A one-year-old boy is dead and two others were injured, including an OPP officer, in a confrontation outside Lindsay, Ont., on Thursday.
A one-year-old boy is dead and two others were injured, including an OPP officer, in a confrontation outside Lindsay, Ont., on Thursday.
Any members of the U.S. Congress who helped a crowd of President Donald Trump's supporters storm the Capitol should face criminal prosecution, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday. The unprecedented Jan. 6 attack on the seat of Congress left five dead and led the House to impeach Trump a second time, for a fiery speech that day in which he urged thousands of his followers to fight Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Democratic Representative Mikie Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot, has accused some Republican lawmakers of helping Trump supporters, saying she saw colleagues leading groups on "reconnaissance" tours on Jan. 5.
VICTORIA — British Columbia's provincial health officer expressed concern as she reported the first South African strain of COVID-19 uncovered in the province. Dr. Bonnie Henry says the person who contracted the South African variant had not travelled or had contact with anyone who did. She says officials are investigating where this person might have picked up the virus. Another person has also tested positive for the British variant of the virus, bringing that total to four cases, all connected to travel. Henry says there doesn't appear to have been any community spread of those infections. Officials reported 536 new infections and seven new deaths. This brings the total number of cases in B.C. to 59,608 and 1,038 fatalities. So far, 52,605 people have recovered from the virus and 69,746 COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — The Alberta government is easing public-health rules around funerals, outdoor gatherings and hair salons while warning residents to keep following other restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Starting Monday, personal and wellness services, including hair salons and tattoo parlours, can open by appointment only. Outdoor social gatherings, which were previously banned, will be allowed in groups of up to 10 people. And the limit on the number of people who can attend funerals is increasing to 20, although receptions are still prohibited. On Thursday, Alberta reported 967 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths due to the illness. There were 806 people in hospital, with 136 of those in intensive care. "Alberta's hospitalizations and case numbers remain high and they pose a threat to our health system capacity," Health Minister Tyler Shandro told a news conference. "Today, we can't entirely ease up ... but we can make small adjustments to provide Albertans with some limited activities." Back in November, the United Conservative government banned indoor gatherings and limited outdoor groups, along with funerals and weddings, to 10 people. In early December, as COVID-19 infections spiked to well over 1,000 a day, Premier Jason Kenney announced a strict lockdown similar to one in the spring during the first wave of the pandemic. In addition to banning outdoor gatherings, restaurants and bars were limited to delivery and takeout. Casinos, gyms, recreation centres, libraries and theatres were closed. Retail stores and churches were allowed to open but at 15 per cent capacity. He also imposed a provincewide mask mandate, making Alberta the last province in the country to have one. Those rules remain in place and need to be followed, said Shandro. Alberta's chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said officials looked at the province's COVID-19 data along with research from other parts of the world about what settings were seeing the most transmission. Funerals, outdoor gatherings and personal service businesses show a lower level of risk, she said. Easing these rules now will act as a test case, she added. Case numbers will have to be lower before any other restrictions are loosened. "This is our opportunity to give Albertans a little bit more freedom and the ability to do a few more activities in a safe way," Hinshaw said. "This really is up to all of us to be able to meet those step-wise levels going down to be able to open additional things going forward." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021 The Canadian Press
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A judge has declared a southern Alberta man with a history of sexually assaulting teen girls a dangerous offender, a designation that means he can be held in jail indefinitely. Trevor Pritchard of Coaldale, Alta., has been convicted of sexual assault five times between 2004 and 2019. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Johnna Kubic says despite attending sex offender programs while in jail, Pritchard made little or no progress and continued to reoffend. Kubic handed Pritchard an indefinite sentence in Lethbridge on Thursday. During the dangerous offender hearing process, his victims gave impact statements describing serious negative, long-term effects on their physical and emotional well-being. The victims said this included taking part in self-harm, struggling to maintain relationships, substance addiction, anxiety, and panic attacks. (LethbridgenewsNOW, The Canadian Press) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021 The Canadian Press
Working from home isn't an option for the many Canadians who work essential jobs, and neither is paid sick leave. As Mike Drolet explains, advocates say that has to change if Canada wants to get COVID-19 under control.
Bumped from online lessons, staring into black screens and teachers’ voices cutting out – that’s been the education experience for some rural students in the region since learning went remote. But two weeks in, the options to support rural families who have poor internet access and also live in cellphone dead zones are still few and far between. “You can hear every morning, ‘You’re glitchy, you’re getting cut out, I can’t hear you,’” Kelly Elliott said. “Everyone is struggling.” The Thames Centre deputy mayor lives in an area that can’t get consistent cell service. Coupled with slow internet, online learning becomes challenging for her two children. “We’re making it through the best we can,” Elliott said. “I think that’s all we can do.” While most school boards are supplying LTE-enabled devices to support families without internet access, they do no good if they can’t get a cell signal, like at Elliott’s house. Minister of Education Stephen Lecce says it's up to individual school boards to come up with plans for these families. “School boards are required to make provisions and adaptations for those students who are unable to learn remotely due to connectivity issues to ensure the continuity of learning,” said Caitlin Clark, a spokesperson for the minister. Clark said the Doug Ford Progressive Conservative government has invested nearly $1 billion to expand rural broadband and cellular service. Last week, Lecce announced $80 million to buy more online learning and connectivity devices. In-person learning outside of COVID-19 hot spots is scheduled to resume Jan. 25. Elliott said the province’s response puts too much onus on already strained school boards and teachers. “Everybody is just looking to everyone else to come up with a solution is the most frustrating part,” she said. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario slammed Lecce’s approach. “ETFO has repeatedly expressed concern to the Ministry of Education about gaps in equitable and consistent access to live streaming/synchronous learning,” president Sam Hammond said in an email. “Issues with internet connectivity, and limited access to high-quality internet service and devices continue to disadvantage students across Ontario.” Hammond said educators are doing their best to adapt to support all students, including providing paper resources when necessary. “These challenges will not disappear tomorrow,” he said. “This is why the provincial government must invest in additional safety measures now so we can resume in-person learning, which provides the best experience for learning, quality delivery, and is the most equitable model for all students.” Avon-Maitland parent Amy VanStraaten, who lives on a farm with spotty internet near Rostock, 10 minutes from Stratford, said her children are “off to a bumpy start” with online learning. Her children are in kindergarten and Grade 1. While the Avon-Maitland school board provided her with an LTE-enabled device for her kids, it uses Rogers cellular data, which doesn’t cover her area. “We’re kind of in limbo right now,” she said. Jane Morris, an Avon-Maitland superintendent, said they’re aware of three families in the region who aren’t able to connect with the Rogers LTE-devices. The board has acquired Bell SIM cards and is supplying those to families starting Thursday in hopes it gets the students online. “If that doesn’t work, we’re going to have to try to figure out what telco (telecommunications company) does provide coverage to those specific addresses,” Morris said. Some 200 LTE devices have gone out in the Avon-Maitland region. Families who opted not to do online learning receive paper packages by mail every two weeks. Morris said she wouldn’t want families forced into this option due to lack of internet. “It doesn’t provide the kind of rich educational experience that I think families need.” Since online learning began Jan. 5, VanStraaten has been using her personal cellular data to connect her kids to online learning and has already run through her monthly 20 gigabytes in just two weeks. She said the poor-quality connection is disrupting her children’s learning and social development. “The kindergartener, with not being able to see her class and teachers, a lot of what they’re doing is very visual . . . she’s having a really hard time,” VanStraaten said. “We’ve basically said we’ll join when internet allows.” Her daughter in Grade 1 is struggling as well when she can’t see or hear her classmates and teacher. “She’ll get frustrated and just burst into tears,” her mother said. VanStraaten said more could have been done to prepare for remote learning and to support rural families who can’t connect by broadband or cellular service. “It’s frustrating that we’re this far into (the pandemic), looking at another lockdown which we all saw coming and we are still waiting for a solution,” she said. She hopes the pandemic is a catalyst for the provincial and federal governments to prioritize investments in rural broadband service. “We’ve been saying it since the early 2000s. It's 20 years later and we still have this problem.” email@example.com The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
CBC "acted improperly" by firing a reporter who leaked to a news site that the network forced him to take down a tweet criticizing broadcaster Don Cherry, an arbitrator has ruled. Ahmar Khan, who worked in CBC's Manitoba newsroom as a temporary reporter/editor for a year before his termination in December 2019, is now entitled to be reinstated for a minimum of four months or receive four months of compensation, arbitrator Lorne Slotnick wrote in his ruling. "His chosen method of publicizing an internal CBC decision ordering him to take down a tweet was, in my view, like other public comment from CBC employees, not intended to harm the CBC or its reputation, nor is there any evidence that it did so," Slotnick wrote. CBC had said Khan was fired — not because of the tweet — but for both the leak and for homophobic and other disparaging remarks he was found to have made online. But Slotnick ruled those reasons "amounted to, at most, a minor indiscretion" and were "far overshadowed" by a breach of privacy that uncovered Khan's activities. "Consequently, my conclusion is that the CBC acted improperly by dismissing him for cause," Slotnick wrote. Khan declined to comment about the decision when contacted by email. He tweeted one word — "Vindicated" — early Wednesday. Meanwhile, in a statement, CBC restated that its actions against Khan "were not related to his tweet regarding Don Cherry." The network added: "As was noted in the ruling, our actions were not considered discriminatory and there was no breach of Human Rights law." Cherry was fired in November 2019 after an outburst on Hockey Night in Canada in which the controversial commentator spoke about Remembrance Day and his outrage over "people that come here" — referring to immigrants — and don't wear poppies. Khan was offended by Cherry's remarks and tweeted that his Coach's Corner segment should be cancelled. He said Cherry's "xenophobic comments being aired weekly are deplorable." When CBC management learned of Khan's tweet, he was told it violated the policy on reporters expressing opinions, according