Pete Buttigieg is making history as the first openly gay person nominated to a cabinet post as President-elect Joe Biden choice to lead the Transportation Department. (Dec. 16)
Pete Buttigieg is making history as the first openly gay person nominated to a cabinet post as President-elect Joe Biden choice to lead the Transportation Department. (Dec. 16)
WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
Spain's top general resigned on Saturday after allegations he had received the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of priority groups, one of a number of public officials who have sparked public anger because of reports they have jumped the vaccination queue. Defence Minister Margarita Robles had asked General Miguel Angel Villaroya, chief of defence staff, for explanations after media reports on Friday that he had received the vaccination.
A concrete manufacturing facility in Surrey has been destroyed by a massive overnight fire. Surrey firefighters responded to the call just before 4 a.m. Saturday, and arrived on the scene at 192 Street and 54th Avenue to find a 20,000 square foot building engulfed in flames. The fire had also spread to several buildings nearby. Steve Serbic, assistant chief of operations for the Surrey Fire Service, said 36 firefighters and 15 fire trucks responded, and were forced to fight the fire from the outside, because of the explosive nature of the flames. "The fire consumed the whole building and the crews went into a defensive attack," said Serbic. Serbic said there were large propane tanks just outside the building, which the crews protected to avoid an explosion. "The challenging part of this fire was the gas, there were large propane tanks and natural gas that took some time to get shut off so the crews were battling some gas fires," he said. Serbic said there were no employees on the scene when the fire broke out, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. "It was a very cold night. There was lots of ice, lots of water, lots of aerials went up and the crews did a really good job," he said. "There were no injuries, so it was a productive outcome considering what they arrived to." Crews remained on the scene into Saturday morning, and excavators will go through the collapsed building to ensure hotspots are completely put out.
Exactly a year ago, Wuhan shocked the world by confining its 11 million inhabitants to their homes, beginning a 76-day lockdown. View on euronews
VANCOUVER — Residents of British Columbia's south coast are being urged to prepare for a blast of wintry weather this weekend. Environment Canada warns that snow is in the forecast for parts of Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Central Coast. The federal weather agency expects snowfall to begin on Saturday night and continue Sunday morning on Vancouver Island and in the southwest area of Metro Vancouver, including Richmond and Delta. It says two to four centimetres of snow are forecast in Richmond and Delta, while on the island, amounts could range from two centimetres on the coasts to five to 10 centimetres inland. By Sunday afternoon, the snow is expected to become mixed with rain in many areas. Meanwhile periods of snow are anticipated Saturday night through Monday morning in the Fraser Valley, including Chilliwack and Hope, with the potential for significant snowfall Sunday night. Environment Canada warns that wet and slushy snow may make for a messy commute in the valley Monday morning and power outages are also possible if heavy, wet snow accumulates on trees. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
Two airlines serving Saskatchewan's north have announced they're consolidating their operations under a new name. West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air will consolidate under one air operating certificate, and will rebrand as Rise Air. The consolidation is "going to allow us to survive," Stephen Smith, president and CEO of the West Wind Group of Companies, said in an interview with CBC. "There is no question that COVID-19 put a lot of strain [on us] because a lot of people canceled meetings, which we would provide flights for. The people stop traveling out of northern communities." The slowdown of the uranium market and mines shutting down also had an effect, he said, with operations down by about 50 per cent. Transwest Air was already a wholly owned subsidiary of West Wind Aviation, after being purchased by the company in 2016, according to the Transwest website. Until now, however, West Wind Aviation and Transwest Air each had their own operating certificates, said Smith. "There's a duplication of people in one company to have two operating certificates," he said. "The new cost structure will allow us to not only survive but hopefully look to potentially grow in the future." According to Smith, the business is now right-sized for the marketplace. "The employees that we have now are fine, in terms of we don't have to consider reducing anymore." Ticket prices won't be affected: CEO The rebranding process will start within the next few weeks, once the regulatory requirements have been completed, the carriers said in a media release. Ticket prices won't be affected by the consolidation, Smith said, and the number of aircraft will remain the same. The company picked Rise Air as its new name after receiving 140 different recommendations from employees, said Smith. Another staff member submitted a sketch for the new logo. "Because we're bringing together two different companies that both have their own cultures and histories, we wanted something new and fresh but also wanted to preserve the legacy of both organizations," he said in a media release. Until the rebranding process is completed, people will see three different logos, he said. "We are OK with being patient during this process." West Wind Aviation, which is First Nations and employee-owned, operates from bases in Saskatoon and La Ronge, and has satellite locations in northern Saskatchewan, according to the company's website. The West Wind Group of Companies owns Snowbird Aviation Services, Northern Shield Helicopters, and Transwest Air, soon doing business as Rise Air, said Smith.
Ottawa is reporting 92 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths. Today's Ottawa update Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 92 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Saturday. The city's death toll now sits at 419. The health authority also declared another 138 cases resolved. The infection rate in Ottawa rose to record levels after Christmas, but has started to decline. The current lockdown in eastern Ontario went into effect Dec. 26, and is scheduled to last until Feb. 11. A provincial stay-at-home order is also in effect. Numbers to watch 34: The number of Ottawa residents being treated in hospital for COVID-19, down slightly from Friday. 65: The number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 Ottawa residents, which has also dropped since Friday. 0.88: The average number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). Anything below one suggests the spread is coming under control. Across the region In western Quebec, officials confirmed another 22 new cases and two more deaths on Saturday. Quebec's lockdown is in effect until Feb. 8, and includes an 8 p.m. curfew. Two more deaths were also reported by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit on Friday afternoon, bringing the region's total to 50.
ROME — After a week marked by the highly anticipated arrivals of former Juventus forward Mario Mandžukic and Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori, AC Milan was expected to celebrate winning Serie A's halfway title in style. Instead, the Rossoneri were handed a humbling 3-0 defeat at home by Atalanta on Saturday and saw their lead over city rival Inter Milan trimmed to two points. The only consolation was that Milan still secured the “Winter title” — which seven times out of 10 leads to the actual Italian league championship. Cristian Romero, Josip Ilicic and Duván Zapata scored for Atalanta -- the surprise Champions League quarterfinalist last season. It was Milan’s second defeat of the season but also the second in four matches, having been beaten 3-1 by nine-time defending champion Juventus earlier this month, also at home. Inter drew 0-0 at Udinese under driving rain. Third-place Roma, which trails Milan by six points, gained some relief after a rough spell with a 4-3 win over visiting Spezia. At the San Siro, Atalanta took control midway through the first half with a diving header from Romero. A bloodied Ilicic then converted a penalty shortly after the break after getting elbowed in the face by Franck Kessié. Mandžukic came on in the second half and nearly scored immediately, forcing a save from close range from Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini. But Milan produced little more and Zapata then hit the post before he finished off a counterattack in the 77th to seal it. In Udine, Inter coach Antonio Conte was sent off in added time for protesting. ROMA RELIEF Lorenzo Pellegrini scored the winner for Roma two minutes into stoppage time after former Giallorossi winger Daniele Verde had equalized for Spezia in the 90th. Borja Mayoral scored twice and Rick Karsdorp also found the target for the Giallorossi, who were without captain Edin Džeko due to an apparent feud with coach Paulo Fonseca. Roma was beaten 3-0 by Lazio in last week’s league derby and then lost 4-2 to Spezia in the Italian Cup on Tuesday. On Friday, the Cup defeat result was changed to a 3-0 loss by the league judge due to an impermissible sixth substitution that Roma used. The recent results have led to speculation that Fonseca is at risk of losing his job. Roma players celebrated wildly after Pellegrini’s goal, which was the product of work from Leonardo Spinazzola and Bruno Peres, whose chest pass left a clear look for Pellegrini from close range. Pellegrini then ran over to hug Fonseca “It was an emotional moment,” Fonseca said. “That run and that embrace show that we’re all together. It was a nice team moment.” Still, Fonseca wouldn’t address the issue with Džeko, who watched the match from the tribune. “I don’t want to say anything further,” Fonseca said. “What counts today is what was done today -- the guys obtained a great team victory.” Roberto Piccoli and Diego Farias also scored for Spezia, which is playing in the top division for the first time. Spezia was left four points above the drop zone. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf Andrew Dampf, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — Public health officials in New Brunswick reported 17 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, just hours before the province's Edmundston region was set to enter a 14-day lockdown at midnight. Ten of the new cases are in the Edmundston region in the northwest of the province, while there were five in the Moncton region and one case each in the Campbellton and Saint John regions. There are currently 328 active cases in the province. Five patients are hospitalized, with three in intensive care. There have been 1,104 positive cases and 13 COVID-related deaths in the province since the pandemic began. Health officials say the strict health order of a lockdown is needed to curb a steady rise in daily infections that they fear is about to get out of control. "Our objective with the implementation of the lockdown measures ... is to reduce opportunities for transmission by having people limit their movements to the greatest extent possible," Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Saturday in a statement. "When we stop moving and interactions, we stop COVID-19," she said. Starting Sunday, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the Edmundston area, which borders northern Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. The health order forces the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as schools and public spaces, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. All indoor and outdoor gatherings among people of different households are prohibited. The province says the situation in the region will be evaluated every seven days and that the provincial cabinet may extend the lockdown if required. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick Liberal party has chosen a new executive as 1,100 members took part in a virtual biennial meeting today. Former Moncton mayor and MP Brian Murphy has been elected the new party president. Murphy says during the last provincial election the party did well in francophone ridings and not well in anglophone areas. He says the party needs to improve organization, policy and unity. Murphy says the party will look to a number of methods, including social media, to get their message out to attract young voters. The party has not set a date for a leadership convention to replace Kevin Vickers, who quit after failing to win a seat in last year's provincial election. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Health officials say a U.K. variant of COVID-19 is behind a deadly outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., north of Toronto. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says genome sequencing on six COVID-19 samples from Roberta Place Retirement Lodge have been identified as the highly contagious variant. The local health unit announced earlier this week that they had found a variant at the home and were conducting tests to determine what it was. Known variant strains of the virus were first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. An outbreak at Roberta Place was first declared on Jan. 8. A news release says as of Friday, 124 of 127 residents, and 84 staff were positive for the virus, resulting in 29 deaths. The health unit, in partnership with the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, says it accelerated its immunization program on Friday and vaccinated all eligible residents and staff. Officials say they're also immunizing residents at the other retirement homes throughout Simcoe Muskoka this weekend. As of Jan. 16, eligible residents of all long-term care facilities in Simcoe Muskoka have also received their first dose of immunization against COVID-19. "The rapid spread, high attack rate and the devastating impact on residents and staff at Roberta Place long-term care home has been heartbreaking for all," Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said in a statement Saturday. "Confirmation of the variant, while expected, does not change our course of action. We remain diligent in doing everything we can to prevent further spread." Ontario reported 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 52 more deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 708 new cases in Toronto, 422 in Peel Region, and 220 in York Region. She said there were also 107 more cases in Hamilton and 101 in Ottawa. Nearly 63,500 tests have been completed in Ontario over the past 24 hours. The province reported that 11,161 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province's last report. A total of 276,146 doses have been administered in Ontario so far. Since the pandemic began, there have been 252,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario. Of those, 222,287 have recovered and 5,753 people have died. Saturday's numbers were down from Friday's figures of 2,662 new cases and 87 more deaths. Meanwhile, the Ontario government has announced it's expanding its "inspection blitz" of big-box stores to ensure they're following COVID-19 guidelines this weekend. The workplace inspections, which started in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, will now stretch out to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham regions. Officials want to ensure workers and customers at the essential businesses are properly protected from COVID-19 during the provincewide shutdown. The blitz was developed in consultation with local health units and also includes a variety of other workplaces, including retail establishments and restaurants providing take-out meals. The province's labour ministry says more than 300 offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will conduct the inspections. Corporations can now be fined $1,000, and individuals can be fined $750 or charged for failing to comply with the orders. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province is confident that the majority of workplaces in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham are following orders. "However, if we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action," McNaughton added in a statement Saturday. "The only way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and end the provincewide shutdown is for everyone — owners, customers and staff alike — to follow the proper guidelines." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
Many Canadians spent a lot of time working from their homes in 2020. In response, and to provide Canadians some tax relief, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) tweaked their rules on how employees can claim home office expenses on their 2020 personal tax returns. If employees spent more than 50 per cent of their time over four consecutive weeks working from home, they are eligible to make home office expense deductions. There are two methods to claim these expenses. The simplified, or flat fee method, allows for a $2 per day deduction up to a maximum of $400. This method is straight forward and involves little in the way of effort or documentation. The other option is more onerous as it requires some research, calculations and all the receipts to justify the deductions. However, the tax savings are potentially much higher as the deduction amount is not capped. The longer a person worked from home in 2020, the stronger the argument is for using the more detailed method in determining expenses. Eligible expenses Your first stop should be the CRA website. They provide a list of eligible expenses as well as a useful calculator to help with the computations. Some common eligible expenses are electricity, heat, water, Internet service, cellphone minutes, minor home repairs, rent and office supplies such as paper, ink and pens. It is important to note that the expenses must be prorated based on their business use. For example, if you pay $100 for Internet a month but only used 30 per cent for businesses purposes, then your Internet deduction would be $30 for each month that you worked from home. Many people are tempted to write off the full amount but this is not correct and may flag you for an audit by CRA. For homeowners, mortgage interest cannot be claimed. However, those who worked on commission can deduct their home insurance and property taxes. Renters can claim their rent, but only the square footage which is dedicated to their workspace. For example, if rent is $2,000 a month and the home office or workspace took up 25 per cent of home, then 25 per cent or $500 of the rent would be eligible as an expense. Supply expenses is an interesting category as they are often fully deductible. They also are not limited to office supplies. An accountant mentioned to me that even personal protection equipment such as face masks, if bought and used by an employee to conduct business, are eligible. T2200 form If you opt for the detailed method of determining expenses, you will need a T2200 form from your employer. From your employer's perspective, there is an extra cost to provide this and it takes time to prepare the form. Be sure to request this form from your employer with plenty of advance warning, or risk not receiving your T2200 before the tax filing deadline. Another thing to remember is not to double dip. You can only deduct at-home expenses that were paid for out of your own pocket. If your company already pays for your Internet, cellphone, etc., the company is writing off these business expenses which means you don't get to. Unless you paid for it yourself do not write it off. This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.
A woman who was found dead in an apartment unit near York University on Thursday night has now been identified by Toronto police. Officers say they responded to a medical call at 9:41 p.m. on Thursday near Murray Ross Parkway and Sentinel Road. When they arrived, they said they found a woman suffering from serious injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the homicide unit was called in to take over the investigation. In a release issued Saturday, police identified the victim as 32-year-old Leah St Jean of Toronto. Police also said they have arrested and charged a 26-year-old man from Toronto with second-degree murder. He is set to appear in court on Saturday. Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto police or CrimeStoppers.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The developer of the Pebble Mine in Alaska has filed an appeal with the Army Corps of Engineers that asks the agency to reconsider the developer's application to build a gold mine upstream from Bristol Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers rejected Pebble Limited Partnership's application in November on the grounds that the mine would not comply with the Clean Water Act. The proposed mine was to be built on state land, but dredging and filling in federal waters and wetlands requires a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska Public Media reported. Pebble CEO John Shively said the Corps' decision was rushed and came only days after the company filed its final document. Opponents to the proposed mine have said the project would pose a threat to important salmon spawning streams and could ruin the area's sport and commercial fisheries. Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy had announced two weeks ago that the state would appeal the permit rejection. Dunleavy said the decision endangers the state’s right to develop its own resources. The Associated Press
A second active case of COVID-19 has been reported in Arviat, Nunavut. The person is asymptomatic and doing well, according to a Saturday news release from Nunavut's Department of Health. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Arviat since Dec. 28 was reported on Friday. "The Department of Health is actively monitoring the situation in Arviat," Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said in the release. He said there is no evidence right now of community transmission and that the risk of the virus spreading is lower than in November, when there was a major outbreak in the community. "Ongoing surveillance and the current public health measures in place in the community serve to further reduce these risks," Patterson said. The health department said 30 tests have been completed in the past couple of days and there have been no other positive results. More tests will be done over the next 24 hours. The Nunavut government is urging Arviammiut to continue following public health restrictions. Those restrictions include wearing a mask in public places, physical distancing, limiting gatherings to 10 people plus households indoors and 50 people outdoors, washing hands frequently, and staying home if you feel unwell. The government said anyone who believes they've been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or notify their community health centre, and immediately isolate for 14 days. It's reminding people not to go to the health centre in person. Arviat has had a total of 223 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, while Nunavut as a whole has had 267 cases. On Saturday, the Nunavut government said its previous case count was off by one, as "a previous positive case was inadvertently counted twice."
Du 25 au 29 janvier, le tout premier Forum national de l’action climatique réunira plus de 500 décideurs et professionnels lors de conférences et tables rondes. Ils présenteront des projets concrets mis en place dans toutes les régions du Québec pour réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre et accroître la résilience des communautés face aux changements climatiques. Parmi les personnes qui prendront la parole, on retrouvera beaucoup de représentants des régions. « La formule virtuelle nous permet d’avoir des intervenants des quatre coins du Québec, ce qu’on aurait peut-être moins été en mesure de faire si on avait fait un événement national dans une grande ville », explique Martin Vaillancourt, directeur général du Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec (RNCREQ) qui organise l’événement. « C’est probablement le seul avantage du format virtuel! » L’Est-du-Québec viendra parler de transport collectif, un défi dans les régions peu denses. On pourra ainsi savoir grâce à Patrick Morin (CRE du Bas-Saint-Laurent) où en est le projet de mise en place d’un réseau au Bas-Saint-Laurent, tandis qu’Élyse Tremblay (CRE Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine) et Marie-Andrée Pichette (Régie intermunicipale de transport) expliqueront comment sont gérés et financés les réseaux gaspésiens et madelinots. Montrer les forces de chacun Tant les villes que les zones rurales ont leur rôle à jouer dans la lutte aux changements climatiques, mais leurs réalités sont différentes. « Souvent, les régions ont des ressources naturelles qui pourraient être mises à profit, par exemple en utilisant de la biomasse forestière pour remplacer des combustibles fossiles, illustre M. Vaillancourt. Il est également plus simple de protéger des espaces naturels dans des endroits où la pression urbaine est moins grande. » Le Plan pour une économie verte (PEV), adopté par le gouvernement Legault en novembre dernier, sera largement évoqué : la première demi-journée de discussion, lundi matin, lui sera consacrée. Plusieurs organisations écologistes ont critiqué ce plan à sa sortie, le jugeant pas assez contraignant. « C’est sûr que des tables rondes vont s’intéresser aux qualités et aux limites du PEV. Au RNCREQ, on a une approche pragmatique : on va l’utiliser comme il se présente », déclare Martin Vaillancourt, tout en précisant que « nos panélistes se rendent bien compte que la solution de remplacer tous les véhicules du Québec par des voitures électriques, c’est bancal… » Outiller le monde municipal Ce forum s’adresse principalement aux « leaders du climat » qui mènent déjà des projets à l’échelle municipale ou régionale et s’intéressent à ce qui se fait ailleurs. Mais les « leaders potentiels » qui veulent passer à l’action et cherchent à savoir comment financer des projets sont également les bienvenus. Il en est de même des citoyens engagés puisque ce sont eux qui, la plupart du temps, sensibilisent leurs élus et en font des leaders potentiels. Au fil des jours, on parlera électrification, mobilité durable, infrastructures vertes et aménagement durable du territoire. Les représentants du monde municipal seront ainsi outillés pour appréhender le défi des changements climatiques et réfléchir à des solutions à mettre en œuvre localement. Abordera-t-on des propositions disruptives comme la décroissance, dont on parle de plus en plus? « Ça fait son chemin », assure le directeur général du RNCREQ, tout en rappelant que « ce n’est pas encore le courant principal ». La réflexion sur la décarbonisation de l’économie implique « des enjeux de croissance et de modèle actuel », note-t-il toutefois. Les personnes intéressées peuvent s’inscrire sur le site du RNCREQ, ce qui leur donnera automatiquement accès aux cinq demi-journées du Forum de l’action climatique. À la fin de chaque matinée, il sera possible d’aller faire un brin de jasette avec les différents conférenciers et panélistes dans des salles virtuelles créées à cet effet.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
Houses of worship in Quebec are now allowed to reopen, but with strict limits on the number of people that can show up. Two weeks into the province's latest round of restrictions, which include an overnight curfew, the government has changed course. It's now possible for a place of worship to host a maximum of 10 people for religious gatherings. All places of worship were ordered to close earlier this month, except for funeral ceremonies. The changes come by way of a government decree published on Thursday, and provide exceptions to public health rules put into place Jan. 9, which ban all gatherings — indoors and outdoors — across Quebec. "By limiting the number to 10 people, it allows people to continue practicing their religious rites in a secure space, because with 10 people, social distancing can easily be respected," said a spokesperson with the province's Health Ministry. The rules may have been softened, but religious community leaders are expected to show "exemplary rigour" and encourage their members to respect physical standing rules, wear masks, wash their hands when entering and exiting the building, and refrain from singing, the spokesperson said. A registry of the people who attend ceremonies will also be mandatory, in order to help trace them in the event of an outbreak. The decree maintains the maximum size of gatherings for funerals at 25 people. "Places of worship cannot serve as a refuge," the Health Ministry spokesperson said. "However, if a person needs to get in touch with a representative of a place of worship to find support or comfort, it will be allowed to do so inside the place of worship, outside of the usual ceremonies."
The Scottish National Party published a "Roadmap to Referendum" on Saturday, laying out plans for another vote on Scottish independence just as the United Kingdom grapples with COVID-19 and the impact of Brexit. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who would have to agree to a new referendum, argues there is no need for a new vote after independence was rejected by Scottish voters in 2014. But the SNP has said that if it wins a parliamentary majority at elections scheduled for May 6, it will pass its own bill so that a referendum can take place once the pandemic is over.
MOSCOW — Canadian Marion Thenault finished third in a World Cup freestyle ski aerials event Saturday.It was the first career podium finish for the 20-year-old from Sherbrooke, Que.Thenault qualified for the final in third spot and maintained that position to secure the bronze medal. The Canadian began competing on the NorAm circuit in 2019 and appeared in her first World Cup event last season, finishing 18th.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday. The province now has five active cases, with one person in hospital, as the Department of Health reported two more recoveries in Saturday's update. The health department did not say which region of the province the recoveries came from. This means 386 people have recovered from the virus in the province since the pandemic began in March. In total, 77,725 people have been tested as of Saturday. That's an increase of 259 in the last day. Further daily updates will continue to come via media releases sent by the Department of Health. The exception is on Wednesdays, when Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald will provide live updates on her own, until at least the end of the province's general election on Feb. 13. Around the rest of Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported no new cases, while New Brunswick reported 17 on Saturday. There has been no update on Prince Edward Island as of 3 p.m. NT, but the province continues to have seven active cases. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador