People in Catalonia are heading to the polls this Sunday. For close to a decade, elections have been dominated by the pro-independence movement but this time healthcare and the economy have taken centre stage.
People in Catalonia are heading to the polls this Sunday. For close to a decade, elections have been dominated by the pro-independence movement but this time healthcare and the economy have taken centre stage.
A look at some second-leg matches in the Europa League's last 32 taking place on Thursday: AC MILAN-RED STAR BELGRADE (2-2) A meeting of two former European champions is level after the first leg amid controversy over apparent racist abuse aimed at Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. UEFA appointed an investigator Tuesday to look into the incident after footage published online appeared to show Ibrahimovic being insulted as he sat in the stands. There were no fans allowed in the stadium for the first game, but Red Star had officials and guests in the stands. Milan goes into the game without a win in its last three after losing 3-0 to fierce rival Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday. NAPOLI-GRANADA (0-2) Spanish club Granada is on the verge of a major upset in its first European competition. Yangel Herrera and Kenedy scored Granada's goals at home against a Napoli team whose season seems to be slipping away. One win from six games in all competitions this month has seen Napoli fall from challenging for the Champions League places in Serie A to clinging on in seventh. ARSENAL-BENFICA (1-1) The Europa League is Arsenal’s last opportunity for a trophy — and might represent the team's only route to qualifying for European competitions next season. Mikel Arteta’s team has dropped to 11th in the Premier League and is nine points off Chelsea in fifth place, which is set to be the sole Europa League qualifying position in the league. Thomas Partey has returned to training with Arsenal after a hamstring injury but it remains to be seen if the midfielder is fit enough to feature in the second leg against Benfica. The game will take place in Athens due to coronavirus travel restrictions. LEICESTER-SLAVIA PRAGUE (0-0) Leicester midfielder James Maddison will miss the match because of a hip injury. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers does not believe the issue requires surgery but said Maddison is in consultation with specialists. The in-form attacking midfielder, who came off hurt in the Premier League match at Aston Villa on Sunday, missed matches at the end of last season with a hip injury and had an operation in July. “We’re just having to get a specialist’s opinion on it to formulate a plan for his recovery,” Rodgers said. Leicester is in third place in the Premier League and has been one of the surprises of the season. MANCHESTER UNITED-REAL SOCIEDAD (4-0) Edinson Cavani, Donny Van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba remain sidelined through injury for United, which is all but assured of progress after a big first-leg win in neutral territory in Turin. A shoulder issue prevents midfielder Hannibal Mejbri from making his first-team debut after a week that has seen fellow 18-year-old Amad Diallo — signed from Atalanta in January — and 17-year-old Shola Shoretire make their first starts in the senior side. “Hannibal was injured in the reserves, he’ll be out for a month,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has added 19-year-old Northern Ireland international Ethan Galbraith to United’s Europa League squad. “He was just coming into our squad. Unfortunately for him he’s out.” AJAX-LILLE (2-1) Even without two of its best players, Ajax is on the verge of eliminating the French league leader. Lille was heading for a win in the first leg before Ajax turned the game around with a penalty by Dusan Tadic in the 87th minute and a goal from Brian Brobbey in the 89th. Ajax is without striker Sebastien Haller after he was left off the squad list due to an administrative error. Goalkeeper André Onana was handed a 12-month doping ban this month after testing positive for a banned substance, something he blamed on a mix-up with his wife's medicine. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit) In addition to leading the province's fight against climate change, Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette is now being asked to lead the charge against racism. Premier François Legault's announcement Wednesday of the appointment of Charette, who is white, immediately drew scrutiny. But Charette was firm in his belief that being white should not disqualify him from the position, which was created following a recommendation from the anti-racism committee formed by the government last spring. "It's a mandate to fight racism, so someone's skin colour should not be the reason to exclude that person," Charette said, highlighting that he has deep ties with different communities in the province, and is sensitive to their struggles. Charette, whose wife is of Haitian origin, noted that he has lived in several countries, and his experiences abroad have convinced him that Quebec has the tools needed to fight racism, including its Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. "We can't deny that people from minority groups, and Indigenous people, are too often exposed to profiling, to disparities in how they are treated, notably in matters of housing, in matters of employment," said Charette. But he denied that racism in Quebec is systemic, even saying the use of the term can be detrimental. "What bothers me with the expression, there are many elements to this, it gives a false sense of security, [allowing some] to lay blame on others," he said. "If we base ourselves solely on a concept that is very vague, and not well defined, it takes away a bit of the responsibility that we have." Those remarks echoed past responses by the premier, whose repeated denials of systemic racism in Quebec have frustrated many in the province's Black and Indigenous communities. 'I think many communities, people of colour, have been very distrustful towards this government because of its systematic denial of systemic racism.' - Fo Niemi, Centre for Research Action on Race Relations Charette said he wants to work at implementing the 25 recommendations put forth by the committee, and promised significant progress between now and the end of the CAQ government's mandate. Some of the committee's other recommendations include creating a province-wide campaign to raise awareness about racism, as well as training for police and government employees. The new provincial role mirrors what was done in the City of Montreal, which appointed its first anti-racism commissioner last month. When he announced the recommendations of Quebec's taskforce against racism, Quebec Junior Health Minister Lionel Carmant said he has been a victim of police racial profiling. 'He's the best person to fight against racism,' premier says Legault was also asked several times why the task of fighting racism in Quebec was given to Charette instead of the Black members of his cabinet, Nadine Girault and Lionel Carmant. Girault serves both as the province's minister of immigration and the minister of international relations. Carmant is the province's junior health minister, and oversees its youth protection agency. The two also co-chaired last spring's anti-racism committee. "It's not like they have nothing to do," the premier said, before praising the man who ultimately got the position. "I've known him for many years, and I know it's a very important subject for him, so I think, again, he's the best person to fight against racism." WATCH | Montreal's first anti-racism commissioner discusses the challenges ahead Local civil rights organizations greeted the appointment with trepidation. Fo Niemi, director of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, said in an interview he was pleased to see the Legault government implement a recommendation from its committee. But he believes Charette is facing a significant hurdle of his own party's making. "I think many communities, people of colour, have been very distrustful towards this government because of its systematic denial of systemic racism," he said. That sentiment was echoed by Marisa Berry Méndez, a coordinator with Amnesty International. "To not acknowledge systemic racism not only will stand in his way in terms of taking action ... but also in terms of being seen as credible or legitimate by the communities that are impacted," Méndez said.
Shawinigan - Le maire de Shawinigan Michel Angers a confirmé mardi midi, lors de son traditionnel bilan organisé par la Chambre de commerce, qu’il serait officiellement candidat aux élections municipales l'automne prochain. Le principal intéressé avait laissé entendre en novembre dernier qu’il y avait de fortes chances qu’il soit de la course, ce qu’il a officialisé mardi midi, devant les gens d’affaires, réunis sur une plateforme de réunion virtuelle. «J'ai bien réfléchi. Je suis en forme et il y a encore beaucoup de défis, dont la pandémie, pour Shawinigan. J'ai toujours dit que quand je serai dans une zone de confort, je ferai autre chose, mais ce moment n'est pas venu», a-t-il laissé tomber. «Si je n'étais pas prêt à peser à fond sur l'accélérateur, il n'y aurait pas de demi-mesures. C'est pleinement ou ce n'est pas du tout», a indiqué le maire, qui précise avoir pris le temps des Fêtes pour réfléchir à sa position. Se gardant bien de dévoiler l'ensemble de ses idées pour un éventuel quatrième mandat, M. Angers a tout de même assuré vouloir faire de la création d'emploi, de la lutte à la pauvreté et à l'exclusion et de l'augmentation des services offerts à la population quelques unes de ses principales priorités. Malgré le fait que cette campagne se déroulera fort probablement en pandémie, celui qui est maire de Shawinigan depuis 2009 n'entend pas changer une recette gagnante. «J'ai toujours mené des campagnes toujours positives. J'aime les campagnes électorales, j'aime les élections. Bien sûr, les médias sociaux joueront un rôle majeur et important, le porte à porte sera plus difficile à faire, alors on trouvera les moyens, sûrement numériques, de rejoindre les gens. Je trouverai des moyens cet été, en fonction des décisions de la Santé publique, de rencontrer gens et je ferai les ajustements nécessaires.» Si certains croient qu'il pourrait s'agir pour lui d'un dernier mandat au municipal, Michel Angers n'entend pas se consacrer à un autre palier politique dans le futur. «Je pense sincèrement que la plus belle politique est la municipale. J'ai été sollicité à plusieurs reprises pour d'autres paliers et je n'ai pas d'intérêt pour la politique provinciale ou pour la politique fédérale. J'aime que les gens puissent nous interpeller dans la rue. Je suis le capitaine du bateau et je sens que j'ai les coudées franches pour faire du développement économique, du développement social. Cette capacité de pouvoir bouger me nourrit et m'anime. Est-ce que j'ai le goût d'être un matelot dans un bateau plus gros? Probablement pas. Est-ce que j'ai le goût d'être un matelot dans un bateau encore plus gros? Encore moins», souligne-t-il, précisant du même coup qu'il entend se consacrer au bénévolat une fois sa carrière politique derrière lui. Bilan positif, malgré la COVID-19 Lors de son allocution, le maire Angers a relevé que l'économie de sa municipalité s'en est plutôt bien tirée dans la dernière année, malgré la pandémie. Parmi les bons coups, Michel Angers a notamment noté que la Ville a soutenu 158 entreprises en 2020, pour une aide financière de 3,2 millions $, générant du coup 6,8 millions $ en investissements. La mesure a permis de créer 121 emplois et d'en maintenir 116. Le maire sortant a également rappelé que Shawinigan a fait partie d'un projet-pilote l'été dernier qui autorisait les restaurants à utiliser des espaces publics pour agrandir leurs terrasses. Monsieur Angers a aussi souligné la vitalité des secteurs industriels et immobilier, deux domaines en forte expansion à la ville. Ce dernier mise beaucoup sur la Zone d'innovation, ce concept du gouvernement du Québec qui vise à augmenter la commercialisation des innovations, les exportations, les investissements locaux et étrangers et la productivité des entreprises. Le premier magistrat s'est aussi fait une fierté de souligner la croissance démographique de Shawinigan qui, en cinq ans, a connu une croissance de 1,7% de sa population, alors que tous les indicateurs prévoyaient une baisse nette à cet égard sur la période indiquée. Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
Taisto Eilomaa’s daughter said there are two words spring to mind when thinking of her father. One is Skype. Barbara Major said her 91-year-old father is the only person she has ever known that speaks to so many people via the internet-based communication that he required a monthly paid account. The other is not a word you may be familiar with: Sisu. Eilomaa passed away Jan. 30 due to complications from COVID-19 at Finlandiakoti, an apartment building that is part of the Finlandia Village complex. If you are one of the many people of Finnish descent who make up the Sudbury community, then you’ll recognize this word, even if you can’t quite describe it. If you are English-only, there is not really a translation for it, but more of a ‘you know it when you see it,’ meaning. Start with the translation of the root word, sisus, which means ‘guts’ or ‘intestines’ and you begin to get an idea. It is reserved for the challenging moments in life. It defines those who overcome regardless of the obstacle they face and who do so with aplomb, intestinal fortitude, resilience, determination. Ténacité, or in Italian, tenace, for a passion that seems crazy to undertake, almost hopeless. The Finnish say it is the reason they survive, the reason they thrive. There is a common saying: “Sisu will get you through granite.” Taisto Eilomaa had sisu. It got him through coming to a new country at the age of 22 with no ability to speak the language. It got him through starting businesses from the ground up, like Lockerby Auto Service, later investing in business and creating success — Brown's Concrete Products Ltd., for one, as well as the Wanup Sand and Gravel Pit and Taisto’s Trucking. It allowed him to keep connections with his family wherever they were in the world, to contribute to his community as well as to his own family. You could say it also helped him when he lost his wife of 53 years; and when he was at his lowest, it could be sisu that allowed him to find love again. Also, it may have been the driving force behind a man who raced stock cars he built, loved scuba diving and got his pilot’s licence, Sisu got Eilomaa through granite and his community is better for it. Born Nov. 18, 1929, to Saima and Frances Eilomaa in Lohja, Finland, Eilomaa decided to immigrate to Canada in search of a better life. It might be fate that put him on that ship in 1951, for it was on that voyage he met a lovely woman named Laura Akkanen. They wed in 1952 and were married for 53 years before her passing at age 77, in 2005. Major, their daughter, wasn’t sure her father would survive. “When my mother passed away, I thought we would lose my dad as well. After 53 years of marriage, he seemed unable to move on.” But for sisu, he may not have. Though it took time, Eilomaa began to get re-acquainted with a long-time family friend, Riitta Nurmikivi, at a weekly card party and they soon formed a close relationship, and spent more than 14 years together. “Ironically,” said Major, “My mother would often joke that Riitta would take her place if she ever died before my father.” Nurmikivi would bring to Eilomaa’s life more family for him to dote over and he did just that. Major says they were a welcome addition who will also mourn for Eilomaa. “We will always cherish her in our family,” said Major. It was family that always gave Eilomaa his greatest joy; perhaps the source of his sisu. “If there is one thing my father had plenty of,” said Major, “is love for everyone he met, especially his family.” He loved his daughter dearly and he loved her daughter, his granddaughter, perhaps even more says Major. “As much as they showered me in love and compliments,” she said, “my parents took great pride in their granddaughter.” He adored her and told her so often. “In his later years,” said Major, “I would often catch my daughter wiping away tears only to learn that her grandfather had taken a moment to mention how much he loved her and how proud he was of the woman she became.” He also dearly loved his great-grandchildren, Clarke and Laura. He was also dedicated to his Finnish family as well, spending as much time in Finland — and on Skype — as possible. He learned to operate a computer at 60, “A two-finger keyboarder,” said Major and began extensive research and interviews to build a family tree. “Those connections were worldwide,” said Major. On one of his trips to Finland, Eilomaa filled a suitcase with 50 bound copies of the family tree to distribute to family. And that isn’t the only history Eilomaa was dedicating to preserving. Eilomaa was a member of the Finnish Canadian Historical Society since 1968 and dedicated so much of his time to preserve history of those of Finnish descent who settled in Sudbury, particularly through photography collection and archiving. Major remembers visiting her father at times and finding him surrounded in photos that he would arrange and display for Finnish celebrations, allowing everyone to see their history. The Finnish Canadian Historical Society have presented him with two awards in recognition of his outstanding service and lasting contribution. Eilomaa also received a certificate of appreciation and is an honorary member of the Voima Athletic Club, which he has been actively involved with since 1952. And as one of the founding members and a previous past president of the Finlandiakoti Finnish Rest Home Society, many in the community say his commitment to the vision is a large part of what made Finlandiakoti what it is today. He was also active in the Freemasons and the Shriners for more than 30 years. Of all the words that are used to describe the small bits of character that are revealed through actions, there are another few for Eilomaa: ‘My sweetheart’, ‘my darling’, ‘I love you’. But not for the reasons you might think. “One of his favourite things he used to say,” said Major, “is that when my mom and dad arrived in Canada, between the two of them, they had three suitcases and $50. But my dad knew how to speak only a little English and what he knew how to say in English was: ‘my darling, my sweetheart, I love you’.” And truly, with a little sisu, that will get you pretty far. Due to the pandemic, no funeral service will be held, but a Celebration of Life for Taisto Eilomaa will be held in both Sudbury and Finland, on a date to be determined. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's auditor general is warning of a crisis in the nursing home sector if the government doesn't address the shortage of spaces. Kim Adair-MacPherson says the number of seniors in the province is expected to double by 2036 and there are currently almost 800 seniors waiting for a nursing home placement. She says it's unclear how the province plans to address the demand. Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch says 600 new nursing home beds will be opened over the next five years. He says the procedure the government uses to request proposals for new nursing homes has been streamlined, which he says should speed things up. Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents Rights, says the government should concentrate on helping seniors remain in their own homes instead of putting them into nursing residences. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Former vendors at the Beaverlodge Farmer’s Market are exploring a new venue, citing concerns with inconsistent guidelines at the current market. “We’re in the very-beginning stages of (starting a new market),” said former vendor, Heather Tillapaugh of Silk Purse Acres. “Our goal is to be very welcoming to anybody and everybody - the current market limits who can come to the market to sell their items, based on who’s already selling those items.” Brittni Hudson, who ended up renting a table there for just a few months, told the News an estimated 10 vendors have left, citing concerns about “inconsistencies” in rules around multiple vendors selling similar items and a variety of rental fees. Tillapaugh agrees. “Customers want variety and choices. I don’t hold any ill will toward the Beaverlodge market - we just wanted different things,” said Tillapaugh, whose operation 10 kilometres west of Beaverlodge grows various garden produce. She was a vendor of the farmer’s market from June to December 2020. The Beaverlodge Farmer’s Market is one of more than 130 approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Joyce Hatton, Beaverlodge Farmer’s Market president, confirmed the rules limit the number of vendors selling certain items. “For example, baby blankets and quilts don’t sell well, so we try to limit (them),” Hatton said. Slow-selling products at too many tables would be disadvantageous to vendors, she said. Hatton said the market currently has approximately 14 vendors, and it’s typical to have fewer early in the year compared to Christmas, when there are up to 25. Like Tillapaugh, Hudson objects to limits on vendors selling certain items. “A lot of people sell the same thing, but they’re different styles and textures,” Hudson said. Hudson said she signed on as vendor in late October with a variety of signs and decals and chose not to return in early February. Shannon Murdock sold farm eggs and other items at the market, signing on in August 2020 and leaving in November. She cited limits on types of products as a concern. “Everybody should be able to succeed,” Murdock said. “Any farmers market I’ve ever been to has the same item being sold by multiple vendors.” Both Hudson and another former vendor, Sheena Hailstones, had concerns about discrepancies in table rentals. Hatton told the News that new vendors pay a weekly table rental of $20; after three months it drops to $15; three years in, table rental drops to $10 a week. “We felt the vendors who were with us all the time deserved to have a break,” Hatton said. “If they leave and come back, they pay full price again.” Tillapaugh said she has been gauging support from community members for a new market and is in contact with Eileen Kotowich, farmers market specialist with the Alberta government. Kotowich told the News it is possible for a town to have more than one approved farmers market. Kotowich said where two markets exist in one community, they typically don’t go “head-to-head.” “They have different times, different days of the week, serving a different clientele,” she said. The application must include a business case demonstrating how the market would be viable if another is nearby, Kotowich said. Tillapaugh said a business case for a second market can be made. “The Beaverlodge market is currently the only market west of Grande Prairie,” she said. “There’s a very wide area of people to bring into the market as vendors and as customers.” Tillapaugh said the former vendors are considering either an indoor or outdoor venue and the market would likely be seasonal, from spring to early fall. The application must be approved by the provincial government and Alberta Health Services, she said. Tillapaugh said she is hopeful the applications can be complete and the market opened this spring. She said there would also be start-up costs, and the former vendors may hold some fundraisers to achieve this. The amount needed will depend on the location and if it already has the necessary amenities like tables, she said. If costs are minimal, fundraisers won’t be necessary, she added. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
STONY PLAIN, Alta. — A trial date has been set for a pastor of an Edmonton-area church that has been holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules. James Coates with GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove did not appear in court today as a three-day trial was set to start May 3. Coates, who was arrested last week and remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions, remains behind bars. Several people gathered outside the Stony Plain courthouse in support of the pastor and urged Premier Jason Kenney to come to his senses and lift COVID-19 restrictions. The church has been holding services that officials say break public-health regulations on attendance, masking and distancing. Coates was charged this month with violating the Public Health Act and breaking a promise to abide by rules of his bail release, which is a Criminal Code offence. Police fined the church $1,200 in December and a closure order was issued in January. Coates has addressed the province's health restrictions in his sermons, telling worshippers that governments exist as instruments of God and there should be unfettered freedom of worship. An associate pastor of the church, Jacob Spenst, conducted last Sunday's service and told the congregation that messages of support have been pouring in for the jailed pastor. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
COVID vaccinations have begun at local lodges and all other seniors 75 and older can now book a COVID-19 vaccine shot, said Steve Madden, Grande Spirit general manager. Eligibility was expanded to everyone outside lodges born in 1946 or before as of Feb. 24, with availability based on supply. “We’re excited, and it’s good to see the supply catch up to the number of people waiting,” Madden said. He said Grande Spirit is aware of many relieved seniors and families. Seniors’ vaccinations began at Pioneer Lodge in Grande Prairie Wednesday morning, followed by Heritage Lodge and Wild Rose Manor later that day, he said. Vaccinations at Clairmont’s Lakeview facility will take place all today, Madden said. Amisk Court vaccinations are scheduled for March 3, and he said he is hopeful the supply will allow these immunizations to go forward. Residents will be contacted by their care teams, according to Alberta Health Services. All other seniors can book an appointment for a vaccine through AHS, by calling 811 or going to albertahealthservices.ca, though some early registrants Wednesday morning experienced system crashes due to heavy traffic. Beaverlodge resident Eleanor Lord said she began trying to book an appointment 8 a.m. Wednesday morning and at press time hadn’t succeeded. “The online system has crashed and 811 is continuously busy,” Lord said. She said they’ll keep trying, but she’s wondering if vaccines will run out. Family members can book a shot on behalf of seniors but must provide the senior’s Alberta Health Care number and date of birth, according to AHS. The continuation of the vaccine rollout adds seniors to a growing list of eligible recipients. Others include health-care workers in COVID-19 units and emergency departments. Vaccinations of elders began at Horse Lake First Nation this month, chief Ramona Horseman told Town & Country News last week. More than 29,000 long-term care residents have received two doses of vaccine to date, according to the Alberta government. The ongoing first phase of immunizations will be followed by a second possibly beginning in April, depending on vaccine supply. The vaccine will be offered to everyone 65 to 74, First Nations and Métis people 60 to 64, and supportive-living facility staff who haven’t already been immunized, according to the government. They will be followed by everyone 18 to 64 with “high-risk underlying health conditions,” then staff and residents of living facilities like homeless shelters, and then everyone 50 to 64 and indigenous people 35 to 49. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
La fatigue contemporaine peut s’analyser comme une revendication sociale légitime, celle de la prise en compte de nos besoins vitaux.
The latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada (all times eastern):1:50 p.m.Manitoba health officials are reporting one COVID-19 death today and 45 new cases. However, six cases have been removed due to data corrections, so the net additional count is 39.---1:50 p.m.Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for people aged over 95, or over 75 for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines had been directed at certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes.---12:45 p.m.Newfoundland and Labrador health authorities are reporting the province's fifth death related to COVID-19.Officials say six more people are in hospital due to the disease.Public health is also reporting eight new cases, all in the eastern region, where an outbreak has been flaring for several weeks.Chief medical officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says though case numbers have been low these past few days, the province remains in lockdown and people must stay on guard.---12 p.m.The Manitoba government has announced the location of its fourth site for large-scale vaccine distribution. Health officials say a so-called supersite will open in early March at a former hospital in Selkirk. There are similar sites already in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson.---11:30 a.m.Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 and now has 21 active infections.The new cases are in the Halifax area.One is a close contact of a previously reported case, while the other two cases are under investigation.As of Tuesday 29,237 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 11,658 people having received their required second dose.---11:15 a.m.Quebec is reporting 806 new COVID-19 cases and 17 more deaths attributed to the virus, including five in that past 24 hours.Health officials say hospitalizations dropped by 25, to 655, and the number of intensive care cases rose for a second consecutive day, with 10 more patients for a total of 130.The province says it administered 8,807 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, for a total of 376,910 since the campaign began.---11 a.m. Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities are declining access the country.Miller says there were 1,443 active cases and a total of 20,347 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities on-reserve as of yesterday.Miller says vaccinations have begun in 440 Indigenous communities and more than 103,000 doses have been administered.---10:45 a.m.Ontario plans to start vaccinating residents aged 80 and older against COVID-19 in the third week of March, depending on vaccine supply. Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province's vaccine task force, says an online booking system and service desk will become available on March 15 and people in that 80 and older age range, or those booking for them, can access it.Hillier says the task force aims to then vaccinate adults aged 75 and older starting April 15, and shots will go to those 70 and older beginning May 1.He says people aged 65 and older will be vaccinated starting June 1.---10:40 a.m.Ontario says there are 1,054 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today and nine more deaths linked to the virus.Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 363 of those new cases are in Toronto, 186 are in Peel Region and 94 are in York Region. More than 17,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Ontario since Tuesday's daily update.---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Substantial increases in speed and avail-ability for broadband may be coming to Mono. Council heard a request from Rogers Communications Canada Inc., to support their application to the Federal government to become part of the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program. Their aim is to supply the entire town of Mono with Fibre Optic Internet service. Currently, much of Mono is underserviced by the available service providers and this prevents many residents and businesses from taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital communications.Broadband connectivity is a key priority for Mono Council and is in fact, part of their Corporate Strategic Plan. Rogers’ “leave no home behind,” plan is a true game changer for Mono.Rogers build strategy commitment is to bring broadband to entire areas of under-served homes. If it is approved, it will bring the needed broadband service, to house-holds and businesses to enable them to avail themselves of digital opportunities. Espe-cially, in the fields of business, education, health and public safety.One of the other benefits to the propos-al, is that there is no suggested cost to the Town. A notation made by Deputy Mayor John Creelman, who has been spearheading the drive for better internet service in Mono. To this end, the deputy Mayor was deeply involved with helping Vianet set up the an-tennae on the Town water tower. Another potential benefit is that if two ser-vice providers are eyeing the same territory, the funder, in this case the Federal govern-ment will be the one to decide who may op-erate where. Also, any service must be an open access one, meaning that third party users must be allow access to the service for a reasonable cost.The proposed service, will have a mini-mum download speed of 50 megabits per second and a minimum upload speed of 10 megabits per second. There are purportedly, several service providers interested in servicing Mono. CAO Mark Early mentioned that he had recently been approached by V-Media from Concord, who are also interested in supplying internet services to Mono.Deputy Mayor Creelman noted that the SWIFT program is set to go along Hwy.10, from the 10th Sideroad north through Camil-la. If Rogers and Vianet are prepared to ser-vice the rest of Mono, this will allow SWIFT to move into other parts of Dufferin County, not adequately services with broadband.Innovation Canada expects that 90 per cent of Canada will have access to high speed internet by the end of 2021. Individ-uals are encouraged to reach out to their internet service providers to notify them about the UBF and encourage them to apply for funding. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Divine intervention is what Lynnette Fritshaw says about a Dawson Creek fire on 89 Avenue earlier in February. Fritshaw, a firefighter by trade, was off duty when the blaze struck and she happened to leaving her house for a day of skiing. “Right place, right time. Higher powers. Whatever the case, lives were changed forever that morning,” said Fritshaw. “Ours included. We are beyond thankful for the outcome, and truly honoured to have been able to be there when needed.” Fritshaw sprung into action as soon as she smoke billowing nearby, instantly recognizing it as a sign of a structure fire. Her husband Wade accompanied her to the burning home after they alerted the fire department. The pair banged on the door to see who was home. A mother and her two young daughters answered the door. The family was unharmed. “We didn’t know if anyone was home, and were just about to kick the door in when the light came on and faces appeared at the top of the stairs,” said Fritshaw. Fritshaw helped the mother get winter gear on the kids, got them all outside, and removed the family’s vehicle from the burning home. As they exited, the roof burst into flames, and a fire truck pulled up, says Fritshaw. Firefighters were soon on scene using a pair of engines to put out the fire, as well as use of the ladder truck and rescue truck. email@example.com Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
As Oshawa and Durham Region have moved into the Red Zone of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework, Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter says while that’s good news, residents still need to remain vigilant. “That means wearing a mask, washing our hands, staying apart, and try and stay within our family units to be able to make sure that we’re part of the flattening of the curve,” he says. With Oshawa now in the red zone, the city is preparing to reopen some facilities, beginning March 1, including City Hall, Civic Recreation Complex, South Oshawa Community Centre, the Donevan Complex, and Delpark Homes Centre. However, Carter says there will be some changes at these facilities. “Here at City Hall and at all of our facilities, we’re asking people to book ahead,” says Carter, noting attending city facilities is by appointment only. “Our facilities are asking you to take the opportunity to book ahead to make sure you get your spot to utilize our facilities,” he adds. Residents interested in booking an appointment at one of the city facilities can do so through Service Oshawa at 905-436-3311. Bookings will be open beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Oshawa residents now also have the option of advance booking privileges, including bookings for fitness centres, indoor tracks, tennis and pickleball courts, and leisure swimming and skating. Residents who have an active Fitness Membership will have 10 days advance booking privileges, while community members who are not Oshawa residents but have an active Fitness Membership will have seven days. Oshawa residents who do not have an active Fitness Membership will have three days advance booking privileges, and other community members without an active membership will have one day advance booking privileges. Residents looking to take advantage of the 10- or three-day booking privileges are asked to call Service Oshawa, while all other booking requests can be done online at www.register.oshawa.ca. Ice rental is available at Delpark Homes Centre by contacting the Facility Booking Office. Ice is also available at the Tribute Communities Centre for on-ice instruction to specific sport affiliations and organizations. Futhermore, the Delpark and Northview branches of Oshawa Public Libraries will reopen on March 1 as well for in-library browsing, computer use and takeout service. The Jess Hann branch will reopen to the public on March 1, while the McLaughlin branch will continue to provide take-out service only. The OSCC55+ Delpark Homes Branch will reopen by appointment only in conjunction with the Depark Homes Centre. Carter says now is the time for the community to continue to be vigilant, noting residents have done a “tremendous job” thus far. “I’m asking us to stay local, shop local, support local, but we’re in this together,” he adds. “We will get through this together.” Carter noted it’s been almost one year that COVID-19 has been around. “We’ve got a little more journey to go through, but I’m optimistic and hopeful that 2021 will be a tremendous year.” Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa. He says he will be working with provinces and territories to ensure they prioritize Indigenous people in their immunization efforts, even as the National Association of Friendship Centres and other advocates call for more direct federal involvement.
(BAE Systems Inc./Lockheed Martin Canada - image credit) Canada's budget watchdog predicts construction of the navy's new frigate fleet could cost at least $77.3 billion — a number that could rise even higher if the frequently-delayed program faces any more setbacks. Yves Giroux, the parliamentary budget officer [PBO], said the overall price tag for building 15 Canadian Surface Combatants could hit $82.1 billion in the event the program is delayed by as much as two years. The Liberal government is basing Canada's new warships on the design of the British-built Type 26 frigate. The House of Commons government operations committee asked the budget office to crunch the numbers on other designs, such as the FREMM European multi-mission frigate and the Type 31e, another British warship. The French FREMM frigate Aquitaine in an undated file photo. Those estimates show the federal government could save money by dropping the existing program and going with the other designs. It could also save money by building a fleet that includes two classes of vessel, such as the Type 26 and one of the other warships. Giroux said the idea of a mixed fleet makes sense from a fiscal point of view, but he couldn't say whether it would agree with the federal government's vision of what it wants the navy to do. "It's a good way of saving costs, if the government is interested in cutting down on its costs," Giroux said in a virtual media availability following the report's release today. Depending on the ship, the savings could be substantial. Deep cuts to construction costs possible: PBO For example, the budget office estimated that ditching the existing program and switching entirely to the Type 31 frigate would cost $27.5 billion, a projection that includes a four-year delay. The cost of acquiring an entire fleet of 15 FREMM warships is estimated at $71.1 billion — somewhat comparable to the existing program. A mixed fleet using either one of the alternate designs and the existing Type 26 also would result in savings. Giroux acknowledged that such a scenario would mean the navy would have to invest in separate infrastructure, support and supply chains — something it is reluctant to do. But it might be a good idea from a larger perspective, he added, because a mixed fleet means "you don't put all of your eggs in one basket." Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux. As of last fall, the Department of National Defence was insisting it could build all 15 Type 26 frigates, under contract with Lockheed Martin Canada and Irving Shipbuilding, for up to $60 billion. Giroux said he hopes the department is correct for taxpayers' sake, but his team stands by its numbers. The department stuck by its estimate in a statement issued today — but acknowledged the difference in the cost estimates could be explained in part by the fact that PBO includes the project's associated provincial sales taxes, while the federal government does not. The statement said the decision to select the Type 26 design was made based upon the capabilities it will bring to the navy. "As the PBO noted, the other design options that they examined would have 'more limited' and 'modest' capabilities than our selected design," the statement said. "These reductions would impede the [Royal Canadian Navy's] ability to execute its assigned roles and missions to keep Canadians safe both at home and abroad." The department also categorically ruled out scrapping the program or going with another design. "This is not an option we will be pursuing," the statement said. "Selecting a new design at this stage in the project would lead to significant economic loss for Canada's marine industry and those employed in it. "It would have major operational impacts for the [Royal Canadian Navy], due to associated project delays and life-extension requirements, as well as increasing the costs to operate and maintain more than one class of ships in the future." In their response, the Conservatives focused on the delays that led to the higher cost projections. "The increased costs of the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program are a direct result of Justin Trudeau's failures and the Liberals' mismanagement on this important procurement," said the statement, issued on behalf of Conservative defence critic James Bezan. "Conservatives continue to support our plan to revitalize the Royal Canadian Navy and the National Shipbuilding Strategy. But we do not support this ongoing Liberal dithering and costly delays to the CSC procurement." The latest report builds on an analysis prepared by the PBO office two years ago which projected a construction cost of $70 billion. The new numbers, Giroux said, reflect new information from the defence department about the size of the warships and the capabilities being built into them, as well as anticipated production delays. The outgoing president of Irving Shipbuilding, Kevin McCoy, told CBC News in an interview recently that the production timeline to build a Type 26 is seven-and-a-half years, which is two years longer than the five year timeline that had been built into the program. That means the navy won't see its first new frigate until 2031, on the current schedule. McCoy said in his interview that when the program started out under the previous Conservative government, the intention was to build a warship from scratch. He said it took several years and a change of government to convince Ottawa and the navy that doing so would be extraordinarily expensive — more expensive that the current program. A question of capabilities Dave Perry is vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and one of the country's leading experts on defence procurement. He said that when you look at the defence department's tax explanation and consider the delays, the projections are not too far apart. He said he believes the only fair comparison is between the existing Type 26 design and the FREMM frigate because they have similar capabilities. "To use a boxing analogy, it is in the same weight class," said Perry. He said the choice to include the less capable Type 31e in the comparison struck him as odd. The PBO report notes the difference and acknowledges that the less expensive Type 31e is designed to operate mostly in conjunction with the larger Type 26, which has air defence capabilities, among other things. A mixed fleet, he said, is something policy-makers could consider and is something Canada has had in the past — but the notion extends far beyond simple budgeting. "We would be building a different navy, a significantly less capable navy," Perry said.
ANHCORAGE, Alaska — A highly transmissible coronavirus variant originally traced to Brazil has been discovered in Alaska. The variant was found in a specimen of an Anchorage resident who developed COVID-19 symptoms, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The person had no known travel history. It’s the sixth case of the variant found in five U.S. states, officials said. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the state health department, said there is evidence to suggest the P.1 variant is more transmissible than the original virus and that its mutations also “appear to change the antigenic profile of the virus.” That means it can potentially be contracted by someone who was already infected or who has been vaccinated. It’s also troublesome that the person in the Alaska case has no known travel history. “That does make it more concerning,” he told the newspaper. “So we are trying to do a thorough epidemiological investigation to figure out where the person actually got infected from.” The person ate at an Anchorage restaurant with at least one other person in late January and didn’t wear a mask. The infected person developed symptoms four days later and tested positive on Feb. 8 There is at least one person who had close contact with the infected person. The state has had two cases of people with the coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom. “COVID is still circulating,” McLaughlin said, adding that more variant cases will likely be detected even as cases overall continue to decline. “We really want people to continue following all the mitigation strategies,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a reasonably high probability that the infection may have incurred while the person was eating at a restaurant with another person, so we just want to make sure people continue to stay within their social bubbles.” Alaska reported 58 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 55,560. The state has reported 287 deaths. Alaska has administered 232,811 doses of vaccine. Of those, 89,147 have been second doses. Alaska’s total population is about 731,000. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death. The Associated Press
(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press - image credit) Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout needs to guarantee equal access for migrants and undocumented workers, advocates for migrant rights say. The Migrant Rights Network says it fears that countless migrant and undocumented workers won't get vaccinated because of their immigration status — either because they lack access to health coverage or they worry about their personal information being shared with immigration enforcement authorities. "While federal and provincial governments have made promises and assurances that vaccine access will be universal, policies and practices have not changed," said Syed Hussan, a member of the Migrant Rights Network secretariat, at a virtual press conference today. "Concrete action is urgently necessary to ensure life-saving public health measures are accessible to all migrant and undocumented people." WATCH: Advocates call for equal access to vaccines for migrants and undocumented workers The group laid out a list of demands in an open letter signed by 270 civil society organizations and addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and provincial and territorial leaders. Their goals include: making sure vaccines are free for everyone in Canada, regardless of immigration status; ensuring that getting a vaccine doesn't require a health card; and directing vaccine providers to not demand personal information in exchange for receiving a vaccine dose. The group also said that vaccines shouldn't be mandatory and that health care providers should be trained not to turn people away if they don't have a health card or access to health insurance. The letter comes as provinces and territories make plans for a country-wide mass vaccination campaign. The quantity of vaccine doses being delivered to Canada is expected to ramp up substantially in the coming weeks and months. Many lack health cards The Migrant Rights Network estimates that over 1.6 million people in Canada don't have permanent resident status and says that many of them work in essential jobs in such sectors as health care, cleaning, construction, delivery and agriculture. The group says many migrants and undocumented workers are being denied vaccination because they don't have health cards — which in many cases are tied to work or study permits. The group was joined at the press conference by an undocumented worker at a long-term care home in Toronto who came to Canada in 2014. The woman — identified only as "Lily" during the press conference — said her immigration status expired in Jan. 2020, leaving her undocumented and without an Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card. Lily said she has been denied the COVID-19 vaccine, while all the residents and staff in the home where she works have received two shots already. "I am on the front line every day, just like everyone else who lives and works in the home. But while they are better protected from the virus's spread, I am not," said Lily. "Undocumented workers are already denied access to health care, housing, social services and legal rights. Now we are being denied access to COVID vaccinations because it is tied to an OHIP card, which we do not have." Dr. Danyaal Raza is a family doctor at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and board chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. Dr. Danyaal Raza, board chair of the physicians' advocacy group Canadian Doctors for Medicare, said he was part of an outreach team that went into a Toronto homeless shelter last week to vaccinate residents there. Raza said the team offers residents vaccinations without asking to see their health cards. They were also given the option of providing an alias. Raza, who is also a family doctor at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, said this model should be in place across the country — especially as provinces and territories prepare to conduct mass vaccination campaigns in the coming months. "We need to make sure that this is the case at every single vaccine clinic because we're hearing now that it's not, and that's not acceptable, especially if we're going to hit that target for herd immunity," said Raza. Vaccines will be free and accessible: PHAC Vancouver MP Jenny Kwan, the federal NDP's critic for immigration, refugees and citizenship, backed the call for vaccine access for migrants and undocumented workers. "Migrant workers and undocumented workers do critical work in Canada and we have to ensure that we do our part in protecting them from COVID outbreaks without any fear of reprisals," said Kwan. "Not only is including migrant workers and undocumented workers in the vaccination process the right thing to do, if we aren't targeting hotspots for transmission and protecting the most vulnerable to infection, then we are only prolonging the pandemic for everyone and adding additional strain to our hospitals." The Public Health Agency of Canada confirmed that the two COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for use in Canada — from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — are free and will be accessible to everyone in Canada. "While they're available to priority populations first, they'll be available to everyone in Canada who is recommended to get the vaccine by federal, provincial and territorial public health authorities," Anna Maddison said by email. "This applies to everyone in Canada, including those who aren't citizens (and who are over the age of 16 for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or over the age of 18 for the Moderna vaccine)." But Maddison pointed out that provincial and territorial governments are responsible for administering the vaccine. Each province and territory has its own separate immunization plan laying out who can get a vaccine and when, along with the location of vaccination sites. A spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Health said an OHIP card isn't necessary to receive a vaccine — although another piece of government-issued photo ID is, such as a driver's licence, passport or other provincial health card. B.C.'s Ministry of Health said people looking to get vaccinated in that province will need to show proof of age and Canadian residency. The ministry said it needs to collect some information so that anyone who receives the vaccine can be followed up with by public health for health reasons, and for scheduling a second dose. Any information provided to public health for the purpose of the immunization plan will not be shared with other organizations, the ministry said. Over two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed by the federal government since immunization began in December, and over 1.6 million doses have been administered, according to the COVID-19 Tracker project.
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The RCMP say a crash on Highway 16 west of Prince George has killed a Metro Vancouver man and injured a 20-year-old Alberta resident. An RCMP statement says the collision happened Monday as the Alberta man in a westbound pickup was overtaking an empty logging truck. The passing lane ended before the pickup had finished its manoeuvre and police say it collided with an oncoming car. Police say the driver of the car, who was in his 40s, died a short time later in hospital. Officers in Prince George are leading the investigation and want to speak with the logging truck driver, who stopped to assist but left before talking with police. Investigators are also appealing for dashcam video from anyone on Highway 16 between Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof at around 5:30 p.m. Monday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Paul McCartney is finally ready to write his memoirs, and will use music — and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet — to help guide him. “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” will be released Nov. 2, according to a joint announcement Wednesday from the British publisher Allen Lane and from Liveright in the United States. McCartney, 78, will trace his life through 154 songs, from his teens and early partnership with fellow Beatle John Lennon to his solo work over the past half century. Irish poet Paul Muldoon is editing and will contribute an introduction. "More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right," McCartney said in a statement. “The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.” Financial terms for “The Lyrics,” which has a list price of $100, were not disclosed. Publishers have long sought a McCartney memoir, even though he has spoken often about the past and has participated in such projects as Barry Miles' biography “Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now,” and the 1990s documentary and book “The Beatles Anthology." The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards has been equally open about himself, but his 2010 memoir “Life” still sold millions of copies. No Beatle has written a standard, full-fledged account of his life. Lennon published two works of stories, poems and drawings and was considered the most gifted with words, but he was murdered in 1980, at age 40. Ringo Starr's “Another Day In the Life" is centred on photographs and quotes, because, the drummer has said, a traditional memoir would require multiple volumes. George Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001, issued the scrapbook/retrospective “I, Me, Mine” in 1980. According to McCartney's publishers, his songs will be arranged alphabetically, and will include McCartney's comments on when and where they were written and what inspired them. The U.S. edition of the book will be broken into two volumes, contained within a single box. “Presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney’s personal archive — drafts, letters, photographs — never seen before, which make this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” according to Wednesday's announcement. McCartney has often received more acclaim for his melodies than for his lyrics, but he has written some of the most quoted songs in recent history, including “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude” and “Eleanor Rigby.” Muldoon said in a statement that their conversations in recent years “confirm a notion at which we had but guessed — that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.” Muldoon is known for such poetry collections as “Moy Sand and Gravel” and “Horse Latitudes,” and also has a background in music. He has given spoken-word performances backed by the musical collective Rogue Oliphant; published a book of rock lyrics, “The Word on the Street”; and collaborated on the title track of Warren Zevon's “My Ride's Here.” He even mentioned McCartney in a poem, “Sideman”: "I’ll be McCartney to your Lennon/ Lenin to your Marx/ Jerry to your Ben &/ Lewis to your Clark" ___ Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will not trigger an election as long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Singh says he will stand by his pledge to prop up the Liberal minority government on confidence votes regardless of whether the Liberals back an NDP bill to implement universal pharmacare, due for a vote later today. The government is expected within the next couple months to table a budget, which would trigger an election if it fails to garner support from at least one major opposition party. New Democrats have been hyping their pharmacare legislation in advance of a vote that will either kill Bill C-213 or send it to committee for further scrutiny. The NDP and Liberals both promised some kind of pharmacare program during the 2019 federal election campaign, but differ on the details. Singh says his party's universal medication plan, laid out in a private member's bill sponsored by MP Peter Julian, resembles the framework recommended by a government-commissioned report released in June 2019. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press