Australia became one of the few countries in the world, and one with many similarities to Canada, to beat back a second wave of COVID-19 and bring its case count near zero.
Australia became one of the few countries in the world, and one with many similarities to Canada, to beat back a second wave of COVID-19 and bring its case count near zero.
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
Larouche perdra sa quincaillerie à la mi-février, si aucune relève n’est trouvée. La municipalité est à la recherche d’un nouveau commerçant afin de maintenir le service. La fermeture de la Quincaillerie Xpress, en activité depuis six ans, est prévue le 12 février au sein de la municipalité de quelque 1600 âmes située entre Alma et Saguenay. Le petit commerce situé à l’angle de la route des Fondateurs et de la rue Gauthier en a fait l’annonce à sa clientèle la semaine dernière. Son propriétaire, Dave Barrette, a saisi une offre d’emploi qui s’est présentée à lui et a choisi de mettre de côté son projet entrepreneurial. La pénurie de main-d’œuvre l’a conforté dans sa décision. « C’est surtout la relève que je n’ai plus ici et que je n’ai pas été capable de combler, surtout, car plus ça va avec les années, plus je travaille fort », a-t-il expliqué en entrevue. Il tenait essentiellement seul la barre de l’entreprise qui pourrait fournir de l’emploi à deux à trois personnes, estime pour sa part sa conjointe, Justine Harvey. D’autant plus que les affaires sont bonnes pour le commerce, depuis le début de la pandémie, en raison de l’essor du marché de la rénovation. Dave Barrette est prêt à transférer l’entreprise et à accompagner un nouvel entrepreneur qui se manifesterait avant la date de fermeture. À partir de ce moment, son nouveau projet de vie l’obligera à mettre la clé sous la porte. La municipalité prête à offrir de l’aide Le maire de Larouche, Réjean Bédard, parle d’un « deuil » pour la petite municipalité. « Une quincaillerie dans un village, ça dépanne. Pour nous autres, c’était très important », a-t-il laissé tomber, lorsque contacté par Le Quotidien. Le premier magistrat espère éviter la situation qui s’était produite au début des années 2000, alors que la municipalité s’était retrouvée sans quincaillerie. « On a été longtemps sans quincaillerie, alors on sait ce que c’est de ne pas en avoir », partage l’élu. La municipalité s’est donc lancée la semaine dernière à la recherche d’un entrepreneur intéressé à prendre la relève de la quincaillerie. Une première liste de noms a été dressée afin de faire des approches et de fournir de l’accompagnement. « On pourrait les aider, on a un programme de subventions », a-t-il ajouté, en précisant que de l’aide peut également être offerte du côté de la MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay. Il invite les entrepreneurs intéressés à appeler à l’hôtel de ville. Il s’agit d’une seconde mauvaise nouvelle du genre pour une municipalité de la région en peu de temps, alors que Saint-Gédéon a également appris récemment la fermeture de sa seule quincaillerie. + UNE MUNICIPALITÉ EN CROISSANCE Le maire Réjean Bédard demeure toutefois optimiste que la municipalité puisse attirer un nouvel entrepreneur, alors que la population de Larouche continue de croître lentement, mais sûrement, depuis une quinzaine d’années. « On a toujours, bon an mal an, une dizaine de nouvelles résidences », a-t-il souligné. Les données du ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation mises à jour récemment font état d’une population de 1641 personnes. Larouche comptait quelque 1100 personnes en 2006, précise le maire Bédard. L’école primaire de la municipalité, qui compte environ 130 élèves, est même en attente d’un agrandissement. Un ajout de deux locaux est espéré pour l’école Du Versant, qui a pu supprimer dans les dernières années les classes multiniveaux pour offrir une classe par année du primaire, souligne l’élu. « De plus en plus, les gens aiment s’installer avec des grands terrains boisés, en campagne. Les gens ont tendance à vouloir sortir de la ville et je pense qu’avec la pandémie, ça va s’accentuer », a-t-il partagé. Investisseur immobilier recherché Larouche fait également face à une pénurie de logements. La vingtaine de logements situés près de l’hôtel de ville sont occupés et une liste d’attente a été mise sur pied. La municipalité cherche d’ailleurs actuellement à attirer un investisseur immobilier pour la construction de logements 4 ½ et 5 ½ et ainsi éviter que des retraités qui choisissent de vendre leur maison n’aient d’autre option que de quitter la municipalité.Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
TORONTO — Shareholders of West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. and Norbord Inc. have approved a $4-billion all-stock deal that will marry two of Canada's big wood product producers. Norbord chief executive Peter Wijnbergen, who will join West Fraser as president of of engineered wood, said in November that the combined company aims to be a “one-stop shop” for construction customers. The combined company says it will operate as West Fraser with headquarters in Vancouver and a regional office in Toronto, with West Fraser shareholders owning 56 per cent of the company, and Norbord shareholders owning about 44 per cent. Executives said when the deal was announced that the new West Fraser will have 10,000 employees. The deal comes as lumber prices have hit record highs twice in the past six months, according to lumber statistics from RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Paul Quinn. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:WFT, TSX:OSB) The Canadian Press
Swedish telecom operators are planning to cover almost the entire country with 5G in the next two to three years after a spectrum auction by the country's telecom regulator PTS. The auction between four bidders, which had been delayed for a security review and by a lawsuit filed by Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei, finally took place on Tuesday. Bidders were units or joint ventures of telecom operators Telia, Tele2, Telenor and Tre.
GUYSBOROUGH – Last week (Jan. 12) residents throughout the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) found a copy of the broadsheet publication The Epoch Times in their mailbox. It didn’t take long before social media was flooded with comments and questions about this delivery. According to media organizations in Canada and the Unites States – including CBC, NBC and the New York Times, as well as the fact-checking website Snopes – The Epoch Times is backed by Falun Gong (a religious movement founded in China in the early 1990s that has been repressed by the Chinese government) and has spread right-wing misinformation to create an anti-China, pro-Trump media presence in more than 30 countries in recent years. In May of 2020, the CBC reported that the union representing Canada Post employees in Ontario asked the federal public services minister for an interim order to stop delivery of the newspaper due to the inflammatory nature of an edition published at that time. A spokesperson for the minister stated in the CBC article, "An initial assessment of this material does not appear to meet the required criteria of the offence of wilful promotion of hatred, as established in the Criminal Code of Canada. However, further assessment is ongoing." Last week, The Journal once again questioned Canada Post’s role in the unsolicited delivery of this newspaper to MODG mailboxes. In an email, Canada Post media spokesperson Valérie Chartrand wrote, “As Canada's postal administration, Canada Post is obligated to deliver any mail that is properly prepared and paid for, unless it is considered non-mailable matter. The Courts have told Canada Post that its role is not to act as the censor of mail or to determine the extent of freedom of expression in Canada. This is an important distinction between Canada Post and private sector delivery companies. “Any views we may have about the content do not change our obligation to deliver. Any further questions about the publication should be directed to the publisher.” The Journal did attempt to contact the editor of The Epoch Times, Cindy Gu, but as of the time of publication of this newspaper, there was no response. Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway was asked for his comments on the mailout of The Epoch Times last week and he told The Journal in an email, “During this time of crisis, millions of Canadians of different backgrounds are working together, many of them putting themselves at risk on the frontlines, with the common goal of helping their fellow Canadians. It is essential that we continue in our resolve to be an open and welcoming country that brings together people from diverse backgrounds, and I know that constituents in Cape Breton-Canso share that belief. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Canadian Chinese community during this time. The COVID-19 virus does not have a nationality or an ethnicity, and we must stand together against xenophobia and racism. “I brought this situation to the attention of the office of the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Anita Anand. I was informed that Canada Post has a legal obligation under the Canada Post Corporation Act to accept all neighbourhood mail for delivery subject to the regulations on Non-Mailable Matter. Decisions made by Canada Post about whether to deliver or refuse delivery of neighborhood mail are subject to the Charter of Right and Freedoms. After an initial legal assessment of this material, it does not appear to meet the required criteria for prohibiting distribution. However, given the serious nature of the complaints regarding the newspaper, Minister Anand has asked her department to look into the matter further,” stated Kelloway. Social media posts indicate that residents in the MODG and across Canada – where many have recently received the Epoch Times, unsolicited, for the first time – are unimpressed. Some have commented that the paper would make a good fire starter. Most were curious and dismissed the publication’s content. The edition of The Epoch Times that was delivered to residents in the MODG last week was labelled a ‘sample issue,’ indicating an advertising campaign for potential subscribers. Anand has had complaints about this publication on her desk for at least eight months. The Journal asked for comment from her office about the issue but has, as yet, received no response. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first speech as majority leader. “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
PARIS — French university students protested Wednesday on Paris’ Left Bank to demand to be allowed back to class, and to call attention to suicides and financial troubles among students cut off from friends, professors and job opportunities amid the pandemic. Carrying a banner reading “We Will Not Be the Sacrificed Generation,” hundreds of students gathered to march on the Education Ministry, seeking government help for those struggling. Other student protests were planned Wednesday elsewhere in France. The government ordered all universities closed in October to stem resurgent virus infections, after a similar closure in the spring set many students back academically and socially. Students have increasingly been sharing their woes on social networks under such hashtags as #suicideetudiant and #etudiantphantomes, or ghost students. Heidi Soupault, a 19-year-old student in Strasbourg, wrote an open letter to President Emmanuel Macron last week saying she and her peers have “no more dreams” and have “the impression of being dead.” While France tightened its curfew last week as virus hospitalizations grow again, Prime Minister Jean Castex made a gesture toward college students, allowing first-year students to start returning to partial classes as of next week. The government acknowledged that lockdown-related mental health problems among young people are also a public health concern. But the protesting students say the measures don’t go far enough to address their woes. France has among the world’s highest numbers of virus infections and deaths. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canada's national annual inflation rate was 0.7 per cent in December, Statistics Canada says. The agency also released rates for major cities, but cautioned that figures may have fluctuated widely because they are based on small statistical samples (previous month in brackets): — St. John's, N.L.: 0.9 per cent (1.3) — Charlottetown-Summerside: 0.0 per cent (-0.2) — Halifax: 0.9 per cent (0.6) — Saint John, N.B.: 1.0 per cent (-0.1) — Quebec City: 0.8 per cent (1.1) — Montreal: 1.0 per cent (1.1) — Ottawa: 1.4 per cent (1.8) — Toronto: 0.3 per cent (0.6) — Thunder Bay, Ont.: 1.1 per cent (1.6) — Winnipeg: 0.2 per cent (0.7) — Regina: 0.4 per cent (0.7) — Saskatoon: 1.1 per cent (1.0) — Edmonton: 0.7 per cent (1.2) — Calgary: 0.8 per cent (1.3) — Vancouver: 0.8 per cent (1.2) — Victoria: 1.6 per cent (2.0) — Whitehorse: 0.1 per cent (0.7) — Yellowknife: -1.4 per cent (-0.5) — Iqaluit: -0.8 per cent (0.0) This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021 and was generated automatically. The Canadian Press
BEIJING — China’s capital, Beijing, recorded seven more coronavirus cases on Wednesday amid a lingering outbreak in the country’s north. Another 46 were recorded in Jilin province, 16 in Heilongjiang on the border with Russia, and 19 in Hebei, the province surrounding Beijing. China has now recorded a total of 88,557 cases since the virus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, with 4,635 deaths. China is hoping to vaccinate 50 million people against the virus by mid-February and is also releasing schools early and telling citizens to stay put during the Lunar New Year travel rush that begins in coming days. A panel of experts commissioned by the World Health Organization criticized China and other countries this week for not moving to stem the initial outbreak of the coronavirus earlier, prompting Beijing to concede it could have done better but also to defend its response. “As the first country to sound the global alarm against the epidemic, China made immediate and decisive decisions and insisted on timely detection, reporting, isolation, and treatment despite incomprehensive information at the time. We have gained time to fight the epidemic and reduce infections and deaths,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters on Tuesday. “We are firmly opposed to politicizing issues related to virus tracing, as this will not help the international community to unite and co-operate in the fight against the pandemic,” Hua said. A team of experts from WHO are quarantined in Wuhan ahead of beginning field visits aiming to shed light on the origins of the virus that is thought to have jumped to humans from animals, possibly bats. Other developments in the Asia-Pacific region: — India has began supplying coronavirus vaccines to its neighbouring countries, as the world’s largest vaccine making nation strikes a balance between maintaining enough doses to inoculate its own people and helping developing countries without the capacity to produce their own shots. India’s Foreign Ministry said the country will send 150,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine, manufactured locally by Serum Institute of India, to Bhutan and 100,000 to the Maldives on Wednesday. Vaccines will also be sent to Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and the Seychelles in coming weeks, the ministry said, without specifying an exact timeline. Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said the government will ensure that domestic vaccine makers have adequate stocks to meet domestic needs as they supply partner countries in the coming months. Of the more than 12 billion coronavirus vaccine doses expected to be produced this year, rich countries have already bought about 9 billion, and many have options to buy even more. This means that Serum Institute, which has been contracted by AstraZeneca to make a billion doses, is likely to make most of the vaccine that will be used by developing nations. The Associated Press
Moins de collisions mortelles sont survenues en 2020 qu’en 2019 sur le territoire regroupé de la Côte-Nord et du Saguenay–Lac-St-Jean, selon les données provisoires de la Sûreté du Québec (SQ). Le bilan 2020 pour les deux régions combinées s’élève tristement à 12 collisions mortelles comparativement à 16 en 2019. Le bilan provincial est moins réjouissant : 228 collisions mortelles sont survenues en 2020 sur les routes du Québec contre 217 en 2019. La conduite imprudente et les excès de vitesse constituent les principales causes des collisions mortelles, suivies par l’inattention/la distraction (14 %) et la capacité de conduite affaiblie par l’alcool, les drogues ou la fatigue (10 %). La SQ souligne que « près de 20 % des victimes décédées dans des collisions routières ne portaient pas la ceinture de sécurité ». Le bilan fait également état de 18 piétons et six cyclistes décédés. Sur une autre note, la SQ rapporte avoir remis 22 constats d'infraction généraux à des résidents de la Côte-Nord, dont 20 en lien avec la mesure du couvre-feu.Laurence Dami-Houle, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Portageur
Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday unveiled the EQA, a new electric compact SUV as part of plans to take on rival Tesla Inc and offer more emission-free vehicles to consumers to meet targets in Europe and China. The EQA, the first of several electric models Mercedes-Benz plans to launch this year, will initially have a range of 426 kilometres (265 miles), with a 500km model coming later, the premium brand carmaker said in a video presentation.
GUYSBOROUGH – It has been three months since the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society hearing regarding charges against Adam Rodgers, former partner in the Port Hawkesbury law firm Boudrot Rodgers, concluded. The charges sought to define the potential level of knowledge and complicity Rodgers shared with his former law firm partner, Jason Boudrot, in the latter’s defrauding of clients’ trust funds. The hearing panel, in a decision released Tuesday, Jan. 12, found Rodgers had engaged in professional misconduct and had been reckless in regard to his professional responsibility – but had not misappropriated funds or assisted Boudrot in doing so. “The Panel has concluded that the Society (Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society) has satisfied its burden of establishing on the balance of probabilities that Adam Rodgers has engaged in professional misconduct by being reckless in regard to his professional responsibilities regarding trust funds,” stated the Notice of Decision issued by the Hearing Panel of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society on Jan. 12. In October of 2018, managing partner Boudrot contacted the Nova Scotia Barrister’s Society (NSBS) to report that he had “some issues with his trust accounts,” stated a NSBS hearing committee document in 2019. That led to a suspension of Boudrot’s practicing certificate, a declaration of bankruptcy and, in 2019, the disbarment of Boudrot. Last August, the NSBS published a notice stating that the society would hold a hearing respecting charges of professional misconduct and professional incompetence against Rodgers. The hearing, which took place at the beginning of last October, convened to hear submissions and consider evidence regarding the fraudulent dealings with clients’ trust monies managed by Boudrot Rodgers, to determine Rodgers’ role in the matter. The panel heard and was supplied evidence – in the form of an agreed upon joint book of exhibits – related to three charges of professional misconduct by encouraging or knowingly assisting with fraudulent or dishonest dealings with clients' trust monies and/or professional incompetence. The panels’ findings state, “We, as a Panel are satisfied that the Society has demonstrated it is more probable than not that Adam Rodgers, allowed Jason Boudrot to misappropriate clients’ trust funds, through his willful blindness and recklessness and thereby failed in his professional obligations. “The Panel is satisfied by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Rodgers was “deliberately ignorant” of the activities of Mr. Boudrot. The Panel is satisfied that Mr. Rodgers did not deliberately nor actively misappropriate funds nor assist Mr. Boudrot in doing so. The Panel is satisfied the Society has demonstrated that it is more probable than not that Adam Rodgers aided Jason Boudrot through his willful blindness and recklessness and thereby failed to preserve and protect clients’ property.” The conclusion of its 50-page decision states, “In reaching this conclusion the Panel has imputed to Mr. Rodgers’ knowledge of the illegal activities of Mr. Boudrot and that he should have done something about it. The Panel findings are not based on a criminal standard that he aided and abetted Mr. Boudrot, but rather that a lawyer has a very high obligation of trust, as set out in the code of professional conduct and the regulations to properly deal and protect trust funds and Mr. Rodgers breached that obligation.” Rodgers, who has been vocal in his defense against the charges brought by NSBS, shared his response to the decision with The Journal via email Jan. 13. He wrote, “I am pleased to be exonerated on the main charges that I was somehow a participant in the large-scale theft and misappropriation schemes of my former law partner. It was not easy to fight the powerful Bar Society all on my own, but it was the right thing to do, and most of the Bar Society allegations against me were found by the Panel to be without merit, as I had predicted. “My conscience was always clear, but it was still satisfying to see it confirmed by the Panel that I did not take anything from anybody, that I did good work as a lawyer for my clients, and that I handled the crisis brought on my former partner in an appropriate manner,” he stated. Speaking to the finding of misconduct, Rodgers stated, “Where the Panel did make a finding of misconduct, it was to do with relatively minor billing matters, distinct from the main allegations. The Panel agreed that these instances did not result in any client of mine or other third party experiencing any losses and characterized my actions as willful blindness. “While I disagree with this unusual characterization, I take the matter seriously, and have learned some important lessons from the experience. I also wish to move on from this entire matter and focus my energy on the clients and other people I serve, both as a lawyer and community volunteer. I recognize and accept that lawyers are held to a higher standard and, throughout this difficult time, I have tried my best to act and communicate publicly in ways that would reinforce respect for our justice system and preserve the integrity of the legal profession in Nova Scotia.” As for the future, Rodgers wrote, “I look forward now to putting this entire ordeal behind me and see what I can do next for the people of my area, and throughout Nova Scotia. I continue to prepare for the next phase of the Desmond Inquiry, which resumes hearings next month, and [I] am considering several potential opportunities after that.” The panel has 60 days from the time of the decision’s release to determine what sanctions may be applied to Rodgers regarding the findings of the hearing. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Sisters Joy and Natalie, with mom Jenn Morin lending a helping hand, are offering to do the Valentine baking for people in the area, with proceeds to be donated to a local cause. The girls are baking a variety of delicious cookies and selling them by the dozen. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to Drop-in at the Bridge. Jenn has been a volunteer at Drop-In at the Bridge, a local centre that describes itself as “a safe place to have a hot drink, relax, be yourself, and interact with others” since the drop-in opened in the spring of 2018. She has helped with numerous events, including a charity fundraising dinner, downtown barbeques, and during pre-COVID times, weekly lunches and get-togethers for adults and students. Over the Christmas holidays, volunteers prepared free Christmas dinners and delivered them around the area. As with many other not-for-profit groups, fundraising has been at a near standstill, but the Drop-in continues to serve the community, and has relied on third-party fundraisers, like the bake sale, and private donations to cover expenses. “We chose the Drop-in at the Bridge for our fundraiser to kick start 2021 because we believe in what it stands for,” said Jenn. “We also helped with the holiday meals, (when) they delivered 61 Christmas meals in 2020. They (The Bridge) were not able to hold their own fundraisers like the barbeques, charity auctions and meals due to COVID. Their volunteer (efforts) ran from making frozen meals and holiday meals to delivering them for those who need it. Why wouldn't we want to help such a great cause? We hope with this fundraiser we can help with some of the costs so they can help even more. “ Jenn asks that all orders be placed by Feb. 10, for pick-up on Feb. 14. She can be reached through her Facebook page, Jenn Morin. The page also lists the type of cookies and cake available and the cost per dozen. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
CANSO – Maritime Launch Services (MLS) will not get liftoff as early as the company had hoped. Just more than four years ago, in Oct. 2016, MLS was formed in Nova Scotia to create a spaceport in Canso. In some of the earliest press releases about the proposed project, MLS stated the estimated timeline for first launch capability was 2020. And, although COVID-19 has created a Groundhog Day effect, time has continued to move forward – the calendar has turned to a new year, and MLS has yet to break ground on the Canso Spaceport facility. MLS CEO Steve Matier told The Journal on Monday (Jan. 18) that the delay could be attributed to several causes including, most recently, the wrench the global pandemic has put in every plan – be it business or personal. In addition, Matier said the original 2020 launch date was based on getting shovels in the ground in 2018. That wasn’t possible, as it took until June of 2019 to get the Environmental Assessment (EA) approved by the Department of Environment. And, he said, “There’s the whole land lease issue working with [Nova Scotia] Lands and Forestry; that takes time as well.” At this point, the company is working to meet the terms and conditions in the 2019 EA document, which include associated activities involved with designs for roads and buildings; plans for erosion and settlement control; analysis of potential impacts to watercourses and existing water users; environmental monitoring plans and more. “Within that approval (EA) was the rather lengthy list of compliance pieces that we need to get to them to review,” Matier told The Journal, adding that no construction could take place until the information supplied by the company was accepted by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. Matier said he hoped they could move to breaking ground on the project in six months’ time, but “it’s hard to predict exact dates,” due to the time it takes for review and approval. Given that the Department of Lands and Forestry accepted the company’s draft survey for the lease of Crown land required for the project just before Christmas, the wheels of government can be seen to move forward. Once the project moves past approvals, and on to groundbreaking, Matier said it could be another two years before the first launch. “We require about 18 months of construction activities and six of commissioning before you can get to an actual launch.” While there have been delays, Matier told The Journal the company has potential clients lined up and waiting. “We have a fairly extensive set of letters of intent and MOUs with satellite developers and aggregators already, but these don’t turn into formal launch contracts until the point when we can tell them what that actual launch date is. Once we break ground, we’ll be in a much better position to project what the launch date is and start to turn those letters of intent into launch contracts.” Progress on the project has been slow this past year, and there has been little to report, which may have pleased some people in the Canso/Hazel Hill area who are opposed to the spaceport. Matier said, while the company is aware of the opposition, MLS would not have selected the site without support from the majority of community members. “We really started this initiative by working with the community, first and foremost,” he said, adding that the company has held open information sessions and met with stakeholder groups like the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Fishermen’s Association. “We have sought input and will continue to do so. We’re not about to ram this through … we have been open and honest about everything we are planning to do,” Matier said. The Environmental Assessment Approval, dated June 4, 2019 states that work must commence on the project within two years of the approval date; beyond that time, a written extension must be granted by the provincial environment minister. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
Residents who have been missing a backyard fire can now apply for burn permits online, as well as in person at the fire station on Mahood Johnston Drive. As of Jan. 15, residents wishing to purchase a permit online have been directed to https://mok.burnpermits.com/loginto set up an account. Once that is complete, payment can be made online through ‘Square One’ with debit or credit. Cash purchases should be made in person. Fire prevention officer Shane Watson suggests that anyone purchasing a permit should read the terms and conditions carefully, so they are informed as to what the permit entitles them to do and conditions they must adhere to. The type of permit purchased determines the length of time it is valid for and the cost of the permit. A recreational burn permit is valid for the calendar year in which it is purchased, and costs $20, as does the open air burning permit. An agricultural burning permit is valid for seven days and costs $20. The special occurrence burning permit can only be granted by the chief fire official or the designate. The cost of the permit is $20. A house, barn or similar burning permit can only be granted by the chief fire official or the designate, and is only valid for one day. The cost of the permit is $50 and those applying for this permit are asked to see the terms and conditions in open air burning permits, for additional instruction. All permits, except the recreational burning permit, require the permit holder to notify (844) 777-0443 before any burning takes place. The terms and conditions also list all items that can and cannot be burned. If applicants have additional questions not covered on the https://mok.burnpermits.com/loginwebsite, they do have the option of calling Kincardine Fire and Emergency Services for assistance. Do not call 911, call the fire station at 519-396-2141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. “Kincardine Fire and Emergency Services are always trying to serve the community as best we can,” said Watson. “This new online process adds another layer to allow the community to apply for burn permits online from the comfort of their home, while still offering in-person service for those that choose to do so. Safety is always our priority and we also recognize the times we are currently in. This is another reason why we are launching the online platform, to promote people and families staying at home while continuing to attain what they need, whether it’s an approved fire to clear brush for crops, or a camp fire with your loved ones.” Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Sundridge-Strong Fire Chief Andrew Torrance is working on a plan to increase the size of his volunteer fire department. Attracting and retaining volunteer firefighters is an ongoing challenge, Torrance has admitted. Recently, he started interviewing departing volunteers to better understand why they retire or resign. Those interviews revealed to Torrance “that generally when people do retire it's because they don't have the time or energy to continue with the training mandate,” made more demanding several years ago by changes to provincial regulations. Torrance realized for this group there is no way to “stay connected in a productive manner with the fire department,” until he learned that departments elsewhere have introduced an auxiliary component to their service. The auxiliary would be open to former volunteer firefighters and the community at large, but conditions would apply. “There would be training on the items they would be allowed to participate in like shuttling resources and equipment, handling radio equipment, but no 'hot zone' jobs,” Torrance explains. A 'hot zone' job is where a trained firefighter wears a self-contained breathing apparatus responding to incidents such as a fire or motor-vehicle collision. Torrance clarifies that although an auxiliary member wouldn't be involved in these types of functions, they would respond to the scene in a support capacity. “So someone with a commercial (driver's) licence could be trained to drive the tanker from the station to the scene,” he says. “This is done in other places.” Torrance says auxiliary members would not be expected to respond to run-of-the-mill calls. But, he says, they are a bonus to the volunteers in large-scale calls “where we need all hands on deck.” As well, because of the training auxiliary members “could also help us with public education opportunities.” Although the concept is still being developed, Torrance has discussed the idea with former firefighters. “I can say as many as three (retired) firefighters would join right now if the policy was endorsed,” he says. “These are people who would have loved to stay involved as volunteers earlier in time, but couldn't make the commitment like they did before.” He says the auxiliary would keep them involved, but at a reduced capacity. Torrance also believes there are community members who have considered becoming a volunteer firefighter but don't join because they can't make the time commitment. He says this is where the auxiliary can help out. “So this is an opportunity for someone who can't make the (volunteer firefighter) commitment,” he says. “They're already working, but the auxiliary helps them understand how it might fit into their lifestyle and they might realize this is something they can do.” Torrance's long-term hope is community members who join the auxiliary might then one day take the next step and sign on as a volunteer firefighter. The Sundridge-Strong Fire Department is set up to have 29 firefighters, but has had between 20 and 23 in recent years. Torrance says Sundridge and Strong councils have approved the idea of an auxiliary, but what remains is their approval of the fine details of the policy, including the pay rate. He hopes to have the final policy before both councils sometime during the second quarter of this year. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s minister of labour, training and skills, said Wednesday that safety inspectors conducted a blitz of 242 big box stores over the weekend and found only 69 per cent of chain stores complied with COVID-19 guidelines. Infractions, he said, ranged from failing to following social distancing rules, failing to install PPE and neglecting to follow masking protocols.
NEW YORK — As the coronavirus swept across the globe last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sank into the shadows, undermined by some of its own mistakes and stifled by an administration bent on downplaying the nation's suffering. Now a new CDC director is arriving to a mammoth task: reasserting the agency while the pandemic is in its deadliest phase yet and the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign is wracked by confusion and delays. “I don’t know if the CDC is broken or just temporarily injured,” but something must be done to bring it back to health, said Timothy Westmoreland, a Georgetown University law professor focused on public health. The task falls to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, 51, an infectious-diseases specialist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, who is expected to become CDC director this week — a time when the virus's U.S. death toll has eclipsed 400,000 and continues to accelerate. While the agency has retained some of its top scientific talent, public health experts say, it has a long list of needs, including new protection from political influence, a comprehensive review of its missteps during the pandemic and more money to beef up basic functions like disease tracking and genetic analysis. Walensky has said one of her top priorities will be to improve the CDC’s communications with the public to rebuild trust. Inside the agency, she wants to raise morale, in large part by restoring the primacy of science and setting politics to the side. The speed at which she is assuming the job is unusual. In the past, the position has generally been unfilled until a new secretary of health and human services is confirmed, and that official names a CDC director. But this time, the Biden transition team named Walensky in advance, so she could take the agency's reins even before her boss is in place. Walensky, an HIV researcher, has not worked at the CDC or at a state or local health department. But she has emerged as a prominent voice on the pandemic, sometimes criticizing certain aspects of the state and national response. Her targets have included the uneven transmission-prevention measures that were in place last summer and a prominent Trump adviser's endorsement of a “herd immunity” approach that would let the virus run free. She acknowledged the weaknesses in her resume. “When people write about me as the selection for this position, they will say, ‘But she has no on-the-ground public health experience,'" she said during a podcast with the Journal of the American Medical Association. The podcast’s host, Dr. Howard Bauchner, who is also editor of the journal, praised her effusively. “I can't imagine the CDC and the country being luckier ... mostly just because you can communicate, which is such an important task for the head of the CDC,” he said. Walensky did not respond to interview requests from The Associated Press. She will succeed Dr. Robert Redfield, 69, who came to the CDC with a similar resume as an outsider from academia. Redfield kept a low profile during his first two years in office after being appointed by the Trump administration in 2018. Veteran CDC scientists handled crises such as a deadly national surge in hepatitis A cases among homeless people and illicit drug users, and a mysterious spike in severe illnesses in people who vaped electronic cigarettes. The agency’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak began in a similar way. Staff scientists took the lead, holding regular news conferences to update the public on the emerging problem. But the agency stumbled in February when a test for the virus sent to states proved to be flawed. Then, later in the month, a top CDC infectious-disease expert, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, upset the Trump administration by speaking frankly at a news conference about the dangers of the virus when President Donald Trump was still downplaying it. Within weeks, the agency was pushed off stage. Redfield made appearances, but he was often a third-tier speaker after remarks dominated by Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence and others. The CDC "has been sidelined, has been maligned, has been a punching bag for many politicians in the outgoing administration. And that has had a detrimental effect on the agency’s ability to fulfil its mission,” said Dr. Richard Besser, a former CDC official who now heads the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. White House officials also took steps to try to control the CDC's scientific reports and the guidance on its website. For instance, the agency removed guidance that advised limiting church choir activities even though studies had demonstrated the danger of transmission of extended singing indoors. The agency also dropped guidance advising that anyone who came into close contact with an infected person should get tested — then re-adopted it after criticism from health experts. “Folks across the political spectrum have had reason to doubt the veracity and accuracy, sometimes, of CDC’s messages,” said Adriane Casalotti of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. While public health veterans say they do not know everything that happened behind the scenes, they say Redfield apparently failed to stand up for agency scientists, declined to contradict Trump and those around him and passively allowed the Trump administration to post its messaging on CDC websites. “He wasn’t willing to resign when it was necessary or to be fired for standing up for principle,” said David Holtgrave, a former CDC staffer who is now dean of the public health school at the State University of New York at Albany. Redfield declined to be interviewed. The pandemic also exposed some CDC failures and weaknesses unrelated to politics. The test kit problem was tied to laboratory contamination at the agency’s Atlanta headquarters — a sign of sloppiness. The CDC also lost its standing as the nation's go-to source for case counts and other measures of the epidemic after university researchers and others developed better systems for tracking infections. Much of that has to do with cycles of funding for the national public health system that rise in reaction to a crisis and then fall, hurting efforts to prevent the next crisis. Last week, Biden said he would ask for $160 billion for vaccinations and other public health programs, including an effort to expand the public health workforce by 100,000 jobs. Georgetown's Westmoreland called for a law or other measure to prohibit political appointees from having editorial review of CDC science and to ban them from controlling when the agency releases information. He also recommended a review of the CDC to determine if the agency’s problems can be traced to mismanagement by Trump’s political appointees or whether there are deeper flaws in the organization. Some experts suggest that an administration that values science and increases funding could restore the CDC to preeminence. Biden has pledged to put scientists out front on COVID-19 matters, Besser noted. “That’s something I think will be fixed on Day One,” he said. “One of the things that gives me hope is I did not see a large exodus from CDC during this past year. I saw professionals doing their jobs. I saw the mental toll they were taking, but I did not see them giving up." ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press
TIRANA, Albania — Albania’s Defence Ministry on Wednesday reported the death of a soldier in Afghanistan, the second from the tiny Western Balkan country to die during the international peacekeeping mission. The soldier, identified only by the initials Xh. J., died Tuesday night at 1810 GMT (1:10 p.m. EST), the ministry said in a statement. It didn't specify the location or give any details about the circumstances. The ministry said that the Albanian military was assisting an investigation by the command of the Resolute Support Mission operation in Afghanistan, made up of around 16,000 troops from 38 countries. Albania, a NATO member since 2009, has been part of the international mission since 2010. The country currently has 99 troops in Afghanistan, located at two bases in Herat and Kabul. The ministry expressed condolences to the family and “assure the personnel in the mission and their families of continuous support in the successful accomplishment of their mission.” The Associated Press