U.S. President Joe Biden has signed several executive orders on immigration, trying to undo Donald Trump's ‘zero-tolerance’ policy on migrants that separated children from their parents.
U.S. President Joe Biden has signed several executive orders on immigration, trying to undo Donald Trump's ‘zero-tolerance’ policy on migrants that separated children from their parents.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia said Saturday it intercepted a missile attack over its capital and bomb-laden drones targeting a southern province, the latest in a series of airborne assaults it has blamed on Yemen’s rebel Houthis. The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen’s yearslong war announced the Iran-allied Houthis had launched a ballistic missile toward Riyadh and three booby-trapped drones toward the province of Jizan, with a fourth toward another southwestern city and other drones being monitored. No casualties or damage were initially reported. There was no immediate comment from the Houthis. The attack comes amid sharply rising tensions in the Middle East, a day after a mysterious explosion struck an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman. That blast renewed concerns about ship security in the strategic waterways that saw a spate of suspected Iranian attacks on oil tankers in 2019. The state-owned Al-Ekhbariya TV broadcast footage of what appeared to be explosions in the air over Riyadh. Social media users also posted videos, with some showing residents shrieking as they watched the fiery blast pierce the night sky, which appeared to be the kingdom’s Patriot missile batteries intercepting the ballistic missile. Col. Turki al-Maliki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, said the Houthis were trying in “a systematic and deliberate way to target civilians.” The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh issued a warning to Americans, calling on them to “stay alert in case of additional future attacks.” Flight-tracking websites showed a number of flights scheduled to land at Riyadh’s international airport diverted or delayed in the hour after the attack. A civil defence spokesman, Mohammed al-Hammadi, later said scattered debris resulted in material damage to one house, though no one was hurt, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported. As Yemen's war grinds on, Houthi missile and drone attacks on the kingdom have grown commonplace, only rarely causing damage. Earlier this month the Houthis struck an empty passenger plane at Saudi Arabia's southwestern Abha airport with a bomb-laden drone, causing it to catch fire. Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition has faced widespread international criticism for airstrikes in Yemen that have killed hundreds of civilians and hit non-military targets, including schools, hospitals and wedding parties. President Joe Biden announced this month he was ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, including “relevant” arms sales. But he stressed that the U.S. would continue to help Saudi Arabia defend itself against outside attacks. The Houthis overran Yemen’s capital and much of the country's north in 2014, forcing the government into exile and months later prompting Saudi Arabia and its allies to launch a bombing campaign. __ Associated Press writer Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed to this report. Isabel Debre, The Associated Press
(NBC/The Associated Press, NBC/Reuters - image credit) Schitt's Creek won the Golden Globe for best television comedy on Sunday, shortly after star Catherine O'Hara captured the award for best actress for her portrayal of Moira Rose. Dan Levy — who co-created the show with his father, Eugene Levy — accepted the award remotely and paid homage to the Canadian cast and crew. "The incredible work you all did over these past six seasons have taken us to places we never thought possible, and we are so grateful to all of you for it," he said. "Thank you to the CBC and Pop TV for making the active choice to keep this show on the air and give it the time and space it needed to grow." The show topped fellow nominees Ted Lasso, The Great, The Flight Attendant and Emily in Paris. "This acknowledgement is a lovely vote of confidence in the messages Schitt's Creek has come to stand for: the idea that inclusion can bring about growth and love to a community," Dan Levy said. "In the spirit of inclusion, I hope that this time next year, the ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today because there is so much more to be celebrated." Earlier, O'Hara thanked Eugene and Dan Levy for creating "an inspiring, funny, beautiful family love story in which they let me wear 100 wigs and speak like an alien." "Thank you CBC for making this show in Canada," she said. Eugene Levy, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy were each nominated for acting awards as well. Jason Sudeikis bested Eugene Levy for best actor in a television series for his role in Ted Lasso, John Boyega won the award for best supporting actor for his role in Small Axe over Dan Levy and Gillian Anderson's turn on The Crown earned her best supporting actress over Murphy. Schitt's Creek, which aired on CBC and Pop TV, ended its sixth and final season last April. The Ontario-shot show swept the comedy category at the Emmy Awards last fall. Nomadland wins 2 awards, Boseman honoured posthumously Nomadland won best drama film while its director, Chloé Zhao, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director at the Golden Globes. The film follows a woman, played by Frances McDormand, who leaves her small town to join a group of wanderers in the American West. Accepting the best picture award, Zhao paid tribute to all those who have been on difficult journeys, quoting a line from the film: "We don't say goodbye, we say see you down the road." Meanwhile, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won best movie, musical or comedy, while star Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor for his portrayal of the fictional journalist from Kazakhstan. In a major surprise, the Globe for best actress in a drama film went to Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Day played the legendary jazz and blues singer in the biopic directed by Lee Daniels. A tearful and overwhelmed Day spoke through tears as she said she was "in the presence of giants," naming her fellow nominees Viola Davis, Carey Mulligan, Vanessa Kirby and Frances McDormand. Six months after his death at age 43, Chadwick Boseman won the Golden Globe for best actor in a dramatic film for his final role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman's widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award for her late husband, saying "he would thank God, he would thank his parents, he would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices." Through tears, Ledward added: "I don't have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love." In the Netflix film, Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter named Levee who aims to launch himself with his own updated version of the songs of Ma Rainey, the powerhouse blues singer played by Viola Davis. Boseman, who starred in the Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther," died in August after privately battling colon cancer for four years. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. The Crown, as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Anderson, Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin. O'Connor and Corrin portrayed Prince Charles and Princess Diana, respectively. The Queen's Gambit, another Netflix show, won best limited series or TV movie and star Anya Taylor-Joy won best actress in a limited series. Jodie Foster, meanwhile, won her first Golden Globe in nearly three decades. Foster won the Globe for best supporting actress in a film for her role in The Mauritanian. Jane Fonda accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, praising the "community of storytellers" for their vital role in troubled times, and calling for greater diversity in Hollywood. The 83-year-old actor and activist, star of Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, On Golden Pond and 9 to 5, received the Globes' version of a lifetime achievement award, one of the few honorees to accept a Globe in person in Beverly Hills. The DeMille award honours "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." Previous winners include Walt Disney, Judy Garland, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Fonda's father Henry Fonda. The Fondas become the first parent and child to both receive the DeMille award. Norman Lear accepted the Carol Burnett Award on Sunday at the Golden Globes for his storied career in television, saying he "could not feel more blessed." The 98-year-old still-working television legend, creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time, is the third winner of the award that honours "outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen." Hosts on different coasts Earlier, co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler began the pandemic-era award show by delivering a split-screen opening from separate coasts. With Poehler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Fey in New York's Rainbow Room, the two did an initial gag where Fey reached out through the screen and stroked Poehler's hair. Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler, opened the show from New York and Beverly Hills, Calif., respectively. When attendees would normally be streaming down the red carpet on Sunday evening, many stars were instead posing virtually. Regina King, resplendent in a dazzling dress, stood before her yawning dog. Carey Mulligan, nominated for Promising Young Woman, said from a London hotel room that she was wearing heels for the first time in more than a year. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama Minari (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. "She's the reason I made this film," said Chung. "Minari is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart. I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on," said Chung. Other awards included Pixar's Soul for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for I Care a Lot; and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for Trial of the Chicago 7. The film, a favourite to win best drama film at the Globes, was sold to Netflix by Paramount Pictures last summer due to the pandemic. "Netflix saved our lives," said Sorkin. Issues in lead-up to show On a night when the organization that gives out the Golden Globes is facing condemnation for having no Black voting members, the night's first award went to a Black actor, with Daniel Kaluuya winning best supporting actor in a film for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya's acceptance speech could not be heard from his location at first, and he jokingly shouted, "You did me dirty!" once the audio was restored. Kaluuya didn't mention the issue directly in his acceptance, though he praised the man he played to win the award, Blank Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was was killed in an FBI raid in 1969. The Globes, normally a loose-and-boozy party that serves as the kickoff for Hollywood's awards season, has been beset with problems beyond the coronavirus leading up to this year's ceremony. They include a revelation in the Los Angeles Times that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the awards, has no Black voting members in the group. LISTEN | Why the Golden Globes' shady reputation persists: Fey took a shot at the organization in the show opening, explaining to the two small live audiences made up of first responders and essential workers that "the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 no Black journalists." This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Judas and the Black Messiah and Da 5 Bloods — were nominated for the Globes' best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association also appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice president Helen Hoehne. "We must have Black journalists in our organization."
(Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press - image credit) Health Canada's approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India's version to prevent COVID-19 in adults follows similar green lights from regulators in the United Kingdom, Europe Union, Mexico and India. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, called ChAdOx1, was approved for use in Canada on Friday following clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that showed a 62.1 per cent efficacy in reducing symptomatic cases of COVID-19 cases among those given the vaccine. Experts have said any vaccine with an efficacy rate of over 50 per cent could help stop outbreaks. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said the key number across all of the clinical trials for those who received AstraZeneca's product was zero — no deaths, no hospitalizations for serious COVID-19 and no deaths because of an adverse effect of the vaccine. "I think Canada is hungry for vaccines," Sharma said in a briefing. "We're putting more on the buffet table to be used." Specifically, 64 of 5,258 in the vaccination group got COVID-19 with symptoms compared with people in the control group given injections (154 of 5,210 got COVID-19 with symptoms). Dr. Susy Hota, medical director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network, called it a positive move to have AstraZeneca's vaccines added to Canada's options. "Even though the final efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine appears lower than what we have with the mRNA vaccines, it's still reasonably good," Hota said. "What we need to be focusing on is trying to get as many people as possible vaccinated so we can prevent the harms from this." Canada has an agreement with AstraZeneca to buy 20 million doses as well as between 1.9 million and 3.2 million doses through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX. WATCH | AstraZeneca vaccine overview: Canada will also receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the government announced Friday. Here's a look at some common questions about the vaccine, how it works, in whom and how it could be rolled out. What's different about this shot? The Oxford-AstraZeneca is cheaper and easier to handle than the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at ultracold temperatures to protect the fragile genetic material. AstraZeneca says its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C) for at least six months. (Moderna's product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures for 30 days after thawing.) The ease of handling could make it easier to administer AstraZeneca's vaccine in rural and remote areas of Canada and the world. "There are definitely some advantages to having multiple vaccine candidates available to get to as many Canadians as possible," Hota said. Sharma said while the product monograph notes that evidence for people over age 65 is limited, real-world data from countries already using AstraZeneca's vaccine suggest it is safe and effective among older age groups. "We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that would have been over 80 and that has shown significant drop in hospitalizations," Sharma said, based on a preprint. Data from clinical trials is more limited compared with in real-world settings that reflect people from different age groups, medical conditions and other factors. How does it work? Vaccines work by training our immune system to recognize an invader. The first two vaccines to protect against COVID-19 that were approved for use in Canada deliver RNA that encodes the spike protein on the surface of the pandemic coronavirus. Health-care workers Diego Feitosa