The Pittsburgh Steelers kept Baker Mayfield in check in both games this season, but the Browns quarterback doesn't need to have a strong passing game to get Cleveland the wild card win.
The Pittsburgh Steelers kept Baker Mayfield in check in both games this season, but the Browns quarterback doesn't need to have a strong passing game to get Cleveland the wild card win.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
From a clog-dancing world champion to a Cuban shark hunter, the people who live in the world's many Prestons have some interesting tales to tell. And a performance arts group in the U.K. is on a mission to collect them all. Preston Calling — a project to unite people who call Preston home and help keep the loneliness of the pandemic at bay — was launched last year by Derelict, a non-profit arts organization based in Preston, Lancashire. "Now that we've been able to connect with people all over the world, it's made people feel much more included in the world and it's giving people much more hope," project co-ordinator Philip Sykes told CBC Radio's Information Morning. "It's been a bit of a hopeless time, I have to say, for us anyway in the U.K." When his group had to shelve many of its projects last year, it decided to turn to the telephone instead. "We liked the idea of calling someone," Sykes said. "You know, we could say, 'Hello, this is Preston' and they could say 'Hello, we're Preston, too.'" So far, Preston Calling has found 60 villages, towns and cities that share the name, most in English-speaking Commonwealth countries, including the Prestons in Nova Scotia. The historic Black communities on the outskirts of Halifax are made up of neighbouring North Preston, East Preston and Cherry Brook. "I thought it was the most cool thing in the world, like, I thought maybe there might have been a couple of other Prestons … but I had no idea there were 60," said Tara Taylor, a playwright from East Preston who contributed to the project. She shared some of her favourite memories and spaces from her hometown, which have been collected on the group's website. "My favourite place out here is our river next to the church and we actually — way back in the day — used to baptize people in the river," Taylor said. The popular story that the Prestons were named after Rev. Richard Preston, who escaped slavery in the U.S. and became a leader in the African Nova Scotian community, isn't actually true, Taylor said. "He actually came here in search of his mother and it was already called Preston, so he took the name on as Preston," she said. "So we commonly think that it was named after him for coming here, but it's actually the opposite way around." Taylor is now trying to find out more information about the name Preston and where it came from. In addition to the submissions from Preston residents that are compiled online, Preston Calling is also releasing a podcast with conversations with people from around the world. So far Sykes has met a store owner in Preston, Kentucky, who used to be the world's clog-dancing champion and performed in venues in the U.K. and U.S. He also met a woman from Preston, Cuba with a very impressive grandfather. "She's actually got my favourite story, which is that there was a particularly troublesome shark in Preston, Cuba, called Don Pepe and her grandfather was actually able to track it down and caught the shark — so some really, really amazing stories," said Sykes. For Taylor, reflecting on what she loves about her hometown has her feeling a special bond with all the other Prestons out there. "I want a tour," she said. "I want to go visit all of them and I want us to all bring the beautiful sights from each one of our towns." MORE TOP STORIES
ROCKY MOUNT, Va. — Two Virginia police officers charged in the storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington earlier this month have been fired, a town official announced Tuesday. Rocky Mount Town Manager James Ervin announced the firings in a statement, but did not provide any additional details on the firing of former Sgt. Thomas “T.J.” Robertson and former Officer Jacob Fracker, The Roanoke Times reported. The town had no precedent to refer to for how to deal with this situation, Ervin wrote. “The events of the past few weeks have been challenging for our town, as they have been for the entire nation. The actions by two have driven our beautiful town into the national spotlight in ways that do not reflect our whole community and the people who call Rocky Mount home.” Ervin said in the statement. Robertson had told the newspaper he and Fracker received letters of termination from the town Friday, offering them the opportunity to resign before the firing took effect. Fracker, reached via text message, declined to comment Tuesday. Federal authorities have charged Robertson, 47, and Fracker, 29, with a misdemeanouroffence of knowingly entering a restricted building without authority to do so to engage in conduct that disrupts government business. They also face a petty offence of engaging in disruptive conduct in the Capitol in order to interfere with a session of Congress. The maximum penalty for the misdemeanour is a year in jail. The maximum penalty for the petty offence is six months. In a selfie Fracker took inside the Capitol Crypt on Jan. 6, Fracker is making an obscene gesture. Robertson is pointing at Fracker while holding a wooden pole. Both officers have repeatedly said they did nothing illegal and did not participate in any of the violence that unfolded Jan. 6. The Associated Press
Bon an mal an, quand le mois de janvier s’installe dans la région de Chibougamau-Chapais, la population se prépare à une période active. C’est que, dans notre beau coin de pays, les gens aiment bouger. Les activités hivernales sont fort nombreuses de la mi-janvier jusqu’à la fin de la semaine de relâche au début du mois de mars et même au-delà. Ces activités génèrent des revenus importants pour certains commerçants. Que ces activités soient des sports mécanisés ou des sports plus physiques, à chaque fin de semaine, il y a une ou des activités. Mais, cette année, la situation sera vraiment très différente. La pandémie aura chamboulé bien des habitudes qui sont ancrées chez les Jamésiens depuis plusieurs décennies et qui apportent leur lot de visiteurs et de retombées qui ne seront pas au rendez-vous cette année. Cette perte s’ajoute à tout ce que la COVID a déjà couté en revenus à la région. Les gens de Tourisme Baie-James sont bien au fait de l’absence de cette manne. Le secteur des festivals et évènements est un pôle majeur pour l’industrie touristique. C'est un des secteurs qui est le plus durement touché actuellement avec l'annulation de la grande majorité des évènements depuis mars 2020 et pour une bonne partie de 2021. Au-delà des consignes sanitaires et du couvre-feu, les évènements et festivals ont besoin de commanditaires pour boucler leur budget. « Pour la plupart, ils sont gérés par des équipes de bénévoles et dépendent de l'appui de plusieurs partenaires qui sont, avec raison, plus réticents à donner leur appui financier et qui le demeureront encore pour une bonne partie de l'année », de mentionner le président de Tourisme Baie-James, Alexandre-Maxim Jacob. « Ce que je souhaite, c'est qu'on puisse retrouver un contexte favorable rapidement avec la campagne de vaccination qui est cours actuellement, que les partenaires répondent présent et que chaque organisation puisse récupérer un maximum de bénévoles pour repartir la machine lorsqu'elles auront le feu vert de la santé publique,» affirme M. Jacob qui siège aussi comme représentant du secteur attrait, évènement et festival. Tourisme Baie-James continue de faire des représentations afin de pouvoir soutenir ses membres et limiter les dégâts causés par la pandémie car plusieurs organisations doivent assumer des couts fixes récurrents avec un revenu quasi inexistant. Tous annulés Quand on fait un rapide tour de la situation des évènements et festivals dans la région, tous ont dû déclarer forfait. Que l’on pense aux quatre randonnées pour les motoneiges antiques, le Super Rallye minoune du Club Auto-neige de Chibougamau, le Défi polaire de Chapais et la randonnée de l’Association des minounes extrêmes de Chibougamau (AMEC) qui se fait en pleine ville et, bien entendu, le Rallye du président du Festival Folifrets, le crosscountry et toutes les autres activités qui y sont reliées lors de la semaine de relance du début mars. Le monde des sports sur glace est aussi touché, que ce soit le patinage artistique, bien sûr le hockey avec les activités du hockey mineur, le tournoi mineur et les tournois pour adultes. Les retombées de toutes ces activités ne peuvent se chiffrer au moment d’écrire ces lignes mais, surement, qu’elles se comptent en milliers de dollars. Renverser la tendance Selon les statistiques, les amateurs de loisirs et de sports d’hiver sont de plus en plus nombreux au Québec et, cette année, notre région a été une des seules au Québec à pouvoir profiter des sports hivernaux puisque le couvert de neige était presque inexistant ailleurs en province, particulièrement dans le monde de la motoneige. La situation sanitaire n’a malheureusement pas pu bénéficier à nos commerçants au maximum, mais il faut prendre la balle au bond et se préparer pour attirer les visiteurs dans les années à venir. Les données des retombées touristiques en hiver pour le Nord-du-Québec ne sont pas disponibles sur les sites gouvernementaux mais, quand on regarde la tendance au Québec, on remarque une augmentation de la fréquentation du tourisme hivernal en provenance du reste de notre province. Dans les mois à venir, le Québec aura le gout de se réinventer tout en encourageant les gens d’ici. Quand ce sera possible, nous aurons une chance incroyable de vendre la plus belle région du Québec : la nôtre.René Martel, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
NEW YORK — CBS has placed two top executives on administrative leave as it investigates charges of a hostile work environment for women and minorities at news operations in some of its largest individual stations. Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice-president for news at the stations, are on leave pending the results of an external investigation. “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the network said in a statement. The accusations were outlined over the weekend in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and a subsequent meeting between CBS and the National Association of Black Journalists. Since 2009, Dunn has been head of stations owned and operated by CBS in big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago and others. The Times said Dunn had referred to a Black male news anchor in Philadelphia as “just a jive guy." One executive at the station quit because she couldn't tolerate the culture and another has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relates Commission alleging he was fired for co-operating with an internal review of his bosses, the Times reported. The NABJ has said CBS stations lag in maintaining diverse staffs, saying New York's WCBS-TV had only one female Black full-time reporter and went five years without a male Black reporter. “This is toxic. There's no other way to put it,” said Ken Lemon, the NABJ's vice-president of broadcast, on Tuesday. Since the story was published, Lemon said he had talked to at least five other people with new experiences to tell about the working atmosphere at CBS. He said the NABJ is optimistic about the steps CBS has taken. David Bauder, The Associated Press
Months-long protests in India escalated on Tuesday as thousands of farmers clashed with police in New Delhi over new laws that they say will push small farmers out of the market and let private corporations exploit them.
OTTAWA — Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is standing by comments he made about Transport Minister Omar Alghabra earlier this month that sparked criticism he was trying to tar the new cabinet member with Islamophobic innuendo. Blanchet addressed the blowback nearly two weeks after Alghabra expressed disappointment in what he dubbed a harmful and "dangerous game" of insinuation by the Bloc. Blanchet says his earlier statement that questions over Alghabra's association with what the Bloc called "the political Islamic movement" were made politely and as part of a "normal process" of scrutiny. He says those questions were rooted in previous stories by national and provincial media outlets, and that the government should respond to ongoing questions from Quebecers about Alghabra's former role as head of the Canadian Arab Federation. On Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called on Blanchet during the daily question period to apologize to his fellow MP across the virtual aisle. Alghabra has faced attempts to sow doubt in his background before, with Conservative Sen. Denise Batters apologizing to the Saudi Arabia-born parliamentarian after she wondered aloud why media hadn't questioned the then-parliamentary secretary to the foreign minister about his place of birth. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ahuntsic-Cartierville - La prison de Bordeaux peine toujours à endiguer une éclosion qui s’est déclarée autour de Noël. Bien que la Santé publique assurait il y a deux semaines que l’éclosion, qui s’est déclarée le 24 décembre dernier à l’établissement carcéral, était sous contrôle, de nouveaux cas continuent d’être rapportés un mois plus tard. Dans son rapport sur les éclosions actives en date du 19 janvier, la Direction régionale de la santé publique de Montréal faisait état de 13 cas liés à une éclosion dans une prison sur le territoire du Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux (CIUSSS) du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. Lundi, le ministère de la Sécurité publique confirmait au JDV que 13 membres du personnel et deux personnes incarcérées étaient encore infectées à la prison de Bordeaux, située dans Ahuntsic-Cartierville. La porte-parole du Ministère précise que « les membres du personnel atteints à la COVID-19 sont retirés du travail conformément aux consignes de la santé publique ,avant de réintégrer leur poste ». Une source à l’intérieur de la prison indique qu’un détenu travaillant à la cuisine aurait été infecté il y a environ deux semaines. Il aurait été placé en quarantaine pendant 14 jours dans son secteur. Rappelons que l’éclosion majeure du printemps dernier avait poussé l’administration carcérale à mettre en isolement cellulaire prolongé des personnes incarcérées dans plusieurs secteurs de l’établissement. L’éclosion semble pour l’instant, toujours centrée autour du personnel et demeurer relativement sous contrôle, comparativement à la prison de Saint-Jérôme qui vit actuellement une éclosion importante qui progresse rapidement. Le JDV surveille la situation de près.Simon Van Vliet, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal des voisins
Harvesting seaweed on the B.C. coast has been the on-and-off-again dream of back-to-landers intent on subsisting on nature's bounty since the '60s and '70s. But next to none have really ever been able to make a go of it long term, says Louis Druehl. And he would know. Druehl started the first commercial kelp farm in North America and now produces seed and advice for an ever-growing number of cultivators and conservationists. In his mid-80s, the retired professor and marine biologist has been researching and growing kelp for close to four decades in the waters near Bamfield on Vancouver Island’s wild west coast. “We’ve been farming seaweed, one way or the other, since about 1982,” Druehl said. “And we’ve always sputtered along. And I mean sputter, we didn’t (even) putter along.” But recently seaweed has become “a really big deal,” Druehl said. “I’d like to say it’s because of me, but I don’t know that’s true,” he said, laughing. Investment and interest in farming seaweed on the B.C. coast, as well as in North America and Europe, is reaching a fever pitch. Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos recently earmarked a portion of $100 million awarded to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to curb climate change by developing new markets for cultivated seaweed. The economic potential of an expanded seaweed market in Europe could tally €9 billion in just a decade, all while creating more than 100,000 jobs and delivering both environmental and health benefits, according to a recent report by the Seaweed for Europe Coalition. Many science, industry and investment stakeholders support seaweed aquaculture as a potential means to grow a sustainable super food that benefits the economy and environment. B.C.’s Cascadia Seaweed, established in 2019, is aiming to become North America’s largest seaweed provider and believes cultivating ocean algae is the ticket to a triple bottom line, said the company’s chair, Bill Collins. Seaweed is a sustainable, plant-based nutritional food that gets its nutrients from surrounding waters while potentially capturing carbon and contributing to ocean regeneration, he said. “When we looked into it, the opportunity was tremendous. And we asked ourselves, 'Why hasn't it happened before?'” Collins said. Rising concern around impacts of climate change and the corresponding interest in plant-based foods means North American consumers are ready to consider seaweed as a fresh or dried whole food item — whether it be in salads, soups, dried snacks, as a vegetable dish or mixed into bread or plant-based burgers, he said. The time is ripe to shift seaweed aquaculture from a small, cottage-based industry to a large commercial scale for a number of reasons, Collins said, adding Cascadia’s seaweed food products should be on the shelves by summer 2021. But to shift the North American palette to a food item long eaten in Asia and by First Nations — and make seaweed products available beyond the confines of specialty health food stores — growers must produce enough to consistently supply food chain companies and grocery market selves, he added. Typically, intensive, industrial agriculture can have detrimental environmental impacts, Collins said, but unlike land crops, seaweed requires no water, feed or fertilizer inputs. “We have to pay way more attention to our climate and our planet as we create food,” Collins said, adding the company is currently growing sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) and winged kelp (Alaria marginata), similar to the Japanese-grown wakame seaweed. Cascadia will also produce seaweed for the large food ingredients market, which typically uses powders and extracts in bakery or dairy products, salad dressings or alcohol production. But the company is also doing research on B.C. seaweeds as potential sources of cattle feed and bioplastics, he said. The company has teamed with coastal First Nations communities interested in seaweed cultivation as a sustainable means for economic development, Collins said. Cascadia has partnered with Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood on the west coast of Vancouver Island and the Klahoose First Nation on Cortes Island, located in the inner passage along B.C.’s mainland. The company and its partners expect to harvest at least 100 tonnes of kelp out of the waters this April, with 20 per cent from the two farms near Cortes and the remainder from the waters near Bamfield following a six-month winter growing season, Collins said. However, the biggest obstacle hindering the expansion of seaweed aquaculture is the length of time it takes to secure licences from the federal and provincial governments and agencies, Collins said. “The biggest single threat to the business is not being able to grow fast enough,” he said. “The government has told us they want to improve and they have, but we need a wholesale commitment from government if we’re going to expand at the rate that we need to service the market.” B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham was unavailable to clarify how or if the province was working to foster seaweed farming, or if the province had any reservations about growing the industry. Part of the overall problem is there aren’t enough resources dedicated to processing aquaculture tenure requests, which typically evaluate the impacts of raising animals in the ocean, Collins added. “The process is adapted for animals, which you have to be way more cautious with,” he said. Additionally, most of the policy framework from the province focuses on the wild harvest of seaweed rather than cultivation, Collins added. Tenure licences for aquaculture operations are processed by the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO). Before issuing licences, regulators evaluate the locations to ensure they don’t conflict with other land uses such as parks or natural reserves. First Nations are consulted and public comments are considered to establish whether the tenure is the “highest and best use of the land,” the ministry said in an email. Tenure holders must also submit a management plan indicating what infrastructure is on site and how and what species will be cultivated and harvested, along with estimated production yields. Druehl said given kelp operations have relatively low impacts to the marine ecosystem, in his experience, most resistance to seaweed farm operations comes from recreational boaters, fishermen and kayakers. “We have a bit of joke,” he said. “We actually have two crops. One is the kelp, and the second one is fishing lures.” Some other potential impacts to consider might be negative interactions with marine mammals or really dense seaweed operations robbing nutrients from the surrounding waters, Collins said. Cascadia minimizes the amount of equipment it deploys in the water and would work to avoid areas that might endanger wildlife, Collins said. And given the vast amount of coastline in B.C., no operation is likely to pull enough nutrients from flowing waters to endanger other marine life, he added. “We want to do this in harmony with the environment,” Collins said. “So as our industry improves and grows so, too, will our efforts to ensure that we identify the risks and accommodate them.” Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
REGINA — Saskatchewan's social services minister says the province will soon end the practice of social workers or health professionals informing government officials when a baby is born to a mother deemed high risk.Lori Carr says the government heard from First Nations groups who wanted to see an end to so-called birth alerts.The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations and other advocates have criticized the alerts as leading to high numbers of Indigenous newborns being separated from their mothers and taken into government care. The final report from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls called on governments and child-welfare agencies to end the practice.The Saskatchewan government says 53 of 76 alerts issued last year involved Indigenous women.Carr says the practice is to end Feb. 1 and the ministry will work with community groups to support expectant mothers and ensure hospital staff contact these groups if there are concerns. "We'll just make sure that mother is in contact with their right community-based organization to get the best help at that point in time," she said Tuesday. "As we move forward, it's just honestly working so closely with those community-based organizations and our health-care professionals to ensure that nobody does fall through the cracks and that they get the right service at the right time."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2020 Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
When Isak Vaillancourt first began thinking of his short documentary, a project he would create with his team and the support of the guest curator of Up Here 6, Ra’anaa Brown, the global conversation on race had never been louder. At the time, it was shouting names like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “People were suddenly realizing the urgency and validity of this movement,” said Vaillancourt. “Having difficult conversations in regards to their own complicity with systematic racism and their privilege. With the short documentary, I wanted to capture this unique moment in time from the perspectives of three Black community members here in Sudbury.” In the opening shots of the film, an introduction reads: “Black communities are having conversations about race that never make it to mainstream media. The collective consciousness rarely lends itself to amplify these voices.” With his documentary, Vaillancourt wanted to add new voices to the conversation. Not his, however: he decided to amplify the voices of three Black women in Sudbury and the struggles, racism and challenges to their own identity they have faced. And he called it, Amplify. Vaillancourt, a multimedia content producer and activist, is also from the area. He grew up in Chelmsford with his twin sister and younger brother, the children of a Franco-Ontarian father and a mother who found her way to Canada after leaving Somalia in 1991 to escape the civil war. He wanted to show that despite many believing that there are no issues with racism in Sudbury, the reality is quite the contrary. “It’s important to realize that racism and discrimination exist in Sudbury, as much as we like to pretend that Canada is a nation of cultural tolerance.” To him, the medium of a short documentary was the perfect choice to showcase his message. “We decided that a short documentary would be the perfect platform to shed light on the inequalities and discrimination that affects the lives of many racialized individuals here in Sudbury,” said Vaillancourt. “This project would not have been possible without the continuous support from the amazing team at Up Here. Behind the scenes, I worked very closely with my cinematographer, Shawn Kosmerly, and my editor, Riley McEwen, to bring this project to life.” The documentary itself focuses on the lived experiences of the three Black women it features: Josephine Suorineni-Zaghe, Shana Calixte and Sonia Ekiyor-Katimi, and their thoughts in relation to the current political climate, racial inequality and social justice. It is an opportunity for them to describe the challenges they have had to overcome and to educate those that perhaps have never had to consider the prejudice, both subtle and overt, that Sudburians of colour face. It is a chance to understand that if you have not experienced something directly, rather than deny or deflect, you should defer. “We as a society need to learn how to defer to people with lived experiences when speaking on issues that affect them directly,” said Vaillancourt. But also cautions, “Keep in mind that, amplifying Black, Indigenous, and POC (people of colour) voices does not mean placing the heavy burden on marginalized communities to educate you on the ways they’ve been oppressed. It’s the act of listening, self-reflection and continuous learning. It’s a commitment.” As the film lives on, Vaillancourt hopes viewers will find ways to show this commitment by getting involved locally. He quotes Josephine Suorineni-Zaghe from the film and says “Build up the movement locally. Be there for Black children. Be there for Black girls and Black boys. Be there for the Black LGBTQ+ community and when you do have that interaction, you do see the immediate change.” He also notes the many grassroots organisations that can benefit from more community involvement. “Within the City of Greater Sudbury, there has been a growing culture of community care and mutual aid all in the face of hatred,” he said. “This has not been cultivated by city officials but rather grassroot community groups such as Black Lives Matter - Sudbury, Sudbury Pride, Myth and Mirrors, SWANS Sudbury and The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre (SWEAC) just to name a few. I encourage viewers to take the extra step and learn more about how they can uplift these organizations and the important work they're doing.” The video is currently hosted by Up Here 6, and it is also available with French-language subtitles. For now, not only is Vaillancourt submitting this film to festivals, but he is currently working on multimedia projects that highlight “the amazing and diverse communities we have here in Sudbury.” For more of Vaillancourt’s work, you can visit his website at IsakVail.ca. You can watch the documentary below. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Three years ago, filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West got a dream Sundance debut. They premiered their film “RBG” to a sold-out crowd with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg not only in attendance but seeing it for the first time. There was a standing ovation, a bidding war and a big sale. It also went on to be a major awards contender. It’s the kind of Sundance experience most filmmakers fantasize about. This year they’re returning to the festival with their follow-up, “My Name is Pauli Murray” about the somewhat obscure legal trailblazer, and while their excitement remains high, the festival itself will be quite different. Like so many in the past year, Sundance has had to reinvent itself as a mostly virtual experience. Still, the 2021 Festival which kicks off Thursday is shaping up to be a robust market for companies looking for content. More than 72 feature films are debuting over the seven days. It’s slimmed-down lineup from the previous years’ 118 and some already have ways to get to audiences, like Robin Wright’s “Land” and “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which will both be available to the masses in the coming weeks. But many this year are acquisition titles seeking distribution deals. “Buyers and sellers have found a rhythm for conducting business at virtual markets, to great success. And consumers are continuing to ask for more content,” said Deb McIntosh, an SVP at Endeavor Content. “I’m confident that we’ll find distribution partners for all of our films." Julie Dansker, an executive at Shout! Studios, is coming to the virtual festival looking for films to buy and Sundance, she said, always offers a variety of films from established and emerging talents. This year there are high profile projects from well-known names like actor Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut “Passing,” starring Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson as two light-skinned Black women who choose to live on opposite sides of the colour line in 1929 New York. Jerrod Carmichael is making his debut with the dark satire “On the Count of Three” with Christopher Abbott and Tiffany Haddish. Questlove is too with his opening night documentary “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised).” Zoe Lister-Jones also reunites with her “Craft: Legacy” star Cailee Spaeny for “How It Ends,” co-starring Olivia Wilde and Fred Armisen. And “CODA,” a day one film from Sian Heder about a child of deaf adults, is expected to be one of the breakouts. As always, the documentary sections are fertile ground for buyers. Cohen and West’s “My Name is Pauli Murray” is among the sales titles as is Mariem Pérez Riera’s “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” which examines how the entertainer battled racism to become one of the few performers to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Lucy Walker has a documentary about the history of wildfires, “Bring Your Own Brigade” and Jonas Poher Rasmussen will debut his animated refugee documentary “Flee.” And then there’s the more unconventional efforts like animator Dash Shaw’s psychedelic “Cryptozoo,” featuring the voices of Lake Bell, Michael Cera and Grace Zabriskie. Or Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Wong Kar-Wai produced drama “One for the Road” and Timur Bekmambetov’s social media age Romeo and Juliet riff “R#J.” There are boundless “discovery” opportunities for parties looking beyond the flashy names who might just stumble upon the next Ryan Coogler or Damien Chazelle. As Sundance programmer Kim Yutani said, “You don’t really know what these films are until you see them.” Audience enthusiasm for a particular film might be harder to judge virtually, though. “There’s all this energy that happens at a festival when you’re in person that is hard to translate to a virtual environment,” said Jordan Fields, head of acquisitions for Shout! Studios. “But on the upside, it gives us the ability to judge movies a little more objectively because we’re not necessarily influenced by a crowd who stands up to cheer it at the end.” And indeed, for better or worse, that in-person energy has often played a role in negotiating the price. Sometimes the hype is warranted, and you get a “Little Miss Sunshine.” But other times off the mountain, the glow fades and companies are left with a flop. Prices have also been going up steadily due to the influx of deep-pocketed streaming companies who don’t have to worry as much or at all about box office returns. Six years ago, Amazon and Netflix both struggled to get titles. Now, the streamers are some of the biggest players in the game. Last year saw Hulu and NEON pay over $17.5 million (a record) for the worldwide rights to the Andy Samberg comedy “Palm Springs.” “Boys State” also got a $12 million deal from Apple and A24. This year there is an added anxiety about content since many productions were put on hold because of the pandemic. But there’s also opportunity in the fact that there could be a bigger and more diverse audience seeing the films who may never have had the opportunity to attend the expensive festival. The cost of entry for the virtual films is $15 a ticket and many are sold out. “Taking Sundance off the mountain and to the whole country will be a beautiful way to commune together over our shared love and need for artistic expression,” said McIntosh. There have already been a few pre-Festival deals. RLJE Films on Tuesday announced that it had acquired the Nicolas Cage film “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” Magnolia Pictures took the rights to “A Glitch in the Matrix” from “Room 237” director Rodney Ascher, Bleecker Street snagged the Ed Helms drama “Together Together” and Juno Films picked up the documentary “The Most Beautiful Boy” about Swedish actor Bjorn Andresen. But many are holding back pre-screenings and waiting until the actual Sundance premiere. “I’m still excited,” said Hall, whose “Passing” premieres Saturday. “But would I rather that we were all together wandering through the snow, freezing cold and, you know, trudging down Main Street? Yes, I would, because that communal experience is part of it.” Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
ROME — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte resigned Tuesday after a key coalition ally pulled his party’s support over Conte’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, setting the stage for consultations this week to determine if he can form a third government. Conte tendered his resignation to President Sergio Mattarella, who held off on any immediate decision other than to ask Conte to keep the government running in the near-term, Mattarella's office said. The president will begin consulting with leaders of political parties on Wednesday. Conte hopes to get Mattarella's support to try to form a new coalition government that can steer the country as it battles the pandemic and an economic recession and creates a spending plan for the 209 billion euros ($254 billion) Italy is getting in European Union recovery funds. The premier said in a message posted on Facebook that his resignation was aimed at achieving “a government that can save the nation” during the health, social and economic crisis provoked by the pandemic. “The widespread suffering of citizens, deep social hardship and economic difficulties require a clear perspective and a government that has a larger and more secure majority,” Conte wrote. Conte’s coalition government was thrown into turmoil earlier this month when a junior party headed by ex-Premier Matteo Renzi yanked its support. Conte won confidence votes in parliament last week, but fell short of an absolute majority in the Senate, forcing him to take the gamble of resignation. Mattarella, Italy's largely ceremonial head of state, can ask Conte to try to form a broader coalition government, mandate a new prime minister to try to form a government from the same parties, appoint a largely technical government to steer the country through the pandemic or dissolve parliament and call an election two years early. A technical government and early election are considered the least-likely outcomes. But Conte would need Renzi's support to form a new governing coalition or the backing of independents and the centre-right Forza Italia party. “The most likely outcomes in my opinion are two: one is another government with Conte and with Renzi, and the second most likely is a government without Conte and with Renzi,'' Roberto D'Alimonte, a political science professor at Rome's LUISS University, said. The partners in the current coalition — the 5-Star Movement, the Democratic Party and the smaller LeU (Free and Equal) party — are all hoping for a third Conte government. Conte's first government starting in 2018 was a 5-Star alliance with the right-wing League party led by Matteo Salvini that lasted 15 months. His second lasted 17 months. Salvini and centre-right opposition parties are clamouring for an early election, hoping to capitalize on polls prior to the government crisis that showed high approval ratings for the League and the right-wing Brothers of Italy party led by Giorgia Meloni. Salvini has blasted the “palace games and buying and selling of senators” of recent days as Conte has tried to find new coalition allies, claiming that Conte is incapable of leading Italy through the crisis. “Let’s use these weeks to give the word back to the people and we’ll have five years of a serious and legitimate parliament and government not chosen in palaces but chosen by Italians,” Salvini said Monday. Democratic leader Nicola Zingaretti says an early election is the last thing the country needs. He tweeted Monday: “With Conte for a new clearly European-centric government supported by an ample parliamentary base that will guarantee credibility and stability to confront the challenges Italy has ahead." The ratings agency Fitch said in a statement that the political crisis could hinder Italy's ability to relaunch its economy after the pandemic, particularly if the government is unable to come up with a strategy to use the EU recovery funds. “The advent of a substantially weaker government or persistent political uncertainty could hamper efforts to improve growth prospects after the pandemic via a coherent economic strategy,” Fitch said ."It could also increase the risk of delays in disbursing" the recovery funds. ____ Colleen Barry contributed from Milan. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan saw its deadliest day of the pandemic, with a record-high 14 fatalities reported on Tuesday. The previous record came on Jan. 21, when 13 people died after being diagnosed with the virus. The province has now reported 268 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic came to the province. Of those, 115 deaths have happened in 2021. One of the newly reported deaths Tuesday was a person was in their 40s who lived in the north central zone. Two people were in their 50s, with one from the Regina area and the other from the Saskatoon zone. Another two people were in their 60s from the Saskatoon zone. Three people were in their 70s and were from the Regina, Saskatoon and southeast zones. Six people were in their 80s and lived in the far northwest, north central, Regina, southeast and Saskatoon zones. New cases The province also reported 232 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total provincial caseload so far to 22,646. Here's where the new cases are: Far northwest: 23. Far north central: three. Far northeast: four. Northwest: 45. North central: 31. Northeast: seven. Saskatoon zone: 47. Central west: three. Central east: four. Regina zone: 46. South central: two. Southeast: six. There are 11 cases with pending locations. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 254, or 20.7 new cases per 100,000 people. The province says a total of 19,729 known cases have recovered from the virus, an increase of 839 since Monday. Of the province's total cases, 2,665 are considered active. There are 208 people with COVID-19 in hospital, 33 of whom are in the ICU. The province processed 2,160 COVID-19 tests on Monday. Public health measures extended The province is not implementing any new health measures to contain the spread of the virus, but it is extending the measures that currently are in place. The public health order will remain in effect until Feb. 19. They were set to expire on Jan. 29. The measures include a province-wide mask mandate, outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people maximum, while private indoor gatherings are limited to immediate households only. Visits to long-term care and personal care homes remain suspended except for compassionate reasons. Additionally, no alcohol sales are permitted after 10 p.m. in licensed establishments and sports remains suspended. A full list of current measures is available here. 3 businesses fined for not following public health order The government of Saskatchewan says enforcement of public health orders will continue to ensure businesses and events are brought into compliance as quickly as possible. On Tuesday, three businesses were fined under the Public Health Act. Crackers and the Crazy Cactus in Saskatoon and Stats Cocktails and Dreams in Regina have each been fined $14,000 each. Vaccine update The province administered 362 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, bringing the total number of vaccines administered in Saskatchewan to 34,080. The doses were administered in the following areas: Saskatoon: 241. Far North West: 22. North East: 23. North West: 66. Central East: 10. As of Tuesday, the province says it has administered 104 per cent of the number of doses it has officially received, with the overage due to efficiencies in drawing extra doses from vials.
Liverpool’s Privateer Days has been cancelled for a second straight year. The Privateer Days Commission Board met on January 20 to discuss the possibility of restarting the event which was postponed in 2020. “It was unanimously decided that due to the uncertainty and inability to guarantee safety for everyone, the 2021 Privateer Days has been cancelled,” Terrena Parnell, the commission’s chairperson, announced in a social media post. “While we are all disappointed and had hoped to have a bigger and better festival this year, it’s not worth jeopardizing anyone’s health and safety,” she added. Parnell’s post alluded to the safety of both spectators and participants, and noted that with the possibility of the borders still being closed it was recognized some participants or companies, such as East Coast Amusement rides, would not be able to attend. The annual event was scheduled for June 25-27 this year. Privateer Days is a celebration of Liverpool’s history as a home port for privateers. The three-day event features a battle re-enactment, musical entertainment, reptile zoo, crafter’s market and a rum run. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
Construction on Place des Arts began in earnest, then a pandemic set back. Work resumes once again, then a second lockdown — then the announcement of a sort-of third lockdown. The construction was supposed to continue, but then everything was shut down once again last week, with the building work ceasing on Friday. But then Monday it started again. There was an amendment to the legislation. It’s just another part of the journey, says Léo Therrien, executive director of the new Francophone arts and culture centre in downtown Sudbury. “The construction is expected to be done at the end of the summer, give or take, and again COVID willing,” said Therrien. “And then our hope is to open later in the fall. Even once the work is finished, everyone has to move in, we have to test all the equipment, you have to do a few shows, too.” But he’s pleased this timeline should coincide with the vaccination process in Sudbury. “I think everyone will be ready to get back to shows,” he said. It is also this specific, pandemic-related journey that has revealed an interesting way for the seven organisations behind ROCS (Regroupement des organismes culturels de Sudbury) to offer planning and programming that is not only accessible in the pandemic world, but in the post-pandemic world as well: streaming. “Our hope is with streaming that we'll be able to stream internally to the various venues inside,” said Therrien. That includes the ability to watch a performance from anywhere in the building. “There's a performance in La Grande Salle (main theatre),” he said. “We can send it to the studio, we can send it to the Bistro, we can send it to other venues. We could split people in various places internally. “But we can also Zoom it, stream it externally, too, for conferences, for performances, and so on.” Whether you love a live show, or your life is more conducive to enjoying it in your pyjamas, there will be options for you. There will even be recordings, something in the works for La Nuit sur l'étang music festival. “Right now, they're planning the shows in March,” said Therrien, “But they might be able to get only 50 people right now because of COVID. So, their plan is to have various cameras and record the whole show and sell it later on at another date – present it as a recorded show.” And because of the occasional pause in the construction, there is the opportunity to consider these aspects: when you can’t build, you have the advantage of time while you work out the kinks of closed-circuit television. Silver Linings, as they say. “It's the right time for us to put the equipment in place because the walls aren't done yet. It would be too hard to do it if it was all finished,” said Therrien. “That's one of the only bonuses from COVID, is that we were able to adapt.” But also, they are not open. That means they are not bringing in revenue as of yet. Still, that may again be fortuitous (to be generous with the interpretation). Therrien said that while they wish the building was finished, it also prevented them from having to cancel or postpone. “We didn't have to stop any shows because we didn't have any shows planned,” he said. “So many of our partners had to cancel their season, then restart it and cancel it again. And it's been that nightmare for them.” He said that they hope the opening of the Place des arts will allow community arts and culture groups — both Anglophone and Francophone — to come together and pool resources, to use the knowledge and experience from every corner of the city to create programming to enrich Francophone culture and, by extension, Sudbury culture, as well as offer a home to Anglophone groups, like YES Theatre, which is currently in negotiations with the Place des arts team. There will not only be the headquarters of the seven founding Francophone organisations, as well as a gift shop, bookstore, bistro and multi-purpose studio space, but also a grand theatre and office space and rehearsal space. And there has never been a better time for art, said Therrien. Movies, television, books, puzzles, art galleries tours and musicals on Zoom — you name the medium, the world consumed content on it — and he’s hopeful this trend will continue. “Art and culture is healthy to our wellbeing, the health of ourselves,” said Therrien. “That’s why a place like this is essential to our community and to everyone in it.” Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Ottawa's medical officer of health is calling on the province to allow schools in this city to reopen as soon as possible, saying current COVID-19 rates here are manageable. "The level of community transmission in Ottawa is similar to, or lower now, than it was at our peak in October when schools were open and we managed that level of COVID in the schools," Dr. Vera Etches said Tuesday during a technical briefing on the city's vaccination plan. There are many different kinds of harms that we see with schools being closed, which lead us to wanting to open them as soon as we can. - Dr. Vera Etches Last Wednesday, Ontario announced schools within four public health units in eastern Ontario could reopen on Monday. Ottawa was not on the list, and there's still no word from the province about when in-person learning can resume in this city. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, CEO of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, told reporters on Tuesday he believes schools in that region will be allowed to reopen by Feb. 9 or Feb. 10, so long as caseloads remain on the right trajectory. Etches argues Ottawa's current COVID-19 caseload doesn't justify the ongoing closure. She has compared in-class learning to essential work for children, and said parents are facing too much stress handling their own work while supervising their kids' at-home schooling. There's also the strain on students: during last spring's provincewide shutdown, demand for mental health services among children and youth increased, Etches said. "There are many different kinds of harms that we see with schools being closed, which lead us to wanting to open them as soon as we can," said Etches. Return to school should not depend on vaccination campaign, Etches says In recent weeks, Ottawa has seen a steady decline in COVID-19 transmission. On Tuesday, Ottawa Public Health reported just 23 new cases, while the test positivity rate has dropped to three per cent, down from 4.6 per cent two weeks ago. If cases surge again, the city has proven itself equipped to track cases in schools and keep the virus at bay, said Etches. "I never use the word 'safe,'" she said. "But what I feel confident about is that we can manage the COVID levels to decrease transmission within schools, just as we did in the fall." In areas of Ontario where students returned to the classroom Monday, the province has introduced additional measures to control the spread of COVID-19 including targeted asymptomatic testing, more vigorous screening, mandatory masks for students in grades 1 to 3, and mandatory masks outdoors when physical distancing can't be maintained.
New Brunswick prosecutors will not lay criminal charges against police officers involved in the shooting death of Rodney Levi of Metepenagiag First Nation. Levi, 48, was shot and killed by RCMP on June 12, 2020, when they responded to a call for assistance on Boom Road, about 30 kilometres southwest of Miramichi. "In our opinion, the peace officers in question were acting lawfully to protect the residents of the home on that fateful evening," the New Brunswick Office of the Attorney General said in a statement Tuesday. Levi was the second Indigenous person killed by police in New Brunswick within a two-week period. The first was Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old woman of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation in British Columbia, who was living in Edmundston. She was shot by an Edmundston police officer. Quebec's police watchdog, which was asked to investigate both killings, released its report on the Moore case around the same time as its report on Levi's. The Crown decided not to pursue charges in the Levi case after it reviewed the report from the Bureau des Enquêtes indépendantes du Québec (BEI). It has not said whether charges will be laid in the Moore case. The two deaths sparked an outcry from the community, including calls for charges and an inquiry into systemic racism in the justice system in New Brunswick. 'This is not over' Alisa Lombard, the lawyer for the Levi family, said Tuesday that family members are considering their legal options and would not comment for now. "This is not over. Far from it," she said. "But for the moment, I think they just need some time to process before going out there and saying anything." Lombard said the family met with the BEI and the director of prosecutions on Tuesday to learn details of the investigation. "They're processing the information that was shared today and they did receive a lot of answers that they did not have prior," she said. Tasered 3 times In Levi's case, the BEI sent eight investigators to the Miramichi area and interviewed 11 witnesses. The Crown prepared a legal opinion, and shared it publicly Tuesday. The opinion includes a summary of each witness account. The legal opinion says one of the witnesses, a close relative of Levi, describes him as "being severely depressed," in the days before he was killed. "He kept talking about suicide and more specifically about 'suicide by RCMP' and was wondering if he would go to Heaven," the legal opinion says. "She [the witness] states that this is all he was talking about." The opinion says Levi was living with this witness at the time. "According to her, Mr. Levi left her place in the afternoon of June 12. She never saw him after that." Other witnesses who were at the house where Levi was shot describe him holding two knives and refusing to let go. Witnesses said he was Tasered three times. He dropped one of the knives after the second or third time but bent down to pick it up immediately, the summary says. Multiple witnesses also describe Levi moving toward one of the police officers with the knife, and that's when he was shot twice. "Some describe his move as a 'step,' other as 'lunging' with one witness describing the move as a 'charge,'" the summary says. The attorney general's media release said the BEI investigation also looked at a short video taken by one of the witnesses "that shows part of the actual event," and expert reports. The media release said in order to lay charges, the Crown must be able to see "evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction." The Crown prosecutor's office did not see such evidence after reviewing the BEI report, the release said. The release said the officer opened fire after "repeated attempts to engage with Mr. Levi peacefully, and followed several applications of a Taser to disarm him from the dangerous weapons (knives) he refused to yield." Inquest planned Regardless of charges, New Brunswick's Office of the Chief Coroner will be conducting an inquest into Levi's death on Oct. 4. The exact location and who will preside has not yet been announced. During the inquest, the coroner and a jury will hear evidence and "make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future," a provincial news release said. New Brunswick RCMP Commanding Officer Larry Tremblay said in a statement the RCMP "respect the decision made by the Public Prosecutions Services," and will not be offering any further comment related to the BEI investigation.
To help Erin businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic, the town’s economic development committee will focus its efforts on three areas. In a presentation to Erin council Tuesday, chair Jim White laid out the plan. Board members will create an entrepreneurial hub, zone in on tourism growth related to businesses and discuss business retention and expansion initiatives. Plans, however, have been on hold or partially delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These programs were meant as ways of diversifying how businesses operate, but now it’s about ensuring they make money to stay in town with the lockdown closing virtually all of the stores. “Given COVID-19’s arrived in (March 2020), we deferred the implementation of the entrepreneurial hub,” said White. “Similarly, we had to defer the growth of tourism activities, and the third one, the business attraction, retention and expansion. The committee elected to put all of our resources from September in working on business recovery in face of COVID-19. That then became the priority.” Linda Horowitz, program manager at Innovation Guelph will lead the entrepreneurial hub. The committee wants to develop a physical presence for businesses to share ideas, attend seminars and use workplace tools. They've developed a plan to engage all local businesses to participate in the hub and are moving to create a virtual hub to facilitate communications with businesses. Jim White will lead the growth of the tourism initiative. His group plans to engage Central Counties Tourism and Headwaters stakeholders to ensure Erin’s needs are reflected in an integrated plan, study the impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry and identify priorities for local businesses, among many other things. Business attraction, retention and expansion will be led by board member Laurie Davis. This group will focus on attracting new businesses to increase the tax base from the industry and ensure that existing businesses become advocates for Erin to attract new businesses. Industries represented include advanced manufacturing, tourism and professional services. Market sectors are engineering, food and beverage, retail, wellness and restaurants. The committee determines the status of 10 key businesses in Erin for 9 months into the pandemic, worked to gain insights into their high-level plans for 2021 and determined the impact of the situation on employment, among many other things. Councillor Rob Smith shared his concerns, as a business owner, about the majority of the workforce not working at this time. “They’re going to get conditioned to being very lax,” said Smith. I think we’re going to be up against the wall when COVID is over and introducing these people back to the workforce.” Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
SASKATOON — Canadian fertilizer giant Nutrien Ltd. says it will expand its use of a proximity alarm and contact tracing technology to help protect 14,500 of its employees from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Saskatoon-based company says it has rolled out its Proximity Trace equipment, made by U.S.-based Triax Technologies, to more than 8,000 employees to date and expects to introduce it to 6,500 more in coming months, representing 65 per cent of its global employee base. Proximity Trace tags are attached to workers’ clothing or hard hats and produce an audio and visual alert to those who come within two metres of one another. Nutrien says the sensors also automatically log data to allow contact tracing if a positive case is found, helping limit further spread and reassuring those not at risk. The company says the system is expected to help it minimize operational shutdowns and related costs and product delivery delays from disease outbreaks. The first sensors were deployed last July at fertilizer plant sites in the United States. They are now to be employed at Nutrien's potash mines in Saskatchewan and at corporate offices in Colorado, Illinois, Alberta and Saskatchewan. “At the workplace, if you maintain proper physical distancing, then your risk of spreading the virus is very low,” said Dr. Tarek Sardana, a medical expert advising Nutrien, in a company news release. “I encourage people to think of themselves as if they’re living within six-foot bubbles, and if no one penetrates the bubbles, it’s harder for the virus to spread.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:NTR) The Canadian Press