Toronto Raptors forward DeAndre' Bembry has been guarding Ben Simmons for a few years now and knows what to expect from the point guard.
Toronto Raptors forward DeAndre' Bembry has been guarding Ben Simmons for a few years now and knows what to expect from the point guard.
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
An investigation is underway after a woman died and a man suffered life-threatening injuries in a head-on crash in North Vancouver last night. The two-car collision, which police believe involved a drunk driver, happened just before midnight Tuesday (March 2) at Low Level Road, west of the Neptune Cargill Overpass. Sgt. Peter DeVries, spokesman for North Vancouver RCMP, said officers received a call just after 11 p.m. from BC Emergency Health Services alerting them to the crash. He said RCMP officers arrived to what appeared to be a head-on collision and District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services were on scene extinguishing a fire that had started up in one of the vehicles. A woman and a man were travelling together eastbound in one vehicle when a westbound vehicle, an Audi, driven by a man, appears to have crossed the centre line, according to DeVries. He said the details of how the crash occurred were still being determined. “Unfortunately, the female died as a result of the collision and she was initially brought to a local hospital [Lions Gate Hospital], but she was soon after pronounced dead,” he said. “The male occupant in the same vehicle was brought to VGH for serious injuries and remains in critical condition. We're not sure at this point whether or not the person will survive.” DeVries said the male who was driving the Audi was taken to LGH with serious but non-life threatening injuries. He said the driver of the Audi is now being investigated for dangerous driving and refusal to provide a breath sample. “It looks like this is going to be an impaired driving investigation,” DeVries said. “We do believe alcohol was involved, but we're still in the very early stages of the investigation. "As the investigation continues, officers will work to uncover all available evidence pointing to the cause of this collision." DeVries said it had been "a very sad morning." "We know that this woman’s family and friends are grieving today, that in the coming days and weeks, they will be faced with the difficult task of coping with a tragic loss," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them." Low Level Road was closed this morning (March 3) between East 3rd Street and St. Andrews Avenue due to the police investigation, but has since reopened. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
SOUTH DUNDAS – Two employees of the Municipality of South Dundas have left their positions in the last month, and a third person is retiring. Recreation program coordinator Jamie Scott resigned from his position, with his last day being on February 16th. Scott was with the municipality for nearly two years and hired in May 2019. Meagan Bingley, who was business retention and expansion coordinator for South Dundas’ economic development department, departed to return to the insurance industry. Bingley was hired in October 2020. Director of Corporate Services andClerk Brenda Brunt informed council last week of her upcoming retirement. Her nearly 31 year career with South Dundas and pre-amalgamation Williamsburg Township has seen Brunt serve as clerk, marriage commissioner and at one point acting-CAO. More information on Brunt’s retirement will be presented in a report to council, which is expected on March 22nd. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
While applicant and the Township are working to iron out concerns with a proposed townhouse project in King City, the matter is still headed to an LPAT hearing. Councillors, staff and members of the public offered input into Stateview Homes’ plan to build 49 residential cluster townhouses on Keele Street. The applicants are seeking amendments to zoning and King’s Official Plan to allow for the development. A public meeting was initially held in March 2019 and since then, both the applicant and Township staff have held working meetings. This led to two revised applications. The applications have been appealed to LPAT and a hearing is scheduled for this coming June. The outstanding issues include consideration for King’s OP, the proposed density, environmental buffers and traffic concerns. The property is currently zoned established neighbourhood, which doesn’t permit large-scale development. Townhouses are not considered a suitable use in this zoning. Staff said this application is fundamentally opposed to current planning rules and fails to meet many criteria. The applicant wants to redesignate the lands as medium density, but they’re currently deemed low density, limited to 25 units per hectare. The bid is to up that to 40 units per hectare. King plans also require vegetative buffers of 30 meters adjacent to natural heritage features, and this plan has zones that vary from 20 to 46 metres. The application included three-storey townhouses, but the surrounding neighbourhood is largely single, detached homes. An architectural design is still under review. Staff have been working with the applicant to address compatibility, particularly the lots in the eastern and southern boundaries. Also, staff are concerned with some minimum lot areas, as well as front and side yard setbacks. Staff are also concerned with limited amenity space. They favour further revision to include fewer or small units, which would allow for better lot coverage and comply with zoning provisions. Staff noted concerns have been raised over access to the site and traffic generated. Residents have asked that traffic lights be installed. However, the current application does not propose any signals. At this time, staff will report back to the Committee of the While, prior to the LPAT hearing, to outline the status of the applications and any further revisions. Consultant Murray Evans, representing Stateview, said this plan has several credible elements and they’ve made changes to improve setbacks, in hopes to mitigating any impacts on existing residents. He admitted there’s work to be done, mostly of a technical nature. The zoning standards, he contends, are reflective or an urban area. Their objective is to create a pedestrian-friendly street front. The issue of access is important to them, he said, noting they are working with the Township on the signal lights, perhaps at Norman. Bruce Craig, on behalf of Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT), said rows of townhouses will drastically change the streetscape. The combination of the five lots along the edge of the East Humber River Valley provides an excellent setting and opportunity to create an attractive residential subdivision with clusters of new homes that integrate well with the surrounding neighbourhood known as Heritage Park. However, in CCKT’s view there would need to be significant changes to the present concept and site plan. Reducing the number of residential units and including two or three different forms of housing arranged carefully on this large parcel of land would address a number of concerns. Many mature trees could be preserved, impervious surface area reduced, the 30-metre buffer retained and a suitable transition to neighbouring lots achieved. The Established Neighbourhood designation in the new King Ofﬁcial Plan is intended to maintain the character and general fabric of the surrounding residential neighbourhood. The current proposal, with a density of 40 units/ha and blocks of three-storey townhouses does not achieve the goals or intent of the designation, the group points out. Regarding the revised site plan submitted by Stateview Homes in December 2020, CCKT recognizes several improvements, which include screening, retention of trees, wider planting strips, and more. CCKT said the density of proposal “far exceeds what is envisioned in the Established Neighbourhood designation.” The group would like the number of units reduced substantially. Craig pointed out that the blocks of townhouses stretching along Keele Street with small spaces between blocks is “not appealing and does not complement and integrate well in the existing neighbourhood with a more open space character.” They’d like to see the plan include single-detached, semi-detached, duplexes and/or one or two well-designed small blocks of two-storey townhouses carefully placed on the overall property to integrate well with homes in the existing neighbourhood. Also, the building heights of 12.5 metres is “far beyond the heights of the surrounding residential units which are made up of bungalows, and two-storey dwellings. Heights need to be reduced. CCKT recommends a maximum height of 9.0 metres.” CCKT advocates for retaining the full 30-metre buffer, and recommends that residential units and lots be adjusted to be completely outside of the buffer zone. CCKT, to, would like to see signalization at Norman Drive and the roadway entrance into High Crown Estates. Signals with sensors should be installed to allow the traffic to ﬂow well on Keele Street, and to provide for access on to Keele Street from Norman Drive and the High Crown Estates roadway in peak rush hour times. Dennison Drive should not be used for through trafﬁc in and out of this site. CCKT contends that with “signiﬁcant revisions to the current site plan, a creative and attractive subdivision plan can be achieved that is well-received by the neighbouring community.” Resident Jennifer Hobbs, representing King Heritage Park Ratepayers Association, made a comprehensive presentation to council. Her group represents some 220 King City residents. While residents understand growth pressures, this development doesn’t quite fit in with the neighbourhood and needs to be more forward-thinking. “If there is to be departure from the existing character of the neighbourhood, the development needs to provide adequate transition,” she said. The site includes many natural heritage features and is home to many mature trees and wildlife. The fear is many of these trees will be removed to make room for the development. Official Plan mandates, she said, include achieving a high degree of compatibility; minimizing impacts to vegetation, and having no negative impacts on adjacent properties. KHPRA, she stressed, is trying to ensure compatibility. The bid could change the design to soften the impact, and provide wider transition buffers. They suggest reducing the building height, setting buildings back further from the road, and planting larger streets. Increase traffic congestion is a major concern among residents. Hobbs said backups are common on Keele and this project will make matters even worse. It will add pressure to Keele and neighbouring streets, most of which don’t have sidewalks. The proposal, KHPRA contends, has no park space, and no safe pedestrian crossing. The group said they’re willing to work with the applicant and the Township to see a development that meets the needs of the community. There’s a need to find a balance between growth and residents’ safe enjoyment of their properties and the surrounding neighbourhood. “The latest changes to the proposal are an improvement, but still a long way from a plan that KHPRA would find acceptable.” A Martin Street resident said her street has become a shortcut for motorists, and traffic in her area is often at a standstill. She is concerned the new development will add to the mayhem in this family neighbourhood. She said there needs to be a plan for pedestrian safety, as well as adequate traffic calming measures. Mayor Steve Pellegrini said staff, through its traffic management plan, is always looking at speed limits in King’s villages. Another man said the project still has many deficiencies and he’d like to see two sets of traffic lights in the area. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
Housing Minister David Eby says he's willing to wade into city council decisions on homeless shelters — even if that means angering local politicians along the way. "I was doing things entirely backwards: It's much better to provide information to councils before the vote, so they're making a fully informed vote, rather than after the vote," said Eby, hours before the City of Penticton unanimously rejected an application by B.C. Housing to extend its permit for a homeless shelter located in the centre of the Okanagan city. That was despite council previously assuring him it would grant the extension, according to Eby. The minister said a follow-up phone call with Mayor John Vassilaki went poorly. "I asked the mayor what's the plan, and he told me there'd be no more meetings and he hung up on me," Eby said Wednesday morning. Eby argued there's no current alternative for shelter residents once the permit expires at the end of the month, and said not extending it could create an indefinite homeless encampment similar to ones in Vancouver and Victoria. "There's simply no debate about what we need to do here. We need to get people inside, we need to get them the support they need," he said. "Even leaving them in the emergency shelter is not an acceptable outcome, but emptying out the shelter into the park is bizarre to me." Penticton city council wants to close a 42-bed emergency winter shelter at 352 Winnipeg St. at the end of March, citing the location as 'inappropriate' and too close to seniors' housing.(Google maps) Eby vs. Cranbrook mayor It isn't the first time in recent weeks Eby has waded into a debate over a homeless shelter in a B.C. community. In early February, he asked Cranbrook council to vote in favour of rezoning a property for a 40-bed shelter, which faced plenty of controversy in the city. Council did approve the rezoning 5-2, but Mayor Lee Pratt was critical of Eby's influence. "That was totally an abuse of his position," said Pratt. "He's using his position of trying to influence a decision on this council, sitting around here trying to make a decision for the municipality and the citizens of our city … that was totally uncalled for." Pratt said he didn't want to comment further on his statement, saying he was in discussions with the province. But Eby defended proactively lobbying municipalities before their vote, saying it was preferable to the time lost in finding alternatives if councils voted against B.C. Housing proposals. "I would suggest as minister responsible for housing, I would be incredibly negligent in not [speaking] to municipal leaders that are voting on vitally important projects to prevent entrenched encampments in their communities," he said. "Please, save yourself the resources, the time, the headache, the heartache of an encampment. Save the provincial government time, and let's work together." Eby said Tuesday he will do everything in his power to compel Penticton to keep the city's shelter open, including using a procedure called paramountcy, which allows the provincial government to circumvent the city's wishes. Slow progress housing tent city residents The "entrenched encampments" Eby referred to still remain in B.C.'s largest city and its capital. Victoria is now petitioning the B.C. Supreme Court for a long-term ruling on whether Beacon Hill Park can ever be used to house people in temporary structures, even with a self-imposed March 31 deadline to house everyone currently in the park. In Vancouver, where a homeless camp has moved between three different locations over the past 30 months, it was announced Monday the city had purchased another facility to convert into a shelter, a motel on Kingsway. However, unlike the facilities announced last week, the motel won't be ready until November, and Coun. Jean Swanson worries that all the additional units won't make up for what's been lost in recent years. "A lot of homeless people are coming from [shuttered] SROs ... they're coming from the Regent and the Balmoral, that's about 300 units, but they're also coming because we don't have vacancy controls," she said. "I just think a lot of this is from senior levels of government. By refusing to fund social housing adequately, by refusing to have adequate welfare rates, the issue of homelessness is basically placed onto the city."
CARDINAL – The fastest growing hockey league in Eastern Ontario has added another team to the league, this time in Cardinal. The South Grenville Sr. Rangers announced it was accepted into the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League early last week. “We are excited to build on the hockey traditions in our community and continue to showcase local talent of all ages,” the team said in its February 23rd announcement. The EOSHL began play as a four-team league in the 2019-20 season and is for hockey players age 20 and older still looking to play hockey after their junior eligibility is over. The Sr. Rangers’ announcement comes a week after a franchise was announced in Gananoque and four weeks after the North Dundas Sr. Rockets announced it was joining the league. Team officials said they are hoping to build on local rivalries with other communities, and that the makeup of the league is a positive step in that direction. The Sr. Rangers have not announced a general manager or head coach for the 2021-22 season but are actively recruiting those positions. Unlike minor and junior hockey levels, the EOSHL does not have restrictions on territories or team rights to worry about in signing players. This means former Jr. A, B, or C level players, along with those who have experience in the OHL, NCAA, or U SPORTS leagues can play for teams in the league. League president Mitch Gagne said that the EOSHL is looking to add one more team to balance the league to 12 teams total. “We have a few more areas interested and we hope to have all 12 settled by May 1st so we can enjoy an exciting summer of preparing for the fall for a hopeful start to our league,” Gagne said. One area that will not be joining the EOSHL is Morrisburg. Morrisburg Jr. C Lions. Team general manager Kevin Casselman told The Leader that he is not looking at a team for Morrisburg at this time. “I wish the best of luck to the Rangers and Rockets,” Casselman said. The league plans a 24-game regular season beginning this fall. Other teams in the league include Maxville, Alexandria, West Carleton, Frontenac, Smiths Falls, Pontiac (QC), and Cornwall. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
One woman is dead and two others are injured after a head-on crash in North Vancouver, B.C., late Tuesday. Two cars crashed on Low Level Road around 11 p.m. PT, according to RCMP. A statement said an Audi driving west crossed the centre line and collided with an eastbound car driven by the woman and carrying a male passenger. The two people in the eastbound car and the Audi driver were taken to hospital, where the woman was pronounced dead. The passenger remains in critical condition. The male driver of the newer model Audi had serious but non life-threatening injuries. RCMP said he refused to give a breath sample. RCMP believe alcohol was a factor in the crash. "We are currently in the midst of an investigation of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and refusal to provide samples of breath for purposes of an impaired investigation," said Sgt. Peter DeVries. "It is a very sad day for this person's family and friends and our thoughts and prayers go out to them," DeVries said of the woman who was killed. Lower Level Road remains closed between East 3rd Street and St. Andrews Avenue.
HALIFAX — A First Nations chief in Nova Scotia has released a letter from Ottawa outlining a plan to have Indigenous fishers participate in moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season. In the letter released today by Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says her department wants to give Indigenous fishers access to commercial fisheries through voluntary buyouts of existing licences. She says her department is prepared to negotiate agreements with Indigenous communities to establish "small-scale" moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season in the "near term." Jordan says the fisheries will operate while negotiations continue on how First Nations in Nova Scotia can affirm their treaty rights to fish for a moderate livelihood. She says any moderate livelihood fishing activity must be authorized by her office through licences issued under the Fisheries Act. Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia say a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirms the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood'' when and where they want — even outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. That decision was later clarified by the court, however, which said Ottawa could regulate the Mi'kmaq treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
A prominent French-Canadian scientist who chairs France’s High Council on Climate says Canada needs to commit to a 2025 carbon pollution reduction target and strengthen its net-zero advisory body. Originally from Canada, Corinne Le Quéré is an accomplished researcher who is a professor of climate change science at the University of East Anglia and a member of the U.K.’s Climate Change Committee. She has worked at Princeton University, the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, and the British Antarctic Survey. Le Quéré has led a new scientific analysis of global emissions, published March 3 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change, that found global pollution cuts need to increase tenfold to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement — a signal that much greater ambition is needed from many countries around the world. The analysis, “Fossil CO2 emissions in the post-COVID era,” points out that Canada is one of 150 countries where emissions increased between 2016, after the Paris Agreement was adopted, and 2019, the year before the pandemic. Canada’s emissions grew 0.1 per cent during this period, while emissions decreased in 64 other countries — including in all the other G7 nations. In an interview Tuesday, Le Quéré said Canada should be asking itself why other high-income countries can succeed at reducing emissions, and then “make a plan of action that is commensurate with the ambition.” That means Canada’s goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is too distant, she said. “Clearly, Canada needs to have targets that are much closer than 2050. It needs to have a 2025 target, a 2030 target. It needs to send really clear signals,” said Le Quéré. “The target that Canada should set for 2030 should be as ambitious as is feasible. That would be my message: If you want to be at net- zero emissions in 2050, you need to do most of the investments in infrastructure. All the electrification of cars, that needs to happen now, electric heating, you need industry to also be based on low-carbon electricity. All these investments need to happen now.” Le Quéré said experts in Canada’s energy system should be either setting the climate targets, or at least recommending them to the Canadian government, rather than the government coming up with targets for itself. Last week, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced a 14-member Net-Zero Advisory Body that is tasked with providing advice on “the most likely pathways for Canada to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050,” as well as advice on the “emissions reductions milestones leading up to 2050” and “near-term actions” to support the net-zero goal. These “milestones” are defined in the federal government’s legislation, Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, as being the years 2030, 2035, 2040 and 2045 — meaning the government does not anticipate setting an earlier target in 2025. The lack of a 2025 milestone provoked criticism when the bill was introduced, prompting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to respond that Canada would be “meeting and exceeding our 2030 targets” and noting the bill “lays out a framework of accountability and transparency” to ensure Canada reaches its net-zero goal. The legislation also gives the minister the power to determine the Net-Zero Advisory Body’s terms of reference, which Wilkinson revealed in February alongside the body’s membership. They show that the panel won’t be given its own secretariat, but instead will draw “logistical, administrative, and policy support” from the minister’s department, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and pull economic analysis and emissions modelling from other government departments. Wilkinson will also consult with the members “at regular intervals” on what they will be working on, and can “refer lines of inquiry” to the body. The terms of reference make it clear that the members will be expected to draw from “existing” research and analysis and commission new studies “where original research is necessary.” Le Quéré said independent outside scrutiny of Canadian policy is “vital” to achieve real emissions reductions. She said strong governance is what makes the difference over the long term. “The advisory board needs to be independent ... it needs support. It needs its own budget, it needs capacity to do analysis of Canada’s trajectory. And it needs to be able to criticize, every year, Canadian policy,” she said. “If you have a committee that has not got support, that doesn’t control its own budget, that doesn’t determine what it works on, then you never reach that level of expert independent scrutiny that really can accompany a change of that size.” Wilkinson has said the advisory body demonstrates Canada is “serious” about addressing the climate crisis and meeting global market demand. “By providing expert advice on how we can meet Canada’s goal of getting to net-zero emissions by 2050, the Net-Zero Advisory Body will help ensure we can continue to meet the environmental goals and economic ambitions of Canadians at the same time,” he said in a statement. The study released Wednesday showed both “good and bad news,” said Le Quéré. The researchers, hailing from the University of East Anglia, Stanford University and the Global Carbon Project, found annual cuts of 0.16 billion tonnes of CO2 on average among the 64 countries where emissions decreased during the 2016–2019 period compared to 2011-2015. That is about 10 per cent of the one billion to two billion tonnes annually that they calculated would be needed at the global level to meet the Paris goals. “We looked at where we were since the Paris Agreement, before COVID-19 — were we actually acting on tackling climate change? And what our study shows is actually, yes — there were lots of things in motion, many countries were succeeding in cutting their emissions, and there was a movement forward,” said Le Quéré. “But if you actually look at how big the cuts were, they’re very small compared to what we need to actually have an effective result in tackling climate change. That part really means that we’ve not understood the scale of the action.” Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
YEREVAN, Armenia — Armenian authorities on Wednesday deployed snipers in the parliament building as thousands of protesters rallied nearby, and launched a criminal probe against a top opposition leader amid the country's spiraling political crisis. Thousands of opposition supporters rallied in the Armenian capital Wednesday to demand the prime minister's resignation, amid a heavy presence of security forces. Nikol Pashinyan has faced opposition demands to step down since he signed a November peace deal that ended fierce fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, in which Azerbaijan routed the Armenian forces. The political tensions escalated last week when the military’s General Staff demanded Pashinyan's resignation, and he responded by firing the chief of the General Staff, Col. Gen. Onik Gasparyan. On Wednesday, about 10,000 opposition demonstrators rallied outside the parliament building at a time when Pashinyan arrived to attend a session. As part of tight security measures, security agents armed with sniper rifles took positions in the building's windows and on its roof and remotely controlled stun grenades were placed in a park outside. Vazgen Manukyan, a veteran politician whom the opposition named as a prospective caretaker prime minister, denounced the security measures as an attempt by Pashinyan to scare his opponents. The country's top investigative agency said Wednesday it has accused the 75-year-old Manukyan, who served as prime minister in 1990-91 when Armenia was still part of the Soviet Union and served as defence minister when it became independent, of making calls for the seizure of power and violent change of the constitutional order. The prime minister's order to dismiss the chief of the General Staff is subject to approval by Armenia’s largely ceremonial president, Armen Sarkissian, who has refused to endorse it. Some legal experts argued that the order would take effect automatically following Sarkissian's failure to contest it in the nation's high court, but others pointed to legal caveats that could allow the top military officer to stay on. Manukyan, the opposition leader, warned that if Pashinyan manages to force the military chief out, the army would likely disobey the prime minister. As part of manoeuvring to defuse the political crisis, Pashinyan offered to hold a snap parliamentary vote later this year but rejected the opposition's demand to step down before the vote and let a caretaker successor take the helm. Pashinyan has faced opposition demands to resign since Nov. 10 when a Russia-brokered peace deal ended six weeks of intense fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. The agreement saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century. Pashinyan, a 45-year-old former journalist who came to power after leading large street protests in 2018 that ousted his predecessor, still enjoys wide support despite the defeat in the fighting that lasted 44 days and killed more than 6,000. He has argued that the peace deal was the only way to prevent Azerbaijan from overrunning the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. Russia has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to monitor the peace deal. ____ Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report. By Avet Demourian, The Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy's office and a political blogger have agreed to settle a lawsuit over access to Dunleavy's news conferences. Under terms of the agreement, the governor's office agreed to pay $65,000 in attorneys' fees and costs. Jeff Landfield, who owns The Alaska Landmine website, said his attorneys will receive the full amount. Landfield sued in December, alleging he was improperly excluded from Dunleavy media events. Settlement terms were disclosed Tuesday along with a filing by state attorneys seeking to dismiss the case, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The dismissal request also was signed by an attorney for Landfield. Under the agreement, Landfield would get “the same access” at gubernatorial press conferences as other members of the media. There was no admission of liability or wrongdoing, and Dunleavy's office and Landfield will work to "issue a joint public statement regarding the amicable nature of this settlement.” U.S. District Court Judge Joshua Kindred in January granted an injunction requiring Dunleavy to invite Landfield to news conferences. The state appealed, but the settlement would render that moot. The parties have asked Kindred to sign off on the dismissal request. Dunleavy's press office in a tweet said the matter had been "settled to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. We are happy to say this amicable settlement will put this dispute behind us.” The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The United States is at a COVID-19 crossroads — and public health officials are worried about which path it will choose. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is urging Americans not to let their guard down. For a second straight day, Walensky is warning about the potential for highly contagious COVID-19 variants to undo the country's hard-won progress. Her message is competing with a torrent of seemingly good news. President Joe Biden says the U.S. will have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses in stock for every adult American by the end of May. And a number of states are easing their pandemic restrictions, most recently Texas, which is planning to reopen completely by next Wednesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Madeline experiences her first encounter with a battery-powered Dachshund toy dog. Priceless!
OTTAWA — Efforts to boost Canada's ability to produce vaccines are among over 100 research projects receiving new federal money. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $518 million Wednesday he says will support the work of nearly 1,000 researchers. The projects receiving the cash also include ocean sensors to track climate change and setting up a digital archive to house records related to residential schools. The vaccine-related funding will be directed to the researchers from the Universite Laval-affiliated hospitals in Quebec City. Their aim is to create a public vaccine production program that will help develop and test vaccines and launch related startup companies. Frustration that Canada is reliant on foreign manufacturers to access the COVID-19 vaccine has led to calls to boost Canada's domestic capabilities. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — A short time after Broadway shut down last year, Elizabeth Stanley went on a tiny rescue mission. She was offered a chance to get back into her dressing room at the Broadhurst Theatre — home of her musical “Jagged Little Pill” — and to grab anything she needed. “I went and retrieved a bunch of plants,” she says, laughing. “I knew they won’t survive in a room with no windows and no water.” That strong nurturing side of Stanley was also clearly evident from the stage before the pandemic closed theatres. She earned her first Tony Award nomination playing the mom of a Connecticut family spiraling out of control in the musical set to the music of Alanis Morissette's 1995 album of the same name. Stanley is seemingly comfortable singing anything, from complicated Stephen Sondheim show tunes to rock songs by Morissette, classics by Leonard Bernstein and modern gems by Jason Robert Brown. “In some ways, people didn’t know what to do with me always and I think that’s honestly worked out to my benefit most of the time,” she says. “I didn’t just get stuck playing one singular type of part.” Eva Price, the three-time Tony Award-winning producer behind “Jagged Little Pill,” says Stanley has put her entire heart and soul into her latest character ever since workshops started. “She actually created a multi-dimensional, 360-degree, completely layered, contemporary female protagonist in a way that none of us knew we even had on the page or in our minds,” said Price. Stanley made her Broadway debut in the 2006 revival of “Company” and has had roles in “Cry-Baby,” “Million Dollar Quartet” and “On the Town.” A Tony nomination this time is welcome, indeed. “It’s a dream I’ve had for the whole time I’ve been performing and pursuing a career in the performing arts," she says. "So I feel like whatever crazy year it came in, I’ll take it.” The musical is about a family confronting drug addiction, sexual assault, struggles with gender identity and transracial adoption. Morissette has told the cast she hopes the musical can be a hopeful beacon. “She wants us to be a story about healing and connection," says Stanley. "And I think that’s such a beautiful sort of takeaway that she’s infused the piece with and that has always been in her music. I think it’s like this rallying cry for transparency and authenticity.” Stanley — as the mom, Mary Jane — is the spine of the musical, trying to connect with her workaholic husband and aloof teenage kids. She's also hiding an addiction to Oxycodone developed after being prescribed the opioid following a car accident. During the musical, her character also reveals her own history with sexual assault. “There’s so many layers to get into that I think it took me a long time to really find all of her,” says Stanley. “In fact, I don’t even think I’m done. That’s one of the reasons I’m anxious to get back to the show — I don’t feel done with this part yet.” The “Jagged Little Pill” musical is so rooted in contemporary issues facing America that she believes the discussions and marches over racial justice will find voice whenever Broadway restarts. “I think it will influence our interpretation of it as a cast, but it will also influence the audience and how they will see that,” she says. "Going to see a piece of theatre allows us to receive a message and feel it in a more palatable way than watching a three-hour news cycle about something.” During the past year, Stanley has been part of “Jagged Little Pill” online concerts and appearances. She also went through a series of crafting phases — baking, sewing and tie-dying. She made new throw pillows for her couch. COVID-19 ruined what was to be one of her happiest days: her wedding. Engaged in January 2020 to actor and teacher Charlie Murphy, the couple were supposed to tie the knot in September. They even put down — and lost — a security deposit at a venue. Now they're rethinking what they really want when COVID-19 releases its grip on the city. The original idea was to have an intimate affair with just family and a few close friends. “Now I really want to party with a lot of people,” she says, laughing. “Now I need everyone there that I haven’t been able to see, and I’m surrounded by all of my friends and we’re just being crazy.” ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
BISMARCK, N.D. — Republican and Democratic legislative leaders were finalizing a resolution Wednesday to expel a North Dakota House member accused of threatening and sexually harassing women at the state capitol. House Majority Leader Chet Pollert told The Associated Press that the resolution to expel GOP Rep. Luke Simons will be introduced on the House floor Thursday. Simons, who has denied wrongdoing and refused Republican leaders' calls for him to resign, is accused of a pattern of sexually aggressive, lewd, and threatening behaviour, dating back to shortly after he took office in 2017. The GOP-controlled Legislature reconvened Wednesday after its midsession break known as crossover. Pollert and Democratic House Minority Leader Josh Boschee said they worked together over the recess to craft the expulsion resolution. Legislative officials said there is no record of any lawmaker being expelled since statehood. Pollert said lawmakers on Wednesday will discuss the process outlining the potential removal of Simons. The resolution could be debated by a yet-to-be formed committee, an existing committee, or by the entire House, the leaders said. Pollert and Boschee said they preferred the latter. “Rep. Simons will have his day and will be able to defend his actions,” Pollert said. A 14-page document compiled by the nonpartisan Legislative Council includes allegations that Simons made “advances” toward female staffers and interns, commented on their appearances and tried to give one staffer an unsolicited shoulder massage. One staffer described his behaviour as “really creepy.” Simons, 43, said in a statement issued late Tuesday that the allegations “have been totally misconstrued and taken out of context.” “If the Legislature decides to inquire into any of my conduct or any of the allegations made by the director of the Legislative Council, then I look forward to a full and complete public hearing in which witnesses are heard, the true facts are determined, and where I am provided all of my due process rights and afforded the opportunity to require the attendance of witnesses, if necessary by subpoena,” Simons’ statement said. Simons, a barber and rancher, is a member of the loosely organized Bastiat Caucus, a far-right group that supports limited government and gun rights. Simons has insisted on social media that he’s being targeted for his politics. Simons’ attorney, Lynn Boughey, said he believes the House cannot expel Simons, and beyond censure, can only impeach him, which would require a Senate trial. Legislative leaders and their lawyers note the North Dakota Constitution says either chamber can expel a member with two-thirds approval. That would mean 63 members of the House would need to approve. Republicans hold an 80-14 advantage in the chamber. James MacPherson, The Associated Press
Toronto police say a man who was in a position of authority with the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Program has been charged with sexual assault. The force says the man was with the cadet program in Toronto in November 2019 and allegedly sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl. They say the 27-year-old man surrendered to police on Feb. 24 and is no longer in his position of authority. Police say the man faces charges that include sexual assault and sexual exploitation of a young person. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 12. Police say there may be other alleged victims. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
York residents 80 and older can book appointments to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. York began taking appointments Monday, and you can book yours by visiting york.ca/COVID19Vaccine Approximately 20,000 appointments were booked across all five current COVID-19 vaccination clinics. “This is great news for many of our most vulnerable residents and another step forward in bringing an end to the pandemic through vaccination,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “The health and well-being of our residents continues to remain a priority and we thank public, private and health-care partners for their major role in helping to protect some of our most vulnerable residents.” Residents 80 years of age and older who are not able or comfortable booking an online appointment are encouraged to seek out a support person (caregiver, family member or friend) who can assist in booking this appointment on their behalf. York Region Public Health is working with our local health-care partners to provide COVID-19 vaccines for this newly eligible priority group at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital located in the City of Vaughan, operated by Mackenzie Health; Cornell Community Centre located in the City of Markham, operated by Eastern York Region North Durham (EYRND) Ontario Health Team (OHT), and Ray Twinney Recreation Complex located in the Town of Newmarket, operated by Southlake Regional Health Centre. “This is a very positive step forward. We are moving aggressively to vaccinate as many as possible within the province’s identified priority populations as vaccine supply becomes available,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “We are being as nimble as we can using different delivery models depending on the supplies of vaccines and the groups we need to immunize.” Walk-in appointments are not available; please do not visit a vaccination clinic without an appointment – you will be turned away. The team at Southlake Regional Health Centre is ready and well equipped to administer COVID vaccines. Not only are staff backed by months of preparation and procedures, the current vaccines are proving effective. Staff and medical experts are confident they have the situation well in hand, and can ably spring into action should a third wave arrive. As of Feb. 25, Southlake was treating 15 COVID-19 patients, with five in critical care beds. Dr. Charmaine van Schaik, co-medical lead, Vaccine Management Committee at Southlake Regional Health Centre, is eager to get the process rolling. While the hospital has no control over vaccine rollout, they’re administering both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The majority of long-term care residents, staff and front-line hospital workers have received both the first and second doses. Both are two-shot doses and the main difference is storage. The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept very cold, and requires special refrigeration, while the Moderna vaccine isn’t as temperature sensitive. Dr. van Schaik pointed out there have been very few adverse reactions to the vaccine, and staff are well equipped to handle any reactions. The mRNA vaccines, she explained, basically send instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of the “spike protein” found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. It triggers an immune response, teaching our bodies to fight. Dr. van Schaik said it’s not yet known whether follow-up or annual shots are necessary. The research and monitoring is still ongoing. Time will tell just how long the immune response stays in our bodies and whether it wears off. Initially, there were fears that those with certain food allergies couldn’t take the vaccines, but Dr. van Schaik said that’s not true. The only allergy is to the “recipe” of the vaccine, which contains Polyethylene gylcol. She said a common pain reliever such as Tylenol contains this substance. Research continues on vaccines aimed at children. So far, the research has concentrated on adults and seniors. There’s no question the answers will come, given the rapid pace of vaccine research. Dr. van Schaik noted the majority of recipients are grateful and positive to receive the vaccine. Citizens and staff are all getting more used to the procedure and efficacy of the vaccines. “We’re really happy to be getting more and more people vaccinated,” she said. They’re excited about getting the vaccine out to the greater population, especially vulnerable seniors, and “those who need it.” The vaccine, she stressed, is not a cure, but it does prevent or lessen the severity of the illness. What we don’t know is whether vaccinated individuals can still spread the virus. That’s why existing health measures are required and still enforced. While treatment opportunities continue to improve, masks may be with us for some time. Those with compromised immune systems should always wear them. Dr. van Schaik said York’s numbers have been stabilizing, but many do expect a third wave. She said they believe it will be similar to the current wave, led primarily by the more contagious variants. The key is for medical practitioners to be nimble and respond quickly. With York’s accelerated rollout, and experienced practitioners at the helm, residents are in good hands. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
MOSCOW — The Kremlin on Wednesday shrugged off new Western sanctions over the poisoning and arrest of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny as unfounded and pointless — but warned that Moscow will retaliate. U.S. President Joe Biden's administration sanctioned seven Russian officials on Tuesday, along with more than a dozen government entities, over the nerve-agent attack on Navalny and his subsequent jailing. It co-ordinated the move with the European Union, which expanded its own sanctions Tuesday. Commenting on the U.S. and the EU decisions, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the sanctions against top Russian officials that include a freeze on their bank accounts duplicate Russia's own law that bans them from having financial and other assets abroad. “These people don't make foreign trips anyway and they don't have the right to open accounts in foreign banks or have any other foreign assets,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. At the same time, he added that the U.S. and EU restrictions “represent meddling in Russia's internal affairs” and are “absolutely unacceptable, inflicting significant damage to the already poor ties." Peskov warned that Russia will now choose a “response that would best serve our own interests,” adding that the relevant state agencies would draft their proposals and submit them to the Kremlin. “The principle of reciprocity in relations between states can't be abandoned,” he said. Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell sick on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia and was flown while still in a coma to Berlin for treatment two days later. Labs in Germany, France and Sweden, and tests by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, established that he was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent. Russian authorities have denied any involvement in the poisoning. Navalny was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from the poisoning. His arrest triggered massive protests, to which the Russian authorities responded with a sweeping crackdown. Last month, Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated — and which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful. Last week, Navalny was sent to serve his sentence to a prison outside Moscow, despite the European Court of Human Rights' demand for his release which cited concerns for his safety. In a statement put on his Instagram account Wednesday, Navalny said he was sent to a prison in Kolchugino, a town 130 kilometres (about 80 miles) east of Moscow. He added that he wasn't getting any letters or given access to a prison library and joked about his fellow inmates offering competing advice on how to dry bread using heating radiators in their cell. Navalny's lawyer, Vadim Kobzev, said on Twitter that he was being held in a quarantine cell with two other inmates. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press