Many people in Utah say they're able to avoid the divisions that marked the 2020 political year. But others in that state aren't so sure. (Dec. 18)
Many people in Utah say they're able to avoid the divisions that marked the 2020 political year. But others in that state aren't so sure. (Dec. 18)
Canada's ambassador to the United States says there's no chance of President Joe Biden walking back his decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline — so she's turning her attention to other pressing bilateral issues. "It's obviously very disappointing for Albertans and people in Saskatchewan who are already in a difficult situation," Kirsten Hillman said in an interview airing Saturday on CBC's The House. "But I think that we need to now focus on moving forward with this administration, and there are so many ways in which we are going to be aligned with them to our mutual interest that I'm eager to to get going on that." Biden vowed during last year's presidential campaign to rescind Donald Trump's permit for Keystone XL, which would have linked Alberta's oilsands with refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. And he did, making it one of the first executive orders he issued within hours of taking office on Wednesday. While the move was applauded by progressives in his Democratic Party and in Canada, it struck a heavy blow in Alberta. TC energy, the company building the pipeline, halted construction and laid off a thousand workers. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney lashed out this week at both Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accusing the federal government of abandoning the oil and gas sector. He released a letter to Trudeau on Friday calling on the federal government to retaliate by imposing economic sanctions on the United States or by demanding compensation for TC Energy and his government — which invested billions of provincial taxpayers' dollars into the project. The premier even took his case to Fox News on Friday. "It's very frustrating that one of the first acts of the new president was, I think, to disrespect America's closest friend and ally, Canada, and to kill good-paying union jobs on both sides of the border and ultimately to make the United States more dependent on foreign oil imports from OPEC dictatorships," Kenney told the Fox audience. "We don't understand it." Hillman didn't comment directly on Kenney's demands, insisting instead that Canada remains the "best partner" for helping Americans meet their energy needs. "But we have to recognize that the Biden administration has put fighting climate change at the centre of their agenda," she said. "Not only their domestic agenda but their international agenda." Goodbye, Keystone — hello 'Buy American' Keystone's abrupt death isn't the only recent challenge to a Canada-U.S. relationship that's been severely tested over the past four years by Donald Trump. Many Canadians see Biden as not only a more reliable partner but as a friend to this country. Some of his policies suggest otherwise. Hillman said she's already spoken to the White House about another Biden campaign promise — this one to restore "Buy American" requirements for major government contracts, a move that could freeze Canadian companies out of U.S. government work. "Less than an hour after the end of the inauguration ceremony, we were in touch with top-level advisers in the White House and discussed many things," she said. "Among them was Buy America." Biden is proposing a massive, $400 billion infrastructure program that would award contracts exclusively to U.S. companies. As big as that program is, it will be dwarfed by another Biden proposal — to invest $2 trillion in clean technologies and infrastructure. Hillman said such protectionist measures are not new. In the past, Congress has imposed restrictions to limit or exclude foreign companies from bidding on infrastructure projects, or from supplying U.S. companies that do. Canada has successfully negotiated exemptions to such policies before — most recently through the 2010 Canada-U.S. Agreement on Government Procurement, which gave companies in this country access to stimulus projects funded under the U.S. Recovery Act. No link between Keystone and carve-out, says Hillman Hillman was asked in The House interview if the federal government's muted response to the Keystone decision is tied to its hopes for getting a carve-out for Canadian businesses under Biden's Buy American policy. She said there's no connection. "Our job here is to work with the administration to demonstrate to them, factually, that as they pursue their domestic goals, the highly integrated supply chains that we have with the United States are essential to protect and preserve for their economic recovery objectives," she said. "I'm optimistic that we are going to be able to have meaningful conversations with them around how they can meet their policy objectives while also being sure that we protect our mutually supportive supply chains." Hillman said she sees other opportunities for cross-border cooperation in the Biden administration's decision to rejoin the Paris climate accord and the president's vow to meet the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Canada's hopes for a green tech boom Biden has nominated former secretary of state John Kerry as his special presidential envoy for the climate — a new cabinet-level position intended to underscore Biden's personal commitment to addressing climate change. "That provides a lot of opportunities for green tech, for Canadian clean energy, for working together on emission standards, for innovation in our automotive industry," Hillman said. The Trudeau government is trying to position Canada as a global leader in green technology fields. It introduced legislation requiring Canada to become a net-zero emitter by mid century and last month unveiled this country's first national strategy to develop hydrogen as a fuel source. That's the long game, of course. For now, the Trudeau government must also deal with the challenge here at home: preventing the fate of Keystone XL from becoming the dominant issue in Canada-U.S. relations that it was the last time a Democrat was in the Oval Office — and Joe Biden was his vice president.
Le peintre matanais Philippe Giroux a eu le plaisir de découvrir vendredi dernier et en l’espace de quelques minutes qu’il avait été récompensé à deux reprises par des concours de grand envergure pour la même œuvre, nommée Autoportrait d’un peintre-pêcheur. M. Giroux a remporté un prix du Mondial Art Academia, un concours annuel des professionnels de l’art prenant place en France. Il s’est vu remettre la médaille d’or dans la catégorie réunissant les ambassadeurs du concours « Le choix du Mondial Art Academia ». Au moment de la publication de l’article mettant en portrait Philippe Giroux en décembre, le peintre attendait avec impatience les résultats du concours. Étant une grande organisation, plus de 27 pays y sont représentés et près de 500 artistes soumettent leurs œuvres. Remporter une médaille dans une catégorie par le jury européen est donc un moment fort de sa carrière. La même journée, M. Giroux a reçu le premier prix du concours de The Marketer Magazine, un magazine canadien consacré au marketing, à l’art visuel et à l’art performance. La compétition a été forte au Marketer, car il y eut plus de 260 participations et presque 1000 toiles soumises. Philippe Giroux admet qu’il a éclaté en sanglots à la réception de ces deux récompenses. « Être artiste et avoir de la difficulté au début, ce n’est pas un monde facile. Il y a beaucoup de monde qui ne nous croit pas. On te dit, « trouve-toi une vraie job » ou on te critique, autant par des amis que dans la famille. Des fois, les gens ont l’impression que tu n’avances pas. C’est donc l’aboutissement de mon acharnement sur 40 ans », a expliqué avec émotion Giroux. L’artiste a proclamé la bonne nouvelle sur ses réseaux sociaux la fin de semaine dernière et depuis a reçu une forte reconnaissance de son travail, des félicitations « qui ont fait du bien ». La juge chez The Marketer Magazine lui a d’ailleurs signé une lettre personnalisée, qu’il dit avoir particulièrement appréciée. Il attend à présent la suite. Avec ces deux nouvelles récompenses reçues coup sur coup, cela fera trois prix pour lesquels Philippe Giroux est récompensé en moins d’un an. « On récolte les fruits de nos efforts », conclut-il.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Sharon Lee-Flynn, 43, says she suffers from a spinal cord injury of more than twenty years and, with impaired pulmonary and cardiovascular systems, she's "more at risk than a 60-year-old." That's why the B.C. resident says she doesn't understand the province's COVID-19 vaccination plan announced Friday which mainly prioritizes people by age, leaving Lee-Flynn to wait at least another six months before she can be vaccinated. Lee-Flynn is one of a large group of vulnerable people who say they should be further up the new vaccination line. The list also includes teachers, first-responders and grocery store workers who are no longer being given higher priority based on their jobs. Instead, provincial officials announced that, after health-care staff, Phase 2 of the plan will allow seniors over 80 and Indigenous seniors over 65 to be vaccinated starting in February. Next will be Phase 3 in April which includes seniors 60 to 79. This leaves Lee-Flynn in Phase 4 starting in July when people from 18 to 59 will finally have the chance to be vaccinated. "It really seems like patients with true medical compromise have been overlooked in the 'ethical framework' put forth," said Lee-Flynn, adding that she's had "a very limited, house-arrest type of life" since last March to avoid risking her health. Henry says schedule could move quicker if more vaccines approved Premier John Horgan said Friday that he's received a pile of mail "a couple of inches thick" from advocates asking for higher priority for certain people. "All of the arguments were very compelling … but the science is pretty clear: age is the dominant determinant factor on severe illness and death." Both Horgan and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said other at-risk people could be vaccinated sooner than scheduled if more vaccines are approved by Health Canada. Russ Grabb, 63, from North Vancouver, says while he's been diagnosed with a rare, incurable form of leukemia and is severely immunocompromised, he's prepared to wait the three-to-five months it will for this vaccine rollout because it is still faster than most. "For us to be getting any kind of vaccination within 10 months to a year is a miracle," he said, adding that he's in "really good hands" with his doctors and his family in the meantime. First-responders should be prioritized, says firefighters association Gord Ditchburn, president of the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters Association, says while he's happy the plan is finally out, he's disappointed that firefighters, along with other first responders have been bumped down to Phases 3 and 4, under the new plan. "Our members right across this province are exposed every day while interacting with the public in unknown environments… [This] puts firefighters at risk every day to picking up this virus," he said. Similarly, Stephanie Smith, president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, told CBC's On The Coast Friday that she's concerned about "thousands of front-line essential workers" who are at high risk of exposure to the virus every day. "For us, it's a question of clarity," said Smith. "We represent members in corrections, shelters, supportive housing, child care... When with their turn be?" Teachers union wants enhanced protections Meanwhile, Teri Mooring, president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation, said that she understands many teachers are stressed at not being prioritized, and called for the government to "take immediate action" to improve safety measures in schools, if this continues to be the case. "We must have a mandatory mask mandate, we must have better physical distancing measures, and we must have ventilation upgrades in our classrooms," her statement reads. Horgan said the long-term goal is still to have everyone in the province who wants a vaccination to have it by the end of September.
WHITEHORSE — A cabinet minister says a couple from outside Yukon travelled to a remote community in the territory this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine.Community Services Minister John Streiker says he's outraged the man and woman allegedly chartered a flight to Beaver Creek, the most westerly community in Canada near the border with Alaska, to get the shots.Streiker says he heard Thursday night that the Canadian couple arrived in Yukon on Tuesday and declared they would follow the territory's mandatory two-week self-isolation protocol, but instead travelled to Beaver Creek.He says the two people have been charged under Yukon's Civil Emergency Measures Act for failure to self-isolate and failure to behave in a manner consistent with their declaration upon arrival. Streiker says the couple allegedly presented themselves as visiting workers, misleading staff at the mobile vaccination clinic in Beaver Creek. He says territorial enforcement officers received a call about the couple, who were later intercepted at the Whitehorse airport trying to leave Yukon.The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail.The RCMP have been notified, he said in an interview on Friday.Streiker hadn't confirmed where the couple are from, but he said they didn't show Yukon health cards at the vaccination clinic.Yukon has two vaccination teams that are visiting communities throughout the territory with priority going to residents and staff of group-living settings, health-care workers, people over 80 who aren't living in long-term care, and Yukoners living in rural, remote and First Nation communities.Beaver Creek was chosen as a priority community to receive doses of COVID-19 vaccine because it's a remote border community, he said.Yukon's chief medical officer of health has indicated he believes the risk to the community as a result of the couple's visit is low, Streiker added. Streiker said there may be more scrutiny at vaccine clinics when people show up from outside Yukon, but officials are still working through options to prevent such a situation from happening again. "I find it frustrating because what that does is it makes more barriers," he said. "We've been trying to remove all barriers to get the vaccine for our citizens and so if there's another sort of layer of check, I just don't want it to make it harder for Yukoners to get their vaccines."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The Maple Leafs needed all hands on deck without two-thirds of their top line. Minus both Auston Matthews and Joe Thornton, Toronto didn't miss a beat Friday. John Tavares scored the winner on a third-period power play and Frederik Andersen was stellar in making 30 saves as the Leafs picked up a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Adam Brooks, with his first in the NHL, Jimmy Vesey, and Mitch Marner, into an empty net, had the other goals for Toronto (4-2-0), which went 2 for 2 with the man advantage. William Nylander added a pair of assists, while Marner chipped in with one of his own. "A great effort by the group," said Vesey, whose team lost 3-1 to the Oilers on Wednesday. "No Auston, no (Thornton). Guys came in and stepped up. "It was a gutsy effort. We didn't like our game the other night. It was good we didn't have to wait to play those guys again." Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said before the game Matthews is day-to-day with upper-body soreness, while Thornton will miss at least four weeks after fracturing a rib. "We've got to play a little bit differently," Keefe said. "The group's really got to recognize the importance of every shift and how important it is to stay with the structure, stay with the plan. I thought we did that really well." Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl replied for Edmonton (2-4-0), which got 25 stops from Mikko Koskinen. "A good offensive team, you give them a little sniff, they're going to figure it out," McDavid said. "We made one too many mistakes." Down 2-1 through two periods, the Oilers got even 50 seconds into the third when McDavid, who grew up just north of Toronto in Newmarket, Ont., scored his second-ever goal at Scotiabank Arena when he deftly tipped Ethan Bear's point shot past Andersen for his fourth of the campaign. The Leafs got a power play midway through the period when Toronto's new top line of Tavares, Marner and Zach Hyman started buzzing, with the latter forcing Koskinen to stretch for a great save. But the Edmonton goalie could do nothing on the Tavares winner — his fourth overall and second in as many games — at 11:46 on a redirection of Marner's shots after making another terrific stop on Toronto's captain moments earlier. Andersen shut the door from there before Marner iced it with his fourth into an empty net as Toronto held on for its fourth victory in six outings to open the abbreviated 56-game schedule. "To get a good, hard-fought win like that you need the whole group," Tavares said. "We got a good bounce-back." Most of the talk heading into the Leafs-Oilers showdown was about two offensive juggernauts, but there was very little room at 5 on 5 with all that star power mostly neutralized. "You get very familiar with your opponent, tendencies, adjustments that are being made game to game," said Tavares of a season featuring division-only play. "Things might be a little tighter than people expected. "There's a lot of respect on both sides knowing the capabilities." With the Leafs missing Matthews and Thornton, Keefe went back to 12 forwards and six defenceman after dressing an extra blue-liner the last two games. Brooks, Pierre Engvall and Alexander Barabanov drew in up front, while Mikko Lehtonen was scratched on the back end. The Leafs got a power play early in the second, but Oilers grabbed a 1-0 lead at 5:12 when Kailer Yamamoto threw the puck in front where Draisaitl fished it out of Nylander's skates and jammed home his second of the season. But Toronto got that one back on the same man advantage 43 seconds later when Jason Spezza fired a puck into the slot that glanced off Brooks and in for the Winnipeg native's first NHL goal in his eighth appearance. "That was the first game I've played in like 330 days or something like that, so it's been a long time," said the 24-year-old, who was part of Toronto's taxi squad before Friday. "It's nice to get that bounce, and nice for it to come from a guy like Jason Spezza. "A great moment I'll remember forever." Andersen then made a good stop outwaiting Jesse Puljujarvi on a break before Toronto pushed in front at 11:16 when Alexander Kerfoot intercepted an Adam Larsson pass behind Edmonton's net and quickly fed Nylander, who in turn patiently found Vesey to bury his second. "Those have been hard to come by," Keefe said of scoring at 5 on 5. "It was good to get one." Friday's opening 20 minutes weren't nearly as tight-checking as Wednesday's chess match, with a couple of chances at either end. Yamamoto, who was credited with the opening goal two nights earlier after the Leafs flubbed the puck into their own net, forced a good stop out of Andersen less than 30 seconds in. Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds then had an opportunity denied by Koskinen from the slot. Edmonton's Zack Kassian took a pass off the rush from McDavid that Andersen just got a piece of with the shaft of his stick. McDavid had another rebound effort denied by Andersen before Simmonds saw his redirection smothered by Koskinen. "Our best guys led us," Keefe said. "Just a real good team win — which we knew going in it was going to have to be." Notes: Toronto placed Thornton on long-term injured reserve, where he joined rookie winger Nick Roberston (knee). ... Edmonton activated winger James Neal, who was previously on the NHL's list of unavailable players due to COVID-19, off injured reserve for his first action of the season. ... The Oilers now head to Winnipeg for two against the Jets beginning Sunday before hosting the Leafs for another two-game set starting Thursday. ... Toronto opens a four-game Alberta road trip Sunday in Calgary against the Flames. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. ___ Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — It's a club Donald Trump was never really interested in joining and certainly not so soon: the cadre of former commanders in chief who revere the presidency enough to put aside often bitter political differences and even join together in common cause. Members of the ex-presidents club pose together for pictures. They smile and pat each other on the back while milling around historic events, or sit somberly side by side at VIP funerals. They take on special projects together. They rarely criticize one another and tend to offer even fewer harsh words about their White House successors. Like so many other presidential traditions, however, this is one Trump seems likely to flout. Now that he's left office, it's hard to see him embracing the stately, exclusive club of living former presidents. “He kind of laughed at the very notion that he would be accepted in the presidents club,” said Kate Andersen Brower, who interviewed Trump in 2019 for her book “Team of Five: The Presidents’ Club in the Age of Trump." “He was like, ‘I don’t think I’ll be accepted.'” It's equally clear that the club's other members don't much want him — at least for now. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton recorded a three-minute video from Arlington National Cemetery after President Joe Biden's inauguration this week, praising peaceful presidential succession as a core of American democracy. The segment included no mention of Trump by name, but stood as a stark rebuke of his behaviour since losing November's election. “I think the fact that the three of us are standing here, talking about a peaceful transfer of power, speaks to the institutional integrity of our country,” Bush said. Obama called inaugurations “a reminder that we can have fierce disagreements and yet recognize each other’s common humanity, and that, as Americans, we have more in common than what separates us." Trump spent months making baseless claims that the election had been stolen from him through fraud and eventually helped incite a deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He left the White House without attending Biden’s swearing-in, the first president to skip his successor's inauguration in 152 years. Obama, Bush and Clinton recorded their video after accompanying Biden to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider following the inauguration. They also taped a video urging Americans to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Only 96-year-old Jimmy Carter, who has limited his public events because of the pandemic, and Trump, who had already flown to post-presidential life in Florida, weren't there. Jeffrey Engel, founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said Trump isn't a good fit for the ex-presidents club "because he’s temperamentally different.” “People within the club historically have been respected by ensuing presidents. Even Richard Nixon was respected by Bill Clinton and by Ronald Reagan and so on, for his foreign policy," Engel said. "I’m not sure I see a whole lot of people calling up Trump for his strategic advice.” Former presidents are occasionally called upon for big tasks. George H.W. Bush and Clinton teamed up in 2005 to launch a campaign urging Americans to help the victims of the devastating Southeast Asia tsunami. When Hurricane Katrina blasted the Gulf Coast, Bush, father of the then-current president George W. Bush, called on Clinton to boost Katrina fundraising relief efforts. When the elder Bush died in 2018, Clinton wrote, “His friendship has been one of the great gifts of my life," high praise considering this was the man he ousted from the White House after a bruising 1992 campaign — making Bush the only one-term president of the last three decades except for Trump. Obama tapped Clinton and the younger President Bush to boost fundraising efforts for Haiti after its devastating 2010 earthquake. George W. Bush also became good friends with former first lady Michelle Obama, and cameras caught him slipping a cough drop to her as they sat together at Arizona Sen. John McCain’s funeral. Usually presidents extend the same respect to their predecessors while still in office, regardless of party. In 1971, three years before he resigned in disgrace, Richard Nixon went to Texas to participate in the dedication of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s presidential library. When Nixon’s library was completed in 1990, then-President George H.W. Bush attended with former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. Trump's break with tradition began even before his presidency did. After his election win in November 2016, Obama hosted Trump at the White House promising to “do everything we can to help you succeed.” Trump responded, “I look forward to being with you many, many more times in the future” — but that never happened. Instead, Trump falsely accused Obama of having wiretapped him and spent four years savaging his predecessor's record. Current and former presidents sometimes loathed each other, and criticizing their successors isn’t unheard of. Carter criticized the policies of the Republican administrations that followed his, Obama chided Trump while campaigning for Biden and also criticized George W. Bush’s policies — though Obama was usually careful not to name his predecessor. Theodore Roosevelt tried to unseat his successor, fellow Republican William Howard Taft, by founding his own “Bull Moose” party and running for president again against him. Still, presidential reverence for former presidents dates back even further. The nation’s second president, John Adams, was concerned enough about tarnishing the legacy of his predecessor that he retained George Washington’s Cabinet appointments. Trump may have time to build his relationship with his predecessors. He told Brower that he “could see himself becoming friendly with Bill Clinton again," noting that the pair used to golf together. But the odds of becoming the traditional president in retirement that he never was while in office remain long. “I think Trump has taken it too far," Brower said. "I don’t think that these former presidents will welcome him at any point.” Will Weissert And Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press
In nature’s classroom, bundled up around a hole drilled into the frozen Red River, the roles of student and teacher flip. Last weekend, the Parenteaus set out for what would prove to be a successful ice-fishing trip in Selkirk — not because they caught any channel catfish nor walleye, but because Carter Parenteau, 9, beamed as he taught his mother how to angle. “Out there, you don’t even think about all the worries of being in a pandemic. That’s probably the best part for me, and for Carter, too,” Anna Parenteau says, recalling the family field trip. Sunday marked Anna’s first time ice fishing so Carter showed her the lines; the fourth grader explained that because they were using frozen minnows, she needed to jiggle her rod to lure fish to the bait. “It’s his element, when he’s out on the land,” she says. The ability to connect and reflect on what it means to be Anishinaabe has proven to be one of the only constants for the Parenteaus this year, as COVID-19 continues to pause outings to school, ceremonies and swimming lessons. It feels good to be able to uphold treaty rights and observe how the land is ever-changing, says Jason Parenteau, an experienced ice-fisher, who has been organizing cultural activities for Anna and their two sons all year. The family braced for pandemic pivots in early autumn, but had always planned to ensure Ojibwe lessons were at the forefront of Carter and 17-year-old Josiah’s education. Their cousins, the Kennedys and Patricks were also involved, until the recent breakup of their home-school bubble, owing to the second COVID-19 wave. The families are uneasy about the prospect of returning to school — let alone their original 2020-21 academic setup. They have learned first-hand how painful it is to lose a loved one during a pandemic and be unable to attend a funeral, community feast and gather around a drum. Three relatives from Roseau River First Nation died after contracting the virus. In recent days, Anna’s father, an elder and traditional wellness worker in Roseau River, received his first vaccine dose. While she says she’s excited for him, safe family gatherings are still a long way off. Anna, Jason and cousin Dawnis Kennedy, however, are also hesitant about the vaccine rollout, citing the government’s history of non-consensual experiments and forced sterilization on Indigenous people. Kennedy says she had hoped the families were being overprotective when they mapped out a home-school plan last summer and expected a vaccine would bring normalcy. Now, she is unsure what it will take for her to feel safe about Kenny, a third grader, returning to Ojibwe Immersion at Isaac Brock School. In September, the boys called their home-school bubble “fake school.” The nickname later evolved to “our school.” Kenny and Carter, who would have been in a Grade 3-4 split class together if they were in school, connected with their teacher and classmates on video calls during the optional two-week remote-learning period after the holiday break. Their families’ shared priority is staying connected to Ojibwe programming at Isaac Brock, so they have opted for home-school lessons and check-ins with Ojibwe teachers rather than fully participating in the Winnipeg School Division’s virtual English program, thus far. Kennedy’s son has been asking about when they can return to “our school” again. She doesn’t know the answer, but she says she looks forward to the day they can gather again. Learning on the land affects the boys’ self-esteem and how they carry themselves, she says — for the better. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
A morning sun dog gave way to a blustery -20 C afternoon, but Emby Blum-Payne was still keen to show off tricks and twirls on her ice skates. Krystal Payne helped her eight-year-old daughter suit up at the edge of their front yard skating rink in Elmwood, one of several features of the family’s homemade winter wonderland, which includes a snow fort that doubles as a miniature tobogganing hill. Sporting hot pink-and-white skates, Emby effortlessly glided around the glossy surface to burn off some energy after a virtual school day. Payne and her partner, Andy Blum, share in their daily goal to get Emby to participate in at least 30 minutes of exercise — an idea a child psychologist prescribed when the parents voiced concerns about their daughter’s remote-learning frustrations. They have been encouraging Emby to walk the dogs, skate in the yard, and watch and follow along with kid workout videos to meet that target. “On the days when we fail to facilitate that, there’s definitely a lot more frustration and trouble sleeping,” Payne says. As the school year nears the halfway mark, the parents have learned how to navigate Emby’s emotions amid constant uncertainty in education and life, in general. Their third-grader was assigned a new online classroom teacher — the third one she’s had since the first day of remote learning in September — earlier this month. The only progress report Emby has received in 2020-21 to date was more blank than usual; instead of numbers, there were “incomplete” notices next to every subject, alongside comments about strengths and next steps. “There have been continued disruptions in terms of her losing work and losing access (to different apps) and sort of starting from scratch again. It’s super-frustrating,” Payne says. For instance, with every change there has been a reset of Emby’s progress on Raz-Kids, a program that gamifies learning by giving users points when they finish reading levelled books and answer related comprehension questions. Despite the hurdles, Payne says transitions have become easier over time and remote learning feels a lot different than it did last March. Emby attends two 40-minute video-call classes, which start and end with a French song to encourage students to sing and dance, during the school day. In between sessions, she works on independent assignments and completes home-school book studies with her mom. The family is searching for a math tutor to supplement the setup. Given Emby hasn’t been able to hang out with friends in months, she’s been connecting with them online, often playing group games on one device and messaging on another. Payne says she’s had to re-evaluate her hesitations about screen time because it’s the only way Emby can socialize. In the Blum-Paynes’ basement suite, Emby’s grandfather Edward Payne has also been spending much of his time staring at a screen. The provincial COVID-19 briefings are part of his daily routine. He hasn’t visited the library, gone for a haircut or left the house much since the pandemic was declared. Being immunocompromised, he is taking every precaution — as is the rest of the family, which is why Emby is learning at home. “That’s just the way it is right now,” says the man of few words, in contrast to his chatty granddaughter. Like Emby, he has been reading lots of books this year. His preferred genre is mystery, while his granddaughter favours graphic novels. Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Statistic after statistic points to the debilitating state of commerce in Canada. But what exactly do all those pandemic-fuelled business closures mean for cities like Winnipeg, Vancouver or Toronto? Data released this week by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows the situation is dire. More than one in six businesses — at least 239,000 across Canada and 5,601 in Manitoba — are at the risk of permanently disappearing because of COVID-19, or have already closed. Economists, public policy stakeholders and municipal planners are split on how exactly this will affect the future of downtown cores and surrounding areas. In interviews with the Free Press, experts described how jarring shifts in local economies will cause hypercompetition in some sectors, while others might completely disappear. It could also cause fewer jobs overall, less walkable areas, limited shopping options, and a rapid loss of the “biz village” concept, they said, along with severe population declines. If there’s one thing they can all agree on, however, it’s that Canadians cities will likely never look the same again. And if governments plan on bringing things back to a sustainable “new normal,” analysts believe preparation for it should begin as soon as possible. “I think there’s an implicit assumption that we’re in a sort of snow globe right now and that everything’s suspended so that one day soon we’ll all go back to normal,” said Vass Bednar, a policy expert who’s held several public and private sector leadership roles, including at Airbnb and Queen’s Park in Toronto. “Those assumptions are almost certainly wrong,” she said. “The fact is, everyone will quickly notice how different things already are when they go on a walk around their cities to see not just closed signs, but also the larger store or restaurant signs taken off to indicate permanent closures for so many of their favourite places. And it will only get more severe.” CFIB’s latest figures suggest that at least 58,000 businesses have already permanently closed their doors following pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions in 2020. Based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and Jan. 16, the organization now says a mid-range of at least 181,000 small business owners are also considering to close down or declare bankruptcy on top of last year’s numbers, adding up to 239,000 in total. But should things remain unchanged, by the end of this year, closures could rise up to 280,117 across Canada. In Manitoba, that’s roughly 6,645 storefronts — with even the lowest estimates suggesting at least six per cent (5,601 businesses) will be lost. That means more than 2.4 million people will likely be out of work — a staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs, or just about one in seven of all employment in Canada. “They’re all very scary figures,” said Jonathan Alward, Prairies director for CFIB. “I really, truly hope we’re wrong on this. But it just doesn’t seem like we are, at least not right now. “In an ordinary time, businesses would never want to be rescued with help from the government. But right now, I think creating pathways for safe openings by tax breaks, subsidies and other strategies to provide easier access is just as important for communities themselves than the business owners.” Fletcher Baragar is an economics professor at the University of Manitoba who’s extensively researched how bankruptcies and bailouts affect societies and communities. He said he’s never seen more closures than this past year — not during the 2008-09 financial crisis, or even in his studies of recessions that occurred before the turn of the millennium. “It’s a common thing to see exits and entries all the time in the market — healthy changes are the whole point of an entrepreneurial marketplace,” said Baragar. “But when that business change happens so rapidly, it certainly affects everything else... and it’s incredibly uneven in the type of areas and sectors it affects when some benefit from it and others die out of it.” Hospitality and arts are two of the hardest-hit sectors, CFIB data indicates, with 33 per cent and 28 per cent of businesses in those sectors expected to close up shop. In the retail sector, it’s 15 per cent of companies. At the other end of the spectrum, agriculture and natural resources are the lowest-impacted of any sector — still, with six per cent of businesses expected to close. Next is construction, at nine per cent, and manufacturing, at 12 per cent. Provincial breakdowns show Newfoundland and Labrador will see the most severe impact, with a high-end estimate of 28 per cent of all businesses to close. That’s followed by Alberta at 25 per cent and Ontario at 24. Manitoba is right in the middle at 18 per cent, and Nova Scotia is least-impacted at 14 per cent. That’s why business owners have begun to ask themselves tough questions, said Baragar, about whether it’s even worth opening up when they’re allowed to and if it’s something they can afford financially. “Of the ones remaining, I think there’s going to be a lot more consolidation and amalgamation internationally and from one side of the country to the next,” he said. “And that means fewer buying and service options for quite literally everything — restaurants, clothing, you name it.” Sylvain Charlebois, a leading supply chain expert, said these shifts will also cause city demographics themselves to change. Pointing to recent Starbucks coffee shop closures, he said food companies are making note of this, and will “always go where the money is” — which he doesn’t believe is in urban centres anymore. “Of course, the cost of city dwelling is a cruel barrier anyway,” said Charlebois, who’s a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax. “More than that, there’s other reasons that are also important. When businesses close in areas where they were supposed to be forming villages or walkable communities, it impacts the kind of people that want to live in those cities and how much they actually spend. It’s a cycle.” Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, said that’s something he’s already seen with Osborne Village in Winnipeg before, when storefronts began to abruptly shut down a few years ago. “We realized during that time, just how much businesses are more than businesses for livable communities — they’re really the fabric of what binds them together,” he said. “You couldn’t have Little Italy or Little India or even Sage Creek without the actual biz village concept thriving for those ethnographic neighbourhoods.” Remillard said a continuous push is being made to get larger companies to headquarter in Winnipeg, “so that if and when acquisitions or mergers happen during devastating economic periods, we risk little when their main office is here.” But as a policy expert, Bednar believes messaging from government has been a crucial part of what makes the future for urban business so frazzled. “It was so much easier just to tell everyone to move online and give them some subsidies to string along,” she said. “Eventually, when this is finally over, what happens when we’re offline again? Can you actually market or promote tourism if you don’t have physical stores? It might be time to start changing how we’re thinking and talking about these things.” Temur Durrani, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Wastewater testing in Hay River is no longer showing signs of COVID-19. According to a press release from the territory's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola this means people in Hay River can return to "routine public health measures." "All those who were self-isolating in Hay River during the time of wastewater signal detection and were asked to come in for testing can return to routine measures — including monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 and getting tested at their first sign," Kandola said in the press release Friday evening. In Fort Liard, where there are six confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the community is in the middle of a two week containment order, new supports have been put in place. They include: $250 in local grocery vouchers for each household; And an additional $100 Visa gift card for all individuals who have been asked to isolate. The government of the N.W.T. is also working with the hamlet to provide deliveries to people in isolation, including childrens' toys and games where needed. Vaccinations underway Vaccination clinics continue Saturday in Fort Liard for all eligible people. The clinics are at the school gym from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eligible people include: adults above the age of 18, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, immune-suppressed, or immune-compromised. Kandola said this latest advice around the Moderna vaccine comes from the federal National Advisory Council on Immunization and is supported by N.W.T. health authorities. It's a walk-in clinic and no appointment is necessary, but people are asked to wear a mask, keep physical distance from one another and follow staff directions. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is asked not to go to the clinic. Instead they should call the health centre at 770-4301 for instructions. Wastewater testing in Yellowknife continues to signal the presence of COVID-19 in the city, but that is to be expected as there is an active case in the community. "There is no evidence of community transmission in Yellowknife and the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer will continue to monitor the situation," Kandola said.
The new president of the United States described his inauguration on Wednesday as a moment to move forward. But moving forward properly requires a reckoning with the past. In Joe Biden's case, that reckoning came for the Keystone XL pipeline. The project's fate seemed to be sealed years ago, but it haunts us still. And now, with strident words from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney about a trade war, it could haunt Canadian politics indefinitely. Or, Canadian leaders could decide that it's time for them to move forward, too. The executive order that rescinded Keystone XL's permit on Wednesday states that "the United States must be in a position to exercise vigorous climate leadership in order to achieve a significant increase in global climate action and put the world on a sustainable climate pathway." If that sounds familiar, it's because President Barack Obama said almost the same thing when he blocked Keystone in November 2015. "America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change," Obama said. "And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership." John Kerry — secretary of state in 2015 and now Biden's climate envoy — put an even finer point on the significance of Keystone in his own statement at the time. "The United States cannot ask other nations to make tough choices to address climate change if we are unwilling to make them ourselves," he said. A pipeline that became a referendum In his remarks, Obama argued that the practical value of the pipeline had been wildly overstated — by both sides. Keystone XL, he said, would be neither "a silver bullet for the economy, as was promised by some, nor the express lane to climate disaster proclaimed by others." But the economic arguments in favour of the pipeline could not overcome the profound symbolic value assigned to it by environmental groups and climate-focused voters. On its own, Keystone wouldn't spell the difference between a green future and a "climate disaster." But the pipeline became a referendum on the U.S. government's commitment to combating climate change — a tangible thing on which American activists could focus their energies. Trump, who actively sought to undermine attempts to fight climate change, revived the project. But the political frame that was placed around Keystone XL in 2015 never went away, while legal challenges to the project continued. By the fall of 2019, most of the major Democratic candidates for the presidency had pledged to rescind Trump's order on their first day in office. Last May, Biden insisted that he would kill the pipeline. After Biden's victory in the presidential election, the Eurasia Group said that rescinding the permit was a "table stake" for the Democratic president and that backing away would risk "raising the ire of activists, their committed followers, and — importantly — the left wing of the Democratic party in Congress." "Rescinding KXL would be one area the Biden administration could act [on] and deliver a win to a key political constituency with no congressional interference," the global consulting firm said. Bill McKibben, one of the activists who led the campaign against Keystone, wrote in the New Yorker on Thursday that he was grateful for Biden's decision and never doubted that the new president would follow through. "Even today," he wrote, "Keystone is far too closely identified with climate carelessness for a Democratic president to be able to waver." So the second death of Keystone shouldn't have surprised anyone. It might have seemed rude of Biden to not wait a day or two to allow Canadian officials to make a fuller presentation on the pipeline's behalf, but that only would have delayed the inevitable. The lingering costs of climate inaction Perhaps Biden thought he was doing his neighbours a favour by ripping the Band-Aid off quickly. What might have happened to Keystone XL had Canada and the United States taken more aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the years leading up to Obama's decision? It's an intriguing hypothetical. Keystone may have paid the price ultimately for decades of global inaction on climate change. In the here and now, any debate about Keystone will have to consider whether its additional capacity is even needed at this point. In the meantime, Premier Kenney wants Justin Trudeau's government to impose trade sanctions on the United States if Biden refuses to revisit his decision. Stephen Harper could be ungracious in his defence of Keystone — he famously said that approving it was a "no brainer" — but his government doesn't seem to have ever publicly threatened to impose sanctions if Obama rejected it. Nor does it appear anyone called for sanctions when Obama officially killed the project shortly after the Trudeau government came to office. Sanctions out of spite? This idea of reprisals seems to have originated recently with Jack Mintz, a Canadian economist, who also conceded that imposing tariffs could be akin to "cutting off our own nose to spite our face." Notably, Erin O'Toole's federal Conservatives have not joined the premier in calling for sanctions. Kenney — whose government is polling poorly and whose party is being out-fundraised by the opposition — is spoiling for a fight. He has seized on the fact that federal officials did not respond to Biden's decision in particularly strong terms — and the Liberals may not have struck the right tone for those listening in the Prairies. WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Ottawa 'folded' on Keystone XL But before launching a trade war against this country's closest ally and its new leader, one should consider the potential results and opportunity costs. Would a trade war convince President Biden to brave the wrath of his supporters and reverse a campaign promise? Or would a renewed fight over Keystone XL simply consume political and diplomatic capital that could be put toward other things? Kenney has said sanctions might discourage the Biden administration from intervening against two other contested pipelines that originate in Alberta — Line 5 and Line 3. Writing in the New Yorker, McKibben did identify Line 3 as a target. But there's also a decent chance that sanctions would only inflame existing tensions around those projects. Threats and futility In May, 2015 — nearly six years ago — former Canadian diplomat Colin Robertson wrote that it was time for the Canada-U.S. relationship to move on from Keystone XL. Robertson argued that there were too many other important things to talk about. Six years later, that list of important things includes fostering collaboration on clean energy, fending off 'Buy American' policies and combating China's aggression. Still, Kenney warned that if the Trudeau government does not do more to defend Keystone, "that will only force us to go further in our fight for a fair deal in the federation." But if the battle for Keystone was effectively lost more than five years ago, should the federal government's willingness to keep fighting it have any bearing on Alberta's relationship with the rest of the country? The death of Keystone XL will have a real impact on those Albertans whose jobs depended on it. There are real anxieties and questions that need to be addressed, not least by the federal government. But the question now is whether fighting over Keystone will do anything to address those concerns — or whether it's time to put that political energy toward other purposes.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 37,742 new vaccinations administered for a total of 776,606 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,049.131 per 100,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 920,775 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 84.34 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,258 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,549 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.326 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 13,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 62.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,423 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 6,525 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.134 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 2,975 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,575 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.836 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 23,000 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 45.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 2,704 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,436 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.379 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 17,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 58.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 14,417 new vaccinations administered for a total of 200,627 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.447 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 11,168 new vaccinations administered for a total of 264,985 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.04 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 277,050 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,954 new vaccinations administered for a total of 25,838 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.764 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 46.43 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 1,494 new vaccinations administered for a total of 31,275 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 26.523 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 32,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 97.05 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 1,279 new vaccinations administered for a total of 97,785 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.214 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 101,275 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 96.55 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 5,665 new vaccinations administered for a total of 110,566 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 21.546 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 133,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 570 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,730 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 89.382 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 51.81 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,893 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 41.956 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 26.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 447 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,822 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 98.693 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 63.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Who is in charge of the vaccine rollout in Manitoba — that’s a question many nurses in the province are asking, including in the Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) region. The region put out an internal call for COVID vaccine program support intake for PMH employees only, about a month ago. “As more COVID-19 vaccine is delivered in the coming weeks, teams of people will be needed throughout our region to make this historic immunization campaign a success,” PHM states. One nurse, who spoke with The Brandon Sun on condition of anonymity, said, initially, the process was simple. The application is through the workplace intranet. The application asks all the basic questions, how the applicant is willing to help, employee number and EFT (equivalency to full-time). The nurse is a casual nurse and their friends are also casual and part-time, because they are retired. “We all applied and nobody has heard anything from Prairie Mountain Health,” they said. Another nurse, in a PMH community, was offered the same job by two different people for different wages. “She applied to be an immunizer. When you’re a nurse, there’s a pay scale, right? Depending on your experience. She’s a very experienced nurse, but she’s at the top of her pay scale, but she got offered a lower pay, and then a higher pay, but by two different people. And, then, she was offered training. Well, she’s already a trained nurse. She doesn’t need training to immunize,” said the anonymous nurse. The Sun asked PMH to explain the system, including who is in charge of hiring. The spokesperson asked that question be turned over to provincial communications. “The recruitment team for immunization clinics has been led by the province with the support of Shared Health and regional health authorities. We’ve already got more than 1,700 people in place to do this work, which includes 1,100 new hires,” said the provincial spokesperson. “As more vaccine supply arrives, we’re going to be in a good place to have additional staff or independent contractors hired, trained and ready to provide vaccines, when and where they are needed.” As reported in the Winnipeg Free Press, earlier this week, the province hired a private Canadian company, the David Aplin Group, to assist it in recruiting staff for its vaccination clinics. A spokeswoman said the contract was tendered in December and signed this month. But the spokesperson who replied to the Sun’s questions stated the David Alpin Group has been brought on board to support the recruitment of people from outside the health system, such as dentists, veterinarians, as well as individuals who don’t currently hold an EFT position within Shared Health. “Shared Health continues to support the application process for those who hold an EFT within the organization and will remain the employer of record for all those hired to support this initiative,” stated the spokesperson. In times of war — and many politicians and others refer to this time in history as the war against COVID-19 — nurses are on the frontlines. They do it all. Yet, the province has not turned to its nurses, who are experts at leading and setting up vaccination clinics. And, further, they are expected to accept the chaos created by the provincial government’s inability to put together a timely and transparent plan. Darlene Jackson is president of the 12,000 member Manitoba Nurses Union, and a nurse for 40 years in the province. Jackson said part of the problem is the provincial government hasn’t completed its transformation of health care in Manitoba. What was known as Manitoba Health became regionalized in the 90s, moving away from a centralized health authority. Shared Health came to be as a procurement entity, so the regions could get better prices on equipment and supplies. She said it looks like the province is headed back to centralization, with Shared Health as the hub. “It’s been very unclear when we’re going to get there, because we’re sort of in flux right now. We haven’t quite transitioned to Shared Health. It looks like we’re on our way there, but it’s happening in bits and pieces,” said Jackson. “So that’s part of the frustration — we haven’t finished this transformation that the government started about four-and-a-half years ago. There really hasn’t been a really good plan rolled out that anyone in this province, other than Shared Health and the government, knows. We’re not sure what’s happening.” Amid that confusion, the pandemic hit. The Pallister government said Monday it had hired a COVID-19 immunization director, a position it advertised two weeks prior, the Winnipeg Free Press reported Thursday. The CBC reported Friday afternoon the person who will be in charge of provincial immunization clinics has been seconded from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries. Asked what she would do if she were in charge, Jackson said her first action would be to bring the individuals in the province who are the experts to the table. “Not one frontline public health nurse has been asked their opinions. And, I’m telling you, they’re in a line waiting to help. One thing I’ll say about nurses is they never bring an issue without bringing a solution to it,” she said. “It seems to be the same with almost everything that’s happening in this province right now. They’re not utilizing the individuals that are right on the ground and can bring solutions that are very basic, very every day, and don’t cost a lot of money.” The Sun also turned to the Association of Regulated Nurses of Manitoba. “We work closely with the Community Health Nurses of Manitoba, a nursing specialty group that represents nurses working in public health, community health and homecare settings. We consulted with them for input and are able to make the following comments,” stated executive director Dr. Cheryl Cusack by email. “We have heard from public health nurses, who have previously been responsible for planning and implementing immunization programs and clinics, that they want to contribute but have not been engaged.” The association has also heard from retired nurses that have expressed interest in helping that they haven’t heard back from government or Shared Health — and that’s throughout the COVID response. “We continue to encourage the government to build capacity within the existing provincial health system and utilize the knowledge, skill and expertise of nurses in healthcare planning and decisions,” Cusack said. When Premier Brian Pallister visited Brandon Jan. 13, he erroneously called the Association of Regulated Nurses of Manitoba a union, disparaging them in the process. “This isn’t the time for union agitation. This is not the time for that. It’s not helpful,” he said. Jackson, who is president of the actual union, said she’s not interested in “agitating,” but the government is not listening. She wants to make every effort to collaborate with the government, and has had two recent meetings with Pallister’s new health minister, Heather Stefanson. “I spend a lot of time bringing issues forward on behalf of nurses and they just feel like they have so many solutions and so many ways to help and they’re not been listened to,” she said. “We want to help. We don’t want to agitate. We want to help. That’s what we want to do. We want to ensure that Manitobans are afforded the best possible health care and we want every Manitoban to be vaccinated,” said Jackson. She said she’s heard from many nurses who have said the same things to her as they did responding to a survey Cusack ran for the members of the Association of Regulated Nurses of Manitoba. “The pandemic is killing them. They are overworked. Their workload is ridiculous. They are fearful of patient safety,” said Jackson, adding it doesn’t matter who brings the message. “The message from nurses in this province is very clear. This pandemic is bringing us down. The plans were not rolled out. The game is changing so often that nurses really are confused.” The anonymous nurse who spoke with the Sun repeated: Who’s in charge? “I know everyone is blaming Pallister, but he doesn’t have a hot clue what’s going on in (Prairie Mountain Health) because it’s all been delegated out. When they’re blaming Pallister and (Dr. Brent) Roussin … they don’t have a clue what’s going on out here. They’ve delegated out to people who they believe to be competent. I don’t know that they are. I don’t know who they are,” they said. “Common sense has taken a vacation.” Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
SURREY, B.C. — Fraser Health has declared two new COVID-19 outbreaks, including at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre, where 20 people in custody have tested positive. The health authority says it is working to identify others who may have had contact with those who tested positive at the jail in Port Coquitlam, B.C. There have been several outbreaks in prisons and jails across Canada, including at Mission Institution in B.C.'s Fraser Valley, where an inmate died in April. Fraser Health says there is also a new outbreak at the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. It says two patients tested positive for COVID-19 in a surgical unit at the hospital and the outbreak is limited to that unit. The emergency department remains open and the health authority says other areas of the hospital are not affected by the outbreak. The health authority also declared over two previously announced outbreaks at the rehabilitation unit at Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster and the Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously reported that Fraser Health declared new outbreaks at the Queen's Park Care Centre and the Good Samaritan Delta View Care Centre. In fact, Fraser Health declared these outbreaks over.
L’entreprise Keolis Canada, maison mère de Orléans Express, menace de suspendre le voyagement par autocar à l’est de Rimouski en raison de difficultés financières liées à la pandémie. Cette interruption de service pourrait survenir aussi tôt que le 7 février prochain s’il n’y pas d’aide du gouvernement. Dans une lettre adressée aux élus de la Gaspésie, la compagnie canadienne met en lumière le manque de clientèle, le faible achalandage et le peu de revenus. « Keolis Canada est au cœur d’une crise sans précédent qui affecte fortement sa capacité financière, et par conséquent, le maintien de ses activités », a évoqué dans la lettre le président-directeur général, Pierre-Paul Pharand. Selon lui, la pérennité de l’entreprise est en péril. M. Pharand assure qu’une rencontre d’urgence a été sollicitée auprès du gouvernement du Québec au sujet d’une aide financière pour supporter le service dans l’est du Québec. Or, les demandes auprès du ministre des Transports sont restées sans réponse. La compagnie a d’ailleurs essayé de communiquer avec la ministre responsable de la région de la Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Marie-Ève Proulx, pour avoir son appui. Jusqu’à aujourd’hui, Orléans Express n’a pas encore eu la chance de consulter avec Mme Proulx. Les besoins financiers ont été communiqués depuis l’an dernier et la demande de rencontre fut émise il y a plusieurs semaines déjà. Sans aide éventuelle du gouvernement québécois, Keolis Canada devra procéder à des coupures de services dès le mois de février. « Nous sommes conscients que nos services sont essentiels pour la mobilité de plusieurs personnes [en] Gaspésie. Sachez que cette décision est loin d’être facile, mais elle est toutefois nécessaire afin de minimalement traverser cette crise », y est-il rapporté. Après avoir reçu sa lettre jeudi, le député de Matane-Matapédia, Pascal Bérubé, a rapidement organisé une conférence téléphonique avec Keolis Canada aux côtés de ses collègues députés de Gaspé et de Bonaventure vendredi après-midi. Les conclusions de cette rencontre sont que la menace est « très sérieuse », selon M. Bérubé. « À partir du 7 février, il n’y aura plus de service d’autocar à l’est de Rimouski, touchant ainsi l’ensemble de la péninsule gaspésienne. Les conséquences sont importantes pour la mobilité régionale, donc je souhaite ardemment que le gouvernement du Québec réponde avec satisfaction à leur demande, qu’on va supporter dans le contexte », a-t-il affirmé. Tout n’est pas perdu, car une réunion serait mise en branle mercredi prochain avec le gouvernement. « En souhaitant qu’on puisse trouver une solution puisque les conséquences sur l’image de la région et sur les possibilités de mobilité sont sévères », a conclu le député.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden made his first calls to foreign leaders as America's commander in chief on Friday, dialing up Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a strained moment for the U.S. relationship with its North American neighbours. Biden's call to Trudeau came after the Canadian prime minister this week publicly expressed disappointment over Biden’s decision — one of his first acts as president — to issue an executive order halting construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The long disputed project was projected to carry some 800,000 barrels of oil a day from the tar sands of Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. In their private conversation, Biden told Trudeau that by issuing the order he was following through on a campaign pledge to stop construction of the pipeline, a senior Canadian government official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation between the nations' leaders. The White House said in a statement that Biden, during the conversation, acknowledged Trudeau’s disappointment with his Keystone decision. Biden also spoke with López Obrador on Friday, days after the Mexican president accused the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of fabricating drug trafficking charges against the country’s former defence secretary. While Mexico continues to pledge to block mass movements of Central American migrants toward the U.S. border, there has been no shortage of potential flashpoints between the two countries. Mexico demanded the return of former defence secretary Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos after he was arrested in Los Angeles in October, threatening to restrict U.S. agents in Mexico if he wasn’t returned. U.S. prosecutors agreed to drop charges and return Cienfuegos to Mexico. But Mexico passed a law restricting foreign agents and removing their immunity anyway, and went on to publish the U.S. case file against Cienfuegos, whom Mexican prosecutors quickly cleared of any charges. López Obrador said in a statement that the conversation with Biden was “friendly and respectful." The two discussed immigration and COVID-19, among other issues. Trudeau told reporters before the call on Friday that he wouldn’t allow his differences with Biden over the project to become a source of tension in the U.S.-Canada relationship. “It’s not always going to be perfect alignment with the United States,” Trudeau said. “That’s the case with any given president, but we’re in a situation where we are much more aligned on values and focus. I am very much looking forward to working with President Biden.” Biden signed the executive order to halt construction of the pipeline just hours after he was sworn in. “Leaving the Keystone XL pipeline permit in place would not be consistent with my Administration’s economic and climate imperatives,” Biden’s executive order said. Critics say the growing operations increase greenhouse gas emissions and threaten Alberta’s rivers and forests. On the U.S. side, environmentalists expressed concerns about the pipeline— which would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world’s largest underground deposits of fresh water — being too risky. But proponents of the project say it would create thousands of jobs on both sides of the border. The project was proposed in 2008, and the pipeline has become emblematic of the tensions between economic development and curbing the fossil fuel emissions that are causing climate change. The Obama administration rejected it, but President Donald Trump revived it and was a strong supporter. Construction already started. Biden and Trudeau also discussed the prospects of Canada being supplied with the COVID-19 vaccine from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, according to a second senior Canadian government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation. Canada has been getting all its Pfizer doses from a Pfizer facility in Puurs, Belgium, but Pfizer has informed Canada it won’t get any doses next week and will get 50% less than expected over the next three weeks. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has publicly asked Biden to share a million doses made at Pfizer’s Michigan facility. The U.S. federal government has an agreement with Pfizer in which the first 100 million doses of the vaccine produced in the U.S. will be owned by the U.S. government and will be distributed in the U.S. Anita Anand, the Canadian federal procurement minister, has said the doses that are emerging from the Michigan plant are for distribution in the United States. The two leaders also spoke broadly about trade, defence and climate issues. Trudeau also raised the cases of two Canadians imprisoned in China in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a top Huawei executive, who was apprehended in Canada on a U.S. extradition request, according to the prime minister's office. ___ Gillies reported from Toronto and Stevenson from Mexico City. Rob Gillies, Mark Stevenson And Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
British Columbia releases a detailed plan on how it hopes to vaccinate the province's population. It involves four phases, more than seven million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and mobile units to reach remote areas.
Three people in hotel quarantine associated with the Australian Open tennis tournament have tested positive for the highly transmissible coronavirus variant linked to the United Kingdom, officials said on Saturday. "Three quarantine residents associated with the Australian Open who tested positive for coronavirus have been found to have the UK variant of the virus," COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria said in a statement. Victoria, Australia's second most-populous state, recorded its 17th day without any new local infections on Saturday as officials focus on keeping the community separated from staff and players here for the Grand Slam tournament.
Block Heater is back, but this time, the music is coming to your home. The sixth annual concert, hosted by the Calgary Folk Music Festival, will now offer a virtual experience that includes 23 artists. Kerry Clarke, the festival's artistic director, told the The Homestretch about some of the changes and what viewers have to look forward to. "It'll look like an awesome festival that's online instead of live that people can enjoy from the comfort of their homes or their backyard firepits with artists from our own backyard and around the world," Clarke said. New this year is a special Irish program that will feature four different artists. "We have a partnership with Culture Ireland, and so they're helping support the artists. They are helping get the word out," she said. Some of the performances will be live so that the audience can interact with the performers virtually. "It's really nice to have the audience interaction for the artist and to be able to see the audience watching them," Clarke said. "Most of the local artists are going to be on the free stream, which is on YouTube and Facebook, and those are all going to be live either from Festival Hall or from their homes." Despite having to change how they operate this year, Clarke said they're happy to continue the festival in a new way. "We like to keep the music alive in whatever way we can. We love to keep artists employed and we want to keep artists and audiences connected," she said. "It's an important festival to us now, so we don't want to let it go fallow." Clarke said this year will be affordable too. Half of the festival is free on one stage, and the other is a pay-what-you-can method. "If someone wants to pay a dollar and someone else wants to pay $70, then that's fine with us," she said. You can check out the festival online from Feb. 16 to 20. Visit their website for more details, the schedule and information about the tickets. The Block Heater lineup: Valerie June Damien Jurado Matt Holubowski Vancouver's Parkland Music Project Lisa Hannigan, who will be part of a special Irish program Paul Noonan Saint Sister Lisa O'Neill Lorrie Matheson The Lovebullies Robert Adam Nite Twin Tarik Robinson Tendavillage 100 mile house Lucette Ariane Mahrÿke Lemire Ryland Moranz ANACHNID Cris Derksen Dr. Henry Band Kelly Bado María Mezcal With files from The Homestretch.
Indigenous communities across Canada are leading the charge toward a renewable energy future as technology advances and networking opportunities are fostered. The successes and advancements are on full display this week at the Indigenous Clean Energy gathering (held virtually this year). Darrell Brown, a Winnipeg-based Cree entrepreneur, chairs the ICE executive board. He was thrilled to see the community come together in support as different First Nations get started down the path of sustainability. “It’s come a long way. The communities get it now. They see what everyone’s doing,” Brown said. Brown started his business, Kisik Clean Energy, last year to support Indigenous development of hydro, solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and microgrid technologies. He’s worked in the clean energy industry for five years, and had a hand in developing the renewable energy project at Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek (Gull Bay First Nation) in northwestern Ontario. The KZA project involved solar power and battery storage in a microgrid distribution system developed to reduce the community’s reliance on diesel fuel as a power source. The First Nation is not connected to the provincial power grid. AJ Esquega, KZA energy projects co-ordinator, explained the technologies don’t allow the elimination of diesel as such yet, but the First Nation has lowered its use by approximately 25 per cent (some 120,000 litres per year). One project is positive, Brown said, but it’s even better to see other communities be inspired by these successes. Sayisi Dene First Nation, on the shores of Tadoule Lake in northern Manitoba, 250 kilometres west of Churchill, is one of the off-grid communities looking to take the leap into renewables. Empowerment is a big part of the equation. “They feel like they’re taking care of their land, taking care of their water, and the wildlife and that goes with their beliefs. Everything you do with renewable energy and reducing fossil fuels it does with the whole belief system. It’s what all of us Indigenous people believe, taking care of Mother Earth,” Brown said. Other benefits include new job opportunities, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, lowering environmental risk associated with fuel storage, and an improvement of health outcomes (the burning of diesel is linked to negative health impacts). Even communities that are hooked into provincial grids, such as Fisher River Cree Nation in central Manitoba, are investing in renewables to avoid the high cost of power. This summer, the community unveiled the largest solar farm in the province, with excess energy sold back into Manitoba Hydro’s grid. The three Indigenous communities on the doorstep of the oilsands in northern Alberta — Mikisew Cree First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and Fort Chipewyan Métis Association — are operating the largest solar farm in the country. (It began operations in November 2020.) The success of each community is levied off one another, Brown said. “We’re limited with our resources in our isolated communities. So, when you pool it together, that’s where the value comes from because you have people in each community that are wanting the same thing for their own community,” said Vince Robinson, clean energy co-ordinator at Nuxalk Nation, in B.C. “It seems like there’s at least five questions every day that pop up, where you don’t even know how you would go about answering those questions. And then, the ICE network is there, almost like a big brother.” Robinson, Brown and Esquega all benefited from an Indigenous clean energy mentorship program called 20/20 Catalysts, which continues to bring forth new graduates each year and is part of the ICE network. The online conference continues today. Sessions can be attended free of charge (icegathering.com). Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press