Ferreira, right, and Clemilton Lopes de Oliveira travel on a boat in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, on Feb. 12, to vaccinate residents with the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The product can be stored at refrigeration temperatures, which facilitates its use in remote areas. In contrast, the AstraZeneca vaccine packs the genetic information for the spike protein in the shell of a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Vaccine makers altered the adenovirus so it can't grow in humans. Viral vector vaccines mimic viral infection more closely than some other kinds of vaccines. One disadvantage of viral vectors is that if a person has immunity toward a particular vector, the vaccine won't work as well. But people are unlikely to have been exposed to a chimpanzee adenovirus. AstraZeneca is working on reformulating its vaccine to address more transmissible variants of coronavirus. How and where could it be used? Virologist Eric Arts at Western University in London, Ont., said vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, which is also under review by Health Canada, and Russian Sputnik-V vaccines all have some similarities. "I do like the fact that AstraZeneca has decided to continue trials, to work with the Russians on the Sputnik-V vaccine combination," said Arts, who holds the Canada Research Chair in HIV pathogenesis and viral control. Boxes with AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine are pictured at St. Mary's Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. Health Canada says the vaccine is given by two separate injections of 0.5 millilitres each into the muscle of the arm. "The reason why I'm encouraged by it is I think there might be greater opportunity to administer those vaccines in low- to middle-income countries. We need that. I think our high-income countries have somewhat ignored the situation that is more significant globally." Researchers reported on Feb. 2 in the journal Lancet that in a Phase 3 clinical trial involving about 20,000 people in Russia, the two-dose Sputnik-V vaccine was about 91 per cent effective and appears to prevent inoculated individuals from becoming severely ill with COVID-19. WATCH | Performance of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine so far: There were 16 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group (0.1 per cent or 16/14,964) and 62 cases (1.3 per cent or [62/4,902) in the control group. No serious adverse events were associated with vaccination. Most adverse events were mild, such as flu-like symptoms, pain at injection site and weakness or low energy. Arts and other scientists acknowledged the speed and lack of transparency of the Russian vaccination program. But British scientists Ian Jones and Polly Roy wrote in an accompanying commentary that the results are clear and add another vaccine option to reduce the incidence of COVID-19.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking astronauts ventured out Sunday to install support frames for new, high-efficiency solar panels arriving at the International Space Station later this year. NASA's Kate Rubins and Victor Glover put the first set of mounting brackets and struts together, then bolted them into place next to the station's oldest and most degraded solar wings. But the work took longer than expected, and they barely got started on the second set before calling it quits. Rubins will finish the job during a second spacewalk later this week. The spacewalkers had to lug out the hundreds of pounds of mounting brackets and struts in 8-foot (2.5-meter) duffle-style bags. The equipment was so big and awkward that it had to be taken apart like furniture, just to get through the hatch. Some of the attachment locations required extra turns of the power drill and still weren't snug enough, as indicated by black lines. The astronauts had to use a ratchet wrench to deal with the more stubborn bolts, which slowed them down. At one point, they were two hours behind. “Whoever painted this black line painted outside the lines a little bit," Glover said at one particularly troublesome spot. “We’ll work on our kindergarten skills over here,” Mission Control replied, urging him to move on. With more people and experiments flying on the space station, more power will be needed to keep everything running, according to NASA. The six new solar panels — to be delivered in pairs by SpaceX over the coming year or so — should boost the station’s electrical capability by as much as 30%. Rubins and Glover tackled the struts for the first two solar panels, due to launch in June. Their spacewalk ended up lasting seven hours, a bit longer than planned. “Really appreciate your hard work. I know there were a lot of challenges,” Mission Control radioed. The eight solar panels up there now are 12 to 20 years old — most of them past their design lifetime and deteriorating. Each panel is 112 feet (34 metres) long by 39 feet (12 metres) wide. Tip to tip counting the centre framework, each pair stretches 240 feet (73 metres), longer than a Boeing 777's wingspan. Boeing is supplying the new roll-up panels, about half the size of the old ones but just as powerful thanks to the latest solar cell technology. They’ll be placed at an angle above the old ones, which will continue to operate. A prototype was tested at the space station in 2017. Rubins' helmet featured a new high-definition camera that provided stunning views, particularly those showing the vivid blue Earth 270 miles (435 kilometres) below. “Pretty fantastic," observed Mission Control. Sunday’s spacewalk was the third for infectious disease specialist Rubins and Navy pilot Glover — both of whom could end up flying to the moon. They’re among 18 astronauts newly assigned to NASA’s Artemis moon-landing program. The next moonwalkers will come from this group. Last week, Vice-President Kamala Harris put in a congratulatory call to Glover, the first African American astronaut to live full time at the space station. NASA released the video exchange Saturday. “The history making that you are doing, we are so proud of you,” Harris said. Like other firsts, Glover replied, it won't be the last. “We want to make sure that we can continue to do new things,” he said. Rubins will float back out Friday with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to wrap up the solar panel prep work, and to vent and relocate ammonia coolant hoses. Glover and Noguchi were among four astronauts arriving via SpaceX in November. Rubins launched from Kazakhstan in October alongside two Russians. They’re all scheduled to return to Earth this spring. ___ 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. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
One of the town’s timeless traditions returns for the first time this year on March 6. The Orangeville Winter Farmer’s Market is scheduled to be held at the Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre’s B-rink at 6 Northmen Way to allow for expand social distancing. This is not a permanent move. They will be downtown again. “People are trying to support the market,” said Alison Scheel, general manager of the Orangeville Business Improvement Area (OBIA). “ (Online orders) grow steadily every market Saturday. It started slow, but it picked up.” The B-rink location offers plenty of space for safe social distancing and can accommodate 50 people at one time. It will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday. Products include maple syrup, honey, falafels, cheese, bread, lamb meat, chicken, baked goods and prepared meals. The market was once held downtown near town hall, where vendors attracted mainly casual shoppers who happened to live nearby. It will return. The market was closed in January and February because of the mandated governmental shutdown. They were still providing preorder and pickup options for interested customers. Scheel said they average about 300 to 350 people every market Saturday as it is only held two times a month. The entrance to the market is located south of the parking lot. There will be no access through the main door. Most vendors will attend every other market, but some will alternate or change from market to market. Scheduled vendors include Bennington Hills Farm, Rasmi’s Falafel and Wild Culture Ferments, along with others. They will all be positioned at least 10 feet apart. “Customers leave their contact information at the door for contact tracing purposes,” said Scheel. “Everyone in the building has to wear a mask, and the vendor has to distance.” Organizers will not permit customers to touch the products or produce, as most items will be pre-bagged. For more information, visit www.downtownorangeville.ca and click on the farmers' market tab. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
