(Cody MacKay/CBC - image credit) P.E.I. has confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 and one public exposure site — at the Toys R Us store on Buchanan Drive in Charlottetown. Anyone who was at the story on Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 10 a.m. to noon could have come in contact with the coronavirus. People in that position are being told to immediately self-isolate and seek a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. The new cases involve two women, one in her 20s and one in her 30s, and are both related to travel within Atlantic Canada. A news release from the Chief Public Health Office says the cases are linked to another positive case in the Atlantic region. The statement said both women are isolating and being followed by public health daily. Contact tracing is underway. The CPHO said anyone who visited Toys R Us during the two-hour period of risk on Tuesday should stay away from others starting immediately, and plan to visit a drop-in testing clinic on Thursday. The P.E.I. Chief Public Health Office says anyone who visited the Charlottetown location of Toys R Us on Tuesday between 10 a.m. and noon should immediately self-isolate and visit a drop-in testing clinic on Thursday. Even after receiving a negative result from that first test, the statement says, individuals who were at the toy retailer should continue to monitor themselves closely for symptoms of COVID-19 and get tested again if symptoms develop. Prince Edward Island now has three active cases of COVID-19 and has had a total of 117 positive cases of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. More from CBC P.E.I.
Players for the U.S. women's national team have decided to move on from kneeling during the anthem and instead focus on behind-the-scenes work to address racial inequity. Many players have knelt for the anthem before national team and club matches over the past year to protest systemic racism. But the entire team stood during the anthem before a SheBelieves Cup match in Florida against Brazil last weekend. “I think those that were collectively kneeling felt like we were kneeling to bring about attention to police brutality and systemic racism, and I think we decided that moving forward we no longer feel the need to kneel because we are doing the work behind the scenes. We are combatting systemic racism. And we never felt we were going to kneel forever," defender Crystal Dunn said. Midfielder Megan Rapinoe first took a knee during the anthem at a pair of national team matches in 2016. She said she wanted to express solidarity with Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who silently took a knee during the national anthem before NFL games to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice. Rapinoe faced criticism and U.S. Soccer adopted a rule that required players to stand. But sentiment among the public changed last year in the wake of global protests over the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck. Athletes across sports responded by kneeling during the anthem. Soon thereafter, U.S. Soccer repealed the rule and President Cindy Parlow Cone apologized for it. Defender Midge Purce was among those who started the Black Women's Player Collective, a group of some 43 Black National Women's Soccer League players. The non-profit group formed last year aims to elevate the representation and voice of Black women in sports. The group kicked off a fundraising effort this week to host free soccer clinics nationwide and give kids the opportunity to attend NWSL games this season, among other initiatives. Within one day of the launch, the organization surpassed its $20,000 goal. “It is definitely something that's hard to talk about and hard to take that next step, because us as white payers want to do everything that we can to support the Black players and to put their voice at the forefront, but also not require them to do all the work and always be front facing,” defender Tierna Davidson said. “So that's something that we've definitely talked about as a group and definitely have grappled with.” Davidson said players are working with the collective and NWSL to bring about change in their communities. Angel City FC, which joins the NWSL in 2022, on Wednesday joined Common Goal to launch the Anti-Racists Project to address systemic racism in soccer and society through education at all levels of the game. Others involved in the project are Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire, men’s national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen, the Sanneh Foundation, the Oakland Roots soccer club and the American Outlaws supporters' group. “There was always going to be a time that we felt it time to stand,” Dunn said. "I think we’re all proud that we are doing the work behind the scenes and it was just a game where we felt we were ready to move into the next phase and just continuously fight for change.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press
