Quick, skittish and airborn, birds are a challenge to photograph. Mia Gordon finds out how to get the best shots.
Quick, skittish and airborn, birds are a challenge to photograph. Mia Gordon finds out how to get the best shots.
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — The Canadian military says aircraft and ships are responding to an emergency aboard a Canadian fishing vessel that has been damaged by fire off of the coast of Nova Scotia. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax says the FV Atlantic Destiny is a scallop factory ship with 32 people on board and there are no reports of injuries. The ship has lost power and is adrift about 120 nautical miles south of Yarmouth, N.S., in heavy seas. Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens says a CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter has started removing some of the crew members from the ship. Owens says a small number of the crew will remain on board. He says the fire is out but the ship was taking on water. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Montreal Canadiens have made another change to their coaching staff, appointing Sean Burke to take over as the director of goaltending. General manager Marc Bergevin made the announcement Tuesday following a 3-1 win over the Ottawa Senators that gave rookie head coach Dominique Ducharme his first NHL victory. Burke replaces Stephane Waite, who held the position since 2013 and was let go Tuesday. Ducharme replaced the fired Claude Julien last week in the wake of consecutive shootout and overtime losses to the Senators in Ottawa. No. 1 goaltender Carey Price made 26 saves for the victory Tuesday over the Senators, but has struggled in 2020-21. He entered Tuesday with a 5-4-3 record to go along with an .888 save percentage and 3.13 goals-against average this season. Over his previous six starts, the former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner was 1-4-1 with an .870 save percentage. Montreal backup Jake Allen, meanwhile, is 4-2-2 with a .929 save percentage and 2.12 GAA this season. Burke will be required to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine before joining the team. Laval Rocket goaltending coach Marco Marciano will work with Montreal's goaltenders until Burke is cleared to join the squad. The 54-year-old Burke was originally hired by the Canadiens in 2016 as a professional scout for the Western region. He has also worked as a goaltending consultant for Montreal. He spent six seasons as a member of the Coyotes' hockey management group, serving as goaltending coach and director of player development before being promoted to assistant general manager in 2012. He had an 18-year NHL career, suiting up for eight organizations before moving into management post-retirement. The three-time NHL All-Star represented Canada at the 1988 and 1992 Winter Olympics, and served as Canada's general manager at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang where the team won bronze without NHL players. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Former Oshawa hockey legend Dale Hawerchuk was one of four to be inducted into the Durham District School Board’s (DDSB) hall of fame. The board announced four new inductees into the 2021 Definitely Durham Hall of Fame at its most recent board meeting. The inductees included Hawerchuk, who passed away in August 2020 after a battle with cancer, Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott, songwriter Geoff Warburton, and Olympian and Pan American Games medalist Jessica Phoenix. Hawerchuk, one of Canada’s hockey stars, demonstrated excellence on the ice during his 16-year NHL Hall of Fame career and exemplified greatness through his charity work. “Dale was an inspiring leader, teacher and builder with an unmatched commitment to helping others,” states the DDSB, adding he believed it was his responsibility and that of his family to do whatever they could to give back, never expecting acknowledgement in return. Hawerchuk passed away in August 2020 after an ongoing battle with cancer. Hawerchuk’s sister, Dayna, accepted his award on his behalf. “As a former DDSB attendee and proud sister, I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of my brother, Dale,” she says, adding she’s sure her brother would have been honoured to receive this nomination, as he was very thrilled by the park being named after him. “I’ve always been very proud of my big brother, not just his athletic skills, but as a human being,” Dayna continues. “He’s always been very family oriented, as well as thoughtful, kind, considerate. Outside of his talent though, to be remembered as a kind, humble and generous person… you can’t ask for more than that.” Elliott built a successful career in business and law, working first as an auditor at one of Canada’s largest banks before co-founding a law firm. She later pursued a commitment to public service; she was elected MPP for Whitby-Ajax in 2006, and re-elected four more times. She was also appointed Ontario’s first-ever patient ombudsman, and has spent the last six years as the Ontario deputy premier and minister of health. Elliott, who grew up in Whitby, says she is a “very proud graduate” of DDSB schools and credits her education to where she is today. “Every step along the way at every school I was offered encouragement to continue learning, to ask questions, to see the bigger picture,” she says. “I learned to see the bigger picture, to push myself, to make sure I do the research, to do the job thoroughly and properly, and so much more.” She notes she’s grateful for the teachers that made a huge impression on how she does her work today. “This has a great deal of meaning for me and I want to thank you very, very much for including me in this award,” she adds. Warburton is a songwriter from Pickering whose love of music inspired him to learn the guitar, frequently playing alongside family members in church on Sundays. During his years at university, Warburton met singer/songwriter Shawn Mendez, which led to a longstanding collaboration, and most notably, a pair of multi-platinum singles, one of which was nominated for song of the year at the 2019 Grammy awards, states the DDSB. “It’s an honour to have been recognized along with these other inductees and a privilege to have grown up attending both Vaughn Willard Public School and Pineridge Secondary School,” he says. “I’ve had so many supportive teachers and coaches over the years who have invested so much into my life and I couldn’t thank you enough.” Phoenix, who grew up in Uxbridge, is a two-time Olympian and five-time Pan American Games medalist, equestrian mentor, coach, and inspirational public speaker. She competed in her first equestrian competition in 1996, achieving the champion Ontario training level with her horse, Let’s Boogie, and quickly moved on to compete nationally and internationally while being named to Canadian teams in several Olympics, World Equestrian Games and Pan American Games. In her spare time, Phoenix shares her story with students, teaching them the values of dedication and commitment to achieve one’s dreams. “To be able to grow up in Durham Region and go to these incredible schools, and to now watch my children going to the same incredible schools, is just a dream come true,” says Phoenix, adding she and her sister being able to do the Rise school tour in Durham Region and speak to hundreds of students has a great deal of meaning to her as well. “Thank you for this honour,” she adds, noting she will be sporting her award in the barn next to all her other medals. Plaques of the Definitely Durham Hall of Fame Inductees will be featured on the wall in the atrium outside the board room at the education centre. “Our Hall of Fame holds tributes to all of our inductees and offers a reminder to everyone who passes by of the possibilities for success in which we are share,” says Board Trustee Scott Templeton. He notes the board pays tribute to the inductees as outstanding role models for the students of today and into the future. “To this year’s inductees, we say thank you for raising the bar high and for providing us with examples and reminders of our collective goal that DDSB students can and will meet the great future success.” Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
On Wednesday, the verdict in Toronto’s van attack trial will be revealed. Alek Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. Erica Vella reports.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s Cabinet is taking shape at the slowest pace of any in modern history, with just over a dozen nominees for top posts confirmed more than a month into his tenure. Among Biden’s 23 nominees with Cabinet rank, just 13 have been confirmed by the Senate, or a little over half. And among the 15 core nominees to lead federal agencies, 10 have been confirmed, or about two thirds. According to the Center for Presidential Transition, about a month into their first terms, the previous four presidents had 84% of their core Cabinet picks confirmed. On Tuesday, Biden's Cabinet was thrown into further uncertainty when his nominee to lead the White House budget office, Neera Tanden, withdrew from consideration after her nomination faced opposition from key senators on both sides of the aisle. The delay in confirmations means some departments are left without their top decision-makers as they attempt to put in place policies to address the overlapping crises brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said there are a number of “big decisions” at HHS and across the federal government that are waiting on leadership from the top. “It’s very unfortunate. And in the middle of a huge health crisis, it’s the wrong thing to do,” she said. “Civil servants are capable, but they need leadership. And they’re used to having leaders.” Shalala was confirmed two days after President Bill Clinton was sworn in, and said she had her chain of command ready to go and could immediately dig into a long list of decisions and policy changes. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the Biden administration’s HHS nominee, will get a committee vote Wednesday, and he’s expected to receive easy confirmation. But Shalala pointed to a laundry list of issues — from oversight of hospitals, health care companies and nursing homes during the pandemic to issues surrounding drug pricing, telemedicine and child care services — that urgently need his input. Lacking a department head, she said, “just slows everything down.” Matt Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit organization that tracks presidential transitions, said federal departments tend to act more conservatively around decision-making and shifting policies without the top brass in place. “Missing the top person means that it’s pretty difficult to actually address the very big questions and to make big changes," he said. “And there’s a natural conservatism in place when people don’t know yet what the top person is going to really want.” The slow pace in confirmations partly results from the delay in the transition process resulting from President Donald Trump's attempts to dispute his loss in the 2020 presidential race and from what the Biden White House says was a lack of co-operation from Trump administration officials. Senate Democrats did not win a majority of seats in the chamber until the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff elections, and then it took nearly a month for Democratic and Republican leadership to agree on a resolution governing the organization of the upper chamber, which further delayed committee work. And Democrats privately acknowledge that Trump’s second impeachment trial also slowed down the process some, eating up a week of valuable time in the Senate and bogging lawmakers down with other work beyond reviewing and processing Biden’s nominees. Still, Biden transition spokesman Andrew Bates said that after the delays “stemming from the previous administration’s resistance to the will of the American people,” the relatively smooth confirmation progress in recent weeks “is both welcome and appreciated.” He added, however, “it is hardly enough, and nominees with strong bipartisan support — and who are critical to defeating the pandemic and turning our economy around with the creation of millions of jobs — remain needlessly obstructed by individual members. That must change.” The Biden administration has prioritized confirming those nominees who are key to national security, the economy and public health decisions. Biden does have in place his director of national intelligence, and his top brass at the departments of State, Homeland Security and Defence, as well as his treasury secretary. But in addition to waiting on Becerra at HHS, the administration lacks top leaders at the Justice Department, Housing and Urban Development and the Small Business Administration, departments that will be key to some of Biden's top priorities and the implementation of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill, if it's passed into law later this month. And the delay in confirming top posts also means a delay in confirming and seating deputy secretaries and undersecretaries, who are often in charge of the nitty gritty in implementing major policy. Shalala noted, for instance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will offer guidance on how insurers should cover coronavirus costs and implementation on aspects of the COVID-19 aid bill, and currently only has an acting administrator. She also noted HHS has deputies who oversee everything from refugee resettlement to child care programs. And Tanden's withdrawal Tuesday raises further questions about the Biden administration's budget process. The White House has yet to offer a timeline for releasing its budget, citing the transition delays and a lack of co-operation from the Trump administration. That puts them behind most recent presidents, who typically submit written budget toplines to Congress by the end of February, though Trump didn’t submit his until mid-March. The Biden administration has not been completely hamstrung by the slow pace of confirmations, however. The White House has issued a number of executive orders outlining policy reviews and changes that are underway at federal departments, and civil servants are working through key policy decisions, even without Senate-confirmed leadership in place. For instance, while Biden’s nominee to head the Department of Education, Miguel Cardona, was just confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday, the department's acting head last month put out guidelines requiring states to administer standardized tests despite the pandemic. And Stier noted that the Biden administration has installed hundreds of non-Senate-confirmed staff across the federal government, helping to provide guidance even without department heads in place. Biden himself swore in more than 1,100 non-Senate-confirmed staff throughout the federal government on the first day of his presidency, a number Stier said was unprecedented. "It ameliorates the problem in that you then have in place people who can provide guidance to the career team about what the administration’s positions and priorities are," Stier said. ___ Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Matthew Daly, Collin Binkley and Ashraf Khalil contributed to this report. Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press
Le gouvernement Kenney prévoit de couper de 25% le financement des infrastructures municipales. Le gouvernement albertain a annoncé la semaine dernière son intention de couper de 25 % le financement des infrastructures municipales au cours des trois prochaines années. Une mesure décriée par la Ville d’Edmonton qui craint voir le nombre de sans-abri augmenter. « Le budget de l’Alberta est terrible », déclare sans détour Jim Gurnett, activiste durant près de 40 ans sur les questions de logements pour The Edmonton coalition on Housing and Homelesness. Selon lui, le budget 2021-2022, qui a été déposé jeudi dernier, ne rend pas compte de la réalité actuelle des Albertains. « Nous aurions besoin d’au moins 20 000 logements abordables, alors que nous n’en obtenons que quelques centaines. Le budget contient juste assez d’argent pour construire 1000 logements, dans le courant de l’année, et ce, dans toute la province », explique-t-il. Le budget a été présenté comme un budget « humaniste », axé sur la protection des vies et des moyens de subsistance. Le gouvernement de Jason Kenney dit « maintenir » un financement d’environ 193 millions de dollars pour les services de soutien et de proximité aux sans-abri, dans le cadre du nouveau budget 2021-2022, qui débutera ce 1er avril. Or, dans le budget précédent qui se terminera ce 31 mars, le montant alloué pour cette même catégorie était d’environ 284 millions, accusant ainsi une baisse réelle de 55 millions. Le budget enregistre aussi une réduction de 22 % des aides sociales dans la catégorie Société de logement social de l’Alberta, passant d’environ 298 millions à 276 millions des dépenses, prévues l’an prochain. Les restrictions budgétaires annoncées auprès des municipalités risquent fort de renforcer non seulement la précarité, mais d’augmenter les coûts associés au problème d’itinérance. Le maire d’Edmonton, Don Iveson, n’a pas mâché ses mots ni caché son inquiétude. « Je suis mal à l’aise et déçu, la province n’est toujours pas prête à travailler avec Edmonton sur la question des logements sociaux », déplore-t-il sur son compte Twitter. En effet, il n’y a pas de nouveaux fonds pour de nouveaux logements sociaux comme il l’avait demandé, soit 5,9 millions supplémentaires. Ce dernier tire la sonnette d’alarme et dénonce le manque de cohérence du gouvernement. « Les logements sociaux permettent non seulement de garantir aux personnes qui ont des besoins importants de sortir de la rue et d’être en sécurité, surtout en temps de pandémie. Mais, nous avons aussi des montagnes de preuves qui démontrent que les logements sociaux réduisent les coûts pour les budgets de la santé, de la justice et des forces de l’ordre, au moment même, où la province cherche à faire des économies », pointe le maire. En attendant, la ville d’Edmonton enregistre au moins 2000 personnes sans domicile fixe, sur une population totale avoisinant un million d’habitants. Il y existe 10 refuges, dont 5 supplémentaires ont été installés grâce à l’argent du gouvernement fédéral, en raison de la COVID. Si la question du logement social demeure cruciale, c’est parce qu’elle peut vraiment faire une différence dans une province où les loyers restent élevés. « En Alberta, les gens qui ont un logement social paient un loyer qui est inférieur de 15 ou 20 % à celui du marché », décrit Jim Gurnett. Selon lui, il existe 25 000 logements sociaux à Edmonton, où les locataires dépensent 50 % de leurs revenus pour payer leur loyer. « Si les gens n’ont pas assez d’argent pour payer ce qui correspond au prix du marché, ils deviennent des sans-abri. Certaines personnes ne sont pas encore à la rue, mais il y a un danger qu’elles le deviennent », prévient-il. Aujourd’hui, il précise qu’il y a plus de personnes qui vivent aujourd’hui dans la rue qu’auparavant. Une responsabilité qu’il attribue aux gouvernements fédéral et provincial qui ont cessé de construire des logements, voilà plusieurs années. « De 1950 à 1993, au Canada, on a investi beaucoup d’argent dans la construction de logements sociaux et il y avait alors très peu de sans-abri. En 1993, les gouvernements ont arrêté », rappelle l’activiste du Edmonton coalition on Housing and Homelesness. De son côté, Don Iveson appréhende ces coupes budgétaires et anticipe déjà « des pertes d’emplois pour la ville, mais aussi à travers toute la province, durant la période la plus fragile de la reprise économique », conclut-il. Hélène Lequitte, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
Emergency crews were evacuating crew members from a fishing vessel that twice caught fire and was taking on water off the Nova Scotia coast Tuesday night. A CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopter has removed six of the 32 crew members from the Atlantic Destiny, according to Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens, a spokesperson for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre (JRCC), a federal government search and rescue organization. The ship has lost power and is adrift about 222 kilometres south of Yarmouth, N.S., in heavy seas. There were no reports of injuries. All fires are out, but the ship is still taking on water, Owens said. A small crew will remain aboard the vessel "to control the water coming into the vessel," the JRCC said. "They have restored generator power, so the pumps are working," Owens said. The master of the Atlantic Destiny called the JRCC to report the fire at 8 p.m. AT. Experienced crew The Atlantic Destiny is based in Riverport, N.S., and is part of the fleet owned by Ocean Choice International of Newfoundland and Labrador. Company CEO Martin Sullivan said it's unclear how many people will have to stay onboard the vessel, but estimated it will be between six and 