In announcing a planned phone call on Friday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the White House's intended message was clear: Traditional allies are back in favour while despots, dictators and the killers of dissenters are on the outs. The way press secretary Jen Psaki announced the scheduled call with Trudeau was revealing, as it came in response to a question that had nothing at all to do with Canada's prime minister. She was asked about Vladimir Putin. Specifically, she was asked when Biden would speak with the Russian leader. Psaki replied that it wasn't an immediate priority. "[Biden's] first foreign leader call will be on Friday with Prime Minister Trudeau," she said. "I would expect his early calls will be with partners and allies. He feels it's important to rebuild those relationships." U.S. plans to investigate Russia Psaki elaborated on Putin in a separate news conference where she described Russia as "reckless" and "adversarial." She said Biden has tasked the intelligence community with reporting on a variety of alleged Russian transgressions: cyberattacks on U.S. companies, interference in U.S. politics, the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and Russian-paid bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet the goal of rebalancing relationships away from rivals toward like-minded countries has been tested already. Some Canadians, notably Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, want trade retaliation against the U.S. following the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline on Day 1 of the new administration. The decision undermines Canada's No. 1 export to the United States: oil. WATCH | The National's report on Keystone XL: Biden's foreign policy ambitions will keep being tested as international relationships undergo unwieldy twists on any given issue due to practical and political considerations. Here is what we already know about the Biden administration's approach to other countries after its first couple of days in office. The moves so far The administration will release a report on suspected Saudi government involvement in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, an issue the last administration showed little interest in pursuing. It is also threatening to cancel support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. It is willing to consider new NATO expansion on Russia's doorstep, into Georgia, and in fact is staunchly supportive of the international military alliance. And Biden has rejoined previous alliances the U.S. was either scheduled to exit (the World Health Organization) or had already left (the Paris climate accord). These activities are intended to signal a dramatic change in foreign policy from Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, who frequently bashed the leaders of democracies and international institutions while simultaneously cultivating friendly relationships with non-democratic leaders in the Middle East, Russia and North Korea. There will be contradictions in Biden's approach — as there were in Trump's. For example, while Trump often had kind words for dictators, he also sanctioned their countries on occasion, including Russia and China. Also, don't count on an ambitious foreign policy from Biden. Early on, the new administration will be busy juggling domestic crises, said Edward Alden, an expert on Canada-U.S. relations. "I think we are going to see an approach to alliances that looks a lot like [Barack] Obama's — engaged, respectful, but not overly ambitious," said Alden, a senior fellow at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "The United States has enormous problems at home, and those are going to take priority for some time." Alden said he does expect some new international initiatives, such as more active co-operation on global vaccine distribution. Biden wants changes on Canada-U.S. pandemic travel On COVID-19, Biden also wants to immediately connect with Canada and Mexico to establish new rules within 14 days for pandemic-related travel safety measures. Alden also expects an attempt to rework and revive the international nuclear deal with Iran, and establish greater co-ordination with other countries in confronting China. For example, Biden has proposed a summit of democracies where countries can share ideas for countering autocracies. Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, told his confirmation hearing this week that the last administration had a point in reorienting policy toward Beijing. "President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China," Blinken said. "The basic principle was the right one, and I think that's actually helpful to our foreign policy." He got into a testy exchange at that hearing with Sen. Rand Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican who favours a hands-off approach on foreign affairs. When Blinken said he was open to expanding NATO membership to Russia's neighbour Georgia, Paul called that a recipe for war with Russia. Blinken argued the opposite is true. After years of Russian incursions in non-NATO Georgia and Ukraine, recent evidence suggests Russia is most belligerent with countries outside NATO's shield, he said. Keystone XL: The early irritant Biden and Trudeau are expected to discuss new travel measures to control the spread of COVID-19, as well as Biden's decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion that would run south from Alberta to Nebraska. So far, Trudeau has shown little desire to escalate the pipeline issue. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, has demanded retaliatory action, and some trade experts say potential legal avenues do exist. WATCH | Kenny on the fate of Keystone XL: But they're skeptical they will achieve much. Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, a cross-border consulting firm specializing in trade and government affairs, said the best that pipeline-backers can hope for is to sue the U.S. government for financial compensation for the cancelled project. He said the Alberta government and the project's developer, TC Energy, can try suing under the investor-state dispute chapter in the old NAFTA, which will remain in effect for two more years for existing investments. "[But] nothing is going to force the Biden administration to deliver the permit," Miller said. "One has to be clear that there is no world in which Joe Biden [retreats on this]." Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said he doubts complaints from Canada will make a difference. He said the most politically effective argument for the pipeline would come from Americans — from the companies and unions that would have serviced the project. The Ohio-based lawyer said challenges under U.S. laws, such as the Administrative Procedures Act, could potentially work, but he cautioned: "They're high hurdles."
Oil prices fell to end the week little changed and the dollar index posted its largest weekly drop in five weeks. Technology stocks weighed the most on the S&P 500, with IBM and Intel posting 10% and 9% declines, respectively, after underwhelming earnings. Energy stocks also fell on Wall Street, alongside the price of crude.