MONTREAL — The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in Quebec jumped by more than 100 on Sunday, on the eve of a ramp-up in the province's mass vaccination plan. The province is reporting 137 confirmed cases involving variants, with most of them identified as the B.1.1.7 mutation first detected in the United Kingdom. While most of the cases are in Montreal, the province's public health institute reports there are also 40 cases of the variant originally found in South Africa in the Abitibi-Temiscamingue region. A further 1,083 cases remain under investigation and are listed as "presumptive." Quebec's health minister described the overall situation as "encouraging" as the province reported 737 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths due to the pandemic. Four of the deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, while the rest took place earlier. Hospitalizations rose by two to 601, while intensive care numbers rose by five to 117. Christian Dube noted that the situation in the province has been stable for the last week, but asked Quebecers not to let their guard down as spring break begins. "It's not the moment to relax our efforts," he wrote on Twitter. The province will kick off its mass vaccination program in earnest on Monday, with several large clinics in the Montreal area opening their doors to residents age 80 and older who have booked appointments through the province's website. In the rest of the province, the vaccination appointments are being accepted for those born in or before 1936. Quebec Premier Francois Legault said Saturday that the start of the mass vaccination campaign was giving him "a lot of hope," even as he expressed concern about spring break week and the spread of new variants. He urged Quebecers to remain vigilant for the coming weeks to allow the province to vaccinate more people, and to wait for immunity to fully develop in those who have received a shot. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021 Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
CHICOUTIMI, Que. — Another Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team has been forced to pause its season due to COVID-19. The league announced Sunday that new restrictions in Prince Edward Island have forced the Charlottetown Islanders to suspend activities until March 14th. Similar restrictions in Nova Scotia have forced the Halifax Mooseheads to pause their season as COVID-19 cases climb in the province. With the Islanders and Mooseheads on hold, the QMJHL says the Cape Breton Eagles will also have to take a break from games. The league announced Saturday that restrictions have been lifted in New Brunswick, allowing games to resume for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the Moncton Wildcats and the Saint John Sea Dogs starting the week of March 8. The three teams have not played since late November due to provincial government restrictions. The 18-team QMJHL started its season in October, but has seen numerous pauses and postponements due to positive test results and changing government restrictions. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press
Seulement trois femmes siègent en tant que cheffe dans les 10 communautés d'Eeyou Istchee et moins de 35 % des postes de conseillers sont occupés par les femmes. Il est cependant permis de croire que la parité se construit progressivement. "La force d'un homme dépend de celle de la femme derrière lui", dit avec un brin d'ironie la présidente de l'Association des femmes cries d'Eeyou Istchee, Stella Bearskin. Elle souligne que, sans les tâches modestes accomplies par des femmes, plusieurs organisations ne fonctionneraient pas. Mme Bearskin considère néanmoins que les femmes doivent être mieux représentées dans tous les postes clés des organisations de la nation crie. « Avant la colonisation, analyse-t-elle, les femmes décidaient de beaucoup de choses. » C'est la religion qui a détruit cet équilibre "important pour la survie de la famille et de la communauté". "Nous nous battons encore pour l'égalité en tant qu'organisation, pour qu'il y ait une autre voix au niveau politique", souligne Stella Bearskin. Un progrès Elle considère néanmoins qu'il y a un progrès depuis quelques années. "Il y avait plus de conflits avant, dit-elle. Maintenant nous apprenons à propos de la résolution de conflits, nous apprenons à mieux communiquer. Je vois moi-même le changement depuis 10 ans. On nous invite dans les rencontres du gouvernement cri. Je suis là, je parle de mes préoccupations. Dans le passé, il n'y avait pas ça. Je vois les changements, très lents, mais ça arrive." Pour que les femmes puissent occuper les postes qui leur reviennent dans l'appareil politique cri, la présidente considère qu'il faut leur procurer un espace sécuritaire où exprimer leurs préoccupations. "Ce sont les hommes qui doivent créer cet espace, précise Stella Bearskin. [...] Nous devons apprendre à travailler ensemble. Ce n'est pas à propos de qui est plus important, de qui est moins important. C'est à propos de la qualité et de l'équité." Une première En aout 2020 avait lieu un évènement historique à Chisasibi alors que, pour la première fois dans l'histoire de la communauté, les postes de chef et de chef adjoint étaient dévolus à des femmes, soient Daisy House et Paula Napash. Mme House recevait 83 % des votes et devenait la seconde femme à être mairesse du lieu, après Violet Pachanos, qui avait déjà siégé comme grande cheffe adjointe du Grand Conseil des Cris. Mme House avait elle-même déjà décliné la proposition d'occuper ce poste dans le passé parce qu'elle voulait donner la préséance à un fils en bas âge. Par contre, elle a été cheffe adjointe de Chisasibi durant 13 ans. Mme House, qui a une maîtrise en éducation et a longtemps travaillé dans ce domaine, dit qu'il lui a fallu du temps avant de trouver sa zone de confort en politique. " J'avais le sentiment de ne pas être à ma place, révèle-t-elle. Mais je me suis mise à rencontrer des gens, comme le ministre des Affaires autochtones. Geoffrey Kelley, [...] qui avait enseigné au cégep, et le maire d'Amos, Ulrick Chérubin [...] qui avait été professeur." Ces rencontres ont rassuré Daisy House sur sa nouvelle orientation de carrière. "Je me suis dit : « D'accord, je peux faire ça. » J'ai commencé à me sentir à ma place et je n'ai jamais regardé en arrière, même s'il y a des défis." Écoute et carapace Daisy House considère que le leadership, c'est l'écoute. "Et tu fais ce que tu peux avec ce que tu as, dit-elle. [...] Tu veux leur donner le monde, mais tu ne peux pas, tu as des limites. Et c'est la partie la plus dure du travail. Je devais dire : "Non, il n'y a pas de logement disponible, etc. [...] Je me sentais détestée." Elle dit avoir appris à se forger une carapace. La nouvelle cheffe de Chisasibi affirme ne pas souvent avoir été confrontée en tant que femme dans le milieu politique. " Ça n'arrive pas souvent, dit-elle. [...] Nous avons beaucoup de respect en tant que femmes leaders. Mais tu le sais quand ils pensent que tu es une femme." Vas-y La cheffe souligne le changement de mentalités chez les hommes et le support de son mari, qui s'est absenté du travail pour s'occuper de leur enfant de six mois pendant qu'elle poursuivait sa carrière politique. "Il a tellement aimé ça qu'il étirait son absence du travail!", se rappelle-t-elle. S'il y a peu de postes de chef occupés par les femmes en Eeyou Istchee, Daisy House souligne qu'elles en occupent beaucoup d'autres, par exemple dans le conseil scolaire, en santé, etc. Elle ne voit pas d'empêchement à ce que les femmes cries se lancent en politique. "C'est aux femmes de faire les démarches, assure-t-elle. Tu as un intérêt, vas-y." Denis Lord, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
