Bombardier Inc. said Thursday it will reduce its overall workforce by about 1,600 jobs as it moves to cut costs.
Bombardier Inc. said Thursday it will reduce its overall workforce by about 1,600 jobs as it moves to cut costs.
(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
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 began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. 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 The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- 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 on 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. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- 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. --- 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. --- 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 also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- 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 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Another type of COVID-19 vaccine was authorized by Health Canada on Friday. The new vaccines are manufactured by AstraZeneca, and developed in partnership with Oxford University. Canada also approved the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Afterwards, Anita Anand, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement announced that Canada has secured two million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an agreement with Verity Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc./Serum Institute of India. AstraZeneca has licensed the manufacture of its ChAdOx1 vaccine to the Serum Institute. The first 500,000 doses will be delivered to Canada in the coming weeks. The remaining 1.5 million doses are expected to arrive by mid-May. “The Government of Canada continues to do everything possible to protect Canadians from COVID-19. This includes securing a highly diverse and extensive portfolio of vaccines and taking all necessary measures to ready the country to receive them,” Anand said in a release. “We remain fully on track to ensure that there will be a sufficient supply so that every eligible Canadian who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of September. I am grateful for the collaboration of our partners in India to finalize this agreement, and I look forward to continuing to work closely together in the weeks ahead.” The two million doses secured through this agreement are in addition to the 20 million doses already secured through an earlier agreement with AstraZeneca. Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine allows the Government of Canada to advance its work with AstraZeneca to finalize delivery schedules for the 20 million doses. The application for authorization from AstraZeneca was received on Oct. 1, 2020 and from from Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India (in partnership with AstraZeneca Canada Inc.) on January 23, 2021. After thorough, independent reviews of the evidence, the Department has determined that these vaccines meet Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements. These are the first viral vector-based vaccines authorized in Canada. These are also two-dose regiments and can be kept refrigerated for at least six months. Health Canada’s authorization of the Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India product relies on the assessment of its comparability to the AstraZeneca-produced version of the vaccine.. These vaccines were authorized with terms and conditions under Health Canada’s Interim Order on the importation of drugs for COVID-19 The process allowed Health Canada to assess information submitted by the manufacturer as it became available during the product development process, while maintaining Canadian standards. Health Canada has placed terms and conditions on the authorizations requiring the manufacturers to continue providing information to Health Canada on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccines to ensure their benefits continue to be demonstrated through market use. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
CHICAGO — The U.S. men’s soccer team will play 47th-ranked Jamaica on March 25 at Wiener Neustadt, Austria, the first of two exhibitions with the full player pool in Europe on FIFA international fixture dates. The Americans had previously scheduled a March 28 match against Northern Ireland in Belfast. The Jamaica game was announced Monday by the U.S. Soccer Federation. The matches will be just the third and fourth in 16 months with the full player pool, a schedule caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The 22nd-ranked U.S. tied 0-0 at Wales on Nov. 12, followed four days later by a 6-2 win over Panama at Wiener Neustadt. The U.S. is preparing for a June 3 match against Honduras in a semifinal of the CONCACAF Nations League followed by a championship or third-place game on June 6 against Mexico or Costa Rica. The CONCACAF Gold Cup starts July 10 and includes first-round matches against Canada, Martinique and either Haiti, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala or Guyana. Exhibitions also are planned for May 30 and June 9. The delayed start of World Cup qualifying from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8 includes a match at El Salvador or Trinidad and Tobago, a home game that could be against Canada or Haiti, and a road game at Honduras. October includes home qualifiers against Jamaica and Costa Rica around a road qualifier at Guatemala or Panama, and November has a home qualifier against Mexico and a road qualifier at Jamaica. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
TORONTO — The Tragically Hip will be toasted with this year's humanitarian award at the 2021 Juno Awards. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences says it selected the Kingston, Ont. rock band for its "timeless music and philanthropic pursuits" that affected generations of people around the world. Known to many Canadians as the musicians behind "Bobcaygeon" and "Ahead By a Century," the Hip have helped raise millions of dollars for various social and environmental causes. Among them, they've supported several charities, including Camp Trillium and the Special Olympics, and most recently sold face masks that raised more than $50,000 for the Unison Benevolent Fund, which provides counselling and emergency relief services to the music industry. The Hip's late lead singer Gord Downie was also part of the band's final Canadian tour, which helped raise more than $1 million for the Canadian Cancer Society and the Sunnybrook Foundation. Downie died of brain cancer in October 2017. The Hip will be presented with the honour as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Junos, which will broadcast from Toronto on May 16. Since first being presented in 2006, the humanitarian award has been given to artists that include Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sarah McLachlan, Rush and members of Arcade Fire. The Hip's members included Downie, Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gord Sinclair. Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Trystan Lackner first got interested in urban food security way back in his senior year of high school after a supportive vice-principal helped him build a community garden in barren soil where portable classrooms had been removed. It ended up producing around eight or 10 grocery bags full of lettuce, potatoes, carrots and other produce that they donated to local volunteer group Feed The Need Durham. But it only lasted the year that Lackner and classmates he had brought along were there to sustain it. “It was a seed,” says Lackner, explaining he didn't have the experience or knowledge at the time to carry it forward. “The community garden was there, and then it wasn't, and there wasn't any communication of those ideas.” Fast-forward a few years and a degree in international development later, and Lackner is looking to make a more lasting impact. After six months of preparation, Lackner and colleagues hosted an online summit called "Does Your Meal Plan Cover Climate Change?" last month as part of Youth Challenge International’s Innovate MY Future program. “Our whole idea was to develop an educational summit for young people to become more aware, get involved, and connect with the experts within the field,” he says, about the Youth Roots Durham project. The hope is that more informed communities will build more resilience into the process by which they get fed, one that faced a sharp shock due to COVID-19 disrupting global supply chains, as well as ongoing threats to the same system from climate change. The summit included a weekend panel discussion of experts followed by networking, and workshops on the links between food and climate change, the benefits of moving from mass production of commodity crops, and how to get involved in pushing for more sustainable practices. One speaker at the summit was a local permaculture farmer, who grows multiple crops in proximity to each other for mutual benefit. The practice can reduce the need for pesticides and cut carbon emissions by limiting the need to transport food, Lackner explains. The information gathered in the course of the project is being prepared to be archived on a page of the Durham Food Policy Council’s website, ensuring that unlike his high school garden, Lackner’s legacy may live on. The region — which is suburban in its southern sections near Lake Ontario and more rural in its north towards the Lake Simcoe border — exports most of its produce in the form of commodity crops, such as soy and corn, Lackner says. He says that with demand for food to expand by roughly 70 per cent in coming decades as our global population approaches 10 billion people, innovative solutions applied locally will be key. “There is a very high possibility that you will see in the next decade or two, if we can innovate more with the greenhouses and produce more in warehouse settings, you can essentially urbanize and create factories of food within these large urban centres,” he says. In addition to these modern factory farms, Lackner wants to see more rooftop gardens and government policy that sets aside land to protect it from being developed other than as farmland. And for young people wondering what they can do, he says just dive in. “Get out there, get your hands dirty. Make that change that you want to see,” he says. “If you see something that no one else is doing or that's missing, don't wait for someone else to get that going, start it yourself and get involved. There is a way to do all that and connect with the experts and community partners.” Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
VANCOUVER — Health officials have declared COVID-19 outbreaks at two more Metro Vancouver hospitals after finding evidence the virus was transmitted within a medicine unit at both locations. A statement from Fraser Health says the outbreaks are in single units of Surrey Memorial Hospital and Chilliwack General Hospital. One patient at Surrey Memorial and five patients at Chilliwack General have tested positive for COVID-19. Those units have been closed to admissions, but Fraser Health says other units and the emergency rooms of both hospitals remain open. Information from Vancouver Coastal Health shows a COVID-19 outbreak continues at three in-patient units on three separate floors of the highrise tower at Vancouver General Hospital. The units remain closed to admissions, transfers and visitors after COVID-19 outbreaks were confirmed on those wards, with the first outbreak reported Feb. 21. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Félixanne Harvey, alias Créations Art’vey, n’en revient pas de la chance qu’elle a. À 20 ans, l’étudiante en psychologie à l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) a réussi à trouver son créneau artistique : elle peint des portraits d’animaux réalistes avec une touche colorée qui sont très appréciés par les internautes. Pour ceux qui la connaissent, il n’est pas surprenant de voir Félixanne avec des pinceaux dans les mains. La jeune femme a toujours apprécié l’art et fait du dessin d’aussi longtemps qu’elle se souvienne. À l’âge de 10 ans, la jeune artiste a suivi quelques cours de dessin, ainsi que quelques cours de peinture, au fil des années. À compter de son 13e anniversaire, Félixanne préférait créer de chez elle. « Au début, dans mes cours de peinture, je faisais surtout des paysages. Quand j’ai commencé à peindre des animaux, j’ai vraiment trouvé ma voie. J’ai vu que j’avais plus d’intérêt, alors que je suis passionnée d’animaux », commente-t-elle, lors d’un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Quotidien. Sa spécialité est le portrait d’animaux réalistes en acrylique, sur lequel elle ajoute de la couleur et de la texture. « Il y a beaucoup d’artistes qui font des portraits réalistes d’animaux. C’est sûr que moi, j’ajoute ma touche de couleurs. Ça fait trois ans maintenant que j’ai peaufiné ce style-là », souligne-t-elle. Ses animaux préférés sont les félins et les pandas, mais elle essaie continuellement de diversifier ses créations. Ce style bien précis est devenu sa marque de commerce bien apprécié des internautes, qui sont plus de 3000 à suivre l’Almatoise d’origine à travers ses œuvres. « Je ne pensais pas que les réseaux sociaux pouvaient autant me propulser. Ça permet aussi de toucher des gens que je n’aurais probablement jamais touchés autrement », rappelle-t-elle. Avec des concours, collaborations et participations à quelques symposiums, Félixanne s’est fait découvrir sur la Toile. Ce sont davantage des gens dans le coin de Montréal et de Québec qui suivent la jeune artiste. Sa plus grande collaboration à ce jour est celle avec Confection Imagine. Les clients peuvent retrouver les œuvres de la jeune artiste sur des accessoires de l’entreprise jonquiéroise. « On essaie de rendre l’art accessible avec un produit dérivé fait au Québec. C’est un projet plaisant pour nos clients qui encouragent deux entreprises locales à la fois », raconte Félixanne. La collaboration dure depuis deux ans et n’est pas près de s’arrêter. De nouveaux produits sont continuellement mis en vente. En plus de faire les illustrations sur les accessoires, comme sur des trousses ou des sacs à main, elle fait aussi les motifs des boutons en époxy. Conciliation travail-études Quand Félixanne a commencé à dessiner, jamais elle ne s’était imaginé qu’à 20 ans, elle pourrait vivre de ce loisir à temps partiel. Pour elle, la peinture est son emploi étudiant, ce qui fait qu’elle peut continuer ses études en toute tranquillité. La pandémie est venue faciliter cette conciliation. « Je trouve ça plus facile, avec la pandémie, ça m’a vraiment aidée. Puisque je suis toujours à la maison, dès que j’ai un temps libre, je peux vraiment me consacrer à mon art », confie-t-elle. Avec l’école à la maison, elle peut travailler sur certains projets lorsqu’elle en a envie. À l’été, elle se concentrera encore plus sur ses créations. Elle ouvrira ses commandes personnalisées, en plus de participer à des symposiums. En deux ans, elle compte déjà cinq participations à ces événements. On pourra voir les œuvres de Félixanne au Symposium international de peinture et de sculpture du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, au Symposium de peinture de L’Ascension et probablement au Symposium en arts visuels Couleurs urbains à Granby, où elle avait gagné le prix du maire à son dernier passage. Son dossier est en attente d’approbation. Lorsqu’elle pense à la suite, la jeune artiste ne rêve pas à l’argent ou aux galeries. Elle a découvert sa mission, au fil des années : rendre son art le plus accessible possible, avec des toiles et des produits dérivés. Elle souhaite que ses œuvres conviennent à tous les budgets, elle joue donc avec les tailles et les différents produits. Elle espère pouvoir pratiquer ce loisir encore longtemps tout en trouvant sa voie dans le domaine de la santé. Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Police in Sri Lanka said Monday they have arrested two people in connection with the death of a 9-year-old girl who was repeatedly beaten during a ritual they believed would drive away an evil spirit. The two suspects — the woman performing the exorcism and the girl's mother — appeared in court on Monday to hear charges over the girl's death, which occurred over the weekend in Delgoda, a small town about 40 kilometres (25 miles) northeast of the capital, Colombo. The court ordered the suspects detained until March 12. According to police spokesperson Ajith Rohana, the mother believed her daughter had been possessed by a demon and took her to the home of the exorcist so a ritual could be performed to drive the spirit away. Rohana said the exorcist first put oil on the girl and then began to repeatedly hit her with a cane. When the girl lost consciousness, she was taken to a hospital, where she died. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday. The woman who performed the ritual on the girl was known in the area for offering such services in recent months and police were investigating whether anyone else had been abused, Rohana said. Rohana urged the public to be careful about such services as the girl was not the first to die during such a ritual. Bharatha Mallawarachi, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Before a late night rehearsal in December, Terrence Floyd couldn’t remember the last time he squatted on a drum throne, sticks in hand and ready to perform. Surely, he said, it had not happened since his brother, George Floyd, died at the hands of police in Minneapolis last May, sparking a global reckoning over systemic racism and police brutality. Now, Terrence is lending a talent he honed as a youngster in a church band to help produce and promote a forthcoming album of protest anthems inspired by the Black Lives Matter demonstrations prompted in part by his brother's death. “I want to pay my respects to my brother any way I can, whether it’s a march, whether it’s just talking to somebody about him, or whether it’s doing what I do and playing the drums,” Terrence told The Associated Press. “His heartbeat is not beating no more,” he said, “but I can beat for him.” The untitled project, set for release one year after George Floyd’s death, follows a long history of racial justice messages and protest slogans crossing over into American popular music and culture. In particular, music has been a vehicle for building awareness of grassroots movements, often carrying desperate pleas or enraged battle cries across the airwaves. Terrence was recruited for the project by the Rev. Kevin McCall, a New York City activist who said he believes an album of street-inspired protest anthems does not yet exist. “These protest chants that were created have been monumental,” said McCall. “It created a movement and not a moment.” Some songs make bold declarations, like the protest anthem album’s lead single, “No Justice No Peace.” The well-known protest refrain, popularized in the U.S. in the 1980s, is something that millennials grew up hearing before they joined the front lines of their generation’s civil rights movement, McCall said. McCall is featured on the track, along with his fiancée, singer Malikka Miller, and choir members from Brooklyn’s Grace Tabernacle Christian Center. The song is currently available for purchase and streaming on iTunes, Amazon Music and YouTube. Godfather Records, a label run and owned by David Wright, pastor of Grace Tabernacle Christian Center, plans to put out the seven-song album. His late father, Timothy Wright, is considered the “Godfather of gospel music.” “We’re mixing gospel music with social justice, to reach the masses,” Wright said. “We have always been strengthened through songs, like ‘We Shall Overcome’ and ‘Wade in the Water.’ I want to put a new twist on it.” There is a history of interplay between music and Black protest. The 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police Department officers — as well as the contemporary “war on drugs” — amplified NWA’s 1988 anthem, “F(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk) tha Police,” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” released in 1989. More recently, Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” Beyoncé’s “Freedom” featuring Lamar, and YG’s “FDT” provided a soundtrack for many BLM protests. Legendary musician and activist Stevie Wonder released his hit 1980 song, “Happy Birthday,” as part of a campaign to recognize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday as a federal holiday. King’s Day, which faced years of opposition at the national level, was officially recognized in 1986, three years after it won the backing of federal lawmakers. Some historians cite Billie Holiday’s musical rendition of the Abel Meeropol poem, “Strange Fruit,” in 1939 as one of the sparks of the civil rights movement. The song paints in devastating detail the period of lynching carried out against Black Americans for decades after the abolition of slavery, often as a way to terrorize and oppress those who sought racial equality. The new film “United States vs. Billie Holiday” depicts the jazz luminary’s real-life struggle to perform the song in spite of opposition from government officials. Singer and actress Andra Day, who portrays Holiday in the film, recently told the AP the song's significance influenced her decision to take on the role. “It was her singing this song in defiance of the government that reinvigorated the movement,” Day said. “And so that was really incentivizing for me.” Todd Boyd, the Katherine and Frank Price Endowed Chair for the Study of Race and Popular Culture at the University of Southern California, said many of the most well-known protest chants came out of the civil rights and Black power movements, and then inspired songs. “That’s how culture works,” Boyd said. “Something that starts out in one space can very easily grow into something bigger and broader, if the movement itself is influential.” Terrence Floyd said the protest anthem project feels like a fitting way to honour his brother’s memory. Many years before his death, George Floyd dabbled in music — he was occasionally invited to rap on mixtapes produced by DJ Screw, a fixture of the local hip-hop scene in Houston. “If his music couldn’t make it out of Houston, I’m using my Floyd musical ability to reach people in his name,” Terrence said. ___ AP entertainment reporter Jamia Pugh in Philadelphia contributed. ___ Morrison is a member of the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/aaronlmorrison. Aaron Morrison, The Associated Press
TORONTO — A few days before the Strumbellas were set to embark on a Canadian concert tour in January 2020, they dropped a bombshell announcement: the entire 14-city run of shows was being postponed as one of the band's own sought treatment for an unspecified illness. The news rocked their fanbase, but lead singer Simon Ward said the decision to cancel came during a crucial time. He was the unnamed member spiralling into a mental health crisis. Over a year later, he’s still digging himself out of it. "I'll be honest with you, it's been the worst year of my life," Ward explained in an interview from his home. "And every day I'm just here, trying to heal and get better." On Friday, the Strumbellas will release "Greatest Enemy," a new single that marks their first effort since Ward faced crippling depression and anxiety. He began writing the song before the six-member band sidelined their touring plans, and the band finished it during a recording session last November. Thematically, "Greatest Enemy" reflects on the overwhelming demons of the mind, but in true Strumbellas fashion, the words are paired with a soaring chorus of perseverance. It’s a formula that did wonders for the band in 2015 when "Spirits" elevated them from a ragtag group of Ontario indie musicians to a Top 40 success story, driven by an unforgettable chorus: "I got guns in my head and they won’t go. Spirits in my head and they won’t go." But the struggles hinted at in "Spirits" became all the more real for Ward as the Strumbellas embarked on a 2019 European tour for their followup album “Rattlesnake." Looking back, Ward says there were signs something was amiss. Sometimes it was as simple as him deciding to hide away in his hotel room when the rest of the group went to dinner together, he said. "It's so easy to isolate yourself when you're having mental health issues," he added. "All you want to do is… not be with other people. So I would stay by myself." But it was after the European leg of the tour wrapped and he returned to Canada that Ward started to realize something more serious was happening. "I started to feel so weird, like total lethargy," he said. "I couldn't get out of bed, dark thoughts, negative thoughts. Thoughts that were really mean to myself. I knew something wasn't right." Ward’s family paid him a visit, and he says that’s when he broke down, confessing to them that he was not doing well. He decided to check himself into a local hospital to seek professional help, receive a mental health assessment and discuss medications. "This has just been a full-on mental health year for me," he said. "(I’m) still in it, still working my way through it and struggling. I'm better now. But, you know, mental health is just such a tricky game. It seems to hang around, come back and float around." Getting the Strumbellas back on their feet will take some time. The band has worked on the early stages of new material in recent months, said guitarist Jon Hembrey. But a near-total shutdown of the concert industry during the COVID-19 pandemic has eased the pressure of getting back on the road. "I wouldn't bet any money on whether there will be shows in the summer," Hembrey said. "It's just too hard to tell." That's left room for the Strumbellas to interact with their fans in creative ways. Last year, they hopped on TikTok for the first time, creating a venue to answer questions about music, and recently for Ward to lend positive encouragement to others dealing with mental health hurdles. “A lot of people are in tough spots right now," he said, reflecting on how the live music industry has ground to a halt. "But everybody's going through it, so honestly make the best of it. We're just trying to make new music, get back in the groove of things and hang out again and see where it goes.” Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Health Canada has approved two more rapid tests that can indicate the prevalence of COVID-19 immunity, devices experts say should be used judiciously but can help ensure the success of vaccines. While there’s a more urgent push for rapid diagnostic tests to find current COVID-19 cases in the community, experts welcomed additional tools to reveal previous infections and antibodies that can shield populations from further outbreaks. Occupational and public health expert Thomas Tenkate notes many questions still surround emerging COVID-19 vaccines, including what level of protection is required for immunity, how long vaccines guard against infection, and whether and how various populations may respond differently. That's where strategic use of serology tests come in, such as the two point-of-care ones that got the green light Feb. 12, which join a list of others previously approved. While it’s believed previous COVID-19 infections may offer some immunity, exactly how much and for how long is not clear, and experts still advise recovered patients get a vaccine. "It really (provides) population-based research that will help in prevention, and better ways to fight the virus," says Tenkate, an associate professor at Ryerson University. Unlike diagnostic tests that reveal active infections, serology tests detect the presence of antibodies sparked by previous infection or a successful response to a COVID-19 vaccine. But the information they provide is limited and prone to misinterpretation, cautions Tenkate, who says the tests should be administered and interpreted by a health-care professional. Such dangers are highlighted in a New England Journal of Medicine article in which two FDA officials regret the way emergency approvals arrived in the United States in March 2020. "Knowing what we know now, we would not have permitted serology tests to be marketed without FDA review and authorization, even within the limits we initially imposed," Jeffrey Shuren and Timothy Stenzel say in the current print issue dated Thursday. The co-authors say government officials over-promoted the role of serology tests in reopening the economy, while the market was flooded with questionable products, some which performed poorly and many marketed in a way that conflicted with FDA policy. The FDA changed its policy May 4 to assess product claims, and by Feb. 1, 2021, had removed listings for 225 tests from its website, issued 15 warning letters, and placed 88 firms on import alert for violations. Serology tests aren't available for at-home use in Canada but the curious can obtain a test privately — LifeLabs advertises a $75 test on its website for residents in Ontario and British Columbia. Susan Paish, co-chair of the federal COVID-19 Testing and Screening Expert Advisory Panel, finds it hard to see the benefit of a serology test for individuals, stressing the value they offer in evaluating broader testing and vaccine strategy. Surveillance data can reveal things such as whether certain populations are more prone to asymptomatic infection, says Paish. "That's important to know because asymptomatic individuals can certainly spread the virus," says Paish. "You can make sure that you pay special attention to those individuals, make sure they're vaccinated." National efforts are underway to better understand immunity through Statistics Canada, in partnership with Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force. The voluntary Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey is mailing thousands of blood sample collection kits to measure the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies among Canadians, including those who never had symptoms. Health Canada's new approvals include one from China’s Assure Tech and a point-of-care device by BTNX Inc. of Markham, Ont. The Canadian test produces results in 15 minutes from a fingerstick blood sample, says chief financial officer Mitch Pittaway. It's meant to be delivered by a health-care professional in a clinic or health-care setting. He says clients in Europe include people who suspect they had COVID-19 but never displayed symptoms. "We see it used in dentists, doctor's office, any kind of clinics, pharmacies by the pharmacist on site," Pittaway says of overseas sales. "And really people who are, let's say, pre-vaccine. People who have been sick and are looking ... to confirm if they have in fact contracted COVID." Paish says comprehensive testing and screening programs will likely be needed in various environments such as long-term care facilities and workplaces, "until such time as we are really clear on the impact and accuracy of the vaccine programs." "It would be dangerous for society to think that once vaccines start to roll out there is no place for testing and screening strategies," she says. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's next adventure will be set in the far-off world of space fiction. Random House Canada announced on Tuesday that Hadfield's debut novel, "The Apollo Murders," is scheduled to hit shelves on Oct. 12. In a statement, Hadfield says the thriller will be rooted in the "little-known reality" of the Cold War-era space race, and will feature characters both real and imagined. Random House Canada says the story centres on a NASA crew racing against their Soviet rivals to reach the far side of the moon, but someone on-board the Apollo module has "murder on the mind." The publisher says the plot's twists and turns will be enriched by Hadfield's real-life knowledge of the otherworldly thrills of terrors of space flight. The former commander of the International Space Station already has a proven track record as a bestselling author, with previous titles including "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth," "You Are Here" and children's book "The Darkest Dark." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — On set they called her "COVID Cathy," or "CC" for short. As the COVID-19 supervisor on the new Toronto-shot CBC series "Pretty Hard Cases," Catherine Lang had to not only help develop pandemic protocols for the production, but also keep a close eye on the cast and crew to ensure they were following them. It can be a tricky position, having to police everyone while trying to prevent positive cases, but Lang says she was determined to keep the mood upbeat. "What I found the hardest about COVID supervising was that it's hard to spend 100 per cent of your day worrying about people's health. And unfortunately, I'm a bit of a worrier," Lang says. "Eating, breathing, sleeping — 24-7 — I couldn't get it out of my mind. Because at the beginning all I could think was, 'What if I do something or don't do something and somebody gets sick?' And that was quite a large stress for me." Lang's position, which is also sometimes called a COVID compliance officer, is a now common one on Canadian film and TV sets. And it's one she predicts will be around for another year or so. The supervisor typically works alongside the producers and a team of medical, health and safety professionals to create COVID protocols using government guidelines and ensure they're adhered to. Both industry and medical professionals can qualify for the position. "They were accepted, but definitely were the sort of hall monitors of the production shoot that can frustrate people when they're trying to do their jobs," Alex Jordan, a producer on Global's "Private Eyes," says of their COVID supervising team. "We had to be very cognizant of the mental health of everyone. To some people's opinion, you're not doing enough. And in some cases, people are like, 'This is too much. You're overkill.'" "Kim's Convenience" star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee says their COVID protocol officer was Cher Merlo, who has a background in film and TV production. She "worked tirelessly" on things like modifying the actors' masks and shields to ensure they would be effective but wouldn't disrupt their hair and makeup between takes. "She had the hardest job on set, because her job was to be the bad guy and to remind them of the protocols and of doing things like sanitizing your hands and wearing your mask and staying two metres apart," Lee says. "Pretty Hard Cases" stars Adrienne C. Moore and Meredith MacNeill say they went to great lengths to help Lang not feel "like a bad guy." "I remember when Cathy gave her first speech at the start, Adrienne and I looked at each other and then gave her the biggest cheer. We were like 'Cathy!'" says MacNeill. "We used to call her COVID Cathy. We were like 'CC, yes, in the house!' The staff knew Lang was "only trying to help," notes MacNeill. "So we approached it, and the whole crew approached it, with a 'thank you.'" Lang had worked as an assistant producer and production manager before becoming a COVID supervisor on "Pretty Hard Cases." Lang says she read everything she could about the virus and "spent many hours on the phone" with producer Wanda Chaffey and executive producer Amy Cameron. The three developed protocols for every department with a consulting physician. "As I would walk through the set, I would see people adjust their masks and pull their shields down. It was very cute," Lang says laughing. Of course, Lang also wore personal protective equipment, since she had to be in more spaces on set than most. She says she "never felt unsafe" but found the thought of somebody getting sick in the workplace "horrifying" and had to learn to stop worrying about things that were out of her control. "Eventually I had to say to myself, 'I can't stop this. I can control what happens in the workplace to an extent, but I can't control what happens outside of the workplace.'" The cast and crew were very compliant, Lang says, noting "everybody really wanted to be safe." Chassey and Cameron were with her every step of the way. In the end, they had no incident of anyone contracting COVID-19 at work, she says. While there were two positive cases, they were contracted outside production, caught through testing and had no community spread. Toronto nurse Meghan McKenna became a COVID supervisor on the CBC series "Coroner" through her employer, the third-party medical consulting firm Oncidium, which provided guidance and support to the show, including a full-time nursing staff. She hadn't worked in film and TV before and was "on a steep learning curve" in that regard as they collaborated with producers, she says. They held mandatory health sessions for everyone on set. One of McKenna's key goals was for the cast and crew to understand the uncertain nature of a pandemic, so if provincial case numbers rose and protocols changed, they would be onboard instead of feeling they were being fed misinformation. She also taught everyone how viruses or bacteria spread through communities, so when pandemic fatigue set in, they understood how to protect themselves and why every single protocol matters. The pressure on the job comes with not wanting to see the production fail, says McKenna. But her experiences working in hospital have taught her she "can't control what people are doing 100 per cent." She also likes the idea that should someone have a medical issue on set, she's able to guide them through it and manage it. McKenna's nursing background and experience in emergency rooms also helped her feel "fine with being the police" on set. "That is such a big part of health teaching, is telling people things they don't want to hear," she says. "I really like the challenge of getting through to someone over time." While producers say "Coroner" had "a few issues" with COVID-19 cases, they weren't on set, were easily contact-traced and had no community spread. And no one had to be reminded of the protocols later in production, McKenna says. "Everyone's helping remind each other," she says. "The crew is all keeping each other safe," adds "Coroner" executive producer Suzanne Colvin-Goulding. "Everybody has adopted the mentality that we are in this together." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
The first day of mass vaccinations began smoothly at the Montreal convention centre, where 2,000 people were scheduled to get their shot. It was the first day all Quebecers over 70 were eligible to be vaccinated.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether it is unconstitutional to exclude people living in Puerto Rico from Supplemental Social Security Income. The justices said they would hear an appeal, first filed by the Trump administration, of a lower-court ruling that held that residents of the U.S. territory should have the same access to SSI benefits as older, disabled and blind Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The administration argues that a pair of 40-year-old Supreme Court decisions already upheld the federal law that created SSI and excluded Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories from it. Congress later added in the Mariana Islands. In recent months, a federal judge ruled that Puerto Rico residents should have access to other federal welfare benefits from which they have been excluded as well. A federal judge in Guam said residents of that Pacific island also should be able to collect SSI. A separate program, Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled, covers residents of the territories, but it has more stringent eligibility requirements and pays less generous benefits than SSI. The Associated Press
La cinquième édition du salon "stages et emplois" 2021, qui s'est tenue virtuellement, a rassemblé un nombre record d'employeurs. Plusieurs chercheuses et chercheurs de stages et d’emplois de niveaux collégial et universitaire ont profité de cent kiosques virtuels d’entreprises et d’organismes lors du Salon stages et emplois. 1 046 clavardages en une seule journée Les employeurs et les organismes avaient l’occasion d’afficher un nombre illimité de postes permanents, d’offres de stages, d’offres d’emploi à temps partiel et d’été. Ils avaient également la chance de positionner leur marque employeur, de même que des photos, vidéos et coordonnées. « 100 employeurs ont participé au Salon virtuel. Ils ont affiché 500 offres de stages ou d'emplois, pour un total de 870 postes disponibles. Le Salon virtuel a attiré 380 visiteurs uniques, dont 205 provenant du Cégep et 175 de l'UQAT » fait savoir la directrice des Affaires étudiantes et des communications chez Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, madame Kathleen Slobodian. « Au total, 13 040 pages ont été visités (kiosques virtuels et offres d'emplois) sur les 10 jours. Il y a eu 833 clics pour postuler sur une offre d'emploi ou de stage et 1 046 clavardages en une seule journée » poursuit-elle. Une pénurie de main-d’œuvre Le directeur général du collège, monsieur Sylvain Blais, a exprimé sa joie quant à la possibilité pour la relève profiter d’une activité d’une telle envergure malgré la crise sanitaire actuelle. « La région connaît toujours une pénurie de main-d’œuvre importante dans plusieurs domaines où nous offrons une formation de grande qualité, reconnue ici comme ailleurs » a-t-il déclaré. Le Salon virtuel était accessible sur les navigateurs Google Chrome, Firefox et Edge et les chercheuses et chercheurs d’emploi avaient la possibilité d’y accéder via leur ordinateur, tablette ou téléphone intelligent. Pour des questions de sécurité des données, le Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, précise que les données virtuelles sont hébergées au Canada, et, bien sûr, à l’intérieur de serveurs sécuritaires. Une satisfaction atteinte Les organisateurs étaient très satisfaits du déroulement de cette nouvelle édition du salon "stages et emplois" 2021. « Nous avions 100 places disponibles et elles ont toutes été comblées. L'activité s'autofinance à 100 %. Nous pouvons observer que les étudiants ont navigué sur la plateforme virtuelle, ils ont posé leur candidature sur les offres disponibles. Les résultats du sondage de satisfaction aux employeurs et aux étudiants n'étant pas encore compilés, il est difficile de se prononcer sur l'atteinte des objectifs et sur les améliorations à apporter » souligne la directrice des Affaires étudiantes et des communications chez Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue. « Est-ce que l'événement a répondu aux attentes des employeurs et aux besoins des étudiants? C'est ce que nous saurons prochainement, car c'est la satisfaction des participants qui fait le succès de cette édition virtuelle. Nous espérons pouvoir revenir à un Salon en présentiel en 2022 ou de moins, à une formule hybride » a-t-elle conclu. Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
TORONTO — Alongside the headline-grabbing race for a COVID-19 vaccine, the hunt for effective treatments has unfolded with its own share of flameouts and triumphs.Thanks to large randomized trials in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, administering steroids to patients with moderate or severe illness has become part of standard care, but clinicians say few other tools have emerged.The best known COVID-19 drug is likely dexamethasone, a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects for hospitalized patients who need help breathing. But while that drug is credited with helping efforts to bring down hospital mortality rates, credit also goes to discoveries about what does not work against the novel coronavirus – thereby ensuring people get appropriate care.Here's a look at some of the drugs – deemed effective and not – that made headlines in recent months for fostering hype and hope:HEALTH CANADA-APPROVEDRemdesivir – Sold under the name Veklury, this Gilead Sciences drug was among various treatments given to former U.S. President Donald Trump when he successfully overcame COVID-19 last year. But its ability to cut deaths has since been largely discounted by a World Health Organization trial. An earlier study by Gilead found the drug helped moderately ill patients recover more quickly if given for five days, but that benefit was less clear if given over 10 days.Health Canada noted clinical trial data was limited when it approved remdesivir for COVID-19 last July but said "given the high unmet medical need and emergency context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Health Canada considered the balance of benefit and harm for Veklury to be positive."Bamlanivimab – The federal government paid US$32.5 million for 26,000 doses of this monoclonal antibody that targets the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Eli Lilly says an intravenous infusion can ease and prevent COVID-19 symptoms among mild-to-moderate cases in high-risk groups including seniors.Nevertheless, it has yet to be embraced by clinicians, with Hamilton infectious disease physician Zain Chagla calling it "a good example of a drug that might work on paper but really isn't a great drug to invest in."The associate professor of medicine at McMaster University points to barriers to implementation, which include the staffing and time required to implement the transfusion. Alberta Health Services says it's considering a trial to determine "potential for benefit and feasibility of use" while British Columbia said Monday a clinical trial in Surrey would be funded by AbCellera, the Vancouver company which helped discover bamlanivimab. CAUTIONS AGAINST EARLY HYPEHydroxychloroquine – Commonly used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, this drug earned infamy when U.S. President Donald Trump touted its efficacy with COVID-19 before the science was in. Since then, multiple rigorous trials have concluded it offers no benefit to preventing or treating illness while underscoring the dangers of mixing politics and science.Colchicine – Just last week, the Quebec government cautioned clinicians against embracing this anti-inflammatory as a COVID-19 therapy after the Montreal Heart Institute touted the common gout medication as "a major scientific discovery." Scientists at the National Institute for Excellence in Health and Social Services acknowledged the institute's study showed positive results, but said the benefit was too small.OTHER CONTENDERSTocilizumab – Dr. Niall Ferguson, head of critical care at the University Health Network and Sinai Health System, sees potential in early data for tocilizumab, approved for use in Canada to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Although evolving data has been mixed and is still emerging, Ferguson notes the monoclonal antibody is already being used off-label for some severe patients.Heparin – Canadian scientists involved in a global trial for this blood thinner say interim data suggests it can keep some moderately ill COVID-19 patients from deteriorating further. University Health Network scientist Ewan Goligher says the probability of requiring life support dropped by about a third among subjects. He expects the study's findings to be released soon.Peginterferon-lambda – Research into this prospective antiviral treatment was recently published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Lead researcher Dr. Jordan Feld, a liver specialist at UHN's Toronto Centre for Liver Disease, says a small Phase 2 trial found it significantly sped recovery for outpatients. Although more research is needed, he suspected it could offer an important way to quickly bring down the virus level in infected patients and reduce their risk of spreading disease to others.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2021. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
En vertu d’une décision du gouvernement de François Legault couvrant tout le Québec, la municipalité de Val-David, comme d’autres municipalités, doit offrir un terrain au Centre de services scolaires des Laurentides (CSSL), pour l’édification d’une école primaire. La municipalité compte présentement sur deux écoles publiques : soit Sainte-Marie (SM, 9 classes) et Saint-Jean-Baptiste (SJB, 15 classes). Deux écoles publiques des-servent une population d’un peu plus de 5 000 personnes. Les maisons d’enseignement accueillent 515 élèves : soit 323 élèves habitant à Val-David et 192 qui proviennent des environs (source : CSSL). Les projections démographiques, présentées lors de la réunion virtuelle du 23 janvier dernier, font passer la population de Val-David à 6 500 en 2035, soit un gain de 30 %. Cette augmentation, reflétée au niveau de la clientèle scolaire, ferait passer de 323 à 420 le nombre d’élèves de Val-David. « Nous aurons besoin de 19 classes, en 2035. L’ajout de 24 classes répond à un besoin régional, que le CSSL doit combler. Les plans sont de fermer la petite école de 9 classes (SM). On se retrouverait alors avec 15 classes (SJB) et 24 classes (possible-ment à la Sapinière), pour un total de 39 classes. Avec ce total, les deux écoles vont pouvoir accueillir entre 850 et 900 élèves », a exprimé l’ancien maire Pierre Lapointe. La mairesse Kathy Poulin a préféré déboulonner les appréhensions. « Le projet d’école est confirmé. En fait, il est en cours depuis 2017. Le terrain visé correspond à la vision (école de nouvelle génération, intégrée dans son milieu et dans son environnement, construite en bois, etc.). Ces qualités ont permis de faire bonifier l’enveloppe monétaire reçue à 30 millions de dollars. L’école occuperait seulement une portion du terrain de la Sapinière », a-t-elle spécifié. L’ex-élu Lapointe se questionne à savoir si une nouvelle école de 24 classes à Val-David est nécessaire. « Poser la question, c’est y répondre. Non seulement ça ne répond pas à un besoin de notre village, mais les dégâts sont à venir. 1) Financier: déjà les avocats sont dans le dossier (La Sapinière). (…) Exproprier un commerce existant, cela coûte très cher. Ce que Val-David devra payer, c’est beaucoup plus que la valeur marchande du terrain. 2) Construire une école dans un cul-de-sac, c’est une aberration en termes de sécurité publique. (…) 3) Il faut une étude d’impact sur la circulation automobile dans un petit village. Le résultat quotidien sera désastreux : Val-David va être bloqué par la circulation automobile », a-t-il prédit. Pour sa part, la mairesse Poulin a décrit le projet de la manière suivante. « La nouvelle école devra respecter le cadre règlementaire de la ville. Nous avons des besoins pour une bibliothèque, un local d’informatique et pour des intervenants. L’école Sainte-Marie ne répond plus aux critères. Plutôt que d’envoyer nos enfants ailleurs, aussi bien faire ça chez nous. » « De même, la circulation fait partie de la planification. Une rue sera aménagée et un rond-point est prévu. On mise aussi sur le transport actif. Il ne faut pas exagérer : ce sera à l’échelle du village. Pas une gigantesque école secondaire de 200 classes. » Ève Ménard, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
Infectious disease experts and COVID-19 modelers are sounding alarm bells of an approaching third wave expected to be driven by more contagious variants of the virus.But while we brace for Wave 3, some are wondering if we ever actually cleared Wave 2, especially in populous areas of the country where transmission has remained more steady.Experts say the definition of what constitutes a "wave" and pinpointing when it's passed isn't so clear.Some say we're on the tail end of the second wave now, as evidenced by the downward trend of cases across the country, while others say ebbs and flows haven't been uniform enough to determine when one wave ends and another begins. Caroline Colijn, a COVID modeler and mathematician at Simon Fraser University, says the word "wave" has been somewhat misleading. Waves of viruses tend to ease up on their own as immunity grows within a population, she says, which we haven't reached yet with COVID.Instead, the ebb and flow of SARS-CoV-2 has been dictated by our own actions, Colijn added, for instance restrictive measures that limit the ability of the virus to spread."This isn't a wave, it's a forest fire," Colijn said. "We turn the hoses off and the flames build up again and we get exponential growth. Then we turn the hoses back on and cases decrease." Colijn, whose modelling predicts steep rises in cases around the end of February in six of Canada's biggest provinces, says the challenge of "wave language" is that when waves recede, people think the threat has ceded with it.But until we reach levels of herd immunity, she says, that's not going to happen."We're not seeing a natural tailing off. We're seeing things drop because of restrictions — those fire hoses we put in front of the fire," she said. "Then we turn the hoses off and we're surprised that this wave is coming back."Canada's top doctors said Friday that eight provinces have reported cases of new COVID variants, with three of them showing evidence of community transmission.Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said there had been 429 cases of the variant first identified in the U.K., 28 cases of the variant first identified in South Africa, and one of the variant first found in Brazil.While it sounds like a small number compared to our population, University of Manitoba virologist Jason Kindrachuk says the heightened transmissibility of those variants makes the situation more alarming.Compounding things further is that true prevalence of the variants nationwide is unknown, he added, though some jurisdictions have been doing point-prevalence studies to help determine that. Kindrachuk says one or two cases, when caught early and isolated, aren't too concerning. But danger proliferates as more pop up."You have that initial fire and then sparks start flying ... and that leads to a bunch of small fires," he said. "If those start to catch, you lose the ability to necessarily keep things in control." Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, says the presence of more transmissible variants means people should be more diligent in adhering to current safety measures aimed at slowing the spread of other COVID strains, including limiting contacts, mask-wearing and distancing.The spike in variant cases comes at a time when Canada appears to be "two-thirds of the way down the curve," Tam said, as overall COVID cases fall.Some jurisdictions, like Ontario, have taken that as reason to reopen. Most of the province is moving away from its stay-at-home orders next week, even though projections released Thursday show a potentially rapid rise by late February. Dr. Andrew Morris, an infectious disease expert with the University of Toronto, says reopening Ontario now could lead to further lockdowns in the province later."I anticipate our numbers over the next two weeks are going to be pretty good, but it's four weeks from now, six weeks from now that I'm most concerned about," he said.Troy Day, a COVID modeler out of Queen's University, says the problem with the variants is that they're still lurking beneath the surface. And they may not truly be seen until they take hold more firmly.Day said he's concerned about a third wave in Canada because places like Britain have shown similar trajectories."Cases go down and you think everything's OK, but underneath is actually an increase in variant cases that will eventually dominate everything," he said.Day says the word wave is "funny terminology," adding he's been hesitant to definitively label the ups and downs of COVID case counts that way."All the waves we've seen are driven largely by what we're doing to control it," Day said. "The more we open up and shut down, the more multiple waves we'll have."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press