Clearing the snow on roadways in town is a co-ordinated effort, from lining up staff to run equipment to alerting residents to move their vehicles in the areas being cleared. “Our first goal when we’re doing this is to make sure things are safe for drivers and pedestrians,” said John Greathead, director of operations with the Municipality of Jasper (MOJ). “From November to March, our focus is beating the weather and trying to stay ahead of the road conditions. We look at it as road maintenance. We’re geared up for snow removal.” Greathead said the town crew makes sure intersections and high-traffic areas - including Connaught Drive, Patricia Street and Miette Avenue - are cleared as soon as possible. Salting and sanding are part of the routine. “They’re out daily, working on that,” Greathead said. “We make sure we keep the walkability up on sidewalks and crosswalks.” Greathead explained that preempting the weather challenges presented by mother nature takes focus. “We pay attention to the weather a lot,” he said. “If we anticipate a significant snowfall or a change in the weather, we pre-wet the roads for easier removal of snow.” There are 12-to-14 workers involved in clearing the snow for a major snowstorm. After snow is plowed, crews use a snowblower to load it into dump trucks and it gets transported to the snow dump on Whistlers Road. Greathead, along with communications officer Amanda Stevens, explained in email that this snow clearing equipment includes two municipality-operated graders, two trucks to sand/salt the roads, two trucks and a pup trailer for hauling. There’s also a snowblower used that can move 3,500 tonnes per hour. “It can move more snow, more quickly, than we could possibly provide trucks for,” Greathead said. Greathead and Stevens added, “Additionally we have our grounds crew which look after cleaning municipal-operated sidewalks, specific Parks properties (under an agreement with Parks Canada), using many pieces of equipment including two tractors with sweeping attachments, a skid steer, a Toolcat and numerous shovels.” A couple of factors have led to cost savings for the municipality. Staff have been busier this year because a bulk of the work is being done in-house as opposed to contracting out trucks to haul snow away, and that has saved the municipality “a lot of money.” “We expect to see a significantly lower cost for this season once we finalize all the costs in the spring due to the lighter than normal snowfall this season so far as well as performing most of the work in-house as opposed to contracting out,” Greathead and Stevens said. “We usually spend more than $220k per winter season.” When an area is scheduled to be worked on, signage is placed on the streets at least 24 hours in advance and sometimes a few days before, when it’s possible. “If you see signage in your neighbourhood, it means the entire street will be plowed,” they said. “Whenever possible, it’s best to remove your vehicle from the street the night before, as snow removal operations may start in the early hours of the morning.” If signage was placed on the street less than 24 hours in advance, no tickets can be issued. Residents are expected to move their vehicles until the snow removal is complete. “We aim for compliance first but tickets ($65) can be issued if vehicles are not removed and signage was placed within the prescribed timeline,” Greathead and Stevens said. Residents and business owners are responsible for clearing the ice and snow on the sidewalk in front of their properties. Any accumulation of snow in excess of two centimetres has to be removed within 24 hours. Compliance is encouraged but if it comes down to it, a $100 fine may be issued. “Jasper is very pedestrian-friendly and people of all walks of life, from young parents with strollers to school-aged kids to seniors, use the sidewalk,” Greathead and Stevens said. “It is important that everyone do their share to keep our sidewalks safe and clear of snow and ice for everyone to use.” Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
(Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit) Commuters will no longer have to hold their noses when they enter Stratford from the Hillsborough Bridge at certain times of the year. Stratford's wastewater has begun flowing through a pipeline built across the bridge to the Charlottetown Pollution Control Plant. Once enough time has elapsed to ensure there are no issues, the final decommissioning of the existing lagoons will begin this spring. Stratford Mayor Steve Ogden said the town is looking forward to a future without waterfront odour issues. "We're no longer having to deal with, you know, the problems in the spring and, you know, the turnover and all that sort of thing. So I think it's a better quality of life for people who live in the area. It's better for the businesses that don't suffer that decline in business for that period of time and that sort of thing. "So it's going to be just a positive solution all around." We're no longer having to deal with, you know, the problems in the spring. — Mayor Steve Ogden Construction began on the $10-million project in the fall of 2019 and will conclude with the decommissioning of the existing lagoon wastewater treatment facility in Stratford. Most of the funding came from the federal government's Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The P.E.I. government contributed about $2.7 million. The project includes approximately 2.5 kilometres of sewer pipelines and infrastructure that connects to the City of Charlottetown wastewater collection system. The town intends to turn the decommissioned lagoon area into green space to create a more inviting entrance to the community, Ogden noted. "We're currently working on a public consultation to see what we'll put down on the waterfront, for recreational space and whatever else people would like to see there. So, yeah, it's a very exciting time. It's a very positive thing for the community." More from CBC P.E.I.