Usually every summer people come from across southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba for a fireworks spectacle at Moosomin Regional Park. There’s tens of thousands of people, food and drink, bands performing, and of course, the fireworks. The Living Skies Come Alive International Fireworks Competition is a beloved event in Canada and draws competitors from all over the globe, as far as China and the Philippines—it’s the largest event in southeast Saskatchewan. It’s a world-class competition that’s on the same level as some of the best international fireworks competitions. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours are invested into the competition each year with it all coming together as the fireworks mesmerize over Moosomin Lake. From the competitors to the planners to the performers to the vendors to all the spectators it draws, it’s one of the most important weekends of the year for the local economy. In 2020, the event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic restricting gathering sizes and international travel—it would have been the 11th year of the fireworks in Moosomin. For the second straight summer, the competition looks unlikely to go forward. Although August is still months away, preparation for such a large event begins early and Karen Hebert, head of the fireworks committee, says that without knowing what will be allowed down the road, there’s just no way of planning such a substantial gathering. “Until we can gather a large amount of people it’s just definitely not an option,” she said. “Our crowds are in the thousands so whenever the guidelines open up, is when we’ll be able to look at something like this, but until then, it’s definitely not an option at all. For now it’s off the table unless things open up, I can’t see that happening.” Another factor working against the event right now is that it’s an international competition and non-essential travel is not recommended, meaning any competition would need to be strictly Canadian. “With the parameters that are in place right now, I just can’t see things being able to open up enough and then also even if we could gather people, would we have to have two Canadian companies? Because do you want to bring other countries in? And with the travel restrictions, at this point in time it’s not an option.” Hebert doesn’t believe any fireworks event will be able to happen this summer based on how things are looking in Canada with the slow rollout of the vaccine and says all they can do is sit and wait with no control over what’s to come. “There’s really nothing we can do about it and at this point in time,” she said. “I can’t see the fireworks being able to happen in 2021 unless some major changes happen, but the way we’re going right now and with the lack of vaccines, I just can’t see things opening up very much.” Alternate options for the event are under consideration if things open up more, but it’s a logistically tough situation to work with, says Hebert. “Our main fireworks contact with the Canadian company is Peter (Palmer of CanFire Pyrotechnics) and he called me last fall hoping we could do something smaller, but at that time people would have had to drive in and park somewhere to see it and we don’t have a facility in order to handle that,” she said. The best chance of a fireworks show for this summer at Moosomin Lake would be if gathering restrictions open up and a smaller scale event is possible within the guidelines. “If we can host something then we’d for sure look into that,” she said. “We’ve discussed different options, but until we can actually gather people, none of those can be planned out.” In a normal situation, nearly a full year of planning goes into the competition to ensure entertainment, vendors, and competitions are set, but given the circumstances, the committee hasn’t been able to do anything in preparation for the summer of 2021. “We would have already started planning,” she said. “Once we put the previous year’s to bed, we’d maybe take the rest of the month off and then we’d start again by September to get ready for the next year. We need to book our bands and entertainment and all of that stuff so we would have already had a lot of prep work done at this point in time.” At this point, Hebert doesn’t even think 2022 is a sure thing for the fireworks competition because of all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic and nobody knowing what the “new normal” will look like as the world recovers from Covid-19. “This is just the reality of our new Covid life,” she said. “What are they going to do for large concerts and large gatherings of people? I don’t know when that will return or what that could even look like in the future. Nobody can really say anything, we really know nothing.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
Hyatt Hotels Corp called symbols of hate "abhorrent" on Sunday after the design of a stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference at one of its hotels drew comparisons to a Norse rune used by Nazis during World War Two. High-profile Republicans including former President Donald Trump were attending the four-day event in Orlando, Florida, as conflict rages between Trump allies and establishment politicians trying to distance the party from him. A photo of the CPAC stage went viral on social media on Saturday, with thousands of Twitter users sharing posts comparing its distinctive design to an othala rune, one of many ancient European symbols that Nazis adopted to "reconstruct a mythic 'Aryan' past," according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Two political parties have joined forces to petition the federal government to look into the environmental impact of a planned sewage treatment plant near a local river. The Dufferin Caledon Green Party, along with the Dufferin Caledon Conservative Party, are opposed to constructing the proposed Erin wastewater treatment plant. The petition is calling for a federal environmental impact assessment of the proposed plant. Stefan Wiesen, president of the DC Green Party and Kyle Seeback, Conservative MP for Dufferin Caledon, has agreed to sponsor the petition to the federal government and will work together to solicit the 500 signatures required to present it to parliament. This is an effort to address some residents' concerns about the environmental impact of the proposed plant on the West Credit River, a spawning ground for native Brook Trout. They are concerned the temperature of the proposed effluent being pumped into the West Credit River will have a warming effect on the spawning grounds, thus negatively threatening the reproductive future of Brook Trout in the river. It is expected the plant will discharge up to 7.2 million litres of treated warm temperature effluent into the West Credit River daily. The trout needs cold water to survive and spawn. Anything over 19 degrees Celsius can negatively impact the fish. Furthermore, opponents say many harmful substances to humans and animals remain in the treated water as it exits the plant. This follows a protest held over the weekend to convince Erin council to cancel the wastewater treatment plant plans. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021 and it has already begun to send back jaw-dropping images of the surrounding area.
A father and son duo will take to the hills in freezing temperatures for charity this Saturday - and they'll be doing so without the benefit of proper winter wear. Brad Brown and his son will toboggan down Murray’s Mountain Park wearing bathing suits at noon. The challenge is part of the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Ontario in his bathing suit. “I jumped in cold water already in the middle of February,” said Brown. “My son has done it too. Last year was his first time jumping in the pool.” Brown is one of the basketball coaches for Special Olympics Dufferin. He is also involved in curling and bocce ball. His son is also an autistic athlete. Brown and his colleagues, of about four coaches, participated in various activities. As a group, they set a goal of $3,000 and raised $3,500. Brown set a goal of $300 himself and has surpassed that amount with $460. His son raised $430 himself as well. About 70 per cent of the funds raised will be sent to Special Olympics Dufferin, with the remaining 30 per cent to the parent organization, Special Olympics Ontario. Other participants plunged into a water body, such as a lake or river, to raise awareness and funds for the campaign. Some of his colleagues, the other coaches, have opted to plunge at a lake elsewhere. He couldn’t go deciding to do a different activity. Those registered for a polar plunge of their own will receive a polar plunge toque with a $30 registration fee. Those who raised $100 will receive a commemorative long-sleeve shirt. Those who raised $500 will get you a YETI 26-ounce bottle with a triple haul cap, the top individual fundraiser, Special Olympics athlete, and volunteer fundraiser gets an Xbox One. The most creative video plunge gets a weighted blanket. The park has “use at your own risk” signs in place, redacting a previous ban on tobogganing altogether. Brown would usually participate in the annual event in Shelburne, but he decided to do it close to home with no end in sight with the pandemic here. “We normally do it in Shelburne, as a big group, but because of COVID, everybody is back home and told to do it virtually and do what you can,” said Brown. “I don’t have a pool or anything, so we decided we’re going to toboggan in our bathing suits.” Polar plunges began on Feb. 1 and ran until Feb. 28. To take part in the fundraising effort, visit www.polarplunge.ca. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo urged citizens of the West African state on Sunday to ignore conspiracy theories surrounding coronavirus vaccines ahead of the launch of its nationwide inoculation campaign against the virus on Tuesday. "Taking the vaccine will not alter your DNA, it will not embed a tracking device in your body, neither will it cause infertility in women or in men," he said. Ghana was the first country to receive vaccines as part of the global COVAX scheme aimed at providing poorer nations vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fundraising efforts for this year’s Coldest Night of the Year have surpassed expectations. The Orangeville Food Bank had set a goal to raise $65,000 through the virtual-only fundraiser Feb. 20. Instead, it brought in $77,544. “We crushed the goal,” said Savanaha O'Reilly, food manager for the Orangeville Food Bank. “We thought, since the pandemic, we wouldn’t get a good of a turnout as we have in the past with it being virtual, but the community as always has surprised us." About 249 walkers signed up, with 47 teams registered. The top three teams were the Care Bears, raising $7,450, Marching Marks with $5,690, and the Young and the Rest of Us contributing $4,627. The Care Bears represented Orangeville District Secondary School. “We had a lot of support from the schools, not just the food drive, but with Coldest Night of the Year now,” said O’Reilly. “They blew our minds, and we didn’t expect that at all.” Those registered could join in on a two-kilometre walk or a distanced five-kilometre walk covering most of the town. Adult walkers who raised $150 and children contributing $75 received a commemorative tuque as a sign of appreciation from the organization. Participants were encouraged to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt and hunger. The Orangeville food bank serves 700 people a month, 35 per cent of them children. “We have continued to see an increase in clients,” said “O’Reilly. “We are seeing people we haven’t seen before.” They state seniors continue to be the fastest-growing demographic each year. The organization receives no annual provincial or federal funding and is primarily supported by the community. Funds raised will support the food bank operations, including fresh food purchases, gardening programs, seniors' markets, food packages for children, and the community food share initiative. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration said Sunday it remains open to talks with Iran over the 2015 nuclear deal despite Tehran’s rejection of an EU invitation to join a meeting with the U.S. and the other original participants in the agreement. A senior administration official said the U.S. was “disappointed” in the rejection but was flexible as to the timing and format of the talks and saw Iran’s decision to snub the European invitation as part of the diplomatic process. The official said the U.S. would be consulting with the other participants — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the European Union — on the way forward. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. Earlier Sunday, Iran turned down the offer for talks saying the “time isn’t ripe” for the meeting, at which the U.S. would have participated as an observer. Iran had been insisting that the U.S. lift or ease sanctions imposed on it by the Trump administration under its “maximum pressure campaign” before sitting down with the United States. President Joe Biden has said repeatedly that the U.S. would return to the deal that his predecessor, Donald Trump, withdrew from in 2018 only after Iran restores its full compliance with the accord. "Considering US/E3 positions & actions, time isn’t ripe for the proposed informal meeting," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Twitter. He referred to the so-called E3, which comprises Britain, France and Germany. “Remember: Trump failed to meet because of his ill-advised ‘Max Failure,'" he said. “With sanctions in place, same still applies. Censuring is NOT diplomacy. It doesn’t work with Iran.” The Biden administration announced earlier this month that it would accept an EU invitation to participate in a meeting of deal participants and at the same time rescinded a Trump determination from the U.N. Security Council that Iran was in significant breach of the agreement that all U.N. sanctions had be restored. The U.N. move had little practical effect as nearly all members of the world body had rejected Trump's determination because the U.S. was no longer a participant in the nuclear deal. Biden administration officials said the withdrawal of the determination was intended to show goodwill toward its partners and at the same time had eased severe restrictions on the movement of Iranian diplomats posted to the U.N. Separately on Sunday, the State Department condemned a weekend attack by Iran-backed Yemeni rebels on Saudi Arabia, saying it damaged prospects for peace. Along with the overtures to Iran on the nuclear front, the Biden administration also reversed several late Trump administration moves against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. Secretary of State Antony Blinken rescinded his predecessor's designation that the Houthi rebels were a “foreign terrorist organization,” a move that the U.N. and relief groups had said would make the already disastrous humanitarian situation in Yemen even worse. In addition, the Biden administration decided to halt all offensive assistance to Saudi Arabia for its military campaign against the Houthis in Yemen. The Houthis, however, have stepped up their operations in the country, pressing ahead with an offensive in Marib province and launching attacks on Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, Saudi authorities said they had intercepted a missile attack over their capital and reported that bomb-laden drones had targeted a southern province, the latest in a series of airborne assaults they have blamed on the Houthis. State Department spokesman Ned Price on Sunday said the U.S. “strongly condemns the Houthis’ attacks on population centres in Saudi Arabia.” He said they “threaten not only innocent civilians but also prospects for peace and stability in Yemen” and called on the Houthis “to end these egregious attacks.” “The United States remains committed to its longstanding partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups," Price said. On Friday, the Biden administration further strained ties with the Saudis when it published a declassified intelligence report finding that Saudi Arabia's crown prince had ordered an operation to capture or kill Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident who was brutally slain at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Saudi Arabia has forcefully rejected the report's conclusions. ___ Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
(Sanjay Maru/CBC - image credit) A total of 61 students from three cohorts from W.J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School have been dismissed by the local health unit after receiving notice of three confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Saturday news release. The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDSB) said it learned of the confirmed cases on Saturday and informed the affected students that they are not to return to school on Monday. "We have been working with the health unit by providing lists of students and staff who may have been directly affected. The health unit is contacting any individuals, both students and staff, who may have been affected, and will give directions for them to follow," the statement reads. A voice message was sent to the school community informing parents that those who have not been contacted by the health unit have "not been identified as close contacts and their children may continue attending school as usual. Follow-up letters will be sent home with students." The whole school was previously dismissed due to an outbreak late last year. The school board urges parents to continue monitoring their children for symptoms of COVID-19 each morning and to keep them at home and call their health care provider for further direction if they are sick. "We want to assure parents that we are cooperating with the health unit and doing everything we can to make sure that we continue to provide safe and healthy learning environments for their children," the statement reads. More information can be found on the school board's websiite.
MADRID — Atlético Madrid got back to winning on Sunday, beating Villarreal 2-0 to halt its slump and restore a five-point lead at the top of the Spanish league. An own-goal by Alfonso Pedraza in the first half and a goal by forward João Félix in the second helped Atlético end a three-game winless streak and rebuild its lead over second-place Barcelona, which won 2-0 at fourth-place Sevilla on Saturday. Atlético has a game in hand compared to the Catalan club. Third-place Real Madrid can get back to within three points of Atlético on Monday with a win against fifth-place Real Sociedad at home. Madrid will have played one more game more than Atlético. Atlético hosts Madrid in the city derby next Sunday. Diego Simeone's team was coming off a 1-0 loss to Chelsea in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday. It also lost 2-0 to Levante at home in the Spanish league, and had previously drawn with Levante in a league match postponed from the second round because of the coronavirus pandemic. “It was a very important victory,” Atlético defender Stefan Savic said. “We were coming off a bad streak of results and the team responded well. That’s what makes me happy.” It was Atlético's first clean sheet after eight matches, which had marked the team's worst streak conceding goals since Simeone arrived in late 2011. Unai Emery's Villarreal, winless in six consecutive Spanish league games, dropped to seventh place. Atlético went ahead in the 25th minute after Savic's header was saved by Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo but the ball ricocheted off Pedraza and went in. The goal was initially disallowed for offside but later confirmed by video review. Félix, who recently was sidelined for testing positive for COVID-19, scored his first goal since January with a low shot from inside the area in the 69th. The Portugal forward, who came off the bench after halftime, celebrated profusely and put a finger to his mouth, as if asking someone to be quiet. It wasn't clear to whom he was sending a message. MURILLO SCORES LATE Colombian defender Jeison Murillo scored in the final minute of stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Celta Vigo against relegation-threatened Valladolid. Murillo netted the equalizer with a header from a set piece taken by Iago Aspas in the fourth minute of added time. Fabián Orellana had opened the scoring for the hosts in the 70th. The result extended Valladolid's winless streak in the league to eight matches. The team owned by former Brazil great Ronaldo stayed just outside the relegation zone with 22 points from 25 matches. Celta, which has one win in its last 10 matches in all competitions, was in 11th place with 30 points from 25. OTHER RESULTS Eighth-place Granada ended a six-match winless streak by beating second-to-last-place Elche 2-1 at home. Earlier, Juanmi Jiménez scored in the 84th as Real Betis won 1-0 at Cádiz. It was the third win in a row for Betis, which moved to sixth. Cádiz, winless in seven consecutive league games, is three points from the relegation zone. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press
CHARLOTTETOWN — Officials in Prince Edward Island have placed the province under a 72-hour lockdown starting at 12 a.m. Monday after multiple new infections and two clusters of COVID-19 emerged on the island over the weekend. The "modified red alert" period will see schools and most non-essential businesses close for three days and require islanders to practice physical distancing with anyone outside their immediate household, with exceptions for people who live alone or require essential support. "We would rather go harder and stronger now than wait for an outbreak like we have seen in other provinces that could put us in an extended period of lockdown for weeks or even months," Premier Dennis King said late Sunday during a briefing with reporters. The restrictions were announced as health officials reported five new COVID-19 infections, for a total of 17 cases in the past five days. Along with the new diagnoses comes a growing number of close-contact and potential exposure sites at places like fast-food restaurants and retail stores. Two COVID-19 clusters have been identified in the cities of Summerside and Charlottetown and many of the new infections cannot be linked to travel, officials said. "We have two clusters of cases that are in our community and we do not have a source," chief medical officer of health Dr. Heather Morrison said. "However, they all appear to be linked to each other. We are not seeing widespread community transmission at this point in time." The three-day lockdown will allow public health officials to undertake comprehensive contact tracing and ramp up testing, she said. "We need to get our arms around these clusters of cases and make sure it has not spread into any kind of widespread community transmission," Morrison added. The short-term lockdown was announced as more moderate "circuit-breaker measures" took effect in an effort to curb the spike in infections. Those restrictions included limiting gatherings to a household plus a consistent circle of 10 contacts, banning tournaments but allowing sports practices to continue, and limiting gyms and retail stores to half their normal capacity. Those measures will remain in force until March 14, while the lockdown is expected to be lifted Thursday. But if new cases emerge over the coming days that are not linked to the two clusters, or if new infections continue to rise, Morrison said it's possible the lockdown could be extended. The new infections recorded on Sunday include two males, both in their 20s, and three females, two in their 20s and one in her 50s. The province reported six new COVID-19 infections on Saturday, all among patients in their 20s. "Until we are able to confirm otherwise, we need to act as if this is a variant," King said, referring to virus mutations of concern that have surfaced across the country. "What we know is that the variants move and spread quickly, therefore we need to move quickly as well and do our best to get caught up." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit) Award-winning Saskatchewan author, playwright, musician and editor Geoffrey Ursell has died at age 77, after a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease. Ursell, who was born in Moose Jaw and grew up in Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg, was a founding member and managing publisher of Coteau Books, where he championed Saskatchewan writers for nearly 40 years before his retirement in 2013. He also wrote a number of acclaimed musicals and stage plays including Saskatoon Pie! and Gold on Ice, served as the president of the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild and the Saskatchewan Playwrights' Centre, and taught literature and creative writing at the University of Regina. Robert Currie, another co-founder of Coteau Books, was one of Ursell's longtime friends. He remembers their meeting in 1973, when Currie was president of the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild. "One day, Geoff arrived at Central Collegiate, where I was teaching, and said he wanted to meet me," he said. Curry was on "noon duty" that day, "so we ended up patrolling the halls of the school together and then finally going and sitting in the gym while the intramural sports were on. And there we were, talking about writing. It soon became apparent that we were going to be pretty good friends, right from the start. "He was as interested in writing as I was, and he was just such a nice guy. He was a gentle soul and you couldn't help liking him when you met him." Soon after their first meeting, Currie and Ursell were part of the small group of writers who were inspired to take the leap into the world of publishing, and founded Coteau Books. "The four of us — Geoffrey and his wife Barbara Sapergia, Gary Hyland and I — travelled together to the Qu'Appelle Valley in 1974 for the Saskatchewan Writers Guild annual conference," recalled Currie. "I can remember them entertaining me — I was driving, and they were doing Monty Python take-offs on the way, it was lucky we didn't end up in the ditch instead of at the conference. "But at the conference, we were talking to Hugh Hood, who was a very well known Canadian writer at the time from Montreal, and he was one of the guests, and he was talking about a small press that published his work.… And he said, why don't you guys start up your own small press here in Saskatchewan?" The next year, in 1975, Coteau Press was formed. "Of course, we started it in a very small way — we each kicked in 135 bucks and put out two chapbooks, and managed to sell them, and used the money from them to do some more," said Currie. "I think it was Geoffrey who actually talked the Saskatchewan Arts Board into providing some funding for Saskatchewan publishers." Ursell would go on to serve as Coteau's managing publisher for over three decades. According to Currie, he was uniquely well-suited to the role. "He was dedicated to Saskatchewan writing," said Currie. "I mean, he really believed in the writers here. And certainly he and Barbara were the heart and soul of Coteau Books for the 38 years that he was with it. His work was amazing. "He was a terrific editor — he edited a couple of my books, and they sure were better because of it. But he actually looked at manuscripts that Coteau rejected, and often made copious helpful comments for those authors that sometimes led to those books being accepted later on for publication, sometimes at Coteau and even sometimes elsewhere. "He just had an amazing ability to help other writers, and really wanted to do that." When Ursell received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2009, Currie believed the award was as much to honour his contributions to the fabric of Saskatchewan literary life as an editor and mentor as it was to recognize his own creative achievements. Ursell's work as a poet, author and playwright earned him many awards, including a Commonwealth Poetry Prize Special Commendation for Trap Lines, his first poetry collection and the Books in Canada Best First Novel Award for Perdue. Saskatoon Pie! won Persephone Theatre's National Playwriting Competition, and has had multiple highly successful productions. "Also, he was a songwriter, not only in his own musicals," said Currie. "Not everybody realizes this, but he once produced a long-play record called Prairie Grass, Prairie Sky." And beyond his legacy as a creator and editor, Currie remembers Ursell as a dedicated husband to "his partner in life and work" Barbara Sapergia. "Certainly, Geoff was somebody who loved her," said Currie. "I can remember, they had their 30th anniversary quite a few years ago now, and they had a number of friends and fellow writers invited to a restaurant in Saskatoon where we were all in a room, and we did readings and speeches. I think everybody there could see how much they loved one another."