Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques talks about the new treaty that will see a Canadian fly around the moon in 2023 as part of NASA's Artemis mission.
Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques talks about the new treaty that will see a Canadian fly around the moon in 2023 as part of NASA's Artemis mission.
Sherbrooke — Semer des végétaux peut être un geste à la fois vert et communautaire, insiste Béatrice Thomassin-Demers. Dans le cadre de ses études, l’étudiante en environnement à l’Université de Sherbrooke vient tout juste de lancer la Bibliothèque de Semences, un site web qui permet d’« emprunter » gratuitement des semences ancestrales afin de veiller sur l’agrodiversité de la province. Le principe est simple : les intéressés peuvent consulter le catalogue de semences disponibles et remplir un formulaire de demande. Entre 5 et 10 graines de chaque variété seront envoyées gratuitement, pour un maximum de 3 différentes variétés par jardinier. On peut prendre les arrangements pour récupérer ses semences ou les recevoir par la poste si cette première option est impossible. « La personne s’engage à laisser monter un ou deux plants en graines dans son jardin et à nous renvoyer des semences, explique Mme Thomassin-Demers. Ça permet de renouveler le stock de graines et de s’assurer qu’on en a pour les prochains. Ça aide à prévenir la perte de semences ancestrales et ça aide les gens à se lancer dans le jardinage. C’est plus accessible, comme ils n’ont pas à payer. Sur la page Facebook de la Bibliothèque, j’essaie aussi de partager des informations en lien avec le jardinage et la conservation de semences pour leur donner des outils. » L’idée est venue à l’étudiante à son retour d’un stage en milieu agricole sur l’île de Vancouver. Son cours intitulé « Projet intégration », à l’automne dernier, lui demandait de mettre sur pied une initiative qui sensibiliserait les gens ou créerait un changement en lien avec un enjeu environnemental. « Là où je travaillais, ils avaient une banque de semences avec leur municipalité. Ça fonctionnait bien, alors je me suis dit que je pourrais faire ça moi aussi ici. En le mettant en ligne, ça me permet de couvrir tout le Québec. Personnellement, je suis juste vraiment passionnée par la nourriture, soit manger santé et varié, et par la protection de l’environnement, alors c’est un moyen de relier les deux. « Ça nous rassemble » Et je pense qu’il y a un intérêt pour ce genre de choses. Le but, c’est vraiment que ce soit un service pour la communauté : protéger l’environnement d’une façon positive et sensibiliser les gens. Je suis sûre que ça amène un sentiment de communauté d’avoir ça. Ça nous rassemble. » En quoi la préservation de variétés ancestrales est-elle importante? Mme Thomassin-Demers sait bien le vulgariser. « La perte de variété dans les semences, ça amène aussi une perte dans la variété des gènes. C’est un peu comme les races de chien; les pur-race vont avoir plus souvent des problèmes de santé qui se développent, chose qu’on voit moins dans les chiens mélangés. C’est un peu ça pour l’agriculture aussi. » Pour son démarrage, la Bibliothèque de Semences a jusque-là bénéficié de dons provenant des Jardins de l’Écoumène, du Jardin collectif de l’Udes et de la Ferme coopérative Tourne-Sol, en plus d’une subvention de l’Association générale étudiante en sciences de l’UdeS. On y retrouve actuellement des graines de plantes herbacées comme l’échinacée, la camomille ou la calendule, mais aussi des légumes comme les pois Cascadia ou le concombre Marketmore 76. « J’aimerais être assez occupée avec ça. Je suis en session de stage alors j’ai du temps. J’ai aussi des possibilités de partenariats avec des organismes quand le projet sera plus concret », dit celle qui aimerait voir son projet grandir. Voir le site de la Bibliothèque de Semences : https://bibliothequesemences.wixsite.com/service/accueil Voir la page Facebook de la Bibliothèque de semences : https://www.facebook.com/La-Biblioth%C3%A8que-de-Semences-110219764244612Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
HURON COUNTY – Huron County will host the annual Ontario West Coast Tourism Summit this year, virtually. The free, two-day event will concentrate on the tourism landscape pre- and post-COVID and rural tourism’s advantages. Tourism industry expert William Bakker of Destination Think will speak on Jan. 25 from 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. Destination Think works with the most innovative tourism boards in the world, according to their website. They create vision, solve business challenges, and “execute brilliant, integrated campaigns.” His presentation will include tourism market trends focusing on the tourism landscape, pre-COVID, and post-COVID. Attendees will hear about destinations that are “re-imagining themselves with a goal of re-building, with both the economy and environment in mind,” according to a press release from Huron County. A facilitated breakout session will follow, which will focus on how Huron County’s tourism sector can work together towards a successful recovery from COVID-19. The second day of the summit will be held on Jan. 26, from 9 – 11:30 a.m. Director and Master Experience Crafter Chris Hughes, from BC Hughes, a tourism, management, and marketing company will share the advantages of rural tourism and how operators can use this advantage to match shifting tourism trends. Hughes will discuss the key elements needed to develop effective touring routes. He will also share how operators can adjust their own tourism experiences to become part of a regionally themed touring route. “The County remains dedicated to working collaboratively and supporting our vibrant tourism sector,” Warden Glen McNeil said in the press release. “Specifically, I want to thank the industry for the resiliency and innovation they have shown over the past year. Huron County tourism, and all of those that support it, are essential to the vitality of our county.” Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
While one Northern Ontario health unit has decided to ban some outdoor activities such as snowmobiling, skating and hill sliding, that is not currently in the plans for Sudbury's public health region. As of Thursday January 21, all OFSC (Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs) trails and associated sledding trails on crown land within the jurisdiction of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit were shut down by order of Dr. Jim Chirico, the medical officer of health. This takes in thousands of square kilometres from the Quebec border to Georgian Bay on Lake Huron. There are roughly 1,900 kilometres of groomed trails. The order will be in effect for the duration of the provincial stay-at-home order and can be reassessed in the future, said the news release. “We have been told to stay home and we need to do this,” said Dr. Chirico in the release. “I have received many complaints about people travelling from other districts to use the local snowmobile trails, thus putting our district at risk of COVID-19. "The OFSC recommends that snowmobilers avoid trailering and travelling to destinations that are outside their health unit region to snowmobile, but people have not taken the direction seriously. “We are also seeing groups of snowmobilers congregating on trails, in parking lots and other locations not maintaining a two-metre distance and exceeding the gathering limits.” The decision sparked an outcry on social media from hundreds of avid sledders who have paid the $270 annual fee for riding OFSC trails across Ontario. Many are upset about the loss of sledding privileges and question the concept of closing down outdoor activities where many believe there is little chance of contracting the coronavirus in an outdoor setting, where most riders wear helmets and face shields. Northern Ontario trails also attract hundreds of riders from Southern Ontario owing to the greater number of long-distance trails. Some local sledders said if anything, police and trail wardens should be sending out-of-town riders back home. The snowmobiling ban came a week after another controversial call by the North Bay Parry Sound health unit. On January 14, it decreed that all outdoor public ice skating rinks, tobogganing hills and skating trails on public property across the district to be closed. It too was done in accordance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protections Act according to a news release. “Travelling to skating rinks and tobogganing hills can increase risk of spread of COVID-19 when individuals choose to travel with people who they do not live with,” said Dr. Chirico. “Skating rinks and tobogganing hills are locations where we have seen a lot of individuals gather without physical distancing and many times without face coverings. While enjoying these amenities COVID-19 restrictions may get forgotten and put our community at risk.” Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD), which also covers large urban and rural areas, has taken a different approach. In response to an inquiry from Sudbury.com, PHSD said outdoor activities would continue and it encouraged people to observe physical distancing and to wear masks. "At this time, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is not recommending the closure of snowmobiling trails, sliding hills, or outdoor skating rinks. Public Health will continue to monitor the local COVID-19 situation closely to protect the health of the community," PHSD said. "There is a higher risk of COVID spread if people are congregating together. Remember to stay with people you live with or in groups of five or less outdoors while keeping at least two metres of distance. Wear a mask if there is a chance you are going to get within two metres of others. As part of the stay-at-home order, avoid non-essential travel. Everyone is required to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise, or for essential work," said the PHSD response. Similar to the Sudbury position, the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit, has taken the softer approach. On January 19, Simcoe-Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Gardner, held a media briefing and said it hadn't occurred to him to take the restrictive action imposed by the North Bay Parry Sound health unit. "At this point in time I’m not considering doing that. I think I would have to see evidence that it is both helpful and necessary to make that kind of restriction," said Gardner in a live-streamed event. Gardner was also quoted as saying that although an argument could be made for keeping snowmobilers at home, there could be some individuals who rely on sledding as a primary means of transportation at this time of year. He said he would need more evidence before shutting down outdoor activities. Len Gillis is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter at Sudbury.com, covering health care in Northern Ontario. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the federal government. Len Gillis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Meb, nom d’artiste de Marie-Ève Bouchard, publie son deuxième recueil de poésie, Un an vu de chez elle. Entrevue avec l’artiste multidisciplinaire de Saint-Jérôme. Un an vu de chez elle, ce sont des poèmes en carré : quatre lignes de quatre lettres. « Les contraintes, c’est inspirant. Dans la limite, tu te poses moins de questions. Tu as une direction, donc c’est plus facile. Mais c’est super difficile en même temps! C’est le projet le plus masochiste que j’ai fait », explique Meb. La poète explique le défi de se limiter à 16 lettres, en évitant de répéter des mots à travers le recueil. « Il faut soutirer l’essence de ce que tu veux. » Meb raconte aussi qu’elle a eu un cancer de la tyroïde et qu’après l’opération, elle avait de la difficulté à parler. Si c’était inconscient au moment d’écrire son recueil, elle voit maintenant un lien entre la perte de sa voix et la contrainte qu’elle s’est imposée pour écrire ses poèmes. « Il y a une certaine retenue, qui représente peut-être une peur de s’exprimer. Je vivais des choses vraiment difficiles. C’était plus facile d’aller dans le petit. J’avais peur que si je commençais à écrire beaucoup… C’était une manière de contenir l’hémorragie », confie la poète. « J’ai un parcours qui va un peu dans tous les sens », raconte Meb en riant. La musique est son premier amour. « Je suis violoniste de formation. Depuis que j’ai 5 ans, j’ai fait des études en musique. J’ai une maîtrise en histoire de la musique et j’enseigne au cégep Saint-Laurent. » Mais elle se passionne aussi pour la poésie depuis longtemps, d’abord en publiant dans des zines (des revues à faible tirage). Ce n’est qu’après avoir sortis 3 disques, soit 2 EP et 1 LP, qu’elle décide de se consacrer plus sérieusement à la poésie. « J’ai commencé tard. J’ai sorti mon premier disque dans la trentaine. J’étais fatiguée, je crois. C’est quand même du stock, faire des shows, se coucher tard. J’avais moins d’énergie, moins le goût. » En 2017, elle publie Aria de laine, son premier recueil de poésie. Ce dernier regroupe des poèmes découpés dans le roman Maria Chapdelaine de Louis Hémon, qui est maintenant dans le domaine public. Sur son site web, chezmeb.com, l’artiste tente de créer quelque chose tous les jours. « Je ne réussis pas tout le temps! (rire) Il y a des moments où je le fais plus. L’idée, c’est de me forcer à faire quelque chose. Mais ça reste un peu un monde idéal dans ma création. Je n’ai pas toujours le temps. » Pour Noël, par exemple, elle a fait des poèmes en forme de sapin, qui forment un calendrier de l’avent. On retrouve aussi de la photographie et d’autres œuvres poétiques. « C’est comme ça que j’ai fait pour Aria de laine et pour Un an vu de chez elle. » Elle a aussi réalisé un livret d’opéra avec la compositrice Sonia Paço-Rocchia, elle aussi des Laurentides et lauréate du Prix 3 femmes de Mécénat Musica. K-WAY D’ÂME DÉJÀ PLIÉ « Il exprime très bien cet espèce de motton qu’on peut avoir. Il reflète tes émotions qui sont toutes en boule. » – Meb ÉLUE POUR OSER VOIR « C’est la définition de ce que c’est, être poète ou artiste en général » – MebSimon Cordeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
After nearly a year in, it seems at this point the pandemic may have gotten to a lot of us. In a series of videos that have struck a chord with the internet, social media marketer and Cambridge local Mikael Melo certainly found some agreement when it comes to the lack of clarity around lockdown and state of emergency messaging in Ontario. One of Melo’s TikTok videos poking fun at the government’s state of emergency order has been watched more than one million times and has 37,000 shares as of Jan. 20. “The response to it has been wonderful,” he said. “I've just had so many people message me saying, ‘I really needed this laugh today,’ or ‘Thank you so much,’ or like, ‘It's really just lifted my spirits during these tough times.’” The sketch in question has him playing a fictional government spokesperson who still has to go to work, despite the government mandate. “We just felt ‘lockdown’ wasn’t really hitting our target audience, so ‘state of emergency’ is just our makeover,” he explains to a bewildered caller. “We’re essentially the exact same experience though,” he explains. If the official message seems a little vague, it’s “because we want customers to choose their own pandemic experience,” the operator adds. When creating the video, Melo thought a few friends would see it and “didn’t think much of it.” But the response hit home (literally) when a few friends turned into a million views in the matter of a few days. Melo “really realized” the video had gone viral when friends reached out to him about the video organically. “They would say, ‘Hey, man, like my mom's friend posted this on her Facebook’ or ‘Hey, dude, like, I'm in North Bay right now, and the local flower shop just posted your video on their Instagram.’ It was like, wow, like this is really making it throughout Ontario.” Melo thinks the reason for the video’s popularity is that the rules of the stay-at-home order still feel “loose” to a lot of people. As someone with marketing experience, the change from lockdown in March to state of emergency today “just feels like a rebrand,” he noted. Melo added that he has more videos that he’d like to keep posting, once TikTok removes his temporary ban. “They thought I was spamming, but I was just trying to respond to everyone's comments and like, thanking them for supporting the video.” Melo, who has been making short TikTok videos since March, said he’s always been someone to “crack a joke or two during tough times.” “I really enjoy making people smile,” he added. Viewers have taken delight to his followup video as the ‘operator,’ which has racked up tens of thousands of views. “In dark times, we just need to find lightness and humour,” Melo said. “And so that's kind of why I started doing those videos.” Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
With COVID-19 cases on the decrease at Sugar Cane, Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) leaders are looking to reopen government offices next week. WLFN acting emergency operations centre (EOC) director Aaron Mannella said 23 WLFN members have been considered to be free of the disease since their EOC was activated Jan. 8. “That’s something our EOC is incredibly happy about and incredibly excited about, and we’re looking forward to those recovery numbers to improve,” he said in a Jan. 21 community Facebook update. As of 4 p.m. Jan. 21, Mannella said there had been 38 confirmed cases within WLFN membership. The EOC continues to operate at level two, with EOC staff remaining focused on supporting members with groceries and supplies, mental health resources and traditional medicines. Since its activation, Manella said groceries and supplies had been delivered to 55 homes. He said staff has responded to an additional 34 calls for general support and information through the WLFN COVID-19 support line. In conjunction with EOC staff, Borland Creek Logging has also delivered 23 loads of firewood. Mannella said chief and council had provided approval Jan. 21 for a gradual reopening plan for government offices, Little Chiefs Daycare, Little Chiefs Primary School and recreation programming and after-school support at Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium. WLFN government offices in Sugar Cane and Williams Lake will be staffed but remain closed to the public as of Monday, Jan. 25. Little Chiefs Daycare will also open that day. Little Chiefs Primary School and recreation programming will not reopen until Monday, Feb. 1. “Keep in mind this is a concept,” Mannella said. “Obviously, our council, our leadership is going to continue to adapt anything that changes.” Next week, vaccines are expected to be available to WLFN elders via appointment through Three Corners Health Services Society. Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
NAIROBI, Kenya — The U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict says “serious allegations of sexual violence” have emerged in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, while women and girls face shortages of rape kits and HIV drugs amid restrictions on humanitarian access. “There are also disturbing reports of individuals allegedly forced to rape members of their own family, under threats of imminent violence,” Pramila Patten said in a statement released late Thursday. “Some women have also reportedly been forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities, while medical centres have indicated an increase in the demand for emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections.” Patten joined growing calls for immediate and unconditional access to the Tigray region, where fighting broke out in early November between Ethiopian forces and those of the now-fugitive Tigray leaders who once dominated the country’s government. A spokeswoman for Patten’s office wouldn't say which “military elements” were involved. The fighters in Tigray include those from the neighbouring Amhara region and other parts of Ethiopia as well as soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea. New arrivals in camps for refugees and internally displaced people are reporting sexual violence, and “there are increasing reports of sexual violence against women and girls” inside the camps, Patten’s statement said. Ethiopia’s government says aid has begun flowing into the Tigray region, and Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen on Friday said 85% of all humanitarian aid corridors in Tigray are now open. He was speaking with visiting British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. But humanitarian workers have told The Associated Press that access remains limited. In addition, aid is sometimes accompanied by Ethiopian forces. “We are horrified by the reports and allegations we have received of sexual violence during the conflict in Tigray,” the U.N. humanitarian chief for East and southern Africa, Gemma Connell, said in a separate statement Friday. “The survivors of these alleged attacks must not be seen as statistics but as individual women and girls whose lives have been profoundly altered by the violations committed against them.” The Associated Press
TORONTO — After a 10-month investigation, a task force commissioned by the Ontario government has issued a range of sweeping recommendations to reform the province's securities regulator. The Capital Markets Modernization Task Force's 70 recommendations include major governance changes to Ontario Securities Commission, such as establishing an adjudicative body within the OSC to rule on alleged securities act violations. The task force also recommends expanding the agency's mandate to augment its regulatory function, and changing its name to the Ontario Capital Markets Authority. The task force was commissioned in 2019 by Ontario's finance minister, with the goal of encouraging growth and competition in the province's capital markets. In the report, the task force decried the lack of new securities issuers in Ontario, which they warned could lead to fewer head offices and fewer investment growth opportunities in the province. Over the course of its investigation, the task force met with more than 110 different stakeholders as it was developing its recommendations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Talks over the divided island of Cyprus will be held in New York in the next two months with the participation of the United Nations, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday. The United Nations has been trying unsuccessfully for decades to reunite Cyprus, split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup. Only Ankara recognises the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as an independent state.
A Nepean retirement home where 10 people have died from COVID-19 is the first in the city to begin vaccinating residents and staff against the illness, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) says. "As part of Phase 1 of the COVID vaccine rollout in Ottawa, Valley Stream Retirement Home was identified as a high-risk retirement home and the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was made available and administered to staff, essential caregivers and residents on Jan. 17," OPH confirmed Thursday. OPH finished administering the first vaccine doses to residents in long-term care homes in mid-January, but Valley Stream is the first high-risk retirement home to be offered the same opportunity. At a news conference on Wednesday, Ottawa's general manager of emergency and protective services Anthony Di Monte said that while second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would be delayed for some, one high-risk retirement home and one "congregate home with older adults" would still have a chance to receive first doses of the vaccine. In total, 51 of Valley Stream's 134 residents have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began on Jan. 2. Thirteen of those cases are now considered resolved. Another 27 staff members have also tested positive, 10 of which are now resolved. Jennifer Rose's 80-year-old father Richard Currie lives at Valley Stream, but has tested negative so far. "I'm obviously grateful and thankful that they're getting vaccines, and [with] my dad still testing negative, I'm happy he's getting that protection," Rose said, adding she's sympathetic to families that haven't been so lucky. "I just find it's so hard for the families that did lose somebody to this," she said. "They were close to being able to get that vaccine. It's just heartbreaking that it was almost within their grasp." Cleaning protocols enhanced Revera, which owns numerous long-term care facilities in Ontario and across North America, said it's working closely with OPH to maintain proper protocols and limit the spread of the virus at Valley Stream. "We are doing enhanced cleaning at Valley Stream, frequently disinfecting high touch surfaces like handrails and doors, common areas and staff rooms," the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Rhonda Collins, wrote. Collins said all residents are being monitored and tested if they show symptoms, while staff are screened at the beginning and end of their shifts. Visits are restricted to essential caregivers, as well as essential visits for palliative residents. "We recognize how difficult these measures are for residents and their families, and we appreciate their patience and understanding as we put these precautions in place for the safety of our residents," Collins wrote. According to OPH, the recent delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine "did not impact the administration of vaccines at Valley Stream." Earl Brown, professor emeritus of virology at the University of Ottawa, said while it's important to administer the second dose within a specific period of time after the first shot, giving more vulnerable people a single dose may prove the best option — as long as that second dose isn't too far behind. "It really comes down to maximizing your benefit," Brown said. "So numbers-wise, it generally has tended to favour spreading out the first dose and getting the second dose in somewhat of a timely manner. " But while the two vaccines both report higher than 90 per cent effectiveness in stopping the virus, Brown said it's believed they're less effective for older people. "I think the unknowns loom larger with this group."
La pandémie et la pénurie de main-d’œuvre ont eu raison d’un autre commerce de la région. La quincaillerie Tremblay-Laroche, établie depuis plus de 25 ans à Saint-Gédéon, ne rouvrira après avoir fermé ses portes le printemps dernier, faute de personnel. Le bâtiment situé au 223, rue de Quen, a été mis en vente. Le personnel restant et l’inventaire ont été transférés à la succursale de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix, qui elle aussi vit des heures difficiles en ce qui a trait au personnel. « Malheureusement, on est obligé de fermer la succursale. Deux employés sont partis pendant la première vague de COVID le printemps dernier pour d’autres magasins et on n’a pas été capable de les remplacer », explique le propriétaire, Marc Tremblay. Pénurie de main-d’œuvre Marc Tremblay s’explique mal le fait que malgré un taux de chômage élevé, il soit si difficile de combler des postes aux deux succursales. En deux ans, même les ouvertures de poste pour le magasin de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix n’ont pas pris preneurs. « On a de la misère à combler malgré le fait qu’on dise qu’il y a beaucoup de personnes qui ne travaillent pas. Je ne comprends pas grand-chose là-dedans. Avec toutes les annonces qu’on a faites, on n’est pas capable de combler les besoins. On a essayé de toutes les manières. On a fait des parutions Facebook et ici au magasin et on ne réussit pas… », déplore-t-il Année mouvementée L’été dernier, les Québécois se sont adonnés aux travaux de rénovation. L’équipe de plus en plus restreinte du groupe Tremblay-Laroche a été mise à rude épreuve. « L’équipe a dû mettre les bouchées doubles. Avec deux personnes en moins, ça paraît. On a comblé le stock de Métabetchouan avec l’inventaire du magasin de Saint-Gédéon. Ça n’a pas été une année rose », ajoute Marc Tremblay. Questionné à savoir si une lueur d’espoir régnait toujours pour le magasin de Saint-Gédéon, le propriétaire a affirmé qu’il concentrait dorénavant ses efforts sur le magasin de Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix. « On ne se fait pas d’illusions. On a mis le bâtiment à vendre », souligne-t-il. En novembre 2019, le groupe Tremblay-Laroche, alors affilié à BMR, avait quitté cette bannière pour joindre le groupe Castle en raison de désaccords. « BMR nous imposait des choses qu’on ne voulait pas. On ne se sentait plus chef dans notre propre magasin. Ils nous laissent acheter et faire ce qu’on veut », avait expliqué à l’époque Marc Tremblay. Plus d’un an plus tard, il se dit « très satisfait » de ce changement.Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
China has granted Canadian officials in Beijing on-site virtual consular access to detained Canadian Michael Kovrig but not to his fellow detainee Michael Spavor, Global Affairs Canada said today. The effort to gain access was led by Canadian Ambassador to China Dominic Barton and the meeting took place on Jan. 21. A statement from Global Affairs said it could not give out details of the meeting because of privacy concerns. Kovrig and Spavor were detained in December 2018 shortly after Huawei telecom executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested by Canadian officials while she was changing planes in Vancouver. Meng was arrested on a U.S. extradition request over allegations she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei's control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The arrest and detention of Kovrig and Spavor is widely seen as an act of reprisal for Meng's arrest. Both men face charges of spying for Canada. "The Canadian government remains deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor since December 2018 and continues to call for their immediate release," said a statement from Global Affairs Canada. Since their arrest, Canadian officials have had only sporadic consular access to the two men. From January to October of last year, family and Canadian officials had no access to the detainees — something China attributed to efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. Canadian officials were last granted consular access to Spavor on December 14, 2020. The Global Affairs statement says that access to Spavor has been withheld because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Since their arrest more than two years ago, Canadian officials have been granted consular access to Kovrig on 20 occasions and met with Spavor a total of 19 times. Meng gets family visit Meng, meanwhile, has been released on bail and is continuing to deny the charges against her. Under her bail conditions, Meng is required to wear a GPS ankle monitoring bracelet and is confined to her home from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day. She is allowed to travel around the Lower Mainland with security guards during the day; she has to pay for the security herself. While Kovrig and Spavor remain behind bars, last week it emerged that Meng's husband, Liu Xiaozong, and her two children were granted permission to come to Canada by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials. Liu came to Canada in October and in December was followed by the couple's children. Global Affairs said that Meng's family members were granted permission to come here through a process that allows family members of foreign nationals to visit Canada temporarily. Extradition Meng's extradition proceeding is expected to get underway at the beginning of March, and to continue in various stages until the end of April. The first part of the proceedings will involve a defence bid to have the case tossed because of alleged violations of Meng's rights. Her lawyers claim she was used as a political pawn by the administration of former U.S. president Donald Trump and that the Canada Border Services Agency and RCMP conspired with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation at the time of her arrest to deny her access to a lawyer. The defence claims that the U.S. deliberately misled Canada about the strength of the case against Meng and is reaching beyond its jurisdiction to punish her. The final part of the proceedings will be a test of the strength of the extradition request itself.
HALIFAX — The public inquiry into the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced the hiring of six experts who will help set a course for the investigation. Those joining the inquiry include Thomas Cromwell, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice who will serve as commission counsel. Cromwell previously served with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. As well, the inquiry has appointed Christine Hanson as executive director and chief administrative officer. Hanson is director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She also worked as an international lawyer and diplomat in a variety of roles with Global Affairs Canada. The inquiry has also appointed a community liaison, a mental health expert, an investigations co-ordinator and an expert in charge of research. "We are pleased to have secured a group of experienced and dedicated individuals who are among the most highly regarded in the country in their respective fields," the commission said in a statement Thursday. "There are a lot of questions to be asked and evidence to be gathered by the commission in order to fulfil its mandate and we want the best people to help us in this process." The other team members include: — Research director Emma Cunliffe is a professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a visiting professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She is a scholar in complex criminal matters related to violence against women. — Investigations director Barbara McLean is deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service and is originally from Antigonish, N.S. — Mental health director Mary Pyche has worked as an addiction clinical therapist and has held leadership roles in the Nova Scotia Health Department regarding mental health and addiction. — Community liaison director Maureen Wheller co-chaired the first public advisory group that worked with Nova Scotia's mental health and addictions program. The independent federal-provincial inquiry, which has the authority to compel witnesses to testify and produce documents, is expected to produce an interim report by May 1, 2022 and a final report by Nov. 1, 2022. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Town of Strathmore has reinstated license fees for Strathmore-based businesses in 2021 after waiving them last year, but a rebate could be enacted later in the year if needed. Under the town’s business license bylaw, all businesses are required to hold a valid business license, costing a fee. But this fee was waived for Strathmore-based businesses by town council in February 2020 to attract new businesses to Strathmore and support existing ones. Whether the town should again waive fees for local businesses in 2021 was discussed by town council during the Jan. 13 committee of the whole meeting. Mayor Pat Fule said he brought the issue to the meeting after being contacted by multiple residents concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on businesses. The 2021 to 2023 operating budget council passed in November 2020 included about $100,000 in revenue from business fees in 2021. Therefore, if council was again to waive business license fees, the town would need to either raise property taxes or make a transfer from reserves to offset the revenue loss, said Mel Tiede, the town’s director of corporate services, during the meeting. Another consideration in the decision is that the Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce (SWCC) is funded by licensing fees from SWCC-member businesses, noted Councillor Bob Sobol. The town has already billed more than $60,000 in business license fees this year, said Tiede. Approximately 80 businesses have already paid for licenses. Invoices for business fees are mailed out during the first two weeks of December, with fees due and payable by the last week in January of the current calendar year. Councillor Melanie Corbiell proposed extending the due date for business licensing fees. However, Doug Lagore, the town’s interim chief administrative officer, recommended council stay a decision for now. “If we find that the businesses have to remain shut down for a good portion of the year, we could look at a rebate program sometime during the year if there is a big impact,” he said. “But I think it’s premature at this time. Let’s see what the impact of COVID will be during the year, and deal with it at a later time.” Councillor Lorraine Bauer suggested businesses challenged by the licensing fees could be exempted on an individual basis. Council decided to keep licensing fees in place for now, and the presentation was accepted as information. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
It's time for Canada to consider finally appointing a First Nations person to the post of Governor General, says the head of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, resigned on Thursday after an external review at Rideau Hall foundthe pair presided over a toxic work environment. That leaves the position open to a new appointment. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs issued a statement later that day, saying that having the federal government appoint a First Nations person as the next Governor General would send a strong message that it is sincere about its rhetoric on reconciliation, and that there is no relationship that is more important to the Prime Minister than the one with Indigenous peoples. Such an appointment would pay respect to the spirit and intent of the treaties between Canada's First Nations people and the Crown, Grand Chief Arlen Dumas told CBC News. Historically, the Governor General had a significant role in developing those treaties, he said. "It would also be a testament to the collaboration of what it took to make Canada the country it is today," he said. "I think that having a First Nations person play that role would help expedite those things and encourage the conversation and acknowledgement of how it's actually the First Nations, along with the French and English, that built this country." There is no shortage of strong Indigenous candidates in Manitoba who could become the Queen's representative in Ottawa, he said. "We have doctors, we have lawyers, we have scientists. We have all sorts of people from all walks of life who would be able to play that role in a truly respectful and meaningful way." An independent consulting firm was hired to do the review by the Privy Council Office last year after reports surfaced that Payette was responsible for workplace harassment at Rideau Hall. President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada Dominic LeBlanc told CBC's Vassy Kapelos the federal government received the final report late last week, and it offered some "disturbing" and "worrisome" conclusions. In a media statement announcing her departure, Payette apologized for what she called the "tensions" at Rideau Hall in recent months.
A framed arrangement of quilt blocks made of material from masks, gowns and scrub caps is now on display in the lobby at Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH). The unique piece reflects the fabric of a community that came together to make masks, gowns and scrub caps for hospital staff shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. Through the donation of fabric, buttons, pipe cleaners, elastic, thread and financial contributions by the community, the Campbellford Mask Makers sewed and donated close to 2,000 pieces to the hospital in a time when Personal Protective Equipment was in short supply, the hospital noted in a news release. CMH called the artwork a “piece of COVID history.” “We will be forever grateful to this community for helping to protect our staff and patients during the early days of this pandemic,” said Paul Nichols, chair of CMH’s board of directors. “These quilt blocks are a testament to the caring, giving and compassion of volunteers in Trent Hills and the surrounding area. They represent the collaborative efforts of a great many individuals who participated in the making and donation of masks, caps and gowns to CMH during the COVID-19 crisis of 2020.” Cathy Redden, co-ordinator of the Campbellford Mask Makers, said the project exceeded the group’s expectations and was a meaningful experience for many of its participants. “This project had results that reached far and beyond our goal of providing the hospital with needed supplies,” Redden said. “It gave many of us a reason to get up and dressed in the morning. While short in its duration, this project had a lasting impact on the surrounding community, our hospital and those who have participated in it.” CMH also gave thanks to Campbellford’s 2777 Northumberland unit of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps. and all of the community members who made masks, provided material or supported the project through financial contributions. “CMH staff are forever grateful to be part of such a wonderful community,” the release stated Natalie Hamilton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Northumberland News
The Alberta government has relaxed some of the public health measures enacted in December to stop the spread of COVID-19. Despite these changes, Alberta’s case numbers and hospitalizations remain high, and continue to pose a threat to healthcare system capacity, said Health Minister Tyler Shandro, during a Jan. 14 government press conference. “When we introduced new mandatory health measures in December, we did so with a goal to limiting as much in-person interaction as possible, and the point was to minimize exposure to the virus,” said Shandro. “Today, we can’t entirely ease up on this goal, but we can make small adjustments to provide Albertans with some limited activities.” As of Jan. 18, outdoor social gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed. Personal and wellness services are also now allowed to reopen, by appointment only. This includes a variety of businesses, including hair salons, barber shops, aesthetics, manicure and pedicure businesses, reflexology, piercing and tattoo shops, among others. Maximum funeral ceremony attendance was increased to 20 people, but funeral receptions are still prohibited. Trends of the virus will be assessed to determine if restrictions can be eased further. “I want to stress to everyone that while we are actively looking at what restrictions we are able to ease, over the weeks ahead, in order to make any further changes we need everyone’s cooperation to stay within the rules,” said Shandro. “If we continue to see case rates, hospitalizations and our ICU admissions continue to slow down and go down, we will continue to open things up.” School reporting changes The province is also changing how cases in schools are reported. As of Jan. 18, a school with one to four cases of COVID-19 will receive an “alert” status, while if more than five cases are detected, a school will receive “outbreak” status. There will be two categories of outbreaks, for schools with five to nine cases and for 10 or more cases, and the “watch” status will no longer be used. This change is to terminology only and will not affect how AHS is supporting schools or responding to cases. The province will continue to report schools on the COVID-19 school map when two or more cases are identified. Parents will still be notified if there is a single case in their child’s school. As of Jan. 18, across the province there are two outbreaks (both five to nine cases) and 29 alerts in schools, according to the COVID-19 school status map. However, none of these schools are in Strathmore or Wheatland County. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
After complaints from its residents, Wheatland County is confronting large, personal medicinal cannabis growing facilities that, unlike regulated commercial facilities, operate without having to notify the municipality. Tom Ikert, Division 4 Councillor, brought forth the issue after becoming aware of a cannabis growing operation close to his residence. “I went to the county because the neighbours were complaining about the smell,” he said. At first Ikert was assured that no growing facility exists in the area – the county allows commercial cannabis cultivation in the Wheatland Industrial Park only – but he later determined the facility was a personal medical cannabis growing facility. A big one. In November 2020, Wheatland County published a white paper arguing there is a regulatory gap for personal and medicinal cannabis growing that is creating safety and environmental risks and causing disputes among neighbours. The white paper was sent to local MLAs, Bow River MP Martin Shields, and Premier Jason Kenney. Under Canada’s cannabis laws, the federal government is responsible for the rules for cannabis production and processing, while provinces and territories are responsible for regulating distribution and sale. While Alberta municipalities have the power to create land use bylaws on where cannabis can be grown, these apply to commercial enterprises only. Municipal policies and land use regulations are not applicable to personal cannabis production. Under Health Canada’s Medicinal Use of Cannabis application, individuals can apply for a medicinal growing license. The number of plants each license holder is allowed is determined by a calculator tool that creates an output based on the number of grams they are prescribed daily. Up to 485 cannabis plants can be grown at home, without the requirement of notifying local authorities. “Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s 1,000 pounds of weed you can grow in a year if you’re using 500-watt bulbs,” said Ikert. He added many of these growers have brought three-phase power onto the sites, which raises questions as to whether the cannabis grown is strictly for personal use as restricted by law. While the permit holder is expected to meet local bylaws, regulations and safety code requirements, the application and approval process does not require confirmation that all municipal requirements have been met. The county is arguing this has created a large regulatory loophole, where large cannabis growing facilities can be active without being known or accountable to municipal enforcement. The problem is exacerbated by regulations allowing a designated producer to be registered by multiple permit holders. Multiple (up to four) registrations can be active at one same location, meaning up to 1,940 plants can be grown together. “You can also congregate, in a sense,” said Bow River MP Martin Shields. “Three or four growers get together and say, ‘let’s just roll with this one place,’” he said. “Wheatland County is absolutely right saying that if cannabis is being grown as a congregated personal site, municipalities have no clue what’s out there.” Many growers choose to make changes to their homes or buildings that legally require an electrical, gas or building permit. If they applied for a permit, it would be reviewed for compliance with the Alberta Building Code and the work inspected by a safety codes officer, once complete. But by not having to notify municipalities, these growers may skip the permit process and install new systems that are unsafe, the white paper argues. Without the requirement for proper ventilation, there is potential for environmental health issues from home cannabis growing, including air quality and moisture concerns (e.g. mould), and chemical exposure from use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, it states. Residents also have little recourse when faced with nuisance issues from a neighbouring facility, namely odours. If the county is notified of a nuisance growing facility that is not a known commercial operation with a development permit, the RCMP will be contacted. However, if the occupant or owner is found to have a license for medical cannabis, the only option is to let the license holder know of the complaint and work toward a voluntary solution. These personal medical grow operations do not have to have the same security systems that commercial sites require, resulting in a higher potential for crime, added Shields. The resolution of the white paper is for the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) to collaborate with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), to advocate for Health Canada to ensure municipal compliance for all personal medical cannabis production facilities for existing license holders and prior to approval for all future applications. Reeve Amber Link presented the paper to the RMA District 2: Central directors, who supported the resolution. It will go forward to the RMA District 2 spring meeting on Feb. 5. If the resolution receives support at that meeting, it will go to the RMA spring convention for consideration by all rural municipalities in Alberta, she explained. The paper will also be presented to the FCM during its March 2021 board meeting. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
The website of Iran's Supreme Leader on Friday carried the image of a golfer resembling former President Donald Trump apparently being targeted by a drone alongside a threat of revenge over last year's killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. drone attack. The image first appeared on a Persian-language Twitter feed that carried a link to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's website. Twitter took down that feed on Friday, saying it was fake.