We've all been in this situation before!
We've all been in this situation before!
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
DEER LAKE, N.L. — Police in Newfoundland and Labrador said they arrested a man with a "large quantity" of knives in a parking lot outside an election candidate's office Tuesday.A spokeswoman for Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said his campaign has been advised he was likely the intended target."The police investigation is ongoing, but from what we know so far we’d like to thank the members of the public who stepped in to do what they could to prevent an unimaginable outcome, and all police officers who ensured the safety of the public," Furey spokeswoman Meghan McCabe said in a release Tuesday evening."This is a traumatic incident, for everyone working and volunteering in Newfoundland and Labrador’s election."In a news release, RCMP said they were notified Tuesday morning about a man behaving strangely, talking about guns and saying he was going to Deer Lake in western Newfoundland to stop the provincial election, which is set for Feb. 13. Deer Lake is in the Humber-Gros Morne electoral district, where Furey is running, though McCabe confirmed he was not there at the time of the incident.Police said they found the man driving a truck just outside of Deer Lake and tried unsuccessfully to flag him down. A high-speed chase ensued as the man drove through the town and finally stopped in a parking lot at a local business, in which a provincial election candidate maintains an office, police said. "The man was removed from the vehicle and was arrested in the parking lot. Officers located and seized a large quantity of various knives inside the vehicle," RCMP said in the release. "The truck was seized and impounded."The release did not name the candidate but McCabe said in a statement that Furey's campaign was told he was likely the target. "Our team is connecting with the leadership of the other political parties and connecting with our team members on the ground in Deer Lake to offer support," she said. She said Furey would release another statement as more details become available.Police said there is no longer a concern for public safety and that they anticipate the man will be charged with "a number of criminal and traffic offences." The investigation is ongoing, they said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
JASPER, Alta. — The Jasper Park Lodge has been booked out from the end of February until the end of April, but hotel management isn't disclosing who will be staying at the well-known Rocky Mountain retreat during the nine-week block. All 446 rooms at the sprawling Alberta hotel are unavailable to book online between Feb. 23 and April 29. A hotel spokesperson says there is a private booking, but could not comment further for privacy reasons. Guests who previously made bookings for that time have had their reservations cancelled, fuelling speculation online that the hotel could be soon be a filming site. Steve Young, a spokesman for Jasper National Park, says officials have not received a request for a film permit. He says one would be required if any commercial filming was being done in the park. Asked about the possibility of a film crew coming up to Alberta, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, said her team is working on a framework to decide whether to give such crews exemptions to COVID-19 restrictions. She said the Alberta framework would consider two issues when deciding on exemptions. "Number 1 is whether or not there's any risk to the public, whether any of the activities could potentially cause (COVID-19) spread," Hinshaw said Tuesday. "Number 2: As we consider any potential request for exemptions, we also consider the broader public interest." She said if the crew comes from beyond Canada's border, it would need federal approval. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. -- With files from CTV Edmonton. The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Quebec plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions in some regions as of Feb. 8 if the situation in the province continues to improve, Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday. Legault said the average number of new cases in the province has declined in recent weeks — something he credits to government measures that include a nighttime curfew. The premier said he would announce more details next week, but he said the Montreal region was likely to be kept under a higher tier of restrictions than other areas of the province. The government has introduced a series of measures aimed at curbing COVID-19 in recent weeks, including closing non-essential businesses, requiring those who can to work from home and imposing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The curfew was originally set to expire Feb. 8, but Legault implied that Quebec's biggest city should be prepared to endure strict measures for longer. "Everyone sees the situation is much different in greater Montreal than what we're living in the rest of Quebec," Legault told reporters. In the last few weeks, the average number of new cases in the province has gone down, from an average of about 2,500 a day to about 1,500, Legault said. But he said hospitalizations are still too high, especially in Montreal. Currently, there are more than 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the city, and more than half of surgeries are delayed, he said. Health Minister Christian Dube said the decision for each region would be based on a combination of factors, including case numbers, hospitalizations and outbreaks. He did not rule out roadblocks or other measures to stop people from travelling between regions to take advantage of softer rules, but said a balance will need to be found to ensure people can still travel for necessary reasons and that police aren't overworked. Horacio Arruda, the province's director of public health, said the situation in the province remains "unstable" and the progress made in recent weeks could easily be derailed by the spread of a new variant or a population that eases off on following public health directives. "We can’t think in the next weeks, 'That's it, we’ll go back to normal,'" he said. "That’s the most dangerous thing that threatens us." Citing the danger posed by new variants, Legault expressed frustration with the federal government's failure to announce any new concrete restrictions for travellers, such as mandatory quarantine in supervised hotels or banning non-essential trips altogether. "We're in a little bit the same situation as the beginning of March of last year, where we have a little bit of trouble with Mr. Trudeau for him to act quickly to prevent travellers from coming to infect the population of Quebec," Legault said. Arruda said he was also considering imposing restrictions on interprovincial travel, with his counterparts in other provinces, in order, he said, to limit the spread of the new variants, one of which has already begun to circulate in Ontario. "There is federal, provincial and territorial discussion on that issue, especially in the context of the new strains," he said. Arruda said limiting travel inside the country was more difficult than sealing external borders, but that the restrictions imposed by the Atlantic provinces prove it's not impossible. Quebec reported 1,166 new cases of COVID-19 and 57 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, including four that occurred in the past 24 hours. Health officials said Tuesday that hospitalizations rose by three, to 1,324, following six consecutive days of decreases in the number of COVID-related patients. The number of people in intensive care remained stable at 217. Officials said they administered 5,927 doses of vaccine Monday and said they had used all but 13,221 of the doses received thus far. Dube said the province passed the milestone of vaccinating 225,000 people — about two weeks ahead of schedule — but that the ongoing delay in shipments from manufacturer Pfizer would inevitably cause slowdowns. Quebec has reported a total of 256,002 infections and 9,577 deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 26, 2021. Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
The Village of Delia has plenty to celebrate from 2020, including a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and the start of construction on the new Delia School, and the village is expecting a productive 2021. “During the past three years, council has been busy moving ahead with some of the programs that had been put forward during the election of 2017, along with programs required under the Municipal Government Act (MGA),” stated Mayor David Sisley in his regular Mayor’s Message. Tracy Breese joined the Village of Delia as the new Chief Administrative Officer in April 2020. Currently, the village office is undergoing software upgrades, which have been ongoing since August and training is anticipated to continue through February, according to CAO Breese. One of the biggest accomplishments for the village was breaking ground on the new K-12 school for the community. The Delia School Enhancement Society (DSES) worked diligently to raise funds for a community hub to be included in the new school and has raised more than $1.2 million. Shunda Consulting and Construction Management was announced as the general contractor in September and, on September 21 the groundbreaking ceremony was held. Drumheller-Stettler MLA Nate Horner, Prairie Land School Division Superintendent Cam McKeage and Delia trustee Shandele Battle, and members of Delia School staff were in attendance. Another major accomplishment for the village was the completion of a $1.5 million expansion of the village’s water storage facilities. The expansion will supply an uninterrupted supply of high-quality drinking water during any emergency without straining the existing water supply. Over the last two years, businesses and residents have enjoyed a rate freeze for both residential and business taxes. “Due to COVID-19 and the downloading of costs from the higher levels of government, and the lower grant monies available, council will have to look at some tax increases,” stated the Mayor’s Message. The COVID-19 pandemic also forced the village to cancel several events in 2020, including the Delia Light Up the Night event in December. While the event was cancelled, decorations and lights were hung throughout the village thanks to community volunteers, and the Delia Fire Department escorted The Grinch and Santa on Christmas Eve to help residents celebrate the holidays. The village is looking forward to the reopening of the Delia Hotel as it comes under new management in early 2021; no date for reopening has been announced at this time. There are also plans to begin work on replacing sidewalks throughout the village, with hopes to complete the project in the spring. Due to restrictions on social gatherings, the public has been unable to attend regular council meetings in Delia. The technology available at the village office is “old and mostly obsolete” and the village has been unable to hold council meetings by teleconference or other means. CAO Breese told the Mail, “I am putting forward a Request for Decision at February’s meeting to use the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) grant to get our technology up to speed to be able to do (Zoom meetings).” She adds transitioning to a platform which allows residents to attend council meetings remotely will “allow a greater access.” Delia’s council is made up of Mayor David Sisley, Deputy Mayor Robyn Thompson-Lake, and Councillor Jordan Elliot. Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
WASHINGTON — All but five Senate Republicans voted in favour of an effort to dismiss Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial on Tuesday, making clear a conviction of the former president for “incitement of insurrection” after the deadly Capitol siege on Jan. 6 is unlikely. While the Republicans did not succeed in ending the trial before it began, the test vote made clear that Trump still has enormous sway over his party as he becomes the first former president to be tried for impeachment. Many Republicans have criticized Trump's role in the attack — before which he told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat — but most of them have rushed to defend him in the trial. “I think this was indicative of where a lot of people’s heads are," said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, after the vote. Late Tuesday, the presiding officer at the trial, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was taken to the hospital for observation after not feeling well at his office, spokesman David Carle said in a statement. The 80-year-old senator was examined by the Capitol's attending physician, who recommended he be taken to the hospital out of an abundance of caution, he said. Leahy presided over the trial's first procedural vote, a 55-45 tally that saw the Senate set aside an objection from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul that would have declared the impeachment proceedings unconstitutional and dismissed the trial. The vote means the trial on Trump's impeachment will begin as scheduled the week of Feb. 8. The House impeached him Jan. 13, just a week after the deadly insurrection in which five people died. What seemed for some Democrats like an open-and-shut case that played out for the world on live television is running into a Republican Party that feels very different. Not only do senators say they have legal concerns, but they are wary of crossing the former president and his legions of followers. It's unclear if any Republicans would vote to convict Trump on the actual charge of incitement after voting in favour of Paul's effort to declare it unconstitutional. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said after the vote that he had not yet made up his mind, and that constitutionality “is a totally different issue” than the charge itself. But many others indicated that they believe the final vote will be similar. The vote shows that “they've got a long ways to go to prove it,” Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said of House Democrats' charge. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, said he thinks the vote was “a floor not a ceiling.” Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford said he thinks that most Republicans will not see daylight between the constitutionality and the article of incitement. “You’re asking me to vote in a trial that by itself on its own is not constitutionally allowed?” he asked. Conviction would require the support of all Democrats and 17 Republicans, or two-thirds of the Senate — far from the five Republicans who voted with Democrats Tuesday to allow the trial to proceed. They were Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania — all recent critics of the former president and his effort to overturn President Joe Biden's win. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said Trump “provoked” the riots and indicated he is open to conviction, voted with Paul to move toward dismissing the trial. Democrats rejected the argument that the trial is illegitimate or unconstitutional because Trump is no longer in office, pointing to an 1876 impeachment of a secretary of war who had already resigned and to the opinions of many legal scholars. Democrats also say that a reckoning of the first invasion of the Capitol since the War of 1812, perpetrated by rioters egged on by a president as Electoral College votes were being tallied, is necessary. “It makes no sense whatsoever that a president, or any official, could commit a heinous crime against our country and then defeat Congress’ impeachment powers — and avoid a vote on disqualification — by simply resigning, or by waiting to commit that offence until their last few weeks in office,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Before the vote, the senators officially opened the trial by taking oaths to ensure “impartial justice” as jurors. The nine House Democrats prosecuting the case against Trump carried the sole impeachment charge across the Capitol on Monday evening in a solemn and ceremonial march along the same halls the rioters ransacked three weeks ago. The lead House prosecutor, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, stood before the Senate to describe the violent events of Jan. 6 and read the House resolution charging “high crimes and misdemeanours.” For Democrats the tone, tenor and length of the trial so early in Biden's presidency poses its own challenge, forcing them to strike a balance between their vow to hold Trump accountable and their eagerness to deliver on the new administration's priorities following their sweep of control of the House, Senate and White House. Chief Justice John Roberts is not presiding at the trial, as he did during Trump’s first impeachment, potentially affecting the gravitas of the proceedings. The shift is said to be in keeping with protocol because Trump is no longer in office. Instead, Leahy, who serves in the largely ceremonial role of Senate president pro tempore, was sworn in on Tuesday. Leaders in both parties agreed to a short delay in the proceedings, which serves their political and practical interests, even as National Guard troops remain at the Capitol because of security threats to lawmakers ahead of the trial. The start date gives Trump’s still-evolving legal team time to prepare its case, while also providing more than a month's distance from the passions of the bloody riot. For the Democratic-led Senate, the intervening weeks provide prime time to confirm some of Biden’s key Cabinet nominees. Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
Ojibway Park will be closed to the public from Wednesday to Friday for trail maintenance. The temporary closure will give staff time to replenish mulch on the trails, which will help maintain the safety of the paths for users, said the City of Windsor in a news release Tuesday. The maintenance is needed during the winter months when the ground is frozen and wildlife are hibernating, the city said. In the meantime, the city said there are other city-owned natural areas to explore including Black Oak Heritage Park, Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park, Spring Garden Natural Area, Oakwood Natural Area, South Cameron Natural Area and Little River Corridor. More from CBC Windsor
One of Orangeville’s premier recreation venue has changed locations recently. Far Shot Orangeville has downsized their arena but hopes the added exposure, on 400 Townline Rd., will bring in more clientele. “Our last location was at a warehouse area,” said Benn MacDonald, owner of Far Shot Orangeville. It wasn’t the best place. It was great for what we had at the time. We had an indoor archery range as well of 40 yards.” Groups of 10, once lockdown restrictions are lifted, will be available to participate. Small groups for one hour cost $25 per person and large groups for two hours cost $40 per person. They also plan to obtain their own liquor license. With COVID, nearly every booking is a private one. Just you, your family & friends and one coach. Strangers never share lanes no matter how small your group size is. They take a minimum of two people. “We’ll only do one group at a time,” said Macdonald. “Unfortunately, we can’t do walk-ins with all the restrictions going on. This has affected us quite a bit. We’re hoping once all of this opens up again, our walk-in hours can return.” Macdonald admits they did lose their archery ring because of the smaller location, but he believes it was a good trade-off for the exposure. They are also able to provide a mobile service, bringing all their axe, knife and archery equipment to your backyard. “The furthest we have gone was Niagara Falls,” said Macdonald. “We charge that travel. For anyone local, we don’t charge a fee for that.” An eight-week league is also available for $140. It begins on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. Practice begins at 7 p.m. and the game starts at 8 p.m. A week 4 light dinner is on them and on week 8 is the championship with a potluck supper. “We compete with the World Axe Throwing League,” said MacDonald. “Our club actually won the championship in 2017 and I served as the head judge. I travelled all across North America officiating on major tournaments on ESPN.” Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
Police in the Northwest Territories are warning people not to use illicit drugs after two noxious substances were found in drugs seized in Yellowknife. RCMP say they seized crack cocaine, powder cocaine and tablets on Nov. 27 at a residence in the city. A Health Canada analysis of the drugs found two toxic substances not found before in the territory. Those substances are: Adinazolam, a type of tranquillizer that is listed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; and, 5-MeO-DBT, a psychedelic drug that is not controlled. Yellowknife RCMP Insp. Dyson Smith says he's concerned those who already use illicit drugs in the territory could be harmed by the substances. The RCMP says it's working with the government to address the potential impacts. "RCMP always warn against illicit drug use, however, with the presence of two new substances in drugs seized in a Northwest Territories community, the danger of illicit drug use has increased," police said in a news release Tuesday. Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, deputy chief public health officer, says there is concern the two substances could cause unexpected reactions or contain other contaminants like opioids. "People who use street or illicit drugs should always do so with others present and have a plan to respond to an overdose. The plan should include having naloxone present and calling 911 for help with any overdose," Pizzi said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he remains confident in Canada's vaccine supplies despite threats from Europe that it might impose export controls on vaccines produced on that continent. Speaking to reporters outside his Ottawa residence Tuesday morning, Trudeau said the situation in Europe is worrisome but he is "very confident" Canada is going to get all the COVID-19 vaccine doses promised by the end of March. And despite the sharp decline in deliveries of a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech this month, he said Canada will still vaccinate all Canadians who want shots by the end of September. "We will continue to work closely with Europe to ensure that we are sourcing, that we are receiving the vaccines that we have signed for, that we are due," Trudeau said. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement posted to Twitter Tuesday that Europe will set up a "vaccine export transparency mechanism" so Europe knows exactly how many doses are being produced in the world's largest trading bloc and where they are being shipped. "Europe invested billions to help develop the world‘s first COVID-19 vaccines to create a truly global common good," she said. "And now the companies must deliver." Europe is also getting smaller shipments from Pfizer than promised, because the company temporarily slowed production at its plant in Belgium so it can be expanded. AstraZeneca has also warned Europe its first shipments of vaccine will be smaller than expected because of production problems. But Europe, which invested more than C$4 billion in vaccine development, is demanding the companies fulfil their contracts on time. "Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business," said von der Leyen. International Trade Minister Mary Ng said she had spoken to her European counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, about the situation and will keep working with Europe to keep the supply chain open. "There is not a restriction on the export of vaccines to Canada," Ng said in question period. Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner accused Ng of playing games with her response, noting the issue isn't that there is an export ban now, but that Europe is threatening to impose one. With all of Canada's current vaccine doses coming from Europe, "that's a concern," Rempel Garner said. "If the Europeans ban exports of vaccines, what's Plan B for Canada?" she asked. Both Pfizer and Moderna are making doses of their vaccine in the U.S. and in Europe, but all U.S.-made doses are currently only shipped within the U.S. Former U.S. president Donald Trump invoked the Defence Production Act last year to prevent export of personal protection equipment. He then signed an executive order in December demanding U.S.-produced vaccines be prioritized for Americans only and threatened to use the act to halt vaccine exports as well. President Joe Biden has already invoked the act to push for faster production of PPE and vaccines. Though he has not specifically mentioned exports, Biden has promised 100 million Americans will be vaccinated within his first 100 days of office, making the prospects the U.S. shares any of its vaccine supply unlikely. Canada has contracts with five other vaccine makers, but only two are on the verge of approval here. AstraZeneca, which has guaranteed Canada 20 million doses, needs to finish a big U.S. trial before Health Canada decides whether to authorize it. Johnson and Johnson is to report results from its Phase 3 trial next week, one of the final things needed before Health Canada can make a decision about it. Canada is to get 10 million doses from Johnson and Johnson, but it is the one vaccine that so far is administered as only a single dose. Trudeau said AstraZeneca isn't supplying Canada from its European production lines. A spokeswoman for Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada will not say where the other vaccines are coming from because of the concerns about security of supplies. AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson have set up multiple production lines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, India, Australia and Africa. Canada has no current ability to produce either those vaccines or the ones from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. It is entirely reliant on foreign production at the moment. More than 113,000 people in Canada have received two full doses of either the Moderna or BioNTech vaccine. Another 752,000 have received a single dose. But the reduction in Pfizer shipments to Canada forced most provinces to slow the pace of injections. Europe, Mexico, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia also have slowed their vaccination campaigns because of the supply limits. Trudeau said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla assured him the full shipments will resume in mid-February, and that Canada will get its contracted four million doses by the end of March. He said he spoke to Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel Tuesday morning and was promised Moderna's shipments of two million doses by March 31 are also on track. MPs were scheduled to have an emergency debate on Canada's vaccine program Tuesday night. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota Republican lawmakers on Tuesday revived a proposed law that would ban people from changing the sex designation on their birth certificates, even after a House committee rejected the bill that LGBTQ advocates decried as an attack on transgender people. Republicans in the House forced the bill to be brought to a vote by the full House through a rarely used legislative procedure known as a “smoke out.” At least one-third of the House supported the procedure. A committee of lawmakers had earlier Tuesday dismissed the bill on a seven-to-six vote after five Republicans joined two Democrats to oppose the bill, which would stop people from changing the sex listed on birth certificates after one year from birth. The proposal will be delivered to the full chamber for consideration by Wednesday. Law changes that affect transgender people have become a perennial topic in the South Dakota legislature, although transgender advocates say they are making progress in getting their voices heard and issues understood. A handful of advocates gathered in the pre-dawn cold outside the statehouse on Tuesday, waving rainbow and transgender flags. “I want transgender people to know they have a home here, a family here,” said Seymour Otterman, a nonbinary transgender person who testified to lawmakers on their experience living in the state. The legislative efforts to address transgender issues were spearheaded by Rep. Fred Deutsch, a Watertown Republican who introduced this year's proposal. After the bill was rejected in committee, he said he had heard from fellow Republicans that they would like to debate and vote on the bill in a meeting of the full House. Deutsch pushed a bill last year that would have banned puberty blockers and gender confirmation surgery for transgender children under 16. And in 2016, he introduced a bill that would have limited the bathrooms and locker rooms that transgender students can use. Other Republican lawmakers have pushed the state's high school athletics association to reconsider its policy of allowing transgender students to compete as the gender with which they identify. But Deutsch's efforts have increasingly struggled to gain traction: His 2016 bill cleared the House and Senate before being vetoed by former Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican; his bill last year passed the House before being halted by a Senate committee; this year's bill failed to clear its first hurdle in the House and had to be revived by the “smoke out" procedure. Deutsch defended his efforts, saying he was not motivated by hate but by social importance. He argued that the state's judges have struggled with how to handle requests from people who want to change the sex on their birth certificates and that keeping vital records on sex is an important aspect of government business. “Either biology matters or it doesn’t,” he said. South Dakota courts have received 11 requests for updates to the sex listed on birth certificates since 2017, according to the court system. Rep. Kevin Jensen, a Canton Republican who supported the bill, said he doesn't feel it discriminates against transgender people, and that a birth certificate serves as an objective record of someone's sex at birth. But LGBTQ people see Deutch's efforts as an attack intended to send a message that they are not welcome in a state dominated by conservative politics. They warned that barring people from updating their birth certificates was dangerous, exposing them to violence, hate and discrimination. They could be unwillingly exposed as transgender when they apply for jobs, housing or health care. “It’s incredibly disrespectful that we have to address this every year. It’s infuriating,” said Rep. Erin Healy, a Democrat from Sioux Falls. “We are disrupting the lives of a vulnerable population, and I think what we are missing today is empathy and compassion.” Opponents to the bill pointed out that similar bans, such as a 2018 law passed in Idaho, have been struck down by federal courts as unconstitutional. LGBTQ advocates have also pointed to President Joe Biden's order reversing a Trump-era Pentagon policy largely barring transgender people from military service as a sign that the federal government is taking a stronger approach to protections for transgender people. Otterman said Deutsch's proposed ban did not come as a surprise, even though they are struck by increasing waves of anger and sadness each January when the bills come. “In most places in South Dakota, it is a very lonely, isolating experience because of this sentiment,” they said. Healy said bills that delve into transgender issues can be harmful, even if they often fail. “It's an emotional roller coaster,” Healy said. “To be so happy and relieved that it died, only to see it resurrected and have that threat all over again.” Stephen Groves, The Associated Press
Tisdale town council is looking to change their zoning bylaws after a letter was sent to the council from a resident regarding potentially putting in a secondary suite at their home. During the Jan. 25 council meeting, the council discussed the possibility of allowing these suites for additional income for property owners, said Brad Hvidston, Tisdale’s administrator. The bylaw received its first reading during the meeting with the town hosting a public meeting in March to discuss the change further and allow the public to voice any concerns that they may have. There was little discussion going into the first reading of the bylaw with councillors not having many concerns regarding secondary suites at this time, Hvidston said. February might bring even more changes to the town’s zoning bylaws, he said, as the town will be taking a deeper look at their zoning and community plans. “We're just going to be starting our first meeting consultation process here in February. So we fully expected our whole zoning bylaws going to be redone by June or July for the whole town and the RM. We're doing it as a joint regional project with them.” The last time the zoning bylaw was examined by staff and council was 2005, Hvidston said, so it is time to have that deeper look and see that zones have been adhered to and that the current zones make sense. “We've done a ton of amendments to the zoning bylaw. Even just to follow the zoning bylaw now is getting tougher and tougher because you've got to follow up on all the amendments and changes.” Out buildings, like garages, shipping containers, and sheds, is one area that the town will definitely have to take a closer look at since that part of the zoning bylaw has faced many amendments over the years, Hvidston said. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Tuesday rescinded a Trump-era memo that established a “zero tolerance” enforcement policy for migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, which resulted in thousands of family separations. Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued the new memo to federal prosecutors across the nation, saying the department would return to its longstanding previous policy and instructing prosecutors to act on the merits of individual cases. “Consistent with this longstanding principle of making individualized assessments in criminal cases, I am rescinding — effective immediately — the policy directive,” Wilkinson wrote. Wilkinson said the department’s principles have “long emphasized that decisions about bringing criminal charges should involve not only a determination that a federal offence has been committed and that the admissible evidence will probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction, but should also take into account other individualized factors, including personal circumstances and criminal history, the seriousness of the offence, and the probable sentence or other consequences that would result from a conviction.” The “zero tolerance” policy meant that any adult caught crossing the border illegally would be prosecuted for illegal entry. Because children cannot be jailed with their family members, families were separated and children were taken into custody by Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children at the border. While the rescinding of “zero tolerance” is in part symbolic, it undoes the Trump administration’s massively unpopular policy responsible for the separation of more than 5,500 children from their parents at the U.S-Mexico border. Most families have not been prosecuted under zero tolerance since 2018, when the separations were halted, though separations have continued on a smaller scale. Practically, the ending of the policy will affect mostly single men who have entered the country illegally. “While policies may change, our mission always remains the same: to seek justice under the law," Wilkinson wrote in the memo. President Joe Biden has issued an executive order to undo some of Trump’s restrictive policies, but the previous administration has so altered the immigration landscape that it will take quite a while to untangle all the major changes. Some of the parents separated from their children were deported. Advocates for the families have called on Biden to allow those families to reunite in the United States. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, along with Trump and other top leaders in his administration, were bent on curbing immigration. The “zero tolerance” policy was one of several increasingly restrictive policies aimed at discouraging migrants from coming to the Southern border. Trump’s administration also vastly reduced the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. and all but halted asylum at the border, through a combination of executive orders and regulation changes. The policy was a disaster; there was no system created to reunite children with their families. A report from the Justice Department’s inspector general, released earlier this month, found that the policy led to a $227 million funding shortfall. Children suffered lasting emotional damage from the separations and the policy was criticized as grossly inhumane by world leaders. The policy began April 6, 2018, under an executive order that was issued without warning to other federal agencies that would have to manage the policy, including the U.S. Marshals Service and Health and Human Services. It was halted June 20, 2018. A federal judge ordered the families to be reunited and is still working to do so. The watchdog report also found that Sessions and other top officials knew the children would be separated under the policy and encouraged it. Justice officials ignored concerns from staff about the rollout and did not bother to set up a system to track families in order to reunite them. Some children are still separated. ___ Follow Balsamo and Long on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 and https://twitter.com/ctlong1. Michael Balsamo And Colleen Long, The Associated Press
After a lengthy delay, the Lauren Lafleche second-degree-murder trial has resumed in Edmonton. The judge-alone proceeding was supposed to continue two weeks ago, but was put on hold after Lafleche tested positive for COVID-19. She is not in custody. Lafleche is accused of causing a severe head injury that led to the death of her daughter Shalaina Arcand. The 34-year-old mother who has two other children is also accused of assaulting Shalaina with a belt and a spatula and failing to provide her with the necessaries of life. Shalaina was in care at a number of different foster homes for four years, but was returned to her mother six months prior to her death. In October 2015, the five-year-old was rushed unconscious to the Stollery Children's hospital in the middle of the night. The trial has already heard that Lafleche delayed calling 911 while she and her oldest daughter gave Shalaina a warm bath to try and wake her up. "She was already in grave condition and critically ill," pediatrician Dr. Melanie Lewis testified on Tuesday. "Shortly after arrival, she had a cardiac arrest." Lewis did not treat Shalaina, but reviewed all medical reports to testify as an expert witness for the Crown about physical abuse, head trauma and neglect. "She suffered a devastating severe brain injury that ultimately led to her death," Lewis testified. "This would have taken an incredible amount of force to cause this head injury." Court of Queen's Bench Justice Avril Inglis was told during the trial last November that the accused explained to her other daughter that Shalaina's injury was caused by a fall out of bed. Lewis rejected that explanation. "The injury that ultimately led to Shalaina's demise cannot be explained by a fall of two-and-a-half feet," the pediatrician said. "A fatal injury due to a fall in general must be more than four storeys." Lewis testified Shalaina's head injury would be the type doctors typically see following a high-speed motor-vehicle collision. Lewis also noted other non-fatal injuries that Shalaina had suffered including unusual wounds to her neck, old injuries to her liver and kidney and bruises on her chest and abdomen. She thought they could have been an indication of long-standing maltreatment and neglect. During cross-examination, Lewis also rejected the idea that Shalaina's fatal head injury could have been caused by a fall from playground monkey bars a few days before she was rushed to hospital. "Within seconds, she would have been symptomatic with this brain injury," Lewis told defence lawyer Peter Royal. Royal noted that Lafleche had complained about changes in her daughter's behaviour after the playground incident, including headaches and loss of appetite. "That could be a sign of a concussion," Lewis testified. "This was likely the result of an inflicted head injury [caused by] hitting her head against a fixed surface." 'We have a desperately-ill child' Dr. Keith Aronyk also testified Tuesday as an expert witness for the Crown. The pediatric neurosurgeon performed emergency brain surgery on Shalaina soon after she was admitted to hospital. As he recalled the rushed decision to try to save the little girl's life, Aronyk testified, "We have a desperately-ill child." She was no longer breathing on her own and had to be intubated soon after she was admitted to hospital, he said. Her heart was stopping, but she survived the surgery. During surgery, Aronyk found a clot of blood inside her head that he believed fit into the window of being three days old. He told the trial that in his clinical opinion, the clot was likely one day old, indicating that the injury had occurred within the last day. After the surgery was completed, Aronyk told another doctor he didn't expect Shalaina to live and noted that if she did, she would likely suffer irreversible brain damage. The little girl died in hospital three days later without regaining consciousness. The trial continues.
Over the past 10 years, the Yukon government has collected a mere 0.3 per cent of the value of placer and quartz resources on behalf of all Yukoners, the rightful owners of those minerals. An independent panel appointed by the government to review the territory’s mining legislation found that, during this period, miners extracted minerals worth an average of $335 million per year yet only paid an average of $100,000 per year in royalties. The two laws predominantly responsible for mining in the territory, the Placer Mining Act and the Quartz Mining Act, were established in the late 1800s during the Klondike Gold Rush era and are in serious need of modernization, according to the panel’s recent strategy report, which is based on years of public engagement and is intended to inform the Yukon government’s efforts to bring Yukon’s mineral development legislation into the 21st century. Yukon’s antiquated royalty rates for gold — set into law in 1906 — are famously low at just 37.5 cents per ounce of gold, based on a per-ounce price of $15. In today’s market, one ounce of gold is worth more than $2,300. “The royalty regime is very old, and it has not been updated in a significant period of time,” Math’ieya Alatini, a member of the independent panel, told The Narwhal. “We have to bring the royalty regime up to date and make it commensurate with the value of the minerals that are being removed.” Low royalties are something of a sore spot for many in Yukon, including members of the public, First Nations and miners themselves, who argue their industry provides the territory with a cascade of economic benefits not necessarily reflected by royalties. In order for mining to remain sustainable and profitable and continue to have social buy-in, the panel recommends the Yukon government make some key changes to ensure the benefits of mining are more equally distributed through changes to the royalty regime and, potentially, through new taxes. Over the past decade, Yukon has seen a resurgence of mining interest, especially for gold extracted through placer mining operations. According to the Yukon Geological Survey’s latest comprehensive report on placer mining, published in 2018, there are 25,219 placer claims in the territory, the highest number dating back to 1973. Placer mining involves removing rocks and gravel from streams and wetlands in search of gold and can cause disturbances in water quality that can impair the feeding and reproduction of fish. Over many years, placer mining can destroy irreplaceable wetlands, disrupt waterways and harm unique riparian ecosystems that connect land and water. And although placer mining occurs exclusively in streams and Yukon’s wetlands, there are no specific protections in place to protect these unique ecosystems from this kind of activity. Yukon’s modern gold rush, popularized in reality TV shows like Gold Rush and Yukon Gold, has been facilitated by new technologies, machinery and industrial techniques that are a far cry from the humble gold pan of the 1890s. And while the pace and scale of placer mining operations has evolved in recent years, the royalty scheme has not. “There are going to be detrimental effects [from mining],” Alatini said, noting the resources being harvested are fundamentally nonrenewable. “These minerals are not going to be returned to the ground. … How do we adequately compensate this generation and future generations for the loss of use?” The panel suggests the government act on recommendations first made by the Yukon Financial Advisory Panel in 2017 to carry out a comprehensive review of mining policies “with a particular emphasis on ensuring fair and efficient royalty rates.” Based on the findings of that review, the Yukon government should modernize mining legislation “to ensure all Yukoners receive fair and meaningful financial returns from mining activities while also ensuring competitiveness with other Canadian jurisdictions,” the panel said. One of the primary ways the panel recommends altering the royalty system is by adjusting royalties based on the profitability of individual mining operations. A profit-based placer gold royalty would require higher royalties from more profitable operators, while “placer operations that are truly marginal in terms of profitability will continue to pay essentially no royalties.” The panel also suggests the Yukon government consider charging more royalties from non-Yukoners — miners who might simply show up to cash in on high market gold prices — than from local operators who are there for the long haul. Royalties don’t represent the only way Yukoners and Yukon First Nations might benefit from mines, however. The panel points to new forms of taxation that could improve mining standards, provide social benefits to local communities and generate greater rewards for local mine workers over itinerant workers at mines. Currently, Yukon does not charge mine operators anything for the use of water. An industrial water charge, similar to that introduced in British Columbia in 2016, could be used to generate revenue from mines and also create incentives for miners to keep water clean. The panel recommends the government introduce a rolling water tax that rewards operators for maintaining high water quality. Tyler Hooper, a spokesperson with the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, recently told The Narwhal that all licensed surface water and groundwater users are required to pay annual water rents. The rental rates are variable and can exclude small-scale placer mining operations. But according to a B.C. provincial government list of example rates, a mine that uses 1.2 million cubic metres of water per year would be charged $2,500 annually or $2.08 per 1,000 cubic metres. Lewis Rifkind, mining analyst for the Yukon Conservation Society, previously told The Narwhal the recommendation to roll out a water tax was welcome, but added he would need more detail to understand how such a fee would work in Yukon. “How will it be applied? Will it be different for quartz exploration to a quartz mine to placer mining?” The panel’s report does not go into any detail regarding these matters nor the particulars of how a water tax could be applied to various mining operations in Yukon. Water licences for mines are issued by the Yukon Water Board and there are more than 100 granted to placer miners in the Indian River watershed directly south of Dawson City, Yukon, alone. Rifkind expressed concern that a water tax could simply be added to the general cost of doing business rather than act as a true incentive to improve mining practices and keep water clean. The panel also recommends applying a payroll tax to people who work but don’t live in Yukon. Right now, personal income tax corresponds with the jurisdiction in which out-of-territory workers live. “It would allow a sort of prorated amount to be transferred back to the Yukon,” she said, adding that a large portion of Yukon’s workforce is made up of people from other jurisdictions. “We want to make sure some of that money stays in the Yukon to act as a multiplier for the economy.” The payroll tax would be deductible for Yukon residents, the strategy states. Taken together, the water and payroll taxes could help buoy a heritage fund — money that would be held in trust to benefit future generations. Alatini said the creation of a heritage fund would not only recognize the value of the resources extracted from Yukon, but also capture some of that value for Yukoners “that translates from the work that’s being done in their backyard to something that can benefit everyone that is here.” “A Yukon heritage fund would provide a visible link between mining activity, royalty revenues from mining and long-term prosperity in Yukon, thereby enhancing sustainability and the industry’s social licence to operate,” the strategy states. Through Yukon’s modern treaties, self-governing Yukon First Nations are able to receive royalties collected by the Yukon government. But because the territorial government receives such low royalties to begin with, only a “negligible amount” is actually making its way to First Nations, the panel found. Alatini said the creators of Yukon’s Umbrella Final Agreement — a political agreement struck between Yukon First Nations and the Yukon and federal governments — “had contemplated First Nations receiving a portion of the benefits of the resources that are being taken from their traditional territories — full stop,” Alatini said. The average royalty cheque received by First Nations during the past decade ranged between $6 and $24, Alatini added. Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation, on whose territory the vast amount of Yukon’s placer mining takes place along the Indian River, reported receiving a royalties cheque from the government for $65 in 2017. That same year, placer mining along the Indian River accounted for 50 per cent of total placer gold mined in Yukon, according to the Yukon Geological Survey, amounting to more than 350,000 crude ounces of gold. The panel recommends that “Yukon First Nations receive a fair financial and social return from mining and exploration within traditional territories by strengthening the connection between revenue flows and Indigenous interests in the land itself.” Recommendations from the panel also include allowing First Nations, under their final agreements, to charge companies directly for water use or land rental fees, instituting a statute-based template for benefit agreements with affected First Nations and requiring both impact and benefit agreements in advance of quartz mine development, construction, production and decommissioning. Carl Schulze, secretary treasurer for the Yukon Prospectors Association, told The Narwhal industry isn’t thrilled about the idea of paying more taxes, noting that Yukon’s economy is stimulated just by virtue of mines being located in the territory. “What you’ve got to think about is there’s still the supply chain, service chain, all the employees, all the distribution,” Schulze said. “If you took just payroll for Yukoners, and what you paid your contractors, you know, whoever trucks the ore, whoever supplies geological services, local legal services, anything like that, I mean, it’s an enormous amount of money.” The Klondike Placer Miners’ Association has also been a vocal opponent of increased royalty rates for years, with former association president Mike McDougall suggesting increased royalties would undercut the profitability of placer mining operations, which he likened to the “family farm.” But in addition to industry opposition, there are other potential challenges to introducing new and increased revenue generators from mines in Yukon, most notably the territory’s transfer payment from Ottawa. Under the territorial formula financing arrangement, Yukon receives federal funding every year to pay for public services. But in order to maintain this funding arrangement, the Yukon government can only collect and keep $6 million worth in resource revenues each year. “For every dollar above that $6 million amount, a dollar is deducted from Yukon’s [territorial formula financing] grant,” Eric Clement, director of communications with the Yukon government’s Department of Finance, told The Narwhal in an email. That $6 million ceiling may present challenges to Yukon moving forward with some of the most ambitious recommendations of the independent panel, including the creation of a heritage fund. Six million dollars in resource revenues is simply “too low to capitalize a Yukon heritage fund,” the panel noted in its report. Other arrangements could alleviate Yukon’s $6 million limit, however. The panel suggests Yukon look to the Northwest Territories’ arrangement with the federal government, which allows that territory to keep up to 50 per cent of its resource revenues without a specific cap. If implemented in Yukon, this arrangement would allow the territory to receive roughly $54 million in resource revenues without being forced to forego federal support, the panel found. Alatini said new arrangements might be necessary to re-envision how Yukon generates and holds onto resource wealth. A new agreement would require “that the Yukon government and Canada come to the table,” she said. “We need to have consistently producing mines in order for this to even be an option.” Julien Gignac, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Narwhal
Fueled by a sparkling attacking display, Manchester City's players powered to the top of the Premier League for the first time this season — and even the opposition are stopping to admire their work. In a comical exhibit for VAR's ever-lengthening highlights reel, West Bromwich Albion's defenders virtually stopped in their tracks and looked on as Joao Cancelo curled a shot into the top corner for the second of City's goals in a 5-0 rout on Tuesday. After all, the assistant referee had raised the flag for offside moments earlier but City, unlike West Brom, played on as Bernardo Silva collected the ball and fed Cancelo, who — unchallenged — picked his spot from the edge of the area. A video review showed Silva was actually onside and the goal was allowed to stand. City was on course to match its biggest league win of the season and, on the evidence of this game and the last couple of months, Pep Guardiola's team is going to be hard to stop. Make it seven straight wins in the league — and 11 in all competitions — for City in an ominous run of results. City became the ninth side to finish a day in first place this season. Even if Manchester United reclaims the lead on Wednesday by beating Sheffield United, City looks to be the team to beat. West Ham climbed to fourth place by winning 3-2 at Crystal Palace, while struggling Newcastle slumped to a 2-1 home loss to Leeds. Arsenal avenged a defeat to Southampton in the FA Cup at the weekend by beating the Saints 3-1 in the league. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
Out of 99 new positive cases discovered in the Simcoe Muskoka Region, health officials say 97 are linked to a long-term care home in Barrie and all of those people are likely affected by the fast-spreading U.K. variant. There are concerns the highly contagious strain of the virus is more widespread than initially thought. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
HALIFAX — The Canadian Space Agency is harnessing satellite technology to monitor and protect endangered North Atlantic right whales in the country’s waters. The agency said Tuesday it will lead a $5.3-million project funded by the federal government called smartWhales, which will use satellites to detect the presence of right whales and to predict the animals' movements. Canada is giving a total of $5.3 million over three years to five companies for a series of projects to help protect the endangered species. One of the projects will involve a system that can rapidly provide location data and detect if the whales are approaching a ship. Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says collecting satellite data about the movement of the whales is key to preventing collisions between whales and ships and to spot cases where the animals are caught in fishing gear — two of the leading causes of right whale deaths. In October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated only 366 right whales were alive in January 2019, with fewer than 94 of them being females with the ability to breed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the system would detect if whales approached a fishing vessel, but in fact its aim is to detect if whales approach larger ships.
The Village of Hussar has reason to celebrate 2020, from completing infrastructure upgrades, to overcoming financial constraints and cancelled events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the village celebrates accomplishments in 2020, council is also looking forward to what 2021 will bring. Hussar Mayor Corey Fisher says upgrades to the water and sewer system along 2nd Avenue East, from Centre Street to 1st Street East, were completed “on time and on budget.” The village also completed demolition of the old Hussar School building. The school grounds were purchased by the village and Mayor Fisher says the village has “begun the process of annexation,” which will provide additional space for future projects. Big challenges for the village in 2020 were budget constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cancellation of community events such as Summer Daze and Canada Day celebrations. Mayor Fisher says, “We overcame (budget challenges) through steady management and a common sense approach to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.” The village held a socially distanced Light Up The Night event, with viewing limited to drive through only, on Saturday, December 5. Donations received from the event will be used for a new underground watering system for the Hussar Cemetery in the spring of 2021. Other projects scheduled for 2021 include paving of a key intersection at Centre Street and 2nd Avenue, with work anticipated to begin in the spring. “We look for a realistic ‘can we afford it’ approach for capital project spending and a ‘hold the line’ operations budget, while ensuring the village remains strong fiscally in 2021,” Mayor Fisher said. The Village of Hussar’s council for 2020 is made up of Mayor Corey Fisher, Deputy Mayor Les Schultz, and Councillor Tim Frank. Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
One man is a West Side realtor whose clients buy and sell homes worth millions. The other lives only with what he can carry on his bike trailer and spends a lot of time hunting down free internet so he can update the blog he keeps about being homeless on the streets of Vancouver. Together, they've formed an unlikely partnership to help open a temporary warming shelter where others living on the street can escape the cold winter nights. Located in the Odd Fellows Hall, a heritage building in the city's Fairview neighbourhood, it is one of very few such spaces serving people on the West Side. And it's a nice space. Realtor Walter Wells is a member of the Vancouver Odd Fellows, a non-political and non-sectarian international fraternal order. A year ago, he read a post by homeless blogger Stanley Woodvine about the perils of being outside in bad weather. Wells said the post hit him hard. "I had a vision of people freezing almost literally on our doorstep," said Wells. "It just seemed so real to me. So personal." So, he approached the other Odd Fellows with the idea of opening the doors of their cherished 99-year-old Fairview Hall at 1443 West Eighth Ave. Woodvine says the space makes for a welcome change compared to many shelter spaces he has seen during his 16 years of being homeless. "Compared to the low-ceiling buildings, and none of this is fluorescent lighting, a nice hardware floor," said Stanley Woodvine. "I come into a space like this and I want to quiet down." The Vancouver Odd Fellows' website says the group primarily exists for friendship and to help others. It also raises money and donates it to local charities. But Wells said some members were reluctant to have strangers inside the tony hall, with its throne-like chairs and walls of historical photographs. "You don't always get 100 per cent buy-in," he said, adding it pushed him to take every effort to make sure the first week of being open to those in need runs smoothly. "So far, it's been great," said Wells. The mats on the floor are spaced about two metres apart and currently have enough room for 10 people to sleep comfortably. It doesn't accept grocery carts or pets and will only be open on Vancouver's coldest nights. For Woodvine, it is important not just because it's the first cold weather shelter in the immediate area that he is aware of, but also because Wells took it upon himself to help. "Having people in your society who do not turn away, who face you and treat you as a human being and don't pretend you're not there, that's really important for homeless' people's self esteem," said Woodvine. "The Odd Fellows are simply saying, 'Look you're people. You shouldn't be cold. You shouldn't be wet. So come on in,'" he added. The Odd Fellows have worked with the City of Vancouver to set up and operate the space. Tap below to listen to Walter Wells and Stanley Woodvine on CBC's The Early Edition: