Quebec's new COVID-19 curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. ET is having a bigger impact on those with exemptions for work and medical care, who face being stopped multiple times by police, and people who are homeless, who are asked to go to shelters.
Quebec's new COVID-19 curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. ET is having a bigger impact on those with exemptions for work and medical care, who face being stopped multiple times by police, and people who are homeless, who are asked to go to shelters.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is looking at ways to strengthen the vetting process for the next governor general after his choice for the job — Julie Payette — resigned yesterday following reports she presided over a toxic work environment at Rideau Hall. Trudeau faced multiple questions from reporters today about the vetting process he followed in appointing Payette back in 2017, and the red flags raised by former employers about her behaviour. "Obviously the vetting process that was in place was followed, but obviously we're going to also look at ways we can strengthen and improve the vetting process for high-level appointments," he said outside his home at Rideau Cottage, not far from Rideau Hall. "We are looking right now at processes that can be strengthened as we move forward and we will have more to say on that as we make decisions." WATCH | Trudeau is asked why Payette wasn't thoroughly vetted before being appointed GG In an unprecedented move, Payette and her secretary, Assunta di Lorenzo, resigned Thursday after an outside workplace review of Rideau Hall probed allegations she had belittled, berated and publicly humiliated Rideau Hall staff. "Notwithstanding, in respect for the integrity of my vice-regal office and for the good of our country and of our democratic institutions, I have come to the conclusion that a new governor general should be appointed," the former astronaut wrote in her statement. A senior government source (speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly) said about 100 public servants took part in the outside review. The report concluded it was an overwhelmingly toxic and poisonous workplace and the two people at the very top, Payette and Di Lorenzo, were responsible for it, the source said. PM and Queen spoke today The source also said Payette received parts of the report that pertained to her on Monday and that the clerk of the Privy Council and Privy Council President Dominic LeBlanc had a tense conversation with her on Tuesday. Speaking from prepared remarks, Trudeau said he spoke to the Queen Friday morning and let her know Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner will fulfil the duties of the governor general — her representative in Canada — on a temporary basis. He said a recommendation on Payette's replacement is coming. Trudeau was asked repeatedly today about his decision to not use a selection committee in 2017, something his predecessor implemented. "We will continue to the look at the best way to select people for the vice regal appointments. It is an important role for Canadians and we'll look at how we can improve it," he said. WATCH Jagmeet Singh on Payette resignation Conservative House leader Gérard Deltell said this could have been avoided if Trudeau hadn't shunned the Harper-era committee. "This is all sad, but it's so Justin Trudeau's style," he said. "He thinks that he knows better than anybody else, than the special committee created by the Conservatives. But we were right at that time. We made the right decision, he did the wrong decision and unfortunately, today we paid a price for this mess." NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh suggested other parties be brought into the process of selecting the official 30th governor general. "The system is deeply problematic in that the federal government, whoever's in power, can choose who they want," he said Friday morning. "I think there would be a great benefit in having a better system...so that the selection is not just a government appointment, but it's something that is done in a manner that is more fair." Questions about annuity Payette will collect a six-figure annuity for the rest of her life, a tradition critics are calling into question given the report on the Rideau Hall workplace climate — a report LeBlanc said came to some "disturbing" and "worrisome" conclusions. Under the Governor General's Act, former vice-regals are entitled to a lifetime annuity — which, according to the 2020 Public Accounts, amounts to $149,484. They are also entitled to a lifetime expense program for office and travel expenses. Documents obtained by the National Post in 2018 show that each former governor general is allowed to claim up to $206,000 per year under the program, which has existed since 1979 and is based on the notion that governors general never truly retire. "This country has very clear rules and regulations and processes and procedures in place to follow in these cases of reporting expenses, or indeed on annuities for governor generals," Trudeau said Friday. "Those processes will be followed, but obviously we're always open to having discussions on changes that need to be made moving forward." A spokesperson for the NDP said that if there's a way to cancel Payette's annuity, New Democrats would support it since Payette failed to provide a harassment-free workplace for her workers. WATCH | Trudeau is asked about the annuity Julie Payette will receive after her resignation "With respect to the annuity, I think that Canadians, rightly so, are concerned that given this report and how horrible the workers were treated, that this doesn't sit well with people," said Singh. In a statement, the outspoken Canadian Taxpayers Federation called on the Liberal government to change the way former governors general are paid. "With the resignation of Julie Payette, now is the time for this government to ensure that taxpayers are not on the hook for the expense accounts of former governors general," said Aaron Wudrick, the advocacy group's director. "Two years ago, the prime minister said he would 'review' this program. Nothing has happened since. It's time to save taxpayers money by scrapping this outrageously wasteful program." In 2018, following reports that Adrienne Clarkson had billed more than $1 million in expenses since leaving the viceregal job, Trudeau called for more transparency. "These are people who've stepped up and offered tremendous service to this country but Canadians expect a certain level of transparency and accountability, and we're going to make sure we're moving forward in a thoughtful way," he said. A spokesperson for the Privy Council said the final cost of the Quintet Consulting review was $393,367.13, nearly four times higher than the original value of the contract. The original terms of reference of the contract did say the amount could change depending on how long the review took.
BROCKTON – A delegation consisting of Bob McCulloch and members of the Victoria Jubilee Hall (VJH) committee (Henry Simpson, Bill Carroll, Jim Bohnert) provided council with their annual update on Jan. 12. McCulloch said VJH came up against “the COVID brick wall” in 2020. Revenues dropped, showing a deficit of around $24,000 in December. The situation wasn’t any different from what other theatres were facing, except VJH has a fixed overhead that’s smaller than Blyth’s or Drayton’s, and VJH has income from its long-term tenants. When it became obvious the pandemic wasn’t going away anytime soon, and in-person shows weren’t going to happen, the Jubilee Arts and Music committee (JAM) began looking at other ways to keep VJH in the public eye. Songs by the Gazebo on Sept. 13 attracted a large, socially distanced crowd. VJH was back! Next came the online Christmas Concert, streamed on Wightman and Facebook. The opera hall was silent, but JAM kept things going. Despite the lack of income-generating events and the trials and tribulations of COVID-19, VJH managed to accomplish a lot during 2020, in a large part thanks to grants from the Walkerton Rotary Club, Spruce the Bruce, Brockton council and individual donors. Among the continuing projects at VJH are eliminating water and dampness from the VJH basement, stopping water penetration from the east porch roof into the building and down through the upper deck, doing a full repair on the east columns (as one would repair structural bridge concrete), and providing outside security for the safety of staff, patrons and tenants. Repairs accomplished in 2020 included raising and sealing the remaining eight of 10 basement windows to keep water out of the building. The other two were done two years ago. The grade was raised to run rainwater away from the building. The east porch roof catches a lot of water, and the windowsill above the porch was raised to prevent water from running into the hall. A high-tech product called RhinoLiner was applied to the concrete porch decking. This project was paid for through a Rotary grant of $6,800. The front columns have been patched over the years, but with the help of a Spruce the Bruce grant, a bridge-style repair was completed. As for security, the installation of motion activated cameras will enhance the safety of anyone using the building. VJH was the recipient in 2020 of a prestigious Cornerstone Award, one of 11 heritage sites nationally to be so honoured. The Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Awards bring to national attention exemplary projects that illustrate the viability of heritage buildings for traditional or new uses. Dedicated volunteers are always busy tending gardens, painting, shoveling snow, installing new taps, sinks and hand-washing stations ($1,500 PPE grant) as well as doing the constant minor repairs and maintenance the magnificent building needs and deserves. The VJH delegation ended its presentation with words of gratitude for council’s moral and financial support, and asked that council continue to support the hall with the same amount as last year, $10,000. The money will go to general operations. Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak commented on the “20-year commitment” made by the volunteers to the building and congratulated them on their efforts. Coun. Dean Leifso made special mention of the heritage award the group received. “It was well deserved.” Mayor Chris Peabody thanked the volunteers for their “great work.” Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Medicine Hat College education students have released their masterpiece. The students took to the virtual stage recently to present their showing of ‘The Show Must Go Online.’ The musical documents a drama teacher and her students, who put on a play virtually after the live, in-person showing is cancelled. Every year education students at the college put on a musical to teach them how to organize, practice, promote and put on a production. Many arts teachers end up directing plays and musicals once they start their career, and this is a way for college students to see how it works. “This is a good opportunity to show the community that there are still ways we can do the things we love, we just learn how to adapt to new situations. We’ve learned about time management, it’s given us confidence and strengthened our communication skills,” said student Kendra Lynn-Tripp. The show can be viewed online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dl0EhnYa20&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=WilliamLambsdown Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
County of Stettler council voted 5 - 2 in favour of sending a subdivision plan forward for the Hamlet of Erskine that includes alleys. The decision was made at the Jan. 13 regular meeting of council streamed via YouTube to meet pandemic rules. Councillors read a report submitted by Rick Green, director of operations, regarding lot layout options for the Erskine Phase 2 subdivision. He explained Phase 2 was complicated by the proximity of the former Erskine landfill. “Council motion 217.07.06.17 required the county development authority to submit a request to the Deputy Minister of the Environment to vary the setback for residential development near the closed Erskine landfill from 300 meters to 50 meters,” stated Green’s report. Essentially, Green stated councillors were being asked how they wanted the potential subdivision laid out, and whether or not they wanted alleys included. Green added that alleys take up space and also require a certain amount of maintenance. Council’s preferred layout would then be forwarded to the Municipal Planning Commission for a development permit. Coun. Les Stulberg stated he felt the county should get on this immediately and let people know the municipality wants to develop the area. Coun. Dave Grover asked if the ski hill was still at that location. Green responded that some of the material forming that hill was still there. Coun. James Nibourg stated he’s heard realtors on occasion state that buyers prefer alleys and if no alleys are included it may be a factor in how the lots sell. Green responded that in his opinion alleys aren’t a factor in how residential lots sell. Coun. Cheri Neitz stated that the public has told her that they don’t want a mobile home park in Erskine nor do they want the county to spend a lot of money on real estate. Reeve Larry Clark asked why the options didn’t allow for any basements. Green answered the proximity of the landfill required that detail. He stated the possibility of landfill gases settling in low spots could result in combustion, and basements would be considered low spots. Coun. Wayne Nixon pondered that no alleys also helps to reduce crime. Development Officer Jacinta Donovan stated that the subdivision plan will be publicly advertised so the public can comment on the proposal. Coun. Nibourg stated he felt more time should be spent on this decision than a few minutes at council and he also suggested the county gather input from local realtors to see what the market is demanding. Coun. Grover responded that pre-selling the lots might be a good idea and added that realtors might advise the county to sell the lots cheap just to get them moving. Coun. Nixon noted that the three options provided varied somewhat in lot numbers but there was room for alleys if desired. Neitz added that option number two fit better in the Erskine community. Coun. Nixon moved that council proceed with subdivision layout number two with alleys included and forward this to the MPC for their consideration. The motion passed with Neitz and Coun. Ernie Gendre opposed. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
