Kids tobogganning down their front steps in Brampton, ON.
Kids tobogganning down their front steps in Brampton, ON.
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
Ontario’s pilot COVID-19 testing program from travellers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport found that of the over 6,800 voluntary participants, 146 people or 2.26 per cent, tested positive.
A prospective COVID-19 vaccine touted as a made-in-Canada response has begun human clinical trials in Toronto, and the company says it's already preparing a follow-up that will target more infectious variants. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says if all goes well, it could start manufacturing millions of doses of its first prospective vaccine by the end of the year, guaranteeing a Canadian stockpile that wouldn't be subject to global supply pressures or competition. That's if the formulation proves safe and effective, of course. Among the challenges of developing a vaccine amid a raging pandemic is the uncertainty of how more infectious variants now emerging will complicate the COVID battle. Even if successful, by the time Providence Therapeutics releases its vaccine hopeful much of the country could be in the throes of a more infectious virus that does not respond to this formulation, allowed company CEO Brad Sorenson. "We don't believe that this is going to be resolved by a single vaccine," said Sorenson, whose biotech also produces a personalized mRNA-based vaccine against cancer. It's a challenge now facing Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have each said its products appear to respond well to the variant initially identified in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser degree, the variant first detected in South Africa. Moderna said earlier this week it plans to test two booster vaccines aimed at the variant associated with South Africa. Sorenson said Providence is already internally testing a vaccine candidate that targets the variants, and he hoped to begin clinical trials by the end of the year. "We believe that there's going to be a need to be in a position of readiness to be able to respond as these variants are coming up, and to be able to make sure that we have that capacity." That doesn't mean Providence is changing production runs just yet. Sorenson said the immediate focus is to establish the safety and efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed PTX-COVID19-B and designed in the early days of the pandemic last March. It uses messenger RNA technology and focuses on the spike protein located on the surface of a coronavirus that initiates infection, similar to the Pfizer and Moderna products. The trial involves 60 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 25 who will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected in February. The subjects are divided into four groups of 15, three of which will get three different doses. The fourth group gets a placebo. Sorenson said immediate pandemic efforts should be focused on the novel coronavirus currently devastating many parts of the country. "It's a matter of capacity. Right now these variants are there, they're concerning, and we're keeping a close eye on it, but that's not predominantly what the needs of the population are," said Sorenson. "Right now the needs of the population are still tied to the primary spike protein virus that's out there and is ravaging around the world." Sorenson said his next vaccine candidate takes a broader approach by attempting to elicit a T-cell response, thereby creating a longer-term vaccine "and cover what we believe would be a lot more variants." "We have to prove it out but we believe that if we are successful that it will allow for a much more durable immunity and a much broader immunity." The other goal is to prepare for large-scale manufacturing in Calgary, if all goes well with the trials and approval process. Sorenson said doses for the Phase 1 trial are being made in Toronto but the plan is to commercially manufacture the completed vaccine through a contract with the Calgary-based Northern RNA Inc. That won't be up and running by the end of the year, Sorenson allowed, so the short-term plan is to send raw materials made in Canada to a plant in the United States that would make the commercial product. Eventually, the whole process would be completed in Canada, he said. "We're building the entire chain within Canada so we're not going to run into a problem where this particular input into the vaccine is unavailable," he said. Much of this also depends on financial support from the federal government, Sorenson added. While the National Research Council of Canada has backed Phase 1 trials, Sorenson said he's awaiting word on further support. He'd also like Ottawa to back Providence's efforts to address the new COVID variants. "They've already recognized the importance of mRNA technology. What they don't realize is the power of mRNA technology to be responsive to these challenges that are coming up," he said. "Hopefully the politicians and the people that cut the cheques and write the policies that give direction to the bureaucrats will hear that and we'll start seeing a more concerted approach that looks at a fuller picture." Pending regulatory approval, Sorenson said a larger, international Phase 2 trial may start in May with seniors, younger subjects and pregnant people, followed by an even broader Phase 3 trial. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
THUNDER BAY — A new pilot project launched earlier this month by the Thunder Bay Police Service, CMHA Thunder Bay Branch and the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre hopes to provide better and immediate services to individuals dealing with mental health crises in the community. The details of the Integrated Mobile Police Assessment Crisis Team (IMPACT) were announced through a virtual news conference on Tuesday, Jan. 26. The pilot project is an expansion of the Joint Mobile Crisis Response Team initiative which launched in June 2018. “The goal of the pilot is to reduce police time in the emergency department, divert individuals from having to attend the emergency department while providing supports for individuals in the community,” Insp. Derek West of the Thunder Bay Police Service said Tuesday. The new initiative launched on Jan. 4 and has so far had encounters with 71 individuals. Of the 71 encounters, 33 people have been diverted from the emergency department already, West said. The pilot team is comprised of one police officer and one crisis worker who will work together to respond to all mental health-related calls for service that the police service receives or are referred to on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week basis. Jennifer Hyslop, CEO of CMHA Thunder Bay Branch said during Tuesday’s news conference the pilot program will help reduce unnecessary encounters with law enforcement and unnecessary emergency department visits for individuals. “As we know provincially and in our community, police should not be the first responders to a mental health crisis,” Hyslop said. “If we look at the evidence in Thunder Bay and all communities across Ontario we have had to over-rely on police managing mental health issues.” Lisa Beck, director of Trauma, Emergency Department and Critical Care at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre said if an emergency department visit is required, the IMPACT team will support the individual at the hospital as well. The pilot program is different from the Joint Mobile Crisis Response Team in the sense that both the police officer and crisis worker respond to calls together. “In the past there were many instances where the crisis worker arrives separately from the officer,” Beck said, adding having both police and crisis staff responding in unison is a great improvement for the patient. Another difference is the team will operate out of the police station. For the Joint Mobile Crisis Response Team, crisis staff were dispatched separately from the CMHA crisis office, Hyslop said. “We designed the IMPACT team to be able to respond more quickly and swiftly and hopefully will demonstrate this model of care is maybe even more critical than the way we were running our joint mobile project before,” she said. CMHA also plans to implement five safe beds at the end of February as another diversion pathway for individuals who need extra support but do not need to attend the hospital. The IMPACT team will have direct access to these beds where individuals can be stabilized and stay up to 30 days. Due to COVID-19 and finalizing staff members, there has been difficulty opening the beds, Hyslop said, but expects everything to be in place for the end of next month. All police officers and crisis workers in the program participated in crisis intervention training, West said. An analysis of the Joint Mobile Crisis Response Team which will continue to operate its two-person crisis response team seven days a week from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. found that there were significant barriers and not enough coverage for mental health calls within a 12 hour period, Hyslop said. Beck added the city’s emergency department was receiving patients with mental health concerns during all times of the day and night. Hyslop said she expects to see more interactions regarding mental health in the community with project IMPACT. “These numbers we have seen in the first few weeks are higher than what we expected,” she said. “With this new model, we are going to see interaction with individuals go up significantly.” Currently, there are four full-time positions for crisis staff filled. The CMHA is currently recruiting for two part-time crisis workers' positions to be filled. The project is scheduled to last a year. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Months-long protests in India escalated on Tuesday as thousands of farmers clashed with police in New Delhi over new laws that they say will push small farmers out of the market and let private corporations exploit them.
Police are warning users of illicit drugs across the Northwest Territories of two new noxious substances they found in illicit drugs seized in Yellowknife last November, and for which the health effects are not known. In a Tuesday news release, RCMP said the drugs they seized — believed to crack cocaine, powder cocaine and tablets — were found to contain Adinazolam and 5-MeO-DBT after being analyzed by the Health Canada Drug Analysis Service. "These two drugs are a concern for unexpected reactions, and the concern for other contaminants like opioids is always present," said Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, the N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer, in the release. Police said the substances are either presented as a new form of drug that people may be unaware they are consuming or is so novel that limited information is available on its safety. The presence of the two new substances has increased the danger of illicit drugs, the release says. "In fact, given the distribution systems of the illegal drug trade, those tainted drugs could be anywhere in the territory, so this warning is for the entire Northwest Territories" said Insp. Dyson Smith, the officer in charge of the RCMP's Yellowknife detachment, in the release. The RCMP said it is working with the N.W.T. government Department of Health and Social Services to determine the impacts of the two new substances. Delli Pizzi said in the release that people who use street or illicit drugs should always do so with others present and have a plan in case someone overdoses. "The plan should include having naloxone present and calling 911 for help with any overdose" he said. The Yellowknife RCMP's general investigation section seized the illicit drugs on Nov. 27, 2020 from a Yellowknife residence. They said there have been charges as a result of the case and that it is currently before the courts.
New Brunswick is spending less money than any other province on COVID-19 measures while leaving millions of federal dollars on the table, according to a new report by a national think tank. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the Higgs government is the stingiest administration in the land, spending just $7,500 per person on COVID-19 programs. Nova Scotia is the next lowest at $8,500 per person. At the same time, the province has not spent millions of dollars it could have claimed from Ottawa, including $5.9 million available for health care, personal protective equipment, testing and long-term care. The report says massive spending is needed to get Canadians through the pandemic, and no province should be turning down money in the name of fiscal prudence. "The federal government needs to continue to lead the way and provincial governments need to do their part," the report says, "starting by investing any unspent COVID-19 federal funds that they've been sitting on." Other amounts unclaimed by New Brunswick, according to the report, are: $30 million to top up the wages of essential workers. $19.7 million for long-term care. $9.6 million for a "rapid housing initiative." The report says 99 per cent of all direct COVID-19 spending in New Brunswick has been federal money. "The province provided its 25 per cent for the essential worker wage top-up and provided its own emergency workers' benefit, but little beyond those programs for individuals," it says. The report's findings echo criticisms of the Progressive Conservative government by the Opposition Liberals. "Now it's documented, it's researched and it's real," says Liberal Leader Roger Melanson, calling the Higgs government's approach "the cheapest effort I've seen in the country." Secured or negotiating 'every available federal dollar' In a lengthy statement, government spokesperson John McNeil said the province "has secured or is currently negotiating every available federal dollar" for its COVID-19 response. The Department of Social Development, which oversees long-term care, has secured "every available federal dollar" for programs, including infection prevention, "workforce stability plans" for care workers and the creation of isolation wings in nursing homes. And the Department of Health "is currently forecasting that all the health-related funding will be required," McNeil said. In those departments, "full accounting of the details of these expenditures will only be known at the end of the fiscal year as the situation changes regularly based on the progress of the pandemic," the statement said. While the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says its report was up to date as of Dec. 31, McNeil says it's based on figures from last September and some federal-provincial spending agreements are still being worked on. In November, Premier Blaine Higgs told the legislature that the province was getting $218 million from Ottawa for COVID programs and that it had spent $167 million until that point. "We will be spending in the particular categories beyond what they've currently allotted," he said during question period. "But who knows by how much at this stage, because we do not know how long this is going to last." The report's author says Higgs may have been looking at particular funding programs, while he examined all programs. "It may be well be that they exceed in some areas and underspend in some areas," says David Macdonald, the think tank's chief economist. This government is trying to spend the bare minimum on addressing COVID and is leaving the vast majority of expenditures to the federal government. - David Coon, Green Party leader "Certainly the province should be accessing all the federal money that's on the table. It's certainly in their interest. It doesn't make a lot of sense to leave money on the table when the feds are giving it to you, in essence. "All you have to do is show the plans that you want to improve long-term care, you want to improve affordable housing, you want to improve wages for low-wage essential. These aren't, I don't think, controversial issues." Green Party Leader David Coon says it's impossible, when the legislature isn't sitting, to reconcile Higgs's claim in November with the report. "It's still a big black box without us being able to dig into this at the legislative assembly and get the numbers out," he says. "This government is trying to spend the bare minimum on addressing COVID and is leaving the vast majority of expenditures to the federal government." Higgs also pushed back in November on Liberal calls to spend more by pointing to the province's relatively low COVID-19 case rates and its improving economic indicators. Atlantic comparisons But other Atlantic provinces that have similarly good case numbers are spending more. Compared to New Brunswick's $7,500 per person, Nova Scotia is spending $8,500, Prince Edward Island is spending $8,600 and Newfoundland and Labrador is spending $9,180. Melanson says he believes Higgs is leaving some federal money on the table because the programs would require matching provincial dollars the premier doesn't want to spend. Last week, Higgs announced new $5,000 grants for businesses affected for at least a week by red and orange-phase restrictions between early October and the end of March. Those grants are not accounted for in the report. "This program is funded entirely by the provincial government," McNeil said. In December, after months of sparring with the federal government and opposition parties over unclaimed infrastructure dollars intended to help the pandemic-hampered economy, the province began approving projects in its capital budget. Those projects, including the refurbishment of a 19th-century Fredericton building that houses legislature offices and the legislative press gallery, are 80 per cent funded by Ottawa under a "resilience" stream of the Canadian Infrastructure Fund. Both of those recent spending initiatives are too recent to have been included in the numbers Macdonald used. Wage support also weakest According to Macdonald's report, New Brunswick has also spent the least of any province on direct COVID-19 programs for individuals, such as wage subsidies. Last spring the province created the short-term New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit, which lasted until Ottawa created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. New Brunswick has spent $3,300 per person on programs for individuals compared to $3,700 spent by Nova Scotia, $3,600 by Prince Edward Island and $3,800 by Newfoundland and Labrador. Alberta spent the most at $5,500 per person.
TORONTO — Canada's main stock index suffered its worst drop of the year on a broad-based decline led by the energy and technology sectors. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 126.61 points to 17,779.41. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 22.96 points at 30,937.04. The S&P 500 index was down 5.74 points at 3,849.62, while the Nasdaq composite was down 9.93 points at 13,626.06. The Canadian dollar traded for 78.73 cents US compared with 78.51 cents US on Monday. The March crude oil contract was down 16 cents at US$52.61 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 3.8 cents at nearly US$2.64 per mmBTU. The February gold contract was down US$4.30 at US$1,850.90 an ounce and the March copper contract was down a penny at US$3.62 a pound. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press
Northern Health has released COVID-19 exposure notices for Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure at Uplands Elementary School occurred Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, and Centennial Christian School’s exposure took place on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, according to Northern Health’s list of public exposures and outbreaks. There have been numerous COVID-19 exposure notices for Terrace schools issued by Northern Health since Nov. 2020, and nearly all Terrace schools have had at least one exposure notice. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Beginning on Jan. 29, anyone entering Manitoba from anywhere in Canada will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Midhurst residents did not attend a public meeting to show their displeasure at a new development on Old Second South, Monday (Jan. 25). Springwater council hosted a public meeting to discuss the engineering specifics of the proposed five lots, which will see single-dwelling homes developed by First Elm Holding Inc. They will be located minutes north of Midhurst, backing onto environmentally-protected land. There were no residents to query the requested zone change from A for agricultural to RIXX zoning for the small residential builds. “No commentors care to make deputations,” Clerk Renee Ainsworth told councillors midway through the 40-minute meeting. After spending almost 12 years fighting the township against more subdivisions near their small village 10 minutes north of Barrie, the Midhurst Ratepayers Association was not present and the virtual meeting was only attended by council and township staff. Coun. Jack Hanna queried the placement of septic beds on the five proposed properties that would lie on the west end of 43 hectares adjacent to the Old Second South. “Water courses are fairly well removed,” said Brian Goodreid of Goodreid Planning Group, which is responsible for the engineering report presented to council. Hanna also questioned the regulations of a maximum of 15 persons per the five lots allotted to, but Brent Spagnol, director of planning services, allayed those concerns. “There are no people police monitoring to ensure we only have three persons per home. There’s no limitations on the number of people per home,” Spagnol said, noting the single-dwelling detached homes meet the provincial settlement population allotment requirements. Further input from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is expected. The application was reviewed and returned to staff for further investigation. Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
A five-day virtual symposium on Indigenous languages hosted by Canadian Heritage kicked off on Jan. 25, the same day applications for the positions of Indigenous languages commissioner and three directors closed. The symposium, the Office of the Indigenous Languages Commissioner, and the Indigenous Languages Act (Bill C-91) proclaimed in June 2019 underscore that an “urgent agenda for action” is being set, said Métis National Council President Clement Chartier. The Michif language is “critically endangered,” he said, with a generous estimate of having 1,000 fluent Michif speakers still living. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed echoed Chartier about the dire need for strong and immediate action to be taken to revitalize Indigenous languages. However, Obed went a step further, continuing to advocate for what he was unsuccessful in getting when the Indigenous Languages Act was being developed: Inuktut given official language status within the Inuit homeland of Nunangat. “We have rights to use our language, to access education and health care and government services in our language,” said Obed. The figures support that, he said. Sixty-five per cent of the country’s 65,000 Inuit live in 51 communities throughout Nunangat, an area comprised of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik (Northern Quebec) and Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). Nunangat accounts for one-third of Canada’s land mass and covers 70 per cent of Canada’s coastline. More importantly 84 per cent of Inuit in Nunangat speak Inuktut and it is an official language in the N.W.T. and Nunavut and an official administrative language of the Nunatsiavut government. “We are still hoping for that foundational piece in the same way French and English have foundational protection in this country and I hope that this week through the symposium we can talk about that broad goal,” said Obed. Chartier backed him up. “I support and continue to support that the Inuit language, which is so vital to the existence and culture of Inuit peoples, does, in fact, get official languages status and in the future that other Indigenous languages do as well,” he said. All three leaders talked about the need for a whole-of-government approach as Indigenous languages impact areas such as education and health care. They also spoke of the need for the funding that accompanies the legislation to be long-term, adequate, flexible and sustainable. “I’ve made the point that governments must do as much as they can to bring back, to revitalize, rejuvenate and give fluency back among our First Nations and tribes and they have to put as much energy and effort and resources as they used when they tried to eradicate our languages through the residential school system,” said Bellegarde. Steven Guilbeault, minister of Canadian Heritage, acknowledged the damage successive governments had played “in the erosion of Indigenous languages in the first place through their misguided policies and practices.” In the 2019 budget the Liberal government earmarked a starting amount of $333.7 million over five years along with $115.7 million to support the implementation of the act. Guilbeault committed to working with Indigenous partners, who he said would lead the way. “Our government is all in. We imagine a future in which First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across Canada feel empowered to learn, speak, and live in their languages,” he said. Since spring 2020, Canadian Heritage has been undertaking consultations in every region and every territory, including specific sessions for First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous peoples. In-person sessions had to be replaced with virtual engagements due to the coronavirus pandemic. The separate consultation sessions, said Paul Pelletier, director general, Indigenous Languages, Canadian Heritage, represent the government’s understanding that revitalizing Indigenous languages needs to be tackled in a distinctions-based manner, including the funding model. “We will take some time … to go through what we heard in respect to the funding model and working and planning on a distinctions basis, what that will mean in terms of developing new First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation funding approaches and how we look at the kinds of changes that are needed. There will be differences amongst those approaches,” said Pelletier. Recommendations for the selections of commissioner and directors will be made by a committee comprising of government officials and First Nations, Métis and Inuit representatives. The recommendations will go to Guilbeault for Cabinet approval. While Jan. 25 was the last day to apply for the positions, Pelletier said applications will continue to be monitored “to ensure that we are not overlooking any qualified candidates.” The days ahead for the symposium will look at best-practices already in place to revitalize Indigenous languages; the funding model; and the role of the Office of the Indigenous Languages Commissioner. As well, the Anishinabek Nation Language Commissioner Barbara Nolan and New Zealand Maori Language Commissioner Rawinia Higgins will share their experiences in their positions. Canada’s role in the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, declared by the United Nations for 2022 to 2032, will also be discussed. “For Indigenous peoples around the world how do we see this happen? In Canada we have Bill C- 91, a federal piece of legislation, and that can help lead the world so that this domestic state called Canada is doing something real, something tangible to make that decade worth while in reality,” said Bellegarde. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
With British star Chris Froome and Ottawa's Michael Woods leading the way this year, Canadian-born co-owner Sylvan Adams has big plans for the Israel Start-Up Nation team. And they go well beyond mere success in the cycling world. In convincing the Giro d'Italia to start the 2018 race with three stages in Israel, the 62-year-old from Montreal showcased his adopted country. "The entire country was on display, for three glorious days … Basically we had hundred of millions of first-time visitors to Israel, via their TV screens, seeing it in an unvarnished way" Adams said. Staging the start of the race in Israel reportedly cost millions, with Adams stepping up to help make it happen. After emigrating to Israel with his wife in late 2015 following a successful career as president and CEO of Iberville Developments, a large real-estate company, Adams had business cards printed up with the title "Self-appointed ambassador at large for Israel.” "And I decided I'm going to devote this chapter of my life to promoting my new country, my adopted country, using sporting and other cultural activities to show what I call the true face of Israel," Adams said in an interview from Spain where his team was in pre-season training. For Adams, Israel is a country open, tolerant, diverse and fiercely democratic. '"And of course we're a safe country. People don't realize it because of the news cycle," he said. "My projects are kind of trying to show the rest of the world this normal Israel." "I'm not blaming the journalists. Good news doesn't sell," he added with a laugh. Adams is spreading his largesse. He helped build a velodrome in Tel Aviv and donated some $39 million for a new emergency care wing at a Tel Aviv hospital. He has also created the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute (SASI) at Tel Aviv University, a facility dedicated to sports science that has partnered with Montreal's McGill University. There is also the Sylvan Adams commuter cycling path network in Tel Aviv. In addition to being co-owner of Israel Start-Up Nation, Adams is also team CEO. He negotiated the deals to bring Woods and Froome into the fold. "I'm very actively involved in the team. It does take up a significant amount of my time," said Adams. Asked if anyone makes money from pro cycling, Adams chuckles. "Not me, that's for sure," he said. "If somebody does, it can't be big money … You'll not get rich in the sport of cycling, sadly. And for me it's quite the opposite. I've put a lot of my of my own personal funds into the bike team. And I'm hoping with success, we'll bring on some more commercial sponsorships." By having Israel rather than a sponsor in the team name, he knows he is missing out on a major source of sponsorship. But he pledges that Israel will always be front and centre. Still, that doesn't stop him from hoping the Israeli government ups its current support of the team. Right now, he gets "very small sponsorship" from the Israeli ministry of tourism. While Adams' cycling team had moments to savour in 2020 — British rider Alex Dowsett won Stage 8 of the Giro while Ireland's Dan Martin took Stage 3 of the Spanish Vuelta (Woods won Stage 7 with his former team) — Adams is looking for significant improvements this season. That's because his team didn't get its WorldTour licence until the last day possible before the 2020 season, buying it from the Katusha-Alpecin team. In essence, last year's squad was built as a lower-tier Pro Continental team. "We had some good riders certainly — Andre Greipel and Dan Martin — so we were a fair team," said Adams. "But this year we're a real WorldTour team. We built the roster because we know we are in the WorldTour. And we built the roster with certain goals in mind. "We're a vastly improved team and we hope to make some noise this season." Adams goes back with Woods, whom he first heard about from Montreal's Paulo Saldanha, now Israel Start-Up Nation's performance manager. A former Ironman triathlete, Saldanha runs a string of training studios under the PowerWatts name. Saldanha was working with another rider, who tipped him off to Woods' potential in 2013. A former elite distance runner, Woods had switched to cycling after a string of foot injuries — breaking his foot for the final time in the fall of 2011. Adams had worked with Saldanha before, telling him to keep him posted if he came across a promising prospect who needed some financial help. They had tried it a few times without much success. Then came Woods. "I get a call from Paulo and he says 'Sylvan, I've just tested this guy and he's the best athlete I've ever tested from an endurance sport, natural physical gifts perspective.'" Adams provided the help anonymously until Saldanha eventually introduced him to Woods, who had been working as a bank teller as well as weekends in a bike shop, as his benefactor. Older than most aspiring pros, Woods was not that attractive a prospect for some. "If it wasn't for Paulo and Sylvan, I wouldn't be a pro cyclist," Woods said. "They took a big chance on me and helped me out when I first started." Adams' message to Woods was simple. You have a job any time with my team, but best you wait until it reaches the top echelon. "The rest is history," said Adams. "He climbed through the ranks at various level of the sport." In September 2019, Adams went to the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in Harrogate, England. As member of the Canadian camp, he rode with the team on their reconnaissance ride before the race. He reiterated his job offer. A year later, Woods opted to leave the Education First Pro Cycling team to join Adams in 2021. Adams is no stranger to digging into his pocket for cycling, backing the Canadian-based SpiderTech team — run by former Canadian star rider Steve Bauer — that eventually ceased operations in 2012. After moving to Israel, he had a chance to get back into the sport by buying into a team that was then called the Israel Cycling Academy. "Instead of being a small player like I was in SpiderTech, well I became the biggest player," he said. "It's worked out really well. I think the team is a great ambassador for the country." Other Canadians on the Israeli team include Ottawa's Alex Cataford, and Montreal's Guillaume Boivin and James Piccoli. There are three other Canadians on the team's developmental squad and more on the team staff including the chief mechanic. "There's a lot of Canadian content on our team … And I'm eager to have our team seen not only as Israel's team but also as Canada's team," said Adams. "I'm here for Canada," he added. But the marquee addition in 2021 is Froome, a four-time Tour de France winner who came over from Team Ineos. "One of the reasons I'm excited about having Chris Froome and having a much better team is everybody pays attention to the winner," Adams said. "So it brings us more positive attention and I'm all for it." Woods also points to the addition of South Africa's Daryl Impey, a two-time winner of the Tour Down Under, and Belgian's Sep Vanmarcke. "We've got a really strong roster," said Woods. "I think we've certainly going to be one of the top teams this year." An avid cyclist who took up the sport at age 41, Adams' masters' resume includes six Canadian titles, four Pan American gold medals, four Maccabiah Games gold medals, two World Championships titles and the Israeli championship. "He's larger than life in many ways. A great guy," said Woods. "Sylvan has done a lot for cycling in Canada. Most of the time in a quiet way," added Quebec's Hugo Houle, who rides for the Astana-Premier Tech team. "But he's definitely a big big helper. I have a lot of respect for what he's doing now with Israel Start-Up Nation. The team's getting really big and really great." Adams remains connected to Canada with one of his kids in Vancouver and another in Montreal. Two others are based in Los Angeles. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — CBS has placed two top executives on administrative leave as it investigates charges of a hostile work environment for women and minorities at news operations in some of its largest individual stations. Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice-president for news at the stations, are on leave pending the results of an external investigation. “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the network said in a statement. The accusations were outlined over the weekend in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and a subsequent meeting between CBS and the National Association of Black Journalists. Since 2009, Dunn has been head of stations owned and operated by CBS in big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago and others. The Times said Dunn had referred to a Black male news anchor in Philadelphia as “just a jive guy." One executive at the station quit because she couldn't tolerate the culture and another has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relates Commission alleging he was fired for co-operating with an internal review of his bosses, the Times reported. The NABJ has said CBS stations lag in maintaining diverse staffs, saying New York's WCBS-TV had only one female Black full-time reporter and went five years without a male Black reporter. “This is toxic. There's no other way to put it,” said Ken Lemon, the NABJ's vice-president of broadcast, on Tuesday. Since the story was published, Lemon said he had talked to at least five other people with new experiences to tell about the working atmosphere at CBS. He said the NABJ is optimistic about the steps CBS has taken. David Bauder, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions in some regions as of Feb. 8 if the situation in the province continues to improve, Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday. Legault said the average number of new cases in the province has declined in recent weeks — something he credits to government measures that include a nighttime curfew. The premier said he would announce more details next week, but he said the Montreal region was likely to be kept under a higher tier of restrictions than other areas of the province. The government has introduced a series of measures aimed at curbing COVID-19 in recent weeks, including closing non-essential businesses, requiring those who can to work from home and imposing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The curfew was originally set to expire Feb. 8, but Legault implied that Quebec's biggest city should be prepared to endure strict measures for longer. "Everyone sees the situation is much different in greater Montreal than what we're living in the rest of Quebec," Legault said at a news conference. In the last few weeks, the average number of new cases in the province has gone down, from an average of about 2,500 a day to about 1,500, Legault said. But he said hospitalizations are still too high, especially in Montreal. Currently, there are more than 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the city, and more than half of surgeries are delayed, he said. Health Minister Christian Dube said the decision for each region would be based on a combination of factors, including case numbers, hospitalizations and outbreaks. Horacio Arruda, the province's director of public health, said the situation in the province remains "unstable" and the progress made in recent weeks could easily be derailed by the spread of a new variant or a population that eases off on following public health directives. "We can’t think in the next weeks, 'That's it, we’ll go back to normal,'" he said. "That’s the most dangerous thing that threatens us." Citing the danger posed by new variants, Legault expressed frustration with the federal government's failure to announce any new concrete restrictions for travellers, such as mandatory quarantine in supervised hotels or banning non-essential trips altogether. "We're in a little bit the same situation as the beginning of March of last year, where we have a little bit of trouble with Mr. Trudeau for him to act quickly to prevent travellers from coming to infect the population of Quebec," Legault said. Quebec reported 1,166 new cases of COVID-19 and 57 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, including four that occurred in the past 24 hours. Health officials said Tuesday that hospitalizations rose by three, to 1,324, following six consecutive days of decreases in the number of COVID-related patients. The number of people in intensive care remained stable at 217. Officials say they administered 5,927 doses of vaccine Monday and say they have used all but 13,221 of the doses received thus far. The province says 1,916 more people have recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 230,803. It says 15,622 reported cases remain active. Quebec has reported a total of 256,002 infections and 9,577 deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 26, 2021. Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
At today’s press conference from the Legislative Building in Regina, Premier Moe and Dr. Shahab expressed their condolences not only to the families of the fourteen individuals who were reported to have passed today, but also to those reported since last week. Over the past week 46 residents of the province have passed away due to COVID-19. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 254. This continues the downward trend of the past week and although it is slow it is a positive result. The highest seven-day average was posted on January 12 at 321 and another seven-day average of 320 recorded on January 15. Further evaluation of the provincial trends has led Premier Moe to extend the current public health order which came into effect December 17th. Current measures will now remain in effect for a further three weeks until February 19, 2021. It is hoped that the three-week extension will prevent a spike in cases that might result from Valentine’s Day and the Family Day statutory holiday which happens on February 15th this year. Dr. Shahab added that the three-week window will take us to the February school break which may also provide a respite in transmissions. Public health officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 transmission trends throughout this period and make new recommendations prior to the expiration of these measures. Although Manitoba has enacted a 14-day quarantine period for those who travel intra-provincially, this is seen as an unnecessary move by Saskatchewan since we have a number of people who work across the borders of both Alberta and Manitoba and restrictions of that sort will severely impact those people. As long as individuals who must travel to other provinces for work follow all the necessary precautions, there should be no need to follow Manitoba. Dr. Shahab reminded all that non-essential travel is not recommended. As well the Premier has called for an increase in enforcement measures. Enforcement of public health orders is permitted under The Public Health Act, 1994. With that Public health inspectors will be supported in their efforts to ticket violators quickly, to ensure that businesses and events are brought into compliance as quickly as possible in addition to the enforcement efforts that have been undertaken by police agencies throughout the province. The Premier also stated that they will continue to release the names of those businesses who have been fined for non-compliance. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
OTTAWA — Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet is standing by comments he made about Transport Minister Omar Alghabra earlier this month that sparked criticism he was trying to tar the new cabinet member with Islamophobic innuendo. Blanchet addressed the blowback nearly two weeks after Alghabra expressed disappointment in what he dubbed a harmful and "dangerous game" of insinuation by the Bloc. Blanchet says his earlier statement that questions over Alghabra's association with what the Bloc called "the political Islamic movement" were made politely and as part of a "normal process" of scrutiny. He says those questions were rooted in previous stories by national and provincial media outlets, and that the government should respond to ongoing questions from Quebecers about Alghabra's former role as head of the Canadian Arab Federation. On Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called on Blanchet during the daily question period to apologize to his fellow MP across the virtual aisle. Alghabra has faced attempts to sow doubt in his background before, with Conservative Sen. Denise Batters apologizing to the Saudi Arabia-born parliamentarian after she wondered aloud why media hadn't questioned the then-parliamentary secretary to the foreign minister about his place of birth. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Bon an mal an, quand le mois de janvier s’installe dans la région de Chibougamau-Chapais, la population se prépare à une période active. C’est que, dans notre beau coin de pays, les gens aiment bouger. Les activités hivernales sont fort nombreuses de la mi-janvier jusqu’à la fin de la semaine de relâche au début du mois de mars et même au-delà. Ces activités génèrent des revenus importants pour certains commerçants. Que ces activités soient des sports mécanisés ou des sports plus physiques, à chaque fin de semaine, il y a une ou des activités. Mais, cette année, la situation sera vraiment très différente. La pandémie aura chamboulé bien des habitudes qui sont ancrées chez les Jamésiens depuis plusieurs décennies et qui apportent leur lot de visiteurs et de retombées qui ne seront pas au rendez-vous cette année. Cette perte s’ajoute à tout ce que la COVID a déjà couté en revenus à la région. Les gens de Tourisme Baie-James sont bien au fait de l’absence de cette manne. Le secteur des festivals et évènements est un pôle majeur pour l’industrie touristique. C'est un des secteurs qui est le plus durement touché actuellement avec l'annulation de la grande majorité des évènements depuis mars 2020 et pour une bonne partie de 2021. Au-delà des consignes sanitaires et du couvre-feu, les évènements et festivals ont besoin de commanditaires pour boucler leur budget. « Pour la plupart, ils sont gérés par des équipes de bénévoles et dépendent de l'appui de plusieurs partenaires qui sont, avec raison, plus réticents à donner leur appui financier et qui le demeureront encore pour une bonne partie de l'année », de mentionner le président de Tourisme Baie-James, Alexandre-Maxim Jacob. « Ce que je souhaite, c'est qu'on puisse retrouver un contexte favorable rapidement avec la campagne de vaccination qui est cours actuellement, que les partenaires répondent présent et que chaque organisation puisse récupérer un maximum de bénévoles pour repartir la machine lorsqu'elles auront le feu vert de la santé publique,» affirme M. Jacob qui siège aussi comme représentant du secteur attrait, évènement et festival. Tourisme Baie-James continue de faire des représentations afin de pouvoir soutenir ses membres et limiter les dégâts causés par la pandémie car plusieurs organisations doivent assumer des couts fixes récurrents avec un revenu quasi inexistant. Tous annulés Quand on fait un rapide tour de la situation des évènements et festivals dans la région, tous ont dû déclarer forfait. Que l’on pense aux quatre randonnées pour les motoneiges antiques, le Super Rallye minoune du Club Auto-neige de Chibougamau, le Défi polaire de Chapais et la randonnée de l’Association des minounes extrêmes de Chibougamau (AMEC) qui se fait en pleine ville et, bien entendu, le Rallye du président du Festival Folifrets, le crosscountry et toutes les autres activités qui y sont reliées lors de la semaine de relance du début mars. Le monde des sports sur glace est aussi touché, que ce soit le patinage artistique, bien sûr le hockey avec les activités du hockey mineur, le tournoi mineur et les tournois pour adultes. Les retombées de toutes ces activités ne peuvent se chiffrer au moment d’écrire ces lignes mais, surement, qu’elles se comptent en milliers de dollars. Renverser la tendance Selon les statistiques, les amateurs de loisirs et de sports d’hiver sont de plus en plus nombreux au Québec et, cette année, notre région a été une des seules au Québec à pouvoir profiter des sports hivernaux puisque le couvert de neige était presque inexistant ailleurs en province, particulièrement dans le monde de la motoneige. La situation sanitaire n’a malheureusement pas pu bénéficier à nos commerçants au maximum, mais il faut prendre la balle au bond et se préparer pour attirer les visiteurs dans les années à venir. Les données des retombées touristiques en hiver pour le Nord-du-Québec ne sont pas disponibles sur les sites gouvernementaux mais, quand on regarde la tendance au Québec, on remarque une augmentation de la fréquentation du tourisme hivernal en provenance du reste de notre province. Dans les mois à venir, le Québec aura le gout de se réinventer tout en encourageant les gens d’ici. Quand ce sera possible, nous aurons une chance incroyable de vendre la plus belle région du Québec : la nôtre.René Martel, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
MONTREAL — CN says it will reinstate its guidance for 2021 and increase the company's dividend by seven per cent after seeing improved demand for freight in the last three months of 2020. The Montreal-based railway says its net income surged 17 per cent in the fourth quarter to $1.02 billion or $1.43 per share. That was up from $873 million or $1.22 per share in the prior year. Adjusted profits for the three months ended Dec. 31 were up 14 per cent to $1.02 billion or $1.43 per share, from $896 million or $1.25 per share in last year's quarter. Revenue increased two per cent, or $72 million, to $3.66 billion. CN Rail was expected to report $1.41 per share in adjusted profits on $3.62 billion of revenues, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. CN reported operating income of $1.4 billion, compared with $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019. JJ Ruest, CN's president and CEO, says that while the recovery was uneven across sectors, the company was pleased with the growth in volume demand during the fourth quarter. CN also said it planned to announce $3 billion in capital investments to stay ahead of demand. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR) The Canadian Press
The owners of a St. Williams gas station were awoken by the sound of gunfire outside their business early Sunday morning. “This morning at 3:45 a.m. shots were fired in a drive-by at our gas station, which is also our home. The shots were fired on the building and the gas pumps,” Neetu Moondi-Kullar wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. Her parents own the Shell station at Highway 24 East and Forestry Farm Road in the west end of Norfolk County. Moondi-Kullar told The Spectator five shots were fired at the building as her parents and brother slept inside, along with the family dog, Jaxx, and their parrot, Castro. “We are still assessing the total damage,” Moondi-Kullar said, adding that her family is feeling “shaken up, scared and angry” after the shooting. “They have worked so hard to build the business and become part of the community, and it’s just disheartening to see something like this happen,” she said. “One wrong shot on the pumps could have blown my whole family up as a worst-case scenario.” The Moondi family has owned the station since December 2016. A police investigation is underway and Norfolk OPP has reviewed surveillance footage that shows “a small, dark-coloured car” in the area at the time of the shooting. Police are attempting to identify the owner of the vehicle and have asked area residents to check their surveillance systems to see if other cameras picked up the car or its occupants around Port Rowan or St. Williams. Tips can be called in to the OPP detachment at 1-888-310-1122 or submitted anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at helpsolvecrime.com. Moondi-Kullar said she hopes whoever endangered her family’s lives will be brought to justice. “This time no one was hurt, but what happens next time when these low-life fools shoot at someone and seriously injure them?” she said. J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator