Two more Democrats are heading to Washington, after Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff narrowly won Georgia's two Senate seats. Eric Sorensen breaks down the pivotal race, and what the victory means for President-elect Joe Biden.
Two more Democrats are heading to Washington, after Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff narrowly won Georgia's two Senate seats. Eric Sorensen breaks down the pivotal race, and what the victory means for President-elect Joe Biden.
WASHINGTON — It's taken only days for Democrats gauging how far President Joe Biden's bold immigration proposal can go in Congress to acknowledge that if anything emerges, it will likely be significantly more modest. As they brace to tackle a politically flammable issue that's resisted major congressional action since the 1980s, Democrats are using words like “aspirational” to describe Biden's plan and “herculean” to express the effort they'll need to prevail. A cautious note came from the White House on Friday when press secretary Jen Psaki said the new administration views Biden's plan as a “first step” it hopes will be “the basis" of discussions in Congress. Democrats' measured tones underscore the fragile road they face on a paramount issue for their minority voters, progressives and activists. Immigration proponents advocating an all-out fight say Democrats' new hold on the White House and Congress provides a major edge, but they concede they may have to accept less than total victory. Paving a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the centerpiece of Biden's plan, is “the stake at the summit of the mountain,” Frank Sharry, executive director of the pro-immigration group America’s Voice, said in an interview. He said proponents may have to accept “stepping stones" along the way. The citizenship process in Biden's plan would take as little as three years for some people, eight years for others. It would make it easier for certain workers to stay in the U.S. temporarily or permanently, provide development aid to Central American nations in hopes of reducing immigration and move toward bolstering border screening technology. No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois said in an interview this week that the likeliest package to emerge would start with creating a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers. They are over 1 million immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. most of their lives after being brought here illegally as children. Over 600,000 of them have temporary permission to live in the U.S. under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Former President Barack Obama created that program administratively, and Durbin and others want to protect it by enacting it into law. Durbin, who called Biden's plan “aspirational,” said he'll push for as many other elements as possible, including more visas for agricultural workers and others. “We understand the political reality of a 50-50 Senate, that any changes in immigration will require co-operation between the parties,” said Durbin, who is on track to become Senate Judiciary Committee chairman. He said Senate legislation likely “will not reach the same levels” as Biden’s proposal. The Senate is split evenly between the two parties, with Vice-President Kamala Harris tipping the chamber to Democrats with her tie-breaking vote. Even so, passing major legislation requires 60 votes to overcome filibusters, or endless procedural delays. That means 10 Republicans must join all 50 Democrats to enact an immigration measure, a tall order. “Passing immigration reform through the Senate, particularly, is a herculean task,” said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who will also play a lead role in the battle. He said Democrats “will get it done” but the effort will require negotiation. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who's worked with Democrats on past immigration efforts, said “comprehensive immigration is going to be a tough sale” this year. “I think the space in a 50-50 Senate will be some kind of DACA deal,” he said. Illustrating the bargaining ahead, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate who’s sought earlier immigration compromises, praised parts of Biden's plan but said she wants changes including more visas for the foreign workers her state's tourism industry uses heavily. Democrats' hurdles are formidable. They have razor-thin majorities in a House and Senate where Republican support for easing immigration restrictions is usually scant. Acrid partisan relationships were intensified by former President Donald Trump's clamourous tenure. Biden will have to spend plenty of political capital and time on earlier, higher priority bills battling the pandemic and bolstering the economy, leaving his future clout uncertain. Democrats also must resolve tactical differences. Sharry said immigration groups prefer Democrats push for the strongest possible bill without concessions to Republicans' demands like boosting border security spending. He said hopes for a bipartisan breakthrough are “a fool’s errand” because the GOP has largely opposed immigration overhauls for so long. But prevailing without GOP votes would mean virtual unanimity among congressional Democrats, a huge challenge. It would also mean Democrats would have to eliminate the Senate filibuster, which they may not have the votes to do, or concoct other procedural routes around the 60-vote hurdle. “I'm going to start negotiating" with Republicans, said Durbin. He said a bipartisan bill would be better “if we can do it" because it would improve chances for passage. Democrats already face attacks from Republicans, eyeing next year's elections, on an issue that helped power Trump's 2016 victory by fortifying his support from many white voters. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Biden’s proposal would “prioritize help for illegal immigrants and not our fellow citizens.” Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said the measure would hurt “hard-working Americans and the millions of immigrants working their way through the legal immigration process." Democrats say such allegations are false but say it's difficult to compose crisp, sound-bite responses on the complex issue. It requires having “an adult conversation” with voters, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in an interview. “Yeah, this is about people, but it's about the economy" too, said Spanberger, a moderate from a district where farms and technology firms hire many immigrants. “In central Virginia, we rely on immigration. And you may not like that, but we do." Alan Fram, The Associated Press
Spain's top general resigned on Saturday after allegations he had received the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of priority groups, one of a number of public officials who have sparked public anger because of reports they have jumped the vaccination queue. Defence Minister Margarita Robles had asked General Miguel Angel Villaroya, chief of defence staff, for explanations after media reports on Friday that he had received the vaccination.