Squamish Nation has launched a new program to help guide its community members through the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation has introduced a team of ‘COVID Guardians’ to offer extra support to community members in isolation, educate and raise awareness of the virus and provincial health officer restrictions, and to report on any issues that may arise. Syetáxtn, Chris Lewis, Squamish nation spokesperson, said the new program was already having a positive impact, sharing the news in a Facebook update to members. “It's a new program to assist our community through the pandemic and to also ensure that there is public awareness and the information gets out,” he said in the latest video update on Jan. 15. “The guardians are here to ensure safety and engage with members of the public to make sure that the residents and everybody in our community are aware of the physical distancing directives and to provide education around public etiquette and courtesies and shared outdoor spaces. “They'll also help maintain and prevent any COVID exposures within the community through continued education and prevention.” There are five guardians, three for North Vancouver and two for the Squamish Valley, who report to the nation’s emergency co-ordinator, David Harrison, and to the emergency operations director, Paul Wick. Syetáxtn said so far the guardians had been busy checking in with community members that are in isolation, or quarantining, delivering COVID lawn signs and care packages to households, and fixing and repairing damaged and vandalized signs throughout the community. “They patrol high exposure areas and help clean up the community, so I really want to thank them for the work that they're doing,” he said, Syetáxtn said the guardians would also be helping with the rollout of vaccinations in the community. Vaccinations have already started in 169 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities across Canada, according to Indigenous Services Canada. “In the coming months, you can see our guardians assisting in the setup operation of the upcoming Squamish nation COVID vaccination site,” said Syetáxtn. “We're continuing to work with Vancouver Coastal Health and health authorities to ensure that those sites are set up and we're in the queue.” While plans are in the works, Syetáxtn said there was “no update in terms of when the nation will receive the current vaccine.” “We are in conversations, though, in terms of our home care assistants, in terms of getting them vaccinated because we know that they’re supporting our most vulnerable,” he said. He added that the nation’s older adults and elders were a priority for vaccinations in B.C. “The age requirement for indigenous adults will be lower than the rest of the population due to the higher rate of health risks to our elders and other factors that have affected access to quality health care," said Syetáxtn. “So, our elders will be in that queue.” During the members update, Khelsilem, Dustin Rivers, Squamish Nation spokesperson, confirmed there are active COVID-19 cases in the nation’s community at this time, but they did not have exact case numbers to provide. “The nation does not receive names of any confirmed cases or members advised to self-isolate or quarantine unless the members voluntarily share that information with us and give us permission to share that information publicly,” he said. Earlier this month he told North Shore News the nation temporarily closed its main office at 320 Seymour Boulevard, from Jan. 6 to 11, due to a COVID-19 exposure, and those involved were taking the “necessary precautions.” He said there were a number of other active cases in the community which weren’t related to the office exposure. He added that there had been no cluster events in the community since the summer. Up until Sep. 23, 2020 there had been a total of 43 confirmed cases - 39 lab-confirmed, four epi-linked, for the nation. Since then, Khelsilem said “they have all been minor cases, contained through contact tracing and isolating.” In First Nations communities across B.C., as of Jan. 20, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of a total of 1,377 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. ISC said Across Canada, numbers had “reached an all-time new high this week” with a total of 14,200 positive cases – 5,409 active cases, 124 deaths, and 8,667 recoveries. “A number of communities are experiencing mounting cases, and ISC is taking measures to mitigate risks, including meeting regularly with local health services in Indigenous communities and engaging with provincial and other federal department representatives in an effort to assess on-going community needs,” a Government of Canada release stated. Khelsilem commended the community for its ongoing efforts to follow the PHO recommendations and restrictions. “You've done an amazing job of helping protect the community from the spread of the virus,” he said, adding he understood how difficult it had been to not be able follow usual traditions and spiritual practices in hard times. “As we get through this, I just want to continue to thank and encourage our community to work very hard to stay by these health orders that are set in stone to help protect our community. “We're all in this together, and of course, we will all get through this together.” The community can reach out to the Squamish Nation’s Guardians by calling 604-374-2687 or can contact the Member Services Department on 604-982-7610 during office hours or 604-505-3776 after hours for care packages and support. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
France has one of western Europe's highest rates of distrust in modern-day vaccines. On Unreported Europe we take a look at why, what anti-vaxxers have to say and what can bring sceptics rounds. View on euronews
ATLANTA — Hank Aaron, who endured racist threats with stoic dignity during his pursuit of Babe Ruth but went on to break the career home run record in the pre-steroids era, died early Friday. He was 86 The Atlanta Braves said Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. No cause of death was given. Aaron made his last public appearance less than two weeks ago when he received the COVID-19 vaccine. “Hammerin’ Hank” set a wide array of career hitting records during a 23-year career spent mostly with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, including RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases. But the Hall of Famer will be remembered for one swing above all others, the one that made him baseball’s home-run king. It was a title he would hold for more than 33 years, a period in which the Hammer slowly but surely claimed his rightful place as one of America’s most iconic sporting figures, a true national treasure worthy of mention in the same breath with Ruth or Ali or Jordan. “Hammerin’ Hank” set multiple hitting records during a 23-year career spent mostly with the Braves, including RBIs, extra-base hits and total bases. But the Hall of Famer will be remembered for one swing above all others. On April 8, 1974, before a sellout crowd at Atlanta Stadium and a national television audience, Aaron broke Ruth’s home run record with No. 715 off Al Downing of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Aaron finished his career with 755. Barry Bonds surpassed that in 2007 —though many continued to call the Hammer the true home run king because of allegations that Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Paul Newberry, The Associated Press
THUNDER BAY — A 24-year-old Scarborough Ont., resident is facing charges after Thunder Bay Ontario Provincial Police observed a vehicle excessively speeding on Highway 11/17 on Tuesday. OPP said in a news release this week, an officer was on patrol east of Mackenzie Heights Road in the municipality of Shuniah when they noticed a driver driving 152 kilometres per hour in a posted 90 kilometre per hour zone. The driver was charged with stunt driving and driving with an open container of liquor. OPP also issued a seven-day licence suspension and the vehicle was impounded for seven days. Police are reminding drivers that driving speeds of 50 kilometres per hour or more over the posted speed limit face severe penalties including mandatory seven-day licence suspension, mandatory seven-day vehicle impoundment, fines of up to $10,000 and six licence demerit points. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Sherbrooke — Agriculture Sherbrooke entreprend une véritable opération séduction afin de rapprocher les artisans de la terre et de l’assiette. Vendredi, l’organisation remettait des paniers de produits locaux à 25 restaurateurs de la ville dans l’espoir de leur faire découvrir de nouveaux favoris d’ici, tout en mettant un baume sur la difficile année qu’ils ont traversée. Des champignons, des viandes de toutes sortes, du mousseux, du miel, des carottes récoltées sous la neige, un ensemble de démarrage de pousses... ce sont trois gros colis remplis des produits de 11 producteurs qui attendaient chaque entrepreneur, vendredi, au Centre de valorisation de l’Estrie. Marie-France Audet, agente de développement agroalimentaire pour la Ville de Sherbrooke, se réjouissait devant la surprise des restaurateurs. Signe que le territoire a plus d’un tour dans son sac agroalimentaire. « Les gens sont impressionnés du volume du panier! Les restaurateurs m’ont touchée. Je les sens sincèrement reconnaissants de ces paniers. Je pense que ce sont des gens qui ont eu une année difficile en 2020, et je crois que ça les a touchés qu’on ait eu une pensée pour eux », avance-t-elle. Les restaurateurs chanceux sont les 25 premiers à s’être portés volontaires pour participer à « une activité qui a pour objectif de rapprocher les producteurs sherbrookois du milieu de la restauration » en décembre dernier. Redonner en échange Maxime Saumier Demers, copropriétaire d’O Chevreuil, taverne américaine, faisait partie des heureux élus. Le restaurateur, pour qui l’approvisionnement local est « une mission », a beaucoup apprécié ce clin d’œil tant pour son milieu que pour les producteurs d’ici. « Mais on est chanceux, on a des toits sur nos têtes et ça va relativement bien au restaurant, reconnaît-il. Il y a des gens qui ne peuvent pas se permettre d’épiceries toutes les semaines. On va produire pour goûter aux produits, mais tout ce qu’on va être capable de faire avec ça, on aimerait le donner à Moisson Estrie ou quelque chose comme ça pour faire profiter de ce beau cadeau-là à des gens dans le besoin. » Avant même d’avoir pu analyser son panier de fond en comble, celui-ci avance déjà avoir fait de belles découvertes. « C’est le fun parce qu’on ne connaît pas tous les producteurs non plus, je vois un producteur porcin que je ne connaissais pas et qui a l’air de faire des super belles pièces, on a hâte de les essayer », confie-t-il. Un tiers du territoire En tenant cette activité en janvier, la Ville a également pu démontrer qu’il est possible de s’approvisionner localement toute l’année. « L’hiver, ce n’est pas la saison qu’on qualifie de plus abondante, avance Mme Audet. C’est un défi qui m’a inquiétée au début. Mais on a osé le relever. Est-ce qu’on allait trouver des produits agricoles sherbrookois en janvier? La réponse, ça a été oui, et c’est ma deuxième plus belle surprise de l’activité, après les yeux des restaurateurs aujourd’hui. » L’initiative Agriculture Sherbrooke est née d’un mandat de la Ville attribué à Pro-Gestion Estrie dans le cadre du Plan de développement de la zone agricole en 2018. « Comparativement à toutes les autres MRC autour de Sherbrooke, on sentait qu’on avait plus d’énergie à mettre pour faire connaître notre agriculture. Les gens sont surpris de savoir que j’occupe un poste à temps plein pour ça, mais 37 % du territoire de la ville est pourtant dédié à l’agriculture. Toute l’année 2020 a été consacrée à développer des outils et à faire valoir ce qui se passe en agriculture et en foresterie à Sherbrooke », relate Mme Audet, mentionnant la page Facebook « Agriculture Sherbrooke », qui a été créée à cette fin. Les 25 restaurateurs qui ont reçu les paniers locaux sont Boefish, Café Aragon, Café L, Café Pierre Jean Jase, Célestine Café, L’Empreinte cuisine soignée, L’Entre Amis, Festin Royal, Kobo Ramen bistro japonais, Le Baluchon Santé, Liverpool, L’Omnibouffe, Loubards, Madame Gourmandine, Méchant Steak, O’Chevreuil taverne américaine, Overflow, Pain Voyageur, Pizzicato, Poivron rouge, Rôtisserie Chanteclerc, Savo, Shaker Sherbrooke, Tapageur et Vin Polisson. Selon Agriculture Sherbrooke, le territoire de la ville comptait 83 producteurs agricoles en 2020. Au dernier recensement du MAPAQ, en 2016, on n’en comptait que 66. Jasmine Rondeau, Initiative de journalisme local, La Tribune
EU lawmakers have invited the chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet to a Feb. 1 hearing in Brussels as they try to crack down on the powers of U.S. tech giants. The European Parliament will in the coming months provide input into proposals by the European Commission to force the companies to play fairly with rivals and to do more to tackle online fake news and harmful content or face hefty fines. "The purpose of the planned hearing is to have an exchange with the chief executive officers of the four globally leading platform companies to learn about their current business models and future concepts as they face the challenges of altering market conditions," said an invitation sent to the companies seen by Reuters.
A land redesignation bylaw for a proposed solar farm in Wheatland County was rejected by Wheatland County council, but following a special meeting of council, the project will be considered again during the next council meeting at the latest. During the Jan. 12 regular county council meeting, council considered a motion to adopt second reading of a bylaw to redesignate 160 acres for a proposed 20.1-megawatt commercial solar facility located east of Strathmore. The redesignation was necessary because the lands are currently agricultural, but as per the county’s land use bylaw, solar developments must be sited on lands designated as “energy district,” a category added in 2019. However, the motion failed by a vote of 6-1, with Reeve Amber Link the only councillor to vote in favour of the motion. Despite the council’s ruling, its hands may ultimately be tied because of provincial law. Section 619 of the provincial Municipal Government Act (MGA) provides that any approval granted by the AUC prevails over any statutory plan or land use bylaw. It also establishes that when a municipality receives a land use bylaw amendment and the application is consistent with the AUC approval, the municipality must approve the application. The project received AUC approval on Sept. 25, 2020. Prior to the council meeting, a public hearing for the bylaw was held via teleconference, during which letters from several landowners opposed to the project were read. However, Section 619(4) of the MGA requires that the hearing not address matters already discussed during the AUC application review process, which included many of the issues brought forward. Several of the councillors said during the meeting that despite the constraints of the MGA, they intended to vote in opposition to the motion in principle. “They (AUC) claim they figured what public interest is, but I don’t think so,” said Tom Ikert, Division 4 Councillor. “We are asked to rubber stamp something that a bunch of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats say is fine – but this has been backdoored to us.” Despite voting in favour of the bylaw, Link spoke of the difficulty of that decision. “This is extremely frustrating, because to a huge extent, the jurisdiction of municipal government has been subjugated by Section 619 of the MGA,” she said during the meeting. The proponent, Dan Eaton, has appealed the county’s decision to the Municipal Governing Board (MGB), an independent board established under the MGA that makes decisions about land planning and assessment matters, according to his lawyer, Terri-Lee Oleniuk of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. These appeals are costly, with some municipalities paying upwards of $500,000 to participate in similar hearings, said Link. This includes legal costs and land use planning when required. Given Section 619 of the MGA and related past decisions, the likelihood the MGB would rule against the council’s decision is near certain. “I cannot find any legal precedent where we would have any hope in taking that route,” she said. “I’m not willing to throw tax dollars at a losing fight. I am willing to fight the province, but that has to be done through advocacy.” An MGA hearing looks to be avoided, because during a special meeting of council held on Jan. 19, the potential repercussions of defeating the land designation were discussed in a closed session, Link told the Times in an email. Two resolutions were passed during this closed session: council directed administration to prepare a direct control district for the project at the earliest possible date (no later than March 2) and bring a development permit application for consideration at the same meeting, and that administration request the applicant to provide a complete development permit application no later than Jan. 22. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
The South Klondike Highway south of Carcross, Yukon, is still deemed impassable Friday morning after a series of avalanches earlier this week. A map on the 511 Yukon road report shows the closure extends from Carcross and south beyond the Yukon border. While crews have been working away to clear the road, Greg Eikland, western area supervisor with the Department of Highways and Public Works, says there's still a lot more snow to be dealt with as of Thursday before it can reopen. He says the avalanches are rated about a three on a one-to-five scale and can be around 15 feet high and between 40 to 100 feet wide. "A size three is [like] a very small car," he said adding it could take out a smaller building and bring down trees with it. So far, he says since there isn't any reported damage, though sometimes avalanches can cause problems for the guard rails on the road. Right now, crews are still working on digging through the snow. "We just target areas that are frequent avalanche zones," Eikland said. He explained that if the avalanches don't come down, when they should or if there is a lot of snow storage, such as large overhangs, then they'll do controlled snowbombing. "We'll actually close the road, bomb them and deal with snow that way," he said. "One particular [avalanche] that is a pretty active one, it didn't come down, so [we] threw some charges on that and brought it down." "So that just adds to the amount of work that we have to get everything cleaned up so we can open this road back up." More avalanches than usual Eikland says there can be up to about eight people working on the snow clearing. While the avalanches are only a little bigger that usual, he says it's an exceptional year in terms of how often they're tumbling. "It's just the frequency of them — they're coming down quite a bit," he said. "It's a good winter for snow for sure." He says, despite the border to Alaska being closed to all non-essential travel, it's still important that the highway is passable for fuel trucks and other traffic needing to get through. "We try and get a hole punched through so at least if we have to move some traffic for emergencies or what not we can all get them out," Eikland said. "Hopefully we can get that out as soon as we can … just keep keep plugging away at these avalanches and then we should be ready to open." It's hard to predict when the highway might open, but Eikland said on Thursday that the highway could open Friday afternoon or sometime on Saturday. 'Avalanches still possible out there' James Minifie, lead avalanche field technician for Avalanche Canada in Yukon, said Friday morning that people should stay aware of the fact that big storms have been creating sizeable avalanches. "People should continue to look for that pattern of storms coming, you know avalanche danger goes up during and shortly after the storm, and then kind of slowly comes down over the next few days." He said if people are heading out into inland areas they should build time into their day to account for varying conditions. "You might get surprised by avalanches in places that you wouldn't expect them, so, you know, really taking time to think hard about your route and using terrain wisely to ... reach your objective." "Avalanches are still possible out there, even though we've come into the moderate danger rating. You know just really thinking about the steepness of the slope," he said. He said people should also be aware of the quality of the snow, listen for "whompf" sounds, and watch for cracks. He said people in Yukon can get information on the Yukon avalanche website or the Avalanche Canada website. People should also post to the Mountain Information Network so they can track inland snow conditions.
Indiquant que nous sommes tributaires à 72% du plasma américain et dans un contexte de baisse de l’offre mondiale depuis le début de la pandémie, l’Association des Patients Immunodéficients du Québec (APIQ) lance une première campagne de sensibilisation au don de plasma. «En cette nouvelle année marquée par un deuxième confinement, c’est l’occasion de prendre de nouvelles habitudes, comme celle de faire un don de plasma sur une base régulière. Cette campagne est le point de départ vers une plus grande intégration des patients dans leur parcours de soins. L’APIQ souhaite que les patients immunodéficients recherchent activement des donneurs dans leur entourage pour répondre à la demande des produits de plasma. Il s’agit d’un geste de solidarité et d’entraide collective qui peut leur sauver la vie», déclare Geneviève Solomon, directrice générale de l’APIQ, en rappelant qu’il est possible de faire des dons de plasma tous les six jours. Notons qu’un prélèvement de plasma par aphérèse dure environ 45 minutes. Pour l’année 2018-2019, 6068 usagers ont reçu des immunoglobulines. Cependant, depuis le début de la pandémie, une baisse mondiale de 20% de l’offre de plasma est remarquée. Le tout dans un contexte où la demande est en forte croissance en raison des vertus et des usages de plus en plus vastes dans le milieu de la santé. «Au Québec, tous les prélèvements de plasma réalisés servent à la fabrication de produits destinés aux malades d’ici. Chaque don fait une énorme différence dans la vie des patients et représente une véritable source d’espoir», conclut Geneviève Solomon. À propos de l’Association des Patients Immunodéficients du Québec L’APIQ est un organisme à but non lucratif qui regroupe les patients présentant des déficits immunitaires (DI) ainsi que leur famille et les professionnels de la santé intéressés par cette maladie. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
The real estate market saw “exceptional” sales activity in the Waterloo Region last year. Home sales in 2020 exceeded the “6,000-unit threshold for only the third time in our history,” said Nicole Pohl, President of Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS in a media announcement. December also marked “the sixth consecutive month of record home sales in Kitchener-Waterloo,” she added. KWAR reported a nine per cent increase in residential home sales compared to 2019. Sales rose five per cent over the five year average and 11.6 per cent above the ten-year average. December 351 home sales were the highest ever recorded by the group, with 42 per cent more home sales compared to last year. This included 204 detached (up by 46.7 per cent), and 63 condominium-style semi-detached, townhome, apartment and detached units, which were up 34 per cent. KWAR reported 3,899 detached residential units sold in 2020 (up 8.1 per cent), and 804 condominium units (up 19 per cent), compared to last year. Sales also included 450 semi-detached homes (up 6.8 per cent) and 1,346 freehold townhouses (up 7 per cent), they add.“On a year-to-date basis, the average sale price of all residential properties sold in 2020 increased by 16.1 per cent to $612,521 compared to 2019,” they report. “Detached homes sold for an average price of $719,203, an increase of 16.9 per cent compared to 2019.” Low inventory was reported to be a factor in Waterloo Region, much like the rest of Ontario. The average time on market remained less than one month through most of the year, KWAR reported. The average days on market for homes sold in 2020 was 16 days, compared to a 5-year average of 27 days. For context, the average time of residential homes on the market between 2011 and 2015, KWAR reported, averaged 4months. “Looking to the year ahead, we should expect more of the same” Pohl predicted. “Real estate continues to be one of the shining lights supporting the Ontario economy, so we do not expect to see any significant efforts to try to cool the market. Buyers should continue to expect stiff competition in Waterloo Region.” Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
In this David and Goliath story, David threw a dozen rocks, but couldn’t knock the giant down. David Strachan, treasurer of the Midhurst Ratepayers Association, who fought against the Geranium company’s plans to build two large subdivisions in the small village 10-minutes north of Barrie, is still bitter. “If we’d have thrown lots of money at it in the first place, we might have stood a chance,” Strachan said after news of the bulldozers arriving on-site at the Carson Road subdivision was released last week. But after fighting the good fight and raising more than $250,000 for legal fees and professional planners to oppose 2,500 new homes in their neighbourhood, Strachan and company realized their 12-year battle is over. In 2008, the initial plan for the Midhurst Carson Road development was approved by the township and later by the Ontario Municipal Board, the County of Simcoe, Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, and several provincial agencies in 2014. It took five more years for the environmental assessment to be approved by the ministry of the environment, conservation and parks in 2019. Water and storm water management work was approved in 2020. Last December, council gave the green light for Phase 1 of the subdivision of 342 homes to begin. A bulldozer sits on the former farmland at the top of Anne Street North, where snowmobilers currently race through a small tract of trees that will remain standing. Inside the cold work trailer, site supervisor Dominic Palombi hunches down inside his coat and pulls out the site drawings of the new subdivision that will be his work address for the foreseeable future. "We start building Monday (Jan. 25)," he said. “We’ll start with the sewers for the subdivision and we’ll start building the sales office there,” added Palombi, pointing to the snow-covered field. “It’s going to be big.” Stretching between Carson Road on the south, along Wilson Drive on the west and near Snow Valley Road on the north, Palombi’s not wrong. There are expected to be more than 340 detached and semi-detached houses available to preview schematically at least this summer, said Geranium spokesperson Cheryl Shindruk. “We expect 2,500 units approximately at full build,” she continued, explaining the Doran Road site will be built along Carson Road in the future. Shindruk won’t comment on the lengthy timeline it took to push the subdivisions through the roadblocks, other than to say “development approval takes the time it needs to take.” President of the Midhurst ratepayers group, Sandy Buxton, said it wasn’t a case of NIMBY-ism (Not In My Backyard), but also to save Minesing Wetlands which border the property. Also at stake are the Hine’s Emerald Dragonflies, which only nest in a few places in Canada, including the Springwater wetlands, she said. “It’s a very fussy animal in terms of the habitat it requires,” said Buxton. “It’s a fragile beast … which is classed as an endangered animal, not just provincially but also federally.” Nicole Audette, Springwater’s communications officer, said it was just one of many requirements that had to be satisfied before the work project could be approved. “The completion of the environmental assessment was a significant condition that needed to be satisfied to ensure the Midhurst developments could be serviced with significant consideration for the environment,” said Audette. It also included jumping through a slew of technical hoops, such as engineering design, species at risk assessments and environmental impact studies, in addition to requiring securities to ensure funding will be available to complete work in accordance with municipal regulations. As soon as weather permits, tree clearing and the installation of services including the watermains, sanitary sewers, storm sewers and a stormwater management pond will begin. For more information, visit www.springwater.ca Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
The website of Iran's Supreme Leader on Friday carried the image of a golfer resembling former President Donald Trump apparently being targeted by a drone alongside a threat of revenge over last year's killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. drone attack. The image first appeared on a Persian-language Twitter feed that carried a link to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's website. Twitter took down that feed on Friday, saying it was fake.
TORONTO — Global trials examining the potential of blood thinners to treat moderately ill COVID-19 patients have proven so successful its Canadian investigators say clinicians should immediately start using them in standard care.Investigators at Toronto's University Health Network say interim results of clinical trials spanning five continents in more than 300 hospitals suggest full-dose blood thinners could significantly avoid severe cases that are now straining hospital ICUs.The study involved more than 1,300 moderately ill patients admitted to hospital, including some at UHN. Investigators say full doses of Heparin improved outcomes and decreased the need for life support.The full dose was also more effective than the lower dose typically administered to prevent blood clots in hospitalized patients.Critical care physician Ewan Goligher, co-chair of the therapeutic anticoagulation domain of the trial, says the findings could significantly transform care.“Having cared for so many severely ill COVID-19 patients and witnessed the suffering involved for patients and their loved ones, it is profoundly gratifying that together we have discovered a treatment that can prevent patients from becoming severely ill and improve their recovery,” Goligher, also a scientist with the University Health Network, said Friday in a release.Ryan Zarychanski, associate professor, hematologist and critical care physician at the University of Manitoba, said the findings were promising. "In a disease with a limited number of effective therapies, our results have the potential to define a new standard of care for moderately ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients around the world," Zarychanski said.Doctors noticed early in the pandemic that COVID-19 patients suffered an increased rate of blood clots and inflammation. This led to complications including lung failure, heart attack and stroke.Back in December, investigators found that giving full-dose blood thinners to critically ill ICU patients did not help, and was actually harmful.The trials are supported by international funding organizations including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the NIH National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute in the United States, the National Institute for Health Research in the United Kingdom, and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Coup de théâtre mercredi après-midi, alors que le Directeur général des élections du Québec (DGEQ) informait l’avocat de Virginie Dufour qu’une enquête était ouverte relativement aux allégations de financement politique illégal qui visent sa cliente. Cette information est tombée dans les heures suivant une entrevue que Mme Dufour, conseillère municipale de Sainte-Rose, accordait au Courrier Laval, où elle annonçait son retour au sein du comité exécutif dont elle s’était retirée le 30 novembre dernier «pour ne pas nuire aux affaires de la Ville». Or, ce mercredi 20 janvier, elle estimait que l’«injustice» dont elle se dit victime «a assez duré». D’autant que, affirmait-elle, le DGEQ ne l’avait jamais relancée à la suite de son courriel - il y a sept semaines - où elle demandait à l’institution de faire enquête sur les allégations formulées à son endroit afin de «rétablir sa réputation». À défaut d’une enquête formelle, elle disait réintégrer l’exécutif «la tête haute» avec en main un affidavit signé par Normand Cusson, l’homme qu’on entend sur l’enregistrement incriminant rendu public par le Journal de Montréal, le 30 novembre. Dans une déclaration assermentée, M. Cusson, un proche de Virginie Dufour, affirme avoir menti lorsqu’il dit que ses contributions versées par chèque au Mouvement lavallois – Équipe Marc Demers lui sont remboursées en argent comptant par l’élue de Sainte-Rose. Considérant que le DGEQ ouvre une enquête, Virginie Dufour entend-elle se retirer à nouveau du comité exécutif le temps que la lumière soit faite sur ces allégations? Une décision devrait être rendue d’ici les prochaines heures, informe-t-on au cabinet du maire.Stéphane St-Amour, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
In his office overlooking Gage Park in downtown Brampton, Mayor Patrick Brown turned away from the live video feed of Wednesday’s committee of council meeting. He peered through the window for a view of the tree-lined outdoor skating rink below, a place that transports visitors to an idyllic winter escape. The ice width is “significantly larger than a sidewalk, or typical creek trail,” Brown pointed out to council members. Given the City’s ability to control rink capacity through its online booking system, he argued that existing measures to promote social distancing are sufficient. Non-medical masks or face coverings were in place only as a recommendation at Brampton’s outdoor rinks, but are mandatory in line-ups, the washrooms, or staging areas. “In general, wearing a mask is always good practice. I would just say let’s be careful about what precedents we set here…and what this means for the city and other avenues,” he said. Brown’s worry was that other City-owned properties, including basketball courts and soccer fields when they re-open, and even sidewalks, could then be subject to mandatory masking orders. The mayor put forward concerns supported by those fatigued by some of the protective measures imposed on them, but his more liberal attitude toward mask use stood in contrast with a motion that had just been forwarded. The comments came in response to a move by Councillor Rowena Santos for Brampton to implement an immediate policy to make face-coverings mandatory while skating, a decision Toronto already made. According to the motion – which passed unanimously despite the mayor’s concerns – provincial public health factsheets point to evidence that people can develop COVID-19 after repeated and cumulative exposure to someone with the novel coronavirus, “in the same manner as prolonged close contact.” Santos told Council the motion was aimed to “provide a little bit more clarity and consistency” to rink etiquette in a shared space, even if outdoors. The City will mobilize its surplus of masks to various skating rinks and inform those who have registered online about the new mandatory policy. The move to make these spaces safer in Ontario’s hardest-hit city comes after a more drastic measure to close winter amenities in Vaughan. Last week, the municipality announced it was closing outdoor amenities, including dog parks, in line with its “disciplined, reasonable and measured approach to COVID-19,” according to a press release announcing the move three days after the province entered a state of emergency and the stay-at-home order came into effect on January 14. “You need to do all that you can to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and when you get large gatherings of people, you’re actually increasing it,” said Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, in response to criticism, during a taped interview with CityNews. “So our decision was based on what we know at the moment to be true...and use all measures at [our] disposal.” Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health, publicly opposed the move, saying the use of outdoor facilities should be encouraged and regulated by the City to help promote mental health and exercise. Most municipalities in the GTA, including Toronto and Mississauaga have kept these amenities open during the current emergency order, which allows the use of such facilities. Keeping outdoor recreational activities, such as Brampton’s Winter Wonderland program, open has been supported by many infectious disease specialists who recognize the need for healthy, active alternatives during a lockdown. Public health officials have pointed out that if residents do not have the opportunity to exercise and get outside, mental health can suffer, and people might be pushed to violate other rules if they feel restrictions are unreasonable. “From our perspective, here at the Region of Peel, we know that it is ultimately [about] trying to balance outdoor recreation and an opportunity for individuals to exercise, which remains an essential reason to be out of one's home,” said Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health, at Mississauga’s weekly press conference on Wednesday. “Region-hopping has always been a challenge or problem, but I imagine there are ways to address that,” said Dr. Loh, pointing to online booking tools and capacity limits that would help mitigate that risk. “It’s always been [the] recommendation, if you are unable to maintain two metres of distance – even outside – that you should be wearing a mask.” In a test of Brampton’s booking system, The Pointer was able to reserve a time at Gage Park using a registration account that listed a non-Brampton postal code as a home address. Mobility patterns analyzed by Peel Public Health using Google’s anonymized, aggregate cellphone location data show that during the first emergency declaration in March, there was a 60 percent drop in trips to workplaces, retail and other recreational locations, and a 20 percent increase in time spent at home. Second wave trends show that the time at home had increased by 21 percent in the first week of January this year, compared to 14 percent in October, which is measured against a January 2020 baseline of pre-pandemic, at-home time. The analysis, which appears in Peel Region’s January 15 epidemiological report, shows Brampton had a 17.6 percent positivity rate for the week ending on January 9; anything above 2.5 percent indicates viral spread in a jurisdiction is not under control. Brampton’s incidence rate was at 351.8 cases per 100,000 residents, for the week ending January 9, compared to 284 in Caledon and 200 in Mississauga. Ontario’s incidence rate was a little more than half of Brampton’s during the same period. Despite Premier Doug Ford’s pleas for Ontarians to stay home, barring essential trips, attending a recreational setting is another choice Peel residents can consider. As previously reported in The Pointer, despite the stay-at-home order, a flight out of Toronto Pearson International Airport, to get a resident from Peel to Miami, or many other destinations, is still allowable, though not advised, another confusing reality of the Province’s state of emergency order. Email: email@example.com Twitter: LaVjosa 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. Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
La MRC de La Matanie et la Ville de Matane ont décidé d’unir leurs forces pour mettre en branle le projet de « ferme » citoyenne à Matane. Les deux entités lancent donc un appel à participation pour tous les citoyens pouces verts et fervents de jardinage de La Matanie. Ce projet de « ferme citoyenne » vise l’élaboration d’une structure citoyenne dans la Ville de Matane se concentrant sur les univers du maraîchage, de l’apiculture et de l’agriculture urbaine. Selon un communiqué envoyé par la MRC, celui-ci pourrait d’ailleurs comprendre un volet communautaire ainsi qu’un volet collectif et éducatif. La MRC de La Matanie précise qu’au niveau communautaire, il pourrait s’agir de préparer des terrains pour les groupes souhaitant bénéficier de jardins communautaires. Au niveau collectif, il est envisagé que la structure ait une vocation d’éducation populaire. En même temps, elle permettrait la réinsertion et le don de denrées fraîches pour fournir les organismes sociaux. Le projet est encore en construction, et les possibilités sont nombreuses, selon le communiqué de la MRC. C’est pourquoi elle encourage les citoyens intéressés à s’inscrire, afin que le projet puisse se mouler à leur image et naître de leurs idées. La MRC de La Matanie cite notamment le projet d’agriculture communautaire de la MRC d’Argenteuil en exemple. Une première rencontre en ligne est organisée à travers Zoom le jeudi 28 janvier de 19h à 21h. L’objectif de cette consultation sera d’énoncer le constat de la situation actuelle, puis d’établir les étapes de réalisation et l’échéancier du projet. Un comité de travail incluant ceux ayant participé à la rencontre sera par la suite formé. « Je suis impressionnée et motivée par le groupe de citoyennes et citoyens qui a lancé le jardin communautaire les Lopins verts en moins d’un an. Cela montre le grand intérêt de la population matanaise pour ce type de projet. C’est une chance de pouvoir travailler ensemble à développer davantage l’agriculture urbaine », a lancé vivement Véronique Gagné, responsable. Pour s’inscrire, il suffit de remplir le formulaire en ligne avant le 27 janvier à 23h45. Le lien de connexion Zoom pour assister à la rencontre sera ensuite envoyé par courriel.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane