As Peter Nygard remains in custody, we have new details on the case against the fashion mogul. An affidavit sworn by a Manitoba RCMP officer says there are "hundreds" of victims. Joe Scarpelli reports.
As Peter Nygard remains in custody, we have new details on the case against the fashion mogul. An affidavit sworn by a Manitoba RCMP officer says there are "hundreds" of victims. Joe Scarpelli reports.
GREY-BRUCE – The Saugeen Field Naturalists conducted their 44th annual Hanover-Walkerton Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 19, 2020. According to the group’s newsletter, this activity has become one of the largest citizen science projects in the world. The 2020 count was a bit different from past years, due to the pandemic. It didn’t end with a dinner the day after the field outing, but instead with one via Zoom. Care was taken to ensure distancing for everyone’s safety. Gerard McNaughton said the Walkerton-Hanover area count identified 44 species this year including one new species, an osprey. “The actual number of field participants was down as several long-time counters bowed out of this year’s count but once things return to normal I’m sure they will be back,” said McNaughton. He said the weather was a bit blustery, starting out with cloudy skies in the morning and little wind, and shifting to snow showers and limited visibility at times by mid-day, making finding birds harder as the day went on. Most groups said the birds were hunkered down and that most feeders were empty for the first time in years, making for a difficult day. McNaughton said, “As always, several quality birds were observed including a first-ever osprey found by Joy Albright just outside Walkerton. Presumably, the same bird was seen just before count week started but not since, so that was a great find for count day. Several winter finches also put in appearances to help bolster overall numbers.” The overall summary is as follows: Mute swan - 7 Canada goose – 1,339 Mallard - 383 Common goldeneye - 19 Common merganser - 50 Sharp-shinned hawk - 3 Cooper’s hawk - 2 Red tailed hawk - 12 Rough legged hawk - 9 Bald eagle - 11 Osprey - 1 Ruffed grouse - 2 Wild turkey - 132 Ring-billed gull - 428 Herring gull - 121 Great black-backed gull - 2 Rock dove - 439 Mourning dove - 105 Eastern screech owl - 7 Belted kingfisher - 2 Red-bellied woodpecker - 6 Downy woodpecker - 34 Hairy woodpecker - 13 Pileated woodpecker - 3 Northern shrike - 4 Blue jay - 100 American crow – 1,083 Common raven - 3 Black-capped chickadee - 344 Red-breasted nuthatch - 27 White-breasted nuthatch - 32 Brown creeper - 10 European starling – 1,117 American tree sparrow - 51 Dark-eyed junco - 348 Snow bunting - 300 Northern cardinal - 39 Purple finch - 2 House finch - 108 Common redpoll - 164 Pine siskin - 71 American goldfinch - 334 Evening grosbeak - 1 House sparrow - 136 Total was 44 species, 7,405 individuals. Accipiter Sp. - 1 Hawk Sp. - 1 Gull Sp. - 83 Woodpecker Sp. - 1 Two additional species were recorded during the count week period. The hooded merganser and pine grosbeak were both seen in the three days leading up to the count; nothing was reported in the three days after count day. “The next count will take place on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 so mark your calendars now,” said McNaughton. “Let’s hope that everything is back to normal by then and that we’re able to get together to swap stories from the field. Until then, the best of health and happiness to everyone and good birding.” The Christmas Bird Count began over a century ago. Winter hike All indoor activities of the Saugeen Field Naturalists have been cancelled because of COVID-19, but outdoor activities continue. The next one is Jan. 16 – the Winter Nature Hike. The location will be the Murray Tract, the less-well-know part of the Kinghurst Nature Reserve, at 1:30 p.m. Participants must register (email firstname.lastname@example.org). Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
NASHVILLE — As their state faced one of its toughest months of the pandemic, Tennesseans watched Gov. Bill Lee’s rare primetime address to see whether new public restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus might be coming. It was late December, and the state’s hospitals were bursting at the seams with virus patients. Spiraling caseloads placed Tennessee among the worst states in the nation per capita, medical experts were warning that the health care system could not survive another coronavirus spike, and Lee had been affected personally -- his wife had the virus and the governor himself was in quarantine. If ever there was a juncture to change course, the speech seemed like the time and place. But as he stood before the camera, the businessman-turned-politician declined to implement recommendations from the experts, instead announcing a soft limit on public gatherings while stressing once again that stopping the spread of COVID-19 was a matter of personal responsibility. Lee’s decision to stick to his approach has dismayed critics who say the state's situation would not be so dire if he had placed more faith in the government’s role in keeping people safe -- criticism he pushes back against as he keeps businesses open. The first term governor’s response has largely been in step with Republican governors in other states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, which along with Tennessee have ranked among the worst in the country as case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations increase while the governors rebuff calls for new restrictions. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported 1,236 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people in Tennessee over the past two weeks, which ranks eighth in the country. One in every 187 people in Tennessee tested positive in the past week. “We don’t have to be here. We don’t have to continue this trend. We can do something about it,” Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey, a Franklin primary care physician told reporters in a video conference Tuesday. Lee, whose office declined a request for an interview for this article, has rejected claims he hasn’t done enough, countering that he aggressively pushed for more expansive COVID-19 testing throughout the state during the early stages of the pandemic and arguing that sweeping mask requirements have become too political to become effective. He says decisions about masks are best left to local jurisdictions, some of which have imposed them in Tennessee, particularly in more populated areas. According to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, about 69% of Tennesseans — but fewer than 30 of 95 counties — are under a face mask requirement. Those researchers found that counties that don’t require wearing masks in public are averaging COVID-19 death rates double or more compared with those that instituted mandates. Dr. Donna Perlin, a Nashville-based pediatric emergency medicine physician, sees mask-wearing and other precautions as basic government safety measures. “Just as we have requirements to stop at red lights, or for children to wear seatbelts, or bans on smoking at schools, so too must we require masks, because the refusal to wear masks is endangering our children and their families,” she wrote in a recent editorial. Despite the criticism, Lee hasn’t wavered from his vow never to close down restaurants, bars and retail stores after Tennessee became one of the first states in the country to lift businesses restrictions last year. He also has long advocated for schools to continue in-person learning and has sent school districts protective equipment for teachers and staffers. The governor is quick to point out the state’s swift COVID-19 vaccine rollout, praising Tennessee for being among the country’s leaders in distributing the immunizations. “In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for distribution, we’re currently one of the top states in the nation for total doses administered, vaccinating more than 150,000 Tennesseans in just two weeks,” Lee said in a statement earlier this month, omitting that the state’s initial goal to vaccinate 200,000 residents got delayed because of shipping issues. The CDC reports that 3.7% of Tennessee’s population has been vaccinated, with more than 251,000 shots administered to date — making it among the top 10 states for administration rates. But community leaders and Democratic lawmakers have tried in vain to appeal to the governor in their campaign for a mask mandate and other public health regulations. “What we are doing now is NOT working!” Democratic state Sen. Raumesh Akbari tweeted. “We need a mask mandate, increased testing and contact tracing, and need to consider some business closures. Our hospitals are at the brink! We must act to save lives!” Some have even appealed to Lee's Christian faith, which he regularly touted on the campaign trail and references while governing. “Wearing a mask is loving your neighbour, and taking care of yourself as a Temple of the Holy Spirit,” the Rev. Jo Ann Barker recently wrote to Lee, speaking for the nonpartisan Southern Christian Coalition. “A statewide mask mandate is caring for the community God gives you to care for. If that isn’t important to you, Governor Lee, then what is?” ___ Associated Press writers Jonathan Mattise and Travis Loller contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Kimberlee Kruesi, The Associated Press
The McKellar council says it supports the upgrade of unassumed roads within the township. Here are five quotes that capture the discussion from the Jan. 12 council meeting: 1. “This is simply formalizing the process that we did last year, and of course, the word unassumed roads means municipally owned unassumed roads — these are not private roads,” said Coun. Don Carmichael. “We’ve already done Bailey’s (subdivision) and Craigmoore is scheduled for the spring.” 2. “Somebody argued, ‘Why should the municipality put any money on these roads?’ Well, it is the betterment of the township overall in the long run,” said Coun. Morely Haskim. “Somebody argued, ‘It doesn’t affect the vast majority,’ but it does, if you have a subdivision like that and all of a sudden they’re selling as a township-owned, maintained year-round road those properties are going to sell for more than a road that is not maintained by the municipality.” 3. “The resolution seemed a little bit too open-ended, I just thought that maybe it should be more specific regarding which roads that this focusing is going to be on … some type of report from the public works superintendent in regard to what this entails,” said Coun. Mike Kekkonen. 4. “As they get approval by the owners, we have a staff agreement/contract ready, then they can start to be moved forward. There’s not that many but it’s going to take time to get them all,” said McKellar’s Mayor Peter Hopkins. “So there’s a timeline, an open-ended one, to get the agreements in place.” 5. “This is supplementary to the roads policy we approved … it’s a policy that talks about the fact that we have legal liability on municipally owned roads even if we don’t assume it — that’s been clearly demonstrated in the courts so that’s part of the reason why we’re actually interested in doing this,” said Carmichael. According to a report submitted to council, featured in the Dec. 8, 2020 agenda package, the 2020 approved capital budget for the Bailey’s subdivision project was $83,360. The report given by Greg Gostick, road superintendent, states that the total cost for the project, excluding municipal staff time, was $76,867.31 and the cost of staff time to complete the project $14,824.91, bringing the total cost to $91,692.22. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Should councillors be talking to the media independently? That was the second time in a week the matter had come up before a North Simcoe council, after it had been discussed at the Penetanguishene council Wednesday night. This time, it was Tay Township's deputy mayor that was asking if it was best for the mayor or chief administrative officer to respond to media requests when representing the municipality. Once again, the media request was a yearend survey sent out to all council members by MidlandToday's Community Editor Andrew Philips. "He didn't email it to council; he emailed it to all of us," said Coun. Jeff Bumstead. "I could see all the recipients. The way I took it is that they were looking for a specific response from all of council. I didn't see any harm in the questions. I didn't see anything specific that was going against the township. It was just the general feel of how I felt as a councillor." He then talked about a MidlandToday reporter reaching out to him for a story he had brought to council's attention (poppy masks being made by a local resident). "She had reached out and I asked the mayor about it," said Bumstead. "She was just looking for an opinion from me on a specific topic. The advice I got was that media is asking a question there's no problem is answering it." "If we want to clamp down and direct media to the mayor and CAO, I don't have a problem with it," he added. "If it's not okay for individual councillors to answer behalf of the township, then we can have it in the code of conduct." Fellow Coun. Paul Raymond also talked about what the integrity commissioner had outlined in the code of conduct policy. "We do have a right to an opinion as long as we make it clear it is our opinion and not the township and council as a whole," he said. "That is when the CAO or mayor come in. It's very important we take great measures to make sure that distinction is made. "As far as the other social media, I'm sure there will be other questions there," added Raymond. "We are allowed to be approached for our opinion but our opinion only." Coun. Mary Warnock said she had sought clarification on the survey, asking if it was to be based on personal opinions or a council view. "I did want to clarify that before I answered it," she said. "If it's a message coming from council or township as a whole, it should come from the CAO or mayor. You want your message to have some control and precision." CAO Lindsay Barron agreed that the councillors had raised some good points about distinguishing between an independent opinion and a township stance. "A clear distinction is if he/she is responding as an individual member of council or on behalf of the township," she said. "In the second case, it should be coming from the mayor or myself." Deputy Mayor Gerard LaChapelle said maybe the next time a reporter reaches out to an individual councillor, he/she can seek direction from the CAO. "I would suggest we should contact the CAO to find out if we can speak to it individually," he said. That didn't sit well with Raymond. "I don't go to the CAO for permission on anything, with all due respect to the CAO," he said. "We are allowed to be individuals. If we're going to go on an endeavour like this, we give a heads-up to the CAO and mayor. If they feel it's not beneficial to the community on the whole, they can let us know. We all want betterment for the township and we all have different ideas of how that can be accomplished." The conversation then turned toward answering questions posed by residents. "A lot of times we get emails from customers/residents, what do we think as council is best direction?" said LaChapelle. Coun. Sandy Talbot shared her process around that. "What I always do is if I get an email, I will forward it to a staff member," she said. "It's worked for me for all these years and that's best practice when it comes to residential inquiries." Raymond said each situation is unique. "There's a lot of different types of communications from residents, sometimes it's a question, sometimes they're in a situation where they're at odds with staff," he said. "They approach us as councillors to try and intervene to get the two parties talking. I think that, also, is our role. At the end of the day, we're the bridge between residents and staff and the services they provide." Barron said she hoped residents would reach out to staff before taking matters to their councillor. "Often times, I get involved when the councillor gets involved," she said. "I'd like to see my position as facilitator before council intervenes. If the resident wants to talk to you after, by all means. As far as being copied on the response, I'd really like to see where we get to a point where a councillor forwards it to staff and lets staff handle it." Raymond said when residents reach out to him, it's after they've reached a dead-end with staff. "When the two parties get talking to each other, I will back out and just need to know it's been resolved," he said, adding he didn't think it was pertinent for councillors to get into the weeds of matters. "When I do talk to residents, they're not aware of the structure of staff," added Raymond. "If we had an opportunity to simplify that structure, to let them know which way to go, maybe that would simplify it." Then councillors discussed behaviour on social media. "It has to do with Facebook use so we don't get ourselves in a situation," said LaChapelle. Mayor Ted Walker said he would definitely like directions around that incorporated in the municipal code of conduct. "I have seen some instances where the line has been crossed," he said without mentioning specifics. "The unfortunate part of that is that those that don't use Facebook don't have a chance to give their opinion or correct any errors. I think discussions of that nature need to be held here and not on Facebook." All councillors agreed that the communications specialist should help prepare some do's and don't's for council surrounding social media use. "All they are is a tool to facilitate you," said Raymond. "We already have standards, a code of conduct, that as councillors we're supposed to follow wherever we are. It's easy when you're on social media to get dragged into a fight. You have to know when to stop." Daryl O'Shea, general manager, corporate services manager of technology services, indicated such an endeavour was already underway and would soon be brought to council's attention. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga on Monday raised the prospect of sanctioning social media firms over what she called "systematic abuses" of free speech. In a growing wave of criticism, some government officials are complaining about what they have described as efforts by social media companies, including Facebook, to limit conservative views on their platforms. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has turned Hungary's public media into an obedient mouthpiece and allies control large parts of the private media, allowing his agenda to be aired prominently.
A major Saint John employer is set to shut down this month, when Saputo Inc. wraps up milk processing at its north end plant, affecting 60 jobs. The former Baxter's Dairy plant opened in 1931 and was purchased by Saputo in 2001. Saputo offers products under a multitude of brands, including Baxter, Cracker Barrel and Scotsburn. Almost a year ago, the company announced its intention to close. John MacKenzie, a Saint John city councillor whose ward includes the plant, says the imminent closure will be difficult for the neighbourhood. "It's been around for 90 years," said MacKenzie. "A lot of people have gained employment through that facility. A lot of history … it's really heartbreaking, devastating, for families when a business closes its doors." Dairy farmers hurt too The closure will not only affect the employees at the plant but also local dairy farmers, who had milk processed at the plants. Paul Gaunce, chair of Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick, said the producers will now have to send milk to Nova Scotia or Quebec for processing at their own expense. Gaunce said there won't be any changes to the price of milk because of the changes, but he's still not happy to see the plant shuttered. "I'm very, you know, disappointed because you need processing to keep your industry supported," said Gaunce. "When we lose processing, it just hurts everybody." Saputo earnings fell When the closure was announced last year Saputo said the move was made in an effort to "right size" operations after net earnings for the company dropped by 42 per cent. The company said employees not offered relocation would be given severance packages. MacKenzie said he's confident laid-off workers will find work in the city. "I was looking online this week and I noticed that there were over 290 jobs available," said MacKenzie. "There's opportunities there." MacKenzie said he hasn't heard about any plans for the soon-to-be unoccupied plant, the property is prime for development. "If they sold the property it would make a great spot for some affordable housing with the school right next door and a park behind them and grocery stores within a block," said MacKenzie.
THE LATEST: There have been 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 deaths in B.C. in the past three days. The Sunday-to-Monday jump of 301 new cases is the lowest level of one-day growth since Nov. 3. Active cases are at their lowest since Nov. 7. There are currently 4,326 active cases in B.C. 343 people are in hospital, with 68 in the ICU. 13 of the new cases are associated with temporary farm workers who have come to B.C. for work. An outbreak at McKinney Place, which was the deadliest outbreak in Interior Health, has been declared over. 87,346 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine. The deputy provincial health officer says B.C. is "prepared" to adjust its vaccine rollout in case of shipping delays. Officials say consistency with existing public health measures like handwashing and physical distancing will help ward off new variants of the coronavirus. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says outbreaks are slowing in B.C. and the province is at a "tipping point" that she feels positive about. "Clearly the things we are doing in our community are working," Henry said Monday, acknowledging that outbreaks continue in essential workplaces and long-term care homes. B.C.'s curve has started to bend down again following a bump after the holidays, but health officials are warning British Columbians to keep following public health measures as they watch for two confirmed coronavirus variants in the province. Henry said that while B.C.'s numbers continue to slowly trend in the right direction, the risk of transmission remains high in all areas of the province. B.C. 'prepared' for vaccine delays The federal government on Friday announced Pfizer is temporarily reducing shipments of its vaccine in order to expand manufacturing capacity at a facility in Belgium. The move means there will be fewer shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech coming to Canada until at least March. Henry and Dix said they were disappointed to hear about the delay. On Monday, Deputy Provincial Health Officer Reka Gustafson said the change will mean a drop in vaccinations in B.C., but added the news was not surprising. "This will mean that, for a brief period of time, we will be able to administer fewer doses of the vaccine because we will have fewer doses of vaccine, but we are also assured that this temporary slowdown is to ensure there is increased production as those weeks pass," Gustafson told CBC's The Early Edition. "It's something we planned for. In a worldwide vaccination campaign, we expect fluctuations in supply and we are prepared to change our vaccination campaign to respond." A total of 75,914 people have been vaccinated in B.C. so far. For those people who are awaiting their second dose of the vaccine after already receiving their first, Gustafson said the plan "is still to provide the second dose within 35 days." B.C. monitoring new variants Public health officials are also monitoring new variants of the novel coronavirus, including those first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Gustafson suspects variants have been playing a role in B.C.'s pandemic for some time. "Variants of this virus have likely emerged throughout the pandemic and are probably a big part of the story of why some areas have very big outbreaks while other areas have smaller outbreaks," Gustafson said. "The variants are what we expect. We are going to be detecting them more as our capacity to do genomic sequences throughout the world expands." Gustafson said it's key that the public sticks to existing health measures such as handwashing and physical distancing. "From an individual's perspective, really, there is at this time no indication that the things we do to prevent transmission of this virus don't work [with variants] ... there is no indication people need to do anything different," she said. "I would suggest doing what we're doing right now and doing it consistently." Weekend fines issued On Saturday, Kelowna RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the organizer of a protest in the city's downtown area. Police did not name the organizer but said it was the third time that person organized a large gathering of people who oppose measures meant to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Also on Saturday, organizers of a planned rally in Surrey in support of farmers in India said the event was unfairly shut down before it could begin. Surrey RCMP said they moved to shut down the protest upon hearing that it would feature a stage and food vendors, which raised concerns about people leaving their vehicles and congregating. B.C.'s current health restrictions are in effect until at least Feb. 5 at midnight. The current orders include a ban on gatherings with people outside of one's immediate household. Tourism industry angst B.C.'s tourism industry said that implementing an inter-provincial travel plan would decimate what's left of the sector's operators, as B.C. Premier John Horgan seeks legal advice on the feasibility of a travel ban between provinces. The B.C. Hotel Association is urging the government to pursue other options to limit the spread of COVID-19. It said that an inter-provincial, non-essential travel ban goes against Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If put in place, the association said it would further cripple a sector that is "barely hanging on by a thread." A non-essential travel advisory remains in place in B.C., including travel into and out of B.C., and between regions. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 5 p.m. PT on Sunday, Canada had reported 708,609 cases of COVID-19, with 75,280 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 18,014. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive arm on Monday defended a decision to send a team of senior officials to Lisbon for a meeting with Portuguese government ministers, after two ministers tested positive for COVID-19 and a number of top officials went into isolation. Eight members of the European Commission paid a one-day visit to Lisbon Friday — as Portugal started a month-long lockdown — for meetings early in the country's six-month term as EU president nation, which began on Jan. 1. Portugal’s finance and labour ministers later tested positive for the virus, while three other ministers have gone into isolation after coming into contact with people who tested positive. Two EU commission vice-presidents and a commissioner are in quarantine. Asked why it was so important for the visit to go ahead, commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the decision to meet face to face rather than via videoconference — like most EU meetings over the past year — was “not taken lightly.” “It is the launch of an extremely important presidency. There are many, many files which need to be carried forward by the Portuguese presidency, and it was felt important to be able to hold in-person discussions on these different political files,” Mamer said. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday that the pandemic is “at its most dangerous point” in the country and that the new lockdown would last at least a month. Staying at home is mandatory, including for work, and fines for not complying with rules such as to wear masks oiutdoors have doubled. Schools remain open, along with companies providing essential services. Mamer said the commission officials in quarantine would respect Belgium’s coronavirus rules and take a test on the seventh day after their return from Lisbon. In August, the EU’s chief trade negotiator, Commissioner Phil Hogan, had to resign after he admitted flaunting some measures during a summer stay in his native Ireland. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of housing starts in December fell compared with November. CMHC says the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts for all areas in Canada, excluding Kelowna, B.C., fell 12.2 per cent in December from November. The December survey was not conducted in Kelowna due to the pandemic. The annual pace of urban starts fell 12.8 per cent in December as urban starts of apartments, condos and other types of multiple-unit housing projects dropped 15.1 per cent. Single-detached urban starts fell 5.5 per cent. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 22,373 units. Despite the drop in December, CMHC says the six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts climbed to 239,052 units for the final month of 2020, up from 236,334 in November. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021. The Canadian Press
Premier Doug Ford says a new hospital set to open in Vaughan, Ont., will be used to relieve a capacity crunch because of rising COVID-19 rates. Ford says some patients from overcrowded Greater Toronto Area hospitals will be transferred to Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital when it opens on Feb. 7.
President Donald Trump never hid how he felt. For more than four years, Trump, a Republican, cultivated a political base by sharing his thoughts and emotions - pride, happiness, indignation, rage - on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis, creating an omnipresence of sorts that completely dominated the news cycle. Like no U.S. president has done before, he made himself the center of attention, the star of a literal reality show that was his administration, always with an eye for the camera, a flair for the dramatic, an instinct for the outrageous.
BLUEWATER DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD – The report presented by Andrew Low, financial services, to the Bluewater District School Board’s business committee Jan. 5 demonstrates “the board’s ability to be flexible in the face of uncertainty.” The report stated the budget was done in the summer, on a “business as usual” basis before school started. But business was far from usual, due to the pandemic. Impacts of COVID-19, as outlined in the report, included decreased enrolment for both elementary and secondary students. About 400 fewer than expected elementary students registered for in-person or remote school, and 80 fewer secondary students. This isn’t a local phenomenon, but has been felt province-wide. Many of the elementary students were in the younger (JK) age group, where school attendance isn’t mandatory. This resulted in reduced funding. The province has reduced the impact with stabilization funding. Personal protective equipment and an increased need for cleaning supplies had no financial impact – it’s supplied centrally at no cost to the board. The introduction of remote schools meant an increased need for technology, administrative support and temporary classroom teachers. Costs were offset through Priority and Partnership Funding (PPF), as were costs associated with enhanced protocol for school transportation, special education and increased custodial hours. The pandemic meant a decrease in community education and permit revenues, and an increase in costs due to higher absenteeism, partly offset by PPF funding. Revised estimates indicate a negative financial impact due to COVID-19 of about $10 million, offset by response funding of $8 million. Uncertainty continues about COVID-19 and potential funding gaps, which could require the board to draw on contingency reserves. This creates the need for “budgeting conservatively.” However, the board’s financial position remains strong for 2020-2021, according to the report, with a projected contribution to contingency reserves of approximately $3 million. As stated in the report, “The board’s focus to ensure student achievement and well-being remains our highest priority.” Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
At a time when Vancouver venues are struggling, the historic Hollywood Theatre in the Kitsilano neighbourhood is banking on more than just movies to survive. The theatre, located near Broadway and Balaclava Street, has reopened its Depression-era doors with pandemic-friendly changes. Operator David Hawkes and his business partner Shawn Mawhinney, both Vancouver locals, painstakingly restored the theatre's art-deco charm while keeping pandemic safety top of mind. Hakwes said they created platforms to be able to move and remove the theatre's seats — most of them originals from when the theatre opened in the 1930s — in order to create a more flexible event space. "We ... reupholstered all of those chairs," he said. "They unbolt from the floor ... we can take them all away." Other elements like the building's exterior paint colour, box office and it's colourful neon sign also had to be restored to the finest detail in order for the building to achieve the highest heritage status offered by the city. "The character of it is really, really quite remarkable," said Donald Luxton, a consultant who worked on the building's heritage plan. "It just feels like ... an updated version of itself without losing any of its character." Preserving heritage during COVID-19 Hawkins' original plans to start running movies as well as arts and culture events last fall were shattered due to COVID-19. Right now, the theatre is open for drinks, but will not be operating as a cinema while B.C. health restrictions are in place. However, Hawkes doesn't want the building to just be known for showing films. He's hoping that creating a space to host a wider variety of arts and culture events will help keep this era of the theatre's history alive. "If we were just a theater, we would have been pigeonholed into one thing and then, economically, it just wouldn't work," he said. "The idea here is to be flexible … if you're a one-trick pony, you're not going to survive." Hakwes added he hopes the building's classic neon sign will become a symbol of resilience in a post-pandemic Vancouver. "We have a history of rolling over ... and paving over our history [in Vancouver]," he said. "We decided to open because it's a little bit of a ray of good, good hope coming, showing that things are coming to be better over time."
Depuis le 9 janvier 2021, les policiers de la Sûreté du Québec ont été présents sur l’ensemble du territoire, dès l’entrée en vigueur du couvre-feu de la santé publique. La sûreté du Québec a déployé des effectifs supplémentaires ont été déployés afin de faire respecter la Loi sur la santé publique. « Depuis la première journée de l’entrée en vigueur du couvre-feu nous étions très engagés afin de veiller au respect de cette nouvelle ordonnance partout sur le territoire » nous fait savoir l’agente d’information au service des communications et de la prévention à la Sûreté du Québec, madame Nancy Fournier. La collaboration des citoyens La Sûreté du Québec a annoncé que les policiers vont demeurer présents afin d’intervenir auprès des citoyens qui ne respectent pas le couvre-feu entre 20h et 5h le lendemain matin. Plusieurs patrouilles vont donc assurer une présence accrue au cours des prochains jours afin de faire respecter les nouvelles règles. « Plusieurs citoyens nous ont contacté afin de rapporter des actes de non-respect des nouvelles mesures sanitaires et les ordonnances du gouvernement » nous a-t-elle confié madame Fournier. Prévenir les infractions de la Loi À noter que des effectifs supplémentaires seront maintenus sur les quarts de travail ciblés par le couvre-feu. « Les interventions des policiers visent à encourager les citoyens à se conformer aux décrets en vigueur et à prévenir les infractions à la Loi sur la santé publique. S’ils le jugent nécessaire, les policiers donneront des constats d’infractions » souligne l’agente d’information au service des communications et de la prévention à la Sûreté du Québec. Les exceptions contrôlées Bien que des exceptions permettent de justifier une dérogation au couvre-feu, la Sûreté du Québec précise qu’il est de la responsabilité des citoyens d’en faire la démonstration. « Après 20h, nous procédons à des vérifications et des contrôles afin de s’assurer que la bonne justification portée par les citoyens en circulation ou en déplacements est valable ainsi qu’il respecte les décrets en vigueur » conclu madame Fournier. Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
WINGHAM – North Huron Food Share reported a 77 per cent increase in the need for emergency food boxes last month, compared to last year. Joyce Johnston, a board member for the agency, told Midwestern Newspapers that overall, the numbers are up 23 per cent, including more seniors and new residents. Approximately 87 new families were added to the number of clients they provide for, 2020 seeing 211 families compared to the 140 families assisted in 2019. Board member, Roxane Nicholson, said 50 families utilized the food share program when they opened their doors for the first time in 2021, up from 30 – 35 families reported in previous years. The board members want to acknowledge the community’s overwhelming support and the generosity of their landlord, Doug Kuyvenhoven, plus the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre, who are crucial for their ability to fulfill the increased needs of the community. The increasing necessity for assistance prompted Kuyvenhoven to expand the current facility, as reported by the Wingham Advance Times in Nov. 2020. The new space is now open, the extra 300 square feet help to ease the congestion. “Between the increased volume, the addition of deliveries, and our attempts to follow COVID-19 protocols, the new space will take the pressure off the congested space we were working in,” Kuyvenhoven said, adding “the new number system of calling customers in one at a time ensures that customers and volunteers are able to maintain proper physical distancing.” The food share program receives fresh food every Monday from the Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre, and thanks to the new space and the recently purchased walk-in freezer, they can store, package and deliver more fresh produce along with other goods. They also share the donated items with the local Salvation Army who runs their own food distribution agency. The current needs include a request for cash gifts to fill the gap left after receiving donations. Volunteers can use the cash to purchase items at a reduced price at local grocery stores. Foodbank Canada said on their website that “providing food to those in need can be difficult at the best of times. With COVID-19, that task just got harder. Yet food banks continue to be leaders in their communities to provide food to those who live with food insecurity. “Food Banks Canada is in regular contact with the network of food banks across Canada, and already there are signs of COVID-19’s devastating impact on the food bank system: Food banks are already seeing drastic declines in the number of volunteers that can support their work in the days/weeks ahead. Food banks are concerned about the amount of stock they have access to, as a dwindling workforce means fewer pickups. Most food banks are worried about how to support themselves through this crisis and beyond financially. While the public prepares for possible impacts of COVID-19, food bank users cannot afford the same measure, leaving them more vulnerable. Food banks are adapting to these rapidly changing circumstances, but it is clear that help is needed.” To donate cash or food or apply for a hamper, contact the North Huron Food Share program at 519-357-2277 ext. 4, or visit them on their website at nhfoodshare.ca. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Moscow is ready for a quick deal with the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to extend the last remaining arms control pact, which expires in just over two weeks, Russia's top diplomat said Monday. Months of talks between Russia and President Donald Trump's administration on the possible extension of the New START treaty have failed to narrow their differences. The pact is set to expire on Feb. 5. Biden has spoken in favour of the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice-president, and Russia has said it’s open for its quick and unconditional extension Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference Monday that Moscow is ready to move quickly to keep the pact alive. “The most important priority is the absolutely abnormal situation in the sphere of arms control,” Lavrov said. “We have heard about the Biden administration’s intention to resume a dialogue on this issue and try to agree on the New START treaty's extension before it expires on Feb. 5. We are waiting for specific proposals, our stance is well-known and it remains valid." New START envisages the possibility of its extension for another five years, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is ready to do so without any conditions. The Kremlin also has voiced readiness to prolong the pact for a shorter term as Trump's administration had pondered. The talks on the treaty's extension have been clouded by tensions between Russia and the United States that have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants. Sunday's arrest of Putin's leading critic Alexei Navalny in Moscow after his return from Germany where he was recovering from a nerve agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin would further cloud Russia-U.S. ties. Joe Biden’s pick for national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called on Russian authorities to free Navalny. “Mr. Navalny should be immediately released, and the perpetrators of the outrageous attack on his life must be held accountable,” Sullivan said in a tweet. New START was signed in 2010 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. It limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. Arms control advocates have strongly called for its preservation, warning that its expiration would remove any checks on U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, striking a blow to global stability. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press
La pandémie de la COVID-19 a provoqué une pluie d'annulation d'événement depuis le mois de mars 2020. Le Boréal Loppet a dû changer sa formule pour sa 17e édition afin de s'adapter à la situation sanitaire. « Nous tiendrons le Loppet sous une formule volontaire et virtuelle », de commenter le président de l'activité qui a fait sa marque en Côte-Nord et dans les autres régions du Québec, Éric Maltais. Les 20 et 21 février, au moment qui vous convient, les participants sont invités à faire une sortie en skis de fond, à vélo, en raquettes ou à la course à pied. « Prenez-vous en photo (ou vidéo de 15-20 sec.), et envoyez le tout sur la page Facebook du Boréal Loppet. Précisez la distance parcourue et le temps est facultatif », demande M. Maltais. Il sera alors possible de prendre part à l'événement de sa ville respective. « À Forestville, les gens partiront du stationnement du club de ski, sur la route 138, à l'est de la station Ultramar (et non au restaurant Le Danube bleu) pour la raquette et le ski, la course à pied se déroulera dans les rues et le vélo au club de golf Le Méandre ou dans les sentiers de leur choix », dévoile le président. Les 150 premiers participants recevront une tuque du Boréal Loppet 2021.Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
The provincial government is opening a new hospital in Vaughan to help relieve pressure on other facilities in the Greater Toronto Area. The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital was originally scheduled to open in early February as the first brand new hospital — not a replacement of an older facility or a merger with an existing facility — in Ontario in almost three decades. Premier Doug Ford made the announcement at a Monday afternoon news conference, saying it would open in "a few short weeks." "It's like reinforcements coming over the hill," Ford said, adding that the province is also adding 500 additional surge capacity hospital beds in Toronto, Durham, Kingston and Ottawa. Health Minister Christine Elliott also said Monday that once the situation with COVID-19 has stabilized in the province, the hospital will open as originally planned. "The idea is this hospital is going to be used ... in order to take the load off of some other hospitals that are experiencing capacity challenges." Elliott said. The hospital will accept both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients "based on the system needs during this surge," a spokesperson for Mackenzie Health said in a statement to CBC Toronto. The news comes as Ontario reported 2,578 additional cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as the number of patients with the illness who required a ventilator to breathe climbed above 300 for the first time since the pandemic began. The new cases in today's update are the fewest logged on a single day in about two and a half weeks. They include 815 in Toronto, 507 in Peel Region, 151 in both York and Niagara regions, and 121 in Hamilton. New COVID-19 variant cases expected, Yaffe says "Our health-care system continues to be strained with elevated numbers of people in hospital," Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health, said on Monday. Thirty-one new outbreaks were reported as of Monday, Yaffe said, which was slightly lower than Monday of the previous week. Yaffe said Ontario is reporting 15 new cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, with the most recent case detected in London, Ont. in a patient with no known travel history. "We do expect more cases to be identified in the weeks to follow as there is evidence of community transmission," Yaffe added. She said the data indicated that the new strain is 56 per cent more easily transmissible in comparison to other variants. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: Windsor-Essex: 97 Ottawa: 92 Waterloo region: 85 Halton Region: 79 Durham Region: 76 Middlesex-London: 67 Simcoe Muskoka: 65 Lambton: 52 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 51 Eastern Ontario: 36 Southwestern: 31 Chatham-Kent: 29 Huron Perth: 15 Haldimand-Norfolk: 13 Brant County: 12 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) The additional infections come as the province's labs processed just 40,301 test samples for the novel coronavirus — tens of thousands fewer than there is capacity for in the system — and reported a test positivity rate of 6.6 per cent. The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 3,035. It reached a high of 3,555 on January 11. Yaffe said Monday's figures may have been low due to the number of tests processed Sunday, which was the lowest since Jan. 5. Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the current test positivity rate shows improvement from previous weeks when it would spike following weekends. "The numbers are dropping, I take that as a sign that Ontarians are doing what we're supposed to be doing," Williams said on Monday. But Williams said the province must cut its daily COVID-19 case counts to below 1,000 before lockdown measures can be lifted. He called the goal "achievable" and said the last time the province saw similar daily case counts was late October. Williams said he would also like to see the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units drop to 150 before lifting any restrictions. Another 2,826 cases were marked resolved in today's report. There are now 28,621 confirmed, active infections provincewide. The number of resolved cases have outpaced new cases on six of the last seven days in Ontario. There were 1,571 total patients with COVID-19 in Ontario's hospitals. Of those, 394 were being treated in intensive care units and 303 were on ventilators. Revised projections released last week by the province suggested that hospitals, especially those throughout southern Ontario, risk being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks. The influx could result in doctors having to triage emergency patients, running the risk that some will not get a hospital bed when needed. This morning, the Ontario NDP released a document they say is the province's triage protocol. However, a spokesperson for the Minister of Health later said in an email to CBC News Monday that it is not a triage protocol but rather "guidance that originated from experts in the sector, for use by the sector." Dated Jan. 13, the 32-page document outlines the details and critical elements of the triage process should there be a major surge in COVID-19 patients requiring hospital care. The documents say this should be considered only "as an option of last resort," prioritizes care for those "with the greatest likelihood of survival." It emphasizes the need for protection of individual human rights, non-discriminatory decision making and accountability. The spokesperson said as of Monday, nothing has been issued or approved by the Ministry of Health. "The expectation of the Ministry of Health is for the Bioethics Table to continue its engagement in consultations and discussions with various stakeholder groups," the statement from the ministry reads. In a news release, the NDP said the document "shows that the crisis in hospitals is out of control" while accusing Premier Doug Ford and his government of trying to keep it out of public view. "Had physicians not reached out to the Official Opposition and others, the directive that was written in secret, without consultation, would remain a secret," the NDP said. Public health units also reported another 24 deaths of people with the illness, pushing the official toll to 5,433. Vaccine clinic opens at Metro Toronto Convention Centre A clinic dedicated to administering COVID-19 vaccines opened in a Toronto convention centre on Monday. The same day, city officials announced the clinic will have to be paused as of Friday, due to a lack of access to vaccines. The clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which is in the downtown core, aims to vaccinate 250 people per day, but the city noted that is entirely dependent upon vaccine supply. City officials said the "proof-of-concept" clinic will help Ontario's Ministry of Health test and adjust the setup of immunization clinics in non-hospital settings. The Ministry of Health said this morning that another 9,691 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Ontario yesterday. A total of 209,788 shots of vaccine have been given out so far, while 21,752 people have received both doses and are considered fully immunized to the illness. Pfizer-BioNTech, which manufactures one of the two Health Canada-approved vaccines, announced last week that it's temporarily delaying international shipments of the shots while it upgrades production facilities in Europe. The Ontario government has said that will affect the province's vaccine distribution plan, and some people will see their booster shots delayed by several weeks. Officials in Hamilton, meanwhile, said the province has directed it to temporarily cease administering the first dose of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to everyone except residents, staff and essential caregivers at long-term care homes and retirement facilities. A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott did not say how many regions of the province had received that directive.
La Grande Alliance est une collaboration de la nation crie et du gouvernement québécois. Un de ses projets est de construire une voie ferrée reliant Matagami à Whapmagoostui (via Radisson), où se trouveraient aussi des infrastructures maritimes. « La réalisation principale de la Grande Alliance n’est pas de construire un chemin de fer »,nuance le président directeur général de la Société Plan Nord, Patrick Beauchesne. « L’ambition est de construire un axe de transport de niveau stratégique avec une sortie en milieu maritime. » Des fonctions à définir Cette voie ferrée servirait pour le transport des minéraux critiques,mais aussi pour les passagers,les matières ligneuses, l’approvisionnement des collectivités, etc. Ses fonctions seront déterminées par une étude de faisabilité qui est présentement en cours, qui touche les aspects socioéconomiques, environnementaux et autres du projet. Cette étude sera suivie d’études d’impacts environnementaux et de consultations. Si le projet se concrétise tel qu’anticipé, les travaux d’infrastructures à Whapmagoostui commenceraient en 2035, estime un porte-parole du gouvernement de la nation crie, qui souligne au passage qu’il est très prématuré de tenter de définir quoi que ce soit sur ce projet. Whapmagoostui et Kuujjuarapik Whapmagoostui et sa jumelle inuite,Kuujjuarapik,partagent territoires et services, même si la Convention de la Baie-James et du Nord québécois définit ce que ce sont leur aire respective, alors que lieu s’appelait Poste-de-la-Baleine Le maire de Kuujjuarapik, Anthony Ittoshat, se désole d’apprendre l’existence du projet de voie ferrée par La Sentinelle et les médias sociaux. « Nous n’avons jamais été approchés ou informés […], alors que nous devrions être les premières personnes informées parce que nous traçons la ligne entre les territoires cri et inuit. […] C’est bizarre. […] Ils devraient montrer un peu de respect. » Aucuns pourparlers M.Ittoshat est néanmoins convaincu que les promoteurs du projet vont prendre conscience de leur oubli et consulter la population inuite. « Ils vont se dire « Attends un peu, il y a des Inuits là! Nous avons oublié ça, nous devons parler aux Inuits avant que nous fassions notre chemin de fer. Est-ce que les Inuits veulent un chemin de fer Qu’est-ce qu’ils pensent? Qu’est-ce qui arrivera à leurs terrainsde chasse? » L’Administration régionale Kativik, qui s’occupe notamment des infrastructures municipales et maritimes et de la marina de Kuujjuarapik, n’a pas été non plus approchée par les partenaires de la Grande Alliance. « Personne ne s’y oppose ou n’approuve. Il n’y a pas de pourparlers », dit un porte-parole de l’Administration, ajoutant qu’un tel projet aurait des « effets fondamentaux pour la communauté ». Porte ouverte Un porte-parole de la nation crie affirme que son grand chef, Abel Bosum, a directement ouvert la porte aux Inuits, aux Innus et aux Naskapis lorsque la Grande Alliance a été annoncée, en février 2020. Le pdg de la Société du Plan Nord confirme,qu’à l’initiative du gouvernement cri, plusieurs représentants inuits ont été informés du projet de la Grande Alliance, dont la Société Makivik. Cette dernière, responsable du développement économique du Nunavik, n’était pas disponible au moment d’aller sous presse. Pour M. Beauchesne, il est beaucoup trop tôt dans le processus pour faire la distinction entre les parties crie et inuite du territoire. « Les obligations de la Convention [de la Baie-James et du Nord québécois] vont s’appliquer, affirme-t-il. C’est à travers le cadre existant d’évaluation de projets de cette nature que ces distinctions vont se faire. Mais nous sommes très loin de l’étape de réalisation de l’étude environnementale. » Signée en 1975, la Convention prévoyait qu’une route relierait Matagami à Poste–de-la-Baleine.Denis Lord, Initiative de journalisme local, La Sentinelle
After being "overwhelmed" with 911 calls on the latest pandemic restrictions, Windsor police have provided more information about how they will enforce the rules. The police service said officers won't enter homes, stop cars or people for the sole purpose of enforcing the stay-at-home order and provincial emergency. Further, no one is required to carry proof that they are going to work, the police service said in a statement Friday. If an officer has "reasonable grounds" to think that someone has violated the Reopening Ontario Act or the emergency declaration, officers can ask for ID in order to issue a fine or summons. Failing to properly identify yourself can lead to a fine or obstruction charges. "We will continue to monitor for COVID-19 compliance and respond to COVID-19-related complaints, as required. We will undertake enforcement actions, as necessary, under the legislation," the police service stated. New order sparks questions, criticism Under the stay-at-home order that took effect last Thursday, people can only leave their homes for essential reasons. There is a long list of exceptions, including going out for exercise or essential work, buying groceries and picking up prescriptions. Under the new order, officers can order people attending gatherings to go home, close any building where they believe an illegal event is taking place, and ask for the name and address of anyone they think is committing an offence. Charges can be laid through a ticket or summons to appear in court. The minimum fine for violating provincial gathering rules is $750. For those organizing illegal gatherings, there's a minimum fine of $10,000 and up to a year in jail. Within Windsor and across the province, the new rules have led to questions about how law enforcement will be ensuring compliance. They've also prompted concerns that people from visible minority groups could be disproportionately targeted by enforcement efforts. Police see uptick in 911 calls Windsor police have asked the public not to call 911 regarding the stay-at-home order, saying operators have been "overwhelmed" with calls. On Friday, the police service said it had received 200 non-emergency and 911 calls related to COVID-19 and the new order since Tuesday. "Any call to 911 that is not an emergency can take precious seconds away from a person trying to get through on 911 for a true emergency, where seconds may count for them," police said in an emailed statement.