Cancer diagnoses are down across Canada, but doctors fear this is because fewer cases are being caught early during the pandemic.
Cancer diagnoses are down across Canada, but doctors fear this is because fewer cases are being caught early during the pandemic.
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump has lost his social media megaphone, the power of government and the unequivocal support of his party's elected leaders. But a week after leaving the White House in disgrace, a large-scale Republican defection that would ultimately purge him from the party appears unlikely. Many Republicans refuse to publicly defend Trump's role in sparking the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. After House Republicans who backed his impeachment found themselves facing intense backlash — and Trump’s lieutenants signalled the same fate would meet others who joined them — Senate Republicans voted overwhelmingly Tuesday for an attempt to dismiss his second impeachment trial. Only five Republican senators rejected the challenge to the trial. Trump's conviction was considered a real possibility just days ago after lawmakers whose lives were threatened by the mob weighed the appropriate consequences — and the future of their party. But the Senate vote on Tuesday is a sign that while Trump may be held in low regard in Washington following the riots, a large swath of Republicans is leery of crossing his supporters, who remain the majority of the party’s voters. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. “Republicans have decided that even if one believes he made mistakes after the November election and on Jan. 6, the policies Trump championed and victories he won from judges to regulatory rollback to life to tax cuts were too great to allow the party to leave him on the battlefield.” The vote came after Trump, who decamped last week to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, began wading back into politics between rounds of golf. He took an early step into the Arkansas governor’s race by endorsing former White House aide Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and backed Kelli Ward, an ally who won reelection as chair of Arizona’s Republican Party after his endorsement. At the same time, Trump’s team has given allies an informal blessing to campaign against the 10 House Republicans who voted in favour of impeachment. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. Norton appeared on longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s podcast in a bid to raise campaign contributions. On Thursday, another Trump loyalist, Rep. Matt Gaetz, plans to travel to Wyoming to condemn home-state Rep. Liz Cheney, a House GOP leader who said after the Capitol riot that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.” Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. — a star with Trump’s loyal base —- has encouraged Gaetz on social media and embraced calls for Cheney’s removal from House leadership. Trump remains livid with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, who refused to support Trump's false charges that Georgia's elections were fraudulent. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022, and Trump has suggested former Rep. Doug Collins run against him. Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman’s decision not to seek reelection in 2022 opens the door for Rep. Jim Jordan, one of Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, to seek the seat. Several other Republicans, some far less supportive of the former president, are also considering running. Trump’s continued involvement in national politics so soon after his departure marks a dramatic break from past presidents, who typically stepped out of the spotlight, at least temporarily. Former President Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation with billionaire Richard Branson shortly after he left office, and former President George W. Bush took up painting. Trump, who craves the media spotlight, was never expected to burrow out of public view. “We will be back in some form,” he told supporters at a farewell event before he left for Florida. But exactly what form that will take is a work in progress. Trump remains deeply popular among Republican voters and is sitting on a huge pot of cash — well over $50 million — that he could use to prop up primary challenges against Republicans who backed his impeachment or refused to support his failed efforts to challenge the election results using bogus allegations of mass voter fraud in states like Georgia. “POTUS told me after the election that he’s going to be very involved,” said Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union. “I think he’s going to stay engaged. He’s going to keep communicating. He’s going to keep expressing his opinions. I, for one, think that’s great, and I encouraged him to do that.” Aides say he also intends to dedicate himself to winning back the House and Senate for Republicans in 2022. But for now, they say their sights are on the trial. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. Trump aides have also spent recent days trying to assure Republicans that he is not currently planning to launch a third party — an idea he has floated — and will instead focus on using his clout in the Republican Party. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said he received a call from Brian Jack, the former White House political director, on Saturday at home to assure him that Trump had no plans for defection. “The main reason for the call was to make sure I knew from him that he’s not starting a third party and if I would be helpful in squashing any rumours that he was starting a third party. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said. The calls were first reported by Politico. But the stakes remain high for Trump, whose legacy is a point of fierce contention in a Republican Party that is grappling with its identity after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress. Just three weeks after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, Trump’s political standing among Republican leaders in Washington remains low. “I don’t know whether he incited it, but he was part of the problem, put it that way,” said Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a strong Trump supporter, when asked about the Capitol siege and the related impeachment trial. Tuberville did not say whether he would personally defend Trump in the trial, but he downplayed the prospect of negative consequences for those Republican senators who ultimately vote to convict him. “I don’t think there’ll be any repercussions,” Tuberville said. “People are going to vote how they feel anyway.” Trump maintains a strong base of support within the Republican National Committee and in state party leadership, but even there, Republican officials have dared to speak out against him in recent days in ways they did not before. In Arizona, Ward, who had Trump’s backing, was only narrowly reelected over the weekend, even as the party voted to censure a handful of Trump’s Republican critics, including former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain. At the same time, Trump’s prospective impeachment sparked a bitter feud within the RNC. In a private email exchange obtained by The Associated Press, RNC member Demetra DeMonte of Illinois proposed a resolution calling on every Republican senator to oppose what she called an “unconstitutional sham impeachment trial, motivated by a radical and reckless Democrat majority.” Bill Palatucci, a Republican committeeman from New Jersey, slapped back. “His act of insurrection was an attack on our very democracy and deserves impeachment,” Palatucci wrote. ___ Peoples reported from New York. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report. Steve Peoples And Jill Colvin, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he remains confident in Canada's vaccine supplies despite threats from Europe that it might impose export controls on vaccines produced on that continent. Speaking to reporters outside his Ottawa residence Tuesday morning, Trudeau said the situation in Europe is worrisome but he is "very confident" Canada is going to get all the COVID-19 vaccine doses promised by the end of March. And despite the sharp decline in deliveries of a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech this month, he said Canada will still vaccinate all Canadians who want shots by the end of September. "We will continue to work closely with Europe to ensure that we are sourcing, that we are receiving the vaccines that we have signed for, that we are due," Trudeau said. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement posted to Twitter Tuesday that Europe will set up a "vaccine export transparency mechanism" so Europe knows exactly how many doses are being produced in the world's largest trading bloc and where they are being shipped. "Europe invested billions to help develop the world‘s first COVID-19 vaccines to create a truly global common good," she said. "And now the companies must deliver." Europe is also getting smaller shipments from Pfizer than promised, because the company temporarily slowed production at its plant in Belgium so it can be expanded. AstraZeneca has also warned Europe its first shipments of vaccine will be smaller than expected because of production problems. But Europe, which invested more than C$4 billion in vaccine development, is demanding the companies fulfil their contracts on time. "Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business," said von der Leyen. International Trade Minister Mary Ng said she had spoken to her European counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, about the situation and will keep working with Europe to keep the supply chain open. "There is not a restriction on the export of vaccines to Canada," Ng said in question period. Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner accused Ng of playing games with her response, noting the issue isn't that there is an export ban now, but that Europe is threatening to impose one. With all of Canada's current vaccine doses coming from Europe, "that's a concern," Rempel Garner said. "If the Europeans ban exports of vaccines, what's Plan B for Canada?" she asked. Both Pfizer and Moderna are making doses of their vaccine in the U.S. and in Europe, but all U.S.-made doses are currently only shipped within the U.S. Former U.S. president Donald Trump invoked the Defence Production Act last year to prevent export of personal protection equipment. He then signed an executive order in December demanding U.S.-produced vaccines be prioritized for Americans only and threatened to use the act to halt vaccine exports as well. President Joe Biden has already invoked the act to push for faster production of PPE and vaccines. Though he has not specifically mentioned exports, Biden has promised 100 million Americans will be vaccinated within his first 100 days of office, making the prospects the U.S. shares any of its vaccine supply unlikely. Canada has contracts with five other vaccine makers, but only two are on the verge of approval here. AstraZeneca, which has guaranteed Canada 20 million doses, needs to finish a big U.S. trial before Health Canada decides whether to authorize it. Johnson and Johnson is to report results from its Phase 3 trial next week, one of the final things needed before Health Canada can make a decision about it. Canada is to get 10 million doses from Johnson and Johnson, but it is the one vaccine that so far is administered as only a single dose. Trudeau said AstraZeneca isn't supplying Canada from its European production lines. A spokeswoman for Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Canada will not say where the other vaccines are coming from because of the concerns about security of supplies. AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson have set up multiple production lines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe, India, Australia and Africa. Canada has no current ability to produce either those vaccines or the ones from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. It is entirely reliant on foreign production at the moment. More than 113,000 people in Canada have received two full doses of either the Moderna or BioNTech vaccine. Another 752,000 have received a single dose. But the reduction in Pfizer shipments to Canada forced most provinces to slow the pace of injections. Europe, Mexico, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia also have slowed their vaccination campaigns because of the supply limits. Trudeau said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla assured him the full shipments will resume in mid-February, and that Canada will get its contracted four million doses by the end of March. He said he spoke to Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel Tuesday morning and was promised Moderna's shipments of two million doses by March 31 are also on track. MPs were scheduled to have an emergency debate on Canada's vaccine program Tuesday night. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Northern Health has released COVID-19 exposure notices for Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School in Terrace. The exposure at Uplands Elementary School occurred Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, and Centennial Christian School’s exposure took place on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, according to Northern Health’s list of public exposures and outbreaks. There have been numerous COVID-19 exposure notices for Terrace schools issued by Northern Health since Nov. 2020, and nearly all Terrace schools have had at least one exposure notice. Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News
Police are warning users of illicit drugs across the Northwest Territories of two new noxious substances they found in illicit drugs seized in Yellowknife last November, and for which the health effects are not known. In a Tuesday news release, RCMP said the drugs they seized — believed to crack cocaine, powder cocaine and tablets — were found to contain Adinazolam and 5-MeO-DBT after being analyzed by the Health Canada Drug Analysis Service. "These two drugs are a concern for unexpected reactions, and the concern for other contaminants like opioids is always present," said Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, the N.W.T.'s deputy chief public health officer, in the release. Police said the substances are either presented as a new form of drug that people may be unaware they are consuming or is so novel that limited information is available on its safety. The presence of the two new substances has increased the danger of illicit drugs, the release says. "In fact, given the distribution systems of the illegal drug trade, those tainted drugs could be anywhere in the territory, so this warning is for the entire Northwest Territories" said Insp. Dyson Smith, the officer in charge of the RCMP's Yellowknife detachment, in the release. The RCMP said it is working with the N.W.T. government Department of Health and Social Services to determine the impacts of the two new substances. Delli Pizzi said in the release that people who use street or illicit drugs should always do so with others present and have a plan in case someone overdoses. "The plan should include having naloxone present and calling 911 for help with any overdose" he said. The Yellowknife RCMP's general investigation section seized the illicit drugs on Nov. 27, 2020 from a Yellowknife residence. They said there have been charges as a result of the case and that it is currently before the courts.
Out of 99 new positive cases discovered in the Simcoe Muskoka Region, health officials say 97 are linked to a long-term care home in Barrie and all of those people are likely affected by the fast-spreading U.K. variant. There are concerns the highly contagious strain of the virus is more widespread than initially thought. Miranda Anthistle has the details.
ZURICH — FIFA set a new target Tuesday of finalizing North American host cities for the 2026 World Cup — if the COVID-19 pandemic allows. The 23 candidate cities likely need to be cut to 16. FIFA said it could confirm them at the end of the the year. The pre-pandemic schedule called for cities hosting the first 48-team World Cup — likely 10 in the United States and three each in Canada and Mexico — to be picked early this year. The new deadline will depend on FIFA officials being able to take inspection trips to 17 cities in the United States and three each in Canada and Mexico. “The visits will only take place if the health and safety situation in the host countries allows FIFA to do so,” the governing body said in a statement. The proposed Canadian cities are Edmonton (Commonwealth Stadium), Toronto (BMO Field) and Montreal (Olympic Stadium). A FIFA delegation met with Canada Soccer and representatives from the Canadian cities in Toronto last March before the pandemic started shutting sports down. The plan is for Canada and Mexico to host 10 games each with the U.S. hosting 60, including all games from the quarterfinals on. Most of the venues in the United States will be NFL stadiums, with the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets expected to host the final on July 12, 2026. “Realizing the commercial potential of each venue, as well as in terms of sustainability, human rights and event legacy, is of the utmost importance,” FIFA said. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats are preparing to push ahead quickly on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package even if it means using procedural tools to pass the legislation on their own, leaving Republicans behind. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told senators to be ready to vote as soon as next week on a budget reconciliation package that would lay the groundwork for swift passage. Coming so soon in Biden's administration, the action provides a first test of Republican opposition to the White House priorities as well as to the new president's promise of a “unity” agenda. “The work must move forward, preferably with our Republican colleagues, but without them if we must," Schumer said after a private meeting of Democratic senators. "Time is of the essence to address this crisis. We're keeping all options open on the table.” Unwilling to wait for Republicans who argue Biden's price tag is too high and his priorities too wide-ranging, Democrats are flexing their newfound power as they take control of the Senate alongside the House and White House. It is the first time in a decade the party has held the full sweep of power in Washington, and Democrats say they have no time to waste trying to broker compromises with Republicans that may, or may not, happen. They have watched Republicans use similar procedural tools to advance their priorities, most recently the Trump administration’s GOP tax cuts. The fast-moving events days into the new majority on Capitol Hill come as the White House continued meeting privately with groups of Republican and Democratic lawmakers in hopes of striking a bipartisan agreement. Biden's COVID-19 aid package includes money for vaccine distribution, school reopenings and $1,400 direct payments to households and gradually boosts the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. The next steps remain highly fluid. The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus of more than 50 House lawmakers met virtually Tuesday with top administration officials on the virus aid and economic recovery package. And the dozen senators emerging from a lengthy private meeting with the White House on Sunday evening are talking on their own to try to craft a more targeted bill. The bipartisan senators assembled privately again Monday evening. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Tuesday that Biden is still looking to negotiate on an aid package, while putting a priority on acting swiftly before aid lapses in March. “He laid out his big package, his big vision of what it should look like, and people are giving their feedback,” Psaki said. "He’s happy to have those discussions and fully expects it’s not going to look exactly the same on the other end.” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who led a bipartisan effort for the last $900 billion relief package, is working again with the senators on crafting an alternative package that she has said would be more focused on money for vaccine distribution and tailored economic assistance to the neediest Americans. Collins said Tuesday that the White House made good on its commitment to deliver a more detailed accounting of the proposed expenditure. But she said the group is still waiting for data on how much funding remains unallocated from past relief measures that, by her tally, totals a whopping $1.8 trillion still unspent. Congress has approved some $4 trillion in emergency aid since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, a stunning outlay and the largest rescue package in the nation's history. Senators from both parties who joined the White House call over the weekend agreed the priority needs to be standing up the country's faltering vaccine distribution system. With the death toll climbing, and new strains of the virus threatening more trouble ahead, ensuring vaccinations appears to be crucial to stemming the COVID-19 crisis. Several senators from both parties also said they want the $1,400 direct checks to be more targeted to those in need. They also want an accounting of what remains from previously approved aid bills. But Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and the incoming Budget Committee chair, said he is already working on the budget package for next week and expanding it to include Biden's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years. Raising the wage is a long-running Democratic priority that would essentially double the current $7.25 hourly wage set the last time the party was in control in the Obama administration. Advocates say the pay raise would boost millions of full-time workers from poverty. “There is a consensus,” Sanders told reporters at the Capitol. “If Republicans are not prepared to come on board, that’s fine. We’re not going to wait. We’re going forward soon and aggressively.” Lisa Mascaro And Josh Boak, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Quebec plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions in some regions as of Feb. 8 if the situation in the province continues to improve, Premier Francois Legault said Tuesday. Legault said the average number of new cases in the province has declined in recent weeks — something he credits to government measures that include a nighttime curfew. The premier said he would announce more details next week, but he said the Montreal region was likely to be kept under a higher tier of restrictions than other areas of the province. The government has introduced a series of measures aimed at curbing COVID-19 in recent weeks, including closing non-essential businesses, requiring those who can to work from home and imposing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The curfew was originally set to expire Feb. 8, but Legault implied that Quebec's biggest city should be prepared to endure strict measures for longer. "Everyone sees the situation is much different in greater Montreal than what we're living in the rest of Quebec," Legault said at a news conference. In the last few weeks, the average number of new cases in the province has gone down, from an average of about 2,500 a day to about 1,500, Legault said. But he said hospitalizations are still too high, especially in Montreal. Currently, there are more than 1,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the city, and more than half of surgeries are delayed, he said. Health Minister Christian Dube said the decision for each region would be based on a combination of factors, including case numbers, hospitalizations and outbreaks. Horacio Arruda, the province's director of public health, said the situation in the province remains "unstable" and the progress made in recent weeks could easily be derailed by the spread of a new variant or a population that eases off on following public health directives. "We can’t think in the next weeks, 'That's it, we’ll go back to normal,'" he said. "That’s the most dangerous thing that threatens us." Citing the danger posed by new variants, Legault expressed frustration with the federal government's failure to announce any new concrete restrictions for travellers, such as mandatory quarantine in supervised hotels or banning non-essential trips altogether. "We're in a little bit the same situation as the beginning of March of last year, where we have a little bit of trouble with Mr. Trudeau for him to act quickly to prevent travellers from coming to infect the population of Quebec," Legault said. Quebec reported 1,166 new cases of COVID-19 and 57 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, including four that occurred in the past 24 hours. Health officials said Tuesday that hospitalizations rose by three, to 1,324, following six consecutive days of decreases in the number of COVID-related patients. The number of people in intensive care remained stable at 217. Officials say they administered 5,927 doses of vaccine Monday and say they have used all but 13,221 of the doses received thus far. The province says 1,916 more people have recovered from COVID-19, for a total of 230,803. It says 15,622 reported cases remain active. Quebec has reported a total of 256,002 infections and 9,577 deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 26, 2021. Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
Chatham-Kent police say a man is facing charges after drugs and a rifle were seized at a home. The police service said in a statement Tuesday that the seizure was made as a result of a warrant executed at a home in Chatham on Monday afternoon. The gun was a loaded SKS semi-automatic rifle with an overcapacity magazine, attached bayonet and ammunition. Police initially said the gun was an assault rifle but later issued a correction saying the gun is not restricted but the magazine is. "Thank you everyone for your comments... we appreciate that many of you may own a similar firearm for sporting purposes, however what caused us great concern is that the firearm was loaded with a high capacity magazine and was stored carelessly," the police service tweeted. The suspected methamphetamine was valued at $1,300. A switchblade was also seized, police said. A 40-year-old man was charged with drug possession for the purposes of trafficking, breach of probation and firearms offences. A second man, who is 28, was also charged with possession drugs. Two others in the residence, a man and a woman, were also arrested on outstanding warrants and face various charges.
Police in the Northwest Territories are warning people not to use illicit drugs after two noxious substances were found in drugs seized in Yellowknife. RCMP say they seized crack cocaine, powder cocaine and tablets on Nov. 27 at a residence in the city. A Health Canada analysis of the drugs found two toxic substances not found before in the territory. Those substances are: Adinazolam, a type of tranquillizer that is listed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act; and, 5-MeO-DBT, a psychedelic drug that is not controlled. Yellowknife RCMP Insp. Dyson Smith says he's concerned those who already use illicit drugs in the territory could be harmed by the substances. The RCMP says it's working with the government to address the potential impacts. "RCMP always warn against illicit drug use, however, with the presence of two new substances in drugs seized in a Northwest Territories community, the danger of illicit drug use has increased," police said in a news release Tuesday. Dr. Andy Delli Pizzi, deputy chief public health officer, says there is concern the two substances could cause unexpected reactions or contain other contaminants like opioids. "People who use street or illicit drugs should always do so with others present and have a plan to respond to an overdose. The plan should include having naloxone present and calling 911 for help with any overdose," Pizzi said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is expanding its travel restrictions to require all domestic travellers to self-isolate for 14 days after entering the province. Since last June, only people arriving from areas east of Terrace Bay in northern Ontario have been subject to the requirement. But, starting Friday, all out-of-province arrivals will be covered by the public-health measure to help fight the spread of COVID-19. "This is being done out of an abundance of caution to protect Manitobans," Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday. The move is needed because of the growing spread of novel coronavirus variants and because of delays in vaccine supplies, he said. There will be ongoing exceptions for people travelling for essential work and medical care, and a new exemption for residents of border communities who cross into Saskatchewan or Ontario for necessities. Pallister also called on the federal government to tighten rules governing international travellers. He said a ban on non-essential trips, as suggested by Quebec Premier Francois Legault last week, should be on the table. "We believe that a total travel ban may be something the federal government needs to consider seriously," Pallister said. "I respect that the federal government has to make this call and that's why I'm not trying to be overly prescriptive with what Manitoba wants. ... I'm simply adding my voice to those of the premiers who have said, 'Make a decision on this and doing nothing is not an option.'" Pallister also revealed that he had disciplined James Teitsma, a Progressive Conservative caucus member, who travelled with his family to British Columbia in December. The vacation did not contravene any formal public-health orders, but went against advice to avoid non-essential travel. Pallister did not say what discipline Teitsma was subjected to, and Teitsma did not return requests for comment. He sits on cabinet and Legislature committees and receives extra pay as chairman of one. A recently updated list of members of the cabinet committee on economic growth no longer includes Teitsma's name. Manitoba's COVID-19 case count continued its downward trend Tuesday. Health officials reported 92 additional cases and five deaths. Numbers have been dropping since late fall, shortly after the province brought in tight restrictions on public gatherings and store openings. Some of the measures were eased on the weekend to allow small social gatherings in private homes and non-essential store openings with limited capacity. "It's trending the right way again, but we still have a number of people in hospital ... so it still is a burden on the acute-care system," said Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief public health officer. Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said he supports the government's expanded travel restrictions, but said the province must build up intensive care units, which are running well above pre-pandemic capacity. "Let's use this time to make the investments in our health care system so that we can withstand what's coming, potentially, as the pandemic drags on," Kinew said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — The interruption in the supply of COVID-19 vaccine justifies Nova Scotia's conservative distribution strategy, Premier Stephen McNeil said Tuesday. McNeil defended the province's immunization plan to hold doses back for booster shots, and he voiced concerns about the ongoing availability of vaccine. "We have serious concerns about supply," he told reporters. "We had hoped that we wouldn't be in this situation but we will not be receiving any new doses this week." The premier said vaccinations will continue at some long-term care homes because the province had put doses in reserve for booster shots. As of Monday, 11,622 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in the province, with 2,708 people having received their second of two doses. McNeil acknowledged the criticism about his government's approach of holding back doses. Quebec, by contrast, decided against that strategy and instead vaccinated as many people as possible with a single dose. The premier, however, said his main concern has been around the consistency of vaccine supply. "We want to reassure all Nova Scotians that if we give you the first shot you will get the second shot," McNeil said. "Until we see a level of consistency in supply, that's the protocol we are going to continue to follow." Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, said Nova Scotia would get no vaccine this week from Pfizer and then 1,950 doses the week of Feb. 1, along with another 5,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine. "Beyond that there is no certainty around the amount of vaccine, whether its Pfizer or Moderna, that we are going to get," Strang said. Strang, however, said the province remained committed to its strategy. He said Nova Scotia feels less pressure compared to other provinces to vaccinate the largest amount of people as quickly as possible. Nova Scotia reported one new case of COVID-19 Tuesday and a total of 11 active reported infections. No one was in hospital with the disease. Strang said science is also solidly behind the approach of giving two doses of vaccine within the 21-to-28-day window prescribed by the manufacturers. Over the next three months, he said, the province will continue to focus on vaccinating front-line health-care workers as well as staff, residents and designated caregivers in long-term and residential care facilities. To date, Strang said, vaccinations have been completed at the Northwood long-term care facility in Halifax, where 53 of the provinces 65 deaths occurred last spring. He said vaccinations are also complete at Ocean View Continuing Care Centre in Dartmouth and at Harbourstone Enhanced Care in Sydney. As well, Strang said the province is targeting mid-to-late February to open its first community clinic, which he said will be at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, for people over 80 years of age. "These are community clinics that will help us understand what works and what doesn't work, so when we are ready to administer large quantities of vaccine we are able to do so immediately," Strang said. Meanwhile, health officials urged post-secondary students in the Halifax area to get tested for COVID-19. They said several cases of COVID-19 had been identified among Halifax's student population, and they recommended that all students be tested — even if they haven’t travelled, have no symptoms or haven't visited a location that had been exposed to the novel coronavirus. Drop-in testing began Tuesday and at Dalhousie University and pop-up rapid testing was scheduled to begin Wednesday at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., and at two locations in Sydney, N.S., including Cape Breton University. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan 26, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press
Ontario’s pilot COVID-19 testing program from travellers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport found that of the over 6,800 voluntary participants, 146 people or 2.26 per cent, tested positive.
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Antony Blinken as America’s top diplomat, tasked with carrying out President Joe Biden’s commitment to reverse the Trump administration’s “America First” doctrine that weakened international alliances. Senators voted 78-22 to approve Blinken, a longtime Biden confidant, as the nation’s 71st secretary of state, succeeding Mike Pompeo. The position is the most senior Cabinet position, with the secretary fourth in the line of presidential succession. Blinken, 58, served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser during the Obama administration. He has pledged to be a leading force in the administration’s bid to reframe the U.S. relationship with the rest of the world after four years in which President Donald Trump questioned longtime alliances. Shortly after his confirmation, Blinken took the oath of office at a private ceremony at the State Department. Blinken was sworn in by the director general of the U.S. Foreign Service in the Treaty Room on the department's 7th floor outside the corridor known as “Mahogany Row" where his new office will be. He is expected to start work Wednesday. “American leadership still matters,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his Jan. 19 confirmation hearing. “The reality is, the world simply does not organize itself. When we’re not engaged, when we’re not leading, then one of two things is likely to happen. Either some other country tries to take our place, but not in a way that’s likely to advance our interests and values, or maybe just as bad, no one does and then you have chaos.” Blinken vowed that the Biden administration would approach the world with both humility and confidence, saying “we have a great deal of work to do at home to enhance our standing abroad.” Despite promising renewed American leadership and an emphasis on shoring up strained ties with allies in Europe and Asia, Blinken told lawmakers that he agreed with many of Trump’s foreign policy initiatives. He backed the so-called Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and several Arab states, and a tough stance on China over human rights and its assertiveness in the South China Sea. He did, however, signal that the Biden administration is interested in bringing Iran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew in 2018. Trump's secretaries of state nominees met with significant opposition from Democrats. Trump’s first nominee for the job, former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, was approved by a 56 to 43 vote and served only 13 months before Trump fired him in tweet. His successor, Pompeo, was confirmed in a 57-42 vote. Opposition to Blinken centred on Iran policy and concerns among conservatives that he will abandon Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. Blinken inherits a deeply demoralized and depleted career workforce at the State Department. Neither Tillerson nor Pompeo offered strong resistance to the Trump administration’s attempts to gut the agency, which were thwarted only by congressional intervention. Although the department escaped proposed cuts of more than 30% of its budget for three consecutive years, it has seen a significant number of departures from its senior and rising mid-level ranks, Many diplomats opted to retire or leave the foreign service given limited prospects for advancement under an administration that they believed didn't value their expertise. A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School and a longtime Democratic foreign policy presence, Blinken has aligned himself with numerous former senior national security officials who have called for a major reinvestment in American diplomacy and renewed emphasis on global engagement. Blinken served on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration before becoming staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden was chair of the panel. In the early years of the Obama administration, Blinken returned to the NSC and was then-Vice-President Biden’s national security adviser before he moved to the State Department to serve as deputy to Secretary of State John Kerry, who is now serving as special envoy for climate change. Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Le géant français de production de gaz Air Liquide inaugure à Bécancour la plus grande unité d’électrolyse à membrane de production d’hydrogène renouvelable au monde. Alimenté par les énergies renouvelables que va lui fournir Hydro-Québec, le nouvel électrolyseur PEM (Membrane Échangeuse de Protons) aura une capacité de 20 MW. Il s’agit de «la plus grande usine de ce type actuellement en opération au monde», assure Air Liquide. L’usine de Bécancour est maintenant en mesure d’augmenter de plus de 50% sa capacité de production d’hydrogène vert. Elle peut ainsi répondre à la demande croissante en hydrogène bas carbone provenant des secteurs industriels et de la mobilité. «Nous sommes en mesure d’approvisionner le marché du nord-est de l’Amérique du Nord en hydrogène renouvelable», se réjouit Bertrand Masselot, président et chef de la direction d’Air Liquide. Les procédés qui entrent dans la production de cet hydrogène vert sont aussi plus propres. «Cette unité de production permettra d’éviter l’émission de près de 27 000 tonnes de CO2 par an, soit les émissions annuelles d’environ 10 000 voitures». Une fois liquéfiées, les molécules sont distribuées par camion aux clients canadiens et américains. Cette unité produit désormais jusqu’à 8,2 tonnes par jour d’hydrogène bas carbone à Bécancour. Pour Susan Ellerbusch, directrice générale d’Air Liquide Amérique du Nord, «l’hydrogène jouera un rôle clé dans la transition énergétique et l’émergence d’une société bas carbone. On se tourne vers une technologie plus efficiente, durable, puissante et fiable», dit-elle. Une pléthore d’officiels postés au Canada, aux États-Unis et en France ont participé à l’inauguration de cette primeur mondiale. «C’est une étape supplémentaire dans un processus que nous avons initié depuis une bonne quinzaine d’années», souligne Pierre-Étienne Franc, directeur Activité hydrogène Monde chez Air Liquide. Le géant français dit avoir déboursé des dizaines de millions de dollars dans les installations de Bécancour, sans autres précisions. Un banc d’essai L'usine doit servir de catapulte aux autres projets du groupe. «C’est une innovation de par la taille du projet. Nous avons un banc d’essai pour les prochaines versions d’électrolyseurs. Ce centre devient un satellite de recherche et développement. On travaille main dans la main avec un de nos centres d’innovation du Delaware (É.-U.) et en lien fort avec la communauté universitaire. Un spécialiste de l’UQTR s’est joint à cet écosystème pour mener, dans les mois et années qui viennent, des recherches sur les technologies électrolytes», ajoute Bertrand Masselot, président d’Air Liquide. Rappelons que Bécancour attend d’être désignée, par Québec, comme étant l’une des Zones d’Innovation de la province. Le maire de Bécancour, Jean-Guy Dubois partage la fierté exprimée par les directions européennes et nord-américaines d’Air Liquide. «C’est une immense marque de confiance envers notre ville et notre Parc industriel et portuaire. Un projet porteur qui se pose comme un jalon de ce que j’aime appeler "la 5e révolution industrielle", celle qui marquera l’incontournable virage vers l’économie de l’environnement», a-t-il ajouté. Le ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte aux changements climatiques et celui de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles vont investir 15 M$ dans la filière de l’hydrogène vert. Le ministre de l’Environnement Benoît Charrette dit vouloir appuyer des projets de démonstration technologique dans les secteurs industriels et du transport lourd. «C’est une première annonce, il y en aura d’autres d’ici l’automne», promet-il. Québec travaille en outre à élaborer sa première stratégie québécoise de l’hydrogène vert et des bioénergies, nous dit M. Charette. Rappelons que «l’hydrogène, utilisé dans une pile à combustible, se combine à l’oxygène de l’air pour produire de l’électricité en ne rejetant que de l’eau. Il ne génère aucune pollution au point d’utilisation: zéro gaz à effet de serre, zéro particule et zéro bruit», précise la compagnie Air Liquide. Le chantier de Bécancour était en route depuis deux ans. Il a nécessité près de 60 000 heures de travail et atteint son niveau de production nominal au début de cette année, trois mois après sa mise en opération en octobre 2020. (Parution originale: Le Courrier Sud)Boris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit Les voix demandant au gouvernement de Justin Trudeau d’interdire certains vols internationaux se multiplient. Mardi, le premier ministre ontarien Doug Ford a demandé à Ottawa de rendre obligatoire le dépistage pour tous les passagers internationaux à leur arrivée et d’interdire temporairement les vols directs en provenance de pays où de nouveaux variants de la COVID-19 sont détectés. Le premier ministre Ford s’est rendu à l’aéroport Pearson de Toronto, mardi après-midi, pour réitérer au gouvernement fédéral l’importance de prendre de nouvelles mesures pour protéger les frontières. «Je ne comprends pas, pour l'amour du ciel, pourquoi nous ne testons pas chaque personne qui passe à travers cet aéroport», a-t-il lancé. Au cours des 20 derniers jours, 6800 voyageurs internationaux ont pu recevoir un test de dépistage de la COVID-19 gratuitement à l’aéroport Pearson grâce à un projet pilote visant les personnes qui séjournent dans la province pendant au moins 14 jours et qui souhaitent recevoir un test. Parmi les participants, 146 ont reçu un résultat positif au coronavirus. «Des milliers de personnes continuent de passer par l’aéroport Pearson chaque semaine sans subir de test, a noté M. Ford, ce qui crée un risque réel pour les Ontariennes et Ontariens.» Demandes Le gouvernement Ford a donc demandé à celui de Justin Trudeau d’adopter le dépistage obligatoire pour tous les voyageurs internationaux à l’arrivée et d’interdire temporairement les vols en provenance de pays où de nouvelles souches de COVID-19 sont détectées comme le Brésil et le Portugal. «Le fait d’interdire des vols à escales multiples dans des pays présentant un variant connu devrait également être envisagé», croit la province, qui juge que cette interdiction serait conforme aux mesures annoncées par le Royaume-Uni et plusieurs autres pays. Ces restrictions resteraient en place jusqu’à ce que plus d’informations soient rendues disponibles sur ces nouveaux variants. L’Ontario demande aussi au gouvernement fédéral de se pencher sur des mesures ayant fonctionné dans d’autres juridictions, comme les hôtels d’isolement, «pour s’assurer que les voyageurs qui entrent au pays respectent l’exigence d’isolement pour une période minimale de 14 jours». Québec aussi Le premier ministre québécois François Legault demande depuis une semaine au gouvernement Trudeau d’interdire les vols internationaux non essentiels. Mardi, M. Legault a noté l’impact catastrophique des variants sur la propagation du virus et que le fédéral a tous les pouvoirs d’interdire ces voyages ou de mettre en place une quarantaine à l’hôtel pour les voyageurs, lors de leur retour. Dans un communiqué, le gouvernement ontarien indique que des données ont récemment indiqué que 1,8% de tous les cas de COVID-19 sont liés aux voyages internationaux.Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
HAMILTON — Captain Kyle Bekker, who led Forge FC to back-to-back Canadian Premier League titles, has re-signed with the Hamilton team. The Canadian international midfielder was named the CPL's most valuable player last year after leading the league in appearances (tied with 11) and minutes played by an attacking player (879). The 30-year-old native of Oakville, Ont., who had three goals and one assist in the league's truncated 2020 season, was also a finalist for MVP honours in 2019. “We are extremely happy to have our captain sign his new contract and commit to our club for the foreseeable future,” Costa Smyrniotis, Forge's director of football, said in a statement. “Kyle has been such a valuable leader for our club since day one, both on the field and in the community. We look forward to continued success together in Hamilton.” Bekker has made 49 appearances for Forge in all competitions, including 39 in league play. Bekker played in Major League Soccer from 2013-16 with Toronto FC, FC Dallas and Montreal. He then suited up for North Carolina FC in the United Soccer League and the San Francisco Deltas in the North American Soccer League. Bekker, who has won 18 caps for Canada, came up through the Sigma FC youth program in Mississauga, Ont., under current Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis, Costa's brother. He played collegiate soccer at Boston College. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
Construction on Place des Arts began in earnest, then a pandemic set back. Work resumes once again, then a second lockdown — then the announcement of a sort-of third lockdown. The construction was supposed to continue, but then everything was shut down once again last week, with the building work ceasing on Friday. But then Monday it started again. There was an amendment to the legislation. It’s just another part of the journey, says Léo Therrien, executive director of the new Francophone arts and culture centre in downtown Sudbury. “The construction is expected to be done at the end of the summer, give or take, and again COVID willing,” said Therrien. “And then our hope is to open later in the fall. Even once the work is finished, everyone has to move in, we have to test all the equipment, you have to do a few shows, too.” But he’s pleased this timeline should coincide with the vaccination process in Sudbury. “I think everyone will be ready to get back to shows,” he said. It is also this specific, pandemic-related journey that has revealed an interesting way for the seven organisations behind ROCS (Regroupement des organismes culturels de Sudbury) to offer planning and programming that is not only accessible in the pandemic world, but in the post-pandemic world as well: streaming. “Our hope is with streaming that we'll be able to stream internally to the various venues inside,” said Therrien. That includes the ability to watch a performance from anywhere in the building. “There's a performance in La Grande Salle (main theatre),” he said. “We can send it to the studio, we can send it to the Bistro, we can send it to other venues. We could split people in various places internally. “But we can also Zoom it, stream it externally, too, for conferences, for performances, and so on.” Whether you love a live show, or your life is more conducive to enjoying it in your pyjamas, there will be options for you. There will even be recordings, something in the works for La Nuit sur l'étang music festival. “Right now, they're planning the shows in March,” said Therrien, “But they might be able to get only 50 people right now because of COVID. So, their plan is to have various cameras and record the whole show and sell it later on at another date – present it as a recorded show.” And because of the occasional pause in the construction, there is the opportunity to consider these aspects: when you can’t build, you have the advantage of time while you work out the kinks of closed-circuit television. Silver Linings, as they say. “It's the right time for us to put the equipment in place because the walls aren't done yet. It would be too hard to do it if it was all finished,” said Therrien. “That's one of the only bonuses from COVID, is that we were able to adapt.” But also, they are not open. That means they are not bringing in revenue as of yet. Still, that may again be fortuitous (to be generous with the interpretation). Therrien said that while they wish the building was finished, it also prevented them from having to cancel or postpone. “We didn't have to stop any shows because we didn't have any shows planned,” he said. “So many of our partners had to cancel their season, then restart it and cancel it again. And it's been that nightmare for them.” He said that they hope the opening of the Place des arts will allow community arts and culture groups — both Anglophone and Francophone — to come together and pool resources, to use the knowledge and experience from every corner of the city to create programming to enrich Francophone culture and, by extension, Sudbury culture, as well as offer a home to Anglophone groups, like YES Theatre, which is currently in negotiations with the Place des arts team. There will not only be the headquarters of the seven founding Francophone organisations, as well as a gift shop, bookstore, bistro and multi-purpose studio space, but also a grand theatre and office space and rehearsal space. And there has never been a better time for art, said Therrien. Movies, television, books, puzzles, art galleries tours and musicals on Zoom — you name the medium, the world consumed content on it — and he’s hopeful this trend will continue. “Art and culture is healthy to our wellbeing, the health of ourselves,” said Therrien. “That’s why a place like this is essential to our community and to everyone in it.” Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
NEW YORK — CBS has placed two top executives on administrative leave as it investigates charges of a hostile work environment for women and minorities at news operations in some of its largest individual stations. Peter Dunn, president of the CBS Television Stations, and David Friend, senior vice-president for news at the stations, are on leave pending the results of an external investigation. “CBS is committed to a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace where all voices are heard, claims are investigated and appropriate action is taken where necessary,” the network said in a statement. The accusations were outlined over the weekend in an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and a subsequent meeting between CBS and the National Association of Black Journalists. Since 2009, Dunn has been head of stations owned and operated by CBS in big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago and others. The Times said Dunn had referred to a Black male news anchor in Philadelphia as “just a jive guy." One executive at the station quit because she couldn't tolerate the culture and another has filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relates Commission alleging he was fired for co-operating with an internal review of his bosses, the Times reported. The NABJ has said CBS stations lag in maintaining diverse staffs, saying New York's WCBS-TV had only one female Black full-time reporter and went five years without a male Black reporter. “This is toxic. There's no other way to put it,” said Ken Lemon, the NABJ's vice-president of broadcast, on Tuesday. Since the story was published, Lemon said he had talked to at least five other people with new experiences to tell about the working atmosphere at CBS. He said the NABJ is optimistic about the steps CBS has taken. David Bauder, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The Trudeau Liberals are eyeing changes to the law governing public service hiring to help make federal departments and agencies more diverse. They also plan to do further research on the makeup of the federal public service and will try to hire more senior leaders with varied backgrounds. Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos and his parliamentary secretary, Greg Fergus, are spelled out the priorities Tuesday to foster greater diversity, inclusion and accessibility in the public service. The government says while there has been some progress for Black Canadians, Indigenous Peoples and others who face racial discrimination in the workplace, too many public servants continue to face obstacles. The Treasury Board Secretariat has begun discussions about the framework for recruitment in the public service and is specifically looking at "possible amendments" to the Public Service Employment Act. The act is intended to ensure federal hiring is fair, transparent and representative. But Chris Aylward, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says he hears complaints from members about how it works. "It sounds like everything is there," Aylward said Tuesday. "But in practical terms, the way that it's applied, the way that managers go about doing staffing … it's far, far from perfect." The examination of the Public Service Employment Act would complement Labour Minister Filomena Tassi's planned review of the Employment Equity Act, a law aimed at protecting workers from discrimination and other unfair treatment. The government recently released data that provides more detail about the composition of the public service. Duclos and Fergus say the annual public service employee survey will help the government identify more precisely where gaps remain and what is needed to improve representation. The government plans to increase diversity through promotion and recruitment, including introduction of the Mentorship Plus Program to allow departments to offer mentoring and sponsorship opportunities to high-potential employees who might currently face barriers. The government says although progress will take time, the public service can be a model of inclusion for employers across the country and around the world. "In time, we will build a public service that is the true reflection of our pluralism and diversity," Duclos said in a statement. Just last week, Privy Council Clerk Ian Shugart issued a call to action on anti-racism, equity and inclusion in the public service, setting out federal expectations for current leaders. "We must encourage and support the voices that have long been marginalized in our organizations," Shugart wrote. "We must create opportunities where they have long been absent. We must take direct, practical actions to invoke change. This is a true test of leadership, and one we must meet head on. Now." The government has also launched the Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, supported by a budget of $12 million, to create an ongoing discussion about change. "There is much to do before all public servants can feel they truly belong in a public service that values inclusiveness and differences," Fergus said. "Outlining these key areas of focus is a key step in taking concrete action." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press