The sunny coast of Shelburne, NS.
The sunny coast of Shelburne, NS.
(Tasos Katopodis/Pool via AP - image credit) Two days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden met to set a new tone for Canada-U.S. relations, the Biden administration official whose decisions may affect Canada's economy the most sat for three hours of questioning at her confirmation hearing before the Senate finance committee Thursday. Some cabinet confirmations become partisan wrestling matches. By the end of her appearance, the confirmation of Katherine Tai as the next United States Trade Representative felt more like a collective laying on of hands. The chair, Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, called her a "superb choice." All ranking Democrats and Republicans from not only the Senate but also the House of Representatives Ways and Means committee applauded the depth of her skills and experience with a long list of complimentary adjectives. Representative Richard Neal from Massachusetts, appearing as a guest Democratic chair of the House committee, told senators he considers Tai to be like family after her seven years as legal counsel for his committee. Tai played a critical role in crafting and negotiating bipartisan support for endgame revisions that ensured Congressional approval of the revised North American trade agreement by delivering more environmental and labour protections. "There is one issue that all of us in this room agree upon: enforcement, enforcement, enforcement of these trade agreements," Neal said, praising Tai's "understated grit." Biden's pick was endorsed by leaders from the environmental, business and labour communities, Neal said. Tai accompanied Neal on a critical trip to Ottawa in November 2019 to persuade Canada to agree to amend the new NAFTA so it could get through Congress. The Trudeau government had thought its negotiations with the Trump administration were over. Canada's ambassador in Washington, Kirsten Hillman, came to know Tai well as Canada's lead negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. She said she remembers having lunch with her that day and their "vibrant conversation" with the assembled politicians about how international trade can benefit domestic workers — a focus the Biden administration now embraces. Canada's ambassador in Washington, Kirsten Hillman, far right, joined her then-minister Chrystia Freeland as Representative Richard Neal met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Nov. 6, 2019. House Democrats asked Canada to agree to amendments they were making to secure Congressional approval for the renegotiated NAFTA. "I think that's just telling on where some of the priorities may well lie," Hillman told CBC News earlier this winter. "She has specific expertise in that area." Fortunately for the Trudeau government, Tai's vision for "expanding the winner's circle" of beneficiaries of international trade lines up with the beliefs of Canadian Liberals like Chrystia Freeland who have spoken about making deals work for small businesses and middle class workers — not just corporations. Winning with win-wins During Thursday's hearing, Tai said she wants to move away from negotiations that pit one sector's workers against another. It's a sharp contrast with the zero-sum style of the Trump administration, which was more focused on scoring targeted political wins than mutually-beneficial gains. "We must remember how to walk, chew gum and play chess at the same time." - USTR nominee Katherine Tai While that could come as a relief for trading partners like Canada, Tai's hearing also revealed several priorities to watch carefully. For example, will Tai continue Robert Lighthizer's push to "re-shore" as many commodities in as many supply chains as possible, to repatriate jobs for American workers? "There's been a lot of disruption and consternation that have accompanied some of those policies," she said — without specifically calling out Trump administration tactics like using national security grounds to slap tariffs on foreign steel. "I'd want to accomplish similar goals in a more effective, process-driven manner." And what about the critical product shortages the U.S. is facing, especially during the pandemic? President Biden signed an executive order this week to strengthen U.S. supply chains for advanced batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and semiconductors. "A lot of the assumptions that we have based our trade programs on [have] maximized efficiency without regard for the requirement for resilience," Tai said. Rethinking the China strategy Between 2011-14, Tai was the USTR's chief counsel for trade enforcement with China. On Thursday, she told senators the U.S. needs a "strategic and coherent plan for holding China accountable to its promises and effectively competing with its state-directed economics." The government must have "a united front of U.S. allies," she added. "China is simultaneously a rival, a partner and an outsized player whose cooperation we'll also need to address certain global challenges," she said. "We must remember how to walk, chew gum and play chess at the same time." Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, himself a former USTR during the George W. Bush administration, pushed her to explain how the U.S. could compete with the "techno-nationalist" approach China takes on semiconductors — which he said are subsidized by up to 40 per cent, allowing the Communist regime to dominate the global market. "We can't compete by doing the things China does, so we have to figure out how we can compete by marshalling all the tools and resources that we have in the U.S. government," Tai said. Later she described how the Chinese state is able to conduct its economy "almost like a conductor with an orchestra," while Americans trust the "invisible hand" of the free market. The U.S. government may need to revisit this, she said, "knowing the strategy and the ambition that we are up against." Fellow Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown asked Tai whether she'd make it a top priority to crack down on imports that trace back to China's forced labour program, which human rights investigators believe abuses potentially millions from China's minority Uighur and Turkic Muslim population to pick crops like cotton. "Yes," she said. "I think the use of forced labour is probably the crudest example of the race to the bottom." 'Laser-focused' on Huawei Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, who also sits on the Senate intelligence committee, urged Tai to form a "coalition of the willing" to compete with the Chinese "authoritarian capitalism" model that's enabled the rise of tech giants like Huawei. Trade negotiations have to protect the security of digital infrastructure, he said, and the U.S. should consider asking trading partners to prohibit certain Chinese technologies. "If we keep Huawei out of American domestic markets but it gets the rest of the world, we're not going to be successful," Warner said. Sen. Tom Carper, left, greets Katherine Tai, Joe Biden's nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, and meets her mother, right, at Tai's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee Thursday. Tai agreed with him, and said the U.S. government should be "laser-focused" on this, and not just in trade negotiations. To counter China's influence, Delaware Sen. Tom Carper asked whether it would be a "fool's errand" to rejoin partners like Canada in the Pacific Rim trading bloc — which was renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership after the U.S. left it in 2017. Tai said the thinking behind the CPTPP remains a "solid equation" but the world in 2021 is "very different in important ways" to the climate in 2016, when Congress failed to approve the TPP. Carper also asked how trade policy is affected by the Biden administration's renewed multilateral approach to climate change. "The rest of the world is coming up with its own climate solutions, and that means that as other countries and economies begin to regulate in this area, climate and trade policies become a part of our competitive landscape," she said. 'Digging in' on dairy Tai also promised to work closely with senators who raised issues about commodities important to their states — and Canada. But the veteran trade diplomat didn't tip her hand too much on what Canada should expect. Idaho's Mike Crapo was assured she'll work on "longstanding issues" in softwood lumber. She told Iowa's Chuck Grassley she's aware of the "very clear promises" Canada made on dairy as part of concluding the NAFTA negotiations, and how important they were to win the support of some senators. Some of these Canada-U.S. issues "date back to the beginning of time," she said, adding she was looking forward to "digging in" on the enforcement process her predecessor began in December. Several senators pushed for more attention to America's beef, of which Tai said she was a "very happy consumer." South Dakota Sen. John Thune expressed frustration with the World Trade Organization's ruling against the cattle industry's protectionist country-of-origin labelling (COOL) rules, prompting a commitment from Tai to work with livestock producers on a new labelling system that could survive a WTO challenge. One of the toughest questioners Thursday proved to be former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who slammed the lack of transparency in past trade negotiations and told Tai her administration needs to "take a hard line." Warren called for limiting the influence of corporations and industries on advisory committees and releasing more negotiating drafts so the public understands what's being done on their behalf. At the conclusion of the hearing, Chairman Wyden asked Tai to send her ideas for improving the transparency of trade processes to the committee's bipartisan leadership within 30 days. Katherine Tai bumps elbows with Congressional leaders following her Thursday confirmation hearing on Capital Hill. Throughout the hearing, senators described Tai's confirmation as "historic." She's the first woman of colour and first Asian-American (her parents emigrated from Taiwan) to serve as USTR. Pennsylvania's Bob Casey asked if she'd commit to working on women's economic empowerment and participation in trade laws. She answered with just one word: "Yes."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is struggling to beat back his biggest political challenge in years from a protest movement which began with disgruntled farmers travelling to New Delhi on tractors and is now gaining wider support at home and abroad. Simmering in makeshift camps housing tens of thousands of farmers since last year, the movement has seen a dramatic growth in recent weeks, getting backing from environmental activists, opposition parties and even A-list Western celebrities. At its heart are three new farm laws passed by the government last September, thanks to the majority Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) enjoys in the lower house of parliament.
Canada's ministry of finance called a media report that the head of the country's largest pension fund had traveled to the Middle East and received a COVID-19 vaccination "very troubling". Mark Machin, the 54-year-old chief executive of the C$475.7 billion ($377 billion) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), received a Pfizer Inc vaccine shot after arriving in the United Arab Emirates with his partner this month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Astronaut Joshua Kutryk touched down in the gym at Christ the King School this week — not via a spacecraft, but rather a massive video screen. The St. Vital school welcomed Kutryk, who was hired by the Canadian Space Agency in 2016, as a virtual guest speaker for a 45-minute presentation about his career Wednesday. He answered questions about his profession, including what he is most looking forward to when he gets assigned a mission to outer space. “The view back,” said Kutryk, during the videocall broadcast into classrooms of wide-eyed students. “You see nothing but Earth in the void blackness of space, everything that’s ever been human on Earth. That’s when you probably realize, more than anything, how important it is to protect it.” Middle-schoolers won the visit, which was scheduled for the spring and was postponed because of COVID-19, through the Canadian Space Agency’s Junior Astronauts program. Teacher Teresa Edwards’ 2019-20 class of sixth graders was selected, after completing two science projects. They first compared the temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in their classroom to those in the International Space Station. The second project involved participating in a Mars rover simulation during which students communicated with a pretend operator. Given recent announcements about NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars last week, and the Artemis program, which aims to land the first woman on the moon by 2024, Edwards said students are extra keen to learn about planetary exploration. “I hope it inspires them to pursue their dreams, whether they be in science or math or engineering or perhaps in other areas, and to stretch their limits,” she said about Kutryk’s visit. Edwards added she learned something new Wednesday: astronaut trainees must go underground for several weeks to simulate the experience of being cut off from the outside world. That was among the anecdotes Kutryk, who is from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., shared about his training. “Trying to be an astronaut is really a lifelong endeavour,” he said, speaking from the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. Kutryk’s resume includes four degrees and experience as a test and fighter pilot, engineer and lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He became a certified astronaut following two and a half years of intensive training, including exercises underwater and in jets to mimic the outer space environment. Mo Ogunbodede said she was shocked by how long it took. “The fact they have to go underwater for a long time, that surprised me too,” Mo said. Even though she is not a confident swimmer, the 12-year-old said she isn’t discouraged from pursuing a career in astronomy; Mo simply knows what she’s up against now. Before signing off Wednesday, Kutryk had a simple message for students: “Dream big!” Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
(Dmytro Tyshchenko/Shutterstock - image credit) As the pandemic wears on and threats against provincial officials have shown no signs of stopping, B.C.'s provincial health officer says she's disturbed about how that impacts her family and coworkers. In her daily briefing on Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry addressed the abuse she's faced over the last year, which has at times escalated to death threats. "It really is not acceptable," she said. "What I find most disturbing is how it impacts the people I work with and my family and my close contacts and their concerns, so that's the most challenging piece right now." Henry said public health officers across the country have dealt with similar issues, and they regularly speak about it with each other to offer support. "I recognize that when people are in crises, part of the way they respond or react is to lash out or be angry," she said. Watch: Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the threats she's received Health Minister Adrian Dix described the threats as "unacceptable," saying that regardless of the criticism she's faced, Henry continues to show compassion for everyone during this health crisis. Heidi Tworek, a history professor at the University of B.C. who has studied abuse directed at public figures, points out that Henry has taken on a uniquely prominent role during the pandemic. "She's both telling us what the health guidelines are and the meaning behind the crisis," Tworek said. "Of course, it's likelier to make her the target of abuse because she really is the face of B.C.'s COVID-19 response."
India's coast guard found 81 survivors and eight dead on a boat crammed with Muslim Rohingya refugees adrift in the Andaman Sea, and were repairing the vessel so that it can return safely to Bangladesh, Indian officials said on Friday. The Indian government was in discussions with Bangladesh to facilitate the safe return of the vessel, which was found drifting in international waters having left southern Bangladesh about two weeks ago with hopes of reaching Malaysia. The boat had sailed on Feb. 11 from Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh carrying 56 women and eight girls as well as 21 men and five boys, officials said.
OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he assumes security authorities signed off on an arrangement to allow a company owned by a Chinese police force to run Canada's visa application centre in Beijing. Blair says he can only make assumptions because the arrangement was put in place in 2008, under the previous Conservative government. Still, he says he's been assured by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that the personal information provided by visa applicants is secure. He says the information is handled according to Canada's privacy laws, that no application or biometrically collected data is stored at the centre and that all databases containing personal information are located in Canada. Questions have been raised about the centre since The Globe and Mail reported earlier this month that its operation has been subcontracted to Beijing Shuangxiong Foreign Service Company, which is owned by the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau. Opposition MPs questioned Blair about the possibility that visa applicants' personal information could be relayed to the Chinese government and cause negative repercussions, particularly for dissidents trying to flee the country's repressive Communist regime. Bloc Quebecois MP Stephane Bergeron and New Democrat MP Jack Harris pressed Blair to explain which of Canada's national security agencies signed off on the subcontract to the Chinese police. "I have some difficulty frankly answering your question Mr. Harris about the origins of this contract," Blair told the special committee on Canada-China relations Thursday. "It was signed in 2008. So it's been in place for 12 years now and so its origin and who actually authorized this contract predates me or my government and frankly my knowledge." Blair said there are "normal procurement processes" in place for contracting out services and he assumes they were followed in this case. "I want to make sure that it's clear. I'm only able to make an assumption that those processes were in fact followed because it did take place 12 years ago." "That's not much comfort, I have to say," Harris responded. Blair acknowledged that IRCC is not a security agency but he said it does have an information technology specialist department that has provided assurances that the visa information is secure. He said inspections and audits are regularly conducted to ensure there is no privacy breach of sensitive information and there has been no evidence of a problem. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A headline on a previous version said Bill Blair testified a Conservative government authorized the contracting-out of visa services in Beijing specifically to a company owned by Chinese police.
CALGARY — Hearts rookie Beth Peterson of Team Wild Card Three played like a veteran Thursday at the Canadian women's curling championship. WIth her draw weight in form when she needed it most, Peterson stole a single in the 10th and added another steal in the extra end for a 9-8 victory over Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories. The win gave the young Manitoba-based skip a top-four spot in Pool A at 5-3 and a berth in the championship pool in her first appearance at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. "(We) really pumped each other up and at the same (time) calmed each other down and really supported each other," Peterson said of teammates Jenn Loder, Katherine Doerksen and Brittany Tran. "I think that we were our best team in the 10th and 11th end that we have been this week." Ontario's Rachel Homan beat Canada's Kerri Einarson 7-4 in a rematch of last year's Scotties final. Both teams, who had already secured championship pool spots, moved to 7-1. Alberta's Laura Walker (5-3) locked up the other Pool A berth with an 11-1 victory over Yukon's Laura Eby (0-8). The Pool B picture became clear after the evening draw at the Markin MacPhail Centre. Saskatchewan's Sherry Anderson (6-2), Manitoba's Jennifer Jones (6-2), Quebec's Laurie St-Georges (6-2) and Wild Card One's Chelsea Carey (5-3) made the cut. Anderson secured first place with a 9-3 victory over Sarah Hill of Newfoundland and Labrador. Anderson also edged British Columbia's Corryn Brown 8-7 in the morning draw. Brown rebounded in the evening with a 9-5 win over Prince Edward Island's Suzanne Birt, leaving both teams at 4-4. Jones dumped Nunavut's Lori Eddy 10-3 and St-Georges topped New Brunswick's Melissa Adams 9-7 in the other late games. Galusha (4-4) was eliminated with her loss in the afternoon. Her tap attempt in the 10th end moved the second shot stone just enough to prevent a steal of two. The confident Peterson put the pressure on again in the 11th and Galusha's draw to the button was light. "The girls brought me back in after a few missed shots and we were able to capitalize in the last two ends," Peterson said. "We (threw) pretty much at 100 per cent in those last two ends. I'm thankful for my girls." Team Wild Card Two's Mackenzie Zacharias (3-5) posted a 9-4 win over Northern Ontario's Krysta Burns (2-6) in the other afternoon game. Carey, who's filling in for Tracy Fleury this week, thumped Newfoundland and Labrador 11-2 in the morning in her preliminary round finale. Birt beat Nunavut 10-8 in the morning, that kept her championship pool hopes alive until the evening. The late results ensured there wouldn't be a tiebreaker game on Friday. Jones, seeking a record seventh Hearts title, downed New Brunswick 12-3 in the morning draw. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia's Jill Brothers finished with 3-5 records. Newfoundland and Labrador was 2-6 and Nunavut was 0-8. For the eight teams that advanced, records will carry over into the two-day championship round. Each team will play four games against teams that qualified from the other preliminary round pool. The top three teams will advance to Sunday's playoffs. The top seed goes straight to the evening final and the second- and third-place teams will meet in an afternoon semifinal. The Hearts winner will get a berth in the Tim Hortons Curling Trials and earn $100,000 of the $300,000 total purse. The champion will also return to the 2022 Scotties as Team Canada. If the recently cancelled women's world championship is rescheduled later this season, the Hearts winner will represent Canada. The March 5-14 Tim Hortons Brier will be the next event to be held in the spectator-free bubble. The Canada Olympic Park venue will host six bonspiels in all through late April. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. The Canadian Press
The province reported on Tuesday that a resident of the North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, has had the B1.351 SA (South Africa) COVID-19 variant detected in their test. The individual was tested at the end of January and Public Health’s investigation is ongoing. During a press availability on Thursday, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab explained that deaths and hospitalizations are trending down but we are still seeing hospitalizations and that we should continue to stay the course with following health measures. “Especially because we have seen over the last week that we have found increased isolations of variants of concern not just linked to international travel but showing some initial start of community transmission events of them as well,” Shahab said. The B1.1.7 UK (United Kingdom) variant has also been detected in two residents in the Regina zone. These individuals were tested at the end of January. Based on the contact investigation to date, there is no link to travel at this time but public health's investigation is ongoing. There is also a presumptive case of B1.1.7 UK in one individual in the Saskatoon zone. The individual was transferred from out of province to Saskatoon for acute care. Whole genome sequencing will need to be completed to confirm the results and health's contact investigation is ongoing. The province’s own documents have indicated that Saskatchewan is on track to reduce its cases to a point where health restrictions can be lifted only if people rigidly follow public health orders and no virus variants of concern pop up. Saskatchewan Health Association CEO Scott Livingstone also addressed the caution around the variants being in the province. “While there have been lower case numbers at time in recent weeks the existence of variants of concern is very concerning. This may fuel exponential growth of cases as Dr. Shahab has said. So in the days ahead we are going to need to maintain our diligence, vigilance and moderate these trends very closely,” Livingstone said Shahab explained that COVID-19 testing was just one measure along with things such as physical distancing and mask use. “Testing is an important layer because by testing we know what our status is and if COVID positive we can, for the most part, safely isolate at home for 10 days. For many people it is a milder illness. We can also immediately notify our close contacts so they can isolate for 14 days. And that really is essential to break the chain of transmission.” According to Shahab some people in the province have delayed testing after having symptoms for a few days resulting in outbreaks at workplaces and to make sure you get tested. “You can get tested right away at the onset of symptoms now but if your test is negative and your symptoms are continuing, do get tested again just to make sure that your are COVID negative. I think testing will be an important layer in an ongoing fashion along with easier access to many varieties of testing that will really increase our ability to show a downward trend,” Shahab said. Livingstone also noted the need to follow health orders to continue this downward trend. “We are not out of the woods yet and we can’t take our foot off the gas with respect to adhering to public health orders and insuring that we keep everyone safe as we move through the vaccination program,” he explained. According to Shahab, people should remain vigilant of the most vulnerable as that group continues to be vaccinated “Older age groups are so close to getting vaccinated over the next few weeks and months and I think we should do everything we can to shield the people who are older, who are more vulnerable so that they can successfully get vaccinated. And as you have seen even from our observations, a vaccination is an important step to reduce your chance of getting seriously ill and hopefully over the next few weeks and months that will show in declining hospitalizations and declining deaths,” Shahab said. Both Shahab and Livingstone sent their condolences to the family and friends of the four individuals who passed away due to COVID-19 since Tuesday moving the number who have died since the beginning of the pandemic to 380. “This high number of deaths from COVID in the last couple of months is having a large emotional toll not just on families and friends of those loved ones who passed away but on healthcare workers who work and do everything they can to insure they save lives and protect those individuals across the province from COVID,” Livingstone said. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
(CFSEU-BC - image credit) Drug fugitive Khamla Wong was arrested arriving at Vancouver International Airport Wednesday, according to the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia. Wong was wanted for his connection to the cross-border cocaine and ecstasy trade going back to 2008. Charges of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, conspiracy to import cocaine and possession of a loaded prohibited firearm were laid against him in 2012. CFSEU-BC said the investigation spanned from B.C. to California, Mexico and Peru, and resulted in the seizure of tens of millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs, including: Aug. 21, 2008 — 23 kilograms (117,000 pills) of ecstasy seized in Princeton, B.C. Dec. 20, 2008 — 121 kilograms of cocaine seized at the Pacific Border Crossing. Dec. 24, 2008 — 97 kilograms of cocaine seized at the Pacific Border Crossing. The drugs were hidden inside a commercial transport truck carrying bananas. May, 2009 — 10 kilograms of cocaine seized in Burnaby. In June 2009, seven search warrants were executed at residences in Chilliwack, Burnaby, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford, and Lake Country in the Okanagan. A number of firearms were seized including a restricted .44-calibre Magnum pistol, along with a prohibited .357-calibre Magnum revolver, .38-calibre semi-automatic pistol and .40-calibre semi-automatic pistol. "Time and time again we have sought out individuals living abroad to hold them accountable and face justice in Canada. Those who remain on the run from CFSEU-BC should know that we will not stop until we find you," said Supt. Duncan Pound, CFSEU-BC acting chief officer in a statement. Wong remains in custody.
A decision to send a B.C. teen home from school because of her outfit — a long thin-strapped, lace-trim dress with a turtleneck underneath — has sparked outrage in the community.
(Submitted by Kate Gillis - image credit) When Kate Gillis launched into her masters in Indigenous studies, she quickly noticed a gap in the history. "Being Métis myself, I found that when I wanted to go into my master's and start my research and everything, I found it frustrating that I wasn't necessarily able to see myself in the literature and the research that had been done," Gillis told The Homestretch. The Calgary woman is being honoured for her research into the achievements of Métis women during the first year of her master's in Indigenous studies at the University of Saskatchewan. "In part, it has to do with who has written the history," Gillis said. "When we talk about history in any sense, it's largely written by colonial figures, right? "And so I think there's also a misrecognition of who is Métis. And I think in that, the Métis nation as we know it now, is more than just being mixed blood … there's so much more to that." Indigenous Achievement Week Gillis received an award recognizing academic excellence from the university during Indigenous Achievement Week earlier this month. "It has been absolutely phenomenal," she said. "I will be honest and say it was a little bit of a surprise. But it is great to not only be acknowledged, but to have the support of the faculty at [the university] as well — and just reaffirming that I'm doing the right thing." Gillis said she hopes to bring the accomplishments of Métis women to the forefront. "I'm looking at the period from roughly 1790 to 1840 and just the original establishment of what we now know is the Métis nation, and how the role of women fostered the nation that we know today," she said. The historical research is a matter of "reading between the lines" of the official archives, Gillis said. "Looking at marriage records, birth records, that kind of stuff, and then on top of that, just keeping the contemporary community connections as well," she said. "So I'm hoping to do some oral interviews with community members and Métis women to get both sides of it." Gillis said her research has only showed her how much work there is to do. "It's going to be a long haul, I think, for sure," she said. "So after my master's degree, I will probably go back and do my PhD. "And then after that, I'm hoping to be able to do some teaching and really just share what I've been learning, because I think it is so important, and it is largely men. And yeah, just getting it out there, which I think is the goal of all grad students." Family history Gillis said she has learned about her own family history through the work. "It's been really fascinating, actually, even within my own research … my family is originally from the Red River area. And so I was looking at birth charts and everything, and I literally found my family tree. Like it was mapped out right in front of me," she said. Gillis said she has not experienced a lot of outright racism in her own life. "Not myself. My dad is white and I would consider me and my siblings to be quite white-passing. But I know even my mom and my grandpa especially, they have faced a lot of racism in their lives," she said. "I think, more so than anything, than those like microaggressions — like just people always asking, 'Where are you from?' And then I always get the, 'Oh, I didn't know you were part First Nations.' And I'm like, 'Oh, that's not actually really how it works.'" Both of Gillis' parents are educators within the Calgary Catholic School District — her father is the principal at Holy Child School, while her mother teaches Grade 2 at St. Cyril School. "I feel in part that I'm very grateful," she said. "I feel that education has been very ingrained into not only my interest, but who I am as a person. And I've always found it to be very important." Gillis has settled on two areas of study, based on the Cree terms "wahkohtowin" and "otipemisiwak". "Wahkohtowin is not only familial relations and family members, but it extends to animals, nature, the spiritual world and that," she said. "The other concept is that of otipemisiwak, translating to, 'the people that own themselves' … so, Métis self-determination, and looking at those two terms together, really establishing both the collective and individual experiences — not only of the Native women, but of the nation as a whole." With files from The Homestretch.
WASHINGTON — Less than a month after excoriating Donald Trump in a blistering floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that he would “absolutely” support the former president again if he secured the Republican nomination in 2024. The Kentucky Republican told Fox News that there's still “a lot to happen between now" and the next presidential election. “I've got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus governors and others,” McConnell said. “There's no incumbent. Should be a wide open race.” But when directly asked if he would support Trump again were he to win the nomination, McConnell responded: “The nominee of the party? Absolutely.” McConnell's remarks underscore an awkward balancing act he sought to maintain since Trump lost the election, reflecting the reality that McConnell’s own path back to power in the Senate hinges on enthusiasm from a party base that still ardently supports Trump. McConnell's comments come before an annual gathering of conservative activists that this year is expected to showcase Trump's vice grip-like hold on the GOP base. Trump, along with most other leading 2024 presidential prospects, are set to address the Conservative Political Action Conference, which will be held in Orlando this year due to coronavirus restrictions. McConnell, a regular at the annual conference, will not be on the program following his condemnation of Trump. The 36-year Senate veteran had an expedient relationship with Trump while he was in office. He made a habit of saying little about many of Trump’s outrageous comments. But together they secured key Senate victories such as the 2017 tax cuts and the confirmations of three Supreme Court justices and more than 200 other federal judges. Their relationship soured after Trump’s denial of his Nov. 3 defeat and relentless efforts to reverse the voters’ verdict with his baseless claims that Democrats fraudulently stole the election. It deteriorated further last month, after Republicans lost Senate control with two Georgia runoff defeats they blamed on Trump, followed by the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. The day of the riot, McConnell railed against “thugs, mobs, or threats” and described the attack as “this failed insurrection.” Still, McConnell likes to pride himself on playing the “long game,” which was the title of his 2016 memoir. And his comments on Thursday may yet prove prescient. Recently, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a longtime Trump opponent, predicted the former president would win the nomination if he ran again. “I don't know if he'll run in 2024 or not but if he does I'm pretty sure he will win the nomination,” Romney said during an online forum hosted by the New York Times. Brian Slodysko, The Associated Press
Mélanie Joly compte sur l’immersion française pour soutenir la relève francophone. Dans son livre blanc sur la modernisation sur les langues officielles, Mélanie Joly mise sur l’immersion pour assurer la vitalité du français, hors Québec. Entre pénurie d’enseignants et sous financement chronique, l’Alberta n’a pas forcément les moyens de ses ambitions. Dans son énoncé d’intention, intitulé « Français et Anglais : Vers une égalité réelle des langues officielles au Canada », la ministre du Développement économique et des Langues officielles, Mélanie Joly, souhaite mettre l’accent sur les écoles d’immersion pour renforcer le bilinguisme au pays. Selon elle, cette solution mettrait fin à la liste d’attente de parents anglophones qui souhaitent inscrire leurs enfants dans ces établissements. Cependant, en Alberta, globalement, « il n’y a pas assez d’enseignants qui parlent le français dans les deux systèmes scolaires, celui des écoles d’immersion et le système francophone », explique Michael Tryon, directeur général de Canadian Parents For French, en Alberta, un collectif de parents qui milite pour la promotion du français en milieu scolaire. Selon lui, les chiffres sont encore flous pour dresser un portrait exhaustif concernant les besoins du nombre d’enseignants en français, car chaque conseil scolaire de la province ne donne pas toujours l’heure juste à l’Alberta teacher’s association (ATA). Parmi les 62 conseils scolaires de la province, 42 offrent l’immersion française et chacun est indépendant. L’Association canadienne des professionnels de l’immersion a lancé, voilà quelques jours, une enquête pour sonder cette réalité. À défaut de chiffres, le manque de professeurs se fait sentir, « les baby-boomers partent à la retraite et avec la pandémie les conseils scolaires n’ont pas assez d’enseignants pour enseigner que ce soit en ligne ou en classe », décrit Michael Tryon. Actuellement, l’Alberta compte environ 47 000 étudiants en programme d’immersion française et 147 000 jeunes qui ont le français comme langue seconde, à l’instar des cours d’anglais enseignés au Québec comme langue minoritaire. Dans ce cas-ci, la fréquence de cours est de deux fois par semaine, d’environ 45 minutes chaque. Cependant, la politique de la province ne rend pas obligatoire l’enseignement du français dans tous les conseils scolaires de l’Alberta, ce que déplore le directeur de Canadian Parents For French. « Il n’y a pas de standards minimums en Alberta, j’aimerais que tous les étudiants de la province puissent apprendre le français, mais maintenant ce n’est pas possible », regrette-t-il. La demande en enseignants reste forte, mais l’offre ne suit pas. « On a vraiment besoin d’un coup de pouce, car dans certains coins de la province, c’est difficile de trouver suffisamment d’enseignants », témoigne aussi de son côté, la directrice générale de la Fédération des conseils scolaires francophones de l’Alberta (FCSFA), Anne-Marie Boucher. Selon elle, l’immigration serait un pas supplémentaire pour remédier au manque chronique d’enseignants dans la province. « S’il y avait plus d’immigrations francophones, cela pourrait aider », explique-t-elle. Depuis des années, la cible des 4 % fixée par le gouvernement fédéral pour garder le même taux de francophones dans les provinces n’est toujours pas atteinte, notamment en Alberta qui se situerait autour de 2 %. En attendant, selon Marianne Jacquet, professeur en éducation dans le programme de formation des maîtres, au Campus Saint-Jean, la relève est bien présente avec « l’immigration internationale qui est un allié pour la francophonie et les jeunes issus de l’immersion », dit-elle. « Entre 60 et 65 % des étudiants qui sont au Campus Saint-Jean viennent des écoles d’immersion », précise Michael Tryon. Aujourd’hui, s’il y a pénurie des enseignants, « il y a aussi un grand intérêt de la part des familles, il faut capitaliser sur cet intérêt », fait remarquer la professeure en éducation. Cependant, « pour que cette modernisation devienne réalité, il faut qu’elle soit accompagnée de ressources et de financements afin qu’elle soit vraiment réaliste », met-elle en avant. Bien que le Campus Saint-Jean souffre toujours d’un sou financement important, il ouvrira, en septembre prochain, un programme d’éducation en français à Red Deer, Calgary et Grande Prairie, financé dans le cadre de l’Entente Canada-Alberta. « L’avenir du Canada réside dans la dualité linguistique. Il s’agit de voir ce qui sera mis en place dans le livre blanc. C’est important, car je pense que l’avenir du pays en dépend », déclare Pierre-Yves Mocquet, doyen du Campus Saint-Jean. En effet, dans le livre blanc de Mélanie Joly, le recensement de 2016 indique que le taux de bilinguisme dans la majorité anglophone stagne sous la barre des 10 %. Hélène Lequitte, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
A plan to expand the Crescent Acres neighbourhood took another step forward with the approval of a plan begin to begin annexing a portion of the neighbouring municipality. City councillors voted unanimously Monday to annex 44 acres of land from the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert. The motion to support the boundary changes was moved by Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick who, along with Ward 6 Coun. Blake Edwards, was pleased to see the report before council. The other part of the motion would see administration meet with representatives of the RM to negotiate both the annexation settlement and agreement. Ogrodnick explained that at community meetings a north access to Crescent Acres was a major issue for residents. The eventual expansion would ease congestion at 15th Avenue and Muzzy Road as well as on Olive Diefenbaker drive. “Once that north access comes into play and gets built, it will help the eastern parts of both of our wards. This is a good agreement as long as we are able to build this and it is something that the residents of both of those wards badly want and are happy that our director is moving forward with this,” Ogrodnick said. Ward 8 Coun. Ted Zurakowski also voiced his approval of the eventual north access to the neighborhood as a great step in the development of Prince Albert and saluted the work done on the file. “It is not only an issue in that area but in terms of traffic flow throughout our whole city because you absolutely avoid that area of town at certain times of the day. Well done let’s move on,” Zurakowski said. Mayor Greg Dionne thanked the city manager and both the previous and current council for their work. “I have been on council for 19 years and boy there was lots of talking but I have got to thank this council and the council before for bringing this forward,” Dionne said during the meeting. After the meeting, Dionne explained that opening up another access point on Crescent Acres will also benefit development. “We are having more and more development there on Hadley and other streets in the back there and that’s where our new lots are. So before we get them all open let’s get the traffic out to the highway,” he explained. The land to be annexed has already been bought by the city. They hope to extend Byars Street and add another highway junction at Highway 302. Once the Byars Street extension is done, the city plans to later extend Olive Diefenbaker Drive. The city purchased 80 acres in 2020. Development of the rest of the land, which remains within the RM’s boundary, will be up to the RM council. “It is up to them to plan for, but we want to be proactive and be a partnership to how that land is developed, Guidinger said. The planned construction is part of a larger Transportation Master Plan and a future Crescent Acres Neighborhood Plan. The extension of Byars Street was already included in the 2021 budget by public works. The cost is $200,000 for required engineering design and geotechnical work with $700,000 expected to be added for construction in the 2022 budget. The proposal was initially presented at an in camera session on Feb. 1 and presented to RM council on Feb. 11. The RM was receptive, and only had a few questions about taxation and timing. The process of land annexation is when land is transferred from one municipality to another neighbouring municipality. There are a number of steps in the process, including consultation with the municipality in question, negotiation of a payment for the land in question and the annexation agreement and public notice. The first steps in annexation were completed with the presentation to the RM of Prince Albert. Once there is a complementary resolution from the RM, the city and RM can enter into negotiations to negotiate a purchase cost. The city intends to propose a financial settlement similar to those in the past. The value of the settlement will be directly connected to the current agricultural tax rate applied to the land multiplied by a 22.5 years. Other costs will come from issuing public notice and other legal items such as preparation of the agreement itself among others. Once the annexation price and terms of agreement have been negotiated, city administration will report back to council. The annexation team will included the directors of planning and development and public works, planning manager and capital projects, city solicitor’s office, city clerk’s office, director of the Prince Albert and District Planning Commission, Reeve Eric Schmalz and administrator Roxanne Roy of the RM of Prince Albert. -with files from Peter Lozinski, Prince Albert Daily Herald Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Futur dentists, dental hygienists-in-training and instructors of oral medicine in Manitoba are wanted for a new study on the risks associated with COVID-19 infection, transmission and immunity. Ottawa has earmarked $1.4 million through its COVID-19 immunity task force to fund a national study that aims to investigate the effect the novel coronavirus has on people who work in dental clinics, labs and offices on university campuses. The University of Manitoba is among 10 schools recruiting dental and dental hygiene students, as well as residents, faculty, and support staff involved with patient care to take part in the McGill University-led research project. While many university programs have moved online amid the pandemic, dentistry students and staff have continued to do in-person labs to practise procedures on mannequins and patients. “Many of our medical counterparts have transitioned to doing virtual consults with their patients, but it’s a little bit harder to do that with clinical dentistry,” said Dr. Robert Schroth, a professor and clinician scientist at the Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry in Winnipeg. “We’re such a unique population, in that we’re very closely in confined quarters with aerosols.” Despite heightened personal protective equipment, that reality puts dentistry students and staff, theoretically, at a higher risk for acquiring COVID-19, Schroth said, noting aerosol transmission is recognized as one of the main ways the novel coronavirus is transmitted. The Manitoba Dental Association has released guidelines to encourage dentistry professionals to use aerosol-reduction techniques, including using a rubber dam and doing pre-procedural antiviral rinses, when treating patients. Schroth said the research team behind the new study wants to know if existing preventive measures are working or if they need to be adjusted. The researchers plan to secure 800 participants, from dentistry colleges in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Every month for a year, participants are expected to provide a saliva sample and answer a questionnaire. The former will allow researchers to test samples for active SARS-CoV-2 infections, while the latter will allow for sociodemographic, socioeconomic, and health status information to be collected. If an individual tests positive, they will be asked for additional saliva and blood samples so researchers can perform antibody tests to determine if they have any signs of immunity to COVID-19. The research team will also collect data from each dentistry college about their training settings, infection-control protocols, counts of students and staff and total COVID-19 cases. As vaccines roll out, participants who are immunized will be monitored to see what their immune response is like. Manitoba recently broadened COVID-19 immunization criteria to include all health-care professionals who have direct contact with patients in dental offices. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) CEO Scott Livingstone addressed concerns about how vaccinations are rolling out in the province during a media availability on Thursday. Livingstone explained that the province is still working on strengthening processes and communication around availability. “We are committed to a vaccine distribution process that is fast, fair, transparent and safe. As you have seen, we are making great strides in getting our infrastructure up quickly to manage higher volumes of vaccine as they arrive,” Livingstone said. There have been as many as 4,000 vaccines delivered in a single day and he is confident Saskatchewan can deliver more that. “As an example, out of those 4,000 vaccines that were delivered on the weekend, on Saturday, 3,300 were in rural and northern Saskatchewan and were not using our large vaccination capabilities in either Regina and Saskatoon,” Livingstone said. In recent weeks, the process for notifying individuals 70-years-old and over has been a hot button issue for the SHA. Livingstone explained that in phase one of the rollout vaccines are distributed at community long-term care and personal care home residents and certain prioritized healthcare workers as a priority group. “After those populations are vaccinated, local public health officers or officials will be establishing clinics for residents 70 plus. To fill these clinics, we are contacting eligible recipients wherever possible by phone based on their age and location until all available appointments are filled,” Livingstone said. The subject of vaccination in Prince Albert was addressed during the regular councillor’s forum at the end of the city council meeting on Monday by Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick. He used part of his time in the forum to let the public know that public health was contacting people to get vaccinated in the city. “So just for people that are watching, make sure you answer your phone when you see that unknown number because that is your chance to get vaccinated. And I thank the health district and public health for actually making it a lot easier for seniors to get vaccinated rather than posting it on social media and you have to phone in and hope to heck that you are one that gets in there and a lot of those seniors don’t have access to technology,” Ogrodnick said. Priority sequencing continues in phase two as the oldest residents are contacted first and then descending ages are contacted. “Note that the appointment availability is driven by vaccine availability. At this time there isn’t a clinic in the province that is able to receive enough vaccines to immunize all residents eligible in phase one. Once these appointments are filled, the clinic must be suspended until more vaccines are made available to the province,” the province said. Livingstone explained that shifting vaccine availability creates challenges for residents who are aware of clinics but have not been contacted and for public health officials who have to shift each week because of lack of consistent supplies. “We are currently looking at many ways to improve the booking process, not just for phase one but also phase two in the province and you will see some important changes very soon,” Livingstone said. In the future, the system will be moving to residents contacting health authorities to choose a local vaccination site and vaccination time which will improve the process. “It will still be hampered by a lack of vaccine supply — until that vaccine starts flowing in a consistent manner,” Livingstone said. Livingstone explained that a website and phone number with this information will be available in the next 10 days. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
WASHINGTON — The Senate parliamentarian dealt a potentially lethal blow Thursday to Democrats’ drive to hike the minimum wage, deciding that the cherished progressive goal must fall from a massive COVID-19 relief bill the party is trying to speed through Congress. The finding by Elizabeth MacDonough, the chamber’s nonpartisan arbiter of its rules, means Democrats face an overwhelmingly uphill battle to boost the minimum wage this year because of solid Republican opposition. Their proposal would raise the federal minimum gradually to $15 hourly by 2025, well above the $7.25 floor in place since 2009. President Joe Biden was “disappointed” in the outcome but respected the parliamentarian's ruling, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. The Senate has a long tradition of obeying the parliamentarian's decisions with few exceptions, a history that is revered by traditionalists like Biden, a 36-year Senate veteran. “He will work with leaders in Congress to determine the best path forward because no one in this country should work full time and live in poverty,” Psaki said. Democrats are pushing the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief measure through Congress under special rules that will let them avoid a Senate filibuster by Republicans, a tactic that Democrats would need an unattainable 60 votes to defeat. But those same Senate rules prohibit provisions with only an “incidental” impact on the federal budget because they are chiefly driven by other policy purposes. The parliamentarian decides if provisions pass that test. MacDonough's decision now forces Democrats to make politically painful choices about what to do next on the minimum wage, which has long caused internal party rifts. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Democrats “are not going to give up the fight” to raise the minimum wage to $15. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, hailed MacDonough's decision. He said it shows the special procedure that Democrats are using to protect the relief bill “cannot be used as a vehicle to pass major legislative change — by either party — on a simple majority vote." Republicans solidly oppose the $15 minimum wage target as an expense that would hurt businesses and cost jobs. They also oppose the overall relief bill, saying it’s too expensive, not targeted enough at the people and businesses that most need it and a grab bag of gifts for Democratic allies. In the wake of the decision, Democratic leaders were likely to face unrest from rank-and-file lawmakers, who have long had differences over the federal minimum wage. They can afford little dissension: Democrats have just a 10-vote edge in the House and no votes to spare in the Senate. Progressives seeking to maximize Democratic control of the White House and Congress have wanted party leaders to push aggressively on the issue. But Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have voiced opposition to including the minimum wage hike in the relief bill, and other moderates have expressed concerns, too. Even so, MacDonough's decision might actually make passage of the overall relief bill easier because efforts to find a minimum wage compromise among Democrats could have been contentious. Democrats have said they could still pursue a minimum wage boost in free-standing legislation or attach it to legislation expected later this year that is to be aimed at a massive infrastructure program. But they’d still face the challenge of garnering 60 Senate votes, a hurdle that has upended Democratic attempts to boost the minimum wage for over a decade. Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a chief sponsor of the minimum wage effort, blamed “archaic and undemocratic" Senate rules for the setback. He said he'd try amending the overall relief package to erase tax deductions from large corporations that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour and to provide incentives to small businesses to raise wages. The parliamentarian's decision came to light the night before Democrats were set to push through the House an initial version of the $1.9 trillion relief legislation that still includes the minimum wage boost. “House Democrats believe that the minimum wage hike is necessary. Therefore, this provision will remain in the" bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. The overall relief bill is Biden’s first legislative priority. It is aimed at combating a year-old pandemic that’s stalled much of the economy, killed half a million Americans and reshaped the daily lives of virtually everyone. Despite their paper-thin congressional majorities, Democratic leaders were hoping that House approval of the package would be followed by passage in the Senate, where changes seem likely. Democrats are aiming to get the legislation to Biden’s desk by mid-March. The relief bill would provide millions of people with $1,400 direct payments. It contains billions of dollars for vaccines and COVID-19 testing, schools, state and local governments, the ailing restaurant and airline industries and emergency jobless benefits while providing tax breaks to lower earners and families with children. In a study that’s been cited by both sides in the clash, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the $15 increase would increase wages for 27 million workers and lift 900,000 people out of poverty by 2025, but would also kill 1.4 million jobs. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have state minimum wages that exceed the federal $7.25 hourly floor, with only the District of Columbia currently requiring a $15 minimum. Seven states have laws putting their minimums on a pathway to $15 in a future year, according to the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures Alan Fram, The Associated Press
Le chef-propriétaire du restaurant Wong à Québec livre les secrets de cette cuisine métissée. Macaroni chinois, poulet à l’ananas, côtes levées bouillies dans le sucre ; commander « du chinois » reste un classique des repas pour emporter. Steven Wong, chef-propriétaire du restaurant Wong et descendant de la première famille chinoise autorisée à immigrer à Québec, livre les secrets de cette cuisine métissée. L’enseigne du restaurant Wong n’a pas changé d’un iota depuis son ouverture vers 1960. L’établissement familial éclaire encore aujourd’hui de ses ampoules blanches et de ses néons rouges la rue De Buade, au cœur du Vieux-Québec. En entrevue, la fierté de son propriétaire, Steven Wong, est palpable, lui qui évolue dans une industrie surtout marquée par les ouvertures et les fermetures à la chaîne. Celui-ci se targue d’ailleurs de posséder le seul restaurant chinois de Québec qui n’a pas changé de nom ou d’enseigne depuis son ouverture. Mais la communauté chinoise qui gravitait autrefois autour du restaurant, elle, a bien changé, constate le chef. « Quand j’étais petit, je me rappelle qu’il y avait toujours plein de monde au restaurant. On faisait des dumplings, des desserts… Aujourd’hui, il n’y a plus la communauté comme avant. » Le restaurant Wong a été lancé par le grand-père de Steven, Fred, arrivé au Québec au tournant des années 1920 alors qu’il n’avait que 13 ans. Sa famille avait fui la pauvreté extrême et la répression politique qui sévissaient en Chine. L’ouverture du restaurant Wong n’a pas été de tout repos, Fred Wong ayant été victime de racisme et de discrimination de la part des autorités. Il faut dire qu’à l’époque, la première vague d’immigrants asiatique causait bien des frictions dans un Québec rompu au conservatisme. « Mon père disait qu’en revenant de l’école, il y avait toujours des enfants qui attendaient pour lui donner une volée », confie Steven. Lorsque Fred Wong veut installer son enseigne, la Ville ne cesse de lui mettre des bâtons dans les roues, soutient son petit-fils. On lui refuse, sans toutefois lui fournir les raisons motivant cette décision. Loin de se laisser démonter, l’homme demande des conseils à l’un de ses clients réguliers qui se trouve à travailler à l’hôtel de ville. « Il s’est fait dire de laisser une enveloppe blanche contenant 75 $ en dessous de la porte de tel bureau un vendredi soir, à telle heure, et d’accrocher son enseigne à minuit et qu’aucune question ne sera posée… Et c’est exactement ce qu’il a fait », raconte Steven. Comme d’innombrables migrants de Chine installés au Québec — et ailleurs au pays —, l’ouverture d’un restaurant permet à Fred et à sa famille de survivre dans une société plutôt hostile aux étrangers. Avec peu de moyens, les chefs d’origine chinois rivalisent de débrouillardise pour mettre au point leur menu. « La plupart des premiers immigrants chinois en Amérique du Nord venaient tous du sud de la Chine. C’est un endroit extrêmement pauvre. Ils n’avaient pas grand-chose, alors il fallait qu’ils s’adaptent. Les gens faisaient avec ce qu’ils avaient. C’est exactement ce que les Chinois ont fait en arrivant ici. » Aux dires de Steven Wong, ainsi naquit le fameux macaroni chinois. « Un jour, un chef à Québec avait manqué de nouilles chinoises. Ça fait qu’il a envoyé quelqu’un à l’épicerie pour acheter des macaronis. Les gens ont aimé ça. Ça ressemblait un peu à ce qu’ils connaissaient et ça a fait fureur. » Entre le bœuf au gingembre typique des prairies canadiennes et le chow mein unique à Terre-Neuve, le macaroni chinois du Québec mériterait sa place dans le panthéon culinaire du pays, selon lui. « Je pense que chaque province au Canada a sa version de la cuisine chinoise-canadienne. » Aujourd’hui, Steven Wong tente de s’éloigner du menu classique des restaurants chinois. « Je suis à moitié chinois, j’ai grandi à Québec », fait-il remarquer. « Ça fait que j’apprécie la cuisine québécoise, la cuisine plus européenne, mais j’ai aussi mon côté chinois. Et puis j’aime voyager alors j’ai essayé d’avoir un menu qui me ressemble. » Quand il décide de renouveler sa carte, par exemple en retirant les côtes levées sucrées, il entame un travail de « rééducation » auprès de sa clientèle. « C’est une des choses que j’ai le plus de misère à faire : changer l’image que les gens ont du restaurant chinois. On est tellement habitué que ça soit “ça”, que dès qu’on pense en dehors de la boite, les gens sont déboussolés », dit-il. « J’ai déjà entendu quelqu’un dire : ils n’ont même pas de buffet, ce n’est pas un restaurant chinois ! » Entre les habitudes québécoises et les attentes des nombreux touristes chinois, il joue l’équilibriste, cuisinant les ingrédients d’Orient avec les techniques d’Occident. Par exemple, son menu inclut une burrata aux poires asiatiques et des chips de won-ton frits. « On essaye de donner d’autres choix, avec des goûts plus authentiques, mais qui ne vont pas trop dépayser. » La pandémie a forcé la fermeture des buffets chinois et obligé Steven Wong à cuisiner du riz frit et des eggs roll à la tonne, l’essentiel des commandes pour apporter qu’il reçoit. Il espère cependant que les clients sauront reconnaître la valeur de ces coins d’Asie en terre d’Amérique. « Même si on a nos racines québécoises, il y a beaucoup d’influences externes qui ont influencé qui l’on est comme Québécois. On commence à réaliser ça. » Jean-Louis Bordeleau, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Devoir
WINNIPEG — Kyle Connor scored two goals and the Winnipeg Jets spoiled the debut of the Montreal Canadiens' new head coach Dominique Ducharme with a 6-3 win on Thursday. Nate Thompson scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, while Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele each had a goal and an assist. Blake Wheeler also scored and added two assists for the Jets (12-6-1), who've won three in a row. Joel Armia scored twice for the Canadiens (9-6-4), who've lost four straight. Tomas Tatar scored the Habs other goal while Jeff Petry had two assists. The Canadiens fired head coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller on Wednesday, promoting Ducharme to interim head coach. The move came on the heels of Montreal's 5-4 shootout loss to Ottawa the previous night. Ducharme originally joined the Canadiens coaching staff in 2018 after 10 seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. After lofty pre-season expectations and a hot start to the season, the Habs have struggled, plummeting to fourth in the North Division. The misery continued despite the coaching change, and raised more questions about struggling goalie Carey Price, with Habs fans calling for backup Jake Allen. Price allowed five goals on 29 shots, while Winnipeg netminder Connor Hellebuyck only had to make 18 saves for the win. Armia got Montreal on the scoreboard in the first period with his third goal of the season, firing a shot through the legs of Hellebuyck at 13:45. Armia notched No. 4 at 17:29 with the Canadiens in transition again. After a gesture from Jonathan Drouin to head for the net, Armia redirected Drouin's pass past Hellebuyck. Connor sliced the difference in half on the power play with his ninth goal of the season at 5:37 of a second period that saw three Jets goals, poking in the puck past Price in a scramble in front of the net. The Habs answered with their own power-play goal from Tatar at 7:33 of the second, but Connor cut the lead to a goal once again, finishing a tic-tac-toe passing play at 11:50. Wheeler scored at 14:31 to tie the game 3-3- heading into the third period. Mason Appleton slid the puck to Thompson, who scored through Price's legs for the go-ahead at 6:37 of the third. Dubois padded the Jets lead at 12:37, and Sheifele had an empty-netter at 18:22. Montreal lost forward Josh Anderson to an injury in the first period. Anderson collided with Jets defenceman Dylan DeMelo. He finished his shift but then headed to the locker-room, and was ultimately ruled out. The Habs and Jets meet again on Saturday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press