City of Toronto officials long ago said tolerance was waning for those violating pandemic regulations. As Matthew Bingley reports, some say a heavy-handed approach isn’t the best for cracking down on rule-breakers in the age of COVID-19.
City of Toronto officials long ago said tolerance was waning for those violating pandemic regulations. As Matthew Bingley reports, some say a heavy-handed approach isn’t the best for cracking down on rule-breakers in the age of COVID-19.
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
“Tropic of Stupid,” by Tim Dorsey (William Morrow) “Tropic of Stupid,” the 24th novel in Tim Dorsey’s series featuring obsessive-compulsive psychopath Serge Storms, finds the anti-hero and his drugged out sidekick, Colman, zipping around their beloved Florida in a borrowed sports car. As usual, they’ve got a kidnap victim whimpering in the trunk. This time, Serge is obsessed with researching his family tree, binge-watching all 155 episodes of an old Lloyd Bridges TV show called “Sea Hunt,” and visiting every state park in the Sunshine State. Along the way, he rubs out a scam artist who’s been preying on the elderly, destroys the national ambitions of a crooked politician and discovers that he’s not the only active serial killer inhabiting his family tree. Although Serge is a prolific killer, his victims are always creeps you might stab, set on fire or feed to sharks yourself if you weren’t squeamish about that sort of thing. The other homicidal maniac in the family prefers innocent victims, so Serge sets out hunt him down. This puts Serge in a competition of sorts with a Florida Department of Law Enforcement agent working the same case. If this sounds all crazy to you, you’re right. Crazy is what Dorsey is all about. Like each of his previous novels, “Tropic of Stupid” is a wacky celebration of violence, depravity and the weirdness of Florida. Think the Three Stooges meet Ted Bundy. This one isn’t quite as funny as “Naked Came the Florida Man” (2020) or his tour de force, “The Big Bamboo” (2009), but it does have its moments, and it is told in Dorsey’s customary manic prose style. The book is apt to offend those who insist that drug use and murder are not fit subjects for humour, but it is sure to appeal to readers who think that Carl Hiaasen’s slapstick noir novels are too darned subtle. ___ Bruce DeSilva, winner of the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award, is the author of the Mulligan crime novels including “The Dread Line.” Bruce Desilva, The Associated Press
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Asia’s top club soccer tournament announced changes Monday to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic for a second straight season. The expanded 40-team Asian Champions League will have a group stage played in centralized hubs — in cities not yet decided — over 17 days in the east and west of the continent, the Asian Football Confederation said. Western region matches, including clubs from the Middle East, will be played April 14-30. The eastern region including Australia, China, Japan and defending champion Ulsan Hyundai from South Korea is scheduled April 21-May 7. It follows the 2020 edition being completed entirely in Qatar from when the pandemic-delayed later stages of the groups resumed in September through to the final in December. The 2021 competition schedule also cuts back round of 16 and quarterfinals pairings to single elimination games in September instead of over two legs. The semifinals and final revert to home-and-away games over two legs in October and November — when travel restrictions likely will have eased. “Once again, the AFC will put the safety and welfare of all its stakeholders as its overriding priority,” confederation general secretary Windsor John said in a statement. The Asian Champions League was originally scheduled to start in February. Preliminary rounds now kick off in April to qualify for a 40-team lineup instead of 32. Choosing hub venues for the four-team groups will begin after the draw on Wednesday with national federations invited to host. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are reportedly interested in staging games. The Saudis and Qataris are also competing with India and Iran in a bidding contest for the 2027 Asian Cup. The AFC also cancelled or postponed four other continental tournaments due to take place in 2021. The men’s Under-16 and Under-19 championships were cancelled in Bahrain and Uzbekistan, respectively. Both will host the next editions of the tournaments. Those decisions follow FIFA cancelling editions of the men’s Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups, which next take place in 2023. Also scrapped are this year Asian championships in futsal and beach soccer. Kuwait and Thailand will retain hosting rights for 2022 and 2023, respectively. The AFC Cup, a second-tier club tournament reserved for developing nations, will go ahead in a shorter form, starting in May and ending in August. The start of qualifying for the women’s Under-17 and Under-20 Asian Cup tournaments in 2022 was also pushed back from March this year to August. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports John Duerden, The Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska held the enviable position of having the highest rate of coronavirus vaccinations per capita in the nation as of last week, the state's top health official said. Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said last Thursday that the progress was the result of community efforts to quickly distribute vaccinations and additional allotments for federal agencies within the state, KTOO-FM reported. Zink told the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce that Alaska receives more doses of vaccine because of allowances above the state’s share for the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service. “We have the highest veterans per capita population. We have a large military presence. And we have a large Indigenous population with over 229 sovereign tribes,” Zink said. “And so, because of those reasons, we did get some additional vaccine in the state via those federal partnerships.” The allotment for the Indian Health Service, which works with tribal entities to deliver health care to Alaska Native residents, could have been subtracted from the state’s share of the federal supply, but ultimately was allowed to be added, Zink said. “That’s been transformational for Alaska, that decision for Operation Warp Speed,” Zink said of the Trump administration's name for the national vaccine distribution initiative. More than 14,000 people had received both required doses of a vaccine cycle as of last Thursday, while more than 67,000 people had received at least one of the shots in the series. 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
VANCOUVER — A weekend of Environment Canada warnings about snow over the south coast of British Columbia produced very little of the white stuff and all warnings except the one covering Metro Vancouver have now been lifted. But the weather office says up to five centimetres of snow is still likely for higher elevations of North and West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge. Other areas of the Lower Mainland can expected to see rain or occasional sleet through the day, but little or no snow on the ground. Environment Canada had been calling for as much as 15 centimetres in some south coast regions by Monday morning. Parts of eastern Vancouver Island, higher areas of Greater Vancouver and the eastern Fraser Valley reported modest accumulations over the weekend. Snow also covered highways leading into the southern Interior early Monday, but no warnings or advisories were posted. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
COVID-19. La nouvelle obligation des écoles secondaires de fournir deux masques par jour à chaque élève pourrait en amener 85 millions vers les poubelles. Sur cette base, le Parti libéral du Québec presse le gouvernement de donner un soutien financier 30 millions de dollars pour les écoles afin de pouvoir assumer les coûts de leur collecte et de leur traitement écoresponsable. Pour Frantz Benjamin, le porte-parole de l'Opposition officielle dans les dossiers jeunesse et environnement, les jeunes «souhaitent que leur gouvernement prenne les bonnes mesures pour combattre la pandémie tout en protégeant la planète. Plusieurs initiatives jeunesse vont dans le sens de ces préoccupations. La mobilisation des jeunes du Québec en faveur de la lutte aux changements climatiques et pour l'avènement d'une école écoresponsable et résolument engagée en ce sens doit trouver des échos favorables au gouvernement». «Il est à souhaiter que le gouvernement soutienne les écoles et les élèves dans leurs efforts d'écoresponsabilité et dans la lutte aux changements climatiques», ajoute le député de Viau. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Pas toujours facile de stimuler les jeunes à la science pendant cette période de pandémie, alors que les musées et les centres de vulgarisation scientifique sont fermés. Il existe toutefois de beaux projets à réaliser à la maison et Le Progrès a recensé une courte liste pour faciliter l’éveil scientifique. L’île Tire-Bouchon Coût : de 35 à 40 $ par coffret selon l’abonnement ; 12 coffrets pour faire toute l’aventure. Construire des machines pour aider des animaux magiques à résoudre des problèmes au cours d’une aventure fantastique sur l’île Tire-Bouchon, telle est l’idée de trois entrepreneurs basés à Montréal, mais natifs de Charlevoix, qui ont lancé, il y a moins d’un an, un des rares kits scientifiques produits au Québec. La magie commence dès l’arrivée du paquet par la poste, qui est en forme de coffre au trésor. Le jeune découvre d’abord un livre qui raconte une histoire où l’un des personnages fantastiques rencontre un problème. Pour le résoudre, l’enfant devra construire une machine en suivant les instructions. Comme il existe 12 coffrets, les jeunes auront la chance de construire plusieurs machines, dont un bras hydraulique, un camion à énergie solaire, une catapulte de Léonard de Vinci, un éléphant robotique et plusieurs autres. L’âge idéal pour cette aventure est de 8 à 10 ans, selon les concepteurs. Les plus jeunes auront besoin d’un parent, alors que les plus vieux pourraient moins embarquer dans l’aventure fantastique, tout en tirant plaisir à construire les machines. Une belle aventure à partager en famille ! https ://www.iletirebouchon.com Élever des papillons ou des triops Élever un organisme vivant permet de plonger dans le monde de la biologie et même de l’évolution. Il est notamment possible d’élever des triops, des petits crustacés qui datent de l’époque des dinosaures, en achetant un kit contenant des œufs, de la nourriture et un petit aquarium, que l’on trouve dans plusieurs magasins de jouets. Élever des papillons à partir d’une chenille est une aventure passionnante pour tous. COURTOISIE Un autre projet qui fait briller les yeux des jeunes, c’est d’élever des papillons à partir de la chenille ou de la chrysalide. Il est notamment possible d’en commander auprès des entreprises québécoises Gaïa Nature et Monsieur Papillon. Les papillons Belles-Dames sont disponibles chaque année, alors que la disponibilité des papillons monarques, une espèce qui migre au Mexique, varie d’une année à l’autre. À l’heure actuelle, c’est le bon moment pour passer la commande afin d’être en priorité sur les listes d’attente afin de recevoir les chenilles en avril ou en mai. Au départ, les chenilles sont petites et on peut les voir grandir, muer et former leur chrysalide (cocon). Une dizaine de jours plus tard, le papillon émerge. Il est alors possible de relâcher le papillon dans la nature ou, pour les éleveurs plus avancés, de faire pondre le papillon pour produire une deuxième génération. http ://www.monsieurpapillon.com et https://gaianature.com Le classique : Les Débrouillards Coût : 42,95 $ pour 11 numéros Offrir un abonnement pour un magazine scientifique en cadeau est un des meilleurs outils pour éveiller un enfant à la science, car cela lui permet de se pencher sur des dossiers scientifiques une fois par mois. Les Débrouillards allument les jeunes à la science (dont l’auteur de ces lignes) depuis le lancement du magazine en 1982. Destinée aux jeunes de 9 à 14 ans, l’équipe des Débrouillards a, au fil du temps, aussi lancé un magazine pour les plus jeunes, de 6 à 10 ans, Les Explorateurs, et un autre pour les adolescents, Curium, un magazine sur la science, la techno et la société. Depuis quelques années, on retrouve aussi des éditions spéciales sur l’art et les sports. Peu importe l’âge, les jeunes peuvent ainsi découvrir plusieurs sujets scientifiques de manière ludique. Chaque numéro compte aussi une expérience à réaliser à la maison. Publications BLD publie les magazines Les Explorateurs (6-10 ans), Les Débrouillards (9-14 ans) et Curium (14-17 ans). COURTOISIE https://www.lesdebrouillards.com Un coffret d’animation scientifique Coût : 35 $ Pour une expérience plus ponctuelle, Les Débrouillards ont aussi lancé des coffrets scientifiques pour les 4-5 ans, les 6-12 ans et les 10-15 ans. On y découvre des expériences sur l’optique, la chimie, l’ingénierie et l’astronomie. Chaque kit inclut le matériel pour réaliser cinq expériences scientifiques, des fiches et une capsule vidéo explicatives, et un exemplaire d’un magazine Les Débrouillards, Les Explorateurs, ou Curium selon le groupe d’âge. https ://technoscience-mcq.ca/boutique/ Le bras hydraulique que les jeunes doivent construire dans l’aventure de l’île Tire-Bouchon. COURTOISIE À la télévision ou dans vos oreilles On retrouve plusieurs émissions scientifiques intéressantes pour les jeunes. Il y a notamment Science ou magie et À ne pas faire à la maison, diffusées par Radio-Canada. Il y a aussi le quiz scientifique Génial, à Télé-Québec, ou l’émission Top Science, sur Unis, qui met en compétition deux familles avec un défi scientifique livré à leur porte. Pour décrocher des écrans, le balado scientifique Le guide de survie des Débrouillards est de mise. Dans ce balado, deux vulgarisateurs scientifiques, Raphaëlle Derome et Massi Mahiou, donnent des trucs pour résoudre des petits problèmes de la vie de tous les jours, tels que survivre à un yogourt périmé ou encore aux machines intelligentes. Livrés avec humour et dynamisme, ces balados offrent une autre façon ludique de s’éveiller à la science… pour les jeunes et même pour toute la famille. Balado : https ://ici.radio-canada.ca/premiere/balados/7778/debrouillards-science-jeunesse-experience-apprendre-enfantsGuillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
One year ago today – the first cast of what would become known as COVID-19 was confirmed in Canada. The patient was a man who had recently travelled from Wuhan, China. Travis Dhanraj looks back at the last year
La Distillerie Beemer a signé une entente de distribution exclusive du gel désinfectant PurBoréal, un produit régional fait à avec de l’alcool de bleuet, lancé en avril dernier, en pleine pandémie. Ce partenariat permettra de développer le marché régional, notamment pour les utilisations commerciales, industrielles et institutionnelles, tout en optimisant la distribution du produit. « Nous ne sommes pas des distributeurs, alors on préfère laisser ça entre les mains de Nettoyeur FB, qui va pouvoir étendre le marché », souligne Philippe Harvey, un des entrepreneurs derrière la Distillerie Beemer, le fabricant du gel PurBoréal. Nettoyeur FB, une entreprise implantée depuis 41 ans à Saint-Félicien, est spécialisée dans le domaine de la buanderie commerciale et industrielle, dont la location de vêtements de travail, mais elle offre aussi différentes solutions de nettoyage. « J’ai eu un coup de coeur pour le produit et pour les entrepreneurs qui le fabriquent », remarque Patrice Bouchard, le propriétaire de Nettoyeur FB. Après avoir testé plusieurs types de gel, il se dit impressionné par le produit de qualité fabriqué à Roberval. « Ils ont trouvé la solution gagnante », dit-il. Son équipe de travail couvrait déjà le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean plusieurs fois par semaine avec son service de livraison pour les produits de nettoyage et pour les vêtements. En plus de livrer les produits PurBoréal à différents clients, Nettoyeur FB offrira désormais un service de location de bornes de gel antiseptique sans contact, avec le service de remplissage, ajoute Patrice Bouchard, qui se réjouit d’offrir un produit de très haute qualité à ses clients, dont le Zoo de Saint-Félicien. Ainsi, le partenariat avec PurBoréal ne fera qu’optimiser le service de distribution. Au cours des prochains mois, les partenaires visent une « belle progression contrôlée ». « On veut bien s’occuper de nos clients », souligne Patrice Bouchard. NoneGuillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
TRANSPORT. Dans le cadre d’une opération visant à repérer et à sanctionner les conducteurs dont le véhicule lourd était mal déneigé qui s’est déroulé le 18 janvier, la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) a remis 88 constats d’infraction et 76 avis de non-conformité. Notons que l’article 498.1 du Code de la sécurité routière prévoit l’interdiction de circuler avec un véhicule couvert de neige, de glace ou de toute autre matière pouvant s’en détacher et susceptible de présenter un danger pour les usagers de la route. L’amende prévue est de 60 $ à 100 $ plus certains frais. La SAAQ rappelle que la neige qui couvre les phares, les feux et les vitres réduit le champ de vision du conducteur. Un véhicule enneigé est également moins visible des autres usagers de la route. Par ailleurs, la présence de neige ou de glace, particulièrement sur un véhicule lourd, peut présenter un danger pour les autres usagers de la route. Finalement, la neige qui poudroie en se détachant d’un véhicule réduit considérablement la visibilité, pour les véhicules circulant derrière, alors que les morceaux de glace qui se détachent peuvent blesser des piétons, endommager des voitures et même causer des accidents. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Paris City Hall has instructed the landlord seeking to close down the city's indebted Fan Museum to extend its deadline for payment, the museum said Monday. Director Anne Hoguet said her beleaguered museum — a registered historic monument — owed 117,000 euros in rent arrears due to losses incurred during virus lockdowns last year. The money was due Jan. 23 and the landlord had threatened to seize the museum's priceless artifacts as payment. In response to AP’s reporting, on Thursday UNESCO called on France to do more to protect the small museum that French officials had placed on an intangible heritage list only last year. Hoguet said that Paris City Hall officials confirmed to her that they had intervened to get the landlord to delay the deadline. “It's a huge relief. We hope to live another day,” Hoguet said. Paris Deputy Mayor Karen Taieb told the AP that officials are now meeting with Hoguet on Feb. 5 “in order to think about long-term solutions for this heritage museum which is in a very complicated situation.” Hoguet said that she has been inundated with offers of donations since last week’s media reports. The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge has ruled in favour of an online political writer who was prevented by Alaska's governor from attending press conferences. Judge Joshua Kindred issued an injunction Friday requiring Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy to invite Jeff Landfield to media briefings, Anchorage Daily News reported. Landfield, the owner and operator of The Alaska Landmine website, sued Dunleavy over his exclusion from the governor's press events. The former independent state Senate candidate uses the website to write about the Alaska Legislature, state government and politics. Attorneys from the Alaska Department of Law argued that because the governor’s office does not credential members of the media, and therefore does not set standards for press conference admittance, Landfield could not sue on First Amendment grounds because there was nothing to challenge. Kindred ruled Landfield had been denied due process, writing in the order that members of the media have the right under the First Amendment to be invited to press conferences. The governor may deny a member of the media the ability to ask questions while at a briefing and the governor can choose not to answer questions, Kindred ruled. Kindred concluded that a lack of written rules does not mean the governor’s office can make ad-hoc decisions about admittance. “Acceptance of the government’s arguments would effectively stand for the proposition that First Amendment rights do not exist for any members of the media in Alaska,” Kindred wrote. The injunction does not require Dunleavy or his communications staff to adopt a formal, written process. But they must invite Landfield to future events while legal proceedings continue, the ruling stated. The Associated Press
ÉCONOMIE. Selon un sondage de la Fédération canadienne de l’entreprise indépendante (FCEI), 34 % des dirigeants de PME au Québec affirment que leur entreprise manquera de liquidités avant l’été. «Ce n’est pas parce qu’on a changé d’année que la situation difficile pour les dirigeants de PME a subitement évolué. La situation est toujours aussi préoccupante et l’appui des gouvernements est toujours aussi nécessaire. Quand on considère que la majorité des entreprises de toutes les régions sont petites, il est d’autant plus stratégique pour le gouvernement de s’assurer que les mesures destinées à la relance les mettent à l’avant-plan. La FCEI va s’assurer de faire entendre les demandes des PME», mentionne François Vincent, vice-président de la FCEI, en précisant que les chefs de PME ont toujours fortement besoin (88 %) de l’appui du gouvernement selon le sondage. Ceux-ci voudraient, entre autres, que Québec poursuive la réduction du fardeau administratif (61 %), que l’offre de programmes misant sur les subventions plutôt que sur les prêts (60 %) et que l’imposition de toutes les petites entreprises soit au même taux réduit (57 %). Par ailleurs, la FCEI lance une pétition en ligne pour les dirigeants d’entreprises. «Les consultations prébudgétaires sont commencées, c’est le temps pour les PME de s’exprimer. J’invite tous les entrepreneurs à venir signer la pétition afin que le gouvernement du Québec n’impose pas les plus petites entreprises au même taux que les multinationales, qu’il offre des programmes de subventions aux entreprises qui vivent des répercussions dues aux restrictions gouvernementales et pour que, finalement, le gouvernement du Québec fasse le choix de miser sur les PME pour relancer son économie», indique François Vincent. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
Canada's unemployment rate in December was revised to 8.8% from 8.6% on Monday, while the net decline in jobs for the month was amended to 52,700 from 62,600, as Statistics Canada completed a historic review of its labor force data. The revision, undertaken to ensure the data was aligned with recent population and geographical boundary estimates, had "virtually no effect" on employment estimates for the pandemic period of March to December 2020, the agency said.
La Corporation du Moulin des pionniers a obtenu un financement de 450 000 dollars de Développement économique Canada. Ce montant permettra à l’organisation de construire de multiples infrastructures familiales, dont des jeux d’eau, une glissade et un parcours d’hébertisme, et ce, dès cet été. « C’est toute qu’une bonne nouvelle », s’est réjoui le maire de La Doré, Yanick Baillargeon, qui est également le président-directeur général de la Corporation du Moulin des pionniers. Ce dernier avait bien hâte d’annoncer la nouvelle à toute la population, car DEC Canada avait informé la municipalité le 24 décembre, offrant un des plus beaux cadeaux de Noël pour le maire de la municipalité qui compte un peu plus de 1300 âmes. « Ce n’est que la première phase de notre plan de développement », ajoute fièrement le maire. Avec l’aide de 450 000 dollars de DEC Canada, le Moulin des pionniers investira également 150 000 $ dans le projet initial de 600 000 $. La construction du parc familial commencera dès que le sol sera dégelé. On y retrouvera notamment des jeux d’eau, une glissade et un parcours d’hébertisme, lesquels viennent s’ajouter à l’offre actuelle. Le choix des fournisseurs et des modèles de structures n’est pas encore fait, poursuit le premier magistrat, mais le concept sera relié au thème du site historique, soit la forêt et le bois. Vers un camping en 2022 Ce projet permettra d’enclencher la phase 2 du projet, dès 2022, espère Yanick Baillargeon. « Selon le concept initial, on prévoit développer un camping de 139 emplacements », dit-il, avant d’ajouter que les plans sont toujours à l’étude. Cette phase de développement devrait nécessiter un investissement supplémentaire de 900 000 dollars, qui est toutefois plus facile à financer étant donné que des revenus se rattachent au projet. Les astres semblent désormais alignés pour un développement majeur, estime le maire. La piste cyclable entre Saint-Félicien et La Doré sera terminée cette année. Un sentier de quad entre La Doré et le Relais 22, sur le territoire de La Tuque, devrait se concrétiser sous peu. Un sentier de vélo de montagne a été développé jusqu’à la montagne à Ouellet et elle se rendra bientôt jusqu’au Tobo-ski. Ajoutez à cela les sentiers de ski de fond, de raquettes, les nombreux sentiers de motoneige, ainsi que le charme de la rivière. « C’est un site merveilleux qui gagne à être connu », remarque Yanick Baillargeon. Plusieurs maisons anciennes sur le site, qui sont en train d’être rénovées, seront disponibles pour la location dès l’été prochain. « C’est un premier pas pour développer l’hébergement sur le site, avant d’implanter le camping », conclut ce dernier.Guillaume Roy, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — A 38-year-old man has been charged in connection with the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 16 in Niagara Region.Police say they launched the investigation last July and made the arrest on Friday.The suspect, a man from Niagara Falls, Ont., is charged with one count each of sexual assault and sexual interference.He's being held in custody and expected to appear in court at a later date.Police are asking anyone with information to come forward. The Canadian Press
The township of Muskoka Lakes published its new plan for how it wants to organize and upgrade the community throughout the next four years, with plans to focus on protecting the environment, boosting the township’s economy, upgrading infrastructure and more. Mayor Phil Harding said he is “very excited” to move forward as a township with the finished plan, made public on Wednesday, Jan. 13. “It really is the focus of Muskoka Lakes for the next four years,” he said. The plan is divided into four pillars organizing the goals council decided on throughout 2020 with consultation from the public. Some of the goals are short-term, being set in motion this year, while others are for down the line, in 2022 and 2023. Here are the standout goals in the strategic plan: The township is looking at its official plan to consider development restrictions, and a mandatory septic inspection program, as part of its strategic plan to preserve and protect the environment. Harding said during public consultations, many expressed concern about overdevelopment taking place in Muskoka Lakes affecting water quality and shorelines: the clear-cutting of trees and run-off from hardscaping projects, for example. Council and staff started developing their Community Improvement Plan for Port Carling and Bala and plan to make it a key project in 2021. “We want to try and build a year-round economy,” Harding said. “We need to understand what limitations businesses are having: why is it just seasonal?" He noted COVID-19 has been a challenge for businesses in 2020 but added more people are up in Muskoka Lakes during the fall and winter. One of the short-term goals listed for 2021 for strengthening Muskoka Lakes’ economy is assessing the challenges with broadband and internet connectivity in the township and working to expand internet access for everyone. In November, council discussed an effort to request the Ontario Energy Board reduce or remove the “egregious” charges broadband providers pay in rural Ontario communities like theirs to attach fibre-optic broadband to hydro poles. Internet connectivity became a pronounced issue in several rural Ontario communities throughout the pandemic. The township is working on new master plans for its recreation, parks, trails and facilities: the plan indicates it wants to implement the recommendations it forms in the plans in 2023. He added council and staff are working on a master plan for their fire services. In a previous plan, they considered closing down some of their 10 stations in the township and upgrading the remaining stations, which could have ATVs or fire boats, an idea Harding might consider for this master plan. The final pillar indicates the township wants to forge better relationships with all levels of government. Harding said his relationships with other mayors in the district and the province, including MPP Norm Miller and Premier Doug Ford, have improved since council took office in October 2018. The strategic plan is also for the next term of council that will take over late 2022. He said building good relationships now will help them down the line. Zahraa Hmood is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering the municipalities of Muskoka Lakes, Lake of Bays and Georgian Bay. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Zahraa Hmood, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
Structure and rhythm are important for Ayden Rana. The six-year-old is on the autism spectrum and requires a little extra help to complete his studies. When the winter break turned into an extended period away from the classroom, keeping most children and teachers at home, it presented a unique challenge for Ayden and his mother, Karen, who found herself playing the role of teacher, therapist, support worker and parent. “He was very receptive the first two days, I would say, to virtual learning because he got to see the teacher and the educational assistants,” Karen said. But the novelty quickly wore off. Studying became much harder. Learning became even more challenging than usual. Touch and sense are key to Ayden’s educational development, meaning the curiously flat, two-dimensional world of pixels on a screen, fell far short of meeting his needs. “The educational assistant realized his needs for tactile material — he’s not grasping the Chromebook — so she put together a binder with all the activities,” Karen explained. “All the math, English, all the subjects he would do at school, along with his puzzles, his timer [and] his favorite pens [are included].” The binder is carefully prepared by his educational assistant every week and left for Ayden to pick up, offering new material to make the best of a difficult situation. For some other students with special needs, learning at home — even with the extra work and resources — isn’t a possibility. As a result, despite the province-wide shutdown and stay-at-home-order, some are still physically in school. A few teachers are on hand, along with a small army of special education assistants. At the Peel District School Board, they are referred to as educational assistants (EAs) and a large number of the board’s 3,800 EAs are reporting for duty. At Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, where they are known as educational resource workers (ERWs) 40 school sites are open and staffed. A major issue for EAs working at PDSB is a lack of coordination and tracking by the board, Natacha Verdiel, president of OPSEU Local 2100, the union representing EAs at PDSB, explained to The Pointer. Unlike students and teachers who cohort together, EAs do not have to sign into classrooms and are not included in contact tracing efforts when an outbreak is declared. “An EA might cross cohorts 14 times on any given day,” she explained. “They might report to 12 different classrooms to provide support to high needs students. They’re now cross contaminating between students, that’s alarming, and no one knows they’ve been in that classroom.” As a result of their specific profiles, many children with special needs are unable to wear a mask. Some even find staff wearing them to be upsetting and can attempt to physically remove them. Depending on a child’s age, size and unique needs, such behaviour can be challenging. In some instances the desire to create normalcy can even lead to aggressive actions by some students. That’s why some personal protective measures to mitigate the risk of viral spread can’t be used. “Here’s what I don’t think the public understands: the students that are reporting to the physical building right now are students who cannot wear masks,” Verdiel said. “They are all unmasked, all of the students are unmasked. Most of them are extremely behavioral, they are our highest needs students in the system.” Verdiel described one situation where a particular student coughs, spits and sneezes as part of their behavioural profile. “The staff in there are covered in bodily fluids, all day long,” she said, lamenting the lack of effective personal protective equipment and how masks can act “as a target” for some students who attempt to remove them or strike the workers wearing them. For the parents of children with special needs, the role EAs, ERWs and the education system play can be nothing short of a miracle. Staff are able to look after children during the day, calm them and tend to their various behavioural and physical needs. “Some of our workers have phenomenal skills… some of them are outrageously amazing at what they can do,” Pam Bonferro, president of the Dufferin Peel Educational Resource Workers’ Association, told The Pointer. “They’re like pied pipers, they walk into a room and the students calm down.” Karen Rana agrees, describing Ayden’s EA as a rock. “He changed three classes [due to COVID-19 attendence variations], so you can imagine,” she said. “Three classes, three teachers, three sets of students, but with the same assistant. She has been the constant and it’s been very positive for Ayden.” The work of classroom assistants is often born of passion. As a vocation, many pursue the work out of a desire to help care for children and assist with their challenging development. “It’s not that they don't want to support the students that are there,” Verdiel added. “They want the Province to acknowledge that those who are reporting in person are unable to maintain any kind of physical distancing at all. Their job is very, very, very high risk in terms of exposure to bodily fluids.” Highlighting the fact the government is working hard during a crisis, but still missing key supports, Bonferro said ERWs and EAs are being inadvertently positioned in opposition to the very families they support. “What they have technically done is they have pitted the EAs against the parents,” she said. “They are taking the EAs voice away, if an EA speaks up, they’re going to be kind of vilified as the bad guy [in the] situation. So they are way beyond stressed and what’s really tearing them apart is: they have a conscience, they care about the kids they work with.” The Ministry of Education did not provide a response in time for publication. Despite working in the same space as teachers, classroom assistants have unique demands, detailed by the unions who represent them. Where teachers can safely distance from pupils, even in the same classroom, EAs and ERWs are unable to make the space. Their duties include helping students use the bathroom, feeding and, when needed, physically helping them to calm down. “The exposure level that a teacher has when they’re standing in front of a classroom teaching versus the exposure that an EA has when they’re being spat in the face or restraining a student [is significantly different],” Verdiel said. The unions have several specific asks of the Doug Ford government to improve the situation. They include pandemic pay, more robust PPE and rapid access to the vaccine. Under the Province’s current vaccination rollout, teachers and classroom assistants find themselves on the list at the same time. The second phase, which also includes older adults living in the community and several other key worker categories, could run as late as July, which risks some EAs and ERWs not being vaccinated until during the summer break. “The government has taken on the position that EAs are now essential workers; however, they are not being provided with the same level of pay or protection,” Verdiel said. “The NDP has long called for pandemic pay for all frontline workers, and believes educators should be included among the groups prioritized to get their vaccine,” NDP Education Critic Maritt Stiles told The Pointer. “Special education assistants, who are now working in classrooms with vulnerable people, should be vaccinated as soon as possible, when the vaccine becomes available.” PDSB provided a statement offering extensive instructions to EAs around wearing PPE. It did not address questions around contact tracing and EAs working in multiple classrooms. “Since returning from the winter break, all students and staff, including EAs, who have returned to in-person learning and working are required to follow the Active Daily Screening process,” a spokesperson told The Pointer. At DPCDSB, contact tracing does not appear to be an issue and ERWs are carefully monitored. “School principals maintain a record of any ERWs that are working in the school and should a positive COVID case be reported, any staff and students that worked with, or could be considered to be a close contact, would be identified for contact tracing,” Bruce Campbell, general manager of communications and community relations for the board, told The Pointer. As most schools remain closed and the majority of children learn at home, EAs and ERWs continue to show up for work feeling increasingly isolated and vulnerable. “Everybody is sympathetic, everybody understands,” Verdiel said. “Nobody is willing to do anything.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @isaaccallan Tel: 647 561-4879 COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Isaac Callan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency. The justices threw out Trump’s challenge to lower court rulings that had allowed lawsuits to go forward alleging that he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by accepting payments from foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. The high court also ordered the lower court rulings thrown out as well and directed appeals courts in New York and Richmond, Virginia, to dismiss the suits as moot now that Trump is no longer in office. The Associated Press