Local public health units have had to make adjustments to allow for contact tracing with so many cases. With the threat of COVID-19 variants, the Ontario government is committing to provide support. Matthew Bingley reports.
Local public health units have had to make adjustments to allow for contact tracing with so many cases. With the threat of COVID-19 variants, the Ontario government is committing to provide support. Matthew Bingley reports.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
A conservation officer who gained national attention after losing his job for refusing to kill two orphan cubs in Port Hardy in 2015 has filed a petition to get his job back. In June 2020, the BC Supreme Court of Appeal ruled the Conservation Officer Service illegally dismissed him, and nullified the action. Instead of letting him go back to work as he expected, government union organization BCGEU filed an appeal supported by B.C. government. That appeal was squashed this January by the Supreme Court of Canada, leaving the June 4 B.C. court decision in tact. “My dismissal has been overturned. I have a right to exercise the duties of my post, and a responsibility to return to work, but am being stopped. I’m not asking to be rehired, I don’t need to be reinstated. I am a conservation officer,” he told Black Press Media in an interview Wednesday (March 3). But Casavant alleges the Conservation Officer Service still has not acknowledged that his dismissal has been nullified, and has not allowed him to return to work. The petition, filed Feb. 23, gives them 21 days to respond. RELATED: Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears RELATED: Union takes former conservation officer who refused to kill 2 bears back to court RELATED: Former BC conservation officer feels vindicated after appeals court nullifies dismissal Recounting the legal history, Casavant sounds fundamentally offended that the court decision is not being acknowledged. “I need compliance with the law,” he implored. “In my experience in law enforcement and as an academic, I am not aware of any other constable being treated this way.” Other incorrect dismissals were simply reinstated, he said. Casavant was formerly a military police officer and recently earned a PhD in the history of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. It shouldn’t take a court order to get the decision makers to respond; the chief conservation officer has the power to correct the mistake, Casavant argues. Even the former Environment Minister, Mary Polak, agrees. She told Casavant recently she was never properly briefed on the file, and is now advocating with him to get the error corrected, he said. Black Press Media has not yet spoken to Polak. “This is way beyond two bear cubs at this time. I don’t have the financial resources to fight the largest union in B.C. and now on to the second administration of government. I’m starting to wonder if I should have just gone to law school, instead of getting my doctorate.” The BCGEU has not responded to requests for comment. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
ALBANY, N.Y. — Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, a sombre New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” about his own behaviour around women, but he said he intended to remain in office. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.” Cuomo said he will “fully co-operate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of selecting an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations and produce a report that will be made publicly. Cuomo had avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign. Before Wednesday's press conference, the governor last spoke to reporters during a teleconference call on Feb. 22. His last media briefing on video was Feb. 19. He hadn't spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration. One former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life and asked whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man. Bennett rejected Cuomo’s attempted apology, in which he said he’d been trying to be “playful” and that his jokes had been misinterpreted as flirting. Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting, and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations. And another woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at a September 2019 wedding. Cuomo started Wednesday's press conference focusing on the latest data on the coronavirus pandemic. He highlighted a disproportionately high number of hospitalizations in New York City, news that the state is receiving an initial shipment of 164,000 doses of the new one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and that three vaccination sites will temporarily shift to 24/7 operations. __ This story has been updated to correct the day of the press briefing. It was on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press
“Klara and the Sun,” by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf) “Klara and the Sun,” by Nobel-winning writer Kazuo Ishiguro, takes readers on a journey through the mind of Klara, one of many artificial friends who have been built to keep lonely children company. Klara is a one-of-a-kind machine whose keen observational abilities are consistently praised by the human beings who meet her. She may be a machine, but her thoughts and emotions are deeply real. Klara is chosen at the store by a young girl named Josie who connects with her immediately. She comes home with her to learn that Josie has a serious illness. Ever devoted to the child who chose her, Klara takes it upon herself to ensure that Josie remains safe and healthy for as long as possible. Ishiguro creates a fascinating world through Klara’s eyes as she works to understand how humans operate, while at the same time working through a growing number of feelings of her own. Throughout the book, Klara is more or less treated as a person and sometimes, you may even forget that she isn’t one. Ishiguro’s prose are soft and quiet. It feels like the perfect book to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon. He allows the story to unfold slowly and organically, revealing enough on every page to continue piquing the reader’s curiosity. The novel is an intriguing take on how artificial intelligence might play a role in our futures. It is a poignant meditation on love and loneliness, and asks us to ponder whether someone like Klara can every truly embody the human spirit, or if the soul is something that can never be manufactured. —- Read more about Molly Sprayregen at https://www.mollyspray.com. Molly Sprayregen, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Efforts to boost Canada's ability to produce vaccines are among over 100 research projects receiving new federal money. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $518 million Wednesday he says will support the work of nearly 1,000 researchers. The projects receiving the cash also include ocean sensors to track climate change and setting up a digital archive to house records related to residential schools. The vaccine-related funding will be directed to the researchers from the Universite Laval-affiliated hospitals in Quebec City. Their aim is to create a public vaccine production program that will help develop and test vaccines and launch related startup companies. Frustration that Canada is reliant on foreign manufacturers to access the COVID-19 vaccine has led to calls to boost Canada's domestic capabilities. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Two prominent Jewish advocacy groups are voicing anti-Semitism concerns ahead of a public conversation between NDP MP Niki Ashton and former U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.The heads of the Toronto-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Board of Deputies of British Jews say Corbyn is "toxic" and that the planned livestream talk between him and Ashton risks pulling New Democrats in a direction "antithetical" to Canadian values.Corbyn was booted from the British Labour party in October amid accusations he had weakened efforts to stamp out anti-Semitism.The party has been grappling with allegations anti-Semitism was allowed to fester under Corbyn, a longtime supporter of Palestinians and a critic of Israel who led the party for almost five years from 2015. Ashton has been promoting the March 20 chat, which will be hosted by Progressive International, an organization launched in 2018 by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Canadian author Naomi Klein and other progressive politicians and activists.Ashton and the NDP did not respond immediately to requests for comment.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021.—With a file from The Associated Press The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — A First Nations chief in Nova Scotia has released a letter from Ottawa outlining a plan to have Indigenous fishers participate in moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season. In the letter released today by Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says her department wants to give Indigenous fishers access to commercial fisheries through voluntary buyouts of existing licences. She says her department is prepared to negotiate agreements with Indigenous communities to establish "small-scale" moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season in the "near term." Jordan says the fisheries will operate while negotiations continue on how First Nations in Nova Scotia can affirm their treaty rights to fish for a moderate livelihood. She says any moderate livelihood fishing activity must be authorized by her office through licences issued under the Fisheries Act. Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia say a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirms the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood'' when and where they want — even outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. That decision was later clarified by the court, however, which said Ottawa could regulate the Mi'kmaq treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan's Opposition leader says Premier Scott Moe deliberately misled voters with his promise to balance the budget by 2024. NDP Leader Ryan Meili says there's been nothing since last fall's election to suggest economic factors have worsened since the campaign when Moe repeatedly committed to that date.Meili notes oil prices have, in fact, improved. Saskatchewan's finance minister said Monday that eliminating the $2-billion deficit by 2024 would be "very, very difficult" because of a slower than expected recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.Donna Harpauer said there is a small hope it could still happen, but projections indicate the Saskatchewan Party government is likely to have to adjust its target date. The premier has said more details will be provided when the next provincial budget is tabled in April, and only time will tell if the deficit can be cleared by 2024. Meili says he believes Moe never intended to keep his promise. "Everyday in the campaign the premier stood up and said he was going to balance the budget by 2024. He was lying," Meili said on Wednesday."He knew very well that wasn't something he was going to be able to do, but he sold people a lie."This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021 The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Veteran Canadian strawweight Randa (Quiet Storm) Markos will face Luana Pinheiro at UFC 260 on March 27. It will mark the 17th UFC fight for the 35-year-old from Windsor, Ont., who made her debut in the promotion in December 2014. Markos (10-10-1) has lost three straight and four of her last five, dropping her record in the UFC to 6-9-1. Markos lost a decision to Japan's Kanako Murata last time out in November. Pinheiro (8-1-0) is making her UFC debut after posting a first-round KO win in November over Stephanie Frausto in Dana White's Contender Series. The 27-year-old Brazilian has won her last six outings. The main event at the UFC's Apex production facility in Las Vegas sees Stipe Miocic (20-3-0) put his heavyweight title on the line against No. 1 contender Francis (The Predator) Ngannou (15-3-0). Miocic won by unanimous decision when they met at UFC 220 in January 2018, There are two other Canadians on the UFC 260 card. Flyweight Gillian (The Savage) Robertson, a native of Niagara Falls, Ont., who makes her home in Port Saint Lucie, Fla., faces Miranda (Fear The) Maverick and Quebec middleweight Marc-Andre (Power Bar) Barriault takes on Morocco's Abu (Gladiator) Azaitar. Robertson and Miranda were supposed to meet Feb. 13 at UFC 258 but the Canadian had to withdraw due to a non-COVID-related illness. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Walk-in testing clinics have been set up in the Miramichi region, Zone 7, amid new cases and "the likelihood of a variant being present," Public Health said Wednesday. The mass testing clinic is intended to determine if there has been any further spread in the area, the department said. Testing will be available without an appointment for individuals who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19, and will be held on Thursday and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the gymnasium of the Dr. Losier Middle School, 124 Henderson St., in Miramichi. Screening tests will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. Asymptomatic people do not need to self-isolate while awaiting results, unless advised to do so by Public Health. People with symptoms are asked to request a test online or to call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment at the nearest screening centre. There are currently 37 active cases in the province.(CBC News) Three new cases reported Public Health reported three new cases in two zones on Wednesday. The cases break down in this way: Fredericton region, Zone 3, two cases: two people 20 to 29 years old. Both cases are travel-related and both individuals are self-isolating. Miramichi region, Zone 7, one case: an individual 50 to 59 years old. The case is under investigation and the person is self-isolating. The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,438, and the number of active cases is 37. Since Tuesday, two people have recovered for a total of 1,372 recoveries. There have been 28 deaths. Three patients are in hospital, and two of them are in intensive care. A total of 230,540 tests have been conducted, including 753 since Tuesday's report. Exposure notifications in Miramichi Public Health has identified potential public exposures to the virus at the following locations in Zone 7. Individuals who tested positive were in these establishments, but do not have the exact times they were present in these businesses, the department said, "but it is believed it was for a short duration on these dates": Sobeys, 273 Pleasant St., Feb. 15, Feb. 19, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 Atlantic Superstore, 408 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 23 and Feb. 28 Shoppers Drug Mart, 397 King George Hwy, Feb. 15, Feb. 17 and Feb. 26 Dollarama, 100 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 20 Winners, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 22 and Feb. 24 Giant Tiger, 2441 King George Hwy, Feb. 24 Walmart, 200 Douglastown Blvd., Feb. 24 Bulk Barn, 100-99 Douglastown Blvd. on Feb. 27 NB Liquor, 221 Pleasant St., Feb. 27 What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Public health officials said Wednesday the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey says the decision is a game changer for the province's vaccination prospects. British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry raised eyebrows Monday when she announced her province will delay the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to four months. Henry said Monday she expected the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to issue a statement in the coming days aligning with B.C.'s decision. Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today and say all are linked to previously reported infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says extra vaccine shipments could make it possible to vaccinate all willing Canadian adults before September. The United States has an earlier target at the end of May, but Trudeau cautions against using the U.S., with its worse record of infections and deaths, as a guide for what Canada does.
Writer and director Eddie Huang hopes his first feature film, "Boogie," will help shift expectations about the type of Asian-American stories shown on the big screen. "This is the next level, where we get to come in and tell our authentic, specific stories," said Huang, whose 2013 autobiography was adapted into the ABC television sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat." The coming-of-age story centers around a high school basketball star who dreams of playing in the National Basketball Association while navigating family pressure, love, and rivals.
The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a flagship election reform bill on Wednesday that would update voting procedures and require states to turn over the task of redrawing congressional districts to independent commissions. The legislation, numbered "H.R. 1" for the importance Democrats attach to it, "is designed to restore the voices of Americans who felt left out and locked out for too long," its original sponsor, Representative John Sarbanes, said in remarks outside the U.S. Capitol before the vote. The bill is one of many the House Democrats are voting on early in the Congress on a number of priorities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, policing and the environment.
NEW YORK — Yankees manager Aaron Boone is taking a leave of absence from the team to get a pacemaker and intends to return to work in a few days. New York said the procedure was likely to be performed later Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Boone said in a statement the medical team is “confident that today’s surgery will allow me to resume all of my usual professional and personal activities and afford me a positive long-term health prognosis without having to change anything about my way of life. I look forward to getting back to work in the next several days.” The 47-year-old is entering his fourth season as Yankees manager. The team started the exhibition season Sunday and was scheduled to play its fourth game on Wednesday night against Toronto in Tampa. “As many of you know, I underwent open-heart surgery in 2009, and I wanted everyone to understand where I’m at regarding the procedure that’s taking place today,” Boone said. “Over the last six to eight weeks I’ve had mild symptoms of lightheadedness, low energy and shortness of breath. As a result, I underwent a series of tests and examinations in New York prior to the beginning of spring training, including multiple visits with a team of heart specialists. While the heart checkup came back normal, there were indications of a low heart rate which, after further consultations with doctors in Tampa, necessitates a pacemaker." Boone said “my faith is strong, and my spirits are high. I’m in a great frame of mind.” “During my short-term absence, I have complete trust that our coaches, staff and players will continue their training and preparation at the same level as we’ve had and without any interruption," he said. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was expected to address the situation later Wednesday. Boone played in the major leagues from 1997-2009 and was an All-Star for the Yankees in 2003, the year his 11th-inning home run off Boston's Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series won the pennant for New York. He is a third generation major leaguer, whose grandfather Gus, father Bob and brother Bret also played in the big leagues and whose nephew Jake is a minor leaguer in the Washington organization. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Ronald Blum, The Associated Press
TORONTO — The judge who found Alek Minassian guilty of murder and attempted murder in the Toronto van attack has set Canadian precedent by considering autism a "mental disorder" under the Criminal Code.Justice Anne Molloy ruled that autism did not leave the 28-year-old not criminally responsible for killing 10 people and injuring 16 others, but her decision to consider that possibility means the argument could be made in future cases.Molloy noted, however, that the decision does not "say anything at all about any connection between ASD and criminality," and each case must be decided based on the specific circumstances. The only other Canadian case that had argued someone was not criminally responsible due to autism was appealed, and Molloy said the appeal judge did not rule on whether autism left the accused criminally responsible.Molloy ruled that autism is a mental disorder by the Criminal Code's definition because it is a permanent condition with an "internal cause, rooted in the brain" that "has an impact on brain functioning and thought processes." "In its severe manifestations, and particularly where there are comorbidities, ASD might cause a person to lack the capacity to appreciate the nature of an action or to know that it is wrong," she wrote, underlining the word "might" in the decision. "It is not possible to rule out ASD at this threshold stage by holding that it cannot ever qualify as a mental disorder under (the Criminal Code.)" Molloy said that autism can affect a person's ability to empathize with others or understand their emotions, but rejected the defence's argument that Minassian's lack of empathy for his victims left him not criminally responsible. She said Minassian understood that mass murder is morally wrong by society's standards, and that he knew the consequences of his actions, leaving him criminally responsible for the killings. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
SDG – Major road rebuilding projects remain one of the largest capital funding issues at the United Counties. While SDG’s transportation department has a robust maintenance program to extend the life of existing roads, some roads are beyond repair and need rebuilding. County councillors heard at the February 16-17 budget deliberations of several roads in need of rebuilding including a section of County Roads 8 and 18 in South Dundas, and County Road 22 in North Glengarry. The 1.1 kilometre section of CR 8 and 18 is being rebuilt in 2021, but CR 22 is a few years off. Councillor Steven Byvelds (South Dundas) proposed a solution to the long term funding woes of capital projects. “When Counties goes to the next budget, we can go to this list of roads that are not part of our roads plan but are in dire need ,” Byvelds said. “We’ve done really well in saving money for the manors, but what is a project we should look at – I consider that the now roads.” He cited the condition of roads like County Roads 5, 8, 31 and 22 which are not part of the county’s current four year roads plan. “This allows us as a county to deal with what we need to deal with and have the money set aside,” Byvelds added. His motion proposed the creation of a major roads reconstruction capital reserve, and a policy that directs any unspent money from the transportation and roads budget be collected in that reserve for capital projects. This includes any surplus or unused money from projects or where tender bids have come in below the budgeted amount. In past years, the department would find other uses for the funds towards the end of the construction season, or take on new smaller projects. Byvelds motion directed staff to create a new policy to set aside funds for the reserve, and come back to council with an inventory of what the transportation and planning department considers its “Now Roads” list. “I think Councillor Byvelds has come up with a great potential solution here,” said Councillor Carma Williams (North Glengarry). “I think the solution Councillor Byvelds has put on the table is a very creative way to stop us from having this road conversation where the ones we want to get to just go off into the abyss,” said Councillor Kristen Gardner (South Dundas). “I fully support any unused funds from roads projects being reallocated to look at the ‘Now Roads’,” Councillor Frank Landry (North Stormont) told council adding that the county’s asset management plan should be looked at to make sure that the roads on the plan are the right priorities. TPS director Ben deHaan said that if council passed Byvelds’ motion, the department would create a list independent of the current four-year roads plan with roads in need of major work. “Once we have that list, and that war chest built up, we can pick off that list,” deHaan said. Councillor Tony Fraser (North Dundas) asked for clarification if the proposed reserve would be the sole source of major road funding moving forward or would there be other sources sought. Byvelds explained that other “Now” projects were completed using federal gas tax funding received or using existing reserves. “I’m not saying we can’t dip into other reserves but right now we have no specific reserve to deal with these ‘Now Roads’,” Byvelds replied. “If we don’t start putting money aside for the roads that aren’t part of our four year plan then we’ll never get them done.” Councillor Allan Armstrong (North Dundas) spoke in support of Byvelds’ proposal. “At least it’s creating a savings account for some of these things that we don’t get to do and there is some money being dedicated towards this. It somewhat trains this council, and hopefully other councils will stay with it, to be mindful of putting away a savings account, and that’s a good start.” Council supported Byvelds’ solution, and staff will bring the policy for final approval at the upcoming March 15th meeting. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
The social media persona "Roaring Kitty," whose online posts helped spark January's trading frenzy in GameStop Corp shares, appeared before Massachusetts securities regulators on Wednesday to testify as part of an examination into his activities. Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, the state's top securities regulator, last month subpoenaed Keith Gill, who touted GameStop stock in his spare time while he was a registered broker and working at the insurer MassMutual. He was a key figure in the so-called "Reddit rally," which saw shares of GameStop surge 400% in a week before crashing back to pre-surge levels.
Lawyers for Huawei's chief financial officer said on Wednesday that Joe Biden's election as U.S. president will not undo the political interference in her case, which they say stems from former President Donald Trump's pledge to intervene if it helped the United States extract a more favorable trade deal from China. Lawyers for CFO Meng Wanzhou want her U.S. extradition case dismissed on grounds that Trump's comments soon after her 2018 arrest in Canada meant she would not get a fair trial in the United States.