to Slotnick's ruling. Khan, who was 23 at the time, was asked to delete the tweet, which he did, reluctantly, and he wasn't disciplined for his actions, the decision says. But Khan also told management that he believed CBC's policies were being applied selectively, and in a way that was harmful to journalists of colour, according to his testimony, which ran for seven days over several months last year. He testified he wasn't satisfied with the answers he got from management and decided to leak what had transpired to the news site Canadaland, which published the story on Nov. 14. Khan testified he was conflicted about telling Canadaland, but felt a discussion was necessary about race and the CBC and about how its journalism policies were, in his view, silencing employees of colour. Later that November, another CBC reporter, Austin Grabish, using a shared company laptop that Khan had used, discovered Khan's personal Twitter and WhatsApp accounts were still logged in, and found messages that included an admission that Khan had contacted Canadaland. "I noticed a WhatsApp screen that I was unfamiliar with and opened it," Grabish said in a statement to CBC on Thursday. "I was shocked and disappointed to see both a thread of misinformation about the CBC and several homophobic messages. "As a gay man, I know what it's like to be marginalized and grew up repeatedly being the subject of regular homophobic slurs and bullying because of my sexual orientation." However, Slotnick found that Grabish had conducted a search of Khan's WhatsApp account to find some of these messages. In another message, Khan referred to management as "assholes" for accusing him of violating CBC journalist policies. Khan had also sent a message to Andray Domise, a columnist with Maclean's magazine, who subsequently posted a tweet saying that CBC had made Khan take down the original tweet. Grabish relayed what he found to management, who took screenshots of some of the messages. Khan was fired on Dec. 3, 2019, in part, according to the decision, for "contacting external outlets about the order to delete the Cherry tweet, and for making disparaging comments about CBC management and its policies." He was also cited for making a homophobic slur on WhatsApp where his profile identified him as a CBC employee, says the ruling. Khan testified the alleged slurs were a joke among friends, according to the ruling, and reiterated that position Thursday in an email to CBC. "A friend and I were mocking a friend who uses that word in an effort to tell him to not use that language as it's derogatory and hurtful," he wrote in reference to the homophobic slur cited by Grabish. Grievance filed The union representing Khan, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), filed a grievance on his behalf, alleging the CBC violated the collective agreement, the Canada Labour Code, the Privacy Act, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It argued Khan had a reasonable expectation that his messages, even though they were on a company laptop, were private and that they should not have been used by management in the decision to fire him. The union also claimed that Khan was not seeking vengeance or to embarrass someone, but was calling for a public discussion about CBC's journalism policies and how they were silencing employees of colour. In his ruling, Slotnick said Khan had a reasonable expectation of privacy for his messages and that his right to privacy was violated, which "tainted the entire process that led to the termination of his employment." He said it was clear that Grabish could not have found what he did without conducting a search and that any suggestion that all the messages were on the screen when Grabish opened the laptop defies logic, given that some of them were months old. Slotnick also said he agreed with the union that "if employees could lose their jobs for privately criticizing their bosses — even if in crude terms — this country would be facing a severe labour shortage." WATCH | Cherry says he regets choice of words: He also rejected the notion that the CBC's reputation had suffered. "In an institution and an atmosphere where controversy is inherent in the nature of the product, my view is that it is an unfounded leap of logic to suggest that Mr. Khan's actions regarding a tweet somehow affected the CBC's reputation," he wrote. Kim Trynacity, CBC branch president of the CMG, said the union is extremely pleased with the ruling, which "upheld the reasonable expectation of personal privacy" for employees. "In trying to settle this grievance, it must be noted CMG has always focused on how management treated Khan, and how it dealt with a situation of a racialized temporary employee," she said in a statement. "Management failed to respect Khan's reasonable expectation of privacy which is a clear violation under our collective agreement."
East Ferris is pulling the plug on its community centre rink and curling ice in Astorville due to the uncertainty of escalating provincial restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jason Trottier, chief administrative officer, said Thursday that the ice will come out Monday following discussions during their community emergency management meeting. “We tried to make it work,” Trottier said about the decision to open the rink this winter despite not knowing if groups would be able to rent enough hours to justify the expenditure. “But it doesn’t make sense now,” he added, noting the provincial restrictions extending the shutdown until Feb. 10 was only leaving a month or so of hockey. And Trottier said there’s no guarantee there won’t be further extensions. The cost of keeping the ice plant running without customers and prospect of more dead time without revenue left little recourse, he said. George Suszter, president of East Nipissing Minor Hockey Association, said the decision isn’t surprising considering the complexity of the pandemic restrictions, cost and unknown timeframes. “I understand their decision because the taxpayers will have to pay the brunt of the cost,” he said, although as a sport program administrator it “would be nice to have had an option.” Suszter said it is “kind of sad to hear because even if the players are not able to play hockey right now they had hope in a month it would come back.” The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit was telling municipalities Thursday to close their outdoor rinks as well to further protect from viral transmission. The province had said Tuesday that outdoor rinks could stay open if protocols and limits on numbers were maintained. And Trottier said East Ferris was going to keep their Corbeil rink in the Bill Vrebosch Park open before hearing the health unit edict. Suszter said they actually had almost 90 percent of their membership totals from the previous year even though it was under modified playing rules. Hockey was giving the youth and the parents an opportunity for in-person interaction that’s important for mental health, he said. “It brought joy and happiness to the kids, it was a glimmer of normality” in unprecedented times, Suszter said. “People need to see there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Mankind is not made to isolate from others.” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas man was accused Thursday of beating a police officer with a pole flying a U.S. flag during last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents. In an arrest affidavit filed Thursday in federal court in Washington, an FBI agent said Peter Francis Stager is shown in video and photographs striking a prone police officer repeatedly with the flagpole after rioters dragged the officer down the Capitol's west stairs. Confidential informants had recognized Stager in riot video and photographs and alerted authorities, who have charged Stager with interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder, according to the affidavit. Stager was in custody Thursday, said Allison Bragg, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock, Arkansas. She referred all questions about the arrest to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, where a spokesman did not immediately return a message Thursday. No attorney was listed for Stager in court records. Stager is the second Arkansas resident to be arrested and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists that left five people dead, including a police officer. A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday in federal court in Little Rock for Richard Barnett, 60, of Gravette, Arkansas, who remains in federal custody after his arrest on charges that included unlawfully entry to a restricted area with a lethal weapon — in this case, a stun gun. The FBI identified Barnett as a rioter photographed sitting in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office chair during the Capitol insurrection. He surrendered to federal agents on Jan. 8. The Associated Press
REGINA — The head of the Saskatchewan Health Authority says the province's health-care system is at its most fragile point yet during the pandemic as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb."With all the other pressures the system is experiencing ... and now with immunization and helping to manage outbreaks, we're pushing ourselves to the absolute limit," CEO Scott Livingstone said during a briefing. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the province has the country's highest rate of active cases per 100,000 people at 319. Another 312 infections were reported Thursday.Dr. Saqib Shahab, chief medical health officer, said he will recommend the government introduce stricter public health measures if he keeps seeing 300 or more new infections daily,Premier Scott Moe and Shahab decided earlier this week to wait another 14 days to see if existing public health orders bring down a spike in cases, which the pair attributed to holiday gatherings. A virus expert cautioned against the idea that the current spread is a reflection of Christmas."There is always a danger in looking at or viewing it from that perspective because there's maybe the tendency to think that, 'OK, in a few weeks time things will turn around," Dr. Jason Kindrachuk said from Saskatoon. "Once the transmission chains start we have to try and slow those down."Current measures forbid guests in private homes, but people can still gather outdoors in groups of 10, go shopping and visit restaurants — although businesses must restrict their capacity. Same with personal services, such as hair salons. Bingo halls and casinos are the only activities shut down and team sports are banned, except for kids in small practice groups."If we want our numbers to go down, we need to actually hit the brakes," said Kyle Anderson, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon."We need to either compel people or convince people that they need to be more responsible in what they're doing."Moe, citing concern over job losses and people's well-being, has rejected returning the province to a full economic shutdown."We all know the right things to do even if we aren't forced to do it. And the fact that Saskatchewan has the worst numbers means we are following the rules the least," said Anderson.As of Thursday, 206 people were in hospital with COVID-19 — the most to date — and 34 of them were receiving intensive care. For weeks, health officials have warned about the strain the pandemic's second wave has been having on contact tracing and ICUs. The health authority said normally the province has 75 intensive care beds and has created 16 more, which are used depending on demand. Of the 91 available beds, 82 were full Thursday, with 34 of the patients sick with COVID-19. Anderson said he expects to see more hospitalizations because people who are in those beds now became infected weeks ago, and there's a lag time before more recent cases result in hospital admissions.Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine, also a professor at the University of Saskatchewan in community health and epidemiology, said circumstances change quickly in a pandemic, and the province's active case rate could be lower by the weekend. But he doesn't believe Saskatchewan would fall far behind that many other provinces. He suggested what's more important is to watch the trajectory of new infections, which has formed a "steep slope.""There is a correlation, connection between more cases, more hospital beds occupied, also more ICU care needed and more deaths."It's more, more, more."He said another concerning trend is how many people are dying each day, including those who weren't living in long-term care homes or who were younger than 50.Since the start of January, health officials have reported 51 deaths. "That worries me," said Muhajarine.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Chuck Schumer is used to drinking from a firehose. But the incoming Senate majority leader has never taken on such a torrent of challenges, with the opening days of both the Biden administration and Democratic control of the Senate coming at the very moment an impeachment trial gets underway. A 38-year veteran of Congress who first came to the Senate during President Bill Clinton's impeachment, Schumer is a 70-year-old bundle of energy with one overriding mandate: Help Joe Biden become a successful president. To do so, he’ll have to leverage the narrowest possible majority — a 50-50 Senate with the incoming vice-president, Kamala Harris, delivering the tiebreaking vote. It's a tough assignment. It's far easier, though often unsatisfying, to be a minority leader equipped with the tools of obstruction than it is to be a majority leader armed mostly with persuasion. But the goodwill Schumer enjoys with key members, and his careful management of the party's constituencies, could help ease the way. “Chuck Schumer has done a remarkable job as our caucus leader the last four years holding our caucus together," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., as he entered the Senate chamber during last Wednesday's Electoral College count, speaking just before a mob of violent supporters of President Donald Trump assaulted the Capitol and the situation turned dire. Then Schumer appeared. “What did I just give a quote about? Our capable majority leader!" Coons said. “Again!" a jubilant Schumer exclaimed. “More adjectives! More adjectives!" Less than an hour later, Schumer was in peril, under the protection of a Capitol Police officer with a submachine gun standing between him and GOP leader Mitch McConnell as the mob breached the building. The ransacking of the Capitol has brought impeachment to the Senate's door again and set Republicans on their heels. And it's put a spotlight on whether the polarized, diminished chamber can process Biden's agenda. Take the installation of Biden's Cabinet. The Senate has traditionally tried to confirm a batch of the most important nominees on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, and the days thereafter. But to do so requires the co-operation of the entire Senate. Democrats slow-walked many of Trump's Cabinet picks four years ago after a crushing election loss, but there's a palpable sense that Republicans may be more co-operative now, at least when confirming national security nominees and picks like Janet Yellen to run the Treasury Department. Schumer seeks — and is used to operating in — the spotlight, whether he’s helping run the unwieldy, increasingly divided Senate, micromanaging his beloved Democratic caucus or crisscrossing New York. Any of these is a full-time job. And they don’t always point him in the same direction. For instance, Biden is preaching bipartisanship, and Schumer wants to help, but tensions are inevitable with ardent progressives such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an ambitious Bronx Democrat whom Schumer allies are watching closely as he runs for a fifth term in 2022. Schumer was a force in Biden's decision to “go big” on Thursday with a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus bill that was bigger than earlier Biden drafts. Progressives hailed the measure. Meanwhile, the prospect of an impeachment trial in the opening days of Biden's term adds a huge degree of uncertainty. Senate rules are unforgiving, but Schumer and McConnell are hoping to establish a dual-track process to confirm nominations even as the trial unfolds. McConnell and Schumer have a tortured, tense relationship after years of bruising political battles and fights over Supreme Court nominees. They rarely talk spontaneously and have no hesitation in slinging barbs that earlier generations of leaders managed to avoid. But Biden and McConnell are long-standing friends, and the Kentucky Republican — pondering a “guilty" vote in Trump's second impeachment trial and still absorbing the disastrous Senate losses in Georgia — appears inclined to help Biden as best he can. The events of the past week, as damaging and unsettling as they were for the country, seem likely to assist Biden and Schumer. What is more, Democratic control of the chamber comes with filibuster-proof treatment of Biden's nominees, with only a simple majority needed, though Republicans could easily force delays. McConnell and his Republican caucus want to “reasonably co-operate on the national security nominations,” said Hazen Marshall, a former McConnell policy aide. “His view has traditionally been that presidents deserve their staff, unless their staff are crazy or criminals." But GOP senators are sure to drag their feet on less urgent Cabinet posts given the experience under Trump, when even former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., had to endure delays. But with the economy slipping and the public appalled by the melee in Washington, GOP resistance to Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package or his slate of Cabinet picks may not be as resolute. “There's a lot to do, but Democrats are on the right side of all of it," said former Schumer strategist and confidant Matt House. “These are good problems to have." Amid the dizzying pace, Schumer also tends to New York. A Brooklyn native, Schumer makes a visit to each of the state's 62 counties every year. And his spur-of-the-moment visits to local events like high school graduations and, more recently, unannounced drop-ins on community Zoom calls are the stuff of legend. Last Thursday, little more than 24 hours after the Capitol riot, Schumer hopped on a call with a community board in Sunnyside, Queens. He spent the opening minutes thanking board members. “You guys and gals do a great job — I know what it’s like," Schumer said, according to the Sunnyside Post. “When things go bad you hear about it; when things are great you hear nothing.” And after Trump's impeachment Wednesday, Schumer heaped praise on local New York media members in a call with publishers and broadcasters thanking him for steering stimulus dollars to struggling news outlets, according to an account by the Syracuse Post Standard. But he had to jump. “Pelosi has called me and Biden, so I won’t be able to be on for too long," Schumer said. Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
The Town of Gananoque will seek funding to develop an environmental action plan. In July 2019, Gananoque council declared a climate emergency, and in early 2020 created an environmental working group. Now, Coun. David Osmond, who sits on the working group, has proposed a motion to apply for funding to pay for an environmental action plan to be developed by a consultant. "I see this as a motion that's a follow-up to a promise we made when we declared a climate emergency, so we hand over the municipality in better shape than we received it," said Osmond, adding: "This climate crisis isn't going away, and it affects every resident and business in this community." Although there was some hesitation, the motion passed, and it authorizes staff to apply for funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities under the Green Municipal Fund for up to $40,000 to cover 50 per cent of the cost to develop an environmental action plan for the town. Osmond told council he had done some preliminary research and learned that a formal action plan by a qualified consultant could cost up to $80,000. "I feel this is an important issue, but to spend $80,000 on a consultant seems steep. We can put a plan in place in-house and it doesn't have to cost us anything," said Coun. Adrian Haird. His sentiments were echoed by Mayor Ted Lojko, but as the town's chief administrative officer Shellee Fournier explained, that would be a challenge. "We don't have anyone in-house with environmental expertise," said Fournier, adding that for staff to apply for the funding it would need to have a commitment from council for the other half of the money. "FCM won't consider the application unless council has committed the other piece of the funding," said Fournier. If the town's application is successful, council has committed to kicking in the balance of funds ($40,000) out of reserves, according to town treasurer Melanie Kirkby. It's not clear whether the town will forge ahead if the application fails to secure the funds, but the issue will come back to council. The idea of putting an action plan in place is to set clear objectives and provide the town with a starting point so staff can apply for green grants and start implementing environmental initiatives in town, said Osmond. "Just like the FCM grant we are going after to help cover 50 per cent of this plan, funding bodies require documentation to support applications' most if not all government grants want to know and see a municipality has a plan before they are considered for funding," said Osmond. The current environmental action group is made up of volunteers with a keen interest in the environment. "People and organizations can't sit back and wait, but we urge people to get involved, start something and reach out. It doesn't need to come from this working group to happen or even get support," said Osmond, adding that there is no formal membership for the group and people come and go as they please. At this time the group shares tips and stories through social media. Among its successes was the sharing of an easy way to build compost boxes which, according to Osmond, reached over 1,200 people. "Our site and members promote the green grant to help take-out restaurants switch to biodegradable containers. This got off to a slow start but as people become informed applications have increased significantly, which will have a real impact on waste reduction and keeping our town and rivers clean," said Osmond. The group was also behind setting up a Styro-bin so residents could drop packing grade Styrofoam to be sent to a Belleville company that recycles Styrofoam into solid blocks which eventually become picture frames and trim. "We have already filled one shipping container, which would have all gone to a landfill," said Osmond. There have been other initiatives brought forward by the group that the town has investigated but deferred for now.Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
Northern Health has released a second COVID-19 exposure notice for Uplands Elementary School in Terrace. The exposure occurred Jan. 4 to Jan. 6 according to the notice, which is posted on the Coast Mountains School District 82 website. Jan. 4 was the first day students were back in class after the winter break. There have been numerous COVID-19 exposure notices for Terrace schools issued by Northern Health since Nov. 2020, and nearly all Terrace schools have had at least one exposure notice. Uplands Elementary School’s first exposure took place on Nov. 30, and Dec. 1, 2020. The last COVID-19 school exposure notice in the Terrace area was issued by Northern Health on Jan. 11, regarding an Jan. 4 exposure at Skeena Middle School. It was the first exposure notice issued after the winter break.Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Residents in small municipalities with water and sewer systems constantly feel the pain of ever-increasing rates, a problem the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands wants to take up with the province. Township council members are struggling to keep rates at a level that residents can afford, but with only 300 users on their system it’s a losing battle, unless they can successfully lobby the Ontario government. "The legislation is that rates must recover operation and capital costs of a water and wastewater system; it cannot come out of taxes,” said Kate Tindal, director of finance. Right now the township is looking to increase water and wastewater rates by 3.5 per cent, well below the 10 per cent annual increase recommended by the water and wastewater study completed by Watson and Associates in 2020. "These water and wastewater systems were put in by a very zealous (at the time) provincial government and the ultimate unintended consequence is in the magic word 'unaffordable' for small communities. I think we as a township have to knock on the provincial door and say 'you constructed this thing for us generously but didn't think it through' – how is a community of 300 households going to pay for a $20-million asset?" asked Coun. Brock Gorrell. As Tindal warned council at the outset, adopting lower than recommended rate increases will put the township behind in achieving full cost recovery as per the provincial mandate. "Ultimately rates are going to get beyond what our folks can afford. We have a policy issue that users have to pay for the system, so we should take the initiative to open the dialogue with the provincial government to see what remedies there might be in the mid-term," agreed Coun. Mark Jamison. Leeds and the Thousand Islands is not alone. There are numerous other small rural municipalities in the same boat. As things stand under the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act, there is an expectation that only users pay for the system. If there is a catastrophic failure within a system that needs to be addressed in a single year, a municipality would have to borrow money to pay for the repairs and then recover that outlay from the ratepayers. Water and Wastewater are not and cannot be tax-supported under provincial legislation. "The way the legislation is written, it's intended that the rates recover the money necessary to fund operating and capital operations, and yes it's going to be very challenging with the number of users on the system," said Tindal. Water and wastewater users in Lansdowne already pay on average $1,751 per year for the service. If the township adopted the Watson and Associates recommendation of 10 per cent increases per year for 10 years, those same ratepayers would have to pay $3,639 a year by the year 2030 – more than double what they're paying today. During budget deliberations last month, council members balked at such a hefty increase and opted for a much lower 3.5 per cent increase to be reviewed within two years once the asset management plan gets caught up with the projected needs of the system. But as the township gets ready to ratify the increase, councillors are realizing that user rates are not a reasonable solution for systems that cost tens of millions. "Perhaps we can do some outreach through AMO (the Association of Municipalities of Ontario) and see if they have a working group addressing this issue. I will undertake that," said township CAO Stephen Donachey.Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
There is sometimes a perception that disordered eating is a challenge most often faced by women and girls, but this is a perception that is being challenged by the Aurora-based Riverwalk Wellness Centre as they aim to ramp up help for males looking to overcome and recover. Riverwalk, formerly Eating Disorders of York Region, recently received an anonymous donation specifically to help them reach males in the community who might be struggling. “We are deeply appreciative for the donation,” says Riverwalk Executive Director Janice Morgante. “We receive calls every day from individuals looking for support and it can be from anywhere, even Nunavut because support is so hard to find.” Riverwalk was founded in 2004 after several families came together after the death of a young woman, who used resources from her memorial fund to start an agency to address urgent and unmet needs for those suffering from disordered evening. It is a grassroots organization which offers a variety of assistance and support programs well beyond their home base of York Region. This most recent donation enables them to meet further needs that were previously unmet. “If I am speaking to someone who is a male, or calling about a male they know, after we have gotten to know each other a bit in that conversation I can explore with them the support that can be made available that they otherwise may not be able to manage without this donation,” says Ms. Morgante. “It’s the same conversation I would have with anyone, but unfortunately we don’t have the donors at this point, although that could change, who would want to make contributions for which we can issue an official income tax receipt and allow us to support even more people. “As an example, we have been getting calls from students who have no financial means; they are not working, they are not on campus, they have no contact with what might have been on-campus support, although that was likely not specialized around disordered eating, but they have really stressful situations as many people do right now. My heart breaks for students. I can tell you from first-hand experience how the room lights up when we’re able to address real financial need.” The donation will also help to provide outreach to the male population. Although Ms. Morgante says she has no firm reasons on why males are sometimes more reluctant to seek help, she says that this demographic sometimes flies under the radar. “Someone in that person’s circle just doesn’t think about it,” she says. “That is where information is so helpful. There isn’t anyone who is immune to anxiety, depression, stress and trauma, and all of the aspects of difficult coping that we’re experiencing right now with COVID. There isn’t any reason to think that one person over another would be inclined to use food as a way to cope. "Another aspect is, using the lens of common sense, younger individuals and children have access to food in their home and not to the liquor store, and hopefully not to their local drug dealer. No one goes out of their way to decide they are going to use food as a coping strategy, or any other substance. All of us needs coping strategies and hopefully somewhere along the way we have acquired positive coping strategies but, of course, that is not always the case. “Now, we’re able to offer support to a 13-year-old boy whose single mom would not have the financial means to get him the help he needs. In this case, it was a teacher who noted the difference in the young boy from last year to this year and alerted mom. It can be that we’re all so busy coping ourselves that we might not be paying as much attention to, for instance, males and the negative coping strategies that might be prevalent.” We’re all human and we all need help in unique ways, she says, but it is sometimes the case that people don’t know that their coping strategies are detrimental – and it can take a while before that moment of realization arrives. Through Riverwalk’s Faces of Recovery campaign, people who have been down that road highlight when they “awoke” to the fact their health was suffering and why they sought support. “We look at this as a circle of support – a ‘circle’ because we know all of us are flexible, we move forward, we move back, not necessarily in a straight line when we decide something doesn’t seem right and we would like to find out more,” says Ms. Morgante. “Specialized knowledge of disordered eating is extremely important because those who mean well that are not informed can cause more harm, quite unintentionally. “A diagnosis [for our programs] is not required. Someone can just have some thoughts, concerns and questions, and, on our website, you will see a list of questions they can review and ponder. If they feel indeed there was something they wanted to know more about or seek some more support around, we’re here.” For more information on Riverwalk and the services they provide, visit edoyr.com. Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
WASHINGTON — The FBI is tracking an “extensive amount of concerning online chatter,” including calls for armed protests leading up to next week's presidential inauguration, Director Chris Wray said Thursday. Wray, in his first public appearance since the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, said in a security briefing for Vice-President Mike Pence that the FBI remains concerned about the potential for violence at protests and rallies in Washington and in state capitols around the country. Those events could bring armed individuals near government buildings and elected officials, Wray warned, while also noting, “One of the real challenges in this space is trying to distinguish what’s aspirational versus what’s intentional." Wray said the FBI was receiving a “significant” amount of information that it was pushing out to other law enforcement agencies ahead of the inauguration. Information-sharing is critical before any significant public event like the inauguration, but the issue is receiving particular scrutiny because of signs law enforcement was unprepared for the violent, deadly surge at the Capitol by loyalists of President Donald Trump. Federal officials have warned local law enforcement agencies that the riot at the Capitol is likely to inspire others with violent intentions. “We're looking at individuals who may have an eye towards repeating that same kind of violence that we saw last week,” Wray said, adding that since January 6, the FBI has identified over 200 suspects. “We know who you are. If you're out there, an FBI agent is coming to find you," he added. More than 100 people have been arrested so far, Wray said, and there are “countless” other investigations. States nationwide have already been stepping up security in preparation for possible armed protests and violence this weekend, particularly at statehouses amid legislative sessions and inaugural ceremonies. Officials are reassessing their security plans for high-risk targets and police in major cities are preparing to be put on tactical alert if necessary. An FBI bulletin earlier this week warned of potential armed protests in all 50 states. To monitor threats, share intelligence and decide how to allocate resources, the FBI during the inauguration will operate a round-the-clock command post at headquarters and at each of its 56 field offices, Wray said. “Our posture is aggressive, and it's going to stay that way through the inauguration,” he said. Separately, Pence returned to the Capitol on Thursday for the first time since the attempted insurrection forced security to whisk him to a secure location after rioters interrupted his work overseeing the congressional count of Electoral College votes. The vice-president visited with guard troops keeping watch outside the Capitol, telling them he’s familiar with the National Guard because he used to be a governor. “Thank you for stepping forward for your country,” Pence said. He told the troops they would be get to witness the transfer of power and thanked them for their service. “It’s been my great honour to serve as your vice-president,” Pence added, before ending with another round of thanks and wishing the troops a “safe inauguration and a swearing-in of a new president and vice-president.” In response, the guardsmen yelled, “Hooah.” _____ Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report. Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Toutes les régions administratives du Québec ont connu des changements démographiques importants entre le 1er juillet 2019 et le 1er juillet 2020. Selon l’Institut de la statistique du Québec, la Covid-19 a évidemment un lien, avec entres-autres, tous les décès, la fermeture des frontières, le ralentissement de l’immigration, ainsi que la diminution des échanges migratoires entre les régions.Alors que plusieurs régions éloignées, tel que le Bas-Saint-Laurent et la Gaspésie ont connu une croissance de leur population, la Côte-Nord est la seule où le nombre d’habitants a diminué, mais la décroissance aurait tout de même ralenti relativement aux années antérieures, avec une baisse de 1,9 pour 1000 habitants.C’est donc dire que la population actuelle de la Côte-Nord serait de 90 529 habitants, versus 92 713 en 2016, la classant au 16ème rang des 17 régions administratives du Québec.Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
With its own unique brand of “magic realism,” the novel Chasing Painted Horses has provided no shortage of inspiration for the Aurora Public Library and community groups as One Book One Aurora 2021 gets underway. As The Auroran reported last week, Drew Hayden Taylor’s novel about confronting old, yet vivid memories is at the centre of the Library’s (APL’s) annual campaign to get all of Aurora reading from the same page. “This book has been so magical that so many people are coming on board,” says Reccia Mandelcorn, APL’s Manager of Community Collaboration, who says she often has the same criteria in picking a book for the campaign: will it sustain interest for months? “This year, when I had my ‘beta readers’ read the books on my shortlist, I got everyone’s opinion on it. One of the things I was hearing from all my wonderful community members is to stay away from anything that was too dark, even if it was a really good book, because although we need important themes to build upon, they all warned about not having anything that was too dark or graphic during this very difficult time that we’re all experiencing.” That was just one determining factor and it certainly fit the bill. Ms. Mandelcorn says she loves the theme of “magic realism” and has loved fantasy and fairy tales since childhood. Chasing Painted Horses, she says, has its pages infused with this magic, along with themes of art, homelessness and Indigenous life, all woven together by an Indigenous voice in Drew Hayden Taylor. Among the activities beginning to fall into place surrounding Chasing Painted Horses is a writing workshop led by Marnie Maguire, a writing contest for adults and teens encouraging people to tap into their imaginations and a photography contest sponsored by The Auroran for teens and adults alike depicting art found in unexpected places. “I am hoping that the photography contest will inspire,” says Ms. Mandelcorn. “We want to expand art participation. This year, the Town of Aurora is partnering with us on a community art project installing chalkboards on the fencing around Library Square. People will be invited for an all-ages community event to come and draw and that will pick up on the theme of the book’s ‘Everything Wall’ [which has a central role in the novel]. We’re inviting people to take pictures of what they draw and there will be prizes every week for the best drawing, as is what happens in the novel.” Additional programming touches upon the themes of homelessness with virtual events slated to be hosted in conjunction with the Social Planning Council of York Region and the Affordable Housing Coalition of York Region. “We will be continuing programming on the need for affordable housing in our area as brought up by the theme of Harry, a homeless person in the book,” says Ms. Mandelcorn. “I am very excited about retaining that partnership with them; we did some programming with them this year and it was wonderful. I am very excited they are on board again.” An art exhibition, A Carousel of Horses, exploring the horse as symbols of power, and a virtual author visit with Drew Haden Taylor on Saturday, October 23, at 2 p.m., round out the lineup. All this affords plenty of time for Aurora residents to read the book. In years past, previous One Book One Aurora selections have been placed free of charge in small lending libraries dotted around the community intended to allow readers to pick up, read, return or pass on their volume. The fine details of the roll-out are still forthcoming but Ms. Mandelcorn says she’s eager to hear readers’ reactions, as well as the community conversation that will come. “The book is accessible and can be read at different levels,” she says. “I am hoping teens might pick up the book as well. I’m hoping to expand to a wider group so we’re not just having the ‘book club set’ but teens and young adults start enjoying this initiative and be exposed to some Indigenous writing. Drew’s writing is humorous, magical and not necessarily what you think of. Maybe in the past, Indigenous writing or writing from Indigenous authors has been pigeonholed. That is something people are going to pick up from this book because Drew is Indigenous, but his writing stands on its own. “For so short a book, it is so rich. You can find so much in it. It’s just so open for the reader to discover for themselves what the are seeing and maybe what they see in themselves and society, too.” For more on One Book One Aurora and associated programs and events, visit onebookoneaurora.com.Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
Saskatchewan Rivers School Division trustees are continuing professional development despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually there are provincial gatherings to help trustees, but they've stopped since the start of the pandemic. Some discussion about that issue took place at the board’s regular meeting on Monday. Education director Robert Bratvold said they're really focusing on learning and development, even though the circumstances can make it challenging. The board will engage in a planning seminar on Jan. 15 and 16 to review and discuss a number of items related to effective governance and leadership. One topic of conversation will be a letter the board received from the School Community Council of Wild Rose School about their trustee representative in the school clusters. “It came as a correspondence item that the board was informed about and then further discussion about that will happen at the seminar,” Bratvold explained. The letter states that another meeting should be held between the parties on Jan. 19. “Obviously, there is some communication and some understanding of what the role of the school clusters are and what a role of a trustee is and those sorts of things, so (there are) lots of opportunities for communication,” Bratvold explained. Bratvold added that trustees will be participating in over 20 online modules scheduled in 90-minute blocks over the next month through the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA). He said these sessions will support new and returning trustees in their role as educational leaders and as effective voices in local government. “I know there are going to be over 20 sessions on everything from legal aspects of being a trustee to student support services to anything you can imagine to make them a better trustee. Our trustees are taking part in those sessions in a big way,” Bratvold said.Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald