A dashcam video shows a Kansas sheriff's deputy in a patrol truck mowing down a Black man. Lionel Womack, filed an excessive force lawsuit Thursday that alleges he sustained serious injuries when the deputy intentionally drove over him. (Dec. 17)
A dashcam video shows a Kansas sheriff's deputy in a patrol truck mowing down a Black man. Lionel Womack, filed an excessive force lawsuit Thursday that alleges he sustained serious injuries when the deputy intentionally drove over him. (Dec. 17)
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
Municipal leaders who sit on the Grey Bruce health board expressed their frustration with the lack of vaccine at Friday’s meeting. Medical officer of Health Dr. Arra said that we have been “the victim of our own success” in keeping COVID numbers down, because high-risk areas have been the main priority. He said a plan for using three mass vaccination hubs has been submitted. “If we don’t get a response about piloting this hub and getting enough vaccine for high-risk task force, I plan to turn to advocacy,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a matter of advocacy… but it seems there is disparity in the distribution to some degree,” he said. Brian Milne, Southgate deputy-mayor, said that it is frustrating that Grey-Bruce had received only 200 doses at that time, and many frontline staff members were left waiting to be inoculated, while in other areas the cafeteria staff at facilities had received the vaccine. Dr. Arra said he heard the frustration and shared the concern. But he added that there is a fine line that needs to be walked, so that public health is to be seen to be working with the province, at the same time as advocating for the local area. It’s important that the public perceives that there is a united approach, Dr. Arra said. And it’s not a matter of if the vaccines come, it’s when, he said. “And we will be ready whenever that happens.” On Monday, Public Health informed the public that it had received 600 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and expected delivery of another 700 doses of the vaccine next week, which will be enough to complete first dose vaccine coverage for all long-term care residents in Grey Bruce. The latest international news is that shipments that were expected are not confirmed, and that has affected many areas in the province. Health board members were happier about the return to school on Monday for Grey-Bruce students. Many parents will be relieved from the burden of making home learning work, but others are still cautions, said Selwyn Hicks, deputy-mayor of Hanover. He said that the health unit had done a good job of communication, explaining that the data shows that transmission is not taking place in schools. Members praised the outreach and media releases. Dr. Arra said that when he meets weekly with the mayors, he learns about issues in the community quickly and the health unit can address them. A standing item on the Board of Health agenda is the opioid crises, and Dr. Arra reported that there have been more than 10 overdoses in the last two weeks in Grey-Bruce – “not deaths, thankfully, overdoses.” Anecdotally, there were 13 deaths in Grey-Bruce in 2020 from opioids, zero from COVID. It’s a difficult crisis to address, Dr. Arra commented, with many complex issues, social, technical, ethical. When the pandemic ends, he said that the health unit, with credibility gained during COVID, will have an opportunity to address opioid like never before. Other partners are doing good work right now, he said, and the pandemic is the public health priority. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Harvesting seaweed on the B.C. coast has been the on-and-off-again dream of back-to-landers intent on subsisting on nature's bounty since the '60s and '70s. But next to none have really ever been able to make a go of it long term, says Louis Druehl. And he would know. Druehl started the first commercial kelp farm in North America and now produces seed and advice for an ever-growing number of cultivators and conservationists. In his mid-80s, the retired professor and marine biologist has been researching and growing kelp for close to four decades in the waters near Bamfield on Vancouver Island’s wild west coast. “We’ve been farming seaweed, one way or the other, since about 1982,” Druehl said. “And we’ve always sputtered along. And I mean sputter, we didn’t (even) putter along.” But recently seaweed has become “a really big deal,” Druehl said. “I’d like to say it’s because of me, but I don’t know that’s true,” he said, laughing. Investment and interest in farming seaweed on the B.C. coast, as well as in North America and Europe, is reaching a fever pitch. Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos recently earmarked a portion of $100 million awarded to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to curb climate change by developing new markets for cultivated seaweed. The economic potential of an expanded seaweed market in Europe could tally €9 billion in just a decade, all while creating more than 100,000 jobs and delivering both environmental and health benefits, according to a recent report by the Seaweed for Europe Coalition. Many science, industry and investment stakeholders support seaweed aquaculture as a potential means to grow a sustainable super food that benefits the economy and environment. B.C.’s Cascadia Seaweed, established in 2019, is aiming to become North America’s largest seaweed provider and believes cultivating ocean algae is the ticket to a triple bottom line, said the company’s chair, Bill Collins. Seaweed is a sustainable, plant-based nutritional food that gets its nutrients from surrounding waters while potentially capturing carbon and contributing to ocean regeneration, he said. “When we looked into it, the opportunity was tremendous. And we asked ourselves, 'Why hasn't it happened before?'” Collins said. Rising concern around impacts of climate change and the corresponding interest in plant-based foods means North American consumers are ready to consider seaweed as a fresh or dried whole food item — whether it be in salads, soups, dried snacks, as a vegetable dish or mixed into bread or plant-based burgers, he said. The time is ripe to shift seaweed aquaculture from a small, cottage-based industry to a large commercial scale for a number of reasons, Collins said, adding Cascadia’s seaweed food products should be on the shelves by summer 2021. But to shift the North American palette to a food item long eaten in Asia and by First Nations — and make seaweed products available beyond the confines of specialty health food stores — growers must produce enough to consistently supply food chain companies and grocery market selves, he added. Typically, intensive, industrial agriculture can have detrimental environmental impacts, Collins said, but unlike land crops, seaweed requires no water, feed or fertilizer inputs. “We have to pay way more attention to our climate and our planet as we create food,” Collins said, adding the company is currently growing sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) and winged kelp (Alaria marginata), similar to the Japanese-grown wakame seaweed. Cascadia will also produce seaweed for the large food ingredients market, which typically uses powders and extracts in bakery or dairy products, salad dressings or alcohol production. But the company is also doing research on B.C. seaweeds as potential sources of cattle feed and bioplastics, he said. The company has teamed with coastal First Nations communities interested in seaweed cultivation as a sustainable means for economic development, Collins said. Cascadia has partnered with Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood on the west coast of Vancouver Island and the Klahoose First Nation on Cortes Island, located in the inner passage along B.C.’s mainland. The company and its partners expect to harvest at least 100 tonnes of kelp out of the waters this April, with 20 per cent from the two farms near Cortes and the remainder from the waters near Bamfield following a six-month winter growing season, Collins said. However, the biggest obstacle hindering the expansion of seaweed aquaculture is the length of time it takes to secure licences from the federal and provincial governments and agencies, Collins said. “The biggest single threat to the business is not being able to grow fast enough,” he said. “The government has told us they want to improve and they have, but we need a wholesale commitment from government if we’re going to expand at the rate that we need to service the market.” B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham was unavailable to clarify how or if the province was working to foster seaweed farming, or if the province had any reservations about growing the industry. Part of the overall problem is there aren’t enough resources dedicated to processing aquaculture tenure requests, which typically evaluate the impacts of raising animals in the ocean, Collins added. “The process is adapted for animals, which you have to be way more cautious with,” he said. Additionally, most of the policy framework from the province focuses on the wild harvest of seaweed rather than cultivation, Collins added. Tenure licences for aquaculture operations are processed by the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO). Before issuing licences, regulators evaluate the locations to ensure they don’t conflict with other land uses such as parks or natural reserves. First Nations are consulted and public comments are considered to establish whether the tenure is the “highest and best use of the land,” the ministry said in an email. Tenure holders must also submit a management plan indicating what infrastructure is on site and how and what species will be cultivated and harvested, along with estimated production yields. Druehl said given kelp operations have relatively low impacts to the marine ecosystem, in his experience, most resistance to seaweed farm operations comes from recreational boaters, fishermen and kayakers. “We have a bit of joke,” he said. “We actually have two crops. One is the kelp, and the second one is fishing lures.” Some other potential impacts to consider might be negative interactions with marine mammals or really dense seaweed operations robbing nutrients from the surrounding waters, Collins said. Cascadia minimizes the amount of equipment it deploys in the water and would work to avoid areas that might endanger wildlife, Collins said. And given the vast amount of coastline in B.C., no operation is likely to pull enough nutrients from flowing waters to endanger other marine life, he added. “We want to do this in harmony with the environment,” Collins said. “So as our industry improves and grows so, too, will our efforts to ensure that we identify the risks and accommodate them.” Rochelle Baker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Cette initiative est lancée par les agents de découvrabilité territoriale (ADT) qui sont en poste depuis l’automne dernier. Les ADT, qui sont présents dans différentes régions comme l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, le Nord-du-Québec et le Nord-Est de l’Ontario, ont pour mission d’améliorer la visibilité et la quantité de l’information sur nos territoires qui se retrouvent sur la plateforme Wikipédia. Au départ, les ADT ont dû se familiariser avec le site Wikipédia pour ensuite répertorier tout ce qui s’y trouvait et ayant rapport aux régions concernées avant de débuter le travail de terrain. « Il a fallu effectuer un travail de terrain pour débroussailler ce qui se trouvait déjà sur Wiki. Pour ensuite modifier quelques informations, améliorer quelques pages. Il faut aussi créer du nouveau matériel », de nous mentionner Émélie Rivard-Boudreau, ADT Qu’est-ce qu’un Wiki club? Un Wiki club, c’est un regroupement de passionnés où chacun contribue, selon ses forces et compétences, à mettre en lumière différents aspects de son territoire dans la grande encyclopédie libre Wikipédia. Plusieurs manières de participer ont déjà été identifiées, soit à titre de rédacteur, de photographe amateur, de sourceur. La combinaison de ces formes variées de contribution permet ultimement de rehausser la représentativité des territoires de chacun sur Wikipédia. « L’un des objectifs visés est de recruter des ambassadeurs ou wikipédiens dans chaque territoire compris dans le Croissant boréal, c’est-à-dire l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, le Nord-Est ontarien francophone et la Baie-James », a précisé Edma-Annie Wheelhouse, agente de développement culturel numérique au Conseil de la culture de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue. « Nous partageons déjà de nombreux points communs en matière de territoire, d’économie, d’identité et de culture. En nous unissant, nous augmentons notre pouvoir d’attraction et favorisons notre déploiement à l’échelle nationale et internationale de la francophonie.» Pourquoi Wikipédia ? C’est parce qu’il n’y pas de limite avec Wikipédia. On peut y entrer des textes, bien sûr, mais aussi des photos, des graphiques, des diagrammes, des vidéos et chacun peut ajouter son grain de sel, peu importe quand il le fait. « Si on prend une personnalité X du Nord-du-Québec, il se peut qu’aujourd’hui nous n’ayons pas assez de matériel pour faire un article complet sur cette personnalité. Mais pourquoi ne pas commencer tout de suite? On peut créer sa page et mettre sa date de naissance. » C’est l’exemple que nous a donné Émélie Rivard-Boudreau. « L’initiative est de faire rayonner des gens de chez nous. Par exemple, au début du projet, il y a une page qui a été créée sur Godefroy de Billy qui a été un maire important de la ville de Chibougamau dans les années 1970. L’artiste peintre, Stéphanie Thompson de Matagami, a vu sa page créée », de renchérir Frédérique Brais-Chaput, ADT pour le Nord-du-Québec.» « Présentement, je travaille sur les pages des radios », de nous mentionner l’ADT du Nord-du-Québec. Il n’y avait pas de pages ou simplement des ébauches incomplètes et en anglais. C’est une vitrine importante pour eux. Un autre exemple, la page de Romeo Saganash est incomplète, selon Mme Brais-Chaput. C’est lui aussi un personnage important. Il faut que l’information que l’on y retrouve soit complète et exacte. » Selon les responsables du projet : « Ce n’est pas normal que les principales entreprises de la région soient absentes de la plateforme Wikipédia. » Au dire de Mme Brais-Chaput, les entreprises comme Chantiers-Chibougamau, Barrette-Chapais, Chapais Énergie et tout récemment, les Serres bleues, sont absentes. Elles se doivent d’être présentes pour que le monde puisse les découvrir. Ouvert à tous Le recrutement de personnes de chaque territoire intéressées à joindre les rangs du Wiki club Croissant boréal est déjà amorcé. « Les passionnés de la langue française, de l’histoire, de la politique, de l’actualité, de la culture, du sport ou des technologies peuvent tous trouver de l’intérêt à contribuer à Wikipédia », a-t-elle constaté. En consultant la page Wikipédia du projet « Croissant boréal », les nouveaux contributeurs pourront rapidement repérer comment ils peuvent y exploiter leurs intérêts et leurs forces. »René Martel, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
A prospective COVID-19 vaccine touted as a made-in-Canada response has begun human clinical trials in Toronto, and the company says it's already preparing a follow-up that will target more infectious variants. Providence Therapeutics of Calgary says if all goes well, it could start manufacturing millions of doses of its first prospective vaccine by the end of the year, guaranteeing a Canadian stockpile that wouldn't be subject to global supply pressures or competition. That's if the formulation proves safe and effective, of course. Among the challenges of developing a vaccine amid a raging pandemic is the uncertainty of how more infectious variants now emerging will complicate the COVID battle. Even if successful, by the time Providence Therapeutics releases its vaccine hopeful much of the country could be in the throes of a more infectious virus that does not respond to this formulation, allowed company CEO Brad Sorenson. "We don't believe that this is going to be resolved by a single vaccine," said Sorenson, whose biotech also produces a personalized mRNA-based vaccine against cancer. It's a challenge now facing Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have each said its products appear to respond well to the variant initially identified in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser degree, the variant first detected in South Africa. Moderna said earlier this week it plans to test two booster vaccines aimed at the variant associated with South Africa. Sorenson said Providence is already internally testing a vaccine candidate that targets the variants, and he hoped to begin clinical trials by the end of the year. "We believe that there's going to be a need to be in a position of readiness to be able to respond as these variants are coming up, and to be able to make sure that we have that capacity." That doesn't mean Providence is changing production runs just yet. Sorenson said the immediate focus is to establish the safety and efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed PTX-COVID19-B and designed in the early days of the pandemic last March. It uses messenger RNA technology and focuses on the spike protein located on the surface of a coronavirus that initiates infection, similar to the Pfizer and Moderna products. The trial involves 60 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 25 who will be monitored for 13 months, with the first results expected in February. The subjects are divided into four groups of 15, three of which will get three different doses. The fourth group gets a placebo. Sorenson said immediate pandemic efforts should be focused on the novel coronavirus currently devastating many parts of the country. "It's a matter of capacity. Right now these variants are there, they're concerning, and we're keeping a close eye on it, but that's not predominantly what the needs of the population are," said Sorenson. "Right now the needs of the population are still tied to the primary spike protein virus that's out there and is ravaging around the world." Sorenson said his next vaccine candidate takes a broader approach by attempting to elicit a T-cell response, thereby creating a longer-term vaccine "and cover what we believe would be a lot more variants." "We have to prove it out but we believe that if we are successful that it will allow for a much more durable immunity and a much broader immunity." The other goal is to prepare for large-scale manufacturing in Calgary, if all goes well with the trials and approval process. Sorenson said doses for the Phase 1 trial are being made in Toronto but the plan is to commercially manufacture the completed vaccine through a contract with the Calgary-based Northern RNA Inc. That won't be up and running by the end of the year, Sorenson allowed, so the short-term plan is to send raw materials made in Canada to a plant in the United States that would make the commercial product. Eventually, the whole process would be completed in Canada, he said. "We're building the entire chain within Canada so we're not going to run into a problem where this particular input into the vaccine is unavailable," he said. Much of this also depends on financial support from the federal government, Sorenson added. While the National Research Council of Canada has backed Phase 1 trials, Sorenson said he's awaiting word on further support. He'd also like Ottawa to back Providence's efforts to address the new COVID variants. "They've already recognized the importance of mRNA technology. What they don't realize is the power of mRNA technology to be responsive to these challenges that are coming up," he said. "Hopefully the politicians and the people that cut the cheques and write the policies that give direction to the bureaucrats will hear that and we'll start seeing a more concerted approach that looks at a fuller picture." Pending regulatory approval, Sorenson said a larger, international Phase 2 trial may start in May with seniors, younger subjects and pregnant people, followed by an even broader Phase 3 trial. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
Midhurst residents did not attend a public meeting to show their displeasure at a new development on Old Second South, Monday (Jan. 25). Springwater council hosted a public meeting to discuss the engineering specifics of the proposed five lots, which will see single-dwelling homes developed by First Elm Holding Inc. They will be located minutes north of Midhurst, backing onto environmentally-protected land. There were no residents to query the requested zone change from A for agricultural to RIXX zoning for the small residential builds. “No commentors care to make deputations,” Clerk Renee Ainsworth told councillors midway through the 40-minute meeting. After spending almost 12 years fighting the township against more subdivisions near their small village 10 minutes north of Barrie, the Midhurst Ratepayers Association was not present and the virtual meeting was only attended by council and township staff. Coun. Jack Hanna queried the placement of septic beds on the five proposed properties that would lie on the west end of 43 hectares adjacent to the Old Second South. “Water courses are fairly well removed,” said Brian Goodreid of Goodreid Planning Group, which is responsible for the engineering report presented to council. Hanna also questioned the regulations of a maximum of 15 persons per the five lots allotted to, but Brent Spagnol, director of planning services, allayed those concerns. “There are no people police monitoring to ensure we only have three persons per home. There’s no limitations on the number of people per home,” Spagnol said, noting the single-dwelling detached homes meet the provincial settlement population allotment requirements. Further input from the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority is expected. The application was reviewed and returned to staff for further investigation. Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
The first fully battery-electric bus line in Metro Vancouver will be up and running in 2022, according to TransLink, thanks to a $16 million investment from Canada's gas tax fund. In a joint announcement, the federal government and TransLink said the money will be used to purchase 15 battery-electric buses from Canadian manufacturer Nova Bus. the vehicles will run on the No. 100 route through New Westminster, Burnaby and Vancouver. Outgoing TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said the acquisition of the buses will more than quadruple the company's current fleet of four battery-electric buses. "Our plan is to continue to replace diesel buses being retried… with all zero-emission battery-electric buses," he said. Each zero-emission bus is expected to save 100 tonnes of greenhouse gases and $40,000 in annual fuel costs compared to a conventional diesel bus. Martin LaRose, general manager of Nova Bus, said the vehicles being sold to TransLink will have a battery range of around 350 to 450 kilometres. The buses can be charged in approximately five minutes at charging stations while picking up passengers. Nova Bus is based in St. Eustache, Que., and is a division of Swedish-owned Volvo Buses. Almost a third of all greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, said Desmond.
MONTREAL — Quebec plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions in some regions as of Feb. 8 if the situation in the province continues to improve, Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday. Legault said the average number of new cases in the province has declined in recent weeks — something he credits to government measures that include a nighttime curfew. The premier said he would announce more details next week, but he said the Montreal region was likely to be kept under a higher tier of restrictions than other areas of the province. The government has introduced a series of measures aimed at curbing COVID-19 in recent weeks, including closing non-essential businesses, requiring those who can to work from home and imposing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The curfew was originally set to expire Feb. 8, but Legault implied that Quebec's biggest city should be prepared to endure strict measures for longer. "Everyone sees the situation is much different in greater Montreal than what we're living in the rest of Quebec," Legault said at a news conference. In the last few weeks, the average number of new cases in the province has gone down, from an average of about 2,500 a day to about 1,500, Legault said. But he said hospitalizations are still too high, especially in Montreal. Currently, there are more than 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the city, and more than half of surgeries are delayed, he said. Health Minister Christian Dube said the decision for each region would be based on a combination of factors, including case numbers, hospitalizations and outbreaks. Horacio Arruda, the province's director of public health, said the situation in the province remains "unstable" and the progress made in recent weeks could easily be derailed by the spread of a new variant or a population that eases off on following public health directives. "We can’t think in the next weeks, 'That's it, we’ll go back to normal,'" he said. "That’s the most dangerous thing that threatens us." Citing the danger posed by new variants, Legault expressed frustration with the federal government's failure to announce any new concrete restrictions for travellers, such as mandatory quarantine in supervised hotels or banning non-essential trips altogether. "We're in a little bit the same situation as the beginning of March of last year, where we have a little bit of trouble with Mr. Trudeau for him to act quickly to prevent travellers from coming to infect the population of Quebec," Legault said. Quebec reported 1,166 new cases of COVID-19 and 57 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, including four that occurred in the past 24 hours. Health officials said Tuesday that hospitalizations rose by three, to 1,324, following six consecutive days of decreases in the number of COVID-related patients. The number of people in intensive care remained stable at 217. Officials say they administered 5,927 doses of vaccine Monday and say they have used all but 13,221 of the doses received thus far. The province says 1,916 more people have recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 230,803. It says 15,622 reported cases remain active. Quebec has reported a total of 256,002 infections and 9,577 deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 26, 2021. Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
The accused in a fatal 2016 shooting at a ByWard Market nightclub says he only fired his gun in self-defence after another drug dealer tried to take over his sale. Mustafa Ahmed, 32, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Omar Rashid-Ghader, who was 33 at the time of his killing. On Tuesday, Ahmed told court about the confrontation that led to Rashid-Ghader's death. I was terrified. I was only trying to save my own life. - Mustafa Ahmed "I was terrified. I was only trying to save my own life," Ahmed testified from behind Plexiglas at the Elgin Street courthouse. The proceedings are being made available to the public via Zoom. Ahmed said he was arranging a drug deal at the bar of the Sentral Nightclub at Dalhousie and Clarence streets just after 3 a.m. on Aug. 14, 2016. He said Rashid-Ghader's associates approached him to try to get involved in the deal, which would've meant Ahmed wouldn't make any money. Shooter startled Ahmed said he was startled when Rashid-Ghader, also known as "Esco," appeared behind him at the bar and began trying to get involved as well. Ahmed said he was then struck by what he thought was the butt of a gun, which video evidence has shown was actually a bottle. He said he didn't know whether Rashid-Ghader still had the weapon as he continued to beat Ahmed on the floor. He said he knew that Rashid-Ghader, from whom he had previously picked up drugs, carried weapons such as guns, baseball bats, bricks and machetes, so Ahmed said he was worried he'd end up in hospital or dead. Ahmed testified that the bouncers at the club hadn't checked him for weapons, so he had no reason to believe they had checked Rashid-Ghader, either. Ahmed said he only fired after he had been slammed into the floor and hit repeatedly. He said Rashid-Ghader tried to wrestle control of the gun from him, and didn't let up until after the second shot was fired. Bullet pierced victim's heart Noting that one of the bullets went through Rashid-Ghader's heart, Ahmed's defence lawyer Solomon Friedman asked his client if he had aimed his weapon with that intention. "My thoughts were focused on getting myself out of that situation. I fired in his general direction," Ahmed responded. "I didn't aim for his head, I didn't aim for his heart." Ahmed said he didn't know Rashid-Ghader was dead when he left the club. Once Ahmed heard he was wanted for second-degree murder, he disposed of the bloodied shirt he'd worn that night, fled to Toronto and got rid of the gun he'd used that night. "I didn't murder him," Ahmed recalled thinking at the time. "I just think in my head, [the police are] not going to believe my side of the story.... I was just defending myself." Court heard Ahmed had previously been shot, and that's why he started carrying a gun. The trial resumes Thursday with cross-examination.
NASHVILLE — A Washington, D.C., judge on Tuesday issued an emergency order preventing the release from custody of a Georgia woman involved in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Lisa Eisenhart is accused of breaking into the Capitol with her son, Eric Munchel of Nashville, Tennessee, who was photographed carrying flexible plastic handcuffs in the Senate chamber. Both were arrested and are being held in Nashville. In separate hearings, a federal magistrate judge in Nashville had ordered them released to home confinement. Prosecutors opposed the release, and at their request, the judge stayed his order until it could be reviewed by the District of Columbia court. U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl Howell, of the District of Columbia, blocked Eisenhart's release pending a hearing and ordered her transported to D.C. for further proceedings Tuesday. The judge had issued the same order for Munchel on Sunday. In both cases, prosecutors have argued the defendants should remain jailed pending trial because they are a danger to the community and a flight risk. “The nature and circumstances of the offence involve fear, intimidation, and violence — directed at law enforcement, elected public officials, and the entire country," prosecutors wrote in their request for an emergency stay of Eisenhart’s release. “The defendant can make no serious claim that she went to the Capitol on January 6 intending to engage in peaceful protest or civil disobedience.” Prosecutors say the two wore tactical and bulletproof vests in the Capitol and Munchel carried a stun gun. Munchel also recorded their storming of the Capitol, and prosecutors say that video shows the pair stashed weapons in a bag before entering the building. A search of Munchel’s home turned up assault rifles, a sniper rifle with a tripod, shotguns, pistols, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a drum-style magazine. Both Munchel and Eisenhart are charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds, conspiracy and civil disorder. They could each face up to 20 years if convicted. Travis Loller, The Associated Press
Hamilton’s public school board trustees voted unanimously to accept a long-awaited report on bullying late Monday at a board meeting. But, as the report’s recommendations indicate, the work has just begun. “While this report concludes months of consultation, it does not end the work required to address bullying in our schools and in our society,” panel members Dr. Jean Clinton, Brenda Flaherty, and Dr. Gary Warner said in a statement. “It begins the call to action.” The panel heard from thousands of students, parents, teachers and community members about bullying, culminating in a 102-page Safe Schools: Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel report released Friday. The report, which was presented to the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board at a Jan. 25 meeting, includes both long- and short-term goals to the board and its community. Immediate action items include wide distribution of the report, establishing a “lead position” responsible for implementation and collecting and monitoring bullying data at the school level. The motion to accept the report and its recommendations was moved by Ward 3 trustee Maria Felix Miller and seconded by Ward 15 trustee Penny Deathe. Ward 4 trustee Ray Mulholland and Ward 5 trustee Carole Paikin Miller were absent for the vote. Following questions and comments from trustees, board chair Dawn Danko thanked the panel for “reminding us the importance of having the students at the centre of everything we do and that we are all called to act.” “This is a systemic issue that has persisted for decades, and longer I’m sure, that we now have some concrete action items that we can take and use to actually make a difference,” she said. “And that, I think, is incredibly exciting.” The panel was assembled by the HWDSB after the death of 14-year-old Devan Selvey, who was stabbed outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in October 2019. “The conversation his death inspired was hard to hear, but reinforced our belief that we have a moral responsibility to help all students feel safe, supported and accepted,” said education director Manny Figueiredo. “The next steps are about change.” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Construction on Place des Arts began in earnest, then a pandemic set back. Work resumes once again, then a second lockdown — then the announcement of a sort-of third lockdown. The construction was supposed to continue, but then everything was shut down once again last week, with the building work ceasing on Friday. But then Monday it started again. There was an amendment to the legislation. It’s just another part of the journey, says Léo Therrien, executive director of the new Francophone arts and culture centre in downtown Sudbury. “The construction is expected to be done at the end of the summer, give or take, and again COVID willing,” said Therrien. “And then our hope is to open later in the fall. Even once the work is finished, everyone has to move in, we have to test all the equipment, you have to do a few shows, too.” But he’s pleased this timeline should coincide with the vaccination process in Sudbury. “I think everyone will be ready to get back to shows,” he said. It is also this specific, pandemic-related journey that has revealed an interesting way for the seven organisations behind ROCS (Regroupement des organismes culturels de Sudbury) to offer planning and programming that is not only accessible in the pandemic world, but in the post-pandemic world as well: streaming. “Our hope is with streaming that we'll be able to stream internally to the various venues inside,” said Therrien. That includes the ability to watch a performance from anywhere in the building. “There's a performance in La Grande Salle (main theatre),” he said. “We can send it to the studio, we can send it to the Bistro, we can send it to other venues. We could split people in various places internally. “But we can also Zoom it, stream it externally, too, for conferences, for performances, and so on.” Whether you love a live show, or your life is more conducive to enjoying it in your pyjamas, there will be options for you. There will even be recordings, something in the works for La Nuit sur l'étang music festival. “Right now, they're planning the shows in March,” said Therrien, “But they might be able to get only 50 people right now because of COVID. So, their plan is to have various cameras and record the whole show and sell it later on at another date – present it as a recorded show.” And because of the occasional pause in the construction, there is the opportunity to consider these aspects: when you can’t build, you have the advantage of time while you work out the kinks of closed-circuit television. Silver Linings, as they say. “It's the right time for us to put the equipment in place because the walls aren't done yet. It would be too hard to do it if it was all finished,” said Therrien. “That's one of the only bonuses from COVID, is that we were able to adapt.” But also, they are not open. That means they are not bringing in revenue as of yet. Still, that may again be fortuitous (to be generous with the interpretation). Therrien said that while they wish the building was finished, it also prevented them from having to cancel or postpone. “We didn't have to stop any shows because we didn't have any shows planned,” he said. “So many of our partners had to cancel their season, then restart it and cancel it again. And it's been that nightmare for them.” He said that they hope the opening of the Place des arts will allow community arts and culture groups — both Anglophone and Francophone — to come together and pool resources, to use the knowledge and experience from every corner of the city to create programming to enrich Francophone culture and, by extension, Sudbury culture, as well as offer a home to Anglophone groups, like YES Theatre, which is currently in negotiations with the Place des arts team. There will not only be the headquarters of the seven founding Francophone organisations, as well as a gift shop, bookstore, bistro and multi-purpose studio space, but also a grand theatre and office space and rehearsal space. And there has never been a better time for art, said Therrien. Movies, television, books, puzzles, art galleries tours and musicals on Zoom — you name the medium, the world consumed content on it — and he’s hopeful this trend will continue. “Art and culture is healthy to our wellbeing, the health of ourselves,” said Therrien. “That’s why a place like this is essential to our community and to everyone in it.” Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
New Brunswick is spending less money than any other province on COVID-19 measures while leaving millions of federal dollars on the table, according to a new report by a national think tank. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the Higgs government is the stingiest administration in the land, spending just $7,500 per person on COVID-19 programs. Nova Scotia is the next lowest at $8,500 per person. At the same time, the province has not spent millions of dollars it could have claimed from Ottawa, including $5.9 million available for health care, personal protective equipment, testing and long-term care. The report says massive spending is needed to get Canadians through the pandemic, and no province should be turning down money in the name of fiscal prudence. "The federal government needs to continue to lead the way and provincial governments need to do their part," the report says, "starting by investing any unspent COVID-19 federal funds that they've been sitting on." Other amounts unclaimed by New Brunswick, according to the report, are: $30 million to top up the wages of essential workers. $19.7 million for long-term care. $9.6 million for a "rapid housing initiative." The report says 99 per cent of all direct COVID-19 spending in New Brunswick has been federal money. "The province provided its 25 per cent for the essential worker wage top-up and provided its own emergency workers' benefit, but little beyond those programs for individuals," it says. The report's findings echo criticisms of the Progressive Conservative government by the Opposition Liberals. "Now it's documented, it's researched and it's real," says Liberal Leader Roger Melanson, calling the Higgs government's approach "the cheapest effort I've seen in the country." Secured or negotiating 'every available federal dollar' In a lengthy statement, government spokesperson John McNeil said the province "has secured or is currently negotiating every available federal dollar" for its COVID-19 response. The Department of Social Development, which oversees long-term care, has secured "every available federal dollar" for programs, including infection prevention, "workforce stability plans" for care workers and the creation of isolation wings in nursing homes. And the Department of Health "is currently forecasting that all the health-related funding will be required," McNeil said. In those departments, "full accounting of the details of these expenditures will only be known at the end of the fiscal year as the situation changes regularly based on the progress of the pandemic," the statement said. While the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says its report was up to date as of Dec. 31, McNeil says it's based on figures from last September and some federal-provincial spending agreements are still being worked on. In November, Premier Blaine Higgs told the legislature that the province was getting $218 million from Ottawa for COVID programs and that it had spent $167 million until that point. "We will be spending in the particular categories beyond what they've currently allotted," he said during question period. "But who knows by how much at this stage, because we do not know how long this is going to last." The report's author says Higgs may have been looking at particular funding programs, while he examined all programs. "It may be well be that they exceed in some areas and underspend in some areas," says David Macdonald, the think tank's chief economist. This government is trying to spend the bare minimum on addressing COVID and is leaving the vast majority of expenditures to the federal government. - David Coon, Green Party leader "Certainly the province should be accessing all the federal money that's on the table. It's certainly in their interest. It doesn't make a lot of sense to leave money on the table when the feds are giving it to you, in essence. "All you have to do is show the plans that you want to improve long-term care, you want to improve affordable housing, you want to improve wages for low-wage essential. These aren't, I don't think, controversial issues." Green Party Leader David Coon says it's impossible, when the legislature isn't sitting, to reconcile Higgs's claim in November with the report. "It's still a big black box without us being able to dig into this at the legislative assembly and get the numbers out," he says. "This government is trying to spend the bare minimum on addressing COVID and is leaving the vast majority of expenditures to the federal government." Higgs also pushed back in November on Liberal calls to spend more by pointing to the province's relatively low COVID-19 case rates and its improving economic indicators. Atlantic comparisons But other Atlantic provinces that have similarly good case numbers are spending more. Compared to New Brunswick's $7,500 per person, Nova Scotia is spending $8,500, Prince Edward Island is spending $8,600 and Newfoundland and Labrador is spending $9,180. Melanson says he believes Higgs is leaving some federal money on the table because the programs would require matching provincial dollars the premier doesn't want to spend. Last week, Higgs announced new $5,000 grants for businesses affected for at least a week by red and orange-phase restrictions between early October and the end of March. Those grants are not accounted for in the report. "This program is funded entirely by the provincial government," McNeil said. In December, after months of sparring with the federal government and opposition parties over unclaimed infrastructure dollars intended to help the pandemic-hampered economy, the province began approving projects in its capital budget. Those projects, including the refurbishment of a 19th-century Fredericton building that houses legislature offices and the legislative press gallery, are 80 per cent funded by Ottawa under a "resilience" stream of the Canadian Infrastructure Fund. Both of those recent spending initiatives are too recent to have been included in the numbers Macdonald used. Wage support also weakest According to Macdonald's report, New Brunswick has also spent the least of any province on direct COVID-19 programs for individuals, such as wage subsidies. Last spring the province created the short-term New Brunswick Workers Emergency Income Benefit, which lasted until Ottawa created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. New Brunswick has spent $3,300 per person on programs for individuals compared to $3,700 spent by Nova Scotia, $3,600 by Prince Edward Island and $3,800 by Newfoundland and Labrador. Alberta spent the most at $5,500 per person.
Months-long protests in India escalated on Tuesday as thousands of farmers clashed with police in New Delhi over new laws that they say will push small farmers out of the market and let private corporations exploit them.
Police are warning users of illicit drugs across the Northwest Territories of two new noxious substances they found in illicit drugs seized in Yellowknife last November, and for which the health effects are not known. In a Tuesday news release, RCMP said the drugs they seized — believed to crack cocaine, powder cocaine and tablets — were found to contain Adinazolam and 5-MeO-DBT after being analyzed by the Health Canada Drug Analysis Service. "These two drugs are a concern for unexpected reactions, and the concern for other contaminants like opioids is always present," said Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, the N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer, in the release. Police said the substances are either presented as a new form of drug that people may be unaware they are consuming or is so novel that limited information is available on its safety. The presence of the two new substances has increased the danger of illicit drugs, the release says. "In fact, given the distribution systems of the illegal drug trade, those tainted drugs could be anywhere in the territory, so this warning is for the entire Northwest Territories" said Insp. Dyson Smith, the officer in charge of the RCMP's Yellowknife detachment, in the release. The RCMP said it is working with the N.W.T. government Department of Health and Social Services to determine the impacts of the two new substances. Delli Pizzi said in the release that people who use street or illicit drugs should always do so with others present and have a plan in case someone overdoses. "The plan should include having naloxone present and calling 911 for help with any overdose" he said. The Yellowknife RCMP's general investigation section seized the illicit drugs on Nov. 27, 2020 from a Yellowknife residence. They said there have been charges as a result of the case and that it is currently before the courts.
United Conservative MLAs defeated a motion proposed by the NDP on Tuesday that would have asked cabinet to release confidential information it considered before investing up to $7.5 billion in the Keystone XL pipeline. The motion, proposed by Kathleen Ganley, NDP MLA for Calgary-Buffalo, at a meeting of the public accounts committee, called on cabinet to waive confidentiality and release information including any legal opinions and analysis of risk. The UCP used its majority on the committee to kill the motion. "It's clear this an attempt to cover up, plain and simple," Ganley said at a news conference following the meeting. Last week, incoming President Joe Biden acted on a campaign promise and revoked the permit allowing construction of the pipeline on U.S. territory. Project proponent TC Energy halted work immediately and laid off 1,000 workers. Kenney is now facing questions for investing taxpayer money in Keystone XL when Biden made his intentions about the project clear during the U.S. election campaign. The Alberta government agreed to invest $1.5 billion and provide TC Energy with up to $6 billion in loan guarantees. 'Veneer of transparency' Following the defeat of Ganley's motion, Miranda Rosin, UCP MLA for Banff-Kananaskis, proposed a motion asking for the Energy Ministry to release financial data on the Keystone XL deal, minus confidential contractual information. She noted the same concerns were invoked about the crude-by-rail deal signed by the previous NDP government. "This motion will ensure that the financials and the cost exposure to Albertans and to taxpayers is released and made public and made fully transparent while also ensuring we don't breach any confidentiality between TC Energy Corporation and us," Rosin said. The motion was passed by the UCP majority on the committee. Marlin Schmidt, NDP MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar, accused his UCP committee colleagues of engaging in "performance art with the intent of appearing to be transparent while not actually providing any transparency to the people of Alberta." Schmidt said information the UCP is proposing to release will be available to the public through next month's budget. The NDP motion went further by seeking advice the premier and cabinet received about the risks involved with investing in the pipeline project. "We're trying to get at what executive council knew, when they knew it and look at all of the information they had in front of them before they made this very expensive bet on Keystone XL," Schmidt said. Ganley said the documents are sensitive politically, not commercially. "This motion, as it is proposed, is not a serious look at this deal," she said. "It is a motion to give a veneer of transparency. "It makes publicly available, publicly-available information. I mean, what is the point of that?" Kenney wants the federal government to push the United States to compensate Alberta and TC Energy for cancelling the project.
With British star Chris Froome and Ottawa's Michael Woods leading the way this year, Canadian-born co-owner Sylvan Adams has big plans for the Israel Start-Up Nation team. And they go well beyond mere success in the cycling world. In convincing the Giro d'Italia to start the 2018 race with three stages in Israel, the 62-year-old from Montreal showcased his adopted country. "The entire country was on display, for three glorious days … Basically we had hundred of millions of first-time visitors to Israel, via their TV screens, seeing it in an unvarnished way" Adams said. Staging the start of the race in Israel reportedly cost millions, with Adams stepping up to help make it happen. After emigrating to Israel with his wife in late 2015 following a successful career as president and CEO of Iberville Developments, a large real-estate company, Adams had business cards printed up with the title "Self-appointed ambassador at large for Israel.” "And I decided I'm going to devote this chapter of my life to promoting my new country, my adopted country, using sporting and other cultural activities to show what I call the true face of Israel," Adams said in an interview from Spain where his team was in pre-season training. For Adams, Israel is a country open, tolerant, diverse and fiercely democratic. '"And of course we're a safe country. People don't realize it because of the news cycle," he said. "My projects are kind of trying to show the rest of the world this normal Israel." "I'm not blaming the journalists. Good news doesn't sell," he added with a laugh. Adams is spreading his largesse. He helped build a velodrome in Tel Aviv and donated some $39 million for a new emergency care wing at a Tel Aviv hospital. He has also created the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute (SASI) at Tel Aviv University, a facility dedicated to sports science that has partnered with Montreal's McGill University. There is also the Sylvan Adams commuter cycling path network in Tel Aviv. In addition to being co-owner of Israel Start-Up Nation, Adams is also team CEO. He negotiated the deals to bring Woods and Froome into the fold. "I'm very actively involved in the team. It does take up a significant amount of my time," said Adams. Asked if anyone makes money from pro cycling, Adams chuckles. "Not me, that's for sure," he said. "If somebody does, it can't be big money … You'll not get rich in the sport of cycling, sadly. And for me it's quite the opposite. I've put a lot of my of my own personal funds into the bike team. And I'm hoping with success, we'll bring on some more commercial sponsorships." By having Israel rather than a sponsor in the team name, he knows he is missing out on a major source of sponsorship. But he pledges that Israel will always be front and centre. Still, that doesn't stop him from hoping the Israeli government ups its current support of the team. Right now, he gets "very small sponsorship" from the Israeli ministry of tourism. While Adams' cycling team had moments to savour in 2020 — British rider Alex Dowsett won Stage 8 of the Giro while Ireland's Dan Martin took Stage 3 of the Spanish Vuelta (Woods won Stage 7 with his former team) — Adams is looking for significant improvements this season. That's because his team didn't get its WorldTour licence until the last day possible before the 2020 season, buying it from the Katusha-Alpecin team. In essence, last year's squad was built as a lower-tier Pro Continental team. "We had some good riders certainly — Andre Greipel and Dan Martin — so we were a fair team," said Adams. "But this year we're a real WorldTour team. We built the roster because we know we are in the WorldTour. And we built the roster with certain goals in mind. "We're a vastly improved team and we hope to make some noise this season." Adams goes back with Woods, whom he first heard about from Montreal's Paulo Saldanha, now Israel Start-Up Nation's performance manager. A former Ironman triathlete, Saldanha runs a string of training studios under the PowerWatts name. Saldanha was working with another rider, who tipped him off to Woods' potential in 2013. A former elite distance runner, Woods had switched to cycling after a string of foot injuries — breaking his foot for the final time in the fall of 2011. Adams had worked with Saldanha before, telling him to keep him posted if he came across a promising prospect who needed some financial help. They had tried it a few times without much success. Then came Woods. "I get a call from Paulo and he says 'Sylvan, I've just tested this guy and he's the best athlete I've ever tested from an endurance sport, natural physical gifts perspective.'" Adams provided the help anonymously until Saldanha eventually introduced him to Woods, who had been working as a bank teller as well as weekends in a bike shop, as his benefactor. Older than most aspiring pros, Woods was not that attractive a prospect for some. "If it wasn't for Paulo and Sylvan, I wouldn't be a pro cyclist," Woods said. "They took a big chance on me and helped me out when I first started." Adams' message to Woods was simple. You have a job any time with my team, but best you wait until it reaches the top echelon. "The rest is history," said Adams. "He climbed through the ranks at various level of the sport." In September 2019, Adams went to the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in Harrogate, England. As member of the Canadian camp, he rode with the team on their reconnaissance ride before the race. He reiterated his job offer. A year later, Woods opted to leave the Education First Pro Cycling team to join Adams in 2021. Adams is no stranger to digging into his pocket for cycling, backing the Canadian-based SpiderTech team — run by former Canadian star rider Steve Bauer — that eventually ceased operations in 2012. After moving to Israel, he had a chance to get back into the sport by buying into a team that was then called the Israel Cycling Academy. "Instead of being a small player like I was in SpiderTech, well I became the biggest player," he said. "It's worked out really well. I think the team is a great ambassador for the country." Other Canadians on the Israeli team include Ottawa's Alex Cataford, and Montreal's Guillaume Boivin and James Piccoli. There are three other Canadians on the team's developmental squad and more on the team staff including the chief mechanic. "There's a lot of Canadian content on our team … And I'm eager to have our team seen not only as Israel's team but also as Canada's team," said Adams. "I'm here for Canada," he added. But the marquee addition in 2021 is Froome, a four-time Tour de France winner who came over from Team Ineos. "One of the reasons I'm excited about having Chris Froome and having a much better team is everybody pays attention to the winner," Adams said. "So it brings us more positive attention and I'm all for it." Woods also points to the addition of South Africa's Daryl Impey, a two-time winner of the Tour Down Under, and Belgian's Sep Vanmarcke. "We've got a really strong roster," said Woods. "I think we've certainly going to be one of the top teams this year." An avid cyclist who took up the sport at age 41, Adams' masters' resume includes six Canadian titles, four Pan American gold medals, four Maccabiah Games gold medals, two World Championships titles and the Israeli championship. "He's larger than life in many ways. A great guy," said Woods. "Sylvan has done a lot for cycling in Canada. Most of the time in a quiet way," added Quebec's Hugo Houle, who rides for the Astana-Premier Tech team. "But he's definitely a big big helper. I have a lot of respect for what he's doing now with Israel Start-Up Nation. The team's getting really big and really great." Adams remains connected to Canada with one of his kids in Vancouver and another in Montreal. Two others are based in Los Angeles. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
Ontario’s pilot COVID-19 testing program from travellers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport found that of the over 6,800 voluntary participants, 146 people or 2.26 per cent, tested positive.
Three years ago, filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West got a dream Sundance debut. They premiered their film “RBG” to a sold-out crowd with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg not only in attendance but seeing it for the first time. There was a standing ovation, a bidding war and a big sale. It also went on to be a major awards contender. It’s the kind of Sundance experience most filmmakers fantasize about. This year they’re returning to the festival with their follow-up, “My Name is Pauli Murray” about the somewhat obscure legal trailblazer, and while their excitement remains high, the festival itself will be quite different. Like so many in the past year, Sundance has had to reinvent itself as a mostly virtual experience. Still, the 2021 Festival which kicks off Thursday is shaping up to be a robust market for companies looking for content. More than 72 feature films are debuting over the seven days. It’s slimmed-down lineup from the previous years’ 118 and some already have ways to get to audiences, like Robin Wright’s “Land” and “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which will both be available to the masses in the coming weeks. But many this year are acquisition titles seeking distribution deals. “Buyers and sellers have found a rhythm for conducting business at virtual markets, to great success. And consumers are continuing to ask for more content,” said Deb McIntosh, an SVP at Endeavor Content. “I’m confident that we’ll find distribution partners for all of our films." Julie Dansker, an executive at Shout! Studios, is coming to the virtual festival looking for films to buy and Sundance, she said, always offers a variety of films from established and emerging talents. This year there are high profile projects from well-known names like actor Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut “Passing,” starring Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson as two light-skinned Black women who choose to live on opposite sides of the colour line in 1929 New York. Jerrod Carmichael is making his debut with the dark satire “On the Count of Three” with Christopher Abbott and Tiffany Haddish. Questlove is too with his opening night documentary “Summer Of Soul (…Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised).” Zoe Lister-Jones also reunites with her “Craft: Legacy” star Cailee Spaeny for “How It Ends,” co-starring Olivia Wilde and Fred Armisen. And “CODA,” a day one film from Sian Heder about a child of deaf adults, is expected to be one of the breakouts. As always, the documentary sections are fertile ground for buyers. Cohen and West’s “My Name is Pauli Murray” is among the sales titles as is Mariem Pérez Riera’s “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” which examines how the entertainer battled racism to become one of the few performers to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Lucy Walker has a documentary about the history of wildfires, “Bring Your Own Brigade” and Jonas Poher Rasmussen will debut his animated refugee documentary “Flee.” And then there’s the more unconventional efforts like animator Dash Shaw’s psychedelic “Cryptozoo,” featuring the voices of Lake Bell, Michael Cera and Grace Zabriskie. Or Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Wong Kar-Wai produced drama “One for the Road” and Timur Bekmambetov’s social media age Romeo and Juliet riff “R#J.” There are boundless “discovery” opportunities for parties looking beyond the flashy names who might just stumble upon the next Ryan Coogler or Damien Chazelle. As Sundance programmer Kim Yutani said, “You don’t really know what these films are until you see them.” Audience enthusiasm for a particular film might be harder to judge virtually, though. “There’s all this energy that happens at a festival when you’re in person that is hard to translate to a virtual environment,” said Jordan Fields, head of acquisitions for Shout! Studios. “But on the upside, it gives us the ability to judge movies a little more objectively because we’re not necessarily influenced by a crowd who stands up to cheer it at the end.” And indeed, for better or worse, that in-person energy has often played a role in negotiating the price. Sometimes the hype is warranted, and you get a “Little Miss Sunshine.” But other times off the mountain, the glow fades and companies are left with a flop. Prices have also been going up steadily due to the influx of deep-pocketed streaming companies who don’t have to worry as much or at all about box office returns. Six years ago, Amazon and Netflix both struggled to get titles. Now, the streamers are some of the biggest players in the game. Last year saw Hulu and NEON pay over $17.5 million (a record) for the worldwide rights to the Andy Samberg comedy “Palm Springs.” “Boys State” also got a $12 million deal from Apple and A24. This year there is an added anxiety about content since many productions were put on hold because of the pandemic. But there’s also opportunity in the fact that there could be a bigger and more diverse audience seeing the films who may never have had the opportunity to attend the expensive festival. The cost of entry for the virtual films is $15 a ticket and many are sold out. “Taking Sundance off the mountain and to the whole country will be a beautiful way to commune together over our shared love and need for artistic expression,” said McIntosh. There have already been a few pre-Festival deals. RLJE Films on Tuesday announced that it had acquired the Nicolas Cage film “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” Magnolia Pictures took the rights to “A Glitch in the Matrix” from “Room 237” director Rodney Ascher, Bleecker Street snagged the Ed Helms drama “Together Together” and Juno Films picked up the documentary “The Most Beautiful Boy” about Swedish actor Bjorn Andresen. But many are holding back pre-screenings and waiting until the actual Sundance premiere. “I’m still excited,” said Hall, whose “Passing” premieres Saturday. “But would I rather that we were all together wandering through the snow, freezing cold and, you know, trudging down Main Street? Yes, I would, because that communal experience is part of it.” Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
A group of doctors and advocates are calling on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to address what they call a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care homes by bringing the military back for support and embarking on hiring and training drives.