Chris Boucher has seen extended time on the floor this season for the Raptors, showing signs he can replace the offensive production of Serge Ibaka.
Chris Boucher has seen extended time on the floor this season for the Raptors, showing signs he can replace the offensive production of Serge Ibaka.
The federal government is eyeing a comprehensive North American energy strategy as workers reel from cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. The project's presidential permit was rescinded by U.S. President Joe Biden on his first day in office, prompting outrage from Alberta's provincial government. TC Energy, the proponent, had pre-emptively ceased construction of the project. "I was the minister of natural resources when the Obama administration cancelled Keystone XL. So for me, it's Round 2 of deep disappointment," Minister Jim Carr, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's representative for the Prairies, said Monday. "We have to look forward, however, to a continental energy strategy." That North American energy strategy is enticing to Alberta's premier as well, with Jason Kenney suggesting to the prime minister that they approach Washington together to pitch a collaborative approach to North American energy and climate policy. "Canada and the U.S. share a highly integrated energy system, including criss-crossing infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity transmission systems. Our energy and climate goals must be viewed in the context of that integrated system," Kenney wrote. The premier has called the Keystone cancellation an "insult" and a "gut-punch," repeatedly pressing for retaliation against the U.S. and suggesting economic and trade sanctions if the administration is unwilling to engage in conversations about the future of the pipeline. Last year, Kenney invested $1.5 billion in Keystone XL, arguing it would never be completed without the infusion. The pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oilsands in Alberta to Nebraska. The Biden administration has made no indication it intends to consider reinstating the permit. TC Energy has already laid off 1,000 workers in Alberta. A continental energy partnership has been an elusive goal for more than 15 years, with multiple trilateral meetings ending with consensus but often without measurable outcomes. It's been five years since Carr, then the minister of natural resources, hosted his American and Mexican counterparts to discuss the potential of such a partnership. They agreed to collaborate on things like energy technologies, energy efficiency, carbon capture and emissions reduction. While they signed a document stating these shared goals, synergy between the three countries has been slow to develop. In December 2014, a similar meeting ended with a to-do list to move forward on a continental energy strategy, including mapping energy infrastructure and sharing data. That data website hasn't been updated since 2017. In that meeting, then-natural resources minister Greg Rickford was making the pitch to the Obama administration for why Keystone XL should be permitted to live. It was cancelled — for the first time — less than a year later. "We've gone through a period over the last number of years where relations around energy have kind of died a slow death and become more and more narrowly focused around individual projects," said Monica Gattinger, director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. "There's tremendous potential between Canada and the United States to collaborate around energy and environmental objectives in the long term." Gattinger said changes in the United States around hydrocarbon and shale have diminished the country's motivation for a broader energy approach. With the national governments in Canada and the U.S. now more closely aligned on climate priorities, she added there's the potential for a breakthrough. "Both countries have vast potential across a whole host of energy resources," she said. "Those are the conversations that we have not been having in North America for a number of years now. And there is a real opportunity to do so at this time." Carr is optimistic, too. "We're hardly starting from scratch, and there will be alignment," he said, alluding to his hope for co-operation between the U.S. and Canada, but also with the Prairie provinces. "There is an awful lot of work to be done and an awful lot of potential."
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska health officials plan to launch a live phone service for residents trying to schedule coronavirus vaccination appointments. The state currently provides an answering service through which Alaska residents seeking appointments can only leave messages, Alaska Public Media reported. The hotline will become available in anticipation of a February shipment of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration said Monday. Tessa Walker Linderman of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said more than 40 staff members will answer calls from people wanting to book appointments. Many of the workers were previously tasked with tracking the contacts of people who were infected with COVID-19. A decrease in the number of new cases has allowed those employees to shift to the hotline, Walker Linderman said. “We’ve built up a huge workforce, especially when we were seeing hundreds more cases a day than we are now,” Walker Linderman said. Callers may still have to wait, but the system should allow personal interaction within reasonable amounts of time rather than automatically requiring residents to wait for return calls. New appointment openings are expected to be added to the state’s vaccine website starting Thursday, officials said. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
COUNTRY HARBOUR – Better now than during the summer is the general reaction from people in the Country Harbour area when it was announced last week (Jan. 20) that the Country Harbour ferry would continue to be out of service – due to mechanical problems – until May, when a new ferry comes into service. The Stormont II served as a link between the communities of Country Harbour and Port Bickerton for more than 40 years and was scheduled for replacement in May; a schedule the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal says is on track. The cable ferry makes 13,000 voyages a year carrying 25,000 passengers and 15,000 vehicles but traffic is greatly reduced over the winter months. Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) Councillor Rickey McLaren, whose district includes Country Harbour, told The Journal that he had not gotten any calls about the disruption to service. If service were stopped in the summer, he expected there might have been more of a reaction. That’s a sentiment shared by the local stores in the Country Harbour area; Smokey Hollow General Store and Rhynold's Gas and Convenience. Paul MacLennan of Smokey Hollow General told The Journal that the temporary closure of the Country Harbour ferry at this time of year made little difference in his business but added if it had happened in the summer, tourism would be affected. At Rhynold’s store there was similar comment, with the exception that one of the part-time employees now has to add 30 minutes’ drive to her commute. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Lloyd Hines, who is also MLA for the Country Harbour area, said in the TIR press release, “This is disappointing news, especially during a year that has already been hard…We had hoped the old ferry would takes us through to the arrival of the brand new ferry. The Stormont II served the community well for more than 40 years, but unfortunately the mechanical issues are significant." The Stormont II has been out of service since November. During the pause in service, a detour has been in place. It runs from Port Bickerton, on Route 211, to Route 7 and then to Melrose Country Harbour Road and onto Route 316. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
The Writers' Trust of Canada is renaming its annual fiction award after co-founders and literary power couple Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson.In a news release Wednesday, organizers announced that the prestigious honour will now be known as the Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.The name change comes with a $10,000 increase in prize money, with future winners set to receive $60,000. Atwood and Gibson, who were partners for more than a half-century until Gibson's death in 2019, were among the wordsmiths who co-founded the Writers' Trust in 1976.In a statement, playwright and fellow co-founder David Young says the prize is a "perfect" way to honour their commitment to Canada's literary culture.Since 1997, the Writers' Trust Fiction Prize has been handed out to the author of the year's best novel or short story collection. Previous winners include Andre Alexis, Emma Donoghue, Lawrence Hill, Alice Munro and Austin Clarke.The finalists for the 2021 prize will be announced on Sept. 28, and the winner will be named on Nov. 3.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
Quantum Genetix, a laboratory licensed to perform COVID-19 testing in Saskatchewan for profit, has expanded its licence to include anyone in the province who is asymptomatic and wishes to be tested. The Saskatoon lab started processing samples at the beginning of December. At that time the company was only doing travel- and business-related testing in Saskatchewan. Testing kits are $150 and results are emailed to clients within 48 hours. For same-day rush service, testing kits are $250. Quantum Genetix has been very busy since December, according to Heather Deobald, the lab's general manager. The lab has served more than 100 businesses and more than 1,000 travelers so far. "We requested to have our licence expanded because from the start we've been getting requests from Saskatchewan residents who didn't fall under the business or travel related scope that we were given our licence through." Individuals and businesses can order testing kits by mail from Quantum Genetix. Kits contain self-administered nasal and oral swabs, and detailed instructions on how to use them. "Before we were able to do the testing, people were struggling sometimes with having turnaround times that they could utilize and still be able to go out and do their work or whatever they needed the test for," said Deobald. "So I think people are just relieved that they had another option." Deobold says there are many reasons Sask. residents are willing to pay for a quick test. "People waiting for surgery, people who have compassion permission to go into a care facility, families with immunocompromised family members. Single family members who are having another family member come into their home. Or two single people wanting to get together," said Deobald. After receiving the kit, clients can either courier their specimen to the Saskatoon laboratory or drop it off on-location at a kiosk there. Deobald said Quantum Genetix is working on making the process easier for anyone in the province, including those in the north. "We're actually right now working with another private business in Saskatchewan who will help us to expand into all areas of the province," she said. "We should have the news on that and more information on that hopefully next week."
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Work continues in an effort to protect the province's last coastal wilderness — the Hog Island Sandhills — though the process has been slowed down due to COVID-19, Parks Canada says. The initiative was originally brought forward by the Mi'kmaq of P.E.I., as well as the province. In 2019, Parks Canada began a feasibility assessment with the aim of turning the area into a national park reserve, separate and distinct from the existing Prince Edward Island National Park. It would be given the Mi'kmaq name Pitaweikek. Shanna MacDonald, senior negotiator for protected areas establishment for Parks Canada, said plans are moving slowly because part of the process includes significant community and public engagement. "Given that there has been a lockdown and … wanting to follow public health rules and regulations and practise social distancing and all of those other things, a lot of the types of community engagement that we would normally do, like open houses, one-on-one meetings with key stakeholders, has had to be put on hold." MacDonald is hopeful community engagement will take place this spring. She said until that happens, it's hard to predict when Hog Island could become a national park reserve. Treasured place According to the Canada National Park Act, park reserves are established for the same purpose as national parks — to preserve the land for the benefit and enjoyment of Canadians — but in areas "subject to a claim in respect of Aboriginal rights that has been accepted for negotiation by the government of Canada." MacDonald said Hog Island is a treasured place among Indigenous people. "It was a place where the community could always go in times of scarcity because of the rich waters in Malpeque Bay and the ability to collect plants and fish in the waters offshore," she said. "It's a fascinating piece of geology as well because of igneous outcropping in the area which makes the environment around Hog Island significantly different than the onshore land." More from CBC P.E.I.
ST. MARY’S – On the subject of feelings, elected officials of the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s got down to business last week. After less than five minutes of deliberation, the Jan. 20 committee of the whole meeting voted to send “whoever is available” on council to a think tank on social wellbeing tentatively scheduled to take place in Guysborough next month. The summit is the brainchild of Engage Nova Scotia, a Halifax-based non-governmental organization responsible for “An Exploration of Wellbeing in Nova Scotia: A summary of Results from the Nova Scotia Quality of Life Survey” released a year ago. “The question to this council [from Engage NS] is whether [you’d] like to participate in this event next month,” Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald told councillors, adding that the meeting is intended to be a “joint session” also involving council representatives from the Town of Mulgrave, Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Municipality of the County of Antigonish. “It seems to me a good opportunity to hear what the other councils are talking about,” he said. “It seems to me [it is] a good thing to participate in.” Based on the responses of 861 residents from Antigonish and Guysborough counties, the survey appears to show that people here are among the happiest and well-adjusted in the province. Of the 10 regions designated, Antigonish-Guysborough ranked number one on the ‘satisfaction with life in general’ scale, with 45.7 per cent of respondents declaring that they were ‘very satisfied’. Area residents scored second place (behind Southwest Nova) on satisfaction with government responsiveness; second (behind Lunenburg-Queens) on satisfaction with their financial situations; and second (behind Annapolis Valley-Hants) on the environmental quality of their neighborhoods. In the report’s introduction, Engage Nova Scotia says “this set of results deepens our understanding of how Nova Scotia is doing. It is the result of 12,000 [people] participating in a 23-question survey in May and June 2019. It represents the largest data set of its kind in Canada.” Following the meeting, MacDonald said, “There may be some opportunities of joint interest [with other municipalities] going forward. The joint session among the councils is to just talk about what the survey results were for our districts and talk about possibilities for moving forward with that. That’s a good starting point if people are already happy.” Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Sea lions are truly the puppy dogs of the sea, resembling our four legged friends in their behaviour as well as their facial appearances. Their personalities are similar in many ways. They enjoy play time and frolicking in the surf and on the sand, and their fun loving nature delights tourists and residents alike. These hilarious animals inhabit almost every beach or rocky shore in the Galapagos Islands. A bull sea lion is a large and formidable animal. Powerful, and equipped with large teeth like a giant breed dog, they command respect when they need it. They are territorial animals and there is only room for one mature male in each colony. There may be dozens of females and their babies, but the bull has breeding rights and will chase off any male who challenges him. In return, the male discourages predators and protects his colony, even supervising the young sea lions when the mothers are out in the ocean, hunting for food. This adorable baby has come to his mother with plaintiff cries for milk. Baby sea lions are always hungry and they know that their mother's nap time is the perfect opportunity for a meal. But the father, who thinks it is cuddle time, does not want to be interrupted. He barks and snarls at the baby and tells him it's not time for a drink. The sad baby wanders around crying but he finds a spot in the sand to have a nap. He will get his chance soon enough when the father gets hungry enough to go out into the water for his lunch. Sea lions are one of the most interesting and entertaining parts of a visit to the Galapagos Islands.
ST. MARY’S – A tiny dirt road near Sonora – a mere afterthought for any mapmaker – has suddenly become an important topic for local decision-makers. In December, the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s issued a formal expression of interest in acquiring a tiny strip of surplus land – once an access road to the St. Mary’s River – after receiving a memo from the Real Property Services Acquisition and Disposal division of the provincial Department of Transportation and Renewal. Last week, elected officials heard that the province had withdrawn its offer pending examination of an expression of interest by another government department. What’s more, a local developer has also come forward, inquiring about the land’s availability. At council’s Jan. 20 committee of the whole meeting, Warden Greg Wier wondered whether council should step back. “I think if a land developer would like it and it would help build a couple of homes and give us some tax revenues, I think it would be a good idea to let them have it,” he told his fellow councillors.” Deputy Warden James Fuller added, “It may be good for the tax base, [but] I think we should just wait and see. We may be out of the running anyway. And, if we are, let’s just see what the developer is developing.” Councillor Everett Baker agreed: “There’s not much we can do right now anyway.” The Nov. 18 letter from the province stated: “We are informing you that the land … identified as PID 35231786 on Property Online, Old Ferry Road/Gegogan Ferry Road, at St. Mary’s River, Guysborough County… is surplus to the needs of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Please advise if you have any interest in acquiring the property.” Last month, the municipality’s Director of Finance Marian Fraser explained: “Any time the province has land it no longer has a need for, it always sends out a notice to the adjoining municipalities and any other levels of government to see if there is interest. In this case, council did express their interest and put in a formal notice to acquire it.” The most recent Surplus Crown Property Disposal Report shows that the province earned nearly $161,000 on the disposal of 31 pieces of real property to private and public sector interests during the fiscal year ending March 20, 2020. Of these, the Crown conveyed surplus land only once to a municipality – the County of Shelburne – for $1. Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald told The Journal: “It’s always good for the municipality to have land, especially if there’s water access. It could be used in conjunction with development. So, if there is a piece of development that would increase our tax base, we might eye it for development.” Council has directed municipal staff to inform the private interest that the decision is still with the provincial government. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
MONTREAL — CGI Inc. topped expectations as it reported its first-quarter profit rose to $343.5 million compared with $290.2 million a year earlier, helped by improved margins and lower restructuring and integration costs. The technology and business consulting firm says the profit amounted to $1.32 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from $1.06 per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue totalled $3.02 billion, down from $3.05 billion. CGI says the most recent quarter included $3.7 million in acquisition-related and integration costs compared with the same quarter a year earlier that saw $16.5 million in acquisition-related and integration costs and $28.2 million in restructuring costs. Excluding specific items, CGI says it earned $1.33 per diluted share for its most recent quarter, up from $1.23 per diluted share a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of $1.24 per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GIB.A) The Canadian Press
ST. MARY’S – Voters let their fingers do the walking at a special election earlier this month, pushing participation rates to the highest level ever recorded in the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s, according to Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald. “It is an exceptionally high turnout rate; one that I don’t think we have ever seen before here,” he said of 73.4 per cent voter participation during the race for the District 8 council seat (Port Bickerton, Harpellville and area), which culminated on Jan. 16. He added that of 278 eligible voters, 121 cast their ballots online, while another 83 used their telephones. Seventy-four did not participate. Noting that council had limited the special election to voting by telephone and Internet only, he said: “The use of online technology is increasing. But no matter where you go in the province, this is a high participation rate.” Indeed, Elections Nova Scotia’s official results of the 2017 provincial election (the most recent available) show that the average turnout at St. Mary’s four polling stations during that ballot was 46.25 per cent (Greenfield Oyster Club in Melrose, 46 per cent; St. Luke’s Parish Hall in Liscomb, 46.9 per cent; Sherbrooke municipal office, 44.9 per cent; and the Port Bickerton Community Centre, 47.2 per per cent). The mobile polls arranged for residents of High-Crest Sherbrooke Home for Special Care and Sherbrooke/Harbour View Lodge in that election registered substantially higher turnouts of 65.5 per cent, suggesting that easy access to ballot boxes played a role in those results. MacDonald, who has administered several provincial and local elections in St. Mary’s over the years, cited several possible factors for this month’s robust public interest. “For one thing, it [District 8 special election] came so soon after the general municipal election in October. To have that particular district go back to the polls so soon probably drew more attention to issues. People were already ready to participate.” Specifically, he said, the near-term prospect of an international whale sanctuary in Port Hilford, and the long-term uncertainty over Atlantic Gold’s plans for an open pit mine upriver from Sherbrooke, seemed to resonate with voters. Last week, James Harpell – who won by a margin of 158 to 46 against his rival James Bingley in District 8 – told The Journal that whales and gold were the top two topics of doorstep conversation as he canvassed the constituency for votes. “A lot of people were really excited about the beluga whales coming. The first thing they wanted to know was what I thought about it,” he said. “The second thing they wanted to talk about was the gold mine. It was a hot topic. People were on board with the idea of not being left in the wake of an open pit mine that might harm the environment in the future.” Beyond this, MacDonald thinks online platforms are facilitating the act of voting. “In some places, like HRM, the argument has been that turnout hasn’t been affected by the electronic voting option. Maybe that’s because it has been really new,” he said. “But now people are more inclined to use the computer for more things. They do more online banking and shopping. If you are used to using computers already, the platforms to vote are a lot easier.” The Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust and other levels of government and the private sector are part way through a $263 million program to bring high-speed internet to 97 per cent of the province’s rural areas, such as St. Mary’s, by 2022. Said MacDonald: “I do think that election turnouts in the future will be higher because of electronic voting.” Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Actuellement conseillère municipale pour le district 4 de la Ville de Matane, Annie Veillette se lance cette fois-ci à la tête du conseil de ville. Se disant limitée dans ses implications en tant que conseillère, elle est prête à tout tenter pour devenir mairesse. Celle qui tient le poste de conseillère du district 4 à Matane depuis 2017 se dit prête à briguer la mairie le 7 novembre prochain, alors que l’actuel maire, Jérôme Landry, a déjà annoncé son départ de la politique municipale il y a un peu plus d’un mois. Étant la plus jeune conseillère élue et la seule femme sur le conseil, Annie Veillette est fière de ses récents accomplissements, des projets défendus lors de son premier mandat et de son implication auprès de l’administration et de la communauté. Mais elle est restée sur sa faim. « Ce n’est pas assez. Je veux être plus sollicitée, et je veux mettre plus de temps sur des dossiers et des réflexions pertinentes pour la ville », dit-elle. « Comme mairesse, je suis déterminée à m’investir pleinement afin d’améliorer Matane, sans voir le temps passer. Même dans mes temps libres, je pense à la ville, aux dossiers, à comment mieux réfléchir les enjeux et à des solutions possibles », a-t-elle avancé. « Considérant mon profil d’élue, de jeune femme formée en développement régional, avec une expertise en développement de projets pour la collectivité, j’ai la conviction de me démarquer des autres. » Aux citoyens matanais, Annie Veillette promet de s’engager et de s’investir dans des projets qui les serviront immédiatement et dans le futur, d’avoir une approche toujours humaine et inclusive et enfin, d’être présente et accessible. Elle souhaite également défendre des dossiers de développement régional, de milieu de vie attractif, de respect de l’environnement et d’une gestion saine et efficace à long terme pour la Ville. En plus d’être conseillère chargée du district 4, Mme Veillette est chargée des dossiers d’urbanisme et des familles pour la Ville de Matane. Elle a notamment été nommée au sein de la Commission des jeunes élues et élus de l’Union des municipalités du Québec. Âgée de 26 ans, Annie Veillette est née et a grandi à Matane, y complétant ses études secondaires et collégiales. Elle a obtenu un baccalauréat en Psychologie et Sociologie de l’Université de Montréal, et finalise à présent une maîtrise en Développement territorial et régional à l’UQAR. Son essai de maîtrise porte sur la résilience des agriculteurs et des communautés. Elle a donné naissance à une fille en décembre 2020.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Souris and Eldon Legions are two of about half of the branches across the country to receive federal funding to replace revenue lost due to the pandemic. “It will help cover our expenses which we weren’t able to cover because of loss of fundraising,” said Dave Perry, president of Souris Legion. In November, the federal government announced $14 million to the Royal Canadian Legion’s Dominion Command to allow rapid distribution of financial aid to individual branches across the country. This funding opportunity is on top of forgivable loans available to Legions earlier in the year. Dominion Command was responsible for deciding which branches would receive funding. After an application process, Dominion Command sent out about half of the available funds to about half of the country’s 1,350 branches just before Christmas. So far in Kings County, Souris Legion received $11,599 and the Eldon Branch received $3,165. Dominion Command is accepting a second round of applications to be sure each branch has a opportunity to apply. After reviewing these, the command plans to send out a second round of funding where it is most needed. “I’ve seen how vitally important the Legion’s Branches are, both here on the Island and across the country, and I know how tough the last year has been on a lot of them,” Cardigan MP and federal minister of Veterans Affairs, Lawrence MacAulay said. Mr Perry said revenues have dropped significantly this year at the Souris Legion. “We usually have Bingos, cards, breakfast fundraisers and entertainment. We raise funds by renting the hall too but this year we weren’t able to do any of that.” Similar stories are echoed country-wide and across PEI. Mr Perry said the Souris Branch still has to afford regular mortgage payments. They must also cover the cost of heat, lights and wages for two full-time staff and three part-time staff. “This funding comes as a relief,” he said. Brian Rector, president of Montague Legion said his branch passed up this opportunity for funding. “I figured there are other Legions that need this more than we do. Some are in threat of going under and we’re holding on.” While regular revenues from bar sales and fundraisers were below normal in 2020, Mr Rector said the Montague Branch has been benefitting from rental payments from Health PEI. Space in the Montague Legion has been rented out to serve as a COVID-19 testing clinic this winter. The branch has also benefited from a property sale which went through last month. The Montague Legion was sitting on about 40 acres of land. “There is no Legion that needs 40 acres of land, so we were sitting on a bit of a gold mine,” Mr Rector said. The sale wasn’t a reaction to the pandemic or loss of revenues; the branch was looking to sell some property for over two years now. “It was just all the administration hoops we had to get through,” Mr Rector said, explaining why it took awhile to finalize the sale. No one was available from the Eldon Legion for comment. , Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
Uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine has been high among long-term care workers in eastern PEI. Some workers have shown hesitancy but a large majority have chosen to be vaccinated. Grace Cressman, Nursing Director with Riverview Manor in Montague, said all but eight of 100 staff there have gotten at least their first dose of vaccine. “Once people became informed, most were willing to get the vaccine,” Ms Cressman said. “As they learned this and saw their co-workers getting the vaccine without reactions, more seemed interested,” she said, adding for some it was just a matter of scheduling. Of the eight who didn’t get vaccinated Ms Cressman said some were advised not to by their doctor for medical reasons. “There was also the idea that no one wants to be the one to bring the virus into the home,” Ms Cressman said about the overwhelming positive response to the vaccine. Nursing Director of the Dr John M Gillis Lodge in Belfast, Jennifer Penny, said she had not compiled the full tally yet but at least 80 per cent of staff at the lodge have been vaccinated. She added some are still planning to get their shot. “I’ve seen the opposite of hesitancy,” said Jason Perrin, owner of Perrin’s Marina Villa in Montague. “People have been knocking at the door wondering if they can get a vaccine.” Mr Perrin said several residents’ partners in care have asked if they would be able to be vaccinated. He hopes this may be possible. He said more than 90 per cent of his staff have gotten their first dose and all the residents have had the chance to be vaccinated through a clinic set up on-site. Approximately 71 per cent of the staff and nearly all residents at the 52-bed long-term care Colville Manor in Souris have been vaccinated, according to Health PEI. Karen Cook, administrator of Lady Slipper Villa in O’Leary, said uptake for the COVID-19 vaccine seems to be more enthusiastic than it typically it is for the yearly flu vaccine. Thirteen of 16 staff members have already been vaccinated and another staff member now plans to get the vaccine after further consideration. Ms Cook said one staff member is on leave and one has been advised not to take the vaccine for medical reasons. “The majority wanted to do it because they see it as a way out of this mess,” Ms Cook said. On PEI Phase 1 of vaccination roll out began in December 2020 and will continue through to March 2021. The province’s public health office expects the following Islanders will gradually be able to receive vaccines in this first phase: Residents and staff of long-term and community care, health care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors 80 years of age and older, adults 18 years of age and older living in Indigenous communities, residents and staff of other residential or shared living facilities (e.g. group homes, residential care, shelters, corrections), truck drivers and other rotational workers. From April to June this year, the public health office expects another swath of Islanders will be able to be vaccinated including the following: anyone in priority groups remaining from Phase 1, health care workers not included in phase one, seniors 70 years of age and older and essential workers. Finally, through the summer and fall of 2021, public health hopes to be able to administer vaccine to anyone in priority groups remaining from Phase 2 and then the general public. Despite some recent delays in shipments of Pfizer vaccine in Canada, PEI's cheif public health officer, Dr Heather Morrison, said this schedule should remain on track. Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
On Jan. 15, Bruce Power hosted a one-hour, live, virtual COVID-19 update, open to the general public. James Scongack, executive-vice president of corporate affairs & operational services at Bruce Power, served as narrator, opening the session with an acknowledgement on how challenging the pandemic has been for the community, province, the country and the world. He stressed the importance of factual information and gave a shout out to local media for covering the event. Scongack reminded listeners of the availability of the app Grey Bruce Huron Strong, or www.greybrucehuronstrong.com – a joint initiative between the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute and NPX Innovation. The app, with more than 8,000 residents involved, gives access to contests, fitness challenges, mindfulness activities, opportunities to help seniors, upcoming events and fundraisers. It will continue to be a communication platform as vaccination information becomes available. The app also promotes buying local in this community. Scongack’s remarks were followed by the introduction of president and CEO, Mike Rencheck. Rencheck extended his thanks to front line medical workers, front line workers in grocery stores and essential services, teachers and all the workers at Bruce Power for “keeping the lights on” and continuing to produce vitally essential medical isotopes. He also thanked everyone who has been supporting local business and local charities. He said these times are an “all hands on deck moment” and when we pull together, we will be strong. Rencheck was followed by Huron Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and MPP for Bruce Grey Owen Sound, Bill Walker. Thompson, who told viewers “we are strong”, also mentioned that small businesses should apply for the recently launched small business grant. She also said small business can tap into all federal and provincial programs available to them by visiting www.reliefwithinreach.ca. Walker extended his thanks to everyone abiding by health guidelines and asked everyone to “hold on to the hope”. Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce chief medical officer of health and CEO, was the last to appear during the session. Dr. Arra said pandemics only happen every 100 years and residents should continue to “stay the course” as they have for the last 10 months. He addressed the lockdown and stay-at-home order, offering thoughts on the benefits of the order and what each of us can do on an individual level. The order is necessary, “indispensable”, to save lives. Residents can action this by staying home unless you really have to go out to get food or go to the pharmacy. He acknowledged this is “painful” but to remember that this is saving lives. Dr. Arra said if you look at the situation in Grey Bruce, it remains “relatively favourable.” The two-week surge following the holidays seems to have passed and the number of cases per day has been falling. The doctor addressed the return of students to in-class learning on Jan. 25, saying they were ready to go back but with restrictions, including abiding by the stay-at-home order after the end of the school day. Talking about the vaccine, Dr. Arra said all pandemics end and the vaccine will make this happen sooner. His “prescription for success” continues to be the three Ws – washing hands frequently, wearing a mask correctly and watching our distance. Finally, Dr. Arra brought up the “be calm, be kind” mantra that he often mentions. He says the pandemic is a “hardship and people are in pain,” whether it is a small business, people staying home or not able to hug a loved one. He said in the middle of a hardship, it is very easy to point a finger at others and blame them. It is the pandemic that is the hardship. “We need … to remind everyone around us, this is not going to end tomorrow,” said Dr. Arra. “It’s going to end in a few weeks and a few months and we need to stay that course.” Dr. Arra then fielded a number of questions submitted by the public, covering topics including vaccines. Dr. Arra said the vaccine will change the course of the pandemic. The vaccines sent so far were administered to patients, staff and caregivers in long term care homes on the same day they were received. Plans for administering the vaccine began in August 2020, The vaccine will be administered depending on which vaccine is received, a traditional distribution plan (using the Moderna vaccine), through the health unit, primary care family health teams, long term care, hospitals and usually pharmacies. A separate plan for administering the Pfizer vaccine, which is less flexible with its mobility, will be distributed through mass-immunization clinics, or hubs. These hubs could be at the recovery centres, which are already set up. Dr. Arra also said the acceptance rate for the vaccine in Grey Bruce is high, above the provincial average. Final questions included information on the safety of children returning to school, what happens after a positive test and how is contact tracing conducted. Dr. Arra finished his comments by saying that we can remind ourselves that what we are doing and the sacrifices we are making is saving lives. We should stay home, and connect following the recommendations with helping others. “We are creatures of habit” and creating habits that help us through the lockdown is positive. Tammy Lindsay, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
A motion to prohibit fossil fuel producers and sellers from sponsoring city events or advertising on city property has been withdrawn unanimously at Regina's city council. At the executive committee meeting a week ago, councillors voted 7-4 in favour of a motion that would prevent fossil fuel companies from sponsoring city events, advertising or buying naming rights for city buildings. City administration said in a report that these sponsorships are expected to produce between $100,000 to $250,000 in net revenue annually for the city. Coun. Dan LeBlanc says he proposed the motion because the city has a policy to be energy sustainable by 2050, and it's up to the current council to help reach that goal. "I heard from a lot of people in the last week, and most of those I heard from support sustainability and understand that we need to get moving on it," LeBlanc said. "Despite support, I don't think this is one to push on. We don't have enough support at this point. I think taking a step back, let us cast a wider net for sustainability." Ward 4 Coun. Lori Bresciani, who had voted against the ban, says council reversing the decision was admirable and she thanked the councillors who did. "It's listening to your residents," Bresciani said. "And I will speak for all of the councillors that are here that have done that and vocally said that, 'You know what? We made a mistake. We heard you loud and clear,' and that is the job of a councillor." A total of 20 delegations, including the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Canadian Labour Congress. Krystal Lewis, one of two delegations who spoke in favour of the amendment, says climate change is an important issue with voters. "Young people want movement on this and they are less afraid than us to talk about it," said Lewis, a member of the Regina Public Interest Research Group that advocates for climate change action. "I hope that we can be a lot more courageous in our thinking and not be afraid despite some backlash or negative feedback, we still need to move forward with these conversations. "We owe it not just to ourselves, but all of these young folks and leaders of tomorrow who will be dealing with the consequences of our decisions today." Twenty of the 21 delegations spoke against the amendment, including John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce. Hopkins requested the council defeat the amendment. "The Saskatchewan energy sector is vital to our province. It is one of our big economic factors employing thousands of unionized workers as well as businesses," Hopkins said. "These employees are family, friends and neighbours." Hopkins says energy companies are using unique and innovative ways to reduce emissions and their carbon footprints. The fossil fuel producer and seller change wasn't the only amendment to the policy. Executive committee had also approved prohibiting political candidates or parties from sponsoring city events. On Wednesday, council voted unanimously to allow political parties or candidates to advertise or sponsor events as long as they indicated who it was paid by. Report on ew process for approving downtown parking lots postponed 'City council was set to discuss a report showing that 46.7 per cent of Regina's private land downtown is currently either surface parking or structured parkades. However it was pushed to the next meeting due to time constraints. If approved, the report would create a new process for approving new downtown lots and decommissioning lots when the allotted time ran out. The report was commissioned by the previous city council in August. It had asked city administration to look into amending the official Design Regina community plan to accommodate temporary surface parking lots. City administration looked into allowing lots for three to five years, researched how other cities consider downtown surface lots and consulted with the Regina and Downtown Business Improvement District, downtown property owners and developers. Administration also looked into how to decommission a temporary parking lot. Regina city councils have previously approved three temporary parking lots. The report shows none of them went on to be developed as expected. One such site is at 1755 Hamilton Street. It was approved as a three-year temporary parking lot in 2012, but was supposed to be developed afterward. It remains a vacant lot. A second is at 1840 Lorne Street. In 2015, it was approved for a three-year term. In 2019, another three-year term was approved. It is still a parking lot. "There is a risk that allowing surface parking lots, even on a temporary basis, would cause several demolitions downtown if left uncontrolled," city administration said in the report. Administration is recommending limiting future temporary surface parking lots and creating an underutilized land improvement strategy to redevelop existing sites.
A new initiative led by Grey Bruce Elder Abuse Prevention, a sub-committee of Violence Prevention Grey Bruce, has launched, with the goal of raising awareness about elder abuse and the resources available to seniors in Grey and Bruce counties. The campaign will initially offer a resource poster to local groups and businesses, and soon provide free virtual education presentations. The project is supported by a grant from the Community Foundation Grey Bruce that was awarded in late 2019 and had to be postponed because of the pandemic. The plan is to roll out the project between January and March of this year, instead. Jon Farmer, coordinator of Violence Prevention Grey Bruce, says the first three months will focus on getting the word out about the initiative and distributing the posters to as many outlets as possible. “We wanted to create a resource that would be accessible for seniors,” said Farmer. “The posters come in two sizes and with a large font so that folks with limited vision can read them. We can send them out to any organization or individual who asks for them. Originally, we planned to offer in-person educational sessions to community groups but the pandemic makes that impossible. Instead we’ll be offering online and teleconference sessions so that people can learn more about the issue and where to access help in Grey Bruce”. Farmer says elder abuse can take many forms, not just physical violence. Victims may be suffering from physiological or emotional abuse, financial abuse, or neglect and abandonment. Isolation is also a risk factor. “The risk of seniors being exploited or falling victim to scams is higher now that community programs are closed and social visiting is discouraged,” said Farmer. “GBEAP reports that calls to the provincial senior’s safety line have risen 300% during the pandemic.” The information is for seniors but is also available to “anyone who has a senior in their life that they care about,” said Farmer. “We’ve heard a lot in the news about the impact the pandemic is having on seniors in long term care and seniors’ vulnerability to the virus itself, but we also need to increase community conversations about the increased risk of elder abuse and how to recognize the signs and symptoms,” said Farmer. “We need people to know what the risk factors are and how to access services so that seniors are better supported by their loved ones as well as better prepared to protect themselves.” The virtual presentations will be available to community groups, churches and organizations and can be formatted to fit the level of interest and time constraints of the group. Two Zoom information sessions have been scheduled for Feb. 11 and Mar. 11, and will offer an introduction to the issue of elder abuse, signs and symptoms, and resources available to support elders who have experienced abuse. Registration is capped at 100 participants. Registration is open at www.vpgb.ca and Eventbrite.ca. “These workshops compliment the release of our elder abuse resource poster,” said Farmer. “The posters collect information about the supports available but supports can only help when people recognize that they or a loved one is experiencing abuse”. Posters can be ordered, and education sessions arranged, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Posters are available in two sizes, 8.5 X 11 and 11 X 17 inches. Recordings of some of the presentations will be made available on the Violence Prevention website, http://www.violencepreventiongreybruce.com, and on social media. Farmer says information about elder abuse is available on the Elder Abuse Prevention Ontario website at www.eapon.ca. The senior’s safety line, a 24-hour crisis and support line for seniors in Ontario who have experienced any type of abuse or neglect, is live 24 hours a day, 365 days per year and can be accessed by calling 1-866-299-1011. Anyone experiencing abuse should call 911 if they are in immediate danger. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Regional Librarian for Kings County Grace Dawson, , has noticed shifts in trends, looking back on 2020. “The big trend which is reflected in the numbers is this year’s rise in digital and electronic resource use,” Ms Dawson said. She added this is likely because of COVID-19 and the related shutdowns. Islanders used 49,200 more electronic resources in 2020 compared to 2019. That’s a jump from 179,527 uses to 228,759. On the flip side, new memberships to Island libraries and physical book loans were down this year. Libraries offered 4,163 new library cards in 2019 but only 2,033 in 2020. They also loaned 300,652 physical books in 2020 compared to 471,380 in 2019. Physical items could not be borrowed from libraries between mid-March and early June 2020 when the facilities closed their doors to the public. In June, library services started to gradually reopen with some locations offering curb-side pickup. Eventually all 26 locations reopened and welcomed browsing. But libraries reverted back to curb-side pickup during the December COVID-19 circuit breaker when restrictions were heightened again for Islanders. Despite these interruptions, overall, borrowed library materials increased this year from 819,987 in 2019 to 980,800 iitems borrowed in 2020. Ms Dawson said the growing use of non-traditional library materials such as musical instruments, telescopes, snowshoes, etc increased. These types of items have been available through the province’s libraries since 2018. “I think their popularity reflects the evolution of libraries as a provider of a broad range of materials and items to the entire community,” Ms Dawson said. “Libraries have always been inclusive spaces that provide information and access to all individuals but now we are seeing the public wants information and resources in a wide variety of formats.” The following is a breakdown of non-traditional items loaned this year: • Musical instruments: 2,781 • TCAP Fitness passes (available at Montague Library): 995 • Radon detectors: 165 • Telescopes: 403 • Snowshoes: 731 • Museum passes checked out (July & August 2020): 143 • Books delivered through Library’s Early Learning and Child Care Centre Book Delivery Service (which was started in July 2020): 3,799 • Books delivered through Library’s Community Care Book Delivery Service : 2,671 Ms Dawson said it’s worth noting that it has been difficult to draw conclusive trends from this year’s data given the restrictions libraries have faced due to the pandemic. Krystal Dionne, a branch technician with the Montague Rotary Library, says it has been fun to see the joy kids and adults get out of borrowing less traditional items from the library such as musical instruments. Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
After hanging up her scrubs in 2019, retired Windsor nurse Susan Ellsworth wants to return to the front lines and help out health-care professionals during the pandemic. But she says one thing is stopping her from doing that — the cost to reinstate her license to work as a nurse again. According to the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO), the cost to apply and re-instate is $226 and the annual registration fee that is also required is $305.10 — making that a total of at least $531.10 — a fee that Ellsworth said she can't afford. "With this pandemic, people want to help out. And I think that it would free up licensed nurses, RNs and RPNs, to do other things. Then we could say, help out doing testing, help out with paperwork, help out with giving the vaccines," she said. "I'm sure I'm not the only person that feels this way." She said there is a series of procedures she must follow in order to return to work which can add up in cost. She wants the fees to activate her license to be waived. "Especially when there's some of us that have worked in nursing for years and they're not going to give us a break?" Ellsworth said, adding that the pandemic is far from over. "I worked through SARS. It was not near anything like this, but just when you hear people saying, like, 'oh, the cases are down today. ... It's going to get better now,' but, you know from working yourself and nursing that it's not," she said. Early in the pandemic last year, the Ontario government declared it needs "all hands on deck" to fight the pandemic and has called in the military to assist front-line workers, Ellsworth says feels heartbroken that she can't help and she's willing to volunteer her time and work unpaid. In an email statement to CBC News, CNO said retired nurses can work as an unrelated care producer which has no cost attached to it. "Retired nurses who are no longer registered with CNO and who want to help with the pandemic efforts, including the vaccination rollout, can choose to work as an unregulated care provider. As an unregulated care provider, any controlled acts they are performing, such as administering a substance by injection, would have to be delegated to them," the statement reads. "However, if they want to resume practice as a nurse and they have practised within the last three years, they can choose to reinstate their CNO membership," it continues. After being informed of this, Ellsworth said this brought her hope and she would look into working as an unregulated care provider immediately. One hospital says it's not suffering a shortage of nurses CBC News reached out to local hospitals to see if there was a demand for nurse volunteers. In an email statement, Erie Shores Healthcare said it's currently "not suffering a shortage of nurses, so this is not an issue we have discussed. That being said, if we ever found ourselves in a nursing shortage situation, this would be something we would have to consider on a case-by-case basis, along with any other relevant options." In another email statement from Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital (HDGH), it said it "will explore any and all options available to assist with the recruitment of nursing staff." "We have been actively recruiting since the beginning of the pandemic. To date, we have not had any retired nurses express an interest to join our hospital. With that said, HDGH would agree to pay the fees associated with reinstating a retired nurses licence." the statement reads. "However, in the interest of not disadvantaging our current nursing staff, we would pay the fee and establish an agreed-upon process that would allow for the hospital to recover the expense by way of payroll deduction," it continues. CBC News reached out to the provincial government for comment, but officials didn't respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.