Reece Howden is accustomed to leading ski cross competitions but on Saturday employed a different strategy, purposely sitting back before waiting for a break on the way to a second World Cup victory in 33 days. The 22-year-old from Cultus Lake, B.C., settled in the middle of the pack for much of the big finals until the final turn on the full-length course in Idre Fjall, Sweden. "The plan was to not come out in front, the draft was too strong," he told Alpine Canada. "I wanted to chill in the middle of the pack and give my legs a bit of a break and once I made that last turn fire up those engines and get out in front," said Howden, who sits atop the season rankings. "Today was a day of racing, not a day of leading, so I was super happy with my execution and it couldn't have gone any better." WATCH | Reece Howden earns his 3rd World Cup medal: Howden captured silver and the next day gold in late December in Val Thorens, France. He has been able to devote more time to skiing this season after graduating from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in the spring. Howden's teammate, veteran ski cross racer Chris Del Bosco of Montreal, was third in the small finals on Saturday and seventh overall for his best finish since 2018. "It's been a while since I've been back in the small finals," said Del Bosco, who ruptured his Achilles last summer. "It felt really good to get the monkey off my back. I made a few small mistakes in that last round, but I am heading in the right direction." Hoffos, Thompson inside top 10 Ottawa's Jared Schmidt delivered a career-best 29th-place finish while Brady Leman (27th), Kris Mahler (32nd) and Carson Cook (48th) rounded out the Canadian contingent. In the women's event, Tiana Gairns of Prince George, B.C., placed a career-best fifth, followed by Courtney Hoffos (Invermere, B.C.) and Marielle Thompson (Whistler, B.C.) in sixth and eighth, respectively. "Idre is interesting since it's such a long track with such a long straight section that you don't want to pass at the beginning," Gairns said. Added Hoffos: "You almost want to be patient and hold your composure in fourth place so you can boost ahead of everyone at the last second." Zoe Chore (16th) and Hannah Schmidt (17th) were the other Canadian competitors. The men and women return to the Swedish course on Sunday at 6 a.m. ET.
Italy reported 488 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, up from 472 the day before, while the daily tally of new infections fell further to 13,331 from 13,633. Italy has now registered 85,162 deaths linked to COVID-19 since its outbreak came to light last February, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the sixth-highest in the world. The total number of intensive care patients was little changed at 2,386, against 2,390.
A woman who was found dead in an apartment unit near York University on Thursday night has now been identified by Toronto police. Officers say they responded to a medical call at 9:41 p.m. on Thursday near Murray Ross Parkway and Sentinel Road. When they arrived, they said they found a woman suffering from serious injuries. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the homicide unit was called in to take over the investigation. In a release issued Saturday, police identified the victim as 32-year-old Leah St Jean of Toronto. Police also said they have arrested and charged a 26-year-old man from Toronto with second-degree murder. He is set to appear in court on Saturday. Anyone with information is asked to contact Toronto police or CrimeStoppers.
The United States is closely watching the more infectious variant of COVID-19 after British officials warned that it may also be more deadly, two top U.S. health officials said on Saturday, cautioning more data is needed. Officials are somewhat more worried about a separate variant from South Africa, although it has not yet been identified among U.S. cases of the novel coronavirus, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's top COVID-19 medical adviser, also said.
TORONTO — Health officials say a U.K. variant of COVID-19 is behind a deadly outbreak at a long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., north of Toronto. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit says genome sequencing on six COVID-19 samples from Roberta Place Retirement Lodge have been identified as the highly contagious variant. The local health unit announced earlier this week that they had found a variant at the home and were conducting tests to determine what it was. Known variant strains of the virus were first detected in the U.K., South Africa and Brazil. An outbreak at Roberta Place was first declared on Jan. 8. A news release says as of Friday, 124 of 127 residents, and 84 staff were positive for the virus, resulting in 29 deaths. The health unit, in partnership with the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, says it accelerated its immunization program on Friday and vaccinated all eligible residents and staff. Officials say they're also immunizing residents at the other retirement homes throughout Simcoe Muskoka this weekend. As of Jan. 16, eligible residents of all long-term care facilities in Simcoe Muskoka have also received their first dose of immunization against COVID-19. "The rapid spread, high attack rate and the devastating impact on residents and staff at Roberta Place long-term care home has been heartbreaking for all," Charles Gardner, medical officer of health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said in a statement Saturday. "Confirmation of the variant, while expected, does not change our course of action. We remain diligent in doing everything we can to prevent further spread." Ontario reported 2,359 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 52 more deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 708 new cases in Toronto, 422 in Peel Region, and 220 in York Region. She said there were also 107 more cases in Hamilton and 101 in Ottawa. Nearly 63,500 tests have been completed in Ontario over the past 24 hours. The province reported that 11,161 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since the province's last report. A total of 276,146 doses have been administered in Ontario so far. Since the pandemic began, there have been 252,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario. Of those, 222,287 have recovered and 5,753 people have died. Saturday's numbers were down from Friday's figures of 2,662 new cases and 87 more deaths. Meanwhile, the Ontario government has announced it's expanding its "inspection blitz" of big-box stores to ensure they're following COVID-19 guidelines this weekend. The workplace inspections, which started in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas last weekend, will now stretch out to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham regions. Officials want to ensure workers and customers at the essential businesses are properly protected from COVID-19 during the provincewide shutdown. The blitz was developed in consultation with local health units and also includes a variety of other workplaces, including retail establishments and restaurants providing take-out meals. The province's labour ministry says more than 300 offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will conduct the inspections. Corporations can now be fined $1,000, and individuals can be fined $750 or charged for failing to comply with the orders. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province is confident that the majority of workplaces in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham are following orders. "However, if we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action," McNaughton added in a statement Saturday. "The only way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and end the provincewide shutdown is for everyone — owners, customers and staff alike — to follow the proper guidelines." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Residents of British Columbia's south coast are being urged to prepare for a blast of wintry weather this weekend. Environment Canada warns that snow is in the forecast for parts of Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Central Coast. The federal weather agency expects snowfall to begin on Saturday night and continue Sunday morning on Vancouver Island and in the southwest area of Metro Vancouver, including Richmond and Delta. It says two to four centimetres of snow are forecast in Richmond and Delta, while on the island, amounts could range from two centimetres on the coasts to five to 10 centimetres inland. By Sunday afternoon, the snow is expected to become mixed with rain in many areas. Meanwhile periods of snow are anticipated Saturday night through Monday morning in the Fraser Valley, including Chilliwack and Hope, with the potential for significant snowfall Sunday night. Environment Canada warns that wet and slushy snow may make for a messy commute in the valley Monday morning and power outages are also possible if heavy, wet snow accumulates on trees. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — Public health officials in New Brunswick reported 17 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, just hours before the province's Edmundston region was set to enter a 14-day lockdown at midnight. Ten of the new cases are in the Edmundston region in the northwest of the province, while there were five in the Moncton region and one case each in the Campbellton and Saint John regions. There are currently 328 active cases in the province. Five patients are hospitalized, with three in intensive care. There have been 1,104 positive cases and 13 COVID-related deaths in the province since the pandemic began. Health officials say the strict health order of a lockdown is needed to curb a steady rise in daily infections that they fear is about to get out of control. "Our objective with the implementation of the lockdown measures ... is to reduce opportunities for transmission by having people limit their movements to the greatest extent possible," Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said Saturday in a statement. "When we stop moving and interactions, we stop COVID-19," she said. Starting Sunday, non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of the Edmundston area, which borders northern Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. The health order forces the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as schools and public spaces, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. All indoor and outdoor gatherings among people of different households are prohibited. The province says the situation in the region will be evaluated every seven days and that the provincial cabinet may extend the lockdown if required. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
ROME — After a week marked by the highly anticipated arrivals of former Juventus forward Mario Mandžukic and Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori, AC Milan was expected to celebrate winning Serie A's halfway title in style. Instead, the Rossoneri were handed a humbling 3-0 defeat at home by Atalanta on Saturday and saw their lead over city rival Inter Milan trimmed to two points. The only consolation was that Milan still secured the “Winter title” — which seven times out of 10 leads to the actual Italian league championship. Cristian Romero, Josip Ilicic and Duván Zapata scored for Atalanta -- the surprise Champions League quarterfinalist last season. It was Milan’s second defeat of the season but also the second in four matches, having been beaten 3-1 by nine-time defending champion Juventus earlier this month, also at home. Inter drew 0-0 at Udinese under driving rain. Third-place Roma, which trails Milan by six points, gained some relief after a rough spell with a 4-3 win over visiting Spezia. At the San Siro, Atalanta took control midway through the first half with a diving header from Romero. A bloodied Ilicic then converted a penalty shortly after the break after getting elbowed in the face by Franck Kessié. Mandžukic came on in the second half and nearly scored immediately, forcing a save from close range from Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini. But Milan produced little more and Zapata then hit the post before he finished off a counterattack in the 77th to seal it. In Udine, Inter coach Antonio Conte was sent off in added time for protesting. ROMA RELIEF Lorenzo Pellegrini scored the winner for Roma two minutes into stoppage time after former Giallorossi winger Daniele Verde had equalized for Spezia in the 90th. Borja Mayoral scored twice and Rick Karsdorp also found the target for the Giallorossi, who were without captain Edin Džeko due to an apparent feud with coach Paulo Fonseca. Roma was beaten 3-0 by Lazio in last week’s league derby and then lost 4-2 to Spezia in the Italian Cup on Tuesday. On Friday, the Cup defeat result was changed to a 3-0 loss by the league judge due to an impermissible sixth substitution that Roma used. The recent results have led to speculation that Fonseca is at risk of losing his job. Roma players celebrated wildly after Pellegrini’s goal, which was the product of work from Leonardo Spinazzola and Bruno Peres, whose chest pass left a clear look for Pellegrini from close range. Pellegrini then ran over to hug Fonseca “It was an emotional moment,” Fonseca said. “That run and that embrace show that we’re all together. It was a nice team moment.” Still, Fonseca wouldn’t address the issue with Džeko, who watched the match from the tribune. “I don’t want to say anything further,” Fonseca said. “What counts today is what was done today -- the guys obtained a great team victory.” Roberto Piccoli and Diego Farias also scored for Spezia, which is playing in the top division for the first time. Spezia was left four points above the drop zone. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf Andrew Dampf, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says he was once willing to give his former leadership rival Derek Sloan the benefit of the doubt, but no longer. And he dismissed the idea that kicking Sloan out of caucus this week has pitted him against one of the party's most powerful wings, social conservatives, whose support O'Toole courted directly during the leadership race last year in part by backing Sloan at the time. In an interview with The Canadian Press, O'Toole said he didn't believe Sloan meant to be racist last year in his characterization of chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam. That's why he opposed efforts then to kick him out of caucus, O'Toole said. "I always will give a colleague, or anyone in Parliament, in public life, the benefit of the doubt or, you know, listen to them the first time," O'Toole said. "And that was the case early on with Derek, when he said he did not mean to malign the intentions of Dr. Tam." But O'Toole said a "pattern developed" since then, and frustrations mounted that Sloan's extreme social conservative views posed an ever-present danger to the party's goal of forming government. It all appeared to come to a head last week. In the aftermath of riots in the U.S. led by extreme right wing supporters of now-former U.S. president Donald Trump. O'Toole faced pressure from caucus, conservative supporters and his rivals to firmly disavow any elements of extremism in his party's ranks. Last Sunday, O'Toole issued a statement doing just that. The next day, media organization PressProgress reported O'Toole's outrage over Sloan's leadership campaign accepting a donation from a known white nationalist. While O'Toole moved swiftly to start the process of kicking Sloan out — getting 20 per cent of MPs on side as required by law — he insisted the demand was driven by caucus, as evidenced in the majority vote to remove him. "The caucus was ready to make that decision and send a strong message that we are a welcoming party, we respect one another, and we respect Canadians," he said. O'Toole disputed accusations from Sloan and anti-abortion groups that the decision to kick him out had nothing to do with the Ontario MP's previous statements. In recent weeks, Sloan has been pushing to get as many socially conservative delegates as possible registered for the party's policy convention in March. Sloan, as well as the Campaign Life Coalition and RightNow, want enough delegates in their camp so motions they support will pass, including one that would remove the existing policy stating a Conservative government would never regulate abortion. They also want to elect a slate of directors to the party's national council to entrench their strength. Sloan said the decision to kick him out was a kneejerk reaction to what happened in the U.S. But he also contends the move was driven by anger from his fellow MP's unhappy to se him actively courting money and support in their ridings. He's pledged to name them so social conservatives know who is trying to silence their voices, he said. "They think they are little petty princes ruling these fiefdoms and no one else can have a say," Sloan said. O'Toole rejected the idea that Sloan's efforts amount to an attempt to take over the party, and O'Toole's own move was a bid to stop it. "There is no such effort to the extent that Mr. Sloan is suggesting," he said. Sloan had little national profile when he entered the Conservative leadership race just a few months after becoming an MP. But early on, he garnered attention for suggesting he wasn't certain of the scientific basis for a person being LGBTQ. From there, he quickly became well known for his often extreme social conservative views. His comments about Tam, in which he suggested her loyalty lay with China rather than Canada, sparked outrage and took criticism against him to the next level. Last spring, in discussing the Liberal government's pandemic response and Tam's use of suspect World Health Organization data from China, Sloan provocatively asked whether Tam was working for Canada or China. Tam was born in Hong Kong. Questioning someone's loyalty is considered a racist trope. Sloan denied he was being racist. Still, a number of Ontario MPs — some who were supporters of leadership contender and longtime Conservative Peter MacKay — began an effort to have him removed from caucus. O'Toole shut it down, for reasons he wouldn't divulge then, but to observers, it smacked of politics. MacKay was running a progressive campaign. O'Toole's was aimed at the more centre right, while Sloan and Leslyn Lewis were targeting the socially conservative right. With Sloan gone, his backers would have more likely gone to Lewis, splitting the vote on the right between her and O'Toole, giving MacKay a path to victory. Except O'Toole backed Sloan, and would later take out social media ads hyping his decision. It was one of several steps he took to directly court Sloan's supporters, and when it came to voting time, they would ultimately help put O'Toole over the top to beat MacKay. The way the race played out has led to questions for O'Toole ever since about how he'd balance the demands of the social conservative wing of the party with his stated intent to broaden its overall appeal. O'Toole said he's aware people have "trust issues" with his party, suggesting social media contributes to the issue and noting he must break that online bubble if he hopes to see his party win. "The Prime Minister has to try and bring the country together: the diversity of its people, its geography, its industries, and the points of view and backgrounds of everyone," he said of the office he hopes to hold. "No one ever said it's easy." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
A concrete manufacturing facility in Surrey has been destroyed by a massive overnight fire. Surrey firefighters responded to the call just before 4 a.m. Saturday, and arrived on the scene at 192 Street and 54th Avenue to find a 20,000 square foot building engulfed in flames. The fire had also spread to several buildings nearby. Steve Serbic, assistant chief of operations for the Surrey Fire Service, said 36 firefighters and 15 fire trucks responded, and were forced to fight the fire from the outside, because of the explosive nature of the flames. "The fire consumed the whole building and the crews went into a defensive attack," said Serbic. Serbic said there were large propane tanks just outside the building, which the crews protected to avoid an explosion. "The challenging part of this fire was the gas, there were large propane tanks and natural gas that took some time to get shut off so the crews were battling some gas fires," he said. Serbic said there were no employees on the scene when the fire broke out, and the cause of the fire is under investigation. "It was a very cold night. There was lots of ice, lots of water, lots of aerials went up and the crews did a really good job," he said. "There were no injuries, so it was a productive outcome considering what they arrived to." Crews remained on the scene into Saturday morning, and excavators will go through the collapsed building to ensure hotspots are completely put out.
Many Canadians spent a lot of time working from their homes in 2020. In response, and to provide Canadians some tax relief, the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) tweaked their rules on how employees can claim home office expenses on their 2020 personal tax returns. If employees spent more than 50 per cent of their time over four consecutive weeks working from home, they are eligible to make home office expense deductions. There are two methods to claim these expenses. The simplified, or flat fee method, allows for a $2 per day deduction up to a maximum of $400. This method is straight forward and involves little in the way of effort or documentation. The other option is more onerous as it requires some research, calculations and all the receipts to justify the deductions. However, the tax savings are potentially much higher as the deduction amount is not capped. The longer a person worked from home in 2020, the stronger the argument is for using the more detailed method in determining expenses. Eligible expenses Your first stop should be the CRA website. They provide a list of eligible expenses as well as a useful calculator to help with the computations. Some common eligible expenses are electricity, heat, water, Internet service, cellphone minutes, minor home repairs, rent and office supplies such as paper, ink and pens. It is important to note that the expenses must be prorated based on their business use. For example, if you pay $100 for Internet a month but only used 30 per cent for businesses purposes, then your Internet deduction would be $30 for each month that you worked from home. Many people are tempted to write off the full amount but this is not correct and may flag you for an audit by CRA. For homeowners, mortgage interest cannot be claimed. However, those who worked on commission can deduct their home insurance and property taxes. Renters can claim their rent, but only the square footage which is dedicated to their workspace. For example, if rent is $2,000 a month and the home office or workspace took up 25 per cent of home, then 25 per cent or $500 of the rent would be eligible as an expense. Supply expenses is an interesting category as they are often fully deductible. They also are not limited to office supplies. An accountant mentioned to me that even personal protection equipment such as face masks, if bought and used by an employee to conduct business, are eligible. T2200 form If you opt for the detailed method of determining expenses, you will need a T2200 form from your employer. From your employer's perspective, there is an extra cost to provide this and it takes time to prepare the form. Be sure to request this form from your employer with plenty of advance warning, or risk not receiving your T2200 before the tax filing deadline. Another thing to remember is not to double dip. You can only deduct at-home expenses that were paid for out of your own pocket. If your company already pays for your Internet, cellphone, etc., the company is writing off these business expenses which means you don't get to. Unless you paid for it yourself do not write it off. This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.