10. Sullivan said the crew and captain have lots of experience. "It's a tough situation, but we have great people that can stand up to it," he said. A CC-130 Hercules aircraft from Canadian Forces Base Greenwood, a fisheries patrol vessel and two U.S. Coast Guard helicopters were responding. JRCC said all crew evacuated from the ship will be flown to Yarmouth, N.S. The first six crew members were being flown aboard the CH-149 Cormorant, Owens said. Additional crew members will be transported in the U.S. helicopters, Sullivan said. Another fishing vessel, the Lahave, is near the Atlantic Destiny and is standing by to assist. High seas and strong winds Owens said the Atlantic Destiny was adrift in eight-metre seas and winds of 55 knots. "The weather is quite adverse," he said. It's unclear what caused the fire. Sullivan said the company is focused on the safety of the crew and have been providing updates to family members throughout the evening. "The rest we can deal with later," he said. In March 2017, the Atlantic Destiny suffered a catastrophic engine failure that caused the ship to lose power. A year later, a Transportation Safety Board report blamed the failure on a combination of maintenance gaps, a broken emergency stop mechanism and the actions of an inexperienced crew member. MORE TOP STORIES
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Health experts in China say their country is lagging in its coronavirus vaccination rollout because it has the disease largely under control, but plans to inoculate 40% of its population by June. Zhong Nanshan, the leader of a group of experts attached to the National Health Commission, said the country has delivered 52.52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Feb. 28. He was speaking Monday at an online forum between U.S and Chinese medical experts hosted by the Brookings Institution and Tsinghua University. The target is the first China has offered publicly since it began its mass immunization campaign for key groups in mid-December. China has been slow to vaccinate its people relative to other countries, administering 3.56 doses per 100 people so far, according to Zhong, in a population of 1.4 billion. The fastest to vaccinate is Israel, which has given 94 doses per 100 people. The U.S. has administered 22 doses per 100 people. Chinese health experts say the country has enough vaccine supply for its population, although the country has pledged to provide close to half a billion doses abroad, roughly 10 times the number it has delivered at home. “The current vaccination pace is very low due to outbreak control (being) so good in China, but I think the capacity is enough,” said Zhang Wenhong, an infectious diseases expert based in Shanghai who also spoke on the panel. Developers of China’s four currently approved vaccines have said they could manufacture up to 2.6 billion doses by the end of this year. Still, vaccinating China’s massive population will be a daunting task. Even at the rate of vaccinating 10 million people a day, it would take roughly seven months to vaccinate 70% of its population, Zhang noted. The experts all acknowledged the complex task of vaccinating the world's population, pointing to the slowness in the global rollout of vaccines. “Demand will outstrip supply for many months, and unless there is more manufacturing, … for years,” said Tom Frieden, the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also cautioned against expecting a quick return to normal. The head of China’s Center for Disease Control, Gao Fu, predicted that life could return to an “approximate normal” in summer next year. Gao, along with Zhong and other Chinese health experts, urged more U.S.-China co-operation. Gao specifically called on the U.S. and China to co-operate on COVAX, an initiative to distribute vaccines more fairly across the developing world. “Let’s work together,” he said. ____ This version has been updated to CORRECT that the figures of doses administered per 100 people in China, Israel and the United States is not a percentage of their populations since many people vaccinated have received both of the two doses required. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
En 1933, malgré la requête de 83 électeurs pour l’éclairage des rues, le conseil municipal du village de Saint-Jérôme de Matane maintient le non-éclairage. Il invoque la mauvaise situation financière, ce qui nécessite de sévères compressions budgétaires. En 1932, il avait décidé de ne pas renouveler son contrat d’éclairage avec la Compagnie de Pouvoir du Bas-Saint-Laurent. En 1935, le village adopte le règlement no 135 pour pourvoir à l’éclairage et le budget passe de 50 $ à 600 $ annuellement. En 1858, bénédiction d’une cloche Julie Clotilde pour la nouvelle église Saint-Jérôme. En 1890, le maire Dr Jean-Pierre Pelletier et le conseil municipal répondent favorablement à la demande du marchand Narcisse Généreux demandant l’établissement d’un seul dépôt pour la vente de liqueurs enivrantes. On tenait que les liqueurs spiritueuses soient pour des fins médicales et pour usage du service divin seulement. En 1891, visite de l’école modèle de L’Assomption-de-Notre-Dame par l’inspecteur D. Bégin. – Un peu de décorum ne coûte rien et ça donne du prestige et de la fierté. Complice avec le secrétaire-trésorier, le notaire Joseph-Étienne Gagnon, le maire Dr Jean-Pierre Pelletier a fait écrire pour la première fois, au procès-verbal, l’expression son honneur le maire. Cependant, on ne la retrouvait qu’au début du texte du procès-verbal lors de la prise des présences. En 1913, un règlement impose une amende de 20 $ lors d’une première offense et de 40 $ pour une seconde offense à quiconque ouvrira son magasin entre le samedi soir et le lundi matin dans la municipalité de Sandy Bay (Baie-des-Sables). En 1947, fermeture du bureau de poste le dimanche. En 1952, requête au gouvernement provincial pour asphalter la rue Thibault, de l’hôpital à la route nationale. En 1958, règlement # 292 pour prohiber la vente de publications à caractère obscène . – Engagement de Georges-Henri Durette comme chauffeur de camion à incendie. – Les conseils des comtés de Matane, Matapédia, Rimouski, Rivière-du-Loup et Témiscouata obtiennent de la Régie provinciale de l’électricité une enquête sur les tarifs de la Compagnie de Pouvoir du Bas-Saint-Laurent, propriété de Jules-A. Brillant. En 1980, le député de Matane à Ottawa, Pierre de Bané, est nommé ministre de l’Expansion économique régionale. En 2016, le gouvernement du Québec annonce la création de zones industrialoportuaires à Matane, Rimouski et Gros-Cacouna. Romain Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Monmatane.com
The security forces resorted to live fire with little warning in several towns and cities, witnesses said, as the junta appeared more determined than ever to stamp out protests against the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The heaviest toll was in the central town of Monywa, where five people - four men and one woman - were killed, said Ko Thit Sar, editor of the Monywa Gazette.
Regina– The Government of Saskatchewan is clearly leaning towards a first-dose COVID-19 vaccination strategy, getting as many people vaccinated with their initial dose as possible, before following up with a booster shot much later to maximize immunity. Doing so would maximize the number of people immunized as quickly as possible, allowing nearly all Saskatchewan residents to receive their first shot by June and allowing things to begin to return to normal. However, that would mean stretching the period between doses from the three or four weeks, as they are supposed to be administered, to as much as four months. Premier Scott Moe and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab referenced this strategy numerous times during the regular COVID-19 briefing held at the Legislature on March 2. Shahab pointed to “great information from the (United Kingdom), from Quebec, from (British Columbia), on how effective one dose is for as long as four months.” He expects future recommendations from partners, including the federal government, to support delaying the second dose up to four months. “And what that will do is that will really accelerate our first dose program, and if you're able to do that, we can see most of our population 18 and older, potentially getting your first dose by June,” Shahab said. “And I think that would really help us in really putting the pandemic behind us. And like the premier said, I think we all need to then … be ready to take any vaccine that is available, when our age cohort comes up in the sequencing.” Shahab posed the question of how you can maximize the population benefit with a known supply of vaccines. He said, “The way we can maximize that is giving one dose to the vast majority of people by June, and then completing the second doses July onwards. And this will help us prevent a potentially devastating, variant fueled, third wave. “And we'll also maximize population-level protection, at no sacrifice to individual protection, because that is critical as well. Right now, the aim is clinical protection, which means hospitalization, death, at a clinical individual level, but as more and more people get vaccinated, you know, obviously we want to see the population impact of that as well, that kind of community immunity impacts. And the most efficient way to get that, based on strong scientific advice, is to give everyone one dose.” Moe said a four-month interval between first and second doses would mean virtually all Saskatchewan residents could be provided with their first dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines by the end of June. If you add AstraZeneca and perhaps Johnson & Johnson vaccines (the second has not yet been approved in Canada, but has been approved in the United States), Moe said, “Then we're starting to look at something in early June, where we could have everyone in the province provided with the opportunity to receive their first dose of vaccine.” “Understanding the efficacy of that first dose, and some of the data that is coming in, and continues to come in, and the protection that it provides, this really is a game changer for the dates that we can really strongly have some serious discussions about the measures that we have in place and what that looks like, over the course of the next number of weeks as opposed to having that conversation over the course of the next number of months,” Moe said. Oldest first Key to this first dose strategy is getting the oldest people in Saskatchewan vaccinated first, which the Province has already been working on. To that end, Moe announced that first doses have been delivered to every long-term care facility in Saskatchewan, and 91 per cent of their residents had been vaccinated. The remaining nine per cent either refused or were unable to take if at this time. A further 53 per cent of those long-term care residents had received their second shot and are now considered fully vaccinated. Moe called it an important milestone along the way to the pandemic being over. “We've also delivered vaccines to 90 per cent of the personal care homes in the province. About 78 per cent of the residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, and about 43 per cent have now received both shots,” Moe added. The province is expected to receive about 112,000 vaccines Pfizer and Moderna in the month of March, and a further 15,000 doses of the newly-approved AstraZeneca vaccine next week. That vaccine, which is approved for ages from 18 to 64, will likely be used for that age group, although Shahab pointed out that one should accept whatever vaccine is available when it is their turn, and that the United Kingdom has been using it for people 65 and older with success. However, by the time Saskatchewan gets larger volumes of the AstraZeneca vaccine, most of its population 65 and older should have already been vaccinated with the other vaccines. Moe said Saskatchewan has been leading the nation in getting shots in arms, with over 100 per cent of doses received having been administered, as compared to 86 per cent for the next leading province. He said there is very little wastage. Appointments Moe said appointments for vaccination will be soon available online or by telephone, meaning eligible residents over 70 years of age will soon be able to book appointments. “We expect to launch that appointment system next week, so for everyone who is waiting to get your shot, and is in the Phase 1 category, we are working to get you vaccinated as quickly as possible.” Moe said case numbers and hospitalization numbers continue to stabilize, with the seven-day average of new cases now 144, down 55 per cent from our peak in January. Hospitalizations are around 154, down from a high of 238. Vaccinations of elderly residents should lead to a continued decline in serious cases and hospitalizations, Moe said, noting, “The truth is that the vaccines are working. They are reducing transmission. They are reducing serious outcomes. And that's very encouraging for all of us.” Relaxation of measures Moe noted that many people have asked for a relaxation in current public health measures, in particular those limiting household gatherings. He said, “I would say to this is we're very close to making, and finalizing, these decisions. I've spoken to Dr. Shahab about this frequently. He just wants to see the new case and hospitalization numbers remain stable for a few more days. If that occurs, we should have more to say about household restrictions, possibly by early next week. We'll be taking a close look at all of the other public health orders that are set to expire on March, the 19th. “So I'm asking everyone in this province to hang tight for just a few more days. The next number of weeks, not months, we're going to start to see things change, and change significantly. Spring is coming. Vaccines are on the way. We are on the path to getting life back to normal, as we know it, but we're just not quite there yet. So please, the next number of days and weeks keep doing what you're doing to keep yourself safe to keep those around you safe and to keep your family safe.” Moe added, “When it is your turn, and when you are offered a vaccine, there is only one answer that should come out of your mouth and that is ‘Yes.’ “They're all equally effective, the vaccines that are that are available, and a vaccine in our arm is far better than a vaccine that's sitting on the shelf, or not being administered to someone here in the province,” Moe said. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
Another Ontario judge has blamed a lack of resources in the Brampton courts for extraordinary delays that led to gun charges being thrown out. In a recent ruling, Ontario court judge Paul F. Monahan said that a delay of more than 18 months bringing the case to trial violated the accused’s rights. The accused in the case, Tyranne Greenidge, had been charged with several offences arising out of a June 26, 2019 traffic stop, including the criminal charge of possession of a loaded restricted firearm. “This is a serious case,” Monahan wrote in his Jan. 27 ruling. “Guns are a major problem in our society. I have reluctantly concluded that I have no choice but to enter a stay in this case for a violation of the charter.” The judge noted that neither the Crown counsel, defence counsel, the court or the trial coordinator were to blame for the delays. Rather, he said the “die was cast” when it took roughly two months to make a judicial pretrial available and another 14 months to make a trial date available. This happened because there was a lack of resources in the Brampton Ontario court of justice (OCJ), Monahan wrote. “This is an observation that has been made in many other cases. It is not the first time this has happened in the Brampton OCJ, and it is unlikely to be the last.” Monahan noted that the total delay was 18 months and 25 days, which is above the ceiling of 18 months set out in a landmark 2016 Supreme Court ruling. Dubbed the Jordan ruling, it stipulates that once charges are laid, provincial cases must be heard within 18 months and superior court cases within 30 months, unless there are extenuating circumstances. Other judges in Peel have underscored similar concerns including another January ruling in which Superior Court Justice David Harris citing “long-standing and glaring systemic issues,” in Brampton’s bail court before staying a string of serious criminal charges, including 10 gambling and 53 illicit gaming counts, against two men who waited 12 days for a bail hearing. Harris said he reviewed more than two dozen cases and found “pervasive” bail delays had occurred with “alarming frequency” in violation of accused persons’ charter right to a bail hearing in a reasonable amount of time — typically within 24 hours or three days for more complex hearings requiring a special bail hearing. Defence lawyer Daniel Brown, who serves as vice-president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association told the Star it is one of many examples of serious criminal cases being tossed for delay because the Brampton courthouse lacks the resources necessary to prosecute cases in a constitutionally acceptable timeframe. “One solution is for the provincial government to dedicate more resources to the jurisdiction, including additional judges, courtrooms and prosecutors,” Brown said. “Care must be taken by police and prosecutors to examine whether some minor cases could be diverted from the court system earlier in the process so that our justice system has the necessary resources available to address serious criminal prosecutions like this one.” Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic Jason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
The first COVID-19 asymptomatic testing site for students, staff, and their families was held this past weekend with a turnout of more than 100 people. In an update to the Durham District School Board (DDSB) Standing Committee Monday night, Director of Education Norah Marsh says as part of the province’s plan for more asymptomatic testing in schools, the board is working with the Ministry of Education, Durham Region Health Department, and the Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) for the testing within Durham Region. Marsh notes communities will become aware of testing site locations, dates and times through direct communication from their local school. Acting Associate Director Jim Markovski attended the site, noting the vendor assigned by the ministry is LifeLabs. “They did an excellent job. It was very orderly,” he says. Markovski says there will be three sites continuing throughout March and the board will be re-evaluating a monthly schedule moving forward. He adds the location selection is based on health data collected by Durham Region Health Department, and the ministry provides further direction. Two of the three sites will be in areas within the region that have a high number of COVID-19 cases, while the third site will be a rotating site to ensure access is being provided to various municipalities within the region. The province also announced changes last week to the health and safety protocols in terms of screening for students and staff. Now, students with just one or more symptoms must self-isolate, as opposed to before when it was required to have two or more symptoms. The board is also looking at compulsory eyewear for staff within schools, compulsory screening of secondary school students prior to the start of their day, and continued COVID-19 screening for students in kindergarten to Grade 12. Marsh notes this change in screening protocols is having a significant impact in terms of school attendance. “From a staffing perspective, we know that there’s been a shortage of educators in Ontario throughout the year and the DDSB has worked diligently in terms of ensuring that classes are safely supervised and schools are operating under safe conditions with staff there,” she says. The board implemented a tiered approach in September 2020 for when there aren’t sufficient occasional teachers or EAs, the board is looking to do a central reallocation of staff from the education centre. With the new screening criteria now reduced to having one or more symptoms, Marsh notes the board is actively working to update its emergency lists for occasional teachers and EAs. However, it is also more likely during this period that a school will need to close due to a lack of available staff to ensure the safe supervision of students. “Of course this would be a last resort and we have a number of tiers in advance of having to get to that decision, but with this new management of screening, understanding it’s a health and safety protocol and the importance of that, we are concerned in terms of the staffing shortages.” She adds this is a problem across Ontario, noting Durham has been “well positioned” throughout. “We haven’t yet had to close down for this reason, but we want to flag this as with this shift it could be more likely.” DDSB currently has 24 active cases of COVID-19 in its schools. In Oshawa, there are two cases at Vincent Massey PS, two cases at Walter E. Harris PS, one case at Elsie MacGill PS, and one case at Northern Dancer PS, as of March 2. There are also cases at five schools in Whitby, including Donald A Wilson SS, Sir William Stephenson PS, West Lynde PS, and Whitby Shores. In Ajax, there are COVID-19 cases at Alexander Graham Bell PS, Bolton C Falby PS, and Cadarackque PS, as well as at Pickering High School, Carruthers Creek PS, and Gandatsetiagon PS in Pickering. There are also 18 positive cases of COVID-19 within DCDSB schools. In Oshawa, there is one case at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School and two cases at St. Kateri Tekekwitha CS. There are also cases at St. Bernadette Catholic School in Ajax, St. John the Evangelist CS, St. Mark the Evangelist CS, and St. Matthew the Evangelist CS in Whitby, and St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School and St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering. Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
A sharp spike in bond yields last week caught some hedge funds unaware, and saw macro and long-short funds in general give back February profits to end the month modestly up, several market participants said. Hedge funds, which target returns that outperform the markets, take positions in a variety of assets such as bonds, currencies and equities, depending on the strategy employed. The sharp rise in yields - which saw ten-year Treasury yields hit a one-year high of over 1.6% on Thursday - came after a tumultuous January when some funds got burned by holding short positions in stocks caught up in the GameStop trading frenzy.
St. Louis’ first-ever female mayor will be replaced by another woman, after city Treasurer Tishaura Jones and Alderwoman Cara Spencer on Tuesday bested two men in a new primary election format to advance to next month’s general election. Jones received 25,374 votes and Spencer was second with 20,649 votes, according to unofficial final results. Aldermanic President Lewis Reed was third, followed by businessman Andrew Jones. Incumbent Democrat Lyda Krewson chose not to seek a second four-year term. Tishaura Jones said on Zoom that St. Louisans “should be able to succeed here regardless of your skin colour, who you love, how you worship, your ZIP code, or any identity you have.” Spencer has been outspoken against special interests. She said on Facebook that her campaign “has changed the dialogue about how we serve St. Louis.” The city’s new “approval voting” format makes municipal contests nonpartisan and has another unique feature: Voters can “approve” of as many candidates in the primary as they want. Each vote counts as one. The idea is to get the two candidates with the most support to the general election, which is April 6. Four years ago, Tishaura Jones finished a close second to Krewson in the Democratic primary, and Reed was third. Krewson easily defeated Andrew Jones, a Republican, in the April 2017 general election to become the city's first woman mayor. Tishaura Jones and Andrew Jones are not related. Though this year's general election also will be nonpartisan, both Jones and Spencer are Democrats. The next mayor faces the daunting challenge of taming violent crime in a city that has been at or near the top of per capita homicide rankings for decades. Jones and Spencer, in interviews with The Associated Press last week, both said reducing violence was the top priority. Both pledged to address the underlying issues that lead to crime such as drug and alcohol addiction, poverty and mental illness. Jones, 48, is a former state representative who has been treasurer since 2013. She said the “arrest and incarcerate” model of criminal justice has been a failure. She would bring in more social workers, mental health counsellors and substance abuse counsellors, rather than adding more uniformed officers. Spencer, 42, has been a member of the Board of Aldermen since 2015. She favours a “focused deterrence” model connecting those at risk of committing violence to self-help resources, but making it clear those who cross into crime will face the consequences. Krewson, 67, had a personal connection to the violence -- her husband was fatally shot in a 1995 carjacking. She ran on a pledge to battle crime, but the city saw a staggering increase in killings during the coronavirus pandemic. Police said 262 people were killed in St. Louis last year — five less than the record of 267 set in 1993. But because the city’s population has declined since 1993, the homicide rate was much higher in 2020. In announcing her retirement from politics in November, Krewson said elections “are about the future.” She said at the time that challenges posed by crime, COVID-19 and other issues were not factors in her decision. In previous years, Democrats and Republicans squared off in separate primary elections in March. St. Louis is so heavily Democratic that the April general election was virtually irrelevant. Voters in November adopted the new “approval voting” method. St. Louis is just the second city to try it. Fargo, North Dakota, used it for the first time last year. Jim Salter, The Associated Press
At the press conference today March 2, 2021 Premier Moe and Dr. Shahab shared that over 80,000 doses of vaccine have been given in Saskatchewan and that 100% of long-term care homes have now been able to vaccinate all the residents who chose to be vaccinated. Fifty-three per cent of those residents have been given both doses of the vaccine. Approximately nine per cent of residents in long-term care facilities did not receive the vaccination due to a change in health status, not being available at the time of the vaccinations, or declined to receive it to name but a few of the various circumstances which led to not receiving the vaccination. As for personal care homes, ninety per cent have been given their first vaccine and forty-three per cent have received both. Premier Moe stated that with the increased numbers of the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna and now the vaccine from AstraZeneca, Saskatchewan should see over 115,000 doses of vaccine arrive in the province this month. Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Shahab, stated that the province is considering following the lead of Quebec and British Columbia and extending the time between the delivery of the first and second doses of the vaccines. Current protocol for the Pfizer vaccine is 28 days but an extension up to 42 days was declared as acceptable back in January. The Moderna vaccine comes with the prescribed booster shot required in 21 days. The AstraZeneca vaccine is the only one of the three which manufacturers say has a strong efficacy for up to four months before a booster is needed. Dr. Shahab stated that his colleagues in the United Kingdom have been administering all vaccines at the same interval as the AstraZeneca and report that they have not seen any reduction in efficacy of the vaccines by doing so. Dr. Shahab will continue to review the available data before a decision is made, but if the province proceeds it will rapidly accelerate the time frame for everyone in the province who wishes to be vaccinated to receive the first dose. “Giving one dose to the vast majority of people by June and then completing the second dose … will help us prevent a potentially devastating variant-fuelled third wave,” Dr. Shahab said. The province is working closely with the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and is waiting for their recommendation which he thinks will support the delay of the second dose. “If we are able to do that, we can see most of our population 18 and older potentially getting the first dose by June,” said Shahab. NACI currently is not recommending the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in individuals aged 65 years and older “due to the insufficiency of evidence of efficacy in this age group at this time.” Health Canada evaluated the data available from AstraZeneca’s clinical trials and determined that this vaccine is safe to be administered in people over 65 years of age and older, the agency said in a statement on Monday. With the current state of vaccine deliveries, the Premier and Dr. Shahab felt that most likely all residents in the 65 years and older age group would be receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines since these will be the most prevalent in the province for the upcoming weeks. Also of note in the press conference was the hint that restrictions on household gatherings could be easing as early as next week. Dr. Shahab noted that when it comes to relaxing restrictions there are three key things he considers: the trend of case numbers, testing rates and contact tracing, and the hospitalizations. All three of those areas are trending in the correct direction according to Shahab. Case numbers in the province are trending downwards, testing rates are staying stable (but it would be even better if they were increasing while the test positivity rate dropped) and the hospitalization rates are trending downward. With that the Premier asked everyone to “hang tight for just a few more days.” He said that he has frequent discussions about lifting restrictions with Dr. Shahab, adding, “We should have more to say about household restrictions, possibly by early next week. We’ll be taking a close look at all of the other public health orders that are set to expire on March 19th.” Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
Every Tuesday morning Keiko Funahashi goes door to door, delivering bento boxes to 55 Japanese seniors throughout the Lower Mainland. This week's boxes are special, prepared for Japan's traditional Girls' Day on March 3. But next week, tucked inside the boxes, seniors will also find important instructions — details on how they can sign up to receive their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, carefully translated into Japanese by volunteers. "Japanese-speaking seniors ... they don't necessarily watch the evening news and they don't necessarily use the Internet. Some of them, they don't even have Internet at home. So we need to translate, but we also can't always email things to them," said Funahashi, the executive director of the Japanese Community Volunteers Association. As B.C. moves into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, the province is aiming to immunize community-based seniors over the age of 80, with seniors who do not live in care being asked to call to book their own appointments. But community organizers and physicians are worried that seniors who don't speak English, don't have family support or don't have access to news sources may slip through the cracks of B.C.'s vaccine strategy, despite the province's efforts to reach everyone. 'People are getting isolated' Funahashi said that weeks ago she began to receive a flurry of questions about vaccinations, with seniors saying they felt stressed that they may miss their window of opportunity to be vaccinated. "A lot of seniors, they told us that they felt very anxious and worried, and then they would hear stories from their friends who might not also speak English," she said. "You know, people are getting isolated." The questions spurred the Japanese Community Volunteers Association to begin their own information campaign to ensure seniors living in their own homes are able to access the critical information that will help them get vaccinated — like informing seniors who don't speak English that they can get help to book their vaccine appointment. B.C. released a graphic showing when and how seniors can register to get their COVID-19 vaccine in 2021.(B.C. Ministry of Health) Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there have been a variety of campaigns to translate and communicate provincial health orders. With immunization efforts underway, Vancouver Coastal Health has translated information pamphlets on vaccines into nine languages. Call centres are currently available in Cantonese and Mandarin, with more languages to come. Interpreters will also be present at vaccination clinics. But geriatrician Naaz Parmar said she's still been inundated with calls from seniors unsure about how to book an appointment. "It's a really tough thing. There is that first barrier for people who are marginalized with their language skills, not knowing where to look. So they have been relying on their health practitioners instead," she said. "We've actually gone to the point where we're printing out the forms in different languages and mailing it to their house, which takes a week — obviously not ideal." Bob Chapman with Vancouver Coastal Health said for many seniors, making a phone call is the most straightforward way to book an appointment. But the health authority also knows many seniors will be dependent on their family supports and community groups to ensure they're not missed. "It is going to take a village to support this. And we want to make sure that no matter where that person's support is, we can actually get the information to them," he said. "There shouldn't be any barrier for people being able to get this vaccine." CBC British Columbia is hosting a town hall on March 10 to answer your COVID-19 vaccine questions. You can find the details at cbc.ca/ourshot, as well as opportunities to participate in two community conversations on March 3, focused on outreach to Indigenous and multicultural communities. Have a question about the vaccine, or the rollout plan in B.C.? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org