VICTORIA — The B.C. government says a review of legal options has made it clear it cannot prevent people from travelling to the province from elsewhere in Canada. Premier John Horgan says in a statement that much of the travel that is happening between provinces is work-related and can't be restricted. The province had asked for a review of legal options related to restricting interprovincial travel last week in response to concerns that visitors have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in B.C. Horgan says the province also asked for "a better understanding of the impact of travel on transmission" of the illness. He says B.C. can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of residents. If transmission increases due to interprovincial travel, the premier says B.C. would impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers, though he did not offer details on potential measures in Thursday's statement. Horgan said he spoke with premiers in other provinces Thursday and asked them to share messages that now is not the time for non-essential travel. "We ask all British Columbians to stay close to home while vaccines become available. And to all Canadians outside of B.C., we look forward to your visit to our beautiful province when we can welcome you safely," he said. Public health officials indicate it's most important that everyone obey health orders, wherever they are, rather than imposing mobility rules, said Horgan. While announcing the legal review on Jan. 14, Horgan said he wanted to put the matter of interprovincial travel restrictions "either to rest, so British Columbians understand we cannot do that" or find if there's a way to do it. Horgan added that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is exploring further restrictions on international travel and “B.C. stands ready to assist.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
When Vancouver man Jason Brawn decided to string Christmas lights on trees on the North Shore mountains, he originally thought it’d just be a bit of festive fun to spread joy over the holidays. But, after seeing the smiles on the faces of passersby checking out his latest light display, he’s decided to keep decorating trees throughout the year. Brawn selects a tree, often just over five-metres tall, with epic city views in the background and then uses a customized telescoping pole to string 90 metres of lights around it, offering a little temporary magic and amazing photo opportunities. So far, he's been choosing trees on Mount Seymour, but he’s also looking to check out the trees on Hollyburn Mountain soon. “There will be many more of these trees to come,” he said, adding that he's now naming the decorated trees Bob, after Bob Ross – an American painter. “I thought I'd do one a couple of times a year, but seeing the smiles it's brought folks, how much that's lifted my own spirits, and how much I think we all need a bit of unexpected joy these days, I've been motivated to do them more often.” His latest tree was lit up on Thursday (Jan. 14) at Brockton Point on Mount Seymour. The tree before that was illuminated on Christmas Eve. “I've chosen that spot lately for a couple reasons – I can ski to and from that spot, which makes coming down with a 25 kilogram pack much more pleasant, and there's a lot of traffic there so people can easily come by for a selfie,” said Brawn. While the photo from his last endeavour is no doubt impressive and shows Vancouver’s bright city lights and a decorated tree standing tall, it’s still not quite Brawn’s “perfect tree” for his “dream image.” “The dream tree that I want will let me get a good distance from it so that I can use a long zoom lens – so I can compress distance,” said Brawn. “What I want to do is have the city in the background with this great big tree and then have some people around it for scale.” He’ll be back on the North Shore mountains over the next week (possibly Thursday or Friday) scoping out trees when the weather permits. “I'm not 100 per cent certain where I'll put this one – I've a few spots in mind – possibly up higher on the summit ridge below first peak where it's visible from Brockton [on Mount Seymour],” he said. “I'd also like to do one over at Cypress.” For Brawn, it’s all about sharing a little happiness during the coronavirus pandemic. He hopes his glowing trees will continue to put smiles on faces. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
The first COVID-19 case in Prince Albert since schools re-opened on Jan. 18 was reported on Thursday morning as a case was connected to Ecole St. Anne School. The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) identified a positive COVID-19 case in an individual at Ecole St. Anne School in Prince Albert. In a news release by the Prince Albert Catholic School Division the division explained that communication has been shared with the specific classroom/cohort, as well as the school community. The case wasn’t acquired at the school. “The Saskatchewan Health Authority is proceeding with their assessment of the situation, and all individuals deemed to be close contacts will be communicated with.” As is the case in all cases in the division no further information will be made available citing privacy concerns. “We want to reassure families of Ecole St. Anne School that school will continue to operate for in-person classes while maintaining the safety protocols that are in place,” the release added. The cohort impacted by this cases being notified and provided instruction. The students and families will be receiving updates using the Edsby platform. “Our thoughts and prayers are with this member of our school community, and we hope they are doing well.” They emphasized that everyone has a shared responsibility to decrease the risk of COVID-19 entering schools. “Thank you to everyone for continuing to be diligent in performing daily health screening, staying home if ill, calling HealthLine 811 if exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, practicing proper hand hygiene, maintaining physical distancing as much as possible, wearing a mask when appropriate and doing everything we can to keep each other safe,” the release stated. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — On the first day of Joe Biden's presidency, Native Americans had reason to celebrate. Biden halted construction of the border wall that threatened to physically separate Indigenous people living on both sides. He also revoked a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline that tribes fought in court for years, and he agreed to restore the boundaries of the first national monument created specifically at the request of tribes in southern Utah. Inaugural events showcased tribes across the country in traditional regalia, dancing and in prayer. But amid the revelry, some Native Americans saw a glitch in Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony. The only mention of Indigenous people came in the benediction delivered by the Rev. Silvester Beaman. And then there was the mishmash of songs sung by Jennifer Lopez that included lyrics from “This Land is Your Land." The folk tune is popular around campfires and in grade schools, but it also called to mind the nation's long history of land disputes involving tribes. “Oh, I love J.Lo," said Kristen Herring, who is Lumbee and lives in Austin, Texas. “It wasn't super disappointing that she sang it. But I was like, ‘Oh, why did that have to be on the list of things to sing?’" Woody Guthrie, who wrote the song in the 1940s, meant it as a retort to “God Bless America” and a rebuke to monetizing land at a time of economic crisis, said Gustavus Stadler, an English professor and author of “Woodie Guthrie: An Intimate Life." Lopez put a twist on it, throwing in part of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish that translates to “justice for all.” The Guthrie song has been a symbol of equality, inclusion and unity. Lady Gaga sang a rendition of it at the Super Bowl months after Donald Trump took office. It was part of Barack Obama's inaugural programming, with a trio of singers, including Bruce Springsteen, adding back some of the original, more controversial verses. But arriving amid an effort by some tribes to be recognized as stewards of ancestral land, a movement known as Land Back, the lyrics hit the wrong note for some tribal members. “It's a nice little sentiment that America is this mixing pot,” said Benny Wayne Sully, who is Sicangu Lakota and lives in Los Angeles. “But does anybody believe this land was made for you and me? Or was it made for white folks? People forget this land was made of brown people before it was colonized." Rep. Deb Haaland, who is from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, acknowledged that perspective in a virtual welcoming to the inaugural events over the weekend. She's been nominated to lead the Interior Department, which oversees tribal affairs. If confirmed, she would be the first Native American in a Cabinet post. That's one of the reasons Cherie Tebo was able to look past the song that she said was inappropriate and emphasized how little some Americans know about Indigenous people. She sees an opportunity for tribes to have a seat at the table in Biden's administration, citing Haaland and Winnebago tribal member Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes, who has been named a deputy solicitor for the Interior Department. “In order to make it work, ‘this land is your land, this land is my land,' people (need) to understand it doesn’t belong to us,” said Tebo, who also is Winnebago. “If anything, we belong to it. And when our land is sick, we are sick." ___ Fonseca is a member of The Associated Press' Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/FonsecaAP. Felicia Fonseca, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla by phone Thursday, the same day the company informed Canada delays to its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are going to be even worse than previously thought. Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander now overseeing the vaccine logistics for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said last week a factory expansion at Pfizer's Belgium plant was going to slow production, cutting Canada's deliveries over four weeks in half. In exchange, Pfizer expects to be able to ship hundreds of millions more doses worldwide over the rest of 2021. Tuesday, Fortin said Canada would receive 80 per cent of the previously expected doses this week, nothing at all next week, and about half the promised deliveries in the first two weeks of February. Thursday, he said the doses delivered in the first week of February will only be 79,000, one one-fifth of what was once expected. Fortin doesn't know yet what will come the week after, but overall, Canada's doses over three weeks are going to be just one-third of what had been planned. Trudeau has been under pressure to call Bourla, as the delayed doses force provinces to cancel vaccination appointments and reconsider timing for second doses. Fortin said some provinces may be hit even harder than others because of limits on the way the Pfizer doses can be split up for shipping. The vaccine is delicate and must be kept ultra frozen until shortly before injecting it. The company packs and ships specialized coolers, with GPS thermal trackers, directly to provincial vaccine sites. Ontario Premier Doug Ford said earlier this week he doesn't blame the federal government for the dose delays but wanted Trudeau to do more to push back about it. "If I was in (Trudeau's) shoes ... I'd be on that phone call every single day. I'd be up that guy's yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him," he said of Pfizer's executives. Trudeau informed Ford and other premiers of the call with Bourla during a regular teleconference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Until Thursday, all calls between the federal cabinet and Pfizer had been handled by Procurement Minister Anita Anand. Ford also spoke to Pfizer Canada CEO Cole Pinnow Wednesday. Trudeau didn't suggest the call with Bourla made any difference to the delays, and noted Canada is not the only country affected. Europe, which on the weekend thought its delayed doses would only be for one week after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to Bourla, now seems poised to be affected longer. Italy is so angry it is threatening to sue the U.S.-based drugmaker for the delays. Mexico said this week it is only getting half its expected shipment this week and nothing at all for the next three weeks. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also reported delays getting doses. Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou said more countries were affected but wouldn't say which ones. Fortin said Pfizer has promised to deliver four million doses to Canada by the end of March and that is not going to change with the delay. With the current known delivery schedule, the company will have to ship more than 3.1 million doses over 7 1/2 weeks to meet that commitment. Deliveries from Moderna, the other company that has a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada, are not affected. Canada has received about 176,000 doses from Moderna to date, with deliveries arriving every three weeks. Moderna has promised two million doses by the end of March. Both vaccines require first doses and then boosters several weeks later for full effectiveness. Together Pfizer and Moderna intend to ship 20 million doses to Canada in the spring, and 46 million between July and September. With no other vaccines approved, that means Canada will get enough doses to vaccinate the entire population with two doses by the end of September. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
The New Democratic Party has pledged changes to medical transportation in Labrador, which the party says will ease the burden on patients traveling to St. John's for procedures — but can't say exactly how an NDP government would manage any additional costs to the health care system. NDP Leader Alison Coffin unveiled the campaign policy Thursday, telling CBC News the change would remove the onus from patients to pay for flights and wait for reimbursement. "We believe that cost should be covered up front, and individuals will have far less to worry about — they can concentrate on getting better," Coffin said. "No one who needs any medical care ought to have to worry about being able to afford to make it to that appointment." Under the present rules, the Medical Transportation Assistance Program pays for airfare, taxis, private vehicle usage, hotels, meals, buses and ferries for those who require special medical services that aren't available nearby. Residents requesting financial assistance must apply to the program and sometimes pay a deductible. The Department of Health says on its website that patients may be eligible for partial pre-payment of economy airfare, and encourages applicants to apply two months in advance of their medical appointment. 'Massive issue' Coffin said the loss of all Air Canada routes to and from Labrador airports has increased the risk of a higher financial burden on patients. "I think that we need to look at exactly what the costs are going to be and then adjust that cap accordingly," she said. Ideally, she said, a government clerk would book a ticket for the patient, who would simply need to show up at the airport and board the plane. Coffin did not detail how government might account for missed flights, for instance, but said her government would "take a gradual approach to ensure that we can afford" changes to the reimbursement policy. "I think we need to have a good look at the public accounts, and I know that the auditor general's report has not been out on that yet, but what we do know is that people need help right now." Labrador West candidate Jordan Brown, the incumbent MHA for the region elected in 2019, called medical transport affordability a "massive issue." "We have people here in this town who are fundraising for patients to try to get them up to their appointments," Brown said Thursday. "The problem is some people, especially seniors and people on fixed income, they don't have two grand sometimes to buy this ticket for themselves." Brown also said some people aren't reimbursed the full cost of a last-minute ticket, leaving them on the hook for hundreds of dollars. The Liberal Party has also promised changes to health care in Newfoundland and Labrador, with leader Andrew Furey vowing Wednesday to overhaul sexual and mental health curricula and supply schools with free pads and tampons. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
TORONTO — Television personality Sid Seixeiro is leaving Sportsnet's "Tim & Sid" sports talk show to become the new co-host of "Breakfast Television" on Citytv. Seixeiro will make his final appearance as co-host on the show alongside longtime partner Tim Micallef on Feb. 26. Micallef will continue to host the show, which airs weekdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET, with a rotating roster of co-hosts. The "Tim & Sid" show made its debut on Toronto radio station CJCL Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Dec. 12, 2011. He will make his Breakfast Television debut alongside co-host Dina Pugliese on March 10. The program was simulcast on television on The Score (now Sportsnet 360) starting in 2013, then was relaunched on Sportsnet as an afternoon television show in 2015. The show has been simulcast on The Fan since 2019 as its late afternoon drive program. “It’s been a dream to work 20 years in the sports industry, especially alongside Tim Micallef, and express my passion and love for sports on a daily basis,” Seixeiro said in a release. “I’ve always been curious to explore other areas of the business and this was a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Rosthern, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced that visitor limitations were put in place at Rosthern Hospital on Jan. 20. Family presence and visitation will be limited to compassionate reasons at the hospital. “The decision to restrict family presence is not taken lightly. These measures are in place to keep you, your loved ones, and health care workers safe. The Saskatchewan Health Authority is asking the public for their support and cooperation in order to contain the spread of the virus,” a media release stated. Compassionate care reasons include, but are not limited to, family or support persons during end-of-life care, major surgery, intensive care/critical care, maternal/pediatrics, long-term care residents whose quality of life or care needs are unmet or those inpatients and outpatients with specific challenges. No other visitors are allowed into Rosthern Hospital at this time and these limitations will remain in place until it is safe to return to the previous level of family presence. “Family members and support people who are permitted must undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility or home. This includes a temperature check and questionnaire.” The family member or support person will be required to perform hand hygiene (hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer) when entering and leaving the facility or home and when entering and leaving the patient's or resident’s room. Family members and support people will be required to wear a medical grade mask while inside the facility or home and potentially additional personal protective equipment if required. Family members and support people are not permitted to wait in waiting rooms or other common areas. “The decision to restrict family presence is not taken lightly. These measures are in place to keep you, your loved ones, and health care workers safe. The Saskatchewan Health Authority is asking the public for their support and cooperation in order to contain the spread of the virus,” a media release stated. Compassionate care reasons include, but are not limited to, family or support persons during end-of-life care, major surgery, intensive care/critical care, maternal/pediatrics, long-term care residents whose quality of life or care needs are unmet or those inpatients and outpatients with specific challenges. No other visitors are allowed into Rosthern Hospital at this time and these limitations will remain in place until it is safe to return to the previous level of family presence. “Family members and support people who are permitted must undergo a health screening prior to entering the facility or home. This includes a temperature check and questionnaire.” The family member or support person will be required to perform hand hygiene (hand washing and/or use of hand sanitizer) when entering and leaving the facility or home and when entering and leaving the patient's or resident’s room. Family members and support people will be required to wear a medical grade mask while inside the facility or home and potentially additional personal protective equipment if required. Family members and support people are not permitted to wait in waiting rooms or other common areas. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
BILLINGS, Mont. — The Biden administration announced Thursday a 60-day suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters, as officials moved quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment. The suspension, part of a broad review of programs at the Department of Interior, went into effect immediately under an order signed Wednesday by Acting Interior Secretary Scott de la Vega. It follows Democratic President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to halt new drilling on federal lands and end the leasing of publicly owned energy reserves as part of his plan to address climate change. The order did not ban new drilling outright. It includes an exception giving a small number of senior Interior officials — the secretary, deputy secretary, solicitor and several assistant secretaries — authority to approve actions that otherwise would be suspended. The order also applies to coal leases and permits, and blocks the approval of new mining plans. Land sales and exchanges and the hiring of senior-level staff at the agency also were suspended. Under former President Donald Trump, federal agencies prioritized energy development and eased environmental rules to speed up drilling permits as part of the Republican's goal to boost fossil fuel production. Trump consistently downplayed the dangers of climate change, which Biden has made a top priority. On his first day in office Wednesday, Biden signed a series of executive orders that underscored his different approach — rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, revoking approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada and telling agencies to immediately review dozens of Trump-era rules on science, the environment and public health. The Interior Department order did not limit existing oil and gas operations under valid leases, meaning activity won't come to a sudden halt on the millions of acres of lands in the West and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where much drilling is concentrated. Its effect could be further blunted by companies that stockpiled enough drilling permits in Trump's final months to allow them to keep pumping oil and gas for years. Erik Milito with the National Ocean Industries Association, which represents offshore energy firms, said he was optimistic companies still will be able to get new permits approved through the senior-level officials specified in the order. But Biden’s move could be the first step in an eventual goal to ban all leases and permits to drill on federal land. Mineral leasing laws state that federal lands are for many uses, including extracting oil and gas, but the Democrat could set out to rewrite those laws, said Kevin Book, managing director at Clearview Energy Partners. The administration's announcement drew outrage from Republicans and some industry trade groups. They said limiting access to publicly owned energy resources would mean more foreign oil imports, lost jobs and fewer tax revenues. Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming said the administration was “off to a divisive and disastrous start." He added that the government is legally obliged to act on all drilling permit applications it receives and that “staff memos” can't override the law. “Impeding American energy will only serve to hurt local communities and hamper America’s economic recovery,” American Petroleum Institute President Mike Sommers said in a statement. National Wildlife Federation Vice-President Tracy Stone-Manning said she expected Biden to make good on his campaign promise to end leasing altogether, or at least impose a long-term moratorium on any new issuances. “The Biden administration has made a commitment to driving down carbon emissions. It makes sense starting with the land that we all own,” she said. “We have 24 million acres already under lease. That should get us through." Oil and gas extracted from public lands and waters account for about a quarter of annual U.S. production. Extracting and burning those fuels generates the equivalent of almost 550 million tons (500 metric tons) of greenhouse gases annually, the U.S. Geological Survey said in a 2018 study. Under Trump, Interior officials approved almost 1,400 permits on federal lands, primarily in Wyoming and New Mexico, over a three-month period that included the election, according to an Associated Press analysis of government data. Those permits, which remain valid, will allow companies to continue drilling for years, potentially undercutting Biden’s climate agenda. But there are other ways an ambitious Biden administration could make it harder for permit holders to extract oil and gas. “The ability to get your resources out, to get right of way, to get roads, to get supporting infrastructure, not all of that is signed and sealed right now,” Clearview Energy's Book said. Under President Barack Obama, the Interior Department imposed a 2016 moratorium on federal coal leases while it investigated the coal program's climate effects and whether companies were paying a fair share for coal from public lands. Trump lifted the moratorium soon after taking office. __ AP writer Cathy Bussewitz contributed from New York. ___ Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter: @MatthewBrownAP Matthew Brown, The Associated Press
Vancouver Island blew past previous highs reporting 47 new COVID-19 cases today (Jan 21.). The previous high was 34 new cases in a day, reported on Jan 12 and 15. Province-wide there were 564 new cases today, for an active total of 62,976. The Vancouver Island region now has over 200 active cases, the highest number since the outbreak began last year. As of Jan 20, there were 15 patients in hospital and 17 confirmed deaths on the Island. While the rest of B.C. has been trending downwards, Vancouver Island’s numbers have steadily risen this month. “Despite our COVID-19 curve trending in the right direction, we continue to have new outbreaks, community clusters and high numbers of new cases. COVID-19 continues to spread widely in our communities,” Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister Adrian Dix said in the press release. “Thank you for doing your part and choosing to bend the curve, not the rules.” RELATED: Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday RELATED: Island Health’s daily COVID-19 case count reaches record high Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. There are 731,450 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 731,450 confirmed cases (67,099 active, 645,729 resolved, 18,622 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 5,955 new cases Thursday from 102,162 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.8 per cent. The rate of active cases is 178.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 42,555 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,079. There were 160 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,040 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 149. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 49.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 16,895,320 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 397 confirmed cases (nine active, 384 resolved, four deaths). There was one new case Thursday from 284 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.35 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been three new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people. There have been 77,326 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (seven active, 103 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Thursday from 419 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 87,989 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,565 confirmed cases (21 active, 1,479 resolved, 65 deaths). There was one new case Thursday from 939 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.11 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 17 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people. There have been 199,703 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,057 confirmed cases (325 active, 719 resolved, 13 deaths). There were 32 new cases Thursday from 1,457 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.2 per cent. The rate of active cases is 41.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 198 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 28. There were zero new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.67 per 100,000 people. There have been 132,168 tests completed. _ Quebec: 248,860 confirmed cases (18,260 active, 221,327 resolved, 9,273 deaths). There were 1,624 new cases Thursday from 8,900 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 18 per cent. The rate of active cases is 215.2 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12,033 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,719. There were 65 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 397 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 57. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.67 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 109.29 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,687,068 tests completed. _ Ontario: 247,564 confirmed cases (26,063 active, 215,887 resolved, 5,614 deaths). There were 2,632 new cases Thursday from 67,959 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 178.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19,254 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,751. There were 46 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 379 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 54. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.37 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,826,459 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 28,089 confirmed cases (3,205 active, 24,091 resolved, 793 deaths). There were 196 new cases Thursday from 2,090 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 234.03 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,135 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 162. There were five new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 38 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.91 per 100,000 people. There have been 446,640 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 21,338 confirmed cases (3,099 active, 18,000 resolved, 239 deaths). There were 226 new cases Thursday from 1,157 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 20 per cent. The rate of active cases is 263.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,005 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 286. There were 13 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 33 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 20.35 per 100,000 people. There have been 325,825 tests completed. _ Alberta: 119,114 confirmed cases (10,256 active, 107,358 resolved, 1,500 deaths). There were 678 new cases Thursday from 14,378 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.7 per cent. The rate of active cases is 234.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,529 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 647. There were 16 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 111 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.36 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 34.31 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,048,875 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 62,976 confirmed cases (5,847 active, 56,010 resolved, 1,119 deaths). There were 564 new cases Thursday from 4,334 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. The rate of active cases is 115.3 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,368 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 481. There were 15 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 81 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.07 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,040,843 tests completed. _ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Thursday from seven completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,210 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (seven active, 24 resolved, zero deaths). There was one new case Thursday from 77 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.3 per cent. The rate of active cases is 15.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been seven new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 8,959 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 266 confirmed cases (zero active, 265 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Thursday from 161 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 7,179 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Bitcoin wavered on Friday and was heading toward its sharpest weekly drop since September, as worries over regulation and its frothy rally drove a pullback from recent record highs. Traders said a report posted to Twitter by BitMEX Research https://twitter.com/BitMEXResearch/status/1351855414103715842 suggesting that part of a bitcoin may have been spent twice was enough to trigger selling, even if concerns were later resolved. "You wouldn't want to rationalise too much into a market that's as inefficient and immature as bitcoin, but certainly there's a reversal in momentum," said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets in Melbourne, in the wake of the BitMEX report.
A trade organization representing Canada's movie theatres is calling on British Columbia health officials to explain why cinemas in the province can only open if they're operating as restaurants or bars.Nuria Bronfman, executive director of the Movie Theatre Association of Canada, says COVID-19 guidelines that allow theatres to project sporting events on the big screen, but not movies, "highlights the kind of absurdity of what's happening" in the province.The frustration comes as B.C. leaders have allowed gyms, restaurants and bars to stay open, but forced movie theatres to close last November.Vancouver's Rio Theatre is moving forward with plans to reopen on Saturday by pivoting its business to operate as a bar. The city's Hollywood Theatre made a similar move in December.Those sorts of creative rebrandings were applauded by the province's Health Ministry in a statement on Wednesday that recognized those in "the arts and culture sector who have worked hard to find new ways to reinvent themselves during the pandemic."Bronfman says the trade group takes issue with suggestions that movie theatres should be embracing "ingenuity in order to survive.""Most movie theatres don't have liquor licences, and they are on the verge of shutting their doors forever," she says."All we're asking is to be looked at as an industry, as a sector that has a very low risk of any kind of transmission of the disease."Theatres across Canada have been shuttered for a large part of the pandemic over concerns they are a spreading ground for the virus. But representatives for the industry have argued there's no data that points to cinemas as being a point of transmission.Bronfman says if concerns about airflow are part of the issue, it's unclear why health authorities would deem it safe for people to sit across from each other at a bar, but not inside a theatre with high ceilings.It's equally confusing why showing a Sunday night football game would be allowed, but not a screening of sports favourites "Rudy" or "Friday Night Lights," which are shorter and would provide less theoretical exposure to the virus."We're not getting the answers as to why we can't open," she says."There's a level of frustration and quite frankly desperation."Before they were closed, cinemas across the country had introduced various safety protocols that limited the size of crowds and kept them distanced with assigned seating.However, there were critics of the reopening of movie theatres who questioned whether proper enforcement was in place at multiplexes to prevent people from sitting in groups.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. David Friend, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Seven Democratic senators on Thursday asked the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate the actions of Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley “to fully understand their role” in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Thousands had gathered that day as Congress voted to formally certify President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in November. Hawley and Cruz led objections in the Senate to Biden’s victory, despite the widespread recognition that the effort would fail. In the end, Congress certified Biden’s Electoral College victory, but not before thousands marched to the Capitol at Trump’s urging, overwhelmed security and interrupted the proceedings. In the end, the violence led to five deaths, injured dozens of police officers and caused extensive damage to the Capitol. The Democratic senators said the question for the Senate to determine is not whether Cruz and Hawley had the right to object, but whether the senators failed to put loyalty “to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to persons, party, or Government department.” They also said the investigation should determine whether Cruz, of Texas, and Hawley, of Missouri, engaged in “improper conduct reflecting on the Senate.” “Until then, a cloud of uncertainty will hang over them and over this body,” the Democratic senators wrote in a letter to the leaders of the Senate Ethics Committee. The Democratic senators said Cruz and Hawley announced their intentions to object even though they knew that claims of election fraud were baseless and had led to threats of violence. “Their actions lend credence to the insurrectionists’ cause and set the stage for future violence. And both senators used their objections for political fundraising,” the Democratic senators said in their letter. Cruz and Hawley have condemned the violence on Jan. 6. Cruz called it a "despicable act of terrorism.” Hawley said those who attacked police and broke the law must be prosecuted. Cruz helped force a vote on Biden's victory in Arizona, while Hawley helped force one on Biden's victory in Pennsylvania. “Joe Biden and the Democrats talk about unity but are brazenly trying to silence dissent," Hawley said in a prepared statement. “This latest effort is a flagrant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a flagrant attempt to exact partisan revenge." “It is unfortunate that some congressional Democrats are disregarding President Biden’s call for unity and are instead playing political games by filing frivolous ethics complaints against their colleagues," said a Cruz spokesperson, Maria Jeffrey Reynolds. Those Democrats requesting the investigation are Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Kevin Freking, The Associated Press
With vaccination programmes being rolled out across the continent, health authorities are keen to see them adopted by all communities. But against them are anti-vaxx campaigns.
Nestled into the head of the Hathhayim [Von Donlop] Park Trail on Cortes Island, B.C, a forest of hemlock, fir and alder wraps around a small clearing recently levelled and fenced. Soft water sounds come from a building with an open door. Inside, K’all-K’all Tina Wesley is leaning into a salmon incubator box. She’s checking on 70,000 Chum eggs, removing any that died. As fisheries manager for Klahoose First Nation (KFN), Wesley does this at the community’s salmon hatchery every morning. Wesley sees her hatchery work as one task of many, but an essential one to rebuild salmon stocks. “Hatcheries are key and important, it's returning back what we've taken,” she says. “If you take enough to feed us through the winter, it's nice to be able to put it back.” There have been significant salmon stock declines in recent years. Hatcheries operating in the Tla’amin and Klahoose territory are working to rebuild stocks in the face of climate change. The hatcheries harvest eggs from spawning salmon and care for them through their development until they are ready for release or transplant into streams. Every year, the Tla’amin hatchery’s target is to release 60,000 Coho, 100,000 Chinook, 1.5 million Chum, according to hatchery manager Lee George. “We do our best to meet those targets, based on abundance.” The previous year had lower returns, and there were no surplus eggs to share with Klahoose. As a result, Klahoose didn’t release any eggs in 2020. Tla’amin hatchery emphasizes Chum, because it is the dominant species in Tla’amin River, and they return in higher volumes. The advantage of Chum eggs is in their timing, explains Wesley. They start on land in incubator boxes and are transplanted to creeks in the spring. This is done before warmer temperatures can impact them. Additionally, the water levels are still high enough for them to survive. “Compared to the other salmon...Chum are pretty tough [against the] elements,” Wesley says. Between climate change impacting early stages, and over predation not all will survive to return to spawn. With hope, the work continues at hatcheries. Working as sister nations 40,000 coral coloured spheres glisten in the water. They are Chum eggs, massed together as they like to be. These ones are tucked into a creek on Klahoose traditional territory. The eggs started their journey at Tla’amin Hatchery. Lee George is the hatchery manager. He has spent over 32 years nurturing the eggs through all their early stages. The hatchery is north of Powell River, on the Tla’amin Creek. Their territory covers an expanse from the upper Sunshine Coast through the Johnston Strait, with overlaps of sister nations. There are many factors impacting the salmon, one of which is warming waters. “Where it's colder, into the rivers and lakes where they’re supposed to spawn, but the water’s too warm, because of climate change,” George says. “We’re going to have really poor survival rates because of climate change.” George carries his Ayajuthem name Nexnohom in high regard, he says. It means ‘community provider.’ “At the end of the day, it’s going to be a long hard battle over the next few years, and we need to work together to seek a common goal, and that’s protect the resources for everybody to enjoy,” he says. The Tla’amin hatchery harvests eggs from mature fish, known as broodstock, and begins the process of tending the growing eggs. When they have surplus, they share them to the smaller hatchery at Klahoose. But there is more involved in rebuilding salmon stocks than simply having more eggs, Wesley says. Some things she can improve, like providing the hatchery with power, light, fencing. But other concerns are out of her control — and they’re on her mind as she takes temperatures, cleans mesh over drains at the hatchery. Climate change is a larger issue that shows itself in water levels and stream temperatures. Wesley says the optimum temperatures for rearing salmonids are generally between 10° C and 16° C, but the actual range for fish in streams varies with food availability and the ability for individuals to obtain that food. “When the waters are above 20° for days it brings stress and lack of oxygen and they die,” says Wesley. “Our hot summers have brought very warm temperatures to our waters, over 20°C.” “Another thing with the climate, you're also dealing with the water supply. One year, 2017, we ran out of water. So the fry were there and we need to keep them in water. We couldn't. So they got an early release.” Warming climate has reduced the snowpack, she says, and this is also on her mind. “I’m a snow dancer,” says Wesley, as she explains snowpack is essential for water levels. The Chum need a steady supply of oxygenated, flowing water washing over them constantly in the incubator. Of the salmon species, Chum have a better chance of resiliency in facing climate change, says Cortes Island Streamkeeper Cec Robinson. He explains the differences between salmon species. Sockeye needs a lake system, and that’s a system beyond what small hatcheries can address. Coho stays in their stream for a full year, and so they’re at risk for low water levels, and the resulting warmer water temperatures. Chum stay only a couple of weeks once they are hatched, and in the spring there is a better chance of cooler temperatures and higher water levels. Cortes Island Streamkeepers are a project of Friends of Cortes Island Society, a local environmental charity. Robinson says the streamkeepers reasoned with DFO through the DFO community advisor, and successfully won them over to trying Chum fry in local streams. “We just were the ones to advocate for a couple of changes, to shift the focus from Coho to Chum,” says Robinson. “In the summertime, you know, we're having hotter and hotter summers, unfortunately the streams are getting lower now compared to their historic level. Whereas the Chum and the Pinks- they go in, and there's a couple of weeks when they swim up out of the gravel, and then they're gone.” They leave for the open oceans. “And that happens in the spring when there's lots of water. So it doesn't bother them if the whole stream gets warm and low in the summertime.” The latest research on pacific salmon freshwater migration confirms “there are population-specific differences in temperature and flow tolerance thresholds,” says Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The switch to Chum is not widespread, says Robinson. DFO focuses hatcheries on raising the Chinook and Coho — which are what sport fishermen prefer. ”The focus has been on Coho and Springs (Chinook) because they're the flashy ones,” says Robinson. “The one that the sports fishermen are all after and that's what everybody thinks about. To recognize the dire need and then shifting, I think it's critical. Climate change is going to make that switch in focus imperative.” “With the situation of the sockeye not returning and the closures, the nation has been relying heavily on the salmon returning to the Tla’amin river and the species that’s more appetizing to them is the Chum,” explains George. Similar to the hatchery at Tla’amin, Robinson emphasizes the importance of public awareness and education. “I wish people would fall in love with the fish,” says Robinson. He says when people build a personal relationship, “that’s when they want to look after them. That's what I would hope. Ultimately, you can't just rely on the DFO or any organization. It has to be a bigger movement. That would be a dream,” says Robinson. “In the meantime, their numbers dwindled to almost nothing.” says Robinson, “but now they can access their ancestral habitat.” The journey for Wesley started with growing up in Toba Inlet, [insert brief descriptor] part of Klahoose First Nation’s Traditional Territory. She left home at 17, and steadily gathered education and fisheries experience. She hoped to bring these skills home to her community if an opportunity arose. “Coming back was a long life goal and opportunity that I had waited for. Coming back home, and taking on a position for protecting our resources, which is huge for me.” Her Ayajuthem name K’all-K’all means “cedar maker”. She shares how her grandmother and father explained the meaning of this name. While she talks, she uses a protective gesture of wrapping a cape around someone, “K’all-K’all.” She protects, and cares for her family and community. “[Salmon is] part of our culture and our tradition, the traditional foods. Without it, it really starts eating away at our culture and it starts taking away a part of us,” she says. Wesley speaks about this food and resource by drawing the full circle. Feeding people and animals includes nourishing land and culture. “Look at how much has been damaged from fish farms that are in our oceans and so much has been destroyed and so much has been lost.” Wesley says. But through the work they are doing she hopes to ensure salmon survive. “Imagine all the other little hatcheries and the bigger hatcheries, that we're all putting our input into providing future sustenance,” says Wesley. “Anything to contribute to help bring it back and keep going and moving forward. It's bringing them home.” This past fall, Wesley noticed 30 eagles sitting by a small stream that runs from beside the hatchery into the estuary. “Boy, there’s a lot of eagles over there,” she remembers thinking. “So I went for a walk, to go check it out and here's all these Chum going up our little creek. It was just neat to see that, they always returned home where they come from.” Wesley believes those fish were from eggs that had slipped through the drain in the old system, or maybe eggs that were not quite dead in the culling and had survived. “They survived and found their way through the drain, through the gutter and eventually trickled to our stream. They survived and then returned to this little stream in the fall.” Like Wesley returning home with skills to help protect her nation’s resources, the escaped eggs worked hard to find their way home. Odette Auger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
Despite the current provincewide stay-at-home order, Community Care Peterborough programs are still continuing. “We have been deemed an essential service. Our health care and seniors support programs are necessary to keep the most vulnerable safe in their own homes,” executive director Danielle Belair stated. “In particular, our food support services for seniors including meal and grocery delivery are particularly important at this time.” Hot Meals on Wheels that cost $8 to $10 each are available in Peterborough city on weekdays and in Lakefield, Norwood and Havelock on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Frozen Meals on Wheels — with entrées for $5.25 each, soups for $2.50 each and desserts for $2.50 each — are also available in Peterborough, Lakefield, Norwood and Havelock, as well as in Buckhorn, Apsley, Bridgenorth, Ennismore, Keene and Millbrook areas. “We have great menu options available, and I encourage residents to try these meal deliveries, delivered right to your door and can be conveniently heated when you need them,” Belair stated. For those who’d prefer to prepare their own meals, grocery shopping and delivery services are also available, according to the organization. “If you are interested in grocery shopping services, please call the Community Care office closest to you to make arrangements to purchase a grocery card which will be used by your volunteer shopper to purchase your groceries,” stated Catherine Pink, Community Care Peterborough’s director of support services. “If you have preordered your groceries and need someone to pick them up and deliver to your home, we just need to know what store and time and date for pick up.” To limit the spread of COVID-19, the organization has cancelled blood pressure clinics, foot clinics, in-person (indoor) falls prevention and exercise classes and has also closed the New to You thrift stores. “All other programs like Meals on Wheels, transportation, home help and maintenance, home at last, etcetera, will remain in operation, all adapted to comply with safety protocols,” Belair stated. “Our exercise and wellness supervisor co-ordinator also has an exciting catalogue of free fitness classes geared to older adults, available by Zoom, for those who are looking for active activities.” Belair said Community Care remains focused on supporting Peterborough city and county residents. “We appreciate all those who are staying home and allowing our staff and volunteers to remain focused on providing programs that are supporting our clients and area residents to remain safely in their homes,” Belair stated. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.com Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
Barricades that blocked the Highway 6 bypass around Caledonia for the past three months came down this week, but traffic is not flowing just yet. Land defenders from Six Nations carted away construction debris and moved a large dirt pile off the road. But a trench dug just south of Argyle Street needs to be repaired before the bypass can reopen. Skyler Williams, spokesperson for the land defenders, told The Spectator that Ministry of Transportation inspectors were out assessing the state of the bypass. “The MTO and OPP have full access,” Williams said. “So it’s just a matter of them fixing the road.” The bypass has been blocked three times since the dispute over a planned subdivision on McKenzie Road started in mid-July, when land defenders occupied the 25-acre site — which they claim as unceded Haudenosaunee territory — and named it 1492 Land Back Lane. The most recent barricades started to go up Oct. 22, prompted by a skirmish with police hours after a Superior Court judge made permanent a pair of injunctions barring land defenders from occupying the McKenzie land or blocking roadways in Haldimand County. Williams said trenches were dug across the bypass, Argyle Street and McKenzie Road that night “to protect our camp from police violence.” On Monday, the Land Back group announced it would move off the bypass and shrink the occupied zone on Argyle Street in hopes of persuading the federal government to engage in nation-to-nation negotiations. “In August, barricades were removed in good faith because (federal ministers) Carolyn Bennett and Marc Miller said they would meet with our community, but that hasn’t happened,” Williams said. “We’re just trying to push the feds and the province to come here with a mandate to make some real changes.” Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt reacted with tempered enthusiasm to the news. “This is a step in the right direction, but we’re not breaking out the champagne at this point,” he said. “We stand behind the process we took with the developer and Six Nations in getting to the point where this particular development was to proceed. We believe there’s still a long way to go for us to get to where we feel we belong.” Reopening the bypass should relieve pressure on detour routes that have been clogged with transport trucks and plagued by collisions. But access in and out of Caledonia will still be limited. Land defenders still control roughly one kilometre of Argyle Street south of the town, from the south end of the Caledonia Baptist Church property to just north of a Hydro One transfer station the utility company took offline as a security precaution in October. Williams said his group moved the school bus that had been blocking access to the church parking lot as a gesture of good faith. Trenches ring the construction site on McKenzie Road, while the mangled rail line that runs through the community remains out of service. The barricades serve a tactical purpose, making it harder for the OPP to reach the Land Back camp. Land defenders also hoped to raise public awareness of what they consider an unjust development and put pressure on the government to act. But Hewitt said talks can’t proceed against a backdrop of blockaded roads and occupied land. “It all has to start with roads and infrastructure being opened up,” the mayor said. “So if this is the sign of those steps moving forward, then I’m encouraged, and I encourage that to continue.” The federal ministers have said they are waiting to be invited to a meeting at which Six Nations Elected Council and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council can speak with one voice. Getting to that point involves overcoming a century of political division on the reserve that Williams said was created by the federal government instituting the band council system to supplant traditional leadership. “The government and the police, and the Brits before Canada, have tried really hard to divide not just our community, but every (Indigenous) community,” he said. “So for them to take advantage of that century-old divide in our community and say you need to get over the division of the last 100 years, that reconciliation has to come with some trust-building.” Hewitt said it only makes sense for Ottawa to want a lasting solution “that’s embraced by all.” “We can’t continue to have a conversation today with one faction (on Six Nations) and then find out tomorrow that that faction is no longer valid,” he said, calling it “unfortunate” that Caledonia residents and McKenzie homebuyers are stuck in the middle. “We’re looking forward to not only this road, but every road being open, and a strategy that Haldimand and Six Nations can embrace with respect to land development and opportunities that can benefit both communities,” Hewitt said. Williams cautioned that the barricades could go up again if the land defenders and their allies feel they are in danger of being forcibly removed by police while political negotiations proceed. “We know our community supports us and believes in our right to our land,” he said. “We know that if police escalate this situation again, that community will show up for us.” J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator