Bill and Bav Loth head to warmer climates such as California and Mexico every year during the winter. Because of COVID-19 they have put those plans for the time being on hold.
Bill and Bav Loth head to warmer climates such as California and Mexico every year during the winter. Because of COVID-19 they have put those plans for the time being on hold.
In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
Island Abbey Foods, makers of Honibe cough and cold lozenges, is eliminating 30 temporary staff at its Charlottetown production plant. The P.E.I. company is putting the blame on the "almost non-existent cold and cough season" so far this winter, as potential customers wear masks, stay two metres away from others and practise good hand hygiene. "Cold and cough season is almost non-existent this year, which has resulted in a decline of our lozenge business for the first two quarters of 2021," Scott Spencer, president and chief operating officer of Island Abbey Foods, said in a statement to CBC News. "While we have seen substantial gains with our digital retail strategy, it does not replace the volume we projected in anticipation of a regular cold and cough season. Therefore, unfortunately, we've made the difficult decision to eliminate 30 temporary positions from our production operation. The company says demand for its Gummie Bees multivitamins and other health products continues to be strong, and planning is well underway for an expansion to meet those demands. "2020 was a tremendous year at Island Abbey Foods," said Spencer. "We increased headcount significantly across our company to meet higher than anticipated demand and position our company for success. Like other businesses, we are continuously adapting to the ever-changing business realities that COVID-19 is imposing on the world." More from CBC P.E.I.
Niagara school boards are coming to terms with the fact students here will remain at home Monday. “We know that the optimal place for students to learn is in-person with their teacher, in their classroom,” District School Board of Niagara education director Warren Hoshizaki said Thursday. “However, we fully support the decision from the province because safety of our students and staff is always top priority. We are fully prepared to continue supporting students and families with remote learning.” On Wednesday, Ontario announced Schools in Grey Bruce, Peterborough, Haliburton and Kingston are among those in southern Ontario allowed to open their doors to students to attend class in person, starting Monday. Schools in the north welcomed children back Monday, with a few exceptions in communities that saw a sharp jump in cases over the holidays. The seven areas where elementary and secondary students can resume in-person learning on Jan. 25 are: Haliburton/Kawartha/Pine Ridge; Peterborough; Grey Bruce; Hastings/Prince Edward; Leeds/Grenville/Lanark; Renfrew; Kingston/Frontenac/Lennox & Addington. Students in all other southern Ontario public health districts, including Niagara, will remain online for now, and the government gave no specific timeline other than to say the chief medical officer of health will monitor COVID cases and determine when kids can return. Niagara Catholic District School Board education director Camillo Cipriano said, “We continue to find ways to ensure that students are actively engaged during the school day and that we meet the needs of students wherever they are in their learning. “We understand that all of this is difficult, and we are so proud of the excellent work that is happening online by our students, teachers, administrators and support staff to keep advancing learning.” Despite confidence in abilities to navigate the uncharted waters that is a global pandemic, neither of board has received any indication regarding the criteria the Education Ministry or the province’s chief medical officer of health has set for schools to reopen safely. “Creating a one-size-fits-all approach to school reopening is a challenge,” Cipriano said. “We have regular meetings with the ministry and public health and will continue to look forward to open dialogue with the ministry through the end of the school year.” He added, “We did receive requests for technology support and assistance from families when schools first reopened after the Christmas break and have supported families with their requests. We recognize that as this continues, families may experience technology issues for many reasons, and we encourage them to contact their child’s school if they do have challenges.” DSBN also acknowledged hardships of remote learning. “Any families who have questions about their child’s remote learning are strongly encouraged to contact their teacher and principal,” said Hoshizaki. “It’s important to us that this time of remote learning meets the needs of all our students, and we are here to support our students and their families.” The Niagara Falls Review reached out to Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, parliamentary assistant to Education Minister Stephen Lecce, but he has not been available for an interview. With files from the Toronto Star Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.com Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
Vancouver Island blew past previous highs reporting 47 new COVID-19 cases today (Jan 21.). The previous high was 34 new cases in a day, reported on Jan 12 and 15. Province-wide there were 564 new cases today, for an active total of 62,976. The Vancouver Island region now has over 200 active cases, the highest number since the outbreak began last year. As of Jan 20, there were 15 patients in hospital and 17 confirmed deaths on the Island. While the rest of B.C. has been trending downwards, Vancouver Island’s numbers have steadily risen this month. “Despite our COVID-19 curve trending in the right direction, we continue to have new outbreaks, community clusters and high numbers of new cases. COVID-19 continues to spread widely in our communities,” Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix said in the press release. “Thank you for doing your part and choosing to bend the curve, not the rules.” RELATED: Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday RELATED: Island Health’s daily COVID-19 case count reaches record high 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
The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen (CFSOS) is announcing $80,000 in grants to local organizations supporting gender equality. IndigenEYEZ, Foundry Penticton and the South Okanagan Women in Need Society (SOWINS), whose projects are working towards advancing gender equality in local communities, each received part of the funding to advance their work. “Our investment in their work is key in working towards equity and inclusion and in supporting women who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” said Sarah Trudeau, manager of grants and community initiatives with CFSOS. The Fund for Gender Equality is a collaboration between Community Foundations of Canada and the Equality Fund which is supported by the Government of Canada. “The organizations who received funding have demonstrated a commitment to empowering women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people through their mission, activities or partnerships,” said Trudeau. IndigenEYEZ was awarded $40,000 for their Stepping Up Together program, empowering women leaders in the South Okanagan. The Indigenous-led leadership program is inclusive of women, gender diverse and two-spirit people with the goal of developing skills and supportive alliances to increase capacity to act as leaders in the South Okanagan-Similkameen. SOWINS was awarded $15,000 for the Explore Pre-Employment Program, a workshop-based, pre-employment program for women who have experienced gender-based violence to help them achieve economic empowerment and financial security. Foundry Penticton was awarded $25,000 to build a team-based approach to gender-affirming care in the South Okanagan. “Advancing the gender-affirming model will promote health and positive development for trans and gender-diverse youth aged 12 to 24. By integrating primary gender-affirming care, mental health, peer support and social services, the program will work towards eliminating health disparities, discrimination and stigma,” states a press release from CFSOS. To learn more about the national fund, click here. Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon announced plans Thursday to move ahead with a military trial for three men held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are suspected of involvement in bombings in Indonesia in 2002 and 2003. A senior military legal official approved non-capital charges that include conspiracy, murder and terrorism for their alleged roles in the deadly bombing of Bali nightclubs in 2002 and a year later of a J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta. The men have been in U.S. custody since 2003, and military prosecutors have previously moved to charge them before the military commission at Guantanamo, but the Pentagon official, known as a convening authority, never signed off on the charges. The next step would be an arraignment at the base, but proceedings there have been halted by the pandemic. Encep Nurjaman, who is known as Hambali, is alleged to have been the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian affiliate of al-Qaida. The Pentagon said in a brief statement on the case that he is accused with Mohammed Nazir Bin Lep and Mohammed Farik Bin Amin of planning and providing assistance in the attacks. The 2002 bombings on the tourist island of Bali killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, and left a deep scar in Indonesia. The attack on the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Jakarta killed 12. Military proceedings at Guantanamo have bogged down for years because of legal challenges and the logistical difficulty of holding court hearings at the remote base. The most prominent case, involving five men charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, has been stuck in the pre-trial phase since their arraignment in May 2012 with no date yet established for the trial. The U.S. holds 40 men at Guantanamo. President Joe Biden has said he favours closing the detention centre but has not yet disclosed his plans for the facility. The Associated Press
On Christmas Day, Jess Lamb needed three injectable vials of naloxone to revive her partner from a fentanyl overdose in their home. The next day, when Patrick Evans experienced an overdose again, it took three nasal sprays and one injection by Lamb to save their life. “I was too scared to call 911 for the second overdose. I didn’t know what would happen to him,” said Lamb on the phone from the couple’s home in Cranbrook. She loses at least one friend a week to the overdose crisis, but Lamb “didn’t want paramedics to show up again and take him without me because of COVID.” The province’s expanded safer supply program is supposed to provide prescription drugs for people — heroin, hydromorphone and others — as an alternative to increasingly poisoned illicit supplies, preventing overdoses and deaths. But for Evans and others, the program has failed to deliver on its promise, advocates say. Evans had been in recovery and not using for over two years when they started using heroin again in the summer. In September, they went to their physician and was prescribed Dilaudid, an oral form of hydromorphone, as an opioid substitute. Like most participants in the program, they crushed and dissolved the pills and injected them. For Evans, safer supply meant being in control of their days and focusing on things beyond their substance use. “When I’ve put one foot in front of the other and tried, navigating substance use disorder is a full-time job,” they said. Lamb used substances including crystal methamphetamine and heroin until 2015 before stopping to only use cannabis. But when Evans began Dilaudid, “the drug of choice was in my house, and it got the best of me,” Lamb said. Under pandemic risk mitigation guidelines announced in March, the province allowed doctors to prescribe alternatives to people at dual risk of COVID-19 and drug overdose. Research from the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2012 estimates as many as 83,000 people in the province are opioid dependent. Between March and December, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions said the number of people being prescribed Dilaudid nearly quadrupled from 677 to 3,348 across the province. And by October, Lamb and Evans were among them. But what they first saw as relief quickly became a source of stress that put their lives at risk. Stigma and a lack of understanding from doctors have made safer supply difficult to obtain and even harder to keep, said Evans and Lamb, putting their lives at risk even as the province touts a growing number of people with access to Dilaudid. The couple said both their doctors were hesitant to begin prescribing alternatives at all and began pressuring them to taper off their doses almost as soon as they started. Evans said the challenges began immediately. “It was barely enough, and she was constantly pressuring me to taper down because she didn’t want to be prescribing narcotics,” said Evans. “We had difficulties at the pharmacy too, and there was just so much stigma.” Lamb said her doctor was worried she would be at fault if Lamb injected a prescribed substance meant to be taken orally and overdosed or developed an embolism as a result of air in the needle. “If I’m getting Dilaudid, that’s reducing my risk of an overdose, not increasing it,” said Lamb. Lamb, who works in harm reduction at Ankors AIDS Outreach Centre and Support Society in Cranbrook, has been advocating for people to get on safer supply since March’s risk mitigation guidance came out. But it has been an uphill battle in her work as well as her personal life, Lamb said — even after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced in September that safe supply programs would be expanded and registered nurses would be allowed to prescribe drug alternatives. Four months later, there are few details on plans to expand supply, and nurses still can’t prescribe prescription alternatives to illicit drugs. Lamb and Evans said that as it became difficult to access adequate prescribed alternatives under safer supply programs, they began rationing the pills they did have in the late fall. Their prescription supply dwindled, and Evans began turning to the illicit supply, which led to their back-to-back overdoses during the holidays. The couple says their struggles to access and maintain safer supply won’t be alleviated by allowing nurses to prescribe if the stigma and hesitance of doctors and nurses remains. Lamb said substance users and their peers need to be involved in addictions medicine training for doctors and nurses to ensure they understand the gravity of the problem, Lamb said. The colleges representing and regulating nurses, doctors and pharmacists in B.C. have publicly supported the new expansion plan. But Jordan Westfall, president of the Canadian Association for Safer Supply, says physicians’ concerns about prescribing safer options need to be addressed by the college, particularly around any potential disciplinary issues. “Individual doctors can, and they always have been able to, prescribe safer supply. But running into problems with their college, that’s a huge chilling factor,” said Westfall. “So allowing nurses to prescribe too doesn’t address the root cause.” Hydromorphone tablets were initially chosen as the option because of their portability. Now Westfall wants the government to use the Fair PharmaCare program to make injectable alternatives more widely available. That would increase support from the regulatory colleges, he said, by reducing concerns that people are crushing and injecting pills under the current program. A spokesperson for the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, responsible for rolling out the expanded program, said the plan isn’t complete. But the first cohort of trained nurses are expected to begin prescribing suboxone, an opioid substitute, in February. “This means there will soon be more health-care practitioners available to prevent overdoses, and reach more people and provide more options, especially in underserved areas,” he said in an email. In the last two weeks, both Lamb and Evans have been able to begin accessing opioid substitute treatment through a weekly clinic offered by a visiting doctor. They are now both taking Kadian, a slow-release oral form of morphine, and a reduced dose of Dilaudid, with the intention of transitioning to either methadone or suboxone. While Lamb is grateful to have access to this potential solution, she feels they both had to “play ball” with their doctors to stay on any form of treatment at all. She would have preferred to stay on Dilaudid, because now she worries about how she will get off of Kadian, particularly if methadone or suboxone don’t work for her. And in a place like Cranbrook with limited support and options for accessing health care for substance use, Lamb worries about the people who don’t have the knowledge or the energy to advocate for what they need. Lamb has to call colleagues and contacts in Vancouver to convince her doctor to give her a prescription, she said. “I have to fight for my life,” she said. “When you’re using drugs and trying not to die, you don’t have much time to do other things, and one of those things is advocating for your health care.” Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
The role of Canada's vice-regal has been held by a wide variety of people, from British nobles to military leaders to humanitarian advocates. Here is a list of all those who have served as Canada's governor general since Confederation: — Viscount Monck: 1861-1868 Lord Lisgar: 1868-1872 Earl of Dufferin: 1872-1878 Duke of Argyll: 1878-1883 Marquess of Lansdowne: 1883-1888 Earl of Derby: 1888-1893 Earl of Aberdeen: 1893-1898 Earl of Minto: 1898-1904 Earl Grey: 1904-1911 Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught: 1911-1916 Duke of Devonshire: 1916-1921 Lord Byng: 1921-1926 Viscount Willingdon: 1926-1931 Earl of Bessborough: 1931-1935 Lord Tweedsmuir: 1935-1940 Earl of Athlone: 1940-1946 Viscount Alexander: 1946-1952 Vincent Massey: 1952-1959 Georges Vanier: 1959-1967 Roland Michener: 1967-1974 Jules Léger: 1974-1979 Edward Schreyer: 1979-1984 Jeanne Sauvé: 1984-1990 Ramon Hnatyshyn: 1990-1995 Roméo LeBlanc: 1995-1999 Adrienne Clarkson: 1999-2005 Michaëlle Jean: 2005-2010 David Johnston: 2010-2017 Julie Payette: 2017-2021 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Nothing illustrates the political passions of a television network's audience quite like ratings for a presidential inaugural. The 6.53 million people who watched President Joe Biden take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address on MSNBC Wednesday was a whopping 338% bigger than its audience for Donald Trump's swearing in four years ago, the Nielsen company said. On the flip side, Fox News Channel's audience of 2.74 million for Biden on Wednesday represented a nearly 77% drop from its viewership for Trump in 2017, Nielsen said. A preliminary Nielsen estimate shows Biden's inaugural viewership on the top six networks beat Trump by 4%. Nielsen said it doesn't have a complete estimate for inaugural viewing because it is still counting people who watched on other networks or outside their homes. CNN, with 10 million viewers, easily beat ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and Fox during Biden's big moment, Nielsen said. That's 196% more than watched Trump four years ago. CNN, which has been on a hot streak in the ratings since Biden's victory, also topped all the others for its coverage of the primetime inaugural celebration. MSNBC, meanwhile, said it recorded the highest daytime ratings of the network's nearly 25-year history on Wednesday. ABC had 7.66 million viewers for the oath-taking (up 10% from 2017), NBC had 6.89 million (down 12%) and CBS had 6.07 million (down 13%), Nielsen said. David Bauder, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Canadian record producer Bob Rock is joining a chorus of musicians selling off rights to their past work, reaching a deal with a U.K. investment firm for more than 40 songs from Michael Buble and Metallica. The agreement between Rock and Hipgnosis Songs Fund, announced Thursday, will give the London-based operation Rock's full producer rights to a raft of prominent tracks. Among them is Rock's stake in Metallica's self-titled 1991 album, often called "The Black Album," which includes the metal band's hits "Enter Sandman," "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters." He's also sold his rights to Buble's album "To Be Loved" in its entirety and his work on "Call Me Irresponsible," "Crazy Love" and "Christmas." Rock, who was born in Winnipeg, is one of Canada's most prolific rock music producers, having worked with the Tragically Hip, Aerosmith, Bryan Adams and Bon Jovi. The Hipgnosis deal, which encompasses 43 songs, comes as the fund moves quickly to build its library of rights holdings. Last week, Hipgnosis picked up the publisher and songwriter rights to Shakira's entire catalogue of 145 songs, and earlier this month acquired a 50 per cent stake in Neil Young's catalogue of 1,180 songs. Rights deals have become a hot commodity in the pandemic as artists look to monetize their assets while the touring industry remains at a standstill and listening moves increasingly to streaming platforms over record sales. Each transaction can be slightly different than the next, depending on what rights the creator is selling. Rock is selling off his royalty percentage of sound recording copyrights, or "points" as they're called in music industry. That covers his share in revenues for his contribution to studio recordings, such as mixing or production. His points share could vary by each track, but would ultimately determine how much money funnels back to him — from album sales and streaming, to licensing for commercials and TV shows. Those rights are now owned by Hipgnosis. Other artists have recently sold their publishing rights, which cover anything earned for the musical work that's committed to paper. Typically that means a slice of revenues from live performances as well as licensing fees from covers recorded by other artists. Bob Dylan recently sold publishing rights to more than 600 songs to the Universal Music Publishing Group for estimates that were priced between $300 million and half a billion dollars. Stevie Nicks sold an 80 per cent stake in her music to Primary Wave for a reported $100 million. — Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — British Columbia's Liberal party took the first steps Thursday towards selecting a new leader while also addressing a constitutional technicality that still has Andrew Wilkinson as party leader. The party appointed former cabinet minister Colin Hansen as co-chair of an organizing committee to oversee the campaign. A date hasn't been set yet to choose a new leader. Hansen, known as a stalwart in the governments of former premier Gordon Campbell, will co-chair the seven-member committee with Victoria lawyer Roxanne Helme. Interim Liberal Leader Shirley Bond said she is energized by the formation of the campaign oversight committee and downplayed the fact Wilkinson hasn't followed the protocol to resign under the party's constitution. "I just have to say this, that British Columbians this morning didn't wake up and worry about whether or not there was constitutionally a technical issue with who's the leader of the B.C. Liberal Party," she said at a news conference. Wilkinson announced his resignation after the Liberals lost the election last fall and dropped seats that were once considered safe for the party. In the days following the Oct. 24 election, Wilkinson held a brief news conference where he said he planned to resign, but would remain leader until a replacement is chosen. About one month later he posted on Facebook: "It is now time for me to leave the role as Opposition leader as voters in B.C. have made their preference clear." Although Wilkinson hasn't official resigned, Bond said she is leading the Liberals. "I'm speaking to you today as the leader of the Opposition, make no mistake about that," she said. Wilkinson is not receiving any leadership benefits from the party and he has no leadership responsibilities, Bond said. "I can assure you this, Andrew Wilkinson is focusing on his role as an MLA," she said. "He has no responsibilities, no stipend, nothing like that related to the B.C. Liberal Party. We certainly expect a letter of resignation at some point in the next few weeks, but the fact of the matter is I lead the official Opposition." Wilkinson was not immediately available for comment. Bond, who has already ruled herself out of the Liberal leadership race, said 2021 will be a year of reflection, renewal and rebuilding for the party. "In the meantime, the party will continue to create and unveil the leadership contest rules and how it will work," she said. "I'm quite energized looking at what candidates might emerge and eventually they will transition to take on the role that I have now." Other members of the organizing committee to help pick a leader include legislature members Jackie Tegart, Derek Lew, Sarah Sidhu, Don Silversides and Cameron Stolz. The committee's mandate includes determining the timeline for the leadership election, establishing the campaign's rules and implementing the election process for party members. — By Dirk Meissner in Victoria This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Interior Health is ordering a review for “lessons learned” from the outbreak at McKinney Place long-term care in Oliver, after 17 residents died in just over a month. The focus of the review will be around multi-bed units in long-term care facilities, according to Carl Meadows, South Okanagan executive director of clinical operations for Interior Health. “With McKinney, I’ve requested a review for lessons learned,” Meadows told the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District Board while giving an update on COVID-19 in the South Okanagan at their Jan. 21 meeting. A total of 55 residents tested positive at the facility out of the 59 who lived there at the beginning of the outbreak in December, 2020. Interior Health has previously stated the spread of COVID-19 at the facility was partially due to a lack of single-bed rooms to isolate residents who have tested positive. McKinney Place is an older facility which does have more congregation areas and has fewer private rooms than some newer long-term care facilities, which may have contributed to the spread, Interior Health officials previously stated. “There’s going to be more awareness around these four-bed long term care units and how to do something about them in the near future because it was very difficult to cordon off or cohort infected patients with four-bed units,” Meadows said. In the South Okanagan, including Penticton and Summerland, COVID-19 case numbers are down, but so are the number of tests, Meadows said. “Our COVID numbers in the community are dropping but we have had obviously some significant events at places that have been made public so it has been a very long few months, we’re still in an incident command structure in the South Okanagan,” Meadows said. “Our numbers are going down, what we don’t know is our testing numbers are also down, so we don’t know if people are getting tested and of course now we’ve got the Pfizer vaccine that has been delayed and Moderna.” Right now, Interior Health’s primary focus is on the vaccination of long-term care and assisted living staff and residents with priority vaccinations for emergency/intensive care staff and COVID units in Penticton, Meadows said. “(COVID-19) has tested our health system like we’ve never experienced and McKinney was the latest example where it was very challenging. But I can assure you our teams are nothing short of amazing, you’re in very good hands in the South Okanagan,” Meadows said. Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
Premier Blaine Higgs has confirmed there is a single case of COVID-19 at CFB Gagetown near Fredericton. Cases on the military base fall under federal jurisdiction, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell said she did not have any information about the Gagetown case when asked about it at the COVID-19 briefing Thursday. Higgs said the province has had discussions with the base commander, and officials have visited the site to understand the base's isolation protocols. He said the case is "under control." "We know we've had a number of people come back after tour," he said. "I do understand there is a single case. There's been tracing done." Higgs said isolation protocols at the base are "very rigid." Forces don't provide case numbers at local level In an email Thursday night, Base Gagetown's senior public affairs officer, Capt. Jamie Donovan, said "We can confirm the Premier's comments are accurate." Donovan declined to release any further details about the case, citing operational security and privacy reasons. He noted that the Canadian Armed Forces rigorously apply COVID-19 public health measures and work closely with public health authorities. "Cases of COVID-19 amongst CAF members are reported to the provincial or territorial public health authority in which they occur, in accordance with provincial or territorial requirements, and are included in provincial or territorial case counts," Donovan said. At Thursday's briefing, Higgs said a number of people have come back from tour recently but did not specify from where. "They've been very diligent," he said. "I have a very high-confidence level with their ability to contain it." Oromocto Mayor Robert Powell said there has been some concern in his community because it's close to the base and military members do have to travel, but it hasn't been keeping him up at night. "They travel a lot, some of them are over in Latvia now and then holidays and Christmas," he said. "But they've been doing a great job so far." Powell said he has not been briefed about this case but did hear about it "through the grapevine." He said this is the first case he's heard of at the base since the beginning of the pandemic. Powell said he's never been told if there's been a case in the town of Oromocto, since the province only announced cases by health zone, so not being told specifically about the CFB Gagetown case is nothing new. According to the Department of National Defence website, 884 cases of COVID-19 have been found among members of the Canadian military. Forty four of these cases were active as of Jan. 18. The website does not provide a breakdown of where the cases were found.
WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg cartoonist says he is honoured to play a small role in a historic moment after his comic book about U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris was included in a Canadian celebration of Joe Biden's inauguration. “Kamala in Canada” by Kaj Hasselriis was part of a swag bag given to people who attended a virtual inauguration event at the United States embassy in Ottawa. The comic follows Harris during her time living in Montreal as a teenager. Hasselriis says he was inspired when he heard how a young Harris staged a protest after her landlord banned kids in her apartment building from playing soccer in the courtyard. He says many kids may have given up, but Harris chose to take action. Hasselriis says he hopes the book shows children that they can make change happen and inspires them to get involved in politics. “It’s useful for them to know that politicians were once kids themselves,” he said. “And if you are a kid, that means you could one day grow up to become a leader.” Hasselriis decided to create the comic when Biden named Harris as his running mate. It was published just before the vice-presidential debate in October. Harris lived in Montreal for five years from the age of 12 until she graduated from Westmount High School in 1981. Hasselriis said his book also looks at the climate around the Quebec referendum in 1980 and how that may have affected the new vice-president's view of politics. “There’s no way that Kamala Harris could have lived as a teenager in Montreal without having this huge political issue hanging over her head,” he said. Hasselriis previously wrote a comic called “Politikids” which tells childhood stories about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and former Green party leader Elizabeth May. In the lead up to the 2019 Canadian federal election, he was able to deliver a copy to each of the politicians during their stops in Winnipeg. Hasselriis said he’s not sure if Harris has seen the book about her childhood in Canada yet. He sent a copy to her Senate office after it was published. Copies of the book were also purchased by the U.S. consulate in Montreal. Hasselriis said he hopes the comic will make it into the vice-president’s hands one day. But for now, he’s happy to know that it was included in the inauguration celebrations at the U.S. embassy in Canada. “What it means is that they are celebrating the election of the first woman vice-president, the first woman of colour, the first Black woman,” Hasslriis said. “It’s a historic moment. It’s a big deal.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021 Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
"Once we became aware of these reports, we made the decision to issue our earnings announcement a brief time before the originally scheduled release time," said the U.S. computer chips firm in a statement. Earlier on Thursday, the Financial Times had cited Intel's chief financial officer as saying financially sensitive information was stolen by a hacker from its corporate website. CFO George Davis said the leak was the result of an illicit action that had not involved any unintentional disclosure by the company itself, according to the report.
The pandemic has exacerbated feelings of loneliness and depression for many, especially for people who rely on social interaction like the elderly or those living with Alzheimer’s. A non-profit created during COVID-19 wants to address this by raising funds for personalized virtual reality therapy. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
Alice Hoagland, a beloved figure of the gay rugby movement that her own son, Mark Bingham, helped set in motion shortly before he perished in the 2001 terrorist attacks as one of the heroes of Flight 93, has died. She was 71. Hoagland, a former flight attendant who became a safety activist while carrying on her son’s athletic legacy, died Dec. 22 in her sleep at her home in Los Gallos, California, after battling Addison's disease, according to longtime family friend Amanda Mark. International Gay Rugby — an organization that traces its roots to one team in London in 1995 and now consists of about 90 clubs in more than 20 countries on five continents — held Hoagland in such esteem that one of the prizes at its biennial Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament, or the Bingham Cup, is called the Hoagland Cup. Scott Glaessgen, of Norwalk, Connecticut, a friend of Bingham’s who helped organize New York’s Gotham Knights rugby club, described meeting Hoagland at the first Bingham Cup in 2002 in San Francisco. “Nine months after Mark was killed, and there she is with a never-ending smile on her face, just charming and engaging and happy and proud,” Glaessgen said. “And that resilience and that strength that she just exuded was really inspirational.” Amanda Mark, of Sydney, Australia, praised Hoagland for always fighting for people — and continuing to do so after losing her son by standing up for aviation safety and LGBT rights. “Through the Bingham Cup,” Mark said, “she became the inspiration and the acceptance that a lot of LGBT folks needed when they may have been challenged with their families or friends to be true to themselves.” Bingham, 31 when he died, had played on a champion rugby team at the University of California, Berkeley. He helped organize the gay San Francisco Fog team in 2000 and quickly became its main forward. He was on United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers commandeered it. He called his mother and told her he loved her. “I only got 3 minutes with him and when I tried to call back, I couldn’t get through,” Hoagland told the Iowa City Press-Citizen in 2019. “As a flight attendant for 20 years, I wanted to tell him to sit down and don’t draw attention to yourself.” But the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Bingham fought back, posthumously winning praise as an openly gay patriot who joined other passengers in foiling the hijackers and causing the plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania instead of its intended target, believed to be the U.S. Capitol. “He grew from a shy, chubby kid into a tall rugby competitor with the ability to amass his energy to face a real enemy in the cockpit of an airplane," Hoagland told the Press-Citizen. Bingham and Hoagland's stories went on to be chronicled in film and screen, including the TV movie “Flight 93," HBO’s "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” and the documentary “The Rugby Player.” Hoagland became an advocate for airline security and for allowing relatives of 9-11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia over claims it played a role in the attacks. “We’re less interested in any kind of financial gain than we are in bringing the truly guilty into court and making our case known,” Hoagland told The Associated Press in 2016. The first Bingham Cup consisted of eight teams and was hosted by its namesake's home team. Today, it is billed as the world’s largest amateur rugby event, and cities bid to host it. It was last held in Amsterdam in 2018 with 74 teams competing. Hoagland was a celebrity at every tournament she attended. Players flocked to meet her and have a photo taken. She always obliged. Jeff Wilson, of International Gay Rugby, recalled in a post on the organization's Facebook page a conversation with Hoagland at the 2012 Bingham Cup in Manchester, England. His mother had recently died. “I asked how she kept on during grief — she said it was a purpose, and a calling and that I would keep going because it drove me,” he wrote. “Her compassion, heart and focus on others touched me in ways that I cannot express.” No memorial service is yet planned. Jeff McMillan, The Associated Press
U.S. regulators have approved the first long-acting drug combo for HIV, monthly shots that can replace the daily pills now used to control infection with the AIDS virus. Thursday’s approval of the two-shot combo called Cabenuva is expected to make it easier for people to stay on track with their HIV medicines and to do so with more privacy. It’s a huge change from not long ago, when patients had to take multiple pills several times a day, carefully timed around meals. “That will enhance quality of life” to need treatment just once a month, said Dr. Steven Deeks, an HIV specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who has no ties to the drug's makers. “People don’t want those daily reminders that they’re HIV infected.” Cabenuva combines rilpivirine, sold as Edurant by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit, and a new drug — cabotegravir, from ViiV Healthcare. They’re packaged together and given as separate shots once a month. Dosing every two months also is being tested. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Cabenuva for use in adults who have had their disease well controlled by conventional HIV medicines and who have not shown signs of viral resistance to the two drugs in Cabenuva. The agency also approved a pill version of cabotegravir to be taken with rilpivarine for a month before switching to the shots to be sure the drugs are well tolerated. ViiV said the shot combo would cost $5,940 for an initial, higher dose and $3,960 per month afterward. The company said that is “within the range” of what one-a-day pill combos cost now. How much a patient pays depends on insurance, income and other things. Studies found that patients greatly preferred the shots. “Even people who are taking one pill once a day just reported improvement in their quality of life to switch to an injection,” said Dr. Judith Currier, an HIV specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles. She consults for ViiV and wrote a commentary accompanying one study of the drug in the New England Journal of Medicine. Deeks said long-acting shots also give hope of reaching groups that have a hard time sticking to treatment, including people with mental illness or substance abuse problems. “There’s a great unmet need” that the shots may fill, he said. Separately, ViiV plans to seek approval for cabotegravir for HIV prevention. Two recent studies found that cabotegravir shots every two months were better than daily Truvada pills for keeping uninfected people from catching the virus from an infected sex partner. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marilynn Marchione, The Associated Press
For the second straight day, a truck became stuck under Moncton's subway underpass which crosses Main Street at Foundry Street. On Thursday at approximately 2:25 p.m., a transport truck that had been driving west on Main Street hit the CN Rail bridge, said Moncton Fire Department Platoon Chief Brian McDonald. Police were the first to respond as it is a motor vehicle incident, said McDonald, while the fire department came to assess the situation. "Codiac RCMP contained and secured the scene," said McDonald. Police cruisers blocked off Main Street in both directions, Codiac RCMP also called CN Rail to advise them of the collision so engineers can inspect the bridge, which belongs to CN, McDonald said, adding this was done as a precaution. No injuries were reported. Pulling the truck out from under the bridge was a loud affair, but the truck was removed successfully just before 4 p.m. While vehicles exceeding the posted height restrictions getting stuck under the bridge is not an uncommon occurrence, Wednesday's collision was the second in as many days. McDonald said a 5-tonne truck also got struck under the bridge on Wednesday. MFD and RCMP also attended that collision, he said, but it was determined the fire department were not needed early into the incident, and there was no fluid leak. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
OTTAWA — Julie Payette resigned as Canada's Governor General Thursday, saying that to protect the integrity of her office and for the good of the country, it was time for her to go. Clouds of controversy have hung over Payette since she took over the post in 2017 but a storm was poised to break out with the imminent release of the results of an investigation into allegations of a toxic workplace at Rideau Hall. Payette apologized for the tensions at Rideau Hall in the last several months, but in a statement announcing her historic resignation — a first for a Governor General — she also suggested she disagreed with the characterizations of her leadership. "We all experience things differently, but we should always strive to do better, and be attentive to one another’s perceptions," she said. "I am a strong believer in the principles of natural justice, due process and the rule of law, and that these principles apply to all equally. Notwithstanding, in respect for the integrity of my viceregal office and for the good of our country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new Governor General should be appointed," she continued. "Canadians deserve stability in these uncertain times." She also suggested the move was made for personal reasons, citing her father's declining health. "So it is with sureness and humility, but also with pride over what was accomplished during my tenure as Governor General and in my service to the country for the past 28 years, that I have submitted my resignation," she wrote. In a terse statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged he had received her resignation. “Every employee in the Government of Canada has the right to work in a safe and healthy environment, and we will always take this very seriously," he said. "Today’s announcement provides an opportunity for new leadership at Rideau Hall to address the workplace concerns raised by employees during the review." Trudeau had previously defended Payette, even as the Privy Council Office hired a third-party investigator to examine allegations of workplace harassment in the office of the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. That came after CBC reports alleged that Payette belittled and publicly humiliated employees, reducing some to tears and prompting some to quit. Payette had welcomed the review at the time, saying she was deeply concerned about the allegations. Payette, a former astronaut, was named to the position in 2017. Her predecessor David Johnston had been selected by the previous Conservative government using an ad hoc committee that was later turned into an official panel on viceregal appointments. But upon forming government in 2015, Trudeau abandoned that approach and moved the selection process inside his office. Payette's appointment was controversial from the outset. Shortly after she took the job, it emerged that she'd been charged with second-degree assault while living in Maryland in 2011. She called the charged unfounded, and it has since been expunged. But as details of that incident emerged, so did revelations that she was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident that same year. The case was closed without charges after a police investigation. Both incidents raised immediate questions about how thoroughly she had been vetted for the job, and accusations she wasn't the right fit for it have dogged her ever since. She did not move into the official residence of Rideau Hall when she took the job, and nearly two years in, still wasn't living there, citing privacy concerns linked to ongoing renovations. The cost of those renovations became one of several issues that dogged her, as questions were raised about whether they were necessary or being done out of preference and at too high a cost to the taxpayer. Instead, Payette based herself in her home province of Quebec, where she has also spent a great deal of time during the COVID-19 pandemic. As reports of how she was allegedly treating her staff emerged, Trudeau expressed his confidence in her abilities, dismissing the idea of replacing her. During an interview on RED FM's The Harjinder Thind Show in Vancouver in September he said she was excellent. "I think on top of the COVID crisis, nobody's looking at any constitutional crises," he said. In the event a Governor General can't carry out the job, is removed, or dies, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada assumes the office's powers as long as necessary. "A recommendation on a replacement will be provided to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and announced in due course, ” Trudeau said. While the Governor General is a largely symbolic position, it does have some constitutional importance, particularly during a minority government such as the one Canada has now. In 2008, former prime minister Stephen Harper asked then-governor general Michaëlle Jean to prorogue Parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote he was expected to lose — a decision that was controversial at the time but in keeping with constitutional tradition. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press