There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador on Saturday. The province now has five active cases, with one person in hospital, as the Department of Health reported two more recoveries in Saturday's update. The health department did not say which region of the province the recoveries came from. This means 386 people have recovered from the virus in the province since the pandemic began in March. In total, 77,725 people have been tested as of Saturday. That's an increase of 259 in the last day. Further daily updates will continue to come via media releases sent by the Department of Health. The exception is on Wednesdays, when Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald will provide live updates on her own, until at least the end of the province's general election on Feb. 13. Around the rest of Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported no new cases, while New Brunswick reported 17 on Saturday. There has been no update on Prince Edward Island as of 3 p.m. NT, but the province continues to have seven active cases. Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Du 25 au 29 janvier, le tout premier Forum national de l’action climatique réunira plus de 500 décideurs et professionnels lors de conférences et tables rondes. Ils présenteront des projets concrets mis en place dans toutes les régions du Québec pour réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre et accroître la résilience des communautés face aux changements climatiques. Parmi les personnes qui prendront la parole, on retrouvera beaucoup de représentants des régions. « La formule virtuelle nous permet d’avoir des intervenants des quatre coins du Québec, ce qu’on aurait peut-être moins été en mesure de faire si on avait fait un événement national dans une grande ville », explique Martin Vaillancourt, directeur général du Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement du Québec (RNCREQ) qui organise l’événement. « C’est probablement le seul avantage du format virtuel! » L’Est-du-Québec viendra parler de transport collectif, un défi dans les régions peu denses. On pourra ainsi savoir grâce à Patrick Morin (CRE du Bas-Saint-Laurent) où en est le projet de mise en place d’un réseau au Bas-Saint-Laurent, tandis qu’Élyse Tremblay (CRE Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine) et Marie-Andrée Pichette (Régie intermunicipale de transport) expliqueront comment sont gérés et financés les réseaux gaspésiens et madelinots. Montrer les forces de chacun Tant les villes que les zones rurales ont leur rôle à jouer dans la lutte aux changements climatiques, mais leurs réalités sont différentes. « Souvent, les régions ont des ressources naturelles qui pourraient être mises à profit, par exemple en utilisant de la biomasse forestière pour remplacer des combustibles fossiles, illustre M. Vaillancourt. Il est également plus simple de protéger des espaces naturels dans des endroits où la pression urbaine est moins grande. » Le Plan pour une économie verte (PEV), adopté par le gouvernement Legault en novembre dernier, sera largement évoqué : la première demi-journée de discussion, lundi matin, lui sera consacrée. Plusieurs organisations écologistes ont critiqué ce plan à sa sortie, le jugeant pas assez contraignant. « C’est sûr que des tables rondes vont s’intéresser aux qualités et aux limites du PEV. Au RNCREQ, on a une approche pragmatique : on va l’utiliser comme il se présente », déclare Martin Vaillancourt, tout en précisant que « nos panélistes se rendent bien compte que la solution de remplacer tous les véhicules du Québec par des voitures électriques, c’est bancal… » Outiller le monde municipal Ce forum s’adresse principalement aux « leaders du climat » qui mènent déjà des projets à l’échelle municipale ou régionale et s’intéressent à ce qui se fait ailleurs. Mais les « leaders potentiels » qui veulent passer à l’action et cherchent à savoir comment financer des projets sont également les bienvenus. Il en est de même des citoyens engagés puisque ce sont eux qui, la plupart du temps, sensibilisent leurs élus et en font des leaders potentiels. Au fil des jours, on parlera électrification, mobilité durable, infrastructures vertes et aménagement durable du territoire. Les représentants du monde municipal seront ainsi outillés pour appréhender le défi des changements climatiques et réfléchir à des solutions à mettre en œuvre localement. Abordera-t-on des propositions disruptives comme la décroissance, dont on parle de plus en plus? « Ça fait son chemin », assure le directeur général du RNCREQ, tout en rappelant que « ce n’est pas encore le courant principal ». La réflexion sur la décarbonisation de l’économie implique « des enjeux de croissance et de modèle actuel », note-t-il toutefois. Les personnes intéressées peuvent s’inscrire sur le site du RNCREQ, ce qui leur donnera automatiquement accès aux cinq demi-journées du Forum de l’action climatique. À la fin de chaque matinée, il sera possible d’aller faire un brin de jasette avec les différents conférenciers et panélistes dans des salles virtuelles créées à cet effet.Rémy Bourdillon, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Mouton Noir
Exactly a year ago, Wuhan shocked the world by confining its 11 million inhabitants to their homes, beginning a 76-day lockdown. View on euronews
WASHINGTON — When Joe Biden took the oath of office as the 46th president, he became not only the oldest newly inaugurated U.S. chief executive in history but also the oldest sitting president ever. Biden was born Nov. 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was 78 years, two months and one day old when he was sworn in on Wednesday. That’s 78 days older than President Ronald Reagan was when he left office in 1989. A look at how the country Biden now leads has changed over his lifetime and how his presidency might reflect that. BIGGER, MORE DIVERSE PIE The U.S. population is approaching 330 million people, dwarfing the 135 million at Biden's birth and nearly 60% greater than when he was first elected to the Senate in 1972. The world population in Biden’s lifetime has grown from about 2.3 billion to 7.8 billion. More striking is the diversity in Biden’s America. The descendant of Irish immigrants, Biden was born during a period of relative stagnant immigration after U.S. limitations on new entries in the 1920s, followed by a worldwide depression in the 1930s. But a wave of white European immigration followed World War II, when Biden was young, and more recently an influx of Hispanic and nonwhite immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa has altered the melting pot again. In 1950, the first census after Biden’s birth counted the country as 89% white. Heading into 2020, the country was 60% non-Hispanic white and 76% white, including Hispanic whites. So, it’s no surprise that a politician who joined an all-male, nearly all-white Senate as a 30-year-old used his inaugural address 48 years later to promise a reckoning on racial justice and, later that afternoon, signed several immigrant-friendly executive orders. BIDEN, HARRIS AND HISTORY Biden took special note of Vice-President Kamala Harris as the first woman elected to national office, and the first Black woman and south Asian woman to reach the vice presidency. “Don’t tell me things can’t change,” he said of Harris, who was a student in the still-mostly segregated Oakland public elementary school when Biden became a senator. The first time Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, there will be two women behind a president, another first: Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. But change comes slowly. Harris was just the second Black woman ever to serve in the Senate. When she resigned Monday, the Senate was left with none -- and just three Black men out of 100 seats. Black Americans account for about 13% of the population. MONEY MATTERS Minimum wage in 1942 was 30 cents an hour. Median income for men according to the 1940 census, the last before Biden's birth, was $956. Today, the minimum wage is $7.25. The federal government's most recent weekly wage statistics reflect a median annual income of about $51,100 for full-time workers. But the question is buying power, and that varies. The month Biden was born, a dozen eggs averaged about 60 cents in U.S. cities -- two hours of minimum wage work. A loaf of bread was 9 cents, about 20 minutes of work. Today, eggs can go for about $1.50 (12 minutes of minimum-wage work); a loaf of bread averages $2 (16 minutes). College tuition is another story. Pre-war tuition at Harvard Business School was about $600 a year -- roughly two-thirds of the median American worker’s yearly wages. Today, the current Harvard MBA class is charged annual tuition of more than $73,000, or a year and almost five months of the median U.S. salary (and that’s before taxes). Biden proposes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour -- a move already drawing opposition from Republicans. He’s called for tuition-free two-year community and technical college and tuition waivers for four-year public schools (so, not Harvard) for students from households with $125,000 or less in annual income. DEBT National debt has soared in Biden’s lifetime, from $72 billion to $27 trillion. But it’s a recent phenomenon. Biden finished 36 years in the Senate and became vice-president amid the fallout from the 2008 financial crash, when the debt was about $10 trillion. Now he takes office amid another economic calamity: the coronavirus pandemic. To some degree, this is a biographical bookend for Biden. He was born when borrowing to finance the war effort generated budget deficits that, when measured as percentage of the overall economy, were the largest in U.S. history until 2020, when emergency COVID spending, the 2017 tax cuts and loss of revenue from a lagging economy added trillions of debt in a single year. Reflecting how President Franklin Roosevelt approached the Great Depression and World War II, Biden is nonetheless calling for an additional $1.9 trillion in immediate deficit spending to prevent a long-term economic slide. AUTOMOBILES As part of his proposed overhaul of the energy grid, Biden wants to install 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations by 2030, a move analysts project could spur the sale of 25 million electric vehicles. For context, federal statistics counted 33 million cars in the U.S. altogether in 1948, as Biden began grammar school. A FIRST FOR THE SILENT GENERATION Biden is part of the Silent Generation, so named because it falls between the “Greatest Generation” that endured the Depression and won World War II, and their children, the Baby Boomers, who made their mark through the sweeping social and economic changes of the civil rights era, Vietnam and the Cold War. True to the stereotypes, Biden’s generation looked for decades as if it would never see one of its own in the Oval Office. The Greatest Generation produced John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Then Boomers took over. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump were born in a span of 67 days in 1946, the first of the Boomer years. Barack Obama, born in 1961, bookended their generation as a young Boomer. If his inaugural address is any indication, Biden seems eager to embrace the characteristics of his flanking generations. He ticked through the “cascading crises” -- a pandemic and economic fallout reminiscent of the Depression and subsequent war effort, a reckoning on race that’s an extension of the civil rights era -- and summoned the nation “to the tasks of our time.” PLENTY OF FIRST-HAND LEARNING Biden lived through 14 presidencies before beginning his own, nearly one-third of all presidents. No previous White House occupant had lived through so many administrations before taking office. Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
Houses of worship in Quebec are now allowed to reopen, but with strict limits on the number of people that can show up. Two weeks into the province's latest round of restrictions, which include an overnight curfew, the government has changed course. It's now possible for a place of worship to host a maximum of 10 people for religious gatherings. All places of worship were ordered to close earlier this month, except for funeral ceremonies. The changes come by way of a government decree published on Thursday, and provide exceptions to public health rules put into place Jan. 9, which ban all gatherings — indoors and outdoors — across Quebec. "By limiting the number to 10 people, it allows people to continue practicing their religious rites in a secure space, because with 10 people, social distancing can easily be respected," said a spokesperson with the province's Health Ministry. The rules may have been softened, but religious community leaders are expected to show "exemplary rigour" and encourage their members to respect physical standing rules, wear masks, wash their hands when entering and exiting the building, and refrain from singing, the spokesperson said. A registry of the people who attend ceremonies will also be mandatory, in order to help trace them in the event of an outbreak. The decree maintains the maximum size of gatherings for funerals at 25 people. "Places of worship cannot serve as a refuge," the Health Ministry spokesperson said. "However, if a person needs to get in touch with a representative of a place of worship to find support or comfort, it will be allowed to do so inside the place of worship, outside of the usual ceremonies."
Dutch police have arrested the alleged leader of a large Asian drug syndicate who is listed as one of the world's most-wanted fugitives and has been compared to Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian national, was detained on Friday at the request of Australian police, who led an investigation that found his organisation dominates the $70 billion-a-year Asia-Pacific drug trade, Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said on Saturday. Tse is expected to be extradited after appearing before a judge, Aling said, adding that his arrest by national police took place without incident at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
A second active case of COVID-19 has been reported in Arviat, Nunavut. The person is asymptomatic and doing well, according to a Saturday news release from Nunavut's Department of Health. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Arviat since Dec. 28 was reported on Friday. "The Department of Health is actively monitoring the situation in Arviat," Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said in the release. He said there is no evidence right now of community transmission and that the risk of the virus spreading is lower than in November, when there was a major outbreak in the community. "Ongoing surveillance and the current public health measures in place in the community serve to further reduce these risks," Patterson said. The health department said 30 tests have been completed in the past couple of days and there have been no other positive results. More tests will be done over the next 24 hours. The Nunavut government is urging Arviammiut to continue following public health restrictions. Those restrictions include wearing a mask in public places, physical distancing, limiting gatherings to 10 people plus households indoors and 50 people outdoors, washing hands frequently, and staying home if you feel unwell. The government said anyone who believes they've been exposed to COVID-19 is advised to call the COVID hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or notify their community health centre, and immediately isolate for 14 days. It's reminding people not to go to the health centre in person. Arviat has had a total of 223 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, while Nunavut as a whole has had 267 cases. On Saturday, the Nunavut government said its previous case count was off by one, as "a previous positive case was inadvertently counted twice."