Looking for the Milky Way, has anyone seen it? Turn up your resolution, thanks for watching and have a great day!
Looking for the Milky Way, has anyone seen it? Turn up your resolution, thanks for watching and have a great day!
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
Lawyers for Huawei's chief financial officer said on Wednesday that Joe Biden's election as U.S. president will not undo the political interference in her case, which they say stems from former President Donald Trump's pledge to intervene if it helped the United States extract a more favorable trade deal from China. Lawyers for CFO Meng Wanzhou want her U.S. extradition case dismissed on grounds that Trump's comments soon after her 2018 arrest in Canada meant she would not get a fair trial in the United States.
The Paradise Warriors Minor Hockey Association may be formidable foes on the ice, but they’ve been doing plenty of good off the ice. In mid-February, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, who has become a household name during the pandemic, asked residents to consider donating to local food banks and charities, rather than sending her personal gifts. Groups, businesses, residents, and sports leagues across the province, including the Warriors, took Fitzgerald’s request to heart. The Warriors hosted a virtual fundraiser which ran from February 19 to February 28. In just that short amount of time, the association raised $5,540. “As an association, we are extremely proud of our members for being able to help out the community during this latest lockdown,” said Paradise Warriors Minor Hockey President Greg Barton. “It is a testament to how lucky we are to have so many great people involved with our association.” Barton said the virtual food drive helped meet a community need while keeping players, who are currently unable to play due to the pandemic restrictions, active in the association. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
Growing up, it was clear to Will Hanlon that his mother — a young, single mom — put her kids first. “Money was always tight, and I know that my mom sacrificed a lot in order to keep my brother and I clothed and fed and healthy,” Hanlon remembers. One of those sacrifices were menstrual products. Hanlon can’t recall ever seeing them around the house in his youth. “I know that she sacrificed a lot with her health in order to make sure that we were OK,” he said. Knowing that this struggle was not unique to women in the GTA, Hanlon started Twelve, an organization that streamlines menstrual product donations for shelters, charities and individuals in need. Twelve collects donations from members of the public and fulfills orders for organizations, so that they can tailor the products to their specific needs, and not have to find space for donations that may not be in demand. It also gives users the opportunity to choose. Hanlon and his partner handle the storage. When he founded the organization in 2019 that meant finding space in every crevice of their 400-square-foot apartment. Their new home has a garage. Twelve is just one of numerous grassroots, often women-led, Canadian organizations working to tackle period poverty in their communities. The Period Purse, Period Packs, Bleed the North, Project: Full Stop and the 2019 Period Poverty Summit in Nova Scotia, are just some charities and initiatives that have taken up the issue across the country. The challenge of affording things like tampons, pads, menstrual cups, or menstrual panties — which are necessary for people who menstruate — is a global issue and Canada is no exception. A 2018 Plan International Canada survey found that one third of women under the age of 25 struggled to afford menstrual products. Seventy per cent said they’ve missed school or work or social activities because of their period. In northern communities, a box of tampons can be $15 and pads as much as $25. Countries around the world have been working to address period poverty. Scotland became the first country to make menstrual products free out right in early 2020. In February of this year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that period products would be free in schools for the next three years. The U.K. is looking to scrap its “tampon tax” once it leaves the EU and India started looking to cap the price on sanitary napkins in 2019. Other places have also accounted for menstrual leave — time off separate from sick days to deal with period pain, which for some can be debilitating. These include Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Zambia. In some countries this is either paid or unpaid, and people note that while it is available, some still feel a stigma requesting it. So, where is Ontario, and the rest of Canada on this issue? In 2015, Canada removed GST from menstrual products — eliminating a “tampon tax” recognizing that the items are essential. However, with education and health care regulated provincially, there isn’t much more cohesion with government efforts to address period products. The conversation about making period products more accessible has risen in a number of provinces, but few have officially made widespread policy changes. Most of the dedicated response to period poverty continues to be ad hoc through local, grassroots organizations. British Columbia was the first province to move to offer period products for free in schools at the end of 2019. Prince Edward Island did the same in November 2020. The United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Period Promise campaign had an impact on B.C.’s change, and the charity earned a grant to continue research. Other United Way branches in Canada are continuing this campaign. “In Canada, it’s very regionally specific. It’s very, very grassroots,” said Taqdir Kaur Bhandal, the CEO of Mahwari Research Institute, a think tank researching menstrual cycles. In terms of what more there is to do, Bhandal said she would like to see the government move to offer a rebate to encourage use of sustainable products, like menstrual cups and underwear. She also said product access in the prison system could be greatly improved. Young advocates are also joining the push to end period poverty. Isabela Rittinger, 18, founded Bleed the North, a youth organization that both donates products and runs education and advocacy campaigns to help end period poverty. “I think that the time for change was a while ago, and we need to step up,” the Pickering, Ont. teen said. “I want to challenge Justin Trudeau and his government to match Jacinda Ardern’s leadership on this issue.” Toronto Youth Council also wants to see Ontario move quicker on offering menstrual products in schools across the province and has created a Change.org petition for the issue. Free period products in schools have been announced in a piecemeal way, board by board — Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Limestone District School Board in Kingston, Ont., to name a few. But the youth behind the petition say it’s time the Ministry of Education made it Ontario-wide. “I just hope that our (government) can just recognize how much of a human rights issue this is, because these are essential products to those who menstruate,” said Monique Kasonga, a member of Toronto Youth Council who started the petition, along with Stephen Mensah and Vanessa Erhirhie. For Meghan White, co-founder of Ottawa-based Period Packs, a challenge with seeing change in period poverty is how varied and extensive the barriers can be. But even with the challenge, she said it still is something policymakers need to fix. “We need intervention from policymakers, because the fact that young people cannot go to school because they’re menstruating — it’s ludicrous. It is unacceptable,” White said. “What is going on right now is not working for half the people that live in this country, and that feels punitive. That’s not OK.” Angelyn Francis is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering equity and inequality. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Angelyn Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
Jasper is another step closer to seeing the Connaught Drive Affordable Apartments become reality following a decision by municipal council at their March 2 regular meeting. Council approved installation of utility services to the GC, GB and GA parcels in 2021 in conjunction with the construction of a 40-unit apartment building, a modular construction containing 32 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom suites. The project represents the first phase for lands identified to host new affordable housing in the community. Council also directed administration to develop the borrowing bylaws required to fund Connaught site utility services, to a maximum of $3.647 million and present them at a future regular council meeting. Administration will also allocate $350,250 in the 2021 budget for upfront project costs for the Connaught Drive Affordable Apartments, subject to approval of a Rapid Housing Initiative grant applied for by the Jasper Community Housing Corporation. At the start of council’s discussion, Coun. Bert Journault said he was opposed to spending the money to extend the services to parcel GA, noting that it was unfair to saddle the taxpayer with the costs. “But I certainly support the proposal for the development of that area,” Journault said. “That’s a late property. It will provide our community with a lot of houses.” Deputy mayor Helen Kelleher-Empey noted all the work should be done simultaneously as the area had many residents and two hotels. “I know it’s a lot of money up front but if we’re going to tear up the west end of Connaught I think we should do the work all at once,” Kelleher-Empey said. “Let’s do the work. Let’s get it done and safe (for) the residents and the businesses on that end of town, to not be doing this piece by piece. Do it at once. It saves money in the end.” Coun. Paul Butler agreed with Journeault initially, while Coun. Jenna McGrath pointed out that administration said parcel GA is important for technical reasons. Chief administrative officer Bill Given said the recommendation is built on the requirement to reduce and eliminate the risk of water stagnation via a dead ending, which would make installing utilities for just sites GB and GC more challenging and costly if not impossible. He also noted an additional challenge is about firefighting capacity. “In order to maintain the appropriate volume of water required for fire flows for the hydrants and for high density housing, as is likely on GB and GC parcels, we need to have a high volume of water coming into the sites,” Given said. “This is not about encouraging or supporting development on GA. It is about maintaining appropriate fire flows.” A table showed that servicing just parcel GC would total about $1,840,434, while servicing all three sites at the same time would cost an additional $1,806,666 for a total of $3,647,100. In contrast, if a phased approach is taken, additional incremental costs of $211,100 would be required. By servicing all three parcels at once, $211,000 would be saved and there would be support for private sector interest in near term development on parcel GB. As well, disruption would be minimized to Connaught Drive. The annual debt servicing costs on a $1.8-million debenture over a 25-year term are about $97,500 and about $195,000 on a $3.6-million debenture over a 25-year term. Wastewater Treatment Plant Council directed administration to enter into contract negotiation with Aquatera Utilities Inc. for a 10-year operating contract of the Jasper Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Since Jan. 27, 2020, the WWTP has been operated by a contracted service provider (EPCOR) under a one-year service agreement. The agreement was extended until June 30, 2021 to complete the RFP process and ensure an orderly transition. A standard services agreement (SSA) was included in the RFP to help proponents refine their services proposals while mitigating the risk of misunderstanding and disagreement during final contract negotiation. “This is a substantial contract,” said Mayor Richard Ireland. The SSA contract will be negotiated and ratified by council and utility rates will need to be adjusted annually. Administration doesn’t anticipate an increase of utility rates for the 2021 year. Canada Healthy Communities Initiative Council carried a motion to approve the submission of an application to the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative for up to $250,000 for improvements to public spaces within the townsite. The improvements include a streetscape plan, sidewalk improvements, planters, benches, wayfinding improvements and a patio grant. Applications must be submitted by March 9. Review committees will start meeting to make decisions on March 10 and all applicants will receive results by April 30. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
CALGARY — Waterous Energy Fund says it has prevailed in its takeover of private junior oilsands producer Osum Oil Sands Corp. It says a total of 45.7 million Osum shares, about 34 per cent of the outstanding total and more than 50 per cent of the shares the fund didn't already own, were deposited to its offer of $3 per share by the expiry date. The fund says it intends to buy the remaining shares within four months. Osum leaders reversed their strong opposition to the Waterous deal last month after the initial offer of $2.40 per share was increased by 25 per cent. Waterous, a Calgary investment firm established in 2017 and headed by CEO Adam Waterous, said it bought 45 per cent of the outstanding shares last July from Osum's three largest shareholders. It says five of Osum's directors and four executive officers, including CEO Steve Spence, have voluntarily resigned. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today. They involve two people in their 20s in the Fredericton region and both cases are travel-related, as well as a person in their 50s in the Miramichi region which is under investigation. Officials have identified a list of locations in Miramichi where there may have been public exposure, and a mass testing clinic will be held to determine if there has been any further spread in the area. The clinics will be held tomorrow and Friday at the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School. There are now 37 active cases in the province and three people are hospitalized, including two in intensive care. There have been 28 COVID-19-related deaths in the province since the onset of the pandemic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
With 100 days until the rescheduled European Championship, UEFA is considering cutting three cities from its list of 12 host venues across the continent. Bilbao, Dublin and Glasgow are at risk of being dropped over the lack of guarantees about the number of fans that could be allowed into stadiums by June, people with knowledge of the tournament planning told The Associated Press on Wednesday. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the situation ahead of a looming deadline for UEFA to receive the plans from host countries. UEFA wants the hosting plan settled within weeks after being forced to postpone its showpiece tournament last year due to the pandemic. The governing body would like stadiums to have at least half of the seats filled — despite much of Europe still playing games in empty venues due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions. UEFA is willing to take games away from cities that cannot guarantee a significant number of spectators based on an expected easing up of the pandemic by June. Although Britain has had Europe’s deadliest outbreak, its vaccination program is the fastest in Europe which has raised UEFA's confidence in London's staging of seven games at Wembley Stadium, including the semifinals and final in July. The British government has plans for up to 10,000 fans to return to stadiums from May but more seats could be filled within weeks, dependent on trials of coronavirus testing for fans and plans to lift many social contact restrictions from June 21. But that only applies to England, with Scottish authorities adopting a more cautious path out of lockdown and offering no indication when fans could be allowed back into sports venues. “We’ll see whether or not it’s possible at any point along that road for fans to actually be present to witness (the Euros),” Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said Wednesday. But that uncertainty in Scotland, whose leader Nicola Sturgeon is mired in a political crisis, has left UEFA weighing the option of stripping Hampden Park in Glasgow of its four matches. The three games in the group stage and the last-16 encounter could move south of the border to England in a blow to the Scots after qualifying for their first men's tournament since the 1998 World Cup. UEFA could use another London location, with the country's newest large venue — the 62,000-capacity home of Tottenham — an option. Stadiums in Manchester or Liverpool would also be considered to spread the additional games, especially if UEFA decides to shift the four games slated for Dublin's 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium across the Irish Sea to England. UEFA has yet to receive positive information from Irish authorities with the ban on fans attending games running through April 5. “The public health advice is that it is too early to say how and when these restrictions should be eased given current uncertainties,” the Irish government said in a statement to the AP. "At the request of UEFA, Dublin’s hosting partners ... are examining possible scenarios for staging the games scheduled for Dublin in this COVID-19 environment. We are in constant dialogue with UEFA and our intention is to work to finalize our best possible scenario consistent with public health guidelines.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been in contact with UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, said this week “we’re certainly on” for hosting additional games. UEFA is also in contact with Spain's Basque Country but has yet to receive assurances about fans attending matches in Bilbao, which is also due to stage four games across the group stage and round of 16. That has left UEFA assessing moving Bilbao’s games elsewhere in Spain. Basque Country officials gave no indication Wednesday of being rushed into approving the return of spectators, instead sticking to a cautious approach determined by the health conditions. “With three months to go, we must be cautious,” the Basque government told the AP. “But we will continue to work with UEFA and other venues to see if European Championship matches can be held with fans, what the capacity limits will be and under what conditions.” La Liga President Javier Tebas said Tuesday he was hopeful of some fans returning to matches in his competition before the end of the domestic season in May. There had already been discussions in the Basque Country about the limited prospect of an economic boost from staging Euros games. On top of that, Spain's national team has lacked popularity in a region with a strong separatist movement. Athletic Bilbao has a policy of only having playing from the region or neighbouring areas. These Euros have a unique format after UEFA veered from its usual preference of hosting the tournament in one or two countries under a logistically-complex plan instigated in 2012 by then-President Michel Platini. The new format provided an opportunity to stage games in some countries that wouldn’t necessarily have a chance to host the tournament on their own. But the pandemic has complicated the hosting arrangement even further. UEFA says it plans an announcement in April on how the pandemic-era tournament will look and the ability for fans to attend games, having already sold tickets. The Euros are scheduled to open in Rome on June 11 with Italy playing Turkey. UEFA also remains hopeful of retaining Baku (Azerbaijan), Copenhagen (Denmark), Munich (Germany), Budapest (Hungary), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Bucharest (Romania), and St. Petersburg (Russia). Long before the pandemic, Brussels was stripped of hosting because its planned new stadium wasn't going to be built, with the four games handed to London. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press
SHERBROOKE – It’s taken eight months and a million dollars, but Historic Sherbrooke Village has managed to paint the town red … and green … and brown … and, indeed, every restoration colour the living museum can conjure to bring tourists back in a post-pandemic world. Frankly, with visitation and revenue from visitation down by 80 per cent in 2020, compared with the previous year’s season, it’s not a moment too soon, notes Executive Director Stephen Flemming: “Visitor volume was very low in 2020, with all of our events, learning programs and public activities halted due to Covid-19. Still, he says, “It was a great year for site improvement and for this we owe a world of gratitude to all levels of government, our staff and our contractors, who assisted in this major undertaking. This 50th anniversary project is being completed on time and on budget and has fulfilled all objectives.” Last June, the Village received $1 million from the provincial government to renovate its world-renowned heritage properties by the end of the fiscal year, March 31, 2021. Since then, the grant – part of a province-wide, $228 million community stimulus package designed to offset the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – has been used to repair and upgrade many of the living museum’s roughly 90 vintage structures, and complete work on a new community park. “I couldn’t be more pleased to see that they’ve succeeded during these very difficult times,” says Lloyd Hines, MLA for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie and Minister of Transportation and Active Transit (formerly Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal), who represented the province at the announcement ceremony in June. “That wonderful facility was in urgent need of some major capital upgrades for sure, but I knew all along that they had great management.” Perhaps, but it was no walk in the historic park, either. Completed – or very near to completed – projects include: new roofs for Cool House, McMillan House, the nature centre, maintenance storage shed, courthouse, telephone office, boat shop, guide office and shed, the jailhouse, and Exhibit Centre, which also received major bathroom upgrades with accessibility components and outside work. The tearoom was fitted for a new roof, front and sides. St. James Church underwent a full renovation, receiving a new bell tower roof, front window replacements and glass, and an exterior paint job. The woodworking shop sported new windows and doors. Add to this: new LED street lights, 12 heat pumps throughout the Village, re-topped chimney flues, an expanded courthouse bathroom, and a new wheelchair-accessible park replete with gazebo. “Something like this does not come along every day,” says Rodney MacDougall, director of maintenance and restoration at the Village. “There were many challenges along the way … where you are put in charge of organizing a million-dollar budget, and making a village beautiful again. [But] I would absolutely do it again.” So would, it’s fair to say, Mark MacIsaac, who owns and operates MacIsaac Construction, the local construction firm contracted to manage much of the roofing. “It was great to see the historic architecture,” he says. “How well they did stuff back then … The quality of the work was amazing.” Says Lynn Hayne, the Village’s event manager: “Funding from the Canadian Heritage, COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Culture and Heritage and direction from Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal allowed us to add an extra week of work for much of the Village staff and purchase cabinets and window coverings to preserve displays and protect the provincial heritage collection against sun damage and fading. In addition, it covered the purchase of electronics to catalogue and record collection items.” According to Flemming, all stimulus funds were spent in Nova Scotia, “with the vast majority spent close to home. This project created jobs and extended seasons for crews and created a major economic stimulus in our community at a time when it was dearly needed. Sherbrooke Village is ready and able to help with recovery from impacts of Covid-19 on tourism along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.” Prior to the outbreak, Historic Sherbrooke Village was one of the province’s must-see destinations, attracting an average of 25,000 visitors a year from across Canada and the world. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
OTTAWA — Two prominent Jewish advocacy groups are voicing anti-Semitism concerns ahead of a public conversation between NDP MP Niki Ashton and former U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.The heads of the Toronto-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Board of Deputies of British Jews say Corbyn is "toxic" and that the planned livestream talk between him and Ashton risks pulling New Democrats in a direction "antithetical" to Canadian values.Corbyn was booted from the British Labour party in October amid accusations he had weakened efforts to stamp out anti-Semitism.The party has been grappling with allegations anti-Semitism was allowed to fester under Corbyn, a longtime supporter of Palestinians and a critic of Israel who led the party for almost five years from 2015. Ashton has been promoting the March 20 chat, which will be hosted by Progressive International, an organization launched in 2018 by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Canadian author Naomi Klein and other progressive politicians and activists.Ashton and the NDP did not respond immediately to requests for comment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021.—With a file from The Associated Press The Canadian Press
SOUTH DUNDAS – Two employees of the Municipality of South Dundas have left their positions in the last month, and a third person is retiring. Recreation program coordinator Jamie Scott resigned from his position, with his last day being on February 16th. Scott was with the municipality for nearly two years and hired in May 2019. Meagan Bingley, who was business retention and expansion coordinator for South Dundas’ economic development department, departed to return to the insurance industry. Bingley was hired in October 2020. Director of Corporate Services andClerk Brenda Brunt informed council last week of her upcoming retirement. Her nearly 31 year career with South Dundas and pre-amalgamation Williamsburg Township has seen Brunt serve as clerk, marriage commissioner and at one point acting-CAO. More information on Brunt’s retirement will be presented in a report to council, which is expected on March 22nd. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says extra vaccine shipments could make it possible to vaccinate all willing Canadian adults before September. The United States has an earlier target at the end of May, but Trudeau cautions against using the U.S., with its worse record of infections and deaths, as a guide for what Canada does.
WASHINGTON — The United States is at a COVID-19 crossroads — and public health officials are worried about which path it will choose. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is urging Americans not to let their guard down. For a second straight day, Walensky is warning about the potential for highly contagious COVID-19 variants to undo the country's hard-won progress. Her message is competing with a torrent of seemingly good news. President Joe Biden says the U.S. will have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses in stock for every adult American by the end of May. And a number of states are easing their pandemic restrictions, most recently Texas, which is planning to reopen completely by next Wednesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Yankees manager Aaron Boone is taking a leave of absence from the team to get a pacemaker and intends to return to work in a few days. New York said the procedure was likely to be performed later Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Boone said in a statement the medical team is “confident that today’s surgery will allow me to resume all of my usual professional and personal activities and afford me a positive long-term health prognosis without having to change anything about my way of life. I look forward to getting back to work in the next several days.” The 47-year-old is entering his fourth season as Yankees manager. The team started the exhibition season Sunday and was scheduled to play its fourth game on Wednesday night against Toronto in Tampa. “As many of you know, I underwent open-heart surgery in 2009, and I wanted everyone to understand where I’m at regarding the procedure that’s taking place today,” Boone said. “Over the last six to eight weeks I’ve had mild symptoms of lightheadedness, low energy and shortness of breath. As a result, I underwent a series of tests and examinations in New York prior to the beginning of spring training, including multiple visits with a team of heart specialists. While the heart checkup came back normal, there were indications of a low heart rate which, after further consultations with doctors in Tampa, necessitates a pacemaker." Boone said “my faith is strong, and my spirits are high. I’m in a great frame of mind.” “During my short-term absence, I have complete trust that our coaches, staff and players will continue their training and preparation at the same level as we’ve had and without any interruption," he said. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was expected to address the situation later Wednesday. Boone played in the major leagues from 1997-2009 and was an All-Star for the Yankees in 2003, the year his 11th-inning home run off Boston's Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series won the pennant for New York. He is a third generation major leaguer, whose grandfather Gus, father Bob and brother Bret also played in the big leagues and whose nephew Jake is a minor leaguer in the Washington organization. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Ronald Blum, The Associated Press
Housing Minister David Eby says he's willing to wade into city council decisions on homeless shelters — even if that means angering local politicians along the way. "I was doing things entirely backwards: It's much better to provide information to councils before the vote, so they're making a fully informed vote, rather than after the vote," said Eby, hours before the City of Penticton unanimously rejected an application by B.C. Housing to extend its permit for a homeless shelter located in the centre of the Okanagan city. That was despite council previously assuring him it would grant the extension, according to Eby. The minister said a follow-up phone call with Mayor John Vassilaki went poorly. "I asked the mayor what's the plan, and he told me there'd be no more meetings and he hung up on me," Eby said Wednesday morning. Eby argued there's no current alternative for shelter residents once the permit expires at the end of the month, and said not extending it could create an indefinite homeless encampment similar to ones in Vancouver and Victoria. "There's simply no debate about what we need to do here. We need to get people inside, we need to get them the support they need," he said. "Even leaving them in the emergency shelter is not an acceptable outcome, but emptying out the shelter into the park is bizarre to me." Penticton city council wants to close a 42-bed emergency winter shelter at 352 Winnipeg St. at the end of March, citing the location as 'inappropriate' and too close to seniors' housing.(Google maps) Eby vs. Cranbrook mayor It isn't the first time in recent weeks Eby has waded into a debate over a homeless shelter in a B.C. community. In early February, he asked Cranbrook council to vote in favour of rezoning a property for a 40-bed shelter, which faced plenty of controversy in the city. Council did approve the rezoning 5-2, but Mayor Lee Pratt was critical of Eby's influence. "That was totally an abuse of his position," said Pratt. "He's using his position of trying to influence a decision on this council, sitting around here trying to make a decision for the municipality and the citizens of our city … that was totally uncalled for." Pratt said he didn't want to comment further on his statement, saying he was in discussions with the province. But Eby defended proactively lobbying municipalities before their vote, saying it was preferable to the time lost in finding alternatives if councils voted against B.C. Housing proposals. "I would suggest as minister responsible for housing, I would be incredibly negligent in not [speaking] to municipal leaders that are voting on vitally important projects to prevent entrenched encampments in their communities," he said. "Please, save yourself the resources, the time, the headache, the heartache of an encampment. Save the provincial government time, and let's work together." Eby said Tuesday he will do everything in his power to compel Penticton to keep the city's shelter open, including using a procedure called paramountcy, which allows the provincial government to circumvent the city's wishes. Slow progress housing tent city residents The "entrenched encampments" Eby referred to still remain in B.C.'s largest city and its capital. Victoria is now petitioning the B.C. Supreme Court for a long-term ruling on whether Beacon Hill Park can ever be used to house people in temporary structures, even with a self-imposed March 31 deadline to house everyone currently in the park. In Vancouver, where a homeless camp has moved between three different locations over the past 30 months, it was announced Monday the city had purchased another facility to convert into a shelter, a motel on Kingsway. However, unlike the facilities announced last week, the motel won't be ready until November, and Coun. Jean Swanson worries that all the additional units won't make up for what's been lost in recent years. "A lot of homeless people are coming from [shuttered] SROs ... they're coming from the Regent and the Balmoral, that's about 300 units, but they're also coming because we don't have vacancy controls," she said. "I just think a lot of this is from senior levels of government. By refusing to fund social housing adequately, by refusing to have adequate welfare rates, the issue of homelessness is basically placed onto the city."
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter EARLTON – A set of stop signs that had been installed recently in Earlton was the unfortunate victim of theft and vandalism. Acting public works foreman Caleb Fotheringham told Armstrong Township council at its regular meeting on February 24 that he was notified on February 14 that two stop signs, along with an all-way sign below the stop sign, had been stolen. The signs are located at the intersection of 10th street and Sixth Avenue, near the Earlton Recreation Centre. “After investigating I noticed that the stop ahead sign had been broken off as well and thrown into a ravine,” Fotheringham told council. He noted that there had been a fresh snowfall the night before the incident, which fortunately made it easy to track down the culprits. “I called the police and an officer and I went to the house. We spoke with the residents and we were able to get the signs back. I told the offenders that a bill would be coming their way for my time and for the 4x4 posts they broke.” Fotheringham said they wouldn’t be pressing charges in light of that, which the offenders agreed to. The stop signs were originally erected at the intersection back in the fall as there were speeding concerns in that area of Earlton with cars entering and leaving the town. At the time, council felt it was the best option to combat the speeding issues. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
SoftBank-backed British fund Greensill Capital is in talks to sell large parts of its business after losing the backing of two asset managers who underpinned parts of its multi-billion dollar supply chain financing model. WHAT IS SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE? Supply chain financing, often also referred to as reverse factoring, is a method by which companies can get cash from banks and funds such as Greensill Capital to pay their suppliers without having to dip into their working capital.
Vancouver’s favourite celebrity couple have made a very generous donation toward supporting the mentorship of Indigenous post-secondary students across Canada. Actors and philanthropists Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively donated $250,000 this week to the Influence Mentoring Society to help kick start its new mentorship initiative. The Influence Mentoring program is aimed at building capacity, talent, and career opportunities for eligible Indigenous students, who are committed to achieving their career goals. Once launched, the new online program will allow for any Indigenous post-secondary student to participate from anywhere in Canada. The program matches protégés to the most suitable mentor, who has a shared field of work to the student’s program of studies, to help them learn and grow. Reynolds and Lively said they were “so happy to support the Influence Mentoring program that will help Indigenous youth in Canada, who are trying to successfully complete their post-secondary pursuits and enter the job market for the first time." "All too often, diverse groups are left behind in the things we take for granted,” they added in a release. “This program aims to rectify that imbalance.” Colby Delorme, Influence Mentoring Society chairperson, said traditionally, mentorship has played an important role in the Indigenous community, adding that culture, traditions, spirituality, teachings and stories have all been shared and best understood through the Elder and protégé relationship. He said the program’s mission is also guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action to help eliminate educational and employment gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. "This project exemplifies the spirit of reconciliation whereby Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who believe that providing mentoring opportunities for post-secondary, Indigenous youth, adapt a two-way mentoring model, and in doing so work together to build stronger relationships while improving cross-cultural understanding and appreciation,” he stated in a release. Delorme added that eliminating these gaps and ultimately increasing Indigenous representation in the private sector, including in management and executive positions, should be a shared journey. "We are incredibly grateful to Ryan and Blake for their generous donation of $250,000,” he said. “This speaks not only to having the resources available to support Indigenous youth, but also is a signal of true reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians." As part of the launch of Influence Mentoring, the society is actively recruiting mentors, protégés, and additional funders and will be seeking partnerships with post-secondary institutions to host the inaugural mentorship pilot project. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
The Arctic Winter Games International Committee has postponed the 2022 Arctic Winter Games, that were set to take place in Wood Buffalo, Alta. In a news release Wednesday morning, the committee described the decision as a "proactive response to the global COVID-19 pandemic" after conversations with the Wood Buffalo host society, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the government of Alberta. "There were just no guarantees for us," John Flynn, the president of the Arctic Winter Games International Committee, told the CBC. "We do not want to say cancelled…. [but] right now, we don't really have a date." The Games were originally scheduled to take place from March 6-12. Flynn said organizers will be looking for alternate dates for the 2022 event. The high-profile circumpolar sporting competition normally runs every two years. About 2,000 athletes from around the world — including Russia, Greenland, Finland and Norway, as well as Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik, Northwest Territories, northern Alberta and Alaska — usually attend. This is the second Games in a row to be affected by the pandemic, following the cancellation of the 2020 games that were set to take place in Whitehorse. Those games were called off just a week before the event was scheduled to start — something Flynn said organizers wanted to avoid in 2022. "That was a big factor," he said. "We really don't want what happened in Whitehorse to take place in Wood Buffalo." Health and safety are 'paramount concern' Wednesday's release said the decision to postpone the games "was made to ensure the health and safety of all the participants, coaches, volunteers, staff, spectators and the host community." The committee also said the pandemic would likely prevent them from hosting a meaningful experience. "The health and safety of our circumpolar participants, coaches and volunteers is of paramount concern, and although it is a great disappointment that we must postpone the 2022 Arctic Winter Games, we are steadfast in our decision," Flynn is quoted as saying in the release. "We analyzed the relevant risks and considered our tolerance for those risks, and we learned from best practices employed by other major games leaders to come to this difficult decision," the quote continues. On CBC Yukon's Airplay Wednesday, Flynn said he feels "very sorry for the young athletes." "They say they have nowhere to put their energies," he said. "We understand how important the Arctic Winter Games is to them." Melissa Blake, co-chair of the 2022 Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games, said in the release that the host society supports the international committee's decision and understands the "significant considerations" involved. "We would like to thank the community and our volunteers for their continued support as we prepare to welcome the circumpolar North at a later date," Blake said. Aaron Wells, executive director of Aboriginal Sports Circle NWT, said that it's disappointing news to hear following the cancellation of last year's Games. "I feel bad for the athletes and the coaches and especially athletes that may never get to experience the games if they're postponed long enough," said Wells. "But I do understand that there's a lot of decisions and factors that are taken into place to kind of come up with these decisions." Wells said that the Aboriginal Sports Circle was also looking forward to archery being introduced to the games in 2022, after its premiere was cancelled along with the Games in 2020. "It definitely has a major effect on athlete development in helping prepare for other major games or other tournaments or national events." But despite the difficult news, Wells, who is also a long-time basketball coach, said that within five minutes of receiving it, a number of different coaches were reaching out to each other about different opportunities they can provide to athletes. "It's not like we sit around and pout about these games being postponed indefinitely. We move on to the next potential event or what we can do to make sure that these athletes are getting the opportunities they deserve."