For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Joseph Brant Hospital has opened its Pandemic Response Unit to patients sick with COVID-19. Erica Vella reports.
For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Joseph Brant Hospital has opened its Pandemic Response Unit to patients sick with COVID-19. Erica Vella reports.
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
A special kind of cold is needed for mukluks. The traditional Anishinaabe footwear crafted out of moose hide with a fleece lining and adorned with coloured glass beads and rabbit or beaver fur doesn’t wear well in mild, wet winter weather, but rather when it’s cold and dry. That’s something Alley Yapput, an Anishinaabe Two Spirit artist, learned growing up with his grandmother Clara Yapput during the 1970s and 1980s in Nakina, Ont., about 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. His grandmother was known in the area for her beadwork and other crafts, and a young Alley kept close watch. Decades later, Alley is sharing his teachings with his mother Madeline, who in her 60s has recently learned how to bead and make moccasins like her own mother used to. Unlike her son, however, she didn’t grow up learning from her parents. Clara Yapput, who was born Christmas Day, 1918, and was from Aroland First Nation, an Ojibway community not far from Nakina, was a master in the craft of beading and sewing items such as mukluks, moccasins and mittens. She also made miniature snowshoes, cradles and birch-bark baskets with willow branches. Clara and her husband Lloyd, a Cree man born along the shores of the Albany River next to James Bay, raised their family in Aroland and Nakina. An active couple, they spent summers working as hunting and fishing guides or building cabins for local tourist outfitters. Clara and Lloyd had 10 children and spoke Cree and Ojibway at home, where Madeline and her siblings also learned to speak Ojibway fluently. In 1957, when Madeline was five years old, she was sent to residential school more than 800 kilometres away in the Kenora, Ont., area. She would spend the next several years in the residential school system, returning home to her family for the summers. “It’s not a happy place where I went,” she says about her experience in the government and church-run schools she attended. “I lost a lot of my language and culture.” Madeline says she would have learned the careful craftmanship of handmade items such as moccasins and miniature snowshoes from her mother if she had stayed home. Instead, she says, such teachings “just all went away.” As a teenager, Madeline returned home to her family in Nakina and had Alley, the first of three children. She let her parents raise Alley, a customary practice among Anishinaabe families in the north. Madeline says her son had a good upbringing with her parents, picking up the Ojibway language and syllabics. “I was very happy that he learned a lot of culture from my mother,” she says. Her mother continued to bead until she could no longer see because of cataracts. Clara passed away in 2001 at age 83. Alley says he spent a lot of time by his grandmother’s side, learning and observing. Eventually, like his mother, Alley was also sent away to school. In Grade 9, he moved to Sioux Lookout, where he lived with a non-Indigenous family who didn’t understand the Ojibway language. “You lose that connection,” he says. Armed with his grandmother’s traditional sewing and beading skills (“It’s all in my head – a lot of memory in there,” he says), Alley got into the “moccasin game” about 15 years ago while living in Winnipeg, sewing moccasins part-time for an Indigenous company while continuing his own beadwork and sewing on the side. He moved back to Thunder Bay more than three years ago, shortly after his aunt died of cancer, wanting to ensure his mother wasn’t alone without any family. Visiting his mother at least once a week, Alley would often bring his sewing and beadwork with him and encouraged his mother to give it a try. She started off with small items, beading poppies and Christmas pins. When Alley was hired by an organization to teach a moccasin-making workshop for residential school survivors, Madeline joined in and made her first pair of moccasins. “She’s a really quick learner,” Alley says. Sharing his mother’s work on his Facebook page, Madeline started to get requests for her items, and hasn’t stopped taking orders – or learning – since. One of the duo’s latest projects was a matching pair of beaded gauntlet mittens for Madeline and her partner – a first for Madeline, who noted it was a challenging project, particularly fashioning the mitts’ thumb. It took Madeline and Alley about two weeks to complete both pairs. At times, the handiwork can be a delicate, tedious process of stitching tiny seed beads onto leather or other material, using one or two threaded needles. “Sometimes it’s frustrating what you bead – your thread doesn’t go right, [so] I put it away and relax,” Madeline says with a laugh. Crafting together has become a way for mother and son to stay close, particularly after the death of Alley’s youngest sister last summer. As a single person, he’s thankful he can still visit his mom in her home, where she lives with her partner, under the current pandemic restrictions. Madeline works on custom orders from her living room, sitting in her recliner with a tray of beads in her lap and her dog Jasper, a small Shih Tzu-cross, close by. Alley sits on the couch, where he works on mukluks featuring a more intricate (and contemporary) design – Baby Yoda. When asked how it makes her feel that people want to buy her work, Madeline lights up. “Oh my God, my heart just bursts,” she says. She’s even received a custom order from as far away as New York – appropriately enough, it was for a matching set of moccasins for a mother and child. Willow Fiddler, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Globe and Mail
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador first felt the onset of COVID-19 on Sunday and was tested after returning to the capital on a commercial flight from an event in central Mexico, his spokesman said on Tuesday. Spokesman Jesus Ramirez said that passengers on the flight were being contacted, and that journalists traveling with the president were recommended to isolate. Lopez Obrador had a fever on Sunday and was still experiencing some mild symptoms by Tuesday, including a minor headache, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said in an evening news conference.
The current public health order will remain in effect until Feb. 19, 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced Tuesday. At a press conference, Premier Scott Moe explained that numbers are moving in the right direction but measures should continue. “The restrictions that we have are working but we need to leave them in place for a while longer,” Moe said. Measures remaining in place for another three weeks include limiting private indoor gatherings to immediate households with some exceptions for people living alone and caregivers and private outdoor gatherings remaining at a limit of 10 as long as physical distancing can be maintained. On the business side, most retail and personal services are still reduced to 50 per cent capacity and large retail locations are reduced to 25 per cent capacity. Restaurants remain limited to four customers per table and three meters between tables for in-person dining. As well, places of worship, concert venues and theatres are limited to a maximum of 30 people “I ask everyone to continue following the public health orders and the guidelines to keep yourself and those around you safe. These measures are working when we follow them as the vast majority of Saskatchewan people and businesses are doing,” Moe said. Chief Medical Health Officer Saqib Shahab explained later that public health measures are either seen as too much or too little depending on whom you are talking to. “You know they do try to strike a fine balance between minizing cases as long as the guidelines are followed and letting people work and enjoy other amenities as possible. According to Shahab these measures have to be balanced with economic mental, health and social costs of stricter measures. Obviously it does impact some people more than others in terms of what their interests are,” Shahab said. “The downward trend shows that if all of us abide by public health principles it has a significant impact on our case numbers. Making measures more stringent would always be an option, unfortunately, if our case numbers ramped up,” Shahab said. Moe explained that the gradual decline in case numbers can be seen in 232 cases reported Thursday and a seven-day average of 254, down from 321 on Jan. 12. He added that active cases are down to 2,665 which are the lowest since late November and down from the peak of 4,763 on Dec. 7. The province also began issuing tickets to establishments that fail to abide by public health orders. Tickets of $14,000 each were issued Tuesday morning to Crackers and the Crazy Cactus in Saskatoon and Stats Cocktails and Dreams in Regina. “There have been a small number of mainly bars and restaurants who may not have been following (orders), putting their staff, putting their customers and essentially putting their communities at risk.,” Moe said. Moe said that he had asked for an increase in enforcement and that was one reason the tickets were issued. “There have been three tickets with significant fines that have been issued to bars in Saskatoon and Regina. Some other investigations are ongoing and they may result in additional fines,” Moe said. According to both Moe and Shahab, issuing fines and penalties are a last resort but have become necessary. “What we really desire is compliance, for everyone to follow all of the public health orders and the guidelines that are in place. That is how we will continue to reduce our case numbers so that hopefully in three weeks from now we can start to maybe look at easing some of the restrictions that are in place,” Moe said. Shahab reminded people to familiarize themselves with guidelines and comply as citizens and business owners. “It’s not just up to the business owner. As a customer in a retail location or restaurant or bar, it is up to us to comply. I think when we don’t comply we put our friends, family, the business, the community at risk,” Shahab said. When asked by why these businesses had their names and fines released Moe said that they should be released. “It’s our hope that we wouldn’t have to release any more as compliance is always the effort. I have said over the course of the last few weeks that we are going to be and I was encouraging all of those involved to increase the enforcement,” Moe said. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
The province of Saskatchewan set another new record for deaths related to COVID-19 Tuesday with 14. There were two additional deaths reported in the North Central zone , one in the 40-49 age group and one in the 80 and over age group. The Saskatoon zone reported two deaths in the 60 to 69-year-old age group, two deaths in the 80-years-old and over age group and one in the 70 to 79-year-old age group and 50 to 59-year-old age group. Regina reported deaths in the 70 to 79-year-old age group, 50 to 59 year-old age group and 80-years-old and over age group The Far North West and South East also reported one death in the 80-years-old and over age group. The South East also reported a death in the 70 to 79-year-old age group. The number of deaths in the province has grown to 268. There were 232 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the province on Tuesday. The North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, reported 31 new cases. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 139 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 55 active cases and North Central 3 has 98 active cases. There was one case with pending information added to the North Central zone. There are currently 208 people in hospital overall in the province. Of the 175 reported as receiving in patient care there are 28 in North Central. Of the 33 people reported as being in intensive care there are two in North Central. The current seven-day average is 254, or 20.7 cases per 100,000 population. Of the 22,646 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 2,665 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 19,219 after 839 more recoveries were reported. Tuesday. There were 362 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered yesterday in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of vaccines administered in the province to 34,080. As of Jan. 25, 104 per cent of the doses received have been administered. This overage is due to efficiencies in drawing extra doses from vials of vaccine received. There were no doses administered in North Central on Monday. However 23 doses were administered in the adjacent North East zone, which includes Melfort, Nipawin and Tisdale. There were 2,160 COVID-19 tests processed in Saskatchewan on Jan 25. As of today there have been 495,292 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Critics of Baffinland Iron Mines’ proposed Mary River mine expansion questioned the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and integration of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or traditional knowledge, during the second day of a Nunavut Impact Review Board hearing. It revealed that a clear divide between company and community still exists, despite CEO Brian Penney’s assertion Monday his company has addressed community concerns about the mine’s phase two expansion. Baffinland says it needs to build a 110-kilometre railway from Milne Inlet to the Mary River mine to make the mine financially sustainable. But the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization was one of the more outspoken presenters during Tuesday’s proceedings in Pond Inlet, repeatedly asking Baffinland staff if they considered Inuit traditional knowledge in their proposals, especially when regarding the environment. “Does Baffinland understand that proper incorporation of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is a requirement of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, not only an expectation of communities?” Eric Ootoovak, a member of the hunters and trappers organization asked. He also asked if Baffinland respects traditional knowledge as “factual information that is essential to the environmental impact statement.” Megan Lord-Hoyle, Baffinland’s vice-president of sustainable development, and Lou Kamermans, senior director of sustainable development, said the company has adapted its proposal to the needs of affected communities, even if it hasn’t been to the extent that groups such as the MTHO would like. “We can agree to disagree on the conclusions of our assessments, but your disagreement doesn’t mean that we haven’t carried out the studies that are included in our assessment,” said Kamermans, in reference to incorporating traditional knowledge. “That information is objectively there, there’s no debate on that. We have considered the information.” Critics’ questions about whether their environmental concerns will be addressed and honoured by Baffinland have persisted since November 2019. That was when the hearings were postponed after Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk brought forward a motion to postpone the hearing because were too many questions remained about the proposal. Since then, Baffinland has held meetings with affected communities and revised its proposal. Vessels would operate for four, rather than 10, months a year, to help avoid disturbing marine life. The company also introduced the Inuit stewardship plan to allow Inuit to “report on social, environmental, and cultural impacts” of the phase two proposal, which will be run by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and paid for by Baffinland. As well, the Inuit Certainty Agreement, a multimillion-dollar agreement between the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Baffinland, was signed in July 2020 and outlines community benefits, Inuit participation in the project and incentives for affected communities. “Science and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit will be considered in parallel and on equal footing as part of the adaptive management planning,” Lord-Hoyle said. But community representatives have yet to be won over. On Tuesday, Amanda Hanson Main, technical advisor to the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, asked Lord-Hoyle three times if, during the 2019 proceedings, Baffinland supported any requests or motions by communities to slow down the hearings when they felt their concerns weren’t being answered. The third time, Lord-Hoyle referred to Baffinland’s legal counsel to answer. “We believe that an answer has been given to this question, and the answer is that the position of the company on the motions is on the record and is well known to the board,” said Brad Armstrong. Hanson Main replied, “Noting the non-response at this oral hearing, I’ll move forward, recognizing that Baffinland not only did not support the motions or the requests, and in fact pressed forward despite the protests of communities.” The nine-member Nunavut Impact Review Board assesses the environmental and socio-economic impacts of development projects and advises the federal and territorial governments on their findings. The hearing will continue until Feb 6. Afterwards, the review board will send a report to federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal recommending whether the project should go ahead. David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News
Sarnia police are warning the public to secure their homes after a possible fourth homicide in the region in less than a month. A man was found dead by police Tuesday afternoon inside a home in the 500 block of Devine Street. Police say the death is suspicious and they are treating the incident as a homicide. The home is being held as a crime scene by the Sarnia Police Service Criminal Investigations Branch and the Ontario Provincial Police have also stepped in to help with the investigation, according to a news release. This death follows another suspicious one that took place on Saturday in the 200 block of Essex Street, where 66-year-old Sue Elin Lumsden was found dead. The Criminal Investigations Branch was also called in to investigate. About a week earlier on Jan. 14, police arrested and charged a 45-year-old Sarnia man with first degree murder following the death of 39-year-old Natalie Bartlett. And just days before, a 32-year-old man was arrested and charged with second degree murder after 26-year-old Luis Enrique Hernandez was found injured and died in hospital. In all of 2020, the city had three homicides. Department resources stretched Sarnia mayor Mike Bradley told CBC News he's reached out to police and offered support should they need more resources given the spike in deaths in the first month of the year. "[It's] a relatively small department and they are stretched with what's going on and that makes it difficult for them," Bradley said, adding that it's evident the department is taxed as it called in the Ontario Provincial Police to assist. A police board meeting is taking place on Thursday that Bradley said may be when police address the need for more assistance. Check on elderly; secure doors, windows In a news release Tuesday, Sarnia police urge home owners to be cautious by securing their doors and windows, and have outdoor lights that are on. "We are also asking residents who have elderly family members, that live alone, to reach out to them and periodically ensure their wellbeing," reads the news release. "We would also like to reassure the public that our officers and detectives have been diligently working on these investigations and utilizing all available resources and personnel to solve these recent crimes." Police are asking that anyone with video camera footage from 5 p.m. on Jan. 25 to 7:30 a.m. on Jan. 26 within the 500 block of Devine Street, including nearby Russell St South, Ontario Street, and Conrad Street, contact the Criminal Investigations Branch Information Line at 519-344-8861, extension 5300 or the Sarnia Lambton Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
Australia recorded a 10th straight day of no new local COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, allowing its most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) to relax coronavirus restrictions after controlling a fast-spreading cluster. Victoria state, which is hosting the Australia Open tennis tournament, has gone three weeks without a local case. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt tweeted Wednesday marked the 10th day of no community transmission of COVID-19 Australia wide, adding the country's success comes at a time when global coronavirus cases have crossed 100 million with the death toll surpassing 2 million.
VICTORIA — Health officials say more COVID-19 cases have been linked to community clusters related to social gatherings and a ski resort in British Columbia's Interior. The Interior Health authority says in a news release that 46 new cases linked to a cluster first identified Jan. 20 in the Williams Lake area have been identified. Thirteen staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital have also tested positive, but Interior Health says the hospital is safe to visit for appointments or emergency care. A total of 314 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the region since New Year's Day and the health authority says most transmission occurred at recent social events and gatherings. Interior Health also says an additional 11 cases have been linked to a community cluster at Big White Ski Resort, bringing the total cluster of cases to 225. It says 21 cases there are active and three of those who recently tested positive live or work at the resort. "Everyone is reminded that socialization must be limited to immediate household bubbles. Please do not invite friends or extended family to your residence for a visit or gathering," Interior Health says in the statement. Provincial health officials say the number of daily cases of COVID-19 is too high and repeated calls for everyone's help to bend the curve. The province recorded 407 cases Tuesday, bringing the total number of active infections to 4,260. Among those, 313 people are hospitalized, including 71 in intensive care. An additional 14 people died in the past day and the death toll in B.C. from COVID-19 rose to 1,168. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry say in a joint statement that now is the time for anyone who has put aside public health precautions to join or rejoin efforts to stop the spread. They say it is especially critical with the presence of variant strains of COVID-19 in B.C. "For the many who have been doing your part, you may be asking 'What more can I do?'" Dix and Henry say in the joint statement. "Be the voice of support and encouragement for those who may be wavering in their resolve." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy was taken to a hospital Tuesday evening after not feeling well and later sent home after tests, a spokesman said, hours after the 80-year-old Democrat began presiding over the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. Leahy, who'd been in his Capitol office, was taken to George Washington University Hospital “out of an abundance of caution" after being examined by Congress' attending physician, Leahy spokesman David Carle said. The senator underwent an evaluation before his release from the hospital and looks forward to returning to work, Carle said. Leahy had commenced his role of overseeing Trump's latest impeachment trial by swearing in his fellow lawmakers. The actual trial will begin next month. Leahy is presiding because he is the Senate's president pro tempore, a largely ceremonial post. Chief Justice John Roberts presided over Trump's first impeachment trial a year ago when Trump was still president. The Senate president pro tempore job normally goes to the longest-serving member of the Senate's majority party. Leahy was first elected in 1974, making him the longest-serving current senator of either party. Leahy will be chairman once again this year of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a panel that controls a large chunk of the federal budget and will be in the middle of President Joe Biden's effort to provide more spending to combat the pandemic and recharge the economy. Leahy is the fifth-oldest current senator. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., 87, is the oldest. Alan Fram, The Associated Press
Mental health and wellness supports are in place at Jasper schools, and just being at school can be a great mood booster itself. Kelly Harding, assistant superintendent with Grande Yellowhead Public School Division (GYPSD), described in an email the excitement over the recent return from an extended winter break. “The division has heard from many parents their appreciation for the province's decision to return to in-school learning, noting that their children are happier and more excited about their learning when they are with their teachers and their peers at school,” Harding said in an email. GYPSD includes Jasper Elementary School and Jasper Junior/Senior High School. “The best mental health a school can offer to students is to be open,” added Marie-Claude Faucher, principal of Ecole Desrochers, via email. “Just by being at school, with friends and teachers, it makes an enormous difference!” Harding said the division has had positive feedback from parents who are accessing the division's learn-at-home option this year, because it affords those families an extra level of safety if they are not comfortable returning to in-school learning at this time. “In addition to great teaching and learning opportunities,” Harding said, “the division has extensive mental health and wellness supports - including 10 family school liaison counsellors, three BEST (Bringing Empowered Students Together) coaches and a division psychologist. Parents can access any of these supports through their principals, as well as a number of resources and links on the GYPSD website.” Faucher said there are programs at the school to combine with the positive attitudes there. “Added to the fact that they are now back at school, with big smiles, we also have programs to teach students about Growth Mindset, to help them develop resilience and perseverance,” she said. “We also teach them to be attentive and take care of each other.” Faucher noted if the school has serious concerns about a student, they reach to Alberta Health Services and/or Jasper Outreach Services. “They are really helpful,” she said. Dealing with the pandemic is done by balancing COVID protocols with the social side of life, Harding said. “While no one is excited about having to wear a mask indoors or not being able to share a hug or high-five, the measures put in place by the government are there to keep our staff, students and communities safe,” she said. “We are deeply appreciative to our staff and to our students and families for their commitment to the protocols. Teachers miss seeing their students' smiles! We look forward to when COVID is gone and we can return to normal.” Faucher added, “Causes of mental health issues are when students are cut off from relationships, when they confront the challenges associated with virtual school, when they are playing video games alone. It's not COVID measures that challenge mental health, we are all used to it now, it is part of a routine. Schools are a safe and happy place to be. “As long as we can have all the students here, the atmosphere is focused on learning, and learning is fun!” Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
A group of doctors and advocates are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address what they call a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care homes by bringing the military back for support and embarking on hiring and training drives.
Canadians believe their politicians are lacking compassion more than any other leadership quality right now, according to a recent online poll conducted by Leger with a panel of respondents. While compassion was a quality seen as lacking for many leaders, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs had the lowest compassion rating of any Atlantic Canadian premier, earning a score of 5.7 on a 10-point scale from respondents. By comparison, Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King had a compassion score of 7.8 from respondents. The poll was conducted while the province was in yellow phase, prior to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick. Higgs's compassion score is the third lowest in the country, coming out ahead of Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister and Albert Premier Jason Kenney. When asked by Brunswick News for his response to these polling results, Higgs said, “Well, I’m obviously disappointed that this would be the outcome [of the poll]. However, throughout this whole process I’ve tried to balance what we need to get through this, as individuals and as a province, so that at the end of COVID – which we do see, that end in sight – we actually have a province that can survive and provide employment.” Université de Moncton political scientist Donald Savoie said compassion just isn’t a part of Higgs’s brand. “The competent manager is the image he wants to project,” said Savoie, adding if your brand is fiscal prudence, it’s difficult to project compassion. Higgs’s highest score, a 7.3, was for decisiveness. He also scored a 6.9 per cent for managing the pandemic, a score which is higher than many other leaders, but lower than that of Nova Scotia or P.E.I.’s premiers. Higgs also had one of the lowest scores for collaboration; residents gave him a 6.3, the third lowest score in the country. Higgs’s compassion score is likely a result of his approaches to problems and the way he has been communicating to the public, said Mount Allison University political scientist Mario Levesque. “Higgs doesn’t appear friendly, seems more feisty and quick to temper,” said Levesque. “He’s champing at the bit. He has a very narrow agenda and doesn’t like to be pulled away from it.” By contrast, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King could be delivering similar news or restrictions, but he seems more open in his delivery, Levesque added. He noted that it may help that King is a former comedian. The public's perception of compassion is also likely influenced by the way a variety of policy files have recently been handled, which may be giving Higgs some baggage, said Levesque, citing moves to reduce rural hospital ER access and not moving forward on an official inquiry into systemic racism. Joanna Everitt, a political scientist at University of New Brunswick, said while it is clear compassion is not an adjective many associate with the premier, it doesn’t mean they aren’t satisfied with his leadership. Although his cumulative leadership score also fell below other Atlantic premiers, character traits should not be confused with performance satisfaction or willingness to vote for someone, although they can form the basis of these other assessments, said Everitt. Higgs said he is looking forward to working closely with public health, his colleagues and the other parties. He said he thinks in the end “we will measure performance on actual results, not opinions. I feel confident that at the end of the day, we're going to look back on this and say New Brunswick came through this in a way like no other province, because we've got a province left when we actually get through COVID.” A total of 3,801 online surveys were conducted through Leger’s online panel, LEO and partner panels. Interviews were conducted from Dec 4 to 20, 2020. Leadership scores offered by the study were a cumulative average on the 10-point scale calculated from the sum of scores on six attributes: trustworthiness, transparency or openness, decisiveness, good communication, compassion and collaboration. As a non-probability internet survey, a margin of error was not reported. If the data were collected through a random sample, the margin of error would be plus or minus 1.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.There are 757,022 confirmed cases in Canada._ Canada: 757,022 confirmed cases (59,551 active, 678,068 resolved, 19,403 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 4,011 new cases Tuesday from 34,572 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 37,271 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,324.There were 165 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,137 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 162. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.43 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 51.62 per 100,000 people. There have been 17,120,912 tests completed._ Newfoundland and Labrador: 398 confirmed cases (six active, 388 resolved, four deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 158 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.15 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 78,477 tests completed._ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (six active, 104 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday from 267 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 88,900 tests completed._ Nova Scotia: 1,572 confirmed cases (11 active, 1,496 resolved, 65 deaths).There was one new case Tuesday from 934 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.11 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 11 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 201,358 tests completed._ New Brunswick: 1,161 confirmed cases (340 active, 807 resolved, 14 deaths).There were 10 new cases Tuesday from 1,048 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.95 per cent. The rate of active cases is 43.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 157 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 22.There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people. There have been 137,228 tests completed._ Quebec: 256,002 confirmed cases (15,622 active, 230,803 resolved, 9,577 deaths).There were 1,166 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 184.11 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,268 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,467.There were 56 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 435 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 62. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.73 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 112.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,695,925 tests completed._ Ontario: 258,700 confirmed cases (23,036 active, 229,755 resolved, 5,909 deaths).There were 1,740 new cases Tuesday from 29,712 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 158.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16,423 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,346.There were 63 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 430 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 61. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 40.57 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,007,713 tests completed._ Manitoba: 28,902 confirmed cases (3,492 active, 24,601 resolved, 809 deaths).There were 92 new cases Tuesday from 1,556 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 254.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,162 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 166.There were five new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.27 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 59.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 450,194 tests completed._ Saskatchewan: 22,646 confirmed cases (2,649 active, 19,729 resolved, 268 deaths).There were 230 new cases Tuesday from 897 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 26 per cent. The rate of active cases is 225.55 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,775 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 254.There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 43 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.52 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.82 per 100,000 people. There have been 331,591 tests completed._ Alberta: 121,901 confirmed cases (8,652 active, 111,662 resolved, 1,587 deaths).There were 366 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 197.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,134 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 591.There were 13 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 124 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.41 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.3 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,061,844 tests completed._ British Columbia: 65,234 confirmed cases (5,714 active, 58,352 resolved, 1,168 deaths).There were 406 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 112.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,322 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 475.There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 78 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.22 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 23.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,044,931 tests completed._ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,229 tests completed._ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (six active, 25 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 13.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 9,064 tests completed._ Nunavut: 282 confirmed cases (17 active, 264 resolved, one deaths).There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 43.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,382 tests completed.This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — The baseball Hall of Fame won’t have any new players in the class of 2021 after voters decided no one had the merits — on-the-field or off — for enshrinement in Cooperstown on this year's ballot. Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were the closest in voting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America released Tuesday, and the trio will have one more chance at election next year. It's the first time the BBWAA didn't choose anyone since 2013. Schilling, a right-handed ace who won three World Series titles, finished 16 votes short of the 75% threshold necessary for enshrinement. He got 71.1% per cent this time after coming up 20 votes shy at 70% last year. Schilling's on-field accomplishments face little dispute, but he has ostracized himself in retirement by directing hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, journalists and others. “It’s all right, the game doesn’t owe me anything,” Schilling said during a live video stream on his Twitter account. He later wrote on Facebook that he has asked the Hall of Fame to remove his name from next year's ballot. Hall of Fame Board Chairman Janes Forbes Clark said in a statement that the board "will consider the request at our next meeting.” Bonds (61.8%) and Clemens (61.6%) made minimal gains and joined Schilling in falling short on their ninth tries. Both face suspicions of performance-enhancing drug use — Clemens has denied using PEDs and Bonds has denied knowingly using PEDs. Bonds also has been accused of domestic violence and Clemens of maintaining a decade-long relationship with a singer who was 15 when they met. Schilling, Clemens and Bonds will be joined on next year's ballot by sluggers Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Rodriguez was suspended for all of the 2014 season for violating MLB's PED policy and collective bargaining agreement, and Ortiz's name allegedly appeared on a list of players who tested positive in 2003. Omar Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner, dropped from 52.6% last year to 49.1% after his wife accused him of repeated domestic abuses in December. Braves star Andruw Jones, arrested in 2012 on a domestic violence charge, got 33.9% in his fourth year. Rockies slugger Todd Helton, who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to two days in jail last year, got 44.9% in his third time on the ballot. Some players missed out over old-fashioned baseball disagreements, too. Slick-fielding third baseman Scott Rolen moved from 35.3% to 52.9% and hard-throwing closer Billy Wagner from 31.7% to 46.4%. It’s the 19th time the BBWAA has failed to elect a Hall member and just the third time since 1971. With the Hall of Fame's Era Committees postponing their scheduled elections until next off-season because of the pandemic, there won't be a new Hall class for the first time since 1960. Cooperstown won’t be without celebration next summer, though. After the 2020 ceremony in the upstate New York village was cancelled due to the pandemic, Yankees great Derek Jeter and five-tool star Larry Walker will take centre stage on July 25, a year later than planned. They’ll be honoured alongside catcher Ted Simmons and late players’ association chief Marvin Miller. BBWAA members are instructed to elect Hall members “based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.” At a time when social justice movements are pushing for a broader reckoning on sexual misconduct and racial inequality, character evaluation took on an outsized role in this election cycle. While the Hall’s inductees already include racists, cheaters, philanderers and criminals, the current voting bloc has — narrowly, in many cases — taken a stand against candidates they think have insufficient integrity. A record 14 voters sent blank ballots, topping the 12 sent in 2006. Schilling — a six-time All-Star over 20 seasons with Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia, Arizona and Boston — has been embroiled in controversy throughout his retirement. He launched a video game company, 38 Studios, that went bankrupt shortly after receiving a $75 million loan guarantee from Rhode Island, then was fired as an ESPN analyst after he sent a tweet comparing Muslim extremists to Nazi-era Germans and posted a derogatory Facebook comment about transgender people. Months later, Schilling was again criticized after using social media to applaud a T-shirt calling for journalists to be lynched. On Jan. 6, the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, he said the following in a message on his Twitter account: “You cowards sat on your hands, did nothing while liberal trash looted rioted and burned for air Jordan’s and big screens, sit back .... and watch folks start a confrontation for (expletive) that matters like rights, democracy and the end of govt corruption.” That tweet was sent a few days after Hall of Fame ballots were due. Schilling wrote on Facebook that he would like the veterans committee to review his Hall case. That panel — comprised of former players, managers and others in the game, along with some writers — is tasked with evaluating players who don't get election via the BBWAA vote. “I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player,” Schilling wrote. “I don’t think I’m a hall of famer as I’ve often stated but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honour. “In my heart I am at peace," he also wrote. “Nothing, zero, none of the claims being made by any of the writers hold merit.” Bonds’ ex-wife testified in 1995 during divorce proceedings that he beat and kicked her. Bonds said he never physically abused her but once kicked her after she kicked him. In 2008, the New York Daily News reported that Clemens had a decade-long relationship with country singer Mindy McCready that began when she was 15 and he was a star for the Boston Red Sox. Clemens apologized for unspecified mistakes in his personal life and denied having an affair with a 15-year-old. McCready later told “Inside Edition” she met Clemens when she was 16 and that the relationship didn’t turn sexual until several years later. The BBWAA recently voted overwhelmingly to remove the name and imprint of former Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis from MVP plaques. Landis became commissioner in 1920, and there were no Black players in the majors during his more than two decades in charge. Further down the ballot, outfielder Gary Sheffield jumped from 30.5% to 40.6% on his seventh time on the ballot and Jeff Kent improved from 27.5% to 32.4% in his eighth year. The 2022 ballot also will include Phillies stars Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira and two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. ___ Follow Jake Seiner: https://twitter.com/Jake_Seiner ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jake Seiner, The Associated Press
Armed with a sign that reads, "We Support Farmers," Virpal Grewal joined about 100 others demonstrating outside the Indian consulate in downtown Vancouver on Tuesday. Grewal comes from a generation of farmers, with her father still farming in India. "We are worried about what happens there every day," Grewal said about why she joined the car rally on the global day of action, which saw protests all over the world. Jan. 26 is India's Republic Day, which marks the day in 1950 its constitution came into effect. In India, thousands of farmers protesting agricultural reforms stormed into the historic Red Fort complex in New Delhi, fighting off tear gas and tearing down barricades. According to a witness, one protester was killed. Farmers have been protesting for almost two months against new laws that the Indian government says will make the sector more efficient, allowing farmers to market their produce and boost production through private investment. But farmers say the laws help large, private buyers and will threaten their livelihood. Tens of thousands have since marched to New Delhi, India's capital, where they have clashed with police and set up protest camps. "They have lots of people there, like thousands, millions on the road, right? Eating on the road, sleeping on the road, and it's cold weather there," Grewal said. "And the people are, like, 80, 90 years old, or one-year-old, three-year-old kids, because everybody is worried about jobs, they depend on farming." Another demonstrator in downtown Vancouver, Yadwinder Singh, said he was there to show solidarity with protesters in India and to oppose the violence they have experienced. "It's very, very disappointing to see the government, who is supposed to be working for our welfare, doing what it is doing. It is completely neglecting the state in which people are at the moment," he said. Singh said the unrestricted private trade of crops hasn't worked in other parts of the country where it was introduced. "There are several states in India, particularly in Bihar, where these types of laws were implemented 20 years ago. Farmers in that state are the poorest farmers in the country, so I cannot see why these laws are implemented," he said. Singh said he also believes the laws were rushed without proper debate and consultation. "I even contest that these are completely democratic laws; these are half-cooked laws which do not have consent of even the Parliament; these are undemocratic even from their conception," he said. Other protesters, such as Michael Parnar, want the Canadian government to put more pressure on the Indian government to repeal the laws. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has voiced concern over the Indian government's response to the protesters. Despite anger from an Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, who called Trudeau's comments "ill informed," the prime minister reiterated his support. "Canada will always stand up for the right of peaceful protest anywhere around the world, and we're pleased to see moves toward de-escalation and dialogue," Trudeau said. Parnar, however, said he would like to see Trudeau take a harder stance against the Indian government. "Tariffs, embargoes, do whatever you need to do — even freeze assets of those in power. It's really not going to make a change until the Canadian government gathers support from the international community," he said. "Once that happens, then there will be real pressure on the Indian government." Meanwhile, protesters vowed to continue showing their solidarity here until the laws are repealed in India.
LOS ANGELES — Don Johnson is getting his funny on with help from a couple of “Saturday Night Live” stars. Known for his dramatic roles in the hit series “Miami Vice” and “Nash Bridges,” Johnson co-stars with Kenan Thompson and Chris Redd in the upcoming NBC comedy “Kenan.” Thompson plays a widower juggling his job as a morning TV host with raising two young daughters. Johnson is his meddling father-in-law, and Redd is his brother. Johnson's most recent forays into series work came in ABC's “Blood and Oil” in 2015 and HBO's “Watchmen” in 2019. Hardly laugh fests. The 71-year-old actor calls doing comedy “amazingly joyful, hard work.” “The good thing about it is I get to work with these guys, who are just so good and such professionals,” he said Tuesday on a video call. “They pick me up, and they’re supportive. I just watch them and say, ‘OK, I got to try and keep up with that.’ ” Johnson was working on a movie last March when production was shut down by the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He got a call from “SNL” producer and friend Lorne Michaels, who sent him the show's script. “Kenan and I got on the phone and I felt instant chemistry with Kenan,” Johnson said. “I feel blessed. I’m working with these great comedians and writers. Come on, man, this is like the cherry on top for me.” His co-stars include real-life sisters and pre-teens Dani and Dannah Lockett, who admit not knowing Johnson's previous work. “I made stuff they couldn’t watch,” he joked. Thompson will juggle shooting the series in Los Angeles and doing “SNL” in New York. Like many productions, the global pandemic forced changes, including doing table reads over video calls, which led to a stilted feeling. “When we were able to get in person, they just clicked,” Thompson said. Even then, the newly assembled cast wasn't able to sit around and build chemistry between takes. “When we started rehearsing under COVID protocol," Johnson said, "during the first 10 days the only time I saw their faces was when I was in a scene.” The show debuts Feb. 16. Beth Harris, The Associated Press
From a dream to an award-winning short story to a novel to be published by HarperCollins Canada. It’s all “surreal,” says author Jessica Johns. Johns’ debut novel “Bad Cree” was the subject of a bidding war between three publishing houses. “Everybody connected with my work in such a deep and meaningful way,” said Johns. But she was drawn to work with HarperCollins because of the connection she felt with the editor Aeman Ansari. Johns felt that same connection with agent Stephanie Sinclair from the CookeMcDermid Agency. In fact, after reviewing the list of authors Sinclair represented – including Billy Ray Belcourt, Lee Maracle and Joshua Whitehead – Sinclair was the only agent Johns approached. They also connected on another level: both women are Indigenous. Johns is a member of the Sucker Creek First Nation located in Treaty 8 territory in Alberta, and Sinclair is of Cree, Ojibwe and settler descent. “As an Indigenous person I think I have a fundamental understanding of some of the underlying themes that many other writers that I'm working with are talking about in a way that I don't know another agent would,” said Sinclair. But it was the story Johns was telling that pulled Sinclair in. “I think we need more books that are truthful in all of its complexities of characters, complexities of plots and scenarios but that are also infused with joy, and I think that Jessica struck that balance perfectly. I think that’s really hard to find. I found it immediately just wonderful to read,” said Sinclair. The book also fit into Sinclair’s goal to curate a list of works with “political leanings” as says her profile on the literary agency’s website. “In many ways (Johns’) sort of normalizing and humanizing an urban Indigenous experience in a way that I think challenges how people think about stereotypical Indigenous people. I think that she's also offering insight and perspective into the joy that exists within many, many Indigenous families we don't hear enough about,” said Sinclair. “What I hope to accomplish with my list is to have the books that I contribute to bringing into the world change the conversation and change the landscape and challenge how people think about each other generally not just Indigenous people,” Sinclair said. The short story “Bad Cree” won the Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize in 2020. Johns said when she was writing the short story it had not been her intention to turn it into a novel. “Once I finished it, the story didn't really leave me. I felt like there was more to say. The characters were still kind of there for me and there is more I wanted to do,” she said. Writing the novel was “completely different” than writing a short story. “The short story was supposed to be short, so I’m cutting words, I’m trying to condense and make it concise. And with the novel I'm trying to open it up. I'm trying to expand. I'm trying to dig into scenes,” explained Johns. She is also a poet and says her poems are more narrative and her short stories integrate poetic elements. “Bad Cree” is about a Cree woman who is able to take things to and from the dream world. The ability manifests suddenly and she doesn’t know why. When the dreams escalate and become frightening she returns home to Treaty 8 territory in northern Alberta to find answers. She hasn’t been home for a while because of family issues but upon her return she reconnects with her mother, sister, aunt and cousin. They band together to figure out what’s going on, sort through why this is happening and what she has to do. Considering the content of the short story-turned-novel, it’s not surprising that the concept came from a dream Johns had. The supernatural, mystical aspect of novels have long been a popular draw for readers. “I think right now there may be a greater appetite for sure,” said Sinclair. “There were many, many publishers who were very eager to talk to her about it.” “Bad Cree” won’t be on the bookshelves until 2023. “It’s an industry standard actually which Jessica is experiencing. We sell the book and then the editor takes a year or two to work on the substantive changes, the stylistic changes, the copy edit, then getting it all typeset and designed and then it goes to print and gets published,” said Sinclair. Substantive edits ensure that characters are fully developed, that there are no holes in the plot line, and that the point of view remains consistent. Those “big picture” changes, said Sinclair, don’t change Johns’ story. “It just strengthens it.” Johns, who resides in Vancouver, will be balancing that ongoing work with her job as managing editor of the literary magazine “Room.” “Working on the novel is worked into my everyday life. I do it every single day. I have deadlines with my editor. It’s changed my immediate goals,” she said. Sinclair sees her job as matchmaker between author and publisher and it’s a role she’d like to have with Johns for a long time to come. “I hope that we will work together for the next 20 years … and I hope to see her next many, many books,” said Sinclair. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
A decade-long warming trend in the Gulf of St. Lawrence continued in 2020 with deep waters reaching record highs, according to ocean climate data released Tuesday by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Water temperatures at depths of 200, 250 and 300 metres were higher than any measured in the Gulf since records started in 1915, hitting highs of 5.7 C, 6.6 C and 6.8 C. All were well above the normal variations. "It is scary to me because we're completely outside of the known envelope," Peter Galbraith, a longtime federal research scientist, said in an interview. "When you are one degree, a half a degree outside anything that's been known before those 100 years, then that's like uncharted territory for fisheries management." No record of this before The report on physical oceanographic conditions also said temperatures last year were notably warmer in deep water at the entrance to the Gulf in the Laurentian Channel and the Cabot Strait between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Gauging the effects on marine life is a key task, but there's nothing to compare it to in the record, said Galbraith. "A whole lot of species will be affected. The scary part is that we can't rely on past observations that would be similar to guess at what the ecosystem is responding because it was never similar," Galbraith said from DFO's Maurice Lamontagne Institute in Mont-Joli, Que. "The bottom temperature of the Gulf has increased by about a degree and a half, which might not seem a whole lot. But for biological species that are used to really, really stable temperatures, increasing from 5.2 to 6.7 is a big deal." Wild surface-temperature swing The inland portion of the Gulf in Quebec, known as the Estuary, recorded the highest surface temperatures in July since those records started in 1982. By September, surface temperatures hit record lows after strong winds whipped up ocean waters. "We lost 3.7 degrees in one week basically," said Galbraith. "The warmest week in nearly 40 years of observations to the coldest September in 40 years." He said January 2021 has already seen its own anomaly — no sea ice in the Gulf. A recent cold snap was not enough to produce ice because most of the water is above 1 degree. "Outside of coastal ice, there's really nothing, anything offshore," said Galbraith. Gulf could stay warm for years He said the warmer deep water, which is slowly sucked into the Gulf from the Atlantic, will likely keep the Gulf warm for years. An unusually cold year could provide a reprieve, but it has not materialized in the past decade. Two currents supply the deep water that flows into the Gulf: the cold Labrador Current from the north and the Gulf Stream from the south. Scientists are trying to understand what is happening with those currents and what warmer water means in the near term. MORE TOP STORIES
Ant, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, is in talks with a number of potential buyers in the United States, the FT report said, citing sources. The company planned to secure a sale in the first half of this year, the FT added.