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — An inquiry investigating why a former soldier killed his family and himself in 2017 heard Wednesday from a psychologist who said she didn't detect warning signs about domestic violence when he began treatment in 2011. Wendy Rogers, a psychologist contracted by the military, said she would have picked up on indications Cpl. Lionel Desmond was prone to violence or abusive behaviour while he was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. "He never spoke about his wife in a derogatory manner," she told the provincial fatality inquiry, adding that he did not have any suicidal or homicidal tendencies. "There was nothing that raised red flags for me." Desmond, a corporal who served with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, had been diagnosed with PTSD in 2011 after a particularly intense seven-month tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2007. Rogers said she was shocked when she heard about the triple murder and Desmond's suicide on Jan. 3, 2017. "I could not have predicted it, especially his daughter," she said. "He loved that little girl." The psychologist said that in 2012, Desmond felt "distressed" about the fact his wife, Shanna, had texted him to ask for a divorce. Rogers, however, insisted he showed no anger toward his wife. "It was like an indifference," she told the inquiry, adding that this attitude was common among former combat soldiers with PTSD. Earlier in her testimony Wednesday, Rogers said Desmond was very depressed, spoke slowly and didn't show much emotion when they first met in December 2011 while he was posted to Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick. She said she encouraged him to become more active, and she used prolonged exposure therapy, which teaches patients to make audio recordings about traumatic memories and then replay those recordings to help diminish their anxiety. The psychologist said Desmond talked about the revulsion he felt when he saw the partial remains of an enemy fighter in Afghanistan. "It was a very horrific sight," she testified. "It was one of the things that haunted him ... (But) his distress levels about the event decreased over time." Desmond responded well to therapy in 2011 and 2012, Rogers said, adding that he appeared ready to return to active duty by February 2013. She later learned, however, that her former patient had suffered a significant relapse in May 2013 when he was subjected to racist comments about his African Nova Scotian heritage while working at the base. Four months later, Desmond told Rogers he could not stop thinking about the incident. "It was causing him a lot of distress," she told the inquiry, adding that Desmond said he was so angry that he was worried he might hurt someone. Rogers also recalled that Desmond told her about how he was the target of racist comments as a boy growing up in Guysborough County in eastern Nova Scotia. He also talked about how Black youths from his neighbourhood would sometimes fight with white kids on Friday nights. "He would have been exposed to racial comments throughout his life," she said, adding that Desmond never said anything about experiencing racism while serving in Afghanistan. It was clear that the stress from the incident at the base had led to a relapse of symptoms, but Rogers said the setback appeared to have little to do with combat-related PTSD. The relapse prompted the military to reconsider Desmond's return to regular duty, and the process to have him medically released was set in motion, Rogers added. On May 13, 2015, a military medical official submitted a form stating Desmond's PTSD was "still active" and that he had "never achieved remission." The document said the soldier was facing several stressors, including his pending medical release, "marital strain with potential for divorce" and separation from his daughter. "Status not stable, continues to deteriorate, wants to improve, but struggles with same," the document said. Despite these pressures, Desmond displayed no indications of wanting to kill anyone or himself, the medical official concluded. Desmond was released from the military on June 26, 2015. As a veteran, he was recommended for continued treatment at the operational stress injury clinic in Fredericton and he was later told to take part in a six-month residential treatment program at Ste. Anne's Hospital in Montreal. The inquiry has heard that he left the program three months early and returned home to Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., in August 2016. Evidence presented to the inquiry has shown that Desmond received no therapeutic treatment during the four months before he bought a semi-automatic rifle on Jan. 3, 2017, and later that day fatally shot his 31-year-old wife, their 10-year-daughter, Aaliyah, and his 52-year-old mother, Brenda, before killing himself in the family's home. — By Michael MacDonald in Halifax. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A man over the age of 70 is the fifth person to die in Newfoundland and Labrador because of COVID-19, health officials said Wednesday. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced his death during an emotional public health briefing. While reminding residents that someday the pandemic will be over, Fitzgerald teared up and had to take a moment before she could continue. "One day we will be able to gather together and hug our friends and family," she said, her voice breaking. "Hold fast, Newfoundland and Labrador." Fitzgerald reported eight new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, all in the eastern health region of the province, which includes the capital, St. John's — where an outbreak began several weeks ago. Officials have said the outbreak was caused by the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom. Despite low case numbers over the past few days, Newfoundland and Labrador remains under lockdown and Fitzgerald said residents must stay on guard. There are 345 active reported infections in the province and six people are in hospital with the disease, she said. Health Minister John Haggie confirmed that two patients of a St. John's hospital have been diagnosed with COVID-19, adding that it's not clear how they contracted the virus. "There is no outbreak," he said about the hospital. Haggie said health officials expect regular shipments from Pfizer to resume, including weekly shipments of 6,000 doses. He said the second and third phase of the province's vaccination plan will be released Friday, adding that officials are ready to ramp up vaccinations as soon as they have enough of the vaccine to do it. Pfizer, he said, has also promised an extra 80,000 doses in March and another 249,000 doses by the end of May. "Those last two quantities, we have not seen hide nor hair of as yet," Haggie told reporters. "But given the comments on the national scale, we're hopeful and optimistic that we may see some or all of that, in which case we have a plan to ramp up vaccination." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Radio-Canada/Guy R. LeBlanc - image credit) Provincial officials at the Department of Health say they're "working toward" fixing the Ambulance New Brunswick contract that now includes a bonus payment system favouring urban over rural areas. But they offered no details during an appearance before a committee of MLAs on what that work involves or how soon changes could be made. "We recognize that the response times across the province are not equal. We are the first ones to recognize that," said Gérald Richard, the deputy minister at the department. "We have been directed as the Department of Health officials to make sure that we find solutions to those inequalities in the system and we are working toward that at this moment." He and René Boudreau, an assistant deputy minister who chairs the provincial corporation overseeing the service, faced tough questions from several MLAs on the Public Accounts committee. "Why is the department comfortable with dividing the province basically into these categories where the rural areas are disadvantaged and have unacceptable wait times?" asked Green MLA Megan Mitton. "I have to say we are not comfortable with this at all," Richard responded, "and government is not as well and has directed us to look at improving the contract." Progressive Conservative MLA Jake Stewart, pushed Richard repeatedly on the structure of the contract, noting his hometown of Blackville is among the communities with response times below the provincial target. "Twenty-six, 27, 28 minutes is a long time for a tragic car crash or a drowning," Stewart said. Department of Health deputy minister Gérald Richard, left, and assistant deputy minister René Boudreau appearing before the Public Accounts committee last year. Medavie Health Services New Brunswick Inc., a non-profit private company, runs the ambulance service under a contract with EM/ANB Inc., which is made up of a board of provincial government officials. Boudreau said Wednesday there's "a willingness on both ends" to try to change the agreement, which expires in 2027. Medavie gets extra payments if it hits its response-time goals 90 per cent of the time. The goals are nine minutes in urban areas and 22 minutes in rural areas. The payments were $2.7 million in 2018-19. But because rural areas are folded into four large zones where urban calls make up the majority of ambulance calls, the Medavie service can hit the 90 percent goal in each zone and receive bonus payments--despite falling short of 90 percent in rural communities. Ambulance service focused on urban areas, AG says Last year Auditor-General Kim Adair-MacPherson found that 19 of 67 remote, rural communities saw response times below the 90 per cent threshold. The lowest was Belledune, with 69 per cent. Another example was Port Elgin with 79 per cent. Blackville was at 88 per cent. Ambulance New Brunswick "is given the opportunity to focus resources on urban areas while having decreased performance in outlying communities and without impacting its performance-based payments," Adair-MacPherson said in her report last fall. Boudreau said communities where ANB frequently misses the 22-minute goal "definitely need attention" and the goal is "equity across the province." Once the government gives the EM/ANB board clear direction, "there is absolutely a willingness on both ends to look at what those implications would mean for the contract and make changes where appropriate and where the parties can find agreement." "It's refreshing that the current contract will be revamped to provide acceptable response times and coverage to rural areas," Stewart said after the meeting wrapped up.
These handmade superheroes babies learn colors in this excellent stop motion animation for all kids. Enjoy!
WASHINGTON — The spirit of cross-border co-operation is lingering as Canada's environment minister talks climate change priorities with presidential envoy John Kerry. Jonathan Wilkinson says he expects Canada and the United States to push each other to reach more ambitious climate targets as they work together over the next few months. Today's conversation follows a virtual meeting Tuesday between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden. The two leaders vowed to move "in lockstep" in a shared North American effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Biden says their overall shared goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Wilkinson says Canada hopes to set a new target for emissions cuts by 2030 — somewhere between 31 and 40 per cent of 2005 levels — before Biden's April 22 climate summit. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
STONY PLAIN, Alta. — A trial date has been set for a jailed Alberta pastor who is accused of holding Sunday services that violated COVID-19 rules.James Coates with GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove, near Edmonton, did not appear in court Wednesday when a date for a three-day trial was set to start May 3. He was arrested last week and remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions.Coates was charged this month for violating Alberta's Public Health Act and breaking a promise to abide by rules of his bail release, which is a Criminal Code offence. The church has been holding services that officials say break public-health regulations on attendance, masking and distancing.John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, the organization representing Coates, said lawyer James Kitchen plans to file an application with the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench seeking the pastor's release until the trial begins.Carpay said Kitchen will argue that the provincial government needs to be held accountable for COVID-19 rules that infringe on constitutional rights."The health orders violate our Charter Section 2 rights to assemble and associate worship, Section 6 rights to move and to travel, and Section 7 charter rights to life, liberty, and security," Carpay said."If the past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour, I don't think it's likely that Pastor Coates is going to abide by unscientific public health workers but that's his decision."Several people gathered outside the Stony Plain courthouse in support of the pastor and urged Premier Jason Kenney to lift COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday."Our governing authorities are acting criminally and all this is against our constitutional rights and freedoms," said Jasmine Tucker, who has been going to GraceLife Church for 10 years and has continued attending church since Coates' arrest."We're devastated by what has happened. We have the right to go to church and worship God the way that God tells us to. We pray that churches will open, that churches stand up and say this is not right."Tucker said she has been in touch with the pastor's wife and has been told he is doing OK in jail."He is faithful, he is courageous, and he is honouring the Lord."Police fined the church $1,200 in December and a closure order was issued in January.Coates has addressed the province's health restrictions in his sermons, telling worshippers that governments exist as instruments of God and there should be unfettered freedom of worship.Jacob Spenst, an associate pastor of the church, conducted last Sunday's service and told the congregation that messages of support have been pouring in for the jailed pastor.The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021.---This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
THUNDER BAY, Ont. — A school board in Thunder Bay, Ont., is calling for all classes to go online after several COVID-19 outbreaks. The board wants public health authorities to mandate online learning for at least two weeks starting March 1. Board chairwoman Ellen Chambers says schools have had to dismiss classes repeatedly because of one COVID-19 case. She says that is affecting students' learning. Chambers says 576 students and 55 staff are currently self-isolating, creating a teacher shortage. The Lakehead District School Board has 26 elementary schools and four secondary schools. Four schools are currently in virtual learning because of COVID-19 cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — Camping enthusiasts in British Columbia will be able to book summer campsites in parks across the province starting March 8. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy says in a statement Discover Camping, the online reservation system, will allow campers to book sites up to two months in advance. Thousands of sites are available, including access to a new, fully serviced 90-site campground that opens this spring in Manning Park, east of Vancouver. B.C.'s roughly 1,000 provincial parks receive more than 23 million visits every year and the ministry statement says this year's camping season is expected to be busy. Those seeking a site are urged to have a backup location planned if their first choice is taken and campers must also ensure they meet all provincial public health regulations regarding size limits for gatherings. When the pandemic hit last spring, camping reservations were delayed until May and the booking system crashed within minutes of launch as more than 50,000 people attempted to log on. The government says B.C. residents will have priority access to campsites until July 8, when residents from other provinces can sign into www.discovercamping.ca. George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, says access to provincial parks has never been as important as it is now. "We are all looking forward to another summer of camping and outdoor recreation in B.C., and while public health concerns and advice remain, we are asking people to pick a campground as close to home as possible to avoid long road trips and non-essential travel," he says in the statement. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
On the Tudor and Cashel Township Facebook page, staff announced that the interim tax notices for the township were sent out on Feb. 18, and payments were due back to them by March 29. The township advised residents that if they hadn’t gotten their notices, they should contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Surveys were also included with the tax notice, to get input on the proposed change to the ward system, and were to be returned by mail, email, or dropping them off at the municipal office. Nancy Carrol, the clerk and treasurer of Tudor and Cashel Township, explains that they do two tax billings. “The first is based on 50 per cent of the previous years’ taxes and the second will be calculated with the mill rate for the current year and any assessment changes. The final tax bill for the 2021 year will be due July 28,” she says. There was also a survey that was circulated with the tax notices. It was drafted in-house by the township, and is in relation to the ward system that council is looking to introduce and to get residents’ feedback on this plan. The ward system changeover discussion arose from a motion put forth by Councillor Noreen Reilly at the Jan. 12 council meeting. She proposed a bylaw to adopt a three-ward system in the township for the 2022 election to replace their current at-large system. She felt that the change would ensure that equitable political representation within the municipality continues on as time goes by, better than the current system, and council passed a bylaw to look into enacting this change after getting residents’ feedback. Carrol says the survey is very basic, with the goal of getting the information out to the electorate that council has asked for the introduction of a ward system through a bylaw. “Any feedback will be compiled and reported to council to assist in their decision-making process.” Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times
Les coopératives COFOR (coopérative des travailleurs forestiers de Sainte-Marguerite) et Unisaco (coopérative des travailleurs de Sacré-Coeur), la société de placements Investra ainsi que le Groupe Boisaco se sont portés acquéreur de l'entreprise Valibois inc., dont le siège social est situé a Falardeau, le 19 février. Les anciens propriétaires, Jean-Louis Gravel et son fils Jean Gravel, déclarent par voie de communiqué être particulièrement heureux d’avoir complété cette opération. « Eux-mêmes originaires de Sacré-Cœur, ils adhèrent à la culture, aux valeurs et à la vision du Groupe Boisaco, qui est fondé sur la coopération et le développement socio-économique régional », fait savoir le communiqué de presse. Les nouveaux acquéreurs se disent également satisfaits d'avoir réalisé cette importante opération. « Ces sociétés possèdent en effet déjà une autre entreprise qui se spécialise dans la transformation des essences feuillues, soit la société Bersaco, dont le siège social est situé aux Bergeronnes », peut-on lire dans le document. Cette acquisition vise à développer plusieurs synergies positives axées sur la gestion des approvisionnements, la mise en marché des produits finis et l’ajout de mesures visant la croissance et la création de valeur, ce qui favorisera l’amélioration de la qualité de vie des travailleurs et celle des communautés concernées. « Considérant que le Groupe Boisaco est partenaire dans Les Bois du Fjord depuis 2017, cette importante acquisition viendra renforcer ses activités au Saguenay en plus de permettre la continuité des opérations de Valibois, assurant ainsi le maintien des importantes retombées socio-économiques qu’elle engendre dans la municipalité de St-David de Falardeau », est-il dévoilé. Valibois procure du travail à plus de 30 travailleurs en usine et à des dizaines de travailleurs de la forêt du Saguenay pour assurer son approvisionnement via les opérations forestières de Scierie Girard et les coopératives forestières de Ferland-et-Boilleau ainsi que Groupe Forestra. Elle rejoindra ainsi la grande famille des sociétés qui ont été initiées par la communauté de Sacré-Cœur depuis 35 ans, regroupant Bersaco, Boisaco, COFOR, Unisaco, Granulco, Groupe Boisaco, Intrafor, Investra, Ripco et Sacopan. « Ces dernières procurent de l’emploi à plus de 550 travailleurs et ont un chiffre d’affaires consolidé dépassant 150 M$ », de conclure le communiqué. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
The U.S. Transportation Department's inspector general faulted "weaknesses" in U.S. government certification of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft that was grounded for 20 months after two crashes killed 346 people, according to a report released Wednesday. The 63-page report said the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) did not have a complete understanding of a Boeing Co safety system tied to both crashes and said "much work remains" to address outstanding issues. Boeing said it has "undertaken significant changes to reinforce our safety practices, and we have already made progress" on recommendations outlined in the report.
WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Wednesday that he will vote for New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland to serve as interior secretary, clearing the way for her likely approval as the first Native American to head a Cabinet agency. Manchin, a moderate from West Virginia, had been publicly undecided through two days of hearings on Haaland's nomination by President Joe Biden. Manchin caused a political uproar last week by announcing plans to oppose Biden’s choice for budget director, Neera Tanden, a crucial defection that could sink her nomination in the evenly divided Senate. By contrast, Manchin said Haaland had earned his vote, despite disagreements over drilling on federal lands and the Keystone XL oil pipeline. “While we do not agree on every issue, she reaffirmed her strong commitment to bipartisanship, addressing the diverse needs of our country and maintaining our nation’s energy independence,'' Manchin said in a statement. Haaland's House colleagues on both sides of the aisle, including Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, praised Haaland's bipartisan accomplishments and “sincere willingness to work collaboratively on important issues,'' Manchin said. Manchin also said he was pleased that Haaland, during hearings this week, said the Biden administration is committed to continuing to use fossil fuels “for years to come, even as we transition to a cleaner energy future through innovation, not elimination." Manchin, a longtime coal industry defender, leads a committee that is crucial to Biden’s efforts to address climate change but has expressed skepticism about some of the actions advocates say are needed to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. He has stressed the need for the Biden administration to create clean-energy jobs to replace jobs likely to be lost in the transition away from coal, oil and natural gas. Manchin's announcement came as Republicans denounced Haaland, saying her opposition to fracking, Keystone XL and other issues made her unfit to serve in a role in which she will oversee energy development on vast swaths of federal lands, mostly in the West, as well as offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. “We should not undermine American energy production and we should not hurt our own economy, yet that is precisely what the Biden administration is doing," through a moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands, said Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the senior Republican on the Senate energy panel. The leasing moratorium, signed by Biden last month and supported by Haaland, "is taking a sledgehammer to Western states’ economies,'' Barrasso said, and could result in as many as 33,000 workers losing their jobs in Wyoming. An additional 62,000 workers in Haaland's home state of New Mexico also are at risk, he said. Barrasso and other Republicans also bemoaned Biden's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast, saying thousands of jobs will be lost and a friendly source of oil left idle. Haaland said under questioning Wednesday that she supports Biden's decision and stressed that she will be following his agenda at the Interior Department — not her own. Manchin said he was pleased that Haaland had made clear her commitment to extending a program to clean up abandoned coal mines across the country, including West Virginia. Several Republican senators, including Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, a former Senate energy chair, have not revealed how they will vote on Haaland's nomination, though it appears likely most Republicans will oppose her. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., called Haaland “a hard-line ideologue with radical views out of touch with Montana and the West.'' He cited her opposition to Keystone XL and statements she made before her nomination calling for a ban on fracking. Daines tangled with Haaland at her confirmation hearing over her previous opposition to trapping on public lands and her support for continued federal protections for grizzly bears. He asked Haaland why she co-sponsored a bill to continue grizzly bear protections “when the science tells us the bear numbers are well above the recovery targets" set by the Endangered Species Act. “I imagine, at the time, I was caring about the bears,” Haaland replied. She later said she "would be happy to take a look at that issue” with Daines. Matthew Daly, The Associated Press
A court matter involving a Wallaceburg woman facing a charge for organizing an anti-mask rally will continue in April after new evidence appeared. On Wednesday, Laura Myers, 32, was represented in Provincial Offenses Court via teleconference by her lawyer Antoine d’Ailly. Myers is charged with failing to comply with an order under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, section 10.1(1), after she allegedly organized the Nov. 21 Chatham-Kent Freedom Group rally in Tecumseh Park, Chatham, followed by a march through the downtown core. The Chatham-Kent Police Service and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent By-Law Enforcement alleged that their investigation concluded that the number of attendees exceeded the numbers permitted for an outdoor gathering. At the time, the limit on outdoor gatherings was 100 people. If convicted, Myers could face a fine ranging between $10,000 to $100,000, along with up to a year imprisonment. During court on Wednesday, the crown requested an adjournment stating that further video evidence was recently received. The court was told the additional time was needed to provide Myers’ counsel with the evidence and continue resolution discussions. The matter was postponed until April 14. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed inclined to expand when officers can enter a suspect's home without a warrant. The court has previously said that an officer in “hot pursuit” of a suspect believed to have committed a felony crime can enter the person's home without a warrant if the person goes inside. On Wednesday, the court was debating whether the same is true if the officer is pursuing the person over a misdemeanour. The case is important both to law enforcement and to groups concerned about privacy. Several justices, both liberal and conservative, suggested that making a distinction between felony and misdemeanour cases would be difficult and problematic. “The problem with trying to separate misdemeanour and felony is that different states have different rules and different crimes that count as misdemeanours,” Justice Stephen Breyer said during arguments the justices heard by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic. Chief Justice John Roberts, meanwhile, described the “line between felonies and misdemeanours” as “very hard to draw.” Lawyer Jeffrey Fisher told the justices that it is “not too much to ask for officers to procure a warrant before breaching the Fourth Amendment's most sacrosanct space.” But Erica Ross, arguing on behalf of the Biden administration, urged the court to side with officers, arguing that a “suspect's decision to bring a public encounter to the home diminishes any privacy interests he may have there.” The case before the justices involves California retiree Arthur Lange. One evening in 2016, an officer saw Lange driving his station wagon in Sonoma County, playing music loudly and honking his horn several times. The officer believed those were noise violations punishable by small fines and followed Lange. The officer later turned on his car's lights to get Lange to stop. But Lange continued driving for about four seconds, turned into his driveway and entered his garage without stopping. The officer got out of his car and, as Lange's garage door was closing, stuck his foot under the door so it would re-open. The officer then confronted Lange, who said he hadn't seen the officer. Lange was ultimately arrested after the officer smelled alcohol on his breath, and he was charged with driving under the influence as well as an excessive noise offence. Lange argued that the officer's entry into the garage without a warrant violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free of “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Justice Samuel Alito suggested that perhaps the line the court should draw is that officers don't need a warrant if they are truly in “hot pursuit” of a suspect, regardless of whether it is for a felony or misdemeanour. “The argument very simply is that hot pursuit has to be hot and it has to be a pursuit ... it has to involve a chase," he suggested. “The arrestee must actually be trying to flee and avoid arrest.” Lange's case wouldn't count, he suggested. “I see no attempt to avoid arrest. I see somebody who ... may well have not have even noticed these lights and simply proceeded into his own garage,” Alito said. A decision in the case is expected by the end of June. The case is Lange v. California, 20-18. Jessica Gresko, The Associated Press
The first big real-world study of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be independently reviewed shows the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, in a potentially landmark moment for countries desperate to end lockdowns and reopen economies. Up until now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines has come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables. The research in Israel - two months into one of the world's fastest rollouts, providing a rich source of data - showed two doses of the Pfizer shot cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94% across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much.
One of the few bright spots to the pandemic shines through in a crop of new entrepreneurs. For some, the shakeup in daily routines has brought the push they needed to jump into new business ideas that didn’t seem possible before. For husband and wife duo Seher Shafiq and Saad Khan, the absence of commutes to and from work and socializing opened up free hours that didn’t exist before the pandemic. An idea shaped up over a dinner conversation: Cardamom & Co., a tea and spice delivery service that could help their friends and family spread a little joy around in a rough time. They quickly got to work, setting up a Shopify website and Instagram account last summer. The venture offers care packages, chai kits and loose leaf teas, packed by hand in a small office in their North York condo. The focus is on gift giving and attempting to bridge the gap of social isolation. “Everything that we do comes with a personalized handwritten card so people love being able to send something to their friends, family (and) colleagues.” For Khan, the venture feels like a productive use of time. “I feel good, like we’re not wasting our time,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do something on my own and I feel like we just got handed this opportunity.” Like Cardamom and Co., Ottawa-based Boxed & Loved has zeroed in on gift boxes that can help people share the love while staying apart. Each box contains items personalized with a name, phrase or inside joke, explained co-founders and neighbours Noor Kamran and Dunia Jaradat. The pandemic made them think about what they could offer others, Kamran said. “COVID kind of forced us to think, ‘What is it that we can contribute?’” she said. “Maybe this is the time that forces you to slow down and think of what you’ve always enjoyed.” “Usually (the boxes are) tailored towards the gift recipients. So we talk to our clients on what they think that gift recipients would enjoy, whether it be self care items like face masks or bath bombs,” Jaradat said. With four children under age three between them, the pair wanted something to do that they loved and allowed them to manage their time alongside parenting. “It’s two people doing it, and we’re neighbours so we’ll share the tasks,” Jaradat said. For Kamran, the venture meant jumping headlong into a project instead of overthinking. “We just kind of (decided), ‘Let’s just do this and we’ll see how it pans out, how the logistics work.’” Whether it’s within your circle, or on a large-scale, there are more than a few businesses that have been started with others in mind. Manilla.co, for example, is an app that’s working to help people send money internationally, without the usual high banking and wire transfer fees. Two of the founders, Ashiana Ismail and Nehi Igbinijesu, spoke with the Star and said they made this app specifically with international students in mind. As former students themselves, they know many of their peers often rely on family support while studying overseas. And then there’s Goodszilla, founded by Toju Ogbeide. “It comes from the concept of a marketplace, that uses buying and selling of goods to do good at the world,” Ogbeide said. Goodszilla allows users — whether everyday people or retailers — to sell products and donate a portion of their sales to a charity of their choice. When Ogbeide first moved to Canada from Nigeria, he got involved in volunteering at food banks, Casey House and other organizations. When he was decluttering his place for a move, he thought, “How can I monetize these items (and) actually support the organizations that I’ve worked at in the past?” He noticed auctions were a popular way charities raised money, and he knew that funds could be more valuable than physical things, so he thought a platform where all of that was combined would be neat. Whether it’s a scrappy endeavour started in a condo, or bigger visions looking for funding, this kind of entrepreneurship is picking up. Both Manilla.co and Goodszilla are part of an incubator program at Parkdale Centre for Innovation, which has helped entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground since it opened in 2018. Rusul Alrubail, founder of the Parkdale Centre for Innovation, noticed a significant jump in applicants for the centre’s most recent cohort. People are finding time and motivation to invest in a new business idea and the reasons can vary, but Alrubail has noticed that even prior to the pandemic, the reason marginalized people can turn to entrepreneurship can have greater stakes. It can be a way to create opportunities for themselves when they face systemic barriers in their chosen fields. “It’s a way out for them,” Alrubail said. “People are literally starting businesses because they don’t have access to career opportunities. And they need that financial security.” As a result of the pandemic, unemployment peaked in May 2020 at 13.7 per cent, according to Statistics Canada and as of January it’s 9.4 per cent. For some, entrepreneurship may be a better option to finding traditional work in a hard economy. Either way, a time of upheaval can be a time to chase a dream. Mahnoor Khan said she had left her full-time job before the pandemic hit after feeling disillusioned and disenchanted with the rigidity of — something the onset of COVID-19 exacerbated. She remembers feeling something was structurally wrong with the economy and the way people work. Last summer, Khan found herself in the middle of home renovations. “I was renovating some space, my own personal home, and (thought) ‘I really just love this, I wish I could just do this,’” Khan recalled in a Zoom video call with the Star. Already inspired to take on a creative venture, Khan shared her feelings with her new business partner Maham Babar who suggested the two team up to launch Amavi Design Studio. The pair, who handle interior design and staging, have seen a growing stream of business since their studio launched. “You keep having these ideas of the kind of work space you wish there was or you know, ‘If I was a boss, I would do it like this,’” Khan said. “I feel like COVID really just proved to people that there’s no reason why you can’t work half of the week from home and still be as productive.” Her takeaway from the venture? Just jump into new ideas. “You just need to do it, you just need to do something — whatever you’re thinking.” Angelyn Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jenna Moon, Toronto Star Staff Reporter, Toronto Star