The curve is flattening in Ontario, but with hospitalizations high, long-term care homes ravaged and variants spreading, optimism comes with a heavy dose of concern.
The curve is flattening in Ontario, but with hospitalizations high, long-term care homes ravaged and variants spreading, optimism comes with a heavy dose of concern.
WASHINGTON — Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be energy secretary, joining President Joe Biden's Cabinet as a leader of Biden’s effort to build a green economy as the United States moves to slow climate change. The vote was 64-35, with all Democrats and 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voting yes. Granholm, 62, served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry and devastated by the 2008 recession. She has promoted emerging clean energy technologies, such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing, as an answer for jobs that will be lost as the U.S. transitions away from oil, coal and other fossil fuels. Granholm, who was sworn in late Thursday, is just the second woman to serve as energy secretary. She tweeted her thanks to senators and said, "I’m obsessed with creating good-paying clean energy jobs in all corners of America in service of addressing our climate crisis. I’m impatient for results. Now let’s get to work!'' Sen. Joe Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Granholm has the leadership skills, vision and compassion needed at the Energy Department to “develop innovative solutions for the climate challenge'' while preserving jobs. Granholm is committed to working every day “to ensure that we don’t leave any workers behind as we move towards a cleaner energy future,'' said Manchin, D-W.Va. During her confirmation hearing last month, Granholm pushed her plans to embrace new wind and solar technologies. But her position caused tension with some Republicans who fear for the future of fossil fuels. “We can buy electric car batteries from Asia, or we can make them in America,” Granholm told senators. “We can install wind turbines from Denmark, or we can make them in America.'' Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, said Biden “seems to want to pull the plug on American energy dominance. So I cannot in good conscience vote to approve his nominee for secretary of energy.'' Barrasso and other Republicans have complained that a freeze imposed by Biden on oil and gas leases on federal lands is taking a “sledgehammer” to Western states’ economies. The moratorium could cost tens of thousands of jobs unless rescinded, Barrasso said. He and other Republicans also bemoaned Biden’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, saying thousands of jobs will be lost and a friendly source of oil left idle. Granholm assured lawmakers that creating jobs was her top priority — and Biden's. “We cannot leave our people behind. In West Virginia, and in other fossil fuel states, there is an opportunity for us to specialize in the technologies that reduce carbon emissions, to make those technologies here, to put people to work here, and to look at other ways to diversify,'' she said at her Jan. 27 hearing. During her introduction as Biden's nominee, Granholm described arriving in the U.S. at age 4, brought from Canada by a family “seeking opportunity.” She said her father found work as a bank teller and retired as head of the bank. “It’s because of my family’s journey and my experience in fighting for hardworking Michigan families that I have become obsessed ... with gaining good-paying jobs in America in a global economy,” she said. In other action Thursday on Biden's Cabinet nominees: SURGEON GENERAL Surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy said Americans must not lose track of opioid addiction and other health emergencies amid the intense national focus on overcoming the coronavirus pandemic. He told senators at a hearing that “we cannot neglect the other public health crises that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, particularly the opioid epidemic, mental illness and racial and geographic health inequities.” After dipping slightly, opioid deaths have risen again, the result of street formulations laced with the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Murthy told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that the overdose rescue drug naloxone should be even more widely available and that medication-assisted treatment must be expanded. Murthy, who was surgeon general in the Obama administration, has drawn opposition from gun rights groups because of his assessment that gun violence is a public health problem. But he tried to dispel notions that he would launch a crusade against guns. He told Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., that while he supports government studying the problem, “my focus is not on this issue, and if I’m confirmed it will be on COVID, on mental health and substance use disorder.” TRADE REPRESENTATIVE Biden’s pick for U.S. trade representative promised to work with America’s allies to combat China’s aggressive trade policies, indicating a break from the Trump administration’s go-it-alone approach. Katherine Tai told the Senate Finance Committee that rebuilding international alliances would be a priority, as well as "reengaging with international institutions? to present Beijing with “a united front of U.S. allies.? Tai did not address whether the Biden administration would drop former President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum or whether it would revive the Obama administration's Asia-Pacific trade deal, which Trump killed. BUDGET DIRECTOR Another key Republican lawmaker came out against Biden’s embattled pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, raising further questions about her viability. Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters he won't support her nomination. He and Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski were two Republicans seen as potentially gettable votes for the White House, as Grassley had previously said he’d had good conversations with Tanden. Murkowski has yet to say how she'd vote. With a handful of other key centrist Republicans coming out against her in recent days, Tanden’s path to confirmation hinges largely on Murkowski and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., neither of whom have made their positions known. The White House was forced to search for a Republican to support Tanden after West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition last week. Lawmakers have largely cited Tanden’s controversial and at times harshly critical tweets about members of both parties in explaining their opposition to her. ___ Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Paul Wiseman contributed to this report. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Christian Siriano opened his second show of the pandemic Thursday with two ladies in bed, models who emerged flawless in black one-pieces, then dressed for all to see before hitting the runway. It was a dreamy, colour-saturated show during a tough time for fashion inspiration, Siriano said. He created an alternate reality inspired by a recent jaunt to Aspen, Colorado, to visit family for the first time in a year. While most designers have gone fully digital during an expanded New York Fashion Week that has stretched the traditional calendar, Siriano remains committed to the runway. “If you take this away, and the glamour, then it's like I'm just at the office talking about money all day, and that's not what I want,” he told The Associated Press after the fall-winter show attended by about 75 in-person guests. “I wouldn't want to do this job if I couldn't have this world.” In this world, shared on Instagram Live, there were looks for hidden parties and cocktail hours in the Colorado mountains, and silky evening dresses in fuchsia and chartreuse. There were cutouts, and ruffles and lace for ombre and peekaboo impact. And there was Siriano muse Coca Rocha camping it up for the cameras in a voluminous black gown with a plunging neckline — after she woke up to start the show. Siriano included two thrifted pieces he previously designed and found on the site thredUP, including a black fringe coat he made about seven years ago. He was pleasantly surprised it held up, both esthetically and through its well-worn years. The other look was a plunging silk crepe dress in fuchsia washed many times. “You shouldn't do that because it's silk, but it looked so cool. It looked worn but new. Hopefully it will show people we can do this in fashion,” Siriano said of the growing reuse movement. He partnered with thredUP after creating the universal logo for thrift, in the shape of a coat hanger. As for his newly created clothes, there was an “homage to the lodge” in plaid lames and cashmeres, melting into sunset-drenched oranges and pinks inspired by his Colorado vacation. He threw in some creams in a snakeskin print and bright winter whites, including a white jacket worn with loose fuchsia trousers for day. Siriano carried his check lame print from a trouser set to a strapless cocktail gown to a loose, long-sleeve top with a plunge. There were psychedelic swirls of orange and brown in a pantsuit and an evening dress with a high slit. What if, heaven forbid, he's forced to design a third collection in a pandemic come the September show cycle, trying to wrangle staff working remotely while sourcing materials. “Honestly, I don't know," Siriano said, "because I love doing this but it's very hard to do in a pandemic. The logistics are a challenge, but we're just going to move on and hope for the best.” Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
(Doug Husby/CBC - image credit) A B.C.'s babysitter's conviction in the 2011 death of a toddler may have been the result of a miscarriage of justice, according to a special prosecutor appointed by the province. Tammy Bouvette's Charter rights may have been breached by the non-disclosure of documents rejecting a medical examiner's conclusion that the injuries to 19-month-old Iyanna Teeple were intentional, Vancouver defence lawyer Marilyn Sandford has found. "There is a strong case to be made that Ms. Bouvette did not receive disclosure of significant, relevant materials," a news release from the B.C. Prosecution Service states. "Her conviction may, accordingly, represent a miscarriage of justice." Sandford has recommended that the case undergo an appeal to determine what happened. Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder in the toddler's death, but pleaded guilty to criminal negligence in order to avoid an automatic life sentence and was sentenced to a year in prison with credit for time served in 2013. The charges stem from May 2011, when Bouvette was caring for Iyanna in a Cranbrook home. She found the little girl unresponsive in a bathtub and called 911. Iyanna was airlifted to Calgary for treatment, but she could not be saved. Iyanna was found face down in a bathtub on May 26, 2011, while being babysat by Bouvette, who was 28 at the time. Last year, a retired B.C. Mountie told CBC's The Fifth Estate that investigators originally considered the death a tragic accident. Bouvette told police that she had left the child to attend to a spill in another room. But medical examiner Dr. Evan Matshes told prosecutors there was "no benign" explanation for some of the injuries on the toddler's body and identified bruising that was "typical of child abuse," according to court documents obtained by CBC. 'Unreasonable' conclusions about injuries An investigation by The Fifth Estate found that three forensic pathologists were later asked to review the autopsy in response to concerns about some of Matshes's other findings. The panel of medical experts stated in their report that the comments Matshes made to the prosecutor about "intentional injuries" on the body and prior abuse were "unreasonable." Bouvette's lawyer, Jesse Gelber, has said he never received a copy of that review. By law, prosecutors must provide defence counsel with all relevant documents in a criminal case. In an interview last year, Bouvette told CBC that the conviction has had a profound effect on her life, and she cannot forgive anyone responsible for withholding potentially exonerating material. "I am not a baby-killer.… People just look at me differently like I was some type of monster and I'm not," she said. "I'm a loving person and a loving mom." Sandford was appointed to review the case in January 2020 in response to CBC's inquiries about the apparent lack of disclosure in the case. She has now recommended that Bouvette's legal team be provided with all of the evidence uncovered during her investigation. The prosecution service says that if Bouvette applies to the B.C. Court of Appeal for an extension to file an appeal and the right to file fresh evidence, the Crown will not oppose those applications.
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit La santé publique de l’Ontario rapporte, dans son plus récent bilan publié jeudi matin, plus de 1100 infections à la COVID-19 répertoriées la veille. Mercredi, 1138 Ontariens ont reçu un diagnostic positif à la COVID-19, portant le total à 297 311 cas depuis le début de la crise sanitaire. Parmi les cas, 449 ont été répertoriés comme variants du Royaume-Uni, 11 de l’Afrique du Sud et deux du Brésil, jusqu’à présent. La province déplore 23 nouveaux décès causés par le virus survenus au cours de la journée de mercredi. En tout, la COVID-19 a emporté 6916 Ontariens. Foyers de soins de longue durée Parmi ceux-ci, 3742 étaient des résidents de foyers de soins de longue durée (FSLD), et 11 travaillaient dans ces établissements. Mercredi, trois résidents de FSLD ont perdu la vie en raison du virus. La même journée, 687 personnes atteintes du coronavirus étaient hospitalisées, dont 283 aux soins intensifs. Parmi ces derniers, 182 patients étaient sous respirateur. Mercredi, 19 112 Ontariens ont roulé leur manche pour recevoir une dose du vaccin contre la COVID-19. On compte 255 449 pour qui la vaccination est terminée, ce qui signifie que ces individus ont reçu leurs deux doses jugées nécessaires pour être immunisés contre le virus. En tout, 621 112 doses du vaccin ont été administrées en Ontario. Cela représente environ 2,47% de la population ayant reçu au moins une dose. Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is looking at easing many of its COVID-19 restrictions as the province's pandemic indicators continue to improve. A set of proposed changes released Thursday includes doubling capacity limits in stores and restaurants, as well as for personal services, to 50 per cent. Seating at restaurant tables would still be limited to members of the same household. Indoor religious services could operate at 25 per cent capacity instead of the current 10 per cent. Indoor arcades and outdoor amusement parks could reopen with capacity limits. The few facilities that would have to remain closed include theatres, concert halls and casinos. The cap on outdoor gatherings would rise to 10 people from five. And instead of households being permitted to only designate two people as visitors, the province could allow two-household bubbles so entire families could get together. "Manitoba's case numbers, test positivity rate (and) health-care-system admission rates continue to trend in the right direction, which allows us to consider reopening more services cautiously and safely," said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer. The proposed changes could take effect as early as March 5 and are subject to public feedback before any final decisions are made, he said. Changes could also be phased in. Health officials reported 70 new COVID-19 cases and one death Thursday. Three cases from unspecified dates were removed due to data correction for a net increase of 67. The province's case count has dropped sharply since a severe spike in the fall when Manitoba led all the provinces in the per-capita rate of new infections. The strain on intensive care units has eased and the test positivity rate has dropped from 13 per cent to 4.3. The proposed changes could also mean big shifts for sports enthusiasts and players of video lottery terminals. VLTs would be allowed to operate again as long as they were two metres apart or separated by physical barriers. Indoor gyms and fitness facilities could offer group classes again, although with a 25 per cent capacity limit. Roussin said there is a risk in such indoor settings. "There is risk involved with all these things and we're weighing the benefit ... to having businesses open, the benefit for people (of) physical activity," he said. "It's very cautious and 25 per cent capacity, I think, gives us that ability to have people spaced out quite a bit." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Capitol Police leadership had plenty of intelligence warning that armed extremists were planning to target the Capitol over President Donald Trump’s election loss, according to new testimony Thursday. But their rank-and-file officers were still left exposed against armed rioters who came within steps of lawmakers. In an appearance before a House subcommittee, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said none of the warnings forecast the mass attack that actually took place. Both Democrats and Republicans took issue with that, saying the intelligence sounded both specific and credible. “I cannot get past a glaring discrepancy between intelligence received and preparation,” Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., said during Thursday's hearing before the House Appropriations Committee. Pittman became acting chief when her predecessor, Steven Sund, resigned in the wake of the insurrection. At the time of the attack, she was serving as assistant chief for protective and intelligence services. Here’s some of what was learned from Pittman’s testimony: WHAT INTELLIGENCE DID POLICE HAVE BEFORE THE JAN. 6 ATTACK? Three days before the attack, the Capitol Police department's own security assessment warned that militia members, white supremacists, and other extremists were planning to come to Washington and target Congress in what they saw as a “last stand” to support Trump. Pittman says the details of that assessment were shared throughout the department, with sergeants and lieutenants told to spread the word to rank-and-file officers. It's not clear how effective that messaging was, however. Four officers interviewed by The Associated Press last month say they had little or no warning of what would happen and felt they were left unprepared for the attack. Pittman also faced questions about an FBI memo, received the night before the attack, that warned extremists planned to wage “war” to prevent Joe Biden's election victory from being certified. She said that memo never reached her, but that it would not have changed the department's preparations anyway. SO POLICE KNEW VIOLENCE WAS LIKELY. WHAT DID THEY DO TO PREVENT IT? Pittman said the force took appropriate measures to protect the building and the lawmakers who were inside. She said they stationed armed officers at the homes of congressional leaders, intercepted radio frequencies used by the invaders, and deployed counterintelligence officers to the Ellipse rally where Trump was sending his supporters marching to the Capitol to “fight like hell.” But the mob made it through the police line and smashed their way into the Capitol, fighting past officers who were outnumbered and overwhelmed. Many officers didn’t know if they could use force and lacked guidance on how to stop the rioters, leaving some to improvise. WHY DIDN'T THE DEPARTMENT DO MORE TO PREPARE? Pittman argued that the intelligence from Jan. 3 was not specific or credible enough to predict the kind of insurrection that actually took place. The same goes for the FBI memo, she said. She said that even if department leaders had seen that warning, they wouldn't have changed their plans because it was considered “raw” intelligence and not something that the department could act on. “No credible threat indicated that tens of thousands would attack the U.S. Capitol, nor did the intelligence received from the FBI or any other law enforcement partner indicate such a threat,” Pittman said. Questioned later in the hearing, Pittman acknowledged that police estimate around 10,000 people were demonstrating outside and around 800 people broke inside. Lawmakers seized on her claim that the warnings didn't lay out the actual threat. Clark, the congresswoman from Massachusetts, described the Jan. 3 assessment as a listing of “who, what, when, why.” WHAT HAPPENS NOW? Pittman noted that she had taken “corrective measures” to better share intelligence in the future. But there are still several investigations going on into the law enforcement response. Speaking after the hearing, Rep. Tim Ryan, the House subcommittee’s chairman, stopped short of saying Pittman should be fired. But he said there are “a lot of concerns” on the committee about her leadership and noted the lack of trust among the rank and file. The Capitol Police union issued a vote of no confidence last week against Pittman. “I think there’s some real questions about the decision making that was made, and I’m going to leave it at that,” he said. ___ Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Nomaan Merchant, The Associated Press
(NIAID/NIH via AP - image credit) Northern Alberta continues to see an increase in COVID-19 infections, with more than 1,000 active cases across the health zone. The province reported 399 new cases on Thursday, a slight decline from the day before, while hospitalization numbers dropped below 300 for the first time in many weeks. Alberta Health also reported another 32 new cases of a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus first identified in the United Kingdom. The province has now confirmed 348 cases of variant B117, and continues to have seven cases of B1351, first identified in South Africa. There were 4,484 active cases in the province, with 280 people were treated in hospitals for the illness, including 56 in ICU beds, according to the latest update released by Alberta Health. Another eight deaths were reported to Alberta Health over the last 24 hours, including four that dated back to January. The three most recent deaths, which happened during the past week, involved a man and a woman in their 40s and a woman in her 30s. The regional breakdown of active cases on Thursday was: Calgary zone: 1,510, a decline of 54 from the day before. North zone: 1,016, an increase of 74 from the day before. Edmonton zone: 897, a decline of 28 from the day before. Central zone: 737, a decline of 22 from the day before. South zone: 319, a decline of 34 from the day before. Unknown: five, an increase of three from the day before.
NEW YORK — Is it Mr. Potato Head or not? Hasbro created confusion Thursday when it announced that it would drop the “Mr.” from the brand’s name in order to be more inclusive and so all could feel “welcome in the Potato Head world.” It also said it would sell a new playset this fall without the Mr. and Mrs. designations that will let kids create their own type of potato families, including two moms or two dads. But in a tweet later that afternoon, Hasbro clarified that the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters will still live on and be sold in stores, but under the Potato Head brand. In a picture posted on Twitter, the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” names are less prominently displayed at the bottom of the box, instead of the top. “While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD,” the company tweeted. The tweet came after news of the brand name change exploded on Twitter, with people asking if Barbie will change her name next. “I think Hasbro needs to drop the “Bro” and just be “Has,'” another person tweeted. Hasbro appears to want to have it both ways: expand the brand, while not killing off its most iconic characters, which appeared in the “Toy Story” films. “They are looking to broaden the franchise,” said Robert Passikoff, founder of marketing consultancy Brand Keys. “You take the focus of what is essentially one character and now allow it to be a platform for many characters.” Kimberly Boyd, a senior vice-president at Hasbro, said the intention of the brand name change was to be more inclusive and to have the characters still live within the Potato Head universe. “It created a lot of excitement," she said about the reaction. GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group, applauded the more inclusive Potato playset. “Hasbro is helping kids to simply see toys as toys, which encourages them to be their authentic selves outside of the pressures of traditional gender norms,” said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s chief communications officer, in a statement. Many toymakers have been updating their classic brands in recent years, hoping to relate to today’s kids and reflect more modern families. “It’s a potato,” said Ali Mierzejewski, editor in chief at toy review site The Toy Insider, about the new playset. “But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with.” Barbie, for example, has tried to shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. The Thomas the Tank Engine toy line added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll. Mr. Potato Head first hit the toy scene in 1952, when it didn’t even come with a plastic potato — kids had to supply their own vegetable to poke eyes, a nose or moustache into. Hasbro, which also makes Monopoly and My Little Pony, bought the brand and eventually added a plastic spud. Joseph Pisani, The Associated Press
(Al MacCormick/CBC - image credit) The classroom never looked so good, as COVID-weary students contemplate a return to in-person learning this fall at the University of Prince Edward Island. "I would definitely love that. I do prefer in-person classes more," said Vadya Singh, a third-year chemistry major. Singh was among the few and scattered students on campus Thursday. Mid-term exams now underway have turned the already quiet campus into an even emptier bastion of solitude during COVID-19 shutdown. "We did pretty good online learning. It was an adjustment for the COVID-19 but I would definitely love to go back to in-person," said Singh. 'A lot of hope' A ray of hope has arrived. University administrators announced Wednesday via email to students and staff that UPEI's fall academic semester will see a return to a "more normal academic experience with as much in-person, on-campus learning as possible." What that means come September, remains to be determined. "Those are questions we really don't have an answer to," said Kathy Gottschall-Pass, interim vice-president academic and research. "With what's been happening in the world with vaccines, we obviously have a lot of hope. When we think that there are variants out there that gives us less hope. "Our goal is to be somewhere between true, normal, the way the world used to be, and where we are right now." UPEI's interim vice-president academic and research, Kathy Gottschall-Pass, says it's important for the school to try and return to normal. Administrators have yet to pin down how large classes will be and how risk reduction strategies, including physical distancing and the wearing of masks, will be applied to the campus's widely divergent classrooms, lecture halls, seminar rooms and laboratories. Plans include a continuation of online learning for some courses, in-person classroom instruction for others, and "hybrid" combination of the two, as needed. But the push is on to get people back in the classroom. "The goal is to see where we can move," said Gottschall-Pass. "We know what normal has looked like in the past. We were always an in-person institution. So we know how to do that." 'Move in the right direction' UPEI's student union has raised concerns that students from off-Island will shoulder the cost and stress of being required to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to class in the fall. "It's a positive move in the right direction," said Malak Nassar, student union vice-president academic and external. "But we have huge concerns around students from off-Island." With help from the province, UPEI said it may put students up in residence rooms or in a local hotel, if required to self-isolate. "We'll take our guidance from public health as to what we need to do in order to keep our students safe," said Gottschall-Pass. UPEI's summer sessions will remain primarily online, the statement says. Universities across Atlantic Canada are looking at more in-person learning, according to the Gottschall-Pass. "Because things have been so much better here than in other parts of Canada, it's a little easier for us to be thinking more optimistically this fall." Holland College said its plans for the fall semester will be announced next week. 'In class is better' Outside the W.A. Murphy Student Centre on Thursday, two members of the UPEI Panthers men's basketball team were talking about what September might hold. "We're still here training and working hard for next year," said Kamari Scott. "Hopefully it'll be a season next year." "Being in class is better," said teammate Glen Cox. "You learn a lot more." The school's course catalogue for the fall semester will specify which courses are delivered in-person, online, or as a "hybrid" combination. New and first-year students are able to register for fall classes starting March 9. Returning students can register beginning June 1. More from CBC P.E.I.
(Google Street View - image credit) An argument over physical distancing in a Nanaimo mall parking lot quickly escalated into a stabbing late Wednesday afternoon. RCMP say a 50-year-old man, his wife and daughter were standing at their car outside the Dollarama in the Port Place shopping centre on Terminal Avenue, when the suspect walked in front of them. The wife reported to police that her daughter, 25, told the suspect he was too close to them and should maintain a six-foot separation, according to a police statement Thursday. "The suspect took exception to this comment and yelled some obscenities at her," the statement says. RCMP say the suspect then struck the father with a metal cup, and when a struggle began, the father was stabbed. He was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The suspect managed to run away but was spotted about an hour later on Gabriola Island where he was arrested at his home, the statement says. The suspect, whose name police are not releasing, is expected in Nanaimo Provincial Court on May 25, to face a charge of assault with a weapon.
OTTAWA — The Canadian Judicial Council says a Quebec judge has resigned after the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear his appeal. Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner says Michel Girouard's decision to step down from the Quebec Superior Court "narrowly avoids his removal from office by Parliament." A 2012 complaint alleged that Girouard, while he was still a lawyer, had bought illegal drugs from a client. An inquiry committee rejected the allegations but cited contradictions and implausibilities in Girouard’s testimony. A second complaint about Girouard’s credibility during the initial proceedings led a majority of judges on the council to recommend he lose his job. The Federal Court and the Court of Appeal dismissed Girouard's attempts to overturn the recommendation, prompting his application to the Supreme Court. In a news release Thursday as chairperson of the judicial council, Wagner said Girouard's resignation "is the last chapter in a prolonged saga that has undermined expectations of access to justice and has cost Canadians millions of dollars." Wagner said Canada benefits from outstanding judges who demonstrate the highest ethical integrity but the Girouard matter shows that the disciplinary process that deals with instances of judicial misconduct must be re-examined. "In the matter of Michel Girouard, proceedings have been going on for eight years now. Throughout this entire period, Michel Girouard has continued to receive his full salary despite not sitting, and he will now receive a pension for life, all at the expense of Canadian taxpayers," said Wagner. Earlier Thursday, Justice Minister David Lametti said he would seek parliamentary approval to remove Girouard from the bench. Lametti said Thursday on Twitter that as the "lengthy process has unfolded, I have made it clear that I fully intended to act if Justice Girouard exhausted his avenues of appeal and the revocation decision was upheld. That moment has arrived." Lametti said he intended to proceed with Girouard's removal by seeking the necessary approval of the House of Commons and Senate. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
The harmless puppy just wanted to play around! How cute is that?
Grey County council meetings will soon be more accessible to area residents. “Following the last council meeting, I was approached by the station manager at Rogers TV out of Owen Sound. They are interested in picking up the stream of council and committee of the whole on Thursday mornings,” said Rob Hatten, communications manager for Grey County. Rogers TV provides coverage to Owen Sound, Georgian Bluffs, Meaford, and The Town of the Blue Mountains. Currently, county council meetings are being held virtually via Zoom and are streamed live through YouTube and the county's website. “This will be positive for increasing our reach through more traditional means that we haven't been a part of before,” Hatten said. The meetings will be streamed on Rogers at no cost to the county. And, in the instance of closed sessions of council, Rogers would be removed from the broadcast. Hatten added that Rogers will only have the availability to stream the meetings until 12 p.m. “So, on a day like this where the meeting does go long, they would simply just leave the meeting," he explained. "This is something that we will be able to continue when we get back into council chambers since we have already equipped ourselves with that recording equipment in there as well." Rogers TV will begin live streaming Grey County council and committee of the whole meetings on March 11. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
(CBC - image credit) The Salvation Army's Centre of Hope shelter in Windsor's downtown will be cutting off new intakes starting Friday as it struggles with a large COVID-19 outbreak at its facility. "We want to get out of outbreak as soon as we can and that's our number one priority right now," Glenn Van Gulik, the divisional secretary for public relations with Salvation Army Ontario said. The facility first reported its outbreak last week with eight positive cases, but that has now grown to 34 total cases. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said it would not order the Salvation Army to close, even though it just mandated that for the Downtown Mission, another shelter experiencing a large outbreak. "We haven't considered a similar order that we have for the mission because of how the salvation is structured and their ability to implement some of these outbreak control measures," Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit said. Glenn Van Gulik is the divisional secretary for public relations with the Salvation Army Ontario. The Salvation Army has room for 50 individuals, including a shelter capacity of 26 and 24 additional housing units on-site. Van Gulik said while some have gone to the city's Isolation and Recovery Centre, others are able to recover on site because it acts as both an emergency shelter and residential program. "We've got a number of individuals who are housed on our third floor that have small apartments that we are able to make sure they are safe in those locations," he said. "That can be separated from and we can work with those individuals in a different way rather than have them in a congregate population." No new intakes across province While the Windsor shelter is suspending new intakes this week, it's not the only one. Other Salvation Army locations across the province are doing the same. As for Windsor specifically, Van Gulik said it will not be taking in new people until the outbreak is over. "What we want to do is stop that intake... until we can get ourselves out of outbreak and then we can re-admit people safely," Van Gulik said. It is, however, attempting to open its gymnasium as a separate place for people seeking refuge, he said. But he said it's unclear when that will happen as the effort is somewhat hampered by a recent fire the facility had. "We're working with the city, working with public health and working with the fire marshal to make sure that we can re-open that safely but that will be separated from the rest of our residents at the Windsor Centre of Hope so that we can add up to 25 people on that side of our facility."
(Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit) Just days after implementing new federal pandemic testing and quarantine rules , Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is reporting passenger frustration but also compliance. "People are, of course, not happy with the quarantine rules but [have] been doing their best to understand them and comply with them in co-operation with the government," said YVR's president and CEO Tamara Vrooman. Speaking with Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC's The Early Edition, Vrooman admitted some passengers are facing long waits upon arrival for quick COVID-19 tests. The new federal program to quarantine arriving international visitors for three days is also creating delays. "We are hearing that the public health agency is doing its best to accommodate people when they arrive," Vrooman said. Vancouver International Airport is now just one of four Canadian airports accepting international flights. Vrooman says air travel has dropped drastically since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago. "We welcomed 5,330 passengers through our airport yesterday. And that may sound like a lot until you realize that 365 days earlier, we welcomed 56,052, down over 90 percent. "And the vast majority of the traffic that we're seeing now is domestic with people going, you know, up north to and from essential work, traveling for medical reasons or for family reasons." The loss of traffic has impacted the non-profit organization's finances. YVR is entering 2021 with the single largest operating deficit and debt burden in the airport's history. Vrooman, the former CEO of Vancity Credit Union, insists YVR's books are sound. "We have worked with our bondholders to get the financing that we need for the next three years to ensure that we can operate regardless of the traffic volume we have." Passengers arrive through international arrivals at Vancouver’s international airport (YVR) in Richmond, British Columbia on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. The pandemic has forced YVR to adapt its strategic plan and undertake a one-year review of operations. In a new report, the airport says it will invest in new online digital and data technology and procedures for passenger check-ins. "We've been trying to get people to get rid of their paper boarding passes for forever. Well now, we see people coming to the airport not wanting to touch a piece of paper and quite happy to do things digitally and log in," said Vrooman, "It allows us to serve them better by giving them better information, and it's more efficient." Last September, YVR halted a $525 million capital expansion, including a new parkade, transportation hub, utilities building and a $350-million geothermal heating system. The airport completed the $300 million "Pier D" expansion of its international terminal last week. The new terminal expansion features eight new gates, a glassed-in island forest with access to the outdoors, an immersive digital experience and a yoga, prayer and quiet room.
(CBC - image credit) A second worker from the Olymel meatpacking plant in Red Deer has died after a weeks-long battle with COVID-19. Henry De Leon, 50, worked at the plant for 15 years. His family told CBC News he died from COVID-19 on Wednesday night, after three weeks on a ventilator in an Edmonton hospital. A father of two adult children and grandfather of three, De Leon tested positive on Jan. 28, his family said and the company confirmed. He was hospitalized first in Red Deer, then transferred to Edmonton, where he died. His death has not yet been linked to the known outbreak at the plant, which ceased operations earlier this month in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19. The city of Red Deer hit a new record for COVID-19 cases this week, with 574 active cases as of Wednesday. Alberta Health Services declared an outbreak at the plant on Nov. 17. A spokesperson for Alberta Health said the department has only been notified of one death linked to that outbreak, the Jan. 28 death of Darwin Doloque, 35. "If a second death is reported to Alberta Health, we will publicly report it," spokesperson Tom McMillan said in a statement. He was always happy De Leon's daughter described him as "the happiest and most caring guy," and said he was "the best dad we could ever ask for." Like Doloque and many other employees at Olymel, De Leon immigrated to Canada. He came from the Dominican Republic, and his friend and former neighbour, Patricia Marcado, said he dreamed of returning there in retirement. Marcado said his friend was full of joy and love for his family. "He was a very happy guy," she said. "He cooked, he cleaned. He did everything for his wife. He was the best husband ever, the best dad ever." Patricia Salazar worked with Le Deon for 15 years and spent lunch breaks with him at the same table with other friends — some Canadian, some from El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. De Leon's wife, who also works at Olymel, would often join them. "We always sit together at the same table with his wife and other friends," Salazar said. "He was very, very happy all the time." She recalled De Leon showing off photos of his grandchildren, and said De Leon and his wife were "all the time together, wherever they go, in the plant or outside."
Ohio on Thursday became the first state to challenge the U.S. Census Bureau's decision to push back the release of 2020 census figures so more time can be spent on fixing any inaccuracies in the data. The lawsuit filed by Ohio asks a federal judge in Dayton to restore a March 31 deadline for the Census Bureau to turn over 2020 census figures used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts, instead of a Sept. 30 deadline announced by the statistical agency earlier this month. The lawsuit claims the delay will undermine Ohio's process of redrawing districts. Census Bureau officials blamed the need for extra time on operational delays during the 2020 census caused by the pandemic. The dates for releasing the 2020 census data have bounced all over the calendar because of court fights and changes made to adjust to hurdles posed by the pandemic and efforts to comply with federally mandated deadlines. The 2020 census data include state population counts used for determining the distribution of congressional seats and Electoral College votes among the states, as well as redistricting data used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators recently announced plans to introduce legislation that would push back the deadline for the state population counts from the end of last year to the end of April and the due date for the redistricting data from the statutorily required March 31 date to Sept. 30. The redistricting data includes counts of population by race, Hispanic origin, voting age and housing occupancy status at geographic levels as small as neighbourhoods, and they are used for drawing voting districts for Congress and state legislatures. Unlike past decades when the data were released to states on a flow basis, the 2020 redistricting data will be made available to the states all at once, according to the Census Bureau. The delay in releasing the redistricting data has sent states scrambling to come up with alternative plans because many will not get the data until after their legal deadlines for drawing new districts, requiring them to either rewrite laws or ask courts to allow them a free pass because of the delay. Candidates may not know yet whether they will live in the district they want to run in by the filing deadline. In some cases, if fights over new maps drag into the new year, primaries may have to be delayed. Ohio law requires a newly formed commission to finalize state legislative districts by Sept. 1 and to hold three public meetings before doing so. Ohio's General Assembly is required adopt a map for congressional districts by Sept. 30. Ohio won't be able to use the 2020 census data to redraw districts if the figures aren't released until the end of September. That will force the state to use alternative figures, setting off a fight over which data to use and “fanning partisan flames when one data source is eventually chosen, no matter how precise and reliable," the lawsuit said. “The many people who voted for redistricting reform deserve better than to have their efforts thwarted by a federal government that refuses to do its job," the lawsuit said. “No doubt, the pandemic has greatly complicated the Census Bureau’s task. But the pandemic has complicated the jobs of firefighters, police officers, and judges too. All those public servants found ways to continue fulfilling their obligations to the public, recognizing that government officials may not shelter in place while their duties go unfulfilled." The Census Bureau said in a statement that it doesn't comment on pending litigation. Meanwhile, a coalition of municipalities and civil rights groups that had sued the Census Bureau over concerns about data quality and deadlines said in a court filing Wednesday that they were working toward a potential agreement to their lawsuit with the statistical agency. A hearing on the lawsuit in federal court in San Jose, California, had been scheduled for Friday, but both sides in a court filing asked for a delay until next month to continue “good-faith discussions concerning the potential resolution of this case." ___ This story has been corrected to reflect that the commission must finalize state legislative districts by Sept. 1, not Sept. 30. ___ Follow Mike Schneider on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeSchneiderAP Mike Schneider, The Associated Press
The City of Terrace is reaching out to the Office of the B.C. Ombudsperson in the wake of councillor Jessica McCallum-Miller’s resignation and allegations of systemic racism. At a Feb. 25 committee of the whole meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to direct staff to review its current policies and pursue an independent review by the ombudsperson’s office, which investigates complaints about public agencies in B.C. Should the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson decline the invitation, city staff have the flexibility to look into other bodies to conduct an independent review. “We unfortunately live in a society where systemic racism exists, accusations of systemic racism need to be taken very seriously, I think that having a conversation about systemic racism and the ways we can all improve and work towards diversity is important and timely,” said councillor Sean Bujtas during the meeting. McCallum-Miller, the youngest and first Indigenous councillor in Terrace’s history, resigned on Feb. 22. She said in a Facebook post that she questioned whether truth and reconciliation was a priority for council. “It is my personal belief that systemic and internalized racism as well as sexism had played a role in the inability of my colleagues to respect and understand my personal and diverse perspectives,” McCallum-Miller said in the post which was addressed to the City of Terrace. In the post, McCallum-Miller said she attempted to have council partake in cultural awareness training twice, and felt unheard and spoken over. Carol Leclerc, Terrace mayor, said during the committee of the whole meeting that council voted unanimously to partake in cultural education training from the Kitimaat Valley Education Society, which operates the Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI) on March 9, 2020 but that the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled the session. “Right after that, COVID came, we did not know how long COVID was going to be, we wanted to do this face-to-face so we thought we would just hold off on our cultural awareness training and it wasn’t able to take place,” she said. In January 2021, councillor James Cordeiro proposed the training again and staff arranged for council to take Diversity and Inclusion virtually through KVI on March 18. Diversity and Inclusion is a six hour workshop with an instructor using the Microsoft Teams platform. “It wasn’t long after that councillor McCallum-Miller decided that she would like to put out to the rest of council that it be a Tsimshian cultural training session and there was some discussion that happened over email about the notice of motion that was going to come to our Monday meeting on February 22,” Leclerc said. “Unfortunately councillor McCallum-Miller brought in her letter of resignation on February 22 and the notice of motion for the Tsimshian portion did not reach the council table at that time.” Terrace council is committed to participating in cultural education training on March 18 with the Kitimaat Valley Education Society if the time slot is still available. Leclerc said she has reached out to Kitselas First Nation Chief Councillor Judy Gerow and Kitsumkalum First Nation Chief Councillor Don Roberts about McCallum-Miller’s resignation. City staff are working with Saša Loggin, project director at the Skeena Diversity Society, part of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network, to bring a presentation to council at an upcoming meeting. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) is in the process of applying for a federal grant that may assist the municipality in creating additional parking lots near trailheads. “We discussed the trailhead parking and webcams and we felt it would be a good project to apply for this,” said Ruth Prince, director of finance and IT services for TBM. TBM will be applying for the Healthy Communities Grant Initiative, a $31 million investment from the federal government that was established to assist municipalities in transforming public spaces in response to COVID-19. Canadian municipalities are able to apply for grant funds, ranging from $5,000 to $250,000, under three streams – safe and vibrant public spaces, improved mobility and digital solutions. “We're going to apply for $250,000, which is the full amount, the maximum amount that we can apply for,” Prince added. TBM is looking to acquire the grant funds to help create additional parking near outdoor recreational areas, an ongoing problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. “Lack of parking at these areas pre-dates the onset of COVID-19 and staff anticipate that this capacity issue will continue into the future,” said Prince in a staff report to council. Town staff have identified four potential trailhead locations that require upgrades to parking: The grant application will look to specifically address the three town-owned properties at Pretty River Provincial Park and Loree Forest. According to Prince, a detailed budget has not been created for these projects. “However, as a benchmark the town budgeted $103,000 to extend the Metcalfe Rock parking lot and feel that the $250,000 would allow for some good improvements to the three locations,” Prince stated. In addition to creating new parking areas, the town is also looking to install webcams, which would allow individuals to check how busy the parking lots are before leaving the house. The deadline to apply is March 9 and application results are expected to be received by the end of April. If TBM receives the funding, the correlating projects must be completed by June 30. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
(Submitted by Sara Williams - image credit) In Windsor-Essex, the lead nurse administering vaccines to the Indigenous population says supply is meeting demand as the rollout continues to move forward. Starting next week, those high-risk and 40 and older in the region's Indigenous population can start receiving their vaccines. As of Thursday, registered nurse Sara Williams says 59 Indigenous people who are high-risk and 60 and older have received shots, with 57 of them getting both doses of the vaccine. "I think we're doing the best that we can to be able to get our message out there that vaccines are available," said Williams, who has been redeployed from working in the Erie Shores Healthcare emergency department to help with the vaccine rollout. But this in contrast to one neighbouring First Nations community who told CBC News last week that they don't feel the government is living up to its vaccine priority promises. Chief of Walpole Island First Nation Charles Sampson said the rollout has been slow and he still doesn't have enough vaccines for all of his seniors. Sara Williams is leading the vaccine rollout for Windsor-Essex's Indigenous population. Yet, Williams says that isn't the case for Windsor-Essex, where she feels like they have enough vaccine on hand to give out to those who want one. "[Windsor-Essex] had the highest cases in the province so we need to make sure we're doing priority where priority is due, I think that's where the rationale is," she said. 'Culturally aware space' created for Indigenous vaccinations Williams, who is Aamjiwnaang First Nation, has taken charge of the vaccine rollout for the Indigenous population at Windsor's St. Clair College Sportsplex. In doing so, she has created a culturally aware space for community members to get their shots. According to Williams, the rooms in the culturally aware space have tribal printed curtains, Indigenous artwork, sweetgrass, dream catchers and cedar on the outside. She said they also performed a ceremony before opening the space up, which involved prayer, smudging and washing the walls with cedar. "It's been really good, at first I wasn't really sure how it was going to be received," she said. "It's been amazing, I've had a few followup emails afterwards just thanking me for creating that space and they felt a lot more comfortable. I disclose to them that I am Indigenous and where I'm from and I think that helps to ease anxiety as well." There's also a waiting room with community agency pamphlets and spaces for people to wait in, rather than having them line up. She said the goal was to create a space that the community feels safe in and hopes their setup encourages more people to come get vaccinated. "A lot of people have contacted me with questions," she said. "There's a lot of hesitancy surrounding the vaccine, which is understandably so, Canada doesn't have the best history with vaccinating especially when you hear that inmates and Indigenous people are top priority it sort of raises red flags, so it's up to me to provide that education about the reasons why Indigenous people are a priority." Williams hopes the space she has set up makes people feel safe. She and Lacey George, who is also with SOAHAC, set up the space. She added that Indigenous people are known to have underlying medical conditions and, because of this, are likely to be more negatively impacted by COVID-19. She is working in partnership with Windsor Regional Hospital and the Southwestern Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre and says she's the only Indigenous nurse administering vaccines at this time. For other nurses to join her, she says it's important that they have cultural safety training.