory, Sask. was charged with flight from a peace officer, possession of a restricted firearm without a licence, possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle, possession of property obtained by crime less than $5,000, possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking under $5,000, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, careless use of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance (Methamphetamine), possession of a weapon contrary to an order, and failing to comply with conditions of a release order. The youth was released by a Justice of the Peace on a release order and is scheduled to appear in Lloydminster Alta. Provincial Youth court on March 15, 2021. Sandfly and Kiseyinewakup were released by a Justice of the Peace, however, both failed to appear in court on March 2, and arrest warrants were issued. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Saskatoon family doctor Marlys Misfeldt says wait-lists for psychiatric help have been an issue for a long time but recently, several of her referrals have been rejected outright. Dr. Misfeldt told CBC's Saskatoon Morning that she has been working with a patient who has depression and is not improving. "He's not doing well, so I requested a referral from the pooled psychiatry referral system and about three or four weeks later, I got a letter back saying, 'Specialist has decided this referral is not needed and has been cancelled,'" she said. "No discussion with my patient, no discussion with me, just a letter back saying … it is cancelled." She said she has received two or three other letters like this in the past year, where prior to that, she would receive a letter saying her patients were on a wait-list. Misfeldt was trying to access the pooled referral program, which is operated and directed by psychiatrists. The voluntary program includes 22 psychiatrists and the Saskatchewan Health Authority provides one staff member for the program, a triage nurse. Misfeldt said a psychiatrist she spoke to who deals with the pool system told her there are 300 people on that waiting list. Once you get on the waiting list, Misfeldt said it can take nine months to a year to see a psychiatrist. There are eight other psychiatrists who are not part of the program and who can, in theory, accept referrals, but Misfeldt said when she has tried reaching out to them, they've said they're not taking new patients. Global shortage of psychiatrists Psychiatrist Sara Dungavell, who works in Saskatoon and northern Saskatchewan communities, said what happened to Dr. Misfeldt is "not appropriate." "What Dr. Misfeldt got as a response is, frankly, wrong," Dr. Dungavell said. "If you aren't accepting patients or if the wait-list is going to be too long for you to see this person with an adequate amount of urgency, then at least you told the family doctor why you said no. You can't leave this blank." While the number of psychiatrists per capita in Saskatchewan compared to other provinces is low, Dungavell said there's actually a global shortage of psychiatrists. "We can't see people quickly because brains don't heal quickly, so it requires a lot of psychiatrists to provide adequate levels of care for folks, and we're not accepting people just staying in misery and untreated mental illness anymore." Dungavell said efforts have been made to provide more access to psychiatry in Saskatchewan, particularly for those who go to the emergency room. Even that, however, adds to the backlog, because there's no one to take those patients on once they leave the ER. "It's leaving family doctors in the situation of Dr. Misfeldt, where they are doing their absolute best to try and treat their patients but don't have access to the specialists who should be supporting them," she said. Saskatchewan needs to be a place psychiatrists want to work, which means creating a good continuum of care for patients, Dungavell said. "What most of us physicians want is to be able to provide good, quality, efficient care where we're doing what we do best," she said. "We count on community mental health nurses, social workers, on licensed psychiatric nurses and occupational therapists, rec therapists, to help our patients with those other very important areas of life that contribute to their mental health." Dr. Sara Dungavell splits her time between her Saskatoon clinic, where she provides support for members of the LGBT community, and northern Saskatchewan communities, including La Ronge, La Loche and Stony Rapids. (CBC) The north is particularly lacking the kinds of support people need to care for their mental health, Dungavell said. "The more the government actually pays for and supports this full team of people to work with each psychiatrist, the more efficient and effective we can be, the more psychiatrists will want to work here and the more we can stretch the limited resources that is psychiatry." Cancelled referrals uncommon: government, SHA The Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Psychiatry Referral Pool and the Ministry of Health sent a joint statement in response to questions about psychiatric referrals. "The capacity of pooled referral psychiatrists is significantly below the rate of incoming referrals," the statement said, but it's uncommon for psychiatrists to cancel referrals. While the statement said the departments can't comment on specific cases, they will "continue to look into the individual reasons why [cancellations] may occur in certain instances." Alternatives for family physicians include contacting the psychiatrist on call, contacting LINK — a provincial program that connects family physicians with psychiatrists — or contacting a psychiatrist who is not part of the referral pool. The statement said that in situations where a patient has been triaged and recommended for treatment other than psychiatry, "a letter always accompanies the return with information about the review and includes clear guidance on mental health access points as well as the phone number for the intake triage." 'Heartache and grief for the people of our province' Dr. Misfeldt said if this problem doesn't get solved, it will cause "more suicides, more marital breakup, more relationship deterioration, more heartache and grief for the people of our province." She's continuing to work with her patient who was denied access to the pooled referral program but she said it makes her feel "anxious and depressed" to hear about the long waits for psychiatric help. "These people are valuable people to our province and they are not functioning to their best ability and not participating in life." If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis, help is available. For an emergency or crisis situation, call 911. You can also contact the Saskatchewan suicide prevention line toll-free, 24/7 by calling 1-833-456-4566, texting 45645, or chatting online. You can contact the Regina mobile crisis services suicide line at 306-525-5333 or Saskatoon mobile crisis line at 306-933-6200.
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange: Toronto Stock Exchange (18,380.96, up 255.24 points.) Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up five cents, or 7.69 per cent, to 70 cents on 27.7 million shares. Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Energy. Up 93 cents, or 3.46 per cent, to $27.82 on 17.1 million shares. Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE). Energy. Up 15 cents, or 11.11 per cent, to $1.50 on 13.3 million shares. Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH). Energy. Up 10 cents, or 21.74 per cent, to 56 cents on 13.1 million shares. The Supreme Cannabis Co. Inc. (TSX:FIRE). Health care. Down one cent, or 3.85 per cent, to 25 cents on 11.4 million shares. Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB). Energy. Up 24 cents, or 0.54 per cent, to $44.83 on 11.1 million shares. Companies in the news: Martinrea International Inc. (TSX:MRE). Down $1.50, or 9.9 per cent, to $13.70. Frustrations stemming from COVID-19 travel restrictions boiled over during a conference call Thursday when top executives at auto parts manufacturer Martinrea derided the health measures, saying it's "time to move on" and recognize the "good things happening," despite employee deaths from the novel coronavirus. "Everything is getting better, except for the government policy that we're seeing. It is just absolutely outrageous," said chief financial officer Fred Di Tosto, on the call. Deanna Lorincz, global director of communications and marketing at Martinrea, said Friday that Di Tosto meant "it is time to move on, lessen the restrictions on the border and continue to open up the economy." Ensign Energy Services Inc. (TSX:ESI). Up eight cents, or 6.8 per cent, to $1.26. Drilling company Ensign Energy Services Inc. says oilpatch activity in its Canadian and U.S. operations is staging a slow recovery from a deep slump in 2020. The Calgary-based company says it earned net income of $3.1 million or two cents per share on revenue of $201 million in the last three months of 2020, compared with a net loss of $71.6 million on revenue of $375 million in the year-earlier period. Analysts had expected a net loss of $57.9 million on revenue of $197 million, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Revenue slumped 43 per cent in Canada compared with the same period in 2019, by 52 per cent in the U.S. and by 36 per cent in its international arm, which operates in South America, the Middle East and Australia. Recipe Unlimited Corp. (TSX:RECP). Unchanged at $18.57. Recipe Unlimited Corp. saw system sales fall more than 30 per cent in its most recent quarter as the pandemic continued to cause dining room closures and seating restrictions at its restaurant chains across Canada. The Vaughan, Ont.-based company says system sales in its fourth quarter totalled $611.3 million, down 31.8 per cent from $895.8 million in the same quarter the previous year. Still, the company, which operates brands like Swiss Chalet, Harvey's, St-Hubert and The Keg, saw off-premise system sales for the 13 weeks ended Dec. 27 of $150.4 million, a 66.6 per cent increase compared to $90.3 million in the same period of 2019. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Gillis English’s eventful life is the subject of a podcast called Plain English: Crime to Life. In various episodes, he tells stories about his experiences, including what it was like being behind bars. “Basically I just started sharing from when I was a kid up,” he says during a phone interview from his home in Campbell River, B.C. “For me the bigger part of it is if I can try and share a good message, which is what I want to do now.” English, also known as Little Goat, is Anishinaabe from Northern Ontario, and has spent much of his life being caught in a “revolving door” of foster care homes, young offenders centres and prisons. During that time, he says he had few opportunities to connect to his culture. “When I think of all the foster homes and young offender centres, there was nothing really there to help [to connect] with being Indigenous,” he says. “The system is set up to send us back through. It’s like a revolving door.” It wasn’t until he met Anishinaabe Elder Lloyd Haarala through Correctional Services Canada’s (CSC) Pathways program at the end of a 15-year prison sentence — about a decade ago — that things began to turn around for him. “He’s got a way of putting his arm around you, and asking, ‘How are you doing, my boy?’ and it can just make you feel so safe,” English says. “It makes you want to cry right there on the spot. He’s got a real human touch.” He recalls a teaching he received from Elders during his healing journey that still resonates with him. “We’re born with our whole lives ahead of us and we don’t know how to live at all,” he says. “[With time] we start to learn how to live our lives. As we near the end of our lives … that’s when we’re going to know the most.” In English’s case, it took more than a decade to find the right support. Correctional Investigator of Canada Ivan Zinger says his office has been asking for improvements on behalf of Indigenous inmates for at least that long. “My office has made countless recommendations in the last fifteen years dealing with Indigenous corrections and there’s been very little traction on those recommendations,” Zinger told IndigiNews. “There are some best practices that yield better success in terms of correctional outcome.” This year, Zinger’s office is launching a series of in-depth investigations looking at Indigenous programming in Canada’s prisons — specifically around access to culture and community support. Zinger says his office will soon conduct a review of the Pathways program specifically, with the results set to be released later this year. Pathways is an Elder-driven healing initiative based on the teachings of the Medicine Wheel. It’s only available in some correctional facilities to varying degrees, and is only available for inmates who have “already made a serious commitment to pursue their healing journey,” according to CSC. Access to cultural support is key to support human dignity, individual’s spiritual beliefs and practices, and more consistent rehabilitation. In his latest annual report, Zinger’s investigations revealed that Indigenous inmates at maximum security institutions in Agassiz, B.C., and Edmonton had limited access to cultural programs. “As a general rule, it is critical that programs and services are culturally informed and delivered by Indigenous staff,” the report says. “However, this investigation revealed that Indigenous inmates, though keen to practice their traditions and spirituality, had limited access to these and were rarely able to access their Elders.” Zinger’s recommendations around how to improve things for the vastly overrepresented Indigenous inmate population have been extensive. He says he has asked CSC for more money to be allocated for Indigenous-managed cultural initiatives — such as healing lodges through programs like Pathways — but nothing has been provided. Zinger says Indigenous people are more likely to be at a higher security level where there are fewer programs available, which makes accessibility difficult. They’re also more likely to be put into solitary confinement, be subject to use of force, and to have their parole suspended or revoked, among other things, Zinger says. Another problem with the current programs available is that they don’t reflect the diversity of Indigenous cultures and spiritual beliefs, Zinger says. English echoes this concern — having signed up for many of the programs available, but disappointed at how short, non-specific and surface-level they were. “It’s pretty much, just throw a blanket over us and this will cover everybody,” English says. Zinger says his office has been asking CSC to create a position for a deputy commissioner of Indigenous affairs for more than a decade — someone who could represent Indigenous inmates at an executive level — however this also has not been done. According to CSC, there is already a senior deputy commissioner who is responsible for Indigenous Initiatives, internal investigations, oversight of complaints and grievances and a variety of other pieces across sectors. There’s also a National Indigenous Advisory Committee and a National Elders working group. Many of Zinger’s recommendations have been echoed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. “(CSC) has done little to implement those now widely-accepted recommendations,” Zinger says. “Correctional outcomes are just terrible, overall terrible and continue to remain terrible,” he says. “The over-representation of Indigenous Peoples in the federal penitentiary has gotten worse year after year.” More than 30 percent of Canadian inmates are Indigenous, with those numbers on a trajectory to keep growing. CSC’s director of Indigenous initiatives Marty Maltby says there has been ongoing consultation with Indigenous Peoples on the Pathways program. Maltby says CSC has been working to make the program more viable and sustainable, however the program is run via partnership with Indigenous organizations which means it requires a joint effort. “As always we welcome [Zinger’s] recommendations, we always have room for improvement,” Maltby says. As someone who was within the system for many years, English sees many opportunities for things to improve for Indigenous inmates. If he didn’t discover Pathways, he says, and connect with an Elder, things would have been different for him. “If Pathways wasn’t there for us, we would go out the same way we went in, or worse.” English says, like many other Indigenous people, he was transferred in and out of foster care during childhood. He was first put into the system after his father committed suicide when he was six years old. At the age of twelve, he says he was incarcerated for the first time — and from there he spent his entire teenage life in young offenders facilities. His adopted father, from the Strong Bear Clan, helped to raise him, but when English began getting into trouble, he could no longer care for him, he explains. While he was in a young offenders facility, he did a bit of schooling, but recalls not being given much support. “They keep us there and basically just tried to keep us out of trouble,” English says. Without anyone helping him to focus on his future, English kept on the same destructive path — he says he was given a 15 year prison term in the 1990s after taking part in a violent home robbery in Alberta. The start of his lengthy sentence began in Edmonton at a maximum security prison, and he was eventually transferred to a facility in Drumheller, Alta, he says. During that time, he completed an advanced high school diploma, and “read a lot.” After more transfers, he eventually ended up in Songhees Territory, where he lived in a halfway house from 2007 to 2008. He was sent to William Head Prison to finish his sentence. In 2011, English says he reoffended and was given a two year sentence. He asked the judge to send him to a penitatary, instead of a provincial jail, so that he could have access to Pathways and the Anishinaabe Elder he worked with previously. The judge granted his request and he was sent to Mission Institution. While taking part in Pathways, English says he became a firekeeper and a drum keeper. He helped the Elders to set up their lodge, put tobacco down, and learn how to place medicines out. “They are very good at planting seeds in us,” English says. “They may not take hold right away but they do eventually and they are the kind of things I think about and pray about and even dream about sometimes.” In that space, English says he and his peers were able to deal with their personal issues as they came up, what he calls “shared healing.” “We don’t try to hold each other down. We try to pull each other up. There’s a real sense of brotherhood and love between us,” he says. “I never got to experience that anywhere other than when I was living on the reserve. I miss it so much, I sometimes think I want to go back and sit with everybody again. Sit by the fire and share in a good way.” The Pathways program works because of the Elders, English says. He describes them as a light in an otherwise dark situation. “The Elders make the program,” he says. “They are what holds us together.” English sees a need for the Pathways program to expand, to become more inclusive and allow people to enter at any point in their healing journey. He says CSC gets involved too heavily in the process of who gets to stay in Pathways or not, and he believes that should be left entirely up to the Elders. “I mean we’re going there, some of us, in a really bad way so we’re going to be who we are until we start to heal,” he says. “[For CSC] to push us back out and not allow us to access that help is not right.” English is also now a grandfather, and thinks about how much he missed while he was in the system. “I want to be the best grandfather I can be,” he says. “I want to help break that cycle.” Katłįà (Catherine) Lafferty, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
LONDON — The timing couldn’t be worse for Harry and Meghan. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will finally get the chance to tell the story behind their departure from royal duties directly to the public on Sunday, when their two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey is broadcast. But back home in Britain, events have conspired to overshadow the tale of a prince and his American bride. On top of the pandemic and record economic slump, Prince Philip, Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather is now recovering from a heart procedure. CBS announced the program Feb 15. The next day, Philip was admitted to hospital. “Harry and Meghan are hugely popular,’’ Pauline Maclaran, a professor of marketing and author of “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture,” told The Associated Press. “But I think that some people who might otherwise have supported them will find this just a little bit distasteful, that they’re drawing all this attention to themselves … just at this time when Prince Philip appears to be quite seriously ill.” Though it is the choice of CBS when to air its pre-recorded interview, critics are already lining up to deride it as a brand-building exercise by the pair, who left Britain saying they wanted to live a normal life but have been accused of continuing to use their royal status to open doors and make money. The sit-down with America’s queen of celebrity interviews is a chance for the couple to explain what led them to quit royal life, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. A book about their departure, “Finding Freedom,” also alleges that senior royals had little respect for Meghan, a biracial former actor, and that courtiers treated her badly. Pre-released clips have already shown Harry talking about his fears that history would repeat itself after his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash while pursued by paparazzi. In another clip from the interview, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?” “I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” the duchess replies. “The firm” is a nickname for the royal family, sometimes used with affection and sometimes with a note of criticism. In another pre-released clip, Meghan told Winfrey how “liberating” it was to have a conversation with the television host without the input of royal minders. Ahead of the broadcast, relations with the palace are increasingly strained. First there was Queen Elizabeth II’s decision to strip Harry and Meghan of the handful of royal patronages they had retained in the one-year trial period following their departure last year. The couple responded with a terse statement promising to live a life of service — a move many in the U.K. saw as disrespectful to the queen, as she usually has the final word. Then on Wednesday, the palace said it was launching a human resources investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had accused Meghan of bullying staff in 2018. One of the authors of “Finding Freedom,’’ Omid Scobie, compared the recent commentary about Harry and Meghan in the British media to the Salem Witch Trials, while noting Americans have had more sympathy them. His tweet linked to a discussion on the U.S. television program “The View,’’ including comments from Meghan McCain, a conservative columnist and daughter of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. “I think we can’t ignore the elephant of the room that there’s probably a racial angle to this,’’ McCain said. “There’s a lot of racism directed at this woman, in a lot of different ways she threatens a lot of people in the patriarchy. ... It just looks like they are bullying her in the press.’’ It was all supposed to be so different. At the time Harry started dating Meghan, the British public seemed smitten with the beautiful young woman who starred for seven seasons on the U.S. television drama “Suits.” When they married in 2018, newspapers were filled with optimistic stories about how the energetic couple would help make the monarchy relevant for a new, multicultural Britain. But less than two years later they decamped to North America. After a brief stay in Canada, the couple settled in Meghan’s home state of California, buying a house in the exclusive Santa Barbara County enclave of Montecito that reportedly cost more than $14 million. Among their neighbours: Oprah Winfrey. Then came deals with Netflix and Spotifiy, reportedly worth millions. The commercial deals and headline-grabbing amounts are uncomfortable for the royal family, which has devoted itself to public service as a justification for its wealth and privilege. The queen, among the richest people in Britain, has spent her life supporting charities, cutting ribbons at hospitals and travelling the world to represent her country. “The main thing that the royal family is so good at is serving the nation, serving the nation and the Commonwealth, basically serving us rather than serving themselves,’’ royal historian Hugo Vickers told ITV News. “And I’m sorry, if you’re sitting in an $11 million mansion in California and making fantastic deals, that is trading in on your royal heritage. And it’s all wrong, frankly.” Others are concerned that the interview will include damaging revelations about the royal family. The royals rarely grant interviews, and when they do the questions are usually narrowly focused on specific issues. For instance, Harry and his brother, William, have tried to remove the stigma from mental health problems by talking about their own struggles after the death of their mother. More free-ranging interviews have often gone badly. Interviews with Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Harry and William’s parents, around the time of their divorce led to embarrassing revelations about infidelity. More damaging for the palace was the interview Prince Andrew, Harry’s uncle, did with the BBC in 2019. Andrew tried to address rumours about his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, but he was forced to give up royal duties after failing to show empathy for Epstein’s victims. “I think it’s a bigger danger than the Prince Andrew car-crash interview,’’ Maclaran said of the Oprah interview, “because I think that Meghan is going to get a lot of sympathy, particularly from American audiences, about her position being untenable.” Regardless of what’s actually said, the interview is a threat to the stature of the monarchy because it further blurs the line between celebrity and royalty — tarnishing the royal mystique, Maclaran said. Late night chat show host James Corden underscored the threat to the royal brand during a tongue-in-cheek segment with Harry broadcast last week in which Corden suggested the prince and his wife might move into the mansion that provided the backdrop for the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” “If it was good enough for the Fresh Prince, it’s good enough for a real prince,” Corden said. The line put Harry, whose father and brother will be king one day, on the same footing as a TV character who fled west Philadelphia for a posh life in Southern California. Royal watchers wonder what could possibly be next. “It’s just such a mess,” said Penny Junor, who has written several books about the royals, including a biography of Harry. “I don’t think there are going to be any winners in it.” Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia welcomed Ottawa's go-ahead for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine Friday as health officials geared up for the opening of the first of 10 community inoculation clinics across the province next week. Premier Iain Rankin called the approval of Canada's fourth vaccine a "positive step forward." "As you can see this is a very dynamic situation that is dependent on the federal government's regulatory approval process," Rankin said. "Our vaccine rollout is ramping up as more clinics open and we receive more doses from the federal government." Rankin confirmed that Nova Scotia would be adopting a 16-week interval between first and second shots as recommended by the national panel of vaccine experts, meaning all Nova Scotians who want vaccine will get one shot by the end of June. "We are committed to being ready to getting shots in arms when it is available," the premier said. He added the province's goal remains to achieve full immunity by this fall. Keeping with its aged-based approach to vaccine distribution, Nova Scotia will open community clinics for those 80 and over in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro on Monday. Clinics are also scheduled for Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth on March 15, and Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth on March 22. Frustrations mounted earlier this week when the province's appointment booking web page had to be temporarily taken off-line after traffic was double what had been anticipated. About 48,000 people aged 80 and over in the province are eligible to receive vaccinations. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said booking for new appointments would resume online and by telephone on Monday for those who were born between Jan.1 and April 30. Those with later birthdays will be informed when they can register later this month. "It is early days, and our supply is still limited, but we are on the cusp of rapidly expanding the volume of vaccine we'll get," Strang said. Officials said they would also have more specific details next week on the rollout of the 13,000 doses the province is receiving of the recently approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The shipment must be used by April 2 and is targeted for those aged 50 to 64 years. It will be administered starting March 15 at 26 locations. Health officials said that as of Thursday, they had administered 38,676 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 14,395 people having received a booster shot. Meanwhile, the province reported two new cases of COVID-19 Monday in the Halifax area. Health officials said one case involved a close contact of a previously reported infection and the other was under investigation. The province has 31 active reported cases of novel coronavirus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
Squamish Nation says the rollout of vaccines for its communities on the North Shore and in the Squamish Valley next week is a welcome “relief” for many of its residents. Vancouver Coastal Health and First Nations Health Authority confirmed this week that Squamish Nation will be receiving a first round of doses of COVID-19 vaccines for its community the week of March 8. “I think people are relieved and excited,” said Khelsilem, Dustin Rivers, spokesperson for Squamish Nation. “I know for our elders and a lot of our members who are vulnerable, they have had to really do their best to protect themselves, and to avoid COVID-19, and they are looking forward to having that extra layer of protection.” Khelsilem said the nation was hoping around 600 members would be vaccinated in the first round of doses, but it would depend on the supply they are given. The first community members who will get the vaccine are elders 65+ and those with serious underlying health conditions, including people living with a compromised immune system. Khelsilem said once elders have their appointments booked, Yúustway Health and Wellness will continue booking vaccination appointments based on age, starting with those ages 55-64, then ages 45-54 etc., until all of the vaccine has been used. “We're encouraging people to get the vaccine, but we welcome any members that might have concerns or questions,” he said. “They can talk to their doctor, if they feel that's an option, but they can also talk to our health nurse and our staff to address any concerns that they might have about the vaccine.” He wanted to remind community members that this is only the first of several vaccine shipments to the nation and they are planning on holding clinics in the coming months to vaccinate all nation members who want to receive the vaccine. “We anticipate that most of the community or many community members are going to access it when they have the opportunity too,” Khelsilem said. Yúustway Health and Wellness will be scheduling clients by appointment only for the COVID-19 vaccine at clinics in the Squamish Valley at the Totem Hall, 1380 Stawamus Rd., and on the North Shore at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre, 100 Capilano Rd., West Vancouver. Appointments will begin at Totem Hall on Tuesday (March 9) and the Chief Joe Mathias Centre on Wednesday (March 10). Members unable to attend an on-reserve clinic, Indigenous people ages 65+, can book an appointment close to their residence starting March 8. The nation has listed further details on how to contact clinics and make appointments in a notice on its website. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Friday she is issuing an executive order mandating that all K-12 public schools provide universal access to in-person learning by the month’s end for students up to fifth grade and by mid-April for older students. The state’s coronavirus case numbers have fallen significantly and Oregon put teachers ahead of older residents in the line for the COVID-19 vaccine — a decision that angered many people age 65 and up. As teachers get vaccinated, Brown has been under tremendous pressure from parents and local elected officials in many counties to reopen schools. Many teachers' unions nationally have balked at returning to in-person learning, putting them at odds with Democratic governors like Brown in some states. In neighbouring Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee has implored educators to return to the classroom, but most students there are in on-line classes and the Seattle teachers' union is defying a district plan to return special education students to schools. Under the Oregon order, students in K-5 must have an in-person learning option by March 29. Students in grades six through 12 must have one by April 19. Students who prefer to remain in online class will also have the option. “The science is very, very clear: with proper safety measures in place, there is a low risk of COVID-19 transmission in school. Oregon parents can be confident about sending their children back to a classroom learning environment," Brown said in a statement, after visiting a Portland school. Brown has previously said about 20% of Oregon public school students were back to in-person learning. Rylee Ahnen, spokesman for the Oregon Education Association, said in a statement teachers support returning to the classroom if it can be done safely. He said educators understand teachers' frustration. “We urge all our local school districts to continue to work in good faith with local educators,” Ahnen said. The union represents 44,000 K-12 teachers across Oregon. Most students in Oregon have been learning online for the better part of a year. Some school districts have returned to part-time in-person learning, mostly at the elementary level. Brown said all but six counties in the state currently meet or exceed the advisory metrics for a return to in-person, hybrid learning for all grade levels. Five of the counties that do not yet meet the guidelines for all grade levels do make the cut-off for a return to elementary school. After those dates, all public schools in Oregon will operate either on a full-day of in-person school or a hybrid model, in which students spend parts of the day or some days each week in a classroom setting and other parts of the day or week online. The approach that districts choose will be dictated by COVID-19 case numbers in their county and local decision-making, officials said. The Salem-Keizer School District, the states's second largest after Portland, announced Friday that it would welcome middle and high school students back to a hybrid model that combines in-person learning and distance learning starting April 13. Elementary students in the district have already been back in class on a hybrid model. Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday sued AT&T Inc and three executives for allegedly disclosing nonpublic information to research analysts to avoid falling short of quarterly expectations in 2016. AT&T allegedly learned in March 2016 that a steeper-than-expected decline in first quarter smartphone sales would leave the company falling short of analysts' estimates, so the phone company's chief financial officer directed investor relations employees to "work the analysts" to get them to lower their estimates, the SEC said in a court filing. The SEC said investor relations executives Christopher Womack, Michael Black, and Kent Evans made private, one-on-one phone calls to analysts at approximately 20 firms, disclosing material nonpublic information in violation of securities laws.
ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, Calif. — A man found Tiger Woods unconscious in a mangled SUV after the golf star crashed the vehicle in Southern California, authorities said in court documents obtained Friday. The man, who lives near the site in Rolling Hills Estates, heard the crash and walked to the SUV, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Johann Schloegl wrote in an affidavit. The man told deputies that Woods would not respond to his questions.The first deputy on the scene, Carlos Gonzalez, has said Woods was able to talk to him and answer basic questions. Woods later told deputies that he did not know how the collision occurred and didn’t remember driving. Law enforcement has not previously disclosed that Woods had been unconscious following the crash. The information came in a statement of probable cause requesting that a search warrant be approved for the Genesis SUV’s data recorder, known as a black box. Schloegl requested data from Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. The crash occurred around 7 a.m. on Feb. 23. “I believe the data will explain how/why the collision occurred,” Schloegl wrote. Sheriff’s representatives have declined to say what was discovered in the recorder. Woods was driving a 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxury brand, as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. The SUV went off a Los Angeles County road and crashed on a downhill stretch known for wrecks. The crash injured Woods' right leg, requiring surgery. Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said Woods was driving alone in good weather, there was no evidence of impairment, and the crash was “purely an accident.” Schloegl previously told USA Today that he did not seek a search warrant for Woods’ blood samples, which could be screened for drugs and alcohol. In 2017, Woods checked himself into a clinic for help dealing with prescription drug medication after a DUI charge in Florida. The lengthy surgery following the crash was to stabilize shattered tibia and fibula bones in his right leg. A combination of screws and pins were used for injuries in the ankle and foot. It was the 10th surgery of his career, and came two months after a fifth back surgery. Through it all, Woods has never gone an entire year without playing, dating back to his first PGA Tour event as a 16-year-old in high school. Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press
The Northwest Territories government must do more to eliminate systemic racism, its politicians declared during a session dedicated to the subject at the territorial legislature this week. Members of the N.W.T. Legislative Assembly ended Wednesday’s session by passing a motion requesting that the government, known as the GNWT, review its policies and determine where any racial and cultural bias may exist. Moved by Thebacha MLA Frieda Martselos, the motion requests an examination of policies related to education, health and social services, justice, housing, and government hiring. “This motion is very much in line with my entire life philosophy of improving government for the people we serve. I have been fighting my entire adult life for the betterment of Black, brown, and Indigenous people,” said Martselos, the former chief of the Salt River First Nation. “Racism takes many different forms, especially in government. Gaps in cultural barriers have always been a problem. Affirmative action and the procurement policy are prime examples of bureaucratic systemic racism. This has to change. Only then, we will make a difference.” Premier Caroline Cochrane and her six fellow cabinet members abstained from the vote on Martselos' motion, as is convention for such motions brought to the House by regular MLAs, but said they were in favour of it. The territorial government has about four months to respond to the motion. What that response may look like remains unclear. Some MLAs used Wednesday's themed session to address personal experiences of systemic racism, while others discussed how to make policies more equitable. Steve Norn, the MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, said action must follow Wednesday's discussion to ensure real change occurs. Deh Cho MLA Ron Bonnetrouge, who seconded Martselos' motion, said he had felt racism first-hand from a range of institutions, describing "lots of racist overtones happening to our people." Lesa Semmler, the Inuvik Twin Lakes MLA, said recent steps in the right direction had still to eliminate many barriers. “It’s very hard, steering this ship in a new direction with the obstacles that we have. We have not enough money from our federal government to correct the past policies that were created to try to eradicate or assimilate Indigenous people, that caused more damage,” Semmler said. “There is much more that needs to be done to correct the damage history has caused to the Indigenous people of this territory.” Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been on the 19th Legislative Assembly’s to-do list since this set of MLAs was elected in 2019. That process has moved slowly. In November, a Special Committee on Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs said it was working to begin the process of implementing the declaration. On Wednesday, Premier Caroline Cochrane reinforced the need to adopt the declaration and to “ingrain these principles into our legislation, policies, and institutions.” “We are committed to learning from the mistakes of the past and moving on from colonial and outdated ways of thinking," Cochrane said. "We must embrace the principles of the United Nations declaration and the principles of anti-racism in the way that we approach all of our mandate commitments." Great Slave MLA Katrina Nokleby questioned how the GNWT is combating racism in hiring practices. She asked whether hiring targets will be implemented for senior levels of management. Finance minister Caroline Wawzonek, who carries responsibility for human resources, said an Indigenous recruitment and retainment framework would in the coming year introduce departmental hiring targets that extend beyond entry-level positions. She said the territory will launch an anti-racism campaign from March 16 to April 21 that “will encourage all GNWT employees to challenge their beliefs and attitudes around racism.” “Systemic racism hides in plain sight," Wawzonek said. “We recognize that, in order to eliminate systemic racism in the N.W.T., we must build a culture of anti-racism within the public service.” The implementation of mandatory cultural awareness training for employees has yet to be completed. The N.W.T.'s affirmative action policy is under review. Health minister Julie Green vowed to address racism in all its forms in the N.W.T.’s health department and health authorities. “Research shows that Indigenous peoples experience a disproportionate amount of negative health and social outcomes in comparison to non-Indigenous people,” Green said. “It is our responsibility as a government to address this inequity directly by making sure that all aspects of the Health and Social Services system are culturally respectful and safe for Indigenous peoples. "This also includes respecting Indigenous understandings of health and wellness and finding ways to accommodate traditional healing in our system.” Green said a cultural safety action plan released in 2019 had so far resulted in 13 cultural safety training sessions involving 225 healthcare or social services workers. The sessions teach people about Indigenous medicine, residential schools and intergenerational impacts, and racism at interpersonal and systemic levels. Green said an N.W.T. cultural safety framework being developed will be reviewed by health and social services staff as well as an Indigenous advisory board. Most of that work, the minister said, will come from a unit of almost entirely Indigenous staff from across the territory. Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio