Carrie Underwood is hanging up her microphone, at least when it comes to serving as emcee of the CMAs. The singer has decided to “pass the hosting torch (at least for now!) to others,” after 12 years.
Carrie Underwood is hanging up her microphone, at least when it comes to serving as emcee of the CMAs. The singer has decided to “pass the hosting torch (at least for now!) to others,” after 12 years.
The flotation would be one of the largest in recent years for a Canadian company. Last year, Canadian waste management firm GFL Environmental Inc raised about $1.4 billion in its IPO, making it one of the largest ever stock market listings in Canada. Telus International said it planned to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "TIXT".
It’s that time of the year again for the Huntsville and Lake of Bays Fire Department: they’re set to host their annual recruitment campaign this February to hire part-time firefighters. The department’s recruitment officer says they’re doing everything they can to bring in and train new members in spite of unique challenges the COVID-19 pandemic poses. Starting Feb. 1 going until Feb. 26, the department plans to go through all applications for the job online, host interviews and begin each member’s required 160 hours of training. “We are taking every measure possible to make sure that everybody that shows up on a regular basis is safe,” said Paul Calleja, the department’s training and suppression officer. “We have, I think, an optical responsibility to the public that we are doing things responsibly.” A communiqué from the Office of the Fire Marshal exempts fire departments from standard social gathering protocols during training, effective Oct. 19. Calleja said their department is trying to adhere as close as possible to the normal guidelines throughout recruitment. This year, instead of an in-person meeting, complete with a tour of the firehall, people will participate in a virtual information session on Jan. 28 and submit applications online. “It is what it is,” he said. In lieu of traditional meeting and networking, Calleja said he’s glad to chat with recruits personally over the phone throughout the campaign. He said he doesn’t have a specific goal for recruitment this year, as the numbers of new recruits fluctuates from 75 to 110 across the years. “We’ll run a recruit class with one person, if that’s all that shows up,” he said. The department is hiring part-time members who work an average of 200 hours a year. “A part-time firefighter is no different than a career firefighter,” he said. Part-timers aren’t stationed at a fire hall: they wear a pager and are called to scenes when there’s an emergency. “We do the same job: suppression, rescue, hazardous materials, public education.” Gary Monaham, the department’s deputy fire chief, said they haven’t seen a consistent increase in calls for service from the fire department since the pandemic began which would require them to recruit more members. “Back in March, when they first announced it, our medical calls dropped dramatically. Nobody wanted to call EMS. By the summer time, medical calls started going high again,” he said. “It’s up and down.” Monaham said calls have dropped “dramatically” in the last three weeks since the lockdown began. Calleja said it can be difficult to recruit people from lower-population communities in Lake of Bays: part-timers are “stationed” in their own communities. “It’s easier to find bodies in Huntsville than it is to find them in Dwight,” he said. With this challenge in mind, Calleja said they look to emphasize the benefits to joining the crew: an hourly wage, a compensation and insurance package, the opportunity to learn new life skills and a foot in the door to a new career in firefighting. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
TORONTO — Scientists and health experts are launching a nationwide campaign to counter misinformation about COVID-19 and related vaccines. The #ScienceUpFirst initiative is an awareness and engagement campaign that will use social media to debunk incorrect information and boost science-based content. The campaign team says in a news release that it emerged from conversations between Nova Scotia Sen. Stan Kutcher and Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. The initiative is now being led by the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. Anyone interested in participating can follow @scienceupfirst and use the #ScienceUpFirst hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and tag the account to amplify science-based posts and alert it to misinformation posts. The campaign says there is a marked rise in misinformation and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccines, virus transmission and government response, and it represents a threat to the health and safety of Canadians. "Misinformation is a dire, imminent threat to the lives of all Canadians and is proven to be one of the factors fueling COVID-19 infections, and dissuading Canadians from getting vaccinated," says Caulfield. "The #ScienceUpFirst initiative seeks to help fill an urgent need to beat back misinformation with the truth, and save lives." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
Paris City Hall has instructed the landlord seeking to close down the city's indebted Fan Museum to extend its deadline for payment, the museum said Monday. Director Anne Hoguet said her beleaguered museum — a registered historic monument — owed 117,000 euros in rent arrears due to losses incurred during virus lockdowns last year. The money was due Jan. 23 and the landlord had threatened to seize the museum's priceless artifacts as payment. In response to AP’s reporting, on Thursday UNESCO called on France to do more to protect the small museum that French officials had placed on an intangible heritage list only last year. Hoguet said that Paris City Hall officials confirmed to her that they had intervened to get the landlord to delay the deadline. “It's a huge relief. We hope to live another day,” Hoguet said. Paris Deputy Mayor Karen Taieb told the AP that officials are now meeting with Hoguet on Feb. 5 “in order to think about long-term solutions for this heritage museum which is in a very complicated situation.” Hoguet said that she has been inundated with offers of donations since last week’s media reports. The Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials that showed it was safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unfounded theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China. As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China's vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm. State media and officials are sowing doubts about Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent bid to deflect the attacks. Both issues are in the spotlight because of the rollout of vaccines globally and the recent arrival of a World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus. Some of these conspiracy theories find a receptive audience at home. The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick,” started by the Communist Youth League, was viewed at least 1.4 billion times last week after a Foreign Ministry spokesperson called for a WHO investigation of the biological weapons lab in Maryland. “It’s purpose is to shift the blame from mishandling by (the) Chinese government in the pandemic’s early days to conspiracy by the U.S.,” said Fang Shimin, a now-U.S.-based writer known for exposing faked degrees and other fraud in Chinese science. “The tactic is quite successful because of widespread anti-American sentiment in China.” Yuan Zeng, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Leeds in Great Britain, said the government’s stories spread so widely that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked her whether they might be true. Inflaming doubts and spreading conspiracy theories might add to public health risks as governments try to dispel unease about vaccines, she said, saying, “That is super, super dangerous.” In the latest volley, state media called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after they received the Pfizer vaccine. An anchor at CGTN, the English-language station of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper accused Western media of ignoring the news. Health experts say deaths unrelated to the vaccine are possible during mass vaccination campaigns, and a WHO panel has concluded that the vaccine did not play a “contributory role” in the Norway deaths. The state media coverage followed a report by researchers in Brazil who found the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine lower than previously announced. Researchers initially said Sinovac’s vaccine is 78% effective, but the scientists revised that to 50.4% after including mildly symptomatic cases. After the Brazil news, researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think-tank , reported seeing an increase in Chinese media disinformation about vaccines. Dozens of online articles on popular health and science blogs and elsewhere have explored questions about the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine at length, drawing on an op-ed published this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its clinical trial data. “It’s very embarrassing” for the government, Fang said in an email. As a result, China is trying to raise doubts about the Pfizer vaccine to save face and promote its vaccines, he said. Senior Chinese government officials have not been shy in voicing concerns about the mRNA vaccines developed by Western drug companies. They use a newer technology than the more traditional approach of the Chinese vaccines currently in use. In December, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he can’t rule out negative side effects from the mRNA vaccines. Noting this is the first time they are being given to healthy people, he said, “there are safety concerns.” The arrival of the WHO mission has brought back persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly in the beginning, even reprimanding doctors who tried to warn the public. The visiting researchers will begin field work this week after being released from a 14-day quarantine. The Communist Party sees the WHO investigation as a political risk because it focuses attention on China’s response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The party wants to “distract domestic and international audiences by pre-emptively distorting the narrative on where responsibility lies for the emergence of COVID-19,” Wallis said. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying got the ball rolling last week by calling for the WHO investigation of the U.S. military lab. The site had been mentioned previously by CGTN and other state-controlled outlets. “If America respects the truth, then please open up Ft. Detrick and make public more information about the 200 or more bio-labs outside of the U.S., and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the U.S. to investigate the origins,” Hua said. Her comments, publicized by state media, became one of the most popular topics on Sina Weibo. China isn’t the only government to point fingers. Former President Donald Trump, trying to deflect blame for his government’s handling of the pandemic, said last year he had seen evidence the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory. While that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts think it is unlikely. Huizhong Wu, The Associated Press
LOGEMENT. À l’exemple de Queen’s Park, Québec solidaire demande au gouvernement québécois de suspendre à nouveau les évictions résidentielles pour toute la durée de l'état d'urgence sanitaire. «Pendant que le Québec a les deux pieds dans la deuxième vague et que les mesures de confinement sont plus strictes que jamais avec l'imposition du couvre-feu, les évictions de locataires se poursuivent de plus belle sans que la CAQ bouge le petit doigt. Même le gouvernement conservateur de Doug Ford a compris l'importance de maintenir les personnes chez elles durant ces temps particuliers et a annoncé un nouveau moratoire contre les évictions pour la durée de la situation d'urgence. Qu'attend le gouvernement Legault pour faire de même?», s'interroge Andrés Fontecilla, le porte-parole solidaire en matière de logement tout en rappelant que le moratoire a été levé en juillet dernier par la ministre de l'Habitation, Andrée Laforest. «Comme c'était le cas en mars dernier, la flambée des cas de COVID-19 se conjugue à une grave crise du logement. Le gouvernement de la CAQ sait très bien que la loi actuelle fait défaut et qu'il doit colmater les brèches qui permettent les expulsions abusives, notamment les rénovictions. Nous allons continuer de veiller au grain afin que la loi soit revue et corrigée, mais en attendant ces changements, il est urgent de décréter un nouveau moratoire sur les évictions. Personne ne doit se retrouver à la rue en plein couvre-feu», martèle Andrés Fontecilla, le député de Laurier-Dorion. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Canada's unemployment rate in December was revised to 8.8% from 8.6% on Monday, while the net decline in jobs for the month was amended to 52,700 from 62,600, as Statistics Canada completed a historic review of its labor force data. The revision, undertaken to ensure the data was aligned with recent population and geographical boundary estimates, had "virtually no effect" on employment estimates for the pandemic period of March to December 2020, the agency said.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge has ruled in favour of an online political writer who was prevented by Alaska's governor from attending press conferences. Judge Joshua Kindred issued an injunction Friday requiring Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy to invite Jeff Landfield to media briefings, Anchorage Daily News reported. Landfield, the owner and operator of The Alaska Landmine website, sued Dunleavy over his exclusion from the governor's press events. The former independent state Senate candidate uses the website to write about the Alaska Legislature, state government and politics. Attorneys from the Alaska Department of Law argued that because the governor’s office does not credential members of the media, and therefore does not set standards for press conference admittance, Landfield could not sue on First Amendment grounds because there was nothing to challenge. Kindred ruled Landfield had been denied due process, writing in the order that members of the media have the right under the First Amendment to be invited to press conferences. The governor may deny a member of the media the ability to ask questions while at a briefing and the governor can choose not to answer questions, Kindred ruled. Kindred concluded that a lack of written rules does not mean the governor’s office can make ad-hoc decisions about admittance. “Acceptance of the government’s arguments would effectively stand for the proposition that First Amendment rights do not exist for any members of the media in Alaska,” Kindred wrote. The injunction does not require Dunleavy or his communications staff to adopt a formal, written process. But they must invite Landfield to future events while legal proceedings continue, the ruling stated. The Associated Press
POLITIQUE. Le Bloc Québécois et la députée de Shefford, Andréanne Larouche, sont convaincus que le NPD et les conservateurs accepteront de procéder rapidement à un court amendement législatif à la loi C-4 sur la prestation canadienne de maladie pour la relance économique (PCMRE) si le gouvernement rappelle le Parlement. Selon le chef du Bloc, Yves-François Blanchet, «le premier ministre hésite à régler tout de suite et clairement le grave problème de la prime au voyage de 1 000 $ qui découle de cette loi» malgré la volonté louable de remédier à la situation. Face aux critiques contre le versement de la PCMRE aux personnes de retour d’un voyage d’agrément, Justin Trudeau a promis plus tôt de rectifier le tir sans donner plus de détails. Il a précisé que l’objectif n’avait jamais été d’envoyer un chèque à ceux qui décident de partir en voyage, à l’encontre des avis de la santé publique. «La façon la plus rapide et efficace de procéder est un court amendement législatif à la loi C-4 qui réserve la prestation (PCMRE) uniquement en cas des déplacements essentiels. Cela exclut évidemment les vacances», a tranché la députée de Shefford, Andréanne Larouche, selon un communiqué de son bureau. Elle précise que le rappel du Parlement peut se faire avec moins de 50 députés présents afin d’adopter une motion sur les procédures pour une durée de 24 heures et ensuite voter une loi. «Je n’imagine pas que quiconque voudra profiter de la situation pour soutirer des gains partisans». L’élue de Shefford estime que la solution du Bloc évite au gouvernement «un règlement unilatéral» ou de «pelleter vers l’avant la solution jusqu’au moment des impôts à la fin avril». Manque de leadership «Non seulement le gouvernement de Justin Trudeau a manqué de leadership depuis mars et suscité une vive inquiétude au Québec, mais il n’était pas du tout préparé à livrer les vaccins en quantité et en temps opportun, ce que dénoncent les experts en santé», a expliqué Yves-François Blanchet dans le communiqué. Les bloquistes reprochent à Ottawa d’avoir réagi trop tard lors de l’apparition de la nouvelle variante du coronavirus au Royaume-Uni et de n’avoir pas été rigoureux dans les contrôles auprès des voyageurs. Andréanne Larouche exhorte le gouvernement Trudeau à réduire les passages aux frontières aux déplacements essentiels, à demander des tests au départ et à l’arrivée et à « superviser lui-même de façon étroite les quarantaines.» «Il faut qu’Ottawa, comme les États-Unis et l’Europe, impose le remboursement des billets à des compagnies aériennes qu’il s’apprête à aider généreusement. Il est inacceptable que des gens qui ont acheté de bonne foi un voyage pour leur famille, avant même la pandémie, se fassent dire de renoncer au voyage et à l’argent», a-t-elle plaidé sur les vols annulés, assurant les libéraux de la collaboration sincère du parti. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
Dès qu’il y aura assez de neige pour assurer des descentes sécuritaires, Ski Saguenay offrira un nouveau secteur de glisse privé à L’Anse-Saint-Jean pour les amateurs de ski hors-piste. Ce sera un des secteurs avec le plus haut dénivelé au Québec, avec 390 mètres d’altitude en descente… et ce n’est qu’un début, car de futurs développements viendront bonifier l’offre, avec notamment de l’hébergement. C’est en voyant la croissance du ski hors-piste au Québec et au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean que Philippe Pichon et Jérôme Durocher ont décidé d’investir pour développer un nouveau secteur privé à L’Anse-Saint-Jean. « Le secteur de ski hors-piste est tellement achalandé au mont Édouard les fins de semaine qu’on a vu un potentiel », souligne Philippe Pichon. Selon les données de la Fédération de montagne et d’escalade (FQME), le nombre d’adeptes a augmenté de 177 % par rapport à l’an dernier. En regardant les opportunités pour surfer sur la vague du ski hors-piste, les deux hommes ont sauté sur l’occasion lorsqu’un terrain accidenté a été mis en vente par la fabrique de l’église Saint-Jean-Baptiste, à L’Anse-Saint-Jean, il y a deux ans, explique Philippe Pichon, un Français qui s’est d’abord établi au Québec... pour jouer plus au hockey. Mais c’est finalement le ski hors-piste qui l’a accroché. « Quand on est allé visiter le terrain, on est tombé en amour et on s’est assuré de miser un bon prix pour avoir la terre », poursuit-il, en évoquant le processus de mise aux enchères. En explorant davantage, ils ont réalisé qu’il existait un excellent potentiel de descente sur le terrain voisin, et après avoir fait une offre, ils ont agrandi leur terrain de jeu, qui fait désormais près de 70 hectares. Le ski hors-piste est en forte croissance au Québec et les premières descentes dans la poudreuse se font de plus en plus rares, ce qui ouvre des occasions d’affaires. Situés à un peu plus d’une dizaine de kilomètres du mont Édouard, les entrepreneurs ont donc lancé l’entreprise Ski Saguenay, qui offrira du ski de montagne guidé sur leur terrain privé. Pour accéder au secteur, les clients devront obligatoirement réserver les services d’un guide, cette année, pour un montant de 115 à 200 dollars par jour, selon le nombre de personnes dans un groupe. « Les gens paieront pour skier un territoire exclusif », souligne Philippe Pichon, avant d’ajouter qu’avec la croissance de l’achalandage, les secteurs de poudreuse vierge se font de plus en plus rares. Ski Saguenay développera deux secteurs de glisse de niveau intermédiaire avancé. Le plus gros aura un dénivelé de 360 à 390 mètres, avec plusieurs passages très accidentés et plusieurs obstacles et sauts naturels. « Il existe un potentiel de 100 mètres de plus au-delà de la limite de nos terrains, sur les terres publiques, mais on devrait aller chercher les autorisations pour faire cet ajout », remarque Philippe Pichon, qui fera partie de l’équipe de guides. Un secteur plus petit, de 80 à 150 mètres, a aussi été développé près du futur chalet, que l’entreprise compte bâtir dès l’été prochain, si le financement du projet se concrétise. « Nous voulons bâtir un chalet plutôt haut de gamme, avec un sauna et un bain nordique, pour offrir un produit différent de ce que l’on retrouve au mont Édouard », remarque l’entrepreneur, en ajoutant que les clients du chalet pourront skier en autonomie dans le petit secteur. Pour le construire, les deux hommes comptent utiliser leur propre bois. En tout et partout, les deux hommes ont investi plus de 70 000 dollars dans le projet jusqu’à maintenant. Dans l’attente d’une autre bordée… et de mesures sanitaires pour guider Il manque encore un peu de neige pour skier en sécurité sur les terrains de Ski Saguenay, comme partout dans la région d’ailleurs. « Avec encore 20 à 30 centimètres, on va pouvoir ouvrir les secteurs », souligne Philippe Pichon. Il faudra aussi attendre de savoir quelles seront les nouvelles mesures sanitaires qui seront annoncées après le 8 février, car il est interdit d’offrir le service de guide à l’heure actuelle, ajoute ce dernier. Au cours des prochaines années, Ski Saguenay souhaite continuer à développer de nouveaux secteurs et construire éventuellement un second chalet. Un service de remontée sur chenillette est aussi dans les cartons. Le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean se positionne Avec l’ajout de l’offre de Ski Saguenay et le nouveau secteur qui a été développé à Petit-Saguenay, la région du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean compte désormais cinq sites officiels, avec le mont Édouard, le mont Lac-Vert et le mont des Allemands. « La région a un très beau potentiel pour le développement du ski hors-piste », atteste Maxime Bolduc, directeur ski à la Fédération de montagne et d’escalade. NoneGuillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Niagara Falls Transit has elected to revert to its pre-pandemic winter schedule. The city said in a press release in order to provide the best level of service to riders given provincial restrictions, it will return to regular winter city and WEGO service, minus 30-minute peak services, on day routes. Changes take effect Monday. On Jan. 18, in an attempt to comply with the state of emergency orders issued by the province, Niagara Falls Transit preemptively adjusted its hours of operation to reflect the average business closure of 8 p.m.; however, it acknowledged that it could have been stranding essential service workers. The city issued an apology on its website for any inconvenience it caused transit users. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.com Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
Calgary police evacuated a condo complex in Inglewood on Sunday after reports of a woman with a weapon trying to force her way into several residences escalated into a standoff that lasted for several hours. Police were called to the SoBow complex at the 100 block of Inglewood Park southeast just before 4 p.m., the Calgary Police Service said in a release early Monday. The woman got into one of the units and the occupants fled to safety without injury, police said. "Officers conducted a rapid entry into the building, evacuating occupants while searching for the suspect, who was located and contained in a unit," the release said. Residents of the building were taken to a safe location while negotiators and the tactical unit were brought to the scene. The fire department was also called to assist because what was thought to be smoke was seen coming from the building. But it was later determined there was no fire and the apparent smoke was the result of a fire extinguisher that had been released, police said. The suspect was taken into custody at about 1:30 a.m. Police said the investigation is ongoing and no further information can be released at this point.
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska held the enviable position of having the highest rate of coronavirus vaccinations per capita in the nation as of last week, the state's top health official said. Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said last Thursday that the progress was the result of community efforts to quickly distribute vaccinations and additional allotments for federal agencies within the state, KTOO-FM reported. Zink told the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce that Alaska receives more doses of vaccine because of allowances above the state’s share for the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service. “We have the highest veterans per capita population. We have a large military presence. And we have a large Indigenous population with over 229 sovereign tribes,” Zink said. “And so, because of those reasons, we did get some additional vaccine in the state via those federal partnerships.” The allotment for the Indian Health Service, which works with tribal entities to deliver health care to Alaska Native residents, could have been subtracted from the state’s share of the federal supply, but ultimately was allowed to be added, Zink said. “That’s been transformational for Alaska, that decision for Operation Warp Speed,” Zink said of the Trump administration's name for the national vaccine distribution initiative. More than 14,000 people had received both required doses of a vaccine cycle as of last Thursday, while more than 67,000 people had received at least one of the shots in the series. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency. The justices threw out Trump’s challenge to lower court rulings that had allowed lawsuits to go forward alleging that he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by accepting payments from foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. The high court also ordered the lower court rulings thrown out as well and directed appeals courts in New York and Richmond, Virginia, to dismiss the suits as moot now that Trump is no longer in office. The Associated Press
Sylvia Sassie liked to listen to CBC Radio One in her kitchen, her bedroom or her car. She tuned in to the N.W.T. morning show, The Trailbreaker, and to Dehcho Dene, CBC's daily South Slavey language program. That all came to a halt about a year ago. "I didn't know what had happened," she said. "I thought maybe it just went digital?" Sassie, who lives in Fort Liard, N.W.T., called the CBC in Yellowknife and began exchanging emails with technical staff about how to diagnose the problem. "I guess it's the wiring or something that's disconnected here," she said. "I was supposed to take pictures [of the radio equipment] but I can't because there's too much snow." Fort Liard is now in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. Six people in the hamlet of 500 have tested positive and the community was put under a 14-day containment order (that is, people were advised not to travel) starting Jan. 16. The community has two other radio stations: CKLB 101.9, run by Native Communications Society of the NWT; and 95.1, which was recently established as a Christian radio service. "I prefer personally to listen to CBC North because they talk about all kinds of things," Sassie said. "What I would really like about this channel is listening to the information on the COVID." Not 'CBC-owned' "Unfortunately," said Philippe Aubé, "since this is not CBC-owned infrastructure we are ... limited in the way we can support these issues." Aubé is the CBC's senior director of transmission operations in Montreal. His department looks after about 750 transmitters across the country. He also looks after CBC-owned satellite receivers in about 70 small, mostly northern locations known as "community-owned rebroadcasters" or CORBs — including Fort Liard. As Aubé explains it, decades ago, a program was launched to help small communities take control of transmitters, antennas and radio towers installed for radio. CBC maintained control of the satellite receivers bringing in the signal, but the community — which could be a communications society or the hamlet — took ownership of the transmitter that relays that signal into the community and any other hardware. 'Community-owned rebroadcasters' Several people interviewed for this article said that at one point, the N.W.T. government played a role in funding the CORBs. In an email, a spokesperson for the department of Municipal and Community Affairs said the department does not specifically fund community-based radio, though local budgets could be used for the purpose. The same spokesperson said "most community-based radio societies are established as societies separate from the community government." The Fort Liard Communication Society, established in 1979, dissolved in 2002, according to the N.W.T. Legal Registry. It's slightly different in the Yukon. "The Department of Highways and Public Works maintains community radio sites in some Yukon communities where there would otherwise be no radio broadcast service," spokesperson Brittany Cross said in an email. That includes five sites where they "maintain the equipment and radio licensing for the CBC FM transmitters ... as well as covering the costs of building maintenance and electricity." They also make room for other Yukon radio broadcasters' equipment. "These sites are generally low maintenance, but ongoing support ... is provided through a combination of in-house staff, contractors and contributions from the other radio tenants," Cross said. 'For them, it's a CBC service' But few people know how exactly their radio gets into their houses, workplaces or vehicles. "That's where it gets a bit sketchy sometimes," said the CBC's Aubé, "when one of those communities loses their signal and people start sending emails or chat on Facebook, saying, 'Hey our transmitter's off.' Because for them, it's a CBC service." "We try to help them over the phone as much as we can, but that's pretty much where it stops." Aubé said Friday that he still hasn't confirmed what's going on in Fort Liard, though he's asked staff to follow up. "It appears it is not related to our satellite receiver," he said. 'You can always Google stuff' Chief Wilbert Kochon of Colville Lake, N.W.T., has experienced some of that technical assistance over the phone. When the community's transmitter gave out a few weeks ago, Kochon volunteered to sort it out. "I talked to your technician who helped me on the phone," Kochon said. They discovered the heat had gone out in the old band office where the transmitter is. Kochon put a portable heater on in the building and in the morning, it started working again. Kochon says repairs like these are something he does for the elders. "CKLB, they always call me too," Kochon said. "You can always Google stuff and then figure it out really fast." Even better, he laughed, would be if the community could hire its own technician and get some training from the CBC. A costly 'conundrum' That's exactly what Bert Cervo would like to see. Cervo retired from the CBC in 2015 and lives in Whitehorse. He started as a remote area transmitter technician (RATT for short) in the 1980s and has visited nearly every small community in the North. He sees the situation in Fort Liard as part of a bigger problem. He's been contacted by people in several communities where CBC radio is down, "in some locations for two years," asking whether he can help get the signal back. The cost to fly in and do so, however, is simply too high, as is the cost of moving equipment or worse, buying new gear. All of which is made worse by the pandemic, which has severely restricted northern travel. "This is a conundrum that we've all been looking at for quite a while," Cervo said. He'd like to see the CBC take over the care and maintenance of the sites, or at least reimburse whoever goes there. He'd also like to see local people trained and paid to handle technical problems. "It's just not a cheap enterprise," Cervo said. Especially if older equipment needs to be replaced. "There is nothing that costs less than $1,000 or $2,000. Nothing. Then comes travel and everything else."
La Distillerie Beemer a signé une entente de distribution exclusive du gel désinfectant PurBoréal, un produit régional fait à avec de l’alcool de bleuet, lancé en avril dernier, en pleine pandémie. Ce partenariat permettra de développer le marché régional, notamment pour les utilisations commerciales, industrielles et institutionnelles, tout en optimisant la distribution du produit. « Nous ne sommes pas des distributeurs, alors on préfère laisser ça entre les mains de Nettoyeur FB, qui va pouvoir étendre le marché », souligne Philippe Harvey, un des entrepreneurs derrière la Distillerie Beemer, le fabricant du gel PurBoréal. Nettoyeur FB, une entreprise implantée depuis 41 ans à Saint-Félicien, est spécialisée dans le domaine de la buanderie commerciale et industrielle, dont la location de vêtements de travail, mais elle offre aussi différentes solutions de nettoyage. « J’ai eu un coup de coeur pour le produit et pour les entrepreneurs qui le fabriquent », remarque Patrice Bouchard, le propriétaire de Nettoyeur FB. Après avoir testé plusieurs types de gel, il se dit impressionné par le produit de qualité fabriqué à Roberval. « Ils ont trouvé la solution gagnante », dit-il. Son équipe de travail couvrait déjà le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean plusieurs fois par semaine avec son service de livraison pour les produits de nettoyage et pour les vêtements. En plus de livrer les produits PurBoréal à différents clients, Nettoyeur FB offrira désormais un service de location de bornes de gel antiseptique sans contact, avec le service de remplissage, ajoute Patrice Bouchard, qui se réjouit d’offrir un produit de très haute qualité à ses clients, dont le Zoo de Saint-Félicien. Ainsi, le partenariat avec PurBoréal ne fera qu’optimiser le service de distribution. Au cours des prochains mois, les partenaires visent une « belle progression contrôlée ». « On veut bien s’occuper de nos clients », souligne Patrice Bouchard. NoneGuillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
“Let Me Tell You What I Mean,” by Joan Didion (Alfred A. Knopf) Back in 1968, Joan Didion identified a problem with the mainstream media. “The only American newspapers that do not leave me in the grip of a profound physical conviction that the oxygen has been cut off from my brain, very probably by an Associated Press wire …,” she begins in an essay that goes on to criticize traditional news outlets, including the wire service carrying this review, for pretending that there is such a thing as neutral, unbiased, objective reporting. That article, “Alicia and the Underground Press,” was a snarky ode to alternative newspapers in the 1960s like the East Village Other and Berkeley Barb that might have been “amateurish and badly written” but at least had the virtue of speaking directly to their readers, and speaking to them as friends. Some 50 years later, in a media landscape dominated by players who present “alternative facts” with a straight face, and consumers who get their news through platforms tailored to their specific interests, Didion’s critique seems more prescient than ever. The essay is one of 12 she wrote between 1968 and 2000 that have been collected in a new volume, “Let Me Tell You What I Mean,” sure to be of interest to Didion completists and fans of such cultural touchstones as “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” and “The Year of Magical Thinking.” Others haven’t aged as well. Another piece from 1968, about Gamblers Anonymous, quotes the people at a meeting in ungrammatical English, speaking “as if from some subverbal swamp.” In “A Trip to Xanadu,” she sneers at tourists at the Hearst Castle in their “slacks and straw hats and hair rollers.” But when she punches up instead of down, the results can be devastating, as in her portrait from the same year of Nancy Reagan, then the wife of the California governor, portrayed as a media-savvy control freak and distant mother to her then 10-year-old son. Similarly, her 2000 profile of Martha Stewart captures what most observers missed at the time — that Martha wasn’t selling homemaking, she was selling success. The best of the bunch have to do with the subject Didion, 86, knows and cares about most — being a writer. In essays like “Why I Write,” whose title she borrowed from George Orwell, “Telling Stories” and “Last Words,” she makes it clear why she has been an essential voice in American arts and letters for more than half a century. Ann Levin, The Associated Press
One year after Canada's first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, many of the lessons learned from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic are being applied now.
Police in Waterloo Region say a church allegedly held an in-person service yesterday despite a court order compelling it to comply with provincial pandemic rules. Investigators say they are working with public health officials to ensure "appropriate action" is taken regarding the Trinity Bible Chapel in Woolwich, Ont. They say the church already faces "numerous" charges under the Reopening Ontario Act. Ontario legislator Randy Hillier, an independent MPP and vocal critic of the province's lockdown measures, tweeted a photo yesterday that appeared to be from the service. He also posted a photo that appeared to be of the outside of the church. The government of Ontario declared a state of emergency and imposed a stay-at-home order on Jan. 12, which includes a ban on indoor gatherings and activities, including religious services. Some religious services, such as weddings and funerals, are permitted provided they include no more than 10 people and physical distancing can be maintained. The rules apply to the entire province and will remain in effect until at least Feb. 11. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
QUETTA, Pakistan — A Pakistani dissident and civil rights activist who died in exile in Canada last month was returned to Pakistan and laid to rest in her home village in southwestern Baluchistan province under tight security, activists said Monday. Only immediate family members of 37-year-old Karima Baloch were allowed to attend her funeral Sunday in the village of Tump in Baluchistan. Her supporters claim that Pakistani troops had sealed off the village and prevented them from attending her burial. Her remains were brought to Pakistan from Canada earlier Sunday. Baloch’s body was found Dec. 22 near Toronto’s downtown waterfront, a place that she liked and often visited, a day after she was reported missing. Toronto police have not treated her death as suspicious though there were allegations by her supporters that she was killed. A fierce critic of Pakistani spy agencies that are often accused of abducting activists in Baluchistan and elsewhere in Pakistan, Baloch was granted asylum in Canada in 2016. Her death has raised suspicions among rights activists, who on Monday denounced authorities for holding the funeral in near secrecy. “It is appalling to see how Karima Baloch’s dead body was treated," said Mohsin Dawar, a lawmaker from Pakistan's former tribal regions who campaigns for Pashtun minority right but like Baloch, has also criticized Pakistani spy agencies. “It is not difficult to understand how this will deepen the divide and fuel separatism," he tweeted. "Is this the strategy to deal with the Baloch insurgency, to sprinkle salt on the wounds of Baloch?" There was no immediate comment from the government, but a video that surfaced on social media shows soldiers turning back several mourners who are heard in the footage saying they wanted to pay their last respects to Baloch. Angered over the situation, a Baloch nationalist group — the Baloch Solidarity Committee — issued a call for a daylong strike and complete shutdown in Baluchistan on Monday. Its statement said Pakistani troops spirited Baloch's coffin away on its arrival from Canada and foiled a move by her supporters to hold her funeral in Karachi, instead taking her remains to her home village. Later on Sunday, hundreds of Baluch activists rallied in Karachi, denouncing the government for not allowing that Baloch's funeral be held in the city. They chanted antigovernment slogans and demanded justice for Baloch, who they say was a “voice of the Baloch people” that was “silenced.” The activists insisted she did not die a natural death though they offered no evidence to support their allegation. Baluchistan has for years been the scene of a low-level insurgency by small separatist groups and nationalists who complain of discrimination and demand a fairer share of their province’s resources and wealth. Although there are also militant groups in Baluchistan that stage attacks on soldiers, separatists also often attack troops in the province, prompting authorities to detain suspects. Human rights activists often blame security forces of illegally holding people. Such detainees are usually not charged and do not appear in court, which draws protests from their families and rights activists. ___ Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report. Abdul Sattar, The Associated Press